The Neighbor Colonies To Virgini

The chronological order would require us at this point to turn to the

Dutch settlements on the Hudson River; but the close relations of

Virginia with its neighbor colonies of Maryland and the Carolinas are a

reason for taking up the brief history of these settlements in advance

of their turn.

The occupation of Maryland dates from the year 1634. The period of bold

and half-desperate adventure in making pla
tations along the coast was

past. To men of sanguine temper and sufficient fortune and influence at

court, it was now a matter of very promising and not too risky

speculation. To George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, one of the most

interesting characters at the court of James I., the business had

peculiar fascination. He was in both the New England Company and the

Virginia Company, and after the charter of the latter was revoked he was

one of the Provisional Council for the government of Virginia. Nothing

daunted by the ill luck of these companies, he tried colonizing on his

account in 1620, in what was represented to him as the genial soil and

climate of Newfoundland. Sending good money after bad, he was glad to

get out of this venture at the end of nine years with a loss of thirty

thousand pounds. In 1629 he sent home his children, and with a lady and

servants and forty of his surviving colonists sailed for Jamestown,

where his reception at the hands of the council and of his old Oxford

fellow-student, Governor Pott, was not cordial. He could hardly have

expected that it would be. He was a recent convert to the Roman Catholic

Church, with a convert's zeal for proselyting, and he was of the court

party. Thus he was in antagonism to the Puritan colony both in politics

and in religion. A formidable disturbing element he and his company

would have been in the already unquiet community. The authorities of the

colony were equal to the emergency. In answer to his lordship's

announcement of his purpose to plant and dwell, they gave him welcome

to do so on the same terms with themselves, and proceeded to tender him

the oath of supremacy, the taking of which was flatly against his Roman

principles. Baltimore suggested a mitigated form of the oath, which he

was willing to take; but the authorities could not imagine that so much

latitude was left for them to decline from the prescribed form; and his

lordship sailed back to England, leaving in Virginia, in token of his

intention to return, his servants and his lady, who, by the way, was

not the lawful wife of this conscientious and religious gentleman.

Returned to London, he at once set in motion the powerful influences at

his command to secure a charter for a tract of land south of the James

River, and when this was defeated by the energetic opposition of the

friends of Virginia, he succeeded in securing a grant of land north and

east of the Potomac, with a charter bestowing on him and his heirs the

most ample rights and privileges ever conferred by a sovereign of

England.[55:1] The protest of Virginia that it was an invasion of the

former grant to that colony was unavailing. The free-handed generosity

with which the Stuarts were in the habit of giving away what did not

belong to them rarely allowed itself to be embarrassed by the fear of

giving the same thing twice over to different parties.

The first Lord Baltimore died three months before the charter of

Maryland received the great seal, but his son Cecilius took up the

business with energy and great liberality of investment. The cost of

fitting out the first emigration was estimated at not less than forty

thousand pounds. The company consisted of three hundred laboring men,

well provided in all things, headed by Leonard and George Calvert,

brothers of the lord proprietor, with very near twenty other gentlemen

of very good fashion. Two earnest Jesuit priests were quietly added to

the expedition as it passed the Isle of Wight, but in general it was a

Protestant emigration under Catholic patronage. It was stipulated in the

charter that all liege subjects of the English king might freely

transport themselves and their families to Maryland. To discriminate

against any religious body in England would have been for the proprietor

to limit his hope of rapid colonization and revenue and to embroil

himself with political enemies at home. His own and his father's

intimate acquaintance with failure in the planting of Virginia and of

Newfoundland had taught him what not to do in such enterprises. If the

proprietor meant to succeed (and he did mean to) he was shut up

without alternative to the policy of impartial non-interference with

religious differences among his colonists, and the promotion of mutual

forbearance among sects. Lord Baltimore may not have been a profound

political philosopher nor a prophet of the coming era of religious

liberty, but he was an adroit courtier, like his father before him, and

he was a man of practical good sense engaged in an enormous land

speculation in which his whole fortune was embarked, and he was not in

the least disposed to allow his religious predilections to interfere

with business. Nothing would have brought speedier ruin to his

enterprise than to have it suspected, as his enemies were always ready

to allege, that it was governed in the interest of the Roman Catholic

Church. Such a suspicion he took the most effective means of averting.

He kept his promises to his colonists in this matter in good faith, and

had his reward in the notable prosperity of his colony.[57:1]

The two priests of the first Maryland company began their work with

characteristic earnestness and diligence. Finding no immediate access to

the Indians, they gave the more constant attention to their own

countrymen, both Catholic and Protestant, and were soon able to give

thanks that by God's blessing on their labors almost all the Protestants

of that year's arrival had been converted, besides many others. In 1640

the first-fruits of their mission work among the savages were gathered

in; the chief of an Indian village on the Potomac nearly opposite Mount

Vernon, and his wife and child, were baptized with solemn pomp, in

which the governor and secretary of the colony took part.

