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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
4. At a later date, when wars and insurrections broke out in England, many prisoners taken in battle were sent over here and sold to planters.
5. Finally, the King sent some convicts to Virginia. Again, English judges opened the jails from time to time and sent over batches of criminals, some of whom had done nothing worse, perhaps, than steal a loaf of bread to keep from starving.
Thus, many elements contributed to build up the new commonwealth. In this respect Virginia resembled the "made land" of some of our cities. There is good material in it, and there is some not so good; but in time it all helps to make the solid foundation of stately streets and broad avenues.
While the South was thus growing, Dutch and English emigrants had settled at the North. The former established themselves in what is now New York; the latter, a little later, founded Plymouth, Massachusetts.
53. Virginia becomes a Royal Province; Governor Berkeley; the Puritans and the Cavaliers. After a time King James I took away the Company's charter (1624). In future the colony was to be governed by the King as a royal province; but the Assembly or Legislature (§ 51) was not prohibited, and the people continued to make their own laws to a considerable extent.
The next king, Charles I, sent over Sir William Berkeley as governor. The new governor had small faith in government by the people, in education of the people,1 or in any religion but that of the Church of England.
The majority of the well-to-do colonists and of the rich tobacco planters agreed with the Governor. They thought it was better not to give the privileges of education and the right to vote and to hold office to everybody who asked for them, but to grant them only to persons of property and standing.
But at that time there was a strong party in England who called themselves Puritans, because they insisted on purifying,
1 Speaking of the colony in 1671, Governor Berkeley said, "I thank God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have them these hundred years." His reason was that he thought common-school education would make the mass of the people discontented and rebellious against authority; but he subscribed toward a college.
THE NAVIGATION LAWS
as they said, the national Episcopal Church from some of its ceremonies and methods to which they conscientiously objected. The Puritans were opposed to King Charles, because he attempted to rule the country contrary to law.
Finally, civil war broke out in England. On one side the King had an army made up of Royalists, or Cavaliers; the army on the other side was made up of Puritans. Many of the Puritans had now left the national Church. They called themselves Separatists, or Independents, and set up a form of worship of their own.
The war went against the King. He was taken captive and beheaded. The Puritans then declared England a republic under Oliver Cromwell, and Governor Berkeley of Virginia, who was a stiff Royalist, retired from office. Most of the leading Cavaliers, or Royalists, were men of rank, and before the war had been men of property. They found the new order of things in England very uncomfortable, and hundreds of them emigrated to Virginia.
Some of the most illustrious names in Virginia history are those of Cavalier emigrants or their descendants. Richard Henry Lee was one, and Washington was probably another.1 When the American Revolution broke out, these illustrious men gave their strength, heart and soul, to the establishment of the United States of America.
54. Governor Berkeley again in Power; the Navigation Laws; the King gives away Virginia. When monarchy was restored in England (1660), Sir William Berkeley put on the Governor's silk robe of office again. For sixteen years he, with an Assembly that was in sympathy with him, ruled the colony according to his own imperious will. During that long period no new elections were held, and consequently the mass of the people had no voice in the government.
This grievance was not all. During Cromwell's time certain laws, called Navigation Laws, had been enacted in order to prevent the Dutch from competing with England in trade by sea.
1 On the genealogy of the Washington family in England, see W. C. Ford's "The Writings of Washington," XIV, 319. There is a strong probability that George Washington's ancestors belonged to the Cavalier party which fought for the King.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
These laws were not intended to injure the American colonists, but they forbade the colonists to send any tobacco out of the country except in English or colonial vessels going to England, or to purchase any foreign goods except those brought over in English or colonial vessels.
Under King Charles II these laws were made much more strict (1660-1672). However, they were not really as unfair as they seemed (§ 146). But the Virginia planters complained bitterly of them, and they soon found means of doing pretty much as they pleased about obeying them.
Some years later (1673) Charles, who was a wasteful and profligate monarch, gave away the whole of Virginia -- a territory then having a population of 40,000 -- for thirty-one years, to the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpepper, two of his favorites. This caused a long and bitter dispute about the question of the true ownership of the land, but it was finally settled in favor of the colonists.
