The Charter of Carolina March 24, 1663

In 1663, King Charles II granted a charter to eight men who supported his return to the throne of England. These men came to be known as the Lords Proprietors. The excerpt names the Lords Proprietors, describes the territory included in the charter and mentions some of the activities and required payment.

CHARLES the Second, by the grace of God, king of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c., To all to whom these present shall come: Greeting:

2d… Know ye, therefore, that we, favouring the pious and noble purpose of the said Edward Earl of Clarendon, George Duke of Albemarle, William Lord Craven, John Lord Berkley, Anthony Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkley, and Sir John Colleton, of our special grace, certain knowledge and meer motion, have given, granted atoll confirmed, and by this our present charter, for us, our heirs and successors, do give, grant and confirm unto the said [Lord Proprietors], their heirs and assigns, all that territory or tract of ground, scituate, lying and being within our dominions of America, extending from the north end of the island called Lucke island, which lieth in the southern Virginia seas, and within six and thirty degrees of the northern latitude, and to the west as far as the south seas, and so southerly as far as the river St. Matthias, which bordereth upon the coast of Florida, and within one and thirty degrees of northern latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the south seas aforesaid; together with all and singular ports, harbours, bays, rivers, isles and islets belonging to the country aforesaid; and also all the soil, lands, fields, woods, mountlills, fields, lakes, rivers, bays and islets, scituate or being within the bounds or limits aforesaid, with the fishing of all sorts of fish, whales, sturgeons and all other royal fishes in the sea, bays, islets and rivers within the premises, and the fish therein taken; and moreover all veins, mines, quarries, as well discovered as not discovered, of gold, silver, gems, precious stones, and all other whatsoever, be it of stones, metals, or any other thing whatsoever, found or to be found within the countries, isles and limits aforesaid…

6th. And because such assemblies of freeholders cannot be so conveniently called, as there may be occasion to require the same, we do, therefore, by these presents, give and grant unto the said [Lord Proprietors], their heirs and assigns, by themselves or their magistrates, in that behalf lawfully authorized full power and authority from time to time to make and ordain fit and wholesome orders and ordinances, within the province aforesaid to be kept and observed as well for the keeping of the peace, as for the better government of the people there abiding, and to publish the same to all to whom it may concern; which ordinances, we do by these presents straightly charge and command to be inviolably observed within the said province, under the penalties therein expressed, so as such ordinances be reasonable, and not repugnant or contrary, but as near as may be, agreeable to the laws and statutes of this our kingdom of England, and so as the same ordinances do not extend to the binding, charging, or taking away of the right or interest of any person or persons, in their freehold, goods or chattels whatsoever…
14th… And further also, we do by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, give and grant license to them, the [Lords Proprietors], their heirs and assigns, full power, liberty and license to erect, raise and build within the said province and places aforesaid, or any part or parts thereof, such and so many forts, fortresses, castles, cities, boroughs, towns, villages and other fortifications whatsoever, and the same or any of them to fortify and furnish with ordinance, powder, shot, armory, and all other weapons, ammunition, habilements of war, both offensive and defensive, as shall be thought fit and convenient for the safety and welfare of the said province and places, or any part thereof, and the same, or any of them from time to time, as occasion shall require, to dismantle, disfurnish, demolish and pull down, and also to place, constitute and appoint in and over all or any of the castles, forts, fortifications, cities, towns and places aforesaid, governors, deputy governors, magistrates, sheriffs and other officers, civil and military, as to them shall seem meet, and to the said cities, boroughs, towns, villages, or any other place or places within the said province, to grant “letters or charters of incorporation,” with all liberties, franchises and priviledges, requisite and usefull, or to or within any corporations, within this our kingdom of England, granted or belonging; and in the same cities, boroughs, towns and other places, to constitute, erect and appoint such and so many markets, marts and fairs, as shall in that behalf be thought fit and necessary; and further also to erect and make in the province aforesaid, or any part thereof, so many mannors as to them shall seem meet and convenient, and in every of the said mannors to have and to hold a court baron, with all things whatsoever which to a court baron do belong, and to have and to hold views of “frank pledge” and “court leet,” for the conservation of the peace and better government of those parts within such limits, jurisdictions, and precincts. . . shall be appointed for that purpose, with all things whatsoever, which to a court leet, or view of frank pledge do belong, the said court to be holden by stewards, to be deputed and authorized by the said [Lords Proprietors].

15th. And because that in so remote a country, and scituate among so many barbarous nations, and the invasions as well of salvages as of other enemies, pirates and robbers, may probably be feared; therefore we have given, and for us, our heirs and successors, do give power, by these presents, unto the said [Lords Proprietors], their heirs and assigns, by themselves, or their captains, or other their officers, to levy, muster and train all sorts of men, of what condition or wheresoever born, in the said province for the time being, and to make war and pursue the enemies aforesaid, as well by sea as by land, yea, even without the limits of the said province, and by God’s assistance to vanquish and take them, and being taken to put them to death by the law of war, or to save them at their pleasure; and to do all and every other thing, which unto the charge of a captain general of an army belongeth, or hath accustomed to belong, as fully and freely as any captain general of an army hath or ever had the same. …

Witness the King, at Westminster, the four and twentieth day of March, in the fifteenth year of our reign, (1663.)


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