Just South of Eden
SOUTH Carolinians have always been ready to declare that their land was only a little less desirable than Eden. A passage in Alexander Ross's epitome of Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the World called The Marrow of History (1650) asserts that God placed the earthly paradise on the thirty-fifth parallel of north latitude, a line running through the northern tier of South Carolina's present-day counties. This location was said to guarantee an ideal climate of perpetual spring and summer, a garden shaded by palm trees described by Raleigh as the greatest blessing and wonder of nature. If no one in the six counties threaded by the thirty-fifth parallel, from York to Oconee, could discover one of Raleigh's palms, he might grudgingly concede that the palmettoes of the Low Country were at least a symbol of paradise—merely misplaced.
Like Biblical Eden, South Carolina from early in its history was betrayed by a serpent—the serpent of Pride, chief of the Seven Deadly Sins. Pride led to many collateral faults: overweening individualism, an unwillingness to submit to authority, every man's conviction of the rightness of his own opinions, and a thousand contentions that flowed from these characteristics. In the long sweep of history, South Carolina has been one of the most contentious states of the union.