Meanwhile, English emigrants, both Pilgrims and Puritans, as we shall presently see, had established flourishing colonies in New England; the Dutch, who had taken possession of New Netherland (or New York), had been forced to give up that region to the English, and English Quakers had bought New Jersey. In the South, English Catholics had settled in Maryland, and colonies of Englishmen had been founded in the Carolinas. Thus (1675) an English-speaking population practically held control of the whole Atlantic coast of America from Maine nearly to the borders of Florida.
55. Deplorable State of the Virginia Colonists; Indian War; the Bacon Rebellion. The people of Virginia were now in a deplorable state. They had no homes that they could certainly call their own; they had no Assembly that really represented them (§ 51), they were heavily taxed, and sometimes they could get but little for the tobacco they exported. Still their lives were safe, and while life was left, hope was left. But the Indians suddenly rose (1676), as they had just done in New England, and began massacring the inhabitants. It was not the first attack, but, in some respects, the most terrible.
The people begged Governor Berkeley's help, but he did nothing. Then Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy planter, raised a force and went out to fight the Indians. His influence finally compelled Governor Berkeley to allow the people to elect a new Assembly.
They did so, chose Bacon for one of their representatives, and passed a number of reform measures known as the Bacon Laws." But as Bacon distrusted the Governor, civil war soon broke out, and the "Virginia rebel," as he was called by those in authority, marched on Jamestown. Seizing a number of the wives of the Governor's friends, he placed them in front of his troops. This "White Apron Brigade" saved him from the fire of the Governor's guns. That night Jamestown was abandoned. In the morning Bacon entered it, and burned the place to the ground. It was never rebuilt. As you go up the James River to-day you see the ruined tower of the old brick church standing a melancholy memorial of the first English town settled in America.
Bacon soon after died; but one of his chief supporters, named Drummond, fell into the Governor's hands. "Mr. Drummond," said the Governor, "I am more glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. Drummond, you shall be hanged in half an hour." He was executed forthwith. In all, Governor Berkeley put to death over twenty persons. When the King of England heard of it, he exclaimed, in an outburst of anger, "That old fool has
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hung more men in that naked country than I did here for the murder of my father." 1
The Virginia colonists never wholly forgot the meaning of the Bacon rebellion, and its protest against tyrannical government. just a century after the people's Assembly passed the famous "Bacon Laws" (1676) their descendants met at Williamsburg, nearly in sight of the ruins of Jamestown, and there (1776) declared themselves independent of Great Britain.
56. Summary. Jamestown, the first town built by the first permanent English colony in the New World, was founded in 1607. There the first American legislative assembly met in 1619. Negro slaves were introduced the same year. The cultivation of tobacco built up commerce and largely increased the population, but did not favor the growth of towns. The colony was strongly Royalist, and received many Cavaliers from England. Later, the Navigation Laws injured its prosperity. There was a period of bad government, and Bacon attempted reform. His undertaking failed. But the people remembered the man and his work, and Virginia a hundred years later (1776) was the first colony to propose the establishment of American independence.
II. NEW NETHERLAND, OR NEW YORK (1614)
57. Henry Hudson's Expedition. In the seventeenth century (1609) the Dutch East India Company of Holland sent Henry Hudson, an English sea captain, across the Atlantic to explore. They hoped that he would find a passage by water through or round America to China and the Indies (§§ 14, 16, 25, 44, 47).
Hudson, with his Dutch crew, entered what is now New York Bay, and was the first Englishman who sailed up that noble river which to-day bears his name. He reached a point about 150 miles from the mouth of the river, at or near where Albany now stands. It was the month of September, and Hudson had good reason for saying, "It is as beautiful a land as one can tread upon."
1 King Charles II had tried and executed only six out of the fifty-nine judges who had sentenced his father (Charles 1) to death (§ 53).
About a month before, Champlain (§ 48) had come almost as far south as that, on an exploring expedition from Quebec. He gave his own name to the lake, known ever since as Lake Champlain, and claimed the country for France.
58. The Indians give Hudson a Reception on Manhattan Island; the Strange Drink. The Indians thought that the English captain, in his bright red coat trimmed with gold lace, must have come down from the skies to visit them. The Captain handed the chief a glass of brandy. Soon every red man present had tried the new and strange drink. Hudson meant the gift in no unkindly spirit, but to the natives it was simply poison. For them alcohol had a fatal fascination. Since then liquor has probably destroyed more Indians than war and disease combined. The Indians were afraid of the white man's gun; it would have been far better for them if they had been still more afraid of the white man's drink.
