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of tob'o upon each constable so defaulting-and in case the commissioners do not take a strict care in taking accompt of the constables in the execution of this act, that then the said commissioners shall be fined at the discretion of the Gov'r and Council.” In the same year the exportation of corn was forbidden on penalty of five hundred pounds of tobacco; and the price, at home, was limited to one hundred pounds of tobacco per barrel containing five Winchester bushels. during the Commonwealth of England, the act for planting two acres of corn was renewed, with the same penalty on the planters; the constables not being mentioned.
Tobacco became the standard of value, and supplied, in part at least, the place of a circulating medium of the precious metals. By act 64, in 1632—“The Secretaries fees shall be as followetli, viz-ffor a warrant 05lbs of tobacco, --ffor a passe 10lbs,-ffor a freedom 20,-ffor Commission of Administration 20,-The Marshalls fees shall be, ffor an arrest 10lbs of Tobacco, -—ffor warning the cort 02,-imprisonment, coming in 10, going out 10,- Laying by the heels 5,-whippinge 10,Pillory 10,–Duckinge 10.—The Prisoner lying in prison, Marshalls attendance per day 5,-ffor every 5lbs of tobacco the Marshall may require 1 bushel of corne.” By act 61st 1642, Attorney's fees, in the county court, for any kind of service, was not to exceed 20lbs of tobacco, upon penalty of 500 lbs of tobacco; and in the quarter court not to exceed 50lbs, upon penalty of 2000lbs of tobacco. The house of Burgesses was slow in admitting Lawyers to plead in the courts, on any terms. One of the charges,—“Duckinge 10lbs,”-refers to the English law for the punishment of turbulent women.
The price of tobacco was always fluctuating on account of the varying quantity and quality of the crops. Some years, immense crops were tended, and the supply of good tobacco was greater than the demand; in other years the quantity was less, and the quality inferior. Keeping accounts in tobacco became inconvenient, especially if payment were delayed for a length of time. It was therefore enacted 1633, Act 4th“Whereas it hath beene the usuall custome of marchants and others dealinge intermutually in this colony to make all bargains, contracts, and to keep all accounts in tobacco and not in money, contrary to the former custome of this plantation and manner of England, and other places within the Kings dominions, which thinge hath bredd many inconvenienceys in the trade, and occasioned many troubles as well to the marchants as to the planters, and inhabitants amongst themselves. It is thought fitt by the Governor and Councill and the Burgesses of this Grand Assembly, That all accounts and contracts be usually made and kept in money and not in Tobacco,
That all pleas and actions of debt or trespass be commenced and sett downe in lawful money of England onlie, and in no other commoditie.' In order to preserve an equality in the price of tobacco the Legislature frequently attempted to regulate the quantity of the crops, by determining, by Statute, how many hills of tobacco might be tended for each poll on a plantation.
In 1688 there were no large towns in Virginia, nor any number of small ones, or even villages. The Legislature, in conformity to the wishes of the mother country, encouraged the gathering of numerous families, in close community, for the purpose of traffic and mechanical trades.' It layed out towns and made regulations for them. It directed that foreign traffic should be carried on, exclusively at these towns. Ports of entry were made in sufficient numbers to accommodate the country, and secure the revenue. But the places, called towns, or ports of entry often consisted of a single dwelling-house with a store, or office; and not a single flourishing town was to be found in the whole province, Jamestown, the - capital, not excepted. The trade now collected in cities, as centres, was then scattered over the whole country. The planters preferred making sale of their own tobacco directly to the foreign trader; and welcomed the vessels that cast anchor, for the purpose of trade, in the nearest river, or at the most convenient landing, not very scupulous whether the port was established by law or chosen for convenience. A statute of Assembly required the planters to report, on pain of fines, the number of hogsheads they sold these foreign vessels. Whether the change effected, by transferring the principal business of the whole country to a few cities, either within or without the state, has proved beneficial to community at large, by confining to a few hands the business once shared by all, is a matter for discussion. The popular feeling is, however, in favour of cities, and the course of trade is settled on the principle, the more merchants the more traffic, and the better business.
The inhabitants of the colony were all planters. Scattered over the country as suited their interest or convenience, they lived unrestrained, fed by their plantations and the abundance of the sea. Their first exposure had been to the pressure of famine; and the next to massacre from savage hands. The plentiful crops gathered, in consequence of the watchful care of the legislature, and the remembrance of past sufferings from their improvidence, had removed the fears of want; and their increasing numbers, and the wasting strength of the Indian tribes, had relieved them from the alarms of midnight attacks. Governor Berkeley says, in 1671,-“We suppose, and I am very sure we do not much miscount, that there are in Virginia above forty thousand persons, men, women, and children, and of which there are two thousand black slaves, six thousand Christian servants for a short time, the rest are borne in the country or have come in to settle and seat in bettering their condition in a growing country. Yearly, we suppose, there comes, of servants, about fifteen hundred, of which most are English, few Scotch, and fewer Irish, and not above two or three ships of negroes in seven years. Eight thousand horse could be easily called together on alarm.” These planters cherished a spirit of personal independence, in all their communications. Each lived on his own freehold, and could draw from the soil abundant provisions; and from the neighbouring streams and marshes, fish and fowl in variety; and from the surrounding forests, the wild deer, and innumerable smaller game. Captivated with this kind of life, few mechanics, that came to the colony would continue to carry on their trade. The planters purchased in England, or from vessels direct from the motherland, what their necessities required; and indulged in luxuries as far as their tastes demanded, or their resources permitted. They delighted in an isolated life. The aversion to living in contiguous dwellings, or even in neighbourhoods, was carried to an extent, that required legislative interference. Act 5th, 1667, says—“Whereas the despatch of business in this country is much obstructed for want of bridle wayes to the severall houses and plantations, It is enacted by the Grand Assembly and the authority thereof, that every person having a plantation shall at the most plaine and convenient path that leades to his house make a gate in his ffence for the convenience of passage of man and horse to his house about their occasions at the discretion of the owner.” To this may be added an enactment expressive of indignant hospitality. Act 16th, 1663—“Whereas it is frequent with diverse inhabitants of this country to entertaine strangers into their houses without making any agreement with the party what he shall pay for his accommodations, which (if the party live) causeth many litigious suites, and if the stranger dye lays a gap open to many avaricious persons to ruyne the estate of the person deceased, ffor remedy whereof for the future,-Be it enacted that noe person not making a positive agreement with any one he shall entertayne into his house for dyett or storeage shall recover any thing against any one soe entertayned or against his estate, but that every one shall be reputed to entertayne those of curtesie with whom they make not a certain agreement.'
