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General Assembly, established, under which the province continued to be governed down to the period of the American Revolution.
In the legislation of Pennsyivania, early provision was made (in 1683) for the descent and distribution of intestate estate, by which it was to be divided among all the children, the eldest son having a double share; and this provision was never afterwards departed from.
DELAWARE. Aster Penn had become proprietary of Pennsylvania, he purchased of the Duke of York, in 1682, all his right and interest in the territory afterwards called the Three Lower Counties of Delaware, extending from the south boundary of the province, and situated on the western side of the River and Bay of Delaware to Cape Henlopen, beyond or south of Lewistown; and the three counties took the names of New Castle, Kent, and
At this time they were inhabited principally by Dutch and Swedes, and seem to have constituted an appendage to the government of New York.
In the same year, with the consent of the people, an act of union with the province of Pennsylvania was passed, and an act of settlement of the frame of government in a General Assembly, composed of deputies from the counties of Delaware and Pennsylvania. By this act the three counties were, under the name of the Territories, avnexed to the province; and were to be represented in the General Assembly, governed by the same laws, and to enjoy the same privileges, as the inhabitants of Pennsylvania. Difficulties soon afterwards arose between the deputies of the province and those of the territories; and, after various subordinate arrangements, a fina! separation took place between them, with the consent of the proprietary, in 1703. From that period down to the American Revolution, the territories were governed by a separate legislature of their own, pursuant to the liberty reserved to them by a clause in the original charter or frame of government.
NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA. In March, 1662, (April, 1663) Charles II. made a grant, to Lord Clarendon and others, of the territory lying on the Atlantic Ocean, and extending from the north end of the island, called Hope Island, in the South Virginian seas, and within 36 degrees of north latitude; and to the west as far as the South Seas; and so respectively as far as the River Mathias, upon the coast of Florida, and within 31 degrees of north latitude; and so west in a direct line to the South Seas; and erected it into a province, by the name of Carolina, to be holden as the manor of East Greenwich, in Kent, in free and common soccage, and not in capite, or by knight service, subject immediately to the crown, as a dependency,
The grantees were created absolute lords proprietaries, saving the faith, allegiance, and supreme dominion of the crown, and invested with as amp.e rights and jurisdictions as the Bishop of Durham possessed in his palatine diocese. The charter seems to have been copied from that of Maryland, and resembles it in many of its provisions.
It further required that all laws should be consonant to reason, and, as near as may be conveniently, agreeable to the laws and customs of "his
our kingdom of England." And it declared that the inhabitants and their children, born in the province, should be denizens of England, and er. titled to all the privileges and immunities of British-born subjects.
In 1665, the proprietaries obtained from Charles II. a second charter with an enlargement of boundaries. It recited the grant of the forine. charter, and declared the limits to extend north and eastward as far as the north end of Currituck River or Inlet, upon a straight westerly line to Wyonoak Creek, which lies within or about 36 degrees 30 minutes of north latitude; and so west in a direct line as far as the South Seas; and south and westward as far as the degree of 29, inclusive, of northern latitude; and so west in a direct line as far as the South Seas.
Several detached settlements were made in Carolina, which were at first placed under distinct temporary governments: one was in Albemarle another to the south of Cape Fear. Thus various independent and separate colonies wer
established, each of which had its own Assembly, its own customs, and its own laws — a policy which the proprietaries had afterwards occasion to regret, from its tendency to enfeeble and distract the province.
In the year 1669, the proprietaries, dissatisfied with the systems already estabiished within the province, signed a fundamental constitution for the government thereof, the object of which is declared to be, “that we may establish a governinent agreeable to the monarchy, of which Carolina is a part, that we may avoid making too numerous a democracy." This constitution was drawn up by the celebrated John Locke.
It provided that the oldest proprietary should be the palatine, and the next oldest should succeed him. Each of the proprietaries was to hold a high office. The rules of precedency were most exactly established. Two orders of hereditary nobility were instituted, with suitable estates, which were to descend with the dignity. The provincial legislature, dignified with the name of parliament, was to be biennial, and to consist of the proprietaries or their deputies, of the nobility, and of representatives of the freeholders chosen in districts. They were all to meet in one apartment, (like the ancient Scottish Parliament,) and enjoy an equal vote. No business, however, was to be proposed, until it had been debated in the grand council, (which was to consist of the proprietaries and fortytwo counsellors,) whose duty it was to prepare bills. No act was of force longer than until the next biennial meeting of the Parliament, unless ratified by the palatine and a quorun of the proprietaries. All the laws were to become void at the end of a century, without any formal repeal. The Church of England (which was declared to be the only true and orthodox religion) was alone to be allowed a public maintenance by Parliament; but every congregation might tax its own members for the support of its own minister. Every man of seventeen years of age was to declare himself of some church or religious profession, and to be recorded as such; otherwise he was not to have any benefit of the laws. And no man was to be permitted to be a freeman of Carolina, or have any estate or habitation, who did not acknowledge a God, and that God is to be publicly worshipped. In other respects there was a guaranty of religious freedoni. There was to be a public registry of all deeds and conveyances of lands, and of marriages and births. Every freeman was to have“ absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever.” No civil or criminal cause was to be tried but by a jury of the peers of the party; but the verdict of a majority was binding. With a view to prevent
opgecessary litigation, it was (with a simplicity which at this time may elcite a smile) prosided that “it shall be a base and vile thiog to piead for maner or reward;" and that,“ since multiplicity of comments, as well as of lass, have great inconveniences, and serve only to obscure and perples, ai mander of comments and expositions on any part of these fundamental Crast tutions, or on any part of the common or statute law of Carolina, are abso'ately prohibited."
After a few years' experience of its ill arrangements, and its mischier. ols tendency, the proprietaries, upon the application of the people, (in 1093,) abregated the constitution, and restored the ancient form of gor. erame. Thus perished the labors of Mr. Locke; and thus perished a sysum, under the adıninistration of which, it has been ren arked, the Carolinians had not known one day of real enjoyment, and that introduced erils and disorders which ended only with the dissolution of the proprietary government !
There was, at this period, a space of three hundred miles between the sout! .ern and northern settements of Carolina; and, though the whole province was owned by the same proprietaries, the legislation of the two great seulements had been hitherto conducted by separate and distinct assemblies - sometimes under the same governor, and sometimes under different governors. The legislators continued to remain distinct down to the period when a final surrender of the proprietary charter was made to the crowd, in 1729. The respective territories were designated by the name of North Carolina and South Carolina, and the laws of each obtained a like appellation. Cape Fear seems to have been commonly deemed, in the commissions of the gorernor, the boundary between the two colonies.
At a little later period, (1732,) for the convenience of the inhabitants, the prosince was divided; and the divisions were distinguished by the Dames of North Carolina and South Carolina.
The form of government conferred on Carolina, when it became a royai province, was in substance this: It consisted of a governor and council appointed by the crown, and an Assembly chosen by the people; and these three branches constituted the legislature. The governor convened, prorogued, and dissolved the legislature, and had a negative upon the laws, and exercised the executive authority. He possessed also the powers of the court of chancery, of the admiralty, of supreme ordinary, and of appointing magistrates and militia officers. All laws were subject to the royal approbation or dissent, but were in the mean time in full force.
On examining the statutes of South Carolina, a close adherence to the general policy of the English laws is apparent. As early as the year 1712, a large body of the English statutes were, by express legislation, adopted as part of its own code; and all English statutes respecting allegiance, all the test and supremacy acts, and all acts declaring the rights and liberties of the subjects, or securing the same, were also declared to be in force in the province. All and every part of the common law, not altered by these acts, or inconsistent with the constitutions, customs, and laws of the province, was also adopted as part of its jurisprudence.
In respect to North Carolina, there was an early declaration of the legislature, (1715,) conformably to the charter, that the common law was, and should be, in force in the colony. All statute laws for maintaining the royal prerogative and succession to the crown; and all such laws made for the establishment of the church, and laws made for fir undul
gence to Protestant dissenters; and all laws providing for the privileges of the people, and security of trade; and all laws for the linitation of actions, and for preventing vexatious suits, and for preventing immorality and fraud, and confirming inheritances and titles of land, were declared to be in force in the province. The policy thus avowed was not departed from down to the period of the American Revolution; and the laws of descents, and the registration of conveyances, in both the Carolinas, was a silent result of their common origin and government.
