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While all profits of trade and land were to form the interest on the capital sunk, real estate was ultimately to be held under the laws of England, but for the first five years the land was to remain undivided. A system of communism was to be established. Houses were to be built, cattle, seed and implements purchased by the company's funds, and they were to be the company's property. The company
undertook to provide food for the settlers—who were to have all things common. All the proceeds of labour and of trade were to go into the common stock. At the end of five years there was to be a division of lands and goods.
For every share of £12 10s. the adventurers—whether they remained in England or went to the colony were ultimately to have one hundred acres of land ; and another hundred acres when the first lot was brought under cultivation. Every settler who paid his passage money was also to have one hundred acres; and he was to have one hundred acres for every person whom he carried with him and for whose passage he paid.
The supreme control of the affairs of both company and colony was vested in a council in England which was to consist of thirteen persons, nominated—not by the shareholders—but by the King and removable at his pleasure.
The local affairs were under a council in the colony, nominated by the council in England, with power of veto of any appointment reserved to the King.
It is obvious that, although the charter declared that the colonists were to have all the rights of Englishmen, the principle of self-government was by this constitution absolutely ignored.
The local council, besides possessing extensive police powers, was specially charged with the duty of providing that “the true word and service of God, according to the rites and service of the Church of England, be preached, planted and used in the colony and among the neighbouring savages.”
For a long while the colony had a miserable history. The first emigrants were in large part “gentlemen," that is men who knew nothing of the kind of work necessary in a new colony. Within four months, four months of quarrelling, half of the original settlers were dead. Fortunately the authority of the council practically came into the hands of John Smith: it is an unheroic name, but he was a man of true heroic temper, and he managed for awhile to stave off disaster. This disaster was rendered inevitable by the men who were sent out. Two years after his appointment came out 120 new settlers, "vagabond gentlemen,” with three or four bankrupt London Jewellers, etc., sent out to seek for mines. A year or so later followed another wretched set of poor profligate gentlemen and broken down tradesmen.
The paper then deals with the stock jobbing operations of which the company became the centre in London and with the change in constitution which followed in consequence of the failure of the colony, a change which gave no liberty to the settlers, but merely abolished the local council, putting all executive and judicial power into the hands of a governor appointed by the home council.
Smith having been disabled by a wound, the affairs of the colony, in a desperate state, were handed over to Sir Thomas Dale, who at once set about a root and branch reformation. His regulations were most searching and vigorous. Police, Religion, public and private life, labour, trade, everything fell under his code. The following examples will serve to illustrate its nature. The captain of each district was to see that every man went to his work at the beat of drum, and, when the day's work was over, the drum was to be beat again and the captain was to bring them to evening prayers. Again, for absence from morning or evening prayers on working days a man or woman lost a day's rations for the first offence, for the second offence the penalty was whipping, for the third six months at the galleys : while for the third absence on the Sabbath the penalty was death.
To wash dirty linen in the open street or to throw dirty water out of the washing tubs into the street was a crime to be punished with whipping. False weights in bread caused the offender to lose his cars for the first offence, and so forth.
Under Sir T. Dale the communistic organization of the colony was broken up. He assigned to every freeman three acres of land, requiring him however to work for three months for the common stock and to contribute also to the common stock three bushels of Indian corn. Soon the English doctrine of no taxation without representation asserted itself and the Colonists began to declare that without the consent of their delegates to the general assembly constituted by the company no tax could be levied on them by the Home Government and therein lay the germs of American Revolution.
At this time the Church of England was regularly established in the Colony, parishes laid out, endowments created by voluntary contributions, and a tax laid on the parishoners for the support of the clergy.
A great advance in independence was made in 1628 when the King, desirous of contracting for the whole crop of tobacco raised in Virginia decided that an assembly should be convened to consider his proposal. It was convened and it rejected the offer. Under the commonwealth the assembly was empowered to elect the Governor.
The origin and early history of the colony explain the spirit and temper which it has exhibited in later times. It was a monarchical and an aristocratic colony. The early settlers were enthusiastic loyalists, many of them being of aristocratic birth. Again the one crop which prospered in Virginia was tobacco. But tobacco is a crop on which hired service and slave labour can be profitably employed. The gaol birds of England and negroes from Africa were imported for the purpose. Thus there grew up in Virginia a considerable class of large proprietors owning enormous estates, and living in great luxury. Among such the aristocratic spirit grew strong. The opposite conditions existed in the Puritan colonies of New England. Virginia, again, was episcopalian and therefore stood for the King and the ancient institutions. New England was Puritan and for the Parliament.
Lastly: after the breaking up of the communistic system the lands in Virginia were granted to individual proprietors who settled in unoccupied districts often very remote from each other; and who, therefore, were unchecked by habitual contact with their equals. In New England it was required that all settlements should be in villages and townships—within reach of the parish school and the parish church; and the municipal organization, so favourable to the developement of the spirit of equality was perfect and regularly worked.
THE INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY
BY HOWARD S. PEARSON.
March 2nd, 1881.
It would be difficult to over estimate the interest which attaches to the subject of my paper. If the smallest scrap of archæology or of history becomes precious when it can be locally connected with our own special corner of the world, how great must be the interest with which we must regard the local effect of an event so pregnant with importance as the introduction of Christianity into our district. But unfortunately the information which we possess upon this particular subject bears no proportion to the interest which we naturally feel in it, and the time has long since gone by, during which it would have been possible by research to have made any material or trustworthy addition to the slender stock of our knowledge. Nothing is therefore open to me beyond the modest task of presenting the little that is known to us in an orderly and consecutive form; and by availing myself of such indirect help as the known characteristics of the peoples concerned, and the circumstances of their time may afford,—to draw such inferences as may be recommended by their intrinsic probabilities, and lie but little open to the likelihood of error.
As may readily be supposed, the authorities now extant are few in number and brief in detail. They may be said to consist of the Ecclesiastical History of England by Beda, or Bede, deservedly known as the “Venerable Bede”;-of such portions of the “ Anglo Saxon Chronicle” as concern our present enquiry ;-and of the Chronicle of the Mercian monk Florentius, commonly known as Florence of Worcester. These may fortunately be described as, in