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to grow to the strength of established usage by his wholesome neglect; while he was employed in obtaining a monopoly of their tobacco. This valuable article, the use of which extended with such unaccountable rapidity, had early attracted the avidity of King James. The 19th article of the charter of 1609 had exempted the company, their agents, factors, and assignees, from the payment of all subsidies and customs in Virginia for the space of one and twenty years, and from all taxes and impositions forever, upon any goods imported thither, or exported thence into any of the realms or dominions of England; except the five per cent, usual by the ancient trade of merchants. But notwithstanding the express words of this charter, a tax was laid by the farmers of the customs, in the year 1620, upon the tobacco of the colony; which was not only high of itself, but the more oppressive because it laid the same tax upon Virginia and Spanish tobacco, when the latter sold in the market for three times the price of the former. In the same year the same prince was guilty of another violation of the charter, in forcing the company to bring all of their tobacco into England; when he found that a portion of their trade had been diverted into Holland, and establishments made at Middleburg and Flushing. The charters all guarantied to the colony all of the rights, privileges, franchises, and immunities of native born Englishmen, and this act of usurpation was the first attempt on the part of the mother country to monopolize the trade of the colony. The next year the king, either his avidity being unsatisfied, or not liking the usurped and precarious tenure by which his gains were held, inveigled the Virginia and Somer Isles company into an arrangement, by which they were to become the sole importers of tobacco; being bound, however, to import not less than forty nor more than sixty thousand pounds of Spanish varinas, and paying to the king, in addition to the sixpence duty before paid, one-third part of all the tobacco landed in the realms. The king, on his part, was to prohibit all other importation and all planting in England and Ireland; and that which was already planted was to be confiscated.
When the company petitioned parliament to prolong its existence, in opposition to the efforts of the king, they failed—but that portion of their petition, which asked for the exclusive monopoly of
Se 29 1624 toDacco to virg>nia ana the Somer Isles, was grantP'' 'ed, and a royal proclamation issued accordingly. Whether this exclussiveness was understood with the limitation in the previous contract between the king and the two companies, it is impossible to say, as the original documents are not accessible to the writer.' But the probabilities are greatly against the limitation.
Charles had not been long on the throne before he issued a
• Burke, I. 291, and Bancroft, I. 206—quoting Stith, Cobbott's Parliament. Hut and Hazard.
4 •] g 26°5 proclamation, confirming the exclusive privileges "'' of the Virginia and Somer Isles tobacco; and pro
hibiting a violation of their monopoly, under penalty of censure by the dread star-chamber. This was soon followed by another, in which he carefully set forth the forfeiture of their charter by the company, and the immediate dependence of the colony upon the crown; concluding by a plain intimation of his intention to become their sole factor.
Soon after this, a rumor reached the colonies that an individual was in treaty with the king for an exclusive contract for tobacco; one of the conditions of which would have led to the importation of so large an amount of Spanish tobacco, as would have driven that of the colonists from the market. The earnest representations of the colony on this subject caused an abandonment of the scheme; but in return, the colony was obliged to excuse itself from a charge of trade with the Low Countries, and promise to trade only with England. But the king's eagerness for the possession of this monopoly was not to be baffled thus. He made a formal proposition to the colony for their exclusive trade, in much the same language as one tradesman would use to another; and desired that the General Assembly might be convened for the purpose of Mar 26 1628 cons'der'ng ms proposition. The answer by the ''General Assembly to this proposition is preserved. It sets forth in strong, but respectful language the injury which had been done the planters, by the mere report of an intention to subject their trade to a monopoly: they state the reasons for not engaging in the production of the other staples mentioned by the king; and dissent from his proposition as to the purchase of their tobacco; demanding a higher price and better terms of admission, in exchange for the exclusive monopoly which he wished.
In the mean time, the death of his father rendered it necessary 1626 Francis Wyatt to return to Europe, to attend to his
private affairs; and the king appointed Sir George Yeardley his successor. This was itself a sufficient guarantee of the political privileges of the colony ; as he had had the honor of calling the first colonial assembly. But in addition to this, his powers were, like those of his predecessor, limited to the executive authority exercised by the governor within five years last past. These circumstances taken in connection with the express sanction given by Charles to the power of a legislative assembly, with regard to his proffered contract for tobacco, sufficiently prove that he had no design of interfering with the highly prized privilege of self-government enjoyed by the colonists: and fully justifies the General Assembly in putting the most favorable construction upon the king's ambiguous words, announcing his determination to preserve inviolate all the "former interests" of Virginia, which occur in his letter of 1627.
