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Virginia and New England were the original forces 
5f American society, and shaped its development. This 
irose from natural causes. Both races were vigorous 
)ifshoots of the same English stock, arrived first in 
Doint of time, and impressed their characteristics on the 
rounger societies springing up around them. Each was 
dominant in its section. New England controlled the 
S"orth from the Atlantic to the Lakes, and Virginia the 
>outh, to the Mississippi. 

This supremacy of the old centres was a marked 
feature of early American history, but it was not to 
continue. Other races, attracted by the rich soil of the 
Continent, made settlements along the seaboard. These 
sent out colonies in turn, and the interior was gradually 
occupied by new communities developing under new con- 
ditions. The character of these later settlements was 
modified by many circumstances — by distance from the 
parent stems, their surroundings, the changed habits of 
living, and the steady intermingling of diverse nationali- 
ties. Now, a vast immigration has made America the 
most multiform of societies. But the impetus of the 
first forces is not spent. The characteristics of the orig- 
inal races are woven into the texture of the nation, and 
are ineradicable. 


To understand the history of the country it is there- 
fore necessary to study the Virginia and New England 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In thr- 
case of New England this study has been prosecuted 
with enthusiasm ; in the case of Virginia it has been 
very much neglected. The result is that the great pro- 
portions of the Puritan character have been fully aj: 
predated, and that little is known of the Virginians, 
The men themselves have never been painted, for among 
the many histories of Virginia it is impossible to find 
a history of the Virginia people. And yet this history 
is essential, if for no other reason than that some of 
the greatest events in the annals of the country are 
incomprehensible without it. Accepting the general 
theory of the character of the race, these events ait 
contrary to experience, and spring from causes whi'i: 
ought not to have produced them. The Virginians ha^^ y 
been described as " aristocrats and slaves of church and 
king ; " but the aristocrats were among the first to pro- 
claim that " all men are created equal ; " the bigots 
overthrew their church ; and the slaves of the king first 
cast off his authority, declared Virginia an independent 
Commonwealth, and were foremost in establishing a re- 

To unravel these apparent contradictions it is neces- 
sary to understand the people, and to do so we must gc 
close to them and study the men of every class : the 
rufiled planter in his great manor-house or rolling in his 
coach, the small landholder in his plain dwelling, the 
parish minister exhorting in his pulpit, the " New Light " 
preacher declaiming in the fields, the rough waterman 
of the Chesapeake, the hunter of the Blue Ridge, and 
beneath all, at the base of the social pyramid, the in- 


dented servant and the African slave. To have a just 
conception of the characters of these men we must see 
them in their daily lives going about their occupations 
among their friends and neighbors. The fancied dig- 
nity of history must be lost sight of. The student 
must come in contact with the actual Virginians ; dis- 
cover their habits and prejudices; how they dr-essed and 
amused themselves on the race-course or at the cock- 
fight ; see them at church in their high-backed pews, 
while the parson reads his homily, or listen to them dis- 
cussing the last act of Parliament at the County Court. 
If this study is conscientiously pursued, the Virginians 
of the past will cease to be wooden figures ; they will 
become flesh and blood, and we shall understand the 
men and what they performed. 

The work before the reader attempts to draw an out- 
line of the people, and to present a succinct narrative 
of the events of their history. For the portrait of the 
Virginians, the general histories afford little assistance. 
The material, and above all, the coloring must be looked 
for elsewhere — in the writings of the first adventurers, 
which are the relations of eye-witnesses or contempo- 
raries ; in forgotten pamphlets, family papers, the curi- 
ous laws passed by the Burgesses, and in those traditions 
of the people which preserve the memory of events in 
the absence of written records. It appeared to the 
writer that this was the true material of history, and 
that he ought not to go to the modern works as long 
as it existed. The likeness of the Virginians is only to 
be found in these remote sources ; and the writer has 
patiently studied the dusty archives, and endeavored to 
extract their meaning, with no other object than to as- 
certain the truth, and to represent the men and events 
in their true colors. 



The history of Virginia may be divided into three 
periods — the Plantation, the Colony, and the Common- 
wealth. These periods present society under three dif- 
ferent aspects. In the first, which extends from the 
landing at Jamestown to the grant of free government, 
we see a little body of Englishmen buried in the Amer- 
ican wilderness, leading hard and perilous lives, in 
hourly dread of the savages, home-sick, nearly starved, 
torn by dissensions, and more than once on the point 
of sailing back to England. In the second, or Colonial 
period, reaching to the Revolution, we have the gradual 
formation of a stable and vigorous society, the long 
struggle against royal encroachments, the armed rebel- 
lion against the Crown, and all the turmoil of an age 
which originated the principle that the right of the citi- 
zen is paramount to the will of the king. What follows 
is the serene and picturesque Virginia of the eighteenth 
century, when society at last reposes, class distinctions 
are firmly established, and the whole social fabric seems 
built up in opposition to the theory of republicanism. 
Nevertheless that theory lies at the very foundation of 
the Virginia character. For five generations the peo- 
ple have stubbornly resisted the king ; now they will 
wrench themselves abruptly out of the ruts of prescrip- 
tion, and sum up their whole political philosophy in the 
words of their Bill of Rights, " That all men are by 
nature equally free and independent, and have certain 
inalienable rights, namely, the enjoyment of life and 
liberty, with the means of pursuing and obtaining 
happiness and safety." When the issue is presented 
whether the country is to fight or submit, the king- 
lovers and aristocrats will instruct their delegates to 
propose the Declaration, and the Commonwealth and 


the Revolution will begin together. This third period 
embraces the events of the Revolutionary struggle, the 
adoption of the Federal Constitution, the occurrences 
of the post-Revolutionary epoch, and the gradual trans- 
formation of society into what is summed up in the term 
modern Virginia. 

The original authorities are full and curious, espe- 
cially for the periods of the Plantation and Colony. 
The chief of these authorities are, — 

I. For the Plantation : — 

1. "A True Relation of Virginia," by Captain John 
Smith, 1 608, the first work written by an Englishman 
in America. 

2. " A Discourse of the Plantation of the Southern 
Colony of Virginia," by George Percy, one of the orig- 
inal adventurers, which gives the fullest account of tlie 
fatal epidemic of 1607. 

3. " The General History of Virginia, New England, 
and the Summer Isles," a compilation of the various 
narratives by the first settlers up to 1624, edited by 
Captain John Smith. 

4. " A True Repertory of the Wrack and Redemp- 
tion of Sir Thomas Gates Knt., upon and from the Isl- 
ands of the Bermudas, his coming to Virginia, and the 
estate of that Colony then and afterwards, under the 
Government of the Lord de la Warre," by William 
Strachey, Secretary of the Colony, who was wrecked 
in the Sea Venture, and wrote his narrative in Virginia 
in 1610. 

5. " The History of Virginia Britannia," by the same 
writer, after his return to England. 

6. "A True Discourse of the present Estate of Vir- 
ginia till the 18 of June, 1614," by Raphe Hamor, who 


was also Secretary of the Colony, giving curious details 
in reference to Powhatan and Pocahontas. 

7. " Good News from Virginia," by William Whita- 
ker, who was parish minister at Varina, in the time of 
Sir Thomas Dale. 

8. " Proceedings of the first Assembly of Virginia, 
1G19;" a valuable record discovered among the Eng- 
lish archives. ( 

II. For the period of the Colony extending from the 
beginning of the reign of Charles I. to the Kevolution, 
the chief works are : — 

1. " The Statutes at Large, being a Collection of all 
the Laws of Virginia," by William Waller Hening, in 
thirteen volumes, the most important authority on social 
affairs in Virginia. The unattractive title does not sug- 
gest the character of the work. It is full of interest, and 
of paramount value from its official accuracy. It is the 
touchstone verifying dates, events, and the minutest de- ' 
tails in the life of the people for nearly two centuries. 
Where events are disputed, as in th,e case of the sur- 
render to Parliament, and the restoration of the royal 
authority, it produces the original records, and estab- 
lishes the facts. As a picture of the Colonial time it 
has no rival in American books ; and the whole like- 
ness of the early Virginians may be found in these laws 
made for the regulation of their private affairs. 

For the history of Bacon's Rebellion, the most re- 
markable American occurrence of* the century, the • 
authorities are, — i 

2. " The Beginning, Progress, and Conclusion of 
Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia in the years 1675 and 
1676," by one of the Burgesses, signing himself " T. 
M.," who witnessed the events. 


,3. "A Narrative of the Indian and Civil Wars in 
/Virginia in the years 1675 and 1676," by an unknown 
' writer. ' 

4. " An Account of our late Troubles in Virginia," 
written in 1676 by Mrs. An. Cotton, of Q. Creeke. 

5. " A Review, Breviarie and Conclusion," by Her- 
bert Jeffreys, John Berry, and Francis Morrison, Royal 
Commissioners, who visited Virginia after the rebellion. 

6. " A List of those who have been Executed for the 
late Rebellion in Virginia, by Sir William Berkeley, 
Governor of the Colony." 

7. " The History of Virginia," by Robert Beverley, is 
often inaccurate, but contains a full and interesting 
account of the government and society of the Colony 
at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Stith's 
'^ History of Virginia " to the year 1624 is remarkable for 
its accuracy, but it is avov/edly based on Smith's " Gen- 
eral History." Keith's is of no original authority. 

8. Coming to the eighteenth century we have, for the 
administration of Spotswood, one of the ablest of the 
early Governors, the official statement of his collisions 
with the Burgesses, printed in the " Virginia Historical 
Register ; " for his march to the Blue Ridge with the 
Knights of the Horseshoe, Hugh Jones' " Present State 
of Virginia ; " and for the personal picture of the man 
in private life, the " Progress to the Mines," by Colonel 
William Byrd of Westover. 

9. For Braddock's Expedition, the Journal of Cap- 
tain Orme, the letters of Washington at the time, and 
Mr. Winthrop Sargent's history of the Expedition from 
original documents. 

10. For Dunmore's Expedition to the Ohio, and the 
Battle of Point Pleasant, the memoirs by Stuart and 


11. For the settlement of the Valley, and life on tl 
frontier, Kercheval's " History of the Valley of Vir-\ 

12. For the struggle between the Establishment and 
the Non-conformists, Bishop Meade's " Old Churches, 
Ministers, and Families of Virginia," Dr. Hawks' " Ec- 
clesiastical History," Dr. Rice's " Memoir of President 
Davies," Foote's " Sketches of Virginia," and Sem- 
ple's " Virginia Baptists." 

III. For the period beginning with the middle of the 
eio"hteenth century and reaching to the present time, 
the authorities are the writings of Washington, Jeffer- 
son, the Lees, and other public men ; books ^f travel 
and observation in America, like the work of the Mar- 
quis de Chastellux ; and memoirs of special occurrences. 
It seemed possible to the writer to draw, with the aid 
of this material, a faithful likeness, if only in outline, of 
the Virginians. He has written, above all, for the newl 
generation, who, busy in keeping off the wolf of poverty,) 
have had little time to study the history of their people. 
What this history will show them is the essential man-) 
hood of the race they spring from ; the rooted convic-i 
tion of the Virginians, that man was man of himself, 
and not by order of the king ; and that this conviction/ 
was followed by the long and strenuous assertion of' 
Vpersonal right against arbitrary government. Begin- 
ning in the earliest times, this protest continued through 
every generation, until the principle was firmly estab- 
lished by the armed struggle which resulted in the foun- 
dation of the American Republic. 


which is the Chesapeake. The country pleased him, 
and he sent a party of men and two Dominican monks 
to form a settlement. The expedition only failed from 
accident; and thus the banks of the Chesapeake nar- 
rowly escaped becoming the site of a Roman Catholic 
colony owning allegiance to Spain. 

This is the brief record of events connected with the 
first years of American history. By the middle of the 
century the power of Spain seemed firmly established. 
Before the English flag floated over so much as a log 
fort on the Continent, she was possessed of all Central 
America, and the extension of her dominion northward 
seemed only a question of time. The country was oc- 
cupied by her troops and officials, and Spanish fleets 
went to and fro between Cadiz and the ports of Mexico 
and Peru. As far as the human eye could see, the new 
world of America had become the property of Spain, 
and her right to it seemed unassailable. A mariner 
sailing under the Spanish flag had discovered it ; Span- 
ish captains had conquered it ; and the Papal authority 
had formally put Spain in possession of it. 

If England meant to assert her claim, the time had 
plainly come to do so; and in 1576 ai|. expedition was 
sent to explore the country. It came to nothing, and 
another in 1583 had no better fortune. It was com- 
manded by Sir Humphrey Gilbert^ and the Queen had 
sent him a small go'/! * ■ et, in the shape of an an- 

chor set with jewels. "^-^ge, that she "wished 

him as great hap r his ship as if herself 

were there in per •. Gilbert reached the island of 
St. John, but his Jieet was scattered by a storm. His 
own vessel went down, itn^, he was heard to say as the 
ship saiik : " Be of good cheer, my friends ; it is as near 
to heaven by sea as b} land." 


This expedition had been undertaken under the aus- 
pices of Sir Walter Raleigh, whom his contemporaries 
called the " Shepherd of the Ocean." This great Eng- 
lishman, with the soul of a sea-king and the intellect of 
a statesman looking before and after, saw plainly that 
the path of empire was westward. He was not discour- 
ao-ed by Gilbert's mischance. In the next year, 1584, 
he secured a patent from the Queen to explore and 
settle America. The expedition to Wingandacoa fol- 
lowed ; and in 1585 Raleigh sent out a colony under 
command of Sir Richard Grenville. 

These old voyages tempt us, with their rude pictures 
and strange adventures. They are full of the sea 
breeze and the romance of the former age ; but they do 
not belong to the special subject of this volume. The 
result only need be recorded — a gloomy and pathetic 
tragedy, which for nearly three centuries has excited 
the sympathy of the world. 

Sir Richard Grenville founded his colony on Roanoke 
Island in Albemarle Sound, but it was abandoned by 
the settlers, who returned to England with Sir Francis 
Drake ; wh^-eupon he founded a second, which strug- 
gled on until 1587. White, the Governor, then went 
to England to obtain sapplies for the colony, leav- 
ing behind him eighty-nine men, seventeen women, and 
eleven children ; among the Litter his daughter Ellinor, 
and his grand-daughter Virginia Dare, the first English 
child born in Ameri'^;. None of these men, women, or 
children were ever age. /ii seen. When White returned 
to Roanoke he found the place deserted. What had 
become of the colonists ? There was an oarent solution 
of the mystery. When White saih England he 

had directed that if the settlers "• • Ued to leave 


the island, they should carve the name of the place to 
which they removed on some conspicuous object, with a 
cross above the name if they went away in distress. 
The name Croatan was found cut in a post, but without 
the cross : thus the people seemed not to have aban- 
doned the island in distress. But what had occasioned 
this strange exodus of the Roanoke men, women, and 
children to Croatan — an Indian town on the coast ? 
The whole affair remained a mystery and remains as 
great a mystery to-day. Repeated efforts were made 
to ascertain from the Indians what had become of the 
colonists ; but they could not or would not say what had 
happened. Had the poor people wandered away into 
tlie cypress forests and been lost? Had they starved 
on the route to Croatan ? Had the Indians put them to 
death ? The secret is still a secret, and this sudden dis- 
appearance of more than a hundred human beings is 
one of the strangest events of history. 

So the Roanoke colony ended. It was the first tragic 
chapter in the history of the United States, and resem- 
bles rather the sombre fancy of some dramatist of the 
time than an actual occurrence. All connected with it 
is moving, and the sharply contrasted figures cling to 
the memory — the bearded mariners, and women and 
children wandering away into the woods ; the pale-faced 
Governor searching for his daughter, when he returns 
to the lonely island ; and, passing across the background, 
the stalwart forms of Drake and Grenville, the one fa- 
mous for hunting down the great Armada in the English 
Channel, and the other for his desperate fight on board 
the Revenge. His fate and the fate of his colony were 
not unlike. Both struggled long and bravely, but the 
struggle came to an end in dire catastrophe. 


" All hopes of Virginia thus abandoned," wrote one 
of the old chroniclers, " it lay dead and obscured from 
1590 till this year 1602." It lay dead and obscured 
longer. Nothing further was effected in the sixteenth 
century, and the Americas seemed fated to remain Span- 
ish possessions to the end of time. The struggle was 
apparently over, and the wildest fancy could scarcely 
have conceived what we see to-day — this huge empire 
dwindled to a few weak dependencies, and confront- 
ing them the great Protestant Republic of the United 
States occupying the continent from ocean to ocean. 

The wedge which split this hard trunk was the land- 
ing in May, 1607, of about one hundred Englishmen at 



The Virginia " plantation," as the old writers called 
it, began at a remarkable period. The year 1600 may 
be taken as the dividing line between two eras — the 
point of departure of a new generation on the untried 
journey into the future. 

Europe had just passed through the great convulsion 
of the Reformation, and this with the invention of print- 
ing had suddenly changed the face of the world. It is 
difficult to speak of this change without apparent exag- 
geration. The dissemination of the Bible in the vulgar 
tongue was followed by astonishing results. The un- 
learned could search the Scriptures for their rule of 
conduct without the intervention of a priesthood, and an 
upheaval of the human mind followed. A mysterious 
voice had awakened the slee^Dcrs, and they had started 


up, shaking off the old fetters. The lethargy of ao-es 
had disappeared. Thought, so loug paralyzed by doo-ma, 
roved in every direction, moving nimbly and joyfully 
where it had groped and stumbled before in the thick 
darkness. The nations of Europe were like blind .men 
who have suddenly been made to see. Daring aspi- 
rations took possession of them, and the new ideas of 
the new age crowded into every mind, hurrying and 
jostling each other. In our old and prosaic world it is 
difficult to realize the youth and enthusiasm of that time. 
Authority had lost its prestige, and serfdom to prej- 
udices social or religious had disappeared. The priest 
muttering his prayers in Latin was no longer the keeper 
of men's consciences ; and the prerogative of the Kino- 
and the privilege of the noble began to be regarded as 
superstitions. That hitherto unknown quantity, the 
People, all at once revealed its existence, and those who 
for centuries had allowed others to think for them be- 
gan to think for themselves. 

All this had come with the new century which 
summed up and inherited the results of that which 
had preceded it. Beginning at Wittenberg with the 
protest of Luther, the Reformation had swept through 
the Continent and extended to England and Scotland, 
where its fury was greatest and lasted longest. It raged 
there during the reigns of Henry VIII., Mary, and 
Elizabeth, and only died down at her death, when the 
long work was at last accomplished, and Protestantism 
was firmly established. 

The free thought of the time in England, as every- 
where, had resulted from reaction and the immense 
influence of printed books. But books were not uU. 
Bacon, the author of the inductive philosophy, had 


published his " Advancement of Learning," and Spen- 
ser, the perfect flower of the renaissance, his " Faery- 
Queen ; " but volumes of abstruse thought and refined 
poesy were for the few. The people at large were 
compelled to look elsewhere, and to educate their minds 
by other appliances than costly folios which were be- 
yond their reach. The acted drama precisely supplied 
this popular want, and became the educator of the 
people. The time had come for Shakespeare and his 
brother dramatists ; and suddenly the epoch flowered in 
the great Dames which have made the age of Elizabeth 
so illustrious. A race of giants appeared, whose works 
were the expression of the times. All the characteris- 
tics of the generation were summed up in these dramas 

— the unreined fancy, the wild imagination, the revolt 
against the conventional, the daring thought which 
questioned all things and would sound the mysteries of 
this world and the world beyond. At the head of this 
great group stood Shakespeare. On tJhe stage of the 
Globe and Blackfriars theatres this master dramatist of 
the age, and of all the ages, directly addressed the 
ardent crowds who flocked at his summons. Packed 
together in the dingy pit, under the smoking flambeaux, 
the rude audiences saw pass before them in long pano- 
rama the whole iiistory of England with its bloody wars, 
the fierce scenes of the Roman forum, the loves of Ro- 
meo and Antony, hump-backed Richard, the laughing 
Falstaff, and the woeful figures of Lear and Hamlet. 
What came from the heart of Shakespeare went to ttie 
human hearts listening to him. The crowd laughed 
with his comedy and cried with his tragedy, lie was 
the great public teacher, as well as the joy of his age 

— an age full of impulse, of hot aspiration and vague 
desire, which recognized its own portrait in his dramas. 


Thus books, the acted drama, the thirst for knowledge, 
the ardent desire of the human mind to expand in all 
directions, made the last years of the sixteenth century 
and the beginning of the seventeenth a new era in the 
history of the human race. Men longed for new expe- 
riences, to travel and discover new countries, to find some 
outlet for the boiling spirit of enterprise which had 
rushed into and overflowed the time. The adventurous 
sea voyages of the period were tlie direct outcome of 
this craving ; suddenly a passion for maritime explora- 
tion had developed itself. We have the record of what 
followed in the folios of Hakliiyt and Purchas — 
" Divers Voyages touching the Discovery of America," 
" Navigations, Voyages, and Discoveries made by the 
English Nation," " Purchas, his Pilgrimage," and other 
works of the same character. Magellan circumnavisfated 
the world, and Sir Francis Drake doubled Cape Horn, 
coasted northward to the present Alaska, attempted the 
northwest passage, and finding it impracticable, crossed 
the Pacific, traversed the Indian Ocean, and returned to 
England by the Cape of Good Hope. The English, 
flag was thus carried into every sea, and wherever the 
flag of Spain was encountered, it was saluted with can- 
non. For a whole generation these adventurous voy- 
ages and hard combats went on without ceasing, and on 
the continent of Europe another outlet was presented to 
the fierce ardor of the times. Flanders was an inces- 
sant battle-ground ; and in Transylvania the Christians 
were making war on the Turks. English soldiers of 
fortune flocked to the Christian standard, and fought 
among the foremost, winning fortune and renown, or 
*' leaving their bodies in testimony of their minds." 

At the end of the century this long period of fierce 


struo'ole ended — the foes seemed to have exhausted 
themselves. But the enterprise of the time was still 
unsated and demanded new fields. In spite of the dis- 
astrous ending of the Roanoke experiment, longing eyes 
had continued to be fixed on America, and the same 
glamour surrounded " Virghiia" for the new generation 
as for the old. Beyond the Atlantic was the virgin 
Continent, unexplored by Englishmen, awaiting brave 
hearts and strong hands. To a people so ardent and 
restless the prospect was full of attraction. Virginia 
was the promised land, and they had only to go and 
occupy it. There the fretting cares and poverty of the 
Old World would be forgotten, and stirring action would 
replace the dull inaction of peace at the end of so much 
fighting. For the daring there was the charm of ad- 
venture in an unexplored world ; for the selfish the 
hope of profit, and for the pious the great work of 
convertingf the Indian "heathen." The first charter 
expressed this longing — " that so noble a work may by 
the providence of God hereafter tend to the glory of 
His Divine Majesty in propagating of the Cinistian 
religion to such people as sit in darkness and miser- 
able ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of 
God." — " This is the work that we first intended," 
says a writer of the time, " and have published to the 
world to be chief in our thoughts, to bring the infidel 
people from the worship of Devils to the service of 
God." And worthy Mr. Crashaw exhorted the adven- 
turers, about to embark for Virginia, to " remember that 
the end of this voyage is the destruction of the Devil's 

These were some of the causes which led to the set- 
tlement of America by the English. 



At last, in 1606, the ardent desire of the Englishmen 
of the time to settle Virginia began to take shape. A 
brave sea-captain, Bartholomew Gosnold, was the main- 
spring of -the enterprise. He had made the first direct 
voyage across the Atlantic to New England, and meant 
now to establish a colony, if possible in the milder 
south. He found sympathizers in Sir Thomas Gates 
and Sir George Somers, two brave and pious gentle- 
men, Richard Hakluyt, prebendary of Westminster, 
Robert Hunt, an exemplary clergyman, Edward Maria 
Wingfield, a London merchant, and John Smith, an 
English soldier. 

This famous chevalier, who was to become the soul of 
the enterprise and the founder of Virginia, was born in 
Willoughby, England, in January, 1579. His family were 
connected with the Lancashire gentry, but he was left a 
poor orphan, and before he had grown to manhood had 
served as a private soldier in the Flanders wars. He 
then wandered away like a knight-errant in search of 
adventures ; joined the forces of Sigismund Bathori, 
who was making war on the Turks in Transylvania ; 
slew three Turkish " champions " in single combat, for 
which he was knighted ; was captured and reduced 
to slavery by the Turks, but escaped to Russia ; and 
thence returned by way of Germany, France, Spain, and 
Morocco, to England, which he reached in 1604, when 
he was twenty-five. He had left home an unknown 
youth, and returned a famous man. He was young in 
years, but old in experience, in suffering, and in those 
elements which lie at the foundation of greatness. His 


portrait, with sweeping mustache and frank glance, is 
the portrait of a fighting man ; but under it may be 
discerned the administrator and ruler. 

When Smith came back to England, Elizabeth was 
dead and the reign of James I. had just begun. The 
city of London was full of soldiers returned from the 
Continental wars, and this restless social element gladly 
welcomed the Virginia enterprise. They were men of 
every character — brave soldiers and the scum of war ; 
frequented the " Mermaid " and other taverns ; jostled 
the citizens ; and fiocked to the theatres, where Shake- 
speare's plays were the great attraction. The dramatist 
had not yet retired to Stratford, and it is probable that 
Smith made his acquaintance then or afterward, as 
he wrote " they have acted my fatal tragedies on the 
stage." The stage in London meant the Globe or 
Blackfriars, in which Shakespeare was a stockholder ; 
and Smith made his complaint to William Herbert, Earl 
of Pembroke, the " W. II." of the Shakespearean son- 
nets. This personal acquaintance of the soldier and 
the writer is merely conjectural, but it is interesting to 
fancy them together at the " Mermaid," talking, per- 
haps, of the Virginia enterprise and the strange stage of 
the " Tempest," Written a few years afterwards. Smith 
and Gosnold became friends, and the wandering soldier 
caught the fever of exploration and adventure in Amer- 
ica. When the scheme at last took form, he had be- 
come a prominent advocate of the enterprise, and was 
appointed by the King one of the first counsellors. 

James I. had authorized the undertaking, and it was 
now launched. He busied himself in drjM^ing up his 
royal charter for the government of the colony, and 
April 10, 160G, the paper was ready. 


By this oldest of American charters two colonies 
were directed to be established in the great empire of 
Virginia. The southern colony was intrusted to Sir 
Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers,, and others, and was 
to be " planted " anywhere between thirty-four and 
forty-one degrees of north latitude, correspondino- to 
the southern limits of North Carolina, and the mouth of 
the Hudson River. It was to extend fifty miles north 
and fifty miles south of the spot selected for the settle- 
ment ; one hundred miles into the land ; and to embrace 
any islands within the same distance of the coast. 

The association governing the southern colony was 
styled the London Company ; the northern colony was 
intrusted to the Plymouth Company ; and a strip of 
territory one hundred miles broad w^as to intervene be- 
tween the two. Three years afterwards (1609) the 
boundaries of the southern colony were enlarofed and 
exactly defined. It was to embrace the territory two 
hundred miles north and two hundred miles south of 
Old Point Comfort, the mouth of James River, and to 
reach " up into the land from sea to sea." This was the 
original charter under which Virginia held at the time 
of the formation of the Federal Constitution in 1788. 

The plan of government for the colony was simple. 
Everj^thing began and ended with the King. A great 
council of thirteen in London, appointed by himself, 
was to govern. A subordinate council in Virginia, ap- 
pointed by the greater, was to follow his instructions. 
Thus the colon}'^ of Virginia was to be ruled and directed 
in all its proceedings by the royal will, since the King 
appointed its rulers, and directed under his sign-manual 
in what manner they were to rule. The details were 
generally judicious. The Christian religion was to be 


preached to the Indians ; lands were to descend as in 
Encrhxnd; trial by jury was secured to all persons 
charo-ed with crime ; tlie subordinate council was to try 
civil causes ; and the products of the colonists were to 
be brought to a public storehouse, where a Cape mer- 
chant or treasurer was to control and apportion them as 
they were needed. This early development of the so- 
cialistic and cooperative idea resulted unfortunately ; 
but for the moment it had a plausible appearance on 
paper. What was plain about the charter was, that the 
colony of Virginia would have no rights other than those 
which King James I. chose to allow it. His " instruc- 
tions " were to be the law, and he held to that theory 
with all the obstinacy of a narrow mind to the end of 
his life. 

Having secured this charter the friends of the enter- 
prise made every preparation for the voyage. About 
one hundred colonists were secured, apparently without 
difficulty, and at the end of the year 1606 all was ready 
for the expedition. The little fleet consisted of three 
vessels, one of twenty tons, one of forty, and one of a 
hundred, the names of which were the Discovery, the 
Good Speed, and the Susan Constant. 

On the 19th of December, 1606, these three ships set 
sail down the Thames for Virginia. 



The sailing of the ships excited general interest even 
in so busy a city as London. Prayers were offered up 
in the churches for the welfare of the expedition, and 


the poet Drayton wished his countrymen good fortune 
in a glowing lyric : — 

'* You brave heroic minds 
Worthy your country's name, 

That honor still pursue 
Whilst loitering hinds 
Lurk here at home with shame, 

Go and subdue ! 

" Britons! you stay too long, 
Quickly aboard bestow you, 

And with a meny gale 

Swell your stretch'd sail 
With vows as sti'ong 
As the winds that blow you ! 

" And cheerfully at sea 
Success you still entice 
To get the pearls and gold, 
And ours to hold 
Earth's only paradise." 

The character and motives of these first Virginia ad- 
venturers have been the subject of discussion. There 
is really nothing to discuss. They were men of every 
rank, from George Percy, brother of the Earl of North- 
umberland, to Samuel Collier, " boy ; " aud in the lists 
were classed as " gentlemen, carpenters, laborers," and 
others. Unfortunately more than half the whole num- 
ber were "gentlemen," and a gentleman at the time 
signified a person unused to manual labor. As to the 
motives of the adventurers, these lay on the surface. To 
get the pearls aud gold was no doubt the thought in the 
minds of the majority, but this was not the only aim. 
Many had it warmly at heart to convert the Indians to 
Christianity, and others looked to the extension of Eng- 
lish empire. The dissensions of the first years were due 


to causes which will be stated ; but a radical defect was 
the unfitness of the original colonists for their work. 
More than half their number had never used an axe, 
and "jewellers, gold refiners, and a perfumer," were 
among the people sent to fight the American wilder- 

The three small ships sailed down the Thames, fol- 
lowed by prayers and good wishes, and, after tossing 
in the Channel for some weeks, went out to sea. For 
reasons unexplained they were not in charge of Bartholo- 
mew Gosnold,butof Captain Christopher Newport ; and, 
following the old southern route by way of the Azores, 
safely reached the West Indies toward the spring. A 
curious incident of the voyage was the arrest of Smith 
by the other leaders. He was charged with a design to 
murder them and make himself " King of Virginia ; " 
and he afterwards stated that a gallows was erected to 
execute him. Nothing more is known of this singular 
occurrence. Smith remained under arrest until after the 
arrival in Virginia, when the first American jury tried 
and acquitted him. 

It was the intention to found the colony on the old 
site, Roanoke Island, but a violent storm drove the 
ships northward quite past the shores of Wingandacoa, 
and they reached the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. In 
this they took shelter toward the end of April 1607, 
and the beauty of the country induced the commanders 
of the. expedition to settle there instead of at Roanoke. 
The low shores were covered with " flowers of divers 
colors;" the " goodly trees " were in full foliage; and 
all around was inviting. A party landed to look at the 
country, and had their first experience with the Indians. 
They were received with a flight of arrows from the 


lurking people hidden in the tail grass, but they fled at 
a volley from the English guns, and the party returned 
to the ships, which continued their way. Before them 
was the great expanse of Chesapeake Bay, the " Mother 
of Waters " as the Indian name signified, and in the 
distance the broad mouth of a great river, the Pow- 
hatan. As the ships approached the western shore of 
the bay the storm had spent its force, and they called 
the place Point Comfort. A little further, — at the 
present Hampton, — they landed and were hospitably 
received by a tribe of Indians. The ships then sailed 
on up the river, which was new-named James River, 
and parties landed here and there, looking for a good 
site for the colony. A very bad one was finally se- 
lected, — a low peninsula half buried in the tide at high 
water. Here the adventurers landed on May 13, 1607, 
and gave the place the name of Jamestown, in honor of 
the Kirior. 

Nothing remains of this famous settlement but the 
ruins of a church tower covered with ivy, and some old 
tombstones. The tower is crumbling year by year, and 
the roots of trees have cracked the slabs, making great 
rifts across the names of the old Armigers and Honour- 
ables. The place is desolate, with its washing waves 
and flitting sea-fowl, but possesses a singular attraction. 
It is one of the few localities which recall the first years 
of American history ; but it will not recall them much 
longer. Every distinctive feature of the spot is slowly 
disappearing. The river encroaches year by year, and 
the ground occupied by the original huts is already sub- 

The English landed and pitched tents, but soon found 
it more agreeable to lodge " under boughs of trees " 


in the pleasant May weather, until they built cabins. 
These were erected on the neck of the peninsula, and 
before the summer they had settled into something like 
a community. From the moment of landing they had 
paid sedulous attention to the exercises of religion. An 
" old rotten tent " was the first church in the American 
wilderness. The next step was to stretch an awning 
between the trunks of trees ; to nail a bar between two 
of these to serve as a reading-desk — and here " the re- 
ligious and courageous divine," Mr. Hunt, read the ser- 
vice morning and evening, preached twice every Sun- 
day, and celebrated the Holy Communion at intervals of 
three months. After a while the settlers busied them- 
selves in constructing a regular church. It was not an 
imposing structure, since the chronicle describes it as a 
loo- building " covered with rafts, sedge, and dirt," but 
soon they did better. When Lord Delaware came, in 
1610, he found at Jamestown a church sixty feet long 
and twenty -four broad, the first permanent religious edi- 
fice erected by Englishmen in North America. 

The Virginians had thus made a good beginning. 
They had felled trees, built houses, erected a church, 
and were saying their prayers in it, like honest people 
who were bent on doing their duty in that state of life 
in which it had pleased Heaven to jilace them. But the 
whole cheerful prospect was overclouded by a simple 
circumstance. Their leaders were worthless. The 
names of the Council had not been announced in Eng- 
land by King James. He had had the eccentric fancy 
of sealing them up in a box, which was not to be opened 
until the expedition reached Virginra. The box had 
then been opened and the Councilors were found to 
be Bartholomew Gosnold, John ^fe^i, Edward Maria 


Wingfield, Christopher Newport, John Ratcliife, John 
Martin, and George Kendall. One and all of these 
men, with the exception of Smith and Gosnold, were 
grossly incompetent ; and Gosnold died soon afterwards, 
and Smith was still under arrest and excluded from the 
Council. Wingfield had been elected President, but it 
was soon seen that he was a man of no capacity. He 
was indolent, self-indulgent, wanting in every faculty 
which should characterize a ruler, and his mind was 
haunted by the idea that Smith was secretly plotting to 
murder him and usurp his authority. The rest of the 
Council were no better, and the promise of the future 
was gloomy. The little band of Englishmen were in 
a new country, surrounded by enemies, and those who 
ruled over them seemed unconscious of their perilous 

Soon the Indian peril revealed itself. A party of 
men sailed up James River and paid a visit to Pow- 
hatan, Emperor of the country, near the present site of 
Richmond. They found him in his royal wigwam, — 
a " sour " old man of whom more will be said hereafter, 
— and after a brief interview returned to Jamestown. 
Exciting intelligence awaited them. In their absence, a 
band of Indians had attacked the colonists while plant- 
ing corn, and a flight of arrows had killed one man and 
wounded seventeen others, but a cannon shot fired from 
the ships had put the dusky people to rout. It was 
more than probable that the sour old emperor had di- 
rected this onslaught, and the palisade was mounted 
with cannon and a guard established. 

It was plain from this dangerous incident, that the 
Virginia colony required a military ruler. Wingfield 
was a merchant and Jalmanty utterly unfitted for his 


position. Smith was still under arrest, but all at once 
he demanded a trial. This, Wingfield strove to evade ; 
he would send him home to England to be tried by the 
authorities, he said. But the restive soldier suddenly 
flamed out. He would be tried in Virginia as was his 
i-Ight — there was the charter ! and the trial took place. 
The result was a ruinous commentary on the characters 
of Wingfield and the Council. The testimony of their 
own witnesses convicted them of subornation of perjury 
to destroy Smith ; he was acquitted by the jury of all 
the charges against him; and Kendall, who had con- 
ducted the prosecution, was condemned to pay him £200' 
damages. This sum was presented by Smith to the 
colony for the general use, and then the foes partook 
of the Communion, and the soldier was admitted to his 
seat in the Council. 

Such was the first open trial of strength between 
Smith and the factionists. He was destined to have 
more, involving the very life of the colony. For the 
moment all was quiet, however, and Newport sailed for 
England to report and obtain supi^Iies, leaving one 
of the barks, the Pinnace, for the use of the colony. 
From this, were to spring woes unnumbered. 



The colony now seemed prosperous. The skies were 
blue and the corn was growing ; the supply of provisions 
was sufficient for three months, and the settlers, in their 
" Monmouth caps, Irish stockings, and coats of mail," 
went in and out about their occupations, with a sense 


of security.; The reed-thatched huts were defended by 
cannon, but^ Powhatan had " sued for jDeace," and the 
men met and ate their food from the " common kettle " 
without fear. 

But under this fair outside was the canker of incapac- 
ity and misrule. In the bright days all went well, but 
discerning eyes might have seen that in the hour of trial 
the leaders would be found wanting. The old chronicle 
paints the men with pitiless accuracy. They had neither 
brains, courage, nor morals, nor anything good about 
them. Wingfield, the President, had corrupted his easily- 
corrupted associates, and the whole bad crew spent their 
time in idleness and gluttony. The enterprise had 
grievously disappointed them, and, seeing no further 
profit in it, they were looking for an opportunity to 
abandon it. The true men looked sidewise at them 
since Smith's trial, and shook their heads. It was the 
next thing to a certainty that when the dark hour came 
they would desert their comrades and leave them to de- 

Soon the dark hour arrived. A worse enemy than 
the Indians assailed the colon3^ With July came the sul- 
try " dog days " of the southern summer, and the marshy 
banks of the river, sweltering in the sun, sweated a poi- 
sonous malaria which entered into the blood of the Ens:- 
lish. The whole colony was prostrated by a virulent 
epidemic. All thought of guarding against the Indians 
was abandoned. The supply of food was soon exhausted, 
and destruction stared them in the face. The men lay 
wasting away in the sultry cabins. Those who were 
not attacked were too few to wait on the sick, scarcely 
enough to drag them out and bury them when they died. 
" Burning fevers destroyed them," says George Percy, 


writing of this terrible time, " some departed suddenly, 
but for the most part they died of mere famine. There 
were never Englishmen left in a foreign country in such 
misery as we were, in this new discovered Virginia." 
Night and day men were heard " groaning in every cor- 
ner of the fort, most pitiful to hear." The writer seems 
to groan himself as he remembers the fearful scene. 
" If there were any conscience in men," he exclaims, " it 
would make their hearts to bleed to hear the pitiful 
murmurings and outcries . . . some departing out of 
the world, sometimes three and four in a night ; in the 
morniuo; their bodies trailed out of the cabins like doa^s 
to be buried." 

By the month of September famine and fever had 
swept off fifty men, one half the colony, and among the 
dead were Bartholomew Gosnold and Thomas Studley, 
the treasurer. Smith was left to contend single-handed 
with Wingfield and his followers. These people now 
showed their true characters, and added cowardice to in- 
capacity. Wingfield and Kendall made an effort to 
seize the Pinnace and escape to England ; but the col- 
onists rose in their wrath and dealt promptly with them. 
They deposed them from the Council and elected Rat- 
cliffe President in Wingfield's place ; but Katcliffe was 
little better than his predecessor, and did nothing to suc- 
cor them. The only hope was Smith, and the settlers 
compelled him by popular uprising to assume the con- 
trol of the colony. 

Smith acted with energy, for the j^oor people were 
nearly starving. By an interposition of Providence, 
the Indians had voluntarily brought them a small sup- 
ply of corn ; but this was soon exhausted, and Smith 
went down James Uiver to obtain more. The at 


Hampton refused it, when he fired a volley into the 
crowd, captured their idol, seized the supplies, and re- 
turned to Jamestown. Another expedition followed, 
from which Smith returned at a critical moment. 
Wingfield and Kendall had again seized the Pinnace 
and were on the point of escaping, but Smith opened 
on them with cannon and they were compelled to sur- 
render. Short work was made of Kendall, the rinir- 
leader of the conspiracy. He was tried by a jury, found 
guilty, and shot. The life of Wingfield was spared, 
but he was deprived of all authority. He remained in 
the colony " living in disgrace," and anxiously looking 
for an opportunity to return to England. 

Thus with famine and disease, hot turmoil and con- 
spiracy, the groans of the dying in the huts, and the 
sudden thunder of Smith's cannon summoniue; the mu- 
tineers to surrender, passed this terrible summer of 
1607. It tried the stoutest hearts, but had this much of 
good in it, that it showed the adventurers who was their 
true leader. In the midst of the general despondency 
one man at least had refused to give way to despair. 
Though sick himself of the fever, Smith had labored 
unceasingly for the rest. When " ten men could neither 
go nor stand," he had fed the sick and dying, infused 
hope into the survivors, and had the right to say of him- 
self what he said of Pocahontas, that he " next under 
God was still the instrument to preserve this colony 
from death, famine, and utter confusion." 

At last the dawn appeared ; the long night of suffer- 
ing was at an end. The fall came with its fresh winds, 
driving away the malaria. The healthful airs restored 
the sick. The rivers were full of fish and wild fowl, 
and the corn was fit for bread. There was no longer 


any danger that the colony would be destroyed by dis- 
ease or want. A kind Providence, watching over the 
weak and suffering, had preserved the remnant, and the 
Virginia plantation had risen as it were from the very 
brink of the grave. A bitter winter followed — " an ex- 
traordinary frost in most parts of Europe and as ex- 
treme in Virginia " — but this banished every remnant 
of fever, as the coming of winter destroys to-day the 
epidemic which scourges the lower Mississippi. The 
long agony was over, and what was left of the James- 
town colony was safe at last. 

Men soon forget trouble. The fearful summer 
which they had passed through was lost sight of, and the 
dissensions again began. Smith had retired from his 
place as acting President, and the old incompetent peo- 
ple regained the sway. Complaints were made that 
nothing had been effected ; that the royal order to go in 
search of the " South Sea " had not been complied with ; 
that the whole enterprise was a failure. Smith replied 
to these " murmurs," which we are informed " arose in 
the Council," by offering to lead an expedition of dis- 
covery in the direction of the mountains. This was de- 
termined upon, and in a severe spell of weather (Decem- 
ber 10, 1607) he set out in a barge with a small party 
of rtien, ostensibly to make the famous discovery of the 
great " South Sea." 



This voyage toward the unknown was an important 
event in the history of the colony, and Smith's adven- 
tures, during the month which followed, threw him for 


the first time face to face with the Indians in their wood- 
land haunts. He made their acquaintance at their 
homes on the banks of the rivers ; observed their 
strange rites and usages ; and gathered the details for 
his picturesque account of them, which enables us to see 
them as thev looked and acted in that old Yirofinia of 
nearly three centuries ago. 

It is not possible and is unnecessary to reproduce here 
the full picture of this singular race ; but some of the 
details, especially those relating to their religious belief, 
are extremely curious. | The experiences of the Eng- 
lish, first and last, were with the " Powhatans," who 
inhabited what is now called Tidewater Virginia, from 
the Chesapeake to the Piedmont. Other tribes lay 
beyond, and all were doubtless the successors of the 
Mound-builders ; but of these the English settlers knew 
little or nothing. 

Smith draws for us a full-length portrait of the Vir- 
ginia savage, — a barbarian guided by impulse, cunning, 
treacherous, and nursing his grudge. He lived in a 
wigwam or an arbor built of trees, and dressed in deer- 
skin ; the women wearing mantles of feathers "ex- 
ceedingly warm and handsome." Both sexes wore bead 
necklaces, and tattooed their bodies with puccoon, which 
is the bloodroot ; and the women were subject in all 
things to their husbands. On the hunting expeditions 
they carried burdens and built the arbors, while the 
warriors smoked pipes and looked on. The picture 
drawn in the old record is somewhat comic. The young 
Indian women are seen erectinor the huts at the end of 
the long day's march ; and in the slant sunset light the 
youthful braves practice shooting at a target, for by 
suoii manly accomplishments they "get their wives" 


from among the dusk beauties workiug at the sylvan 
arbors ! 

The most curious feature of this curious race was 
their religion. There is no evidence that they had any 
conception of a beneficent Creator. Their god was 
Okee, or " The One Alone called Kiwassa," the spirit 
of Evil. They feared and worshiped him as they wor- 
shiped Force in all its manifestations, — fire that burned 
them, water that drowned them, the thunder and light- 
ning, and the English cannon when they came. As 
to a good god, there was no such being ; if there 
was, it was unnecessary to worship him. They need 
not take the trouble to conciliate such a deity, since 
from the nature of things he would not injure them. 
As to Okee, or the One Alone called Kiwassa, it was 
different. This Evil one was to be propitiated, and 
they made images of him, decorated with copper, which 
they set up in temples hidden in the woods ; and endeav- 
ored " to fashion themselves as near to his shape as 
they could imagine." 

The great national temple was at Uttamussac, on 
York River. Here, on " certain red sandy hills in the 
woods, were three great houses filled with images of 
their kings and devils, and tombs of their predecessors." 
In these " sepulchres of their kings " were deposited 
the royal corpses, embalmed and wrapped in skins ; 
and each district of the kingdom had its temple. At 
the shrines priests kept watch — hideous figures, with 
dried snakes' skins fallino^ from their heads on their 
shoulders, as they shook rattles and chanted hoarsely 
the greatness of the deity. These priests were chosen 
and set aside by a strange ceremony. Once a year, 
twenty of the handsomest youths, from ten to fifteen, 


were " painted white " and placed at the foot of a tree 
in the presence of a great multitude. Then the sav- 
ages, armed with clubs, ranged themselves in two ranks, 
leaving a lane to the tree, through which five youno- 
men were to pass, in turn, and carry off the children. 
As the young men passed through this lane with the 
children in their arms they were " fiercely beaten," but 
thought of nothing but shielding the children, while the 
women wept and cried out " very passionately." The 
tree was then torn down and the boughs woven into 
wreaths, and the children were " cast on a heap in a 
valley as dead." Here Okee, or Kiwassa, sucked the 
blood from the left breast of such as were " his by lot," 
until they were dead , and the rest were kept in the 
wilderness by the five young men for nine months, after 
which they were set aside for the priesthood. 

Thus Okee was the god who sucked the blood of 
children — a sufficient description of him. The bravest 
warriors inclined before his temple with abject fear. 
In going up or down the York, by the mysterious Utta- 
mussac shrine, they solemnly cast copper, or beads, or 
puccoon into the stream to propitiate him, and made 
long strokes of the paddle to get away from the danger- 
ous neighborhood. 

As to their views of a future life, the reports differed. 
According to one account, they believed in "the im- 
mortality of the soul, when, life departing from the 
body, according to the good or bad works it hath done, 
it is carried up to the tabernacles of the gods to per- 
petual happiness, or to Popogusso, a great pit which 
they think to be at the farthest parts of the world where 
the sun sets, and there burn continually." Another 
account attributes to them the belief that the human 


soul was extinguished, like the body, at death. To this 
the priests were an exception. The One Alone called 
Kiwassa was their friend. When they died they went 
" beyond the mountains toward the setting of the sun," 
and there, with plenty of tobacco to smoke, and plumes 
on their heads, and bodies painted with puccoon, they 
enjoyed a happy immortality. 

It was a grim faith — the human soul groping in 
thick darkness ; shrinking from the lightning cutting it, 
and the harsh reverberation of the god's voice in the 
thunder. But beyond the sunset on the Blue Mountains 
was peace at last, where they would " do nothing but 
dance and sing with all "their predecessors." Whether 
•they wished or expected to see the One Alone called 
Kiwassa there, we are not informed. He was never 
seen by mortal, it seems, in this world or the next. 
And yet it was known that he had come to earth once. 
On a rock below Richmond, about a mile from James 
River, may still be seen gigantic foot-prints about five 
feet apart. These were the foot-prints of Kiwassa, as 
he walked throug-h the land of Powhatan.^ 

Thus all was primitive and picturesque about this 
singular race. They were without a written language, 
but had names for each other, for the seasons, and 
every natural object. The years were counted by win- 
ters or cohonhs — a word coined from the cry of the 
wild geese passing southward at the beginning of win- 
ter. They reckoned five seasons — the Budding or 
Blossoming, which was s]3ring ; the Corn-earing time, 
early summer ; the Highest Sun, full summer ; the Fall 
of the Leaf, autumn ; and Cohonks, winter. The months 

1 These singular impressions are on the present estate of "Pow- 
hatan " — the site of the old Imperial residence. Their origin is un- 


were counted by moons, and named after their products: 
as the Moon of Strawberries, the Moon of Stags, the 
Moon of Corn, and the Moon of Cohonks. The day 
was divided into three parts: Sunrise, the Full Sunpower, 
and the Sunset. They had many festivals, as at the com- 
ing of the wild-fowl, the return of the hunting season, 
and the great Corn-gathering celebration. At a stated 
time every year the whole tribe feasted, put out all the 
old fires, kindled new by rubbing pieces of wood to- 
gether, and all crimes but murder were then pardoned; 
it was considered in bad taste even to allude to them. 
One other ceremony, the Huskauawing, took place every 
fourteen years, when the young men were taken to 
spots in the woods, intoxicated on a decoction from cer- 
tain roots, and when brought back were declared to be 
thenceforth warriors. 

This outline of the aboriginal Virginians will define 
their character. They were, in the fullest sense of the 
term, a peculiar people, and had, in addition to the 
above traits, one other which ought not to be passed 
over — they were content to be ruled by women. Of 
this singular fact there is no doubt, and it quite over- 
turns the general theory that the Indian women were 
despised subordinates. When Smith was captured, he was 
waited upon by the " Queen of Appomattock ; " there 
was a " Queen of the Paspaheghs," and the old histo- 
rian Beverley, speaking of the tribes about the year 
1700, tells us Pungoteague was governed by "a Queen," 
that Nanduye was the seat of " the Empress," and that 
this empress had the shore tribes " under tribute." To 
this, add the singular statement made by Powhatan, 
that his kingdom would descend to his brothers, and 
afterwards to his sisters, though he had sons living. 


Sucli were the Virginia Iiidiaus, a race not at all re- 
sembling the savages of other lands ; tall in person, 
vigorous, stoical, enduring pain without a murmur ; slow 
in maturing revenge, but swift to strike ; worshiping 
the lightning and thunder as the flash of the eyes and 
the hoarse voice of their unseen god ; without pity ; 
passionately fond of hunting and war ; children of the 
woods, with all the primitive impulses ; loving little, 
hating inveterately ; a strange people, which, on the 
plains of the West to-day, are not unlike what they were 
in Virginia nearly three centuries ago. The old chroni- 
cles, with the rude pictures, give us their portraits. We 
ma}'^ fancy them going to war in their puccoon paint, 
paddling swiftly in their log canoes on the Tidewater 
rivers ; dancing and yelling at their festivals ; creeping 
stealthily through the woods to attack the English ; 
darting quickly by the shadowy temple of Uttamussac 
in the woods of the York, and shrinking with terror as 
the voice of Okee roars in the thunder. 

The Emperor Powhatan (his public and official name, 
his family name being Wahunsonacock) ruled over thirty 
tribes, 8000 square miles, and 8000 subjects, of whom 
about 2400 were fighting men. Part of his territories 
came by conquest, but he inherited the country from 
where Richmond now stands to Gloucester, though the 
Chickahominy tribe, about three hundred warriors, dis- 
owned his authority. He was a man of ability, both 
in war and peace ; greatly feared by his subjects, and 
holding the state of a king. At his chief places of resi- 
dence, — Powhatan, below Richmond, Orapax, on the 
Chickahominy, and Werowocomoco, on the York, — 
he was waited on by his braves and wives, of whom he 
had a large number ; and it is plain from the chronicles 


that his will was treated with implicit respect. He was 
indeed the head and front of the state — a monarch 
whose jus divinwn was much more fully recognized 
than the jus divinum of his Majesty James I. in Eng- 
land. He ruled by brains as well as by royal descent, 
by might as well as of right. On important occasions, 
as when going to war, a great council or parliament 
of the tribes assembled ; but the old Emperor seems 
to have been the soul of these assemblies, and quite 
at one with his nobles. In theory he was only the 
first gentleman in his kingdom, but his will was the 
constitution, and his authority sacred ; " when he listed 
his word was law." 

When Smith came to stand before this king of the 
woods in his court, it was Europe and America brought 
face to face ; civilization and the Old World in physical 
contact with barbarism and the New. 



Smith began his famous voyage toward the South 
Sea on a bitter December day of 1607. It is not prob- 
able that the unknown ocean was in his thoughts at all ; 
life at Jamestown was monotonous, and he and his 
good companions in the barge would probably meet 
with adventures. If these were perilous they would 
still be welcome, for the ardent natures of the time 
relished peril ; and, turning his barge head into the 
Chickahominy, Smith ascended the stream until the 
shallows stopped him. He then procured a canoe and 
some Indian guides, and continued his voyage with only 


two companions, leaving the rest of the men behind to 
await his return. 

The result of the canoe voyage was unfortunate in 
the extreme. Having reached a point in what is now 
the White Oak Swamp, east of Richmond, — he calls 
the place Rassaweak, — he landed with an Indian guide, 
was attacked by a band of Indians, and having sunk in 
a marsh was captured and taken before their chief, Ope- 
chancanough, brother of the Emperor Powhatan. The 
Indians had attacked and killed two of the English left 
behind, and Smith was now bound to a tree and ordered 
to be shot to death. A trifle saved his life. He ex- 
hibited a small ivory compass which he always carried, 
and explained by signs as far as possible the properties 
of the magnetic needle. It is improbable that the In- 
dian chief comprehended this scientific lecture, but he 
saw the needle through the glass cover and yet could 
not touch it, which was enough. Smith was released 
and fed plentifully, and they finally set out with him 
on a triumphal march through the land of Powhatan. 
They traversed the New Kent " desert," crossed the 
Pamunkey, Mattapony, and Rappahannock to the Po- 
tomac region, and then, returning on their steps, con- 
ducted the prisoner to Werowocomoco, the " Chief 
Place of Council " of the Emperor Powhatan. 

This old Indian capital was in Gloucester, on York 
River, about twenty-five miles below the present West 
Point. The exact site is supposed to have been 
" Shelly," an estate of the Page family, where great 
banks of oyster shells and the curious ruin, " Pow- 
' hatan's chimney," seem to show that the Emperor held 
his court. Smith was brought before him as a distin- 
guished captive, and his fate seemed sealed. He had 


killed two of his Indian assailants in the fight on the 
Chickahominy, and it was tolerably certain that his ene- 
mies would now beat out his brains. His description 
of the scene, and especially of the Indian Emperor, is 
picturesque. Powhatan was a tall and gaunt old man 
with a " sour look," and sat enthroned on a couch, cov- 
ered with mats, in front of a fire. He was wrapped in 
a robe of raccoon skins, which he afte wards offered as 
an imperial present to the King of England, and beside 
Iiim sat or reclined, his girl-wives. The rest of the In- 
dian women, nearly nude, stained red with puccoon and 
decorated with shell necklaces, were ranged against the 
walls of the wigwam, and the dusky warriors were drawn 
up in two lines to the right and left of the Emperor. 

The prisoner was brought in before this imposing as- 
semblage, and at first there seemed a possibility that he 
might escape with his life. The " Queen of Appomat- 
tock " brought him water in a wooden bowl to wash his 
hands ; another a bunch of feathers to use as a towel ; 
and then " a feast was spread for him after their best 
barbarous fashion." But his fate had been decided 
upon. Two stones were brought in and laid on the 
ground in front of the Emperor, and what followed is 
succinctly related in the old narrative. Smith was 
seized, dragged to the stones, his head forced down 
on one of them, and clubs were raised to beat out his 
brains, when Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, 
interposed and saved him. The description of the scene 
is concise. The Indian girl, a child of twelve or thir- 
teen, ran to him, " got his head in her arms, and laid 
her own upon his to save him from death ; " whereupon 
the Emperor relented and ordered his life to be spared.-^ 

1 The questions connected with this incident will be examined else- 


A kind Providence had thus preserved the sohlier, 
but he was to remain with Powhatan to make " bells, 
beads, and copper," for Pocahontas. It was a very 
curious fate for the hardy campaigner of the Turkish 
wars, to be buried in the Virginia woods, the fashioner 
of toys for an Indian girl. 

Pocahontas was the favorite daughter of the Em- 
peror, and Smith describes her as the most attractive of 
the Indian maids ; " for features, countenance, and ex- 
pression, she much exceeded any of the rest." Her 
figure was probably slight. " Of so great a spirit, how- 
ever her stature,"" was the description of her afterwards, 
when she had grown up and visited London. Her dress 
was a robe of doeskin lined with down from the breast 
of the wood pigeon, and she wore coral bracelets on 
wrists and ankles, and a white plume in her hair, the 
badge of royal blood. It must have been a very in- 
teresting woodland picture ; — the soldier, with tanned 
face and sweeping mustache, shaping trinkets for the 
small slip of Virginia royalty in her plumes and brace- 
lets. A few words of the chronicle give us a glimpse 
of it, and the curtain falls. 

The soldier remained with Powhatan until early in 
the next January (1608). They had sworn eternal 
friendshijD, and the Emperor offered to adopt him and 
give him the "country of Capahowsick" for a duke- 
dom. It is probable that Smith received this proposal 
with enthusiasm, but he expressed a strong desire to 
pay a visit to Jamestown, and the Emperor finally per- 
mitted him to depart. He traveled with an escort and 
reached Jamestown in safety. His Indian guard were 
supplied with j)resents for Powhatan aud his family, a 
cannon shot was fired into the ice-laden trees for their 


gratification, and overwhelmed with fright, they fled 
into the woods. 

The soldier had not spent a very merry Christmas on 
the banks of the York, and was not going to enjoy a 
happy New Year at Jamestown. The place was "in 
combustion," and the little colony seemed going to de- 
struction. The new President, Ratcliffe, had revived the 
project of seizing the Pinnace. This was the only ves- 
sel, and he meant to escape in it to England — in other 
words to desert his comrades and leave them to their 
fate. As long as they had the Pinnace they might save 
themselves by abandoning the country. Now Ratcliffe 
and his fellow conspirators intended to take away this 
last hope. 

Smith reached Jamestown on the very day (January 
8, 1G08) when the conspirators were about to sail. 
They had gone on board the Pinnace and were raising 
anchor when Smith's heavy hand fell on them. " With 
the hazard of his life, with sakre falcon and musket- 
shot "Jie compelled them " now the third time to stay 
or sink." "With that harsh thunder dogging them, Rat- 
cliffe and his companions surrendered, in the midst of 
wild commotion. But their party was powerful and a 
curious blow was struck at Smith. He was formally 
charged " under the Levitical law " with the death of 
the men slain by the Indians on the Chickahominy. 
The punishment was death ; but the " lawyers," as he 
calls them, were dealing with a resolute foe. Smith 
suddenly arrested his intended judges, and sent them 
under guard on board the Pinnace, where Ratcliffe and 
his accomplice Wingfield awaited his further pleasure 
in momentary fear of death. 

All this turmoil and " combustion " had arisen from 


sheer starvation. The English were without food, and 
the fearful summer of 1607 seemed about to be re- 
peated. Suddenly Providence came to their rescue. A 
band of Indians bending down under baskets of corn 
and venison made their appearance from the direction 
of York River and entered the fort. At the head of 
the " wild train " was Pocahontas : the Indian girl of 
her own good heart had brought succor to the perish- 
ing colony ; and she afterwards traversed the woods be- 
tween the York and Jamestown " ever once in four or 
five days " bringing food, which " saved many of their 
lives that else, for all this, had starved for hunger." 
We are informed that the colonists were profoundly 
touched by this "love of Pocahontas," and their name 
for her thereafter was " the dear and blessed Pocahon- 
tas." Long afterwards Smith recalled these days to 
memory, and wrote in his letter to the Queen, " During 
the time of two or three years she, next under God, was 
still the instrument to preserve this colony from death, 
famine and utter confusion, which, if in those days had 
once been dissolved, Virginia might have lain as it was 
at our first arrival to this day." 

These incidents paint the picture of the colony in the 
winter of 1607. Nearly a year after the settlement it 
had not taken root, and as far as any one could see it 
was not going to do so. The elements of disintegra- 
tion seemed too strong for it. The men were gloomy 
and discouraged ; " but for some few that were gen- 
tlemen by birth, industry and discretion," wrote Smith, 
"we could not possibly have subsisted." The loss of 
life by the summer epidemic had been terrible indeed, 
but what was worse was the loss of hope. The little 
society was nearly disorganized. Rival factions bat- 


tied for tlie mastery. Conspiracies were formed to de- 
sert the country ; and a general discontent and loss of 
energy seemed to foretell the sure fate of tiie whole 

What was the explanation of this impatience, in- 
subordination, and discouragement ? These " gentlemen, 
laborers, carpenters" and others, were fair representa- 
tives of their classes in England ; and in England they 
had been industrious, and respectable members of the 
community. Many persons of low character were after- 
wards sent to Virginia by James I., but the first " sup- 
plies " were composed of excellent material. Smith, 
Percy, and many more were men of very high character, 
and the wars with the savages clearly showed that the 
settlers generally could be counted on for courage and 
endurance. Why, then, was the Virginia colony going 
to destruction ? 

The reply is easy. Their rulers were worthless, and 
above all, the unhappy adventurers had no home ties. 
They were adrift in the wilderness without wives or 
children, and had little or no incentive to perform honest 
work. The result duly followed : they became idle and 
difficult to rule. It was bad enough to have over them 
such men as Wingfield and Ratcliffe, but the absence 
of the civilizing element, wives and children, was fatal. 
Later settlers in other parts of the country, brought 
their families, and each had his home and hearthstone. 
These first Americans had neither. When they came 
home at night — or to the hut which they called 
home — no smiles welcomed them. When they worked 
it was under compulsion ; why should they labor ? The 
" common kettle " from which they took their dreary 
meals would be su[)plied by others. So the idlers grew 


ever idler; the days passed in crimination and angry 
discussion one with another. The Virginia adventurers 
were steadily losing all hope of bringing the enterprise 
to a successful issue, and were looking with longing 
eyes back toward England as the place of refuge from 
all their woes. 

Such was the state of things behind the palisades of 
Jamestown at the beginning of 1608. The original 
hundred men had dwindled to thirty or forty. This 
remnant was torn by faction. There was no food for 
the morrow. Without Pocahontas and her corn-bearers 
it seemed certain that the Virginia plantation would 
miserably end. At this last moment succor came. A 
white sail was seen in James River, and whether Span- 
iard or English, friend or foe, they would be supplied 
with bread. The new-comers were friends. The Lon- 
don Company had sent out two sliips under Captain 
Newport, with men and provisions, and this was one of 
them. For the time the plantation was saved. 



With the opening spring (1608) cheerfulness re- 
turned. The sun was shining after the dreary winter ; 
the English ship had brought supplies ; and the new 
colonists, fresh from home, gave them home news and 
revived their spirits. For a time, therefore, the growlers 
and croakers were silenced ; bustle followed the sombre 
quiet; and a new spirit of life seemed to be infused 
into the colony. 

The year which followed was full of movement, and 


presents an admirable picture of the times and men, 
which is after all the true end of history. The best 
history is no doubt the chronicle which shows us the 
actual human beings — what manner of lives they lived, 
and how they acted in the midst of their environment; 
and this is found in the original relations written by the 
Virginia adventurers. The full details must be sought 
for in the writings themselves — here a summary only 
is possible. 

The two prominent figures of the year 1608 are 
Smith and Newport. We have seen the soldier now in 
too many emergencies to misunderstand his character ; 
the character of Newport was nearly the precise contrast. 
He was "an empty, idle man," according to the old 
settlers, who charged him with tale-bearing ; and was, 
probably, a man of the world and a courtier of the Lon- 
don authorities, looking to his own profit. His stay in 
Virginia was brief, but was marked by interesting in- 
cidents. He went to trade with Powhatan, and that 
astute savage outwitted him. Announcing to his visitor 
that " it was not agreeable to his greatness to trade in 
a peddling manner," Powhatan proposed that Newport 
should produce his commodities, for which he should 
receive their fair value. Newport did so, and the Em- 
peror, selecting the best of everything, returned him 
four bushels of corn. But Smith, who accompanied the 
expedition, received two or three hundred bushels for 
some glass beads — the first chapter in the dealings be- 
tween the white and red people. 

Toward spring a fire broke out at Jamestown, and 
completely destroyed the place ; but the reed-thatched 
huts were rebuilt, and the incident was soon forgotten 
in the excitement of what, in our time, is called the 


gold-fever. A yellow deposit had been discovered in 
the neighborhood of Jamestown, and suddenly a craze 
seized upon the adventurers. The deposit was taken 
for gold, and all heads were turned : " There was no 
thought, no discourse, no hope, and no work but to dig 
gold, wash gold, refine gold, and load gold." Newport 
and the Council caught the fever, like the rest, and 
Smith was the only one who remained incredulous. He 
reasoned with them in vain, and at last lost all patience. 
He told tliem roughly that he was " not enamored of 
their dirty skill to fraught such a drunken ship with so 
much gilded dirt," and went about among the gold-dig- 
gers " breathing out these and many other passions." 
They would not listen to him, and Newport carried to 
London a full cargo of the gilded dirt, which was duly 
found to be worthless, and no more was heard of it. 
What was much more important, he took with him 
twenty turkeys — the first introduction of that fowl 
into Europe. With the yellow, dirt and the turkeys 
went also to England the disgraced Wingfield. He 
never returned to Virginia, but spent his leisure, thence- 
forth, in maligning his old opponents there. 

Another joyful event of these spring days of 1608 
was the arrival of a second ship, which had sailed with 
Newport, but had been driven to the West Indies. This 
was the Phoenix, commanded by Captain Francis 
Nelson, "an honest man and expert mariner." He 
turned his back on the " fantastical gold," and laid in a 
cargo of cedar ; and when he sailed for home in June, 
took back with him Smith's " True Relation of Vir- 
ginia." This was printed in the same year at " The 
Grayhound, in Paul's Churchyard," and was the first 
book written by an Englishman in America. 


Smith, who had determmed to make an exploration 
of the Chesapeake, accompanied the Phoenix in his 
barge as far as the capes. There he took final leave of 
the honest man and expert mariner. Captain Francis 
Nelson, and the good ship disappears in the old years 
on lier homeward voyage. We may see the white sails 
fade and the men in the barge standing np and looking 
seaward. Then the mist swallows the speck, and it is 

Smith's voyage with fourteen companions to explore 
the Chesapeake was a remarkable expedition. It was 
made in an open barge, and resembled a journey into 
an unknown world. All was new and strange. At one 
time they meet with the Indian king of Accomac, who 
relates how the faces of two dead children remained 
bright and fresh, and all that looked on them at once 
exjDired. Then a terrible storm beats on the adven- 
turers in the small barge — " thunder, lightning, and 
rain, with mighty waves." Driven far to the north, 
and nearly out of provisions, the voyagers become faint- 
hearted, but Smith encourages them. They ought to 
remember " the memorable history of Sir Ralph Layne, 
how his company importuned him to proceed in the 
discovery of Moratico, alleging they yet had a dog, 
which being boiled with sassafras leaves would richly 
feed them on their return. Retrain, therefore, vour old 
spirits," adds the persuasive orator-soldier, " for return 
I will not, if God please, till I have seen the Massa- 
womecs, found Potomac, or the head of this water you 
conceive to be endless." He found and entered the 
Potomac, the Rappahannock, and other rivers, often 
fighting with the Indians ; and near what is now Sting- 
ray Point, was wounded in the wrist by one of these 


fish. His arm swelled to an alarming extent, and, think- 
ing he would surely die, he selected a sjDOt to be buried 
in. The swelling soon disa23peared, however, and the 
voyagers returned to Jamestown, from which place they 
again set out in July on another voyage. This time 
they proceeded to the furthest northern limits of the 
Chesapeake ; landing on the site of Baltimore and 
making the acquaintance of the gigantic Susquehan- 
nocks. It was the daily habit of Smith to oifer up a 
prayer and sing a psalm, and this proceeding struck the 
simple and impulsive savages with wonder. " They be- 
gan," says the chronicle, "in a most passionate manner 
to hold up their hands to the sun, with a fearful song ; 
then embracing our captain they began to adore him in 
like manner " — the only intimation that any of the 
Indians were sun-worshipers. In the first days of 
September the Chesapeake voyagers returned south- 
ward, and while rounding Point Comfort nearly per- 
ished. The brief account of this incident is a good 
example of the style of the chronicles. A storm struck 
them in the night, and " running before the wind we 
sometimes saw the land by the flashes of fire from 
heaven, by which light only we kept from the splitting 
shore until it pleased God in that black darkness to 
preserve us by that light to find Point Comfort." 

In these two voyages the adventurers sailed about 
three thousand miles ; explored both banks of the Ches- 
apeake ; and Smith drew a map of astonishing accuracy, 
— that wiiich was afterwards printed in the General 

The voyagers were back at Jamestown early in Sep- 
tember (1608). Again the condition of affairs there 
had become deplorable. The chronicle, written by 


trusty Anas Todkill, and others, sums up the situation : 
"The silly President [Ratclitfe] had riotously con- 
sumed the stores, and to fulfill his follies about build- 
ing for his pleasure in the woods, had brought them all 
to that misery that had we not arrived, they had as 
strangely tormented him with revenge.'' The grim hu- 
mor of the writer is the commentary on the silly Rat- 
cliffe's pleasure-house and the general misery for which 
the adventurers had " strangely tormented him with re- 
venge," but for the interposition of Smith. On one 
point, however, they would not be persuaded by the 
soldier. They would have no more of Ratcliffe, and 
rising suddenly in their wrath they deposed him and 
chose Smith, who thus by popular election became 
President of Virginia. 

And now at the end of autumn, Newport again made 
his appearance. He brought a number of settlers, 
among them Mistress Forrest and her maid Anne Bur- 
ras, who was soon afterwards married to Master John 
Laydon, the first English marriage on American soil. 

Newport brought orders from the London authori- 
ties which showed that they had grown irate. No 
profit had come from Virginia, and RatclifFe had written 
home that Smith and his followers meant to seize upon 
the country and " divide it among themselves." Thence 
wrath on the part of the Right Honorables, who had 
no doubt been enlightened by the disgraced Wingfield. 
The Virginia adventurers were to discover and return 
one of the lost Roanoke colonists ; to send back a 
lump of gold; and to find the South Sea beyond the 
mountains. If these orders were not obeyed they were 
to "remain as banished men." Smith listened in the 
Council and declared the orders absurd, whereat New- 


port and himself came to daggers draw. For the mo- 
ment, however, their differences were smoothed over, 
and Newport proceeded to carry out another of his or- 
ders, — to crown Powhatan. Smith was sent to invite 
the Emperor to come to Jamestown for that purpose, 
and finding him absent dispatched a messenger to sum- 
mon him. A cuiious scene preceded his arrival. The 
party of English were seated in a field by a fire 
when they hear4 singing, and turning their heads they 
saw a number of Indian girls emerge from the woods. 
They were nearly nude and stained with puccoon, and 
the leader of the band was Pocahontas, who wore a gir- 
dle of otter skin, and carried in her hand a bow and ar- 
rows, and behind her shoulders a quiver. Above her 
forehead she wore " antlers of the deer," and led the 
masqueraders, who after elaborate dancing conducted 
the English to a neighboring wigwam, where supper 
was supplied them and they were treated with the ut- 
most kindness. The ceremonies wound up with a grand 
torch-light procession, in honor of the P^nglishmen. 
They were escorted to their lodgings when the maids 
retired to their own, and the picturesque proceedings 
came to an end. 

Powhatan appeared on the next morning, but pos- 
itively declined to go to Jamestown. " I also am a 
king," he said, " and this is my land. Your father is 
to come to me, not I to him nor yet to your fort ; 
neither will I bite at such a bait." This response was 
delivered " with complimental courtesy," but was plainly 
final. He did not propose to visit Jamestown ; and find- 
ing his resolution fixed Smith returned to Newport. 
The result was that Newport went to Werowocomoco 
and performed the ceremony there. The scene was 


comic, but indicated the regal pride of Powhatan. It 
was plain that he welcomed the bed, basin, and pitcher 
brought as presents, and he cheerfully submitted to in- 
vestment with a scarlet cloak. But there his submission 
ended. He positively refused to kneel and have the 
crown placed on his head. When they forced him to 
do so, and a volley was fired in honor of the occasion, he 
rose suddenly to his feet, expecting an attack. Finding 
that none was intended, he regained his "complimental 
courtesy;" consented thenceforth to be Powhatan L, 
under-king, subject to England ; and sent his brother 
James I. his old moccasins and robe of raccoon skin, 
in return for the scarlet cloak and the crown. 

This was the only order of the Company carried out 
by Newport. He marched to the Monacan country to- 
ward the upper waters of James River to discover gold 
or the South Sea ; found neither in that region, and re- 
turned foot-sore to Jamestown, where he and Smith came 
to open quarrel. But the men were unequally matched ; 
the brusque soldier was too much for the courtier. 
Smith threatened, if there was more trouble, to send 
home the ship and keep Newport a prisoner, whereat 
the man of the world gave way, " cried peccavi," and 
sailed for England. He took with him, doubtless against 
his will, Smith's " Map of Virginia and Description of 
the Country," and also a letter styled his " Rude An- 
swer " to the reprimand sent him by the authorities. 
This curious production must be read in the original 
chronicle. The writer is a soldier, and forgets to ap- 
proach the dignitaries with distinguished consideration. 
The machine of his eloquence is not oiled, and goes 
creaking harshly, but the sound attracts attention if it 
grates on the nerves of the Honorables. " The sailors 


say," he writes, " that Newport hath a hundred pounds 
a year for carrying news. Captain Ratcliffe is a poor 
counterfeit impostor, I have sent you him home lest the 
company should cut his throat." It is probable that if 
Captain Newport had suspected the character of this 
" Rude Answer " he would have dropped it into the 
Atlantic. But he duly took it to England, and the 
Right Honorables no doubt gasped at its truculence. 

Such is a glimpse of these old feuds. The actors in 
the scenes are now mere shadows, — Smith the soldier, 
Newport the courtier, Ratcliffe the agitator, and all the 
rest ; but these minutisB of the chronicles bring back the 
actual figures. It is only by stopping to look at them 
that we are able to obtain some idea of the real drama, 
of the daily worries, the spites and personal antago- 
nisms of the men who played their parts during these 
first years of American history. 



The snow had begun to fall with the approach of 
winter (1608), and again the unlucky adventurers were 
reduced to dire extremity. Once more they were in 
want of food, and, huddled together behind their pali- 
sade, were " affrighted " at the thought of famine. 

To this at the end of nearly two years had the Vir- 
ginia enterprise come. A company of two hundred 
men were in the wilderness without resources. It is 
true they had the immense boon of a gracious charter 
securing their rights, granting them trial by jury, estab- 
lishing the English Church, liberally authorizing them 


to hold their hinds l)y free tenure as in England; and 
here they were, a wretched handful wasting away with 
famine, who had much ado to hold their lands by any 
tenure whatever against the savages. 

In their extremity there was but one man to look to. 
The old rulers had disappeared. Of tlie original Council, 
Gosnold was dead of the fever of 1607 ; Newport had 
retired ; Wingfield and Ratcliffe had been deposed ; 
Martin had gone off in disgust ; and Kendall had been 
shot. Smith only remained, the man whom all this 
bad set had opposed from the first, arrested for treason, 
tried for murder, and attempted in every manner to de- 
stroy. In the dark hour now, this man was the stay of 
the colony. Three other councilors had come out with 
Newport, Captains Waldo and Wynne and Master Mat- 
thew Scrivener, all men of excellent character ; but the 
colonists looked to Smith as the true ruler. 

With the snow-fall came the question of food. New- 
port, it seems, had left them little. The supply was 
nearly exhausted, and the only resource was to apply to 
the Indians. But it was found that times had chano-ed. 
The tribes of Powhatan were not going to furnish any ; 
they had received orders to that effect from their Em- 
peror. The application was made, refused, and what 
followed was a decisive trial of strength between the 
English and the savages, — a series of scenes in which 
we have the old life of the first adventurers summed up 
and wrought into a picture full of dramatic interest. 

Smith resolved to strike at the central authority. 
" No persuasion," we are told, " could persuade him to 
starve," and what he meant now to do was to go to 
Powhatan and procure supplies by fair means or force. 
The old Emperor gave him a pretext for visiting Wero- 


wocomoco. He sent inviting Smith to come and bring 
some men who could build him a house. Some " Dutch- 
men " were sent at once, and at the end of December 
(1608) Smith followed. His force was about fifty men, 
and they went by the water route in the Pinnace and 
two barges. Among them were George Percy, now an 
" old settler," and a man who could be implicitly relied 
upon ; Francis West, of Lord Delaware's family ; and 
many other " gentlemen." The enterprise was going to 
be a decisive affair. These fifty men led by a soldier 
like Smith were a dangerous engine. 

The voyagers went down James River in the cold 
winter season, and stopped here and there to enjoy the 
hospitality of the tribes. They thus coasted along, past 
Hampton, Old Point, and the present Yorktown, and 
about the middle of January (1G09) sailed up the York, 
and came in sight of Werowocomoco. On the way they 
had received a warning. The king of Warrasqueake 
had said to Smith, " Captain Smith, you shall find Pow- 
hatan to use you kindly, but trust him not ; and be sure 
he have no opportunity to seize on your arms, for he 
hath sent for you only to cut your throats:' The soldier 
" thanked him for his good counsel," but probably did 
not need it. He was not confiding and meant to guard 
himself; for the rest this intimation of the friendly 
Warrasqueaker no doubt gratified him. He was going 
to make war on the host who had invited a visit ; it 
was satisfactory to know that the host designed cutting 
his throat. 

When the Englishmen came opposite the " Chief Place 
of Council," they found the river frozen nearly half a mile 
from the shore. The vessels, however, broke the ice, 
and when near the shore Smith leaped into the water 


with a party and got to land. Powhatan received him 
in his great wigwam, but the imperial demeanor had uu- 
dei'gone a change. There was no more " complimental 
courtesy " - — so the English had come to see him. 
When were they going away ? He had not invited 
them to visit him ! Whereat Smith pointed to the crowd 
of braves, and retorted that there were the very envoys 
who had brought the invitation. At this the Emperor 
showed his appreciation of the trenchant reply by laugh- 
ing heartily, and requested a sight of the articles brought 
by Smith to exchange for corn. He had no corn, but 
they might trade. In fact the corn would be produced 
if the English came for it unarmed. And then the Em- 
peror proceeded to deliver a pathetic address. He was 
weary of war, and wished to spend his last year in 
peace, without hearing incessantly the alarm, " There 
cometh Captain Smith ! " He desired to be the friend 
of that " rash youth," aiid meant well. His feelings 
were moved, and induced him '• nakedly to forget him- 
self." Take the corn ; it should be delivered, but the 
English guns frightened his poor people. Let the men 
come unarmed. 

Smith's view of this eloquent address is set forth suc- 
cinctly in the chronicle : " Seeing this savage did but 
trifle the time to cut his throat, he sent for men to come 
ashore and surprise the king." The response was prompt. 
The English were heard breaking the ice and approach- 
ing, and Smith, cutting his way out, joined the party on 
the beach. Night brought a new peril. Smith and his 
men bivouacked on the shore, when their friend Pocahon- 
tas stole through the darkness and warned them that an 
attack was to be made upon them. When presents were 
offered her, she said, with tears in her eyes, that her 


father would kill her if he saw her wearing them; 
went back as she came ; and a party duly appeared to 
attack Smith, who awaited them. No assault was made, 
and the night passed in quiet. In the morning the boats 
were loaded by the Indians with corn, and the rash 
youth who had thus overcome his aged adversary re- 
embarked. Going up the York River, he landed near 
West Point, at the residence of Prince Opechancanough. 
As before the demand was — corn, to which the smiling 
Opechancanough made no objection. They should have 
plenty of corn — when suddenly one of the soldiers 
rushed into the wigwam crying that they were " be- 
trayed." Smith looked and saw a force of about seven 
hundred Indians surrounding the place, whereupon he 
exhibited his habitual resolution. Seizing the cordial 
Opechancanough by his scalp-lock, he placed his pistol 
upon his breast, dragged him out among his people, and 
presented to him the alternative — corn or your life. 
This proceeding was too much for the nerves of the In- 
dian prince. He promptly supplied the corn, and the 
English reembarked, after which they sailed back in 
triumph to Jamestown. 

This raid on the capital city of the land of Powhatan 
was a decisive event. The material result was a fall 
supply of food ; the moral, a lasting impression on the 
Indian imagination. It is the nature of ignorant and 
inferior minds to believe what they see rather than 
what is reasoned out to them. What the Powhatans 
had seen was this. Fifty Englishmen had invaded their 
country, driven the Emperor from his capital, humbled 
Prince Opechancanough in the midst of his braves, threat- 
ened to destroy tlieir towns, exacted what they wished, 
and returned to Jamestown without the loss of a man. 


This was plain to the simplest comprehension, and it 
produced a grand effect. These formidable intruders 
were best conciliated, not defied. Their commander, 
above all, was an adversary whom it was useless to 
fight against ; and there is ample evidence that from 
this moment, to the end of his career in the colony, the 
savaores reo;arded Smith with a mixture of fear and 
admiration. They never again exhibited any hostility 
toward the English as long as he remained in Virginia. 
They became his firm friends, brought him presents, 
punished with death — as will soon be shown — those 
who attempted to harm him ; and the chronicle sums 
up all in the sentence, " All the country became as ab- 
solutely free for us as for themselves." 

The martial figure of the soldier-ruler will not in- 
trude much longer on the narrative. He is going away 
from Virginia, and the faineants are coming back. Let 
us see what he accomplished before their arrival. He 
forced the idle to go to work — the hardest of tasks. 
There was pressing necessity for that. A swarm of rats, 
brought in Newport's ship, had nearly devoured the 
remnant of food, and unless corn were planted in the 
spring days the colony would starve. All must go to 
work, and the soldier made it plain to the sluggards 
that they now had a master. He assembled the whole 
" company " and made them a public address. There 
was little circumlocution about it. A few sentences 
will serve as examples of his persuasive eloquence to 
the murmurinor crowd : — 

" Countrymen," said Smith, " you see now that power 
resteth wholly in myself. You must obey this, now, 
for a law, — that he that will not ivork shall not eat. And 
though you presume that authority here is but a shadow, 


and that I dare not touch the lives of any, but my own 
must answer it, yet he that offendeth, let him assuredly 
expect his due punishment." 

This was plain, but the soldier made his meaning 
still plainer. " Dream no longer," he said sternly, " of 
this vain hope from Powhatan, or that I will longer for- 
bear to force you from your idleness, or punish you if 
you rail. I protest by that God that made me, since 
necessity hath no power to force you to gather for your- 
selves, you shall not only gather for yourselves, but for 
those that are sick. They shall not starve ! " 

The idlers " murmured " but obeyed. The corn was 
planted, and the drones in the hive were forced to aid 
the working bees in another enterprise. This was to 
build a fort as " a retreat " in case of an Indian war. 
Smith took nothing on trust. The friendly relations 
with Powhatan might end at any moment, and the re- 
sult was the erection of a rude fortification, of which 
this is the account : " We built also a fort, for a retreat, 
near a convenient river, upon a high commanding hill, 
very hard to be assaulted and easy to be defended, but 
ere it was finished this defect caused a stay — the want 
of corn occasioned the end of all our works." 

Was this the curious " Stone House " still standing 
on a ridge of Ware Creek, emptying into the York ? 
No traces of the fort here described are found in the 
neighborhood of Jamestown. The Ware Creek ruin 
answers the description, and nothing is known of its 
origin. It is near a convenient river, on a hill hard 
to assault and easy to defend ; a massive stone affair, 
with thick walls built without mortar, with loop-holes 
to fire through ; is roofless, and appears never to have 
been completed. It stands on a wooded ridge and can 


be approached only by a narrow defile. No other build- 
ings are found in the vicinity, and it is difficult to be- 
lieve that it was intended for any other purpose than 
defense. If this was the place of " retreat," it is doubt- 
less the oldest edifice in the United States. 

A few words will now carry the narrative forward to 
important events. The colony continued to suffer for 
want of food while the corn was growing, and the men 
went in parties among the Indians, who treated them 
with the utmost kindness. Smith's influence was all- 
powerful, and no one was harmed ; and an incident 
now took place which defined the full extent of this 
regard and respect. While walking in the woods near 
Jamestown the soldier was attacked by a gigantic In- 
dian, but he dragged him into the water and took him 
prisoner. Conducted to the fort and interrogated, he 
confessed that he had been employed by the house-build- 
ers ; and George Percy and others, deeply incensed, 
offered to go and " cut their throats before Powhatan." 
That great justiciar eventually saved them the trouble. 
When Lord Delaware arrived in the colony in the fol- 
lowing year, the house-builders proposed to Powhatan 
to send them as envoys to conciliate him. His response 
was eminently just : " You," he said, " that would 
have betrayed Captain Smith to me, will certainly be- 
tray me to this great lord ; " whereupon, as the chroni- 
cle adds, " he caused his men to beat out their brains ; " 
— and this was the end of the builders of the old relic, 
Powhatan's chimney. 

The colony was now to lose the competent ruler who 
had made it prosperous. The blow deposing him from 
authority had already been struck. With the summer 
came a ship on a trading expedition, commanded by a 


certain Captain Argall, who brought intelligence that 
the Virginia government had been reorganized and 
Smith removed. The reasons for his disgrace were his 
" hard dealings with the savages, and not returning the 
ships freighted " — a bitter charge against a man who 
had derided the yellow dirt and only seized the corn 
necessary to save the life of the colony. But all was 
now decided : a new charter from the King (May 23, 
1609) had changed the whole face of affairs. The lim- 
its of the colony were extended to two hundred miles 
north and two hundred miles south of the mouth of 
James River ; the London Council was to be chosen by 
the Company, not appointed by the King ; and Virginia, 
was to be ruled by a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, 
and Admiral, who were empowered in case of necessity 
to declare martial law. These officers were already 
appointed: Sir Thomas West, Lord Delaware, was to 
be Governor and Captam-General ; Sir Thomas Gates, 
Lieutenant-Governor ; and vSir George Somers, Admi- 
ral — all of them men of character. They were to go 
with a considerable fleet : nine vessels, containing full 
supplies and five hundred new settlers, men, women, 
and children — a great contrast to the little trio, the 
Susan Constant, the Good Speed, and the Discovery, 
which had dropped down the Thames in December, 

The fleet sailed at the end of May (1609) and went 
by the Azores. Lord Delaware remained in England, 
but was to follow a little later, and the ships were un- 
der command of Smith's old enemy, Newport. In the 
same vessel with him sailed Sir Thomas Gates and Sir 
George Somers with the letters-patent ; but this ship, 
called the Sea- Venture, was never to reach Virginia. 


"When the fleet was within about eight days' sail of 
Virginia, misfortune came. They were " caught in the 
tail of a hurricane," one of the vessels was lost, and the 
Sea- Venture, with the rulers and one hundred and fifty 
persons, men, women, and children, was separated from 
the rest and went on her way elsewhere. 



Let us follow the lonely Sea- Venture on her path- 
way through the troubled waters, allowing the rest to 
make their way to Virginia, where we shall rejoin 

History is after all a story only — the picture of men 
and their experiences, the scenes they passed through, 
their hazards, sufferings, and fortunes, good or bad, in 
their life pilgrimage. " Purchas his Pilgrimmes " is 
the title of one of the oldest collections of sea voyages. 
The adventurers of that age were in fact pilgrims mak- 
ing their way through unknown lands, stormy seas, and 
new experiences. The very name of the Sea- Venture 
expressed the period ; let us therefore glance at this 
curious episode in the early annals of Virginia, to which 
it properly belongs. 

The rest of the fleet had been driven toward the 
Chesapeake. The great storm lashing the Sea- Ven- 
ture, containing the future rulers and the letters-patent, 
swept her off on her separate way, and " with the vio- 
lent working of the seas she was so shaken and torn " 
that she sprung a leak ; and then the vivid old chroni- 
cle by Jordan and others details what followed. The 


crew pumped day and night, but finally gave tliein- 
selves up for lost. They resolved to " commit them- 
selves to the mercy of the sea, which is said to be 
merciless, or rather to the mercy of Almighty God, 
whose mercy far exceeds all his works." But hope 
came at last. Sir George Somers, the brave old Ad- 
miral, who was seated, like Gilbert, at the helm, " scarce 
taking leisure to eat nor sleep," saw land, toward which 
the ship was driven. Would she reach it? That 
seemed doubtful. Their " greedy enemy the salt water 
entered at the large breaches of their poor wooden 
castle, as that in ga[)ing after life they had well-nigh 
swallowed their death." At last the Sea- Venture 
struck. She lifted, was carried forward on the sum- 
mit of a wave, and jammed firmly between two ledges 
of rock, where she rested. 

They were cast away on the Bermudas, " two hun- 
dred leagues from any continent," and looked with fear 
on the unknown realm. Now and then tiie buccaneers 
had landed, and another English ship had once suffered 
shipwreck there. One and all had agreed that the 
islands were " the most dangerous, forlorn, and unfor- 
tunate place in the world." They were called the 
" Isles of Devils," says Henry May, and the use has 
been noticed of this popular belief in regard to them in 
" The Tempest." On the moonlit strand of these " still 
vext Bermoothes " the hag -born Caliban might roll and 
growl ; Sycorax, the blue-eyed witch, might hover in 
the cloud wracks ; and the voices of the wind whisper 
strange secrets.^ 

1 The wreck of the Sea-Venture certainly suggested The Tempest. 
The phrase "the still vext Bermoothes" indicates the stage, and 
Ariel's description of his appearance as a flaming light on the shrouds 


Seen with the real eye the faaious Isles of Devils 
were very iiiDocent in appearance. They might be 
full of enchantment, but it was the enchantment of 
tropical verdure, sunshine, and calm. The fury of the 
storm had passed away. The Sea- Venture was held 
fast between the two ledges of rock, and the crew were 
safely landed in the boats. The summer was at hand, 
and the air was full of balm. There was food in abun- 
dance, — fish, turtle, and wild-fowl, with hogs, left prob- 
ably by the Spanish buccaneers. The stores of the ship 
were brought off; huts were built, and thatched with 
palmetto ; and then the leaders began to devise means 
of escape. The Sea-Venture was going to pieces, but 
the long-boat was fitted with hatches, and a party of 
nine men set out in it for Virginia. They were never 
again heard of. However the eyes of the shipwrecked 
mariners might be strained toward the far-off continent, 
no succor came. It might never come ; they were no 
doubt given up for lost. There was nothing to do but 
accept their fate and bear it with fortitude. 

It did not seem so hard a fate. The voluptuous airs 
of the most delicious of climates caressed them. The 
long surges of the Atlantic, rolling from far-off England 
and Virginia, had tossed them once, but could not harm 
them now. The islands were green with foliage and 

of the King's ship is nearly identical with the " little round light like 
a faint star trembling and streaming along in a sparkling blaze, on 
the Admiral's ship," mentioned by Strachey in his True Repertory 
of the Wreck and Redemption of Sir Thomas Gates, Knirjht, pub- 
lished in 1610. The dispersion of both fleets, their arrival in the 
Chesapeake and the " Mediterranean flote, " the safety of the King's 
ship and the Admiral's ship, the Sea-Venture, — these and many 
incidental details clearly indicate that Shakespeare based his drama 
on the real occurrence, and used Strache^'^'s True Repertory, and the 
relations of Jordan, May, and others, as his material. 


alive with the songs of birds, and we are told that " thev 
lived iu such plenty, peace, and ease " that they never 
wished to go back to the hard Old World, with its hard 
work, any more. It was an earthly paradise, and they 
were content to live for the senses ; but those worthy 
gentlemen and true Englishmen, Gates and Somers, 
would have them perform their religious duties. They 
had a clergyman, Mr. Bucke, to succeed the good Mr. 
Hunt, who had died in Virginia, and a bell was brought 
from the Sea- Venture and set up. V/hen this rang, 
morning and evening, the people assembled and the roll 
was called, then prayer was offered up ; and on Sunday 
there was religious service, and two sermons were 

So the days went on, and it seemed that the castaways 
were doomed to remain forever in their enforced para- 
dise. One " merry English marriage " took place, two 
children were born, and six persons died, among them 
the wife of Sir George Somers, who was to die himself 
in these strange islands where the decree of Providence 
had cast him ashore. The children, a boy and a girl, 
received the names Bermudas and Bermuda, and Ber- 
muda was the daughter of Mr. John Rolfe, who after- 
wards became the husband of Pocahontas. 

At last discord e.ntered into the terrestrial paradise, 
and marred all the harmony. Gates and Somers had a 
misunderstanding, and lived apart from each other. The 
men and women were no doubt weary of their sweet do- 
nothing, and longed to escape. A new effort was made, 
and Somers succeeded in constructing, of cedar and the 
bolts and timbers of the Sea- Venture, a bark of eighty 
tons, and another smaller, which were named the Pa- 
tience and the Deliverance. A reconciliation then en- 


sued between Gates and Somers, — the one celebration 
of the holy commnnion may have taken place on this 
occasion, — and (May 10, 1610) the whole company 
embarked for Virginia, where they arrived fourteen 
days afterwards, nearly a year after their departure 
from England. 

The wreck of the Sea- Venture was long remembered 
as one of the most romantic incidents of a romantic age. 
It caught the popular fancy as a vivid picture of the 
adventurous experiences which awaited the mariner on 
the unknown western sea ; and the lonely islands sup- 
posed to be the haunt of devils and furies, but now 
known to be full of beauty and tropical delight, became 
the talk of London, and eventually the site of an Eng- 
lish .colony. They were called indifferently the Somers 
and the Summer Isles. Either name was appropriate, 
but the brave Admiral, " a lamb upon land and a lion at 
sea," was entitled to have them named after him. 

Returning from Virginia in his cedar ship, in June of 
the same year, for supplies, he was taken ill, and " in 
that very place which we now call St. George's town, 
this noble knight died, whereof the place taketh the 
name." We are told that, " like a valiant captain," he 
exhorted his men to be true to duty and return to Vir- 
ginia, but they " as men amazed, seeing the death of 
him who was even as the life of them all, embalmed his 
body and set sail for England ; " and " this cedar ship 
at last, with his dead body, arrived at Whitchurch, in 
Dorsetshire, where, by his friends, he was honorably 
buried, with many volleys of shot and the rites of a 

So the good English soldier and admiral ended. 




While the castaways were idly dreaming, all these 
nine long months, under the blue skies of Bermuda, a 
fierce drama was in progress in Virginia. The old ad- 
versaries, except Newport, were face to face there once 
more, and a stormy struggle was taking place, — the old 
struiiirle of 1607-8 over asain. 

The seven ships which had been separated from the 
Sea-Venture in the storm managed to ride through, and 
reach the Chesapeake, though in a fearfully shattered 
condition. But they were safe at last in Hampton 
Roads, and made for Jamestown. As they were seen 
coming up the river they were taken for Spaniards, and 
the settlers ran to arms. Even some Indians who were 
at the town volunteered to fight the supposed Spaniards, 
which indicated the entente cordiale between them and 
the English now. The mistake was soon plain. The 
culverins in the fort were about to open on the ships, 
when they ran up the English flag. The vessels came 
to anchor, and a boat brought on shore Ratcliffe, Mar- 
tin, and a new confederate. Archer. 

Thus the bad old times were coming back. It was 
melancholy and exasperating. Of the return of these 
people to Virginia to resume authority there, it might 
be said that it could not and it would not come to good. 
Tt is not good for the wounded battle-horse, when the 
vultures have been scared off, to have them swoop back. 
These birds of ill-omen were now hovering again over 
Jamestown, or rather had alighted. One is tempted to 


thus characterize the ill crew who had the fate of the 
colony again in their hands. Thanks to the vivid old 
chronicles we know the men well. The writers who 
describe them are not generalizing historians, but paint- 
ers ; with their rude pen-strokes they draw portraits. 
We see the men themselves, their faces and gestures ; 
tlie very tones of the voices come up out of the mist 
which for nearly three centuries has wrapped the figures ; 
and the combatants matched against each other on the 
old arena are actual people, not mere ghosts. 

The men who fought for the mastery in Virginia, from 
1607 to 1609, were the hard workers and the sluijo^ards. 
Smith was at the head of the first ; Wingfield, Ratcliffe, 
and their associates at the head of the last. Of these, 
Wingfield was an imbecile, Newport a tale-bearer, Rat- 
clilfe a mjntineer, who even bore a false name ; and 
these had drawn into their counsels, by a sort of nat- 
ural selection. Archer an agitator, Martin a cat's-f)aw, 
and all that loose and floating element found in every 
society, which hangs on and waits, and instinctively 
takes the side which, promises to be the strongest. The 
antagonists had declared war from the very first ; had 
gone on wrangling with each other all through the years 
1 607 and 1 608, and the hard workers and fighters had 
crushed the sluggards. One by one they had been shot, 
or deposed, or banished. They had gone to England 
then, and effected by intrigue what they had failed to 
effect by force. Ratcliffe and Newport had taken their 
revenge for Smith's unceremonious treatment of them. 
They had gained the ear of the Company, laid the blame 
of the whole failure in Virginia on his shoulders, and 
the result was soon seen. Between the lobbyists in 
London, bowing low to the Right Honorables, and the 


brusque soldier in Virginia, writing them " rude an- 
swers" and rough, discourteous intimations that they 
were altogether absurd people, the choice was promptly 
made. The Company listened to the lobbyists, not to 
the fif^htino- man, with his unkempt manners. It was 
plain that all the mismanagement in Virginia was due 
to him ; the incompetent servant should be discharged, 
and the true men reinstated. 

This indication of the state of things in Virginia at 
the moment (August, IGOO) will explain what followed. 
Ratcliffe, coming on shore from the ships, claimed au- 
thority in the colony as the representative of the new 
rulers, who would soon arrive. The old government was 
done away with, he said ; Smith was no longer Presi- 
dent ; and he summoned all men to yield to his author- 
ity. If Smith's " old soldiers " had been left to decide, 
tlie decision of the question would doubtless have been 
prompt. Ratcliffe was extremely unpopular, and Smith 
extremely popular ; but there were the new-comers. 
These were Ratcliffe's people, and were about three hun- 
dred in number. There were amono; them " divers ffen- 
tlemen of good means and great parentage," but also 
" many unruly gallants, packed thither by their friends 
to escape ill destinies." These unruly gallants could be 
counted on with tolerable certainty to oppose a hard 
master like Smith. He was not to their fancy, and they 
promptly sided with Ratcliffe. 

