Kemp P. Battle, LL. D.,
(Professor of History, University of North Carolina).
The first Lord Proprietor of the land now called North Carolina was the accomplished courtier, daring navigator, fierce fighter, elegant poet and learned historian, Sir Walter Raleigh. His energy and lavish expenditures in settling his grand territory, and their dismal failure, are known to all. Beyond the introduction into civilized life of the potato, and giving our State capital his name, to the county of Robeson a claim to have among her half-breed Indians some drops of the blood of his "Lost Colony," and to the State the sentimental honor of the first white child born and the first Christian baptism, the first Lord Proprietor of Virginia, extending indefinitely southward, is only a tender and cherished memory.
Raleigh, having sold part of his rights and lost the residue by forfeiture for treason, James I in 1606 regranted the part of the land from the Cape Fear northward to Sir Thomas Gates and many lords and rich merchants, called Adventurers. Under this charter Jamestown was settled. It was vacated in 1624, and in 1629 Charles I granted to Sir Robert Heath, his Attorney-General, all the land between 31° and 36° north p6latitude from the Atlantic to the west "as far as the continent extendeth."
This de jure Lord Proprietor was a man of mark in his day. He was an able lawyer and held important positions. He was member of Parliament, Recorder of London, then successively Solicitor-General and Attorney-General, offices of much power in those arbitrary days. As a reward for his activity in advancing the King's tyrannical measures, the grant of Carolina was made to him. He was stringent against non-conformists, prosecuted those who refused to pay forced loans, drew up an elaborate answer to the Petition of Right, procured the conviction of Eliot, Holles, Selden and other patriots for their course in Parliament, conducted the prosecutions of the Star Chamber, which resulted in the atrocious fines, mutilations and imprisonment of Leighton, Prynne, Bostwick and others. So well satisfied was cause with his zeal that he was elevated to be Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. He seems then to have become alarmed at the storm of hatred gathering against the Crown. He was removed from the bench, but, when the King desired to placate his adversaries of the Long Parliament, he was created a Judge of the Court of King's Bench. When the breach between King and Parliament came he sided with the King, and was appointed to the empty honor of Chief Justice of the King's Bench in 1642. He was impeached by the House of Commons, and excepted from the Act of Oblivion. He fled to France and died at Calais the same year p7in which his royal master lost his head. His son Edward, after the Restoration, was restored to the family estates.
The only effort of Sir Robert to procure settlers for his province across the Atlantic was the sending of a ship-load of Huguenots in 1630, but for some reason not known they were landed in Virginia. For this breach of contract the owners of the vessel, named the Mayflower, possibly the same which carried the Pilgrims to Plymouth, were made to pay about $3,000 damages.
Sir Robert Heath sold his interests in 1637 to Lord Maltravers, and by several assignments they were vested in Dr. Daniel Coxe, to whom, by way of compromise, after many years, was given a tract of •100,000 acres in Western New York. Early after the Restoration, however, the Heath patent was declared vacated and the territory, with the same name, was in 1663 granted to eight nobles, favorites of Charles II. It appears then that the "eponymous hero" of our State is Charles I, a much more worthy man than his son, debauched in morals and a traitor to his kingdom. The old story that the infamous Charles IX of France was so honored is disproved by the fact that only the fort at Port Royal in 1562, and not the land, was called Carolina by the French emigrants.
Two years afterwards a new charter was issued to the same Lords Proprietors, including additional strips of land on the north and south, practically from the Virginia line to about the middle of Florida.
p8 The powers of these sub-kings were to be the same as those exercised by the Bishop of Durham in his civil capacity. What were those powers? As in ancient Rome the King's mansion on the Palatine hill was called palatium, in the course of time "palatial" was equivalent to royal, and a County Palatine was one in which its chief lord had royal powers. These counties were on the borders of countries often hostile, and the lieutenant of the King must have extraordinary powers to meet dangerous emergencies. On the continent the German district bordering on France was called the Palatinate, and in England the Earl of Chester and Duke of Lancaster guarded the west and the Bishop of Durham the Scotch frontier. The Lords Proprietors, therefore, had jura regalia, or royal rights, the legislation, however, to be subject to the consent of the people.
We now describe the "Property Kings," as DeFoe called them, in the order in which they are mentioned in the charters.
The first was the great Edward Hyde, Lord High Chancellor and until 1667 Prime Minister, though not then so called. He was the son of Henry Hyde of Wiltshire, born February 16, 1608, and was graduated at Oxford University. He became a lawyer, and his resolution to pursue steadily the dictates of his conscience on all public matters was strengthened by the earnest injunction of his father, who, while charging him never to sacrifice the laws and liberty of his country to his own interest, fell to the ground under a fatal stroke of apoplexy. Accordingly, as a member of p9the Short and of the Long Parliaments which met in 1640, he condemned the iniquitous proceedings of the Star Chamber, High Commission Court, the Privy Council and the Council of the North, but opposed the bill of attainder of Strafford, though he did not record his vote against it. When Parliament began to raise the militia against the King and to deprive the Bishops of their votes in the House of Lords, his conservative temperament led him to take the royal side. He was soon knighted and was made Chancellor of the Exchequer and Privy Councillor. On the defeat of the King he retired with Prince Charles to Jersey. Here he began his History of the Great Rebellion, which, after many interruptions, was completed in 1673.
