South Carolina: A Short History, 1520-1948

By David Duncan Wallace | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
POLITICAL TURMOIL--ECONOMIC PROGRESS, 1683-1700

Royal Government Unfriendly to Proprietors. --The thirteen years from the removal of Governor West to the arrival of Governor Archdale in 1695 were filled with turmoil. The friction inseparable from a form of government in which the people habitually suspected their overlords of seeking their private advantage gave rise to heated contests whose tendency was logically toward superseding the Proprietors by a sovereign whose power existed for serving the public good.

The three counties ordered by the Proprietors in 1682, but not yet laid out, were given the following bounds by the directions of 1685: Craven was to extend north along the coast from Seewee River ( Awendaw Creek, a tributary of Bull's Bay); Berkeley was to extend from Craven County to Stono River, and Colleton from the Stono to the Combahee. Granville (established a little later) extended from the Combahee to the Savannah. The counties thus laid out were to be used as election districts. Craven, being as yet unsettled, was neglected, or as it acquired inhabitants was supposed to be represented along with Berkeley. Berkeley (containing by far the greatest number of inhabitants) and Colleton were each to elect ten members. But the order for each to elect its own representatives on the same day was disregarded, and all were chosen in Charles Town, where the Indian slave traders, the Proprietors were informed, boasted that they could carry the election and later the Parliament itself with a bowl of punch. They then, the complaint goes on, had laws passed hindering the trade of other persons with the Indians and broke these laws themselves. Elections were by ballot. There is every reason to believe that from the first election held by the immigrants in 1670 there has never been election in South Carolina except by ballot, a method not accorded the people of England until 1872.

The popular party was verging more and more toward opposition to the Proprietors, while a minority of placemen and seekers of special privilege tended to form a Proprietary party, the two being compared by contemporary observers to the country party and the King's party in England. The popular party tended to look beyond the Proprietors

-45-

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