« PrécédentContinuer »
renting some and of breaking up others for sale. In this way there came into existence numbers of middle-class landholders, who formed a distinctly democratic element both in Maryland and Virginia. They cultivated small plantations ranging from 150 to 500 acres, not more than a third of which was improved even by 1760. Daniel Dulaney, the famous lawyer of Annapolis who had made his money in tidewater enterprises, bought land in central Maryland, which he rented out to Germans from Pennsylvania and thus became a land promoter and town builder on an extensive scale.
Though no such mania for land speculation seized upon the Virginia planters, they were equally zealous in acquiring properties for themselves beyond the "fall line” to the west, and some of them endeavored to add to their wealth by promoting the building of towns. It was in 1745 that Dulaney laid out the town of Frederick as a shrewd business enterprise. Eight years earlier, the second William Byrd, one of the farseeing men of his time, had advertised for sale in town lots his property near the inspection houses at Shoccoe's. This was the beginning of Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Less successful was Richard Randolph when, in
1739, he tried to attract purchasers to his town of Warwick, in Henrico County, modeled after Philadelphia, with a hundred lots at ten pistoles each, a common, and all conveniences for trade thrown into the bargain. But the only really important towns in these colonies during the colonial period were Annapolis and Williamsburg. In these towns many of the planters had houses which they occupied during the greater part of the year or at any rate when the Assembly was in session and life was gay and festive. Such other centers of population as Baltimore, Frederick, Hagerstown, Norfolk, Falmouth, Fredericksburg, and Winchester played little part in the life of the colonies except as business communities.
As the Albemarle region of North Carolina was settled from Virginia, the plantation and the tobacco field were introduced together, and along the sound and its rivers landed conditions arose similar in some respects to those in Virginia. The word “farm” was not used, but the term “plantation” was employed to include anything from the great estates of such men as Seth Sothell, one of the “true arid absolute proprietors,” and Philip Ludwell, Governor, to the small holdings of less important men, who received grants from the proprietors and later from the Crown in amounts not exceeding a square mile in extent. Though as a rule the holdings in Albemarle were smaller than elsewhere in the South and the conditions of life were simpler and less elaborate, the farmers were still freeholders, not tenants. The whole of this section remained less developed in education, religious organization, and wealth than other plantation colonies, and such towns as it had, Edenton, Bath, New Bern, and Halifax, were smaller and less conspicuous as social and business centers than were Annapolis, Williamsburg, and Charleston. Governor Johnston, who was largely responsible for the transfer of government from New Bern to the Cape Fear River, said in 1748: “We still continue vastly be- ? hind the rest of the British settlements both in our civil constitution and in making a proper use of a good soil and an excellent climate.” .
It was an important event in the history of North Carolina when Maurice and Roger Moore of South Carolina in 1725 selected a site on the south bank of the Cape Fear River, ten miles from its mouth, and laid out the town of Brunswick. With the transfer of the colony to the Crown in 1929, the settlement increased and prospered, lands were taken up on both sides of the river from its mouth
to the upper branches, and plantations were established which equaled in size and productiveness all but the very largest in Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. At first many of the planters purchased lots in Brunswick, but afterwards transferred their allegiance to Wilmington on the removal to that town of the center of social and political life. No people in the Southern Colonies were more devoted than they to their plantation life or took greater pride in the beauty and wholesomeness of their country. They raised corn and provisions, bred stock — notably the famous black cattle of North Carolina — and made pitch, tar, and turpentine from their lightwood trees, and these, together with lumber, frames of houses, and shingles, they shipped to England and to the West Indies. The Highlanders who settled at Cross Creek at the head of navigation above Wilmington brought added energy and enterprise to the colony and developed its trade by shipping the products of the back country down the river and by taking in return the manufactures of England and the products of the West Indies. Some of them built at Cross Creek dwellings and warehouses, mills and stores, and set up plantations in the neighborhood; others, among whom were
a few Lowland Scots, spread farther afield and bought lands even in the Albemarle region. To this section, after it had stagnated for thirty years, they brought new interests and prosperity by opening communication with Norfolk, in Virginia, as a port of entry and a market for their staples. They thus prepared the way for a promising agricultural and commercial development, which unfortunately was checked and for the moment ruined by the unhappy excesses and hostilities of the Revolutionary period. ..South of Cape Fear lay Georgetown, Charleston, and Savannah, centers of plantation districts chiefly on the lower reaches of the rivers of South Carolina and Georgia. These plantations were characterized by a close union between town and country. South Carolina differed from the other colonies in that a considerable portion of her territory had been laid out in baronies under that clause of the Fundamental Constitutions which stipulated the number of acres to be set apart for colonists bearing titles of nobility. Thus it was provided that 48,000 acres should be the portion for a landgrave, 24,000 for a cacique, and 12,000 for a baron. Many colonists who bore these titles took up lands at various times and in varying amounts, but their