Today, the Roanoke Island Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers the king’s charter for Carolina of March 24, 1663.
Under an earlier charter, people colonized Roanoke Island almost a century earlier.
And, the charter granted 354 years ago was not even the first of the 1600s.
From The Public Domain, Its History, with Statistics compiled by Thomas Donaldson and published in 1884:
Sir Walter Raleigh, under his charter of March 25, 1584, planted the first fixed English colony in North America, upon the Island of Roanoke, near North Carolina, July 23, 1587.
In 1653 and to 1660 Virginia colonists and settlers pushed into what is now called Perquimans County, at Durant’s Neck.
In September, 1665, at Cape Fear River, the colony of Clarendon was settled by planters from Barbados, under Governor Sir John Yeamans, and was really the foundation of North Carolina.
A grant was made to Sir Robert Heath, attorney-general to Charles I., in 1630, assigned by him to the Earl of Arundel and voided in 1663 for non-user.
March 24, 1663, Charles ll. made a grant of the charter of the Province of Carolina to Earl Clarendon and others.
[Extract from grant to Earl Clarendon]
Edward, Earl of Clarendon, to our high chancellor of England, and George, Duke of Albemarle (General Monk), master of our horse and captain-general of all our forces, our right trusty and well-beloved William, Lord Craven, John, Lord Berkeley, our right trusty and well-beloved Counsellor Anthony, Lord Ashley, chancellor of our exchequer, Sir George Carteret, knight and baronet, vice-chamberlain of our household, and our trusty and well-beloved Sir William Berkeley, knight (governor of Virginia), and Sir John Colleton, knight and baronet, being excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith and the enlargement of our empire and dominions, have humbly besought leave of us by their industry and charge to transport and make an ample colony of our subjects, natives of our Kingdom of England and elsewhere within our dominions, within a certain country hereafter described in the part of America not at cultivated or planted, and only inhabited by some barbarous people who have no knowledge of Almighty God, &c., &.c.
The lands granted were between the thirty-first and thirty-sixth degrees of north latitude, and westward to the Pacific Ocean.
The grantees became known as “Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina.”
It was not discovered that the colonies of Clarendon and Albemarle were without the limits of this charter.
So, on petition of the proprietors, Charles II., on the 30th of June, 1665, granted a second or supplemental charter.
The first as well as the second charter embraced title to the soil and political jurisdiction, subject, however, to the sovereignty of the Crown.
[Extract from the second charter of Carolina, June 30, 1665.]
Know ye, that at the humble request of the said grantees, &.c. we are graciously pleased to enlarge our said grant unto them, according to the bounds and limits hereafter specified, and in favor of the pious and noble purpose of the said Edward earl of Clarendon, George duke of Albemarle, William earl of Craven, John lord Berkely, Anthony lord Ashley, sir George Carteret, sir John Colleton, and sir William Berkely, their heirs &c. all that province, territory, or tract of land, situate, lying, and being, within our dominions of America aforesaid, extending north and eastward as far as the north end of Currituck river or inlet, upon a straight westerly line, to Wyonoak creek, which lies within or about the degrees of thirty-six and thirty minutes northern latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the south seas; and south and westward as far as the degrees of twenty-nine inclusive, of northern latitude; and so West in a direct line as far as the south seas, together with all and singular the ports, harbors, bays, rivers, and inlets, belonging unto the province and territory aforesaid.
This charter fixed the limits of the grant at between the parallels 29° and 36° 30‘ north latitude, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The southern boundary trenched upon the province of Florida, held by the Spaniards.
This claim, however, the English authorities disputed, alleging prior discovery.
The fundamental constitution of Carolina (see Poore’s Charters and Constitutions) was drawn by John Locke, the author of the Essay on the Human Understanding, and Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, the eminent statesman and philosopher.
It was the most extraordinary document for the government of men that human genius had yet devised.
Still, it excited the admiration of the idealists, dreamers, and publicists.
It was called “ the grand model.”
It was a grand failure in practice, and was abolished by the proprietaries in April, 1693, after being only partially put in practice.
The Roanoke Island Commemorative Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an artist’s image of King Charles II.