« PreviousContinue »
Slavery.-- Massacre by the Indians.—Lord Baltimore.—The Settlement of
Maryland.-Clayborne's Rebellion.—The Colony prosperous.—Toleration.-Berkeley governor of Virginia; Trade crippled; Intolerance.-Indian War.-State of Society.--Aristocratic Assembly.—Complaints of Berkeley.-War with the Susquehannahs.-Nathaniel Bacon.-Disturb. ances.-Obnoxious Assembly dissolved.—Evils corrected.-Bacon goes against the Indians.--Iusincerity of Berkeley.—Jamestown captured and burned. - Death of Bacon.-Tyranny of Berkeley.--Aristocratic Assembly; its illiberal Acts.-Culpepper governor.-A Series of extortions.—Deplorable state of the Colony.—Difficulties in Maryland.
CHAP. In August of this year slavery was introduced into the
colonies. A Dutch ship entered James river, having on 1620. board twenty negroes for sale as slaves. Although the
Dutch continued occasionally to bring Africans to the Virginia market, the number of slaves increased but slowly for a third of a century. The trade was discouraged, but not absolutely forbidden.
The Indians were scattered throughout the country, in little villages, along the streams and in the most fertile districts. The planters, who wanted these places for their
tobacco, took possession of them. Powhatan, the friend 1618. of the English, was dead ; his brother and successor, Ope
chancanough, though professing friendship, was their enemy: his proud spirit burned within him at the wrongs of his people. Not daring to meet the English in open conflict, he planned secretly a terrible revenge; even their entire extermination. At this time the number of colo
nists was about four thousand ; that of the Indians within CHAP.
XII. sixty or a hundred miles of Jamestown, about five thousand. At noon on a certain day, the Indians were to fall 1622. upon every settlement, and murder all the whites. Meanwhile, Opechancanough was warmer than ever in his professions; “sooner would the skies fall,” said he,“ than that my friendship for the English should cease.” On the morning of the intended massacre, the Indians were in the houses and at the tables of the planters, and manifested more than their usual good will. On that morning, a converted Indian, named Chauco, brought the news of the plot to Jamestown. He had learned of it only the night before. Messengers were sent in every direction to warn the people, but it was too late to reach the distant settlements. Throughout the extent of one hundred and forty miles, the merciless savages attacked the settlers at the same moment; and on the twenty-second of March, there perished within one hour, three hundred and forty-seven persons, men, Mar. women, and children. Some of the settlements, though taken by surprise, repulsed their assailants, yet the effect was terrible. Of eighty plantations, all but eight were laid waste, and the people hastened for safety to Jamestown. Desolation reigned over the whole colony; death had entered almost every family, and now famine and sickness prevailed. Within three months the four thousand colonists were reduced to twenty-five hundred ; the decrease continued, and at the end of two years not more than two thousand remained of the nine thousand who had emigrated to Virginia. Their misfortunes excited much feeling in England. Assistance was sent; the city of London did much to relieve their pressing wants, and private individuals were not backward in sending aid. Even King James's sympathies were enlisted ; he had never aided the colonists, but he now gave them some old muskets that had been thrown aside as useless. The planters did not fear the Indians in open conflict;
CHAP. but it was necessary to guard against their secret attacks
In their turn, they formed plans to exterminate the 1622. savages, or drive them far back into the wilderness. Expe
ditions for this purpose were sent against them from time to time, during the space of ten years. In time industry began to revive, and signs of prosperity once more were seen.
The London Company was now bankrupt; endless discussions arose among the numerous stockholders. They became divided into two political parties,—one favored the king's prerogative; the other, the liberty of the colonists. These questions were freely discussed at the meetings of the company, greatly to the annoyance of James. When he found it impossible to prevent the stockholders from expressing their opinions, he arbitrarily took away the charter of the company. To console the colonists, he announced that he had taken them under his own special protection. He began to frame laws for their government
laws no doubt in accordance with his peculiar notions of 1625. kingcraft ; but his labors and life were suddenly ended.
Charles I., his son and successor, appeared to favor the colony : it conformed to the church of England, and he did not suspect its politics. More than this, he wished to ingratiate himself with the colonists, for he desired the monopoly of their tobacco trade. He even went so far as to recognize the House of Burgesses as a legislative body, and requested them to pass a law by which he alone could purchase the tobacco of the colony. The House, in a dig
nified and respectful manner, refused to comply with the 1629. royal request, as it would be injurious to their trade.
After the death of the liberal and high-minded Yeardley, the council elected Francis West governor. Charles, piqued at this independence, as well as the refusal to grant him the monopoly, appointed Sir John Harvey. Harvey had been a member of the colonial council, where he was the willing instrument of a faction that had almost
SIR GEORGE CALVERT.
ruined the prospects of the colony. The enemy of the CHAP. rights of the people, he was exceedingly unpopular ; he now took special care of his own interests and those of his 1633. friends, by appointing them alone to office.
The histories of Virginia and Maryland are intimately connected. As has been mentioned, Captain Smith was the first to explore the Chesapeake; the trade with the Indians along its shores had now become profitable. Though the Potomac river was the northern boundary of Virginia, the colonists had extended their trade and influence with the Indians on both sides, up to the head of the bay. William Clayborne, a bold and restless spirit, a surveyor of land by profession, was employed by the Governor of Virginia to explore the sources of the Chesapeake. A company was formed in England for the purpose of trading with the Indians, who lived on both sides of the bay. Clayborne, the agent of the company, obtained a license to trade, and established two stations, one on Kent Island, opposite Annapolis, and one at the mouth of the Susquehannah.
During the turmoil of religious parties and persecutions in England, Sir George Calvert, afterward Lord Baltimore, left the Protestant church, resigned his office of Secretary of State, and professed himself a Roman Catholic. This did not affect his standing with James or his son Charles. Calvert manifested a strong interest in the cause of colonization. He wished to found a colony to which Catholics might flee to avoid persecution. He first obtained permission to found a settlement on the cold and barren shores of Newfoundland ; that enterprise was soon 1622 abandoned. He turned to Virginia, a clime more genial ; there he was met by the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, to which, as a good Catholic, Lord Baltimore could not subscribe ; Virginia could never be a peaceful asylum for those of his faith. The region north of it attracted his
CHAP. attention, and he applied to King Charles for a portion of
that territory 1632 Charles gave him a grant of land, most of which is now
included in the State of Maryland ; it was named after Henrietta Maria, the wife of the king. As a proprietary Lord Baltimore deserves all praise for his liberality. The colonists were to have a voice in making their own laws; they were not to be taxed without their own consent. He was bold to repudiate intolerance, and politic to adopt a form of government which alone could insure
He designed his colony to be an asylum for the Catholic, but the Protestant was invited to share it. Just as the charter was about to be issued he died. To his son Cecil, under the same title, the charter was continued ; to him belongs the honor of carrying into effect the inten
tions of his father. Feb., He deputed his brother, Leonard, to take charge of
the emigrants, who, to the number of two hundred, after a protracted voyage, arrived safely in the Chesapeake. A tribe of Indians residing on the St. Mary's, a branch of the Potomac, were about to remove on account of their enemies the Susquehannahs ; they sold to the infant colony their cultivated land and their village. The Indian women taught the strangers' wives to make bread of maize ; and soon the emigrants had corn-fields and gardens, and obtained abundance of game in the forest. A few days after their arrival, Governor Harvey, of Virginia, paid them a friendly visit ; it was the desire of Charles that they should be welcomed by the sister colony. Friendly relations were established with the neighboring Indians; the colonists for a time obtained their necessary provisions from Virginia, but as they were industrious, the fruitful earth soon repaid their labor. At the commencement of the second year, the freemen of the colony held their first legislative Assembly.
Clayborne was the evil genius of Maryland. His license