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Bacon's Rebellion (University)

by Roland Marchand
Topic(s): Colonial America, Revolution, Native Americans

Table of Contents


Virginia in the late 17th century was no longer a small frightened enclave of European "civilization" amid a howling wilderness. But even though it was a settled and prosperous community, Virginia was experiencing all the social stresses of an expanding society. Due to a substantial growth in production and to some of the restrictions on exports imposed by the Navigation Acts of the 1660's, tobacco prices were depressed after 1670 and took an even sharper down-turn in 1675. Tobacco growing, as practiced in the 17th century, exhausted the soil in only a few years, so planters were constantly concerned about opportunities for expansion into the virgin lands on the frontier. However, control of these lands remained in the hands of the Crown, far away in England. Planters large and small in Virginia saw a threat to their economic and social opportunities (land was a source of social status as well as wealth) when the King granted huge tracts to court favorites in London or to "undeserving" cronies of the Governor. Many of these grants also bestowed certain tax exemptions on the owners, to the annoyance of taxpaying farmers.

To complicate matters there was an increase of violent conflict between the white settlers on, or near, the frontier and the Indians beginning in the mid-1670's The constant push westward of the English in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York had driven many tribes southward to the Virginia frontier. Here competition for food and for trade with the English among the Indians led to increased friction between the tribes and between them and neighboring whites. Desperation led to anger and to sporadic raids and thefts against white farmers. This was followed by violent retaliation and thus further conflict.

In the face of these complex and serious problems, the colonial government in Jamestown seemed inept and negligent to the majority of "plain citizens" and to many of their more prosperous neighbors. Despite Berkeley's long tenure as governor and the complacency of his political establishment, political institutions of the period were undergoing many troubling changes. Young men "of promising fortunes" grew impatient with the lack of attention they experienced at the hands of the Berkeley clique; soon they began to challenge the established authorities. The prosperity of the 1660's and the expansion of colonial officialdom resulting from the Navigation Acts made political office quite profitable. The prevailing assumptions of the times sanctioned an office holder making some personal gain from his position, but by the mid- 1670's, some settlers concluded that the Berkeley establishment had taken too much for too long. Instances of local friction increased the level of political tension. Residents of the counties resented the Governor's interference with and manipulation of their sheriffs and magistrates. At the same time the smaller farmers were growing impatient with the domination of local government by a few wealthy families. In a more mature political system these conflicts might have been resolved peacefully, but Virginia's political institutions at this time were new and changing; roles, duties and rights were only vaguely defined. In an atmosphere of social, economic, and political uncertainty explosive issues could lead to open rebellion.


In an essay of no more than 5 typewritten pages (double spaced) write a history of Bacon's Rebellion based on your analysis and interpretation of the following documents. In your work tell not only what happened, but why it happened. Don't compose a lawyer's brief defending or attacking Bacon, but tell the story that makes the most sense to you based upon the available evidence. Please note that most of the documents are arranged in chronological order; others inserted out of chronological order usually bear directly upon events in the time period in which they are placed. Not every document is absolutely crucial to a good understanding of the historical problem; be selective!

Investigation Questions

To assist you in your analysis you might consider some of the following questions;

  • What was the "real" cause (or causes) of Bacon's Rebellion?
  • What.were the differences (if any) between Bacon's and Berkeley's response to the Indian "attacks"? Were the measures Bacon's group took warranted; were the Indian attacks so serious as to merit his actions? Would Berkeley's measures have been effective if given the chance? How did Bacon justify his actions and the "Indian policy" of his followers?
  • What attitudes toward the Indians were shown by the documents? What do these attitudes reflect about the English ideas of their culture? What is the role of violence in their perceptions?
  • To what degree are Bacon's and Berkeley's actions attributable to personal self-interest or to principles and ideals? To what "higher authority" (or principles of morality and justice) did each appeal in order to Justify his actions?
  • Of what significance is the length of Bacon's residence in Virginia?
  • How would you assess the behavior of Governor Berkeley throughout the whole incident? Was he consistent and reasonable or erratic and irrational? Is Bacon a more, or less, commendable figure than Berkeley?
  • What did the Rebellion accomplish? Did Berkeley and his followers appear to have learned a lesson from the uprising (e.g. did they propose any reforms)? T

hese questions are intended as a guide to possible interpretive issues. Your main concern should not be to answer these questions but to construct a passage with continuity of narrative and interpretation. You will certainly need to deal with some of these questions in the process of explaining the broader meaning of the events you describe, but you should not interrupt the narrative at an inappropriate point merely to answer one of the questions. Your account should be as flawlessly and gracefully written as you can make it. Consider yourself bound not to consult secondary accounts until after you have written your own. (Since such accounts are based on other - or additional evidence, they would be more likely to confuse you than to help you in working with this specific, limited set of documents.)