Notwithstanding his staunch churchmanship, which admitted no compromise with Roman Catholicism, he was a favorite with Queen Henrietta Maria, and in 1648 was called by her to Paris. He visited Spain as Ambassador to procure aid for Charles, but in vain. He then resided at Antwerp, constantly intriguing for the Restoration. He held the offices successively of Secretary of State and Lord High Chancellor in the little court of the exiled King. When the times were ripe for the Restoration he drew up the Declaration of Breda, and procured the royal assent to it, thus allaying the fears of a large majority of the people of England.
Honors fell thick and fast on Sir Edward Hyde. He retained his post of Lord Chancellor, was chosen Chancellor of the University of Oxford, was created a peer as Baron Hyde of Hinton, and in 1661 received the titles of Lord p10Cornbury and Earl of Clarendon. Moreover, the King entrusted to him the conduct of the government, in which he showed strong desire to be as moderate and prudent as was consistent with safety. What were considered by many as proofs of malignant hatred towards non-conformists, the so‑called Clarendon Acts, namely, the Uniformity, Conventicle, Five Mile and Corporation Acts, were doubtless inspired largely by the fear lest the old soldiers who had once ruled the land might be re-embodied for another civil war. He was in the sunshine of the royal favor when he was named as first of the Proprietors of Carolina.
But the favor was evanescent. He lost the regard of the King and his male and female licentious associates. His severity of aspect excited their ridicule. He was called the royal school-master. As Charles and his wife had no children, the marriage of his oldest daughter Anne to the Duke of York brought his grandchildren near the succession to the throne, and this aroused envy at his grand fortune. His building a palace costing about $200,000 increased this envy, especially when the foul whisperings began that bribes for the sale of Dunkirk to the French had furnished the funds. A libelous song, called "Clarendon's House Warming," was everywhere sung. He was accused of sacrilege for using in the building of his mansion stones dressed originally for St. Paul's, and no credit was given to the explanation that he had honestly bought them. He was held responsible for the disasters of the Dutch war. The cavaliers were displeased that they did not get more favors from the government, the papists p11and non-conformists, because their disabilities were not made lighter. The great Earl was removed from office, and, by the King's advice, retired to Rouen in France. Such was the popular hatred of him that he was set upon by some drunken English sailors at Evreux, treated with much cruelty and would have been slain but for the timely interference of their lieutenant.
Clarendon was an author of ability, his History of the Civil War being especially valuable for the delineation of the characters of the leading men of that important period. He married, first, Anne, daughter of Sir Gregory Ayloffe, who died without issue, and, secondly, Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Aylesbury, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. It is noticeable that he named his oldest daughter after his first wife, and two of her daughters, Mary and Anne, ascended the throne after the expulsion of their father. The Chancellor's two sons, Henry, Earl of Clarendon, and Lawrence, Earl of Rochester, were elevated to high office. Governor Edward Hyde of North Carolina, after whom a county is named, was probably a grandson.
The title of the noble earl is perpetuated by the name of a county in South Carolina. A large county under the provisions of the Fundamental Constitutions, with this name, stretching from the Cape Fear southwest, was projected but abandoned. Cape Fear river was once called Clarendon. The name is from Clarendon Park in Wiltshire, England, in the "New Forest," where the Plantagenets had a palatial hunting lodge. Here were sometimes held Great Councils, p12which adopted weighty ordinances, those in the days of Henry II being called Constitutions of Clarendon. The palace was •about three miles from Salisbury.
The second named Proprietor was George Monk, or Monck, Duke of Albemarle, who had a very eventful life. He was a Devonshire man, younger son of a knight of slender fortune, Sir Thomas Monk. He volunteered to serve under Sir Richard Grenville against Spain, and speedily rose to the rank of captain in the war against France. He became a master in the military art, and, when the civil war broke out, took the side of the King. At first Colonel, he was appointed Brigadier-General in the Irish Brigade recently brought to England and engaged in the siege of Nantwich. He arrived just in time to be present in its surprisal and defeat by Sir Thomas Fairfax. He was confined in the Tower until November, 1646, when he subscribed to the Covenant and accepted service under the Parliament. He was faithful to the King until his armies were destroyed and he was a captive.
Monk was given by Parliament the command of their forces in the north of Ireland, with the rank of Major-General. Afterwards, as Lieutenant-General of Artillery, he served against the Scots, and when Cromwell pursued Charles II to his defeat at Worcester, General Monk was left in Scotland as Commander-in‑Chief. He was then joined as Admiral with Dean in the Dutch war, and, after Dean was killed in battle, continued the fight and gained the victory. Peace being declared, he was sent into the Highlands of Scotland to quell disturbances, which he effected in four months. He p13resided in Scotland, near Edinburgh, for five years, and became so popular as to incur the suspicion of Cromwell, it is said, although created by him a member of the House of Lords. When the nation was ripe for the restoration of Charles to his kingdom, Monk effected it with consummate skill, for which he received many pensions and honors. He was made Knight of the Garter, a Privy Councillor, a Master of the Horse, Baron Monk of Potheridge, Beauchamp and Tees, Earl of Torrington, and Duke of Albemarle, with a grant of about $35,000 a year, besides other pensions. When he went up to the House of Lords all the members of the House of Commons escorted him to the door. His freedom from pride was observed by all. In the Dutch war of 1664 he was placed at the head of the Board of Admiralty, and during the great plague was entrusted with the care of London. The same year he was appointed Joint Admiral with Prince Rupert and displayed his usual bravery and energy, gaining a great victory off North Foreland. He was recalled to take charge of London after the great fire of 1666. Such was his hold on the affections of the people that he was hailed by the cry: "If you had been here, my lord, the city would not have been burned." He died in January, 1670, and was buried with distinguished honor in the chapel of Henry VII.
The title of the great Duke, Albemarle, was transferred to England from Normandy, corrupted from Aubemare Castle. In France it took the form of Aumale and was borne by a brilliant son of King Louis Philippe, the Duc d'Aumale. It gives to Virginia the name of a county and to North Carolina p14a sound of the Atlantic and a county-seat. Monk's Corner in South Carolina may commemorate his family name. The great county of Albemarle, the first successful political organization in North Carolina, composed of the precincts of Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan and Tyrrell, was abolished in 1738 and its precincts changed into counties.
The third named Proprietor was William, Earl of Craven, born in 1606. He was son and heir of Sir William Craven, Lord Mayor of London, whose career resembled that of the more ancient Dick Whittington. Coming to the great city from Yorkshire an humble apprentice, he rose to its highest office and amassed large wealth. His motto was virtus in actione consistit, and he lived up to it. Besides lending lavishly to the King when in need, he endowed a large school in his native town, Burnsall; was president of the great Christ Hospital in London and its munificent benefactor. His funeral was attended by five hundred mourners. His second son, John, Baron Craven, endowed two scholarships, one at Oxford and one at Cambridge University, which to this day educate an aspiring youth in each.
William Craven, the younger, was of an adventurous turn. At the age of seventeen he fought under the great Maurice, Stadtholder of Holland, and Frederick Henry, his successor. On his return to England in 1627 he was knighted and then made a Baron.
The beautiful Elizabeth, daughter of James I, married the Protestant Frederick, the Elector of the Palatinate of the Rhine. The Protestants of Bohemia chose him the King of p15that country, while the Catholic Emperor of Austria, Ferdinand II, disputed his claim. In the war that ensued Frederick lost both Bohemia and the Palatinate. His English father-in‑law, notwithstanding strong pressure of his people, was slow and niggardly in aiding him. The Marquis of Hamilton with a small force was sent over, and Craven was one of his officers. At the capture of Creuznach he was the first to mount the breach, although wounded. He received a handsome compliment from the lips of the great Gustavus Adolphus, which may be freely translated: "Young man, you bid your younger brother have fair play for your estate." While he was a reckless fighter, his generosity had no limits. He gave $150,000 (in our day equal to half a million) to aid in fitting out a fleet commanded by Charles Lewis, elder brother of Prince Rupert, "an act said by many to savor of prodigality, by most of folly." The Protestant army was beaten and Craven was wounded and captured. To the titular Queen of Bohemia, after her defeat, he was munificent, advancing for her $100,000 at one time, and when the Parliament discontinued her allowance of $50,000 a year he supplied her needs out of his own funds. He was especially kind to her daughters, supplying them with jewelry, dresses and pocket-money, which they, among them Sophia, from whom comes the Hanoverian line of Kings of Great Britain, repaid with mirthful ridicule of "little Lord Craven." He resided in Elizabeth's mansion at The Hague, holding the office, then honorary, of Master of Horse. He is said to have privately married her, but of this there is no p16evidence. He was a devoted royalist, and once supplied Charles II with a loan of £50,000, the equivalent of about a million of dollars of our money. His property was confiscated by Parliament in 1649 because of his assistance to the royal cause, but restored at the accession of Charles II.
At the Restoration he received many honors. He was made Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex and Southwark, Colonel of the Cold Stream Guards of the Regular Army, and Lieutenant-General. He was also High Steward of Cambridge, and a Privy Councillor, and in 1664 created Viscount Craven of Uffington, and Earl Craven. When the so‑called Queen of Bohemia returned to London, the Earl, seeing that the King, her nephew, delayed assigning her a residence, gave up to her his town mansion, Drury House, which he afterwards rebuilt on a grander scale and named Craven House. She died at Leicester House in 1662, leaving a tender memory by reason of her virtues and winning manners amid many trials, the ancestress of the good Queen Victoria. The constant devotion and generosity to her of the Earl of Craven are worthy of all praise, whether or not she rewarded him with a morganatic marriage. At her funeral he and his brother, Sir Robert, supported the heralds-at‑arms in the procession. She bequeathed to him all her pictures and papers, which were preserved in his country mansion, Combe Abbey. The mutual friendship between him and her family continued to his death. In truth, it was believed by many that his love was given to her oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and the impossibility of marriage her led to his celibacy. His old companion p17in arms, Prince Rupert, made him guardian of his illegitimate but acknowledged daughter, Ruperta.
During the great fire in London Earl Craven was very active in preserving order and extinguishing the flames. There is a curious story that ever afterwards the horse then ridden by him would smell fire at a great distance and could with difficulty be restrained from running to it at full speed.
In 1685 he was made Lieutenant-General under James II, and was charged with the protection of the palace of Whitehall. When William III entered London in triumph the sturdy old soldier refused to surrender his post until he received orders from James. He survived the flight of his Stuart master only two years, spending his last days in building and landscape gardening and in the congenial companionship of the learned members of the Royal Society. It is fortunate that we have the memory of one so good and true perpetuated in the name of one of our counties.
The fourth Proprietor was John, Lord Berkeley, first Baron of Stratton, youngest son of Sir Maurice Berkeley of Somersetshire, a distant relative of the Earls of Berkeley, whose ancestors came to England with the Conqueror. He was an ardent member of the King's party, and was appointed Ambassador to Sweden. On his return in 1638 he was knighted, then a member of Parliament, but was expelled for conspiracy. He of course was a royalist in the civil war, distinguished himself under Hopton at Stratton, was Commander-in‑Chief of Devonshire and captured Exeter. He was chosen to be present at the baptism of the child of Queen Henrietta p18Maria in that city. He was beaten at Aylesbury, succeeded in taking Wellington House, was made Colonel-General of Devonshire and Cornwall and lost Exeter. He then escaped to Paris in the suite of the Queen, with whom he was a favorite. One of his foibles was an exaggerated belief in his power of influencing others. He was busy in acting as mediator between the King and Parliament, but effected nothing. He fled with the King and joined in the fatal counsel to surrender to Colonel Hammond, whom he expected to win to the royal cause. While Cromwell was supreme he served under Turenne in the war against Spain and Condé. In 1658 he was created, by Charles II, Baron Berkeley of Stratton, and was placed on the Admiralty Board. He was then made Lord President of Connaught in Ireland. After the Restoration he was appointed in the Privy Council. His London house, which cost $150,000, was burnt, and on its site is now the mansion of the Duke of Devonshire. He became the purchaser of Twickenham Park, and in 1670 received the great office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in which he favored the Roman Catholics as much as was in his power. In negotiating the important treaty of he was a commissioner on behalf of the English, together with Sir William Temple and Sir Leoline Jenkins. He died August 26, 1678. His wife was Christian Riccard, described as being "of large dowry and yet larger graces and virtues."
Sir John Berkeley was a good soldier, faithful to his convictions, but with the defects of "vanity, want of tact, and ignorance of human nature." His oldest son, Charles, died p19without issue and was succeeded by his brother, the second John, Lord Berkeley, who died in 1697, after distinguished naval services as Vice-Admiral of the Red, Vice-Admiral of the Blue, and commander of the fleet.
The fifth Proprietor of Carolina was a man of varied fortunes, of commanding intellect, of winning manners, capable of great things, but of evil morals — Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Ashley, and Earl of Shaftesbury. He was born in 1621, the son of Sir John Cooper of Southampton county, and Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Ashley of Dorsetshire. He was very precocious and of a bold temper. When a boy at school he organized the younger boys and successfully resisted the vile custom of fagging. He entered Oxford at the age of fifteen, but did not graduate. He read law at Lincoln's Inn, with great ardor. He was, before reaching maturity, elected a member of Parliament and served throughout the civil war. At first he offered his services to the King, but finding himself out of sympathy with the haughty cavaliers, he joined the Parliament, and accepting a commission, did some brilliant fighting. He was a member of legislative body called the Barebones Parliament, and afterwards of the Parliament of 1654. He bitterly opposed the despotic government of Cromwell, but accepted the position of Privy Councillor under Richard Cromwell. Fearing the domination of the army, he was active in the restoration of Charles II, and being returned a member of the Convention Parliament, was appointed one of the twelve commissioners to bring over the King. While in Holland his carriage was overturned, p20by which he received a wound between the ribs which caused an incurable ulcer.
At the Restoration he was sworn a Privy Councillor, created Baron Ashley, and was one of the commissioners for the trial of the regicides. He was also made Chancellor of the Exchequer and one of the commissioners for executing the office of High Treasurer. He was afterwards Lord Lieutenant of the county of Dorset, and in 1672 created Baron Cooper and Earl of Shaftesbury, and the same year was elevated to the office of Lord High Chancellor. In this position, notwithstanding he had no experience as a practicing lawyer, he proved to be a very able officer, and in all respects impartial and just. He was from 1667 to 1673 a member of the Cabal ministry, and supported the King in his futile efforts to procure indulgence for non-conformists and Catholics. But he was utterly hostile to the ruin of Protestant Holland, to a close alliance with France, and to placing England under Catholic rule. He aided in procuring the passage of the Test Act, which drove Catholics from office and broke up the Cabal, for which he was dismissed from his Chancellorship. The King was forced to withdraw from the French alliance and end the Dutch war.
