South Carolina: A Short History, 1520-1948

By David Duncan Wallace | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
COMMERCE AND EMPIRE EXPANDING WESTWARD, 1674-1682

The Difficult Ten Years 1670-80. --Joseph West had already been commissioned as governor, but the letter censuring the old governor and commending the new did not arrive until after the Council had already unanimously filled the vacancy by the election of West. West served during his three terms longer than anyone else in the Proprietary period. He was now created landgrave to afford the requisite dignity for the office, as was every governor until 1712 except, of course, those who were Proprietors.

The situation indeed demanded energetic action. The colony had repeatedly been obliged to send for food. Disturbances led by Surveyor General Culpepper, Captain Gray, and others had necessitated their flight or banishment. Nothing could save the settlement, West wrote, except the Proprietors' assistance with provisions, tools, and supplies. Shaftesbury fully realized the necessity for prompt and vigorous action. His program, adopted in the spring of 1674, comprised five moves: first, the appointment of West as governor; second, a scheme for the better payment of debts due the Proprietors; third, a settlement at Shaftesbury's expense on the Ashley River; fourth, the expansion of the back country Indian trade as a proprietary monopoly; and fifth, the contribution of £700 a year for seven years by each of the Proprietors. By 1679 the Proprietors had spent £18,000 (probably $800,000 in modern value) for nothing but "vexation and poverty."

Rapid Growth from 1680. --With 1680 there opened a new era. That spring the town was moved to its present site, though it was confined for some years to a small plot on the Cooper between Broad and Water streets. In 1680 forty-five French Protestants arrived from England, soon to be followed by larger numbers. Although the French failed to develop the wines, silks, and oils which were hoped from them, they were soon giving the English an example of thrift, neatness, and efficiency in agriculture and trade.

A large part of the rapid growth of the 1680's consisted of Dissenters fleeing from persecution in England. In the movement, led by Benjamin Blake (brother of the Admiral), came his son, Joseph, who was to be

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