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ii : 

! '1 










Net} gotfc 




• All rlghta reverted 

\ COPTBIOBT, 1896, 


XortsooU )3rt8S 

J. a. CufhinK H Co. - Berwick & Smith 
Norwood M««t. U.S.A. 






M OF Labor : thb Servaitt — continued . • • • 1 

M OF Labor : thb Slave 67 

BTic Economy of tub Planter 181 

BTIC Economy of the Planter — continued. . • • 107 



rivE Value of Estates 242 

fagtured Supplies : Foreign 258 

factured Supplies: Foreign — continued .... 331 






Makufactured Supplies : Dombstio 392 


Manufactured Supplies : Domestic — continued .... 440 





The Town 










The ordinary indenture was marked by great simplicity. 
When it was drawn previous to the departure of the ser- 
vant from England, it named as the consideration for the 
right to his labor, payment of the cost of transportation, 
a sufficient quantity of drink, food, and clothing during 
the continuation of the term, together with lodgings and 
whatever else was thought to be essential to his liveli- 
hood.^ It was always in the power of those assuming the 

1 For the indenture of an ordinary servant, see NeilPs Virginia Cam- 
Jorum, p. 57 ; see also Records of York County, vol. 1087-1691, p. 38, Va. 
State Library. The following is an interesting example of the indenture of 
a planter^s apprentice : " This Indenture made the Q^ day of June in tlie 
year of our Lord Christ 1059, witnesseth, that Bartholomew Clarke ye Son 
of John Clarke of the City of Canterbury, Sadler, of his own liking and 
with ye consent of Francis Plumer of ye City of Canterbury, Brewer, liath 
put himself apprentice unto Edward Rowzie of Virginia, planter, as an ai)- 
prentice with him to dwell from ye day of the date above mentioned unto 
ye full term of four years from thence next ensuing fully to be complete 
and ended, all which said term the said Bartholomew Clarke well and 
faithfully the said Edward Rowzie as his master shall serve, his secrets 
keep, his commands most jiLst and lawful he shall observe, and fornica- 
tion he shall not commit, nor contract matrimony with any woman dui*- 
ing the said term, he shall not do hurt unto his master, nor consent to ye 
doing of any, but to his power shall hinder and prevent ye doing of any; 

VOL. II. — B 1 


obligations of an instrument of this character by mutual 
consent to insert unusual conditions as to what was to be 
done by either party for the special advantage of the other 
before or during its operation and at the expiration of the 
time which it covered. Thus the servant, in entering into 
covenants with a merchant or shipmaster engaged in the 
Virginian trade, could insist upon the privilege of hav- 
ing the interval of a fortnight at least in which to make 
inquiries concerning the characters of the di£ferent plant- 

at cards, dice or any unlawful games he shall not play ; he shall not 
waste the goods of his said master nor lend them to anybody without his 
master's consent, he shall not absent himself from his said master's ser- 
vice day or night, but as a true and faithful servant, shall demean him- 
self, and the said Edward Rowzie in ye mystery, art, and occupation of 
a planter which now . . . the best manner he can, the said Bartholomew 
shall teach or cause to be taught, and also during said term shall find and 
allow his apprentice competent meat, drink, apparel, washing, lodging 
with all other things fitting for his degree and in the end thereof, fifty 
acres of land to be laid out for him, and all other things which according 

( to the custom of the country is or ought to be done." Becords of Rap- 
pahannock County, vol. 1664-1673, p. 21, Va. State Library. The follow- 
ing is an indenture drawn up for a female servant: ''This Indenture 
made the Second of Jany in ye year 1686 between John Porter of ye one 
party, and Samuel Polly of ye other party, both of ye County of Henrico 
in James River in manner and form following, witnesseth, that ye said 
John Porter doth covenant, grant and agree to and with ye s<* Sam" Polly 
to take his daughter Mary Polly for ye full end and term of ten years 
from ye 1"* month September in ye year 1685, In cousideration ye s^ John 
Porter shall use or maintain ye 8<^ Mary noe other ways than he doth his 
own in all things as dyett, cloathing and lodging, the s^ Mary to obey the 
6^ John Porter in all his lawful commands within ye s^ term of years 

\ above menconed as also att ye full end and term of years that ye ^ John 
Porter doth bind himself his executors or administrators to pay unto 
ye said Mary Polly, three barrells of com and one suit of penistone 

Land one suit of good serge with one black hood, two shifts of dowlas and 
shoes and hose convenient. And ye said Sam* Polly doth assure and 
bind firmly his s<^ daughter to ye said Porter for ye full end of ten 
years by these presents whereunto both the s*' party es have set their 
hands." Bewrds of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1602, p. 424, Va. State 


ers and then of disposing of himself to the one he should 

Both master and servant could protect themselves from 
every form of encroachment upon each other. It was, for 
instance, in the power of the master to require that the 
servant should pay double the value of the labor of every 
day he lost for avoidable causes, and if this happened to 
be in the harvest time, the sum was to be increased by ten. 
On the other hand, the servant might covenant that he 
should not be compelled to plant and tend to more than 
two hundred weight of tobacco during any one year, this 
being a much smaller task than was usually imposed upon 
individuals of his class.^ 

Many controversies arose between masters and servants 
who had been introduced without indentures, as to the 
time when their terms ought to expire, and this led to the 
passage of a large number of important acts. The rule 
which prevailed at first was that every member of the 
latter class who had been imported into Virginia without 
written covenants, should be bound for a period of four 
years if his age was in excess of twenty-one, five if he was 
under twenty, and seven if under twelve.^ The provisions 
of this statute were substantially modified in 1654 so far 
as aliens were involved. When the latter had come in 
without indentures, they were required, if more than six- 
teen years old, to remain in the emplojTnent of the planter 
to whom they were assigned, for a term of six years. If 
the person in question was under sixteen, this term was 
extended until he had attained his twenty-fourth year.* 
It was found that this law worked to the disadvantage of 

1 Leah and Rachel, p. 11, Force*s Historical Tracts j vol. m. 

* Bullock^s Virginia^ p. 63. 

s Hening's ^Statutes, vol. I, p. 257. 

* Ibid., p. 41L 


the Colony by retarding its growth in population, the 
length of service expected of aliens discouraging their 
emigration to Virginia in the character of laborers. It 
was decided to place all servants of whatever nationality 
upon the same footing, no disparaging distinction being 
allowed in dealing with any class of them.^ 

In the season of 1661-62, an important change was made 
in the general law that prevailed, by the adoption of the 
regulation on the same point which had long been in 
operation in England ; it was provided that all servants 
who were imported without written agreements should 
be bound for a term of five years if more than sixteen 
years old, or if less than sixteen, until the completion of 
the twenty-fourth year.^ Every master who had intro- 
duced a laborer into the Colony or who had purchased 
one from a merchant or shipowner,- there being no indent- 
ure in either case, was directed to bring him before the 
nearest court with a view to having his age adjudged. 
If the master failed to conform to this general order, 
the servant, although he may not have attained his 
twelfth year, was considered to be bound only for the 
term which would have been required of him if he had 
been adjudged in court to have passed his sixteenth year. 
Four months was the limit in which it was permitted to 
conform to the order of the justices. It was discovered 
that the law as to length of service in the absence of 
indentures, operated with great harshness in the case 6i 
a youth who had been declared to be only a few months 
under sixteen, since it compelled him to remain in the 
employment of his master until his twenty-fourth year, 
while a companion, whose age was only a few weeks in 
advance of sixteen years* was in consideration of that 

1 Hening^s Statutes, vol. I, p. 689. 
*Ihid., vol. II, pp. 113, 114. 


fact called upon to serve only until he was twenty-two. 
The law was amended in 1666 to the effect that all who 
were imported without indentures should, if they were 
nineteen years of age or above, continue with their 
masters for a term of five years, and if under that age, 
until the completion of their twenty-fourth year.^ 

It became extremely common for those who had been 
sold in accord with the custom of the country, to wait 
very quietly until the persons who had brought them in 
and the ships in which they had come over, had left for 
England, and then to advance the claim of having been 
introduced under indentures which were lost, but which 
if produced would show that they were bound to serve 
for a shorter time than was now required of them. To 
remove the confusion and annoyance arising from this 
source, it was provided that any one who had presumably 
been imported without formal covenants, from the fact 
that he had been disposed of by the custom, should be 
carried before the nearest justice of the peace, and if it 
was alleged that he had originally bound himself by a 
written agreement for a regular term, he was to be 
allowed one month in which to produce the document, 
or sufficient evidence of its former existence, and if in 
that length of time the claim could not be sustained in 
the manner required, he was to be debarred from urging 
it a second time.^ 

Whether the servant was bound to a master by an 
indenture which laid down in the clearest language the 
full nature of their mutual relations or simply by the cus- 
tom of the coimtry, he had a legal as well as a moral right 
to expect that provision would be made for his comfort- 

* Hening^s Statutes, vol. II, p. 240 ; Beverley's History of Virginia, 
p. 219. 

2 Hening's StatuUs, vol. II, p. 297. 


able existence, in the form of yietuals, appareL, and lodging. 
During the administration of the Company, he subsisted 
on hominy boiled with milk alone, or with milk, butter, 
and cheese, or with fish and the flesh of bullocks.^ He 
was supplied with a definite quantity of com by the week, 
amounting, as a rule, probably to fourteen cans, tlus being 
the allowance for that length of time in the case of the 
servants employed in working the lands of Martin's Hun- 
dred.' A graphic account of his food and clothing in 
1622 has been transmitted to us in a letter written in that 
year by a young man of this class. The author's spirits 
at the time of its composition were greatly depressed, 
but the details which he gives, instead of conveying the 
impression that the laborers at this period were very 
meanly situated, rather raises our conception of the advan- 
tages which they enjoyed. It should be remembered that 
the letter bore the date of the year in which the great 
massacre of the settlers by the Indians occurred, when 
the losses attending that event and the confusiim follow- 
ing it, very naturally produced a condition of extfttordi- 
nary hardship in the Colony, among masters as well as 
among servants.' ki times marked by peace and abun- 
dance, such as those immediately preceding the massacre 
or following it at a long interval, the various articles given 
the laborer either for subsistence or comfort must have 
been greater in quantity and better in quality. Richard 
Frethorne, the author of the letter referred to, declared 
that his food consisted of peas and loblolly, that is, a mass 
of gruel, chowder, or spoon meat, with one-fourth of a loaf 

1 Works of Copt, John SmUh, p. 886. 

^ Examinations, etc.. Concerning Demands of Captain Martin, Briiish 
State Papergj Colonial, voL III, No. 36, IV ; McDonald Papers, voL I, 
p. 190, Va. State Library. 

* Letter of Thomas Best, Boffal Bist. MS8. Commission^ Eighth Re- 
port, Appx. p. 41. 


of bread and a small piece of beef. This seems to have 
been the allowance for a single meal. The loaf was most 
probably Indian com bread, flour not being easily procur- 
able in that age. Bread made of Indian com, it should 
be remembered, is one of the most concentrated forms of 
nourishment, and one-fourth of a loaf of the ordinary size 
would be sufficient for an ordinary man. Frethome makes 
it plain that he belonged to a higher class than that of the 
agricultural servant in England — indeed, he appears to 
have been the son either of a tenant farmer or a small 
landowner — by seriously lamenting that his master did 
not give him a penny ^ to help him to spice, sugar, or 
strong waters.'' He prays that his father will send him 
some cheese. For clothing he stated that he had received 
one suit, one cap and two bands, and one pair of stockings. 
Some thief had stolen his cloak. ^ The profoimd dissatis- 
faction felt by Frethome was that of a sensitive mind 
suffering from homesickness and exposed to imaccustomed 
conditions. How many workingmen were there in Eng- 
land who would not gladly have exchanged the starvation 
against which they were constantly contending for the situ- 
ation in which he was placed? I have already referred 
to the cases mentioned by Copeland, in which some of the 
most industrious laborers of London were only able to 
secure brown bread and cheese for their families.^ The 

1 The letter wUl be found in Eighth Report of Eoyal Hist. MSS. Com- 
mission^ Appx.,p.41. It is reprinted in NeilPs Virginia Vetusta. Henry 
Bhgg, who was a servant in Virginia during the spring of 1623, writing 
Ui liis brother in England, said that at this time he was living on a wine> 
quart of com a day. Royal Hist. MSS. Commission, Eighth Report, 
Appx., p. 42. 

*The ordinary victuals of an English thatcher, who probably was 
provided with better food than the common agricultural laborer, was, in 
1^41, butter, milk, cheese, and either eggs, pies, or bacon. Porridge was 
sometimes substituted for milk. Cunningham^s Growth of English In- 
dustry and Commerce, p. 193. 


food might have seemed poor and the clothing scant to 
a youth brought up in an English home of a moderate 
degree of refinement and with every reasonable comfort, 
but to the English Hodge, who tilled the fields at the rate 
of wages prescribed by the justices of the peace, the very 
lowest which would enable him to earn a subsistence for 
his family, and in only too many cases not affording him 
this without the aid of the levy for the benefit of paupers, 
the provision made for the servant in Virginia in the most 
frightful year in the history of the Colony does not appear 
to show that his position was as mean and intolerable as 
it was represented to be. This was the age in which 
Henry IV of France had won the lasting gratitude of 
his countrymen, in expressing the hope that under his 
administration of the affairs of his kingdom every French 
peasant would be so prosperous that he could without 
extravagance have a fowl in the pot on Sunday.^ 

As early as 1661, at a time when the live stock of 
the Colony were far less numerous then they became in 
the closing decades of the seventeenth century, it was the 
custom in York County to give the servants rations of 
meat at least three times a week.^ It could not have been 
many years before this allowance was extended to each 
day in consequence of the enormous increase in the herds 
of hogs and horned cattle. 

The character of the clothing worn by the servants is 
shown in an advertisement for the recovery of two run- 
aways, placed on record in York County in 1694. The 
garments of one consisted in part of a coat, made of 
frieze, a black hat and a pair of wooden heel shoes ; of the 
other, of a frieze coat, a pair of leather breeches, a cap of 

1 Henry IV of France died in 1610. 

^ Becorda of York County, vol. 1667-1662, p. 384, Va. State Li- 


far, and a pair of plain shoes. The under linen was of 
dowlas and lockram.^ 

The author of Leah and Rachel^ a pamphlet pub- 
lished about the middle of the century, denied very 
emphatically the correctness of the report prevailing at 
that time in England that the servants in Virginia were 
compelled to sleep on boards by the fireplace instead of in 
comfortable beds. The best indication of the treatment 
which they received in the way of physical comforts, as 
he averred, was the general satisfaction expressed by all 
persons of this class who had been recently imported, a 
satisfaction which had led them to use their influence 
with friends and acquaintances in the mother country to 
induce them to emigrate to the Colony.* The author of 
Public Good without Private Interest went so far as to 
charge the planters with forcing the laborers in their 
employment to " lie by all the time of their servitude on 
ash heaps or otherwise to kennel up and down like 
dogs," If this occurred, it was only in rare cases, for the 
General Assembly had always shown a remarkable solici- 
tude to furnish every means as a protection for those who 

» Records of York County, vol. 1604-1697, p. 118, Va. State Library. 
Among the items in a statement of Edward Moss of York County, show- 
ing his exi)enditares on account of his servant, Richard Stephens, were 
the following : for a pair of shoe strings, 3 lbs. of tobacco ; for a peniston 
coat, 60 lbs. of tobacco ; for a dowlas shirt, 60 lbs. of tobacco. Vol. 1667- 
1*)62, p. 411, Va. State Library. The following from the records of the 
G^-neral Court, Dec. 11, 1640, preserved in a minute in the Robinson 
Transcripts, p. 8, is also of interest : ** Whereas William Huddleston, 
servant unto Mr. Canhow, hath complained to the board against his mas- 
ter for want of all manner of apparel, the court hath, therefore, ordered 
that the said Canhow shall before Christmas next provide and allow unto 
the said Huddleston such sufficient apparel of linen and woollen as shall 
be thought fit by Captain William West or otherwise that the said Cap- 
tain West shall have power to dispose of the said servant until the s:iid 
Canhow do perform this order." 

- Leah and Rachel, p. 12, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. 


were bound by indenture, being prompted to this line of 
conduct not only by an impulse of common humanity, but 
also by a desire to remove every obstacle and repress 
every influence tending to discourage the growth of popu- 
lation. They were also commanded by the English author- 
ities to suppress all inhuman severity towards servants.^ 
The people of Virginia, the author of Leah and RacheU 
the pamphlet already quoted, remarked, were Christians. 
While there may have been a disposition on the part of 
some to overlook the obligations which they had assumed 
towards their laborers, the enlightened spirit of the laws 
in this connection proved conclusively that the sentiment 
of the planters at large was sternly condemnatory of any 
abridgment of the usual comforts of this class. It was 
provided that every master should allow his servants suffi- 
cient food, clothing, and shelter, and that in inflicting pim- 
ishment he should be careful not to exceed the bounds of 
moderation. If the servant had just grounds for thinking 
that he was deprived of his necessary amount of food, or 
that the house set apart for him did not furnish a suffi- 
cient protection from the weather, or that the correction 
he received for his negligence was harsher than the char- 
acter of the offence called for, he possessed the right, 
which had been expressly granted to him, to enter a com- 
plaint with the commissioners of the court for the county 
in which his master resided. If, upon a hearing, this 
complaint seemed just, the latter was required to appear 
at the following session and defend his conduct, and if he 
failed to show good cause, was compelled to give ample 
satisfaction for the charges against him.^ These provi- 

1 Instractions to Culpeper, 1679, McDonald Papers, vol. V, p. 318, Va, 
State Library. 

2 Leah and Rachel, p. 16, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. lU. In 
April, 1658, Nicholas Smith, a servant of Thomas Brookes, of York 


sions, which were well calculated to afford the 'servant 
absolute security in ,the enjoyment of every comfort that 
he could reasonably claim, were in operation during the 
remainder of the century, and if in any case he suffered, 
it was to be attributed to his own supineness and not to 
any deficiency in the law prescribing the remedy. How 
great was the solicitude of the General Court to ensure 
him the amplest protection in all of his rights, is shown 
in the order passed in 1679-80, which forbade a woman 
who had proved herself a cruel mistress to have ser- 
vants in her employment.^ 

The fact that a youthful servant was disposed to run 
away was often accepted not as an indication of an in- 
corrigible nature but of hard usage. A case of this 
kind occurred in Lower Norfolk about the middle of the 
century. A boy had frequently fled from his mistress, 
Mrs. Deborah Fameshaugh, seeking refuge in his last 
flight with a Mrs. Lambard. A complaint was filed in 
the local court in his behalf, and the judges directed that 
he should remain with Mrs. Lambard until Mrs. Fame- 
shaugh should provide him with food, clothing, and other 
necessaries, of which it was declared that she had deprived 
him whUe in her service. A committee was appointed to 
enforce the order, and upon the continuation of her ill 
treatment, her right to hold the boy was summarily 
withdrawn. 2 

In the code adopted in 1705, which represented the 

Coonty, entered a complaint with the justices of the peace that he was 
badly used by his master. Smith was ordered to remain under the pro- 
tection of the constable, whilst a summons was issued requiring Brookes 
to appear before the court on the following day to justify his conduct. 
Vol. 1657-1662, p. 66, Va. State Library. 

» General Court Orders, 1677-1682, Sept. 20, 1680, liobinson Tran- 
icripts^ p. 265. 

> BtcordB of Lower Norfolk County, original vol 1646-1651, f. p. 117. 


sentiment of the Colony in the closing years of the pre- 
vious century, a sentiment that so far as the servants 
were concerned was even more enlightened than it had 
been forty years before, we find all the details of the 
original statute reenacted, with some additional provi- 
sions which made the regulations on this point still more 
effective. No master, for instance, was to be permitted 
to whip a white servant on the . naked back witkoat 
special authority from the court, and in case this order 
was disregarded, he was to be mulcted twenty shillinge. 
The justices of the peace were, as formerly, to receive 
the complaints of all persons under articles of indenture 
as to unwholesome food, inferior clothing, and imcomfort* 
able lodging. If there was good reason to suspect that 
a justice, the justices being generally large landownerSi .1 
and, therefore, naturally disposed to sympathize with the 
master rather than with the servant, leaned in any case \ 
towards the former without adequate cause, the servant 
could enter a petition in the county court without the 
usual delay of a formal process of action. 

From this it will be seen that the laborers of Virginia, 
whether bound by indenture or by the custom of the coun- 
try, were shielded by laws that recognized the fallibility 
and selfishness of the local magistrates and provided a 
remedy as swift and as summary as if a landowner and ^^ 
not a servant had been involved. Under the code of 
1705,^ which, as already stated, reflected the state of pub- 
lic feeling at the close of the seventeenth century as weOl^ 
as at the beginning of the eighteenth, if the servant be* 
came disabled in consequence of the meagreness of theM 
provisions made for his comfort, or as the result of the!rj| 
punishment to which he might have been subjected cm 
any occasion, he was to be taken away from his master, 

1 See General Head "Servants," 1705, Hening's Statutes, voL IlL 


and in case he could not be sold to a second one, turned 
over to the church wardens of the parish, and until the 
expiration of his term supported at the expense of his 
original employer, the amount required for this purpose 
to be levied, if necessary, upon the employer's distrainable 
property. If still considered valuable when put up for 
sale at public auction, and in consequence found a pur- 
chaser, the sheriff under authority of the court could 
compel the origplnal m^ter to make good any deficiency 
in the charges incurred by the county in maintaining 
such a servant in the interval during which he continued 
under its protection. If the disabilities of the servant 
arose from no fault of the master, but were due to una- 
voidable causes in the course of nature, he had a claim 
upon his employer for support until the end of his term. 
This claim the master could not ignore without being 
exposed to a forfeit of ten pounds sterling annually to 
the parish, which was required by law to furnish the 
disabled servant with the necessaries of life in case the 
master shirked the responsibility of his maintenance. 

These enlightened provisions of the code of 1705 were 
in accord with the general spirit, not only of the laws of 
1645, 1657, and 1661, which permitted a servant to com- 
plain to the nearest commissioner if he was denied by a 
master the ordinary comforts to which he was entitled, but 
also of a statute of an earlier date prescribing the medical 
attention he should have a right to expect. The Assem- 
bly, having reason to believe in 1664 that the exorbitant 
charges of physicians had caused a large number of the 
planters to defer calling them in until it was too late to 
save the lives of their sick laborers, the fee demanded 
being frequently greater in value than the amount of 
capital invested in individual servants at the time of pur- 
chase, adopted a rule to prevent the abuse. It was pro- 


vided that in every case in which a practitioner asked for 
his medical attention in behalf of persons of this class a 
remuneration plainly far more than the condition of his 
patient or the other circumstances of the case justified 
him in doing, the planter who was the object of the 
attempted imposition should be allowed the right to 
summon him to court to explain his conduct. If he 
failed to do so, it was assumed that he had been actuated 
simply by a motive of extortion, ^d was condemned to 
be punished severely.^ 

The Assembly did not content itself merely with ensurr 
ing necessary physical comforts for the servants, or throw- 
ing safeguards about their health by inflicting penalties 
for negligence in masters or extortion in medical practi- 
tioners. It looked also to the improvement of their moral 
character. In case their servants had never been instructed 
in the catechism, employers were compelled by the express 
provisions of the statute law of the Colony to send them 
to the nearest church, there, in the hour preceding the 
opening of the exercises of the evening, to be grounded by 
the minister of the parish in the Ten Commandments, the 
Lord's Prayer, and the general articles of belief.^ 

The principal labor in which the servant was engaged 
was the cultivation of tobacco and the removal of the 

1 Henlng's Statutes, vol. I, p. 316. 

2 Ibid., pp. 181, 182. If a passage In Virginia's Cure can be relied 
on as accurate, some of the masters were very lax in observing this pro- 
vision of the law. " Some of the heathen complained that Sunday was 
the worst day of the seven to them because the servants of the Christian 
plantations nearest to them being then left at liberty, often spent that day 
in visiting the Indian towns, to the disquiet of the heathen and to the 
great scandall of the Christian religion." Virgmia's Cure, p. 7, Force's 
Historical Tracts, vol. III. It ought to be remembered in reading this 
passage that the author of Virginia's* Cure was seeking to place in the 
most unfavorable light, the religious condition of the people of tho 


forest for the opening up of new grounds. As a rule, 
white women were not employed in the fields. This was 
the case even in the time of the Company,^ the duties of 
women being confined to the performance of household 
duties, to cooking, milking, churning, cleaning, washing, 
and sewing.* It was only when the female servant was 
an unmitigated slattern in person, offensive in her bearing 
and dissolute in her conduct, that she was required to do 
work in the field. Even the strongest of the women were 
not considered very useful in this sphere, being looked upon 
as a burden rather than a help. Labor of a purely agri- 
cultural character in Virginia was thought to demand less 
painful exertion than in England. It was neither so tax- 
ing nor so long continued. This did not apply to the 
task of clearing the forest lands, the most severe and 
trying undertaking, perhaps, which has ever been imposed 
upon a farm hand. Its performance, however, was re- 
stricted to a brief portion of each year and fell more 
heavily on the axemen, a comparatively small number, 
than upon the others, who were employed in rolling the 
trunks into piles and in burning the brushwood. The soil 
of the new ground was thickly interspersed with roots, but 
as it was broken up with the hoe, it did not offer any 
serious obstacles to cultivation. In the long interval in 
winter between the sale of the crop of the preceding 
season and the removal of the plants from the beds to 
the fields, the servants had few important duties to 

* Boyal Hist. MS 8. Commission^ Eighth Report, Appx., p. 41. Thomas 
Kicholls, writing to Sir John Wolstenholme, April 2, 1023, said: "all 
that the women did was nothing but to devour the food of the land with- 
out doing any day's deed/' p. 41. 

* Leah and Rachel, p. 12, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. m. In 1669, 
Alice Rogers, a servant of Thomas Spilman, of York County, complained 
in a petition entered in court that her master made her ^* work in the 
groond," VoL 1664-1672, p. 335, Va. State Library. 


occupy their attention. The principal tasks, which con- 
sisted in tending the corn and tobacco, began in the 
spring. The hours of labor were then extended from 
sunrise to sunset, but there was an intermission of five 
hours in the day when the sun in the openings was most 
oppressive and dangerous.^ Doubtless, to untried and 
unseasoned servants, it was extremely taxing to be com- 
pelled to exert themselves at all, whether in the morning 
or the afternoon, in the months of June, July, and August, 
and to many of those who had been recently imported 
into the Colony, the influence of the heat in these months 
was fatal by bringing on fevers, which their constitutions, 
accustomed to a different climate, found it impossible to 
resist. Omitting from view all considerations of human- 
ity, the prospect of losing valuable laborers whose terms 
had been purchased a short time before at a high price, 
and who could not easily be replaced, was sufficient in 
itself to lead to the adoption of rules that operated as 
a protection to their general health. Among the most 
important of these rules was, that no white laborer who 
had just arrived in the Colony should be forced to engage 
in any form of work in the fields in very hot weather.^ 
The immigration agents in England, who were familiar 
with the climate of Virginia, frequently urged their 
inexperienced patrons to secure at least a few seasoned 
laborers before they began the cultivation of their newly 
opened plantations.^ There are indications that many 
of the servants had been prompted to leave England by 
extravagant representations of the ease and comfort of 
the life which they would be able to lead in the Colony, 

1 Leah and Rachel, p. 12, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. HI. 
« Ibid., p. 14. 

• Vemey Papers, Camden Publications, See NeilPs Virginia Caro* 
lorum, pp. 100-1 IL 


and the contrast, not necessarily very great, between the 
conditions which they expected and the conditions which 
they found, threw many into a state of dejection in which 
they soon succumbed to the lurking miasma of the marshes 
and the newly exposed soil of the clearings.^ And the 
same was also the fate of many in that class which was 
represented by Frethorne, already referred to, men who 
had occupied a station of comparative independence in 
England, and who were cast down by the different situa- 
tions in which they found themselves in Virginia. The 
work of men of this stamp being carried out with a faint- 
ing or unwilling spirit, was certain to be grossly defective, 
and was, therefore, well calculated to provoke harshness in 
the attitude of their master towards them. Regarding them 
as incurably worthless, there was little inducement on his 
part to encourage them. He accepted them as incorrigible, 
and weary of chafing against an evil which it was impos- 
sible to remove, he finally sank into a state of carelessness 
and indifference as to the matter of their improvement.^ 

As the servants increased in number, it became more 
necessary to employ overseers to supervise them, and this 
was especially the case in the instance of planters who had 
obtained patents to large tracts so widely separated in the 
point of locality that the owners were unable to give the 
management of them their constant attention.^ When a 
more careful superintendence was required than the land- 

* Lift of Thomas Hellier^ pp. 28, 29. The author of the Life also asserted I 
that there was no encoaragemeut for any one to come over as a servant 
unless he was ** able of limb and healthy of constitution, it being more to 
the interest of Virginia to have servants who can chop logs lustily than 
chop logic. I>et robustious rustics sail to Virginia to seek their fortunes.". 

2 Bollock^s Virginia^ p. 14. 

• There is a reference to an overseer as early as the year 1622. See 
letter of John Baldwin to a friend in the Bermudas, printed in the appen- 
dix of Neill's Virginia Vetusta, p. 203. 

VOL. XI. — C 



owner himself could personally give, the most faithful and 
capable of his laborers was probably quite frequently 
appointed overseer. If he had under engagement to him- 
self a servant who was perfectly competent to perform 
the duties of the position, there could have been little 
inducement for him to select a man who was in full enjoy- 
ment of his freedom. The legal tie which gave him con- 
trol over the actions of the servant made the servant a 
more desirable subordinate.^ On the other hand, the fact 
that the overseer was still bound by the terms of an in- 
denture was calculated to diminish his influence with the 
laborers over whom he was placed. In the county records 
of Virginia previous to 1700, the references to overseers 
become more frequent as the close of the century is 
approached. These undoubtedly were freemen. At no 
time in the history of the Colony were such men absent 
from the class of overseers. Indeed, this class was prin- 
cipally recruited from among those whose indentures had 
expii*ed.2 The duties incident to the position required for 
their performance a firm and energetic spirit as well as 
intelligence and fairness. However amenable to authority 
the great mass of English servants may have been, there 
must have been a large number who needed the utmost 
strictness and sternness for their governance. To control 
such persons, the master was compelled to rely upon his 
overseer, who, however well adapted to his office, often 
found this an impossible task. In seeking to perform it, 
he was not infrequently assaulted by fractious servants.^ 

1 One of the overseers of Major Robert Beverley, Sr., was a servant 
liecords of Middlesex County ^ original vol. 1679-1694, p. 4. 

2 Jones' Present State of Virginia, p. 54. The overseer wss sometimes 
a' negro. " General Court Orders, April 23, 1669, Hannah Warwick's 
case extenuated because she was overseen by a negro ovei^seer." Bobin- 
son Transcripts, p. 266. 

* liecords of the General Court, pp. 44, 99 ; Becords of Middlesex 
County, original vol. 1680-1694, p. 36. 


Of all offences of which the servants were guilty, run- 
ning away was the most common. The inclination to 
this act was exhibited at an early date in the history of 
the Colony and was attributable to a variety of causes, 
such as harsh treatment in special instances, the desire to 
escape from the trammels of an uncongenial situation, or 
the promptings of an intractable nature. It is easily con- 
ceivable that this disposition developed itself more fre- 
quently in youths under nineteen years of age who were 
bound for long periods, than in older persons whose terms 
would end in a much shorter time, and who, therefore, 
had not the same inducement to desert their masters. 
The younger laborers were naturally more restless, more 
unruly, and less likely to show patience and self-restraint 
if the conditions of their lives were repugnant to their 
tastes and ambitions. The inclination to run away was, 
however, confined to no age. The man who, in consider- 
ation of being transported acro^ the ocean to Virginia, 
without payment of the usual charges, had conferred upon 
the merchant or shipowner the right to dispose of him in 
the Colony, would much more probably feel this impulse 
and act upon it than the man who had come out under 
articles of indenture with the planter to whom he was con- 
signed, and as to whose character and standing he must 
have obtained more or less definite information. In such 
cases, the engagement of the servant had not been formed 
unadvisedly, but after consultation and thoughtful con- 

In the beginning, the frequency with which servants 
abandoned their masters was in some measure due to the 
scarcity of labor. Many unscrupulous planters were led 
by this circumstance to hold out secret offers to persons 
of that class who were in the employment of landowners 
residing at a distance. These offers were accompanied 


by the promise that protection would be afforded them in 
case their whereabouts were discovered, an improbable con- 
tingency, as was asserted, on account of the remoteness 
and the isolation of the separate estates. Even in the 
cases in which the planters receiving absconding servants 
had not instigated them to leave their masters, the readi- 
ness with which they were often employed without any 
questions being asked amounted to a positive inducement 
to restless and discontented laborers to break their engage- 
ments whenever they felt the desire. 

So general became the complaint of the action of the 
planters who gave employment to absconding servants, 
whether informed or not as to the expiration of their terms, 
that it was found necessary to adopt a regulation that no 
one should enter into a contract under any circumstances 
with a worker for wages or for a share of the crop, or 
with a laborer who was subject to an ordinary indenture, 
unless he could produce a certificate signed by the com- 
mander of the place where he had formerly resided, 
showing that he was at liberty to bind himself by new 
covenants to any one who was willing to employ him. If, 
notwithstanding his inability to furnish this certificate, he 
should be engaged, then the person who was thus guilty 
of violating the law was compelled to pay to the master 
or 'mistress of the servant, if his term was still unex- 
pired, twenty pounds of tobacco for every night he was 
entertained. Even though the laborer concerned should 
happen to have hired himself for a short time and for a defi- 
nite sum, the same penalty was to be enforced. So deter- 
mined were the members of the Assembly to probe to the 
heart of the evil, that it was provided that even if the la- 
borer who was thus employed should be a freeman who had 
not before entered into any contract, the person covenant- 
ing with him should still be under the necessity of requiring 


of him a certificate of absolute freedom. If without this 
certificate the laborer should still receive employment, the 
person who gave it was exposed to such punishment as 
the Governor and Council should prescribe.^ If the cer- 
tificate offered was in reality a forgery, the servant or 
freeman incurred a heavy penalty for his crime. In 1676, 
when the insurrection had drawn away so many laborers 
from their masters, the Assembly provided that every 
planter who had in his employment a servant whose ante- 
cedents were unknown, and who had not been residing 
in the country nine months, should present a report to the 
nearest justice of the peace showing his age, stature, the 
place from which he came, and the length of time he had 
been in the country.* 

There was one strong influence at work among the 
planters which was likely to have made the operation of 
these laws more effective than is the case in general 
with prohibitory statutes in communities recently settled. 
The very reasons moving those who entertained abscond- 
ing servants or hirelings to enter into covenants with 
them in spite of their failure to produce the certificate 
demanded by the law, impelled the masters or first em- 
ployers of the runaways to pursue and seize them and to 
bring them back to the estates to which they belonged. 
The scarcity of labor made it dear, and it was less expen- 
sive to follow a servant or hireling who had absconded 
than to replace him by the purchase of a substitute. The 
most important interests of the landliolders were involved 
in the sanctity of the regulation, and there are innumer- 
able indications in the county records that the penalty 
imposed for disregarding it was strictly enforced.^ 

1 Hening^s Statutes^ vol. I, pp. 253, 264. 

« Ibid., vol. II, pp. 406, 406. 

' Many instances of the expenses incorred in recovering a runaway 


The character of the punishment incurred by the servant 
in absconding offered an additional inducement to his 

are preserved in the records of the county courts. The following is an 

example taken from the records of Lancaster County: 

" One musket of the county's 160 lbs. tobacco 

One rundlet of powder 48 " ** 

One small broad axe 15 ** ** 

One new cooper's axe 48 " ** 

Five men and a boat 4 dayes 340 '* ** 

One gallon of rum, etc., for them 140 ** *^ 


Paid three men that brought Coll. Coulbourne 

from York 125 " " 

Paid Mr. Coulbourne as per his account . . 1520 ** ** 

Four men and a shallop 4 dayes 600 ** ** 

One gallon of rum, etc., for them 300 ** ** " 

Becords of Lancaster County, original vol 1660-1682, p. 336. In 1694, 

Patrick Goghagan ran away from his master in Elizabeth City County. 

The cost of recovering him amounted to £5 198. Records of Elizabeth 

County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 60, Va. State Library. Reference may also be 

made to an instance in Becords of York County^ vol. 1687-1691, p. 569, 

Va. State Library : ^* An acco't of my charges in p'suite of my runaway 

servants, Jno. Sherry, a portagues, and Tho. Roberts, a molatta, which 

absented themselves from my service ye 18th of August last and returned 

ye fifth instant : ,, , 

x» s% (Z. 

To John Marson for his sloope 3 00 00 

" John Travillian for his voyage 1 10 00 

•* John Bushell for ditto 10000 

** p'visins for ye voyage 20000 

" passage over Elke River 00006 

" a guide from Elke River to Newcastle .... 02 06 

** my expenses at Newcastle 04 09 

** passage from thence to Philadelphia > . . . . 04 06 

" expenses by ye way 03 08 

" expenses at Philadelphia 2 07 00 

" " thence back to Newcastle 01 06 

<< boat hire from Philadelphia unto Newcastle . . 10 00 

" expenses there 07 06 

** guide from Newcastle to Elke River .... 02 00 

•* gallon of rum 06 00 

they being absent 79 4ayes apeece.'* 


master to discover the place to wliich he had fled, and 
to capture and lead him back. If the act of running 
away under consideration was the first offence of that 
nature on his part, he was punished to the extent of 
being required to remain in the employment of his 
master double the time for which he was bound by his 
indenture, or by the custom of the country in the absence 
of a written agreement between them ; and if his flight 
had been marked by aggravated circiunstances, or was 
taken at the season of the year when the crops needed 
special attention, it lay in the power of the commissioners 
of the county to enlarge still further the term for which 
he had become liable by way of penalty for his violation of 
his covenants. If the offence was committed a second time, 
the servant was also branded in the cheek and shoulder.^ 

In some cases, the servant was not only required to 
remain with his master double the time agreed upon at 
first, but also to pay the amount which had been spent in 
capturing him. The punishment occasionally extended to 
the infliction of stripes. In 1640, Hugh Gwyn followed 
two absconding white laborers and a negro slave into 
Maryland, in which Colony they had taken refuge, seized 
them and brought them back. By order of court, they 
were whipped on their bare backs until they had received 
thirty lashes. The two white men, a Dutchman and 
a Scotchman, were forced to remain with their master 
twelve months beyond the terms for which they were 
bound in their indentures, and at the end of that inter- 
val they were required to serve on the public works for 
three years. The negro was delivered over to his master 
to continue a slave during the rest of his life.^ 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, pp. 264, 440 ; vol. TI, p. 117. 
' General Court Orders, June 4, July 0, 1040, Jiobuiaon Transcripts, 
pp. 9, 10. 


In the same year, several servants planned to make 
their escape to the Dutch provinces in the North, the 
ringleader in the conspiracy being a Dutchman, and one 
of the participants a negro. They were captured when 
they had gotten only as far as Elizabeth River. The 
punishment in this case was severer than in that previ- 
ously mentioned. The Dutchman was sentenced to receive 
thirty lashes, to have the letter " R " branded in his cheek, 
and to carry a shackle upon one leg as he worked. When 
his term of service expired, he was to be delivered to tlie 
authorities, to remain in the public employment for seven 
years. One of his accomplices, after receiving thirty 
lashes, and being branded in the cheek, was upon the 
close of the period covered by his indenture to become 
the servant of the Colony, and to continue so for the 
space of three years. A second accomplice was to be 
bound over to the public for two years after the expira- 
tion of liis term. The negro was to be burnt in the 
face with the letter *'R" and to be whipped severely.^ 

In 1660-61, it was provided that if a white man bound 
by indenture or the custom, fled in company with negroes, 
who, being the property of their owner for life, could not 
be punished by an extension of their terms, he was to be 
compelled, when brought back, to remain in the employ- 
ment of his master double his own time, and of the slaves' 
master, during a set period for every slave who had gone 
oflf with him ; and if more than one white person was in 
the party of rimaways, the whole number of white men 
were to be proportionately liable for the time for which 
the negroes, if they had been English laborers, would 
have been compelled to serve, in addition to those terms 
for which they were already bound.^ 

1 General Court Orders, July 22, 1640, Bobinaon TranscripU, p. 11. 

2 Hening^B Statutes^ vol. II, p. 117. 


In the session of 1655-56, the penalty of twenty pounds 
of tobacco for each night, imposed upon any person who 
gave entertainment or employment to an absconding ser- 
vant, was increased to sixty pounds for every twenty-four 
hours. The letter " R" deeply burnt into the cheek, fore- 
head, or shoulder not being found a sufficient mark of 
degradation, the right was granted to the master to keep 
the hair of the runaway cropped close to his ears, which 
would lead to his detection as soon as he escaped from the 
plantation to which he belonged.^ 

The pursuit of a runaway seems to have been generally 
made by hue and cry. It was required that this should 
be passed from the house of one county commissioner 
to that of another, under a heavy penalty for neglect.^ 
This method proving unsatisfactory, an additional regula- 
tion was adopted in 1663, by the terms of which, at the 
request of a master whose servant had fled, the justices of 
the peace were commanded to issue their warrants direct- 
ing the impressment of men and boats to take part in the 
pursuit, and the cost thus entailed was to be included 
in the regular county levies.® The enactment of such a 
law indicates that the public sentiment of the Colony re- 
garded the loss of a laborer by flight as common to the 
whole community, and therefore to be made good out 
of the public funds. 

As numerous runaways were able to escape from the 
country by means of ships engaged in carrying freight to 
the Dutch Colony, provision was made for their return by 
a standing request to the Governor of that Colony to send 
all absconding servants back by the first vessel which 
miglit sail to the part of Virginia from which they had 
fled.* When a person was returned under these circum- 

1 Hening'8 Statutes, vol. I, pp. 517, 618. » Ibid., vol. II, p. 187. 
« Jbid., p. 483. * Ibid., voL II, p. 188. 


stances, he was received by the collector of the district in 
which the ship came to anchor, and a certificate was given 
to the master of the vessel, containing a statement of the 
expenses which he had incurred in the transportation of 
the runaway, and this amount was discharged by the 
General Assembly upon the presentation of the document 
to that body. In the meanwhile, the collector had notified 
the master of the arrival of his servant. If he was willing 
to take the servant into his employment again, he was 
required first to pay all the charges that had fallen upon 
the public, but if unwilling, then the servant was either 
sold or hired out until the public had been reimbursed for 
the outlay entailed ; and if any part of his term remained 
unexpired, after this was accomplished, he was returned 
to his master.^ If, instead of attempting to escape in a 
sliip that was about to set sail for the Northern Colonies, 
the runaway fled to the nearest Indian viUage, its chief 
was commanded to produce him before a justice of the 
peace. The latter, on receiving him, was required to pay 
to the Indians who had apprehended him, twenty arms^ 
length of roanoke, or its value in such goods as the captors 
might prefer. The justice then forwarded the servant to 
his master. This law was passed to continue in force only 
for a very short time.^ 

Experience showed that the neglect of constables in 
making search as directed by their warrants, which em- 
powered them to enter dwelling-houses, was the most 
frequent cause of a permanent evasion of capture on the 
part of absconding servants. To counteract the secret 
influence brought to bear upon these officers, a master, in 
case his runaway was apprehended, was ordered to pay 
the constable who was the agent in the capture, two 

^ This act was modified in 1686. See Hening's St€UuteSt vol. m, p. 2S. 
3 Heuing's StatuUs, vol. U, p. 299. 


hundred pounds of tobacco. This was also a means of 
stimulating him to greater energy in a subsequent in- 
stance of a like nature. 

In 1669, it was provided that a reward of one thousand 
pounds of tobacco should be allowed to every person who 
apprehended a servant absenting himself from the planta- 
tion to which he belonged \vithout a passport from the 
authorities of the place where he resided, or a note from 
his master, granting him permission. This reward was to 
be paid not by the master, but by the public at large, the 
amount thus expended to be returned to the public funds 
by the sale of the runaway for a term of years as soon as 
his present employment came to an end. This law was 
enacted for the benefit of the class of landowners who 
were in possession of so few laborers that they were 
unable to follow fugitives at certain seasons of the year 
without abandoning their crops in the ground to ruin. 
When a servant was captured after the passage of the 
Act of 1669, he was at once carried to the office of the 
nearest justice of the peace. A certificate of the term 
for which the runaway was boulid to liis master was then 
drawn up and transmitted to the next General Assembly. 
In the meanwhile, the runaway was delivered to the con- 
stable of the parish in which he had been seized, by whom 
he was conveyed to the constable of the adjacent parish, 
and so in turn until he was finally delivered to his owner. 
In case he was suffered to escape by the neglect of one of 
these officers, a penalty of one thousand pounds of tobacco 
was imposed upon the delinquent for the offence.^ 

The allowance of one thousand pounds for the appre- 
hension of an absconding servant was found to be not 
only burdensome to the public revenues but also pro- 
motive of a spirit of collusion, defeating the object which 

1 HeDing*8 StattUes, toI. II, pp. 278, 274. 


the law had in view.^ The reward was reduced to two 
hundred pounds whenever the fugitive was captured at a j 
greater distance than ten miles from his master's home, 
and this amount was to be paid out of the public levy in 
the county to which he belonged. No claim was to be 
considered valid until it had been clearly shown to the 
justices that the runaway and his captor had not entered 
into a mutually advantageous arrangement as to his 
arrest; that the arrest occurred at a certain distance from 
the plantation on which he had been employed; that the 
claim had or had not been purchased from the captor; 
and that the person urging it in the court was or was not 
the master or overseer of the fugitive. If the claim was 
found to be tainted with fraud, the person guilty of the 
offence, in case he was unable to pay the one thousand 
pounds imposed as a penalty, was compelled to submit to 
corporal punishment in the discretion of the court.^ 

If the servant had absconded on two occasions, the 
master was directed to keep the hair of the fugitive 
closely cut, or forfeit two hundred pounds as often as 
he was subsequently apprehended.® Each constable into 
whose hands he was delivered to be returned to his owner 
was authorized by the commissioner's warrant to give 
him a severe whipping. The heavy fine which was im- 
posed in case a captured servant was allowed to escape 
by the negligence of one of these officers was, in 1670, 
reduced from one thousand pounds to four hundred 
pounds of tobacco.* Under the regulations in operation 
immediately previous to the enactment of the statute of 
1686, as soon as the period for which a captured runaway 
was bound had expired, the master was required to de- 
liver him at once into the hands of the nearest justice of 

1 Hening'8 St<Uut€9^ vol. n, pp. 277, 278, 284. » Ibid., p. 278. 

« Ibid., p. 284. * Ibid., p. 278. 

i >- : • ■»■ 

or u^aam. 29 

had. ci&LeiL iipiia «ttft pnoiffi vai^ j flwsa a cd Txma ois^ auts^ 
ler or amscresw u w rsmbiizaeii 95- B10 tfXXiiismiL iii 
iuft or hs sftTor ^ isuat ^srtvuT^ saw D)r ;it oncwi whica 


xmt wisesc cnar coaki oftvif ckkol jaopdid m c&e cie^ 
exBcm^ SL die Cou»t« Whiea 4k ;serv;uti 
afascooded. aS die r^>aiHirT»i of dbe ihloiic OMfiorr usdl 
i» pssotLki wecramjdnss^ for irarrTia:^ oa utie SL^'iuaecT oc 
the swienunais luui pn^serTLi^ die peace ver\? bcvc^; 
to beir 10 eSsct his cftpciue* ;u:d viiea zh^is. essd buid bi^fa 
aecomptiAed, die susscer vje^ T^rr pcv^rlj nf^umNi to 
save tbe picopie as L&rge trooi pecuniuirT k\!$^ The rule 
preTuIing: at ooe dme dLU the commanitY w;» tv> be 
reimbaisied by the siLe of the niXLAv;iT bv the puKic 
officers as soon as his original tenn hid ex(>ir^ iuus>t 
haxe giTen rise to much inconvenience azKl AHue compli- 
cation in the affairs of each oountj. The authortticis 
from the great number of fugitives* were piaoevl in ihe 
[K)ation. as long as the law was in opemtion* v^f being 
vendors of labor on a very im^vrtant $cale« and this made 
necessary a serious enlargement of the public accv^unts 
without any pecuniary advantage accruing frv>m it. 

The fact that so few conspiracies were hatchctl among 
the laborers bound bv articles of indenture is to W attril>« 
ttted not onlv to the fair treatment which* as a ruU\ thev 
received from their masters, but also to the comivarative 

A Hening^s StatmUs^ toL III, p. 29. 


brevity of the time for which all whose ages exceeded 
nineteen, among whom alone a plot was likely to be 
formed, were required to serve. It was entirely natural 
that the older members of this class should have been 
disposed to endure much that was harsh or repugnant 
to their wishes in the expectation of the early ending of 
their terms, rather than plunge into secret schemes that 
exposed them to the risk of certain death in the event of 
detection. There seems to have been a seditious feeling 
in York in 1661, and its display was considered to be 
suflSciently serious to justify the authorities in warning 
the magistrates and heads of families in that county to 
punish all discourse among those in their employment 
tending to a popular tumult.^ The conspiracy of 1663, 
to which reference has been made already, had a religious 
and political object in view. Only a few servants appear 
to have been included among those implicated in it. The 
Cromwellian soldiers, reduced to the condition of common 
laborers, doubtless smarted with the sense of degradation, 
but beyond all this, there was a hope that the status of 
the English Protectorate might by their bravery and reso- 
lution be restored in the Colony.* The discovery of this 

^;Becord8 of York County, vol. 1667-1662, p. 369, Va, State Library. 
**A dangerous conspiracy among servants discovered Oct. 13, 1640.*' 
Bohinson Transcripts, p. 12. 

2 The account which Beverley gives of this conspiracy is as f oUows : 
** The rigorous circumscription of their trade (i.e. of the Virginians), the 
persecutions of the Sectaries and the little demand for tobacco, had liked 
to have had fatal consequences ; for the poor coming thereby very uneasy, 
their murmurings were watched and fed by several mutinous and rebel- 
lious Olivcrian soldiers that were sent thither as servants. These, depend- 
ing upon the discontented people of all sorts, formed a villainous plot to 
destroy their masters and afterwards to set up for themselves.^' History 
of Virginia, p. 55. See also letter of Thomas Ludwell, British State 
Papers, Colonial Papers; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1665, p. 72, Va. State 


plot led to the passage of severe laws in repression of the 
sinister meetings of servants. They were forbidden to 
come together in considerable numbers on Sunday, a day 
on which they had been allowed entire rest, and the same 
rule was also probably applicable to all recognized holi- 
days. By the custom prevailing in the Colony, the labor- 
ers were granted not only the Sabbath and the usual 
holidays observed in England, but also the greater part 
of every Saturday.^ Apart from the hours of night, there 
were many occasions when they were wholly at leisure, 
and if there had existed any disposition to conspiracy 
among them, the opportunity would not have been lack- 
ing. In the period of great depression following the col- 
lapse of the Rebellion of 1676, there was imminent danger 
of an open insurrection on the part of the servants, but if 
it had occurred, the motive would have been not merely 
impatience of the landowners' authority but apprehension 
of famine. The feeling died out when relief had been 

Among so large a body of laborers, it is not remarkable 
that there should have been many instances of resistance 
to masters. One of the earliest petitions presented to the 
General Assembly in 1619, the first legislature convening 
in the Colony, was that of Captain Powell, who desired to 
have his servant punished for falling into grossly insubor- 
dinate conduct. The petitioner was empowered to place 
this servant in the pillory for a period of four days, to nail 
liis ears to the post, and to give liim a public whipping on 
each day included in his sentence. ^ The severe punish- 
ment inflicted in this case does not appear to have been 
repeated in later times. The person who was found 

' Leah and Rachel, p. 12, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. 
' Lawes of General Assembly, 1619, Colonial Records of Virginia, 
State Senate Doct., Extra, p. 24. 


guilty of offering resistance either to his master, or to the 
overseer who was appointed to supervise him, was com- 
pelled to continue in the same employment two years 
beyond the expiration of the term for which he was bound 
either by indenture or the custom of the country.^ If the 
spirit of insubordination which he exhibited rendered him 
dangerous, he could, upon complaint, be committed to jail, 
a bond being given by his owner that the charge would 
be pressed to a trial. During the imprisonment, the mas- 
ter was required to support the servant, five pounds of 
tobacco being paid to the sheriff to cover the expense of 
each twenty-four hours of detention.^ 

At each county seat there was a whipping-post, and this 
mode of punishment was frequently used as a substitute 
for the jail. The servant condemned to the lash was 
delivered to the sheriff to be publicly chastised as a 
warning to all who were similarly disposed, and after- 
wards returned to the plantation to which he or she might 
be attached. The master had a right to whip a delin- 
quent with his own hands if unwilling to put himself to 
the inconvenience of sending him to a magistrate for that 
purpose.® When the servant had shown on any occasion 
the desire to inflict injury on any one not his employer, 
the latter might be ordered, in the discretion of the court, 
to furnish a bond that his servant would keep the peace.* 
Should a servant be guilty of murder or an attempt to kill, 
six men were summoned from the neighborhood where he 
lived whose names were put at the head of the panel. By 
the jury thus formed he was tried, and if convicted, was 

1 Hening's Statutes^ vol. I, p. 638. 

2 Records of Henrico County, vol. 1082-1701, p. 171, Va. State 

8 Hening*s Statutes^ vol. 11, p. 266. 

^Records of Henrico County, vol. 1682-1701, p. 139, Va. State 


sentenced to be imprisoned or hanged, according to the 
circumstances of his crime. ^ Aggravated cases of rob- 
bery were doubtless punished with severity, but small 
offences like hog-stealing, especially when the person who 
suffered was the master, exposed the offender as a rule 
only to the pains of a public or private whipping.^ In 
some cases, in addition to public chastisement, he was 
compelled by order of court to continue in the same 
employment for a term of two years after the expiration 
of the time upon which he had agreed.® It not infre- 
quently happened that in condonation for the most serious 
forms of robbery, a servant bound himself upon the con- 
clusion of the period covered by his indenture to enter 
into a second indenture by which he agreed to serve a 
second period.* Whoever induced a man of this class 
to dispose of his master's property by stealth, more par- 
ticularly when the tempter became the beneficiary of the 
theft, was compelled to suffer imprisonment for a month 

1 Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 207 ; Palmer's Calendar of Vir- 
Qinia State Papers, vol. I, p. 35. 

2 Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1673-1685, p. 36. 

' Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1680, orders March 
9, 1669. 

*" Know all men by these presents that I, Henry Rewcastle . . . being 
now free and having liberty to bargain, I doe freely binde myselfe and 
absolutely without compulsion or persuasions of any person or persons 
whatsoever, to serve from the day of the date hereof three complete 
years to Mrs. Elizabeth Lockey or her assigns, and to doe all such labour 
as ^e the said Mrs. Lockey or her assigns shall sett me about duely and 
truly in every respect, the consideration I doe owne to have receive<l of 
the said Mrs. T^ockey, namely, for the breaking open of her store ami 
taking rum, mackerell and sugar out thereof, and convey it away, and for 
this consideration and the true performance of three years' service from 
the date hereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of 
November in the year of our Lord, 1675." Records of York County, vol. 
1«71-1C94, p. 162, Va. State Library. See also Orders of Court, Jan. 12, 
1684, Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694. 

VOL. II. — D 


and to restore four times the value of the articles which 
had been carried off.i 

In the Assembly of 1619, a law was passed that pro- 
vided that the servant should receive a whipping for every 
oath he uttered, and should afterwards confess his guilt in 
the parish church when the congregation had convened 
for religious services. There is no record of this statute 
having been repealed.2 The regulation imposing a fine of 
tobacco upon all freemen who had been heard to swear 
was steadily enforced, and there is no reason why there 
should have been any relaxation of the special punish- 
ment inflicted for the same offence upon those in their 

A certain degree of liberty in the sexual relations of 
the female servants with the male, and even with their 
masters, might have been expected, but there are numer- 
ous indications that the general sentiment of the Colony 
condemned it, and sought by appropriate legislation to 
restrain and prevent it. A woman who was got with 
child by her employer was, upon the expiration of her 
term, delivered to the church wardens of the parish in 
which she resided, who were empowered to dispose of her 
for two years, the tobacco thus obtained to be devoted to 
parochial objects. The purpose that this regulation had 
in view was of a twofold character. The wardens secured 
by the sale of the mother for a new period of service, the 
means to meet any charge which the bastard might impose 
upon the parish ; on the other hand, her master was pre- 
vented from deriving any advantage from his criminal 
association with her such as would have resulted from an 
extension of the term for which she was bound to him. 

1 Hening's Statutes, voL I, pp. 274, 276. 

3 Lawes of Assembly, 1619, Colonial Records of Virginia^ State Senate 
Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 27. 


If the woman had been required to remain in his service, 
then this would have constituted an additional inducement 
to a dissolute master to tamper with the virtue of his 
female servants. It was clearly recognized, at the same 
time, that to allow such a woman to go entirely free on the 
expiration of her first term, on the ground that the father 
of her bastard child was her employer, who used the influ- 
ence of the relation to force her to yield to his solicita- 
tions, was to offer a strong temptation to all women in the 
same situation to lay their offspring at the doors of their 
masters, whether the latter were guilty or not.^ 

If the father of the bastard was a freeman, owning, 
however, no interest in the mother, he might satisfy the 
claim against him by paying fifteen hundred pounds of 
tobacco, or serving for one year the master of his para- 
mour. He had also to give security to save the parish 
and her employer harmless, and was compelled to defray 
the whole charge imposed by the existence of the child.^ 
If, on the other hand, the latter was the offspring of a 
servant who was unable to contribute to its support, the 
expense of maintaining it fell upon the parish until his 
term had expired ; as soon as this was the case, he was 
compelled to reimburse the vestry for the amount which 
they had already been called upon to pay.® 

In the latter part of the century, some alteration was 
made in these regulations. If a woman gave birth to a 
bastard, the sheriff, as soon as he learned of the fact, was 
required to arrest her, and whip her on the bare back 
until the blood came. Being turned over to her master, 
she was compelled to pay two thousand pounds of tobacco, 
or to remain in his employment two years after the termi- 

^ Hening's Statutes, voL II, p. 167. 
« Ibid., vol. I, p. 438. 
» Ibid,, yol. U, p. 108. 


nation of her indentures.^ By delivering five hundred 
pounds of the same commodity to the parish, her master 
could relieve her of the chastisement, and, in return, he 
had a right to claim of her a service of six months,^ in 
addition to the two years prescribed by law. Katharine 
Higgins, of York, having borne a child out of wedlock, 
was ordered to receive thirty-nine lashes. To secure 
remission of this part of her punishment, John Page, her 
master, gave the vestrymen assurance that he would 
deliver to the parish the required amount of tobacco as a 
guarantee against loss in providing food and clothing for 
the bastard.^ The punishment of whipping seems to have 
been also remitted in case the mother and the father 
appeared together in church at the time the congrega- 
tion was assembled, both clothed in white sheets.^ A bas- 
tard cluld remained in the service of the parish until 
his twenty-fourth year, being apprenticed under strict 

1 Hening's SiainteSy toL IE, p. 115 ; Beeords of York Countjfj voL 
169(V-10^, p. 427, Va. State Library. See also Becords of Accomae 
Country original toL 1666-1670, 1 p. 79. 

« Hening*8 SiatnieSy toI. 11^ p. 115 ; rol. Ill, p. 189. 

» Becords of York Comily, vol. 16S4-1687, p. 7, Va. State Library. 

♦ Becords of Lower Xorfoik County, ori^nal toL 1&U-1655, Feb. 16, 

* Becords of the Crenerai Courts p. 47. Becords of Bappahannock 
County, Tol. 1668-1673, pp. 60, 61, Va. State Library, contains an example 
of these indentures : *^ This indenture witnesseth that we the subscribers, 
CoL John Catlett and CapL Thomas Hawkins, two of his majesty's Justices 
of the Peace for Rappahannock County, do hereby covenant, promise and 
agree to and with William Hodgson of the same county, planter, that 
Nicholas Willard, a bastard chQd, begotten on the body of Katharine 
Jones by Nicholas WUlard, late of aforesaid county, deed, shall from 
henceforth become a servant to the above said Hodgson, his heirs and 
assigns, until the said Nicholas attains to the age of 20 years fully to be 
completed and ended, and, as soon as God shall enable him, the said 
Hodgson, to serve his heirs or aasigns in such service and employinent ma 


If the bastard child to which the female servant gave 
birth was the offspring of a negro father, she was whipped 
unless the usual fine was paid, and immediately upon the 
expiration of her term, was sold by the wardens of the 
nearest church for a period of five years. One-third of 
the proceeds of the sale was turned over to the public 
treasury, one-third was paid to the informer, and the 
remainder reserved for the use of the parish in which the 
offence was committed.^ The child was bound out until 
his or her thirtieth year had been reached. The heaviness 
of the penalty was in some measure to be attributed to 
the desire to inflict a certain degree of moral punishment, 
for, as will be seen when we come to the subject of the 
slave, all physical intimacy between whites and blacks, 
even under the sanction of marriage, was not only severely 
condemned, but also rigidly punished. 

Secret marriages among the servants of the Colony seem 
to have been a common source of serious loss to masters, 
and steps were taken at an early period to prevent their 
occurrence. The penalty attached, in 1643, to this act 
was the prolongation of the term of the husband for 
twelve months, while the term of the wife was extended 
twice its original length, owing to the anticipated loss of 
valuable time in the event that she gave birth to a child.^ 

by him or them he shall be employed in for and during the aforesaid 
time ; in consideration whereof the said Hodgson, for himself, his heirs, 
executors doe hereby covenant ... to and with the aforesaid justices in 
behalf of the said Nicholas during his said time, to find and allow him 
meat, drink, washing, lodging and sufficient apparel, and at the end and 
expiration thereof to pay and deliver him or assigns two suits of apparel! , 
one, kersey, the other, cotton ; a canvas pair of drawers and two shirts, 
one canvas, the other lockram ; and one felt and 3 basketts of good 
Boond Indian com. In witness whereof . . • ^' At the date of the 
indenture the child was two years and five months old. 

» Records of York County, vol. 1000-1G04, p. 20ft, Va. State Library ; 
Heuing's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 87. - lluniug's Statutes, voL I, p. 263. 


A minister was strictly prohibited from publishing the 
bans of persons of this class, or joining them in marriage 
without first having received a certificate showing that 
the consent of their masters had been obtained, and if the 
union took place without that consent, the parties to it 
were made liable, in 1662, to the penalty of serving one 
year after their articles of indenture expired. The same 
punishment was inflicted upon the servant who intermar- 
ried clandestinely with a free person, the latter being 
compelled to pay the master fifteen hundred pounds of 
tobacco or bacon, or become his employee for a period of 
twelve months.^ Although there was a law interdicting 
a union of free whites with negroes, mulattoes, and Indians, 
whether enslaved or free, there seems to have been no 
provision against marriage between persons of African 
or Indian race and pure whites, in case the latter hap- 
pened to be still bound by indenture or by custom of the 
country. This, however, is probably explained by the 
fact that the consent of the master or mistress was neces- 
sary to give the marriage of a servant validity, a consent 
practically unattainable on account of the prejudice which 
existed even at this early day to such a union. 

It is interesting to find that the private funerals of 
servants were the occasion of so much scandal as to lead 
to their prohibition. This scandal related to various 
persons nearly associated with the dead, who, if guiltless 
of what was whispered against them, could not vindicate 
their innocence, and if guilty, could always be successful 
in evading punishment. In order to remove all occasion 
for aspersion previous to the burial, three or four neigh- 
bors were summoned to view the corpse whenever there 
was the smallest ground for suspicion, and if not, to 
accompany the body to the grave. It was not permitted 

* Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 114. 


that any wrvant should be interred in a private spot. 
They were to be buried in public cemeteries established 
for this purpose. The passage of such a law illustrates 
with singular force the great care with which every pre- 
caution was adopted by the General Assembly for the 
protection of persons of this class against all forms of 
encroachment upon their welfare.^ 

If we examine the relations which the servant bore to 
the community at large, we find that he was in the enjoy- 
ment of none of the higher privileges of citizenship. He 
was furnished the amplest protection to life and limb 
which the law could give, and was entitled to the strictest 
observance on the part of his master of all the covenants 
in his indenture that assured him proper food, apparel, 
and lodging, but he was denied the right of suffrage, and 
had no voice in the general or local administration of 
afiPairs. It was only in the case of a great emergency 
that he was called upon to bear arms in the defence of 
the soil. Under ordinary circumstances, he was not per- 
mitted to have weapons in his possession, although the 
royal instructions in the time of James II required that 
he, as well as his master, should be regularly mustered. ^ 
At all times, unless a war was in progress, he was subject 
to be taken in execution as if he were a mere bale of mer- 
chandise.^ He formed the most imp6rtant part of the 
basis of taxation. At one period, all servants under six- 
teen were exempted from being included in the list of 
tithables. This regulation, however, led to many serious 
frauds, and was, therefore, revoked. It became a general 
custom that after a youth had been brought into the 

1 Hening^s Statutes, vol. n, p. 53. 

'Instructions to Howard, 16S5, and to Culpeper, 1679, McDonald 
Papen, vol. VII, p. 180 ; Ibid., vol. V, p. 306, Va. State Library. 
* HeniDg*s Statutes, vol. I, p. 297. 


country, and his age shown to be under sixteen years, he was 
not again produced, and, therefore, to the end of his term 
remained unlisted. In consequence of the loss of public 
revenue from this course of action, it was provided that all 
persons of this class, however young, who were imported 
into the Colony after 1649, were to be liable for the pay- 
mentof county levies.^ Natives of Virginia under sixteen 
were excepted from the operation of this statute, and to 
this number also were added the children under that age 
who had arrived in the country in the company of their 
parents, or without articles of apprenticeship.^ In 1680, 
the general law applicable to tithables was again sub- 
stantially altered, the fourteenth year being adopted as 
the legal age in the case of all Christian servants who had 
been brought into the Colony.^ Every woman who was 
employed in the fields had to be returned as a tithable.* 
No servant who had been imported by a merchant for sale 
was for the first year held to be a tithable until he was 
disposed of.^ 

When the term for which a servant was bound, whether 
by indenture or the custom of the country, had expired, he 
proceeded to the court of the county in which he lived, in 
company with his master, or with the testimonial of the 
latter that he was now at liberty. The fact that he was 
free was entered on record by the clerk, and a certificate 
to that effect was drawn up and presented to him, which 
justified any one in employing him as a laborer. If the 
document was shown to be a forgery, the servant was com- 
pelled to stand two hours in the pillory on court day. 
The certificate, in case it was lost, could at any time be 
renewed.^ The General Court appears to have leaned 
towards rather than away from members of this class 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 454. « Ibid., vol. IT, p. 480. * Ibid., p. 488, 
« Ibid., p. 361. * Ibid., p. 170. • Ibid., p. 116. 


when a question as to their right of freedom came before 
them for decision.^ 

When the servant was discharged, upon the expiration 
of his term, there were certain privileges bestowed upon 
him which it is improbable that he ever failed to claim. 
Reference has already been made to the benefits conferred 
on the laborers who, during the early existence of the 
Company, were imported to cultivate the public lands. 
At the close of their periods of service, each was granted 
one hundred acres, and, when this tract had been seated, 
each was probably entitled to an additional tract of the 
8ame extent. When the apprentices bound out to the 
tenants were set free, their position was still more ad- 
vantageous. They had an allowance of corn for twelve 
months, and for each a house was erected; each was pre- 
sented with clothing and a cow of the value of forty 
shillings. As much land as each could till was placed 
in his control, together with gifts of armor, implements, 
tools, and utensils. At the expiration of the tenancy, 
which continued for a term of seven years, — during 
which time one-half of all the increase of the earth and 
of the cattle was theirs, — a tract of twenty-five acres was 
granted to each one in fee simple subject to the payment 
of an annual rent of a few pence. They could, however, 
continue tenants of the Company if they wished to do so.^ 

After the dissolution of the Company, the amount paid 

^ XameTons instances of this fact will be found in the Becords of the 
General Court, preserved among the Manuscript Collections of the Vir- 
ginia Historical Society. 

^Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
pp. 41, 42. The following reference to one of these apprentices is of inter- 
est : «* Whereas it appears to ye court that one Henry Carman, late servant 
to 3klr. SamL Sharp, and one of those fifty boys which were by James R. 
commanded to be sent over hither, and arrived here in 1610, the condition 
of whose service was appointed to be for seven years at first to their mas- 


to the seryant at the end of his term was, in the absence 
of any provision in the indenture, fixed by custom with 
as much precision as if it had been prescribed by law. 
He was entitled to such a quantity of grain as would 
furnish him a support for one year. This, at the end of 
the century, was estimated at ten bushels.^ He was also 
to receive two sets of apparel, — including in general two 
suits, one of kersey, the other of cotton, a pair of canvas 
drawers, two shirts, one of which was made of canvas, 
the other of lockram, and one felt hat.^ In the time of 
Beverley, a gun worth twenty shillings was added.^ The 
value of the grain, clothing, and other articles thus re- 
ceived was estimated at ten pounds sterling.* 

The impression prevailed in England that every ser- 
vant was also entitled to fifty acres. For this belief, 
however, there seems to have been no ground, — at least, 
previous to the administration of Culpeper. In 1679, 
this Governor was enjoined to lay off for each person of 
that class at the end of his term fifty acres of land, and 
a similar order was given to Sir Henry Chichely in Janu- 
ary 1681-82, by the Committee for Trade and Plantations, 
which was renewed in a somewhat modified form in 1685 

ters to whom they were first put, and further if daring this time, they 
should commit any great malifice as whoredom, theft, drawing of blood, 
that then from that time toties quoties the time of their service to begin 
again for seven years, now whereas it appcareth to ye court that the said 
Henry Carman hath committed fornication with one Alice Chambers, 
servant of Abraham Chambers, the court orders he shall serve seven 
years longer." Orders of General Court, Oct 11, 1626, Bobinson Traf^ 
scripts, p. 52. 

1 Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 221. 

« See Becords of Bappahannock County^ vol. 1668-1672, pp. 60, 61, Va. 
State Library. In this case, provision was made for an apprentice at the 
expiration of his term. 

» Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 221. 

« Colonial Entry Book, vol. 92, pp. 275-283. 


in the instructions to Howard.^ It does not appear that 
the General Assembly passed a law at any time in pur- 
suance of these instructions. The author of Leah and 
Rachel about the middle of the century declared that 
the report that fifty acres were allotted to each servant 
when he became free was a delusion.^ There must have 
been strong ground for opposition on the part of the land- 
owners to the establishment of such a regulation. If it 
had been customary to make such a grant, the large body 
of persons who, when their terms expired, entered into 
indentures again, or hired themselves out at stated wages, 
would have been drawn away at once to their own es- 
tates, and the ability of the planters who had been their 
masters to secure laborers in place of them would have 
been diminished to a serious extent.^ 

1 Instructions to Culpeper, 1679 ; Howard, 1686, McDonald Papers^ 
vol. V, p. 618, vol. VI, p. 269, Va. State Library. See also Colonial Entry 
Book, No. 106, pp. 339, 340; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1681-1682, p. 161, 
Va. State Library. 

^Leab and Rachel, p. 11, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. This 
statement is confirmed by an order of the General Court, Jan. 13, 1626, 
Robinson Transcripts^ p. 61. 

» Beverley, who wrote at a time when the right of appropriating land 
had been very much enlarged, states that ** each servant had a right to 
take up fifty acres where he can find any unpatented." There is pre- 
served in the Records of York County, an indenture between an English 
carpenter and a Virginian planter, in which the allotment of fifty acres is 
referred to as "according to the custom of the country." Records of 
York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 307, Va. State Library. This indenture 
was drawn up in England in 1647, and probably by one who was really 
ignorant of the customs prevailing in the Colony. The desire of the Vir- 
ginian planter, who was a party to it, to secure the carpenter, may have 
been so great that he was willing, when the mechanic's term came to an 
end, to grant him fifty acres whether it could be legally claimed or not. 
There Is no concurrence of evidence that at this time the allotment of 
fifty acres to a servant on the expiration of his term was an established 
regulation. If he obtained this area it was probably by a perversion of 
the head right. 


If, daring the period eoTered by bis indenture, the 
servant was guilty of some gross violation of its pro- 
yisions, or if, in the absence of written covenants, he dis- 
regarded what was required of him by the custom of the 
country, he forfeited, at the expiration of his term, those 
benefits which, under ordinary circumstances, he re- 
ceived.^ The courts, general and local, were rigidly 
scrupulous that the amplest justice should be done him 
in the payment of the articles due him when he became 
free. All agreements between his master and himself 
before his term had ended had, to acquire validity, to be 
acknowledged in the presence of a legal officer, and, in 
case such contracts were lacking in this sanction, his 
employer was deprived of the right to hold him longer, 
although many months of the period for which he had 
bound himself still remained unexpired. If he was de- 
tained beyond the limit of the time laid down by his 
indenture or by custom, his master was compelled to 
pay him in wages for this additional time. In one case, 
the General Court ordered that a hogshead of tobacco 
should be delivered to a servant whose term had thus 
been forcibly extended.* 

A fair proportion only of those who were imported into 
Virginia as laborers acquired handsome estates and became 
prominent and influential citizens. Many AssemblieSt 
after 1632, contained burgesses who had begun their 
career in the Colony by binding themselves out for a 
set period of time. In the early sessions of the legis- 
lature, the members who had at one time been servants 
or apprentices had been brought in as employees of the 
Company, and, through the grants of land which they 
received on the expiration of their terms, had acquired 

1 General Court Orders, Oct. 9, 1640, JRobinaon TranscripU^ p. 8. 
^ Records of General Courts p. 10. 


oediate importance in the community. As late as 
4, however, we find in the Assembly, burgesses who, 
y a few years before, had been working for different 
nters, under indenture or by the custom of the coun- 
. The explanation of this fact is to be sought either 
their superior ability and energy after securing a re- 
je, or in their thrifty habits during the continuation 
their service.^ 

t was not impossible for an active and industrious man 
ind by indenture or by the custom of the country to 
umulate a good estate in the course of his employment; 
s said that there was a general disposition on the part of 
landowners to assist their laborers in acquiring prop- 
y as a preparation for starting under the most advan- 
eous circumstances on their own account as soon as 
y had obtained certificates of freedom.^ The relation 
kindness and confidence prevailing between master and 
vant was shown in the frequency with which the latter 
ed as the attorney of the former. ^ The servant was 
en allowed a tract of cleared ground in which to plant 
►acco to be disposed of by himself when the annual ship- 

The Assembly of 1629 included among its members Anthony Pagett, 
liam Poppleton, and Kichard Townsend, who had come into the Colony 
er the terms of indentures, Townsend, as we have seen, having been 
nd over to Dr. Pott to leam the art of a physician. Adam Thorough- 
d, who acquired large wealth, and was appointed a councillor, came 
Virginia as an apprentice, perhaps agricultural, although he had 
1 social connections in England. Abraliam Wood and John Trussell, 
abers of the Assembly of 1654, had begun life in the Colony as 
'ants or apprentices. The author of Virginians Cure went so far 
X) assert, in 1662, that those who occupied seats in the House of Bur- 
ies had in general been men who had emigrated from England under 
cles of indentures. This, however, is certainly erroneous. Virginia's 
B, p. 16, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. 

Leah and Rachel, p. 14, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. 
' Records of York County, vol, 1671-1694, p. 124, Va. SUte Library. 


ping arrived in the rivers. The articles he thus acquired 
in exchange for his small crop, enabled him to buy a sow, 
which his employer permitted to range with his own 
cattle; one litter of pigs furnished him with means to 
purchase a cow and calf, and by the time his term had 
drawn to an end, he was in possession of a suflBcient num- 
ber of live stock to supply his needs when he opened a 
plantation of his own. His indenture not infrequently 
required that his master should provide him with several 
head when he became free.^ Bullock strongly recom- 
mended that every planter should pay to each of his ser- 
vants a certain amount of tobacco for every pound of flax 
which he dressed, and should in other branches of agri- 
cultural work offer rewards that might stimulate them to 
greater energy and assiduity.^ The law strictly protected 
the right of persons of this class in all goods which 
they had brought into the country, or which they had se- 
cured since their arrival during the course of their terms.' 
It frequently happened that they obtained freedom in con- 
sideration of a payment of cattle or the conveyance of land.* 
In 1640, Sir John Harvey presented a favorite servant 
with a negro slave, an English laborer, and a cow,^ and 
about the same time, Robert Felgate of York bequeathed 
to one of his employees four head of cattle, and also corn L 
sufficient to last him for one year. To these, sixty acres 
and five hundred pounds of tobacco were added.® In 

^ General Court Orders, Oct 9, 1640, Bobinson Transcripts, p. 8. 
2 Bullock's Virginia, p. 62. 

8 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 166 ; General Court Orders, Oct 9, 1640^ 
Bobinson Transcripts, 

♦ Becords of York County, vol. 1684-1687, pp. 121, 131, Va. State 

* Becords of Lancaster Countiy, original vol, 1664-1702, pp. 374-379. 
« Becords of York County, vol. 1633-1694, p. 72 ; see also p. 76, V». 

State Library. 


1681, Robert Hodges of Lower Norfolk left two breeding 
sows by will to his servant Dorothy Rowell, and also 
granted her the right to dwell on one of his plantations 
during a period of seven years without paying rent.^ 
The bounty of masters was not restricted to live stock and 
land; it also extended to coin,^ Nor were the acts of gen- 
erosity confined to the employer. In 1634, Robert Heal- 
ing of Accomac, who was bound by indenture to Thomas 
Young, gave his master a man-servant, whom he had prob- 
ably purchased from a merchant or shijpowner.^ Other 
instances of equal liberality and good- will might be men- 

A large number of the servants, as has been pointed 
out, upon the expiration of their terms became either over- 
seers or renters, if they were lacking in the means to sue 
out patents to estates of their own. In the seventeenth, 
as in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the position 
of an overseer furnished many opportunities to the in- 
cumbent for the improvement of his condition by the 
accumulation of property. His share in the crops which 
he produced for his employer was invested in the purchase 
of laborers of his own to obtain the basis of head rights 
for the acquisition of land by public grant, or it was used 
in buying a plantation which had already been cleared. 
The number of renters among those who had been ser- 
vants was probably small, for the reasons upon which I 
have already dwelt at length. 

There are many evidences that it was common for ser- 
vants upon the close of their terms to earn a subsistence 

> Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1676-1686, f. p. 106. 

> Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., bequeathed ten pounds sterling to one of his 
serrants. Records of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 166. See also Ibid., 
vol. 1664-1672, p. 239, Va. State Library ; also Records of Henrico County, 
original vol. 1677-1692, p. 139. 

• Records cfAccomoc County, original vol. 1632-1640, p. 46. 


in the character of hired laborers. Payment of wages was 
not unusual even during the supremacy of the Company. 
Adam Dixon, a master caulker living in the Colony in 
1622, was remunerated for his work at the rate of thirty-six 
shillings a month.^ In 1623, as we learn on the authority 
of George Sandys, the wages generally received were one 
pound of tobacco in addition to food each day ,2 but this 
amount was considered to be very onerous, being much in 
excess of the sum paid to the same class of persons in Eng- 
land at this time. It was not very long before Sandys is 
found writing to a friend in London and urging him to 
procure indented laborers to be sent to Virginia, as the 
wages paid in the Colony were intolerable. A maid was 
engaged by Sir Edmund Plowden in 1643, at the rate of 
four pounds sterling annually, payable in merchandise 
valued at its first cost in England; ^ three years later, he de- 
clared that he was unable to hire for thirty days a servant 
supplied with clothing for less than two hundred pounds 
of tobacco. It was at this time that John Weekes of 
York agreed to work during two months for William 
Light of the same county in return for a bed, a bolster and 
bl»ket, and a pair of pot-hooks.* In 1649, annual wages 
ranged from three pounds sterling to ten or their equiva- 
lent in tobacco.^ If the laborer had come over at the 
expense of his employer, the amount of his remuneration 
was diminished by his being required to return the sum 
spent in meeting the charges of his passage, but this was 
carefully proportioned to the four years covered by the 

^ Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London,, vol. I, 
p. 188. 

2 Sandys to Wrote, Neill's Virginia Vetusta, p. 123. 

* Archives of Maryland, Judicial and Testamentary Business, Tol. 
1637-1650, p. 224. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 321, Va. Stato Library. 

* Bullock's Virginia, p. 62. 


contract. When he had been in the Colony many years, 
he was exempted from such a deduction. In payment for 
services extending over a period of twelve months, Stephen 
Tarleton of York, in 1666, delivered to Edward Jenkins 
one suit of broadcloth and one of kersey, two shirts, a hat, 
one pair of shoes, and two pairs of stockings.^ 

In 1680, the wages of a hired laborer did not in Vir- 
ginia differ substantially in amount from the wages of a 
servant engaged in the same character of work in England. 
Fitzhugh, writing about this time to his agent in London, 
requests him to send him a trained housekeeper, offering 
to pay her passage money ; to allow her three pounds 
sterling by the year ; and to furnish her with food with- 
out charge. He considered that this would be highly 
acceptable, as the remuneration, he said, would be equal to 
that which was received by the same class of domestics in 
the mother country.^ 

In a contract between Mrs. Weldon of York and Isabel 
Nicholas in 1684, the former promised to pay the latter 
for domestic service, to be prolonged over a period of one 
year, fifty-five shillings, a new apron being given as an 
earnest of the bargain.* So high were the average wages 
at this time that it was thouglit in some instances that no 
profit was to be derived from hired labor.* How great 
wages were in cases probably not considered extraordinary, 
may be seen in the agreement between Josephine Chowne 
and John Corbett of Elizabeth City County in 1697, by the 
terms of which Mrs. Chowne was to receive remuneration 
for her work during a period of two months and a half, at 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 106, Va. State Library. 
The service was sometimes in compensation for a wilful act. See Ibid., 
1684-1687, p. 68. 

2 LeUers of William Fitzhugh, July 1, 1680. 

» Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 59, Va. State Library. 
* Records of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 250, Va. State Library. 
VOL. n. — s 


the rate of five pounds sixteen shillings and six pence a 
month. ^ The average wages by the year appear to have 
been at the close of the century six pounds sterling,* or if 
paid in tobacco, fourteen hundred pounds of this com- 
modity, with one pair of shoes and one pair of stockings. 
The rate by the day was twelve pence.^ 

If these wages were carefully husbanded, they could be 
invested in ways that were certain to bring handsome 
returns. Bullock has left an interesting opinion as to the 
disposition which a hired laborer at this time should make 
of his earnings. A part of the sum received should go to 
the purchase of a heifer, and the remainder be spent in 
buying three or four flitches of bacon for exportation to 
England, where they could be easily sold for two pounds 
three shillings and four pence sterling. This amount was 
to be expended in combs, laces, and pins, which com- 
manded in Virginia double the price current in the mother 
country, ensuring the owner upon his original outlay in 
bacon not less than five pounds sterling. In the interval, 
the cow which he had purchased had probably given birth 
to a calf, and the wages of the second year had been 
received. At the end of four years, Bullock estimated 

1 Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 415, Va. State 

* Records of HenHco County, vol. 1688-1692, p. 136, Va. State Library. 

^Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1679-1694, p. 696. 
** Jeremy Overy of Middlesex County is indebted to Hugh Conaway: 

16 days work in May @ 12*' per day 

17 days work in June @ 12<' per day 
2 days work in . . . (^12*' per day 

16 days work in October @ 12*' per day 

The following is an entry in the Records of Middlesex : — 

** Judgment is granted to Joan Feirce against M^ Thomas Landon for 

the sum of 8 ;^ Sterling due for two years' wages.*' Original vol. 1694- 

1705, p. 120. 


Jlie laborer, by the exercise of sound judgment in bis 
ig, ought to have accumulated sixty pounds sterling, 
f he had been allowed by his employer to cultivate 
ch of tobacco of his own, this sum would be very 
rially increased.^ 

e women who were exported from England to the 
ij had unusual opportunities of advancing their wel- 
in life. If they enjoyed an honorable reputation, 
found no difficulty in marrying into a higher station 
they had been accustomed to ; BuUock mentions the 
iihat no maid whom he had brought over failed to 
. husband in the course of the first three months after 
id entered into his service. The fortunes of these im- 
d women were frequently superior to their deserts, for 
e proportion of them were considered to be worthless.^ 
e number of persons in the Colony who had been 
imned to servitude for violating the law was always 
, and in 1642, the statute prescribing this form of 
hment, which had been passed in 1619, was abolished.^ 
e salable value of the servant depended in principal 
ire on the length of time which his indenture still 
]0 run. It was of course affected by the degree of 
aysical strength. Striking the general average for 
jries of years represented in the uncompleted terms 
ised in the inventories of estates entered in the 
y court records, the following will be found to be 
antially correct : a man having still one year unex- 
, ranged in value from two pounds sterling to four ; 
g two years, from six pounds sterling to eight ; hav- 
liree years, from eight to fourteen pounds sterling; 
g four years, from eleven to fifteen pounds sterling ; 

1 Bullock's Virginia, pp. 62, 63. 

« LeUers of William Fitzhugh, July 1, 1680. 

* Hening's StattUes^ voL I, p. 260. 


having five years, from twelve pounds sterling to sixteen ; 
having six years, from thirteen pounds sterling to seven- 

The value of female servants was fixed at lower rates. 
Thus a woman having one year of her term unexpired 
was appraised at a figure ranging from one to three pounds 
sterling; having two years, from three to five pounds 
sterling; having three years, from four to eight 
pounds sterling; having four years, from eight pounds 
sterling to twelve ; having five years, from twelve pounds 
sterling to fourteen ; having six years, she was appraised 
at a figure which did not exceed fifteen pounds sterling.^ 

There are many indications that the largest proportion of 
the negro servants who were found in the Colony in the 
seventeenth century were mulattoes, who had either been 
set free by their white fathers or were sprung from emanci- 
pated African mothers. The county records show the pres- 
ence of numerous persons of half blood who were earning a 
livelihood under ordinary covenants for a comparatively 
short time, or who had been bound out until they should 
reach their majority. If the mulatto was the offspring 
of a white woman, his period of service was extended by 
the vestry, which had all bastards at their disposal, to his 
thirtieth year. Among those who were employed by 
Robert Dudley of Middlesex just before his death, was a 
mulatto woman whose term was to expire at the end of 
two years.2 The estate of Mrs. Rowland Jones of York, 
in 1689, included among its items of property a mulatto 
man who had sixteen years to serve.® Colonel John Walker 

1 These estimates are based upon hundreds of entries found in the in- 
Tentories of personal estates preserved in the county records. 

^Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1698-1713, p. 103; see 
also Records of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 668, Va. State Library. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 881, Va. State Library. 


was the owner of an African apprentice whose indenture 
was to remain in force for twenty-eight years. ^ Among 
the laborers of Mr. George Light was a negro who had 
come into Virginia a free man, and bound himself out 
for a period of five.* 

Upon the close of the negro's term, he was entitled to 
the same quantity of clothing and corn as the white ser- 
vant. Independent provision was often made for him in 
the indenture itself. In 1685, William, the son of a 
mulatto woman named Katharine Sewell, was appren- 
ticed to William Booth of York for a period of thirty 
years. Booth agreeuig not only to supply liim with the 
usual quantity of food and raiment, and to provide him 
with the customary lodging, but also on his reaching liis 
fourteenth year, to give him a heifer, whose increase was 
to be carefully preserved for his benefit until his term 
expired.^ In some cases, the negro servant was permitted 
to raise hogs on condition that he turn over to his master 
one-half of the amount obtained from their sale.* 

There is no reason to think that the negro servant was 
appraised lower in inventories than the white. His labor 
was equally as valuable, and he was probably much more 
easily controlled, an element of special advantage in em- 
ploying him. 

There were found in Virginia in the seventeenth cen- 
tury a number of persons of Turkish blood, who had been 
impfjrted like English laborers under the terms of ordinary 
indentures. One of the head rights winch Francis Yeardley, 
in 1647, gave in to obtain a patent to land in Lower Nor- 
folk was acquired by his importation of Simon, who was 

^ Beeords of General Court, p. 119. 

« Ibid., p. 101. 

» Beeords of York County, vol. 1084-1687, p. 61, Va. State Library. 

* General Court Orders, March 31, 1641, Robinson Transcripts, p. 80. 


of Turkish nationality.^ Jonathan Newell of York County 
owned four Turkish servants, whose value was placed at 
the very high figure of ninety-five pounds sterling.* The 
inventory of the estate of George Jones of Rappahannock 
included a Turk whose term had still seven years to run. 
In the last decade of the century, a suit was entered in 
York by Mathew Catillah, probably an Algerian, for the 
recovery of his freedom, his mistress retaining him beyond 
his twenty-fourth year.^ 

The greater number of the Indian servants were children, 
many of whom were of a very tender age, the explanation 
of this circumstance lying in the fact that Indian parents 
were always at liberty to bind out their offspring as 
apprentices. Doubtless, too, it was recognized by the 
planters that the younger the Indian, the greater the 
probability that he might be educated to become tract- 
able and useful. The grown persons of the race, when 
reduced to this condition, were in most cases unmanage- 
able, and hardly worth the constant attention required to 
control them. In every agreement which an Indian parent 
in disposing of his son or daughter entered into, a cove- 
nant had to be inserted providing that the child should 
be instructed in the Christian religion. The contract, as 
a whole, was to be sworn to before two justices of the 
peace in order to exclude the possibility of collusion.* 
The regulation ^v^ established and strictly enforced that 

1 Becords of Lower Norfolk, original vol. 1646-1651, f. p. 50. A Turk 
was imported by George Menefie in 1635. See Va. Land Patents, vol. I, 
p. 200. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1675-1684, p. 142, Va. State Library. 

* Ibid., vol. 1694-1607, p. 135, Va. State Library. References to Portu- 
guese servants will be found in Records of York County, vol. 1687-1691, 
p. 558, Va. State Library, and in Becords of Northampton County, 
original vol. 1664-1674, f. p. 138. 

* Henlng*s Statutes, voL I, p. 410. 


all Indian children who had been obtained by the planters 
with the assistance of Indian kidnappers, or who had been 
procured from their fathers directly by means of fraud, 
and then held, on the claim that they had been purchased 
for an adequate consideration, were to be returned to the 
place to which they belonged within ten days after it 
had been shown that they had been wrongfully acquired.^ 
The master of a young Indian was not permitted to carry 
him out of the country until the local court had received 
satisfactory evidence that the consent of his parents had 
been obtained.* Youthful servants of this race were 
ordered to be brought before that body to have their 
age inquired into and adjudged, so that they might be 
included among the tithables, if they had reached the 
degree of maturity prescribed. 

In his relation to his master, the Indian servant stood 
upon precisely the same footing as the white ;^ he too was 
held strictly to the observance of his obligation to work, 
and he also could not be retained longer than the legal 
period. In some particulars, the law was more unbending 
in the case of an Indian than of a white person, since it 
was desirable to avoid aU causes of conflict with the 
neighboring tribes. No servant of aboriginal blood could 
be owned without a special license from the Governor, 
and his master had to place himself under bonds to be 
responsible for all injuries and damages which he might 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, pp. 481, 482. 

« Ibid^ p. 546. 

> The master was required, as in the case of white and negro servants, 
to supply the Indian with proper clothing, food, and shelter. The pro- 
Tision in the matter of garments made for one of the Indian servants of 
William Randolph of Henrico County, in 1696, was one leather and one 
cotton waistcoat, one pair of leather breeches, one pair of shoes, and 
one pair of stockings. Original vol. 1677-1699, Orders, Oct. 1, 1696, 
D. 124. 



inflict. Unlike members of the same sex among the 
whites, the women of the race whose ages exceeded sixteen 
years were held to be tithable whether they were em- 
ployed in the field or not, and in this they occupied the 
same position as negresses.^ The value of the Indian ser- 
vant, whether male or female, did not differ materially from 
that of the English or African. 

1 Heuiug^s /Statutes, vol. II, p. 402. 





The introductioii of the African into Virginia was an 
eyent that was certain to occur in time. The institution 
of slavery sprang up there under the operation of an irre- 
sistible economic law, and was to continue in undiminished 
vigor until it vanished in the conflagration of battle. A 
few negroes doubtless would have been brought into the 
Colony in the_seventeenth century even if its soil had been 
|feftqgM£^oF^producing tobacco.y In this respect, the his- 
tory of Sew EnglanT would have been repeated. The 
enlargement of the area under cultivation in that plant in 
Virginia signified an enormous increase in the numb^ of 
imported slaves as soon as the proper facilities for their 
transportation had been established; it was not until the \ 
last quarter of the seventeenth century was reached that , 
these facilities had been established on a scale fairly com- 
mensurate with the demand for labor in the Colony. The 
I institution of slavery played there but an insignificant 
J part in the course of the greater portion of this century, 
not because the African was looked on as an undesirable 
element in the local industrial system, but because the 
means of obtaining the individuals of this race were very 
limited. The value of the negro as an agricultural factor 
Was clearly understood. The strongest competitors of Vir- 
pnia in the production of its principal commodity were the 
Spanish Colonies in the South, where the plant was culti- 



vated by the slaves imported from the coast of Africa or 
sprung from parents of African nativity. The climate of 
Virginia, it is true, was less oppressive to the European 
laborer than the climate of the West Indies, but the 
economic reasons which made the negro a more useful and 
profitable liand in the cultivation of a great staple like 
tobacco, were just as applicable to him in the valleys of 
the James and York as in the islands of Cuba and San 

of the most serious drawbacks to the employment 
of indented laborers was the inevitable frequency of change 
attending this form of service. In a few years, as soon as 
the time for which the servant had been bound under the 
articles of his contract or by the custom of the country had 
come to an end, his place had to be supplied by another 
person of the same class. Whenever a planter brought 
in a laborer at his own expense, or purchased his term 
from the local or foreign merchant who had transported 
him to the Colony, the planter was compelled to bear in 
mind the day when he would no longer have a right to 
claim the benefit of his servant's energies because his 
control over him had expired by limitation. He might 
introduce a hundred willing laborers, who might prove 
invaluable to him during the time covered by their cove- 
nants, but in a few years, when experience had made them 
efficient, and their bodies had become thorouglily enured 
to the change of climate, they recovered their freedom, 
and, if they felt the inclination to do so, as the great ma- 
jority naturally did, were at liberty to abandon his estate 
and begin the cultivation of tobacco on their own account, 
or follow the trades in which they had been educated. 
Unless the planter had been careful to make provision 
against their departure by the importation of other 
[laborers, he was left in a helpless position without men to 


d or reap bis crops or to widen the area of his new 
tunds. It was not simply the desire to become an 
tier of a great extent of land that prompted the Vir- 
ion in the seventeenth century to bring in successive 
ids of persons whose transportation entitled him to 
proportionate number of head rights. Perhaps in a 
jority of cases, his object was to obtain laborers whom 
might substitute for those whose terms were on the 
nt of expiring. It was this constantly recurring 
»essity, which must have been the source of much 
ciety and annoyance as well as heavy pecuniary outlay, 
.t led the planters to prefer youths to adults among the 
Dorted English agricultural servants, for while their 
^cal strength might have been less, yet the periods 
which they were bound extended over a longer time. 
[t can be readily seen that from this economic point of\ w 
w, the slave was a far more desirable form of property J 
n the white servant. His term was for life, not for a y 
r years. Therig^was no solicitude as to how his place 
3 to be filled, for he belonged to his master as long as 
lived, and when he died he generally left behind him a 
lily of children who were old enough to furnish valu- 
e aid in the tobacco fields. In physical strength he 
3 the equal of the white laborer of the same age, and in 
rer of endurance he was the superior. Whilst some 
the negroes imported into the Colony, more especially 
ise snatched directly from a state of freedom in Africa, 
re doubtless in some measure difficult to manage, the 
ves as a rule were • docile and tractable, and, when 
ives of Virginia, not disposed to rebel against the con- 
ion of life in which they found themselves. Not only 
re they more easily controlled than the white servants, 
t' they also throve on plainer fare and were satisfied 
li humbler lodgings. Nor were they subject to season- 




Zing, a cause of serious loss in the instance of the white 
laborers. Moreover, they could not demand the grain 
and clothing which the custom of the country had pre- 
scribed in favor of the white servants at the close of their 
terms, and which constituted an important drain upon the 

' resources of the planters. It is true that the master was 
required to provide for his slave in old age when he could 
make no return because incapable of further effort, but 
the expense which this entailed was insignificant. 

It would appear for these reasons that even in the sev- 
enteenth century, the labor of slaves after the heavy out- 
lay in securing it had been met, was cheaper than the 
labor of indented white servants,^ although the latter class 
of persons stood upon the same footing as the former as 
long as their terms continued. This was the opinion of 
men who had resided in the Colony for many years, and 
enjoyed the fullest opportunity of observing the operation 
of the local system of agriculture. The wastefulness of 
slave labor, which has always been considered to be the 
most serious drawback attached to it as compared with 
free labor, was of smaller importance in that age than 
when the whole area of Virginia had been divided into 
separate plantations, and the extent of the untouched soil 
had become limited to a degree demanding more skilful 
and more careful methods in the cultivation of the 
ground. In the seventeenth century, there was no ele- 
ment of wealth so abundant as the new lands covered by 
the fertile mould which had been accumulating on their 
surface for many thousand years. The planter availed 
himself of their productiveness in reckless haste, soon 
reducing the rich loam to barrenness, but in doing so he 
was pursuing a more profitable course and a more econom- 

1 Instructions to Culpcper, 1081-1682 ; his reply to § 69, McDonald 
Papers, vol. VI, p. 166, Va. State Library. 


ical plan than if he had endeavored to restore the original 
quality of the soil. If it had been possible to obtain do- 
mestic or imported manures at a small expense, it would 
still have been cheaper in the end, the volume of the 
annual crop being considered, to extend the clearings 
and to leave nature to bring back the abandoned fields to 
their primaeval excellence. The Virginian planter of 
the seventeenth century was apparently the greatest of 
•agricultural spendthrifts, but in reality he was only 
adapting himself to surrounding conditions, which were 
the reverse of those prevailing in the mother country, 
where art had to be called in to preserve the ground from 
the destructive effect of long-continued tillage. Intro- 
duced into the Colony where the first principle of agri- 
culture was to abuse because the virgin lands were 
unlimited in quantity, the institution of slavery was not 
lessened in value from an industrial point of view by the 
fact that it did not promote economical methods in the 
use of the soil. 

There is, however, serious reason for doubting whether 
the charge of wastefulness brought against slave labor 
in Virginia, not only in the colonial period but in the 
period between the Revolution and the War between the 
States, was not to be laid at the door of the great staple, 
tobacco, rather than at the door of the institution of 
slavery itself. No country devoted exclusively to thk 
cultivation of this staple is likely to present an appear-\ 
ance of thrift, unless its surface should be occupied by\ 
small proprietors working their own estates, and making \ 
use of every foot of available ground. The tobacco 
plant requires for its production loam in the greatest 
quantity and of the highest quality. There is always 
a disposition on the part of those engaged in its culti- 
vation to widen the plantation, even now, when arti- 



ficial manures are so effective in bringing back the fer- 
tility which has been lost. The newly cleared field is 
still the soil which is most desired, and there is still and 
will always be the same inclination to rely on nature for 
the restoration of land. This is not the fault of in- 
herited carelessness in agriculture, but it is a condition 
which has descended from the seventeenth to the present 
century in a form modified only by the growth of popu- 
lation. If the culture of tobacco were veiy profitable, 
the tendency to enlarge each estate would be just as 
strong to-day in Virginia, with labor emancipated, as it 
was during the existence of slavery. That institution 
only promoted the extension of the plantation by cheap- 
ening labor to the lowest point, which to that degree 
mcreased the owner's returns from his crops, enaUing 
him to invest a greater si 

) t sixty - yggfsin the history^ST the^Colony, the 
slave was an insignificant element in the community, and 
yet during this long period there are to be observed the 
most marked indications of the tendency to appropriate 
large tr acts. J This disposition was manifest from the start, 
as the result not of the character of the labor system in 
operation, but of the nature of tobacco itself. The sys- 
tem of labor permitted the exhibition of this dispositicm 
but did not create it. The agriculture of Virginia did 
not reach an extraordinary degree of prosperity until 
the administration of Spotswood,^ and this is to be par- 
tially explained by the fact that not until one hundred 
years had passed was the number of slaves imported into 

1 Hugh Jones states that " the Country (Virginia) may be said to be 
altered and improved in wealth and Polite Learning within these lev 
years since the beginning of Gov. Spotswood*s Government more than ift 
all the Scores of years before that, from its first Discovery." JPrtmtd 
State of Virginia, 1724, p. 53. 



'• equal to the demand for their services. The 
perous period in the history of Virginia wasjV 
le interval extending from 1710 to 1770. Th^^^ 
ring this time had not only a staple that com^ y^ 

high price in foreign markets, but also the^' 
pensive system of labor, in the light of the 7 
iiysical conditions prevailing, which could haval ^ 
ted. The institution of slavery had not been] 
suflBciently in the seventeenth century to bring 
Its approaching those which were observed in 
enth. If for every servant brought into the 
iween 1675 and 1700 a negro had been substi- 
accumulation of wealth by the planters would 
} period have been more rapid than it was, not 
t of their ability to raise a larger quantity of 
' sale, which would have been undesirable, as the 
DUghout the century was even larger than the 
at on account of that curtailment in the cost of 
. which would have followed from the employ- 
3orers bound for life and not for a term of years, 
'^ere no scruples in the minds of the English 
that age, whether residents of England itself 
of the Colonies, against the enslavement of 
ind the appropriation of the fruits of his toil. 
5 most fully informed as to the terrible features 
idle passage were inclined to agree with Sir 
kins in his memorable reply to Queen Eliza- 
reproached by her for the horrors attending 
in human beings which this distinguished 
n had been the first of his nation to begin, 
the correctness of the reports made to his 
he claimed that the condition of the slave in i 
ras less deplorable than the condition of ther \ 
I Africa, and that in removing the negro fron^ Q 


a land of idolatry to a land in which Christianity pre- 
vailed, a service had been conferred upon the whole 
African race.^ As late as the end of the seventeenth 
century, the belief was held by many, even in England, 
that the negro was not a man but a wild beast, marked 
by an intelligence hardly superior to that of a monkey, 
and with instincts and habits far more debased.^ He 
was considered to be stupid in mind, savage in manners, 
and brutal in his impulses, and the multitudes that were 

, transported across the ocean justified the apparent harsh- 
ness of this judgment. It was an age, however, in which 
little mercy was shown to the lower races by the higher, 
unless the lower were in a position to inflict injury upon 
the liigher. The Caribs in the West Indian Islands had 
swiftly melted away under the stress of the unaccus- 
tomed tasks which were imposed upon them. The Eng- 
lishman of the seventeenth century was in no way as cruel 
as the Spaniard of the sixteenth, but it is not improbable 
that if the Indian tribes of Virginia had been as mild and 
tractable in their disposition as their fellows in the islands 
of the Spanish Main, they would at first have been brought 

n under a yoke at best heavy and exacting. The consider- 
ation which the aborigines received from the English 
settlers was due in the largest measure perhaps, not to a 
[sense of justice and humanity, which, as we have seen, was 
far from lacking, but to a well-founded apprehension of 
the savage courage and the restless spirit of the natives. 

* Williams' History of the Negro Hace in America^ p. 138. 

2 Godwyn's Negro's and Indian's Advocate (1680), pp. 11, 12, 13, 14. 
Godwyn argues very gravely, ** methiiiks the consideration of the shape 
and tigure of our negroes' Bodies, their Limbs and Members, their Voice 
and Countenance in all things according with other Men's ; together with 
their Risibility and Discourse (Man's peculiar Faculties) should be a suffi- 
cient conviction," p. 13. This pamphlet throws a curious light upon the 
general view taken of the negro in the seventeenth century. 

They make them the Posterity of that unhappy son of Noah, who, 
ly, was together with his whole Family and Race cursed by his 
... For from thence, as occasion shall offer they'll infer their 
s Brutality ; justiflc their reduction of him under bondage ..." 
rn's Nf.gro*s and Indian*8 Advocate, pp. 14, 43. 
[i£ Bermudas. 

VOL. II. — F V 


African was totally devoid of the power to resistA 
was easily and permfinently subdued by the exercise! 
)rce. There was a growing demand for labor in\ 
Sew World, and thither he was drawn without 
sition on his part, to become in time the mudsill 
which the social organization of a large part of the 
«m Hemisphere was to rest. Not only were there 
re doubts in the minds of many Englishmen as to 
her the place of the negro in the general system 
'6 was higher than that of the horse or the ox, but 
was a belief that if he were indeed a member of 
Luman family, he belonged to a race of men who, as 
lescendants of Ham, had been cursed by God him- 
and so branded for all time as servants of suj>erior 
, without claim to the fruits of their own arduous 
.^ This was thought to be in itself a justificatio 
Lfrican slavery. Its significance was as deeply im- 
ed upon the minds of the colonists in Virginia as 
3 upon the minds of the colonists in Barbadoes and 
omers Isles.* And yet it is a remarkable fact, that 
jitil many years after the introduction of the negro 
Virginia, do we find him referred to in the statutel 
as a slave ; in the beginning, he was simply a ser-^ 
for life, different only from the white servant in the \ 
h of his term of service. „ — "^ 

e first cargo of negroes brought into Virginia was \ // 
ported thither without there having been any pre- /k 
arrangement on the part of the planters to receive ' 
upon their arrival. They were introduced under tlie 



impression that they could be disposed of with ease be- 
cause of the growing demand for labor in the cultivation 
of tobacco. The system of indented service had by this 
time been firmly established, and under the wise admin- 
I istration of Sir George Yeardley the Colony itself had 
entered upon that course of expansion in wealth and 
population which, with the exception of a brief interval 
occasioned by the massacre of 1622, was to show a steady 
progress with the passage of each decade. In 1619, at 
the moment when the settlers were beginning to feel 
the first beneficent effects of a milder government, 
^/twenty Africans were disembarked from a Dutch priva- 
rifeer, presumably at Jamestown, as the place where a 
market was most readily found for a cargo of laborers. 
The ill-fated vessel, which was destined to earn by this 
single act in its career a sinister immortality in history, 
was sailing under letters of marque from the Prince of 
Orange, and had been cruising in the Spanish Main for 
the purpose of capturing Spanish prizes. The rapacious 
and unscrupulous Argoll seems to have been indirectly 
connected with this introduction of the negro into the 
Colony, and was, therefore, partly, although remotely, 
responsible for it. Before the close of his term as Gov- 
ernor he had dispatched to the West Indies a ship, sent 
to him by the Earl of Warwick and sailing under a 
commission from the Duke of Savoy, to make raids upon 
Spanish shipping. This vessel was ordered to bring back 
to the Colony a load of salt and goats, but it was sus- 
pected at the time that its real object was to ravage 
the commerce of Spain. 

Argoll during his administration had sought to reduce 
all the resources of the Colony to his own immediate 
profit, without regard to public or private interests. It 
seems probable, therefore, that the introduction of slave 


labor occurred to him as an enterprise which would be 
likely to result in gain to himself and his patrons. While 
cruising in the West Indies, his vessel, the Trea^urer^ 
fell in accidentally with a Dutch privateer and remained 
in company with her. It was from the oflBcers of the 
Treasurer that the commander of this ship perhaps 
learned that a market for the sale of negroes could be 
found in. Virginia, for, after touching at the Bermudas, 
the vessel proceeded to that Colony, which she reached in 
the month of August, Yeardley in the meanwhile having 
taken the place of Argoll, who had a few days before 
the arrival of the new Governor returned by stealth to 
England. The Treasurer arrived in Virginia in the 
course of the same summer as the Dutch privateer, but, 
meeting with a cold reception, she turned back to the Ber- 
mudas, carrying with her a number of slaves, who were 
placed upon the lands which the Earl of Warwick owned 
in that island.^ During her stay in the Colony, she seems 
to have disembarked only one negro, so far as the records 

It has been suggested that the first negroes introduced 
into Virginia after its occupation by the English were 
imported in the Treasurer^ and not in the Dutch priva- 
teer.* All the evidence wliich has been published goes 
to confirm the statement of Rolfe, that the latter and 

1 Pory to Carleton, NeUl's Virginia Vetmta, p. 113. 

«See CenBOS 1624-25, Hotten's Original List of Emigrants, 1600- 
1700, p. 224. The name of this negro, who was a woman, was Angela. 

3 Among others by Mr. Alexander Brown in the Genesis of the United 
St^teit. In his biography of Captain Elf rith, p. 886, he expresses the opinion 
that the report given of the ** cold reception '* of the Treasurer was written 
for the porpoee of diverting the attention of the Spaniards, and he states 
that *^ he has several documents in the premises (which have never been 
printed) giving ample information.** I have not had an opportunity of 
examining these documents. 


not the former vessel was responsible for J;his ill-omened 
addition to the population of the Colony. One of the 
first acts of Governor Yeardley after his arrival at James- 
town was to inform Sir Edwin Sandys in England, that 
it was generally believed in Virginia that the only object 
which those in charge of the Treasurer had in view in 
their West Indian voyage was to make an incursion upon 
the Spanish islands in that quarter, a purpose not inconsis- 
tent with the character of similar incursions which had 
been promoted by the Earl of Warwick, the principal 
owner of the vessel. The attention of the Council was 
called to the expedition, but that body decided to dis- 
miss the whole matter without prejudice to Warwick, 
who might have been seriously compromised if it had 
been shown that he had been engaged in a piratical 
attack upon the commerce and property of Spanish sub- 
jects in the West Indies. The English King was at this 
time very solicitous to preserve the utmost amity in his 
relations with Spain. After a short interval, a second 1 
communication was received from Governor Yeardley, 
announcing that the Treasurer had returned to Vir- 
ginia, but had met with a reception so little cordial that 
she had soon departed, leaving behind a lieutenant, who 
had admitted that those in command of the ship were 
deeply involved in outrageous depredations upon the 
Spanish possessions in the South. ^ This news created a 
great commotion in the Council. Sandys had called that 
body together for the special purpose of inducing it to 
inform the Spanish Ambassador and the Privy Council of 
the lawless course which had been pursued by the owners. j 
of the Treasurer. It is obvious from these proceedings 
how determined the new administration in England was 

1 Manclicster Papers, Royal Hist MSS. Commission^ Eighth KepoiV 
Appx., p. 35. 


that the Colony should not rest under the slightest suspi- 
cion that the Company was giving countenance to the 
piracy of Warwick and ArgoU. That Yeardley under- 
stood the importance of keeping clear of the same im- 
putation^ is proved by the fact that he was so hostile 
to the vessel upon the strength of rumor alone that the 
master, in order to evade arrest, set sail instantly when he 
discovered that Argoll had taken flight.^ This did not 
prevent the vigilant Governor from dispatching a full 
account of all that could be learned about the TreaB- 
urer to the authorities of the Company in England. 
Entertaining this feeling towards the ship, and being 
fully aware of the extreme peril both to himself and 
to the safety of the Colony that would arise from show- 
ing consideration to a vessel which had excited the violent 
animosity of the Spanish Power, it seems wholly improb- 
ible that he would have entered into negotiations with 
Captain Elfrith for the purchase of the slaves contained 
I his ship. To have done so would have been to call 
iwn the wrath of the Spaniard upon Virginia at a 
ne when it was the policy of the home as well as 
3 colonial government to avert it. To give a cold 
option to the Treasurer was the natural and prudent 
irse to pursue, and that this was done, both Yeardley 
'. Pory assert with equal clearness. If the negroes 
board had been withdrawn from the ship by force, 
rwick would have advanced the same claim to them 
:h lie afterwards advanced to the fourteen whom the 
9urer disembarked at the Bermudas subsequent to 
leparture from Virginia. No such claim was made. 
Kjually significant that in the census taken in 1024-25 
16 negro is mentioned as liaving been imported into 

^tracts of Pi'Oceedinfj» of the Vir^nia Company of London, vol. II, 


the Colony in this vessel. If all had arrived in Virginia 
in her bottom, the same fact would have been stated in 
connection with each slave. It is equally significant that 
a large proportion of the Africans introduced in 1619 
were placed upon the lands assigned to the oflBce of the 
Governor. It seems improbable that Yeardley, a man 
of prudence and discretion, would, even as a feint, send 
a dispatch to England in open condemnation of the 
piratical voyage of the Treasurer at the very moment 
he proposed to reap important benefits from that voyage 
by purchasing, for the use of tenants in his service, the 
negroes who constituted the principal prize of the incur- 
sion from which the Treasurer had just returned. 

In the space of five years immediately following 1619, the 
number of Africans in the Colony was increased by two. 
The muster taken of the population in 1624-25 discloses 
the presence of twenty-two as compared with the twenty 
brought in by the Dutch privateer, but one of these two 
additions is accounted for by the fact that the Treasurer 
had landed a negro in Virginia in 1619, and the other had 
been imported in the Sxcan in 1623.^ The two children in- 
cluded in the lists of the muster, it may be, were bom on 
the North American continent. Their ages are not given, 
which makes it impossible to state this with confidence.* 
If under five years, they were natives of tjje Colony, but 

1 Census of 1624-26, Hotten's Original List of Emigrants, 1600- 
1700, p. 258. 

2 If born in Virginia, two of the negroes forming the cargo of 1619 
must have died. Of this there is no record. The two additions to the 
original number, as shown by the census of 1024-26, are accounted for 
by the two negroes brought in by the Treasurer and Swan, from which 
it may be reasonably inferred that the two negro children mentioned in 
the census of 1624-26 had been counted in the importation of 1619. If 
none had died in the interval, the census of 1624-25 would have shown, 
in case the two children had been bom in \^irginia, the presence ol 
twenty-four instead of twenty-two slaves in the Colony. 


if over five years, they were bom at sea or in the West 
Indies. While the mind cannot contemplate the birth 
of the first negro on North American soil with the same 
emotions as those aroused by the birth of Virginia Dare,^ 
the event nevertheless was one which cannot be regarded 
without a feeling of the prof oundest interest when «re re- 
flect upon its association with the great events which were 
to come after. Whichever of these children, if either, 
was born in Virginia, it was the first of his race who 
could claim a nativity in the soil and an absolute identi- 
fication with its history.* 

It is an interesting fact that no African perished in the 
massacre of 1622, when three hundred and forty-five of 
the (^okmists fell by the tomahawks and arrows of the 
Indians. This can only be explained on the ground that 
their color had been influential in saving them from the 
ferocity of the savages. More than two years had passed 
since their arrival in Virginia, which allowed a sufficient 
interval for their partial distribution among the different 
settlements. Many of the negroes were doubtless still at 
Jamestown, one of the few places in the Colony from which 
the massacre was averted, but a number must have been 
at Fleur de Hundred, which did not escape that terrible 
visitation. Of the twenty-two negroes in Virginia in 
1623, eleven were living at Fleur de Hundred, four at 
Warrasquoke, two at Elizabeth City, one at Jamestown 
Neck, three at Jamestown, and one on the plantation on 
the banks of the Powhatan opposite to that place. Their 
failure to increase in number during the five years imme- 

^ The first English child bom in North America. 

'The Spaniards are said to have occupied Jamestown Island in the 
pieTioiis century and to have sought to make a permanent settlement 
there, partly by means of the labors of their negro slaves. See Prof. 
John Fiske^s valuable and interesting JShort History of the United States^ 

tm 45>- AA 


diately following their introduction was due to the separa- 
tion of the sexes, as disclosed by the records. Thus, of the 
eleven at Fleur de Hundred, in 1623, one alone apparently 
was of the female sex. Two, perhaps all, of the three at 
Jamestown were women. The only negro at Jamestown 
Neck was a man. This was also true of the one on the 
plantation lying across the river from Jamestown. Of 
the four negroes at Warrasquoke, two were women. ^ 

An examination as to the ownership of the negroes in 
1625, reveals the fact that there was greater opportunity 
for their increase at that time than in 1623. On one of the 
tracts of public land which Governor Yeardley had under 
cultivation, there were five female slaves and three male. 
Richard Kingsmill and Captain West respectively were in 
possession of one male slave. Abraham Piersey, the for- 
mer Cape Merchant, a man of considerable fortune, was 
the owner of four male slaves and two female. On the 
plantation of Captain Tucker, there was a family of slaves 
composed of a husband, wife, and child. There was also 
a slave husband and wife on the Bennett estate.^ The 
names which these negroes bore would seem to show that 
they had been captured, as has been suggested, on the 
high seas, and had after their arrival in the Colony been 
given English appellations ; the name of one alone is of 
Spanish origin, the negress who had been brought in by 
the Treasurer being known as Angela. When at a later 
period slaves were imported into Virginia from the Span- 
ish West Indies, it was the custom of many who bought 
them as a basis for patents, to retain their Spanish desig- 

1 List of the Livinge and Dead in Virginia, Feb. 16, 1623, British StaU 
Papers^ ColoniaL vol. Ill, No. 2; Colonial Records of Virf/inia^ State 
Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 41. Angela at Jamestown was doubtless the 
woman brought in by the Treasurer. 

2 See Ilotteu's Original Lists of Emigrants to America, 1600-1700^ 
pp. 202-265. 


nations. The custom was not always followed, but was 
observed, as we will show hereafter, with sufficient strict- 
ness to give much valuable information as to the origin 
of the negroes who were entered to secure head rights. 
The Africans forming the cargo of the Dutch privateer 
that arrived in 1619 were known after their distribution 
among the plantations by such English names as Peter, 
Anthony, Frank, and Margaret, but these might havff been 
the anglicized forms of the original Spanish names. 

Five years after the census of 1624-25 was taken, from 
which it appears that there were twenty-two Africans in 
the Colony at that time, an important addition was made 
to the slave population by Captain Grey, who, during a 
cruise in the ship Fortune of London had encountered a 
vessel loaded with negroes from the Angola coast, cap- 
tured her and brought her cargo into Virginia. This 
cargo he exchanged there for eighty-five hogsheads and 
five butts of tobacco, which were afterwards transported 
to England for sale. It would seem that no difficulty was 
found in disposing of these slaves, although they were rude 
savages stolen only a few weeks before from their native 
country. The demand for labor was now so urgent that 
these untrained* barbarians were doubtless purchased in 
haste. ^ 

So far as can now be discovered, all the negroes im- 
ported into the Colony in the course of the first half of 
the seventeenth century were brought in like the cargoes 
of the Dutch privateer in 1619, and the Fortune in 1629, 
by independent ships and by individual enterprise. The 
first cliarter for the acquisition of slaves which was 
granted in this century to an organized body by the 


* John EUzeye to Edward Nicholas, Dom. Cor. Charles I, vol. 105, 
No. 3o, Sainghurtj Abstracts for 162S, p. 186, Va. State Library. The 
name appears sometimes as Gay, a misprint probably for Grey. 


English Government, was in 1618, when the exclusive 
privilege was conferred upon the Earl of Warwick and 
his associates of carrying on a traflBc of this kind on the 
Guinea coast. As has been seen in connection with the 
Treasurer^ which, if not the property of the Company, 
was owned by its leading members, the restriction to this 
coast was not strictly observed in its operation. The 
fact that the vessel, although belonging to men who were 
licensed to trade in slaves, was turned away from James- 
town in the summer of 1619 without being permitted to 
dispose of the negroes on board, is an additional indica- 
tion of how solicitous the Governor at that time was that 
Virginia should not be drawn into any complication with 
the Spanish Power. There is no evidence to show that 
the Fortune^ which was commanded by Captain Grey, was 
connected with the Company over which Warwick pre- 
sided. She was probably an independent vessel engaged 
in general commerce. 

In 1631, the year following the seizure of the Angola 
slaver, a charter was obtained from Charles the First by 
an association that went to an extraordinary expense in 
making every provision for securing the traffic of the 
Guinea coast, inclusive of the barter in negroes. The 
importation into Virginia of Africans by the agency 
either direct or indirect of this Company must have been 
small, as eighteen years subsequent to the acquisition of 
its charter the number in the Colony did not exceed three 
hundred. A part of this number is to be attributed to 
natural increase, for thirty years had now passed since the 
negro was first landed in Virginia. A fair proportion of 
the three hundred, however, had been introduced by 
planters or, shipowners, the principle of the head right 
having been adjudged to apply to the slave as well as to 
the indented servant. The first instance recorded in the 


patents now preserved in the office of the Register at 
Richmond, of a grant of fifty acres on the basis of a head 
right allowed for the importation of an African, is that 
in connection with Angela, who belonged to Richard 
Bennett.^ This was in 1635, in which year twenty-six 
negroes were introduced into Virginia. The person who 
brought in the largest number was Charles Harmar, who 
added four men and four women to the slave population.^ 
The extent of the increase in J. 636 did not exceed seven, 
the importation by individual planters being in no case 
larger than two. In 1637, twenty-eight negroes were 
introduced, Henry Browne being the importer of eight. 
In 1638, the number amounted to thirty. The planters 
who obtained head rights on the basis of these thirty 
slaves included such leading citizens as Francis £pes, 
John Banister, Randall Crew, Christopher Wormeley, 
George Menefie, Thomas Harris, John Robbins, and Rich- 
ard Kemp. Richard Kemp brought in eleven and George 
Menefie twenty-three.* It is stated that the whole num- 
ber of Africans introduced in this year by the latter were 
from England. In 1639, only forty-six negroes were 
added to the slave population of the Colony, of whom 
fifteen were imported by George Menefie and twelve by 
Henrj' Perry.* The number in 1642 amounted to seven 
only ; in 1643 to eighteen, and in 1649 to seventeen, of 
whom a large majority were introduced by Ralph Worme- 
lev.^ In the interval between 1649 and 1659 there seems 
to have been little fluctuation in the volume of the impor- 
tations. The greatest number of negroes brought in in 
one body in this interval were introduced in 1656, when 

» Va. Land Patents, vol. 1023-1643, p. 187. See also head rights of 
patent granted to David Jones in the same year. 

« Thid., voL 1623-1643, p. 24C. « Ibid., vol. 1023-1643, pp. 705. 771. 
• Ibid., vol. 162^-1643, p. 691. * Ibid., vol. 1043-10ol, p. 171. 


thirty were imported by Tabitha and Matilda Scarborough 
of the Eastern Shore. ^ In other instances it did not rise 
above thirteen. 

There are many indications that previous to 1650 the 
Dutch were either directly or indirectly chiefly instru- 
mental in introducing the negro into Virginia. In 1655, 
Colonel Scarborough, one of the most distinguished 
planters of the Eastern Shore, is stated' to have visited 
Manhattan, where he purchased many slaves, whom he 
afterwards transported to his own home.^ The Dutch 
vessels, however, were in the habit of landing Africans in 
the Colony. The trade was doubtless interrupted by the 
war which broke out in 1653 between Holland and Eng- 
land, but as soon as peace was restored it was resumed, 
although not to the extent which the landowners desired. 
In 1659, the General Assembly sought to promote the 
importation of negroes in Dutch bottoms by granting to 
Dutch masters the valuable privilege of sending out the 
tobacco, which had been exchanged for slaves introduced, 
free from the duty of ten shillings a hogshead which was 
imposed upon all foreign ships, and subject only to the 
duty of two shillings required upon the casks exported to 
England.^ The action of the Assembly was soon rendered 
nugatory by the return of the Stuarts, and the rigid en- 
forcement of the Navigation laws. Previous to this event 
the English merchants who had taken part in the traffic 

^ Va. Land Patents, vol. 1665-1604, p. 36. It is most probable that 
in nearly all the cases mentioned, the negroes had not been directly im- 
ported by the persons suing out the patents, but had been purchased from 
shipowners and shipmasters, who had brought in slaves along with 
ordinary merchandise. 

2 Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. XII, 
pp. 93, 94. 

' Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 540. The same privilege was extended 
to * * other f orreiners. * ' 


of supplying the American plantations with slaves, had 
become thoroughly discouraged by the encroachments of 
the Dutch, who did not hesitate to seize English vessels 
seeking to participate in the African trade. To prevent 
the entire exclusV>n of these merchants, it was found 
necessary, in 1662, to grant a charter to the Royal African 
Company, with the exclusive right of importing negroes 
into the English possessions, the number to be introduced 
annually not to fall short of three thousand. The Duke 
of York, brother of the King, was placed at its head. This 
corporation was authorized to give a license to any Eng- 
lish subject to export slaves from Africa to the English 
Colonies on the payment of three pounds sterling a ton on 
the tonnage of the vessel used in transporting them. It 
also received permission to enter into a contract with the 
Governor of Barbadoes to supply the planters of that 
island with negroes at the rate of seventeen pounds ster- 
ling a head. The slaves to be conveyed to the planters 
of Antigua and Jamaica, under contracts with the Gov- 
ernors of these Colonies, were to be delivered respectively 
at eighteen and nineteen pounds sterling apiece. It is 
worthy of note that the riglit was not specifically con- 
ferred upon the Company at this time to enter into an 
agreement with the Governor of Virginia as to the rates 
at which Africans were to be sold to the people of that 
English possession, an omission due perhaps to the fact 
that the Colony was not yet regarded as an important 
market for slave labor. ^ 

It is questionable whether in 1663 the slave population 
of the Colony was in excess of fifteen hundred persons. 
Eight years later it had risen only to two thousand.^ In 

1 />om. Cot, Charles 11^ vol. xlvii, No. 162, p. 36 ; Sainsbury's Calendar 
of Statu Papers, Colonial, 1601-166S, p. 120. 

* Governor Berkeley's Replies to Interrogatories of English Commis- 
sioners, Uening^s Statutes, vol. II, p. 515. 



1671, Berkeley testified that in the course of the previous 
seven years the importation of negroes into Virginia did 
not go beyond two or three cargoes. ^ This statement is con- 
firmed by the evidence of the patent books. The found- 
ers of powerful colonial families appear in this decade for 
the first time as the patentees of large tracts of land on 
the basis of African head rights. In 1662, Richard Lee 
/obtained a grant upon the presentation of a list of per- 
'sons that included eighty negroes, the largest number 
which had previous to this time formed a part of the 
basis of title. In 1665, Carter of Corotoman sued out a 
patent that included twenty negroes in its lists of head 
ghts. In a list of sixty-nine belonging to the Scar- 
boroughs, which was made the basis of a single grant, 
thirty-nine were represented by slaves. In some instances 
the number of such head rights preponderated to the ex- 
tent of fifteen to five, and in others they constituted 
tiie whole list, ranging as high as fifteen.^ 

In 1672, the Royal African Company received a new 
charter and became jn a few years a powerful agency in 
the exportation of slaves to America. At first, however, 
it does not appear to have exercised an increased influence 
in promoting the transportation of negroes to Virginia. 
The decade between 1670 and 1680 was one of extraordi- 
nary commotion in the affairs of the Colony, owing to the 
insurrection under the leadership of Nathaniel Bacon, an 
event which was preceded and followed by a state of great 
impoverishment among the people. In 1679, Culpeper, 

1 Replies to Interrogatories of the English Commissioners, Hening^s 
Statutes^ vol. II, p. 515. In 1C64, a Dutch slaver was captured by an 
English privateer, and, with her living cargo, carried to Virginia. Com- 
missioners were sent by Stuyvesant to the Colony to reclaim the ship and 
the negroes. Documents Relating to Colonial History of New Tork^ 
vol. n, p. 222. 

3 See Va, Land Patent Books for these years. 


replying to the instructions from England, which directed 
him to give an annual account of the number of Africans 
imported into Virginia, declared that some years previ- 
ously five or six hundred were introduced every year, 
but the number now brought in had declined to very 
small proportions.^ He was obviously referring to the 
time which preceded the Rebellion, as in the interval that 
had passed since its close, the condition of the inhabitants 
had been such as to prevent their making any purchases. 
The records of patents, entered between 1670 and 1680, 
indicate that the increase in the slave population in the 
course of this period was comparatively insignificant. A ^ 
striking feature in the character of this interval is the 
acquisition of the enormous tracts of land upon the basis 
of head rights represented by white servants almost exclu- 
sively. Thus in 1671, a patent to ten thousand acres was 
obtained by Mr. Smith, yet among the two hundred and 
one persons forming the list that entitled him to the 
grant, only four were negroes. Of the one hundred and 
twenty-two persons who, in 1676, were made the basis by 
Colonel William Byrd of a patent to seven thousand three 
hundred and fifty-one acres in Henrico, three alone were ' 
Africans, and the proportion was still more insignificant 
in the list presented by Cadwallader Jones in the same 
year for the purpose of securing a patent to fourteen 
thousand one hundred and forty-one acres. In the case 
of many small grants made during this decade, the pro- 
portion was reversed, there being four or five negroes to 
one or two white servants.^ 

In 1681, Culpeper declared that as yet no slaves had 
been brought into Virginia by the Royal African Com- 

> InHtructions to Culpeper, 1679. His reply to § 51, McDonald Papers, 
▼oL V, p. 314, Va. State Library. 

* See Va. Land PcU^m Bqok^ for these years. 


pany ; ^ but this statement does not appear to have been 
wholly accurate. There was undoubtedly an arrangement 
with that corporation for the introduction of negroes 
into the Colony in 1678 ; the agent, however, seems to 
have been a private person, for he was charged with 
importing a larger number than he was authorized to 
do.^ Culpeper was instructed to allow no ship to sail 
ttrom Virginia to that part of the Guinea coast which lay 
Iwithin the territory of the Royal African Company, with 
la view to exchanging tobacco for slaves, unless it had 
I received a special license from the Company itself.* He 
denied, in his reply to this instruction, that any Vir- 
ginian vessel had at any time in the history of the Colony 
carried on a traffic with the people of that coast.* This, 
however, could not be said of ships from New England 
which visited Virginia. In 1082, there arrived in the 
Rappahannock River a Captain Jackson, in command of 
a vessel belonging to persons who resided in Piscataqua, 
N.H., among them Mrs. Cutts, a lady of prominence 
in that community. Having disposed of his merchan- 
dise, he expressed to Colonel Fitzhugh, his principal pur- 
chiiser, a strong desire to furnish him with a cargo of 
slaves in the following year. The letter which Fitzhugh 
wrote in reply to this proposition is of unusual interest, 
as showing the attitude of the people both of Virginia 
and of New England towards the race which, nearly two 
centuries later, were to raise so serious a barrier between 

1 Instructions to Culpeper, 16S1-S2. His reply to § 50, British State 
P*xper». Virginia^ voL 65 ; McDonald Papers, vol- VI, p. 156» Va. State 

5 General Court Orders, Bobinaon Transcripts, pp. 17S, 264. 

* Instructions to Culpeper, 107^, § 50, McDonald Fapers^ voL V, p. 314, 
Va. State Library. 

* Ibid., iaSl-1682. Reply to § OS, Brftish State Papers, nri/tjiui, 
ToL 45; McDonald Ptiq>ers, vul. VI, p. 103, Va. State Library. 


the North and South. Both Virginian and New Eng- 
lander, in this case, entered into a contract, in which dis- 
position was to be made of a large number of human 
beings, in the same spirit as if the objects in which they 
were trading were so many pipes of wine, casks of rum, 
or boxes of clothing. In the invoice which was given to 
Jackson, provision was made for the purchase of a certain 
number of boys and girls of ages that were not to fall 
below seven or to rise above twenty-four. These negro 
youths were to be landed at the wharf of Colonel Fitz- 
hugb, and the payment of the sums agreed upon in 
return for them was to be secured by bonds, which were 
to be met within a time carefully prescribed.^ 

There is ground for thinking that the importation of 
slaves into Virginia through the agency of New England 
shipowners and merchants increased in importance as 
the trade with the West Indian Islands enlarged in vol- 
mne. It will be shown hereafter that a vast quantity of 
the products of these islands was conveyed to the Col- 
ony in New England bottoms and there exchanged for 
tobacco, which in turn was transported to the mother \ 
country. Negroes commanded as ready a sale as rum 
or sugar in Virginia. It is common to find in the county 
records, references to the vessels in which young negroes, 
who had been introduced into court to have their ages 
adjudged, had been brought into the Colony. The 
names of New England ships are not infrequently men- 
tioned as the vehicles of their importation.^ 

^ LfUers of William Fitzhugh, Feb. 11, 1682-1683. Jackson may have 
been bound for Barbadoes. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1675-1684, p. 432, Va. State Library. 
The vessel In this case was the Eunice. The following is from the 
Middlesex Records: ^^Know all men by these presents that I John 
Endicott, Cooper, of Boston in New England, have sold unto Kichard 
Medlicott, a Spanish Mulatto, by name Antonio, 1 having full power to 

VOL. 11. — o 

Ei:i'ky'."*>c«-' HisToar ow 

Arer I'-'^'L ^liere Lj r»?-ji?*-a ti^ 'r-elitfTe chan che Roval 
Afr*. .-oz. C'jsiriLZj beuajn*? eL!:ii»*r 'iii:»i<:i:l7 or in«iir^-tly 
:[i»r '■■ciz'.'ir-sLl .i;zyE.i: in Lii'jrfaa-L:i:i die ArrJ.-jJi p«>paIatio]i 
-:■: Vi.r'X'Liiiii. la ciie oommi.-<t*i'?a wiiinili CiiLptrper reveived 
Ln z'c't '.;t iLTK? 'jI till:* veoT. :« v.k? jjuLoiuioeii chat the 
Rrj^'ish i.T':-Ter!izi»fc.!i Iii^i r»?i.'<:'ni:ii»fii«i«e<i co diac oorp>nitioii 
:»:■ I'lrTii^Ii uiie C-Zu^aj wiTiii >Lives j.c v'eiry moii-enice prices, 
.Lii'L m r^CTim iVt uiii:? becrdu, ciie a^iiii'-riui-*:? mere were 
'.•t:ci!ii.Lr.'.wdn.: eci-.-^r'^e cLe juyment: ■^c aJl duesti:' the Com- 
r»i:i7 ■d "ie pur: ^}t pLmucr* wIii? ij*i rrLrt^OiLsed negroes 
fr-ci ::.> r^:rrrseiL:;a.:iTes^ ^cr^ft?;? "v^ls- Iji-i La clie commis- 
>L':g. 'ir.i.-a "iie tiicz chas ■.''iilv La uiiis ^aT .jif.cld its trade 
■:e .?et:!irf«L a* Lu wi* najr-ilj pr'^cabie ;iuiiC «£Le Company 
"wi-'iilii ■.'irauiHo.'? zo ^vdzrj v'il::abie Z'X^«i> uc aa on.;' D>d table 
inari'::.*- >'i:iljt> w-f ■:« C'?^^ irrivio:^ ia nie riv»ers -j-f Vir- 
i^T-i ^j* Lir-rtj^Lv frt'oi tqj* i'jLKizrcvi*s-'rnzh* .Vnri'.'tia jirOiSt. Such 
J. "fS'^t:! 'V'j^ :I:u.: w'niij-i ■.-Aoie 'i.* tn^.-^t.-r m ilie J^sies in 
I "v-. ~-":J: 1 lirce aioiber :?: ae'^r.^erf .M.^nijirae^i t:o Colonel 
B-7~r.L 5»f'nfrjl -.f 'vb.-fa '.vfr^ 5011:: t:f a ^i^ii iiift sni-xll-pox, 
".■'i.:.'!! -^JL? -iiM,'> La'ir.-i.L.i'.'tfvi -ji^o !:.j> I'-fiselii:-.! wi:h fatal 
:t:LJS*:<"^M'ra'.'e* -jzsz JfjisC -.'zi'e Lv^c-Aa'-'e.-^ &1:2ii'Z|:i- writing 

niil ::c i-tf -i:?i iiajif. :ii~i i: 7'i rv«;nK« 7C WUIiiua Zi^'-rcl i- -x^hzmhai 
~- r'.-r, •■•'.■i.r> > m 7'i iii^ i:ia:;^iif liioJ. iitwniOikrs. :i.t ^^rriLji^ -tiit ScziTean 
~ -I::'::. i.;ii »- ■"* i.T;:irT.;i;ii :i yf sku '-vu ''tx.-^. 7'* «t.«i X^Iaiio to 
':*: I ZTi** iiii-i t: j?; •^•hny.^^a^ir w 'jiaxux^k 1 i»: J#:jt:l■:■w''^■^l^e •»:» hare 

.' i!: :: s>;i.n '.; '.'xv^l-^r. VJbii-. * ;r. .lf«:v»#'i'f"r 7'iiinr^ t:^. VI, p. S8, 

• 1 * -^ /»■ V7.:.r.ii ,?:/;-/, Xt^ l/f^ VWtf. X-.-sc :c 'i*? ii'.Ti? arriving 
I. ..:.;* ...In: ut":iii *tsi";s ;n "^.•l^^•*^ ;».'iioiiif5» .•ur^ifi 3L\ir»i oiPc«?ea. 
'."':> »^ ^i* VI ;■* v.ii; .«,•. *-iijj[ rV-.-n:'. l f!T.vr .c ^ " ' : v-t BrrdL 
■• 7 ::n.- i '. >+ Kr ^S'l^'ii 1. *. iniiu iifir:i!.L.T; «-ii aboot ft 
•. r'.:;i}. i:.i*'M ;i-v; ~i.J»f>v ^iLT*.:?, r* •n^'j[*^;rs vi.i i .'';i:isii«*rj»i:'jf ■^;iictjtT 
t !. - i'i">a> L2ii.*L'":ti .r ;l^•)^ v.-u.-i .i: mij ia'I. suri-' •ij'i « it ar will 
ic'.iii 'I :.•'.•»;•■ i:ii.' U'*.!.'!! .1".; .•♦•Oi. i^ni .vc^i***"!! ,j«in 7.: '>*:l:-'iv with the 
.-. iM*:*.' •■..!!: ' iliLi;.'.' .It'*' ■'« /I V'ii i{:n 'Sfn'i. Vli'-st: I'fip'.tfTfw nl Srtrins, 


to Ralph Wormeley, refers to the fact that several slave- 
ships were now expected in York River; "I am so re- 
mote," said he, " that before I can have notice, the negroes 
will all be disposed of, or at least none left but the ref- 
Tise." Wormeley was, therefore, requested to perform 
the friendly office of purchasing for him five or six of 
these Africans when they should reach the Colony.^ 
About the same time, Mr. Samuel Simpson, a prominent 
merchant residing at Queen's Creek, received instructions 
from the local agent of Mrs. Margaret Fellows of Eng- 
land to buy a certain number of negroes from the master 
of the LcLdy Francis or the Katherine^ whichever of the 
two vessels should be the first to come to anchor in the 
York.* These were slave-ships. The fact that two such 
vessels were to arrive nearly simultaneously indicates 
that the volume of importation into this part of the 
Colony was not inconsiderable. At a later date. Colonel 
Byrd expresses much regret that the owner of a certain 
ship, which was expected in the waters of Virginia with 
a cargo of slaves, was so slow in his voyage. *'I sup- 
pose," Colonel Byrd remarked, " our parts will be supplied 
long ere he arrives," a fact that would destroy the market 
for his human merchandise.^ Bills for the payment of 
negroes were now given, to be made good upon the arrival 
of the first slave-vessel.* A habit sprang up at this time 
among some of the leading colonists of including negroes 

^ letters of William Fitzhugh, June 10, 1081. As showinji: the demand 
for n^SToes at this time, the following from one of Fitzhu;?irs leit*.'r8 
may be quoted. A relative, who lived in England, Imd requested the 
loan of a considerable sum of money. lie replied by saying that *•'' he 
could hardly, with all his tobacco and anything he could part with, except 
negro^st^'*'* supply this person with the sum proposed. 

* Becords of York County^ vol. 1075-1084. p. 55, Va. State Librarj'. 
» Lfttert( of William Byrd, May 10, 1080. 

♦ Becords of York County, vol. 1675-1084, p. 60l>, Va. State Library. 





in the invoices of supplies forwarded to their correspon- 
dents in England to be filled. The Royal African Companjr 
had its agencies in London, and to them the merchants 
transferred their orders for slaves.^ It not infrequently 
happened that a person residing in Virginia directed" 
under his will that property which he owned in the 
mother country should be sold and the proceeds invested 
in negroes, a conversion which was doubtless carried out 
through the same corporation.^ Many of the slaves in 
the Colony were imported directly from the West Indies, 
there being an extensive trade between Virginia and those 
islands in grain. When Colonel William Byrd and other 
prominent planters were in need of negroes, they often 
forwarded orders to their merchants in Barbadoes to 
return so many along with the cargoes of rum, sugar, and 
molasses for which invoices were dispatched, the sex, age, 
and physical points of the slaves to be sent being as care- 
fully specified as the quality and quantity of the articles 
for consumption.^ Merchants of this island were also 
personally engaged in transporting negroes to Virginia 
with a view to their sale to casual purchasers.* 

Instructions were given to Lord Howard, in 1687, to 
punish with the utmost severity all persons who were 
discovered to be engaged in importing negroes in violaticm 
of the exclusive rights of the Royal African Company.* 
Acting upon the letter and the spirit of these instructions, 
Howard issued orders to Captain Perry of the guard-ship 
then cruising in Virginian waters, to bar the entrance of ^ 

1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, July 21, 1692. 

2 Will of John Smyth, Records of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. lOU-j 
Va. State Library. 

8 Letters of William Byrd, Feb. 10, 1686. 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1661, £. p. 116,- 

* Colonial Entry Book, No. 83 ; McDonald Papers, vol. VTt, pp. 9T* 
100, Va. State Library. 


every vessel having slaves on board which could not show 
a license from that corporation.^ The promptness with 
' which the Governor sought to enforce the commands 
. received from England was probably due in a measure to 
an event of the same year, which proved that there were 
shipmasters who, in the absence of this license, would 
seek to bring their cargoes of negroes into the Colony by 
stealth. In October, for want of provisions it was after- 
wards alleged, one hundred and twenty slaves were landed 
at a lonely point on the Eastern Shore, from the English 
ship Society of Bristol, which, we may infer, had come 
L directly from Africa, since a large quantity of elephants' 
r tusks formed a part of its cargo. The vessel on the saine 
day was allowed to drift on the shore and go to wreck. 
The Collector of the district seized it, its crew and cargo. 
The negroes and ivory were sold for tobacco, because they 
had been forfeited under the law by the failure of their 
owners to pay the port duties.* 

In the last decade of the seventeenth centur}% the num-i 
ber of African head rights in the Patent Books ^ showA 
a notable increase in the importation of slaves. They\ 
\ become now the most important basis of the acquisition \ 
I of title to land. In numerous cases, the list of names are \ 
restricted to negroes, as many as twenty-seven, sixty-four, \ 
seventy-nine, and eighty-four being included at one time. 
f The average number, however, was only nine or ten. It 
r had grown now to be a comparative rarity for a patent to 
\, be obtained on the basis of head rights representing white 
servants alone, the proportion of slaves to white 8er\'ant8 
even in the smaller grants being as high as one- third or 
even one-fourth. 

^ IiLstractions for Captain Perry, Britith StaU Papers, Colonial 
Fapen; Sainsbnry Abstracts for 1683. p l-W. Va. State Library. 

* Palmer^'s Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vi>l. I. p. :X>. 

* Va. Land Fatentjs in the Kegister^s office at Richmond. 



Doubtless, in the greatest number of instances, the 
negroes who were brought to Virginia from Africa were 
renamed as soon as they came into the possession of the 
planters, but this custom is not likely to have been 
observed so much in the case of slaves who had been 
drawn from the Spanish islands in the West Indies. The 
patents from decade to decade are strewn with names of 
Spanish origin, and traces of African names are also to be 
detected. Mingo, a contraction of Domingo, was as com- 
mon at that early date as it was at later periods. Hardly 
less frequent is the occurrence of such names as Pedro, 
Sancho, Lopez, Carlos, Francisco, Dago, Magdelena, 
Andrea, Jubina, Cinchenello, Maria, Palassa, and Anto- 
nio, and also Sonora, Rommo, Tomora, Dondo, Wortello, 
Nandino, Sonero. In several instances whole lists of 
names are exclusively African in character. The pur- 
chaser of imported slaves was evidently frequently at a 
loss in finding names for his chattels. When they had 
come from an English Colony in the West Indies, he was 
in the habit of retaining their English designations, and 
this accounts in part for the number of Jacks, Kates, Pegs, 
Toms, Dicks, and Bobs in the lists in the patents. He 
was, however, in large measure responsible for the Biblical 
names which are found so frequently, such as Abraham, \ 
Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Daniel, Isaiah, Emanuel, Ruth, Ste- 
phen, Hagar, and Jacob. It was also he who drew on the 
resources of ancient history, as exhibited in the great 
number of Alexanders, Caesars, Pompeys, Scipios, Hanni- 
bals, and Neros. Modern history was also ransacked, and 
sable Cromwells, Robin Hoods, and Rosamunds appeared 
in Virginia. Mythology offered too rich a fund of names 
to be allowed to remain unused. Jupiter, Juno, Cyclops, 
Priapus, Hero, Leander, Pallas, Athena, and Minerva, 
Mars, Vulcan, and Pan were common. Many of these 



were to undergo in time remarkable transformations owing 
to the looseness and inaccuracy of pronunciation which 
distinguished the negro. Traces of the originals are still 
discoverable in names which would have seemed wholly 
alien to the Greek and Roman ear. Having peopled the 
Colony with gods, prophets, and generals so far as names 
could impart these characters, the planters who in the 
seventeenth century sued out patents on the basis of negro 
head rights, turned to inanimate objects as designations 
for their slaves; thus, there were a number of Baskets 
and Buckles. Great events in history were also employed, 
such as the Reformation. Physical features too were used 
in the construction of the lists of names ; Barebones and 
Rawbones were not uncommon. The name of the place 
from which the slave had come was sometimes added to 
his Christian name; among the negroes belonging to 
John Carter of Lancaster County were Accomac Jack and 
Barbadoes Dick.^ 

So numerous had the slaves become towards the close 
of the seventeenth century that a planter, stocking a new 
estate with slaves, was not compelled to rely entirely on 
the merchants engaged in importing negroes. They could 
be secured in the Colony of his fellow-planters. The 
proportion of those who were born in Virginia must now 
have been important, and it was this class that was justly 
regarded as being most desirable. In the inventory of 
the property of John Carter of Lancaster, one of the 
largest slaveholders in the Colony, great care was taken 
to distinguish the negroes of Virginian birth from those 
who had been imported, and there was a marked difference 

* Records of Lancaster County ^ original vol. 1690-1709, p. 20. Among 
the negroes owned by Mrs. Sarah Willoughby of Lower Norfolk County 
was one who was called Pickaninny. He was between twenty ajid 
thirty years of age. Original vol. 1660-1075, p. 170. 


in their respective appraisements in favor of the former.^ 
Colonel Fitzhuglu in a letter which he wrote to a corre- 
s(>ondent in London in 1686« mentions incidentally that his 
plantations were now cultivated by ••fine crews" of slaves, 
the majority of whom were natives of the soil.' Some of 
these had been purchased by him in the Colony. A few 
years before he had written to William Leigh, who lived in 
another part of Virginia, to inquire if one hundred pounds 
sterling, which had been placed in his hands for invest- 
ment in negroes^ could be expended to advantage in this 
form in the countv where Leigh resided. He also con- 
veyed the same request to John Buckner.' A memorandum 
which Fitzhugh gave to his agents who was about to set 
out for York, throws still more instructive light on these 
local purchases of slaves. This agent was directed not to 
buv more than two women under thirtv vears of asre. 
The highest price to W j^d for a man was twenty pounds 
sterling, unless he was a negn> of extraordinary physical 
strength. Fifty-four jKHinds were prescribed as the limit 
of price^ for three boys whom a Mr. Walker had expressed 
a willingness to vlLs^pvHse of, and for two youths whom 
Major Peyton was prej^ared to sell, thirty-four were to be 
oflferevl as the highest figure. The agent was ordered by 
Colonel Fitzhugh to ^\>ndnie hiniseLt strictly to these sums, 
unless he should dud upon inquiry tL&c the ruling prices 

CvnMC^^ -:rj£r3al ^.*L WH-IT^W^ c.. 11-3 . &,♦&»; en Bn-njriwT. ct fony-two 

'Jb^f«i iod *iic&3 . Wiijbtn ami Xiarf *,'//t.V>/tf i^*ittrf»r*yy. AjrL I^tiCL p. 177) ; 
KicitOAifL BUtfca. St.. j£ 6,r:T i&fWirr£» -^r* l' /r*. I^ftfifc-l^ftfrT. pw 351. Va. 


for slaves were so much greater that he would have to 
return to Rappahannock with his mission unfulfilled if he 
persisted in his demands. For the negroes to be pur- 
chased, payment was to be made in part in certain bills of 
exchange drawn in favor of Fitzhugh by local debtors, 
these bills being turned over to the agent when he started 
upon his journey.^ 

It is a fact of interest that the value of negroes ad- 
ranced rather than declined as their nimiber in the Colony 
increased. In 1640, when the black population of Virginia 
probably did not exceed one hundred and fifty persons, \ 
a male African adult commanded about twenty-seven \ 
hundred pounds of tobacco, and a female about twenty- \ 
five hundred ; this amounted to an average price of about 
eighteen pounds sterling a head, rating that commod- 
ity at a penny and a half a pound. Three years later, 1/ 
two negro women and one negro child were assigned in • 
York by Henry Brooke to Nicholas Brooke, a merchant 
of London, in return for fifty-five hundred pounds of 
tobacco.* The executors of William Pryor in 1647 sold 
to Captain Chisman of York County four negro men, 
two negro women, and two negro children for one hundred 
and fifty pounds sterling, an average value of eighteen 
pounds-' In 1659, a young negro woman in the same 
county was held at thirty.* Ten years after this, it was 
declared, in a report drawn up by the Committee for 
Foreign Plantations, that the average price which the 
newly imported African slaves commanded in Virginia 
was twenty pounds sterling a head.^ In 1671, an old 

i Letters of William FiUhugh, June 6, 1682. 

« Becords of York County, vol. 163S-1648, p. 63, Va. State Library. 

»i6ia..p. 338. 

* Ibid., vol. 1667-1662, p. 196. 

* Colonial Entry Book, No. 92, pp. 275, 283 ; Sainsbuiy's Calendar of 
State Papers, Colonial, 1661-1668, p. 22U. 


«i<»:[ti SI 

Dfirrt' vamiii. "wuf b7iiiriikie£ it York CcmnTT jsi rwentr- 

{«: 'lilt- iULmt- rftL*i;. irii.KH: liirt: did iirt; exf^t^ aiif- xe^j- and 
h i^uan-tir. i&i icmr.^ A it*v ytsms lujer. m u jinrcLase of 
hihvt* viiiti va* mftdi: t»T Mr. Ervioi SndiL erf York 
C CI Liu; \. Lt iriiTt rriTnT T»riiiDds> s^erliiu: Jt^dee^ for five 
iiH!ii. TvoitT-rvf- Artkf^ iic TWZ' iTiimeik thirrr apiece 
i'jT Twi' cniier vnmtOL knd ifrr-iiiz^af- sLiHizurs' for a child. 
In KlfiiL & T-Cinnxr ner^o mkn ir Ycci va? a^^iraisted at 
TveniT-fiix T»."*Tiii«i*' srerZiux:, iind a T-:imur i»e£rrc» woman 
and iiLQd ai rweiTT-srT-tOi,- It If.Hn. two neirro men who 
formed iian of tnt- estai*- :c CkTixain JciLn GcK^dman of the 
same c^Tmtr were beid ai siirr TK'«iznd« sre-Tjing loeether.' 

The xalnaxicin*^ Tua^^d iqHOi ibe sQaves of Nathaniel 
Bb^'vok Sr^ whose inTeni^iirr was to-onirhi inio court in 
Ir^^ Tepreaejiied dnxilnjesh ihr averaxre ajipraisement of 
• a iar|re esLaie in neiTTvies ai ti*i> lime in York- Nine were 
eniered at TweniT-eiirhi T»oTind> SK-rlinir- t-en at twenty- 
fixe, three at twentr, one at eichteeik thj^ee at sixteen, one 
at nfieen. one a: thine^n. one at iweire^ and two at eight.* 
TLe xaine of a male fiiid. twelve re-ars cJd, was placed at 
iwentT Tionnds sterlinc : i»f * ijiri oi ten. at nft<?en ; one 
C'f nine, ai twelve: while a ci^l fonr veATS of age was 
aj'jiraised at ei^ht pounds stexJing,^ and another of six 
Tears, at ten.^ 

In a letter wrinen hy Thomas Howell in Smrr County, 
hhc*xii loTl, he informs his cornesjvmdeni that he had just 
bc»uirht a negro there for iweniy-six pounds sterling and 
twelve shillings : ** I s:nppase," he adds. - the most that 
ever has been given in these pans,"* 

^ £fr(*rdr of Tf^ CoumTv, vSi. 1654-l67i, p. SIS. Va. State library. 

« Ilnd., ToL leW-lTOa, IV 410 * D-id^ vol. leST-lfiPl, p. STa 

* Ihid,. vaL 1«^-1«»T, p, 26a. ♦ />.!«.. v.Vi. ItWV-lftM, p. ITa 

• £frordr (i^ Surrf CouT^ vol. 1571-1^*, p 41, Va. State library. 


In 1680, Colonel Fitzhugh, who resided in the Northern 
Neck, in a letter addressed to Captain William Partis, 
states that he had entered into a bargain with Mr. Vincent 
Goddard to pay twenty-nine pounds sterling for two 
slaves ; it is to be presumed that this sum represented 
what he gave, not for both, but for each one, unless they 
were mere youths.^ In the proposal which he made to 
Captain Jackson in February, 1682, with reference to the 
cargo of negroes who were to be consigned to him in the 
following autumn, he states in detail the prices he was 
willing to pay for them. Three thousand pounds of 
tobacco were to be the valuation of every boy and girl 
whose ages ranged from seven to eleven ; while for those 
whose ages ranged from eleven to fifteen, it was to be 
four thousand, and for those whose ages ranged from 
fifteen to twenty-five, five. The price of tobacco at this 
time was from one penny and a half to two pennies a 

When the master of the Society^ the Bristol ship which 
went ashore in Accomac, came to reward the persons who 
had assisted him in landing the negroes he had on board, 
he paid James Lamont thirty pounds sterling in the form 
of a boy and girl.* This is found to be the figure at 
which two African children were appraised in Henrico 
County in 1697, the value of a negro man on the same 
occasion being placed at twenty-five pounds.* In Eliza- 
beth City, the prices of slaves in the same decade appear 
to have been substantially the same as in Henrico. In 
the inventory of the estate of William Marshall, two 
negro men were entered at fifty pounds sterling, and 


[ 1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, Dec. 4, 1680. 

I *Ibid^ Feb. 11,1682-83. 

j • Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. .30. 

I * Records of Henrico County , original vol. 1607-1704, p. 134. 



two negro women at forty-five. A boy, five years of age, 
was listed at ten pounds, two girls, two and three years 
of age resix)ctively, at twelve, and an infant seven months 
of age, at two poimds and ten shillings. In the same year 
an infant, six months of age, was held at three pounds 
sterlings and a child, eight years of age, at ten pounds.^ 
In Middlesex County, the prices of slaves seem to have 
I maint^ned a slightly higher average than in the counties 
already uameil. In the estate of Mi^jor Robert Beverley, 
the elder, the inventory being filed in 1687, the value of 
the men ranged from twenty-six to twenty-eight pounds 
sterling.* Ten years later, the young slaves belonging 
to the estate of Richard Willis were listed at thirty-one 
pounds apiece, although in some instances so youthful as 
to be described as lads. The young women were valued 
at the same rates.' The appraisement of the negroes 
belonging to Christopher Robinson was still higher. Of 
the ten who were included in the inventorv of his estate, 
four men were entered at forty pounds apiece* one girl at 
thirtv^ and another at twentv-five : one woman at thirtv- 
five pounds, and a woman and chUd at forty.* The valu- 
ation of the negroes included in the estate of Ralph 
Wormeley^ the inventory being filed in 1700, was not 
quite so h^h. The men and boys were appraised at 
tliirty-five pounds sterling, and the girls at thirty. The 
prices in Lower Norfolk show no difference from those 
enumerated in the case of York County. In Rappohan- 
nock* in 1695, a negro bi>y was entered at twenty-six 
pounds sterlings and a girl at twenty-four. The valuation 
of adults was perhaps comuderably higher."^ 

1 Becords of Sti^abeih City ContUtf, vol. lik*4-l(iW. pp. 27«, 300. 
^ SiM iiivvutory oo tile amuug ReconU of MJdilk^sex Coiiuty. 

* HeconU ^jf MiddU^x County, <.>ri^uuU vuL ltJVS-1713. p. 57. 

* IhUL, lOWh-lTOo, p. 18S. 
<* Jiect^nU ^f Bappahannijck County, voU iei^&~L^W, p. 5« Tlw pckes 


Previous to 1699, the prices at which negroes were 
held was not increased by a duty on those who were im- 
ported. A law, however, was passed in that year, impos- 
ing a tax of twenty shillings a head upon each slave 
introduced into the Colony, to be paid by the master of 
the ship in which he had been conveyed; and if there 
was an effort to evade this charge, by landing the negroes 
without the warrant which had been prescribed in this 
case, they were to be forfeited and sold for the public 
benefit. It was stated that the object of this provision 
was to swell the fund that was required to meet the 
expense of the erection of a new capitol, the old one 
having been recently destroyed by fire. There could 
have been no intention to discourage the introduction of 
slaves alone, as a duty was also laid upon the white 
servants brought into Virginia at this time. No tax of 
this character would have been imposed if the demand 
for labor in the Colony upon the threshold of the eigh- 
teenth century had been as pressing as it had been during 
80 large a part of the seventeenth.^ 

It has already been mentioned that the negro in the 
seventeenth century was thought to occupy a position in 
the human family very little removed from that of the 
ordinary brute. It is interesting to observe the various 
I obstructions, legal as well as moral, which arose when the 
question of Christianizing him came to be settled. The 
attitude of many of the planters in the English Colonies 
in that age towards the moral elevation of the slave 
through the agency of the church was expressed in the 
reply of a lady of Barbadoes to Godwyn, the author of 
the Negro's and Indian's Advocate — a work of unusual 

of negroes in the two counties on the Eastern Shore did not di£Fer sub- 1 
Btantially from the prices prevailing elsewhere in the Colony. 
1 Hening's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 103. 


ability and great humanity, — that he might as well bap- 
tize puppies as negroes, an utterance rendered the more 
significant by the fact that in her own life she was 
remarkable for her exemplary piety and the care she 
exhibited in the religious education of her own children. 
Another woman, who enjoyed a good reputation for char- 
acter and sense, upon Godwyn's administering baptism 
to one of her slaves, remarked that it would have been 
equally as efficacious if he had sought by the same cere- 
mony to make a Christian of her black bitch. ^ That this 
feeling did not spring from mere prejudice or self-interest, 
is revealed in the fact that there was comparatively little 
opposition on the part of the planters of Barbadoes to the 
baptism of mulattoes, who as the descendants of white per- 
sons on one side were regarded as having been brought 
within the pale of humanity. In this island, negroes 
were instructed to avoid the rooms in which religious 
exercises were holding by the families of their masters, 
on the ground that they could not be expected to partici- 
pate in the hopes and promises which the Christian relig- 
ion extended. An explanation of the course followed 
by the West Indians in this respect may in many cases 
be discovered in the belief, that as long as the slave re- 
mained unbaptized he was not responsible for his acts in 
the siglit of God, and as he was incapable of leading a 
pure life, the administration of the sacrament of baptism 
to him would expose him to certain damnation. A num- 
ber of masters were influenced by an apprehension that 
if the negroes were improved in their mental condition 
by instruction, they might rise up against their owners 
and deluge the island in blood. Others were moved by 
tlie consideration, that if the slave were baptized it would 

1 Godwyn's Negroes and Indian^s Advoc^e^ p. 38. I am indebted to 
Godwyn for all the details that follow. See pp. 43 et seq. 



be necessary to show more scruple in gOTerning him, the 
conscience of each planter as well as the force of publio 
opinion requiring him to furuish his slave with more 
palatable food and more comfortable lodgings, and to 
inflict punishments with less severity under the ciroum- 
stances. It was even supposed by some that the act of 
baptizing the negro destroyed the right of his owner to 
his service, and that he was thereafter entitled to all the 
privileges of an English citizen. 

Godwyn declares that the same general views as to the 
impropriety of Christianizing slaves prevailed in Virginia, 
and that their conversion was thought to be so idle and 
unmeaning, that the reputation for good sense of the man 
who suggested it was seriously impaired. This statement 
was made by Godwyn in 1681, and seems to have exagger- 
ated the state of feeling in the Colony with reference to the 
moral elevation of the negroes held there in bondage. It 
is a fact worthy of note that one of the two African chil- 
dren included in the muster of 1624-25, William, the 
son of Anthony and Isabel, two negroes who belonged to 
Captain Tucker, was entered in tlie general list an having 
received baptism.^ This privilege was conferred ovc^r 
half a century before Godwyn published his treatise. A 
still more interesting case occurred in 1641. John (Jra- 
were, who is represented as an African servant of William 
Evans, was the father of a child by a slave wlio b(5long(j<l 
to Robert Sheppard. He expressed great anxiety that 
this child should be baptized, and afterwards brought up 
in the knowledge of religion as tauglit in the church of 
England. Being permitted by liis master to k<;ep a num- 
ber of hogs, Grawere wa^ able to accumulate; from his an- 
nual sales a small fund with which he purchased the freedom 
of his offsjiring. The court declared that the dis|>OHition 

1 Hotten'5 OHginai List of Emiip'anU, 1600-1700, p- J^44. 


and instruction of the child should be left to his father 
and godfather, who pledged themselves that he should be 
educated in the Christian belief.* 

The Council for Foreign Plantations were so much 
interested in the religious condition of the slaves residing 
in Barbadoes and Virginia^ that in 1661 they directed that 
a letter should be written to the authorities in those Colo- 
nies, commanding them to encourage the introduction of 
ministers of the Gospel who would devote themselves to 
the reclamation of the newly imported negroes with a view 
to preparing them for baptism.' The notion that the act 
of baptizing a slave operated to release him from bondage 
was certainly prevalent in Virginia at one time, but the 
indisposition which it created in planters to extend the 
comforts of religion to their negroes was entirely removed 
by the passage of the law in 1667, that the administration 
of the sacrament of baptism to them effected no change 
in their legal condition.^ It was expressly stated in this 
statute that its object was to encourage masters to promote 
the propagation of Christianity by permitting their slaves 
to come within the pale of the Christian Church. This 
law would perhaps have been adopted at an earlier date if 
the negroes had previously constituted a very important 
element in the general population. As late, however, as 
1648, there were only three hundred persons of African 
blood in the Colony, and in 1667, the number could not 
have exceeded eighteen hundred, and very probably fell 

1 General Court CWers, March 31, 1641. Robinson Thifiscripts^ p. 3a 
An additional instance, which occurred ui 165o, \» preserved in the 
Records of York County, voL 1657-16S2t p. 45, Va. State Library, Ann 
Bamhouse gave Mihill Gowen a male n^gro child^ bom of the body ^' of 
my negro Rosa, being baptized by Edward Johnson, Sept. 2, 1655.*' 
William, the name of the child, was the son of MihilL 

» British State Papers^ Colonialy voL XIV, No. 50. 

* Uening's Statutes, vol. U, p. 260. 


very much below that number.^ In the instructions 
which Culpeper received in 1682 from the English Gov- 
ernment, he was enjoined to inquire as to what would be 
the best means of facilitatmg the conversion of the slaves 
to the Christian religion, only it was added that caution 
was to be shown in taking any steps that tended to throw 
in jeopardy individual property in the negro, or to render 
less stable the safety of the Colony.^ 

Under the terms of the statute passed in 1670, all ser- 
vants who were imported into Virginia who liad not been 
brought up in the Christian religion, and who, therefore, 
were still imbaptized, were held to be servants for life. It 
is significant that the word " negro " was not used, although 
the law was really designed to cover the case of the 
African slaves, who were now introduced into the Colony 
in increasing numbers. After an interval of twelve years, 
in which comparatively few negroes were brought in, in 
consequence of the poverty of tlie planters foUowhig upon 
the agitation that led up to and succeeded Bacon's Rebel- 
lion, this statute was repealed on the ground that it seri- 
ously obstructed further additions from without to the 
slave population, because many of the negroes who arrived 
in Virginia had come from lands where Christianity pre- 
vailed, and where they liad received the rite of baptism.® 
The owners of such negroes, when they reached the Colony, 
either had to undergo the complete loss of their property 
or had to incur the heavy expense of returning tliem to 
the country from which they had been exported, or of 
sending them to some place where converted slaves were 

1 In 1671 the slave popalation was estimated by Berkeley at two thou- 
sand. Hening^s Statutes, vol. II, p. 515. 

* Commission to Culpeper, 1682, § Co, McDonald State Papers, vol. VI, 
p. 4.3, Va. State Library. 

* Hening's Statutes, vol. II, pp. 283, 401. 

VOL. II. — H 



bought without any modification of the right to hold them 
for life. From this time, no discrimination was made in 
Virginia as to whether imported Africans had been bap- 
tized or not. If it happened that a negro who had been 
In the enjoyment of his freedom in a Christian country 
jnras brought into the Colony and sold for life, the person 
/who was guilty of the act was compelled to forfeit double 
the amount which he had received in disposing of him. 
The adoption of this provision as a part of the fundamental 
law indicated that within the lines in which the institu- 
tion of slavery operated, the General Assembly was deter- 
mined that no injustice should be done to the negroes who 
could justly claim their freedom. This regulation was 
established by the revised code of 1705, but it reflected pub- 
lic sentiment in the latter part of the seventeenth century.^ 
The first dispute as to ownership in an indiWdual negro 
seems to have arisen in 1625, when an African who had 
been captured by an English ship from the Spaniards 
was brought into the Chesapeake. The captain of the 
vessel died and the question arose as to the ownership of 
the negro. Did he belong to the heirs of the captain, 
to the sailors who manned the ship, or to the colonial 
authorities ? The General Court, passing upon the merits 
of the case, decided that he should become the property of 
the Governor without regard to any expressed wish by the 
captain before his death, or any challenge on the part of 
the ship's company. The reason for this decision was quite 
probably that the negro had been seized while the vessel 
was navigating in a public capacity, and being a prize of 
war, he belonged to the Stat^ and not to the individual.* 
In the seventeenth century, the slave was classed as 
rsonal property and stood upon the same footing as 

» Hening's Statutes, voL III, p. 448. 

* Nem*s Virginia Carolorum, pp^ 33, ai. 


household goods, horses, cows, oxen, and hogs.^ It was 
not infrequent for Virginian testators to leave instructions 
in their wills that certain negroes should be sold for the 
payment of their debts, directions that had their motive 
probably in the greater readiness with which this form 
of personal property could be disposed of with little dan- 
ger of sacrifice.* Under the provisions of the revised code 
of 1705, which is of importance in our inquiry from the 
light it throws on public feeling in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the slave was declared to be real estate unless he was 
still held by a merchant who was seeking to sell him, in 
which case he was decided to be personalty. His legal 
status was highly anomalous under this modification of 
the original law, which had provided that he should be 
held to be personalty under all circumstances. Altliough 
a form of real estate by the code of 1705, he was never- 
theless liable to be sold for the payment of debts, but no 
record was required to be made of such a sale, a step that 
was essential in the case of land. If unlawfully carried 
off, he was recoverable by an action of trover as if he con- 
stituted one branch of personal property. He could not 
be made, like ordinary real estate, the basis of a claim to 
all the privileges of a freeholder.^ 

The rule was in operation in Virginia from an early 
date, that the child should follow the condition of the 
mother, which was the adoption of the English provision, 
partus sequitur ventrem.^ The necessity of deciding as to 

* Hening^s Statutes^ vol. II, p. 288 ; Records of Henrico Countf/, vol. 
1688-1607, p. 457, Va. State Library. 

2 Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, pp. 68, 106. 
« Hening's Statutes, vol. Ill, pp. 3:).3, Siii. 

* Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 219. See, also, Green's Short 
History of the English People, illustrated, vol. I, p. 28. See, however, 
the discossion of the relation of Status to Nativity in Vinogradoff^s Vil- 
lainage in England. 


the applicability to the Colony of this provision arose as 
soon as the first mulatto sprung from a white father was 
born. Was the condition of the father or the mother to 
be the condition of the child? Interest as well as the 
transmitted law of the English people bearing upon the 
precise point dictated that the child should be a slave, and 
during the whole existence of the institution of bondage 
in Virginia, there was no relaxation in the enforcement of 
this regulation. It was considered to be unjust to place 
young negroes on the footing of tithables until they had 
acquired strength to labor in the fields.^ In 1658, all 
imported slaves above sixteen were listed for taxation.' 
Twelve years was decided to be the proper age in 1680,* 
but at a later period sixteen was again adopted, and the 
list of the youthful tithables was made up when the sea- 
son for working tobacco arrived. All African children 
brought into the Colony were required to be introduced 
before the court in three months after they had reached 
Virginia, in order to have their ages properly adjudged.* 
To ensure absolute accuracy in the returns of young slaves, 
there was at one time a provision that the birth of every 
black or mulatto child who first saw the light in the Colony 
should be entered in the registry of the parish where he 
or she was born.^ The negroes remaining in the hands of 
merchants and factors were exempted from the operation 
of the levy because they were not in the list of tithables.^ 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 479. 

2 Ibid., vol. I, p. 454. 
« Ibid,, vol. II, p. 480. 
* Ibid., p. 480. 

6 Purvis, 1672, p. 179; Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 296. 

^ On the petition of John Pleasants and the motion of Richard Ken- 
non, consignees of William Paggin and Company, ^*- desiring the resolu- 
tion of this Right Worshipful Court concerning some negroes of the said 
Company consigned them to sell, but at ye time at listing tithables. 


The penalty for omitting a slave tithable was the loss of 
the slave. ^ 

It is a striking fact that all negresses bom in Virginia, 
when above sixteen years of age, were rated as tithable 
whether their labors were confined to the house or to the 
fields, differing very widely in this respect from the white' 
female servants, who were not listed if the work they were 
called upon to perform was exclusively domestic.^ There 
was an indisposition, as we have already seen, on the part 
of the planters to employ white women in agriculture, 
however great might be the demand for their assistance 
in the cultivation of tobacco at certain seasons, and it was 
only those individuals of the sex who were tarnished in 
reputation or slatternly in habits who were found engaged 
in this way. This discrimination between female servants 
and female slaves has been attributed to various causes. 
By some, it is thought to have been due to a desire in 
the colonial authorities to discourage the importation of _ 
negroes.' This reason seems to be untenable. It would 
appear to be more probable that the exemption of the 
white female domestic servants from taxation was at least 
partly designed to promote the introduction of White 
women without any reference to female slaves. The 
number of the former who were brought into Virginia 
under articles of indenture was necessarily smaller than 
the number of white men imported who were bound by 

remaining in their possession undisposed of: It is the opinion of the 
Court that the said Kennon and Pleasants ought not to pay levy for them 
this year, because the said negroes being goods belonging to merchants 
in England, ought not in any reasonable time to put them to more charge 
by taxes than other of their commodities imported hither." Records of 
Henrico County, vol. 1682-1701, p. 81, Va. State Library. 

1 Hartwell, Chilton, and Blair's Present State of Virginia, 1697, p. 53. 

« Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 296. 

* This was the view of Mr. Bancroft, the historian. 


similar covenants. The Assembly were perhaps anxious 
to lessen the disproportion, and the law referred to was 
well calculated to produce the condition desired ; such a 
law might easily have been considered advisable even if 
the institution of slavery had not obtained a foothold in 
the Colony. That no discrimination against the African 
was intended is disclosed in the fact that all Indian female 
slaves, whether employed indoors or in the fields, were also 
deemed to be tithables. Doubtless also the negroes, with- 
out regard to sex, more especially those who had not been 
born in Virginia, were in the beginning thought to be unfit 
for domey^ic service, being awkward in person and un- 
trained in manners. White women who had been brought 
from England were numerous, and they were obviously 
better fitted for household work than the raw female 
slaves, and but poorly adapted to the heavy tasks of the 
fields, in which a greater strength and a higher power of 
endurance gave the negress a marked superiority. In the 
latter part of the century, however, African domestics 
became extremely common, there being an increasing 
number of slaves who had been born in Virginia, from 
among whom each master could select those who seemed 
most capable of being trained for household duties. The 
amiability and docility which they displayed in the fields 
made them agreeable and attractive also as household ser- 
vants, and in this character they grew more popular with 
the progress of each decade. Colonel William Byrd men- 
tions incidentally in his correspondence in 1684, that his 
wife had often urged him to send their youthful daughter 
to England, as it was impossible for her to learn anything 
in a great family of negroes.^ The households of many 
other planters of wealth must have been largely consti- 
tuted of slaves. The wills of this period show that young 

^ Letters of WUliam Byrdy March 31. 1GS4. 


African women were frequently bequeathed to daughters 
to serve as their maids.^ It may be inferred from these 
facts that if the comparative rarity of female domestic 
slaves in the beg^inning was one of the causes leading to 
the inclusion of all negresses in the list of tithables, that 
cause ceased to operate by the time the last decade of the 
century had been reached, but the reasons prompting a 
desire to promote an increase in the number of the white 
female servants would still remain in force. It is not 
improbable, however, that the exemption of white women 
employed in household service from taxation, was due in 
the greatest measure to a wish on the part of the Assem-j 
bly to encourage the withdrawal of all members of thai 
sex and race from the field. By removing the tax from 
them when thus occupied and at the same time allowing 
it to remain on the negresses, engaged in the performance 
of household duties, it was made plainly to the interest of 
the planter to confine his choice of female domestic ser- 
vants to individuals of his own color, and this was a con- 
sideration which only citizens of fortune could afford to 
The testimony is contradictory as to whether the owner 

1 See Will of Thomas Cocke, Records of Henrico County^ original 
voL 168S-1697, p. 687. Cocke bequeathed to his daughter, Agnes Har- 
wood, a mulatto girl, who was to be employed as Mrs. Harwood thought 
fit, except that she was not to be ordered to *^beat at the mortar or to 
work in the ground." **My will is that she may be an ease to my 
daughter's own person, and that the girl may be well and kindly used, 
and I also give with her, the weaver's loom and all the stages and harness 
to the same, with all other appurtenances thereto, all of which is to be 
enjoyed by my daughter, to be used by the girl, Sue. At my daughter's 
deaUi, the girl and loom to pass to her son Thomas." Cocke thus con- 
cludes : *' My will is that ye girl be well used in all her time of service, 
whoever shall happen to be her master or mistress, for if she shall bee 
by any of them notoriously abused, my will is that shee shall have liberty 
to choose which of my sous she pleases for her master to live with." 



of a negress was relieved from the payment of the levies 
in case she became so disabled, either temporarily or per- 
muneutly, as to be incapable of work. In an instance of 
this kind, the court of Henrico, in 1697, decided that the 
law exempting poor and impotent persons from taxation 
did not apply to such a woman, however grievous the 
disease from which she was suffering.^ On the other 
hand, the court of Lancaster declared that the master of 
a slave in this condition could not be required to pay the 
county and public levies on her account.^ 

The principal tax fell upon slaves and servants because 
the land was thought to be sufficiently burdened already 
in the payment of quit-rents. Tobacco, on the other 
hand« was subject to the export duty of two shillings a 
hogshead, and it was supposed could bear no further im- 
position. Personal property in the form of horses, hogs, 
and cattle was looked upon as being of a value too small 
and uncertain to be made a subject for taxation.^ 

The life which the slaves followed as agricultural 
laborers could not have differed essentially from that of 
the white servants engaged in the performance of the 
same duties; the tasks expected of both were the same, 
and in the tields^ at leasts no discrimination seems to 
have been made in favor of the latter. During the 
greater part of the seventeenth century, the negro was 
resfarded as a mere servant for life* and as a laborer dif- 
fered in that particular alone from the white person who 
was bound for a perioil of years. The opportunities open 
to the indented white man were innumerable* but they 

* Bei^rds of Henrico County^ toI. 1677-1699, onfers June !, 1697, Va. 
State Library. 

* Secvr*I» of LancasCer County, original toL 168CX- 1*586. orders July 8, 

* Uartwell, Ctulton. and Biair*s Pt^^nt ^ute ^j/ Viryinia^ 1697, p. 6& 


bore chiefly upon the time when his service would end. 
He could always entertain a reasonable hope of final im- 
provement in his condition, but, while his term lasted, he 
stood practically upon the same footing as the meanest 
slave, in the duties to be performed by him. On the 
whole, the work of the latter could not have been very 
burdensome. We have the testimony of those who had 
observed the operations of both the Virginian and the 
foreign systems, that the negroes in the Colony were not 
required to labor for as many hours as the common hus- 
bandmen abroad, nor were they pressed as hard in their 
tasks. ^ Side by side in the field, the white servant and 
the slave were engaged in planting, weeding, suckering, 
or cutting tobacco, or sat side by side in the barn 
manipulating the leaf in the course of preparing it for 
market, or plied their axes to the same trees in clearing 
I away the forests to extend the new grounds.^ The 
; same holidays were allowed to both, and doubtless, too, 
the same privilege of cultivating small patches of ground 
for their own private benefit. In theVpiatter of food, 
_ } however, the negro did not enjoy the same advantage as 
. I the white servant, the substance of his fare being plainer 
\ and less costly;* his meals consisted of hominy, mush, 
maize-bread, pork, potatoes, and other vegetables,* — vict- 
uals which were, perhaps, more palatable than those in 

^Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 220. **I can assure you, with 
g^eat truth, that generally their slaves are not worked near so hard nor 
^ many hours in a day as the husbandmen and day laborers in Eng- 
^d." Again, "The work of their servants and slaves is no other than 
r what every common freeman does," p. 220. 

! * For an illustration of the intimate association of white servants and 
negro slaves in their work, see Records of York County, vol. 1684-1087, 
p. 206, Va. State Library. 

' Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 219. 

* llogh Jones' Present State of Virginia, p. 40. 

_ «. 



reach of the English day laborer in the same age. The 
slaves of the seventeenth century had probably more 
ground for satisfaction in this respect than the slaves of 
I the nineteenth, whose staple food was maize-bread and 
bacon. The negro of the seventeenth century also re- 
quired less expensive clothing than the whit« servant. 
In the advertisement of a slave who had run away from 
his master^ which was placed on record in York County 
in li)86, ho is described as having been dressed in ^^ red 
cotton^** and as wearing ^^ a waistcoat, canvas drawers, and 
a bnxul brim black hat/' ^ In another case, the clothing 
of an African slave consisted of a full suit^ a doublet, a 
pair of ilrawers, a pair of shoes and a cap.' 

The county reconls of the seventeenth century show 
that the negro quarter had become a recognized part of 
the plantation buildings in the eighth and ninth decades.' 
The ix>utents of the houses were of the simplest character, 
as may be discovered by an examination of contempora- 
uev>us inventories. An instance may be given by way of 
illustration. In the Stratton inventory brought before 
the Henrico court in 1697^ the furniture and utensils in 
the cabin of one of the slaves are enumerated, and they 
cojusistevl of several chairs and a bed« an iron kettle weigh- 
ing dfteeu pounds^ a brass kettle^ an iron pot« a pair of 
ivt-wcks^ a pi.>thook* a frying-pan and a beer4)arrel.* 

^ ^cn.vnZ» o/ IVrfc Cuuntg. yoL lt»4-ltJS7. p. ilo. Va, State Librmxy. 

< Vnd., p. W. 

' lu iua old Sunrtfv pi^werv^ vitoog tlit; LmiwiiU Plpeia;. a p«rt ai tbe 
>L;uiutjcrtv^ Cu*ll9Cticrii^ o^ Uhf Vif^utiai Htt^jncal SoctietT. Ic U seated tfait 
\fix%t oi th«* Iiu^» •• itvtH-**?^ a^ * po{?Iur trw by tiw i»ot>»* quarter.'* 
Thai %rt^cai« Nfk'u^ni h> S«^:rvGilry Luti^vU. I*i7^ Tbis pijiicaK&OBBS of ftU 
tih^ principal iiuttk>^fiMC^ w«im Uivtii«i^i iitur v^uiirtvrs. Stw. f>?r exunplefl, 
Lbe witltii jbttU mv^itcont.^ ^jt Kalpti W;rfUtfitfy luiii H^thtrt BtsT«ri«j on 

* tiic^r*U^ ^jtf Uoiu^oj CuuiUy. jcy^uitu ^oL ItWr-tT'H. p^ 138. See, 


Not only was the slave a source of smaller expense than 
the white servant in point of food and clothing, and per- 
haps in lodgings, but it is highly probable in the matter 
of medical attendance also. The planters incurred very 
considerable loss from the seasoning through which the 
white laborers, with few exceptions, passed on their first 
arrival in Virginia. Valuable time thus slipped away 
before any return was derived from their labor. The 
white servants not infrequently died as the result of this 
attack of illness, and the money or tobacco expended in 
their purchase was thrown away. The slaves do not 
appear to have been subject to this form of sickness, and 
were much less affected by exposure to the oppressive 
heat of the sun in the months of July, August, and 
September. It is an interesting fact that of the twenty 
negroes who were imported in 1619, the first who had 
arrived in the Colony, not one had died previous to 1624, 
an indication of the ease with which they stood the 
deleterious influences of the climate. There was at this 
time no parallel instance in the history of the white 

There is no reason to doubt that the planters were as a 
body just and humane in their treatment of their slaves. 
The solicitude exhibited by John Page of York was not 
uncommon: in his will, he instructed his heirs to provide 
for the old age of all the negroes who descended to them 
from him, with as much care in point of food, clothing, 
and other necessaries, as if they were still capable of tlie 
most profitable labor. ^ Occasionally, the records of the 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1000-1004, p. 138, Va. State Library. 
Slaves, it would seem, were not permitted to hold property, as the follow- 
ing regulation shows : ** Horses, cattle, and hogs marked with the mark 
of a slave, to be converted by the owner of the slave to the uses and 
marks of the owner; otherwise forfeited to the Parish." Ilening^s 
Statutes^ voL III, p. 103. 


county courts reveal instances of great cruelty on the part 
of unfeeling masters, as when Samuel Gray, a minister of 
the Gospels boimd his runaway slaye, who was still a mere 
boy, to a tree and compelled another slave to beat him 
until he died.^ There were also cases in which children 
were torn from their mothers at an age when such separa- 
tion would be a cause of poignant grief to the parent.' 
Suicide among adults was not unknown. In 1690, Bess* 
a negro woman belonging to Colonel William Byrd, threw 
herself into Falling Creek and was drowned. There is 
no light as to her motive.' 

nrhe increase in the number of negroes in the Colony 
towards the close of the century* the population of two 
thousaind in 1671 having probably risen to six thousand 
by 1100^ enlarged the opportunities of employment for 
persons who wished to follow the occupation of an over- 
seer. Many of the slaves who had been imported had 
been imported directly from Africa* and were savages of a 
very gross tyj>e unaccustomed to any form of restraint. 
It was observed that thc^se among them who had been im- 
portant men in their tribes were insolent* haughty, and 
obstinate* and while this class was necessarily small* their 
characteristics must have been shared in a measure by 
such of their fellows as had never before been compeUed 
to labor steadily and continuously. The supervision of 

1 Records of Xitldlesex Connty. oripnal roL 1694-1706* p. 238. 

- RifCtjr*l» of Rfippahannoik CuufUtf, voL Hrr7-l»}S2. p. 20* V». Stite 
Library. In \l\is case, Klizalh^tb Craik b^ut^atbed to one daughter, 
Frances by mune, a negr^ss !uid tbt) third child to be bi?m of her ; to a 
second liau^Ucer. Elizabeth Moss, the drst snd second child to be bom of 
the same woman. " 1 will that the two children the said negri> womaB 
shall happen to b«*ar to the use of Elizabeth i M*.isa<. be and remain with « 
the modier uiiul they shall be one year old, and that then chey may hfl 
taken away/' 

* Rio.trtU of ife/inco County, vuL ltJ8^l<»7. p. I7i)» Va. State libxvy. 


an overseer was required, to make them perform the 
various tasks to which they .were set. Even if superin- 
tendence had been unnecessary in the case of the white 
servants, which, as has been seen, it was not, it would 
have been called for as soon as slaves, whether crude bar- 
barianS or men already trained for their work, began to be 
Ijntroduced in any number. 

There are indications at an early date of improper sex- 
ual relations between white men and slave women, a con- 
dition to be expected from the intimate association of 
members of the two races in the performance of their 
daily tasks. This immoral intercourse was not, however, 
confined on the part of the whites to the indented male 
servants. One of the charges brought against Lawrence, 
the principal adviser of Ba^on in the insurrection of 1676, 
was that he worshipped the goddess Venus in the person 
of his female slave, but that his course of conduct was as 
much disapproved of in that age by the general sentiment 
of the community as it was in later times, is shown by 
the great scandal it created at Jamestown.^ As early as 
1630, one Hugh Davis, who was discovered in the same 
relation with a negress, was roundly lashed in public, and 
compelled to acknowledge his fault before the congrega- 
tion with which he worshipped.^ Nine years later, Rob- 
ert Sweet, who is described in a patent to him in 1628 as 
'* gentleman,"^ having been detected in the same offence, 

1 The foUowing is from the Archives of Maryland, Court and Testa- 
fnentary Business, vol. 1640-1657, p. 114 : **The complainant prosecuting 
against the defendant npon an action of defamation, for that the defend- 
ant rei>orted here that he had heard one Thomas Gutridge in Virginia 
say that the plaintifif had got one of his negroes with child, and that he 
bad a black bastard in Virginia, which report the complainant saith tends 
mach to his disgrace and defamation, which he values at 20,000 lbs.** 

' Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 146. 

« Va. Land PaUnts, vol. 162^-1643, p. 70. 



wx* o-P-L-ere*! :•> ipr^-ir in the oiiir»:b. •>£ cte ptirisb in which 
tie resi'ied- in ^ wbi:e >ietec» Ajorr^iiri:^ z*y ut* English eccle- 
<iks:kAl liws^ wiiLl-* ch-r w jGUirL wh-y was die other party 
i.> :i.^ Ak:* of self-izi^il^iL'^te ret>fLneii a s^oond whipping.^ 
A <-A5*r i> reic-:ri« in Lf>we:r Norf-.-Ik 0>%ia«x in which a 
wti:e niAn Ani iis K^jk rarizn-.xir wtns- K^auiieJ to stand 
cr» tvCriiier in ;2i? >;i2» $i:cji^o£a dr^esaird in white sheets 
Aai !L:.'.iiiru: wh:;e in *i.-r:r bAn-is.* Tie public sen- 
liratn; vf lie C%iv:>nT was n:-* xicc^c-n* wiiL leaving the 
y-nnisin>en: lo ^be cT^rraairQ o: :i"ir:h liws: a general 
st4::i:t<- WAS T*ASs>ei irnrojc-z: a beATx ir^e nr*c^n all white 
Tuen who were irii^^v :?z criniiziAZ inrmaoT with female 
slav«^ Alii :his was ih-e ri-c:::lA*5:e. hz zhe lime when the 
Huinlvr cf r>ecToes in Vir^iniA iix^ n-:-* ric^erJ several hun- 
dreii/ yevenV.t^S!;*. ;i?e TX'rc&rjrnT relAiions between 
wlii:^ men Ana nt*.rrc^s?e> w- ren-ifciTiTAinr-i ::• a more or less 
orvrr; eTi*-TiU A s:i:T>ewh« riimAricAri-r caf*e cjnne to light 
iri Irtj^T. In ihai viukr a nr^r/^Anri^j^ ent-crei a jietition in 
the LanrAsior oo^n r»rA>-inc *i*x»i s-'^e srjo-jlii be set free. 
She i'^iaimoii ihAi she hj>,i T»i*fn T»v*r:hased hv John Beach- 
inir from Mr?^ Wiir^nlH'-tyi S;vn/fT in eonsideraiion of his 
tannine one ih^'iisftna h^i^fts. He had C!&n5i-*d her and her 
child to W' havMirod, find if ihe aisjicriion of the jieiition was 
to \k rflied on, had ■'OTomisisi lo niurrr Ler, an evidence 
thfit he was the farher of her offsrcinir and that he had 
lived x^ iili her wiihor.i discTii?*f'. The iiirv to whom the 
cnesiion of hcT froodom was sr;>im::Ted. decided in her 
favor Jiv acftinst Mrs. Soenv'^-r, w)io was a member of one 
of \hr- m.Tsl y^"»wort'nl tftmi^i«> in ihe Coiony.* 

Tiic pnnisJiTncnt inflirred ujv»n a white woman for 


t y?.'.v.:vf* M- /ni''. :• \nrf**U « Minify, orijrinnl v^;. lM*Mcril, f. p. IIX 


ig birth to a bastard whose father was a negro or a 
tto was stem and emphatic.^ As has been previously 
d, if she were free she was required to pay fifteen 
ds sterling, and if unable to do this, she was delivered 
the hands of the church wardens of the parish and 
for a period of five years.* If, however, she was not 
e enjoyment of her freedom, but was a servant whose 

had not expired, as soon as it came to an end she 
disposed of by the wardens for the same length of 
Her child was appropriated by the parish until he 
le was thirty years of age. In addition, the white 
lers of negro bastards were frequently taken to the 
ty seat and there publicly whipped by the sheriff. 
>me cases, the court directed that if such a woman 

securing her freedom remained in the county, she 
to be banished to the West Indies.^ 

is no ground for surprise that in the seventeenth 
iry there were instances of criminal intimacy between 
e women and negroes. Many of the former had only 
itly arrived from England, and were, therefore, com- 
bively free from the race prejudice that was so likely 

ee an indictment of such a woman preserved in the Records of 
County, vol. 1690-16W, p. 420. See also Records of Henrico 
^, vol. 1088-1097, p. 322, Va. State Library, 
[ening^s Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 87. 

\ecords of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1099, p. 83, Va. State 
ry. The woman in this case was of English birth, Ann Wall by 
She was the mother of two bastards by a negro whom she 
^ as her husband. She was brought before court and ordered to 
fteen pounds sterling, in default of which she was to be sold as a 
It for a term of five years. It appears that she was unable to secure 
Dount necessary, and in consequence was turned over to Mr. Peter 
m, the court declaring at the same time that if, after she obtained 
eedom, **she presumed to come into this county (Elizabeth City) 
lall be banished to Island of Barbadoes.^* Her bastards were also 
red to Hobson, to be held until they were thirty years of age. 


to arise upon close association with the African for a great 
length of timo.^ There must have been by the middle of 
the century a number of mulattoes in the Colony, sprung 
from black mothers, who were less repulsive in person 
and manners than the average negro. The class of white 
women who were required to work in the fields belonged 
to the lowest rank in point of character ; not having been 
born in Virginia and not having thus acquired from 
birth a repugnance to association with Africans upon a 
footing of social equality, they yielded to the temptations 
of the situations in which they were placed. The offence, 
whether committed by a native or an imported white 
womaUt was an act of personal degradation that was con- 
demneil by public sentiment with as much severity in the 
seventeenth century as at all subsequent periods.^ Mulat- 
toes were referreil to by the law as an ** abominable mixt- 
ure,"'* and the mei*e fact that a marriage ceremony had 
given apparent sanctity to the relations resulting in such 
births^ did not in the eyes of the community at large make 
this mixture of whites and blacks less odious in its char- 
acter. So repugnant to popular feeling became all physical 
commerce between the races that intermarriages between 
their members were strictly forbidden, and the uiimster 

^ See Richmond Dispaieh^ Saturday. June 30» IS04. A letter from 
Warreuioii, Va., dated Juue 29, gives a ca:>e occurrinti: ia 1^94. whidi 
shows that the abeeace of this prejudice, arisiug irom the same &et, 
Uods to the same result oceasioually in the present cencary. 

' How degraded were the white women who had sexual intercomsB 
with nt^roes in the :$eventeenth century is very clearly shown in a revolt- 
ing series of depositions relating to the ease of )Ijr$. WatiuiL>« preserved 
in the Hec^/nis of Henrico County, vol. IfTTT-ltJUS. pp. W1-1«J6. Va. Ststa 
Library. See the characterization of Mrs. U\de of York, who is referred 
to ^the exact w«jnis are too gross to be quoteU) as a woman of sodi 
abandoned, character that she would admit evt^u a negro to her embracer. 
VoL ltj94-1697. p. 14, Va. Slate Library. 

s Uening*s iftatuUs^ voL lU, p. Sd. 


who disregarded the provision to this effect was made 
subject to a fine of ten thousand pounds of tobacco.^ If 
a negress gave birth to a bastard child ^ who was entirely 
of her own color, proving that its father was of African 
blood, she was sent by her master to the county seat to be 
chastised by the sheriff. The child remained the prop- 
erty of her owner. If the mother of a full-blooded negro 
bastard happened to be free, but was bound for a term of 
years at the time of its birth, she was required by way of 
punishment to remain in the same service for an additional 
period of twenty-four months, and she was also soundly 
whipped for the offence.^ The child was placed at the 
disposal of the church wardens of the parish. 

In proportion to the population of African blood, there 
were as many runaways among the slaves as among the 
white servants. Maryland seems to have been the prov- 
ince in which the largest number of the fugitives escap- 
ing beyond the boundaries of the Colony took refuge. A 
case may be mentioned which shows the means employed 
in recovering absconding negroes previous to the middle 
of the century. In the course of the fourth decade, special 

1 Hening^s Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 454. 

* So provision was made by the laws of Virginia in the seventeenth 
centary for the legal marriage of negro slaves. The status then was 
doubtless the same as it was in the nineteenth ; that is to say, the mar- 
riages of slaves were not recognized in law. Slaves, however, were 
married with religious services performed by ministers of the Gospel. 
A negro bastard was one bom either of a slave African mother who had 
not been married with the ordinary religious ceremony to the father of 
the child, or of a free African mother who had not been married accord- 
ing to the regulations prescribed by law. The child of a white woman 
by a negro or mulatto was, under all circumstances, a bastard, as mar- 
riage between individuals of the two races was not allowed by law. In 
the same way, the child of a negress was, under all circumstances, a 
bastard if its father was a white man. 

« Records of Henrico County, vol. 1G82-1701, p. 190, Va. State Library.. 

VOL. II. — I 



permission was granted to John Mottrom and Edward 
Fleet to use a section of the train bands, with such a 
quantity of arms and ammunition as they would require, 
in overtaking certain slaves who had fled from them. 
The men impressed to take part in this service were to 
be paid out of the public levy of the counties in which 
they resided, and satisfaction was to be made in the same 
manner to the owners of the boats used in the pursuit. 
The negroes when caught were to be brought back, and 
after being whipped, were to be put to work again in the 
field. 1 

Whatever disposition may have existed among the 
slaves to steal away from the plantations to which they 
belonged, was due in some measure to the influence and 
example of the restless or discontented white servants, 
who were bolder, more energetic, and more enterprising 
than members of the African race. The list of laborers 
on every large estate in the last quarter of the seventeenth 
century included both negroes and white men ; brought 
together in intimate and constant association, the slaves 
were naturally very susceptible to the improper persua* 
sions of their white companions, and consequently special 
laws had to be passed to punish the white servants who 
absconded in company with them. Not all of the negroes, 
however, who were guilty of the offence of running away 
were prompted to do so by the influence of individuals 
of the other race. A large proportion of the slaves, es- 
pecially in the period following 1670, had only been 
recently imported into the Colony, and being African 
savages unaccustomed to a life of labor and restraint, it 
is not strange that many should have felt and acted 
upon the impulse to seek freedom by flight. Thisj 
part of the black population had not yet acquired an 

1 General Court Orders, June 30, 1640, Robinson Transcripts, p. IS. 


attachment to the plantations of their masters owing to 
their recent importation. One of the most powerful in- 
fluences that fostered a steady and sober spirit in the 
negroes who were natives of the soil, was thus entirely 
absent in the case of the imported slaves unless they 
had reached the Colony whilst still very young. 

It was not imtil 1672, that we discover indications 
of open discontent among the negroes of Virginia. An 
Act of Assembly passed in that year reveals the fact 
that there were slaves in rebellion in different parts of 
the Colony at this time, and that it had been found so 
far impossible to subdue and capture them.^ There does 
not appear to have been any movement among them 
resembling an organized insurrection ; it was rather a 
number of cases in which two or more, or even one, had 
taken refuge in the fastnesses of the wilderness of forest. 
Abandoning as hopeless all thought of seizing these fugi- 
tives by peaceful means, the House of Burgesses authorized 
whoever should seek to capture them, whether by legal 
warrant or by hue and cry, to kill them on the spot if 
they attempted to resist arrest. The master of every 
slave who perished under these circumstances received 
satisfaction for his loss at the public charge to the 
extent of four thousand five hundred pounds of tobacco. 
If the successful effort to seize the negro resulted in 
wounding him, his owner was recouped in proportion to 
the loss entailed by his sickness, which probably included 
the medical expense of the cure, payment being made 
in the form of a certificate, which was to be presented to 
the General Assembly to be honored. In every instance 
in which a slave had fled to an Indian town, its chief wasi 
required to bring him before the nearest justice of tlie 
peace, receiving as a reward a certain amount of roanoke, 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 299 



or merchandise if he preferred.^ All absconding negroes 
who were arrested, but whose owners were unknown, were 
directed by an order of court passed in 1691 to be for- 
warded to Jamestown, where they remained until claimed, 
the masters of fugitives sending thither their marks and 
descriptions.* There were cases in which the names of 
slaves, who had run away and become notorious outlaws 
by the outrages they committed, were referred to in 
special laws of the Assembly. Such a case was that of 
the negro who, about 1700, took refuge in the woods ex- 
tending over the greater part of the counties of James 
City, York, and New Kent, and who was charged with 
ravaging the crops, perpetrating robberies, and carrying 
the greatest consternation into every community in which 
he appeared. A reward of one thousand pounds was 
offered for the body of this runaway, whether produced 
dead or alive. It was declared to be a felony to enter- 
tain him. It would seem from this that a number of 
white persons were either in collusion with him, or were 
afraid to arrest him when he came to their houses.* 

A few years previous to this, a mulatto, who had fled 
from his master, Ralph Wormeley of Middlesex, concealed 
himself in the fastnesses of Rappahannock County. He 
drew around him a number of negro accomplices, and in 
a short time became an object of popular terror; he 
carried off numerous hogs, and went so far as to break 
into one of his master's stores, from which he took away 
a quantity of goods, including several carbines. He was 
at last forced to surrender.* 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, pp. 299, 300. 

2 Records of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 110, Va. State Libraiy; 
Becords of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1697, p. 267, Va. State Library. 

• Hening's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 210. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1691, orders Nor. 
9, 1691. 


All the laws relating to fugitive negroes refer to the 
number who were at large in the latter part of the seven- 
teenth century, and the evil was so crying in itself, and 
so likely to lead to worse consequences, that the most 
summary disposition of runaways, who refused to return 
to their masters by submitting to arrest, was allowed 
with the full concurrence of public sentiment.^ As a 
slave could not be punished like a servant who had raised 
his hand against his master, by an extension of his term, 
his owner was permitted instead to inflict corporal pun- 
ishment upon him. If he happened to die in consequence 
of the severity of this punishment, the master was not 
held to have been guilty of felony, it being the presump- 
tion of the law that the act was devoid of malice, as no 
man would voluntarily and intentionally destroy his own 
property. This law was one of the first indications in 
colonial legislation that the increasing importation of 
negroes was arousing apprehension among the planters 
of a possible outbreak on the part of the slaves. A still 
more unmistakable evidence of this feeling api)ears in a 
measure passed in 1680,^ which was the reenactment in 
a more rigid form of the law of 1639,^ prohibiting the use 
by a negro of all instruments of offence or defence, such 
as clubs, swords, guns, and staffs. If he raised a weapon 
to strike or shoot a Christian, whether his master or not, 
he was to be punished by the infliction of thirty lashes on 
his bare back. Twice during the course of each year the 
minister of each parish was required after the second lesson 
in the divine service to read this statute to his congrega- 
tion,* and a failure to do so was an indictable offence. 

No slave was allowed to leave the plantation of his 
master without a certificate of permission to go abroad, 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 86. » Ibid., vol. I, p. 226. 

« Ibid., vol. U, pp. 481, 482. * Ibid., vol. II, p. 492. 


and this permission was only to be granted when he 
sent oflf on an important errand. If he was found 
dering about without the passport required by lav 
was taken before the nearest justice of the peace, 
after giving him a whipping, forwarded him to the 
stable in the adjacent county, who in his turn rep< 
the whipping, and then delivered him to the cons 
beyond, and this course was continued until the 
finally reached the hands of his master. If he 
allowed to escape by the carelessness of one of 
constables, the owner could recover a large sum 
court of law. No strange negro was suffered to re 
on a plantation four hours after his first appearance 
less he had in his possession a certificate showing thj 
absence from home was properly authorized.^ 

It reveals the great importance attached by the off 
to the various laws for the prevention of slave insu 
tions, that Governor Andros, in 1694, issued a si 
proclamation calling attention to the general remis 
in their enforcement, in consequence of which, ne| 
had run together in certain parts of the Colony, cai 
assemblages so dangerous as to threaten the peace o 
whole community. He commanded that no certifi 
should be given to slaves allowing them to go of 
estates of their masters, and in order that this injun 
should come to the ears of all the planters, he req 
that his proclamation should be read in the church 
the musters and militia meetings, and on every occasi 
great publicity.^ 

1 Hening's Statutes^ vol. II, pp. 481, 493. An instance in whic 
hundred pounds of tobacco were recovered by a planter on account 
default of a constable under these circumstances is recorded in J 
of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 282, Va. State Library. 

^ Swords of York County, vol. 1694-1697, pp. 22, 23, Va. State Li 


When a slave was guilty of murder, he was arrested by 
the sheriff of the county in which the felony had occurred, 
and thrown into jail, and there he remained in irons until 
his case was brought to trial. The first step to this was 
the transmission of information to the Governor that the 
crime had been committed; upon the reception of this 
information, that official directed that an oyer and ter- 
miner be issued to such persons residing in the county 
where the slave was held, whom he considered to be fit to 
determine the guilt or innocence of the prisoner. In the 
inquiry which they at once instituted, the accused could 
be convicted on the testimony of himself or two reputable^ 
witnesses, or one witness whose testimony was supportea | 
by strong circumstantial evidence. He could not claim 
the privilege of a trial by jury.^ The expenses entailed 
in supporting the slave during the time of his stay in jail 
were provided for in the public levy.^ If he was hung, 
the justices decided upon his value and returned a certifi- 
cate embodying their estimate to the General Assembly, 
who made an appropriation to the master equal to the 
stated amount.^ Rape of white women, which has become 
the most characteristic crime of the African since his 
emancipation in the nineteenth century, was also com- 
mitted by him in the seventeenth.* An ordinary assault 
by a slave even upon a white man was punished by a 
severe whipping only.^ When the offence was attended 
by aggravated circumstances and the person guilty of it 
was a free negro, male or female, the infliction of stripes 

* Hening's Statutes j vol. Ill, p. 103. 

* Records of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1G97, p. 16, Va. State Library. 

* Hening^s Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 270. 

* Nov. 26, 1677, General Court Orders, 1077-1C82. " Stronjr measures 
to be taken for apprehending Robin, a negro who had ravished a white 
woman." Robinson Transcripts, p. 264. 

» Becardi of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 343, Va. State Library. 


upon his or her back was followed by imprisonment, 
which continued until the costs were paid and security 
for good behavior was given. In 1693, an action of tres^ 
pass was brought in the county court of York by a well- 
known planter named Sampson and his wife against a 
negress and her husband, on the ground that they had 
made a violent attack upon the person of Mrs. Sampson 
and threatened to take her life. Of this offence, the 
negress was convicted. She was whipped by the sherifii 
of the county until she had received twenty-nine lashes 
and was then thrown into jail to remain until she could find 
some one to go on her bond to keep the peace. Her char- 
acter was considered to be so dangerous and her life sc 
disorderly, that the court entered a rule that unless she 
could show that her claim to freedom was capable of the 
most irrefutable proof, she should be transported from the 
Colony. Not being able to show this, she was sent out oi 
Virginia as a person whose presence was calculated tc 
disturb the peace of the community. When the act ol 
the slave amounted only to a menace, the person who was 
the object of this menace could compel the master of the 
negro to give bond as a security for his good behavior.^ 

The petty offences of negroes involving the interests ol 
their masters only were dealt with in the seventeenth 
century in the same manner, as a rule, as they were in 
ithe eighteenth and nineteenth, their owners being allowed 
[to inflict such punishment as appeared to them to be advis- 
able. An exception seems to have been made in the case 
of hog-stealing. Upon the commission of the first offence 
of this kind, the slave was soundly whipped, and for the 
second, his ears were nailed to the pillory and afterwards 

> Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-16P9, p. 126, Va. StaU 
Library. See also Records of York County, vol. 161H)-10W, p. 2S7, V» 
State Library. 


severed from his head with a knife. This punishment 
was severe enough to accomplish the purpose for which 
it was intended, but like a great majority of the drastic 
measures passed with reference to the slaves, it was doubt- 
less very much modified when it came to be enforced, if it 
was not ignored altogether. No traveller in Virginia in 
the seventeenth century has remarked upon the number of 
earless negroes in the Colony, and in that age, as in more 
recent times, it must have been difficult for individuals of 
this race to have resisted the temptation of running down 
the many fine young hogs that crossed their path in the 
forest in whichever direction they might have been pro- 
ceeding. It is quite unlikely that the master would have 
been willing to have had a valuable slave lowered in value 
in case he desired to sell him, as was always possible, by 
reporting him to the authorities to be subjected to dis- 
figurement for life. Self-interest was alive here even if 
sentiment was dormant. A negro with two ears was worth 
more in the market than a dozen hogs, and to remove one 
of his ears was to proclaim to every planter in the Colony 
that he was a felon whom it would have been unwise to 

The law required that the same barbarous punishment 
should be imposed when the slave was convicted of rob- 
bing a house or store. He was first lashed by the sheriff 
until sixty strokes had been received, and was then placed 
in the pillory with his ears nailed to the posts, in which 
position he was compelled to remain for half an hour, at 
the end of which time these members were severed from 
his head.^ 

There are indications of the presence of free negroes 
in the Colony at a comparatively early date. They were 

J Hening'8 Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 179. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1094-1706, p. 140. 


either the offspring of members of their own race who 
had been set at liberty, or they were slaves who had been 
emancipated by their masters. In many cases, the be- 
stowal upon them of all the rights of freedom had been 
without restriction. This was the course pursued by 
Colonel Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., with reference to his slave 
Kate, to whom liberty had been promised by his wife 
before her death. ^ In other cases, the gift was made sub- 
ject to certain conditions, either temporary or permanent 
in their nature. John Farrar, of Henrico, in emancipat- 
ing a negro who had grown to old age in his service, 
required that until the following Christmas he was to 
remain on the estate to which he was then attached, and 
was to take an active part in producing the crop to be 
planted in the course of that year.^ Tony Bowyer, the 
property of Richard Bennett, was liberated by his master 
on condition that he should deliver annually eight hun- 
dred pounds of tobacco, and the General Court, after the 
death of Bennett, required Tony to furnish ample security 
for the payment of this amount.^ Under the will of 
Mrs. Beazley, which was admitted to probate about the 
middle of the century, one of her slaves was devised to a 
kinsman for a term of eight years, and, at its expiration, 
he was to be set free, and the customary allowance under 
the circumstances, of three barrels of Indian corn and a 
suit of clothes, was to be made to him. The negro was 
assigned by his mistress to a Mrs. Lucas, who, after com- 
pelling him to remain in her employment three years 
longer than the will of Mrs. Beazley prescribed, at the 
end of that time forced him to sign a paper binding him 
to continue with her during the course of twenty years. 

1 Eecords of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 154, Va. State Library, 
a Becords of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 299, Va. State Libraiy. 
* Seeorda of the General Court, d. 243. 

» liecoras oj nennco uounty, voi. lo/ / 
* Becorda of the GfenercU Courts p. 243. 


These facts were embodied in a petition which he entered 
in court for the purpose of constraining Mrs. Lucas to 
remunerate him for the three years beyond his legal term 
which she had forced him to serve.^ 

Nicholas Martian, of York, directed in his will that when 
the first crop of tobacco had been gathered after the pay- 
ment of the debts which he left at his decease, his two 
negroes, Philip and Nicholas, should be set free, and that 
one cow, three barrels of Indian com, clothes, and nails 
should be given to each of them. Each one was also to 
be permitted during his life to have a certain area of land 
in which to plant.^ 

Thomas Whitehead, of York, by will emancipated his 
slave, John, and bequeathed to him a great variety of 
clothing, and also two cows, ordering that he should be 
allowed the use of as much ground as he could cultivate, 
and the possession of a house. So great was his confi- 
dence in the discretion and integrity of this negro, that he 
appointed him the guardian of Mary Rogers, a ward of 
Whitehead's, and overseer of her property, offices which 
the court refused to suffer him to fill.* 

Daniel Parke showed equal generosity to a favorite 
slave. He instructed his executors to pay to this negro, 
whom he set free by his will, fifteen bushels of shelled 
Indian com, and fifty pounds of dried beef, annually, as 
long as the man should live. In addition, he was to 
receive each year from Parke's estate, a kersey coat, a 
pair of breeches, a hat, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of 
yam stockings, two shirts, a pair of drawers, and an axe 
and hoe. His levies were also to be paid.* 

1 Palmer^s Calendar of Virginia Stale Papers, vol. I, p. 9. See also 
Becords of the General Court, p. 218. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1633-1694, p. 109, Va. State Library. 
» Ibid., vol. 1657-1662, pp. 211, 217. 

* iWd., voL 1687-1691, pp. 278, 279. 


Robert Griggs of Lancaster granted by will freedom 
to all of his slaves, for whose welfare he provided with 
great liberality. To a mulatto woman owned by him, he 
bequeathed a heifer and three barrels of Indian com, and 
he commanded his executor to allot her a house and a cer- 
tain area of groimd as long as she continued to live with 
her husband ; and she was also to be supplied with one 
cotton suit every year. Two of his young negroes were 
to serve for a period of thirty-eight years, and then to be 
emancipated. All the children in his possession were to 
remain slaves until they reached their forty-fifth year. 
Those of his negroes who did not come within these pro- 
visions were not to be set free until thirty-nine years had 
passed since their arrival in the country.^ 

John Carter of Lancaster, one of the largest slave- 
holders in the Colony, by his will gave freedom to two of 
his negroes who were married to each other. To each he 
devised a cow and a calf and three barrels of Indian corn, 
and instructed his heirs to allow them the use of a con- 
venient house, firewood, timber, and as much land as they 
could cultivate. He also enjoined that the two young 
daughters of this couple should receive their liberty when 
they reached their eighteenth year, and as a provision for 
them, he gave each one a yearling heifer with its increase, 
which was to be permitted to run with the cattle of his 
wife after his death.* 

A more remarkable instance of generosity on the part 
of the Virginian slaveholder of the seventeenth century 
is to be found among the records of Lower Norfolk 
County. It is not improbable that the beneficiaries in 
this case were the illegitimate children of the testator. 
The will of John Nicholls, filed in 1697, disclosed the fact 

1 Records of Lancaster County , original vol. 1074-1687, p. 91. 

2 Jfeid.. 1690-1709, p. 3. 


that he had emancipated a mulatto boy and girl belong- 
ing to him, children of one of his female slaves. The 
boy at the time of Nicholls' death was serving an appren- 
ticeship to a blacksmith in Nansemond County. To the 
girl, he devised two hundred acres of land in fee simple, 
and to the boy three hundred and ten acres. To the 
latter, he also bequeathed a pair of millstones, and all the 
ironwork necessary for the equipment of a water-mill. 
He gave both children the cattle which at the time of 
his death would be running on the lands he had left to 
them by will, and they were to share alike in the division. 
To the girl, he bequeathed a feather-bed and bolster, a 
rug and two blankets, four ewes and one ram, a sow 
and pig, one woollen and one linen wheel, a pair of wool, 
a pair of tow, and a pair of cotton cards. To the boy, 
he bequeathed a feather-bed and bolster, two blankets 
and a rug, four ewes and a ram, a sow and pig, and a 
musket. In case either died before he or she came of age, 
the survivor was to be the heir of the deceased.^ 

The records of the seventeenth century disclose the fact 
that numerous suits were entered by slaves for the recov- 
ery of their freedom, and that the courts showed them the 
amplest justice. In an action brought in 1695 in Elizabeth 
City County by a negro against the executors of Colonel 
John Lear, in which it was alleged that he was entitled to 
his liberty, the executors failed to make their appearance. 
An order was adopted that unless Lewis Burwell and 
Thomas Goddin, who were the representatives of Colonel 
Lear, attended the next court, the plaintiff should be 
set free.* A similar order was entered in York in the 
case of Henry Tyler, the administrator of Mr. Martin 

* Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1695-1703, f. p. 06. 
« Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 10S4-1699, p. 107, Va. State 


Gardner, who had emancipated a slave bearing the name 
of Napho.^ 

In the interval between 1635 and 1700, there were 
probably a number of persons of African blood in the 
Colony, who had raised themselves to a condition of 
moderate importance in the community. There were 
certainly some who were able to write.* It is known 
that patents to land were obtained by a few. Thus in 
1654, one hundred acres lying on Pongoteag^e River in 
Northampton County were granted to Richard Johnson, 
a negro, upon the basis of head rights which were repre- 
sented by two white men. In the description of this 
tract, it is stated to have been contiguous to estates 
owned by John Johnson and Anthony Johnson, both of 
the African race.* Two years later, Benjamin Dole, a 
member of the same race, received a patent to three hun- 
dred acres in Surry County, which was due him for the 
transportation of six persons.* The transfer to negroes 
of land purchased by them from private grantors was not 
uncommon ; thus in 1668, Robert Jones, a tailor residing 
in York, sold to John Harris^ an African freeman, fifty 

i Hecords of York Comni^y toL 1690-16M« p. 3aS, Va. Slate Library. 

* See Seamts of Jikhilesex County, original toL 167^1694, p. 1-L See 
also Seconb of Xorthamptom Comnty^ original voL 16S^1696, p. 250. 

* Va. Land I\Uents^ toL III, p. 2^. Richard Johnson was a carpenter 
(see Becords of Accoumc CouiiUy, original toL 166S-1666, p. 54) and a 
mnlatto {Ibid., original toL 16S2-ie&7« p. ItSO). We find in the Becordi 
of yorthiJtii^om CoujUy entry of a »att hy Anthony Johnson for the pur- 
p>.^($e of recoTering lib negro serrant, who had been appropriated by Rob- 
ert P^ker. See original Toi 1^51-1654, p. 226w There seems to hare been 
isome di$pttte as to the land owned by John Johnson, as the following 
entry in the M^cords of yorth<rmpiom ConHtif^ ori^;inaI toL 16o1~16&1, 
p. 20(K shows : *'*' Whereas John Johnson* Negro,, hath this day made his 
comptamt in Court that John Johnson^ ^^ detaineth a patent to 450 
acres^ which John JoliDSon« Jr.« claimsv John Johnson* Sr , is c»dered to 
appear in Court." 

« r<L iMmd FtUeiUs^ toL ld6o-l6l^ p. 71. 


acres which he possessed in New Kent.^ The estates of 
negroes were sometimes sufficiently large to require the 
appointment bj the court of administrators to settle up 
their affairs.^ . 

The pride of the Virginians was shown in the statute 
which provided that no black freeman should be allowed 
to secure by indenture the service of white persons to 
continue for the usual term of years,® but he was not for- 
bidden to acquire an interest of that nature in an Indian 7 
or an individual of his own race. There seems, however, 
to be little room for doubt that the free negroes who had 
obtained an ownership in real estate were allowed to 
exercise the suffrage in the times when it was based upon 
a property qualification. When the privilege was thrown 
open to the freemen of the Colony without restriction, 
this right was not only enjoyed by the African free- 
holders, but it would be inferred that there was no dis- 
crimination in this respect against any negro who could 
show that he was not a slave, whether in possession of 
property or not. All freemen are included in the grant 
of the right of suffrage under the statutes passed in 
March, 1655, and in March, 1657, as well as in 1676, when 
the people had triumphed under Bacon.* In no instance 
is the black freeman excepted from the operation of these 
statutes by name. In the law of 1699, readopting the 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 327, Va. State Library. 
Leases for 90 years to negroes were not uncommon ; see a lease of 200 
acres for this period to Philip Morgan, a negro, by John Parker of 
Accomac, original vol. 1676-1690, p. 185. 

5 Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 495. A judgment for 486 
pounds of tobacco against the estate of Edward Jessop, a mulatto, is 
recorded in Northampton County, original vol. 1683-1089, p. 258. An 
instance of a negro surety is found in the records of the same county, 
original vol. 1689-1698, p. 58. 

» Ilening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 280. 