This predeliction of the Planters for isolated life raised an almost insuperable barrier to the instruction of the mass of the people. Neither the King in Council, nor the Legislature of the Province had taken any effective steps for the education
of even a portion of the people. Some preparatory movements had been made for the erection of a college, in the early days of the colony; some donations were made for that purpose; and the subject had been repeatedly agitated in succeeding years, without success. Efforts had been made by individuals to establish free schools, as appears from Act 18th, 1642, 3— “ Be it also enacted and confirmed upon consideration had of the Godly disposition and good intent of Benjamin Symme, deceased, in founding by his last will and testament a free school in Elizabeth county, for the encouragement of all others in the like pious performances, that the said will and testament with all donations therein contained concerning the free school and the situation thereof in the said county and the land appertaining to the same, shall be confirmed according to the true meaning and godly intent of the said testator without any alienation or conversion thereof to any place or county.” That this plan failed of its designed good, appears from Governor Berkeley's letter about thirty years after. He says, in 1671—
. in answer to the inquiry what was done in education—“ The same course that is taken in England out of the towns; every man according to his ability instructing his children. But I thank God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy, and sects, into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government, God keep us from them both.” This opinion of the Governor was no idle abstraction; for in February, 1682, according to Hening, vol. 2d, p. 518—" John Buckner was called before Lord Culpepper and his Council for printing the laws of 1680 without his Excellency's license, and he and the printer ordered to enter into bonds in £100 not to print any thing thereafter until his majestie's pleasure should be known.” Without a printing press, college, or free schools, or public schools of any kind, it is not to be supposed that the benefits of education were diffused further than the piety and enterprise of the different families, or some members of them, found opportunity. Instruction of children was a domestic duty.
. The government of the colony, in 1668, was the same as Berkeley tells us it was in 1671, being in—"a Governor and sixteen Counsellors, who have, from his sacred majestie, a commission of Oyer and Terminer, who judge and determine all causes that are above fifteen pounds sterling; for what is under there are particular courts in every county, which are twenty in number. Every year, at least, the Assembly is called, before whom lye appeals, and this Assembly is composed of two Burgesses out of every county. These lay the necessary taxes,
as the necessity of the war with the Indians, or other exigencies require."
Captain Smith in his History of Virginia, pp. 38, 39, vol. 2d, has preserved the concise account given by John Rolfe, of the meeting of the Burgesses in the year 1619, under Governor Yeardly;—"Then our Governour and Councell caused Burgesses to be chosen in all places, and met at a Generall Assembly, where all matters were debated thought expedient for the good of the colony." This meeting was called on the authority of the Company in London; but its powers were not fully defined. Previously to the year 1645, the number of Burgesses to be sent by each neighbourhood, or plantation, as the settlements were called, or by shires after they were formed, was indefinite.
The first Assembly, whose records have been preserved, was held in 1624. Ten years afterwards, by. act of Assembly, the country was divided into eight shires—“which are to be governed as the shires in England. The names of the shires are, James City, Henrico, Charles City, Elizabeth City, Warwick River, Warrosquyoake, Charles River, Accawmack. And as in England, sheriffs shall be elected to have the same power as there; and serjeants, and bailiffs where need requires." In the year 1643, the number of shires was ten. The burgesses were sent from,-Henrico 3, Charles City 3, James City 6, Warwick 2, Elizabeth City 2, Isle of Wight 2, Upper Norfolk 2, Lower Norfolk 2, York 3, Northampton 2. At the time Berkeley wrote, in 1671, there were twenty counties, or shires, Henrico, Charles City, York, New Kent, James City, James County, Warwick, Surry, Isle of Wight, Nansemond, Lower Norfolk, Elizabeth City, Gloster, Lancaster, Rappahannock, Stafford, Westmoreland, Northumberland, Northampton, and Accomack.
In the year 1645, the number of burgesses from each county, was limited to four, except James City county, which might send five, and the city one. Act 84th, in the year 1662, declares—“that hereafter noe county shall send above two burgesses who shal be elected at those places in each county where the county courts are usually kept.” By the same law the metropolis was entitled to one burgesse; and the counties severally were empowered—“to lay out one hundred acres of land, and people it with one hundred tithable persons"—and the place, thus laid out, was entitled to one burgesse. By the 85th Act of the same year—“Whereas, the immoderate expences of the burgessesses causing diverse heartburnings between them and the people occasioned an injunction to make agreement for the allowance before the election which