Then all Jamestown was suddenly in commotion. 
Ratcliffe went about the town denouncing Smith as a 
usurper. His men followed him through the narrow 
streets in loud discussion ; drank deep at the " taverne ; " 
uttered threats and curses ; and their leader nursed the 
storm, and inflamed them more and more against the 


tyrant. Smith looked on and listened in huge weari- 
ness and disgust, — chaos had come again. Those 
" unruly gallants would dispose and determine of the 
government sometimes to one, sometimes to another : 
to-day the old commission must rule ; to-morrow the 
new ; the next day neither ; in fine, they would rule 
all or ruin all." The soldier grew bitter, and utter 
hopelessness took possession of him. He would have 
nothing further to do with affairs, but "leave all and 
return to England," — not before the arrival, however, 
of some duly empowered successor. The term of his 
presidency had not yet expired ; he was still the head 
of the colony, and he would hold to strict account those 
who disobeyed his orders. 

Smith was a man of few words, and could always be 
counted on to do what be said he would do. Ratcliffe 
continued his agitation, still inflaming the minds of his 
followers, when Smith suddenly arrested him with other 
leaders in the disturbance, and placed them in confine- 
ment to await trial. This at once suppressed the disor- 
der, and there was no further opposition to the soldier's 
will ; but he was weary of his position. He surren- 
dered it to Martin, who, it seems, had taken no part in 
the riot ; but to this the old settlers would not consent, 
and he was compelled to resume it. He was not to 
exercise authority long. The end was near, and to the 
very last the vivid contrast between utter incompetence 
and real ability was plain to all. An incident showed 
the inefiiciency of Martin. Smith sent him to Nanse- 
mond to form a branch settlement in that region ; but 
the Indians saw that he was " distracted with fear," and 
he fled to Jamestown, "leaving his company to their 



Meanwhile Smith had sailed up James River to in- 
spect the site of another subordinate colony about to be 
established near the present city of Richmond. Here 
the last soldierly incident of a soldierly career took 
place. He found that the site selected was on marshy 
ground and unsuitable : he therefore fixed on the old 
" place called Powhatan," ou a range of hills a little 
lower down — a situation so beautiful that he gave it 
the name of " Nonsuch." But the men who had prob- 
ably built huts on the marshy site rebelled. They were 
stronger than his own party, — probably friends of Rat- 
cliff e, — and attacked and drove him back to his boats. 
Then a curious sequel came. A force of Indians at- 
tacked them, and they fled to Smith for protection. 
He arrested the leaders, removed the colony to " Non- 
such," and then left them to their fortunes. Worn and 
weary with all this dissension and bitter blood, he sailed 
down the river again, bent on finally leaving Virginia. 

An incident hurried his departure. On his way down 
the James a bag of gunpowder exploded in his boat, 
"tearing the flesh from his body and thighs in a most 
pitiful manner." The pain so " tormented " him that 
he leaped overboard, and came near drowning. His 
men dragged him back, and in this state he reached 
Jamestown, where he was taken to a bed in the fort, 
" near bereft of his senses by reason of his torment." 

His position was now dangerous. He was entirely 
disabled, but his will was unbroken, and he continued, 
in the midst of the fierce pain, to issue his orders, " caus- 
ing all things to be prepared for peace or war." It was 
obvious that if he recovered he would surely bring Rat- 
cliffe and the rest to account for their misdeeds ; and 
an attempt was made to murder him in his bed. One 


of the malcontents came into the room and phiced the 
muzzle of a pistol on his breast, but his heart, it seems, 
failed him. When this became known, Smith's old 
soldiers gave way to fierce wrath. The}' offered to 
*' take their heads who would resist his command," but 
he refused to permit violence. He was going aw^ay 
from Virginia, and meant, if he could, to go in peace. 

A pathetic picture is drawn of his situation, and the 
sense of injustice rankling in his mind. He was lying 
on his bed suffering agonies, with no surgeon to care 
for his hurts. His past services were forgotten, and his 
enemies had triumphed over him. His commission as 
head of the colony was " to be suppressed he knew not 
why, himself and soldiers to be rewarded he knew not 
how, and a new commission granted they knew not to 
whom.^' It was plain that his day had passed, and that 
it was useless to struo^ofle further. His severe wounds 
required treatment, and there was no one in the colony 
who was competent. To end all, he would go away, 
carrying with him no more than he had brought, — his 
stout heart and s^ood sword. 

An opportunity to return to England presented itself. 
The ships were about to sail, and Smith was carried on 
board, still persisting in liis refusal to resign his author- 
ity to the Ratcliffe party. In this dilemma a compro- 
mise was resorted to. George Percy, who had also meant 
to return to England for his health, consented to remain 
and act as President. Smith was hopeless of the ability 
of this sick gentleman to control the factions, but he 
no longer made any opposition. " Witliin an hour was 
this mutation begun and concluded," says the chronicle; 
and then the ships set sail, and Smith took his depar- 
ture, never again to return to Virginia. 



Smith thus disappeared from the stage of affairs in 
Virginia, but he had played a great part in the first 
scenes of American history, and his character and sub- 
sequent career deserve some notice. 

He returned to London at thirty, and died there at 
fifty-two ; but these twenty last years, like his early life, 
were marked by restless movement or continuous toil. 
He had left Virginia poor, and profited nothing from 
all his toils and sufferings in the New World. He said 
with noble pride that he " had broke the ice and beat the 
path, but had not one foot of ground there, nor the very 
house he builded, nor the ground he digged with his 
own hands." It does not appear, however, that he had 
ever expected to profit by the Virginia enterprise. It 
had given him a field for the exercise of his energies, and 
findino; that his services were no lono-er welcome there 
he turned with all his old ardor to the life of a voyager 
and writer. The nature of the man was unresting, and 
craved action. The colonization of America was still 
his dream, and in the year 1614 he made a voyage to 
New England, where he gave the names of Boston, etc., 
to points on the coast, and made a partial exploration 
of the country. The result of this voyage was a great 
popular interest in New England, which is said to have 
led to its settlement by the Paritan Pilgrims. In the 
following year he set out on a second voyage, but was 
arrested by one of those incidents which abounded in 
his checkered career. Pie was attacked off the island of 


Flores by a French squadron, his vessel was captured, 
and he was taken as a prisoner to Rochelle, whence he 
escaped to England. Here he met with a warm wel- 
come. On board the French ship he had passed his 
time in writing his " Description of New England," and 
James I. now conferred on him the title of " Admiral " 
Df that country. 

Little more is known of him. He seems to have 
spent his last years in London, industriously engaged 
on his histories; is said to have married, and died in 
London in the year 163L He was buried under the 
chancel of St. Sepulchre's church, and on the slab 
above his tomb was carved his shield with three Turks' 
heads, conferred on him by Sigismund, and a poetical 
inscription, beginning, " Here lies one conquered, that 
hath conquered kings," and ending with the prayer that 
" with angels he might have his recompense." 

So snapped the chords of a stout heart, and a remark- 
able life ended. The character of the man must have 
appeared from his career. He was brave as his sword, 
full of energy, impatient of opposition, and had all the ' 
faults and virtues of the dominant class to which he be- 
longed. His endurance was unshrinking, and his life 
in Virginia indicated plainly that he had enormous re- 
coil. Pressure brought out his strength, and showed 
the force of his organization. He was probably never 
really cast down, and seems to have kept his heart of 
hope, without an effort, in the darkest hours, when all 
around him despaired. He is said to have been cordial 
and winnmg in his manners, and even his critics de- 
clared that he had " a prince's heart in a beggar's 
purse ; " it is equally certain that he was impatient of 
temper, had large self-esteem, and was fond of applause. 


But his aims were high, and his career shows that he re- 
garded duty as his watchword. He detested idleness, 
and was convinced that the only way to do a thing is to do 
it ; not to determine to do it at some future time if con- 
venience permits. The result was utter impatience with 
sloth in every form, and he treated the sluggards with 
little ceremony. He scoffed at them as " tuftafFty hu- 
morists," and when they would not work he compelled 
them to do so by sheer force of will, setting them the 
example himself. When there was no more work for 
him to do in Virginia he went elsewhere, knowing that 
everywhere something was to be done. 

This is the picture of a vigorous personality, and such 
was Smith. He was positive in all things, and loved 
and hated with all his energy. Those who knew him 
were either his warm friends or his bitter enemies. 
I What his " old soldiers " thought of him may be seen 
' in the verses attached to the " General History." These 
testify to his greatness as a leader and the perfect 
truth of his statements. One writer hails him as his 
"dear noble captain and loyal heart;" another as 
" wonder of nature, mirror of our clime ; " another as 
a soldier of " valorous policy and judgment ; " and a 
third exclaims, " I never knew a warrior but thee, 
from wine, tobacco, debts, dice, oaths, so free." What 
his enemies, on the contrary, thought of the soldier is 
equally plain. He was a tyrant and a conspirator, bent 
on becoming " King of Virginia ; " and failing to crush 
him, they returned to England and vilified him. Am- 
ple evidence remains that he enjoyed the friendship of 
eminent contemporaries, among them of Sir Robert Cot- 
ton, John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, the Earl of Pem- 
broke, Purchas, the historian, and others. But the 


men whom he had disgraced spared no effort to blacken 
his name. He was a boaster and pretender ; his fame 
rested on his own statements ; and modern critics have 
echoed these attacks. One of these describes his writ- 
ings as " full of the exaggerations and self-assertions 
of an adventurer," and the man himself as " a Gascon 
and a beggar." 

He was not the author of the " General History," on 
which his fame rests. This was merely a compilation 
made at the request of the London Company — a fact 
stated in the work. It consisted of narratives written 
by about thirty persons connected with the events, 
many of which had already been published, and Smith 
only contributed the description of Virginia and the 
account of his rescue by Pocahontas, when no other 
Englishman was present. This is the main point of 
attack. The incident is declared to be a mere invention, 
since nothing is said of it in Smith's first work, the 
" True Relation." The reply is that this pamphlet is 
not known with absolute certainty to have been written 
by Smith, since some copies purport to be by " Thomas 
Walton," and others by "a gentleman of said colony.' 
He probably wrote it, but in either case a part of the 
original manuscript was omitted. The statement of the 
London editor is : " Something more was by him written 
which being as I thought (fit to be private) I would not 
adventure to make it public." There is little doubt 
that the omitted portions referred to Smith's adven- 
tures on the Chickahominy and York, and that the 
editor struck them out in order not to discouraore colo- 
uization, The first necessity was to attract settlers, 
and these pictures of imminent peril were not calculated 
to effect that object. 


This is, however, purely conjecture ; other proofs of 
the truth of the incident seem unassailable. Soon after 
Smith's return, Pocahontas, a girl of thirteen, made her 
appearance at Jamestown bringing food, and she contin- 
ued from that time onward to do all in her power to as- 
sist the colonists. When some Indians were arrested by 
Smith, Powhatan sent Pocahontas to intercede for them, 
and they were released at once " for her sake only." It 
is necessary to account for these incidents, especially for 
the interest felt by Pocahontas in the enemies of her 
people. It can only be accounted for on the ground 
that she took a deep interest in Smith. His own affec- 
tionate attachment for her is fully established. When 
she visited London, he wrote to the Queen, recommend- 
ing her to the royal favor, on the ground that she 
had saved his life and the life of the colony also. He 
declared that she had " hazarded the beating out of her 
brains to save his ; " and if the statement was untrue, 
Pocahontas, a pious and truthful person, countenanced 
a falsehood. On other occasions Smith referred to the 
incidents of his life in Virginia as occurrences to which 
Captain George Percy, and "other noble gentlemen and 
resolute spirits now living in England," could testify. In 
his " New England Trials," he wrote, " God made Poca- 
hontas, the King's daughter, the means to deliver me ; " 
and the " General History " contained only the fuller 
account of an event which had thus been repeatedl}^ re- 
ferred to. The only intelligible objection to the truth of 
the incident rests on the theory that Smith was a wander- 
ing adventurer, and invented it to attract attention to him- 
self as the hero of a romantic event. The reply is that 
he was not, in an}^ sense, a wandering adventurer, since 
he enjoyed the favor of the heir-apparent, afterwards 


Charles I., and bad been commissioned by James I. 
Admiral of New England. 

Other objections to the truth of the narrative con- 
tributed by Smith to the " General History " refer to 
points of the least possible importance — the amount of 
food and the number of guides supplied him by the In- 
dians. It is not necessary to notice them. It may be 
said that the Pocahontas incident rests upon the highest 
moral evidence, and that the assailants of the " General 
History " have in no degree discredited it. It remains 
the original authority for the first years of American 
history, and Smith's character has not suffered, except 
in the estimation of a few critics, who seem to feel a 
personal enmity toward him. 

His writings will be spoken of elsewhere. They 
bear the impress of the voyager and soldier, and, it 
may be added, of an earnest Christian man. It is diffi- 
cult to find more serious and noble writing than some 
passages in his books. The rude sentences rise to the 
height of eloquence, and he exhorts his contemporaries 
to noble achievements in noble words. 

" Seeing we are not born for ourselves, but each to 
help other," he says, " and our abilities are much alike at 
the hour of our birth and the minute of our death ; seeing 
our good deeds or our bad, by faith in Christ's merits, 
is all we have to carry our souls to heaven or to hell ; 
seeing honor is our lives' ambition, and our ambition 
after death to have an honorable memory of our life ; 
and seeing by no means we would be abated of the dig- 
nities and glories of our predecessors, let us imitate their 
virtues to be worthily their successors." 

Such writing is irreconcilable with the theory that 
Smith was merely a rough fighting man. The noble 


maxim, " We are not born for ourselves, but each to 
help other," might have done honor to the most pious 
of the English bishops. What the soldier insists upon 
is the duty of love and charity — that men should not 
look to themselves and their own profit, but to the good 
of their neighbors. Faith in Christ, he says, is the main 
thing, and the next is to leave an honorable memory 
behind us. He elaborates his thought, and urges a life 
of noble action as the only life worth living. 

" Who would live at home idly," he exclaims, " or 
think in himself any wortli to live only to eat, drink, 
and sleep, and so die ; or by consuming that carelessly 
his friends got worthily ; or by using that miserably 
that maintained virtue honestly ; or for being descended 
nobly, and pine, with the vain vaunt of great kindred, in 
penury ; or to maintain a silly show of bravery, toil 
out thy heart, soul, and time basely by shifts, tricks, 
cards, and dice ; . . . offend the laws, surfeit with excess, 
burthen thy country, abuse thyself, despair in want, . . . 
though thou seest what honors and rewards the world 
yet hath for them that will seek them and worthily de- 
serve them." 

And elsewhere we come upon this earnest passage, 
which appeals directly to the men of our own time — 
to Americans fretting under the cares and poverty of 
the older settlements, and to men of every nationality 
flocking to the shores of the Continent to establish new 
homes for themselves and their families : — 

" Who can desire more content that hath small means j 
or hut only his merits to advance his fortunes^ than to 
tread and plant that ground he hath purchased by the 
hazard of his life? If he have but the taste of virtue 
and magnanimity, what to such a mind can be more 


pleasant than plantiiig and huilding a foundation for 
his 'posterity^ got from the rude earth by God's Messing 
and his own industry, without prejudice to any ? " 

This is the spirit of the American of to-day, — the 
pioneer who goes West to build a new home for his 
family in the wilderness. Smith tells his contemjDO- 
raries that the rude earth shall not daunt the man with 
that spirit in him. 'By God's blessing and his own in- 
dustry, without prejudice to any, a home for wife and 
little ones shall rise in the new land ; new societies will 
be founded, new States built up in the wilds ; and his 
words are almost a prophecy of the future United States. 
" What so truly suits with honor and honesty as the dis- 
covering things unknown," he says, " erecting toivnSy 
peoplijig countries, informing the ignorant, reforming 
things unjust, teaching virtue and gain to our native 
mother country ... so far from wronging any as to 
cause posterity to remember thee, and, remembering 
thee, ever honor that remembrance with praise." 

Thus, in the voice of the soldier-voyager of the seven- 
teenth century, speaks the man of the last half of the 
nineteenth. The new life awaits them ; they have only 
to set out with good heart to find it. They are jjoor 
and humble ; they will be rich and powerful. They are 
wasting with ignoble cares; they will prosper and be 
happy. It is the dream of the modern world, and al- 
ready filled the mind of this man of the age of Eliza- 
beth. He adds a last exhortation. What could " a man 
with faith in relio^ion do more aoreeable to God than 
to seek to convert these poor savages to Christ and hu- 
manity " ? 

It is impossible that this phrase, " Christ and human- 
ity " could have been written by a charlatan. And if 


we doubt the real character of this man, who is repre- 
sented as "a Gascon and a beggar," the full-length 
portrait drawn of him by one of his associates ought to 
set the doubt at rest. "Thus we lost him," says the 
chronicle, " that in all our proceedings made justice 
his first guide, and experience his second ; ever hating 
baseness, sloth, pride, and indignity more than any 
dangers : that never allowed more for himself than his 
soldiers with him ; that upon no danger would send 
them where he would not lead them himself ; that 
would never see us want what he either had or could 
by any means get us ; that would rather want than 
borrow, or starve than not pay ; that loved action more 
than words, and hated falsehood and covetousness worse 
than death ; whose adventures were our lives and whose 
loss our deaths." 



When Smith sailed away from Virginia, in the month 
of September, 1609, Jamestown was a straggling as- 
semblage of fifty or sixty houses. They were built 
of wood, some of them two stories in height, with 
roofs of boards, or mats, or reed thatch. There was a 
church and a store-house — the whole inclosed by a 
palisade of strong logs, fifteen feet in height. At the 
neck of the peninsula was a fort, with cannon mounted 
on platforms ; in rear the forest, where dusky shadows 
fiitted to and fro ; and in front the broad river flowing 
to the sea, toward which the straining eyes had so often 
been directed in search of the white sails coming from 
the home land. 


There were two hundred fighting men trained in In- 
dian warfare, and, in all, nearly five hundred men, 
women, and children in the settlement. There seemed 
to be no reason why they should feel apprehension. 
They had a sufficiency of provisions if they were only 
used judiciously ; five or six hundred hogs, horses, 
sheep, and goats ; fishing nets and working tools, three 
ships, seven boats, twenty cannon, three hundred mus- 
kets, swords, and pikes, and a full supply of ammuni- 
tion. It really seemed that the Virginia colony had 
taken root at last ; and we may fancy the men, women, 
and children of the little society going to and fro, in 
and out of the palisade, busy at their occupations or 
assembling at their devotions, talking of England, no 
doubt, and regretting the dear home over the sea, but 
thankful that their lot is cast in this beautiful land of 

Only one thing was wanting in the bright fall days 
at Jamestown, but that want was serious, — it was a 
head. There had been up to this time a very strong 
head in the colony to direct affairs, a man of real 
brains, who loved action more than words, and hated 
sloth worse than death. He had disappeared now, and 
there was no one to take his place. The old hatreds of 
the factions still smouldered, and the new President 
could not control them. Percy was a man of approved 
courage and character, but he was not a man of energy, 
and his health was feeble. Smith's sure eyes had fore- 
cast the future when he objected to surrendering his 
authority to him. The motley crew, ready to break 
out at any moment, required a strong hand to control 
them ; and the hand holding the reins was that of an 
amiable invalid, who asked nothing better than to be 
permitted to return to England, 


Percy found the work before him too much for his 
streno-th. The colony of Jamestown had become a little 
kino-dom, with outlying dependencies, at the Falls of 
James River, Old Point Comfort, and elsewhere. These 
all looked to the central authority for supplies of pro- 
visions and protection against the Indians ; and the 
central authority was in the hands of one without the 
health to exercise it. Events hastened ; the prospect 
before the colony began to grow gloomy. The disso- 
lution of societies is rapid when it once begins. Like 
the pace of runaway horses it soon grows headlong, 
and the crash comes. The Indians saw their opportu- 
nity, and " no sooner understood Smith was gone, but 
they all revolted, and did spoil and murther all they en- 
countered." Martin's men, at Nansemond, and West's, 
at the Falls, were attacked, and retreated to Jamestown ; 
and Ratcliffe's career ended in sudden tragedy. He 
went to visit Powhatan, on the York, with thirty com- 
panions, and used no precautions. Smith had escaped, 
Ilatcliffe perished. He was killed with his whole party, 
except one man and a boy, who were saved by Pocahon- 
tas. So the long intrigues of this old disturber of the 
peace came to an end. He had been an agitator from 
first to last ; an impostor down to his name, for his real 
name was Sicklemore ; and Raphe Hamor wrote his epi- 
taph in a few pithy words. He was "not worth re- 
membering, but to his dishonor." 

Having begun thus auspiciously, Powhatan resolved 
to continue the war in earnest. He had remonstrated 
pathetically with the " rash youth " Smith for troubling 
his old age, but the rash youth was gone now, and af- 
fairs had suddenly changed their aspect. " We all found 
the loss of Cai)tain Smith," says one of the contempo- 


rary writers ; " yea, his greatest maligners could now 
curse his loss ; " and Beverley, the old historian, says, 
" as soon as he left them to themselves all went to 
ruin." It was plain that the Indians fully realized the 
state of things at Jamestown, for a bitter hostility sud- 
denly took the place of their old friendship. 

As the days passed on, the disorder increased, and 
the dissolution became more rapid. Percy was now 
" so sick that he could neither go nor stand ; " Ratcliffe 
was a corpse on the bank of York River ; and West, 
in despair, sailed for England. Then, with every pass- 
ing hour, the prospect grew darker. There was no au- 
thority anywhere, though " twenty Presidents " claimed 
it. Thirty men ran off with one of the vessels, and be- 
came buccaneers. Utter hopelessness took possession 
of those left behind. Every day death was in some 
house, and when the owner was buried the house was 
torn down for firewood. Even the palisades were 
burned, and the open gates swung to and fro in the 
winter wind. Men, women, and children were starv- 
ing, and had lost all fear of Indian assaults. The sup- 
plies were exhausted ; " hogs, hens, goats, sheep, or 
what lived, alL-was devoured." When parties went 
to the savages, piteously beseeching succor, they re- 
ceived " mortal wounds with clubs and arrows." They 
were forced to subsist on roots and acorns, and the 
skins of horses. At last they became cannibals. An 
Indian was killed and buried, but '• the poorer sort took 
him up again and ate him, and so did divers one an- 
other, boiled and stewed with roots and herbs." The 
*' common kettel," in these days, was a fearful cauldron ; 
the fumes of boiling human flesh ascended from it. All 
ties were sundered by the sharp edge of mortal famine. 


A man killed his wife, and had eaten part of the body 
before he was discovered. He was burned to death for 
his horrible deed, but that did not help matters much. 
Dire famine was stronger than the fear of death. The 
colony was tottering on the very verge of destruction. 
" This was that time," the chronicle says, " which, still 
to this day, we call the Starving Time." 

The horrors of this terrible period are summed up in 
a simple statement. Nearly jive hundred persons had 
been left in the colony in September, and six months 
afterwards " there remained not past sixty men, women^ 
and children, most miserable arid poor creatures^ Of 
the whole number, five hundred, more than four hundred 
had perished, — dead of starvation, or slain by the In- 
dian hatchet. 

In the last days of May (1610), this is what might have 
been seen at Jamestown : a group of men, women, and 
children huddled together behind the dismantled pali- 
sade, the faces pale, the forms emaciated, the thin lips 
uttering moans or stifled cries for food. The end was 
uear ; " this, in ten days more, would have supplanted 
us with death." But help was coming. The last agony 
was uear, when sails were seen approaching, and doubt- 
less a shrill, wild cry of joy and amazement rose from 
the throng, and mothers caught their children close to 
their bosoms, and sobbed over them, thanking God for 
mercy and succor. 

The ships were the Patience and Deliverance from 
Bermuda. The good Admiral Somers and Sir Thomas 
Gates had come in their " cedai- ship " to bring help to 
these poor people, shipwrecked in the wilderness, as they 
had been shipwrecked on the " Isles of Devils." They 
had arrived just in time : in a few days the Virginia 


colony would have perished of famine ; but " God, that 
would not this country should be unplanted," sent them 
deliverance in the shape of the Deliverance ship. 

Gates and Somers cast anchor, and at once went 
on shore. The shipwrecked looked at the shipwrecked. 
Jamestown was a scene of desolation. The torn-down 
palisades, the gates creaking on rusty hinges, the dis- 
mantled houses, the emaciated faces, the hungry eyes 
and babbling voices, scarce able to articulate the prayer 
to be taken home to die, — these were the piteous sights 
and sounds which greeted Sir Thomas Gates and the 
Admiral, as they landed from their cedar ship and looked 
and listened, in the midst of the dreary throng gather- 
ing around them on the shore. All was over for the 
Virginia colony, it seemed. Even the stout souls who 
had braved the storm in the Sea- Venture witliout los- 
ing hope lost it now. Heavy-hearted and despairing 
at finding famine where they had expected abundance, 
Gates and Somers, who had provisions for only fourteen 
days, resolved to sail for England by way of the New- 
foundland fishing settlements, and take the wretched 
remnant of the colony with them. The cannon and 
other arms were buried at the gate of the fort, and on 
the 7th of June the drums rolled, giving the signal to 
embark. At the signal the disorderly crowd hastened 
towards the ships. It was only with great difficulty 
that they were prevented from destroying the last traces 
of the settlement. The place was about to be set fire 
to, but " God, who did not intend that this excellent 
country should be abandoned," says the old historian 
Stith, " put it into the heart of Sir T. Gates to save it." 
Gates remained on shore with a party of men to pre- 
serve order, and was the last man to step into the boat. 


Then a volley was fired, the sails were spread, and the 
Patience and Deliverance, with two other ships con- 
taining the colonists, sailed aw^ay toward England. 

Such had been the result of the long, hard struggle 
to found an English colony in the New World. Hun- 
dreds of thousands of pounds had been expended and 
hundreds of lives lost in the effort, and now, after three 
long years of trial, a little band of starving men, wo- 
men, and children were sailing homeward, leaving be- 
hind them at Jamestown only a few dismantled cabins to 
show that the place had been once inhabited. Virginia 
had been abandoned ; but a joyful surprise was near. 
On the next morning the little fleet of four small vessels 
was about to continue its way from Mulberry Island, 
in James Kiver, where it had anchored for the night, 
when a row-boat w^as seen coming up the river toward 
them. It brought them joyful intelligence. Lord Dela- 
ware had arrived with three vessels from p]ngland ; had 
heard at the lower settlement that the colony was about 
to be deserted ; and had sent his long-boat with dis- 
patches directing Gates and Somers to return to James- 
town, where he w^ould soon join them. 

Such was the curiously dramatic event w^hich pre- 
vented the New World from being abandoned in 1610 
by the English. If a writer of fiction had invented the 
incident it would have been criticised as the most im- 
probable of fancies. The fleet under Delaware arrived 
in the waters of Virginia at the very moment when the 
fleet under Gates and Somers was about to disappear ; 
and an old writer, relating these events, bursts forth 
into exclamations of thanks and praise for " the Lord's 
infinite goodness." Never had poor people more cause 
to cast themselves at his *' very footstool." They were 


saved by a direct interposition of liis providence. " If 
they had set sail sooner and launched into the vast 
oceanj who would have promised that they should en- 
counter the fleet of the Lord La Warre ? If the Lord 
La Warre had not brought with him a year's provisions, 
what comfort would these poor souls have received to 
have been re-landed to a second destruction ? This was 
the arm of the Lord of Hosts, who would have his 
people pass the Red Sea and Wilderness, and then to 
possess the land of Canaan." 

On the next morning, which was Sunday (June 10, 
1610), Lord Delaware landed at the south gate of the 
fort, where Gates had drawn up his men to receive him. 
As soon as the new Governor touched the shore he 
knelt down, and remained for some moments in prayer. 
He then rose and went to the church, where service 
was held and a sermon preached ; after which he deliv- 
ered an address, encouraging the colonists. 

Events had followed each other like scenes on the 
stage of a theatre. The curtain had slowly descended 
on the desolate picture of the abandoned colony, and 
now it again rose on a busy and bustling scene, — on the 
shore thronged with hundreds of persons, the devout 
worshipers kneeling in the church, and Lord Delaware 
announcing to the assembled people that all was well. 
In the space of three days the Virginia colony had per- 
ished and come to life again. 




Virginia under Lord Delaware was a very different 
place from Virginia under the " rule or ruin " people, 
Ratcliffe, and the rest. All the turmoil had suddenly 
disappeared. Jamestown was a scene of tranquillity, 
and a well-ordered society had succeeded the social 
chaos. A stable government had all at once taken the 
place of that wretched mockery of an executive — the 
old wrangling council. Lord Delaware, Governor and 
Captain - General of Virginia, ruled now, and he had 
power to make his authority respected. This power 
was practically unhampered. He was to obey the in- 
structions of the Company, if they chose to send him 
any ; but if none were sent he was to govern at his 
discretion, under the charter. In any time of emer- 
gency he was not to await orders from England. He 
was to strike, and strike quickly ; to declare martial 
law, and put down wrong-doers with the sword or the 
hal ter. 

It was a wholesome state of things for a community 
lately a prey to the "unruly gallants," shouting and 
wrangling in the streets, drinking at the tavern, and 
making the days and nights hideous with their wild 
uproar. A single glance showed the gallants that the 
new ruler was their master. Lord Delaware kept the 
state of a viceroy. He had his Privy Council: his 
Lieutenant-General, Sir Thomas Gates ; his Admiral, 
Sir George Somers ; his Vice-Admiral, Captain New- 
port ; and his Master of the Horse, Sir Ferdinand Wy- 


man. It was an imposing simulacrum of royalty, a lit- 
tle court in the wilderness. Some of the old soldiers of 
Smith, no doubt resenting the wrong done him, looked 
sidewise at the fine pageant. " This tender state of 
Virginia," one of them growled, " was not grown to 
that maturity to maintain such state and pleasures as 
was fit for a personage with such brave and great at- 
tendance. To have more to wait and play than worh^ or 
more commanders and oncers than industrious lahorers^ 
was not so necessary. For in Virginia," adds the grim 
critic, " a plain soldier that can use a pickaxe and spade 
is better than five knights that could break a lance." 
It was the old protest of Smith, who said " nothing 
was to be expected from Virginia but by labor." Give 
us working-men, not drones — laboring people in good 
fustian jackets, rather than fine gentlemen in silk and 
lace ! 

So the old settlers growled at my Lord Delaware, that 
" man of approved courage, temper, and experience, 
distinguished for his virtues and his generous devotion 
to the welfare of the colony." He was wiser than the 
critics. This splendor of which they complained had 
its advantages — it made his authority respected. The 
unruly gallants had due notice, and Delaware was never 
forced to proclaim martial law. He imposed and regu- 
lated. The colonists were ordered to go to work, and 
they went. The hours of labor were fixed, and were 
from six to ten in the morning, and from two to four 
in the afternoon. At ten and four the bells rang, when 
labor ceased, and the settlers attended religious ser- 
vices in the church. Thus all in the Virginia colony 
was well ordered at last. 

The scenes at this old Jamestown church are painted 


for us in the chronicles. It was a building sixty feet 
lono- and twenty-four feet wide, which had narrowly 
escaped burning when the colony was abandoned. Lord 
Delaware at once repaired it, and would have it deco- 
rated with flowers. The pews and chancel were of ce- 
dar, the communion table of black walnut. There was 
a baptismal font and a lofty pulpit; and at the west end 
were huns two bells. This was the first church edifice 
worthy of the name erected in America. All about it 
was plain and decorous, unless exception be taken to 
the presence of the flowers. The old Virginians did 
not object to them. They certainly were not papists, 
and had no intention of ever becoming such, but God 
had made the spring blooms, they were among the 
most beautiful of his creations, and it was fit that they 
should deck his temple. So, at least, there is a prec- 
edent for the poor flowers which to-day arouse so much 

Worthy Lord Delaware set the example of respect 
for religion by regularly attending the church services. 
He went in full dress at the ringing of the bells, at- 
tended by the Lieutenant-General, the Admiral, Vice- 
Admiral, Master of the Horse, and the rest of his 
Council, with a guard of fifty halberd-bearers in red 
cloaks marching behind him. He sat in the choir in a 
green velvet chair, and had a velvet cushion to kneel 
upon. The Council were ranged in state on his right 
and left ; and when the services were over, the Gov- 
ernor, his dignitaries, and hal"berd-bearers all returned 
with the same ceremony to their quarters. It was a 
very great contrast indeed to the rude old times, when 
the colonists worshiped under " a rotten sail ; " when 
the services were in danger of interruption by a burst 


of war-whoops; and when the thunder of Smith's can- 
non, summoning the mutineers to " stay or sink," had 
taken the place of the Sabbath bells. 

Lord Delaware did not remain long in Virginia. His 
health became so bad that he was compelled to return, 
but during his sojourn in the colony he proved himself 
an energetic ruler. He built forts Henry and Charles 
on Southampton River ; sent Percy to punish some 
depredations of the Paspahegh tribe above Jamestown ; 
procured full supplies of corn from the Potomac Indians ; 
and dispatched Sir George Somers to the Bermudas 
for more food — a voyage from which, as we have seen, 
the good Admiral never returned. He commanded in 
person in an engagement with the Indians at the present 
site of Richmond, and left no doubt in any mind of his 
capacity as a soldier and ruler. But his strength gave 
way. He was seized with a violent ague, and (March, 
1611) sailed for England, on which voyage he is said 
to have been driven northward, and named the harbor 
in which he took refuge Delaware Bay. Seven years 
afterwards he set out again for Virginia, but died on 
the voyage. 

Delaware remains one of the most popular of the 
early Virginia Governors. Between summer and spring 
he established the colony on a firm basis. He ruled 
the unruly without resorting to harshness, added to the 
pi blic defenses, inculcated respect for religion, and dur- 
ing his short stay in the country all things prospered. 
His sudden death on the voyage back to Virginia was 
sincerely lamented, and he is remembered still as one 
of the most gallant and picturesque personages of the 
early Virginia history. Memory takes hold of figures 
rather than generalities. The public services of " the 


Lord La Warre " are unknown or forgotten, but what 
is still remembered is the aifecting scene when he landed 
at the deserted town, and fell on his knees, thanking 
God that he had come in time to save Virginia. 


dale's " CITY OF HENRICUS." 

In these first years of Virginia history, the stalwart 
figures rapidly succeed each other. Lord Delaware 
went away in March, and in May (1611) came Sir 
Thomas Dale, " High Marshal of Virginia." 

He had a hard task before him. George Percy had 
been acting in place of Sir Thomas Gates, who had 
gone to England, and the idlers had taken advantage of 
his amiable temper to neglect work. In place of plant- 
ing corn, they resorted to the more agreeable occupation 
of playing bowls in the grass-grown streets of James- 
town ; at which employment the High Marshal found 
them, on his arrival. The drones saw that they had a 
master. Sir Thomas Dale was a soldier who had seen 
hard service in Flanders, "a man of good conscience 
and knowledge in divinity," but a born ruler and un- 
shrinking disciplinarian. The " unrnly " class soon felt 
his iron hand, upon which there was no velvet glove 
whatever. He had brought with him one of the worst 
" supplies " that ever came to Virginia, but he had also 
brought a '' Code of Martial Law," and made prompt 
use of it. A conspiracy was entered into by a num- 
ber of the malcontents, but Dale promptly arrested the 
leaders, and crushed it by inflicting upon them the death 
penalty, in a manner " cruel, unusual, and barbarous." 


This is the guarded phrase of the chronicle, which 
only adds that the mode of punishment was one at the 
time customary " in France." But many years after- 
wards the mystery was cleared up. In 1624, a num- 
ber of the Bursjesses sio-ned a " declaration " of what 
they had witnessed at Jamestown. One offender " had 
a bodkin thrust throuijh his tonmie and was chained 
to a tree till he perished," and others were put to death 
" by hanging, shooting, hreahing on the wheel, and the 
like." The stran<j;e fact is thus established that this 
horrible punishment, inflicted by the Kings of France 
for political conspiracy, was inflicted by Sir Thomas 
Dale also for the same offense on the soil of Viro^inia. 
But the death penalty, in some form, seems to have 
been a necessity, and Dale was apparently obliged to 
be merciless. " If his laws had not been so strictly 
executed," says one of the fairest of the contemporary 
writers, '' I see not how tlie utter subversion of the 
colony should have been prevented." The man of good 
conscience and great knowledge of divinity did not 
hesitate. He had to deal with desperate characters, 
and thrust bodkins through their tongues, broke them 
on the wheel, and there was no more trouble. 

In the summer occurred an incident which clearly 
indicates the ever-present dread of the Spanish power. 
The settlements in Florida were a standing menace to 
the English, and the foes were ever watching each other, 
and expecting an attack. At any moment the Spanish 
hawks might swoop on the Jamestown dove-cote ; and 
one day in the bright summer season, a fleet was seen 
in the distance slowly coming up the river. Suddenly 
all was in commotion. The ships were apparently Span- 
iards, and Dale hastened to man " the two good ships, 


the Star and the Prosperous, and our own Deliverance, 
then riding before Jamestown," with plain intent to go 
out and fight. The heart of the Marshal was evidently 
in the business, and he " animated " his men with a 
brave speech; lie meant to attack the new comers, lie 
said : if they were too strong for him he would grapple 
with them, and both would sink together ; " if God had 
ordained to set a period to their lives, they could never 
be sacrificed in a more acceptable service." It was the 
spirit of Grenville in his famous combat off the Azores, 
and of the old sea voyagers in general ; there were the 
hated Spaniards, and it was necessary to overcome them 
or die. Dale was no doubt in earnest when he said 
that he meant to do that, but a " small shallop with 
thirty good shot " was first sent to reconnoitre. Soon 
the shallop came back quietly — the ships were Eng- 
lishmen, not Spaniards. Sir Thomas Gates, the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor, was returning with a supply of pro- 
visions and three hundred additional colonists ; and the 
Marshal fired a salute, doubtless, instead of opening upon 
them with his culverins. 

With the return of the Lieutenant-Governor, the 
Pligh Marshal found himself at liberty to carry out a 
favorite project — to establish a new city. His opinion 
of Virginia was enthusiastic. " Take four of the best 
kingdoms in Christendom, and put them all together," 
he wrote, " they may no way compare with this country, 
either for commodities or goodness of soil." Having 
resolved to found his city, he selected the plateau within 
Dutch Gap, nearly surrounded by James River, above 
the present City Point, the centre of a fertile and pic- 
turesque domain called Varina. In September he went 
thither with three hundred and fifty men, built a pali- 


sade across the narrow neck, and another without, from 
water to water, and in this strong position erected his 
'• City of Henricus." It had three streets, store-houses, 
a church, and reguhir watch-houses. Across the stream, 
on the south bank, a hirge inclosure, " twelve English 
miles of ground," was shut in also by stout palisades, 
and defended by forts Charity, Patience, and others. 
Hope-in-Faith, the name of a part of this tract, sug- 
gests a Puritan origin, and it is not improbable that a 
portion of Sh' Thomas's settlers were of that faith. He 
had his official residence in the town on the plateau, 
and Rock Hall, the parsonage of the good Alex-inder 
Whitaker, the " Apostle of Virginia," was in sight 
across the river. The name Henrico, or City of Henri- 
cus, was conferred upon the place in honor of Prince 
Henry, son of James I., of whom Dale wrote these noble 
words, on his sudden death : '• My glorious master is 
gone, that would have enameled with his favors the 
labors I undertake for God's cause and his immortal 
honor. He was the great captain of our Israel ; the 
hope to have builded up this heavenly New Jerusalem 
be interred, I think ; the whole frame of this business 
fell into his grave." 

Having founded the City of Henricus, the High Mar- 
shal proceeded to found another at Bermuda Hundreds, 
and the new communities were illustrations of society 
in its first stage of social-military organization. Each 
group of families had its " commander," in peace a magis- 
trate, and in war a captain. Excellent Mr. Whitaker 
looked after the morals of all. " Every Sabbath day," 
he writes to a friend in London, " we preach in the 
forenoon, and catechise in the afternoon. Every Satur- 
day, at night, I exercise in Sir Thomas Dale's house." 


The picture is a cheerful one. The Apostle of Virginia 
and the High Marshal are excellent good friends. For 
this " worthy and experienced soldier," who has lived 
so roniijh a life in Flanders, who has bored peoples' 
tongues, and inflicted cruel and barbarous death penal- 
ties, is not, after all, so great a monster. He enjoys 
converse with the mild clergyman, who calls him " our 
reliaious and valiant Governor," and draws the full 
portrait of the High Marshal in a sentence : " Sir 
Thomas Dale, with whom I am, is a man of great 
hnoivledge in divinity, and of a good conscience in all 
things, both which he rare in a marticd many This was 
said by one of the j^urest of men, who knew the Mar- 
shal well, and must be taken for his true likeness. 

So the City of Henricus was established and went on 
its way. After a while there was another attraction 
there. Pocahontas came to live in the vicinity. That 
worthy gentleman. Master John Rolfe, who had married 
the maiden, had a plantation near the place, and he and 
his little brunette wife went in and out with their In- 
dian connections. Pocahontas, we are told by the old 
historian Stith, who afterwards lived at Henricus, ''held 
friendly trade and commerce " with her father the Em- 
peror ; and thus Varina is full of figures, and is a 
charmed domain to the antiquary and romance lover. 
To-day the figures have all disappeared — apostles and 
marshals, soldiers and axe-men, women and children, and 
the mild face of the girl-wife, Pocahontas. The city is 
gone also, with its outlying dependencies, Coxendale, 
Hope-in-Faith, and its forts. Patience and Charity. The 
past has vanished, but here, nearly three centuries ago, 
the first Americans were laying the foundation of the 




After the departure of Smith from Virginia, Poca- 
hontas did not reappear at Jamestown — a fact which 
occasioned surprise, as she had made frequent visits and 
was known to take a warm interest in the Ensflish. It 
was now discovered that she had left Werowocomoco, 
either in consequence of some misunderstanding with 
Powhatan, or to visit her rehitives on the Potomac. 
Raphe Hamor, the contemporary historian, attributes 
her absence from the York River country to the hitter 
cause. " The Nonparella of Virginia in her princely 
progress," he says, *' took some pleasure to be among 
her friends of Potomac." Another account speaks of 
her as " being at Potomac, thinking herself unknown," 
which leaves the impression that she had taken refus^e 
there. But this is all conjecture. 

She was now (16l|) taken prisoner, and conducted to 
Jamestown by that roving adventurer, Captain Samuel 
Argall, who had brought Smith the intelligence of his 
deposition. Sent in a sloop to procure a supply of corn 
from the Potomac country, Argall was informed by a 
chief named Japazaws that Pocahontas was on a visit to 
him ; and the offer of a copper kettle induced him to 
betrav her into the rover's hands. She was brouffht on 
board the vessel, and taken weeping to Jamestown, — 
Argall's object being to hold her as a hostage for the 
good behavior of Powhatan. 

When the Emperor heard of her capture he was bitterly 
offended, and when the English sent him word that she 


would be released as soon as he restored some captured 
men and arms he took no notice of the message. Poca- 
hontas therefore remained at Jamestown in custody of 
the English until the spring of the next year (1613), 
when Sir Thomas Dale, the High Marshal, set out with 
one hundred and fifty men to visit Powhatan, taking 
her with him, to negotiate the proposed exchange. 
Sailing down the James, and then into York River, the 
Marshal reached Werowocomoco, but found the Em- 
peror absent. His reception was not encouraging. A 
swarm of Indians appeared on the bank and shouted 
defiance. Had the English come to fight ? they cried. 
If so, they were welcome, and might remember the fate 
of Ratcliffe. A flight of arrows followed, and one of 
the Englishmen was wounded ; whereupon Dale, who 
was a man of decision, pushed ashore, killed some of 
the party, burned their cabins, and then, reembarking, 
sailed up the York, looking for the Emperor. 

At Machot, an Indian village near the present West 
Point, several hundred savages were drawn up and 
awaited him. They defied him to come on shore, and 
he promptly did so ; but no fighting followed. A truce 
was agreed upon until Powhatan could be heard from, 
and " Master John Rolfe and Master Sparks " were 
sent with a message to .him. They penetrated to his 
retreat in the woods, but the Emperor refused to grant 
them a personal interview. Vague promises only were 
held out by Powhatan's representatives, and the two 
emissaries returned to Dale at Machot. 

A scene had meanwhile taken place there which 
induced Sir Thomas to change all his plans. He had 
fully resolved to carry fire and sword into the Indian 
realm ; in the comprehensive phrase of the chronicle, 


" to destroy and take away all their corn, burn all their 
houses on that river, leave not a fish-wear standing nor 
a canoe in any creek, and destroy and kill as many of 
them as he could." From this fell purpose he was now 
diverted, and the change in his plans is explained by 
the old writer, Master Raphe Hamor, who was present. 
The details of the scene are entertaining, and have es- 
caped the historians. They are found only in the work 
of Hamor, until recently nearly unknown.-^ 

Pocahontas had landed at Macho t, but would scarcely 
take any notice of her own people. She complained 
that " if her father had loved her he would not value 
her less than old swords, pieces, and axes ; wherefore 
she would still dwell with the Englishmen, who loved 
her." What this meant was soon seen. Two of her 
brothers hastened to meet her, — one of them the Nan- 
taquaus, whom Smith described as " the most manliest, 
comeliest, boldest spirit he ever saw in a savage," — and 
expressed the utmost delight at again seeing her. Poca- 
hontas replied by making them an unexpected confi- 
dence. She was going to marry one of the Englishmen 
— a Master John Rolfe ; and the affair was communi- 
cated to Sir Thomas Dale at the same moment. Rolfe had 
written a long letter to Sir Thomas, asking his " advice 
and furtherance," and this was now handed by Raphe 
Hamor to the Marshal. It produced a magical effect. 
Sir Thomas saw in the marriage the promise of peace 
and good-will between the two races, and abandoning 
his hostile designs returned to Jamestown, taking Poca- 
hontas back with him. 

This is the first mention of Rolfe in Yiroj'inia. He 

1 Tlie rare old Present Estate of Virr/inla till the ISth of June, 
1614, -was reprinted at Albany, in fac-simile, in the present century. 


was young ; "a gentleman of much commendation," ac- 
cording to Raphe Hamor ; " honest and discreet," ac- 
cording to Mr. Whitaker ; and " of good understanding," 
according to Sir Thomas Dale. He had been wrecked 
in the Sea- Venture, and was married at that time, as a 
dauo-hter was born to him on the islands, and named 
Bermuda. It is to be inferred that his wife died either 
there or in Virginia, as we now find the honest and dis- 
creet sjentleman paying his addresses to Pocahontas. 
She had impressed his fancy, it seems, soon after her ar- 
rival from the Potomac as a prisoner. '• Long before 
this time^'' the date of the York River raid, " a gentle- 
man of approved behavior and honest carriage. Master 
John Rolfe, had been in love with Pocahontas," and the 
historian adds, " and she with him." Thus for a whole 
year the affair had been in progress. The little Indian 
maid had come weeping to Jamestown, but had soon 
dried her tears ; and when she went to the York 
with the Marshal she had made up her mind to marry 

The only hesitation seems to have been on his part ; 
and his scruples, which were of a religious character, 
were set forth in full in the letter delivered by Hamor 
to Sir Thomas. It is a very curious production, and 
may be found in Hamor's work. Rolfe lays bare his 
whole heart — "the passions of his troubled soul." 
"What is he to do ? he asks Sir Thomas, that man of 
good conscience and great knowledge in divinity. The 
Scriptures forbade marrying " strange wives," and Po- 
cahontas belonged to " a generation accursed ; " but his 
love caused " a mighty war in his meditations," and the 
great question was whether it was not his solemn duty 
to marry and convert this "unbelieving creature, namely,^ 


What most touched and decided him was " her desire 
to be taught and instructed in the knowledge of God ; 
her caj)ableness of understanding ; her aptness and will- 
ingness to receive any good impression ; and also the 
sjjiritual besides her own incitements stirring me up 
hereunto." Doubtless the latter were the main incen- 
tives. Rolfe seems to have conceived a genuine passion 
for the Indian maid, now eighteen and in the early flower 
of womanhood ; and, no doubt, seeing what all this dis- 
course meant, Sir Thomas Dale at once advised that 
the marriage should take place. 

The ceremony was performed without delay, the Em- 
peror having given his consent. He would not come 
to Jamestown in person, but sent an uncle and two 
brothers of Pocahontas to attend in his place. The 
scene was the church at Jamestown, and the time the 
month of AjDril (1613). Sir Thomas Dale had assidu- 
ously labored to impress the truths of Christianity on 
the Indian maid, and she had renounced her " idolatry," 
and been baptized. The name of Eebecca was selected 
for her, no doubt in allusion to the Rebekah of Genesis, 
and the verse, " The Lord said unto her, two nations 
are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be 
separated from thy bowels." The "Apostle of Vir- 
ginia," the good Whitaker, seems to have performed 
the marriage ceremony, which was, no doubt, attended 
by the colonists from far and near. The scene must 
have been picturesque. The church was probably dec- 
orated with the first flowers, as Lord Delaware had 
brought that into fashion, and the bride's dusky rela- 
tives mingled with the adventurers. 

As Sir Thomas Dale had anticipated, the alliance 
brought the blessing of peace. The tribe of Chickahom- 


inies, the fiercest of all the Indians, sent an embassy to 
conclude a treaty by which they were to become Eng- 
lishmen and subjects of the English King, and this union 
of the two races was consummated in the midst of gen- 
eral rejoicing. John Rolfe and his bride " lived civilly 
and lovingly " together, we are informed, first at James- 
town, then at Rolfe's plantation, near the City of Hen- 
ricus. Yarina was possibly the birthplace of her child, 
" which she loved most dearly," says a contemporary 
writer ; and the latter spot continued to be her resi- 
dence until she left Virginia. The most cordial rela- 
tions continued to exist between herself and Powhatan. 
He would not visit her, having apparently made a vow 
not to put himself in the power of the English ; but he 
sent her messages and presents, which indicated his af- 
fection for her. This was also seen from an incident 
of the time, which affords a last glimpse of the eccentric 
old ruler in his sylvan court. 

Sir Thomas Dale sent an embassy to Powhatan with 
a singular proposal : to confer upon him the hand of a 
favorite daughter in marriage. The request was strange 
indeed, more especially on the part of one with a good 
conscience and a great knowledge in divinity, since the 
girl was less than twelve, and Sir Thomas had a Lady 
Dale in England. Raphe Hamor, the ambassador and 
a truthful gentleman, is, however, explicit. He was 
sent to Machot to inform the Emperor that his Brother 
Dale had heard " the bruit of the exquisite perfection 
of his youngest daughter, and would gladly make her 
his nearest companion, wife, and bedfellow.'' He meant 
to live for the rest of his life in Virginia, he said, and 
his object was to conclude with Powhatan a " perpetual 


It is impossible to regard the incident otherwise than 
as a ruse ; and it is a very curious commentary upon 
the men of that time. The message was delivered on 
the York to the Emperor, who solaced himself with a 
pipe, and listened in grave silence, but with manifest 
impatience. Then he briefly responded : he could not 
give Brother Dale his daughter ; she was " as dear as 
his own life to him, and he delighted in none so much 
as in her." Besides, he had sold her to a great werow- 
ance for two bushels of roanoke, and she had " already 
gone with him three days' journey." The ambassador 
urged Powhatan to annul the marriage, but he refused, 
and there the strange proposition ended. The Emperor 
asked particularly after Pocahontas and Rolfe, " his 
daughter and unknown son, and how they lived, loved, 
and liked." Informed that they were well, and that 
Pocahontas was so happy that she never wished to 
return to her own people, the philosophic old ruler 
" laughed heartily, and said he was very glad of it ; " 
and Master Raphe Hamor soon afterwards took his de- 

Powhatan's message to his Brother Dale was emi- 
nently reasonable, and full of wild-wood dignity. The 
English already had one of his daughters, he said ; 
when she died they should have another, " but she yet 
liveth." He wished to remain friends with the white 
people ; he was old, and would " gladly end his days 
in peace." If the English wronged him, his country 
was large, and he would remove to a distance from 
them. None of his own people should annoy them, or 
in any manner disturb them ; and he added the kingly 
assurance, " I, which have power to perform it, have 
said it." 


Such is the last scene in the old chronicles in which 
Powhatan appears as one of the dramatis personce of 
Virginia history. 



The narrative of the career of Pocahontas in Vir- 
ginia here ends ; but her last years and those of the 
Emperor, Powhatan, ought to be briefly noticed. These 
two figures, with a third, the figure of Smith, dominate 
the early annals. His after life has been spoken of ; 
let us say a few words also of the last days of the two 
persons with whom he was so closely associated. 

About three years after her marriage, Pocahontas 
accompanied her husband on a visit to England. She 
arrived in London early in the summer of 1616, and 
was received with great distinction at court. She was 
treated as " the^daughter of a king," and Stith, one of 
the oldest of the Virginia historians, says that it was a 
"constant tradition" in his time that "the King became 
jealous, and was highly offended at Mr. Rolfe for mar- 
rying a princess." The statement seems absurd, but 
according to the theory of the time the alliance was 
important. If Virginia descended to Pocahontas, as it 
might do at Powhatan's death, at her own death the 
kingdom would be "vested in Mr. Rolfe's posterity." 
The constant tradition is, therefore, not improbable. 
It exactly accords with the character of James I., and 
has the right to exist. It is certain that the arrival of 
Pocahontas caused a great sensation in London. She 
was the New World personified in the gracious form of 
a little beauty of twenty-one. It is true that she was a 


brown beauty, and her black hair was too straight for 
the English taste, but this was not noticed. She sud- 
denly became the fashion. The courtiers called on her, 
and went away with the declaration that they had seen 
a great many English ladies who were less attractive in 
face and manners. The curious eyes of the fine gentle- 
men and ladies of London noticed the fact that there 
was no trace of awkwardness or embarrassment in her 
demeanor. Lady Delaware presented her at court, 
where she was " graciously used " by the King and 
Queen. They invited her to be present at the masques, 
and the Bishop of London, who was delighted at the 
conversion of the young Indian princess to Christianity, 
gave an entertainment in her honor, which Purchas, the 
historian, described as full of splendor. It was a curi- 
ous contrast to the first years of Pocahontas, in the 
Virginia woods — this fine life of London, with its rich 
costumes and brilliant flambeaux, its gilded coaches and 
high revelry ; but it does not seem to have affected in 
any degree the simplicity of her character. 

The proof of this is seen in the details of her last in- 
terview with Smith, who was in England at the time of 
her arrival. The wandering soldier, whom she had 
known in Virginia, was now a celebrity. He had just 
returned from France, after his capture off the Azores, 
had received from the King the appointment of " Ad- 
miral of New England," and was a favorite with Prince 
Charles, afterwards the unfortunate Charles I. He 
was making preparations to sail for New England when 
Pocahontas arrived at Gravesend, and her presence in 
England revived all his old affection for her. He wrote 
a letter to Queen Anne, warmly recommending her to 
the royal favor, and declared that he would be guilty of 


" the deadly poison of ingratitude " if he omitted any 
occasion to record her merit. More than once she had 
preserved his life, first by '' hazarding the beating out of 
her brains to save his," and again by stealing through 
" the dark night and irksome woods " to warn him of 
an intended attack. Her services to Virginia had been 
as great as those to himself ; she had been the instru- 
ment, under God, to preserve the colony from destruc- 
tion, and he invoked the roval favor as due to her "oreat 
spirit, her desert, birth, want, and simplicity." The 
letter hud the desired result, and attracted attention to 
Pocahontas ; and Smith went to call on her near Lon- 

The interview was brief, but of a very curious nature. 
Smith approached her with deep respect, addressing her 
as '* Lady Rebecca ; " but this seemed to offend her, and, 
covering her face with her hands, she remained for some 
time silent. When she spoke, it was to reproach him 
for his formality. 

" You did promise Powhatan," she said, " that what 
was yours should be his. You called him Father, being 
in his land a stranger — and fear you here 1 should call 
you Father ? I tell you, then, I will ; and jow shall 
call me child." And she added, " They did tell me al- 
ways you were dead, and I knew no other till I came to 

These latter words have suggested the curious ques- 
tion whether Pocahontas had been designedly deceived, 
either by Rolfe or his friends, on the subject of Smith's 
death. Had she conceived for the young soldier a 
warmer sentiment than simple regard, and had that 
fact explained her absence from Jamestown after his 
departure ? Her age might seem to contradict the 


supposition ; but the Indian girls married young, and 
when Smith left Virginia Pocahontas was fifteen. Of 
her real feelings we know nothing ; but some one had cer- 
tainly produced the conviction in her mind that Smith 
was dead. She fully believed it up to the time of her 
arrival in England ; and she had married Rolfe under 
that belief. The romantic view will commend itself 
to youthful readers, and may be the truth. As to the 
sentiment of Smith, there is no reason to suppose that 
he ever indulged in any romance in relation to the In- 
dian maid. His life at Jamestown was hard and pas- 
sionate ; his days were spent in fighting the factious 
and defending himself from mutineers, and such a life 
is not propitious to love dreams. 

Pocahontas died suddenly at Gravesend, in March, 
1617, just as she was on the point of sailing for Vir- 
ginia. She made " a religious and godly end," and 
was buried in the parish church, where her name was 
registered, after the careless fashion of the time, as '' Re- 
becca Wrothe." The church was afterwards burned, 
and the exact spot of her grave is unmarked. Only a 
few additional details are known of this beautiful and 
romantic character. She bore three names — Pocahon- 
tas, Amonate, and Matoax, the last being her " real 
name." It was rarely uttered, as the Indians believed 
that a knowledge of the real names of persons gave their 
enemies power to cast spells upon them. Pocahontas, 
signifying, it is said, " Bright Stream between two 
Hills," was her household name, and she was Pow- 
hatan's " dearest daughter." Her brother, Nantaquaus, 
and her sisters, Matachanna and Cleopatre, are men- 
tioned. As she was probably born in 1595, she was 
only twenty-two when she died — a brief and pathetic 


career, which has appealed to the human heart in every 

John Kolfe returned to Virginia, where he became a 
prominent official of the colony ; and his son, Thomas 
Eolfe, was taken to London, where he was brought up 
by an uncle. When he was a young man he came to 
Virginia, and as " Lieutenant Rolfe " commanded Fort 
James, on the Chickahominy. Only one other trace is 
found of him. When he was about twenty-six (1641), 
we hear of his petition to the Governor for permis- 
sion to visit his grand-uncle Opechancanough, and his 
aunt Cleopatre — denizens still, it would seem, of the 
woods on York River. He married, before this time 
or afterwards, a young lady in England, became a 
gentleman of " note and fortune " in Virginia, and some 
of the most respectable families in the State are de- 
scended from him. One of his descendants was John 
Randolph, of Roanoke, who was proud of his Indian 
blood. His manner of walking and the peculiar bright- 
ness of his eyes are said to have betrayed his origin, 
and he once said that he came of a race who never for- 
got or forgave an injury. He was sixth in descent 
from Pocahontas through Jane Rolfe, her granddaugh- 
ter ; and it is curious that the blood of Powhatan should 
thus have mingled with that of his old enemies. Dead 
for many a day, and asleep in his sepulchre at Orapax, 
the savage old Emperor still spoke in the voice of his 
great descendant, the orator of Roanoke. 

Powhatan does not again appear upon the stage in 
Virginia. He had abdicated, some time before, in favor 
of his brother, Opitchapan, and lived the life of a re- 
tired sovereign, going from place to place at his pleas- 
ure, still venerated by his people, but taking no part in 


public jiffairs. It was Charles V. in private life, — an 
ex-emperor awaiting the end. The end soon came. 
Powhatan was now past seventy, and the death of Poca- 
hontas had been a severe blow to him. He went about 
from Werowocomoco, to Machot, to Orapax, to Pow- 
hatan, lamenting her. It was some comfort that her 
child was living, and he expressed a deep interest in the 
boy, but was never to see him. He finally ceased his 
journeys, and retired to Orapax '• in the desert." Here 
he spent his last days, and died in 1618, — a year fur- 
ther remarkable for the death of Sir Walter Raleigh 
and Lord Delaware, — just one year after the death of 
Pocahontas. He was no doubt buried m the immedi- 
ate vicinity, for about a mile from Orapax was an ar- 
bor in the woods, where he kept his treasures " against 
the time of his death and burial ; " and here, near the 
present Cold Harbor, his dust probably reposes. 

Powhatan was a man of ability, and rises to the height 
of an important historical personage. He was a war- 
rior and statesman both, and may be described in gen- 
eral terms as a subtle diplomat and a relentless enemy. 
He butchered one of his tribes, the Pianke tanks, who 
rebelled against him, reducing the women and children 
to slavery, and hanging the scalps of the warriors on a 
cord, between two trees, near his royal residence. On 
other occasions he burned his enemies alive, or beat 
them to death, and was thus not a model of the Chris- 
tian virtues. He was simply a type of the Indian race 
in its strongest and harshest development.; cunning and 
treacherous, but a man of large brain and a certain re- 
gal dignity ; full of pride, persistent resolve, and a born 
ruler. He loved his children, and was profoundly re- 
spected by his people, who recognized his jus divinum. 


Throughout his land of Powhatan, with his eight thou- 
sand subjects and thirty under-kings, he was absolute 
master, and controlled all things by unwritten custom 
and the force of his will. He opposed the English as 
lono- as possible; made every effort to overcome them 
and put them to death, or drive them from the country ; 
and finding it impossible to do so, silently gave up the 
struggle. At last, old and weary of authority, and 
mourning his dead daughter, he surrendered the sceptre 
and the rule, and retired to Orapax to die. 

It is a picturesque figure of the old years of Virginia, 
and takes its place beside the figure of Smith, his per- 
sistent adversary. The one was the representative In- 
dian of the American forest ; the other, the representa- 
tive Caucasian of the great age of Elizabeth. Between 
the two hardy forms thus standing on the threshold of 
Virginia history, we have a third and more gracious 
figure, — the Indian girl, whose kind heart and brave 
spirit belong to no clime or race. 



These personal details relating to Pocahontas and 
Powhatan have carried us forward in the narrative. 
Let us now go back to the days of the valiant and re- 
ligious Sir Thomas Dale, High Marshal of Virginia, 
who, when Gates returned to England, became Gov- 
ernor of the colony. 

It is a very singular figure, that of the hardy knight, 
with his martial instincts and love of divinity harmo- 
niously combined. He was a rude antagonist, but a 


devout Christian. He "labored long to ground the 
faith of Jesus Christ " in Pocahontas, and wrote to a 
friend in London that all his work in the plantation of 
Virginia was undertaken " for God's cause and his 
immortal honor." Such is the curious picture. The 
character of the Marshal exhibited the sharpest con- 
trasts. He was a stalwart soldier and ruler, a student 
of divinity, and a man of good conscience ; but he was 
a wily diplomatist also, and not above intrigue. He no 
doubt meant to practice a trick when he applied to 
Powhatan to give him his daughter in marriage ; and 
the cruelties inflicted on the conspirators paint the 
harsher phase of the man. But all these singular con- 
trasts mingled in the High Marshal's character, which 
was brave and politic, harsh and devout, mildly courte- 
eous and pitilessly stern. He carried fire and sword 
into the land of Powhatan ; labored to convert Poca- 
hontas, of whom he wrote, " Were it but for the gain- 
ing of this one soul, I will think my time, toils, and 
present stay well spent ; " established the new colony 
of Varina ; ruled all, high and low ; and was now going 
to give an additional proof of his energy, if not of his 
good conscience. 

The rumor came that the French had intruded on 
the soil of Virginia. The intrusion was a long way off, 
it is true, as far away as Nova Scotia ; but for the 
French or any others to settle south of the forty-fifth 
parallel was an encroachment on the sacred soil. At 
least. Sir Thomas Dale took that view of the matter, 
and sent an expedition to expel the intruders. It was 
commanded by Captain Argall, the energetic adventurer 
who had captured Pocahontas. He sailed for Acadia 
in 1613, found the French had made a settlement at 


Mount Desert Island, fell suddenly on them when they 
least suspected the presence of danger, and, pursuing 
them through the woods, shot down or captured the 
whole body. At one blow the Mount Desert colony 
was exiterminated. Argall carried away with him about 
fifteen prisoners ; the rest he generously permitted to re- 
turn to France in a fishing vessel. 

It would be a waste of time to comment upon this 
proceeding. It was simple buccaneering. The French 
had settled in Acadia as early as the year 1604, and by 
the charter of 1606 the English claimed in the New 
World only such territory as was not " actually pos- 
sessed by any Christian prince or people." Now, as the 
King of France was a Christian prince, and did actually 
possess Acadia in the year 1606, Argall's expedition 
was no more defensible than the expeditions of Morgan 
or any other marauder of the West Indies. But nice 
scruples no more controlled men in that age than they 
control them to-day. The Spaniards and French were 
enemies, and were to be driven from Virginia soil, which 
for convenience meant the whole of North America. 

Argall raised the English flag, and sailed away in 
triumph. On his way he found other intruders on Vir- 
ginia territory : some Dutch, who had presumed to erect 
a trading settlement at the present site of Albany, in 
New York. He sailed up the Hudson, summoned the 
commandant to surrender, and the demand was at once 
complied with. But the worthy Hollanders had no in- 
tention to go away. As soon as Argall's sails disap- 
peared on their way to Virginia, the Dutch flag was 
raised again, and all went on as before. Tiie intruders 
even extended their sway southward. Soon afterwards 
(1614), they founded a second trading settlement on. 


Maiiliattan Island, at the mouth of the Hudson, which 
in due time was to become the great city of New l^ork. 

Dale was an excellent Governor. Under his firm 
administration the colony prospered. He was the au- 
thor, especially, of a new system, which changed the 
whole aspect of affairs in Virginia. Up to this time, the 
old bad practice of bringing all things to " the common 
store " had continued. Through all the first years the 
colony had groaned under it. It was a premium for idle- 
ness, and just suited the drones, who, " presuming that, 
however the harvest prospered, the general store must 
maintain them," promptly decided that it was unneces- 
sary to work themselves, since others would work for 
them. Thirty or forty industrious people had thus been 
compelled to support four times their number, and a worse 
evil still had resulted. Virginia was evil spoken of : 
" from the slothful and idle drones had sprung the man- 
ifold imputations Virginia had innocently undergone." 
This was now done away with ; the working bees were 
no longer to provide for the drones. The old homeless 
system was abolished at one blow. Every man was to 
have his own hearth-stone and his own private tract, — 
three acres of cleared ground, which he was to cultivate 
himself, bringing two barrels and a half of corn from 
it to the public granary. All above this was to be his 
own, and the result was soon seen. Having an indi- 
vidual interest, the settlers labored honestly, and instead 
of a deficiency there was a surplus. In the past they 
had been forced to apply to the Indians in time of need ; 
now the Indians applied in turn, and were supplied. 

In 1615 this system was extended further. Dale in- 
duced the Loudon Company to grant fifty acres in fee 
simple to each colonist who would clear and settle them. 


and pay a nominal rent to the King yearly "at the feast 
of St. Michael the Archangel," as the old deeds ran. 
Any one paying into the treasury the sum of twelve 
pounds ten shillings should be entitled to one hundred 
acres, to be located where he pleased. And whoever 
performed a public service to the Company or the col- 
ony was to be rewarded with a grant not to exceed two 
thousand acres. 

Thus began in Virginia the absolute tenure of real 
estate. It rested on a respectable basis : the men who 
labored and did the state service were to be the land- 

When, in 1616, Sir Thomas Dale returned to Eng- 
land, in the same ship vrith Pocahontas, his strong hand 
had left its impress on the whole fabric of Virginia 
society. Order everywhere reigned, and the land was 
at peace. It contained three hundred and fifty inhab- 
itants,— or, probably, heads of families, — and a chain 
of settlements extended from Varina to the ocean : 
Henrico, Bermuda, West and Shirley Hundreds, James- 
town, Kiquotan, and Dale's Gift on the sea-coast, near 
Cape Charles. There was a college for Indian children 
at the City of Henricus, where the Rev. William Wick- 
ham officiated as minister ; and Governor George Yeard- 
ley, left in charge of the colony, had a house, and for 
the most part of the time resided there. At the capi- 
tal, Jamestown, were fifty settlers, under Captain Fran- 
cis West, and the Rev. Mr. Bucke, of the Sea-Venture, 
was the minister. 

Thus Virginia was growing and developing. The 
new Governor, Yeardley, was a man of mild character 
and respectable ability; and in the year 1616 introduced 
the cultivation of tobacco, which John Rolfe had experi- 


mented with some years before. The Indians smoked 
it, but were obliged to cultivate it, as it did not grow 
wild ; and finding that it was prized in Europe, the 
settlers began to plant it. The demand steadily in- 
creased with the habit of using it, and a few years 
afterwards it became the great staple of Virginia. 

Suddenly Yeardley's rule, which had been " temperate 
and just, too mild indeed for many of this colony," 
ended. He was replaced by a personage whose rule 
was not going to be temperate or mild — Captain Sam- 
uel Argall, of Acadian memory. Argall is one of the 
most dramatic figures of that dramatic age — wily, 
energetic, rapacious, a human hawk, peering about in 
search of some prey to pounce on. He was trader, 
fisherman, intriguer, and a little of the buccaneer ; ever 
going to and fro in search of something to profit by ; 
ready to capture Indian girls, or burn settlements, or 
" run " a cargo of slaves. He performed this hitter 
exploit, and was nearly the author of the introduction 
of slavery into America ; for he had sailed to the West 
Indies, captured a number of negroes from the Span- 
iards, and they were landed in the Bermudas instead 
of Virginia, only by accident. Argall's restless spirit 
had carried him back to England, after the Acadian 
business. There he had intrigued with the Earl of 
.Warwick, the head of the court party, and the result 
was that in 1617 he was sent to supersede Yeardley, 
with the title of Deputy Governor and Admiral of 

When he took the reins it was seen that the days of 
" temperate and mild " rule had passed away. He re- 
vived martial law, and ruled the colony witli a rod of 
iron. He fixed the percentage of profit on goods and 


regulated the price of tobacco, attaching the penalty of 
three years' " slavery to the colony," or public labor, to 
violations of his edicts. For teaching the Indians the 
use of fire-arms, the punishment was death to teacher 
and i:)upil. Absence from church was visited with a 
night's imprisonment and a week's " slavery ; " for the 
second offense, a month of slavery ; and for the third, 
a year and a day. These regulations were severe, but 
the " unruly " element probably required severity, and 
Argall was not the man to shrink from it. Unfortu- 
nately for his good name, he was grasping and unscru- 
pulous in whatever concerned his own private interests. 
The case of Brewster, manager of Lord Delaware's 
Virginia estates, is an example. Argall ordered the 
laborers on the estate to labor on his own, and when 
Brewster demurred Argall arrested him for mutiny, 
tried him by court-martial, and condemned him to 
death. He barely escaped from the hawk's clutches, 
and got back to England ; but once there, he made 
such an outcry that the Company lost all patience with 
Argall. He was superseded, but acted with his usual 
decision. Before the arrival of the new Governor, he 
loaded a vessel with the proceeds of his " plunder," 
and sailed away from the colony. To the last, fortune 
befriended him. He was knighted by James I., as a 
reward for his public services — otherwise his close 
adherence to the court party in the Company. The 
portrait drawn of him here is that which appears on 
the face of the record. There is no doubt at all that 
he was rapacious and despotic, but both Dale and 
Hamor had a high opinion of him. His ability and 
energy were unquestionable ; and he was perhaps only 
another example of the singular contrasts presented in 
the characters of the strong men of that strong age. 


George Yeardley came back (April 19, 1619) as 
Sir George Yeardley, Governor-General of Virginia. 
His friends must have welcomed his mild and honest 
face, after the hawk visage of Argall ; but he brought 
with him certain documents which made him thrice 
welcome in Virginia. When their contents were pro- 
claimed, a thrill ran through the colony, and shouts and 
cheers must have risen from the Varina settlement all 
along James River to Dale's Gift on the ocean. 

Virginia, thenceforward, was to have representative 



This wonder was the unconscious work of that bit- 
ter enemy of free discussion and jDopular right. King 
James I. 

When the ship bearing the body of the good Ad- 
miral Somers from Bermuda reached England, the crew 
brought with them a large lump of ambergris, which 
they had found on the islands, and gave glowing de- 
scriptions of their fertility and value. This account 
excited the Company, and they petitioned the King to 
include the Bermudas in the territory of Virginia. He 
did so by a new charter in March, 1612, and this was 
the remote cause of free government in Virginia. The 
charter, which was the old one of 1609 remodeled, had 
far more important provisions than the concession of 
the right to the Bermudas. Virginia had hitherto been 
governed by the London Council. The Company met 
only at long intervals, and thus the Council were the 
real administrators. Now all was changed. * Authority 


was given the Company to sit once a week, or as often 
as they chose, and to hold four " General Courts " in 
the year for the consideration of affairs. It was a 
dangerous force which the King had unloosed. A lit- 
tle reflection might have shown him that the times 
were dangerous ; that the royal prerogative and popu- 
lar right were at issue ; and that the creation of a great 
democratic assembly for free discussion was a perilous 
step. By the charter the Company had " full powers 
and authority to make such laws and ordinances for the 
good and welfare of the said plantation as to them, 
from time to time, should be thought requisite and 
meet," always provided that the laws and ordinances 
were not contrary to " the laws and statutes of this our 
realm of England." 

The occasion was tempting. A great question was 
then agitating the realm of England : whether the will 
of the King or the rights of the people were to be the 
"law." The new world was coming, and its shadow 
ran before. The great quarterly courts met, and the 
aspiring spirits of the Company, restive under the old 
order of things and sworn foes to the absolutist prin- 
ciple, proceeded to open and turbulent discussion of the 
great issue. The King had raised a storm which he 
could not control. London rang with the proceedings 
of this great parliament of Virginia adventurers. The 
meetings were thronged, and the debates were tumult- 
uous. It was a power within a power, and foretold the 
Long Parliament. " The Virginia Courts are but a semi- 
nary to a seditious parliament," the Spanish ambassa- 
dor told James ; and twenty years afterwards the words 
were seen to be true. 

The result of the struggle was a triumph of the Vir- 


giDia party over the court party — of popular right 
over the prerogative of tlie King. Virginia thencefor- 
ward was to have wliat was substantially free govern- 
ment. The new Governor, Sir George Yeardley, was to 
summon a " General Assembly," elected by the inhab- 
itants, every free man voting, which was to make laws 
for the government of the country. Yeardley arrived 
in April, J619, and issued his summons in June; and 
on July 30, 1619, the first legislative body that ever sat 
in America assembled at Jamestown. 

The event was a portentous one. The old world had 
passed away, and the new was born. Popular right in 
America had entered on life and the long struggle to 
hold its own. It might be strangled in the cradle, or 
done to death before it reached full manhood, but the 
blessed fact remained that at least it had been born. 

We have the list of the old plantations, towns, and 
hundreds which sent the Burgesses, or borough repre- 
sentatives. They were James City, Charles City, the 
City of Henricus, Kiccowtan {sic) or Hampton, Martin- 
Brandon, Smythe's Hundred, Martin's Hundred, Ar- 
gall's Gift, Lawne's and Ward's Plantations, and Flow- 
erdieu Hundred. As two Burgesses were sent by each, 
the Assembly consisted of twenty-two members ; and 
the body held their session in the old church at James- 
town until they could provide more suitable quarters. 
We have a few details relating to the appearance of 
tliis first Virginia Assembly. They sat with their hats 
on, as in the English Commons, the members occupy- 
ing " the choir," with the Governor and Council in 
the front seats. The speaker. Master John Pory, with 
clerk and sergeant, faced them, and the session was 
opened with prayer by Mr. Bucke, after which the 
Burgesses took the oath of supremacy. 


The proceediDgs were business-like, the era of talk 
havino- not yet arrived. The charter brought by Yeard- 
ley was read and referred to a committee, who were 
to report whether it contained anything " not perfectly 
squaring with the state of the colony, or any law press- 
in o- or binding too hard." This was the matter of 
prime importance, " because this great charter is to 
bind us and our heirs forever," the Burgesses said. 
Certain members, irregularly chosen, were excluded 
from their seats ; then the Assembly passed to regular 
business. Laws were enacted regulating intercourse 
with the Indians, on matters of agriculture and on re- 
ligious affairs. Divine services were to be according 
to the ritual of the English Church, and all persons 
were to attend church on Sunday, bringing their arms 
with them. Every male above sixteen was to pay one 
pound of the best tobacco to discharge the salaries of 
the Burgesses ; and a number of private bills were 
promptly passed. One of these was that Captain Pow- 
ell's " lewd and lecherous servant " should be whipped 
and nailed to the pillory ; and this, with the rest, was 
to be submitted to the home authorities, who were 
prayed not to take it in bad part if, meanwhile, the 
laws " do pass current.'' 

The spirit inspiring the Assembly may be seen from 
their petition to the Company to grant them authority 
''to allow or disallow of their orders of court, as his 
Majesty hath given them power to allow or' disallow 
our laws." This was the great original American 
claim of right — the authority to govern themselves; 
and Henry's protest against the Stamp Act, a century 
and a half afterwards, was simply its repetition. 

The Assembly adjourned in August (1619), and the 


laws were sent to England, where they were regarded 
as "judiciously carried, but exceeding intricate." They 
were in truth similar to all regulations passed in new 
societies, and dealt with local questions which it was 
necessary to settle ; but under all the petty details was 
the vital fact that at last the representatives of the 
people had assembled to declare the popular will. A 
new power was resolutely asserting itself, and even the 
savages recognized its existence. Opechancanough, who 
had become Emperor now, sent his petition to the new 
authority that some corn taken from his people on the 
Chesapeake might be paid for. That was the past and 
present face to face — the age of Powhatan and the 
modern world confronting each other. The old Era- 
i^eror had appealed to club-law and flint-pointed ar- 
rows. The new Emperor appealed for protection to 
an " act of Assembly." 

Smith went away with a depressed heart in 1609, 
giving up all as lost, and mourning over his futile at- 
tempt to found a new society. But he builded better 
than he knew. Long mouldering under ground, and 
fated, it seemed, to rot and perish there, life had still 
lingered in the grain, and here was the result. All 
the old adversaries hampering him at every step had 
disappeared. Powhatan, his most dangerous enemy, 
was dead. The London Council, which he had so long- 
wrangled with, had yielded up its powers to the Com- 
pany. Virginia was a fact at last, not the mere dream 
of an enterprising spirit. At Jamestown, where he had 
cannonaded the rebels, and fed the starving handful, 
and lived days and nights of peril and anxiety, a peace- 
ful body of legislators had assembled to make laws for 
a thriving society. In less than ten years from the 
autumn of 1609 this marvel had been accomplished. 


The meeting of the first Assembly in 1619 was fol- 
lowed in 1621 by the formal grant to the Virginians 
of free government by written charter: "a constitu- 
tion after their heart's desire," says Beverley. This 
was the work of Sir Edwin Sandys, the head of 
the Virginia party, of whom James I. said, when he 
was spoken of as treasurer, " Choose the devil if you 
will, but not Sir Edwin Sandys." IJnder his leader- 
ship the Company persisted in their liberal policy. 
Yeardley's ill health forced him to decline a new ap- 
pointment. Sir Francis Wyat, a young gentleman of 
high character, was sent out as Governor ; and when 
he reached Virginia, in October, 1621, he brought the 
new charter with him. 

This old " Ordinance and Constitution " for a Council 
of State and General Assembly in Virginia is still pre- 
served. Its tone is large and noble. The intent is " by 
the divine assistance to settle such a form of govern- 
ment as TUdjf be to the greatest benefit and comfort of 
the peopl-^and whereby all injustice, grievances, and 
oppression may be prevented and kept off as much as 
j)ossible from the said colony." The Governor is to 
have a Council to assist him in the administration. He 
and the Council, together with Burgesses chosen, two 
from every town, hundred, and plantation, by the in- 
habitants, are to constitute a General Assembly., who are 
to meat yearly, and decide all matters coming before 
them by the greatest number of voices ; but the Gov- 
ernor is to have a neo;ative voice. No law of the As- 
sembly is to be or continue in force unless it is ratified 
by a General Court, and returned to them under the 
Company's seal. But when the government of" the 
colony is once " well framed and settled accordingly 


... no orders of court afterwards shall hind the said 
colon?/ unless they be ratified in like manner in the Gen- 
eral Assemblies.^' 

This paper bore date July 24, 1621, and is the first 
charter of free government in America. 



About the moment when Virginia thus secured the 
immense boon of virtual free government, slavery came. 
This ominous event was preceded by another, which 
created a great social change — the arrival of a ship's 
cargo of " maids " to become wives of the colonists. 
Let us notice, in the first place, the more agreeable 
incident of the two. 

The "maids," as the chronicle styles them, came at 
the instigation of Sir Edwin Sandys. This wise states- 
man, now at the head of the Company, devised the plan 
of sending out a number of respectable young women 
to marry the Virginia adventurers. He had shown his 
warm interest in the colony in many ways. What it 
wanted was immigration, and he took energetic steps to 
supply it. In one year he sent out twelve hundred and 
sixty-one new settlers, to whom King James I. added a 
hundred convicted felons. The Virginia party in the 
Company protested against this outrage, and the Vir- 
ginians were bitterly indignant when they found that 
this poisonous element was to be infused into their so- 
ciety even as servants. But the King persisted, and the 
felons came. And now with the increasins: immigration 
came a more urgent demand than ever that social order 


in the colony should be established on a firm basis. A 
great change had taken place. In the early years the 
voyagers to far-off Virginia had been simply " adven- 
turers " — men adventuring to seek their fortunes, but 
with no intention of settling and passing the remainder 
of their lives in the new land. They looked upon the 
country as a place in which they would make no long 
tarrying, and neither brought their families with them 
nor established their homes there. They hoped to re- 
turn in a few years, with improved fortunes, to Eng- 
land ; but this was not the spirit that founds new com- 
monwealths. Sandys clearly saw that unless Virginia 
was looked upon as home the enterprise would miscarry, 
and the best means of making it such was plain to him. 
What the Virginians required as a stimulus to exertion 
was to have wives and children depending upon them. 
With these they would perform honest labor cheerfully, 
and not look back toward England when the hand was 
on the plow. Wife and child would make the home in 
the new land what home had been in the old. 

The result was that ninety young women were sent 
out by Sandys as wives for the settlers — persons of 
unexceptionable character, who had volunteered for the 
purpose. A singular featm^e of the arrangement was 
that their husbands were to purchase them. The ex- 
penditure of the Company in sending them was con- 
siderable, and it was required that those who selected 
them, or were selected by them, should repay the cost 
of their outfit and passage. This was fixed at one 
hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco — about eighty 
dollars. On payment of that amount the settler was 
entitled to a wife. 

The whole scheme, which is apt to strike the reader 


of to-day as somewhat comic, was entered into by San- 
dys and his associates in the most earnest spirit. In 
their regulations for the government of the colony, the 
Company made strong distinctions in favor of married 
men. To prevent all objection, the purity of the femi- 
nine supply was jealously guarded, and two of the 
number who transgressed were sent back to England. 
Every safeguard was thrown around them to make them 
happy in their new homes. It was ordered : " In case 
they cannot be presently married, we desire that they 
may be put with several householders that have wives 
until they can be supplied with husbands. . . . We de- 
sire that the marriage be free, according to nature, and 
we would not have these maids deceived and married 
to servants, but only such freemen or tenants as have 
means to maintain them, . . . not enforcing them to 
marry against their wills." 

These orders went in the ship with the maids, and 
seem to have been strictly obeyed. The scheme suc- 
ceeded to a marvel : there was no difficulty at all in 
the way of being " presently married." On the arrival 
of the ship the settlers flocked to Jamestown, and the 
curious spectacle was presented of suitors going about 
in the crowd of maids, and selecting or being selected 
by their future wives. The arrangement seems to have 
caused no embarrassment, and the odd wooing was soon 
ended. Offers were made and matches agreed to with- 
out loss of time. The men paid for their partners, and 
were married to them at once ; and the happiest results 
followed. "These new companions were received with 
such fondness " that they wrote to England, and in- 
duced sixty other maids, "young, handsome and chaste," 
to come out to Virginia for the same purpose. 


Soon the wise device of Sir Edwin Sandys bore its 
fruit. The careless adventurers became "provident 
fathers of families, solicitous about the prosperity of 
a country which they now considered as their own." 
The colony, under the effect of these virtuous home ties, 
grew to be a settled and well-ordered society ; immi- 
gration increased ; new land patents were constantly 
applied for ; and in three years no less than three 
thousand five hundred persons went from England to 
cast their lot in Virginia. 

And now, at the very time when Sir Edwin was 
executing his original project of infusing fresh and 
lusty blood into the depleted colony, blood of another 
sort was coming, and coming to stay. Up to this 
period the only servitude known in Virginia was that 
of " indented servants." This servitude was tempo- 
rary and conditional, even in the case of felons like 
those sent to Virginia by James I. Sometimes the ser- 
vant entered into the arrangement himself. H.e was not 
a slave, but a debtor bound to serve for a term of years, 
to repay the cost of bringing him to Virginia. But a 
class of persons in England, nicknamed " spirits," beat 
up recruits, sold them off to the colonies, and they 
were transferred there to new masters at a large ad- 
vance. This was protested against, but the system 
went on. Prisoners taken .at the battles of Dunbar and 
"Worcester were also sent as servants to New England 
and Virginia, and as late as 1685 men condemned as 
adherents of Monmouth were disposed of in the same 
manner. The system was soon regulated by law. The 
labor of the indented servant was due to his master for 
the term of the indenture ; if cruelly treated he had 
his recourse to the " Commissioner," or Justice of the 


Peace. He could not marry without his master's per- 
mission on penalty of a year's additional service. Har- 
boring runaways was a misdemeanor, and the runaway 
was to serve double the time lost. If he offended a 
second time he " passed under the statute of incorri- 
gible rogues," and was branded. This brand was the 
letter R, signifying Runaway, burned into his cheek. 
If he went to the Indians with fire-arms, and left them, 
he was to suffer death. 

This is sufficient to define the social status of the in- 
dented servants. They were similar to the " redemp- 
tioners " of the banks of the Hudson in the next gen- 
eration — persons "brought over free, not being able 
to pay their passage money, and sold to the landed pro- 
prietors for a certain number of years." At the end 
of their terms of service, both the indented servants 
of the Virginia planter and the redemptioners of the 
New York patroon became free citizens. 

Now (August, 1619), a portentous personage ap- 
peared on the soil of North America — the African 
slave. -^ A Dutch ship sailed up James River, and of- 
fered for sale to the planters twenty negroes as slaves. 
There was to be no trouble about an indenture, or any 
limitation of the term of service. The negroes were cap- 
tives, and their owners sold them to repay themselves 
for their trouble and expense. There seems to have 
been no difference of opinion as to their right to do so. 
The negroes were probably regarded as substantially the 

1 The year of the arrival of the first slaves is sometimes stated to 
have been 1620. The correct date is here given. Rolfe, then at James- 
town, says : " To begin Avith, tliis year. 1619, about the last of August, 
came in a Dutch man-of-war that sold us twenty negars." The first 
Assembly had met in July. Thus free government and African slav- 
ery were introduced into America nearly at the same moment. 


same as indented servants, with the important exception 
that the servitude was to last during their lives. The 
planters readily purchased them to cultivate tobacco ; 
they were scattered among the plantations ; and from 
this small nucleus widened, year by year, the great 
African shadow, out of which were to issue the light- 
ning and thunder of the future. 



With the opening of the year 1622 Virginia seemed 
to be on the highroad to prosperity. There were more 
than four thousand people in it. The old huddle of 
huts at Jamestown had streamed away into new settle- 
ments everywhere. Along the banks of James River, 
from a point just below the falls down to Chesapeake 
Bay, were numerous " plantations," the residences of 
little groups of settlers, varying from a few families to 
a hundred persons ; and adventurous people had pene- 
trated the country and established " forts " toward the 
Potomac. The fields smiled with plenty ; there was 
no trace now of the old starving era. Tobacco had 
suddenly become a great source of revenue, and was 
assiduously cultivated. Glass and other works were 
in process of erection. An Indian college had been 
founded at the City of Henricus. Virginia had repre- 
sentative government, and law and order reigned. To 
human eyes the foundation of a thriving state had been 
firmly laid. 

Suddenly the one leader among the Indians who 
seemed to have inherited the brains and courage of 


Powhatan struck a heavy blow at all this prosperity. 
And it was struck at a moment when there was a feel- 
ing of profound security everywhere. The Indians 
were no longer feared, and a lasting peace between 
the two races seemed to have followed the old tur- 
moil. The red men went in and out of the houses. 
The whites visited them at their scattered villages, and 
traded with them for the proceeds of their hunting. 
They were supplied with fire-arms, and had become ex- 
cellent shots ; Sir George Yeardley had an Indian ser- 
vant to shoot game for him. In the eyes of the Vir- 
ginians, these red people were a conquered race — an 
inferior people, who had at last accepted their fate with 
resignation, and from whom nothing more was to be 
feared, since events had decided to whom Virginia be- 

From this dream they now had a rude waking. 
Powhatan had died in 1618, and had been succeeded by 
his brother, Opitchapan, an old and inert man, who was 
quickly deposed by Opechancanough. The Indian tra- 
dition in the time of Beverley was that Opechancanough 
was not Powhatan's brother, nor a Virginian at all, but a 
mysterious stranger from Mexico or some southwestern 
country. But he became the Virginia ruler, and, as 
soon as he found himself in authority, formed a plot for 
the extermination of the English. It was laid with 
great secrecy and skill. The essential point was to 
wait, and lull the colonists to a sense of security ; and 
this was thoroughly effected. For four years Opechan- 
canough was maturing his scheme, and bringing tribe 
after tribe into it ; and during this time no one of the 
many Indians acquainted with it betrayed him. He 
himself acted his part of friend of the English with the 


utmost skill. When Argall came he visited Jamestown, 
and accepted the presents made him with effusion. 
When Yeardley invaded the Chickahominy tribe, Ope- 
chancanongh appeared as a peacemaker. This went on 
until the early spring of 1622, by which time his plans 
were all matured and he was ready to strike. 

A pretext was suddenly afforded him for making the 
attack. An Indian named Nemattanow, called " Jack 
o' the Feather " by the English, murdered one of the 
settlers, and was killed in turn. Opechancanough in- 
flamed his people by representing the death of this 
Indian as a wanton outrage, and the day of the mas- 
sacre was fixed upon. To the last moment there was 
not a cloud to foretell the coming storm. When, about 
the middle of March, one of the English visited Ope- 
chancanough, he sent word to Governor Wyat that he 
held so firmly to peace that " the sky should fall be- 
fore he broke it." Some English lost in the woods 
were furnished with Indian guides. Some of the set- 
tlers who had lived with them were allowed to return ; 
and on the very morning of the outbreak the Indians 
came to the various plantations with presents of game, 
and breakfasted with the English in the friendliest 

The blow fell everywhere at the same hour of the 
same day, over an extent of one hundred and forty 
miles. Berkeley's Plantation, at the present " Amp- 
thill," a few miles below Richmond, was attacked at the 
same instant with Southampton Hundred on the Bay. 
There was no means of resistino; in the furthest settle- 
ments, and the central authority at Jamestown had only 
been warned at the last moment. A converted Indian, 
living with one of the colonists, had revealed the plot on 


the night before its execution, and his master hurried 
to Jamestown with the intelligence. This saved many 
lives, but there was no time to warn the settlers in re- 
mote places. The result was a wholesale butchery. 

The Indians savagely attacked them when they least 
expected it, and no more spared the women and chil- 
dren than the men. Of twenty-four persons at Falling 
Creek, near Richmond, only a boy and girl escaped. 
In the upper plantations toward the Falls, including 
the Henrico settlements, more than eighty were put to 
death. At Berkeley, afterwards the seat of the Harri- 
son family, they killed the pious George Thorpe, one of 
the most prominent men of the colony, who had been 
their warm friend, and had built Opechancanough " a 
fair house, after the English fashion." He had been 
warned by his servant, but would not believe there was 
real danger, and was killed, and his " dead corpse " 
hacked in a manner " unfitting to be heard with civil 
ears." At Appomattox, Flower de Hundred, Macocks, 
Wyanoke, Westover, Powell's-Brooke, Martin's-Bran- 
don, everywhere, the Indian guns, clubs, and tomahawks 
did their bloody work. Captain Powell, one of Smith's 
old soldiers, was slain, with his whole family, and his 
head was cut off. Nathaniel Causie, another of the old 
first settlers, escaped by dashing out the brains of an 
Indian who attacked him. Near Warrasqueake, Cap- 
tain Ralph Hamor, apparently the author of the " True 
Discourse of Virginia," defended his home and succeeded 
in beating off the assailants ; as did Daniel Gookin, on 
the epstern shore. Toward the Bay the colonists fought 
with desperation in the midst of their burning homes, 
but large numbers were killed. At Martin's Hundred, 
seventy-three people were butchered. Before sunset 


three hundred and forty-seven i3ersons were slain, in- 
cluding six members of the Governor's Council. It was 
a terrible blow. From the Falls to the Bay, many of 
the plantations were entirely destroyed, and there was 
mourning over husband, or wife, or child, or brother, in 
almost every house. 

Bitter rage succeeded, and a fixed resolve to exter- 
minate these wild beasts. The colonists rose in mass, 
full-armed, and thirsting for blood. They have been 
denounced for inhumanity for what followed ; but the 
historians, composing their histories in comfortable stud- 
ies, in the midst of law and order, have failed to do 
what it seems they ought to have done — put them- 
selves in the place of those early Virginians. They 
had merciless adversaries. Opechancanough had spared 
nobody. He had even before the massacre, according 
to a contemporary writer, " practiced with a King on 
the Eastern Shore to furnish him with a kind of poison 
to poison us." He had preferred the bludgeon ; and 
poison and bludgeons were weapons that it was neces- 
sary to meet with something stronger than rose-water. 
An indiscriminate butchery of the Indians followed. 
They were hunted down in all quarters, as far as the 
Potomac ; and at harvest, by an act of treachery, they 
were thrown off their guard, and a massacre took place 
similar to the massacre of the white people in the spring. 

When intelligence reached England of the bloody 
" Indian Massacre," it caused a great sensation, and a 
spasmodic effort was made to supply the Virginians 
with arms. It came to nothing, and a proposition made 
by Smith to the Company, to go out and completely 
subject the tribes, was not acted upon. His plan was 
the device of a soldier : to contract the settlements for 


the time into the peninsula between the James and 
York, with the Chickahominy for the western frontier ; 
establish forts on the outposts toward the Rappahannock 
and Potomac ; and patrol the country with flyino- de- 
tachments, to discover and break up further plots. But 
the colonists were strong enough of themselves. Hav- 
ing recovered from the effect of the blow, they acted 
with vigor, and the armed parties harrying the woods 
completely paralyzed any further efforts which the In- 
dians could make. 

It was a harsh and bloody business, as such affairs 
always are, and it was not to be the last. When nearly 
a hundred years old, and so weak that he was obliged to 
be carried in a litter, the old ruler Opechancanougli was 
going to strike again. 



One other notable event will conclude the history of 
the Plantation period. While these bloody scenes were 
in progress in Virginia, a great turmoil was going on in 

At last the King and Company were at dagger's draw. 
The antagonism between them was radical, and not to 
be healed by any compromise. Under the old chaos of 
commissions and conferences and disputes of every de- 
scription, we can see one plain fact — that the growing 
spirit of popular freedom and the jus divinum of the 
past were at deadly issue. The London Company was 
worse than the House of Commons. At their great 
quarterly "courts," the hall resounded with bold dis- 
cussions, and the demand for free inquiry in all direc- 


tioiis. The Court party, headed by the Earl of Warwick 
and representing the King, were in close grapple with 
the Country party, headed by the Earl of Southampton 
and representing the opposition — that is, Virginia. 
This last had recently triumphed, and the Plantation of 
Virginia had representative government in consequence 
of the fact. But this triumph was short-lived. James 
I. was not a man of ability, but he was opinionated and 
obstinate. Soon the struggle began again, and this 
time it was to end in the manner in which all struggles 
between kings and people generally ended at that time. 
James was looking for a jDretext to crush the Com- 
pany, when it was suddenly supplied. A certain captain, 
Nathaniel Butler, a second edition of Argall, had been 
Governor of Bermuda, visited Virginia in the winter 
of 1622, and on his return to England published "The 
Unmasked Face of our Colony in Virginia," a bitter 
libel on the country. At this the Court party caught 
with avidity. They appeared before the King, and ar- 
raigned the Company for gross maladministration of 
Virginia affairs. The representatives of the Virginia 
or Country party defended the Company, and the inter- 
view was a stormy one ; but James had already made up 
his mind. He ordered the records of the Company to 
be seized, appointed a commission to examine them, and 
arrested and imprisoned the Deputy Treasurer, Nicho- 
las Ferrar.^ 

1 This was the excellent man who, after distinguishing himself in 
the House of Commons, retired to Huntingdonshire, and, "in obedi- 
ence to a religious fanc}' which he had long entertained," established 
there, at Little Gidding, the singular monastic retreat of Avhich so much 
has been written. In his house eighty persons, sworn to a life of celi- 
bacy, passed their time in religious duties, acts of charity, and a con- 
stant repetition, day and night, of the English Liturg}', by the light of 
candles which were never suffered to go out. 


This occurred in the spring of 1623, and in the au- 
tumn of that year the King sent out a commission to 
Virginia to collect evidence against the Company. One 
of these was the Master John Pory, who had been 
Speaker of the first Virginia Assembly, a roving Bohe- 
mian, good-natured, but much too fond of drink, who 
had traveled in Virginia, and written an account of an 
interview with " the laughing King of Accomac," on the 
Eastern Shore. He and his fellow commissioners duly 
arrived at Jamestown, and demanded that the Assembly 
should declare their approval of the intended revocation 
of the Company's charter. The Assembly refused to 
do so, and denied the authority of the commissioners. 
When they demanded access to the records, the Assem- 
bly would not consent to it, and when Pory bribed the 
clerk to furnish him with copies the Burgesses con- 
demned the clerk to the pillory, with the loss of his ears, 
one of which was cut off. Then they entered their for- 
mal protest against what they saw all this meant. They 
sent a member of the Council to the Privy Council in 
England, to pray that in Virginia " the Governors may 
not have absolute power ; that they might still retain the 
liberty of popular assemblies, than which nothing could 
more conduce to the public satisfaction and public util- 
ity," — the protest which, from that time forward, the 
Virginia Burgesses continued to make against every 
successive invasion of their rights. 

The King's commissioners gained nothing. They 
could only go back to England and report that the col- 
ony was badly managed, and that all the ills of Virginia 
sprung from popular government there. It was a gen- 
eral but sufficient report, since it pleased the King and 
bis party. It was not of much importance, however ; he 


had already struck at the Company. He had suddenly 
issued a writ of quo warranto against them, and sup- 
pressed the meetings of the great courts. The writ was 
tried in the King's Bench, at Trinity term, 1624; de- 
cided by the King's judges, as all the world foresaw it 
would be, in favor of the King ; and the London Com- 
pany fell. 

It was a heavy fall for the great party in England 
representing popular rights. In all London there had 
been no doubt at all what the issue meant. Royal pre- 
rogative and liberal ideas were in direct conflict; the 
decision of the judges was to decide which should rule 
in England, and the judges declared that the royal pre- 
rogative should rule. It was only twenty-five years 
afterwards, when the head of Charles I. went to the 
block, that the Royalists in the halls of the London 
Company in the year 1624 found what harvest had 
sprung up from the seed thus sown. 