* Ibid,, vol. I, pp. 403, 475 ; vol. II, p. 366 


property qualification, women sole or covenant, males under 
the age of twenty-one years, and Popish recusants were 
denied the voting privilege, but no reference by way of 
exception is made to negro freeholders.^ That the free 
negro, mulatto, or Indian had been given the right of 
suffrage previous to 1723 is to be inferred from the 
provision adopted in that session that none of these 
persons should thereafter be allowed to enjoy it.* It 
would seem to follow logically from the possession of this 
right by the negro freeman or freeholder, that he was 
permitted to perform many of the duties expected of 
white citizens in that age. He was certainly subject to 
its burdens, such, for instance, as the payment of county 
levies.^ In one case, a negro was appointed by the jus- 
tices of Lancaster a beadle, but it was specially provided 
that his duties should be restricted to inflicting punish- 
ment by stripes on those whom the court should condemn 
to the lash.* 

There is no evidence to show that the free negroes of 
e seventeenth century exhibited as a mass any degree 
f thrift. It appears from the county records that the 
rgest proportion of them were employed under the pro- 
ions of indentures similar to those by which the white 
servants were bound. Their general lack of prosperity 
was clearly revealed in the fact that one of the strongest 
reasons which led to the passage of the famous law of 
1699, requiring the exportation of every African freeman 
within six months after he was emancipated* was that the 
manumitted slaves became in their old age a charge upon 


1 Hening's StattUeSy vol. Ill, p. 172. 
« Ibid., vol. IV, pp. 183, lai. 
-* Becorda of Elizabeth CU^ County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 2, Va. State 

* Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1662-1657, p. 213. 


the country, as they were lacking in the means to support 
themselves.^ It is also signiticant to note that the addi- 
tional reason was advanced that the free negroes were 
receivers of goods stolen either by the slaves or the white 
servants from their masters.* Under the provisions of 
this measure, which was really designed to discourage 
emancipation, the planter who liberated a negro and 
failed to send him out of the Colony was liable to a levy 
on his property to the extent of ten pounds sterling, to be 
employed in paying the expenses incurred in the freed- 
man^s transportation. If a surplus remained after these 
expenses had been met, it was to be used by the church 
wardens of the parish in which his former owner resided, 
for the benefit of the poor. If the slave had been manu- 
mitted by will, the heirs of the testator were exposed to 
the same penalty for a failure to comply with the require- 
ments of the statute.^ 

We have already given a brief account of the Indian as 
a servant. He also played a part of considerable impor- 
tance in the Colony as a slave. He did not, however, 
appear in this character until 1676, when it was decided 
by the Assembly, which at that time was under the con- 
trol of Bacon, to make legal the enslavement of all the 
aborigines captured in war, under the definition of service 
for life. In 1661, it had been expressly declared that no 
Indian who had fallen into the hands of the whites should 
be disposed of absolutely and permanently, and this pro- 
vision, in conformity with all of the same kind previously 

1 Heniug*s Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 87. 

' See, in illustration of this fact, an instance preserved in the Records 
of Northampton County, original vol. 1689-leJ98, p. 463. 

» In 1G88, Richard Trotter of York County, by the terms of his will, 
emancipated two of his slaves, to whom he bequeathed fifteen pounds 
sterling apiece, to meet the expense of their removal from the Colony. 
Vol. 16W-1702, pp. 194, 196, Va. State Library. 

VOL. II. — K 


established, had its origin in a desire to promote as far as 
possible peaceful relations with the surrounding tribes.^ 
As late as 1670, it was proclaimed that the youthful mem^ 
bers of these tribes, seized during the progress of war, 
should not be held beyond their thirtieth year.* It re- 
mained for Bacon to adopt the rule that slavery for life 
should be the lot of every Indian who should come into 
the hands of the whites during the period of hostilities, 
and the Government, after the insurrection was over, fol- 
lowed the policy which he had inaugurated.^ The scope 
of the principle was extended in 1682, by the passage of a 
law permitting the holding in bondage of all Indians who 
had been captured by tribes at peace with the Colony 
and sold to the planters, or who had been brought into 
the country from a distance by persons engaged in trade 
with the people of Virginia. The regulations established 
for the management of such slaves were practically the 
same as those in operation for the control of the African. 
They were brought within the scope of every measure 
adopted for the protection of the negro slaves, and morally 
as well as materially stood precisely upon the same foot- 
ing in the view of the law. They were, however, valued 
at somewhat lower rates. 

* Hening's StahUes, vol 11, p. 148. 

* Ibid.t vol. II, p. 283. ^^ If men or women, twijlTe years aud uo 

< Ibid., pp. 346, 440. 



To inquire into the origin of the planters of Virginia 
in the seventeenth century would be to enter into a 
domain which is more distinctly a part of social than 
economic history. Such an inquiry was justified in the 
case of servants because they bore the same practical 
relation to the community as the ordinary beast of bur- 
den, only tempered by their human intelligence, which 
led to their receiving more conscientious treatment from 
their masters. Nevertheless, even from an economic point 
of view, it is important to know that the great body of 
men who sued out patents to public lands in Virginia 
were sprung from the portion of the English common- 
wealth that was removed from the highest as well as 
from the lowest ranks in the community, and which, while 
m many instances sharing the blood of the noblest, yet as 
a rule belonged to the classes engaged in the different pro- 
fessions and trades, in short, to the workers in all of the 
principal branches of English activity. With those power- 
ful traditions animating them, the traditions of race and 
nationality, blending with the traditions of special pursuits, 
they had also that enterprising spirit which prompted 
them to abandon home and country to make a lodgment 
. in the West. It is incorrect to infer that their position 
in their native land was lacking in advantages because 

; they showed a willingness to emigrate. Of all the mod- 



em races, the English have exhibited the most marked 
disposition to establish colonies. Until the settlement of 
Virginia, this disposition had had a latent existence only. 
That region furnished it the earliest opportunity for its 
display. The colony at Jamestown was the first swarm 
which, issuing from the central hive in England, estab- 
lished a permanent home abroad. Since the 13th of 
May, 1607, how many swarms have gone forth from the 
same hive, how vast a portion of the surface of the earth 
has now been populated by the same race I The same 
practical aspirations which in the present century have 
led to the formation of so many English commonwealths 
in the Australasian seas, influenced men of the same 
manly and self-reliant stock to remove to Virginia. A 
natural desire for an improved condition has been one of 
the strongest impulses for that migration to the Western 
World which began in the sixteenth century. This de- 
sire was just as pronounced in the founders of the most 
powerful families of the Colony in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, men of honorable origin in England, as it was in 
the humblest person who secured his passage thither by 
selling his labor for a certain term to begin after his 
arrival. In the hearts of both, there lingered that deep 
love of their native land which moved them to speak of 
it as "home" until their latest hour, and which was 
transmitted to their descendants, although the latter per- 
haps had never walked an English street or gazed upon 
an English landscape.^ This profound affection for the 
mother country, a trait which is distinctive of the off- 
shoots of all the great races, had a vast influence upon 

1 The references to England as ** home " are very nameroiis in the 
county records. See, for instance, Becords of Lancaster County^ original 
vol. 1690-1709, f. p. 3, where John Carter speaks of his crop **gohig 
home/' that is, to England. 


the whole system of affairs in Virginia. It shaped the 
tone of its social institutions, moulded its political spirit, 
and guided its religious thought, and but for the peculiar 
conditions attending the culture of tobacco, would have 
governed its agricultural development also. There was 
one department of the economic life of the people in 
which it could exhibit itself without any obstruction in 
the local surroundings; this was the general appointments 
of the household. 

In the previous chapters, I have sought to give some 
account of the different properties which the planter held, 
the slaves, the servants, the live stock, the estate in land. 
I have now come to the description of his house, his 
furniture, his utensils, his food, his drink, his dress, his 
means of getting from place to place, and the kindred 
economies of his daily existence. The only inference to 
be drawn from the copious details furnished by the re- 
corded inventories of the seventeenth century, is that the 
members of the planting class, ranging from the high- 
est to the lowest rank, were in the possession, in pro- 
portion to their resources, of all those articles which in 
that age were considered to be necessary to domestic com- 
fort and convenience. Virginian homes in this period 
did not differ in their interior arrangement from those 
English homes that were owned by men of the same 
fortune as the householders of the Colony. In one im- 
portant respect only the Virginian residence fell short of 
the English. This was in its construction. With a few 
exceptions, the contents of the house were imported, and 
were therefore equal in quality to the articles of the 
same character in common use in the mother country. 
The bedsteads, couches, chests, and looking-glasses of the 
chamber; the tables, chairs, plates, knives, and cups of 
the hall; the spits, ladles, chafing-dishes, kettles, and 


pots of the kitchen; the churns, cheese-presses, and pails 
of the dairy, had been purchased in the same shops in 
which the English householder had bought his supplies 
of a similar nature. The Virginian residence, however, 
was in its framework the product of local skill and labor. 
The plank, the mortar, the brick, and the stone entering 
into its composition had been obtained in the Colony, and 
had been put together there. The tastes of the owner, 
even if he desired to erect a dwelling-house which in 
general appearance should resemble some one of those 
belonging to the rural gentry of England, must have 
remained ungratified on account of the great costliness 
of securing both the materials and the mechanical skill 
which were required. There had not been sufficient accu- 
mulation of wealth in Virginia in the seventeenth cen- 
tury to permit of large expenditure in building houses. 
The outlay attending the importation from the mother 
country of highly trained workmen and of special ma- 
terials, would have imposed a burden difficult for even 
the most affluent members of the planting class to bear.^ 

So far as information is to be derived from records, 
there was no residence in the Colony in the seventeenth 
century which could make any pretensions to beauty of 
design. The homes even of the most prominent planters 
were simple and plain. Brick seems to have entered only 
to a limited extent into the construction of the dwellings. 
It would appear that all bricks used in Virginia in 
this century were manufactured there. As this material 

1 So far as I have been able to discover, the first building materials 
of any kind brought into Virginia from England in the course of the 
seventeenth century were imported in 1607 for the use of George Percy. 
In memoranda of the Ninth Earl of Northumberland, the following entiy 
is found : ** To Mr. Melshewe for many necessaries, which he delivered 
to Mr. Percy toward building of a house in Virginia, 14s." See Brown^s 
Genesis of the United States^ p. 178. 


was in general use in England, it is not surprising to dis- 
cover that there were bricklayers, who were also doubtless 
brickmakers, in the band of settlers who arrived in 1607. 
Among the artisans whom the Company sought to obtain 
in 1609, with a view to their tr^sportation to Jamestown, 
there were four brickmakers, who quite probably were also 
expected to serve as bricklayers.^ Brickmakers and brick- 
layers were advertised for on two occasions in 1610.* It 
cannot be stated with certainty whether these men were 
dispatched to the Colony. No brickmakers are included 
by name in the list of persons sent over with the Second 
and Third Supplies. Dale reached Virginia in 1611, and 
I was probably accompanied by workingmen of this class, as 
he mentions incidentally in his letter to the Council, written 
in the year of his arrival, that one of the most important 
tasks which the colonists had to perform was to manu- 
facture bricks.' Kilns were certainly erected at Henrico 
when that place was selected as the site of the new town 
which he had determined to build.* The first story of 
all the houses there, was constructed of brick made on the 
spot by men who had been brought thither in company 
with spadesmen, carpenters, wood-choppers, and sawyers, 
for this special purpose. It was the bricks manufactured 
here which Whitaker, in his Good Newes from Virginia^ 
had in mind when he related that the colonists had, in 
digging for bricks, come upon a red clay possessing the 
most excellent qualities for this purpose.^ At this time, 

^ A True and Sincere Declaration, Brown's Genesis of the United States, 
p. 353. " I did visit . . . ould Short, the bricklayer," President Wingfield 
records in his Discourse, 1607. Sec Works of Capt. John Smith, p. xc. 

* Broadside, Brown's Genesis of the UniUd States, p. 366. Broadside, 
Ibid,, p. 439. 

' Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 402. 

* New Life of Virginia, p. 14, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. I. 

* Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 584. *» If we digge any 
depth (as wee have done for our bricks) wee finde it to be redde clay." 


there were in the other settlements of Yirgmia no houses 
built of this material eren in part. The varioas straetores 
at Jamestown and the cabins and cottages at Point Com- 
fort were made of wood. 

In 1617, brickmakers were again included in the list of 
artisans whom it was sought to secure by publication of 
broadsides. The college lands had now been laid off and 
the college hall was to be erected. Brickmakers were to be 
attached permanently to these lands. ^ It is to be inferred 
that a certain number were brought over to the Colony 
at the expense of the Company under the formal terms of \-_ 
indentures, for the Goyemor and CouncU in Virginia were 
directed some time later to hold the bricklayers who had 
bound themselves by contract to build the college strictly 
to the obligations of their agreement, in order that when 
the time for the beginning of the construction of the house 
was determined upon, there would be ready at hand the 
requisite quantity of bricks.* The importation of these 
brickmakers and the strictness with which they were held 
to their covenants indicate how few were the members of 
this class of workmen in the Colony. This is confirmed 
by the request which William Capps made of the Com- 
pany. In a letter addressed to the Deputy Treasurer in 
1623, he declared his willingness to undertake the erection 
of an inn at Elizabeth City and another at Jamestown, 
provided that he was furnished with ten or twelve artisans, 
including brickmakers, for the work.* It is possible that 
Capps had reason to expect that this number of artisans 
would be detached from the public lands for the purpose 

1 Abstracts of Proceedings of the VirgiHia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 12. 

* Letter of Company to Governor and Council in Virginia, Neill'» 
Virginia Company of London^ p. 3:J0. 

* Boyal Hist, JiSS. Commission, Eighth Report, Appx., p. 39. 


of carrying his proposition into practical effect, but it 
seems rather probable that he anticipated that the work- 
men whom he asked for would be imported in a body 
from England. That bricks, however, were numerous in 
the Colony at this time, appears from the fact that Captain 
Nuce cased the sides of his well with this material. It is 
also stated that when the Indians on the day of the mas- 
sacre, in 1622, attacked the home of Ralph Hamor, they 
were driven off with brick-bats.^ A still more striking 
proof of this fact is that bricks now formed one of the 
principal articles exported from Virginia to the Bermudas, 
and there exchanged, along with aquavitse, oil, and sack, 
for the fruits and plants, ducks, turkeys, and limestone of 
that fertile island.^ There is nothing, however, to show 
that when the letters patent of the Company were re- 
voked in 1624, nearly a full generation after the settle- 
ment of the country, there was a single house in the 
Colony constructed entirely of brick, although brickmen 
were sufficiently numerous to be made subject to a fixed 
charge for their labor, that is to say, forty pounds of 
tobacco for laying one thousand bricks. 

Thirteen years after the dissolution of the Company, 
Governor Wyatt was instructed to require every land- 
owner whose plantation was an hundred acres in extent 
to erect a dwelling-house of brick, to be twenty-four feet 
in length and sixteen feet in breadth, with a cellar attached. 
In the cases in which the area of the grant exceeded five 
hundred acres, the size of the dwelling-house was to be 
enlarged in proportion. This order was a fair sample of 
many received from the authorities in England who had 
charge of the affaii^ of the Colony, showing either the 
most complete ignorance of the conditions surrounding 
the Virginians, or indifference to the obstacles standing 

1 Works of Capt, John Smith, p. 576. « Ibid,, p. 682. 


in the way of the enforcement of their commands. To 
have compelled every planter to substitute brick for wood 
in the construction of his residence would have been an 
imposition of the most tjrrannical nature. The instruction 
was a nullity because it could not be put into operation. 
The inconvenience as well as the expense of obtaining the 
brick for several thousand widely separated estates would 
have been intolerable even if it had been practicable. 
Such an order at least indicates that brick was not very 
much used in the construction of plantation residences.^ 
Secretary Kemp, writing to Secretary Wmdebank at this 
time, asserted that the people of Virginia were now show- 
ing a disposition to erect good houses, but this statement 
probably had its origin in his desire to make the impres- 
sion on the English Government that the order to build 
towns, which had only recently been received, had had 
a marked influence in leading the planters at large to 
improve the architectural character of their homes.^ It 
is possible that Secretary Kemp had in mind Jamestown, 
where some activity in building in compliance with the 
Act of Assembly to promote the growth of that corpora- 
tion was now displayed. In this year, the Secretary had 
erected a brick residence there, which was described as 
being the most substantial private dwelling-house in tlie 
Colony.^ It was perhaps the first structure entirely of 

1 Instructions to Wyatt, 1638-^9, British State Papers, Colonial Entry 
Book, vol. 79, pp. 219, 230; Sainsbury Abstracts for 2638, p. 46, Va, 
State Library. This order was repeated in the instructions to Berkeley, 
1641. See Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. II, p. 284. 

* Richard Kemp to Secretary Windebank, British State Papers^ Colo- 
nial, voL IX, No. 96 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1638, p. 7, Va. State 

« Letter of Governor and Council in Virginia, Jan. 18, 1639, British 
State Papers, Colonial, vol. X, No. 6 ; McDonald Papers, vol. II, p. 248, 
Va. State Library. 


brick ever built in Virginia. No account of its exte- 
rior shape or the division of its apartments has survived ; 
it was doubtless devoid of architectural pretensions, a 
square ujiadomed residence which was not even imposing 
in size. A number of brick houses were now erected at 
Jamestown, and if the facilities for securing brick exist- 
ing there had been extended to the planters at large, 
it would probably have promoted the use of this material 
in the construction of their homes. It is not surprising 
bo find that when Berkeley built a residence at Green 
Spring, distant about two miles from Jamestown, he 
3mployed brick in its construction. He was doubtless 
mxious to set an example which might be followed by 
tlie landowners in general. This house had the wide 
ball characteristic of all the larger dwellings in Virginia 
it this time, and only six rooms, showing that it was a 
jtructure of moderate proportions. The wideness of the 
iiall was for the purpose of obtaining the fullest ventila- 
tion, the climate of this part of the Colony in the warm 
season being oppressive and unwholesome.^ 

It is quite certain that brick was used very generally in 
the construction of chimneys before the middle of the cen- 
tury. Being made on the ground or brought by water 
from the nearest kiln, the small quantity which each 
planter required did not put him to serious expense in 
bhe transportation. The absence of stone in all parts of the 
Peninsula was one of the most remarkable features of the 
country. There were no local quarries from which mate- 
rial for chimneys could be obtained. It is not likely that 
MTooden cross-pieces daubed with mud would have afforded 

* Neill's Virginia Carolorum, p. 204. There were doubtless out-build- 
ngB. Berkeley also owned three brick houses in Jamestown, as we learn 
Tom a deed bearing date March, 10o4-o5. He sold one of these houses 
ifterwards to Richard^ Bennett. See llcning^s Statutes^ vol. I, p. 407. 


permanent satisfaction. The author of the New 2^ 
scription of Virginia^ which was perhaps written about 
forty years after the foundation of Jamestown, asserts thai 
the people were in possession of a store of brick at thai 
time, and that both houses and chimneys were constructed 
of this material.^ The correctness of this statement b 
proved at least by one instance, evidence of which has 
survived in the records of Surry County ; it is there re- 
lated that about 1652, Mr. Thomas Warren owned a resi* 
dence of brick sixty feet in length.^ Under the terms of 
the Cohabitation Act of 1662, it was provided that thirty 
brick houses should be erected at Jamestown, the brick- 
makers and bricklayers employed in this work to be ob- 
tained from different parts of the Colony. No difficulty in 
securing the number required seems to have been antici- 
pated.* From the middle to the end of the century, the 
number of brickmakers steadily increased. Some were 
men of considerable property. Thus in 1682, John 
Robert of Lower Norfolk bought of George Newton two 
hundred acres of land, for which he gave sixteen thousand 
pounds of tobacco. In the following year, he appointed 
Joseph Knott his attorney to collect the sums due him in 
different counties.* John Kingston of York was also a 
brickmaker in possession of a good estate ; among those 

1 New Description of Virginia, p. 7, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. IIL 
Bullock, writing about this time, says : ** The soil (of Virginia) is a rich 
black mould for two feet deep, and under it a loam of which they make ft 
fine brick,*' p. 3. He advised the planters to buQd their houses of thil 
material. Bullock's Virginia, p. 61. 

2 Becords of Surry County, vol. 1671-1684, p. 264, Va. State LibnuX* 
One of the rooms in the house of Captain Robert Spencer of the saflM 
county was known as the ** Brick Room." IbicL, vol. 1671-1684, p. 46li 
Va. State Library. 

» Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 172. 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. pp. 1ft 


indebted to him for work which he had done in the course 
of his trade was Robert Booth, whose inventory showed 
an account in Kingston's favor of seven pounds ster- 
ling.^ Edwin Malin, also of York, was the owner of a 
plantation, having on one occasion purchased fifty acres.^ 
Thomas Meders of Lancaster held landed property in 
White Chapel parish in that county.^ Richard Burk of 
Rappahannock and Robert Wiggins and Thomas Wade 
of Northampton were also men of considerable means.* 
John Franklin of Accomac in 1681 bought a single tract 
that covered five hundred and fifty acres. '^ 

Many of the brickmakers were indented servants who 
had been imported by the planters. Such was William 
Eale of Elizabeth River, who for a certain term belonged 
to John Townes, by whom he was occasionally hired out.' 
Eale had come from Barbadoes. John Talbott had been 
brought in by Richard Willis of Middlesex.'^ Among the 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1690-1694, pp. 180, 366, Va. State 
Library. Kingston, it seems, had been imported under articles of inden- 
ture by John Forrest See Ibid., vol. 1687-1691, p. 170. 

« Ibid., vol. 1676-1684, p. 423, Va. State Library. 

• Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1687-1700, p. 12. 

* Becords of Bappahannock County, vol. 1C77-1682, p. 164, Va. State 
Library ; Becords of Northampton County, original vol. 1674-1679, p. 164 ; 
Ibid., original vol. 1689-1698, p. 391. 

* Becords of Accomac County, original vol. 1676-1690, p. 275. 

• ** Agreed between Captain Francis Yeardley of Lynhaven and John 
Townes of Elizabeth River that William Eale, bricklayer and servant to 
Mr. Townes, shall well and substantially plaster, white lime . . . over 
ye ... ye yellow room, kitchen and ye chamber over ye kitchen, and 
likewise repair all ye rest of ye rooms and chambers in ye liouse at Lyn- 
haven ; likewise repair all ye brick work about the dwelling house at 
Kecaughtan.** Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1661, 
f. p. 186. 

' Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1680-1694, orders Dec. 5, 
1692. Among those who fled to New England after the suppression of 
Bacon's insurrection was William Mason, bricklayer. NeilPs Virginia 
Carolarum, p. 376, note. 


planters owning brickkilns was William Sargent of Rai 
pahannock.^ Many were in possession of large quant 
ides of brick manufactured either hj their own servan 
or bj transient laborers. The inyentory of the Crosha 
estate, situated in York, which was entered in court i 
1668, included one thousand.* A large lot of the san 
material formed a part of the estate of William Heslett < 
Lower Norfolk.' Mr. Robert Booth of York left at h 
death twentj-three thousand bricks, valued at one hu 
dred and eighty-four shillings,* a decline of nearly fift 
per cent in comparison with the price in 1668, wh( 
they sold for fifteen shillings. It is improbable that whc 
bricks were rated at eight shillings a thousand in Virgini 
planters would have been led to import them from Enj 
land, where, between 1650 and 1700, they could not 1 
purchased for less than eighteen shillings and eight ai 
one-quarter pence. ^ The difference in price was render* 
still greater by the charges for transportation across tl 

In the closing years of the century, brick was so con 
mon that it was used in supporting the marble slabs < 
tombs. In his will, Francis Page of York provided f( 
the erection of a brick structure over his grave of equ 
height with -the tombs, also of brick, covering the r 
mains of his father and mother.' No information hi 

1 Becords of Bappahannock County, yol. 1677-1682, p. 10, Va. Sta 

* Becords of York CouiUy, vol. 1664-1672, p. 401, Va. State Librar 
As early as 1646, a lot of bricks in possession of Henry Brooke we 
attached by Nicholas Brooke. See Becords of York County, vol. 163 
1648, p. 171, Va. State Library. 

' BeeordM ofLoteer Norfolk County, original vol. 1695-1703, f. p. 12 

* Becords of York County, voL 1690-1614, p. 179, Va, State Librar 

* Rogers' History of Agriculture and Prices in England, vol. V,p. 53 

* Becords of York County, vol. 1690-16^, p. 169, Va, State Library 


Tived as to the material entering into his residence. It 
earned from his will that several buildings on his plan- 
ion, including his malt-house and a bam, were con- 
noted of brick ;^ and the probability is that the house 
which he lived was also made of that material. There 
8 a brick house standing on the Juxon plantation in 
rk.* William Fitzhugh, who was very careful in his 
nagement, was content to confine the brickwork of 
buildings to the chimneys. In a letter bearing the 
^ of 1686, he mentions that all the dwellings on his 
Atation were furnished with chimneys of brick, and 
»re is little reason to doubt that the same influences 
reming him, shaped the action in this respect of other 
jiters of equal prominence.® 

%f ective workmanship in the construction of chimneys 

)riek grew to be a frequent cause of dispute. In 1674, 

tiain Philip Lightfoot entered suit against Mr. Ralph 

ne on the ground that he had sustained serious injury 

I the negligent manner in which the latter had per- 

ed his contract in building the brick chimneys which 

vd agreed to erect.* The use of the same material in 

instruction of the whole dwelling-house had not be- 

common among the planters of Virginia as late as 

Iministration of Spotswood, the erection of brick 

ices by several prominent landowners in the early 

the eighteenth century having been noted by Bever- 

% fact of importance, perhaps because exceptional.* 

tes that these houses had numerous rooms on a 

idicating that they were larger in size than the 

ds of York County, vol. 1600-1694, p. 170, Va. State Library, 
vol. 1084-1687, pp. 32, 33. 
r of William Fitzhugh. April 22, 16S6. 

n of the GcfiPral Court, p. 176. 

y'8 History of Virginia, p. 235. 


brick dwellings in the previous century, which had been 
built by Kemp and Berkeley at Jamesto^vn. 

In addition to the brick residences in Virginia in the 
seventeenth century, there were some public buildings 
constructed of this material. By contract with the Colo- 
nial Government, Theophilus Hone, Mathew Page, and 
William Drummond agreed to raise a fort at Jamestown, 
to have a frontage of brick extending at least one hun- 
dred and fifty feet.^ After some delay, this fort was built. 
When Clajrton visited the Colony, he found that the 
structure had been erected in the shape of a half-moon.* 
In the latter part of the century, there was a large house 
of public entertainment in New Kent known as the Brick 
House.* Some of the county court-houses besides the 
one at Jamestown were constructed of this material ; the 
court-house in Gloucester was built of brick,* and so was 
that in Middlesex.^ 

^ Becords of General Court, p. 149. 

a Clayton's Virginia, pp. 23, 24, Force's Historical Tracts, voL IIL 

* James Elcock, in enumerating his expenses in recovering two nm- 
away servants, includes the cost of a pottle of beer which he had bought 
at the Brick House. Becords of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 501, 
Va. State Library. 

* Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694, orders Feb. 2, 
1684. It is incidentally mentioned in this reference that the Gloucester 
court-house building was of brick, the order providing for the erection <rf 
the Middlesex court-house requiring that it should be at least of ** equal 
goodness and dimensions as ye brick court-house lately built in Gloucester 

* Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694, orders Nov. 14, 
1692. The order for building of brick was dated Feb. 2, 1684. I have 
not been able to find any record showing that the original order requiring 
this court-house to be of this material was carried out. The flooring 
alone of the court-house in York County seems to have been of brick. 
In this brief enumeration of public buildings in the Colony constructed 
of brick, I have designedly omitted all reference to the churches that 
were made of this material, some of which, like the one standing in 
Middle Plantation parish, that cost £800, had caused a considerable 


It was entirely natural that the dwellings of the planters 
of Virginia in the seventeenth century should, in general, 
have been made of wood. The difficulty of obtaining 
bricks in the necessary quantities unless the planter had 
[ a kiln of his own, which was only possible in the case of 
I wealthy landowners, has already been pointed out. The 
finest timber, on the other hand, was extremely abundant ; 
oak, elm, ash, chestnut, pine, cypress, cedar, hickory, all 
were to be found in the native forests. The site of every 
home was overshadowed by trees of extraordinary height 
and girth, and even in the rudest period, axes, frows, and 
saws were near at hand to convert the trunks of these 
trees into rough planks and boards. In this profusion 
of timber, Virginia differed essentially from the mother 
country. Stone, brick, and slate were the principal mate- 
; rials employed in building in England, because the area 
in forests was so small. At the end of the seventeenth 
century, there were only three million acres in woods and 
\ coppices in England,^ and in the early decades their extent 
was not much greater, a steady drain upon these resources 
being kept up in supplying fuel for iron and glass manu- 
facture. The use of wood in English houses, owing to 
its deamess, seems to have been practically confined to 
laths, beams, floors, stairways, and wainscoting. Every 
consideration of cheapness and convenience compelled the 
planter in Virginia to construct every part of his house, 
I except the chimney, of wood, an exception being only 
\ made in the case of the chimney, because this part of the 
building would not endure permanently if constructed 

outlay. [ Colonial Entry Book, No. 82, pp. 172, 174 ; Sainsbury Abstrarts 
for 1683, p. 31, Va. State Library] Some description of these brick 
charche» can with more propriety be giyen in an account of the state of 
the Chomh in Virginia in the seventeenth centnry. 

1 Rogers' History of Agriculture and Prices in England^ vol. V, p. 629. 

VOL. II. — L 


only of mud and sticks. The unsightliness of such mate- 
rials was doubtless another element of objection. 

There are many indications that the planters who owned 
large estates were in possession of a great abundance of 
plank. John Smyth of York left fifteen hundred feet,^ 
and John Andrews of Accomac eighteen hundred.* The 
estate of Henry Jenkins of Elizabeth City was indebted 
to Pascho Curie to the extent of four thousand and twenty- 
nine feet.^ In some cases, it was the consideration in the 
sale of land.^ An attachment against it in the hands of 
a debtor was a common process. Dressed timber was 
known by its width in inches. The feather-edged plank 
was in general use in building, and formed a valuable 
part of the estates of planters.^ On one occasion, one 
hundred and thirty feet of dressed timber were sold in 
York for ten shillings,® and on another, two hundred feet 
were appraised at twelve shillings. In Elizabeth City 
County, several thousand feet were disposed of at the 
rate of three pounds sterling a thousand, this being the 
average price in this part of the Colony towards the end 
of the century.^ 

During a long period, the colonist could only procure 
nails at a considerable expense because they shared the 
costliness of all articles manufactured of iron. So valu- 
able were they, indeed, that the smaller landowners, in 
deserting their homes with a view to making a settlement 
elsewhere on more fertile soU, were in the habit of bum- 

J RecortU of York County^ rol. 1694-1697, p. 419, Va. State Library. 

* Btcortis of Accomac County^ original voL 166^-1670. p. 23. 

» Records of Elvsabttk City County, vol. 16S4-1699» p. 174, Va. State 

♦ Recortis of Henrico County, vol. 168S-1697. p. 385, Va» State Librvy. 

* Recordu of York C(*unty, voL 1687-1691, p. (56, Va. State Library. 

• Ibid,, vol. 1690^1694, p. 268. 

T Records of Elisabeth City County, vol. 1684>1699. p. 181, Va. State 


ing their cabins when abandoned, in order to secure the 
nails by which the planks were held together, and so 
general did this habit become, that in 1644-45 it was pro- 
vided by law, as a means of destroying the motive for set- 
ting the houses on fire, that each planter, when he gave up 
his dwelling, should be allowed, at public expense, as many 
nails as two impartial men should calculate to be in the 
frame of the deserted residence.^ All these articles in use 
had been imported. Large quantities frequently formed 
a part of the estate of the landowner. Thus the in- 
ventory of the personalty of Francis Mathews, in 1675, 
showed him to have been in possession of seven thousand 
eight-penny, nine thousand six-penny, five thousand four- 
penny, and two thousand ten-penny nails.^ John Carter 
of Lancaster left, as a part of his estate, over seven thou- 
sand eight-penny, twelve thousand two hundred and thirty- 
three ten-penny, and nearly five thousand twenty-penny 
nails.^ Fitzhugh, in ordering nails from his merchant in 
London, would give directions that several thousand of 
different kinds should be sent to him at one time.* 

It is quite probable that for a number of years after the 
foundation of Jamestown, neither plank nor nails entered 
into the construction of a majority of the houses in which 
the colonists lived. Undressed logs were doubtless the 
material principally in use. George Sandys, in a letter to 
a member of the Council in 1623, expressed the opinion 
that the only advantage which resulted from the massacre 
in the previous year was that it had compelled the planters 
to draw into narrower limits and to live more closely 
together, the continuation of which would inevitably lead 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 291. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1671-1694, p. 130, Va. State Library. 
« Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1690-1709, p. 32. 

* Letters of WUliam FUzhugh, May 11, 1697. 


them to build framed dwellings.^ Whitaker had aire 
set the example.^ Sandys probably anticipated ths 
concentration of the population would diminish the 
pense of securing plank, not only by promoting the es 
lishment of saw-mills, but also by reducing the expe 
of transportation. As it was, the plantations soon aj 
became too widely dispersed to justify the erection in < 
venient numbers of mills of this character, and it grei 
be almost as expensive to procure finished plank as it wf 
obtain bricks. Governor Butler, who visited Jamest 
and its vicinity not long after the massacre, declare< 
his pamphlet Virginia Unmasked^ that the houses of 
people were the *' worst in the world," and that the n 
wretched cottages in England wei:e equal, if not supei 
in appearance and comfort, to the finest dwellings in 
Colony.* No doubt this statement was substantially 
rect, although it was made in a sinister spirit. The hoi 
were mean in the beginning, and in the damp climat 
Virginia, easily fell into decay unless carefxdly repaii 
The Governor and Council, replying to the stricture 
Butler, while they acknowledged that the dwellings wl 
had been erected had been built for use and not for oi 
ment, asserted that those occupied by workingmen, wl 
the great majority of the inhabitants professed themse 
to be, excelled the homes of the same class in the res 
the English dominions. The houses in which person 
quality resided had many points of advantage over 
cottages and cabins of the laborers, and no criticismi 
importance could be justly passed upon them in the li 
of the surrounding circumstances.* 

1 George Sandys to Samuel Wrote, Neill's Virginia Vetusta^ p. 12^ 

2 Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 510. 

' Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, tc 
p. 171. 

* Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vo 


The framed house which Sandys was anxious for the 
lanters to substitute for the log cabin was gradually in- 
reduced as the population increased. When Abraham 
^iersey died in 1632, he was the wealthiest resident of 
he Colony. In his will, he directed that his body should 
le interred in the garden in which his new framed house 
lad been erected. This house was perhaps designed as 
lis own residence.^ William Fitzhugh, a man of large 
neans, occupied a dwelling into the construction of which 
t is probable that not a brick entered, with the exception 
)f the chimneys and possibly the foundation.^ When 
Sficholas Hayward decided to establish one of his chil- 
iren in Virginia, he received a letter from Fitzhugh giving 
iraluable information as to the course pursued by many of 
fche planters in building. According to this writer, the 
most judicious plan to follow was to import carpenters and 
bricklayers from England who were bound by indenture 
to serve for a period of four or five years. In this length 
of time, they would be able to raise a substantial house 
without constructing the walls of brick, and also, by the 
performance of other tasks, to earn sufficient to meet the 
cost of the planks and nails and the additional materials, 
M well as to make good the outlay for their own food and 
clothing. Fitzhugh strongly advised against a large dwell- 
ing, and was doubtful even as to the wisdom of building 
an English framed house of the ordinary size, the charges 
for skilled labor being excessively dear, although there 

p. 178. Some of the residences in the Colony at this time had been 
wwted at very considerable expense. In a petition offered to the King, 
in 1622, by Adam Dixon, he states that he and a companion had built a 
house at a cost of £100. A house erected by William Julian had caused 
«n expenditure of £30. Abstracts of Proceedings of Virginia Company 
^f London, vol. I, pp. 189, 190. 

1 BritUh State. Papers, Colonial, vol. Ill, No. 5, T. 

< i^ettefs of WilUam FUzhug/i, Jan. 30. 1686-1687. 


was no serious expense in obtaining timber.^ He stated 
that in constructing his residence, he was compelled to 
pay out three times the amount which would have been 
required in the case of a house of the same proportions in 
London, where all the materials used had to be bought. 
In Virginia, it was necessary to allow three times the 
length of time that would have been taken to complete the 
same work in that city: The Fitzhugh dwelling, like so 
many of the houses in the Colony at this and in a later ikge, I 
was doubtless in a measure the result of several additions 
at different periods as the wants of a growing family de- 
manded, a room being joined to this wing or to that as con- 
venience suggested. Many of the residences illustrated 
in the variety of their material the evolution through which 
so many of the planters' mansions had passed; first the log 
house, then the framed, and finally the brick addition or 
the substitution of brick for the wood of which the central 
portion of the dwelling was made. It is an indication of 
how little attention was paid to the architectural eflfect 
of these additions that Bullock ad\4sed that the orig- 
inal residence should be built in such a manner that its 
extension in wings would not cause a defacement.* The 
simplicity of the houses in which many persons of good 
position lived is shown in a reference of Fitzhugh to the 
residence erected by a brother of Hayward ; it was as 
devoid of architectural beauty as a barn, which it must 
have resembled exactly, as it is described by Fitzhugh as 
lacking both chimneys and partitions.^ 

1 Culpeper, writing in 1682, dwells upon the same fact. See Inslnwy 
tions. 16S1-1082. Culpeper's Reply to § 4S, McDonaid Papers^ voL Vl, 
p. 147, Va. State Library. 

* Bullock's Virginia^ p. 61. The references to the ** New Room" in 
the inventories are very frequent. 

» Letters of William Fitzhugh, Jan. 30, 16S6-1687. Fitzhugh probably 
intended to say that this house was ift/*fcinf in substantial chimneys. K 
may have been in an unfinished state. 


Unpretentious as most of the houses in .the Colony were 
in the "seventeenth centiu*7, it is found that there is not 
infrequent use in different records of the expression the 
*' Great House," which was so familiar among the negroes 
in later times, when the planters had accumulated large 
wealth and exhausted much of it in erecting residences of 
fine proportions. When James Knott, in 1632, leased a 
part of the public lands laid off in Elizabeth City by the 
^ Company some years before its dissolution, he obtained the 
privilege of holding not only the fifty acres included in 
the temporary grant, but also the house standing upon 
the tract and " commonly called the Great House." ^ It is 
evident from this that the expression did not have its ori- 
gin with the slaves, but was probably transmitted from 
England. That it was in use, was no certain evidence 
[ that many large mansions were to be found in the Colony, 
I since it was relative in its significance. There were also 
: references to the planter's residence as the " Manor House." 
The typical dwelling of Virginia in the seventeenth 
century — and innumerable examples of the same kind 
have survived to the present day — was a framed building 
of moderate size with a chimney at each end. The early 
records of the eastern counties show the manner in which 
these houses were erected, and the outlay their construc- 
tion entailed. Reference by way of illustration may be 
made to a few instances which have thus been preserved. 
In 1679, Major Thomas •Chamberlayne, one of the most 
prominent citizens of Henrico, entered into an agreement 
with James Gates, a carpenter of the same county, by the 
terms of which. Gates was required to prepare the frame 
of a house that was to be forty feet in length and twenty 

^ Va, Land Patents, vol. 1023-1643, p. 133. The residence of Mr. 
Sparks in Lancaster is also described in the records of that county as the 
"Gnat House.'* See original yol. 1090-1709, pp. 19, 20. 


in width. He was to put the different parts of this frame 
together on the spot selected as the site of the proposed 
dwelling, and then cover the sides with boards and place 
a roof on the top. There was to be no cellar, the house 
being supported by sills resting on the ground. A chim- 
ney was to be constructed at either end. The upper and 
lower floors were to be divided respectively into two rooms 
by wooden partitions. The joists and posts were to be 
squared by a line. In consideration of the satisfactory 
performance by Gates of the provisions of this agree- 
ment, Chamberlayne bound himself to pay twelve hundred 
pounds of tobacco in cask. The house was to be finished 
in seven months.^ 

In 1695, Robert Sharpe contracted to pay John Hud- 
lesy, both being citizens of Henrico, twenty-two hundred 
pounds of tobacco in consideration that Hudlesy would 
build for him a framed house, thirty feet long and twenty 
feet wide, having a chimney at each end. Sharpe was to 
furnish the boards and shingles, and Hudlesy the nails 
and timbers, the latter during the performance of the 
agreement being required to supply his own food.* 

Robert Stevens of Middlesex bound himself to erect for 
Thomas Hill a house forty feet in length in consideration 
of the payment of nine pounds sterling.^ 

Under the terms of a contract between the executors 
of William Pryor and Richard Bernard of York County, 
the latter in leasing the Pryor estate was required, in 
addition to paying the taxes, to build what was described 
as a sufficient dwelling-house, that is to say, a house 

1 Records of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 88, Va. State Li- 

« Ihid., vol. 1677-1699, orders Oct. 1, 1695, Va. State Library. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694, p. 53 ; see also 
Ibid., original voL 1673-1685, f. p. 17. 


forty feet in length and eighteen or twenty in breadth.^ 
Christopher Branch of Henrico County, a planter in com- 
fortable circumstances, who died in the latter part of the 
seventeenth century, gave directions in his will that there 
should be erected for his son a residence twenty feet long 
and sixteen wide, and for his grandson a dwelling to be 
made up of four series of boards five feet from end to end. 
The house in which he himself lived was twenty feet in 
length and fifteen in width.^ Richard Ward of Henrico 
left instructions that a dwelling twenty feet wide and 
thirty feet long should be built for his son. Five chim- 
neys were to be erected.* 

It is quite probable that the residences of the ministers 
represented the average dimensions of the dwelling-houses 
in Virginia at this period of colonial history. In 1635, 
there was erected in one of the parishes of the Eastern 
Shore a wooden parsonage, forty feet in width, eighteen 
feet in depth, and nine feet in the valley. A chimney was 
raised at each end. An apartment was attached to the 
main structure on either side, one being used as a study, 
the other as a buttery.* 

The number of rooms in the dwelling-house of this 
century varied with the size of the structure ; thus the resi- 
dence of Governor Berkeley at Green Spring was divided 
into six apartments, while that of William Fitzhugh con- 
tained twelve or thirteen. The Stratton dwelling-house 
in Henrico had three chambers above and one below stairs, 
a hall, kitchen, and pantry. The kitchen was probably 

^ Becords of York County, vol. 1038-1648, p. 318, Va. State Library. 
2 Becords of Henrico County, Yol. 1077-1692, p. 209 ; Ibid., original 
vol. 1697-1704, pp. 192, 195. 

* Sometimes the specifications called for one inside and one outside 
chimney. Becords of York County, vol. 1691-1701, p. 205, Va. State 

* Becords of Accomac County, yo\. 1632-1640, p. 43, Va. State Library. 


detached. In the Osborne residence, the rooms on the 
lower floor are described as the "best," the " outward," and 
the "lodging; " on the upper floor, there were only two 
apartments, the "best room" and the "north room." The 
kitchen was under a different roof. The Farrar dwelling- 
house contained a hall, an inner and an outer chamber, 
and a shed. The dairy and kitchen were also referre4 to, 
but they were probably in separate buildings.^ 

In some of the houses in York County, a hall or dining- 
room, a chamber and a kitchen, only were to be found. 
These dwellings either did not rise above one story or they 
spread out beyond the main structure. In others, the 
term "parlor" is substituted in the inventories for chamber 
in enumerating the suite of rooms. In others still, there 
were the new room, the inner room, the little chamber, or 
the little room opposite the stairs, the hall, the chamber 
over the parlor, the parlor, the shed, and the kitchen. In 
all of these cases, the kitchen was either attached to the 
main building or stood entirely by itself. 

The apartments in the house of Colonel Thomas Lud- 
low, a planter of wealth, who lived about the middle of the 
century, consisted of an inner room, a small middle room, 
a chamber, hall, buttery, kitchen, milk-house, and store- 
Mathew Hubbard was also the owner of very valuable 
property. His home contained a parlor and hall, a hall 
and parlor chamber, a kitchen and buttery. Edward 
Lockey of the same county was a merchant who had 
acquired a considerable estate both by his own thrift and 
by his marriage with a widow who had received a fortune 
under the will of her first husband. His dwelling-houee 
was probably as large as that of any man in the Colony ix* 

1 Becords of Henrico County, Stratton, original vol. 1697-1704, p. 137 > ^ 
Osborne, vol. 1688-1697, p. 361 j Farrar, vol. 1682-1701, p. 9, Va. Stit^ 


possession of the same means; it contained only seven 
apartments, the chamber over the hall, the small room 
situated in the rear of the chamber, the room over the 
chaml)er, which was probably of very small dimensions, as 
a bed and couch formed its only furniture, the hall, which 
was situated on the ground floor, the middle room, the 
porch chamber, and the kitchen. There was in addition a 
dairy. Edmund Cobbs of York, who was the owner of six 
negro slaves, forty-eight head of cattle, thirty-two sheep, 
fifteen head of hogs, three cart and three saddle horses, 
resided in a house containing a hall and kitchen on the 
lower floor and one room above stairs.^ 

The division of rooms in the houses of Mrs. Elizabeth 
Digges and Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., of York, represents 
very probably the average number in the homes of the 
wealthiest members of the planting class in this county 
at the end of the century. The different names given 
to many of these apartments recall a contemporaneous 
custom of English housekeepers which has descended to 
ihe latest generation of Virginians. There were in the 
*esidence of Mrs. Digges, the yellow room, the red room, 
ind the hall parlor ; there was a large room opposite the 
yellow room, which was probably the chamber of the 
naster and the mistress, while back of this, a small room 
WVLS situated. Above the floor on which these apartments 
flrere found, there was a garret with a room attached, while 
jelow there was a cellar.^ 

The residence of Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., contained the old 
md the new hall, an inner rootn over the hall, an outer room, 
m upper chamber, the chamber of Mrs. Bacon and a cham- 
)er above it, a kitchen, dairy, and storeroom. Colonel 

» Records of York CourUy^ Ludlow, vol. 1667-1662, p. 275 ; Hubbard, 
oL 16<W-1672, p. 464 ; Cobbs. vol. 1690-1694, p. 333, Va. State Library. 
> Jbid., vol. 1690-1694, p. 213, Va. State Library. 


Bacon was one of the largest property holders in Virginia.^ 
Rosegill in Middlesex, the home of Ralph Wormeley, Pres- 
ident of the Council and Secretary of the Colony, a man 
whose personal estate was appraised at nearly three thou- 
sand pounds sterling, equal in value to sixty thousand 
dollars, contained a parlor with a chamber overhead, a 
chamber with a second chamber above it, an old and new 
nursery, the lady's chamber with a chamber overhead, an 
entry, two closets, and a storeroom. Apparently detached 
from the house, there were a kitchen and dairy, two 
stories in height.^ 

Robert Beverley, who died in 1687, was a planter of 
still more valuable estate, but his residence was of much 
less pretension in size and appointments. Its apartments 
included the chamber in which Major Beverley slept, 
a second chamber overhead, a porch and hall chamber, 
a dairy and kitchen and the overseer's room. Richard 
Willis of Middlesex was also a man of wealth. His 
house, which had received several additions from time to 
time, contained eight rooms and one closet, with a kitchen 
and dairy attached. There were six rooms, a kitchen, and 
two closets in the residence of Corbin Griffin of the same 

The residence of William Fauntleroy of Rappahannock, 
one of the principal landowners in that part of Virginia, 
contained a hall chamber with a second chamber overhead, 
a porch chamber, a hall, closet, and kitchen.* Thomas 
Willoughby, a wealthy planter of Lower Norfolk County, 


1 Records of York County, vol. 1694-1697, p. 261, Va. State Library. 

* Records of Middlesex County , original vol. 1698-1713, p. 113 ; see 
also William and Mary Quarterly, January, 1894, p. 170. 

' Records of Middlesex County, Beverley inventory on file, 1687 ; Willis, 
original vol. 1698-1718, p. 68 ; Griffin, original vol. 1698-1713, p. 134. 

* Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1677-1682, p. 108, Va. SUte 



resided in a house which was made up of a hall and parlor, 
a porch chamber, two additional chambers known respec- 
tively as the green and the red, over which there were 
two garrets, a chamber which Mrs. Willoughby used and 
which had a loft above it, a kitchen, meal-room, and 
cellar, a dairy, quartering-room, and shed. The dwelling 
of Adam Thoroughgood, who died in 1686, had fewer 
apartments. They included three chambers, a hall and 
parlor, a kitchen and cellar. Apparently, it was of one 
story. The house of Cornelius Lloyd, whose personal 
estate was valued at 131,044 pounds of tobacco, con- 
tained a chamber and hall, a kitchen, with a loft and a 
dairy. The residence of Adam Keeling was distinguished 
for seven rooms, including two sheds, a kitchen, and a 
buttery. In the dwelling of Captain John Sibsey, there 
were, besides a quartering-room and dairy, a parlor hall 
and chamber. The home of Francis Emperor contained 
three rooms in addition to a shed, dairy, and kitchen. 
These planters were the leading citizens of Lower Nor- 
folk County.^ 

In the house of Southey Littleton of Accomac there 
were a parlor chamber, a porch chamber, a hall chamber, 
a hall, two garrets, a little room over the kitchen, the 
kitchen and the dairy.* The residence of Argoll Yeardley 
of Northampton contained a hall chamber, a hall, a parlor 
chamber, two small chambers next to the parlor, with a 
dairy and kitchen, probably detached.^ 

The partitions of the plantation dwelling-house were 

1 Records of Loioer Norfolk County, Willoughby, original vol. 166G- 
1675, p. 125; Thoroughgood, original vol. 1675-1686, p. 223; Lloyd, 
original vol. 1651-1656, f. p. 168 ; Keeling, original vol. 1675-1686, f . p. 163 ; 
Sibsey, original vol. 1651-1656, f. p. 54 ; Emperor, original vol. 1656- 
1666, p. 346. 

^ Records of Accomac County, original vol. 1676-1690, p. 293. 

* Records of Northampton County, original voL 1654-1655, f. p. 117. 



first covered with a thick layer of tenacious mud and then 
whitewashed.^ Lime was made in large quantities with 
ease, on account of the masses of oyster shells to be found 
in the soil or in the rivers.^ Bullock remarked on the 
excellence of this material in Virginia, its superiority to 
the like in use in the mother country being due to the fact 
that English lime was manufactured from chalk and was 
in consequence thin and less enduring.^ In some cases, 
the walls were scaled with riven boards and the partitions 
lined with wainscoting. This was observed in the house 
of Colonel Daniel Parke of York.* The room of the Secre- 
tary of State at Jamestown was ceiled with sawn boards 
which had been planed until they were perfectly smooth.* 
The roofing of the houses was made of shingle, which 
was a square oblong piece of cypress or pine wood. There 
was some attempt to manufacture tile, but when used, 
it proved to be defective.® In the Cohabitation Act of 
1662, it was provided that the roofs of the brick houses 

1 Leah and Kachel, p. 18, Force's Historical Tracts^ vol. III. 

* New Description of Virginia, p. 7, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. IL 
See also Glover, in Philo, Trans. Boyal Soc, 1676-1678, vol. Xl-Xn, 
p. 636. 

» Bullock's Virginia, p. 8. 

* " Whereas Mr. Robert Whitehaire, attorney of Mr. Richard, execat' 
of Mr. Robert Bourne, arrested to this court, Mr. Henry White concern- 
ing the furnishing and completing of his dwelling-house, as the house of 
Capt. Daniel Parke then was, and it being referred to the oath of the said 
White to declare what he was to doe thereto, and he on oath declares that 
he was to scale the upper rooms with riven boards, to make a wainscot 
partition between the two rooms and a wainscot ... on the stair head 
and to put banisters into the stairs, for which said work when finished, 
the said Bourne was to pay him 666 lbs. of tobacco at 4Jd. per lb." 
Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 71, Va. State Library. 

* Order of Governor and Council, Oct. 8, 1685, McDonald Papert, 
vol. VII, p. 386, Va. State Library. 

« New Description of Virginia, p. 7, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. II ; 
Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 286. 


srected at Jamestown should be covered with this 
d ; ^ this constituted probably the greater quantity 
•inia during the latter part of the century, although 
said of the storm which occurred in 1684 that a 
roportion of the damage which it inflicted consisted 
lestruction of the tile roofs by the hail. No slate 
o have been employed, although, as the line of settle- 
spread, quarries of this formation were discovered. 
9t of its transportation would have excluded it, even 
violent winds of Virginia had not rendered its use 
able. Cypress shingles were not only remarkable 
length of time during which they would last in a 
f absolute exposure to every sort of weather, but 
»uld be procured at a comparatively small expense, 
deration of supreme importance. The demand for 
)fing was always steady. Among the fines imposed 
)me of the persons implicated in the insurrection of 
was one of ten thousand shingles.^ 
windows of the houses were doubtless in many 
lerely sliding panels; in all homes of any pretension, 
T, glass panes were in use.^ In 1684, Colonel Byrd 
itted an order to his London merchant to send him 
mdred feet of glass with drawn lead and solder in 
:ion, but a part of this was probably designed for 
the Colony.* Fitzhugh gave similar instructions 

ing'8 Statutes, vol. 11, p. 172. The order was ** slate or tile." 
;ion of John Johnson, British State Papers, Colonial Papers; 
y Abstracts for 1677, p. 6, Va. State Library. 
I and Rachel, p. 18, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. ** In the 
3 between Mr. Thomas Ballard, Jr., assignee of Col. Thomas 
ind Jeremiah Wing, it is ordered that the said Wing doth forth- 
form and finish the glazing work he was to do, otherwise exe- 
r forty shillings to issue against him." Records of York County, 
-1687, p. 157, Va. State Library. See also Records of Lower 
County, original vol. 1651-1660, f. p. 1. 
^s of WUliam Byrd, June 21, 1684. 


JE&BD&eCSw^ llL tlOff ' guinea Iiff«iH&. gCH«UftWB 

w^st paai jc tibe^ esbs^ 4f ti&x gmmife (sf tTiffhanw 10 pst it 
en jCcKie.^ SniK ^ fl&OR- mse&KEDaF tor- «» pngptnm^ 
maiL tdusj wvs^ a&Ee' tB» atft^vcnr liic^ lEncfis 4f liad bf 

g ie m cc* for wtasfaiquaL h a c&Dntte Sk» lAaK cf Tirg;iBii. 
ca «rto;& lraLFlHHCigga» ani QBBpfiRS» aorase 9«» ^iimMLmIt snd 
pnmEIied w^h saA TiaiEaxft^ i£ was^ BKiHBsnr to prated 
tbe ^aus- pvKs wit& asroo^ sbmKs; tbene ibiiuii and 
tbe iwdj o£ ibtt ham» wtre em mmaj imsxameim aQoved to 
mum VBpuBtcd. Imb tUi^ warn m^ tke case m gcatnL* 
Tht esBBfiGe of Fitzka^ wa^ dndbckas follawvd bj eveiy 
ocber pEaoter ia tbe ajormmt of «ikt cireuBBStaiMes ; od 
oB&e cccasDon akne he » foozHi iB&poraifisr a large qaantitr 
of colors, with wainitt and Eiaseed <»L briKihes;. and half a 
doom soils of the thieeniiituter e&oth in vhieh the house 
painteis of this a^ pcusoed their trade. 

The sarroondings of the planter's residence were plain 
and simple. The rard. as it wa$ called, consisted of open 
groond, overshadowed here and there bj trees. In the 
immediate Ticinitr of the hoose was situated the garden, 
devoted partly to vege^bks and partly to flowers^ thyme, 
marjoram, and {^&Iox being as abondant there as in EIngland. 
Many of the flowisss and shralie had onlv recentlv been 

1 Francs Hailws* ptenMul cstisr tadodcd 37 fee( of glass {Secardi 
0/ York C&mmtfr i\sL l^Tl-lfJlM. p. laX Va. Sute Library), and John 
C^rter'iN, one box, cootainaif 144 feel of the ame material {^Becaris 
0/ L^memMtT Omafy. onxmil v^ leOO-lTW, p. 3S). 

> Beatrd* ef Bemwi€m C^mmi^^ToL 1677-101^ p. 470, Va. State Libraiy. 

' There is an enirj in JSrcorii cfLameoMUr Cowmtjf, orii^inal toL 1(i9(V- 
1709, ppc 19, 90, in whidi it k slated that Edward Ftojd painted the 
windows of the Sparks ^ Gneal House *^ with white lead. 


brought from the mother country. Byrd is discovered in 
1684 writing to his brother in England, and thanking him 
for the gooseberry and currant bushes which had just been 
received; in the same year, he expresses to a second cor- 
respondent his appreciation of a gift of seeds and roots, 
which had been planted and had safely flowered.^ The 
summer-houses, arbors, and grottoes, which Beverley de- 
clares were to be found near the residences were doubt- 
less generally situated in the garden, and were erected to 
afford a cool place of retreat in the warmest hours of the 
summer day; the garden itself was always protected by a 
paUng to keep out the hogs and cattle which were permitted 
to wander without restraint. In the immediate vicinity 
of the dwellings of the wealthy landowners, there were as 
a rule grouped the dove-cot, stable, barn, henhouse, cabins 
for the servants, kitchen, and milk-house,^ the object of 
this in the last instances being to remove from the man- 
sion the operations of cooking, washing, and dairying. In 
many yards, a tall pole with a toy house at the top was 
erected, in which the bee martin might build its nest, this 
bird bravely attacking the hawk and crow, and thus serv- 
ing as a guardian of the poultry.* In some cases, wells 
were dug as a means of procuring drinking water, but the 
natural springs were so numerous that the use of the former 
was comparatively rare.* In the early history of the Col- 

» LeUers of William Byrd, May 21, 1684; Ibid., May 20, 1684. The 
seeds and roots were the iris, crocus, tulip, and anemone. Flower-pots 
are sometimes included in the inventories of personal estates. See, for 
instance, Records of ITpnrico County, vol. 1077-1602, p. 284, Va, State 

2 Letters of William Fitzhugh, April 22, 1686 ; Beverley's History of 
Virgin in, p. 235. 

< Such a pole stood in the yard surrounding the house of Colonel 
Nathaniel Bacon, Sr. 

♦ " Tliey have pure and wholesome water which they fetch wholly from 
springs, whereof the country is so full that there is not a house but hath 

VOL. II. — M 


ony, when there was a constant prospect of an assault by 
the Indians, the law required that the ground immediately 
adjacent to every house should be palisaded. This provi- 
sion was only temporary.^ At a later period, many of the 
planters were in the habit of keeping the area about their 
dwellings enclosed by a stout fence. Fitzhugh selected 
locust for this purpose, the fibre of this tree being remark- 
able for its endurance.^ The same wood was for a similar 
reason employed by other planters. 

Before entering into a description of the different con- 
tents of the plantation house and its out-buildings in the 
seventeenth century, it will be interesting to consider very 
briefly what several of the earliest writers who were fa- 
miliar with the Colony thought necessary that the person 
taking up his residence there should import in the way of 
clothing and utensils. The Company advised that in ad- 
dition to bringing with him certain articles of apparel to 
which reference will be made hereafter, the emigrant 
should carry over a pair of canvas sheets, seven ells of 
fine and five ells of coarse canvas, and one coarse rug ; 
for kitchen utensils, one iron pot, one kettle, a spit, one 
large frying-pan, two skillets, several platters, dishes, and 
wooden spoons.* Williams recommended, as we have 
already seen, that the emigrant should bring with him an 
iron pot, a gridiron, a large and a small kettle, skillets, 
frying-pans, dishes, platters, spoons, and knives.* The 
agent in London to whom Sir Edward Verney wrote when 
he had decided to send his son to Virginia, had practical 
knowledge as to the household goods that would be re- 
one nigh the door." Glover, in Philo, Trans. Boyal Soc,^ 1676-1678, 
vol. XI-XII, pp. 636, 636. 

1 Hening's Statutes^ vol. I, p. 127. 

« Letters of William FiUhugh, April 22, 1686. 

» Works of Capt. John Smith, pp. 607-609. 

« Virginia Richly Valued, p. 10, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. IIL 


quired by an emigrant to the Colony ; he restricted the 
articles which would be needed to a feather-bed, bolster, 
and rug, a pair of blankets and three pairs of sheets.^ 

In examining the inventories of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, it is soon discovered that the overwhelming majority 
of planters who left personal estates were possessed of a 
far larger quantity of household goods than were found 
in these meagfre enumerations. The English descent of 
the householders was shown in every particular of their 
residences. I shall begin with a description of the furni- 
ture and take the bedroom as a starting-point. The vari- 
ety of beds in the possession of the planters was the same 
as in English homes of the same period ; there were the 
large bed, the sea-bed,^ the flock-bed, and the trundle-bed, 
which was rolled under the large bed during the day. The 
bedtick was generally made of canvas and was stuffed 
with the feathers of wild or domestic fowls, or with 
hair or straw.* One of the materials most commonly 
employed for this purpose in the homes of the smaller 
planters was the flower of a plant that was found in all 
the marshes and ponds of the Colony and which is still 
known as the cat-tail. This stuff had the softness of 
feathers. It was entirely a local expedient. The large 
bed of the chamber was surrounded by curtains which 
were upheld by a rod, some of these hangings being red, 
some white, and some green. The material of which they 
were made consisted of prints, linsey-woolsey, or kidder- 


^ ^ Vemey Papers, Camden Society Publications ; NeilVs Virginia Caro- 
lorum, pp. lOft-Ul. 

^ Among the orders of coart recorded in York County is the following: 
"John Thomas ordered to pay Mathew Page a good sear-bed." Vol. 
1657-1662, p. 176, Va. State Library. 

' Colonel Norwood mentions that when he arrived at the house of 
Jenkin I'rice in Accomac, he lay down on a bed of fresh straw. Nor- 
wood's Voyage to Virginia, p. 48, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. IIL 




minster. The canopy does not appear to have been in 
common use. Some of the beds had mosquito nets.^ 
The valances, which were bands of cloth suspended from 
the sides of the bed to the floor, were made of linsey- 
woolsey; drugget, a species of cloth of French production 
containing gold and silver threads; or serge, a scarlet cloth, 
which, like all the cloths of tliis period which were dyed 
this color, was dear in price ; or kidderminster, flowered 
green and white. The pillows and pillow-biers were 
manufactured of white linen or canvas, and the former were 
stuffed with feathers. The sheets were of oznaburg, can- 
vas, brown or white hoUand. The most common blanket 
was known as the duffield. The outer covering consisted 
either of a coverlet, which was green or white in color, 
or a quilt of mixed hues. Sometimes it was of leather.* 
The rugs were made of worsted yarn or cotton, and were 
white, red, green, or blue in color. In winter, the warm- 
ing-pan was used as a means of taking the chill from the 
sheets, this household article being manufactured of brass. 
The couch, which was the forerunner of the sofa, served 
the purpose both of a bed and a reclining seat ; it seems 
to have been made of different materials, references being 
found to wainscot, hide, tanned leather, embroidered 
Russian leather, and Turkey-worked couches. The last 
formed a part of the furniture in the houses of the wealth- 
iest planters. 

Prominent in the chamber were the trunk and the 
chest. Of the former, there were the plain leather, the 

^ References to mosquito cloth in the inventories are very numerous. 
Among the articles of personal property owned by Thomas Batte at his 
death were f«>urr,een yards of this cloth. Records of Henrico County, 
vol. 1688-1607, p. 234, Va. State Library. 

^ Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1690-1709, p. 21, contains 
a reference to a leather coverlet. 


gilt leather, the cabinet, and the sealskin.^ The chests 
were the principal receptacles of the most costly articles 
of clothing, many doubtless being highly ornamented. In 
them were placed the linen not in use, the garments of the 
past season, the fine dresses which were brought out only 
on special occasions, trinkets of value, and in some in- 
stances, plate. The substitute for the modern bureau was 
the case of drawers with a looking-glass fixed to its top. 
These glasses were of various sizes. There was also the 
detached looking-glass, which was often inserted in an 
olive wood frame. The chairs were made after several 
different fashions. There were the rush chair, the name 
derived from the material of which the seat was woven ; 
the calfskin chair, which was doubtless the plainest in 
appearance; the Russian leather chair and the Turkey- 
worked chair. The Russian leather chair, the chair of the 
most costly manufacture, was found in all the dwellings 
in which there was any pretension to an unusual degree 
of comfort. In some houses, as many as two dozen were 
observed. The Turkey-worked chair was one the seat of 
which was covered with cloth highly ornamented with 
embroidered figures. In addition to these, there was 
the large wicker chair,^ the small wooden chair, with a 
bottom woven of white oak strips, and the cane chair, the 
plain stool, and the joint stool. 

The fireplace was guarded by fenders of iron or tin. 
On the hearth stood andirons of bravSS or iron, those of 
the latter material not infrequently weighing as much as 
fifty-six pounds. They often represented dogs with brass 

1 Inventory of Jonathan Newell included an oyster-shell trunk. 
Records of York County, vol. 1676-1685, p. 146, Va. State Library. 

* A wicker chair formed part of the household property of Nathaniel 
Bacon, Sr. Records of York County, vol. 161)4-1697, p. 261, Va. State 


heads. There were shovels and tongs of iron, and doubt- 
less, in many cases, of brass. In some of the houses, the 
backs of the chimneys were of the former metal. ^ A 
large chafing-dish was used at times for heating the 
chamber. The floor was frequently protected by carpets, 
some of which were of stout leather, some of stuffs 
highly figured and colored.^ There were printed linens 
for the windows and printed cottons for the chimneys. 
In some of the houses, the walls of the chambers were 
hung with tapestry.* There were screens, escritoires, and 
clocks of various and often of costly patterns.* There 
were combs of horn and ivory for the arrangement of the 
hair. The basin and ewer were of pewter. The soap 
used in washing was either imported or the product of 
domestic manufacture. The inventories contain many 
references to "Virginia soft soap." 

The respective value of the various articles in the 
numerous chambers did not differ in a very striking 
degree. In this respect, the appraisements of the con- 
tents of the rooms in the residence of Thomas Stratton 
of Henrico, a planter whose estate was fairly representa- 
tive, was probably not exceptional ; the furniture in one 
chamber above stairs was set down as worth thirty-two 
pounds sterling ; in another, thirty-seven ; that in the 
principal apartment on the ground floor, thirty-nine.^ 
The furniture in the hall of the Yates residence in Lower 
Norfolk was entered at two thousand three hundred and 

1 LeUers of William Fitzhugh, June 28, 1684 ; Records of Lower Nor- 
folk County, original vol. 1646-1661, f. p. 98. 

2 Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1677-1682, p. 106, Va. State 
Library. The term ** carpet*^ was sometimes applied to table coverings. 

» LeUers of William Fitzhugh, April 22, 1686. 

* There is a reference to a clock in Records of York County , vol. 1657- 
1662, p. 247, Va, State Library. 

* Records of Henrico County, original vol. 1697-1704, p. 137. 


fifty-three pounds of tobacco ; in the buttery, at a thou- 
sand and sixty-four ; in the chamber, at six hundred and 
fifty ; and in the closet, at ninety-six. This was near the 
middle of the century, when that commodity had begun to 
maintain a general average of about two pence a poimd.^ 
Corbin Griffin, a planter of Middlesex who was in posses- 
sion of a large amount of property, bequeathed to his 
widow one hundred pounds sterling, with which to fur- 
nish presumably her chamber.^ 

The articles in use in the hall or dining-room, which was 
sometimes called the "great room," w6re comparatively 
few ; among them were several varieties of tables, the 
most common of which were the short and the long 
framed, with benches or forms in proportion to their 
lengths, for seats. In addition, there were the folding, 
the falling, the Spanish, the Dutch oval, and the sideboard 
table. Some of these pieces of furniture were made of 
black walnut and some of cedar. The chairs found in 
this apartment were of the same character as those be- 
longing to the chamber. An ordinary feature of this 
room was the cupboard, in which the plates and dishes 
were kept. The tablecloths were manufactured of cotton, 
oznaburg, dowlas, hoUand and damask, the damask table- 
cloth l>eing of the finest texture, and therefore probably 
only used on special occasions. Among the articles 
included in the inventory of Mrs. Elizabeth Digges of 
York, presented in court in 1699,^ were nine table- 
cloths of this material. The quantity of table linen in 
English and Virginian homes of the seventeenth century 

1 Records of Lower Norfolk County^ original vol. 1646-1661, f. p. 36. 

« Records of Middlesex ComUy, original vol. 1698-1713, p. 108. The 
chamber furniture of Mrs. William Basset was valued at twenty pounds 
sterling. Records of General Court, p. 121. 

» Records of York CoutUy, vol. 1690-1694, p. 214, Va. State Library. 



is one of the most striking features of the domestic 
economy of that age ; it was true of the tablecloths ; 
it was still more true of the table napkins, the need for 
which was greater in those times than in the present on 
account of the rarity of the fork. The napkin was made 
of damask, canvas, lockram, oznaburg, holland, dowlas 
diaper, huckaback, and Virginian cloth. That of canvas 
was of the most inferior texture. Costly as the purchase 
of damask napkins must have been, it is found that 
Mrs. Elizabeth Digges left thirty-six of this material. 
Napkins of the finest quality were often worked in figui*es. 
The press in which these articles were stored was one of 
the most familiar pieces of furniture in the homes of the 
planters of the seventeenth century.^ 

The plates in use were made, some of earthen ware, 
some of wooden, but the greatest number were of pewter. 
Pewter plates had the advantage not only of cheapness 
but also of durability, in which respect they were superior 
to the earthen and wooden. References are also found 
to trenchers, which were pieces of board.^ There were 
certain varieties of plates used for special purposes, as the 
pie-plate and the fish-plate. Many had been finely painted.' 
The dishes also were generally made of pewter, some weigh- 
ing as much as five pounds apiece, and being either deep 
or broad. Besides the ordinary dish, there was the chafing, 
the butter, and the magazine dish. There are few references 
to the fork in the inventories of the seventeenth century; 

1 The furniture in the dining-room of Robert Beverley, Sr., one of the 
wealthiest men in the Colony, consisted of an oval and a folding table, a 
small table and a leather couch, two chests, a chest of drawers and fifteen 
Russian leather chairs, the whole valued at £ 9 9«. See inventory on file 
among Becords of Middlesex County, The contents of the whole house 
were appraised at £207 19s. ^\d, 

* RoRors' History of Agriculture and Pric4>.s in England, vol. V, p. 686. 

* Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 169S-1713, p. 71. 


this article, not being generally found on English tables 
at this time, was not likely to enter into the domestic 
economy of the English colonist. Richard Hobbs, of 
Rappahannock, who died about 1677, owned a single 
fork.^ John Foison of Henrico was in possession of one 
of tortoise-shell.^ There are included in the personal 
estate of Robert Dudley of Middlesex, which was entered 
in court about 1700, a number of horn forks. James Blaise 
of the same county owned forks valued at two shillings. 
Corbin Griffin was also in possession of a few pieces of 
cutlery of this kind.^ The knives in use were the case 
knife, which came in packages of a dozen, and the ''slope 
point." The ordinary composition of the spoons was tin, 
I^ewter, or alchemy, the alchemy spoon appearing to be as 
common as the pewter. William Major of York County, 
as shown in the inventory of his personal estate, owned 
three dozen spoons manufactured of this material.* The 
steel spoon was not unknown. The salt-cellar was made 
of pewter, agate, or earthenware. There were in addition 
pewter or earthen porringers, sugar-pots, castors, custard- 
cups, bottle cruets, square glass and stone bottles, pewter 
bowls, and earthen jugs. There were for j^urposes of 
drinking a variety of receptacles, such as the tumbler, the 
mug, the cup, the jBagon, the tankard, and the beaker. 
Tlie cups were known by a number of names, such as the 
lignum vita?, the syllabub, the sack, and the dram. The 
horn cup is somethnes referred to, but pewter was the 
material of which these utensils were generally made; 
•there were few houses in which the raw metal was not 

> Becf^rds of Jtappahannock County, vol. 1077-1682, p. 11, Va. State 

2 Becords of Henrico County, vol. 1088-1097, p. 403, Va. State Library. 

» Records of Middlesex. County, original vol. 1098-1713, pp. 100, 112, 

* Records of York County, vol. 1077-1084, p. 48, Va. State Library. 



kept on hand in considerable quantities, to be consumed 
chiefly, however, in repairs. 

A ware appearing on the table in the service of the 
meals less commonly than pewter or alchemy, but still 
not infrequently, was silver; plates and dishes were rarely 
found of tliis metal in the Colony, but it entered very 
often into the composition of the cups, tumblers, tankards, 
porringers, and spoons. The author of Leah and Rachel, 
writing about the middle of the century, remarked upon 
the fact that there was a good store of silver in many of 
the planters' homes. ^ This had either been inherited from 
English relations or been purchased in England. The 
instance of Margaret Cheesman, of Bermondsea, was not 
exceptional; in 1679, this lady is stated to have bequeathed 
a great silver beaker and tankard with other plate to the 
children of Lemuel Mason, who resided in Virginia.* 
The far greater quantity in the Colony was doubtless 
bought in the mother country, like other articles in house- 
hold use. Byrd, writing to his merchant in London in 
1684, instructs him to send to him, "two new-fashioned 
silver mugs, one to contain half a pint, the other one- 
quarter of a pint."^ Fitzhugh purchased silver plate 
from time to time upon the principle that it was a form 
of property which would never lose its value, and, therefore, ij 
the parent was f ortimate who could transmit much of it to 
his children as a part of his estate. In 1687, he directed 
Hay ward to invest certain bills of exchange which stood] 
to his credit in London in a pair of middle-sized silver 
candlesticks, a pair of snuffers, and a snuff-dish, and half ^ 
a dozen trencher salts, the remainder to be expended in ai 

1 Leah and Hachel, p. 16, Force's Historical Tracts^ vol. ITI. 
3 New England Historical and Genealogical Register, April, 1698, 
p. 260. 

» LetUrs of William Byrd, May 20, 1684. 


3ome silver basin. In a letter to the same correspondent 
39, he ordered to be sent him two silver dishes weigh- 
ifty ounces apiece, and two, seventy ounces, a set of 
rs for sugar, pepper, and mustard, to weigh about 
by-four or twenty-six ounces, a basin, between forty 
orty-five ounces, a salver and a pair of candlesticks 
; thirty ounces apiece, a ladle about ten ounces, and 
3 containing a dozen silver-haf ted knives and a dozen 
'-hafted forks. In 1698, he purchased in England 
9ilver dishes of eighty or ninety ounces apiece, one 
I ordinary and two silver bread plates, one large pair 
iver candlesticks and one pair of silver snuffers with 

le inventories show that many planters in moderate 
mstances were in possession of a considerable quan- 
)f silver plate. Among the items of the Farrar per- 
ty there was one silver tankard, one silver beaker, 
ilver tumbler, three silver cups, two small silver salt- 
rs, and ten silver spoons. In the Davis personalty, 
I were twelve silver spoons; in the Milner, a small 
r tumbler, a sack, and three dram-cups. The Crews 
B included plate valued at eleven pounds sterling, 
r tankards, spoons, and other varieties of dining 
ce formed a part of the Isham estate. Richard 
i left to his children at his death twenty-seven silver 
IS, one silver bowl, one silver dram-cup, two silver 
I, one silver tankard, and several silver salt-cellars.^ 
in Elam bequeathed a silver tankard, two cups, and 
spoons. The owners of this plate were prominent 
)wners of Henrico County. 

iUers of William Fitzhugh, July 18, 1687 ; July 21, 1698. 
ecords of Henrico County, vol. 1077-1692 ; Farrar, pp. 267, 268 ; 
p. 2S4 ; Milner, p. 286 ; Crews, p. 370 ; Isham, p. 392 ; Ward, 



The York records disclose that tliere were an equal 
number of planters in that county who were in possession 
of silverware representing the same varieties. Thus the 
Hunt estate included a silver currel, one sack and one 
dram cup;^ the Croshaw personalty, a silver sack-cup, a 
silver tankard of the largest size, valued at four pounds 
sterling, perhaps equal in purchasing power to an hundred 
dollars in our modern currency, and twenty-four silver 
spoons. 2 Mrs. Elizabeth Digges bequeathed two hundred 
and sixty-one ounces of silver plate. Robert Booth left 
twelve silver spoons, one salt-cellar, and one silver tiun- 
bler.^ In the estate of Richard Stock, there were thirteen 
silver spoons.* The silver plate owned by Mathew Hub- 
bard was appraised at five pounds sterling,^ while the pro- 
portion in the personalty of the Eubank estate was esti- 
mated at two pounds.^ Joseph Croshaw bequeathed three 
silver spoons and three silver sack-cups to his wife, and 
one silver beaker, one silver caudle-cup, and two dram- 
cups of the same metal to one of his sons."^ The estate of 
William White included six silver spoons, a silver wine- 
cup, and three dram-cups, one large silver tankard and 
one sugar-dish;® the estate of Quintillian Gutherick of 
Elizabeth City, a silver salt-cellar, a silver cup, a silver 
punch-bowl, and four silver spoons. Thomas Wythe of \ 
the same county left three silver tankards, a silver cup, 
and seven silver spoons.^ 

The personalty of William Kendall of Northampton 
included, in silver plate, twenty-seven si)oons, four salt- 

1 lipcords of York Comtty, vol. 1075-1084, p. KK), Va. Slate Librarj'. 
- Ihid.^ p. 'V\. This was Kichard Croshaw. 

a Ibid., vol. 1000-lOlU. p. 130. c p,ifi,^ vol. 1084-1087, p. 255. 

* //><•(/., vol. 1004-1072, p. 532. • Ibid., vol. 1004-1072, p. 250. 

6 Ibid., p. 472. P Ibid., vol. 1(;67-1002. p. 1V2. 

^ Elizabeth City CnuuO/ Jif cords, vol. 1084-1000, pp. o5, 100, Va. State 


hilars, two sugar-dishes, a porringer, a tankard, two dram 
3ups, two punch and one caudle, and a pair of snuffers.^ 
Henry Spratt of Lower Norfolk possessed, in the form of 
silverware, three plates, one tankard, one salt-cellar, a 
beaker, three caudle, three dram, and seven sack cups, 
two porringers, and fourteen spoons. Thomas Sibsey 
of the same county was the owner in silver of two beer- 
bowls, two wine-cups, a tankard, a beaker, twenty-four 
spoons, and four salt-cellars. The silver pieces belonging 
to Mrs. Sarah Willoughby were still more valuable; they 
were a large sugar basin, one large and three small salt- 
cellars, twenty-four spoons, two beer-bowls and one claret, 
a small tankard, a caudle and a dram cup, and a small por- 
ringer.^ The silver owned by Robert Beverley of Middle- 
sex w^ere two tankards, one beaker, six cups, a porringer, 
a sugar-box, three trencher salts, one large salt-cellar, and 
seventeen spoons, amounting in value to thirty-one pounds 
sterling.^ Corbin GrifTin of the same county possessed 
one hundred and sixty-six ounces of silver plate.* Mrs. 
Rebecca Travers of Rappahannock owned in silver, one 
large salt-cellar, six trencher salts, one sugar-dish, eigh- 
teen spoons, a bottle, a snuff-dish with snuffers, a bowl, a 
tankard, a tumbler, two sack-cups and a dram-cup.^ 

In bequeathing their personalty, the testators were gen- 
erally careful to apportion the silver plate equally among 
their heirs. This seems to have been in a marked de- 
gree the case in the disposition of spoons. The example 

^ liecords of Xorthampton County, original vol. 1080-1(508, p. 600. 

2 Records of Lower Norfolk Ctfunty, Spratt, ori<:inal vol. 108(5- 100.'), 
f. p. Oo ; Sibsey, original vol. 1051-1050, f. p. 64 ; Willoughby, original 
vol. 1600-1076, p. 170. 

* See Beverley's inventory on file in Middlesex County. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1(508-1713, p. 135. 

* Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1077-1082, p. 280, Va. State 


of Richard Ward in this respect was the one commonly 
followed ; in making a division of his silver plate, he left 
nine spoons to each of his three children, consisting of 
two sons and a daughter. The value attached by the 
o^vne^s to their silver service was illustrated in the case 
of Colonel Ricliard Lee, who took the trouble, on the 
occasion of a visit to England in the time of the Pro- 
tectorate, to carry over his plate with a view to changing 
its fashion. The silver service of every person who was 
entitled to a coat of arms was engraved with his device.^ 

There is reason to think that few paintings adorned 
the walls of the chambers, halls, and parlors of the resi- 
dences in that age. They were not entirely absent, how- 
ever, from the homes of the most prosperous planters. 
Colonel Thomas Ludlow owned a portrait of Richardson, 
an English Judge.^ In one of the rooms of his house, 
Joseph Crosliaw of York had hung five pictures, whether 
portraits or landscapes it is impossible to discover from 
the inventory of his estate.^ There was an equal number 
in the hall of Lieutenant Thomas Foote. The paintings 
in the parlor of Mrs. Elizabeth Digges could not have 
been of a high degree of merit, as they were appraised at 
five shillings only, there being in addition five of a small 
size in her garret. Those in the possession of John 
Smytlie of York were also valued at the same amount. 

^ See a reference to the coat of arms of Colonel Richard Lee, engraved 
on his plate, in Sainsbury^s Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, voL 1674- 
lOrtO, p. 430. 

2 liccords of York County, vol. 1667-1662, p. 275, Va. State Library. 

' Records of York County, Croshaw, vol. 1664-1672, p. 257 ; Foote, 
Ihid., p. 265; Smythe, vol. 1687-1691, p. 143, Va. State Library. See, 
also, reference in same volume, p. 379, to the ** old pictures " of Mrs. Row- 
land Jones. The inventory of James Archer included a ** parcell of 
pictures.'' Vol. 1694-1697, p. 429, Va. State Library. There is a refer- [ 
ence to portraits in the v?rill of William Fitzhugh, Virginia Magazine of 
History and Biography, vol. II, p. 276. 


Among the articles to be found in the rooms of the 
planter's residence were musical instruments, the most 
common of which was the virginal, but the hand lyre 
was not unknown. The cornet was also in use, and like- 
wise both the small and the large fiddle, the violin, the 
recorder, the flute, and the hautboy. ^ 

The utensils of the kitchen were made of brass, tin, 
pewter, wood, or clay. In the homes of the most affluent 
planters, there was probably an occasional boiler of copper 
and brass, imbedded in brick and mortar, and heated from 
beneath. This was a common feature of the English 
kitchens of that age. A boiler of this kind was often 
used in brewing. The principal utensil for boiling was 
the great iron pot which was hung on moving iron racks 
firmly attached to the chimney-piece ; in summer, when 
a large part of the cooking was done out of doors, it was 
swung to a pole supported by posts and a fire lighted 
under it. Doubtless, the food of all the servants and 
slaves on each estate was prepared in a single mess in this 
utensil. These pots weighed in general about forty 
pounds, but in many cases they exceeded that figure. In 
addition, there were brass, tin, and copper kettles, some 
holding as much as fifteen gallons. Tliere were iron spits 
for roasting, and iron and brass ladles for pouring the 
gravy over the flesh as it was cooking, and the dripping- 
pan for catching the gravy as it fell. There were grid- 
irons for broiling, iron and brass skillets for baking, and 

1 See, for these different instruments, Records of York County, vol. 
1004-1672. pp. 77, 632 ; vol. 1684-1087, p. 341, Va. State Library ; Records 
of Lancaster County, original vol. 1090-1709, p. 31 ; Records of Lower 
Norfolk County, original vol. 1095-1703, f. p. 137. Tlie items in the 
inventory of Judith Parker included one recorder, two flutes, and one 
hautboy. Records of Surry County, vol. 1071-1084, p. 370, Va. State 
Library. Joeiah Moody owned two violins. Records of York County, 
vol. 1687-1601, p, 42, Va. State Library. 


pans for frying meats. There^were brass chafing-dishes, 
skimmers, and saucepans, and pans of tin and earthen- 
ware for the reception of raw vegetables. There were 
mortars and pestles of iron, bell -metal, and brass; tin 
bread-graters, tin, sugar, and hominy sifters, wooden trays 
upon which the meals were borne from the kitchen to 
the dining-room ; drawing-knives, which were probably 
the same as voiding-knives, with a slender blade, a keen 
edge, and a sharp point ; chopping-knives, which were 
long, stout, and heavy, being used in dividing the solid 
meats both before and after they were cooked ; also 
knives made for cutting cheese, dull and small in size; 
large flesh-forks which were employed in turning the 
meats in the pots ; powdering-tubs in which beef and pork 
recently slaughtered were salted ; flour-tubs, meal-barrels, 
tin cullenders, and funnels, butter and galley pots, pepper- 
boxes, wooden bowls, bell-metal posuets, pincers, rolling- 
pins, bellows, stillyards, scales, and weights. The oven 
was placed in the immediate vicinity of the house, being 
a brick structure in a hole in the ground.^ The ironing 
seems to have been done in the kitchen ; in the inventory 
of the contents of this room, box-iron heaters and sad- 
irons are generally found enumerated. 

The utensils in the dairy, or milk-house, as it was 
usually called, were cedar churns, pails, noggins and 
piggins, tubs, trays, and strainers, cheese-presses, butter- 
sticks, and earthen butter-pots. 

1 Records of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1697, p. 10, Va. State Library. 
**Upon the examination of Culpeper (a servant) ... be confessed that 
John Green did come to him as be was at the oven about the bread." 
Records of Accomac Countpy original vol. 1632-1640, p. 47. See also 
Records of York County, vol. 1657-1662, p. 174, Va. State Library. Les- 
sors sometimes bound themselves to repair ** the brick ovens " belonging 
to the houses leased. See Records of York County, original vol. 1676- 
1684, p. 696. 


[n examining the furniture and utensils in the different 
mia in the dwelling-house of the average planter of the 
enteenth century, it will be found that no effort was 
de to preserve a distinct character for each apart- 
nt. With the exception of the kitchen, there was 
*dly a room in the building which did not contain a 
U a fact that was due either to the size of the families 
that period, or to the hospitable spirit of the land- 
uers. In the hall, where the meals were taken, there 
re frequently placed flock-beds, linen chests, smoothing- 
ns, guns, pistols, powder-horns, and cutlasses, swords, 
ims, saddles, and bridles. In the parlor, which was 

term applied to the apartment used as a sitting- 
•m by the family as well as a reception-room for the 
38t8, there were large feather-beds and truckle-beds, 
I also chests filled with the most valuable clothing and 

finest table and bed linen. In the chamber, every 
iety of article in use in the household was stored. 
He the dairy, in addition to the ordinary utensils of 
t milk-house, contained masses of old and new pew- 

for repairing flagons, porringers, stills, chamber-pots, 
ikards, and fish-kettles. Powdering-tubs, chests, rum- 
ks, stillyards, spinning-wheels, raw hides, and sides of 
med leather were enumerated as a part of the contents 
the " poultry." 

[t will be interesting, as showing the division of the 
isehold articles among the different apartments of a 
elling, as well as throwing light on the character of 
jse articles, to give in detail the items in the inventory 
a planter whose estate was fairly representative of 
I average. I shall take the home of Thomas Osborne 
Henrico, who died in the last decade of the century, 
ving a personalty calculated to be worth one hundred 
I twenty-five pounds sterling, which, according to the 

TOL. II. — N 


values of the present day, amounted perhaps to three 
thousand dollars in American currency.^ I shall omit 
all reference to the clothing and live stock of the estate, 
confining the enumeration to the furniture, table ware, 
bed and table linen, and the utensils in the kitchen and 
dairy. The room designated as the "best" contained a 
feather-bed, with a bolster and a pair of pillows, curtains 
and valance, a blanket, and a worsted rug. There were 
also two chests with locks and keys, one framed table 
and a large form, one small sideboard table, one chest 
of drawers, six high and six low leather chairs, a small 
old-fashioned looking-glass, a pair of andirons with brass 
bosses, a pair of bellows, and a small leather trunk. In 
the apartment described as the " outward room " there were 
a feather-bed with kidderminster curtains and valances, 
a bolster, a blanket, and a yam rug, a pair of bellows, a 
large table and form, a small table, a chest, a couch, six 
rush-bottom chairs, and a pair of andirons. The apart- 
ment known as the " lodging room " contained a bedstead, 
a feather-bed, bolster, yarn rug, and blanket, a cupboard 
and chest, two Dantzic cases, and a small trunk. Passing 
from the lower to the higher floor, there were in the "best 
upper room" an old feather-bed and bolster, a pair of 
blankets and a cotton rug, calico curtains and valance, a 
new feather-bed and bolster, worsted kidderminster cur- 
tains and valance, a plain set of drawers, six Russian 
leather chairs, a small round table and looking-glass, a 
small seal-skin trunk and an ordinary chest. In the 
" north room " above stairs there were a bedstead, feather- 
bed, bolster, rug, and blanket, two pairs of holland and 
canvas sheets, a pair of holland and a pair of calico 
pillow-beers, two long diaper table-cloths, twenty-two 
diaper and six coarse napkins, four towels of Virginian 

1 Becords of Henrico County, vol. 16S8-1697, p. 350, Va, State Library. 


one chest, two warming-pans, four brass candle- 
two small guns fixed and two unfixed, a carbine 
dt, a silver beaker, three tumblers, twelve spoons, 
5k and one dram cup. In the kitchen there were 
irass kettles, a brass and a bell-metal skillet, a bell- 
ind a brass mortar and pestle, a brass skimmer and 
rwo iron pots, two iron dripping-pans, a frying-pan, 
:er still, two iron pothooks, two iron potracks, a 
: andirons, six pewter spoons, two pewter flagons, 
ttle-pot, one sugar basin, one salt-cellar, one pewter 
d, one saucer, a box iron, and two heaters. Among 
iscellaneous articles enumerated in the Osborne 
3ry were one wool and one linen spinning-wheel, 

of wool-cards, six towels made of tag ends, one 
Qew and eight old plates, eighty-six pounds of raw 
, a parcel of earthenware, an iron pestle, a pair 
yards, one gridiron, and two pairs of tongs. 

personal estate of Captain Francis Mathews of 
iid not differ substantially from that of Thomas 
le.^ In the hall of the Mathews residence there 
wo frame tables, one six feet in length, the other 
et, two leather chairs, a cupboard and drawers, two 
candlesticks, a clock with weights, and a pair of 
•ds. The parlor contained a bedstead with green 
LS and valance, a feather-bed with pillow, bolster, 
t, and rugs, a truckle-bed with a bolster, two 
^ one l)lanket, and one rug, a flock-bed with 
, blanket, and rug, four pairs of canvas sheets and 
own hoUand sheet, three pillow-biers, three chairs, 
of andirons, a gridiron, a pair of tongs and a pair 
ows, a looking-glass, a chest and trunk, two wine- 
K, a table case with four knives, a warming-pan, 
' napkins and two table-cloths, a towel and two 

ords of York CoutUy, vol. 1071-1094, p. 130, Va, State Library. 


night-caps. In the room opposite to the stairway, there 
were thirty-two books, a saddle and bridle, two pounds 
of powder and sixteen pounds of shot, a yoke, ring, and 
sickle. The chamber over the parlor contained a limbeck 
of copper, a pewter still and bottom, a bedstead, a saddle, 
and an iron chain. In the kitchen, there were two iron 
pots, three pairs of pothooks, one spit, one flesh-hook, 
a frying-pan, fourteen milk-trays, one brass kettle, two 
brass skillets, one brass and one iron mortar, eight pewter 
dishes, a sugar basin and flagon, fourteen ordinary and 
two pie plates, two porringers, a quart and a half -pint pot, 
a salt-cellar, a mustard-pot, two saucers, three old pails, a 
churn, one churn-press, one joint stool, one cider hogshead, 
one window frame, a broadaxe, a saw and grindstone, and 
three hides. 

Such in general were the household goods, independently 
of clothing, of the Virginian planter of the seventeenth 
century who possessed the average amount of property. 
The inventories of the personal estates of members of this 
class varied only slightly in their details, the articles in use 
being confined, as a rule, to those which were considered 
necessary for substantial comfort. Descending in the scale, 
it will be interesting to inquire as to the household goods 
of persons in narrower circumstances. In 1678, the inven- 
tory of William Gibburd of York was presented in coxirt.^ 
It showed that he had in his lifetime owned the following 
articles in addition to live stock and clothing: two beds 
and bolsters, two rugs, two blankets, two pillows, a 
hammock, an iron pestle, a saddle and bridle, an iron pot 
and pothooks, a skUlet, a frying-pan, a smoothing-iron 
and heaters, a pewter chamber-pot, six pewter dishes, ten 
trays, two pewter drinking-cups, two porringers, a sauce- 
pan, two tin pans, eight spoons, a box, six glass bottles, 

1 Becords of York County^ vol. 1676-1684, p. 53, Va, State Library. 


two runlets, four cases, one trunk, one churn, two pails, a 
butter and a washing tub, six stools, four chairs, three 
hammers, three axes, a drawing-knife, a branding-iron, 
a bill, a cross-cut saw, a rolling-pin, two combs and 

The house of Thomas Shippey of Henrico^ contained 
only three apartments, a hall, bedchamber, and kitchen. 
In the hall, there were found a bedstead and bed, with a 
pillow and bolster, curtains and valance, a rug, a blanket 
and two pairs of sheets, a table form, an elbow chair, two 
leather and two wooden chairs, a small and a large chest. 
There were in the bedchamber, a trunk, a bed with a bol- 
ster, one rug, one blanket, and one pair of sheets, a small 
table-cloth, four napkins, and a towel ; in the kitchen, 
there were six pewter dishes, three plates, two saucers, a 
tumbler, a chamber-pot, six spoons, a tankard, a pewter 
salt-cellar, an iron pot, spit, ladle, frying-pan, bread-tray, 
and pail. 

The inventory of the personal estate of John Porter 
of Henrico, presented for record in 1689,^ showed the 
following articles in use in his household: one wooden 
and four pewter dishes, six alchemy spoons, six pewter 
plates, three pewter porringers, three iron pots and pot- 
hooks, a frying-pan and a meal-sifter, three trays and two 
stone jugs, a pail and piggin, three stools, a wooden and 
a leather chair, a couch, two bedsteads, a bed filled with 
cat-tails, a second bed stuffed with feathers, curtains, 
valance, a cupboard, chest, trunk, and table. 

To enumerate the household goods of other planters 
in the same position of life would only be to repeat the 
details which I have already given. Let us now consider 
the nature and quantity of the household articles found 

1 RecordB of Henrico County, 'yoL ld8S-1697, p. 6, Va. State Library. 
s Ibid., p. 04. 


in the different rooms of the residences of planters in the 
enjoyment of the largest wealth which had as yet been 
accumulated in the hands of private individuals in the 
Colony. The home of Mrs. Elizabeth Digges may be 
examined as no unfavorable example.^ In the hall parlor 
of her dweUing-house there were five Spanish tables, two 
green and two Turkey-worked carpets, nine Turkey- 
worked chairs and eleven with arrows woven in the cloth 
of the seats, one embroidered and one Turkey-worked 
couch, five pictures, two pairs of brass andirons, three 
pairs of old tongs, and one clock. There was in the pas- 
sage a chest containing thirty damask, thirty-six diaper, 
and sixty flaxen napkins, three diaper, nine damask, and 
forty-eight flaxen table-clotlis, eight diaper towels, three 
pairs of hoUand sheets and pillow-biers, eight ells of 
hoUand, eight yards of calico, five ells of linen, and four 
yards of bunting. 

In the " yellow room," there were a chest of drawers, 
one Turkey-worked and two plain carpets, one remnant of 
worsted tapestry and seven remnants of silk, one cloth 
bed with curtains and valances lined with yellow silk, a 
silk and an ordinary counterpane, a calico quilt, a teaster 
and a head-piece, a suit of white, and two old red curtains 
and two boxes. 

In the "large room" opposite the "yellow room," there 
were a chest of drawers, a feather-bed with bolster, blanket 
and three winter curtains, a looking-glass, two trunks, one 
pair of brass andirons, one old brush, and one wooden chair. 
In the " back room" opposite the "large room," there were 
a number of small and large books, one spice-box, several 
old gallipots, one pistol, two red trunks with a small 
quantity of different wares, a parcel of earthen utensils 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1690-1604, p. 213, Va. State Library. 
Mrs. Digges was ttie widow of £dward Digges, Goyemor of Virginia. 


and glasses, several painted boxes containing combs and 
needles, small scales and weights, one looking-glass, one 
ring dial, two cases of knives, eight gold mourning rings, 
a diamond and a small stone ring, one parcel of sea pearls, 
an old bodkin, twenty ounces of plate, an old small table, 
an old paper box, an old feather-bed and bolster, an old 
blanket and rug, three iron curtain rods, three old calico 
curtains, three pillows, and two baskets. 

In the " red room," there were a feather-bed with a bol- 
ster, two pillows, one blanket, a counterpane, a quilt, and 
curtains ; there were also a drugget carpet, a pair of small 
iron dogs, two chairs, and a window curtain. 

In the garret, there were two old feather-beds, five rugs, 
two blankets, a quilt, two bolsters, a small canvas bag, a 
napkin press, a brass pestle, five small pictures, one brass 
fire-shovel, two wooden platters, a rope, a remnant of 
canvas, and two old cushions. There were also in this 
apartment four chests, one of which contained eight cur- 
tains, an old blanket, and two pillows ; there were also five 
old trunks with locks and keys and two old boxes. 

In the second " back room," there were one bedstead, 
three feather-beds, two bolsters, two pillows, eight piUow- 
biers, thirteen pairs of sheets, seven old towels, three dozen 
flaxen napkins, nine old flaxen table-cloths, a small chest 
of drawers, two wooden and two leather chairs, one small 
table and brush, a pair of andirons, and a pair of fire-tongs. 

In the cellar, there were one dozen quart glass bottles, 
six earthen pots, a stone mortar with wooden pestle, and 
a small quantity of old lumber. 

In the kitchen, there were one still, a warming-pan, and 
a small quantity of old brass, two gridirons, seven spits, 
four iron pots and pothooks, two pairs of potracks, one 
pair of rack irons, three old frying-pans, one pair of old 
tongs, a fire-shovel, a nutmeg grater, three brass stands, 


two kettles, one brass skillet with an iron frame, a small 
skillet, one large and one small copper, and an old chest. 

In Virginia, in the seventeenth century, the candle was 
in common use as a means of illuminating the rooms of 
the planters' residences after night had fallen. It was 
made of different materials. The candle of myrtle wax 
was for several reasons one of the most popular articles 
employed, owing partly to the clear light which it gave 
forth, and partly to the exquisite odor emanating from it. 
It was considered equal to a candle of beeswax of the 
finest quality.^ The myrtle was a plant that grew in all 
the marshes and swamps, and as its berries could be gath- 
ered in great quantities, and converted by boiling into 
wax, the means of illumination which it furnished was 
turned to account by the poorest as well as by the most 
affluent colonists. The candle made of myrtle wax was 
frequently consumed in the public service. Among the 
commodities paid for out of the public revenue in 1699, 
were twenty-six pounds of this vegetable wax and two 
pounds of cotton wick.* Deer suet was also used. In 
the statement of disbursements which Colonel Norwood 
and the other owners of the ship Pink made, the arti- 
cles for which the tobacco in their hands was shown to 
have been expended included thirty pounds of this mate- 
rial, which had been purchased to be moulded into candles.' 
Candles were also manufactured of beef tallow. Many 
were imported. The composition of the candlestick was 
of earthenware, brass, pewter, copper, iron, or silver. In 
some cases, the column was screwed to the plate. The 
snuffers, and the stand in which the snuffers were placed, 

1 Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 108. 
* Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 68. 
» See Accounts of Colonel Henry Norwood et al., fly leaf, p. 23, 
LetUrt of William Byrd. 


"e made of the same metals as the candlestick. There 
"e tin and brass lamps and tin lanterns. In the homes 
he poorest class, it is quite probable that the pine knot 
^ed an important part in illumination, the turpentine, 
gealed in the fibre of the wood, causing it to burn 
h a fierce glare until consumed. The steel mill was 
requent use as a means of striking a light. 
?he fuel of the dwelling-house was found in the sur- 
nding forests, which furnished a great variety of wood.^ 
3 hickory and the oak were abundant everywhere. The 
iring of new grounds, this forming a part of the annual 
citation work, supplied a great quantity of trunks and 
bs of trees of all sizes. The large fireplaces of the resi- 
ces in winter were fiUed with the heavy sticks, which, as 
flames converted them into ashes, were, with a gener- 
hand, replenished by others. There could be no waste 
extravagance in this use of wood, the surface of the 
ntry being covered with forests which the owners were 
ious to destroy. Warmth was one element of comfort 
colonial householder could secure in the coldest spells 
the winter without expense and with little inconven- 
ce. The great wood fires, which cast such a cheerful 
w about the different apartments of his home, must 
re done much to promote the contentment of all who 
;ered into his family circle. In the mother country, 
•ougbout the seventeenth century, the forests steadily 
ainished, and wood for household use, in consequence, 
ijame dearer in value ; the difference in Virginia in this 
Pticular must hava impressed all emigrants from Eng- 
id to the Colony, where firewood was the cheapest of 

Sea-coal seems to have been imported to a smaU extent. In 1690, 
It barrels of this material, lying at Handy^s Landing on Qaeen*s 
ek, were attached. Btcords of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 463, 

State Library. 


the more important materials entering into the domestic 
economy. The climate being a mild one during the 
greater portion of the year, the large fires were only kept 
up in the short intervals of very cold weather. 

The same fact had a controlling influence in the matter 
of the clothing worn by the planters and their families. 
John Smith, who resided long enough in the Colony to 
form a just notion as to the character of the climate, has 
preserved the list of articles which the Company con- 
sidered necessary to the comfort of the emigrant to Vir- 
ginia in this respect ; he was advised to take with him a 
monmouth cap, three falling bands, three sliirts, one waist- 
coat, one suit of canvas, one of frieze, one of broadcloth, 
three pairs of Irish stockings, a pair of garters, four pairs of 
shoes, and a dozen pairs of points. The purchase of these 
articles entailed an expenditure of fifty-nine sliillings.^ 

If reliance can be placed on the testimony of Pory, the 
presiding officer of the first Assembly convening in Vir- 
ginia, the simplicity of the outfit advised by the Company 
was not followed even by persons in the lower ranks of 
life in the Colony. "Our cow-keeper in Jamestown," 
he wrote, " on Sundays goes accoutred in fresh flaming 
silk, and the wife of one in England that had professed 
the black art, not of a scholar but of a collier of Croyden, 
wears her rough beaver hat with a fair pearl hat-band and 
a silken suit thereto correspondent.*' ^ Pory was not in- 
dulging in as much exaggeration as would appear upon 
the surface. Among the regulations established by the 
Assembly in 1619, over which he presided, there was a 
provision that every person should, if unmarried, be as- 
sessed according to his apparel, and if married, according 
to the clothing belonging to himself and the members of 


1 Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 607. 
•Letter of Pory, Xeiirs Vmjinia I'et 

'etusta, p. 111. 


his family. The object of this was to discourage any dis- 
position to show extravagance in dress, it being justly 
thought tliat in the state of the Colony at that time, all 
the settlers' means should be husbanded to ensure them 
the absolute necessaries of life.^ Ten years after the adop- 
tion of this regulation, when the Colony had recovered 
fully from the blow inflicted by the great massacre upon 
all of its interests, there are indications that fine apparel 
was quite common in Virginia. In 1629, Thomas Warnet, 
a prominent merchant of Jamestown, died, and in his will 
bequeathed to different persons many articles of showy 
clothing, among them a coif, a cross-cloth of wrought 
gold, a pair of silk stockings, a pair of black hose, a pair 
of red slippers, a sea-green scarf edged with gold lace, six 
dozen buttons of silk and thread, a felt hat, a black beaver 
hat, a Polish fur cap, a doublet of black camlet, a vest, a 
sword, and a gold belt.* 

The incongruity of such shining apparel with the rude 
surroundings of new settlements in the wilderness does 
not seem to have jarred upon the perceptions of the popu- 
lation except so far as it implied an unnecessary expendi- 
ture ; and this view was only taken when the resources 
of the Colony for one cause or another were seriously 
impaired. About the middle of the century, a law was 
passed prohibiting the introduction of garments contain- 
ing silk, or the introduction of silk in pieces except for 
hoods or scarfs, or of silver, gold, or bone lace, or of 
ribbons wrought with gold or silver. All goods of this 
character brought in were to be confiscated and then 

^Lawes of Assembly, 1619, Colonial Records of Virginia, Senate 
I>oct., Extra, 1874, p. 20. In the instructions to Wyatt, 1621, he waa 
enjoined to allow only members of the Council and heads of Hundreds 
to wear gold in their clothes. Randolph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 161. 

'.Veto England Historical and Genealogical Register^ April, 1884, 
D. 107. 

188 SC0N03QC msimcT or yteisisia 

exported. In the matter of a^^pareL as in the other inter- 
ests of their private lives and of the commonitj at large, 
the colonists looked upon themselves as constituting just 
as much a part of the mother country in its social and 
economic habits as if no ocean rolled between Virginia 
and England. The physical conditions were different ; the 
minds of the people were the same. Silk stockings^ beaver 
hats, red slippers, green scarfs, and gold lace appeared to 
be as natural articles of apparel to the Virginians in the 
early part of the century, when the community' was made 
up of a few small settlements, as they did to Englishmen 
in the largest towns of the kingdom in the same age. 
This was an element of those class distinctions which 
have always entered so deeply into the English spirit, and 
which have cropped out without regard to physical sur- 
roundings ; nowhere were these distinctions more jeal- 
ously observed than in the infant Colony, and it is not, 
therefore, surprising to find that in spite of the rough con- 
ditions of life prevailing there, there was a marked dispo- 
sition to indulge a taste for expensive clothing. 

It has been seen that it was the habit of all the planters 
in affluent or even moderate circumstances to keep on hand 
many ells of different cloths to supply household needs as 
they arose.* These were lockram, oznaburg, dowlas, blue 
linen, striped dimity, serge, kersey, canvas, penistone, 
calico, linsey-woolsey, shalloon, damask, muslin, drugget, 
fustian, thread silk, galloon, and Scotch. Some description 
of these various materials will be of interest as showing 
the nature of the fabrics in which the people of Virginia 
dresseil in the seventeenth centurv. Lockram and dowlas 
were species of cheap and coarse linen; this was also the 

» For examples, sije ReamU of IVrir C^vJity, toL 16SI>1687, p. 85, 
VaL Stale Libnr>- ; Sto^rds *>/ if^^nncu CuMJUy, tuL 1677-1C02, p, 221» 
Tm. State Libxanr. 


character of oznaburg. Canvas was a strong cloth made 
of hemp or flax. The cloth known as Scotch varied in 
texture. Holland was the name given to unbleached 
linen. Calico was a cotton cloth that was first imported 
into England by the East India Company. Dimity was 
also of cotton but of a stout and enduring quality, being 
interwoven with figures and patterns in colors. Peni- 
stone was a coarse woollen fabric of different hues. Broad- 
cloth was of fine wool and commonly black in color. Fus- 
tian was the term first applied to a mixture of cotton and 
flax, but at a later date was used to designate a certain 
species of woollen goods. Drugget in the seventeenth 
century was composed in part of silk and in part of wool 
or cotton, the warp containing gold or silver threads. 
Cralloon was a closely woven lace used in binding. 

In England, as well as in the Colony, it was the custom 
of the age for consumers to purchase large quantities of 
these and other cloths, and to have them converted into 
garments for the person or into articles for household use. 
A comparison of the prices at wliich they were valued in the 
mother country with the prices at which they were valued 
in Virginia, will throw important light on one of the prin- 
cipal elements in the relative expense of living in England 
and the Colony. In England, the cost of lockram was 
generally about fifteen pence an ell ; in Virginia, it ranged 
from twelve to twenty-one pence an ell, according to 
breadth and quality, an ell being equal in length to a yard 
and a quarter. In England, one ell of dowlas averaged 
sixteen pence in cost; in Virginia, one yard of the same 
material ranged from eighteen pence to two shillings and 
a half, and in some cases, when it was probably in a dam- 
aged state, sold for fourteen and fifteen pence. Dimity 
commanded in England from eight pence to one shilling 
an ell or Jie average; in Virginia, it ranged from four- 


teen pence to two shillings. Scotch cloth was sold in Eng- 
land at the rate of about twenty pence a yard; in Virginia, 
it ranged from two to three shillings. The price of ozna- 
burg in Virginia was about fifteen pence a yard ; in Eng- 
land, it sold at the rate of twelve and three-quarter pence. 
Kersey in England ranged from twenty-eight pence to 
five shillings a yard; in Virginia, it was valued at from 
three to six shillings, according to width. Serge was 
sold in England in 1647 at the rate of six shillings a 
yard, but declined to two and three shillings towards the 
end of the century; in Virginia at this time it sold at the 
rate of three to five shillings a yard, according to quality.^ 
Some notion as to the texture of these different cloths 
can be obtained from the character of the articles of dress 
manufaetureil from them. The shirt was made of holland, 
blue linen, loekram, dowlas, and canvas, according to the 
quality desinnl: the hoUand representing the most costly 
and canvas the least expensive. The buttons used on the 
shirt were either of silver or pewter, and in many cases 
were carefully gilded. The drawers were of blue linen, 
calico, dimity, and canv;vs : a pair has been noted made of 
leather.* The stockings were either of silk, woollen or 
cotton thread, worsted or yarn. Thread stockings seem to 
have been useil in ridinsj. The shoes worn bv men were 

^ For the prices of these various cloths in End And, see Rncers' Historjf 
of ^i>;ricultnrr and FriCffs in Kht^lami. voL V: for lookram. p. 5->"; 
dowLvis p. oo7 ; dimity, i*. 5o»$: SiVtch oK^h, p. oo4 ; oznabnrg. p. 555; 
kejR* y. p. t>Tr» ; sewie* p. oTo. The state mens of prices in the Colony is 
bas^H^l up'u au extended cv^niparisi^m of the appraisements rwotded in the 
c^»aiit> ov^urts. The merchants who imported the cloths into Virdnia 
obtairu^l them in Knglaitd at a lower price than they weiv retailed at 
in thv kingdom. This accc^unts for the cv>mparatiTtly small differeoce 
betw e:i the prices at which they were s^^Id iu Eiulaad and in Vinnnia. 

* AV«.*"ni* «•/ i/fiirttv Cu^ftCtf, vol. l^5j>5s-lf^r. p. i23w Va. State Library. 
*'l>raAv'rs** was a term which in thju ai;e was wry often applied to 


made of ordinary leather, or they were of the sort known 
as French falls. The shoe buckles were manufactured of 
brass, steel, or silver. There are many references to boots, 
a popular means of protection to leg and foot, since the 
planters were compelled to pass much of their time on 
horseback.^ The periwig was worn in the latter part of 
the century. In 1689, William Byrd forwarded one to his 
merchant in London with instructions to have it altered.^ 
Among the personal effects of Robert Dudley of Mid- 
dlesex were two articles of this kind. Thomas Perkins 
of Rappahannock left three at his death, and Alexander 
Young of York, two.^ The covering for the heads of men 
consisted of the monmouth cap, the felt, the beaver or 
castor, and the straw hat, which occasionally terminated 
in a steeple. The neck-cloth was of blue linen, calico, 
dowlas, muslin, or the finest hoUand. The band or falling 
collar was made either of linen or lace, in keeping with 
the character of the suit. The material of the coat ranged 
from broadcloth, camlet, fustian, drugget, and serge, which 
became less expensive with the progress of the century, to 
cotton, kersey, frieze, canvas, and buckskin.* When of 
broadcloth, it was lined with calico and doubtless with 
different kinds of linen. There are numerous references 

1 In 16.36 a pair of boots in Accomac were valued at forty pounds of 
tobacco. Records of Accomac County^ original vol. 1632-1640, p. 66. 

2 Letters of William Byrd, June 10, 1689. 

3 Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1698-1713, p. 103 ; Rec- 
ords of Rappahannock County, vol. 1677-1682, p. 37, Va. State Library; 
Rf cords of York County, vol. 1694-1702, p. 439, Va. State Library. See 
also Ihid., vol. 1676-1684, p. 381. The inventory in this instance included 
three. See also Stratton inventory, Records of Uenrico County, original 
vol. 1697-1704, p. 137. 

* There is a reference in the inventory of Edward Phelps to a buck- 
skin coat. Records of York County, vol. 1675-1684, p. 174, Va. State 
Library. For a squirrel-skin coat, see Records of Loirer Xorfolk County, 
Sept. 25, 1646. Full buckskin suits were not as common in the 17th as 
in the 18th century. 


to the stuf t coat, and the smock, and to the serge or linen 
jacket. The upper garment used in riding seems to have 
been made of camlet. The buttons attached to the coat 
ranged in composition from small and large silk thread to 
brass and pewter, stone, silver, gimp, and mohair. The 
sleeve terminated in ruffles or cuffs when its material was 
of the finest quality of cloth. Over the ordinary coat 
a great-coat of frieze was worn in spells of cold weather; 
on special occasions a substitute was found in a blue or 
scarlet cloak or silk mantle. The waistcoat was made of 
dimity, cotton or drugget, flannel or penistone, and re- 
flected a great variety of colors, white, black, and blue 
being the most common. It was also found adorned with 
what was known as Turkey-work. The breeches when 
of the finest quality were of plush or broadcloth; when of 
inferior material, of linen or common ticking. There 
are many references to serge breeches lined with linen or 
worsted, and having thread buttons, and also to callimanco, 
having hair buttons. The whole suit was occasionally of 
plush, broadcloth, kersey, or canvas, or the coat was made 
of drugget, and the waistcoat and breeches of stuft cloth.^ 
The olive-colored suit was not uncommon. The handker- 
cliiefs were of silk, lace, or blue linen, the gloves of yam, 
or of ox, lamb, buck, dog, or sheepskin tanned, and were 
of local manufacture. The hands of children were kept 
warm by mittens. It seems to have been the habit of 
many persons among the wealthy class of planters to have 
even their plainest and simplest articles of clothing made 
in England. Fitzhugh instructed his merchant in London 
in 1697, to send him two suits of an ordinary character, 
one for use in winter and the other in summer. The 
exact measures for the shoes and stockings needed were 

1 A suit was sometimes valued at ten pounds sterling. See Will of 
Corbin Griffin on file in Middlesex County. 


to be guessed at, and the only direction given as to the two 
hats ordered were that they should be of the largest size. 

The clothing of the female members of the planters' fam- 
ilies was obtained from the same source as the clothing of 
the planters themselves. The most costly part of it was 
imported. Many of the dresses worn must have been as 
handsome as the dresses of women of the same social class 
in England; there are numerous allusions to silk and 
flowered gowns, to bodices of blue linen or green satin, 
and to waistcoats trimmed with lace. The petticoat was of 
serge, flannel, or tabby, a species of colored silk cloth ; it 
was also made of printed linen or dimity, and was trimmed 
with silk or silver lace. An outfit of gown, petticoat, and 
green stockings, composed of woollen material, is often 
entered in the inventories. The coverings for the head 
were of several kinds; there were sarsnet and calico 
hoods, palmetto hats ^ and bonnets trimmed with lace, to 
be used on special occasions. Black tippets were worn 
on the lower portion of the arms, and the hands were 
concealed by thread gloves. Scarfs reflecting a variety 
of colors were drawn about the neck, and mantles of 
crimson taffeta over the shoulders. The hose also varied 
very much in color, being white, scarlet, or black . There 
were silk garters dyed in different hues. The shoes of 
finest quality were either laced or gallooned. Woollen 
shoes and shoes with wooden heels were also worn. The 
aprons were of muslin, silk, serge, and blue duffield. 
Fans, many of which were doubtless highly ornamented, 
were conspicuous articles of dress in the toilets of the 
planters' wives, and golden and gilt stomachers were not 
unknown. Sweet powders were also in use.* 

^ Records of Bappahannock County, vol. 1677-1682, p. 21, Va. State 

* One Henrico inventory contains the following item : ** Two boxes of 
sweet powder and four puffs." Vol. 1088-1607, p. 403, Va. State Library. 

VOL. U. — O 


When the stepdaughter of Joseph Croshaw of York 
set out for Virginia from England about 1661, she was 
furnished by Jonathan Newell with the following articles 
of clothing : a scarf, a white sarsnet and a ducape hood, 
a white flannel petticoat, two green aprons, three pairs of 
gloves, a long riding scarf, a mask, and a pair of shoes.^ 
The wardrobe of Mrs. Sarah Willoughby of Lower Nor- 
folk consisted of a red, a blue, and a black silk petticoat, a 
petticoat of India silk and of worsted prunella, a striped 
linen and a calico petticoat, a black silk gown, a scarlet 
waistcoat, with silver lace, a white knit waistcoat, a striped 
stuff jacket, a worsted prunella mantle, a sky-colored 
satin bodice, a pair of red paragon bodices, three fine and 
three coarse hoUand aprons, seven handkerchiefs, and two 
hoods. The whole was valued at fourteen pounds and 
nineteen shillings.^ 

Mrs. Francis Pritchard of Lancaster was in possession of 
a wardrobe quite as extensive as that of Mrs. Willoughby. 
It included an olive colored silk petticoat, petticoats of 
silver and flowered tabby, and of velvet and white-striped 
dimity, a printed calico gown lined with blue silk, a white 
striped dimity jacket, a black silk waistcoat, a pair of scarlet 
sleeves, a pair of holland sleeves with ruffles, a Flanders 
lace band, one cambric and three holland aprons, five cam- 
bric handkerchiefs, and several pairs of green stockings.' 

An instance is recorded in York of the destruction of 
silks and linen valued at fourteen pounds sterling belong- 
ing to a lady of that county, in consequence of the care- 
lessness of her servant in dropping fire into the trunk in 
which they were kept. 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1657-1062. p. 415, Va. State Library. 
See in sjime volume, p. 3!)0; also p. 140 in vol. le»87-1001. 

2 Records of Lower Norfolk Countii^ orii:itial vol. 1075-1686, f. p. 147. 
* Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1674-1687, p. 77. 


Among the property of women in this age were pearl 
lecklaces, gold pendants, silver earrings, and gold hand 
ings which were often inscribed with posies. It was 
:[uite common for people making provision against the 
:ime of death to leave mourning rings to a large number 
3f relatives and friends. Mrs. Elizabeth Digges in her 
will desired that eight should be distributed among the 
members of her intimate circle. Corbin Griffin of Middle- 
sex bequeathed twenty-five pounds sterling for the pur- 
chase of rings of the same character, sixteen pounds of 
which were to be expended in such as would cost one 
guinea apiece. In his will, Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., ordered 
that twenty pounds of his estate should be used in buy- 
ing mourning rings, which he directed should be given to 
certain persons who were dear to him. Francis Page left 
similar instructions. John Page empowered his executors 
to purchase eighteen for the same purpose,^ Robert Hodge 
of Lower Norfolk, fourteen, and Robert Beckingham of 
Lancaster, sixteen.* In March, 1675, a judgment was 
entered in the General Court involving a large number 
of pearls which had not been delivered.^ A few years 
before, Mrs. William Bassett had been permitted by the 
same court to retain her jewels as a part of her para- 
phernalia. Bequests of such articles to wives by hus- 
bands were not uncommon. In the estate of Arthur 
Dickinson, there were included one gold ring with seven 
rubies, a second ring with one ruby, a third with a white 

^ Becords of York County, vol. 1690-1694, Bacon, p. 168 ; Francis 
Page, p. 171 ; John Page, p. 137 ; Va. State Library. 

2 Rf cords of Lover Norfolk County, original vol. 1676-1686, f. p. 106 ; 
Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1674-1689, f. p. 19. 

• Records of General Court, p. 213. See also Records of Princess 
Ann^ County, vol. for 1697, Oct. 21, in which there is an inventory that 
nclades among its items ten pearls and fifteen bloodstones. 

196 ECQXOSaO history of YIRGGfOA 

stone, and lastly^ a ring of plain gold.^ Nathaniel Branker 
of Lower Norfolk County* at his death was in possession 
of a sapphire set in gold, one gold ring with a blue stone, 
another with a green stone« and another still with a yellow, 
two hollow wrought rings* a diamond ring with several 
sparks* a mourning ring, a beryl set in sUver, and an 
amber necklace.' Small gold and sUver bodkins were 
used by the wires of the planters for the purpose of keep- 
ing the headdress in place. 

Plantation life towards the end of the centurr, as at 
an earlier date, g^v^ f^w opportunities even for the most 
moderate display. There were no towns where, as at 
Williamsburg in the following century* the families of 
the leading citizens of the Colony might gather at cer- 
tain seasons and show ojf in cv^nsiderable state the con- 
temporauei>us fashions. The church of the parish was the 
only social centre of each communitT. It was here alone 
that line clothing could be exhilnted on a public occasion. 
Doubtless at the weiUliugs* and other social meetings of a 
private character* the mv.xst cvx^Iy suits and dresses were 

1 i?ijwr»Af •?/ Y/r^ Cotni^^ rcL l*?^*-!*?:^. pc 474. Ta. Sttte IJbnuT. 

* K>rcvr*i» •// £^4wr Xorfin^ 0?mn£y^ eciMil tv»L 1<Si^6-ld9k3s L p. 17. 
T^rv :w«m CO bjkvv N*ifti $ltilixxl jp.Hdtsttctbi^ in tbbe Cc«k>aT. Hits Is to be 
tiaivirtvd m.^Bt (fiL«f ^.'Ilowis^ ifxtnicc £cvmL ;2ii? £>*x^^ni$ ^ Eiizabeih City 
Oj*'%^. rvL I'^S^-t'ftWv p. 2».^l : ^^ Wh^tv*? it dipfwajrs that PWer Gib6<Bi 
KOfitv^ oi H«entnr Koy-ju! i«,*arv ^.ud raw* 5o SLAke tw^ noss of them of 
XV siaise wvkbn. btts thsev N^ijcx^ !*.>$£ by ^toxiiie&s. » t« sui Gibson alleges, 
3J2>i mjriK -Mih auk^ v\* 5;u:d nn^ Wi;£b«*«i bcic p?(xr WdLTv^c^tit and eight 
g:r&J!^ I*, isk iboervfvrv^ cnl)ecv\i yc tibe 5&5ii Gl^^ca «io« fonhwith nuike 
c v.^ jp.'i»i i^ttitrs^ .^c >« j^>r«t$ai)d wvt((:h€ ^zui >iifu>r«r t« saaK to ]re said RoyiUl 
or v:i>i»fi:. Tt;Aitrn^{ ;«ai^>a*^bit[r pd^nt^fixe $?r njikijs^ ;Ibei:«vf with costs. *^ 



All the descriptions of Virginia in the seventeenth 
century transmitted to us go to show that the people of 
all classes in that age lived in the greatest abundance. 
Those conditions which had furnished the aboriginal 
tribes with an unlimited supply of food of extraordinary 
variety, with the need of but small effort in securing it, 
prevailed with little appreciable modification except in one 
or two particulars.^ The soil, the air, the water, all con- 
tributed to the plenty so freely enjoyed by the great body 
of the English population. There were innumerable 
cattle that afforded butter, cheese,^ milk, veal, and beef. 
The ice-house as yet did not enter into the household 
economy, and in consequence it was the custom of a 
planter on slaughtering an ox to send to his neighbors 
such portions of the carcass as could be spared, which 
the neighbor repaid in his turn.^ At this time, the only 
means employed for the preservation of fresh meats was 
water flowing into a box house erected in the stream that 
issued from the spring, but this expedient did not serve 

* Colonel Norwood in his Voyage to Virginia declares that North- 
ampton was *' the best county of the whole for all sorts of necessaries 
for human life," p. 48, Force's Historical Tracts^ vol. III. 

2 The inventory of the personal estate of Nathaniel Bradford of Ac- 
coma<; included among its items fifty pounds of * *■ Virginia cheese. " Records 
of Accomac County, original vol. 1682-1097, f. p. 214. 

* Leah and Bachel, p. 19, Force's Historical Tracts, voL III. 



to keep such meats in good condition for any g^eat length 
of time. Beef both dried and fresh were included in the 
inventories of estates.^ In some cases it had been salted. 
The beef of the Colony, while pronounced to be of excel- 
lent quality, was not as fat as that produced in England, 
where the cattle perhaps were more carefully provided for 
in winter. A cow or an ox designed for the butcher was 
there most frequently stalled as a preparation for its con- 
version into food. In Virginia, it was allowed to run 
wild in the woods even in December and January, or 
was scantily fed on straw, and when the spring arrived, 
bringing the grass back to the fields and the leaves to 
the forest, the animal was almost exhausted. With the 
improved nourishment it soon recuperated, but never 
acquired the fatness which made English beef one of 
the most nourishing of all varieties of food. 

As has already been stated, the bacon of the Colony, 
many years before the close of the seventeenth century, 
was considered by impartial foreign judges to be equal 
to that of Westphalia, the most celebrated in the world 
in that age.^ Clayton expressed the opinion that it 
very much excelled the English. The very causes that 

1 One of the items in the inventory of Robert Dniry of York County 
was *' forty pounds of dried beef,'* this being in addition to other meats. 
Becords, vol. 1684-1687, p. 333, Va. State Library. The inventory of 
Margery Bullington included eighty-seven pounds of beef. Becards of 
Henrico County, vol. 1088-1697, p. 306, Va. State Library-. There were 
professional butchers in the Colony in the seventeenth century, some of 
whom, if an inference can be drawn from the .case of William John.son, 
were the owners of extensive tracts of land. See Records of Middlesex 
County, original vol. 1694-1703, p. 230. 

2 Clayton's Virginia, p. 36, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. m. Bum- 
aby, writing nearly an hundred yeai*s later (1759), remarked : **The Vir- 
ginia pork is said to be superior in flavor to any in the world." See his 
travels printed in Va. Hist. Register, vol. V, No. 1, p. 38. Large quanti- 
tiea of pork are enimierated in the inventories of the seventeenth century. 


3ted from the quality of Virginian beef were favor- 
» the quality of Virginian bacon. The wandering 
nee of the colonial hog, by reducing its fat, was 
bly as effective in creating the superior flavor of 
sh as the mast, roots, and herbs upon which it fed 
ranging in the woods. Clayton declared that shoats 
rklets were the principal food of a large section of 
)pulation. Poultry were so numerous in the Colony 
luring the time of the Company that it was affirmed 
nly those planters who were bad husbandmen failed 
ed an hundred a year, and that they formed a part of 
iily meals of all who were in good circumstances.^ 
e general wealth increased, the use of domestic fowls 
»d was not confined to those who had comfortable 
;. Devries, a Dutch captain who visited the Colony 
43, has recorded the fact that a carpenter, upon 
1 house he had stumbled when lost in the vicinity 
wport's News, set before him a meal consisting of 
y and chicken, which had been killed for his use.* 
5 number of sheep in Virginia being comparatively 

mutton was more esteemed than venison, which 
) commonly eaten in some parts of the Colony that 
sople had grown tired of it.' The other kinds of 

furnished food at certain seasons of the year in 
abundance. Not only were the flocks of wild tur- 
rery large, but the birds themselves often attained 
extraordinary weight. The wild fowls in the rivers, 
J, and bays were so numerous in autumn and winter 

yrks of Capt. John Smith, p. 885. Poultry, probably because they 
abundant, were rarely enumerated in the inventories. See Records 
: County, vol. 1667-1662, p. 161 ; also Ibid., vol. 1664-1672, p. 163, 
te Library. 

vries' Voyages from Holland to America, p. 188. 
iyton*8 Virginia, p. 35, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. Ill ; Leah 
diel, p. 13, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. III. 


that they were regarded as the least expensive food on 
the table of the planter ; ^ the goose, the mallard, the 
canvas-back, the red-head, the plover, and other species 
of the most highly flavored marine birds were more 
frequently cooked in his kitchen than domestic poultry. 
Fish of the finest varieties were as easily obtained. 
Sheepshead, shad, breme, perch, soles, bass, chub, and 
pike swarmed in the nearest waters. Oysters could be 
procured in quantities as large as in the first years after 
the settlement of the country, while other species of shell- 
fish were found in almost equal abundance. 

It was thought by many good judges, that the fruit 
of Virginia wiis superior in flavor to that of England. 
This was in the most marked degree the case with the 
peach and quince, the quince of the Colony, unlike that 
of the mother country, being sufficiently palatable to be 
eaten raw, while the diflference between the English and 
Virginian peach was siud to be as great in favor of the 
latter as that between the best relishetl apple and the crab.^ 
There were grapes, plums, and figs in all of the gardens, 
and in season, large quantities went to decay because there 
was no way of using the superfluity. Strawberries grew 
in such abundance in the deserted fields that it was con- 
sidered umiecessary to cultivate the plant : baskets were 
with little difficulty filled with the wild berries.' Apple 
orehaitls were numerous and furnished a supply of this 
truit both for the summer and the winter. There were 
ten varieties of i»eas and two varieties of potatoes, the 
sweet and the Irish ; there were pimipkins, eymblins, 

* Amon^ the twenty-one sinns ONvu*?*i by Ralph Wnrmeley were five 
fowliu-; pieces. Set; Rerords *»/ M:*hU*i:t4-x County, vol. 109S- 
P 13. p. I *i!^ Lamij were f requen tlv p*>.<teii. 5ve Records of T^yrk Co u Hjy. 
▼ol. 10lH>-lrt:»4^ p. 2.">l Va. State Library. 

* Leah antl Rachel, p. \X F-^rct*^ Uisii*ncai Tructs^ toL UL 

* Beverley's Huttory of i'lryiMia, p. lOA. 


melons, and roasting ears of Indian corn. All of the 
English vegetables flourished in the soil of Virginia. 
Walnuts, chestnuts, liickory, and hazel nuts were obtained 
from every forest. Honey was a common article of food, 
much attention being paid to apiculture ; there were few 
householders who did not have hives under the eaves of 
their outbuildings, one planter owning as many as thir- 
teen stocks.^ Mr. George Pelton, who lived about the 
middle of the century, obtained from his bees an annual 
profit of thirty pounds sterling.^ There were many wild 
swarms in the woods, the honeycombs, which were con- 
cealed in the hollows of trees, becoming very frequently 
the booty of the colonial bee-hunters. 

Among the imported articles of food was rice and sweet- 
meats, and spices in large quantities were also brought 
m. There were pepper and cloves, mace and cinnamon, 
ginger, sugar,^ and lime-juice, oranges, lemons, raisins, 
and prunes. Salt formed a part of the stores of every 
planter, being needed not only for giving flavor to the 
different dishes appearing on the table at meals, but also 
for the preservation of meats reserved for household con- 
sumption, or designed to be exported.* Wheat-bread was 
in common use among the members of the highest class, 
but bread made of Indian corn baked in large or small 

J Becords of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 446, Va. State Library. 
See also liecords of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 364, Va. State 
Library. New Description of Virginia, p. 4, Force's Historical Tracts, 
vol. II. Mr. Nicholas Seabrell of York owned seven hives. Vol. 1664-1672, 
p. in2, Va. State Library. 

2 New Description of Virginia, p. 16, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. II. 

» In a letter to John Cooper of London in 1685, Fitzhugh writes: ** I 
have only in my former sent for 100 pounds of sundrey sugars, and about 
60 or 80 pounds of powdered sugar." Jiyie 1, 1685. 

♦ Among the articles in household use owned by Giles Mode in 1657 
were two hogsheads of salt, one of white, the other of bay salt. Eecords 
of York, 1657-1662, p. 48, Va. State Library. 


cakes in the pan, was equally as popular ; it was most 
probably the only bread eaten by the servants and slaves. 
As early as 1621, it was generally recognized by the peo- I 
pie of tlie Colony that Indian corn bread was more nour- 
ishing than wheat in the arduous life which at that time 
they were compelled to lead, and the same fact had been 
observed at a later period in the case of men who had 
been required to work with their hands. 

Twenty years after the foundation of the Colony it was 
asserted, it would seem with considerable exaggeration, 
by a woman of prominence who had resided there, that 
from her own ground of .a few acres in Virginia, she 
could provide for her household more abundantly than 
in London by an expenditure of three or four hundred 
pounds sterling^^ which in that age was equal to several 
thousand dollars in our modern currenev. The ease with 
which a subsistence was secured* the combined result of a 
fertile soil and a genial climate* was the principal expla* 
nation of the hospitality for which tlie people were distin- 
guished before the country had been settled half a cen- 
tury.* Colonel Norwood, in describing his sojourn on the 
Eastern Shore after his shipwreck, relates that he was 
feasteil not oidy In* the ho^t whom he happened to be 
visiting for the time being* but also by all the planters 
in the neighK>rhvHHl. There seems to have been some 
rivalry as to who should be able to set before their guest 
the greatest vurietv of dishes, Xorwootl. who was not 
unfaiuiliar with the manner of life of the EInglish court, 
commended the coi^kiug iu Virginia.* The gentry seera 
to have felt much pride iu their tables* taking pains* we 

1 Works './ C(J^^ John Smi^. p. ??^7. 

t Leiih auil K:iobtfl. p. l-\ Fon.-v's W^tcoric-tt Tr^trts, m. 
' Norwood** yoffQ'jis tu yUyima* p. "k^, F^n:*;** Iluftoricul TracU, 


are informed by Beverley, to have their victuals cooked 
and served as if they were in London.^ 

It was the general habit of the colonists to charge 
nothing for the casual entertainment of a stranger, suffi- 
cient remuneration being derived from the enjoyment 
of his society, a pleasure of no small importance in 
the secluded life of the plantations. It was especially 
provided by law that unless there had been a distinct 
arrangement to pay for accommodations, both in regard 
to food and shelter, nothing could be recovered from a 
guest, however long he might remain under the roof.^ 
The usual charge for board about the middle of the cen- 
tury was five pounds sterling for twelve months, or about 
one hundred and twenty-five dollars in American cur- 
rency of the present age. Bullock stated, that by the 
expenditure of this sum in the Colony, any one might live 
in a manner which in England would entail an outlay of 
thirty pounds sterling, six times the amount required in 
Virginia.^ The rates for victuals at all of the ordinaries 
were carefully prescribed by law. Previous to 1()39, the 
cost of a meal was fixed at six pouAds of tobacco, or 
eighteen pence in coin, but in the course of that year it 
was reduced to twelve pence, or its equivalent in the 
same commodity, the abundance of food of all sorts l)eing 
unusually great.* Five years later, the charge for a meal 
at an inn was not allowed to exceed ten pounds. Only 
wliolesome diet was to be furnished, and that in sufficient 

During the session of the Assembly in March, 1657-58, 

1 Beverley's Uistory of Virginia, p. 236. 
« Hening*s Statutr^s, vol. IJ, p. 192. 

* Bullock's Virfjinin, p. .'>7. 

* Ilening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 229. 

* Ibid., p. 287. 


special rates for a meal and lodging at Jamestown were en- 
forced by the authorities, a master being required to paj 
twenty pounds of tobacco and a servant fifteen.^ The same 
charges were prescribed by an Act of Assembly a decade 
later, this Act extending to all parts of the Colony. So 
onerous were the rates adopted by the tavern keepers on 
their own motion, that it is stated to have had a serious i 
effect in deterring persons having just claims from attend- 
ing the General and County Courts and prosecuting their 
suits. The excessive 'demands had their origin not so 
much in the exorbitant spirit of the keepers of ordinaries 
as in the limited character of the local custom, and the 
great danger of depreciation in the leaf offered in pay- 
ment. The rate fixed upon by law for a single meal, 
fifteen pounds for a master and ten for a servant, was 
very high, as fifteen pounds of tobacco at this time would 
bring, if its quality was good, not less than five shillings 
in modern English currency, which appears remarkable in 
a country distinguished for an extraordinary abundance 
of provisions.* 

Ten years later some important changes were made in 
the rates for food at the taverns. For a master, the 
amoimt for a single meal was fixed at twelve pounds of 
tobacco and for his servant at eight, if they were stopping 
at an ordinary in the town where the General Court or 
the Assembly had convened. Elsewhere it was to be ten 
for the master and six for the servant. The cost of , 
lodging for each one was not to exceed three pounds, 
whether at Jamestown or at other places in the Colony. 
The charge for pasturing a horse, the owner of which was 
a guest of the inn, was fixed at six pounds for a period 
of twenty-four hours ; if sheltered and supplied with hay 
and straw, the fee for the same length of time was to be 

I Hening's iStatuUs^ voL I, p. 400. » Ibid, voL II, p. 263. 


eight. Grain was to be furnished at the rate of forty 
pounds of tobacco a bushel, and oats at the rate of 
sixty pounds.^ 

At different periods in the course of the seventeenth 
century, an attempt was made to arrange the general 
scale of prices at which articles of food were to be sold, 
without regard to their being disposed of in a tavern or 
not. This was often done in the early decades by the 
proclamation of the Governor and Council. The rates 
set by the owners were doubtless very much higher than 
those laid down in these proclamations, nevertheless the 
rates prescribed in the latter represented with substantial 
accuracy the true value of such articles at the time. In 
1625, a pound of tobacco was worth about one shilling. 
In this year was renewed the proclamation that appeared 
in 1623, the year of the great dearth following the massa- 
cre, which led to exorbitant charges for the most ordinary 
articles. A pound of sugar was rated at one poimd of to- 
bacco or one shilling in coin, a firkin of butter at twenty 
pounds of tobacco or twenty shillings, Newfoundland 
fish at ten pounds of tobacco or ten shillings a hundred, 
Canada dry fish at twenty-four pounds of tobacco or 
twenty-four shillings a hundred, Canada wet fish at thirty 
pounds of tobacco or thirty shillings a hundred.^ 

In 1642, a tax was imposed upon every tithable person 
in the Colony for the benefit of Governor Berkeley, to be 
paid in provisions of different kinds. The rate prescribed 
for geese and turkeys was five shillings apiece ; for hens, 
twelve pence ; for capons, one shilling and six pence ; 
for beef, three and a half pence a pound ; for a calf in 
condition to be slaughtered and converted into veal, 
twenty-five shillings ; for a goat, twenty shillings ; for a 

* Hening^s Statutes^ vol. II, p. 394. 

« British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. 1. 


roasting pig, three shillings ; for butter and cheese, e 
and six pence a pound.^ 

When, in 1676, English soldiers were sent to Virj 
for the purpose of suppressing the insurrection which 
broken out under the leadership of Bacon, an order 
issued that the people should sell them the foUoi 
articles at the prices named, the ratio of the purchs 
power in the currency of the present day being obta 
by multiplying the figures by four or five : fresh beef 
to be sold at the rate of two pence a pound and drt 
beef at the rate of three ; fresh pork at the rato of 
pence and salted pork at the rate of two and a half, 
price set for dried bacon was five pence a pound ; i 
cook, hen* or pullet, ten pence ; and for a capon, fif t 
Milk was to be sold at the rate of two pence a quart L 
intervid between Septemlier 30th and May 20th, an 
one j>enny between May 20th and September 30th- Dc 
these two successive jierioils, the price of butter was i 
six and five pence resj^ectively. The price set for 
was a penny for three- Indian com was to be sold ai 
rate of two shillinsrs and six pence a busheL and whe 
the rate of four shillinsrs. To this must be added the 
lay in converting these grains into meal and flour.^ 

It will be seen from this general statement of p 
that the cost of the principal articles of food had fall( 
the interval since 1^2 in some cases as much as fifti 
cent. Allowance must be made for the fact that the : 
laid down in this scheilule hail been amuiged at mil 
lUctation. The charges for food at this time were 

« Act* v^ Ajis«rKKY« FVK ». 2ito tvtkt *>f CLarics II Reign^ W 
FStp^nrt^ Tvi. IL pv !», Vx ^Jite Li>»rT. I- I'ft;:. niilk soid at Kec 
laa M tb(i? r»ap c»C twvkTv peaci^ a ^r^Ii^c. ArciuTw <if 3iAi7Und 


high, the suppression of the insurrection having left all 
the interests of the Colony in a state of confusion. The 
schedule was adopted to override this condition of affairs 
by force of law. 

In the list of debts filed against the estate of John 
Griggs, in February, 1678-79, there is found an interesting 
statement of prices of certain provisions. For instance, 
a beef was appraised at four hundred pounds of tobacco, 
a turkey at forty pounds, two geese at eighty, two bushels 
of flour at ninety, and twenty pounds of butter at one 4 
hundred.^ A pound of tobacco at this time was worth 
from one and a quarter to two pence. In 1682, the price 
of fresh beef was fixed at ten shillings or one hundred 
pounds of tobacco a hundred-weight ; the price of fresh 
pork at twelve shillings or one hundred and twenty 
pounds of the same commodity a hundred, representing 
in both mstances a value of one penny and one-fifth of a 
penny a pound.^ Dried beef was higher by several pence.^ 

The different figures quoted show very plainly that 
the rates for provisions gradually fell in Virginia with 
the progress of the seventeenth century; this was due 
to the increase in the number of plantations, and the en- 
largement of the volume of production in every depart- 
ment. The decline continued in the eighteenth century 
for the same reasons. When Beverley wrote his history 
of Virginia, a pound of beef or pork ranged in price as 
low as one penny. The fattest pullets were sold for six 
pence apiece, a turkey hen for fifteen or eighteen, and a 
turkey cock for two shillings.* 

It is interesting to compare the rates for provisions in 

^ Records of York County, vol. 1675^1684, p. 87, Va. State Library. 
« Ibid., vol. 1671-1694, p. 104 ; Heuing's Statutes, vol. 11, p. 507. 
' Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 45. 
* Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 230. 


Virginia with the rates for the same articles of food in 
England during the seventeenth century; a just concep- I 
tion may be thus obtained of the relative expense of 
living in the two countries during this long period. In 
England, the price of beef at the beginning of the century 
was nearly two pence a poimd, and at the close of it four 
pence. In the Colony, it was precisely the reverse. Three 
and a half pence in 1642, when the provision tax was im- 
posed for the benefit of Sir William Berkeley, the price of 
one pound of beef was one penny and one-fifth of a penny 
in 1682, and at certain seasons one penny only in 1705. In 
1646, veal was sold in England at two shillings and seven 
and a half pence a stone; in 1678, at two pence, two and a 
half pence, and two and three-quarter pence a pound. In 
these instances, the weight of the calf when slaughtered 
did not exceed ninety pounds. The price lists adopted 
by the Assembly in Virginia make no specific reference 
to veal, the rates for this meat doubtless being included 
in those for beef. The valuation laid down for a calf in 
1642, namely, twenty-five shillings, conveys no definite 
idea as to weight, the age alone of the animal being taken 
into consideration. The Virginian price lists fail to in- 
clude mutton, an indication of the small part which it 
played in the economy of the household. Some notion 
as to its cost in the Colony as compared with its cost in 
England may be obtained from the relative values of 
sheep in the two, which have been touched upon in the 
account of the agricultural development of Virginia at 
different periods. Pork in the mother country rose in 
price as time advanced, reversing, as in the case of beef* 
the history of the same article of food in the Colony, 
where it commanded, in the latter part of the century, » 
penny and one-fifth a pound. In England at this time 
three pence seem to have been the lowest rate, and in 


some cases it rose to six. The differences in the prices 
of bacon in England and Virginia were not so marked, 
five pence a pound being its value in the latter country 
in 1677, while in the former it sold not infrequently for 

In England, the price of butter fluctuated very much 
in the seventeenth century. During the course of the 
first thirty years, it rose very steadily; then, with the 
exception of the interval between 1643 and 1652, when it 
was very dear, it declined during thirty years, then rose 
in price again, until in the last decade it was rated at a 
very high figure.^ In 1600, it commanded five pence and 
one-seventh of a penny a pound, or four shillings eight 
and a half pennies a dozen pounds; in 1650, six pence 
and five-twelfths of a penny a pound, or six shillings and 
five pence a dozen pounds ; in 1700, at seven pence a 
pound, or seven shillings a dozen pounds.^ In 1642, 
butter was sold in the Colony at eight pence a pound;* 
in 1667, when food was dear, at six pence in winter and 
at five in summer.^ By the end of the century, it had 
sunk to still lower figures. The same fact is observed in 
regard to butter as in the case of other forms of food, 
that is to say, it grew dearer in England as the century 
advanced and cheaper in Virginia. The rates for milk 
in 1677, the only year in which a record of its value 
exists, were two pence in winter and one penny in sum- 
mer, adopting the quart as the standard of measurement. 
The only reference to the price of this article in England 

1 Rogers' History of Agriculture and Prices in England, vol. V, price 
of beef and veal, pp. 334, 338 ; pork and bacon, p. 343. 

« Ibid,, p. 368. 

» Ibid., pp. 373-378. 

« Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 281. 

* Acte of Assembly, Feb. 20, 29th year Charles II Reign, Winder 
Papers^ vol. II, p. 99, Va. State Library. 

TOL. II. — ? 


in the same century is in connection with the interval 
between 1643 and 1649; in the latter year, it sold for 
five pence a gallon, or one and one-quarter pence a quart.' 
The probability is that it followed the ratio of increase in 
price observed in the case of other provisions. In Eng- 
land, the price of eggs fell from four shillings in 1600 to 
two shillings six and a half pence in 1645, one hundred 
or eight dozen being taken as the standard. For the rest 
of the century there appear to be no data. It would 
seem that, like butter, eggs rose in price towards the close 
of the century. The falling off in value for the first fifty 
years represented a decline from half a penny an egg to 
about one-third of a penny. In 1677, a year of great 
scarcity, the price of an egg was in Virginia fixed at one- 
third of a penny, but this doubtless was a much higher 
valuation than prevailed at a later date.^ In 1642, a 
capon sold in England at one shilling five and a half 
pence, in Virginia at one shilling six pence ; in 1678, in 
England at three shillings^ in Virginia in the same year 
at one shilling five pence ; in 1700, at two shillings six 
pence in England, in Virginia at eight or nine pence* 
A hen or pullet in England sold in 1642 at eleven and a 
half pence, in Virginia at twelve pence ; in 1676, in Eng- 
land at two shillings, in Virginia at ten pence ; in 1700, 
in England at two shillings and six pence, in Virginia 
at six pence. In 1642^ a goose s^ild in England at two 
shillings and a half penny, in Virginia at five shillings; 
in 1678, in England at three shillings and six pence, in 
Virginia at forty pounds of tobacco, which were equal 
in value to about one and a half pence a pound ; in 1700. 

^ Rogers' HiMortf of Agriculture and Prices in England^ voL V,p. 362, 
* Acts of Assembly. Feb, 20, ilKh year Charles 11 Reign, Winder 

Papers^ vol. II, p. y9, Va. State Library ; Rogers* JRMory of AffricuUurt 

ami Prices im Engiands pp. 37^, 875. 


n England at three shillings and six pence, in Virginia at 
icn pence or a shilling. The same difference was to be 
lotieed with respect to turkeys and ducks. ^ 

In the True and Sincere Declaration^ issued in De- 
cember, 1609, by the Governor and Council for Virginia, 
there was an advertisement for two brewers, who as soon 
as they were secured were to be dispatched to the Colony ; 
and in a broadside published about this time the adver- 
tisement was repeated.^ Brewers were also included 
among the tradesmen who were designed by the Company 
to go over with Sir Thomas Gates.* This indicated the 
importance in the eyes of that corporation of establishing 
the means in Virginia of manufacturing malt liquors on 
the spot instead of relying on the importations from 
England. The notion arose that one of the principal 
causes of the mortality so prevalent among those arriving 
in the Colony in the period following the first settlement 
of the country was the substitution of water for the beer 
to which the immigrants had been accustomed in England. 
The Assembly, in the session of 1623-24, went so far as to 
recommend that all new comers should bring in a supply 
of malt to be used in brewing liquor, thus making it 

unnecessary to drink the water of Virginia imtil the body 

liad become hardened to the climate.^ 
Previous to 1625, two brew-houses were in operation in 

the Colony, and the patronage which they received was 

evidently very liberal. The population of Virginia at 

^ Rogers' History of Agriculture and Prices in England, vol. V, prices 
<rf capon, pp. 374, 378 ; hen, p. 378 ; goose, p. 375. For Virginian prices, 
8ee Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 281, vol. II, p. 506. Beverley's History 
of Virginia, pp. 2:i6, 237. 

* Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 353. 

«/6(d.,p. 356. 

*/6W., p. 470. 

^British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IH, No. 7. 


that time had, with the exception of a small proportion of 
the inhabitants, not only been bom but also reared in 
England, and had, therefore, the English thirst for strong 
liquors. It was not long before they discovered the 
adaptability of the persimmon to beer.^ It was even 
sought to make wine of sassafras.^ Barley and Indian 
corn were planted to secure material for brewing, the 
ale produced, both strong and small, being pronounced 
by capable judges to be of excellent quality.* Twenty, 
years after the dissolution of the Company, there were 
six public brew-houses in Virginia, the malt used being 
extracted from the barley and hops which had in con- 
siderable quantities been raised for this purpose.* In 
1652, George Fletcher obtained the monopoly of brewing 
in wooden vessels for a period of fourteen years.* In 
some places, beer was, about the middle of the century, 
the most popular of all the liquors dnmk in the Colony,* 
the great proportion of it being brewed at this time in the 
houses of the planters. With the progress of time, the 
cultivation of Ixirley practically ceased- In the period 

I Broadside, 1621, Purchas* PilffHmes, vol. IT, p. 17&I. 

* This was the pn^ject of a Mr. RusseU, a chemist, who proposed, in 
consideration of £1000 to be paid by the Company, to demonstrate that 
wine could be prv»duoeil from the sassafras. The proposition was ac- 
cepted by the Com^tany with some modification, but as nothing more is 
known of the matter, it is to be inferred that Mr. Russell failed to shoi*^ 
what he haU undertaken. Bo^al ifijtf. JISS. CommissioH^ Fifth Repoxtf 
Appx., p. 3-11. 

* Works o/ Capt. John Smiih, p. 880. George Thorpe, writing to John 
Smith of Nibley in 1020. comments on the fact that the colonists bad 
found a way to make a gixni drink fn.^m Indian com, which he preferred 
to English beer. Cholmondeley MSS.. Ro^nl Hisi. JISS. Commission^ 
Fifth Reivrt, Appx., p, 341. 

* l%?rfect IVscriptton of Virginia, p. 3^ Force's Hisiarical Tmrt** 
vol. II. 

* NeiU's Virifinitt Canilfntm, p. 331. 

^ Leah and KacbeU p- 13« Force's Hisioricat Tracts, vol. UL 


>f the English Protectorate, there were offered a number 
^f petitions from English merchants who were anxious to 
3btain licenses to export malt to Virginia ; ^ the quantity 
brought in steadily increased, the landowners in good 
circumstances purchasing it to be used in making beer. 
They also imported the beer itself. The poorest class of 
people had recourse to various expedients as a substitute 
for malt. They brewed with dried Indian corn or with 
bran and molasses ; or they brewed with the baked cakes 
of the fruit of the persimmon tree; or with potatoes; 
or the green stalks of maize chopped into fine pieces and 
mashed; or with pumpkins; or the Jerusalem artichoke, 
which was planted like barley to be consumed in the 
manufacture of spirits. It is said, however, that the 
liquor made from this vegetable was not very much 
esteemed.^ There are many references in the county 
records to malt-mills and also to malt-houses,^ which 
were the private property of planters. Some owned dis- 
tilleries,* others worms and limbecks. 

1 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. XIII, No. 12. 
* Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 238. The following letter relating 
to the importation of malt \a preserved in the York Records : 

♦' London, May 2, 1600. 

Brother: I doe hereby dejsyre you to deliver unto Mr. Robert Whit- 
baire or Richard Merret, and in their absence, then unto Mr. Christopher 
Harris in Queen's Creek in York River, five hogsheads of mault, marked 
^ No. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. . . ." Records of York County, vol. 1067-1662, 
p. 308, Va. State Library. 

' Reference has been made to the malt-house of Francis Page. Ed- 
mund Scarborough had also erected a house for this purpose. Records of 
^ccomac County, original vol. 1666-1676, p. 31. The malt was generally 
^^pt in the cellars. Giles Mode writes in 1657 to Mr. Bushrod as follows; 
^^ 1 am sensible the mault you had in ye sellar was betwixt six and seven 
^^heU. ..." Records of York County, vel. 1657-1662, p. 48, Va. State 

*Secords of Rappahannock County, vol. 1664-1673. p. 83, Va. State 


Cider was in as common use as beer ; in season it was 
found in the house of every planter in the Colony. In 
the opinion of English judges, like Hugh Jones, it was not 
much inferior in quality to the most famous kinds produced 
in Herefordshire.^ Fitzhugh, however, does not appear to 
have entertained this opinion, although, like Jones, he had 
in early life been in a position to compare English with 
Virginian cider on the ground where it was made. On 
one occasion, he sent to George Mason of Bristol a sample 
of the cider of the Colony, accompanying it with a some- 
what apologetic letter : " I had not the vanity," he wrote, 
"to think that we could outdo, much less equal, your 
Herefordshire red stroke, especially that ];nade at particular 
places. I only thought because of the place from where it 
came, it might be acceptable, and give you an opportunity 
in the drinking of it to discover what future advantages 
this country may be capable of."* 

Large quantities of cider were frequently the subject of 
specialties ; thus Peter Marsh of York County about 1675 
entered into a bond to pay James Minge one hundred and 
twenty gallons.^ It was also the form of consideration in 
which rent was occasionally settled.* The instance of 
Alexander Moore of York shows the quantity often be- 
queathed; he left at his decease twenty gallons of raw 
cider and one hundred and thirty of boiled. Richard 
Moore, of the same county, kept on hand as many as 
fourteen cider casks.^ Richard Bennett made about 
twenty butts of cider annually, while Richard Kinsman 
compressed from the pears growing in his orchard forty 

1 Hugh Jones' Present State of Virginia^ p. 41. 

2 Letters of mUiam Fitzhugh, May 17, 1695. 

« Becords of York County, vol. 1676-1684, p. 63, Va. State Library. 

♦ Becords of Elizabeth City County j vol. 1684-1699, p. 106, Va. Stat^ 

* Becords of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 64, Va. Sute Library. 



or fifty of perry.^ These liquors seemed to have been 
kept in butts, hogsheads, and runlets. A great quantity 
of peach and apple brandy was also manufactured. 

In addition to beer and ale, the liquors most generally 
used by the wealthier planters in the early history of the 
Colony were sack and aquavit;©.^ With the passage of 
time, madeira became the most popular form of spirits 
with the members of this class in use at meals, and punch, 
manufactured either from West Indian rum or apple or 
peach brandy, at other times.^ The people at large drank 
rum or brandy if a strong drink was desired.^ Mathegelin, 
a mixture of honey and water, was also consumed.^ Among 
the lighter wines in use were claret, fayal, and Rhenish.^ 
It is a fact of curious interest, from our present point of 
view, that the rarest French, Portuguese, and Spanish wines 
and brandies were found in the ordinaries of Virginia in 
the seventeenth century, and the rates at which they were 
disposed of were carefully fixed by law. Where now only 

* New Description of Virginia, p. 14, Force's Historical 7Vac««, vol. II. 
This was, perhaps, as already stated, Kingsmill, not ELinsman. 

' Works of Capt. John Smith, p. S86. It is stated in this reference 
that ** few of the upper planters drink any water.'* 

' Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 238. A liquor was also made from 
the quince. See Newell Inventory, Becords of York County, vol. 1675- 
1684, p. 142, Va. State Library. 

* Hugh Jones' Present State of Virginia, p. 62. 

'New Description of Virginia, page 15, Force's Historical Tracts, 
▼oL a 

*Fitzhugh, writing in 1604 to Mr. George Mason of Bristol, said : ** I 
^k you for your half dozen of claret, and should have in gratification 
i^etnmed you a hamper of cider, but on examination found none worth 
the sending." July 20, 1694. Under date of July 25, 1690, Byrd wrote 
to one of his English correspondents and thanked him for a large quan- 
tity of Rhenish wine which he had sent. ** The wine, although the cask 
^38 somewhat leaky, was extraordinarily good, better than any I had in 
^ttles, and if we could find a way to settle our trade, it would do well, 
especially in this scarcity of claret." 


the meanest brands of whiskey can be bought* madeira, 
sherry, canary, malaga, muscadine, f ayaL» and other foreign 
wines were offered for sale. Had there been no popular 
demand for them, they would not have been imported. 
Descended from a race of hearty and liberal drinkers, the 
English, it would have been remarkable had the Virgin- 
ians of the period shown no strong tendency to indulgence 
in liquor. It is highly probable that the comparatiTe 
loneliness of plantation life and the absence of exciting 
amusements had a powerful influence in stimulating the 
love of spirits prevailing in the Colony from the earli- 
est time. The authorities of the Company in England, 
writing in 1622 to the Governor and Council in Virginia, 
attributed the massacre by the Indians, which had recently 
taken place, to the anger of Providence, who thus sought 
to punish the inhabitants ^'^ for enormous excesses in ap- 
parel and drinking.'' ^ In 1638, Governor Harvey declared 
in an official communication dispatched to England, that 
one-half of the principal commodity of the countrj*, tobacco, 
was thrown away in a superfluity of wines and strong 
waters.* One of the most cogent reasons for requiring 
all shipmasters to keep the bulk of their cargoes unbroken 
until they arrived at Jamestown, a standing regulation 
for many decades, was to prevent a waste of the people's 
substance in purchases of liquors* to the neglect of the 
necessary articles of life. Fitzhugh states that in making 
bargains for the acquisition of the main crop of the planters, 
a certain percentage of expense had to be allowed by the 
trader for the spirits which would be consumed before the 

* Neiirs Mr^nia Ct^mpany of Londnjn^ p. 322. See, however, the 
pathecic denial of this charge In a letter of the GoYemor and Council* 
dated Jan. ilK \^X p. SCT. 

* Uanrey and CtHinoU to PriTT ConnciL British SlaU Papers^ Colonial 
Tol. X, No. o ; WiHdur Fuptifs^ voL L p. 14o, Va. State library. 


igreements were closed.^ So intemperate was the in- 
lulgenee at funerals, more especially in cider and rum, 
that some testators left instructions in their wills that no 
liquors were to be distributed on the occasion of their 

A supply of spirits was provided for the members of 
public bodies when they convened. The character of the 
liquors used depended somewhat on the nature of the 
assemblage. When Charles Hansford and David Condon^ 
as the executors of the widow of the unfortunate Thomas 
Hansford, who lost his life on account of his participation 
in the insurrection of 1676, leased her residence in York 
to the justices of the peace of that county to serve as a 
court-house, they bound themselves to furnish not only 
accommodations for horses, but also a gallon of brandy 
during each session of the bench. It is not stated whether 
this brandy was consumed by the honorable justices in 
the form of the drink which has become so famous in later 
times in Virginia, the mint julep, but if mint was cultivated 
in the Colony in that age, it is quite probable that a large 
part of this gallon was converted into that mixture, the 
kindly effects of which were certainly not promotive of a 
harsh disposition in the enforcement of the law by the 
magistrates of York.^ 

' letters of William Fitzhugh, April 8, 1687. In the account of Rich- 
ard Longman, as attorney of his father, an English merchant, preserved 
»" the Records of York County (vol. 1004-1072, p. 116, Va. State Library), 
six ptmnds sterling is entered as the amount expended in drink in 
i^ing sale of the goods represented in the account. 

^Rec^mU of York CoutUy, vol. 1071-1094, p. 106, Va. State Library. 
"Hie language of the testator in this case was as follows: *^ Having 
observed in the dales of my pilgrimage the debauches used at burialls 
^ing much to the dishonour of God and his true Religion, my will is 
^ noe strong drinke bee p'vided or spirits at my burialls." 

*Ihid,, 1076-1684, p. 36. I have not been able to find any reference 
^ the mint julep in the seventeenth century. It was doubtless the inven- 


In 1666, the justices of Lower Norfolk County rented 
the tract of land on wliich the court-house was situated, 
on condition that the lessee, in part consideration for the 
use of the houses and orchards each year, would pay ten 
gallons of ale brewed from English grain. ^ 

The members of the Council appear to have been 
fastidious in their tastes. It was one of the duties of 
the Auditor-General to have a large quantity of wine 
always ready at hand for this body; thus on one occa- 
sion, William ByrtU who filled the office in the latter part 
of the century, ordered for their use, twenty dozen of 
claret and six dozen of canary, sherrv, and Rhenish re- 
spectively. A quarter of a cask of brandy was also to 
be added.* 

This unrestraineil indidgence in liquor, which preWous 
to 1624 had excited the criticism of the Company, called 
down on the Colon v on several occasions the animadver- 
sion of the Itoyal Goverimient after it had taken charge 
of affairs in Virginia. In 1625, Governor Yeardley was 
instruct eil to suppi-ess drunkenness by severe punishments, 
and to iUsiK>se of the spirits brought into the Colony in 

tion of a later perivnl. licenses were i2$$aed for the sale of cider at the 
meeting of oitizeLL$ iu atteudauce ou tbe kical courts. This is shown in 
the following extnu't from the Rifi:ords *»/ LiiHObfti»r County (origin^ 
vol. lrU?0-lt^J, orders July 12, l«.V*:*1 : - George Mayplis, petitioning ilw 
ci.»urt to have ye privilege of selling of cider at ye courthouse in court 
time, the ci.»urt d»>th orvler, provided it be no ways iniun<'>us or prejudicial 
iu ye disturbing of ye ct^urt iu their time of sitting, faiave admined him 
so to do for this seastni." That the justicv-s were not entirely proof against 
the attractions of the cider and tht* other linaors s*.^ld on ci^urt ilavs is 
seen in the provision for the punishnieut •»£ those members of the bench 
who should become intoxicated. Heiiiiu's Sf>trH:*t8^ v.iL II. p. 384. 

* Ktvonis of L**H>r y*jrf»Uk County. •.•rii:iri;ii vnL l»5»?6-lt>75, p. 35. 

* Lftters it/ Wiliiank BffnL June 4, I'tVM. Tad-r date of June 10, 1689. 
Byrd wr»,»te : " If clarvt uj uot t»' be had, we mu.^ be content with port 
i^that is, for the Council). ... I dosirv you to send me a h«-n ^«»Ad of 


such manner that it would go to the relief and comfort 
of the whole plantation, instead of falling into the hands 
of those who would be most likely to abuse it. He re- 
ceived additional orders to return to the importers all 
liquors shown to be decayed or unwholesome.^ In 1638, 
tlie latter instruction, which had also been given to Wyatt, 
who was Governor at this time, was modified to the 
extent of requiring him to stave every vessel or cask 
containing spirits shown to be unfit for drinking. The 
injunction as to withholding all liquors imported into 
the Colony from persons who were guilty of excess in 
the use of them was repeated.^ 

The attempts to prevent drunkenness were not confined 
to instructions to the Governors, given by the authorities 
in England; from the first session of the earliest Assembly, 
no legislative means were left unemployed to accomplish 
the same object. In 1619, it was provided that the 
person guilty in this respect should for the first offence 
be privately reproved by his minister ; and for the sec- 
ond, publicly ; for the third, be imprisoned for twelve 
hours, and if still incorrigible, be punished as the Gover- 
nor directed.* In March, 1623-24, the cliurch wardens in 
.every parish were ordered to present all persons guilty 
of drunkenness to the commander of his plantation. 
In 1631-32, the penalty of the Englisli law was imposed, 
that is to say, the offender was required to pay five shil- 
lings into the hands of the nearest vestry, and this fine 

1 Instructions to Governor Yeardley, 1620, British State Papers, Colo- 
nial Entry Book, vol. LXXIX, p. 248 ; Virginia Magazine of History 
and Biography, vol. II, p. 305. 

« Instructions to Governor Wyatt, 1038-39, Colonial Entry Book, 
vol. LXXIX, pp. 219-236; Sainshury Abstracts for 16SS, p. 47, Va. 
State Library. 

*Lawe8 of Assembly, 1619, Colonial liccords of Virginia^ State 
Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 20. 



could be made good by a levy upon his property. In 
1657-58, the most stringent regulations were adopted in 
suppression of this among other vices specially named; 
not only was the person guilty of inebriety to be punished 
by a very heavy fine, but he was to be rendered incapable 
of being a witness in court, or bearing office under the 
Government of the Colony.^ In 1691, the penalty for the 
offence of drunkenness was fixed at ten shillings, and if 
the guilty i)er8on was unable to pay this sum, he was to 
be exposed in the stocks for the space of two hours. 
Eight years subsequently, the fine was reduced to five 

The opportunities of obtaining liquor were very much 
increased by the large number of ordinaries in the Colony, 
in all of which a great variety of spirits was sold. It is 
probable that most of these establislmients were mere 
tippling-shops, an inference justified by the strict regu- 
lations as to the prices at which liquors were to be 
disposed of by innkeepers. It is interesting to examine 
these prices as showing in part the expense of living in 
Virginia. Previous to 1639, beer alone was rated at the 
taverns, from which it is to be supposed that this was the 
only form of spirits to be had in the ordinaries at that 
tune. The amount i)rescribed by law was six pounds of 
tobacco, or eighteen pence in coin. About the year 1639, 
a condition of great i)lenty prevailed, and in consequence 
the charge was reduced to twelve pence or one shilling.* 
Five years later, not only was the sale in the taverns of 
all liquors except strong beer and ale prohibited, but no 
debts, made by the purchase of imported wines or other 
spirits, could be enforced in a court of justice. This 

1 TToninji's Statutes, vol. I, pp. 126, 103, 433. 
^ Ibid., vol 111, pp. 139, 170. 
8 Ibid., vol. I, p. 229. 


was found to be so inconvenient that the Act of Assembly 
in which it had its origin was repealed.^ 

The Act does not seem to have at any time applied to 
wine manufactured from grapes produced in the Colony, 
or to cider or perry compressed from apples or pears of 
Virginian growth, an exception being made in the case of 
these spirits in order to encourage the planting of orchards 
and vineyards. It was stated that beer and ale were also 
excepted for the purpose of promoting the cultivation of 
English grain.^ 

To check exorbitant charges on the part of innkeep- 
ers, special rates were now laid down for retailers of the 
different wines and strong waters. The price by the gal- 
lon for canary, malaga, sherry, muscadine, and allegant 
was fixed at thirty pounds of tobacco; for madeira and 
fayal, at twenty pounds ; for French wines, at fifteen ; 
for the finest brands of English spirits, at eiglity; and for 
brandy or aquavitae, at forty. ^ It is a fact worthy of 
attention that keepers of ordinaries were allowed to retail 
wines and other liquors at Jamestown when the merchants 
were expressly forbidden to do so. It was important to 
the public that the taverns at the seat of the Colonial 
Government should not fall into decay, and the exclusion 
of the merchants from the local tralhc in strong waters 
shows how dependent the innkeepers of that community 
were upon the sale of spirits for their prosperity.* This 
regulation was put in operation at the close of the year 
1645. In November, 1647, the old law which rendered all 
debts for wines and strong waters not pleadable in a court 

^ Hening'g Statutes, vol. I, p. 295. 

2 Records of Lower Norfolk County, vol. for the years 1642, 1643, 
f. p. 34. 

* Hening's Statutes^ vol. I, p. 300. 

* Ibid., p. 310. 


of justice was revived without regard to the business of 
the creditor.^ The transfer of spirits by the wholesale on 
shipboard was expressly excepted from the scope of this 
prohibition. Although it was stated that the rule that 
such debts should not be pleadable was to be perpetual, 
ten years had barely passed away before it was foimd 
necessary to establish rates for the sale of liquors by 
retail, which undoubtedly gave validity to obligations 
thus created. The interval between 1645, when the first 
schedule of prices was adopted, and 1657, when the second, 
covered only the period of a decade, and yet it is found 
that in this length of time, the rates for malaga, canary, 
sherry, muscadine, and allegant had doubled, while ma- 
deira and fayal had advanced from twenty pounds of 
tobacco a gallon to fifty ; French wines, from fifteen to 
thirty ; English spirits, from eighty to one hundred and 
twenty ; and brandy or aquavitse from forty to sixty. 
The decline in the price of the leaf in this interval was a 
partial explanation of the increase in the rates.^ 

We have evidence that the retailers were in the habit 
of mixing the cheaper with the dearer, and of adul- 
terating it still more grossly with a view to a larger 
profit. In the event that the fraud was discovered, the 
Commissioners of the Court in the jurisdiction of which 
the act was committed were authorized to order the con- 
stable of the county to stave the casks containing the 
liquor condemned.^ Special rates were permitted in the 
sale of spirits by retail at Jamestown during the session 
of the Assembly in the spring of 1658. The keepers of 
ordinaries could dispose of their Spanish wines for thirty 
pounds of tobacco a quart, or one hundred and twenty 
pounds a gallon, this being a quadruple advance upon th^ 
rates at which these wines were allowed to be sold in 1645« 

1 Hening's Statutes^ vol. I, p. 360. ^ /^iv^.^ p. 440. a 77^,^. 


and double the rates permitted in 1657. The price laid 
down for French wines was twenty pounds of tobacco a 
quart and eighty pounds a gallon, representing, when com- 
pared with previous charges, the same ratio of increase. A 
rate for beer was now quoted for the first time since 1639, 
when it was the only liquor that could be legally disposed 
of by retail. In that year, it was valued at less than six 
pounds of tobacco. It was now valued at twenty.^ 

The permission to sell at these high figures, which, as 
we have seen, was granted to the keepers of ordinaries 
at Jamestown, only had their justification in circum- 
stances wholly local in character and entirely confined 
to one occasion. The Assembly was compelled to admit 
that the stringent laws adopted to restrain exorbitant 
charges for liquors in the ordinaries had failed of their 
purpose ; this was largely on account of the extreme 
fluctuation in the prices of tobacco, which led to the 
establishment of a regulation apparently well adapted 
to protect the interests of the retailer of liquor, as well 
as those of the purchaser: the judge of each county 
court was authorized to apply from time to time a sliding 
scale to the rates, as the value of tobacco rose or fell.^ 
In order to ensure its strict^ observance, every ordinary 
keeper was compelled to give bond, and had also to obtain 
a special license, paying three hundred and fifty pounds 
of tobacco to the Governor for it.^ 

After 1663, all retail sellers of liquors were required 
to use only the English sealed measures of pints, quarts, 
or gallons. Spirits imported in bottles were allowed to 
be disposed of without breaking the seal. It is an indi- 
cation of the heavy exactions to which buyers had been 
exposed under the lax system previously prevalent, that 

1 Hening'8 Statutes, vol. I, p. 480. 2 /^/j.^ p. 522. 

»i6i(/., vol. II, pp. 19, 20. 


a failure to introduce the English measures as directed 
by law exposed the retailer of liquor to the enormous 
fine of five thousand pounds of tobacco, and if he was 
also an innkeeper, to the cancellation of his license.^ 
. In 1666, the difficult matter of placing the rates upon 
an exactly just footing to the buyer and seller of liquors 
alike was settled by the adoption of an entirely new 
regulation ; this consisted of allowing the seller by retail 
to charge treble the amount which the spirits he disposed 
of had cost him, provided that this general rate was not 
in excess of the figures prescribed by law. Thus the 
charge for Spanish and Portuguese wines was not to ex- 
ceed ten shillings, or one hundred pounds of tobacco a 
gallon; the charge for FreAch wines was not to exceed 
eight shillings, or eighty pounds of tobacco a gallon ; for 
rum, ten shillings, or one hundred pounds of tobacco; 
for brandy and English spirits, sixteen shillings, or one 
hundred and sixty pounds of tobacco. Permission was 
granted to ordinary keepers to secure as large a profit 
from the sale of beer as they could within a limit of four 
shillings a gallon, or forty pounds of tobacco. This price 
was extremely high, the privilege of larger gain in the 
case of this liquor being allowed on the specific ground 
that it was of domestic manufacture. What were de- 
scribed as "Virginia drams," that is to say, apple and 
peach brandies, were to be sold within the restriction 
of the rates laid down for English spirits.^ 

It would seem that, for many years, the accounts of 
innkeepers for the liquors furnished to their customers 
had not been pleadable, although they had been charging" 
at established rates. The right was now granted to theia 
to sue upon these accounts in a court of justice and to 
recover judgment, but it was required that the action 

I Hening's Statutes, voL II, p. 113, 2 jt^^v^.^ p. 234. 


dould be brought within a year after the debt was con- 
racted. Twelve months later, the same schedule was 
eadopted, except that the rate for cider and perry was 
ixed at two shillings six pence, or twenty-five pounds 
f tobacco a gallon.^ 

In 1668, there were so many taverns and tippling- 
louses in the Colony, that it was found necessary to 
educe the number in each county to one or two, un- 
Bss, for the accommodation of travellers, more should be 
leeded at ports, ferries, and the crossings of great roads, 
Q addition to that which was erected at the court-house. 
Ul persons who conducted drinking-shops without li- 
ense were fined two thousand pounds of tobacco.^ The 
utes adopted for liquors in 1666, and readopted in 1667, 
laving been found in 1671 to be too high in some in- 
stances, were materially lessened ; those for Portuguese, 
Spanish, and French wines were retained, while those for 
brandy, English spirits, and " Virginia drams " were cut 
down from sixteen shillings, or one hundred and sixty 
pounds of tobacco a gallon, to ten shillings, or one hun- 
dred pounds. The price of beer, which had been valued 
at four shillings a gallon, and of cider and perry, which 
tad been valued at two shillings and six pence, was fixed 
at two shillings, or twenty pounds of tobacco a gallon. 
If the beer had been brewed with molasses, one shiUing, 
or ten pounds, was the charge.* 

In 1676, during the supremacy of Nathaniel Bacon, at 
^Mch time so many laws were passed for the purpose 
of suppressing long-standing abuses, a legislative attempt 
^as made to enforce what practically amounted to general 
prohibition. The licenses of all inns, alehouses, and tip- 
pHng-houses, except those at James City, and at the two 

^ Hening's Statutes, vol. H, pp. 234, 263, 287. « /^^^.^ p. 269. 

»i6«.,p. 287. 



great ferries of York River, were revoked. The keepers 
of the ordinaries which were permitted to remain open at 
the latter places were allowed to sell only beer and cider. 
This regulation was the more remarkable from the fact 
that it was adopted by the action of the people at large, 
who must have been the principal customers of the tip- 
pling-houses, if not of the inns. Not content with put- 
ting a stop to sales in the public places, the framers of 
the regulation further prescribed that ^^no one should 
presume to sell any sort of drink or liquor whatsoever, 
by retail, under any color, pretence, delusion, or subtle 
evasion whatsoever, to be drunk or spent in his or their 
house or houses, upon his or their plantation or planta- 
tions." i 

After the suppression of the insurrection, this sweeping 
measure was substantially modified by a substitute restrict- 
ing the number of ordinaries allowed in each county to 
two, Jamestown for obvious reasons being excepted from its 
scope. The rates for *' Virginia drams " were fixed at ten 
shillings, or one hundred pounds of tobacco a gallon ; for 
beer, at two shillings, or twenty pounds a gallon ; for perry 
and eiden at twenty pounds if boiled, and at eighteen if 
raw. Tobacco at this time commanded about one and a 
half pence a poimd. The prices of the foreign wines and 
spirits were to be fixed for each county in the months of 
May and November by the justices according to the mar- 
ket values then prevailing; and a failure on the part of 
these officers to set the rates subjected the court of which 
tliey were members to a very heavy fine.* 

1 nacon'3 Laws. 1976, Hening^s Statute*. toI. Ih p. S61. 

2 Ht^niuic's Statutes^ ti>1. I1« p. Sm. The altenuitiTe '*ten shillings or 
one huiuine^i pounds of tohaeoo ^* would seem to show that l\d. a pound 
wa» now the price of tobacco. It would be sale to pUee its Tmhie a little 
mg^^r, as the k>w«^ fi|;ui« was probab^ adopted by the Assembly. 


This system of establishing rates for foreign wines and 
spirits continued in operation during the remainder of the 
century and was embodied in the code of 1705 ; it was so 
eminently proper it seems surprising th«at it should not 
have been put in force from the beginning. Not only 
were the prices of foreign liquors when thus sold made to 
accord with the prices at which they were purchased before 
their importation into the Colony, but they were also, and 
this was a matter of still greater consequence, kept in 
touch with the fluctuating value of tobacco, in which form 
of currency the wines and spirits were rated. Prompt- 
ness in raising or lowering the schedule as circumstances 
demanded was ensured by the frequent sessions of the 
justices. The records of the county courts subsequent to 
the passage of the Act of 1676-77 contain regular reports 
of the prices established by them. From one of these 
entries, it is learned that in 1688 the charge for brandy by 
the gallon was fixed at sixty pounds of tobacco ; of rum 
and madeira, at fifty pounds ; and of other island wines, at 
forty. This was in Henrico.^ In York County, at this 
time, the rates were calculated in coin. Canary was to 
be sold at eight shillings a gallon, sherry at six, Rhenish 
at four and six pence, claret and white wines at four, 
rum, madeira, and fayal wines at two shillings and six 
pence.^ In the schedule adopted by the justices of the 
same county six years later, the only change made was in 
the price of claret, this wine being reduced from four to 
three shillings and six pence, an indication that it was now 
imported in larger quantities.^ 

It was required that the rates at which liquors were to 
be sold should be set in all the counties. Those which have 

1 Records of Henrico County, vol. 1088-1697, p. 31, Va. State Library. 

2 Becord» of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 321, Va. State Library. 
• Ibid., voL 1690-1694, p. 226. 


been given are representative. The tables from which 
these quotations were drawn show that the conditions 
referred to in regard to spirits o£Fered for sale in the 
ordinaries at an earlier day existed also in the latter part 
of the century, that is to say, that liquors which in more 
recent times haye been looked upon as among the luxuries 
of the rich alone, were in that age in the reach of the whole 
people, and could be bought in the Virginian tayems as 
readily as beer, cider, and perry of local manufacture. 
Madeira, malaga, canary, and fayal wines were probably 
much more abundant in the Colony than in England at this 
time« and were drunk by classes which in the mother coun- 
try were content with strong and small beer. In Elngland, 
beer was in such common use that no quotations as to the 
rates at which it was sold are given by Professor Rogers 
in his great work on the history of prices in that kingdom. 
In Virginia, its value seems to have steadily advanced, as 
it commanded twelve j^enee a gallon in 1639, and two shil- 
lings in 1671; the latter price, however, was for the finest 
bnmds, since it is stated that beer brewed with molasses 
was still rated at one shilling a gallon. 

The rise in the price of beer was perhaps due to the 
fact that in the early part of the century, the greater 
proportion of the whole quantity in the Colony was pro- 
duceil in local breweries, either public or private, while 
towanls the end of the century, liquor of this kind of the 
best quality was imported, thus materially increasing the 
outlay to the consumer. Cider being of local manufact- 
ure altoijether, did not varv substantially in value after 
the orvhanls in Virginia had become numerous. Two 
shillings and six pence a gallon seems to have been the 
highest figure at which it was sold. In England, about 
the same time, it was retailed at a verv much lower rate.^ 

I Ri^^TS* Bistk^ <f A^^itmn ami Priets ih Emgtand^ t(^ V, p. 337. 


It will be of interest to compare the prices of the spirits 
imported into the Colony with the prices of the same 
spirits as sold in England in the same age. In Vir- 
ginia, the Spanish and Portuguese wines, madeira, canary, 
malaga, and fayal were, in 1666, as hlsts been seen, set down 
at ten shillings a gallon as the very highest figure at 
which it was legal to sell them. In 1671, this regulation 
was readopted. It is not probable that ihe innkeepers 
disposed of these wines at rates as advanced as were 
allowed by law except in unusual instances, six or seven 
shillings a gallon being perhaps the average amount 
under ordinary circumstances. That this supposition is 
substantially correct appears from the prices fixed by 
the justices of the Henrico county court in 1688, when 
madeira was assessed at fifty pounds of tobacco and the 
other island wines at forty pounds. If we apply the ratio 
of values prescribed by Act of Assembly in 1682, a pound 
of tobacco being accepted in that statute as worth one and 
a fifth pence, which is a high rather than a low figure for a 
year of large crops, like 1688, it will be seen that the cost 
of madeira was about five shillings a gallon, and of other 
Spanish and Portuguese island wines about four shillings. 
In England, madeira sold in 1697 at six shillings eight 
pence a gallon, a difference in its favor in Virginia of one 
shilling and eight pence. The average rate of canary in 
the mother country throughout the seventeenth century 
was five shillings eight and a quarter pence,^ which was 
higher than the price of the same wine in the Colony in 
1688, and probably than its average price from the time 
when it was first imported. Sherry rose in value in Eng- 
land from three shillings eight pence in 1617 to eight 
shillings in 1698 a gallon. In 1688, the same quantity of 
sherry was sold in Virginia at t]be rate of four shillings ; 

1 Rogers* History of Agriculture and Prices in England, voL V, p. 445. 


before this, the highest fig^ure allowed by law had been 
ten^ which, however* was specific meielj as a limit with- 
out being necessarily the amount fixed for the ordinary 
charge.^ In 16$8« sack was sold in the Colony at four 
shillings a gallon, the highest rate prescribed for it at any 
previous time being half a pound sterling. This limit 
also was probably never reached* except occasionally by 
exorbitant keepers of ordinaries. In EIngland. the average 
price of a gallon of sack in the seventeenth century was 
five shillings and three pence. 

The wines of France appear to have been dearer in 
Virginia than in England. The only French liquor much 
used in the Colony was claret* which, in 1666 and 1671* 
^-as rated at eight shillings a gallon, as the highest figure 
at which it was to be sold. Modifying this charge in 
order to reach the pn>bable general average, and the price 
of claret still remains greater in Virginia than in the 
mother country, where the general average for the whole 
of the seventeenth century was only three shiUiiigs a 
gallon. The explanation of the costliness of French wines 
in the Colony as cv^m{>areil with those of the Spanish and 
Portuguese islands, is to be found in the fact that in con- 
formity with the Navigation laws, which did not apply 
to the island wines, they were imported first into Enp- 
land and from thence into Virginia. English spirits were 
of ci^urse dearer in the Oolonv, to which thev had to he 
traus|x>rteil, than on the s|x>t where they had been nianu- 
factureil. In lt>Tl, Knirlish braudv commandeil in Vir- 
giuia ten siulliugs a gallon; in England in 1674, four 
shillings.* The pri^vs of liquor in the Colony were prob- 
ably affecteil s^.>mewhat by the iui|K\sitiou of a duty of three 

^ R^\:^*r** ifi*^<.ry ?f .tjrtVs<;:»rr Jittd Prices i» Emtjlamd^ toI. V, 
* i^UL. p, 4iO. 


nee upon every four quarts of it brought in, unless it 
A been conveyed from the mother country. English 
iportations were excepted from the scope of the Act.^ 
X 1691, the general tax was increased to four pence ; if 
itroduced in a vessel belonging wholly to Virginians, the 
uty upon the gallon was to be only two pence.* 
The liberal use which was made of spirits by all classes 
yas not simply due to the indulgence of an appetite for 
iquor inherited with that English blood which has always 
gratified itself so freely in this respect under English 
skies. It was supposed to have a favorable influence 
upon the body from a medical point of view. The "morn- 
ing draught " was a popular expression in the Colony long 
before the close of the seventeenth century.^ This was 
the draught with which the day was begun, and it was 
the popular belief, a belief doubtless formed with the 
most delightful facility, that such a draught was the 
surest means of obtaining protection against the miasmatic 
exhalations of the marshes. The taint of sickness in 
summer lingered about the oldest settlements, and at all 
seasons followed in the track of settlers on the frontier 
engaged in cutting down the forest, who thus set free the 
?erms that invariably lurk in a mould created by rotting 
feaves and decaying wood. This assured a large practice 
to all who made any pretensions to the art of the physi- 
cian. It is evident, from the number of medical bills 
'ntered upon record in the seventeenth century, that the 
-xpense of illness was an important drain upon the 

^Hening's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 23. 

' Ibid., p. 88. If the Tessel had been built in Virginia, no duty was 

* Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 71, Va. State Library, 
^position of William Clopton : ** That coming to the French ordinary 
*Q March 9, he happened to meet with Mr. Thomas Walkinson, who 
^ked your deponent to give him a morning draught. . . /' 


resources of the colonial families in the coarse of that 
long period. The experience of Richard Longman, who 
was residing in Virginia in the years 1661, 1662, and 1664, 
where he was acting as the attorney of his father, an Eng- 
lish merchant, probably represents the experience of aU 
who remained in the Colony only temporarily, and, there- 
fore, not long enough to become inured to the climate. 
He was not content to engage the services of one practi- 
tioner, but in succession employed three who were dis- 
tinguished for their skill. First, there was Dr. Robert 
EUyson, who presented a bill of twelve pounds sterling ; 
secondly. Dr. Haddon, whose charges amounted to eleven 
pounds and four shillings ; and thirdly. Dr. Napier, whose 
bill was only a few shillings smaller.^ That Longman 
should have called in so many physicians in turn was due, 
very probably, not to dissatisfaction with their learning 
and ability, but to the fact that, in selling merchandise 
and collecting debts belonging to his father, he was com- 
pelled to remove from place to place. In 1670, Dr. 
Haddon charged a patient one thousand pounds of tobacco 
for twenty days' attendance, the distance he had to ride 
each day being fourteen miles ; this bill was increased to 
fourteen hundred and sixty pounds by the medicines 
which he furnished,^ the whole representing in value a 
sum slightly less than fifteen pounds sterling. In 1695, 
the account of Dr. William Ellis of Elizabeth City against 
William Harris, including the costs of visits, physitN 
and advice, ran to seven pounds and ten shillings.^ 1^ 
all of these instances, the number of miles which the 
practitioner had to travel were carefully noted. On the 

1 Bficords of York County, vol. 1604-1072, p. 117, Va. State Library. 
« /6iU, p. 444. 

8 llecorda of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1084-1099, p. 92, Va. State 


other hand, in the account of Dr. George Glover against 
Edmund Dil, a seaman, there were entries for supplies of 
food and for lodging as well as for medicine and attend- 
ance, the amount of this bill being seven pounds sterling.^ 
In some cases, the patient, in consideration of the fact 
that his physician agreed to attend him and his family 
during liis life, granted him a tract of land covering as 
much as one hundred acres in area.^ 

There are indications in different parts of the seven- 
teenth century that the charges of practitioners were con- 
sidered to be grossly immoderate. So excessive were 
their rat€s previous to 1630, that masters were tempted to 
suffer a servant to perish for want of proper advice and 
medicines rather then submit to their exactions. It was 
now provided that in every case in which a patient had 
just cause to think that the account of his medical at- 
tendant was wholly unreasonable, he should have that 
attendant summoned to the court of the county in which 
the patient resided. Here the physician was required to 
state upon oath the quantity and value of the medicines 
which he had administered, and the judges then decided 
what satisfaction was to be allowed him. These provi- 
sions remained in force during a long course of years.^ 

The accounts of physicians were, in 1661, made plead- 
able against the estates of deceased persons, and these 
accounts, in case the patient recovered, were barred unless 
sued upon before the end of six months.* In 1661, the 
fule was adopted that when a practitioner was summoned 
^0 court to answer for immoderate charges, he should be 

^n^cords of Elizabeth CUtj County, vol. 1C8I-1099, p. 143, Va. State 
I^ibrary. See Records of York County ^ vol. 1087-1691, p. 8; see also 
^hid., p. .307, Va. State Library. 

•lUrords of York County, vol. 1057-1002, p. 272, Va. State Library. 

"• lUning*s Statutes, vol. I, pp. 310, 450. 

* Ibid, vol II, p. 26. 


allowed fifty per cent advance upon the value of the med- 
icines administered to the plaintiff, his patient, and such a 
sum for his visits and advice as they were decided to be 
worth. ^ Thirty years later, he was permitted to obtain 
an hundred per cent upon the full value of his drugs as 
sworn to in court.^ These drugs represented a consider- 
able variety of preparations, which it appears the physi- 
cians were only too ready to give, however slight the 
indisposition. A very popular course in the case of the 
most common disease of the country, ague and fever, 
seems to have been to prescribe first, several spoonfuls of 
crocus metallorum, and then for the purpose of purg- 
ing, fifteen to twenty grains of rosin of jalap; this was fol- 
lowed by Venice treacle, powder of snakeroot or Gascoin's 
powder.' Powders, ointments, plasters, and oils were 
among the medicines most generally used. 

The items in a bill of Dr. Haddon of York for the per- 
formance of an amputation have been preserved. They 
included one higlily flavored and two ordinary cordials, 
three ointments for the wound, an ointment precipitate, 
the openition of letting blood, a purge per diem^ two 
purges electuaries, external applications, a cordial and two 
astringent powders, phlebotomy, a defensive and a large 
cloth. Dr. Haddon prescribed on another occasion a 
purging glister, a oaphalick and a cordial electuary, oil of 
spirits and sweet almonds, a purging and a conlial bolus, 
purging pills, ursecatory, and oxymell. His charge for 
six visits after dark was a hogshead of tobacco weighing 
four hundreil [K)unds.* In a case of cancer which Dr. 

* Heaiu^'s Statutes^ toI. II, pp. 109, 110. An instance of this in 
actual practice? is prvserv%^i iu the EccorvLi uf Jiiddleser ConiiXy, original 
¥oL 1^^550-1094. orders July 4, U>{>7. 

i /6W., vol. II U p. Hk;. 

' CUytv>u's Viryinia^ p. 6, Force's Hi3i'>ri*Tal Tracts^ toI. ITl, 

* Ki^ijnJts vf York C^UHt^y vol. V;^:-lOO:i. p. il2, Va. :>iaie librarv. 


Napier of York in 1666 attended, he had recourse to copi- 
ous bleeding and numerous cordials. The same physician, 
in a different disease, contented himself with administer- 
ing almost exclusively a considerable number of the latter 

The expenses attending the preparation for the grave 
and the burial of a corpse were probably more serious in 
the seventeenth century in proportion to the means of the 
people in that age than they are to-day. About 1650, 
the charge for a coffin was about one hundred pounds of 
tobacco;^ in 1667, it was fifty pounds more, which was 
equivalent to one pound and a quarter sterling.^ Thirty 
years subsequent .to this, the coffin in which the remains 
of Thomas Jefferson, an ancestor of the celebrated states- 
man of the same name, were laid, cost twelve shillings and 
six pence, the larger part of which was represented in the 
charge for carpenter's work.* In several cases, the price 
was ten shillings.^ The charge for a winding-sheet of 
hoUand was one hundred pounds of tobacco in 1652,^ 
and in the same year the charge for making a grave was 
twenty pounds." In 1696, it was thirty.^ The assistance 
needed by the digger in filling in the grave increased the 
outlay on this account to ten shillings.^ The funeral 

1 Bfcords of York County, vol. 1004-1072, p. 109, Va. State Library. 

2 Records of Loxcer Norfolk County, original vol. 1051-1050, f. p. 78 ; 
Becords of York County, vol. 1057-1002, p. 270, Va. State Library. 

» Records of York County, vol. 1004-1()72, p. 221. 

* See Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. I, p. 212. 

f^ Records of York County, vol. 1004-1702, p. 141 ; Ihid., vol. 1087- 
1691, p. 568, Va. State Library ; Records of Loxcer Norfolk County, orig- 
inal vol. 1080-1695, f. p. 171. 

« Rt^cords ofLovoer Norfolk County, 1051-1050, f. p. 78. 

^ Records of York County, vol. 1004-1072, p. 200, Va. State Library. 

« Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1084-1090, p. 117, Va. State 

• Records of York County, vol. 1004-1072, p. 471, Va. State Library. 


sermon added very materially to the funeral expenses, 
the cost of this part of the ceremonies varying apparently 
at diJBferent periods ; in two instances in Yoric County in 
1667, it was two pounds sterling,^ and in 1690, it amounted 
to five pounds.^ 

The stones above the graves were often imported from 
abroad. Thus in 1657, Mrs. Sarah Yeardley in her will 
directed that after her death, her necklace and jewels 
were to be sent to England, and there sold, the proceeds 
to be used in the purchase among other things of two 
black tombstones to be conveyed to Virginia.* Mrs. John 
Page desired her grave might be covered with a brick 
tomb on which a polished black marble slab was to rest.* 

The outlay which custom required to be made in food, 
but more especially in liquors, for the funeral was often 
very heavy. Sheep, poultry, hogs, and heifers, and even 
an ox, were not infrequently killed to satisfy the hunger 
of the friends of the deceased who attended, and who, 
with few exceptions, had been compelled to come a long 
distance, owing to the fact that the plantations were so 
widely separated. Spirits were dispensed in large quan- 
tities. At a funeral which took place in York in 1667, 
twenty-two gallons of cider, five gallons of brandy, 
twenty-four gallons of beer, and twelve pounds of sugar 
were consumed ; ^ sixty gallons of cider, four gallons of 
rum, and thirty pounds of sugar were consumed by the 
company present at a funeral in Lower Norfolk in 1691. * 
The amount that was drunk was indeed only limited by 
the resources of the estate. Some testators gravely calcu- 

1 liccords of York County, vol. 1664-1G72, pp. 217, 221, Va. State Library. 

' liPCitrds of Lancaster County, original vol. 1000-1700, p. 11. 

' BpQordH of Loxrer Norfolk County, oripjinal vol. 1056-1(306, p. 117. 

* Jlt'Citrds of York County, vol. 1094-1702, p. 04, Va. State Library. 

5 Ihid., vol. 1004-1072, p. 221. 

^ liccords of LoMcer Norfolk County, original vol. 1080-1095, f. p. 17L 



lated the quantity of liquor which would be needed at 
their own obsequies, and made provision in the minutest 
details for this part of the outlay. When Mr. John Brace- 
girdle, a factor of Captain Philip Foster of England, re- 
siding in Virginia, came to draw his will, he not only 
specified the sum of money to be expended in his burial, 
but also directed that the spirits to be drunk in commemo- 
ration of that event should be drawn from " the quarter 
cask of drams," which at that time was lying in his 
store. ^ The personal estate of Walter Barton amounted 
to fifty-four pounds and fifteen shillings ; the cost of his 
funeral exceeded eight pounds.^ The expense of Mr. 
William Vincent's funeral was equal to fifteen hogsheads 
of tobacco.* 

In the early history of the Colony, legal steps were 
taken to afford to the people of each parish a public grave- 
yard, and the church wardens were required to impale 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 540, Va. State Library. 

* Records of Lovcer Norfolk County, original vol. 16«0-1695, f. p. 

» Ibid,, original vol. 1651-1656, f. p. 120. The following itemized state- 
ment was entered of record in proving the estate of John Griggs (Records 
of York County, vol. 1675-1684, p. 87, Va. State Library.) It covered 
his f imeral expenses : 

Funeral sermon 200 lbs. tobacco. 

For a brief e 400 

** 2 turkeys 80 

»' coffin 150 

2gee8e 80 

1 hog 100 

2 bushels of flour 90 

Dunghill fowle 100 

20 lbs. butter 100 

Sugar and spice 50 

Dressing the dinner 100 

6 gallon sider 60 

6 »* rum 240 














and to keep it in decent order. ^ From the beginning, 
however, it was the custom of numerous persons to burjr 
the deceased members of their families in the immediate 
vicinity of their homes. Abraham Piersey, the wealthiest 
citizen of Virginia of his time, was buried near his dwell- 
ing-house. So common did this habit become that in a 
memorial drawn up by the Bishop of London in 1677, he 
complained that the public places for burial were neglected, 
and that the dead among the planters were interred in 
their gardens.^ The bodies of many were buried in the 
graveyards or in the chancels of the parish churches.^ 

It would be inferred from the inventories of that period 
that there was no vehicle in Virginia in the seventeenth 
century resembling a carriage, but from other sources it 
is learned that this means of locomotion was not unknown 
in the Colony. Such a veliicle seems to have been in the 
possession of a few very wealthy persons. William Fitz- 
hugh owned what was known in that age as a calash, 
which had been imported from England ; Governor 
Berkeley possessed a coach.* When the average planter 

1 Lawes and Orders, British State Papers^ Colonial, vol. Ill, No. 9 ; 
McDonald Papers, vol. I, p. 93, Va. State Library. 

2 Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. Ill, 
p. 253 ; see also will of Richard Kemp, Virginia Magazine of History and 
Biography, vol. II, p. 174. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1C90-1C94, p. 109, Va. State Library ; 
see also Records of Accomac County, 1032-1040, p. 63, Va. State Library. 

* Will of William Fitzhugh, Virginia Magazine of History and Biog- 
raphy, vol. II, p. 270, refers to his "coaches." Hugh Jones, writing in 
the first quarter of the eighteenth century, said that " most females (in 
Virginia) had a coach, chariot, Berlin or chaise.'' Present Slate of Vir- 
ginia, p. 32. See the reference to Lady Berkeley's coach in a letter of 
the English Commissioners, May 4, 1077. Colonial Entry Book, No. 81 ; 
Winder Papers, vol. II, p. 318, Va. StAte Library. Fitzhugh on one 
occasion ordered what he called a " Running chair," which probably 
resembled a modern sulky. See Letters, July 10, 1090. 


attended the meetings of the county court, or went to 
church, or was present at the funerals of deceased friends, 
or visited the homes of his neighbors, he was compelled 
to rely upon his horse for conveyance, unless he was willing 
to travel in the ordinary farm cart: ^ the imperfections of 
the highways, and in some parts of the country the entire 
absence of passable roads, made the use of the horse 
almost a necessity in journeying from place to place. 
Among the most common entries in the appraisements of 
estates were the pillion and side-saddle, which were kept 
in readiness for the female members of the family. The 
equipments of the stables were complete. The saddle was 
often bound in hogskin.^ A well-known planter of Eliza- 
beth City County had in his possession, in 1690, one article 
of this kind covered with purple leather, and another 
made of plush in the seat.^ Ralph Wormeley owned a 
crimson velvet saddle with broadcloth saddle-cloth and 
silk spring holsters, valued at fifteen pounds.* Hackney 
and troop saddles were in general use. The curb bridle 
was also common. There are frequent references to rid- 
ing stockings. The horses were allowed to remain unshod, 
which caused no damage or inconvenience, as the road- 
beds were for the most part level and sandy. The ordi- 
nary pace of the Virginian riders was a sliarp hand gallop ; 
this led to the expression, '' a planter's pace," an indica- 
tion of the energy with which they travelled, and the 
fleetness of their steeds.^ 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1C64-1C72, pp. 77, 46.3, Va. State 
Library ; Records of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1G97, pp. 429, G72, Va. 
8tate Library. 

* See inventory of Robert Beverley, Sr., on file in Middlesex County. 

» Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1084-1090, p. 254, Va. State 

* Records of Afiddlesex County, original vol. 1608-1713, p. 121. 

* Clayton's Virginia, p. 35, Force's Iliatorical Tracts, vol. III. 


When the public authorities had occasion to transmi 
a message or to send a packet, instructions were givei 
to their agents to impress relay horses, and also men an( 
boats in the performance of their orders. These agent 
in their accounts itemized the costs of the food and drinl 
which they consumed in the course of their journeys. 
About the middle of the century, the principal means o 
conveying public letters was to superscribe them with th 
line " for public service," and then to require the planter 
in turn to pass the envelope on to its destination unde 
penalty of forfeiting a hogshead of tobacco in case o 
neglect.* In 1692, a royal patent was granted to Thoma 
Neale to establish post-offices in America for the trans 
portation of private and public mails ; and this pateni 
was recognized by an Act of Assembly in 1692 to b( 
operative in Virginia.^ Neale was required by the temu* 
of this Act to erect a post-office for the Colony at large, 
and a post-office for each county. Permission was given 
him to charge three pence per day for every letter which 
covered only one sheet of paper and which had to be car- 
ried a distance not in excess of four score English miles; 
and six pence when the letter covered a space of two 
sheets or less. When the number of letters was sufficient 
to form a packet, the charge for every one not exceeding 
two sheets was to be five pence, and if the packet con- 

J Becords of York County, vol. 1690-1604, p. 336, Va, State Library 
Hening's Statutes at Large, vol. II, p. 250 ; Becords of Elizabeth CU. 
County, vol. 1689-1699, p. 206, Va. State Library ; Becords of Henric 
County, vol. 1688-1697, p. 93, Va. State Library. 

2 Heniug's Statutes, vol. I, p. 436. A letter of Sam'l Mathews, dale 
Aug. 24, 1659, written to Governor Fendall, took a month to reach \ 
destination. Bobinson Transcripts, p. 270. 

8 Hening's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 112. The Council, it seems, had pr 
posed a post-office in 1689. Bandolph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 447. In 16\] 
Peter Heyman was appointed deputy postmaster. Ibid., p. 455. 




sisted of deeds, writs, and other bulky papers, the amount 
of postage was to be twelve pence an ounce. When the 
distance to be covered in the transmission was greater 
than four score English miles, the rate was four pence 
halfpenny for every letter not exceeding one sheet, and 
nine pence for every one exceeding one sheet but not 
exceeding two. When a number were made up in a 
packet, to be sent to a longer distance than four score 
miles, the charge for every one covering more than two 
sheets was to be four pence halfpenny. If the packet 
was composed of writs, deeds, and similar documents, the 
charge was to be eighteen pence an ounce. The privi- 
leges granted to Neale were not to interfere with the 
transmission of letters by private hands if the writers 
preferred this means of conveyance.^ 

1 This project came to nothing. See Beverley's History of Virginia^ 
p. 81. 

VOL. II. — B 



All the different forms of property which were held 
by the Virginian planter in the seventeenth century have 
now been enumerated. They consisted, as has been seen, 
of land either inherited, purchased, or acquired by patent; 
of tobacco, Indian corn, and wheat; of horses, sheep, goats, 
hogs, and horned cattle; of agricultural implements, vehi- 
cles, and buildings; of white servants, both native and 
imported; of slaves born in the Colony or brought into 
it from Africa or the West Indies; of residences contain- 
ing a large quantity of furniture, carpets, plate, and uten- 
sils; of clothing, both linen and woollen, coarse and fine; 
and lastly, of a great assortment of household supplies of 
foreign or domestic growth or manufacture. Fitzhugh 
described very accurately the condition of the planters, 
when he declared in a letter to his brother, towards the 
close of the century, that they were in possession of an 
abundance of everything except money, by which he 
meant coin. Where a very large proportion of the arti- 
cles consumed or used by the family of the landowner 
were the products of his own soil, cultivate and gath- 
ered by his own laborers, there Avas but little need of 
a metallic medium of exchange as long as tobacco con- 
tinued to have a value in the markets of the world so 

high as to induce shipowners and merchants to transport 




their goods to the very doors of the Virginians to pro- 
cure it.^ 

^ The condition of William Fitzhugh was in all its main particulars 
doubtless fairly representative of that of every planter in the Colony who 
was in possession of an equal degree of wealth. In a letter to Dr. Ralph 
Smith, April 22, 1686, he thus describes it: **The plantation where I 
now live contains one thousand acres at least, seven hundred acres of 
which are a rich thicket, the remainder good hearty plantable land with- 
out any waste either by marshes or great swamps, the commodiousness, 
conveniency and pleasantness yourself knows, and upon it, there are 
three quarters well furnished with all necessary houses, grounds and 
fencing, together with a choice crew of negroes at each plantation, most 
of them this country bom, the remainder as likely as most in Virginia, 
there being twenty-nine in all with stocks of cattle and hogs in each 
quarter. Upon the same land is my own dwelling house furnished with 
all accommodations for a comfortable and gentle living, with rooms in it, 
four of the best of them himg, nine of them plentifully furnished with 
all things necessary and convenient, and all houses for use furnished 
with brick chimneys, four good cellars, a dairy, dove cot, stable, bam, 
henhouse, kitchen and all other convenienceys, and all in a manner new, 
a large orchard of about 2500 apple trees, most grafted, well fenced with 
a locust fence, which is as durable as most brick walls, a garden a hun- 
dred foot square well paled in, a yard wherein is most of the foresaid 
necessary houses pallisadoed in with locust puncheons, which is as good 
as if it were walled in, and more lasting than any of our bricks, together 
with a good stock of cattle, hogs, horses, mares, sheep, necessary servants 
belonging to it for the supply and support thereof. About a mile and a 
half distant a good water grist mill, whose tole I find sufficient to find 
my own family with wheat and Indian com for our necessities and occa- 
sions. Up the river in this county, three* tracts of land more, one of 
them contains 21,996 acres, another 600 and one other 1000 acres, all 
good, convenient and commodious seats and which in a few years will 
yield a considerable annual income. A stock of tobacco with the crops 
and good debts lying out of about 250,000 lbs., besides sufficient of almost 
all sorts of goods to supply the familys and the quarters occasion for two 
or three years. Thus I have given you some particulars, which T thus 
deduce the yearly crops of corn and tobacco together with the surplusage 
of meat more than will serve the family's use, will amount annually to 
60,000 lbs. of tobacco, which at ten shillings per hundred weight is £300 
per annum, and the negroes being all young and a considerable parcel of 
breeders, will keep the stock good forever. The stock of tobacco man- 
aged with an inland trade will yearly yield 60,000 lbs. of tobacco without 


The accumulation of individual wealth in the Colony 
previous to 1650 was comparatively small. Sir John 
Harvey stated in 1639, that Virginia at this time consisted 
of very poor men. The largest estate as yet acquired 
was that of Abraham Piersey,^ who had enjoyed as Cape 
Merchant a position of exceptional advantage for building 
up a fortune, but it is quite probable that, unlike Sir 
George Yeardley, who left property to the amount of six 
thousand poimds sterling,* a considerable proportion had 
been earned in England before his connection with Vir- 
ginia began. About the middle of the century, there had 
been sufficient accumulations by individual planters to 
justify the author of Leah and Rachel in saying that 
many good estates were now obtained by immigrants 
simply by marriage with women born in the country, who 
had inherited their property from their parents, or from 
relations who were citizens of the Colony.^ Lord Balti- 
more, speaking in 1667 of both Virginia and Maryland, 

hazard or risk, which will be both clear without charge of hoosekeepiDS 
or disbursements for servants' clothing. The orchard in a few years will 
yield a large supply to plentiful housekeeping, or if better husbanded, 
yield at least 15,000 lbs. of tobacco annual income." Letters of William 
FitzhugK April 22, 1086. 

1 British State Papers, Colonial vol. X, No. 6 ; Sainsbury Abstracts 
for 1638-9, p. 68. 

2 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. V, No. 16 ; Sainsbury Abstracts 
for 1629, p. 196, Va. State Library. The executors of Yeardley de- 
clared that his estate was not worth one-half of this amount. According 
to John Pory, "the Governor here (that is Yeardley) who at his first 
coming, besides a great deal of worth in his person, brought only his 
sword with him, was at his late being in London, together with his lady, 
out of his mere fittings here, able to disburse very near three thousand 
pounds to furnish him with the voyage. " This letter of Pory will be found 
in part in Neill's Virginia Carnlorum, p. 17. Mathews valued the estate 
of Piersey at £491. See British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VIII, No, 6, 
n ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 57, Va. State Library. 

• Leah and Rachel, p. 17, Force's Flistorical Tracts, vol. ni. 


said that within the same length of time, it was easier for 
persons residing in either to gain fortunes than it would 
have been in the mother country.^ 

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a per- 
fectly accurate idea of the value of the estates owned by 
the planters of Virginia in the seventeenth century. Only 
an approximate notion can be formed. As the volume of 
the personal property is set forth in the innumerable in- 
ventories preserved in the county records, this portion of 
the fortunes of that age is easily estimated. The real 
dijBSculty lies in our inability to obtain full information as 
to the extent of the landed interest held by individual 
planters, as this part of their estates was not like person- 
alty listed for valuation. 

It would be interesting to know what was the average 
amount of personal property brought over to Virginia by 
the great body of that class of settlers who immediately 
upon their arrival in the Colony took an independent 
position in the community in point of fortune. Reference 
has already been made to the articles of a varied character 
which Evelyn, Williams, and Bullock strongly recom- 
mended that every English emigrant who was in posses- 
sion of means and proposed to open a plantation should 
carry over with him.^ It is highly probable that the bulk 
of the assortments suggested by these writers were brought 
over by every man who entered Virginia with the intention 
of acqmring an interest more or less extensive in its soil. 
The agent who was in correspondence with Sir Edward 
Vemey in 1634, respecting the course to be pursued on 
the removal of Sir Edward's son to the Colony, where he 
designed to establish himself as a planter, stated that the 
cost entailed in the purchase of goods and in the trans- 

1 Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Council, voL 1667-1688, p. 16. 

2 See closing pages of Chapter V, Agricultural Development, 1625-1650. 


portation of the required number of servants would come 
to fifty-six pounds sterling.^ This sum did not include 
the outlay in buying land. In 1690, Fitzhugh, writing to 
Oliver Luke in England, who had expressed an intention 
of placing his son in Virginia, advised him to deposit two 
hundred pounds sterling in the hands of a trustworthy 
merchant in London engaged in trade with the Colony, 
with instructions to buy a suitable plantation there. At 
the same time, an additional two hundred pounds sterling 
were to be used in purchasing slaves from the Royal 
African Company. All the live stock needed by young 
Luke could be obtained in Virginia.^ 

There are many evidences that a large number of the 
immigrants were sprung from English families of sub- 
stance.^ The instance of John Boys could not have been 
exceptional; just before he set out for the Colony in 1650, 
he drew up his will, dividing his valuable possessions 
among sixteen heirs.* There were many persons in Vir- 
ginia who owned an interest in property in England.^ In 
1650, John Catlett and John Clayton of Gloucester County 
were in the enjoyment of estates in Kent. A few years 
later, John Clark of York County devised two houses 
wliich he owned in Essex, in one of which his father had 
long resided.® John Pen of Ilappahannock, in 1676, willed 
landed property in England.^ In 1688, John Smythe of 

^ Verney Papers, Camden Society Publications. 

2 Letters of William Fitzhngh, Aug. 15, 1690. 

' The instances which follow are given only as examples. They form 
a very Insignificant proportion of the whole number that might be men- 

* New England Historical and Genealogical Register^ April, 1889, p. 153. 

* There were, on the other hand, very many persons in England, be- 
sides merchants, who owned property in Virginia. 

« Becords of York County, vol. 1657-1662, p. 78, Va. State Library. 
7 Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1664-1673, p. 95, Va. State 


Tork ordered the sale of a farm which he possessed in the 
ricinity of Walton, with the view of investing the proceeds 
in a Virginian plantation.^ Miles Gary owned two houses 
in Bristol.* John Page had an interest for a term of seven 
^ears in five tenements situated in the city of Westminster. 
[n 1692, Benjamin Read devised landed property which 
he possessed in England.^ Nicholas Spencer left a valu- 
able estate in Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Essex.^ 
The inventories belonging to the period preceding 
1650, upon which we have to rely to obtain a just con- 
ception of the size of the personal holdings in Virginia 
in that age, were comparatively few in number. The 
records of York alone throw any real light upon the 
point in inquiry. The largest estate in this county ap- 
praised by order of court previous to the middle of the 
century was that of William Stafford, which amounted 
to 30,681 pounds of tobacco in value, which, at the rate 
of two pence a pound,* was equal to <£250, or in pur- 
chasing power perhaps to about six thousand dollars at 
the present day. The personal estate of Thomas Deacon 
follows next in size at an appraisement of 19,343 pounds 

^ Secords of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 100, Va. State Library. 

* General Court Ordeis, Bobinson Transcripts, p. 267. 

* Becords of York County, vol. 1690-1694, John Page, p. 132 ; Read, 
P- 257. James Blaise of Middlesex County owned an interest in a lease- 
hold in Pall Mall, London. Original vol. 1698-1713, p. 49. 

* yew England Historical and Genealogical Register, January, 1891, 
p. 67. 

* It is impossible to follow the exact fluctuations in the price of tobacco 
^m year to year. It maintained an average rate ranging from one and 
a half to two pence a pound. Fitzhugb, in the account of his property 
given in the first note to the present chapter, places the value at the time 
at which he was writing at ten shillings a hundred-weight, or one and one- 
fifth pence a pound. In the chapter on Agricultural Development, 168&- 
1700, I have given references which would seem to show that Fitzhugh*s 
estunate was extremely conservative. In the present chapter, I adopt 
two pence as the average price, as being within the highest limit possible. 


of tobacco, or <£161. The personal estate of Francis 
Carter was inventoried at 13,728 pounds of tobacco, or 
about twenty-seven thousand pence. ^ 

Passing to the period that followed the middle of the 
century, and still confining our attention to York, it is 
found that in the interval between 1657 and 1662, the 
largest personal estate appraised by order of court was 
that of Colonel Thomas Ludlow in 1659. It was valued 
at 118.598 pounds of tobacco, which at the rate of two 
pence a pound was equal to <£988, or in purchasing 
power perhaps to about twenty-five thousand dollars in 
American currency. He owned in the form of sums due 
to him as debts, <£449. The personal estate of Francis 
Wheeler, consisting principally of tobacco due him, was 
appraised at £1123 13a. 4(2., from which a deduction of 
<£379 10a. is to be made for his own obligations.* The 
remaining personal estates inventoried in York during 
the same interval in no case exceeded £500, and only in 
few instances rose as high as Xl-lO.^ In the course of 
the eight years between 1664 and 1672, the largest per- 
sonal estate appraised was that of John Hubbard; it was 
valued at £722, independently of a large amount due 
him in coin and tobacco.* The estates following next 
in point of size were those of Mathew Hubbard, Richard 
Holt, and James Moore. The personalty of neither ex- 
ceeded X200. In the interval between 1672 and 1690, 
the largest personal estate brought before court was that 
of James Vaulx, which was valued at £642, equal in pur- 
chasing power perhaps to about fourteen thousand five 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1638-1648, Stafford, p. 186 ; DeacoB, 
p. 372 ; Carter, p. 376 ; Va. SUte Library. 

« Ibid., vol. 1657-1662, Ludlow, p. 280 ; Wheeler, p. 300. It is diffictat 
to discover the exact value of the Wheeler estate. 

» Ibid., pp. 60. 64, 402. 

* Ibid,, vol. 1664-1672, p. 324. 


hundred dollars. This did not include the debts due 
him. The personalty of Jonathan Newell was appraised 
at £554; in addition, there was a very large sum due 
him in tobacco. The personal estate of Edward Phelps 
was valued at £455; of Mrs. Elizabeth Bushrod, at X355; 
of Robert Cobbs, at £235;^ and of Francis Mathews, at 
£220.^ The appraisement of the personalty of Major 
James Goodwyn amounted to £542, and of Mrs. Rowland 
Jones to £440.^ The largest personal estates inventoried 
in York subsequent to 1690 were those of Mrs. Elizabeth 
Digges and Nathaniel Bacon, Sr. The first was valued at 
£1102; the second at £925, exclusive of live stock.* 

Passing to the personal estates appraised by order of 
court in Rappahannock, it is found that the records of 
that county, which are unusually voluminous, show very 
few that were notable in size. The three largest were 
those of William Travers, George Jones, and William 
Fauntleroy. The personalty of Travers amounted to 
285,861 pounds of tobacco, or about £2382, a sum per- 
haps equal in purchasing power to fifty thousand dollars 
in American currency; the personalty of George Jones, to 
108,308 pounds of tobacco; and of William Fauntleroy, 
to 30,828 pounds of the same commodity. Valuing a 
pound at two pence, these latter quantities represented 
an appraisement of £902 and £252 respectively.^ 

The most important personal estates in Lower Norfolk 
county in the course of the interval between 1650 and 

^ R€C<>rd3 of York County, vol. 1075-1084, Vaulx, p. 390; Newell 
p. 142 ; Phelps, p. 175 ; Buslirod, p. 339 ; Va. State Library. The Phelps 
appraisement is exclusive of tobacco debts. 

2 Ihid., vol. 1071-1004, p. 130. 

» Ibid,, vol. 1087-1001, Goodwyn, p. 00 ; Jones, p. 381. 

* Ibid,, Digges, vol. 1000-1094, p. 217 ; Bacon, vol. 1004-1097, p. 201. 

6 Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1077-1082, pp. 55, 74, 108. 
Large debts in tobacco were due both Jones and Fauntleroy. 


1700 were those of Cornelius Lloyd, valued at 131,041 
pounds of tobacco; of Henry Woodhouse, at 64,034 
pounds; of William Moseley, at 69,270 pounds; of Adam 
Keeling, at 102,222 pounds; of John Okeham, at 27,984 
pounds; of John Sibsey, at 68,313 pounds; of Lawience 
Phillips, at 81,371 pounds; of Robert Hodges, at five hun- 
dred and ten pounds sterling; of William Porteus, at sii 
hundred and sixty-six pounds sterling; of Lie wis Conner, at 
five hundred and sixty-seven pounds sterling; and of John 
Machen, at two hundred and eighteen pounds sterling.^ 

In the interval between 1690 and 1700, the largest 
amount of personal property inventoried in Elizabeth 
City County in a single case was that of William Ma^ 
shall. It was valued at £282. The personalty of Jacob 
Walker was appraised at <£176.* One of the most im- 
portant personal estates which came before court in Lan- 
caster County in the same interval was that of John 
Carter, Sr., which was valued at X2250.^ The personal 
estate of Robert Beckingham of the same county was 
appraised at, 342,558 pounds of tobacco, or <£2852, which 
represented perhaps as much as eighty thousand dollars 
in our American currency.* Beckingham was a merchantt 
and his whole property probably consisted of personalty. 
Smaller estates in Lancaster and Westmoreland to which 
reference may be made were those of David Myles, X320;' 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County^ ori^nal vol. 1651-1666, Lloyd, 
f. p. 168 ; Sibsey, f. p. 66 ; Phillips, f. p. 148 ; original vol. 1686-16^ 
Woodhouse, f . p. 26 ; Porteus, f. p. 190 ; original vol. 1666-1676, Moseley 
p. 107 ; Machen, p. 10 ; Okeham, p. 81 ; original vol. 1676-1686, Hodges, 
f. p. 117 ; original vol. 1696-1703, f. p. 137. 

