previous next
‘ [213] every man lived within sight of a lovely river.’1
Chap. XIV.}
The parish was of such extent, spreading over a tract which a day's journey could not cross, that the people met together but once on the Lord's day, and sometimes not at all; the church, rudely built in some central solitude, was seldom visited by the more remote families,2 and was liable to become inaccessible by the broken limbs from forest-trees, or the wanton growth of underwood and thickets.

Here was a new form of human nature. A love of freedom inclining to anarchy pervaded the country. Among the people, loyalty was a feebler passion than the love of liberty. Existence ‘without government’ seemed to promise to ‘the general mass’—it is a genuine Virginia sentiment3—‘a greater degree of happiness’ than the tyranny ‘of the European governments.’ Men feared injustice more than they feared disorder. In Europe, people gathered in towns; here they lived by themselves. In the Old World, even the peasantry crowded together into compact villages. The farmers of Virginia lived asunder, and in their mild climate were scattered very widely, rarely meeting in numbers, except at the horse-race or the county court.4

It was among such a people, which had never been disciplined to resistance by the heresies of sects or the new opinions of ‘factious’ parties, which, till the restoration, had found the wilderness a safe protection against tyranny, and had enjoyed ‘a fifty years experience of a government easy to the people,’ that the pressure of increasing grievances began to excite open discontent.

1 Hammond's Lear and Rachel.

2 Virginia's Cure, 2, 3.

3 Jefferson's Writings, ii. 85. Yet society without government is a contradiction.

4 Burk, ii. App. XLIX.

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Jefferson City (Missouri, United States) (1)

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.
Rachel (1)
Hammond (1)
Burk (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: