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[191] by the colonial legislature. ‘For the encouragement
Chap V.} 1624
of men to plant store of corn, the price shall not be stinted, but it shall be free for every man to sell it as deare as he can.’ The reports of controversies in England, rendered it necessary to provide for the public tranquillity by an express enactment, ‘that no person within the colony, upon the rumor of supposed change and alteration, presume to be disobedient to the present government.’ The law was dictated by the emergency of the times; and, during the struggle in London, the administration of Virginia was based upon a popular decree. These laws, so judiciously framed, show how readily, with the aid of free discussion, men become good legislators on their own concerns; for wise legislation is the enacting of proper laws at proper times; and no criterion is so nearly infallible as the fair representation of the interests to be affected.

While the commissioners were urging the Virginians to renounce their right to the privileges which they exercised so well, the English parliament assembled; and a gleam of hope revived in the company, as it forwarded an elaborate petition1 to the grand inquest of the kingdom. It is a sure proof of the unpopularity of the corporation, that it met with no support from the commons;2 but Sir Edwin Sandys, more intent on the welfare of Virginia than the existence of the company, was able to secure for the colonial staple complete protection against foreign tobacco, by a petition of grace,3 which was followed by a royal proclamation.4

Sept 29
The people of England could not have given a more earnest proof of their disposition to foster the plantations

1 Stith, 324—328.

2 Chalmers, 65,66. Burk, i. 291.

3 Stith, 328, refers to the nine grievances; erroneously. See Cobbett's Parl. Hist. i. 1489—1497. The commons acted by petition. Hazard, i. 193.

4 Hazard, i. 193—198.

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