BIBLIOGRAPHIES. - R. G. Thwaites, Colonies, secs. 39, 74, 90; notes to Joseph Story, Commentaries, secs. 1-197; notes to H. C. Lodge, Colonies, passim; notes to Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V. chs. ii.-vi., Channing and Hart, Guide, secs. 130-133.

HISTORICAL MAPS. - R. G. Thwaites, Colonies, Maps Nos. 1 and 4 (Epoch Maps, Nos. 1 and 4); G. P. Fisher Colonial Era, Maps Nos. 1 and 3; Labberton, Atlas, lxiii., B. A. Hinsdale, Old Northwest (republished from MacCoun's Historical Geography ).

GENERAL ACCOUNTS. - Joseph Story Commentaries, secs. 146-190; W. E. H. Lecky, England in the Eighteenth Century, II. 1-21, III. 267-305; T. W. Higginson, Larger History, ch. ix.; Edward Channing, The United States, 1765-1865 ch. i.; H. E. Scudder, Men and Manners in America; Hannis Taylor, English Constitution, Introduction, I.; H. C. Lodge, Colonies (chapters on social life); T. Pitkin, United States, I. 85-138, Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V. chs. ii.-vi.; R. Frothingham, Rise of the Republic, chs. i., iv.; Grahame, United States, III. 145-176.

SPECIAL HISTORIES. - W. B. Weeden, Economic and Social History of New England, II. chs. xiv., xv.; G. E. Howard, Local Constitutional History, I. chs. ii., iii., vii.-ix.; C. F. Adams, History of Quincy, chs. iii.-xiv.; M. C. Tyler, History of American Literature, II.; Edward Channing, Town and County Government, and Navigation Acts; F. B. Dexter, Estimates of Population; C. F. Bishop,Elections in the Colonies; Wm. Hill, First Stages of the Tariff Policy; W. E. DuBois, Suppression of the Slave Trade; J. R. Brackett, Negro in Maryland.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS. - Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (1706-1771); John Woolman Journal (1720-1772); George Whitefield, Journals (especially 1739); Kalm, Travels (1748-1749); Robert Rogers, Concise Account of North America (1765); A. Burnaby, Travels (1759-1760); Edmund Burke, European Settlements in America; William Douglass, Summary; the various colonial archives and documents. - Reprints in II. W. Preston, Documents Illustrative of American History (charters, etc.); New Jersey Archives, XI., XII., XVIII. (extracts from newspapers); American History Leaflets, No. 16; Library of American Literature, III.; American History told by Contemporaries, II.


[British America.]

By the end of the eighteenth century the term "Americans" was commonly applied in England, and even the colonists themselves, to the English- speaking subjects of Great Britain inhabiting the continent of North America and the adjacent islands. The region thus occupied comprised the Bahamas, the Bermudas, Jamaica, and some smaller West Indian islands, Newfoundland, the outlying dependency of Belize, the territory of the great trading corporation known as the Hudson's Bay Company, and - more important than all the rest - the broad strip of territory running along the coast from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Altamaha River.


It is in this continental strip, lying between the sea and the main chain of the Appalachian range of mountains, that the formation of the Union was accomplished. The external boundaries of this important group of colonies were undetermined; the region west of the mountains was drained by tributaries of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi rivers, and both these rivers were held in their lower course by the French. Four successive colonial wars had not yet settled the important question of the territorial rights of the two powers, and a fifth war was impending.

So far as the individual colonies were concerned, their boundaries were established for them by English grants. The old charters of Massachusetts, Virginia, and the Carolinas had given title to strips of territory extending from the Atlantic westward to the Pacific. Those charters had lapsed, and the only colony in 1750 of which the jurisdiction exercised under the charter reached beyond the Appalachian mountains was Pennsylvania. The Connecticut grant had long since been ignored; the Pennsylvania limits included the strategic point where the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers unite to form the Ohio. Near this point began the final struggle between the English and the French colonies. The interior boundaries between colonies in 1750 were matters of frequent dispute and law-suits. Such questions were eventually brought to the decision of the English Privy Council, or remained to vex the new national government after the Revolution had begun.

