|Pages 490-508||Pages 532-556|
Extracts from the records of the General Court.
| "APRIL the 20th, 1670."−−The complaints of severall of
the councell and others, gent. inhabitants in the counties of Yorke, Gloster, and
||Convicts (called 'jailbirds') from the prisons in Eng'd, not permitted to be landed in Virginia|
|* The following collection consists of such official documents, only, as tend to elucidate a very obscure part of our history; and is chiefly confined to the period embraced by this volume, from 1660 to 1682. Some few papers, however, of a subsequent date, which are necessarily connected with a subject before treated of are added, for the purpose of preserving the narrative entire. −− In making this collection, the Editor has had to wade thro' an immense mass of crude indigested matter, thrown together without regard to method or chronological order. Perhaps in no civilized country whatever, were the records so badly arranged and kept as in the former Secretary's office of Virginia. The evil was so sensibly felt that it called for the interposition of the legislature in the year 1674, who expressly say, in an act the title of which is, 'An act concerning the regulating the Secretary's Office,' that it 'appeares that there hat beene a great neglect in keeping the records in this country.' It will be recollected that the Secretary had the superintendance, not only of the records of the quarter, afterwards general court, but of the land papers also; so that in effect, his office answered to that of the present Clerk of the general court and Register of the land office. It seems to have been a practice among the clerks in the Secretary's office to record the papers in the first book which came to hand, without inquiring into the subject matter. Thus we find, in 'Will Book, No. 2,' an entire copy of the proceedings of the court martial held by Sir William Berkeley, for the trial of the prisoners who adhered to Bacon, besides the proceedings of the governor and council sitting as a general court, and a great number of state papers, such as charters from the king, his letters to the governors of Virginia, and the governors' proclamations. So, in books labelled 'Bonds, Commissions, Deposition,' &c. there are several hundred patents which ought to have been recorded in the books now in the Register's Office, besides a variety of other papers which no one could expect to find under such titles. This fact will probably account for the many unsuccessful applications at the Register's Office, for ancient patents, they being improperly recorded in books, now in the office of the clerk of the general court.|
| representing their apprehensions and feares, least the honor of his majestie and the
peace of this collony be too much hazarded and endangered by the great nombers of fellons and
other desperate villaines sent hither from the several prisons in England, being this day read in
councell, we have, upon most serious and carefull consideration of the same, thought fitt to
order and doe hereby accordingly order, that for prevention and avoiding the danger which
apparently threatens us, from the barbarous designes and felonious practices of such wicked
villaines, that it shall not be permitted to any person tradeing hither to bring in and land any
jaile birds or such others, who for notorious offences have deserved to dye in England,
from and after the twentyeth day of january next, upon paine of being forced to keepe them on
board, and carry them to some other country, where they may be better secured. And we have been
the more induced to make this order, by the horror yet remaineing amongst us, of the barbarous
designe of those villaines in September 1663* who attempted at once the subversion
of our religion lawes libertyes, rights and proprietyes, the sad effect of which desperate
conspiracy we had undoubtedly felt, had not God of his infinite mercy prevented it, by a tymely
and wonderfull discovery of the same; nor hath it been a small motive to us to hinder and
prohibite the importation of such dangerous and scandalous people, since thereby we apparently
loose our reputation, whilest we are beleived to be a place onely fitt to receive such base and
lewd persons. It is therefore resolved that this order remaine in force untill his majestie shall
signifye his pleasure to the contrary, or that it be reversed by an order from his most
honourable privy councell, and that it be forthwith published that all persons concerned therein
may take notice of it accordingly. "(Book in office general court labelled "Deeds and Wills
from 1670 to 1677 No. 2. pa. 6)|
25th November 1671. Captain Bristow and Capt. Walker entered security in somme of 1,000,000lbs.
|* The indictment against nine of the servants engaged in the plot of September, 1663, with the examination of eight of them, is preserved in a book in the office of the general court, labelled, 'Escheats &c. 1665 to 1676,' pa. 1, 2, 3.|
|of tobacco and cask, that Mr. Nevett shall send out the Newgate birds within 2 month according to a former order of this court." (Ibid, page 94, see also pa. 93.)||Convicts ordered to be sent out.|
|These enquiries were propounded in the year 1670, and received their answers in 1671, while Sir William Berkeley was governor of Virginia. A more correct statistical account of Virginia, at that period, cannot, perhaps, any where be found. The answers appear to have been given with great candor, and were from a man well versed in every thing relating to the country, having been for many years governor. As it respects the inhabitants of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley seems to have been well qualified to rear them up as food for despots, since, in his answer to the last enquiry, he thanks God that there are no "free-schools or printing," and "hopes that we shall have none these hundred yeares."]|
|1. What councils, assemblies and courts of judicature are within your government, and of what nature and kind?||Council, Assembly and Courts.|
|Answer. There is 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 pound sterling; for what is under, there are particular courts in every county,||Governor, number of councillors, judicial powers.|
|* The 'Enquiries' being prefixed to the answers, it has been deemed unnecessary to repeat them here. They are commenced on page 234 of the book above referred to, and are thus subscribed, on page 236:|
|which are twenty in number. Every year, at least the assembly is called, before whom lye appeales, 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 their exigencies require.||Appeals to assembly.|
| 2. What courts of judicature are within your government relating to
Answer. In twenty eight yeares there has never been one prize brought into the country; so that there is no need for a particular court for that concern.
|Courts of admiralty.|
| 3. Where are the legislative and executive powers of your government
Answer. In the governor, councel and assembly, and officers substituted by them.
|Legislative & exe'tive power.|
| 4. What statute laws and ordinances are now made and in force?
