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into a state of discontent by a reported' treaty with Maryland successfully matured, Cersion of an extensive portion of its ter- ani peace with the Indians was confirmed." ritory, for the purpose of planting a new This, all at once, and when they least ex. erlong for the special accommodation of pected it, was restored to the colonists the Roman catholics. Lord Baitimore desiz. system of freedom which they had originally nated his settlement the colony of Maryland, derived from the Virginia Company; uni. and hoped to obtain quiet possession of versal joy and gratitude were excited the land; but the settlers upon it resisted throughout the colony; and the king, his pretensions, and blood was shed in amidst the hostility that was gathering the struggle. Popular discontent, fed by around him in every other quarter, was continuous acts of injustice, increased on addressed in the language of affection and every side;" and roused at length by reite- attachment by this people. Indeed, such rated provocation, the Virginians seized the was their gratitude to the king for this person of Harvey, and sent him a prisoner favour, that, during the civil wars, they to England, along with two deputies, were faithful to the royal cause, and concharged to represent the grievances of the tinued so eren after he was dethroned, and colony, and the misconduct of the governor. his son driven into exile. So far from redressing their wrongs, howe While Virginia, under the government ever, Charles regarded their conduct as of Charles I., was looking forward to the little short of rebellion : he refused even to development of a system which promised hear a single charge against Harvey; and for it a bright and hopeful future, “a scene sent him back to Virginia, with an ample of distress was impending, through the vinrenewal of the powers which he had so dictive ferocity of the surrounding natives
, grossly abused: he accordingly resumed and whose hostility was inveterate. In 1643, it aggravated a tyrannical sway, that entailed had been enacted by the assembly, that no infamy on himself, and disgrace on his sove terms of peace should be entertained with reign. Had bis government been continued the Indians, whom, in self-defence, it bemuch longer, it must have ended in the came usual to distress by sudden incursions revolt or the ruin of the colony. But a against their settlements. But the Indians great change was at hand, which was had learned that dissensions prevailed in to reward the patience of the Virginians England; and they resolved on one more with a bloodless redress of their grievances. attempt at a general massacre-believing After a long intermission, Charles was that, by midnight incursions, and by the deforced to contemplate the reassembling of a struction of cattle and fields of corn, they
а parliament; and, well aware of the ill- should succeed in famishing the colonists humour which his government at home had who might escape being murdered by surexcited, he had the strongest reason to prise. The day appointed for the onslaught dread that the displeasure of the Commons was the 18th of April, 1644 ; and, punctual would be inflamed by complaints of the to the hour, an unexpected storm began to despotic sway he had exercised over Vir- rage over the frontier settlements. Hardly, ginia. There was yet time to soothe the however, had the Indians steeped their irritation, and even to secure the adherence hands in blood, before they recoiled from of a people, who, in spite of every wrong, the contemplation of their own weakness
, retained a generous attachment to the and the inevitable consequences of their prince whose sovereignty was felt still to treachery; and they fled in haste to a distance unite them with the parent state. Harvey from the colony. The number of victims was therefore recalled, and the government on this occasion had amounted to about of Virginia committed to Sir William 300, when the order was given to retreat; Berkeley, a person distinguished by every and measures were promptly taken by the popular virtue in which Harvey was de colonists to avenge the massacre, and to ficient.
prosecute an exterminating war.
OpeThe new governor was instructed to re-chankanough, now advanced in years, was store the colonial assembly, and to invite it easily made prisoner; and that monarch of to enact a body of laws for the province, the sons of the wilderness and forest, so " that should assimilate as nearly as possible long undisputed lord of almost boundless to the laws and customs of England. Reli- hunting-grounds, died of wounds bru. gious observances were provided for; the tally inflicted by an exasperated soldier, law about land titles adjusted ; an amicable Wiih the stoicism of his race, he expired
while casting a fierce and contemptuous of the Commonwealth ; that they should gaze upon his exultant enemies."