Thus were those free principles established in Virginia, for which the mother country had to struggle for some time longer. The colony rose in the estimation of the public, and a thousand new emigrants arrived in one year; which of course much enhanced the price of provision.
Death now closed the career of Yeardley. The character of his N 14 1R97 administration isexhibited in the history of thecolony;
'' and the estimate placed upon his character by those who were best acquainted with his conduct, and who were little disposed to flatter undeservedly either the living or the dead, is to be found in a eulogy written by the government of Virginia to the privy council, announcing his death. In obedience to the king's commission to the council, they elected Francis West governor, the day after the burial of Yeardley. He held the commission until the 5th of March, 1028, when, designing to sail for England, John Pott was chosen to succeed him. Pott did not continue long in office, for the king, when the death of Yeardley was known, issued his commission to Sir John Harvey, who arrived some time between October, 1628, and March, 1029.
In the interval between the death of Yeardley and the arrival of Harvey, occurred the first act of religious intolerance which defiles the annals of Virginia.
Lord Baltimore, a Catholic nobleman, allured by the rising reputation of the colony, abandoned his settlement in Newfoundland and came to Virginia; where, instead of being received with the cheerful welcome of a friend and a brother, he was greeted with the oath of allegiance and supremacy; the latter of which, it was well known, his conscience would not allow him to take.
Much allowance is to be made for this trespass upon religious freedom before we attribute it to a wilful violation of natural liberty. The times and circumstances ought to be considered. The colony had grown into lifo while the violent struggles between the Romish and Protestant churches were yet rife. The ancient tyranny and oppression of the Holy See were yet fresh in the memory of all; its cruelties and harsh intolerance in England were recent; and yet continuing in the countries in which its votaries had the control of the civil government. The light of Protestantism itself was the first dawn of religious freedom; and the thraldom in which mankind had been held by Catholic fetters for so many ages, was too terrible to risk the possibility of their acquiring any authority in government. Eye-witnesses of the severities of Mary were yet alive in England, and doubtless many of the colonists had heard fearful relations of the religious sufferings during her reign, probably some had suffered in their own families: most of them had emigrated while the excitement against the Papists was still raging in England with its greatest fury, and continually kept in action by the discovery, or preteuded discovery, of Popish plots to obtain possession of the government. Was it wonderful, then, that a colony which, with a remarkable uniformity of sentiment, professed a different religion, should be jealous of a faith which sought by every means in its power to obtain supreme control, and used that control for the extermination, by the harshest means, of all other creedsTM 4
The colony in Virginia was planted when the incestuous and monstrous connection of church and state had not been severed in any civilized country on the globe; at a period when it would have been heresy to attempt such a divorce, because it required all the aid of the civil power to give men sufficient freedom to "profess, and by argu: ment to maintain," any other creed than one—and that one the creed of Rome. The anxiety of the British government upon this subject, so far from being unnatural, was highly laudable, since all its efforts were necessary to sustain its new-born power of professing its own creed. The awful effect of Catholic suprc'macy, displayed in a neighboring kingdom, afforded a warning too, terrible* to be easily forgotten; and it would have been as unwise to allow the Catholics equal civil privileges at that day, as it would be impolitic and unjust now to exclude them. We find this regard for religious
* The massacre of the Protestants by the Catholics on St. Bartholomew's day, in France, in 1572.