59. The Dutch take Possession of New Netherland; jealousy of England and France. The Dutch, finding from Hudson's report that valuable furs could be bought of the Indians at enormous profit, soon sent over ships and opened trade with the natives (1613). Then (1614) the Republic of the United Netherlands, or Holland, took possession of the country on the Hudson River, and gave it the name of New Netherland.
Both the English and the French now had good reason for turning jealous eyes on New Netherland, for that province was like a wedge. It separated the colony of Virginia from the unsettled region of New England, and the point of it at the north entered that territory which Champlain claimed as part of New France (§ 48). A number of years later (1623) the Dutch made that wedge more dangerous still by building Fort Orange on the upper Hudson where the city of Albany now stands.
60. The Dutch buy Manhattan Island, 1626. In 1626 the Dutch West India Company sent out a colony under Governor Peter Minuit to settle in New Netherland. He landed with his emigrants on the island of Manhattan, where a Dutch trading post already existed (1613). The Governor bought from the Indians the
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
entire island of 14,000 acres for twenty-four dollars' worth of scarlet cloth, brass buttons, and other trinkets, or at the rate of about one sixth of a cent an acre.1 The city of New York, which now occupies that land (with additional territory), is valued at many thousand millions,2 and the value steadily increases.
The new settlement consisted of a fort, a stone warehouse, and a cluster of 109 huts. This was the beginning of the greatest and richest city of America. The Dutch called the place by its Indian name of Manhattan, but later gave it the name of New Amsterdam.
61. The Patroons. In order to get emigrants to go out to New Netherland, the government in Holland made very generous offers. They promised to give a large amount of land on the Hudson River to any member of the Dutch West India Company who would take or send out fifty settlers.
The proprietor of such an estate received the honorary title of "Patroon," or protector. If he located on one bank only of the river, he was to have sixteen miles of water front; if on both banks, he was to have eight miles on each. Inland he might extend his settlement as far as he could occupy the soil to advantage. In all cases he was to purchase the land of the Indians.
AMSTERDAM, Nov. 5, 1626.
1 "HIGH AND MIGHTY LORDS: Yesterday, arrived here the ship 'The Arms of Amsterdam,' which sailed from New Netherland . . . on the 23d of Sept. They report that our people are in good heart and live in peace there. . . . They have purchased the island of Manhattan from the Indians for the value of 60 guilders [$24,00] . . . . "Herewith, High and Mighty Lords, be commended to the mercy of the Almighty.
"Your High Mightinesses' obedient,
2 The assessed value of the real estate in 1909, was nearly $7,000,000,000.
The Patroon who began a settlement agreed to do three things:
1. To pay the expenses of the emigrant's passage from Holland.
2. To stock a farm for him on his estate with horses, cattle, and all necessary agricultural implements, at a small rent, and free from taxes.
3. To provide a schoolmaster and a minister of the gospel.
In return, the emigrant bound himself in many ways, of which the three following were the principal ones.
1. To cultivate the Patroon's land for ten years, and not to leave it without permission.
2. To give the Patroon the first opportunity to buy any grain or other produce he might have to sell.
3. To bring all disputes about property and rights to the Patroon's court, of which the Patroon himself was judge.1
A patroon named Van Rensselaer2 took an estate of 700,000 acres in the vicinity of Albany. It extended along both banks of the Hudson for twenty-four miles and reached back twice that distance. He made additions to this enormous property, so that eventually it embraced the three present counties of Albany, Rensselaer, and Columbia. The total area of his vast domain was greater than that of the state of Rhode Island.
Such a proprietor was richer than many a German prince. He was at once owner, ruler, and judge. He not only had a population of white settlers who were his servants
1 In cases involving more than $20.00 value the settler might appeal from the Patroon's court to the Company. Other points were these: (1) the settler agreed to bring his grain to the Patroon's mill, and pay for the grinding; (2) he could not fish or hunt on the Patroon's estate: (3) he was not to weave any cloth, but buy that imported from Holland; (4) if he died without leaving a will, all of his property fell to the Patroon.
2 Besides the Van Rensselaers, other noted families dating from that period are the Schuylers, Van Cortlandts, and Roosevelts.