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being, nor any others that might be built in the province of New York, could in the least avail in the defence or security of Virginia; for that either the French or the northern Indians, might invade the colony, and not come withịn a hundred miles of such fort."?
The failure of this great subject irritated the governor beyond expression; and excited in his mind the most inordinate antipathy to the assembly. He charged the conduct of the assembly to a spirit of rebellion, and inveighed against what he called its parsimony in the most unmeasured terms, offering to pay the quota of Virginia out of his own pocket, and boasting afterwards that he had done it, but at the same time, taking the obligation of the gentleman to whom he gave the bills, that no use should be made of them until the Queen should remit money to pay them. This affectation of gener. osity was designed to gain popularity with the other colonies.
The history of Virginia from this period to the breaking out of the war with France, presents a remarkable dearth of interesting or striking incident, all of which could be related would be a list of the governors, a detail of petty domestic affairs, a gradual extension and improvement of the colony, and a developement of the designs of France ; designs which were seen by some more penetrating spirits in the colonies, and measures recommended to defeat them, but which received no effectual check, until the war broke out in 1754.
We have now traced the progress of Virginia as far as it is possible to go with her affairs as an isolated province, cut off from all the world, and only struggling for existence at first with the savages, and afterwards for freedom with the mother country. She now becomes of importance in the political world, she emerges from obscurity and becomes a prize to be contended for by two of the richest and most powerful nations, upon earth. She herself begins to feel her strength, and dares to wrestle with the civilized nations of the world. She becomes one of a confederacy of colonies for the purpose of resisting the attacks of a foreign enemy, and finally to resist successfully the
power of the mother country itself, and then a leading member of a con federacy of independent nations. Our presumption and the necessity of the case have led us to attempt much more than will be forgiven, but cannot allure our feeble wing to essay a fight so daring as would be necessary to survey the broad field which now expands before us. We leave it rich, tempting and beautiful as it is, to be painted by some master whose skill will enable him to exhibit the grandeur and symmetry of the whole, and yet present upon the saine canvass a detail of each separate beauty. For ourselves, we cannot be so barba rous as to disfigure so magnificent a subject by daubing it over with the same wretched colors, which we have laid on the preceding piece, in such extreme haste that we fear it will be difficult to distinguish the characters or design. For the rest our readers must be content with a very brief and general outline of the progress of affairs presented in the following:
Sketch of Virginia, history from the beginning of the French war to the
beginning of the Revolution.
After the accidental failure of De Callier's design upon New York, the
French governors in possession of Canada and Louisiana, endeavored to strengthen themselves by uniting as far as possible their respective provin. ces. With this view, acting in concert they made no direct attacks, but continued to extend their forts and strengthen their power by alliances with the wild Indian tribes located between them; thus at once endeavoring to connect their possessions --to monopolize the Indian trade; and to limit the British settlements.
These designs of France produced a mission from the governor of Virginia to the commander of a fort, erected on the Ohio, in the year 1751. The commissioner sent was George Washington, then 19 years old. The answer of the commandant was evasive.' The Virginians prepared for war and the French commenced an attack on the American trades and forts.
An expedition was soon sent against the French, the command of which devolved upon Washington after the death of Col. Fry. Washington at first gained a trivial success against a detachment under Monsieur Jumonville, who was killed, and was proceeding to the attack of fort Duquesne, "the main object of his enterprize, when he learned that the French, consid erably re-inforced were advancing; this induced him to retreat to Fort Necessity, a small stockade work which he had erected at the Great Meadows; in this work he sustained the incessant fire of the French for a day, when the French asked a parley and Washington surrendered the place upon highly honorable terins, being allowed to pass with his troops and baggage into the settled parts of Virginia.
Great Britain began to see the necessity of aiding the colonies in their manly efforts to repel the enemy from their borders, and she sent an army under General Braddock, to protect the colonies and drive the French from the Ohio. ' Braddock met a convention of war from the several colonies at Annapolis on the 14th of April 1755, composed of the governors of New England, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, at which convention concert of military operations was agreed upon. The legislature of Virginia made liberal appropriations. Washington accompanied the expedition as a 'volunteer aid to Braddock.
The fate of this unfortunate expedition is too well known, Braddock valued too highly his own military skill, and the discipline of the British troops, he knew nothing of the character of his enemy, and so little did he esteem the provincials, (in his situation the best troops of his army,) that he left them all behind at fort Cumberland-the Little and the Great Meadows,—and with General Dunbar,-except three companies of Virginians.
Braddock advanced with too much confidence, and kept up in a savage wilderness all the "pomp and circumstance of war" which his military education had taught him were indispensable in Europe; he advanced unmolested until he had crossed the Monongahela, and arrived within a few miles of fort Duquesne, when he fell into an ambuscade of French and Indians; his troops were thrown into confusion, and after sustaining the murderous fire of an enemy concealed from their view for several hours, and having most of their officers killed, and their General mortally woanded, retreated in confusion; their rear was protected by the friendly Indians and few provincials left
. The army fell back upon Col. Dunbar, who was next in command; and who marched off to Philadelphia, leaving two companies of provincials with the sick and wounded at Fort Cumberland.
Braddock's defeat was of course followed by barbarous and distressing cruelties of the Indians to the frontier settlers; these were resisted by Wash
ington as well as he was able with the small-force under his command ; but no regular expedition was undertaken against the enemy until the year 1758, when General Grant was disgracefully defeated before the walls of fort Duquesne, by the same rigid adherence to European tactics which had defeated Braddock.
After the defeat of Grant the scattered and terrified troops were again collected, and the fort taken by Washington in the third year of the war, who repaired and garrisoned it, and named it Pittsburgh, in honor of the minister, who then presided over the councils of Great Britain.
The treaty of Fontainbleau in November, 1762, between Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal at length put a period to the war.
Questions touching the power of the British Parliament to interfere with the concerns of the colonies had arisen more than once before the war, and during its continuance the delicate question arose of the proportions which the several colonies should pay for the common defence; the British ministry proposed that deputies should meet and determine the amount necessary, and draw on the British treasury which in turn should te reimbursed by an equal tax on all the colonies to be laid by Parliament; but the colonies were afraid to let the lion put his paw in their pockets even to to take back his own, and this being no time to raise difficulties the colonial legislatures were left to their own discretion in voting supplies, which they did with a liberality so disproportioned to their ability as to excite the praise and in some instances to induce a reimbursement on the part of the mother country:
Virginia had always resisted any interference on the part of Parliament, especially in the navigation acts, and asserted as early as 1624 that she only had the undoubted right * to lay taxes and impositions, and none other," and afterwards refused to let any member of the council of governor Berkeley, in the height of his popularity, to assist them in determining the amount of the public levy. " Again in 1676' even stronger language was used and acquiesced in by the king to whom it was immediately addressed.
The slight taxes imposed for the regulation of commerce and the support of a post-office were borne by the colonies without a murmur, being considered only a fair compensation for a benefit received.
In March, 1764, the minister's declared it "expedient to raise a revenue on stamps in America to be paid into the king's exchequer," the discussion of this was postponed until the next year in Parliament, but commenced immediately in America, and the proposition was met by every form of respectful petition and indignant remonstrance; which were however equally unavailing, and the stamp act passed in 1765.
The passage of this act excited universal and indignant hostility throughout the colonies, which was displayed in the forms of mourning and the cessation of business; the courts refused to sanction the act by sitting, and the bar by using the stamps. In the succeeding Virginia legislature Patrick Henry introduced and carried among others the following resolution:
Resolved, that the General Assembly of this colony, together with his majesty, or substitute, have in their representative capacity, the only ex. clusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony: and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than the General Assembly aforesaid, is illes gal, unconstitutional and unjust, and has a manifest tendency to destros British as well as Anerican freedom.”
After the passage of Henry's resolutions the governor dissolved the Assembly, but the people re-elected the friends and excluded the opposer of the resolutions.
The spirited conduct of Virginia fired the ardour of the other colonies, they passed similar resolutions, and a general congress was proposed. The deputies of nine states met in New York on the first of October; they drafted'a Declaration of Rights, a petition to the King, the Commons, and the Lords. The stamp act was repealed, and Virginia sent an address of thanks to the king and Parliament.
The joy of the colonies was short-lived. British ministers imagined that they could cheat the colonies out of their opposition to taxation without representation, by laying an import duty instead of a direct tax, and accordingly a duty was laid upon glass, tea, paper and painter's colors; but this was equally against the spirit of the British constitution, and met with a warmer and more indignant resistance on the part of the colonies, who now began to believe they had little to hope from the justice of Parliament. The Legislature of Virginia passed very spirited resolutions, which it ordered to be sent only to the king: upon the passage of which the gover: nor dissolved it; and the members immediately met and entered unanı: mously into a non-importation agreement.
The British ministers perceived their error and determined to pause in their violence, to effect this object the governors were directed to inform the colonies that his majesty's ministers did not intend to raise a revenue in America and the duties objected to should. Þe speedily repealed. These assurances made to Virginia by Lord Botetourt, a governor whom they highly respected, served with his own good conduct for a time to allay her suspicions of the ministry, but the course they pursued towards Massa: chusetts was more than sufficient to re-kindle her jealousy. She passed a protest declaring that partial remedies could not heal the present disorders, and renewed their non-importation agreement. In 1771 Botetourt died, and Virginia erected a statue to his memory, which still stands in the town of Williamsburg.
The delay of Lord Dunmore in New York for some months after his appointment to the gubernatorial chair of Virginia, excited the prejudices of the colony, which his sending a man of some military distinction as a clerk, and raising a salary and fees for him out of the colony, were by no means calculated to dissipate. The first legislature that met compelled the governor to dispense with the emoluments of his secretary Capt. Foy; and the next after thanking him for his activity in apprehending some counterfeiters of the colony paper, strongly reprove him for dispensing with the usual forms and ceremonies with which the law has guarded the liberty of the citizen. The same legislature having provided for the soundness and security of the currency, the punishment of the guilty, and required the governor to respect the law; turned their eyes to their sister colonies, and appointed a committee of correspondence to inquire into the various violations of their constitutional rights by the British ministry..
Whilst Virginia was employed in animating her sister states to resistance, her governor was employed in the ignoble occupation of fomenting jealousies and feuds between the province, which it should have been his duty to protect from such a calamity, and Pennsylvania, by raising difficult questions of boundary and exciting the inhabitants of the disputed territory to forswear allegiance to the latter province: hoping thus by affording a
more immediately exciting question to draw off the attention of these two important provinces from the encroachments of Great Britain. This scheme as contemptible as it was iniquitous wholly failed, through the good sense and magnanimity of the Virginia council.
Lord North full of his feeble and futile schemes of cheating the colonies out of their rights, took off the obnoxious duties with the exception of three pence per pound on tea, and with the ridiculous idea that he might fix the principle upon the colonies by a precedent, which should strip it of all that was odious, offered a draw-back equal to the import duty. This induced the importation of tea into Boston harbor, which being thrown overboard by some of the citizens, called down upon their city all the rigor of the celebrated Boston port bill.
A draught of this bill reached the Virginia legislature whilst in session, an animated protest, and a dissolution of the Assembly by the governor of course followed. On the following day the members convened in the Ralei tavern, and in an able and manly paper expressed to their constituents and their government those sentiments and opinions which they had not been allowed to express in a legislative form. This meeting recommended a cessation of trade with the East India company, a congress of deputies from all of the colonies, "declaring their opinion that an attack upon one of the colonies was an attack upon all British America," and a convention of the people of Virginia. The sentiments of the people accorded with those of their late delegates,—they elected members who met in convention at Williamsburg on the fitst of August 1774. This convention went into a detailed view of their rights and grievances, discussed measures of redress for the latter, and declared their determination never to relinquish the former; they appointed deputies to attend a general congress, and they instructed them how to proceed. The congress met in Philadelphia on the 4th September, 1774.
Whilst Virginia was engaged in her efforts for the general good she was not without her peculiar troubles at home. The Indians had been for some time waging a horrid war upon the frontiers, when the indignation of the people at length compelled the reluctant governor to take up arms and march to suppress the very savages he was thought to have encouraged and excited to hostility by his intrigues.
Lord Dunmore marched the army in two divisions, the one under Col Andrew. Lewis he sent to the junction of the Great Kanawha with the Ohio, whilst he himself marched to a higher point on the latter river, with the pretended purpose of destroying the Indian towns and joining Lewis at Point Pleasant; but it was believed with the reals object of sending the whole Indian force to annihilate Lewis' detachment, and thereby weaken the power and break down the spirit of Virginia. If such was his object he was signally defeated through the gallantry of the detachment, which met and defeated the superior numbers of the enemy at Point Pleasant, after an exceeding hard fought day and the loss of nearly all its officers. The day after the victory an express arrived from Dunmore with orders for the detachment to join him at a distance of 80 miles, through an enemy's country, without any conceivable object but the destruction of the
* See Memoir of Indian wars, &c. by the late Col. Stuart of Greenbrier, presented to the Virginia Historical and Philosophical Society by C. A. Stuart, of Augusta, for a strong corroboration of these suspicions.