Answer. The secretary of this country every year sends to the lord chancellor,* or one of the principal secretaries, what laws are yearly made; which for the most part concern our own private exigencies; for, contrary to the laws of England, we never did, nor dare make any, only this, that no sale of land is good and legal, unless within three months after the conveyance it be recorded in the general court, or county courts.
| 5. What number of horse and foot are within your government, and
whether they be trained bands or standing forces?
Answer. All our freemen are bound to be trained every month in their particular counties, which we suppose, and do not much mistake in the calculation, are near eight thousand horse: there are more, but is too chargeable for poor people, as wee are, to exercise them.
| 6. What castles and fforts are within your government, and how
situated, as also what stores and provision they are furnished withall?
Answer. There are five fforts in the country, two in James river and one in the three other rivers of York,
|Castles and forts.|
|* By an order of the Lords Commissioners for foreign plantations, made in 1679, it is made the duty of the clerk of the assembly to send them a copy of the journal and laws of each assembly.|
|Rappahannock and Potomeck; but God knows we have neither skill or ability to make or maintain them; for there is not, nor, as far as my inquiry can reach, ever was one ingenier in the country, so that we are at continual charge to repair unskilfull and inartificial building of that nature. There is not above thirty great and serviceable guns; this we yearly supply with powder and shot as far as our utmost abilities will permit us.||Great Guns, powder and shot|
| 7. What number of priviteers do frequent your coasts and
neighbouring seas; what their burthens are; the number of their men and guns, and the names of
Answer. None to our knowledge, since the late Dutch war.
| 8. What is the strength of your bordering neighbours, be they
Indians or others, by sea and land; what correspondence to you keep with your neighbours.
Answer. We have no Europeans seated nearer to us than St. Christophers or Mexico that we know of, except some few ffrench that are beyond New England. The Indians, our neighbours are absolutely subjected, so that there is no fear of them. As for correspondence, we have none with any European strangers; nor is there a possibility to have it with our own nation further than our traffick concerns.
|Strength of neighbouring nations, Indians & other.|
| 9. What armes, ammunition and stores did you find upon the place, or
have been sent you since, upon his majestyes account; when received; how employed; what quantity
of them is there remaining, and where?
Answer. When I came into the country, I found one only ruinated ffort, with eight great guns, most unserviceable, and all dismounted but four, situated in a most unhealthy place, and where, if an enemy knew the soundings, he could keep out of the danger of the best guns in Europe. His majesty, in the time of the Dutch warr, sent us thirty great guns, most of which were lost in the ship that brought them. Before, or since this, we never had one great or small gun sent us, since my coming hither; nor, I believe, in twenty years before. All that have been sent by his sacred majesty, are still in the country, with a few more we lately bought.
|Arms, ammunition & military stores.|
| 10. What monies have been paid or appointed to be paid by his
majesty, or levied within your government for and toward the buying of armes or making or
maintaining of any ffortifications or castles, and how have the said monies been expended?
Answer. Besides those guns I mentioned, we never had any monies of his majesty towards the buying of ammunition or building of fforts. What monies can be spared out of the publick revenue, we yearly lay out in ammunition.
|Appropriat'ns for buy'g arms maintain'g fortifications, &c.|
| 11. What are the boundaries and contents of the land, within your
Answer. As for the boundaries of our land, it was once great, ten degrees in latitude, but now it has pleased his majesty to confine us to halfe a degree.* Knowingly, I speak this. Pray God it may be for his majesty's service, but I much fear the contrary.
|Extent & boundaries of Virginia.|
| 12. What commodities are there of the production, growth and
manufacture of your plantation; and particularly, what materials are there already growing, or
may be produced for shipping in the same?
Answer. Commodities of the growth of our county, we never had any but tobacco, which in this yet is considerable, that it yeilds his majesty a great revenue; but of late, we have begun to make silk, and so many mulberry trees are planted, and planting, that if we had skilfull men from Naples or Sicily to teach us the art of making it perfectly, in less than half an age, we should make as much silk in an year as England did yearly expend three score years since; but now we hear it is grown to a greater excess, and more common and vulgar usage. Now, for shipping, we have admirable masts and very good oaks; but for iron ore I dare not say there is sufficient to keep one iron mill going for seven years.
|Products and manufactures.|
| 13. Whether salt-petre is or may be produced within your
plantation, and if so, at what rate may it be delivered in England?
Answer. Salt-petre, we know of none in the country.
|14. What rivers, harbours or roads are there in or about your plantation and government, and of what depth and soundings are they?||Rivers & harbours.|
|* This must allude to the eastern boundary, on the sea shore.|
|Answer. Rivers, we have four, as I named before, all able, safely and severally to bear an harbour a thousand ships of the greatest burthen.|
| 15. What number of planters, servants and slave; and how many
parishes are there in your plantation?
Answer. We suppose, and I am very sure we do not much miscount, that there is 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 born in the country or have come in to settle and seat, in bettering their condition in a growing country.
|Population, planters, servants & slaves.|
Whole population 40,000;
| 16. What number of English, Scots or Irish have for these seven
yeares last past come yearly to plant and inhabite within your government; as also what
blacks or slaves have been brought in within the said time?
Answer. Yearly, we suppose there comes in, 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.
|Annual introduction of English, Scots & Irish;|
| 17. What number of people have yearly died, within your plantation
and government for these seven years last past, both whites and blacks?
Answer. All new plantations are, for an age or two, unhealthy, 'till they are thoroughly cleared of wood; but unless we had a particular register office, for the denoting of all that died, I cannot give a particular answer to this query, only this I can say, that there is not often unseasoned hands (as we term them) that die now, whereas heretofore not one of five escaped the first year.
Also blacks or slaves.
| 18. What number of ships do trade yearly to and from your
plantation, and of what burthen are they?
Answer. English ships, near eighty come out of England and Ireland every year for tobacco; few New England ketches; but of our own, we never yet had more than two at one time, and those not more than twenty tuns burthen.
|Ships annually employed in the trade of the colony.|
| 19. What obstructions do you find to the improvement of the trade
and navigation of the plantations within your government?
Answer. Mighty and destructive, by that severe act of parliament which excludes us the having any commerce
|Impediments to commerce, & navigation.|
Restriction of the navigation act.
|with any nation in Europe but our own, so that we cannot add to our plantation any commodity that grows out of it, as olive trees, cotton or vines. Besides this, we cannot procure any skilfull men for one now hopefull commodity, silk; for it is not lawfull for us to carry a pipe stave, or a barrel of corn to any place in Europe out of the king's dominions. If this were for his majesty's service or the good of his subjects, we should not repine, whatever our sufferings are for it; but on my soul, it is contrary for both. And this is the cause why no small or great vessell are built here; for we are most obedient to all laws, whilst the New England men break through, and men trade to any place that their interest lead them.||Highly injurious to Virginia.|
Character of N. England men, who will break through it, if their interests lead them.
| 20. What advantages or improvements do you observe that may be
gained to your trade and navigation.
Answer. None, unless we had liberty to transport our pipe staves, timber and corn to other places besides the king's dominions.
|What would improve the trade, &c.|
| 21. What rates and duties are charged and payable upon any goods
exported out of your plantation, whither of your own growth or manufacture, or otherwise, as also
upon goods imported?
Answer. No goods either exported or imported, pay any the least duties here, only two shillings the hogshead on tobacco exported, which is to defray all public charges; and this year we could not get an account of more than fifteen thousand* yearly, with which I must maintain the port of my place, and one hundred intervening charges that cannot be put to public account. And I can knowingly affirm, that there is no government of ten years settlement, but has thrice as much allowed him. But I am supported by my hopes, that his gracious majesty will one day consider me.
|Duties on exports and imports.|
No duties except 2s. a hhd. for tobacco exported.
|22. What revenues doe or may arise to his majesty within your government, and of what nature is it; by||Revenue to the king.|
|* He means £1000 sterling money; which was the stated salary of the governor; besides which the assembly allowed Sir William Berkeley, who is here speaking, an additional salary of £200. −− See ante page 314.|
| whom is the same collected, and how answered and accounted to his majesty?|
Answer. There is no revenue arising to his majesty but out of the quit-rents; and this he hath given away to a deserving servant, Col. Henry Norwood.
| 23. What course is taken about the instructing the
people, within your government in the christian religion; and what provision is there made for
the paying of your ministry?
Answer. The same course that is taken in England out of towns; every man according to his ability instructing his children. We have fforty eight parishes, and our ministers are well paid, and by my consent sould be better if they would pray oftener and preach less. But of all other commodities, so of this the worst are sent us, and we had few that we could boast of, since the persicution in Cromwell's tiranny drove divers worthy men hither. 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 both!
|Education and provision for the clergy.|
Ministers would deserve better pay if they would pray more & preach less.
None but the worst sent over.
No free schools nor printing: and he prays to god, that he might see neither.
| [ Nothing can display in stronger colors the execrable policy of the British government, in
relation to the colonies, than the sentiments uttered by Sir William Berkeley, in his answer to
the last interrogator. These were, doubtless, his genuine sentiments, which recommended him so
highly to the favor of the crown, that he was continued governor of Virginia from 1641 to 1677, a
period of thirty-six years, if we except the short interval of the commonwealth, and a
few occasional times of absence from his government, on visits to England. The more profoundly
ignorant of the colonists could be kept, the better subjects they were for slaver. None but
tyrants dread the diffusion of knowledge and the liberty of the press.