Shaftesbury was a leader in organizing the "Country Party," as opposed to the "Court Party," and which afterwards developed into the great Whig party. It is to the disgrace of his memory that he also fanned the hatred to the Catholics, especially the Duke of York, by countenancing the infamous perjuries of Oates and Dangerfield. He was made p21President of the short-lived Council of thirty, organized under the advice of Sir William Temple. He procured the passage of the great muniment of liberty, the Habeas Corpus Act, which provided the judicial machinery by which unlawful imprisonment might be remedied. He was prominent in the endeavor to force through Parliament the bill for excluding Papists, including the Duke of York, from the throne, which, after passing the Commons, was defeated in the House of Lords. He then engaged in intrigues in favor of the Duke of Monmouth, a fatal step, because he thereby alienated the supporters of William and Mary of Orange, Mary being the heir presumptive, as the Duke of York had then no son. The people, too, had not lost their dread of civil war, and when Shaftesbury boasted of his power over his "brisk boys" of London, and embodied them for terrorizing the Court party, there was a reaction against him. This was increased by the growing conviction that innocent men had fallen victims to wholesale perjury. He was imprisoned in the Tower, invoking in vain his own Habeas Corpus Act, but was released by the grand jury of Middlesex ignoring the bill against him. The King then, by resort to his corrupt courts, succeeded in annulling the London charter, replacing it with a new charter, in which the Tories had control; whereupon Shaftesbury fled to Holland and died in a few months, in January, . Dryden, the court poet, satirized him under the character of Achitophel:
p22 "For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious, bold and turbulent of wit:
Restless, unfixed in principles and place,
In power displeased, impatient of disgrace."
After the publication of the biting satire of Absalom and Achitophel, a vacant scholarship in the Charterhouse school, of which the Earl was Governor, was at his disposal. He bestowed it on Dryden's son without solicitation of any one. The poet was so moved that in a second edition he added a verse descriptive of the Earl as Lord Chancellor:
"In Israel's court never sat an Abethdin
With more discerning eyes or hands more clean,
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress,
Swift of dispatch and easy of success."
Shaftesbury had many virtues and conspicuous vices. When not in hot pursuit of some object of ambition, or of revenge for fancied injury, he was honorable in his dealings, amiable and generous. When roused by ambition or resentment, he would resort to any measures, good or evil, necessary to attain his object. He had no religious principles, yet was a stout opponent of papacy for political reasons. He was incorruptible by money, yet was an unblushing libertine. It was to him that the King, who would both take liberties and bear them, in reference to Shaftesbury's amours, said: "I believe, Shaftesbury, thou art the wickedest fellow in my dominions." With a low bow the Earl replied: "May it please your Majesty, of a subject I believe I am." The King laughed heartily.
p23 The great author, John Locke, was his private secretary. He aided his patron in devising the elaborate but fantastic Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, whose conspicuous failure illustrates the great political truth that successful governments the product of growth, not theory. The two rivers around Charleston in South Carolina, Ashley and Cooper, are named in his honor, and Currituck county was once called Shaftesbury precinct. The town which gave the title to his earldom has about two thousand five hundred inhabitants, is in Dorsetshire, England, and is the burial-place of King Canute and Edward the Martyr. It is generally called Shasbury, but locally Shaston.
The next named Proprietor is Sir George Carteret, Knight and Counsellor, Vice-Chamberlain of the royal household. He was of an ancient Norman family, which settled in Jersey and Guernsey. His father, Helier Carteret, at the time of his birth in 1599, was Deputy Governor of Jersey. He early entered the sea service, and by his skill and daring soon rose to be a captain. When twenty-seven years old he was appointed joint Governor with Lord Jermyn of Jersey and Comptroller of his Majesty's ships. He was so successful in procuring arms and ammunition for the Cornwall army that the King conferred on him the honor of Knight and a Baronet. He then returned to Jersey and ruled it so sternly that in all the fruitless negotiations with the King he was excepted from pardon. In 1646 he entertained most lavishly the Prince of Wales and his suite at his own expense, which was repeated three years afterwards. When Charles I was p24executed he undauntedly proclaimed Charles II King, and held the island for two years against the forces of the Commonwealth. He had organized a little navy of small frigates and privateers, which gave his adversaries much annoyance. Such was his pluck that after the island was all lost except Elizabeth Castle, he fought stoutly behind its walls until the supply of provisions was exhausted, and being so instructed by Charles II, he lowered the last royal banner and made an honorable capitulation to Admiral Blake and General Holmes. Repairing to Paris, he angered Cromwell by organizing a plan to capture English vessels, and pressure was brought on Cardinal Mazarin, then governing France, to induce him to imprison Carteret in the bastille. After his release he joined Charles II at Brussels and then at Breda. At the Restoration he rode with the King in his triumphant entry into London. He was made Vice-Chamberlain, Privy Councillor and Treasurer of the Navy, and was an active member of the House of Commons. He was also, after the resignation by the Duke of York of the office of High Admiral, made one of the Commissioners of Admiralty. Afterwards he was a Lord of the Committee of Trade and Vice-Treasurer of Ireland. While the King was preparing to confer a peerage on him he died, in 1679, and, in recognition of his great services, the King authorized his widow and youngest children to "enjoy their precedency and pre-eminency as if Sir George had actually been created a Baron."
Besides being a Lord Proprietor of Carolina, Sir George Carteret and John, Lord Berkeley, were, by the gift of the p25Duke of York, Proprietors of New Jersey, so called in recognition of the gallant defense of the Island of Jersey.