The first start of the Maryland colony was of a sort to give promise of

feuds and border strifes with the neighbor colony of Virginia, and the

promise was abundantly fulfilled. The conflict over boundary questions

came to bloody collisions by land and sea. It is needless to say that

religious differences were at once drawn into the dispute. The vigorous

proselytism of the Jesuit fathers, the only Christian ministers in the

colony, under the patronage of the lord proprietor was of course

reported to London by the Virginians; and in December, 1641, the House

of Commons, then on the brink of open rupture with the king, presented a

remonstrance to Charles at Hampton Court, complaining that he had

permitted another state, molded within this state, independent in

government, contrary in interest and affection, secretly corrupting the

ignorant or negligent professors of religion, and clearly uniting

themselves against such. Lord Baltimore, perceiving that his property

rights were coming into jeopardy, wrote to the too zealous priests,

warning them that they were under English law and were not to expect

from him any more or other privileges, exemptions, or immunities for

their lands, persons, or goods than is allowed by his Majesty or

officers to like persons in England. He annulled the grants of land

made to the missionaries by certain Indian chiefs, which they affected

to hold as the property of their order, and confirmed for his colony the

law of mortmain. In his not unreasonable anxiety for the tenure of his

estate, he went further still; he had the Jesuits removed from the

charge of the missions, to be replaced by seculars, and only receded

from this severe measure when the Jesuit order acceded to his terms. The

pious and venerable Father White records in his journal that occasion

of suffering has not been wanting from those from whom rather it was

proper to expect aid and protection, who, too intent upon their own

affairs, have not feared to violate the immunities of the church.[59:1]

But the zeal of the Calverts for religious liberty and equality was

manifested not only by curbing the Jesuits, but by encouraging their

most strenuous opponents. It was in the year 1643, when the strength of

Puritanism both in England and in New England was proved, that the

Calverts made overtures, although in vain, to secure an immigration from

Massachusetts. A few years later the opportunity occurred of

strengthening their own colony with an accession of Puritans, and at the

same time of weakening Virginia. The sturdy and prosperous Puritan

colony on the Nansemond River were driven by the churlish behavior of

Governor Berkeley to seek a more congenial residence, and were induced

to settle on the Severn at a place which they called Providence, but

which was destined, under the name of Annapolis, to become the capital

of the future State. It was manifestly not merely a coincidence that

Lord Baltimore appointed a Protestant governor, William Stone, and

commended to the Maryland Assembly, in 1649, the enacting of an Act

concerning Religion, drawn upon the lines of the Ordinance of

Toleration adopted by the Puritan House of Commons at the height of its

authority, in 1647.[59:2] How potent was the influence of this

transplanted Nansemond church is largely shown in the eventful civil

history of the colony. When, in 1655, the lord proprietor's governor was

so imprudent as to set an armed force in the field, under the colors of

Lord Baltimore, in opposition to the parliamentary commissioners, it

was the planters of the Severn who marched under the flag of the

commonwealth of England, and put them to rout, and executed some of

their leaders for treason. When at last articles of agreement were

signed between the commissioners and Lord Baltimore, one of the

conditions exacted from his lordship was a pledge that he would never

consent to the repeal of the Act of Toleration adopted in 1649 under the

influence of the Puritan colony and its pastor, Thomas Harrison.

In the turbulence of the colony during and after the civil wars of

England, there becomes more and more manifest a growing spirit of

fanaticism, especially in the form of antipopery crusading. While

Jacobite intrigues or wars with France were in progress it was easy for

demagogues to cast upon the Catholics the suspicion of disloyalty and of

complicity with the public enemy. The numerical unimportance of the

Catholics of Maryland was insufficient to guard them from such

suspicions; for it had soon become obvious that the colony of the

Catholic lord was to be anything but a Catholic colony. The Jesuit

mission had languished; the progress of settlement, and what there had

been of religious life and teaching, had brought no strength to the

Catholic cause. In 1676 a Church of England minister, John Yeo, writes

to the Archbishop of Canterbury of the craving lack of ministers,

excepting among the Catholics and the Quakers, not doubting but his

Grace may so prevail with Lord Baltimore that a maintenance for a

Protestant ministry may be established. The Bishop of London, echoing

this complaint, speaks of the total want of ministers and divine

worship, except among those of the Romish belief, who, 'tis conjectured,

does not amount to one of a hundred of the people. To which his

lordship replies that all sects are tolerated and protected, but that

it would be impossible to induce the Assembly to consent to a law that

shall oblige any sect to maintain other ministers than its own. The

bishop's figures were doubtless at fault; but Lord Baltimore himself

writes that the nonconformists outnumber the Catholics and those of the

Church of England together about three to one, and that the churchmen

are much more numerous than the Catholics.