[The frontiers.]

At this date, and indeed as late as the end of the Revolution, the continental colonies were all maritime. Each of them had sea-ports enjoying direct trade with Europe. The sea was the only national highway; the sea-front was easily defensible. Between contiguous colonies there was intercourse; but Nova Scotia, the last of the continental colonies to be established, was looked upon as a sort of outlyer, and its history has little connection with the history of the thirteen colonies farther south. The western frontier was a source of apprehension and of danger. In northern Maine, on the frontiers of New York, on the west and southwest, lived tribes of Indians, often disaffected, and sometimes hostile. Behind them lay the French, hereditary enemies of the colonists. The natural tendency of the English was to push their frontier westward into the Indian and French belt.



This westward movement was not occasioned by the pressure of population. All the colonies, except, perhaps, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Delaware, had abundance of vacant and tillable land. The population in 1750 was about 1,370,000. It ranged from less than 5,000 in Georgia to 240,000 in Virginia. Several strains of non-English white races were included in these numbers. There were Dutch in New York, a few Swedes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Germans in New York and Pennsylvania, Scotch Irish and Scotch Highlanders in the mountains of Pennsylvania and South Carolina, a few Huguenots, especially in the South, and a few Irish and Jews. All the rest of the whites were English or the descendants of English. A slow stream of immigration poured into the colonies, chiefly from England. Convicts were no longer deported to be sold as private servants; but redemptioners - persons whose services were mortgaged for their passage - were still abundant. Many years later, Washington writes to an agent inquiring about "buying a ship-load of Germans," that is, of redemptioners. There was another important race-element, - the negroes, perhaps 220,000 in number; in South Carolina they far out-numbered the whites. A brisk trade was carried on in their importation, and probably ten thousand a year were brought into the country. This stream poured almost entirely into the Southern colonies. North of Maryland the number of blacks was not significant in proportion to the total population. A few Indians were scattered among the white settlements, but they were an alien community, and had no share in the development of the country.

[Settlements.] [American character.]

The population of 1,370,000 people occupied a space which in 1890 furnished homes for more than 25,000,000. The settlements as yet rested upon, or radiated from, the sea-coast and the watercourses; eight-tenths of the American people lived within easy reach of streams navigable to the sea. Settlements had crept up the Mohawk and Susquehanna valleys, but they were still in the midst of the wilderness. Within each colony the people had a feeling of common interest and brotherhood. Distant, outlying, and rebellious counties were infrequent. The Americans of 1750 were in character very like the frontiersmen of to-day, they were accustomed to hard work, but equally accustomed to abundance of food and to a rude comfort; they were tenacious of their rights, as became offshoots of the Anglo-Saxon race. In dealing with their Indian neighbors and their slaves they were masterful and relentless. In their relations with each other they were accustomed to observe the limitations of the law. In deference to the representatives of authority, in respect for precedent and for the observances of unwritten custom, they went beyond their descendants on the frontier. Circumstances in America have greatly changed in a century and a half: the type of American character has changed less. The quieter, longer-settled communities of that day are still fairly represented by such islands of undisturbed American life as Cape Cod and Cape Charles. The industrious and thriving built good houses, raised good crops, sent their surplus abroad and bought English goods with it, went to church, and discussed politics. In education, in refinement, in literature and art, most of the colonists had made about the same advance as the present farmers of Utah. The rude, restless energy of modern America was not yet awakened.


[Sources of American government.]