The wife of Sir George Carteret was a daughter of his uncle, Sir Philip Carteret. She was a noble woman. When, on a visit to London, she saw the vileness of the society about the court, she at once turned her back on its wickedness and retired to the purer air of her Channel island. Her name, Elizabeth, was given to a flourishing city in New Jersey. Their oldest son, Philip, was a brilliant soldier for the King in the civil war. He married Jemima, daughter of the illustrious Edward Montague, the first Earl of Sandwich, and served under him in the Dutch war. In the great sea fight in 1672, in Southwold Bay (Solbay), he refused to desert his father-in‑law's ship and died with him. His eldest son, Lord George Carteret, married Grace, daughter of John Granville, Earl of Bath, and was the father of Sir John Carteret, Earl of Granville.
Sir George Carteret was a strong, true, brave man, loyal to his convictions through all vicissitudes.
The seventh Proprietor was Sir John Colleton, Knight and Baronet. He was a valiant fighter for the King in the civil war, reaching the rank of colonel of a regiment, which he raised in ten days. He expended out of his own means $200,000, and lost more than this amount by sequestration. After the ruin of the royal cause he emigrated to Barbadoes, and for some time aided in keeping the island true to the King. At the Restoration he received the honor of knighthood. He did not live long after the second charter was p26granted, dying in 1666, the first of all his co-Proprietors, and was succeeded by his son, Sir Peter. Another son, Thomas, was a prominent merchant of Barbadoes and aided in the settlement of South Carolina. Still another son was Governor of Carolina in 1686. A sea-coast county south of Charleston and an obscure post-office in North Carolina perpetuate the name of the gallant soldier and munificent royalist, the seventh Lord Proprietor.
The last named Lord Proprietor was Sir William Berkeley, a younger brother of John, Lord Berkeley. He obtained the degree of Master of Arts at Oxford University, and, after traveling on the continent, became an officer in the household of King Charles I. He became a devotee of the muses, publishing a tragi-comedy called "The Lost Lady." He was sent to Virginia as Governor in 1641, and during the civil war kept his province so loyal to the King that it gained the title of "Old Dominion." After the execution of the King he offered Charles II an asylum in the wilds of the new world. When forced to surrender to the power of the Commonwealth he lost his office but was permitted to reside in Virginia. At the Restoration he was again made Governor. As he became older he became stern and severe, writing to Lord Arlington in 1667 that age and infirmities had withered his desires and hopes. He suppressed the "Bacon Rebellion" with cruelty, the first Governor of the Albemarle country, William Drummond, being one of his victims. The oft-quoted saying of Charles II, "The old fool has taken more lives in that naked country than I for the murder of my father," is accepted as p27authentic. A royal proclamation was issued censuring his conduct. He was of autocratic temper. He allowed no criticism of his conduct. His opponents charged that he was too fond of gain — that he refused to fight with hostile Indians because war interfered with a profitable fur trade in which he had a pecuniary interest. After the collapse of the reversion he returned to England, was refused an audience with the King, and his brother, John, Lord Berkeley, stated that the insult contributed to his death in 1677. He was entombed, as we see in Haywood's excellent history of Governor William Tryon of North Carolina, in a vault in a church in Twickenham, •about twelve miles from London. In an adjoining church are the tombs of Governor and Lady Margaret Tryon, his wife. It is remarkable that when his vault was opened the body of Sir William Berkeley was not in a coffin but enclosed in lead beaten into the shape of his body, showing the form of his features, hands, feet, and even nails. This is stated on the authority of Cobbett's Memorials of Twickenham.
Notwithstanding that in his old age his rage at being ignominiously driven from Jamestown, his capital, and at its destruction by fire by the forces of Bacon, drove him to what in our age is considered unnecessary cruelty, Berkeley had many good qualities. Governor Ludwell wrote of him: "He was pious and exemplary, sober in conversation, prudent and just in peace, diligent and valiant in war." The honor of knighthood was bestowed on him for his success in subduing the Indians. His hatred of Quakers was in accordance p28with the ideas of his age, because they revolted against all church establishments, and the Church was part of the State. The laws recommended by him were as a rule wise and just. For a short while, under appointment of the Lords Proprietors, he was placed in charge of the inhabitants of the Albemarle country, and there was no complaint of his administration. In distrusting public schools and the printing press he was not behind his age. "Freedom of the press" in England did not exist until about twenty years after he wrote his thanks that Virginia was free from that pest. He never lost his taste for polite literature. In his desk was found the manuscript of an unpublished play called "Cornelia."
Sir William had little relationship to the Earls of Berkeley, the owners of the famous Berkeley Castle, where Edward II was imprisoned and slain. They were of the Fitzhardinge family. The name in North Carolina was given to a precinct of Albemarle county, afterwards Perquimans. Bishop-elect Pettigrew, grandfather of General J. J. Pettigrew, wrote about "old Barkley," as the name was pronounced in old times, about a hundred years ago. The brothers, John and William, were likewise honored by the name of counties in South Carolina and West Virginia.
The devolution of the shares of the eight Lords Proprietors will now be traced, a task made easy by the researches of Mr. McCrady, as will be seen in the twelfth chapter of his "South Carolina under the Proprietary Government."