It was a very great corporation which thus fell, and 
was destroyed at one blow. Its stockholders were 
about a thousand in number, and embraced fifty noble- 
men, several hundred knights, and countless gentlemen, 
merchants, and citizens of the highest rank — the very 
flower of the kingdom. They had spent one hundred 
and fifty thousand pounds on Virginia, sent nine thou- 
sand colonists thither, and granted the colony free gov- 
ernment. Thus America owes them a great debt; but 
the fact ought not to blind us to the further fact that, 
in the nature of things, their time had come. A stock- 
company could not continue to rule a continent three 
thousand miles off. If we imagine such a company in 
London ruling the United States of to-day, passing laws 
for its government, and issuing regulations for the con- 


duct of the most intimate affairs in America, we shall 
have an idea of the anomaly which such a state of things 
began to present in 1 624. The Company, with such 
men as Edwin Sandys and Southampton at the head of 
it, no doubt realized that it was an anomaly, and has- 
tened to provide for coming trouble by the gift of the 
Assembly to Virginia. With that very great gift, which 
drew upon its head the mortal displeasure of the King, 
its career ended, and ended nobly. 

The career of James was suddenly to end, too ; he 
and the Company were to go together. He set about 
composing, with his own pen, a new code of laws for 
Virginia, but, in the midst of his work, death stopped 
him. He died in March, 1625, and Charles I. became 
King of England. 



The books written by Virginians during the period of 
the Plantation demand notice. The literature of a coun- 
try is a part of its history, since the printed thought 
moulds opinion ; and these writings by the early adven- 
turers have an importance of their own. They are the 
sole authorities for the first years of American history. 
What is not found in them remains unknown. Until 
the comino^ of the New England Pilo-rims there is no 
American historic writing but that by Englishmen liv- 
ing in Virginia. 

The writers are properly classed as Virginia authors, 
since the character of a book does not depend on the 
writer's birthplace. It depends much more on his en- 
vironment. The men of the seventeenth century who 


set out ill search of adventures had a new experience 
as they came into the great Chesapeake Bay from the 
ocean. Right and left were wooded capes, thrusting 
their low cut-waters into the crawling foam ; beyond 
was the " Mother of Waters," a sea of itself, and the 
mouths of great rivers descending from blue mountains ; 
and going up the largest of these streams, between the 
tree-fringed shores, the new-comers saw at last the little 
group of reed-thatched huts called Jamestown. 

Virginia was a new land, and, coming to live in it, 
the English adventurer was forced to adapt himself to 
new conditions, which shaped the development of all his 
faculties. Every object fertilized and planted new ideas 
in his mind. He was face to face with nature in her 
freshest loveliness ; with pathless woods, broad rivers, 
and long lines of blue mountains ; with sunsets burning 
with a richer splendor than the sunsets of England, and 
storms of thunder and lightning such as were " seldom 
either seen or heard in Europe." Pie was face to face 
with peril, too. This group of cabins on the banks of 
James River was the advance guard of civilization — 
a sentinel posted on the look-out. It would not do for 
the little band of English to relax their vigilance. Hu- 
man wolves were lurking around them, ready to spring 
upon them at any moment, and life was a hard struggle 
with disease and famine. 

In the midst of such surroundings the characters of 
the adventurers grew robust and earnest, and their traits 
are reflected in their writings. They are such as might 
have been expected : rude and forcible compositions, 
without the polish and nice finish which are the results 
of a ripe civilization, but full of passion and a brusque 
vigor. The involved sentences often stumble, but the 


thought is there, and not to be mistaken. The sharp 
phrases cling to the memory ; for the writers have had 
no time to round their periods and dihite their mean- 
ing. Earnest men are seen scratching the quick pao-es 
in the huts at Jamestown. Their swords are lying be- 
side them, and what they write is to go in the ships 
which will sail to-morrow for England. They must 
hurry and fold the sheets. They will be fortunate if 
the Indian war-whoop does not burst in suddenly, and 
terminate their literary occupations. 

At the head of these vigorous writers stood John 
Smith. He was the author of the lEirst books which 
gave Englishmen an idea of Virginia, and collected the 
detached narratives of his companions in the " General 
History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer 
Isles," covering the w^hole history of the colony to 
1624. His works, with the dates of publication, were: 

I. A True Relation of Virginia. 1608. 

II. A Map of Virginia with a Description of the 
Country, Commodities, People, Government, Religion, 
etc. 1612. 

III. New England's Trials. 1620. 

IV. The General History of Virginia, New Eng- 
land, and the Summer Isles. 1624. 

V. An Accidence or the Pathway to Experience nec- 
essary to all Young Seamen. 1625. A Sea Grammar. 

VI. The True Travels, Adventures, and Observa- 
tions of Captain John Smith in Europe, Asia, Afric, 
and America. 1630. 

VII. Advertisements for the Inexperienced Planters 
of New England or Anywhere. 1631. 

At the time of his death he was ensacjed on his " His- 
tory of the Sea." 


Smith's writings bear the impress of a man of large 
nature, and have the tone of the actor rather than the 
student. The soldier-author exjDresses his meaning in 
the directest manner, with a rugged force often, some- 
times with humor, always honestly and without mincing 
his phrases. Many passages of his works are charac- 
terized by a noble and lofty eloquence, like his descrip- 
tion of the causes of the rise and fall of the ancient 
monarchies, which he holds up as an example and warn- 
ing to his contemporaries. But his books are nearly 
all narrative, except his "Sea Grammar" and the de- 
scription of Virginia, and reflect the character of the 
writer, especially in the prefaces and dedications. More 
than once he explains why he has taken up his "rough 
pen," and apologizes for his " poor ragged lines." Sir 
Robert Cotton and many others had requested him 
to write an account of his "fatal tragedies," which 
the playwrights had " racked at their pleasure." So 
he wrote "for the satisfaction of his friends and of 
all generous and well disposed readers," and meant 
to give his old comrades their just dues. "I cannot 
leave them unburied in the fields," he says, " whose 
lives begot me the title of a soldier ; for as they were 
companions with me in my dangers, so shall they be par- 
takers with me in this Tombe." Elsewhere he writes : 
"I have deeply hazarded myself in doing and suffer- 
ing, and why should I stick to hazard my reputation in 
recording? . . . Let emulation and envy cease; I ever 
intended my actions should be upright." 

The works of Smith, original and compiled, occupy 
a prominent place in the literature of his time. They 
were used by the historian Purchas and others as the 
basis of their own narratives, and are the most impor- 


tant authorities on the early history of America. The 
first accounts, both of Virginia and New England, are 
contained in the "General History;" and Smith's name 
as ruler and writer is inseparably connected with the 
first years of the country. 

One, of the earliest of the old relations is " A Dis- 
course of the Plantation of the Southern Colony in 
Virginia," by George Percy, a brother of the Earl of 
Northumberland, and one of the original adventurers. 
His work is a fragment, but is interesting for its striking 
description of the sufferings of the colonists in 1607. The 
writings collected by Smith in the " General History " 
refer to the same time. The authors were rough sol- 
diers, for the most part, and write vigorously. They 
have strong loves and hates ; praise warmly or de- 
nounce bitterly ; and having seen what they relate, 
they describe it vividly. Hence the value of their nar- 
ratives, which are history in its original essence, and 
remain the chief original authorities for the events of 
the settlement. 

These first annalists are succeeded by William Strach- 
ey, author of a " History of Travel in Virginia Britan- 
nia " and " A True Repertor^^ of the Wrack and Re- 
demption of Sir Thomas Gates." Strachey was a pious 
man, and takes for his motto, " This shall be written 
for the generations to come, and the people that shall 
be created shall praise the Lord." The " History of 
Travel" was .dedicated to. Sir Allen Apsley, the father 
of Lady Hutchinson, and induced him, it is said, to 
advise the Pilgrim emigration to America. The " True 
Repertory " ouggested " The Tempest," which entitles 
it to a place in literary history, and is remarkable for 
the force, almost the magnificence, of its picture of the 
storm which wrecked the Sea- Venture. 


Among the earliest and most interesting works writ- 
ten in the colony was Raphe Haraor's " True Discourse 
of the Present Estate of Virginia." This reaches to 
the summer of 1614, and contains an account of 
affairs in the colony, and of the expedition of Sir 
^Thomas Dale to restore Pocahontas. Hamor, like 
Strachey, was wrecked in the Sea- Venture, and came 
to Virginia in 1610, where he became secretary of the 
Council. He was " for five years a personal workman 
there," and writes : " I know no one country yielding 
without art or industry so many fruits — sure I am, 
England doth not." Many of his descriptions are en- 
thusiastic. He is struck by " the great fields and woods 
abounding in strawberries, much fairer and more sweet 
than ours ; maricocks of the fashion of a lemon, whose 
blossom may admit comparison with our most delight- 
some and beautiful flowers; " and on the subject of con- 
verting the Indians, he breaks forth with, " When these 
poor heathen shall be brought to entertain the honor of 
the name and glory of the Gospel of our blessed Sav- 
viour they shall cry with the rapture of so inexplicable 
mercy 'Blessed be the King and Prince of England, 
and blessed be the English nation and blessed forever 
be the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, 
that sent these English as angels to bring such glad 
tidings amongst us ! ' " It was rather a flight of fancy 
to imagine the poor heathen bursting forth in that man- 
ner. At the time the English angels were destroy- 
ing angels, pursuing them with fire and sword, burn- 
ing their towns and fishing-wears, and putting them to 

Some good men, however, had the better aim in 
view; and while Dale and Argall were sailing to and 


fro, doing the hard work of rulers in the new country 
a quiet student in the "Rock Hall" parsonage, at the 
City of Henricus, was writing "Good News1[rom Vir- 
gmia," — an apjDcal for the conversion of the Indians, 
which appeared in London in 1613. The author was 
that worthy "Apostle of Virginia," Alexander Whita- 
ker, who had left a good estate ("his warm nest") and 
a quiet parish in England, to come out and do his life- 
work in Virginia, where work was most needed. We 
have caught a glimpse of him "exercising" on Saturday 
nights at Sir Thomas Dale's house, preaching and teach- 
ing the catechism on Sunday in the church ; and we 
read his words now, "I will abide in my vocation until 
I be lawfully called from hence." Three years after- 
wards he was called. He was drowned in James River ; 
and his title of "Apostle" and this "Good News from 
Virginia," with its earnest cry: "Awake, you true- 
headed Englishmen! remember that the plantation is 
God's, and the reward your country's," are his epitaph. 
Finally, there came to Virginia with Governor Wyat 
in 1621, George Sandys, brother of Sir Edwin, tvho 
translated Ovid's '^Metamorphoses," on the banks of 
James River. Dryden calls him " the best versifier of 
the former age," and his friend Drayton, when he sailed 
from England, sent this salute and farewell after him : 

" And worthy George, by industry and use 
Let 's see what Jines Virginia will produce, 
Entice the muses thither to repair, 
Entreat them gently ; train them to that air : 
For they from hence may thither hap to fly." 

This prophecy that Virginia might one day shine in 
poesy, had at least a beginning of fulfillment. George 
Sandys enticed his muse to the virgin land, but it was^a 


bad time for poetic dreams. The very year after his 
arrival came the Indian massacre. The poet, lost in a 
dream of Ovid and the fine shapes of Greece, was 
startled by savage yells. He tells of the interruption, 
and the conditions under which he wrote. His book was 
" limned by that imperfect light which was snatched from 
the hours of night and repose — sprung from the stock 
of the ancient Romans but bred in the new world — hav- 
ing wars and tumults to bring it to light instead of the 
muses." Nevertheless it was brought to light, taken 
to England and printed there, and admired by the 
greatest poets of the time. Sandys also translated a 
part of the ^neid, and wrote " A Paraphrase of the 
Psalms of David," which Charles I. "delighted to read 
in, while prisoner in Carisbrooke Castle." He was 
treasurer of the colony; miYodi\xQQ(\. the first water-mill 
into America; and his portrait is attractive. He was 
"an accomplished gentleman, with sable silvered hair, 
eyes mild and intelligent," and in his " slashed doublet 
and lace collar, was a combination of the scholar, the 
courtier, and the soldier." Thus the rude first years 
with their rude soldier-authors writing prose relations 
had flowered into an Augustan era of lace collars and 

This glance at some of the works written in Virginia 
during the Plantation period will convey a general idea 
of their character. It is impossible to speak of them 
in more detail in this place, and only a careful exam- 
ination will indicate their merit. They possess not only 
a special value as the original authorities for the earliest 
American history, but a virile and sinewy force, which 
entitles them to rank with the best English literature 
produced during the seventeenth century. 



Before- passing from the period of the Plantation to 
that of the Colony, let us see what Virginia was like at 
the end of the first quarter of the seventeenth century. 
It is only by going away from the world of the present 
into the world of the past, that we are able to under- 
stand the past, to live again in its scenes, and learn 
any lesson which it has to teach us. Mere statements 
of historical events in the annals of a people are of 
secondary value. Wliat we wish is to have a picture 
of the men themselves ; of their daily lives, their oc- 
cupations, their peculiar views, and all that makes 
them a distinct study. Any other theory of history 
is commonplace and conventional. 

Let us attempt then to catch a glimpse of this old 
land and people, — of Virginia and the Virginians at the 
death of James I. Only a silhouette is possible here ; 
but the outline will be accurate, and based on ample 
authority.-^ If we take the chronicles for guide-books, 
and descend James River from near the present city of 
Richmond to Chesapeake Bay, we shall see, as we float 
on the broad current, nearly the whole of what was then 
Virginia pass before us. 

This up-country is the frontier. Around the " Falls " 
on the seven hills, where the capital of Virginia is going 
to be built in time, adventurous settlers have erected 

1 The details in this chapter are derived from the inestimable vol- 
umes of Hening, and the old cotemporary publications which present 
many indications of the life of the time. 


their cabins, encircled with stockades as a defense 
ao"ainst Indians. Below, are the plains of what will be 
Chesterfield, clothed with forest ; in front verdurous 
islands dipping their foliage in the foam of the falls ; 
behind toward the mountains is the Monacan country, 
that is the unknown. As we float down James River, 
which is the great artery of the colony, we see first the 
ransfe of hills on the left bank, once the site of the 
Emperor Powhatan's summer court, and then of "Non- 
such," the settlement begun by Smith. Here, about 
fifteen thousand acres are laid out as public land for 
the use of the " University of Henrico;" but as yet 
there are few tenants. Passing " Powhatan " or Non- 
such, on its hill, we see yonder on the right bank the 
settlement of Falling Creek, or rather the blackened 
brands of the burnt buildings, for the Indians recently 
destroyed it. Master Berkeley was erecting a furnace 
here to smelt iron and lead, before the massacre ; but 
he is dead now, and the exact locality of his valuable 
lead-mine is a secret which has died with him. More 
than a hundred years hence, an enterprising Virginian, 
Colonel Byrd of Westover, will be curious about this 
mine ; will bribe a vagrant Indian to secretly drop his 
tomahawk on the spot, which the Indian declares he 
can point out ; but the tomahawk is not dropped, or 
drops in the wrong place, and the lead-mine will not be 
found then, or afterwards. 

Passing this old locality, to become the site of 
" Ampthill," the residence of Archibald Cary, who will 
threaten to stab Patrick Henry, we glide on by the 
present Drury's Bluff, which is going to jar one day 
with the thunder of cannon, and come to the " Cork- 
screw " and the " Dutch Gap." Here is the City of 


Henricus. It has not suffered much from the massacre 
of 1622; the place was too strong. Without, in "the 
mam," is a palisade two miles in length, reaching from 
river to river, dotted here and there with the stockade 
forts of the " commanders ; " and across the narrow 
neck is another palisade still stronger. On the plateau 
\ within the 'peninsula is the city with its three streets, 
•its Indian college, its church, and Dale's old residence 
rising above the rest. If we follow the winding cur- 
rent, we shall see pass before us Coxendale and Hope- 
in-Faith ; forts Charity, Elizabeth, Patience, and Mount 
Malado ; and Rock Hall, the parsonage of the good 
Apostle of Virginia, drowned some years since in the 
James. Here he and the martial Dale talked of con- 
verting Pocahontas, catechised the Indian children, and 
Pocahontas herself came often, no doubt, when she 
lived in the neighborhood. All are dead now but the 
High Marshal, who has gone away to England ; and 
we pass on, catching sight of the third settlement at 
Bermuda, of Flower de Hundred, Wyanoke, Westover, 
and all the old plantations which keep the same names 
to-day, nearly three centuries afterwards. 

AVhen we look at these old localities in the first quar- 
ter of the seventeenth century, they are rude settle- 
ments nearly encircled by forest. The houses are 
primitive, and sentinels are posted, according to law, to 
watch against an Indian attack. The stalwart planters 
go to and fro on horseback, looking at their grain and 
tobacco fields ; stopping to exchange words with some 
vagrant Indian, who has ventured into the settlements ; 
or to~give directions to the uncouth laborers with black 
faces purchased from the Dutch ship at Jamestown. 
For the African has arrived, and three races are now 


on the soil of Virginia : the whites, to remain the domi- 
nant race ; the blacks, to increase in numbers and enter 
into politics after a while ; the red-faces to fade away 
toward the sunset, until the Pacific stops them, wliich 
will not be for a long time. 

Here is the homestead of the planter, on the bank of 
the river. Let us land and look at the place and its 
master. It is a house built of wood, protected by a 
palisade, and the windows have stout shutters, — the 
palisade is prescribed by law. The interior is ample 
and conveniently furnished, but Virginia has supplied 
little. The furniture, the table-service, the books, and 
almost every article have been imported from England. 
The books are not paper-bound novels, but ponderous 
folios or stout duodecimos encased in embossed leather. 
There is " Purchas his Pil^rimmes " and the " General 
History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer 
Isles," which have recently appeared in London. Less 
pretending works are lying near the larger : Master 
Hamor's " True Discourse of the Present Estate of Vir- 
ginia," and Master Strachey's " True Repertory " of the 
wreck of the Sea- Venture, which is said to have fur- 
nished material to Master William Shakespeare for his 
fine drama of " The Tempest." This excellent play- 
writer is now dead, but yonder is the folio containing 
his dramas, collected by his fellow-actors, Heminge and 
Condell, and brought over in the last ship. This 
Shakespeare was only a writer of plays, but his plays 
are entertaining, and will probably remain popular for 
years to come. The Virginia planters are fond of the 
drama, and 'Master Jordan, at Jordan's Point, has 
named his house " Beggar's Bush," after the play by 


Here is the smiling lady of the manor in a huge ruff, 
with high-heeled shoes and a short skirt, coming to wel- 
come us ; and behind her is her spouse, the hearty 
planter himself. He is a commander, and head of a 
hundred, so he wears " gold on his clothes " as the law 
entitles him to do (1621), — others are forbidden that. 
His official duties are responsible ones. They are to 
*' see that all such orders as heretofore have been, or 
hereafter shall be given by the Governor and Council, 
be duly executed and obeyed " in the hundred which he 
commands (1624). He is also a " commissioner," or 
justice of the peace, to determine all controversies under 
the value of one hundred pounds of tobacco. Thus the 
worthy who advances to meet us is military commander 
and civil magistrate, executive and judge of the little 
community : a royalist in sentiment, as everybody is, a 
'^Church of England man, and hearty hater of things 
papistical and of dissent. 

He meets us with friendly smiles, and offers us the 
best he has : beef, bacon, a brown loaf, Indian corn- 
cakes, strong ale and strong waters — there is no tea or 
coffee as yet. A pipe of tobacco is also presented, and 
you are requested to drink it, which is the phrase of the 
time. Sir Walter Raleigh, you are informed, drank a 
pipe before his execution. This Indian weed is a great 
solace. The proper manner of preparing and using it 
is to cut it upon a maple log, to keep it in a " lily pot," 
which is a jar of white earth, and to light the pipe 
with a splinter of juniper, or, if you prefer, with a 
coal of fire in a pair of silver tongs, which are made 
for the purpose. The weed has had its enemies. In 
his "Counter-blast to Tobacco" (1616), which is lying 
yonder, his majesty King James I. writes ; " Is it not 


tlie greatest sin of all that you should disable yourself 
to this shameful imbecility, that you are not able to 
ride or walk the journey of a Jew's Sabbath, but you 
must have a reeky coal brought you from the next pot- 
house, to kindle your tobacco with ! " But kings are 
not infallible, and the jus divinum gives no laws to 
taste. A thousand pounds of the imbecility-producing 
weed are consumed in England every day now, and iu 
one year (1619) Virginia sent over twenty thousand 
pounds of it. 

If you will tarry with him, the worthy planter tells 
you, he will show you some good sport. There are 
plenty of bears, deer, and wolves, in the woods of the 
Blackwater and Chickahominy, and there is no finer di- 
vertisement than to tie a live wolf to your horse's tail, 
and drag him at full gallop, " never faltering in pace,'* 
until he is dead. There is little danger now of meeting 
Indian enemies in the woods ; the massacre, following 
the massacre, has quite cowed them, and the bloody on- 
slaught of 1622, by the savages, was not so unfortunate, 
— " it will be good for the Plantation,, because now we 
have just cause to destroy them by all means possible." 
They ought to be converted, of course, if practicable, 
and made members of the Church of England ; and that 
was an excellent deed of Master Gabriel Barber, one of 
the Company, to secretly bestow five hundred and fifty 
pounds sterling for the purpose, signing his name 
" Dust and Ashes." But the savas^es are hard material. 
" Though many have endeavored by all means they 
could by kindness, to convert them, they find nothing 
from them but derision and ridiculous answers ; and till 
their priests or ancients have their throats cut, there is 
no hope to bring them to conversion" (1621). 


As to these new African people with their sooty faces, 
their introduction is a doubtful good, and about bujino- 
and selling people there is a difference of opinion. At 
home, in England, they cry out against it and go on en- 
couraging it. There are " many complaints against the 
governors, captains, and officers in Virginia, for buyino- 
and selling men and boys ; " and luring them to Viro-inia 
is "held in England a thing intolerable" (1620). But 
then the hiring goes on, and the home rulers are goino- 
to encourage, nay, take open part in this new African 
business, — and afterwards denounce the Virginia slave- 
holders as monsters. 

As to the indented servants, no one can find fault 
with that system. The Company sends them over, and 
they labor for a term of years to repay the expense. 
So the Governor is to have one hundred, the Deputy 
Governor fifty, the Treasurer the same, and the Mar- 
shal more, which pass, at the end of their terms of office, 
to their successors. It is an excellent means of paying 
the salaries of the officials, and " we may truly say, 
in Virginia, we are the happiest people in the world " 
(1620). Why, indeed, should we not be? We have 
" a country that may have the prerogative over the most 
pleasant places known, for large and pleasant navigable 
rivers ; and heaven and earth never agreed better to 
frame a place for man's habitation." The colony is 
now firmly established ; the Church of England, the 
only true worship ; we are ready to deal summarily 
with papists and the dissenting people ; law and order 
prevail, and every freeman, by ancient usage, has a 
voice in electing the Burgesses, — for which, Virginia 
House of Burgesses, Heaven be thanked ! How did 
men live without it once? They were mere slaves 


of the London Council, the King, and the people sent 
out as Governors. Now these gentlemen know their 
place. If they attempt to obstruct the laws, or enact 
laws of their own for the colony, they will do it at their 
peril ; not his majesty himself shall invade the rights 
of the Virginians ! 

If we must leave him the worthy commander offers 
his bar<re, and indented or black servants, to row us 
down the stream. But the west wind will waft us and 
we continue to float on the James, watching the barges 
of the planters shooting to and fro, driven by lusty oar- 
strokes between the landings. These are officers of the 
government and are rowed by their indented servants, 
who " ought to be laboring on the public lands." But 
then Virginia is a long way from England, and their 
honors, the governors, and the rest, are high dignitaries 
who are not to be meddled with. As to the indented 
people, they are little to be considered. They are 
servants who have no voice in elections. If they run 
away they will soon (1642) be whipped and branded 
with the letter R on the cheek, signifying their offense. 
They are to work in the fields, to take their caps off to 
their masters ; but if they save their earnings they may 
become landholders at the expiration of their term ; and 
tfieu they may have servants of their own. 

The stream is ruffled into silver crests by the west 
wind as we pass on by all the old plantations — Berke- 
ley, where Master Thorpe was hacked to pieces by the 
savages, and where a President of the United States will 
be born a hundred and fifty years hence ; by Dale's 
plantation, where Captain Butler, the author of the li- 
bellous " Unmasked Face of Virginia," " plundered Lady 
Dale's cattle ; " by little assemblages of manor-houses. 


all defeDded by palisades, which dot the banks of the 
great Virginia highway. Here is a group on the shore 
by the home of a commander. They are whipping a 
man, and when asked what has been his offense, the 
reply is grotesque. He has " engaged himself to marry 
two women at one time ; " and the commander is in- 
flicting the punishment directed by Governor Wyat's 
proclamation for that offense. The said proclamation 
includes women in the class of offenders — is even 
chiefly aimed at them and their doings. It " forbids 
them to contract themselves to two several men at one 
time ; " for women are " yet scarce and in much re- 
quest, and this offense has become very common, where- 
by great disquiet arose between parties, and no small 
trouble to the government." Therefore it must cease, 
and " every minister should give notice in his church 
that what man or woman soever should use any word 
or speech tending to a contract of marriage to two sev- 
eral persons at one time .... as might entangle or 
breed scruples in their consciences, should for such their 
offense, either undergo corporal correction, or be pun- 
ished by fine or otherwise, according to the quality of 
the person so offending." 

Thus the law is duly proclaimed, and offenders are to 
take warning not to cause disquiet, or trouble to the 
government in that manner, on penalty of being fined 
or chastised — man or woman. But proper distinctions 
are to be observed in inflicting the penalty. If persons 
of " quality " indulge in this dangerous amusement, they 
are only to be fined ; all others are to be corporally cor- 
rected with good lashes on the back. It ought to be 
added that there is no proof whatever that any Virginia 
" maid " was ever thus corporally corrected ; and, in 


fact, the probability is that his excellency's proclama- 
tion was suddenly extinguished by a burst of Olympian 

Before us, as we continue to descend the James, are 
Martin-Brandon and other plantations, and the settle- 
ments along the Chickahominy, up which Smith went 
in his barge in the ancient times. A party of horse- 
men are winding along the bank and disappearing in 
the woods. They are armed with swords and firelocks, 
and wear "armor," which is generally used. It is a 
" coat of mail " of some tough material, made in Lon- 
don, and sufficient to turn an arrow, even a bullet, 
perhaps. And the horsemen may need protection. 
They are going in obedience to the law of the Bur- 
gesses (1624), to "fall on their adjoining savages as 
we did the last year " — those " hurt upon service to 
be cured at the public charge," and the lamed to " be 
maintained by the country according to his jDcrson and 
quality." This warlike proceeding of harrying the 
savages is absolutely necessary. They are still danger- 
ous foes, and the law directs " that every dwelling-house 
shall be palisaded in for defense against the Indians . . . 
that no man go or send abroad without a sufficient party 
well armed . . . and that men go not to work in the 
ground without their arms, and a sentinel upon them." 
The danger of indulging a sense of security was seen in 
1622, and that ought to teach a lesson. 

Now, all such plottings are to be summarily crushed. 
The Virginians are to "go three several marches on 
the Indians at three several times of the year : first 
in November, secondly in March, thirdly in July, and 
to do all manner of spoil and offense to the Indians that 
may possibly be effected " — from " Weanocke to fflow- 


erdieu Hundred, down to Warosquoyacke and Nansa- \ 
miuige; thence to Elizabeth Cittie, Warwicke River, 
Niitmegg Quarter, and Accawmacke ; thence to Kisky- 
acke, and places adjoining in Pamunky and the rivers 
of Chesepeyacke " — once in summer and once " before 
the frost^ol, Christmas " (1629). If we go with the 
party of Indian hunters toward Orapax, where Pow- 
hatan is buried, we shall see them harry the Chicka- 
hominies, hear volleys in the woods, and witness an onset 
near Cold Harbour ending in an Indian rout. Then 
the party will come back home to their anxious fami- 
lies, and the country will take care that " those of the 
poorer sort" who are "lamed" are cured in the Guest 
Houses at the expense of the public. 

The low wave-beaten island of Jamestown now ap- 
pears, with two or three white-sailed ships lying in front 
of it, and another slowly approaching, a mere speck as 
yet, from the direction of the home land. The capital 
is a group of wooden houses, defended by a palisade 
and cannon, above which rises the church with its two 
bells. In this church, for want of a State House, sits 
the worshipful House of Burgesses. As we draw near 
the famous island the long wash of the waves seems to 
bring back the old days when Smith and the first ad- 
venturers landed and slept for months under the boughs 
of trees — when that good soldier cannonaded the mu- 
tineers, and the terrible fever wasted the remnant, and 
the long tragedy of the first years was enacted. All is 
now changed. In place of the roughly clad soldier 
going in his boat to explore the Chickahominy, we see 
commanders in gold-laced clothes passing up and down 
in their gay barges ; and the ferry yonder is bringing 
a Burgess and^his horse over to the capital. The Imrdy 


adventurer of the early time is growing gray far off in 
London, and his cotemporaries have^'nearly forgotten 
him, but this Virginia plantation is " built onjjis founda- 

If we land and enter James Cittie, as they call it 
now, we shall h-ave an opportunity of seeing the wor- 
shipful Burgesses in session. They are assembled in 
the old church, with its cedar pews and chancel, and 
the bells above to summon them if they disobey the 
drum-beat. Yonder is the choir where my lord De la 
Warre used to sit in his velvet chair, with the kneeling- 
cushion near it ; and in front of the chancel Pocahontas 
was married to Master Rolfe. Now the Burgesses hold 
their meetings here ; but it wounds their good Church 
of England consciences thus to profane the sacred edi- 
fice. They will soon pass a law (1624) that in every 
plantation where the people meet to worship there shall 
be " a house or room sequestered for that purpose, and 
not to be for any temporal use whatsoever." 

As we enter, the Burgesses are in full session — a 
miniature parliament of about twenty members ; bluff 
planters in silk coats who have come to James Cittie in 
their sail-boats or on horseback, with valises strapped 
behind their saddles. The Governor and Council sit in 
the choir — worshipful personages brilliant with gold 
lace — with the Speaker, Clerk, and Sergeant-at-Arms 
facing them and the Assembly. There is very little talk 
and no filibustering whatever. These ruddy farmers 
have come to transact business, and they mean to do 
their duty as promptly as possible and go back to their 
plantations. They decree with one voice (1624) " That 
the Governor shall not lay any taxes or ^impositions, 
upon the colony, their lands or comodities, otherway 


than hy the authority of the General Assembly, to be 
levjed and ymployed as the said Assembly sha'll ap- 
poynt ; " and this is the spirit of the Virginia Burgesses 
from the earliest times to the Revolution. Then other 
laws follow. No man in any parish shall " dispose of 
any of his tobacco before the minister he satisfied" The 
proclamations " for swearing and drunkenness are con- 
firmed by this Assembly." And " for scandalous speeches 
against the Governor and Council, Daniel Cugley shall 
be sentenced to be pilloryd;" but he will be pardoned 
that he may go and sin no more. 

. The pillory is an institution. It is good that vile 
offenders against the law or the respect due to digni- 
taries should have arms and head held by it and be 
jeered at by the passers-by. Often after this public 
exposure the criminal has his ears cut off. Edward 
Sharpless, clerk of the Council, is now (1624) con- 
demned to suffer that punishment. His crime is that he 
has furnished Master John Pory, of the King's com- 
mission, with a copy of the public records after the 
Assembly has resolutely refused to produce the orig- 
inals. The punishment is inflicted in part only. He 
stands in the pillory for a season, is taken away to 
jail, and issues thence with one ear and a half, and so 
that ends. 

From this historic James Cittie. which the Virgrinians 
will at length grow tired of, preferring Williamsburg 
for a capital, we float on the ever-widening stream past 
the forts, the hundreds, the lingering Indian wigwams, 
across the bay to Dale's Gift, where Cape Charles, 
named from unfortunate Charles I., pushes its prow 
into the Atlantic. This is the ocean entrance to the 
Mother of Waters, where Smith and his men in the 


barge parted with the Phasoix ; and the adjacent islands 
still bear his name. They are making salt here, as in 
other places they are '* trying glass," and attempting 
the manufacture of silk, which the Virginians believe is 
going to become a source of untold wealth to them. 

Crossing the Chesapeake, homeward again, we pass 
the village of the " laughing king of Accomac," go 
by Clieskiac, near the present Yorktown, and ascend 
the York to Werowocomoco, where the Emperor used 
to live. The glories of the chief place of council have 
departed. Ichabod is written on its hearth-stones, if it 
ever had any ; on the famous " Powhatan's Chimney," 
and the mysterious shrine of Uttamussac, standing once 
on its sand hills, by which the braves darted in their 
canoes, dropping copper into the stream, to propitiate 
the " One Alone, called Kiwassa," their terrible deity. 
Emperor Powhatan is gathered to his fathers and sleeps 
at Orapax, but his successor, Opechancanough, is still 
the lord of this country, and is going to assert his rights. 
He is probably somewhere in the vicinity of Machot, at 
the head of the river, but to visit him would be an im- 
prudence. Bonfires have not gone out of fashion, and 
cords between trees are still ready to hold scalps. There 
is little hope of succor in this remote region of the York. 
It is still the nest of the imperial regime, and the Vir- 
ginians have unpleasant associations with it. A few 
adventurous explorers, however, have pushed into the 
country and gone on toward the Potomac. Traveling 
northward, we should come on " forts " well defended 
by palisades, behind which, and looking through loop- 
holes, keen-eyed hunter-traders, rifle in hand, live on 
the watch. The life is dangerous, but that is an attrac- 
tion, as it will continue to be, centuries afterwards, on 


the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Love of gold and 
the wild side of life are strong passions. 

Passing from the head of York across the upper 
Chickahominy, back to the Falls, now Richmond, we 
have had a glimpse, at least, of what was then Virginia. 
A little society huddled together in the peninsula be- 
tween the James and York ; dependencies reaching into 
the wilds ; on the rivers gold-laced commanders rowed 
swiftly by indented servants ; on the outposts pioneers 
watching against attack ; everywhere strong contrasts of 
white, red, and black ; the society composite but harmo- 
nious ; the Church of England the only religion, though 
dissenters will soon intrude ; the test oath against pa- 
pacy demanded of every new-comer and official ; the 
Assembly protesting against the claim of the Governor 
to tax them by proclamation ; men in armor going to 
harry the Indian settlements in spring and autumn ; 
public officials losing their ears ; double engagements 
between men and maids punished with fine or whipping, 
— this is the queer old society which we have looked at. 
The whole is English in warp and woof. These Vir- 
ginians of the early time read English books, wear 
English clothes, eat from English plates with English 
knives and forks, and follow England in all things. 
Their church is the Church of England ; the Governor 
is the representative of the King of England ; his Coun- 
cil is the English House of Lords, and the Burgesses 
the English Parliament. 

But if socially aristocratic, the small society is polit- 
ically republican. The ancient usage holds, that " all 
freemen " shall have a voice in elections. The Virgin- 
ians recognize the great truth that the gold lace is only 
the guinea stamp, — the manhood of the free citizen is 


the real gold. Thus, in this new society which is going 
to be denounced as an " aristocracy," all free men are 
equally entitled to say who shall be the law-makers, 
and what shall be the law. Socially they are unequal, 
but it is the business of each to see to that. Brains 
and enerofy are free to hew out the pathway to fortune. 
The man who serves the colony shall have two thou- 
sand acres of good land. Let him build his house, plow 
the soil, husband his revenue, purchase servants, roll in 
his coach, sit in the Burgesses — the way is open. 

In this old Virginia of the days of James I., the pe- 
dantic King, there are few institutes of learning. The 
" University " of the City of Henricus is in fact the 
only one in operation. Any culture which the Virgin- 
ians have they brought with them from England, or 
will obtain from their parents or the minister of the 
parish. The planters have good books and read them, 
but few of them essay literary composition. They are 
much fonder of the pursuits of agriculture and the man- 
agement of public affairs ; the tongue and sword are 
more popular instruments than the pen. This arises 
from their isolated country life and the absence of at- 
trition. Except Jamestown and the City of Henricus, 
there are no towns in Virginia. The planters, dislike 
them. Have they not their warehouses at the wharves 
on the rivers, approached by long shaky trestle-works, 
running out to unload or load the ships ? These ships 
take away their tobacco to London, and bring them back 
every article of convenience or luxury. That is enough ; 
towns are useless ; they are even hateful inventions ; 
men jostle against each other in streets ; the freedom of 
life is lost ; it is much better to live on a great planta- 
tion and be monarch of all. In other words, the Virgin- 


ian of this time, and of all times, guards his separate 
individuality, and has the English passion for landed 
possessions, and the personal rule of the territorial lord. 
The old historian Beverley described the people in his 
day as " not minding anything but to be masters of 
great tracts of land — lords of vast territory." To coop 
up such men in towns is to do violence to their instincts. 
So the worshipful House of Burgesses may create towns 
and cities on paper if they choose ; they will have a 
hard time getting themselves established. 

This is an outline of that old race and time, as the 
records paint it. With all its faults it is picturesque 
and attractive. It has its ugly traits, intolerance in re- 
ligion, class-pride, and strong prejudices ; but it has also 
the virtues of kindness and courage, of simplicity, good- 
faith, and hospitality. The Virginians have been cen- 
sured as men of impulse and a restive pride. Let the 
other side be seen too. Under the pride and impulse 
were endurance, moderation, and dignity in the day of 
calamity. If this is doubted, the history of the people 
since the year 1865 ought to show its justice. 

The rapid likeness here drawn of the Virginians dur- 
ing the Plantation period will serve for their portrait 
during the rest of the century. Growth followed, not 
change. They were simply a society of Englishmen, of 
the age of Shakesf)eare, taken out of England, and set 
down in Virginia. There they worked out the problem 
of living under new conditions. But they were English- 
men still, with the vices and virtues of the original stock, 
and Virginia was essentially what it has been styled, 
a continuation of England. 



With the death of James I. Virginia enters on a 
new era. The struggling plantation has become a pros- 
perous colony. The " hundreds " clustering along the 
rivers are giving way to " shires " and " counties." 
Better than all other things, the land has now its 
Constitution for a Council of State and General As- 
semhly. His Majesty Charles I. is soq|i going to greet 
his " trusty and well-beloved Burgesses of the Grand 
Assembly of Virginia," having something to gain from 
them ; and the trusty Burgesses are thenceforth officially 
recognized as a branch of the government. 

Thus an enormous change had come. In all the past 
years a few Englishmen had been struggling to obtain 
a foot-hold in the new land, under many and great dis- 
couragements : discouragements of physical conditions, 
for they were not yet acclimated, and fevers wasted 
them ; of a conflict of authority, for there was no sure 
knowledge how they were to be ruled ; of Indian on- 
slaughts, threatening the very life of the colony. Men's 
minds were thus unsettled, and they knew not what 
would be the end of all this turmoil. Fearful of the 
present, doubtful of the future, for a long time without 
wife or child or the humanizing influences of home, these 


men were not laying the foundations of a new common- 
wealth after the right fashion. They were wrano-lino- 
in Virginia and longing for old England again, and that 
was the worst of all signs for the future. 

Now all this had passed away. The old days when 
the turbulent factions fought at Jamestown had gone 
into oblivion. The issue of the Virginia business no 
longer depended on the courage and ability of one man, 
hampered by ignorant or worthless superiors. The 
wrangle was over, and the furious combatants were 
quiet at last. Peace had come and stable rule, fol- 
lowed by tlie blessed boon of virtual free government ; 
and the little band of adventurers, without home ties, 
and ruled by masters three thousand miles away, had 
become a society of honest husbands and fathers, gov- 
erned by laws made by their own representatives in 
their own capital of Jamestown. 

The change was uusiieakable, and the new era was 
otherwise in vivid contrast with the old. The political 
passions which had been smouldering under the surface 
in all the years of the past reign gathered hour by hour 
a fiercer heat. With the reign of Charles I. begins the 
definite conflict between the jus divinum and popular • 
right, which, dividing England into two great factions, 
necessarily extended its influence to America. In the 
New England colonies, by this time established, the 
people sided generally with the opponents of Church 
and King ; but in the South public sentiment was very 
different. " Whole for monarchy " was the phrase in 
which a writer of the time described Virginia ; but the 
description was only roughly accurate. Men's minds 
were divided in Virginia, as they were divided in Eng- 
land. " Cavaliers " as the great majority of the people 


were, a considerable minority sympathized with the 
Commonwealth when it came. As the muttering of 
the English storm swept across the Atlantic, the hearts 
of men were stirred. In the rising tide the old land- 
marks of opinion began to totter. The new ideas found 
advocates even in strait-laced Virginia, and the friends 
of the new order of things, elsewhere, sought to cheer 
on the work. This narrative will show the persistent 
effort made to establish dissent in the colony of Vir- 
ginia. Puritan New England, sympathizing with the 
Roundheads, will send her j^astors to Church of Eng- 
land Virginia, sympathizing with the King ; dissenters 
and churchmen will come ta hot quarrel ; and the odium 
theologicum will add a new venom to political hatred. 

As the days pass on, the great change in public senti- 
ment becomes clearly defined. Everywhere under the 
events is the fermentation of new ideas. The old and 
new seem in conflict, but are really in harmony. The 
colony is firm for monarchy, but fiercely jealous of its 
rights. In defense of them it will depose the King's 
Governor, and train cannon on the Commonwealth's 
ships. The historians will not see what this means, 
though it seems they might. Their attention is con- 
centrated on the singular question. Was Virginia "Cav- 
alier " or not ? Each paints those former Virginians 
from his own point of view. The shield is silver or it 
is gold as they look at it from opposite sides. The 
Virginians were Cavaliers ; they were not Cavaliers at 
all. They were Roundheads to a man ; there were 
no Roundheads among them. They were passionate 
royalists and churchmen ; see how they defied the 
Commonwealth and persecuted the dissenters ! They 
were republicans and king-haters ; see how they fought 


for free government, and were ever wrangling with 
James and Charles, or the viceroys who represented 
them! One writer, excellent Dr. Hawks, laboriously 
establishes what is evident, — that the Cavalier element 
was dominant. Another, worthy Mr. Grigsby, grows 
angry at the very intimation, and exclaims, " The Cav- 
alier was essentially a slave, a compound slave, a slave 
to the Kins and a slave to the Church. I look with 
contempt on the miserable figment which seeks to 
trace the distinguishing points of the Virginia charac- 
ter to the influence of those butterflies of the British 

So the wrangle goes on, and yet there seems to be 
really nothing to wrangle about. The Virginians were 
simply English people living in America, who were re- 
solved to have their rights. They were Cavaliers if the 
word meant royalists and adherents of the Church of 
England. They would defend King and Church — the 
one from his enemies, and the other from dissent and 
popery ; but they meant to defend themselves too, — to 
take up arms against either King or Commonwealth, if 
that was necessary to protect their rights. It is essen- 
tial to keep this fact in view, if the reader wishes to 
understand the history of the people at this period and 
in all periods. Jealousy of right went before all. The 
dusty records, often so obscure and complicated with 
small events, clearly demonstrate that the Virginians 
were ready to make war on the monarchy and Parlia- 
ment alike if they were oppressed. An incident about to 
be related will show the feeling in the reign of Charles I., 
and Bacon's rebellion in the next generation will paint 
the Virginians of the time of Charles II. They levied 
war on his Majesty as the English people had done on his 


father, and the Virghiia revolution of 1676 was nearly 
an exact repetition of the English revolution of 1640. 

Such was the central political idea and attitude to- 
ward England of the Virginians at the beginning of the 
reign of Charles I. Kingsmen and churchmen, they 
had a profound respect for Church and King ; but their 
own rights also must be respected. On that point the 
passionate jealousy never slept, and from this rooted 
sentiment resulted, as the years went on, the long an- 
tagonism, the incessant protests, and the steady develop- 
ment of republican ideas, which a century and a half aft- 
erwards culminated in the American Revolution. Out 
of that rose the Republic; but the ponderous corner- 
stone had been laid five generations before. 



For many years now, Virginia is full of commotion. 
Events and personages crowd each other, pushing to 
the front and demanding attention, but few deserve it. 
A great writer has said that the history of a prince is 
not an account of all that he has performed, but of all 
that is worthy of being transmitted to posterity. It is 
not desirable to study a mere jumble of unimportant 
events. The mind becomes submerged in these minute 
details, and all historic perspective is lost. The pic- 
ture which should have its foreground and background 
becomes a flat canvas — a mere conglomeration of 
discordant trifles, which thrust themselves upon the at- 
tention and fatally weary it. A bookful of events is 
not a history, any more than a wagon-load of building 


material is a house. The work of building remains, 
with such art as the artisan possesses, and it is certain 
that there is a proper position for each part of the ma- 

What we stumble over in the dusty Virginia records, 
and find neither profitable nor entertaining, are the old 
local and temporary antagonisms : the wrangles about 
tobacco monopolies ; the jarring discussions as to land- 
patents ; the announcement that, this or that honorable 
is appointed to this or that ofiice, and dies in this or 
that year. It is not exciting, and does not expand the 
mind. The trivial details have no interest. A multi- 
tude of small events rise like rockets, explode, and dis- 
appear, leaving no traces. The figures of governors 
come and go in long procession ; they play their parts, 
and make their exits, and are forgotten. What they 
perform is unimportant and may as well remain unre- 
corded. Life is too short to read all that. Only the 
personages and events rising to prominence are worthy 
of notice. 

One such specially prominent event of the time ar- 
rests attention, but, before coming to it, another of 
lesser importance will be glanced at. About 1G25, for 
the exact date is lost, and the occurrence is " veiled in 
singular obscurity" — Governor Francis Wyat fought 
a battle with the Indians. The only authority is the 
historian Burk, who quotes his " Ancient MSS." — 
three folio volumes of historical papers collected by 
the Earl of Southampton, and purchased by Colonel 
Byrd of Westover. What may be seen through the 
" obscurity " is briefly this : Opitchapan, brother of Pow- 
hatan (we hear nothing of Opechancanough), marched 
on the Virginians, or they marched on him, and a com- 


bat followed. The Indian force was " eight hundred 
bowmen," and "VYyat commanded the Virginians in per- 
son. The fight took jDlace on the York or Pamunkey, 
and sixteen Virginians were killed ; but the Indians 
were routed and pursued into the woods ; whereupon 
Governor Wyat went back to Jamestown. This is all 
that we know of that old transaction. The Virginians 
thought their history unimportant, — they think so still, 
— and rarely printed anything. But for the Earl of 
Southampton, who interested himself in so trifiiug a 
subject as the history of Virginia, and the master of 
Westover, who thought bis descendants might like to 
know something of it, the " singular obscurity " veiling 
Wyat's battle would be black darkness. 

The procession of rulers now begins and goes on its 
way. Francis Wyat sails for England, and mild George 
Yeardley resumes authority. When he dies, as he soon 
does (1627), he is followed by Francis West, brother of 
Lord Delaware, who gives way in turn (1628) to his 
Excellency John Pott, who is either a doctor of laws 
or of medicine. His rule is brief and uneventful, but 
his name will live. He was tried for cattle-stealing 
after bis term had expired (1630), and fought his foes 
to the last. He attempted to prove one of the wit- 
nesses against him " an hypocrite, by a story of Gus- 
man of Alfrach, the rogue," says the chronicle. But 
the court was deaf to his oratory and literary illustra- 
tions. In the words of an amiable historian, " we note 
with surprise and pain " that the thirteen jurors found 
him guilty; and the question of his punishment was 
referred to his majesty in England. What resulted we 
are not informed, but " Dr. Pott " takes his place in 


In the year 1629, comes Sir John Harvey, who is 
worth more attention. He was heartily execrated by 
the Virginians, whom he fleeced like so many sheep ; 
and what followed is the most significant event in the 
history of Virginia during the first half of the century. 
The portrait of Governor Harvey is accurately drawn 
in the words of one of the historians : he was " extor- 
tionate, unjust, and arbitrary ; issued proclamations in 
derogation of the legislative powers of the Assembly ; 
disbursed the Colonial revenues without check or respon- 
sibility ; and multiplied penalties and exactments and 
appropriated fines to his own use." Of his personal 
deportment Beverley says " he was so haughty aud furi- 
ous to the Council and the best gentlemen of the coun- 
try, that his tyranny grew at last insupportable." 

The picture is sufficiently black to explain the sudden 
collision which now took place ; but historians groping 
about in the obscurity have guessed at other causes. 
The discussion rests with them on the question. What 
were Harvey's real political tendencies? In the fa- 
mous Maryland imbroglio, soon to be noticed, was he 
the friend of Baltimore, or of Clay borne ? The mys- 
tery seems no mystery. 

Sir John Harvey not only insulted everybody and 
put the public revenues into his own pocket, which was 
exasperating, but he put his hands into the pockets of 
the Virginia planters individually. He was mastered 
by the greed of gold. He granted lands to all comers, 
for a consideration ; and many of these grants covered 
tracts belonging to individual planters. It was not to be 
expected that people like the Virginians would submit 
to that. They did not; on the contrary they rose in 


Scarcely more than a liue is given to what followed, 
in the old archives ; a chance- discovered leaf is all that 
records it. All we know is this : An Assembly was 
called — it is not said by whom — to " hear complaints 
ao^ainst the Governor," and this was to meet in May 
(1635). But swift action preceded it. Toward the end 
of April the Virginians grew weary of their miniature 
Charles I. The Council met, and this is the brief record 
of what ensued : — 

" On the 28th of April, 1635, Sr. John Harvey 
thrust out of his government, and Capt. John West 
acts as Governor till the King's pleasure known." 

As to the manner in which Sir John received the 
notification of this action, in his executive mansion at 
Jamestown, we have no information. Probably with 
scowls and improper expressions, together with threats 
of certain consequences which would fall on the traitors 
who thus insolently defied the King by " thrusting out " 
his representative. He would go to England and make 
formal complaint to his majesty ; and in this the As- 
sembly, which promptly met, acquiesced. They would 
also send their own representatives with the evidence 
of his Honor's wrono^-doinors. 

Both Governor and witnesses went, and Harvey laid 
the case before Charles I. The Kins did not hesitate 
for a moment. To " thrust out " his representative was 
regarded, as Sir John had predicted, in the light of open 
rebellion. Only one crime could be greater : to thrust 
his own royal self from the throne of England, which 
followed a few years afterwards. The King even re- 
fused to admit the Virginia commissioners to an audi- 
ence. He dismissed the whole inquiry, and ordered 
Sir John Harvey to go back and resume his post of 


This is the fullest statement now possible of the fa- 
mous old occurrence — "the thrusting out of Sir John 
Harvey." It was a miniature deposition of royalty, and 
foretold what was coming on English soil. The only 
difference lay in the fact that there was a power too 
strong for the Virginians. They were obliged to take 
back their hard ruler, and make the best of a bad 
business. But still the incident had its results. The 
times were plainly growing dangerous in all parts of 
his majesty's dominions, and Harvey was soon removed. 
Sir Francis Wyat, who had returned to Virginia, was 
made Governor, and ruled for two years, when one of 
the most conspicuous figures of Virginia history ap- 
peared upon the stage. 

This was Sir William Berkeley. His appearance was 
another proof that the unsettled Plantation period was 
finally at an end. The procession of rulers stops, and 
for more than thirty years this one figure stands in the 
foreground of Virginia history. 



Let us look at these people who have just deposed 
Sir John Harvey. They and the country are changing 
outwardly, but remain essentially the same. The old 
commanders of hundreds are replaced now by lieuten- 
ants of shires ; the commissioners, by justices of the 
peace, who hold monthly courts ; and at Jamestown, 
four times yearly, sits the great General Court, consist- 
ing of the Governor and the Council, to hear appeals. 

There are eight "shires" in Virginia now (1634) : 


James City, Henrico, Charles City, Elizabeth City, 
Warwick River, Warrosquoyake, Charles River, and 
Accawmacke. Over each of these is placed a " Lieu- 
tenant, the same as in England, to take care of the 
war airainst Indians." For no one knows when these 
wild people, lurking in the woods beyond the York, will 
be seized with another madness, to rise and butcher 
the white people. They are not yet gone ; and re- 
semble " the wolves, which do haunt and frequent the 
plantations," which everybody is to be rewarded for 
putting to death (1646). Opechancanough is still 
alive, though he is nearly a hundred years old now, and 
he is a man of ability. If the lieutenants of shires do 
not keep watch he will some day fall suddenly on the 
remote, perhaps the near settlements of thp colony, and 
put all to death. 

But at present there seems to be no danger of that. 
The whole land is in repose. The indented servants 
and slaves are working on the great estates, which are 
strictly entailed on the eldest son, by the good old Eng- 
lish law ; certain artisans are busy trying experiments 
in making glass ; vine-growing is in progress, with a 
view to Virginia wine ; and the rivers are full of ships 
which sail tranquilly to and fro, bringing all that is 
needed by the peaceful little society. The country is 
beautiful, the climate charming, and there are no jars in 
the social machinery. Everybody knows his place, and 
there are no schools or printing to make poor people 
" dissatisfied." It is true that there is some difference 
of opinion, even upon a subject so very plain ; and a 
large-hearted man has endowed a free school,^ but this 

1 Benjamin Sym, who, in 1G34, devises U\o hundred acres of h\nd 
on the Pocoson River, with the mills, and increase of eight milch cows, 


is a notable exception. There are a few " old field- 
schools," log huts in the fields or woods, and these rural 
academies are going to educate some of the greatest men 
of North America. But the only liberal education open 
to all is the teaching and catechizing by ministers of 
the Church. 

These ministers have onerous duties, and are not suf- 
ficiently considered by the Virginians. There is a great 
" scarcity of pastors," and some of the " cures " extend 
over fifty miles ; but every Sunday they must " preach 
in the forenoon and catechize in the afternoon ; " and 
they must not " give themselves to excess in drinking, 
or riot, playing at dice, cards, or any unlawful game, 
but at all times convenient, hear or read somewhat of 
the Holy S.criptures, always doing the things which 
shall appertain to honesty" (16o2). Thus the clergy 
are regulated by law, and the people shall also do what 
appertains to honesty and good behavior. Henry Cole- 
man shall be " excommunicated for forty days, for using 
scornful speeches and putting on his hat in church, when, 
according to an order of court, he was to acknowledge, 
and ask forgiveness for an offense " (1634). 

As to conformity and " uniformity " in church wor- 
ship, that has been settled for a long time ; the whole 
colony of Virginia is to conform " both in canons and 
constitution, to the Church of England, as near as may 
be" (1624-32). And when the hard times come in 
England, the last Wednesday in every month is to be 

" for the maintenance of a learned honest man, to keep upon the said 
ground a Free School for the education and instruction of the children 
of the adjoining parishes of Elizabeth City, and Kiquotan from Mary's 
Mount, downward to the Pocoson Riv^er." There had been but one • 
other before this, the "East India School," begun in 1G21, and the 
first in America, but the massacre paralyzed it. This one lived. 


" set apart for a day of fasting and humiliation, and 
wholly dedicated to prayers and preaching " (1645), lest 
the Roundhead people overthrow the Church and King. 
They hold riot now in England, but steps have been 
taken, sometime since, to exclude these factionists and 
the hated papists from the " Kingdom of Virginia." 
They are not to defile the soil. T^he commander of the 
fort at Point Comfort, on the arrival of any ship, shall 
go on board, take a list of the passengers, " and ad- 
minister to them the oath of supremacy and allegiance, 
which if any shall refuse to take, that he commit him 
to imprisonment" (1632), to be dealt with thereafter as 
the authorities shall determine, — most likely ordered to 
depart as unfit for the time and place. 

The planters live tranquilly on their large estates 
along the banks of the river ; entertain friends or stran- 
gers, sit as magistrates, and choose their Burgesses, — 
every free man voting. For they still have their 
" Grand Assembly." There is a hiatus in the records, 
and the body disappears from view from the year 1623 
to the year 1628. But the provincial archives were 
often lost, as in the case of those recording the proceed- 
ings of the old first Assembly of 1619, which were 
only discovered by accident. From this time forward 
we have the records, and we may see the provincial 
Parliament meeting " at divine service in the roome 
where they sitt, at the third beatinge of the drum, an 
hower after sunrise, at James Citty." Those not pres- 
ent at prayers, are to be fined one shilling ; if they do 
not attend later, they are to pay two shillings and six- 
pence ; and if they appear not at all, they are to be 
"fined by the whole bodie of the Assembly " (1632), 
They are informally, soon to be formally, recognized by 


his Majesty, the King. At the beginning of his reign, 
Charles I. had announced his intention of governing 
Virginia personally, as his father had done before him. 
But this decision he reconsidered. In 1628, he wished 
to monopolize the Virginia tobacco, and wrote to the 
Governor and Council proposing that arrangement, to 
consider which, a " General Assembly " was to be sum- 
moned, — but they were not included in the superscrip- 
tion of the missive. Nevertheless, " the Governor and 
Councell with the Burgesses of the severall plantations " 
replied to the King (March 26, 1628). They protested 
against the tobacco monopoly, and refused their sanc- 
tion, when no more is heard of it. 

These collisions with the royal Governors and the 
King's Majesty himself produce little disturbance in the 
daily lives of the i)lanters. They go about on horse- 
back, over the bad country roads, attending to their af- 
fairs, or making journeys, — except on Sundays, when 
" no person, or persons, shall take a voyage uppon the 
same, except it be to church, or for some other causes 
of extreme necessitie " (1643) ; or they are rowed in 
barges, or sail in " sloops," to and from the capital, — 
passing the time in gay talk, or grumbling, after the 
English fashion, at this or that grievance. They are 
chiefly solicitous about the tobacco crop, but take time 
to indulge in denunciation of Governor Harvey, who is 
granting away their lands ; at the Papists who persist in 
evading the laws against them ; and at the Puritan peo- 
ple who have come to create disturbance in the colony. 

These Puritans, the planters say, are as bad as the 
Papists, and there are too many of them in Virginia. 
In fact they begin to constitute a real element in the 
population. The first came in 1619, and the Daniel 


Gookin, who bravely defended his house at " Mary's 
Mount " during the Indian massacre, was doubtless a 
Puritan. His son of the same name was ; he was 
driven away from Virginia for non-conformity ; went 
to Boston, where he became a man of distinction ; and 
thence to England, where he consulted with Oliver 
Cromwell, and no doubt gave a very bad character to 
the Virginians. In these years the Puritan people are 
struggling to gain a foothold. They will insist on in- 
truding themselves on the good old cavaliers of the 
good old cavalier colony of Virginia. Why are they 
not satisfied with their country of New England ? 
They have been notified that their presence in Vir- 
ginia is not desired. The pioneers of 1619 were to 
have been followed by a large body, but his Grace the 
Archbishop of Canterbury had very properly induced his 
Majesty to issue his proclamation against them. The 
first comers had obstinately remained in spite of their 
ill welcome; and now (1642) in response to the peti- 
tion of these Virginia dissenters, the Puritan city of 
Boston sends a supply of " pastors " to Virginia. They 
come with letters of recommendation to the Honorable 
Governor, Sir William Berkeley, and are preaching in 
all parts of the colony to numbers of people who fiock 
to hear them. Nevertheless they are not to be toler- 
ated. In the next year (1643), the Assembly will de- 
cree that " for the preservation of the purity of doctrine 
and unity of the church, all ministers whatsoever which 
shall reside in the colony, are to he conformable to the 
orders and constitutio7is of the Church of England and 
the laws therein established, and not otherwise to be 
admitted to teach or preach publicly or privately ; and 
that the Governor and Council do take care that all 


non-conformists upon notice to them shall he compelled to 
depart out of the colony with all convenience.^^ 

This fulmination the Church of England Virginians 
hoped would extinguish the heresy and heretics. The 
law was rigidly enforced. The dissenters, or " Inde- 
pendents," as they styled themselves, had a large con- 
gregation, probably in Nansemond ; and said that in 
Virginia "one thousand of the people were, by con- 
jecture, of a similar mind." If this conjecture was 
correct, about seven per cent, of the people sympa- 
thized with dissent. But the pastors had to go ; their 
enemies were too strong for them. Some were fined, 
others imprisoned ; nearly all were driven out of 
the colony and retired to Maryland or New England ; 
and that was the end of dissent for the time in Vir- 

Why waste time in comment ? That frightful intol- 
erance will no doubt shock the Virginians of to-day who 
read of it. It is a very old story, which the writer of 
history has ever to repeat. That age scarcely knew the 
meaning of the word tolerance ; scarce anywhere did 
anybody practice it — Catholic Maryland was nearly its 
only refuge. The Virginia adherents of Monarchy and 
Episcopacy fought the "Independents" who came to 
their soil, just as the Independents of New England 
fought the Church of England people there. It was all 
wretchedly narrow and shallow, of course, and we won- 
der at it to-day, seeing clearly, now, that religious free- 
dom is the corner-stone not only of good government, 
but of society ; that without it the state grows gangrened 
and all progress stops. But the old-time Virginians 
would not or could not see that, — then or for long 
years afterwards. 


Would the reader like to see what they decreed even 
in the next century, when one might have fancied that 
'' enlit^-htenment had come ? " The new thunder was 
not aimed at the old Puritans now, but at themselves. 
" If any person brought up in the Christian religion," 
said the Burgesses (1705), "shall by writing, printing, 
teaching or advised speaking deny the being of a God 
or the Holy Trinity^ or shall assert or maintain that there 
ore more Gods than one, or shall deny the Christian re- 
ligion to he true, or the holy Scripfures of the Old and 
New Testament to he of divine authority,^'' such person 
or persons should be " disabled in law to hold any office 
or employment, ecclesiastical, civil, or military." And 
if a second time tried and convicted, the atheists, pan- 
theists, evolutionists, agnostics, or infidels should be out- 
lawed ; should not sue for their rights in any court ; 
or be guardians or executors ; or execute any deeds or 
make any wills ; and should " suffer three years' imprison- 
ment loithout hail or iJiainpriseJ' The friends of the 
development and other theories are fortunate in living 
in the nineteenth century. Skepticism was not in vogue 
in those old days of the Virginia colony, and Mr. Mill, 
Mr. Darwin, Mr. Spencer and their disciples would 
have had a hard time of it. 

So the former Virginians could not bear the Puritan 
intruders — to return to the earlier times. They perse- 
cuted them without mercy, and would have them go to 
prison, or out of the country. These honest people 
thought that it was their duty to check the spread of 
a creed which they believed to be false ; that the true 
faith and worship were so unspeakably important that 
they ought to be protected by force. That pernicious 
stuff deceived the first minds of the time, not only in 


Virginia, but everywhere. But even if there had been 
the least semblance of truth in it, it never attained its 
end. Dissent only grew more embittered and struck its 
roots deeper, since persecution fertilizes. 

But in things evil there is often the good motive 
stirring beneath. Disgust at this black poison of in- 
tolerance ought not to blind us to what it sprung from. 
Here, as in New England, it was the rank outgrowth as 
of noxious weeds from a strong soil of faith. These 
men at least believed. Life, which in this weary world 
of to-day is so vain a thing to many — a flitting gleam 
fading away into ever-deepening shadow — was an earn- 
est affair to the men of that century. They were not 
half believers or no believers at all, with the "sick 
hurry, the divided aims and the strange disease of mod- 
ern life" as the modern poet sings. They were very 
far, indeed, from that. The flying mists and primor- 
dial germs gave them no trouble. Languid or fierce 
doubt never disturbed them. They believed with all 
their might, these intolerant ancestors of the tolerant 
men of to-day who believe in nothing. The vast and 
wretched blunder, and all the sin and folly of forcing 
their faith on other people, are now plain. But look- 
ing at the world of this nineteenth century when Faith, 
the white maid, is laughed at in the market-place, one 
is tempted to envy the epoch when men fought for her, 
and committed crime for love of her. 



Thus these excellent narrow-minded Virginians, of 
the seventeenth century, followed the wont of their con- 
temporaries, putting those who differed with them in 
jail, or ordering them to go out of the country; and it 
was not the Puritan dissenters only who fell under 
their displeasure. They were even more severe on the 
unlucky Roman Catholics, and had already seized the 
occasion, a little while before, to show their rooted aver- 
sion for things papistical. 

Sir George Calvert, Baron Baltimore, a popish recu- 
sant of high character, came to Virginia in 1630, with 
the object of looking at the country and securing a re- 
treat for the free exercise of his religion. He was not 
a bigot, just the opposite in fact, and his enterprise was 
not an unworthy one. Obloquy and persecution were 
the lot of Roman Catholics in England, and the worthy 
Baron came to Virginia, as the Pilgrim settlers came to 
Massachusetts, — to live in peace. But he found only 
enemies in Virginia, as in England. As soon as his ship 
entered the capes, a stir ran through the colony. How 
he succeeded in passing that watch-dog, the " Captain 
of the Fort," at Point Comfort, without taking the oath 
of supremacy, is not explained in the archives ; but he 
did pass by safely, without being brought to by the 
thunder of cannon, and arrived at Jamestown. 

Here he found the Assembly sitting, but they gave 
him scant welcome. The same stubborn spirit of intol- 
erance met him, which afterwards drove away the Purl- 


tan dissenters. The Assembly required him to take the 
oath of allegiance and supremacy, which he naturally 
declined to do, and a disgraceful scene followed. A 
crowd had assembled, and fierce opposition was shown 
to the Baron's further tarrying at Jamestown. A man 
insulted and threatened him, but at this treatment of a 
guest, the Virginians suddenly revolted. The records tell 
us what followed: "March 25, 1630, Thomas Tindall to 
be pilloried two hours, for giving my Lord Baltimore the 
lie and threatening to hnoch him down.''^ It was the pen- 
dant of that other decree of the Burgesses (1640), that 
Stephen Reekes should be pilloried, fined, and impris- 
oned, for uttering the puritanic scoff, that " His Majesty 
was at confession with the Lord of Canterbury," Arch- 
bishop Laud. There was thus no doubt at all about the 
religious sentiments of the Virginians. Papists were to 
be given the lie, and good citizens ought to knock them 
down. Some L'ishmen had just been banished to the 
West Indies, for professing the Romish faith, and now 
the presence of his Roman Catholic Lordship was really 
too much. The Assembly might jjut them in the pillory 
for insulting and threatening him ; but he had warning. 
There was some reason, on other grounds, for not 
welcoming the good Baron Baltimore very warmly. 
He had come to explore Virginia with the view of pos- 
sessing himself of a part of it. After his Jamestown 
experience, he sailed up Chesapeake Bay, found the 
country attractive, and returning to England obtained 
from the King a grant of the territory, now the State of 
Maryland. He died in London soon afterwards, but 
the patent was confirmed to his son Cecilius, the second 
Lord Baltimore ; and Cecilius sent out his brother 
Leonard Calvert (1634) with twenty "gentlemen" and 


two or three hundred " laborers " who founded a Ro- 
man Catholic colony on the banks of the Chesapeake, 
and named it Maryland after " Queen Mary," as the 
Cavaliers called Queen Henrietta Maria. 

Trouble followed. The Virginians cried out that the 
Maryland grant was an invasion of their vested rights 
under their charter. It was impracticable to declare 
war on the King and drive out the intruders ; but when 
a great public sentiment moves a people, leaders are 
ready. There was living at the time, in Virginia, a 
certain gentleman named William Clayborne, a man 
of resolute temper and great ability. That is the true 
portrait of the famous " Rebel " who now grew so 
prominent ; and it would be amusing, if it were not so 
tiresome, to read all the caricatures of the worthy his- 
torians who have professed to draw his likeness. In 
the eyes of Mr. Burk, he is " an unprincipled incendi- 
ary, and an execrable villain ; " in the estimation of 
Mr. Howison, " a turbulent character who was captured, 
brought to trial, and found guilty on the grave charges 
of murder and sedition ; " and even worthy Dr. Hawks 
calls him " a felon-convict who had escaped from justice 
in Maryland during the reign of Charles I." 

It will probably surprise the reader to hear that this 
felon-convict, found guilty of murder, piracy, and other 
crimes, was a prominent gentleman of the King's Coun- 
cil, " Secretary of State of this Kingdom " of Virginia, 
and the owner of land in Maryland, by indubitable pat- 
ent from King Charles L, addressed (1631) to "our 
trusty and well-beloved William Clayborne " of our 
Council in Virginia. Not to busy ourselves further 
with the historians, this William Clayborne was a gen- 
tleman of position, a man of energy, with strong pas- 


sions, thought himself wronged, and never rested in 
harrying his enemies. Under the King's patent he 
made a settlement on Kent Island in the Chesapeake, 
opposite the present city of Annapolis, " with a band," 
says a modern writer ; but the object of the band was 
simply to trade with the Indians. The band must have 
been numerous, since this " Isle of Kent " speedily 
(1632) sent a Burgess to the Virginia Assembly. But 
suddenly arose misunderstandings between the resolute 
" Rebel " and Leonard Calvert. The Rebel must go 
away from Kent Island ; it •was part of Maryland. 
True, " the right of his Lordship's patent was yet un- 
determined in England," — but the Rebel must go 

Clayborne resisted. He was in his right, he said. 
He was on Virginia territory by the King's patent, the 
owner of Kent Island, and he meant to stay there. He 
would also sail to and fro in his trading-ship, the Long- 
tail, to traffic with the Indians ; if he was attacked he 
would defend himself. The moment came that was 
to decide matters. Leonard Calvert suddenly seized 
the Longtail, and Clayborne sent a swift pinnace with 
fourteen fighting men to recapture her. A battle fol- 
lowed in the Potomac River (1634). Two Maryland 
pinnaces came to meet Clayborne's ; sudden musket- 
shots rattled ; three of his men were killed, and the 
Calvert fleet went back in triumph, with the captured 
Kent Island pinnace, and the remnant of its crew, to 
St. Mary's, the Maryland capital. 

Thus the fates had frowned on the Rebel. He was 
driven from Kent Island, and escaped to Virginia, but 
Sir John Harvey refused to surrender him. Then he 
went to England ; and it was during his absence there, 


that he was indicted and tried, on the very " grave 
charges " indeed, of murder and piracy, by Calvert, and 
became a rebel and felon-convict. 

This is the first act of the drama of Clayborne the 
Rebel ; the second will not take up much space ; and 
the third and last will be reserved for its proper place 
in this narrative. This was the second : the energetic 
rebel improved his stay in England. He so arranged 
matters there, that his Majesty warned Cecilius, Lord 
Baltimore (1638), that "William Clayborne and other 
planters in Kentish Island, should in no sort be inter- 
rupted by you, or any other in your right, but rather 
encouraged to proceed in so good a work." His Maj- 
esty is a little irate. His Lordship's people have " slain 
three of our subjects there " (in the fight of the pin- 
naces), " and by force possessed themselves, by night, 
of that (Kent) Island," — all which sounds very much 
as if the Rebel were standing behind his Majesty, and 
prompting him. But the rosy dreams of Clayborne 
were as suddenly dispelled. In the very next year the 
Lords Commissioners of Plantations decide point-blank 
against his claims ; and he is back in Virginia nursing 
his wrath to keep it warm. Calvert is in possession 
of Maryland, but his enemy is dangerous. The times 
in England are out of joint, and there is little leisure 
there to think of the far colonies. Also, Berkeley, 
the Virginia Governor, has gone to see the King, and 
Clayborne suddenly strikes at Calvert. At the head 
of a band of "insurgents," he attacks Maryland (1645), 
drives out Leonard Calvert, seizes the government of the 
province, and is lord and master — for a time. Calvert 
flies to Virginia, a poor viceroy without a kingdom ; but 
again the scenes shift. Governor Berkeley has returned, 


and sides with Calvert against Clayborne. Calvert goes 
back to Maryland, and violently expels the Rebel Clay- 
borne : and here, as we are told, " this singular contest 
ended," — at least for the time. 

These incidents have been dwelt on in some detail. 
If this " singular contest " had been simply the struggle 
of one man against his enemies, for profit or revenge, 
the subject would not be worth so much notice. The 
important fact is, that, under the surface, was the bitter 
antagonism between the Maryland Roman Catholics 
and the Puritan refugees from Virginia. The political 
passions and agitations of that time were bad enough, 
but the religious hatreds were far worse. Never was 
social fabric established on a larger or more liberal 
foundation than that of Maryland. All sects were pro- 
tected, and the very oath of the Governor was : " I will 
not, by myself, or any other, directly or indirectly, mo- 
lest any person professing to believe in Jesus Ghrist,for 
or in respect of religion^ This had naturally attracted 
the Puritans, both of New England and Virginia ; and 
their first act in Maryland was to come to blows with 
their hosts. It was natural, if not commendable. In 
England the non-conformists were attacking the Estab- 
lishment and the King. In Maryland they were attack- 
ing Popery and Calvert, the King's friend. 

The explanation of Clayborne's success in his "singu- 
lar contest " with the Marylanders, was simply the fact 
that he had become the leader of the Puritan party, and 
wielded its full power. He made religious hatred the 
instrument of his private vengeance ; and whether 
" rebel " as his enemies called him, or not, was a far- 
sighted leader. His adversaries had triumphed for the 
moment, but he was not at all disheartened. Far from 


yielding, he was to nurse his enmity and reappear in 
due time as one of the Parliamentary Commissioners to 
receive the surrender of Virginia ; then to set out once 
more, in the bustling times of the Commonwealth, for 
Maryland, thirsting for vengeance for his lost pinnace 
and his Kent Island. 



Sir William Berkeley came to Virginia in 1642 — 
the era of convulsions. He was thenceforth for about 
thirty-five years, with short intermissions, to be the 
chief Virginia actor. His personnel and character are 
thus interesting. 

He was at this time about forty, and a man of charm- 
ing manners. His politeness was j^roverbial, and de- 
lighted the Virginians, who had a weakness for courtli- 
ness. He belonged to an ancient English family ; 
believed in monarchy, as a devotee believes in his 
saint; and brought to the little capital at Jamestown 
all the graces, amenities, and well-bred ways which at 
that time were articles of faith with the Cavaliers. He 
was certainly a Cavalier of cavaliers, taking that word 
to signify an adherent of monarchy and the Established 
Church. YoY these, this smiling gentleman, with his 
easy and friendly air, was going to fight like a tiger or 
a ruffian. The glove was of velvet, but under it was 
the iron hand which would fall inexorably alike on the 
New, England Puritans and the followers of Bacon. 
He had the courage of his convictions, as such men 
generally have. Banishment for dissenters ; shot and the 
halter for rebels ; that was his theory of right. In the 


nature of things such people deserved swift and bloody 
punishment, and Berkeley inflicted it without pity. 
For the rest, he was a man of culture, with a fondness 
for literary composition. He wrote a " Discourse and 
View of Virginia," and Pepys saw his tragi-comedy, 
" The Lost Lady," acted in London. Thus the Cavalier 
ruler was an author also. 

He lived at " Greenspring," an estate of about a thou- 
sand acres, not far from Jamestown. Here he had plate, 
servants, carriages, seventy horses, and fifteen hundred 
apple-trees, besides apricots, peaches, pears, quinces, 
and '• mellicottons." When afterwards, in the stormy 
times, the poor Cavaliers flocked to Virginia to find a 
place of refuge, he entertained them after a royal fash- 
ion in this Greenspring manor-house. As to tlie Vir- 
ginians, they were all welcome, so that they did not 
belong to the Lidependents, haters of Church and King. 
The " true men " he received gladly, welcoming them 
with courtly smiles, bowing low in silk and lace ; and 
the portly planter, us much an "aristocrat" perhaps as 
himself, would be ushered in and feasted ; and over the 
canary there would be vituperation of the enemies of 
his Majesty and the Cliurch, which the malignants were 
even now seeking to overthrow. 

He was not at all a small or mean man, this Sir 
William Berkeley, who enjoys now but an indifferent 
reputation ; he was simply a merciless zealot. He slew 
Bacon's followers without pity, and would have hung 
Bacon himself, — he was the King's representative. 
As a man he was very much liked, and some of the best 
of the Virginians were his warm friends. He loved his 
wife with a lasting affection ; she was a lady of War- 
wick County whom he had married soon after his ar- 


rival ; and left all bis j^roperty, real and personal, to 
this " dear and most virtuous wife, the Lady ffrances 
Berkeley ; " adding in the fullness of his heart, " If God 
had blessed me with a far greater estate I would have 
given it all to my Most Dearly beloved wife." 

With the coming of this passionate royalist came also 
the full and formal recognition of free government. 
Both James and Charles had looked sidewise at the 
Virginia Assembly, and merely tolerated it. Now a 
movement was begun to reestablish the old London 
Company ; the Virginians protested hotly ; and Charles 
I., who had fled to York for refuge from his angry Par- 
liament, wrote (July 5, 1642) to his good Virginians 
that they should not be alienated from his " immediate 
protection." This was flattering, but would have been 
unsatisfactory save for a single cii-cumstance. The King's 
letter was addressed to " Our trusty and well-beloved 
our Governor, Council and Burgesses of the Grand As- 
sembly of Virginia.'' Thus the grant of free government 
made to Virginia by the Company was for the first time 
formally recognized in an official, paper from the King, 
promising that the Company should never be restored. 

Soon Berkeley gave the Puritan pastors due notice 
what they had to expect from him. He promptly issued 
his proclamation in accordance with the act of expul- 
sion against them passed by the Assembly. Thence- 
forth he was regarded by them, and very justly, as 
their most dangerous adversary. " The hearts of the 
people," they said, " were much inflamed by desire after 
the ordinances," but the Governor, Sir William Berke- 
ley, was " a courtier and very malignant toward the 
way of the churches." The malignant courtier was 
unfortunately the executive ; and had we in those days 


visited Nansemond, on lower James River, we might 
have witnessed a singular spectacle. 

A crowd of stern-faced people are gathered in their 
log meeting-house around their pastors, who read to 
them the Governor's proclamation, that they are not 
permitted to " teach or preach publicly or privately," 
and shall " depart the colony with all convenience." 
So decrees the Virginia Assembly, and we may see 
the angry faces and hear the muttered anathemas. 
They must go, but there is a place of refuge, they are 
told by the resolute-looking man yonder, William Clay- 
borne, the Rebel, who goes about among them. Mary- 
land is a free country, for all its Romish abominations, 
if Protestant Virginia is so hostile to them. If they 
will come with him, he will show them where they may 
live in peace, — which ends unfortunately, however, iu 
hot conflict with the Marylanders, Clayborne leading 
the oruests ao^ainst their entertainers. 

And now an event took place which was to test the 
energy of the smiling courtier of Greens23ring. The 
Indians had not gone yet. In spite of all, they still 
occupied the country along the York and Pamunkey. 
They had looked on at the gradual extension of the 
English power with the old fierce jealousy ; and now, 
more than twenty years after the massacre of 1622, 
resolved to repeat that stern protest against the ex- 
tinction of their race. Their leader was the same Ope- 
chancanough, called the brother of Powhatan by some, 
but by others said to be a mysterious stranger from 
Mexico, or other remote locality. He had wrested the 
rule from old Opitchapan, to whom Powhatan had left 
his kingdom, and though nothing is heard of him in the 
great battle of the eight hundred bowmen with Wyat, 


he was still Emperor. He was now nearly a hundred 
years old, and greatly emaciated. His eyes had closed 
from asfe, and he could only see when one of his 
people raised his eyelids. He was not able to walk, 
and was carried about in a litter. It is a striking pic- 
ture. His old unshrinking courage still burned in the 
breast of the savage Emperor, and his twenty years of 
brooding in the York woods brought him to the resolu- 
tion to make a last attack on the English. 

The attack was made (April 18, 1644).^ Those 
searching for grounds to explain it have found them in 
the encroachments of Sir John Harvey on the Indian 
territories ; others said that some of the colonists told 
Opechancanough of the civil war in England, and that 
" now was his time or never, to root out all the Eng- 
lish." The latter seems absurd, whether the crime is 
attributed to Cavalier or Puritan, since the Indian 
hatchet would have spared neither. No doubt the affair 
was the result of blind hatred, and Opechancanough's 
age warned him not to defer it. He suddenly threw him- 
self on the settlers along the upper waters of the York 
and Pamunkey, and before the English could resist, 
about three hundred of them were killed. But that 
was the end of it. Either from the resolute stand 
made, or Opechancanough's loss of efficiency, the In- 
dians retreated. Meantime couriers had carried the 
news to Berkeley, at Jamestown. He got together a 
body of horse, marched rapidly to the scene, and pur- 
suing the savages into the woods, routed them every- 
where, and captured Opechancanough. He was carried 

1 The date of this onslaught is variously given in the histories. It 
is verified by the law of the Burgesses in the spring of 1645 "that 
the eifiliteanth day of April be yearly celebrated by thanksgiving/br 
our dtlloeraiicej'roin the hands of' the savagesy 


in his litter to Jamestown, and Berkeley intended to 
send him to England as a trophy of his prowess. But 
this last indignity was spared the old ruler : his life 
suddenly ended. He was fierce and unsubdued to the 
last. When a crowd gathered round him, at James- 
town, to stare at him, he resented it as an affront to a 
man of his dignity ; and said to Berkeley, with august 
pride, that if it " had been his fortune to take Sir Wil- 
liam Berkeley prisoner, he would have disdained to 
make a show of him." He was, soon afterwards, shot 
in the back, by one of his guards, to revenge some per- 
sontd spite, it seems ; and of this wound he died, -^ an 
ignoble fate for the great successor of Powhatan. 

This ended, for the time at least, the long struggle of 
nearly forty years, between the English and the Indians. 

The man just dead at Jamestown, had seen the begin- 
ning and the ending, and after him there was no one of 
sufficient ability to carry on an offensive war. His suc- 
cessor, Necotowance, styling himself " Kin^ of the In- 
dians," — for even the old imperial title seemed to have 
gone with the last Emperor, — made a treaty by which 
he agreed to hold his authority from the King of Eng- 
land, and deliver to Berkeley an annual tribute of 
twenty beaver skins, at the " going of the geese," which 
was winter. The tribes were to hold, as their hunting 
ground, the lands north of York River ; and no Indian 
was to come south of it, except as a messenger, wearing 
a badge of striped cloth ; if any did so, the punishment 
was death. It is true that for a white man to be found 
on Indian ground was felony ; but that was soon con- 
veniently forgotten. The Indian power in Virginia was 
again broken for the time, and then all again was quiet 
until the Commonwealth ships came to cannonade 




It was a prosperous and thriving society, this little 
colony of Virginia, as the half century was coming to 
an end. We have a picture of it in '' A Perfect De- 
scription of Virginia" (London, 1649); a full-length 
portrait drawn by one who had lived in the colony. 

The writer glows with enthusiasm ; Virginia is the 
earthly Paradise. It is " full of trees," and the hum of 
bees ; of " rare colored parraketoes, and one bird we 
call the mochhird, for he will imitate all other birds' 
notes ; yea, the owls and nightingales." In this happy 
Virginia there is " nothing wanting to produce plenty, 
health, and wealth." As to the bleak outside country 
of New P^ngland, " there is not much in that land." It 
is so fearful a desert, that, " except a herring be put into 
the hole you set the corn or maize in, it loill not come up I " 
Why do people continue to go to this frightful region, 
when the southern Paradise awaits them ? 

In this Eden of Virginia, according to the enthusiastic 
writer, there were now (about 1648) fifteen thousand 
Englishmen, and three hundred imported African slaves ; 
twenty thousand head of cattle, plenty of horses and 
other stock ; and the inhabitants were busy with their 
large crops of wheat, tobacco, and Indian corn, which 
yielded "five hundred fold." There were great hopes 
of making the best silk ; and mulberry trees must be 
planted, and a certain " George, the Armenian," was to 
be rewarded by the Burgesses, for instructing people in 
the silk manufacture. A thousand colonists lived on 


the. Eastern Shore, and the bay and rivers were white 
with ships : at Christmas, 1647, there were in James 
River, ten vessels from London, two from Bristol, twelve 
from Holland, and seven from New England. A regu- 
lar trade had begun with the northern Virginians of 
Massachusetts Bay. The hardy " Pilgrims " had come 
thither in 1620, and founded their polity, as they had 
the right to do ; what the elder Virginia of the south 
grumbled at was, that intruders had occupied the coun- 
try south of Cape Cod, her northern boundary. The 
obstinate Dutchmen who had defied Argall, and re- 
mained at Albany, had come down to Manhattan Island ; 
and in fact all that region, extending into Connecticut, 
was claimed by them. At this the Virginians cry out* 
These " Hollanders have stolen into a river called Hud- 
son's River, in the limits of Virginia ; have built forts 
there, called Prince Maurice and New Netherlands," 
and defy all comers. Tiiey trade in furs to the value 
of £10,000 sterling ; and " thus are the English nosed 
and out-traded by the Dutch." Then a colony of Swedes 
had settled on the Dehiware ; and Mai-ylaud, like the 
rest, was an invasion of Virginia right. 

Thus the once great empire of Virginia was falling a 
prey to these strangers ; dissent on one hand and papacy 
on the other, were attacking the Church ; and none 
could tell how this unhappy state of affairs would end. 
As late as the spring of 1660, Virginia makes her pro- 
test against this disintegration. Governor Stuyvesant, 
of " Knickerbocker " fame, writes from Fort Amster- 
dam, to the Governor of Virginia, proposing a friendly 
league, and the acknowledgment of the Dutch title 
by Berkeley. But that gentleman replies, in guarded 
phrase, with his most charming courtesy, that he shall 


be " ever ready to comply with Governor Stuyvesant in 
all acts of neighborly friendship ; but truly, Sir, you 
desire me to do that, concerning your letter, and claims 
to land, in the northern part of America, which I am in- 
capable to do." He is " the servant of the Assembly," 
he says : when God shall be pleased in his mercy to 
dissipate the unnatural troubles in England, his Majesty 
will attend to matters, and decide to whom Manhattan 

Virginia remains quiet and prosperous in spite of the 
furious conflict in England. Hearts burn, no doubt, 
when those ships from London and Bristol bring tidings 
of the great wrestle between King and Parliament, 
which is yet doubtful. But the King's strength is 
plainly failing, and the Virginia royalists go about with 
hanging heads, sad at heart ; and the heads of the other 
faction who sympathize with the Parliament, begin to 
rise joyfully. The times are gloomy for the old Cava- 
liers of the King ; above all for Sir William Berkeley, 
who has been to England (1644) to see the King in his 
dark hour, and now, at his Greenspring country house, 
broods over the coming fate. But he does not lose 
heart, and is going to stand or fall for the object of his 
idolatry, — i\\Q jus divinum. When the end comes, and 
the great tide of fugitive cavalierdom rolls toward Vir- 
ginia, he will receive the desolate exiles with open arms 
and purse. His friends will be as ardent ; for " refu- 
gees " are the representatives of a cause, and are to be 
welcomed. Colonel Norwood, of the King's party, flies 
from England (1649) and comes to the Eastern Shore ; 
and thenceforward makes a sort of progress through the 
old plantations. Stephen Charlton, of Northampton, 
dresses him up in a suit of his own clothes.- Captain 


Yearflley receives liim joyfully ; so do Squire Ludlow, 
and Captain Wormley, who makes him royally welcome 
at his house in York. A company of guests are already 
" feasting and carousing there ; " Sir Thomas Lunsford, 
Sir Henry Chicheley, Sir Philip Honeywood, and Colo- 
nel Hammond, — friends of the Kins^. All this we read 
in the " Voyage of Colonel Norwood," written by the 
Colonel himself, who then goes on to Greenspring, well 
" mounted " by his friend Wormley, — he knows he 
will find the friend of friends there. Berkeley, his near 
relation, takes him into his house as an honored guest, 
and will soon send him off to Holland to solicit from 
his Majesty, Charles the Second, the place of Treasurer 
of Viigiuia ; which Clayborne, the rebel and Puritan, 
shall hold no lono^er. 

For the blow that struck a sudden chill to all true 
Cavalier hearts has fallen. In this cold month of Janu- 
ary, 1 649, Charles I. has gone to the block ; and the 
Virginia Cavaliers in fancy, like the little company at 
Windsor in reality, follow the black velvet coffin, cov- 
ered with snow-flakes, to its resting-place, and are in 



The execution of Charles I. was a very great shock 
to the Virginians. A shudder convulsed society, and 
few but extremists approved it. The proceeding in a 
political point of view was a blunder. The character 
of the Kino^ as husband and father was such as to make 
good men respect him, and to slay him was impolitic, 
since death sanctifies. 


In Virginia, as in England, men had been arrayed 
against each other, but the Virginia Commonwealth's- 
men revolted from the scene in front of Whitehall, 
which had reversed the Revolution and made the Res- 
toration possible. This sentiment was probably general, 
and the royali&t exiles flying to Virginia appealed 
strongly to the sympathies even of political enemies. 
They were persons of rank " among the nobility, clergy, 
and gentry . . . men of the first rate who wanted not 
money nor credit, and had fled from their native coun- 
try as from a place infected with the plague," reduced 
to " horrors and despairs at the bloody and bitter stroke 
of the King's assassination, at his palace of Whitehall." 
So the passionate old chronicle runs, — and one ship 
brought (September, 1649) three hundred and thirty. 
This crowd of refugees met everywhere, as has been 
shown, with the warmest reception. Every house was 
" a hostelry," and they had " choice of hosts without 
money or its value." We have seen Sir Thomas Luns- 
ford and his companions " feasting and carousing " at 
Captain Wormley's ; and it is easy to fancy the scenes, 
— the disconsolate Cavaliers telling their stories of bat- 
tle and adventure ; of the fierce wrestles with Crom- 
well's pikemen ; the blood dropping through the White- 
hall scaffold, — and the groups of Virginians around 
them, men, women, and children listening, pale and in 
tears, to the woful tale. Even those who had no sym- 
pathy with the King's cause felt the magnetism. The 
exiles everywhere met with evidences of regard instead 
of hostility. Right or wrong, they had fought for their 
cause to the end ; and that has made men admire even 
their adversaries in all ages. There is nothing to show 
that any Virginia Roundhead gave an ill reception to any 


one Cavalier. The men of the opposing sides were often 
of the same blood ; and the Virginians of the other fac- 
tion received them with the welcome due to misfortune. 

When the Burgesses met in October, 1649, they has- 
tened to give voice to the general horror and indigna- 
tion. The first act of the session comes direct to the 
point : speaks of Charles I. as " the late most excel- 
lent and now undoubtedly sainted King ; " and threat- 
ens that " what person soever shall go about to defend 
or maintain the late traitorous proceedings against the 
aforesaid King of most happy memory, shall be ad- 
judged an accessory post factum, to the death of the 
aforesaid King, and shall be proceeded against for the 
same, according to the known laws of England." Thus 
the execution of Charles was treason, and those defend- 
ing it should be punished with death. The same penalty 
was denounced against all persons who shall " by words 
or speeches, endeavor to insinuate any doubt, scruple, 
or question, of, or concerning the undoubted and inher- 
ent right of his Majesty that noio is to the colony of Vir- 
ginia, and all other his Majesty's dominions." His Maj- 
esty that now is, was the boy who was wandering 
about nearly shelterless, on the Continent, afterwards 
Charles II. But the Virginians did not insert that 
word " afterwards." From the moment when the head 
of his father rolled on the scaffold, Charles II., King of 
England, and all other his Majesty's dominions, sprung 
suddenly into existence ^z^re divino. 

Looking back now at this action of the Virginia Bur- 
gesses, it is impossible not to see that the death of 
Charles I. caused an enormous reaction in his favor, 
and was an immense blow struck in support of the mo- 
narchic idea. The Virginians had never been bigoted 


monarchists. They had resisted the King's demand for 
the tobacco monopoly ; had " thrust out " his representa- 
tive Harvey ; and made their protest against his illegal 
assumptions as systematically as his hostile Parliament 
had done. But his tragic end suddenly buried these 
old animosities in the profoundest oblivion. The ruler 
whom they had resisted so obstinately, was now " sa- 
cred " and " sainted." Whosoever said he was not 
should be put to death. And whosoever went about 
maintaining that the boy at the Hague was not the real 
King of England and Virginia, should be punished in 
like manner, as a traitor. 

This proceeding was dangerous. England was in the 
hands of the revolutionists, and at their head was Crom- 
well. That great ruler had a long arm and was not 
to be trifled with. From the moment that the Virginia 
Burgesses, speaking for Virginia, declared that Charles 
II. was King of England and Virginia, they were in 
contumacy, and the English cannon were ready to argue 
with them. It seemed that their action could come to 
nothing. No persons elsewhere on the North Ameri- 
can continent moved to support it or had the least idea 
of doing so. New England, to a man nearly, sympa- 
thized with the new authority in England. The Dutch 
and Swedes were not English, and cared little for Eng- 
lish affairs. Maryland shuddered for a moment, but 
gave assurances of fidelity to the Parliament. Thus 
Virginia stood alone, and spoke for herself ; and what 
she said was, that the execution of Charles I. was trea- 
son, and that the person entitled to authority in Vir- 
ginia was his son Charles II. 

The reply of Parliament to the Virginia defiance duly 
came. In October, 1650, just a year after the law of 


the Burgesses, the Long Parliament passed an act pro- 
hibiting trade with Virginia and tlie West Indies ; and 
as many persons inhabiting Virginia had been guilty of 
rebellion against the English Commonwealth, such per- 
sons were declared to be notorious traitors, and a 
fleet was sent to suppress them. Every provision was 
made. Four Commissioners were appointed to go out 
and receive the surrender of Virginia ; and among these 
was the persistent Clayborne " the rebel," now a full- 
fledged Commonwealth's man, who came with one eye 
on Virginia and the other upon Maryland. There was 
nothing of extreme severity in the instructions of the 
Commissioners. If the recalcitrant Virginians submitted 
quietly they were to be treated as brethren. All who 
acknowledged the Commonwealth were to receive full 
pardon for past acts. If Virginia resisted, then war. 
An appeal was to be made to the friends of the Parlia- 
ment to rise in arms ; and the slaves and indented ser- 
vants of the King's adherents, on joining the forces, 
were to be discharged and set free from their former 

It was not until March, 1652, that the English ships 
reached the Virginia waters, when one of them, a frig- 
ate, sailed up to Jamestown, to demand the surrender 
of the colony. This did not seem to be the purpose of 
the Virginians. The approach of the ships was known, 
and the friends of the King had been notified. At 
Berkeley's summons they had hastened to Jamestown, 
and the place was put in a state of defense. Cannon 
were posted, muskets distributed, and some Dutch ships 
at the port used as forts. By the Act of Parliament 
prohibiting foreign trade with Virginia, these were lia- 
ble to capture by the English fleet, and their cargoes 


were taken on shore, and replaced by cannon. Then 
Berkeley and his men awaited what was to follow. 

At the moment when the broadsides seemed about to 
begin, the captain of the frigate sent a boat ashore to 
demand a surrender. A long discussion took place be- 
tween him and the Virginians, and a curious circum- 
stance is said to have ended it. The English captain 
privately informed two members of the Council that he 
had on board his frigate valuable goods consigned to 
them. If there was no trouble these would reach their 
owners, if there was trouble they would not. Was this 
bribery, or is it true? It is impossible now to say. The 
only authority for it is Beverley, and he is often in- 
accurate. What is certain is, that the Virginians, after 
solemn and prolonged discussion, determined to sur- 
render. We have official authority for this hesitation. 
The Commissioners themselves reported that the " Bur- 
gesses of all the several plantations being called to ad- 
vise and assist therein, upon long and serious debate, and 
in sad contemplation of the great miseries and certain 
destruction," etc. In a word, the chief men of Virginia 
having considered the demand of the Parliament, agreed, 
much against their will, and only " to prevent the ruin 
and destruction of the Plantation," to surrender to the 

This would seem to be a plainly stated historical oc- 
currence ; and yet some historians cannot understand it. 
Even Mr. Bancroft, followed by Mr. Campbell, adopts 
the statement of Clarendon, and says that " no sooner 
had the Guinea frigate anchored in the ivatei's of the 
Chesapeake, than all thoughts of resistance were laid 
aside." Opposed to them we have Beverley, Marshall, 
Robertson, and others, — above all, the English Commis- 


sioners who were present. If the Virginians suddenly- 
lost heart when the English ships anchored in the Chesa- 
peake, they must have regained it as suddenly, since the 
Commissioners reported that "having brought a fleet 
and force before James Cittie, in Virginia," they found 
" a force raised by the Governor and country to make op- 
position against the said fleet.'' ^ It seems so plain, from 
the record, that the Virginians meant to fight, and only 
gave up the intent after long and serious consultation, 
that one is surprised to find the contrary stated as the 
truth. There seems no trouble at all in understanding 
the transaction. The Virginians did not wish to sur- 
render to the Parliament, preferring to fight, but find- 
ing that their enemy was too powerful, they surren- 

The " Articles at the Surrender of the Country " is 
a remarkable paper. The parties treat as between 
crowned heads. Virginia was to obey the Common- 
wealth, but this submission was to " be acknowledged a 
voluntary act, not forced nor constrained by a conquest 
upon the country." The people were " to enjoy such 
freedoms and privileges as belong to the freeborn peo- 
ple of England ;" the Grand Assembly was to continue ; 
there was to be a " total indemnity for all acts, words, 
or writings, done or spoken against the Parliament of 
England " ; the colony was to have free trade with all 
nations, in spite of the Navigation Act; the Virginia 
Assembly alone was to have the right to tax Virginia ; 
and all persons refusing to take the oath of allegiance 
to the English Commonwealth should have a year to 

1 The report of the Commissioners and other documents relating to 
the surrender, are preserved in Hening's Statutes at Large, and set 
all doubt at rest. 


dispose of their property and depart out of the colony. 
The strang^est article of all was that in reference to the 
hated Prayer-Book. The Virginians were to go on using 
it for the space of one year, only provided, that " those 
things which relate to Kingship be not used publicly." 
As to the " total remission and indemnity," to be ex- 
tended to everybody, Sir William Berkeley and his ad- 
visers were expressly included in it. Neither he nor 
his Council were to be obliged to swear fealty to the 
Commonwealth for a year ; nar be "censured for pray- 
ing for, or speaking well of, the King in their private 
houses ; " and were to be allowed to sell their property 
and go whither they pleased. Then this grand finale 
comes, signed by Bennett, Clayborne, and Curtis, the 
Parliamentary Commissioners : " We have granted an 
act of indemnity and oblivion to all the inhabitants of this 
Colony, from all words, actions, or writings, that have 
been spoken, acted, or writ against the Parliament, or 
Commonwealth of England, or any other person, from 
the beginning of the world to this day." 

Some of these articles were not ratified by the Long 
Parliament, which was dissolved soon afterwards ; nota- 
bly that engaging that no taxes or impositions should 
be laid on Virginia without the consent of the Assem- 
bly. Otherwise they remained the terms on which the 
surrender was made, and were respected. If any per- 
sons fancied that the Virginia royalists would be pro- 
scribed, and their leader. Sir William Berkeley, be- 
headed like Charles I., for his armed resistance to 
Parliament, they were agreeably, or disagreeably dis- 
appointed. Since the scene in front of Whitehall, be- 
heading was out of fashion, and there was to be no con- 
fiscation of property, or any vengeance whatever, since 


there was little to avenge. A general amnesty covered 
all. A single ceremony sufficed to blot out all the mis- 
deeds of the past, — an oath of allegiance to the Parlia- 
ment. As to that there was to be no discussion. Those 
refusing to take it were to go away and stay away from 



Thus in the short hours of a March day Virginia 
passed from the King under the Commonwealth. By 
the scratch of a pen in the fingers of a few men in black 
coats, this ancient dominion of royalty had become the 
new dominion of the Parliament. 

There was no sudden convulsion of society, or even 
the least confusion. The old went and the new came 
as mildly and peacefully as one hour succeeds another on 
a May morning. The haughty Cavalier Berkeley, in his 
silk and lace, goes away to Greenspring, and the short- 
haired people, called by their enemies " Roundheads " 
for that reason, are the masters. Berkeley afterwards 
spoke bitterly of these scenes at Jamestown. He burst 
forth in his address to the Burgesses, speaking of the 
Parliamentarians, with, " they sent a small power to 
force my submission, which, finding me defenseless, was 
quietly (God pardon me ! ) effected." And one of his 
followers growled out that the Parliament ships had 
" reduced the colony under the power {but never to the 
obedience) of the Usurper." But there was absolutely 
nothing for the fiery old Cavalier to do but to submit. 
He sold his " house in James Cittie, the westernmost of 
the three brick houses I there built," and went away to 


his Greenspring manor, and on one pretext or another 
remained in Virginia. Every poor friend of the King 
found his house and purse open ; the days were spent, 
no doubt, in lamenting the hard times and in drinking 
confusion to Noll and his traitorous crew ; and all 
throuo-h the times of the Commonwealth, the bitter Cav- 
alier was permitted to remain undisturbed. 

This was strange, it may be said, since this man had 
hated the very names of Puritan and Commonwealth, 
with a perfect hatred ; had issued his proclamation de- 
nouncing the friends of the party now in power ; had 
fully approved when they were pilloried for deriding 
the King ; and had risen in armed defiance of the Par- 
liament. The same party in England had beheaded 
the Kina: and confiscated the estates of his followers. 
Why was Berkeley, the King's viceroy, left in peace, 
and none of his adherents persecuted ? The true ex- 
planation may be indicated in a very few words. The 
mass of the Virginia population, and a vast preponder- 
ance of the wealth and influence of the colony were 
Cavalier, — always taking the word to mean friendly to 
Church and Kins^. The Commonwealth's men now in 
power had little personal enmity toward their oppo- 
nents, as in England. There were few vengeances to 
wreak, or old scores to settle ; and to have attempted 
to outrage the great body of Cavalier planters would 
have been absurd. Such outrage might be dangerous. 
Revolutions were uncertain. The Roundheads were 
up to-day, but they might be down to-morrow. The 
King's friends might regain the ascendency. But 
strongest perhaps of all, was the feeling that their ad- 
versaries were good Virginians like themselves. They 
were willing to accept rule under Cromwell or the 


Parliament, but meant to maintain that the true source 
of authority in Virginia was the Assembly. And it 
would be ill in these troubled days to attempt to per- 
secute men who had fought with them for the same 
principle, — that Virginia was to be ruled by Virginians. 
This will explain why the revolution in Virginia was 
conducted in a manner so peaceful. Personal rancor 
and religious animosity were both wanting ; the great 
mass of the Commonwealth's men had as little sympa- 
thy with the nonconformists as the King's men, and 
there was no wish whatever to proscribe their oppo- 
nents. The main thing was to reach harbor in the 
midst of the storm ; and grave men cast about them for 
anchorage, and found it. " After long and serious de- 
bate, and advice taken for the settling of Virginia, it 
was unanimously voted and concluded (April 30, 1652), 
that Mr. Richard Bennett, Esq., be Governor for this 
ensuing year." 

Bennett, the relative of a London merchant, and a 
Roundhead, was a man of consideration who had been 
driven from Virginia with other dissenters, and taken 
refuge in Maryland, where he became the leader of the 
Puritans. He was one of the few prominent men who 
might be said to have good grounds for personal ran- 
cor against the King's men ; but he displayed none. 
Clayborne the rebel was made Secretary of State, and 
amonor the Councillors were Colonels Yeardlev and 
Ludlow, probably relatives of the Captain Yeardley 
and Squire Ludlow who had so warmly welcomed the 
royalist refugees. The government was to be pro- 
visional until further advices from " the States," — 
England. Meanwhile all was to flow from the Assem- 
bly ; that fact was to be distinctly understood. " The 


rioht of election of all officers of this colony shall apper- 
tain to the Burgesses, the representatives of the -people."" 
It was the lifelong claim, to govern themselves, which 
the exigencies of the time had only fortified and made 
more emphatic. 

The new order of things went on quietly, with little 
jar in the machinery. The first House of Burgesses 
under the Commonwealth (April, 1652), numbered 
thirty-five persons, and represented thirteen " counties." ^ 
They were for the most part new men, as was natural 
under the circumstances, but in many counties some of 
the old Cavalier Burgesses were returned. The pro- 
ceedings were harmonious, and indicated no other de- 
sire than to transact the public business and go about 
their own. A few fulminations make a small stir. 
" Mr. John Hammond, Burgess for the lower parish of 
Isle of Wight," — afterwards (1656) the author of 
" Leah and Rachel," or Virginia and Maryland, — is 
found to be " notoriously known a scandalous person, 
and a frequent disturber of the peace by libel and other il- 
legal practices ; " and the worshipful Burgesses accord- 

1 Up to 1633 the Burgesses represented hundreds and plantations; 
in 1634 these were erected into eight shires " to be governed as the 
shires in England." In 1643 the counties are formed, which is hence- 
forth the designation. The thirteen counties at the beginning of the 
ascendency of the Commonwealth (1652), it may be noted for the sat- 
isfaction of Virginia antiquaries, were : — 

Henrico. Warwick. 

Charles City. York. 

James City. Northampton. 

Isle of "Wight. Northumberland. 

Nansemond. Gloucester. 

Lower Norfolk. Lancaster. 

Elizabeth City. 

Surry was added in the next year. Northampton was a new name 
for the old Accomac. 


mg\y, " conceive it fit he be expelled the House." Also 
Mr. James Pyland, Burgess from the same county, is to 
be " removed out of the House and committed to answer 
his mutinous and rebellious declarations, and blasphe- 
mous catechism," — which declarations and catechism re- 
main undiscoverable mysteries. Others were fined and 
imprisoned " for speaking contemptuously of the gov- 
ernment ; " and truculent William Hatcher, former Bur- 
gess from Henrico, and King's man, is summarily dealt 
with. For saying of Mr. Speaker Hill, Roundhead, that 
" the mouth of this House was a Devil," he is sentenced 
to acknowledge his offense on his knees before this As- 
sembly ; which he accordingly does. A brief commotion 
on the Eastern Shore against the new authority is al- 
luded to, but nothing more is heard of it, and all is quiet. 
The truth is, to repeat, that there was little disposi- 
tion to persecute anybody, or arouse bitter blood. If 
any people were persecuted, they were the members of 
the legal fraternity, or, as the act calls them, the " mer- 
cenarie attorneys." The question as to these mercenary 
people had tormented the time. They had been tossed 
to and fro like shuttlecocks at the various Assemblies. 
In 1642 they are allowed to practice, but their fees are 
limited. In 1645 they are " expelled from office." In* 
1647 they are forbidden to " take any fee," — the court 
is " either to open the cause for a weak party or appoint 
some fit man out of the people to do it." In 1656 all 
the acts are repealed, and the attorneys are to be li- 
censed. But last, now (1658), since these mercenary 
attorneys " maintain suits in law to the great prejudice 
and charge of the inhabitants of this colony," they are 
not to "• plead in any court, or give council in any cause 
or controversy, for any kind of reward or profit," on 


penalty of five thousand pounds of tobacco for every of- 
fense. The law ends with a flout at the poor mercenary 
attorneys. They shall swear when they appear in a 
cause, that they have not violated this act, " because 
the breakers thereof, through their suhtilty, cannot easily 
he discerned.''* Thus the minds of the old Virginians 
seem to have been in a state of dire confusion as to how 
these subtle people ought to be treated. 

So the new government went on its way, fairly pleas- 
ing all but the attorneys and those malcontents who 
grumble at every act of a political opponent. This 
class protested that Virginia was at the last gasp ; that 
the act of Parliament of 1651 prohibiting free trade was 
crushing the colony ; and yet by non-enforcement of the 
law, Virginia appears to have continued to trade with 
all the world. The old annals seem to show that Crom- 
well respected the terms of surrender and left the colony 
to manage its own affairs. The Virginia government 
was confessedly provisional. Its " looseness and unset- 
tledness" were recognized. When the Great Protec- 
tor died the Virginians were told that he had " come to 
some resolutions for supplying of that defect," which 
would duly have been done " if the Lord had continued 
life and health to his said Highness ; " and his successor 
Richard consoled them with the promise that the " set- 
tlement of that colony is not neglected." 

The Virginians did not receive this tranquillizing 
assurance with any great enthusiasm. All they asked 
was to be let alone. By the wise neglect of the great 
ruler, who was the real King of England after the dis- 
solution of the Long Parliament, they were allowed to 
choose their own governors and govern themselves with- 
out English interference.. Whether Cromwell meant to 


formally take Virginia into his own hands or not is un- 
certain. It is certain that he never did so. Richard 
Bennett was succeeded in March, 1655, by Edward 
Digges, who was succeeded in 1656 by Samuel Mat- 
thews, all elected by the Burgesses.^ 

These three Governors, who filled the whole period of 
the Commonwealth, were all worthy persons. The last, 
" Captain Samuel Matthews " (the title Captain proba- 
bly indicated that he had been commander of a hun- 
dred), was "an old planter of nearly forty years' stand- 
ing, a most deserving Commonwealth's man, who kept 
a good house, lived bravely, and was a true lover of 
Virginia," — which is a good epitaph. It paints the 
members of a class with whom Virginians are familiar 
— men living on landed estates with their families and 
swarming dependents, keeping open house and wel- 
coming all comers, ruddy of face, hearty of bearing, 
loving good eating and drinking, managing their own 
affairs well, and competent to manage the affairs of the 
public. One fact in the past career of the worthy Com- 
monwealth's man ought not to be forgotten — he had 
persecuted the Puritans. Let us hear Mr. John Ham- 
mond, the author of " Leah and Rachel." " And there 
was in Virginia a certain people congregated into a 
church, calling themselves Independents, which, daily 
increasing, several consultations were had by the state 
of that Colony how to suppress and extinguish them," 
so they were " banished, clapt up in prison and dis- 
armed hy one Colonel Samuel Matthews, then a Coun- 

1 It would be lost time to notice all the misstatements on this and 
other passages of Virginia history. Cromwell appointed none of the 
Governors. He is loosely said to have "named" them, but even that 
rests on vague authority. He was much too busy at home to find 
time for these small American matters. 


sellor in Virginia J^ It was this former Puritan perse- 
cutor who was now the Commonwealth Governor. 

Only once did the " old j^lanter " and the Burgesses 
come into collision, and that was probably owing to the 
fact that William Clayborne, the restless rebel, was his 
Secretary of State. The incident is amusing. The 
practice had been to admit the Governor and Council to 
seats in the Burgesses ; but in 1658 the House rescinded 
that law and excluded them. Thereupon the worthy 
Matthews, after the royal fashion, dissolved them. The 
issue was portentous. Were the old kingly days to 
come back ? The Virginians promptly rebelled. They 
forbade their members to leave Jamestown ; declared 
the House still "whole and entire ; " prescribed an oath 
of secrecy as to their proceedings ; and remained in 
session. The issue was forced, and honest Samuel 
Matthews gives way so far as to say he will refer all 
to Cromwell. But this does not suit the Virginians. 
" The answer returned is unsatisfactory," they reply. 
They are " the representatives of the people, not dis- 
solvable by any power yet extant in Virginia but our 
own." They alone have the power to appoint or re- 
move Governors ; and the sheriff of James City is pe- 
remptorily ordered not to "execute any warrant, pre- 
cept or command directed to you from any other power 
or person than the Speaker of this Honourable House : 
hereof fail not as you will answer the contrary at your 
peril." To end. Colonel William Clayborne, "/ai!e" 
Secretary of State, shall surrender the public records ; 
and " Coll. Clayborne being sent for by the Sergeant 
at Arms," has to deliver them, and takes his receipt 
and discharo^e. 

The revolution begins and ends in precisely three days. 


On the first day of April (1658) the Burgesses are dis- 
solved, but refuse to disperse. On the second they de- 
pose the Governor, but invent a device which will please 
everybody. Here is the whole ingenious proceeding in 
the words of the actors : — 

I. " We, the said Burgesses, do declare that we have 
in ourselves the full power of the election and appoint- 
ment of all officers in this country until such time as 
we shall have order to the contrary from the supreme 
power in England. 

II. " That all former election of Governor and Coun- 
cil be void and null. 

III. "That the power of Governor for the future 
shall be conferred on Coll. Samuel Matthews, Esq., 
who by us shall be invested with all the just rights and 
privileges belonging to the Governor and Captain Gen- 
eral of Virginia." 

All this is done on the day after the dissolution. 
There is to be no misunderstanding. They, the Bur- 
gesses, elected Governor Matthews ; they depose Gov- 
ernor Matthews; they reelect Governor Matthews, who 
"^y us" shall be reinvested with the powers of Gover- 
nor of Virginia. And on the third of April the " old 
planter and true lover of Virginia" cheerfully assented 
and took the oath. 

The cordial relations between the old-new ruler and 
his parliament were not again interrupted. The blood- 
less three days of revolution had placed things on an 
intelliorible basis. Governor Matthews continued to 
rule Vii'ginia until the Restoration was in sight, when, 
as though not wishing to behold that spectacle, the old 
planter and deserving Commonwealth's man expired. 




Virginia remained tranquil during the entire period 
of the Commonwealth with the exception of one year, 
which was marked by a bloody disaster. This and a 
still bloodier incident with which she was connected 
will now be related. 

In the midst of profound quiet intelligence reached 
Jamestown (1656) that new trouble with the Indians 
was probably near. About seven hundred Ricahecri- 
ans, a tribe living beyond the Blue Ridge, had come 
down from the mountains, and established themselves 
near James River Falls, in the neighborhood of the 
present city of Richmond. That meant danger to the 
border families, possibly to the lower settlements ; and 
the Burgesses promj^tly sent a force to drive them 
away. The officer in command was Colonel Edward 
Hill, former Speaker, and called a " devil " by Mr. 
William Hatcher. The result of the campaign was 
melancholy. Colonel Hill marched on the Indians at 
the head of the Virginians and a hundred braves of 
the friendly Pamunkey tribe, commanded by their chief 
Totopotomoi. A battle took place near Richmond, 
and either by surprise or from incapacity. Hill was 
routed by the Ricahecrians. Totopotomoi was killed, 
and the whole force retreated in disorder, after which 
we hear no more of the Ricahecrians, who probably 
went back to their mountains. 

The other incident which disturbed the harmony of 
the Commonwealth regime was more important. A bat- 


tie was fought, followed by bloody executions, which 
decided for the time, at least, the fate of Maryland. 
The chief actor in this fierce business was that same 
William Clayborue, " the rebel," who had so harried 
Leonard Calvert. Calvert had now disappeared, but 
Governor Stone, representing Lord Baltimore, occu- 
pied his seat and was a King's man. So Clayborne and 
his brother commissioners, after receiving the surren- 
der of Virginia, sailed for Maryland (April, 1652) un- 
der the broad authority from Parliament to reduce " all 
the plantations within the Bay of the Chesapeake." 

What followed in Maryland is a vivid picture of the 
times, and belongs to a history of the Virginians, since 
Virginia and the Virginia governors were concerned in 
it. The state of things was curious. The " beauty 
and extraordinary goodness " of this good land of Mary- 
land had attracted covetous eyes. She was the younger 
sister of Virginia, the Rachel of the contemporary 
pamphlet, " Leah and Rachel," signifying Virginia and 
Maryland. " Leah was tender-eyed, but Rachel was 
beautiful and well favored," says the book of Genesis, 
" and Laban said. It is better that I give her to thee than 
that I should give her to another man." Who the suc- 
cessful wooer should be, for the hand of Rachel, was 
now to be decided. Church of England Virginia claimed 
this fair domain under her orisjinal charter. Lord Bal- 
timore, the Roman Catholic, claimed it by the King's 
patent. The Puritans who had gone thither claimed it 
by right of occupancy. And Clayborne, the rebel, claim- 
ing Kent Island as a free gift from Charles L, meant to 
assert his right to that, and in these days of trouble gain 
control of the whole country. There never had been 
the least doubt in the mind of anybody who knew this 


stalwart rebel and politician what his real motives were. 
He wanted Maryland, caring little, it seems, for the 
success of this or that religious sect ; and his brother 
Commissioners were of the same mind. " It was not 
religion," says a contemporary writer, " it was not 
punctilios these Commissioners stood ujDon : it was that 
sweete, that rich, that large country they aimed at." 

The poor Catholics were thus caught between the 
upper and the nether millstone. They had the Parlia- 
ment, the Puritans, and the Church of England men all 
against them ; and it would be ludicrous if it were not 
melancholy to see how partisan writers have distorted 
the facts. Certain historians can see no merit what- 
ever in the unlucky Roman Catholics. They are black 
sheep who ought of right to be fleeced by the saintly. 
They are always in the wrong. The duty of the Lord's 
anointed is to denounce their mummeries and exter- 
minate them. Clayborne, the Puritan leader, is always 
in the right when he tramples on them and puts them 
to the sword. They are to be allowed freedom of con- 
science — except as to popery. And yet they complain ! 
— they, the followers of the most intolerant of all 

The truth is that the Roman Catholics of Maryland 
were the only tolerant people of that frightfully intol- 
erant age. The Governor, it has been seen, was forced 
to swear that he " would not molest any person believ- 
ing in Jesus Christ, for or in respect of religion." But 
their toleration was accounted to them for a crime. 
The Puritan party were their sworn foes, and candid 
Mr. Bancroft says, "had neither the gratitude to re- 
spect the rights of the government by which they had 
been received and fostered, nor magnanimity to continue 


the toleration to which alone they were indebted for 
their residence in the colony ; " for the furthest reach 
of their toleration when they came into power was to 
"confirm the freedom of conscience, provided the liberty 
were not extended to ' popery, prelacy, or licentiousness ' 
of opinion ! " One reads this grim piece of humor with 
a queer sensation. There should be perfect freedom of 
religion — except for Catholics, Church of England peo- 
ple, and others who differed with themselves in theology ! 

Spite of all the fatal bias of the old historians, the 
truth seems to be perfectly plain. The Catholics were 
in their right, and Clayborne and the rest were not. 
Neither the famous rebel, nor the Protestants of any 
description had any rights in Maryland save what were 
granted them by the Catholics. What they acquired 
beyond this, they acquired by force. Clayborne's claim 
to Kent Island had been formally repudiated by the 
Commissioners of Plantations, and thenceforth he was 
an agitator only ; nor were his Puritan or Church of 
England followers any better. But the times were in 
disorder ; the Puritan element had grown powerful ; 
and the hardy rebel grasped it and struck at his enemies 
with it. 

What followed in these years, from 1652 to the end 
of the Commonwealth, was civil war. The restless foe 
of Baltimore had been checkmated often, but a new 
game had begun. Baltimore's friend, the King, was 
dead; the Parliament was in power; and Clayborne, 
the emissary of this Parliament, will go and take his 
own again. The blow was struck at once. As soon as 
Berkelej^ was driven from Jamestown, Clayborne sailed, 
as we have seen, in his frigate for St. Mary's ; put the 
strong hand on Stone, Baltimore's Deputy Governor, 


and only permitted him to remain in nominal authority, 
on his promise to issue writs in the name of the 
" Keepers of the Liberty of England," and to obey the 
officers appointed by him, Clayborne (June, 1652). 

But suddenly the scene changed. These Keepers of 
the Liberty of England, the English Parliament, were 
hustled out by Cromwell, and Stone rose in rebellion, 
declaring that the authority under which Clayborne had 
acted no longer existed. Thereupon the determined 
rebel, who had returned to Virginia, hurried back ; 
compelled Stone to submit ; and ended the whole busi- 
ness by appointing his own men to govern Maryland. 

His own men were naturally Puritans, and the Puri- 
tan element is now fully in power. The revel at once 
begins, for parties two hundred years ago were no 
better nor worse than parties to-day. The Puritans 
choose an Assembly, which meets at Patuxent and 
disfranchises the Catholics — that is to say, everybody 
is to be tolerated ; but he must not be a Catholic or a 
Church of England man. So Maryland is at last in the 
hands of the Claybornites. 

But Cromwell will have his say in that. The grim 
ruler of England interposes his fiat (January, 1654). 
Governor Bennett of Virginia, and those acting under 
his authority, are " to forbear disturbing the Lord Bal- 
timore or his officers or people in Maryland." Also 
Clayborne and the other Commissioners are " not to busy 
themselves about religion^ but to settle the civil govern- 
ment ; " which civil government seems to be tolerably 
well settled by disfranchising the Catholics. Thus, his 
Highness the Lord Protector does not mean to dis- 
own Lord Baltimore, who has recognized his authority. 
It is only afterwards (September, 1655) that he writes; 


" It was not at all intended by us that we should have 
a stop put to the proceedings of those Commissioners" — 
which proceedings of those Commissioners had over- 
turned Lord Baltimore ! 

Such was the curious entanglement and vast confusion 
in the affairs of poor " Rachel " Maryland. But the 
Protector's half-disallowance of the Puritan revel is 
enough for Baltimore. Before this last decree is ful- 
minated, he writes to Governor Stone, upbraiding him 
for yielding ; orders him to resist in arms ; and civil 
war begins (1654), this time to be more or less de- 

Nearly all the old records of these events are by Puri- 
tan writers, and many historians following them have 
adopted their point of view, and their partisan coloring. 
To do so is not to write history. What seems plain is 
this : that in the fierce struggle which now took place 
between the Catholic proprietors and the Puritan and 
other intruders, the right, from first to last, wa^ with the 
Catholics. Both parties had wrangled for a long time ; 
from the moment, indeed, when Clayborne's pinnace had 
gone out into the Potomac to fight, more than twenty 
years before. Now the last collision came — a good, 
bloody battle, which was to decide to whom Maryland 

The battle was fought at the mouth of the Severn, 
in the vicinity of the present city of Annapolis (March 
25, 1654). The Puritan settlements were chiefly on the 
Severn, the Patuxent, and the Isle of Kent. Anne 
Arundel, which they had new-named Providence, — now 
Annapolis, — was their headquarters. The Roman Cath- 
olic capital was St. Mary's, on the south coast, near the 
mouth of the Potomac. 


In these last days of March, when the spring was 
near, Stone, sailing up from St. Mary's, attacked the 
followers of Clayborne, and was routed utterly, with a 
loss of twenty killed and a considerable number wounded. 
This is nearly all that we know about the battle. Stone 
himself was " shot in many places," and the remains of 
his force scattered, or were captured. The old Puri- 
tan chronicler describing the scene, exclaims joyfully, 
" All the place was strewed with Papist beads, where 
they fled." Maryland now belonged to the Puritans, 
and as the age was matter-of-fact, and opposition to the 
strongest was necessarily treason, the Catholic leaders 
were sentenced to death, and four of them were then 
and there executed. Stone's life was only saved by the 
intercession of some personal friends. As to the " Jes- 
uit fathers," we are told that they were " hotly pur- 
sued and escaped to Virginia where they inhabited a 
mean low hut," — which seems to have been a pleasant 

This was the end of the Maryland business. Clay- 
borne the rebel, the real head and front of everything, 
had at last succeeded in his twenty years' struggle. But 
the battle of the Severn was indecisive in the long run. 
The whirligig of time was to bring round its revenges. 
The unlucky Catholics were under the ban for years ; 
and Cromwell would do nothing for them, — in fact, he 
had promptly declared, after the Severn defeat, that the 
proceedings of " those Commissioners " were not to stop. 
But still, there was his friend Baltimore, and he would 
not " settle the country, by declaring his determinate 
will," as he was besought to do. 

But the day of trouble came for him, too, at last. The 
year 1658 arrived, and the Great Protector was about 


to drop the sceptre. The Commonwealth of England 
was not the Commonwealth of the first ardent years. 
Englishmen were growing weary of it, and coming 
events cast long shadows. The Restoration was at 
hand, and Cromwell's life near its end. The Puritans 
of Maryland could look for no more support from him, 
and then tolerance became the fashion again. It was a 
real tolerance now, and the Catholics once more raised 
their heads. In March, 1658, the Catholics of St. 
Mary's and the Puritans of St. Leonard's consulted, and 
the province was surrendered to Lord Baltimore. In 
the autumn of the same year the great Lord Protector 
passed away ; in 1660 Charles II. resumed authority, 
and the province returned to its old allegiance ; and the 
long civil convulsion was followed by profound repose. 

Of this curious civil war, William Clayborne, the 
Virginian, was as much the controlling spirit as Crom- 
well was the controlling spirit of the revolution in Eng- 
land. His character must appear from the narrative. 
He was a man of strong will ; a politician of the first 
ability ; haughty, implacable, " faithful to his friends, 
and faithful to his enemies," as was said of another 
person ; and whether a conscientious Puritan or not, 
had the acumen to see the political importance of that 
element at the time, and the skill to use it as a weap- 
on. By the aid of it he aimed to achieve his ends — 
the redress of his personal grievances, the overthrow of 
his adversaries, and the control of the province of Mary- 
land. All these objects he attained. The ground 
crumbled under his feet at last, and the Kiug's-men at 
the Restoration promptly turned him out of his place in 
the Virginia Council even ; power had already escaped 
from his grasp in Maryland. But he fought his ene- 


mies to the last, this " execrable incendiary and felon- 
convict " of the historical imagination. Among the tall 
fio-ures of the epoch in which he lived, he is one of the 
tallest and the haughtiest. 



Suddenly, with the coming of the spring of 1660, all 
things changed in Virginia. The King was returning 
to his own again. The Cavaliers, who had been sulking 
for years under the mild rule of the Commonwealth, 
threw up their hats and cheered, and indulged in out- 
bursts of joyous enthusiasm, from Flower de Hundred 
to the Capes on the ocean. 

It was rather grotesque. One might have supposed 
that for all these eight years past they had labored un- 
der dire oppression ; that they had dodged here and 
there to escape persecution ; and that they saw in the 
smiling young man of thirty, with his silk coat ^ and 
curling periwig, who was returning to London in the 
midst of shouting crowds, their deliverer from all this 
despotism. The smiling young man cared very little 
about them. He was thinking a great deal more about 
taking his ease with his mistresses, than of regulating 
the affairs of his good subjects of Virginia. When he 
did give them his attention it was to cripple their com- 
merce, and grant the richest lands in the colony to his 

This was yet in the future. The sentiment of the 
Virginians in favor of royalty was strong and confiding. 

1 The tradition Avas that Charles II. wore at his coronation a coat 
or robe of Virginia silk. * 


Then they had achieved their main point. The repre- 
sentatives, in the colony, of the psalm-singing fanatics of 
England with their nasal cant and hateful dissent would 
go now. Silk, and lace, and curling hair would be once 
more the fashion ; the close-cropped wretches in black 
coats and round hats would fade into the background ; 
and the good old Cavaliers, like the King, would have 
their own aofain. 

There is no doubt that in Virginia the feeling of joy 
at the Restoration was enormous. The King's-men 
suddenly became prominent again. The plantations 
resounded with revelry. Men, women, and children 
hailed the new era with immense joy ; and Berkeley 
waiting at Greenspring, as Charles II. had waited at 
the Hague, returned in triumph, by a vote of the Bur- 
gesses, to his place of Governor. 

The events of this time have much exercised the his- 
torians. Some maintain that the Virginians were good 
Commonwealth's-men, who submitted to the new re'gime 
with reluctant growls. Others will have it that they 
were all King's-men and " proclaimed " the royal dar- 
ling of theg? hearts two years before the English Res- 
toration. Neither statement has any foundation. The 
great body of the Virginia population was unquestiona- 
bly Cavalier, and the restoration of the royal authority 
in England was accompanied by its restoration in Vir- 
ginia ; but the latter did not precede the former. There 
is no doubt whatever that if the Virginians could have 
restored the King earlier they would have done so ; and 
Berkeley, who is known to have been in close commu- 
nication and consultation with the leading Cavaliers, had 
sent word to Charles II. in Holland, toward the end of 
the Commonwealth, that he would raise his flag in Vir- 


ginia if there was a prospect of success. This incident 
has been called in question. It is testified to by William 
Lee, Sheriff of London, and a cousin of Richard Lee, 
Berkeley's emissary, as a fact within his knowledge. 
Charles declined the offer, but was always grateful to 
the Virginians. The country is said to have derived 
from the incident its name of the " Old Dominion," 
where the King was King, or might have been, before 
he was King in England ; and the motto of the old 
Virginia shield, " En dat Virginia quartam," in allusion 
to England, Scotland, Ireland, and Virginia, is supposed 
to have also originated at this time. 

As to the "proclamation," in any sense, of the King 
about 1658, that is not established and is improbable. 
Berkeley did not even "proclaim" him when he returned 
to power in March, 1660. The facts are clearly shown 
by the records and may be briefly stated. 

Cromwell died in September, 1658, and Richard Crom- 
well, his successor, resigned the government in April of 
the next year. There was thus an interregnum during 
which no settled authority of any description existed in 
England ; and Governor Matthews having died in the 
same year (1659), there was none in Virginia. During 
this period of suspense and quasi chaos, the General 
Assembly was the only depositary of authority. This 
was recognized and prompt action taken. There was 
nothing to do but elect a Governor, and the only question 
was, a Commonwealth's Governor or a royal Governor? 
There was no Commonwealth, or it had no head ; the 
Cavalier sentiment in Virginia was overpowering ; and 
the Virginians did what might have been expected : 
they elected Berkeley, who, in 1650, had received a new 
commission as Governor from Charles II., then at Breda. 


It is only necessary to glance at the old records to see 
the whole process of the business. In March, 1660, the 
planters assemble at Jamestown, and their first Act de- 
fines the whole situation : " Whereas by reason of the. 
late distractions (which God in his mercy putt a sud- 
daine period to), there being in England noe resident 
absolute and gen'll confessed power, — be it enacted 
and confirmed : That the supreame power of the Govern- 
ment of this country shall he resident in the Assembly., and 
that all writts issue in the name of the Grand Assembly 
of Virginia until such a command or commission come 
out of England, as shall be by the Assembly adjudged 
lawfull." And the second act declares, " that the hon- 
ourable Sir William Berkeley bee Governour and Cap- 
tain Gen'll of Virginia." He is to govern according to 
English and Virginia law ; to call an Assembly once in 
two years, or oftener if he sees cause ; is not to dissolve 
the Assembly without the consent of a majority of the 
members ; and all writs are to issue " in the name of 
the Grand Assembly of Virginia," — not in the King's. 

Thus Berkeley resumed office, as what he called him- 
self, " the servant of the Assembly." In the absence of 
orders from some " resident absolute and general con- 
fessed power " in England, the Assembly was the only 
source of authority. Berkeley therefore accepted his 
authority from it, not from the King ; and said in his 
address before the House : " I do therefore in the pres- 
ence of God and you, make this safe protestation for us 
all, that if any supreme settled power appears I will im- 
mediately lay down my commission ; but will live most 
submissively obedient to any power God shall set over 
me, as the experience of eight years has showed I have 


All this would seem to be quite plain — that Berke- 
ley was invested with power as " Governor and Cap- 
tain General of Virginia" by the Burgesses of Virginia, 
and held his office from them. It is true that it was 
nearly the same as holding it from the King. The 
Assembly was full Cavalier, and a single word in their 
assertion of authority revealed their thought. They 
assumed the government of Virginia in the absence of 
any " resident " confessed power in England. The 
non-resident confessed power was Charles II., then 
on the Continent, and they thus acknowledged him. 
When he came to his throne again in May following 
this March, he sent Berkeley a new commission ; and 
in October of the same year (1660), the ruler of Vir- 
ginia is again " the Right Honourable Sir William 
Berkeley, his Majesties Governor.^'' 

So the exile of Greenspring, after all his ups and 
downs, comes back to his Jamestown " State House," 
and will remain there in peace until Bacon marches 
to thrust him out, and put the torch to it. 



Virginia had thus come back to the royal fold, not 
suspecting that she was about to be fleeced. As yet, 
however, there were no heart-burnings, and the only 
event which disturbed the harmony of the time was 
without significance. 

This was the " Oliverian Plot," as it was called at 
the time, in September, 1663. A number of indented 
servants conspired to "anticipate the period of their 


freedom," and made an appointment to assemble at 
Poplar Spring in Gloucester, with what precise designs 
it is now impossible to discover. They were betrayed 
by one of their number ; and Berkeley promptly ar- 
rested all who had assembled, four of whom were duly 
hanged. No men of any consideration were engaged in 
the plot, and its only result was that the Burgesses or- 
dered that thenceforth twenty guardsmen and an officer 
should attend upon the House and the Governor (1663). 

The stigma of the time was the merciless intolerance 
towards the Friends, or Quakers. Here as elsewhere in 
America they were treated with a harshness which dis- 
graces the epoch. They were denounced as " turbulent 
people teaching lies, miracles, false visions and prophe- 
cies," as disorganizers and enemies of society. They 
were to be fined for non-attendance on the services of 
the Established Church. They were not to attend their 
own conventicles, and no ship-master was to bring them 
into the colony. No person was to receive them into 
his house ; and Mr. John Porter, Burgess from Lower 
Norfolk, charged with being " loving to the Quakers," 
was dismissed from the Assembly as one unworthy to 
sit in it. The poor Quakers were to go out of Virginia 
and no more were to come in. If they insisted on re- 
turning they were to be treated as felons. 

There were other classes of people, also, who were 
looked upon with the same evil eye ; among them the 
new sect of Baptists, " schismatical persons so averse 
to the established religion, and so filled with the new- 
fangled conceits of their heretical inventions as to refuse 
to have their children baptized." Their own ceremony 
was, of course, a mockery, and all refusing " in con- 
tempt of the divine sacrament of baptism to carry 


their child to a lawful minister to have them baptized, 
shall be amerced two thousand pounds of tobacco" 
(1662). It is scarce worth while to take up further 
space with these unhappy persecutions. The poor 
apology of the Virginians was that other people were 
no better. 

For about ten years now the Colony goes on its way 
in a humdrum fashion, passing laws for the regulation 
of its internal affairs. The King's j)ardon is not to ex- 
tend to such persons as plant tobacco contrary to the 
Virginia statute (1661). In each county are to be built 
houses for " educating poor children in the knowledge 
of spinning, weaving, and other useful occupations" 
(1668). Rogues are to be held in awe, and "women 
causing scandalous suits " are to be " ducked." To ac- 
complish these just ends " a pillory, a pair of stocks, a 
whipping-post, and a ducking-stool " shall be set up 
"neere the court house in -every county." The duck- 
ing-stool is a pole with a seat upon one end so balanced 
on a pivot, near some convenient pond or stream, that the 
offender, placed on the seat, may be once, twice, or thrice 
dipped down and "ducked" for her offense. This dire 
punishment is not for the mere harmless circulators of 
interesting personal gossip, but for "brabling women 
who often slander and scandalize their neighbours, for 
which their poore husbands are often brought into 
chargeable and vexatious suits and cast in great dam- 
ages." These are to be "punished by ducking" — a 
melancholy proof that even in these Arcadian days the 
tongue required control. 

A ' single event of political importance marks this 
period: the restriction of the elective franchise to "fFree- 
holders and housekeepers" (1670). This is attributed 


as usual to the perverse King's-men as an original in- 
vention of theirs to abridge human freedom ; and yet a 
glance at the record might have shown the historians 
that the Commonwealth's-men first " cut down the sacred 
right of suffrage " in Virginia. The record is plain and 
brief. From the first years to 1655 all the settlers had 
a voice in public affairs : first in the daily matters of 
the hundreds, and after 1619 in electing Burgesses. 
No proposition was ever made to change this " ancient 
usage." But in 1655 it was changed by the men of 
the Commonwealth. In that year the Burgesses de- 
clared that none but " housekeepers, whether freehold- 
ers, leaseholders, or otherwise tenants," should be " cape- 
able to elect Burgesses." One year afterwards (1656) 
the ancient usage was restored, and all " freemen " were 
allowed to vote, since it was " something hard and un- 
agreeable to reason that any person shall pay equal 
taxes, and yet have no vote in elections ; " but the free- 
men must not vote " in a tumultuous way." Such was 
the record of the Commonv/ealth. In 1670 the King's- 
men restored the first act, restricting the suffrage again. 
The reason is stated. The "usual way of choosing bur- 
gesses by the votes of all persons who, having served 
their time, are freemen of this country,'' produced " tu- 
mults at the election." Therefore it would be better 
to follow the English fashion and "grant a voyce in 
such election only to such as by their estates, real or 
personal, have interest enough to tye them to the en- 
deavour of the publique good." So, after this time none 
but " ffreeholders and housekeepers " were to vote. 

The reason for this invasion of the " sacred right," 
first by the Commonwealth's-men, then by the King's- 
men, lies on the surface. The persons who had "served 


their time" as indented servants, had "little interest in 
the country ; " they were making disturbances at the elec- 
tions. Voters ought to be men of good character, and 
have such a stake in the colony as would tie them to 
the endeavor of the public good. This was thence- 
forth the determinate sentiment, and the law remained 
settled, with the exception of one year (1676), when 
Bacon's Assembly changed it, and declared that " free- 
men " should again vote. This was swept away by the 
general repeal of all " Bacon's laws;" and the freehold 
restriction remained the law of Virginia nearly to the 
present time. 

Thus this enormous question, which convulses the 
modern world, already convulsed those old Virginians. 
First, all freemen vote ; then only freeholders ; then 
the freemen again ; then the freeholders only, again ; 
then freemen once more ; and finally, only the free- 

We have now reached the year 1670, and a great 
civil convulsion is at hand. Virginia is about to be 
shaken as by an earthquake ; to writhe under intes- 
tine war ; and it is interesting to know the condition 
of the country. This is ascertainable from Governor 
Berkeley's response to the inquiries of the Lords Com- 
missioners of Foreign Plantations, a document which 
has fortunately been preserved. Virginia, he states, is 
ruled by a Governor and sixteen Councillors, commis- 
sioned by his Majesty ; and a Grand Assembly, consist- 
ing of two Burgesses from each county, meets annually, 
which levies taxes, hears appeals, and passes laws of all 
descriptions, which are to be sent to the Lord Chancel- 
lor for his approval, as in accordance with the laws of 
the realm. There are forty thousand people in Vir- 


ginianow, of whom six thousand are white servants and 
two thousand negro slaves. Since 1619, when they first 
came, the negroes have grown an hundred-fold ; chiefly 
by natural increase, since but two or three ships bring- 
ing new slaves have come in seven years. About fif- 
teen hundred white servants, mostly English, a few 
Scotch, and fewer Irish, came yearly. 

The freemen of Viro^inia number more than " eiirht 
thousand horse," and are bound to muster monthly in 
every county, to be ready for the Indians ; but the In- 
dians are " absolutely subjected, so that there is no fear 
of them." There are five forts in Virginia, mounted 
with thirty cannon : two on James River, and one on 
the three other rivers of York, Rappahannock, and 
Potomeck, " but God knows we have neither skill or 
ability to make or maintain them." As to ships trading 
to Virginia, near eighty come out yearly from England 
and Ireland, and a few "ketches" from New England. 
Virginia has never yet had, at one time, more than two 
small ones, of not more than twenty tons burden. The 
cause of this deplorable fact is that Virginia is ground 
down by the " mighty and destructive obstructions " of 
the navigation law which crushes her. Neither " small 
or great vessels are built here, for we are most obedient 
to all laws, whilst the New England men break through 
and trade to any place that their interest leads them 

As to the Church, there are forty- eight parishes, and 
the ministers are well paid. They are not always ex- 
emplary people : " The worst are sent us, and we have 
had few that we could boast of since Cromwell's 
tyranny drove divers men hither." It would be better 
" if they would pray oftener and preach less." 


There is no public system of education ; every man 
teaches his own children ; but this is not so lamentable. 
And then Sir William Berkeley winds up his account 
of the Virginia colony with the famous expression of 
his private opinion on education and the vile invention 
of printing : " I thank God there are no free schools, 
nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hun- 
dred years ; for learning has brought disobedience into 
the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels 
against the best governments. God keep us from 
both." This venomous tirade was the outburst of a man 
who worshiped the monarchic idea, and had the acu- 
men to see that free thought w-as its enemy. He seems 
to have held his views conscientiously. The man was 
not a truckler, fitting his opinions to promote his for- 
tunes. He was a bigot in politics as other men were in 

A notable feature of this report is the statement of 
the large increase in the population. In 1650 there 
were only about fifteen thousand people in Virginia ; 
in 1670 there were forty thousand. Thus, in twenty 
years the population had nearly trebled, a remarkable 
rate of increase. What was the explanation of it? The 
reply is easy. The execution of Charles I. in 1649 had 
driven great numbers of his friends to Virginia. It 
was the promised land of " distressed Cavaliers," as the 
old narratives called them, and they flowed to Virginia 
in a steady stream during the Commonwealth period. 
This might have been expected. In England was the 
jfierce struggle of the factions, friends of the army and 
friends of the Parliament, who agreed at least upon 
one point : that all adherents of Charles Stuart, the 
tyrant, were to be crushed. Thus England was no 


place for the Kings-men. The pleasant fields were no 
longer pleasant. The old home was no longer home. 
At any moment the tramp of a Roundhead detachment, 
coming to arrest them, might intrude on the silence of 
the manor-houses. There was no safety for them in 
the home-land, and it was natural to go and look for it 
in Virginia. Good Cavaliers like themselves abounded 
there. The land was cheap and the climate delightful ; 
the Church in which they worshiped was still open ; on 
the banks of the great rivers they might acquire landed 
estates, if they could pay the small price for them, and 
hunt the fox, and toast the King, and talk with old 
comrades who had preceded them of Marston Moor, 
and the fearful Naseby, and how the good cause had 
gone down in blood. In Virginia there were no ene- 
mies to lurk, and eavesdrop, and betray them. The 
Commonwealth's-men were in power, but they interfered 
with nobody. They might look sidewise at Sir William 
Berkeley, who had no right to remain longer in the 
Colony, but they did not order him out of it. They 
might hate the Book of Common Prayer, which was to 
be used for only a year after the surrender ; but it was 
still used in the churches, and the Commonwealth's-men 
turned their eyes in another direction, refusing to notice 
the fact. 

Thus, Virginia, " the ^ last couritry belonging to Eng- 
land that submitted to obedience to the Commonwealth," 
was the place for the Cavalier people. It was a haven 
of refuge in the pitiless storm ; and all through the 
feverish years of the Commonwealth, when the home- 
land was so dreary, the "distressed" fugitives were 
stealing out of the country, ^ud saijing with s^d or glad 
hearts Virginiaward. Some were penniless, but had 


friends or relations there. Others had saved something 
from the wreck. Many of them were persons of rank, 
since that class of people ran special danger in England, 
and Virginia narrowly escaped becoming a place of 
refuge for a person of the highest rank of all, — Queen 
Henrietta Maria herself. She is said to have resolved 
to sail for Virginia in a fleet commanded by Sir William 
Davenant, in 1651, not long after the King's execution. 
She did not do so ; but the poet set out, and was cap- 
tured by the ships of the Parliament. The intercession 
of his brother poet, Milton, is said to have alone saved 
his life. Thus, Virginia came near seeing on her soil 
the "Little Queen" of Charles I., and the author of 
" Gondibert," " rare Sir William Davenant," who boasted 
that he was the son of Shakespeare. 

Of the extent of the Cavalier immigration between 
1650 and 1670 there can be no doubt whatever. It 
was so large and respectable in character that the 
King's-men speedily took the direction of social and 
political aJBPairs. Few Commonwealth' s-men came to a 
country where the air was full of Church and King in- 
fluences ; and the Cavaliers were completely in the as- 
cendency. The fact would seem to be unmistakable 
on the face of the record, but it has been called in ques- 
tion ; it has even been said that the old society was 
largely made up of servants and felons. The statement 
is wholly unfounded. It is true that in 1670 there were 
two thousand slaves and six thousand white servants in 
Virginia, but there were thirty-two thousand free peo- 
ple ; and the servants were merely servants, a class dis- 
franchised by law. As to the number of " felons," Jef- 
ferson placed the whole number sent over, from the 
time of the settlement to the year 1787, at less than 


two thousand ; and the whole number of such persons 
and their descendants in that year at four thousand, 
which, he said, was " little more than one thousandth 
part of the whole inhabitants." Nothing in fact is 
plainer than that the servant or felon element in Vir- 
ginia society counted socially and politically for noth- 

The character of the King's-men who came over dur- 
ing the Commonwealth period has also been a subject 
of discussion. They have been called, even by Vir- 
ginia writers, as we have seen, " butterflies of aristoc- 
racy," who had no influence in affairs or in giving its 
coloring to Virginia society. The facts entirely con- 
tradict the view. They and their descendants were 
the leaders in public afl^airs, and exercised a controlling 
influence upon the community. Washington was the 
great-grandson of a royalist who took refuge iu Vir- 
ginia during the Commonwealth. George Mason was 
the descendant of a colonel who fought for Charles II. 
Edmund Pendleton was of royalist origin, and lived and 
died the most uncompromising of Churchmen, Richard 
Henry Lee, who moved the Declaration, was of the fam- 
ily of Richard Lee, who had gone to invite Charles 11. 
to Virginia. Peyton, and Edmund Randolph, President 
of the First Congress, and Attorney-General, were of 
an old royalist family. Archibald Cary, who threat- 
ened to stab Patrick Henry if he was made dictator, 
was a relative of Lord Falkland, and heir apparent at 
his death to the barony of Hunsdon. Madison and 
Monroe were descended from royalist families, — the 
first from a refugee of 1653, the last from a captain 
in the army of Charles L And Patrick Henry and 
Thomas Jefferson, afterwards the great leaders of demo- 


cratic opinion, were of Church and King blood, since 
the father of Henry was a loyal officer who " drank the 
King's health at the head of his regiment ; " and the 
mothers of both were Church of England women, de- 
scended from royalist families. 

The point may seem unduly elaborated. But it is 
well to establish the disputed questions of history, and 
this one has been disputed. One of the highest authori- 
ties in American history has described the Cavalier ele- 
ment in Virginia as only " perceptible." It was really 
so strong as to control all things, — the forms of soci- 
ety, of religion, and the direction of public affairs. The 
fact was so plain that he who ran might read it. 



The " Great Rebellion in Virginia " burst forth in 
1676, just one hundred years before another great re- 
bellion of which it was the prophecy. Nothing succeeds 
like success, and history is polite to victors ; to those 
who fail it is merciless. The English and American 
rebellions of 1640, 1688, and 1776, are the English and 
American " revolutions." The risins: of the Virginians 
in 1676, which was precisely similar, is the great "re- 
bellion," since it met with disaster. 

What led to this political revolution ending in an open 
defiance of the Crown, may seem insufficient to account 
for it. The two main grievances were the English navi- 
gation acts, and the grant of authority to two English 
noblemen to sell land-titles and manage other matters 
in Virginia. But under these apparently mild causes of 


complaint was a vast mass of real oppression and a 
whole world of misery and suppressed rage. 

The trade laws were the prime grievance. When 
Charles II. returned to his own again, the old law of 
the Commonwealth (1651) was reenacted : that the 
English colonies, including Virgiuia, should only trade 
with England in English ships manned by Englishmen. 
There was this vital difference however : the law of the 
Commonwealth seems not to have been enforced, and 
the law of the Restoration was enforced without mercy. 
Cromwell had apparently respected the terms of the 
Virginia surrender of 1652, or, for reasons of his own, 
chose to shut his eyes to the fact that Virginia was trad- 
ing with all the world. Charles II. and his advisers 
kept their eyes wide open, and would neither permit 
this foreign trade, nor even any trade with the other 
colonies without a heavy excise. The whole commerce 
of Virginia was thus held in the inexorable clutch of 
England. It was a huge and grinding monopoly. The 
great staple, tobacco — the very currency of the colony, 
— and all other produce, came to the one market, Eng- 
land, to humbly ask the one purchaser what he would 
be good enough to pay for them. 

This was not only a political wrong, — it was an enor- 
mous blunder. The system crippled the colony, and by 
discouraging production decreased the English revenue. 
The first principles of political economy seemed to be 
unknown to the statesmen of the time. To profit from 
Virginia they ground down Virginia. Instead of friends 
they were enemies who caught her by the throat and 
cried " pay that thou owest." Exports were loaded 
with a heavy duty both in Virginia and England. Be- 
fore the outward-bound ship could sail past Point Com- 


fort to the ocean there was the " castle duty " to pay, 
and, if she did not stop, the thunder of cannon brought 
her to. When the ship reached England there was the 
Eno-lish duty, too, — and matters were so arranged that 
all this burden fell on the Virginia producer. Even 
the trade with the other colonies was hampered with 
the same fetters ; and, crowning outrage of all, a great 
swarm of collectors and other oflicials received the 
money and put it in their own pockets. 

Virginia was thus loaded with a weight which brought 
her to her knees; but unfortunately that humble attitude 
did not disarm her English friends. Charles II., and his 
ministers would hear of no change in the law. What 
the officials in England and Virginia wanted was money, 
and Virginia was ground down to the earth to supply it. 
At last a sort of despair came. The planters resorted 
to " stints " and " plant cutting " to diminish or destroy 
the tobacco crop, and thus enhance the price. This did 
not effect the object. In 1670 and the years following 
the price fell almost to nothing, and still the crushing 
duty was subtracted from this nothing. Then the Vir- 
ginia planter found himself a beggar. Tobacco was his 
source of revenue. It clothed himself, his wife and 
children, and defrayed all his expenses beyond mere 
subsistence. When the inexorable London merchant 
under the inexorable English law snatched it away 
from him, he and his family were to go in rags. 

This was enough to exasperate a peo23le as restive as 
the Virginians ; but unfortunately this was not all. In 
the dark days following the execution of Charles I., his 
wandering son on the continent, who was theoretically 
King of England, had granted to some " distressed cav- 
aliers" of the time, the region of country called the 


" Northern Neck," between the Rappahannock and the 
Potomac, as a place of refuge from the ire of the Com- 
monwealth's-men. This grant was afterward recalled ; 
but in 1673 the King granted to the Earl of Arlington 
and Lord Culpeper, two of his favorites, "all that 
entire tract, territory, region, and dominion of land 
and water commonly called Virginia., together with the 
territory of Accomack,'' to be held by the said noble- 
men for the space of thirty-one years, at a yearly rent 
of forty shillings to be paid on " the feast day of St. 
Michael the Arch Angell." They were to have all the 
quit-rents and lands escheated to the crown ; to make 
conveyances in fee simple ; and manage all things after 
their pleasure. No holder of land by valid title was to 
be disturbed, but with this single exception they were 
to be the masters in Virginia. 

This portentous grant raised a great outcry. The 
two foreign lords had become the owners of Virginia 
with her forty thousand people. All the honest men 
honestly in possession of escheated lands were liable to 
be turned out of their houses at a moment's warning:. 
The revenues of the colony were to be received by the 
new owners of it. They were to appoint public offi- 
cers, to lay off new counties, and present to the par- 
ishes. In broad sweep and minute detail, the King's 
patent was an enormity. By a scratch of the royal 
pen, Virginia, which had been so faithful to him, was 
conveyed away, as a man conveys away his private 
estate, to two of the trickiest courtiers of the English 

The Burgesses promptly sent commissioners to pro- 
test against this outrage. There was a long wrangle 
with the King's officials, but Charles II. was too care- 


less to feel ill-humor. He had no desire to wrong his 
faithful Virginians : " Those quit rents had never come 
into the royal exchequer," he said ; he had meant them 
for "the benefit of that our colony." He was "gra- 
ciously inclined to favor his said subjects of Virginia," 
and would grant them a new charter for " the settle- 
ment and confirmation of all things " after their wishes. 
But suddenly the perverse Virginians took matters into 
their own hands. The new charter was drafted and 
then " passing through the offices," when " the news of 
Bacon's rebellion stopped it in the Hamper Office," 
which was the Destruction Office. 

To these grievances were added the confinement of 
the suffrage to freeholders (1670), which disfranchised 
a large number of persons ; and the failure of Gover- 
nor Berkeley to protect the frontier from tlie Indians. 
These " heathen," as they were then styled, had begun 
to threaten the colony. Their jealousy^ had probably 
been aroused by an expedition made by Captain Henry 
Batte beyond the Alleghanies, probably as far as the 
New River country (about 1670). To this was added 
intense resentment, the result of a collision in the sum- 
mer of 1675. A party of Doegs attacked the frontier 
in Stafford and committed outrages ; were pursued into 
Maryland by a large force of Virginians; and stood 
at bay in an old palisaded fort on the present site of 
Washington. Here six Indian chiefs were killed in 
defiance of a flag of truce, and the rest on a moonlight 
night made a rush and escaped to the Blue Ridge Moun- 
tains. Here they inflamed all the border tribes by an 
account of their wrongs ; committed barbarous outrages 
on the frontier families; and the men of the lowland 
rose in their wrath and demanded to be led against 


tliem. In the spring of 1676 five hundred men were 
ready to march, when Governor Berkeley disbanded 
them, alleging that the frontier forts were sufficient 
protection for the joeople. 

This action was received by the Virginians with sul- 
len indignation. The forts were utterly useless, they 
said, and his Honor was fearful that war with the In- 
dians would injure his monopoly in the trade in beaver- 
skins. But Berkeley was not thinking of his beaver- 
skins. He objected to commissioning an armed force 
on more serious grounds. The country was in a flame, 
and the Virginians were becoming des|)erate. After 
overthrowing the Indians it was probable that the res- 
tive planters would ask themselves whether there were 
not others to overthrow. What was plain to Sir Wil- 
liam Berkeley was that he was standing on a volcano : 
he was naturally indisposed to unloose the hidden fires ; 
and the Virginians, finding that they had friends no- 
where, began to look to themselves.^/ 

Such was the state of public feeling in May, 1676. 
Let us now glance at the stage of the approaching drama. 
Virginia was still the narrow strip of country between 
the Potomac and the Nottaway, from the bay to the 
head of Tidewater. From " James Cittie," the centre, 
a town of less than twenty houses, radiated the popula- 
tion growing ever sparser toward the extremities. Be- 
yond the Chesapeake was the " Kingdom of Accomack," 
a populous region of sand and surf, fertile fields and rich 
oyster-beds, of sailors and 'longshoremen who had seen 
Clayborne pass in his pinnaces, going to attack the Bal- 
timoreans. Across the peninsula from " James Cittie " 
were the rich counties of York and Gloucester, along 
the banks of the great river where Powhatan had held 


court in his " Chief Place of Council." He has gone 
away for a long time now, and Werowocomoco and 
the famous Uttamussac shrine have disappeared. The 
houses of the planters peep from the woods, and life 
has become easy and luxurious ; it was here, as we 
have seen, that the exiled Cavaliers were " feasting and 
carousincf." This was indeed the heart of the col- 
ony ; Virginia, with her forty thousand people, was 
condensed there. Beyond, toward the Potomac, the 
Nottaway, and the mountajins, the dwellings grew grad- 
ually farther apart and were inhabited by borderers 
who watched, gun in hand, against the savages. 

We may take in thus, at a glance, that old Virginia 
of 1676, a little garden spot cut out of the American 
wilderness between the ocean and the Blue Pidge. In 
the Lowland, well-to-do planters traveling to James- 
town on horseback, or going thither in their sloops ; 
higher up " well-armed housekeepers " living in log- 
houses ; and on the border the pioneers in their stock- 
ade forts. It is everywhere an English society, swear- 
ing allegiance to the King upon every occasion, but 
ready in the same breath to-swear revolution and fight 
for the latter oath against the former. They have en- 
dured the wretched state of affairs for a great many 
years now ; the general rejoicing at the King's return 
has quite disappeared ; and the Virginians are ready .to 
rise against him. 

This brief statement will indicate the situation of af- 
fairs in the spring of 1676. The country was ripe for 
rebellion : the slumbering fires ready to flame at the 
touch of a finger. At this moment a popular young 
man applied to Sir William Berkeley for a commission 
to march against the Indians ; the commission was re- 
fused ; and Virginia rose in revolution. 



Virginia was warned of what was coming by three 
ominous presages : one, " a large comet streaming like a 
horse-tail westward;" another, "fflights of wild pigeons 
nigh a quarter of the mid-hemisphere, and of their 
length was no visible end," which reminded old planters 
of the same phenomenon just before they were attacked 
by Opechancanough ; and the third presage was " swarms 
of flies about an inch long, and as big as the top of a 
man's little finger, which ate the new-sprouted leaves 
from the tops of the trees." There could be no man- 
ner of doubt that these ominous apparitions of comets, 
pigeons, and locusts foretold disaster; and in 1676 the 
furies duly descended on unhappy Virginia. 

The Great Rebellion which now flamed out is so 
curious and important an event that it deserves mi- 
nute attention. We may pass over whole decades of 
Virginia history without losing much. The wrangles 
of governors, and assemblies, and all the petty incidents 
of the times, are of no importance or interest. But 
here, every hour is crowded with events full of strong 
passion and shaping great issues. The figures are he- 
roic ; the denoument tragic. This Rebellion is the most 
striking occurrence in American history, for the first 
century and a half after the settlement of the country. 
It was armed defiance of Eugtand, and bore a curiously 
close resemblance to the passionate struggle which had 
preceded it on English soil. Here, as there, the people 
rose against oppression, levied armies, chose a leader, 


fouo-lit battles, and succumbed at last, and were punished 
by sliot or baiter. Thus this singular American revo- 
lution of the seventeenth century, following its English 
prototype, is an event thrusting itself upon the atten- 
tion, and it is necessary to follow it in detail. Twenty 
years of the Commonwealth and the Restoration have 
been summed up in a general statement. Twenty weeks 
of this year, 1676, will contain more matter to instruct 
and interest. 

The central figure of the great military and polit- 
ical drama which now began was a young Englishman 
who had come to live in Virginia a few years before, 
— Nathaniel Bacon. He had "not yet arrived to 
thirty years," and when the rebellion began was prob- 
ably about twenty-eight. His family seem to have be- 
longed to the English gentry, as he was a cousin of 
Lord Culpeper, and married a daughter of Sir John 
Duke. He was said to have " run out his patrimony 
in England and exhausted the most part of what he 
brought to Virginia," whither he had come about 1672, 
and settled at "X^urles " on upper James River, below 
Varina. One of his family had preceded him, and was 
a member of the King's Council, — Nathaniel Bacon, 
Sr., " a very rich, politick man and childless, who de- 
signed him for his heir." 

The high estimate of Bacon's ability may be seen 
from his appointment to a place in the Council. This 
was a position of great dignity, rarely conferred upon 
any but men of mature age and large estate ; and Bacon 
was still young, and his estate only respectable. His 
personal character is seen on the face of his public 
career. He was impulsive and subject to fits of passion, 
or, as the old writers say, "of a precipitate disposition." 


When he grew angry he was " impetuous (like deliri- 
ous)," and tossed his arms and stormed, as at James- 
town, where he cried violently : " Damn my blood ! I '11 
kill Governor, Council, Assembly, and all ; and then I '11 
sheathe my sword in my own heart's blood ! " When 
calm he was extremely courteous ; in an interview with 
one of the Burgesses, he " came stooping to the ground, 
and said, ' Pray, sir, do me the honor to write a line for 
me.' " His personal praises were sounded even by 
people who had no sympathy with his public proceed- 
ings. They described him as " a man of quality and 
merit, brave and eloquent, . . . but a young man, yet 
he was master and owner of those inducements which 
constitute a compleat man (as to intrinsecalls), wisdom 
to apprehend and discretion to chuse." This picture does 
not seem to have been overdrawn. Bacon soon became 
immensely popular, and was " crowned the Darling of 
the people's hopes and desires, as the only man fit in 
Virginia to put a stop to the bloody resolution of the 
Heathen," the Indian massacres. 

This is the portrait, if not of a " compleat man," at 
least of a complete popular leader. Young, ardent, vio- 
lent when aroused, but amiable and cordial at other 
times, recklessly brave, extremely politic, of remarkable 
eloquence as a public speaker, this was a man fitted by 
his very faults to become the head of a popular move- 
ment, which always demands that its leader shall not be 
a person of negative traits. As to Bacon's motives, it 
is improbable that his reduced fortunes had anything to 
do with his career, since he had nothing to gain by the 
rising, which he must have seen would probably lead to 
the confiscation of his estate and the loss of his head. 
Add the further fact that men like himself rarely look 


to profit, and nearly always to fame. Bacon, no doubt, 
acted under the spur of indignation, and with a natural 
enjoyment of the fact of leadership. And yet he was 
said not to be the real leader. He was compared to " a 
wheel agitated by the weight of thoughtful Mr. Law- 
rence," an astuter man. But if thoughtful Mr. Law- 
rence, or any one else, agitated the wheel, its momen- 
tum soon came to direct the whole machinery. 

This is an outline of the man who is going to become 
the Virginia Croniwell. In May, 1676, Bacon is at his 
Curies plantation, just below the old City of Henri- 
cus, living quietly on his estate with Elizabeth, his wife. 
He has another estate in the suburbs of the present 
city of Richmond, the situation of which is pointed out 
by the name of " Bacon Quarter Branch," which is still 
used. Here his servants and an overseer live, and he 
can easily go thither in a morning's journey on horse- 
back or in his barge, unless he objects to being rowed 
seven miles around the Dutch Gap peninsula. Such is 
his position in the spring of this year. When not visit- 
ing his upper plantation, or attending the Council at 
Jamestown, he is at Curies living the life of a planter ; 
entertaining his neighbors ; denouncing the trade-laws and 
the grants to Arlington and Culpeper, the Governor for 
his lukewarmness in defending the borderers from the 
Indians, with a word, perhaps, to the more trifling wrong 
of disfranchising the freedmen. On -these grievances he 
no doubt enlarges, over the walnuts and the wine, to his 
visitors, his " precipitate impetuous disposition " lead- 
ing him to cry out especially at the Indian policy ; for 
he is " a gentleman with a perfect antipathy to In- 
dians." The report is that they mean to renew their 
outrages on the upper waters of the rivers ; if they as- 


sail Mm he will make war on them, with or without 
authority, " commission or no commission." 

The hour was at hand when this resolution of Bacon's 
was to be tested. Suddenly intelligence reached him 
(May, 1676) that the Indians had attacked his estate at 
the Falls, killed his overseer and one of his servants, 
and were going to carry fire and hatchet through the 
frontier. The planters ran to arms, and hastened from 
house to house to combine against these dangerous ene- 
mies. All was confusion, and the chronicle sums up the 
chief difficulty, — they were " without a head." Who 
was to lead them ? It was a serious question, since it 
was doubtful if Governor Berkeley would commission 
anybody. But the Indians were still ravaging the coun- 
try ; a crowd of armed horsemen had assembled ; and 
Bacon was clamorously called to take command. His 
energy was well known, and the savages had attacked 
his lands ; so he was offered the leadership, and at once 
accepted it. He made a speech full of " bold and ve- 
hement spirit," which one of the old historians is oblig- 
ing enough to reconstruct for us from his imagination ; 
enlarged on "the grievances of the times," — an omi- 
nous indication of coming events ; and making publica- 
tion of the cause of the assemblage, sent to Governor 
Berkeley asking for a commission. 

Thus, all things up to this moment were done decently 
and in order. They would await Sir William's reply, 
— to govern themselves accordingly or not. It came 
promptly. Berkeley did not refuse the commission, but, 
what amounted to the same thing, he did not send it. 
Mr. Bacon was notified in a "polite and complimentary" 
manner that the times were troubled ; that the issue of 
his business might be dangerous ; that, unhappily, the 


character and the fortunes of Mr. Bacon might become 
imperiled if he proceeded. The commission was thus 
refused, and the Governor's action is concisely ex- 
plained by the old writers. He " doubted Bacon's tem- 
per, as he appeared popularly inclined, — a constitution 
not consistent with the times or the people's dispositions.^* 
This was the real explanation ; the complimentary ex- 
pressions went for nothing ; " the veil was too thin to 
impose on Mr. Bacon." He was at the head of a force, 
" most good housekeepers, well armed ; " the Indians 
were still ravaging ; and having sent another messenger 
to Jamestown to thank the Governor for the promised 
commission, Bacon set out at the head of his well-armed 
housekeepers to attack the Indians. 

Thus the game had begun between the man of twen- 
ty-eight and the man of seventy, — the popular leader 
and the representative of the King. The old Cavalier 
attempted to end it by striking a sudden blow at his 
adversary. Bacon and his men were marching through 
the woods of Charles City, when an emissary of the 
Governor's came in hot haste with a proclamation. 
Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., and his deluded followers were 
denounced as rebels, and ordered to disperse. If they 
persisted in their illegal proceedings, it would be at 
their peril. The blow shook the resolutions of some of 
the armed housekeepers, and " those of estates obeyed." 
The number of these falterers is not known, since Ba- 
con's force is not. In the discordant chronicles it is 
estimated at from seventy to six hundred. The last 
number is improbable ; if it was the true number, the 
proportion of faint-hearted was immense. If the force 
was seventy, it was small, since fifty-seven horsemen re- 
mained steadfast. 


At the head of this force, Bacon advanced rapidly on 
the Falls, and found the Indians intrenched on a" hill 
east of the present city of Richmond. A parley ensued, 
and the attack was delayed, but a shot was fired from 
Bacon's rear, which was followed by an assault on the 
hill. The Virginians " waded shoulder deejD" throuo-h a 
stream in front ; stormed and set fire to the Indian stock- 
ade, blew up four thousand pounds of powder, which 
the savages had in some manner come into possession of; 
and completely routed them, killing one hundred and 
fifty, with a loss of only three of their own party. This 
was the famous " Battle of Bloody Run ; " so called, it 
is said from the fact that the blood of the Indians ran 
down into the stream beneath the hill. The historians 
fight over the event as Bacon fought over the palisade : 
one maintaining that he only fought here afterwards, 
and others that he never fought here at all, since this was 
the scene jof the Ricahecrian combat. It is not very 
important, but the statement of Bacon himself, a week 
or two afterwards, seems to settle the controversy. 

The main point is that the Indians were routed and 
driven toward the mountains. The frontier was for 
the time safe from their further depredations, and Gen- 
eral Bacon marched back at his leisure, — " slowly " is 
the adjective used in the chronicle, — at the head of his 
well-armed housekeepers, toward lower James River, fol- 
lowed by a picturesque procession of " Indian captives." 

Such was the first act of the drama of Bacon's Re- 
bellion, — a fight that was to lead to more fighting. 
The curtain descended upon one scene, only to rise ab- 
ruptly on the next. 



bacon's arrest. 

Sir William Berkeley had not remained quiet dur- 
ing these audacious proceedings. He had been openly 
defied. Rebellion had suddenly burst forth in his good 
kingdom of Virginia, as it had burst forth in England 
against his royal master, thirty years before. 

There was nothing to do but fight it, and the aged 
knight was not wanting in courage. He raised a force 
of horsemen, and set out from Jamestown in pursuit of 
Bacon ; but suddenly news reached him that there were 
enemies in his rear. The alarming intelligence came 
that the whole lower country had risen in revolt. The 
news of Bacon's application for a commission and his 
subsequent proceedings had flown on the wings of the 
wind ; the people rose to support him ; and to meet 
this new danger, Berkeley countermarched his horsemen 
and hurried back to Jamestown. 

Here he found all in tumult. The whole tier of 
counties along lower James River and the York were 
in rebellion. A civil war was imminent ; and Sir 
William met it like a statesmen ; that is to say, he did 
not defy it, but quietly controlled it. Were the border 
forts so great a subject of complaint? The said forts 
should be dismantled. Had the planters conceived the 
singular idea that the then House of Burgesses did not 
represent the people, since the same House had been con- 
tinued by prorogation since 1660, and had become the 
Virginia Long Parliament? Well, the House should 
be dissolved and writs issued for a new election. He 


kept all his promises. Orders were issued for disman- 
tling the obnoxious forts, and the writs were at once 
sent out. 

Bacon, who had returned to his manor of Curies, 
was now going to repeat his defiance of the Governor. 
He offered himself as one of the candidates to repre- 
sent Henrico in the Burgesses, and was " unanimously 
chosen," freedmen illegally voting for him along with 
the freeholders. In some of the counties freedmen were 
even elected Burgesses, which indicates the popular 
aversion to the restriction of suffrage. 

The Burgesses were to meet early in June, for the 
necessity of their assemblage was ui-gent. The mem- 
bers hurried to the capital on horseback, fording the 
bridgeless streams, or in their " sloops," like the mem- 
ber from distant Stafford County, Mr. " T. M.," who 
afterwards wrote a stirring narrative of what followed. 
Bacon also came in his sloop. Embarking at Curies 
with " about thirty gentlemen besides," who had been 
prominent in the up-country rising, he sailed down 
James River, and arrived at Jamestown. Bad fortune 
awaited him. His presence as a Burgess was an open 
defiance. The cannon of a ship Ij'ing at anchor in 
front of the capital were trained on his sloop, and the 
high sheriff, who was in the ship, sent an order to 
Bacon to come on board. Another account says that 
his sloop was " shot at and forced to fly up the river," 
when he was pursued and taken prisoner ; but this is 
less reliable.-'- In either case, he was arrested, with his 
companions, some of whom were put in irons ; and the 

1 It is the statement of the " Breviarie and Conclusion," but that -vvas 
•vvritten from hearsay. " T. M." of Stafford was present at James- 
town when Bacon was arrested. 


sheriff conducted him to Governor Berkeley, in the 
State House. 

The interview between the hardy adversaries is de- 
scribed by the chronicle in a very few words ; but 
these give us a sufficient idea of it. The two men were 
equally restive and haughty, but controlled their tem- 
pers. Berkeley said coldly, — 

" Mr. Bacon, have you forgot to be a gentleman ? " 

" No, may it please your honor," Bacon replied as 

" Then I '11 take your parole," said Berkeley. And 
that is all we know of the interview. 

The moderation of the aged Cavalier was due to a 
very simple circumstance. Jamestown was in turmoil. 
The Burgesses, almost all of whom were in sympathy 
with Bacon, were hourly arriving ; and a great crowd 
of people from the surrounding counties which had just 
revolted, as well as friends of the cause from above, 
were flocking into the town. The House of Burgesses, 
to jpeet on the instant, would probably have something 
to say about the arrest of one of their number. Thus 
the fiery old ruler, having uttered his taunt to Bacon, 
" Have you forgot to be a gentleman," ended by tak- 
ing his parole, which was virtually his release from 

It. is necessary to notice these minutice ; the events 
are framed in them. It was a striking picture, this 
confrontation of two remarkable men : one a youth, the 
leader of revolution ; the other a graybeard, sworn to 
crush it. This narrative will therefore follow, step by 
step, what took place in these days ; rejecting nothing, 
not even the undignified historic fact that Bacon lodged 
at the hostelry of " thoughtful Mr. Lawrence." Much 
seems to have come of that. . * 


The vital question now was what was to be done 
with the impetuous youth. He had defied the govern- 
ment, and some course must be taken in reference to 
him. If he would confess that he had sinned, and prom- 
ise to behave better in future, he might be pardoned. 
His crime was great ; but then he was a member of the 
intractable House of Burgesses now, and it was neces- 
sary to be forgiving. If he humbly acknowledged his 
offense, he should be restored to his seat in the Council 
(not the Burgesses), a commission should be given him 
to go and fight the Indians, and all would be harmony 
again. The only trouble was to make the erect yoyth 
bend his back. He must get down on his knees, and 
the idea of that was quite hateful to him. But he was 
brought to consent to it at last, through the persuasion 
of his old cousin, the " very ricli, politic man," Colonel 
Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., member of the Council. This 
lover of peace, who was fond of his " uueasy cousin," 
the young rebel, prevailed on him, " not without much 
pains," to make a written recantation, and read it on < 
his knees. Bacon consented, but it must not be to the ; 
Governor, but at the bar of the Assembly. This under- \ 
stood, the politic elder " compiled it ready to his hand," 
and the ceremony followed. It took place in the State 
House: the date (June 5, 1676) shows the hurry of 
events. In about one week all these shifting scenes 
had passed in Virginia. Between the last days of May 
and these first days of June Bacon had been denounced 
as a rebel ; had marched and defeated the savages ; had 
stood for the Burgesses and appeared at Jamestown ; 
had been arrested and as quickly paroled ; and now was 
about to confess on his knees that he was a great of- 
fender. The old Cavalier Berkeley was going to make 


an imposing scene of it. Bacon was not to go up-stairs 
to the room where the House sat, and make his confes- 
sion only to the Burgesses. Berkeley sent them a mes- 
sao-e to attend him in the Council Chamber below, on 
public business ; and when they came made them an 
address on the Indian troubles, specially denouncing 
the murder of the six chiefs in Maryland, though Colo- 
nel Washington, who had commanded the forces there, 
was present. Of the murdered chiefs Sir William said, 
" with a pathetic emphasis," that " if they had killed 
my grandfather and grandmother, my father and mother 
and all my friends, yet if they had come to treat of peace, 
they ought to have gone in peace ; " when he abruptly 
sat down. But this was not the great business of the 
day. A short silence followed, when the Governor 
again rose, and said with grim humor, — 

" If there be joy in the presence of the angels over 
one sinner that repenteth, there is joy now, for we have 
a penitent sinner come before us. Call Mr. Bacon." 

Bacon came in, with a paper in his hand, and knelt 
down at the bar of the Assembly. He then read aloud 
from the paper a confession that he had been guilty of 
" unlawful, mutinous, and rebellious practices," and 
promised that if he were pardoned he would " demean 
himself dutifully, faithfully, and peaceably," under a 
penalty of two thousand pounds sterling ; and would 
bind his whole estate for his good behavior for one year. 
When he had finished, Sir AVilliam Berkeley said, — 

"God forgive you; I forgive you," — repeating the 
words three times. 

" And all that were with him," said Colonel Cole, of 
the Council, referring, it is said, to the thirty gentlemen 
in the sloop, twenty or more of whom were still in irons. 


" Yes, and all that were with him," Berkeley replied. 
He then rose suddenly to his feet and addressed Bacon, 
who had probably gotten up already from his knees. 

" Mr. Bacon," he exclaimed, " if you will live civilly 
but till next quarter-day, — but till next quarter day," 
repeating the words, "• I '11 promise to restore you to 
your place there ! " pointing to the seat which Bacon 
generally occupied during the sessions of the Council. 
What reply Bacon made is not recorded. He probably 
agreed to •■' live civilly," for he was permitted to return 
at once to his accustomed chair. The Assembly went 
back to its room up-stairs, but Bacon did not go with 
them. He was not one of that body now, since he was 
restored to his place in the Council ; and " T. M.," Bur- 
gess from Stafford, passing by the door, " saw Mr^ 
Bacon on his quondam seat with the Governor and Coun- 
cil., which seemed alnarvellous indulgence to one whom 
he had so lately proscribed as a rebel." 

So all was peace at last, and there were to be no more 
heart-burnings. Blessed harmony was to replace the 
wrangling, and general amnesty to heal old sores. The 
repentant rebel was forgiven and restored to his seat in 
the Council (to keep him out of the Burgesses), and as 
he had promised to live civilly he deserved to be treated 
civilly and have his commission. This was Saturday ; 
the peaceful Sabbath would quiet all minds ; on Mon- 
day he should be commissioned " General of the Indian 
Wars " — perhaps. 




It may interest the reader to look in now on tlie Bur- 
gesses, iip-stairs in the State House, and find how they 
were engaged a few days afterwards, when the " bruit 
ran about the town ' Bacon is fled ! Bacon is fled ! ' " 
It is almost the only picture we have of that famous old 
body of Virginia planters. We scarcely know more of 
their ways than that, in addressing the Speaker, the cus- 
tom was to take off the hat. Here is the chance photo- 
graph of these honest people. 

Sir William Berkeley, after the scene of Bacon's con- 
fession, had dismissed them with the injunction to "con- 
sider of means of security from the Indian insults, ad- 
vising us to beware of two rogues amongst us, naming 
Lawrence and Drummond.' ' These were known friends 
of Bacon's and afterwards leaders in the rebellion ; but 
the Burgesses did not obey Sir William's directions, like 
a dutiful Parliament, and consider the Indian matters. 
They " took this opportunity to endeavor the redressing 
several grievances the country was then laboring under; and 
motions were made for inspecting the public revenues, the 
collectors accounts, etc.^'' A committee was in process of 
appointment for that improper and rebellious purpose, 
when pressing messages came from the Governor " to 
meddle with nothing till the Indian business was dis- 
patcht." The " debate rose high " at this arbitrary in- 
vasion of privilege, growls resounded and fulminations 
were uttered by the disgusted Baconians ; but they were - 
overruled, and Mr. T. M., who tells us of all this, says 


briefly, " I have not heard i\\it" i%osB-iiispeTctions have 
smce then been insisted upon." 

Then another struggle takes place between the Ba- 
conians and the Berkeleyans. A committee is appointed 
to consider the Indian affairs, when a Berkeleyan moves 
that the Governor be requested " to assign tivo of his 
Council to sit with and assist us in our debates as had 
been usual." Thereat the Baconians are " silent, look- 
ing each at other with discontented faces." So the com- 
mittee is to deliberate under the eye and influence of 
the Governor and the Council ; whereupon Mr. T. M. 
of Stafford speaks up bravely in his quiet way. His 
humble opinion is that the committee had better report 
to the House first, before requesting the presence of the 
Counselors, when the House " would clearly see on 
what points to give the Governor and Council that 
trouble if, perhaps, it might be needfidV 

These " few words raised an uproar." The Berkeley- 
ans cried out that it had been customary for the Council 
to sit with the House, and " ought not to be omitted." 
Thereat " Mr. Presly, my neighbor an old Assembly- 
man, sitting next me, rose up and (in a blundering man- 
ner replied) : ^ 'Tis true it has been customary, but if 
we have any bad customes amongst us we are come here 
to mend 'em / ' " 

This rough witticism of the old Assembly-man " sets 
the House in a laughter," but the whole matter is " hud- 
dled off without coming to a vote " ; and so, groans poor 
T. M. of Stafford, we " must submit to be overawed and 
have every carpt at expression carried streight to the Gov- 
ernor. '^ 

This trivial incident strikes the key note of Bacon's 
Assembly, which followed the Virginia Long Parliament 
of 1660-76. It is the mouth piece of the new times, 


252 VIRGINIA: A nmTOTrt'W ''W^ ry.OPLE. 

" mucli m-fe€-ted"'-with rebellion; restive, disposed to 
inquire into public grievances ; to resent attempts to 
overawe it ; and to burst into approving laughter at the 
" blundering " statement that " if we have any bad cus- 
toms amongst us we have come here to. mend 'em." 

To linger a little longer with these honest Virginia 
Burgesses : a curious and very picturesque scene fol- 
lowed this brief passage-of-arms as to bad old customs. 
The Burgesses are considering Indian affairs and have 
a distinguished visitor present, the " Queen of Pamun- 
key," who has been summoned, it seems, to say how 
many Indian guides and fighting-men she would supply 
the Viroiuians with ao-ainst the frontier tribes. She 
was the queen of the neighboring Indians who had made 
the solemn treaty of 1645, and had received, or receivecJ^ 
afterwards, from Charles IL, a present of a silver 
" frontlet " with a coat-of-arms upon it inscribed " The 
Queen of Pamunkey — Charles the Second, King of 
England, Scotland, France, Ireland, and Virginia, — 
Honi soit qui mal y pense ; " evil be to him who pre- 
sumed to find fault with his Majesty's recognition of his 
royal cousin. The appearance of the Indian queen on 
this occasion was picturesque. Around her forehead 
she wore a plait of white and black wampum by way of 
crown. Her dress was a robe of buckskin with the hair 
outward decorated with fringes from the shoulders to 
the feet. She entered the long room, where the Bur- 
gesses were sitting, " with a comportment graceful to 
admiration, grave court-like gestures and a majestic air 
on her face ; " an interpreter on her right, and on her 
left, her son, a stripling of twenty, whose father was 
said to be an English Colonel. After a little urging she 
sat down at the end of the long committee table, when 

A SC2ME /'>''■ ^'^'^ BURGESSES. 253 

the chairman asked her " Whac-ffl&nske. would. lend us 
for guides in the wilderness and to assist us against our 
enemy Indians ? " 

At this she turned to the interpreter, pretending not 
to understand English. She wished her son to reply, 
but he declined to do so, when the Queen, " after a lit- 
tle musing, fvith an earnest passionate countenance, as if 
tears were ready to gush out, and a fervent sort of ex- 
pression," burst forth in her own language. She spoke 
"with a high shrill voice and vehement passion," but no 
one understood her. One expression she constantly re- 
peated, " Totapotamoi chepiack ! Totapotamoi chepiack ! " 
At this, one of the Burgesses, Colonel Hill, son of the 
commander defeated by the Ricahecrians twenty years 
before, shook his head, and being asked " what wms the 
matter ? " replied, that " all she said was true to our 
shame ; his father was General in that battle, where 
Totapotamoi, her husband, had led a hundred Indians 
to the help of the English, and was there slain." He 
added that the Indian Queen was now upbraiding them 
for giving her no compensation for the death of her 
husband : her vehement cry, " Totapotamoi chepiack ! " 
signified " Totapotamoi is dead ! " 

The poor Queen of Pamunkey " harangued about a 
quarter of an hour," but they scarce understood her. 
" Our morose chairman " remained unmoved, and when 
she ended " rudely pushed again " his previous ques- 
tion : " What Indians will you now contribute ? " The 
Queen made no reply, preserving a " disdainful " si- 
lence, with her head turned away. When the question 
was asked for the third time, she looked toward the 
speaker and said, " with a low slighting voice," that 
she would furnish six. Further importuned she re- 


maine4-^giriieirf-"Dfirartist said " twelve." Then she 
rose and without takiug further notice of any one 
walked out of the room. 

These chance-preserved scenes in the old Burgesses 
are worth attention. They paint the men and times, 
which we wish above all to see. In Hei:ing we have 
the record of the public acts of this famous '' Baconian " 
Assembly ; their redress of grievances, their extension 
of suffrage again, and their somewhat mild ventilation 
of official corruptions. It is only on some such page as 
this that we see the men themselves ; hear their blun- 
dering jests and laughter ; and have them before us 
gravely listening, in committee, to the high shrill voice 
of the poor Queen of Pamunkey who upbraids them for 
having; forirotten her dead husband. 

Let us come back now to " General Bacon " as peo- 
ple are beginning to call him, as they spoke of " Gen- 
eral Cromwell " in the old times in England so similar 
to these Virginia times. The scene in the Burgesses 
occurred in the days immediately following the famous 
ceremony of the public confession. That event took 
place on Saturday, and on Monday Bacon was to have 
his commission. But on Monday no commission comes. 
Tuesday and AYednesday follow and yet no commission. 

Bacon is lodging all this time at a house of public 
entertainment kept by the wife of a certain " thoughtful 
Mr. Lawrence," one of the Burgesses representing 
Jamestown. It is the custom of householders there to 
open their houses to the Burgesses during the sessions 
of the Assembly, from which they make great profits, 
for they charge '' extraordinary rates." And Mr. Law- 
rence needs money. He has been ruined by Governor 
Berkeley. Some years before he had been " partially 


treated at law for a considerable estate, on behalf of a 
corrupt favourite" of his Excellency's. He had thus 
lost his estate, and as he had " complained loudly," the 
Governor " bore him a grudge." The grudge was- cor- 
dially reciprocated, and when Mr. Lawrence referred to 
Sir William he spoke of that functionary as " the old 
treacherous villain." There was thus animosity on both 
sides, and Berkeley had warned the Burgesses against 
" the rogue Lawrence," as a treason-monger. He was 
a dangerous man, in fact ; not by any means an ordi- 
nary tavern-keeper, though he kept an ordinary. He 
was a graduate of Oxford, " and for wit, learning, and 
sobriety, was equaled there by few," — though some 
called in question his private morals. He manifested 
" abundance of uneasiness in the sense of his hard 
usage " by Governor Berkeley, and perhaps meant to 
" improve that Indian quarrel to the service of his ani- 
mosities ; " but he was " nicely honest, affable, and 
without blemish, in his conversation and dealino-s." He 
had married a rich widow who kept the ordinary, to 
which resorted people " of the best quality." His 
" parts with his even temper made his converse coveted 
by persons of all ranks," and into these he instilled his 
own views on public subjects. To sum up all, this 
thoughtful Mr. Lawrence was " at the bottom of " 
everything ; and '• the received opinion in Virginia " was 
that " Mr. Bacon and his adherents were but wheels 
agitated by the weight " of this subtle foe of Sir Wil- 
liam Berkeley. 

This portrait of Lawrence is given in the words of 
one who knew him well. It leaves nothing in the dark. 
The Oxford man has been wronged by the Governor, 
hates him, will do him an ill turn if possible, and 


regain his lost estate by fishing in the troubled waters of 
rebellion. At his ordinary, therefore, he goes to and 
fro affable and smiling, filtrating his rebellious poison 
into- men of all ranks; and now Mr. Bacon, lodging 
with him, while awaiting his promised commission, is to 
have the full outpouring. 

How far the impetuous " young stranger," Mr. Bacon, 
came to meet his " subtle " friend, is not known. It is 
tolerably certain that of his own motion, or urged by 
Lawrence, lie resolved to get out of Jamestown and open 
war on the Governor. It was obvious that he was not 
going to have any commission. It was exceedingly 
doubtful, indeed, whether he would be permitted to leave 
the Capital ; and much " disgusted, but dissembling the 
same so well as he could," he resorted to policy, and 
going to the Governor, begged leave of him " to dis- 
pense with his services at the Council table, to visit his 
wife, who, as she informed him, was indisposed.^^ 

Berkeley listened to this request in silence, and said 
at last that he must consult his Council. He did so, 
and they advised him not to allow Bacon to go ; but 
" after some contest with his thouojhts " the Governor 
gave him permission. The reason for this liberality 
was not far to seek. Bacon's friends " from the heads 
of the rivers," had flocked into Jamestown at the ru- 
mor of his arrest. The Capital was still full of these 
truculent people, anxious to know about matters, and it 
would not be advisable openly to refuse Bacon's request. 
It was therefore granted ; but the up-country men finding 
that Bacon and his friends in the sloop were released, 
" returned home satisfied," when Governor Berkeley at 
once determined to rearrest his dangerous enemy. 

These details may appear unduly minute, but they 


give the complete picture of events ; and a service is 
done the reader by disentangling them from the old con- 
fused narratives. The denoument soon came. Early 
one morning, while the Burgesses were giving audience 
to the Queen of Pamunkey, " a bruit ran about the 
town, ' Bacon is fled ! Bacon is fled ! ' " The bruit 
was true. Bacon had escaped on the night before. 
His old cousin in the Council, who had a weakness for 
his rebel kinsman, had conveyed " timely intimation to 
the young gentleman to flee for his life." At daylight 
Lawrence's ordinary was searched by officers sent by 
the Governor, but the bird had flitted from that danger- 
ous nest. Bacon " was escaped into the country, hav- 
ing intimation that the Governor's generosity in par- 
doning him, and restoring him to his place in the 
Council, were no other than previous wheedles to amuse 

Bacon was thus free of his enemy's clutches, and 
among his faithful Baconians again. Writers of the 
time speculate wisely on all these entangled matters. 
It was not his wife's sickness, but the " troubles of a 
distempered mind," which made the young rebel anx- 
ious to get away ; " which in a few days was manifest 
when that he returned to town with five hundred 
men in arms." 

Had Bacon resolved to return in that fashion with 
the aim of effecting more than simple wresting a com- 
mission from Sir William Berkeley ? It is probable. 
He and thoughtful Mr. Lawrence had no doubt held 
many private talks in those days and nights at the 
Jamestown ordinary. The country was on fire. Men's 
minds were ripe for rebellion. All Virginia was shout- 
ing, " Bacon ! Bacon ! " as the men of Gloucester did 


afterwards in the very presence of Berkeley. The mo- 
ment had come, it seemed, for mixing up other matters 
with the Indian question. 

Bacon's escape had unknotted all the tangle, which 
was to be tied in a tighter knot still. A few days after- 
wards came the dread rumor that he was marching on 
Jamestown at the head of six hundred men. 



The rumor was true. Fiery General Bacon was no 
longer the anxious husband, and had quite forgotten, it 
seemed, that Elizabeth, his wife, was " indisposed." In- 
stead of staying at home at Curies, and soothing the 
sick lady, — who was probably not so sick,^ — he had 
been riding to and fro at the " heads of the rivers " 
soundino^ the sloijan. 

At the word his friends rose in arms ; a part of that 
" eight thousand horse," which Governor Berkeley had 
reported to be in the colony. The times were now ripe, 
and the mass of the Virginia people had sided with 
Bacon. They hastened from plantation and hundred, 
from lowland manor-house and losj cabin in the woods 
of the upland, " well-armed housekeepers " booted and 
armed with good broadswords and " fusils " for the wars 
that were plainly coming. 

A force variously estimated at from four to six hun- 
dred men thus hastened to Bacon's flasf. It is safe to 
go beyond the record, if we are ever allowed to do so, 

1 "Begs leave to visit his lady (now sick as he pretended).'' — An. 
Cotton's Accoiuit. 


and state that the leader of the rising made them one 
of his passionate addresses. He was always ready for 
that : the vehement thought seemed ever behind the ar- 
dent lips in this man, longing to burst forth into fiery 
speech. Bacon was a born orator, but a man of de- 
cision also. In " three or ffour days after his escape " 
he was within a day's march of Jamestown, at the head 
of his six hundred " housekeepers." 

At this ominous rumor Berkeley acted with vigor. 
He was quite as brave as his young adversary, in spite 
of the seventy years' snows on his hair. He sent an 
instant summons for the " train-bands " of York and 
Gloucester ; but the poison had begun to work every- 
where. Only about "one hundred soulders, and not 
one half of them sure neather," marched at his order; 
and their advance was so sluggish that Bacon ar- 
rived before they were in sight. He entered James- 
town at the head of his men at about two o'clock in 
the afternoon, and drew up his troops, " horse and foot, 
upon a green, not a flight (arrow) shot from the end of 
the State House." His followers had seized all the 
avenues, disarming " all in town," and as others arrived 
in boats or by land they were arrested or disarmed in 
like fashion. 

Jamestown had thus suddenly become a scene of vast 
confusion and uneasy expectation. Sir William Berke- 
ley and his Council were in a private apartment of 
the State House holding a council of war. Bacon's 
drums and trumpets had only sounded hitherto ; now 
the drum which always summoned the Assembly was 
heard rollins^. The Burgesses came to order — if there 
was indeed order of any sort that day in the distracted 
borough; and an armed collision between law and re- 


bellion seemed about to follow. Bacon advanced across 
the green " with a file of fusileers on either hand," and 
came np to the corner of the State House. Then what 
followed is described by worthy Mr. T. M. of Stafford, 
who witnessed all from a window of the room above 
in which the Assembly sat, or rather stood in crowding 
groups at the windows watching the scene. The Gov- 
ernor and Council came out and Bacon advanced to 
meet them. He seemed to be controlling himself, but 
Berkeley was thoroughly aroused, and incensed. He 
walked straight toward Bacon, and tearing open the 
lace at his breast, exclaimed wrathf ully : — 

" Here ! Shoot me ! 'Fore God, a fair mark — 
shoot ! " 

This he repeated over and over, using the same ex- 
pression and no other. Bacon's reply, in spite of his 
anger, was deliberate : — 

"No, may it please your honor," he said, "we will 
not hurt a hair of your head, nor of any other man's. 
We are come for a commission to save our lives from 
the Indians, which you have so often promised, and now 
we will have it before we go." 

But mild as his words seemed, Bacon was in a rage. 
As the Governor and Council turned round and went 
back to their private apartment, he followed them with 
his fusileers, his left arm "akimbo," the hand on his 
sword hilt, and his right arm tossed about like one " dis- 
tracted." Berkeley was throwing about his own arm 
in the same manner. Bacon's demeanor grew more and 
more threatening as the Governor and Council retreated. 
He " strutted " after them " with outrageous postures of 
his head, arms, body and legs, often tossing his hand 
from his sword to his hat ; and after him came a de- 


tachment of fFusileers (mnsketts not being then in use), 
who, with their cocks bent, presented their ffusils at a 
window of the Assembly Chamber filled with faces, re- 
peating with menacing voices, ' We will have it ! We 
will have it ! ' every half minute." 

These words of the cotemporary narrative best de- 
scribe the scene. One of the Burgesses of the Bacon 
party shook his handkerchief from the window, calling 
out three or four times, " You shall have it ! You shall 
have it ! " meaning the commission ; and at this assur- 
ance the fusileers uncocked their guns, and waited for 
further orders from Bacon. He had followed the 
Governor with an " impetuous like delirious action," 
exclaiming violently: — 

" Damn my blood ! I '11 kill Governor, Council, 
Assembly and all, and then I'll sheathe my sword in 
my own heart's blood." 

And it was afterwards said, we are told by Mr. T. M. 
of Stafford, that Bacon had ordered his men, if he drew 
his sword, to fire on the Assembly — " so near was the 
massacre of us all that very minute, had Bacon but 
drawn his sword before the pacific handkerchief was 
shaken out at window." 

What occurred in the private apartment between Ba- 
con, Governor, and Council is not known ; probably the 
excitement of the moment prevented any definite action. 
Bacon came out and about an hour afterwards made his 
appearance in the Assembly Chamber up-stairs where 
he addressed the Burgesses, asking for a commission. 
The Speaker, who was a Baconian, declared that it was 
*' not in their province, or power, nor of any other save 
the King's vicegerent, their Governor, to grant it ; " but 
Bacon insisted and made " half an hour's harang^ue.'* 


Its purport is summed up in a sentence. It was all 
about " preserving our lives from the Indians, inspecting 
the public revenues, the exorbitant taxes, and redressing 
the grievances and calamities of that deplorable country. '' 
The revolution thus announced its objects : not protec- 
tion from Indians only, but a general redress of griev- 
ances and civil reform, sweeping out official vermin. 
The Burgesses hesitated, and took no action, and Bacon 
" went away dissatisfied." But the next day Governor 
and Council yielded ; the Burgesses appointed Nathan- 
iel Bacon General and Commander-in-Chief against the 
Indians ; the appointment was ratified by Berkeley ; 
and an act was passed granting pardon to Bacon and 
his followers for their Indian proceedings. A letter 
was even drafted to the King highly applauding them, 
and this also the Governor and Council were obliged to 

It was an immense triumph for the young rebel. 
Berkeley writhed and growled, but was disarmed and 
.powerless. He took his revenge by sending to the As- 
sembly a letter of his own to the King, in which he 
wrote : " I have for above thirty years governed the 
most flourishing country the sun ever shone over, but 
am now encompassed with rebellion, like waters, in 
every respect like that of Masaniello, except their 
leader," — meaning, doubtless, that Bacon was not an 
ignorant fisherman, but a man of rank and brains who 
was much more dangerous. 

The Burgesses were then dissolved, and went back to 

heir homes, — a brief session, over which the historians 

have raised a great p^ean. The fact that it sat in June, 

167G, and that in June, 1776, the same body instructed 

the Virginia delegates to propose independence of Eug- 


land, has been much dwelt upon. But no deliberate 
attempt was made to go to the root of the public griev- 
ances. All was hurry and excitement, and after extend- 
ing the suffrage, and passing laws against the sale in 
ordinaries of intoxicating drinks, and others denouncing 
" tumults, routs, and riots," which was rather anti-Ba- 
conian, the Burgesses went home. 

Bacon was now at the head of a small army, the 
regularly commissioned General-in-Chief of the Virginia 
forces, nominally against the Indians, but really against 
whomsoever he chose. All things in the Dominion of 
Virginia were virtually under his control. An im- 
mense public sentiment supported him ; he held the 
colony in his grasp ; and the authority of Governor 
Berkeley was only a simulacrum. What would be his 
next step ? It was noticed that thoughtful Mr. Law- 
rence had much talk with him at this time, and was 
"esteemed Mr. Bacon's principal consultant ; " also "Mr. 
Drummond, a sober Scotch gentleman of good repute," 
who had been lately the Governor of North Carolina. 
He, too, was a foe of Berkeley's, on some grounds of 
his own, and was heard to say : " 1 am in, over shoes ; 
I will be over boots." He lived at Jamestown, and 
these two " rogues," as his Excellency called them, were 
far too intiniate with the fiery young General to suit Sir 
William. Would they induce him to forget his Indian 
business, and think of other things ? Bacon seemed to 
decide that by promptly marching against the Indians. 

He made his head-quarters then, as afterwards, near 
West Point, at the head of York River; the placi 
was sometimes called " De la War," from Lord Dela- 
ware, whose family name was West ; and here he dis- 
armed the loyalists of Gloucester. He then set out, 


with a force variously estimated at from five hundred 
to one thousand men, to attack the Indians toward the 
head waters of the Pamunkey. 

All his movements were full of energy, and met with 
that good fortune which follows the possession of brains 
and decision. Parties of horse were sent in every di- 
rection to scour the woods and ferret out the Indians ; 
and the result of these measures, the chronicles say, 
was an unheard-of sense of security in the border plan- 
tations. It seemed, indeed, that young General Bacon 
was justifying the public opinion of him. He had 
wrested his commission from the Governor, but he was 
not using it to the hurt of the government. He was 
fighting the public enemy, and doing his duty as an 
honest Virginian. 

That was not, however, apparently the view of affairs 
taken by his angry adversary. Suddenly, in the midst of 
his campaign, came intelligence that Governor Berke- 
ley had a second time proclaimed Nathaniel Bacon and 
his followers rebels and traitors. 



Sir William Berkeley had imitated his master, 
Charles I. The King had fled for refuge against 
rebellion to his loyal shire of York ; and the King's 
Governor now fled to York River and set up his flag 

This was the natural sequel of the scene in front of 
the State House at Jamestown. Gloss over it as people 
might, the course of Bacon there was rebellion and 


treason. By force of broadswords and " fusils," he had 
compelled his Majesty's rej)resentative to comply with 
his demands ; and now it was to be decided to whom 
Virginia was to belong, — whether to Bacon and his 
rebels, or to Berkeley and his loyal King's-men. Some 
of the best men in Virginia were ranged on each side, 
for the absurd old theory that the Berkeley men were 
all time-servers and mercenary people has nothing 
to support it. Still, the great mass of the people of 
all classes had sided with Bacon, and it seemed that 
his Majesty's rei3resentative would soon be a Governor 
without a government. In this cruel emergency a 
gleam of sunshine broke through the black clouds, set- 
tling down on the head of the ancient Cavalier. From 
Gloucester, beyond the York, came post-haste a King's- 
man, with a missive for his Honor from that most loyal 

Gloster, as the old writers spell it, was " the place 
the best replenished for men, arms, and affection of any 
county in Virginia," — the aff action being for his Maj- 
esty and his Majesty's Governor. Bacon's horsemen 
had galloped about the country, disarming the adher- 
ents of Berkeley there ; and this had naturally made 
an unpleasant impression. Now the truculent rebel was 
absent about his Indian business ; the coast was clear 
for the true men to show their faces again ; and the 
Gloster men sent a petition asking that Governor Berke- 
ley would come and joro^ec^ them from the Indians. Sir 
William promptly responded to the welcome request. 
This rich domain, full of loyal planters, was the place 
for the loyal Governor. He repaired thither at once, 
erected his standard, and summoned the people to array 
themselves under it. 


The result was discouraging. The Gloster men were 
not so loyal as Berkeley had supposed. Twelve hun- 
dred people assembled on the day appointed, but the 
public pulse was low. They would support the Gov- 
ernor's authority, but " they thought it not conven- 
ient at present to declare themselves against Bacon, 
as he was now advancing against the common enemy," 
the Indians. That would not be to act like good Vir- 
ginians ; and so the men of Gloster and Middlesex 
positively declined to enroll themselves against Bacon. 
They showed their sentiments in an unmistakable man- 
ner. At the first words of Berkeley the crowd began 
to murmur, " Bacon ! Bacon ! " — ominous incident. As 
his Excellency went on urging them, they grew weary, 
and refused to listen. They "walked out of the field, 
muttering as they went, 'Bacon ! Bacon ! Bacon !' leav- 
ing the Governor and those that came with him to them- 
selves." Such was the depressing condition of public 
feeling in this loyal country. The Gloster men would 
not even listen to the fiery Cavalier, with his passion- 
ate appeals to their loyalty. Their response was that 
ominous muttering and speedy disappearance from the 
place of meeting. 

It seemed that this was the end. Rebellion had caught 
even the loyal Gloucester in its vile clutches. There 
was, then, no hope, save from other people somewhere, 
not yet poisoned ; where were these to be found ? There 
was one place of retreat : the remote country sometimes 
called the " Kingdom of Accomac," across the water. 
So, leaving the ungrateful Gloucester men to arrange 
their matters with General Bacon, the Governor em- 
barked on a small vessel, and, as the chronicle says, 
" wafted over Chesapeake Bay thirty miles to Acco- 


mac," — last refuge, or supposed refuge, of the loyal 
cause in Virginia. 

Before departing. Sir "William set up his proclamation 
in all public places, declaring Bacon a traitor (July 29, 
1676) ; on the 29th of May, just two months before, 
the rebel had been assailed by a similar blow. The 
news of all this was brought to Bacon on the upper 
waters by his friends Lawrence and Drummond. He 
at once marched back. His situation was critical ; he 
" was fallen like the corn between the stones," says one 
of the old writers, " so that if he did not look the better 
about him, he might chance to be ground to powder." 
He himself used an equally strong simile. 

" It vext him to his heart," he said, " for to think 
that while he was hunting (Indian) wolves, tygers, and 
foxes, which daily destroyed our harmless sheep and 
lambs, that he and those with him should be pursued 
with a full cry, as a more savage or a no less ravenous 

Thus protesting, no doubt wdth impetuous delivery 
and knit brows, in the midst of his men, with thought- 
ful Mr. Lawrence listening quietly, Bacon marched 
back at the head of his horsemen toward the lower 
waters. An incident occurred on the way. A de- 
serter from the Berkeley side came in, but was found 
to be a spy. Bacon offered to spare his life if one man 
in the army would say a good word for him. But no 
one spoke, and he was executed ; General Bacon being 
" applauded for a merciful man " for thus giving him 
a chance for his life. Perfect order was kept on the 
march ; no opponent's house was plundered, but patrols 
of cavalry arrested prominent friends of Berkeley ; and 
Bacon soon arrived at Middle-Plantation, midway be- 


tween Jamestown and York River, afterwards the city 
of Williamsburg. 

His horsemen bivouacked around the little cluster of 
houses forming the village, and their General went at 
once to work. Virginia was in flagrant revolution ; the 
constituted authorities had fled, and the business before 
Bacon was to bring order out of this chaos. With 
Berkeley away in Accomac, a distant region, vaguely 
looked upon at that time as scarcely part of Virginia, 
Bacon was master and Governor de facto. He was 
looked to as the head of all things, and had advisers, 
who sugsested decisive action. William Drummond, 
that sober Scotch gentleman, who was "■ over shoes " 
in rebellion, and meant to be " over boots," advised 
Bacon to depose Berkeley, and put Sir Henry Chiclie- 
ley in his place. At this the Baconians murmured, 
when the sober Scot replied : — 

" Do not make so strange of it, for T can show from 
ancient records that such things have been done in Vir- 
ginia" — a reference, doubtless, to the "thrusting out" 
of Governor Harvey. 

Bacon would not agree to so revolutionary an act as 
the formal deposition of Berkeley. His temper was 
excitable, but his brain was cool — a common trait with 
men of strong natures. It bore the strain on it now, 
if visions of military usurpation and Virginia Lord Pro- 
tectorism tempted him. There was a very long head 
on the shoulders of this impetuous youth. Pie pro- 
ceeded in an orderly manner, and displayed the great- 
est good sense. First he issued his " Remonstrance," 
a hot protest against Berkeley's proclamation denounc- 
ing as rebels and traitors himself and his followers, good 
subjects of his Majesty, who were in arms only against 


the bloody savages. Then he comes to the public griev- 
ances, and pays his respects to his adversaries. Some 
in authority were without capacity ; others had come 
to the country poor, and were now rolling in wealth, 
for they had been " spunges that have sucked up and 
devoured the common treasury." He propounds the 
damaging query, " What arts, sciences, schools of learn- 
ing, or manufactures hath been promoted by any now 
in authority?" and "saith something against the Gov- 
ernor about the beaver trade ; and so concludes with an 
appeal to King and Parliament." But the young rebel 
must have personal consultation with the chief men of 
Virginia. Therefore, all who have "any regard for 
themselves, or love to their country, their wives, chil- 
dren, and other relations," are prayed to attend at Mid- 
dle-Plantation on a certain day, and enter their protest 
against "Sir William's doting and irregular actings." 

On the day appointed (August 3, 1676), "most of 
the prime gentlemen of those parts," four of whom were 
members of the Governor's Council, appeared at the ren- 
dezvous, and a stormy scene followed. Bacon made 
as usual " a long harange," and it was agreed that a 
" te.^t or recognition " should be subscribed that no one 
would aid Berkeley to molest the " Generall and army." 
All agreed to that, but the imperious Bacon suddenly 
threw a fire-brand amongst them. They must bind 
themselves further, he said, " to rise in arms against 
him,'' Berkeley, "if he with armed forces should offer 
to resist the Generall; and not only so — if any forces 
should he sent out of England at the request of Sir Wil- 
liam or otherways, to his aid, that they were likewise to 
be opposed" until his Majesty could be heard from. 

Then an exi^losion. That was armed rebellion against 


the King, and " this bugbear did marvellously startle " 
them. They were willing to sign the test, but not to 
sign that ; whereupon Bacon, with his impetuous tem- 
per, suddenly flames out. If they would not sign all, 
they need not sign any ; " he would surrender up his 
commission, and let the country find some other servant 
to go abroad and do their work ! ' Sir William Berke- 
ley hath proclaimed me a rebel,' " he exclaimed, " ' and 
it is not unknown to himself that I both can and shall 
charore him with no less than treason ! ' " Governor 
Berkeley would never forgive them for signing any 
part of the test, he urged ; and they might judge for 
themselves " how many or few he would make choice 
of to be sent into the tother ivorld" The passionate 
eloquence of Bacon is vividly described in the old 
narratives. He would have all signed, or nothing — 
" the whole swallowed or none." A sudden incident 
determined the wavering assemblage. The " gunner of 
York Fort" rushed through the crowd, wild-eyed and 
dismayed. The savages were advancing on his fort ! 
The Governor had removed all his arms ! The fort 
was filled with poor people who had fled before the 
Indian tomahawk from the woods of Gloster ! 

Thereat, " the General is somewhat startled," and 
looks with eyes of passionate appeal to the crowd, hav- 
ing either arranged this dramatic scene beforehand, or 
feeling as much startled as the rest. The effect was 
decisive. It "did stagger a great many, and there was 
no more discourses." The prime gentlemen agreed to 
sign the whole paper, with the express understanding 
that it was not to affect their allegiance. Upon that 
point Bacon promptly reassured them. Affect their 
allegiance ? Far from it ! " God forbid," he cried. 


" that it should be so meant or intended 1 Himself and 
army, by his command, had some few days before taken 
the Oath of Allegiayice ! " 

So the oath was taken and the paper subscribed by 
these loyal prime gentlemen, who were so punctilious 
about their allegiance to the King — the oath to fight 
the King's troops if they came to Virginia. 

This Middle-Plantation meeting was a stormy affair. 
The struggle had continued from noon to midnight, and 
the scene lit up by torches in the summer night must 
have been striking. In the centre of the excited crowd 
is the young Cromwell of twenty-eight, his face flushed 
and his eyes blazing as he urges this or that argument 
showing the necessity of the proposed oath. Around 
him are the prime gentlemen with doubtful or resolute 
faces, and the well-armed housekeepers girt with broad- 
swords, looking and listening. No doubt that quiet 
gentleman yonder is thoughtful Mr. Lawrence, who 
sees with delight that the "resolute temper" of the 
young General has swept away all opposition, and that 
the Virginians are going to "see the King's peace kept 
by resisting the King's viceregent." 

The paper signed at Middle-Plantation on this 3d 
of August, 1676, is a notable document. It begins by 
setting forth that " certain persons have lately contrived 
the raising forces" against General Bacon and the 
people, " thereby to heget civil war; " and they will en- 
deavor to apprehend " those evil disposed persons, and 
them secure until further orders from the General ; " — 
so much for his Excellency. And as Sir William has 
niformed the King that Virginia is in rebellion, and he 
needs troops, " We, the inhabitants of Virginia," will " to 
the utmost of our power oppose and suppress all forces 


whatsoever of that nature^ until such time as the King be 
fully informed of the state of the case by such person 
or persons as shall be sent from the said Nathaniel" 
Bacon, in the behalf of the people, and the determina- 
tion thereof be remitted hither." 

This was plain. His Majesty's Governor and repre- 
sentative was making war on Virginia. His Majesty's 
true representative was not this traitor, but General 
Bacon. As the most loyal of the King's subjects they 
meant to crush the King's Governor if they could ; to 
inform the King of all things ; and meanwhile to op- 
pose and fight the King's troops if they came to Vir- 
ginia. The last clause bore a strong resemblance to 
an important feature in another paper, signed at Phila- 
delphia July 4, 1776. This engagement taken by the 
Virginians was signed August 3, 1676, nearly a hun- 
dred years before. 

The great business was thus finished. The leading 
men were banded togetlier in support of Bacon, and the 
next step was to organize a government. None but 
the Virginia people had authority to do that ; and Ba- 
con issued writs for the representatives of the people to 
assemble early in September. The writs were in the 
name of his Majesty, and signed by four members of 
the Council who were present at the meeting. Then, 
without loss of time, swift couriers bore them away to 
the four winds ; and Bacon, secure now, as he said, 
that in his absence " to destroy the wolves " the foxes 
would not " devour the sheep," set off with his army 
again to finish his Indian campaign. 

He left behind him a mighty tumult. Virginia had 
risen for the right. The New World had defied the Old. 
The oath on the Virginia Field of Mars to fight Eng- 


land, sworn by torchlight in the midst of grim faces, 
stirred up a great wave of rejoicing, which rolled over 
all Virginia, from the lowland to the mountains. Every- 
where men and women hailed it with enthusiasm. *' Now 
we can build ships," they said, " and, like New England, 
trade to any part of the world ! " — an evidence of the 
aversion to the navigation laws. Sarah Drummond, the 
wife of the sober Scottish conspirator, exclaimed : — 

" The child that is unborn shall have cause to rejoice 
for the good that will come by the rising of the coun- 
try ! " And when a person beside her croaked, — 

" We must expect a greater power from England that 
will certainly be our ruin," Drummond's wife picked up 
a stick, broke it in two, and said disdainfully, — 

" 1 fear the power of England no more than a broken 
straw ! " 

When others faltered, she exclaimed bravely, " We 
will do well enough ! " and that was the hopeful feeling 
of the great mass of the people. Thousands of men 
and women — and the hearts of women are braver and 
more devoted than the hearts of men, often — were ut- 
tering, doubtless, similar words, full of the true ring, all 
over Virginia. The country was with Bacon, and swore 
the oath with him. 

He was, meanwhile, at work again. Having issued 
his proclamation that all friends of the cause should, on 
" the arrival of the forces from England, retire into the 
wilderness and oppose them," he crossed James River 
at Curies, according to one account, attacked the Appo- 
mattox Indians at what is now Petersburg, and killed 
or routed the whole tribe. He then traversed the south 
side toward the Nottoway and Roanoke, dispersed all 
the savages he encountered, and early in September 


"draws in his forces within the verge of the English 
Plantations." At West Point, his " prime rendezvous 
or place of retreat," he dismissed all but a detachment, 
to £^0 home and rest ; and this was the state of things, 
when the whole face of affairs suddenly changed. 

News came that Sir William Berkeley, with seven- 
teen ships and a thousand men, had returned from 
Accomac, sailed up James River, and was again in 
possession of Jamestown. 



The fortunes of Sir William Berkeley in the " King- 
dorn of Accomac " had been a checker- work of sun and 
shadow. The first outlook there seemed gloomy indeed ; 
the chill wind of disloyalty blew steadily over that 
sandy region, as it blew across the green hills of Vir- 
ginia. Few gleams of hope cheered the black darkness 
around the old King's-man. The virus of rebellion had 
infected the Eastern Shore men as well as the West 
Shore men. His Excellency could get no substantial 
planters to espouse his fortunes ; and it seemed that if 
he returned at all, it would be at the head of a handful 
of "rabble." 

But all at once the skies cleared. A lucky accident 
cheered the heart of the despondent Cavalier. Bacon, 
after attending to matters at Middle-Plantation, had 
sent one of his friends to confine the Governor in Acco- 
mac, or capture him. This person was Mr.-Gil«e>.,^land, 
" a gentleman of an active and stirring disposition, and 
no grate admirer of Sir William's goodness." He was 


to go and '' block up " his foe Sir William, or induce 
the people to surrender him, — "thinking the coun- 
try, like the Friar in the Bush, must needs be so mad 
as to dance to their pipe." So, General Bacon hoping 
that his Lieutenant, Bland, might " go forth with an 
empty hand but return with a full fist," placed this 
business in his charge, and went after the Indians. 

These phrases of the old chronicle show the eccen- 
tric humor of the times. Such turns of expression 
constantly crop up in these uncouth writings, and re- 
lieve the tragedy of the narrative. The authors sym- 
pathize really with Bacon, but then he and his friends 
are rogues and rebels ; and it is the " Rogue's March " 
they are going to pipe to make the Accomackians dance. 
The performance soon begins, but a dirge is to wind up 
the gay lilt for some people. Bacon's " Lieutenant- 
general Bland, a man of courage and haughty bear- 
ing," set forth on his enterprise. He had two hundred 
and fifty men, and one ship with four guns, under com- 
mand of an old sailor. Captain Carver, who was "re- 
solved to adventure his old bones " for the rebel cause. 
Tins one ship was insufficient, however, and Bland 
seized another, lying in York River, which belonged to 
a Captain Laramore, probably a trader and a friend of 
Berkeley's. This seizure irritated Laramore and was 
the cause of many woes. He had been arrested and 
confined in his cabin, but dissembled, professed sym- 
pathy, and was restored to the command of his ship ; 
and then Bland sailed for Accomac. On the way he 
captured another vessel, making four in all ; and with 
this fleet came in sight of the Eastern Shore. 

At the appearance of the four ships mounted with 
cannon Sir William gave up all for lost. His days 
in Accomac had not been happy days. Instead pf 


anathematizing Bacon, the planters echoed the public 
complaints, and few had joined his standard. Now 
he found himself threatened with capture by a rebel 
fleet; and his situation was not unlike that of his 
master Charles I. in his darkest days. An incident 
changed everything. Laramore's mind was still rank- 
ling with resentment at the seizure of his ship; and he 
privately sent word to Berkeley that if assistance were 
given him he would betray Bland. At the time, the 
vessels were at anchor, and Captain Carver of the 
four-gun ship, Bland's second in command, had gone on 
shore to see Berkeley. Laramore's offer resembled a 
trap, but a friend of the Governor's, Colonel Philip 
Ludwell, offered to vouch for him, and to lead the 
party to assist in Bland's capture. Sir William there- 
upon agreed to everything, and Ludwell " prepared an 
armed boat in a creek not far off, but out of sight." 
At the time appointed he rowed toward Laramore's 
ship : was supposed to be coming to parley ; and Bland 
did not fire on him. The sequel quickly came. The 
boat ran under the ship's stern, and one of Ludwell's 
men leaped on board and putting a pistol to Bland's 
breast said, " You are my prisoner." The rest fol- 
lowed and disarmed the crew, who were said to be 
drunk, but probably were Laramore's friends ; and 
Carver soon returning, he and Bland were " amazed 
and yielded." No further resistance was made, and 
Colonel Ludwell returned in triumph with his prison- 
ers to Berkeley.-^ 

1 The hero of this exploit, Colonel Philip Ludwell, was Berkeley's 
secretary, and after the Governor's death married "Dame ffrances 
Berkele}'," who had been a young widow when Berkele}' married 
her. Of her three husbands she seems to have preferred the second, 
as she continued to call herself "Lady Berkeley" to the time of her 


Thus ended in gloomy disaster the attempt to make 
the Accomackians dance to the rebel piping. Bland, 
with all his courage and activity, had been caught in 
a trap, and Berkeley put him in irons and otherwise 
ill-treated him. As for Captain Carver, his "old bones " 
were to rattle on a gibbet, if like another foe of Berke- 
ley's, he was hung in chains. His Excellency " honored 
him with the gift of a halter," but spared Lieutenant- 
general Bland, either as a gentleman of too much con- 
sideration to be executed, or for fear of Bacon, Poor 
old Carver was hung on the Accomac shore a few days 
afterwards ; and Laramore's men joined the forces under 

These were now considerable in numbers if not in 
quality. The 'longshoremen had agreed to assist him, 
and at this fortunate moment, Captain Gardener, a 
Berkeley an, arrived at Accomac in his ship the Adam- 
and-Eve, with ten or twelve sloops which he had col- 
lected along the coast. Bland's captured ships made 
in all about seventeen ; and on these the forces em- 
barked, in number about a thousand. The Governor 
had promised them, it was said, the estates of all who 
had taken " Bacon's Oath;" and further proclaimed that 
the servants of all gentlemen fighting under Bacon 
should have the property of their masters in case they 
enrolled themselves under the King's flaof. 

Berkeley sailed for Jamestown and reached it safely 
(September 7, 1676), the news of his approach "out- 
stripping his canvass wings." The place was held by 
Colonel Hansford, one of the youngest and bravest of 
Bacon's lieutenants, with eight or nine hundred men. 
Berkeley anchored and summoned Hansford to surren- 
der, promising amnesty to all but Lawrence and Drum- 


mond, then in the town. Hansford refused, but by the 
advice of these two leaders, determined to evacuate the 
phace, which he did during the night. About noon 
next day Governor Berkeley landed on the island, and, 
like Lord Delaware before him, " knelt down and ren- 
dered thanks to God for his safe arrival." In the town 
he found only a few people, above all no Lawrence or 
Drummond. These gentlemen had prudently retired, 
and the chronicle makes merry over thoughtful Mr. 
Lawrence for his dread of capture. So "distracted" 
was he at the vision of a halter that he " forsook his own 
house with all his wealth and a fair cupboard of plate 
entire standing, which fell into the Governor's hands." 

Meanwhile, as the triumphant Cavalier is feasting 
his eyes on his enemy's cupboard, the owner of the 
cupboard, with his friends Drummond and Hansford, 
is speeding northward at a swift gallop to find General 

They find him at West Point, the head of York 
River, and are the first to communicate the startling 
intelligence that Sir William Berkeley has recaptured 
Jamestown. The enemy supposed to be crushed has 
returned, thirsting for vengeance ; the whole " King- 
dom of Accomac " has declared for him ; the fierce 
wrestle apparently at an end has just begun, it seems. 

Bacon's proceedings were those of a soldier. He 
had only a body-guard with him, but mounted in hot 
haste and set out fon Jamestown. Couriers scattered 
in all directions to summon the Baconians to join him. 
As he advanced his force steadily increased, and march- 
ing with " a marvellous celerity, outstripping the swift 
wings of fame," he came in sight of Jamestown, at the 
head now of a force of several hundred men. 


Sir William was ready to receive him. A strong 
earthwork and palisade had been erected across the 
neck of the island, and Bacon rode forward to recon- 
noitre. He then ordered his trumpets to sound and a 
volley to be fired into the town. But no response came 
back. Berkeley, it is said, expected that his enemy 
would retire for want of provisions ; but in this he 
was disappointed. Bacon was a rough campaigner, 
and supplied himself from the Governor's own larder, 
as the Governor had supplied himself from thoughtful 
Mr. Lawrence's cupboard. He made his headquarters 
at '" Greenspring," the mansion of Sir William ; and 
cattle, pork, grain, horses, and stores of every descrip- 
tion were mercilessly appropriated. 

The rebel then proceeded to throw up a breastwork 
in front of the palisade, and in order to protect his men 
had recourse to a very unworthy scheme. He sent de- 
tachments of horsemen into the surrounding country to 
capture and bring into camp the wives of prominent gen- 
tlemen who fought on the side of Berkeley. We have 
the names of four of these ladies : " Madame Bray, Mad- 
ame Page, Madame Ballard, and Madame Bacon " — 
the wife of no less a person than that " rich, politick " 
old kinsman, Nathaniel Bacon, Sr., of the Council, who 
had such a fondness for his " uneasy cousin," the young 
rebel. The young person in question was thus a rude 
adversary, and stopped at nothing. The ladies were 
brought in their carriages, it is to be hoped, not forced 
to come on foot ; but they came. This was a bad busi- 
ness enough and scarcely worthy of that preux cheva- 
lier and devoted attendant of " indisposed " ladies, Mr. 
Nathaniel Bacon ; but he was going to do still worse. 
He sent one of the disconsolate ladies into the town, 


under a flafr, " to inform her own and the other hus- 
bands " that he meant to place them " in the forefront 
of his men " during the construction of the earthworks ; 
— if an attack was made on the workmen the ladies 
would suffer. 

The " white aproned " herald went and delivered the 
message, and the chronicle states the result. " The poor 
gentlewomen were mightily astonished, and neather were 
their husbands void of amazement at this subtill inven- 
tion." And then the worthy historian of this subtile 
invention bursts forth with his own comment full of 
dry humor : " If Mr. Fuller thoitght it strange that the 
DiveWs hlack garde should he enroided God's soidders,'^ 
the poor amazed husbands " made it no less wonderful 
that their innocent and harmless wives should thus be 
entred a white garde to the Divell. And this action was 
a method in war that they were not well acquainted 
with : that before they could come to pierce their ene- 
ynifs sides they must be obliged to dart their weapons 
thorugh their wives hrest^ 

There is no reason to doubt that Bacon resorted to 
this unworthy device. His admirers attempt, of course, 
to explain it away, or discredit it. It was done. At 
daylight an attacking party sallied out of town and fell 
on the workmen ; the sally was repulsed ; and then the 
ladies were " exhibited to the view of their husbands 
and friends in town upon the top of the small work, 
where he caused them to tarry till he had finished his 
defence against his enemy's shot." That is precise, 
and admits of no discussion. And of all the curious 
events of a curious time it was the most curious. It 
resembles rather an invention of romance than a sober 
tableau of history, — this picture of the ladies in their 


" white aprons " on the buttress of earth and felled 
trees, shivering in the September moonlight as the chill 
dawn begins to glimmer ; around them the red, autumn 
foliage ; behind them the bearded faces of the rebel 
horsemen ; and yonder within the palisade the amazed 
and forlorn husbands withholding their shot lest they 
harm these dear white guards of the Devil — who is Gen- 
eral Bacon ! 

It is rather difficult to reconcile the incident with 
Bacon's conceded character as a soldier and a gentle- 
man, since soldiers or gentlemen do not make war on 
women or children. When they do so they do it at 
their peril, and if the victims have no other avenger, 
history will take care of their oppressors. It has done 
so in this case. Explain it as people may, that was not 
a defensible proceeding; and it has left a blot on the 
name of a man otherwise illustrious. Berkeley acted 
with more gallantry. " The ladies' white aprons be- 
came of greater force " than Bacon's men and guns, and 
no further attack was made until the " guardian angells 
withdrew into a place of safety " — let us hope were 
sent back home. Then the ancient Cavalier burst out 
with a force of about ei^ht hundred men and made a 
sudden assault on Bacon. 

It was repulsed in a twinkling, was indeed a mere 
fiasco. Alas ! the motley crew from Accomac were no 
fit adversaries for the well-armed housekeepers. In his 
hour of need Governor Berkeley had been obliged to re- 
cruit fishermen, 'longshoremen, and rabble instead of 
good men. The rabble had no principles to fight for, or 
hearts in the business. They had come over to plun- 
der ; and finding cold steel to encounter instead of lard- 
ers to rifle, they suddenly ceased fighting and " returned 


with light heels " to Jamestown, leaving a dozen of their 
number stretched on the ground as the only proof that 
they had fought at all. 

This was the end for the moment of Sir William 
Berkeley and the royal cause. The stormy old leader 
was " extremely disgusted, and expressed in some pas- 
sionate terms " his wrath and mortification. But there 
was no help for it. His following was plainly too luke- 
warm to run any risk in his cause ; and when Bacon 
brought up three guns and opened a cannonade on the 
town and ships, Sir William Berkeley lost all heart, em- 
barked during the night, and he and his Accomac army 
sailed away from Jamestown. 

The ancient capital of Virginia was now in the hands 
of the rebels. Having consulted with his officers. Bacon 
resolved to burn it " that the rogues should harbor there 
no more ; " the rogues being his Honor Sir William 
Berkeley and his people. This was done without delay ; 
thouojhtful Mr. Lawrence and sober Mr. Drummond set 
fire to their houses with their own hands ; and the town 
was soon in ashes. Thus the old " nest of empire " 
built by that first of American eagles. Smith, went up 
in flame and vanished. It was a pity, and after all, as 
the narrative will show, was useless. 

Such was the end of the famous invasion of Virginia 
by the un-Norman men of Berkeley from the distant 
kingdom of Accomac. It had accomplished nothing. 
The advance had ended in retreat. Sir William Berke- 
ley had fled to his ships, and his ships had fled down 
James River. They were still in sight, however, and 
Bacon remained at his headquarters in the Greenspring 
manor-house to watch them. 

This was the state of affairs when the scenes of the 


rapid drama shifted as rapidly as before. A courier, in 
hot haste, from the York country brought intelligence 
that a strong force, friends of Sir William Berkeley, 
were advancing from the direction of the Potomac to 
attack the rebels. 



Bacon promptly broke up his camp and marched to 
face the new danger. There was little to fear any 
lonofer from Sir William. If he came back to James- 
town he would find only smoking ruins. If he pursued 
the adventurous rebels he knew the consequences of a 
collision with them. So turning his back on the Acco- 
mackians, Bacon marched at the head of his horsemen 
toward the York. 

He had grown ill and irritable. In the Jamestown 
trenches he had contracted fever and dysentery, and the 
result was a great irascibility of temper. He had be- 
come passionate and excitable, but his strong will was 
as strong as ever ; iDcrhaps more dangerous from the 
fever consuming him. He was readier to fight than 
before. The situation of things was plain : a force of 
Royalists was marching on his rear to avenge the woes 
of Berkeley, and his place was to crush them. 

Pie crossed the lower York in boats at Ferry Point 
and marched into Gloucester, where he made his head- 
quarters at Colonel Warner's and issued his " man- 
dates." These were addressed to the Gloster men, and 
called on them to meet him promptly at the Court-house, 
there to take the oath drawn up at Middle-Plantation. 
It was the direct test of the rebel or royalist sentiment ; 


but before the test could be applied a courier arrived, 
post-haste, with important news. Colonel Brent was 
" advancing fast upon him, with a resolution to fight 
him, at the head of 1,000 men." 

Thereupon no more mandates or parley with the 
Gloster men. Bacon " commands tlie drums to beat 
for the gathering his soulders under their colors," and 
this done, makes them an address. Brent is coming to 
fio-ht ; are they ready to fight him ? " Shouts and ac- 
clamations " follow, and " the drums thunder a march." 
They flock around their leader, prepare for the advance, 
and with " abundance of cheerfulness, disburthen them- 
selves of all impediments to expedition ; excepting their 
oathes and wenches.^^ 

The army marched at once up the country toward the 
Rappahannock. But there was not to be any fighting. 
The dread poison of rebellion, which had been blown on 
the breeze to Accomac, had swept northward on the 
south wind to the Potomac. Colonel Brent's men de- 
serted him, and some came to Bacon, " resolving with 
the Persians to go and worship the rising sun," — poor 
sun about to set ! Thereupon, the brave Colonel Brent 
exclaims, " They have forsaken the stoutest man and 
ruined the fairest estate in Virginia ! " and goes home 
with his few faithful in huge disgust. 

Such was the sudden end of that danger, and Bacon 
marched back to Gloucester. The rude chronicle is 
more expressive : " This business of Brent's having 
(like the hoggs the devill sheared) produced more noyse 
than wooll, Bacon, according to summons, meets the 
Gloster men at the Court howse." The scene was ani- 
mated and not harmonious. Six or seven hundred armed 
Gloster men had come to the rendezvous on horseback, 


and Bacon, as usual, made them " a long harange." 
Would they take the oath ? They had not yet done 
so, and he had sent for them to ask them that plain 
question. The speech is not reported ; these hot ora- 
tions of the young rebel have all been carried away 
by the winds of two centuries, but enough is known 
to show that Bacon's demeanor, on this day, was fiery. 
He was sick and exasperated. These Gloster men 
were the only enemies left. He had crushed Berke- 
ley, and Brent's men had gone home or joined his own 
standard. The rest of Virginia was true to him ; what 
were the Gloster men going to do ? He wanted their 

Their spokesman, Mr. Cole, " offered the sense of the 
Gloster men." They objected to the oath and wislied 
to remain neutral. Ther-eat Bacon flamed out. They 
should not remain neutral! They "appeared like the 
worst of sinners, who had a desire to be saved ivith the 
righteous, and yet would do nothing whereby they might 
ohtain their salvation ! " With this hot flout he turns his 
back on them, doubtless looking toward his armed house- 
keepers. The crisis is perilous ; he has only to raise his 
finger and the armed housekeepers will charge the 
Gloster men. One of the latter, Colonel Gouge, inter- 
poses. Perhaps the oath may be taken yet ; he " had 
only spoke to the horse and not. to the foot. ^^ But Bacon, 
" in some passion," and scowling, doubtless at the Colo- 
nel, cries hotly : " I spake to the men, and not to the 
horse, leaving that service for you to do, as one beast can 
best understand the meaning of another I " The Gen- 
eral is furious, and spares no one. A minister, Mr. 
Wading, refuses the oath and encourages others to 
do so, whereupon Bacon promptly arrests him, telling 


him it was " his place to preach in the church not in the 
camp ; in the first he might say what he pleased, but in 
the last he was to say no more than should please him^ 
unless he could Jight to better purpose than he could 
preach ! " 

In truth the fever caught at Jamestown is burning in 
the young General's blood. He is never a patient man, 
and his present surroundings are not soothing. He will 
be master, if the issue is to be tried with arms ; and the 
Gloster men agree at last to take the oath, which is 
afterwards done. Then the meeting disperses and that 
matter ends. 

This was the last great scene in which Bacon appeared 
on the theatre of events. His life was wasting away. 
The fever bred in the ditches at Jamestown had caught 
fast hold on his frame ; but to the last his resolute will 
defied the fire raging in his pulses. He planned an ex- 
pedition to Accomac, and an attack on Berkeley who 
had gone back there. But his strength rapidly waned, 
and the dysentery preying on him made further exertion 
impossible. He was soon unable to remain in command, 
and retired to the house of a friend, Major Pate, in 
Gloucester ; and here after a few weeks' illness he ex- 
pired (October 1676). 

A fearful rumor rose above his corpse. The Royal- 
ists, full of rancor, said that he died of a loathsome dis- 
ease, the direct visitation of God, but his friends said 
that he had been poisoned. Could there have been any 
truth in this charge ? On the face of it, it seems incred- 
ible, as inconsistent with the character of Berkeley, — a 
cruel and bitterly revengeful but not treacherous person. 
And yet the chance expressions of contemporary writ- 
ers have an ugly appearance. The friends of Bacon 


said that the royal party, " dreading tlieir just desert 
corrupted death by Paracelsian art to destroy him.'* 
That might be passed by as the bitter suspicion of polit- 
ical enemies, but unfortunately the Royalists did not re- 
sent the accusation One of them, in some verses ou 
Bacon's death, wrote : — 

*' Then how can it be counted for a sin 
Though Death {nay thoufjh myself) had bribed been 
To guide the fatal shaft ? We honor all 
That lends a hand unto a traitor^ sfalV^ 

This may have meant nothing, but a line in " Ingram's 
Proceedings," which is written by a strong Royalist, goes 
further. Fortune, this writer says, has removed the 
great foe of Berkeley, " by a death either natural or vio- 
lejit." Thus the friends of Berkeley did not distinctly 
repel the charge that the death of Bacon was caused by 
poison or the dagger. Even so reliable a writer as 
Hening inclines to the belief that he " fell by the hand 
of some assassin employed by the government." But the 
phrases used are vague, and it is a critical proceeding to 
mingle suppositions with history. If Bacon was assas- 
sinated it is probable that neither Berkeley or any gen- 
tleman of the King's party had any knowledge of the in- 
tent. Political animosity is a fierce prompter, but the 
characters of the royalist leaders contradict the theory 
of assassination. To sum up the matter, the charge was 
made ; not distinctly repelled ; but is not proved by any 
evidence remaining to the present time. 

The death of the famous leader seems to have been 
tranquil, and he made a pious end. Finding his last 
hour near, he sent for Mr. Wading, the minister whom 
he had arrested, a ^Dolitical opponent, and "made his 
articles of rendition," which his enemies said was " the 


only religious duty he was observed to perform during 
these intrigues of affairs." Whether this was true or 
not is not known ; but all statements in regard to Bacon 
after his death come mainly from the victorious side. 
Having thus made his peace with heaven he calmly 
expired, or as the quaint old chronicle says, " surren- 
dered up that fort he was no longer able to keep, into 
the hands of the grim and all-conquering Captain, 
Death." To the last all connected with him was full of 
strange interest. Berkeley was hovering near, waiting 
to pounce upon his dead body and hang it on a gibbet, 
as the English royalists had hung the body of Cromwell. 
To defeat this design, Lawrence and other friends. re- 
solved to conceal his body. This was done with pro- 
found secrecy, and the old writers make only mysterious 
references to the scene. The body was buried, one of 
them intimates, in some secret nook of the Gloucester 
woods, — "but where deposited till the General! day, 
not known, only to those who are resolutely silent in that 
particular." Another says, " Bacon's body was so made 
away, as his bones were never found to be exposed on a 
gibbet as was proposed, stones being laid in his coffin, 
supposed to be done by Lawrence." Was the corpse 
sunk in the York, or some other stream, as the body of 
Alaric was sunk in the Busento by his Goths ? It is 
more than probable. The stones placed " in his coffin " 
seem to point to such a device. In either case the place 
of his burial was not discovered, and remains still a 

Such was the abrupt ending of this brief and stormy 
career. It was all comprised ' in about four months. 
May, 1676, found Bacon an unknown planter; in the 
summer he was already famous ; and in October he was 


dead. His character and aims must have been plain 
from the foregoing narrative. Undoubtedly his designs 
developed with the development of events. He began 
by applying only for a commission to fight the Indians, 
and ended by resolving to free Virginia from the op- 
pressions of the Government. The defender of the 
frontier became the head of revolution ; and whether 
Lawrence and others did or did not induce him to em- 
bark in the rebellion, he was the soul of it. With all 
his impetuosity he was a man of cool judgment and saw 
the ends he meant to achieve. The rising was not a 
hair-brained project, but the result of deliberate calcu- 
lation. As the representative of the Virginia people, 
he protested, sword in hand, against public grievances, 
to compel redress. His own life, he must have seen 
from the first, would probably answer for his course, 
but the country would profit. And his anticipation was 
justified. His resolute stand against Berkeley com- 
pelled the dissolution of the royalist Assembly, which 
had remained unchanged since 1660, and resulted in 
" Bacon's Assembly," which began at once by "inspect- 
ing the public revenues," extended suffrage to freemen, 
and was so defiant that Berkeley dissolved it. That 
was the first result of the appeal to the sword. The 
rest would follow ; and Bacon had arranged for every- 
thing. If English troops came to Virginia, he would 
retreat to the woods and fight them. He would not 
lay down his arms until the public grievances were re- 

His personal character lies on the surface of his 

career. He was resolute, imperious, quick of temper, 

but cool too. He scarcely ever lost his equipoise. His 

courage and decision were certainly remarkable. The 



prompt march on Jamestown with a small force, on 
Berkeley's return from Accomac, was the act of a 
thorough soldier. His judgment was not blinded by 
passion. At Middle - Plantation he had not for a 
moment lost his head, or indulged visions of military 
usurpation. He drove through his great plan of action 
against the protests of the "prime gentlemen." But 
the passionate youth whose will bent all, plainly an- 
nounced that the Virginia Assembly alone could de- 
cide who was to be the ruler of Virginia. This im- 
perious temper was his greatest blemish, but he could 
be gentle and winning, and was certainly a great nat- 
ural orator. There are many proofs of this fact. Even 
his enemies conceded it. His eloquence seems to have 
been superb and passionate ; those who heard him speak 
said that he " animated with his heat " the dullest and 
chillest souls ; and " conquered with his commanding 
tongue more than Caesar." On all critical occasions he 
made a " long harangue," his enemies said derisively ; 
but they added that the young soldier-orator " knit 
more knots by his own head in one day " than his op- 
ponents were "able to untie in a whole week." At 
his fiery appeals in Gloucester, his followers " burst into 
shouts and acclamations, while the drums thunder a march 
to meet the promised conflict." He was not only a pop- 
ular speaker, but even more a man of action who de- 
cided on his course quickly, and adhered to it obstinately. 
As a soldier he was uniformly successful, — ■ which an- 
other great soldier has said is the true test of soldier- 
ship. It may be objected that Virginia in general was 
for him, and that victory was thus organized in advance. 
The sufficient answer is that up to the time of his death 
the rebellion had triumphed everywhere ; and that when 


he went it went with him. The whole fabric suddenly 
crumbled and the dread revolt was snuffed out with lit- 
tle difficulty. 

Of the inner motives of the man we have no record. 
We have his own statement of his aims, but personal 
statements are always doubtful authority. Still Bacon 
seems to have been disinterested. He had nothino- to 
expect from revolution but confiscation and a halter. 
The Assembly called for September might have de- 
posed Berkeley and chosen him for Governor ; but his 
clear eyes must have seen that his tenure of that oflice 
would be short and full of trouble. The armed rebel 
against his Majesty could not long remain master of his 
Majesty's colony of Virginia. The path of revolution 
was thus rough and perilous, and at the end of it a gulf 
yawned, which would surely swallow him. It is his 
just claim to renown that this peril did not shake his 
nerves. He made fearless war on an adversary who 
was nearly certain to crush him ; and was the first 
American who declared, sword in hand, that he would 
die rather than submit to an invasion of his ri^ht. As 
such this young Virginia rebel of 1676 takes his place 
with the great American rebels of 1776, who followed 
in his footsteps. 

All that is known of Bacon personally is embodied 
in this narrative. It is not much, but is sufficient to 
paint the likeness of the man — the winning, imperious, 
violent leader of twenty-eight, with the hot pulse of 
youth and the cool brain of age united in him. Noth- 
ing further is recorded of him, and he goes into the 
mist with Berkeley his adversary, his " well-armed 
housekeepers," the blundering old Assembly-men, the 
Indian queens, and all the dead figures. He appears 


and disappears like an actor passing across the stage, 
and even the hist resting-place of this " most accom- 
plished gentleman of Virginia," as a contemporary calls 
him, remains a secret. His sorrowful friends were 
*' resolutely silent in that particular." We only know- 
that his body was sunk in the York by the weight of 
stones placed in his coffin ; or that he lies under the 
shade of the trees in some remote spot of the woods of 
Gloucester " till the Generall day." 


Berkeley's vengeances. 

The dire rebellion ended with Bacon. That great 
mainspring once broken, the whole machinery stopped. 
From the moment when this cool head and strong will 
disappeared, though some fighting followed, all hope of 
making a successful stand against the royal authority 
was abandoned. The sudden change in the whole face 
of affairs was momentous, and must strike with aston- 
ishment the student who reads the narrative. In Sep- 
tember the revolutionists were everywhere triumphant. 
Berkeley was driven back to Accomac ; the men from 
the Potomac had disbanded ; Gloucester had taken the 
oath ; and all Virginia had declared for Bacon. In 
October he was dead, and the rebellion was over. 
With this one man went the cause, and the well-armed 
housekeepers retired to their homes in despair. 

For a brief season desultory fighting still continued. 
A grotesque personage named Ingram, who had been a 
rope-dancer, was made General ; but Bacon's death had 
occasioned widespread dismay, and the end soon came. 


There was a confused turmoil in Gloucester, but it was 
seen that the struggle was over, and Sir William Berkeley 
prepared to glut his long deferred vengeance. Colonel 
Hansford, one of Bacon's best men, was captured at the 
house of a young lady to whom he was paying his ad- 
dresses, taken to Accomac, and hung as a rebel, by Berke- 
ley, in spite of his prayer that he might be '• shot like a 
soldier." Major Cheeseman was also captured, and Cap- 
tains Wilford and Farlow. The last were huns: like Hans- 
ford, and Cheeseman was thrown into prison, where he 
afterwards died. He was said to have shared the fate of 
Bacon. A scene between his wife and the Governor 
has dishonored Berkeley's memory. When her husband 
was fiercely questioned by Berkeley as to his motive for 
rebellion, this lady came forward before he could reply 
and said, " It was her provocations that made her hus- 
band join in the cause that Bacon contended for ; if he 
had not been influenced by her instigations he had never 
done that which he had done." She then knelt before 
Berkeley and said, " Since what her husband had done 
was by her means, and so by consequence she most guilty, 
she might be hanged and he pardoned." To this brave 
speech of the true wife Berkeley replied by offering her 
a gross insult, and even the Berkeleyan chronicler revolts 
from the disgraceful scene. "His Honor was angry," 
and did not mean what he said ; for no woman could have 
" so small affection for her husband as to dishonor him 
by her dishonesty, and yet retain such a degree of love, 
that rather than he should be hanged she will be con- 
tent to submit her own life to the sentence." The roy- 
alist writer thus urges his lame apology. His Honor's 
anger had made him forget himself and turned a gentle- 
man into a ruffian. 


Berkeley now sailed from Accomac and established 
his quarters in York. Ingram still made a show of 
resistance, but speedily accepted terms and surrendered. 
Only two prominent leaders remained uncaptured, — 
Lawrence and Drummond. Finally, the latter was taken 
prisoner, while hiding in the Chickahominy swamp ; and 
the Governor, when he was brought before him, ex- 
claimed with bitter irony : — 

" Mr. Drummond, you are very welcome ! I am 
more glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. 
Drummond, you shall be hanged in half an hour ! " 

" What your Honor pleases," was the cool reply of 

He was tried and sentenced at one in the day, his 
wife's ring torn from his finger, and at four in the after- 
noon he was hung. 

" I know not whether it be lawful to wish such a 
person alive," said the English Lord Chancellor after- 
wards, " otherwise I could wish Sir William Berkeley 
so, to see what could be answered to such barbarity ; 
but he has answered it before this." 

Thoughtful Mr. Lawrence had taken care of himself. 
He knew what to expect, and made his escape. All 
we know of him thereafter is conveyed in one sentence 
of the chronicle : " The last account of Mr. Lawrence 
was from an uppermost plantation, whence he and four 
other desperadoes with horses, pistols, etc., marched 
away in a snow ankle-deep, who were thought to have 
cast themselves into a branch of some river, rather than 
to be treated like Drummond ; " but probably passed 
through the Great Woods to another land where they 
were safe. 

It was now the year 1677, and Berkeley's bloody 


vengeance was not even yet sated. The white-haired 
Cavalier proved himself a tiger, as he had proved him- 
self a ruffian in insulting Mrs. Cheeseman. The taste 
of blood had turned his head. He tried and executed 
nearly every one he could lay his hands upon. Vir- 
ginia became a vast jail or Tyburn Hill. Four men 
were hung on the York ; "several executed on the other 
side James River," and one " hanged in chains at West 
Point." In January (1677) a fleet with an English 
regiment had arrived, and a formal commission to try 
rebels was organized which included Berkeley. This 
commission ended Bland, who had been captured in 
Accomac by Ludwell. The friends of the prisoner in 
England had procured and sent over his pardon ; but the 
commissioners were privately informed that the Duke 
of York (James II.) had said with an oath : " Bacon 
and Bland shall die ! " and havino: thus the intimation 
of what would be agreeable to his Royal Highness, 
Bland was " tried " and duly executed. It was a revel 
of blood. In almost every county gibbets rose, and 
made the wayfarer shudder and turn away at sight of 
their ghastly burdens. Twenty-three persons were 
executed, and Charles II. said, when he heard of all 
this : — 

" That old fool has hanged more men in that naked 
country than I have done for the murder of my father." 

At last the Assembly had to beg Berkeley to desist. 
The old tiger did so with reluctance. A contemporary 
said that "he believed the Governor would have hanged 
half the country if they had let him alone." He was 
finally induced to consent that the rebels should be par- 
doned, except about fifty leaders — Bacon at the head 
of them. But the chief leaders were attainted of trea- 


son and their estates confiscated ; among the first, the 
small property of the unfortunate Drummond. It had 
been better for Berkeley not to have touched that, for 
it aroused Sarah Drummond, and the King restored 
it. Her cry was heard across the Atlantic, and came 
to the foot of the throne. Berkeley drove out her and 
her children, to wander homeless in the woods, but her 
voice reached far and sounds yet. 

" Bacon's laws " were repealed by proclamation, and 
the King's side triumphed ; but the King's Governor 
was ill at ease. The Virginians hated him for his mer- 
ciless vengeance on his disarmed adversaries, and soon 
the rumor came that he was no better liked in England. 
The very King, whom he had so faithfully served, was 
reported to have turned against him ; and worn down 
by sickness and a troubled spirit, he sailed for Eng- 
land. All Virginia rejoiced at the news of his de- 
parture. Salutes were fired, and bonfires blazed. His 
career there was ended. He was never again to come 
back to his Greenspring manor-house and dame Frances 
Berkeley, that dearly beloved wife. He had been re- 
called by Charles II., but on his arrival the King either 
delayed granting, or refused him an audience. This is 
said to have " broken his heart," and after lingering a 
short time, he expired (July 13, 1677). It was less 
than one year after the death of his enemy. Bacon. 

The character of Sir William Berkeley, like Bacon's, 
is read in the events of his career. Pie was utterly 
devoted to monarchy and the church, and fought per- 
sistently for both. In defense of the one he perse- 
cuted dissent, and to support the other he waded in 
blood. He was not a cruel man by nature, but rebel- 
lion made him pitiless. His allegiance was a craze 


which warped his whole nature. To that superstition 
this loving husband, warm friend, and courtly gentle- 
man sacrificed everything — his old friends, his peace 
of mind, his name in Virginia and in history. For a 
quarter of a century he ruled the colony to the fullest 
satisfaction of the people. He was an elegant host and 
a cordial companion, who made everybody welcome. 
He displayed not the least desire to invade the rights 
of the Virginians ; on the contrary he defended them 
on every occasion. It may be said with truth that in 
all these years he was the sincere friend of Virginia 
and the Virjrinians. All his interests and affections 
were centred there — in his wife and his home. It was 
" the most flourishing country the sun ever shone over," 
he said. But one day rebellion raised its head in this 
beautiful land. His idol, the divine right, was flouted by 
these old friends. That moment he became a changed 
man. The Virginians he had loved so were monsters. 
He made war on them; that was natural and com- 
mendable, since they made war on him. But what was 
not commendable, was, that he was merciless to them 
when they were at his mercy ; and that having shed 
the blood of the husbands, he insulted the wives for 
their very devotion. 

It is a study. Scarcely does all history show us a 
stranger picture of this poor human nature ; a more 
lamentable portrait than that of the courtly gentleman 
with the friendly smile for everybody, growing to be the 
pitiless old despot with the fires of hate burning under 
the white hairs, and the insatiable thirst for blood in 
the once kindly heart. 




The great protest of a brave people against bad gov- 
ernment had thus come to nought. Virginia had levied 
war on the crown and put all to the hazard ; the cause 
had gone down in blood ; the Royalists were up again ; 
and after the hot turmoil came the reaction and a sort 
of despair. 

Revolution, when it fails, is a very bad business. One 
of the most disagreeable of all the results is to listen 
to the victors, and to read what is written by tliem. 
Bacon was dead and his well-armed housekeepers had 
gone home ; so, according to Colonel Ludwell, King's- 
man, the unnatural and monstrous rebellion had " not 
proceeded from any fault in the government, but rather 
from the lewd dispositions of desperate fortunes " in 
certain conspirators, whose aim was to achieve the vile 
end of " taking the country wholly out of his Majesty's 
hands." Virginia was " in a worse condition than be- 
fore," and had much better have not risen, since she had 
lost everything and gained nothing. As to that, Col- 
onel Ludwell differed from Bacon and his men, who 
believed that a people ought to resist wrong, without 
countinoj the cost. 

These old rebels of Bacon had given up the struggle 
because they were forced to do so ; but they were not 
broken in spirit, and even Berkeley's followers joined 
with them in resisting the foreign people. The Eng- 
lish Commissioners demanded the surrender of the jour- 
nals of the Burgesses, and the Burgesses refused to 


surrender them. " Such a power had never been exer- 
cised by the King of England," they declared. Fore- 
EQost among the new rebels was the old anti-rebel, Ma- 
jor Robert Beverley. He was Clerk of the House, and 
refused to obey, and was fined and imprisoned. When 
the Journals were wrested from him the Burafesses 
rose in their wrath. They voted that the seizure was 
"a violation of their privileges, and desired satisfac- 
tion to be given them that no such violation should be 
offered them for the future ; " an inspiring flash in the 
black darkness of overthrow. 

But the die was cast. Virginia was in the hands of 
the Royalists. Dead bodies in chains no longer rotted 
on gibbets, but reform had been crushed, and the old 
friends of Bacon preserved a sombre silence. To the 
end of the century there is little stir in general politics. 
The King's governors come and go, ruling, and gener- 
ally fleecing, the Virginians. Some are rather good, 
but the good is negative while the bad is positive. After 
Berkeley comes Sir Herbert Jeffries (1677), who is 
followed (1678) by Sir Henry Chicheley, who is suc-^ 
ceeded (1679) by Thomas Lord Culpeper, him of the 
famous Patent, the associate of Arlington. He is re- 
membered by a financial scheme which he invented, — 
otherwise a trick. He fixed values by proclamation. 
By official edict the value of crowns, rix dollars, and 
pieces-of-eight was raised from five shillings to six : at 
which rate they were to be a legal tender (first Ameri- 
can legislation). His own salary^ however, was to he 
excepted from the effect of the proclamation ; and when 
the perverse Virginians insisted that he, too, should be 
paid at the legal rate, he issued a second proclamation 
reversing the first. 


Lord Howard of EfRngliam comes next (1G84), and 
a year afterwards the news of the accession of his Maj- 
esty James II. is received with " extraordinary joy." 
It is the regulation sentiment, but does not hist. The 
King's governor claims the right to veto the laws of the 
Burgesses, when they resist and are dissolved. His 
Majesty hears of their perversity, and is irritated ; 
why are those Virginia people so " disaffected and un- 
quiett ? " They are ever creating trouble ; see their 
resistance in the matter of the Journals. Their man 
Beverley shall be " disfranchised and prosecuted ; " and 
as they are so rebellious they shall have more rebel 
blood on their soil. " Our rebellious subjects taken in 
arms " with Monmouth are to be sent to " our dominions 
in America and kept there, and continue to serve their 
masters for ten years at least." 

Worse than all, in the eyes of the Virginians, it is soon 
plain that King James II. has made up his mind to the 
great crime of subverting their religion. His Majesty 
and the Church are at daggers draw in England, and 
now the Virginia planters tell each other in a whisper 
that the Papists in their own midst are concocting a 
terrible plot which will far exceed the Gunpowder busi- 
ness. These vile incendiaries are in consultation witli 
the savages ; they mean to steep Virginia in gore and 
make her a dependency of Rome. Thereat the good 
Church of England Virginians shudder. Their last 
remnant of extraordinary joy at the accession of his 
Majesty disappears, and they buckle on their swords to 
fight. The province is in a blaze. John Waugh, an ar- 
dent clergyman, is inflaming the men of Stafford, and 
urging them to take up arms in defense of the Protes- 
tant cause. The Rappahannock men are already in arms, 


and his lordship, the Governor, has to send three Hon- 
orables of the Council to reason with them. Colonel 
Scarborough, on the Eastern shore, is prosecuted for 
blurting out hotly : " His Majesty, King James, would 
loear out the Church of England! " Others for treason- 
able expressions to the same effect, are put in irons ; 
the horse-racing and fox-hunting Virginians are actually 
going to fight for their religion ! 

Nothing came of all the excitement, and Lord Effing- 
ham went back to England, having signalized his gov- 
ernment by no other event than a treaty with the Mo- 
hawk warriors in New York. He sailed for England 
in 1688, but before he arrived, his master, James II., had 
sailed for France not to return ; and (April, 1689) Wil- 
liam and Mary, King and Queen of England, are pro- 
claimed at James City : " Lord and Lady of Virginia." ^ 

The " extraordinary joy " no doubt flamed out again, 
— in official reports or proclamations ; but after all it 
seemed doubtful whether the Dutch Prince was going 
to do much for Virginia. He was rather dull and phleg- 
matic, it appeared, and did not remove Lord Howard of 
Effingham. That nobleman preferred living in England 
and drawing his salary there ; and after a short interreg- 
num, during which old Colonel Nathaniel Bacon, Presi- 
dent of the Council, was at the head of the colony, the 
country had inflicted upon it, as Effingham's Lieutenant, 
his Excellency, Governor Francis Nicholson. This was 
a bad beginning ; the new reign, as far as Virginia was 
concerned, did not promise to differ greatly from the 

1 During the reign of James II. a seal was ordained for Virginia, but 
not used until about the end of the century. This consisted of the 
English shield with the inscription '"'' En dat Virginia quintum, " — 
England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Virginia. 


Governor Nicholson had been Governor of New York, 
but his petty tyrannies there had so inflamed. the people 
that they rose and threatened his life, and he was com- 
pelled to abscond. Now (1690) he was transferred as 
Lieutenant Governor to Virginia, and entered on his 
officer The unhappy Virginians soon found that they 
had not made much by the exchange of rulers. The 
new one had plenty of ability and was a man of broad 
views in certain directions, but he was irascible and arbi- 
trary beyond expression. Such was the outcry against 
him that two years afterwards he was transferred to 
Maryland, a certain Sir Edmund Andros replacing him ; 
but in 1G98 Governor Nicholson comes back again and 
inflicts himself once more on Virginia. 

He was a truculent personage, this high -tempered and 
exasperating Governor Francis Nicholson. He made 
for himself an eccentric record. He was a very great 
leveler, and told the masses that " the gentlemen imposed 
upon them," and the servants that " they had all been 
kidnapped and had a lawful action against their masters." 
He had little respect for powdered wigs, and one day 
caught the Honorable King's Attorney-General, Fow- 
ler, by the collar of his silk coat, and swore that he, 
Governor Nicholson, " knew no laws " the Virginians 
" had," and " his commands should be obeyed without 
hesitation or reserve." At a meeting of high digni- 
taries he informed them that he would " beat them into 
better manners ; " and when people naturally did not 
like this, he announced his intention to raise a standing 
army and " bring them to reason with halters about 
their necks." 

One man, and he a clergyman, checkmated Governor 
Francis Nicholson ; and this introduces the crowning 


incident of his Excellencj^'s Virginia career. He fell 
passionately in love with a young lady of Williamsburg, 
Miss Burwell, and this passion " completely upset what 
little reason there was in Governor Nicholson of famous 
memory," says Bishop Meade. He paid his court and 
was promptly rejected ; and then the storm began. Miss 
Burwell preferred another person, and his Excellency 
grew furious. He went about raving and making a 
public exhibition of himself. He uttered shocking ex- 
pressions in reference to his rival, and Miss BurwelFs 
union with him. He meant, he declared, to " cut the 
throats of three men : the bridegroom, the minister, and 
the justice who issued the license," and was so angry 
with Mr. Fouace, the minister, that he assaulted him 
and knocked his hat off. But the bride-to-be had a stal- 
wart friend in the Reverend James Blair, a Scottish 
clergyman, who was the Commissary of the Colonial 
Church. He laughed at Governor Nicholson and his 
transports, most of all at his threats. Through his agency 
chiefly the Council took prompt steps in this scandalous 
affair. They preferred charges against Governor Nich- 
olson, and he was brought to trial in London. On his 
trial he struck back at the clergy, who did not emerge 
from the contest without some dust on their robes. They 
had assembled, he said, at the Raleigh Tavern, in Wil- 
liamsburg, and had indulged too much in " hilarity " ; 
and a satirical ballad about them was circulated in Wil- 
liamsburg and London. Thereupon the Bishop of Lon- 
don wrote his Virginia clergy a severe letter begging 
them not to " play the fool any more ; " but the result 
was unfortunate for his Excellency. He did not marry 
the young lady he so raved about, and his adversaries 
overthrew him. 


Governor Nicholson is remembered for this singular 
contest, and for two or three other things. He removed 
the seat of government from Jamestown to Middle-Plan- 
tation, where Bacon had administered his oath, and laid 
out a city there with streets in the form of a W and an 
M, in honor of William and Mary, — a plan never fully 
carried out, however, from its inconvenience. He also 
exhibited his courage by attacking and capturing a pi- 
ratical vessel in the Chesapeake ; and his daring ambi- 
tion by conceiving the plan of uniting all the Ameri- 
can colonies in one, with himself at the head of them as 
" Governor-General." At the time war was raging be- 
tween France and England, and Count Frontenac, Gov- 
ernor of Canada, was menacing New York. Nicholson 
urged the Virginia Assembly to build forts there to pro- 
tect her people, but the penurious Burgesses did not 
see the necessity of defending their New York frontier ; 
and Governor Nicholson's ambitious project of becom- 
ing the head of a great American confederacy was ig- 
nominiously strangled. 

What most concerns the reader taking interest in Vir- 
ginia specially, is the one great event which marks the 
administration of Nicholson. This was the founding 
of the second university in America, at Williamsburg ; 
Harvard was the first. The cause of education had 
languished in Virginia. Good George Thorpe and po- 
etical George Sandys had planned the Indian college 
at the City of Henricus ; but suddenly, on the one full 
of philanthropic dreams, and the other busy with Ovid, 
had burst the Indian war-whoop of 1622. Then there 
was an end. of that project, since poor George Thorpe, 
the head and front of it, was lying dead across his thresh- 
old ; and in all the years up to 1691 little was said on 


the subject, — one privately endowed public school, and 
a few old field schools, were all that were in the Colony. 
Now (1691), Nicholson's foe, Mr. Commissary Blair, 
moved in the matter. Such men infuse fire into cold 
hearts, and Blair so infused his into the Burgesses that 
they sent him to England to solicit a charter and help 
for a Yiro^inia colleoje. 

Queen Mary received him with open arms, and King 
and Queen granted the good clergyman, their " well be- 
loved in Christ," his charter. The proposed college was 
to have fertile tracts of land on the Blackwater and 
Pamunkey, a penny a pound on exported tobacco, the 
office of Virginia Surveyor- General with all fees and 
profits, — one of the first was Zachary Taylor, ancestor 
of the President, — £2,000 arrears of quit-rents, and a 
Burgess to represent it in the Assembly. Such was the 
generous endowment of this great institution, which was 
to fight ignorance and superstition in the American 
wilds, and to be '' a seminary of ministers of the Gospel 
where youths may be piously educated in good letters 
and manners ; a certain place of universal study, or per- 
petual college of divinity, philosophy, languages, and 
other good arts and sciences." This charter was ob- 
tained by worthy Mr. Blair from the King and Queen, 
only after long struggles with Attorney- General Sey- 
mour, who was ordered to see to it. That official pro- 
tested. England was engaged in war, and this money 
was wanted for other and better purposes than preparing 
students of divinity, he said. Mr. Blair retorted, — 

" The people of Virginia have souls to be saved as 
well as the people of England ! " 

'• Souls ! " exclaimed Seymour, " damn your souls ! 

Make tobacco ! " 


But Blair was not to be browbeaten. He would have 
his charter ; and (February, 1G93) he carried it off. He 
was " created and established first president during his 
natural life ; " and " our well-beloved and trusty the 
revered Father in God, Henry, by Divine permission, 
Bishop of London," was first Chancellor. Only one 
condition was attached to this charter of the university 
of " William and Mary." The authorities were to pay 
yearly to the King and his successors " two copies of 
Latin verses, on every fifth of November at the house 
of our Governor or Lieutenant-Governor." And in the 
" Virginia Gazette," nearly half a century afterwards, 
we read : " On this day se'n-night, the president, mas- 
ters, and scholars, of William and Mary College, went 
according to their annual custom, in a body to the Gov- 
ernor's, to present his honor with two copies of Latin 
verses in obedience to their charter. . . . Mr. President 
delivered the verses to his honor, and two of the young 
gentlemen spoke them." 

A word more as to this good William and Mary, a 
famous relic of the Virginia past. There are some odd 
details connected with it. Other good people helped 
it, and Sir Christopher Wren drew the plan of the 
building which was erected at Williamsburg. The first 
commencement exercises were held in 1700; and the 
Virginians and Indians attended : even Marylanders, 
Pennsylvanians, and New Yorkers " came in sloops " 
on the happy occasion. But an end was soon put to 
all this rejoicing. In 1705 a fire broke out in the 
building and it was completely consumed, " the Gover- 
nor and all the gentlemen that were in town coming to 
the lamentable spectacle, many of them getting out of 
their beds." But it rose again from its ashes and went 


on a new career, entering piously, in its first record, 
for first line, "7/i nomine Dei, Patris, Filii, et Spiritus 
Sanctis Ajiien." Youths soon came to be educated ; 
and they were evidently a refractory set. They would 
" keep race-horses at ye college and bet at ye billiard 
or other gaming tables ; " and it seems that even the 
faculty were sinners, and subjected to discipline like 
the youths. Certain professors would insist on marry- 
ing. Complaint is made that Mr. Camm, Professor of 
Divinity, ai^d Mr. Johnson, Master of the Grammar 
School, have ^'•lately married and taken up their resi- 
dence " out of bounds, whereby they are unable to at- 
tend to their duties. Therefore it is fulminated by the 
worshipful governors of the College that " all professors 
and masters hereafter to be appointed be constantly resi- 
dent of ye college, and upon the marriage of such Pro- 
fessor or Master, that his professorship he immediately 

It was a venerable and dear alma mater, this old col- 
lege of " William and Mary," to many great men. It 
has often been burned down — the last time in 1862 — 
but has ever risen from its ashes. It has sent out for 
their work in the world twenty-seven soldiers of the 
Revolution, two attorney-generals, nearly twenty mem- 
bers of Congress, fifteen senators, seventeen governors, 
thirty-seven judges, a lieutenant-general and other offi- 
cers, two commodores, twelve professors, four signers of 
the Declaration, seven cabinet officers, a chief justice, 
and three presidents of the Republic. For nearly two 
centuries it has been the great seminary, the true seed- 
bed of Virginia, and much that she has accomplished 
through her great intellects may be traced to their train- 
ing at William and Mary. 


So much notice at least is cine to this famous old in- 
stitution. Looking back to the era of its foundation, 
we may see that the mainspring of all was the excel- 
lent and combative clergyman, James Blair, whose 
face in its framework of curls — the long periwig of 
the time — still looks from the faded canvas in the col- 
lege library. He was a sincere Christian and a deter- 
mined man ; he founded the college and was rector 
of old Bruton parish ; and if there were doubt of his 
ability, that would be set at rest by one incident. He 
prosecuted Governor Andros, and when he sent four 
friends to defend him, " never were four meu more com- 
pletely foiled by one." His victory over the amorous 
Governor Nicholson has been related ; he quite over- 
threw him in the great tilt at Lambeth Palace, and his 
Excellency was removed from office. He went away 
to fight the French at Fort Royal in Acadia, was after- 
wards Governor of South Carolina, and died Sir Fran- 
cis Nicholson. He was a man of energy, but not of 
self-control, since it is eccentric to knock off clergy- 
men's hats and insist on marrying young ladies who 
wish to marry other people. This Governor Nicholson 
did ; and a freak of history has preserved that portrait 
of him, — the portrait of the disappointed lover. 

The new century was now at hand, and Virginia, like 
the other colonies, was steadily advancing in population 
and importance. In the absence of an official census it 
is impossible to ascertain the population of a country ; 
but in the year 1700 there were probably about 300,- 
000 people in the American colonies. By conjecture 
these were thus distributed: in New England 115,000 ; 
in New York 30,000 ; in the Jerseys 15,000 ; in Penn- 
sylvania and Delaware 20,000 ; in Maryland 35,000 ; 


in Virginia 70,000 ; in the Carolinas and Georgia 15,- 
000. Of these about 50,000 were probably African 
slaves, the North holding about 10,000 and the South 
about 40,000. Of the proportion of freemen, indented 
servants, and slaves in Virginia, there remains no relia- 
ble record. 

The society continues to be English throughout, loyal 
to the King, respecting law, and believing in social de- 
grees and the Established Church. The vestries choose 
their ministers and are ardent churchmen, but will have 
no bishop ; it was at one time the project of Dean Swift 
to come as bishop to Virginia, and he wrote his friend 
Addison, asking his assistance, or they would " persuade 
him to go to Ireland ; " but the planters would have 
made his time unpleasant. Other prominent persons 
had also narrowly escaped residing in Virginia, — Oli- 
ver Cromwell in 1638, Queen Henrietta Maria in 1651, 
and Charles II. in 1658. ^^What was better for the coun- 
try was the arrival in 1699 of the good Claude Philippe 
de Richebourg with his colony of Huguenots, who set- 
tled at Mannakin on the upper James lliver, and in- 
fused a stream of pure and rich blood into Virginia 

With the beginning of the new century a new reign 
begins. Anne succeeds William,^ and the Burgesses, 
having assembled at " Her Majesty's royal college of 
William and Mary in this her Majesty Queen Anne her 
royal capital," the Governor announces that " her sacred 
Majesty has been pleased to renew his commission to be 
her Majesty's Lieutenant and Governor-General of this 

1 Anne is a popular name in Virginia. The counties of Princess 
Anne, and Fluvanna (Fleuve Anna), and the rivers Rivanna, North 
and South Anna, and Rapidan (Rapid Ann), are named after her. 


her Majesty's most ancient and great colony and domin- 
ion of Virginia ; " after which his Honor makes an ad- 
dress. He informs his listeners that her sacred Maj- 
esty has sent them her royal portrait, and adds with 
deep feeling : — 

" Honorable gentlemen, I don't in the least doubt 
that you will join with me in paying our most humble 
and dutiful, etc., etc., for this great honor, etc., and that 
she may have a long, prosperous, successful, and victo- 
rious reign ; as also that she may in all respects, not 
only equal, but even out-do her royal predecessor. Queen 
Elizabeth, of ever glorious memory, in the latter end of 
whose reign this country was discovered, and in honor 
of her called Virginia." This is indeed the proudest 
moment of his Honor's life, and he designs celebrating 
a centennial " jubilee " in Virginia if " God Almighty and 
her Majesty shall be so pleased." ... So these foolish 
old King's or Queen's Governors round their periods 
and finish with their twaddle ; and the Burgesses go 
back to their room, and attend to matters more important 
than royal portraits and centennial jubilees, enacting 
among other things that no English convict, or " negro, 
mulatto, or Indian," shall hold any office in Virginia, 
on penalty of prompt ejectment therefrom and a heavy 
fine for "such his offence." 

So the century begins in the loyal colony of Virginia, 
where the people welcome with " extraordinary joy " 
and expressions of distinguished consideration every 
new reign, but obstinately persist in managing their own 
affairs. Lord Orkney is made Governor, but as usual 
sends his deputy, and in the year 1710 apj^ears the 
stalwart soldier and ruler, Sir Alexander Spotswood. 




Alexander Spotswood, or Spottiswoode as his 
family were called in Scotland, rises like a landmark 
above the first years of the century. 

When he came to Virginia he was only thirty-four 
and in the bloom of his manhood. But he had already 
fought hard, and his faculties as a soldier and ruler were 
fully developed. He was born in 1676, the year of the 
Virginia rebellion, at Tangier, in Morocco, then an Eng- 
lish colony, where his father — a son, it is said, of Sir 
Alexander Spotswood, Secretary of Scotland — was a 
surgeon. The boy was left alone in the world at the 
age of twelve, by the death of his father ; entered the 
array ; served under Marlborough, and was wounded in 
the breast at the battle of Blenheim. He kept the ball, 
a four-pound cannon shot, and used to exhibit it long 
afterwards to his friends ; and in the background of a 
portrait of him, still preserved at " Chelsea," in King 
William, is a picture of Blenheim Castle, in memory of 
this incident. The portrait represents a large and mar- 
tial man with a curiously wrinkled face and an air of 
decision, — the chief trait of the soldier ruler. 

The Virginians received Spotswood with open arms. 
He was a man after their own heart, and brought with 
him when he came (June 1710), the great writ of habeas 
corpus. The Virginia people had long claimed that this 
right was guaranteed to them by Magna Charta, since 
they were equally free Englishmen with the people of 
England. Now it was conceded, and the great writ 


came, — Spotswood's letter of introduction. It was plain 
that be was not a new Berkeley looking to the King's 
good pleasure as his law, or a new Nicholson ready to 
imprison people or put halters around their necks ; but 
a respecter of human freedom and defender of the right. 
So the Burgesses passed him a vote of thanks ; appro- 
priated £2,000 to build him a " Palace ; " and the new 
Governor wrote home to England : " This government 
is in perfect peace and tranquillity, under a due obedi- 
ence to the royal authority, and a gentlemanly conform- 
ity to the Church of England" 

A year afterwards came a tiff between the obstinate 
Burgesses and his equally obstinate Excellency. They 
were all hard-headed people and fought for their re- 
spective views. There was danger of a French invasion, 
and Spotswood, the soldier, advocated military organiza- 
tion. The Burgesses, ever jealous of the sword and 
purse, would not appropriate money ; and the Governor 
in high dudgeon dissolved them and appealed for supplies 
to England. But the Virginians saw plainly that Spots- 
wood's views were unselfish. He labored to develop 
the resources of the colony, and especially directed his 
energies to the production of iron. The first furnaces 
in America were built by his orders, and his ardor in 
the work procured him the name of the " Tubal Cain 
of Virginia." Wine-making was another of his projects, 
and he colonized German " vignerons," for that purpose, 
on the Rapidan at the lost town Germanna, near the 
present Germanna Ford. 

Still another favorite scheme was to Christianize 
the Indians ; though the Virginians themselves seemed 
also to require religious instruction. Just before Spots- 
wood's arrival the worshipful Justice Shallows of Friu- 


cess Anne county, had directed the proper tests to be ap- 
plied to a certain Grace Sherwood, to ascertain whether 
she were not a witch. So the tests were duly applied 
by a jury of old women, and these hags having found 
the ambiguous verdict that she was "not like theniy'' 
poor Grace Sherwood was " put into water " to drown, 
when she disappointed them by swimming. Thereat 
their worships, shaking their wise heads, ordered her to 
be secured in jail " by irons or otherwise ; " and the 
poor witch went away, weeping no doubt, to endure her 
punishment. This grotesque scene occurred in 1705 ; 
and the spot where the only Virginia witch was put 
into water is still known as the " Witch Duck." 

In the spring of 1716 we find Spotswood going on a 
visit to his Indian school-mission on the Meherrin River. 
The place was called Fort Christanna, and was an old 
palisade mounted with cannon, where were " seventy- 
seven Indian children at school at a time at the Gov- 
ernor's sole expense, I think." They were taught to 
write, and read the Bible and Prayer-book. When 
the soldier ruler visits them the Indian elders gravely 
bow to him, laying presents of furs at his feet, and the 
young men and women make him their obeisances. The 
scene was picturesque. Sixty youths were present, with 
feathers in their hair and ears ; their faces painted with 
blue and vermilion ; and with blue and red blankets 
around their shoulders. The young women came next 
with "black hair reaching down to the waist, with a 
blanket tied around them and hanging down like a petti- 
coat ; most of them had nothing to cover them from the 
waist upward." They were " very modest and faithful 
to their husbands, straight and well-limbed, of good 
shape and extraordinary good features. They look wild 


and are mighty shy of au Englishman, and will not let 
you touch them." Such is one of the last glimpses that 
we catch of these poor Indian people of tidewater Vir- 
ginia ; and it is good to have this picture of the " modest 
and faithful " descendants of the race of Pocahontas. 

In this same year (1716), Governor Alexander Spots- 
wood set out on an expedition which much delighted the 
Virginians. There was a very great longing to visit the 
country beyond the Blue Ridge. Tliat beautiful un- 
known land held out arms of welcome, and the Gov- 
ernor, who had in his character much of the spirit of the 
hunter and adventurer, resolved to go and explore it. 
Having assembled a party of good companions he set 
out in the month of August, and the gay company be- 
gan their march toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. 
The chronicler of the expedition describes the pictu- 
resque cavalcade followed by the pack-horses and ser- 
vants, — " rangers, pioneers, and Indians ; " how they 
stopped to hunt game ; bivouacked " under the canopy ; " 
laughed, jested, and regaled themselves with " Virginia 
wine, white and red, Irish usquebaugh, brandy, shrub, 
two kinds of rum, champagne, canary, cherry-punch, 
and cider." In due time they reached the Blue Ridge, 
probably near the present Swift Run Gap, and saw be- 
yond, the wild valley of the Shenandoah. On the sum- 
mit of the mountain they drank the health of the King, 
and named two neighboring peaks " Mt. George " and 
" Mt. Alexander," after his Majesty and the Governor; 
after which they descended into the valley and gave the 
Shenandoah the name of the " Euphrates." Here a 
bottle was buried — tliere were, no doubt, a number of 
empty ones, — containing a paper to testify that the 
valley of the Euphrates was taken possession of in the 


name of his Majesty George I. Then the adventurers 
reascended the mountain, crossed to the lowland, and 
returned to Williamsburg. 

This picturesque incident of the time gave rise to 
the order of the " Knights of the Golden Horseshoe." 
The horses had been shod with iron, which was unu- 
sual, as a protection against the mountain roads ; and 
Spots wood sent to London and had made for his com- 
panions small golden horseshoes set with garnets and 
other jewels, and inscribed " Sic juvat transcendere 
montes." As the King declined to pay for them, 
Spotswood did so out of his own pocket, and one of 
them is still preserved, perpetuating the Virginia order 
of the " Knights of the Golden Horseshoe." 

Spotswood was a man of force. Wherever he moved 
all eyes followed him, and men " came to order," as 
soldiers fall into line, at the word of command. He 
meant well and would be ruler. If there was a public 
sore anywhere he would probe it without mercy. He 
fought wrong-doers wherever he found them, and his 
heavy hand fell even on the worshipful House of Bur- 
gesses. They declined to make an appropriation to aid 
the Carolinians against the savages, alleging the public 
poverty ; when Spotswood burst into a rage against the 
obstructionists : — 

" When you speak of poverty and engagements," he 
exclaimed, " you argue as if you knew the state of your 
own country no better than you do that of others ! If 
yourselves sincerely believe that it is reduced to the 
last degree of poverty, I wonder, the more, that you 
should reject propositions for lessening the charges of 
assemblies ; and that while each day of your sitting is so 
costly to your country, you should spend time so fruit- 


lessly ; for now, after a session of twenty -five days, 
three hills only have come from your House! " 

Then, as the struggle goes on, the soldier-governor 
grows haughtier and haughtier. The worshipful Bur- 
gesses act upon him as the rowel acts on the flank of a 
restive horse. At last the moment comes when his 
Excellency will no longer tolerate these triflers. He 
fires a last shot at them before he charges and disperses 

" To be plain with you " (ominous beginning !) " the 
true interest of your country is notivhat you have troubled 
your heads about. All your proceedings have been cal- 
culated to answer the 7iotions of the ignorant populace ; 
and if you can excuse yourselves to them, you matter 
not how you stand before God, or any others to whom 
you thinh you owe not your elections. In fine, I cannot 
but attribute these miscarriages to the people's mis- 
taken choice of a set of representatives, whom Heaven 
has not generally endowed with the ordinary qualifica- 
tions requisite to legislators ; and therefore I dissolve 
you ! " With which few stinging remarks his Excellency 
turns his back ; and the legislators without ordinary qual- 
ifications, who trifle away their time, go back home — 
to be followed in due time by their noble descendants. 

Spotswood's arm was as heavy as his pen and tongue 
were sharp. He was notified that the famous pirate, 
John Theach, nicknamed " Blackbeard," was cruising 
in the waters of Virginia and the Carolinas ; and he 
promptly sent two ships to attack and capture him. 
They found him in Pamlico Bay (November 21, 1718), 
and Lieutenant Maynard, commanding the Virginians, 
boarded the pirate, and a hand-to-hand fight followed. 
Blackbeard, who is drawn in old pictures with a belt 


studded with pistols, made a hard fight, since he knew 
what his defeat meant. He ordered one of his men to 
stand with a lighted match by the magazine, and blow 
up friends and enemies at his signal. There was no 
explosion, but Blackbeard's career ended. He was shot 
and fell dead, when his crew surrendered ; and the Vir- 
ginians returned with the ghastly head of the bucca- 
neer stuck on a bowsprit. Thirteen of the pirates were 
huno- at Williamsburoj ; and Blackbeard's skull, fash- 
ioned into a drinking-cup and rimmed with silver, is still 
preserved in Virginia. 

The name of an afterwards celebrated person is con- 
nected with the capture of the pirates. A printer's 
apprentice in Boston wrote a ballad on Blackbeard's 
fate, which was sung about the streets ; and many years 
afterwards this apprentice, whose name was Benjamin 
Franklin, was appointed postmaster of Pennsylvania 
by Governor Spotswood, who had himself been ap- 
pointed Deputy Postmaster-General of the American 

The establishment in Virginia of this great engine 
of the modern world, the postal system, is a much more 
important event than the destruction of Blackbeard. 
Nearly up to the end of the seventeenth century letters 
were sent by private hands ; but in 1 693 the Burgesses 
stirred in the matter. It was then enacted, that, since 
their Majesties by letters-patent had authorized Thomas 
Neale, Esquire, to " erect, settle, and establish within 
the chief ports of their several islands, colonies, and 
plantations in America, an office or offices for the re- 
ceiving and despatching away of letters and pacquets," 
if such offices were established in each county of Vir- 
ginia, Mr. Neale should receive " for the post of every 


letter not exceeding one sheet, or to or from any place 
not exceeding four-score English miles distance, three 
pence," and in proportion for additional weight and dis- 
tance. But this law was not to restrain merchants, 
masters, or others from sending letters by private hand 
to or from the colony. 

Of the operation of the system there are no details 
for many years afterwards ; but in 1738 it was fully 
established. In that year it was ordered by Postmaster 
General Spotswood that post-riders should be " at Sus- 
quehannah River " on Saturday nights to receive the 
Philadelphia mail; back at Annapolis on Monday ; on 
Tuesday night at the Potomac River ; on Wednesday 
at " New Post," a distributing office near Fredericks- 
burg ; and by Saturday night at Williamsburg, from 
which a post-rider carried the mails once a month to 
Edenton in North Carolina. Thus the time between 
the Susquehannah, where the northern mail was re- 
ceived, and Williamsburg, was just one week. It was 
not exactly a lightning express, but it was better than 
nothing. If Philadelphia had been destroyed by fire, 
the people of Williamsburg might have heard of it eight 
or ten days afterwards, though it was nearly three hun- 
dred miles distant ; which was something, and due to 
the energy of his Honor Postmaster -General Spots- 

Among the innumerable contests which marked the 
administration of the doughty ruler was his struggle 
with the vestries on the question of appointing minis- 
ters to the parishes. These old matters have lost tlieir 
interest, but occasioned an uproar in their time. The 
obstinate Virginians would not yield their immemorial 
right of choosing and discarding their ministers ; de- 


clared resolutely against a Virginia bishop ; and made 
tlie conflict so hot that even the opinionated Spotswood 
adjourned the subject. The details relating to this dis- 
cussion and many more in which Spotswood engao-ed 
must be sought in the old -ecords. His willful spirit 
made him few enemies ; he was seen to be a man of 
large views ; and the Virginians, though incessantly 
wrangling with him, still greatly respected him. 

But it is the " Tubal Cain of Virginia " in his own 
home that most interests us. History lives in the men 
who make it, and the individuals are thus the first 
study, not only a^ they appear in public, but much 
more as they are in private and when taken unawares. 
We have this means of knowing the stern and haughty 
Spotswood; and we find that he was the kindest of 
men, and so much in love with his wife that his friends 
laughed at him. Colonel William Byrd, of Westover, 
tells us all about him. That distinguished wit and ele- 
gant Cavalier of the eighteenth century, went to Ger- 
manna, and draws Spotswood's picture for us, laugh- 
ing at and admiring him. Let us go with the good 
" Master of Westover," who is excellent company. He 
sets out in his coach with wife and child, but soon gets 
to horse, and at last, in this September of 1732, threads 
the Spotsylvania " wilderness " and comes to Ger- 
manna on the Rapidan. It is the spot where the mar- 
tial Governor has colonized his " Germans of Pala- 
tines," sent over by her Majesty Queen Anne, to make 
wine and help in the iron business. The village is al- 
ready ancient and dismantled, for the Palatine people 
have moved further up the river. It is a " baker's 
dozen of ruinous tenements," with the remains of 
a chapel at the end of an avenue of cherry trees, 


which chapel " some pious people had lately burnt down 
with intent to get another built nearer to their own 

These words strike the key-note of the gay travel- 
er's memoir. He is nothing without his jest, which 
sparkles without regard to accuracy. For these Ger- 
mans of Palatines were excellent people, and remark- 
able for their true piety. Like the Huguenots, they 
infused an admirable element into Virginia society, — a 
brave and sturdy element which lingers still in their de- 
scendants ; among whom is a hardy soldier and ex-Gov- 
ernor of Virginia, — General Kemper. In this year, 
1732, the Palatines have recently come over to the 
Rapidan, and the name " Germanna " points to the home 
land. Above the hamlet rise the walls of " Colonel 
Spotswood's enchanted castle;" and in the absence of 
that worthy, who is riding out. Lady Spots wood wel- 
comes the master of Westover in a room " elegantly set 
off with pier glasses," one of which comes to a quick end. 
A tame deer sees his reflection in it, darts at the sup- 
posed adversary, smashes the glass, and falls back on a 
table laden with china bric-a-brac, to the great fright of 
Lady Spotswood. She bears this disaster, however, with 
" moderation and good humor," and the Governor re- 
turns from his ride and warmly welcomes his guest. 
They sup at nine in the evening, and then " talk over 
a legion of old stories," Spotswood telling, it may be, of 
his wars under Marlborough. The ex-soldier is not a 
stern or martial man, however, in the bosom of his 
family. He smiles and relaxes, here in the woods of 
the Rapidan, forgetful of pirates and Burgesses. The 
wrinkles on the war-worn face are smoothed, and he is 
so " very uxorious and fond of his children," that his 


old friend of Westover laughs at him ; since his present 
matrimonial raptures are in direct conflict with the max- 
ims " he used to preach up before he was married." 
The Westover wit cannot " forbear from rubbing up 
the memory " of those former views ; but Spotswood 
" gave a very good-natured turn to his change of senti- 
ments by alleging that whoever brings a poor gentle- 
woman into so solitary a place from all her friends and 
acquaintances, would be ungrateful not to use her with 
all possible tenderness." 

Such is a glimpse of the two worthies, Byrd and 
Spotswood, at the " enchanted castle." A chance page 
draws their portraits, and we hear all the talk borne 
away long ago on the winds of the Rapidan. The 
worthy Governor had another residence on the banks 
of the Chesapeake, " Temple Farm," the former name 
of the Moore House, where, in October, 1781, the Revo- 
lution came to an end with the capitulation of Lord 
Cornwallis. Here he spent his last days after retir- 
ing from his post of Governor, enjoying the society of 
his dear family, riding out in " one of the handsomest 
and easiest chariots made in London ; " and respected 
by everybody. In 1740 he was commissioned Major- 
General and assigned to command the expedition to 
the West Indies, but he died suddenly (June 7, 1740), 
when he was about to embark. He was buried at Tem- 
ple Farm, where his grave was recently discovered with 
a fragment of the inscription on his tomb. 

The name of Spotswood is greatly honored in Virginia, 
where his descendants still reside. He was an admira- 
ble type of the soldier and statesman combined, a ruler 
born, with the resolute will and strong brain which give 


the right to govern ; and, first and last, all his exertions 
were for the good of Virginia. 



Virginia in these years was reaching out steadily- 
past the mountains. The smiling valley of the Shenan- 
doah was becoming the home of brave settlers who car- 
ried civilization into this wild region, long the battle- 
ground, tradition said, of the Northern and Southern 
tribes of the continent. We have seen the first at- 
tempts to explore the country, the expedition of Batte 
in 1670, and the march of Spots wood in 1716. The 
impetus was thus given, and adventurous explorers fol- 
lowed the Knights of the Horse-shoe. The Virginians 
began to hold out longing arms toward the sweet fields 
along the Shenandoah ; and the wave of population, like 
a steadily rising tide, advanced up the lowland rivers, 
reached the mountains at last, and flowed over into the 
Valley of Virginia. 

Cotemporary with or a few years before this lowland 
immigration, the region toward the Potomac had been 
settled by Scotch-Irish and Germans, who had come 
to Pennsylvania, and thence, attracted by the rumor of 
its fertility, passed on to the Shenandoah Valley. The 
exodus thither began about the year 1732. The Scotch- 
Irish, who were good Presbyterians, were the pioneers, 
and established their homesteads along the Opequon, 
from the Potomac to above what is now Winchester. 
As soon as they had built their houses they proceeded 
to build their churches ; and the " Tuscarora Meeting 


House/' near Martinsburg, and the " Opequon Church," 
a littl^ south of Winchester, are, it is said, the oldest 
churches in the Valley of Virginia, — they are still 

The Germans followed closely. Joist Hite obtained 
forty thousand acres of land in the vicinity of Winches- 
ter ; and his thrifty Teutons built Strasburg and other 
towns along the Massinutton Mountain. To this day 
the Germans constitute an important element of the 
population, and in some places the language is spoken. 
It was an excellent class of immigrants. Everywhere 
was the appearance and the reality of thrift : well-kept 
fields, fat cattle, and huge red barns. " The Dutchman's 
barn," says Kercheval, the old historian, " was usually 
the best building on his farm. He was sure to erect a 
fine large barn before he built any other dwelling-house 
than his rude log cabin." They were an honest, merry 
people in their good Fatherland manner, keeping fes- 
tivals and enjoying themselves at weddings and other 
ceremonies. The groomsmen waited in " white aprons 
beautifully embroidered ; " and their duty was to protect 
the bride from having her slipper stolen from her foot ; 
and if any one succeeded in capturing it, the groomsmen 
must pay a bottle of wine for it, since the bride's dan- 
cing depended on it. These kindly Germans, says their 
historian, were generally of three religious sects, Lu- 
therans, Mennonists, and Calvinists, with a few Tunk- 
ers, or Dippers, who believecf that immersion was the 
true form of baptism. But they were not stern people. 
" Among the Lutherans and Calvinists, dancing, with 
other amusements, were common, and were sometimes 
kept up for weeks together." The " Irish Presby- 
terians " were no less merry, and celebrated their wed- 


dings by "running for the bottle," a ribbon-deoorated 
prize for the fastest rider, and by " great hilarity, jollity, 
and mirth." The only exceptions to this border hilarity 
were the few Quakers, who married without the inter- 
vention of clergymen, and conducted the ceremony with 
the "utmost solemnity and decorum." 

When Winchester, the capital of the lower valley, 
was founded — there were two log cabins there in 1738, 
and the town was established in 1752 — the Dutch and 
Irish entered on a war of Guelphs and Ghibellines. The 
historian Kercheval paints the hostilities in glowing 
colors. On St. Patrick's Day the Dutch would form in 
grand procession and march through the streets, car- 
rying effigies of " the Saint and his wife Sheeley," the 
saint decorated with a necklace of Irish potatoes, and 
his spouse with an apron full of them. And on the day 
of " St. Michael, the patron of the Dutch," the Irishmen 
would retort by exhibiting an effigy of that saint with a 
necklace of sour-kraut; whence misunderstandings and 
bloody noses and cracked crowns for the consideration 
of the worshipful justices of Frederick, who have just 
begun to hold their sessions in the "log cabin court- 

The lower Valley is full of these old traditions 
handed down from father to son. Another is here re- 
peated. It is said that an Irish laboring man and his 
wife came about 1767 to the house of Mr. Strode, a 
German landholder on the lower Opequon, and lived 
with him some years, during which time a son was born 
to them. Then they resolved to go further southward, 
and set off ; but the children of the Strode family fol- 
lowed begging that they would leave the baby, who was 
a great favorite with them. When they stopped for a 


momen t, and the child was laid on the grass, the Strode 
children snatched him up, and would have carried him 
off if they had not been prevented. The journey was 
then resumed, and the wanderers finally reached the 
Waxhaws in North Carolina. Here the boy grew up, 
and in due time made his mark, since he was Andrew 
Jackson, President of the United States. The tradition 
is possibly true. Jackson is said to have been doubtful 
about his birth-place, and a spring near the Strode house 
is still called " Jackson's Spring." 

While the Germans and Irish were thus settling on 
the banks of the Potomac and the Opequon, the upper 
waters of the Shenandoah became the home of adven- 
turous explorers from tide-water Virginia. These were 
nearly without exception Scotch-Irish Presbyterians : 
men and women driven out of Ulster by the English per- 
secutions there ; and the pioneer was John Lewis, the 
founder of a distinguished family. Lewis belonged to a 
Huguenot family which had taken refuge in Ireland. 
He put to death an oppressive landlord there and es- 
caped to Virginia, where he obtained a great grant of 
land. It covered half of what is now the large county 
of Rockbridge ; and Lewis was to settle one family on 
every thousand acres. He brought over from Ireland 
and Scotland in 1737 about one hundred families ; and 
from these families descended some of the most emi- 
nent men of Virginia : among them Archibald Alexan- 
der, James McDowell, Andrew Lewis, and others. 
These " Scotch-Irish Presbyterians " were conscientious 
and law-abiding persons ; Calvinists of the straightest 
sect, pious, earnest, grave of demeanor, not at all shar- 
ing the fox-hunting and horse-racing proclivities of the 
tide-water Virginians ; but bent on doing earnest work. 


They devoted themselves to agriculture, to erecting mills, 
to educating their children, to making their new homes 
comfortable, to all the arts of peace, and above and 
beyond all, to the firm establishment of their church. 
The " Stone Meeting-House " or Augusta Church, near 
Staunton, was one of the first erected in the valley. 
When war came, then or afterwards, there were no bet- 
ter soldiers in the Commonwealth ; for the list that be- 
gins with Andrew Lewis ends with Stonewall Jackson. 

The upper and lower Valley were thus settled nearly 
at the same moment. The great principality of 
" Orange," that is to say, the tramontane world, was 
then divided into two counties : Frederick, toward the 
the Potomac, and Augusta, toward James river ; that 
great " West Augusta," or Alleghanies, to which Wash- 
ington said that he meant to retreat if he was driven 
from the seaboard. This upper, or Augusta, region was 
the headquarters of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian ele- 
ment ; and from the first these brave citizens were in- 
tent on securing all their rights. The Presbyterian 
Synod of Philadelphia petitioned the Governor of Vir- 
ginia (1738), that those of their denomination removing 
to the valley of Virginia might have "the free enjoy- 
ment of their civil and religious liberties ; " and the 
writer of this petition, John Caldwell, grandfather of 
John Caldwell Calhoun of South Carolina, having re- 
ceived a courteous response, proceeded to settle Presby- 
terian families also in the counties of Prince Edward, 
Charlotte, and Campbell. 

These details will show what races of men settled the 
fertile Valley of Virginia : German and Dutch Luther- 
ans, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and a few Friends or 
Quakers. One infusion has not been noticed, a small 


colony of English families from tide-water Virginia, who 
settled around Greenway Court, the home of Lord Fair- 
fax. This old nobleman, who had emigrated to Virginia 
in consequence, it is said, of a love disappointment, 
conveyed to Colonel Robert Carter (1730), sixty-three 
thousand acres of land : a mere corner of that great 
" Northern Neck " which he had inherited. On this 
tract, around the present villago of Millwood, settled 
numerous friends and relatives of the proprietor, bring- 
ing with them the traits of the lowland ; — the cordial 
sentiments, the love of social intercourse, and the attach- 
ment to the English Church, which characterized the 
race. The surrounding region was attractive. An Eng- 
lish traveler visiting it spoke of its " beautiful prospects 
and sylvan scenes, transparent streams, and majestic 
woods ; " and declared that '" many princes would give 
half their dominions for what the residents possessed : 
health, content, and tranquillity of mind." An Ameri- 
can writer called the region the " Virginia Arcady ; '* 
and to this smiling country the lowlauders brought their 
families and servants ; erected their " Old Chapel " 
Church, which still nestles down under its sycamores ; 
and here their descendants still remain. 

Of the strange and moving incidents which befell 
these old first settlers in the Valley, and on the far Vir- 
ginia border, it is impossible to speak in this place. 
They were intruders and must fight ; and in the histo- 
ries of the frontier we have the picture of their daily 
lives. They fall by unseen bullets fired from the woods ; 
the stockades shake under the blind rush of the dusky 
assailants ; the flames of burning cabins light up the 
marches ; wives and children are tomahawked or carried 
off to be tortured ; — this is what is going on, all along 


the Virginia border, in the midst of outcries and the 
crack of rifles, nearly to the end of the century ; for 
when the American Revolution comes, the old comba- 
tants are still fighting. Some of this life may pass be- 
fore us ; it is possible to present only an indication of it 
in a general narrative. The full details may be found 
in the work of Kercheval, the old Froissart of the Val- 

A last coup d'ceil shows us now, about the middle of 
the century, in Virginia, two strongly contrasted socie- 
ties. On the tidewater rivers a race of planters called 
" Tuckahoes," living on large estates, dressing richly, 
riding in coaches and attending the Church of England ; 
past the mountains hardy settlers called " Cohees," clear- 
ing the land, building houses and churches, and making 
a new Virginia in the wilderness ; -^ and still further 
toward the AUeghanies hardy frontiersmen who have 
set their feet on the very outposts of civilization. Be- 
tween these Virginians of the Tidewater and the Tra- 
montane there is only a general resemblance ; and in 
the manner of living of the two extremes, none whatever. 
While the planter of the seaboard is asleep in his cur- 
tained bed, the frontiersman is already half-way up the 
mountain, looking keenly for the deer or bear that is to 
supply his family with food. As the one enters his 
fine coach to go and bow low at some fine entertain- 
ment, the other falls asleep in his cabin, his arm around 
wife and child ; more than content if the night passes 
without the savage war-whoop. Thus the lives of the 

1 The origin of the terms TuchaJioe and Cohee is unknown. The 
first is the name of a marsh-root and of a creek near Richmond. Cohee 
is said to have been applied to the mountaineers from their frequent 
use of the phrase " Quoth he," contracted to "Quo' he." 


Lowlanders and the Tramontese are wholly unlike. But 
both are types of the same race under different circum- 
stances of trainino^ and environment. 

Spotswood ceased to govern Virginia in 1722, and 
was followed by Governor Hugh Drysdale, one of the 
great obscure who is lost to memory. We are only in- 
formed that he was a smiling gentleman who beamed 
on everybody, and wrote to England that the " benign 
influence of his auspicious sovereign was conspicuous 
in a general harmony and content among all ranks of 
persons." Colonel Robert Carter, President of the 
Council, succeeded Drysdale, and in the next year 
(1727) appeared Governor William Gooch, a worthy 
man, who for twenty-two years presided over Virginia. 
During this time Virginia prospered and few events 
of interest occurred — a happy comment upon the his- 
tory of a country. A force of Virginians, commanded 
by Gooch, took part in the expedition against Cartha- 
gena; and Captain Lawrence Washington, brother of 
Washington, accompanied the troops. He formed a 
friendship with Adnniral Vernon, commanding the Eng- 
lish force, and on his return called his country-house 
"Mount Vernon." One other incident of the time 
was the project of Colonel William Byrd to establish 
two new cities, " one at Shoccoes to be called Rich- 
mond, and the other at the point of Appomattox to be 
called Petersburg." The master of Westover explains 
that these localities are " naturally intended for marts," 
and adds : " Thus we did not build castles only, but 
cities in the air." They were soon substantial castles. 
The Colonel "lays the foundation" in 1733, and in 
April, 1737, we read of the "town called Richmond, with 
streets sixty-five feet wide, in a pleasant and healthy 


situation, a little below the Falls." This notable cir- 
cumstance — to be followed in 1742 by the formal in- 
corporation of the new town — was accompanied by 
another circumstance still more important. The invi- 
tation to all people to come and live at Richmond 
was given in the columns of the first Virginia news- 

This was " The Virginia Gazette," which had just 
made its appearance (August, 1736). It was a small, 
dingy sheet, containing a few items of foreign news ; 
the advertisements of the Williamsburg shopkeepers ; 
notices of the arrival and departure of ships ; a few 
ch<ince particulars relating to persons or events in the 
colony ; and poetical "effusions," celebrating the charms 
of Myrtilla, Florella, or other belles of the period. Thus, 
" his Majesty's ancient and great Colony and Dominion 
of Virginia " had at last its newspaper ; and if any event 
occurred of great interest or importance, the planters 
of the York or James were certain to hear of it in a 
week or two, though the incident had taken place as far 
off as the Blue Ridge or Valley. As to anything like 
free discussion of the government, that was not the 
fashion of the times, in newspapers ; and the " Virginia 
Gazette " confined itself to the work of disseminating 
news. It was convenient, and continued to be printed ; 
many files have been preserved ; and its faded old col- 
umns present an interesting view of the manners and 
customs of the Virginians of the eighteenth century. 



