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‘ [421] this province to its foundation.’ Bernard became
chap. XVIII.} 1761.
alarmed, and concealing his determined purpose of effecting a change in the charter of the colony, he entreated the new legislature to lay aside ‘divisions and distinctions.’ ‘Let me recommend to you,’ said he, ‘to give no attention to declamations tending to promote a suspicion of the civil rights of the people being in danger. Such harangues might well suit in the reigns of Charles and James, but in the times of the Georges they are groundless and unjust.’ Thus he spoke, regardless of truth; for he knew well the settled policy of the Board of Trade, and was secretly the most eager instrument in executing their designs; ever restless to stimulate them to encroachments that should destroy the charter and efface the boundaries of the province.

Massachusetts invalidated the British commercial system, which Virginia resisted from abhorrence of the slave-trade. Never before had England pursued the traffic in negroes with such eager avarice. The remonstrances of philanthropy and of the colonies were unheeded, and categorical instructions from the Board of Trade kept every American port open as markets for men. The legislature of Virginia had repeatedly showed a disposition to obstruct the commerce; a deeply-seated public opinion began more and more to avow the evils and the injustice of slavery itself; and in 1761, it was proposed to suppress the importation of Africans by a prohibitory duty. Among those who took part in the long and violent debate was Richard Henry Lee, the representative of Westmoreland. Descended from one of the oldest families in Virginia, he had been educated in England, and had

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