Clarendon's share was, after his exile and until his death, in 1674, represented by his oldest son, Henry, Lord Cornbury, who succeeded his father as second Earl of Clarendon. He sold it to Seth Southwell, pronounced and generally written Sothel, in 1681. On his death, in 1694, by virtue of the provisions of the Fundamental Constitutions, the other Proprietors sequestered his share and assigned it to Thomas Amy, who had been an active agent in inducing settlers to emigrate to Carolina. Amy gave it to Nicholas Trott, who married Amy's daughter. Under the decree of the Court in Chancery, this share, and also that which once belonged to Sir William Berkeley, was sold, the two bringing about $4,500, to Hugh Watson as trustee of Henry and James Bertie. Clarendon's share was allotted to "Honorable James Bertie."
The Duke of Albemarle, by his wife, Anne, daughter of John Clarges, a farrier, left Christopher, a son, who died in 1688 without issue. John Granville, Earl of Bath, who acquired his share, died in 1701, and was succeeded by his son, John, Lord Granville. Afterwards, in 1709, Somerset, the Duke of Beaufort, acquired the share and devised it to James Bertie and Doddington Greville, trustees for his sons, p30Henry Somerset, second Duke of Beaufort, and Charles Noel Somerset, a minor.
The Earl of Craven died in 1687 without issue, and William, Lord Craven, his grand-nephew, succeeded him, and left as his successor William, Lord Craven, his son.
John, Lord Berkeley's, share descended to his son, Charles, who died without issue, and then to his second son, John, an admiral of great merit, who died at sea. As he failed to pay his quota according to agreement he forfeited his share to the other Proprietors, who sold it to Joseph Blake, the elder. On his death his son, of the same name, succeeded in his rights.
The Earl of Shaftesbury died in exile in 1679 and was succeeded by his son, Anthony Ashley, the second Earl, who died in 1699 and was succeeded by the third Earl of the same name. The share afterwards vested in his brother, Maurice, and after his death in Archibald Hutcheson, trustee for John Cotton. It appears from the Act of Surrender that Sir John Tyrrell was likewise once owner of this proprietorship.
The share of Sir George Carteret descended in 1672 to his grandson of the same name, who married Grace, daughter of John Granville, earl of Bath. After his death in 1695 he was succeeded by his minor son, John, Lord Carteret. Until the maturity of this son his share was represented by his grandfather, the Earl of Bath.
Sir John Colleton's share descended in 1666 to his son, Sir Peter, who died in 1694, and was succeeded by his son, Sir John Colleton, then under age.
p31 There was much dispute about Sir William Berkeley's share. He devised it, in 1677, to his widow, who had been the wife of Governor Samuel Stevens, and who afterwards married Governor Philip Ludwell. Before the latter marriage, however, she sold it, in 1681, to Thomas Archdale, son of John Archdale. After her marriage she and her husband conveyed it again, in 1682, this time to Thomas Amy, in trust for four Proprietors, Albemarle, Carteret, Craven and Colleton. In 1697, these four, or their successors, requested William Thornburg to take the place of Amy, which was done, although Amy had the legal title, and in 1705 sold it to John Archdale. Archdale conveyed it to John Danson. Litigation ensued, resulting in the sale of this share, together with that of Clarendon, to Hugh Watson, as trustee for Henry and James Bertie, as has been explained heretofore.
After over sixty years of careless, neglectful and ever bad government by the Lords Proprietors, having received little profit, the owners of seven of the shares determined to sell all their interests to the Crown for £2,500 each, and £500 each for arrears of rent due by those who had purchased land from them. The sale was perfected by act of Parliament in the second year of King George II, A.D. 1729, entitled "An act for establishing an agreement with seven of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina for the surrender of their title and interest in that province to his Majesty." In this the grantors and their interests are thus described: The part, share, interest and estate of the Earl of Clarendon is vested in Honorable James Bertie of the county of Middlesex; that of the Duke of p32Albemarle in Henry, Duke of Beaufort, and the said James Bertie, and Honorable Doddington Greville of the county of Wiltz,º devisees of the late Duke of Beaufort, in trust for the present Duke of Beaufort and his infant brother, Charles Noell Somerset; that of the Earl of Craven in the present William, Earl of Craven; that of John, Lord Berkeley, in Joseph Blake of the province of South Carolina; that of Lord Ashley (Earl Shaftesbury) in Archibald Hutcheson of the Middle Temple, London, in trust for John Cotton of the Middle Temple; that of the late Sir John Colleton in the present Sir John Colleton of Exmouth of the county of Devon; that of Sir William Berkeley in the Honorable Henry Bertie of the county of Bucks, Esquire, or in Mary Danson of the county of Middlesex, widow, or in Elizabeth Moor of London, widow, some or one of them. It thus appears that the share of the doughty warrior, Sir William Berkeley, gave as much trouble to the lawyers as he did to the followers of Bacon.
John, Lord Carteret, refused to surrender his share, but became tenant in common with the King, owning one-eighth undivided interest. The right of government was, however, conceded to the Crown.
Some of the successors to the first Lords Proprietors deserve special notice.
Henry Hyde, Lord Cornbury, the second Earl of Clarendon, was son of the great Earl and brother-in‑law of James II. He was elevated to the office of Lord Privy Seal in 1685, and then of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Being, like p33his father, a staunch member of the Church of England, he surrendered all his opportunities for greatness by refusing to aid James II in putting England under Roman Catholicism. He was dismissed from all his offices. He intrigued, however, for the restoration of James, and was thrown for awhile into the Tower by William III. He never held office afterwards.