The same hostility to the introduction of printing which was manifested by Sir William Berkeley, was shewn by Lord Culpeper, who was governor of Virginia in 1683, only eleven years after these principles were avowed by Sir William Berkeley. it will be seen by the following extract, which is from a MS.
|What excellent food for tyrants!|
|unquestionable authority, that at the last mentioned dated, a printer had actually commenced his business in Virginia, but was prohibited by the governor and council from printing any thing, till the king's pleasure should be known; which it may be presumed was very tardily communicated, as the first evidence of printing thereafter in Virginia was on the revised laws contained in the edition of 1733.]|
|"February 21st, 1682, John Buckner called before the Lord Culpepper and his council for printing the laws of 1680, without his excellency's licence, and he and the printer ordered to enter into bond in £100 not to print any thing thereafter, until his majesty's pleasure should be known." (Bland MS. pa. 498. )||Printing prohibited.|
|[ The first great cause of dissatisfaction in Virginia, after the restoration, was the extravagant and improvident grant made by king Charles II, to Lords Arlington and Culpeper, two favourites of the crown. ( See Marshall's life of Washington, vol. 1. pa. 197. Burk's Hist. Virginia, vol. 2, pa. 151, 152.) This gave rise to the 1st act of September 1674, for an address to the king on the subject, and for making provision to support agents in England to negociate with the government there for its repeal. Three agents were accordingly appointed, Col. Francis Moryson, Thomas Ludwell, secretary, and major general Robert Smith. their correspondence shews the zeal with which they prosecuted the objects of their mission, and the event proves how little dependence ought to have been placed on the sincerity of the king. After innumerable difficulties and delays, and after the king had twice ordered a charter to be prepared, embracing all the essential stipulations insisted on by the agents, particularly an exemption from taxation without the consent of the colony, it was suddenly suspended in the Hamper office,|
|and instead of the promised charter, a miserable skeleton was sent in, containing little more than a declaration of the dependence of the colony on the crown of England. In the following collection I have made references, only, to such papers as are to be found in printed books, and in the office of the General Court; but where the paper exists in a single MS. in the hands of an individual, it has been given entire.]||Propositions for vacat'g the grant to Lords Arlington and Culpeper.|
|1. The grant to Lords Arlington and Culpeper of the whole colony of Virginia, for 31 years, dated 25th of February, in the 25th year of the reign of Charles the second, which was in 1673.|
|[The grant at large is recorded in the office of the general court, in a book labelled "Deeds" from 1682 to 1689, No. 3, pa. 28: the substance of it is inserted ante page 427; also in the Bland MS. pa. 273; and in Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, Appendix, pa. xxxiv.]||This grant is published in this edition at the end of the volume.|
|2. An act of the general assembly of September 1674, ante pa. 311.|
|3. A letter signed by Sir William Berkeley, in the name of the council, and by Thomas Ludwell, sec. and Robert Wynne, speaker H. B. dated 21st September 1674, addressed to the "Right Honourable" supposed to be Lord Arlington, who was then chamberlain of the king's household. This letter announces the appointment of "Col. Francis Moryson, Mr. Secretary "Ludwell, and Major general Robert Smith" as agents for Virginia, in England, and states the object of their mission. [Bland MS. pa. 271: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2. App. pa. xxxiii.]|
|4. Report of the agents, that they had waited on Lord Arlington, and furnished him with the heads of the grant to him and Lord Culpeper, with their objections to it. [Bland MS. pa. 272: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2. App. pa. xxxiv.]|
|5. Further report of the agents that they had presented a letter from the governor of Virginia to the lord Chamberlain of the king's household (Lord Arlington) who expressed his surprize that the inhabitants of Virginia should be more opposed to paying their quit-rents to lords Arlington and Culpeper, than they had been to col. Norwood and others; since those quit-rents had never come into the king's exchequer. The agents assured the lord Chamberlain that the objections.|
|were not to the quit-rents, but to other clauses in the grant, which they pointed out. He expressed his willingness to surrender the grant; assuring the agents that it never was his intention to have had such regalies vested in him as the grant contained. (Bland MS. pa. 275, Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. xli.*)||Propositions for vacat'g the grants to Lords Arlington and Culpeper.|
|6. Proposition, by the agents, to Lord Arlington, that if he and Lord Culpeper would vacate their patent, or demise and take out another for the quit-rents, only, to be paid in tobacco at 12s. per hundred, the agents would accede to it. [Bland MS. pa. 276: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. xlii.]|
|7. Conference between the agents of Virginia, and the commissioners on the part of Lords Arlington and Culpeper, accompanied by Col. Norwood; −− the face of things much altered, −− instead of receiving the quit-rents in tobacco, at 12s. per hundred, as was before thought reasonable, the pattentees insist on receiving tobacco ad valorem; and their escheats, by certain compositions. Bland MS. pa. 277: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. xliii.−− This paper is wrong dated in Mr. Burk's Appendix, it should be "April 26th, 1675," and immediately underneath, "H. NORWOOD."|
|8. The agents declare that the terms proposed by Lord Arlington and Culpeper, are inadmissible, and consequently they can hold no further treaty with them. [This paper is dated April 27th, 1675, in the Bland MS. and not "1674" as in Burk's Appendix.] They then subjoin "The reasons of their dissenting," in a separate paper, which is, that the conditions proposed are in too general terms, and that from the propositions of the patentees, it may be inferred, that the quit-rents were to be paid on their existing grant; whereas the agents insist on their vacating that grant, and taking out another for the quit-rents, only. [Bland MS. pa. 279: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. xliv.]|
|* In the Appendix to the 2d vol. of Burk's History of Virginia, these papers are differently arranged from the Bland MS. The reason of the alteration is not easily perceived. Most of them being without date, it is only by the subject matter that the proper arrangement can be made. Instead of the paper last referred to, which is inserted as it stands in the Bland MS. Mr. Burk has given one signed "Philip Lloyd," stating the result of the negotiation, and dated in 1676.|
|9. Lords Arlington and Culpeper agree to vacate their patent, and receive a new one for the quitrents and escheats, only. Bland MS. pa. 281; [Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. xlv.] There is a blank in Burk's Appendix, in this paper, which should be filled with the word "covenant."||Propositions for vacat'g the grant to Lords Arlington and Culpeper.|
|10. Letter from two of the agents, Francis Moryson and Thomas Ludwell, stating their application to Lord Arlington, to take out a new grant, for the quit-rents and escheats, in pursuance of the propositions contained in the last paper; but that he had desired a meeting, where Colonel Norwood and Lord Culpeper might be present, which had not been then effected, and proposed that the agents should purchase their right, that the grant might pass in the name of the colony. This the agents would not agree to; but requested that the patentees would first take out their grant; and then, if they would set a reasonable value upon it, the agents would communicate the proposition to their government. [Bland MS. pa. 380; Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. lii.]|
|[ The above is the last paper, on the subject of the conference between the agents of Virginia and the patentees, Lords Arlington and Culpeper, that is given in the Appendix to Mr. Burk's History of Virginia; but it appears from a deed recorded in the General Court, (Book labelled "Deeds," from 1682 to 1689, No. 3, pa. 22,) that Lord Arlington, on the 10th of Septem. 33 Charles II, (1681,) conveyed all his interest derived under the patent of 25th of February, 25th Charles II, (1673) to Lord Culpeper; who afterwards assigned his whole estate in the premises to the king, as will be seen by the following letter taken from the Bland MS. pa. 481.]||This deed from lord Arlington to lord Culpeper, is published in this edition, at the end of the volume.|
|WHEREAS the Lord Culpeper had assigned and surrendered unto him all right, title, and interest to certain letters patent, bearing date 25th February,|
|25th Regni, whereby he demised unto him and Lord Arlington, all the colony of Virginia and Accomack, with the rents, quit-rents, fines and forfeitures, and escheats, accruing unto him from the premises, and the same being now in virtue thereof, and of a former assignment of the Lord Arlington unto the Lord Culpeper, entirely in his majesty's hands, he declares his will and pleasure that publication thereof be made to his subjects within the colony of Virginia, and they be given to understand that his majesty proceeded herein, with an intent to apply all profits accruing thereby to the benefit and for the better support of the government of that our colony, in such manner as he should from time to time appoint. Therefore his majesty requires the governor to impower the officers of the revenue, and such others as he should think fit, duly to collect the quit-rents accruing from time to time, according to the reservation of 2s. for every 100 acres of land, and so proportionably for a greater or lesser quantity, to be paid in specie, in money, and not in tobacco nor in any other commodity; but that the subjects might with greater ease comply with their obligation to his majesty, his majesty is well pleased that instead of English money they may answer what becomes due to him in such pieces of eight as are current in that colony, and as to escheats, fines and for forfeitures, and other profits, mentioned in his letters patent, his majesty directs that they be satisfied according to the demise to the Lord Culpeper in the like pieces of eight for every five shillings. And because at that distance he could not direct the particular method of recovering those dues, the governor is to proceed therein as he should find most beneficial, and to give him an account of his proceedings; and that the revenue arising from the premises be not disposed of nor suffered to be issued out until upon certifying unto his majesty the value of what shall remain thereupon in the treasury, he should order the same to be disposed of to such uses as shall be most requisite for his services. (Bland MS. page 481.)||Grant vacated by assignment from Lord Arlington to L'd Culpeper, and by him to the crown.|
12. The agents for Virginia open the negotiation, relating to a new and more perfect charter, by presenting certain "heads," as the basis of the charter which they wish to obtain, accompanied by explanations to each head. (Bland MS. pa. 282: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. xlv.)
1st Head. −− That Virginia may be enabled by the king's letters patents, by the name of "governor, council and burgesses" to purchase and hold the grant of the Northern neck or tract of land between the Rappahannock and Potomack rivers, which had been conveyed to the earl of St. Albans, lord Culpeper and others. [See laws of Virginia, edi. 1769, pa. 105, and 1 Rev. Code, Ch. 3, pa. 5, where this grant is referred to. See also "Deed" book from 1682 to 1689, No. 3, page 3, in the office of Genl. Ct. where one of those grants dated 20th July, 33 Charles II, (1681) is recorded.]
Explanation of the 1st head. −− That by incorporating the governor, council and burgesses (a term which they disapprove of, if any better mode could be devised,) they only wish that they may have capacity to purchase two grants which had been made of the Northern neck, and which excited great uneasiness among the people; that the power of granting the lands within that territory may reside in the governor and council as formerly; and that the colony of Virginia may after the purchase enjoy the quit-rents and escheats in the same manner as the patentees, they being the only source from which the colony can be reimbursed their purchase money.
2d Head. −− That the people of Virginia may be assured that they shall have no other dependance but on the crown, nor be cantonized into parcels by grants made to particular persons. And to prevent surreptitious grants, that none be made for the future, till the king shall have received information from the governor and council of Virginia, as to the propriety of making them.
Explanation of the second head. −− Nothing more is intended by this head, than that the people of Virginia should rely on the crown alone for protection. No unlimited power is asked for, nor any grant which shall lessen the authority of the king.
|Negotiations for a new charter.|
| 3d Head. −− That all lands may be assured to the
present possessors and owners thereof.
Explanation of the 3d head. −− This, the agents considered essential to the peace and welfare of the colony. The inhabitants, in confidence of their grants, having expended their estates in the improvement of their lands, it was all important that they should be assured of their titles. The agents also pray that the usual allowance of 50 acres of land for each person imported, which experience had proved to be so beneficial, may be continued.
4th Head. −− That all lands held by right of administration, acquisition, or other customary title which in strictness of law might be escheated, may be assured to the possessors; the escheators for the crown taking only two pounds of tobacco per acres, according to a former composition, for escheats. (See ante page 56 and 136.)
Explanation of the 4th head. −− It having been discovered, on enquiry, that a great number of the inhabitants held their lands, by right of administration and other colorable titles, which, for want of heirs, were by law escheated to the crown, the governor and council with the advice of the grand assembly, in order to avoid the inconveniences which would result from disturbing so many possessions, established a general composition for escheats at the above rate. As no emolument could accrue to the crown from granting those lands to new adventurers, the agents pray that the possessors may be quieted in their titles.
5th head. −− That the governor and council may be residents in the colony; and that the deputy governor, in the absence of the governor, may be one of the council, and such as has an estate and interest in the country.
Explanation of the 5th head. −− This is not a new proposition, nor does it arise from groundless fears. It is no more than is contained in the commissions of all the governors since the foundation of the government; and is only intended to guard against the powers of the government devolving upon strangers who have no interest in the country, during the absence of the governor, and that the king himself may have a better account of the country.
|Negotiations for a new charter.|
| 6th Head. −− That the governor and council, or a
quorum of them may be fully empowered by charter to hear and determine all treasons,
misprisions of treason, murders and felonies; since the government, being so remote, ought to be
armed with such powers.
Explanation of the 6th head. −− Nothing more is intended by this than that, instead of a commission of oyer and terminer, there may be a standing provision in the charter, confering such powers.
7th Head. −− That there shall be no tax or imposition laid on the people of Virginia but according to their former usuage, by the grand assembly, and no otherwise.
Explanation of the 7th head. −− The agents hope that this request will not be deemed immodest when it is considered that both the acquisition and defence of Virginia having been at the charge of the inhabitants; and that the people, at that time, were at the expence of supporting not only the government but the governor, which occasioned their taxes to be very high, and which must every year encrease with the growth of the country. −− [In a subsequent note, explanatory of some of the heads to which objections were raised, the agents dwell on the point of taxation with peculiar force, and advance many unanswerable arguments in support of the position which they had taken. They are there repeated. See Bland MS. pa. 289: Burk's Hist. Virg. 2. App. pa. 1.]
|Negotiations for a new charter.|
| FIRST. −− As to the point whether
the Virginians are in reason to be assured under the majesty's great seal, that they shall not be
taxed without their own consent.
1. It is humbly conceived that if his majesty deduce a colony of Englishmen by their own consent, (or otherwise he cannot) or licence or permit one to be deduced to plant an uncultivated part of the world, such planters and their heires ought to enjoy by law in such plantation, the same liberties and priviledges as Englishmen in England; such plantation being but in nature of an extension or dilatation of the realm of England.
