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was likely to meet with an enemy who would give him a chance of acquiring the fame of military prowess. Before his departure he had sent a messenger to the governor, sir William Berkeley, requesting a commission, that he might have the sanction of government as well as the voice of the populace on his side. The governor, instead of granting his request, with a firmness that does honour to his memory, published a proclamation commanding Bacon and his followers to disperse, under penalty of being proclaimed traitors. Not relying, however, on mere proclamations, the governor determined on more effective measures. Having raised a force to aid the constituted authorities, he marched in pursuit of the insurgents, and proceeded as far as the falls of James river, when he was alarmed with the news of another insurrection at Jamestown. He immediately hastened back to the defence of the metropolis, and of the little remaining power in his hands. On his arrival he found that a body of men from the lower and middle counties, headed by two men, Ingram and Walklate, had usurped the government, and were now too strong to be resisted. In this dilemma the governor, finding opposition hopeless, thought proper to accomodate matters with the rebels, by yielding at present to their demands. They required the dissolution of the assembly, which was granted, and writs issued for a new election. The spirit of disaffection became at last so general, that the friends to order were out. voted in the succeeding election, and the governor had the mortification to find in the assembly a majority opposed to his measures.
In the mean time Bacon had raised his popularity by a successful attack on the Indian settlements, in which he had made a number of prisoners. He was returning, swelled with the importance of his victory, when he received the news of the revolution at Jamestown. He immediately left the army, and proceeded down the river accompanied by a small detachment. There were at this time several English ships lying in the river, by one of which Bacon was intercepted and carried prisoner to Jamestown. The fame of his
victory, however, had given such force to the current of public favour, that the governor found it necessary to release him, and after giving his parole, he was admitted to a seat in the council. The spirit of rebellion, far from having subsided, acquired new strength from the mildness of opposition. No art was left untried to pervert the judgment and excite the passions of the people. .
Bacon having again put himself at the head of his troops, determined to march to Jamestown. After travelling all night he arrived early next day at that place, and having drawn up his men in front of the state house, while the assembly were sitting, he found it an easy matter to bring them into his measures. A de. putation was sent from that body to the governor, advising him to accede to the wishes of the people, as the only means of restoring peace and order to the colony. Finding the assembly carried off in the torrent of disaffection that had overspread the land, sir William Berkeley deemed it vain any longer to oppose the rage for reform that existed in the minds
of the people. He therefore signed an act of general indemnity, and granted a commission of general to Bacon, whom he had lately pro. claimed a traitor. It is certain, however, that this change in sir William Berkeley's conduct was owing to the influence of the assembly, which was under a panic from the force of the insurgents, rather than to any fear inspired by the arms of the latter. He therefore dissolved the assembly, and having received an invita. tion from the inhabitants of Gloucester county to take up his residence among them, he left Jamestown, and once more raised the standard of government in the colony.
Bacon had set out on a new expedition to the frontiers, when he heard of the proclamation of the governor, again declaring him a traitor. He instantly changed his course, and marched with all speed towards Gloucester. The governor finding his force too small to meet the insurgents in the field, thought proper to retire with a few of his friends to Accomack. Bacon now placed himself at the head of civil and military affairs; and under pretence
that sir William Berkeley had abdicated the chair of government, he called a convention, for the purpose of settling a provisional go. vernment until the pleasure of his majesty should be made known. The convention accordingly met at Middle Plantation on the 3d of August 1676, and proceeded to declare the government vacant by the voluntary abdication of sir William Berkeley. They also declared the power of the people to supply the vacancy until the pleasure of the king should be known. Writs were afterwards issued, signed by Bacon and four others, members of the council, for calling an assembly. Having proeured something like the sanction of civil authority to his illegal usurpations, this ambitious man once more set off at the head of his soldiers against the Indians. After destroying the towns of Pamunky, Chickahomony and Mattapony, he directed his course towards the falls of James river, where the enemy were uniting their forces to give him battle. At a place that has been since called Bloody-run an, engagement took place in which the In