every man lived within sight of a lovely river.’1
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
—‘a greater degree of happiness’ than the tyranny ‘of the European
Men feared injustice more than they feared disorder.
, 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.