In comparison with other men of their time, the Americans were distinguished by the possession of new political and social ideas, which were destined to be the foundation of the American commonwealth. One of the strongest and most persistent elements in national development has been that inheritance of political traditions and usages which the new settlers brought with them. Among the more rigid sects of New England the example of the Hebrew theocracy, as set forth in the Scriptures, had great influence on government; they were even more powerfully affected by the ideas of the Christian commonwealth held by the Protestant theologians, and particularly by John Calvin. The residence of the Plymouth settlers in the Netherlands, and the later conquest of the Dutch colonies, had brought the Americans into contact with the singularly wise and free institutions of the Dutch. To some degree the colonial conception of government had been affected by the English Commonwealth of 1649, and the English Revolution of 1688. The chief source of the political institutions of the colonies was everywhere the institutions with which they were familiar at the time of the emigration from England. It is not accurate to assert that American government is the offspring of English government. It is nearer the truth to say that in the middle of the seventeenth century the Anglo- Saxon race divided into two branches, each of which developed in its own way the institutions which it received from the parent stock. From the foundation of the colonies to 1789 the development of English government had little influence on colonial government. So long as the colonies were dependent they were subject to English regulation and English legal decisions, but their institutions developed in a very different direction.

[Political ideas.]

Certain fundamental political ideas were common to the older and the younger branches of the Anglo-Saxon race, and have remained common to this day. The first was the idea of the supremacy of law, the conception that a statute was binding on the subject, on the members of the legislative body, and even on the sovereign. The people on both sides of the water were accustomed to an orderly government, in which laws were made and administered with regularity and dignity. The next force was the conception of an unwritten law, of the binding power of custom. This idea, although by no means peculiar to the English race, had been developed into an elaborate "common law," - a system of legal principles accepted as binding on subject and on prince, even without a positive statute. Out of these two underlying principles of law had gradually developed a third principle, destined to be of incalculable force in modern governments, - the conception of a superior law, higher even than the law-making body. In England there was no written constitution, but there was a succession of grants or charters, in which certain rights were assured to the individual. The long struggle with the Stuart dynasty in the seventeenth century was an assertion of these rights as against the Crown. In the colonies during the same time those rights were asserted against all comers, - against the colonial governors, against the sovereign, and against Parliament. The original colonies were almost all founded on charters, specific grants which gave them territory and directed in what manner they should carry on government therein. These charters were held by the colonists to be irrevocable except for cause shown to the satisfaction of a court of law; and it was a recognized right of the individual to plead that a colonial law was void because contrary to the charter. Most of the grants had lapsed or had been forcibly, and even illegally, annulled; but the principle still remained that a law was superior to the will of the ruler, and that the constitution was superior to the law. Thus the ground was prepared for a complicated federal government, with a national constitution recognized as the supreme law, and superior both to national enactments and to State constitutions or statutes.

[Principles of freedom.]

The growth of constitutional government, as we now understand it, was promoted by the establishment of two different sets of machinery for making laws and carrying on government. The older and the younger branches of the race were alike accustomed to administer local affairs in local assemblies, and more general affairs in a general assembly. The two systems in both countries worked side by side without friction; hence Americans and Englishmen were alike unused to the interference of officials in local matters, and accustomed through their representatives to take an educating share in larger affairs. The principle was firmly rooted on both sides of the water that taxes were not a matter of right, but were a gift of the people, voted directly or through their representatives. On both sides of the water it was a principle also that a subject was entitled to his freedom unless convicted of or charged with a crime, and that he should have a speedy, public, and fair trial to establish his guilt or innocence. Everywhere among the English-speaking race criminal justice was rude, and punishments were barbarous; but the tendency was to do away with special privileges and legal exemptions. Before the courts and before the tax-gatherers all Englishmen stood practically on the same basis.


Beginning at the time of colonization with substantially the same principles of liberty and government, the two regions developed under circumstances so different that, at the end of a century and a half, they were as different from each other as from their prototype.

[Separation of departments.] [Aristocracy.]

