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covered it in the year 1497, under the commission, at the costs, and in the name of our K. Henry the VIlth, as appears by foreign writers, of that age of great repute in the learned world, and some of them are Spanish authors.
I think the civilians are not all agreed upon sure canons, or maxims concerning the best method of acquiring the dominion of countries, nor how far the first discovery can vest, or establish a right. Some Romish and Spanish lawyers have been so fond as to fancy that the pope's donation is the best title imaginable; yet (I know not how it happens) not only the heretics of England, but even the most Christian king, the eldest son of the church, has contravened that title, has taken possession of large countries in America and grasps at more.
I believe the doctrine most generally received is this: that occupancy is the most unquestionable title by the law of nature; and that touching at a coast for fuel and water; erecting a cross, or the arms of a prince, or state, and trapanning away two or three of the savage natives into captivity, are not such an occupancy as can reasonably acquire the dominion of a country; for at that rate Cain, who was a vagabond on earth, might have claimed universal monarchy, and have left no room for the children of Seth. The common sense of mankind could not fail to establish a rule, that dereliction should be as certain a method of waving, or giving up property, as the true and genuine occupancy is of acquiring it; and for a like reason; for if I am entitled to take a thing out of the common of nature and make it my separate property by using it, my not using it any longer is the most natural waiver and abdication of that property, and justly throws that thing into the common again, to be possessed by the next occupant. This occupancy then consists in a settlement of people, dwelling in fixed habitations and tilling the earth ; and this is what princes and states would prefer to all other rights, let declarations and manifestoes swell with never so many historical claims of the earliest discovery, when sovereigns are disposed to quarrel. And this right, like all other rights, must at all times be accompanied with a sufficient force to defend it from invaders, for reasons too obvious here to be enlarged on.
Under this rational notion of acquiring dominion, an extent of the ancient Florida of three hundred miles in length by the ocean coast, became the property of England more than sixty years ago. For King Charles the Îld having by his* letters patents granted the same to several lords proprietors by the name of Carolina, they peopled it with a colony which has ever since subsisted, though frequently checked in its growth by heavy difficulties and discouragements.
This colony had a very promising beginning; there were a great number of laws, or constitutions agreed to by the lords proprietors, which gave a general toleration for tender consciences, and contained many other wholesome regulations. These had been drawn up by the great lawyer and famous politician the Earl of Shaftsbury, with the assistance of Mr. Lock the philosopher, but were not duly observed when the lords proprietors came to exercise their jurisdiction over numbers of people: there was a natural infirmity in the policy of their charter, which was the source of many of the misfortunes of the colony, without any imputation on the noble families concerned. For the grantees, being eight in number, and not incorporated, and no provision being made to conclude the whole number by the voices of the majority, there could not be the timely measures always agreed on which were proper, or necessary for the safety and good government of the plantation. In the mean time the inhabitants grew unruly and quarrelled about religion and politics, and while there was a mere anarchy among them, they were exposed to the attacks and insults of their Spanish and Indian neighbors, whom they had imprudently provoked and injured; and to discharge the debts contracted by their unsuccessful attempts, they unskilfully forced a paper currency upon the subject, by an act of their parliament, which naturally put an end to credit and suspended their commerce ; and as if they had conspired against the growth of the colony, they repealed their laws for liberty of conscience, though the majority of the people were dissenters, and had resorted thither under the public faith for a complete indulgence, which they considered as part of their Magna Charta. Their strict conformity law was indeed repealed long before the lords proprietors surrendered their patent, but it was long enough in force to do abundance of mischief.
And yet such are the natural advantages of this happy
* The letters patents to the Earl of Clarendon, &c. bore date the 29th day of March, 1663.
climate, that even under these discouragements, the colony grew so considerably, that Charles Town has now near six hundred good houses, and the whole plantation has above forty thousand negro slaves, worth at least a million of pounds sterling, besides an infinite number of cattle. Though it was only within these four years that an end was put to their sorrows; for about that time, the lords proprietors and planters (who long had been heartily tired of each other) were, by the interposition of the legislature, fairly divorced forever, and the property of the whole vested in the crown.
Of the Air, Soil, Climate, and Produce of South Carolina and Georgia. Reasons why this Country is not well peopled with Indians. The Natives described.
From what was said in the foregoing chapter it cannot be a matter of wonder that a great part of Carolina should have bitherto remained uninhabited. The whole is divided into two distinct governments, by the names of North Carolina and South Carolina. I shall confine myself to treat of the latter. The new province of Georgia is taken out of it, and divided from it on the north by the river Savannah, equal to the Rhine; its southern boundary is the river Alatamaha ; it lies about the 30th and 31st degree, north latitude, in the same climate with Barbary, the north part of Egypt, the south part of Natolia, or Asia Minor, and the most temperate parts of Persia and China.
