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tives from the various plantations in the colony, and permitted them to assume and exercise the high functions of legislation. Thus was formed and established the first representative legislature, that ever sat in America. The conduct of the colonists, as well as the company, soon afterwards gave offence to King James; and the disasters, which accomplished an almost total destruction of the colony by the successful inroads of the Indians, created much discontent and disappointment among the proprietors at home. The king found it no difficult matter to satisfy the nation, that an inquiry into their conduct was necessary. It was accordingly ordered; and the result of that inquiry, by commissioners appointed by himself, was a demand, on the part of the crown, of a surrender of the charters. The demand was resisted by the company; a quo warranto was instituted against them, and it terminated, as in that age it might well be supposed it would, in a judgment, pronounced in 1624 by judges holding their offices during his pleasure, that the franchises were forfeited and the corporation should be dissolved.

§ 11. With the fall of the charter the colony came under the immediate government and control of the crown itself; and the king issued a special commission appointing a governor and twelve counsellors, to whom the entire direction of its affairs was committed. In this commission no representative assembly was mentioned; and there is little reason to suppose that James, who, besides his arbitrary notions of government, imputed the recent disasters to the existence of such an assembly, ever intended to revive it. While he was yet meditating upon a plan or code of government, his death put an end to his projects, which were better

calculated to nourish his own pride and conceit, than to subserve the permanent interests of the province. Henceforth, however, Virginia continued to be a royal province until the period of the American Revolution.

§ 12. Charles the First adopted the notions and followed out, in its full extent, the colonial system of his father. He declared the colony to be a part of the empire annexed to the crown, and immediately subordinate to its jurisdiction. During the greater part of his reign, Virginia knew no other law, than the will of the sovereign, or his delegated agents; and statutes were passed and taxes imposed without the slightest effort to convene a colonial assembly. It was not until the murmurs and complaints, which such a course of conduct was calculated to produce, had betrayed the inhabitants into acts of open resistance to the governor, and into a firm demand of redress from the crown against his oppressions, that the king was brought to more considerate measures. He did not at once yield to their discontents; but pressed, as he was, by severe embarrassments at home, he was content to adopt a policy, which would conciliate the colony and remove some of its just complaints. He accordingly, soon afterwards, appointed Sir William Berkeley governor, with powers and instructions, which breathed a far more benign spirit. He was authorized to proclaim, that in all its concerns, civil as well as ecclesiastical, the colony should be governed according to the laws of England. He was directed to issue writs for electing representatives of the people, who with the governor and council should form a general assembly, clothed with supreme legislative authority; and to establish courts of justice, whose proceedings should be guided by the forms of the parent country. The rights of Englishmen were

thus, in a great measure, secured to the colonists; and under the government of this excellent magistrate, with some short intervals of interruption, the colony flourished with a vigorous growth for almost forty years. The revolution of 1688 found it, if not in the practical possession of liberty, at least with forms of government well calculated silently to cherish its spirit.



§ 13. We may now advert in a brief manner to the history of the Northern, or Plymouth Company. That company possessed fewer resources and less enterprise than the Southern; and though aided by men of high distinction, its first efforts for colonization were feeble and discouraging. Capt. John Smith, so well known in the History of Virginia by his successful adventures under their authority, lent a transient lustre to their attempts; and his warm descriptions of the beauty and fertility of the country procured for it from the excited imagination of the Prince, after King Charles the First, the flattering name of New-England, a name, which effaced from it that of Virginia, and which has since become dear beyond expression, to the inhabitants of its harsh but salubrious climate.

§ 14. While the company was yet languishing, an event occurred, which gave a new and unexpected aspect to its prospects. It is well known, that the religious dissensions consequent upon the reformation, while they led to a more bold and free spirit of discussion, failed at the same time of introducing a correspondent charity for differences of religious opinion. Each successive sect entertained not the slightest doubt of its own infallibility in doctrine and worship, and was eager to obtain proselytes, and denounce the errors of its opponents. If it had stopped here, we might have forgotten, in admiration of the sincere zeal for Christian truth, the desire of power, and the pride of mind, which lurked within the inner folds of their devotion. But unfor

tunately the spirit of intolerance was abroad in all its stern and unrelenting severity. To tolerate errors was to sacrifice Christianity to mere temporal interests. Truth, and truth alone, was to be followed at the hazard of all consequences; and religion allowed no compromises between conscience and worldly comforts. Heresy was itself a sin of a deadly nature, and to extirpate it was a primary duty of all, who were believers in sincerity and truth. Persecution, therefore, even when it seemed most to violate the feelings of humanity and the rights of private judgment, never wanted apologists among those of the purest and most devout lives. It was too often received with acclamations by the crowd, and found an ample vindication from the learned and the dogmatists; from the policy of the civil magistrate, and the blind zeal of the ecclesiastic. Each sect, as it attained power, exhibited the same unrelenting firmness in putting down its adversaries. The papist and the prelate, the puritan and the presbyterian, felt no compunctions in the destruction of dissentients from their own faith. They uttered, indeed, loud complaints of the injustice of their enemies, when they were themselves oppressed; but it was not from any abhorrence of persecution itself, but of the infamous errors of the persecutors. There are not wanting on the records of the history of these times abundant proofs, how easily sects, which had borne every human calamity with unshrinking fortitude for conscience' sake, could turn upon their inoffensive, but, in their judgment, erring neighbours, with a like infliction of suffering. Even adversity sometimes fails of producing its usual salutary effects of moderation and compassion, when a blind but honest zeal has usurped dominion over the mind. If such a picture of human infirmity may justly add to our

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