Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter IX.







Early Settlement at Rockett’s and Powhatan. – Captain Smith. – Abandonment of "Nonesuch." – Fort Charles. – Founding of Richmond. – Scenery on the James River at Richmond. – Expedition of Arnold to Virginia. – Arnold, with his Fleet, in the James River. – Approach to Richmond. – Activity of Jefferson. – The Militia. – The British at Richmond. – Old City Tavern. – Baron Steuben. – Depredations by British Frigates. – Departure of Arnold from Richmond. – French Fleet in Hampton Roads. – Houdon’s Statue of Washington. – Monumental Church. – Destruction of the Richmond Theater. – St. John’s Church. – Virginia Washington Monument. – The Constitutional Convention. – Its Members and their Vote. – Mayo’s Bridge. – The "Old Stone House." – Reminiscences of the "Old Stone House." – Anecdote of Monroe. – Patrick Henry. – Departure from Richmond. – Aspect of the Scene. – Effect of Patrick Henry’s Eloquence. – His Residence. – Appearance of the Country below Richmond. – Westover. – Colonel Byrd. – Birth-place of President Harrison. – Anecdote of Harrison’s Father. – Charles City Court House. – Birth-place of President Tyler. – Jefferson’s Marriage. – Jefferson’s Marriage License-bond. – Historical Associations of Charles City Court House. – Attack upon the American Militia. – Carelessness of Dudley. – "Sherwood Forest." – Ex-president Tyler. – The Slashes of the Chickahominy. – Difficulties at the Ferry. – The Chickahominy and its Associations. – Green Spring and its Associations. – Distant View of Jamestown Island. – Changes in the River Banks. – Tradition. – Mr. Coke’s Plantation. – The Council Tree. – Remains of Old Jamestown Church and Grave-yard. – Wirt’s Meeting at the Church at Jamestown. – The Ancient Monuments. – Paulding’s Ode. – Efforts at Early Settlement. – Loss of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. – Raleigh’s Perseverance. – Amidas and Barlow. – Native Hospitality abused. – Grenville and Lane. – Hostilities with the Indians. – Colonists Return to England. – Another Expedition. – "City of Raleigh." – Virginia Dare. – Loss of a Colony. – Other Expeditions. – London and Plymouth Companies. – Death of Raleigh. – Newport. – Captain John Smith. – Founding of Jamestown. – Visit to Powhatan. – Energy of Smith. – Bartholomew Gosnold. – Progress of Jamestown Colony. – Smith’s Voyage up the Chickahominy. – His Capture. – His Adventures in Europe. – The Indians outwitted by Smith. – His Trial and Sentence. – Pocahontas-her Marriage, Death, and Descendants. – Smith’s Life saved by Pocahontas. – Condition of Jamestown. – Newport’s Folly. – Smith’s Exploring Expedition. – Lord De la Ware. – Commissioners. – Anarchy at Jamestown. – Famine. – Timely Relief. – Arrival of new Emigrants and Supplies. – Prosperity of the Colony. – Implantation of Republicanism. – New Constitution. – Massacre by the Indians. – Retaliation. – The Patents cancelled. – Policy of Charles I. – Governor Harvey. – Wyatt and Berkeley. – The Commonwealth. – Intolerance in Virginia. – Indian Wars. – Berkely and Loyalty. – Opposition to parliamentary Commissions. – Concession to the Colonists. – Commercial Restrictions. – King of Virginia. – Indian Hostilities. – "Bacon’s Rebellion." – Republican Triumphs. – English Troops. – Burning of Jamestown. – Death of Bacon. – Vengeance of Berkeley. – His Recall and Death. – Jamestown and its Associations.


"Virginia, hail! Thou venerable state
In arms and council still acknowledged great!
When lost Britannia, in an evil hour,
First tried the steps of arbitrary power,
Thy foresight then the Continent alarm’d,
Thy gallant temper ev’ry bosom warm’d.
And now, when Britain’s mercenary bands
Bombard our cities, desolate our lands
(Our prayers unanswer’d, and our tears in vain),
While foreign cut-throats crowd the ensanguined plain,
Thy glowing virtue caught the glorious flame,
And first renounced the cruel tyrant’s name!
With just disdain, and most becoming pride,
Further dependence on the crown denied!
While Freedom’s voice can in these wilds be heard,
Virginia’s patriots shall be still revered."



Richmond, the metropolis of Virginia, is situated at the Falls of the James River, a locality known and mentioned as early as 1609, two years after the commencement of a settlement at Jamestown, and the same year that Henry Hudson first entered and explored New York Bay and the North River. In that year, Captain West was sent, with one hundred and twenty men, to make a settlement at the Falls. They pitched their tents at the head of navigation, at a place now known as Rockett’s, just below Richmond. It was near one of the imperial residences of Powhatan when the foundations of Jamestown were first laid. Captain John Smith, then president of the colony, visited West’s settlement toward the close of 1609. He disliked the situation, on account of the overflowing of the river, and, purchasing from Powhatan a tract now known by that name, two miles below Richmond, where the Indians had a palisade fort, he directed the settlers to remove thither. They refused compliance, while Smith strenuously insisted upon obedience. An open rupture ensued. Smith committed some of the ringleaders to confinement; but this so exasperated the remainder, that, with menaces of death, they drove him to his vessel in the river. The Indians espoused the cause of Smith, and the settlers and the natives became bitter enemies. Smith, greatly chagrined, sailed down the river for Jamestown. As soon as he was gone, the Indians fell upon West’s people, and slew several of them. The remainder were glad to recall Smith, who had not proceeded far down the river, and receive his aid. He again imprisoned some of the leaders, and established the settlement at Powhatan. There they had a strong fort with dry wigwams, and about two hundred acres of land ready to be planted. On account of the beauty and fertility of the place, they called it "Nonesuch." As Smith was about to depart, West, who had been at Jamestown, returned, and, by his influence, stirred up a mutiny, which ended in the settlers abandoning "Nonesuch" and returning to the Falls.

A fortification, called Fort Charles, was erected at the Falls in 1645. Thirty-four years afterward, Captain William Byrd, having been granted certain privileges contingent upon his making a settlement at the Falls of fifty able-bodied men, well armed, as a protection against the Indians, built a trading-house and mill upon the present site of Richmond, about three fourths of a mile above Rockett’s. The place was called Byrd’s Warehouse. The building from which the name was derived stood near the present Exchange Hotel. A town was established there with the name of Richmond (so called because of its similarity in situation to Richmond on the Thames, near London), in May, 1742, on land belonging to Colonel William Byrd, of Westover. It is situated upon the north side of the James River, upon the high hills of Shockoe and Richmond, and the margin of Shockoe Creek, which flows between them to the river.


The scenery from almost every point of view around Richmond is exceedingly picturesque. The river is almost half a mile wide, dotted with beautiful wooded islands, and broken into numerous cascades, which extend to Westham, six miles up the stream. The Capitol stands in the center of a large square, upon the brow of Shockoe Hill, in the western division of the city. From its southern colonnade there is an extensive view of the best portion of the town, of the river, with its islands and cascades, and the flourishing manufacturing village of Manchester, on the opposite shore, with a back-ground of fertile slopes. From this point the eye takes in almost the whole area of Richmond, made memorable by Revolutionary events. Let us consider them.

When noticing the adventures of Sergeant Champe, while endeavoring to abduct Arnold from New York (page 774, vol. i.), I mentioned the fact that the traitor sailed, in command of an expedition, to Virginia, taking Champe with him. Arnold left New York [Dec. 16, 1780.] with nearly fifty small vessels, and six hundred troops, principally Loyalists, for the purpose of carrying on a predatory warfare in Virginia. Contrary winds detained them at Sandy Hook, and they did not leave their anchorage there until five days had elapsed [Dec. 21.]. Arnold entered Hampton Roads on the 30th of December. His fleet had become dispersed, and several ships were missing. Anxious to distinguish himself in the service of his royal purchaser, and favored by the capture of some small American vessels by his advance frigate, he pushed up the James River to seize or destroy the public stores at Richmond and Petersburg. Williamsburg, situated about half-way between the James and York Rivers, was the Capitol of the state when the Revolution broke out. It was peculiarly exposed to the depredations of the enemy, and was an unsafe place for the public records and stores. Richmond, though quite an insignificant town of about eighteen hundred inhabitants, one half of whom were slaves, offered a more secure place for public stores, and the quiet deliberations of the Virginia Legislature; and thither, in the summer of 1779, the troops, arms, and ammunition, together with the public records, were sent, by order of the Assembly. Finally, the Burgesses, by an act passed in May, 1779, made Richmond the permanent seat of government, and there all the state offices were located at the period in question. Thomas Jefferson was then Governor of Virginia. 2

On the 3d of January [1781.], Arnold, with his fleet, anchored near Jamestown, 3 and the next day proceeded as far as Westover, the seat of the widow of Colonel Byrd, about twenty-five miles below Richmond, where he landed almost a thousand troops, 4 and led them toward the metropolis. Governor Jefferson had been apprised of the approach of the fleet, but was not certain whether Richmond or Petersburg was the point of the intended attack, until advised of the debarkation of the British troops. The whole country was speedily alarmed. Jefferson called out all of the militia from the adjacent counties; but so sudden was the invasion, and so great was the panic, that only a handful could be collected. The white population were few, and scattered over plantations, with their habitations widely separated; and private interest, in many cases, made the planters more intent upon securing their slaves and horses from capture than defending public property. Only about two hundred armed men could be collected for the defense of Richmond. 5

The enemy encamped on the night of the 4th at Four Mile Creek, twelve miles below Richmond. Governor Jefferson, perceiving that resistance with his handful of raw militia would be useless, turned his attention to the salvation of the public stores. By his activity a large quantity was secured. Much of the portable property was carried across the river to Manchester, and also the stores which had been sent to Westham, six miles above Richmond, were ordered to be conveyed to the south side.

One object which Arnold had in view was the capture of Governor Jefferson. That officer left Richmond on the evening of the 4th, tarried a while at Westham to hasten the removal of the stores, and then rode on to join his family at Tuckahoe, eight miles further. Early the next morning he took them across the river to a place of safety, and then rode to Britton’s, opposite Westham, and gave further orders respecting the disposition of the stores. Hastening to Manchester, he arrived there in time to see the invading troops march, unopposed, into Richmond, at one o’clock [Jan. 5, 1781.].

When within a few miles of Richmond, Arnold so disposed his troops as to have the appearance of twice their actual number. A patrol of the militia who were assembled at Richmond, met them when within four miles of the town, and, hastening back with the intelligence that fifteen hundred British troops were within an hour’s march of the place, produced the greatest alarm and confusion. Many of the inhabitants fled into the country, and were afterward followed by the militia themselves, when the enemy entered the town.

NOTE. – This plan represents the invasion of Richmond on the 5th of January, 1781. A A is the first position of the American militia on Richmond Hill; B, the second position of the military and people on Shockoe Hill; C, the Queen’s Rangers marching to the attack; D, the cavalry of the Queen’s Rangers; E, Yagers; F, the main body of the British with General Arnold; G, two cannons in battery; H, a fine plantation, opposite the present Rockett’s.

Arnold, advised of the weakness of the place, halted at Rockett’s, and sent Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe, with the Queen’s Rangers, to drive the military from their position (A A) upon Richmond Hill, near St. John’s Church, on the south side of the Shockoe Creek. He marched up the hill in small detachments, when the militia, after firing a few shots, fled to the woods in the rear. Along the base of the hill, leading into the portion of the town lying in the valley, Simcoe sent his cavalry to surprise the militia there. The latter escaped across the creek to Shockoe Hill, followed by the whole body of the Rangers, and made a stand near the site of the Capitol (B). A large number of spectators were also there, and as the Rangers ascended the hill, they fled to the country, hotly pursued by the enemy’s cavalry.


After taking possession of Richmond, Arnold ordered Simcoe to proceed to Westham, and destroy the cannon-foundery and the magazine there. The trunnions of most of the cannons were broken off; the powder in the magazine which they could not carry away was thrown into the river, and, before night, the foundery was a desolation. The Rangers returned to Richmond, and the whole hostile force quartered in the town during the night [Jan. 5, 1781.]. Arnold and Simcoe made their quarters at the Old City Tavern, yet standing on Main Street, but partially in ruins, when I visited Richmond. Many houses were entered and plundered by the invaders. They obtained a considerable quantity of rum, and a large portion of them spent the night in drunken revelry.

Baron Steuben, who was then collecting the Virginia levies for General Greene’s army at the South, was at Colonel Fleming’s, in Powhatan county, a few miles from Manchester. Thither Governor Jefferson went to solicit aid. While there, some of the citizens waited on him to tender an offer from Arnold to spare the town, provided British vessels were permitted to come up unmolested, and carry off tobacco from the warehouses. The governor promptly rejected the proposal, and the enemy applied the torch. 7 Quite a number of public and private buildings, together with a great quantity of tobacco, were burned. The public records had been saved through the vigilance of Jefferson; and Arnold, finding no more plunder or objects on which to pour out his wrath – the ire of a most vindictive heart toward those whom he had foully wronged – withdrew to Westover, and re-embarked [Jan. 7.] to proceed to commit other depredations upon the river shores and the coasts of the Virginia bays. On the same day Jefferson returned to Richmond, and quiet was restored.

A large body of militia rapidly rallied around Steuben; and General Nelson also collected another large force lower down on the James River. Arnold was pursued, but succeeded in reaching Portsmouth, opposite Norfolk, where he established his head-quarters. Soon afterward a French sixty-four gun ship (the Eveille), and two large frigates, from Newport, entered the Chesapeake. 8 Thus menaced by land and water, Arnold resolved to remain at Portsmouth, whither the large French vessels could not follow. 9 The little fleet, after making a few captures, and efforts to ascend the Elizabeth River, returned to Newport [Feb. 24, 1781.], having been absent only fifteen days. We shall meet Arnold again presently.


I passed the day after my arrival at Richmond in visiting and sketching some localities and objects of note within the city. I first went up to the Capitol, where, after loitering an hour in the state library, I copied the fine statue of Washington, by Houdon, a celebrated French sculptor, which stands within an iron railing in the center of the rotunda. It was made in Paris, five years after the close of the Revolution, by order of the Virginia Assembly, under the direction of Mr. Jefferson, who was then minister at the court of Versailles. The statue is of fine white marble, of life size; the costume, the military dress of the Revolution. The right hand of the patriot rests upon a staff, the left is upon the folds of a military cloak covering one end of the fasces, with which is connected the plowshare, the emblem of agriculture, the chief pursuit of the Virginians. The inscription upon the pedestal was written by James Madison, afterward President of the United States. 10 In a small niche near is a marble bust of La Fayette, and in the gallery of the rotunda is a fine full length portrait of Chief-justice Marshall.

From the Capitol I walked to the Monumental Church, a neat edifice of octagon form, belonging to the Protestant Episcopalians. It derives its name from the circumstance that under its portico is a monumental urn, erected to the memory of those who lost their lives when the Richmond theater was burned, on the night of the 26th of December, 1811. 11 This church was erected upon the site of the destroyed theater. There the late venerable Bishop Moore preached during the whole time of his residence in Richmond; and there I heard the voice of his successor, Bishop Mead, on whom the mantle of his goodness hath fallen.

Crossing the deep valley of the Shockoe upon the broad and lofty causeway just completed, I visited and sketched old St. John’s Church (see engraving on next page), upon Richmond Hill, and lingered long among its venerable graves. It is the oldest church in Richmond, and one of the most ancient in the state. The burial-ground which surrounds it is embowered in trees and shrubbery, and from its southern slope there is a noble view of the city and surrounding country. The main portion of the building is the same as it was in the Revolution, the tower alone being modern. On Sunday I sat within its hallowed walls, and, while the voice of the preacher was uttering the eloquence of persuasive piety, predicated upon the apostolic annunciation, "We are embassadors for Christ," 12 and urged his hearers to heed his voice of warning, and join the standard of those who sought the freedom of the Gospel, my thoughts involuntarily glanced back over a period of seventy-three years, to the hour when, within that same temple [March, 1775.], the voice of Patrick Henry enunciated those burning words which aroused the Continent to action, "GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!" There the people of Virginia assembled in representative convention to ratify or reject the Federal Constitution [1788.], the glorious guaranty of our civil freedom. Patrick Henry was then there, and, filled with apprehension lest the new Constitution should destroy state sovereignty and concentrate a fearful power in the hands of the chief magistrate, he lifted up his eloquent voice against it. There, too, were Madison and Monroe, who both subsequently filled the chair of the chief magistracy of the republic. There was Chancellor Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Marshall, the eminent chief justice, and the biographer of Washington; Pendleton, one of Virginia’s noblest sons, and president of the Constitutional Convention; Mason, the sage, and personal friend of Washington; Grayson, the accomplished scholar and soldier; Nicholas, an officer of Washington’s Life Guard; Edmund Randolph, then governor of the state; Bushrod Washington, a nephew of the general; Innes, the attorney general of the state; the brave Theodoric Bland of the Continental army; Harrison, another signer of the great Declaration, and many other luminaries of less brilliancy. Of the 168 members who voted on the measure in that convention, there was a majority of only two in favor of the Federal Constitution.


Leaving St. John’s and its interesting associations, I strolled into the town, and crossed the James River to Manchester, over Mayo’s Bridge. 14 On my way I sketched the City Tavern, printed on page 229, and the Old Stone House near it, which was the first dwelling erected in Richmond.


It stands upon the northwest corner of Main and Twentieth streets, and was among the houses in Richmond which was spared by the incendiary in 1781. It was occupied, when I visited it, by Mrs. Elizabeth Welsh, whose great-grandfather, Jacob Ege, from Germany, built it before Byrd’s warehouse was erected. It was owned by Mrs. Welsh’s father, Samuel Ege, who was a commissary in the American army during a part of the Revolution. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe (four of the presidents of the United States) have all been beneath its roof. Mrs. Welsh informed me that she well remembers the fact that Monroe boarded with her mother, while attending the Virginia Convention in 1788, just alluded to. 15 She was then ten years of age.


I passed a portion of the afternoon among the tobacco factories in Richmond, and the cotton and iron factories at Manchester, and then lingered until almost sunset upon the beautiful island above Mayo’s Bridge, 17 from which I made the sketch printed on page 227, contemplating the beauty and grandeur of the scenery, charming even in December, when the trees were leafless and the sward of a russet hue. The storm had subsided, the clouds had dispersed, and the sun and air were as genial to the feelings as a day in mid-May. Bright and beautiful, also, was the Sabbath; but when I left Richmond for Charles City and old Jamestown on Monday morning, every thing was draped in a thick vapor which had arisen from the river during the night. I had scarcely left the suburban village of Powhatan, and turned my horse’s head toward the open country, when

"That sea of vapor
Parted away, and, melting into air,
Rose round me, and I stood involved in light,
As if a flame had kindled up, and wrapp’d me
In its innocuous blaze." – PERCIVAL.

The sun came forth brilliant and warm, and for an hour I could trace the sinuous course of the James River by the line of the white vapor which stretched away, far southward, like a huge serpent measuring its mighty length over the land.

Before leaving Richmond, I endeavored to ascertain the exact location of Westover, the famous estate of Colonel Byrd, and memorable as the landing-place of Arnold’s troops. I could not learn its relative position in distance from the direct road to Charles City courthouse, the goal of my first day’s journey, and I thought I should pass it by unvisited. After leaving Richmond a few miles, the hilly country disappeared, and there spread out a level or gently rolling region, bearing extensive pine forests, which inclose quite large plantations. I dined in my wagon upon cold turkey and biscuit, furnished by my kind friend, Mrs. G., of Richmond, after giving Charley a lunch of meal and water, by the side of a small stream in the way. The day was very warm [Dec. 18, 1848.] – too warm to ride comfortably with an overcoat. Not suspecting that I might diverge into a wrong road by one of the numerous forks which characterize the highway, I allowed Charley to jog on leisurely, and with a loose rein, while I gave myself up to contemplation, which was occasionally interrupted by a passing regret that I was obliged to forego the pleasure of visiting Westover. Suddenly, on emerging from a pine forest into an open cultivated region, the bright waters of a broad river, dotted with an occasional sail, were before me. On the bank of the river was a spacious brick mansion, approached from the country by a broad lane, in which a large number of servants, men and women, were engaged shucking or husking corn. The gleaming water was the James River, and the spacious mansion was that of John A. Selden, Esq., once the residence of Colonel Byrd. I was at Westover, scarcely conscious how I had reached it; for I supposed myself to be upon the direct road to Charles City courthouse, and probably a dozen miles from the spot I desired to see. I was between two and three miles from the main road, led thither by a deceptive by-way, and was obliged to retrace the journey, after passing half an hour in viewing the location. The family of the proprietor was absent, and not a white person was upon the plantation. It must be a delightful place in summer, and, when it was occupied by the accomplished family of the widow of Colonel Byrd, 18 doubtless justified the Marquis de Chastellux in giving his glowing account of the beauty of its location and the charms of society there. "That of Mrs. Byrd," he says, "to which I was going, surpasses them all [fine mansions on the James River] in the magnificence of the buildings, the beauty of its situation, and the pleasures of society." 19 Mrs. Byrd was a cousin of Benedict Arnold, and this relationship, and the fact that Westover was made the place of landing for the British troops three times under Arnold and Cornwallis, so excited the suspicions of the vigilant Whigs, that the government once took possession of her papers. She was wrongfully suspected, and the landings of the enemy were great misfortunes to her in various ways. I made a sketch of the fine old mansion before leaving Westover, but lost it that very evening.


A short distance above Westover, and in sight of its gardens, upon the river shore, is Berkeley (called Barclay in the old books). the residence of Benjamin Harrison, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the birth-place of his son, the ninth president of the United States. It is a brick edifice, with gambrel-roof, and stands about an eighth of a mile from the bank of the river. Around it are tall Lombardy poplars, rising in stately beauty above shrubbery and lesser trees. I made this sketch from the deck of a steam-boat, while ascending the James River a few days afterward, at the distance of a quarter of a mile, aided in my view of the details by the captain’s spy-glass. For many years Berkeley was the seat of elegant taste and refinement, for its distinguished owner as a legislator, and as governor of the state, drew around him the wealthy and honorable of the commonwealth. His portrait, and a sketch of his life, will be found among those of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in another part of this work. 20


Leaving Westover, I returned to the highway, and after traversing a beautiful level country, garnished with fertile plantations and handsome mansions, for about six miles, I reached Charles City Court House. It was just at sunset, and there I passed the night with Mr. Christian, who was the clerk of the county, the jailer, and innkeeper. His house of entertainment, the old court-house and jail, and a few out-houses and servants’ quarters, compose the village. The county is the smallest in Virginia, yet bears the honor of having given birth to two presidents of the United States, and of being the place of marriage of a third. 22 I passed the birth-place of President Tyler just before reaching Mr. Christian’s inn. It is the last dwelling upon the Richmond road, when leaving the Court House.


His father, John Tyler, was one of the leading revolutionary men in Virginia. He succeeded Benjamin Harrison as speaker of the Virginia Assembly, and in 1808 he was chosen governor of the state. While Judge of the District Court of the United States, he died, at his seat, in January, 1813.

Mr. Christian allowed me to pass the evening searching among the dusty records in the old court-house. I found nothing there relating to Revolutionary events; but in a bundle of papers, wrapped up and laid away probably for more than half a century, I discovered the marriage license-bond of Thomas Jefferson, in his own handwriting. I made a fac simile copy of it, which is printed on the opposite page. Mr. Jefferson was married to Martha Skelton, of Charles City county, in January, 1772.


She was the widow of Bathurst Skelton, and daughter of John Wayles, an eminent lawyer of Virginia. She brought her husband a considerable fortune, and was only twenty-three years of age when she was married to Mr. Jefferson. Through the stormy period of the Revolution she shared his joys and sorrows, and died in 1782, leaving two daughters. It will be perceived that in writing the bond, which is countersigned by Francis Eppes (the father of Mr. Eppes, who afterward married Mr. Jefferson’s daughter), the usual word spinster was introduced, but erased, and the word widow substituted by another hand.


Charles City Court House was a scene of mortal strife between the Queen’s Rangers, under Simcoe, and a party of American militia, on the evening of the day after Arnold’s return from Richmond [Jan. 8, 1781.]. Arnold had directed a patrol on that evening toward Long Bridge, in order to obtain intelligence. The patrol consisted of about forty cavalry, under Simcoe. Falling in with some American videttes, they captured two or three, and from them Simcoe learned that party of militia, under General Nelson, lay at and near Charles City Court-house. The night was clear and frosty, and the moon at its full. 24 The enemy had no knowledge of the way. A negro prisoner was made to act as guide. The party at the Court House, consisting of one hundred and fifty militia, under the command of Colonel Dudley, were completely surprised, for they had no intimation of the immediate approach of a foe until their sentries were fired upon, and two bugles sounded the signal of attack, upon the frosty air of that winter’s night. A confused and scattering fire ensued, when the American detachment fled and joined the main body, which lay a few miles distant, toward the Chickahominy River. A part of Simcoe’s dragoons dismounted, rushed into the tavern, and seized several of the Americans. Two of the militiamen (Deane and Ballard) were killed. One of them was slain upon the landing at the head of the stairs, while fleeing to the chamber for safety. The spot was pointed out to me, where, until within a few years, the stains of the victim’s blood might be seen. The attack was so sudden and furious, that those who escaped and communicated the fact to the militia under Nelson, so alarmed that body, that a large number of them broke from the camp, and fled to Williamsburg. Simcoe collected his prisoners and a few captured horses as speedily as possible, and before dawn he joined Arnold at Westover.


Mr. Tyler (the late President of the United States), on whom I called while on my way from Charles City Court House to Jamestown, informed me that his father, who was then a member of the Virginia Assembly, but at his residence at the time, aware of the force of the enemy at Westover and Berkeley, earnestly advised Colonel Dudley, the commander of the county militia, to place his men in a position for defense; offering, at the same time, to join them, and act in any capacity. He advised him to remove his party from the tavern, for, if left there drinking and carousing as usual, they would surely be surprised. The haughty colonel would not heed his warning, and the result was defeat and disgrace. 26

It was another glorious morning when I left Charles City Court House. Warm and brilliant as May, I anticipated a delightful day’s journey. Nor was I disappointed. A heavy fog during the night had hung each bough and spray with liquid jewels, and these, glittering in the early sun, fell in radiant showers as the light breezes touched their resting-places. Traversing a rough road for nearly four miles, I crossed a rapid stream at a mill, and ascending to a plain half a mile beyond, I reined up at the entrance-gate to Sherwood Forest, the estate of ex-President Tyler. His mansion is very spacious, and stands upon the brow of a gentle slope, half a mile from the highway. It is sheltered in the rear by a thick forest of oaks, pines, and chestnuts, while from the front the eye overlooks almost the whole of his plantation of fourteen hundred acres, with occasional glimpses of the James River. The distinguished proprietor was at home, and received me with that courteous hospitality so common in the South, which makes the traveler feel at ease, as if at the house of a friend. Mr. Tyler is tall and slender in person, his locks long, thin, and slightly grizzled, and he was dressed in the plain garb of a Virginia planter. After giving warm expressions of interest in my enterprise, and an invitation to remain longer at Sherwood Forest, he sketched a map of my route to Jamestown, as a guide among the diverging ways. Time was precious, and I passed only an hour at the hospitable mansion of the ex-president, and then departed for the Chickahominy.

