The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. — Mark Twain

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber




The Carolina Pirates

You remember, do you not, how Raleigh tried and failed to plant a colony on Roanoke Island, in what is now North Carolina? For about seventy-five years after this, that part of the country was left to the Indians and the few settlers who strayed there from Virginia. But in 1663 Charles II. gave a large tract of land to several of his favorites, who were called the lords proprietors. To flatter the king, they named the country Carolina, the very name which the French had given it many years before, in honor of their monarch, Charles IX.

Now, the lords proprietors wanted to make this colony different from all the rest by placing all the power in the hands of the rich and noble, as was arranged by a code of laws drawn up by John Locke. But these laws could never be used, and to induce people to settle in Carolina at all, the lords proprietors had to promise them large tracts of land, freedom of thought, and a share in making the laws.

This granted, Quakers, Huguenots, Puritans, Scotch, Irish, English, Swiss, Germans, and Dutch came there in great numbers. In the north, the colonists devoted themselves to lumbering, tobacco-raising, and the production of tar, pitch, and turpentine; but in the south, they grew a great deal of rice, indigo, and tobacco, and many sweet potatoes.

At first, the French Huguenots tried to raise silk-worms in their new colony; but they soon had to give up this attempt, because the climate proved too damp. Still, although unfavorable for silkworms, Carolina proved just right for the growing of rice. The first seed was brought to the governor of Charleston by a Madagascar ship captain, who bade him plant it in marshy soil. There the rice grew so well that before long all the swamps were turned into rice fields, and Carolina rice is now famous in all parts of the country.

Some fifty years later, a planter's daughter tried to raise indigo. After several failures, she succeeded in doing so, and indigo was raised in Carolina until the time came when cotton paid better. Thanks to its rice, tobacco, indigo, and marine supplies, Carolina became so rich and prosperous that, although it was the twelfth English colony, it soon outstripped several of the rest. The Carolina planters, growing rich, bought many negroes to work their large tracts of land, and spent the greater part of the year at Charleston, where they led a gay life and entertained a great deal.

Carolina was also noted for her bold seamen, for all along the coast there were many small harbors, in which pirates could hide. They sailed out of these places to attack vessels on their way to and from the West Indies, and often secured much booty. The best known of all the Carolina pirates was Blackbeard. Like Captain Kidd of New England, he is supposed to have buried great treasures in the sand along the coast, and there are still people foolish enough to try to find them.

The Spaniards, who still held Florida, had always been jealous of the English. When the latter came to settle in Carolina and Georgia, the Spaniards, hoping to drive them away, stirred up the Indians to war against them, and sometimes took part in the fights themselves. Besides, many disputes arose about the boundaries, both parties being equally inclined to claim all the land they could.

In 1729 the lords proprietors ceased to have any control over their lands, which, divided into North and South Carolina, became two royal provinces. These prospered much during the following years, and by the time the Revolutionary War began, North Carolina ranked fourth in importance among the colonies.

We have now seen how twelve of the English colonies were planted on our coast, and before traveling northward once more, to see how New England was getting along, you shall hear how the thirteenth and last colony was founded, in 1733.

James Oglethorpe, a kind-hearted Englishman, perceiving the suffering of debtors, who were then imprisoned like criminals, longed to give them a chance to begin life over again. Thinking they could best do this in the New World, he asked George II. for a tract of land there, promising to hold it in trust for the poor. This territory was called Georgia, in honor of the king; and Oglethorpe, having assembled his colonists, sailed for America.

Arriving at Charleston, he went southward and founded the city of Savannah. Before doing so, however, he had an interview with the Indians of that section, from whom he bought the land. In exchange for his gifts, they presented him with a buffalo robe lined with eagle feathers, saying: "The eagle signifies swiftness, and the buffalo strength. The English are swift as a bird to fly over the vast seas, and as strong as a beast before their enemies. The eagle's feathers are soft, and signify love; the buffalo's skin is warm, and means protection: therefore, love and protect our families."

An attempt to cultivate olive trees and breed silkworms proved as great a failure in Georgia as in Carolina; but rice soon became one of the staples of the colony, and the first fine cotton was raised there from seed brought from India. Oglethorpe, wishing to give his colony a good start, said that neither rum nor slaves should be allowed within its limits. But some of his colonists were displeased at this, although both Oglethorpe and John Wesley—the founder of the Methodist Church—tried to convince them that they would be far better off if they did their own work and kept sober. Shortly after the visit of the Wesley brothers, Whitefield also came out to visit the Georgia colony, where he supported the first orphan asylum built in our country.

In 1739, war having broken out between England and Spain, Oglethorpe led a small army of Georgians into Florida, to besiege St. Augustine. To punish the Georgians for this attempt to take their city, the Spaniards invaded their land three years later, but only to be defeated at the battle of Frederica. When these troubles came to an end, Oglethorpe went back to England. But even before his departure people began to change the laws, and in a few years they introduced both rum and slavery. Although Oglethorpe gave up Georgia to the king in 1752, he took a great interest in the settlement he had founded, and as he lived to be very old, he saw it join the other colonies in 1776, for it was one of the famous thirteen.



Contents

Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell