« ForrigeFortsett »
che consent of the old members, the company was remodelled on a larger scale, and under a new charter. Their territory was augmented from the former one hundred miles of coast to four hundred ; being two hundred on each side of Cape Comfort ; and it was extended in breadth to the South sea. James, yielding to some influence which does not distinctly appear, was induced to waive those high claims of sovereignty before so strictly reserved. He allowed the council in England to be chosen by the proprietors, with power to nominate a governor. The Episcopal church was exclusively established, and all emigrants required to take the oath of supremacy. There appears a peculiar anxiety to exclude Roman Catholics, respecting whom it is observed, in a pamphlet addressed to Sir Thomas Smith, the treasurer, “I would have none seasoned with the least taint of that leaven to be settled on this plantation, or any part of that country ; but if once perceived, such a one, weed him out; for they will ever be plotting and conspiring to root you out if they can. If you will live and prosper, harbor not this viperous brood in your bosom."
The exertions of the patentees, and the general enthusiasm kindled throughout the nation, enabled the company to equip an expedition of nine vessels and five hundred emigrants. Lord Delaware, distinguished by his talents and virtues, was named governor for life ; and as he could not depart immediately, Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Summers were to rule in the meantime. The ressels set sail on the 15th May, 1609, and seven arrived on the 11th August at Jamestown; but unfortunately they had encountered a violent storm, in which two, having on board Gates and Summers, were separated and thrown upon the Bermudas. In their absence, Smith justly claimed the rule ; but many of the new-comers, being bankrupts, spendthrifts, or others sent for doing no good at home, were indisposed to obey him. For some time total anarchy reigned; but its evils at length became so great, that he was entreated to resume the government. He exerted himself to locate advantageously the emigrants, of whom two parties, one hundred and twenty each, were settled at Nansemond, and at the Falls of James river. Both, however, mismanaged their affairs, quarrelled with the Indians, and lost a number of their men; while they rejected all his efforts to remedy these disorders. In returning from the latter place, a bag of gunpowder burst and severely mangled his person, so that he reached home in extreme torture. Here he was told that plots were forming against his life. Unable in his debilitated state to struggle against so many difficulties, he returned to England, quitting for ever the colony which had been so much indebted to him. He received at home neither honors nor rewards. The company, prepossessed by his numerous enemies, complained that he had brought no wealth into their coffers, and had acted severely toward the Indians. Posterity has done him justice, perhaps somewhat beyond his merits. His bold and active spirit, with sound practical judgment, eminently qualified him for the station ; though, being somewhat hot and uncompromising in his temper, he excited bitter enmities. A conciliatory disposition and persuasive powers were, in such a situation, almost indispensable to render his exertions effective. His conduct toward the Indians was in general culpable, and by the hostility which it created, neutralized in a great measure his eminent services.
His eulogium, however, was found in the state of the colony after his departure. Only about thirty or forty acres were cultivated; the ships had brought grain in limited quantity, and much spoiled during the unfortunate voyage. The Indians, no longer overawed by the late president, not only refused victuals, but killed many settlers. Thus there ensued a dreadful famine, long fearfully remembered under the name of the “ Starving Time.” Many were impelled to the horrid resource of devouring the bodies of the dead; nay there are dark imputations of murder committed under this fearful impulse. Vessels sent along the rivers were either sunk, or the crews beaten by the savages. Virginia seemed a devoted soil. Of the flourishing colony of five hundred persons, there remained only sixty“ most miserable and poor creatures." After a large expenditure, and successive arrivals of emigrants, it had returned almost into its original insignificance.
IX. The Virginian company, by their second charter, had assigned to them a region of vast extent, including, doubtless, the heads of the great bays of Delaware and Chesapeake. This grant, we have seen, was forfeited; yet the colonists continued anxiously to claim and consider the whole as Virginia, though their title could not stand against the regal power influenced by the solicitations of a favorite. Sir George Calvert had been secretary of state under James I., but having become a convert to the Romish religion, he was excluded from the direction of the government. He now turned his attention to America, and ob. tained from the king a large grant of land, which was termed Maryland, in honor of the queen Henrietta Maria, who had warmly seconded his views.
The influence and favor enjoyed by Calvert, now created Lord Baltimore, are strikingly proved by the terms of the grant. Charles, notwithstanding his despotic feelings, reserved neither the right of taxation nor of giving laws ; these were to be exercised by the proprietor, with the assent of the freemen or their deputies, whose assembly was to be made “in such sort and form as to him should seem best.” Moreover, in emergencies, when there was not time to call them together, he might of himself make “ fit and wholesome ordinances," not stated as temporary, but “to be inviolably observed.” By a very singular clause, meant, it should seem, to blind the public at home, he was empowered to found churches and chapels, “ according to the ecclesiastical law of England." He might also train, muster, and call out troops, exercise all the functions of captaingeneral, and, in case of rebellion or sedition, proclaim martial law. He had likewise the nomination of the judges and all other officers. Nothing being left to the crown but the usual empty claim of the royal mines, Maryland became, what indeed the proprietor terms it, a separate monarchy.