The time had arrived now wlien the "New Lisrht 
Stir " was to agitate America, and arouse society from 
its lethargy. The human mind for a long time seemed 
to have gone to sleep, in matters of religion. Suddenly 
a rude shock awoke it. Whitefield, the great English 
reformer, came with his impassioned eloquence, and 
men thrilled under the voice of the master. He roughly 
shook the drowsy church-goers, dozing in their high^ 
backed pews, and they rose with a start at the earnest 

In Virginia, as elsewhere, toward the middle of the 
eighteenth century, religion and piety had grown to be 
conventional. The gangrene of society was living for 
the life that now is, and depending on religious observ- 
ances as a sufficient performance of religious duty. 
This vicious state of things was not peculiar to Church 
of England Virginia. It was seen as well in Calvin- 
istic New England ; and everywhere it assumed the 
same singular phase. Men were earnestly attached to 
their church and religion : they would fight for it, and, 
if necessary, die for it ; but living in accordance with its 
precepts was quite a different thing. It must be said 
that the lust of the senses and the pride of life entered 
largely into the character of those old Virginians and 
other Americans. To eat, and drink, and enjoy them- 
selves ; to ride in their coaches, reign on their great 
estates, and get through life pleasantly and prosper- 
ously, was, in their eyes, nearly the whole duty of 


man. Undoubtedly there were numbers of excellent 
persons who detected the flaw in this agreeable philos- 
ophy, and saw that there was something else to do : 
to love God and live for their fellow-men, as well as 
for themselves. But, with many, religion had become 
mere ceremonial, — attendance at the parish church, 
and outward respect for the Bible and the Prayer Book. 
Unfortunately some of the clergy were little better 
than the people. To an iuquiry of the Bishop of Lou- 
don in 1719, their convention answered that " no mem- 
ber had ani/ personal knowledge of the irregularity of 
any clergyman's life in this colony ; " but as Bishop 
Meade laments, that phrase "personal knowledge" was 
probably a mere evasion. There is little reason to 
doubt that very serious " irregularities " did exist in 
the lives of many ministers. They played cards, and 
hunted the fox, and indulged in drink ; and what was 
even worse, they had small love for their neighbors, 
the Dissenters. It is true that the Dissenters cordial- 
ly returned this dislike and were quite as rancorous; 
but that was nothing to the purpose. The Church of 
England clergyman denounced the New Light preacher 
as a disturber, and the New Light preacher denounced 
the clergyman as a disgrace to his cloth. Often the 
clergy acted in a most unclerical manner. They quar- 
reled with their vestries, and one of them made a per- 
sonal assault on a high dignitary at a vestr^'^-meeting, 
pulled off his wig, and preached on the next Sunday 
from the text, " And I contended with them and cursed 
them, and smote certain of them^ and 'plucked off their 
hair J' ^ 

1 This incident is related by Bishop Meade in his Old Churches of 


This was the melancholy condition of things about 
the middle of the century. The Virginia Church had 
not fulfilled the promise of its earlier years. It had 
once been a church of vital piety, and had numbered 
among its clergymen some of the loveliest characters 
that have ever honored their sacred office. The first 
minister in the colony, Robert Hunt, had been an ex- 
emplary person, a man of irreproachable life, and a true 
follower of the Prince of Peace. Even the rough sol- 
dier-writers exclaim, " His soul, questionless, is with 
God ! " and speak of him as " an honest, religious 
and courageous divine, during whose life our factions 
were oft qualified, and our wants and greatest extremi- 
ties so comforted that they seemed easy in comparison 
of what we endured after his memorable death." Then 
followed Mr. Bucke, who came in the Sea- Venture, 
Mr. Wickham, and others, all excellent men ; and the 
list in the first years wound up with that pure " Apostle 
of Virginia," Mr. Whitaker, who gave up his " warm 
nest" in England to come and convert the Indians. 

These good men and their successors had founded 
churches — that at Jamestown, the one at Henrico, the 
old Smithfield Church dating, it is said, back to 1632 ; 
the Bruton and Blandford churches at Williamsburg 
and Petersburg, and many others. These venerable 
edifices were still filled with worshipers on the peaceful 
Sabbath mornings ; but the attendance of too many was 
merely formal ; and the new generation of ministers had 
not inherited the piety and self-sacrifice of the Hunts 
and Whitakers. They had much to complain of, it 
is true, and the vestries were hard masters. The pas- 
tor came on trial often and the vestry would not keep 
him if they did not choose to do so ; thus his tenure 


was doubtful and anxious, and good men would not 
come from England under such circumstances. But 
wherever the right might be, the wrong thing was there. 
The planter and his family came in their coach, and 
the parson read his homily ; and then all went back to 
their week-day pursuits but slightly edified. It was 
very much of a Drowsyland, and a trumpet blast was 
necessary to arouse the sleepers. 

He who now (1740) sounded the great summons to a 
more evangelic faith and a purer life, was a young man 
of twenty-six, who had come from England, — George 
Whitefield. At Oxford, which he had entered at eight- 
een, he had contracted a friendship with another stu- 
dent, John Wesley ; and moved by strong feeling, the 
two young men had formed a religious association, to 
which their fellow students gave the jeering name of the 
" Methodist " association. Whitefield and his friends 
accepted it and went forth on their life-work. He was 
ordained a deacon and was soon famous as a preacher. 
At twenty-two he preached with such effect that he 
was said to have driven " fifteen persons mad." One 
year afterwards he crossed the Atlantic and visited in 
Georgia his friend Wesley, who had gone thither, at 
the invitation of General Oglethorpe, to convert the In- 
dians.^ On his return to England his labors began in 
earnest. Immense crowds assembled in the open air 

1 Of this visit of "Whitefield an incident is related which seems to 
show that he was not opposed to slavery. Having a sum of money 
presented to him at the city of Charleston, he purchased a plantation 
and slaves with it for the support of the " Orphan House." This and 
the existence still of a bill of sale for a slave, bearing the signature of 
the famous Jonathan Edwards, indicates the absence of any belief at 
that time, with some good men, that human bondage was forbidden 
by the Scriptures. 


to listen to his preaching ; and men's hearts burned 
within them at the tram2:)et-like appeals of the young 
Timothy to flee from the wrath to come. "Metho- 
dism" was thus launched. It was the protest of evan- 
gelical against formal Christianity. What it taught was 
that each human being must labor to work out his own 
salvation; that his salvation or damnation depended 
upon his acceptance or rejection of the workings of the 
Holy Spirit ; that the grace of God in Christ is univer- 
sal ; and that no one is held guilty of Adam's sin until 
he resolutely rejects this grace of Christ. Thus, in doc- 
trine these new " Methodists " differed but little from 
the English Church, of which they were offshoots. The 
twcw sacraments were baptism by sprinkling ; and the 
Lord's Supper taken kneeling. Infants were eligible 
to the first ; professing Christians and penitent seekers 
of salvation to the last. In its inception and afterwards 
Methodism was a missionary movement in the pale of 
the Church, not looking to a separate polity or a sepa- 
rate theology. The breath of life was to be breathed into 
the skeleton of the old system ; and it was to live again, 
not changed, but purified and restored to its primitive 
vigor. Whitefield set forth the old apostolic faith ; 
traveled in the old paths ; and flowers sprung up be- 
neath his feet. Love was his watchword ; his Society 
of Methodists, as he himself said, was " No other than 
a company of men having the form and seeking the 
power of Godliness, united in order to pray together, 
to receive the word of exhortation, and to watch over 
one another in love, that they may help each other to 
work out their salvation." 

Whitefield came to America twice and great crowds 
followed him. He avoided church edifices for the most 


part and spoke in the open air ; and on Boston Common 
twenty thousand people thrilled at his strange eloquence. 
Coming to Williamsburg (1740), he preached to multi- 
tudes there, and a great excitement followed. The peo- 
ple were weary of the deadness in the Church of Eng- 
land, but as yet there was no organized dissent. Early 
in the century some Baptists, holding to the doctrine 
of immersion, had come to southeastern Virginia, and 
gotten into trouble with the authorities for repudiating 
baptism by sprinkling or pouring; but in the great move- 
ment now at hand the Presbyterians took the initiative. 
A number of respectable persons, opposed to the Eng- 
lish Church, assembled in Hanover at the house of John 
Morris, a citizen of that county ; adopted the Westmin- 
ster Confession, the embodiment of the Calvinistic the- 
oloo-y ; and soon an ardent congregation collected and 
was persecuted by the authorities for non-compliance 
with the Act enjoining attendance at " church." Op- 
position only stimulated the efforts of the friends of the 
movement, as it always does. William Robinson, an 
English Presbyterian, came and preached in Hanover, 
the cradle of tidewater Presbyterianism ; then others 
followed him, " denouncing the delinquency of the par- 
ish ministers with unsparing invective ; " and a witness 
swore that one of the New Light preachers "uttered 
blasphemous expressions in his sermons." The result 
was sudden denunciation and persecution by the civil 
authorities. They declared that " certain* false teachers 
had lately crept into this government who, professing 
themselves ministers under the pretended influence of 
new lights extraordinary impulse and such like satirical 
[sic] and enthusiastic hioioledge, lead the innocent and 
ignorant people into all kinds of delusion." The relig- 


ious professions of these New Lights are " the results 
of Jesuitical policy " only ; John Roan is presented for 
" reflecting upon and vilifying the established relio-- 
ion ; " and Thomas AYatkins suffers the same harass- 
ment for the outrageous fling at the clei-gy : " Your 
churches and chapels are no better than the Syna- 
gogues of Satan." 

So far had sounded the wonderful eloquence of White- 
field. It had shaken and awakened. Under that thun- 
der the dry bones stirred ; and the stir was goino- to be 
followed once more by a good wholesome persecution of 
people who presumed to think for themselves in relii^ion, 
as before in the old times under Sir William Berkeley. 
A sudden commotion is the result of the New Lio-ht 
preaching. The irruption of Methodism, which is vir- 
tual dissent, arouses all the denominations. The Bap- 
tists and Presbyterians make their protest and excite 
the masses. The preachers of the former faith will be 
characterized as " illiterate, with an impassioned man- 
ner, vehement gesticulation, and a singular tone of 
voice," at which their hearers " give way to tears, trem- 
bling, screams, and acclamations." They will "sing 
hymns while on the way to prison, and address crowds 
congregated before the windows of the jails ; " and they 
and the Presbyterians will lay the foundations of relig- 
ious freedom. 

The great awakening of the time is rending asunder 
even dissenting communions. Whitefield's coming splits 
the Presbyterian Church into the " New Side " and the 
" Old Side," the Pennsylvanian Presbytery adhering to 
the Old, and the New York Presbytery to the New. It 
is the New Side which is going to establish itself in 
Virginia; and the Old Side, Philadelphia Synod, dis- 


owns the " uncharitable and unchristian conduct " of 
those of their communion in Virginia who talk about 
the churches and chapels of the English Church as 
"synagogues of Satan." But the New Side Presby- 
terians persist in spite of proclamations and persecu- 
tions, and soon they find a tower of strength in the 
great and pure apostle Samuel Davies. 

If Francis Makemie was the first licensed minister of 
the Presbyterian faith (1699), Samuel Davies was the 
founder of the Church, in Virginia. He was not inimical 
to the Methodist movement, and afterwards said that the 
English and Scottish Methodists were the most pious 
of all the people in those countries. From the time of 
his coming, when, as he declared, there were " not ten 
avowed dissenters within one hundred miles of him," this 
great and good man was the head and front of dissent in 
Virginia. Born in the State of Delaware, then a part 
of Pennsylvania, he had studied divinity uutil his frame 
grew enfeebled ; but there was notliing feeble in the 
acute and burning brain which inhabited this frail tene- 
ment. Patrick Henrv said of him that he was " the 
greatest orator he had ever heard ; " and he met and 
nearly overthrew Attorney-General Randolph in a great 
discussion of the construction of the act of toleration. 
He was a man to preach the faith before princes, and 
preached it everywhere. He succeeded in procuring 
from the Attorney-General in England a decision that 
the Act of Toleration was the law of Virginia ; and the 
consequent licensing of the dissenting churches, after 
an oath of allegiance, and a subscription to certain of 
the articles. When he came to Virginia at twenty-three 
the Presbyterian Church did not exist. In three years 
there were churches in Caroline, Louisa, and Gooch- 


land, as well as in Hanover, " the birthplace," number- 
ing three hundred communicants. He was not at all 
bitter against the English Church; that was not his 
nature. The objections of the Dissenters, he said, were 
" not against the jDeculiar rites and ceremonies of that 
Church ; much less against their excellent Articles, but 
against the general strain of the doctrines delivered from 
the i^ulpit, in which their Articles were opposed, or not 
mentioned at all." 

Such was the liberal and evangelical Christianity of this 
eminent young man, all whose instincts were expanded. 
Afterwards he went to England to obtain money for 
Princeton College ; made a great name as a preacher, 
especially in Scotland ; and returning to Virginia estab- 
lished (1755) the first Presbytery there. It was during 
the next year, after Braddock's defeat, that he spoke 
of " that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I 
cannot but hope Providence hath hitherto preserved in 
so signal a manner for some important service to his 
country." The young preacher was thirty-three when he 
said this of the young soldier of twenty-four ; and soon 
afterwards he went away to succeed the famous Calvin- 
ist, Jonathan Edwards, as President of Princeton, 
where he died, still young ; but not before he had made 
a great and lasting name. 

This outline will indicate the condition of religious 
affairs in Virginia at the middle of the century. The 
Church of England is in the ascendant, with nothing 
to check it but a variously construed Act of Toleration. 
In Hanover and elsewhere the Presbyterians and Bap- 
tists arc clamoring for religious freedom. Beyond the 
mountains German Lutherans and Scotch-Irish Presby- 
terians demand the " free enjoyment of their civil and 


religious liberties." The fossilized crust of drj-bones 
and old-world prejudices is slowly cracking under the 
pressure, and the new time is coming. After all the 
years, religious freedom, long writhing with the knee 
on its breast and the hand at its throat, is going to stand 
erect and bid defiance to whatever attempts to over- 
throw it. 



Just as the half century expired, Virginia was called 
on to protect her frontier beyond the Ohio. What fol- 
lowed was the " French War," which proved a passion- 
ate episode in the history of the colony, as well as a 
decisive trial of strength between France and England 
in America. 

The issue to be decided was the ownership of the 
territory extending from the Great Lakes to Louisiana. 
France urged her claim to it on the ground that a 
French subject, Padre Marquette, had in 1673 sailed 
down the Mississippi and taken possession of it in the 
name of France ; and the English claimed it on the 
ground that it was part of Virginia, and had also been 
conveyed to them by the Iroquois. Either title might 
be plausibly maintained, but the real question was which 
could be supported by arms ; to which issue affairs had 
drifted at the middle of the century. Both powers 
moved in the matter. The English organized the " Ohio 
Company " to form settlements in the region ; and the 
French, burying a lead plate inscribed with an assertion 
of their claim, on the banks of La Belle Riviere, the 
Ohio, proceeded to occupy the country with troops and 


settlers. Most important of all, they erected a chain of 
forts reaching fi-om the Lakes to the southwest, which 
Spotswoocl had vainly urged on his own government. 
Canadian France in the north thus joined hands, through 
the " Great Woods," with Lousianiau France in the 
south ; and the English settlements on the Atlantic 
were hemmed in by this cordon. France said to them, 
through the mouths of her cannon, " Thus far and no 

In 1753 things were coming to a crisis. The west- 
ern territory swarmed with French hunters and traders ; 
they were advancing step by step, and if England meant 
to support her claim to the country it was necessary to 
do so quickly. The result was that cannon and supplies 
were sent to Virginia, and the Governor was directed to 
formally assert the English title, and if necessary fight. 
The Governor at the time was Robert Dinwiddie, a 
native of Scotland, who had succeeded Gooch in 1752. 
In obedience to his orders he drew up his protest against 
the French occupation, and selected as his envoy a young 
Virginian, Major George Washington. 

This is the first appearance of Washington in public 
affairs. He was just twenty-one and unknown beyond 
the borders of Virginia ; but had already established 
there the reputation of a young man of excellent ad- 
ministrative ability. An accident had directed his life. 
At the age of sixteen, Lord Fairfax had selected him to 
survey his lands beyond the Blue Ridge, and the boy 
had spent some years roughing it on the border. The 
result was a manly development and self-reliance which 
fitted him for great performances ; and the personal 
association with Lord Fairfax was another important 
influence in shaping his character. The lonely Earl 


had come to reside at Green way Court in the Shenan- 
doah Valley, and here the boy often stopped as he jour- 
neyed to and fro. The result was a warm personal 
friendship from which the country youth must have 
profited. Lord Fairfax was a man of the world and 
had seen life in every form. He had passed his youth 
as a fine gentleman in the most elegant society of Lon- 
don ; had known Addison, and even written some num- 
bers of the " Spectator ; " and after mingling with dukes 
and duchesses and flirting the fans of fine ladies, had 
come, a disappointed old man, to pass his age in the 
Virginia woods. He was almost alone at Greenway 
Court, where he spent his time chiefly in hunting ; and 
the visits of vouns; Georo^e Washinfjton were doubtless 
a great pleasure to him. To the youth they must have 
been equally profitable in expanding his views and 
giving him a glimpse of the great world ; and it is cer- 
tain that to the end of his life he retained the warmest 
reo;ard for the old nobleman. 

The direct result of this early association and employ- 
ment as surveyor was to place him in the way of pro- 
motion. His ability was recognized, and at nineteen he 
was appointed Adjutant-General of the Northern Dis- 
trict of Virginia. He discharged his duties with credit ; 
became known as a man of efficiency ; and the result 
was his selection to bear the English protest beyond the 

His adventures on this perilous expedition are famil- 
iar to all. In a freezing spell of weather (November, 
1753), he set out with a small party ; penetrated the 
woods to the Indian village of Logstown : and was there 
directed where to find tlie French Commandant near 
Lake Erie. He was the Chevalier de St. Pierre, an old 


nobleman with silvery hair, and met the envoy with low 
bows and profuse courtesies. Under the courtier, how- 
ever, was the soldier. His reply to Dinwiddle's protest 
was : *• I am here by the orders of my General, and I 
entreat you, sir, not to doubt one moment, but that I 
am determined to conform myself to them with all the 
exactness and resolution that can be expected from the 
best officer." . With this response Washington was 
obliged to return ; and the march back was terrible. 
The rivers were full of broken ice, and often the party 
were compelled to carry the canoes on their shoulders. 
The worn-out horses stumbled and fell in the roads and 
made no progress ; and at last Washington with one 
companion set out on foot, knapsack on shoulder, through 
the snow for Virginia. The journey was made at the 
risk of his life. Near a place bearing the ominous name 
of Murdering Town, an Indian guide attempted to shoot 
him, and not far from the present city of Pittsburg, while 
crossing the Alleghany on a raft, he fell into the water 
filled with floating ice and narrowly escaped drowning. 
Gaining an island he passed the night there half frozen, 
and nearly perished ; but pushing on in the morning 
through the winter woods at last reached the settle- 
ments, from which he continued his way on horseback, 
and in sixteen days was at Williamsburg. 

The English protest had thus come to nothing, and 
in the next year (1754), an expedition was sent against 
the French, which resulted in the disaster of the Great 
Meadows. This brief and rather inglorious incident 
demands only a few words. The vanguard of the Eng- 
lish force, commanded by Washington, advanced toward 
the present Pittsburg, when intelligence was received 
that a large body of French and Indians were coming 


to attack him. He took the initiative by surprising a 
French party under De Jumonville, who fell in the 
eno-ao-ement, and then retreating to a point known as 
Great Meadows threw up intrenchments. Here the 
enemy in large force soon appeared and made a resolute 
attack. It resulted in the surrender of the English, 
who seem to have been without ammunition, and (July 
4, 1754), they marched out and made their way back to 

Such was the first military event in the career of 
Washington. It was not very imposing, but the sur- 
render seems to have been a military necessity, since 
the young commander and his troops received the thanks 
of the Virginia Assembly. The result was for the time 
decisive. The first appeal to arms had been disastrous 
to the English claim ; and the leaden plate, buried by 
the French on the banks of the Ohio, seemed to have 
asserted a title to the country which France was able to 
support vv'ith muskets and cannon. 



The surrender at Great Meadows aroused a bitter 
excitement in England. The English flag had gone 
down before the lilies of France ; and the possession of 
half a continent was at issue. After all the long pro- 
tests and diplomatic wrangles affairs in America had 
suddenly come to the sword ; and the French sword had 
beat down the English. 

Prompt steps were taken to reverse this great disas- 
ter by another appeal to arms ; and this time the fight- 


ing was not to be confined to one region, but to aim at 
a great general result. A comprehensive scheme for 
driving the French from the entire country was matured 
in England; and (February, 1755), General Edward 
Braddock, with an English force of about 1,000 men, was 
sent to carry out part of the project. The General first 
conferred with Governor Dinwiddle at Williamsburg, 
and then proceeded to Alexandria on the Potomac, where 
his troops wei-e quartered. Here he was met in April 
by the Governors of Massachusetts, New York, Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The plan of opera- 
tions was speedily determined upon. The EHglish troops 
sent to Virginia, reiinforced by Provincials, were to ad- 
vance and capture Fort Duquesne, then to march and 
reduce Fort Niagara, then Fort Frontenac and all the 
French strongholds toward the Lakes. Of the success 
of the campaign, Braddock said there could be no 
doubt. Duquesne would certainly capitulate in three or 
four days ; the others would follow the same example ; 
and by autumn of this year (1755), the English would 
be masters of all North America south of the St. Law- 

It was a very fine campaign — on paper, or set forth 
in the eloquent words, interspersed with oaths, of Gen- 
eral Braddock. The English authorities had made a 
very bad selection of a leader. The commander in this 
important expedition was a brave soldier and nothing 
more. He was about forty, bluff of manner, rubicund, 
fond of " strong waters," with an overweening opinion 
of his own capacity, very obstinate, immensely preju- 
diced in favor of " regular troops," and cordially de- 
spised the ragged Provincials. A certain civilian from 
Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin by name, gave him 


sound advice which he only laughed at. When Brad- 
dock, rattling his sword and swearing his military oaths, 
spoke of capturing Fort Duquesne with little difficulty, 
the cautious Franklin replied: — 

" To be sure, sir, if you arrive ivell hefore Duquesne, 
with these fine troops, tlie fort can probably make but a 
short resistance." 

But there were the Indians, — added this obstinate 
civilian with his provincial ideas of military operations. 
The Indians would side with the French and watch the 
English from the moment when they entered the Great 
Woods, and unless the utmost care were taken the scar- 
let column would be " cut like a thread into several 
pieces." At this the bluff soldier burst forth into oaths 
and expressions of disdain. 

" These savages," he exclaimed, " may be indeed a 
formidable enemy to rmv American militia, but upon 
the King's regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impos- 
sible to make any impression !" 

It was the pride that goes before the heavy falls of 
life. This worthy soldier, as brave as his sword, and 
with a hundred generous instincts, wanted the brain of 
the army-leader, and was merely a fighting man. The 
only act of his life, at this critical moment, which indi- 
cated prudence was the invitation sent to young Colonel 
George Washington, of Mount Vernon, to accompany 
him as a member of his staff. Washington had resigned 
his commission in great disgust, at the end of 1754, 
upon hearing that, under a new organization, his subor- 
dhiates were to rank him. He however accepted Brad- 
dock's invitation, and thus became an actor in the trag- 
edy that followed. It was May now, and the English 
troops were on the march westward to the rendezvous. 


Early in July all was to end, as a tragic drama ends 
with the fall of the curtain. 

General Braddock had ordered his forces to be con- 
centrated at AYills's Creek, the present Cumberland, on 
the upper Potomac. He followed them toward the end 
of May, traveling in his coach, and stopped, it seems, at 
Greenway Court to visit Lord Fairfax. As an English 
nobleman and " County Lieutenant " of all the lower 
Shenandoah Valley, the old lord was entitled to this 
mark of respect ; and Washington also went to Green- 
way to procure fresh horses. The tarrying there was 
brief. The lawn in front of the old lodge with its bel- 
fries on the roof, echoed for a moment with the rattle 
of hoofs, and the roll of wheels, as Braddock stopped to 
greet the Earl ; then the fine coach was whirled away, 
and the General had made his first and last visit to the 
sylvan manor-house. He hastened on through Winches- 
ter, a small border village, uttered volleys of curses at 
the horrible mountain roads, and reaching Cumberland 
passed in front of his troops, like a military meteor, in 
the midst of rollinoj drums and the thunder of cannon. 

At once the firm soldier-hand was felt throughout the 
little army. Stringent orders were issued and rigidly 
enforced ; some Indian beauties in camp, of whom " the 
officers were scandalous fond," — among them the "daz- 
zlinoj Bright Liirhtnins^, the daus^hter of White Thun- 
der," — were ordered to depart ; and Washington, look- 
ing with ardent eyes at this new military pageant, was 
delighted with everything, and studied his profession for 
another struggle, — against these red-coats. But Gen- 
eral Braddock was in no better humor than when he 
had " heartily damned " the Virginia roads. He could 
get no wagons, and uttered fearful oaths. When some 


one told him he must go on horseback, he " desj^ised his 
observations ; " and when Washington said that the 
march of a column with wagons would prove " a tre- 
mendous undertaking," the General did not conceal his 
displeasure at the intrusion of such crude notions by a 
mere " Provincial." 

The army set out from Cumberland in the first days 
of June (1755). It consisted of two royal regiments 
numbering together one thousand men, and Provincials 
from Virginia, Maryland, and New York, which made 
the full force a little more than two thousand. Soon 
the tremendous undertaking of penetrating the Great 
Woods with the unwieldy column began. The army 
was followed by a long train of wagons loaded down 
with the bajxixaae of the officers ; and the line often ex- 
tended for three or four miles. It was the wildest of 
absurdities. Never had obstinate adherence to martinet 
ideas had so strong an illustration. This English soldier, 
relying on English traditions, was dragging his cumbrous 
machine through the American woods as if they were 
the plains of Europe. And all this time his dread 
enemy was watching him. From the heights of every 
mountain Indian runners looked down and laughed 
quietly. But the pioneers still went in front cutting a 
road for the creaking wagons ; the scattered troops 
straggled along ; and in this manner General Braddock 
went into the ffreat res-ion called the " Shades of 
Death," the shadow of his own hovering above him. 

At Little Meadows Braddock saw for the first time 
that he was committing a terrible blunder. He had re- 
fused to listen to the advice of Washington, but now 
swallowed his pride, and consulted the " Provincial." 
Washington, always grave and courteous, repeated his 


former views. It was necessary to mobilize the army ; 
to leave the baggage behind, and advance rapidly with 
a body of picked troops, and ammunition on pack- 
horses, and so surprise Fort Duquesne before it could 
be reenforced. Braddock consented with ill-concealed 
reluctance ; then his splendid regulars were not all-suf- 
ficient, advancing and fighting in their own manner ! 
His wrath descended on a brave ranger, since it effected 
nothing with this grave young Colonel Washington. 
Captain Jack, called the " Black Rifle," a famous 
fighter of the woods, came and offered his services. He 
would go with his rangers in front, he said, and recon- 
noitre. But Braddock tossed away from him. 

" There was time enough," he said haughtily, " for 
making arrangements ; he had experienced troops upon 
whom he could completely rely for all purposes." 

Thereupon the borderer, shouldering his rifle, turned 
his back on Braddock and went away with his rangers 
to their homes on the Juniata, — leaving him to his fate. 
Even then the old folly went on. " They were halting," 
Washington afterwards said, " to level every mole-hill 
and erect bridges over every brook, by which means we 
were four days in getting twelve miles'^ Some friendly 
Indians went before to scour the woods. Traces of fires 
were found showing that French scouts were every- 
where ; but no opposition was made, and at last they 
halted on the Monongahela, about fifteen miles south of 
Fort Duquesne (July 8, 1755). 

The grapple was near now ; this night was the last 
spent by many a brave fellow on earth. Braddock re- 
solved to advance and attack the fort on the next morn- 
ing. It was only a short march distant, and the English 
were now on the same side of the river. But to reach 


Duquesne it was necessary to make two crossings. A 
steep bank in front ran down into the water rendering 
a passage there impossible ; there was, however, a prac- 
ticable ford, and another five miles below ; and Braddock 
determined to cross at the two fords and so advance to 
the attack. 

Early on the next morning (Jnly 9, 1755), he moved 
with his advance of twelve hundred men and ten can- 
non. The march was made in the most unconcerned 
manner. True to the last to his disdain of precaution, 
Braddock advanced with his "regulars" in front; with 
drums rolling, fifes shrilling, and flags floating in all the 
pride and pomp of glorious war. There were a great 
man^ people who could have told him that he was tempt- 
ing his fate ; but talking reason to General Braddock 
had, for some weeks now, proved a loss of time. So the 
brave " regulars " stepped out proudly to the tap of the 
drum ; the English music sounded ; the English flags 
flaunted ; and the Virginian and other " provincial " 
rangers of the woods marched behind, to assist in the 
improbable event that their services would be required. 
Washington said afterwards that this was the finest sight 
he had ever witnessed ; and so the twelve hundred 
doomed men crossed the ford in triumph ; found no more 
trouble at the lower crossing ; and were now on the east 
bank again, not far from Fort Duquesne. 

The commandant there was De Contrecoeur, and he 
had despaired of holding the place ; exaggerated reports 
of Braddock's force had reached him ; and he was con- 
sulting whether to stand fast or evacuate the fort, when 
De Beaujeu, one of his young captains, offered to take 
a force and advance to meet the English. To this De 
Contrecoeur assented. De Beaujeu marched prom2:)tly ; 
and the collision followed. 


The English had crossed the ford and were marchino; 
across a plain in front of which were wooded hills. On 
each side of the road Jeading up this slope were ravines, 
covered with thicket, and here the battle took place. 
The English had reached the spot, when a commotion 
in the woods in front attracted their attention. It was 
De Beaujeu advancing at the head of his two hundred 
and thirty Canadians, and six hundred and thirty sav- 
ages, in all 860 men. The young Frenchman bounded 
forward in a gay hunting-shirt and silver gorget, and 
waved his hat — the signal for his skirmishers to scatter 
behind the trees and rocks. At the sio;nal the Indians 
disappeared to the right and left, leaving the French in 
the centre; and upon this force the English opened a 
quick fire which killed about twelve men, among them 
De Beaujeu, who fell as he was cheering on his troops. 
But the English good fortune was short-lived ; it was 
the only gleam of success, this first quick fire, during 
the whole bloody tragedy. 

There was no battle, properly speaking ; it was a 
mere slaughter. The English regulars, huddled up like 
sheep in a narrow road, from which they could not extri- 
cate themselves, lost their heads at the merciless fire from 
the ravines, fired in the air, were seized by mortal panic, 
and had not even the presence of mind to fly. The offi- 
cers, who acted " with incomparable bravery," would not 
let them take shelter behind trees, and in vain attempted 
to make them advance. They seemed not to hear 
the words, or to feel the flats of the swords striking 
their backs; the terrible fire, poured into their ranks 
from the Indians hidden behind the rocks, paralyzed 
them. Rioht and left from the tanoled ravines issued 
fatal volleys ; and at every shot almost, a red-coat fell, 


for the Indians aimed deliberately before firing. The 
Virginia ranjjers scattered and fouoht from behind trees 
as they were accustomed to do. This and the cannon 
was all that preserved the regulars from a consecutive 
butchery of each man in turn. They stood there dazed 
and deprived of reason. Their " dastardly behavior " 
showed that there was no longer any hope. Their offi- 
cers and the Viro;inians and other Provincials did all 
that men could do, but it was in vain. Washington 
had " four bullets through his coat and two horses shot 
under him." Braddock had three horses killed under 
him, and two wounded so as to be disabled. He did all 
that a brave soldier could do ; but he was struggling 
against what no commander can make headway against 
— the pusillanimity of his men. The Indian fire utterly 
destroyed now their remains of courage. They broke 
and rolled over each other in the wild attempt to es- 
cape. At last Braddock fell. A bullet passed through 
his right arm, entered his breast, and he would have 
dropped from the saddle had not Captain Stewart of 
the Virginia Light Horse caught him in his arms. In 
his agony he groaned aloud and asked to be left to die 
on the field. His men were now in wild disorder. 
They threw away their guns, accoutrements, and even 
their clothes, and rushed into the river. Cannon, in- 
fantry, and horse hastened away, and the Virginia 
rangers were obliged to follow. The army was in wild 
flight. They had lost more than half their number by 
that fearful hidden fire. Sir Peter Halket was dead ; 
Shirley, secretary of Braddock, was shot through the 
head ; the Virginians were nearly decimated : out of 
eighty-six officers twenty-six were killed and thirty- 
seven wounded. The enemy's loss, all numbered, was 


but twenty-eight killed and twenty-nine wounded. All 
that saved the English was the cupidity of the sav- 
ages. They stopped to gather up the muskets and scar- 
let coats littering the ground ; and that alone preserved 
the fugitives from the tomahawk as they rushed over 
the Monontjahela. 

Braddock was borne from the field, and his friends 
hastened on with their mortally wounded commander. 
His brave English officers and the Virginians were the 
only people who remained with him. His own men, 
mastered by a shameful jDanic, deserted him. He was 
placed, according to tradition, in the folds of a large 
silk sash; the ends were affixed to the saddles of two 
horses moving abreast ; and in this military fashion the 
dying officer took his way back toward Virginia, which 
he was never to reach. The army had vanished, and 
only the little cavalcade of English officers and Pro- 
vincials remained with poor Braddock. In these last 
hours he saw all his errors, and told the Virginians, 
who were " unremitting in their attentions to him,'* 
that he had done them injustice : they were true sol- 
diers, who had acquitted themselves like men. To 
Washington, who seems to have commanded the little 
escort, he apologized feelingly for all his ill-humor ; 
and, as an evidence of his regard, presented him with 
a favorite riding horse, and his own servant, Bishop. 
As he went on through the " Shades of Death " he 
kept groaning and muttering, — 

" Who would have thought it ! Who would have 
thought it ! But we shall know better how to deal with 
them another time ! " 

He was not to have any more dealings with them. 
As he drew near Great Meadows, the scene of Wash- 


ington's capitulation in the year before, his strength 
failed him. He could go no further, and the end soon 
came. Four days after the battle to which he had ad- 
vanced with the joy of a soldier, Braddock expired (July 
13, 1755), and was buried in the wilderness. His grave 
was dug near old Fort Necessity, and Washington read 
the burial service, for there was no chaplain. Then 
the spot was carefully concealed to prevent its discovery 
by the Indians ; and without even firing a salute over 
the soldier's grave, the English officers and the Virgin- 
ians continued their way toward Cumberland. 

The remnant of the fine army had preceded them — a 
crowd of disordered fugitives. The campaign which 
was to capture Duquesne and Niagara and Frontenac 
before the autumn, had ended in a single month with 
Braddock cold in his grave, and the flower of his troops 
butchered. What was left of his fine array marching 
proudly to the tap of the drum, was a remnant of shud- 
dering fuofitives, crouchinor down behind the defenses at 
Fort Cumberland, and listening for the tramp of the 
French and the yells of the savages. 



The bloody ending of Braddock's enterprise exposed 
the whole western frontier of Virginia to the enemy. 
She had to look to herself now, for the King's troops 
and commanders had been tried and found wanting. 
Washington, the one man who was able to protect the 
border, had been set aside as a " Provincial," and had 
returned to Mount Vernon ; but now in the time of pub- 


lie distress lie was again called upon. In the autumn 
of 1755, when the shadow of the Duquesne disaster dark- 
ened the whole frontier, he was sent to Winchester by 
the Virginia authorities to defend the valley. 

The times demanded the faculties of the orofanizer 
and the nerve of the soldier. The remon toward the 
Ohio swarmed with Indians who were inflamed by the 
disaster to the Eno;lish arms and were committing: mer- 
ciless outraires on the inhabitants. Of these outrages 
we find terrible accounts in the border chronicles, of 
which one or two examples are here given : " An In- 
dian seized Mrs. Scott and ordered her not to move; 
others stabbed and cut the throats of the three smaller 
children in their beds, and afterwards lifting them up, 
dashed them upon the floor near their mother. The 
eldest, a beautiful girl of eight years old, awoke, es- 
caped out of bed, ran to her parent and cried, " O 
mamma, mamma ! Save me ! " The mother with a flood 
of tears entreated the savages to spare the child, but 
they tomahawked and stabbed her in her mother's arms." 
Such events were of frequent occurrence, and even 
greater enormities were committed. In the Shenan- 
doah Valley a settler's house was attacked by savages, 
burned to the ground, and four children, torn from their 
mother, hung to trees and shot to death. One boy of 
twelve or thirteen was taken away prisoner with his 
father and bjother, and his fate is given in the words 
of the border historian : " They first ordered him to col- 
lect a quantity of dry wood. The poor little fellow 
shuddered, burst into tears, and told his father they 
intended to burn him. His father replied, ' I hope 
not,' and advised him to obey. When he had collected 
a suflicient quantity of wood, they cleared and smoothed 


a ring around a sapling, to whicli they tied liim by one 
hand, then formed a trail of wood around the tree, and 
set it on fire. The poor boy was then compelled to run 
round in this ring of fire until his rope wound him up 
to the sapling, and then hack till he came iyi contact with 
the fiame, whilst his infernal tormentors were drinking, 
singing, and dancing around him. This was continued 
for several hours, until the poor and helpless boy fell 
and expired with the most excruciating torments." 

These horrors will account for the old border senti- 
ment toward the Indians. Intense hatred burned in 
every breast, and the war of the races was a war to the 
death. Under the pressure of the incessant peril the 
characters of the frontiersmen developed the rugged 
strength which is so noticeable a feature of the times ; 
and the millions of Americans who are descended from 
them have in their blood still the manhood resultinsc 
from these bitter trials. 

When Washington repaired to Winchester he found 
the place full of refugees, and he wrote to Governor 
Dinwiddle : " The supplicating tears of the women and 
moving petitions of the men melt me into such deadly 
sorrow that I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, 
I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering 
enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's 
ease." It was hard to reduce the chaos to order, but 
the work was performed ; and soon the frontier was in 
a state of defense. A fort was built in the suburbs of 
the town, named Fort Loudoun from the English com- 
mander ; and this was mounted with twenty-four cannon, 
and had barracks for four hundred and fifty men. In 
liis quarters above the gateway, Washington overlooked 
the tumultuous crowd of borderers, and his orders at 


length moulded them into a military force. The work 
was accomplished in spite of the incapacity of the Gov- 
ernor, who complained that the young "Provincial" 
treated him with scant ceremony. The simple fact was 
that Washington was a soldier, and the Governor an ex- 
clerk filling a position for which he was wholly unfitted. 
Knowing the necessities of the time and place, the young 
commandant wrote his mind freely, and spite of every 
official hindrance accomplished his object. The border 
was protected, and no enemy came to assail it, — the 
first hard and successful military work of the future 
General of the American armies. 

With the year 1758 the long struggle virtually ended. 
An attack was made on Fort Duquesne by Major Grant 
with eight hundred men, and his force was cut to pieces 
with the exception of a small remnant. These were 
saved by Captain BuUit, an officer of the Virginia 
forces, who charged the enemy and covered the retreat 
of the few survivors. In November of the same year, 
however (1758), General Forbes advanced in force, and 
the French blew up Fort Duquesne and retreated. 
Washington, now Lieutenant-Colonel, was the first to 
enter with his Virginians, and j)lanted the flag of Eng- 
land on the smokino; ruins. 

The last act of the drama was the fierce wrestle on 
the Plains of Abraham, where a monument inscribed 
" Here died Wolfe, victorious," still commemorates the 
final scene. It is the historic landmark of the conclu- 
sion of the bitter struggle, and the long rivalry of France 
and England in America. Canada was lost and the 
great region south of the Lakes along with it. The Eng- 
lish line in the west was to be the Mississippi, and in 
the redistribution of territory the Floridas were surren- 


dered by Spain. Thus England had become mistress of 
a greater domain than was claimed in the old Virginia 
charters. " Nova Francia " in the north and Florida 
in the south had been absorbed by the conquering Anglo- 

Here the period of the Colony ends and the period of 
the Commonwealth virtually begins. Out of the war 
with France grew the struggle which separated the Eng- 
lish provinces from the Crown. Peace was formally 
concluded in the year 1763. In the same year Patrick 
Henry declared at Hanover Court House that the Vir- 
sjinians alone had the rio-ht to leo'islate for Viroiuia. 
Two years afterwards in the House of Burgesses he re- 
peated the same defiance, in the discussion of the Stamp 
Act, and the action of Virginia " gave the signal to the 



A FE\v works written by Virginians in the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries demand special notice. They 
are remarkable writings for the place and time, and are 
entitled to a high rank in American literature. 

Among these works are the pamphlets giving a de- 
tailed account of the Great Rebellion. Their titles 
are : — 

I. " The Beginning, Progress, and Conclusion of 
Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia in the years 1675 and 
1676," by a writer signing himself " T. M." 

II. " An Account of Our Late Troubles in Virginia, 
written in 1676 by Mrs. An. Cotton of Q. Creek." 

III. " A Narrative of the Indian and Civil Wars in 


Virginia in the years 1675 and 1676," of which the 
authorship is not indicated in any manner. 

Tliese are the contemporary narratives written by 
eye-witnesses of the events and are invaluable authori- 
ties for the history of the Great Rebellion. They were 
discovered by a fortunate accident. " T. M.'s Account" 
was found in England in MS. in the library of Lord 
Oxford, and was sent to Jefferson, who thought it so im- 
portant that he " most carefully copied it with his own 
hand." The other narratives were discovered also in 
MS., soon after the Revolution, in the home of " an old 
and respectable family of the Northern Neck of Vir- 
ginia," and only printed in the present century. Of the 
writers almost nothing is known. " T. M.," whose 
work is, perhaps, the most picturesque and valuable, 
seems to have drawn uj) his account for the pleasure of 
Lord Oxford, and only says of himself that he resided in 
Northumberland County and was a Burgess from Staf- 
ford. Pie is supposed to have- been Thomas Matthews, 
a son of the Governor, but the fact is not established. 
As to " Mrs. An. Cotton of Q. Creek," she is a shadow ; 
and the writer of the third narrative is absolutely un- 

But the authorship of the pamphlets is of little impor- 
tance. They were at least written by Virginians in Vir- 
ginia, and are among the most curious productions in 
American literature. The style indicates a complete 
transition from the earnestness and rude strenijth of the 
writings of the Plantation time, to the quibbling and 
conceits of the time of Charles II. The authors are 
nothing if not humorous. They overload their pages 
with quaint phrases and grotesque expressions. How- 
ever serious the events may be, they look at them from 


the ludicrous point of view, and the passionate tragedy 
of the Rebellion becomes a species of comedy. At the 
attack on the Maryland fort the Indians " slipt through 
the leaguer leaving the English to prosecute the siege 
as Schogin's wife brooded the eggs that the fox had 
sucked." The ladies placed upon the Jamestown earth- 
works are the " white aprons " and '' a white guard to 
the Devil ; " and Ingram is an " ape " who steps on the 
stage when the lion has made his exit, — a " milksop 
general " who stands " hat in hand looking as demurely 
as the Great Turk's Mufty." Thus all turns to conceit 
under the hands of the jocose T. M. and his associates, 
who nevertheless present a clear, detailed, and admii*ably 
picturesque account of the great events which they have 
seen pass before them. Bacon himself is often carica- 
tured, but the general admiration of the individual is 
plain from the narratives ; and that by an unknown 
writer contains some verses referring to him which are 
remarkable. They are styled " Bacon's epitaph made 
by his man," but were probably written by some gentle- 
man of the time who feared to sign them. A short ex- 
tract will indicate their force. 

" Only this difference does from trutli proceed, 
They in the guilt, he in the name must bleed, 
While none shall dare his obsequies to sing 
In deserv'd measures, until time shall bring 
Truth crown'd with Freedom, and from danger free, 
To sound his praises to posterity." 

An excellent work, written soon after the Rebellion 
(in 1687), was " A Deed of Gift for my dear son, Cap- 
tain Matt. Page," by John Page of Rosewell, The 
Deed of Gift is a devout production full of the earnest- 
ness and piety which characterized so many members of 
this excellent family. It contains serious exhortations, 


and maxims for right living, and is written with quaint 
force, as where the author says : " Think it a long art 
to die well, and that you have but a short time to learn 
it ; you cannot be robbed by death of the time or years 
already spent because they are already dead to you ; and 
that time which is yet to come is not yet yours." 

Two valuable histories of Virginia were produced in 
the first half of the eighteenth century : that by Rob- 
ert Beverley, published in 1705, and that by William 
Stith in 1747. Beverley was a son of the Major Rob- 
ert Beverley who had sided with Berkeley, and he wrote 
his history to correct the errors of a British account of 
Virginia. The narrative portion of the work, however, 
is only a summary and is frequently inaccurate ; the 
real value of the book consists in the full account of the 
structure of government and the condition of society in 
Virginia. The author was an ardent Virginian, but does 
not spare the foibles of his brother planters, who are de- 
lineated with a caustic pen. Stith's history extends only 
to the end of what is in this book styled the Plantation 
period, and is the work of an enthusiastic student. The 
author was an exemplary clei'gyman who had been pro- 
fessor in William and Mary College. He was after- 
wards minister at Varina, Dale's old settlement, where 
he wrote his history as " a noble and elegant entertain- 
ment," he says, " for my vacant hours." The work is 
famous for its extreme accuracy, and procured for the 
writer the honorable title of " the accurate Stith." It 
is based throughout on Smith's " General History," and 
he speaks of the soldier as " a very honest man and a 
strenuous lover of the truth ; " in which he differs to a 
surprising extent from the modern critics whose long 
perspective seems to have magnified their powers of vis- 


ion. Stitli had planned a full history down to his own 
time, but never completed it. A third work was the 
brief history of the colony by Sir "William Keith, but it is 
of little value as an authority. 

One author of the period remains to be spoken of : a 
man of brilliant wit, of high culture, and the richest 
humor, a Virginian of Virginians, and the perfect flower 
of his time. Early in the century steps on the stage 
and begins to write, the Honorable William Byrd of 
" Westover," the elegant gentleman and traveler-author, 
whose visit to Spotswood on the Rapidan has been no- 
ticed. He was one of the brightest stars in the social 
skies of Colonial Virginia. All desirable traits seemed 
to combine in him : personal beauty, elegant manners, 
literary culture, and the greatest gayety of disposition. 
Never was there a livelier companion, and his wit and 
humor seemed to flow in an unfailing stream. It is a 
species of jovial grand seigneur and easy master of all 
the graces that we see in the person of this old author- 
planter of the banks of James River. He wrote with- 
out thinking of or caring at all for the critics ; as men 
do when the spirit moves them, and for their personal 
pleasure. Two or three pamphlets contain all his writ- 
ings, of which the longest is the " History of the Divid- 
ing Line," a record of his journey to establish the bound- 
ary between Virginia and North Carolina. This sparkles 
all over with wit and the broadest humor, much too 
broad and comic indeed for a drawing-room table in the 
nineteenth century. But it is a virile and healthy book, 
full of high spirits and the zest of open-air life. The 
gay Colonel afterwards wrote his " Journey to the Land 
of Eden," and " Progress to the Mines ; " and the large 
manuscript volume, containing the three works, may 


still be seen under his portrait at " Brandon," on James 
River. They brim with humor and incessant jests, 
particularly at the expense of the ladies, whom the 
writer seems to have liked so much that he could never 
forbear from teasing them. We ma}^ fancy the worthy 
planter in ruffles and powder, leaning back in his arm- 
chair at Westover, and dictating, with a smile on his 
lips, the gay pages to his secretary. The smile may be 
seen to-day on the face of his portrait ; a face of re- 
markable personal beauty framed in the curls of a flow- 
ing peruke of the time of Queen Anne. 

But the status and surroundings of. this famous old 
Virginia author were very different from those of Steele 
and Addison. If there were garrets at Westover it is 
not probable that the serene nabob ever intruded on 
their dust. He was " the Honorable William Byrd, 
Esq., who, being born to one of the amplest fortunes 
in this country, was sent early to England, where he 
made a happy proficiency in polite and various learn- 
ing ; contracted a most intimate and bosom friendship 
with the learned and illustrious Charles Boyle, Earl 
of Orrery ; was called to the bar of the Middle Tem- 
ple ; was chosen Fellow of the Royal Society ; and be- 
ing thirty-seven years a member, at last became presi- 
dent of the Council of this colony." This colonial 
seigneur, who wrote the famous "Westover MSS." for 
his amusement, was also " the well-bred gentleman and 
polite companion, the constant enemy of all exorbitant 
power, and hearty friend of the liberties of his coun- 
try." His path through life was a path of flowers. He 
had wealth, culture, "the best private library in Amer- 
ica," social consideration, and hosts of friends ; and 
when he went to sleep under his monument in the 


garden at Westover, he left behind him not only the 
reputation of a good citizen, but that of the great Vir- 
ginia wit and author of the century. 



The eighteenth century may be styled the Golden 
Age of Virginia. It was the period when the colony 
reached the most peculiar and striking stage of its de- 
velopment. The future will no doubt prove an era of 
larger material growth ; it is impossible that it can pre- 
sent the same remarkable characteristics and contrasts. 
A prosperous and brilliant society flourished on the 
banks of the lowland rivers, and a hardy race had set- 
tled in the Valley, beyond which a scattered population 
of hunters and pioneers was pushing toward the Ohio. 
The period, the men, the modes of life, were all pictur- 
esque and full of w^arm blood as in the youth of a nation. 
Society had not lost the impetus of the first years, but 
it was firm in the grooves. By the end of the seven- 
teenth century it had taken the mould which it pre- 
served until the great political and social convulsion of 
the Revolution gave it a new shape. 

Let us glance at this ancient regime which is now 
the deadest of dead things, and endeavor to avoid ex- 
treme views about it. It is easy to denounce or to 
eulogize it, to represent it as a bad social organization 
which met with the fate which it deserved, or as the model 
in all things of a well-ordered community. Neither 
view is just, and the truth lies, as usual, between the two 
extremes. That old society had its virtues and its vices 


like other societies ; with all its courage and kindliness 
it was extremely intolerant; but it succeeded in work- 
ing out the problem of living happily to an extent which 
we find few examples of to-day. It j^^'esented, above 
all, the curious phenomenon of a community composed 
of varied classes who never came into collision with 
each other — a democratic aristocracy which obstinately 
resisted the royal authority, and first and last fought 
for the doctrine that the personal right of the citizen 
was paramount to all. An immense change had taken 
place in society since the Plantation time. What was 
rude had become luxurious. The log-houses of the early 
settlers had given place to fine manor-houses. Where 
forests once clothed the rich low grounds there were 
now cultivated fields. The pioneer who had scarcely 
dared to stir abroad without fire-arms was now a ruffled 
dignitary who rode in his coach-and-four — a justice, 
a vestryman, and worshipful member of the House of 
Burgesses. His land, purchased for a trifle, had be- 
come a great and valuable estate. No creditor could 
touch it, for it was entailed on his eldest son. The 
wilderness of Virginia had been turned into a new Eng- 
land, where the lord of the manor ruled, and his son 
would rule after him. 

Tliis development of the first adventurers into nabobs 
and lords of society may be said to have fairly begun 
with tlie Cavalier invasion after the execution of Charles 
I. Many of these immigrants were men of rank and 
brought with them to Viri^inia the views and habits of 
the English gentry. They set the fashion of living; 
and continued to influence Virginia usages to the time 
of the Revolution. Then the old was confronted by 
the new. The time was evidently at hand when so- 


ciety was to be reorganized and established on another 
basis. The Commonwealth slowly undermined and was 
to end by effacing the Colony. Royalist and aristocratic 
sentiments had lost their force, and were regarded as 
antiquated. It was seen that kings and a privileged 
class were no longer necessary to the existence of na- 
tions ; and the result was the theory of republicanism, 
the mainspring of the modern world. 

The period from the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury to the Revolution was thus the high-water mark 
between the flow and ebb of the social tide iu Virginia. 
What preceded it was formation, what followed it was 
transition. During this era only, society is stationary. 
It presented all the features of a social fabric which 
has settled down firmly and which nothing can shake 
from its foundations. A prevalent fancy is that this 
foundation was African slavery, but no impression could 
be more unfounded. African slavery, and the system 
of indented servitude, which was the same thing in a 
milder form, were only incidents. This subjection of 
a part of the community to the rest was congenial to 
the love of ease and rule in the Virginia character, but 
there the effect of the system ended. The Virginia 
landholder would have been the same individual in the 
absence of slaves or indented servants. The sentiment 
of aristocracy attributed to him was quite independent 
of the system, as it is independent of any such institu- 
tion in the English of to-day. The planter regarded 
his servants — the term " slave " was rarely used — 
simply as laborers and domestic attendants, who pro- 
duced his crops and waited upon him. In return, he 
was to supply them with the necessaries of life ; and 
there was a well-grounded conviction that they were a 


costly luxury. It was not seen, as we may see to-day, 
that slavery was the gangrene of the body politic, but its 
vice was even then clearly pointed out. Mr. Boucher, a 
minister, preaching to the planters of Hanover in 1763, 
said : " Except the immediate interest he has in the 
property of his slaves, it would be for every man's in- 
terest that there were no slaves, because the free labor 
of a t'ee man who is regularly hired and paid for the 
work he does, and only for what he does, is in the end 
cheaper than the eye service of the slave," 

As a simple historic fact, African slavery, like the 
system of indented servitude, was in the eighteenth cen- 
tury a great feature of American society, not of the 
South only. There was little prejudice against it, north 
or south, in those early years ; and the predominance 
of the race in the South was the result of climatic con- 
ditions only. The number of African slaves in North 
America in 1756, the generation preceding the Revolu- 
tion, was about 292,000. Of these Vh-ginia had 120,000, 
her white population amounting at the same time to 173,- 
000. The African increase in Virginia had been steady. 
In 1619 came the first twenty, and in 1649 there were 
300. In 1670 there were 2000. In 1714 there were 
23,000. In 1756 there were 120,000. The 172,000 
who, in addition to these, made up the African popula- 
tion of America, were scattered through the provinces 
from New England to Georgia. The class were almost 
uniformly well treated. Nothing indeed could be more 
unjust than the impression that the slaveholder of Vir- 
ginia or New England was a brutal tyrant. The Afri- 
can -was regarded in the light of an humble friend and 
retainer ; and the clergyman above mentioned said to 
his listeners in Vii-ginia : " I do jou no more than jus- 


tice in bearing witness that in no part of the world were 
slaves ever better treated than, in general, they are in 
these colonies." 

Virginia society in the eighteenth century was com- 
posed of heterogeneous materials. Beginning with Ac- 
comac and the lower Tidewater, we have the 'longshore- 
men, living by their nets, a merry and careless race, 
fond of their " horse-penning " festivities on the inlands 
of the Atlantic coast, when the wild horses were driven 
up in autumn to be caught ; the merchants or " factors " 
in the infrequent towns ; the small landholders, an- 
swering to the English yeomen ; the planters of the 
James and York ; the Church of England and " New 
Light" ministers; the Scotch-Irish and others settled 
in the Valley ; and the border families of the moun- 
tains, pushing civilization steadily beyond the Allegha- 
nies. One of the most interesting of these types was 
the small landholder. The impression that this class 
were men of inferior character, having a great jealousy 
of the planters, has nothing whatever to support it. It 
is largely due to Mr. AYirt and other writers who al- 
lowed their imaginations to control their judgments. 
The proof is everywhere seen in the old records that 
the planters and small landholders lived in entire har- 
mony, and had a mutual respect and regard for each 
other. They opposed Berkeley together, and fought 
side by side under Bacon ; stood shoulder to slioulder 
in the Revolution ; and as neighbors and fellow-citizens 
were associated and worked together for aims as dear 
to one class as to the other. The question of suffrage 
never divided them — that applied only to freedmen who 
had served their time, but were yet landless. Freehold 
tenure of his estate made the small landholder the po- 


litical equal of his richer neighbor. As to the charac- 
ter of this class there is no doubt at all. They were 
men of great independence, with that personal pride 
which lies at the foundation of true manhood ; and the 
existence of any sentiment of subserviency to the plant- 
ers is a fancy for which there is no warrant in the an- 
nals of the time. Even later, when agitators urged the 
French doctrine that the poor were the natural ene- 
mies of the rich, the doctrine found very few to listen 
to it. The two classes remained friends, and with few 
exceptions have remained such to the present time. 

The Virginia planter has often been described, his 
prejudices, his foibles, his self-importance and imposing 
surroundings. He has been made the target of satire 
and is, perhaps, the best abused American type. Many 
of these criticisms are just, but other people in America 
at the time very much resembled him. He was not the 
only victim of contracted views and personal pride, and 
his manner of living was imitated in other quarters of 
the country. Patroon-life on the Hudson was similar 
to planter- life on the James. Bishop Kip of New 
York, recalling his memories of former days, describes 
the splendor of the old patroons, their swarming " re- 
demptioners " who were indented servants, their " negro- 
slaves, of whom every family of standing possessed 
some," and the " feudal feeling of the owners of the 
great landed estates." The "coming down from Al- 
bany " of the patroon, was like a royal progress ; and the 
writer, who had been " much at the South," had never 
seen there " such elegance of living as was formerly ex- 
hibited by the old families of New York." New Eng- 
land was not behind in this disjDlay of aristocratic ele- 
gance. The descendants of the old families there, too, 


exhibited in their dress, manners, and mode of living, a 
spirit anything but democratic. Everywhere there was 
social inequality ; it is certain that there always will 
be ; and class-distinction was accepted as a part of the 
order of things. In Virginia the system seemed in its 
practical operation to have resulted in the welfare of all 
alike. Berkeley said, in 1670, that the colony was " tho 
most flourishing country the sun ever shone over," and 
the social forces seemed to work in harmony. The fatal 
antagonism of the present time between labor and capi- 
tal was nowhere seen ; and that terrible " competition," 
which M. Blanc calls a " system of extermination," was 
undreamed of. Land was cheap and food abundant, 
and little labor supplied that daily bread, which it is a 
fearful problem, to-day, to half the human race how they 
are to obtain. The social machine seemed a cumbrous 
aifair, but it moved on smoothly without wear and tear, 
or the ominous grating that we everywhere hear in the 
modern world. 

What is certain is that life was easy and happy in 
these " good old times " when men managed to live with- 
out telegraphs, railways, and electric lights. Virginians 
of the old school look back to them as to the old moons 
of Villon, and insist that the past moons were brighter 
than the moons of to-day. They are laughed at for 
their pains, but after all it was a happy era. Care 
seemed to keep away from it and stand out of its sun- 
shine. The planter in his manor-house, surrounded by 
his family and retainers, was a feudal patriarch mildly 
ruling everybody; drank wholesome wine, sherry or 
canary, of his own importation ; entertained everyone ; 
held great festivities at Christmas, with huge log-fires 
in the great fire-places, around which the family clan 


gathered ; and everj^body, high and low, seemed to be 
happy. It was the life of the family, not of the great 
world, and produced that intense attachment for the soil 
which has become proverbial ; which made a Virginian 
once say, " If I had to leave Virginia I would not know 
where to go." What passed in Europe was not known 
for months, but the fact did not appear to detract from 
the general content. Journeys were made on horse- 
back or in coaches, and men were deliberate in their 
work or pleasures. But if not so rapid life was more 
satisfactory. The portraits of the time show us faces 
without those lines which care furrows in the faces of 
the men of to-day. There was no solicitude for the 
morrow. The plantation produced everything and was 
a little community sufficient for itself. There was food 
in profusion ; wool was woven into clothing, shoes made, 
and blacksmithing performed by the retainers on the es- 
tate. Such luxuries as were desired, books, wines, silk 
and laces, were brought from London to the planter's 
wharf in exchange for his tobacco ; and he was content 
to pay well for all, if he could thereby escape living in 
towns. Almost nothing was manufactured in Virginia 
outside of the shops on the estates. Iron was smelted 
at Spotswood's furnaces on the Rappahannock, — six 
hundred tons in 1760, - — but it went away for the most 
part to England to be fashioned into articles of use and 
resold to the producer. The Virginia planter was con- 
tent to have it so : to be left to live as he liked ; to im- 
prove his breeds of horses, of which he was extremely 
fond ; to attend races ; to hunt the fox ; to welcome 
everybody at his hospitable manor-house ; to take his 
ease as a provincial seigneur on his patrimonial acres, 
and to leave his eldest son to represent the family in the 


family home. If this state of things nurtured pride and 
the sentiment of self-importance, many virtues were also 
the result : the sentiment of honor, cordiality of man- 
ners, and an abounding hospitality. The planter was 
ridiculed as a " nabob " by his enemies, but he was also 
a kind neighbor and a warm friend. He was brave, 
honest, and spoke the truth, which are meritorious traits ; 
and under his foibles and prejudices lay a broad manli- 
ness of nature which gave him his influence as an indi- 
vidual and a citizen. 

This old society led a happy existence from the first 
years of the century to the Revolution. There was a 
great deal to enjoy. Social intercourse was on the most 
friendly and unceremonious footing. The plantation 
house was the scene of a round of enjoyments. Dur- 
ing the winter large numbers of the planters went to 
live in Williamsburg, the vice-regal capital ; and here 
were held grand assemblies at the Raleigh Tavern, or 
the old capitol, where the beaux and belles of the time 
in the finest silks and laces danced and feasted. Or 
the theatre drew them ; for the " Virginia Company 
of Comedians " had come over in the ship Charming 
Sally, and acted Shakespeare and Congreve for the 
amusement of the careless old society. The youths 
passed on their fine horses going to prosecute their 
love affairs ; and the poetical portion wrote love verses 
to their inamoratas, and published them in the " Vir- 
ginia Gazette." These poems, addressed to Chloe or 
Myrtilla, may be still read in the yellow sheet ; and the 
notices of " society " doings, and the grand balls at the 
Raleigh Tavern. Jefferson's early letters also give us 
a glimpse of the gay scene; of the scrapes of the college 
students, the crowded streets, and the dancing at the 



Apollo, ill which he figured with his dear " Belinda," 
and was happy. 

In all parts of the colony this spirit of mirth inspired 
people. There is horse-racing and cock-fighting ; " Ba- 
con's Thunderbolts " are the names of spangles who 
have triumphed in many battles (1747). In the " Old 
Field near Captain Bickerton's, in Hanover, there are 
to be grand diversions. There is first to be a horse- 
race ; then a hat is to be cudgeled for; next, twenty 
fiddlers are to contend for a new fiddle " and all to play 
together and each a different tune." Twelve boys are 
to run one hundred and twelve yards for a hat worth 
twelve shillings ; a quire of ballads is to be sung for ; a 
pair of silver buckles are to be wrestled for ; the pretti- 
est girl on the ground is to have a pair of handsome 
silk stockings of one pistole's value ; and all " this mirth 
is designed to be purely innocent." The date is 1737. 
Nearly forty years afterwards (1774), the Virginians 
are still amusing themselves : " Yesterday," we read, 
*' was celebrated in this place (Norfolk), the anniversary 
of St. Tammany, the tutelar Saint of the American 
Colonies." There is a royal salute of twenty-one guns, 
and a grand entertainment by the Sons of the Saint. 
The ball is opened by "one of our Burgesses accoutred 
in the ancient habit of this country," — full Indian 
dress. The " ladies' fair bosoms were animated with a 
generous love of their country," we are informed ; and 
at four in the morning the Sons " encircled their King 
and practiced the ancient mysterious war-danced 

This is the state of things on Tidewater. A merry 
society is enjoying itself in the midst of security and 
luxury ; but up toward the mountains and beyond them 
new settlers are passing the time in a different manner. 


They have little leisure for amusement, and no taste 
whatever for dancing parties and fine living. It is for- 
tunate that they have not ; the time and place are not 
favorable to such divertisements, and the races are dif- 
ferent. German Lutherans and Scotch-Irish Presby- 
terians are steadily settling in the fertile Valley from 
the Potomac to James River, hewing down the woods, 
erecting churches and laying the foundations of republi- 
can society. The Indians are not far off, but these 
hardy people disregard them. The German and Irish 
population engage in their festivities ; but the grave 
Calvinists take no part in these, and live the sober and 
self-contained lives of their ancestors, the Covenanters. 
It is a very great race, and will make its mark here as 
elsewhere. Soon the old intolerance of the Establish- 
ment will disappear in the storm of the Revolution ; 
there will be no more talk of the denial of religious 
liberty to any citizen ; and Virginia will become a har- 
monious society, where men of every class will work 
together for a common object. 



As the Revolution approaches a new atnaosphere 
seems to envelop events, and the figures of the act- 
ors in public affairs grow larger and more imposing. 
Tlie serene Colonial period "is coming to an end, and a 
feverish excitement precedes the birth of the Common- 
wealth. Old ideas are losing their force, and the fet- 
ters of prescription are cracking. Past theories of 
government and society begin to be subjected to analy- 
sis, and every day this analysis grows more unfriendly. 
There is no thought yet of a radical change — of separ- 
ating from England and establishing a republic. Public 
opinion has not advanced so far, and will not for ten 
j'ears to come. As late as July, 1775, the idea of separ- 
ation, according to Jefferson, had "never yet entered 
into any person's mind." In 1765, therefore, when the 
political agitations begin, there are no friends of such 
a measure. All that the Americans ask as yet is 
that their rights as British subjects shall not be denied 
them; that Parliament shall not tax them without their 
consent ; that their old immunities under their charters 
shall be respected. 

But along with the feverish unrest comes the inevita- 
ble expansion of thought and the vague dream of a new 


order of things wliich marks periods of moral convul- 
sion. The soil is fitted to receive the new ideas, to 
nourish them and bring them to maturity. The Amer- 
ican point of view is not the European. The air does 
not suit the old political philosophy of the jus divinum ; 
from Englishmen the people have come to be Ameri- 
cans. The long struggle in the old world between the 
absolutist principle and popular right has much more 
convulsed the new ; and popular right has been the 
stronger. The free land has produced free thought, 
and free thought makes free men. When the collision 
comes at last, it will be a resolute and unshrinking 
struo-o-le. The protest will be sudden and bitter, and 
the weak Colonies will match themselves without much 
hesitation against the British Empire. 

Cavalier and Puritan will go hand in hand when the 
time arrives; but they enter upon the Revolution un- 
der very different circumstances of race and conviction. 
The New Englanders arc already nearly republicans. 
They come of the race of Ironsides who overturned 
Charles I. in England, and it will require little to per- 
suade them to attempt to overturn George III. in Amer- 
ica. Attachment to royalty does not flourish in the 
bleak northern air ; it is a pale and drooping plant there. 
The whole country east of the Hudson is leagued in 
feelinof ao:aiust Kins^ and Parliament. In the New 
England churches where the decorous Calvinists assem- 
ble with grave faces, there are no prayers for his Maj- 
esty and his royal family. The Calvinistic theology is re- 
publican, not monarchic; royalty and nobility begin to 
be laughed at as superstitions. Social distinctions are re- 
garded with jealousy and increasing disfavor. The Eng- 
lish Church has few friends. When the time comes to 


put an end to Church and King in America, the hardy 
descendants of the men of Plymouth will proceed to act 
in the business before them with a grand unanimity, and 
all classes will work tos^ether to effect the result. 

In the southern colonies, and especially in Virginia, 
matters are different. The men wlio settled on James 
River were Royalists and Church of England people. 
They called their colony Jamestown in honor of the 
King, and as soon as they landed, nailed a bar of wood 
between two trees to serve as a reading-desk for the 
English minister to lay his Book of Common Prayer 
upon. Those who followed them were persons of the 
same opinious, and at the middle of the century came 
the great wave of Cavalier refugees, passionate adher- 
ents of Church and King. Their devotion to both was 
strong. When Charles I. was beheaded, the Virginians 
denounced the reijicides as murderers ; and when dissent 
raised its head in the colony, they promptly crushed it. 
Their sentiment was not servile. They deposed the 
King's Governor, and made war on the King himself ; 
but they had no desire whatever to abolish the royal 
authority in Virginia. And they were Churchmen as 
they were King's-men. They denounced the clergy, 
but they clung to Episcopacy, and their attitude toward 
the Revolution was thus peculiar. Add the apparent 
social obstacle to a frank adhesion to the great move- 
ment. That movement was essentially democratic, and 
the Virginia planters were advocates of class. Their 
predominance was a part of the order of things. Time 
out of mind they had made laws in the Burgesses ; ad- 
ministered affairs in the King's Council ; and presided 
as magistrates in the county courts or the halls of their 
manor-houses, where their worships tried offenders, as 


Sir Thomas Lucy tried Shakespeare at Charlecote, and 
dealt out punishment. All the powers of government 
and society were in the hands of their class ; to have 
looked for anything but the aristocratic sentiment from 
such people would have seemed absurd. To sum up the 
planter view : a good citizen ought to be a loyal sub- 
ject and Churchman ; landed right was the key-stone 
of society ; Dissenters must be put down ; and all who 
opposed these views were agitators and disturbers of 
the peace. 

A sharp steel was necessary to pierce this hard crust 
of social and religious intolerance ; and the steel was 
ready. The weapon with which England struck was 
the claim to tax the Americans without allowing them 
representation. Would the Virginians submit to that ? 
It seemed that they would be degenerate sons of their 
sires if they did so ; but many people shook their heads. 
Could King-lovers and Churchmen be counted on to 
espouse a great popular movement, and put all that they 
cherished on the hazard of the result ? The answer 
came without delay. 



The pulse of the time was felt in a fierce struggle on 
an obscure arena which indicated the fever in the public 

This was the trial of the " Parsons' Cause" in Han- 
over County in 1763, the first intimation of the ap- 
proaching conflict. Up to this time the antagonism to 
English abuses had taken the shape of petitions and 
protests. The history of the times is buried under 


documents — memorials to King and Commons, as- 
sertions of ancient immunities, and discussions of the 
rights of the Americans under their charters. This 
phase of tlie subject is interesting only to students. 
AVhat is most worth attention is the immense move- 
ment beneath, the upheaval of the popular mind which 
swept all before it; and the first indication of this is 
the incident now to be described. It is further in- 
teresting as the first public appearance of a man who 
was styled by his cotemporaries the " Prophet of Rev- 
olution " and the " Man of the People " — Patrick 

Henry was born in 1736, at his father's house of 
" Studley," in Hanover, and was at this time a man of 
twenty-seven. The prevalent impression that he was 
of low origin is an entire mistake. His father was Col- 
onel John Henry, a man of culture, belonging to an old 
Scottish family, a magistrate and "loyal subject, who 
took pleasure in drinking the King's health at the head 
of his regiment." He and his wife were members of the 
Establishment, his brother was a minister, and all were 
persons of education and respectability. A similar error 
is the ignorance attributed to Patrick Henry. He was, 
in fact, so well educated by his father, that at fifteen he 
read Livy and Horace ; and throughout his life " But- 
ler's Analogy " was his "standard volume." He never 
attended college, which probably resulted from the pov- 
erty of his family; but his education at home was more 
than respectable for the time. The statements in rela- 
tion to his early idleness and incapacity for business 
seem to rest on much better support. It was the old 
story of a great genius who was unfitted by nature for 
a life of routine. He was long finding out what he was 


fit for. He became a country storekeeper, and duly a 
bankrupt. Then he attempted farming, and the same 
result followed. Then he went back to his store and 
the second venture " turned out more unfortunate than 
the first." Mr. Wirt paints him at this period as an in- 
corrioilile idler, passing his time in hunting and fishing, 
or tellino- humorous stories when he should have been 
attendino- to his business. To crown evervthino- he 
had married, and finding himself at the end of his re- 
sources, went to live and assist his father-in-law at the 
inn at Hanover Court-house, wlience the statement made 
by Jefferson that he had been a " bar-keeper." 

Ilenry was meanwhile unconsciously educating him- 
self for the great career of oratory. He studied human 
nature assiduously in his rustic neighborhood; and a 
fortunate chance placed before him two remarkable 
models. These were James Waddel, the Blind Preacher, 
at whose sermons " whole congregations were bathed in 
tears ; " and Samuel Davies, the Presbyterian Apostle, 
of whom Henry said that he was " the greatest orator 
that he had ever heard." The unknown young man 
heard them both and came away with his heart burning 
within him. The blood of the born orator must have 
throbbed in his veins as he looked at the trembling and 
weeping crowds. Here, at last, was his own career be- 
fore him : to sway hearts, not to sell goods. Was the 
fire in him ? He began by studying law to fit himself 
for the bar, — if six weeks' reading may be called study. 
Procuring a license, with great'difficulty, he then opened 
an office at the Court-House ; but, according to his biog- 
raplier, he was so ignorant that he was unable to draft 
an ordinary deed. He is described by the same writer 
as shabby in dress and loutish in manners ; as saying, 


*^naitral parts are better than all the larnin on airth ;" 
but these stories are extremely doubtful. It is incredi- 
ble that a Latin scholar and reader of " Butler's Anal- 
oofv," one of the abstrusest of books, should have em- 
ployed such expressions. He no doubt used Virgin- 
ianisms ; if he used vulgarisms it was, probably, in a 
spirit of liumor. The fact remains, however, that he 
was of rustic address, and " ungainly " in person ; and 
that no one acquainted with him had the least suspicion 
that under this unpromising exterior lay the immense 
genius for oratory which was to shape the history of the 
North American continent. 

This was revealed for the first time in the " Parsons' 
Cause " in December, 1763 ; a suit brought by a minis- 
ter of the Church of England for arrearages of salary. 
In a ^^ar of failure in the tobacco crop the Virginia 
Burgesses had enacted that all debts payable in that 
commodity, then a species of currency, might be paid in 
money at the rate of twopence for the pound of to- 
bacco. The blow was heavy to the clergy, whose legal 
salary of 16,000 pounds of tobacco was worth at the 
time about sixpence a pound ; and the legality of the 
Act was referred to the King, who decided against it. 
The clergy were therefore entitled to their tobacco, or 
its value, and nothing was left but the question of the 
amounts to be paid them as damages. Mr. Maury, a 
minister of Hanover: brought suit to recover his own. 
There was no question of law to be settled by the Court. 
The King had decided the law, and the counsel for the 
defendants, the Hanover collectors, retired from tho 
case. There was a very prevalent desire, however, that 
something should be said on the question, and Henry 
was emploj^ed to oppose " the parsons." 


A remarkable scene followed. Henry rose to address 
the jury in presence of a great crowd. He had never 
before spoken in public, and at first his voice faltere .. 
He hung his head and seemed to be overvThelmed, but 
soon a strange transformation took place in his appear- 
ance. His head rose haughtily erect and as he proceeded 
his delivery grew passionate. He bitterly denounced 
the clergy, a number of whom retired in indignation 
from the Court-house ; and stigmatized the King, who 
had supported their demand, as a tyrant who had for- 
feited all claim to obedience. At this the counsel for 
the plainti-ff cried, " The gentleman has spoken trea- 
son ! " but Henry's language only grew more violent. 
The crowd around him swayed to and fro, in evident 
sympathy with the speaker, who, with passionate vehe- 
mence, insisted that the Burgesses of Virginia were " the 
only authority which could give force to the laws for 
the government of this colony." The words were trea- 
son, since they defied the royal authority ; and when the 
jury retired, the crowd was in the wildest commotion. 
Five minutes afterwards the jury returned with a verdict 
fixing the plaintiff's damages at " one penny," and a 
loud shout of applause followed. The jury, like the 
young orator, had defied the will of the King ; and when 
Court adjourned, Patrick Henry was caught up and 
borne on the shoulders of the excited crowd, around 
the Court green, in triumph. 

Such was the, famous *' Parsons' Cause." An obscure 
lawsuit had assumed the proportions of an historic event. 
A great assemblage in one of the most important coun- 
ties of Virginia had wildly cheered Henry's denuncia- 
tions of the Crown, and his demand that the authority 
of the Burgesses of Virginia should take precedence of 
the authority of the King of England. 



This affair of the outposts immediately preceded the 
pitched battle. England and the Colonies were now to 
come to open quarrel on a vital issue. The war with 
France had inflicted on Great Britain a great incubus 
of debt. A part of this debt had been incurred in the 
defense of the Americans ; now Parliament asserted the 
plausible right to raise revenue, by imposing taxes on 
the Colonies, for the payment of their proportion of it. 

When it became known in 1764 that this right was 
claimed, there was an outburst of indignation. In Vir- 
ginia the universal public sentiment was that the claim 
was illegal and oppressive. From the earliest times 
the House of Burgesses had regulated the affairs of Vir- 
ginia ; and their right to do so had been formally recog- 
nized by Charles II., who had declared, under the privy 
seal in 1676, that "taxes ought not to be laid on the 
inhabitants and proprietors of the colony hut hy the com- 
mon consent of the General Assembly.''^ Thus the right 
to tax the Colonies without their consent, if ever assert- 
ed, had been authoritatively disclaimed. All, in fact, 
was against it : the old '• Constitution of Government " 
of the time of James I. ; the recognition of the Assembly 
as a law-making power by Charles I. ; and the formal 
abandonment of any such claim by Charles II. When, 
therefore, the advisers of George III. proclaimed the 
new doctrine, they did so in violation of the express en- 
gagements of his predecessors, and substituted his will 
for the chartered rights of the Virginia people. 


The question was whether the people were going tc 
submit. The navigation laws, an external tax, had been 
acquiesced in under protest, but the new claim was dif- 
ferent ; the impost was to be direct and galling. The 
most daring of the English statesmen had hitherto shrunk 
from it. Walpole had declared that it was " a measure 
too hazardous for him to venture upon; " " I have Old 
England set against me," he said, "and do you tliink 
that I will have New England likewise ? " But times 
and men had changed now. The new Ministers were 
less cautious, and opsuly asserted the obnoxious claim. 
The British Empire was the British Empire, and the 
House of Commons was to make laws to govern it. 

Peace was declared between England and France in 
1763, and in 1764 the new doctrine was broached, and 
the right of direct taxation asserted. In the next year 
the matter took shape. Mr. Grenville brought in a bill 
which passed the Commons by a vote of five to one: 
met with no opposition in the Lords ; and (March, 1765), 
the King approved it, and it became a law. This was 
the now famous " Stamp Act." By this law all instru- 
ments of writing used in the transaction of business in 
the Colonies were declared to be thenceforth null and 
void, unless executed on stamped paper paying a reve- 
nue to the Crown. 

When the Virginia House of Burgesses assembled in 
the spring of 1765, they were met by a plain question: 
Were they to submit to the new law or resist it as an 
invasion of right ? The decision must be prompt. The 
stamps were coming, and action must be taken at once. 

The Burgesses met in the " Old Capitol " at Wil- 
liamsburg, and the spectacle was imposing. The Speaker 
sat on a dais under a red canopy supported by a gilded 


rod, and the clerk beneath with the mace lying on the 
table before him to indicate that the Assembly was in 
full session. The members, ranged in long rows, were 
the most eminent men of Virginia, and evidently ap- 
proached the great business before them with deep feel- 
ing. The issue was serious. On one side was submis- 
sion to wrong ; on the other collision with England. 
The old attachment, to what was called " Home," was 
still exceedingly strong. It had been shaken but not 
destroyed, and was still a controlling sentiment. To 
openly resist the Crown would be to invite coercion : 
and that meant war, which would be deplorable. Even 
if the Colonies were successful, separation from the 
mother-land would probably follow ; and not one Vir- 
ginian in ten thousand desired such a separation. The 
general sentiment was in favor of further remonstrances 
and memorials ; but a considerable party opposed this 
policy as behind the times. It was said that Parliament 
meant to crush the liberties of the people ; that the King 
was their enemy ; and that to approach either King or 
Parliament with honeyed words and professions of attach- 
ment would be hypocrisy. The only course to pursue 
now was to speak out plainly, not in the tone of suppli- 
ants but in the voice of men demanding their rights and 
determined to have them. 

In the midst of the general doubt and hesitation Pat- 
rick Henry, who had been elected a Burgess from Lou- 
isa County, rose and offered his celebrated resolutions, 
which he had written on a blank leaf torn from an old 
law-book. The resolutions were five in number, and 
presented in admirably clear terms the whole case 
against the Stamp Act. The points insisted upon were 
that the first Virginia settlers had brought with them 



from England all the rights and immunities of British 
subjects ; that two royal charters had expressly recog- 
nized these rights ; that the taxation of the people by 
themselves was the distinguishing characteristic of Brit- 
ish freedom ; and that " the General Assembly of this 
colony has the sole right and power to lay taxes and 
impositions on the inhabitants of this colony." 

On these resolutions took place an excited debate. 
They were opposed by the ablest men of the Burgesses 
as impolitic ; and Jefferson, who was present, afterwards 
spoke of the discussion as " most bloody." The opposi- 
tion only aroused the wonderful genius of Henry. He 
was, at this time, just twenty-nine, tall in figure but 
stooping, with a grim expression, small blue eyes which 
h£^d a peculiar twinkle, and wore a brown wig without 
powder, a " peach-blossom coat," leather knee-breeches, 
and yarn stockings. He had ridden to Williamsburg on 
*' a lean horse," and carried his papers in a pair of sad- 
dle-bags. These details have been preserved by tradi- 
tion, and present a familiar portrait of the great orator, 
— always the best portrait. 

Of the splendor of his eloquence on this his first ap- 
pearance before the eyes of the whole country there can 
be no doubt whatever. It was one of the noblest dis- 
plays of an oratory, which his contemporaries declared 
indescribable. Once aroused, passion transformed him, 
and he magnetized his listeners. One who had heard 
him often and tried to describe him, said that his power 
lay not so much in his matter as in his manner ; in " the 
greatness of his emotion and passion, the matchless per- 
fection of the organs of expression ; the intonation, 
pause, gesture, attitude, and indescribable play of coun- 
tenance." It is the description of a great actor or great 


orator, which are nearly the same ; and is no doubt 
accurate. He ended his speech with a bitter outburst. 
In the midst of cries of " Treason ! " he exclaimed, 
" Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, 
and George-the Third may profit by their example ; if 
this be treason make the most of it ! " In spite of all 
opposition the resolutions passed the Burgesses, — the 
last by one majority. The passionate eloquence of the 
young County Court lawyer had committed the great 
colony of Virginia to resistance. 

Such was the famous scene in the Burgesses, which 
marked distinctly the beginning of a new era, for the 
Revolution may be said to date from it. It has suffered 
from over-coloring. For the greater glory of the great 
man whose wonderful eloquence shaped the action of 
the House, certain writers have thought it necessary to 
caricature his opponents. A somewhat theatrical pic- 
ture has been drawn of the scene and the actors. The 
ruffled planters, it is said, were dragged on against their 
will. They had come in these May days of 1765 to 
delay, not promote action. They were distinctly be- 
hind the times and bent on submission. When a plain 
" man of the people " rose in his place to propose action 
the powdered heads turned suddenly, and all eyes were 
fixed on him with surprise and hauteur. 

The picture is imaginary. If the heads suddenly 
turned, the circumstance was not so astonishing. A 
young member who was almost unknown was taking the 
leadership, at the most critical of moments, in a body 
composed of the oldest and ablest men of the colony. 
The intimation that classes were divided on the question 
has nothing to support it. Jefferson, a zealous demo- 
crat, spoke of those who opposed the resolutions as 


" ciphers of aristocracy " and men unfitted for the 
times ; but among these opponents were Peyton Ran- 
dolph, afterwards President of the First Congress ; Ed- 
mund Pendleton, to become the head of the Committee 
of Safety ; George Wythe, one of the " Signers ; " 
Richard Bland, an eminent patriot ; and probably Wash- 
ington, then in the Burgesses. 

But after making every allowance for Mr. Wirt's 
rhetoric, the triumph of Henry in this hot struggle was 
one of the great events of American history. He had 
driven his policy through the Bul'gesses in spite of all 
opposition, and some chance utterances of the moment 
indicate the strong antagonisms. 

" I would have given five hundred guineas for a sin- 
gle vote ! " exclaimed Peyton Randolph, as he rushed 
through the lobby ; and as Henry came out of the 
Capitol a man of the crowd slapped him on the shoulder 
and cried : — 

" Stick to us, old fellow, or we are gone ! " 

The vote that was worth five hundred guineas was 
that which would have defeated the fifth resolution ; 
and the importance of this resolution lay in the fact that 
it announced the determinate decision of Virginia. What 
it meant, if it meant anything, was that the colony was 
prepared to resist the Crown. England demanded her 
obedience, and speaking for herself she refused to obey. 

Governor Fauquier dissolved the Assembly, but the 
mischief was done. The position taken by Virginia 
everywhere strengthened the hands of the party for re- 
sistance. In England it produced a profound sensation. 
" I rejoice," exclaimed Pitt, " that America has resisted! 
Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of 
liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves would have 


been fit instruments to make slaves of all the rest. I 
know the valor of your troops, the force of this country ; 
but in such a case success would be hazardous. America, 
if she fell, would fall like a strong man : she would em- 
brace the pillars of the State and pull down the Con- 
stitution with her." 

The importance attached to the action of Virginia is 
shown by the references made to it at the time. " Vir- 
ginia rang the alarm bell," said a writer of the North; 
and General Gage wrote, "Virginia gave the signal to 
the Continent." Massachusetts proposed a General 
Congress, and it met at New York in October (1765), 
but only nine colonies were represented and its proceed- 
ings were confined to protests. The invitation to take 
part in it reached Virginia after the dissolution of the 
Assembly, and no action could be taken upon it ; but at 
the next session of the body the proceedings were con- 
curred in. 

The English ministry were now compelled to come 
to an open collision with the Americans, or rescind the 
Stamp Act. In March, 1766, just one year after its pas- 
sage, it was repealed. But the right was distinctly as- 
serted " to hind the colonies and people of America in all 
cases ivkatsoever." That was an open declaration of 
war, and necessarily led to the absolute subjection of the 
Americans or to rev^olution. They chose revolution, 
and it may be said to have begun when Henry forced 
through his resolutions, in the Burgesses, in 1765. 




All thiugs now hastened. With every passing hour 
the atmosphere grew hotter. A great political struggle 
was felt to be coming ; and the religious animosities of 
the time, which had been long smouldering, steadily 
gathered strength as the days went by. 

Threatening hands were raised in every quarter 
against the Established Church, and the attacks of 
her combined enemies, the non-conformists of all de- 
scriptions, began in earnest. They were to overthrow 
the Establishment at last, and destroy it, root and 
branch, but as yet it was too strong for them ; and the 
civil authorities, acting iu its supposed interests, re- 
sorted to persecution. This was directed chiefly at the 
Baptists, who had recently become a strong communion. 
The first church was formally established in 1760, but 
soon there were numbers of others in Spotsylvania, 
Orange, Louisa, and Fluvanna. A passionate impulse 
swayed the preachers of the Baptist faith. The prop- 
aganda went on without rest. They saw visions which 
spurred them to call others to repentance, and the true 
form of baptism. James Read, in North Carolina, had 
a mysterious call by night. In his sleep he was heard 
crying "Virginia! Virginia ! " and obeying the heavenly 
voice he set out and reached Orange, where great crowds 
flocked to listen to him. Soon the Establishment took 
alarm. The clergy denounced the new sect, calling 
them followers of the German Anabaptists, and pre- 
dicting a repetition of the horrors of Munster. But 


this the. Baptists indignantly denied, asserting that they 
were preachers of the true Gospel only ; if they disturbed 
the lethargy of the Establishment it was not their fault. 
Persecution followed. In June, 1768, three preachers of 
the new church, John Waller, Lewis Craig, and James 
Childs, were arrested by the sheriff of Spotsylvania. 
They were offered their liberty if they would promise 
to discontinue preaching ; but that had no more effect 
in their case than in the case of John Bunyan. They 
gloried in their martyrdom. As they went to prison 
through the streets of Fredericksburg, they raised the 
resounding hymn, " Broad is the road that leads to 
death." Through the windows of the jail they preached 
to great throngs of people. When this had gone on for 
more than a month they were released ; they had reso- 
lutely persisted in making no promises to discontinue 
their efforts. Their persecutors were even ashamed. 
When they were arraigned for " preaching the Gospel 
contrary to law," Patrick Henry, who had ridden fifty 
miles to witness the trial, suddenly rose and exclaimed : 

" May it please your worships, what did I hear read ? 
Did I hear an expression that these men whom your 
worships are about to try for misdemeanor are charged 
with preaching the Gospel of the Son of God ? " 

The solemn voice is said to have deeply moved all 
who heard it. The State prosecutor " turned pale with 
agitation," and the court were near dismissing the ac- 
cused. Elsewhere the persecution went on ; in Ches- 
terfield, Middlesex, Caroline, and other counties. Men 
were imprisoned for their faith ; it was a reproduction 
of the monstrous proceedings in the Mother Country. 
But the result was what might have been foreseen by 
any but the judicially blind. The Baptists only grew 


Stronger. In 1774 the Separates had fifty-four Churches, 
and the Regulars were steadily increasing also. One 
and all, these and other Dissenters, were actuated, says 
one of their advocates, by two strong principles — love 
of freedom and " hatred of the Church Establishment." 
They were " resolved never to relax their efforts until 
it was utterly destroyed," and they lived to see the wish 

In this bitter antagonism to the Establishment the 
Methodists had no part ; they were " a society within 
the Church," and advocated only a more evangelical 
spirit in worship. But the Quakers and Presbyterians 
cooperated with the Baptist Dissenters and were unrest- 
ing in their hostility to the union of Church and State. 
The noble memorial from the Presbytery of Hanover, 
which may yet be seen on the yellow old sheet in the 
Virginia Archives, sums up the whole case with admi- 
rable eloquence and force. It is trenchant and severe, 
but that was natural. It is the great protest of Dissent 
in all the years. 

It may as well be added here that the long wrestle 
went on into the Revolution and after its close, and 
non-conformity grew lusty with the rich food fed to it. 
The Act of Religious Freedom did not satisfy the non- 
conformists. They took fire at the very terms " Dis- 
senter " and " Toleration." Wliy were tliey dissenters 
from the Episcopal Church any more than the Epis- 
copalians were dissenters from them ? Why were they 
to be " tolerated ? " The truth is, a great legacy of 
hatred had been bequeathed to the new generation who 
remembered the persecutions to which their fathers had 
been subjected. They were relentless in their hos- 
tility. An earnest advocate of their views in our own 


day writes : " The patriots of Virginia were not con- 
tent with victory half won. They knew that their 
principles were sound and they followed them out to 
their extreme results. AVliile life lingered in any sev- 
ered limb of the Establishment they did not feel safe. 
They renewed their attacks^ until they had not merely 
hewn down the tree, but had torn it up by the roots, and 
had destroyed the last germ from which it might be re- 

The immemorial hostility thus pursued the Episco- 
pacy to the end. The dislike of the Episcopal clergy 
had terminated in dislike of the Episcopal tenets, which 
Samuel Davies had thought so admirable. In demand- 
ing their incontestable rights, which it was a shame to 
have so long withheld from them, the opponents of the 
Establishment demanded them with outcries against the 
Episcopacy, which were neither discriminating nor just. 
The vestries had been largely responsible for that ill- 
living in the clergy. Few good men would come to 
preach in Virginia when their places in the parishes 
depended upon the whim of the " parson's masters ; " 
when they were scanned with critical eyes, to be dis- 
missed at a moment's warning. The Church, too, had 
now come to be hated by its old adversaries. It was 
treated without mercy when it was disabled and power- 
less. It is not a pleasant spectacle, looking back to 
those old times. One fancies, while reading the story, 
some poor animal with legs broken, dragging its bleed- 
ing body along, pursued by relentless enemies, M'ho 
worry it with sharp teeth in the very death agony. 
The law for exempting Dissenters overthrew the Es- 
tablishment ; that was just. But this was not enough. 
When the Church, on its petition (1784), was made a 


body corporate to manage its own affairs, new excite- 
ment arose. It was in vain to point out tliat other 
communions were at full liberty to become corpora- 
tions. The Presbytery of Hanover were implacable, 
and protested against the law. They would have noth- 
ing to do with it. They cried with comic alarm that 
the old Establishment, which was deadest of the dead, 
was coming to life again ; and the law was repealed. 

Lastly the Bill for Religious Freedom, the darling 
project of Jefferson, consolidated the policy of non-in- 
tervention in matters of faith into a compact system. 
There was no longer any Establishment or shadow of 
such a thing ; at the end of the century it was dead in 
all its parts. But even that was not enough. We 
have set forth its persecuting spirit ; let us see how it 
was persecuted in tqrn. The modern principle that the 
spoils belong to the victors was applied to it. The old 
hostility was not dead, it had only gone to sleep ; and 
now it woke and struck a last blow. The glebe lands 
of the Church w^re directed to be sold (1802). It was 
not to keep its parsonages, the donations made to it, or 
the vessels used in Baptism and the Holy Communion. 
The question came before the Court of Appeals, of 
which Edmund Pendleton was now president. He was 
bitterly opposed to the sale of the Church property, 
which he considered a great wrong. But just before 
the decision, while he was writing his opinion, he sud- 
denly expired. His vote would have prevented it ; and 
doubtless his sudden death was regarded by zealots as 
the intervention of Providence. 

The Court decided aacainst the Church. It is true 
the law forbade the sale of the Church edifices and the 
property in them ; but this provision protected neither. 


The parishes were obliterated and the clergy scattered. 
Thus all fell into the hands of persons who had small 
respect for religious things. The Church buildings 
were put to profane uses. " A reckless sensualist," 
says Dr. Hawk^*, " administered the mbrning dram to 
his guests from the silver cup " used in the Holy Com- 
munion. Another " converted a marble baptismal font 
into a watering-trough for horses." 

What to say of these things ? There is nothing to 
say. It was simply a phase of this poor human nature 
which all the years reproduce. It was not, however, a 
misfortune to the Church thus to fall before its enemies. 
It had persecuted and reaped the harvest ; it was perse- 
cuted in turn, and its day of adversity was better for it 
than its day of prosperity. Its adversaries overthrew it 
utterly, tearing up, as they supposed, its Yery roots ; and 
through all the long years of the first quarter of the 
new century " the dust lay an inch thick " on the un- 
used Prayer Books. The old church buildings were 
closed or had fallen into the hands of vandals. The 
ancient tombstones were defaced, the holy vessels pro- 
faned ; ministers and people were dispersed, and wor- 
shiped only in private ; and when Bishop Meade ap- 
plied to Chief Justice Marshall for a subscription he 
gave it, but said that it was useless to attempt to revive 
so dead a thing as the Episcopal Church. 

Nevertheless it revived. Excellent Dr. Griffith had 
been elected the first Virginia bishop (1786) ; James 
Madison the second (1790) ; and Richard Channing 
Moore the third (1814). It was left for the pure apos- 
tle, William Meade, to labor without ceasing and raise 
the prostrate Church from the dust. In the years pre- 
ceding and following his ordination as bishop (1829), 


he was unresting. He went to and fi^-o on horseback, 
an itinerant apostle preaching the faith. He was a 
man of great ability, pure in heart and resolute of will. 
At his call the old worshipers came bacic to the ruined 
places, and the dismantled churches, Ifialf overgrown 
with brambles and ivy, were once more thronged. Life 
had still been in the body, an obstinate vitality which 
refused to be trodden out. What ih'6 Church had lost 
was the impure blood, and it rose purified and invigo- 
rated. The great and good man w^ho had cried to it, 
"Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead ! " 
gave his own impress to it from that time forward. It 
had once been intolerant and many of its ministers had 
not been exemplary peo^^le ; in the future it was to be 
the most tolerant of all communions, and its clergy 
were to be models of piety and self-sacrifice. 

That is the character of the Church to-day. It is 
so liberal in spirit that in certain other dioceses it is 
scarcely recognized as an " Episcopal Church " at all. 
No criticism could be more welcome. It is to say that 
the Episcopal Church of Virginia is not cursed by a 
spirit of narrow sectariauism — is evangelical. 



To return to the Revolutionary outburst. The politi- 
cal agitation of the time even dwarfed the religious ran- 
cor, and all centered at Williamsburg, the heart of the 

A glance at the old capital may illustrate the history 
of the times. It was the central stage of the revolution- 


ary drama ; of the jarring passions, the fierce collisions, 
of the pageants, the splendors, the anxieties, and heart- 
burnings of the epoch. It was built on the site of the 
former " Middle-Plantation," where Bacon and his men 
had taken the oath against England ; and consisted of 
Gloucester Street, the main thoroughfare, with the Old 
Capitol at one end and William and Mary College at 
the other, Palace Street debouching upon it, and a few 
others, as in undeveloped towns. The College has been 
spoken of ; the Old Capitol was a building of two stories, 
with a tall portico in front, and this edifice was called 
afterwards the " Heart of the Rebellion," a name which 
may be transferred to Williamsburg. Here took place 
some of the most striking scenes in the history of the 
time. The old walls reechoed the thunder of Henry's 
denunciations of the Stamp Act ; the Council Chamber 
above was the scesne of the dismissal of the Burgesses ; 
and in the hall of the House took place the historic 
" Assembly " given in honor of Lady Dunmore and her 
family on the eve of the final collision. 

The Governor's Palace, standing near Gloucester 
Street, was a building of large size surrounded by 
pleasure-grounds embracing more than three hundred 
acres, planted with lindens and other trees. In the re- 
ception room of the Palace hung portraits of the King 
and Queen, and this buildhig also witnessed many scenes 
connected with public affairs. Among other incidents 
was its occupation by the English marines, who rifled 
the " Old Magazine " of its muskets and powder. The 
latter was a stone octagon which still stands, and is an 
interesting landmark. It was built by Spotswood in 
1716, and is therefore more than a century and a 
half old. A last object of interest was the famous 


'' Raleigh Tavern " on Gloacester Street, a building of 
wood, erected about 1700, with entrances on both fronts 
and a leaden bust of Sir Walter Raleigh over the main 
doorway. The large apartment in the Raleigh, called 
the "Apollo Room," was the place of meeting of the 
Burgesses after their dissolution by the royal Gov- 
ernors. Here many important measures were deter- 
mined upon by the leaders, and the room may be called 
the Faneuil Hall of Virginia. It was also a favorite 
place for balls ; and Jefferson, writing from College, 
speaks with rapture of " dancing with Belinda in the 

The town consisted of detached houses without pre- 
tensions to architectural beauty, but this modest hamlet 
was in winter the scene of much that was brilliant and 
attractive in Virginia society. It was the habit of the 
planters to come with their families to enjoy the pleas- 
ures of the Capital at this season, and tradition has pre- 
served the appearance, at such times, of the old Heart 
of the Rebellion. Gloucester Street was an animated 
spectacle of coaches-and-four containing the " nabobs " 
and their dames ; of maidens in silk and lace with high- 
heeled shoes and clocked stockings; of youths passing 
on spirited horses, — and all these people are engaged 
in attending the assemblies at the Palace, in dancing 
in the Apollo, in snatching the pleasure of the moment, 
and enjoying life under a regime which seemed made 
for enjoyment. The love of social intercourse had 
been a marked trait of the Virginians in all genera- 
tions, and at the middle of the century the instinct had 
culminated. The violins seemed to be ever playing for 
the divertisement of the youths and maidens ; the good 
horses were running for the purse or cup ; cocks were 


fighting ; the College students were mingling with the 
throng in their "academic dress ;" and his serene Ex- 
cellenc}^, in his fine coach drawn by six milk-white horses, 
goes to open the Plouse of Burgesses, after which he will 
sternly dissolve them. It is a scene full of gayety and 
abandon ; but under it is a volcano. Never was Wil- 
liamsburg more brilliant than on the eve of the explo- 
sion. We shall see the last supreme /e/e when the cour- 
teous Burgesses invite his Excellency's amiable family 
to attend a great assembly in their honor, thou<yh he 
has ordered them to leave the Capitol and the die is 

All these lights and shadows of the past concentrated 
at Williamsburg, where the King's-men were going to 
show whether they would or would not espouse the 
Revolution. As to that there had been mis^ivinofs. 
Men like Otis and Adams looked confidently, they de- 
clared, for. decisive action to " that ancient colony of 
whose disinterested virtue this province has had ample 
experience." But the general sentiment was scarcely 
so flattering. There had been a wide-spread impression 
that the Virginians w^ere monarchists and aristocrats who 
could not be relied upon in a struggle against the Crown. 
The action of the representatives of the people had fol- 
lowed. They had declared that Virginians only had 
the riojht to make laws for Viroinia. The whole coun- 
try rose to support the defiance; and Massachusetts was 
now to have another experience of the disinterested 
virtue of the ancient colony. Virginia in 1774 will 
resolve that an attack on Massachusetts is an attack 
on Virginia; and will recommend a General Congress 
which at her call will declare the American Colonies in- 
dependent of Great Britain. . 



