Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

chores to reconcile the inhabitants to the change, and in his

1624.

1625.

1626.

1627.

instructions to Wyatt, whom he continued in office, the
governor and council were restricted to such authority
as they had exercised during five years past—the pre-
cise period since the ordinance of the company establish-
ing an assembly. That body, accordingly, though no
express mention was made of it in the royal instruc-
tions, continued to meet as before. When Charles I.
shortly after succeeded to the throne, Wyatt's commis-
sion was renewed in the same terms. He soon obtained
leave to return home, and Yeardley, the former popular
governor, was appointed his successor. Upon Yeardley's
death the next year, the council, under their power of
filling vacancies till new appointments could be made
from England, elected as temporary governor Francis
West, a kinsman of Lord De la War. -
A letter to the king, signed by West and his council,
gives but an unfavorable account of the industry of the
colony. The freight of staves and clapboards was too
high to allow them to be exported at a profit; the per-
sons sent out to plant and tend vines either did not un-
derstand the business or “concealed their skill;” the In-
dian war had broken up the iron works and the manu-
facture of potashes; while dangers from the Indians and
difficulties of carriage made the production of tar and
pitch unadvisable. Thus came to an end the repeated
efforts and costly experiments, made at the late com-
pany’s expense, for the introduction of various staples.
The Indian war, still carried on with great animosity
on both sides, and the want of enterprise, capital, and
perseverance, so essential to the introduction of any new
branch of industry, confined Virginia to the single staple
of tobacco, justly denounced by one of her native histo-
rians as “a nauseous, unpalatable weed, neither of ne-

cessity nor ornament to human life.” But it was of curren V.

easy cultivation, the production of it might be engaged
in with very little capital, and, though declining in price,
it ensured a quick and certain return, and a supply of
clothing and other imported articles essential to the col
onists. The trade, however, in tobacco, apart from fluc-
tuations in demand and supply, was very much at the
mercy of the king. In hopes of an increase of revenue,
he assumed to regulate it by frequent, and sometimes
contradictory proclamations. He even proposed to be-
come the sole purchaser of tobacco at a stipulated price;
but this proposal was rejected by the assembly.
Dr. John Potts, elected by the council, succeeded
West as temporary governor, which office he held till
the arrival of John Harvey, late one of the investigating
commissioners, and now appointed to the government of
the colony. Shortly after Harvey's arrival, his prede-
cessor was tried by a jury of thirteen, of whom three
were counselors, upon a charge of cattle-stealing. After
one day spent in pleading, and another in “recrimina-
tions” and “unnecessary disputation,” so the record in-
forms us, the ex-governor was found guilty; but, “in
regard of his quality and practice”—he was probably the
colonial physician—sentence was respited till the king's
pleasure could be known, all the council becoming his
sureties. The result, nor, indeed, the ground of the
verdict, does not appear. Potts's name recurs no more as
counselor, but he is subsequently mentioned as a cred-
itor of the colony to whom payment is ordered; not,
however, it is cautiously added, “till his account be
produced.”
Harvey built a fort at Point Comfort, at the entrance
of James River, and, to supply it with ammunition, a fee
or payment in powder and ball was demanded of every

1627.

1629.

1630.

chapter ship that passed. The commander was authorized to

1630.

1632.

