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"That people go not to work in the ground without their arms (and a centinell upon them :)
"That the inhabitants go not aboard ships or upon any other occasions, in such numbers as thereby to weaken and endanger the plantations :
"That the commander of every plantation take care that there be sufficient of powder and ammunition within the plantation under his command and their pieces fixt and their arms compleate :
"That there be dew watch kept by night:
"That no commander of any plantation do either himselfe or suffer others to spend powder unnecessarily, in drinking or entertainment, &c.: "That at the beginning of July next the inhabitants of every corporation shall go upon their adjoining salvages, as we did the last year."Hen. Stat. at Large, vol. i. p. 127, 128.
In the year 1629, the legislature again "ordered that every commander of the several plantations appointed by commission from the governor, shall have power and authoritie to levy a partie of men out of the inhabitants of that place soe many as may well be spared without too much weakening of the plantations, and to employ those men against the Indians," &c.-Idem, p. 140.
"It was the opinion of the whole bodie of the assembly that we should go three several marches upon the Indians, at three several times of the year, viz: first in November, secondly in March, thirdly in July," &c.Idem, p. 141.
In 1631-32, "it is ordered that no person or persons shall dare to speak or to parlie with any Indians, either in the woods or in any plantation, yf he can possibly avoid it by any means," &c.-Idem, p. 167.
The author considers the foregoing extracts sufficient to enable the reader to form some opinion of the spirit and character of the early settlers of our state, particularly as it relates to their sufferings and difficulties with the Indian tribes. It is not deemed expedient or necessary to go into a detailed history of the first settlement of our country, as there are several general histories of Virginia now to be obtained, written by authors, whose abilities and means of information the author could not expect to equal.
The author will close this brief sketch of the first settlement of Virginia, with a few general remarks in relation to the first introduction of slavery. It appears from our early historians, that negroes were first introduced into our state from "a Dutch ship in the year 1620." O woful day for our country! To use the language of Mr. Snowden, this was "an evil hour" for our country-It truly brought "new sins and new deaths" to the new world. The present generation have abundant cause to deplore the unhallowed cupidity and want of all the finer feelings of our nature, mani-. fested in this baleful and unrighteous traffic. It has entailed upon us a heavy calamity, which will perhaps require the wisdom of ages yet to come to remove. That it must and will be removed, there can be but little doubt. History furnishes no example of any part of the human race being kept in perpetual slavery. Whether the scheme of sending them to Africa will ultimately produce the desired effect, can only be tested by time: it is however most "devoutly" to be desired.
BACON'S REBELLION IN VIRGINIA IN 1675-76.
The document which follows relates to one of the most singular events which ever occurred in Virginia, and its interest is a sufficient induceanent for its insertion in this work. It was published in the Richmond Evangelical Magazine many years ago, but is now out of print. The editor of that work, (the late revered and highly esteemed Dr. Rice,) in introducing it into his pages, says: "It was taken verbatim from a copy in the library now belonging to congress, but formerly the property of Mr. Jefferson. Who the author is we cannot discover. He was certainly a man of much cleverness, and wrote well. But our readers will judge for themselves. The name of Bacon is very little known to our citizens in general: and this part of our history has been veiled in great obscurity.There are two remembrances of this extraordinary man in the neighborhood of Richmond. A brook on the north-west of the city, which bears the name of "Bacon-quarter branch," is said to have received its name from the fact, that on that brook Bacon had his quarter. Buck says that he owned a plantation on Shockoe creek, of which the stream just mentioned is a branch. One of the finest springs in Richmond, or its vicinity, is on the east of the city, and is called Bloody-run spring. name is said to be derived from a sanguinary conflict which Bacon had with the Indians, on the margin of the streamlet which flows from this spring."
The following account of the original from which this document was taken, is given by Mr. Jefferson, in his own words:
"The original manuscript, of which the following is a copy, was communicated to me by Mr. King, our late minister plenipotentiary at the court of London, in a letter of Dec. 20, 1803. The transaction which it records, although of little extent or consequence, is yet marked on the history of Va. as having been the only rebellion or insurrection which took place in the colony during the 168 years of its existence preceding the American revolution, and one hundred years exactly before that event: in the contest with the house of Stuart, it only accompanied the steps of the mother country. The rebellion of Bacon has been little understood, its cause and course being imperfectly explained by any authentic materials hitherto possessed; this renders the present narrative of real value. It appears to have been written by a person intimately acquainted with its origin, progress and conclusion, thirty years after it took place, and when the passions of the day had subsided, and reason might take a cool and deliberate review of the transaction. It was written, too, not for the public eye, but to satisfy the desire of minister Lord Oxford; and the candor and simplicity of the narration cannot fail to command belief. On the outside of the cover of the manuscript is the No. 3947 in one place, and 5781 in another. Very possibly the one may indicate the place it held in Lord Oxford's library, and the other its number in the catalogue of the bookseller to whose hands it came afterwards; for it was at the sale of the stock of a bookseller that Mr. King purchased it.