freedom, (for emancipation from the Pope's authority was a great step in religious freedom,} carefully fostered in the colonies. Every charter requires the establishment of the church of England, and authorizes the infliction of punishment for drawing off the people from their religion, as a matter of equal importance with their allegiance. For at that period, before any important differences between the Protestants had arisen, when but two religions were struggling for existence, not to be of the church of England was to be a Papist, and not to acknowledge the secular supremacy of the king, was to bow to the authority of the pope. The Catholics, as the only subject of terror, were the only subjects of intolerance; no sufficient number of dissenters had availed themselves of the great example of Protestantism, in rejecting any creed which did not precisely satisfy their consciences, to become formidable to mother church ; nor had she grown so strong and haughty in her new-fledged power, as to level her blows at any but her first great antagonist.*
The colony in Virginia consisted of church of England men; and many of the first acts of their legislature relate to provision for the church. Glebe lands were early laid off, and livings provided. The ministers were considered not as pious and charitable individuals, but as officers of the state, bound to promote the true faith and sound morality, by authority of the community by which they were paid, and to which they were held responsible for the performance of their duty. The very first act of Assembly which was passed, required that in every settlement in which the people met to worship God, a house should be appropriated exclusively to that purpose, and a place paled in to be used solely as a burying-ground; the second act imposed a penalty of a pound of tobacco for absence from divine service on Sunday, without sufficient excuse, and fifty pounds for a month's absence; the third, required uniformity, as nearly as might be, with the canons in England; the fourth, enjoined the observance of the holy days, (adding the 22d of March, the day of the Massacre, to the number,) dispensing with some, "by reason of our necessities;" the fifth, punished any minister absenting himself from his church above two months in the year, with forfeiture of half his estate—and four months, his whole estate and curacy; the sixth, punished disparagement of a minister; the seventh, prohibited any man from disposing of his tobacco or corn, until the minister's portion was first paid. This sacred duty discharged, the Assembly next enact salutary regulations for the state. We find at the session of 1629, the act requiring attendance at church on the Sabbath, specially enforced, and a clause added, forbidding profanation of that day by travelling or work; also an act, declaring that all those who work in the ground shall pay tithes to the minister. We find requisition of uniformity with the canons of the English church not only repeated, in every new commission from England, but re-enacted by the legislature of 1629-30, and in 1631-32, as well as in the several revisals of the
* The persecution of the Puritans was an exception to this. They were persecuted with considerable rigor, but their numbers were small, consisting only of two churches, and most of those who then existed went to Holland with their leaders, John Robinson and William Brewster, in 1607 and 8, and settled in Amsterdam, whence they removed jj Leyden in 1609, whence they sailed to America in 1620, and landed in Cape Cod Harbor on the "th of November, and settled Plymouth on the 31st of December follow ■H—Holmes- Am, An. 156-203.
laws. In the acts of 1631-32, we find many acts conveying the idea advanced of ministers being considered public officers; and churchwardens required to take an oath, to present offences against decency or morality, which made them in effect censors of the public morals. In these acts, it is made the duty of ministers to teach children the Lord's prayer, commandments, and the articles of faith; also to attend all persons dangerously sick, to instruct and comfort them in their distress; to keep registers of christening, marriages, and deaths; and to preserve in themselves strict moral conduct, as an advancement to religion and an example to others. We find, also, frequent acts passed providing for the payment of ministers, until the session of 1657-58, when church and state seem to have been effectually divorced; for, though no act of religious freedom was passed, but all were still expected, rather than compelled, to conform to the church of England, yet the compulsory payment of ministers was abandoned, and all matters relating to the church were left entirely to the control of the people.
From the review which we have given of the religious condition of England and the colony, it must be manifest that the tender of the oath of supremacy to Lord Baltimore, was not only a religious but a civil duty in the council, which they could by no means have omitted, without a violation of their own oaths, laws, and charters. But if any further proof were necessary, to show that it flowed from this source, and not from a disposition to religious intolerance—it is afforded by the liberal invitation given in the instructions to Captain Bass to the Puritans, who had settled at New Plymouth, to desert their cold and barren soil, and come and settle upon Delaware Bay, which was in the limits of Virginia.
Harvey met his first General Assembly in March, and its acts, 1629 as ^aose of several succeeding sessions, only consist of the usual business acts of the colony. We have now approached a period in our history, upon which the few scattered and glimmering lights which exist, have rather served to mislead than to guide historians. It is a period replete with charges made by historians, of the most heinous character, against the governor, with no evidence upon record to support them. The truth is, that Sir John Harvey was deposed and sent home by the colony for some improper conduct: but what that was, does not fully appear, and historians seem to have thought it their duty to supply the defect in the record, by abusing his administration as arbitrary and tyrannical from the first: the charge is without evidence, and every probability is against its truth. During the whole of his administration, the General Assembly met and transacted their business as usual. The fundamental laws which they had passed, to which we have before referred, restraining the powers of the governor, and asserting the powers of the Assembly, were passed again as of course. There could manifestly be no oppression from this source. The General Assembly ordered the building of forts,