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[156] The price of tobacco was fixed at three shillings a
Chap. IV.} 1619.
pound for the best, and half as much ‘for the second sort.’

When the question was taken on accepting ‘the great charter,’ ‘it had the general assent and the applause of the whole assembly,’ with thanks for it to Almighty God and to those from whom it had issued, in the names of the burgesses and of the whole colony whom they represented; the more so, as they were promised the power to allow or disallow the orders of court of the London company.

A perpetual interest attaches to this first elective body that ever assembled in the Western world, representing the people of Virginia, and making laws for their government, more than a year before the Mayflower, with the Pilgrims, left the harbor of Southampton, and while Virginia was still the only British colony on the continent of America. The functions of government were in some degree confounded; but the record of the proceedings justifies the opinion of Sir Edwin Sandys, that ‘the laws were very well and judiciously formed.’

The enactments of these earliest American lawgivers were instantly put in force, without waiting for their ratification by the company in England. Former griefs were buried in oblivion, and they who had been dependent on the will of a governor, having recovered the privileges of Englishmen, under a code of laws of their own, ‘fell to building houses and planting corn,’ and henceforward ‘regarded Virginia as their country.’

The patriot party in England, who now controlled the London company, engaged with earnestness in schemes to advance the numbers and establish the

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