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1665 proprietary colonies. The proprietors were actuated by the same motives as the stockholders of the companies, and more or less by personal ambition into the bargain. They were really sub-kings of their several provinces, and could depute their powers to subordinates. They commonly remained in England, committing their executive functions to governors, but they occasionally came to America and governed in person for longer or shorter periods. .
46. Voluntary Colonies.-Plymouth, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were not planted by companies or proprietors. They were rather founded by groups of individuals, not bound together by charters or by articles of incorporation, but only by moral bonds. The founders and the colonists were the same persons. They were not at first recognized by the Crown, much less supported, and Plymouth never obtained such recognition. In no other Colonies were cherished civil and religious ideas so powerful a motive as in these.
47. Agency of the Home Government. This was limited to three things: (1) Grants of lands; (2) Grants of commercial privileges ; (3) Grants of civil rights and political powers. The government did not found a single colony. Generally, the Crown required some compensation for its grants, a price for the lands in the case of the grant to Penn, but commonly a rent or a share in the profits of the enterprise. Profits, however, there were none, and rents were small. England, in the long run derived great commercial advantages from her Colonies; but the original founders commonly lost the money that they embarked in them. ( Many of the companies and proprietors surrendered their charters to the Crown. It is important to note that the Thirteen Colonies were not the creatures of government or the children of patronage, but the results of private enterprise and public spirit; for the fact had much to do with the development of the Colonial character.
48. Classes of Colonists.—These were more numerous than the classes of colonies. Some men were moved by the love of adventure ; some came out indentured for a term of years to the company or proprietor that paid their passage-money; a few were criminals, who chose emigration rather than confinement in prison. A11, or nearly all, sought to better their material condition in life. Many sought civil, political, or religious liberty. There was some admixture of nationalities from the first. In the Southern and Northern groups, few or none but Englishmen were found; but in the Middle group, there were also Dutch, Swedes, and Germans. Later, there was an infusion of Scotch, Irish, and French blood. Still, at the beginning of the eighteenth century the population was largely homogeneous. Taken together, the American emigration was of an excellent quality throughout. It was said of New England : “God sifted a whole nation that He might send choice grain out into this wilderness."
49. Ideas of the English Colonists. These can best be presented by putting them in contrast with the ideas of the Spanish and French colonists.
The Spaniards sought in the New World adventure, dominion, and, above all else, gold and silver. Some stress they also laid on the evangelization of the Indians. The French ideas were discovery and exploration, the fur-trade, the conversion of the Indians, and the enhancement of the glory of France. Neither the Spanish nor the French colonists brought with them new ideas to plant in new soil ; neither sought civil, political, or religious rights; neither longed for better government or a freer church; neither cared anything or knew anything of the passion for social improvement that was so powerful a factor at the time in England and in the English Colonies. The English Coionists were by no means destitute of the qualities that characterized their neighbors, but their master-ideas were industrial, political, and religious. They pursued agriculture, the fisheries, and commerce; they sought their fortunes in the field and shop and on the sea, rather than in the forest or in mines of precious metals; they were more interested in establishing states and churches where they could be free, than in converting the savages.
The communities that they planted throbbed with industrial and commercial, civil and political life. Accordingly, the English Colonies, if less romantic, chivalrous, and picturesque than the Spanish and French colonies, were more practical, more modern, more in harmony with the great forces of our present civilization.
The colonizing impulse that originated in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and that led to the Colonies of Virginia and New England, was due in great part to the desire on the part of that sovereign and her advisers to limit the power of Spain in the New World, and to promote the expansion of England and the Protestant religion."
50. The Rights of Englishmen.—The charter of 1606 contained a guarantee, forever irrevocable, unless by consent of both parties, that became the great bulwark of colonial rights and liberties in the contests of a later day. The King said:
Also, we do, for us, our heirs, and successors, declare, by these presents, that all and every the persons being our subjects, which shall dwell and inhabit within every and any of the said several colonies and plantations, and every of their children and posterity, which shall happen to be born within any of the limits and precincts of the said colonies and plantations, thereof, shall have and enjoy all liberties, franchises and immunities of free denizens and natural subjects within any of our other dominions, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within this our realm of England, or in any other of our dominions."
