previous next
[178] though the laws of the colony, at a very early period
Chap. V}
discouraged its increase by a special tax upon female slaves.1

If Wyatt, on his arrival in Virginia, found the evil

of negro slavery engrafted on the social system, he brought with him the memorable ordinance, on which the fabric of colonial liberty was to rest, and which was interpreted by his instruction2 in a manner favorable to the independent rights of the colonists. Justice was established on the basis of the laws of England, and an amnesty of ancient feuds proclaimed. As Puritanism had appeared in Virginia, ‘needless novelties’ in the forms of worship were now prohibited. The order to search for minerals betrays the continuance of lingering hopes of finding gold; while the injunction to promote certain kinds of manufactures was ineffectual, because labor could otherwise be more profitably employed.

The business which occupied the first session under

1621 Nov. and Dec.
the written constitution, related chiefly to the encouragement of domestic industry; and the culture of silk particularly engaged the attention of the assembly.3 But legislation, though it can favor industry, cannot create it. When soil, men, and circumstances, combine to render a manufacture desirable, legislation can protect the infancy of enterprise against the unequal competition with established skill. The culture of silk, long, earnestly, and frequently recommended to the attention of Virginia,4 is successfully pursued, only when a superfluity of labor exists in a redundant population. In America, the first wants of life left no

1 Hening, II. 84, Act LIV. March, 1662. The statute implies, that the rule already existed.

2 Ibid. i. 114—118. Stith, p. 194—196. Burk, v. i. p. 224—227.

3 Hening, i. 119.

4 Virgo Triumphans, 35.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Hening (2)
Francis Wyatt (1)
Stith (1)
Burk (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March, 1662 AD (1)
1621 AD (1)
December (1)
November (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: