« PrécédentContinuer »
Philadelphia, Germantown, and Lancaster, and the loosely grouped villages of the Germans, where the lands were held in blocks and the houses of the settlers were more scattered than among the Puritans. He would have learned also that, in Pennsylvania particularly, the needs of the proprietors, the demands of the colonists, and the character of the crops were leading to frequent sales and to the division of large estates into small and manageable farms.
What probably would have interested the New Englanders as much as anything else was the interdependence of city and country which was frequently manifested along the way. Unlike the Puritans, to whom countryseats and summer resorts were unknown and trips to mountain and seashore were strictly matters of necessity or business, the townfolk of the Middle Colonies residing. in New York, Burlington, and Philadelphia had country residences, not mere cottages for makeshift housekeeping but substantial structures, often of brick, well furnished within and surrounded by grounds neatly kept and carefully cultivated. There were many stately “gentlemen's seats,” belonging to the gentry of New York, between Kingsbridge and the city and on Long Island, for
what is now Greater New York was then for the most part open country, hilly, rocky, and heavily wooded, interspersed here and there with houses, farms, fields, groves, and orchards of fruit trees, and threaded by roads, some good and some bad. Philip Van Cortlandt had his country place six miles, as he then reckoned it, from the city. Here at Bloomingdale, a village in a sparsely settled neighborhood – now the uptown shopping district of New York, somewhat north of the present public library — he was wont to send Mrs. Van Cortlandt and his "little family” to spend "the somer season.” The Burlington merchants had their country houses near the Delaware on the high ground stretching along the river and back toward the interior. On the other hand, Philadelphia merchants, mayors, and provincial governors, whose city life was confined to half a dozen streets running parallel to the Delaware, had their country residences often twelve or fifteen miles away, sometimes in West Jersey, but more often in Pennsylvania itself, adjacent to the familiar and welltrodden highways. These roads, which radiated northwest and south from the river, formed arteries of supply for the markets and ships along the docks and, during certain times and seasons, afforded means of social intercourse between the business of the countinghouse in town and the pleasure of the dining hall and assembly room in the country.
To the Southerner, on the other hand, who passed observantly northward and viewed with discernment the country from Maryland to that “way down east” land of Maine which was as yet little more than a narrow fringe of rocky coast between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec, all these conditions of housing and cultivation must have seemed to a large extent strangely novel and unfamiliar. The Southerner was not used to small holdings and closely settled towns; his eye was accustomed to range over wide stretches of land filled with large estates and plantations. The clearings to which he was accustomed, though often little more than a third of the whole area, consisted of great fields of tobacco, grain, rice, and indigo, and presented an appearance essentially unlike that of the small and scattered lots and farms of the New England towns. He was unacquainted with the selfcentered activity of those busy northern communities or the narrow range of petty duties and interests that filled the day of the Puritan farmer and tradesman. Were he a landed aristocrat of Anne Arundel or Talbot county in Maryland, he would himself have possessed an enormous amount of property consisting of scattered tracts in all parts of the province, sometimes fifteen or thirty thousand acres in all. Many of these estates he was accustomed to speak of as manors, though the peculiar rights which distinguished a manor from any other tract of land early disappeared, and the manor in Maryland and Virginia, as elsewhere, meant merely a landed estate. But the name undoubtedly gave a certain distinction to the owner and probably served to hold the lands together in spite of the prevailing tendency in Maryland to break up the estates into small, convenient farms. Doughoregan Manor of the Carrolls with its ten thousand acres, for instance, remains undivided to this day.
By the wealthy Virginian the term manor was used much less frequently than it was in Maryland, while in the Carolinas and Georgia it was not used at all. In Virginia, even though the great plantation with its appendant farms and quarters in different counties could be reached often only after long and troublesome rides over bad roads through the woods, the estate was generally kept intact. W Though land was frequently leased and overseers were usually employed to manage outlying
properties, the habit of splitting up estates into small farms was much less common than it was in Maryland. Councilman Carter owned, we are told, some sixty thousand acres situated in nearly every county in Virginia, six hundred negroes, lands in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, an "elegant and spacious” house in the same city, stock in the Baltimore Iron Works, and several farms in Maryland. It was not at all uncommon for men in one town or colony to own land in another, for even in New England the owners of town lands were not always residents of the town in which the lands were situated.
It would be a mistake, however, to think of Maryland and Virginia as covered only by great plantations with swarms of slaves and lordly mansions. In both these Southern Colonies there were hundreds of small farmers possessing single grants of land upon which they had erected modest houses. Many of these farmers rented lands of the planter under limited leases and paid their rents in money, or probably more often in produce, labor, and
money, as did the tenants of William Beverley mening of Beverley Manor on the Rappahannock. As
many of the large estates in Maryland could not be worked by the owner, the practice arose of