it had before been done in the commission of Wyatt
by a reference to the usages of the last five years. In that period, representative liberty had become the custom of Virginia
The words were interpreted as favoring the wishes of the colonists; and King Charles, intent only on increasing his revenue, confirmed, perhaps unconsciously, the existence of a popular assembly, The colony prospered; Virginia
rose rapidly in public estimation; in one year, a thousand emi-
grants arrived; and there was an increasing demand for all the products of the soil.
The career of Yeardley
was now closed by death.
Posterity will ever retain a grateful recollection of the man who first convened a representative assembly in the western hemisphere; the colonists, announcing his decease in a letter to the privy council, gave at the same time a eulogy on his virtues; the surest evidence of his fidelity to their interests.1
The day after his
burial, Francis West
was elected his successor;2
for the council was authorized to elect the governor, ‘from time to time, as often as the case shall require.’3
But if any doubts existed of the royal assent to the
continuance of colonial assemblies, they were soon removed by a letter of instructions, which the king ad-
dressed to the governor and council.
After much caviling, in the style of a purchaser who undervalues the wares which he wishes to buy, the monarch arrives at his main purpose, and offers to contract for the whole crop of tobacco; desiring, at the same time, that an assembly might be convened to consider his proposal.4
This is the first recognition, on the part of a Stuart, of a representative assembly in America