DOCUMENT #1: From The History and Present State of Virginia, published in 1705 by Robert Beverly (the son of the Robert Beverly referred to in some of these documents).

The occasion of the Rebellion is not easy to be discovered. But 'tis certain that there were many things that concurred towards it. For it cannot be imagined, that upon the Instigation of Two or Three Traders, as some pretent to say, the whole Country would have fallen into so much distraction; in which People did not only hazard their Necks by Rebellion: But endeavored to ruin a Governour, whom they all entirely loved and had unanimously chosen; a Gentleman who had devoted his whole Life and Estate to the Service of his Country; and against whom in Thirty Five Years Experience there had never been one single Complaint... So that in all Probability there was something else in the Wind, without which the Body of the Country (would have) never been engaged in that Insurrection.

Four things may be reckoned to have been the main Ingredients towards his intestine Commotion. First, the extreme low Price of Tobacco, and the ill usage of the Planters in the Exchange of Goods for it, which the Country, with all their earnest Endeavours, could not remedy. Secondly, the Splintering [of] the Colony into Proprieties, contrary to the original Charters; and the extravagant taxes they were forced to undergo, to relieve themselves from those Grants. Thirdly, the heavy restraints and Burdens laid upon their Trade by Act of Parliament in England. Fourthly, the Disturbance given by the Indians...

DOCUMENT #2: From a petition of grievance submitted to the Royal Commissioners by the Inhabitantt of Surry County in March or April 1677 (note the date).

That great quantities of tobacco was levied [ed. note, since there was a shortage of hard currency in Virginia, taxes were usually paid with specified amounts of tobacco] upon the poor Inhabitants of this Colony for the building of houses at James City which were not habitable by reason [of their not being] finished.

That the 2 [shillings] per hogshead Imposed by the act for the payment of his majesty's officers and other public debts thereby to ease his majesty's poor subjects of their great taxes: we humbly desire that an account may be given thereof.

That it has been the custom of County Courts at the laying of the levy to withdraw into a private Room by which means the poor people not knowing for what they paid their levy did always [wonder] how their taxes could be so high.

We most humbly pray for the future the County levy may be laid publickly in the Court house.

That we have been under great exactions of sheriff's and Clerk's fees for these several years. The assembly having assertained [only] some fees and left the rest to ... the County Courts, we most humbly pray that for the future all clerks and sheriff's fees may be [recorded and accounted for] and a great penalty laid upon [those who refuse to comply].

That contrary to the laws of England and this Country... sheriffs have usually continued [in office] two years...we humbly pray that for the future that no person may continue sheriff above one year.

DOCUMENT #3:From a petition of grievances from the citizens of Isle of Wight County (on the frontier) to the Royal Commissioners dated March 5, 1677 (note the date).

Also we desire that there may be a continual war with the Indians that we may have once done with them.

Also we desire that every man may be taxed according to the tracks of land they hold.

We desire you [to call our Burgesses] to account and examine the collectors for the collecting of the 2 [shilling] and 2 [pense] a hogshead, which hath been this many years received but to what use it is put we the poor, ignorant inhabitants knows [not] ...

We desire to know for what we do pay our Levies every year and that it may no more be laid in private but that we may have free liberty to hear and see every particular for what it is raised, and that there may be no more [allotments] be given to no particular persons what soever neither in public or private. . .

Whereas there are some great persons both in honor rich in Estate and have several ways of gains and profit are exempted from paying Levies and the poorest inhabitants being compelled to pay the great taxes which we are burdened with.

DOCUMENT #4: From the History of Bacon's and Ingram's Rebellion written by an unknown resident of Virginia'during the period.

The author shows a first hand familiarity with the people and course of events in the Rebellion. The manuscript is a contemporary account.

... For in a very short time they (the Indians] had, in a most inhumane manner murdered no less than 60 innocent people, no ways guilty of any actual injury done to these ill disarming, brutish heathens.... they daily committed abundance of unguarded and unrevenged murders upon the English; which they perpetrated in a most barbarous and horrid manner. By which means abundance of Frontier Plantations became either depopulated by the Indian cruelties, or deserted by the Planters fears, who were compelled to forsake their abodes, to find security for their lives; which they were not to part with, in the hands of the Indians; but under the worst of torments. For these brutish and inhumane brutes, least their cruelties might not be thought cruel enough, they devised a hundred ways to torture and torment those poor souls with, whose wretched fate it was to fall into their unmerciful hands.

DOCUMENT #5: From Beverly's History

This Addition of Mischief [Indian attacks on white frontier settlements] to Minds already full of Discontent, made People ready to vent all their Resentment against the poor Indians. There was nothing to be got by Tobacco; neither could they turn any other Manufacture to Advantage; so that most of the poorer Sort were willing to quit their unprofitable Employments, and go Volunteers against the Indians.

