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Letter of Mr. Whittaker to his cousin, the Minister of Black-Friars Bridge, London, declaring the pious character of Sir Thomas Dale, and confirming the fact of the baptism of Pocahontas before her marriage. Taken from Mr. Humor's book.
To my verie deere and loving cosen M. G. Minister of the B. F. in London.
Sir the colony here is much better. Sir Thomas Dale our religious and valient Governour, hath now brought that to passe which never before could be effected. For by warre upon our enemies, and kind usage of our friends, he hath brought them to seek for peace of us which is made, and they dare not breake. But that which is best, one Pocahuntas or Matoa the daughter of Powhatan is married to an honest and descreete English Gentleman, Maister Rolfe, and that after she had openly renounced her countrey Idolatry, confessed the faith of Jesus Christ, and was baptized; which thing Sir Thomas Dale had laboured a long time to ground in her.
Yet notwithstanding, are the vertuous deeds of this worthy Knight, much debased, by the letters some wicked men have written from hence, and especially by one C. L. If you heare any condemne this noble Knight, or doe feare to come hither for those slanderous letters, you may upon my word bouldly reprove them. You know that no malefactors can abide the face of the Judge, but themselves scorning to be reproved, doe prosecute withal hatred, all those that labour their emendment. I marvaile much that any men of honest life, should feare the sword of the magistrate, which is unsheathed onely in their defence.
Sir Thomas Dale (with whom I am) is a man of great knowledge in Divinity, and of a good conscience in all his doings: both which bee rare in a martial man. Every Sabbath day we preach in the forenoone, and chatechize in the afternoone. Every Saturday at night I exercise in Sir Thomas Dales house. Our church affairs bee consulted on by the minister, and foure of the most religious men. Once every month wee have a communion, and once a yeer a solemn Fast. For me, though my promis of 3 years service to my country be expired, yet I will abide in my vocation bere untill I be lawfully called from hence. And so, betaking us all unto the mercies of God in Christ Jesus, I rest for ever
VIRGINIA, June 18, 1614.
Your most deere and
THE BROKENBROUGH AND FAUNTLEROY FAMILIES.
[AFTER supposing that my work was done, a box of papers has beer sent me by a friend,* from which, and a brief notice by himself, I have drawn the following particulars concerning some members of the abovementioned families.]
Colonel William Brokenbrough, the first of the name in Virginia of whom we have any information, settled in Richmond county and married a Miss Fauntleroy. The Rev. Mr. Giberne married her sister. The sons of Colonel Brokenbrough were Austin, who married a Miss Champe, daughter of Colonel Champe, of King George. The children of Austin Brokenbrough were Champe, who married a Miss Bowie, of Port Royal, and left no sons. His surviving daughters are Mrs. Thornton, Mrs. Peyton, and Mrs. George Fitzhugh, of Port Royal. The other son of Austin Fitzhugh was John, who became an Episcopal clergyman,—a learned, amiable, but somewhat eccentric man. He left one son,-Austin, -who married a daughter of the late General Brown, of the United States Army. The daughters of the first Austin Brokenbrough were Lucy, who married a Mr. Alexander, of King George, and, at his death, a Captain Quarles, of Orange; Elizabeth, who married the Rev. James Elliott; Jane, who married Mr. Thomas Pratt, of King George, and was the mother of Mrs. William and Benjamin Grymes and Mrs. Dangerfield Lewis, of King George. At the death of Mr. Pratt, Jane married Mr. Taliafero, of Blenheim. Newman Brokenbrough, the second son of Colonel William Brokenbrough, left no children. More, the third son, was the father of the late Colonel William Brokenbrough, of Richmond county. John, the remaining son, was the father of the late Judge William Brokenbrough, of the Court of Appeals, Dr. John Brokenbrough, of Richmond, President of the Bank of Virginia, Thomas Brokenbrough, also of Richmond, Arthur Brokenbrough, of the University of Virginia, and of Dr. Austin Brokenbrough, of Tappahannock.
The first Austin Brokenbrough, son of Colonel William, was a man of no little notoriety in Virginia. He was in the English army with Washington, under General Braddock, but took a very different view of his obligation to the Crown from General Washington. He, like some of the old clergy, thought that he was perpetually bound by his oath of allegiance to the King. He wished, however, to remain in America, as he had a father, brother, children, and property here. He was willing to be passive and obey our laws, but could not unite in what he considered re
* Mr. George Fitzhugh, of Port Royal.
bellion. This, however, did not suit the times and Virginia, especially the Northern Neck. In the year 1775, he sent in a petition to the Assembly, asking leave to remain in Virginia on the terms above mentioned, which was rejected. Nor only this, but not less than five companies of men from Richmond, Caroline, and Westmoreland counties came to his house, determined on some signal punishment, if not the taking of his life, which he avoided by flying to England in a vessel about to sail from Hobbs's Hole. His father and brother, though respecting his motives for adhering to the Crown, joined themselves to the American party. I have had access to a diary kept by this Austin Brokenbrough from the time he set sail in 1775 to the time of his return at the close of the war, and also to letters of the family. Although the diary is much mutilated, enough remains to enable us to form a just estimate of his character and a correct view of himself and companions in England during the war. Some of them had been officers in the army with him, but most of them were gentlemen from Virginia who sympathized with him. From his diary it would seem that they had a merry time of it while in England, especially in London, their chief place of rendezvous. But, in order to relieve the tedium of such a state of idleness and suspense, the American loyalists determined to form themselves into a company and offer their services to the King in case of a threatened invasion from France. When the time for electing officers arrived, a Lord Pepperell and John Randolph of Virginia, brother of Speaker Randolph, were the candidates for the captaincy. The former gained it by two votes. Major Grymes, who married Mr. Randolph's daughter, was made ensign of the company. The King most graciously accepted their offer. There was, however, no need of their services. Mr. Randolph, it is said, died of a broken heart, and made it his last request that his remains should be brought back to Williamsburg and deposited in the College chapel, which request was granted. Mr. Grymes also returned to Virginia. While in London the American loyalists seem to have had a merry time of it, dining and supping together at various inns, and having more private lodgings.. Those who approved their principles and conduct were not wanting in hospitality to them,-especially Lord Dunmore, who either lived in London or was often there. Among those who consorted together I find the names not only of Randolph, Grymes, and Brokenbrough, but of Corbin, Beverley, Maury, Brackenridge, Kirkpatrick, Wormley, Madison, Burnley, Marshall, Norton, Gilmore, Innis, Steuart, Walker, Williamson, Richardson, Fitch, Rhoan, Delany, Loyd, Stephenson. All of them appear to have been Americans,-most of them Virginians. Whether they were all disaffected to the American cause, or whether other considerations may not have carried them thither, I know not. Mr. Brokenbrough seems to nave been intimate with them all.
Time seems to have hung heavy on Mr. Brokenbrough's hands. He appears to have been more temperate than some of his companions, either
English or American, and more chaste in his speech, for he expresses himself quite shocked at some things in his intercourse with them; yet he speaks of taking two dinners at different taverns with one of them in the same day, and again two suppers the same night, and being quite drunk, with all the rest of his company, on one occasion. The manners and morals of London must have been very bad at that time. Mr. Brokenbrough exhibits a very varied character in his diary. At one time we have a humorous parody on a passage in Shakspeare; then one of Addison's hymns is copied into it. Now he visits the King's Chapel in the morning, dines with a friend, and, "after bottle, goes to St. Thomas's." Now he is in other churches, and speaks in praise of the sermons, and now at different theatres, and with a company of ladies at Vauxhall, all of whom, except the young ladies, drank too freely and were vociferous.
While in Glasgow he heard the celebrated Dr. Robertson, the historian, preach, and represents his delivery as the most inanimate and uninteresting, though his style was good and some sentences striking. Much of his time while in London was spent in hearing the debates in Parliament, especially those on American affairs. He was present when Lord Chatham delivered his last speech and fainted and was carried home. His account of it is quite good. After spending seven years in this manner, he becomes very desirous to return to Virginia. During his absence his father and youngest son died, and his property was wasting away through mismanagement and was in danger of confiscation. In the year 1782 he came over, and we find him in a vessel at Boyd's Hole, but is advised by his brother not to venture farther. After this he is in Charleston, S.C. At what time he actually resettled himself in Virginia does not appear. While at Boyd's Hole, on board the "Flag," he addresses a long letter to Mrs. Tayloe, of Mount Airy, whose husband died during the war. The letter is in reply to inquiries concerning some friends and relatives in England. An extract from it will be interesting to some of my readers.
"DEAR MADAM:-I received your favour by my brother, and should not have delayed returning my thanks for your kindness to my family and benevolent wishes to myself had it not been that I am under severe restrictions in a very small cabin. I lament the unhappy state of my native country and the causes which separated me from my family, and nothing is left for me but to be humbly content. It gives me pleasure that good people and those I respect sympathize with me. The prayers of such will, I hope, fly up to heaven. My prayers-God help me!-for seven long years have availed nothing; yet I shall still most cordially join them that Great Britain and America may be again cemented by mutual interests and that an honourable peace may soon take place. Should it be otherwise, I hope the din of war will never approach so near to Mount Airy as to produce the least disquietude or in any manner disturb your repose. May your son be a great comfort to you! I am told he very much
resembles your papa, and I most sincerely wish that he may emulate his good qualities and eminent virtues. To surpass them can scarcely be expected,—that so rarely falling to the lot of man. I cannot, dear madam, help being highly interested in the welfare of a youth whose father always took pleasure in rendering my family his best services,* and laid me under particular obligation, and gave the most lively instances of generosity and humanity, unsolicited, at a time when party prejudices ran high and sorely against me, and in the moment when I was reduced to the most lamentable and critical situation that man could be driven into."
It seems that Colonel Tayloe, though on the American side, had gone as far as he could in behalf of Mr. Brokenbrough, and then warned him of his danger. The brothers of Mr. Brokenbrough were decidedly American, as is seen by their letters. The following extract from one of Mr. Newman Brokenbrough's shows that he took a religious view of the war:
"The direful scene of war now carried on by Britain upon this continent is truly melancholy. No man could have thought that Englishmen and Christians could have so far degenerated from humanity as to be guilty of such barbarity as is acted upon the people of this continent. The most savage race in any age of the world would blush at it. How. ever it may not be thought, on your side of the water, to be more severe than the nature of the offence deserves, yet I would beg leave to observe that people are never the sooner convinced of error by such measures, and that it rather incites them to revenge than deters them from war. Upon reflection we may plainly discover the cause of such calamity. The wickedness and impiety of the present profligate age requires an iron rod for chastisement. You are now in a country where iniquity abounds, and if you won't be wilfully blind you may discover the great degeneracy of the British nation from their ancient purity."
Mr. Austin Brokenbrough in his diary mentions one instance of this which shocks him,-viz.: the fact that the English Government sought, through Governor Johnson, of New York, to bribe some of the members of the American Congress. There was a nobleness of soul in him which revolted at this.
To the above gleanings from the fragments which have been sent me, I must add something concerning one member of this family from personal knowledge. With Dr. John Brokenbrough, of Richmond, President of the Bank of Virginia, I was long and intimately acquainted. His house was my home during many years whenever I visited Richmond, and we freely corresponded at other times. A more amiable man is not easily found. He took an active part in the building of the Monumental Church, and was during Bishop Moore's life the vestryman to whom he referred most frequently for council. And yet he was for a long time
* Colonel William Brokenbrough was a ward of Colonel Tayloe.