2 Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1699, Marshall, p. 300; 
Walker, p. 490. 

* Virginia Magazine of History and Biography^ vol. IT, p. 236. 

* Records of Lancaster County^ original vol. 1674-1687, f. p. 96. 
ft Ibid,, 1674-1689. orders Feb. 8, 1674. 


of John Washington, £377;^ and of John Pritchard, 
X476. In addition, the personalty of the latter included 
in the form of debts due him £30 and 101,307 pounds of 

The largest personalty appraised in Middlesex County 
by order of court was that of Robert Beverley ; ^ it con- 
sisted of property amounting in value to £1531 4«. lOd. 
To this sum, there are to be added the debts due him in 
the form of tobacco, 331,469 pounds, and in the form of 
metallic money, <£801. This would mean that Beverley 
was in the possession of a personal estate that would be 
equivalent to £5000 at least, or in modern figures per- 
haps to about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars, rating tobacco at two pence a pound.* The personal 
estate of Corbin Griffin was valued at £1131, and that of 
Robert Dudley at £548.^ 

The personal estates appraised in Henrico previous to 
the close of the century were comparatively small. The 
personalty owned by Francis Eppes, who combined the 
trade of a local merchant with tlie business of planting, 
was probably as large in volume as that of any citizen in 
this county; independently of the value of the contents 
of his store, which at the least added as much again, it 
amounted to £302.® The personalty of Thomas Osborne 
was inventoried at £208 ;7 of William Glover, at 23,500 

* William and Mary College Quarterly^ April, 1803, p. 145. 

* Becords of Lancaster County^ original vol. ir>0O-17O9, p. 16. 

* See his inventory on file among records of Middlesex County. 

* At ten shillings the hundred-weight of tobacco, or 1 J pence a pound, 
the personalty of this estate veould have been equal to £4537, or about 
^1,000 in modem values. 

* Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 1698-1713, Griffin, p. 136 ; 
Dudley, p. 99. 

* Becords of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 93, Va. State Library. 
7 Ibid., vol. 168S-1697, p. 350. 



pounds of tobacco ; ^ and of John Davis, at 32,435 pounds 
of the same commodity .^ 

It will be seen from the figures which have been given 
for the personal estates of the leading planters and mer- 
chants in half a dozen of the wealthiest counties, that the 
average accumulation in this species of property was very 
important for that age and for a newly settled country. 
In a few cases, the accumulation was extraordinary. Un- 
fortunately, the records of some of the oldest counties, 
such, for instance, as those of Charles City and Warwick, 
have bebn destroyed, which prevents us from obtaining 
any information as to the personal estates of planters 
like the elder William Byrd. 

The largest proportion of the property held by citizens 
of Virginia in the seventeenth century was in the form of 
land. What was the extent of the area of soil owned by 
the leading planters? No accurate answer can be given 
to this question, because it is impossible to say how much 
each one had inherited or acquired by purchase. The 
land patent books afford us the only clear light as to 
the real estate in the possession of individual colonists. 
Among the most important patentees in the early part of 
the century were George Menefie and Samuel Mathews.^ 
Menelie obtained grants for eight thousand four hundred 
and sixty acres, and Mathews for about nine thousand; 
each one of these planters was probably in possession of 
about one-third more landed property acquired by pur- 
chase or mortgage. Jolm Carter, father and son, of Lan- 
caster, sued out patents to eighteen thousand five hundred 

1 Becords of Henrico County, vol. 1088-1097, p. 284, Va. State Library. 

2 Ibid., vol. 1677-1(302, p. 283. 

8 Adam Thoroiighgood, Richard Kemp, and William Claiborne were 
also patentees of large bodies of land, amounting in the aggregate to an 
enormous area. 


and seventy acres; Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., to five thousand 
more or less; John Page, to seven thousand; Richard Lee, 
to twelve thousand; William Byrd, to fifteen thousand; ^ 
and finally Robert Beverley, to thirty-seven thousand. The 
names of a dozen additional colonists of almost equal 
prominence might be given who had acquired as great an 
area of soil by public grants, but the instances which have 
been mentioned are typical of their class.^ It is probably 
not going too far to say that the average size of the landed 
property held by the members of this class was at least 
five thousand acres. « 

What was the value of an acre in Virginia in the seven- 
teenth century ? The basis which we have for an answer 
to this question is very insufficient. The records of 
York, between 1633 and 1700, have preserved forty-seven 
instances in which tracts of land in that county aggre- 
gating 8664 acres were sold, not for tobacco, the price y 
of which was fluctuating, but for money sterling. The 
average value of an acre in these forty tracts was slightly 
in excess of half a pound sterling, the value of the whole 
being £3134. In Rappahannock, twenty-one tracts 
covering an area of 11,519 acres brought when sold 
<£1604, or about one-seventh of a pound sterling an acre. 
In Elizabeth City, twelve tracts aggregating 2094 acres 
brought <£431, or about one-quarter of a pound sterling 
an acre. In Henrico, twenty-five tracts aggregating 
6734 acres brought <£632, or about one-tenth of a pound 
sterling. It is not surprising to find that land in the 
older counties, like York and Elizabeth City, commanded a 

^ These different figures are merely approximate. It is not improba- 
ble that the planters named obtained by patents a larger area of soil than 
that stated in each case. These enumerations were made from entries in 
the land patent books. 

2 William Fitzhugh possessed over 50,000 acres. See his will, Virginia 
Magazine of History and Biogrnphy^ vol. II, p. 270. 



higher price than in the more newly settled communities 
of Rappahannock and Henrico. It is probable from the 
figures given that one-fifth of a pound, or four shillings, 
in that age perhaps equal in purchasing power to five 
dollars in our modern currency, represented the average 
value of an acre on a plantation under cultivation.* It 
must be remembered that the estates of the seventeenth 
century were for the most part confined to the lowlands 
adjacent to the streams, which consisted of the most fertile 
loam. Reduce the four shillings to two in order to be 
very moderate and apply this standard of value to the 
real estate owned by Robert Beverley, and it is found that 
he held landed property to the value of £3700, which 
at modern rates would perhaps be equivalent to about 
<£18,500 or ninety-two thousand five hundred dollars. To 
be still more moderate, reduce these figures one-half and it 
will be seen that the whole estate of Beverley, personal 
and real, amounted to one hundred and seventy-six thou- 
sand dollars at the least. It would be reasonably safe to 
say that it was equal in value to two hundred thousand dol- 
lars, perhaps to two hundred and fifty thousand.^ When 
it is recalled that Virginia had only been settled for eighty 
years when Beverley died, the statement of Lord Balti- 
more, that fortunes were more easily acquired in this age 
in that Colony than in England, seems entirely consistent 
with the fact. The whole property of William Byrd, who 
made great additions to an inheritance already large, was 

^ That is, taking the cleared and uncleared land on such a plantation 
together. The average value of cleared land alone in good condition wtf 
perhaps twice as high as the figures given. 

2 I have reduced the value of the land held by Beverley to the very 
lowest point, because in a holding amounting to 37,000 acres, an eno^ 
mous proportion must have been covered with forest, and was, therefore, 
of little practical worth beyond furnishing an almost boundless range for 


perhaps more valuable than the estate of Robert Bever- 
ley.^ There were fifty, probably one hundred, planters 
in Virginia at the close of the century whose property 
equalled if it did not exceed fifty thousand dollars. 

Robert Beverley, the historian, declared that such was 
the geniality of the climate of Virginia and such the fer- 
tility of its soil, that no one there was so sunk in poverty 
as to be compelled to secure a living by beggary.^ This 
statement was doubtless perfectly accurate for the time at 
which it was made, but it was not entirely true of a period 
fifty years earlier, when the accumulation of property was 
not as yet so great. There are several recorded instances 
in that age in which special licenses were granted to 
mendicants. Such a license was obtained by John Clax- 
son of York County, whose only property had been de- 
stroyed by fire, and who had been left with a family of five 
children without means of support. It is probable that 
this professional beggar was physically disabled. Similar 
cases were those of Thomas Bagwell of the Isle of Wight, 
and Richard New of James City, both, like that of Clax- 
son, occurring as early as IGSo.^ A general complaint 
arose in 1672, that the neglect into which the vagrant laws 
had fallen had led to an increase in the number of vaga- 
bonds, and a statute was passed in consequence looking 
not only to the suppression of all idlers, but also to set- 
ting the poor to work.* 

1 In the course of four years, William Byrd advanced out of his own 
pocket, £2955 9«. Sd. to cover deficiencies in the revenues of the Coluny. 
At the time he was auditor-general of Virginia. See Palmer's Calendar 
of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 58. The early records of the county 
in which the inventory of Byrd's personal estate was entered on record 
are not now in existence. 

2 Beverley's Hiatoi^y of Virginia, p. 223. 

• Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 381. 

* Ibid., vol. II, p. 298. 


The records of levies disclose the frequency with which 
assessments were made for the benefit of persons who, from 
their physical disabilities, were incapable of earning a self- 
support. The sums of tobacco thus obtained were paid 
either to the paupers themselves directly, or to some one 
who had agreed to furnish the person who was the object 
of charity with food and clothing. ^ In 1668, the Assembly 
provided for the establishment in each county of a work- 
house ;2 this act must have been enforced, for in 1678 the 
justices of the peace for Lower Norfolk County were in- 
dicted by the Grand Jury for neglecting to observe it.* 
The erection of workhouses was specially recommended 
to Lord Culpeper in the instructions which he received as 
Governor in 1679.* The form of relief generally requested 
by those who had become impoverished was exemption 
>/' from the payment of county levies; this privilege was 
granted if the person seeking it was advanced in age,^ or 
so lame or so blind as to be incapable of work,^ or was 
burdened with a large family of children. ^ 

There were in the course of the seventeenth century 
many instances in which valuable bequests were made for 
the benefit of the poor. In 1683, Robert Griggs of Lan- 
caster left twenty thousand pounds of tobacco to the des- 
titute of Christ Church Parish in that county, those who 
had large families to maintain to be preferred;® (leorge 

1 Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 1080-1094, Dec. 4, 1693, 
Jan. 4, 1085, Oct. 4, 1083. 

2 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 200. These workhouses were for children. 
' Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1075-1080, f. p. 40. 

* From this, it would appear that the workhouses which had l>een in 
existence had fallen into disuse. It should, however, be remembered that 
the persons who drew up the Instructions to the Governors sliowcd. ui 
many cases, ignorance of the real condition of the Colony. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1004-1072. p. 410, Va. State Library. 
« Ibid., vol. 1087-1091, p. 60. ^ Ibid., vol. 1057-1002, p. 391. 
" Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1074-1087, p. 01. 


ipencer of Lancaster, also, left by will ten thousand pounds 
f tobacco for the same purpose, the objects of his bounty, 
lowever, to be chosen from amongst the inhabitants of 
Vhite Chapel Parish.* Corbin Griffin bequeathed fifteen 
K)unds sterling to the poor of Richmond County, and ten 
K>iinds to persons in need in Middlesex.^ John Linney 
Levised his entire estate to the destitute inhabitants of 
>hiskiack in York. Richard Trotter, of the same county, 
eft one thousand pounds of tobacco to the poor of Charles 
Parish, while Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., bequeathed twenty 
>ounds sterling to the poor of Hampton Parish.^ In 
1698, Robert Scott willed the whole amount of the sums 
lue him by different persons, in the form of tobacco or 
join, to indigent persons in Isle of Wight County.* If 
reliance can be placed upon the statement of Beverley, 
there was little room for the exercise of charity by benev- 
olent testators towards the close of the century; he declares 
that he was aware of one case in which a bequest for the 
benefit of the poor in one of the parishes in Virginia had 
remained untouched for nine years, because there was no 
one in the limits of the parish who came within the scope 
of the testator's intention.* 

^ Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1690-1694, f . p. 11. 

* Will on file among records of Middlesex County. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1694-1702, Linney, p. 10, Trotter, 
p. 194 ; Bacon, vol. 1690-1694, p. 154, Va. State Library. 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County ^ original yoL 1696-1703, p. 123. 

* Beverley's History of Virginia, p, 223. 

VOL. II. — 8 




In preceding chapters I have referred in detail to the 
different supplies which were needed for use or consump- 
tion by people of all classes in the seventeenth century. 
Where and how were these supplies obtained? When 
not mere natural products, to what extent had they been 
manufactured at home or abroad? The most common 
varieties of food were in most cases of the growth of 
the soil of the Colony. We have seen that the main 
subsistence of the slave, the servant, and the master was 
principally drawn from the plantation itself ; the meats, 
the vegetables, the flour, the meal, and, in large measure, 
the fermented liquors which were so freely indulged in, 
were produced in Virginia. A considerable proportion of 
the articles of food to be found on the tables of persons of 
wealth was not secured from their own estates, but had 
been imported from abroad. This was still more the case 
with the innumerable articles which made up the house- 
hold goods of the individual planter, and, in a lesser de- 
gree, of the implements employed in tilling the ground. 
Many of these articles were manufactured, as will be here- 
after shown, in the Colony, but the greater number had 
been brought in by local or foreign merchants, or by the 

landowners at their own expense. 



The importation of English merchandise into Virginia 
in the seventeenth century for the purpose of meeting the 
nrants of its inhabitants had something more than a local 
significance. It was the beginning of that vast colonial 
trade which has performed so momentous a part in in- 
creasing the wealth of England, and giving her an undis- 
puted supremacy among commercial nations. Almost 
from the foimdation of the settlement at Jamestown, 
Virginia was an important dependence of the mother 
country, not only as a land to which those who desired to 
establish new homes could emigrate, but as a commiinity 
which, as its population expanded, required an ever en- 
larging volume of artificial supplies. Its steady growth 
signified a proportionate advance in many branches of 
English manufacture. With the progress of time, the 
importance of all the Colonies as places where English 
goods could be disposed of at a profit, was more clearly 
recognized, and the benefit that would result to English 
trade from the exclusion of competition, foreign or domes- 
tic, from this field, was one of the principal influences 
vrhich led to the passage of the Navigation laws, as well 
as to the prohibition of colonial manufacture on a large 
scale. As early as 1664, when the second Act of Naviga- 
tion had been in operation only a few years, the merchan- 
dise imported into Virginia and Maryland was thought 
to be worth annually £200,000, a sum equal in purchasing 
power, perhaps, to four or five millions of dollars in our 
modem currency.^ At the beginning of the Revolution, 
a hundred and twelve years later, the value of the goods 
shipped from England each year to her Colonies in North 
America was estimated at £2,732,036, a small amount in 
Comparison with the value of the goods imported at the 
present time by the United States from the same coimtry 

' Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Council, vol. 1636-1667, p. 504. 


under a restrictive tariff, but in that age representing an 
enormous volume of trade. ^ 

/ Previous to the issue of patents to associations of private 
adventurers in 1616, the cost of the transportation of sup- 
plies to the settlers in Virginia was borne entirely by the 
London Company or its members, to whom fell whatever 
profit was to be acquired from the sale of the commodities 
of the Colony. In the beginning, the expense was met by 
the Company alone, and from the fund which had been 
subscribed by the different adventurers who had united 
themselves under the letters patent obtained by Gates 
and his associates in 1606. How large was this fund 
and how great were the individual subscriptions, there 
are now no means of ascertaining. That the general 
amount was of notable proportions is to be inferred from 
the size of the first expedition, and the number of supplies 
following previous to the grant of the second charter in 
1609. The same rule was adopted in the case of the 
London Company, when it was formed, as in the case of 
other organizations of similar character ; the adventurer 
wrote opposite to his name the figures of such a sum as he 
was prepared to risk, and his profits were to be in propo^ 
tion to it. Under the regulations laid down for the gov- 
ernment of the Colony, the trade during the first five years V 
was to be confined to three stocks at the most.* All sup- 
plies purchased with the money contributed were trans- 
ported thither as the property of the subscribers as a body. 
The commodities to be obtained from Virginia, whether 
in exchange with the Indians or as the product of the 
industry of the settlers, were to be returned to England 

1 Report of a Committee of the Privy Council on the Trade of Gr«t 
Britain with United States, 1791. 

^ Instructions for the Government of the Colonies, Brown^s Genesis of 
the United States^ p. 7L 


for sale, and the proceeds divided among the adventurers 
in proportion to their shares. The power was given to the 
persons named in the charter of 1606, to arrest all who 
were found engaged in traffic with the inhabitants, and 
to detain them if they were English subjects until they 
had paid two and a half per cent of the goods in which 
they had been trading, an4 if they were citizens of foreign 
states, five per cent.^ ^supervision of the articles to be 
conveyed to the Colony was, by the formal provisions for 
its government, to be assimied by a committee to be con- 
stituted of not less than three members, who were in- 
structed to reside in or near London, or at any other place 
preferred by the Company. A careful account was to be 
kept by this committee of the various kinds of merchan- 
dise which should be exported. During a period of seven 
years, goods to be used for apparel, food, or defence, or for 
the necessary objects of the plantation, transported from 
England to Virgfinia, were to be exempted from all manner 
of custom and subsidy. For the purpose of preventing an 
abuse of this valuable privilege by persons who had no real 
intention of sending the articles which they professed to 
be exporting thither, but who only wished to escape from 
the duties imposed upon those who had foreign destina- 
tions in view, it was provided that if any one should take 
advantage of this clause in the charter to evade the cus- 
toms which they ought properly to pay, and after getting 
out to sea, direct their course to a land under foreign 
dominion, not only was the whole cargo to be forfeited, 
but the vessel in which it was conveyed was to be con- 
fiscated. The object of the charter was violated even if 
the commodities thus designed for an alien country had 
first been carried into Virginia in order to comply with 

1 Charter of 1606, § XIII, Brown's Genesis of the United States, 
pp. 59-61.* 


the letter of the law. The goods exported from Eng* 
land by the Company were, as soon as they reached the 
Colony, to be stored in a magazine, from which they could 
be drawn for distribution only upon the warrant of the 
President and Council, or the Cape Merchant and two 
clerks who were in immediate charge of the goods. Of 
the latter trio of officers, the Cape Merchant, as his name 
discloses, was the chief. He was also the Treasurer of 
the Colony.^ In the beginning, it was his duty merely to 
preserve and guard the contents of the magazine, whether 
imj^orteil from England or produced by the labors, of the 
inhabitants. It was not until a modified right of holding 
private property wus granted that he became an agent 
in exchanging the goods of the Company or of private 
adventurers, for the commodities owned by the settlers. 
Pn^vious to this« he was virtually a mere supercai^. 
The Ca^^ Merchant was elected to fill the position which 
he iKvupieil only for twelve months, but he was permitted 
to be a candiilate for reflection, his reelection resting with 
the l^resident and Council. At the time he was chosen, 
two clerks were also selectevl, and thev remained, like the 
Cape Merchant, in office for a period of one year, their 
p^^sitiou being atteudevl by less responsibility. They also 
cvHiUl W ret'lev'teiL It wjks the dutv of one of the clerks 
to keep a KkA iu which ail the supplies distributed were 
to be ettten;\l, and he as well as his associate eoulil be 
sns{>emltxl or r^movevl by the President and Council, or 
bv a uiajorltv v>f the K\.lv which thev formed. 

lu the orvlers in Council dniwn up for the guidance 
of the jvrs*.>iis in chArv^f of the exjWition of liWT. the 
|>rvservativ»u aud the sujvrvision of the different articles 
to be cv^nvevwl to Vir^riuiA wus imposed upon Captain 


rewi)ort, who was in command of the fleet. ^ The imme- 
iate care of these articles, however, fell upon the Cape 
ferchant. The first person to fill this position was 
liomas Stadley, who, upon the departure of the vessels 
rhich brought the voyagers to Jamestown Island, re- 
lained in charge of the storehouse, erected, in accord 
dth an order in Council, by a party of men who had 
leen specially detailed for the work.^ Studley perished 
a the course of the first summer following the f ounda- 
ion of the Colony, and was succeeded by Smith. In the 
nterval preceding the arrival of the First Supply, an 
vent which took place in the winter of 1607, the goods 
mported in the spring had almost entirely disappeared, 
rhe oil and vinegar, sack and aquavitse, had been con- 
umed, with the exception of the few gallons reserved for 
eligious services and for persons stricken with extreme 
llness.^ Many other commodities had been allowed by 
fVingfield, the President, to be dispersed in bartering with 
he Indians,' or in making gifts to them.^ The First 
Supply reached Jamestown in January in the charge of 
Newport, and it consisted of a great variety of articles 
bought by the Company in England to be necessary for 
he protection or subsistence of the settlers. Included 
kmong the articles of food were biscuits, one of which was 
riven to each workingman at breakfast.^ Newport had 
>een at Jamestown only a few days when a fire, which 
lad its origin in the cargo so recently brought over, broke 
»ut, and proved very destructive, more especially to the 
ictuals and clothing of individual colonists. The serious 

1 Orders in Council, Brown^s Genesis of the United Slates, p. 76. 
« Ibid., p. 82 ; Percy's Discourse, p. Ixxii. 

* Works of Capt John Smith, p. Ixxviii. 

* A Discourse of Virginia, Works of Capt. John Smith, p. IxxxL 

* Ibid., p. Ixxxiii. 


character of the loss in the matter of apparel is disclosed 
in a letter written at this time by Francis Perkins, to 
a friend in England, in which he urges that all cast- 
off garments in the possession of this friend, doublets, 
trousers, stockings, and caps, should be sent to him in 
Virginia to provide him with means of hiding his naked- 
ness.^ The fire would probably have consumed the whole 
of the Supply if a part had not been detained on board 
the vessel. A large quantity of beef, pork, fish, butter, 
cheese, aquavitse, beer, and oil, imported for the use of 
the settlers, was consumed by the sailors, who were per- 
mitted to remain at Jamestown with their commander 
nearly four months longer than at first was intended, 
merely in order that they might share in the profit of 
discovering ores of precious metals. When the ship 
sailed at last, Newport could spare only a small amount 
of biscuit, pork, fish, and oil, after having sold a large 
quantity of these articles of food to those persons among 
the colonists who were so fortunate as to have money or 
surplus clothing, furs, or rings, or who were able to give 
bills of exchange on England. At this time, the great 
mass of the settlers subsisted on bread and water. The 
Phcenix^ whicli ought to have arrived in January in com- 
pany with the vessel commanded by Newport, did not 
reach Virginia until the following April. The supplies 
contained in it wei-e distributed among the* colonists.' 

The Company found great difficulty in securing the 
funds necessary to purchase and send out the Second 
Supply, which arrived at Jamestown in the autumn of 
1608 in two ships.^ A storehouse in anticipation of it 

* Letter of Francis Perkins, Brown's Genesis of the Cnited Stait'S* 
p. 176. 

^ Works of Capt. John Smith, pp. 103-105. 

' Zuniga to Philip 111, Spanish Archives, Bn>wn's Genesis of th( 
United States, p. 172. 


td been erected for its accommodation. A private trade 
»rang up at once between the sailors and the colonists, 
id between the sailors and the Indians, the colonists 
iting as factors. A strong complaint was made that 
le articles which should have gone to the settlers with- 
it any charge, were thus disposed of to the private 
Ivantage of persons who belonged to the vessels. The 
itchets, chisels, mattocks, and pickaxes, forming an im- 
)rtant part of the Second Supply, were dispersed among 
le aborigines. Knives and pike-heads, shot and powder, 
sappeared into the same hands, a return being made 
trough the secret agency of the colonists, in skins, 
iskets, and wild animals. One mariner alone is stated 
» have obtained by this means, furs which netted him 
drty pounds sterling in England. The articles sold in 
1 underhand way to the settlers by the sailors of the 
dcbnd Supply were butter, cheese, beef, pork, biscuit, 
itmeal, beer, and aquavitse. There are indications that 
large quantity of wheat was imported in this Supply. 
; had been deposited in casks as a protection, being 
itended for food, or, as seems most probable, for seed ; 
lis wheat in a few months had either rotted or been 
)nsumed by rats which had found their way into Vir- 
inia in the English vessels.^ A part of the Second 
upply was also made up of clothing ; this was especially 
eeded on account of the destruction of so much private 
:)parel in the fire that broke out at Jamestown during 
le previous winter. Both in the First and Second 
upplies there were doubtless consignments of garments 
i individual colonists from their relatives in England. 
I this way, George Percy received in 1608 from his 
•other, the Earl of Northumberland, articles of dress 
timated to be worth about ten pounds sterling, perhaps 

1 Works of Capt. John Smith, pp. 121, 127, 128, 165. 


as much as two hiindred and fifty dollars in American 
currency, a quantity which must have been considered 
very large even for a nobleman.^ The urgent request 
which Perkins had made of members of the Comwallifl 
family with reference to discarded clothes was very prob- 
ably complied with on the occasion of the Second Supply. 
The great difficidty which the Company, according to 
the account of the Spanish ambassador in London at the 
time, had found in securing the means for the purchase of 
the goods in the Second Supply, had quite probably the 
chief influence in creating the demand for the second char- 
ter, which was finally granted in May, 1609. Under the 
provisions of this charter, the fifty-six city companies d 
London and six hundred and fifty or more persons united 
themselves into a corporation of private adventurers for 
the advancement of the plantation. Among them, were 
miuiy men of very large and many of very small fortunes. 
About one-thinl paid into the general fund thirty-seven 
jx)umls and ton shillings or more apiece; another third 
j^id individually less than this sum* while the remainder 
failed to make payments at all.' The city companies 
did not contribute simply as incorporated bodies. In the 
r^'onls of the Grocers' Comj^any, there is a receipt show- 
ing that ssixty-uine p^>unds sterling had been placed with 
the wanlen by members to be invested for their private 
benefit in bills of adventure in the Virginian undertaking. 
These sums appear to have been subscribed at regular 
meetings of the Company, each member being left to biiul 
himself for whatever amount hi^ o>vn inclinations sug- 
gested. The names of those refusing to do so were care- 
fully taken down. The Mercers* Comj^any agreed to 

^ McmorauJa ;^ld07-l*50S1 ol Nlucli Earl ci Xorthamlheriand. Brown'i 
Genesis 'jf tfka L'nUed SlaC*!9K p. ITS. 


adventure two hundred pounds sterling. The Cloth- 
workers subscribed, as a body, one hundred marks, and the 
members seemed to have subscribed individually. The 
Fishmongers appear also to have been liberal in taking 
shares. In some instances, these trade associations not 
only contributed money, but also merchandise,^ the di£fer- 
ent persons who constituted them being probably some- 
what influenced by the prospect of selling to the London 
Company the goods in their special line of business needed 
for the supply of the Colony.^ The first suggestion that 
each city company should take shares in the London was 
made in the form of a letter from the latter to the Lord 
Mayor, in which, in return for contributions, bills of 
adventure were promised to be drawn for the benefit of 
such as would subscribe. It was even proposed that the 
different wards should become shareholders. Upon the 
receipt of this letter, the Mayor sent out his precept to 
the master and warden of each company, requiring them 
to summon the members to meet with a view of making 
individual subscriptions.^ The Council of Virginia at 
this time were content to seek assistance from the com- 
panies of London, but at a later period overtures were 
made to towns in other parts of the kingdom. 

The strong inducements offered to obtain shareholders 
whose contributions would be expended in the purchase 
of supplies for the Colony are set forth in the contempo- 
raneous pamphlet. Nova Britannia. It was fully antici- 

1 Brown's Genesis of the United States, pp. 252, 257, 258, 280, 389. 

* Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 929: "Most of the tradesmen in 
London that would adventure but 12£ 10 sh.,*' wrote Smith, " had the 
furnishing the Company of all such things as belonged to his trade ; such 
juggling there was betwixt them and such intruding Committees, their 
associates, that all the trash they could get in London was sent us in 

< Brown's Genesis of the United States, pp. 252, 254. 



patucl by its author, in which opinion he was not alone, 
that it would be necessary to make but two more consign- 
nieiitH of articles to Virginia, the returns from which were 
expected to be so large that not only would there be an 
aiiiplo fund for the purchase of the Third Supply, bat 
there would be a surplus to be reserved for the share- 
holders. To assure a profit upon all the merchandise to 
Iw thereafter sent over, the right was to be enjoyed by 
the Company of holding a monopoly of the commodities 
o( the Colony for a perioil of seven years from the date 
of tlie second charter. No di>dsion was to be made of the 
f^\\i\ to be derived during this period from the labor of 
tlie settlers or bv tnuie with the Indians until the seven 
yours had oxpireii« at which time it was anticipated that 
the capital to Ih' distributed among the shareholders would 
Ih* vury larjjt*; the amount to be received by each one was 
to W further incn^as^Hl bv the division of land to take 
place at the cK^so of the s;aue j^erioil. each shareholder 
U»iu^ eutitUnl to an area of s^nl in projxirtion to the 
auu>uut of his stvvk. The distribution of the common 
pr\»ivrty in luoucv and laiul was to Iv made in 1616.^ 

The tcruis ot the charter of lr>t>i> differeil in some 
fxvii{Hvts trvHu thvvse of the clwrter of 16*)^ with reference 
to tiT^dc The cxciuj^tiou frv>m subc>rdies and customs and 

;j|ll t\*ruis v»f tAXAtioii wus cxteuvW frv^m s^ven to twenty- 


v.viu- wurs. ri;^ au:> :o ch? paid by Knirlish subjects, not 

rucutlvrs v\t uv v\*r'VJfc:iv, \%a'.» i:u:vrterl cvxxls into Vir- 
j^iv.'.ck ^*AS lv,^*rv^AA\i :r\;.Vv :wv jLiid j^ Lil: per cent to five, 
j»!.iv.; :.u cifes*:" oi: jtl:.c*Li>* :r«.*;r, "f-v^^ rt^r jer::; :o :^c. The priv- 
'.!.<.X^ s*i \.'\^N.^r5:j,?.'^ s--".v:.v:^c^ ;o :!x«.' C-x-^civ un:jiXrvl wjis not 
cv.'.<,j»'.aVs V-i *,5s vi-x.-cLvifcl ^itvvrrr»^^c."j. l^z the month in 


»•• ' *! 

;«,-".fc. ;::«.v,'." \>u.x >oi.»ii.L 

:.'i V.s::\ of Swklisbiirr. 

\v«./L i.<a'Uui.ii;u /w. i-j- ^ii. -fyr,*! > J^^t,r'iw T-^iccis. t^:v> L 


addressed to the officers who had charge of the customs, 
in which they were instructed to permit every commodity 
designed for Virgfinia to leave their ports free from all 
imposition;^ this was intended to have direct application 
to the fleet making ready to sail for Virginia under the 
conduct of Sir Thomas Gates and now lying in the harbor 
of Plymouth. The eight ships and the pinnace constituting 
the fleet carried over the Third Supply to the Colony, 
which differed from the two preceding it only in quantity, 
being made up principally of food and apparel purchased 
with the funds contributed by the personal and corporate 
members of the Company in the manner already described. 
The flag-ship, in which one-fourth of the persons employed 
in the fleet and the greater part of the provisions were to 
be transported, was separated from the other vessels by a 
hurricane and finally wrecked upon the islands of Bermuda. 
The remainder arrived in Virginia safely. Previous to 
this event. Captain Argoll had reached the Colony on a 
fishing expedition, having in his ship a large supply of 
wine and biscuit designed for private trade; the necessities 
of the people at Jamestown being very urgent at this time, 
the provisions had been seized and consumed.^ The sup- 
ply brought in by the fleet was very small. After the 
departure of the vessels in the following October, although 
the maize planted by Smith had been recently gathered,^ 
there intervened the frightful Starving Time, in which 
the greater number of the colonists perished. Somers and 
Gates, who had contrived means of escape from the Ber- 
mudas, reached Virginia in May, and finding the settlers 
plunged into the deepest misery, which they were unable 
to relieve with their insignificant cargo of provisions, 

1 Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 307. 
« Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 159. 
» Ibid., pp. 167, 170. 


embarked the whole number on board of their vessel and 
dropped down the river on their way to Newfoundland* 
but were met^ before thej had reached the Capes, by Lord 
Delaware in a fleet of three ships. 

It had been intended, after the departure from England 
of Sir Thomas Gates in the spring of 1609, to dispatch 
Lord Delaware to Virginia in the following August wiA 
ten vessels, and for the purpose of raising the funds re- 
quired to purchase this additional supply, various expe- 
dients were used. Among the other steps taken. Captain 
Thomas Holeroft was authorized to visit the United Pror- 
inces in order to interest the English subjects residing in 
that country in the enterprise, to the extent of adventur- 
ing in it their persons or their means. All who should 
contribute to the supply to be sent in charge of Delaware 
were to receive the libeniesand privileges of the Company 
in the same degree as if they had belonged to that body 
from its beginning. Upon them also were to be conferred, 
in proi>ortion to the amount of their subscriptions, shares 
in the lands of Virginia ^ud in the accumulated capital of 
the cor{x^ration. when the dr^t division of both took place 
in li>U\ previous to a generU tlistrihution among the mem- 
l>ers. The right to enter into private commercial relations 
with the colonists after liU6 w;*s granted to each person con- 
tributing to the funds of the Company^ who should desire 
tx^ t«ide in the ox^MVtation that it would be profitable.^ 

The return to Kngland in the autumn of 1609 of what 
remaine*! of the tk»et x* hich had 5»eT out in the spring of 
the same year under such favorable auspices, had. on 
aooonnt of the disc^Miraging reports brought over, the 
effect of diniinisliinc int^crost in the enterprise, on the part 
of th*:ise whi\ if the issue had been more fortunate, would 

■> tTunrn^wmn t^ HoJcrfiftn Brown Vi irnuwtf cjf Ae United Siost** 
pp. Si 7. Sl^ 


have contributed liberally to its support. Ratcliffe, in his 
letter to Salisbury, sent to England at this time, recom- 
mended that provisions for one year should be forwarded 
to Virginia, but it had now become difficult to secure the 
means for the purchase of supplies. The managers of 
the Company nevertheless were not to be daunted by the 
calamities of the expedition under Gates, upon which so 
many hopes had been founded ; barely a fortnight after 
the vessels that had gone out in this expedition reached 
England, they issued the True and Sincere Declaration^ 
in which a powerful appeal was made to every instinct of 
the English people, religious, political, and material, to 
induce them to contribute to the advancement of the 
enterprise, in spite of the repeated disasters that had over- 
taken it.^ This appeal was followed up doubtless by still 
more active and direct measures for securing the necessary 
funds. It proved highly effective. In April, 1610, Dela- 
ware sailed from England to Virginia with a fleet of three 
vessels, laden with cargoes purchased in a measure by his 
own contributions to the treasury of the Company. The 
additional money required had been adventured by other 
shareholders. As soon as Delaware had reestablished the 
Colony at Jamestown, he ordered Gates to proceed to Eng- 
land to obtain the articles for which provision had at the 
time of his own departure from the mother country been 
made, at least in part.^ It was during this visit that 
Gates was summoned before the Council in London and 
questioned as to the advisability of abandoning the enter- 
prise, the Council being very much discouraged by his 
failure to bring with him, on his return, commodities, by 

' True and Sincere Declaration, Brown's Genesis of the United States, 
p. 339. 

* Zuniga to Philip III, Spanish Archives, Brown's Genesis of the United 
States, p. 386. 


the sale of which, the expense of the supplies to be sent to 
Virginia could be met.^ Among those who had contrib- 
uted to the fund covering the charges for these supplies, 
were probably several of the city companies, subscribing 
in the persons of their members, and, in some instances, 
as incorporated bodies. The Grocers' Company advent- 
ured one hundred pounds steriing. The Mercers posi- 
tively refused to contribute further for the advancement 
of the Plantation, and in this course they were doubtless 
followed by other corporations to which similar appeals 
had been made.^ In December, 1610, the ship Herculei 
sailed to Virginia with a cargo of supplies, and a few 
weeks later was followed by Sir Thomas Dale with a fleet 
of three vessels, containing a great abundance of victuals 
and furniture. In the following spring, . Sir Thomas 
Gates set out for Jamestown in command of three ships 
and three caravels, with an equal quantity of provisions 
of all kinds for the colonists. 

The funds with which the supplies forwarded to 
Virginia in the care of Gates had been purchased were 
procured in large part by circular letters addressed to 
private persons and city companies. Towns were invited 
to subscribe in their corporate capacity as well as in the 
name of particular citizens, the hope being confidently 
extended tliat the enterprise would now have great suc- 
cess. It was proposed to send to Virginia, in the course 
of the following two years, three cargoes valued at thirty 
thousand pounds sterling; of this amount, eighteen thou- 
sand liad been raised previous to February, 1611, and it 
was expected to secure the remainder from the gentry, 
merchants, and cities of the kingdom. Of the subscrip- 
tions made by private persons, not one was less than 

^ Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 604. 

2 Brown's Genesis of the United States, pp. 380, 301, 442. 


thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings; in some cases, they 
ran to a figure as high as one hundred and seventy-five 
pounds. Noblemen and the companies of London sub- 
scribed five thousand of the eighteen thousand pounds 
sterling collected.^ 

During the time that Gates and Dale were in control 
in Virginia, the martial laws, drawn from the military 
administration of the Low Countries, were in operation, 
and were particularly effective in ensuring the preser- 
vation of the imported supplies. These supplies appear 
to have been still in the keeping of a Cape Merchant. 
Among those who were named by Lord Delaware as 
having been appointed by himself in the previous year 
to positions under him, no Cape Merchant is mentioned, 
although the clerks who were required to be associated 
with him are referred to.^ By the martial laws, the 
fullest regulations were established for the guidance of 
such an officer, and for his punishment in case he mis- 
appropriated the stores placed under his charge ; ^ if he 
embezzled, sold, or gave away any article belonging to 
these stores, or made out a false account when he pre- 
sented his report to the Governor, he rendered himself 
liable to the penalty of death. If any private person 
carried off the victuals or arms, linen or woollen clothing, 
hose or shoes, hats or caps, instruments or tools in the 
care of the Cape Merchant, he exposed himself to the same 
extreme punishment. That this was not a provision 
designed in terrorem simply, is revealed in the fact that 

1 Circular Letter of the Virginia Council, Lists of Subscribers, Brown's 
Genesis of the United States, pp. 463-469. 

* Council in Virginia to the Virginia Company, Brown's Genesis of the 
United States, p. 408. Two clerks, Daniel Tucker and Robert Wild, 
were appointed by Delaware on his arrival in the Colony. 

* Lawes, Divine, Morall and Martiall, p. 13, Force's Historical Tracts^ 
vol. III. 

VOL, II. — T 


on one occasion a colonist who had committed a robbeiy 
upon the store was bound to a tree and suffered to perish 
by starvation.^ Culprits of this kind, it is probable, were 
usually hung, the harshness in this special case being 
doubtless exemplary. In order to put an end to the 
serious evils resulting from the unlicensed trading be- 
tween the sailors on the ships arriving in the James 
River, and the colonists on shore, the seamen bartering 
cheese and biscuit, meal, bacon, oil, butter, spice, and 
aquavitsB for the clothing, furniture, instruments, tools, 
and implements of the settlers, it was provided that aU 
mariners who made this exchange should not only be 
deprived of the goods thus obtained and forfeit the en- 
jfire amount of their wages, but should also be publicly 
whipped according to the verdict of the court-martial which 
should find the charge to be true. If the exchange had 
been at an unconscionable price, advantage being taken 
of the necessities of the inhabitants, death was to be the 
punishment. Proclamations setting forth the legal rates 
in the sale of all commodities were attached to the masts 
of every vessel that arrived, and this was to be taken as 
sufficient notice of the consequences of an extreme vio- 
lation of the law, but it was, at the same time, no justi- 
fication for buying without authority the articles specified, 
even at approved valuations.^ In spite of the more care- 
ful administration enforced by Gates and Dale, there 
appears to have been at times a great lack of necessary 
supplies. Molina, writing in 1613, after a detention of 
two years in Virginia, refers to the wretched clothing 
of the colonists. He describes his own dress as being 

' Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia, Colonial Becords 
of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 74. 

3 Lawes, Divine, Morall and Martiall, p. 14, Forceps Ilistorical Tracts. 
vol. III. 


in a state of such raggedness as to leave him virtually 
naked. ^ 

In 1612, the third charter was granted; in this the 
names of many additional adventures were inserted, the 
greater proportion of whom belonged to the gentry. 
The largest amount subscribed in any individual case was 
thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings sterling. Under 
the tei*ms of this charter, the goods exported from Eng- 
land for use in Virginia were exempted from all duties 
for a period of seven years. A much more important 
clause authorized the officei*s of the Company to establish 
one or more lotteries to be held during twelve months, un- 
less it was the pleasure of the King that they should con- 
tinue for a longer time. At least six months' warning 
was to be allowed after the expiration of the year. The 
right to hold lotteries was granted without regard to any 
special city, and such prizes and conditions were to be 
prescribed as seemed advisable to the members. The 
Company was empowered to name the persons who were 
to take charge of the drawings, and no interference with 
the performance of the duties assigned to them was to 
be attempted by any public oflBcer or private individual.* 
The bestowal of the right to hold lotteries is an indication 
of the great difficulty found, after the various discourage- 
ments which had occurred, in raising funds by subscription 
in order to send supplies to Virginia. It was accepted at 
the time as an evidence of the loss of faith in the profitable 
character of the enterprise.* Whether those in charge 
of the affairs of the Company looked at it in this light 
or not, they proceeded with great promptness and energy 

1 Molina to Velasoo, Brown^s Genesis of the United States, p. 651. 
» Third Ciiarter, Brown's Genesis of the United States, pp. 562, 553. 
« Digby to Carleton, May 22, 1613, Brown's Genesis of the United 
StcUeSy p. 634. 


in turning to account this new mesuis of procuring money 
for the purpose they had in view. Books containing in- 
structions were sent to the mayors of the different cities 
of England, with the request that they would urge the 
scheme upon the attention of their townsmen. Other 
books were prepared and stamped with the general seal, 
in which all who desired to invest in the lottery entered 
their names, with such sums attached as they should de- 
cide to risk. Lots were purchased not only by individ- 
uals, but also by churches and corporations. The first 
drawing began in June, 1612, and ended by the 20th of 
July, five thousand pounds sterling being distributed in 
prizes. From this lottery, the Company obtained sixty 
thousand ducats, for the purchase of supplies. A small 
standing lottery for the same purpose was erected in the 
winter of 1613, the announcement being made that it was 
no longer necessary to send victuals to Virginia, and that 
the goods to be shipped thither were to be restricted to 

So far, not less than forty-six thousand pounds sterling, 
obtained by private contributions or from lotteries, had 
been expended for the advancement of the Plantation. 
The Company now determined, as a means of increasing 
their funds, to bring suit in Chancery against all the ad- 
venturers who were derelict in turning over the full 
amount of their subscriptions; a bill was drawn and 
presented in April, 1613, in which it was stated that on 
many occasions when the treasury was empty, the Com- 
pany had been compelled to raise money by pledging its 
credit in the expectation that the amount would be re- 
funded by the payment of the claims against those mem- 
bers who had refused to deliver the sums for which they 

1 For these various details, see documents published in Brown^s Genesis 
of the United States, pp. 655, 660, 661, 570, 572, 575, 591, 608. 


were bound over their signatures, or who had deferred 
doing 80 for an indefinite period. The delinquents in- 
cluded many yery prominent persons. The suit against 
them was successful, about four thousand pounds sterling 
being thus secured.^ In October, the ship Elizabeth left 
England for Virginia with provisions of different kinds, 
purchased, not improbably, with this sum. In the spring 
of 1614, a tract showing the condition of the Colony and 
setting forth the plan of a great lottery was issued, copies 
of which, accompanied by a letter from the Privy Coun- 
cil, were sent to all the city companies in London ; ^ a 
strong appeal was made in this letter to induce their 
members to adventure in the proposed scheme, ^he 
need of some means of raising money was now so great 
that a proposition to yield up its patent was seriously 
entertained by the Company. With a view to obtaining 
the support of the state, a petition was presented to Par- 
liament, but like all the measures of the same session, did 
not come to a final decision.' The response of the vari- 
ous city companies to the appeal of the Privy Council 
was so successful, that in February, 1615, a second letter 
was dispatched to the different cities and towns of the 
kingdom.* A Declaration was now issued by the Lon- 
don Company in which it was announced that the present 
standing lottery would be the last erected for the benefit 
of the Plantation. Special inducements were offered to 
all who would take lots amounting to twelve pounds, ten 
shillings or more; to such persons, provided they would 

1 Brooke to EUesmere, Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 630 ; 
Chamberlain to Carleton, /&td., p. 656. 

* Brown*8 Genesis of the. United States, p. 685. 

> Extract from Commons* Journal, Brown's Genesis of the United 
States, p. 689. Ibid., pp. 692, 696. 

« NeiU's Virginia Vetusta, p. 199. 


remit any prize which they might win, bills of adventm^e 
would be given, entitling them to a proportionate share 
in the lands of the Colony when distributed, and in the 
profit of the capital to be divided. Members of the Lon- 
don Company who had failed to pay their subscriptions 
in full, were to be entirely exempted if they risked 
double the value of the shares in which they were delin- 
quent ; a failure to claim their prizes conferred on them 
a right to additional bills of adventure for the entire 
amount which they had expended in the lottery.^ With 
a view to securing at the earliest date a sum of money to 
enable the Company to send supplies to the Colony, all 
persons who paid three pounds sterling into the lottery 
were to receive a silver spoon, valued at six shillings and 
eight pence, or that amount in coin was to be returned to 
them without diminishing the sum they had ventured. 
The lottery was drawn in November, 1616. The extent 
to which the city companies of London and its citizens 
as well as the people of the other towns took lots must 
have been considerable, though it probably fell short of 
the hope that had been entertained.* In the meanwhile, 
the Company had not failed to send out supplies to Vir- 
ginia. In the Declaration issued in February, 1615, it 
was stated that this body had very lately dispatched two 
instalments of men and provisions, including also clotli- 
ing.® ArgoU had captured in his expedition to Port 
Royal a large quantity of various articles which were of 
great service to the Colony.* 

1 A Declaration for the Lottery, Brown^s Genesis of the United States^ 
p. 763. 

^ See extracts from records of Dorer and Wycombe, Brown^s Genesu 
of the United States, pp. 768, 769. 

* A Declaration for the Lottery, Brown's Genesis of the United States, 
p. 762. 

* Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 617. 


In 1616, the period of seven years during which the 
stock of the Company to be accumulated by a monopoly 
of the trade of the Colony was to remain undivided, drew 
to a close. The returns from the enterprise had been so 
small,^ that the profits, which were to be allowed to grow, 
were never realized ; those who had adventured their 
money in supporting it, found their recompense only in 
the distribution of lands, conveyed in successive divi- 
.dends as the country was cleared of forest. In this sub- 
division, all persons shared in proportion to their bills of 
adventure, whether they had invested many years before 
or but recently.* When the period of seven years ended 
in 1616, the Company was compelled, owing to the lack 
of funds in its treasury, to adopt a new method for fur- 
nishing the colonists with the different articles which 
they were forced to import to meet their necessities. 
There was erected what was described as the "Society 
of Particular Adventurers for Traffic with the People of 
Virginia in Joint Stock." Instead of the supplies being 
forwarded in the name of the Company, they were now 
sent in the name of the Magazine ; to which the members 
could contribute such sums as they were willing to vent- 
ure in their individual capacity. It was practically an 
association of private persons, among whom were divided 
the returns in proportion to the amounts which they 
risked. The general Company was not prevented from 
investing the common funds in the Magazine; if it did 
so, it shared in the profits and losses like an ordinary 

1 Extract from the Trade's Increase, Brown's Genesis of the United 
Statesy p. 766. 

* A Briefe Declaration, Brown's Genesis of the United States, pp. 778, 

* Orders and Constitutions, 1619-1620, pp. 23, 24, Force's Historical 
TraetSy voL III. 


The affairs of the Magazine were administered by a 
director, who was assisted by a committee of five coimcil- 
lors; it was so far subject to the supervision of the Com* 
pany, that its accounts were required to be passed upon 
by auditors specially nominated at a Quarter Court, The 
adventurers, however, held separate meetings, at which 
all routine business was transacted.^ 

No outside trader at this time could send supplies to 
the Colony, the regulation being as strict after the adop- 
tion of the new joint stock as it was previous to 1616.' 
Doubtless, however, the general rule was modified now, as 
it was under the Orders and Constitutions of 1619, which 
permitted any one, whether connected with the Company 
or not, to import cattle, grain, and munition into Vir- 
ginia if the members of that body, when requested by 
the Quarter Court, declined or failed to subscribe to the 
Magazine.* The vessels which before this year had carried 
supplies to the Colony, had also brought in a large number 
of persons who proposed to reside in Virginia. The ship 
now conveying the articles purchased by the adventurers 
who entered into the joint stock, was known as the 
magazine ship, and its loading was confined to goods and 

1 Collingioood MS. Becorda of London Company^ in Congressional 
Library, vol. I, pp. 22, 50. The first director was Alderman Johnson, 
who showed at this time the unscrupulous qualities which at a later 
period distinguished him so conspicuously as a member of the Warwick 
faction. In 1619, he was charged with diverting to the Magazine, fands 
which belonged to the Company. This had been done by him first in 
1617, the sum being £341 ISs. 4d., and afterwards in 1618, when be 
appropriated for the Magazine the money obtained from the sale of the 
tobacco produced in the common garden. See Ibid,<, p. 26. 

3 A broadside, issued in 1616-17, gave permission to persons in Eng- 
land to send private supplies to their friends in Virginia. Brown's GentsU 
of the United States, p. 798. 

* Orders and Constitutions of 1619, p. 23, Force's Historical TracU* 


to the few men who were appointed to take charge of them 
both before and after their arrival at Jamestown. The 
first magazine ship was the Susan^ a vessel of small size. 
Ite cargo was restricted to clothing, of which the Colony 
at all times stood in great need, apparel being only pro- 
curable from England.^ The goods in the Susan were 
placed in the care of Abraham Piersey as Cape Merchant, 
both during the voyage and after Virginia was reached. 
The Cape Merchant who came over in the magazine ship 
was not simply a supercargo; he was also the factor of the 
subscribers to the joint stock, who relied upon his integ- 
rity and faithfulness in exchanging the articles they sent 
over, at the rates agreed upon beforehand. At this time, 
the only commodities produced in the Colony which 
assured a profit when sold in England were tobacco and 
sassafras; for them alone the contents of the magazine 
ship were exchanged, and for that reason, the members of 
the joint stock sought to confine their monopoly in the 
trade of Virginia only to these products. Piersey returned 
to England in the Siisan^ but in the following year he 
came back in the George^ the second magazine ship of 
which he had charge in the capacity of Cape Merchant.^ 
The cargo of this vessel was probably not larger than that 
of the Susan^ but it was delayed five months in the out- 
ward voyage, which caused the articles brought over in it 
to arrive in bad condition.^ 

* Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia, Colonial Records of 
Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 77» 

« Ta. Land Patents, vol. 1()23-1643, p. 19. 

* Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 536. The following ** Reasons touch- 
ing the most convenient time and season of ye year for ye magazine 
ship to set forth from England towards Virginia," are taken from Records 
of Jno. Rolfe, secretary and receiver-general, Register Book, No. 41, in 
the manuscript, Ch. 23, No. 221, now preserved in the library of the 
Supreme Court at Washington, which formed a part of Mr. Jefferson^s 


Piersej, as soon as he reached Virg^ia, delivered to 
Argoll, who at that time was at the head of affairs in ths 
Colony, letters with which he had been entrusted, placing 
his authority in disposing of the goods of the Magazine 
upon the same footing as that of the Grovemor.^ Thift 
excited the warm indignation of Argoll, who now pro- 
ceeded to treat with contempt the command of the Com- 
pany in England, that the tobacco and sassafras should I'e 
reserved to be exchanged for the merchandise imported in 
the magazine ship. In spite of the severe laws introduced 
by Gates and Dale, condemning with the utmost severity 
all bartering between the captains and mariners of vessels 
and the settlers, ArgoU permitted the former, as well as 
the passengers in their ships, to buy up all the tobacco and 
sassafras that they could obtain, thus seriously diminish- 
ing if not dissipating the supply upon which the Cape 
Merchant had depended for the profitable disposition of 

library, purchased by Congress ; they are also in Bandolph MS8., vol 
III, p. 130, Virginia Historical Society Manuscript Collections. *'l. To 
t^be here (Virginia) in September, start in June, at which time coib 
** and tobacco are liarvested. 2. After September, goods can be landed 
** or shipt without great hazard. 3. Because there being few tailon, 
** people will not be able to get their clothes in time for winter. 4. Ton 
" (that is, the Company) will then have the best tobacco. 5. Yonr 
** ships will get home by Candlemas, before the East India ships set 
** out, which will help ye speedy venting of your tobacco. 0. If the 
*^ ships fail to arrive before March, our seed time, we cannot afford to 
** attend to the Magazine. 7. For want of boats, it will be fourteen days* 
'* loss to a man in transportation of goods, in which time he may lose all 
*^hi8 com and tobacco. 8. If your ships return after April, the heat of 
** the hole will hurt the tobacco. 0. Furnish the Magazine with more than 
** is needed in the present and let a continual trade be on foot, and then 
*' at the arrival of your shipping, you will have a cargo of commodities 
" ready, which will be soon despatched. 10. If you grant inore commia^ 
**Bion8 for general trade, as you have to Captain Martin, (of Martin's 
** Hundred, which enjoyed special privileges and immunities) you wiH 
«* overthrow the Magazine." 

1 Bandolph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 140. 


the goods in the Magazine. Moreover, the free trade 
inaugurated by the Governor destroyed all uniformity 
in the rates of purchase, upon which the adventurers in 
the joint stock had relied for their margin of gain.^ Argoll 
was undoubtedly influenced in this independent course by 
a spirit of the grossest selfishness. His general career as 
Executive was in keeping with this open violation of the 
orders which he had received from his superior officers in 
England. It is, however, an open question as to what 
extent a conscientious person in his position might have 
thought that a free exchange of the products of Virginia 
for the merchandise of any trader who might come for- 
ward to barter, was more promotive of the best interests of 
the inhabitants, even at this early period, than the monop- 
oly enjoyed by the adventurers of the Magazine, who had 
the countenance and the aid of the Company itself. There 
was no difference of opinion as to ArgoU's action among 
the great body of the members, those not immediately 
interested in the Magazine holding the same views as 
those who were. The Magazine, they declared with great 
earnestness, was the prop of the Plantation and the life of 
the adventurers. To destroy the profit expected of it by 
allowing an absolute free commerce was to deprive the 
Colony, still in a state of infancy, of an annual supply 
which could be relied on with the fullest confidence. No 
adventurers would be willing to send out a cargo of goods 
without assurance of a market, or at best with the prospect 
only of sales at very low rates. The collaj^se of the joint 
stock would inevitably inflict injury upon the people, even 
though it should give encouragement to persons who de- 
sired to trade in Virginia on their own private account.^ 

1 Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. II, 
pp. 81, 32. 



There are indications that the monopoly the Company 
sought to enforce in tobacco and sassafras would, if it 
had been put into the strictest operation, have excluded 
all independent traffic. In 1618, a petition was offered 
to Lord Zouch as the warden of the Cinque Ports, in 
which permission was sought by Captain Andrews of the 
Silver Falcon^ who was associated with a Dutch merchant, 
to make a trading voyage to America. Among the objects 
to be secured were the erection of a plantation for the 
production of tobacco and grain, the purchase of fuis 
from the Indians, and the barter of fish caught on the 
coast of Canada for the commodities to be obtained in 
Virginia. The great evils to be expected, according to 
the statement of the promoters of the enterprise, were 
that the "monopolists" of that Colony would break up 
any settlement the petitioners established, by removing 
the people, or would prohibit all trade between them and 
the Virginians, or if they did not do this, would at any 
rate except tobacco and sassafras from the list of artides 
to be exchanged, in which case, all the rest might as well 
be denied.^ As a means of conciliating the Company, 
they proposed that if the result of the voyage was higlily 
profitable, they should contribute in proportion to their 
gains to meeting the regular charges upon that body in 
supporting the plantation. Zouch granted the warrant 
sought, the vessel being described as his own.^ 

The magazine ship, the George was followed in the 
course of the year of its arrival by two other vessels, which 
had been dispatched by the same combination of private 

1 Project of the voyage of the Silver Falcon^ British State Papeth 
Colonial, vol. I, No. 38; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1618, p. 236, Va. Sto» 

2 Warrant from Zouch as warden of the Cinque Ports, British Stati 
Papers, Colonial; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1618, p. 8, Va. State Libraiy. 


enturers contributing in joint stock under the auspices 
the Company. The William and Thomas^ the last of 
36 two vessels to reach Virginia, which was in January, 
8, was accompanied by the Q-ift^ a ship sent to the 
ony by the Society of Martin's Hundred, one of the 
^ate associations to which a large grant of land had 
n made when the year came around for the first decla- 
on of a dividend.^ This vessel brought over supplies 
mded for the Hundred only. The supplies imported 
the William and Thomas seem to have been exchanged 
tobacco in spite of the presence of ArgoU and the ruin 
Lch his policy had caused, for it returned to England 
Tuly, 1619, having on board a cargo of twenty thousand 
inds. A large sum in the shape of bills of exchange 
)n the Company was also brought back, apparently 
icating that the Magazine had fallen short in quantity 
^oods, of the demand in the Colony, so that the Cape 
rchant was forced to pay in this form for a part of the 
acco bought. Abraham Piersey did not return to 
gland in the magazine ship, but instead wrote a letter 
which he recommended that thereafter he should be 
•mitted to sell the articles forwarded to him as Cape 
rchant at such rates as he could secure, without regard 
any price fixed upon by the adventurers of the joint 
ck. He also complained that much of the merchandise 
t him was not suited to the character of the tr^de in 

Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia, Colonial Becords of 
finia. State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 78. 

Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
12, 13. The Cape Merchant had difficulty in collecting some of the 
a dae the Magazine, owing to the perversity of Captain Martin. " Mr. 
sey, the Cape Merchant, taking notice of Captain Martinis denial of 
ecting any within his territory from arrest for deht, affirmed that 
ng delivered divers warrants to the provost marshal of James City 



The suggestion of Piersey as to abolishing all fixed 
prices in bartering goods for tobacco did not receive the 
approval of the Company. Among the instructions laid 
down for the guidance of the first Assembly convening 
in the Colony, was one that required the members to pass 
a law establishing the rate of exchange at three shillings 
a pound for the highest grade of tobacco, and eighteen 
pence for the lowest. The Cape Merchant was ordered 
by the Assembly to appear before it and to consent to the 
adoption of this regulation, which he declined to do until 
a distinct command had been given him to that effect, to 
serve as an acquittance in case the intention of the Com- 
pany had not been clearly understood. He was limited 
to a gain of twenty-five per cent in the hundred on the 
original cost of the goods. In paying for tobacco offered 
him for sale, he was required to settle in bills of exchange 
if tliis should be desired by the owner, which was not 
unlikely, as he might wish to remit money to debtors or 
friends in England. In the mother country only were 
such bills to be made payable.^ 

Precautions were taken to prevent fraud on the part of 
the Cape Merchant in exchanging goods for Virginian 
commodities. In making payment, he was instructed to 
draw up two invoices, one of which was to be retained by 
himself and the other to be presented to the Governor for 
safe-keeping. If a dispute were to arise, there would be 
at least one voucher to show the character of the original 
transaction. Under special circumstances, the law passed 

in Virpnia, to be served en men that were indebted, living loosely within 
Captain Martin's plantation, the provost marshall told him that the said 
Captahi Martin resisted the officer, and drew arms upon and would not 
suffer him to execute the said W^arrants.'' Abstracts of Proceedings of 
the Virginia Company of London^ vol. I, pp. 187, 188. 

1 For these and following details, see Lawes of Assembly, 1619, Colonial 
Becords of Virginia^ State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, pp. 22-24. 


by the Assembly exempted the planter from the operation 
of the rule constrainmg him to dispose of his tobacco to 
the Magazine. If the supplies contained in the Magazine 
did not include some article recognized as a necessary of 
life, such an article might be bought from any one who 
offered it for sale, but the purchaser was required in 
doing so to pay at the rate laid down for the same in all 
cases in which the Cape Merchant was the seller. In such 
purchases the consent of the Governor had first to be 
secured. The commodities produced in the boundaries 
of the land owned by private associations and known as 
Hundreds, were not brought to the Cape Merchant for 
exchange, the adventurers interested in the Hundreds en- 
joying the right to dispose of these commodities to their 
own profit, since this privilege had been granted to them 
under the provisions of their patents. They were, how- 
ever, subject to certain important conditions. The com- 
modities must have been produced in the limits of their 
jurisdiction and not obtained by trading with the planters 
who occupied lands which were the property of the Com- 
pany. Fiu'thermore, if upon the termination of a joint 
stock, a quantity of goods remained in the Magazine 
unsold, these goods were to be exhausted by purchasers 
residing in the Hundreds before the adventurers of the 
Hundreds could furnish them with supplies of the same 

In 1619, a list of standing orders and laws, drawn from 
the letters patent of the King, the royal instructions and 
the rules established by the Company from time to time, 
was adopted. In the provisions for the regulation of trade, 
it was stated with great particularity that as soon as the 
period agreed upon for the continuation of the joint stock 
for the Magazine expired, entire liberty was to be allowed 
every one to enter into private commercial relations with 


the colonists.^ In the meanwhile, much complaint seems 
to have been made of an inclination on the part of the 
Cape Merchant to set a higher value on the articles in his 
charge than he was authorized to do, an indirect means 
of reducing the value of the planters' tobacco below the 
prices laid down by the Assembly, acting under orders 
from the Company. The complaint coming to the knowl- 
edge of the latter, the Governor and Council were com- 
manded to examine his invoices to find out whether he 
had disposed of the goods sent him to be bartered, at 
higher figures than he could justify in his instructions.^ 
It would seem that the legal rates at which the tobacco 
was to be exchanged, namely, three shillings for that of 
the best quality and eighteen pence for that of the worst, 
were too much, and that the Cape Merchant in raising the 
prices of the articles in the Magazine was merely seeking to 

1 Orders and Constitutions, 1019, p. 23, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. 
III. The ' * Society of Particular Adventurers for Traffic with the People 
of Virginia in Joint Stock " was dissolved Jan. 22, 1619-20. The minute 
of the Company showing this is as follows : ** Concerning the Maga- 
zine touching the joynt . . . whether it should continue or not, after 
some discussion given for the maintenance of it no longer, it was generally 
agreed by ye adventurers that it should be dissolved, which by raising of 
hands being put to ye question was ratified, now ordering that for ye 
6200 and odd pounds worth of goods here remaining, rated at the cost of 
first penny, shall first be put off before any of ye same kind shall be sent." 
ColUngwood MS. Becords of London Company, in Congressional Library, 
vol. I, p. (54. It was declared February 2, that as the Magazine, that is 
to say, the Society of Particular Adventurers, had voluntArily dissolved 
itself, *'now matters of trade are free and open for all men." /6iV/., 
p. 72. It should be remembered that the supplies which had since 1010 
been dispatched to Virginia had been sent by this Society, which had been 
granted a mon<fpoly recognized by all except during ArgolPs administra- 
tion. Magazines continued to be forwarded to the Colony, but they were 
the property of particular associations of subscribers, united in temporary 
joint stock. 

2 Abstracts of Proceed infj/s of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 50. 


secure a legitimate margin of profit. The planters asserted 
that the adventurers in England sold the leaf procured in 
the Colony at an advance of two hundred per cent over 
its cost in Virginia, and on this ground they justified a 
number of deceits in passing bad tobacco upon the Cape 
Merchant at the highest rates. ^ There does not appear to 
have been any ground for this assertion. The Magazine 
sent out in the course of 1620, under the charge of Mr. 
Blaney, not only failed to assure any profit to the ad- 
venturers of that particular joint stock,^ but the very 
principal of the subscription was lost, and lost on account 
of the impossibility of obtaining in England prices for to- 
bacco that would cover the amount expended in its purchase 
in Virginia, and the various charges attendant upon the 
voyage.* The abolition of the special rates adopted by 
the Assembly in 1619 became imperative. In July, 1621, 
the Company, in a letter addressed to the Governor and 
Council in Virginia, instructed them to secure for the 
Cape Merchant who would dispose of the cargo of the ship 
in which the letter was conveyed, full liberty to sell the 
goods at the highest prices offered, and to get the main 
commodity of the country in exchange without regard to 
the rates formerly prescribed by law.* In the same month 
in which this order had been given, a Quarter Court was 
held, and four rolls were offered for subscriptions. One of 
these rolls related to clothing an4 articles of a like nature. 
Eighteen hundred pounds sterling were at once obtained, 

1 Company^s Letters, August and September, 1621, Neill's Virginia 
Company of London, pp. 238, 244. 

* The Society of Particular Adventurers in Joint Stock had now been 
dissolved. This Magazine was sent out by a special and temporary asso- 
ciation of subscribers. 

•Company's Letter, September, 1621, NeilPs Virginia Company of 
London, p. 243 ; Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of 
London, vol. I, p. 124. ♦ Neill's Virginia Company of London, p. 262. 

VOL. II. — u 


although many members were not present, this being the 
period of vacation and the town deserted.^ In August, 
the following month, the magazine ship not being yet 
ready to salL the Company took advantage of the de- 
j)arture of the Marmaduke to write again to the Governor 
and Council in Virginia, and after complaining of the 
inferior tobacco passed surreptitiously upon the Cape 
Merchant* announced that upon the expiration of the 
year 1621 they would not furnish any supplies to the 
planters in exchange, as the latter considered it entirely 
proper to purchase these supplies on long credits, bat 
never failed to demand cash when they disposed of their 
crops^to the Company. The disinterestedness of this body 
in relation to the Colony in the matter of trade appears 
from the warning in the same communication that in 
paying for the cattle which Mr. Gookin was at this time 
importing into Virginia from Ireland, the best grades 
of tobacco onlv should be usetl, as a means not onlv of 
securing further consignments of live stock, but also of 
goods* which could from that country be obtained at 
easier rates thou from the Company in England.* 

Aecon-ling to the promise of the Company, the maga- 
zine ship, the Wanviek^ accompanied by a pinnace, soiled 
for Virginia in September, with a large cargo of clothing 
and other necessaries not to be procured in the Colony. 
The articles forwarded were desiarn'?d merelv for the 
relief and comfort of the planters, altb^ugh the Company 
was aware that a far greater pri.>fit was to In? got from 
seuding over what w.mkl pander to the vanity and the 
appetites of the people, such as spirits and tine apparel. 
ThU cargo was valued at a tb.»us;iud p«.^umU sterliiis;. 
In on.ler to avoid the certain L.^ss which would result from 

p. 1-3S. - >»t;iLi".:j I'u'jifmi Ojinpaivj •// LftuiuA, pp. i:;S. 2+>. 


exchanging the goods included in the Magazine, for 
tobacco at the rate of three shillings a pound for the best, 
or eighteen pence for the meanest grades, the Governor 
and Council were enjoined to leave Mr. Blaney, who was 
in charge of it, to his free discretion in disposing of the 
merchandise within the limits as to price laid down in 
private instructions for his guidance. The Company 
also urged that it was to the interest of the planters that 
there should be a profitable return upon this Magazio^e, as 
those who had invested large sums in its purchase would 
be encouraged to continue in the same course, assuring a 
certain and steady supply of necessary goods for the 
people of the Colony.^ The Company admitted that its 
own treasury was empty and that only reliance was to be 
placed upon the purses of its memljprs coming forward 
in the character of private adventurers.^ The pinnace 
accompanying the magazine ship was captured by the 
Turks and never reached Virginia, thus causing the loss 
of the goods on board designed for the planters.^ In 
the reply returned by the Governor and Council to the 
instructions sent over, they informed the Company that 
the bulk of the crop of the previous season had been 
disposed of before the magazine ship arrived, and in 
consequence of this fact, they had recommended Mr. 
Blaney to distribute among the colonists the merchandise 
which he had imported, taking their bonds to secure his 
o\vnership in the tobacco to be planted in the following 
season. This letter reveals the fact that in practice free 
trade had now been fully established in Virginia.* 

1 Neiirs Virginia Company of London^ pp. 241-246. 

2 Company's Letter, December, 1621, Neiirs Virginia Company of 
London, p. 268. 

» Letter of Governor and Council of Virginia to Company, January, 
1621-22, Neill's Virginia Company of London, p. 276. 
* Neill*9 Virginia Company of London, p. 277. 


As early as the autumn of 1619, a ship had been dis- 
patched to Newfoundland with a cargo of tobacco in 
charge of the Cape Merchant, Abraham Piersey, who 
was then residing in the Colony, to be exchanged for 
fish.^ The general example set by the Dutch privateer 
which in 1619 imported into Virginia the first cargo of 
negroes introduced, was doubtless imitated by other ves- 
sels of the Low Countries, especially after the establish- 
ment by the Company of factories at Middleburg and 
Flushing. In the Discourse drawn up by former mem- 
bers of that body after its dissolution, it is distinctlj 
affirmed that the people during the administration of 
Yeardley, and also during that of Wyatt previous to the 
massacre, had enjoyed, in consequence of the free trade 
allowed at that time^mple supplies of necessaries from 
abroad.^ In a letter from the Governor and Council in 
Virginia to the authorities in England, referring to the 
latter part of 1622, the year in which the massacre took 
place, it was stated that private adventurers were con- 
stantly reaching the Colony who furnished the inhabitants 
with articles that were particularly acceptable, such as 
sweetmeats, sack, and strong liquors.^ The Dutch were 
probably the chief participants in this trade.* Specific 

1 Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 541. 

* The Discourse of the Old Company, British State Papers, ColoniaJ^ 
vol. Ill, No. 40 ; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. If 
p. 100. 

' Governor and Council of Virginia to Company, January, 1022-23, 
Neill*s Virginia Company of London, p. 372. 

* In Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. h 
p. 25, the following entry will be found under date of September, 1621 : 
** Resolution of the States of Holland and Westvriesland dated 13 Sept'. 
Read a petition from Gerret Van Schoudhoven and other Guinea Traders ; 
Item also, the petition of Traders to Virginia requesting to be allowed to 
send out some ships to bring their returns thence to this country as the 
trade and commerce thither are not to be lost before the West India 


orders were sent to Governor Wyatt to prohibit all ex- 
change with the people of Holland, as this diversion 
of tobacco from England diminished the volume of the 
royal customs. In 1623, Wyatt was thrown into a state 
of great doubt as to what course he ought to pursue, by 
the information received from the captain of an English 
vessel, that a Dutch ship which he had passed at sea had 
expressed an intention of making a voyage to Virginia to 
exchange supplies for its principal commodity.^ The need 
of such supplies was now urgent. The financial inability 
of the Company had been fully set forth in its letter to 
the Governor and Council in the previous autumn, in 
which stress was also laid upon the discouragement of the 
adventurers in consequence of the failure of Mr. Blaney, 
the Cape Merchant, who had arrived at Jamestown in the 
Warwick in the previous year, to dispose of the goods in 
his charge except on credits which had not yet been col- 
lected.^ The Company had by this time expended one 
hundred thousand pounds sterling in the Virginian enter- 
prise without profit and without recovery of even a part 
of the capital invested.' In 1623, it was compelled in 

Company be formed and ready/' These petitions were allowed on con- 
dition that the petitioners pledged ^^ themselves to be back to this coon try 
(i.e. Holland) before the Ist of July next.'' On Wednesday, Sept. 15, 
1621, the States General granted permission to Henrich Elkens, Hans 
Jooris Houton, and Adriaen Janssen *'to send their ship named the White 
Dove, burden about forty lasts ... to Virginia, on condition that they 
shall have returned to this country before the first of July next with their 
goods and ship." IbitL, p. 26. After this period the Dutch trade with 
Virginia was carried on under the auspices of the Dutch West India 

» Governor Wyatt to John FeTrer, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, 
No. 26 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 87, Va. State Library. 

« Neill's Virginia Company of London, pp. 366, 366. 

» AbstracU of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, voL I, 
p. 144. In a petition to the King, presented in 1623 by the Somers Isles 
(Bermudas) and London Companies, it is stated that £200,000 had been 


spite of its poyerty to pay out an enonnons sum for that 
age to rescue the inhabitants of the Colony from a famine 
precipitated by the terrible mortality preyailing there in 
the spring of that year. The Privy Council issued an 
order requiring that the name of every member of the 
Company and the number and value of his shares should 
be certified to the Council, the object of this being to 
mulct him in proportion to his holding, as a contribution 
to the fund to be raised for purchasing supplies for the 
starving people. The payment made by each shareholder 
was not to fall short of ten shillings.^ It was not intended 
to restrict the proportion which each was to ^ve^'to 
the amount of his stock ; each could contribute a larger 
sum if he wished to do so^ or become an adventurer in 
a private magazine to be sent out to the Colony. Such 
a magazine was erected, Richard Caswell receiving the 
appointment of Treasurer. By July 4th, sixteen names 
had been obtained, the amount promised being seven 
hundred and twenty-seven pounds sterling, in sums rang- 
ing from ten to one himdred poimds ; * the subscriptions 
were attached to several rolls, the signatures having been 
secured by Mr. Caswell, who had made personal visits to 
members of the Company who happened to be in to^vn.^ 
The supplies included in the magazine were transported 
to Virginia in the charge of a cape merchant appointed 
especially to superintend its disbursement. This cape 

expended in their plantation. British Statp Papers, ColoniaU voL ^^' 
No. 60; Sainshury Abstracts for 1623, p. 168, Va. State Library. 

1 Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol- ^^ 
p. 227. 

2 List of Underwriters for a Speedy Supply to Virginia, British *W^ 
Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 39; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, pp. 122» 
123, Va. State Library. 

^ Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company uf London, vol.n, 
p. 228. 


merchant was afterwards accused by the faction hostile to 
the Southampton Administration of selling its contents 
at excessive rates, being able to do so on account of the 
great demand for such articles. The charge was fully 
refuted by Mr. Caswell. In a speech delivered at a Gen- 
eral Court, he stated that the meal, which constituted a 
very important part of the supplies, and in connection 
with which it was asserted extortion had been exercised, 
had been purchased in England at nine shillings a bushel, 
an amount swelled to thirteen shillings by the charges for 
custom and freight. In England, a hogshead of meal 
measuring nine bushels was valued in the market at five 
pounds and seventeen shillings. In Virginia, at this time, 
the same quantity was sold for eighty pounds of tobacco, 
a commodity commanding in England eighteen pence a 
pound, in consequence of which the margin of profit upon 
each bushel sank to six pence after the payment of all 
charges and after allowance for shrinkage.^ 

There were other magazine ships dispatched to Virginia 
in 1623, in addition to the Sopewell^ which transported 
the supplies secured by Mr. Caswell. The magazine sent 
in the T}ruelove was valued at five himdred and thirty-six 
pounds sterling. The master of the ship invested sixty 
pounds in its cargo, while Mr. Dodson, a prominent mem- 
ber of the Company, subscribed to an interest in it, whicli 
would now be represented by two thousand dollars.^ 
This last subscription reveals the liberal spirit shown at 
this crisis in the history of the Colony, for Mr. Dodson 
had already teen compelled by the order in Council to 
contribute to the general fund for the use of the people 

1 Abslracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. II, 
p. 261. 

2 British Statf Papers, Colonial vol. II, No. 43, II ; Sainsbury 
Abstracts for 1623, p. 130, Va. State Library. 


in Virginia, in proportion to his shares. In making a 
venture in the private magazine carried over in the True- 
love^ his prospect of gain, owing to the depressed condition 
of the Colony, must have been very small. His action 
was reflected in that of many other members of the Com- 
pany, whose experience in the past had not been such 
as to raise their expectation of profit. 

The supplies forwarded to the people in Virginia were 
not obtained from England only. The William and 
John brought in a cargo from Flushing in the Low 
Countries, in which city, as has been seen, the Company 
had opened a factory for the sale of its tobacco.^ A large 
quantity of necessary articles of all kinds was also received 
by individual planters from friends or relatives in Eng- 
land ; in September, for instance, there arrived for George 
Harrison, from his brother, flour, oatmeal, peas, cheese, 
vinegar, and a chest containing spices, tools, and powder.' I 
The goods imported at this time were introduced in hogs- 
heads, one ship bringing over two hundred and forty. In 
the same year, several vessels were engaged in transporting 
fish to Virginia from Newfoundland.® 

The revocation of the charter in 1624 left the planta- 
tions open without restriction to independent traders. In 
a brief interval immediately following the recall of the 
letters patent, before the new relations of the Colony with 
the mother country had been fully adjusted, the English I 
Government, which had now absorbed into itself all the 
powers of the former Company, took the necessary pre- 
cautions to prevent a dearth of supplies in Virginia. The 

1 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 42. 

* Ibid., No. 44; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 142, Va. State 

8 Dephebus Cannc to John Delbridge, British State Paptrs^ ColoniaU 
vol. II, No. 36; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 11», Va. State Library. 


Company, as long as it remained in existence, felt under 
he strongest obligation, apart from all consideration of 
>rofit, to promote the importation of English goods to 
iieet the necessities of the people. This feeling was trans- 
uitted to the royal government when that corporation 
(eased to exist. The royal government was also in some 
neasure actuated by the desire to prevent the diversion of 
obacco to Holland, which would have diminished the cus- 
oms of England proportionately. In the beginning, the 
Colony was in serious danger of suffering in the extreme 
Tom the want more especially of apparel and munition. 
rhe object which Sir George Yeardley was instructed to 
iccomplish in his mission to London in 1625 was to obtain 
imple quantities of tools, powder, shot, and clothing, wine, 
iquavitae, sugar, and spice. ^ He found on his arrival 
that an order had been issued by the Privy Council to the 
municipal authorities of Southampton to send a vessel to 
Virginia loaded with a large cargo of the articles needed 
there; * to this order, an answer was returned that a ship 
was already fitting out in that port designed to carry a 
great store of merchandise to the Colony. In addition to 
this ship, a vessel of one hundred and eighty tons sailed 
from London and a third from Plymouth.* In the course 
of 1626 and 1627, it was clearly shown that so far from the 
abolition of the Company having inflicted any suffering 
upon the settlers by curtailing their imported supplies, 

^ Petition of Sir George Yeardley, British State Papers, Colonial, 
VOL III, No. 46 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1625, pp. 119, 120, Va. State 

* Mayor and Aldermen of Southampton to Privy Council, British State 
Papers, Colonial, vol. Ill, No. 48 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1625, p. 123, 
Va. Sute Library. 

* Mayor and Aldermen of Southampton to Privy Council, British State 
Papers, Colonial, vol. Ill, No. 48 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1625, p. 123, 
Va. State Library. 



they had never before received so large a quantity, espe- 
cially in the matter of liquors and clothing. The most 
active participant in this new trade was John Preen of 
London, who at this time had only reached his thirty- 
sixth year; in 1626, he is found, together with Thomas 
Willoughby of Rochester and John PoUington of London, 
seeking permission to convey to Virginia not only passen- 
gers and munition, but aljso goods of various sorts. Ten 
barrels of powder constituted a part of the cargo. As the 
voyage was attended with great danger of attack from 
enemies roaming the seas, Preen 6btained the consent of 
the authorities to the purchase of an additional fifteen 
barrels to be reserved for the defence of his ship. It is an 
indication of the perils of the age that he thought it neces- 
sary, before starting upon his voyage, to secure exemption 
from impressment, however great apparently the emer- 
gency.^ In 1628, he testified to the fact that he had trans- 
ported supplies to the Colony on four different occasions, 
and that in each instance he had borne the whole burden 
of the expense.^ 

The English Government was very much disposed at 
this time to encourage the several schemes advanced on 
the part of private individuals looking to the purchase of 
the annual crop of Virginia under the terms laid down in 
a regular contract, the object being to increase the amount 
of the customs by assuring the transportation into the 
mother country of all the tobacco raised in the Colony. 
Much stress was laid upon the fact that in this way the 
planters would receive in each year a large magazine of 
goods representing every variety needed. The Virginians 

1 British SlaU Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. 13; No. 13, I; No. 15; 
Sainshnvy Abstracts for 1626, pp. 148, 140, 152, Va. SUte Library. 

' Petition of Captain John Preen, British State Papers^ Colonial j vol. 
IV, No. 58; Sainsbui-y Abstracts for 1628, p. 189, Va. State Library. 


were not adverse to the suggestion, as has heen seen, pro- 
vided that in buying their product, a rate was adopted 
which would not assure a higher degree of profit to the 
owners of the goods than twenty-five per cent.^ In the nego- 
tiations carried on by Sir George Yeardley, as the agent of 
the planters, and a Mr. Amis, who proposed to enter into 
a contract for a large part of the annual crop, it was 
required of the latter that he should furnish a standing 
magazine of articles to be exchanged for tobacco on the 
basis of eighteen pence a pound. This proposition was 
rejected by Amis, although it would have insured him a 
gain of fifty per cent upon the cost of his merchandise in 

There was now no dearth of imported supplies in the 
Colony. So great was the abundance of goods brought 
in immediately previous to 1630, that the planters became 
deeply indebted to the different persons who traded in 
Virginia.^ The quantity of commodities of various sorts 
brought in after that date increased in proportion to the 
growth of population, not behig exposed to serious inter- 
ruptions except in an interval when foreign wars were 
in progress. During the long period between 1630 and 
1700, the great volume of goods landed in the Colony were 
exported from England. A very important proportion, 
however, previous to 1661, came from Holland, and also 
both before and after that year, from the New Netherlands, 
the West Indies, New England, New York, and Maryland. 

1 Governor and Council of Virginia to Privy Council, British State 
JPaperSj Colonial, vol. IV, No. 10 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1626 j p. 142, 
Va. State Library. 

* Governor Yeardley to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, 
vol. IV, No. 21 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1627, p. 150, Va. State Library. 

• Governor West and Council to Attorney-General Heath, British State 
Papers, Colonial, Vol. IV, No. 40 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1628, p. 172, 
Va. State Library. 



Before entering into a description of the course of ex 
change between England and Virginia from 1630 to 1701 
it will be interesting to give some account of the commflr 
cial relations of the planters with the countries which hivl 
just been named. 


I have already referred to the commerce with the Datd 
during the existence of the Company and the steps takd 
to put an end to it. After the dissolution of that bodfj 
similar measures were adopted by the English Go 
ment, but they do not appear to have had more than 
temporary effect.^ In the winter of 1626, the Fli 
Hart arrived in Virginia from Flushing, and although i 
commander could show no commission, the authorities 
the Colony, contrary to the well-known orders in Comifl| 
issued on several occasions, admitted the vessel to trade*' 

1 **That as the King has directed his commission to divers gentle 
to treat and conclude a contract for all the tobacco of the English cok 
for his Majesty^s use, and that there are at this time divers ships fi 
ing in the Low Countries for Virginia and the Caribbees, with int 
to trade there and return with tobacco contrary to several orders 
proclamations, as also the utter ruin of the contract now in treaty 
likely to take effect, it is desired that strict charge be given from tfi 
Majesty or this Honorable Board (Privy Council) to the Governor of Vif 
ginia especially not to suffer any such trade, there being no need of titfl 
provisions, ships of good store of our own already gone and now goM 
to supply their wants if any there be. This to be despatched with al 
speed, there being a ship ready to set sail, which may convey this Coi 
mand before any of the Hollanders arrive." Dom. Cor. Jam^ I, w 
169, No. 7, Saimhury Abstracts for 1624, p. 2, Va. State Library. TK 
letter was written in 1624. In October of that year, a ship reached He 
land from Virginia, having on board a cargo of furs and other coi 
modities, tobacco included presumably. DocumenUi Relating to CoU»d 
History of New York, vol. I, p. 34. 

* Governor and Council to Commissioners for Virginia, British SU 
Papers J Colonial, vol. IV, No. 1 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1626, p. IS 
Va. State Library. 


i justifying their conduct afterwards, they declared that 
le owners of the Flying Hart were Englishmen and ad- 
snturers of the late Company, one of them, Arthur 
Brain, having been its principal factor in Holland. In 
le instructions drawn for the guidance of Yeardley, when 
B became Governor in 1626, the warmest disapprobation 
"as expressed of the intercourse between Virginia and the 
ow Countries, but the uselessness of the disapproval is 
liown by the fact that a few years later the commerce 
rith the Dutch had grown to such proportions that Cap- 
lin Tucker, a leading merchant of the Colony, protested 
the Privy Council against its being permitted to con- 
iQue. He declared that the admission of supplies from 
loUand curtailed the Virginian market for English traders 
an extent which diminished their profits very seriously, 
Hd that the discouragement of these traders signified that 
he planters would be deprived of the only agency upon 
^hich they could rely with absolute certainty for the 
cquisition of necessary foreign commodities; that the 
^tch were already encroaching upon the boundaries of 
jbe Colony, and that a monopoly of its product would give 
tbem in the end the most complete possession of its soil, 
lis an evidence that his statement as to the large volume 
p transactions by Dutch merchants in Virginia was not 
Ixaggerated, Captain Tucker called attention to the fact 
Kat two vessels from Zealand were then on the point of 
fctting out for the Colony, the exchange of the cargoes of 
^hich for tobacco would impose a loss upon English mer- 
Ijkants of four thousand pounds sterling.^ 

"* 1 DacumenU Relating to Colonial History of Nete York, vol. Ill, p. 43 ; 
}^ish State Papers, Colonial, vol VI, No. 82 ; Sainshurg Abstracts 
fbr 2633, p. 48, Va. State Library. Tucker was supported in his posi- 
Ion by Sir John Wolstenholme, who used all his influence to procure 
ktters from the Privy Council to the Governor and Council in Virginia, 


The active commercial relations between Holland and 
Virginia at this time seem to have been maintained in part 
at least by English merchants who resided in the Low Coun- 
tries. In 1633, for instance, there arrived in the Colony 
from thence two vessels dispatched by John Constable 
and his associates, who were only prevented from carry- 
ing into Holland the tobacco obtained in Virginia in ex- 
change for their goods, by the vigilance of the English 
admiral who was in command of the fleet cruising in the 
English channel.^ Governor Harvey recommended to 
the Privy Council that no shipmaster should be allowed 
to dispose of a cargo in the Colony unless he could present 
a cocquet which had the approval of the authorities at 
Jamestown. The only efifective means in his opinion for 
the enforcement of the rule shutting out all foreigners 
was to erect a custom-house in which vessels arriving 
should be compelled to make entry. ^ The suggestion 
was not acted upon. Even if steps had been taken to 
put it into practice, there is no reason to think that it 
would have accomplished the purpose in view. This 
was afterwards shown in the history of the different laws 
passed for the erection of ports, which, on account of the 
peculiar configuration of the country, failed to check the 
dispersion of trade. Public opinion at the date of Har- 
vey's suggestion was opposed to the imposition of any 
restraint upon freedom of exchange with the Dutch, and 

prohibiting the admission of the Dutch to trade. See his 1 Jtter to Sir • 
William Beecher, British State Papers^ Colonial^ vol. VI, No. 81 ; Sains- 
bury Abstracts for 1633, p. 47, Va. State Library. 

1 These were the two vessels from Zealand to which Captain Tucker 
had referred. See British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VlII, No. 3 ; Sains- 
bury Abstracts for 1633, p. 63, Va. State Library. 

2 Governor and Council to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colo- 
nial^ vol. VIII, No. 3 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 6i^, Va. Stale 


little attention seems to have been paid to the wishes in 
this respect of the authorities in England. In the em- 
bittered controversy that arose in 1635 between Governor 
Harvey and Samuel Mathews, one of the gravest charges 
brought against the latter by the former was, that in the 
face of the expressed command of the Privy Council that 
all commerce with the Dutch should cease, he had admitted 
merchants from Holland into liis house and had large 
transactions with them.^ The open way in which they 
traded is disclosed by abundant evidence. Thus in 1634 
there arrived in the Colony a ship from the Low Coun- 
tries which disembarked one hundred and forty passengers 
who had been taken on board when the vessel touched at 
the Bermudas in the course of its voyage to Virginia.^ In 
the following year, Devries, a Dutch captain of distinction, 
visited the Colony and disposed of his cargo apparently 
with as much freedom from restraint as if lie had been an 
English subject. The character of the business is revealed 
in the fact that he was compelled to disperse his goods 
among the planters upon the security of liens on the grow- 
ing crop. In the autumn of the same year, he returned to 
Virginia, and his first step after his arrival was to obtain 
a license entitling him to the privilege of sailing up and 
down James River for the purpose of receiving from his 
debtors the amount of tobacco for which they were bound 
to him. He seems to have had poor success in gathering 
his dues in hand. The volume of the crop was small and 
the greater portion of what had been produced had, at 
the earliest moment, been seized by the factors of the 
English traders who resided in the Colony. Devries not 
having a representative of his interests there at that time, 

1 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VIII, No. 86. 
3 Censas of 1G34, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., 
Extra, 1874, p. 91. 


found that the security for his credits had for that yes 
at least been preempted, and in consequence he ws 
forced to defer his collections for a period of twel\ 
months.^ This fact indicates the extreme precariousnes 
of the trade, and it was quite probably no uncommo 
instance. The necessary loss of interest for twenty-fou 
months on the money originally invested in the good 
disposed of to the colonists in the case especially referre 
to, could only have been covered by an extraordinar 
profit in the sale of the tobacco when it had at last bee 
paid. It was only the certainty of such a profit whic 
would have justified the merchant in running sue 

Devries formed a high opmion of the capacity of th 
Virginians in the matter of bargains. Peter, he said, wa 
always very near Paul in that coimtry. Unless the fo: 
eign merchant was on the alert, he was in danger of beii 
stuck in the tail. To get the best of him in an exchanj 
by deceit, was considered to be a Roman action, whi 
entitled the performer to admiration and praise.^ 7 
Dutchman was probably smarting under the recollect 
of having been outwitted when he expressed this opini 
it sounds oddly as coming from a citizen of the na 
which was justly regarded as being composed of 
shrewdest and not the most scrupulous traders of 
age. If all the deceits practised in the dealings witl 
people of the Colony in the seventeenth century 
carefully summed up and a balance struck as to ' 
party secured the greatest advantage from then 

» Devries' Voyages from Holland to America, pp. 112, 113. 
commenting on his own experience, said that **the English 
were an unfit place for the Dutch nation to trade, unless they ( 
the trade through all the year." pp. 113, 114, 

2/6id.,p. 186. 


planter or the merchant, it would be soon seen that the 
former was more often the victim than the latter, and 
that his necessities were used to force him into bargains in 
which he alone suffered. The English authorities seem 
to have thought at this time that the Virginians were in 
much more danger from the Dutch in their commercial 
intercourse with that people than the Dutch were from 
the Virginians. The colonists were warned in a solemn 
document sent over by the Government that the Holland- 
ers were seeking to make a prey of their tobacco by secur- 
ing it at rates of exchange highly extortionate. It was 
pointed out that one of the worst evils of the exclusive 
devotion of the planters to that commodity was that it 
forced them to look to the Dutch in large part for their 
supplies, England not furnishing a sufficient market for 
the whole quantity produced, a fact of which the Dutch 
took advantage. The Governor and Council were ordered 
to put a stop to all trade with the Low Countries except 
in a time of great distress, and even in such a period, when 
a Dutch ship, after disposing of its cargo, left the Colony 
loaded down with tobacco, a bond was to be required of 
its master that he should proceed to London with his ves- 
sel for the purpose of paying the customs, after which he 
was to be permitted to continue his voyage to Holland.^ 
An injunction to the same effect was inserted, in the in- 
structions given to Wyatt when he became Governor in 
1638,* and it was repeated in the instructions to Berkeley 
in 1641 .^ There was quite probably an irresistible disposi- 

' British State Papers, Colonial, ^o\. IX, No. 47 ; Sainshury Abstracts 
for 1637, p. 193, Va. State Library. 

2 Colonial Entry Book, vol. 79, pp. 219-236 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 
1638, p. 49, Va. State Library. 

» Instructions to Berkeley, McDonald Papers, vol. I, p. 388, Va. State 
Library. See, also, for these Instructions, Virginia Magazine of History 
and Biography, vol. II, p. 280, 
yoL, n, — J, 

806 ECONOino histobt of yibginia 

tion on the part of the authorities in Virginia to consider 
that the period of distress in whieh the strictness of the 
rule was to be relaxed had arrived whenever a Datch 
ship made its appearance in the James or York, and that 
it was, therefore, entirely proper to issue to its captain a 
license to trade. ^ A case of this kind occurred in 1640. 
A Flemish vessel reached the Colony early in the season, 
and exchanged her goods for tobacco, which was taken 
on board and a security given for the payment of the cus- 
toms in London. A petition was entered by the masters 
of the English ships riding at that time in Virginian 
waters, asking that an example should be made of the 
alien by confiscating her cargo. The General Court re- 
jected it, alleging that when the Dutch vessel had arrived 
the people were in pressing want x>i supplies ; and that 
the articles imported by her had afforded great relief; 
that the English ships reaching Virginia at a later date 
had been lacking in the commodities so much needed, and 
that if dependence had been placed upon them alone, the 
colonists would have been left in a state of " intolerable 
exigency." The license to the Fleming, instead of being 
revoked, was solenmly confirmed.^ 

The authorities of Virginia were disposed to extend to 
the Dutch as ample encouragement as they dared. A 

^ In the well-known speech delivered by Sir William Berkeley in 
March, 1651, before the Assembly, in condemnation of the first Act of 
Navigation, he charged the **men at Westminster" with the desire to 
bring the people of the Colony "to the same poverty wherein the Dutch 
found and relieved them." See Virginia Magazine of History and Bioa- 
raphy, vol. I, p. 77. 

2 General Court Orders, Feb. 4, 1640, Robinson Transcripts, p. 183. 
The following Is preserved in the Records of Accomac County in vol. 1632- 
1640, p. 17 (Va. State Library), being a part of an account between Mr. 
Burnett and Daniel Cusjhley of "several voyages miide by the good 
vessel called the Virgine,^^ **Pr. Contra: more for overplus of goods 
received out of ye Dutch voyage, 9 £." 


pecial statute was passed in the session of 1642-43 
laving this object directly in view. The shipowners 
rom Holland had complained, in a paper presented by 
hem to the Assembly, that the requirement that they 
Jiould always give bond, before their vessels departed 
rom the Colony, to pay the duty on their cargoes of 
obacco, had had the effect of seriously restricting the 
ntroduction of supplies from the Low Countries because 
t was difficult for Dutch traders to obtain the necessary 
«curity in Virginia. To remove this obstruction, the 
\^sembly provided that no obligation should be demanded 
>f the master or owner of any Dutch vessel who had pro- 
cured letters of credit from an English merchant of high 
standing, guaranteeing the payment of the customs by the 
lolder. This amount was to be settled in the form of a 
jill of exchange drawn on the person who had come for- 
Birard as his surety.^ The passage of this Act had a 
marked tendency to increase commercial intercourse with 
Holland. In the year in which it became a law, Devries 
Dbserved four vessels from that country in the waters of 
Virginia, and there were doubtless others escaping his 
notice because lyiqg in other parts of the Colony during 
his stay.^ 

An incident, occurring in 1643, reveals the little impor- 
tance attached by many of the Dutch traders to the 
requirements as to letters of credit. During the visit of 
Devries to New Amsterdam in the autumn of this year, a 
vessel from Rotterdam arrived, having been driven far out 
of her intended course. This vessel, after leaving Holland, 
had proceeded to Madeira^ and there taking on board a cargo 
jf wine, had afterwards sailed to the West Indies. From 
iience, she had turned towards Virginia, where it was pro- 

> Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 258. 

2 Devries* Voyages from Holland to America, p. 183. 


posed to exchange the wine for tobacco. Ignorant of the 
coast, the master of the vessel had passed the Capes and 
had been bloAvn as far to the north as New England. 
This Colony was found to be no market for liquors, and 
in consequence he had sailed to New Amsterdam, hoping 
to find purchasers in the burghers of that town. It will 
be seen in this case, that although the master of the ship 
had not touched at an English port and obtained the 
letters of credit which were necessary, he nevertheless had 
made his way towards Virginia with the full purpose of 
selling his wines to the planters. He disposed of them to 
an Englishman whom he met iif New Amsterdam, but 
agreed to transport them to the Colony and there to 
deliver them into the hands of a factor. A portion of the 
wines were discharged at Jamestown and a portion at 
Fleur de Hundred.^ 

In 1646, the Dutch West India Company gave formal 
permission to the citizens of Holland to send out their 
own ships to the different places, including Virginia, com- 
ing within the jurisdiction of that corporation.^ The 
records of the county courts belonging to this part of the 
seventeenth century show the importance of the private 
trade which in consequence of this order sprang up be- 
tween Holland and Virginia. In 1646, an attachment 
was issued in York against all the property of Captain 
Derrickson, a citizen of the Low Countries, which was to 

1 Devries' Voyages from Holland to America^ pp. 176, 181, 183. 

* Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. I, p. 162. 
In this year (Jan. 23, 164(]), Parliament adopted a regulation whicb 
remitted customs on merchandise exported to Virginia, the Bermudas, and 
Barbadoes, the excise tax alone excepted. This privilege of exemp- 
tion from payment of customs was, however, to be withdrawn from all 
the Plantations which continued to transport their tobacco to Europe 
in foreign (that is, continental) bottoms. Hazard, vol. I, pp. 6iMi 


be found in that county, Derrickson having carried ofiF a 
maid-servant who was under articles of indenture to Mr. 
Richard Glover.^ A few years later. Captain Francis 
Yeardley made an assignment, to a prominent firm of 
Rotterdam, of three negroes as security for the payment 
of a large amount of tobacco which he had promised to 
deliver in return for goods already received.^ Powers 
.of attorney from Dutch merchants to representatives in 
Virginia now become numerous. One instance among 
many was the appointment of John Merryman in 1647, to 
serve as the agent of Cornelius Starrman of Rotterdam in 
the collection of every form of indebtedness due the latter 
in the Colony:* In 1647, also, Thomas Lee was selected 
as one of the attorneys of William Scrapes of the same 
town.* The disordered condition of affairs in the mother 
country at this time, by withdrawing the attention of tlie 
English Government from Virginia, was doubtless higlily 
promotive of the commerce between the planters and 
the Dutch, which only required absolute freedom for its 
expansion. In the winter of 1649, twelve ships from 
Holland arrived with cargoes of goods for exchange ; the 
number of English ships coming in during this season was ^ 
the same, indicating that the trade of the Colony was now 
equally divided between the Dutch and the English.^ In 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 189, Va. State Library. 

2 Becords of Loxcer Norfolk CourUy, original vol. 1646-1651, f. p. 162. 
« Becorda of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 301, Va. State Library. 

* Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1661, p. 165. 
There is the following entry in the same vol. f. p. 1^^, with reference to 
Lee : ** It is ordered that three good hogsheads of tobacco be provided to 
be sent to Holland with Mr. Thomas Lee, to be sold there for the best 
advantage of Henry Seawell, to defray the charge of his passage and 
other charges of the said Seawell, who is to go to Holland with the said 
Lee.^* Seawell, it appears, was an orphan, and Lee, his kinsman, prob- 
ably his guardian. 

* New Description of Virginia, p. 14, Forceps Historital Tracts, voL XL 


1651, when Virginia yielded to Cromwell, a war was in 
progress between England and Holland, but it appears 
to have had no influence upon the intercourse between the 
planters and the owners of Dutch vessels. When the sur- 
render to the Commissioners of the Commonwealth took 
place, the quantity of goods in the Colony belonging to 
Dutch merchants was so large that a special clause was 
introduced in the articles of submission, stipulating that, 
these goods should be protected from surprisal.^ 

In a previous chapter, I have dwelt at some length on the 
exports of the Dutch from the Colony in the course of 
the Protectorate. There are only a few details relating to 
the importations by the same traders during this interval to 
be touched upon. In a petition now offered to the States- 
General by a large number of the merchants of Holland, 
who declare that for twenty years they had been engaged 
in commerce with the Virginians, they mention incidentally 
that the principal commodities which they had been con- 
vevinsr to the Colon v were linen and coarse cloths, beer, 
brandy, and other distilled spirits.* These gooils were 
exempted 'from Dutch customs.' Stuy vesant was at this 
time anxious tliat all vessels leaving the Low Cotmtries 
with carfi^oes of merchandise for Virsrinia should be re- 
quired to stop at New Amsterdam on the outward voyage, 
but the directors of the West India Company refused to 
comply with his request to that effect.* The owners of 
these cargoes were in many cases English merchants 

* Heninsc^s Sfatntes, vol. I, p. 365. 

* Documt;nt9 Jielatin'j to the Ojlonial History of XeK York, toI. L 
p. 437. The Maryland Council declanni that '* the Datch trade was the 
darling of the pev^ple of ViR^lnia and Mar\-laud.** ArchiTes of Mary- 
laud, Proctedin'js of CoUHCiL ItW^lSe?. p. -laS. 

• Documents HdaCiui/ to the Col'inial Hiiftonj of Xtit Tork* vol. XIV, 
p. I :J9. 

♦ Ibid., VOL XIV, p. 2W. 


engaged in business in Holland. In 1653, Henry Mount- 
ford of Rotterdam appointed an agent in Lancaster 
County, who was instructed to collect all that was due 
his principal for advances of goods ; and a similar power 
was given by John Sheppard of the same city to his rep- 
resentative in that county.^ In 1656, Simon Overzhe, 
who described himself as a citizen of Rotterdam, granted 
a full discharge to Thomas Lambert, who had been acting 
as his factor in the county of Lower Norfolk.^ A few 
years later, John de Potter of Amsterdam chose as his 
attorney in Virginia, his sister, who had married Thomas 
Edmunds of Elizabeth River.' Among the merchants 
residing in the Low Countries who were engaged at the 
time in trade with the planters of the Eastern Shore were 
Cornelius Schut, Nicholas Van Bleck, and Cornelius Sten- 

1 Records of LancatUr County^ original vol. 1652-1667, pp. 88, 84. 

2 Beeords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1661-1656, p. 232. 
Simon Overzhe resided at one time in Virginia, and at another in Mary- 
land. Among other English merchants seated in Holland, who had 
dealings with planters in Lower Norfollc County, was William Harris. 
See his release of Francis Teardley from all debts due by him to Harris, 
Ihid^ p. 24. William Moseley, who lived in Lower Norfolk County, was 
at one time a resident of Rotterdam. See Ibid., p. 24. 

» Ibid., 1660-1666, p. 240. 

* Records of Northampton County, original vol. 1656-1667, . p. 63 ; 
Ibid,, original vol. 1667-1666, orders Sept. 7, 1666. There is entered in 
the records of the same county a power of attorney from Jacob Derrick- 
son and Abram Johnson of Holland to John Johnson to serve as their 
factor, both in Maryland and Virginia. See original vol. 1654-1666, f. p. 
121. The following charter party drawn up in 1646 is a fair sample of 
the charter parties by which English merchants secured the advantages of 
Dutch shipping: **In the name of God, Amen. A charter party made 
the fourth day of September, 1646, and an agreement made by me 
Abraham Pyle, a publique . . . allowed and admitted of by the Lord 
3f Holland, dwelling in ... in the presence of the following partyes, 
lamely, William Wright, Rowland Marstone, and John Bason together 
tnd every one, as all (in solidum) English merchants and freighters, to 


The passage of the Navigation Act of 1660, which was 
directed against the people of all the Colonies, deprived 
the Virginians of the advantage of free trade enjoyed by 
them for so extended a period. In the beginning an illicit 
commercial intercourse was maintained with Dutch mer- 
chants, but at the end of ten years, except on the Eastern 
Shore, where smuggling continued throughout the rest of 
the century, the law seems to have been substantially en- 
forced against all foreign countries. LudweU declared in 

Reignard Comelins, husband and master of the shipp next, nnder God 
named, the Foxe, being of burthen aboat twoe hundred and sixty tunnes 
and being mounted with six good iron gunnes, and all other ammunition 
for warre, accordingly made in manner and form as followeth, vizt, that 
the aforesaid husband is obliged with the shipp to bee ready .... to 
deliver her tight and well caulkt, and also to be p*yided with anchors, 
cables, sayles and ropes, and in aU other needful necessaries to be suffi- 
ciently provided, the which being thus made ready, then shall the officers 
and mariners bee taken care for by the fraighters, viz. : theire wages and 
victualls ; this done then shall the maister sett sayle and run with the 
first convenient wynd and weather right through the seas to Virginia, and 
there having delivered and traded her goods, then to lade her again with 
such goods and wares as the fraighters please, and then the said ship 
being laded, the maister and officers with the aforesaid shipp (with the 
next fair wjnd and weather which God shall be pleased to send), sett sayle 
back again for the Tassell and then to the port where he is to deliver. 
All which, in forme and manner before written, being accomplished, the 
aforesaid fraighters shall then first and not before, bee engaged and obliged 
to pay unto the said husband or his owners for his deserved freight, that 
is to say, for each month that the voyage shall last (to reckon a running 
monthe according to the almanacke) the sum me of five hundred gilders 
per month, together with average and pilotage according to the manner 
and custom of the seas, which voyage shall begin when the said shipp 
shall be without the last boye in the Tassell. And then the said shipp 
being arrived at her desired port and at anchor, then shall the fraighters 
bee engaged for seaven months certain, although the voyage could be per- 
formed in a shorter time, but in case it doth continue longer, then to pay 
as before understood, viz., every month five hundred gilders; And it is 
also agreed that the fraighters in their retunie, may put into Rochelle to 
seek convoy, but finding there none for Tassell, the said fraighters may 
then arrive in the Mase ; there being arrived, the fraight shall then be due 


1670, that no alien vessel had been allowed to exchange 
with the people of the Colony, and that the foreign ship- 
masters who had attempted to sell their commodities for 
tobacco had been arrested and brought to trial. ^ It was 
in this year that the Dolphin^ which pretended to hail 
from Dartmouth, but which in reality was the property of 
Dutchmen, was seized by order of court and her contents 
confiscated, on the ground that she was navigated contrary 
to the Act. A similar charge was brought in 1670 against 

and the shipp oat of pay. Allsoe, it is agreed that if the said shipp do 
arrive in the Mase, that the f raighters shall pay the half of the charges to 
bring her to the Tassell or otherwyse do agree thereupon ; moreover it is 
conditioned that the shipp shall not be carried into any other place to trade 
in ainy manner. Alsoe we are on both sides agreed that the shipp shall be 
ready to sett sayle in the space of one and twenty dayes without further 
delay or any neglect of either side, beginning upon the ninth of this 
instant month ; farther, the freighters shall pay for such powder as they 
shall unnecessarily shoote away or deliver other powder in the place. 
Allsoe, it is conditioned that the fraighters shall give to the shipp one 
Jack and flagg ; alsoe it is conditioned that the said husband shall eat 
and drink and sleep in the cabbin at the fraighters^ charges, but his wages 
to bee payd him by his owners. It is alsoe conditioned that the said 
husband shall have privilidge to lay into the shipp soe much goods as may 
imxiuce four hogsheads of tobacco, without paying fraight for ; And it is 
agreed the shipp shall bee delivered at ... ; whereupon wee bind our- 
selves each to other for the performance of what is aforesaid mentioned 
both in our persons and estates, and especially the fraighters^ goods, 
shipped abroad, and the husband and said shipp fraight and all belonging 
to her, to be under submission unto all courts and justice. All this being 
Uprightly done within ... in the presence of Peter Losooke and Fred- 
erick Hopkins, as witness hereunto with the Notarie Publique.'* Records 
of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1051, f. p. 30. We find the 
toUowing in Records of Lotoer Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1666, 
p. ^2 : '' Acct. of Nicholas Brotis, April 15, 1662, forty ells of white linen 
... at forty gilders, Dutch ells ; six and twenty Dutch ells of canvas, 
sixty-seven gilders ; three pieces of callicoe, thirty-six gilders ; half 
piece of fustian, sixteen gilders." 

