We learn from History that we never learn anything from history. — G. W. F. Hegel

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

The Old Dominion

It was while Governor Berkeley ruled Virginia that Puritan England revolted against and beheaded King Charles I.; and soon after that they made Cromwell Protector of the new republic, or Commonwealth, of England. When these tidings came to Virginia, many of the colonists were indignant. Just as in England, the people sided for or against the king, the Puritans being called "Roundheads," while the Royalists claimed the title of "Cavaliers."

The latter were by far the more numerous in Virginia, and as they prided themselves upon their great loyalty, they invited Charles II., son of the beheaded king, to come over and rule their colony, which they now affectionately called "the Old Dominion." Charles did not accept this invitation, and Parliament, deciding that the colony should obey England, sent out a new governor. The latter, upon arriving in Virginia, declared that, according to the new Navigation Act, Virginia, like all the rest of the colonies, would have to send its produce to England in English ships.

This law was very unjust, and the English captains who came into the bays and up the rivers for cargoes, now charged higher rates to carry produce to England. They could not get good prices for it in England, had to pay high prices for the goods they bought there, and, besides, asked heavy freight rates for bringing these goods back to the planters in Virginia. The colonists thus got little in exchange for their tobacco and other produce. They were also greatly annoyed, for even the goods they wished to send to the neighboring colonies, or to the West Indies, had to be carried first to England and then back again, unless they paid a heavy duty.

This was unfair, and the Virginians did not like it. Still, it did not prevent their colony from increasing rapidly, for many of the Royalists, finding life unbearable under Puritan government in England, came out to America. Here they talked a great deal of the royal family, prided themselves upon being true to the exiled king, and when the news finally came that Cromwell was dead (1658), many Virginia planters openly rejoiced.

Two years later, the royal family was restored in England, and the House of Burgesses recalled Governor Berkeley, who had ruled there in the days of Charles I. But the Burgesses warned him that, while they were loyal subjects of the king, they were fully determined to make their own laws, and that his duty would consist mainly in seeing that these were duly obeyed.

Although the colonists thought their troubles would end when the king had come to the throne, they soon found out that Charles II. was a worse master than Cromwell. Always in need of money, the king not only kept up the hated Navigation Act, but, as Virginia had become the property of the crown in 1624, he now made a present of it to two of his friends, Lords Culpepper and Arlington (1673), telling them they might keep it for thirty-one years, and have all the money they could make from it.

These two noblemen, hearing that there were about forty thousand people in the Old Dominion, fancied they would be able to tax them as much as they pleased; but the colonists, who were proud of their rights and homes, grumbled at this change of owners, and said they would obey no one except the king.

Jamestown was then the only city in Virginia; but each plantation formed a small colony by itself, and people traveling from place to place were always hospitably entertained in the houses they passed. The estates were so large and scattered that there were very few schools; but the richest colonists hired private tutors for their children, and sent their sons to the English universities to complete their education. In this, Virginia was different from the Northern colonies, and the greater part of her people were ignorant. Thinking they would therefore be easier to rule, a Virginia governor once boasted of the fact that they had neither printing press nor free schools, and added that he hoped they would not have any for the next hundred years!


Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell