Robert Reid Howison.

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the violent explosion which soon followed. In
1635, we find an Assembly solemnly convened to
receive charges against the governor. Popular
feeling had risen high. Whatever pauses had ope^
"rated, it is certain that Hervey was looked upon
with universal dislike,-^that he was considered the
friend of tyranny, and the enemy of the people. In
a short time the Assembly met ; and, after due de-
liberation, they adopted a measure so bold and so
unprecedented, that nothing but undoubted testi-
mony could convince us of its truth. Sir John
Hervey was "thrust out of his government, and
Captain John West was to act as governor till the
King's pleasure be known."*'
When the suspended governor was thus sent

* Howe'sHistColIecOatline, 57; Hening, a safer guide, gires no

Bancrofl*8 U. S., i. 216, 217. countenance to this statement See

^ Heniiig*8 Stat at Large, i. 323 ; Campbell, 61. Robertson's account,

Bancroft's U. S., i. 217. Burk, ii. L 419, would create the impression

42, intimates that the order of Coun. that Hervey was violently seized by

cil suspending Hervey, recited this a mob, and sent out of the country !

act as being « by reason of his It is strange that Mr. Frost should

haughtiness, rapacity, and cruelty, countenance this idea; yet I can

' his contempt of the rights of the co- . gather nothing else, either {torn his

lonists, and his usurpation of the words or his picture, in his Pietor.

privikj^s of the Council;** but Mr. Hist U. S., L 114.



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1635.] HEBVEY REINSTATED. 373

back to his master, the Assembly deemed it expe*
dieDt to send commissioners, selected by themselves,
and supplied with a full body of evidence to sus-
tain every charge preferred against the accused
But Charles regarded this whole proceeding with
unmingled disapprobation. Already his intracta-
ble parliaments at home were entering upon that
series of fearless measures which finally arrayed
the King and the people in martial order against
each other. The unhappy monarch was vacillatitig
between his love of power and his fear of defeat —
his need of money and his dependence on his people
for aid, — and at such a period, each step of the po-
pular spirit in its onward course was regarded vnih
jealousy and pain. The King did not even con-
descend to give audience to the commissioners of
the colony.' Their complaints were unheeded,
their charges were unheard. Without bringing
Hervey to trial, his partial sovereign reinstated him
in office, and sent him back to Virginia; giving to
the colonists the meagre solace of a commission, in
which the government was required to be adminis-
tered on the principles of the period during which
the Assembly had existed.^

From this time we hear of no complaints against
the governor. Experience may have taught him
moderation; and the salutary fear of assemblies
which regularly sat and acted upon the afifairs of

* Burk's Va., iL 45 ; Robertfon*! haine, L 93, represents this oommis.
Am., L 419; Outline in Howe*sHist sion as less ftvoorable to the colo-
CoUec, 58; Bancroft's U.S.,L 317. nists. Gordon, Am., i. 50, sends

* Bancroft's U. S., L 917. Gra. Henrey back in 1637.

VOL. I. 18



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274 TOBACCO LAWS EXPLAINED. [Chap.V.

the settlement, may have restrained his former pro-
pensities. In 1639, he was quietly superseded by
Sir Francis Wyatt, who had previously governed
the colony with much satis^tion to its people
and honour to himself His administration was
brief, — ^so brief, indeed, that it seems to have
escaped the notice of many of our most diligent
historians.* Yet, during its progress, certain laws
were enacted by tlie General Assembly, which, in
later years, have been misunderstood, misrepre-
sented; have drawn upon their authors the con-
tempt of some, the censure of others ; but which,
when fully explained, furnish evidence of wisdom
and f(ft*esight, rather than of weakness and dis-
honesty.

.(1&39.) Let it be remembered, that at this tin^
Virginia and the Somer Isles enjoyed the exclimve
sale of tobacco in Britain. By reaaon of its exces-
sive production the price had fallen so low, that the
planters could neither subnst themselves, nor pay
their just debts, nor turn their labour to any othw
staple. (Jan. 6.) Under these circumstances, the
Assembly passed a law requiring all the tobacco
raised this year to be viewed, — ^the whole of that
decayed and unmerchantable, and one-half of that
really good, to be hu^med.^ Now, although this
weed was valueless to those who had not learned
to use it, y^t with those who had become its vota-

» Tliifl rule between Herrey and Heniag^ i. 385; Bancroft, L S18;

Berkeley is mentioned by neither Campbell, 61 ; Grahame, i. 95.

Bork, Keith, Chalmen, Beverley, *>HeniHr*i Stat, L234; Oatline,

Robertaon, nor Blanhall. Bat aee in Howe, 58.



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1639.] TOBACCO LAWS EXPLAINED. 275

rieS; it was almost necessary to existence. They
woald give any price to obtain its odorous consola-
tions. Therefore the withdrawal of one-half the



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276 ^I^ WILLIAM BERKELEY. [Chap.V.

planters still been held to the payment of their
debts at par, they would in fact have paid moFS
than double their amount. Thus, if a debtor owed
one hundred pounds of tobacco prior to 1639, when
the commodity might be worth three shillings per
pound, his debt might be estimated at fifteen pounds
sterling. But after 1639, the price wquld be per-
haps eight shillings per pound ; and had he still
been compelled to pay one hundred pounds, he
would in fact pay to his creditor the sum of forty
pounds sterling in value. T|ie injustice of this
must be obvious. The Assembly acted wisely and
equitably in their requirements. They did not
enhance the value of their coin, and still compel
debtors to meet the nominal amount of their dues;
but having really increased its value, they properly
adapted to it the corresponding amounts which
creditors might claim;*

In August of 1641, Charles appointed to the
direction of the affairs of Virginia a gentleman
whose name is inseparably interwoven with the
early destinies of our state. William Berkeley^ was
a cavalier of the most rigid and approved school
then known in the British realm ; pure blood and
h^h connexions gave dignity to his name ;^ refined
manners and the ease imparted by long contact
with polite society, rendered his person acceptable
to all he encountered. He possessed the singular
and scarcely definable art, of enlisting alike the

« A fbll and imp&rtaal view of this perfectlj jast in his remarks on the

question will he fimnd in the Outline subject, L 218.

History prefixed to Howe*s Hist ^ Biography in Campbell^s Va.,

CoUec^ 58-60. Mr. Bancroft is not Appendix, 253.



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1639.] SIR WILLIAM BERKELEY. 277

confidence of the high and the low, the mighty and
the humble. Imbued with the very spirit of the
English gentleman, he knew how to avoid the ex-
tremes of forbidding coldness or of dangerous
familiarity. He was valued by his friends for his
warm affections, and respected by his foes for his
upright demeanour. Yet with so much that was
excellent, he developed traits which tended power-
fully to lower what would otherwise have been a
truly lofty character. His loyalty was so excessive
that it blinded his eyes to the faults of a crowned
head, and steeled his heart against the prayers of
oppressed subjects. He could not tolerate the
least appearance of opposition to the rights claimed
by his King ; and this feeling seems to have been
heightened, rather than diminished, by the grow-
ing spirit of freedom that he marked among the
commons of the mother country. He loved the mo-
narchical constitution of England with simple fer-
vour ; he venerated her customs, her church, her bi-
shops, her liturgy, every thing peculiar to her as a
kingdom ; and believing them to be worthy of all ac-
ceptation, he enforced conformity with uncompro-
mising sternness. Many virtuous propensities,
when urged to excess, become the sources of vicious
conduct. Had Sir William Berkeley descended to
his grave at the time when Charles II. gained the
English throne, we might with safety have trusted
to those historians who have drawn him as adorned
with all that could grace and elevate his species.*

• Campbell's Va. Bio|r.,3S3; Ro- really to admirB Sir William; Keith,
berteon'i Am., L 419; MardiaU's 144, •*A worthy, good, and juat
Am. Cokm., 66. Marshall seems mam*' Even Bark, L 46.



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278 BERKELEY'S COMMISSION. [Cb4f^V.

But he lived long enough to prove that loyalty,
when misguided, will make a tjnrant ; that religi-
ous z^l, when devoted to an established church,
will beget the most revolting bigotry; and that an
ardent disposition, when driven on by desirfi for
revenge, will give birth to the worst forms of
cruelty and. malice.

(Aug. 9.) The commission issued by the King
to the new governor was, in many respects, liberal
and just to the colonists;' it recognised the eiii^
ence and rights of the Assembly, which had there-
tofore been connived at rather than openly ap-
proved; it encouraged the bui^esses to unite cor-
dially with the governor, and tb aid him in pre-
paring a new code of laws, and in adopting the
most salutary customs of the English realm. We
may imagine the pleasure felt by the settlers who
had thus guarant^ to them their much-loved
form of government, and who were at length
blessed with a head, apparently resolved to devote
all his enei-gies to their welfiure. Joy and harmony
prevailed ; the people were full of love to the King,
and zeal for his service. Industrious habits had
long since become confirmed among them, and
though the bias of their origin still operated upon
their manners and their morals, yet they were no
longer excited to turbulence by want or by discord,
in their ruling councils. Amid so much of cheer-
fulness and hope, they barely noticed one clause in