† The air is healthy, being always serene, pleasant and temperate, never subject to excessive heat or cold, nor to sudden changes; the winter is regular and short, and the summer cooled with refreshing breezes; and though this country is within three hundred miles of Virginia, it never feels the cutting north-west wind in that uneasy and dangerous degree that the Virginians complain of. This wind is generally attributed to those great seas of fresh water which lie to the north-west beyond the Apalachean mountains. It seems a journey of an hundred leagues in that
See Description Abreg. page 8.
warm climate blunts the edge which the wind gets in its passage over those prodigious lakes. Nor on the other hand does this country ever feel the intense heats of Spain, Barbary, Italy, and Egypt; probably because, instead of the scorching sands of Africk and Arabia, it has to the southward the spacious Bay of Mexico, which is much more temperate in its effect upon the winds, than are those burning sandy deserts.
* The soil of this country is generally sandy, especially near the sea; but it is impregnated with such a fertile mixture that they use no manure, even in their most ancient settlements, which have been under tillage these sixty years. It will produce almost every thing in wonderful quantities with very little culture. Farther
Farther up the country the land is more mixed with a blackish mould, and its foundation generally clay good for bricks. They make their lime of oystershells, of which there are great quantities on banks near the shore. All things will undoubtedly thrive in this country that are to be found in the happiest places under the same latitude. Their rice, the only considerable staple which requires many of their hands at present, is known to be incomparably better than that of the East Indies; their pitch, tar and turpentine (of which they export great quantities) are the rewards of their industry in clearing the land of superfluous timber. † Mulberries both black and white, are natives of this soil, and are found in the woods, as are many other sorts of fruit trees of excellent kinds, and the growth of them is surprizingly swift ; for a peach, apricot, or nectarine, will, from the stone, grow to be a bearing tree in four or five years time. All sorts of corn yield an amazing increase, an hundred fold is the common estimate, though their husbandry is so slight, that they can only be said to scratch the earth and merely to cover the seed. | All the best sorts of cattle and fowls are multiplied without number, and therefore almost without a price; you may see there more than a thousand calves in the same inclosure belonging to one person. ŞThe vine is also a wild native here, five or six sorts grow wild in the woods; it has been said that the stone of the
grape is too large, and the skin too thick, but several who have tried, find all imaginable encouragement to propagate
* Descrip. Abreg., p. 6. Archdale's Descrip., p. 8.
the different kinds from Europe ; nor is it doubted that by proper culture this wild grape may be meliorated, so as well to reward the care of the planter.
The wild beasts are deer, elks, bears, wolves, buffaloes, wild-boars, and abundance of hares and rabbits: they have also a catamountain, or small leopard; but this is not the dangerous species of the East Indies. Their fowls are no less various; they have all the sorts that we have in England, both wild and tame, and many others either useful or beautiful. It would be endless to enumerate their fishes, the river Savannah is plentifully stocked with them of many excellent kinds: no part in the world affords more variety or greater plenty. They have oak, cedar, cypress, fir, walnut, and ash, besides the sassafras. They have oranges, lemons, apples and pears, besides the peach and apricot mentioned before; some of * these are so delicious, that whoever tastes them will despise the insipid watery taste of those we have in England; and yet such is the plenty of them, that they are given to the hogs in great quantities. Sarsaparilla, cassia, and other sorts of trees grow in the woods, yielding gums and rosin, and also some oil excellent for curing wounds.
*The woods near the Savannah are not hard to be cleared, many of them have no underwood, and the trees do not stand generally thick on the ground, but at considerable distances asunder.
When you fell the timber for use, or to make tar, the root will rot in four or five years, and in the mean time you may pasture the ground. But if only destroy the timber, it is done by half a dozen strokes of an axe surrounding each tree a little above the root; in a year or two, the water getting into the wounds, rots the timber, and a brisk gust of wind fells many acres for you in an hour, of which you may then make one bright bonfire. Such will be frequently here the fate of the pine, the walnut, the cypress, the oak, and the cedar. Such an air and soil can only be fitly described by a poetical pen, because there is but little danger of exceeding the truth. Take therefore part of Mr. Waller's description of an island in the neighborhood of Carolina to give you an idea of this happy climate.
Archdale's Description, p. 7.
| Descr. Abreg. p. 7.