For about ten years after the Stamp Act agitation 
all Virijinia was in turmoil. Great events were felt to 
be near and the air was sultry with the heat of the com- 
ing storm. 

The English Parliament had recoiled before the deter- 
mined opposition to the Stamp Act, and repealed it; 
but in 1767 a new duty was laid on glass, paper, and 
tea, to take effect in the autumn. Thereat rose new 
commotions, altercations with the King's officers, and so 
much hot blood that suddenly two English regiments 
appeared at Boston. Since the Americans would not 
listen to reason, they were to be argued with through 
the muzzles of musketry and cannon. But the new Eng- 
lish logic had no more effect than the old. The hearts of 
the people, north and south, grew ever hotter. In Vir- 
ginia the old affection for England became weaker and 
weaker. There and everywhere memorials, representa- 
tions, protests, the reverse of humble, continued to 
darken the air and give due notice of what was coming. 

In the next year (1768), died his Excellency Francis 
Fauquier, a man of ability, of elegant manners, a de- 
lightful companion, a free-thinker, and furious card- 
player at his Palace or on his visits to the manor-houses 
of the planters, who greatly liked him for his genial 
manners and character. John Blair, President of the 
Council, replaced him for the time ; and in the autumn 
(1768), came Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, the 
most popular, perhaps, of all the royal Governors of 


Lord Botetourt went to open the Burgesses (May 
1769), in a coach presented to him by King George III. 
It was drawn by six white horses, and the insignia of 
royalty were seen everywhere. On that day and the 
next he entertained fifty-two gentlemen at dinner in the 
Palace ; but under all these festivities and cordial bows 
and smiles was the heart-burning of the time. Five 
days afterwards the Burgesses proceeded to business. 
In February Parliament had advised the King to trans- 
port persons guilty of treason to England for trial. At 
this the Virghiians took fire. The Burgesses passed 
resolutions declaring the transportation of Americans 
an act of tyranny ; that the proceeding would be dan- 
gerous ; that the Colonies alone had the right to tax 
themselves; and that these resolves should be trans- 
mitted to the other Colonies for their approval. Cordial 
Governor Botetourt was thus met in the very beginning 
by resolute opposition. There was nothing for him to 
do but dissolve the refractory Burgesses, and he did so ; 
but that only added fuel to the flame. There was no 
thought of stopping now ; the current swept all before 
it. The Burgesses met in the Apollo Room of the Ra- 
leigh Tavern, and repeated their protest in a more prac- 
tical manner. They reaffirmed their resolutions against 
the transportation of Americans for trial ; and unani- 
mously adopted an agreement, drawn by George Mason 
and presented by George Washington, not to import or 
purchase any English commodities, or any slaves until 
their rights were redressed. This paper was soon fly- 
ing through the length and breadth of the country for 

Once more England drew back. The right to tax the 
Americans was still insisted upon, but the Act of 1767 


was repealed except as to tea (March, 1770). This duty 
was retained as an assertion of the right to tax, and 
Lord North, the new Premier, who had succeeded the 
Duke of Grafton, said frankly, " a total repeal cannot 
be thoufj^ht of till America is prostrate at our feet^ 
There seemed little likelihood that the Americans were 
going to assume that humble attitude ; but it now became 
plain that the smiling Premier who went to sleep while 
his opponents were denouncing him, had made up his 
mind to employ coercion. -"^ 

At this critical moment (October, 1770), Lord Bote- 
tourt died. He had become warmly attached to the Vir- 
ginians and had greatly endeared himself to them. 
When he was notified, by the Earl of Hillsborough, of 
the intended repeal of the Act of 1767, he said to the 
Assembly, "I will be content to be declared infamous 
if 1 do not to the last hour of my life, at all times and 
in all places and upon all occasions, exert every power 

1 Baron North is not a popular historical personage in this country, 
but like George III. he was not as black as he is painted. He honestly 
believed in the right of Parliament to tax the Colonies and listened to 
the denunciations of Colonel Barre and others with serene good-humor. 
He often slept in his seat while the opposition thunder was rolling 
above his head, and revenged himself by hon-mots. Having closed his 
eyes one day an opponent exclaimed : "Even now, in the midst of these 
perils, the noble lord is asleep ! " when North was heard to mutter 
with his customary humor, " I wish to God I were ! " When Colonel 
Barre was making a long speech on the naval histor}^ of England, North 
requested a friend to wake him when the speaker "came near our own 
times." The friend woke him, when North asked, " Where are we ? " 
"At the Battle of La Hague, my lord." " Oh, my dear friend," said 
North, " You have waked me a century too soon." One day objec- 
tion was made to his application of the term " rebels" to the Ameri- 
cans. " Well," he said, with his unfailing wit, " then to please you 
I will call them the, gentlemen in ojyposition on the other side of the 
water;''' the neatest of intimations that the opposition in Parliament 
were no better. 


with which I am or ever shall be legally invested, in 
order to obtain and maintain for the continent of America 
that satisfaction which I have been authorized to prom- 
ise." He wished them, he said, "freedom and happi- 
ness till time should be no more ; " but he did not live 
to witness the great struggle for that freedom. His 
death is said to have been hastened by chagrin at the 
course of his government ; and the Virginians, who sin- 
cerely lamented him, named a county after him and 
erected a statue to his memory. It was placed in front 
of William and Mary College, and as his friend the 
Duke of Beaufort asked permission to " erect a monu- 
ment near the place where he ivas buried,^' it is probable 
that he was interred beneath the floor of the old chapel. 
He was succeeded by William Nelson, President of the 
Council, and he in turn (1772), by John Murray, Earl 
of Dunmore. 

It was unfortunate for Lord Dunmore that he should 
have followed so cordial a person as Botetourt. Never 
was ruler more unpopular ; and even after making al- 
lowance for the hot passions of the time, the new Gov- 
ernor must have been an unprepossessing person. He 
was abrupt and imperious in manner, arbitrary, resolved 
to crush the spirit of rebellion, and not disposed to re- 
coil from any means in his power to accomplish that 
object. He brought with him, as private secretary, 
Captain Foy, who had fought bravely at Minden ; and 
this selection of a soldier as his confidential adviser and 
agent probably indicated a conviction that sooner or 
later there would be armed resistance in Virginia. 

With spring of the next year (1773) came new ex- 
citement. Parliament reasserted in still stronger terms 
the right to transport accused persons to England for 


trial, and in Virginia the protest of 1769 was renewed. 
The Burgesses were in session and the spirit of resist- 
ance led to an important measure. liemy, Jefferson, 
Lee, and others were accustomed to meet in a private 
room at the Raleigh Tavern for consultation ; and at 
one of these meetings Richard Henry Lee proposed the 
appointment of a committee to obtain "the most early 
and authentic intelligence " of affairs in England, and 
to " maintain a correspondence and communication with 
our sister colonies." A similar plan had already been 
devised in Massachusetts for communication between 
the counties of that colony ; the scope of the Virginia 
plan was larger, since it looked to correspondence and 
consultation between all the Colonies. The resolutions 
were offered (March 12, 1773) by Dabney Carr, a 
young member of brilliant genius, who died soon after- 
wards. They were promptly passed, and the commit- 
tee appointed. It consisted of the most distinguished 
members of the Burgesses : Robert Carter Nicholas, 
Richard Bland, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harri- 
son, Edmund Pendleton, Patrick Henry, Dudley Digges, 
Dabney Carr, Archibald Cary, and Thomas Jefferson. 
The Governor at once dissolved the Assembly, but the 
mischief was done. From that moment revolution was 

The Committees of Correspondence were going to 
combine all the elements of resistance. Hitherto the 
American colonies had been detached communities. The 
men of the North and the men of the South, separated 
by hundreds of miles, without steam or electricity, were 
practically strangers, and knew not whether they could 
depend on each other. Boston might be bombarded, 
or Williamsburg in flames, and neither might know 


what was the fate of the other. The action of one 
colony might embarrass the rest ; then- counsels mio-ht 
clash and they might be crushed in detail. Now this 
danger had passed. The thirteen provinces were a 
unit. Through the Committees, which were prpuiptly 
appointed everywhere, the leaders consulted, matured 
their plans, and agreed upon their coarse of action. A 
portentous power had suddenly thrust itself into the 
quarrel ; and William Lee wrote from London that 
this inter-colonial consultation had " struck a greater 
panic into the ministers " than all that had taken jolace 
since the days of the Stamp Act. That estimate of the 
importance of the plan was just. A great machine had 
been put in motion, and was hewing out the pathway 
to revolution. Thenceforward the American colonies 
would no longer engage here and there in desultory 
and useless skirmishing, but advance in solid column, 
shoulder to shoulder, to the decisive struggle. 



The country was now upon the threshold of revolu- 
tion. For ten years the minds of the Americans had 
been growing hotter ; the black cloud had become 
blacker ; the lightning had begun to flicker ; the tem- 
pest was coming. 

The Virginia leaders were an illustrious group. They 
were nearly without exception descendants of the refu- 
gees who had come over after the execution of Charles 
I. ; and their memory is still cherished with peculiar 
veneration in Virginia. Among these were Archibald 


Gary of Ampthill, called " Old Iron," a man of low 
stature, grim, irascible, with piercing eyes, who, when 
Henry was spoken of as dictator, sent him word that 
*St-he day of his appointment should be the day of his 
deaths .for he should find his (Gary's) dagger in his 
heart before tin sunset of that day ;" Richard Bland, 
an old man neariy blind and wearing a bandage over 
his eyes, the author of the famous " Enquii-y into the 
Rights of the American Golonies," and called the Vir- 
ginia Antiquary ; Thomas Nelson, of a family distin- 
guished for patriotism and integrity, tall, blue - eyed, 
and full of courtesy, who was to sign the Declaration, 
command in the field, and become Goveriior of Vir- 
ginia ; John Page, the pious churchman, to become a 
member of the Gommittee of Safety, and also Governor 
of Virginia ; Benjamin Harrison, also one of the " Sign- 
ers," large of person, suffering from gout, but full 
of pleasantry and good humor ; Peyton and Edmund 
Randolph, resolute patriots, the one to become presi- 
dent of the First Gongress, and the other Governor of 
Virginia and the first Attorney-General and Secretary 
of State of the United States ; George Wythe, the able 
lawyer; Robert Garter Nicholas, the excellent financier; 
and many more. Above these rose a smaller group 
who became the great landmarks of the time, each of 
whom was connected with some notable event or changre 
in the current of thought and action. These were 
Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Pendleton, and Mason. 

Henry has been spoken of. He was the leader of 
the leaders. Jefferson said of him that he " spoke as 
Homer wrote," and that he " gave the first impulse to 
the ball of the Revolution ; " but the impulse once given, 
others directed it in its course, tracing out for it the path 


which it was to follow. Among these latter Thomas 
Jefferson was the foremost. His father was Peter Jef- 
ferson of " Shadwell," in Albemarle, and here Jefferson 
was born in April, 1743. At seventeen he was sent 
to William and Mary College ; afterwards studied and 
began the practice of law ; when he was about thirty 
married a young lady of Charles City with a beautiful 
face and a considerable estate ; and following his bent 
entered ardently into politics. We have the portrait of 
him as a young man. Pie was tall, and his figure was 
" angular and far from beautiful," his face sunburnt, his 
eyes gray, and his hair sand-colored. His disposition 
was gay and mercurial, and he was an excellent per- 
former on the violin ; a squire of dames, and a partici- 
pant in all the gayeties of the little Capital. Of this 
early period of his life his letters to John Page from 
Williamsburg, present a vivid picture. They give an 
account of his love mishaps with Miss Rebecca Bur- 
well,^ a young lady of the Capital, whom he styles " Be- 
linda," and are in vivid contrast with the popular idea 
of the gray politician and President. He was not, how- 
ever, an idler, and acquired a fondness for helles lettres, 
more especially for the Italian poets and the rhapsodies 
of Ossian. His religious doubts seem to have already 
begun, and have been attributed to his association, at 
this time, with Governor Fauquier, who was a con- 
firmed free-thinker. The statement is probably true, 
and he never shook off the sinister influence. Long 
afterwards he and his friend John Page would discuss 

1 The Burwells were an old and worthy family of York and 
Gloucester. Of Lewis Burwell, Lieutenant-Governor in 1750, it was 
said that he " had embraced almost every branch of human knowl- 
edge in the circle of his studies." 


Christianity in the observatory at " Rosewell ; " but his 
pious host could make no iuapression upon him. 

Entering the Burgesses at twenty-six, Jefferson soon 
became a man of mark. He scarcely ever addressed the 
House, but was, from the first, in consultation with tlie 
leaders who recognized his ability. It was seen that 
his temperament and views were those of the revolution- 
naire. Under the suave and composed manner was an 
inflexible resolution. He was by nature an iconoclast. 
His intellect was a machine, which rolled on pitilessly, 
crushing with its heavy wheels all old-world prejudices. 
His inexorable logic shrunk from nothing. While other 
thinkers, even the most advanced, recoiled from the con- 
sequences of the abstract principles which they advo- 
cated, Jefferson followed out his trains of reasoning to 
and beyond the bounds of treason. He was the great 
political free-thinker of his age, as he was a free-thinker 
on religious questions. He may be styled the American 
Yoltaire, discarding faith as an absurdity, and resting 
his convictions on the chillest logic. He had no respect 
for the existing state of things in Virginia. Not only 
the political fabric but the whole frame-work of society 
revolted him. He scoffed at the Planter class, to which 
he himself belonged ; called them " cyphers of aristoc- 
racy" and denounced them as obstructionists; and even 
laughed at the claims of his mother's family, the Ran- 
dolphs, to ancient pedigree, to which every one, he said, 
" might ascribe the faith and merit he chose." The 
flout was gratuitous, for the Randolphs were an old and 
honorable family, but Jefferson would not spare even 
his own blood. 

To sum up the character of this remarkable man, he 
was a skeptic, a democrat, an overturner, and a rebuilder. 


From the first he is ready to undermine the very bases 
of authority ; soon he will announce their overthrow, 
and lay down the j^rinciples upon which the new fabric 
must rest. His " Summary View of the Rights of 
British America," written in 1774, is the germ of the 
Declaration. His opinions are already matured. The 
paper was sent to the Virginia Convention as the pro- 
posed basis of instructions to the delegates in Congress, 
and gives the exact measure of Jefferson's genius as a 
revolutionary leader. Its tone is bold, almost imperious. 
The young writer does pot mince his words. His Maj- 
esty is informed that his officials are " worthless minis- 
terial dependents ; " that if the Americans suffered them- 
selves to be transported for trial they would be " cowards 
meriting the everlasting infamy now fixed on the authors 
of the Act." The King is notified that " Kings are the 
servants not the proprietors of the people, and that the 
whole art of government consists in the art of being 
honest." The tone of the paper indicates the marked 
change which had taken place in the attitude of the 
Americans toward England. It was a long way from 
"your Majesty's obedient humble servants" to these 
brusque phrases, and Jefferson's concluding words: 
" This, Sire, is our last, our determined resolution." 

The paper was not adopted, but it was ordered to be 
published, and led to the selection of Jefferson to draft 
the Declaration of Independence. 




The three men who took the most conspicuous part 
in Virginia affairs after Henry and Jefferson, — if they 
could be said to come after them, — were Richard Henry 
Lee, George Mason, and Edmund Pendleton. 

Richard Henry Lee belonged to a distinguished family 
of the " Northern Neck," between the Rappahannock 
and Potomac. He was born at " Stratford," in West- 
moreland, in January 1732; and was thus nearly of the 
exact age of Washington. All the traditions of his 
family were Cavalier. He was a descendant of the 
Richard Lee who had plotted with Berkeley to set up 
the flag of Charles 11. in Virginia ; and his ancestors 
had been noted, in all generations, for their royalist sen- 
timents. To look to such a family for a leader against 
the Crown seemed hopeless, and yet Richard Henry Lee 
was to prove as much of an extremist as Patrick Henry. 
He was educated in England, and from his early man- 
hood took part in public affairs. As early as 1768 he 
conceived the scheme of the " Committees of Corre- 
spondence," and in 1773 procured its adoption in the 
House of Burgesses. His fame as the mover of the 
Declaration of Independence was yet to come. 

Lee was at this time forty-two years old, graceful in 
person, extremely cordial in his manners, and so elegant 
a speaker that he was said to have practiced his gestures 
before a mirror. He was called the " Gentleman of the 
Silver Hand," and wore a black bandage on one hand 
to hide a wound which he had received while shooting 


swans on the Potomac. He lived at " Chantilly," . in 
Westmoreland, and eujo3'ed the regard and respect of 
the entire community ; a quiet gentleman full of suave 
courtesy, who seemed anything but a revolutionist. And 
yet of all tlie great leaders of Virginia at that time, none 
was readier to go all lengths in resisting the Crown. 

George Mason, the author of the Virginia Bill of 
Rights, was one of the greatest men of a great period. 
He was born in Stafford in 1726, and was the descen- 
dant of an ofRcer of the army of Charles II. He was 
large in person, athletic, with a swarthy complexion,- 
and black eyes, whose expression was described as " half 
sad, half severe." He was a man of reserved address, 
but his wit was biting. When an opponent in poli- 
tics said that the people of Fairfax knew that " Colonel 
Mason's mind w,as failing him from age," he retorted 
with mordant sarcasm, that his friend had one consola- 
tion : " when his mind failed him no one would ever dis- 
cover it 1 " He lived the life of a planter at " Gunston 
Hall," on the Potomac, wrapped up in his " dear little 
family," reading the best English books, and averse to 
public position, though he had served in the Burgesses, 
and was recognized as a man of the first ability. His 
views and the great elements of his character were well 
knou^n to the leaders. Mason was an American of 
Americans, and clung to his right with all the vehe- 
mence of his strong nature. At the outburst of the great 
struggle he wrote : " If I can only live to see the Ameri- 
can Union firmly fixed, and free governments established 
in our western world, and can leave to my children but 
a crust of bread and liberty, I shall die satisfied, and say 
with the Psalmist, ' Lord, now lettest thou thy servant 
depart in peace.' " In the Revolution he wrote, " I will 


risque the last penny of my fortune and the last drop of 
my blood upon the issue ; " and in his will he enjoined 
his sons " never to let the motive of private interest or 
ambition induce them to betray, nor the terrors of pov- 
erty and disgrace, or the fear of danger or death, deter 
them from asserting the liberty of their country, and en- 
deavoring to transmit- to their posterity those sacred 
rights to which themselves were born." It was the spirit 
of the Virginians in all generations, now facing the new 
times as it had faced the old. . 

Mason was called upon to draft the Virginia Bill of 
Rights and Constitution, and did so. The former is the 
most remarkable paper of the epoch, and was the foun- 
dation of the great American assertion of right. Jeffer- 
son went to it for the phrases and expressions of the ■ 
Declaration, and it remains the original chart by which 
free governments must steer their course in all coming 
time. The writer lays down the fundamental principle, 
that all men are " by nature equally free and independ- 
ent, and have certain inherent rights - of which, when 
they enter -into a state of society, they cannot by any 
compact deprive or divest their posterity." And these 
rights are named : they are '• the enjoyment of life and 
liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing prop- 
erty, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety." 
All power, he says, is " vested in and consequently de- 
rived from the people;" and " magistrates are their trust- 
ees and servants, and at all times amenable to them." 
Government is instituted for the common benefit of all, 
and when it is found inadequate or hostile, " a majority 
of the community has the right to alter or abolish it." 
All men having " sufficient evidence of permanent com- 
mon interest with, and attachment to, the community " 


should have the right of suffrage. The freedom of the 
press is "' one of the great bulwarks of liberty and can 
never be restrained but by despotic governments." The 
natural defense of a state is " a well-regulated militia; " 
standing armies are " dangerous to liberty ; " and " in all 
cases the military should be under strict subordination 
to, and governed by, the civil power." Religion is " the 
duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of 
discharging it can be directed only by reason and con- 
viction, not by force or violence ; and therefore all men 
are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion ac- 
cording to the dictates of conscience." Lastly, the 
blessing of liberty can only be preserved by " a firm ad- 
herence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, v 
and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental 

Such were the foundations of free government, laid 
broad and deep, by George Mason. The equality of 
men politically ; the enjoyment of life, lil^erty, and the 
pursuit of happiness ; the responsibility of magistrates ; 
the right of the people to abolish oppressive govern- 
ment ; suffrage to all men having a permanent interest 
in the community ; the freedom of the press ; the sub- 
jection of the military to the civil authority ; the free 
exercise of religion ; and an adherence to justice, mod- 
eration, and virtue ; these were to be the burning and 
shining lights to guide the new generation in their 
march to the Canaan of the future. 

Edmund Pendleton was the last of this small group 
of representative men. He was the conservative states- 
man of the time as opposed to the revolutionists ; a stu- 
dent and jurisconsult who wished to lop off abuses, not 
hew down the tree, and opposed the violent counsels of 


Henry as prejudicial to the cause. Like nearly all the 
leaders of the time, Pendleton was of royalist descent 
and a Churchman. He belonged to " a good family 
gone to decay," who had come to Virginia about a cen- 
tury before, and in his youth found that he had to make 
his own way. He was born in the county of Caroline 
(1721), where, at his estate of " Edmundsbury," he 
spent his life ; became clerk of the County Court and 
then a member of the bar ; and entering the Burgesses, 
at the age of thirty, soon rose to distinction. He may 
be styled the conservatist-revolutionist of the era, and 
said of himself that his great aiui was to '' raise the 
spirits of the timid to a general united oppositions^ and 
oppose " the violent who were for plunging us into rash 
measures." His patriotism and ability were amply rec- 
ognized in his generation ; he was President of the 
Committee of Safety, of many of the Conventions, and 
finally of the Virginia Supreme Court ; and left behind 
him a name eminent for integrity and piety. 

In person Edmund Pendleton was tall, with blue 
eyes, which seem to have been common in the Revolu- 
tionary leaders, and manners of great sweetness. It was 
said of him that his face was " of the first order of manly 
beauty ; his voice clear and silver-toned and under per- 
fect control ; and his manner so fascinating as to charm 
all who came in contact with him." Of his rank as a 
public speaker there can be no question. He had " a 
perennial stream of transparent, cool, and sweet elocu- 
tion ; " but this description is that of a m.ere master of 
graceful rhetoric, and leaves, probably, a very incorrect 
idea of his real force. He was a lav/yer of the first abil- 
ity, with an intellect essentially judicial ; and Jefferson 
said that he was " the ablest man in debate he had ever 
met with." 


Such was Pendleton, the conservative-revolutionist, 
who looked to " united opposition " and waited. It 
may be said of him, and those who acted with him, 
that they constituted the balance-wheel regulating the 
movement of the great time-piece, which was now about 
to strike the hour of revolution. 



In the spring of 1774 revolution was in the very air. 
The situation of affairs was now stripped of all ambigu- 
ity. England had resolved to subject the Americans to 
her will. The theory that they were entitled to all the 
rights of British subjects was openly repudiated. They 
had been reduced to obedience by Parliament in the 
time of Cromwell ; and Parliament, whether they were 
represented there or not, was to rule tliem still. Eng- 
land was to be master. The American Assemblies were 
to be mere municipal bodies for the transaction of small 
local affairs. Direct imposts were to be laid upon them ; 
and if they rebelled they were to be transported across 
the ocean to be tried by their enemies. The issue was 
thus made up : submission to wrong or resistance. Re- 
sistance meant war. Would the Americans risk that ? 
It soon became evident what they had decided upon : 
they were going to fight. 

Boston was already occupied by British troops. Since 
the collision of the citizens and soldiery in 1770, known 
as the Boston " Massacre," all had been in commotion 
there. New England, always hostile to royalty and 
foreign rule, ilioved restlessly like a horse under the 



spur. In December (1773), an overt act of rebellion 
warned England what was coming. The tax on tea 
had never been repealed, and it was hoped that it would 
be submitted to. The East India Company was author- 
ized to export it to America free of duty, which made 
the price there less than it had been before the imposi- 
tion of the tax ; and ships containing three hundred and 
forty-two chests arrived at Boston. The test was direct, 
and the Boston men met it. A party, disguised as Mo- 
hawk Indians, boarded the ships, threw the tea over- 
board, and quietly retired to their homes. When intel- 
ligence of this overt act of resistance reached England 
it aroused bitter indignation. Parliament struck back 
with the " Boston Port Bill ; " on and after June 4, 1774, 
the harbor of Boston was to be closed. Under this 
blockade, stifling her, she would come to her senses. 

The value of the Committees of Correspondence was 
now seen. Swift expresses brought the news to Vir- 
ginia, as on the wings of the wind ; the riders traveled 
so rapidly that it was said of them that they " must al- 
most have flown." The House of Burgesses was in ses- 
sion when the intellio^ence reached Williamsburor ; like 
the men of Boston they were called upon to act j^romptly 
or give up the contest ; and they acted at once. It was 
the blow aimed at Massachusetts which brought affairs 
to a crisis, and by uniting all the elements of resistance 
precipitated the Revolution in Virginia. 

It may interest the reader to visit the little capital of 
Williamsburg at this moment, and see what followed. 
The events were like the shifting scenes of a drama. 
The old and the new were suddenly brought face to face : 
the old went out with music and the new came in with 
an ominous muttering. Lord Dun more had now been 


in Virginia for about two years. He was far from popu- 
lar. From the first he had surrounded himself with the 
trappings of etiquette. A court herald had proclaimed 
a code of rules for the guidance of the Virginians in ap- 
proaching his Excellency. He entertained little, and 
made few efforts to establish cordial relations between 
himself and the society of Williamsburg, as Fauquier 
and Botetourt had done. His attitude toward the Vir- 
ginians may be summed up in the statement, that he saw 
the spirit of rebellion pervading all classes and meant to 
crush it. 

This was the state of things at Williamsburg in the 
spring of 1774. The Virginians responded to Lord 
Dunmore's ill-disguised hostility by offering him a mark 
of courtesy. His family, whom he had left in New 
York, arrived at Williamsburg : " the Right Honorable 
the Countess of Dunmore, wiih Lord Fincastle, the Hon- 
orable Alexander and John Murray, and the Ladies 
Catherine, Augusta, and Susan Murray." This is the 
announcement taken from the " Virginia Gazette," which 
adds that the arrival of the Countess gave " inexpressi- 
ble pleasure and satisfaction to the inhabitants, who 
made a general illumination upon the happy occasion, 
and with repeated acclamations welcomed her ladyship 
and family to Virginia." Such were the rounded pe- 
riods of the reporter of the time, who it is to be hoped 
was welcomed, in turn, for his eloquent phrases, at the 
Palace. The ladies made an agreeable impression. One 
present at the time wrote: "Lady Dunmore is here: 
a very elegant woman. Her daughters arc fine, sprightly, 
sweet girls. Goodness of heart flashes from them in 
every look." And in order to show their satisfaction 
at the arrival of the Countess and her family, the gen- 


tlemen of the Burgesses, who assembled at Williamsburg 
soon afterwards, resolved to give a brilliant ball, in their 
honor, at the Capitol. 

Suddenly the sky was overclouded. The news ar- 
rived from Boston that on the fourth of June the harbor 
■was to be closed as a punishment for the destruction of 
the tea. The intelligence was met in the House of 
Burgesses " with a burst of indignation." The first of 
June was " set apart as a day of fasting, humiliation, and 
prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition for 
averting the heavy calamity which threatens the civil 
rights of America." This action was taken on May 24 
(1774). What followed is thus recorded in the " Vir- 
ginia Gazette " three days afterwards : — 

" Yesterday, between three and four o'clock p. m., 
the Right Honorable, the Earl of Dunmore, sent a mes- 
sage to the Honorable the House of Burgesses, by the 
clerk of the Council, requiring their immediate attend- 
ance in the Council Chamber, when his Excellency 
spoke to them as follows : ' Mr. Speaker, and Gentle- 
men of the House of Burgesses, I have in my hand a 
paper published by order of your Plouse, conceived in 
such terms as reflect highly upon his Miijesty and the 
Parliament of Great Britain, which makes it necessary 
for me to dissolve you, and you are dissolved accord- 
ingly." ..." This evening there is to be a ball and 
entertainment at the Capitol, given by the Honorable 
the House of Burgesses, to welcome Lady Dunmore 
and the rest of the Governor's family to Virginia." 

The ball duly took place. The Old Capitol wdiich 
had been the scene of the passionate protest against the 
Stamp Act, and the bitter denunciation of the Boston 
Port Bill, was now to be full of the gay music of vio- 


lins, and to see a brilliant assemblage bowing low to 
her Ladyship the Countess of Dunmore. The Gov- 
ernor and his family were present, and the fine enter- 
tainment went on its way ; but the violins stopped at 
last, the Old Capitol was silent again, and the Bur- 
gesses went home to consider more serious matters than 

They had already taken a decisive step. On the 
morning of the same day (May 27, 1774), the Burgesses 
had assembled at the Raleigh Tavern ; passed resolu- 
tions against the use of tea ; and directed the Commit- 
tee of Correspondence to propose a General Congress of 
the colonies. In this measure Massachusetts had fore- 
stalled Virginia by procuring the meeting of a similar 
body at New York in 1765 ; and now, before the action 
of the Southerners was known, the same colony made 
the same recommendation. It was felt that a solemn 
consultation between all the colonies was essential, and 
North and South moved together. The next proceed- 
ing of the Burgesses was to recommend the election of 
delegates to a Convention, to meet on the first of the 
ensuing August ; and the word Convention, like the 
word Congress, was ominous. Both bodies were to 
assemble without warrant from the royal authority. 
They were in every sense illegal and revolutionary ; 
but revolution was now the only resource. Either the 
Virginians were to wait patiently, and submit them- 
selves to the good pleasure of Lord Dunmore, or they 
were to take their own affairs into their own hands and 
proceed to act. 

Events hurried on. The first of June was observed 
throughout Virginia as a day of fasting and prayer. 
The people went to church in mourning, and abstained 


from all occupations. George Mason wrote to a friend : 
" Please to tell my dear little family that I desire my 
three eldest sons and my two oldest daughters may at- 
tend church in mourning." At Williamsburg a sermon 
was preached in Bruton Church from the text " Help 
Lord ! for the godly man ceaseth, for the faithful fail 
from among the children of men." The tea was sealed 
up or destroyed, and disapi^eared from every table ; 
lastly, as an evidence of earnest sympathy, money and 
provisions were sent to " our distressed fellow subjects 
of Boston ; " an jearly proof, and one of a long series of 
such given by Virginia, of her devotion to the sentiment 
of union. 

Although Lord Dunmore had issued writs for a new 
Assembly to convene on the eleventh of August, the 
Convention duly met (August 1, 1774), at Williamsburg. 
It consisted of the first men of Virginia, and the pulse 
of the body beat hot and quick. Even Washington, the 
least excitable of men, in presenting resolutions passed 
in his county, Fairfax, made a passionate speech. " He 
was ready," he said, '' to raise one thousand men, sub- 
sist them at his own expense, and march at their head 
to the relief of Boston." The main business before the 
Convention was to appoint delegates to the General 
Congress. It had been promptly agreed to by the other 
colonies, and was to meet early in September. The 
delegates appointed (August 11, 1774), were Peyton 
Handolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, 
Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and 
Edmund Pendleton. 

The first Congress met at Philadelphia on the fifth of 
September (1774), and the men of the North and the 
South were at last in presence of each other. " It is 


such an Assembly," wrote John Adams, " as never be- 
fore came together of a sudden in any part of the 
world." By a singular chance the Psalter for the 
day of the month in the Prayer-Book, used in open- 
ing the Congress with prayer, contained the words : 
" Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive against 
me ; fight against them that fight against me." A long 
and deep silence followed, when Patrick Henry rose 
and made one of his greatest and most earnest speeches. 
*"' British oppression," he exclaimed, " has effaced the 
boundaries of the several colonies. The distinctions 
between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, and 
New Englanders, are no more. I am not a Virginian 
but an American ! " 

The action of the Congress was calm and moderate. 
Washington writing at the time said, that it was not the 
wish of the Colonies "separately or collectively to set 
up for independency." What was looked to was a re- 
dress of grievances ; and the Congress agreed upon a 
Declaration of Rights, an Address to the People of Great 
Britain, and another to the People of the Colonies ; the 
last written by Richard Henry Lee, and concluding with 
the words that it behooved the Americans to " extend 
their views to mournful events." In October the body 
adjourned, to reassemble in the sj)ring if necessary. Its 
moderation had made friends for the American cause in 
England and everywhere. Lord Chatham, in the House 
of Lords, said : " I know not the people or Senate, who, 
in such a complication of difficult circumstances, can 
stand in preference to the delegates of America assem- 
bled in General Congress in Philadelphia." 

What the Congress had done was simply to state the 
American grievances with " decency, firmness, and wis- 


dom ; " but the vital circumstance underlying all was 
that the Americans had at last met in Council. 


In the midst of these political events the Virginia 
border was the scene of a brief but bloody episode which 
has been described as " the first blood shed in the Revo- 

In the spring a party of borderers had murdered the 
/ family of Logan, an Indian chief living on the Ohio, 
and the rumor came that tlie red men were about to rise 
all along the frontier. What then appears on the surface 
is that Lord Dunmore resolved to go and crush them, 
for which purpose he assembled two divisions in the 
upper and lower Shenandoah Valley. Taking command 
in person of the latter he advanced, in the summer, 
through northwestern Virginia, directing the second di- 
vision to meet him at the mouth of the Kanawha. 

This force was placed under command of General 
Andrew Lewis. Lewis was a representative man, the 
perfect type of the borderer and Indian fighter. He 
was born in Ireland about 1730, and was a man therefore 
of middle age ; of large and powerful frame, as brave as 
steel, full of enterprise and caution mingled, and the 
idol of the frontier population. His personal appear- 
ance is correctly exhibited in the bronze statue of him 
at Richmond, where he is represented in the fringed 
hunting-shirt of the border, with his rifle in his hand. 
He had been with Washington at Great Meadows ; was 
known to enjoy his confidence ; and was now assigned 


to command a wing of Dunmore's force. Early in Sep- 
tember (1774), two regiments, numbering in all 1,100 
men, assembled near Lewisburg in western Virginia, 
and Lewis set out on his march for the mouth of the 
Kanawha. The advance was an arduous affair ; the 
country was a world of mountains, and no wheeled ve- 
hicle could pass through it ; the ammunition and provis- 
ions were borne on pack-horses ; and cutting their way 
through the pathless woods the division at last reached 
Point Pleasant, on the Ohio, at the mouth of the Ka- 
/ Lord Dunmore was nowhere to be seen, and his where- 
abouts were a mystery. Vague rumor declared that he 
was advancing toward the Shawnee towns, the present 
Chillicothe ; and soon runners came with orders to Lewis 
to cross the river and move thither. Before the order 
could be obeyed Lewis was attacked and had to fight. 
Some m.en, who had crossed the Ohio, returned in haste 
reporting that the woods were full of Indians ; and 
Lewis had just formed line of battle when a heavy force' i^- 
assailed him. His position was favorable for defense 
but not for retreat. Behind him was the Kanawha, the 
" River of the Woods," on his left was the Ohio, and on 
his right a small stream called Crooked Run. Thus 
his flanks were protected, but if defeated there was little 
hope of retreat ; and the Indian force opposed to him 
seemed to largely outnumber his own. It consisted of 
the best fighting men of the Dela wares, Mingoes, Caj^u- 
gas, and Wyandots ; and their commander was Corn- 
stalk, one of the oldest and ablest vv^arriors of tlie Ohio 

A fierce struf^ale followed. The Indians swarmed in 
the woods in front, where they had erected a barricade, * 


and steadily advanced, delivering a scattering but heavy- 
fire from behind every cover. Tinder this galling fire 
the Virginians grew discouraged. Many of their best 
men had already fallen, though the sun had scarcely 
risen above the woods ; among the rest Colonel Lewis, 
brother of the General, commanding the right of the 
forces. He was mortally wounded, and fell " at the foot 
of a tree," and his men fell back taking his bofly with 
them. Nearly at the same moment Colonel Fleming, 
commanding the left, was severely wounded ; and that 
wing also, deprived of its commander, was visibly 

General Lewis, who had lit his pipe at the beginning 
of the action and had coolly watched its progress, now 
advanced with his reserve and made an obstinate attack. 
For some hours the hot struggle remained undecided, 
when Lewis put an end to it. He sent a party through 
the undergrowth, on Crooked Run, to surprise the In- 
dian rear ; the sudden fire they delivered proved that they 
were behind the enemy ; and Lewis, rushing forward in 
front, with heavy volleys, drove the Indians toward the 
river. A panic had seized upon them at the fire in their 
rear, and Cornstalk in vain called on them to stand firm. 
He was seen in front, and heard shouting in the Indian 
tongue : " Be strong ! be strong ! " and when one of the 
fugitives passed him he buried his tomahawk in his 
brains. But the battle was over ; the Indians were 
routed and flying to the Ohio ; and by sunset the whole 
force had disappeared. 

The ground was covered with dead, and the loss of 
the Virginians was. heavy. Two colonels, seven cap- 
tains, three lieutenants, and seventy-five men, were 
killed, and one hundred and forty wounded. Out of 


every five men one was dead or wounded, and tliey 
were the flower of the youth of West Augusta. A sin- 
gle consolation remained to the border families who had 
thus lost their sons and brothers : this was the last of 
the Indian assaults. Between sunrise and sunset Lewis 
and his Virginians had put an end to the long drama of 

Then arose a passionate demand on the part of Lewis's 
men : Where was Dunmore ? The attackincj force had 
come from the direction of Chillicothe, where the Gov- 
ernor was said to have concluded a peace. Was the 
bloody business at the mouth of the Kanawha the result 
of it? The men raged, but Lewis said nothing. Bury- 
ing his dead and leaving the Lidian corpses " to be de- 
voured by birds and beasts of prey," he erected a stock- 
ade, left a small party to hold it, and set out for Chilli- 
cothe, on the Scioto, where Lord Dunmore, in command 
of a thousand men, was quietly waiting. On the march 
he was met by an order to return to Point Pleasant. 
He continued to advance, without taking any notice of 
the order, and finally came to a halt within three miles 
of the Governor's camp. 

A furious scene followed. Lord Dunmore, accompa- 
nied by an Indian chief, came to Lewis's camp. Why had 
he disobeyed orders ? was the Governor's harsh demand. 
The answer of Lewis is not recorded, but it was prob- 
ably violent; and it was afterwards said that if he had 
not restrained his men they would have put Dunmore to 
death. What all this meant may be explained in a very 
few words. Lewis and his troops were firm in the con- 
viction that Lord Dunmore knew of the attack t3 be 
made upon them, and intended to allow them to be sac- 
rificed. The charge against him at the time was that 


he had a private understanding with the savages : that 
they were to attack the frontier and divert public atten- 
tion from politics ; and by destroying Lewis, disable 
the colony for military resistance to England. Was 
this true ? It is not proved ; but in the spring of the next 
year Dunmore is known to have plotted to produce an 
Indian outbreak. His confidential agent, Conolly, was 
arrested on his way to the Ohio, and beneath his saddle 
were discovered papers bearing the signature of Lord 
Dunmore, showing that his mission was to arouse the 
Indians to attack the Virginians. 

Lewis obeyed the Governor's order and marched back 
home with his divisions ; and Dunmore himself returned 
to Williamsburg. In his absence, as we have seen, 
many things had occurred. Conventions and Con- 
gresses had met and deliberated ; with every passing 
hour the spirit of resistance had gained strength. With 
the first spring days of the new year the rattle of mus- 
ketry and the thunder of cannon were going to mingle 
with the debate, and stop all further discussion. 



At the opening of the next year (1775), it required 
no prophet to see that great events were on the march. 
With every passing day the public mind had become 
more inflamed ; and the people, following the advice of 
Richard Henry Lee, began to "extend their views to 
mournful events," and to prepare for them. 

In the winter of 1774 Virginia was already under 
arms. Lord Dunmore, writing to his government in 


December, said : " Every county is arming a company 
of men whom tliey call an independent company, for 
the avowed purpose of protecting their Committees, 
and to be employed against government if occasion re- 
quire. The Committee of one county has proceeded so 
far as to swear the men of their independent company 
to execute all orders which shall be given them from 
the Committee of their county." 

This picture of the state of affairs in the winter of 
1774 leaves nothing in doubt. In every county of Vir- 
ginia was a Committee of Safety and an independent 
company ; and the " minute-men " were sworn to obey 
all orders received from the Committees. 

In this feverish condition of the public mind the Vir- 
ginia Convention again met at the town of Richmond 
(March 20, 1775), for Williamsburg was no longer a 
safe place for treason-mongers. Lord Dunmore was in 
his Palace watching in sinister silence the movements of 
the Virginians ; and troops from his men-of-war lying 
in the river would make short work of rebel assem- 

The Convention met in " Old St. John's Church," 
on a grassy hill in the suburbs of the present Rich- 
mond, commanding a beautiful view of the foaming 
river. Edmund Pendleton was elected president, and 
the first proceedings were cautious. Resolutions were 
passed expressing a strong desire for the return of peace, 
but these were coupled with resolves to encourage the 
manufacture of gunpowder, salt, iron, and steel. There 
was an evident indisposition to act without deliberation ; 
and when Patrick Henry moved that steps should be 
taken " for embodying, arming and disciplining the 
militia," many of the members opposed the resolution. 


The result was one of the grandest of all the displays 
of Henry's oratory : " If we wish to be free we must 
fi'^-ht ! " he exclaimed passionately. " It is too late to 
retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in 
submission and slavery. The war is inevitable, and 
let it come ! The next gale that sweeps from the north 
will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arhis ! I 
know not what course others may take, but as for me, 
give me liberty or give me death ! " 

These vehement appeals, uttered with all the wonder- 
ful eloquence of the great orator, carried his resolution 
through the Convention ; and a committee was appointed 
to prepare a plan of organization and defense. Henry 
had once more overcome all opposition by the fire of 
his oratory ; but it is necessary to say that his biog- 
rapher, Mr. Wirt, has aimed at adding to his celebrity 
by the picture drawn of the scene in the Conven- 
tion. The impression is sought to be j)roduced that a 
body of laggards v/ere again inspired by one man ; 
and the view is singular in face of the record. The 
members of the Convention who were supposed to shrink 
from armed resistance were the representatives of a 
people who were already under arms and ready to re- 
sist. The letter of Lord Dun more to the Earl of Dart- 
mouth sets forth the fact ; and another writer of the time 
said " the Province of Virginia is raising one company 
in every county, which make a body of six thousand 
men." This was written in November, 1774 ; at that 
date therefore the Virginians were arming to fight Eng- 
land. It is incredible that in March, 1775, many 
months afterwards, the representatives of these same 
men should have shrunk with horror, as Mr. Wirt inti- 
mates, from the idea of armed resistance. 


So much is necessary to establish the truth of history, 
which is nothing if not truthful. The immense service 
to the cause of Henry's call to arms remains. His rash- 
ness was better than deliberate counsels ; his judgment 
in reality sounder than that of cooler men. The reso- 
lutions announcing formally that Virginia was ready to 
fight gave a great impulse to resistance. By their pas- 
sage, the voice of Henry became the voice of Virginia. 
What the great Commonwealth of the south said to her 
sister Commonwealths everywhere was, " The war is 
inevitable — let it come ! " 

Patrick Henry had thus become, as in the days of 
the Stamp Act, the foremost of the Virginia leaders ; 
he also proved himself nearl}'- a prophet. On the twen- 
ty-third of March he had exclaimed : " The next gale 
that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the 
clash of resounding arms." On the eighteenth of 
April a British force marched out of Boston to seize 
military stores belonging to the colony at Concord, 
came in collision with the militia at Lexington, pushed 
on to Concord, where they had a fight with the minute- 
men, and retreated, closely pursued, to Boston again. 
The " clash of arms," if not the " clanking of chains 
on the plains of Boston," had taken place, as Henry 
had predicted. 



The fighting had thus begun. The long parliament- 
ary war had ended in real war at last : the thunder of 
Percy's cannon as he fell back on Boston gave notice 
of the fact. 


It was soon apparent that a preconcerted arrange- 
ment had been made to disarm all the Colonies. Con- 
olly, the secret agent of Lord Dunmore, made his ap- 
pearance in Williamsburg about tlie time of the affair 
at Concord, and a little before daylight (April 20, 1775), 
a party of marines who had been secreted in the Gover- 
nor's pahice marched silently to the Old Magazine and 
removed the stores of gunpowder belonging to the 
Colony to the Magdalen man-of-war, lying in James 
River. When the fact was discovered soon after day- 
light, all Williamsburg ran to arms. A great crowd 
filled Gloucester Street, uttering loud threats and de- 
manding the restoration of the 2:)0wder. The Council 
hastily assembled, and a hot discussion took place in the 
Palace. Lord Dunmore was incensed and terrified. 
When John Page, of Rosewell, supported the popular 
demand, Dunmore flew into a rage. Striking his fist 
violently on the table, he cried, " Mr. Page, I am as- 
tonished at you ! " But the moment required action. 
The people had resolved to attack the Palace and seize 
Dunmore. They were persuaded, however, to send a 
deputation demanding the powder, and the deputation 
waited on the Governor at the Palace. The place was 
found in a state of defense : rows of muskets were lying 
on the floor to arm the household and repel an attack. 
But the Governor's reply was peaceful. He had sud- 
denly grown cool. He had removed the powder, he 
declared, in consequence of a report that the slaves loere 
about to rise in an adjoining county ; if it was needed 
at Williamsburg he pledged his honor that it should be 
returned " in half an hour." Unfortunately some words 
which escaped him contradicted this pacific explanation. 
He was heard to mutter with an oath that if violence 


were offered him, he would '' proclaim yreec^o?^ to the 
slaves and lay Williamsburg in ashes," — a curious com- 
mentary on his alleged reason for carrying off the 

At the intelligence of the seizure of the powder, Vir- 
ginia was in commotion. The minute-men hastened to 
arm, and more than six hundred men of the Rappahan- 
nock country assembled at Fredericksburg. They re- 
solved to march on Williamsburg and force the restora- 
tion of the powder, and sent messengers to offer their 
services to the authorities. They were only dissuaded 
from their purpose by Washington and Pendleton, who 
urged them to await the action of Congress ; and dis- 
banded after signing a paper pledging themselves to 
defend " Virginia or any sister colony," and ending 
with the words, " God save the liberties of America." 

These scenes took place in the last days of April. 
Lord Dunmore, shut up in his palace with the Countess 
and his daughters, awaited the development of events. 
Times, had changed since the Virginians had greeted 
them with shouts, illuminations, and grand assemblies. 
The acclamations had been followed by hoarse murmurs, 
the smiles and bows by sullen indignation. But Dun- 
more was unmoved ; he was confident of the power of 
his government, and wrote Lord Dartmouth that if a 
few troops were sent him he could " raise such a body 
of Indians, negroes, and others as would reduce the re- 
fractory people of this colony to obedience." Thus 
after all, he meant to arouse the Indians and even the 
negroes to attack the Virginians; suddenly information 
came that he was going to be attacked himself. 

The cloud in the direction of the Rappahannock had 
dispersed, but a blacker one rose. Patrick Henry called 


a meeting of the Committee of Safety of Hanover, at 
Nev/ Castle (May 2, 1775), made a passionate address, 
and at the head of a company of minute-men marched 
on Williamsburg to recover the powder. The whole 
surrounding country rose in arms to join him, but 
without waiting he continued his march ; and at the 
head of one hundred and fifty men reached Doncas- 
tle's Ordinary, a tavern about sixteen miles from Wil- 

At the Capital all was now in confusion. Lady Dun- 
more and her daughters were hurried off to Yorktown, 
where they took refuge on the Fowey man-of-war. Dun- 
more planted cannon in front of his Palace, and ordered 
up a detachment of marines from the Fowey ; and the 
captain of the vessel wrote to President Nelson at 
Yorktown, that if the Governor were attacked he would 
open fire on the place. An armed collision was warded 
off for the moment by a compromise : Lord Dunmore 
agreed to pay the value of the powder, and sent a bill 
for the amount, £330, to Henry. For this Henry gave 
a receipt binding himself to pay the amount to the Vir- 
ginia delegates to Congress. He then offered to continue 
his march to Williamsburg and remove the deposit in the 
treasury to a safer place ; but this offer was declined, and 
he returned to Hanover ; whereupon Lord Dunmore 
denounced him and his followers in a public proclama- 
tion for " unlawfully taking up arms," as Berkeley had 
denounced Bacon a century before. 

In the midst of this turmoil came a sudden lull. News 
arrived that the English ministry were going to abandon 
the attempt to coerce America. In February, Lord 
North brought in his '' conciliatory plan," known as the 
" Olive Branch." If the Colonies would themselves 


make due appropriations for their part of the expenses 
of the kingdom, then it would be expedient that Great 
Britain should cease to tax them. 

Dunmore at once issued writs for an Assembly on the 
first of June, — the last House of Burgesses that was to 
meet by royal authority on the soil of Virginia. The 
House assembled (June 1, 1775), and presented a curi- 
ous spectacle. Many of the members wore hunting- 
shirts and brought their rifles. It was no longer a body 
of civilians in ruffles and powder, but a meeting of men 
in military accoutrements ready to fight. Lord Dun- 
more made a courteous address, presented the " concili- 
atory plan," and a committee was appointed to report 
upon it. The report was written by Jefferson, and de- 
clared that the plan ought to be rejected. The colonies 
had the right to give their money as they pleased ; other 
wrongs were unredressed ; their country was invaded ; 
Virginia would not treat without the concurrence of the 
other colonies ; nothing was to be hoped for from Eng- 
land, and the justice of heaven must decide the event 
of things. 

All at once an unexpected incident put an end to all 
further discussion. Lord Dunmore had delivered ujj the 
keys of the Old Magazine, and on the night of the fifth 
of June some young men entered the place to procure 
arms. As they opened the door a cord discharged a 
spring-gun and three of the party were wounded. At 
this intelligence the Assembly took fire and appointed a 
committee to examine the Magazine, when several bar- 
rels of powder were discovered buried under the floor. 
The discovery excited the rage of the people. Again 
Gloucester Street filled with a great crowd uttering 
threats and curses ; and before daylight (June 8, 1775), 


Lord Dunmore and his family, who had returned to the 
Palace, fled from the Capital and took refuge on board 
the Fowey, lying at Yorktown. 

Lord Dunmore never returned to Williamsburg. Mes- 
sages continued to pass to and fro between him and the 
Assembly ; but he refused to trust his person in the 
dano-erous Capital, and the Burgesses declined to wait 
on him on board the Fowey. All was now seen to be 
at an end ; and the Assembly, after calling a meeting of 
the Convention in July, adjourned. The die was cast, 
and it was felt that armed resistance was the only re- 
source. Richard Henry Lee, standing on the porch of 
the Old Capitol with two or three friends, vrrote on one 
of the pillars — 

" When shall we three meet again? 
In thunder, lightning, and in rain? 
When the hurly-burly 's done, 
When the battle 's lost and won." 

North and south it was seen that this " battle " was 
now unavoidable. The affair at Concord and the events 
in Virginia had shown that military force was to decide 
the question ; and the Americans, brought face to face 
with the fact, acquiesced. On the fifteenth of June 
(1775), George Washington was elected Commander-in- 
chief of the American forces ; and on his way to Boston 
was met by the intelligence of the battle of Bunker's 
Hill. He reached Boston on the second of July, and 
w^as received with shouts and the thunder of cannon, and 
on the next day (July 3, 1775), assumed command of 
the American army. 

If England had doubted the nerve of the Colonies the 
doubt was now dispelled. They were going to fight. 



Lord Dunmore's subsequent career in Virginia may 
be dismissed in a brief space. It was short and full of 
trouble. His proceedings indicated that he was pro- 
foundly incensed at the opposition to his authority, and 
that thenceforth he meant to keep no terms with rebels. 
He summoned the friends of the royal cause to join his 
standard ; his armed vessels ravaged the banks of the 
rivers, and committed every outrage ; and it was obvious 
that if he ever returned to Williamsburg it would be to 
do justice upon the traitors who had resisted the King. 

Thus the Colony was without an executive, and the 
Convention which met in July proceeded to appoint one. 
The result was the famous " Committee of Safety," 
consisting of Edmund Pendleton, George Mason, John 
Page, Richard Bland, Thomas Ludwell Lee, Paul Car- 
rington, Dudley Digges, William Cabell, Carter Brax- 
ton, James Mercer, and John Tabb. The powers con- 
fered on this Directory, of which Edmund Pendleton was 
President, were very great. It was to commission of- 
ficers, direct military movements, issue warrants on 
the Treasury, and all commanding officers of the forces 
were required to pay " strict obedience " to its orders. 
The sword and purse were thus both placed in the hands 
of the Committee, and from their decision there was no 
appeal. The Convention appointed Patrick Henry 
Commander-in-chief of the Virginia forces, and, after 
choosing delegates to the next Congress, adjourned. 

The military organization directed by the Convention 


had not come too soon. Dunmore was making open war, 
and laying waste the shores of the Chesapeake. He 
had proclaimed- martial law ; offered their freedom to 
all slaves who enrolled themselves under his flag ; and, 
with his headquarters at Norfolk where he had mounted 
cannon, was awaiting a force from England which would 
enable him to return in triumph to his Capital. At the 
end of the year took place an event which brought mat- 
ters to a final decision. The Committee of Safety sent 
a force, under Colonel William Woodford, toward Nor- 
folk, and an action followed (December 9, 1775), at 
Great Bridge. The spot was about twenty miles from 
the town, and the British had erected a fort on ground 
only approachable by a causeway, through a morass. 
Woodford halted at the southern end of the causeway, 
threw up breastworks, and was speedily attacked. Cap- 
tain Fordyce, at the head of about sixty grenadiers, 
charged the works, but was received with a hot fire 
which threw him back. A bullet wounded him and he 
fell, but rose to his feet brushing his knees as though 
he had stumbled, and continued to cheer on his men 
until he fell dead within twenty paces of the American 
works. At his fall the grenadiers retreated, pursued 
by the. Virginians across the causeway, and took refuge 
under the cannon of the fort.-^ 

The intelligence of this defeat threw Lord Dunmore 
into a rage, and he is said to have threatened to hang 
the boy who brought him the information. He hurried 
on board his fleet, and on the first of January (1776) 

1 Among the troops who drove the enemy into their works were the 
Culpeper "Minute-men," whose tiag exhibited a coiled rattlesnake 
with the motto " Don't Tread on Me." One of the Lieutenants of this 
company was young John Marshall, afterwards Cliief Justice of the 
United States. 


sent on shore a party of marines to burn Norfolk. The 
place was soon in flames, and a painful scene followed. 
Men, women, and children were seen running from the 
burning houses ; and a cannonade from the British ships 
was added to the horrors of the time. When Lord 
Dun more weighed anchor and sailed away nearly the 
whole town was in ashes. 

His career was now near its end. He continued to 
ravage the banks of the bay until the summer of the 
same year, when he intrenched himself at Gwynn's 
Island, on the western shore, to await further events. 
Here he was attacked (July 9, 1776) by a Virginia 
force under the same Andrew Lewis with whom he 
had quarreled on the Ohio ; and a heavy cannonade 
was opened on the island and the British ships. A ball 
passed through Lord Dunmore's flag-ship, and he ex- 
claimed, " Good God, that it should ever come to this ! " 
and on the next day Lewis sent a force in boats to land on 
the island. Lord Dunmore did not wait. He weii^hed 
anchor, spread all sail, and escaping from the island, 
which the Americans found a lazar-house of dead bodies, 
disappeared. Sending the negroes who had joined him 
to the West Lidies, he proceeded to New York and 
thence to England, leaving behind him the reputation 
of having been the very worst of the Virginia Gover- 

There was a species of poetic justice in the fact that 
Lewis should have struck the last blow at him ; and 
another proof of the irony of fate was the appointment 
of Patrick Henry to succeed him as Governor, — the 
first Republican executive of Virginia. 




The moment had come now when it was necessary 
that Virginia should formally define her position. The 
Colonies were at war with England, and the character of 
the struggle was left in doubt. Were they rebels in 
revolt against the Crown, or belligerents ? No gen- 
eral declaration of indei^endence had yet been made ; 
and Virginia proceeded to act for herself. 

Even the boldest still hesitated to cast off all alle- 
giance to England. As late as May, 1776, so resolute 
a man as Thomas Nelson had " his thoughts sorely em- 
ployed on the great question whether independence 
oufifht or ouiiht not to be declared." But he added : 
" Having weighed the argument on both sides, I am 
clearly of opinion we must, as we value the liberties 
of America, or even her existence, without a moment's 
delay declare for independence." All the American 
Colonies were also, no doubt, " weighing the argu- 
ments." Virmnia first took the decisive steiD. 

The Virginia Convention met early in May and 
(May 15, 1776) unanimously adopted a preamble and 
resolutions, written by Edmund Pendleton and pre- 
sented by Thomas Nelson, directing the Virginia dele- 
gates in Congress to propose to that body to " declare 
the United Colonies free and inde'pendent States.'^ On 
the next day the momentous resolutions were read to 
the troops assembled at Williamsburg ; they were re- 
ceived with shouts and cheers ; cannon thundered ; the 


" American flag " was raised on the Capitol, and at night 
the town was illuminated. Whatever might be the ac- 
tion of Congress, the decision of the Commonwealth of 
Virginia had been made ; and this decision was for a final 
separation from Great Britain. The Convention then 
proceeded to adopt a Declaration of Rights and a Con- 
stitution. Both instruments had been written by George 
Mason, and were ready. On the loth of June the Dec- 
laration was adopted, and June 29 (1776) the new Con- 
stitution. Virginia thus declared herself an independent 
sovereignty, entitled to receive the absolute allegiance 
of her citizens, and prepared to defend her claim with 
the sword. 

The Bill of Rights may be called not only the Magna 
Charta of Virginia, but of America. It first announced 
the great principles upon which the Americans meant 
to rest in the approaching struggle, and after a century 
of republican freedom there is nothing to add to this 
great protest in favor of the rights of man. The Con- 
stitution directed that the Government of Virginia should 
consist of a House of Delegates and Senate ; the first 
composed of two members from each county, and one 
from every city and borough ; and the latter of twenty- 
four members, representing twenty -four senatorial dis- 
tricts. The Delegates and Senators were to be free- 
holders, and elected by freeholders, who were to be 
persons having a freehold estate in one hundred acres of 
unimproved land or twenty-five acres of improved, or a 
house and lot in a town. The Executive was to be a 
Governor, elected annually by the House and Senate, 
and was not to be eligible more than three years in suc- 
cession ; nor, after going out of office, for four years 
afterwards. *He was to be assisted by a Privy Council 


of eight members chosen by the Assembly ; and the 
Assembly was also to choose the judges of the Court of 
Ai^peals and of the General Court. 

Such was the first Republican Constitution ever 
adopted in America. Except as to the suffrage and the 
election of Governors and other officers, it remains vir- 
tually unchanged. The revolutionists of 1776, like the 
old King's-men of the seventeenth century, decided that 
only such should vote as by their estates had an " in- 
terest to tie them to the endeavor of the public good." 
That princple is now derided, and regarded as uiirepub- 
lican ; but the fact remains that the men of the Revolu- 
tion had faith in it, and would allow the suffrage to none 
but freeholders. 

The Convention elected Patrick Henry Governor 
and Edmund Randolph Attorney-general ; and the new 
government went at once into operation. 

The result of the action of Virginia is a part of the 
history of America. On the 7th of June, 1776, Rich- 
ard Henry Lee moved in Congress " That these United 
Colonies are and ought to be free and independent 
States, and that all political connection between them 
and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally 
dissolved." The motion was seconded by John Adams, 
and the debate upon it lasted for three days. The op- 
position was determined, but it was fought through the 
Congress, and a committee was appointed to draw up 
the Declaration. Of this committee Richard Henry Lee, 
by parliamentary usage, must have been the chairman, 
but the illness of his wife called him away to Virginia, 
and the position was conferred on Thomas Jefferson, 
whose ability as a writer was known from his " Sum- 
mary View." He proceeded to draw uf the paper ; 


and, July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence as 
composed by him, with a few alterations, was adopted 
by Congress. What remained was to support it on the 

The passage of the Declaration marks a distinct 
epoch in the history of Virginia as well as of America. 
Thenceforth there was no retreat, and she was to stand 
or fall with her sister colonies. The part borne by her 
in the events which led to this final decision had been 
important. What she had contributed to the cause 
was : — 

I. The resolutions of 1765 denouncing the Stamp 
Act as a violation of American rifjht. 

II. The oricjination in 1773 of the Committees of 
Correspondence which united the Colonies. 

III. The call in 1774 for a General Congress, which 
inaugurated resistance. 

IV. The instructions to the Virginia delegates in 
May, 1776, to propose a Declaration of Independence, 
which Jefferson, a Virginian, wrote, and Washington, 
a Virginian, was to support as Commander-in-chief. 

The United States had thus entered upon life. The 
birth was stormy and the sky black. The enemy were 
about to occupy New York, and the American forces 
were unorofanized ; there was no executive head in con- 
trol of the government ; in some States there was a 
large Tory party who only awaited disaster to become 
dangerous ; faint hearts croaked as they always do ; the 
despondent predicted ruin, and the bravest saw that the 
struofsle was doubtful ; but the Americans did not lose 
courage. The day was dark, but the country, north and 
south, went forward to the long wrestle with that heart 
of hope which leads to victory. 





The heavy struggle in Congress which had resulted 
in the Declaration of Independence was followed by one 
as heavy in Virginia in reference to Virginia affairs ; 
and this was succeeded in turn by a project so startling 
that certain historians have labored to show that it never 

Jefferson returned and was elected to represent his 
county in the Assembly. The " laboring oar," he said, 
was in Virginia ; what he meant was that tlie adoption 
of a republican Constitution was only a beginning. The 
real struggle was yet to come. The Declaration of 
Rights had laid down the great principle that " all men 
are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion ; " 
but no laws had been passed to carry the principle into 
effect. The Establishment still virtually existed ; and 
the Non - Conformists throughout the Commonwealth 
were clamorous to have it extinguished, and the new 
order of things formally inaugurated. It is unnecessary 
to say that Jefferson espoused their demands with ardor. 
It is true he regarded any and all religions merely as 
superstitions, but the Establishment was particularly 
hateful to him, since it ran counter to his cherished 
convictions on the rights of man. His views on the latter 
point were perfectly just, and made him a dangerous ad- 
versary. On this and the subject of entails a furious 
struggle was now to take place. It was the new world 
fighting the old, which was retreating step by step be- 
fore it, but opposing it to the last. 


The old Convention, or new House of Delegates — 
they were the same — met at Williamsburg (October 
7, 1776) and addressed themselves to the great business 
before them. The religious struggle at once began, 
and lasted from the eleventh of October to the fifth of 
December. It was obstinate, almost fierce. The friends 
of the Establishment opposed the separation of Church 
and State with an energy which made Jefferson say 
afterwards that it was the severest contest he had ever 
engao^ed in. Edmund Pendleton and John Pao;e were 
the leaders of the party opposed to disestablishment. 
Both were devoted Churchmen and represented the 
opinions and feelings of the great body of the Planters. 
This class saw with anguish and a sort of horror that 
the Church in which their ancestors had worshiped for 
many generations was in danger of being completely 
overthrown. All connected with it was dear to them. 
They had laughed at the parsons, having but a poor 
opinion of many of them, but they had never laughed 
at the Church. In their eyes it was sacred as the em- 
bodiment of the purest Protestant Christianity. To 
overthrow it would be monstrous, unless the advocates 
of the measure were determined to deny the divine 
origin of Christianity itself. 

The reply of Jefferson and other leaders representing 
the Non- Conformists, was direct and trenchant. No re- 
ligion, not even Christianity, they said, ought to be rec- 
ognized or supported by the State. Men should be 
left free to become Mohammedans if they chose. The 
true policy was to leave them to choose, not to force 
them to become Christians ; above all, not to impose 
penalties on them for not being Episcopalians, and com- 
pel them to support a Church which was not their own. 


These latter views prevailed, as they ought to have 
done, and the Bill for Exempting Dissenters passed. No 
person thereafter was to be obliged to contribute to the 
support of the Church of England ; all denominations 
were free to worship and pay their own ministers ; there 
were to be no pains or penalties for non-conformity ; the 
question of " a general assessment for the support of 
religion," that is of Christianity, was to be decided by a 
vote of the people. This virtually ended the struggle ; 
and three years afterwards (1779) the scheme of a gen- 
eral assessment was rejected. This was followed by 
the Act for Religious Freedom (1785), which consoli- 
dated the principles of all the legislation ; and this, in 
1802, by the law for the sale of the Episcopal glebes. 

This was the final blow. The one hundred and sixty- 
four church edifices and chapels, in the ninety-five par- 
ishes, in which ninety-one clergymen officiated, were 
exempted from spoliation ; but this was disregarded. 
Churches, donations, sacramental vessels, all were swept 
away. The Episcopacy seemed to be extinguished as a 
relic of superstition, and no power on earth appeared 
strong enough to raise it up again. 

From the question of religion the Convention passed 
to the question of entails. Under that little word there 
had. come to smoulder an immense jealousy. What had 
once been a mere spark was now fanned into flame. 
From the earliest times land had been held in Virginia 
by a tenure in accordance with " the laws within this 
realm of England." This English law prescribed that 
the eldest son should inherit the family estate, which 
could thus neither be alienated nor encutobered. Jeffer- 
son now attacked this system, on the grounds that it de- 
frauded creditors ; was unjust to the rest of the family ; 


and supported an aristocracy. The last was the burn- 
in »• argument, and a modern writer sums up the whole 
matter in a few words. The great Virginia estates 
" descended from ancestor to heir, in endless line." The 
landed proprietor was "lord in his lifetime, and his son 
in expectancy and legal right." The English courts 
might cut off entails ; but in Virginia, by an old law of 
the Burgesses (1705), this was forbidden except by ex- 
press act of Assembly. Thus Virginia, it was said, had 
gone a bow-shot beyond class-ruled England ; and un- 
less the rights of man were to be denied, the system 
must be done away with. 

Such arguments are always popular. It was found 
useless to urge that the system of entails defrauded no- 
body ; that those most affected by it fully approved of 
it ; and that the possession of property from generation 
to generation, by the same family, is not a public wrong. 
The greater consideration was behind. Entails sup- 
ported an aristocracy ; and one of the modern Virginia 
historians candidly admits that this was the great offense. 
To permit land to remain in the same family prevented 
" that equal distribution of property which was the legiti- 
mate reward of industry," and discouraged the poor 
from the hope of ^^ qyqv gaining any part of the property 
guarded by entail." It seems not to have occurred to 
the writer that an equal distribution of property is not the 
legitimate reward of industry ; and that no one, however 
poor, has the right to hope to gain, which is to covet, 
his neighbor's possessions. Such a theory is equivalent 
to the maxim that " property is theft ; " that is to say, 
a short cut to social chaos. But in times of excitement 
short cuts are popular : the fact has often been seen in 
the past, and may become plainer in the future. What 


was evident, in this year 1776, in Virginia, was that 
the popular will was the strongest. The old regime 
was to be overthrown, and its enormities abolished. 
These are summed up, by the writer above quoted, in 
harrowing sentences: "Coaches drawn by four horses 
rolled from the doors of the aristocracy. Plate of gold 
and silver in the utmost profusion glittered on their 
boards . . . and 'Mr. Jefferson opened his batteries on 
this fortress of Virginia pride." 

The fortress held out obstinately, refusing to sur- 
render until the last moment. Jefferson frankly stated 
afterwards that his object was to " eradicate every fibre 
of ancient and future aristocracy ; " and Pendleton, the 
conservative and friend of prescription, led the party 
opposed to him. It was the decisive wrestle between 
the past and the future, and the future conquered. Pen- 
dleton fought to the last and nearly defeated the bill, 
but seeing that entails were doomed, offered an amend- 
ment that the tenant in tail might convey, in fee simple, 
if he thought proper to do so. But the danger of this 
provision was seen ; the aristocratic sentiment might be 
counted on. The bill passed without the amendment ; 
" the axe was applied," exclaims the rejoiceful historian^ 
" and the tree of entails, which had been growing for 
centuries, was leveled with the ground." 

The friends of the new ideas had thus achieved a 
complete triumph over their old-world opponents. The 
sudden and immense change in government had been 
succeeded by as great a change in social affairs. From 
a royal province Virginia had become a republican com- 
monwealth ; and now the planters of the House of Bur- 
gesses who had been the objects of so much denuncia- 
tion had voted to do away with the last trace of " ancient 
and future aristocracy." 


The discussion of these great questions, religious and 
civil, carried the Convention into December. A por- 
tentous scheme then began to be agitated, growing out 
of the depression and excitement of the time. In every 
quarter the outlook was gloomy. There was little to 
encourage hopes of a successful issue of tlie conflict with 
England. Lord Howe had defeated Washington on 
Long Island and nearly captured his army ; had driven 
him from New York, which the enemy then proceeded 
to occupy ; and the Americans were now retreating 
through New Jersey. 

This gloomy state of affairs, in the month of Decem- 
ber (1776), produced a profound excitement in Virginia. 
The public mind was agitated by that vague apprehen- 
sion of hidden danger which accompanies periods of con- 
vulsion. At such moments even men of stronir heads 
and cool judgments seem to lose control of themselves 
and place faith in chimeras, — and this now happened. 
What follov/ed has never been explained and probably 
never will be ; but suddenly the plan was suggested of 
appointing a Dictator of Virginia. Of the existence 
of this scheme there can be no question. We have the 
direct testimony of Jefferson on the subject : " In De- 
cember 1776," he says, '' our circumstances being much 
distressed it was proposed in the House of Delegates to 
create a Dictator, invested with every power legislative, 
executive, and judiciary, civil and military, of life and 
death over our persons and over our properties." The 
advocates of the measure, he adds, " had sought this 
precedent in the history of Rome." 

Little further is known of the incident, which made a 
profound and bitter impression on all classes at that 
time. It is not denied that the person to be appointed 


Dictator was Patrick Henry, — but why his authority 
as Governor of Virginia was considered insufficient we 
are not informed. There was no Tory party of any 
streno-th in the colony. A few citizens had opposed ihe 
declaration of separation from England, but they had 
been promptly dealt with. They were confined in jail, 
or ordered not to leave their counties, and nothing fur- 
ther had been heard of them, nor were there any indica- 
tions of opposition to the new government. But the 
plan of the dictatorship was set on foot ; hot passion 
ruled the hour ; those in favor of it and those opposed 
to it crossed the street, we are told, to avoid each other ; 
and Gary of Ampthill, a man of excitable temper, sent 
his famous message to Henry, that on the day of his ap- 
pointment he should fall by his dagger. If a Roman 
precedent for action were needed there was one for that, 
— since Brutus had stabbed Csesar. 

The plan was abandoned as suddenly as it had been 
formed. There is no proof whatever that Patrick 
Henry approved it or would have accepted the appoint- 
ment. He was at home in the country from illness and 
may not even have heard of the scheme. Absurdest of 
all absurd things would have been the selection of Henry 
as " temporary tyrant under the name of dictator " — Jef- 
ferson's phrase in allusion to the plan — when the bur- 
den of his great speech on the Stamp Act had been that 
George HI. was a tyrant and might meet with the fate 
of Csesar. In the absence of nearly all information as to 
this curious affair, it may be conjectured that the plan 
came at last to Henry's ears, and that he desired his 
friends to abandon it. 

So ended the year 1776 in Virginia : with great 
changes in her government and society ; with depres- 


sion, heart-burnings, and antagonisms among her public 
men ; and before her a future which looked stormy. 
Washington was retiring, with a handful of men, before 
the British army ; Congress had fled to Baltimore ; the 
war was advancing southward ; with the spring Virginia 
might expect to become the battle-field. 



Virginia was not to become the field of actual fiofht- 
ing until some years afterwards. The enemy had se- 
lected the north as the scene of their operations, and 
the Commonwealth was only called upon to supply 
troops and stores for the Continental army. Her quota 
had been fixed by Congress at fifteen battalions, of 
which eight were already in service, and the additional 
seven about to be organized. The chief importance of 
Virginia W£:s as a granary of provisions, to suiDply the 
necessities of the army, but she was prompt to furnish 
troops, and was represented upon every battle-field of tlie 
struggle. From the very first the spirit of the people 
had responded ardently to the call to arms. The min- 
ute-men of the Rappahannock had reflected the general 
sentiment in pledging themselves to defend not only Vir- 
ginia but " any sister colony." Volunteer companies 
sprung up in every quarter and marched with or with- 
out orders. An instance is the march of Morijan's rifle- 
men from the Shenandoah Valley to Boston. They ' 
were borderers, wearing hunting-shirts with " Liberty 
or Death " on their breasts in white letters. Washing- 
ton met them as he was riding along his lines, when 


Morgan saluted and reported : " From the right bank of 
the Potomac, General ! " whereupon Washington dis- 
mounted, and with tears in his eyes went along the ranks, 
shaking hands in turn with each of the men. From 
this time to the end of the Revolution the Virginia troops 
wei-e prominent, and often, as at Brandywine where the 
Third Virginia remained firm after both its flanks were 
turned, exhibited the best soldiership. They were es- 
pecially distinguished in the dark days of the retreat 
through the Jerseys ; bore the sufferings of Valley 
Forge with unfailing cheerfulness ; and in the next year, 
and the one following, were the reliance of George 
Rogers Clarke in his remarkable movements against the 
enemy in the northwest. 

What will now be briefly related was one of the most 
heroic achievements of an heroic epoch. The incident 
belongs to the history of Virginia, since the chief actor 
was a Virginian, his troops were Virginia troops, and 
the events took place on soil which was a part of Vir- 
ginia. By her charter she possessed the great extent 
of country north of the Ohio, and in the winter of 1777 
General George Rogers Clarke, a Virginian residing in 
Kentucky, offered to lead an expedition against the 
posts of the enemy at Kaskaskia and Vincennes. Clarke 
was a native of Albemarle ; had commanded a company 
at the battle of Point Pleasant ; and was at this time 
about twenty -five. He was tall and powerful in person, 
a man of couraire and abilitv, and seems to have realized 
the importance of driving the enemy from the great re- 
gion beyond the Ohio. He proposed the project to Pat- 
rick Henry, then Governor of Virginia ; was supplied 
with money and four companies of Virginia troops ; and 
in the summer of 1778 marched through the wilderness 


and surprised Kaskaskia, after which he proceeded to 
Vincennes, and took possession of that fort also. Father 
Gibault, a French priest, assembled the people in church, 
assured them that the Americans were friends, the popu- 
lation " took the oath of allegiance to the Common- 
wealth of Virginia," and placing a garrison in the fort 
General Clarke returned to Kentucky. 

Diirinof the winter intellio^ence reached him that the 
fort had been recaptured by the enemy. Colonel Ham- 
ilton, Governor of Canada, had advanced from Detroit 
and surprised it; and was said to intend during the 
spring to also recapture Kaskaskia, and then march 
southward and invade Kentucky. Upon receiving this 
intelligence Clarke determined to take the initiative, 
and by a decisive winter campaign break up the British 
programme. Colonel Hamilton was very much detested 
for having offered the Indians a premium for American 
scalps ; was called for that reason the " Hair-buyer Gen- 
eral," and the borderers responded with alacrity to the 
summons to march against him. Clarke set out in Feb- 
ruary (1779), with one hundred and fifty men and two 
pieces of artillery ; and a march began nearly unparal- 
leled in history. The cannon and a detachment were 
embarked in boats to ascend the Wabash, and Clarke 
followed with the remainder by land. The country 
through which they were compelled to pass was a wil- 
derness, and the weather exceedingly cold ; but the 
troops steadily advanced, and finally reached the point 
where the White River empties into the Wabash, fifteen 
or twenty miles from Vincennes. Any further advance 
now seemed impossible. Tiie low grounds of the Wa- 
bash were under water to the depth of several feet, and 
it seemed out of the question to attempt to traverse 


them. Clarke however resolved to make the attempt. 
He w^ent in advance himself ; the troops foUovred ; and 
the hard struggle began. 

The water was nearly frozen and often reached to the 
breasts of the troops, who were obliged to hold their 
rifles and powder above their heads as they struggled 
on. Boats had been provided to succor those who were 
exhausted ; but the attempt seemed desperate. As far 
as the eye could see stretched a nearly unbroken ex- 
panse of water. Here and there were spots of dry land, 
but they were often five miles apart. The brief state- 
ment of one who was present is the best description of 
the scene. On the twenty-third of February they " set 
off to cross a plain called Horse-shoe Plain, about four 
miles long, all covered with water breast high. Here 
we expected some of our brave men must certainly per- 
ish, the water being frozen in the night, and we so long 
fasting. Having no other resource but wading this lake 
of frozen water we plunged in with courage. Colonel 
Clarke being first. Never were men so animated with 
the thouoht of aveno[in<]j the ravao:es done to their back 
settlements as this small army was." 

At last the troops succeeded in plunging through, and 
reached a " hill of dry land," called Warren's Island, 
where they were nearly in sight of Vincennes, and heard 
the boom of the ''evening gun." From this point 
Clarke sent forward a messenger who was directed to 
tell the people that his friends might remain in their 
homes ; the friends of the King were to " repair to the 
fort and join the Bair-huyer GeneraV The wading 
was then resumed until sunset when they were in front 
of the place. Dividing his force Clarke advanced by 
the present Levee and Princeton roads, threw up 
breastworks, and opened fire on the fort. 


The appearance of the Americans was a complete sur- 
prise to Governor Hamilton, It seemed impossible 
that any troops could have passed through the " Drowned 
Lands ; " but there they were. They very much resem- 
bled devils too, for Clarke had ordered them to blacken 
their faces with gunpowder ; for what reason we are 
not informed. Hamilton bravely resisted. He opened 
with his artillery, and for fourteen hours, and long after 
night, the wild landscape was lit up by quick flashes. 
At last the firing ceased and the men slept on their arms. 
At dawn Clarke summoned Hamilton to surrender at 
once. If he was obliged to storm the place, he said, 
th« Governor " might depend upon such treatment as is 
justly due to a murderer." He added in his note to 
Hamilton : " Beware of destroying stores of any kind, 
or any papers or letters that are in your possession, or 
hurting one house in town. For by Heaven ! if you do, 
there shall be no mercy shown you." Hamilton's re- 
ply was a refusal to surrender ; he was not " disposed 
to be awed," he said ; and the fighting again began and 
was kept up obstinately. 

But if not overawed the Governor at length lost hope. 
He sent proposing a truce, but Clarke refused to agree 
to it. He must " surrender at discretion ; " and Colo- 
nel Hamilton surrendered (February 25, 1779). The 
Americans marched in with loud cheers and raised the 
American flag ; and Hamilton was sent under guard to 
Williamsburg, in Virginia.^ 

1 Governor Hamilton enjoyed the bad notoriety of having sent Simon 
Girt}^, the renegade white, at the head of five hundred Indians, to de- 
stroy the settlement at Wheeling, Virginia, in 1777. A sudden attack 
was made, but the families reached the stockade near, in safety. It 
was on this occasion that a brave young girl, named Elizabeth Zane, 
volunteered to bring in a keg of powder from a house in the town, un- 


The capture of Vincennes has been related in detail, 
as the event was much more important than it may ap- 
pear. Fourteen hours of fighting between two incon- 
siderable bodies of troops had decided who was to pos- 
sess the entire region north of the Ohio. At the con- 
clusion of peace in 1783, the principle of the uti possede- 
^is was adopted by the Commissioners, empowering Great 
Britain and the United States to remain in possession 
of all the territory which they held at the termination 
of the war. Under this provision the Northwest terri- 
tory was claimed by the American Commissioners on the 
ground of its capture by Clarke, and " the possession of 
it by the Americans at the date of the conference." 
The claim was acquiesced in, and the country accordingly 
fell to the United States. 

Clarke received, in honor of his arduous march, the 
title of the " Hannibal of the AVest," and his achieve- 
ment entitles him to a distinct place in American his- 



"With the opening of 1781, Virginia at last felt the 
pressure of invasion. Hitherto she had escaped it, 

der the Indian fire, and did, so escaping unharmed. The time and 
place were also made remarkable by the leap of Major McCulloch from 
a precipice one hundred feet high. It was made on horseback, and 
horse and rider fell into the water of a creek beneath, and reached the 
woods in safet}^ under a hot fire from the enemy. These noble old leg- 
ends are the true glories of American history: the race lives in them, 
and is best illustrated by them. It was a very great race, and faced 
peril without shrinking, down to the very boys and girls ; and what 
the long years of the future will remember is this heroic phase, not 
the treaties and protocols of American history. 


though her sea-coast was undefended, the country with- 
out military posts, and the population drained of its 
fighting material. 

Few events of general interest had marked the years 
from the beginning of the war. The Assembly had been 
busy devising ways and means for supplying the Conti- 
nental army ; had enacted that " no more slaves were 
to be imported into Virginia " (1778) ; and had adopted 
the singular course of attainting for treason a marauder, 
named Phillips, who, at the head of a band of outlaws 
had committed outrages in Princess Anne, alleging that 
he acted under authority from Lord Dunmore. This 
plea did not avail him, and he was hung as a traitor^ 
when it would seem that his proper punishment ought 
to have been as a bandit. 

With the exception of these intestine troubles, Vir- 
ginia remained at peace, although the enemy had landed 
once or twice and committed a few ravages. In 1779 
Thomas Jefferson was elected Governor to succeed Pat- 
rick Henry, who was no longer eligible, ^nd in the year 
1781 came the last scenes of the war on the soil of Vir- 

It is difficult to convey an impression of the gloom 
and despondency of the country at this moment. We 
are too much in the habit of remembering Yorktown 
and forgetting what preceded it. Never had the Ameri- 
can cause been in a more desperate condition. The 
country from north to south was nearly in despair. Its 
entire resources seemed to have been drained from it, 
and the bravest men began to ask themselves whether 
it were worth while to continue the struggle. The army 
was in a wretched condition : they were " poorly clothed, 
badly fed, and worse paid, some of them not having 


received a paper dollar for near twelve months ; ex- 
posed to winter's piercing cold ; to drifting snows and 
chilling blasts, with no protection but old worn-out coats, 
tattered linen overalls, and but one blanket betweeu 
three men," according to the report of General Wayne. 
And worse than all, the enemy had seized the occasion 
to circulate proclamations among them, inviting them to 
desert their flag. Even Washington almost despaired, 
and all his hope now was from a foreign loan. He 
wrote to Colonel Laurens, American minister at Paris 
(March, 1781): — 

" Day does not follow night more certainly than it 
brings with it some additional proof of the impractica- 
bility of carrying on the war without the aids you were 
directed to solicit. As an honest and candid man I as- 
sert this, that without a foreign loan, our present force, 
which is but the remnant of an army, cannot be kept 
together this campaign. . . . We are at this hour sus- 
pended in the balance." 

Such was the state of affairs when the enemy deter- 
mined to invade Virginia. It was singular that they had 
not done so before. The State was entirely defense- 
less ; she had stripped herself bare to supply the army 
with fighting material, and the whole country below 
the mountains was absolutely unprotected, except by 
the militia, com|)Osed for the most joart of old men and 

With January (1781), the invasion came. In the De- 
cember preceding, General Benedict Arnold, who had 
betrayed Andre to his death while engaged in betray- 
ing tlie American cause, had been placed in command 
of about seventeen hundred men ; had landed at Ports- 
mouth in Chesapeake Bay ; and now in the first days 


of January (1781), sailed up James River to Westover, 
with a force of nine hundred men, and, landing there, 
marched on Richmond, twenty-five miles above. There 
was nothing to oppose him. Baron Steuben, who had 
the general command of affairs in Virginia, had just 
sent off all the troops he could raise to General Greene ; 
and Arnold thus reached Richmond almost without re- 
sistance on the way. He entered the town, which was 
then a jDlace of about three hundred houses, and was 
fired on by a body of militia numbering two hundred ; 
but these retreated up the river, and the place was occu- 
pied by the enemy (January 5, 1781). 

This was long a sore subject with Jefferson and his 
friends. He was charged, not only with a want of mili- 
tary ability, and the loss of his self-possession, but with 
timidity. The last charge is unsupported ; the other 
criticisms may have been just. But it is difficult to see 
what more he could have done under the circumstances. 
He had promptly called out the militia, but the country 
had just been stripped of men to supply the army in the 
Carolinas. Only two hundred had assembled, and this 
force was insufficient to oppose a body of nine hundred 
regulars. Jefferson seeing that the place was defense- 
less, threw five pieces of cannon into the river, removed 
the gunpowder in the town to the arsenal at Westham, 
some miles above, and then rode down on horseback to 
watch the further movements of the enemy. Arnold 
now had possession of Richmond, and proceeded to 
burn the warehouses and public buildings. A cavalry 
detachment under Colonel Simcoe was sent to West- 
ham, where the powder was thrown into the canal and 
the arsenal burned. During the following night Rich- 
mond " resounded with the drunken orgies of the sol- 


diery ; " and then Arnold returned to Westover and 
thence to Portsmouth, harassed on the way by the Vir- 
ginia militia. 

With the spring came the real invasion. The enemy 
had plainly determined to carry the war into Virginia, 
and there everything was now concentrating. Lord 
Cornwallis, who had disembarrassed himself of General 
Greene in the Carolinas, was on his march to form a 
junction with a British force on its way to Virginia, and 
the Commonwealth, it was supposed, would fall an easy 
prey. The prospect was inviting. The fall of the 
great rebel province, solidly thrust into the centre of 
the confederacy and alimenting its armies, would end 
the contest ; and to reduce it under British sway was 
now the work expected of Lord Cornwallis. 

In April General Phillips, with a force of two thou- 
sand five hundred men, ascended James 'River, drove 
off a body of militia at Petersburg, burned the ware- 
houses there, and then marched northward toward 
Richmond destroying as he went. Opposite the place, 
then an inconsiderable town, he was forced to pause. 
The hills north of the river were lined with American 
troops ; and the force proved to be a body of twelve 
hundred regulars sent by Washington, under command 
of the Marquis de Lafayette, to defend Virginia. This 
ardent young Frenchman, who was at the time only 
twenty-three, had offered to serve as a volunteer in the 
American cause, without pay, and in any capacity ; but 
Congress had commissioned him Major-general, and he 
had soon secured the confidence of Washington. His 
assignment to the command of a detached corps, on so 
important an arena as Virginia, indicated the fact ; and 
from the beginning to the end of the campaign the young 


soldier justified the confidence reposed in him. General 
Phillips declined to attack him at Richmond, and re- 
turned toward Petersburg, when Lafayette hastened in 
the same direction to occupy the place before his arrival. 
Phillips reached it first, and was soon afterwards sa- 
luted by a cannonade from the Appomattox hills. To 
this he scarcely made any reply. He lay at " Boiling- 
brook," a mansion in the suburbs, burnt up with fever, 
and soon afterwards sunk under it and expired. His 
last pathetic words were, " They will not let me die in 
peace," and he was buried with military honors in the 
Old Blandford graveyard, — " the proudest man, Jef- 
ferson said, " of the proudest nation upon earth." 

In May, Lord Cornwallis arrived and took command 
of all the forces in Virginia, amounting to eight or ten 
thousand men, of whom about one half were at Peters- 
burg. Lafayette's force was twelve hundred regulars, 
three thousand militia, and about fifty cavalry, who had 
before them the discouraging prospect of meeting the 
numerous and " excellent cavalry " of Colonel Tarleton, 
who had committed so many outrages in the Carolinas. 
Lord Cornwallis seems to have looked forward to an 
easy victory over his young adversary, and wrote in an 
intercepted letter, " The boy cannot escape me." The 
first movements of Lafayette seemed to indicate a de- 
sire to escape. He was at " Wilton," on James River, 
below Richmond ; promptly retired as Lord Cornwallis 
advanced ; and during the whole month of May and a 
part of June continued the same maneuvers. Falling 
back toward the Rappahannock, he obstinately declined 
being brought to battle ; and after following him as far 
as the North Anna, Lord Cornwallis halted, apparently 
in despair of coming up with him. 


Ravages followed in every quarter. Tarleton's cav- 
alry, in their white uniforms, proved themselves the 
scourge of Virginia, as they had been the scourge of the 
Carolinas. They went with torch and sword through 
the whole James River region ; burned houses, carried 
off horses, cutting the throats of those which were too 
young to use ; and made a dash to capture the Assembly, 
then in session at Charlottesville, and Governor Jeffer- 
son at his home of Monticello. The Assembly-men 
scattered in dismay, and Jeiferson escaped into the neigh- 
boring mountain ; and Colonel Tarleton, with seven 
captured law-makers of the Assembly, returned to the 
low lands. 

The only prospect of an engagement between La- 
fayette and Cornwallis was when the latter made a move- 
ment to capture the stores at Albemarle Old Court- 
house. By a rapid march Lafayette interposed and 
offered battle ; but Lord Cornwallis, who seemed so 
eager, declined to attack his adversary ; and in the latter 
part of June retired slowly in tlie direction of the coast. 
Lafayette steadily followed. He had been reenforced 
on the Rapidan by nine hundred Pennsylvanians under 
General Anthony Wayne, the brave Pennsylvanian, who 
had been shot down at Stony Point, but had exclaimed 
to his men, " Carry me into the fort, for I will die at 
the head of my column ! " He had also been joined 
by an additional force of militia under General Steuben, 
and cautiously followed Lord Cornwallis down the Pe- 
ninsula, between the James and York. An indecisive 
encounter took j)lace at Williamsburg between the 
American advance force and the British rear, and a 
more important engagement followed at the old locality 
of Jamestown. 


This affair nearly proved a serious blow to Lafayette, 
and was a proof of the good generalship of Lord Corn- 
wallis. Sending emissaries into the American lines to 
rej)ort that he had crossed James River with the bulk 
of his force, Cornwallis laid an ambuscade, and induced 
General Wayne to attack him. A heavy fog assisted 
this ruse, and Wayne hurried forward to assail, as he 
supposed, the British rear-guard. In place of the rear- 
guard he encountered the British army, and was attacked 
by an overpowering force in front and flank. He nar- 
rowly escaped destruction, and only extricated himself 
by directing a sudden charge, and then as suddenly re- 
treating. The maneuver was so skillfully executed that 
Lord Cornwallis was unable to again strike him ; and 
crossing the James with his forces he fell back to Ports- 
mouth and then to Yorktown. 

Such had been the result of the great invasion of Vir- 
ginia. In a military point of view little had been ef- 
fected, but its effects had been disastrous. All Tide- 
water Virginia had been swept as by a tornado. The 
growing crops had been destroyed ; the grain burned in 
the mills ; the plantations laid waste ; and the horses 
and cattle either killed or carried off. Thirty thousand 
negroes had been taken away ; of whom twenty-seven 
thousand are said to have died of the small-pox or camp 
fever. The destruction of property was estimated at 
thirteen millions sterling. 

The only commentary made by Lafayette was that he 
" had given his lordship the disgrace of a retreat," and 
forced him to the cul de sac of Yorktown, where he must 



In the first days of autumn (1781), few persons in 
England or America suspected that the Revolution, with 
its shifting scenes and varying fortunes, was approach- 
ing its end. The British Government seemed as reso- 
lute as ever to continue hostilities until the American 
rebels submitted. Sir Henry Clinton occupied New 
York ; and Lord Cornwallis, after marching nearly un- 
opposed through Virginia, had retired to the strong po- 
sition of Yorktown, to await reenforcements. With the 
coming spring it seemed probable that a last campaign 
would decide the struggle, and force the worn-out rebels 
to surrender at discretion. 

Suddenly the whole prospect changed. Late in 
August Lafayette sent a dispatch to Washington on the 
Hudson, opposite New York, that the Count de Grasse, 
commanding a French fleet, . had sailed from St. Do- 
mingo for Chesapeake Bay, to cooperate in the move- 
ments against Lord Cornwallis. At this intelligence 
Washington's " soul was in arms." The Count de Ro- 
chambeau had landed in Connecticut with a force of 
6,000 men, and it seemed possible, with the assistance of 
this corps and the fleet of De Grasse, to hem in Lord 
Cornwallis and capture his army. 

The movement was at once decided upon. All de- 
pended ujoon concealing it until it would be too late to 
reenforce Cornwallis. Camps were ostentatiously laid 
out, opposite New York, in sight of the enemy ; a feigned 
assault was made on their posts ; and Rochambeau moved 


from Newport, as though to take part in these opera- 
tions. The movement southward then followed. Once 
begun it was unresting. On the 20th of August (1781), 
the American forces crossed the Hudson ; on the 2 2d 
Rochambeau arrived ; on the 25th the march began ; 
and on the 2d of September the army passed through 
Philadelphia without stopping, and hastened on toward 
the head of the Chesapeake. The shifting scenes re- 
sembled those of a " theatrical exhibition," is the com- 
ment of an eye-witness. Until the troops reached the 
Delaware the object of the movement was a mystery, 
especially to Sir Henry Clinton. Then it was seen that 
a great blow was to be struck in Virginia. 

The march through Philadelphia was a species of tri- 
umph. The windows were filled with ladies waging 
handkerchiefs and uttering exclamations of joy. The 
ragged " Continentals " came first, with their torn bat- 
tle-flags and cannon ; and the French followed in " gay, 
white uniforms faced with green," to the sound of mar- 
tial music. A long time had passed since Philadelphia 
had seen such a pageant ; the last resembling it had 
been the splendid " Mischianza " festival, devised by 
poor Andre, in the days of the British occupation. 

At the head of Elk the bulk of the forces were em- 
barked on transports which carried them down the 
Chesapeake ; and before the end of September the 
whole American army was concentrated at Williams- 

While these movements were taking place, important 
events had occurred in Virginia. Lord Cornwallis had 
erected works at YorktOwn, and was confident of his 
ability to repulse any assault. The movements of Wash- 
ington, and the approach of the Count de Grasse, were 


both unknown to him. He felt secure in his strong 
position, with only Lafayette opposed to him, and 
awaited, without apprehension, until he was reenforced 
by Sir Henry Clinton, or a fleet was sent to transfer him 
to New York. 

The movements of Lafayette ought to have warned 
him of his danger. A net was already drawn around 
him. While the main American force was facing him 
at Williamsburg, General Wayne, and General Nelson, 
who had succeeded Jefferson as Governor, were sent 
south of James River to prevent his escape to North 
Carolina. Lord Cornwallis was thus hemmed in by 
land, and the arrival of De Grasse would completely cut 
off his retreat by water. Lafayette was in the highest 
spirits. In a dispatch to Washington, he wrote : " Adieu, 
my dear General : I heartily thank you for having 
ordered me to remain in Virginia, and to your goodness 
to me I am owing the most beautiful prospect I may 
ever behold." 

The beautiful prospect was the capture of Lord Corja- 
wallis ; and the arrival of the French fleet (August 28, 
1781), seemed to render that event nearly certain. 
De Grasse appeared in the Chesapeake ; four men-of- 
war were sent to blockade the mouth of the York ; and 
a force of about three thousand men landed to reenforce 

In the midst of these movements a British fleet, of 
twenty ships, commanded by Admiral Graves, made its 
appearance at the mouth of the Chesapeake. De Grasse 
promptly sailed out to attack it, and a sharp action fol- 
lowed (September 7, 1781). Both sides sustained in- 
juries, but at sunset De Grasse retired, with two ships 
which he had captured, and Admiral Graves disappeared 
with his fleet northward. 


This eDgagement had taken place withiu hearing- of 
Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. The distant cannonade 
must have filled him with solicitude. His perilous situa- 
tion was now plain to him, and he sent urgent messa^-es 
to Clinton to reenforce him. Instead of the reenforce- 
ments the American army made its appearance, com- 
manded by Washington. 

The Commander-in-chief reached Williamsburs: be- 
fore the troops, on the 14th of September, and on the 
18th visited the Count de Grasse on board his flaaf- 
ship, the Ville de Paris, in Lynhaven Bay. De Grasse 
was plain and prompt in manners, and received his 
visitor with every mark of respect. The ships were 
manned, and a salute fired ; and Washington dined, 
and remained in consultation with the Count until sun- 
set. The plan of operations was agreed upon, and was 
to be carried into effect on the arrival of the American 
troops. Washington then returned to Williamsburg, in 
the midst of a second salute from the French ships". 

On the 25th of September the American forces were 
concentrated at Williamsburg, and ready to march on 
Yorktown. They numbered eleven or twelve thousand 
regulars, and about five thousand militia under General 
Nelson; and (September 28, 1781), the whole force ad- 
vanced to attack Lord Cornwallis. 

The march was a joyous affair. The troops were in 
the highest spirits and went on through the bright au- 
tumn weather with the light step of men who see vic- 
tory hovering in the air. The French in their new uni- 
forms, and the tattered " Old Continentals," were equally 
gay. To many of the former this was their first cam- 
paign, and they welcomed it with enthusiasm ; to almost 
all of the latter the great source of rejoicing was that it 



was probably their last. The war promised to come to 
an end now, and the weary veterans, who had followed 
Washington for so many years, would soon see wife and 
child asain in the dear old home. 

By sunset the little army had passed over the short 
distance, and bivouacked within about two miles of 

These movements preceding the famous " Siege of 
Yorktown " have been noticed in some detail ; they will 
interest the military student more than what followed 
them. The terrible wars of the nineteenth century have 
dwarfed these old skirmishes. We go back, in fancy, 
and listen with smiles to the shouting and hurrahing ; to 
the patriotic acclamations, and the glowing descriptions 
of the great combat. The scene, we are told, was " sub- 
lime and stupendous." The bomb-shells were seen 
" crossing each other's path in the air, and were visible 
in the form of a black ball in the day, but in the night 
they appear like a fiery meteor, with a blazing tail, most 
beautifully brilliant." These fearful emissaries "ascend 
majestically from the mortar to a certain altitude, and 
gradually descend to the spot where they are destined 
to execute their work of destruction." One remarkable 
circumstance is noticed : " When a shell falls, it wheels 
round, burrows and excavates the earth to a considera- 
ble extent, and bursting makes dreadful havoc around." 
When these beautifully brilliant meteors fall in York 
River the sight is no less stupendous. They " throw up 
columns of water like the spouting monsters of the 

In such glowing terms does patriotic Dr. Thacher 
describe the fearful ordeal to which the enemy were 
subjected. The day of fate has dawned at last for the 


detestable British. Their fearful crimes will be avenged. 
They are to wilt away and vanish in the midst of the 
havoc and destruction of this sublime and stupendous 
storm of meteors and monsters. 