have as free trade as the people of England "Upon the death of Charles I., in January, do enjoy, to all places and with all nations, 1649, the usurping government at once according to the laws of that Commonissued its mandates, commanding the sub- wealth, and enjoy all privileges, equal with mission and allegiance of the colonies to the any plantations in America; and likewise Commonwealth ; but, firm in their attach- be free from all taxes, customs, and impoment to the late king and his family, the sitions whatsoever; none being imposed order was received by the Virginians with upon them without the consent of the almost unanimous disregard." This conduct grand assembly.”+ "The commissioners apirritated the parliamentarians; and it was pointed by the parliament, with unlimited not the mode of that age to wage a war of authority over the plantations, found no words alone. The efforts of a high-spirited favour in Virginia: the privileges they government in asserting its own dignity, offered as a boon, the colonists already poswere prompt and vigorous. A powerful sessed; and they were not children, to be squadron, with a considerable body of land allured by promises of future benefits, as a forces
, was dispatched to reduce the Vir-condition for present submission to an authoginians to obedience. Berkeley, obtaining rity they disputed, and to which they were the assistance of some Dutch vessels, with not at all disposed to yield obedience more spirit than prudence, opposed this on any point. At length, in April, 1052, formidable armament; but, after making a the grand assembly met, and, with the gallant resistance, was obliged to yield. consent of the commissioners, proceeded to His bravery, though unsuccessful in its elect a governor and councillors. Richard primary object, obtained the most favour- Bennet, one of the commissioners, was apable terms for the colony; while he dis- pointed governor, until the further pleasure dained to make any stipulations, in his own of the Commonwealth should be known. In favour, with those whose authority he dis- 1655, Edward Digges was chosen governor owned. Withdrawing to a retired situa- by the House of Burgesses ; and after him, in tion, he lived beloved and respected by the 1657, Samuel Matthews. After the resig people whom he had governed.
nation of Richard Cromwell, the house exThe political state of the colony, from the pressly declared, that the supreme power of time of this capitulation to the restoration government should reside in the assembly, of Charles II., has not, until lately, been and that all writs should issue in the name perfectly understood. The early historians of the “grand assembly of Virginia, until of Virginia have stated, that, during this such a command and commission come out period, the people of the colony were in of England, as should be by the assembly entire subjection to the government of judged lawful.” But “on the death of MatCromwell, and that the acts of parliament thews (the last governor named by Cromin relation to trade were there rigidly en- well), the sentiments and inclination of the forced, while they were relaxed in favour of people, no longer under the control of the New England colonies. Recent re- authority, burst out with violence. They Searches
, however, prove these statements forced Sir William Berkeley to quit his reto be incorrect
. Under the articles of capi- tirement; they unanimously elected him tulation, it was agreed, among other things
, governor of the colony: and as he refused that the inhabitants of the colony should to act under a usurped authority, they remain in due obedience and subjection to boldly erected the royal standard, and acthe Commonwealth of England'; should knowledging Charles II. to be their lawful enjoy such freedom and privileges as be- sovereign, proclaimed him with all his long to the free-born people of England; titles. "The Virginians long boasted, that and that the former government, by comas they were the last of the king's submission and instruction, be null and void ; jects who renounced their allegiance, they that the grand assembly should convené were also the first who returned to their and transact the affairs of the colony; but duty.”! By a special act, the governor nothing was to be done contrary to the laws was directed to call an assembly once in
two years at least, and oftener if necessary. + Pitkin's Caril and Political History, vol. i.,
He was empowered to choose a secretary p. 74.
and council of state, with the approba1 Robertson's History of America, b. ix. tion of the assembly, and restrained from
Bancroft: vol i., p. 158.
dissolving the legislature, without the con- the parliament enacted, “That no merchan. sent of a major part of the house.
dise, either of Asia, Africa, or America, The colonists of Virginia, or a majority including also the English plantations there, of them, were episcopalians, and attached should be imported into England in any to the church of England: the religion of but English-built ships, and belonging that church, indeed, was established by law either to English or English plantation in the colony; and it is evident that they subjects-navigated also by an English comhad always favoured the royal cause. Their mander, and three-fourths of the sailors to warm-hearted loyalty could not fail to be be Englishmen; excepting such merchan- ! exhilarating to the spirits of Charles II. dise as should be imported directly from during his banishment. He transmitted the original place of their growth or manufrom Breda a new commission to Sir Wil- facture in Europe solely; and that 10 fish liam Berkeley, as governor of Virginia ; should thenceforward 'be imported into declaring his intention of ruling and order- England or Ireland, nor exported thence to ing the colony according to the laws and foreign parts, nor even from one of their statutes of England, which were to be own home ports, but what should be caught established there. Thus, while that prince by their own fishers only." The first House was not permitted to rule over a foot of of Commons after the Restoration, instead ground in England, he exercised royal of granting the colonists the relief which jurisdiction over Virginia. On receiving they expected from the restraints imposed the first account of the Restoration, the joy by Cromwell on their commerce, not only and exultation of the colonists were universal. adopted all his ideas concerning this It was long before the influences of the royal branch of legislation, but extended them! government were felt to be in opposition to further. Thus arose the Navigation Act, the views and desires of the Virginians, who the most important and memorable of any continued to exercise and to enjoy all the in the statute-book, in reference to the advantages that could be derived from the history of English commerce. By such uncontrolled administration of their domestic several and successive regulations, the plan affairs, which flourished while free from the of securing to England a monopoly of the uncalled-for and mischievous interference of commerce with its colonies, and of shutting external authority. But while, in other re- up every other channel into which it might spects, their policy was liberal and concilia- be diverted, was perfected, and reduced tory, one shackle was still suffered to impede into a complete system. On one side of the the progress of religious toleration; and the Atlantic those laws have been extolled as act of mental tyranny, by which all Quakers an extraordinary effort of political sagacity, were banished from the colony, and their and have been considered as the great return to it declared to be felony, and to charter of national commerce, to which the be rigorously punished as such, remained parent state is indebted for its opulence and the almost only
blot upon Virginia. power; on the other hand, they have been It had been observed with concern, during regarded as instruments of oppression, more the Protectorate, that the English mer- characterised by ignorance of the true princhants, for several years past, had usually ciples of political economy, than by legisla. freighted the Hollanders' shipping for tive wisdom. For a long time that branch bringing home their own merchandise, of the colonial code which regulated, or
, because their freight was lower than that rather restrained, the intercourse of the of the English ships. For the same reason West India islands with the United States, the Dutch ships were made use of for im- was a subject for continued and irritating porting American products from the English discussion between the American and British colonies into England. The English ships, governments. meanwhile, lay rotting in the harbours; This exclusive system excited great in. and the English mariners, for want of em- dignation in Virginia, where the extensive ployment, went into the service of the Hol- commerce and pre-eminent loyalty of the landers. The government, therefore, not people rendered the pressure of the burden unnaturally, turned its attention towards the more severe, and the infliction of it more most effectual mode of retaining the colonies exasperating. No sooner was the Naviga, in dependence on the parent state, and of tion Act known, and its effects experienced securing to the latter the benefits of their in Virginia, than the colonists warmly reincreasing commerce. With these views, monstrated against it as a grievance, and
petitioned earnestly for relief, but with this conduct, he instantly returned, with out success; so that the discontents, far all his forces, to Jamestown. Sir William from being abated by the lapse of time, Berkeley, unsupported, and almost aban. were aggravated by the constant pressure of doned, fled precipitately to Accomack, on commercial restrictions. Various additional the eastern shore of the colony; where, colcauses concurred to inflame the angry feel. lecting those who were well-affected towards ings of the colonists. A considerable native his administration, he began to oppose the population had now grown up in Virginia, insurgents, and several skirmishes were whose dissatisfaction was not mitigated by fought, with various success. A party of the fond remembrance which emigrants the insurgents, nevertheless, burned James
, retain for the parent state, which is also town, laid waste those districts of the colony the land of their individual nativity; and a which adhered to the old administration, complication of exasperating circumstances and confiscated the property of the loyalists. brought the discontents of the colony to a The governor, in retaliation, seized the
The indignation of the people had estates of many of the insurgents, and exebecome general, and was worked up to such cuted several of their leaders. In the a pitch, that nothing was wanting to pre- midst of these calamities Bacon sickened cipitate them into the most desperate acts, and died. Destitute of a leader to conduct but some leader qualified to unite and to and animate them, their sanguine hopes of direct their operations. Such a leader they success subsided; all began to desire an found in Nathaniel Bacon.
à accommodation; and after a brief negolawver, educated in London, and had been tiation with the governor, on obtaining a appointed a member of the council a short promise of general pardon, they laid down time after his emigration to Virginia. their arms. Young, bold, ambitious, with an engaging Thus terminated an insurrection, which, address and commanding eloquence, he in the annals of Virginia, is distinguished harangued the colonists upon their griev- by the name of Bacon's rebellion. During ances; inflamed their resentment against seven months this daring leader was master their rulers; and declaimed particularly of the colony, while the royal governor was against the languor with which the war, then shut up in a remote and ill-peopled corner existing with the Indians, had been con- of it. "In addition to the cause already dacted. Such was the effect of his repre- referred to—the prejudicial influence of the sentations, that he was elected general by the navigation laws—this popular commotion people To give some colour of legitimacy was probably much influenced by the to the authority he had acquired, and per- extremely low price of tobacco; the splitting haps boping to precipitate matters to that of the territory into proprietaries, contrary extremity which his interest required they to the original charters; the extravagant should speedily reach, he applied to the taxes to which the colonists were subjected; governor for an official confirmation of the and the ineffective manner in which the popular election, and offered instantly to governor and council had protected the march against the common enemy. This inhabitants against the Indians, who were Sir William Berkeley firmly refused, and said to have injured the colony to an amount issued a proclamation commanding the dis- not less than £100,000. As soon as Berkeley persion of the insurgents. But Bacon had found himself reinstated in his office, he advanced too far to recede; and he hastened, called together the representatives of the at the head of 600 armed followers, to James- people, that, by their advice and authotown—surrounded the house where the gor-rity, public order might be re-established. ernor and council were assembled, and re- Although this assembly met while the peated his demand. Intimidated by the memory of reciprocal injuries was still threats of the enraged multitude, the coun- recent, and when the passions excited by cil hastily prepared a commission, and, by such a fierce contest could scarcely have their entreaties, prevailed on the governor subsided, its proceedings were conducted to sign it. Bacon and his troops then with a moderation seldom exercised by the began their march against the Indians; but successful party in a civil war. 10 sooner were the council relieved from suffered capitally, and a small number only their fears by the absence of his force, than were subjected to fines. The council made, they declared the commission void, and however, a somewhat singular exception to proclaimed Bacon a rebel. Enraged at their charitable forbearance. While they
spared the living, they wreaked their ven- authority. It had itself, almost uncongeance on the dead, and passed an act of sciously, established & nearly independent attainder against Bacon long after he was democracy, and already preferred its own beyond the reach of their enmity.