The Stuart sovereigns of England steadily attempted to strengthen their power, and the resistance to that effort caused an immense growth of Parliamentary influence. The colonies had little occasion to feel or to resent direct royal prerogative. To them the Crown was represented by governors, with whom they could quarrel without being guilty of treason, and from whom in general they feared very little, but whom they could not depose. Governors shifted rapidly, and colonial assemblies eventually took over much of the executive business from the governors, or gave it to officers whom they elected. But while, in the eighteenth century, the system of a responsible ministry was growing up in England under the Hanoverian kings, the colonies were accustomed to a sharp division between the legislative and the executive departments. Situated as they were at a great distance from the mother-country, the assemblies were obliged to pass sweeping laws. The easiest way of checking them was to limit the power of the assemblies by strong clauses in the charters or in the governor's instructions; and to the very last the governors, and above the governors the king, retained the power of royal veto, which in England was never exercised after 1708. Thus the colonies were accustomed to see their laws quietly and legally reversed, while Parliament was growing into the belief that its will ought to prevail against the king or the judges. In a wild frontier country the people were obliged to depend upon their neighbors for defence or companionship. More emphasis was thus thrown upon the local governments than in England. The titles of rank, which continued to have great social and political force in England, were almost unknown in America. The patroons in New York were in 1750 little more than great land-owners; the fanciful system of landgraves, palsgraves, and caciques in Carolina never had any substance. No permanent colonial nobility was ever created, and but few titles were conferred on Americans. An American aristocracy did grow up, founded partly on the ownership of land, and partly on wealth acquired by trade. It existed side by side with a very open and accessible democracy of farmers.

[Powers of the colonies.]

The gentlemen of the colonies were leaders; but if they accepted too many of the governor's favors or voted for too many of that officer's measures, they found themselves left out of the assemblies by their independent constituents. The power over territory, the right to grant wild lands, was also peculiar to the New World, and led to a special set of difficulties. In New England the legislatures insisted on sharing in this power. In Pennsylvania there was an unceasing quarrel over the proprietors' claim to quit-rents. Farther south the governors made vast grants unquestioned by the assemblies. In any event, colonization and the grant of lands were provincial matters. Each colony became accustomed to planting new settlements and to claiming new boundaries. The English common law was accepted in all the colonies, but it was modified everywhere by statutes, according to the need of each colony. Thus the tendency in colonial development was toward broad legislation on all subjects; but at the same time the limitations laid down by charters, by the governor's instructions, or by the home government, increased and were observed. Although the assemblies freely quarrelled with individual governors and sheared them of as much power as they could, the people recognized that the executive was in many respects beyond their reach. The division of the powers of government into departments was one of the most notable things in colonial government, and it made easier the formation of the later state and national governments.


[English local government.]

In each colony in 1750 were to be found two sets of governing organizations, - the local and the general. The local unit appears at different times and in different colonies under many names; there were towns, townships, manors, hundreds, ridings, liberties, parishes, plantations, shires, and counties. Leaving out of account minor variations, there were three types of local government, - town government, county government, and a combination of the two. Each of these forms was founded on a system with which the colonists were familiar at the time of settlement, but each was modified to meet the changed conditions of America. The English county in 1600 was a military and judicial subdivision of the kingdom; but for some local purposes county taxes were levied by the quarter sessions, a board of local government. The officers were the lord lieutenant, who was the military commander, and the justices of the peace, who were at the same time petty judges and members of the administrative board. The English "town" had long since disappeared except as a name, but its functions were in 1600 still carried out by two political bodies which much resembled it: the first was the parish, - an organization of persons responsible as tax-payers for the maintenance of the church building. In some places an assembly of these tax-payers met periodically, chose officers, and voted money for the church edifice, the poor, roads, and like local purposes. In other places a "select vestry," or corporation of persons filling its own vacancies, exercised the powers of parish government. In such cases the members were usually of the more important persons in the parish. The other wide-spread local organization was the manor; in origin this was a great estate, the tenants of which formed an assembly and passed votes for their common purposes.


From these different forms of familiar local government the colonists chose those best suited to their own conditions. New Englanders were settled in compact little communities; they liked to live near the church, and where they could unite for protection from enemies. They preferred the open parish assembly, to which they gave the name of "town meeting." Since some of the towns were organized before the colonial legislatures began to pass comprehensive laws, the towns continued, by permission of the colonial governments, to exercise extended powers. The proceedings of a Boston town meeting in 1731 are thus reported: -

"After Prayer by the Revt. mr. John Webb,

"Habijah Savage Esqr. was chose to be Moderator for this meeting

"Proposed to Consider About Reparing mr. Nathaniell Williams His Kitchen &c. -

"In Answer to the Earnest Desire of the Honourable House of Representatives -

"Voted an Entire Satisfaction in the Town in the late Conduct of their Representatives in Endeavoring to preserve their Valuable Priviledges, And Pray their further Endeavors therein -

"Voted. That the Afair of Repairing of the Wharff leading to the North Battrey, be left with the Selectmen to do therein as they Judge best - "


The county was also organized in New England, but took on chiefly judicial and military functions, and speedily abandoned local administration. In the South the people settled in separate plantations, usually strung out along the rivers. Popular assemblies were inconvenient, and for local purposes the people adopted the English select vestry system in what they called parishes. The county government was emphasized, and they adopted the English system of justices of the peace, who were appointed by the governor and endowed with large powers of county legislation. Hence in the South the local government fell into the hands of the principal men of each parish without election, while in New England it was in the hands of the voters.

[Mixed System.]

In some of the middle colonies the towns and counties were both active and had a relation with each other which was the forerunner of the present system of local government in the Western States. In New York each town chose a member of the county board of supervisors; in Pennsylvania the county officers as well as the town officers became elective. Whatever the variations, the effect of local government throughout the colonies was the same. The people carried on or neglected their town and county business under a system defined by colonial laws; but no colonial officer was charged with the supervision of local affairs. In all the changes of a century and a half since 1750 these principles of decentralization have been maintained.


[General form.] [Suffrage.]

Earlier than local governments in their development, and always superior to them in powers, were the colonial governments. In 1750 there was a technical distinction between the charter governments of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, the proprietary governments of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, and the provincial governments of the eight other continental colonies. In the first group there were charters which were substantially written constitutions binding on both king and colonists, and unalterable except by mutual consent. In the second group some subject, acting under a royal charter, appointed the governors, granted the lands, and stood between the colonists and the Crown. In the third group, precedent and the governor's instructions were the only constitution. In essence, all the colonies of all three groups had the same form of government. In each there was an elective legislature; in each the suffrage was very limited; everywhere the ownership of land in freehold was a requisite, just as it was in England, for the county suffrage. In many cases there was an additional provision that the voter must have a specified large quantity of land or must pay specified taxes. In some colonies there was a religious requirement. The land qualification worked very differently from the same system in England. Any man of vigor and industry might acquire land; and thus, without altering the letter of the law to which they were accustomed, the colonial suffrage was practically enlarged, and the foundations of democracy were laid. Nevertheless, the number of voters at that time was not more than a fifth to an eighth as large in proportion to the population as at present. In Connecticut in 1775 among 200,000 people there were but 4,325 voters. In 1890, the fourth Connecticut district, having about the same population, cast a vote of 36,500.


The participation of the people in their own government was the more significant, because the colonies actually had what England only seemed to have, - three departments of government. The legislative branch was composed in almost all cases of two houses; the lower house was elective, and by its control over money bills it frequently forced the passage of measures unacceptable to the co-ordinate house. This latter, except in a few cases, was a small body appointed by the governor, and had the functions of the executive council as well as of an upper house. The governor was a third part of the legislature in so far as he chose to exercise his veto power. The only other limitation on the legislative power of the assemblies was the general proviso that no act "was to be contrary to the law of England, but agreeable thereto."


The governor was the head of the executive department, - sometimes a native of the colony, as Hutchinson of Massachusetts, and Clinton of New York. But he was often sent from over seas, as Cornbury of New York, and Dunmore of Virginia. In Connecticut and Rhode Island the legislatures chose the governor; but they fell in with the prevailing practice by frequently re- electing men for a succession of years. The governor's chief power was that of appointment, although the assemblies strove to deprive him of it by electing treasurers and other executive officers. He had also the prestige of his little court, and was able to form at least a small party of adherents. As a representative of the home government he was the object of suspicion and defiance. As the receiver and dispenser of annoying fees, he was likely to be unpopular; and wherever it could do so, the assembly made him feel his dependence upon it for his salary.


