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[2] the colony, unless they be in like manner ratified
Chap. IV.} 1621.
by the general assembly. The courts of justice were required to conform to the laws and manner of trial used in the realm of England.

Such was the constitution which Sir Francis Wyatt, the successor of the mild but inefficient Yeardley, was commissioned to bear to the colony. The system of representative government and trial by jury thus became in the new hemisphere an acknowledged right. Henceforward the supreme power was held to reside in the hands of the colonial parliament, and of the king, as king of Virginia. On this ordinance Virginia erected the superstructure of her liberties. Its influences were wide and enduring, and can be traced through all her history. It constituted the plantation, in its infancy, a nursery of freemen; and succeeding generations learned to cherish institutions which were as old as the first period of the prosperity of their fathers. The privileges then conceded, could never be wrested from the Virginians; and, as new colonies arose at the south, their proprietaries could hope to win emigrants only by bestowing franchises as large as those enjoyed by their elder rival. The London company merits the praise of having auspicated liberty in America. It may be doubted whether any public act during the reign of King James was of more permanent or pervading influence; and it reflects glory on Sir Edward Sandys, the earl of Southampton, and the patriot party of England, that though they were unable to establish guarantees of a liberal administration at home, they were careful to connect popular freedom inseparably with the life, prosperity, and state of society of Virginia.

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