George, the first Lord Baltimore, died before the completion of the charter, which was therefore granted to his son Cecil, on whom devolved the establish
ment of the colony. He appears to have applied himself to the task with activity and judgment; and states that he spent upon it above £20,000 from his own funds, and an equal sum raised among his friends. Warned by Virginian disasters, he avoided from the first all chimerical projects, and placed his establishment entirely on an agricultural basis. Every one who carried out five persons, male or female, paying their expenses, estimated at £20 each, was to receive 1,000 acres. Those defraying their own charges got 100 for themselves, and the same for each adult member of their family; for children under six years,
The rent was two shillings for each 100 acres. Lord Baltimore did not rule in person, nor, so far as we can trace, even visit the colony, at least till after the restoration. Two of his brothers, however, acted successively as governors, and died there.
In November, 1633, Leonard Calvert set sail with the first emigrants, consisting of about two hundred persons, including a son of Sir Thomas Gerard, one of Sir Thomas Wiseman, and two of Lady Wintour. In February he touched at Point Comfort in Virginia, where his arrival was by no means acceptable ; nevertheless, Sir John Harvey, in obedience to the express orders of Charles, gave him a courteous reception. Early in March he entered the Potomac, to the people on the shores of which the sight of so large a vessel was quite new, and caused the utmost astonishment. The report was, that a canoe was approaching as big as an island, with men standing in it as thick as trees in a forest; and they thought with amazement how enormous must have been the trunk out of which it had been hollowed. A piece of ordnance, resounding for the first time on the shores of this mighty river, caused the whole country to tremble. The intercourse, however, appears to have been judiciously conducted, and was, on the whole, very amicable. Calvert sailed up to Piscataqua, an Indian settlement nearly opposite the present site of Mount Vernon, where the chief received him with kindness, saying, " he would not bid him go, neither would he bid him stay; he might use his own discretion.” On reflection, he considered the place too far up the river, and therefore the vessel was moved down to a tributary named then St. George's, and now St. Mary's. Ascending it four leagues, he came to a considerable Indian town, named Yoacomoco; and being hospitably received, as well as pleased with the situation, he determined to fix his colony there. The weroanee accepted an invitation on board, and Sir John Harvey having just arrived from Virginia, the chief was led down to the cabin, and seated at dinner between the two governors. An alarm having spread among the people on shore that he was detained as a prisoner, they made the banks echo with shouts of alarm; the Indian attendants durst not go to them, but when he himself appeared on deck, they were satisfied. He became so much attached to the English as to declare, that if they should kill him he would not wish his death avenged, being sure that he must have deserved his fate. Amid these dispositions, it was not difficult to negotiate the formation of a settlement. For hatchets, hoes, knives, cloth, and other articles of probably very small original cost, the strangers not only obtained a large tract of land, but were allowed by the inhabitants to occupy immediately half of their village, with the corn growing adjacent to it, and, at the end of harvest
, were to receive the whole. Thus the English were at once comfortably established, without those severe hardships which usually attend an infant settlement.
This good understanding was prolonged for a number of years; but at length, in 1642, the emigrants had the usual misfortune of being involved in a war with the natives. For two years they suffered all its distressing and harassing accompaniments, which, in 1664, were happily terminated by a treaty, the conditions of which, and some acts of assembly immediately following, seem to prove that the evil had arisen entirely from the interested proceedings of individuals "The prohibition of kidnapping the Indians, and of selling arms to them, show the existence of these culpable practices. This peace was of long duration, and the Maryland government seem, on the whole, to have acted more laudably toward this race than any other, that of Penn excepted.
X. All the efforts both of government and of powerful companies to people the district of New England had proved nearly abortive, when, from an unexpected quarter, a tide of population poured into it, which rendered it the most prosperous of all the colonies on the American continent.
The Reformation, though it doubtless involved an extensive exercise of private judgment, was not accompanied by any express recognition of that right, or of any general principle of toleration. These, which, us Mr. Bancroft observes, were its tardy fruits, were long wanting in England, where the change was introduced, not by the people, though conformable to their wishes, but by the most arbitrary of their monarchs, consulting chiefly his own passion and caprice. Substituting himself for the head of the Catholic church, Henry VIII. exacted the same implicit submission. Elizabeth trode in his steps, equally despotic, and attached, if not to popery, as has sometimes been suspected, at least to a pompous ritual and powerful hierarchy. But the nation in general, considering the Romish religion as contrary to Scripture, and shocked by the bloody persecutions of Mary, and other sovereigns on the continent, were disposed to go into the opposite extreme. From Geneva they imbibed the Calvinistic doctrine and discipline, with the strict manners usually imbibed with them. The queen, whose views were irreconcilably opposed to these innovations, claimed the right of putting them down by main force. The most severe laws were enacted under the sanction of Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, a prelate sincerely but bigotedly attached to the English church. The wisdom of Cecil viewed with much dissatisfaction the discontents thus engendered, and, on reading twenty-four queries drawn up by the primate, told him," he thought the Inquisition of Spain used not so many questions to comprehend and to trap their preys." He was seconded by the lords of the council
, and the queen was not insensible to his remonstrances ; but whenever she showed a disposition to relent, Whitgift threw himself on his knees, and prevailed upon her not to sacrifice her own power and the unity of the church. The high court of commission was established ; several nonconformists were fined or imprisoned, and a few suffered death.