Colonial courts were nearly out of the reach of the assemblies, except that their salaries might be reduced or withheld. The judges were appointed by the governor, held during good behavior, and were reasonably independent both of royal interference and of popular clamor. The governor's council was commonly the highest court in the colony; hence the question of the constitutionality of an act was seldom raised: since the council could defeat the bill by voting against it, it was seldom necessary to quash it by judicial process. Legal fees were high, and the courts were the most unpopular part of the governments.


[English statutes.] [The Crown.] [Sidenote: Parliament.]

In Connecticut and Rhode Island, where the governor was not appointed by the Crown, the colonies closely approached the condition of republics; but even in these cases they acknowledged several powers in England to which they were all subject. First came English law. It was a generally accepted principle that all English statutes in effect at the time of the first colonization held good for the colonies so far as applicable; and the principles of the common law were everywhere accepted. Second came the Crown. When the colonies were founded, the feudal system was practically dead in England; but the conception that the Crown held the original title to all the lands was applied in the colonies, so that all titles went back to Indian or royal grants. Parliament made no protest when the king divided up and gave away the New World. Parliament acquiesced when by charter he created trading companies and bestowed upon them powers of government. Down to 1765 Parliament seldom legislated for individual colonies, and it was generally held that the colonies were not included in English statutes unless specially mentioned. The Crown created the colonies, gave them governors, permitted the local assemblies to grow up, and directed the course of the colonial executive by royal instructions.

[Means of control.]

The agent of the sovereign in these matters was from 1696 to 1760 the so- called Lords of the Board of Trade and Plantations. This commission, appointed by The Crown, corresponded with the governors, made recommendations, and examined colonial laws. Through them were exercised the two branches of English control. Governors were directed to carry out a specified policy or to veto specified classes of laws. If they were disobedient or weak, the law might still be voided by a royal rescript. The attorneys-general of the Crown were constantly called on to examine laws with a view to their veto, and their replies have been collected in Chalmers's "Opinions," - a storehouse of material concerning the relations of the colonies with the home government. The process of disallowance was slow. Laws were therefore often passed in the colonies for successive brief periods, thus avoiding the effects of a veto; or "Resolves" were passed which had the force, though not the name, of statutes. In times of crisis the Crown showed energy in trying to draw out the military strength of the colonies; but if the assemblies hung back there was no means of forcing them to be active. During the Stuart period the troubles at home prevented strict attention to colonial matters. Under the Hanoverian kings the colonies were little disturbed by any active interference. In one respect only did the home government press hard upon the colonies. A succession of Navigation Acts, beginning about 1650, limited the English colonies to direct trade with the home country, in English or colonial vessels. Even between neighboring English colonies trade was hampered by restrictions or absolute prohibitions. Against the legal right of Parliament thus to control the trade of the colonies the Americans did not protest. Protest was unnecessary, since in 1750 the Acts were systematically disregarded: foreign vessels carried freights to and from American ports; American goods were shipped direct to foreign countries (sec. 23; Colonies, secs. 44, 128).


[Social life.] [Intellectual life.] [Sidenote: Economic conditions.]

