South Carolina: A Short History, 1520-1948

By David Duncan Wallace | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE COMING OF THE ENGLISH

Heath's Charter, 1629. --The terrible warning given by Spain at Fort Caroline served to keep intruders away long after her power had declined. Philip's ambassador warned a company of Englishmen that if they settled in Florida Spain would cut off their heads as she had done with the followers of Ribaut. Charles I nevertheless showed his intention to assert England's claims, based upon the discoveries of Cabot, to the region as far south as the present State of Florida by granting in 1629, to his attorney-general, Sir Robert Heath, a charter to all America from sea to sea between north latitudes 36 and 31 under the name Carolana. This is the first application of the name which it was afterward to bear (with the change of an a to an i) to the territory of the two Carolinas.1 The English themselves usually called it Florida until their king, Charles II, renamed it, with the change of one letter, Carolina.

The Heath charter was prompted by efforts of French Huguenot refugees in England to found a new home in South Carolina. In 1630 the Mayflower sailed from England with a company of Huguenots for Carolina, but for some reason landed them in Virginia. Only "few and feeble attempts" were made to effect any settlement under the Heath charter, and the King declared it forfeited when granting the charter of 1663. For this violation of their rights Heath's legal successors were in 1768 given 100,000 acres in the interior of New York.

Charles II chose the easy method of granting enormous tracts in America to friends to whom he was financially or politically indebted. Carolina he granted March 24, 1662-63,2 to eight of his most faithful

____________________
1
Mr. A. S. Salley has shown that the misconception of the name's having been derived from that of the French monarch originated over a century later from a misunderstanding of an engraving of Fort Caroline on the St. John's and was popularized by Oldmixon and Hewat.
2

That is, old style 1662 or new style 1663. Dates between January 1 and March 24 inclusive for the period 1582 to 1752 are often written by the English double, as 1662-3, meaning that by old style it was still 1662, while by new style it was already 1663. Catholic Europe followed Gregory XIII in 1582, in correcting the Julian calendar by dropping the ten days that had erroneously accumulated and changing New Year's from March 25 to January 1. Protestant England continued the old style until 1752, when she set herself right by dropping eleven days (as the error grew to be with February 29, 1700) and also adopted January 1 as New Year's. Hence there is a difference of ten or eleven days in English and continental numbering of the days from 1582 to 1752. To

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