Landgrave - James Colleton

COLLETON, James, colonial governor of South Carolina. He was a brother of one of the Lords Proprietors, and was appointed governor with the rank of Landgrave, and endowed with 48,000 acres of land in 1686. He was expected to assert the authority of the Lords Proprietors and secure the enforcement of laws in the Fundamental Constitutions that were disregarded by the colonists.

The Commons House of Assembly, which had been elected before his arrival, refused to acknowledge the binding force of the Fundamental Constitutions. Colleton thereupon excluded the members of the majority from the legislative halls, and these protested against any acts that night be passed by the remaining members. In 1687, a new Assembly was elected that was even less tractable.

Colleton endeavored to collect quit-rents on unimproved land as well as on cultivated fields; but the Assembly imprisoned the secretary of the colony, seized the records, and defied the governor and Lords Proprietors. In 1689, Colleton, under pretext of threatened danger from the Spaniards or Indians, called out the militia and proclaimed martial law. Shortly after the English revolution the colonists rose against his despotism, and the legislative assembly impeached and disfranchised Colleton, and banished him from the province.


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