Thus, partly from circumstances, and partly by their own design, the colonies in 1750 were developing a political life of their own. Changes of dynasties and of sovereigns or of ministers in England little affected them. In like manner their social customs were slowly changing. The abundance of land favored the growth of a yeoman class accustomed to take part in the government. Savage neighbors made necessary a rough military discipline, and the community was armed. The distance from England and an independent spirit threw great responsibility on the assemblies. The general evenness of social conditions, except that some men held more land than others, helped on a democratic spirit. The conditions of the colonies were those of free and independent communities. On the other hand, colonial life was at best retired and narrow; roads were poor, inns indifferent, and travelling was unusual. The people had the boisterous tastes and dangerous amusements of frontiersmen. Outside of New England there were almost no schools, and in New England schools were very poor. In 1750 Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) were the only colleges, and the education which they gave was narrower than that now furnished by a good high school. Newspapers were few and dull. Except in theology, there was no special instruction for professional men. In most colonies lawyers were lightly esteemed, and physicians little known. City life did not exist; Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Charleston were but provincial towns. The colonies had only three industries, - agriculture, the fisheries, and shipping. Tobacco had for more than a century been the staple export. Next in importance was the New England fishery, employing six hundred vessels, and the commerce with the West Indies, which arose out of that industry. Other staple exports were whale products, bread-stuffs, naval stores, masts, and pig-iron. The total value of exports in 1750 is estimated at 814,000 pounds. To carry these products a fleet of at least two hundred vessels was employed; they were built in the colonies north of Virginia, and most of them in New England. The vessels themselves were often sold abroad. With the proceeds of the exports the colonists bought the manufactured articles which they prized. Under the Navigation Acts these ought all to have come from England; but French silks, Holland gin, and Martinique sugar somehow found their way into the colonies. The colonists and the home government tried to establish new industries by granting bounties. Thus the indigo culture in South Carolina was begun, and many unsuccessful attempts were made to start silk manufactures and wine raising. The method of stimulating manufactures by laying protective duties was not unknown; but England could not permit the colonies to discriminate against home merchants, and had no desire to see them establish by protective duties competitors for English manufactures. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania did in a few cases lay low protective duties. Except for the sea-faring pursuits of the Northern colonies, the whole continental group was in the same dependent condition. The colonists raised their own food and made their own clothes; the surplus of their crops was sent abroad and converted into manufactured goods.


[Slave trade.] [The sections.]

In appearance the labor system of all the colonies was the same. Besides paid white laborers, there was everywhere a class of white servants bound without wages for a term of years, and a more miserable class of negro slaves. From Nova Scotia to Georgia, in all the West Indies, in the neighboring French and Spanish colonies, negro slavery was in 1750 lawful, and appeared to flourish. Many attempts had been made by colonial legislatures to cut off or to tax the importation of slaves. Sometimes they feared the growing number of negroes, sometimes they desired more revenue. The legislators do not appear to have been moved by moral objections to slavery. Nevertheless, there was a striking difference between the sections with regard to slavery. In all the colonies north of Maryland the winters were so cold as to interfere with farming, and some different winter work had to be provided. For such variations of labor, slaves are not well fitted; hence there were but two regions in the North where slaves were profitably employed as field-hands, - on Narragansett Bay and on the Hudson: elsewhere the negroes were house or body servants, and slaves were rather an evidence of the master's consequence than of their value in agriculture. In the South, where land could be worked during a larger portion of the year, and where the conditions of life were easier, slavery was profitable, and the large plantations could not be kept up without fresh importations. Hence, if any force could be brought to bear against negro slavery it would easily affect the North, and would be resisted by the South; in the middle colonies the struggle might be long; but even there slavery was not of sufficient value to make it permanent.

[Anti-slavery agitation.]

Such a force was found in a moral agitation already under way in 1750. The Puritans and the Quakers both upheld principles which, if carried to their legitimate consequences, would do away with slavery. The share which all men had in Christ's saving grace was to render them brethren hereafter; and who should dare to subject one to another in this earthly life? The voice of Roger Williams was raised in 1637 to ask whether, after "a due time of trayning to labour and restraint, they ought not to be set free?" "How cursed a crime is it," exclaimed old Sewall in 1700, "to equal men to beasts! These Ethiopians, black as they are, are sons and daughters of the first Adam, brethren and sisters of the last Adam, and the offspring of God." On "2d mo. 18, 1688," the Germantown Friends presented the first petition against slavery recorded in American history. By 1750 professional anti-slavery agitators like John Woolman and Benezet were at work in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and many wealthy Quakers had set free their slaves. The wedge which was eventually to divide the North from the South was already driven in 1750. In his great speech on the Writs of Assistance in 1761, James Otis so spoke that John Adams said: "Not a Quaker in Philadelphia, or Mr. Jefferson of Virginia, ever asserted the rights of negroes in stronger terms."