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AN INDIAN WAR.
them to strong feelings of compassionate interest; CHAP. the purchase of Virginia was endeared by the sacrifice of so much life; and the blood of the victims 1622. became the seed of the plantation.' New supplies and assistance were promptly despatched; even King James, for a moment, affected a sentiment of generosity, and, like the churl, gave from the tower of London presents of arms, which had been thrown by as good for nothing in Europe. They might be useful, thought the monarch, against the Indians! He also made good promises, which were never fulfilled. The city of London contributed to repair the losses of the Virginians; and many private persons displayed an honorable liberality. Smith volunteered his services to protect the planters, overawe the savages, and make discoveries; the company had no funds, and his proposition was never made a matter of public discussion or record; but some of the members, with ludicrous cupidity, proposed, he should have leave to go at his own expense, if he would grant the corporation one half of the pillage.* There were in the colony much loss and much sorrow; but never any serious apprehensions of discomfiture from the Indians. The midnight surprise, the ambuscade by day, might be feared; the Indians promptly fled on the least indications of watchfulness and resistance. There were not wanting men, who now advocated an entire subjection of those, whom leniency could not win; and the example of Spanish
1 Stith, p. 233.
2 Burk, v. i. p. 248, 249. 3 Stith, 232, 233.
4 Smith, v. ii. p. 79-81; Stith, p. 234; Burk, v. i. p. 249, 250; Belknap's Am. Biog. v. i. p. 314, 315.
CHAP. cruelties was cited with applause.1 Besides, a natural instinct had led the Indians to select for their 1622. villages the pleasantest places, along the purest streams, and near the soil that was most easily cultivated. Their rights of property were no longer much respected; their open fields and villages were now appropriated by the colonists, who could plead the laws of war in defence of their covetousness. Treachery also was employed. The tangled woods, the fastnesses of nature, were the bulwarks to which the savages retreated. Pursuit would have been vain; they could not be destroyed except as they were lulled into security and induced to return to 1623. their old homes.3 In July of the following year, the inhabitants of the several settlements, in parties, under commissioned officers, fell upon the adjoining savages; and a law of the general assembly commanded, that in July of 1624, the attack should be 1630. repeated. Six years later, the colonial statute book proves that schemes of ruthless vengeance were still meditated; for it was sternly insisted, that no peace should be concluded with the Indians, a law, which remained in force till a treaty in the administration 1632. of Harvey.7
Meantime, a change was preparing in the relations of the colony with the parent state. A corporation, whether commercial or proprietary, is, perhaps, the worst of sovereigns. Gain is the object, which leads
1 Stith, p. 233, is unjust upon Smith, v. ii. p. 71, 72.
Smith, v. ii. p. 71,
3 Stith, p. 303.
4 Burk, v. i. p. 275.
5 Hening, v. i. p. 123, Act, No.32. 6 Ibid, v. i. p. 153.
7 Burk, v. ii. p. 37.
KING JAMES AND THE LONDON COMPANY.
to the formation of those companies, and which con- CHAP. stitutes the interest, most likely to be fostered. If such a company be wisely administered, its colonists 1623. are made subservient to commercial avarice. If, on the other hand, the interests of the company are sacrificed, the colonists, not less than the proprietors, are pillaged for the benefit of faithless agents. Where an individual is the sovereign, there is room for an appeal to magnanimity, to benevolence, to the love of glory; where the privilege of self-government is enjoyed, a permanent interest is sure to gain the ultimate ascendancy; but corporate ambition is deaf to mercy, and insensible to shame.
The Virginia colony had been unsuccessful. A permanent settlement had been made; but only after a vast expenditure of money, and a great sacrifice of human life. Angry factions distract unsuccessful institutions; and the London company was now rent by two parties, which were growing more and more embittered. As the shares in the unproductive stock were of little value, the contests were chiefly for power; and were not so much the wranglings of disappointed merchants, as the struggle of political parties. The meetings of the company, which now consisted of a thousand adventurers, of whom two hundred or more usually appeared at the quarter courts,' were the scenes for freedom of debate, where the party, which in parliament advocated the cause of liberty, triumphed in its opposition to the decrees of the privy council on subjects, connected with the
1 Stith, p. 282-286.
CHAP. rights of Virginia. The unsuccessful party in the company naturally found an ally in the king; it could 1623. hope for success only by establishing the supremacy of his prerogative; and the monarch, dissatisfied at having entrusted to others the control of the colony, now desired to recover the influence, of which he was deprived by a charter of his own concession. Besides, he disliked the freedom of debate. "The Virginia courts," said Gondemar, the Spanish envoy, to King James, "are but a seminary to a seditious parliament." Yet the people of England, regarding only the failure of their extravagant hopes in the American plantations, took little interest in the progress of the controversy, which now grew up between the monarch and the corporation; and the inhabitants of the colony were still more indifferent spectators of the strife, which related, not to their liberties, but to their immediate sovereign, Besides, there was something of retributive justice in the royal proceedings. The present proprietors enjoyed their privileges in consequence of a wrong done to the original patentees; and now suffered no greater injury, than had been before inflicted for their benefit.3
At the meeting for the choice of officers, in 1622, King James once more attempted to control the elections, by sending a message, nominating four candidates, out of whom they were to choose their treasurer. The advice of the king was disregarded,
1 A New Description of Virginia, ii. Mass. Hist. Collections, v. ix. p. 113.
2 Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, p. 152, 153.
3 Smith, v. ii. p. 107.
KING JAMES And the LONDON COMPANY.
and a great majority re-elected the earl of Southamp- CHAP. ton.1 Unable to get the control of the company by overawing their assemblies, the monarch now resolved upon the sequestration of the patent; and raised no other question, than how the unjust design could most plausibly be accomplished, and the law of England be made the successful instrument of tyranny. The allegation of grievances, set forth by the court faction in a petition to the king, was fully refuted by the company, and the whole ground of May discontent was answered by an explanatory declaration. Yet commissioners were appointed to engage in a general investigation of the concerns of the corporation; the records were seized; the deputytreasurer imprisoned; and private letters from Virginia intercepted for inspection.3 Smith was particularly examined; his honest answers plainly exposed the defective arrangements of previous years, and favored the cancelling of the charter as an act of benevolence to the colony.*
The result surprised every one; the king, by an order in council, made known, that the disasters of Virginia were a consequence of the ill government of the company; that he had resolved, by a new charter, to reserve to himself the appointment of the officers in England; a negative on appointments in Virginia; and the supreme control of all colonial. affairs. Private interests were to be sacredly pre
1 Burk, v. i. p. 257.
2 The Declaration is in Burk, v. i. p. 316-330. See Stith, p. 276, 277, and p. 291–297.
3 Stith, p. 298; Burk, v. i. p. 268; Smith, v. ii. p. 108; Rymer, v. xvii. p. 490-493.
4 Smith, v. ii. p. 103-108.