declared itself satisfied with the language.1
that there might be no reason to question the existing usage, the governor was summoned to come to the house; where he appeared in person, deliberately acknowledged the supreme power of electing officers to be, by the present laws, resident in the assembly, and pledged himself to join in addressing the new protector for special confirmation of all existing privileges.
The reason for this extraordinary proceeding is assigned; ‘that what was their privilege now, might be the privilege of their posterity.’2
The frame of the Virginia
government was deemed worthy of being transmitted to remote generations.
On the death of Matthews
, the Virginians were
without a chief magistrate, just at the time when the resignation of Richard had left England
without a government.
The burgesses, who were immediately convened, resolving to become the arbiters of the fate of the colony, enacted, ‘that the supreme power of the government of this country shall be resident in the assembly; and all writs shall issue in its name, until there shall arrive from England
a commission, which the assembly itself shall adjudge to be lawful.’3
This being done, Sir William Berkely
was elected governor;4
and, acknowledging the validity of the acts of the burgesses, whom, it was expressly agreed, he could in no event dissolve, he accepted the office, and recognized, without a scruple, the authority to which he owed his elevation.
‘I am,’ said he, ‘but a servant of the assembly.’5 Virginia
did not lay claim