Let us attemjDt to close our ears to the din and see 
through the battle-smoke. About sixteen thousand 
men were attacking about eight thousand behind breast- 
works, and they began by shelling each other. The 
position of the English may be described in a few words. 
Yorktown was a small village on the south bank of York 
River, where it empties into Chesapeake Bay. On 
the north bank, opposite, was Gloucester Point, also 
held by the English. The Yorktown position was 
strong. It was flanked by water-courses, and the ap- 
proach was difficult. Lord Cornwallis had thrown up 
redoubts connected by intrenchments, and in front was 
an abatis of felled trees, commanded by his cannon. 
Gloucester Point, across the river, was also fortified, and 
some English men-of-war lay in the York. Thus posted, 
Lord Cornwallis awaited attack. 

Washington's line formed a crescent, the right and 
left resting on the water. On the right were the Ameri- 
can troops under immediate command of Lafayette, on 
the left the French under command of Rochambeau. 
The fleet of De Grasse was in the bay cutting off the 
approach by water. 

Affairs proceeded deliberately. A parallel was opened 
by the Americans within six hundred yards of the 
works; and (October 9, 1781), Washington himself put 
the match to the first gun, and the cannonade began. 
It was kept up, nearly without ceasing by both sides, 
for three or four days, and was accompanied by some 
interestinoj incidents. The " Nelson House," in York- 


town, was supposed to be the headquarters of Lord 
Cornwallis, and General Nelson discovering that the 
American gunners refrained from firing at it, dismounted 
from his horse and directed a gun at it with his own 
hands. Another incident was the appearance of the 
venerable Secretary Nelson, who had left the town by 
permission of Lord Cornwallis, and reaching Washing- 
ton's quarters, " related with a serene visage what had 
been the effect of our batteries." One spectacle fur- 
nished some justification of the excited rhetoric of the 
historians of the siege. Hot shot were fired at the 
Charon and Guadalupe, the two British men-of-war 
lying in the river ; they were struck and set on fire, and 
their appearance is described as " full of terrible gran- 
deur." The sails caught, and the flames ran to the sum- 
mits of the masts, resembling immense torches. The 
crew of the Guadalupe managed to extinguish them 
and save their vessel, but the Charon fled like a moun- 
tain of fire toward the bay, and was completely de- 

From this moment the siege was pressed vigorously, 
a second parallel drawn, and Washington resolved to 
storm the place. It was arranged that Alexander 
Hamilton should lead the Americans on the right, and 
the Baron de Viomenil the French, holding the left. 
The Auvergne regiment was in front there, formerly 
known as the " d' Auvergne sans tache," and the men 
promised Viomenil that if he would have their old name 
restored to them they would die to the last man. 

About nightfall (October 14, 1781) rockets were sent 
up as the signal for attack. It was made with the bayo- 
net, without firing. The Americans passed over the 
abatis, with Hamilton leading them, and he was the 


first to mount the works, which he did by placing 
his foot on the shoulder of one of his men. The re- 
doubts were taken at the point of the bayonet, and the 
Americans uttered a loud cheer. On the left the work 
was harder ; the attack had been made more delib- 
erately, and the troops suffered heavily- from having 
stoj)ped to remove the abatis. Hamilton sent Viomenil 
word that his redoubt was carried ; — where was the 
Baron ? 

" Tell the Marquis," said Viomenil, " that I am not 
in mine, but will be in five minutes." 

The works there also were soon carried, and the 
Auversjne regiment won back their old name. The 
losses were considerable, but the whole British line of 
works was now captured. Small incidents of the time 
were afterwards recalled and recorded. Washins^ton 
was in one of his batteries, awaiting the result with 
great anxiety. The position was exposed, and an aide- 
de-camp ventured to suggest the fact, when he said in 
his grave voice : — 

" If you think so, you are at liberty to step back, sir." 

A bullet struck a cannon at his side, when General 
Knox suddenly grasped his arm, exclaiming : — 

" My dear General, we can't spare you yet." 

" It is a spent ball, no harm is done," Washington 
replied. When the works were carried on the right and 
left, and the long shout of the French and Americans 
was heard, he turned to Knox and said : — 

" The work is done, and well done." 

The work was in fact done. The occupation of the 
outer line of redoubts by the Americans virtually de- 
cided the contest. The English still held an inner line, 
but these were commanded by the American artillery, 


and Lord Cornwallis saw that affairs were desperate. 
" My situatlou now becomes very critical," he wrote to 
Sir Henry Clinton. " We dare not show a gun to their 
old batteries, and I expect that their new ones will open 
to-morrow mornino-." He added the magnanimous words. 
" I cannot recommend that the fleet and army should 
run great risk in endeavoring to save us ; " — words that 
show that his lordship was a soldier and a gentleman. 

Before daybreak on the 16th an effort was made to 
check the assailants, and Colonel Abercrombie with 
three hundred and fifty men, gallantly captured one of 
the new redoubts in front of the French. But he was 
soon driven out of it again, and the fate of Lord Corn- 
wallis was decided. He made a last desperate attempt 
to burst out of the net tightening around him. He 
hoped by crossing to Gloucester Point, mounting his 
men, and pushing across the Rappahannock and Poto- 
mac, to reach New York. One division had actually 
crossed, when a great storm arose. The boats were 
scattered and driven down the river ; the embarkation 
of the second division was rendered impossible, and the 
first division was forced finally to return to Yorktown 
under the fire of the American cannon. 

This was the end. Lord Cornwallis sent a flasj to 
Washington (October 17, 1781), proposing a cessation 
of the firing for twenty-four hours, to discuss terms of 
surrender. But Washington would only consent that 
the firing should cease for two hours, during which time 
he requested that his lordship would make his proposal. 
This was necessary ; every hour counted now. British 
reeuforcements might arrive at any moment. If Lord 
Cornwallis were going to surrender, the business might 
be transacted without delay. Commissioners were ac- 


cordingly appointed and met at the Moore House — the 
old " Temple Farm," which had once been the residence 
of Governor Alexander Spotswood. rhe terms were 
transcribed and sent to Lord Cornwallis early on the 
morning of the 19th; and Washington requested him 
to return them signed by eleven in the forenoon, and 
that the garrison should march out at two on the same 

The terms were assented to, and the capitulation 
signed by Lord Cornwallis. The British forces were 
surrendered as prisoners of war to the combined 
armies : the marine forces to the French, and the land 
forces to the Americans. The officers were to retain 
their side-arms, and both officers and soldiers their pri- 
vate property. 

At about noon (October 19, 1781), the American 
army was drawn up in two lines about a mile long, on 
the right and left of a road running through the fields 
south of Yorktown. On the right were the American 
troops under personal command of Washington, on the 
left the French under Rochambeau ; and a great crowd 
of people had hastened to witness the ceremony. It 
took place at the hour appointed. The British troops 
marched slowly out of Yorktown, with drums beating 
but colors cased, — an indignity which had been inflicted 
on General Lincoln at Charleston. The Enmish com- 
mander did not appear. General O'Hara, who was in 
command, rode up to Washington, saluted, and apolo- 
gized for the absence of Lord Cornwallis, who was un- 
well. Washington saluted in response, and pointed to 
General Lincoln as the officer who would receive the 
surrender. O'Hara then presented Lord Cornwallis' 
sword to Lincoln, it was at once returned to him, and 


the surrender was over. The British marched between 
the American lines to a field near at hand, where they 
stacked arms. Their demeanor was gloomy and in- 
censed. Some of them hurled their muskets on the 
ground, and Colonel Abercrombie bit the hilt of his 
sword from rage. The troops were then marched back 
to Yorktown under an American guard. 

On this same day, and nearly at the hour when Lord 
Cornwallis surrendered. Sir Henry Clinton sailed from 
New York with thirty-five ships and seven thousand 
men to reenforce him. 



The surrender of Lord Cornwallis virtually termi- 
nated the Revalutionary War. In the spring of the next 
year Lord North retired and was succeeded by the Mar- 
quis of Rockingham, at the head of an anti-war ministr3^ 
Orders were sent to the British commanders in America 
to discontinue hostilities ; and (September 3, 1783), a 
definitive treaty of peace was signed, by which Great 
Britain recognized the independence of the American 

After a long and often doubtful struggle, the Ameri- 
cans had thus achieved their independence. What were 
they to do with it ? As long as the war continued it 
was useless to agitate that question. Now it pressed 
upon the country and must be decided. The old Arti- 
cles of Confederation, framed during the storm and 
stress of the first years of the struggle, were felt to be 
"a rope of sand." The American States were either to 
set up as separate nations, or to enter into a durable 


union ; and the latter jDolicy was strongly urged by Vir- 
ginia. It is necessary to state this fact ; the " States- 
right," record of the Commonwealth has produced the 
impression that the sentiment of union was not strong 
in the people. The contrary is the fact. From the 
first, the Virginians were the foremost advocates of 
union, and made every sacrifice to effect it. 

To bring it about, Vii-ginia began by surrendering a 
principality. The entire region beyond the Ohio, now 
the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, was a part of 
her domain under her charter. Her right to it rested 
upon as firm a basis as the right of any other Common- 
wealth to her own domain, and if there was any ques- 
tion of the Virginia title by charter, she could assert her 
right by conquest. The region had been wrested from 
the British by a Virginian commanding Virginia troops ; 
the people had taken " the oath of allegiance to the 
Commonwealth of Virginia ; " and her title to the en- 
tire territory was thus indisputable. Nevertheless it 
was called in question. It was said that the American 
Union — before there was any union — had succeeded 
to all the rights of the Croivn. But the reply to this was 
fatal. The Crown had ruled as of sovereign right ; had 
appointed governors, privy councilors, magistrates, and 
military officials ; and had vetoed the legislation of the 
Colonies at its will. The true theory was unassailable. 
The country north of the Ohio River was a part of Vir- 
ginia under her original charter ; remained a portion 
of her domain when, in May 1776, she declared herself 
an independent Commonwealth, before there was any 
union ; and she herself succeeded to all the rights of 
the Crown. 

These rights she now abandoned ; and her action was 


the result of an enlarged patriotism and devotion to the 
cause of union. The Articles of Confederation had 
not been adopted by all the Colonies ; some of them still 
held back. They were unwilling to recognize the Vir- 
ginia title, but would " accede to the Confederation pro- 
vided Congress would fix the western limits of the States 
claiming to extend to the Mississippi, or the South Sea.'' 
The issue was thus distinctly presented ; the surrender 
of the territory and union, or its retention and disunion. 
Virginia decided for union, and (January, 1781), agreed 
to cede the country to the Federal government ; in 1783 
Congress accepted her terms ; and in 1787 passed an 
ordinance for the government of the territory. 

This stumbling-block had thus been removed by the 
magnanimity of Virginia, and the Colonies holding back 
had siofned the Articles of Confederation. These were 
now, however, seen to be wholly inadequate to the gov- 
ernment of the country ; and in January, 1786, Virginia 
recommended a General Convention to make such altera- 
tions in the old articles as were necessary for " the exi- 
gencies of the Union." The rest of the States acquiesced, 
and (May 25, 1787), all but Rhode Island met in con- 
sultation at Philadelphia. Washington was elected 
President of the Convention, and it at once proceeded 
to the great business before it. The discussion of the 
terms of the proposed Union lasted from spring to au- 
tumn, and was conducted with great excitement, and 
often with bitterness. The smaller States were under the 
apprehension that they were to be sacrificed to the larger, 
but these fears were at length overcome, and (Septem- 
ber 17, 1787), a Constitution was agreed upon which 
was to be submitted to conventions of the people of the 
several States, to be by them adopted or rejected. 


A passionate agitation followed in Virginia. The peo- 
ple were divided into two great parties, and the Consti- 
tution was supported or denounced in discussions of 
unheard-of bitterness. Nothing else was spoken of. 
Speakers traveled over the State addressing the people 
of every county. In town and country the only topic 
was the " new plan of government." 

The Virginia Convention met at Richmond, now the 
seat of government (June 2, 1788), and consisted of one 
hundred and sixty-eight members. Edmund Pendleton 
was elected President, and the struggle at once beg^n. 
To conceive an idea of its vehemence it is necessary to 
read the old volume containing a report of the debates. 
It was a bitter and prolonged conflict, and the first men 
of the Commonwealth were arrayed against each other. 
Patrick Henry was passionately opposed to the new 
Constitution. He said that he " saw poison under its 
wings ; " and that it " squinted toward monarchy ; " that 
it was naked consolidation ; surrendered the rights of 
the States ; and evil was certain to arise from it. Per- 
sonal attacks were made on the motives and consistency 
of members. Henry and his old friend Edmund Ran- 
dolph had a sharp passage-of-arms, and Henry ex- 
claimed : " If our friendship must fall, let it fall like 
Lucifer, never to rise again ! " He was supported in 
his opposition by George Mason and James Monroe. 
Mason had set his face against the rnstrument in Phila- 
delphia, and now again denounced it. It was a national 
not a federal government, he declared ; the power con- 
ferred on the President was overwhelming ; the Supreme 
Court, which was to judge of the law and the fact, would 
destroy the liberties of the people. He and Madison, 
like Henry and Randolph, came nearly to personal col- 


lision, and the struggle went on obstinately. The Con- 
stitution had strong suj^porters. John Marshall, after- 
wards Chief Justice of the United States, was its per- 
sistent advocate. He was an immense power in himself, 
and had at his back Edmund Pendleton, James Innes, 
Francis Corbin, George Nicholas, and General Henry 
Lee, the " Light Horse Harry " of the war ; above all 
James Madison, who fought for the Constitution at every 
step, and was the leader of the party in favor of it, as 
Patrick Henry was the leader of the party opposed 
to' it. 

The struggle continued until the latter part of June. 
Then it was seen that the Constitution would be adopted 
if the amendments proposed by Virginia were concurred 
in. The important question next arose whether these 
amendments should be previous or subsequent ; whether 
Virginia should insist upon them as conditions precedent 
to her ratification, or leave them for subsequent legisla- 
tion. The latter course was decided upon, and (June 
25, 1788), the final vote was taken. Eighty-nine votes 
were cast in the affirmative and seventy-nine in the nega- 
tive. Virirlnia had thus ratified the Federal Constitu- 
tion by a majority of ten, in a Convention consisting of 
one hundred and sixty-eight members. The form of the 
ratification gave rise later to interminable discussions. 
Virginia had declared that " the powers granted under 
the Constitution being derived from the people of the 
United States, may be resumed by them whenever the 
same may be perverted to their injury or oppression ; 
and that every power not granted thereby remains 
with them and at their will." It was not maintained 
by any statesman of that time, that the phrase " the 
people of the United States," signified the people of 


the whole country welded into one nation, in which 
the majority was to rule without regard to State bounda- 
ries. That theory was reserved for the after-time, and 
lias not yet established itself. What the future will 
bring is yet to be seen. The Virginia amendments were 
generally adopted, and the Constitution went into opera- 
tion. Washington was elected President by a unani- 
mous vote, and the career of the American Republic 
thus began. 



The adoption of the Federal Constitution marks 
the limits of a history of Virginia proper. Henceforth 
the affairs of the Commonwealth are inseparably bound 
uj) with those of the whole country, and to write the 
history of the one would be to write the history of the 

That subject is much too large for a work like the 
present, which has had a distinct aim, — to trace the 
origin and development of Virginia society through its 
various phases until it assumed the aspect which it pre- 
sents in the nineteenth century. It is impossible to treat 
here of the rise and progress of parties, of the views of 
the people on questions of foreign and domestic policy, 
and all that properly constitutes the political history of 
a country. Such a narrative would be voluminous, and 
exceed the limits proposed to himself by the author of 
this work. Other objections exist to a detailed history 
of the post-Revolutionary epoch. Up to the period of 
the great civil convulsion, the events of Virginia history 
are comparatively uninteresting. At long intervals an 


incident occurs deserving attention, but these incidents 
are few in number, — what chiefly attracts notice and re- 
quires mention, is the change in society following the 
ascendency of the Republican party under the leader- 
ship of Jefferson, which began with the beginning of 
the century. 

After the year 1800 Virginia gradually assumed a 
new physiognomy. Dress and manners underwent a 
change. The aristocratic planter of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, with his powder and silk stockings, gave place to 
the democratic citizen, with his plain clothes and plain 
manners. The theories of Jefferson, who received the 
name of the " Apostle of Democracy," were adopted as 
the rule of society, and pervaded the entire community. 
Class distinctions were ignored as a remnant of social 
superstition. The country was disposed to laugh even 
at the manners of the first administration, when Presi- 
dent Washington received Congress, standing grandly 
in full court costume, sword at side, offering no one his 
hand, and never relaxing from his august dignity. The 
people much preferred Jefferson, the head of the new 
order of things, who was familiar with every one, tied 
his shoes with a leathern string, rode to the Capitol 
without an escort, and would not allow himself to be 
addressed as " Your Excellency," or even as " Honora- 
ble." Democratic equality had become the watchword, 
and controlled society ; a brusque address had taken the 
place of the old ceremonious courtesy ; and the States- 
rights party in Virginia, as elsewhere, seemed to have 
sworn, not only political but social antagonism to the 
old Federal party. 

Many of the descendants of the former planters con- 
tinued to cling to the past, and lament the change which 


had taken place ; but it was seen, even by these, that 
the old regime had passed away never to return. The 
style of living of the eighteenth century was no longer 
possible. The descendant of the " nabob " had become 
a gentleman of limited means. The old jjlantation of 
thousands of acres had dwindled down to a few hun- 
dreds. The traditional influence of the ancient families 
bad in large measure disappeared with their great landed 
possessions ; and it was plain that the inexorable nine- 
teenth century was slowly effacing the impression of the 
preceding age from Virginia society. 

The change was gradual, and is still in progress, but 
cannot be said to have essentially altered the peculiar 
characteristics of the race. The old manner of livius: 
has disapjoeared with failing fortunes, and the energy of 
the nineteenth century is steadily infusing itself into 
the Virginia blood ; but the traits of the people remain 
nearly the same. The Virginian of the present time 
has ingrained in his character the cordial instincts, 
and spirit of courtesy and hospitality which marked his 
ancestors. He has the English preference for the life 
of the country to the life of the city ; is more at home 
among green fields and rural scenes than in streets ; 
loves horses and dogs, breeds of cattle, the sport of fox- 
hunting, wood-fires, Christmas festivities, the society of 
old neighbors, political discussions, traditions of this or 
that local celebrity, and to entertain everybody to the 
extent of, and even beyond his limited means. Many 
of these proclivities have been laughed at, and the peo- 
ple have been criticized as provincial and narrow- 
minded ; but after all it is good to love one's native soil, 
and to cherish the home traditions which give charac- 
ter to a race. Of the Virginians it may be said that 


they have objected in all times to being rubbed down to 
a uniformity with all the rest of the world, and that 
they have generally retained the traits which character- 
ized their ancestors. 

The last years of the century were marked by the 
great struggle between the Federalists and Republi- 
cans, and the action of Virginia on the Alien and Sedi- 
tion Laws. These acts of the Adams administration, 
aimed at French emissaries who were disturbing the 
public peace, punished with fine and imprisonment all 
persons who should utter or print " false, scandalous, and 
malicious " charges against the Government, Congress, 
or President ; and empowered the President to send out 
of the country " all such aliens as he shall judge danger- 
ous to the peace and safety of the United States." At 
these enactments Virginia took fire. They were de- 
nounced as a gross invasion of the liberty of the citizen, 
and Jefferson, the leader of the Republican party, sent 
to Kentucky a series of resolutions which were passed 
by the Assembly there in November, 1798, asserting 
that all acts of the General government, exceeding the 
powers delegated by the Constitution, were "void and 
of no effect," and that each jDarty to the federal com- 
pact had "an equal right to judge for itself, as well of in- 
fractions, as of the mode and measure of redress." This 
action of Kentucky, the daughter of Virginia, was soon 
followed in Viroinia. The State beo^an to arm. The 
Assembly directed the erection of two arsenals and an 
armory sufficient to store ten thousand muskets; and 
(December 2, 1798) passed, by a vote of one hundred 
against sixty-three, the celebrated " Resolutions of 

These resolutions are the authoritative exposition of 


the fundamental principle of the Virginia States-rights 
party — that a strict, not a latitudinarian construction 
naust be placed on the powers granted to the Federal 
government. They declared that the people of Vir- 
ginia were warmly attached to the Union ; that they 
were ready to maintain and defend it ; but that the au- 
thority of the General government was limited by the 
plain meaning and intent of the compact ; and that in 
case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise 
of other powers, the States have the right, and ought 
to interpose. The Alien and Sedition Laws were de- 
clared to be an exercise of such other powers — the first 
of a power not delegated, and the last of a power for- 
bidden. Against both the Virginia Assembly protested, 
referring to the terms in which the State had ratified 
the Federal Constitution, and a solemn appeal was made 
to the other States to unite with the Commonwealth ia 
her protest. 

It is not necessary here to enter into any discussion 
of these resolutions ; but it is curious to notice how the 
practical importance of the principles laid down in them, 
came in time to be denied. An eminent statesman and 
writer of the last generation, John Pendleton Kennedy, 
said : " These resolutions, so noted, have already served 
out their time, and have been cast into the great receptor 

cle of abstractions They are now seen only as a 

buoy floating where there is no shoal.'' Events occur- 
ring on Virginia soil about ten years afterwards were a 
terrible commentary on this dictum of one of the most 
intellijxent Americans of his time. 

In the midst of the political turmoil, the two greatest 

Virginians of the<century expired. Patrick Henry died 

in June, knd Washington in December, 1799 ; and the 


disappearance of these two great figures profoundly im- 
pressed the people. The passionate eloquence of one 
had aroused the colonies to resistance, and the soldier- 
ship 01 the other had placed America among the nations 
of the world. These two men had filled so great a 
space in the history of the country, that they fell like 
monarchs, and the old age with its great actors seemed 
to have passed away with them. Both died in the 
Christian faith, and Henry wrote in his will, " I have 
now disposed of all my property to my family ; there 
is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is 
the Christian religion. If they have that and T had 
not given them one shilling they would be rich ; and if 
they have not that and I had given them all this world 
they would be poor." 

Two trials which took place in Virginia in the first 
years of the new century, assumed the importance of 
historical events. One of these was the trial in 1800 
of John Thompson Callender, under the Alien and Sedi- 
tion Laws, for attacking President Adams in an acrimo- 
nious pamphlet styled, " The Prospect Before Us." The 
attack was not only violent — what was much worse, 
it was amusing. Mr. Adams was described as a " hoary- 
headed incendiary," who floated on " a mere bladder of 
popularity ; " and never " opened his lips, or lifted his 
pen without threatening and scolding." The design of 
the scold and incendiary was said to be to betray the 
American people "into an alliance with the British 
tyrant ; " and on these false and scandalous charges, 
Callender, who lived at Petersburg, was arrested, and 
arraigned before Judge Chase, Associate Justice of the 
Supreme Court. 

The trial took place at Richmond (June, 1800), and 


proved a farce, except to the unlucky Callender. Judge 
Chase lost his temper ; the counsel for the defense re- 
tired from the case ; and under the instructions of the 
court that the laws were there and ought to be respected, 
the jury found Callender guilty, and fixed his punish- 
ment at two hundred dollars fine, and nine months' im- 
prisonment. Such was the issue of this famous case. 
It had far-reaching consequences. The Federalists had 
signed their own death-warrant. The Alien and Sedition 
Laws were already immensely unpopular. The whole 
country rose in indignation. And at the next Presi- 
dential election Thomas Jefferson, the head of the Re- 
publican party, became President of the United States. 

The second trial alluded to was that of Aaron Burr 
for treason against the United States. This remarkable 
person, as much distinguished for ability as for his want 
of principle, had been a great political power in New 
York ; had nearly defeated Jefferson for the Presidency, 
and been chosen Vice-President ; but, losing public con- 
fidence, had conceived the design either of invading 
Mexico, or of separating the Southwestern States from 
the Union. He was arrested in the midst of his opera- 
tions and brought to Richmond, where he was arraigned 
on the charge of treason. Judge Marshall presided, 
and the trial became a great political combat. Presi- 
dent Jefferson was known to be bitterly hostile to his 
old opponent, and interposed in the case. He was 
charged with saying that the " impudent Federal bull- 
doc»-." Luther Martin, counsel for Burr, must be " muz- 
zled ; " and Federalists and Republicans hastened to 
take sides and make the affair a political issue. The 
only person who remained calm was the Judge, John 
Marshall. He held the balances in his firm grasp and 


opposed his judicial authority to that of Jefferson, who 
was throwing the whole weight of his official influence 
against Burr. He even proceeded to the length of din- 
ing with Burr, which subjected him to bitter criticism ; 
but it was not the habit of this great man to care for criti- 
cism in the discharge of his duty. In spite of every at- 
tempt to convict Burr, the jury, with John Randolph of 
Roanoke, for foreman, brought in the verdict : " Aaron 
Burr is not proved to be guilty, under the indictment, 
by any evidence submitted to us ; " and the political in- 
triguer who had slain Hamilton, and shipwrecked a great 
career by trickery and deceit, was discharged from cus- 

This trial is remarkable for the association in it of 
three celebrated figures. The one was John Marshall, 
the great republican judge, who, after fighting in the 
Revolution, had returned to Virginia, paid his last 
guinea to the clergyman who married him, and had 
steadily risen to the greatest offices in the gift of the 
people, until he became the head of the Federal judici- 
ary, where he threw the weight of his immense intellect 
in favor of the Federal construction of the Constitution. 
The second figure, Randolph of Roanoke, was that 
of the eccentric politician, the wonderful orator, the 
master of philippic, who, beginning his long career by 
making his first public speech against Patrick Henry's 
last, was to become the great States-right champion, and 
to die in harness, denouncing Jackson for his Force proc- 
lamation against South Carolina. The third figure was 
that of Burr, the serene and smiling political gymnast, 
who had narrowly escaped becoming President of the 
United States, but had overreached himself, and from 
this time forward was a wanderer on the face of the 


earth. It was a singular chance which had thus brouo-ht 
for a moment, face to face with each other, these three 
contrasted types of American character. 

Two sinister events of the first half century, were the 
servile insurrections headed by Gabriel and Turner: 
the one in 1800, and the other in 1831. The immedi- 
ate cause of these strange affairs has never been ascer- 
tained ; as far as the record goes they were both the re- 
sult of a frenzied desire to shed blood, without further 
aims. Gabriel, the leader of the first rising in the sum- 
mer of 1800, was a slave belonging to a farmer near 
Richmond, about twenty-four years of age, tall and pow- 
erful in person, and with a grim and " insidious " face 
scarred by fighting. He drew a large number of negroes 
into his plot : to attack Richmond, put the citizens to 
death, seize the public arms, and produce a general in- 
surrection. Assembling a force, armed with scythe 
blades, on a night of August, he marched on Richmond, 
but was stopped by a violent storm. A creek in front 
was found to be impassable, and intelligence reached 
Gabriel that his plot was discovered. The insurgents 
at once scattered and took refuge in the woods and 
swamps. Many were captured and executed, among 
them Gabriel, all whose ferocity abandoned him as he 
was conducted to the gallows. 

The second insurrection took 23lace in the county of 
Southampton, south of James River toward the coast, in 
the summer of 1831. The leader's name, in this case, 
was Nat Turner, a negro of feeble person but great 
cunning. He passed, among his jDeople, as a prophet, 
and, like Gabriel, conceived the design of exterminating 
the whites. He seems to have had no express provoca- 
tion. He afterwards stated that his master had always 


treated him kindly, and his motives remain unknown. 
His proceedings were singular. He traced with blood, 
on a sheet of paper, mystic numbers and the figures of 
a sun and a crucifix ; showed the paper mysteriously to 
the negroes ; informed them that great events were 
near ; and the whole black population soon thrilled with 
vague excitement. Turner is said to have traveled with 
his bloody hieroglyphics, through the whole south-side 
of James River, but the subsequent rising was confined 
to Southampton. The brutal details of what followed, 
may be summed up in a few words. Turner attacked 
his master's house (August 21, 1831), killed him and 
his wife and children with the axe ; plundered the es- 
tablishment; proceeded further and killed a lady and 
her ten children ; then a number of school-girls in an 
old field-school ; and lastly a lady and all her children, 
who were shot down as they endeavored to escape. The 
neofroes were now drunk with blood, and marched on 
Jerusalem, the county-seat. But the county had been 
aroused. A party of citizens, armed with guns, attacked 
them and they fled to the swamps, where many of them 
were killed and the rest captured. Fifty-five white per- 
sons had been put to death, almost all of them women 
and children, and twenty-one of the insurgents were 
brought back to Jerusalem. Of these, thirteen were 
hung, among them Nat Turner, who never explained 
his motives in the insurrection. 

The origin of these uprisings, the first and last which 
have taken place in Virginia, is unknown. The plausi- 
ble theory that they were the result of cruelty is not 
supported by the facts. It is to be presumed that if 
cruelty had been exercised the fact would have been 
urged in mitigation of punishment ; but the plea was 


not made, and Turner expressly disclaimed it. The 
naked fact remains, that the two leaders worked on the 
passions and superstition of their people; persuaded 
them that the time had come to put the white race to 
death ; and that they proceeded to do so. 

A terrible domestic tragedy was the destruction, by 
iSre, of the theatre at Richmond (December 26, 1811), 
by which seventy persons were burned to death, or after- 
wards died of their injuries. The fire took place dur- 
ing the performance of a drama called " The Bleeding 
Nun," and was caused by a spark falling on the curtain 
of the stage. The scene which followed was piteous. 
The people in the pit escaped easily, but those in the 
boxes crowded together in the narrow lobby and were 
unable to extricate themselves. The house was soon a 
mass of flames and suffocating vapor. Piercing cries 
were heard ; the strong trampled on the weak ; the 
clothes of men and women caught fire; many leaped 
from the windows and were maimed or killed; the 
spectacle was heart-rending. In the midst of the terror 
there were incidents which touch the common heart of 
all humanity. Fathers who were separated from their 
children rushed back into the flames to save them. Hus- 
bands and wives refused to leave each other and died 
tocrether. The cry of a bereaved father to another ex- 
presses the anguish of the time : " Yesterday a beloved 
daucrhter gladdened my heart by her innocent smiles ; 
to-day she is in heaven. My dear, dear, Margaret, and 
your sweet Mary, with her companions, passed together, 
and at once, into a happier world." Many distinguished 
persons perished, among them the Governor of Virginia; 
and the Senate of the United States, adopting the same 
action as the Virginia Assembly, resolved, that the mem- 


bers would wear crape for thirty days as a testimony of 
the public mourning. 

A single event connected Virginia with the War of 
1812-13. Admiral Cockburn, commanding a British 
fleet, had laid waste the banks of the Chesapeake and 
committed outrages which drew down public execration 
upon his head ; but a force of Virginians, at Craney 
Island (June 22, 1813), repulsed an assault of the 
enemy ; Norfolk was preserved from plunder ; and the 
British fleet soon afterwards disappeared. 

The year 1819 was marked by the establishment of 
the University of Virginia, — the pet project of Thomas 
Jefferson, who took the warmest interest in it, and saw 
it go into successful operation. Some dates in reference 
to additional collegiate institutes in Virginia may in- 
terest the reader. Others already existing, or soon es- 
tablished, were William and Mary, at Williamsburg, 
which continued to hold an important position ; Hamp- 
den-Sydney, in Prince Edward (Presbyterian), founded 
in 1774; Randolph-Macon, now at Ashland, 1832; and 
Emory and Henry, in Washington, 1838 (both Metho- 
dist) : the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary, 
near Alexandria, 1823 (Episcopal) ; Richmond College, 
at Richmond, 1840 (Baptist) ; Washington College, now 
Washington and Lee University, at Lexington, 1782; 
and the Virginia Military Institute, also at Lexington, 
opened in 1839. 

In 1829 a convention assembled at Richmond to re- 
vise the Constitution, which is said to have embraced 
more distinguished men than any other public body 
which ever sat in the United States. Among these 
were two ex-Presidents, Madison and Monroe, Chief 
Justice Marshall, John Randolph, and other Virginians 


who had occupied important positions under the State 
or Federal government. The Convention sat through- 
out the winter of 1829-30, and discussed elaborately 
every question connected with the right of suffrage. 
Important changes were made in the old Constitution, 
but it is not now necessary to particularize them since a 
second Virginia Convention in 1850 continued the work ; 
other changes, made since the Civil War, have in turn 
revolutionized the whole instrument ; and the Constitu- 
tion of Virginia in 1882, bears little resemblance to 
that framed by the Virginians of 1776. 

Virginia had remained firmly attached to the princi- 
ple of States-rights set forth at the end of the century, 
and the seven States'-rights presidents selected from her 
soil seem to indicate that the American people have 
had faith in the principle. In the year 1832 President 
Jackson re-aroused this dangerous issue. His design to 
use armed force, to coerce South Carolina into obedience 
to the Federal authority, was resolutely opposed by Vir- 
ginia ; and John Randolph, the representative in all 
years of Virginia sentiment, rose from his sick-bed to 
travel through the country and bitterly denounce the 
administration. The position assumed by Virginia was, 
however, that of a pacificator, which she was afterwards 
to assume on a greater occasion. She sent Benjamin 
Watkins Leigh, one of her most illustrious citizens, as a 
commissioner to South Carolina, and the storm which 
threatened the Union was for the time dissipated. 

With these events beyond her border, as with the 
Mexican War in 1846, and other national occurrences, 
Virginia had no further connection than through the 
part borne in them by her citizens. The Common- 
wealth remained at peace and no internal dissensions agi- 


tated society. The shadow of the future had not fallen 
upon the land. The fields were blooming with plenty ; 
public improvements occupied the minds of the people ; 
and a peaceful and prosperous future seemed to be be- 
fore the ancient Commonwealth. Unhappily the Vir- 
ginians deceived themselves. The Power which moves 
nations, as the wind moves the dry leaves, was about to 
inflict upon the country the most terrible of all scourges, 
— Civil War. 



The modern Virginia literature is essentially the 
same as the old, and has the same peculiar physiog- 
nomy. Both are redolent of the soil, and reflect the 
opinions, the modes of thought, and the point of view 
of the authors. 

The Revolutionary period was only marked by some 
acrimonious pamphlets on the Two Penny Act : " An 
Enquiry into the Rights of the British Colonies," by 
Richard Bland (1766) ; Jefferson's " Summary View;" 
and "Notes on Virginia," by the same author (1782), 
presenting a plain and compendious account of the Com- 
monwealth. The State papers of the time are the real 
Virginia literature of the period : the Bill of Rights, 
the Declaration of Independence, the twenty-nine num- 
bers of the " Federalist," written by James Madison, 
and the Resolutions of '98, by the same author. 

Early in the century appeared the " Life of Wash- 
ington," by Chief Justice Marshall (5 vols., 1804-7). 
This work was the first great contribution to American 
historical literature, and was rather a political history 


than a mere biography. Its tone is grave and judicial, 
preserving everywhere a tone of considerate courtesy, 
and the v7ork deals with the great political issues of the 
time with candor and impartiality. A curious contrast 
to this important work, was a life of Washington by 
"Parson Weems," an eccentric clergyman, who trav- 
eled about during the first years of the century col- 
lecting every known anecdote or tradition connected with 
his subject. The result was a small volume which was 
the delight of his time. It still remains, in spite of its 
glaring defects, one of the books of the people, and is 
said to have " gone through more editions, and to have 
been read by more people than the lives of Marshall, 
Ramsay, Bancroft, and Irving put together." 

An excellent military biography written in the first 
years of the century, was "Memoirs of the War in 
the Southern Department of the United States" (1809), 
by General Henry Lee, the commander of the famous 
Legion in the wars of the Carolinas. This work is an 
important authority, is written in a spirit of great fair- 
ness, and " possesses the charm peculiar to writers who 
have witnessed the scenes which they describe." A new 
edition, with notes, was published in 1869, by General 
R. E. Lee, a son of the author, and the work remains 
the only full account of the operations in the South. 
Other valuable works were the " Life and Correspond- 
ence of Richard Henry Lee" (1825), and of Arthur 
Lee (1829), by their grandson, R. H. Lee, which pre- 
sent the intimate history of the times, and the great 
public actors. A popular biography, also essentially 
historic, was " Sketches of the Life of Patrick Henry " 
(1817), by William Wirt, who, although a native of 
Maryland, passed his life in Virginia. This work is 


valuable as the only general biography of the great 
orator ; but it must be added that it is excessively florid 
and inaccurate in essential particulars. Its fervor and 
rhetoric, however, continue to charm, and it is one of 
the most popular biographies in American literature. 
Valuable works of a later date, were the " Life of John 
Randolph" (1850), by Hugh A. Garland, and the 
" Life and Times of James Madison " (1859), by Wil- 
liam C. Rives — the first, written from the States'-rights 
point of view, and the latter containing a vigorous ex- 
position of the Cavalier origin of Virginia society. 

Three general histories of Virginia have appeared 
during the century : by John Daly Burk (1804), by 
Robert R. Howison (1847), and by Charles Campbell 
(1849, revised and enlarged 1860). The last is the 
most important, and is a work of genuine value. The 
author, Mr. Charles Campbell, was a gentleman of the 
old school ; an ardent and laborious student of Virginia 
antiquities ; collected every known fact in regard to the 
history of the Commonwealth, and has produced a nar- 
rative remarkable for its research and accuracy. The 
author's method of simply recording the events in the 
order of their dates, vras perhaps unfortunate ; he has 
done so, he declares, in order to leave the conclusions 
to " the faculty of every man's judgment ; " but the book 
remains the fullest repository of facts relating to the 
history of Virginia. A work of more contracted scope, 
but of peculiar interest, was Kercheval's "History of 
the Valley of Virginia," the most vivid and striking 
picture of the old life of the frontier in American lit- 
erature. The author was an aged countryman of the 
Shenandoah Valley, who traveled to and fro on horse- 
back through that region, collecting the traditions of the 


first settlement and the Indian wars. Many aged bor- 
derers still survived, and he wrote down their statements 
from their own lips. They related what they had wit- 
nessed, and described the old frontier life in all its phases ; 
and the book is thus the complete j^icture of an epoch. 
It was published in 1833 at the provincial press of Win- 
chester, and is so similar in spirit and treatment to the 
Chronicles of Froissart that its author may be styled the 
Froissart of Virginia. 

A work of unique character, which appeared in 1856, 
was "Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Vir- 
ginia," by the venerable William Meade, Bishop of 
Virginia. This book was the result of original re- 
searches in the parish registers of his diocese, of the 
examination of family records, and the writer's recol- 
lections. It is not only a history of the Episcopal 
Church, but may be called the genealogical history of 
Virginia. The author was imbued with a strong attach- 
ment for everything connected with the past ; and his 
work contains a multitude of details relating to old 
times and people in Virginia, which are not to be found 
anywhere else in print. 

In physical science the eminent name of Commander 
Matthew Fontaine Maury overshadows every other. 
His fame was national, and his " Physical Geography," 
and " Wind and Current Charts," obtained for him the 
name of the' Pathfinder of the Seas. As the head of 
the Hydrographical Office, Commander Maury instituted 
uniform observations of winds and currents, and after- 
wards reduced them to a system ; and it is not an exag- 
geration to say that the commerce of the world owes 
him an incalculable debt. 

In theology, one of the most distinguished of the 


early writers was Dr. Archibald Alexander, a native of 
Rockbridge, but best known as Professor of Theology 
at Princeton College. His " Evidences of Chris- 
tianity," and " Canon of Scripture," occupy a very high 
rank, and his memory is especially revered by the Pres- 
byterian Church, of which he was a pastor. Bishop 
Meade came later, and other prominent Virginia theolo- 
gians were Dr. John H. Rice, Professor in the Union 
Theological Seminary, the author of a " Memoir of 
Davies ; " Dr. J. B. Jeter, the author of " Campbellism 
Examined," and one of the ablest ministers of the Bap- 
tist Church ; Dr. R. L. Dabney, the author of " Po- 
lemical Theology," and Dr. Charles Porterfield Krauth, 
the most distinguished American advocate of the Lu- 
theran faith, who has translated the " Augsburg Confes- 
sion," and is the author of an important treatise con- 
trasting the Romish and Evangelical Mass. 

Among the works on constitutional and other law, 
written in Virginia, are the " Laws of Ancient and 
Modern Nations," by Professor Thomas R. Dew, 
'' Commentaries on the Laws of Virginia," by Judge 
Henry St. George Tucker ; and excellent manuals and 
digests by Conway Robinson, James P. Holcombe, and 
others. To the former department also belong the 
works of John Taylor, of Caroline, early in the century : 
" Construction Construed," and " Tyranny Unmasked," 
which ardently supported the States'-rights views of Jef- 
ferson. A recent volume on the same general subject, 
was " Seven Decades of the Union," by Governor Henry 
A. Wise, in which he develops his peculiar views with 
characteristic vigor. 

A few exquisite fugitive poems and songs have been 
written by Virginians : among them the " Belles of 


Williamsburg," by James McClurg, in the last century, 
and " Days of my Youth," by St. George Tucker. This 
little song is said to have produced so great an impres- 
sion on John Adams in his old age, that he declared he 
" would rather have written it than any lyric of Milton 
or Shakespeare." To these may be added the " Flor- 
ence Vane " of Philip Pendleton Cooke, a love-song, 
which has had the rare good fortune to touch the popu- 
lar heart ; and " Slain in Battle," by Mrs. Margaret J. 
Preston, which appeals to universal sympathy. To 
these might be added detached poems by James Barron 
Hope, the author of " Leoni de Minota," and W. Gor- 
don McCabe, who has produced songs of great delicacy. 
At an earlier period Richard Dabney translated por- 
tions of Euripides, Alcoeus, and Sappho, and William 
Munford, the Iliad of Homer, which is entitled to an 
honorable place in literature. Edgar A. Poe passed 
his early life in Virginia; but this great and sombre 
genius was rather a cosmopolite than a citizen of any 
particular State. 

Virginia fiction may be said to have begun with the 
" Cavaliers of Virginia," and the " Knights of the Horse- 
shoe," by William A. Carruthers ; the one dealing with 
Bacon's Rebellion, and the other with Spotswood's march 
to the mountains. Some striking fictions, among them 
" Lionel Granby," appeared in the " Southern Literary 
Messenger," afterwards under the supervision of a writer 
of elegant culture, — John R. Thompson ; but these vol- 
umes first attracted attention. They are excellent ro- 
mances in the style of Scott, and still retain their inter- 
est. A little later appeared " George Balcombe," and 
"The Partisan Leader," by Judge Beverley Tucker, 
the last a work of very curious interest. It was pub- 


lished in 1837 ; but the writer laid the scene of his 
drama in the future, ivhen President Van Buren was in 
his third term, and the Federal government had been 
consolidated into a virtual monarchy under the form of 
a republic. Jefferson had accused Hamilton of meaning 
to effect that ; and now Judge Tucker, an ardent States'- 
right man, meant to show that it was going to be accom- 
plished. The encroachments of the Federal govern- 
ment — to follow the author — have resulted in civil 
convulsion. The Southern States have seceded, with 
the exception of Virginia ; and the author relates the 
adventures of his hero, a young Virginian, in the war 
which follows on Virginia soil. This singular book was 
thus something like a prophecy. If the events did not 
come so quickly as the writer fancied they would, they 
nevertheless came. A curious circumstance in connec- 
tion with '' The Partisan Leader " was its republication 
in New York in 1861, under the title of " A Key to the 
Disunion Conspiracy." The impression apparently 
meant to be produced was that the author had foreshad- 
owed the designs of the Southern leaders, which was 
pure fancy. Of Judge Tucker, an excellent gentleman 
and eminent writer, the late William Gilmore Simms 
said : " He was a brave old Virginia gentleman, a stern 
States'-right doctrinaire, intense of feeling, jealous of 
right, in his style pure and chaste, full of energy yet 
full of grace." These names are the most distinguished 
in the department of Virginia fiction ; but the name of 
John Pendleton Kennedy, the author of " Swallow 
Barn," ought not to be omitted. He was a Marylander 
by birth, like Wirt, of whom he wrote a delightful biog- 
raphy, but his mother was of a Virginia family, and 
" Swallow Barn " remains the best picture of Virginia 
country life in literature. 


Under the general head of miscellany may be classed 
many books of interest and value. Among these are 
" A History of the Religious Society of Friends," 4 
vols., by Samuel M. Janney ; Mrs. Johnson's " Hadji 
in Syria ; " Commander Lynch's " Expedition to the 
River Jordan and Dead Sea ; " " Wonders of the Deep," 
" The Great Empress," and other works, by M. Scheie 
de Yere ; General Philip St. George Cooke's " Adven- 
tures in the Army," and " Conquest of New Mexico ; " 
and in the department of humor, the " Native Virgin- 
ian " and other productions, by Dr. George "W. Bagby, 
which possess a peculiar charm from their fidelity and 
pathos. Earlier works, characteristic of the soil, were 
the " Nugee by Nugator " of St. Leger Landon Carter ; 
and the curious productions of George Fitzhugh, " Soci- 
ology for the South," and " Cannibals All," in which 
the author argues gravely and with apparent conviction 
that free society is a failure, and that cannibalism will 
be the ultimate and. inevitable result of African emanci- 
pation. Of the numerous publications on the subject of 
the late war, it is unnecessary to speak. Their value 
as historic authority must be fixed by the future. 

This view of Virginia literature during the present 
century has necessarily been brief. Only the represent- 
ative books in the various departments have been 
spoken of ; to have adopted a different method would 
have been to write the history of Virginia literature, — 
a task impossible to attempt in the present volume. The 
few works and writers referred to will convey an idea 
of the literature. If no great original genius has arisen 
to put the lion's paw on Virginia letters, many v^-riters 
of admirable attainments and solid merit have produced 
works which have instructed and improved their genera- 


tion ; and to instruct and improve is better than to 
amuse. "Whatever may be the true rank of the litera- 
ture, it possesses a distinct character. It may be said 
of it with truth that it is notable for its respect for good 
morals and mariners ; that it is nowhere offensive to 
delicacy or piety ; or endeavors to instill a belief in what 
ought not to be believed. It is a very great deal to say 
of the literature of any country in the nineteenth cen- 



The great convulsion of 1861-65 is already a thing 
of the past : a remote event nearly forgotten by the 
present generation, and gone with other events into his- 
tory. The hot passions have died out, and the old ene- 
mies have become friends again. Those who survive 
the war are busy with other matters ; and the blue and 
gray who fell fighting for what each believed to be the 
just cause, sleep in peace side by side under the flowers 
scattered indifferently by friends and foes. 

A detailed history of the Civil War is impossible in 
this volume, and a mere summary of- dates and events 
would possess no interest. A multitude of writers have 
also made the subject familiar in its minutest phases ; 
and the long series of military occurrences may be 
omitted with propriety in a work aiming chiefly at the 
delineation of Virginia society and the character of the 
people. The writer has therefore preferred to Iqhyq 
this great episode to the annalists of the future, when 
more accurate information and the absence of contempo- 
rary prejudice will enable the student to arrive as nearly 
as possible at the absolute truth of history. 


What the writer, however, is unwilling to omit is a 
brief statement of the attitude of Virginia in this new 
revolution, her persistent pleas for peace, and the causes 
which impelled her greatest and best citizens to make 
war on the Federal government. The murderous at- 
tack on Harper's Ferry in 1859, profoundly enraged 
the people, but had no effect whatever in separating 
Virginia from the Union. Even as late as the spring 
of 1861, when the Republicans had come into power by 
a distinctly sectional vote, and the whole tier of Gulf 
States had seceded, Virginia still refused to move ; and 
it will now be shown that when she finally decided to 
dissolve her coflnection with the Union which she had 
done so much to establish, she did so with reluctance, 
making her choice between two alternatives, both of 
them painful. 

Early in January, 1861, the Virginia Assembly met at 
Richmond to determine the action of the Commonwealth 
in the approaching struggle. It was plain that war was 
coming unless the authorities of the United States and 
of the seceding States would listen to reason ; and the 
first proceedings of the Assembly looked to peace and 
the restoration of fraternal union. Virginia recom- 
mended to all the States to appoint deputies to a Peace 
Convention, to adjust " the present unhappy controversy 
in the spirit in which the Constitution was originally 
formed." Commissioners were appointed to call on the 
President of the United States and the seceded States 
or those that should secede, tp " respectfully request the 
President and the authorities of such States to agree to 
abstain, pending the proceedings contemplated by the 
action of this General Assembly, from any and all acts 
calculated to produce a collision of arms between the 


States and the Government of the United States." With 
these instructions the Commissioners proceeded to Wash- 
ington, but effected nothing. The Peace Convention 
duly met at the Capitol (February 4, 1861), and pro- 
posed amendments to the Constitution, among the rest 
for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise ; but 
when the recommendations of tlie Convention were re- 
ported to Congress they were rejected. 

Thus ended in failure the first attempt of Virginia to 
preserve the national peace ; and the crisis demanded 
that she should promptly decide upon her course. On 
February 13 (1861), a Convention assembled at Rich- 
mond, and a Committee was appointed on Federal Rela- 
tions. On March 10 (1861), this Committee reported 
fourteen resolutions protesting against all interference 
with slavery ; declaring secession to be a right ; and de- 
fining the grounds on which the Commonwealth would 
feel herself to be justified in exercising that right, 
namely : the failure to obtain guarantees ; the adoption 
of a warlike policy by the Government of the United 
States; or the attempt to exact the payment of duties 
from the seceded States, or to reenforce or recapture the 
Southern forts. These resolves clearly define the atti- 
tude of Virginia at this critical moment. After pro- 
longed discussion, all but the last had passed the Conven- 
tion when intelligence came that war had begun. The 
thunder of cannon from Charleston harbor broke up the 
political discussion. 

Thus every effort made by Virginia to preserve the 
peace had been defeated. Her Peace Commission, sent 
to Washington, had returned without results ; the Peace 
Convention assembled by her call had accomplished 
nothing ; the seceded States would not listen to her ap- 


peal to keep the peace ; and peace seemed even more 
remote from the view of the Federal authorities. Mr. 
Lincoln had expressed himself in his inaugural with 
perfect plainness. Secession was unlawful, and the 
Union remained unbroken ; it was his duty to execute 
the laws, and he should perform it. To execute the 
laws it was necessary to have an army ; and (April 15, 
1861) President Lincoln issued his proclamation calling 
for 75,000 troops from the States remaining in the 

The direct issue was thus presented, and Virginia was 
called upon to decide the momentous question whether 
she would fight against the South or against the North. 
There was no evading the issue. The crisis pressed, 
and she must meet it. Many of her sisters of the South 
had reproached her for her delay. She had been de- 
nounced as a laggard, and without her old resolution ; 
but she had resolution to decide for herself, in her 
own time, and not to shape her action by the views 
either of her friends or her foes. Against her persist- 
ent attachment to the Union the strongest appeals and 
the bitterest denunciations had beaten in vain. As late 
as the first week in April the Convention had refused to 
secede by a vote of eighty-nine to forty-five. Virginia 
was conscientiously following her old traditions and 
would not move. Now the time had come at last. The 
naked question was presented on which side she would 
array herself : whether her cannon were to be turned 
on the blue troops or the gray ; and, that issue once 
defined, there was no more hesitation. On the 17th of 
April, two days after the Federal proclamation, the Con- 
vention passed an ordinance of secession and adhesion 
to the Southern Confederacy, by a vote of eighty-eight 


to fifty-five, which was ratified by the people by a ma- 
jority of ninety-six thousand seven hundred and fifty 
votes out of a total of one hundred and sixty-one thou- 
sand and eighteen. West Virginia refused to be, bound 
by the action of the Convention, and became a separate 
State, but the Virginia of the Tidewater and Valley 
went with the South. 

Such is a statement in few words of the circumstances 
attending the secession of Virginia. If her course in 
this trying emergency has not shown her attachment 
to the Union, it is impossible that any further statement 
can establish it. 

Having once made their decision, the Virginians has- 
tened to arm. Their first thought was to protect Vir- 
ginia, and they enrolled themselves under the State flag. 
It was impossible for them to feel toward the new Con- 
federacy the immemorial allegiance which they had felt 
toward Virginia, — that was a part of the very life-blood 
of the people, and exerted an overmastering influence. 
Many of the best citizens of the State disapproved of 
secession. Like the illustrious Commander-in-chief of 
the Confederate army. General Lee, they " recognized 
no necessity for this state of things," and some of them, 
like him, "wept tears of blood" at the dire necessity 
which drove them to take up arms against the Union. 
But the State allegiance was paramount. Virginia 
called them and they obeyed the call. 

Their decision once made, the Virginians entered on 
the war with ardor, and the State troops bore an im- 
portant part in military operations to the end of the 
struggle. There was at first in the minds of the people 
only a sentiment of defiance and indignation at the in- 
vasion of the State, but this ripened as the years wore 


on, and General Pope and others ravaged the country, 
into a determined animosity which was thenceforth the 
prevailing sentiment.' This will largely account for the 
desperate fighting which characterized the operations in 
Virginia, and for the bloody partisan warfare north of 
the Rappahannock. In regard to the efficiency of the 
Virginian troops there has never arisen any question. 
They exhibited a peculiar endurance, an obstinate cour- 
age in action, and all the best qualities of the soldier. 
It is conceded that at the first Manassas, the regiments 
from the Valley under Jackson decided the fate of the 
battle ; and the most determined assault of the war, 
perhaps, that on the Federal centre at Gettysburg, was 
made by a division of Virginians. The Southern forces, 
as a whole, were doubtless as good soldiers as the world 
ever saw ; and it is certain that the troops of the Gulf 
States regarded their comrades of Virginia as men to be 
relied upon in any emergency. 

As the war went on what was most notable in the 
Virginia troops and the people, was the resolute deter- 
mination not to give up the contest until they were 
forced to do so. The sufferings undergone, both by 
soldiers and citizens, will never be fully known. The 
State was ground under the armed heel until life seemed 
nearly extinct in it. The Federal forces occupied the 
bulk of the country, and used or destroyed the supplies 
of food of every description, until the army and people 
were threatened with famine. The ravages committed 
by certain commanders — notably by Generals Pope 
and Sheridan — were conceded, even at the North, to 
be in violation of all the laws of civilized warfare. The 
result was very nearly starvation to the L^milies of the 
soldiers, and it was under circumstances so depressing 


that the Yirgmians resolutely adhered to the struggle, 
refusing to the last to surrender their flag. Even at 
Appomattox the half-starved remnant received the intel- 
ligence of General Lee's capitulation with bitter anguish, 
and apparently refused to acquiesce in his conviction 
that it was necessary. 

The facts here briefly stated are so well known as not 
to demand proof. They will remain the lasting glory 
of a people who loved peace, but chose war and were 
willing to. fight to the end, rather than submit to what 
they believed to be a wrong. It is impossible that mag- 
nanimous foes did not and do not respect that principle. 
It has at least been the controlling principle of the Vir- 
ginians of every generation, and ought to be the princi- 
l^le of the people of all the States of the American 
Republic in all time. 

That even the old enemies of the South appreciated 
the motives of the representative Virginians in the war, 
is shown by the general mourning at the death of Jack- 
son and Lee. The one fell at Chancellorsville in the 
heat of the struggle ; and the other died at Lexington 
in the quiet days of peace — and both were equally re- 
gretted by generous enemies. It was known that they 
had acted from a sentiment of duty, and had been blame- 
less as men and Christians. Like the State of which 
they were the representatives, they had desired peace, 
and had shrunk from disunion and civil war as the 
greatest of all misfortunes to the country. But when 
no choice was left them they had followed their State 
flao; ; had fought a sjood ficjht in defense of their native 
soil ; and even the enemies of the Southern cause con- 
ceded the purity of their motives, and honored their 




The Civil War is the last great event in the history, 
of Virginia. The years following it have been only a 
dreary waste of party wrangling ; of political intrigue, 
personal ambition, bad faith in regard to the State debt, 
and, worse than all, with reference to the future, of the 
array of class against class, the black race against the 
white. The writer shrinks from the ungracious sub- 
ject, leaving the task of treating it to the writers of the 
future. It is this future which is going to try the pres- 
ent ; and the party leaders of the time who have brought 
the name of Virginia into discredit, would do well to 
remember the words of President Lincoln : " You can- 
not avoid history." 

A few words relating to the process of " reconstruc- 
tion," and the present aspect of affairs in Virginia, will 
conclude this volume. The result of the war was to 
leave the State prostrate. The hardest fighting had 
taken place on her soil ; and it seemed that it would re- 
quire generations for the Commonwealth to recover 
from its effects. The whole face of the country betrayed 
the ravages of war, and confronted by this gloomy spec- 
tacle utter depression might have been looked for in the 
people. There was little then or thereafter. The Vir- 
ginia character is hopeful and disposed to make the best 
of things. The people refused to repine, and looked to 
the future with that obstinate confidence which is the 
mainspring of success in human affairs. The new order 
of things was accepted with philosophy, and it may be 


added, with dignity. There was no disposition to pro- 
long the struggle or to nurse old grudges. Northern 
men who came to the State were treated with courtesy 
if not cordiality ; and General Ordway, of the Federal 
army, described the feeling of the inhabitants in a few 
words : " In Richmond the people behaved with becom- 
ing reserve and dignity. I found them reasonable, 
courteous, and desirous of submitting to or cooperating 
with every measure necessary to good government. I 
rode through the State for several weeks accompanied 
only by a mounted orderly, and never failed to receive 
the traditional hospitality of Virginia." 

The process of " reconstruction," by which Virginia 
came back into the Union, may be summed up in a par- 
agraph. In the spring of I860, after the surrender at 
Appomattox, the State was practically without a govern- 
ment ; and Francis H. Pierpont, who had been Gov- 
ernor of West Virginia, assumed executive authority 
by direction of the Federal government. He issued 
writs for an Assembly, which convened in December of 
the same year ; in 1867 the State was placed under 
military government ; and in the winter of that year 
a Convention was held which framed a new Constitu- 
tion. This was submitted to the people in July, 1869, 
and adopted by a large majority ; the clause disfranchis- 
ing Confederate officials and requiring an oath of past 
loyalty, having been rejected. Gilbert C. Walker of 
^Qw York was then elected Governor ; United States 
Senators were chosen ; the fourteenth and fifteenth 
amendments were ratified ; the military occupation, which 
had been found unnecessary, at once ceased ; and Vir- 
ginia resumed her place in the Union. 

A great change had taken place in society, chiefly 


occasioned by the emancipatiou of the former slaves. 
This momentous political event dated back to the mid- 
dle of the war, when President Lincoln had issued his 
proclamation that after the first of January, 1863, all 
persons held as slaves in States then in rebellion, should 
be "' thenceforth and forever free." The step was a 
war-measure, for which, it was conceded, there was no 
authority in the Constitution, but as yet the great ukase 
aimed at the South was merely waste paper. It was an 
authoritative statement of the Federal programme, but 
had no direct results. The slaves obtained their free- 
dom only in territory occupied by the Federal arms, — 
retaining elsewhere their former condition, and appar- 
ently perfectly willing to retain it. Daring the whole 
term of the war, there were few desertions by any of 
the colored population to the Federal side. They re- 
mained at home, in perfect quiet, cultivating the soil as 
before, and were often the best friends of their master's 
family. Numberless proofs might be given of this ex- 
traordinary faithfulness and attachment, and it remains 
the everlasting honor of this singular and despised race. 
When they had it in their power to work untold woe to 
women and children whose protectors were in the army, 
they exhibited the truest devotion, and not only would 
not desert them, but worked faithfully for their support. 
But when the war ended the proclamation of eman- 
cipation bore its fruits. The Federal legislation per- 
fected the work. On January 31, 1865, Congress di- 
rected that an amendment to the Constitution should be 
submitted to all the States, prescribing that neither 
" slavery nor involuntary servituda" should thenceforth 
exist in the United States. This amendment, and those 
of 1868 and 1870, were adopted, and the former slaves, 


now made citizens, took their place as a constituent part 
of the American people. Every barrier between the 
races has been leveled with the ground, as far as the 
action of the General government could effect it. The 
Africans are now the political equals of all other Ameri- 
cans. They are competent to vote, to preside on the 
bench, to command in the army, to represent the country 
at foreign courts, to sit in the Senate, and to officiate as 
Governors of States, and as Presidents of the United 
States. It is not surprising that President Lincoln, 
walking through the streets of Richmond after the sur- 
render, should have gazed with " a pathetic wonder " on 
the African crowd around him. By his act they had 
' become citizens, and it is possible that he wondered at 
the probable result. 

The personal relations between the white and black 
races remain friendly. Left to themselves there would 
be no change whatever ; that which exists is the result 
of political intrigue. But even this has produced few 
social results. The African continues, in the main, to 
reiiard his former master as his best friend, retains his old 
and sincere attachment to the family with whom he has 
always lived, and only arrays himself politically against 
the whites under outside pressure. This friendly senti- 
ment results, in large measure, from his confidence in 
the regard felt for him by his former owner, and the 
known indisposition to withhold from him any right 
to which he is entitled. There is no such disposition. 
The Virginia people sincerely rejoice that African sla- 
very is done away with ; could not be persuaded to have 
it restored.; and sincerely desire that the race may avail 
themselves of the system of public education and be- 
come well informed and respectable members of the 


The effect of the war, and the subsequent changes in 
organic law, on Virginia society, is a large and interest- 
ing subject, which demands a separate treatment. Such 
treatment is impossible at present ; the causes have not 
produced their full results and are still in operation. 
The general drift of the times may, however, be dis- 
cerned without difficulty. New Virginia is moving in 
the direction of practical results. The fact is recognized 
that agriculture is not the only source of wealth, and 
the modern Virginian is now looking to mining, manu- 
factures, the construction of railways, and the develop- 
ment of all the resources of the Commonwealth. The 
" Bourbon " spirit attributed to the people is an absurd 
figment of political partisans. So far are the Virginians 
from having learned nothing and forgotten nothing, 
that their past seems to have been effaced, and the fu- 
ture to have become the sole thought of the people. It 
may be said of them that they are weary of being poor? 
and see the necessity of occupying their time with 
things more profitable than political discussions. The 
men who once dissipated their resources by extrava- 
gance have grown prudent ; the young, who were once 
suffered to be idle, are now taught to work ; and the 
people of the country called " Old Virginia," in a spirit 
of respectful compassion, seem resolved to erect a New 
Virginia by energy and labor. 

The resources of the State, especially in minerals, are 
known to be inexhaustible. In parts of the Tidewater, 
but chiefly in the Valley and the Alleghany region, are 
found gold, silver, copper, the best hematite, granite, 
marble, salt, and deposits of bituminous and other coal, 
rivaling those of Pennsylvania. The State has sent to 
the assay ofiices more than two millions in gold, and 


twenty-five million pounds of lead have been taken from 
one county. These are only a few of the mineral re- 
sources of the State, which, especially in the southwest, 
is a mine of wealth. Up to the time of the war this 
wealth remained undeveloped, and the absence of rail- 
ways discouraged capital ; but this obstacle is at last re- 
moved. New lines now penetrate the country, the most 
important of which are the Chesapeake and Ohio, cross- 
ing the State from east to west through the remark- 
able region of the Mineral Springs, and the Shenan- 
doah Valley, through the Luray Valley, from north to 
south. These railways already carry a vast freight and 
are rapidly developing the resources of the country ; and 
another line is projected to pass through the two Vir- 
ginias and connect Baltimore and Cincinnati by way of 
the Kanawha. Further details of the material condition 
of Virginia at the present time, — of her public institu 
tions, finances, manufactures, and trade, — must be 
looked for in official documents. The jjopulation of the 
State, which in 1870 was 1,225,163, was in 1880, 1,512- 
203, nearly that of the two Virginias in 1860. This 
population is contained in a territory nearly identical 
with that of the old Colony, which consisted of the region 
between the Chesapeake and the Alleghanies. 

Virginia has thus resumed her old boundaries at the 
time of the Revolution, and the character of the people 
remains substantially the same. They are, however, 
confronted by new responsibilities and duties, and look 
forward to the untried future with hope and confidence. 
The mighty pulse of the modern world i-^ beating in the 
hearts of the people ; and the future of Virginia depends 
now, as in the past, on the Virginians. 


Acadia, the French expelled from, 
108. ' 

Accomac granted to Arlington and 
Culpepper, 233 ; Berkeley takes ref- 
uge in, 266 ; scenes of the RebeUion 
there, 274-277, 293 ; people of, 368. 
Adams, John, his opinion of the first 
Congress, 421 ; seconds the motion 
for independence, 440 ; Callender's 
satire upon, 482. 
Alexander, Archibald, 325 ; his works, 
94. ' 

Alien and Sedition Laws, 480, 481 ; 
trial of Callender under, 482 ; ef- 
fect of on the fortunes of the Fed- 
eral party, 483. 
America, origin of the name, 4. 
Amonate, a name of Pocahontas, 103. 
Andros, Edmimd, Governor, 302. 
Annapolis, battle near, 214. 
Amie, Queen, proclamation of, 309; 
popularity of the name in Virginia, 
309. ' 

Appomattock, Queen of, 31, 35. 
Archer, member of Council, 63 ; is ar- 
rested by Smith, 65. 
Argall, Samuel, 56 ; takes Pocahontas 
prisoner, 93 ; expels the Acadians, 
108 ; sails up the Hudson, 108 ; ap- 
pointed Governor, 111 ; his rapacity 
and treatment of Brewster, 112 ; his 
character, 112. 

"gall's Gift, one of the original bor- 
ighs, 115. 
Tton, the Earl of, obtains a grant 
' Virginia, 233 ; provisions of 
o, 233. 

^nedict, invades Virginia, 

nres and burns Rich- 

"eturns to Portsmouth, 

ve visited America 

render of the 

Assembly, General. {See Burgesses.) 
Attorney, mercenary, laws in refer- 
ence to, 203, 204. 
Axacan, the Indian name for North 
Carolina, 1. 

Bacon, Nathaxiel, his origin and tem- 
perament, 238-240; proclaimed a 
rebel, 242 ; defeats the Indians at 
Bloody Rim, 243 ; is arrested, 245 ; 
his interview with Berkeley, 246 ; 
his submission, 248, 249 ; escapes, 
257 ; returns, 259 ; his violence, 260, 
261 ; appointed General. 262 ; again 
declared a rebel, 264 ; at Middle 
Plantation, 271 ; at Jamestown, 
278 ; seizes the wives of the Berke- 
ley-men and places them on his 
earthworks, 279-281 ; defeats Berke- 
ley and burns Jamestown, 282 ; his 
violence in Gloucester, 285, 286 ; 
his death, 286 ; the question of the 
cause of Ins death, 286, 287 ; burial, 
288 ; character, 288-292. 
Bacon, Nathaniel, Sr., draws up Ba- 
con's confession of guilt, 247 ; Lieu- 
tenant-Governor, 301. 
Baptists, persecution of, 221, 222, 337, 
391 ; the first churches, 390 ; ardor 
of the, 390 ; in 1774, 392 ; their hos- 
tility to the Establishment, 392-394. 
Baltimore, CecUius Calvert, Lord, col- 
onizes Maryland, 177. 
Baltimore, Sir George Calvert, Baron, 
visits Virginia, 176 ; reception by 
the people, 177 ; obtains a grant of 
Maryland and dies, 177. 
Barber, Gabriel, "Dust and Ashes," 

Batte, Henry, visits western Virginia, 

Beaujeu, De, attacks Braddock, 350 ; 

is killed, 351. 
Beimet, Richard, Governor, his mod- 
eration, 201. 



Berkeley, Sir William, Governor, 182 ; 
his character and courteous man- 
ners, 1S2-1S4 ; persecutes the Puri- 
tans, 184 ; their opinion of him, 
184 ; captures Opechancanough, 
18G ; his reply to Stuyvesant, 189, 
190 ; befriends the Cavalier exiles, 
183, 191, 19'2 ; deposed, 199 ; rein- 
stated, 217 ; offers to declare for 
Charles II. before the Restoration, 
217, 218 ; the "servant of the As- 
sembly," 190, 219 ; suppresses the 
Oliverian Plot, 221 ; his report of 
the condition of Virginia in 1670, 
224-22G; denounces schools and 
printing, 22G ; indignation of the 
people against, 235 ; proclaims Ba- 
con and Iris followers rebels, 242 ; 
concessions of, to the people, 244 ; 
arrests Bacon, 245 ; their inter- 
views, 246, 260 ; takes refuge in 
Gloucester, 265 ; in Accomac, 266 ; 
executes Carver, 277 ; captures 
Jamestown, 278 : defeated by Ba- 
con, 281, 282 ; executes Wilford and 
Farlow, 293 ; insults Mrs. Cheese- 
man, 293 ; executes Drummond, 
294; his bloody proceedings, 295; 
retiu'ns to England and dies, 296 ; 
contrasts in his character, 296, 297. 

Berkelej', birthplace of President 
Harrison, 148.' 

Bermuda Hundred founded, 91. 

Bermuda Islands, superstitions in re- 
gard to, 2 ; wTeck of the Sea-Ven- 
ture upon, 58 ; the scene of tlie 
"Tempest," 58, 59; included in 
Virginia, 113. 

Beverley, Major Robert, refuses to 
surrender the Journals, and is fined 
and imprisoned, 299. 

Beverley, Robert, the historian, his 
opinion of Smith, 79 ; description 
of Harvey, 165. 

Bickerton's, Captain, festivities at, 

Blair, James, commissary of Virginia, 
brings charges against Nicholson, 
303 ; secures the charter of William 
and Mary College, 305 ; appointed 
first President, 306 ; his personal 
appearance and character, 308. 

Bland, Giles, sent to Accomac, and 
captured, 274, 276 ; executed, 295. 

Bland. Richard, his personal appear- 
ance, 406 ; member of Committee of 
Safety, 435 ; of first Congress, 420. 

BlanJford Church, 333. 

Blair, John, Lieutenant-governor, 400. 

Bloody Run, defeat of Indians at, by 
Bacon, 243. 

Boroughs, the original, 115. 

Botetourt, Norbome Berkeley, Lord, 
Governor, 400 ; dissolves the Bur- 
gesses, 401 ; deatli and character 
of, '402, 403. 

Boucher, Rev. Mr., his testimony as to 
tlie treatment of slaves in the Col- 
onies, 367. 

Braddock, General Edward, sent to 
Virginia, his plans, 345 ; his char- 
acter, 345 ; arrives at Cumberland, 
347 ; lus march tlrrough the Great 
Woods, 348 ; is attacked near Fort 
Duquesne, defeated and falls, 350- 
353 ; his death, 354. 

Brandon, said to have visited Amer- 
ica, circ. A. D. 600, 3. 

Braxton, Carter, member of Commit- 
tee of Safety, 435. 

Bruton Church, 333. 

Bucke, Rev. Mr., wrecked in Sea- 
Venture, 60 ; minister at James- 
town, 110 ; chaplain of first Assem- 
bly, 115. 

Buhit, Captain, saves the remnant of 
Grant's forces, 357. 

Burgesses, House of, the first, 115 ; 
appearance in session, 152 ; regula- 
tions of, 170 ; recognition of, by 
Charles I., 184 ; depose Harvey, 
166 ; action of, on the death of 
Charles I., 193; the "representa- 
tives of the people," 202 ; under 
the English Conamon wealth, 202 ; 
depose Matthews, 206 ; reinstate 
him, 207 ; reinstate Berkeley, 219 , 
a scene in the, in 1676, 250-254 ; 
their resolute protest, 299 ; their 
altercations with Spotswood, 312 ; 
royal recognition of authority of, 
383; appearance of in 1765, 384, 
385 ; the last under the royal au- 
thority, 432. 

Burr, Aaron, trial of, 483 ; charges 
against, 483 : is discharged, 484. 

Burwell, Lewis, Lieutenant-Governor, 
his accomplishments, 407. 

Burwell, Miss, persecution of, by Gov- 
ernor Xicholson, 303. 

Butler, Nathaniel, his " Unmasked 
Face of Virginia," 130. 

B}-rd, William, of Westover, visits 
Spotswood at Germanna, 319-333 ; 
founds Richmond and Petersburg,, 
329, 330 ; his personal appearand je 
and character, 362, 363 ; his woTks 
and epitaph, ^ .^, 363. 

Cabell, William, member of CC'mmit- 
t-«;e of Safety, 435. 

Cabot, John, lands on the Continent 
and claims it in the naixte of Eng- 
land, 3. 



Digges, Dudley, member of Commit- 
tee of Safety, 435. 

Digges, Edward, Governor, 205. 

Dinwiddie, Robert, Governor, sends 
Washington as his envoy to the 
French, 341. 

Dippers, the, of the Valley, 323. 

Dissenters, bill for exempting, 444. 

Drake, Sir Francis, succors the Roan- 
oke colonists, 6 ; circumnavigates 
the world, 11. 

Drayton, Michael, his salute to the 
adventurers, 17 ; to George Sandys, 

Drummond, 250 ; an adviser of Ba- 
con, 263 ; suggests the deposition of 
Berkeley, 2(38 ; his interview with 
Bei-keley, 294 ; is executed, 294. 

Drummond, Sarah, her decision of 
character, 273 ; appeals to the king, 

Drj'sdale, Hugh, Governor, his rose- 
colored report of Virginia, 329. 

Ducking-stools to be erected, 222. 

Dunmore, John Murray, Earl of, Gov- 
ernor, his character, 403 ; his un- 
popularity, 417 ; dissolves the Bur- 
gesses, 418 ; elegance of Lady, 417 ; 
ball in honor of his family, 418 ; 
marches to the Ohio, 422 ; his quar- 
rel with Lewis, 425 ; incites the In- 
dians against the Virginians, 426 ; 
seizes the powder, 430 ; proposes to 
arm the negroes, 431 ; abandons the 
capital, 434 ; ravages the coast, 435- 
437 ; bums Norfolk and is driven 
from Virginia, 437. 

Duquesne, Fort, Braddock's campaign 
against, 345-353 ; Grant's attack 
on, 357 ; blown up and captured, 

Dutch, intrusion of on the soil of Vir- 
ginia, 189. 

Effi]s:gham, Lord Howard of. Gover- 
nor, 300 ; concludes a treaty with 
the Mohawks and returns to Eng- 
land, 301. 

Elizabeth, Queen, names Virginia, 2. 

Emory and Henry College established, 

Entails, attack of Jefferson on, 444 ; 
the real objection to the system of, 
445 ; agrarianism of modern oppo- 
nents of, 445 ; abolition of, 446. 

Fairfax, Thomas, Lord, inherits the 
Northern Neck, 327 ; his early life, 
342 ; at Greenway Court, 342. 

Farlow, Captain, executed by Berke- 
ley, 293. 

Fauquier, Francis, Governor, dissolves 

the Burgesses, 388; his death and 
character, 400. 

Federalists and Republicans, 480. 

Felons, the first sent to Virginia, 119 ; 
Jeff ersoia's statement of the number 
of up to 1787, 228, 229 ; insignifi- 
cance of the element in Virginia, 

Ferrar, Nicholas, Treasurer of the 
London Company, arrested by 
James I. , 130 ; his monastic estab- 
lishment at Little Gidding, 130. 

Flower of Hmidreds, one of the orig- 
inal boroughs, 115, 151. 

Forbes, General, captures Fort Du- 
quesne, 357. 

Fordyce, Captain, liis gallantry at 
Great Bridge, 436. 

Fouace, Rev. Mr., assaulted by Gov- 
ernor Nicliolson, 303. 

Fowler, Attorney General, insulted 
by Governor Nicholson, 302. 

France m the New World, 4, 107, 340 ; 
her claims, 340, 341. 

Franchise, history of legislation in 
regard to the, in Virginia, 222-224. 

Franklin, Benjamin, writes a ballad 
on the fate of Theach the pirate, 
317 ; appomted postmaster by Spots- 
wood, 317 ; Ixis advice to Braddock, 

Friends, the persecution of and their 
friends, 221 ; settle in the Valley, 
326 ; tlieir marriages, 324 ; hostility 
to the Establishment, 392, 394. 

Gabriel's Insurrection, 485. 

Gage, General, his estimate of the ac- 
tion of Virginia, 389. 

Gates, Sir Thomas, Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor, 56 ; is wrecked on the Ber- 
mudas, 58 ; arrival in Virginia, 80 ; 
sails for England, but returns and 
receives Lord Delaware, 83. 

Gazette, the Virginia, notice of col- 
lege proceedings in, 306 ; the first 
newspaper in Virginia, 330 ; charac- 
ter of its matter, 330. 

Germanna, Spotswood's settlement of, 
319 : Colonel Byrd's description of, 

Germans of Palatines, the, sent over 
by Queen Anne, 319 ; excellent char- 
acter of, 320. 

German settlers, the, in the Valley, 
323 ; their manners and customs, 

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, his voyage 
and death, 5. 

Glebes of the Church, act directing 
the sale of the, 444. 

Gloucester, scenes of the Great Re- 



bellion in, 2G5, 266, 283-286; the 
place of Bacou's death, 2SG. 

Gold Fever, the, at Jamestown, 42. 

Goocli, William, Governor, 329 ; com- 
mands Virginia troops at Cartha- 
gena, 320. 

Gookin, Daniel, driven from Virginia, 
as a Puritan, becomes eminent in 
New England, 172. 

Gosnold, Bartholomew, makes the 
first direct voyage across the At- 
lantic, 13 ; the originator of Virginia 
colonization, 13 ; his death, 24. 

Grant, Major, cut to pieces near Fort 
Duquesne, 357. 

Grasse, Count de, 462 ; arrives in the 
Chesapeake, 464 ; is visited by Wash- 
ington, 4G5 ; repulses Admiral 
Graves, 464, 465. 

Graves, Admiral, repulsed by De 
Grasse, 464, 465. 

Great Bridge, action at, 436. 

Great Meadows, Washington's surren- 
der at, 344 ; Braddock's death and 
burial at, 354. 

Greenspring, the residence of Sir Wil- 
liam Berkeley, 183, 199 ; headquar- 
ters of Bacon, 279. 

Greenway Court, the residence of 
Lord Fairfax, settlers around, 327 ; 
Braddock stops at, 347. 

GrenviUe, Sir Richard, foimds the Ro- 
anoke settlement, 6 ; dies fighting 
the Revenge, 7. 

Gwran's Island, Dmunore driven 
from, 437 ; the place a lazar-house, 

Hakluyt, Richard, 11, 13. 

Halket, Sir Peter, killed near Fort 
Duquesne, 352. 

Hamilton, Alexander, commands the 
right assaulting party at Yorktown, 
468, 469. 

Ilarailton, Governor of Canada, sur- 
renders Vincennes to General 
Clarke, 453 ; sends Simon Girty to 
attack Wheeling, 453. 

Hammond, Colonel, takes refuge in 
Virginia, 191. 

Hammond, John, author of "Leah 
and Rachel," expelled from the 
Burgesses, 202. 

Kamor, Raphe, his antecedents and 
" Discovirse of Virginia," 138; the 
confidant of Rolfe, 95 ; his singular 
mission to Powhatan, 98 ; defends 
his house during the massacre, 127 ; 
his piety, 138. 

Hanipden Sydney College founded, 

Hansford, Colonel, evacuates James- 

town, 278 ; is captured and hung by 
Berkeley, 293. 

Harrison, Benjamin, his personal ap- 
pearance, 406 ; member of first Con- 
gress, 420. 

Harvey, Sir John, Governor, his char- 
acter, 165 ; grounds of hostility of 
Virginians to, 165; the "thrustmg 
out " of, 166 ; is reinstated by 
Charles I., 166. 

Hatcher, William, sentenced to beg 
pardon on his knees, 203. 

Henrico, University of, lands for, 142. 

Henricus, Dale's City of, 91, 92, 143. 

Henrietta Maria, her intention of seek- 
ing refuge in Virginia, 228. 

Henry, Bishop of London, fust Chan- 
cellor of William and Mary College, 

Henry, Patrick, his descent, 228, 379 ; 
his early life, 380 ; appears against 
the parsons, 382 ; his resolutions 
against the Stamp Act, 385, 386 ; de- 
scription of his orator}', 386 ; his 
great outburst in the Burgesses, 
387 ; importance of his action, 388 ; 
his protest against the religious per- 
secutions, 391 ; member of first 
Congress, 420 ; his declaration of 
Americanism, 421 ; proposes to arm 
the militia, 427 ; his prophecj^, 428 ; 
exaggerations in connection with, 
387, 428 ; marches on Williamsburg, 
432 ; appomted commander-in-chief 
of the Virginia forces, 435 ; chosen 
iu'st repxiblican Governor, 440 ; pro- 
posal to make him Dictator, 448 ; 
denounces the Federal constitution, 
475 ; his death, 481 ; his piety, 482. 

Hill, Colonel Edward, denounced as 
"a devil," 203; defeated by the 
Ricahecrians, 208. 

Hite, Joist, settles the lower Valley, 

Honeywood, Sir Philip, takes refuge 
in Virginia, 191. 

Huguenots, the, settle at St. Augus- 
tine, 4 ; at MannakintowTi, 309 ; ex- 
cellent character of, 309. 

Hunt, Rev. Robert, first minister in 
Virginia, 13, 20 ; his death, GO ; his 
high character, 333. 

Indeppnt)ence, resolutions instructijjg 
th.; Virginia delegates to propose, 
438 ; the Declaration of, 441 ; of the 
United States, recognized by Great 
Britain, 472. 

Indians, the Virginia ; their conver- 
sion a cherished object, 12 ; Smith's 
portrait of them, 26 ; their usages, 
27 ; religion and selection of priests, 



28, 29; names of the seasons, 30; 
of the months and their festivals 
and ceremonies, 31 ; ruled b}' wom- 
en, 31 ; college tor children of, 110 ; 
expeditious against directed by law, 
150 ; they attack the colony, 12i, 
186, 241 ; treaties with, 08, 187 ; bat- 
tles with, 208, 2-13 ; not to hold of- 
fice, 310 ; mission at Christanna, 
313, 314 ; outrages by, on frontier, 
355, 350 ; defeated finally at Point 
Pleasant, 423, 424. 

Ingram, General, succeeds Bacon, 
292; surrenders, 294. 

Insurrections, servile, the, 485 ; origin 
of unknov.'n, 486. 

Jackson, Andrew, tradition of his 
birthplace, 325. 

Jackson, Gen. Thomas J., feeling of 
the country at intelligence of his 
death, 504. 

James I. grants the three Virginia 
charters, 14, 56, 113 ; his obstinacy, 
16 ; hostility to Sandys, 118 ; sends 
felons to Virginia, 119 ; his covmter- 
blast to tobacco, 145 ; liis struggle 
with the Company, 129-132 ; his 
death, 133. 

James II., accession of, 300; hostil- 
ity to tliQ Virginians, 300 ; sends 
Monmouth's followers to Virguiia, 
300 ; excitement occasioned by his 
attacks on the Church, 301. 

James City, one of the original bor- 
oughs, 115 ; another name for 
Jamestown, 152. 

James River, the new name for the 
Powhatan, 19 ; the Great Virginia 
highway, 149. 

Jamestown, landing of the English at, 
19 ; present appearance of, 19 ; at- 
tack upon, 21; '"in combustion," 
37 ; destroyed by fire, 41 ; confusion 
and famine at, 45, 48 ; in 1609, 76, 
77 ; horrors ox the starving time at, 
79, 80 ; abandoned, 82 ; scene at, 
on the arrival of Delaware, 83 ; 
scenes at, during the Great Rebel- 
lion, 245-202, 277-282; burned by 
Bacon, 282. 

Japazaws betrays Pocahontas, 93. 

Jelierson, TJiomas, his descent and 
early lii'e, 407 ; his opinion of Henry, 
406 ; cliaracter and political views 
of, 408 ; laughs at his own family, 
408; his "Summary View," 409; 
author of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 440 ; attacks the Church 
Establishment and entails, 442-446 ; 
his aims as stated by himself, 446 ; 
elected Governor, 455 ; leaves Rich- 

mond : charges against, 457 ; es- 
capes from Tarleton, 460 ; the 
"Apostle of Democracy," 478; 
President of United States, 483. 

Jetfries, Herbert, Governor, 299. 

Johnson, Professor, of William and 
Mary College, proceeded against for 
marrying, 307. 

Jumonville, De, killed near Great 
Meadows, 344. 

Kaskaskia, surprised by General 

Clarke, 451. 
Kendall, George, prosecutes Smith, 

22 ; conspires to escape, 24, 25 ; is 

shot, 25. 
Kent, Isle of, settlement upon by 

Claj'borne, 179 ; seized by Calvert, 

Kentucky Resolutions, the, of 1798, 

Kiquotan, or Hampton, one of the 

original boroughs, 115. 
Kiwassa, the One alone called, 28, 29, 

Knights of the Horseshoe, order of, 

instituted by Spotswood, 315. 

Lafayette, the Marquis de, sent to 
command in Virginia, 458 ; his an- 
tecedents, 458 ; attacks Petersburg, 
459 ; retreats before Cornwallis, 
459 ; offers battle, 460 ; attacks at 
Jamestown, 461 ; hems in Lord 
Cornwallis, and commands the 
right at Yorktown, 404, 467. 

Landholders, the small, similar to the 
English yeomen, 368 ; their cordial 
relations with the planter class, 368 ; 
independence and personal pride 
of, 369. 

Laramore, Captain, 275 ; betrays 
Bland, 276. 

Lawne's Plantation, one of the origi- 
nal boroughs, 115. 

LawTcnce, said to be the real author 
of Bacon's Rebellion, 240, 250, 254 ; 
his portrait, 255 ; escapes, 294. 

Lee, Richard, sent by Berkeley dur- 
ing the Commonwealth, to confer 
with Charles II., 218. 

Lee, Richard Henry, his antecedents, 
originates the Committee of Corre- 
spondence, 410 ; member of first 
Congress, 420 ; his oratory and 
personal appearance, 410; author 
of the Address to the People of the 
Colonies, 421 ; moves the Declara- 
tion, 440. 

Lee, General Robert E., feelhig of the 
country at intelligence of his death, 



Lee, Thomas Ludwell, member of 
Committee of Safety, 435. 

Lee, William, Sheriff of Loudon, 21S. 

Leigh, Beiijamiu Watkins, Virginia 
Commissioner to South Carolina, 

Lewis, General Andrew, his antece- 
dents, character, and personal ap- 
pearance, 4'J2 ; commands at the 
battle of Point Pleasant, 423, 424 ; 
his quarrel with Danmore, 425, 42G ; 
drives Dmimore from Virginia, 437. 

Lewis, Jolm, settles the upper VaUey, 

Lief, supposed to have landed m New 
England, 3. 

Literature of Virginia, the, in the 
Plantation period, 133-140; its 
character, 140 ; in the Colonial pe- 
riod, 358-3G4 ; its character, 359, 
360 ; in tiie nineteenth century, 
490-498 ; general character of, 497, 

Logan, murder of family of, the cause 
of the Indian uprising, 422. 

Loudoun, Fort, at Winchester, 356. 

Ludwell, Colonel Philip, captures 
Bland, 276 ; marries L.idy Berke- 
ley, 270 ; denomices the rebels, 298. 

Lunsford, Sir Tiiomas, takes refuge 
in Virginia, 191. 

Lutherans of Valley of Virginia, 323. 

Lynn, Friar of, said to have reached 
the North Pole, 3. 

Madison, James, Ins descent, 229 ; the 
leader of the party in favor of the 
Federal Constitution, 470. 

Madoc, Prince of Wales, his supposed 
discovery of America, 3. 

Magellan circmnnavigates the world, 

Maids, the, sent to Virginia, 119 ; their 
husbands to purchase them, 120 ; 
regulations in regard to, 121 ; the 
result of the scheme, 122. 

Mails in Virginia, in 1738, 317. 

Makemie, Francis, first licensed Pres- 
bj-terian Minister in Virginia, 338. 

Malgro, said to have visited America, 
eirc. A. D. 600, 3. 

Mannakintown, the Huguenot settle- 
ment, 309. 

Map of Virginia, Smith's, 47. 

Marquette, Padre, takes possession of 
the Mississippi valley in the name 
of France, 340. 

Marriage, the first English in Amer- 
ica, 45 ; forbidden professors at 
William and Mary College, 307. 

Marshall, John, at Great Bridge, 436 ; 
urges the adoption of the Federal 

Constitution, 476 ; presides at the 
trial of Burr, 483, 484 ; liis fairness, 

Martin, John, member of original 
comicil, 21, 78 ; his character, 63. 

Martin, Lutlier, counsel for Burr to be 
"muzzled," 483. 

Martin-Brandon, one of the original 
boroughs, 115. 

Martin's Hundred, one of the original 
borouglis, 115. 

Mary, V/illiam and, proclaimed " Lord 
and Lady of Virginia," 301 ; grant 
the charter of William and Mary 
College, 305. 

Maryland, origin of the name, 178 ; 
objections of Virginia to the settle- 
ment of, 178 ; oath of the governor 
of, 181 ; civil war in, 180, 181, 209- 

Mason, his descent and character, 
229 ; personal appearance, and wit, 
411; love of country, 412, 420; 
member of Committee of Safety, 
435 ; author of the Declaration of 
Rights, 412 ; of the Virginia Consti- 
tution, 439 ; opposes the adoption 
of tlie Federal Constitution, 475. 

Massachusetts recommends a general 
Congress, 389 ; destruction of the 
tea ni, 416 ; outbreak of the Revo- 
lution in, 429. 

Massacre, the Indian, 124-129. 

Matachanna, sister of Pocahontas, 

Matoax, or Matoaca, the real name of 
Pocahontas, 103. 

Matthews, Samuel, Governor, his por- 
trait, 205 ; persecutes the Puritans, 
205, 200 : is deposed, 206 ; rein- 
stated, 207 ; dies, 218. 

Maynard, Lieutenant, slays Black- 
beard, 316. 

McDowell, James, 325. 

Meade, Bishop William, his ordina- 
tion, as Bishop, 395 ; his character. 
396 ; revives the Episcopal Church, 
396; his "Old Churches of Vir- 
ginia," 493. 

Mennonists in the Valley, 323. 

Mercer, James, member of Committee 
of Safety, 435. 

Methodism, the rise of, 334 ; a mission- 
ary movement in the Church, 
Whitefield's definition of, 335; in 
Virginia, 337. 

Middle-Plantation, scene there dur- 
ing the Great Rebellion, 267-272; 
oath taken at, 271 ; capital removed 
to, 304. 

Military Institute, Virginia, founded, 



Millwood, settlers aroimd, 327. 

Miuute-Meii, the Virginia, 327, 428; 
motto of tlie Culpeper, 436. 

Monacal! Country, Newport's Expedi- 
tion to, 47. 

Monmouth, followers of, sent to Vir- 
ginia as indented servants, 300. 

Monroe, James, his descent, 229. 

Morquez, Don Pedro de, enters the 
Chesapeake, 4. 

Momit Desert, settlement at, de- 
stroyed by Argall, 108. 

Mount Vernon, origin of the name, 

Nansemonu, supposed settlement of 
Puritans in, 173. 

Nantaquaus, brother of Pocahontas, 
95, 103. 

Navigation Laws, 204, 230-232. 

Neale, Thomas, authorized to estab- 
lish a postal system in America, 

Necessity, Fort, Washington's surren- 
der at, 344 ; Braddock's death and 
burial at, 354. 

Necotowaiice, "King of the Indians," 
treaty with, 187. 

Negroes, the first brought to America, 
123 ; not to hold office, 310. 

Nelson, Captain Francis, of the Phoe- 
nix, 42, 43. 

Nelson, Secretary, at Yorktovni, 468. 

Nelson, General Thomas, his personal 
appearance, 400 ; his decision, 438 ; 
Governor and commander of Vir- 
ginia troops, 464 ; fires on the Nel- 
son House, 468. 

Nelson, William, Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor, 403. 

New England, settled, 189 ; pastors 
from, in Virginia, 172; sjnnpathy 
witli English Commonwealth, 194 ; 
attitude of, toward the Revolution, 

New Lights, The, 331 ; their hostility 
to the Establishment, 336 ; perse- 
cution of, 336 ; effect of preaching 
of, 337. 

Newport, Christopher, 18, 40 ; his 
character, 41 ; crowns Powhatan, 
47 ; expeditions of, 41, 47 ; Vice- 
Adrairal, 56. 

Nicholas, Robert Carter, 406. 

Nicholson, Francis, Governor, 301 ; 
his outrages, 302 ; passion for Miss 
Burwell, and absurd proceedings, 
303 ; charges brought against, 303 ; 
removes the capital to Williams- 
burg, 304 ; plans the imion of all 
the colonies under himself, 304 ; 
fulsome address on the accession 

of Anne, 310 ; his after life and 
character, 308. 

Nonsuch, settlement of, 66, 142. 

Norfolk, biu-ned by Dmimore, 437. 

North, Frederick, Lord, his wit, 402 ; 
offers the "Olive Branch," 432; 
retires, 472. 

North Carolina, Indian naine of, 1 ; 
attempt to establish a Jesuit mis- 
sion in, 4. 

Northern Neck, grant of, 232 ; inher- 
ited b}^ Fairfax, 327. 

Norwood, Colonel, takes refuge in Vir- 
ginia, 190 ; sent to Charles II., by 
Berkeley, 191 ; his description of 
the Cavalier exiles, 192. 

Okee, 28 ; sucks the blood of children, 

Old Capitol, the, 397. 

Old Chapel, the, 329. 

Old Dominion, the, supposed origin 
of the name of, 218. 

Old Magazine, the, 397 ; removal of 
powder from, 430 ; explosion at, 

"Olive Branch," the, 432, 433. 

Oliveriau Plot, the, character and re- 
sult of, 220, 221. 

Opechancanough captures Smith, 34 ; 
is captured by him, 52 ; petitions 
the Assembly, 117 ; tradition relat- 
ing to, 125 ; j>lans and executes the 
massacre of 1622, 125, 126 ; again 
attacks the colony, and is taken 
prisoner, 186 ; his message to Berke- 
ley and death, 187. 

Opequon Church, one of the oldest in 
tlie valley, 323. 

Opitchapan succeeds Powhatan, 104 ; 
Wyat's battle with, 163, 164; de- 
posed, 125. 

Orange, divided into Frederick and 
Augusta, 326. 

Orapax, place of Powhatan's burial, 

Ordinance and Constitution .. ^-1 , 
its provisions, 118. 

Orkney, Lord, Governor, 310. 

Page, Johx, of Rosewell, author of 
" A Deed of Gift," 360. 

Page, John, Governor, his opposition 
to Dunmore, 430 ; member of Com- 
mittee of Safety, 435 ; defends the 
Church Establishment, 443. 

Pamunkey, Queen of, lier appearance 
before the Burgesses, 252-254. 

Parsons' Cause, the, 381, 382. 

Patroons, The New York, their splen- 
dor of living, 369. 

Pendleton, Edmund, descent, political 



views, personal appearance and ora- i 
tory of, -29, 413, 414 ; the conserva- 
tive revolutionist, 415 ; member of 
first Congress, 4l20 ; President of 
Convention, 427 ; of Committee of 
Safety, 435 ; author of the resolu- 
tions for independence, 438 ; de- 
fends the Church and entails, 443- 
446; President of Convention to 
consider Federal Constitution, 475 ; 
President of Court of Appeals, and 
death, 394. 

Percy, George, 17 ; his description of 
the fever of 1G07, 23 ; offers to cut 
the throats of Smith's enemies, 55 ; 
chosen President, 07 ; his ill health 
and want of energy, 77, 79, 88. 

Phillips, General, invades Virginia, 
and captures Petersburg, 458 ; Jef- 
ferson's characterization of, 459 ; 
death and place of burial, 459. 

Phillips, the Marauder, hung for trea- 
son, 455. 

Pillories to be erected, 222. 

Pitt, William, his views on America, 
388 ; opinion of the first Congress, 

Planters, characteristics of the class, 
309-372 ; their attitude toward the 
Revolution, 377, 378. 

Pleasant, Point, battle at, 423, 424. 

Pocahontas, preserves the life of 
Smith, 35 ; his description of, 30 ; 
succors the colony, 38 ; her masquer- 
ade, 40 ; warns the English of an 
attacli to be made on them, 51 ; the 
question of the rescue, 71-73 ; saves 
an English boy, 78 ; is taken prison- 
er, 93 ; lier conversion and baptism, 
97 ; goes with Dale to the York, 
94 ; her affair with Rolfe, 95, 96 ; 
his letter describing her, 97 ; their 
marriage, 97 ; at Varina, 92, 98 ; sails 
for England, 100 ; her reception, 
101 : interview with Smith, 102 ; the 
.lon of their relations, 102, 103 ; 
dfetails relating to her family, 103 ; 
her death, 103. 

Point Clomfort, origin of name, 19 ; 

duty of the commandant at, 170. 
Ponce de Jteon, lands in Florida, 4. 
Population of Virginia in 1616, 110 ; 
in 16'J2, 124 ; in 1648, 188 ; in 1670, 
226 ; increase in, liow to be account- 
ed for, 226 ; probable, in 1700, 309 ; 
in 1756, 3G7 ; in 1870 and 1880, 510. 
Port Bill, Boston, 416 ; proceedings in 

Virginia with reference to, 418. 
Porter, John, expelled from Assem- 
bly for "being loving to the Qua- 
kers," 221. 
Pory, John, Speaker of first Assembly, 

115 ; commissioner to Virginia, char- 
acter and proceedings of, 131. 

Postal System, established in Virguiia, 
317, 318. 

Pott, Jolm, Governor, convicted of 
cattle stealing, 164. 

Powliatan, the Emperor, first visit of 
the English to, 21 ; his kingdom 
and favorite residences, 32 ; his au- 
tliority, personal appearance, and 
surroimdings, 35 ; outwits Newport, 
41 ; crowned under-king, 47 ; at- 
tempts to slay Smith, 51 ; executes 
the house-builders, 55 ; . . puts Rat- 
cliffe to death, 78 ; interview witli 
Hamor and message to Dale, 99 ; 
abdicates, 104 ; dies, 105 ; his char- 
acter, 105, 106. 

Powhatan, original name of James 
River, 19. 

Powhatan, singular footprints at tlie 
estate of, 30. 

Powhatan's Cliimney, 34. 

Powhatans, the, 27. 

Presbyterians form a Congregation in 
Hanover, 336 ; divide into Old and 
New Sides, 337, 338 ; memorial from 
Church in Hanover, 362 : their hos- 
tility to the Establishmenv, 392-394. 

Providence, the Puritan name.for An- 
napolis, 213. 

Puritans in Virginia, the ; early im- 
migration of, 171 ; hostility to, 172 ; 
pastors sent from Boston, 172 ; Act 
of Assembly against, 172 ; supposed 
congregation in Nansemond, 173 ; 
conjecture as to number in Virginia, 
173; persecutions of, 173, 184; iu, 
Maryland, 180-215. 

Pyland, James, prosecuted for rebel- 
lion and blasphemy, 203. 

Quakers. [See Friends.) 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, the author of 
American Colonization, 6. 

Raleigh Tavern, 398 ; meetings of Bur- 
gesses at, 404, 419. 

Randolph, Edmund, his descent, 229 ; 
first Attorney General, 440. 

Randolph, John, of Roanoke, fore- 
man of jury to try Aaron B'rr, 
484 ; denounces Jackson's Force 
proclamation, 484, 489 ; descended 
from Pocahontas, 104. 

Randolph, Peyton, President, of first 
Congress, 228, 420. 

Randolph Macon College founded, 

Ratcliffe, John, President of Colony, 
24 ; attempts to escape and is ar- 
rested by Smith, 37 ; deposed, 45 ;