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Friday, July 5, 2013

An Oppressive Government Suspends Trade

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Upon the execution of King Charles I and the take-over of the English government by Oliver Cromwell as the Protectorate, the first thing which he did was to suspend trade to and from the plantations. The colonies without representation in Parliament, were indeed the "on the plantation" of political factions. This was but another form of slavery, endured early in the birth of the Virginia economy. Cromwell had "the inhumanity to forbid them all manner of trade and correspondence with other nations, at a time when England itself was in distraction, and could neither take off their commodities, nor supply them sufficiently with its own."  During the interim, Governor Mathews of Virginia died, and no person was substituted to succeed him. The colonists appealed to Sir William Berkeley (pictured) for help. Berkeley, having an unshaken loyalty towards the royal family, told them that he could not approve of the Procetor;s rule and was resolved never to serve anybody but the lawful heir to the crown; and that if he accepted the government, it should be upon their solemn promise to venture their lives and fortunes for the king, who was then in France. This was no great obstacle to them, and they agreed to hazard all for the king. Thereupon, Sir Berkeley proclaimed Charles II as kiing of England, Scotland, Frances, Ireland and Virginia and caused all process to be issued in his name. So it was that King Charles II was actually the king of Virginia before he was king of England.  Such a loyalty bore fruit for Sir Berkeley, as he was restored all of his commissions and was able to send a deputy to Virginia to act in his absence. So, Sir Berkeley appointed Colonel Francis Morrison as his deputy Governor, and went to England to wait on his majesty. Upon his return to Virginia, Berkeley carried his majesty's instructions for encouraging the people in husbandry and manufactures, and especially to promote silk and the vineyards. There is a tradition that the king, in compliment to the colony, wore at his coronation a robe made of the silk that was sent from Virginia. But that was all the reward that the colony received because Parliament then renewed the act for discouraging the plantations in trade and correspondence, enacting even severer restraints and prohibitions by bonds and securities.

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