A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Once more the Virginians
renewed the war of extermination, and pressed it mercilessly until the
Indians sued for peace, gave a large tract of land to their conquerors,
and retired still further into the wilderness. It is worth noting that
at the time of this last massacre Opechankano was nearly a hundred years
old.


BACON'S REBELLION.

Sir William Berkeley was the most bigoted ruler Virginia ever had. In
one of his messages, he thanked God that there were no free schools or
printing in his province. He was very tyrannous, and, having friends in
the assembly, they prevented the election of any new members from 1666
to 1676. The taxes became intolerable, and trade fell into the hands of
a few individuals. Not only that, but the governor disbanded the troops
which had gathered for protection against the Indians, who renewed their
attacks on the exposed plantations.

This was more than the people could stand, and they rose in rebellion
under the leadership of Nathaniel Bacon, a popular young planter, who
had lost several members of his family through the attacks of the
Indians. Berkeley was cowed for a time, but the arrival of some ships
from England enabled him to take the field against Bacon. During the
civil war, Jamestown was burned to the ground and never rebuilt. Bacon
pressed his resistance so vigorously that his success seemed certain,
when unfortunately he fell ill and died. Left without a leader, the
rebellion crumbled to pieces. The exultant Berkeley punished the
leading rebels without mercy. He hanged twenty-two, and was so ferocious
that the king lost patience and ordered him to return to England. "The
old fool!" he exclaimed; "he has taken away more lives in that naked
country than I did for the murder of my father."


PROSPERITY OF THE COLONY.

Colonial Virginia underwent several changes in its form of government. A
"Great Charter" was granted to it in 1613 by the London Company. This
permitted the settlers to make their own laws. The House of Burgesses,
which was called together at Jamestown by Governor Yeardley, July 30,
1619, was the first legislative body that ever met in this country. King
James was dissatisfied with the tendency of things, and in 1624 he took
away the charter and granted a new one, which allowed the colony to
elect the members of the House of Burgesses, while the king appointed
the council and their governor. This made Virginia a royal province,
which she remained until the Revolution.

[Illustration: ARMOR WORN BY THE PILGRIMS IN 1620.]

Virginia became very prosperous. Immense quantities of tobacco were
raised and sent to England and Holland, where it became widely popular.
Its cultivation was so profitable in the colony that for a time little
else was cultivated. It was planted even along the streets of Jamestown
and became the money of the province. Everything was paid for in so many
pounds of tobacco. The population steadily increased, and in 1715 was
95,000, which was the same as that of Massachusetts. A half-century
later, Virginia was the richest and most important of the thirteen
colonies. The people lived mostly on large plantations, for land was
plentiful and the Indians gave no further trouble. Most of the
inhabitants were members of the Church of England, and their assemblies
passed severe laws against the entrance of people of other religious
beliefs into the colony. It required the furnace blasts of the
Revolution to purify Virginia and some other provinces of this spirit of
intolerance.

Education was neglected or confined to the rich who could send their
children to England to be educated. Some of the early schools were
destroyed by Indians, but William and Mary College, founded in 1692, was
the second college in the United States. It was never a very strong
institution.


THE "OLD DOMINION."

It is worth recording how Virginia received the name of the "Old
Dominion." She remained loyal to Charles I. throughout the civil war in
England which ended in the beheading of the king. She was true also to
Charles II. when he was a fugitive and declared an outlaw. While in
exile, he sent Governor Berkeley his commission as Governor of Virginia,
and that ruler was immensely pleased. The king, to show his appreciation
of the loyalty of his colony, made public declaration that Virginia
added a fifth country to his kingdom, making it consist of England,
Scotland, France, Ireland, and Virginia, and he devised as an addition
to the motto of the English coat of arms, "_En dat Virginia quintam_"
("Lo! Virginia gives the fifth"). While Cromwell was turning things
topsy-turvy in England, a great many of the best families among the
Royalists emigrated to Virginia, where they were received with open arms
by Governor Berkeley and the owners of the plantations. From this arose
the name "Old Dominion," which is often applied to Virginia.


THE PILGRIMS AT PLYMOUTH.

During the early days of Virginia there was bitter persecution in
England of those whose religious views differed from the Church of
England. This cruelty drove many people to other countries, and because
of their wanderings they were called "Pilgrims." Those who remained
members of the English church and used their efforts to purify it of
what they believed to be loose and pernicious doctrines were nicknamed
"Puritans." Those who withdrew from the membership of the church were
termed "Separatists" or "Independents." This distinction is often
confounded by writers and readers.

One hundred and two Pilgrims, all Separatists, who had fled to Holland,
did not like the country, and decided to make their homes in the New
World, where they could worship God as their consciences dictated. They
sailed in the _Mayflower_, and, after a long and stormy passage, landed
at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 21, 1620, in the midst of a
blinding snowstorm.

The Pilgrims were hardy, industrious, and God-fearing, and were prepared
to face every kind of danger and suffering without murmur. They were
severely austere in their morals and conduct, and, when writhing in the
pangs of starvation, maintained their faith unshaken in the wisdom and
goodness of their Heavenly Father. All these admirable qualities were
needed during the awful winter, which was one of the severest ever known
in New England. They built log-houses, using oiled paper instead of
glass for the windows, and in the spring were able to buy corn of the
Indians, who pitied their sufferings, for in the space of a few weeks
one-half of the Pilgrims had died. At one time there were but seven well
persons in the colony. Among those who passed away was John Carver, the
first governor.

[Illustration: LANDING OF MYLES STANDISH.]

The survivors held their ground with grim heroism, and by-and-by other
immigrants arrived, and the growth and prosperity, though slow, was
certain. It had no charter, but was governed by an agreement which had
been drawn up and signed in the cabin of the _Mayflower_, about the time
the bleak coast of New England was sighted. For sixty years after the
settlement of Plymouth, its history was uneventful. It was never very
large, but the real work which it accomplished was in bringing
thousands of other colonists to follow it to New England, who were
opponents of the Established Church, and who gave to that section of our
country a distinctive character of its own.


MYLES STANDISH.

It is an interesting coincidence that while Virginia had her Captain
John Smith, Plymouth possessed a character quite similar in the person
of Captain Myles Standish. He was the military leader of the colony,
with a courage that was absolutely fearless. He has been described as a
very small man, with a "long, yellow beard," and a temper as inflammable
as gunpowder. Nothing would rouse his anger sooner than to hear any slur
upon his stature. A big, hulking Indian, belonging to a party much
larger than Standish's, once looked down upon the diminutive Englishman,
and, with a curl of his lip, referred to him as too small to fight. The
next day, in a fight that arose with the chiefs, Standish killed the
insulting Indian with his own knife. All readers are familiar with the
beautiful poem of Longfellow, which tells how Standish employed John
Alden to woo Priscilla, the "loveliest maid of Plymouth," for him, and
he did it with such success that Alden won her for himself.


MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony included the part of the present State of
Massachusetts from the neighborhood of Boston northward. It was founded
by Puritans, who, it will be remembered, had not separated wholly from
the Church of England, but opposed many of its ceremonies. In the civil
war with England they sided with the Parliament and were subjected to
the same persecution as the Separatists. In 1628 a number of wealthy
Puritans bought the territory from the Council of Plymouth, and,
receiving a charter the following year from Charles I., sent small
colonies across the Atlantic. Then the company itself followed, taking
with it the charter and officers, thus gaining a colony in America that
was wholly independent of England. Salem and some other small
settlements had previously been made.

The colony was one of the most important that ever settled in this
country. Its leaders were not only of the best character, but were
wealthy, wise, and far-seeing. A large number arrived in 1630, and
founded Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, and other towns. Although they suffered
many privations, they were not so harsh as those of Plymouth, and the
colony prospered. During the ten years succeeding 1630, 20,000 people
settled in Massachusetts, and in 1692 the two colonies united under the
name of Massachusetts.

It would seem that since these people had fled to America to escape
religious persecution, they would have been tolerant of the views of
those among them, but such unhappily was not the case. The most
important part of their work was the building of churches and the
establishment of religious instruction. The minister was the most
important man in the colony, and no one was allowed to vote unless a
member of the church.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.