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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Oppressive Government Causes Hardships

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During 1663 various sectaries in religion began to spread across the colony. Great restraints were placed upon them, under severe penalties, to prevent their increase. It was mandatory to attend service (the Church of England) and to pay an annual tithe in tobacco. Thus, families removed to neighboring colonies. The poor people were uneasy as their murmurings were watched and fed by several mutinous and rebellious Olivernan soldiers that were sent into the colony as servants. A plot to destroy their masters and set up for themselves resulted. One conspiracy was discovered by Birkenhead, a servant of Mr. Smith of Purton in Gloucester County, for a meeting to occur near Poplar Spring to put into execution a horrid conspiracy. Notice was sent to the governor at Green Spring, and he had the members of the group seized as they met on the road. Four were hanged. The news of this conspiracy was sent to King Charles II, whereupon his majesty ordered that a fort be built at Jamestown for the security of the governor, but the country, thinking that the danger over, only raised a battery of some small pieces of cannon. Once again an act of Parliament in England laid more severe restraints upon the supplies sent to the colony. By this act they could have no foreign goods which were not first landed in England and carried directly to the plantations (but they limited the supplies!). This act cut with a double-edge sword. First, it reduced their staple of tobacco to a very low price, and secondly, it raised the value of European goods to what the merchants pleased to be put upon them.

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