1 Letter of Secretary Ludwell, British State Papers, Colonial, voL 
sex V ; Winder Papers, vol. I, p. 257, Va. State Library. 


the Hope of Amsterdam and the same judgment entered.^ 
All trade with Holland carried on after that period had 
first to pass through England. In consequence of the 
expense attending this necessity, it soon became unprofit- 

The commerce between the Colony and the Dutch com- 
munity seated at New Amsterdam was one of very con- 
siderable volume. It was so important, indeed, that in 
December, 1652, when hostilities were soon to break out 
between Holland and England, the Directors of the West 
India Comjiany urged upon Stuyvesant the strong expe- 
diency of maintaining the most hairmonious relations with 
the people of Virginia in order to retain their trade.' In 
the following spring, a commission was di^atched to 
Jamestown for the purpose of concluding a treaty, al- 
though the English and Dutch were now actually at war. 
The Governor there did not consider that he had the power 
to enter into such an arrangement without the permission 
of the authorities of the Commonwealth. A few months 
later, Stuyvesant sent a second commission, who were to 
ask for the continuation of the commercial intercourse 
between Virginia and the people of New Amsterdam, and 
who were also to secure the right to pay what the mer- 
chants of the Dutch province owed in the Colony, and to 
collect what was due them by its inhabitants. It was 
proposed tliat the grant of these privileges should be 
wholly provisional untQ the consent of their respective 
governments in Europe to the agreement had been 
obtained. This arrangement, it would appear, led to an 
extensive sale of merchandise in Virginia.^ 

1 Records of General Courts pp. 8, 12. 
« See Letters of William Fitzhugh, April 26, 1086. 
• Documents Belating to Colonial History of Neic York, voL XIV, 
p. IW. * Ibid., p. 301. 


In 1655, the hostilities between Holland and England 
laving been brought to a close, the Directors of the West 
ndia Company again instructed Stuyvesant to promote by 
tvery means in his power the commerce between Virginia 
ind the New Netherlands, a matter which they thought 
levoid of difficulty, as the English were unable to supply 
he people of the Colony with all of the dififerent kinds of 
aerchandise they required.^ To encourage the course of 
Tade between the two, Stuyvesant was ordered in 1657 to 
mpose a duty of only one per cent on all commodities 
(hipped from New Netherlands to Virginia. In 1660, the 
relume of this trade was described as being very great.* 
The vessels from the Dutch province which brought in 
^oods proceeded, as soon as they had secured their cargoes 
jf tobacco, directly to Holland.^ 

When the New Netherlands became a possession of 
England, the volume of trade between that Colony and 
Virginia continued to be important. In 1666, Jacob 
Leisler of the former place put on record in the county 
cx)urt of Rappahannock, a power of attorney authorizing 
Thomas Hawkins to collect the dififerent debts due him 
in that part of the country, in the form of bills, bonds, 
and open accounts.* In 1680, Edward Hill of Charles 
City became the agent of Daniel De Hart of Manhattan 
Island.^ Henry Linch, in 1680, entered in the records of 
Lower Norfolk a power of attorney which he had re- 

^ Documents Belating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. XIV, 
^. 333, 350. A considerable proportion of the commodities which were 
^ow imported into Virginia from New Amsterdam had been brought by 
■Vay of Holland from the far East, /dtd., p. 3S5. 

* Ibid, pp. 389, 471. 

» Ibid., vol. XII, p. 328. 

* Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1663-1068, p. 116, Va. State 

* Records of Henrico County, yo\, 1677-1692, p. 170, Va. State Library. 



ceived of John Smith of New York to enable him to col- 
lect the sums in which the planters of that county were 
indebted to his principal.^ Julian Verplanck of the same 
town likewise imported, during a long period of years, a 
large quantity of goods into Lower Norfolk.^ Jacobis 
Vis had important transactions in the exchange of mer- 
chandise for tobacco in the counties of the Northern 

The debts due in the Colony to these merchants of New 
York became very often the subject of suit.* On the other 
hand, actions were not infrequently brought against their 
attorneys in Virginia and valuable property attached. In 
1698, a judgment was secured by Major William Wilson 
of Hampton against Thomas Walton in the sum of fifty- 
two pounds and ten shillings sterling. In the same year, 
a vessel from New York ran aground near Hampton, and 
her cargo was seriously damaged.* 

1 Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. p. 90. 

» Ibid., 1600-1(575, p. 62 ; original vol. 1656-1666, p. 419. 

' Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1654-1702, p. 332. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1084-1687, p. 4, Va. State Library. 

^ Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1084-1699, pp. 127, 162. 
Tliere is an incident connected with the trade between Virginia and New 
York which shows the determination of the authorities in the former 
Colony to enforce tlie Navigation laws. An information was lodged in 
1685 by the Attorney-General against the sloop Katharine of New York, 
on the ground that her master and some of her seamen were not of 
English nativity. The master appeared in York court and admitted that 
he was a Frenchman by birth, but insisted that he had received denizen 
papers from the Governor of New York. The Attorney-General proved 
that certain commodities of European growth had been imported into 
Virginia by the sloop, without having been loaded, as the Navigation Act 
required, in Enfjland, Wales, or Scotland. The captain replied by saying 
that these commodities had been obtained in New York, and he produced 
in court a certificate from the collector of that port in confirmation of 
his statement. The case was submitted to the justices, who gave a 
verdict that the vessel and its contents should be forfeited to the Crown. 
Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 148, Va. State Library. 


There are evidences that the commercial intercourse 
between Virginia and New England began at an early 
iate. In 1640, the General Court sitting at New Haven 
Aid down the scale of prices to be used in the purchase of 
ximmodities from the Southern Colony.^ The trade with 
this community increased in volume with the progress of 
Idine. In 1645, a suit was brought in New Haven by 
Richard Catchman, as attorney for Florentine Payne of 
Virginia, against Thomas Hart, who was largely indebted 
bo Payne in their business transactions in that Colony.^ 
John Thompson, at a subsequent date, was engaged in trans- 
porting supplies to the plantations on the James and York, 
uid Mr. Evance was also the owner of a vessel employed in 
the same trade. In 1655, complaint was entered in the 
court at New Haven, that the badness of the biscuit and 
flour made at Milford had brought discredit in the South- 
em Colony upon all goods imported from the north.* 

John Treworgie and Nicholas Shiplagh of New Eng- 
land, in 1647, appointed Isaac Allerton, Edward Gibbons, 
and John Richards their agents, to recover the amount in 
which George Ludlow of York was indebted to them in 
running accounts.* During the previous year, Gibbons 
had dispatched a ship to Virginia with a cargo of goods, 
which had barely escaped being wrecked.^ In 1648, the 
dealings of Roger Fletcher of Boston with the Colony 
were so large that he appointed Thomas Bridge to act as 
his attorney.' Three years subsequent to this, there were 

1 New Haven Colonial RecordSy vol. 1638-1649, p. 36. 

« Ibid., p. 170. 

» Ibid,, vol. 1663-1665, pp. 142, 317 ; vol. 1638-1649, p. 291. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 423, Va. State Library. 

» Letter of Governor Wlnthrop, October, 1646, NeUPs Virginia Chr- 
Uorum, p. 172, note. 

• Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1661,!. p. 61. 
$ee also New England Historical and Genealogical Register for April, 


found in the waters of Virginia as many as seven vessels 
belonging to citizens of New England* which had entered 
to obtain cargoes of the different products of the country 
in return for merchandise.^ In 1654, a sale was made by 
Thomas Willett of New Plrmouth to Mathew Fassett of 
Lower Norfolk of his entire interest in the Hopewell, a 
vessel of twenty-six tons« to be used in the New England 
trade.* The owners of ships in that region not infre- 
quently hired them to persons in Virginia who wished to 
export goods from the North; thus in 1654, William Vin- 
cent of Lower Norfolk County entered into a charter party 
with John Hart, by which the latter rented his bark to 
Vincent for five months and sixteen days at the rate of 
eight pounds sterling per month, payment to be made in 
coin, merchandise, and agricultural products to the extent 
of one-third in each.^ Two years later the goods which 
Francis Emperor and Richard Whiting, prominent citizens 
of the Colony, were importing from New England in the 
Dolphin of Salem were damaged by a leak that was spning 
not long after the ketch passed out of Nantucket. Captain 
Emperor, who at this time owned a part interest in the 
ship» the FraneU and JS/ary. was actively engaged in the 
trade with the English provinces at the North.* The 

1893, p. 201. A few years later the widow of Cornolius Llovd nf Lower 
Norfolk County appointed Nicholas Hart of New England her attorney, 
presomably to collect what was diie the estate of her late husband in 
those parts. Rtfconis «>/ Lototr Xorfolk Counttf, original vol. lOol-ltJi^^ 
f. p. 109. He may, however, have been expected to act only in Nlrgina 
See original vol. l»J.j^l<5H6. p. :?;». 

^ Weedeu's S^Kial and Economic HUiury of Xeur Entjland, vol. L 
p. 2o<). The wagts of a sailor employed in the navigation of these ships 
were three pi.^umls sterling by the month. The waees of a bov for tbe 
same length of time were one pound and fourteen shillings. See Recordi 
of Low. r S<>rf"lk County, original vol. 10ol-lt».">d, f. p. 129. 

* Becor*i9 of Lowtr Xorfolk Omniy^ original xA. 1^)5 1-1656, 1 p. 83. 

» Ibid,. L p. 129. * Ibid., HJ5tf-H566, pp. 34, 114. 


Dolphin^ it appeared, belonged to James Underwood, who 
had a considerable estate in Norfolk County; in 1662, an 
attachment was laid against his property because his vessel 
had on three dififerent occasions taken in tobacco in Vir- 
ginia without obtaining a license to trade or paying the 
duties laid down in Acts of Assembly.^ A few years 
before, the ship of a prominent merchant of Boston had 
been seized with its cargo of goods at Nominy by the col- 
lector of the district on the ground of having violated the 

In the interval between 1656 and 1664, there were 
[ recorded a number of powers of attorney from merchants 
in New England, including among many others such men 
as John Safl&n, Timothy Prout, and John Giffard of 
Boston, William Payne of Ipgwich, William Browne of 
Salem, and John Holland of Dorchester.^ A duty of ten 
shillings had, previous to 1665, been imposed upon every 
hogshead exported from Virginia to New England, but in 
this year, the Assembly having reason to believe that this 
tax diverted from the Colony an important part of the 
trade of the Northern provinces, repealed it, thus placing 
all ships from that quarter upon the same footing as the 
vessels arriving from England.* 

As soon as hostilities broke out between England and 
Holland in 1672, the ships employed in the trade with 
New England were in special danger, since, being princi- 

1 Beeords of Lower Norfolk County j original vol. 1650-1666, p. 360. 

2 Neill*s Virginia Carolorum^ Appx;, 418. 
• See Records of Northampton and Rappahannock Counties. Baffin 

'Was very actively engaged in the trade between New England and Vir- 
^nia, either on his own account or as tlie agent of others. See Records 
of Rappahannock County, vol. 1008-1672, p. 117, Va. State Library, for 
an instance in which he was the representative of John Pinchon of New 

« Hening'8 Statutes, vol. II, p. 218. 


pally ketches, they had little ability to resist an attack of 
the enemy. In 1673, the Providence^ belonging to Richard 
HoUingsworth, was captured off Block Island while on a 
voyage to Virginia, and in the same year, a vessel owned 
by John Grafton of Salem was also taken. It had on 
board for the Southern market a large quantity of rum, 
salt, sugar, mackerel, and cloth. ^ 

An increased number of powers of attorney from New 
England merchants were placed on record in the county 
courts in the interval between 1670 and 1685. Among 
these merchants were Thomas Hillard, Joseph Townsend, 
Anthony Haywood, Thomas Maul, John Price, Riehaid 
West, Jonathan Corwin, John Pinchon, and Peter Sergeant. 
They secured their debts by mortgages upon the planta- 
tions^ servants, slaves, and live stock of their debtors.* In 
one instance, Henry Ashton, a planter residing in Lancas- 
ter County, sold to John Saffin of Boston a house in that 
town in consideration of twenty-two pounds sterling, but 
this was probably a transfer of property, in which no 
security for previous obligations entered.^ 

^ Documents Eelating to the Colonial History of Xew Tort, vol. H, 
p. 663. There are several references in the Becords of Xorthampton 
County to a ketch named the Procidence, See original vol. 1664-1674, 
f. pp. 170, 178. Some years later the brigantine, the Base of New Euft- 
land, came near being wrecked in Lynnhaven Bay. Records of Lover 
Xorfolk County, original vol. 167^1686, f. p. 233. 

« Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1682, p, S9S, Record 
of Middlesex County, original vol. 1679-1694, p. 1. In 1673, Anibooy 
Checkley and John Malley of Boston made a single shipment ^> Cheny* 
stone in Northampton of goods valueil at £171 9jr. Records ofNorthasiip- 
ton County, original vol. 1664-1674, f. p. 187. 

» Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1682, p. 190. The!* 
are entries in the county records which show that persons residing i& 
Virginia not infrequently removed to New England, and, on the other 
hand, that citizens of New England sometimes established themselves 
in Virginia. In the will of Captain Nathaniel Walker of Northampton 
(original vol. 1683-1689, p. 24), he describes himself as '"late of Boston. 


There is recorded in Lancaster, a letter from Captain 
James Barton of New England, which throws light on the 
relations of the merchants there with the trade of Vir- 
ginia at this time. He urges his correspondent, who was 
in the latter Colony and who was acting as his attorney, 
to secure a cargo of tobacco, hides, and pork for the mar- 
ket in Barbadoes, to be purchased with commodities already 
in his hands, and with goods that Barton would dispatch 
in his own ketch, now about to sail for Virginia. While 
the vessel was absent on the voyage to and from the West 
Indies, that being the second point of destination, the 
attorney was to make a further collection of hides, which, 
with tobacco, was to be shipped directly to Holland, an 
evidence that the merchants of New England openly 
^^aded the injunctions of the Navigation Act.^ 

In case of disputes between New England traders and 
Virginian planters, it seems to have been occasionally the 
habit to settle the causes of difference by reference to 
arbitrators chosen among the citizens of Virginia. Such 
was the course pursued in 1680 by Hugh Campbell of 
Boston and Philip Edwards of Lower Norfolk County.^ 
The attorneys representing many of the merchants of 
New England were shipmasters of the two Colonies.^ 

The commodities brought in by these vessels were only 
in small part of West Indian or New England growth or 
manufacture; through the merchants and shipowners of 

now of Northampton/* On another occasion, he speaks of himself as 
** formerly of New England.** Records of Northampton County, original 
vol. 1664-1674, f. p. 176. In 1679, Thomas Bridge of Lower Norfolk 
Coanty disposed of several tracts of land which he owned in that county, 
and took up his residence in Salem, Massachusetts. Records of Lower 
Norfolk County, original vol. 1676-1686, f. p. 76. 

1 Beeords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1660-1682, p. 440. 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1676-1686, p. UO. 

» Ibid., 1686-1606, f. pp. 68, 73, 84. 

VOL. II. — T 


the Northern Colonies, the planters of Virginia obtained 
a large quantity of supplies which had originally come 
from Europe. The letters of Colonel William Byrd dis- 
close the fact that he ordered through his correspondents 
in New England a great variety of goods, such as clothing, 
agricultural implements, and the like, a large proportion 
of which was not obtained by means of tobacco, but was 
purchased with bills of exchange.^ His example was 
doubtless imitated by many of his contemporaries, whose 
letter books have not been transmitted to us. 

The proximity of Maryland to Virginia naturally led 
to a very extensive trade between the two Colonies. As 
early as 1641, the records of the former show that its in- 
habitants purchased many of their supplies in the older 
communities south of the Potomac, and, on the other hand, 
that citizens of the latter were obtaining goods of differ- 
ent sorts from persons living in Maryland.^ In 1642, 
Leonard Calvert acknowledged in court that he had at 
one time owed Thomas Stegg of Virginia as much as five 
thousand pounds of tobacco, and in the same year James 
Neale was granted process upon all the debts and merchan- 
dise which William Holmes of the same Colony possessed 
in Maryland, where he had been engaged in important 
transactions.^ Suits on protested bills of exchange indi- 
cate at this time the volume of the mutual dealings; thus 
Margaret Brent of Maryland sought to compel Colonel 
George Ludlow of York to pay a bill of this kind for 
twenty pounds sterling returned from England dishonored, 
while Robert Kinsy of Virginia demanded of the court at 

1 Records of similar insUinces are very numerous in his letter book, 
now preserved among the Manuscript Collections of the Virginia Histori- 
cal Society. 

2 Archives of Maryland, Court and Testamentary Business, vol. Id37- 
1050, pp. 110, 143. 

8 J6i(/.,pp. 147, 164. 


St. Mary's that Robert Nicholls should settle an obliga- 
tion amounting to fifteen hundred pounds of tobacco 
which he had refused to deliver. In 1643, John Hollis, as 
the representative of John Hillard of Maryland, was in- 
structed to enter suit in Virginia against John Thatcher.* 

These suits were not confined to tobacco. In the same 
year, William Parry of Virginia, through his attorney, 
Giles Brent, sought in the court at St. Mary's a verdict 
against Thomas Boys for eight pounds of beaver. This 
beaver was probably the consideration in a sale of cattle, 
as there seems to have been from an early date a trade in 
live stock between the citizens of Kecoughtan, the place 
where Parry resided, and the Colony farther to the north. 
In 1644, Leonard Calvert and Fulk Brent of Maryland 
were sued by Richard Bennett for a sum of tobacco due 
for supplies ; and John Walton by Edward Bland for the 
value of a boat which Walton had obtained while trad- 
ing in Virginia. Among other citizens of prominence in 
the latter Colony who at this time were carrying on com- 
mercial transactions with merchants in Maryland, were 
Thomas Mathew, Robert West, and John Hansford.^ 

When on one occasion it was decided by the authorities 
m Maryland to make an incursion upon the Indians liv- 
ing upon the Eastern Shore of that Province, a shallop 
was dispatched to Virginia to procure twenty corselets, 
a barrel of powder, four rundlets of shot, a barrel of oat- 
meal, three firkins of butter, and four cases of spirits.* 
In 1640, a proclamation was issued forbidding the trans- 
fer in Maryland, without a special license, of goods pur- 
chased in the Colony to the south. A strict inquiry was 

1 Archivea of Maryland, Court and Testamentary Business^ vol. 1637- 
1C60, pp. 191, 192, 214. 

2 Ibid.y Parry, p. 220 ; Bennett, p. 269 ; Bland, p. 346 ; Mathew, West, 
and Hansfoid, pp. 410, 4S3, 518. 

» Ibid.^ Proceedings of Council, vol. 1636-1667, p. 86. 


required to be made of the sales of liquors on board of 
the vessel o^vned by Ralph Beane, a citizen of that Colony.^ 

During the course of the last half of the century, the 
volume of trade between Virginia and Maryland steadily 
increased with their growth in wealth and population. 
The intercourse between the latter province and Lower 
Norfolk County seems to have been extremely frequent 
Among the citizens of Maryland engaged in these commer- 
cial transactions, were William Holland, Edward Lloyd, 
Emanuel Ratcliffe, and Charles Egerton.* The exchanges 
with York and the Northern Neck were also very exten- 
sive. One of the notable features of the commerce be- 
tween the two peoples at this time was the introduction 
into Virginia of mares from the Colony north of the 
Potomac, which was doubtless undertaken \vith a view to 
improving the breed of horses.^ 

The trade with the West Indies began as early as 1638, 
in which year, Captain Devries states that he made at 
Jamestown the acquaintance of Captain Stone, who had 
recently arrived from that part of America, it is to be 
presumed with a cargo of supplies to be bartered to 
tobacco.* The directors of the Dutch West India Com- 
pany, writing to Stuyvesant in 1646, called his attention 
to the fact that persons from Virginia had already made 
their way to Curacoa, and were exchanging their com- 
modities for its products.^ Only a few years later, ship 
masters from Barbadoes are found selling negroes to the 

J Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Councily vol. 1030-1(507, pp. ^« 

2 Records of Lower Norfolk County^ original vol. 1651-1656, f . p. !<*■ 
Ibid., original vol. 1675-1080, f. pp. 106, 160, 180. 

3 Records of the General Court, p. 47. 
* Devries' Voyages from Holland to America^ pp. 51, 52. 
^ Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Torkf vol. XlVi 

p. 77. 


planters along the York and James. ^ It was the custom 
of many of the vessels sailing from this island to proceed 
first to Virginia and afterwards to New England. The 
occasional course of trade is shown in the case of a cargo 
forwarded to the Colony towards the close of the century 
by Messrs. Anthony Palmer and Company ; it was to 
be delivered to Paul Carrington, who was instructed to 
exchange it for tobacco, pitch, tar, and live hogs. If he 
found it impossible to obtain the return cargo in the 
course of five weeks, or to secure a freight rate of five 
pounds sterling a ton, he was commanded to dispatch the 
ship to Philadelphia with a load of pitch and tar.^ In 
a vessel which left Barbadoes in 1661, the Charles of 
Southton, there were among the consignments for Vir- 
ginia, six hogsheads of bay salt.^ In some instances 
these consignments were restricted to negroes, in others 
to sugar, rum, and molasses.* IIow large they were very 
often, is illustrated in the case of William Byrd. On 
one occasion he obtained from this island twelve hundred 
gallons of rum, five thousand pounds of muscovado sugar, 
three tons of molasses, two hundred pounds of ginger, 
and one cask of lime-juice ; on another, four thousand 
gallons of rum, five thousand pounds of muscovado, one 
very heavy barrel of white sugar, and ten tons of mo- 
lasses.^ The planter who had gone to Barbadoes to 
buy these commodities in person was frequently able 

^ Becords of Lower Norfolk County y original vol. 1040-1051, f. p. 115. 
The monthly wages of these shipmasters were frequently paid in sugar at 
the rate of six pennies the hundred-weight, ten pounds in the hundred 
being allowed for shrinkage. Becords of Lower Norfolk County ^ original 
vol. 1040-1051, f. p. 205. 

8 William and Mary College Quarterly, April, 1803, pp. 200, 201. 

• Becords of Lancaster County ^ original vol. 1000-1082, p. .'U. 

• Becords of Bappnhanrtock County, original vol. 1050-1004, p. 274. 
Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 10()(V-1075, p. 23. 

• LeUers of William Byrd, October 18, 1086, April 16, 1088. 


to make his purchases with bills of exchange which he 
had brought with him; thus in 1668, John Keele pre- 
sented to Nathaniel Cooke of that island^ three instru- 
ments of this character calling for payment in sugar, 
amounting in the aggregate to nearly five thousand 
pounds.^ Disputed accounts arising in the course of 
y this trade were carried to the General Court in Vir- 
ginia for decision, and were ordered to be settled in 
kind, and not in coin or tobacco. An instance of this 
nature occurred in 1673, when this body, in a suit by 
Mr. Edmund Cowles against the attorneys of Mr. Wil- 
liam Marshall, required the latter to deliver two hogs- 
heads of muscovado sugar, one puncheon of rum, and 
eighty-five gallons of molasses.^ 

Tobacco and grain were not the only articles used in 
procuring the commodities of Barbadoes ; in 1686, the 
sloop Sappy transported from Lancaster County to that 
island, two firkins of butter, two barrels of pork, and 
twenty-two sides of tanned leather, in addition to one 
hundred and forty-four bushels of Indian corn.^ 

Many instances might be given of persons who were 
either residing in Virginia or who were visiting it for the 
special purpose, being invested with a power of attorney 
by merchants of Barbadoes who had disposed of goods 
there. In 1665, Edwin Thomas, who was on the point 
of setting out for the Colony from that island, was ap- 
pointed the factor of Giles Hall, with the authority to 
gather together the different amounts in the form of pork 
and beef which were due him for West Indian goods, 
delivered some time previously.* A power of attorney is 

1 Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1606-1675, p. 41. 

2 JRecords of General Court, p. 168. 

^ Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1682-1687, p. 111. 
* liecords of Rappahannock Cou7Uy, voL 1663-1608, p. 87, Va. State 


recorded in Rappahannock in tlie same year from Epiph- 
any Hill of Barbadoes, to Mr. Gates Hussey of that 
county, to collect all indebtedness to Hill, not only in the 
form of pork and beef, but also of tobacco and money 
sterling, as evidenced by note, bond, and judgment.^ 
Many ships from year to year arrived in Virginia with 
cargoes of West Indian commodities, the owners of which 
depended on casual purchasers for the disposal of their 
stock, these purchasers being sought by passing from 
landing to landing in the principal rivers, the lower rates 
at which these articles were often sold under these cir- 
cumstances inducing many planters who were engaged in 
trade not to send their orders to merchants in the West 
Indies.^ The operations of these persons covered all parts 
of the Colony, from the country adjacent to the Potomac 
on the north to the valley of the James on the south. 
The rum, sugar, and molasses were conveyed in casks and 
barrels. The former not infrequently held only twenty- 

1 Records of Rappahannock County^ vol. 1663-1668, p. 86, Va. State 
Library. The following entries in the county records will further show 
the intimacy of tbe connection between Virginia and Barbadoes in this 
age. John Thomas, of the sloop Content^ belonging to the Isle of 
Barbadoes, appoints as his attorney in Virginia, Thomas Ward. Records 
of Norfolk County, original vol. 1695-1703, f. p. 125. Benjamin Dwight, 
of Barbadoes, sues Christopher Wormeley for debt. See orders, Oct. 
7, 1689, Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694. It is 
stated in tbe inventory of John Godsill of Lancaster County that a parcel 
of rum belonging to his estate is expected from Barbadoes. Records of 
Lancaster County, original vol. 1674-1687, f. p. 22. The will of John 
Morrah of Rappaliannock County contains the following: **I give to my 
godson, Thomas Warden of Barbados, 1000 lbs. of muscovado sugar, 
now in the hands of Joseph Warden of Barbados, his father.'^ Vol. 
1677-1682, p. 17, Va. State Library. Nicholas Ware of Rappahannock 
County *^ acknowledges himself bound to John Vassall of Barbados in 
17,234 lbs. tobacco." Original vol. 1656-1664, p. 274. See also, William 
and Mary College Quarterly for April, 1802, p. 146. 

« Letters of William Byt^, May 29, 1689. 



five gallons, eight being required to make a ton« The 
loss in consequence of the number of casks, casks and 
contents not being discriminated in the weight, was esti- 
mated at one-tliird. The same objection was urged 
against the sugar-barrel, which, by increasing the number 
needed in transportation, added in proportion to the 
amount paid in freight, without any compensation for so 
much dead material.^ 

The commercial intercourse between Virginia and the 
islands of the West Indies was often of an illicit charac- 
ter, the duty on liquor, so much of which was imported 
into the Colony from these islands, causing many ship- 

1 Among the merchants of Barbadoes who made large sales of com- 
modities in Virginia in the course of the last half of the seventeenth 
century were James Graham, Thomas Beard, John Felton, Richard Bats, 
Christopher Mercer, John Barwick, and John Sadler. The trade between 
Virginia and the West Indies was not confined to Barbadoes. The fol- 
lowing is taken from the Records of Lower Norfolk County : ** Know all 
men . . . that I, William Sheers, of London, merchant, have agreed 
with Mr. John Brett of Nansemond, merchant, that I, the said William 
Sheers, is to receive aboard ye ship Francis and Mary, now riding in 
Elizabeth River and bound for Antigua, Mavis and St. Christopher, within 
thirty days after ye date, six head of neat cattle with provisions for them, 
on the said Brett paying for their transportation 700 lbs. of the best 
muscovado sugar, to be paid at ye arrival of the ship at either of abo?e 
places within ten days, the said Sheers to find water for said cattle until 
their arrival, and one hogshead of com for every one of them, freight 
free ; and for all other goods Brett shall have aboard is to pay at yc rate 
of 360 lbs. good muscovado sugar, the penalty being 1600 lbs. Virginia 
tobacco." This contract is dated 1657. See Bccords of Lower Xorfoli 
County, original vol. 1666-1666, p. 133. In 1685, William Dundas of 
Jamaica appointed Henry Spratt and Antony Lawson of the "continent 
of Virginia" his agents in the collection of debts due him by the estate 
of Robert Calderwood. Be.cords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 
1675-1686, f. p. •202. In 1693, John Wilkinson, Gk)vemor of the Bermudas, 
empowered Thomas Walke of Lower Norfolk County to act as his attor- 
ney in that county. See original vol. 1685-16W, f. p. 194. Reference to 
a Jersey ship will be found in Jiecortls of General Court, p. 99, and to ft 
Jersey merchant's estate in Virginia, in ibid, p. 62. 


fliers and masters to make no report to the collector of 
16 district in which their vessels came to anchor. The 
ilawful trading was especially prevalent on the Eastern 
lore and in the Lower James, as these localities offered 
any facilities for eluding the vigilance of the officers of 
le revenue.* 

In one instance only has evidence of a trade between 
mth America and Virginia in the seventeenth century 
len discovered.^ In 1670, it was decided that the arti- 
d8 enumerated in the Act of Navigation should not be 
ansported directly to Ireland. Previous to the passage 

this statute, as well as subsequent to it, there was a 
^nsiderable volume of commerce between Virginia and 
e Irish ports.* 

There are a few indications of commercial intercourse 
itween Virginia and Scotland in the seventeenth cen- 
xy. In 1638, a special warrant was issued to John 
iimett of Aberdeen, granting him the privilege of trad- 
g in the Colony upon condition that he paid the cus- 
ms due upon the tobacco to \)e exported by him, and 
at he gave bond that he would only unload in Scot- 
ud.* In 1670, Thomas Bushrod, acting as the attorney 

Thomas Lowry of Edinburgh, obtained judgpnent in the 

1 See Official Letten of Oov. SpoUwood^ Virginia Historical Society 


« William and Mary College Quarterly, April, 1893, p. 152. 

* This was a regulation of Parliament See acquittance in Virginia, 
1670, of the ship Anthony of Londonderry, against which an in- 

-mation had been lodged by one of the collectors, on the ground that 
3 was not a free vessel. Records of General Courts p. 40. For evi- 
Dces of the trade between Virginia and Ireland, see Records of Lovcer 
wfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, pp. 46, 179 ; Records of Lanr 
Uer County, original vol. 1687-1700, pp. 167, 177 ; original vol. 1666- 
32, p. 150. 

* British StaU Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 118; Sainshury Ab- 
acts for 1638, p. 23. Va. State Library. 



General Court against Samuel Onsteen for one hundred 
and twenty-seven pounds sterling, and four years later 
the same factor brought suit against William Drummond 
and Samuel Austin for the payment of a somewhat 
smaller amount.^ In 1697, Benjamin Harrison shipped a 
cargo of tobacco directly to Scotland, but it is worthy of 
note that the name of the vessel was illegally changed in 
order to enter the port of its destination.' 

1 Records of General Court j pp. 6, 173. 

« BrUish State Papers, Colonial^ Virginia B. T., vol. II, B. 3. 



The great bulk of imported supplies consumed in the 
olony after the dissolution of the Company, as previous 
> that event, was obtained from England, with which 
ingdom the course of trade differed from that carried on 
ith the northern settlements and with the West Indies 
ily in volume. A detailed account of its character and 
le agencies by which it was conducted is of general 
pplication to the commercial intercourse of Virginia, in 
le seventeenth century, with all the countries having 
•ansactions with its people. Among the English mer- 
lants who brought in supplies after the revocation of 
le letters patent in 1624, and previous to 1700, there 
"ere few who could be described as casual dealers, that 
I, dealers who were without representatives in the Col- 
ny, to whom their goods could be consigned to be dis- 
osed of gradually, but who instead relied upon the 
hance of selling their commodities as they passed in 
heir ships from river to river. The objections to this 
banner of business were numerous. As early as 1635, 
^aptain Devries declared, as the result of his own obser- 
vation, that all who conveyed supplies to Virginia with 
lie object of exchanging them for tobacco, should erect 
Private storehouses to be placed in the care of a factor, 
•^bo should be required to remain in the Colony in order 

-0 be prepared at the proper season to take possession of 



the crops of the planters to whom goods had been sold on 
credit, not improbably twelve months beforehand.^ The 
English merchants were in the habit of doing this, and 
in consequence enjoyed a notable advantage over their 
Dutch rivals. The opinion of Captain Devries was just 
as correct in its relation to the condition of trade fifty 
years later as it was at the particular period in which he 
wrote. In 1683, Colonel William Fitzhugh, who had a 
thorough knowledge of the course of business in Virginia, 
corresponding with certain shipowners in New England 
who had recently for the first time sent to the Colony a 
vessel loaded with merchandise, but with no one to dispose 
of it but the captain, who was ignorant of the country, 
stated that casual trading was destructive of all profit, be- 
cause the owner of the goods, being in Virginia only for a 
short time, had to hasten his departure to reduce the cost 
attendant upon the navigation of his ship, and was, there- 
fore, compelled to sell in order to secure a cargo of to- 
bacco, whether its price was high or low. If, on the 
other hand, the merchandise, as soon as it was brought to 
the Colony, was placed in the hands of a factor, the latter 
could as occasion arose gradually dispose of it to advan- 
tage, being in a position to wait for an advance in rates 
if those prevailing were not satisfactory. When the 
vessel belonging to the owner of the commodities Jirrivei 
the products for which these commodities had previously 
from time to time been exchanged would be ready for 
delivery at certain places, and the expense of a long stay 
would be avoided. These facts were well known to the 
English traders and governed their action. ^ 

The English merchants who supplied the planters with 
manufactured articles may be roughly divided into two 

1 Bevrics' Voyages from Holland to America,, p. 112. 

2 Letters of Wiiliam Fitzhugh, Feb. 6, 1G82-S3. 


classes: first, those who resided in the mother country 
and disposed of goods to the colonists either directly 
upon the receipt of the tobacco in England, or Who 
shipped goods to Virginia to be sold there by factors; 
secondly, those who lived either permanently or tempora- 
rily in the Colony and exchanged the commodities which 
they had ordered, for the products of the country, acting 
either in their own persons or through local representa- 
tives in their different mercantile transactions. To the 
first class belonged men of such standing as Micajah 
Perry, Thomas Lane, John Gary, John Cooper, George 
Richards, Peter Paggin, and John Bland. These Eng- 
lish merchants in many instances had brothers or near 
relatives in Virginia who served as their agents. This 
was the case with Micajah Perry. It was also the case 
with John Bland. The English traders who resided in 
the Colony were men like Francis Lee, John Chew, 
Thomas Burbage, Robert Vaulx, and John Greene. In 
some instances they returned to England. This was the 
case with Robert Vaulx,^ John Greene,^ and Francis Lee.® 
Participation in commercial exchange with the Virginians 
does not appear to have been the direct means of acquir- 
ing vast fortunes on the part of the merchants who re- 
sided in the mother country, although it is known that 
many persons engaged in this trade were men in affluent 
circumstances. Of the twenty-four who, towards the 
close of the seventeenth century, furnished the greater 
portion of the supplies of various kinds imported into the 
Colonies of Maryland and Virginia, not one bore a name 

1 Records of York County, vol. 16S4-1687, p. 163, Va. State Library. 

2 References to Greene will be found in vol. 1663-1668 of Rappahan- 
nork Records, Va. State Library. 

» In Records of Middlesex County (original vol. 1673-1686, p. 103), Lee 
speaks of himself as "of London, formeriy of Virginia." See also Reo- 
ords of York, 16»4-1702, p. 35, Va. State Library. 


which is identified in an illustrious degree with the subse- 
quent history of England either in a social or political way.^ 

^ The following is the list : Micajah Perry, Thomas Lane, James Diy- 
den, Jonathan Mathews, Richard Cox, Samuel Groom, Anthony Stratton, 
John Gary, Josiah Bacon, John Blackall, John Browne, Edward LitUe- 
page, Robert Bristow, James Wagstaffe, John Taillor, Robert Ruddle, 
Arthur Bay ley, Robert Bristow, Jr., Timothy Keyser, John CkK>per, 
George Richards, Daniel Parker, Christopher Morgan, Sr., Peter Paggin. 
See British State Papers, America and West Indies, No. 612 ; McDonald 
Papers^ vol. VII, pp. 251, 252, Va. State Library. Among the other 
English merchants who were engaged in the trade with Vii^nia were the 
following : York County — Stephen Duport, Peregrine Browne, John Lee, 
Joseph Hunter, Joseph Francis, Daniel Jenkins, Samuel Dean, Richard 
Starkey, Thomas Walsh; Lower Norfolk — William Bird of Bristol, 
Nathan Stainesmore, William Atterbury of London, Francis Wells, 
Thomas Meriwether, Joseph Knott, Jolm Munyon, John Kick, Isaac 
Merritt, James Harris (some of these merchants refer to themselves now 
as of England, and now as of Lower Norfolk); Accomac — Thomas 
Willbourne of York, Francis Lee of London; Rappahannock — David 
Griffin of London, George Daly of Plymouth, John Nuttall, Thomas 
Griffith, Francis Benton, William Jenkins, Richard Gower ; Middlesex- 
William Twigg of Dublin, Daniel Stoodeley of London, Francis Moore of 
Dublin, George Lee, Roger Burrough, Gawin Corbin, Edward Hill, John 
Bowles, Perient Trott, Richard Wilson, John Jeffreys, James Caiy, 
William Crisp, all of London ; Richard Lonnon of Dublin, Heniy 
Ashton of Liverpool, John Goodwin, Jonathan Mathews, John Taylor; 
Lancaster — Thomas Ellis, Edward Harper, both of London; William 
Jennings, Anthony Cock of Bristol, John Hinde, Philip Taylor, Mathew 
Pitt, Philip Whistler of London, Thomas City, Francis Febran, Thomas 
Chitwood, Robert Hooper, John Fish, Thomas Booth, John Drake, 
all of London ; Thomas Cooper, Joseph Hunt, and John Jayne of Bris- 
tol ; Northampton — Nicholas Jackson, Thomas Heeman, Isaac Foxcroft, 
Ralph Allen, Thomas Buckner, Richard Corkhill of Biddeford, Henry 
Scarborough, John Martyn, John Bryce, Edward Prescott of London, 
Joseph Hunt of Bristol. The estates of many of these merchants at their 
deaths were inventoried in Virginia, showing that they were property 
holders if not residents at one time of the Colony. Thomas Chitwood is 
referred to sometimes as of Lancaster, and sometimes as of England. 
" Some from being wool hoppers and of meaner employment in England,^^ 
remarks the author of Leah and Rachel, *^ have in Virginia become great 
merchants and attained to the most eminent advancement the Country 
afforded." p. 20, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. IIL 


There is reason to think that the trade with Virginia 
was not steadily lucrative to an uncommon degree after all 
the necessary charges had been met, although the nominal 
margin of gain appeared to be very large. This margin is 
easily discovered through the whole extent of the century. 
In the winter of 1623, which, as has been seen, was one of 
such extraordinary want as to raise the prices of all articles 
of food to a point hitherto unknown, George Harrison 
wrote to his brother in England that if he would secure a 
vessel and send her to Virginia with a cargo of wine, but- 
ter, cheese, sugar, and other provisions, he could easily 
obtain a profit of two hundred pounds sterling at the 
least, about five thousand dollars in our modern currency. 
The amount required for the purchase of such a cargo in 
England rendered this sum equivalent to a gain of not 
less than fifty per cent, perhaps even to a gain of a hun- 
dred.^ In 1626, the margin, after paying three shillings 
a pound for tobacco, was so small, that the English mer- 
chants declared that there was no- inducement to exchange 
their goods for that commodity. The regulation fixing this 
as the price was revoked, and the English traders permit- 
ted to obtain, for their goods, tobacco at the lowest rates at 
which they could purchase it, in order to ensure some profit 
after the payment of all expenses.* This profit is stated 
to have ranged in 1638 from six to ten pence on each 
pound of that product disposed of at wholesale.^ About 

1 George Hanisoii to his Brother, British State Papers, Colonial, No. 
17, vol. II ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623 y p. 78, Va. State Library. 

2 Instructions to Governor Yeardley,1626, PrffwA State Papers,Colonial; 
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. II, p. 394. In the In- 
structions to Berkeley, 1641, there was the following clause: ^Hhat the 
merchant be not constrained to take tobacco at any price in exchange 
for his wares, but that it be lawful for him to make his own bargain for 
his goods." British State Papers, Colonial; McDonald Papers, vol. I, 
p. 368, Va. State Library. 

* Remonstrance of Planters, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, 
No. 100; Winder Papers^ vol. I, p. 124, Va. State Library. 


the middle of the century, the difference in the price of 
goods in England and Virginia was in the ratio of two to 
three. When Sir Edward Verney decided to send his son 
to the Colony to open a plantation, he wrote for informa- 
tion to an agent in London who enjoyed the fullest oppor- 
tunities of learning the relative values of articles in the 
two countries ; there was nothing, this agent replied, that 
costs twenty shUlings in England which would not, if con- 
veyed to Virginia, bring thirty shillings.^ The margin of 
advance, thirty-three and one third per cent, was not 
extraordinary when it is recalled that out of it the duty 
on English exports as well as the duty on Virginian im- 
ports, if they happened to be liquors, had first to be paid, 
not to mention the heavy charge upon each ton of freight 
in the ocean voyage.* In 1658, a grandson of Sir Richard 
Newport, who had been a resident of Virginia for several 
years, returned to his English home with the report that 
the profits of trade with the planters were so small as to 
be unworthy of consideration.^ At later periods, there 
were times in which the chance of gain fell off to such 
a point that the merchants no longer regarded it as advis- 
able to transport their commodities to the colonial market. 
In 1690, Colonel Fitzhugh complained of the great uncer- 
tainty as to whether vessels from England would in that 
year make their appearance in the waters of the rivers in 
his part of Virginia.* Scarcity of shipping in the James 
was not infrequently a subject of comment with Colonel 

1 Verney Papers, Camden Society Publications ; Neill's Virginia Caro- 
lomm, p. 110. 

2 In 1604, the Act '* forbidding above fifty percent gain in merchandise" 
was repealed. See Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 413. In 1»561, the law 
permitted the settlement of the tax of two shillings per hogshead in goods 
at thirty per cent advance up«:»n first ctvst. See Ibid., vol. II, p. 131. 

■ Boyal Hist. MSS, Cnmmission, Fifth Report, p. 145. 
* Lettet^ of Williani Fitzhugh, Aug. 10, 1690. 


Byrd in his correspondence, the explanation being the 
same in both instances. The margin of gain was very 
high in some years, but on the average perhaps was mod- 
erate only. Colonel Fitzhugh, who was unusually familiar 
with all the conditions affecting it, declared that unless 
the tobacco obtained in exchange for goods had been pur- 
chased at a very low figure, the chief means by which the 
fortunes in that age were accumulated, the profit even in 
favorable years would be quite meagre. A variety of 
points had to be weighed in considering the prospect of 
securing even this degree of profit. These points included 
the length of the stay which the ship containing the cargo 
of merchandise would be compelled to make in Virginia 
before the goods could be sold, this being necessarily a 
source of great expense ; the outlay required to cover the 
charges for storage and dunnage; the commission fees 
to be paid to the factors ; the losses frequently incurred 
by their dishonesty, or, if they were conscientious in their 
dealings, by their negligence and carelessness, whether 
they were natives of Virginia or England ; the uncer- 
tainty in relying upon an agent if he was expected to per- 
form the duties of a shipmaster, since if he gave the greater 
part of his attention to the sale of his cargo, and in pur- 
suit of that purpose absented himself from his ship, his 
crew would be slow in moving the vessel from place to 
place where tobacco was to be secured ; and if, on the 
other hand, he showed indifference in looking for pur- 
chasers, a still greater amount of time would be lost to 
the merchant in whose employment he was engaged.^ 

None of these considerations had application in the cases 

in which the planter shipped his annual crop directly to 

the merchant in England, with instructions to exchange it 

^for certain commodities to be returned to Virginia. There 

1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, April 8, 1687, 

TOL. II, — 7 

388 ECONomo HisrqBY of vntoiNiA 

was probably no one who produced tobacco in very large 
quantities who was not in correspondence with persons en- 
gaged in business residing in London, Bristol,' Plymouth, 
Liverpool, and other English towns on the seaboard or 
river coast. As early as 1628, perhaps in consequence of 
the exactions of the traders in Virginia, some of the colo- 
nists united in exporting their tobacco to the mother coun- 
try, where it was sold for the articles they needeJi.^ This 
course of action was continued by individual planters, 
especially by those who purchased the crops of their 
neighbors in great quantities in hope of securing a wide 
margin of gain; the consignments of such men were 
eagerly sought by the English merchant, as in the bulk 
they were so large as to afford a certain profit. Every 
shipment by the planter in Virginia to his English corre- 
spondent was accompanied by a bill of lading, giving the 
person to whom it was addressed the right to sell the 
products named in it ; the English merchant thus brought 
into relations with the colonist was not only his commis- 
sion merchant in the modem sense of the term, but also his 
general banker, having many hundred pounds sterling on 
deposit to his credit.^ These balances were easily con- 
verted into such goods as the planter thought proper to 
direct to be sent him ; if the cost of the articles speci- 
fied, as a whole, should exceed the amount of money re- 
sulting from the sale of the tobacco, the merchant was 

* Neill's Virginia Carolorum, p. 56. The planters who accompanied 
their crops to England in 1628 in the Temperance may not have in- 
tended to return. 

2 Numerous accounts of Virginian planters with their English mer- 
chants are preserved in the records of the seventeenth csentury. The fol- 
lowing may be given as an example {Records of York County, 1667-16e2» 
p. 413, Va. State Library) : 

"June 29, 1669. Mr. Richaid Jones for 28 hhd. received from WO- 
liam and John and Thomas and Ann ships containing about 10,938 lbs. 
of tobacco: 


instructed to abate the order, or was requested to cover 
the deficiency upon the strength of a promise to make a 
second consignment to him.^ Many disputes arose between 
the planters and their English correspondents as to fair- 
ness of dealing respecting the charges for commission and 
as to the quality of goods returned. The original prices 


To custom on same 10,088 lbs. £46.11.06 

" Excise ** »* " 46. 11. 06 

'* . . . at2^per20* 4.11.09. 

*' CuTiage of 28 hhd. at 8^ per hhd. ... 18. 08 

*• petty charges at 20^ 2. 06. 08 

" Virginia Duty 2* per hhd 2. 16. 00 . 

•* portridge at 4^ per hhd. 9.04 

** Cooperage at 4^ 9. 04 

*' Freight 28 hhd., 7 £ per ton 49. 00. 00 

«' Warehouse room at 2"i» 2. 16. 00 

164. 10. 09 
To W. John Whirken who went oyer in the 

Thomas and Ann Blnj^ 22.11.00 

To ditto on bill of Exchange 4. 00.00 

181. 01. 09 
To goods consigned to W. Richard Jones and 
sent in ye JETonor 21.01.11 

202. 03. 08 

Mt Richard Jones is credited for 28 hhd. received from aboard the 
William and John and the Thomas and Ann q*. neat 10,938 lbs. 

@6<i per pound £273.09.00 ' 

Mt Richard Jones is D^ upon yis yeares Ac- 
count £177.00.00 

£ 96.09.00 
M! Jones is debtor for goods sent in the Honor 

yis yeare £ 21. 01. 00 

Upon a bill 04. 00.00 

£ 25.01.00" 

See, for a still more interesting example, the account preserved in 
Records of York County, vol. 1657-1602, p. 297, Va. State Library. See 
also Ibid,, vol. 1675-1684, p. 442 ; also Records of Elizabeth City County, 
Tol. 1684-1699, p. 395, Va. State Library. 

1 Letters of WUliam PUzhugh, July 11, 1692. 


were also at times causes of much dissatisfactioiL, and 
these grounds for occasional discontent partially explain 
the number of English merchants with whom the Virginian 
dealt when he was in the habit of exporting tobacco to 
England on his own account. The reasons for dissatis- 
faction, however, were not all on the side of the planter ; 
there were cases in which the English trader had occasion 
to regret that he had advanced supplies beyond the value 
of the consignment which he had received. In 1688, a 
petition was brought before the Privy Council, in which 
it was affirmed that Edmund Scarborough was indebted 
to the petitioners to an extent exceeding seven hundred 
pounds sterling, the consideration being large quantities 
of goods shipped from time to time to Scarborough's 
plantation, which still remained unpaid for. This sum 
amounted in our modem currency perhaps to sixteen or 
seventeen thousand dollars.^ 

The articles ordered by the planters of their English 
merchants represented a great variety in kind and quality. 
Striking instances of this fact are scattered throughout 
the letter books of Fitzhugh and Byrd. On one occasion 
Fitzhugh instructs his English merchant to send to him 
five dozen gallon stone jugs;* on another, a new feather- 
bed with curtains and valance, and also an old feather- 
bed, as he had been informed that one which had never 
been used was apt to be full of dust. On stiU another 
occasion he wrote for two quilts, a side-saddle, a large 
silver salt-cellar, a pair of woman's gallooned shoes, a 
table, a case of drawers and a looking-glass, two leather 
carpets, several gallons of oil, and a box of glass with white 
lead and colors.^ Many of the orders given by Fitzhugh 

^ Privy Council to Governor Berkeley, British State Papers, Colonial; 
Sainsbury Abstracts for 166$, p. i:5S, Va. State Library. 

« Letters of William FUzhugh, May 22, 1683. » Ibid,, July 26, 1698. 


elated to clothing. Writing in 1681 to his merchant in 
^ndon, he directed that the balance which remained un- 
Lisposed of after the several commissions he had given had 
teen filled, should be expended in the purchase of linen, 
ncluding the finest hoUand. There should also be one 
)iece of kenting and several pieces of dimity. The selec- 
ion was left to his correspondent.^ In a subsequent 
etter Fitzhugh expresses himself in less general terms, 
n asking to be sent to him, with bills of lading, to be 
lelivered at his landing, a certain quantity of kerseys, cot- 
tons, and coarse canvas, thread and silk, shoes and iron- 
jrare, and also a hundred-weight of Gloucester cheese.' 
Several years afterwards he directed Mr. Sergeant in Lon- 
lon to devote the proceeds of the tobacco which he had 
just shipped to him to the purchase of kerseys, cottons, 
blue linen, a bale of canvas, thirty ells of hoUand sheeting, 
aails, hoes, and axes.® His orders were not forwarded to 
London merchants alone. In 1681, he is found in corre- 
spondence with Stephen Watts of Bristol, who is told to 
return for the tobacco consigned to him two dozen pairs of 
shoes, among other articles,* and similar instructions were 
^ven by him to merchants who resided in other towns in 
England. Fitzhugh, by this course of exchange, obtained 
goods not only for use in his own household, but also for 
sale to his neighbors. 

Colonel William Byrd, whose home was situated on 
James River, which was in more direct communication 
with England than the Potomac and even the Rappa- 
bannock, was equally in the habit of giving to his English 
merchants both large and small commissions, to be filled 
>n receipt of the tobacco and bills of exchange forwarded 
3y him. In 1685, he is found writing for a hat and a pair 

1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, June 7 ,1081. » Ibid,, July 23, 1098. 
* Ibid., June 15, 21, 1092. « Ibid,, March 30, 1081. 


of shoes, and in the same year for a saddle and for letter 
paper. In 1690, he orders to be sent to him half a dozen 
riding neck-cloths and two or three pairs of linen stocks. 
While his house at Westover was in the course of erection 
in 1690, he instructs his Elnglish merchant to ship to him 
in Virginia a bedstead, bed, and curtains, a looking-glass, 
one small and one middling oval table, and a dozen Russian 
leather chairs. From time to time he procures from Eng- 
land through the same agency clothing of every kind and 
a great variety of European wines. ^ 

It was not uncommon for the captain of a vessel on the 
point of transporting the crop of a planter to England, to 
enter into a contract with him, by the terms of which, the \ 
shipmaster was to exchange his cargo in the mother coun- ' 
try for goods specified in the agreement between the two ! 
parties. An instance of this nature is found in the J 
records of Rappiihannock for 1669. Thomas Butler of j 
that county in this year bound himself to deliver to 
George Brown, the captain of the Elizabeth of London, 
three hogsheads of sweet-scented tobacco belonging to the 
choicest portion of his crop. Brown was to carry this 
tobacco to England and there was to dispose of it for 
money sterling. After having laid aside twenty-two 
pounds for his own use, the amount of a claim which he 
held against Butler for goods pre^-iously sold to him, 
B^o^\^l was to employ whatever remained in buying lineu j 
and woollen cloths, shoes, and stockings, to be conveyed to 
Butler in Virginia.^ 

The general course of the English merchant in dealing 
with the planters was to send out a cargo to Virginiai 
there to be placed in the hands of a factor who had re- 

» Letters of William Byrd. June 5, 6, 1685 ; August 8, 1690. This w« 
not the present Westover house. 

* Becord9 qf BappakanHock Countjf, original roL 1608-1672, p. 291. 


ired formal authority to serve as his agent. The char- 
er of this cargo depended in large measure upon the 
cial line of trade which the person who dispatched it 
"sued. Every branch appears to have been represented 
the English merchants who had commercial intercourse 
-h Virgfinia in the seventeenth century; there were 
.ow-chandlers, haberdashers, distillers, stationers, pew- 
ers, fletchers, ironmongers, cordwainers, apothecaries, 
^-makers, merchant tailors, weavers, goldsmiths, coopers, 
tners, and woollen drapers. Only in a few cases did they, 
;he powers of attorney which they gave to their factors in 
Colony, describe themselves as tobacconists.^ The value 
the goods sent by the English traders to the Colony 
3 very great; those included in a single shipment made 
1681 were held at twelve thousand pounds sterling.' 
itances of cargoes appraised at two thousand pounds 
rling were not uncommon, a sum with a purchasing 
ver perhaps equivalent to as much as fifty thousand 
lars at present.^ A fair notion may be obtained of the 
i of many of these cargoes from the warrants issued in 
I time of the Protectorate giving permission to mer- 
mts to transport shoes to Virginia, there being a law 
in prohibiting the exportation of leather without a spe- 
1 license from the Government. In 1653, licenses of 
8 kind were granted to the masters and owners of twelve 

Becords of York County, vol. 1084-1687, p. 171 ; Ibid., vol. 1691- 
1, p. 89, Va. State Library. 

'• Petition of William Fisher et aL, British State Papers, Colonial ; 
nsbury Abstracts for 1681, p. 104, Va. State Library. 
^British StaU Papers, Colonial, vol IX, No. 64. In 1678, James 
ilz imported a cargo of goods valued at £260. Becords of York 
tnty, vol. 1675-1684, p. 390, Va. State Library. A cargo brought into 
tbampton County about the middle of the century by Edward Pres- 
; was appraised at £ 471 18«. 6d See Becords of that county, original 

1664-1655, t p. 43. 


vessels to carry out respectivelj eighteen hundred pains» 
making twenty-one thousand and six hundred pairs in 
all;^ five years later, the masters and owners of ten 
ships were authorized to export to Virginia twenty- 
four thousand pairs.^ During the forty years which 
elapsed between the Restoration and the close of the cen- 
tury, the increase in this one item of imports must have 
been extremely large in consequence of the grrowth in pop- 
ulation.^ The same expansion, it is reasonable to infer, 
extended to the great variety of other goods brought in 
at the same time. 

If the English merchant who had determined to export 
goods to Virginia did not possess a ship in which they 
might be conveyed, he entered into a contract with the 
owner of a vessel for their transfer, the goods themselves, 
however, remaining in charge of the person whom he had 
appointed to accompany them. Sevenil traders who fol- 
lowed different branches of business often united in char- 
tering a ship and employing a single factor to represent 
their several interests in the cargo. In many cases, the 
captain of the vessel acted for the English merchant whose 
property he had taken on board, such an agent receiving 
instructions which were generally placed on record as soon 
as he arrived in the Colony.* The commodities trans- 

1 Salnsbury's Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1574-1660, p. 411. 

2 Inter. Entry Book; vol. 10(J, p. 762. 

• It is not improbable that in the previous cases the word ** Virginii'^ 
was intended to include the English plantations in the West Indies and 
all the English colonies in North America. 

* The agency of the captain was sometimes made conditional, as the 
following from Records of York County, vol. 1671-1694, p. 46, Va. State 
Library, will show : 

" London 4«» Xber 1672. 

Mr. Thomas Warren. — The goods which I have on board y' shipp 
vizt. the 3 chests and 6 bbls. etc., which goc consigned to M^ Samuel 
TrevUlian, be pleased to take into ye charge of it, should please God to 


ported were stored in large cases, chests, trunks, hogs- 
heads, barrels, and casks. At times, a heavy loss resulted 
to the owner not only from rough handling and the casu- 
alties of an ocean passage, but also from embezzlement by 
the seamen and even by the master of the ship.^ If a war 
was in progress, there was always peril of capture by the 
enemy. In 1665, the Dutch, who were then engaged in 
hostilities with the English, destroyed a fleet of merchant- 
men in the mouth of the James. From the earliest period, 
the vessels employed in the Virginian trade were under the 
necessity of carrying guns. In 1633, the number in single 
instances ranged from twenty to twenty-four.^ A pro- 
take away the said Samuel Trevillian, and dispose thereof to my best 
advantage, remitting the proceeds thereof home in the best sweete scented 
tobacco in your owne and M^ Fassett^s shipp, and wherein I have taken 
30 hhd. certaine and five uncertaine if notice tliereof be given in 10 daies, 
and it should have occasion to make use of any factor or merchant 
therein, the disposall of any conceme shall decide you therein if it may 
be convenient for you to make use of my friend and kinsman, M^ John 
Mohun, leaving what cannot sell on his hands. M^ Trevillian hath 
invoice hereof, which in case of his own mortality he hath promised shall 

be delivered to you. 

Your friend, 

Bernard Mitchell." 

1 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 64. Tlie following is 
from the Records of General Court, p. 140: ** Judgment is granted Col. 
Daniel Parke Esq. against M^ Thomas Warren, commander of the ship 
Daniel in Virginia for payment of £29, IS"**, 2<*, being for money due 
for goods of the said Parke damnified in the said ship in her late voyage 
from London, the money to be paid within 40 days upon her next arrival 
in England.'' Five other persons also suffered losses in the same voy- 
age. See reference to the robbery of a sloop which had been sent in to 
a river landing with a cargo of goods taken from a vessel lying in the 
main stream. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1080-1080, 
orders July 13, 1081. 

* Devries* Voyages from Holland to America, p. 112. In time of war 
the masters of ships were directed by law to seek certain places as safe 
harbors. A proclamation of Nicholson in 1001 named the following: 
*' Upper James, Sandy Point; Lower James, Elizabeth Kiver; Nansemund, 


vision was expressly adopted that each ship plying I 
tween the mother country and the Colony should not oa 
be furnished ¥rith mounted cannons, but should also ke 
on board men who had been trained in their use. At t 
time of the passage of this law, there was danger 
pirates making an attack upon the vessels entering 
leaving the mouth of the Chesapeake.^ In 1684, a ket 
was furnished by the English Grovemment for the proU 
tion of the Virginian coast as well as for the arrest 
illegal traders. Occasions arose when its assistance nv 
very much needed; thus in 1699, the Mar if land Merchm 
while lying in the waters of Virginia, was seized ai 
plundered by an unknown ship carrying thirty guns ai 
manned by a large crew. The Governor took immedia 
steps to warn the people of Elizabeth City, Norfolk, Pri. 
cess Anne, Accomae, and Northampton Counties of tJ 
presence of these dangerous outlaws. The commander 
the militia in each of the counties named was instnicU 
to appoint persons to keep watch along the shore, ea( 
one having a certain distance to patrol. As soon as the: 
was reason to suspect the presence of pirates, informatic 
was to be given to the nearest commissioned officer, who i 
turn was at once to communicate with the commander ( 
his district.^ As late as 1692, Fitzhugh, considering tl 

adM>Te fort oq Vh^^^d. Cr«ek : Wuvick RiTcr, mbore Sandr Point ; Tor 
atf m^ as Coitoc«l B;ikX>a'$ : in KAppoiukno'X'k. aKyre fen in Comtoou 
Kiv^^r : in I\^oaLk.\ in WkxKv>iiuci.\ and Mafich^iAX, as hi^ as th«y cai 
Easceni i>biOfv« at Appomastox : iiTt»rs of llobjack as htsfa as the shi] 
can !?ix** Rito}t*is ../ Jift.ifiewjr 0.>f arj, oricinal ▼■•'•I 1<S7«^1^»4. p. 47 
^ l*aluuhfr** i:mi<tmi(Xr m/ l'e>»/««iri $t*xt€ P^tp^fn^ t>x. L p. 23, note, 
< K^cvnU v»/ tifuntr S'^rffik O^^ruy^ oiiain^ toL 1^3^3-lTOow f. p. 16 
lu £av/^ ^z' ytiniiUrfsex CQMitty. orujaii t^-'L i'Ss.H-lTvsi* p. 306, will 
fvHXXut A pcvvlaniiicKHi of Goivnior Amirv^ rnscnccis^ the naval office 
i'tf Vir^Uiiai "^Ct^ ^ak«f all pi-v^K^ car« ;o appr;h.<?c<d Ca{A, Ridd, wbo b 
iwvatiY »uvd a s2up in tiiMf W«i$c (odiietk^' li I^Siow Jc^ Sherry of To 
w«» anvMKil aad hcvnt^Q hief ocv cvort as havizi^ pVBt comfort to {Hrit 


perils to which a merchantman was exposed both on the 
inward and outward voyage, declared that a person en- 
gaged in the Virginian trade might be worth one thousand 
pounds sterling to-day and to-morrow lose the last groat. ^ 
The policies ordinarily secured upon a cargo by its owner 
did not extend to the acts of public enemies. The insur- 
ance was five guineas upon every one hundred guineas' 
worth of goods.^ 

In the instances in which the English merchant owned 
the ship transporting his commodities to the Colony, the 
most serious charge which he had to meet was the wages 
of his captain and seamen, an item of importance on 
account of the length of the voyage, since the vessel not 
infrequently took a circuitous route, touching first at the 
Canaries, then at Barbadoes, and finally reaching an an- 
chorage in the waters of one of the Virginian rivers.* 
The remuneration of the shipmaster was probably about 
nine pounds stealing a month ; * that of a sailor in 1668 
was thirty shillings for the same length of timc.^ There 
is an instance recorded in Lower Norfolk in 1680 in which 
a common mariner was paid only eight shillings. Fifteen 
years later, there was a second instance in the same county, 

See Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 51, Va. State Library. In 
1688, Edward Davis, Lionel Delawater, and John Ilinson were seized at 
the mouth of the James, having a considerable amount of plate in their pos- 
session. They were arrested as pirates. Randolph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 442. 

1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, July 21, 1602. In 1665, five hundred 
and eighty hogsheads of tobacco belonging to Thomas Sands were cap- 
tured by the Dutch. See Colonial Entry Book, No. 83, pp. 115-117 ; 
Sainshury Abstracts for 1686, p. 10, Va. State Library. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1690-1604, p. 360, Va. State Library. 

» Sainsbury's Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, vol. 1574-1660, p. 409. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694, orders Jan. 2, 

• Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1680, orders July 8, 



in which a seaman received by the month two pounds and 
four shillings ; a chief mate, four pounds ; a ship physician 
and carpenter, three pounds and ten shillings respectively. 
In 1695, a suit was brought in Lower Norfolk for work 
performed on the vessel of Captain Phillips during the 
course of twenty-five days. and twenty-four nights, at the 
rate of eighteen pence for each twelve hours. ^ 

If the merchant was not the owner of a vessel, his 
principal expense in transporting his goods to the Colony 
was the charge for freight. The rates did not vary 
materially in any part of the seventeenth century. Dur- 
ing the administration of the Company, the cost was three 
pounds sterling a ton;^ in one case recorded, of that 
period, a rate of two pounds sterling was offered and 
accepted. 3 In 1649, the freight charge upon each ton 
was three pounds, and at this figure it remained.* 

The seamen were far from being a class of men on 
whom reliance could be placed. As soon as Virginia 
acquired a very considerable population, there was a strong 
disposition on the part of many of the persons thus em- 
ployed to desert their vessels upon their arrival in the 
Colony, and by 1690, the evil had grown to such propor- 
tions that a special proclamation was issued by Governor 
Nicholson with a view to suppressing it. In order to 
increase the vigilance of shipmasters, a bond with a pen- 
alty of one thousand pounds sterling was required of them 
that they would return all the sailors to England whom 
they had brought into Virginia. They were commanded 
to act with the utmost fairness to their seamen, who, in 

1 Records of Lower Norfolk County, orip:inal vol. 1675-1086, f. p. 104; 
original vol. 1695-1703, orders Jan. 16, 1695. ' 

"^ Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, voL I, 
p. 172. 

8 Ibid., p. 28. 

* Bullock's Virginia^ p. 60. 


case the contracts with them as to food and other neces- 
saries were not faithfully performed, had the right to 
enter complaint with the nearest justice of the peace. 
Particular orders were published that no one should 
entertain a fugitive mariner, and that all ferrymen should 
refuse to set him over their ferries unless he could present 
a note from his captain showing that he had received per- 
mission to leave his ship. Any person could arrest him 
without warrant.^ 

Every vessel arriving in the Colony was compelled to 
show a cocquet upon pain of confiscation. It had also to 
pay certain duties imposed by law. What was known as 
the castle duty was established in February, 1631-32, at 
which time a fort at Point Comfort was in the course of 
erection.^ This tax consisted of one barrel of powder and 
ten iron shot.^ The fort was completed in the autumn of 
1632, and the provision as to the amount of powder and 
shot to be delivered by every ship on its arrival was ex- 
pressly renewed. In 1632, each vessel was made subject 
to the payment of one-quarter of a pound of powder and 
a proportionate quantity of shot for every ton represented 
in its bulk.* Three years after this enactment, the num- 
ber of forts in Virginia had increased to five. The duty 
was now placed at fifty pounds of j^owder for every vessel 

1 British State Papers^ Colonial; McDonald Papers^ vol. VII, pp. 261, 
262, Va. State Library. 

* In addition to the castle duty, even the ships belonging to Virginians 
had to pay 2«. 6(f. for entry, 28. (Sd. for license to trades, and 2s. Od. for 
clearing. Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 387. The cocquet rates were a 
halfpenny per hhd. for all bills of lading not containing above 20 hhd. ; 
twelve i>ence for every cocquet if exceeding that number. Ibid., p. 387. 

* Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 170 ; l^etter of Governor Harris to 
Dorchester, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. X, No. 5 : McDonald 
I^apers, vol. II, p. 40, Va. State Library. 

* Hening*8 Statutes, vol. I, p. 218 ; British State Papers, Colonial, 
YoL X, No. 5 ; Sainshury Abstracts for 1638, p. 60, Va. State Library. 

350 ECONOAac history op viroikia 

of two hundred tons and an amount in proportion for 
every ship of greater or smaller burden; a proportionate 
quantity of shot, match, and other material used in defence 
was also to be delivered.^ The merchants of all clasaes 
complained of these charges as well hs of the tax imposed 
for administering the oath of allegiance to each passenger 
who arrived in the Colony and for registering each hogs- 
head sent out.^ In 1643, the law of 1633 was reenacted.^ 
The quantity of powder to be paid in settlement of the 
castle duty was in 1645 increased from one-quarter of e 
pound to one-half for every ton in the burden of the ship, 
the quantity of shot or lead being fixed at three pounds. As 
a means of ensuring a full collection of these articles, officers 
were appointed upon every river of importance in the inhab- 
ited parts of Virginia, who were to receive the duties in 
kind or in valuable commodities, and in case of collusion 
between the master of a vessel and the person in charge of 
a port, the recognizance of the latter was to be forfeited.* 
The change in the material in which the castle duties 
were to be paid, tobacco or whatever product formed the 
freight of the ship being substituted for powder and shot, 
and delivered not when the vessel arrived but when she 
departed, is to be ascribed to the fact that a few years 
before, these duties had, under an Act of the General 
Assembly, been appropriated to the Governor instead of 
going as before to the captains of the forts.*^ This 
change did not continue for many years. In the session 

1 Governor and Council of Virginia to Privy Council, British Stoif 
Papers, Colonial, vol. X, No. 6 ; McDonald Papers, vol. II, p. 233, Va. 
State Library. 

2 Report of Sub-Committee for Foreign Plantations, British Suit 
Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 122 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1638, p. ^t 
Va. State Library. 

» Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 247. 

* Ibid,, pp. 301, 534. & Ibid., p. 423. 


of 1661-62, the castle duties were again made payable in 
powder and shot at the rate of half a pound of powder ' 
and three pounds of leaden shot for every ton represented 
in the burden of each ship arriving. It was permitted, 
however, to a master of a vessel to settle these duties in, 
money sterling or in bills of exchange.^ Many owners of 
ships engaged in the trade with Virginia complained in 
the following year that it was a great hardship to require 
them to pay twelve pence as a castle duty upon every ton 
of merchandise they imported, and they petitioned that 
instead they should be allowed to deliver half a pound of 
powder and three pounds of lead towards the defence of 
the plantations.^ This request apparently failed to re- 
ceive a favorable response. In 1680, the amount which 
it was optional for the shipowners to substitute for pow- 
der and shot was fixed at one shilling and three pence a 
ton.^ A tonnage tax of fifteen pence was imposed upon 
every vessel arriving in the Colony towards the end of 
the century.* A present of liquor or provisions to the 
Governor by the shipmaster on anchoring, which in the 
beginning was a mere act of courtesy,^ came in time to 
be a recognized charge, amounting to twenty shillings on 
each vessel above one hundred tons and thirty shillings 
if under. Culpeper remitted the gift in consideration of 
the payment of its value in tobacco or coin.^ 

1 Hening^s Statutes, vol. II, pp. 177, 178. 

* British State Papers, Colonial Papers, August, 1062 ; Sainsbury 
Abstracts for 1662, p. 20, Va. State Library. 

* llening*8 Statutes, vol. II, p. 400. 

* Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 68. See 
Ilening's Statutes, vol. Ill, p. 345. 

* In 1067, Berkeley called the attention of Colonel Scarborough to the 
fact that the ships arriving on the Eastern Shore had not paid ^Uheir 
yearly presentation of wine," pretending that they had none. Becords of 
Accomac County, original vol. 1004-1070, p. 03. Colonel Scarborough was 
the collector for the district. c Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 73. 


A complaint was nised in 1660 by the masten of ma- 
cbantmeo. that on arriring at the month trf the Jame^ 
tber foand no one to steer their tcsb^ np that atream, 
and no beacons to mark the sites of shoals in its vaten. 
With a rievr to removing the ground of this complaint, 
Captain William Oewin was appointed the chief pilot in 
James River, and to eacooiage him in the performance of 
the daiT thns imposed on him. he was allowed the privi- 
lege of demanding five pounds sterling from the master of 
every vessel above eighty tons who engaged his service^ 
and forty shillings from the captains who declined the offer. 
Every ship dropping anchor in the Roads was required 
pay Captain Oewin a fee of thirty shillings. This was not 
so much of a gratuity as it appeared, since he was expected 
to maintain beacons at ever^' point between Willi^ughbj 
Shoals and Jamestown where navigation was dangeroiu. 
If these beacons were removed or destroyed, it was hii 
duty to replace them before the expiration of fifteen 
days.i The successor of Captain Oewin was Captain 
Chichester, who was followed by his son. The position 
was filled by the latter during the time of the second 
administmtion of Sir William Berkeley, and during the 
whole of the official terms of Culpeper and Howard, in 
a petition presented to Governor Nicholson in 
referrevl to him:<elf as for a period of many years the onlj" 
pilot in James River who was serving under commission 
from the colonial authorities. The duties of his oBst 
occupied his whole time and was his only means of iiveli- 
lufxl. In onler that there might be competent men ai 
hand to lake his place when he died or became disalileJ 
by accident or old age. he declared himself ready to in- 
struct npjiretuices in the art of his calling and to inform 

> Ibninc'^ fi-uurtt, toL D, p. 33l Tlw speUing of the name U f^ 
ti>wn) M £iTen in ili^niog. 


hem as to all dangerous points in the waters in which he 
erved as pilot. ^ 

At an early period in the history of the Colony, strict 
iws were passed prohibiting the master or owner of a 
hip from breaking bulk before his vessel came to anchor 
ff Jamestown Island. The object of these laws in the 
eginning was to put a stop to forestalling and engross- 
ig' commodities, as an evil especially injurious to Vir- 
inia because its population was so far removed from the 
otirce of manufactured supplies. In later times, the 
esire to promote the growth of Jamestown by making 
t^ the only port of entry was an important motive in the 
lassage of the same class of Acts ; and after the imposi- 
ion of a duty on all liquors brought into the Colony, 
he determination to secure the full amount of the public / 
tmds arising from this tax, which could be done only by 
•eqiiiring all vessels arriving to hold their cargoes un- 
>roken until the port of entry had been reached, was an 
idditional reason for these enactments. As early as 1617, 
3ovemor Argoll instructed the masters of all ships drop- 
E>ing anchor at Kecoughtan to refuse permission to their 
lailors to go on land or to the colonists to come on board, 
18 the mariners, when allowed to have personal inter- 
course with the people, obtained an opportunity of dis- 
posing of the goods consigned to persons in Virginia who 
happened to have died before the arrival of the ship.^ It 
«ras provided in 1623, by an Act of Assembly, that as soon 
is a vessel reached anchorage at Point Comfort, an officer 
should go on board and read a proclamation directing 
fckat without the express permission of the Governor and 

1 Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 32. There 
^re in 1702 a number of authorized pilots in the Colony. See List of 
hiblic OflBcers for that year, Virginia Magazine of History and Biogra- 
%, vol. I, p. 363. 

* Randolph M88., vol. Ill, pp. 140, 144. 

VOL. n. — 2 A 



Council, no part of the cargo was to be sold previous to 
the arrival of the ship at Jamestown, and this proclama- 
tion was ordered to be nailed to the mast as a means of 
giving it the fullest publicity.^ The General Court, in 
1626, adopted the rule that no one among the colonists 
should be allowed to enter a vessel on its way to that 
place without special license from the authorities. This 
was in strict conformity with the instructions received by 
Yeardley in the course of this year on his appointment to 
office.^ That the provision was enforced is shown by the 
fact that in 1627, Michael Wilcox, a planter, was fined 
because he had gone on board of the Charlie while it was 
lying at anchor in James River and purchased twelve 
pounds of sugar. ^ So firmly resolved was the local gov- 
ernment that no permission should be granted to ship- 
masters and owners to break the bulk of their cargoes, 
whether to sell in large quantities to a forestaller who 
might propose to take advantage of the necessities of the 
people, or to a person like Wilcox, who was only seeking 
to supply his private wants, that when the Marmaduke in 
1626 ran aground below Mulberry Island, orders were 
given that no goods should be removed from her with a 
view to lightening the vessel for the purpose of floating 
her, unless the owners of these goods gave assurance that 
the merchandise, when removed, should be brought to 
Jamestown, without any effort being made in the interval 
to dispose of it by secret bargains and indirect sales.* 
In 1632, the Act requiring that a proclamation should 

1 Lawes and Orders, Feb. 16, 1623, British State Papers, Coloniah 
vol. Ill, No. 9 ; McDonald Papers^ vol. I, p. 08, Va. State Library. 

^ BandoJph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 199; Britisfi State Papers, Colonial 
Entry Book, vol. LXXIX, p. 267 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1626, p. 137, 
Va. State Library. 

8 General Court Orders, April 3, 1627, Bobinson Transcripts, p. 63. 

* Ibid.j Dec. 18, 1626, p. 67. 


be nailed to the mast of every ship arriving at Point 
Comfort in prohibition of. all breaking of bulk before 
Jamestown was reached, was passed a second time, the 
penalty imposed for its violation being the forfeiture of 
the goods and the imprisonment of the captain for a 
period of four weeks. ^ This severity appears to have 
had no deterring effect upon the shipmasters and owners; 
they continued to make sales and contracts for the future 
disposition of merchandise, as their vessels pursued their 
way up the river. So notorious did this custom become 
that it was found necessary to assign an officer of the law 
to each ship arriving at the Point, whose duty it was to 
accompany the vessel placed under his supervision to 
Jamestown.^ The instructions of Wyatt, when he was 
appointed to the governorship in 1638-39, and of Berkeley 
in 1641, when he was named for the same office, expressly 
directed them to prohibit the breaking of bulk before an- 
chor was cast at that port. Berkeley was commanded to 
see that warehouses >vere erected there for the reception 
of goods upon their removal from the ships.^ 

In spite of these repeated provisions, there is reason to 
think that planters found their way on board of vessels in 
the river, for the purpose of making purchases, without 
any serious obstructions. In the fight which took place 
near Blunt Point between a Bristol frigate and two ships 
from London, the one being in sympathy with the cause 
of the King, the others with that of Parliament, the only 
person killed was a citizen of the Colony who had gone 
on board to buy merchandise.* It was impossible to 
enforce a law which produced such serious inconvenience. 

1 Hening'8 Statutes, vol. I, p. 191. « Ibid., p. 216. 

» Instractions to Berkeley, 1641, British State Papers, Colonial Pa- 
pers; McDonald Papers, vol. I, p. 384, Va. State Library. 
* Devries^ Voyages from Holland to America, p. 186. 


Wishing to conform to the instmctions from EIngLiiid, 
and at the same time recognizing their impracticahilitj, 
the Assembly in 1661 passed an Act compellini? all ves- 
sels after reaching Virginia to make entry at JamestowDf 
but granting their masters and owners the right to obtain 
a license to engage in trade in any part of the Colony.^ 

Previous to the appointment of collectors, the mastcf 
of a ship which had just dropped anchor at Jamestown 
was expected to deliver to the authorities an invoice of 
the goods in his vessel when he reached Point Comfort^ 
At one time he was required to certify his arrival to the 
Governor.* When the rule compelling every ship dis- 
charging its cargo in Virginia to make entry at James- 
town fell into abeyance* it became the duty of the master 
to report his arrival to the officer in the waters of whose 
jurisdiction his vessel happened to stop« and his failure to 
do so exposed him to its seizure.* Much complaint arose 
at one time that the captains who were under the necessity 
of going to the home of this officer in order to make a 
legal entry, after incurring g^at inconvenience and seri- 
ous exj^ense in the journey, very frequently failed to fiiid 
him.^ This evil does not appear to have been corrected 
as late as 16S0, the performance of the duties of the col- 
lectors being left to deputies.* In the session of 1692-93, 
it was pnn'ided by an Act of Assembly, that the officers 
who were emjx^wereil to enter all ships arriving in the 
C\>lony should either themselves or in the persons of their 
sul^stitutes, reside in the places which had been named as 

» Honiiu:'* S(*UnUs. vol. IT. p. 13S. 
« Ibid., vol, 1, pp. irA 151. « IhitL, p. 392. 

« /?,ronfc of Klizof^tk dtp Cou!U9, vol. 1684-1699, p. 67, Va. SUtt 
Libra rv. 

* Roply \-\i Rurci>ss<« to Xlowaid, Oct, 9, 1685, British Siate Papen, 
Ci^onial: .VrA'Hii/J Stuu r.rprrs, vid. Vll, p. 394, Va. State Library. 

* lUrtxi-olU ChilUMft, and HUir*s Prtsemt Sate of Virginia^ 1697, p. 69. 


legal ports.^ The fee for entering a vessel in one of these ^ 
ports was the same as that for clearing, namely, fifteen 
shillings, if the vessel was twenty tons or less in burden, 
EWid thirty if it exceeded that number ; this fee included 
the charge not only for making entry, but also for issuing 
a license to trade, and for taking the bonds required of all 
the shipmasters at this time.^ 

In 1671, Sir William Berkeley affirmed, in response to 
an inquiry made by the Commissioners for Foreign Plan- 
tations, that at this time no duty was imposed upon any 
article imported into the Colony.^ This had not always 
been the case. Ten years previously, in consequence of 
the numerous diseases which, it was supposed, were pro- 
duced by the free use of liquors among the planters, a 
tax of six pence had been laid upon every gallon of rum . 
brought into Virginia by a vessel not owned entirely by 
its citizens, and the same provision was adopted with 
reference to pavele sugar.* This duty was not to become 
operative until 1663, and in the following year it was 
abolished on the ground that it raised a serious obstruc- 
tion in the way of the prosperity of the general trade of 
the Colony.* It was, however, at a later date reimposed 
on rum, and was subsequently extended to wine, brandy, 
and other spirits. At first the amount was three pence a 
gallon, but this was increased in 1691 by a penny in the 
case of all liquors imported unless they came directly from 
England. No spirits were to be transferred from the ship / 
to the shore until the duty had been paid, generally in the 
form of either money sterling or bills of exchange, to the 
officers appointed to receive it.* 

1 Hening'8 StatuUs, vol. Ill, p. 111. « Jhid., vol. II, p. 443, 444. 

« Ibid., p. 516. * Ibid., p. 128. * Ibid., p. 212. 

• Ibid., vol. Ill, p. 88 ; Hartwell, Chilton, and Blair's Present State 
Of Virginia, 1697, p. 50. Sp( cial exemptions were allowed to Virginian 
Unporters who owned their ships. 


After the revocation of the charter, the master or fac- 
tor in charge of a cargo, on reaching Jamestown, was 
required to wait until ten days had passed before he 
should attempt to dispose of the goods in his care, the 
object of this provision being that the colonists should 
have full opportunity to learn of the arrival of the vessel 
and time to make a journey to Jamestown to pnrcliase 
such parts of its contents as they wanted.^ By the Act 
of 1633, all the commodities landed at that place to be 
bartered for tobacco had to pass through the hands of the 
storekeeper who had charge of the general warehouse at 
that point.» a certain percentage being granted him in the 

The most careful regulations were adopted to prevent 
the forestallment and engrossment of merchandise after 
it had been landed and offered for sale. This was one 
reason, as has been shown, for the passage of the series 
of Acts requiring all 8hij>s that arrived in the Colonr 
to keep their cargoes intact until Jamestown had been 
reached. One of the first measures of the Company after 
the election of Southampton to the treasurership was to 
instruct the autliorities in Virginia to exercise unceasing 
vigilance in suppressing every attempt to buy up the 
great bulk of comnuxUties with a view to raising prices 
to an exorbitant extent by antici[xiting the market.' In 
a dispitch to the Governor and Council* forwardeil in the 
Warieick in 1^)21* the effort to monopolize the prinei[»al 
articles imported durinsf the previous year, as a part of 
the supplies of the Mairazine, was condemned with i^reat 
severitv on the i^rouiul tluit it n«:»t onlv restriited the 
protits of the joint stock by means of wliioh these supplies 

1 Gfutnil Court <>niers, *Vt. i:^ lr>tit>, R'^binsoti Tr'UkJfcjifl^, p. ^ 
- Henin^'s StatuteSy vol. 1. p. ;**il. 
* W'oDts v/ Cijpt. Jvhn SikCu, p. 001. 


had been purchased, but also compelled the people to pay 
at high rates for goods which could have been bought at 
low rates if obtained directly from the Magazine itself.^ 
Replying to these communications, the Governor and 
Council after reprobating the engrossing and forestalling 
of merchandise as wrong in themselves, firmly denied that 
they had been practised in Virginia.^ Wlien Wyatt was 
appointed to administer the affairs of the Colony, he came 
over with special instructions to put a summary stop to these 
forms of extortion, if they should be found. to exist, and if 
not, to adopt measures which would prevent their arising. 
The General Court passed an order in 1626, forbidding 
any person who had purchased goods in Virginia to dispose 
of them at prices higher than he had paid for them, under 
a penalty of five hundred pounds of tobacco ; and in 1629, 
a second order of the same court fixed the penalty at an 
amount of that commodity representing three times the 
value of the articles sold.^ In 1630, it was enacted that 
no one should be allowed to buy imported merchandise, 
whether on board ship or ashore, unless he intended to 
apply it to his own use, and if he found that he had pur- 
chased a greater quantity than he really needed, he should 
have the right to dispose of his surplus only at the rates 
at which he had acquired it. Goods were to be exchanged 
only on the basis of six pence for every pound of tobacco.* 
In 1622, a forestaller was legally defined as a man who had 
obtained, under the terms of a contract, actual possession 
of merchandise or right to its possession before it reached 

1 Company's Letter, dated September, 1621, Neill's Virginia Company 
of London^ p. 246. 

2 Ibid., p. 369. They reprobated ** ingrossing as horrible Treasone 
against God himselfc.^' 

« General Court Orders, Oct. 13, 1626 ; General Assembly, Oct. 16, 
1029, Robinson Transcripts, pp. 91, 06. 
* Hening's Statutes, vol. I, pp. 150, 162. 


Jamestown, whether introduced by land or by vrater. 
There were also included in the same category, all who 
used any subterfuge whatever for the purpose of enhan^ 
ing the price of goods when offered for sale in the market 
or who prevented their transportation to market at alL' 
In 1633, the special articles in which it was thought advis- 
able that there should be no f orestallment by purchase from 
the importing merchant, were shoes, Irish stockings, and 
coarse woollen and coarse linen stuff designed to be con- 
verted into shirts and sheets for the use of servants.' The 
regulation prohibiting the acquisition of these articles for 
the purpose of reselling them, was held not to apply to 
persons who bought for the benefit of planters who re- 
sided in remote places ; to such persons was granted the 
right to increase the amount of the purchase money by 
a margin of gain that would be sufficient to compensate 
for the risk and inconvenience attending the transporta- 
tion of the goods ; but they were to secure no merchandise 
except what had been specifically ordered by the planter.* 
In the course of the same year, it was provided by lav 
that in buying such merchanilise, tobacco should be rated 
at nine i)ence a pouiuU an advance of three pence over 
the price laid down three years previously.* In 1644, all 
the Acts for the suppression of engrossing were expressly 
re|K^aleil and the privileges of an absolute free trade in 
their business dealiuirs with each other were allowed to 
all the |HH>ple of the CiJony.* 

hi the ses^on of 16c>4— xk an Act was passed which 
establisiied markets at certain points in Virginia;* every 
sliipmaster was requir^l to transport his cargo to s^»iaf 
one of these markets under the penalty of being consiJ- 

< r-i'f... V- ii:. » iht\L^ PL 2«5. 

» litid. * Ibid,, jv. 4ia 



ered a forestaller according to the provisions of the laws 
of England. A few years later, the statute granting free 
trade to the colonists among themselves was reenacted, 
apparently indicating that the regulations for the suppres- 
sion of engrossing and forestalling had again come into 
operation although at one time repealed.^ In the instruc- 
tions for the guidance of Culpeper when he became Gov- 
ernor, he was ordered to put an end to every form of these 
evils practised in Virginia, but he denied very emphatically 
that they had any existence in his jurisdiction; ^ notwith- 
standing this, the same command was repeated in the 
instructions given a few years later to Howard on his 
assuming the reins of administration. In the statement 
of grievances presented by the authorities of Northampton 
to the three commissioners from England who arrived 
after the collapse of the insurrection of 1676, it was 
declared that in this county, the engrossing of merchan- 
dise was carried on to such an extent as to prejudice the 
welfare of the community at large ; an earnest petition 
was in consequence entered that no person should be 
suffered to purchase after the arrival of a ship a larger 
quantity of goods than he could pay for out of the pro- 
ceeds of his annual crop.^ 

The importance in public estimation of the regulations 
as to forestalling, which involved engrossing, was shown 
as long as these regulations remained in the statute book 
by the penalties prescribed for their violation. For the 
first offence, the punishment was imprisonment during 
two months without bail; for the second offence, six 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 124. The reen«actment of the repeal 
may have been simply a means of making still more public the abolition 
of all restrictions upon internal trade. 

« Instructions to Culpeper, 1681-1682. Reply to § 66, Britisfi State 
Papers, Colonial; McDonald Papers, vol. VI, p. 163, Va. State Library. 

* Winder Papers, vol. II, p. 173, Va. State Library. 


months; for the third offence, exposure in the pillorj 
forfeiture of goods and imprisonment for such a length o 
time as the Governor should decide to be proper.^ Th 
laws against forestalling between 1630 and 1640 were bn 
a reflection of the same class of enactments in openiti<x 
in England. As early as the session of 1631— 32« the Hoas 
of Burgesj$es onlered that the English statutes bearing oi 
this j>oint should be proclaimed and executed in Virginia 
There was, however, far greater need of such laws ther 
than in the mother countrv. the verv fountain of tb 
manufactured supplies which were so essential to tb 
welfare of the population of the Colony. The volume o 
goods imported by the English merchants could rarelj 
in any one year have been much in excess of the require 
ments of the planters. A successful attempt to advance 
the rates of these gooils by obtaining a partial monopol} 
in thcnu w;is an injury to the general community even in 
the vears in which tobacco commanded the most remmier 


anvo prict^ Whenever the crop was cut short, or the 
raios at which the planter? were compelleil to sell were 
t*H^ K^w to ensure a prx^nt, the hanlshij^s resulting from 
eusjrvxssini: and foresuvllini: under the most favorable cir- 
cuuisianv-x^s wer\? i::Tvat!v inorea>e\L 

h was not, however, to the inienest of the merchant 
thai the laws against enirrv.>s>i::c and forestalling shouU 
Iv s:riotIy entojvt\L His oti;oc: was to sell the goods 
wjii^Ji he had on Ivvirvl of his ship or which he had trans- 
icrrwJ to l.ind under care of ?.:iii5^1: or factor, to the first 
jv^^'U \\hx» offerwi :v>i\i^w if r.x:e quality for them, and 
K» Irni ii was a :r.A::er v^f iv.difiVrtr.vv at what prices the 
i>u\or s':>lvi^\juon;-y disvvxsevi v^f :l;t:n among the inliabi- 
ta>,*.:s i>! th.e l'o;v^:i\. rV.r i:«v. .-: t:ie j^enj-le for merchan- 
d:st* m:;:h: hiVi' Kvr. c^^^t v::v^*.:cii ^o ouustmin theiu to 


pass a law prohibiting the exportation from Virginia of 
articles once imported, in case the exporter and importer 
were different persons, — such a law was actually passed,^ 
— and yet it would have been still to the advantage of 
the trader bringing in a cargo of commodities to sell them 
to the first person who was speculating upon the wants 
of the community. To be required to discriminate as to 
the individual purchaser was to impose upon the newly 
arrived merchant a burden of trouble and annoyance 
which was certain to render the law unpopular with him- 
self and all the members of the class to which he belonged. 
What he desired was a free market, and the right to break 
the bulk of his cargo whenever a buyer appeared. All 
the restrictions upon the market and the buyer alike were 
finally abolished, not only because the quantity of goods 
imported increased enormously with the progress of the 
century, but also in consequence of tlie powerful influence 
exercised by the English merchants at home. Such an 
influence these men never failed to bring to bear wlien 
it was the question of removing some obstacle that dimin- 
ished their profits by increasing their expenses, or which 
exposed tliem, in exchanging their commodities for tobacco, 
to grave inconvenience. When it was sought to establish 
a number of ports in Virginia by compelling traders to 
adopt certain places as their exclusive markets in the 
Colony, upon the penalty of punisliment as forestallers 
if they disregarded the law to that effect, the undertaking 
resulted in failure, because it was opposed to tlie interests 
of this class. In claiming the right to land their cargoes 
at any point where purchasers offered, its members were 
simply adapting themselves to local conditions not to be 
disregarded without serious damage to all. The gain 
derived from a venture was moderate, even when they 

1 Ilening's Statutes^ vol. I, p. 510. 


were at liberty to follow the course that was suggested 
by the topography of the country and the system of plan- 
tations. Restrictive laws merely added to the drawbacks 
inherent in the physical character of Virginia. Owing to 
tlie dispersion of tlie plantations along the rivers, mer- 
chants were already forced to seek their markets at private 
landings, often several hundred miles apart, by the water 

, The person in Virginia to whom goods from England 
were consigned was not infrequently a merchant who 
owned a share in them, and who, therefore, in selling, 
acted rather as a partner than as a factor; the profits 
of a venture were often for this reason divided among 
several traders, only one of whom had either visited or 
resided in the Colony. As a rule, however, the factor, 
who, by the terms of the Navigation Act, must be a native 
or a naturalized subject of England, had no pecuniary 
interest in the cargo received by him beyond the com- 
mission on the sales. As early as 1G39, this commission 
amounted to ten pounds of tobacco in the hundred.^ 
In the latter part of the seventeenth century, the agent 
was entitled to ten per cent of that commodity passing 
through his hands, and five per cent of the goods. He 
was sometimes paid an annual salary .^ Whether a native 
of Virginia or England, he derived his authority to act 
from a power of attorney drawn by the English mer- 
cliaut, acknowledged before an English notary and then 
forwarded to the Colony to be recorded in the county 
in which the factor was instructed to transact business. 

1 Report of Commissioners, British State Papers^ Colonial vol. X, 
No. 15, 1, II, III ; Sainsburif Abstracts for 1639, p. 71, Va. State Librax7. 

2 Petition of John Jefferies and Thomas Colclough, British State Pa- 
pers, Colonial Papers, August, 1069; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1669^ 
p. 145, Va. State Library. 


In order to avoid the complications certain to arise in 
case the latter died without any one having the legal 
right to represent the interests of his principal, a second 
person was authorized on the same occasion to take the 
place of the original agent in this emergency.^ A failure 
to provide against such a contingency was frequently 
the cause of serious loss. In 1638, John Woodcock, an 
English merchant who traded with the planters, was 
compelled by the death of his factor in Virginia and 
his consequent inability to collect debts from the per- 
sons into whose hands his goods had been dispersed, to 
make application to the Privy Council for assistance in 
his predicament ; to this application, a ready response was 
given, and instructions were sent to the Governor and 
Council to aid Woodcock in securing what was due him.^ 
A second instance may be given. In 1672, one of the 
factors of George Lee, an English merchant, died in Vir- 
ginia indebted to his principal in a balance of seven hun- 
dred pounds sterling. His property passed into the hands 
of his mother, who appointed an attorney to take charge 
of it. The latter proceeded immediately to convert the 
whole estate into tobacco, which he was fibout to ship to 
his own consignee in England, when the General Court 
interposed with an order requiring liim to transfer the 
entire quantity to a tliird person in the mother country, 
until the justice of the claim of Lee on the property of 
his deceased agent had been decided. To facilitate this, 
all the books of the factor containing his accounts with 
his principal were directed to be sent to England.^ 

^ For an example, see Records of Henrico County^ vol. 1688-1697, 
p. 646, Va. State Library. 

* Order of Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 
123 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1638, p. 31, Va. State Library. 

» Becords of General Court, pp. 131, 132. 



It not infrequently happened in the case of the death 
of a factor and the remarriage of his widow, if no one 
was appointed to act as his successor under a power of 
attorney from the owner of the goods, that the goods fell 
into the hands of the second husband, who very often 
showed no scruple in dealing with them as his private 
property. Such a case was that of Thomas Kingston, the 
agent of Thomas Cowell, who owned a plantation in the 
Colony about the year 1636. Kingston having died and 
his relict having become the wife of Thomas Loving, the 
latter at once appropriated the credits and merchandise 
of Cowell. Upon the petition of Cowell, Loving was 
required by the Governor and Council to take an inven- 
tory of the former's property in his possession, and to 
give bond in a large sum to hold it without further pur- 
loining it.^ 

Many of the factors proved themselves to be untrust- 
worthy, and numerous suits arose in consequence of their 
defalcations. There were also many instances of contro- 
versies between the English traders and their agents, 
which were settled by boards composed of merchants 
residing in the Colony. The arbitrators appointed in 
the case of Lawrence Evans in 1638 were among the 
wealthiest and most prominent men interested in busi- 
ness in Virginia, including John Chew, Thomas Stegg, 
George Ludlow, and Thomas Burbage.^ It was one of 
the conspicuous features of commercial intercourse with 
the Colony that an important portion of the dealings of 

1 Letter from Governor and Council to Privy Council, British State 
PaperSy Colonial; McDonald Papers, vol. II, May 12, 1639, Va. State 
Library. For a second instance, see Records of General Court, p. 59. 

2 British State Papers, Colonial , vol. X,Nos. 15, I, II, III ; Sainnbury 
Abstracts for 1638, p. 71, Va. State Library. Boards of Arbitration 
were often appointed by the General Court. An instance is given in 
Records of General Courts p. 61. 



the persons engaged in it, whether living in Virginia or 
England, was transacted on a basis of credit, and manj^ 
of the sales in consequence resulted in debts which it 
was found impossible to collect. Tliis was a danger to 
which the trader was especially liable, not only in the 
early part of the seventeenth century when the popula- 
tion was still comparatively small, and when, as has been 
seen, there was a strong disposition among so many to 
move from one locality to another in search of virgin 
lands, thus enabling them to a large extent to evade 
their obligations, but also in the latter part of the cen- 
tury, when the older communities had become firmly 
established and their inliabitants as a mass fixed to the 
soil, with property that could be levied on without ob- 
struction. A number of the planters were still disposed 
to shirk their debts and could only be trusted at a risk of 
loss. There were many instances of individuals among 
them who, having become deeply involved for advances 
of supplies, were induced to throw off the weight of their 
obligations by taking refuge in Maryland and so escaping 
the process of their creditors.^ It was not improbably in 
consequence of this disposition to abscond on the part 
of debtors among the colonists, that the regulation was 
adopted that all persons residing in Virginia who decided 
to go on a journey or voyage beyond the boundaries of 
the Colony were required to put their intention on public 
record sometime beforehand, in order that it might be- 
come a matter of common notoriety. ^ 

1 LeUers of William Fitzhugh, Feb. 18, 1687. 

2 See Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 1673-1685, f. pp. 14, 
21, 93. Fourteen persons advertise in these particular references their 
intention to depart for England. In 1676, the General Court imposed a 
fine of 1000 lbs. of tobacco on a shipmaster who had carried out of the 
country a person who was unable to show a pass. Becords of General 
Court, p. 216. 


It not infrequently happened in the case of the death 
of a factor and the remarriage of his widow, if no one 
was appointed to act as his successor under a power of 
attorney from the owner of the goods, that the goods fell 
into the hands of the second husband, who very often 
showed no scruple in dealing with them as his private 
property. Such a case was that of Thomas Kingston, the 
agent of Thomas Cowell, who owned a plantation in the 
Colony about the year 1G36. Kingston having died and 
his relict having become the wife of Thomas Loving, the 
latter at once appropriated the credits and merchandise 
of Cowell. Upon the petition of Cowell, Loving was 
required by the Governor and Council to take an inven- 
tory of the former's property in his possession, and to 
give bond in a large sum to hold it without further pur- 
loining it.^ 

Many of the factors proved themselves to be untrust- 
worthy, and numerous suits arose in consequence of tlieir 
defalcations. There were also many instances of contro- 
versies between the English traders and their agents, 
which were settled by boards composed of merchants 
residing in the Colony. The arbitrators appointed in 
the case of Lawrence Evans in 1638 were among the 
wealthiest and most prominent men interested in busi- 
ness in Virginia, including John Chew, Thomas Stegg* 
George Ludlow, and Thomas Burbage.^ It was one of 
the conspicuous features of commercial int^ercourse with 
the Colony that an important portion of the dealings of 

1 Letter from Governor and Council to Privy Council, British Stati 
Papers, Colonial; McDonald Papers, vol. II, May 12, 1(539, Va. Swta 
Library. For a second instance, see Records of General Court, p. 59. 

2 British State Papers, Colonial, vol. X, Nos. 15, I, II, III ; Sahixftvrl 
Abstracts for 1638, p. 71, Va. State Library. Boards of Arbitration 
were often appointed by the General Court. An instance is given ifl 
Records of General Court, p. 61. 



the persons engaged in it, whether living in Virginia or 
England, was transacted on a basis of credit, and many., 
of the sales in consequence resulted in debts which it 
was found impossible to collect. This was a danger to 
which the trader was especially liable, not only in the 
early part of the seventeenth century when the popula- 
tion was stiU comparatively small, and when, as has been 
seen, there was a strong disposition among so many to 
move from one locality to another in search of virgin 
lands, thus enabling them to a large extent to evade 
their obligations, but also in the latter part of the cen- 
tury, when the older communities had become firmly 
established and their inhabitants as a mass fixed to the 
soil, with property that could be levied on without ob- 
struction. A number of the planters were still disposed 
to shirk their debts and could only be trusted at a risk of 
loss. There were many instances of individuals among 
them who, having become deeply involved for advances 
of supplies, were induced to throw off the weight of their 
obligations by taking refuge in Maryland and so escaping 
the process of their creditors.^ It was not improbably in 
consequence of this disposition to abscond on the part 
of debtors among the colonists, that the regulation was 
adopted that all persons residing in Virginia who decided 
to go on a journey or voyage beyond the boundaries of 
the Colony were required to put their intention on public 
record sometime beforehand, in order that it might be- 
come a matter of common notoriety.^ 

1 Letters of William FUzhugh, Feb. 18, 1687. 

2 See Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1673-1685, f . pp. 14, 
2l, 93. Fourteen persons advertise in these particalar references their 
intention to depart for England. In 1676, the Greneral Court imposed a 
fine of 1000 lbs. of tobacco on a shipmaster who had carried out of the 
Country a person who was unable to show a pass. Records of General 
Court, p. 216. 


Strong influences were at work in the Colony encoun^* 
ing the planter on the one hand to obtain credit from lus 
merchant, whether residing in Virginia pr acting in the pe^ 
son of his factor, and disposing the merchant on the other 
to extend it. Of all the staple crops, with the exception 
of cotton, tobacco is attended in its culture by the most 
numerous elements of speculation on account of the rapid 
fluctuations in its price. It may be depressed in the mar- 
ket during one year, and twelve months later be selling at 
very high rates. This was true of tobacco in the seven- 
teenth century, as it is of the same commodity in the 
nineteenth. The Virginian planter in the seventeenth 
century, however much discouraged as to the results of 
the operations of one season, could indulge the hope that 
the following season would not only restore what he had 
lost on the crop of the present year, but add to the amount 
the margin of a very handsome profit. This expectation, 
which had its justification in actual experience, led him to 
make purchases on credit of goods from the importing mer- 
chants which tlie tobacco of the succeeding year did not 
always enable him to cover, and a series of unprosperous 
years not infrequently involved him in a slough of debts 
from which it was difficult, and, in many cases, impossible, 
to extricate himself. The merchant doubtless took a clearer 
view of the situation. It was natural that he should not 
be as sanguine as to the prices of future crops as the 
planter, and he sought to discount a possible period of 
depression twelve months later by selling not only at 
lucrative rates, but also in figures representing money 

For the special encouragement of traders, an Act was 
passed in 1633 requiring that all contracts and bargains 
should be made and all accounts kept in money sterling, 
and not in tobacco, according to the prevailing custom at 


that time ; ^ this removed from the consideration received by 
the merchant in his sales that element of fluctuation which 
marked all valuation in the latter commodity from year to 
year. A large proportion of these sales were on credit in 
anticipation of the next year's crop. In the course of this 
interval, the price of the leaf might sink to a point which 
would not only leave him without a margin of gain, but 
even expose him to heavy loss. If his contract had been 
drawn in figures representing a fixed amount in money 
sterling, his profit would be independent of an advance or 
decline in the value of tobacco, and the same would be 
true if his running accounts were kept in the same form. 
As a means of ensuring ample security for the payment of 
debts due them for advancement of goods, many of the 
merchants required a purchaser to give a bill to be placed 
on record in the books of the county court where the trans- 
action occurred ; in this document, he acknowledged the 
amount which he owed, accompanying the admission with 
*a statement that the obligation was to be met in the suc- 
ceeding autumn, when the tobacco crop had been got in. 
In case what was due was not settled, the creditor in the 
bill, that is to say, the merchant, could take possession of 
the landed property conveyed to him subject to the pay- 
ment of the debt. If the crop in the autumn was suffi- 
cient to cover what was owed by the purchaser of the 
goods, he could claim a release in fuU.^ 

Another course followed by a merchant who had dis- 
posed of goods on credit was to insist that the purchaser 
should consent to a judgment in court in the amount of 
tobacco represented by his obligation, against all the 
property in his possession, and this judgment was enforced 
according to the provisions of a deed directing execution 

1 Henlng's Statutes, vol. I, p. 216. 

« Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, pp. 63, 342, Va. State Library. 

VOL, II. — 2 B 


to issue iminediatelv upoo the failure to pay at the ap- 
pointed time.^ In order to collect the debts nrhich the 
planters in the Colony owed them* whether secured by a 
conditional deed or nou it seems to have been the enstom 
of the English traders to send to Virginia agents who had, 
under powers of attorney carefully placed on reconl, the 
authority to represent their principals in suits if it was 
found necessary to have recourse to law to recover what 
was due. These men. like the ordinary factor who acconi- 
panied a cargo of goods, represented very frequently more 
than one trader. Merchants engaged in widely different 
branches of business seemed to have thus employed the 
same person.^ The sea-captain esjiecially was very often 
employed in this capacity, probably on account of the 
greater cheapness of his services, as the cost of the passage 
was thus saved. The a^rent was sometimes instructed 
to colleoi all the debts due Lis principal in Virginia, 
wixhout reiTArd to CLV*in:ies. In some instances, his juris- 
dioiion was i\^n::iird lo ose eouniy. Very frequently, he 
was auihorized lo collect frc-m a single j>?rson. this person I 
being the regular factor of the principal in the Colony. 

By the pT\>visions of a law p^assed at the session of 
ltw>T-^^S. the 1 retiiior was deprived of all right to require 
the soiilemeni of a debt on demand, if made playable in 
tobaco^\ except in the inierval between October 10th and 

- 7^f*r,yr^ of Tr'-l Cr-vnf};. t^. 1^iS!^Zf4^ p. »5. Vjl State Librarr. 

Tol\a*v; :*>? s.:»'.Vi. hru\ r-iT.n y<^i a :kr« t^a:* i-> scX'sre the paymviit, the 
pr-'THny, hfWf wr, i: ir:hAr.k lo him cMi r.:D.V;;j.'n tLai he dr livt-Kil t^ ' 
jCJiV ^Mi 1>)r K. y;^. FArh&.r»irf, LooiiOi. wiLj.iii fr-ny day? after the arri^^ I 
*M :>.c i>r-3ft Y »i That T^'in^ /c spiro; ihi fir>i day cf iLe foJ^^ M!»5. I 
whV.irxYT sh. ■:;>.*. »v.Tnf Aiv.wt f.rsL K^r>r,if .-/ F.'-t County, toI. l^^ 
\M<^, r. A>:. Vv Ssa:^ l^^rxn-. 


Januaiy 31st.' If he waa a resident of the Colony, he 
could bring no suit upon accounts which had been running 
three years; if a non-resident, on none which had been 
mnmng five.' A strong disposition was shown at an early 
date to protect the debtor in cases in which he was unable 
to settle in kind. If he had promised to do so in grain, 
tobacco, and other agricultural products, and his crops 
failed or were destroyed, it was in 1644-45 provided that 
he should give an inventory of his estate to the creditor, 
and the Commissioners of Court should decide what part 
should be delivered in payment of his obhgations.^ It was 
subsequently ordered that the valuation of the property of 
all persona who were imprisoned for debt and who were un- 
able to settle in kind, should be made by two persons, one 
selected by the creditor and the other by the debtor, and 
whatever satisfaction they awarded should be final, and 
in case of a dis^reement between the appraisers, the two 
next adjoining Commissioners sliould serve in their place.* 
In 1663, it was provided that the debtor when laid under 
execution should first swear that lie was unable to pay 
either in tobacco or money sterling ; that he should then 
render an estate thrice the value of his debt ; and that if 
he had no movable property, he should give an inventory 
of whatever he possessed to the creditor, who was to be 
at liberty to choose according to his preference. What- 
ever he selected was to be appraised by four men, two 
having been named for that purpose by each party. If 
the whole estate was not sufficient to discharge the obli- 
gation, the debtor remained in prison;* from which it 
will be seen that the English law as to incarceration for 

1 Hening's Statute*, vol. I, p. 489. The creditor, however, could giio 
for security for the next year. 

* Ibid., vol. U, pp. 206, 297. ' Ibid,, ynl. 1, p. 294. 

* Ibid., p, 340. s Ibid., vol. 11, pp. 189, 100. 

372 ETo^roMic hibtobt of vikouiia 

insolTencj was in force in Virginia in the seventeen! 

All debts made ont of the Colony and doe to m€ 
chants who did not live within its boundaries were subo 
dinated to obligations contracted in Virginia, proTid< 
the claim based upon the latter was brought forwai 
before the expiration of twelve months. If, however, t] 
factor of the trader who was a non-resident took tl 
precaution, two months after he arrived in the counti 
with goods for sale, to enter on record the name of b 
principal and the value of the merchandise in his hands t 
agent, the principal acquired thereby all the rights ei 
joyed by the inhabitants of the Colony. A debt for gocx 
was not recoverable in Virginia unless they had bee 
really imported, no relaxation of the rule being allowed i 
case they had been captured by an enemy or had got 
down in a wreck while on the way.' It showed the tei 
derness of the authorities for the merchants who, towarc 
the end of the seventeenth century, supplied the peopl 
with commodities, that not infrequently when a debtor ha 
fled, leaving a crop in the ground, which, unless worke 
and protected would go to ruin, the county court ir 
structed the planter who lived nearest to the spot to giv 
the tobacco the proper attention, compensation for hi 
trouble and loss of time being subsequently allowed him 

1 Records of York County, voL 1690-1694, p. 212, Va. State Librar: 
Records of Henrico County, vol. 1677-16t>2, p. 4t>4, Va. SUte Libran 
About 1690, the authorities of York County proposed to the Genen 
Assembly that after the first three months* imprisonment, the credits 
should support his debtor in jail, if the latter had sworn that he was d( 
in possession of property equal in value to the debt See Records of Tof 
County, vol. 1687-1691, p. l:«, Va. State Library. 

