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[231] for their importation.1 Conformity had, in the reign of
Chap VI.}
Charles, been enforced by measures of disfranchisement and exile.2 By the people under the commonwealth, though they were attached to the church of their fathers, all things respecting parishes and parishioners
1658 May. 1
were referred to their own ordering;3 and religious liberty would have been perfect, but for an act of intolerance, by which all Quakers were banished, and their return regarded as a felony.4

Virginia was the first state in the world, composed of separate boroughs, diffused over an extensive surface, where the government was organized on the principle of universal suffrage. All freemen, without exception, were entitled to vote. An attempt was

once made to limit the right to house-keepers;5 but the public voice reproved the restriction; the very next year, it was decided to be ‘hard, and unagreea-
ble to reason, that any person shall pay equal taxes, and yet have no votes in elections;’ and the electoral franchise was restored to all freemen.6 Servants, when the time of their bondage was completed, at once became electors, and might be chosen burgesses.7

Thus Virginia established upon her soil the supremacy of the popular branch, the freedom of trade, the independence of religious societies, the security from foreign taxation, and the universal elective franchise. If, in following years, she departed from either of these principles, and yielded a reluctant consent to change, it was from the influence of foreign

1 Hening, i. 418.

2 Ibid. i. 123. 144. 149. 155. 180. 240. 268, 269. 277.

3 Ibid. 433, Act 1. 1658.

4 Ibid. i. 532, 533.

5 Ibid. Preface, 19, 20, and 412, Act 7. March, 1655.

6 Ibid. i. 403, Act 16.

7 Virginia's Cure, p. 18 Sad State, p. 4.

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