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[135] reason boldly, to bound their freedom of mind only
chap. VI.} 1754.
by self-circumscribed limits. They were philosophers after the pattern of Montaigne, without having heard of him. The horse was their pride; the county courts their holidays; the race-course their delight. On permitting the increase of negro slavery opinions were nearly equally divided; but England kept slave-marts open at every court-house, as far, at least, as the Southwest Mountain,—partly to enrich her slave-merchants, partly, by balancing the races, to weaken the power of colonial resistance. The industry of the Virginians did not compete with that of the mother country; they had few mariners, took no part in the fisheries, and built no ships for sale. British factors purchased their products and furnished their supplies. Their connection with the metropolis was more intimate than with the northern colonies. England was their market and their storehouse, and was still called their ‘home.’

Yet the prerogative had little support in Virginia. Its Assembly sent, when it would, its own special agent to England, elected the colonial treasurer, and conducted its deliberations with dignity and independence. Among the inhabitants, the pride of individual freedom paralyzed all royal influence. They were the more independent, because they were the oldest colony, the most numerous, the most opulent, and, in territory, by far the most extensive. The property of the crown in its unascertained domain was admitted, yet the mind easily made theories that invested the ownership rightfully in the colony itself. Its people spread more and more widely over the mild, productive, and enchanting territory They ascended rivers to the uplands, and

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