« 上一頁繼續 »
CHAP. a deep-rooted hostility, his appointment could not ar but be unpopular. The colony had esteemed it a 1630,
special favor from King James, that, upon the substi1635. tution of the royal authority for the corporate su
premacy, the government had been entrusted to impartial agents; and, after the death of Yeardley, two successive chief magistrates had been elected in Virginia. The appointment of Harvey implied change of power among political parties; it gave authority to a man, whose connections in England were precisely those, which the colony regarded with the utmost aversion. As his first appearance in the colony, in 1623, had been with no friendly designs, so now he was the support of those, who desired large grants of land and unreasonable concessions of separate jurisdictions; and he preferred the interests of himself, his partisans and patrons to the welfare and quiet of the colony. The extravagant language, which exhibited him as a tyrant, without specifying his crimes, was the natural hyperbole of political excitement; and when historians, receiving the account and interpreting tyranny to mean arbitrary taxation, drew the inference, that he convened no assemblies, trifled with the rights of property, and levied taxes according to his caprice, they were betrayed into extravagant errors.
Such a procedure would have been impossible. He had no soldiers at his command; no obsequious officers to enforce his will; and the Virginians would never have made themselves the instruments of their own oppression. The party, opposed to Harvey, was deficient neither in capacity, nor in colonial influence; CHAP. and while arbitrary power was rapidly advancing to triumph in England, the Virginians, during the whole 1630, period, enjoyed the benefit of independent colonial 1635. legislation ;' through the agency of their representatives, they levied and appropriated all taxes, secured the free industry of their citizens,' guarded the forts with their own soldiers at their own charge, and gave to their statutes the greatest possible publicity. When the defects and inconveniences of infant legis- . lation were remedied by a revised code, which was published with the approbation of the governor and council, all the privileges which the assembly had ever claimed, were carefully confirmed. Indeed, they seem never to have been questioned.
1 As an opposite statement has 1641, June, H.v.i. p. 259–262. received the sanction, not of Old- 1642, January, ibid, 267. mixon, Chalmers and Robertson 1642, April, ibid, 230. only, but of Marshall and of Sto- 1642, June,
ibid, 269. ry, (see Story's Commentaries, v. Considering how imperfect are i. p. 28, “without the slightest the early records, it is surprising effort to convene a colonial as- that so considerable a list can be sembly,") I deem it necessary to established. The instructions to state, that many of the statutes of Sir William Berkeley do not first Virginia under Harvey still exist, order assemblies; but speak of and that, though many others are them as of a thing established. lost, the first volume of Hening's At an adjourned session of BerkeStatutes at Large proves, beyond ley's first legislature, the assembly a question, that assemblies were declares “its meeting exceeding convened, at least, as often as fol- customary limits, in this place lows:
used.” Hening, v.i.p. 236. This 1630, March, H.v.i.p. 147—153. is a plain declaration, that assem1630, April, ibid, 257. blies were the custom and use of 1632, February, ibid, 153—177. Virginia at the time of Berkeley's 1632, September, ibid, 178–202. arrival. If any doubts remain, it 1633, February, ibid, 202–209. would be easy to multiply argu1633, August, ibid, 209–222. ments and references. 1634,
ibid, 223. 2 Hening, v. i. p. 171, Act 38. 1635, ibid, 223.
3 Ibid, p. 172, Act 40. 1636, ibid, 229.
4 Ibid, p. 175, Acts 57 and 58. ibid, 227.
5 Ibid, p. 177, Act 68. 1639,
ibid, 229_230. 6 Ibid, p. 179. 1640, ibid, 268.
7 Ibid, p. 180–202. See par
Yet the administration of Harvey was disturbed
by divisions, which grew out of other causes than 1635. infringements of the constitution. The community
would hardly have been much disturbed, because
Captain John West appointed to the office, till the CHAP. king's pleasure be known.” An assembly was summoned in May, to receive complaints against Harvey; but he had in the mean time consented to go to England, and there meet his accusers.
The commissioners appointed by the council to 1636. manage the impeachment of Harvey, met with no favor in England, and were not even admitted to a hearing.” Harvey immediately re-appeared to occuру
his former station; and was followed by a new commission, by which his powers were still limited to such as had been exercised during the period of legislative freedom. General assemblies continued to be held; but the vacancies in the council, which had been filled in Virginia, were henceforward to be supplied by appointment in England. 3 Harvey remained in office till 1639. The complaints, which have been brought against him, will be regarded with some degree of distrust, when it is considered, that the public mind of the colony, during his administration, was controlled by a party, which pursued him with implacable hostility. In April, 1642, two months only after the accession of Berkeley, a public document declares the comparative happiness of
1 Hening's Statutes, v. i. p. 233, History of Virginia, after the disand p. 4; Bullock's Virginia, in solution of the company, furnishes Oldmixon, v. i. p. 240. Oldmix- a tissue of inventions. Keith, p. on himself is wholly unworthy of 143, 144, places in 1639 the occurtrust. Beverley, p. 48, is not ac- rences of 1635. His book is sucurate. Campbell's Virginia, p. perficial. 60. A modest and valuable little 2 Burk, v. ii. p. 45. Yet Burk book.-Chalmers, p. 118, 119, is corrected but one half of the betrayed into error by following errors of his predecessors. Oldmixon. Burk, v. ii. p. 41, 42. 3 Hazard, v. i. p. 400—403. Compare Bullock's Virginia ex- 4 Campbell's Virginia, p. 61; amined, p. 10. Robertson, in his Hening's Statutes, v. i. p. 4. VOL. I.
CHAP. the colony under the royal government; a declara
tion, which would hardly have been made, if Virginia had so recently and so long been smarting under intolerable oppression.'
At length he was superseded; and Sir Francis
Wyatto appointed in his stead. Early in the next 1640. year, he convened a general assembly. History has
recorded many , instances, where a legislature has altered the scale of debts; in modern times, it has frequently been done by debasing the coin, or by introducing paper money. In Virginia, debts had been contracted to be paid in tobacco; and when the article rose in value, in consequence of laws, restricting its culture, the legislature of Virginia did not scruple to provide a remedy, by enacting that “no man need pay more than two thirds of his debt during the stint ;33 and that all creditors should take “forty pounds for a hundred." Probably the members of the legislature and the council were themselves much in debt.5
After two years, a commission was issued to Sir Aug. William Berkeley. Historians, reasoning from the
revolutions, which took place in England, that there had been corresponding attempts at oppression and corresponding resistance in Virginia, have delighted
i. p. 231.
1 Hening's Statutes at Large, v. shall, were ignorant of such a
governor as Wyatt, in 1639; and 2 Rymer's Fædera, v. xx. p. 481; represent Berkeley as the immeHazard, v. i. p. 477 ; Savage on diate successor of Harvey. Winthrop, v. ii. p. 160, 161. A 3 Hening, v. i. p. 226, Act 8. note by Savage settles a question. 4 Ibid, p. 225, Act 1. Hening, v. i. p. 224, and p. 4; 5 Bullock's Virginia Examined, Campbell's Virginia, p. 61. * But p. 10, 11. Keith, and Beverley, and Chal- 6 Hazard, v. i. p. 477–480; Rymers, and even Burk and Mar- mer, v. xx. p. 484-486.