In the same year in which Carolina was divided, (1732,) a project was formed for the settlement of a colony upon the unoccupied territory between the Rivers Savannah and Alatamaha. The object of the projectors was to strengthen the province of Carolina, to provide a maintenance for the suffering poor of the mother country, and to open an asylum for the persecuted Protestants in Europe ; and, in common with all the other colonies, to attempt the conversion and civilization of the natives. Upon application, George II. granted a charter to the company, (consisting of Lord Percival and twenty others, among whom was the celebrated Oglethorpe,) and incorporated them by the name of the “ Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia, in America.” The charter conferred the usual powers of corporations in England, and authorized the trustees to hold any territories, &c., in America, for the better settling of a colony.
The charter further granted to the corporation seven undivided parts of all the territories lying in that part of South Carolina which lies from the northern stream of a river, there called the Savannah, all along the seacoast, to the southward, unto the southernmost stream of a certain other great river, called the Alatamaha, and westward from the heads of the said rivers respectively in direct lines to the South Seas, to be held as of the manor of Hampton Court, in Middlesex, in free and common soccage, and not in capite. It then erected all the territory into an independent province, by the name of Georgia. It authorized the trustees, for the term of twenty-one years, to make laws for the province, “not repugnant to the laws and statutes of England,” subject to the approbation or disallowance of the crown, and after such approbation to be valid. The affairs of the corporation were ordinarily to be managed by the common council. It was further declared, that all persons born in the province should enjoy all the privileges and immunities of natural-born subjects in Great Britain. Liberty of conscience was allowed to all inhabitants in the worship of God, and a free exercise of religion to all persons except Papists. The corporation were also authorized, for the term of twenty-one years, to erect courts of judicature for all civil and criminal causes, and to appoint a governor, judges, and other magistrates. The registration of all conveyances of the corporation was also provided for. The governor was to take an oath to observe all the acts of Parliament relating to trade and navigation, and to obey all royal instructions pursuant thereto. The governor of South Carolina was to have the chief command of the militia of the province; and goods were to be imported and exported without touching at any port in South Carolina. At the end of the twenty-one years, the crown was to establish such form of government in the province, and sich method of making laws therefor, as in its pleasure should be deemed meet, and al officers should be then appointed by the crown. VOL. 1.
It continued to languish, until at length the trustees, wearied with their own labors, and the complaints of the people, in June, 1751, surrendered the charter to the crown. Henceforward it was governed as a royal province, enjoying the same liberties and immunities as other royal provinces; and in process of time it began to fourish, and at the period of the American Revolution it had attained considerable importance among the colonies.
In respect to its ante-revolutionary jurisprudence, the same system prevailed as in the Carolinas, from which it sprang. Intestate Estates de scended according to the course of the English law.
GRADUAL APPROACHES TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE.
l'he first Congress of delegates, chosen and appointed by the several colonies and provinces in North America, tu take into consideration the actual situation of the same, aud the differences subsisting between them and Great Britain, was held at Carpenter's Hall, in the city of Philadelphia, on the 5th of September, 1774. On that occasion, delegates attended from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, from the city and county of New York and other counties in the province of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Castle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and from South Carolina. Peyton Randolph was unanimously elected president of the Congress, and Charles Thomson unanimously chosen secretary.
On the 6th of September, Congress adopted rules in debating and determining questions. According to these, 1. Each colony or province had one vote. 2. No person could speak more than twice on the same point, without leave. 3. No question could be determined the day on which it was agitated and debated, if any one of the colonies desired the determination to be postponed to another day. 4. The door was to be kept shut during the time of business, and the members to consider themselves under the strongest obliga. tions of honor to keep the proceedings secret, until the majority should direct them to be made public. At the same time, a committee was appointed to state the rights of the colonies in general, the several instances in which those rights had been violated or infringed, and the means most