Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter IX >> Page 88

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History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
his youth. He had also been a member of the House of
Commons in England. He .was therefore esteemed to
be well qualified for his trust. So, in some respects, he
was ; but he was at the same time strongly opposed to
the dissenting party, and a docile agent of lord Granville,
then the lord palatine of Carolina, whose hostility to the
same class of religionists was equally bitter and invet-
erate. Under the instructions of this nobleman, gov-
ernor Johnson, by a variety of measures, succeeded
in establishing ecclesiastical worship and government
in the colony. He enacted two laws, by one of which
the dissenters were deprived of all civil rights. By
the other, he erected an arbitrary court of high com-
mission, for the trial of ecclesiastical causes, and the
preservation of religious uniformity in Carolina. These
laws drove the dissenters to desperation. They sent a
special messenger to London, and their petition for re-
dress was laid before the House of Lords, who were
filled with surprise and indignation at the high handed
despotism of the proprietors. The queen, (Anne,) by
recommendation of the lords, issued an order, declaring
the laws complained of to be null and void ; and promised
to institute a process of quo warranto against the provin-
cial charter; but this promise was never fulfilled. An
idea of the impolitic assumptions of the bigoted pala-
tine may be formed, by a reference to the opinion which
the House of Lords expressed, in their address to
the queen. The law for enforcing conformity to the
church of England, in the colony, they describe " an en-
couragement to atheism and irreligion, destructive to
trade, and tending to the ruin and depopulation of the