« This commission is in Hazard, i. 218; Marshall's Am. CoL, 66;
i. 477, 480. See «rahame% Colon. Gordon's Am., i. 5U
Hist. Am., i. 95 ; Bancroft's U. 8^



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16411] THE DEAD NOT TO BE REVIVfiD. 279

the commission to the governor, Which savoured
strongly of a narrow and unjust policy, afterwards
carried into full effect under the Protectorate, and
ia the reign of the second Charles. The King re-
quired that all tiiie commerce of the colony should
flow into or tiirough the veins of the mother
country. To enforce this provision, Sir William
Berkeley was instructed to demand from the mas-
ter of every vessel trading (torn Virginia, a bond
obliging him to land his cargo, either immediately
in England, or in some other part of the king's
dominions in Europe.*

(1642.) In February the new governor arrived,
and assumed the reins of his colonial province.
Nearly hii^ first act was to call a meeting of the
General Assembly ; and in a short time this body
convened at Jamestown, ftill of joy because of the
favourable change in their affairs, and inspired
with gratitude to a king whom they believed to
be truly their benefactor. It having been repre-
sented to them that George Sandys had presented
a petition to his majesty, praying the re-establish-
ment of the old London Corporation, and, acting
as though under the guidance of the colonial As-
sembly, they inlmediately drew up a paper, called
<< A Declaration against the Company," and trans-
mitted it to England, with the signatures of the
governor, the council, and nearly all the burgesses.
In this paper they protest vigorously against the
revival of the Company. Some have supposed

• iBrahame*8 Gdon. Hist, i. 96 ; BaDeroft*8 U. S., L 219 ; Robertion*s
Am., L 430 ; Gordon*! Am., L 5L



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380 THE DEAD NOT TO BE REVIVED. [CSiKK V.

that their oppositioD was caused by their hiktred of
the measures formerly adopted by this celebrated
body;* but impartial inquiry will convince us,
that they were moved rather by their newly-born
zeal for their monarch, than by any well-founded
arguments against the London Corporation.

With remarkable, perhaps we should add un-
grateful, inconsistency, we find them urging as a
reason against its revival, the prevalence of assem-
blies under Charles, forgetting that to this much-
injured body was Virginia indebted for tl^e very
privileges that the King had at last so reluctantly
confirmed.^ We read, too, charges against the
" intolerable" tyranny of the very man whom the
Court party had caused to be elected ; and we even
find what seems to be a bitter complaint against
the clause in the first patent of James, requiring
all things, for five yeays, to be held in common,''
although they could not be ignorant that the Com-
pany had rejoiced as greatly as the colonists when
this unwise restriction expired. Perhaps the clear-
est light thrown upon the conduct of the Assembly,
is furnished by the clause in which they protest,
in the most ol^equious style, against ^< so unnatu-
ral a distance as a company will interpose between
his sacred majesty and us his subjects."*" The time
was not far distant when the unhappy colonists
would have rejoiced in any intervening shield be-

*■ Compare Bancroft, L 220 ; Gra- « Oi>j. i^ in Dec, in Hcning, i.

hame, L 97; Marshall, 66; with 231; Burk,ii.69.
Burk, ii. 72-74. ^ Third Objection, in Deo^ He-

^ See Declaration, in Hening, i. ning, i. 232 ; Bark, iL 70, in note.
231 ; and in Bark, iL 69, in note.



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1649.] A PROSPEROUS PEOPLE. 281



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882 INTOLERANCE. [Cair. V.

the midst of the session of 1642-43, we find a
8t?ttute forbidding the Governor and CJouhcil to
lay any taxes or imposts upon either persons
or property,' except by authority of the General



But in one respect, the laws of this period were
as UDJust and cruel in theory, as they were dan*
gerousand destructive in their practical tendency.
The Church of England had always been the
cherished establishment of the colonists. The
early settlers of Virginia had no sympathy with
the Puritans, who were now so rapidly increasing
in numbers and power in the mother country.
Two classes may exhibit the whole religious as-
pect of the colony, at the time when Berkeley
assumed its government. One consisted of the
cavaliers and gentlemen planters, who, with a re-
putable regard for order and morality, and strbng
prepossessions in favour of the ancient " regime"
of England, looked upon the Church as closely
connected with all thtX Mras dignified and honour-
able. They loved her ministers, her forms, and,
perhaps, her creed ; and they looked with dis-
trust upon all innovation. These men were ardent
friends of freedom; and, had they lived in Eng-,
land, it is not improbable that closer acquaintance
with prelacy, and experience of its inseparable con-
nexion with the maxims of civil tyranny,* would

• Act iii., Law«, 1642-43; He. with contaminate foUy in general,
mng*» Stat i. 344. sometimes exhibited singular acute*

* ««No Bishop no King,** was a ness.
fayoorite maxim of James L, who.



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1649.] INTOLERANCE 2g3

have driven them into the Puritan ranks, which
now embraced the noblest hearts and clearest intel-
lects fonnd in the English realm. The other class
included the lower order of colonists-^labourers,
artisans, servants — men who had never been re-
markable for virtue ; who found little congenial to
their tastos in the strict morality of dissenters;
who looked upon religion with indifference, and
were content to discharge their obligations to the
Supreme Being by attendahce upon the forms of
an established church. From neither of these
classes could we expect any serious resistance to
the known wishes of Berkeley, who was a church*-
man of the deepest dye. The Assembly quietly
proceeded to pass laws of the most stringent cha-
racter on the subject of religion. Strict con*
formity was required ; tithes were inexorably im-
posed; ministers' persons were invested with a
sanctity savouring strongly of supwstition ; popish
recusants were forbidden to hold any office, and
their priests were to be banished from the country ;
the oath of supremacy to the king, as head of the
Church, was in all cases to be tendered; dissent-
ing preachers were strictly forbidden to exercise
their office; and the Governor and Council were
empowered to compel " non-conformists to depart
the colony with all convenience."*

Such laws, in the present age, would blacken the
statute book of any people with a stain never to be



• LawB, in Heniiig's SUt i. S40, 241, 243, 268, 269, 277; Burk's Va.,
IL 66, 67 ; BaHMoft, i. 222, 223.



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2g4 INTOLERANCE. [Coap.V.

erased. Yet should we remember, that they were
the results of the age rather thau expressions of
popular feeling. Toleration was then almost
wholly unknown. Men had not learned, that the
human conscience is a thing too sacred to be
touched by human laws. Religion was regarded
as all4mp^ant ; and each dominant sect, believing
its own peculiarities to embody the truth, sternly
required that all should believe according to its
cherished faith ; forgetting the precepts of Him
who deols^ed that He was neither a Judge nor a
Ruler of the affairs of man, that his Father was to
be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and that even
enemies were to be loved rather than persecuted.
Men professing His religion bad for centuries dis-
graced the Christian world by their cruelty to
those who ventured to decide for themselves in a
matter ailecting their own immortal interests.
The Church of Rome was chiefly protninent in
the work of blood; the Church of England fol-
lowed in her footsteps, and left the fields of Scot^
land covered with the dead bodies of her victims.
The Putitan Church of Massachusetts could not
resist so imposing examples, and hung Quakers
and persecuted Anabaptists with edifying zeal.
With these models befoi^, around, and behind
her, it is not wonderful that Virginia should have
yielded to the temptation, and given her hand to
the demon of Intolerance. Yet it is consohng to
reflect, that no actual violence followed these enact-
ments; and when, nearly eighteen years after-
wards, the first martyrs to religious freedom fell



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164a.] HOSTILITY OFvTHE NATIVES. 286

upon the soil of New England,^ the elder colony
was wholly unstaiaed by blood shed under laws
so unholy and vindictive.

While the colonists were thus voluntarily im-
posing upon themselves a burthen of eoclesiastioal
oppression, an ever active foe was preparing to in-
flict upon them a dangerous wound. The Indians
were now inveterate enemies. Peace was never
thought of Successive enactments of the *Assem^
bly made it a solemn duty to fall upon the natives
at stated seasons of the year, and heavy penalties
were visited upon all who traded with them, or in
any mode provided them with arms and ammuni-
tion. The whites were steadily increasing, both
in moral and physical ^rength; the Indians were
as rapidly wasting away before the breath of civi-
lized man. . A few incursions, — a few convulsive
efforts, always attended by heavy loss to them-
selv^,— one final struggle, — these will complete
their history in Eastern Virginia.

The illegal grants, favoured by Sir John Her-
vey, had provoked the natives into active hostility.
They saw their hunting grounds successively
swept away by a power which they were unable
to resist, and all the passions of the savage arose to
demand revenge,** When Sir William Berkeley
arrived, he used all his influence to mitigate the



* See 6rah^me*8 Colon. Hist. L ^ Beverley, 49; Bork'e Va., ii. 51 ;
309. In 1659-60, fbor Qoaken, Keith, 144.
three men and one woman, were
executed at Boston. Bancroft, u
488-496. / ,



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296 • INDIAN WAR. [Chaf.V.

injustice of these grants, in their effects both upon
the cQlonists and the Indians ;• but enough re-
mained to inflame the spirits of men who were* yet
bieated by the recollection of past misfortunes.
Among the natives there still lived a hero^ who
had prove4 himself a formidable adversary, even
when encountered by European skill. Opecan-
canough had attained the hundredth year of his
life.^ Declining age had bowed a form once emi«-
nent in stature and manly strength. Incessant
toil and watchfulness had wasted his flesh, and
left; him gaunt and withered, like the forest tree
stripped of its foliage by the frosts of winter. His
eyes, had lost their brightness, and so heavily did
the hand of age press upon him, that his eyelida
drooped from weakness, and he xequired the aid of
an attendant to raise them that he might see ob-
jects around him.*, yet within this tottering and
wasted body, burned a soul which seemed to Jiave
lo^t none of its original energy. A quenchless fire
incited him to hostility against the settlers. He
yet wielded great influence amon^ the members of
the Powhatan confederacy; and by his wisdom,
his example, and the veneration felt for his age,
he roused the savages to another effort at genersd
massacre.

The obscurity covering the best records which
remain of this period, has rendered doubtful the
precise time.at which this fatal irruption occurred ;

> Keith, 145. Keith*i opinioa of <" BeTerlej, 49-51; Keith, 145;
Berkeley is always fitvoorahle. Bark, ti. 57.

k Bark's Va., ii. 69.



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1644.] BRRKfiLEY PURSUES THE NATIVES. 287

yet t^e most profaaUe period would seem to be the
close of the year 1643.' The Indians were drawn
together wi^h great secrecy and skill, and were
instructed to fall upon the colonista at the same
time, and to spare none who could be safely
butchered. Five hundred victims sank beneath
their attack. The assault was most violent and
fatal upon the upper waters of the Pamunky and
the York, where the settlers wejre yet thin in njam-
ber and but imperfectly armed.* But in every
place where resistance was possible, the savages
were routed with loss, and driven back in dismay
to. their fastnesses in the forest.

(I644.) Sir William Berkeley instently placed
himself at the head of ^ chosen body, composed of
every twentieth man able to bear arms, and
marched to the scene of devastation. Finding the
savages dispersed and' all organized resistance ^
an end, he follovf ed them with a troop of cavalry.
The aged chief had taken refuge, in the neighbour-
hood of his seat at Pamunky. His strength was
too much enfeebled for vigorous flight. His limbs
refused to bear him, and his dull vision, rendered



*■ Bererley, wlio has giyen the Dected with oar history. In the

orifiiud acoonnt of this massacre, most andent qf these yohnaes I find

cannot be relied upon for the time, the following entry : ^ 6th day June,

49-51. Mr. Bark, ii. 54, thinks it 1644 By reason of the late bloody

was in the winter ot 1641, or early massacre^ diters plantations have

in the next year. In the office of been abandoned'* Fof direction to

the General Conrt of Virginia, held this passage, I am indebted to Gas*

in .Ri^mond, are several MS. to- ta?iis A. Myers, Esq.

lames of Records, which give vain* ^ Bark, u. 55 ; Keith, 144 ; Camp-

able light upon sereral subjects coo^ bell, 62, 253.



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388 DBAT» OF OPECANCANOUGH, [Chap.V.

him an Basy prey. He was overtaken by the par*
suerS) and catried in triumph back to Jamestown.

Finding the very soul of Indian entoity now
within his power, the governor had determined to
send him to England as a royal captive, to be de-
tained in honourable custody until death should
close his earthly career.' The venerable chief lost
not for a mpI^ent his dignity and self-possessibn.
True to the prinqiples of that stoicism which had
ever b^n the pride of his race, he looked with
contempt and indifference .\;ipoa the men who held
his liberty and life in their hands. It might for
the sake of humanity have been hoped, that one
thus bending lender the weight of years, and standi
ing upon the verge of the grave, would be suflfered
to go down jto the dust in peace. But a death qi
vi<^ence awaited him. A brutal wretch, urged on
by desire to revenge injuries to the whites whi(^
had long been forgotten or forgiven, advanced with
his musket behind the unhappy chieftain, and shot
him through the back !*" We know not whether
this murderer was punished ; but could his ^ame
be known, his deed would entitle him to a place
among the most hateful and black-hearted of man-



Online LibraryRobert Reid HowisonA history of Virginia, from its discovery and settlement by Europeans to the present time .. → online text (page 18 of 29)