Soon after leaving Sherwood Forest, I entered a low, wet region, covered with pines, called the slashes. These extended to the banks of the Chickahominy, a distance of seven miles; and in all that journey, without a clearing to cheer the eye, I saw no living thing, except an occasional "wild boar of the wood," a dwarf breed of hogs which inhabit this dreary region. Here, where once broad fields were smiling with culture-blessings, and this road, now almost a quagmire, but fifty years ago was one of the finest highways in Virginia, wild deers and turkeys abound, as if the land was a primeval wilderness. It was a sad commentary upon the past husbandry of Virginia, and a sadder picture of the inevitable result of the present bad husbandry which prevails in many regions of the South. Year after year the tillers make constant drafts upon the vitality of the soil without an ounce of compensating manure, until all fertility is exhausted. I saw thousands of acres in the course of my journey, where tillage had levied its withering taxes until the generous soil could no longer yield its tithe, nor even its hundredth. The earth was completely covered with "poverty grass," dwarf pines, or stately forests of the same tree, patiently renewing its strength during a long Sabbath-rest of abandonment by man.

It was at meridian when I emerged from the wilderness and halted upon the high sand-bank of the Chickahominy, a few miles above its confluence with the James River. Above, all appeared bright and beautiful; below, all was gloomy and desolate. Silence reigned here, where once the busy ferryman plied his oars from morning until night. No voice was to be heard; no human habitation was to be seen. The broad and turbid river moved sluggishly on without a ripple, and on the beach a scow, half filled with water, told only of desolation. There appeared no way for me to cross the stream. If denied that privilege, I must make a circuit of thirty miles’ travel to a public crossing above! I looked for the smoke of a dwelling, but saw none. I shouted; there was no response but that of echo. Remembering that, just before reaching the clearing upon the Chickahominy, I saw a road, covered with leaves, diverging toward the James River, I returned, reined into it, and followed it with hope. Presently I saw a log hut upon the shore, and heard the voices of men. They were negroes, busily preparing a canoe for a fishing excursion. I inquired for a ferryman, and was informed that nobody crossed now, and the scow would not float. Two of the men speedily changed their opinion when I offered a bright half dollar to each if they would "bail out" the craft and "pole" me across. They worked faithfully, and within half an hour I was embarked upon the stream, with my horse and vehicle, in a shell just long enough and broad enough to contain us. To keep Charley quiet, so as to "trim the boat," I allowed him to dine upon some oats which I procured at Charles City Court House. The Chickahominy is here about a quarter of a mile wide. The current was quite strong, and so deep, that the poles, by which the bateau was impelled, were sometimes too short for use. We drifted some distance down the stream, and, at one time, I anticipated an evening voyage upon the James River, but by the great exertions of the motive-power we reached the landing-place in safety, after rather a dangerous voyage of nearly three quarters of an hour. The bateau was again almost half filled with water, and the ferrymen were obliged to empty it before returning. I was too much occupied while crossing with apprehensions of an involuntary bath to reflect upon the perils which Captain John Smith encountered upon this very stream, before the empire of the white men had commenced; but when safely seated in my wagon upon the Jamestown side of the river, I looked with intense interest upon the wooded shores of those waters, up which that adventurer paddled. More than sixty miles above the place where I crossed he was captured by Opechancanough, the king of Pamunkee, and carried in triumph to Powhatan, at Werowocomoco, where he was saved from death by the gentle Pocahontas. These events we shall consider presently.

I was now eight miles from old Jamestown, the goal of my day’s journey. Hungry and thirsty, I was about entering another dreary region of slashes, five miles in extent, when I saw a log hut on the verge of the woods. I hailed, but no person appeared, except a little child of six years, black as ebony, and having nothing on but its birth-day suit and a tattered shirt. It brought me a draught of cool water in a gourd from a spring near by. Dropping half a dime into the emptied shell, I pursued my way. Emerging from the slashes, I passed through a portion of the celebrated Green Spring plantation, its mansion appearing among the trees on my left, half a mile distant. 27 It is now in possession of two brothers, named Ward, formerly of New Jersey, who, for many years, as skippers upon the James River, bartered for the products of this plantation, until they were able to purchase it. Green Spring was the theater of an interesting episode in our Revolutionary history, for there the American army, under La Fayette, Wayne, and Steuben, were encamped for a few days in the summer of 1781, while watching the movements and foiling the designs of Cornwallis in Virginia.


It was almost sunset when I passed the morass in front of Green Spring, over which the Americans crossed to the attack of Cornwallis at Jamestown Ford. I crossed the plantation of John Coke, Esq., and halted upon the shore of an estuary of the James River, at the cottage of Mr. Bacon, opposite Jamestown island. It was too late to visit the consecrated spot that evening. I sketched this distant view of the portion of the island whereon the ancient city stood, and then returned to the mansion of Mr. Coke, (who is brother of the late Richard Coke, member of Congress from Accomac district), to pass the night under his roof, where I experienced true Virginia hospitality. Mr. Coke was for many years sheriff of the county, is an influential man, and an excellent practical agriculturist. He owns a plantation of nineteen hundred acres, nearly one thousand of which is under cultivation. Unlike too many agriculturists of the South, he is his own general overseer, and his family of seventy persons (only eleven of whom are white), receive his daily personal care. He owns all the soil that is left unsubmerged on which the English built their first town in America. His house has many bullet-marks, made there during the battle at Jamestown Ford, on the 6th of July, 1781; and in the broad level field in front of his mansion, the French army was encamped when on its way to Yorktown the same year. Within that field a venerable chestnut-oak, riven, but not destroyed, by lightning, was yet standing, under which a court-martial was held by Cornwallis, and upon its branches a culprit was hanged. It is called the "Council Tree." Mr. Coke’s plantation is truly classic ground, for upon it occurred events connected with those widely-separated incidents, the opening and the closing of the heroic age of America. Over it the lordly Powhatan once walked, and the feet of his gentle daughter pressed its soil when speeding on her mission of mercy to the doomed settlement of Jamestown. Over it the royal and republican armies marched, and there fought desperately for victory.


I was at Mr. Bacon’s cottage soon after an early breakfast, and before nine o’clock had crossed the estuary in a punt, and sat within the shadow of the old church tower, which stands like a sentinel watching the city of the dead at its feet. This crumbling pile, surrounded by shrubbery, brambles, and tangled vines; and the old church-yard wall, of English brick, inclosing a few broken monuments, half buried in earth or covered with a pall of ivy and long grass, are all the tangible records that remain of the first planting of an English colony in America. As I sat upon the hollow trunk of a half-reclining and decayed old sycamore, and sketched the broken tower, the questionings of the eloquent Wirt came up from the depth of feeling: "Whence, my dear S. . . . . . ., arises this irrepressible reverence and tender affection with which I look at this broken steeple? Is it that my soul, by a secret, subtile process, invests the moldering ruins with her own powers; imagines it a fellow-being – a venerable old man, a Nestor or an Ossian, who has witnessed and survived the ravages of successive generations, the companions of his youth and of his maturity, and now mourns his own solitary and desolate condition, and hails their spirits in every passing cloud? Whatever may be the cause, as I look at it, I feel my soul drawn forward as by the cords of gentlest sympathy, and involuntarily open my lips to offer consolation to the drooping pile." 30

Around this

"Old cradle of our infant world,

In which a nestling empire lay,"

the Spirit of Romance and the Muse of Poetry delight to linger, and the bosom of the American glows with increased patriotism as he contemplates this small beginning of the mighty progression around him.

"What solemn recollections throng,

What touching visions rise,
As, wandering these old stones among,
I backward turn my eyes,
And see the shadows of the dead flit round,
Like spirits when the last dread trump shall sound!

The wonders of an age combined,
In one short moment memory supplies;
They throng upon my ’waken,d mind,
As Time’s dark curtains rise.
The volume of a hundred buried years,
Condensed in one bright sheet appears.

Jamestown and Plymouth’s hallow’d rock
To me shall ever sacred be
I care not who my themes may mock,
Or sneer at them and me.
I envy not the brute who here can stand
Without a thrill for his own native land.

And if the recreant crawl her earth.
Or breathe Virginia’s air,
Or in New England claim his birth,
From the old pilgrims there,
He is a bastard, if he dare to mock
Old Jamestown’s shrine, or Plymouth’s famous rock."

Although it was late in December [Dec. 21, 1848.], the sun was shining almost as warm as at the close of May. While finishing my sketch, I was glad to take shelter from its beams in the shadow of the sycamore. Here, upon this curiously-wrought slab, clasped by the roots of the forest anak, let us sit a while and ponder the early chronicles of Virginia. 31

I have mentioned, in the Introduction to this work, the efforts made by the English, Spanish, and French adventurers to plant colonies in the New World, and their failures. The idea was not abandoned; and the public mind, particularly in England, was much occupied with the visions of new and opulent empires beyond the ocean, of which a few glimpses had appeared. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a step-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, published a hypothetical treatise on a northwest passage to the East Indies, which attracted great attention, and exerted much influence favorable to colonizing expeditions. He obtained a patent from Queen Elizabeth [June 11, 1578.] to colonize such parts of North America as were not already possessed by any of her allies. Raleigh, a young, ardent, and ambitious student at Oxford, had just completed his studies, and was about to engage in a military life in France. He was induced by his step-brother to join with him in an expedition to America. They sailed early in 1579, but never reached our Continent, because, as was alleged, their little squadron was broken up in a conflict with a Spanish fleet, when they returned to England. Gilbert’s patent was limited, and he made great efforts to plant a colony before it should expire. He and Raleigh equipped a new squadron in 1583. 32 Raleigh did not sail with the expedition. Gilbert reached Newfoundland, and at St. John’s he performed the feudal ceremonies of taking formal possession of the country in the name of his sovereign, in the presence of the Spanish and Portuguese adventurers who were located there [August 5, 1583.]. Soon afterward the expedition sailed southward. The flag-ship of Gilbert was the Squirrel. Tempests arose. One night, "about twelve o’clock, the lights of the Squirrel suddenly disappeared, and neither the vessel nor any of its crew was ever again seen." 33 The survivors of the expedition reached England in the Hind, on the 22d of September following.


Raleigh was not disheartened. He resolved to plant a colony in a more southern region, and readily obtained a patent from Elizabeth as ample as that of his lost step-brother. He was constituted a lord proprietary, with civil and political privileges in his prospective domain almost monarchical. He equipped two vessels, with an ample supply of men and provisions, and gave the command to Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, two experienced mariners. They sailed for America on the 27th of April, 1584, and reached Cuba, in the West Indies, in July. Departing northward, they landed upon Wocoken Island, the southernmost of the group which form Ocracock Inlet, on the shores of North Carolina. The natives, ignorant of the character and designs of the English, received them with friendly greetings after the first emotions of fear and wonder had subsided. Amidas and Barlow explored Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, enjoyed the hospitality of Granganimeo, the father of King Wingina, upon the beautiful island of Roanoke (now belonging to Tyrrel county, N. C.), and then returned to England, accompanied by Wanchese and Manteo, two natives of the forest. The glowing accounts of his captains of the beauty and fertility of the land, and the gentleness of the natives, filled Raleigh’s heart with joy. The captains were presented at court, and their tales of the enchanting region which they had discovered made Elizabeth feel that the most glorious event of her reign had just been accomplished. She named the new-found region in the Western world VIRGINIA, as a memorial of her unmarried state.

Raleigh was elected a member of Parliament for Devonshire, obtained a confirmation of his patent [Dec. 18, 1584.], was knighted, and became one of the most popular men in England. In 1585, he fitted out another fleet. The command was given to Sir Richard Grenville, one of the most gallant men of the age. The fleet consisted of seven vessels, and bore one hundred and eight emigrants, designed to colonize Virginia. Ralph Lane (afterward knighted by Elizabeth) accompanied them as governor of the colony, and several men of learning were his companions. Among them was With, a meritorious painter, whose sketches of the people and scenery in the New World were made with remarkable faithfulness. This expedition sailed from Plymouth on the 9th of April, and reached Florida on the 20th of June. Coasting northward, they arrived at the beautiful Roanoke Island, lying between Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. They went to the Main, and explored the beautiful county of Secotan, around Albemarle Sound and the Chowan, in various directions. Ignorant of the power of kindness, they foolishly quarreled with the simple natives; and because they supposed a lost silver cup had been stolen by one of them, a whole village was burned, and fields of standing corn were destroyed. From the ashes arose the spirit of discord which ever afterward separated the Indian and the white man.