2 Hartwell, Chilton, and Blair's Present State of Virffinia. 1697, p. 41 
» Records of Elizabeth City Countyy vol. 1684-1699, p. 109, Va. St»l 



[Tiis spirit had not always been displayed towards the 
mporting merchants. Their unconscionable dealings be- 
*Ame at an early date the subject of legislative denuncia- 
ion. To such a point were these exactions carried in 
L628, that a large number of colonists, as we have seen, 
inited in exporting their own tobacco to England and 
:;here exchanging it for the articles they required, instead 
)f passing it into the hands of the English traders in re- 
turn for goods at exorbitant charges. So great was the 
unpopularity of this class as late in the century as 1672, 
that during the course of the attack which the Dutch, 
then at war with England, made upon the fleet of vessels, 
which in that year were bound out of James River with 
beavy cargoes on board, the planters were not anxious to 
tumish assistance, alleging in excuse the oppressions of the 
owners of the cargoes.^ The fault, however, did not lie en- 
tirely on the side of the latter. In the year 1632, when such 
a dearth of manufactured supplies prevailed in Virginia 
that vessels loaded with grain and tobacco had to be sent 
out to procure them from other Colonies, Captain Tucker, 
a leading trader, was accused of instructing his factors to 
sell only at the highest rates ; this he denied, claiming 
that the planters were already deeply in his debt for goods 
advanced them, and that he was not justified in incurring 
the risk of additional loss, since there was already no 
profit in the prices at which his agents were selling.^ 

It was the most common ground of complaint against 
the merchants that they insisted on holding buyers to the 
payment of the quantity of tobacco agreed upon, notwith- 

* Governor and Council to King, July 16, 1672, British State Papers, 
Colonial, voL XXX ; Winder Papers, vol. I, p. 285, Va. State Library. 

* Governor Harvey to Tjords Commissioners, May 27, 1632, British 
^aU Papers, Colonial, vol. VI, No. 54 ; McDonald Papers, vol. II, p. 123, 
Va. State Library. 


standing any rise in the price of that staple after the con- 
clusion of the bargain. In such an instance, it was com- 
plained that the goods were sold at a more advanced rate 
than was anticipated. The course of events, howeveri 
might have worked in favor of the purchaser. Tobacco 
fell with as much rapidity as it rose. Articles to be paid 
for in so many pounds of that commodity in the following 
autumn might have been delivered when it was high, 
and before autumn arrived, might have fallen very low, 
entailing a heavy loss upon the trader. It is not likelj 
that any complaint was heard from the planters in such s 
turn of prices as this.^ 

Accusations of deception were also brought against 
many of the merchants in regard to the weights and 
measures which they used. The perpetration of this 
species of fraud, not only by the traders, but by the in- 
habitants of the Colony in general, became so notorious 
that a special law was passed, declaring the English 
statute concerning that offence to be in force in Virginia. 
Whoever endeavored to cheat by the use of false stillyards 
was required to pay to the person whom he had sought to 
injure three times the amount of damage which he would 
have inflicted bv his deceit.^ As a further means of dis- 
couraging the repetition of acts of this nature, every 
county was required to provide at the public charge 
scaled weights of half-hundred, quarterns, half- quarterns, 
seven, four, two, and one pounds, and measures of ell and 
yard, bushel and half-bushel, peck and gallon of Win- 
chester measure, pottle, quart, pint, and half-pint; and 
these standards were to be used by all persons who were 

* King to Governor and Council of Virginia, British State Papf^ 
Colonial, vol. IX, No. 47, Sainsbury Abstracts for 1637, p. 193, Va. State 

^ Hening^s Statutes, vol. I, p. 391. 



not in possession of such as had been scaled or tried in 
England, upon the penalty of forfeiting one thousand 
pounds of tobacco. If the commissioners of the county, 
upon whom was imposed the duty of securing the proper 
measures and weights, failed to do so, they were to be 
fined five thousand pounds.^ 

The measures and weights to be found at the different 
county seats were procured from England. In 1665, 
Colonel Lemuel Mason and Major Thomas Willoughby 
were appointed by the court of Lower Norfolk County to 
enter into an agreement with a reliable shipmaster to im- 
port a full set of these instruments for use in that county.^ 
This was doubtless the manner in which they were always 

The Navigation laws undoubtedly had the effect of 
placing the people more in the power of the English 
merchants by restricting to the latter the right of import- 
ing into the Colony all of its foreign supplies. These 
laws went into practical operation after the Restoration, 
and perhaps raised the prices of unported goods in Virginia 
higher at first than they did afterwards, when the demand 
for its staple in the English market had increased, furnish- 
ing a larger field for its sale, and when British shipping 
had grown in volume, thus reducing the charges for 
freight. It was observed as early as 1657, that shoes, 
bought at the rate of twelve pounds of tobacco during the 
time the Dutch traders were introducing supplies into the 
Colony, could not be obtained after the passage of the first 

1 Hening's Statutes^ vol. II, pp. 89, 90. In 1078, the justices of Lower 
Norfolk County were indicted by the Grand Jury for not providing weights 
and measures as the law required. Original vol. 1075-1080, f. p. 40. 

* Becards of Lower Norfolk County^ original vol. 1050-1000, p. 436. 
There are frequent references in the Records of York and Middlesex 
Ck)untie8 to the public weights and scales. See, for instance, Records of 
Middlesex County, original vol. 1080-1094, orders Dec. 5, 1693. 


Navigation Act, which, as has been seen, was enforced 
with great laxity, for less than fifty pounds, and it waa 
claimed that the prices of all other commodities rose in 
proportion, even before the second Navigation Act had 
excluded the merchants of Holland altogether.^ The 
Act of 1660 added sensibly to the dearness of imported 
articles, because it removed all active competition between 
the Dutch and English. The Dutch trader had enjoyed a 
great advantage over the English in being able to sail his 
ship at lesser expense, not only because the vessel had 
more room, but also because it was manned by a smaller 
crew.^ Throughout the greater part of the seventeenth 
century, the people of Holland were larger producers of 
certain kinds of manufactured goods than the people of 
England, and were in a position to sell at lower figures. 
As long as English and Dutch merchants stood upon 
an equal footing in the Colony, the English had to con- 
form to the prices of the Dutch in disposing of their 
cargoes in Virginia, and from this fact its population 
reaped a decided advantage in the purchase of their sup- 
plies. The exclusion of the Dut^ch signified that the 
English trader was restricted only by competition with 
men of his own nationality in fixing his pricfes. The pro- 
tection of the inhabitants lay in the improvement in the 
methods of British navigation, and in the increase in the 
number of persons engaged in commerce with the Colony. 
That this number was able in the last part of the century 
to supply the demand for goods is shown in the answer 
made by Culpeper in 1681 to the authorities in England 
who had instructed him to suppress every form of fore- 
stalling and engrossing; he declared that he had never 
received a single complaint with reference to such forms 

1 Public Good XDXthout Private Interest^ p. 14. 

* Anderson's History of Commerce, vol. II, p. 216. 


of extortion ; that they were not practised in Virginia ; 
and that the Council were ignorant of the meaning of the 
terms. ^ 

However small or large the gains of the foreign mer- 
chant, whether dealing with the inhabitants of Virginia 
by means of annual vessels, the cargoes of which were 
])eddled wherever on the various rivers purchasers could 
be found, or sold through factors or agents who resided in 
the Colony, which was the usual course, the profit was suf- 
ficiently great to tempt most of the enterprising planters 
to enter into trade on their own account. It was one of 
the most marked features of the economic life of Virginia 
in the seventeenth century, that the leading citizens were 
engaged in more than one pursuit. The lawyers and 
physicians were not only producers of tobacco, but also 
keen speculators who bought a large quantity of that com- 
modity with goods or bills of exchange and shipped it to 
England to be disposed of by their representatives there. 
At a period as early as 1637, George Menefie, who was 
interested in planting, described himself as a merchant 
of the corporation of James City ,2 and he found distin- 
guished successors as traders in tobacco at a later day in 
Fitzhugh and Byrd, who have left minute records in their 
correspondence of their different ventures. The authors 
of the Present State of Virginia^ 1697, referred to the 
general class of merchants in the Colony as being simply 
country chapmen, but this was true only to the extent 
that they supplied the wants of a rural and scattered 
population.' In 1687, it is stated that there were on all 

* Instractions to Culpeper, British State Papers^ Colonial, 1081-82 ; 
reply to 60th clause, McDonald Papers, vol. VI, p. 16;}, Va. State 

« Petition of George Menefie, Dom. Chas. I, vol. 323, pp. 130, 138, 
Sainsbury Abstracts for 1637, p. 207, Va. State Library. 

» UartweU, Chiltou, and Blair's Present State of Virginia, 1097, p. 9. 


of the navigable streams, from ten to thirty planters who 
had a part in this local trade,^ and so considerable were 
the operations of these wealthy citizens in mercantile hfe, 
that Jones, who visited the Colony many years afterwards, 
affirms that they made as great and advantageous a busi- 
ness for the advancement of the public good as most 
merchants upon the Royal Exchange in London. He 
especially commended the "fair and genteel" way ifl 
which they carried on their transactions.^ These mer- 
chant planters were men of the first consequence in the 
Colony, sitting not only as members of the House of Bur- 
gesses, but also as Councillors of the State and filling all 
of the higher offices. With few exceptions, the founda- 
tion of the great fortunes in lands, negroes, and live stock 
which gave so much distinction to the leading families in 
the eighteenth century, had been laid in the seventeenth 
in largest part by trading in tobacco, in addition to culti- 
vating that staple. The manner in which this tnwling 
was conducted is illustrated in many instances preserved 
in the letters of Colonel Fitzhugh. He was in the habit 
of contracting to deliver many thousand pounds of tobacco 
to the local representatives of an English merchant in 
return for so many pounds sterling worth of goods, and 
in case of a deficiency in the cargo he was to receive a 
certain amount of metallic money or a certain nmnber of 
slaves and servants. The details of this arrangement had 
their counterpart, with some little variation, in the numer- 
ous bargains of other planters of the same periotl. \Mien? 
such an agreement had been entered into with an Enirli>h 
merchant, it w*as not uncommon to adopt the following 
plan in turning over the tobacco named in the stipulation: 

^ Colonel Quarry's Memorial, Jicufs. Hist. ColUctionf, vol. VII. •"'J 
series, p. iiii2. 

-* UugU Jooes' Stait: of Mrt/inia, p. bo. 


as soon as the vessel arrived in Virginia, her master was 
handed notes for the delivery of one-third of her loading, 
these notes being honored at the rolling-houses where the 
tobacco was stored ; when this part of the cargo had been 
taken on board, the planter was ready to give notes for 
the delivery of the second third, and so on until the whole 
amount had been stored in the ship. In many instances, 
doubtless, he was prepared to transfer the whole amount 
in one series of notes. In a case mentioned by Fitzhugh, 
he contracted to deliver ninety-two thousand poimds, one- 
third of which was to be obtained from his own estate, and 
the other two-thirds from rolling-houses in his vicinity. 
Ninety-two thousand pounds made up a cargo of two hun- 
dred hogsheads, which, according to the prices prevailing 
at that time, were worth seven hundred and seventy-six 
pounds sterling. One-half of this amount, Fitzhugh de- 
sired to be paid him in the form of merchandise suitable 
to the needs of the country.^ In a letter to Captain Sam- 
uel Jefferson in 1685, he proposed to deliver fifty thousand 
pounds of tobacco, in return for which he was to receive 
goods amounting in value to three hundred and fifty-eight 
pounds sterling.^ 

In the early history of the Colony, merchant planters 
in many instances had residences and storehouses at 
Jamestown while holding and cultivating large estates 
elsewhere ; this was the case with John Chew, Arthur 
Bayley, and Edward Sanderson. Some at this period, 
on the other hand, lived on their plantations and kept 

1 See a somewhat similar instance in the Records of York County^ 
vol. 1664-1672, p. 177, Va. State Library, illustrating the use made of 
notes in passing title to tobacco stored in warehouses. 

« Letters of William FiUhugh, Feb. 18, 16S4-86. Fitzhugh, writ- 
ing to John Cooper in May (18th), 1685, says: *^I suppose this crop, 
if crops prove anything like, I shall be master of betwixt 500 or 600 
hogsheads.'' Ibid., May 18, 1686. 


storehouses at Jamestown ; this was the course followed 
by Abraham Piersey, the former Cape Merchant and the 
most prominent citizen in Virginia at the time of lus 
death.* Very large areas of land were secured by men 
of this class in consideration of the importation or pur- 
chase by them of many servants and slaves. In 1638» 
George Menefie sued out a patent to three thousand acres 
on the basis of sixty head rights, and in the following 
year he acquired a patent to three thousand acres addi- 
tional.2 jn 1634, Robert Vaulx and Vfilliam Gooch 
obtained a patent to six thousand acres.^ Thomas Stegg, 
William Byrd, and others who combined the pursuits of 
trading and planting, are found from time to time acquir- 
ing large grants. Many of the English merchants owned 
much land in Virginia, not only in individual holdings, 
but also in partnership with persons who resided in the 

The store was one of the principal institutions in Vir- 
ginia, whether the property of a foreign or a native 
merchant. In the course of time, stores which at first 
were confined to the principal ports were found in great 
numbers on every navigable stream, this situation being 
preferred not only because the adjacent country was the 
most thickly settled and the planters the wealthiest, but 

* An Account of Abraham Piersey's Estate, British State Papers, 
Colonial, vol. VIII, No. 6, II ; Saitisbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 67, Va. 
State Library. 

2 Va. Land Patents, vol. 1623-1643, pp. 691, 704. 

• Ibid,, vol. 1652-1656, p. 357. Similar instances are preserved in 
great numbers in the latent Books. 

♦ Ibid., vol. 1623-1643, p. 417. There are many instances in which 
English merchants devised by will estates in Virginia. See Hew Eng- 
land Historical and Genealogical Register, April, 1893, p. 273. It Is said 
that John Bland spent £10,000 on his plantations in Virginia. British 
State Papers, Colonial Entry Book, N(k 80, pp. 51-59 ; Sainsbury Ab- 
stracts for 1676, p. 235, Va. Sute Library. 


> because the principal highways of each community 

re the creeks and rivers. The authors of tjhe Present 

\te of Virginia^ 1697, complained that the stores were 

h important centres in each neighborhood that they 

I a powerful influence in repressing the growth of 

towns, which it was sought to foster by legislation, 

L they suggested as the first step towards giving an 

)ulse to the expansion of these towns that it should be 

uired to build or keep open stores elsewhere.^ 

The store was sometimes a room in the house of a 

nter ; this was true in the case of the store of Robert 

dges of Lower Norf olk,^ and also of Newell's in York. 

ome Ham, who is described in the deed as ^^ gentleman," 

making a lease of his plantation in the latter county, 

trs to his dwelling-house, kitchen, and store, as if they 

e grouped very closely together.' The store was 

orally detached from the dwelling. It was probably 

rule a boarded house with a loft and with a shed.^ 

le towns, it was very often a rented buUding ; this 

' the case with the one at Hampton referred to in the 

is of Elizabeth City County for 1694. The charge 

; use was twenty-five shillings a month.* 

ether the store was owned by a merchant who 

I abroad, and who therefore carried on business 

h the agency of his factor, or was the property of a 

r planter^ or a native merchant, the aim of the owner 

?ell, Chilton, and Blair's Present State of Virginia, 1697, p. 12. 
dB of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1676-1686, f. p. 117. 
U of York County, vol. 1676-1684, Newell, p. 139; Ham, 

rol. 1664-1672, p. 260, Va. State Library. 

f of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 29, Va. State 

etc., now know ye, etc., I give and grant anto Col. Richard 
es of Land lying in the Coanty of Gloucester towards the 


was to supply the special goods demanded by the needs of 
the inhabitants of the Colony. To enumerate the contents 
of one of these establishments would be to name all the 
articles, with a few exceptions, in use in Virginia in the 
seventeenth century. A store in the rural districts of 
the State to-day is less of an epitome of the wants of the 
people in certain directions than a store in the valley of 
the James in the last half of the seventeenth century. In 
the present age, custom is diverted from the country store 
by the proximity of cities in which the best class of goods 
can be procured without difficulty, in person or by corre- 
spondence. It is true that in the seventeenth century, 
custom was diverted from the store by orders given to 
merchants in England, but these direct dealings with the 
mother country were practically restricted to planters 
engaged in trade or possessed of large wealth. It is not 
strange to find that cloths and garments made up the larger 
portion of the contents of the average establishment. In 
this respect, the inventory of the Hubbard store, situ«ited 
in York County, which was taken in 1G67, after the death 
of the owner, did not differ from others which either pre- 
ceded or followed it. It contained lockram, canvas, dow- 
las, Scotch cloth, blue linen, oznaburg, cotton, holland, 
serge, kersey, and flannel in Ixiles, full suits for adiilts 
and youths, bodices, bonnets, and laces for women, shoes 
for persons of both sexes, gloves, hose, cloaks, cravats, 
handkerchiefs, hats, and other articles of dress in use in 
that age. In addition, there was a large miscellaneous 
collection of goods, such as hammers, hatchets, chisels, 
augei-s, Ux»ks, staples, nails, sickles, l>ellows, froes, saws, 
axes, tiles, bod-conls, dishes, knives, flesh-fork^, p<:irringers, 

head of Poroixnauk Creek, whereon the store of the said Col. Lee 5tan«1eth. 
and is a (uirt of a divideud which Peter Ktii^ht. merehaut, deseitt^d for 
waut of seatiug."' To. Land Fatents^ vol. 16o^ltk>l, p. 47. 


sauce-pans, frying-pans, gridirons, tongs, shovels, hoes, iron 
posts, tables, physic, wool-cards, gimlets, compasses, nee- 
dles, stirrups, looking-glasses, candlesticks, candles, fun- 
nels, twenty-five pounds of raisins, one hundred gallons of 
brandy, twenty gallons of wine, and ten gallons of aqua- 
vitsB. The contents of the Hubbard store were valued at 
six hundred and fourteen pounds sterling, a sum which 
represented about fifteen thousand dollars in our present 

The inventory of the store of Edward Phelps, taken in 
1679, showed the same enormous disproportion of cloths 
and clothing as compared with other kinds of goods. 
There were for one item alone about six hundred and 
seventy-five yards of linen of many varieties, and also 
about three hundred yards of woollen, eighty-one pairs of 
stockings, fifty pairs of shoes, a large quantity of tape, 
gimp and thread buttons, felt hats, blankets, curtains, and 
valances. In addition it included many articles of a miscel- 
laneous character, such as smoothing-irons, scissors, knives, 
bellows, frying-pans, pots, kettles, spoons, hoes, axes, files 
and adzes, curry-combs, saddles, nutmegs, mustard, soap, 
twenty-four thousand ten-penny nails, seventeen thousand 
six-penny, eight thousand double-penny, one hundred and 
nine pounds of shot, twenty pairs of fishing lines, and 
fifteen hooks for sheepsheads. The contents of this store 
were appraised at one hundred and ninety-four pounds 
sterling, or about forty -eight hundred dollars in our pres- 
ent currency.^ 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1604-1672, p. 319, Va. State Library. 

^ The inventory of the personal property owned by Phelps at his death 
will be found in Records of York County, vol. 1675-1684, p. 172, Va. 
State Library. The special reference in the text is to the appraisement of 
goods ** out of the store belonging to Mr. Edward Phelpes, Dec^ , in the 
possession of Mrs. Temperance Dun, delivered to Coll. Wm. Cole, one of 
the attorneys of James Wall, guardian to Edward Phelpes, an orphan 


The contents of the store kept by Mr. Isaac CuUen, ai 
the agent of John Harris and John Cooper, merchants of 
England, in 1675, were chiefly composed of canvas, cot- 
tons, hollands, kerseys, Scotch cloth, jeans, broadcloth, 
blue linen, tape, ribbon, thread, buttons, combs, hose, 
shoes, and other articles for wear. The inventory of this 
store also included a large number of kitchen atensil8» 
tools for the workshop, and scales and weights. 

The inventory of the store owned by Colonel Francis 
Eppes of Henrico, taken in 1678, discloses contents still 
more remarkable for quantity, quality, and variety. In 
the matter of linen, there were one hundred and twenty 
ells of dowlas, fifty-one ells of oznaburg, sixty ells of can- 
vas, three hundred and twelve ells of holland, and eightj 
yards of table and napkin diaper. There was a large 
quantity of serge, red cotton, kersey, broadcloth, Spamsh 
cloth, white duffield, rugs, blankets, bed -ticking, sixty-two 
pairs of shoes, yarn and worsted hose for women and 
children, brown and white thread, tape, lace, hoods, pins, 
buttons, bodices and sleeves, razors, knives, scissors, shears, 
steel tobacco-boxes, pewter salts, candlesticks, tankards, 
spoons, tin quart pots, sauce-pans, lamps, cullenders, pep- 
per-boxes, lanterns, large and small fishing lines and 
hooks, wooden bellows and sifters, sieves, dishes, ladles 
and brooms, iron pots, chafing-dishes, frying-pans, shovels, 
spades, hoes, shares and colters, hammers, chisels, and 
augers, many thousand nails of all sizes, brass mortars» 
one barrel of powder, five barrels of shot, fifty pounds of 
sugar, half a firkin of butter, four pounds of ginger, and 
finally a small collection of books- ^ 

in England the last day of Jane or first of Joly, 1ST{>/* See same 
Tolume. See also Jieconls of York County. voL 1671-1094, p. 113, Va. 
State Library. 

» Becords of Henrico CouHty, voL 1S77-1692, p. 03, Va. State library. 


The store of Edward Lockey contained, in addition to 
the usual quantity of cloths and clothing, brass coat-but- 
tons, a paper of hooks and eyes, andirons, sheep-shears, 
plough-chains, brass scales, and reap-hooks. Among the 
articles in the Foison store in Henrico were hoUand night- 
caps, muslin neck-cloths, silk-fringed gloves, silver shoe- 
buckles, embroidered holland waistcoats, two dozen pairs 
of white gloves, one lace cap, seven lace shirts, nine 
lace ruffles, holster caps of scarlet embroidered with 
silver and gold, gold and silver hat-bands, a parcel of sil- 
ver lace, three yards of gold lace, and a feathered velvet 
cap. This storekeeper possessed at the time of his death 
eight buckskins and sixty-five doeskins. In the inventory 
of Edward Lockey, there were also three tanned doeskins.^ 

There were few storekeepers in the Colony who were not 
engaged in the Indian trade, the exchange of merchandise 
for furs, skins, and other goods being attended with large 
profits. Guns, ammunition, rum, blankets, knives, and 
hatchets were the articles in greatest demand among the 
tribes. It will be interesting to make some examination 
of the various regulations which were from the earliest 
period adopted to control this trade. In the session 
of 1631-32 all traflic with the aborigines was prohibited, 
whether carried on by public or private enterprise.^ In 
the following year, an Act was passed providing that 

» Records of Yor^ County, voL 1664-1672, p. 260, Va. State Library. 
Additional instances of stores and their contents will be found in the 
inventories of Robert Beckingham of Lancaster (Becords, original 
vol. 1674-16S7, p. 33) and Robert Hodges of Lower Norfolk (original vol. 
1676-1686, f. p. 116). It may be mentioned as an evidence of the extent 
to which business was at this time conducted on credit, that the debts due 
Beckingham amounted to 193,420 lbs. of tobacco, and to William Travers 
to 151,072 lbs. Records of Rappahannock County, 1677-1682, p. 73. An 
interesting invoice of goods, that of Captain Robert Ranson, will be found 
in Records of York County, vol. 1694-1697, p. 368, Va. State Library. 

s Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 173. 
VOL. II. — 2 c 

386 BCONOMTC msnroBT of TiBGCsnA 

forfeiture of all his property and imprisonment for life 
should be inflicted upon any one who sold gnns. powder, 
and shot to Indians or bartered these articles for thar 
goods. ^ Previous to this time, it appears to have been 
the habit of many to purchase large quantities of cloth 
from the stores, and to exchange it for furs and skins, 
thus creating a dearth of this materiaL which led to 
much inconvenience and suffering among the planterv; 
this trade was now forbidden unless the Governor bad 
reason to know that the supplies of cloth to be found in 
the Colony could be diminished by partial withdrawal and 
dispersion among Indian buyers without trenching upon 
the needs of the people. A license, however, had to be 
obtained before this trade could be legally pursued.' Ten 
years later, the penalty for bartering guns, powder, and 
shot with the Indians was the forfeiture of his whole 
estate by the offender; if the commodities exchanged 
were ordinary goods, he was to undergo imprisonment for 
as long a period as the Governor and Council should con- 
sider his offence deserved.^ 

In 1656, the right was granted to every freeman to sell 
to the Indians anv article not included in the list of 
those especially prohibited by law. It was still forbidden 
to exchange guns, powder, and shot.* In 165S-o9, this 
regrulation was abolished on the ground that the i)eopl€ 
of the neighboring plantations, both English and Dutch. 
were furnishing the aborigines mith large supplies of 
weap4>ns and ammunition. By this alteration of the h% 
the safetv of the Colonv, it was stated, was not dimin- 
ished, and the profits acquired by barter with the Indians 
were verv much increased.* It was soon found, however, 

1 Hening's Statute*, vol. I. p. 219. 

• P-id^ p. 219. « Pm\U pp. 4ir», 441. 

• Ibid., p. 2bb. * i?»itf.. p. 025. 


that the trade in arms and ammunition filled the settle- 
ments with rumors of projected outbreaks, leading to 
widespread uneasiness ; it was determined, therefore, to 
require every person engaged in this trade, which seems 
at this time to have been practically confined to beaver, 
otter, and other furs, to obtain a commission from the 
Governor of the Colony. The latter was admonished 
to grant it only to those who were known to be distin- 
guished for integrity, and who in consequence could be 
relied upon not to abuse the privilege.^ This Act seems 
to have been disregarded to a great extent, many unli- 
censed men continuing in a secret way to trade with the 
Indian tribes. To suppress this evil, it was provided that 
every uncommissioned person discovered dealing with the 
aborigines should forfeit treble the value of the articles 
which he obtained under these circumstances. All contro- 
versies between the Indians and the commissioned traders 
were to be settled by the Governor, or an arbitrator whom 
he should appoint for the purpose.^ 

The importance of the Indian trade was shown as 
early as 16G2, by the report of a committee which at that 
time sat upon Indian affairs. This committee, finding 
that the traffic of the Virginians with the aborigines was 
seriously injured by the encroachments of the English 
and Indian inhabitants of Maryland, as well as of tribes 
residing further to the north, recommended that measures 
should be adopted to put a stop to this system of barter- 
ing on the part of these strangers, and in pursuance of 
this recommendation, a prohibitory law was passed.^ The 
exchange of arms and amminiition for the commodities 
of the Indians was again expressly interdicted in 1005.* 
The punishment now prescribed was a iine of ten thou- 

1 Henlng'8 Statutes, vol. II, p. 20. « Ibid., p. 153. 

« Ibid., p. 140. « Ibid., p. 216. 


sand pounds of tobacco or imprisonment for two years, 
and if the offence was committed a second time, it was 
to be considered a felony. It was found later that far 
more severe steps had to be taken for the strict enforce- 
ment of the statute. In March, 1676, when the prospect 
of an Indian war was imminent, it was provided that all 
who supplied the aborigines with arms, powder, and shot 
should not only forfeit their whole estates but suffer death 
in addition. The only persons allowed to furnish friendly 
Indians with match-coats, hoes, and axes were such as 
had been nominated by the county courts.^ One of the 
first of the laws passed by the Assembly controlled by 
Bacon made all trade with the aborigines illegal unless 
they were serving in the war with the English, in which 
case also no weapon or ammunition was to be given them.^ 
In the following year, the right of absolute free trade was 
granted to the Indian population of the Eastern Shore,* 
and a year later there was a relaxation of the rule for- 
bidding all commerce with the tribes of the Western 
Shore, since it had been found highly injurious to the 
inhabitants of the Colony. Certain places were now 
appointed as public marts, to which all Indians who were 
at peace with the whites were invited to come at a speci- 
fied time. These marts were situated respectively in 
Henrico, Isle of Wight, New Kent, Rappahannock, Lan- 
caster, Stafford, Accomac, and Northampton, and were to 
be open in March, April, and May, and in September and 
November, the occasion for each being restricted to a day 
in one of the spring months and a day in one of the au- 
tumn. For each mart, an account of all the trading which 
took place there was kept by a clerk appointed by the 
Governor. The Wicocomico Indians in Northumberland 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 337. « t^^j-^., pp. 350, 351. 

^ Ibid., p. 403. 



and the Cheskiack in Gloucester were to be permitted to 
trade with the English under special regulations adopted 
by the authorities of the counties in which they resided.^ 
Three years subsequent to the passage of this Act, the 
rules it laid down were found to be the source of so much 
inconvenience that aU obstructions to an absolute free trade 
with the friendly tribes were removed and the colonists 
were left at liberty to exchange commodities with them 
wherever and whenever the interests of both sides dictated. 
This rule was to remain in force only until the next Assembly 
convened, but in a few years it was reenacted in still more 
explicit terms. It was made ^^ lawful for all persons at all 
times and at all places to carry on a free and open trade 
with all Indians whatsoever."' 

No description of the mercantile condition of Virginia 
in the seventeenth century would be complete without 
some reference to the repeated but unsuccessful attempts 
to establish regular markets in the Colony. The fair was 
one of the oldest of the trade institutions of the mother 
country, having its origin and principal encouragement 
in an age when population was sparse, and when it was 
^erefore necessary to have fixed occasions on which 
j)eople could come together from a distance and exchange 
tlieir products. The introduction of the fair into Vir- 
S^ia would have been natural not only on account of the 
<;ommercial traditions of the inhabitants as scions of the 
Unglish stock, but also because of the scattered population 
of the Colony. In 1649, it was decided to hold markets 
^very week at Jamestown, which was one form of the 
llnglish fair. These markets were to be restricted to 
Wednesdays and Saturdays. The boundaries of the mar- 
Icet-place were to be carefully laid oflf. Execution was 
to issue upon any written and properly attested evidence 

1 HeniDg's Statutes, vol. II, pp. 410-412. « Ibid., voL III, p. 69. 


of debt that had been drawn in proof of a bargain entered 
into in its limits at any time between eight in the morn- 
ing and six in the afternoon without the usual requirement 
of first obtaining judgment. The clerk was to record, in 
a book to be provided for the purpose, every bond, bill, or 
other writing passed in a sale, and if the amount repre- 
sented in a bargain exceeded three hundred pounds 'of 
tobacco, his fee was to be four pounds, and if under that 
figure, one pound. Ground seems to have been assigned 
for the site of this market-place.^ 

In 1655, the Assembly determined to establish one or 
more market-places in each county, to be situated in the 
neighborhood of a river or creek, with a view to greater 
accessibility. Here all the trade of the country was to be 
concentrated; the articles imported from England or else- 
where were to be brought to these points from the ports 
prescribed by law; and if the owners of such articles 
disj^osed of them without having done this, they were to 
be punished as forestallers. They were, however, left at 
liberty to sell their goods in any one which they preferred. 
All were to be kept open on certain days, but there was 
to be no conflict between the days of adjoining markets. 
The court-house, the prison, the offices of the clerk and 
sherifif, and, as far as possible, the churches and ordinaries 
of each county, were to be erected in the circuit of its 
market. When merchandise had been in the country tV 
a period exceeding eight months, the owner could dispose 
of it wherever he wished without exposing himself to pun- 
ishment as a forestaller.2 It is a curious commentary upon 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 362. See Ibid., vol. I, pp. 307, 414. 

' Ibid., pp. 412-414. The following is from the records of Lancaster 
County under the date of 1655 : ** Whereas the west<^m side of Currott^ 
man River was only mentioned the last June Court for a market-j)la<^- 
and that by the Act for Stores the market-place might be on both side? 
of a small river if it is convenient for the inhabitants, it is ordered that 



the provisions of this elaborate statute that only two years 
after its passage, the Assembly passed a second Act de- 
claring that whoever established a market, " whether the 
mercliants shall come for sale or not,^' shall be looked 
upon as a public benefactor ; a tacit confession that the 
previous law, like all laws restricting the action of the 
traders, had proved a failure.^ The instructions given to 
Culpeper in 1679, to establish markets and fairs in the 
Colony, seem to have come to nothing. All endeavors of 
the kind were likely to have the same end, not only be- 
cause they were opposed to the interests of the merchants 
but also because of the configuration of the country, which 
was unfavorable to any concentration of the population, 
even of the same parts, for however brief a time. 

the said market-place extend also from the eastern side of the said river 
downwards two miles according to the said Act.** Jiecorda, original toI. 
1652-1667, p. 214. 

1 fiening*8 StatuUs, vol. I, p. 476. 



In describing the influences which led to the coloniza- 
tion of Virginia by the English people, it was pointed out 
that among the objects sought to be secured by that mem- 
orable enterprise were not only the acquisition of a virgin 
territory in which might be produced those raw materials 
that England was compelled to purchase at a heavy ex- 
pense, and with a constant risk of interruption, from the 
Continental nations, but also the creation of a new market 
in which she might dispose of an enormous quantity of 
merchandise of her own manufacture. These two an- 
ticipations were closely related to each other. The prin- 
ciples the)^ represented were the corner-stones of the 
famous mercantile system, which formed the commercial 
policy of the English Government from the beginning 
of the sixteenth to the close of the eighteenth century. 
The planters in Virginia were expected to export their 
raw materials to England, and in return to receive from 
the mother country the various supplies required. The 
exclusive attention given to tobacco from the earliest 
period in the history of the settlement defeated one of the 
leading purposes for which it was founded ; that is to say, 
the new Colony failed to furnish England with the com- 
modities which she had been exporting from Russia, 
Sweden, Holland, France, Spain, and the East. It will 

be remembered that the exportations in question left the 



balance of trade constantly in favor of these countries. 
The amount of English goods which they took in ex- 
change was insignificant, and as the difference in the 
balance in trade was paid in coin, there resulted a con- 
dition which in that age appeared full of danger to Eng- 
lish interests. The persistence with which the Virginians 
continued to cultivate tobacco occasioned keen disappoint- 
ment to English economists in the early part of the seven- 
teenth century, as it destroyed all prospect of the Colony's 
furnishing a remedy for this supposedly unfortunate state 
of trade by presenting a field where England would be 
able to procure the raw materials which she required in 
exchange for her manufactures, without the need of pass- 
ing a single pound sterling in addition. 

While Virginia did not fulfil the hope that had been 
entertained as to its ability to furnish the English people 
with the supplies exported hitherto from the continent 
of Europe, the expectation that it would form a valuable 
market for the sale of English merchandise was soon 
found to be just. That the Colony was in a position to 
purchase this merchandise was to be attributed not to 
shipments of iron, timber, potash, hemp, silk, and the 
other commodities which English statesmen had at one 
t;ime so confidently looked forward to obtaining from its 
soil, but to shipments of tobacco, a product which, in the 
beginning, the English Government had sought strenu- 
ously to discourage, and had afterwards striven hard to 
tnonopolize, at first unsuccessfully but successfully later, 
Vhen, by the terms of the Navigation Act of 1660, it 
tecame an enumerated article. 

The same commercial principle influencing the English 
Authorities to use every means at their command to pre- 
vent the diversion to Holland and other foreign countries 
^f the tobacco produced in Virgmia, also impelled them 


to repress all efforts on the part of the colonists to manu- 
facture their own clothing and other supplies equally 
necessary. The Dutch did not pay for the cargoes 
which they purchased of the Virginians in coin or biUs 
of exchange, but in merchandise of various sorts. Every 
coat worn by the planter, every dram of spirits consumed 
by him, which had been obtained by means of tobacco 
from traders of Holland, diminished to that extent the 
value of the Virginian market for English goods ; and to 
an equal extent, the value of that market was dimin- 
ished whenever the planter substituted for the suit which 
he was able to buy of the English merchant, a suit woven, 
cut, and sewn by members of his own family. To pro- 
mote or allow the growth of the manufacturing spirit in 
the Colony was as dangerous as to refuse to interfere 
with the exercise on the part of its people of the right 
of absolute free trade. In time, they might not only 
meet their own needs as to manufactured goods, but 
also export such goods to countries where England now 
enjoyed a profitable market, a market which might soon 
grow unprofitable to her by rivalry with Virginian com- 
petitors, since the latter would possess the advantage of 
cheaper raw materials as the basis of their manufactures. 
For these reasons, it appeared to be of vital importance to 
the English statesmen of the seventeenth century that 
the planters should not be allowed to take steps lookinsr 
to the development of manufacturing interests among 
them, and it cannot be said that their views were wholly 
untenable. To permit the colonists to export their agri- 
cultural products to any foreign country and at the same 
time to foster manufactures in Virginia, was to destroy 
all the ties excei)t those of race uniting England to the 
population of that territory ; upon her would have been 
imposed the burden of defending the planters in case of 

MANrFACTUUi:!) SU Tl 'LI I :* ;J*Jo 

an attack by a foreign enemy, without any proportionate 

The mercantile system bore less hardly on Virginia 
than on New England. Her soil was capable of produc- 
ing a commodity which found a remunerative market in 
the mother country, whereas New England was thrown 
back upon her agricultural products, which it was im- ' 
possible after 1650 to import into England on account 
of the heavy duties then imposed to protect the English 
farmer from foreign competition. The inhabitants of 
New England were, therefore, compelled to exchange 
their provisions for the rum, sugar, and molasses of the 
West Indies, as almost their only resource for obtaining 
the means of paying for the English manufactures needed 
by her people. Virginia having a direct trade with the 
mother country in a commodity for which a market was 
always ready there, a commodity that assured the acquisi- 
tion of all manufactured articles entering into the general 
economy of her population, was deprived of one of the 
strongest motives in which the development of manufact- 
ures has its origin. Such development begins with local 
wants, and growing larger and more extensive in its 
scope, ends in supplying foreign needs. The Virginian 
planter was not forced, like the farmer of New England, 
to transfer his products to Barbadoes and Jamaica to be 
exchanged for the products of those islands, which in 
turn were to be conveyed to the English ports, there to 
l>e sold to obtain the clothing which he was to wear, the 
furniture which he was to place in his chamber and hall, 
"the utensils for use in his kitchen and dairy, the tools for 
I^andling in his workshop, and the implements which he was 
"to employ in his fields. The English ship that sailed up to 
liis wharf came loaded down with a cargo of these articles, 
Vrhich were offered to him for his tobacco ; and he had 


merely to consign his crop to the sailors who manned the 
vessel by the temporary transfer of the keys of his bams. 
When he sold, not to the owner of the ship, but to the 
local merchant who had supplied him with goods, the 
process of delivery was equally free from complication 
and indirectness. From this, it will be seen that the 
Virginian planter of the seventeenth century had but 
a small inducement to begin or promote a movement la 
favor of local manufactures on a scale of great importance, 
even if we suppose that the influence of all the economic 
interests of the mother country would not have been set 
against such a movement. 

There was no inherent repugnance in the English stock 
transferred to the valleys of the James and York, to the 
pursuit of manufactures, although they leaned, like men 
of their race in the mother country, towards an agricult- 
ural life. They became an agricultural people by force 
of the conditions surrounding them from the foundation 
of the earliest settlement. The power of the English 
Government was used to divert their attention from 
manufactures even in the rudest form ; many influences 
united to discourage the growth of manufacturing inter- 
ests in the Virginian Colony as in all other colonies, 
however populous, but even if the English authorities 
had sought to advance the prosi)erity of these interests 
in Virginia in the seventeenth century, and the local 
conditions had been favorable to a manufacturing spirit, 
there would doubtless still have been reason to remark 
upon the disinclination of the people to produce their 
own manufactured supplies without any assistance from 
the outside. In the long period between the close of the 
Revolution and the breaking out of the late war between 
the sections, when all restrictions upon the growth of 
manufactures had been removed, the State remained a 


community of plantations, although so much of the fer- 
tility of the soil had been exhausted. In the seventeenth 
century, Virginia was still more distinctly a plantation 
community, a community of small principalities bound 
together by social ties, but not economically dependent 
upon each other. There was always a tendency in each 
plantation towards still greater concentration of its special 
interests, because the requirements of tobacco culture exer- 
cised an unceasing influence towards the enlargement of 
the boundaries of each estate, thus increasing its isolation 
from the community in general. One of the principal 
effects of the seclusion of plantation life in Virginia result- 
ing from the enlargement of the plantation area, was to 
discourage the growth of the cooperative spirit among the 
people in their economic affairs. It is this spirit upon 
which manufactures in their perfected form must rely 
in great measure for support. The lack of this spirit 
explains to some extent the absence of small towns in the 
Colony in the seventeenth century, but this fact, as will 
be shown hereafter, was also due to the configuration of 
the country, which was opposed to a concentration of 
population. Such a concentration, of course, would have 
been highly favorable to manufactures. Beverley, who 
indulged a spirit of exaggeration to some extent, writmg 
towards the end of the seventeenth century, when the 
English had been in possession of the country for nearly 
a hundred years, reproached the inhabitants not only for 
their slovenly and wasteful system of agriculture and their 
neglect of many products to which the soil was €adai)ted, 
but also for their strong indisposition to supply themselves 
by local manufactures with a larger proportion of those 
articles which they had, from the foundation of the first 
settlement, been obtaining by importation from abroad. 
The Virginians, he said, sheared their sheep only to cool 



them. There was little thought of the clothing into which 
the fleeces could have been converted. The head coverii^ 
of the Virginians was made of fur which had been sent 
to England from the Colony for working up, and then 
returned in the shape of hats to be sold or bartered at a 
great advance on the cost of the raw material. A large 
quantity of the hides which were a part of the annual pro- 
duction of every plantation were thrown on the ground to 
rot, or were used to protect goods from the rain dropping 
through the leaky roofs. Some of the hides, it is true, 
were manufactured into shoes, but the process was so 
carelessly and rudely performed that the planters bought 
English shoes in preference whenever the opportunity 
presented itself. Although the forests of Virginia fur- 
nished varieties of woods which in delicacy of grain 
and durability of fibre were peculiarly suitable for the 
manufacture of every kind of woodenware, neverthe- 
less the inhabitants of the Colony persisted in obtain- 
ing from England their chairs, tables, stools, chests, 
boxes, cart-wheels, and even their bowls and birchen 

Regarded from a general point of view, these criticisms 
of Beverley were not luijust. Virginia in the seventeenth 
century was not, in the modern sense of the word, a seat 
of manufactures, but it would be grossly inaccurate to say 
that manufactures in the ruder forms were totally un- 
known. Such a condition of affairs would have been 
wholly inconsistent with the peculiar spirit of the planta- 
tion system, that system which tended to create in each 
estate its own source of supplies as far as a crude skill 
could create it. English manufactures began in tk 
home ; there were few dwelling-houses rn the rural parts 
of England in the seventeenth century which did not con- 

1 Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 230. 


I a spinning-wheel or a weaver's frame.i The busy 
a of the one and the measured rattle of the other were 
rd in nearly every household. How natural then to 
>ect to find in the homes of the Virginians of the same 
iod — men and women, who, in many instances, had 
n bom in the mother country and who clung to the 
its as well as to the traditions of their race — rude 
(liances for the plainest manufactures to cover their 
plest material needs. That such appliances were to be 
nd there, will be shown in the proper place. 
-iCt us first inquire into the condition of the mechanical 
ies in the Colony. The white mechanics of Virginia 
Jie seventeenth century can be divided into two dis- 
3t classes. First, there were those who as servants 
re bound under the terms of their contracts for a cer- 
1 number of years ; secondly, freemen who were skilled 
the use of tools and who were prepared to perform any 
rk pertaining to their trade which was given them to 
The class of indented tradesmen was the largest of 
two, being recruited from abroad or from among the 
ives of the soil. There were not, however, as strong 
tives to influence the handicraftsmen of England to 
igrate to Virginia as servants, as existed in the case of 
agricultural laborers. The English mechanic belonged 
an order enjoying special privileges by the force of 
islation ; he was carefully trained in his particular 
ft by an apprenticeship that admitted him into a close 
poration, the number of the members of which was 
; sufficiently great to diminish seriously his chance of 
aining work, by raising up many competitors. If he 
5 skilled in his calling and sober in his conduct, there 
i little danger of his being thrown upon the parish 

Rogers' History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Vol. V, 
>61, 687. 


even for a partial support. The great body of the labor- 
ing classes of England in the seventeenth century, what- 
ever their grade or pursuit, very naturally preferred to 
remain in their native country, and when they emigrated 
to America, they were perhaps moved by a desire to 
escape from intolerable evils as much as by a hope of 
securing an independence. 

Virginia was well known to be essentially an agricul- 
tural community. In seeking a new home there, the 
English agricultural laborer expected to change his skies 
but not his employment. On the other hand, to the Eng- 
lish mechanic who was able to support his family by fol- 
lowing his trade, the advantages offered by the Colony 
were comparatively small unless he wished to adopt agri- 
cultural pursuits. There were mechanics in the mother 
country, however, who were either discontented with the 
degree of success which they had won, or who were 
swayed by a restless disposition or tempted by liberal 
offers. To such men, Virginia extended the prospect of an 
improved condition of life and they readily assented to pro- 
posals to try their fortunes there, first as handicraftsmen 
bound to service by indentures, and after the expiration 
of their terms, as planters and handicraftsmen combined. 

The necessity of introducing mechanics into the Colony 
was recognized from its foundation. Among the band 
of men who made the voyage to Virginia in 1607, there 
were four carpenters, two bricklayers, a blacksmith, and 
a mason. ^ The persons who were sent over in the First 
Supply included a cooper and a blacksmith.* Fourteen 
artisans were imported in the Second Supply. From 
time to time, the Company issued advertisements for the 
purpose of securing members of the different trades. In 
one of these public papers, there were enumerated brick- 

1 Work9 of Capt. John Smith, p. 94. « Ibid,, p. 108. 


jrs, bricklayers, masons, wrights for water and iron 
, founders, makers of edge tools, shipwrights, car- 
3r8, calkers, coopers, tanners, shoemakers, and tile- 
jrs.^ Previous to the departure of Gates and Dale 

England, a broadside was published, iq which special 
cements were offered to carpenters, smiths, coopers, 
3rs, shoemakers, shipwrights, and brickmen, among 
•8, to emigrate to Virginia as a part of the expedi- 
to set out at an early day.^ In the account of the 
lation in 1616, the only tradesmen referred to were 
IS and carpenters, indicating that either the advertise* 
s had not been generally successful in persuading £ng« 
irtisans to settle in the Colony, or if representatives 
e different crafts had gone over, a great majority had 
absorbed in the body of the agricultural laborers, there 
J no field for the emplojnnent of their skill.* 
'goU seems to have been disposed in the early part of 
dministration to adopt measures to promote the wel- 
6f the trades; all mechanics were relieved by him 

the operation of the provision that the tenant should 
vate two acres in grain under penalty of forfeiting 

crops, and of being reduced to slavery in the public 
ce.* In the instructions received by Yeardley on 
ig charge of affairs in 1619, he was directed to allot 
rery tradesman who decided to follow his handicraft 
reference to engaging in husbandry, a tract of four 
I. This area of ground, upon which a dwelling-house 

radesmen to be sent to Virginia, Brown^s Genesis of the United 

, p. 409. It is stated that when Smith withdrew from the Colony 

9, there was bat one carpenter left among the settlers. See Works 

pt, John Smith, p. 486. 

rown's Genesis of the United States, p. 446. 

olfe's Relation, see Neill's Virginia Company of London, p. 107. 

etc.** in the text of the Relation may include the other artisans. 

'andolph MSS., vol III, p. 143. 

TOL, II. — 2D 


was to be erected, was to be conveyed in fee simple, si 
jeet to a quit-rent of four pence.^ In a petition dra 
by the First Assembly which met in Virginia, for pre» 
tation to the Company in England, it was urged tl 
steps should ^be taken to dispatch working^en to i 
Colony who should be competent to erect the projecl 
college building, an indication that there were few i 
chanics among its population at this time.^ In compliai 
with this request apparently, a committee appointed b; 
Quarter Court, sitting in London in this year, recommenc 
that smiths, carpenters, bricklayers, brickmakers, and p 
ters should be transported to Virginia to be set down 
the lands assigned to the college.^ That the number 
the mechanics still remained unequal to the demand 1 
their services is shown by the letter, addressed to t 
Company in the winter of 1622 by the Governor a 
Council, stating that it had been decided to erect 
inn at Jamestown for the accommodation of persons w 
had just arrived, but that it was first necessary to seei] 
from England, carpenters, brickmakers, and bricklayei 
There was, the colonial authorities declared, a great la 
of such useful tradesmen, although all persons engaged 
these pursuits were remunerated at a generous rate.* 
few months subsequent to the transmission of this leiu 
Leonard Hudson, a carpenter, accompanied by five appre 

1 Virffinia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. II, p. 160. 
1»»U>, Kolft* expressed n^gret that there were at that time no carpenters: 
\'irgiiiia to make carts and ploughs. See }Vorks of Capt. John Snut. 
p. i>4l. 

* Lawes of Assembly, 1«19, Colonial lieconUi of Virginia, State Sei 
ate I>oct., Extra, 1874, p. Mk 

' Abstracts of Prtxeedings of the Virginia Company ofLvmbnu V'»l. ' 
p. 12. 

* Letter of Governor and Council, January. 102 U22, Xeill's Vtrgi^^ 
Compauij •'/ London, p. 284. 


tices, was sent to Virginia by the East India Company, 
which had undertaken to establish an English free school 
at Charles City. These mechanics were placed among the 
tenants on the college lands, and in a short time four of 
them perished from the effect of the change of climate.^ 

The necessity of importing mechanics belonging to a 
variety of trades did not cease with the existence of the 
Company. In 1638, many years after the dissolution of 
that organization, when a levy of tobacco was raised for 
the purpose of erecting a State House at Jamestown and 
putting the fort at Point Comfort in good repair, George 
Menefie, a prominent merchant in the Colony, was in- 
structed to visit England, and, with a part of the tobacco 
procured by the levy, engage men who were skilful in 
building such work.^ It was one of the most serious 
drawbacks attending the employment of the indented 
servant, that, save in the case of youths, the term was 
too brief to admit of education in a mechanical trade. 
Landowners of wealth sought to overcome this difficulty 
by instructing their English merchants to forward to Vir- 
ginia the mechanics whom they needed. Colonel Byrd 
not infrequently directed his correspondents in England 
to send him a carpenter, mason, or bricklayer, to take the 
place of one whose term was rapidly drawing to a close, 
and he always expressed a willingness under these cir- 
cumstances to pay a larger sum than was usual in the 
instance of the ordinary servant.^ Fitzhugh made similar 
requests of his English jnerchants, declaring, like Colonel 
Byrd, his readiness to go to extraordinary expense to ob- 
tain English mechanics, on the ground that he lost heavily 

1 Neiirs Virginia Company of London^ pp. 309, 374. 
« These instmctions will be found in British State Papers^ Colonial, 
Vol- X, No. 6. 

s Letters of Waiiam Byrd, Feb. 25, 16S3 ; May 31, 1686. 


in employing the tradesmen who were to be obtained in 
the Colony.^ 

The indentures which the planters and these imported 
mechanics entered into doubtless differed from each other 
in some details, although substantially alike. The agree- 
ment by which the services of Gerrard Hawthorne were 
secured was probably a typical one in its principal features. 
Hawthorne bound himself by covenant to serve Thomas 
Vause in Virginia for a period of three years, in consider- 
ation of which Vause agreed to pay the charges for the 
transportation of Hawthorne to the Colony, and to allow 
him after his arrival there sufQcient food, lodging, and 
clotliing ; to provide him with tools for working in the 
combined trades of carpenter, joiner, and cooper ; and at 
no time to make an assignment of him to other persons 
without his own consent. On the expiration of his term, 
Vause was required to make over to him a full title to the 
bedding, furniture, and tools which had been in his use in 
the course of his service, and also to convey to him a tract 
of land equal to fifty acres in area. Moreover, for the 
length of twelve months succeeding the close of his period 
of service, Vause agreed to continue to supply Hawthorne 
with food, shelter, apparel, and all other necessaries.^ The 

1 LpUpts of William Fitzhugk, June 7, 1681. In 1673, a carpenter, 
who was under articles of indenture to Samuel Trevillian of York County, 
was valued at eighteen pounds sterling. See Records of York County, 
vol. 1<J71-1(594, p. 59, Va. Stat« Library. 

2 lieconU of York County, vol. 1038-1048, p. 360, Va. State Library. 
The lengtli of the tenns for which these imported mechanics were en- 
gaged varied widely in different cases. John Graves of Brackley, North- 
amptonshire, entered into a contract with Richcird Kitchener of York 
County for four years only. At the end of that time, he was to own his 
workiniT tools. Graves was forty years of age. See Ibid.^ vol. 101)4- 
1702, p. 238, Va. St.ate Library. William Birch of London bound himself 
to Mr. Edward Wyrly of the same city, with a view to his transp)ortation 
to Virginia, for seven years. See Ibid., vol. 1067-1062, p. 350, Va. State 


liberal provisions of this indenture reveal not only the great 
anxiety of the planters to secure English mechanics, but 
also the difficulty of obtaining them without extending 
the most powerful inducements. 

The English meclianic emigrating to the Colony under 
indenture often brought tools with him which had been 
bought at the request of the planter in Virginia by the 
merchant acting as intermediary.^ The constantly recur- 
ring necessity of having to supply the place of a white 
mechanic whose term was drawing to a close by importing 
a successor, must have had an important influence in 
causing the planters to have their slaves instructed in 
trades. The coimty records of the seventeenth century 
reveal the presence . of many negro mechanics in the 
Colony during that period, this being especially the case 
with carpenters and coopers. This was what might be 
expected. The slave was inferior in skill, but the ordinary 
mechanical needs of the plantation did not demand the 
highest aptitude. The fact that tlie African was a ser- 
vant for life was an advantage covering many deficiencies; 
nevertheless, it is significant that large slaveholders like 
Colonel Byrd and Colonel Fitzhugh should have gone to 
the inconvenience and expense of importing English hand- 
icraftsmen who were skilful in the very trades in which 
it is certain that several of the negroes belonging to these 
planters had been specially trained. It shows the low esti- 
mate in which the planters held the knowledge of their 

slaves regarding the higher branches of mechanical work.^ 


1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, June 7, 1681. 

* Among the slaves of the first Kobert Beverley was a negro carpenter 
valued at thirty pounds sterling (see inventory on file at Middlesex C. H.). 
John Carter, Jr., of Lancaster owned a negro cooper (see Rpcords of 
Lancaster County, original V(»l. 1090-1700, p. 24). Ralph Wormeley of 
Middles>ex County owned both a negro cooper and a negro carpenter, 
each being valued at thirty-five pounds sterling {Records of Middlesex 



In the class of mechanics who were serving terms under 
the provisions of formal indentures, there must be in- 
cluded the numerous orphans and indigent children who 
were bound out to acquire proficiency in crafts. 

In 1656, it was provided that all orphans whose estates 
were not sufficient to meet the expense of their free educa- 
tion, or whose kinsmen or friends were unable to furmsh 
them support, should be instructed in the mysteries of 
manual pursuits until they reached their majority. Six* 
teen years later, the coimty courts were empowered to 
apprentice the sons of poor men to tradesmen up to the 
age of twenty-one, and to bind the daughters over to em- 
ployment suited to their sex until their eighteenth year. 
The church wardens of the different parishes were di- 
rected to present the names of the children who were thus 
to be placed with a view to their training in some manual 

There are many instances in the county records to show 
that the provisions of these laws were carried into prac- 
tice. In 1684, Samuel Bond was apprenticed to Benjamin 
Brock of York, a skilful carpenter, with a view to acquir- 
ing a knowledge of the trade of a wheelwright and turner. 
His term was to continue for five years. The mutual obli- 
gations assumed are worthy of enumeration. Bond agreed 
to keep inviolate the secrets of Ids master ; to obey liim 
with strictness and cheerfulness ; to inflict upon him no 
injury, and to warn him of impending harm if observed ; 
to commit no waste in using his property, and to refrain 
from lending dny portion of it to other persons. Bond 

County, original vol. 1698-171S, p. 130). In hia will, Tliomas Wythe of 
Elizabeth City County directed that his ** negro Tom doe tann as many 
hides yearlely as shall be needful! for both familys, that is, my mothtT's 
and mine.'' See Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1099, p. So, 
Va. State Library. 

^ Hening's Statutes, voL I, p. 416 ; voL II, p. 298. 


further agreed not to play cards or dice, or to haunt 
taverns, or to absent himself by day or night from his 
smployment, or to commit fornication. The master, on 
the other hand, agreed to instruct his apprentice in the 
special art of a wheelwright or turner ; to furnish him with 
the quantity of meat and drink which he needed ; to sup- 
ply him with clothing and lodging, and to allow him wash- 
ing ; and finally, the master bound himself not to withdraw 
\ike apprentice from the pursuit of the trade in which he 
Brished to become proficient, in order to compel him to 
»ke part in any branch of plantation work except the cul- 
iivation of maize, and only in this when the demand for 
lis assistance was pressing. At the end of the term pre- 
scribed. Brock agreed to give to his former apprentice a 
full set of wheelwright tools, a coat made of kersey, a serge 
suit, a new hat, two pairs of shoes and stockings, one shirt 
rf dowlas, and two of blue linen. ^ In the event that the 
master died before the expiration of the apprenticeship. 
Bond was to be required to serve only one-half of his 
kime, provided the death of Brock had occurred previous 
bo this point in the course of his term. If this was the 
case. Bond was to receive only the clothing which he had 
In his i)ossession when the apprenticeship began. If Brock 
died after Bond had served more than one-half of his term, 
the latter was to be allowed not only the same amount of 
clothing as was in his possession when he came to his mas- 
ter, but also the full set of tools used by wheelwrights. 

1 This was the common form of the English indenture for apprentices. 
rhe terms of ttie agreement between Bond and Brock were identical with 
those of the indenture given in a note in the second chapter on Servants. 
Beverley, referring to these provisions, states that ** besides their trade 
Uid schooling, the masters are generally obliged to give them (i.e. the 
ipprentices) at their freedom, cattle, tools or other things, to the value 
yl 5, 6, or 10.£ according to the age of the child when bound, over and above 
the usual quantity of com and clothes.^* History of Virginia^ p. 209. 




It was a notable part of the obligation assumed by Brock, 
reference to which has been deferred until the last, that 
he lK>and himself to instruct Bond in the art of writiog, 
and to teach him the science of arithmetic a clause in the 
indenture showing the enlightened interest of the court in 
the welfare of the apprentice as well as their desire to pro- 
mote the cause of education.^ 

It is not necessary to give in detail the contents of other 
indentures. Points of Tariance alone may be touched 
upon. In articles of agreement between Mrs. Phoebe 
Heale and John Keene of York, the son of the former 
was required to remain in the service of Keene until he 
reached his twentv-first birthdav. Not until he was eis^h- 
teen years of age, however, was he to begin to learn the 
mysteries of the trade of cooper, which was followed by 
Keene. Upon the attainment of his sixteenth birthdav, 
tlie apprentice was to receive from his master a heifer, the 
increase of which was to be carefully preserved until his 
term of service was ended, when delivery was to be made.* 

Thomas Best of Elizabeth City was assigned by his mas- 
ter in 1694 to a blacksmith for a period of seven years, 
witli a view to his instruction as a smith, at the end of 
which time he could claim a full set of the tools used 
in tliat trade, and the amount of grain and quantity of 
clothing allowed by the custom of the Colony.® In 1694, 

» Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, pp. 60, 61, Va. SUtc 
Library, in the articles by which Valentine Harvey, who was seven 
years of age, was bound as an apprentice to Daniel Wyld, the latter 
agreed to keep Harvey at school three or four years, provider! there was 
a Kchoohnaster in the parish. See Records of York County, vol. lOtU- 
1672, p. 201, Va. State Library. 

2 Records of York County, vol. 1676-1684, p. 84, Va. State Library. 

» Records of EUzaheth City County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 30, Va. State 
Librar>'. For the terms of another apprenticeship to a blacksmith, s^' 
Records of Northampton County, original vol. 1680-1GJ>2, p. 28. 


►, a child five years of age was apprenticed in the 
le county for a period of sixteen years. One of the 
ies to be performed on the part of the master was 
teach his youthful servant so that he should be able to 
i a chapter in the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, and the 
1 Commandments.^ Failure on the part of the master 
perform his agreement subjected him to the penalty 
a fine of five hundred pounds of tobacco. If he was 
Lnquent in delivering the suit of clothing, and the 
in which custom required of him, the same fine was 

f cases arose of children of the poorest classes showing 
LOUS propensities which their parents made no effort 
restrain or repress, the local courts stepped in and 
uired them to be placed in the care of competent and 
ustrious handicraftsmen. In 1694, there were three 
Idren in Elizabeth City County, the offspring of a 
man of bad character, who had become notorious for 
ir criminal conduct, the more remarkable as they were 
1 very young. They were inveterate thieves, finding 
efuge in the recesses of the woods. One of the three 
s a girl. The court placed her in the service of a 
nter and his wife who resided in the county, requiring 
m to provide her with food, clothing, and lodging and 
3 to instruct her sufficiently to enable her to read a 
,pter in the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten 
mmandments. One of the two remaining children was 
ind at first to a merchant, but on his requesting that 
should be transferred to a shoemaker, the court con- 


Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 30, Va. State 
rary. This was the usual provision of such an indenture. There is 
!eason to beli&ve that it was not strictly carried out. 

Ibid., p. 139; liecords of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 144, Va. 
;e Library. 


sented to conform to his wishes.^ In some instances, when :. 
the apprentice was still of tender years, his master was >. 
compelled by the court to put him to school, if a school- 
master was to be found in the parish.^ 

The class of free mechanics in Virginia was an impor- 
tant one in spite of its small number. As late as 1680, it b 
stated that a handicraftsman was regarded by the planteis 
with the highest esteem and courted with their utmost 
art.* That the supply of free tradesmen was unequal to 
the demand for their services was not to be attributed to 
any lack of encouragement on the part of the colonial 
administration. All of the early Governors received in- 
structions to promote the welfare of those engaged in the 
various mechanical pursuits, and to restrain any disposition 
on their part to abandon these pursuits with a view to 
producing tobacco. In 1621, Wyatt was directed to take 
steps to have young men trained as mechanics and to 
compel them to devote themselves to their busiue^ in 
preference to tobacco culture.* Ten years later, the 
statute 1 James I, C. 6, wliich relates especially to 
mechanics, was declared by the General Assembly to l)e 
in force in the Colony, and at the same time, an appeal 
was made to the Privy Council in England to encourage 

1 Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1609, pp. 38, 42, Va. 
State Library. 

2 Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 202, Va. State Library. 
' The following pa.ssage in support of this statement is from the Lift of 

Thomas Hellier, p. 28 : ** Many who were of mean education and obscure 
original beggars in their native soil, have by their drudging industry since 
their arrival in this country attained to something of estate. The gross 
fancies of such cloudy-pated persons will by reason of their invincible 
ignorance misplace their esteem on a tailor, smith, shoemaker or the 
like necessary handicraftsmen, courting such a one with Uieir utmort 
art and skill, when a scholar shall but be condemned and happily set at 

* Hening's Statutes, voL I, p. 116. 




lis and forego tobacco culture 

:i uf the public levies, but also 

ills exempted them in the boun- 

'!! j)ersonal arrest and from seizure 

I \ infut of debts which they had at 

M-tod elsewhere.^ The most favor- 

\ r}\ was unable to create a large and 

.■■iluinics in Virginia, that is to say, a 

ii; the trades, who earned their liveli- 

i.ited a competence in these pursuits 

i iind that no body of mechanics resem- 

t«»iind in England arose and flourished in 

•ir most hostile influence was perhaps the 

Hie currency. It was stated as early as 

absence of such a currency was a serious 

the advance in prosperity of the manual 

^ -li'cade later, the same imi)cdiment existed to 

discouraging degree. Ilarvey declared in a 

« rotary Windebank that mechanics positively 

■ fnllow their callings because they were com- 

:i»'r linishing their work, to wait for their remu- 

I until the crop of tobacco for the year had been 

•mI in and cured. In the interval, they complained, 

«mi)hiined justly, that they wanted the means with 

1 to support themselves and their families.^ To 

y this condition, a law was passed prescribing that 

jces of eight should be current as equal in value to 

lillings, irrespective of the metal entering into their 

ning^A Statutes, vol. II, p. 470. 

veriior and Council to Trivy Council, Brithh State Papers, Colo- 

»L IV, No. 10; Sainsbnrif Abstracts for 1626, p. 143, Va. State 


vemor Harvey to Secretary AVindebank, British State Papen^ 
iZ, vol. IX, No. 17 ; Saiiishnrif Abstracts for 1626^ p. 161, Yfti 




in the culture of tobacco. Levies for the support of the 
Church were not included in the exemption. Relief of 
any one class in the community from taxation, however 
important that class might be considered, to encourage its 
members in their business, was an experiment which could 
not be carried out without imposing hardships on the indi- 
viduals of other classes ; this was foreseen when the law 
was passed, for it was ordered that the statute should only 
remain in operation for three years. This length of time, 
it was expected, would give ample opportunity to test its 
merits. It was suspended before the first year had ex- 
pired, the suspension to continue during five years, this 
provision having been suggested entirely by the poverty of 
the times. ^ It would seem that handicraftsmen at the end 
of this period were again exempted from the payment 
of levies by the revival of the same law. This is the 
inference to be drawn from the statute of 1672, passed 
ten years after the temporary revocation of the original 
privilege. Only youths below the age of sixteen who 
were really apprentices were excepted from the operation 
of this Act, which placed all mechanics upon the footing 
of the ordinary citizen in the matter of taxation, whatever 
usage prevailed to the contrary. ^ That it should have 
been necessary to pass such a law, is an indication that the 
artisans had previously been relieved from taxation on the 
ground that the interests of the community demande<l 
that they should be especially encouraged in the pursuit 
of their trades. 

The celebrated Act of Cohabitation, adopt-ed in 1G80, 
provided for the restoration of all the special privileges 
which in the past had been granted for the encouragement 
of the mechanical trades. It not only relieved the per- 
sons engaged in these trades, who would take up their resi- 

1 Ueiiing's Statutes, vol. II, p. 179. 2 75^.^ p. 307. 


dence in the projected towns and forego tobacco culture 
altogether, of the burden of the public levies, but also 
during a period of five years exempted them in the boun- 
daries of their towns from personal arrest and from seizure 
of their goods for the payment of debts which they had at 
a previous time contracted elsewhere.^ The most favor- 
able legislation, however, was unable to create a large and 
prosperous class of mechanics in Virginia, that is to say, a 
class of men following the trades, who earned their liveli- 
hood and accumulated a competence in these pursuits 
alone. It was natural that no body of mechanics resem- 
bling those to be found in England arose and flourished in 
the Colony. The most hostile influence was perhaps the 
lack of a metallic currency. It was stated as early as 
1626, that the absence of such a currency was a serious 
obstruction to the advance in prosperity of the manual 
trades.^ A decade later, the same impediment existed to 
a still more discouraging degree. Harvey declared in a 
letter to Secretary Windebank that mechanics positively 
refused to follow their callings because they were com- 
pelled, after finishing their work, to wait for their remu- 
neration until the crop of tobacco for the year had been 
gathered in and cured. In the interval, they complained, 
and complained justly, that they wanted the means with 
which to support themselves and their families.^ To 
modify this condition, a law was passed prescribing that 
all pieces of eight should be current as equal in value to 
five shillings, irrespective of the metal entering into their 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 476. 

* Governor and Council to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colo- 
nial, vol. IV, No. 10; Saiiisbury Abstracts for 1626, p. 143, Va. State 

* Governor Harvey to Secretary Windebank, British State Papers, 
Colonial, vol. IX, No. 17; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1626, p. 101, Va. 
State Library. 

r r-"-- - -^.^^^^^^ 


composition. It was soon seen that this provision, which 
sought to give a fictitious value to coin intrinsically com- 
paratively worthless, was more calculated to injure than 
to promote the welfare of the tradesmen. It was, there- 
fore, determined that only silver pieces of eight should be 
accepted as worth five shillings and to pass current at 
that valuation.^ 

The influences which operated to depress the general 
condition of the trades remained in force down to 1700, 
and appeared to be just as strong at the end as in the 
middle of the century. The free mechanic was still com- 
pelled to pass from plantation to plantation in search of 
work, and a large part of his time was absorbed in these 
journeys, owing to the great distance intervening between 
the different estates. He was still remunerated for his 
services, not in coin, but in the staple of the country, 
which could be delivered only at one season in the year. 
In performing his tasks, therefore, he either expected 
payment to be made many months subsequently, when a 
crop not yet in the ground or only recently planted had 
been gathered in, granting that it escaped the numerous 
casualties to which tobacco was subject while in the 
hill, or he received his fee in small parcels of that com- 
modity, which it was both inconvenient and expensive 
to transport to his own home.^ Having obtained these 
parcels, there was no market in which he could use them 
in the purchase of supplies of meal and bread. He could 
not always rely upon his neighbors to buy them. He 
was, therefore, almost forced to produce grain and breed 
live stock, even if he did not cultivate tobacco. This is 
only one of the many instances in the economic history of 
Virginia in the seventeenth century, of the obstructive 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 397. 

2 Ilartwell, Chilton, and Blair'S Present State of Virginia, 1007, p. 8. 


influence exercised upon the material prosperity of all 
classes in the Colony by the enforced use of its staple 
crop as a substitute for coin. That commodity was not 
only an agricultural product, but also a currency in which 
every form of payment was made, public or private. It 
was not unnatural that many persons who had been 
trained in the mechanical arts should have preferred to 
obtain tobacco, not by doing mechanical work, but by 
tilling the ground, an impulse which was encouraged by 
the abundance of lands still in a condition of the highest 

In the early history of Virginia, an attempt was made 
bo establish a general tariff of rates, in conformity with 
which the free mechanics were to receive remuneration 
for their labor. Thus it was provided by the first Assem- 
bly, which met in 1619, that a person engaged in a 
mechanical pursuit should be paid according to the qual- 
ity of his trade, and if the amount of his wages was not 
prescribed by the terms of a contract, its determination 
was to be left to the officers of the district in which the 
work was performed.^ In 1623, the rewards of mechan- 
ics varied from three to four pounds of tobacco a day in 
iddition to an allowance of food.^ This was extraordi- 
nary, as each pound of merchantable tobacco at this time 
was equal in value to two and a half and even to three 
shillings. It is not surprising that George Sandys should 
liave declared that the compulsory rates of wages in Vir- 
^nia during the period of his treasurership imposed a 
burden almost intolerable. Twenty years subsequent to 
this utterance, the scale of the remuneration received by 
handicraftsmen employed in the erection of Forts Charles 

1 Lawes of Assembly, 1619, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate 
Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 22. 

3 Letter of George Sandys, Nellies Virginia VetusUiy p. 123. 



and James was, for the work of each day, seven pounds 
of tobacco. The value of a pound at this time did not 
exceed two pence. The daily wages of these mechanics 
were one shilling and a few pence, perhaps equal to about 
one-fourth of the modem English pound sterling, no 
insignificant return for the industry of a few hours, even 
after allowance has been made for the expense incurred 
in transporting and selling the tobacco.^ Instances are 
found about the middle of the century, and they were 
probably not uncommon in every part of it, of the pay- 
ment of what was due mechanics for their labor, in the 
form of goods or live-stock; thus in 1647, the court 
of York County instructed Joan Trotter to deliver to 
Edward Grimes, in return for carpentry work, one pair 
of shoes, a green rug, and eight poultry.^ How large were 
the sums in which many of the planters became indebted 
to mechanics for tasks completed under terms of con- 
tracts is illustrated in the instance of Edward Digges, 
against whom John Mead, a member of that class, brought 
in an account amounting to three hundred and one pounds 
sterling, six shillings and eleven pence, representing in 
value perhaps as much as seven thousand five hundred 
dollars in our present American currency.® The Act 
passed in 1662 for the purpose of encouraging the erection 
of towns, fixed the wages of the carpenters to be employed 
in this work at thirty pounds of tobacco a day, in addition 
to rations of food ; brickmakers and bricklayers were to 
be paid for each one thousand bricks moulded and laid, 
while the remuneration of sawyers was to be measured by 
the nimiber of feet included in the timber they supplied.* 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, pp. 293, 294. 

2 Records of York County, vol. 1(^8-1048, p. 309, Va. State Library. 

* ralmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, vol. I, p. 4. 

♦ Ilening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 172. 


A clear insight into what was considered at this time to 
be a just reward for the services of free mechanics may be 
obtained from an order of the General Court with reference 
to the fort at Point Comfort. The county of Nansemond 
was commanded to supply forty men to take part in its 
restoration ; Lower Norfolk was to furnish thirty, Warwick 
twenty-five, and Elizabeth City twenty. It is probable 
that only a few of them were skilful, as each ship arriving 
in the river was required to detail one carpenter for the 
work. Whatever the numerical proportion between the 
mechanics and ordinary laborers amongst the men im- 
pressed into service on this occasion, all received the same 
wages, amounting in each instance to twenty pounds of 
tobacco.^ The carpenter of the sloop of war hired by the 
authorities of the Colony during the administration of 
Culpeper was paid monthly at the rate of one pound and 
fifteen shillings.^ That this was smaller than the sum 
generally allowed a mechanic in that situation is shown by 
the wages of Edward Denerell, who served in the same ca- 
pacity on board of the Edmond and Elizabeth of Hampton 
River ; in this instance, it was fifty-five shillings a month.^ 

1 General Court Orders, March 20, 1660, Bobinson Transcripts, pp. 112, 

2 McDonald Papers, vol. VI, p. 198, Va. State Library. 

» Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1699, p. 437, Va. State 
library. The following bill will give some notion as to the charges made 
by coopers and carpenters about 1656: **Col. Yardley deb? for worke 
done for his proper use, viz. for building a dwelling house of 20 foote 
equare with a lodging chamber and a buttery and a chimnye, all neces- 
saries belonging to a dwelling house, 600 lbs. tobo ; for settinge up of six 
tonne of caske, the one halfe coming to me by condition, 300 lbs. ; for 
making too bulke heads in his sloope, 40 lbs. ; for the making of a cradle 
to shale com, 90 lbs. ; mending of one cart putting a new bottome in it 
and ye sides, 50 lbs. ; mending of 5 hogsheads newheaded and hooped and 
the making of a new hogshead, G5 lbs. ; making of one newe chume, 60 lbs. ; 
making of two newe milking pailes and a paile for ye sloope, 76 lbs.; for 
^e hooping of 4 Duty anchors and making new coverlids, 48 lbs. ; for the 

VOL. II. — 2 b 


While it would be erroneous to say that as a general 
class the free mechanics of Virginia in the seventeenth 
century enjoyed even a moderate degree of prosperity from 
the mere pursuit of their trades, there are nevertheless 
many evidences that numerous individuals belonging to 
this class were men in possession of considerable wealth, 
derived, there is reason to think, as much from the cultiva- 
tion of tobacco on their own account, as from the accumula- 
tion of the proceeds of their mechanical work in the service 
of their neighbors.^ The trade of the blacksmith was perhaps 
the least remunerative of all the callings of that genend 
character, since, the roads being level and free from stones, 
it was the habit of the planters to allow their horses to go 
unshod. Iron was also in that age a costly metal, and as a 
rule quite probably was to be found only in small quan- 
tities in the smithies.^ The blacksmith seems to have pe^ 
formed sometimes the functions of a silversmith ; he was 
also often engaged in mending guns which had been 
broken or injured in barrel or lock, or in restoring the 
temper of damaged swords.^ In 1691, a complaint was 

hooping of an English hogshead and making a new coverlid onto it for> 
powdering tub, SO lbs.; cutting of an English tearce in two and new 
hooping of them and putting new eares to them, 24 lbs.; mending of » 
cheese presse, 25 lbs. ; setting up two shelves of plank in the house, 10 lbs." 
Records of Lower Norfolk County^ original vol. 1651-1656, f . p. 180. 

1 Joseph lloUowel of Lower Norfolk County, in two deeds of convey- 
ance, refers to himself in one as a planter, in the other, as a carpenter. 
These deeds will be found together in Records of Lower Xorfolk Countn, 
original vol. 1680-1605, f. p. 182. See, also, an instance in Ibid.y original 
vol. 1675-1086, p. 199. Another instance is that of John Gibson of Lan- 
caster County, original vol. lt>66-1682, pp. :U0, ASS. 

^ The following is an enumeration of the contents of one of the black- 
smiths* shops belonging to Ralph Wormeley : •* 1000 lbs. trash iron, 1 pr. 
bellowes, 1 anvil, 1 back iron, 4 great vices, 4 hand vices, screwplatt^*. 
taps, files, hammers, tongs." Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 
1698-1713, p. 126. 

» Records of Elizabeth City County, vol, 1684-1699, pp. 20, 152, Vs. 


offered to the General CoiiH by the commander of the 
militia that the men of this craft had refused to put the 
muskets of the soldiers in condition for use because they 
-were to receive in return tobacco alone.^ 

At times, it was found necessary to regulate the ac- 
counts of blacksmiths, owing to their exorbitant charges ; 
in reality, it is probable that they made their fees large in 
order to insure themselves against the fluctuations in the 
price of tobacco, the medium in which they were paid.^ 
The county records of the period show that persons in this 
calling were able to acquire small estates. There is an in- 
stance in Rappahannock County in 1671 in which a black- 
smith appears as a purchaser of a tract of land; in a second 
instance, another disposed of one part of his plantation for 
four thousand pounds of tobacco, and at a later time, of a 
second part for two thousand.^ Among the blacksmiths 
of York who were owners of small areas of ground were 
Owen Davies, James Derbyshire, and William Rice. In 
1684, Walter Binford of Lower Norfolk County purchased 
a tract of land covering seventy acres.* Isaac Coding, in 
1677, bought a plantation of one hundred acres in Middle- 
sex.^ Daniel Flaher held one hundred and fifty acres in 
Lancaster, and Joseph Depre two Jiundred and sixty.® In 

State Library. Fitzhugh, writing to a correspondent in Bristol, whom he 
had instructed to purchase certain pieces of silver, directs him to leave the 
plate untouched, as he had in his own service in Virginia a man who was 
»* a singular good engraver." Letters of William FUzhngh, July 21, 1698. 
The inventory of the Sheets personal estate included a fall set of goldsmith's 
tools. See Records of Henrico County ^ original vol. 1097-1704, p. 208. 
1 Records of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 141, Va. State Library. 

* Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 11. 

« Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1671-1676, p. 232, Va. State 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. p. 170. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1673-1685, p. 109. 

* Records of Lancaster County, original voL 1687-1700, p. 64 ; Ibid,, 
original vol. 1666-1682, p. 222. 


1653, John Williams acquired two handled acres in North- 
ampton County. Charles Parker was still more pro6pe^ 
ous ; at his death, he devised not only several extensive 
tracts of land, but also a watei^mill.^ 

The trade of a cooper was far more profitable, the field 
offered for the exercise of skill being a wider one. In the 
account which has been given of the agricultural develop- 
ment of the Colony from decade to decade, the importance 
of this calling appears clearly from the number of regula- 
tions adopted by the General Assembly for its govern- 
ment. There were few more important articles connected 
with the economy of the plantation than the hogsheads in 
which the tobacco, when cured, was stored for shipment 
It was the business of the cooper to manufacture these 
receptacles, an occupation in which a handsome remunera- 
tion was assured owing to the abundance of the work ; it 
is not surprising, therefore, to discover that this class of 
tradesmen were in possession of considerable tracts of real 
estate and owned many kinds of personalty. Numerous 
patents to public lands were obtained by them. In 1657 
alone, two were issued, aggregating seven hundred and fifty 
acres. In the following year, William Strowder, a cooper, 
obtained a patent to five hundred acres, and in the course 
of the same year, Richard White, also a cooper, was one of 
three persons who acquired a grant to a thousand on the 
basis of the transportation of twenty servants.^ Additional 
instances derived from the same source might be offered. 

In 1667, Edward Palmer, a cooper, is found in posses- 
sion of a plantation in York.^ About the same time, John 
Dangerfield, who belonged to the same calling, disposed of 

^ Records of Northampton County^ original vol. 1657-1666, orders 
Jan. 27, 1«53 ; Ibid., original vol. 1089-1698, p. 270. 

' Va. Land Patents, vol. 1055-1064, pp. 144, 103. 283, :m. 

3 Becords of York County^ vol. 1664-1672, p. 191, Va. Sute Library. 


the half interest which he held in a very large tract lying 
in Rappahannock.^ There are later instances in the his- 
tory of this county of sales and purchases of land by men 
in this .pursuit ranging from one hundred to five hundred 
acres. The record of the trade in Elizabeth City County is 
substantially the same. In one instance in that county, a 
cooper paid as much as seventy pounds sterling for a tract 
of two hundred and fifty acres, a sum equivalent in value to 
nearly eighteen hundred dollars in our modern currency.^ 

Coopers enjoyed unusual prosperity in Lower Norfolk. 
Dennis Dalby, in that county, was in 1674 in possession of 
six hundred acres.^ In 1689, Henry Snagle owned in one 
body seven hundred and fifty acquired by patent. Thomas 
Salley is found in 1685 selling five hundred acres. In 1690, 
Robert Butt purchased six hundred and fifty.* Moses 
Prescott, Humphrey Smith, Thomas Miller, and George 
Ballentine were also among the members of the same call- 
ing who were owners of land. 

The personal property bequeathed by coopers was often 
of considerable value measured by the accumulations of 
the seventeenth century. John Keene died in York 
County in 1693, having left to each of his three sons five 
head of cattle and fifteen pounds sterling ; and the same 
number of cattle and the same amount of money were 
bequeathed by him to each of his daughters.^ 

1 Records of Eappahannock County, vol. 1668-1672, p. 239, Va. State 

2 Records of Elizabeth City County y vol. 1684-1699, p. 368, Va. State 

» Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, p. 186. 

« Ibid., original vol. 1686-1695, f. pp. 108, 129 ; Ibid,, original vol. 1675- 
16W), f, p. 205. 

» Records of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. :^16, Va. State Library. 
A cooper's inventory will be found in Records of York County, voL 1690- 
1694, p. 358, Va. State Library. 


There are many indications that the estates of men who 
followed this branch of mechanics were not derived from 
the pursuit of their calling alone ; they were not only 
engaged in planting tobacco, but also in some cases in 
selling merchandise in the character of factors. In 1693, 
Messrs. Perry and Lane, who were deeply interested in the 
trade of Virginia, made to a cooper a consignment of goods 
valued at forty-two pounds sterling, representing a great 
variety of articles, such as ironware, spices, drugs, liquors, 
hats, stockings, shoes, and cloths.^ 

Persons engaged in the pursuit of carpentry in general 
combined with it the trades of wheelwright, turner, and 
joiner. There are numerous evidences that many of these 
persons were thrifty and prosperous, most probably because 
they were able to unite other callings with the coordinate 
branches of mechanics which they followed. Among the 
first grants recorded in the Colony was one to Richard 
Tree, to whom fifty acres were in 1623 assigned by patent 
at Jamestown. Nor was this the only case at this early 
period in which a tradesman of this kind secured tracts of 
public land either in fee simple or by lease for a long term 
of years. Towards the middle of the century, however, the 
patent books show that but few patents were obtained 
either by carpentei's or any other handicraftsmen. ^ During 
many years previous to 1648, John Hewitt was the only 
mechanic who appeared as a patentee.^ In 1755, John 
Motley of Wicocomico, a carpenter, acquired a grant in 
Westmoreland County of six hundred acres on the basis 
of the transportation of twelve persons.* Subsequent 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1690-1694, p. 361, Va. State Library. 

2 Va, Land Patents, vol. 1623-1643, Tree, p. 19. For other instances, 
see Ibid., pp. H, 98. Thomas Passinore, a carpenter, also held property in 
Jamestown. See Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. I, p. 89. 

« Va. Land Patents, 1643-1651, p. 138. 
* Ibid,, 1662-1G50, p. 349. 


instances, in which patents to tracts of considerable extent 
were secured by persons in this pursuit, might be given. 

Still more numerous were the private conveyances in 
which a carpenter was either the grantor or the grantee. 
Only the most important can be mentioned. In 1669, 
John Waggener purchased a large tract in Rappahannock 
County in consideration of fifty-five hundred pounds of 
tobacco, and in a short time he transferred the property 
to Henry Lucas, who was a member of the same calling. 
John Williams of the same county was the owner of eigh- 
teen hundred acres.^ The most prominent and prosperous 
of all the carpenters of Rappahannock was Thomas Madi- 
son, whose name appeara with great frequency in the records 
as a seller or purchaser of land ;^ at his death, he had to his 
credit in England seventy pounds sterling, a proof that the 
means which he had accumulated had been gained, at least 
in part, by shipments of tobacco to the mother country .^ 

John Ladd of Lower Norfolk in 1672 disposed of four 
hundred acres, and, a few years later, Mathew Causwell 
of the same county, of two hundred. In 1685, Robert 
Cartwright became the purchaser of five hundred acres. 

In the succeeding decade, Augustin Whiddon bequeathed 
several large tracts to members of his family.^ Thomas 

1 Becords of Bappahannock County^ vol. 1668-1072, pp. 141, 142. See, 
also, Ibid., pp. 69, 81, 143; Williams, Ibid,, vol. 1656-1664, p. 88; also 
vol. 1666-1664, p. 124 ; vol. 1680-1688, p. 06 ; vol. 1677-1682, pp. 146, 
364, Va. State Library. 

2/6iJ., vol. 1668-1672, pp. 48, 59, 216, Va. State Library; Ibid., 
original vol. 1666-1664, p. 149. 

» Ibid., vol. 1664-1673, p. 78, Va. State Library. Madison is sometimes 
referred to as **ship carpentet." 

♦ Becords of Lower Norfolk County, Ladd, original vol. 1666-1675, 
p. 121 ; Causwell, original vol. 1676-1686, f. p. 181 ; Cartwright, Ibid., 
t p. 206; Whiddon, original vol. 1686-1695. f. p. 190. See, also. Ibid., 
original vol. 1661-1656, f. p. 133; original vol. 1695-1703. p. 80; original 
vol. 1686-1695, t pp. 87, 116, 164; original voL 1666-1676, pp. 148, 167, 


Smith, a carpenter of York, on one occasion bought several 
hundred acres of Joseph Croshaw.^ On another, William 
Foster of Northampton sold fifteen hundred,^ and Robert 
Wilson of Accomac, twelve hondred.' 

Powers of attorney to persons who resided at a great 
distance from the grantors, entry of which in the countr 
records so often occurs in the case of carpenters, indicates 
that many members of this calling, occasionally at least, 
traded in toUicco, for such powers were not always con- 
ferred for the collection of what was due them for mechan- 
ical work. That men of this craft belonged to a class 
enjoying unusual advantages is shown by the fact that 
many could sign their names, an accomplishment which 
was by no means general at that day.^ 

A full set of the tools used by carpenters probably 
averaged about one pound sterling and ten shillings in 
value ; the appraisement of a combined set of carpenters, 
cooper's, and joiner's tools amounted in many cases to 
four jx)unds sterling.^ The number and variety owned 
by some members of these trades at this time would seem 
to show that they not uncommonly retained several appren- 
tices and servants in their employment, and that they were 
often in a position to undertake contracts for building on 
an important scale. A single instance may be mentioned. 
An inventory of the personal estate of Mr. John Cumber 

182. The inventory of a carpenter's personal estate in this county will 
be found in original vol. \(\'yi-V)oi\, f. p. 205. 

* Uncords of Ynrk Connfj, v.)l. l'»57-irrf52, p. 193, Va. State Library. 

* Jiecords of Xorthampton County, oriidnal vdI. 1»V>8-16S0, p. 1. 

* Jiecords of Acromac County^ oripnal vol. lf)76-1690, p. 9. St^e. al>o. 
Becords of Middlesex County, original vol. 1679-1094, pp. 82, 388 ; Record* 
of Lanraster County, original vol. 1087-1709, pp. 10, 70. 

* Jiecords of liapp^ihannock County, vol. 1008-1072, p, 240, Va. State 
Librarj-; Jipcords of Yf^rk County, vol. 1084-1(>87. p. 119, Va. State Librar). 

* Jiecords of Henrico County^ original vol. 1097-1704, p. 135. 


CO was presented in court in 1679.^ It reveals 
hat his tools were at the time of his death lying 
ifferent places in the county. It will be interest- 
imerate them. At Mr. Cox's, there were one jack- 
e smoothing plane* and four small plough planes, 
two bramble bits, one keyhole saw, a quarter-inch 
3 and a half inch gouge, a half-inch and a quar- 
ihort auger, a one-half inch and one-quarter inch 
chisel, two mortising chisels, one gimlet, one pair 
isses, one pair of piercers, two hand-irons for a 
.athe, a chalk line, two wooden gauges one-half 
re, and one tool chest. 

. Radford's, there were one band-saw, a pocket- 
;k and line, one two-inch and one half-inch auger, 
3thing and eight small narrow planes, one hold- 
hammer, a bench hook, four small pincer bits, 
a hand-saw, one inch and one half-inch heading 
broad turning chisel, one paring and one half-inch 
chisel, two gimlets, a quarter-inch gouge, and a 
cer bit, two small squares, one gauge, one bow-saw, 
mir of compasses. 

ling Creek Mill, there were two broad axes, three 
ir augers, three chisels, one whip and three hand- 
i foreplane, two hammers, one pair of compasses, 
k line, and two files. At Mr. John Hudlesy's, 
re two chisels and one small jack-plane, 
meral way, it may be said, that the equipment of 
nter for his trade comprised hand, cross-cut, and 
saws, half-inch augers, auger bits, chisels, claw- 
, files, narrow and broad axes, adzes, hatchets, 
smoothing planes, rabbit planes, foreplanes, creas- 
lalf-inch round planes, parting and turning gouges, 
boxes. Leather doublets doubtless formed a part 

of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 106, Va. State Library. 


of the outfit of the carpenter as well as of the black- 

The shipwright was as prominent as the carpenter in 
the economic system of the Colony. The resources of 
Virginia for ship-building were* recognized at the time of 
the earliest exploration of the country, the height, girtlu 
and variety of the trees being one of the most remarkable 
features of the valleys adjacent to the streams. Smith 
commented on the fine quality of the timber for the con- 
struction of vessels^ and he referred to it as a source d 
wealth if properly used.^ Experienced shipwrights who 
visited the Colony at an early period in its history, stated 
that nowhere in the world could more suitable material 
for ship-building be found than that which abounded 
everywhere in its forests:* this fact was so well known 
in England by report, that it was proposed that the Eng- 
lish Government should draw its supply for the constrac- 
tiori of vessels entirely from Virginia, and on account of 
the inexhaustible quantity obtainable there, that the Eng- 
lish navy should lie annually increased by the building of 
two ships of a thousand tons burden for a period of ten 
vears. Not onlv would the defences of the mother countrr 
Iv strenvjthened in this wav, but its small area of woods 
would not be further reduced.*^ It wiis calculated iIkU 
Holland and England exjH?uded one million doUans annu- 
ally in the purchase of >hip timber.* 

The first vessel of Virvrinian construction was built 
i>re\ious to loll, and was equiil in weight to twelve or 

- •' KeUuK.>u or ih^ t*rv«uc Siii:*; ot Vlrzi3.ii cj WrJinn IVr5«," Kciirs 

^ Cn.L»uiii B.ii.^.v** tV'i^^-c. D*jint*stiir '.'tt. Jihk^ /, toI. ISv. No. "W: 
^ # I A** * • y I '-f^'urCf . • ' .- : oX'.A V- 1 -V . V J, Sm > L :, nr v . 


ihirteen tons.^ In 1613, the construction of a much heavier 
ihip was ordered at Point Comfort by ArgoU, who had just 
returned from a voyage on the tributaries of #the Chesa- 
peake, where he had obtained from the Indians a large 
^argo of grain for the use of the colonists. Leaving the 
vessel, which was in the course of building, in the hands 
3f his carpenters, he made a second voyage to the Potomac. 
WTien he again arrived at Point Comfort, he pressed for- 
irard the building of his frigate, and upon its completion, 
lispatched it under the command of one of his subordinate 
officers to Cape Charles, where its crew were to engage 
n catching fish for the people at Jamestown. He also 
Miused a fishing boat to be constructed at the Point as 
toon as the vessel was finished. The plank which entered 
nto this ship and boat was obtained on the spot, the timber 
iLSving been cut down and prepared by members of Argoll's 

It was claimed by those who condemned the manner in 
irhich the Colony's affairs were managed by Sir Thomas 
Smyth, that at the end of his term, about 1618, there was 
n Virginia only one ancient frigate, which really belonged 
o the Somers Isles, a shallop, a ship-boat, and two small 
K>ats which were the property of private individuals.^ 
C*his statement was emphatically denied by members of 
lie Warwick faction, who declared, to the contrary, that 
ti the course of this administration, barges, shallops, pin- 
L^ces, and frigates had been built, an assertion not sup- 
orted by the facts.* In 1620, when the new government 
'^id taken a firm hold, and were pursuing a most energetic 

1 Molina's Report of the Voyage to Virginia, Spanish Archives, Brown's 
^^nesis of the United States, p. 620. 

* Argoll to Hawes, Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 644. 

« Dificourse of the Old Company, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. 
ft. No. 40 ; Virginia Magaisine of History and Biography, vol. I, p. 157. 

* Koyal Hist. MSS. Commission, Eighth Report^ Appx., p. 45. 


and enlightened policy, John Wood, who, as has 
previously stated, had been interested in the transport 
of cattle to i^he Colony, petitioned the Quarter Comi: 
he should be permitted to have the use of a certain : 
on Elizabeth River, covered with fine timber, and 
abutting on water sufficiently deep to allow the 
launching of vessels. He proposed to build ships fo 
service of the Company, and his proposal was received 
sufficient favor by the latter to be recommended t< 
consideration of the Governor and Council in Virg 
These authorities are found entreating the Compai 
the following yeai* to carry out the project which 
body now had under advisement, of sending shipwi 
to the Colony for the purpose of supplying the inhabi 
with vessels of various sorts, the need of which, the 
emor and Council urged, prevented the prosecuti( 
further discovery in Virginia or the extension of 
with the Indians, or an easy passage from one settle 
to another.* 

Many members of the Company now consented h 
vance a sum of money for the purpose of defraying 
expense of securing and forwarding skilful working 
Lord Southampton and Sir Edwin Sandys contribi 
for this purpose two hundred pounds apiece.^ A short 
after these subscriptions were obtained, in order to faciJ 
and hasten the labors of the shipwrights and forty cai 
tors who were to be sent out from England in the fo 
ing spring, the Governor and Council in Virginia 
directed by a Quarter Court to cut down many white 

* Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London^ ' 
p. 88. 

2 Letter from Oovernor and Council in Virginia, January, Ifii] 
Neiirs Virginia Company of Loudon, p. 285. 

' Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London^ ^ 
p. 141. 


black oaks, and in November and December to strip the 
bark from others then standing. The Company was under 
the impression that the ironworks and the saw-mills which 
had been erected were in full operation, and relied upon 
both to furnish the shipwrights with the iron and plank 
which would be required. If the furnaces and mills were 
still incomplete, then the workmen could accomplish noth- 
ing.^ In conformity with the previous announcement. 
Captain Barwick and twenty-five ship-carpenters were dis- 
patched to Virginia in the following spring. They were 
to be employed only in the trade in which they had been 
educated.* The band were commended to the particular 
care of Treasurer Sandys, who was instructed to seat them 
upon a tract of land containing twelve hundred acres of 
fine timber, and to allow them the use of four oxen for 
dragging the logs from the forest to the spot where they 
would carry on their work. Captain Barwick and his car- 
penters establislied themselves at Jamestown. At first, 
they were employed in erecting houses to afford shelter 
for themselves, and afterwards were engaged in building 
shallops. It was in shallops, rather than in ships, that the 
tobacco was transported, for the latter were too heavy in 
draught to make their way into the creeks. It was not 
long before six or seven of the carpenters had succumbed 
to the deadly influences of the climate. Captain Barwick 
also perished. This appears to have caused their mission 
to end in failure.^ 

The Company had been very solicitous for the erection 
of saw-mills in Virginia with a view to house and sliip 
building ; in the Second Supply, sent to Virginia under 

1 Company's Letter, August, 1621, NeilPs Virginia Company of Lon- 
don, p. 239. 

« Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 571. 

• Boyal Hist. MSS. Commission, Eighth Report, Appx., p. 39. 


the command of Newport, Poles and Dutchmen had been 
included for the purpose, among others, of erecting mills 
of this character.^ In 1619, there were forwarded both mea 
and material with the same object in view, and at a later 
date trained workmen were procured from Hamburg.^ No 
saw-mill had been erected in England previous to 1633.^ 
In the course of January, 1622, information was received 
from Virginia of an interview between a prominent citizen 
of that Colony and a Dutch captain who had proposed to 
introduce a mastei^workman from Holland for the con- 
struction of saw-mills propelled by the wind. It is not 
stated that this project was carried out.* Wyatt was 
enjoined to erect mills for sawing, and in doing so, to choose 
sites immediately adjacent to the Falls of the Powhatan, in 
order that the lumber might be brought thither by means 
of water.^ With these facilities for obtaining planks and 
with a vast abundance of the finest timber, one or more 
ships were probably constructed during the treasurership 
of Sandys for the use of the Colony, as four at that time 
wei*e in the possession of the settlers, a very small number 
it is true, but sufficient for the needs of tlie inhabitants. 
The number of boats built in the course of the same 
period is calculated to have been ten times larger than 
during the administration of Sir Thomas Smyth.® 

It is probable that some of the most skilful boatwrights 

1 Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 434. 

2 Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, pp. 67, 
76, 84. These Dutchmen were in a short time permitted to return, the 
scheme having been found impracticable. See Royal Hist. MtSS. Com- 
mission, Eighth Report, Appx., p. 46. 

8 Bishop's History of Americnn Manufactures, vol. I, p. 9»3. 

* Letter of Governor and Council in Virginia, January, 1621-22, Neill's 
Virginia Company of London, p. 286. 

* Hening*8 Statutes, vol. I, p. 116. 

* Discourse of the Old Company, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. 
Ill, No. 40; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. I, p. 159. 


in the Colony perished in the great massacre of 1622. It 
would be inferred from a letter of George Sandys to John 
Ferrer, written after that terrible event, that there were 
few if any persons then in Virginia who could lay claim 
to special knowledge of ship-building. It seems that a 
pinnace had been driven ashore at Elizabeth City, where 
it was lying in the state of a wreck. Sandys instructed 
an agent to make an examination of her condition and 
to proceed with his men to repair the damage which 
she had suflfered. None of these, as well as others who 
were ordered to give assistance, deserved, in the opinion 
of Sandys, the name of shipwright. As the Treasurer was 
a public official who commanded the best resources of the 
Colony in the way of handicraftsmen, it seems unlikely 
that he would be content to leave the restoration of the 
pinnace to its original state in the hands of unskilful 
mechanics, if it had been in his power to obtain at James- 
town, or at any other settlement in Virginia, men who 
were thoroughly competent to make the repairs required.^ 
In the interval between the revocation of the charter 
of the Company and the appointment of Harvey to the 
governorship, ship-building in Virginia apparently fell 
into complete decay. In 1632, Harvey informed the Lord 
Commissioners in England that recently some beginning 
had been made in this industry in the Colony.^ Saw- 
mills at least had been erected to furnish the plank.^ 
This beginning must have been followed up with little 
energy, for only three years later, Devries, on arriving at 
JamestONvn and discovering that his ship was in a leaky 

1 See Sandys to Ferrer, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. 11, No. 27 ; 
Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 89, Va. State Library. 

2 (lovemor Harvey to Lords Commissioners, British State -Papers, 
Colonial, voL VI, No. 64; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1632, p. 34, Va. 
State Library. 

» Boyal l/ist. MSS. Commission, Fourth Report, Appx., pp. 290, 291. 


condition, found it necessary to sail to the New Nether- 
lands for repairs. It would seem that there were no 
facilities or appliances in Virginia for mending his yessel, 
so that he could not escape the expense of a long voyage.^ 
It is interesting to observe that it was at this period that 
Peter de Licques of Picardie presented his petition to the 
King. The privilege which he solicited was that of pro- 
viding, in return for a certain remuneration, sufficient tim- 
ber from the foresta of the Colony during a course of five 
years, to maintain five of the royal ships in as fine a con- 
dition as when they were first completed, and on the ter- 
mination of the five years, to build annually for the Royal 
Navy, one vessel of five hundred tons burden. This he 
was to continue to do until permission was withdrawn.* 

In the interval of fifteen years between the departure of 
Devries in 1632, and the middle of the century, there are 
many evidences that numerous barks, pinnaces, and row- 
boats, both large and small, were built in Virginia. This 
activity sprang from an absolute necessity, as the planta- 
tions, with a few exceptions, were situated on rivers and 
creeks, and could only be reached by passing from one to 
the other by means of the water highway.^ No ships, 
however, were constructed. This was a cause of serious 
concern to many persons in the Colony, and as a remedy, 
Secretary Kemp recommended in a letter to Secretary It 
Windebank in England, that a custom-house should be |- 
established in Virginia with a view to encouraging the 
building of large vessels.* The industry required more 

1 Devries' Voyages from Holland to America, p. 108. 

2 Petition of Peter de Lic(|ues, British State Papers, vol. VT, No. 42; 
McDonald Papers, vol, II, p. 108, Va. State Library. 

^ Ne'w Description of Virginia, p. 6, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. H- 
* British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No, 9 ; Sainsbury Abstr<ictf 
for 1637, p. 154, Va. State Librarj*. 





motion than was to be obtained through such a 
the session of 1656, all ships owned exclusively 
s residing in the Colony were exempted from y 
ent of castle duties.^ A still more valuable 
in their favor was granted in 1659. By a law 

the course of that year, the merchants, ship- 
id masters engaged in the colonial trade were 
fl^henever the cargo was not destined for the 
ominions in Europe, to pay upon each hogshead 

a duty of ten shillings in the form of coin, bills 
ge, or commodities at an advance of twenty-five 
on the original cost. All persons transporting 
oes in bottoms which were the property of Vir- ^ 
)ne, whether native or resident, were relieved from 
n of this imposition.^ It was stated in the text 
ktute that one of its objects was to induce the 
3 purchase an interest in vessels. It is obvious 
lad had this effect, it would also have created to 
3nt a tendency to build ships in Virginia. In 
61, fifty pounds of tobacco a ton were granted to 
ion in the Colony who should construct a vessel 
igh to make a sea voyage.^ More detailed pro- 
ere subsequently added. If the burden of the 
eded fifty tons but fell short of one hundred, 
T was to receive one hundred pounds of tobacco 
I if in excess of one hundred tons, the reward 
two hundred pounds of tobacco a ton. These 
couragements were made conditional upon the 
by the builder of the vessel that he would not 

his ownership until three years had passed, 
disposed of his interest to a citizen of Virginia.* 

J Statutes, vol. I, p. 402. y 

537 ; also from the duty of two shillings ; see Ibid.^ vol. II, 

» Ibid., vol. II, p. 122, * ibid., p. 179, 

yu II. —2 r 



These laws had the effect of promoting ship-building in 
Virginia to some extent. In 1655, Secretary Ludwell 
wrote to Secretary Bennett that there had been recently 
constructed in the Colony several small vessels which 
could safely make voyages along the coast, and he ex- 
pressed the hope that ships able to take part in the carry- 
ing trade between Virginia and England would soon be 
built. This hope was realized.^ In 1667, only two years 
subsequently to Secretary LudwelFs communication, the 
King in Council was petitioned by the widow of Captain 
Whitty, with a view of obtaining a license for the retun 
to Jamestown of the ship America^ owned by her and 
other Virginians, the America having been built in 
the Colony by her husband.^ This vessel carried thirty 
or forty guns, and in workmanship and appearance was 
so admirable an example of its class, that expectations 
were raised in England that the Virginians might soon 
become as skilful in ship-building as the English them- 
selves were.^ The tonnage of the America was prob- 
ably very moderate, if any reliance can be placed on the 
general statement of Berkeley in 1671. In answer to one 
of the interrogatories of the English Commissioners, sent 
him in the course of that year, as to the condition of the 
Colony, he declared that at no time had its people owned 
more than two vessels, and that the burden of these vessels 
did not exceed twenty tons. He went so far as to say 
that no ships, either large or small, were built in Virginia. 
This sweeping assertion, however, like his famous state- 

^ British State Papers, Colonial Papers; Sainshury Abstracts fof 
1665, p. 72, Va. State Library. 

2 British State Papers, Colonial Papers, April 19, 1667 ; Sainsbvrf 
Abstracts for 1667, p. U2, Va. State Library. A General Court ordiT, 
June 6, 1666, refers to the building of a ship. See Hobinson Trattscriptf^ 
p, 251. Was this the America f 

« William aad Mary CoUege QuarCcWy, April, 1893, p. 198. 


mt as to the absence of free schools, was not supported 
fact.^ For refutation, reference has only to be made 
the vessel of Captain Whitty, the manner in which 
was constructed having, as we have seen, excited ad- 
Tation even in England. Berkeley attributed the indif- 
rence of the Virginians of his time to ship-building to 
e discouraging influences of the Navigation Acts. In 
B opinion of others, it was due to the absence of a school 
:e the Newfoundland fisheries in which the colonists 
ight have been trained in seamanship.^ It is really to be 
sribed to the circumstance that there was produced in 
irginia a commodity which attracted to its rivers the ves- 
Is, first of England and Holland, the two great maritime 
.tions of that age, and after the passage of the last Navi- 
tion Act, of England alone. No necessity was imposed 
. them, as on the people of New England, to build nu- 
3rous ships by means of which the products of an un- 
ndly soil and climate having no market in England and 
^Uand, might be exchanged for tobacco, rum, and su- 
r, commodities which in their turn might elsewhere be 
changed for clothing and other articles of use. The 
yers of the only staple of Virginia sought its planta- 
ins. The Virginian planter did not, like the New Eng- 
ad farmer, have to seek the foreign purchaser. It 
llowed most naturally that even when the population 
d wealth of the Colony had increased to a remarkable 
gree, ship-building did not become an important interest. 
There was no lack of barges, shallops, and sloops, the 
ly vessels which the planters required for the move- 
jnt of their crops. Every facility was at hand for the 
nstruction of boats of this character at the time that 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 616. 

'The patentees of Southampton Hondred enjoyed the right to send 

ips to the Newfoundland fisheries. 


Berkeley gave his written testimony in reply to the ift- 
quiries of the commission. A statement is to be found in 
the records of York County for the year 1672, presenting 
in an itemized form the cost of building a sloop. The 
total amount was four thousand four hundred and sixtj- 
seven pounds of tobacco, which, at the rate of two pence 
a pound, represented an expense, perhaps, of about nine 
hundred and twenty-five dollars. In the construction of 
this sloop, the various parts were supplied by different 

The plank necessary, namely, three hundred and ninety 
feet, was furnished by Richard Meakins, the rigging by Mr. 
Newell, the sail by Captain Shepherd, and the rudder irons 
by Mr. Williams. It seems to have required four months 
to complete it, the charges for the food furnished the ca^ 
penter running over that length of time ; a cask of cider 
was also consumed by him during the same period.^ 

That the desire to promote ship-building in the Colony 
still remained in spite of the poor results commented upon 
by Berkeley, appears from the Act passed in the winter of 
1677, relieving the owners of a vessel built in Virginia and 
belonging to Virginians alone, of all duties except those 
/ imposed upon shipmasters in making entry, in clearing, 
and in securing license to trade, or in giving bond to ss^ 
directly to England.^ By this Act, it will be observed 
that it was not sufficient that the vessel should simply 
belong to inhabitants of the Colony. It was distinctly 

1 Becords of York County, vol. 1671-1694, p. 25, Va. State Librar>'- 
Sloops were safficicntly large to hold as many as fifty hogsheads. See 
Becords of Lancaster County, original vol. 1690-1700, p. 44. A shallc^ 
probably could not with safety carry more than twelve hogsheads. See 
Ibid., same page. The average cost of such a boat was about twenty-tiw 
pounds sterling. Becords of Elizabeth City County, voL 1684-1690, 
p. 489, Va. State Library. 