In after times this pledge was sometimes called the Colonial Constitution. It was also repeated in later charters. The several Colonies will now be described more in detail. I. THE SOUTHERN COLONIES. 51. Virginia.—The political history of the United States begins with the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, by the London Company in 1607. The charter, which was renewed and somewhat changed in 1609 and 1612, gave the people no voice whatever in the government of the Colony; they were wholly subject to the Company and to the King, and there was much dissatisfaction and murmuring in consequence. The first concession to popular rights was made in 1619, when Governor Yeardley, in order that the planters might have a land in governing themselves, called upon them to choose representatives to a legislative assembly. This assembly, called the House of Burgesses, was the first legislative body that sat in America. Two years later, the Company issued an ordinance creating a colonial legislature, consisting of a Council of State appointed by the Company, and a General Assembly chosen by the people. This Legislature was authorized to make such general laws and orders for the behalf of said Colony and the good government thereof, as should from time to time appear necessary or requisite ; provided, however, that no such law or order should continue in force unless ratified by the Company. In 1624 the Court of King's Bench declared the charter forfeited to the Crown, and Virginia became a royal Colony. This, however, did not change the constitution of 1619 and 1621.
1 See Brown: The Genesis of the U. S. Introductory Sketch.
52. Maryland.-In 1632, Charles I. gave the two peninsulas lying on the Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and Potomac River, save the tip of the outer one, to George Calvert, Lord Baltimore. The grant was bounded north by the fortieth parallel. The charter gave Calvert the soil in full and absolute propriety, authorized him to plant a colony to be called Maryland, and empowered him to make laws for the government of the Colony with the consent of the freemen. Calvert dying, his son Cecilius, who succeeded to the title, planted the Colony in 1634. Except the period 1688–1716, when the Crown usurped the appointment of the governors, the charter continued in force until 1771. The provision that compelled the proprietary to consult the freemen in making the laws, secured to them from the first a voice in the government, and finally a representative assembly.
53. The Carolinas.-By two charters, bearing the dates of 1663 and 1665, Charles II. gave the territory lying between 29° and 36° 30', from sea to sea, to eight lords proprietors. These proprietors were authorized to make plantations, to enact laws with the consent of the freemen of the colouy, and to appoint governors. In time, two groups of settlements were made; one on the shore of Albemarle Sound, and the other south of Cape Fear River. In 1729 the proprietors surrendered to the Crown their charter and province, which two years later was divided into the two royal Colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina.
54. Georgia.—In 1732 George II. created a company that he styled “ Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America,” having the following objects: To strengthen the province of Carolina by creating a new one between it and the Spaniards and Indians; to provide a refuge for poor debtors in England; to open an asylum for the persecuted Protestants in Europe, and to promote the Christianization and civilization of the Indians. The territory assigned the Company lay between the Savannah and the Altamaha Rivers. For twenty-one years the trustees should make laws and appoint governors for the ruling of the Colony. The first settlement was made at Savannah in 1733. The trustees gave up their charter in 1751, and Georgia then took her place among the royal Colonies.
II. THE NORTHERN COLONIES. 55. The Plymouth Company.—This Company was less vigorous than its London rival. Its attempt to found a colony on the coast of Maine was defeated. So the King, in 1620, gave it a new charter, with larger powers. This charter covered the zone lying between 40° and 48°, from ocean to ocean, to which it gave the name of New England. The Council at Plymouth, as the Board of Directors was called, now took a more active part in American affairs. It never founded colonies itself, but it granted lands to those who did found them. After disposing of the whole New England shore, the Corrpany, in 1635, surrendered its charter to the King and ceased to exist.
56. Plymouth.-The first permanent settlement in New England was Plymouth, made by the Pilgrims in 1620. At first these seekers after religious freedom were intruders on the territory of the Plymouth Company, for they had no grant of lands; but in 1621 the Council made them a grant, which, however, it did not bound or locate, and authorized them to set up a government. In 1629 the Council gave them a fuller charter; still, as no charter of government was considered valid unless approved by the Crown, and as the Crown withheld its approval, the government of Plymouth was in this respect irregular and unauthorized.
57. The Plymouth Compact.–Just before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, all the adult males of the company, forty-one in number, signed a compact, under which was carried on for several years a purely democratic government. The freemen, or rather so many of them as were members of the Church, met in general assembly and enacted laws. In 1639 a representative body took the place of this popular legislature. From the beginning, the freemen elected the