Grenville returned with the fleet to England, leaving Lane and his colony to perfect a settlement. Instead of cultivating the soil for the production of maize and the potato, which were indigenous, they sought gold. A wily savage, intent on revenge, told them wondrous tales of a land of gold at the head waters of the Roanoke River. Up that broad and rapid stream, Lane and a portion of his people went, for the two-fold purpose of exploring the country and seeking gold. They ascended no further than the present village of Williamstown, when a flight of arrows from the wooded shore revealed the enmity of the natives. Lane hastened back to Roanoke, and summoned Wingina, the most powerful of the chiefs, to an audience. The sachem and his followers appeared. Their secret plans for the destruction of the English were suspected, indeed, quite certainly known, and the white men were on the alert. With apparent friendliness Wingina appeared at the council. At a given signal the English fell upon the chief and his handful of warriors, and put them to death. The calumet was now buried forever; the hatchet was brightened and made sharp by intensest hatred. The English felt the danger of their situation, and were desponding, when the fleet of Sir Francis Drake anchored outside of Roanoke Inlet. He came from the West Indies to visit the domain of Raleigh, and generously offered to furnish the colony with means to pursue their discoveries; but fear gained the mastery of their avaricious desires, and the colonists sailed with Drake for England [June 19, 1586.]. A few days after their departure a ship arrived, laden with stores for the colony; and, within a fortnight, Grenville also arrived with three well-furnished ships. The commander sought in vain for the colony, and, leaving fifteen men on the Island of Roanoke to maintain English dominion, he returned to England with the sad intelligence for Raleigh. 35

Raleigh, undismayed by misfortunes, fitted out another expedition. He changed his policy, and sent a colony of men, women, and children to establish an agricultural state. John White was appointed their governor. They sailed on the 26th of April, 1587, and arrived on the coast of North Carolina in July. When they reached Roanoke, they found no vestige of the fifteen men left by Grenville, except a few scattered bones. The Indians had slain them all. Wild deers were in the untenanted habitations, and rank grass covered their gardens. They proceeded to lay the foundation of "the city of Raleigh," pursuant to the instructions of the proprietor, but it was an idle show. 36 White endeavored to make treaties of amity with the natives, but failed, though aided by the friendly Manteo, who accompanied Amidas and Barlow to England. 37 The neighboring tribes exhibited implacable hatred and jealousy. Winter approached, and the vessel which brought them was prepared for departure for England. White was urged strongly to go with it, and use his endeavors to send them immediate relief, for they had neither planted nor reaped, and to England alone they looked for supply. He was unwilling to appear as a deserter of his colony, and refused. He had another tie. His daughter, Eleanor Dare, had given birth to a child, the first offspring of English parents in the New World. Little Virginia Dare twined the tendrils of affection close around the heart of her grand-parent, and he lingered. 38 He at length consented to go, leaving his daughter and child as pledges that he would return. Very long the poor colonists waited for relief. Three years passed away before White returned, and then he found the settlement a desolation. There was evidence upon the bark of a tree that the people had departed for Croatan, 39 the residence of Manteo; but the season was far advanced, and search was abandoned. White put to sea without intelligence of the fate of his daughter and child, and returned to England. Five several times Raleigh sent a vessel with trusty men to search for his colony, when hope fading, his fortune almost exhausted, and his health and heart broken by domestic griefs, he abandoned all ideas of settlement in America, and assigned his proprietary rights to a company. 40 Virginia, then including in its indefinite boundaries all of North Carolina, remained untouched by the English for twenty years, except by an occasional adventurer who voluntarily searched for Raleigh’s colony. These attempts at settlement on the coasts of our Middle States, form a wonderful chapter of adventure and moral heroism in the history of the world.

We will now consider the modern settlement of Virginia. The efforts of Raleigh awakened intense interest in the public mind. Other expeditions were fitted out, but all failed to make permanent settlements. Gosnold, Weymouth, Pring, Smith, and others, who visited America, gave such glowing accounts of the country, that men of rank, capital, and influence were induced to embark in colonizing schemes. They were made acquainted with the general character of a fertile region, extending over eleven degrees of latitude, from Cape Fear to Halifax, all in the temperate climates, diversified with noble rivers and harbors, and displaying the most luxuriant vegetation. An association was formed [1606.], of men eminent as merchants, and wealthy titled commoners, of London and Bristol. 41 King James encouraged the scheme, and gave them a charter [April 10, 1606.]. They formed two companies, the men of London for colonizing the south portion of the territory, and called the London Company; those of Bristol for settling the more northern region, and called the Plymouth Company. A line of three degrees between both was allowed, upon which settlements in common might be made, it being stipulated that whenever one should first become permanently seated, the other should settle at least one hundred miles distant. Each of the colonies was to be governed by a council of thirteen persons. The companies were to have full property in all lands, fisheries, &c., except a fifth of the gold, and a fifteenth of the copper ore that might be found, which was to be paid to the king. James, with his usual pedantry, prepared a code of laws for them, written with his own hand. The colonists and their posterity were declared English subjects, but were vested with no political rights, not even trial by jury, unless in capital charges. Minor offenses were punished arbitrarily by the council. That body was to be appointed by the home government, the former choosing its own president. The property of the colonists was to continue in joint stock for five years. The English Church was exclusively established, and strict injunctions were given for the mild and just treatment of the natives. 42

Three small vessels, whose joint tonnage amounted to only one hundred and sixty, under the command of Captain Christopher Newport, with a colony of one hundred and five men, sailed for Virginia on the 19th of December, 1606. The king had placed the names of the future council of Virginia in a sealed box, which was not to be opened until their arrival in America. Only twelve laborers and a few mechanics were among the voyagers; the remainder of the one hundred and five persons were adventurers, with hands unused to labor. Dissensions arose on the voyage, and, as there was no acknowledged head, in consequence of the folly of the king, much confusion ensued. Captain Smith possessed more genius than any man among them, and, consequently, great jealousy of him was felt. Under the absurd accusation of an intention to murder the council, and make himself King of Virginia, he was put in confinement. After a voyage of four months, the expedition entered the Chesapeake [April 26, 1607.], having been driven by a storm northward of their point of destination. The capes of the noble bay they named in honor of the two sons of the king, Henry and Charles. They landed upon Cape Henry, made peace with the natives, opened the sealed paper of the king, discovered the names of the council, and chose the unscrupulous and narrow-minded Wingfield to be president. Smith was named one of the council, but was excluded from that body. His accusers thought it prudent, however, to withdraw their charges, and he was released from confinement.

A few days after their arrival in the Chesapeake, the little fleet entered the mouth of the noble River Powhatan, which they named James, in honor of their sovereign. Up its broad channel they sailed about fifty miles, and there, upon a charming peninsula, an island at high tide, they determined to build a town and plant a permanent settlement. The natives received them kindly; and in the beautiful month of May, 1607, the first sound of an ax was heard, the first tree was felled, and the first rafter was laid in Virginia. A village was planned, and, in honor of the king, was called Jamestown. While the carpenters and laborers were rearing the city, Smith and Newport, with twenty others, ascended the river to the Falls, and at his imperial residence of twelve wigwams, just below Richmond, they visited Powhatan, the "Emperor of the Country." The events connected with that visit have been noticed on page 226.

Newport returned to England with his vessels in June, leaving one hundred men, and a pinnace with stores, at Jamestown. The colonists, wanting habits of industry, soon perceived the helplessness of their situation. Many of them were of dissolute habits; and before autumn, the dampness of the climate, and the malaria arising from the decay of luxuriant vegetation, produced diseases which swept away fifty of their number, among whom was Bartholomew Gosnold, 43 the eminent navigator and projector of the settlement.

The survivors relied chiefly upon sturgeons and crabs, and scanty supplies of maize, for their subsistence, while Wingfield and a part of his council were appropriating the stores to their own use, Wingfield, and Kendall (one of the council), were detected in a conspiracy to abandon the colony, and escape with the pinnace and stores to the West Indies. They were deposed, and Ratcliffe, an irresolute and indolent man, was appointed president. Fortunately for the colony, he was quite willing to bear the empty honors of his office without exercising its functions, and he allowed Captain Smith, by far the ablest man among them, to have the principal management of affairs. The colony at once assumed a new and better aspect under the direction of Smith. As far as possible, he infused his own energetic spirit into his companions; but they were generally too indolent and dissolute to profit much by his example. Smith quelled the spirit of anarchy and rebellion; restored order in the midst of confusion; visited the chiefs of the neighboring tribes, and inspired them with respect for the English; and, by his consummate skill, he procured from the natives an ample stock of corn and wild fowl when winter approached.

We are now at a point in the history of the New World full of the most romantic interest, and the pen is tempted from its present line of duty by a thousand seductive influences. The exploits of Smith – his exploring voyages – his discoveries – his indomitable perseverance and courage – his hardships, sufferings, escapes, and forbearance with his ungrateful companions, all plead eloquently for the services of pen and pencil. These must be briefly sketched in faint outline, for it is foreign to my plan to detail colonial history, except so much as is necessary to illustrate the main subject of these volumes – The War for Independence.


The Jamestown colony was placed beyond the effects of want in the autumn of 1607, and Smith, with a few companions, set out to explore the country. He went up the Chickahominy, in an open boat, fifty miles from its mouth. 45 There he left his boat, the water being shallow, and, with two companions and two Indian guides, pushed into the interior. He ordered those in the boat not to leave it. Disobeying his instructions, they wandered on shore and were slain. Smith was surprised by a party of Indians, under Opechancanough, the "King of Pamunkee;" his two companions were killed, and he, after slaying several Indians, was made a prisoner. His life was spared, and he was conducted in triumph through the several Indian villages, from the Chickahominy to the banks of the Rappahannock and Potomac, and was finally brought back to the seat of Opechancanough, at Pamunkee, on the York River. There, for three days, the priests performed incantations to discover the character of their prisoner, and the most expedient disposition of him, for they considered him a superior being. 46 They finally carried him to Werowocomoco, 47 the lower seat of Powhatan, and referred the decision to that powerful chief.


Seated upon a raised platform, the trunk and branches of the towering pine for a palace, the lordly Powhatan, with his two favorite daughters beside him, and his "grim courtiers" and women around him, received the prisoner. In solemn state he was tried; with solemn words he was adjudged to die. On the right of the Indian emperor sat Pocahontas, his youngest and best loved daughter. Her heart beat quick with sympathy the moment she saw the manly form of Smith, and in her young bosom glowed intense desire to save his life.

"How trembled then the maid, as rose

That captive warrior, calm and stern,
Thus girded by his wolfish foes
His fearless spirit still would spurn.
How bright his glance, how fair his face,
And with what proud, enfranchised grace
His footsteps free advance, as still
He follow’d firm the bloody mace
That guided to the gloomy place
Where stood the savage sent to kill."

With his arms pinioned, Smith was laid upon the ground, with his head upon a stone, and the executioner had lifted the huge club to dash out his brains. With a bound like that of a frightened fawn, Pocahontas leaped from the side of her father to that of the prisoner, and interposed her delicate form between his head and the warrior’s mace;

"Then turns – with eye grown tearless now,

But full of speech, as eye alone
Can speak to eye, and heart in prayer –
For mercy to her father’s throne!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
How could that stern old king deny
The angel pleading in her eye?
How mock the sweet, imploring grace,
That breathed in beauty from her face,
And to her kneeling action gave
A power to soothe, and still subdue,
Until, though humble as a slave,
To more than queenly sway she grew?
Oh! brief the doubt – oh! short the strife;
She wins the captive’s forfeit life;
She breaks his bands, she bids him go,
Her idol, but her country’s foe,
And dreams not, in that parting hour,
The gyves that from his limbs she tears
Are light in weight, and frail in power,
To those that round her heart she wears."

Smith’s life was spared. The enmity of the natives was changed to friendship, and, with a guard of twelve men, he was sent to Jamestown, a wiser man; for, during his seven weeks of captivity, he had traversed a large extent of country, observed its resources, and the habits and condition of the Indians, and made himself quite familiar with their language. He established a friendly intercourse with Powhatan and his confederates, and often the "dearest daughter of the king," with her companions, brought baskets of corn for the garrison.

Disorder prevailed at Jamestown on Smith’s return. Only forty men remained, and these were on the point of abandoning the country where they had suffered so much, and escape with the pinnace. The courage and energy of Smith compelled them to remain. Newport soon afterward arrived with supplies, and one hundred and twenty emigrants, chiefly idle gentlemen, "packed hither," as Smith says, "by their friends, to escape ill destinies," and goldsmiths, the very men least needed in the colony. GOLD was the chief incentive of the Company and the adventurers to risk capital and life. Discovering something resembling grains of the metal near the site of Richmond, "there was no talk, no hope, no work, but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold." Newport loaded his vessel with worthless earth, and returned to England with the idea that he was exceedingly rich, but to have science and skill pronounce him miserably poor in useful knowledge and well-earned reputation.

Smith remonstrated against idleness, and pleaded for industry, but in vain. He implored the settlers to plow and sow, that they might reap and be happy. They refused to listen, and he turned from Jamestown with disgust, and, with a few sensible men, explored the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. He went up the Potomac to the Falls above Washington City. He also entered the Patapsco, and ate maize upon the site of Baltimore. These long voyages were made in an open boat, propelled by oars and paddles. It was one of the most wonderful of exploring expeditions, considered in all its aspects, recorded by the pen of history. Smith constructed a map of his discoveries, and every subsequent survey of the region attests its remarkable accuracy.

Three days after Smith’s return to Jamestown he was made president of the colony [Sept. 10, 1608.]. Newport soon afterward arrived from England with a supply of food. With him came two females, the first English women seen upon the James River. Smith again exerted his energies to turn the little industry of the settlers to agriculture, and succeeded in a degree. The colony was beginning to thrive under his management. when the features of its political character were modified. A new charter was given to the London Company [May 23, 1609.], with provisions for a more powerful government. 49 The colonists had no voice in the matter; neither their rights nor wishes were consulted or respected. While extraordinary powers were given to the governor, not one new civil privilege was conceded to them.