After the Revolution of 1688 it is not strange that a like movement was

set on foot in Maryland. The beneficent despotism of the Calverts,

notwithstanding every concession on their part, was ended for the time

by the efforts of an Association for the Defense of the Protestant

Religion, and Maryland became a royal colony. Under the new régime it

was easier to inflict annoyances and disabilities on the petty minority

of the Roman Catholics than to confer the privileges of an established

church on the hardly more considerable minority of Episcopalians. The

Church of England became in name the official church of the colony, but

two parties so remotely unlike as the Catholics and the Quakers combined

successfully to defeat more serious encroachments on religious liberty.

The attempt to maintain the church of a small minority by taxes extorted

by a foreign government from the whole people had the same effect in

Maryland as in Ireland: it tended to make both church and government

odious. The efforts of Dr. Thomas Bray, commissary of the Bishop of

London, a man of true apostolic fervor, accomplished little in

withstanding the downward tendency of the provincial establishment. The

demoralized and undisciplined clergy resisted the attempt of the

provincial government to abate the scandal of their lives, and the

people resisted the attempt to introduce a bishop. The body thus set

before the people as the official representative of the religion of

Christ was perhaps as contemptible an ecclesiastical organization as

history can show, having all the vices of the Virginian church,

without one of its safeguards or redeeming qualities.[62:1] The most

hopeful sign in the morning sky of the eighteenth century was to be

found in the growth of the Society of Friends and the swelling of the

current of the Scotch-Irish immigration. And yet we shall have proof

that the life-work of Commissary Bray, although he went back discouraged

from his labors in Maryland and although this colony took little direct

benefit from his efforts in England, was destined to have great results

in the advancement of the kingdom of Christ in America; for he was the

founder of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign


The Carolinas, North and South, had been the scene of the earliest

attempts at Protestant colonization in America. The Huguenot enterprise

at Beaufort, on Port Royal harbor, was planted in 1562 under the

auspices of Coligny, and came to a speedy and unhappy end. The costly

and disastrous experiment of Sir Walter Raleigh was begun in 1584 on

Roanoke Island, and lasted not many months. But the actual occupation of

the region was late and slow. When, after the Restoration, Charles II.

took up the idea of paying his political debts with free and easy

cessions of American lands, Clarendon, Albemarle, and Shaftesbury were

among the first and luckiest in the scramble. When the representatives

of themselves and their partners arrived in Carolina in 1670, bringing

with them that pompous and preposterous anachronism, the Fundamental

Constitutions, contrived by the combined wisdom of Shaftesbury and John

Locke to impose a feudal government upon an immense domain of

wilderness, they found the ground already occupied with a scanty and

curiously mixed population, which had taken on a simple form of polity

and was growing into a state. The region adjoining Virginia was peopled

by Puritans from the Nansemond country, vexed with the paltry

persecutions of Governor Berkeley, and later by fugitives from the

bloody revenge which he delighted to inflict on those who had been

involved in the righteous rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon. These had

been joined by insolvent debtors not a few. Adventurers from New England

settled on the Cape Fear River for a lumber trade, and kept the various

plantations in communication with the rest of the world by their

coasting craft plying to Boston. Dissatisfied companies from Barbadoes

seeking a less torrid climate next arrived. Thus the region was settled

in the first instance at second hand from older colonies. To these came

settlers direct from England, such emigrants as the proprietors could

persuade to the undertaking, and such as were impelled by the evil state

of England in the last days of the Stuarts, or drawn by the promise of

religious liberty.

South Carolina, on the other hand, was settled direct from Europe, first

by cargoes of emigrants shipped on speculation by the great real-estate

operators who had at heart not only the creation of a gorgeous

aristocracy in the West, but also the realization of fat dividends on

their heavy ventures. Members of the dominant politico-religious party

in England were attracted to a country in which they were still to be

regarded before the law as of the only true and orthodox church; and

religious dissenters gladly accepted the offer of toleration and

freedom, even without the assurance of equality. One of the most notable

contributions to the new colony was a company of dissenters from

Somersetshire, led by Joseph Blake, brother to Cromwell's illustrious

admiral. Among these were some of the earliest American Baptists; and

there is clear evidence of connection between their arrival and the

coming, in 1684, of a Baptist church from the Massachusetts Colony,

under the pastorate of William Screven. This planting was destined to

have an important influence both on the religious and on the civil

history of the colony. Very early there came two ship-loads of Dutch

Calvinists from New York, dissatisfied with the domineering of their

English victors. But more important than the rest was that sudden

outflow of French Huguenots, representing not only religious fidelity

and devotion, but all those personal and social virtues that most

strengthen the foundations of a state, which set westward upon the

revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. This, with the later influx

of the Scotch-Irish, profoundly marked the character of South Carolina.

