« 上一頁繼續 »
be cured at the publique charge; in case any be lamed to be maintained by the country according to his person and quality.”
This order finds explanation in an account of the plantation written in 1624 by some of the surviving planters. It states that on March 22, 162122, the savages, who had been allowed many liberties in their intercourse with the whites, fell upon them without warning and slew many. Falling upon the savages was retaliation and self-protection in their weakened condition. The laudable and Christian design of converting and educating the savages, as set forth in the writings of the first twenty years of the century, was changed to a plan of extermination, in which the planters were still actuated by Christian motives, if one relies upon their own statements, “Our gov' Counsell and others have used their uttermost and Christian endeavors in prosequtinge revenge against the bloody salvadges, and have endeavored to restore the Collonye to her former prosperitye, wherein they have used great diligence and industrye, imployinge many forces abroade for the rooting them out of severall places that thereby we may come to live in better securitie, doubtinge not but in time we shall clean drive them from these partes, and thereby have the free libertie and range for our cattle.” + This was the same kind of spirit as that shown by most of the colonies in their relations with the red men. So long as it was convenient or politic, treaties were observed, but little was required to change the feeling of brotherly love to the conviction that the “dead Indian is the best Indian.” The seemingly heartless but necessary decision, “the Indian must go,” was made at that early date and by a community whose members in a century's time had learned to be proud of Indian ancestry. But fear of Indians kept the militia together, and in 1690 it consisted of 6,570 horse and foot; in 1703 of 10,556; in 1715 of 14,000; and in 1755 of 28,000. It was during the rule of Spotswood that the militia reached a high state of perfection, the effect of which was noticeable in the French and Indian War. The Governor was the commander-in-chief of the militia, and he appointed in each county a lieutenant, upon whom was conferred the honorary title of colonel, when he was a member of the Council. To this system of honorary titles has been traced by some the abundance of military titles in the South. The custom must have developed rapidly, for a writer in 1745 felt called upon to remark, “Wherever you travel in Maryland (as also in Virginia and Carolina) your ears are constantly astonished at the number of Colonels, Majors and Captains that you hear mentioned." I
* Hening's Statutes, i., p. 123.
+ Col. Rec., Va., p. 83. | Itinerant Observations in America, London Magazine, 1745-46.
The ancient pianters—that is, those who came into Virginia before or with Captain Gates—and their posterity were exempted from military service, unless as officers; new settlers were not obliged to serve for one year after their arrival, and no person could be forced to exercise in arms outside of his parish or his county. In February, 1645, it was decreed that in certain counties every fifteen tithables should furnish and equip one man for service against Indians. This provision was afterward modified in a law that every forty persons should provide an able man and horse" with furniture, well and compleatly armed with a case of good pistolls, carbine or short gunn and a sword, together with two pounds of powder and tenn pounds of leaden bulletts or high swan shott, and alsoe that each respective forty tythables doe provide and send up to the severall storehouses five bushells of shelled Indian corn and two bushells of meale, eighty pounds of well salted porke, or one hundred pounds of good, well salted beefe for fower months' provision such man and his horse." * The bodies of troopers raised in this manner were called rangers, and from time to time patrolled districts likely to suffer from Indian invasion.
Governor Berkeley reported in 1671 that all freemen were bound to drill every month in their counties, but this rule was not always strictly followed. Governor Dinwiddie paid a great deal of attention to the proper training and regular exercise of his militia, and he divided the colony into four districts, each commanded by an adjutant to drill first the officers, then each company separately. t Certain persons were excused from militia duty ; but if an overseer of slaves who had been excused should appear at muster without arms or not participating, he was liable to a fine. The celebrated William Byrd, while traveling with a surveying party to North Carolina in 1734, witnessed and recorded a parade as follows: “ It happened that some Isle of Wight militia were exercising in the Adjoining pasture, and there were Females enough attending that Martial Appearance to form a more invincible corps." | General musters were held annually, and company drills monthly, or once in three months. At intervals of ten or twelve years acts were passed to increase the efficiency of the militia on account either of Indian troubles or pressure from abroad. But there were frequent complaints of the neglect of muster duties, the difficulties in the way of summoning the militia, and the partial futility of the laws. The whole system may be summed up as follows: Officers similar to those in England, a colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, captain, were commissioned by the Governor or commander in the county, the cornets for cavalry, ensigns for infantry, sergeants, corporals, and other minor officers being appointed by the colonel or the captain. Indians and negroes were allowed to act as drummers, trumpeters, pioneers on a march, “ hewers of wood and drawers of water." The number of men in a company ranged from fifty to seventy-five, and there were from seven to ten companies in a county. An examination of militia accounts gives a fair idea of the state of the colonial militia. Payments were claimed for horses, cattle and articles impressed for provisions and ammunition supplied. It was the custom to draft soldiers in the eastern counties and to conduct them under guard to Fredericksburg or Winchester. The guards were paid, as was also the sheriff," for maintaining drafted soldiers in Gaol." *
* Hening, i., 292, ii., 435.
t On August 27th, 1763, Sir Jeffery Amherst wrote to Sir Wm. Johnson : “ Colonel Stephen with a body of 4 or 500 men of the Virginia militia is advanced as far as Forts Cumberland and Bedford with a view not only of covering the frontiers, but of acting offensively against the Savages. This publick spirited Colony has also sent a body of the like number of men under the command of Colonel Lewis for the defence and protection of their South west frontiers. What a contrast this makes between the conduct of the Pennsylvanians and Virginians highly to the honor of the latter, but places the former in a most despicable light imaginable.” Documents relating to the Col. Hist. of N. Y., vii., p. 546.
Capt. Byrd's Narrative of the Dividing Line, vol. i., p. 70.
Connected with the militia was an interesting institution which began to take form in 1738. The number of slaves had by that time become very great, and occasionally there arose from this source slight troubles causing anxiety to owners and rulers. As early as 1710 a negro slave was freed by the Assembly for having discovered to the authorities a conspiracy among negroes of Surrey county looking to insurrection. Even at that early date were brewing troubles that afterward did occur, as Gabriel's War in 1800 and Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831. To prevent insurrections, unauthorized meetings, wandering from one plantation to another without passes, measures had to be taken by the government. The chief of militia in each county was ordered to appoint an officer and four men, called patrollers, to visit at any time negro quarters or places suspected of harboring unlaw
* In 1758 a bill was presented by Abraham Maury for “28 days service in riding to forts and settling townships.” In Virginia before the Revolution there were no townships in the New England sense, but the use of the word by Maury is explained in a letter written in the same year by him to Colonel Theoderick Bland, Sr., as follows: “I took a tour to the forts
* * those who had land of their own freely embraced so fair an opportunity to defend their possessions and readily agree to associate and collect themselves together in small townships, but when I went to fix
upon the most convenient places to erect the said townships every person insisted that his own place was most convenien: * * * and I accordingly made choice of Mayo Fort, Hickey's, Black Water, and Snow Creek as the most proper places for the said township(s) * I have since my return heard that Blair township at Snow Creek is in great forwardness, but that the others are not yet begun, the people being yet too busy about tending corn
I demanded 80 men to garrison the said townships." Bland Papers, i., p. II.
ful assemblies. These "paterollers," as the negroes learned to call them, could arrest offenders and send them to the nearest justice, who, if the offenders deserved it, could have them whipped.
At the outbreak of the Revolution the militia was reorganized and nomination of officers was placed in the hands of the committees in counties, and their appointment came from the Committee of Safety. From the militia and volunteer troops were raised minute men, and the militia was drafted into the Continental Army. The subject of the militia has been treated first, because it naturally preceded local courts as protection against outside foes, was at first more necessary than protection against each other, and as long as men were fearful of attacks from without, internal disputes had to be laid aside for the general welfare.
But monthly courts were established, but as they were changed in 1643 to county courts, and the commissioners changed to commissioners of county courts, it is best to study them under the latter title. The number of commissioners, who were afterward called justices, and in 1770 magistrates, was for some years undetermined ; in 1661, in view of the contempt in which the place was held, and on account of disorders arising from the large number, the court was reduced to eight men in each county who should in succession exercise the sheriffalty. This law was not successfully carried out and fell into disuse, and there were often as many as fifteen justices in a single county. As a rule the courts nominated their successors, who were appointed by the Governor. Not always, however, did he follow their suggestion, though neglect to do so was met by such vigorous protests as: “But ye now we despair of Mr Stapleton being a member of our Court, a person most notorious by abusive, profane, and Imoral Qualities so misbecoming the seat of Justice, y we humbly desire to be excused Setting wth him, beleiving him designedly represented to make both us and ye County in generall uneasie.
The rest of ye Gents we should have comply'd with, and would not have presum'd to have given yr Excy. this trouble at this time had we not Just reason,” “WJohnston, Gent. being asked whether he would accept & swear to the Commission of the Peace; now Produced, Answered, That he would not accept and Swear to sd : Commission because Anthony Struther, William Hunter, and William Lyne are put in the Commission without a Recommendation from the Court." Six other members of the same court refused to serve for similar reasons, one of them expressing the belief that Lyne had begged for the Commission.* These extracts show the sentiments of justices about their associates, and insomuch as
* Palmer. Calendar, Va., State Papers, i., pp. 88, 237.
there was no compensation for serving, right seems to have been on the side of those justices who set up a high standard of admission to their membership. The courts were commissioned at their own request or at the Governor's pleasure. An account of Virginia, written about 1698, by one evidently hostile to the Governor, states that “he renews that commission commonly every year, for that brings new fees, and likewise gives him an opportunity to admit into it new favorites and exclude others that have not been so zealous in his service."* Four of this court constituted the quorum, and met at the court-house monthly, or if necessary more frequently. Court-day was a holiday for all the country side—especially in the fall and spring. From all directions came in the people, on horseback, in wagons, and afoot. On the court-house green assembled in indiscriminate confusion people of all classes—the hunter with his backwoods air, the owner of a few acres, the grand proprietor, and the grinning, heedless negro. Old debts were settled and new ones made; there were auctions, transfers of property, and if election time were near, stump-speaking. Virginia had no town meeting as New England, but had its familiar court-day.
When they had been commissioned the justices took the oaths of allegiance, of office, etc. In 1634 it was directed that one member of the Council should assist at the monthly courts; this rule was changed in 1662, when the Governor undertook for himself and the Council to visit all the county courts, that he might be able to give the King an exact account of the government. It was enacted, therefore, that he and one of the Council, or two of the Council commissioned by him for every river, should “sitt judge in all the county courts, and there hear and determine all causes then depending in them by action or reference from any other preceding court in that county Provided noe councellors be appointed to goe the circuite in the river wherein he doth inhabit." But in a few months the institution was abolished on account of expense. Though short-lived, it is interesting as a phase of the system of itinerant justices whose existence has been traced back to Alfred's time, through the eyres, the provincial circuits of the officers of the Exchequer, and the visitations of Edgar and Canute. The system arose and was continued for centuries for purposes of taxation, but the judicial features were added from time to time and tended to absorb the financial.
County courts could hear no cases for debts involving less than 20 shillings, and to prevent the expense of traveling to Jamestown they had final jurisdiction of causes under £ 16 sterling. But needs of the colony
* Mass. Hist. Coll. Series i., vol. v., p. 150.