2. King James did, by the charter to the treasurer and company declare that their posterity and descendants born in Virginia should be taken as natural born subjects of England (as, in truth, without any declaration
|Arguments of the agents in support of an exempt'n from taxations, with out consent of the people of Virginia.|
| or grant, they ought by law to be) which charter although for the misgovernment of the
company it were demanded in a quo warranto, yet did the said king forthwith promise and
declare, that a charter should be renewed with the former priviledges to the planters, at whose
instance and for whose sake the former charter was called in.
3. Neither his majesty nor any of his ancestors or predecessors have ever offered to impose any tax upon this plantation without the consent of his subjects there.
4. Nor upon any other plantation, how much less soever deserving of or considerable to the crown. New England, Maryland, Barbadoes, &c. are not taxed but of their consent.
5. As to their land, the Virginians are freeholders in common, as of the manner of East Greenwich.
6. Their goods, the product of their industry of themselves and servants, being the principal part of their estates, (in respect whereof their lands are of considerable value) yield to the king in his customs at least one hundred thousand pounds per annum.
7. The acquisition and defence of the country was, and is by the blood and treasure of the former and present planters and seaters, never costing the crown of England any thing in all their wars.
8. Their taxes already are, and must continue high upon them for the maintenance and support of the government, execution of law and justice, and defence and ornament of the country, erecting and endowing of churches, maintenance of ministers of English ordination, doctrine and liturgy; building and furniture of ports, bridges, ships of war, townes, &c.
9. Their course of taxing (which is ever only per poll) sheweth how far the personal industry of the people is and ought to be valued above their lands and stocks.
10. The petitioners have an express charge to insist on this particular, and since they find their right herein to be questioned, they find it necessary to have this particular cleared, and the referees herein satisfied before they proceed to any other.
8th Head. −− A confirmation, by charter, of the authority of the grand assembly consisting of governor, council and burgesses.
|Negotiations for a few charter.|
| Explanation to the 8th head. −− This is, in
effect, only to ask that the laws made in Virginia, may be of force and value, since the
legislative power has ever resided in an assembly so qualified, and by fifty years
experience had been found a government more easy to the people and advantageous to the crown;
for, in all that time there had not been one law which had been complained of as burthensome to
the one, or prejudicial to the prerogative of the other. And though the king had always a
negative, by his governor; yet the colonists would not object to the king's exercising the power
of disannulling a law, so that his dissent be signified within two years after the
enacting of it. For which purpose the laws should be annually transmitted to one of his principal
secretaries of state.
13. Notes explanatory of some of the heads, annexed to the petition of the Virginian agents. [Bland MS. pa. 289: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. l.]
These explanatory notes consist of the article concerning taxation, which is before repeated; a further exposition of what is intended by an act of incorporation; the views of the agents, as to the powers of the grand assembly; and an answer to the objections which had been raised on account of the disloyalty of New England.
[ On the 23d of June 1675, the propositions of the agents for Virginia, for a new charter, were referred by the lords of the committee for foreign plantations to the king's attorney and solicitor general. They on the 11th of October 1675, (see Bland MS. pa. 293: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. xi.) repeated the same report to the king in council, merely changing the style from "his majesty" to "your majesty." (See Bland MS. pa. 297, and the same paper, pa. 373: Burk's Hist. Virg. vol. 2, App. pa. lv.) This report presents the different points of negotiation in ten distinct heads, varying in their arrangement from that adopted by the agents in their propositions and explanations. It was as favorable to the agents as they could have wished; and, as appears from their subsequent correspondence, was adopted by the king in council, and twice ordered to be passed into a charter under the great seal.
|Negotiations for a new charter.|
| From this period to the termination of all negotiation for a
charter, the agents were unwearied in their applications to the principal officers to carry into
effect the order of the king and council. New difficulties and objections were started by the
officers of the crown, which were repelled, with great firmness by the agents of Virginia. At
length, the news of Bacon's rebellion furnished an apology to violate the most sacred engagements
on the part of the crown. Most of the papers on this subject are given in the appendix to the 2d
volume of Burk's History of Virginia. There are some, however, omitted, which shew the unshaken
zeal of the Virginian agents.
The better to contrast the stipulations to which the king had assented, as the basis of a new charter, with the charter itself which was actually sent over, they are here inserted in succession. to these are subjoined such remonstrances of the Virginian agents to the officers of the crown for keeping back the charter, as have not been published in Mr. Burk's appendix.]
|Negotiations for a new charter.|
|AT THE COURT AT WHITEHALL, NOVEMBER 19th,
Present, the King's most excellent Majesty.