Southwell (Sothel) was of excellent family, came to the Albemarle country, was made Governor, but behaved so nefariously that he was banished by the Assembly. He then was Governor of Carolina 1690‑'91 by virtue of his Proprietorship, and displayed much executive ability, as Mr. McCrady shows.
Nicholas Trott was probably father of the very able but rather unprincipled Chief Justice of Carolina of the same name.
Henry and James Bertie were of noble blood, near relatives, probably sons, of the Earl of Abingdon.
John Granville, Earl of Bath, was succeeded by his son, John, Lord Granville, in 1701, who was a strong Churchman, and as Palatine endeavored ineffectually to exclude from the Legislature all except members of the Church of England. He must not be confounded with John, Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville, son of his sister, Lady Grace, wife of the second Sir George Carteret.
Henry Somerset, first Duke of Beaufort, was a royalist in the civil war, but after the death of Charles I, retained good relations with Cromwell. He was made Marquis of Worcester and Privy Councillor, and afterwards Duke of Beaufort. p34He was descended from Edward III, through John of Gaunt, and lived in the most princely style. Two hundred people were feasted at his nine tables every day.
Lord John Tyrrel is said to have been a lineal descendant of the Walter Tyrrel who was accused of shooting King William Rufus.
The second Earl of Shaftesbury was of no force. The third was a distinguished scholar, and author of "Characteristics."
Joseph Blake was probably of the family of one of England's most eminent and worthy seamen, Robert Blake. He was Governor of Carolina in 1694 for a few months, and Deputy Governor under Archdale in 1696 to his death in 1700. The surrender to the Crown was made by his son of the same name.
John Archdale was appointed by the Proprietors Governor of Carolina in 1694 and continued actively in office for two years. He published a book entitled "A New Description of that Fertile and Pleasant Province of Carolina, with a Brief Account of its Discovery and Settling, and the Government thereof to the Time, with several Remarkable Passages of Divine Providence during my Time. By John Archdale late Governor of the same. London, Printed in 1707." It is not of much value. His Quaker principles did not prevent his acceptance of a barony of •48,000 acres and the titles of Landgrave and Governor. He was diligent in his office and a good man of business. The laws which were passed at his instance appear to have been wise. Some of his posterity are citizens of North Carolina, descended from his daughter Ann, p35who married Emmanuel Lowe. Among them was the wife of William Hill, for many years Secretary of State.
The most conspicuous of the later Proprietors was John, Lord Carteret, who, on the death of his mother, Grace, Viscountess of Carteret and Countess of Granville, in 1744, became Earl of Granville and Viscount Carteret.
He was a man of brilliant talents and varied acquirements. His knowledge of the classics was so extensive and thorough that Dean Swift said that he carried away from Oxford more Greek, Latin and philosophy than properly became a person of his rank. He was distinguished for his brilliant speeches in behalf of Whig doctrines and the Hanoverian dynasty. He was thoroughly versed in the history of Europe and the political questions of his day. As Ambassador to Sweden in 1719 Secretary of State in 1721 and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1724‑'30, he had eminent success. He joined the party opposed to Walpole, consisting of William Pitt, Pulteney and others, and was for ten years a thorn in his side. On Walpole's fall, in 1742, he became again Secretary of State under Lord Wilmington, but resigned in 1744. Two years later he was offered the chief place in the ministry, but was unable to form a government able to command a majority in the House of Commons. In 1751 he was President of the Privy Council, and so continued until his death in 1763.
The greatness of Earl Granville was marred by want of steadiness of purpose, the consequence of deep drinking, a vice carried away from Oxford with his Greek and Latin p36and practiced ever afterward. Chesterfield says that he "made himself master of all the modern languages. * * His character may be summed up in nice precision, quick decision and unbounded presumption." He professed to be a good Churchman, but looked on Christianity merely as a civil institution. For example, he was opposed to the conversion of negroes because they would not be obedient slaves, and argued that it would be a calamity to the fish interests of England for the Pope and Italians generally to become Protestants. He deprecated higher learning in the colonies because it would fill the minds of the youth with notions of independence.
Earl Granville married Frances, only daughter of Sir Robert Worsley, by whom he had three sons and five daughters, and after her death, Lady Sophia, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Pomfret, by whom he had one daughter.
His refusal to sell his share to the Crown could not have been caused by financial considerations, as he was notoriously contemptuous of money. The distinction of being lord of a territory as large as England probably fascinated him.
Probably because he was opposed to the Prime Minister Walpole, his share was not laid off in severalty to him until 1744, after he succeeded to the Earldom, when he was a member of the Government as Secretary of State. To him was allotted in severalty all the territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, from the latitude of 35° 34′ to the Virginia line, excepting, of course, what had been already sold. This princely domain was confiscated at the Revolution. p37After the Treaty of Peace and the adoption of the Constitution of the United States his heirs brought a test suit in the Circuit Court against William Richardson Davie and Josiah Collins for the establishment of their title. They failed and the appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States was dropped. It is said that they received from the British government compensation amounting to about $250,000.
References: — Dictionary of National Biography; Chalmers' Dictionary of Biography; English Histories: Haywood's Life of Tryon; McCrady's History of South Carolina; North Carolina Colonial Records; Second Revised Statutes.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
American History Notes
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 22 Jan 12