"To bring the authenticity of this copy as near to that of the original as I could, I have most carefully copied it with my own hand. The pages
and lines of the copy correspond exactly with those of the original; the orthography, abbreviations, punctuations, interlineations and incorrectnesses, are preserved, so that it is a fac simile except as to the form of the letter. The orthography and abbreviations are evidences of the age of the writing.
"The author says of himself that he was a planter; that he lived in Northumberland, but was elected a member of the assembly of 1676 for the county of Stafford, Colonel Mason being his colleague, of which assembly Col. Warner was speaker; that it was the first and should be the last time of his meddling with public affairs; and he subscrbes the initials of his name T. M. Whether the records of the time (if they still exist,) with the aid of these circumstances, will shew what his name was, remains for farther inquiry."
To the right hono'ble Robert Harley esq'r. her Mag'ties Principal Secretary of State, and one of her most Hono'ble Privy Council.
The great honor of your command obliging my pen to step aside from its habitual element of ffigures into this little treatise of history; which having never before experienced, I am like Sutor ultra crepidam, and therefore dare pretend no more than (nakedly) recount matters of ffact.
Beseeching yo'r hono'r will vouch safe to allow, that in 30 years, divers occurrences are laps'd out of mind, and others imperfectly retained.
So as the most solemn obedience can be now paid, is to pursue the track of barefac'd truths, as close as my memory can recollect, to have seen, or believed, from credible ffriends with concurring circumstances:
And whatsoever yo'r celebrated wisdom shall finde amise in the composure, my entire dependence is upon yo'r candor favorably to accept these most sincere endeavors of Yo'r Hon'rs
Most devoted humble serv't.
The 13th July, 1705.
The beginning progress and conclusion of Bacons rebellion in Virginia in the year 1675 & 1676.
About the year 1675, appear'd three prodigies in that country, which from th' attending disasters were look'd upon as ominous presages.
The one was a large comet every evening for a week, or more at Southwest; thirty five degrees high streaming like a horse taile westwards, untill it reach'd (almost) the horison, and setting towards the North-west.
Another was, flights of pigieons in breadth nigh a quarter of the midhemisphere, and of their length was no visible end; whose weights brake down the limbs of large trees whereon these rested at nights, of which the ffowlers shot abundance and eat 'em; this sight put the old planters under the more portentous apprehensions, because the like was seen (as they said,)in the year 1640 when th' Indians committed the last massacre, but not after, until that present year 1675.
The third strange appearance was swarms of flyes about an inch long, and big as the top of a man's little finger, rising out of spigot holes in the earth, which eat the new sprouted leaves from the tops of the trees without doing other harm, and in a month left us.
My dwelling was in Northumberland, the lowest county on Potomack river, Stafford being the upmost, where having also a plantation, servants, cattle &c. my overseer had agreed with one Rob't. Hen to come thither, and be my herdsman, who then lived ten miles above it; but on a sabbath day morning in the sumer anno 1675, people in their way to church, saw this Hen lying thwart his threshold, and an Indian without the door, both chopt on their heads, arms & other parts, as if done with Indian hatchetts, th' Indian was dead, but Hen when asked who did that? answered Doegs Doegs, and soon died, then a boy came out from under a bed where he had hid himself, and told them, Indians had come at break of day & done those murders.
ffrom this Englishman's bloud did (by decrees) arise Bacons rebellion with the following mischiefs which overspread all Virginia & twice endangered Maryland, as by the ensueing account is evident.