But under all these persecutions, the party continually increased, and even assumed a bolder character. The Puritans, while they sought to reform the church, had no wish to withdraw from her bosom ; but there sprang up a new sect named Brownists, who, denying the authority of her doctrine and discipline, sought for the first time to found an independent communion. Upon them all the vials of persecution were poured forth. Brown himself could boast that he had been shut up in thirty-two prisons, and several of his followers were put to death ; but his own firmness at length failed, and he accepted a living in that church which he had so strenuously opposed. Although much condemned by his more zealous adherents, his desertion broke for some time the union of the party. Toward the end of Elizabeth's reign, however, there was formed in a northern county a congregation of separatists, under two respectable clergymen, Robinson and Brewster. During a certain interval they escaped notice ; but James, who soon began to follow his predecessor's steps, took such measures as convinced them that it would be vain to attempt the exercise of their profession at home. In looking for an asylum, they fixed upon Holland, the first country where toleration was publicly sanctioned by law; and thither they made their escape amid much difficulty and hardship, their families being for some time detained befund them. Having reached that foreign land, they found the
protection denied at home, and remained eleven years unmolested, and even respected. But they never became fully naturalized; their original occupation of agriculture was more congenial to their taste than the mechanical arts, by which alone they could earn a subsistence among the Dutch. They turned their eyes, therefore, to a transatlantic region, where they would not merely enjoy toleration, but might form a society founded on their favorite plan of church-government.
Animated by these views, the exiles applied to the Virginian company, then under the management of Sandys, Southampton, and other liberal members, who zealously espousing their cause, obtained, though not without difficulty, from King James a promise to wink at their heresy, provided they remained otherwise tranquil. Smith, deeply interested in this transaction, tendered and even pressed his services; which would doubtless have been extremely valuable. His religious views, however, were materially different, and instead of the subordination which he required, he found in them a rooted determination “ to be lords and kings of themselves.” It was necessary, therefore, that they should “ make trial of their own follies;" for which, he mentions with a mixture of regret and triumph, that “ they paid soundly, and were beaten with their own rod.” They also wanted capital adequate to the founding of a plantation. Several London merchants agreed to advance the necessary sums, to be repaid out of the proceeds of their industry ; but the terms were very high, and till the liquidation of the debt the produce of their labor was to be thrown into a common stock for the benefit of the creditors ; hence their exertions were not stimulated by the salutary impulse of personal interest.
With the means thus procured, the emigrants purchased one vessel of sixty, and hired another of 180 tons; the former of which sailed to Delfthaven to take on board the brethren. The two joined at Southampton, and thence proceeded on their western voyage ; but before they reached the Land's End, the master of the smaller one, declaring her to be too leaky to cross the Atlantic, put back to Dartmouth for repairs. After another trial, the captain again pronounced her unfit for the voyage, and made sail for Plymouth. These disasters and alarms, though involving the loss of much precious time, “ winnowed their number of the cowardly and the lukewarm ;” and they finally set sail in one vessel on the 6th September, 1620, being in all one hundred and two persons, with the firm determination of braving every hardship. They had a tempestuous voyage, and though their destination was the mouth of the Hudson, they arrived on the 9th November in view of a great promontory, which proved to be Cape Cod. The captain, it has been alleged, had received a bribe from the Dutch to avoid a place where they had projected a settlement. Of this, however, the adventurers being ignorant, were comforted by the view of a goodly land wooded to the water's edge. Whales so abounded, that had the crew possessed means and instruments, which, to their great regret, were wanting, they might have procured £4,000 worth of oil. They sailed on toward their destination, but being driven back by contrary winds, determined to go ashore. Previously, however, they sought to obviate the danger of discord by a mutual agreement, in the name of God, to combine into a body politic ; framing and duly observing laws for tho general good.
They landed on the 11th, but being informed that more commodious spots might be found to the northwest, in the interior of the great bay of Massachusetts, they determined that a select party should proceed in the shallop in search of them. The boat, however, was in such disrepair that it could not sail till the end of two or three weeks : sixteen of them, therefore, resolved to make an excursion into the interior. They met no natives, but found on a hill, half buried in the ground, several baskets filled with ears of corn, part of which they carried away, meaning to satisfy the owners on the first opportunity, which unluckily