The great names in her history are generally either French or Scotch.

It ought to have been plain to the proprietors, in their monstrous

conceit of political wisdom, that communities so constituted should have

been the last on which to impose the uniformity of an established

church. John Locke did see this, but was overruled. The Church of

England was established in name, but for long years had only this shadow

of existence. We need not, however, infer from the absence of organized

church and official clergy among the rude and turbulent pioneers of

North Carolina that the kingdom of God was not among them, even from the

beginning. But not until the year 1672 do we find manifestation of it

such as history can recognize. In that year came William Edmundson, the

voice of one crying in the wilderness, bringing his testimony of the

light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The honest

man, who had not thought it reasonable in the Christians of

Massachusetts to be offended at one's sitting in the steeple-house with

his hat on, found it an evidence that they had little or no religion

when the rough woodsmen of Carolina beguiled the silent moments of the

Friends' devotions by smoking their pipes; and yet he declares that he

found them a tender people. Converts were won to the society, and a

quarterly meeting was established. Within a few months followed George

Fox, uttering his deep convictions in a voice of singular persuasiveness

and power, that reached the hearts of both high and low. And he too

declared that he had found the people generally tender and open, and

rejoiced to have made among them a little entrance for truth. The

church of Christ had been begun. As yet there had been neither baptism

nor sacramental supper; these outward and visible signs were absent; but

inward and spiritual grace was there, and the thing signified is greater

than the sign. The influence diffused itself like leaven. Within a

decade the society was extended through both the Carolinas and became

the principal form of organized Christianity. It was reckoned in 1710 to

include one seventh of the population of North Carolina.[65:1]

The attempt of a foreign proprietary government to establish by law the

church of an inconsiderable and not preëminently respectable minority

had little effect except to exasperate and alienate the settlers. Down

to the end of the seventeenth century the official church in North

Carolina gave no sign of life. In South Carolina almost twenty years

passed before it was represented by a single clergyman. The first

manifestation of church life seems to have been in the meetings on the

banks of the Cooper and the Santee, in which the French refugees

worshiped their fathers' God with the psalms of Marot and Beza.

But with the eighteenth century begins a better era for the English

church in the Carolinas. The story of the founding and the work of the

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, taken in

connection with its antecedents and its results, belongs to this

history, not only as showing the influence of European Christianity upon

America, but also as indicating the reaction of America upon Europe.

In an important sense the organization of religious societies which is

characteristic of modern Christendom is of American origin. The labors

of John Eliot among the Indians of New England stirred so deep an

interest in the hearts of English Christians that in 1649 an ordinance

was passed by the Long Parliament creating a corporation to be called

The President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New

England; and a general collection made under Cromwell's direction

produced nearly twelve thousand pounds, from the income of which

missionaries were maintained among some of the Northern tribes of

Indians. With the downfall of the Commonwealth the corporation became

defunct; but through the influence of the saintly Richard Baxter, whose

tender interest in the work of Eliot is witnessed by a touching passage

in his writings, the charter was revived in 1662, with Robert Boyle for

president and patron. It was largely through his generosity that Eliot

was enabled to publish his Indian Bible. This society, The New England

Company, as it is called, is still extant--the oldest of Protestant

missionary societies.[66:1]

It is to that Dr. Thomas Bray who returned in 1700 to England from his

thankless and discouraging work as commissary in Maryland of the Bishop

of London, that the Church of England owes a large debt of gratitude for

having taken away the reproach of her barrenness. Already his zeal had

laid the foundations on which was reared the Society for the Promotion

of Christian Knowledge. In 1701 he had the satisfaction of attending the

first meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in

Foreign Parts, which for nearly three quarters of a century, sometimes

in the spirit of a narrow sectarianism, but not seldom in a more

excellent way, devoted its main strength to missions in the American

colonies. Its missionaries, men of a far different character from the

miserable incumbents of parishes in Maryland and Virginia, were among

the first preachers of the gospel in the Carolinas. Within the years

1702-40 there served under the commission of this society in North

Carolina nine missionaries, in South Carolina thirty-five.[67:1]

But the zeal of these good men was sorely encumbered with the armor of

Saul. Too much favorable legislation and patronizing from a foreign

proprietary government, too arrogant a tone of superiority on the part

of official friends, attempts to enforce conformity by imposing

disabilities on other sects--these were among the chief occasions of the

continual collision between the people and the colonial governments,

which culminated in the struggle for independence. By the time that

struggle began the established church in the Carolinas was ready to

vanish away.