Under the new charter, Lord De la Ware, or Delaware, a virtuous and upright nobleman, was appointed governor and captain-general of Virginia for life. Before his departure for America, nine ships, under the command of Newport, with more than five hundred emigrants, were sent to the James River. Sir Thomas Gates (the governor’s deputy), Newport, and Sir George Somers, were sent as commissioners to administer the government until the arrival of Lord Delaware. A hurricane drove the fleet toward the West Indies. The vessel in which were the three commissioners was stranded on the rocks of the Bermudas, and only seven vessels of the squadron reached Virginia. The commissioners were not lost; but their arrival in the colony with the emigrants was prevented, and great confusion followed. A large portion of the new comers were idle and dissolute scions of wealthy families, without energy or good principles. They regarded the colony as without a head until the arrival of the commissioners or the governor, and were disposed to set at naught the authority of President Smith. That energetic man was equal to the exigency of the case, and he boldly and successfully maintained his authority until an accident prostrated his body, and he was obliged to go to England for surgical aid. 50 He delegated his authority to George Percy, brother of the Duke of Northumberland, and sailed for England in the autumn of 1609.

The colonists, released from the control of Smith, now gave themselves up to every irregularity of life. The Indians lost their respect for, and dread of Englishmen; and when the ample stock of provisions of the latter was consumed, the former refused assistance. Famine ensued; thirty escaped in a vessel to become pirates; and within six months, hunger, sickness, and Indian hatchets had reduced the colony of more than five hundred left by Smith, to sixty persons, and these were perishing with hunger. "It was not the will of God that the new state should be formed of these materials; that such men should be the fathers of a progeny, born on the American soil, who were one day to assert American liberty by their eloquence, and defend it by their valor." 51 This period of distress was long remembered with a shudder as "the starving time."

At the moment when the destitution was greatest, the commissioners and their wrecked companions arrived. Upon the uninhabited island where they stranded they had constructed two rude vessels, loaded them with the stores of their ship, which lay among the rocks, and sailed for the James River. They arrived in June [1610.]; but, instead of finding a large and flourishing colony, they were greeted by a handful of emaciated men, on the point of dying. Death by famine awaited all, and Gates resolved to sail for Newfoundland, and disperse the company among the English fishing vessels there. Jamestown was utterly abandoned, and toward Hampton Roads the dejected settlers sailed in the four pinnaces which remained in the river. As they approached that broad harbor on the following morning, a vision of white sails cheered their hearts; and as the sun came up, the long-boat of Lord Delaware was seen approaching. He came with emigrants and supplies and that night, Jamestown, abandoned to the rude natives in the morning, was made vocal with hymns and thanksgivings from truly grateful lips [June 9.]. The next day solemn religious exercises were held; the commission of Lord Delaware was read, and the foundation stone of the Virginia Commonwealth was permanently laid. Delaware administered the government with equity until the failure of his health required him to return to England [1611.]. Percy was left in charge of affairs until Delaware’s successor should arrive. In the mean while, Sir Thomas Dale, an "experienced soldier of the Low Countries," arrived with supplies [May 10.], and assumed the government, which he administered upon the basis of martial law. In less than four months afterward, Sir Thomas Gates arrived with supplies, and three hundred emigrants, in six ships, and assumed the functions of governor. Under Dale and Gates, the colony, now numbering nearly a thousand souls, thrived wonderfully. There were but few drones; industry and sobriety prevailed, and a bright future dawned upon Jamestown.

A new charter was granted to the London Company in 1612. The supreme council in England was abolished, and its powers were transferred to the whole Company, who were to meet as a democratic assembly, elect their own officers for the colony, and establish the laws therefor. This was the republican seed which found its way to Virginia, and took deep root there. Another important concession was made; the Bermudas, and all islands within three hundred leagues of the Virginia shore, were included in the grant, and opened a commercial field. The colony continued to flourish; and the marriage of John Rolfe with Pocahontas, with the consent of her father, and the concurrence of Opechancanough, her uncle (who "gave her away" at the marriage altar), cemented the friendship which had been gradually forming between the white men and natives.

In 1614, Gates went to England, and left affairs in the hands of Dale, who ruled with energy for five years, when he appointed George Yeardly deputy governor, and returned to England. Yeardly encouraged agriculture, and, during his administration, the tobacco plant began to be cultivated. It soon became not only the staple, but the currency of the colony. He was succeeded in office [1617.] by Samuel Argall, an unprincipled man, and sort of buccaneer, 52 who ruled with tyranny for two years, and was then displaced. Yeardly was made governor; the planters were released from further tribute-service to the colony; martial law was abolished; and on the 29th of June, 1619, the first colonial assembly ever held in America was convened at Jamestown. The domain of the English had been divided into eleven boroughs. Two representatives from each were present at the assembly, and were called burgesses. This was the kernel of the Virginia government which prevailed until the Revolution – a governor, his council, and a house of Burgesses. It was the beginning of the American constitutions.

Twelve years had elapsed since planting Jamestown, and now the settlement first assumed the character of permanency. Ninety respectable young women were sent over in 1620, 53 and the following year sixty more came to be wives for the planters. The settlers "fell to building houses and planting corn," with a determination to make Virginia their home. The gold mania had passed away, and the wealth of the rich mold was delved for with success. A written constitution was granted to the colony by the Company in 1621 [August, 1621.], which ratified the form of government introduced by Yeardly. It was brought over by Sir Francis Wyatt, who succeeded Yeardly, and was received with joy by the colonists. General prosperity prevailed, and glad dreams of happiness filled the minds of the settlers. They were now four thousand strong, and fast increasing; but a cloud was gathering.

Powhatan, the firm friend of the English since the marriage of his daughter, was now dead. 54 The restraints of his influence were lifted from his people, and they, apprehending their own annihilation by the white men, resolved to strike a blow of extermination. At mid-day [April 1, 1622.], the hatchet fell upon the more remote settlements around Jamestown, and more than seventeen scores of men, women, and children perished in an hour. 55 A friendly Indian, a Christian convert, warned his white friend (Paca) in Jamestown of the plot the night before. The people prepared for defense, and were, with the nearest settlements, to whom they sent notice, saved. General alarm prevailed. The remote planters fled to Jamestown, and the number of plantations was reduced from eighty to eight. A terrible reaction ensued. The English arose, and, moved with a spirit of hatred and revenge, they smote the Indians with great slaughter, and drove them far back into the wilderness.

We have seen the government of Virginia gradually changed from a royal tenure, under the first charter, to a proprietary and representative government under the second and third charters. The king now began to look upon it with suspicion, as inimical to royalty, and a breeder of disloyal men. The holders of the stock of the London Company had become very numerous, and their election of officers assumed a political character, presenting two parties – the advocates of liberty, and the upholders of the royal prerogative. The king, disliking the freedom of debate which prevailed at their meetings, attempted to control their elections; but failing in this, he determined to recover, by a dissolution of their Company, the influence in the affairs of the New World of which he had deprived himself by his own charter. He appointed a commission, composed of his own pliant instruments, to examine the affairs of the Company. They, of course, reported favorable to a dissolution of the association, and an equally pliant judiciary effected a consummation of the measure. A quo warranto was issued; it was feebly defended, and in July, 1624, a decision was given against the Company, and the patents were canceled. The enterprise had, thus far, been an unprofitable speculation for the Company, and there was not much opposition. The king took the political affairs of the colony into his own hands, and it became a royal government; yet no material changes were made in the domestic policy of the settlers, and they were allowed to retain their popular legislative assemblies as a branch of their government.

James died in 1625 [April 6.], and his son, the unfortunate Charles I., succeeded him. The policy of the new monarch toward the colonists was governed entirely by selfish motives, and he allowed them liberty under which to prosper, that gain to himself might accrue. He imposed some restrictions, and attempted, but in vain, to gain for himself a monopoly of the trade in tobacco, by becoming the sole factor of the planters. 56 Governor Yeardly died in November, 1627, and the king appointed John Harvey, one of his warmest supporters, and a member of the commission appointed by James, governor [1628.]; but his unpopularity in the colony lost to the king all the advantages his selfishness coveted. The Virginians deprived Harvey of his government in 1635; summoned an assembly to receive complaints against him, and appointed commissioners to proceed to England with an impeachment. Harvey accompanied the commissioners. The king would not even admit the accusers to a hearing, and the accused was sent back, clothed with full authority from Charles to administer the government. He remained in office until 1639, when he was succeeded by Sir Francis Wyatt [Nov.]. Sir William Berkeley succeeded Wyatt in a 1641 [Aug.]. During his first administration of ten years, the civil condition of the Virginians was much improved. The rights of property, and the rewards of industry, were secured, and the people were prosperous and happy. 57

The democratic revolution in England, which brought Charles to the block and placed Cromwell in power, now began, and religious sects in England and America assumed a political importance. Puritans had hitherto been tolerated in Virginia; and Puritan ministers were even invited by the council to come to that province from Massachusetts Bay. Now, as the monarch and the Church were united in interest, and the Virginians were loyal to Church and king, it was decided that no minister should preach or teach except in conformity to the constitution of the Church of England, and Non-conformists were banished from the colony. This was a cloud upon the otherwise clear skies of the settlement. But a darker cloud was gathering. The Indians prepared for another massacre of the white men. The war-whoop sounded along the frontier settlements, and a general border contest ensued [April, 1646.]. The Indians were generally defeated, and old Opechancanough, the chief instigator, was made a prisoner, and died in captivity [1646.]. Peace was speedily effected by the Indians making large concessions to the white men. 58

The Virginians remained loyal during the civil war in England; and when the king was beheaded, and the Republicans bore rule, they recognized Charles, the son of their murdered sovereign, though then a fugitive in a foreign country. The Parliament was incensed at the audacity of a colony resisting the will of the supreme government, and took measures to enforce submission. 59 A powerful fleet, under Sir George Ayscue, entered the Chesapeake, and cast anchor at the mouth of the James River. Sir William Berkeley, 60 with the cavaliers who had fled to Virginia, on the death of Charles, for safety, were prepared for their reception. Armed Dutch vessels, lying in the river, were pressed into service; and, although the Virginians had resolved to submit as soon as they perceived the arrival of the fleet, they, like Falstaff, declared they would not do it "on compulsion." This unexpected show of resistance made the commissioners of Parliament, who were sent out to negotiate, hesitate; and, instead of opening their cannon upon the colonists, they courteously proposed submission to the authority of Parliament, upon terms quite satisfactory to the Virginians. The liberties of the colonists were more fully secured than they had ever been; indeed, they were allowed nearly all those rights which the Declaration of Independence a century and a quarter later charged the King of Great Britain with violating. Until the restoration of monarchy in 1660, Virginia was virtually an independent state; for Cromwell made no appointments for the state, except a governor. On the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, the Virginians were not disposed to acknowledge the authority of Richard, his successor, and they elected Matthews, and afterward Berkeley, to fill the office of governor. Universal suffrage prevailed; all freemen, without exception, were allowed to vote; and servants, when the terms of their bondage ended, became electors, and might be made burgesses.

When the news of the probable restoration of Charles the Second reached Virginia, Berkeley disclaimed the popular sovereignty, proclaimed the exiled monarch, issued writs for an assembly in the name of the king, and the friends of royalty came into power. 61 High hopes of great favor from the new king were entertained. They were speedily blasted. Commercial restrictions, grafted upon the existing colonial system of the commonwealth, were rigorously enforced. 62 The people murmured, and finally remonstrated, but in vain. The profligate monarch, who seems never to have had a clear perception of right and wrong, but was always guided by the dictates of caprice and passion, gave away to special favorites large tracts of land, some of it cultivated and valuable. 63 The Royalist party in Virginia soon began to have an evil influence. The Assembly abridged the liberties of the people; the members, elected for only two years, assumed to themselves the right of an indefinite continuance of power, and the representative system was virtually abolished. Intolerance began to grow again, and heavy fines were imposed upon Baptists and Quakers. Taxes were made unequal and oppressive. Loyalty waned; the people learned to despise the very name of king, and open discontent ensued. The common people formed a Republican party, opposed to the aristocracy and the Royalists.

The menaces of the hostile Susquehannas, a fierce tribe on the northern frontier, who had been driven southward by the Five Nations, and were then desolating the remote settlements of Maryland, offered the people an excuse for arming. The Indians hovered nearer and nearer, and committed murders on Virginia soil. The planters, with Nathaniel Bacon, a popular, bold, and talented man, for their leader, demanded of Governor Berkeley the privilege of protecting themselves. Berkeley refused; for he doubtless had sagacity to perceive how the people would thus discover their strength. At length, some people on Bacon’s plantation having been killed by the Indians, that gentleman yielded to popular clamor, placed himself at the head of five hundred men, and marched against the invaders. Berkeley, who was jealous of Bacon’s popularity, immediately proclaimed him a traitor [May, 1676.], and ordered a body of troops to pursue and arrest him. 64 Bacon was successful against the Indians, while Berkeley was obliged to recall his troops to put down a rising rebellion in the lower counties. The people generally sympathized with the "traitor." They arose in open insurrection; Berkeley was compelled to yield; the Long Assembly was dissolved, and a new one elected; new laws were granted; universal suffrage was restored; arbitrary taxation was abolished, and Bacon was appointed commander-in-chief. Berkeley, compelled by the popular will, promised to sign Bacon’s commission, but this promise was never fulfilled. Fearing treachery, the latter withdrew to Williamsburg, then called the Middle Plantation, where he assembled five hundred men, and marched to Jamestown, to demand his commission from the governor. It was reluctantly granted; and Berkeley and the Assembly, overawed, attested the bravery and loyalty of Bacon, and on the 4th of July, 1676, just one hundred years before the birth-day of our republic, a more liberal and enlightened legislation commenced in Virginia. "The eighteenth century in Virginia was the child of the seventeenth; and Bacon’s rebellion, with the corresponding scenes in Maryland, Carolina, and New England, was the earlier harbinger of American independence and American nationality." 65

The moment Bacon left Jamestown to confront the invading Indians, Berkeley treacherously and rashly published a proclamation, reversing all the proceedings of the burgesses; again declaring Bacon a traitor, and calling upon the loyal aristocracy to join him. The indignation of Bacon was fiercely kindled, and, marching back to the capital, he lighted up a civil war. The property of Berkeley’s adherents was confiscated; their wives were seized as hostages; and a general destruction of the plantations of the Royalists ensued. Berkeley and his followers were driven from Jamestown, and sought shelter on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake. Bacon became supreme ruler, and, having proclaimed the abdication of Berkeley, he summoned an Assembly in his own name, and prepared to cast off all allegiance to the English crown. When troops came from England to support Berkeley, Bacon and his followers resolved to oppose them, 66 A rumor reached the capital that a strong party of Royalists, with the imperial troops, were approaching, and, in a council of war, Bacon and his followers resolved to burn Jamestown. The torch was applied just as the night shadows came over the village, and the sun rose the next morning upon the smoking ruins of the first English town built in America. Naught remained standing but a few chimneys and the church tower, that solitary monument which now attracts the eye and heart of the traveler.

Leaving the smoking ruins behind, Bacon pushed forward with his little army to drive the Royalists from Virginia; but the malaria from the low lands infused its poison into his veins, and on the north bank of the York River that brave patriot died [October, 1676.]. His death was a blow of unutterable evil to his followers, for no other man could wear the mantle of his influence. The fugitive governor returned to the Middle Plantation in triumph, and began to wreak his vengeance upon the principal insurgents. Twenty were hanged, 67 and others were on their way to the gallows, when the Assembly implored that "he would spill no more blood." Berkeley yielded; but the fines, confiscations, and other punishments continued. He ruled with an iron hand, which rule begot him many enemies at home. 68 He was soon recalled, and went to England, but died before he obtained an audience with his king. 69

As briefly as perspicuity would allow, I have sketched the early history of Virginia, in order to illustrate the gradual development of that spirit of liberty which spoke out so boldly, and acted with so much decision and power there, in the incipient and progressive stages of the War for Independence. We have seen the republican tree spring up and flourish on the banks of the James River, until its branches overspread a wide region, and sheltered thousands of freemen who, a hundred years before our Declaration of Independence was proclaimed, were ready to forswear allegiance to the British monarch, unless he should virtually recognize their sovereignty as a people. In the struggle between monarchy and republicanism, represented by Berkeley and Bacon, we have seen the capital of the new state, after an existence of seventy years, reduced to ashes, never to be restored. For a century and three quarters it has been a desolation. The green grass, the waving corn, and the golden wheat now cover the earth where streets and lanes were trodden by Smith and Gosnold, Newport, Gates and Berkeley, Powhatan and Pocahontas, and a host of Englishmen, whose spirits seem to have taken root in the soil, and multiplied a thousand-fold – whose scattered bones, like dragons teeth sown upon the land, seem to have germinated and sent up full-armed heroes. Nothing remains of the past but this old tower and these broken tombs, among which we have sat while pondering the antecedents of the present. We will close the chronicle for a while, and, taking a glance at later Revolutionary events here, hasten away to Williamsburg – the "Middle Plantation" – the second capital of Virginia.



1 This view is from a long shaded island extending up the river from Mayo’s Bridge, one of the three structures which span the stream at Richmond. Down the river from our point of view is seen Mayo’s Bridge, and, in the extreme distance, the lower portion of Richmond, upon Richmond or Church Hill. Several fish-traps are seen among the rapids in the river. On the left are observed two or three smaller islands. Since the above sketch was made, a bridge, for the accommodation of the Danville rail-way, has been constructed from the Richmond end of Mayo’s Bridge, diagonally, to the southern end of the Petersburg rail-way bridge, crossing very nearly our point of view. Not content with thus marring the beauty of one of the finest series of islands and cascades in the country, the company have covered the bridge, so as to shut out from the eyes of passengers the surrounding attractions. Wherefore?

2 The public buildings were only temporary. The old Capitol in which the Legislature held its sessions was private property, and stood upon the site of the present custom-house.

3 The Americans had a battery on Hood’s Point, and when, late in the evening, the enemy anchored, a fire was opened upon them. Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe landed with one hundred and thirty of the Queen’s Rangers and the light infantry and grenadiers of the 80th regiment, and made a circuit of about a mile in the dark to surprise the garrison. On approaching the battery it was found to be abandoned, and the fleet suffered no further inconvenience. See Simcoe’s Journal, page 161.

4 Simcoe, who accompanied Arnold, says, "General Arnold’s force did not amount to 800 men." American writers generally agree that the number was at least 900.

5 "The bare communication of the fact," says Tucker, in his Life of Jefferson, "that a force of one thousand, or, at most, fifteen hundred men, was able to invade a country containing at that time a population of more than half a million, and fifty thousand enrolled militia, march to its metropolis, destroy all the public, and much private property found there and in its neighborhood, and to leave the country with impunity, is a fact calculated to excite our surprise, and to involve both the people, and those who administered its affairs, in one indiscriminate reproach. But there seems to be little ground for either wonder or censure, when it is recollected that these fifty thousand militia were scattered over a surface of more than as many square miles; that the metropolis which was thus insulted was but a village, containing scarcely eighteen hundred inhabitants, half of whom were slaves; and that the country itself, intersected by several navigable rivers, could not be defended against the sudden incursion of an enemy, whose naval power gave it the entire command of the water, and enabled it to approach within a day’s march of the point of attack."

6 This is a frame building, and stands on the northwest corner of Main and Nineteenth streets. A portion of the lower part is yet inhabited (1852). The glass and some of the sashes in the upper story are gone, and the roof is partly decayed and fallen in on the west end. Here Cornwallis and other British officers were quartered at a later period, and beneath its roof the good Washington was once sheltered.

7 British frigates ascended the rivers of Virginia, and levied contributions upon all the tide-water counties. On one of these occasions the Mount Vernon estate was menaced with destruction by Captain Graves, of the Acteon. The manager, Mr. Lund Washington, to save the buildings, complied with the terms, and consented to furnish a supply of provisions. Washington highly disapproved of this proceeding, and, in a letter to his nephew, declared that he would rather have had the buildings destroyed, than saved by such "a pernicious example."

8 At the solicitation of Governor Jefferson and of Congress, Luzerne, the French minister, had requested that, if possible, a ship of the line and some frigates might be sent up the Chesapeake to oppose Arnold. It was determined to use every effort to capture the traitor; and, while Steuben was narrowly watching his movements from a nearer point of view, Washington detached La Fayette with twelve hundred men, drawn from the New England and New Jersey lines, to march to Virginia, and co-operate in the double enterprise of defending that state and capturing the renegade. M. de Tilley was detached from Newport, on the 9th of February, with a sixty-four and two frigates, for the Chesapeake. The little squadron of De Tilley captured the Romulus, a British frigate of forty-four guns, and also two privateers, one of eighteen and the other of fourteen guns; sent four prizes to Yorktown, and burned four others. They also captured about five hundred prisoners. Fortunately for Arnold, Admiral Arbuthnot gave him timely warning of the approach of the French vessels, and, as I have mentioned in the text, he escaped up the Elizabeth River. The events at Norfolk and vicinity will be detailed on pages 327 to 332 inclusive.

9 The Eveille did not attempt to follow him from Hampton Roads. One of the frigates, the Surveillante, ran aground in endeavoring to ascend the Elizabeth River, and was got off only by taking out her guns and casks of water.

10 The following is a copy of the inscription:



"The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia have caused this statue to be erected, as a monument of affection and gratitude to GEORGE WASHINGTON, who, uniting to the endowments of a HERO the virtues of the PATRIOT, and exerting both in establishing the liberties of his country, has rendered his name dear to his fellow-citizens, and given the world an immortal example of true glory. Done in the year of CHRIST, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, and in the year of the Commonwealth, the twelfth."


On the 22d of February, 1850, the corner-stone of a new and elegant monument, to be erected upon Capitol Square, by order of the Virginia Legislature, was laid with imposing ceremonies. The appropriation made by the Legislature for the purpose was first suggested by the Virginia Historical Society. Crawford, the eminent American sculptor, is now engaged upon the work in Italy. The monument will be composed of a broad base, with flights of steps between pedestals at proper intervals. These pedestals, six in number, will support each a colossal eagle. From this base will arise another for the lofty and elegantly wrought pedestal in the center, designed to support a colossal equestrian statue of Washington. Upon the second base are to be eight small pedestals, supporting the statues of Virginia and Liberty, and of several of the Revolutionary patriots of that state. The grand pedestal will contain, in different parts, appropriate inscriptions, civic wreaths, stars, &c. This is but a meager description of the beautiful design before me. It will be an honor not only to Virginia, but to the Republic.

The grand master of the Masonic fraternity laid the corner-stone of the monument, in the presence of President Taylor and his cabinet, the Governor of Virginia, and a large concourse of people. On that occasion, he wore the apron beautifully wrought by the hand of La Fayette’s wife, and presented to Washington by the Grand Lodge of France. Both generals were members of the order. The apron is in the possession of Mount Nebo Lodge, No. 91, located at Shepherdstown. * The oration delivered on the occasion was by Robert G. Scott, Esq. It is expected that the monument will be completed in 1855.

* Current traditions at Morristown, New Jersey, assign to that village the honor of having been the place where Washington was first initiated into the secrets of Freemasonry. The records exhibited by the orator on the occasion of laying the corner stone of the Virginia Monument show that he was initiated on the 4th of November, 1752, in Lodge No. 4, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, when he was not quite twenty-one years of age. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason on the 4th of August, 1753. It is asserted that all of the major generals of the Revolutionary army were master masons, except one; that one was the "lost Pleiad" – BENEDICT ARNOLD. It is a mistake. Arnold was a member in good standing in a lodge in Connecticut.

11 The audience on that night was uncommonly large, and composed chiefly of the first class of citizens, among whom was the governor of the state, George W. Smith. Some of the scenery was ignited by a chandelier at the back part of the stage, while the most of it was concealed by a drop-curtain. The combustible materials of all the stage arrangements made the flames spread with wonderful rapidity, and before the audience could make their escape by the only door of egress, in the front of the building, the whole wooden edifice was in flames. Some leaped from the windows and were saved; others were thus severely injured; and a large number perished in the flames, or were suffocated by the smoke in the burning building. Sixty-six white persons, and six colored ones, were destroyed. The governor was one of the victims. It was a night of woe in Richmond, and months and even years were required to elapse, before the gloom was entirely dissipated. The funeral obsequies of the dead were performed on the 28th of the month, in the presence of almost the entire population.

12 Gal., v., 20.

13 This view is from the burial-ground, looking southwest. The willow seen on the left, leaning by the side of a monument, is a venerable tree. It appears to have been planted by the hand of affection when the monument was reared. In the progress of its growth the trunk has moved the slab at least six inches from its original position. How imperceptible was that daily motion when the sap was flowing, and yet how certain and powerful!

14 This bridge is nearly four hundred yards in length, and spans the James River near the foot of the great rapids. It was built, soon after the close of the Revolution, by Colonel John Mayo, who received a large revenue from the tolls.

15 Mrs. Welsh related a circumstance which she well remembered. While Monroe was boarding with her mother, Samuel Hardy, another member of the convention, was also there. Hardy was a very modest, retiring man. One morning at breakfast, Monroe remarked to Hardy, in a jocular manner, "I have no doubt you will be governor of the state yet." "Yes," rejoined Hardy, "and you will have your hair cued and be sent to Congress." Hardy was afterward lieutenant governor of the state, and Monroe was not only "sent to Congress" as a senator, but became a foreign minister, and chief magistrate of the nation.

16 Patrick Henry was born at the family seat of his father, called Studley, in Hanover county, Virginia, on the 29th of May, 1736. At the age of ten years he was taken from school, and placed under the tuition of his father, in his own house, to learn Latin. He acquired some proficiency in mathematics; but it now became evident that he had a greater taste for hunting and fishing than for study. We have already considered the character of his youth and early manhood, on page 224, until his powers of eloquence were first developed in a speech in Hanover court-house. From that period Mr. Henry rose rapidly to the head of his profession. He removed to Louisa county in 1764, and in the autumn of that year he was employed to argue a case before a committee on elections of the House of Burgesses. He made an eloquent speech on the right of suffrage, and his uncouth appearance was entirely lost sight of by the wondering burgesses. He was elected a member of the Virginia Legislature in 1765. During that session he made his memorable speech in opposition to the Stamp Act, which I shall notice more particularly hereafter. Mr. Henry was admitted to the bar of the General Court in 1769. At that time he was again a resident of his native county; and from that period until the close of the Revolution he was connected with the House of Burgesses as a member, and as governor of the state. He was elected a delegate to the first Congress in 1774, and there, as we have seen, gave the first impulse to its business. In 1775, when Lord Dunmore seized and conveyed on board a British vessel of war a part of the powder in the provincial magazine at Williamsburg, Mr. Henry assembled the independent companies of Hanover and King William counties, and, boldly demanding its restoration or its equivalent in money, forced a compliance. He was chosen the first republican governor of Virginia, after the departure of Dunmore, in 1776, which office he held for several successive years. In the Virginia Convention of 1788, assembled to consider the Federal Constitution, Mr. Henry opposed its adoption with all his eloquence. In 1795, Washington nominated him as Secretary of State, but he declined the honor and trust. President Adams appointed him an envoy to France, with Ellsworth and Murray, in 1799, but his indisposition and advanced age caused him to decline that honor also. He died soon afterward at his seat at Red Hill, Charlotte county, on the 6th of June, 1799, aged nearly sixty-three. He had six children by his first wife, and nine by his second. He left his family rich. His widow married the late Judge Winston, and died in Halifax county in February, 1831.


