now given to Virginia
an opportunity of legislation
independent of European
control; and the voluntary act of the assembly, restraining religious liberty, adopted from hostility to political innovation, rather than from a spirit of fanaticism, or respect to instructions, proves conclusively the attachment of the representatives of Virginia
to the Episcopal church and the cause of royalty.
Yet there had been Puritans in the colony almost from the beginning: even the Brownists were freely offered a secure asylum;1
‘here,’ said the tolerant Whitaker
, ‘neither surplice nor subscription is spoken of,’ and several Puritan
families, and perhaps2
some even of the Puritan
clergy, emigrated to Virginia
They were so content with their reception, that large numbers were preparing to follow, and were restrained
only by the forethought of English intolerance.
We have seen, that the Pilgrims at Plymouth
were invited to remove within the jurisdiction of Virginia
merchants planted themselves on the James River
without fear, and emigrants from Massachusetts
recently established themselves in the colony.
The honor of Laud
had been vindicated by a judicial sentence, and south of the Potomac
the decrees of the court of high commission were allowed to be valid; but I find no traces of persecutions in the earliest history of Virginia
The laws were harsh: the administration seems to have been mild.
A disposition to non conformity was soon to show itself even in the council.
An invitation, which had been sent to Boston
for Punitan ministers, implies a belief that they would be admitted