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[220] the acts of the assembly furnish the highest
Chap. XIV.} 1676.
historical evidence, and must be taken as paramount authority on the purposes of ‘the Grand Rebellion in Virginia.’

The late expenditures of public money had not

June 5-24.
been accounted for.1 High debates arose on the wrongs of the indigent, who were oppressed by taxes alike unequal and exorbitant.2 The monopoly of the Indian trade was suspended.3 A compromise with the insurgents was effected; on the one hand, Bacon acknowledged his error in acting without a commission,4 and the assemblies of disaffected persons were censured as acts of mutiny and rebellion;5 on the other hand, Bacon was appointed commander-in-chief,6 to the universal satisfaction of the people, who made the town ring with their joyous acclamations, and hailed ‘the darling of their hopes’ as the appointed defender of Virginia.7 The church aristocracy was broken up by limiting the term of office of the vestrymen to three years, and giving the election of them to the freemen of each parish.8 The elective franchise was restored to the freemen whom the previous assembly had disfranchised; and, as ‘false returns of sheriffs had endangered the peace,’ the purity of elections was guarded by wholesome penalties.9 The arbitrary annual assessments, hitherto made by county magistrates, irresponsible to the people, were prohibited; the Virginians insisted on the exclusive right of taxing themselves, and made provision for the county levy,—it was a radical measure, which independent

1 Compare Culpepper, in Chalmers, 356.

2 T. M.'s Account, 13.

3 Hening, ii. 350.

4 Ibid. ii. 543, 544.

5 Hening, ii. 352.

6 Ibid. ii. 349.

7 Burwell Account, 36.

8 Hening, ii. 356.

9 Ibid. ii. 357.

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