« AnteriorContinuar »
subscription for a college was also set on foot and patronized by the governor and council. For this institution two thousand five hundred pounds were obtained, and a charter was soon after procured from the king, accompanied by a donation of about two thousand pounds sterling, due on account of quitrents, twenty thousand acres of land, and the revenue arising from the penny per pound on tobacco exported from Virginia and Maryland to the other plantations. * • In the year 1692 Nicholson was removed from the chair of government, to make room
* The college by its charter was under the direction of twenty visitors, who were its legislators, and was also allowed a representative in the general assembly. It had a professorship of the Latin and Greek languages, one of mathematics, one of moral philosophy, and two of divinity. After the revolution the language and divinity professorships were changed for those of law and medicine. The late bishop Madison proffered his aid in procuring information relative to the literature and literary institutions of Virginia, but his death deprived me of the pleasure of receiving his communications.
for sir Edmund Andros, a flatterer and favourite of kings, but an oppressor of the people. This man had been formerly governor of New York. He afterwards received from king James a commission for the government of New Eng. land, where he imitated the conduct of his royal master in bigotry and oppression. At length the indignation of the people could no longer be repressed, and they determined on resistance. On a report that a massacre was in. tended by the governor's guards, the people of Boston took up arms, and surrounding the palace, seized the governor and about fifty of his coadjutors, and placed them in confine. ment. Sir Edmund was carried to England for trial, but instead of meeting with the punishments which his crimes had deserved, he was honoured with the appointment of governor of Virginia.
On his arrival in Virginia writs were issued for a new election of burgesses, and several proclamations were published relative to the general interests of the colony. From the character given by Beverley of sir Edmund An
dros, we must conclude that he had been much reformed by his transportation to England. He is represented by this historian as a liberal and enlightened man, of a mild deportment, and a great encourager of industry and manufactures.* He was succeeded by sir F. Nicholson, who was again appointed to the government of Virginia, and continued in office until the year 1705, when he was recalled and Edward Nott appointed in his room. There is nothing worthy of notice during the administration of Nott, or that of his successor Edmund Jennings.
The administration of Alexander Spotswood, which commenced in the year 1710, opens a wider and more interesting prospect to the his. torian. This gentleman, with an enlightened and enterprising mind, united in himself the accomplishments of the statesman and the soldier. Soon after his appointment he determined on exploring the country west of that great range of mountains which seemed to prescribe limits to his predecessors. This undertaking
* Note II. Appendix. '
was accomplished, and the passage of the mountains effected without much difficulty. The splendor of the achievement far overbalanced the dangers of its execution.
About this time the encroachments of the French, on the north western waters, induced the governor to propose to the British ministry the establishment of a company, to settle such lands on the Ohio as they might be able to procure from the natives. He likewise proposed the establishment of a chain of forts from the Lakes to the Mississippi, by which the encroachments of the French might be restrained, and the fur trade might be secured to the English. The ministry did not however enter into his views, and it was not till after the treaty of Aix la Chapelle that his plans were revived and adopted by the British government.
Spotswood was equally unsuccessful in another application which he made to the government, requiring that the men employed under him in exploring the country should be paid for their services. However reasonable might be his request, it seemed to make him more
unpopular with the ministry, and was soon after followed by his dismission from office.
The enterprising talents, and inflexible virtues of governor Spotswood might have been highly useful to the interests of Britain in America, at a time when her ancient European rival, France, was endeavouring to wrest from her hands the trade and riches of the new world. The former, with her possessions on the sea coast and country adjacent, beheld with a jealous eye the progress of her enemy on the St. Lawrence and the Lakes. The latter claimed the country west of the Alleghany, on the ground of her being the first who explored it. The English claims, founded on the charters of their monarchs, were much more extensive, and seemed to be as boundless as their ambition itself. They thought themselves entitled to the whole country, as far as the South Sea; and although they were compelled to recede from the extravagance of this claim, yet the encroachments of both France and Spain seem. ed to indicate the necessity of strong and effective resistance. The antipathy which pre