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[225] that Richard Bennett, himself a commissioner of the
Chap VI.} 1652. April 30.
parliament, and, moreover, a merchant and a Roundhead, was, on the recommendation of the other commissioners, unanimously chosen governor.1 The oath required of the burgesses made it their paramount duty to provide for ‘the general good and prosperity’ of Virginia and its inhabitants.2 Under the administration of Berkeley, Bennett had been oppressed in Virginia; and now not the slightest effort at revenge was attempted.3

The act which constituted the government, claimed

for the assembly the privilege of defining the powers which were to belong to the governor and council; and the public good was declared to require, ‘that
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the right of electing all officers of this colony should appertain to the burgesses,’ as to ‘the representatives of the people.’4 It had been usual for the governor
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and council to sit in the assembly, the expediency of the measure was questioned, and a temporary compromise ensued; they retained their former right, but were required to take the oath which was administered to the burgesses.5 Thus the house of burgesses acted as a convention of the people; exercising supreme authority, and distributing power as the public welfare required.6

Nor was this an accidental and transient arrangement. Cromwell never made any appointments for Virginia; not one governor acted under his commission.7

1 Hening, i. 371. See Stith, 199, who tells the story rightly.—Strange, that historians would not take a hint from the accurate Stith!

2 Hening, i. 371.

3 Langford's Refutation 3. That Bennett was a Roundhead is indisputable. The contemporary authorities are Strong's Babylon's Fall, i. 7, and 10; Langford's Refutation, 3; Hammond's Leah and Rachel, 21. These, taken together, are conclusive. Bennett was of the council in 1646. Hening, i. 322.

4 Hening, i. 372.

5 Ibid. 373.

6 Hening's note, i. 369.

7 Hening,

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