Page images

mond, you are very welcome. I am more glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. Drummond, you shall hang in half an hour.” The time was extended a little. He was tried and sentenced at noon and hung at four in the afternoon.

Twenty-three of the leaders of this rebellion were hung. Charles II., the King, did not approve of these severities, but had he shown himself severe in proportion in England it is not likely that his brother James II., who succeeded on the throne, would have been driven out, in his turn, by the sons of those traitors and deserters whom Charles allowed to plot in safety during his own reign.

As for Berkeley, the clamor of the Virginians against the punishment he meted out to their political treachery caused him to be recalled by the King, and it is said that he died "broken-hearted” in England at the ingratitude of his royal master. It is certain that all the Virginia historians, afflicted with the same complaint of which Bacon suffered, condemn Berkeley as a tyrant. Cook, the best of them says: "He was devoted to monarchy, and the church * * * * In defence of one he persecuted dissent; in support of the other he waded in blood. **** For a quarter of a century he ruled the colony to the fullest satisfaction of the people. He was an elegant host and a cordial companion who made everyone welcome. He displayed not the least desire to invade the rights of Virginians; on the contrary he defended them on every occasion. It may be said with truth that, in all these years, he was the sincere friend of Virginia and Virginians. All his interests and affections were centred there-in his wife and his home. It was 'the most flourishing country the sun ever shone over,' he said. But one day rebellion raised its head in this beautiful land. His idol, the Divine Right, was flouted by these old friends * * * * then he was merciless to them when they were at his mercy." (Cook's Virginia, p. 296-7). In other words, “'he protected the rights and maintained them, and they-what did they? They invaded the Rights of the Crown, which they had promised to respect. They, the faithless, the treacherous, the unreliable! How could Berkeley, once they had lost all consideration of honor, feel confidence in them!!

The three great innovations on the ancient, political and social conditions against which Sir William Berkeley had to contend and which are the bane of modern states at the present, were: 1, Extreme Public Education, Republicanism, and II, Universal Suffrage.

1. Berkeley was opposed to extreme public education, because it tends to declass the members of the population, and in this alone to make them restless, discontented and conceited. Not only that, but to tax the provident and industrious for the benefit of the slothful and careless—who breed like rabbits-is to handicap the better portion of the people. To buy the material of all arts, science and language by enforced taxation and give it to those who do not pay for it, which material reason and fact show that only a few can use, is teaching improvidence to be wasteful of the property of others. It is to furnish to the unprincipled additional means of dishonest livelihood, for the scientific adulteration of food and clothing, for the creation of fraudulent stock companies, and for the skilful dissemination of dishonest principles of government. It is a vain endeavor to produce a republican equality by means of education” when education itself cannot add one quality to the mind or develop a sentiment where there is not the germ of that sentiment. All the "education" of America has not been able to produce a musician, an artist and a historian, to rank with those of old Europe, where the Class of Sentiment has not been destroyed by "republicanism.” The Inca Turpac Yupanqui declared that “Learning was intended for those only of generous blood." The clerical classes of ancient Gaul-although possessed of the art of writing, considered the pearls of their tradition too precious to be cast at the feet of swine, and transmitted them to the accepted and approved members of their caste by memory only. It was the same in ancient Egypt. The criminal statistics of the United States show that the worst criminals are the best "educated." The increase of crime has gone the same way, the per cent. rising with the advantages' offered by the free ''higher edu

cation" from one in ten thousand in 1850 to one in four hundred in 1890. In the Southern States, (1890) where "public education” was not so diffused, the per cent. of criminality was less than one-half that of New England where “free education' is the longest established on a "liberal” basis. In New York and Chicago, where the public school fund embraces appropriation of millions, filched from those who do not patronize the publicschools and who do not believe in them, the criminality is much higher than in foreign cities of the same size where "education is not so extravagant. Education of the most exalted and extravagant sort can not fill a heart with lofty sentiment where no germs of sentiment exist. In proportion as education is diffused the standard of literary excellence is lowered, and the continuance of writers of classics is diminished. Because in former days when “Learning was for those of generous blood," who are the few, their demand made the standard high; at the present time, the demand of the educated" multitude is louder and more potent with publishers than that of the ancient few, and the standard and style are lowered to coniply with the demand. The race verges then on an intellectual decline, and the age is called 'materialistic' but only for this reason—that the instincts of the many are gross and unsentimental and must remain so ever, and an appeal to them as to a standard results in the exclusion of everything higher and better. Besides provision for a public education shows lack of general ethical perception-the very idea of "educating one man's children with another man's money” is proof of it. It destroys the value of inherited qualities that are not perceptible by educational means, such as generosity, magnanimity and honor,-arranged in the present condition of society as handicaps to their possessors in the race of life; the class of their possessors becomes smaller with each generation.

II. Universal Suffrage,- In the beginning of the settlement of Virginia, before there was any real property interest in the colony, up to the year 1655 "all settlers had a voice in public affairs, first in the daily matters of the commune, or hundreds,” and after 1619 in electing Burgesses

* But in 1655 it was changed by

men of the commonwealth ''(to cut off the influence of the retainers of the Cavaliers).” In that year the Burgesses declared that none but 'housekeepers, whether freeholders, leaseholders, or otherwise tenants,' shall be 'capable to electing Burgesses.' One year afterwards (1656) the ancient usage was restored, and all 'freemen' were allowed to vote, since it was 'something hard and unagreeable to reason that any person shall pay equal taxes and yet have no vote in the elections'; but the freemen must not vote in a tumultuous manner. Such was the record of the first commonwealth."-(Cook's Virginia.).

"In 1670, the King's men restored the first act, restricting the suffrage again. The reason is stated:The 'usual way of choosing burgesses by the votes of all persons, who, having served their time, are freemen in this country,' produced 'tumults at the election.' Therefore it were better to follow the English fashion and 'grant a voyce in such election only to such as by their estates, real or personal, have interest enough to tye them to the endeavor of the public good.' So, after this, 'none but 'freeholders and housekeepers' were to vote.

* * * * * * "The persons who had served their time as indentured servants had 'little interest in the country.'; they were making disturbances at elections * * * * This was the determinate sentiment and the law remained settled, with the exception of one year (1676) when Bacon's Assembly changed it, declaring that 'freemen should vote.' This was swept away by a general repeal of all 'Bacon's' laws' and the freehold restriction remained the law of Virginia nearly to the present time" (1870) Cook's Virginia, pp. 223-4.

Simply because passengers have purchased a railway ticket and have ridden on the cars on their journey s no reason that they ought to vote with the stock. olders of the railway for the choice of directors and for the management of the road. There is but one way for them and that is to become an owner in the stock-of something beyond a railway ticket. The same law of right holds good for the state; no matter what the education of the citizen may be, if he does not own stock in the state he has no ethical right to vote for the choice of government, or for the policy of rulership.

The lack of ethical consideration in the suffrage is to be expected from the ingress into public affairs of those who have received the unethically obtained public education-of those who have been instructed, not by the laudable efforts of their own family, but from the results of public robbery-whereby one man's property is assessed for the benefit of another man's children. Those who have been “benefited” by this species of robbery are ready to try it over again in the state-in the legislature-in the policy of government. Disloyalty results and the kingdom is overthrown by the traitors it has nourished in its bosom, who proceed to form at once a "republic" in which those who raise the greatest clamor may rule, and in which each opposing minority is subject in turn to proscription and plunder.

This is the character of the men who have instituted every "republic" that has existed in any age or clime, and this is the process which their government has followed out until, dismembered by its own corruption and infamy it has been overthrown by the sword of the dictator. But affairs did not quite come to such a pass in Virginia, because there was the strong hand of royal power over all. This did not suit the Virginians, who seem to have been a very uneasy, quarrelsome people. James II., last of the Stuarts, wishes to know why they are so disaffected and unquiet," and they are found to be no better under William of Orange, who succeeded King James as result of the "Revolution of 1688'' in England. Having established Virginia and raised it to the dignity of a kingdom and filled it full of prosperous conditions, the ingratitude of the people looked on the "passing' of the Stuarts with indifference. But they were to suffer for it later, for in 1861 their own constitution and the better class were trampled into the dust by the democracy.

« PreviousContinue »