2 Hening's Stotutes, ^oV, \i,v-^'^« 




stated that the privilege of exemption which had been 
enjoyed by such persons was withdrawn from them. In 
October of the same year, it was urged by the owners 
of the Planters!' Adventure^ among whom was Nathaniel 
Bacon, Sr., all of his associates being residents of Virginia, 
that their ship should continue to be exempt from the 
castle duty and the duty of two shillings a hogshead, as it 
would be unjust to apply the repeal of the provision to 
vessels which had for many years enjoyed its benefit.^ 

So active as well as so judicious were the steps now taken 
in Virginia to encourage the building of ships, that the 
apprehensions of the English Government were aroused. 
In 1680, Culpeper was ordered to annul the laws exempt- 
ing the Virginian owners of vessels constructed in the 
Colony from the payment of duty on exported tobacco, to- 
gether with the duty imposed upon incoming ships for the 
maintenance of the fort.^ The ground upon which this 
command was based was the injustice of granting special 
privileges to shipowners in Virginia which were not 
enjoyed by owners of English vessels trading in Virginian 
waters. Moreover, the encouragement held out by the 
Virginian laws to Virginian ship-builders, would, in the 
judgment of the English authorities, impair the success of 
the Navigation Acts by creating a Virginian fleet which 
would be able to transport the tobacco to the mother 
country without the assistance of English vessels. It 
would also, it was said at a later date, tempt the owners of 

^ Order of General Assembly, British State Papnrs, Colonial Papers ; 
Sainshxiry Abstracts for 1677, p. 68, Va. State Library. This petition 
was carried to the Committee for Trade and Plantations, but was denied. 
Colonial Entry Book, No. 100, p. 306 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1681, 
p. 121, Va. State Library. 

« Letter from Privy Council to Culpeper, Oct. 14, 1680, British State 
Papers, Colonial, vol. Ixxx ; McDonald Papers, vol. V, p. 864, Va. State 



English ships to enter them as belonging to Virginians.^ 
The order in council condemning these laws showed rather 
premature apprehension, since John Page and others, in 
a petition presented by them to Lord Culpeper in 1681, 
stated that there were but two ships in the Colony which 
were owned by citizens of Virginia and had been built in 
its confines.^ The English Government apparently did 
not oppose the construction in the Colony of sea-going ves- 
j^els, provided that their cargoes were made subject to the 
usual duties.^ In 1697, ships were constructed in Virginia 
by Bristol merchants who were influenced to build there 
by a consideration not only of the fine quality of the tim- 
ber, but also of the comparatively small cost entailed in 
the performance of the work.* 

In the course of the same decade, several vessels were 
built by Virginians for their own use. Among them was 
a ship of forty-five tons, constructed for John West of 
Accomac, which was staunch enough to make a sea voy- 
age.^ John Goddin of the same county also built a vessel 

1 Minute of a Committee for Trade and Plantations, British Statf 
PaperSj Colonial Entry Book^ No. 100, p. 306 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 
1681, p. 121, Va. State Library. 

2 These petitioners meant entirely owned. See petition of the elder 
Nathaniel Bacon et al., British State Papers, Colonial Papers; SaiM- 
burtj Abstracts for 1681, p. 122, Va. State Library. 

« Minutes of a Committee for Trade, British State Papers^ Colfiniai 
Entry Book, No. 106; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1681, p. 121, Va. Statf 

* Hartwell, Chilton, and Blair's Present State of Mrginia, 1097, p. *■ 
There is preserved in the records of York County (vol. 1694-1702. p. 2Ti, 
Va. State Library) , a document, to which Philip Popplestone, mercbaQt* 
Charles Harford, linen draper, Edward Harford and James Peters, soap 
makers, all of Bristol, were parties, appointing William Jones, of that 
city, master of a ship in which the signers of the document **were or 
were to be part owners," the ship having been ** built or to be built ia 

* Records of Accomac County, orv.^!^ vol. 1690-1696, f. p, 121. 



which was twenty-five tons in burden.^ In 1695, a ship 
known as the Virginian was constructed by Daniel Parke, 
but on its first passage to England was found to be defec- 
tive in its steerage.^ 

Among the principal shipwrights in Virginia in the 
seventeenth century were John Meredith, John and Robert 
Pritchard of Lancaster, Abraham Elliott, Richard Yates, 
and John Ealfridge of Lower Norfolk. Meredith was in 
possession of large tracts of land which he had acquired by 
purchase or by original grant.^ The estate of John Pritch- 
ard was appraised at four hundred, and eighty-two pounds 
sterling, exclusive of all tobacco due him. This last item 
amounted to 101,307 pounds.^ Ealfridge devised a planta- 
tion to each of his two sons.^ The estate of Richard Yates 
was valuable in personal and real property alike. Elliott 
was an owner of lands both in Virginia and £ngland.<^ 

1 Randolph M88„ vol. HI, p. 804. 

« Becords of York County, vol. 1694-1702, p. 228, Va. State Library. 

* For one tract, 500 acres, obtained by patent, see Records of Lan- 
caster County, original vol. 1652-1657, p. 134. A sale of 600 acres by 
Meredith is recorded in Ibid., original vol. 1655-1702, p. 19. In 1652, he 
contracts to build a sloop and a small boat in payment of a debt, due by 
him, for 47,632 lbs. of tobacco. See Ibid., original vol. 1652-1657, p. 25. 

* Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1690-1709, p. 19. 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. pp. 16, 
50. Ealfridge was also at one time in possession of a half interest in 
a mill ; see Ibid., original vol. 1666-1675, p. 170. 

* Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, p. 9. 
Among other shipwrights residing in Lower Norfolk County, who were 
owners of land, were Nicholas Wise, John Creekman, Isaac Seaborne, 
John Tucker, QuintiUian Gutterick, Roger Houseden, Edward Wilder ; in 
Rappahannock, Simon Miller, who, on one occasion, bought 625 acres in 
one tract {Records of Rappahannock County, 1668-1672, p. 139, Va. State 
Library), John Griffin ; in Lancaster, William Edwards ; in Northampton, 
Walter Price, Christopher Stribling ; and in Elizabeth City, George and 
Jacob Walker. 



It was in glass-making that the first step was taken in 
Virginia to promote manufactui*es in the wider sense of 
the word. The explanation of this fact lay in the neces- 
sity of providing a large quantity of beads for the use 
of the settlers in their trade with the Indian natives. 
There was doubtless a subordinate expectation that Vi^ 
ginia might be able to export raw glass for the English 
market. One of the most serious obstructions in England 
to all forms of manufacture involving the consumption of 
much fuel, was the growing scarcity of wood in conse- 
quence of the heavy inroads on the forests. This was 
felt most severely in the manufacture of iron, but it was 
also felt in glass-making. The abundance of trees in Vir- 
ginia was thought to be a notable element of success in 
the manufacture of this latter commodity in the Colony. 
When Newport arrived in Virginia in the fall of 1608,^ 
he was accompanied by a number of Dutch and Poles 
who formed a part of the Second Supply, the object for 
which they had been sent out being, among other things, 
to make a trial of glass. A glass-house was accordingly 
erected about a mile from Jamestown.* The first material 
of this kind was made during the absence of Newport on 
his excui-sion into the country of the Monocans, and it 
was made under the supervision of Smith ; when New- 

» Works of Capt, JoKn SmUK, '^. 434. 

2 Ibid., p. 467. 


port returned to England, he carried with him as a portion 
of his cargQ) the specimens of glass which had been thus 
produced.^ In the spring of 1609, the manufacture was 
continued with success.^ During the memorable Starv- 
ing Time following on the departure of Smith from the 
Colony, the work which had been in progress at the 
glass-house must have ceased entirely. Nothing more 
was heard of glass manufacture in Virginia until 1621, 
in which year there was an effort to reestablish it on a 
permanent footing. 

In 1621, the Company . entered into a contract with 
Captain William Norton, who had decided to emigi-ate 
to the Colony with his family, under the terms of which 
he was to carry over with him four Italians skilled in 
glass-making, and also two servants, the expense of trans- 
porting these six persons to be borne by him, while the 
Company was to furnish their general equipment. In the 
course of three months after his arrival in Virginia, Nor- 
ton was required to erect a house for the manufacture of 
every variety of glass. The privilege of exclusive manu- 
facture was to be enjoyed by him during a period of seven 
years, and he was expected to give not only his personal 
superintendence to the work, but also to instruct appren- 
tices in the art of making glass. As a reward for this, 
he was to receive one-fifth of the moiety of the product 
reserved for the Company and was to be allowed in addi- 
tion, four hundred acres of the public land. It was ex- 
pressly provided that no beads were to be retained by 
Norton, for these could only be useful as a medium of 
exchange in the Indian trade, in which the Company 
alone had the right to engage.^ 

1 Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 441. ^ j^ivj.^ p. 471. 

• Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 130. 


The contract with Captain Norton was reconsidered at 
a Quarter Court convened at a later date. Attention had 
in the meanwhile been called to the fact that the Com- 
pany was at this time in no condition to undergo the 
heavy charge of supplying eleven persons — the number 
constituting the band of Captain Norton — with apparel 
tools, victuals, and other necessaries, and of transporting 
them to Virginia. It appeared, moreover, that the cal- 
culation of the expense in the beginning had not been 
sufficiently accurate. It was decided to recommend the 
proposed manufacture to private subscribers, the Com- 
pany, however, to advance one-fourth of the amount re- 
quired to set the enterprise on a firm basis. The patent 
to be granted was to continue in force for a period of 
seven years, and was to include the right to make not 
only glass but also soda, as a necessary ingredient of that 
substance. Fifty acres were to be allowed for every per- 
son sent over by the private adventurers. A roll was 
drawn at the same court at which the proposition was 
broached, and received the signatures of the proposed in- 
vestors.^ Having by this means secured the fund needed 
for the equipment of himself and his followers for the 
enterprise in which they were to engage, and to meet 
the charges for the ocean passage, Captain Norton, his 
family, and workingmen set sail for Vii-ginia. There he 
succeeded in erecting a glass furnace. Unfortunately. 
Norton died, and the Treasurer, Sandys, who had been 
appointed to ttike his place in that event^^ came in charge 
of the works but soon met with disappointment, as lie 
found it difficult to obtain the proper variety of sand. On 
one occasion, he sent a shallop to the Falls for a supply, 

* Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 138. 

* Nelirs Virginia Company of London, p. 230. 


but none adapted to his purpose was found there. He 
was successful in obtaining the kind which he required 
from the banks at Cape Henry, but its quality proved 
so unsatisfactory that Sandys wrote to Ferrer in Eng- 
land requesting him to forward two or three hogsheads 
of the proper material.^ The difficulty did not lie only 
in securing the sand. The Italian workmen employed in 
the glass-house were wholly intractable; Sandys, in the 
violence of his anger and disgust, went so far as to say 
** that a more damned crew hell never vomited,'* a char- 
acter which their actions justified his attributing to them.^ 
The Italians were anxious to return to Europe, and in 
order to effect their release, not only proceeded so slowly 
in their work as to accomplish nothing of consequence, 
but cracked the furnace by striking it with a crowbar. 
Their studied efforts to obtain permission to leave the 
country by breaking up the industry in which they were 
engaged ended in failure, for among those who were 
enumerated in the census of 1624-25 as residing on the 
Treasurer's lands, were Bernardo and Vicenso, two of the 
four Italians who had come out with Norton in 1621.® 

There is no positive evidence to show for how great 
a length of time the glass-house remained in existence 

1 Sandys to Ferrer, April 8, 1623, British State Papers^ Colonial, 
vol. II, No. 27 ; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 90, Va. State Library. 

3 George Sandys to Ferrer, Royal Hist, MSS. Commission, Eighth 
Report, Appx., 39. 

» MoHter of the Inhabitante of Virginia, 1624-26, Hotten's Original 
Lists of Emigrants, 1600-1700, p. 236. At the time the census of 1623 
was taken there were five persons living at the glass-house. British State 
Papers, Colonial, vol. Ill, No. 2 ; Colonial Records of Virginia, State 
Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 47. Governor Butler, who arrived in Vir- 
ginia not long after the massacre took place, states that at the time of 
his visit the glass furnace was **at a stay and in small hopes.** See his 
Unmasking of Virginia, Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Com- 
pany of London, voL II, p. 172. 


1. A ±. 


after the massacre. The land upon which it was sit- 
uated was conveyed during Governor Harvey's adminis- 
tration to Anthony Coleman. By the heirs of Coleman, 
it was assigned to John Senior; from Senior it passed 
firat to John Pitchett, then to John Phipps and William 
Harris. Phipps having conveyed his interest to Harris, 
Harris in turn conveyed the tract to Colonel Francis Mo^ 
rison. This was done in September, 1655.^ 

One of the strongest motives that led to the coloniza- 
tion of Virginia by the English was the expectation that 
it would supply the mother country with a vast quantity 
of raw iron. The demand for manufactured iron was 
rapidly increasing in England, and yet the ability of the 
English furnaces to meet this demand was declining on 
account of the diminishing quantity of fuel furnished by 
the local forests. It was entirely just that the English 
people should look forward to the day when they might 
be forced to rely on foreign nations for their supply of a 
material which was coming rapidly into greater use each 
year.2 In 1740, it is calculated that England and Wales 
together produced only seventeen thousand tons; ten 
years later, five thousand represented the increase.^ In 
1621, the price of a ton of iron was about ten or twelve 
pounds sterling, equivalent in purchasing power to two 
hundred and fifty dollars.* Virginia was expected not only 
to relieve England of its dangerous and uncertain depend- 
ence upon foreign nations for its supply of raw iron, but 

1 Va. Land Patents, vol. 1662-1666, p. 367. 

2 Rogers' History of Agriculture and Prices in England, vol. V, p. 479. 

• Bishop*H History of American Manufactures, vol. I, p. 21. 

* In 1630-31 the price was forty-two shillings a hundred- weight. In 
the interval between 1671 and 1692, it was thirty-six shillings and two 
pence. In 1697, it was thirty-five shillings and eight pence. The average 
coat of a ton was £37 18«. lid. See Rogers' History of Agriculture and 
Prices in England, vo\. V, ^. 4%*^. 


[so to furnish that commodity at a cheap rate, owing to 
le abundance of wood that could be used as fuel in the 
lanufacture.^ These anticipations were justified by the 
umerous indications of the presence of iron ore observed 
Y the earliest settlers. Smith, whose mind was always 
irected to the practical and sober aspects of his surround- 
igs, was among the first to call attention to the adapta- 
lity of the new country to iron manufacture as one of 
le most promising of its sources of wealth, and in order 
\ show the substantial ground on which his expectations 
ere based, he forwarded to England during his presidency 
vo barrels of stones rich in tracings of iron ore.^ In 1609, 
aptain Newport transported a large quantity of the same 
ind of ore to the mother country on his return in the 
>urse of that year. So excellent was the metal extracted 
om it, amounting to sixteen or seventeen tons, that it 
as purchased by the East India Company, according to 
hose statement it proved more satisfactory than any iron, 
rocured from other countries, which they had as yet 
$ed.^ The metal was sold to that Corporation at the rate 
: four pounds sterling a ton. 

The earliest attempt to manufacture iron in Virginia, if 
iliance can be placed on the testimony of Don Maguel, 
Spanish witness, was made previous to 1610. Already 

the course of the tii*st three years following the founda- 
on of the settlement at Jamestown, machinery had been 
•ected by the English settlera to work the iron mines.* 

1 It was stated in the Instmctions to Governor Wyatt, 1621, that the 
m works then in the course of erection were **the greatest hope and 
pectation of the Colony." Hening^s Statutes^ vol. I, p. 116. 

« Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 444. 

• Strachey's Historie of Travaile in Virginia, p. 132. 

* Report of Francis Maguel, 1010, Spanish Archives, Brown's Genesis 
the United States, p. 398. The existence of iron ore near the Falls 

18, it is to be inferred from a passage in Strachey, knoTra \a \>^^\ 

446 EGONOsno history of yirgimia 

The adventurers of Southampton Hundred were perhaps 
the first who undertook to manufacture iron in the Colony 
in a sjTstematic way. The circumstances in which this 
attempt had its origin were peculiar. In 1619^ some un- 
known person contributed five hundred and fifty pounds 
sterling for the conversion of Indian children living in the 
Colony, and this large sum was deposited in the hands of 
the Company to be used for the prescribed purpose in the 
manner which seemed to be most advisable. That body 
after some deliberation decided to place the money with 
the adventurers of Southampton and Martin's Hundreds, 
in order that the wishes of the anonymous benefactor 
might be carried out, relieving itself thus of the burden of 
a very troublesome and perplexing trust. The adventurers 
of Martin's Hundred, however, were too shrewd to unde^ 
take the difficult and thankless task ; they declined to 
accept their share of the benefaction, on the ostensible 
ground that their property in Virginia was in a state of so 
much confusion as to render it impossible for them to 
expend the fund in the manner desired. The adventurers 
of Southampton Hundred were as anxious as the Company 
to evade the trust, but being destitute of a plausible excuse 
such as that of the adventurers of Martin's Hundred, tbev 
expressed their willingness to add one hundred pounds to 
the gift on condition of not being required to assume the 
proposed responsibility. Their offer was not accepted, 
although to that extent the conversion of Indian children 
would have been facilitated. At a meeting held shortly 
afterwards, the adventurers of Southampton Hundred 

** At the head of the Falls (in the Powhatan) ... on Pembroke side 
(i.e. the southern side), Sir Thomas Dale hath mentioned in his Icltere 
to the Lordships of the Counsaile of a goodlye iron mine." See JJigtorie 
of Travaile into Virginia, p. 132. Was this "goodlye mine" the one 
that was afterwards opened on Falling Creek, a stream situated some 
miles below the FaU&? 


determined to conform to the wishes of the Company, 
but in a manner somewhat different from what was an- 
ticipated by the unknown Indian benefactor. Instead of 
deciding to use the money directly for the benefit of 
Indian children, they concluded to increase the amount 
by adding to it a large sum out of their own purse, and to 
employ the whole in establishing iron works in Virginia, 
the profits of which, ratably to the benefaction, were to be 
expended in instructing thirty Indian children in the 
doctrines of the Christian Church. Two purposes would 
be thus accomplished, one of which would promote the 
economic welfare of the colonists, and the other elevate 
the moral condition of the heathen.^ A letter was ad- 
dressed to Yeardley, who was not only Governor of Vir- 
^nia,but also Captain of Southampton Hundred, in which 
be was urged to show the utmost care and industry in 
setting the projected works on foot, as upon these works 
wrere fixed the " eyes of God, Angels, and men." Captain 
Blewit was dispatched to the Colony to superintend the 
manufacture of iron, but, like so many others who went 
3Ut to Virginia at this early period, he succumbed to 
disease soon after his arrival. This had the effect of 
obstructing the proposed industry for a time.^ He had 
been accompanied by eighty men. After the death of 
Blewit, Mr. John Berkeley, with twenty experienced iron 
workers, came to Virginia to reinforce the survivors of 
the original band. These additional workmen had been 
obtained by Berkeley on condition that the Company 
nrould assume the expense of transporting himself, his 
K)n and his three servants. The cost of sending over the 
jTorkmen was also defrayed by that Corporation, and they 

1 Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
ip. 162-104. 
« Ibid., p. 164. 


were to be supported at its charge for a period of twelve 
months and to remain in its service for the term of seven 
years.^ The original purpose was to establish three iron 
works,^ but only one furnace appears to have been erected, 
its site being on Falling Creek, in the present county of 

It is interesting to find that this spot as a place for 
iron-making had already been regarded with great enthu- 
siasm by George Sandys, who declared that if Nature 
had intentionally prepared it with a view to this s^iecial 
manufacture, the advantages for that purpose which it 
possessed could not have been more remarkable. In 
expressing this opinion, he had in mind the circumstance 
that there were present in proximity here not only ore 
and water, but wood, and stones with which to construct 
the furnace.^ A mine was opened and a successful effort 
made to work it. The men employed were provided 
with food and clothing by the Company, whilst the 
adventurers of Southampton Hundred allowed them the 
use of five kine.^ The cost of setting up the iron works 
was in 1621 calculated by Sir Edwin Sandys to be four 
thousand pounds,^ but it is stilted by other authorities to 
have been as much as five thousand.^ According to the as- 
sertion of the enemies of the Southampton administration, 
the only pnvctical return which the Company obtained for 
this enormous outlay was an iron shovel, a pair of tongs, 

» AbMnicis of Tivcfedings of the Vinjinia Compariy of London, vol. I, 
p. V2X 

a Ibiil , p. 67. 

» Relation of Watorhouse. NeUrs Virginia Company o/ London, p. 338. 

* i'oinjKiny's Letter to (kiverm^r and Council of Virginia, Neiir* 
Vinjini'i d^MfHtny of London, p. 310. 

* Abjfiracf;^ of IVocef dings of the Virginia 0»w/kiMj/ ».r London, vol. I. 
p. l:>'-\ 

« J (fid., vol. II, V- ^*^ 


and a bar of iron.^ To such a point of perfection, how- 
ever, had the works been brought by this expenditure 
of money, that in 1622, it was confidently anticipated 
by those in charge that in three months they would be 
in a position to forward large quantities of raw iron to 
England. Very soon, however, the massacre by the In- 
dians brought destruction to the little settlement on 
Falling Creek. The tools were destroyed or throwa into 
the river by the savages,^ and the workmen, with the 
exception of a boy and girl, were killed. 

The attack upon the iron works at Falling Creek and 
its results, disheartening as they were, did not at the 
moment diminish the interest in that undertaking felt 
both by the Company in England and by the colonial 
authorities. But for the revocation of the chailer of the 
former, it is highly probable that the works would have 
been restored and the manufacture of iron resumed. 
After receiving information of the massacre, the Company 
instructed the Governor and Council in Virginia to place 
the men surviving, who had been connected with the 
iron works, in charge of Mr. Maurice Berkeley, to be 
employed by him elsewhere until the works could be 
set in operation. In the meanwhile, a note of what tools 
would be needed when the manufacture began the second 
time was to be transmitted to England. The Company 
declared that it would know no quiet until the works 
were again perfected, since they regarded them as abso- 

> Randolph MSS.y p. 212. 

2 Letter of General Assembly in Reply to the King, March 26, 1628, 
British State Papers, Colonial Papers, vol. IV, No. 45; Sninsbury 
Abstracts for 1628, p. 178, Va. State Library. Among the most inter- 
esting relics preserved in the building of the Virginia Historical Society 
at Richmond is some of the slag produced in the Falling Creek furnace. 
It was picked up on the ground nearly two and a half centuries after tti^ 
destruction of the works. 

VOL. II, — Q 


lutely necessary to the prosperity of the Colony.* The 
colonial officers showed great willingness to respond to 
this spirit, and seem to have taken some steps looking 
to the restoration of the furnace. 

Five years after the massacre, William Capps, who had 
a few years before been in correspondence with the Wa^ 
wick faction among the members of the Company, being 
at that time a resident of the Colony, was sent by the 
King to Virginia with a general commission to establish 
a number of industries, including the manufacture of 
iron.' The Governor and Council expressed the utmost 
readiness to give Capps all the assistance in tfaeir power, 
but he became involved in trouble very soon, and before 
he could put any of his plans in operation, was forced 
to leave the country.' A proposition was made to the 
King in 162S to incorporate a number of persons residing 
in England, whose names were subscribed, with specif 
privilegeii for manufacturing iron in Virginia. They 
[petitioned for the exclusive right, during fourteen years, 
of proiluoin^j that oommoditv in the Colonv, and also 
sought exemption frv>m customs, subsidies, and other 
dutie:s iu imjK^rting it into England. There is no evidence 
that this charter was sjrantevl, but the desire to obtain it 
indio^ites that the demand for iron in the mother country 

i C\*ttU»A:ty V l.x:itkfr lo Gorvmor ind Cooaoil in Virsinia. 1622. Xeill'3 
Vinjiftijt (\'fnfH£%j ■.■/ I.. '*.;<.• ?4, p. S?^. In s irKtr from tlio Com^^axij, 
vliCirvl A'j;^^. rx l':^;>* c.Vy ssa;^ :h.JkC thi?T stad -iTer n:n«: men i*> make inm 
by A " Motu-^^rv/* l"t'.--'i5*? niT't: wtrv :.-* Nf ;ks$Lst«^ by prirai** i>or&>n<. who 
>Kvn? ?>* Ptv>:iV'. >:^jkrvt> I'Ji tb^LT vr.r^. If su:h p^rs»-iis declined to take 
akfi^ t'^^^f* -^ •'• -~^ :tfi;A!ii* ci :bxf 0:mpany tivre to I* ret|air>Hi to give 
Aid. I'tJ^ \r«,*iL wvrivrs wvrv :.- N? Skacrd at Minin"? Hundred, or 
• • *.^ai rf \.vm*i» . vl!v c* yi A.-V * ' 5C ir%d'?iy\ XSS^,^:\.IU. p. 174. 

* Krjt^ •. • Vi-'vvr«j r jl:;'. O ci:!: ?t V:rj:r.>u F'-'tis,\ .^''i/^ Pitprrf, 
< V'.' ft, '.J ' . V '. i I V . N ..\ S:i Si.'Ufdinj A ?scr'.z w /. r 7 ^-* 7. p 1»>4. V a. Suiif 

vk*L \. N.'. >:* Nf-i.>nf»r^ Jl>«t-««' 115:1!^. ^^SS!*^.X^StAte Library. 


had directed the attention of many enterpiising English- 
men to Virginia as a place where that material could 
be manufactured at a profitable rate. In the same year, 
probably in reply to an inquiry from the English Govern- 
ment, the Governor and Council state that they had 
recently sent ore to England, presumably from Falling 
Creek, declaring at the same time, that the cost of restor- 
ing the works and importing operatives was too great 
to be assumed by the Colony.^ 

In 1630, Governor Harvey made a journey to the site 
of the old ii-on works on Falling Creek, with a view to 
discovering whether they could be restored. He found 
the spot surrounded by a heavy growth of timber sufficient 
to supply an abundance of fuel. There was a bold stream 
near by, from which water could be procured; and also 
a large bed of freestone and numerous outcroppings of 
iron ore. As a result of the impressions received on 
this visit, he wrote to the authorities in England that 
all the conditions of the locality were favorable to the 
reestablishment of the works; he sent over at the same 
time two specimens of ore, one of which he had obtained 
from the valley of the Upper James, probably near the 
Falls of the river, the other from the valley of the Lower. 
A few years later. Sir John Zouch and his son seem 
to have taken steps to establish iron works in Virginia,^ 
but the project collapsed on account of the failure of their 
partners to come to their assistance.^ The cost of reviving 

* British State Papers^ Colonial, vol. IV, No. 46 ; Sainshury Abstracts 
for 1628, p. 178, Va. State Library. 

* Governor Harvey to Dorchester, Two Letters, British State Papers, 
Colonial, No. V, April 16, 16.30; May 29, 1030; McDonald Papers, 
▼oL 11, pp. 32, 45, Va. State Library. 

» Randolph MSS., vol. Ill, p. 232. Sir John stated in his will that 
his .son *' had lost two hundred and fifty pounds in the iron works and as 
much more of my own." William and Mary College Qnarterlij lot K\ir\^ 
1803, p. 196. 


the manufacture of iron in the Colony was so great that 
practical interest in it died out for a period of many years. 
The author of the Xetc Detcription of Virginia^ published 
in 1649, recognized the possibilities of iron manufacture 
in the Colony. He dwelt at length on the number of 
the streams there to furnish water for the works, the 
amount of the wood to supply fuel, the quantity of 
stone suitable for the construction of furnaces, and the 
abundance of ore. He declared that works of this kind 
would be as valuable as a sUver mine, since their product 
could be used not only for plantation purposes but also 
in building ships^ casting ordnance, and making amor 
and muskets. There were many laborers in Virginia 
who^e services could be easilv secured, and it would entail 


but a small cost to provide for them, since food was plenti- 
ful. He stateil that it would require only six months to 
erect the works, and that the charge for importing skilled 
men and the neoossan" tools ou£:ht not to exceed four hun- 
dreJ [KHimls sterling. The expensiveness of iron manu- 
faoture in the Colony apj^an? from the suggestion of the 
author of the X^tc D'^^-.^npticH o/ Jlrtfihuu that the under- 
takers of a new enterprise, with this object in Anew, should 
give their workmen oue-luilt of the annual product, instead 
of jxxving theiu aednite wages, in case of a successful 
is>ue to their oj\: rations: the scheme would thus be 
Csirrud out o:i the Cv^ozvnuive principle, probably the 
rlrst instance in cvnoi;iaI historj- in which it was proposed 
iliAi this i^ri'.ui'jle sriould U^ iriven a practical lest.^ 

l:i lOoT-oS, .; 1.4 w wl^s p^isscd by the General Assemblv, 
prv>?iibit;:!5: the cxtvrtatior. of irx"*n. in addition to hides 
avvi \\^ol.^ This WIS exj^r^ssslv I'.itended to apply to old 
i:ov. o:/.\.^ Vvx A^\<z of the Uw. so far as that com- 

N.v» IVa— vi.'.'ii .-: Vj:*j;._- j^ y. \ Y :T:t'< EiH' ri'C-il Tracts, vol U. 


modity was concerned, was to promote the blacksmith's 
trade, but as it did not accomplish this among the other 
purposes for which it was designed, it was in 1658-59 
repealed. In 1661-62, it was again enacted, only to be 
repealed a second time in 1671.^ There is no indication 
of the manufacture of ii*on in Virginia in the period 
between the first enactment and the last repeal of this 
statute; in the interval, Berkeley had been instructed 
to report on the feasibility of establishing iron works in 
the Colony, the King having expressed a determination 
to erect these works at his own expense if the ore justified 
the great outlay necessary.^ Berkeley in his reply dis- 
couraged the project on the ground that the quantity of 
iron ore in Virginia was not sufficient to keep one mill 
going for seven years.* Clayton, during his visit to the 
Colony, inquired into the practicability of carrjdng on iron 
manufacture there, and his conclusions were adverse to the 
undertaking. No one there, he wrote, had money enough 
to bear the expense of starting and sustaining iron works, 
and in view of the great distance rendering personal super- 
vision impossible, it would be equally impracticable for a 
resident of the mother country to assume the risks of the 
enterprise.* In 1682, the original law prohibiting the ex- 
portation of iron, among other articles, which, as has been 
seen, was repealed in 1671, was reenacted in the hope of 
giving employment to many persons who were then idle 
and in want of the necessaries of life. The penalty for 
exporting a poimd of the material was fixed at ten pounds 
of tobacco,^ but this provision, like the original law, must 

1 Hening'8 Statutes, vol. 11, pp. 124, 287. 

' Instructions to Berkeley, 1662, § 7, McDonald Papers, vol. I, p. 418, 
Va. State Library. 

» Hening^B Statutes, vol. II, p. 614. 

* Clayton's Virginia, p. 27, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. ILL 

6 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 493. 


have been intended to apply to iron which had been 
brought into Virginia, since none appears to have been 
manufactured at this time in the Colony. Under the Act 
for the establishment of ports, which was passed in 1691, 
but never put in operation, a duty of one penny was 
imposed upon every pound exported.^ 

Much interest was shown by planters in the closing 
years of the century in finding out whether the ores in 
Virginia were adapted to iron making. Both Fitzhugh 
and Byrd shipped specimens to England to be examined 
there. In 1689. Fitzhugh sent a considerable quantity 
to Mr. Boyle for this purpose.' Byrd tested some of the 
lead ores by the use of a charcoal fire and a pair of band 

As early as 1612, it was anticipated that Virginia would 
become an important seat of linen manufacture^ owing to 
the adaptability of the soil to the production of flax. In 
tliis respect, it was considered superior to the soil of Eng- 
land. The early explorers confidently expected that in 
time the Colony would furnish the mother countrj' with 
an abundant supply of linen, not oidy from the flax plant, 
wliich grew there in such profusion in a wild state, but 
also fri>m the water-flacj found in the marshes. This 
latter plant, when boiled, was found to yield an integu- 
ment remarkable for the strength of its texture as well as 
for its leuijth. From this pn>duct was derived a material 
that could be useil, it was s;iid at the time, in making the 
finest linen. Some portions of it were adapted, it was 
thouirht, to the manufacture of a stout and durable 
conlage. Two hundred pounds of this stuff were im- 
portiil into England not long after the settlement of 

1 HeuLnji's Srnt'tt-^'f. v-M. III. p. »v>. 



Virginia, and proved on trial to be of excellent quality 
both for show and use.^ 

In spite of the repeated instructions given by the au- 
thorities in England to the Governors of Virginia, in 
the long interval between 1612 and 1646, to promote the 
cultivation of flax, no persistent effort was made until the 
last year to manufacture linen in any quantity. In 1646, 
the General Assembly decided upon the erection of two 
houses at Jamestown for this purpose. They were to b# 
built of substantial timber and were to be forty feet in 
length, twenty in width, and eight in pitch. The roofs 
were to be covered with boards properly sawed, and in 
the centre of each house, brick chimneys were to be placed. 
Each house was to be divided into rooms by convenient 
partitions. The different counties were respectively 
required to furnish two children, male or female, of the 
age of eight or seven years at least, whose parents wei*e 
too poor to educate them, to be instructed in the art of 
carding, knitting, and spinning. In order that ample pro- 
vision might be made for the health and comfort of the 
pupils, each county was required to supply the two chil- 
dren whom it sent, with six barrels of Indian com, a sow, 
two laying hens, linen and woollen apparel, shoes, hose, a 
bed, rug, blanket, two coverlets, a wooden bowl or tray, 
and two pewter spoons. This law, whether fully carried 
out or not, reveals the interest which was felt in the 
Colony at this time in the manufacture of linen.^ 

It was during this period of colonial history that Cap- 
tain Mathews, who resided at Blunt Point on the Lower 
James, was offering to the people of Virginia a notable 
illustration of the ease with which a planter, by skilful 
management of property, could procure within the bounds 

1 New Life of Virginia, p. 14, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. L 
s Henlng's Statutes, vol. I, p. 330. 


of his own estate all the supplies needed in carrying it on, 
whether springing dii-ectly from the soil and used in tbeir 
natural state or after undergoing the process of manu- 
facture. Among the numerous artificers who were found 
in the list of his servants and slaves, were spinners of the 
flax which he had produced in the cultivation of his own 
land.^ Tliere were probably other planters, contempon- 
ries of Captain Mathews, who made a similar use of the 
SJime plant obtained in a like manner, and this continaed 
through the interval preceding 1681. In that year, we 
find Colonel Fitzhugh writing to Thomas Mathew and 
congratulating him on his progress in manufacturing 
linen, and expressing the hope that it would be profitable, 
and at the same time* commending his example to all 
the landowners of the Colony.* 

In 1682, at the instance of Lord Culpeper, a law for 
the encouragement of linen and woollen manufactures was 
passed, on the ground advanced by the Governor, that 
** it might be of some use/' which reveals that prenoos 
observation had not letl him to be ver}- sanguine as to any 
im^Kirtant dovelopment of these industries.^ The pro- 
vi:>io!is as to the niatiufaoture of linen were verj- complete 
in detail, but thov show that there was no general effort 
on the p;irt of the planter? to convert their flax into this 
material. To every jvrson who brought flax or hemp to 
the court of iho couiitv in which he resided, in a condition 


lo Iv plaoevl on the spindle, two jK>unds of tobacco were 
i:i\en for every jxniud of flax or hemp so presented, but it 
must hiive been the pnxluct of his own land. The certifi- 

- Nfw IVATiyti'.'a ,'t VLr^iaiii. p*?- 1*- •'• Force's Ifirf-nV-i/ Tricts, 


cate which he received entitled him to be paid by the 
General Assembly out of the public levy. If the owner 
of the flax or hemp manufactured it into linen cloth, he 
was allowed six pounds of tobacco for every ell, which 
was to be three-quarters of a yard in width at the least 
This linen was first examined by the county court, and proof 
of its being of the growth and manufacture of the owner 
had to be offered and accepted before the regular certificate 
could be obtained. Every tithable was required to produce 
either two pounds of flax, or hemp, or one pound of each, 
every year, and the penalty for the neglect of this regula- 
tion was the forfeiture of fifty pounds of tobacco. To en- 
sure its performance, the heads of families and the overseers 
of servants and slaves were directed, before the annual 
levy was made, to appear before the nearest justice of 
the peace, and give in for each tithable under him, the 
amount of dressed flax or hemp prescribed by law.^ 

The statute was to continue in force until 1685, but it 
was repealed before its limitation was reached, on the 
ground that it imposed too heavy a burden on the public, 
both in the quantity of tobacco paid out under its provi- 
sions, and in the loss resulting from the passing of that 
commodity through the hands of officers. It was also 
stated that the advantages derived by the planters from 
this form of manufacture would be so ^reat that there was 
needed no further encouragement to ensure its continua- 

The disapproval which the English Government expressed 
with reference to the original regulation does not seem to 
have influenced the General Assembly in deciding to de- 
clare its provisions inoperative. Whether this was the 
case or not, the inventories placed on record in the county 
courts in the period between the repeal of the law and its 

iHening'B Statutes, vol. II, p. 603. ^Ibid., vol. Ill, p. 16. 


reenactment show that there were few of the more impor- 
tant households in the Colony, in this interval, in which 
linen-stuffs were not manufactured for domestic uses. 
Linen-wheels are frequently enumerated.^ lu 1698, the 
statute offering a reward for the encouragement of liDen 
production was again passed. This is only one among 
several instances disclosing how little attention was paid 
by the General Assembly to the opposition with which all 
colonial laws looking to the promotion of manufactures 
was regarded by the English authorities. Under the re- 
vived Act of 1693, the justices of the peace were required 
to levy upon the inhabitants of their respective counties 
a proportionate amount of tobacco for distribution amoof 
the persons who should present specimens of linen of their 
own manufacture, this linen to be at least fifteen ells in 
length and three-quarters of a yard in width. Each pe^ 
son claiming the reward was to bring forward three pieces 
representing different grades in texture. For the piece of 
the finest quality, eight hundred pounds of tobacco were 
to be allotted ; for the piece of second rate quality, sii 
hundred pounds, and for the piece of third rate, four hun- 
dred pounds. This Act was to continue in force until 
1699.2 The county records show that its rewards were 
claimed by local manufacturers of linen. One of the first 
instances entered wtis that of Thomas Chisman of York, 
who, in 1694, presented to the court of this county a piece 
of linen cloth which had been made in his dwelling-house 
by members of his family. On the same occasion, Thom;k> 

1 So numerous are the references to linen-wheels in this interval, that 
it would be impossible to give a full list of them. Among the artich* '^ 
use which appear to have been very often made of this Virginian \vRtn, 
were napkins. In one inventory, the Osborne, eighteen will be found 
included among the items of property belonging to the estate. See 
Becords of Henrico County, vol. l«88-1097, p. 350, Va, State Library. 

^ Ueuiiig's iSUUuUs^ vol. Ill, p. 13o. 


Fowler offered a similar piece. In the course of the same 
year, Chisman presented a second piece of linen cloth and 
was allowed eight hundred pounds of tobacco.^ The same 
amount of tobacco was granted for the same reason to John 
Smith of Middlesex in 1695,^ and to Thomas Cocke of 
Henrico.^ In 1697, Tobias Hall of Lancaster claimed the 
reward for the production of this kind of cloth, and again 
in 1698.* Among the manufacturers of linen in Middlesex 
were Ralph Wormeley, who, in 1684, brought into court 
one hundred pounds of dressed flax fit for the spindle; 
Captain Henry Creyk, who presented seven yards of cloth ; 
and Richard Parrott, who presented thirty-five yards. 
Thirty-three yards jvere offered by other persons.^ In 
1698, the court of Middlesex, replying to a communicar 
tion from the Governor asking to what extent linen had 
been manufactured in this county, stated that the quantity 
had amounted annually to about fifty yards.^ 

No special attempt was made to foster by the offer of 
statutory encouragement the growth of domestic cotton 
manufacture, although Governor Andros, towards the close 

1 Records of York County, vol. 1604-1697, pp. 60, 74, Va. State Library. 
An order of York court authorized the justices of the peace to pay the 
rewards prescribed by Act of Assembly ; for the first piece of linen, 600 
lbs. of tobacco; for the second, 400; for the third, 200. Ibid., p. 222. 
This was in 1695. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1694-1705, orders Nov. 12, 

» Records of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1097, p. 606, Va. State Library. 

* Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1696-1702, p. 32. 

^ Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1604, April 9, 1684. 
A reward was granted to Mr. Bayley of Elizabeth City County in 1696 
for a »* prime piece of Lynen," 22 yards in length. See vol. 1084-1699, 
p. 117, Va. State Library. Also, in 1094, to Mrs, Sarah Emperor of 
Lower Norfolk (records for 1694, November 13) for ** best linen cloth." 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1(>94-1705, p. 222. The 
court was doubtless only referring to what had been presented to them 
to secure the reward. 

M^^— — — aa— 


of the century, took steps to extend the culture of the 
plant in Virginia. There are many indications, however, 
that this material was spun in considerable quantities in 
the households of the people. In a letter written in 1685 
to one of his correspondents in England, Colonel Byrd 
refers to the rivalry among his dependents as to who should 
spin the most cotton, and this was not an uncommon case, 
as is revealed by the number of spinning-wheels included 
in the inventories, the use of which could not have been 
confined to wool and flax.^ 

There was always a stronger opposition in England to 
the manufacture of woollen cloths in Virginia than to the 
manufacture of linen. The author of the Nova Britannia^ 
which was written in the early part of the century for the 
purpose of advancing the interests of the Colony by calling 
the attention of the English people to the many advantages 
it offered, was careful to depreciate its adaptability to 
sheep husbandry. God, he declared, had denied sheep to 
Virginia, and yet among its population there was a rapidly 
increasing demand for clothing. He predicted that this 
would in the end cause the Colony to become a market 
of great importance for the sale of garments of English 
manufacture, and thus be the means of restoring the Eng- 
lish trade in cloth, now fallen into a state of decay in spite 
of the anxiety in the mother country to reestablish it.^ 
From an early period, woollen manufactures were carried 
on in a small wjiy in the homes of the planters, the quan- 
tity thus made being restricted rather by the paucity of 
sheep than bj' the limited facilities for production. Colonel 
Mathews, perhaps the leading citizen of Virginia in 1646, 

^ Letters of WiUinm Byrd, March 8, 1G85. There are occasional ref- 
erences in the inventories of this period to cotton-cards. See Becords of 
Loicer Norfolk County, original vol. 1095-1703, f. p. 00. 

2 Nova Britannia, p. 22, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. I. 


not only spun linen from flax, but also wove cloth of 
wool. In the list of his employees there appear a number 
of artisans for this purpose.^ In 1656, the authority was 
given to Northampton County to pass laws to promote and 
govern its own manufactures, among which the woollen 
were probably of importance.^ 

In 1659, a regulation was adopted prohibiting the ex- 
portation of wool, among other articles.^ Seven years 
later, the difficulty of obtaining clothing from England to 
supply the needs of the people became so great that the 
General Assembly determined to take more active steps 
for the encouragement of domestic woollen manufactures. 
What could be accomplished in this direction had already 
been illustrated in Governor Berkeley's success in furnish- 
ing his own household. The Assembly estimated that 
five women, or the same number of children of ages not 
exceeding thirteen years, could provide clothing for thirty 
persons. In order to remove the objection tliat there were 
no looms in the Colony, the court of each county was in- 
structed to set up one of these machines and to employ a 
weaver to work it. A failure to comply with this order 
exposed the court derelict to a fine of two thousand pounds 
of tobacco.* In 1668, the scope of this law was enlarged 

1 New Description of Virginia, pp. 14, 15, Force's Historical Tracts^ 
vol. II. It is stated by Aubrey that Davenant, the poet, when at Paris 
during the time of the Protectorate, ** laid an ingenuous design to carry a 
considerable number of artificers, chiefly weavei*s, from thence to Virginia, 
and by Mary, the Queen Mother's, means he got favour from the King of 
France* to go into the Prisons and pick and choose ... he took thirty- 
six, as I remember, and not more, and shipped them, and as he was on 
his voyage to Virginia, he and his weavers were all taken by the sliips 
then belonging to the Parliament of England." 

3 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 306. » Ibid., p. 488. 

* Ibid., vol. II, p. 238. C)ne of the charges against Sir William Berke- 
ley in the Charles City Grievances, 1676 ( Virginia Magazine of History 
and Biography, vol. Ill), was that he misappropriated the tobacco levied 
for the encouragement of weavers. 


by conferring upon the commissioners of the different 
counties the authority to erect houses in which the chil- 
dren of indigent parents were to be taught the art of spin- 
ning and weaving as well as other trades, these children 
to be selected at the discretion of the commissioners.^ 

In 1671, the statute prohibiting the exportation of wool, 
among other articles, was repealed on the ground that the 
handicraftsmen whose trades it was designed to aid had 
failed to take advantage of it.^ In 1682, it was reenacted. 
Wool and woolf els and the other articles named, the statute 
declared, were essential to the welfare of the people of the 
Colony, as furnishing necessary materials for use, and also 
as offering subsistence to many persons because tbej 
would find occupation in working them up. The penalty 
for exporting wool and woolfels was now placed at forty 
pounds of tobacco for every pound of these materials 
carried out of the country. The owner of the ship trans- 
porting it forfeited his interest in the vessel if aware of 
its presence on board, while the master and seamen were 
deprived of their goods and chattels for their participation 
in the act, besides being made subject to imprisonment for 
three months. If any person who had knowledge of the 
fact that a certain quantity of wool and woolfels were to 
be exported seized upon it, he was entitled to one-half of it 
as a reward for furnishing information as to its prospective 
illegal removal. The collectors were instructed to an- 
nounce to every shipmaster arriving, the passage of this 
statute, and to insert in the entry bond of each one, a con- 
dition that he should observe its provisions.^ With a view 
of encouraging the manufacture of the wool thus kept in 
Virginia, a second law was passed in 1682, which, as we 
have seen, was also applicable to linen, prescribing that 
six pounds of tobacco should be paid to every person who 

1 Hening'8 StatuteSy voL II, p. 266. « Ibid. , p. 287. » Ibid., pp. 493-497. 


brought to the court of the county in which he resided, a 
yard of woollen cloth or linsey-woolsey three-quarters of a 
yard wide, the same to be examined in the manner required 
in the case of linen. The fact that it was of the growth 
and manufacture of the person delivering it, was also to be 
shown and embodied in the certificate to be presented to the 
Assembly to ensure the payment of the reward Under 
the provisions of the same law, ten pounds of tobacco were 
granted to every one in the Colony who made a fur or 
woollen hat, and twelve pounds to the maker of every 
dozen pair of worsted hose for men and women.^ 

The rewards offered by these statutes had a strong influ- 
ence in directing the attention of the plantei's to local 
woollen manufactures. In 1684, Ralph Wormeley pro- 
duced before the court of Middlesex, fourteen yards of 
woollen cloth woven on his estate. Christopher Wormeley, 
on the same occasion, presented ninety-fiVe yards. Captain 
Henry Creyk sixty-one, John Farrell fifty-five, and Richard 
Parrott thirty-four. Forty-five yards were brought in by 
different planters at subsequent meetings of the same 
court.^ There is reason to think that persons in other 
counties took advantage of the same public inducements 
to manufacture woollen cloth. 

As far as possible, the English authorities discouraged 
the manufacture of every form of cloth in Virginia, and 
it is, therefore, not surprising to find that the statute pro- 
hibiting the exportation of wool and woolfels, and the 
statute passed to encourage woollen and linen production, 
should have been regarded with the strongest disapproval 
hy the English Government.* In 1683, both measures 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 504. 

» Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694, April 9, 1684. 
* Additional Instructions to Howard, 1683, clause 6, British State Papers, 
Colonial, No* 82 ; McDonald Papers, vol. VI, p. 293, Va. State Library. 



were expressly disallowed by the commissioners of the 
customs on the ground that they diminished the corre- 
spondence between the mother country and the Colony; 
weakened the dependence of the colonial population upon 
England; curtailed the freight which was furnished to 
English shipping, and thus obstructed an increase in the 
number of English seamen ; seriously narrowed the mar- 
ket for English woollen and other manufactures ; advanced 
the cost of tobacco to the English consumer by raising 
the charges of navigation ; and finally, reduced the volume 
of the customs.^ It has been pointed out that the statute 
to encourage the growth of linen and woollen manufact- 
ures was repealed in 1684, but for reasons which did not 
include the opposition of the English Government to its 
continuation. In spite of the adverse report of the com- 
missioners, this law was revived in 1686, to continue in 
force for four years, and was again reenacted at the end of 
that time, to remain in operation until the close of 1694.^ 
In the famous Act for Ports, a duty of six pence was 
placed on exported wool. The determination of the local 
authorities to establish woollen manufactures was shown 
in 1693 in the valuable privileges extended to all persons 
who proposed to erect fulling mills; if such persons 
owned land on but one side of a stream, they could have 
condemned an acre on the other side for the convenience 
of carrying on the work of their mills, provided that 
there were no housings or orchards on the tracts thus 

^ Report of the Commissioners of Customs, 1683, British State Papers, 
Colonial, No. 82 ; McDonald Papers, vol. VI, p. 2G9, Va. State Libraiy. 

- IIening\s Statutes, vol. Ill, p. oO. 

* P)id , p. 110. It was in this year that the Act for reviving the ** Act 
for the Advancement of the Manufactures of the Growth of this Country " 
was suspended by proclamation of Governor Andros. See Records of 
Middlesex County, original vol. 1079-1694, p. 606. 


)uring his tenure of the governorship, Nicholson recom- 
ided to the English Government that measures should 
adopted to discourage woollen manufactures in the 
ony, an additional indication that the opposition of the 
^her country to these manufactures had proved ineffec- 
5. Nicholson was justly charged by Beverley with gross 
insistency in this recommendation, for in the same let- 
he had informed the English authorities that the price 
obacco had sunk to such a point that the people were 
»ble to purchase clothing, which, as Beverley remarked 
h some bitterness,. left it to be inferred that the planters 
« to go naked.^ Nicholson was really advising Parlia- 
it to pass a law which it was impossible for that body 
>ut in operation. To suppress the branch of domestic 
lufacture to which he referred, it would have been 
essary to instruct constables to visit the different homes 
their respective districts and destroy every loom and 
idle. It is easy to see how such a duty, if performed 
ill, would have been performed with reluctance by the 
3ers of the law, in consequence of their sympathy with 
ir own people and the injury which they would have 
n inflicting upon their own interests. It is even proba- 
tbat these officers would have openly connived at the 
*egard of such an Act of Parliament, on the part of the 
•ulation at large ; but, admitting that they might have 
ght with zeal and honesty to carry out their instructions, 
distance between the plantations, and the remote life 
ch the inhabitants led, would have been fatal obstacles 
luccess in any attempt to put an end to local manufact- 
3 altogether. A prohibitory Act of this kind would 
have had the approval of any class in the Colony, and 
welfare of the whole population would have prompted 
3neral combination to defeat the officers of the law. 

» Beverley's History of Virginia, pp. ftS, ^ 

VOL. //. — 2B 


Parliament was too wise to consider the suggestion of 
Nicholson seriously; but in 1699, it adopted the rule that 
no wool or woollen goods produced by the plantations in 
America should be transported from one Colony to another, 
or from one point in a Colony to another point in the same 
Colony, or to any foreign place whatever.^ Only a few 
years before, the English Government had expressed die 
most emphatic disapproval of the order passed by the 
General Assembly forbidding the exportation of wool or 
woolfels, on the ground that it conflicted with the spirit 
of the Navigation laws. England had now become appre- 
hensive lest the transfer of wool and woolfels from Colony 
to Colony should diminish the volume of her own trade 
in clothing with her American possessions. There was in 
the statute no prohibition of the making of woollen goods 
for private use. 

It was the logical effect of these restrictive laws relat- 
ing to navigation and the exportation of wool and woollen 
products, that they stimulated a manufacturing spirit in 
the Colonies. The Navigation Acts were passed chiefly 
because England was unable to compete with Holland in 
the carrying tmde of the world owing to the greater cheai>- 
ness with which a cargo could be transported in the bottoms 
of the latter nationality. The exclusion of the Dutch had 
signified to the planters of Virginia not only the payment 
of higher freight rates in the conveyance of their tolxicco 
to England, but the payment, moreover, of higher prices 
for the goods which they purchased from tlie English mer- 
chants for their servants, slaves, and their own families. 
This resulted from the fact, that now that the comneti- 
tion of the Hollanders was removed, the merchants of tho 
mother country were only restrained in their charges hv 
competition among themselves. During the years in which 

^ 10 aiv^ U \^\\NAa.m wA Uary, ch. X. 


the value of tobacco sank very low, any addition to the 
rates of transportation, however small, or to the price of 
manufactured articles imported, however trivial, had a seri- 
ous effect in still further depi*essing the condition of the 
people. At once, there arose a desire to make at home all 
the goods which were needed in the plantation households.^ 
This was a measure of economy inevitably suggested by 
the circumstances. On several occasions, the House of 
Burgesses boldly protested against the imposition of new 
duties on tobacco, on the ground that all measures tending 
to reduce the profits of the Virginians in the commodity 
inclined them to turn their attention to manufacturing on 
their own account, because their ability to purchase articles 
of English production had been impaired. ^ In an address 
by the Governor and Council to the Privy Council in 1692, 
that body was warned that unless the people were supplied 
from the mother country with an abundance of the goods 
which they needed and at the proper season in the year, 
" great inconveniences were likely to follow by the plant- 
ers being forced to betake themselves, as many of them 
had already begun, to the improving and making several 
commodities " ^ usually brought to them from England. 

It will be seen from this quotation that the authorities 
of the Colony looked upon a general system of local manu- 
factures as a condition precipitated by low prices or de- 

* This was observed in a marked degree in 1681. In the course of that 
year, William Fitzhuj^h wrote to a correspondent in England, ♦Hhat little 
wool was to be obtained in his part of Virginia at that time, because it 
had been converted by the people into wearing apparel/' August 24, 

» Address of Burgesses to the King, November, 1685, British State 
Papers, Colonial Entry Book, Virginian Assembly No. 86 ; McDonald 
Papers, vol. VII, p. 331, Virginia State Library. See also Hening's Stat- 
utes, vol. ni, pp. .34, 36. 

» Palmer's Calendar of Virginia State Papers, voL 1, pp. ^,^^. ^>«» 
also Beverley's BSstorp of Virginia, pp. 261, 262, 


ficient supplies from abroad. There was no disposition 
among the inhabitants to foster manufactures on a krge 
and important scale independentlj of Uie pressure of 
these merely temporary influences. They probably did 
not seriously object to the Act of Parliament of 1699, 
since it was in direct conformity, so far as wool was con- 
cemed, with the letter and spirit of their own statute passed 
in 1682. The Virginians, when they made clothing at all, 
made it not for shipment, but for their own use. The 
Colony was not sufficiently adapted to sheep husbandry 
at this early period to render the exportation of wool very 
profitable, and there was no prospect of its becoming a 
seat of woollen manufactures beyond the point of supply- 
ing the needs of its own plantations. As early as 1700, 
it had grown to be the habit of the people to mix cotton, 
linen, and wool in the manufacture of coarse garments for 
the use of their negroes and white servants, but although 
this form of manufacture was carried to such a point of 
development by 1710 that one county alone in that year 
proiluced forty thousand yards of woollen, cotton, and 
linen cloth, nevertheless, it was expressly stated by Spots- 
wood that this manufacture had sprung from necessity 
rather than from inclination ; that the people gave little 
promise of attaining to skill in it ; and that the clothing 
obtained in this manner really cost more than that which 
was imported when tobacco was commanding a high price.^ 
While the amount of clotliing manufactured in the 
households of the planters was always diminished by any 
advance in the value of tobacco, since their ability to buy 
English goods of this character was thereby increased, 
there is no reason to think that in any year or series of 
years, however prosperous, the manufacture of woollen 
garments for rough domestic use fell into abeyance. From 

^ LetUrs oj Gotcrmor S]^QU\cood^ voL I, p. 72. 



the middle of the century to the close, there are few in- 
ventories of large personal estates among the items of 
which wool-cards and woollen- wheels do not appear. A 
few instances drawn from different periods may be given. 
Edward Jones of Henrico had four spinning-wheels; 
William Porteus of Lower Norfolk and Richard Pargatis 
of Middlesex, two each ; John Nicholls of Lower Norfolk 
and Nicholas Gage of Lancaster, one each.^ Joseph Croshaw 
of York left three woollen-wheels.^ In 1670, a woollen- 
wheel and two reels formed a part of the Hubbard estate,^ 
and also of the estate of John March of the same county.^ 
A pair of wool-cards were in the same year included in 
the Bond estate.* The Newell estate possessed nine pairs.^ 
John Collins of York owned eleven and John Hubbard 
eight wool-cards,^ William Marshall of Elizabeth City 
eighteen,® Henry Spratt of Lower Norfolk five,® and Henry 
Jones of Henrico four, and Thomas Osborne two.^ The 

1 Records of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1697, pp. 628, 630, Va. State 
Library ; Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1694-1703, p. 22 ; 
Records of Lower Norfolk County^ original vol. 1696-1703, f. p. 96 ; 
Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1690-1709, p. 97 ; Records of 
Loxcer Norfolk County, vol. 1686-1695, p. 198. The references to woollen- 
wheels in the records of this county are very numeroos. 

» Rec4>rds of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 266, Va. State Library. 

» Ibid., p. 464. 

* Ibid., vol. 1687-1691, p. 40. The list of owners of woollen-wheels 
might be extended almost indefinitely. In some cases, the wheel and 
support were made of black walnut See Henry Randolph's estate. Rec- 
ords of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1097, p. 428, Va. State Library. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 448, Va. State Library. 

* Ibid., vol. 1676-1684, p. 140. 

7 Ibid., vol. 1677-1682, p. 106 ; Ibid,, vol. 1664-1672, p. 319, Va. State 

> Records of Elizabeth City County, voL 1684-1699, p. 300, Va. State 

» Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1686-1696, f. p. 96. 

w Records of Henrico County, voL 1688-1697, pp. 361, 630, Va. State 


inventories of Middlesex, Lancaster, and the Eastern 
Shore disclose an equal number. 

The presence of the loom is also shown in a number 
of cases. In 1668, William Parker, a former servant of 
Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., owned and operated a machine 
of this character in York with valuable encouragement 
from the county.^ Many years later, there was recorded 
in Elizabeth City an indenture, by the terms of wliich 
John Stringer was bound out for a period of five years to 
serve as an apprentice of Charles Combs and his wife in 
the trade of a weaver.^ John West of Lower Norfolk, 
William Glover, William Cocke, and Martin Elam of 
Henrico, John Wallop of Accomac, and Charles Kelly 
of Lancaster were owners of looms.^ William Phillijxs 
also of Accomac, a weaver by profession, was a man of 
property: in 1696, he is found buj-ing a plantation in that 
Ci)Uiity covering one liundred acres.* The manufacture of 
these looms extended to blankets and to flannel.^ 

1 Records nf York County, v.»l. 1664-1672, p. 285, Va. State Library. 

2 Becnnh of KUzaheth CiOj Connty. vol. 1684-1699, p. 11.3, Va. Suie 
Library. In Ui^9, Strinsrer had lK>und himself out as an apprentice to a 
CiK)iH.T. StHJ Ihid.y p. 361. Edinond Swausy of this county also owue»i a 
loom. Ibid., p. 494. 

* Bfconh of Loire r Xorfolk Oninty, oriinnal vol. 1673-1686, f. p. 11^; 
li' cords of Ht'Hrko Coimty, vol. 1688-1697, pp. 284, 706, Va. 8tatf 
Libniry ; Hecnrds of Aronnac Counttj^ original vol. 16l>2-171o, p. IS; 
ReooxU of LanrasCer County, original vol. 1696-1702. p. 96. There are 
als » nianv n.'ft'rfncos to w«x>l-<:ombs. 

* Records of Accomac County, original vol. 1692-1715, p. 118. 

^ Rtfconis of yorth'tmptim County, original vol. 1692-1707, pp. 2X\ 
20o : Records of Henrico County, vol. 1688-1697. p. t)o2. The invt-ntory 
of William Tavlor of Accouiac Countv included '* 3-3 vards of Vir-'inia 
cloth/* original vol. 16i»2-1715, p. 201. Refen^nces to *• Virginia stock- 
ings*' will be found in Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 16S>- 
1694, orders April 9, 1684. and in Reconis of York County, vol. 1694-100". 
p. 292, Va. State Libniry. For Virjiinian cloth, napkins, and towt^ls, see 
Jieconis of Uairico CouaCy, voL 1688-1697, p. 3oO. It should be borne 


The wills of the seveuteenth century on record in the 
county courts indicate that there were many negroes, more 
especially of the female sex, who had been carefully edu- 
cated to take part in domestic manufacture. After the 
cloth had been made, it was converted into suits, either by 
the slaves or by the servants. Byrd, in his instructions 
to his English merchants to send him mechanics, oc- 
casionally wrote for a tailor, stating that the term of the 
one then in his employment was on the point of expiring.^ 
The conditions upon which such tradesmen were engaged 
doubtless varied in different instances. The covenants into 
which Luke Mathews, a tailor of Hereford, entered with 
Thomas Landon of Virginia were probably fairly repre- 
sentative ; Mathews bound himself to serve Landon for a 
period of two years, his term to begin when he reached the 
Colony ; the remuneration was to be six pence a day when 
working for members of Landon's family, but when for 
other persons, he was to be entitled to one-half of the 
proceeds of his labor, whatever it might be.^ 

There were cases in which tailors bound by covenants 
had, before the date of their indentures, acquired or in- 
herited such large means, or had enjoyed such opportunities 

in mind that only a portion of the county records of the seventeenth 
century have survived to the present day. Those which were destroyed 
would have thrown still further light on the extent of local manufacture. 

* Letters of William Byrd^ May 31, 1080. One of the white servants 
of Robert Beverley, Sr., was a tailor, who very probably had been im- 
ported. See inventory on file at Middlesex C. H. Among the servants 
who were brought over in the First Supply (1008) were six tailors. A 
tailor formed one of the company of voyagers of 1007. See Works of 
Capt. John Smith, pp. 390, 412. In many cases, the wealthy planters 
imported from England the clothes worn by these servants and slaves. 
See Letters of William Byrd, May 31, 1080. 

^ Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1004-1703, p. 14. Landon 
afterwards removed for a time to Carolina, and before doing so, entered 
into a second agreement with Mathews. See Ibid., p. 110. 



to accumulate property in the hours during which they 
were not engaged for their masters, that they were able to 
purchase their freetlom.^ Many of the persons who fol- 
lowed this calling secured a livelihood by working by the 
day or by the special task. In 1678, Philip Thomas of 
Henrico brought in a statement of indebtedness against 
Captain Crews of that county* which showed that he had 
for forty-two days and a half been employed in the senrice 
of the latter under an agreement promising him twenty 
pounds of tobacco each day. Among the other articles of 
clothing made by Thomas during this time was a pair of 
leather drawers.' In 1692. the estate of Robert Booth 
oweil to John Bradford, a tailor, the sum of one pound 
sterling, eighteen shillings and six pence.' William Murray 
of ElizaWth Citv Countv was. in 16V*T. sued bv JohnNelsoiu 
alsi> a tailor, for the amount wliieh had been determined 
ujva ;v? his rvwani for services extending over six weeks. 
This w;k> v^ne thousiind pounds *.ȣ tobacco.* Some years 
prvvioiisly a tailor residing in Rai*r<khannoek County had 
char^nl tonv i<*u:u{s of ioI«oh.s> for making a coat, seventv 
for r.iAkir^c i» le;4tlwr waisi<^.\au aiid ninetv for making a 
<\^v.:: loto suit,* The charires in Lancaster at this time 
\vcr\ sv^r.u whjfc: hiirh^r* The remuneration asked for 
UiAxivvC ,1 vVs*: wyis sixty jx^un^is of tobacco, and for a 
i\*ir of i^rxYv :u'* twtiitv iv«unds.* Haners were not un- 

« aVv-^-w // i:iL:jffi^.\r.\%:\'i 0.»\;>. toI 1i>!55-1o?2. p. 300. Va. State 

*■ Ki',\'r*is '/ j; 1.-0 0.**;7.r.v l'?~T-!^>L p. l-M. Vx. SiAte Library. 
t'V'si^ "* .'^rfc*'.''^'"* «'ic^ vc.'hsiNT & rifcir :•: brwcbc*. as ihis t^rm was in 

• X^.o.-^/^ /.-■ ^,.-i /, tx.;/. v,'C :'fy»-:a-4. TV 1>»\ Va. Stai* Ubrair. 

• X^'.\ruj> // 3r:^tr)»cl .%:;:? O. »iig. x.^ It^*-!*-"^.*, i»}>. 100, Kil. Vi. 

• >:■,«. ".'•iy> // xf, !/*,%>' rtuitrt xX'^wj y^.'u It>f^l*"Tf , p. 24?, Ya. Sta:e 


known in the Colony ; William Harrison of Henrico 
followed this trade, and the names of others might be 

A curious instance which throws light upon the social 
standing of the men in the Colony who were engaged in 
these trades is recorded in York County. James Bullock, 
a tailor, entered into a wager with Mr. Mathew Slader 
that in a race to take place between their horses he would 
prove the winner. The court, instead of allowing him 
the amount agreed upon in the bet, which he seems to 
have won, fined him one hundred pounds of tobacco, on 
the ground that it was illegal for laborers to participate 
in horse-racing, this being a sport reserved exclusively 
for gentlemen. Tailors, nevertheless, were considered 
suflBciently respectable to act as the attorneys of leading 
planters in special transactions, and also in a long course 
of business.* 

There are numerous indications that the tailors enjoyed 
a large measure of prosperity. In 1674, Henry Chaney 
of Accomac, a member of this trade, purchased a planta- 

f olio wing tailor^s bill is from the Lancaster records, original vol. 1600- 
1709, p. 79 : '* John Mallis, Dr, for work done, 205 lbs. tobacco ; allowed 
George Chilton, for one garment, 50 lbs. ; Thoe. Yerby, Dr, for work done, 
225 lbs.; John Davis, D^ for making seven women^s jackets, 70 lbs.; for 
making a coat for jK wife, 60 lbs. ; for altering a pair of plush britches, 20 
lbs.; Henry Stonam, IH, fory^ wife and daughter's jackett, 30 lbs.; for 
y^ britches, 20 lbs.; coat, 40 lbs.; y^ boys' jackets, 20 lbs.; y^ son's 
britches, 25 lbs.; ye eldest son's ticking suite, 60 lbs.; John Travers' 
ticking suite, 60 lbs.; Wm. Smith, D; to making one vest and loose coat, 
90 lbs.; Wm. Goodridge, D% to making a dimity waistcoat, serge siiite, 2 
cotton waistcoats, and y'. dimity coat, 185 lbs.; Richard Alderson, D^, 
for a pr. of buff gloves, 100 lbs.; for one neck cloth, 12 lbs.; a pr. stock- 
ings, etc., 120 lbs.; for a pr. leather britches, pr. Callimanco britches, 60 
lbs.; for a coat making, 40 lbs." This bill was brought into court by 
John Daniell, administrator of Noah Rogers. 

1 Becords of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 229, Va. State Library. 

« Becords of York County, vol. 1671-1694, p. 84, Va, ^\a\a \A\itwi . 


tion which included one thousand acres in its area.^ A 
few years previous to this, John Watterson of Northamp- 
ton had bought four hundred and forty-four acres.* In 
Rappahannock, towards the close of the century, Joseph 
Smith, Thomas Winslow, and Herman Skilderman are 
found selling large tracts of land which they o>\'netl.^ 
John Elder of Lower Norfolk purchased three hundred 
and seven acres. A few years lat^r, Jolm Winder of the 
same county bought one hundred.* In 1660, John Walker 
of Lancaster was in possession of four hundred and thirty 
acres ; and a few years afterwards, John Carpenter of the 
same county sold five hundred,^ and Nicholas West of 
Middlesex purchased two hundred.^ It is probable that 
in all of these instances the area of ground held by the 
tailors named was very much in excess of that which has 
been mentioned. 

The list of artificers for whom the London Company 
advertised in 1609 did not include tanners, curriers, and 
shoemakers, from which it would be inferred that the cor- 
poration expected to furnish the settlers with shoes from 
England in addition to every other form olf clotliing." 

1 Records of Accomac County, original vol. 1673-1075, p. 102. 

2 Records of Northampton Country original vol. 1660- UkJS, p. ,'52. 

' Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1095-1001^, pp. 7(3. 17o ; JhuU 
vol. 1677-1682, p. 148; see also John Owen, Ibid,, vol. 1682-1692, pp.7i>, 
80, Va. State Library. 

♦ Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1066-1675, p. 117; 
Ibid., vol. 1675-1080, p. 23. Bryant Cahill, a tiiilor, owned two lots in 
Norfolk town in 1602. Ibid., original vol. 1080-1005, f. p. 18<i. William 
Simpson, another tailor, owned one lot in York town. See Records 
of York County, vol. 1691-1701, p. 195, Va. State Library. 

^ Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1054-1702, p. 300; IbiJ., 
vol. 1666-1682, p. 35. Thomas Thompson of this county was also a land- 
owner. See Ibid., p. 289. 

* Records of Middlesex County y original vol. 1()73-1085. p. 72. 
' Brown^s Genesis o/ the CTiuCed States, pp. 353, iioo. 


This is confirmed by the enumeration given by the author 
of Nova Britannia of the artificers whose services would 
be required in Virginia ; it is significant to note that the 
tradesmen just named were omitted, the explanation being 
that the author was anxious to advance the interests of 
the Colony, and was, therefore, careful not to present it as 
a possible rival of the English people in any branch of 
trade in which they were largely engaged. He wished to 
make them favorable to Virginia by showing that an in- 
crease in its population would cause it to become a larger 
market for the sale of English manufactured goods, and 
in that character grow in importance each year. In the 
broadside issued by the Company in 1611, tanners and 
shoemakers were among those to whom inducements to 
emigrate were offered ; ^ and these inducements proved 
effective, for it is known that there were shoemakers and 
tanners in the Colony in 1616 who followed their trades 
as well as cultivated the ground.^ It is evident, however, 
that the Company was still anxious not to create the im- 
pression in England that the settlers would be able to 
manufacture their own supply of shoes. When a com- 
mittee was appointed from among its members to report 
upon the best course to be pursued in the development 
of the lands assigned to the College in Virginia, they 
recommended that smiths, carpenters, bricklayers, brick- 
makers, potters, and husbandmen should be sent over,^ but 
made no reference to tanners, curriers, and shoemakers, 
who, it is true, were not especially needed to carry out 
the purpose in view. In 1648, Samuel Mathews, in addi- 
tion to having spinners and weavers among his servants 

* Brown's Genesis of the United States, p. 445. 

« Rolfe's Virginia in 1610, Va. Historical Register, vol. I, No. Ill, p. 107. 

• Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 12. 

- nn i-T "- ^ 


and slaves, owned a tannery and employed eight shoe- 
makers, a number so great that they must have been 
engaged in part in making shoes for sale. 

There are many indications in the records of the latter 
half of the seventeenth century that both tanners and 
shoemakers constituted a class of importance in the Col- 
ony, including those who were free as well as those who 
were serving under articles of indenture. It was not 
infrequent that the sons of planters were apprenticed to 
these trades.^ Beverley declared that the workmanship 
of the tanner and shoemaker was so careless and defective 
that the people were unwilling to use the product of their 
rude skill whenever shoes of English manufacture could 
be obtained. This statement was undoubtedly exagger- 
ated. That shoes made in the mother country were pre- 
ferred, was natural enough, but that the trade either of 
the tanner or the shoemaker languished in Virginia is 
not borne out by the facts recorded in the books of the 
county courts. There were few planters of easy fortune 
who did not, like Colonel Mathews, have tradesmen of 
this character in their employment. Colonel Edmund 
Scarborough, in a complaint which he entered in the court 
of Northampton County in 1662, mentions incidentally 
that he had nine shoemakers in his service, and that he 
had been at a heavy charge in tanning leather and mak- 
ing shoes. It is probable that he was a party to a con- 
tract with the local authorities for supplying the public 
wants in these particulars. He petitioned that Nathaniel 
Bradford, a currier by trade, should be punislied for his 
failure to perform the duties which the law imposed 
upon all who followed that business. ^ Bradford was the 

* Records of Itappahannock County, vol. 1095-1699, p. 112, Va. State 
Librar}'. • 

2 Records of Northampton County ^ original vol. 1667-1064, p. 163. The 


owner of a .tan-house and a shoemaker's shop, and at the 
tune of his death was in possession of three hundred and 
eighteen hides and forty-six lasts. ^ Daniel Harrison of 
Lancaster gave employment to three shoemakers. His 
personal estate included, when appraised, one hundred 
and twenty-two sides of leather, seventy-two pairs of 
shoes, thirty-seven awls, and twenty-six paring knives, 
twelve dozen lasts, and numerous currier's and tanner's 
tools.* Richard Willis and Ralph Wormeley, who were 
planters of wealth, left large quantities of sole leather ' 
and hides. This was also true of Mathew Hubbard of 

The leading planters were in the habit of importing 
shoemakers from England for the same reasons that 
moved them to bring in representatives of other trades. 
Fitzhugh, writing to John Cooper, one of his London 
correspondents, in 1692, requests him to send over to 
Virginia several shoemakers, with lasts, awls, and knives, 

following is from the York records: *'It is this day agreed between 
ye Court on behalf of themselves and ye whole County of York, and 
William Heyward Calvert, who intermarried with the relict of John 
Hey ward decl, and the said William did for his part engage himself and 
negroes that ye tanne house and pitts and other things appertaining shall 
be maintained and kept at his and their charge as ye County^s tan house 
and pitts for 7 years from this time, (the same being on ye said John 
Heyward*s plantation in New Poquoson), also to take all ye hydes of ye 
County that shall be brought him and allow for them according to Act of 
Assembly, also to tann, curry and make shoes of ye said hides and sell 
them at ye ratio appointed by ye said Act. In consideration whereof the 
Court hereby order that ye said William shall have paid him and his heirs 
at ye next leavy 4400 lbs. of tobacco as convenient as can be." Records 
of York, vol. 1657-1662, p. 373, Va. State Library. 

1 Records of Northampton County , original vol. 1682-1697, f. p. 213. 

* Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1674-1678, f . p. 43. 

* Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1698-1713, p. 73 ; Ibid., 
OFiginal vol. 1694-1703, p. 128. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 468, Va. State Library. 


together with half a hundred shoemaker^s thread, some 
twenty or thirty gallons of train oil and proper eolorii^ 
for leather. He had set up a tan-hoose and wished to 
convert the product into shoes on his own plantation.^ 
The need of importing shoemakers was probably greater 
in the Northern Xeok, in which part of the Colony Fitz- 
hugh resiiled. thiin in the older communities; where the 
representatives of the trades were more numerous and 
more skilful. 

The county records of that period contained manr 
indentures between planters and shoemakers. Of these, 
a fair example was the contract between Robert Cate and 
Peter Wvke of Henrico in 1679. Cate entered into bonds 
to serve Wvke for a term of four vears. He was to be 
exempted from the task of planting and tending tobacco, 
but was required to perform all other agricultural work: 
he was to receive bv wav of remuneration. fo<xl, ilrint 
ap[>areL washiiicr. and Lxlging, and when his agreement 
expired, a g«xxl suit and three barrels of Indian corn were 
to l»e given him. It will be ••I'served that while Cate 
w:is engaged prinoipally for his kn<»wledge of the shoe- 
m^iker's trade, he wa^ al>«.^ exfvoted to make himself use- 
ful in otiier branches of industry.^ This was probably 
the v\ise with all classes *>i mech:iaics who earned a liveli- 
h*.KKl in the employment or Lmdowners in the seventeenth 

Many ot the tanners were men of d^nsiderable property. 
The iv:-Sk>iialty of Ko-^r Loni^ot Y«»rk was v;iliied at sixty- 
four t^»Mtt..l> .in. I dtteeti shill:n.cs- ^md he owned in the fonn 
of debts to him, fourteen thi>i;>iind pMin^ls of tolxioco.^ 
In ><»vt'nil i'istAnces in Lower N«>rtt>lk Couutv. members 

- ?j. , . ■ . '. ?.:! . •' ;.' .(.-..•.. V *' I 'I -I;- ■/ . ■. 1 . I • "S^- *. • 'i • 7 . p . n' . Va . Si at »* Libran'- 
^ A\«.v;>Zi* '/ \ jr< Cuant^j, v^v. V'^>V-Lr>:i, j'. 47'.. Vj. Slate Library. 



of this trade bought or disposed of valuable and extensive 
tracts of land. Thus in 1691, James Jackson sold one 
hundred acres, and George Valentine purchased one hun- 
dred and fifty. ^ A few years previously, Thomas Nicol- 
son of Accomac had sold four hundred.^ The shoemakers 
of the Colony were probably in possession of still larger 
areas of ground. In 1681, Joseph Carling of Lower Nor- 
folk bought one hundred acres; James Loun, a few years 
later, the same number, and Benjamin Robert one-half that 
area.^ Thomas Sadler, a shoemaker of Rappahannock, 
purchased one hundred acres of land on a single occasion. 
If the leather produced in the Colony was as defective 
as Beverley represented it to have been,* the fact was not 
to be attributed to lack of legislative attention; tanners, 
curriers, and shoemakers were subject to very careful 
restrictions in following their callings. In order to en- 
sure its proper condition, no leather was to be thrown 
into the vat until the lime had been thoroughly soaked, 
nor was the leather to be allowed to remain there until it 
had become over-limed. The currier was not permitted 
to use salt in its preparation, and if he did so, he was to 
pay the owner of the hide ten shillings as a fine for the 
offence. He was suffered to charge two shillings and six 
pence for a bundle of ten hides or six dozen calf -skins. 
The shoemaker was forbidden to work up leather which 
had not been legally sealed as Avell-tanned and well-cur- 
ried. He was to use only thread that was sound, twisted, 
and waxed or rosined. The stitches were to be drawn 
with the utmost care. The inspectors or viewers were 

1 Records of Lower Norfolk County j original vol. 1080-1695, f. p. 104 ; 
Ibid., original vol. 1075-1080, p. 114. 

2 Hecords of Accomac Coitnty, original vol. 1076-1000, p. 150. 

5 Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1075-1080, f. p. 104 ; 
Ibid., original vol. 1080-1095, f. pp. 15.3, 179. 
» Beverley's History of Virginia, p. 239. 


instructed to appropriate all leather that was badly tanned 
or curried, and all boots, shoes, and bridles manufactured 
from defective material. Six persons were appointed 
as inspectors and they were required to perform their 
duties in open court. Acceptance of bribes, or the exaction 
of a larger amount than was sanctioned by the law, exposed 
them to a fine of twenty pounds sterling. If they refused 
to place their stamp on leather of good quality, they were 
mulcted forty shillings. Five poimds sterling constituted 
the penalty for declining to accept the office of inspector. 
Under the provisions of this law, leather consisted of the 
skin of the ox, steer, buU, cow, calf, deer, goat, and sheep.^ 
The first Act interdicting the exportation of liides from 
Virginia was passed in 1632. It was designed to apply 
to the skins of deer as well as to the skins of all sorts of 
domestic animals. The same provisions were shortly 
reenaetevL furs, such as those of the beaver and otter, 
for example, l)eing excepted from its scope.^ In 1645, 
a pn>hil)ition was laivl niron the shipment of raw hides 
and leather, together with a variety of other articles 
specifievl in the siime statute.^ In the succeeding year, 
this ivgulation was repealed. Seventeen years later, the 
exiH>rtation of hides as well as of wool and iron was 
strictly forbidden, the j)enalty ineurnnl in violating the 
law falling only uiH>n the buyer. At the following ses- 
sion of the Assembly, the penalty was extended to the 
stiller, this j>eualty amounting to one thousand {)ounds of 
tobiUH'o. In the Aot jnissed in the course of this year, 

^ Ht*riinii:*5 StatutfS. vol. III. pp. 7o-^\ An instance of the seizure i^ 
defective Wather will be found m Eecnnjb *>/ y^rt Onthttf, vol, Iti'.iiLUW. 
p. :?7l. Va. State Library. See, for apiynntment i.^f vtr»wer?, /?f?«'oni* '/ 
JUilUK'sex OjHHty. original v..l. 16JS«>^1»*.14. onlors Marvh 1. 16in-lf«*2: 
Feb. *.», lrti>-i-lt*5>;J : purchase of «;eal. INd.. orders Dec, 4. lt5l>o. 

« lU-niiu's StitCut*;s. vol. I, pp. 174. I9d. 

^y^Vti^p. 307. 



leer and calf skins were declared to be included in the 
aaeaning of the word "hide." ^ 

The scope of the original Act was in 1665 again ex- 
bended. The penalty for shipping hides from the Colony 
had previously been restricted to the buyer and seller, but 
it was now made to apply to all tanners who sought to 
export leather and shoes, and to all masters of vessels 
who received these articles. By the original law, a large 
ship was permitted by special license to carry out eight 
hides, and smaller ships a number in proportion to their size, 
according to what was calculated to be sufficient for the 
needs of their crews. The collector issued the licenses 
before the hides were brought on board, and the masters 
and commanders of vessels were liable for an excess over 
the number allowed by a special clause in their bonds. 
For every hide or skin beyond this number exported, the 
seller, whether a tanner or not, was fined one thousand 
pounds of tobacco, and the same penalty was imposed 
upon the shipmaster or commander who received it. For 
every pair of shoes transported from the country, the 
seller and buyer forfeited one hundred pounds of the 
same commodity.' 

All the laws relating to the exportation of hides, as well 
as of iron and wool, were repealed in 1671 on the ground 
that the tradesmen whom it was intended to benefit had 
failed to derive any advantage from them.^ It is diffi- 
cult to see how the welfare of the tanners, curriers, and 
shoemakers in the Colony could be advanced materially 
by enactments expressly prohibiting the shipment of 
dressed leather and shoes, but this clause was inserted 
probably to remove the apprehension of the English 
Government lest Virginia should become an active com- 

1 Hening'8 Statutes, vol. II, pp. 124, 179, 185. 
« Ibid, , p. 2 16. « i7)id., p. 281 . 

VOL, It. — 21 


petitor of the English shoe manufacturers in countries 
lying outside of its own borders. The Assembly had, in 
1C60, adopted rules which would furnish this class of 
workmen, it was supposed, with an ample market at home. 
Each county was instructed to erect a tan-house and to 
employ tanners, curriers, and shoemakers. There was 
appointed for each house an overseer, who was directed 
to receive all hides brought in, paying two pounds of 
tobacco for each pound of hide. To the j^ersons present- 
ing hides he was required to sell plain shoes at the rate 
of thirty pounds a pair. French falls of the largest size 
were to be sold to such persons at the rate of thirty-fiTe 
pounds a p;iir, whilst those of the smallest were to be sold 
at twenty ix>unds. A penalty of five thousand pounils of 
tobacco was imj^osed uiK>n every county that failed to 
en»ot a tan-house in pursuance of this legishitive act.^ 

IW the hiw of 10S2, the rule prohibiting the exportation 
of hiilcs and skins, tanneil and untanned, tosfether with the 
oihor articles named, was reestablished on the ground, as 
has alrt*ady Wen jx^inted out, that it would give employ- 
ment to many idle and suffering people, besides supphing 
the I'olony with manufactured gixvds. The penalty for 
semlini:: out hides and skins, or leather worked up into 
wearing aj^pari^, was. by the terms of this measure, fixed 
at one hundnnl and fifty jx>unds of tobacco. The sliij>- 
owner autl seamen detected in the act of transporting 
these articles from Virginia, were subject to the same 
punishment ;k5 we have stH^n imiK^sed in the ease of wool. 
'r),e duty of the eoluvtors was the Siime.^ 

' Uir.rrs .^: ,7; ■:-,<, v V 11. p. 12:?. I: \ras under the provisions ^ 
thi«; <"*« :V,.ii ;':« !a:v^i o.Si" NL'^ncini: to York County, reftntd to in a 

• y '.'. . V ♦i-:^ IT.r :-.-.;:r.lvr ^: skin? oxp^ruM by a single persf^u "^^ 
off«'r. V, v\ Ur^x- \v\ M:*rvV.. I'^i. R tl'.arvi Bullor petitioned the I*rivT 
tN-uvil t»M tV.< rc*\oTX\;."^T. v'l C'Ttv \\i;-:^s^TA^fc«!&, 'which had been sem<l 



In 1682, a dressed buckskin was appraised at two shil- 
ngs four pence and three-quarters, and one undressed at 

shilling and two and a quarter pence ; the value of a 
ressed doeskin was fixed at one shilling and nine and 
half pence ; if undressed, at eleven pence.^ In the Act 
or Ports, passed in 1691, but never put in operation, an. 
xport duty was laid upon all skins and furs shipped from^ 
he Colony, this being tantamount to a repeal of the law; 
3rbidding their exportation. On every raw hide, the^ 
xport duty was one shilling; on every tanned hide, twoj 
hillings; on every buckskin, dressed or undressed, eighth 
*ence ; on every doeskin, dressed or undressed, five pence ; k 
n every elkskin, one shilling. A duty was also placed \ 
n the skins of beaver, otter, raccoon, wild-cat, mink, and / 
luskrat.* ^ 

In 1693, an export duty was laid on skins for the benefit 
f William and Mary College ; on every raw hide, the tax 
ras three pence ; on every tanned hide, six pence ; on 
very dressed buckskin, one penny and three farthings ; ; 
n every undressed buckskin, one penny ; oh every doe- ) 
kin dressed, one penny halfpenny ; on every undressed 
oeskin, three farthings. A graduated tax was also laid / 
n the skins of the beaver, otter, raccoon, wild-cat, minx,\ 
ox, and muskrat. 

Passing from articles of a general character to certain 
orms of food, or ingredients of food, manufactured in the 
)olony, it is found that an attempt to produce salt was 
aade as early as 1616. Seventeen men, who were pro- 
dded for at the expense of the Company, were established 
,t Dale's Gift at Cape Charles in the course of that year 

(D account of the violation of the Act in force forbidding exportation 
tt hides. 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 607. 

«/6ia., vol. m, p. 63. 


for the purpose of engaging in this work.^ Fpr evapora- 
tion, they appear to have relied at first principally on the 
heat of the sun. Until Argoll assumed the administration 
of affairs, the people obtained their supplies of salt from 
this source,^ but in the common wreck precipitated by his 
government, the little band of men were dispersed, and their 
appliances fell into decay ; ® this led to much suffering, as 
the settlers were forced to eat their pork and other meats 
in the fresh state. The distempers resulting from this 
necessity were so severe that the Company in 1620 decided 
to erect the salt works again, and in the following year 
Miles Pirket, who was skilled in salt-making, was sent to 
Virginia.* The object which the Company had in view 
was not only to furnish the people with the salt needed, 
but also in time to produce so great a quantity that all the 
fisheries on the American coast might look to the Colony 
for supplies of this article.^ In 1621, John Pory was in- 
structed by Yeardley to visit the Eastern Shore to select 
a spot combining the most conveniences for the proposed 
manufacture.® The supervision of the erection of the 
works was given to Maurice Berkeley, who had as his 
principal subordinate, Miles Pirkett, and also the assist- 
ance of a second man trained in making salt.^ The 
undertaking could not have been placed on a permanent 

1 Rolfe's Relation, in Neill's Virginia Company of London^ p. 111. 

2 NeilPs Virginia Company of London, p. 180. 

8 Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 65. 

* Company's Letter, Sept. 11, 1621, Neill's Virginia Company of 
London, p. 249. 

^ Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 68. 

^ Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 567. 

" Letter of Governor and Council to Company, January, 1621-22, 
Neill's Virginia Company of London, p. 283. Pirkett is sometimes 
referred to as Pickett, sometimes as Prickett. 


footing, for, in 1627, William Capps was sent to the Colony 
to try an experiment in the manufacture of bay salt in 
addition to carrying out the other objects of Uis mission to 
Virginia. If he began the experiment at all, he was soon 
interrupted by a contention in which he became involved, 
and which ended in his expulsion from the country. 

The General Court at Jamestown, in 1630, passed an 
order, in conformity probably with instructions from 
England, that the manufacture of salt should be begun 
again.^ This seems to have been done, for the Governor 
and Council shortly afterwards informed the English 
authorities that the colonists, who in the production of 
this article had hitherto employed artificial heat in the 
process of evaporation, would soon be using the heat of 
the sun.' Harvey indulged in many hopeful expectations 
when writing upon the point at this time.^ Thirty years 
after the close of his administration, the General Assembly 
rewarded Mr. Dawen, a citizen of Accomac, for the speci- 
mens of salt which he had produced by requiring the costs 
which he had incurred in visiting Jamestown, to be de- 
frayed out of the general levy. He was also exempted' 
from the levy of Accomac* In 1660, the Assembly offered 
to grant ten thousand pounds of tobacco to Colonel Edmund 
Scarborough of Northampton if he should succeed in mak- 
ing eight hundred bushels.^ In the following session, still 
more valuable encouragement was extended to him in con- 
sideration of his having erected works for that purpose. 
He was made the beneficiary of tlie whole amount of revenue 
collected in Northampton County in the settlement of the 

1 Randolph MSS., vol. II, p. 215. 

2 Royal Hist. MSS. Commission, Fourth Report, Appx., pp. 290, 291. 

* Governor Ilarvey to Dorchester, British State Papers, Colonial, 
vol. V, No. 83 ; Sainsbury Abstract.'^ for 1630, p. 213, Va. State Library. 

* Hening^s Statutes, vol. II, p. 12. 

* Ibid., p. 38. 



duty of two shillings imposed upon every hogshead ex- 
ported, subject, however, to the condition that he was to 
deliver to persons designated by the Assembly the salt 
which he manufactured, the exchange to be made at the 
rate of two shillings and six pence a bushel. No salt 
was to be imported into the county of Northampton after 
1663, and if the master of a ship, bark, or any smaller craft 
disregarded this order, he was to suffer the confiscation of 
his vessel.^ Anticipating that Colonel Scarborough might 
be unable to supply by his own manufacture the people 
of the Eastern Shore with the whole amount they required, 
the Assembly at a later date granted to him the exclusive 
privilege of importing this article into that Peninsula, and 
if the needs of the inhabitants in this respect were not met 
in spite of these additional facilities for obtaining salt, they 
were to be permitted to buy it of any one wlio possessed 
it, for their own use, but not for the purpose of selling it.^ 
This monopoly having been found to be repugnant to the 
public health and convenience, it was withdra^vn as far as 
it related to Northampton, and was not again renewed.^ 
There is no evidence that salt was manufactured anywhere 
in Virginia in the seventeenth century except on the 
Eastern Shore, the waters of the inland bays and estuaries 
being less impregnated with brine than the waters of the 
open sea. The reference to the importation of the foreign 
article became more frequent towards the close of the 
century. This importation was never interrupted in the 
greater portion of the Colony, salt being brought in as a 
part of the annual supplies consigned to Virginia.* 

1 Ilening's Statutes, vol. II, p. 122. 

^ Ibid, p. 180. 

8 Ibid., p. 230. It is stated in a General Court entry for 1671 that 
Berkeley encouraged the making of salt in Virginia, presumably at this 
time. Jiobinson Trnnifcripts, p. 258. 

* Ilening's JStatiitrs, vol. Ill, p. 405. 


The need of some means of grinding grain was felt in - 
the Colony as early as 1620, and in the summer of that 
l^ear, to meet this want, a proposition was brought for- 
wsLTd at a General Court of the Company to send over 
skilful Wrights to construct water-mills. In 1621, Gov- 
3mor Yeardley built a windmill in Virginia, which was the 
&rst building of this character erected in North America.^ 
Tn the same year, the Treasurer of the Colony was com- 
Doanded to construct a water-mill. The numerous streams 
jf Virginia rendered it easy to secure the necessary power 
for grinding, and after the first mill was erected, the 
number steadily increased with the growth of population. 
[n 1634, a mill was erected at Kecoughtan by the mill- * 
Wrights whom Claiborne had introduced into the Colony.^ 
[n the following year, it is found that there was a struc- 
ture of this kind standing on the plantation of William 
Brocas, situated not far from Jamestown.^ Corn-mills 
were also owned in Virginia at this time by Hugh Bul- 
lock.* In 1645, there were a sufficient number in the 
Colony to require that legislative provisions should be 
idopted for their regulation. As, in consequence of the 
small trade or local monopolies, the charges of the owners 
liad Income excessive, the law stepped in to protect the 
planters in the matter of rates, declaring that the miller 
should take as his remuneration only one-sixth of the 
Indian corn brought him for grinding. Means, however, 
Birere found to evade this provision in the levying of toll, 
ind it was consequently prescribed that all mill-owners 

1 Governor and Council of Virginia to the Company, January, 1021- 
22, Neill's Virginia Company of London^ p. 283. 

a Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Counril, 1667-1687, p. 236. 

• Neiirs Virginia Carolorum, p. 117. See also Va. Land Patents, 
rol. 1623-1643, p. 5.')3. 

* Records of York County, vol. 1633-1694, p. 30, Va. S\a.\;6 \A\iXMi . 


should keep scales- and weights on hand for the ensure- 
ment of accurate measures.^ In 1649, there were jSve 
water-mills in Virginia, four windmills, and a g^at nmn- 
ber of horse, and hand mills.^ Some years later, it became 
necessary to make the regulations adogted to secure accu- 
rate weights still more rigid, as there was a stronger 
disposition to disregard them. All grain received was 
to be carefully weighed, as well as all meal delivered. 
Stilyards or statute scales were to be used. A fine of 
one thousand pounds of tobacco was to be imposed in 
every instance in which there was an intentional failure 
to observe these requirements.' In 1667, the number of 
mills in the Colony was not sufficient to supply the 
needs of the population, and valuable inducements were 
offered to encourage their erection, these inducements 
being the same as those extended in the case of fulling 
mills at a later date, that is to say, if the person who 
wished to erect a mill was in possession of land lying only 
on one side of the stream upon which he proposed to build, 
he was granted the right to appropriate an acre on the 
other side, two commissioners being appointed by the 
court to appraise its value. The appropriation, however, 
was not permitted, and this, we have seen, was also the 
case in the instance of fidling mills, if it involved the 
destruction of houses, orchards, and other conveniences.* 

1 Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 347. 

* New Description of Virginia, p. 6, Force's Hhtoriral Tracts^ vol. 11 
See also Jiecords of York County, vol. 1684-1087, p. 12, Va. Stale 
Library. Henry Spratt, in 1088, owned two band-niills and one liorse^ 
mill. See liecords of Lotcer Xorfolk County^ original vol. 1086-1095. 
f. p. 05. Among the entries in the inventory of Ralph W<)rmeley's e.>tate 
were horse millst<>nes. See Jiecords of MiddUsex CourUyj original vol. 
109S-1713, p. 124. 

' Hrning's Statittes, vol. I, p. 485. 


From 1667 to the close of the century, there was a 
rapid increase in the number of mills. The references to 
them in the description of metes and bounds in patents 
become more and more frequent.^ There are also many 
references to the transfers of this form of property.^ The 
details of the expense of erecting a building of this char- 
acter at this time have been transmitted to us in the 
recorded account of a mill belonging to Edward Chisman 
of York. The stones and iron were imported from Eng- 
land at a cost of thirty-seven pounds and thirteen shil- 
lings.* The remuneration of the millwright was ten 
thousand pounds of tobacco. The other items of expense 
were the labor of the sawyers in preparing the plank, of 
the smith in putting in the machinery, the wages of two 
persons in superintending the workingmen, the food and 
lodgings of the latter, the timber which entered into the 
construction of the building and the gates of the race, and 
finally the nails. The entire cost amounted to twenty- 
one thousand four hundred and five pounds of tobacco, 
equivalent in value to one hundred and seventy pbunds 
sterling. It is interesting to note that the annual profits 

1 For an instance, see Becords of Rappahannock County^ vol. 1668- 
1672, p. 71, Va. State Library. 

« Becords of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 30, Va. State Library ; 
Ibid,, vol. 1684-1687, p. 9, Va. State Library. In 1676, a half-interest in 
a mill situated in York County, the property of John Hey ward and his 
wife, was sold for twenty pounds sterling, one thousand pounds of Indian 
corn, and five bushels of English wheat. The twenty pounds sterling 
were to be paid in goods ; and as an additional consideration, the pur- 
chaser agreed to grind the grain of Hey ward free of toll. Ibid., vol. 
1671-1694, p. 167, Va. State Library. 

• The personal estate of Ilalph Wormeley included a pair of French 
burr millstones. Becords of Middlesex, original vol. 1(594-1703, p. 126. 
A millstone owned by William Byrd, and used in his mill at Falling 
Creek, was valued at £40. See Becords of Uenrico County, vol. 1677- 
1699, orders, April 1, 1607. 


of this mill were calculated at four thousand pounds of 

In 1671, we discover the first indication of the existence 
of flour-mills in the Colony, from the legal provision of 
that year that the toll for grinding wheat should be one- 
eighth instead of one-sixth of the amount of grain brought 
to the mill, one-sixth, as has already been pointed out, 
being the proportion allowed in the case of maize.* Tow- 
ards the end of the century there were a number of flour- 
miUs in Virginia. Fitzhugh mentions incidentally in his 
correspondence in 1686 that there was a mill not far from 
his house which ground both wheat and maize, and it was 
here that he obtained liis regular supply of meal and 
flour.^ Colonel Byrd was the owner of two grist-mills 
managed by men whom he had obtained from England. 
In 1685, he informs an English correspondent that lie 
expected in the course of another year to forward to 
Kngland a s;\mple of flour manufactured on his planta- 
tion, his lK>ltinsx-mill at this time not beinor tinished.* 
Much of the wheat shipped to the West Indies was tirst 
converted into llour.^ 

» Kfconh of York 0»uuty, vol. 1675-ir»84. p. S2, Va. State Librarv. 
Anions; tho owners of mills wen* Daniel Parke and John I*age of York 
(Vuniy. (u^^^s^* Newton of Lower Norfolk, Mathew Kemp of Middlests, 
Kt»bert i\\rter, David Fox, Joseph Ball, and Rol)ert Beckingbam "f 
U^noaster, Kiohanl Kennon, John Pleasants of Henrico, and Thomas 
(lunsii^n of Kappahann<vk. 

• HeninjiV StatuUs^ vol. II, p. 28(5. There were flour-mills in tk 
rol.Miy at a date doubtless earlier than this. In 1001, there are reft-r- 
enei^s t.> llour in the inveni-^ries, but this had probably been sent to 
Vir»:inia fr.Mu Kndand. See Jii^onh of York Counti/^ vol. 1057-16(ii» 
p. ;»S(>. V,K SJate Library. 

• i.fttrrs of Winimn FiUhihjh, April 22. 1080. 
« Lrttrrsof H'l/ Hfmh F.b. 10. lOSo. 

• ihiit, * Vl is, 10*80. Th -mas C«x*ke of Henrico County also ownpd 
tk rtour-mill. ^\,*<, vol. l»»::-li'.l>2. p. 71. TliLs mill was situated luar 
JUalveni U>U. 



I have already adverted to the saw-mills in Virginia 
during the existence of the company. In 1630, land at 
Jamestown was granted to persons who undertook to 
erect mills of this kind, and that they were built is shown 
in the correspondence of Harvey at this time.^ As late 
as 1649, however, it is stated that a mill to saw boards 
was very much needed in Virginia. Either the term 
" board " was not used to include the material of which 
the houses were usually constructed, or the demand for 
plank in the Colony was so great that the mills already 
in operation were unable to supply it.^ After the middle 
of the century, the saw-mills became as numerous as the 
grist-mills. In some cases, they were propelled by horse 
power.' The steel saws were imported from England. 
Patterns were sent to the mother country to obtain saws 
of the exact size desired, and the same method was 
adopted as to the rest of the iron machinery.* 

There are indications that a small quantity of plank, 
which had been sawed in the Colony, was occasionally 
exported to England. In 1695, Fitzhugh sent walnut 
plank to Jolm Mason of Bristol, but was so much discour- 
aged by the pecuniary outcome of tlie venture that he 

^ Delaware MSS.^ Royal Hist, MSS. Commission^ Fourth Report, 
Appx., pp. 2^, 291. A deed bearin<? the date of 1037 shows that Hugh 
Bullock owned at that time saw-mills in Virginia. See Becords of York 
County, vol. 16313-1694, p. 30, Va. State Library. The first saw-mill erected 
in England was not built until 1655. This was due to the ignorance of the 
people, who thought that the trade of the sawyers would be ruined by 
such mills. Bishop's History of Americati Manufactures, vol. I, p. 93. 

^ New Description of Virginia, p. 5, Force's IliMorical Tracts, vol. II. 
The reference to saw-mills in the New Description of Virginia led Mr. 
Bishop, in his History of American Manufactures, to suppose that no mill 
of this character had previous to 1649, been erected in Virginia; the 
recorda show that he was mistaken. 

« Records of Tork County, vol. 1664-1672, p. 4(»7, Va. State Library. 

* LetUrs of William Byrd, March 8, June 6, 1685 ; Feb. 2, 1684. 


wrote that he was unwilling to repeat the experiment.^ 
It seems that Fitzhugh was not the only planter who had 
made such a shipment; Captain Brent also had for- 
warded several cargoes of the same material for the use 
of Mr. Blaithwaite, having purchased it in Virginia at 
the rate of six pence a foot.^ 

Pipe-staves and clapboards were manufactured in Vir- 
ginia from an early date. This was one of the employ- 
ments in which the colonists were engaged during the 
presidency of Smith. Among the conditions inserted in 
every grant of land, as laid down by the Orders and Con- 
stitutions of 1619-20, was one that the patentee should, 
among other tasks imposed on him at the siime time^ 
fashion boards for house-building.^ Williams calculated 
in 1650 that a man was able to make annuallv fifteen 
thousand pipe-staves and clapboards, which could be 
sold in the Canary Islands for twenty pounds sterling 
a thousand.* That this manufacture was carried on at 
the time in question, is proved by the statement of the 
author of the Neic Description of Jlrginia^ who declared 
that the shipmasters, when they were unable to obtain 
a full lading, carried out pipe-staves, clapboard, walnut, 
and cedar timber.^ The freight to Barbadoes on the tirst, 
towards the close of the centurv, was one-half of the 
charge imposed for their transportation to England. On 
one occasion, Fitzhugh was about to make a shipment of 
staves to Barbadoes, but on the captain's deciding to go 
to England, Fitzhugh sold them to hun at the rate of 

1 Letters of William Fitzhugh, July 21, 1098. 

2 Ibid. Pine plank was valued in Lower Norfolk County in 1695 at live 
shillings a foot. See Records, original vol. 1006-170:^, p. 2. 

' Oniers and Constitutions, 1619, p. 21, Force's Ilistoncal Tracts. 
TOl. III. 

* Virginia Richly Valued, p. 14, Force's Historical Tracts, vol. Ill 

* ^ew Description ol Wr^vixvai, v-^i^^'Kfc'^. Historical Tracts j vol. H 



fifty shillings a thousand, a hamper of canary being thrown 
in.^ At a later date, Fitzhugh transported six thousand 
two hundred and forty articles of the same kind to Bar- 
badoes.^ At still another time, he proposed to send to 
his merchant in London ten thousand, and expressed him- 
self as ready to dispatch, if a fair profit could be secured, 
as many as seventy thousand trunnels.^ In 1690, John 
Waugh of York gave a note to William Sedgwick, prom- 
ising to deliver on a designated day, fourteen thousand 
pipe-staves, which were now valued at two pounds and 
ten shillings a thousand. Notes of this character were 
not uncommon, and they were frequently causes of suit.* 
Pitch and tar were produced in Virginia in small 
quantities during the administration of the Company, 
several Poles having been sent out to the Colony for that 
purpose. It was proposed that a number of apprentices 
should be set to learn the art of this manufacture under 
the foreigners.^ There is no evidence that these articles 
were made on a scale of importance in the subsequent 
history of the Colony, although England was compelled 
throughout this period to import large quantities from 
Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.® In 1698, the only 
place where pitch and tar were produced in Virginia in 
a considerable quantity was in Elizabeth City County. 
The amount did not exceed twelve hundred barrels 

1 LeUers of William Fitzhugh, May 22, 1683. 

^ Ibid, 

» Ibid., June 5, 1682. 

* Becords of York County, vol. 1687-1691, p. 448, Va. State Library ; 
Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol., orders Sept. 19, 1094. 
Boards and staves were sometimes the consideration in the purchase of 
land. See Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1695-1703, 
1 p. 103. 

* Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, 
p. 17. 

^ Anderson's History of Commerce, voL III, p. 2. 



annually, knots of old pine trees being the material used.' 
Barrels of tar were from an early period very frequently 
included in the inventories of estates in Lower Norfolk 
County, and the entries of this form of property increased 
in a very notable degree in the last five years of the cen- 
tury. This commodity became an important consideration 
in the transfer of titles to land ; in some instances, it was 
offered in part payment and in others in whole.* There 
were also fitful attempts to manufacture potashes. In 
several cases, samples were shipped to England, but at no 
time did the production of this commodity develop into 
an important industry.^ It sold for about 7«. 6d. a 

1 British State Papers, Colonial, Virginia B. T., vol. II, B. 17. "In 
obedience to his excellency's the Governor's letter, this court having 
taken the same into consideration, doc retumc for answer that there 
never was any quantitys of pitch and tar made in this coiinty nor is there 
any quantity of pine to make the same." Records of Middlesex Couhtf. 
original vol. 1694-1705, p. 222. 

* liecords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f . p. 83 : 
Ibid, original vol. 1095-1703, f. p. 103. 

* Grovemor Harvey to Privy Council, October, 1030, British Statf 
Papers, Colonial, No. 6; McDonald Papers, vol. II, p. 45, Va. State 

* Becords of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1605-1703, p. 2. 



The history of Virginia in the seventeenth century 
furnishes perhaps the most interesting instance in modern 
times of a country established upon the footing of an 
organized and civilized community, with an ever-growing 
number of inhabitants and an ever-enlarging volume of 
trade, yet compelled to have recourse to a method of 
exchange which seems especially characteristic of peoples 
still lingering in the barbarous or semi-barbarous state. 
From 1607 to 1700, the period upon which I am dwelling, 
a period covering an interval of ninety-three years, in the 
course of which the small band of colonists who disem- 
barked at Jamestown in the spring of 1607 increased 
from a few hundred persons to many thousands, a period 
in which the unbroken forest east of the falls in the 
rivers flowing into the Chesapeake Bay was in large 
part cut down and the soil dug up and planted in 
tobacco, wheat, and maize, the financial system of Vir- 
ginia was in principal measure based upon exchange in 
its crudest and simplest form. An agricultural product 
was given for a manufactured, or a manufactured product ' 
for an agricultural. Coin, which is just as much of a 
commodity as an agricultural or manufactured article, 
circulated in Virginia only in small quantities, even after 
nine decades had passed since the foundation of the 

Colony. Tobacco was the standard of value at the very 


I 111 -an^i 


time that the whole community was engaged in planting 
it. It was the money in which all the supplies, both 
domestic and imported, were purchased; in which the 
tax imposed by the public levy was settled; in which 
the tithables of the minister, the fees of the attorney and 
the physician, the debts due the merchant, the remuner- 
ation of the free mechanic, the wages of the servant, the 
charges of the midwife and the grave-digger were paid. 
In no similar instance has an agricultural product entered 
so deeply and so extensively into the spirit and frame- 
work of any modern community. It was to the Colony 
what the potato has been to Ireland, the cofifee-berry to 
Brazil, the grape to France, and corn to Egypt; and it 
was also something more. It was, as it were, at once an 
agricultural and a metallic commodity, which, owing to 
the perverse taste of mankind, was as valuable in itself 
as the potato, the coffee-berry, the grape, the grain of 
wheat, and at the same moment as precious as gold or 
^ silver and more precious than iron. It was as if men 
^ had substituted the barns in their yards for purses in 
their pockets. The universal use into which tobacco 
came as currency, arose, not from the preference o7 the 
settlers, but by the force of circumstances which they 
could not have controlled even if they had wished to. 
In tlie beginning, there was no need for a medium of 
exchange. It was the exchange only which was wanted. 
Virginia raised tobacco to barter for English clothing, 
tools, utensils, and implements that were indispensable 
to the people, and which they tliemselves could not at 
that early period manufacture. The Magazine estab- 
lished in 1616, the contents of which were delivered by 
tlie Cai)e Merchant to the planters in return for tobacco, 
could only have maintained its existence in a country 
in which the original principle of trade was operating 

MONEY 497 

on account of the poverty of that country or its infancy 
as an organized community. The buyer and seller simply 
exchanged articles. The buyer was a seller and the seller 
a buyer at the same moment. There was no occasion for 
the passage of a single coin from one to the other. As 
the population enlarged, and the volume of exported 
tobacco and imported merchandise increased, the demand 
for coin in the transfer of the great agricultural pro-