sons for places of authority. The country On hearing of the disturbances in Vir- felt itself honoured by those who were ginia, Charles dispatched a fleet with some Virginians born;' and emigrants never troops for its pacification. These did not again desired to live in England. Prosarrive, however, until the necessity for them perity advanced with freedom; and, at the had ceased; but with them came Colonel epoch of the Restoration, A.D. 1660, the Jeffreys, commissioned to recall and replace population had increased to about 30,000 Sir William Berkeley in the government souls. Many of the recent emigrants had of the colony: This brave and benevolent been royalists in England; good officers in man did not long survive his dismissal, and the war; men of education, of property, and may justly be said to have lived and died of condition. The revolution had not subin the service of Virginia.
dued their characters; but the waters of the During the latter portion of the era of Atlantic now divided them from the political the Protectorate in England, the American strifes of the Old World, and their industry colonies enjoyed, in a remarkable degree, was employed in making the best advantage the advantages which the firm and judicious of their plantations. At length, the interpolicy of the home government had secured ests and liberties of Virginia (the land to the dependencies of the Commonwealth ; which they had adopted as their country) and Virginia was certainly not an exception became dearer to them than the monarchical to the rule: its commerce was perfectly principles they had espoused and defended in unfettered by unnecessary restrictions; and England; and, therefore, no bitterness existed the principles of free trade were universally between the firmest partisans of the Stuarts recognised in its transactions with other and the friends of republican liberty. Virstates. With Holland especially, its com- ginia had long been loved as the native mercial relations were based upon reci- home of its inhabitants. Among many procity-no higher duty being exacted than other blessings,' said their statute-book, such as was levied upon English or colonial God Almighty hath vouchsafed increase vessels trading to the Dutch ports; and of children to this colony; who are now Virginia ultimately passed a law, by which multiplied to a considerable number— Datuthe same advantages were extended to all rally of beautiful and comely persons, and countries at peace with England.
generally of more ingenious spirits than Its internal policy was equally favourable those of England.' The huts of the wilderto the growth of political freedom; its ness were as full as the birds'-nests of the various settlements had gradually assumed woods. the condition of municipal boroughs locally, “The genial climate and transparent independent of each other, yet subservient atmosphere delighted those who had come to one central administration for the whole from the denser air of England. Every colony, which was organised on the prin-object in nature was new and wonderful. ciple of universal suffrage—"all freemen, The loud and frequent thunderstorms were without exception, being entitled to vote;" phenomena that had been rarely witnessed the principle being understood, and acted in the colder summers of the north; the upon, that taxation and representation were forests, majestic in their growth, and fres inseparable; and that, without such union, from underwood, demanded admiration for the imposition of taxes upon a people was their unrivalled magnificence and almost unjust, tyrannical, and ought not to be sub- boundless extent; the streams and rivers, mitted to by the colonists.
flowing between alluvial banks, quickened "Thus,” in the words of Bancroft, " Vir- the ever-teeming soil into unwearied ferginia established upon its soil the supremacy tility; strange and delicate flowers grew of the popular branch, the freedom of trade, profusely in the plains, and diffused their the independence of religious societies (save odours through the air; while the new-made one), the security from foreign taxation, and gardens, formed by art, matured the fruits the universal elective franchise. If, in after of Europe, invigorating their growth, and years, it departed from either of those prin- improving their flavour by the richness of ciples, and yielded a reluctant consent to the virgin mould. The birds, with their change, it was from the influence of foreign gay plumage and varied melodies, inspired