|WHEREAS the right honourable the lords of the committee for forrain plantations, did this day present to his majesty in council, a report touching a grant to be past unto his majesties subjects of Virginia, in the words following:||Report of lords of comm'tee of foreign plantations.|
|May it please your Majesty,|
|The petition of Francis Morryson, Thomas Ludwell and Robert Smith, agents for the governor, council, and burgesses of the country of Virginia and territory of Accomack, being by your majesties most gracious order, in council, of the 23d of June last past; referred to your majesties attorney, and sollicitor general, who were to consider thereof, as also of a paper annexed, containing more fully the heads of what they humbly proposed, and then to report unto us their opinion on the same, as to the conveniency thereof, in respect of your majesties service; and we having seen and examined the said report, bearing date the 12th instant, are upon the whole matter humbly of opinion, that it will not only be for your majesties service, but for the encrease of the trade and growth of the plantations of Virginia, if your majesty shall be pleased to grant and confirm, under your great seal of England, unto your subjects of Virginia, the particulars following, as of your majesties free grace and goodness to them:||Report of the attorney gen'l & solicitor general,* recit'd and approved.|
|1. That your majesty will enable the governor, council, and commonalty of Virginia, to purchase the lands &c. contained in the grant to the Earl of Saint Albans, Lord Culpeper, and others, and, as to that purpose only, to be made a corporation, to purchase and retaine, the same, with a non obstante to the statue of mortmain.||Power to purchase grant to St. Albans, l'd Culpeper, &c. of Northern Neck.|
|2. That the inhabitants, your majesties subjects there, may have their immediate dependance upon the crown of England, under the jurisdiction and rule of such governor as your majesty, your heir and successors shall appoint.||Dependence on the crown of England.|
|3. That the governor, for the time being, shall be resident in the country, except your majesty, your heirs and successors shall, at any time, command his attendance in England, or elsewhere; in which case, a deputy shall be chosen, to continue during the absence||Governor to be resid't in Virginia.|
|* The Attorney General and Solicitor, were Wm. Jones and Fra. Winington, by whom the report was signed.|
| 'Government,' in Bland MS, page 289.|
|of such governor, in manner as hath formerly been used, unless your majesty shall be pleased to nominate the deputy, who is to be one of the council, but if any governor happen to dye, then another to be chosen as hath been formerly used, to continue till your majesty, your heirs, and successors, shall appoint a new governor.||Deputy, how chosen.|
Succes'r how appointed.
|4. That no manner of imposition of taxes shall be laid or imposed upon the inhabitants and proprietors there, but by the common consent of the governor, council and burgesses, as hath been heretofore used; provided that this concession be no bar to any imposition that may be laid, by act of parliament here, on the commodities which come from that country.||Exemp'n from taxation.|
|5. That your majesty, you heirs, and successors, will not for the future, grant any lands in Virginia, under your great seale, without first being informed by the governor and council there, for the time being informed by the governor and council there, for the time being, or some person by them impowered, whether such grant will not be prejudicial to the plantations there.||King not to grant lands without information from governor, &c.|
|6. That all lands now possessed by the planters or inhabitants, may be confirmed and established to them; provided it alter not the property of any particular mans interest in any lands there.||Confirmation of titles of lands.|
|7. That, for the encouragement of such of your majesties subjects as shall, from time to time, go to dwell in the said plantation, there shall be assigned out of the lands (not already appropriated) to every person so coming thither to dwell, fifty acres, according as hath been used and allowed since the first plantation.||Fifty acres of land to each emigrant.|
|8. That all lands possest by any subject inhabiting in Virginia, which have escheated, or shall escheat, to your majesty, may be enjoyned by such inhabitant or possessor, he paying two pounds of tobacco composition for every acre, which is the rate, in that behalfe, set by the governor, authorised to do the same, by your majesties instructions.||Composition of escheats.|
|9. That the governor and council, or a certain quorum of them, may be impowered to try all treasons, murders, fellonies and other misdemeanors; provided they proceed in such trials, as near as may be, to the laws of England; the governor to have power of pardoning all crimes, unless murther or treason; and in||Trial for treason, murder and felonies.|
Power of pardon.
|these, if he see occasion, to give repreive, until he shall have laid the state of the fact before your majestie, and received your royal determination therein.|
|10. That the power and authority of the grand assembly consisting of governor, council, and burgesses may be by your majesty ratified and confirmed; provided that your majesty may at your pleasure revoak any law made by them, and that no law so revoaked shall, after such revocation, and intimation thereof from hence, be further used or observed.||Pow. of grand assembly.|
Power of king to revoke laws.
| Council Chamber the 19th of |
|His majesty having considered the said report, and being graciously inclined to favour his said subjects of Virginia, and to give them all due encouragement, have thought fit to approve and confirm the same, and Mr. Attorney General and Mr. Solicitor general are hereby required to prepare a bill for his majesties signature in order to the passing of letters pattents for the grant, settlement and confirmation of all things according to the direction of the said report, but paring the words and manner of expression so as may be more suitable to the forme of law in such cases accustomed and to the petitioners releif.|
Their report confirmed, & a new charter order'd in conformity therewith.
|Memorandum. A complete charter was granted and passing the offices, but the news of Bacon's rebellion stop'd it in the Hamper office; and my lord Culpeper being appointed governor, on the death of Sir William Berkeley, obtained that this poor charter, which we have, only should be granted.|
|* This memorandum was probably the note of the transcriber, at the date annexed to the initials of his name.|
|Pages 490-508||Pages 532-556|