Of this horrid action Coll: Mason who commanded the militia regiment of ffoot & Capt. Brent the troop of horse in that county, (both dwelling six or eight miles downwards) having speedy notice raised 30, or more men, & and pursu'd those Indians 20 miles up & 4 miles over that river into Maryland, where landing at dawn of day, they found two small paths each leader with his party took a separate path and in less than a furlong either found a cabin, which they (silently) surrounded. Capt. Brent went to the Doegs cabin (as it proved to be) who speaking the Indian tongue called to have a "Machacomicha wowhio" i. e. a council called presently such being the usuall manner with Indians (the king came trembling forth, and wou'd have fled, when Capt. Brent, catching hold of his twisted lock (which was all the hair he wore) told him he was come for the murderer of Rob't Hen, the king pleaded ignorance and slipt loos, whom Brent shot dead with his pistoll, th' Indians shot two or three guns out of the cabin, th' English shot into it, th' Indians throng'd out at the door and fled, the English shot as many as they cou'd, so that they killed ten, as Capt. Brent told me, and brought away the kings son of about 8 years old, concerning whom is an observable passage, at the end of this expedition; the noise of this shooting awaken'd the Indians in the cabin, which Coll: Mason had encompassed, who likewise rush'd out & fled, of whom his company (supposing from that noise of shooting Brent's party to be engaged) shot (as the Coll: informed me) ffourteen before an Indian came, who with both hands shook him (friendly) by one arm saying Susquehanoughs netoughs i. e. Susquehanaugh friends and fled, whereupon he ran amongst his men, crying out "for the Lords sake shoot no more, these are our friends the Susquehanoughs.
This unhappy scene ended;-Collo. Mason took the king of the Doegs son home with him, who lay ten dayes in bed, as one dead, with eyes and mouth shutt, no breath discern'd, but his body continuing warm, they believed him yett alive; th' aforenamed Capt. Brent (a papist) coming thither on a visit, and seeing his little prisener thus languishing
said "perhaps he is pawewawd i. e. bewitch'd, and that he had heard baptism was an effectual remedy against witchcraft wherefore advis'd to baptise him Collo. Mason answered, no minister cou'd be had in many miles; Brent replied yo'r clerk Mr. Dobson may do that office, which was done by the church of England liturgy; Col: Mason with Capt. Brent godfathers and Mrs. Mason godmother, my overseer Mr. Pimet being present, from whom I first heard it, and which all th' other persons (afterwards) affirm'd to me; the four men returned to drinking punch, but Mrs. Mason stayed & looking on the child, it open'd the eyes, and breath'd whereat she ran for a cordial, which he took from a spoon, gaping for more and so (by degrees) recovered, tho' before his baptism, they had often tryed the same meanes but cou'd not by no endeavours wrench open his teeth.
This was taken for a convincing proofe against infidelity.
But to return from this digression, the Susquehanoughs were newly driven from their habitations, at the head of Chesepiack bay, by the Cincla-Indians, down to the head of Potomack, where they sought protection under the Pascataway Indians, who had a fort near the head of that river, and also were our ffriends.
After this unfortunate exploit of Mason & Brent, one or two being kill'd in Stafford, boats of war were equipt to prevent excursions over the river, and at the same time murders being likewise committed in Maryland, by whom not known, on either side the river, both countrys raised their quota's of a thousand men, upon whose coming before the ffort, the Indians sent out 4 of their great men, who ask'd the reason of that hostile appearance, what they said more or offered I do not remember to have heard; but our two commanders caused them to be (instantly) slaine, after which the Indians made an obstinate resistance shooting many of our men, and making frequent, fierce and bloody sallyes; and when they were call'd to, or offered parley, gave no other answer, than "where are our four Cockarouses, i. e. great men ?
At the end of six weeks, march'd out seventy five Indians with their women children &c. who by moon light passed our guards hollowing & firing att them without opposition having 3 or 4 decrepits in the ffort.
The next morning th' English followed, but could not, or (for fear of ambuscades) would not overtake these desperate fugitives the number we lost in that siege I did not hear was published.
The walls of this fort were high banks of earth, with flankers having many loop-holes, and a ditch round all, and without this a row of tall trees fastened 3. feet deep in the earth, their bodies from 5. to 8. inches diameter, watled 6. inches apart to shoot through with the tops twisted together, and also artificially wrought, as our men could make no breach to storm it, nor (being low land) could they undermine it by reason of water neither had they cannon to batter itt, so that 'twas not taken, untill ffamine drove the Indians out of it.
These escap'd Indians (forsaking Maryland( took their rout over the head of that river, and thence over the heads of Rappahonnock & York rivers, killing whom they found of the upmost plantations until they came to the head of James river, where (with Bacon and others) they