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[227] apprehensive of a limitation of colonial liberty by the
Chap VI.} 1658.
reference of a political question to England, determined on a solemn assertion of their independent powers. A committee was appointed, of which John Carter, of Lancaster, was the chief; and a complete declaration of popular sovereignty was solemnly made. The governor and council had ordered the dissolution of the assembly; the burgesses now decreed the former election of governor and council to be void. Having thus exercised, not merely the right of election, but the more extraordinary right of removal, they reflected Matthews, ‘who by us,’ they add, ‘shall be invested with all the just rights and privileges belonging to the governor and captain-general of Virginia.’ The governor submitted, and acknowledged the validity of his ejection by taking the new oath, which had just been prescribed. The council was organized anew; and the spirit of popular liberty established all its claims.1

The death of Cromwell made no change in the

constitution of the colony. The message of the governor duly announced the event to the legislature.2
1659. Mar.
It has pleased some English historians to ascribe to Virginia a precipitate attachment to Charles II. On the present occasion, the burgesses deliberated in private, and unanimously resolved that Richard Cromwell should be acknowledged.3 But it was a more interesting question, whether the change of protector in England would endanger liberty in Virginia. The letter from the council had left the government to be administered according to former usage. The assembly

1 Hening, i. 504, 505.

2 See the names of the members, in Hening, v. i. p. 506, 507.

3 Hening, i. 511. Mar. 1659.

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