tender the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to all per-
sons arriving in the colony, and to send all vessels to
Jamestown before they landed any part of their cargoes.
Salt-works were also established at Accomac, on the east-
ern shore of Chesapeake Bay.
The next matter of moment was a revisal of the laws,
consolidating the whole into a single statute—a judicious
process several times repeated in Virginia. In addition
to the enactments of 1624, most of which were contin-
ued in force, the minister of each parish was required to
keep a record, and the church-wardens to make an an-
nual return of all marriages, christenings, and burials.
The publication of bans, or a license, was required to
authorize the celebration of a marriage; and in case of
minors, the consent of parents and guardians. Ministers
were to preach at least one sermon every Sunday, to ad-
minister the communion three times a year, to catechize
the children, and visit the sick. They were not to give
themselves “to excess in drinking or riot, spending their
time idly by day or night, playing at cards, dice, or other
unlawful games; but to read or hear the Holy Scriptures,
or to employ themselves in other honorable studies or ex-
ercise, bearing in mind that they ought to be examples
to the people to live well and Christianly.” Besides ten
pounds of tobacco and a bushel of corn for every titha-
ble in their parishes—including under that head all males
over sixteen—the ministers were also to have the twen-
tieth calf, pig, and kid, with fees for marrying, christ-
ening, and burying; but, so far as related to live stock,
this provision was soon repealed. Defective churches
were to be rebuilt and repaired; and religious ceremo-
nies to be performed only in the churches. The church-
wardens were to take an oath to present all who led pro-

fane and ungodly lives, common swearers and drunkards, chapter iv.

blasphemers, adulterers, fornicators, slanderers, tale-bear

ers; all such as “do not behave themselves orderly and 1632.

soberly during divine service,” and all masters and mis-
tresses delinquent in catechizing children and “ignorant
persons” under their charge. Drunkenness was to be
fined five shillings, and each oath one shilling. These
provisions evince the powerful hold taken upon the En-
glish mind by those ideas which, under their more ex-
aggerated form, obtained the name of Puritanism; ideas
not without a powerful influence upon every Anglo-Amer-
ican colony, and very far from being so exclusively coil-
fined to New England, as some have supposed. .
Certain provisions against forestalling and engrossing
contained in this code underwent, during the twelve
years following, various modifications, when they were
finally repealed and abandoned. It was also attempted
by legislative enactments to limit the production of to-
bacco, improve its quality, and raise the price, which had
now fallen to sixpence per pound. The English consump-
tion of this article continued to increase; but the Vir-
ginians found a dangerous competition not only from the
colony of Bermuda, but from the English planters lately
established on the Island of Barbadoes, a settlement which
had a very rapid growth, and soon surpassed Virginia in
numbers. Other English settlers in the West Indies es-
tablished themselves on St. Kitt's, Antigua, Montserrat,
and Nevis, known as the Leeward Islands. French plant-
ers, about the same time, began to occupy part of St.
Kitt's, Guadaloupe, and Martinique. The cultivation of
tobacco was the main object in these first attempts to colo-
nize the islands of the Caribbee group, which had remained
till this time in possession of their native inhabitants.
To secure a supply of provisions, every planter was

chapter ship that passed. The commander was authorized to ones

1630.

1632.

tender the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to all per- *
sons arriving in the colony, and to send all vessels to * */s
Jamestown before they landed any part of their cargoes or o
Salt-works were also established at Accomac, on the east- *
ern shore of Chesapeake Bay. -so
The next matter of moment was a revisal of the laws o
consolidating the whole into a single statute—a j udicio- *
process several times repeated in Virginia. In additio
to the enactments of 1624, most of which were con-2. -
ued in force, the minister of each parish was requires. o
keep a record, and the church-wardens to make ano ors:
nual return of all marriages, christenings, and bro o
The publication of bans, or a license, was requior. *
authorize the celebration of a marriage; and in to o --
minors, the consent of parents and guardians. Moon.”-
were to preach at least one sermon every Sundayo *s-
minister the communion three times a year, to to o o s
the children, and visit the sick. They were noo os-
themselves “to excess in drinking or riot, spenos o -
time idly by day or night, playing at cards, dio -
unlawful games; but to read or hear the Holy S.
or to employ themselves in other honorable stus

ercise, bearing in mind that they ought to b -
to the people to live well and Christianly.” - -

pounds of tobacco and a bushel of corn for ble in their parishes—including under that he-

over sixteen—the ministers were also to has
tieth calf, pig, and kid, with fees for mari
ening, and burying; but, so far as related
this provision was soon repealed. Defec
were to be rebuilt and repaired; and reli
nies to be per

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« ПредишнаНапред »