In private life Mr. Henry was amiable and virtuous, and in public and private strictly temperate. He was never known to utter a profane expression, dishonoring the name of God. He was not a member of any church, yet he was a practical Christian, and a lover of the Bible.

Wirt, in his brilliant biography of the great orator, has given several illustrations of the power of his eloquence. I give one in conclusion. A Scotchman, named Hook, living in Campbell county, was suspected of being a Tory. On the occasion of the joint invasion of Cornwallis and Phillips, the American army was greatly distressed. A commissary, named Venable, took two of Mr. Hook’s steers, without his consent, to feed the starving soldiers. At the conclusion of the war, a lawyer, named Cowan, advised Hook to prosecute Venable for trespass, in the District Court of New London. Venable employed Patrick Henry.


The case was tried in the old court house in New London. Mr. Henry depicted the distress of the American soldiers in the most glowing colors, and then asked, where was the man, "who had an American heart, who would not have thrown open his fields, his barns, his cellars, the doors of his house, the portals of his breast, to have received with open arms the meanest soldier in that little band of famished patriots? Where is the man? There he stands; but whether the heart of an American beats in his bosom you, gentlemen, are to judge." "He then," says Wirt, "carried the jury, by the powers of his imagination, to the plains around York, the surrender of which had followed shortly after the act complained of. He depicted the surrender in the most glowing and noble colors of his eloquence. The audience saw before their eyes the humiliation and dejection of the British as they marched out of the trenches – they saw the triumph which lighted up every patriotic face, and heard the shouts of victory, and the cry of ‘Washington and Liberty,’ as it rung and echoed through the American ranks, and was reverberated from the hills and shores of the neighboring river – ‘but hark! what notes of discord are these which disturb the general joy, and silence the acclamations of victory? They are the notes of John Hook, hoarsely bawling through the American camp, beef! beef! beef!’

"The whole audience were convulsed. The clerk of the court, unable to contain himself, and unwilling to commit any breach of decorum in his place, rushed out of the court-house, and threw himself upon the grass, in the most violent paroxysm of laughter, where he was rolling when Hook, with very different feelings, came out for relief into the yard also. ‘Jemmy Steptoe,’ he said to the clerk, ‘what the divil ails ye, mon?’ Mr. Steptoe was only able to say that he could not help it. ‘Never mind ye,’ said Hook, ‘wait till Billy Cowan gets up; he’ll show him the la’!’ Mr. Cowan was so overwhelmed that he could scarcely utter a word. The jury instantly returned a verdict against Hook. The people were highly excited, and Hook was obliged to leave the county to avoid a coat of tar and feathers." – Wirt’s Life of Patrick Henry.

* This is from a picture in Howe’s Historical Collections of Virginia, p. 220. The house is upon a ridge, the dividing line of Campbell and Charlotte counties. "From the brow of the hill, west of the house," says Howe, the Blue Ridge, with the lofty peaks of Otter, appear in the horizon at the distance of nearly sixty miles." In a grove of locusts and other trees at the foot of the garden, are the graves of Governor Henry and his first wife. In the parlor of the house hangs the portrait, by Sully, of which the one given on the preceding page is a copy. The dress is black, cravat white, and a red velvet mantle is thrown over the shoulders. The sketch of the old court-house in New London is also from Howe’s valuable book, p. 212.

17 Another noble bridge spans the James River a short distance above, which was constructed for the passage of the Richmond and Petersburg rail-way. A third bridge has been erected since my visit there, which is referred to on page 227 {original text has "433".}.

18 Colonel William Byrd, whose widow owned Westover when Arnold landed there, was the son of Colonel William Byrd, once president of the Virginia Council, and one of the wealthiest and most accomplished gentlemen in the province. Like his father, he was an active public man. He was a commissioner to treat with the Indians in 1756, and accompanied Forbes in his expedition against Fort Duquesne in 1758. Being a gay spendthrift and a gambler, his immense wealth was much lessened at his death, and his affairs were left in great confusion.

19 Travels, ii., 163.

20 The Marquis de Chastellux gives an interesting account of his visit to Mr. Harrison, at his residence in Richmond, while he was governor of the state. He relates an anecdote of Mr. Harrison, which illustrates the confidence of the people in their delegates to the first Congress at Philadelphia. When he was on the point of leaving home, with Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Lee, a large number of the country people waited upon him, and said, "You assert that there is a fixed intention to invade our rights and privileges. We own that we do not see this clearly; but since you assure us it is so, we believe the fact. We are about to take a very dangerous step, but we confide in you, and are ready to support you in every measure you shall think proper to adopt." Shortly afterward appeared Lord North’s speech, clearly avowing his intentions toward the colonies. When Mr. Harrison returned home, at the close of the session, the same people came to him, with the assurance that they were now convinced that he had not deceived them, that their confidence was not misplaced, and that henceforth they were determined on war – Travels, ii., 159.

21 The style of this building is similar to that of Hanover court-house. It is constructed of imported brick, and was erected previous to that at Hanover. I could not discover the exact period when it was built. Among its records I found notices of courts held at Charles City as early as 1639.

22 William Henry Harrison and John Tyler were both born in that county, and there Thomas Jefferson was married.

23 I copied this signature from a letter written to the lady of General Gates in August, 1780.

24 Simcoe, in his journal, says "the night was very dark." Mr. Tyler informed me that his father, who was then at home, and witnessed a part of the affray, always declared that the sky was cloudless, and the moon in full orb.

25 This tavern, in which I lodged, was built about ten years before the skirmish which occurred within and around it. It is now occupied by Edmund F. Christian, Esq., the clerk of Charles City county when I visited it in 1848.

26 A man named Royston, whom Mr. Tyler well knew, was badly wounded in the affray. A pistol was discharged so near his head, that grains of powder sprinkled his face, and disfigured him for life. He was then struck down by a saber blow, and the troopers cruelly tried to make their horses trample him to death. The animals, more humane in action than their riders, leaped over him, and he was saved. He crawled to the residence of Mr. Tyler, where a colored nurse, the only inmate of the house, dressed his wounds and gave him food and drink. Mr. Tyler had moved his family to a place of safety, beyond the Chickahominy River.

27 This was the residence of Sir William Berkeley, one of the early governors of Virginia. It afterward belonged to Philip Ludwell, one of the king’s council, from whom it descended to William Lee, sheriff of London under the celebrated John Wilkes.

28 This view is from the north side of what was once a marsh, but now a deep bay, four hundred yards wide. On the left is seen the remains of a bridge, destroyed by a gale and high tide a few years ago; and beyond is the James River. Near the point of the island, toward the end of the bridge, are the remains of an ancient church, a near view of which is given upon the opposite page. Mr. Coke resided upon the island when the tempest occurred which destroyed the bridge. The island was submerged, and for three days himself and family were prisoners. It was in winter, and he was obliged to cut the branches of ornamental trees that were close to his house, for fuel.

I was gravely informed by a man on the beach, while making the sketch, that Pocahontas crossed at that very spot "in her skiff," when she went to warn the Jamestown settlers of threatened danger. The dear child had no need of a skiff, had such a thing existed in America, for I was told by Mr. Coke that his father-in-law well remembered when a marsh, so narrow and firm that a person might cross it upon a fence rail, was where the deep water at the ruined bridge now is. Every year the current of James River is changing its margins in this region, and within a few years Jamestown Island, made so only by a marsh on the land side, will have a navigable channel around it. Already a large portion of it, whereon the ancient town was erected, has been washed away; and I was informed that a cypress-tree, now many yards from the shore, stood at the end of a carriage-way to the wharf, sixty yards from the water’s edge, only sixteen years ago. The destructive flood is gradually approaching the old church tower, and if the hand of man shall not arrest its sure progress, that too will he swept away, and not a vestige of Jamestown will remain. Virginians, look to it, and let a wall of masonry along the river margin attest your reverence for the most interesting historical relic within your borders! Some remains of the old fort may be seen at low water, several yards from the shore.

29 This view is from the old church-yard, looking toward James River, a glimpse of which may he seen through the arches. The stream is here about three miles wide. It is uncertain at what precise time the church, of which now only a portion of the tower remains, was erected. It was probably built sometime between 1617 and 1620. According to Smith, a fire consumed a large portion of the town, with the palisades, at about the close of 1607, the first year of the settlement. Captain Smith and Mr. Scrivener were appointed commissioners to superintend the rebuilding of the town and church. Afterward, in speaking of the arrival of Governor Argall in 1617, he says, "In James towne he found but five or six houses, the church downe, the pallizados broken, the bridge in pieces, the well of fresh water spoiled, the store-house used for the church," &c. The tower here represented was doubtless that of the third church built, and is now (1852) about 234 years old. The tower is now about thirty feet high, the walls three feet thick, all of imported brick.

30 Wirt’s Letters of a British Spy, page 128.

31 The slab referred to was a blue stone about four inches thick. The roots of the sycamore were so firmly entwined around it that no church-yard thief could take it away. It bore the date of 1608. The remainder of the inscription was so broken and defaced that I could not decipher a name. This is probably the oldest tomb-stone extant in the United States. Vandalism has been at work in that old grave-yard as elsewhere. Almost every monument has a fragment broken from it. A small piece, with some letters upon it, had been recently broken from one, and was left lying in the grass. This I brought away with me, not, however, without a sense of being an "accessory after the fact" in an act of sacrilege.

32 The names of the vessels were Raleigh, Swallow, Hind, Delight, and Squirrel. The Raleigh went but a few leagues from Portsmouth, and returned.

33 Bancroft, i., 91.

34 This sketch is from a picture published in a Treatise on Navigation, in 1595.

35 It is believed that these returning colonists first carried the tobacco plant to England, as prepared by the natives for smoking. Raleigh first used it privately. It is related that when his servant entered his room with a tankard of ale, and for the first time saw the smoke issuing from his master’s mouth and nostrils, he cast the liquor in his face. Terribly frightened, he alarmed the household with the intelligence that Sir Walter was on fire.

36 The Island of Roanoke is now uninhabited, except by a few wreckers and pilots. Slight traces of Lane’s fort may be seen near the north end.

37 By command of Raleigh, Manteo was baptized, and invested by White with the rank of feudal Baron, as the Lord of Roanoke. It was the first creation of an American peer of the realm.

38 It is a coincidence worth noticing, that White was the name of the progenitors of the first two children born of English parents in America. One on the Island of Roanoke, in August, 1587; the other in the May Flower, in Plymouth harbor, more than thirty-three years afterward.

39 It was agreed, on the departure of White, that if the colony should go to Croatan, they would signify the fact by inscribing the letters C R O upon the bark of a tree. This inscription, and also the full name of Croatan, was found. White has been censured for heartlessness in not prosecuting his search with more perseverance, particularly as his own relatives were among the settlers. The colony was composed of eighty-nine men, seventeen women, and two children. What was their fate is left to conjecture. Lawson, in his Travels among the Indians, with a Description of North Carolina, published in 1700, hazards the opinion that the colonists intermarried with the Hatteras Indians, and cites the physical character of that tribe in support of his hypothesis. Such, too, was the tradition of the Indians at a late day.

40 Sir Walter Raleigh experienced the folly of "putting his trust in princes." For years after abandoning his schemes for colonization, he served his country nobly against its enemies. He also was sent by Queen Elizabeth on an expedition in search of gold, up the Oronoco, in South America. Once, because he married without the queen’s consent, she committed him to the Tower for a brief season. Finally, on the death of his royal mistress in 1602, and the accession of James l., he became the victim of a conspiracy. He was tried, and condemned for treason; and for fifteen years he remained in the Tower a prisoner, first under sentence of death, afterward under the merciful provision of a reprieve. During that long imprisonment he wrote his History of the World. On being released, he went on another expedition to Guiana; but it being unsuccessful, he was cast into prison on his return, and the royal scoundrel who occupied the throne of England allowed the decrepit old man, who had given more true luster to the crown than any living mortal, to be beheaded. He was then in the sixty-sixth year of his age.

41 Among these were Sir Thomas Gates; Sir George Summers; Sir John Popham, lord chief justice of England; Edward Maria Wingfield, a wealthy, sordid, and unprincipled merchant; Richard Hakluyt one of the assignees of Raleigh, who wrote an interesting collection of voyages, in three volumes; Robert Hunt, a clergyman; and Captain John Smith.

42 Chalmers, pages 15, 16.

43 Gosnold crossed the Atlantic in 1602, and, after a voyage of six weeks, saw land at the northern extremity of Massachusetts Bay. He sailed southward, and landed upon a promontory, which he called Cape Cod, on account of the great quantity of cod fish which abounded there. Pursuing his voyage along the coast, he discovered and named Elizabeth Islands, thirteen in number, Martha’s Vineyard, and others in the neighborhood of Buzzard’s Bay. After an absence of only four months, Gosnold returned to England.

44 John Smith was born at Willoughby, in Lincolnshire, England, in 1559. He was early distinguished for his daring spirit and love of adventure. At the age of thirteen, he sold his school-books and satchel to procure money to pay his way to the sea-board, for the purpose of going to sea. He was prevented, and was apprenticed to a merchant. He left home when he was fifteen years old, and went to France and the Low Countries. For two years he studied military tactics; and, at the age of seventeen, having procured a portion of an estate left by his father, went abroad seeking adventures. On a voyage from Marseilles to Naples, a storm arose, and the Roman Catholic crew believing the heretic, as they called Smith, to be a Jonah, they cast him into the sea to quiet the waters. He was a good swimmer, and reached the shore of a small island in the Mediterranean, called St. Mary’s. From St. Mary’s he went in a French vessel to Alexandria, in Egypt. He soon went from thence to Italy, and then to Austria, where he entered the imperial army, and, by his daring exploits at the siege of Olympach, was rewarded by the command of a troop of horse. These obtained the name of the "Fiery Dragoons," in the war against the Turks. At the siege of Regall, a Turkish officer, the Lord Turbishaw, "to amuse the ladies," offered to engage in single combat with any Christian soldier. The lot fell upon Smith; and, in the sight of both armies, he cut off the head of Turbishaw, and carried it in triumph to the Austrian camp. He fought two other champions, Grualgo and Mulgro, with the same result. In a subsequent battle Smith was wounded, captured, and sold to a pacha. This dignitary sent him to Constantinople, as a present to a damsel whom he loved. She, in turn, loved Smith, and to place him in safety, sent him to her brother. There, however, Smith was cruelly treated. He beat out the brains of the tyrant, and escaped to Muscovy, and finally reached Austria. He went with a French captain to Morocco and the Canaries, encountered a sea-fight with the Spaniards, and returned to his native country. His restless spirit made him yearn for adventures in the New World. Here, after many great exploits, and the endurance of many hardships, he planted the Virginia colony on a firm basis, and returned to England. He died in London in 1631, at the age of 72.

45 Among the positive instructions of the London Company, was an injunction for the colonists to endeavor to find a passage to the South Sea, or, in other words, to the East Indies, by a northwest passage, the object of the polar expeditions of the present day. For this purpose, they were instructed to explore every considerable stream that came from the northward; and hence we find Smith (who did not share in the geographical ignorance of his employers, but was willing to engage in discoveries) exploring the James, Chickahominy, York, and Potomac Rivers. The wily Indian mentioned on page 243 as having invented the wonderful story of a gold region at the head of the Roanoke, informed Lane that the source of that river was among high rocks so near the ocean on the west, that the salt water would sometimes dash over into the clear fountains of the stream!

46 Smith showed them a pocket compass, and explained its properties, and the shape of the earth; how "the sun, and the moon, and the stars chased each other." They were astonished, and regarded him with awe. They made him offers of "life, liberty, land, and women," if he would tell them how to obtain possession of Jamestown. They also obtained some of his powder. Smith made them waste it (for they had been made acquainted with its use) by letting them sow it as seed and raise a crop for themselves. In various ways he outwitted them, and so perfectly retained his self-possession that they regarded him with great respect.

47 Werowocomoco, the scene of Smith’s salvation by Pocahontas, was upon the north side of the York River, in Gloucester county, about twenty-five miles below the junction of the Pamunkey and Mattapony Rivers, which form the broad and navigable York. According to Charles Campbell, Esq., of Petersburg, Virginia, who has carefully examined the matter, Shelly, the seat of Mrs. Mann Page, nearly opposite the mouth of Queen’s Creek, is the site of Werowocomoco. Carter’s Creek, emptying into the York at Shelly, afforded a safe harbor for canoes. Such was also the opinion of Governor Page, whose plantation (Rosewell) adjoined that of Shelly. The enormous beds of oyster shells (on account of which Governor Page named the place Shelly) at this point indicate that it was once a place of great resort by the natives.

48 Pocahontas was a girl "of ten or twelve" years of age when she saved the life of Captain Smith. Two years afterward, when not over fourteen years old, she went from her father’s camp, on a dark and stormy night, to Jamestown, and informed Smith of a conspiracy among the Indians to destroy the settlers. This timely interposition saved them. While Smith remained in the colony, she was a welcome visitor at Jamestown, and often bore messages between the white men and her kindred. In 1612, after Smith had returned to England, she was treacherously betrayed, for the bribe of a copper kettle, into the hands of Captain Argall, and by him kept as a prisoner, in order to secure advantageous terms of peace with Powhatan. The Indian king offered five hundred bushels of corn for her ransom; but, before her release was effected, a mutual attachment had sprung up between her and John Rolfe, a young Englishman of good family. With the consent of her father she received Christian baptism, and was married to Rolfe. The former ceremony is the subject of a beautiful painting by John G. Chapman, Esq., which graces one of the panels of the Rotunda of the Capitol at Washington.

Pocahontas accompanied her husband to England in 1616, where she was received at court with the distinction of a princess. The bigoted King James was highly indignant because one of his subjects had dared to marry into a royal family, and absurdly apprehended that, because Rolfe had married an Indian princess, he might lay claim to the crown of Virginia! It is said that Pocahontas was much afflicted because Smith, fearing the royal displeasure, would not allow a king’s daughter to call him father, her usual endearing name when addressing him. She remained in England about a year; and when on the point of returning to America, with her husband, in 1617, she sickened and died at Gravesend. The Lady Rebecca (for so she was called in England) had many and sincere mourners. She left one son, Thomas Rolfe, who afterward became a distinguished man in Virginia. He left an only daughter, and from her some of the leading families of Virginia trace their descent. Among these were the Bollings, Hemmings, Murrays, Guys, Eldridges, and Randolphs. The late John Randolph, of Roanoke, was a descendant of the Indian princess. Her portrait here given is from a painting made in England, while she was there. Her costume shows the style of a fashionable dress of that day.

49 The new charter extended the limits of the colony, and transferred to the Company the power which had before been reserved to the king. The council in England, formerly appointed by the king, was now to have its vacancies filled by the votes of a majority of the corporation. This council was authorized to appoint a governor, and to delegate to him almost absolute power, even in cases capital and criminal, as well as civil. They could give him power to declare martial law at his discretion; and thus the lives, liberties, and fortunes of the colonists were placed at the will of a single man.

50 I have noticed the efforts of Smith to establish a permanent settlement at Powhatan, near Richmond. While returning from that place down the James River, his powder-bag accidentally exploded and almost killed him. He was dreadfully lacerated, and so acute was the pain, that he threw himself into the river for alleviation. He was recovered when nearly drowned.

51 Bancroft, i., 138

52 Argall, as we have noticed, obtained possession of Pocahontas, and made her his prisoner, in 1612. The same year he sailed with his fleet to the coast of Maine, to protect the English fisheries. He broke up a French colony near the Penobscot, and sent some of the people to France and some to Virginia. He also broke up a French settlement at Port Royal, and made the conquest of Acadia. On his return voyage to Virginia, it is said, he entered the Bay of New York, and compelled the little Dutch trading settlement there to acknowledge the supremacy of England. An error, probably – See Brodhead’s History of New York, Appendix.

53 On the 20th of August in this year, a Dutch man-of-war entered the James River, and landed twenty negroes for sale. Almost simultaneously with the birth of civil liberty in Virginia, by the concession of the representative system, and the tacit acknowledgment of the universal right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the system of human bondage, which has ever weighed upon our national energies, and tarnished our national character, was introduced. Englishmen have attempted to cast off the stain from themselves by alleging that the traffickers from a foreign country first brought the negroes here. Had not Englishmen become the willing purchasers, the slave-trade and its system would never have been known in this country.

54 Powhatan died in 1618, and his younger brother, Opechancanough, heired his power, but not his friendly influence favorable to the English. He always harbored a secret aversion to the white men. Only a few days before the massacre, he declared "that sooner the skies would fall than his friendship with the English be dissolved."

55 Exaggerated reports went to England. Smith, in his Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters, stated the number of killed at 5000. Berkeley rated it at 2000. Edward Waterhouse transmitted to the Company a statement containing the names of every victim. The number was 347. – Declaration of the State of the Colony, &c., pages 14-21.

56 In his efforts to obtain the control of the tobacco trade, by becoming himself the sole purchaser of the crop, the king unconsciously recognized the legality of the Virginia Assembly. In a letter to the governor and council, written in June, 1628, he offered to contract for the whole crop of tobacco, and expressed a desire that an assembly might be convened to consider his proposal. "This is the first recognition," says Bancroft (i., 196), "on the part of a Stuart of a representative assembly in America." James permitted it, but did not expressly sanction it

57 In 1648, the number of colonists was twenty thousand. "The cottages were filled with children, as the ports were with ships and emigrants." Ten ships from London, two from Bristol, twelve from Holland, and seven from New England, were trading in Virginia at Christmas of that year. – Mass. Hist. Coll., ix., 118.

58 Necotowance, the successor of Opechancanough, was forced to acknowledge that he held his kingdom of the crown of England. It was agreed that the Indians should remove to the north side of the York and Pamunkey Rivers; and they ceded to the white men all the lands from the Falls of the James River, at Richmond, between the two rivers, to the Bay forever. Thus were the natives driven from their beautiful land – the most beautiful in all Virginia – leaving few traces of their existence behind.

59 An ordinance was passed on the 3d of October, 1650, empowering the Council of State to reduce the rebellious colonies to obedience, and, at the same time, establish it as a law, that foreign ships should not trade in any of the ports in Barbadoes, Antiguas, Bermudas, and Virginia.

60 Sir William Berkeley was of an ancient family near London. He was educated at Oxford, and admitted Master of Arts in 1629. The next year he traveled extensively in Europe, and became a model of an elegant courtier and cavalier. He succeeded Sir Francis Wyatt as governor of Virginia in 1641, and held that post most of the time during the civil wars in England, and until the restoration of monarchy in 1660. He exhibited shrewdness as well as courage when the fleet of Parliament, sent to subdue the loyal colony of Virginia, appeared in the James River; and, by good management, both parties were satisfied. Cromwell appointed "worthy Samuel Mathews" governor, and, at his death, Berkeley was elected governor by the people. His obsequious deference to royalty offended the independent Virginians, and his popularity declined. His obstinacy in refusing compliance with the expressed wishes of the inhabitants that Nathaniel Bacon might lead an expedition against the Indians, further alienated the affections of his people. He became irritable and revengeful; and when juries refused to aid his projects of vengeance against those who followed Bacon, he resorted to martial law, and fines, confiscations, and executions ensued. In view of this conduct Charles II. remarked, "The old fool has taken more lives in that naked country than I have taken for the murder of my father."

Berkeley returned to England, after an administration of nearly forty years, and died soon after his arrival. He was buried at Twickenham, July 13, 1677. He was possessed of quite liberal views in respect to government, but these were often hidden or perverted by his cringing loyalty. In his reply to commissioners sent in 1671 to inquire into the state of the colony, he said, "Thank God, there are no free schools nor printing-press, 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 these and libels against the best government." In this last sentence the old bigot courtier uttered one of the most glorious truths which the march of progress has practically developed. Tyranny always fears enlightenment. Napoleon said he was in more dread of one free printing-press than a hundred thousand Austrian bayonets.

61 Berkeley proclaimed Charles the Second king of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Virginia. Charles was therefore made king in Virginia, by the supreme authorities of the colony, before he actually became so in England. Already, when they were informed that Parliament was about to send a fleet to reduce them to submission, the Virginians sent, in a small ship, a messenger to Charles, at Breda, in Flanders, to invite him to come over and be King of Virginia. He was on the point of sailing, when he was called to the throne of his father. In gratitude to Virginia, he caused the arms of that province to be quartered with those of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as an independent member of the empire. From this circumstance Virginia received the name of The Old Dominion. Coins with these quarterings were made as late as 1773.

62 The colonial system of all kingdoms has uniformly been to make the industry of colonists tributary to the aggrandizement of the parent country. The Navigation Act, which down to the time of our Revolution, was a fruitful source of complaint, was now rigorously applied, and new and more stringent provisions added to it. Under it, no commodities could be imported into any British settlement, nor exported from them, except in English vessels; and tobacco, turpentine, and other principal commodities of the colonies, could be shipped to no country except England. The trade between the colonies was also taxed for the benefit of the imperial treasury, and in various other ways the colonies were made dependent on the mother country.

63 He gave away to Lord Culpepper and the Earl of Arlington, two of his favorites, "all the dominion of land and water called Virginia," for the space of thirty-one years. Culpepper became governor in 1680.

64 Nathaniel Bacon was a native of Suffolk. He was educated for the legal profession in London. He went to Virginia, where his high character for virtue and integrity soon procured him a seat in the council. He purchased a plantation not far from the present city of Richmond. Handsome in person, eloquent in speech, and thoroughly accomplished, he acquired great popularity; and when he proposed to lead the young men of the settlement against the murderous Indians, he had many adherents. In defiance of the wrath of the jealous Berkeley, he headed an expedition. The governor proclaimed him a traitor, and his followers rebels. Bacon was successfully beating back the Indians on one side, and the governor’s adherents on the other, when death, from a severe disease, closed his career. Had he lived to complete what he had begun, his memory would have been cherished as a patriot, instead of being clouded with the stigma of the insurgent. He died at the house of Dr. Green, in Gloucester county, October 1, 1676.

65 Bancroft, ii., 222.

66 This was the first time that English troops were sent to America to suppress republicanism. The same determined spirit prevailed which, a century later, made all the Anglo-American colonies lift the arm of defiance against the armies and navies of Great Britain, when sent here "to burn our towns, ravage our coasts, and eat out the substance of the people."

67 Among those who suffered were Colonel Hansford; Captains Carver, Farlow, and Wilford; Major Cheeseman; William Drummond (former governor of Carolina), and Colonel Richard Lawrence. Colonel Hansford was the first native of Virginia who died on the gallows, and he has been justly termed the first martyr to American liberty. This civil war cost the colony a quarter of a million of dollars.

68 Afraid of popular enlightenment, Berkeley would not allow a printing-press in Virginia. To speak ill of him, or any of his friends, was punished as a crime by whipping, or a fine; to speak, write, or publish any thing in mitigation or favor of the rebellion or rebels, was made a misdemeanor, and, if thrice repeated, was evidence of treason. – Henning’s Statutes of Virginia, ii., 385.

69 Berkeley was much censured in England, and those censures affected him greatly. His brother, Lord Berkeley, declared that the unfavorable report of the commissioners caused the death of Sir William.



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