At first they flocked together tumultuously, running in Troops from one Plantation to another without a Head; till at last the seditious Humour of Colonal Nath. Bacon, led him to be of the Party. . . .[He] harangued them publickly. He aggrevated the Indian Mischiefs, complaining, that they were occasioned for want of due Regulation of the Trade. He recounted particularly the other Grievances and Pressures they lay under; and pretended that he accepted their Command with no other Intention, but to do them and the Country Service, in which he was willing to encounter the greatest Difficulties and Dangers. He farther assured them, he would never lay down his Arms, till he had revenged their Sufferings upon the Indians, and redressed all their other Grievances.

DOCUMENT #6: From a letter written by Nathaniel Bacon's wife to her sister in London, June 29, 1676.

Dear Sister,

I pray God keep the worst Enemy I have from ever being in such a sad condition as I have been in since my (previous letter to you), occasioned by the troublesome Indians, who have killed one of our Overseers at an outward plantation which we had, and we have lost a great stock of cattle, which we had upon it, and a good crop that we should have made there, such plantation Nobody durst come nigh, which is a very great loss to us.

If you had been here, it would have grieved your heart to hear the pitiful complaints of the people, the Indians killing the people daily the Governor not taking any notice of it for to hinder them, but let them daily do all the mischief they can; I am sure if the Indian were not cowards, they might have destroyed all the upper plantations and killed all the people upon them; the Governor so much their friend, that he would not suffer any body to hurt one of the Indians; the poor people came to your brother to desire him to help against the Indians, and he being very much concerned for the loss of his Overseer, and for the loss of so many men and women and children's lives every day, he was willing to do them all he good he could; so he begged of the Governor for a commission in several letters to him, that he might go out against them, but he would not grant one, so daily more mischief done by them, so your brother not able to endure any longer, he went out without a commission. The Governor being very angry with him put out high things against him, and told me that he would most certainly hang him as soon as he returned... The fight [with the Indians] did continue nigh a night and a day without any intermission. They did destroy a great many of the Indians, thanks be to God, and might have killed a great many more, but the Governor were so much the Indians' friend and our enemy, that he sent the Indians word that Mr. Bacon was out against them that they might save themselves.

DOCUMENT #7: From the petition of grievances from citizens of Isle of Wight County.

... We having a long time lain under great oppressions, and every year being more and more oppressed with great taxes, and still do load us with greater and unnecessary burdens; it was enacted by the Governor and assembly for the building of forts back in the woods upon several great men's Lands, under pretense of security for us against the Indians, which we perceiving and well knowing that their pretense was no security for us, but rather a ruin to the country, which was the cause of our [up]rising with intents to have our taxes Lowered, not that we rose in any ways of Rebellion against our most [dear] Sovereign Lord the King as by our actions may appear, for we no sooner rose. But we sent in a petition ani our grievance to Sir William Berkeley, who was not at home butthe Lady Berkeley promised that she would acquaint his Honor with our business, and by her request or command, we every man returned home...

DOCUMENT #8: From Beverly's History.

[Nathanial Bacon had received a good education in England] and had a moderate Fortune. He was young, bold, active, of an inviting Aspect, and powerful Elocution. In a Word, he was every way qualified to head a giddy and unthinking Multitude. Before he had been Three Yars'in the Colony, he was, for his extraordinary Quialifications, made one of the Council. And in great Honour and Esteem among the People.

DOCUMENT #9: From N. Bacon's account of the Indian troubles, June 18, 1676.,

By an Act of State, it was provided for the better security of the country, That no Trade should be held with the Indians, notwithstanding which our present Governor monopolized a trade with the Indians and granted licenses to others to trade with them for which he had every 3rd skin [beaver or fox pelt], which trading with the Indians has proved so fatal to these parts of the world, yet I fear we shall be all lost for this commerce having acquainted the Indians ... with our manner of living and discipline of war, has also brought them generally to the use of Fire Arms with such dexterity, that ourselves often hire them to kill Deer....

Things standing in this posture, they have entered into general bloody war... the murders and depradations they have committed here are horrible and continual, laying a great part of the country desolate, and forcing the inhabitants to fly from their dwellings to their ruin; the Governor, who from the Neighbor Indians receives this tribute and benefit by the trade, still protecting them for these many years against the people and tho the complaints of their murders have been continual yet he hath connived at the great men's [Indian chiefs?] furnishing them with ammunition (which by the Law is death) and the sad effects thereof. Now the Governor having placed me here in a place of trust, I thought it my duty to discharge my conscience in it, by introducing a looking after the welfare of the people here, they being poor, few, and in scattered habitations on the Frontiers and remote part of the country, nigh these Indians ... ; I sent to the Governor for a commission to fall upon them, but being from time to time denied, and finding that the country was basely for a small and sordid gain betrayed, and the lives and fortunes of the poor inhabitants wretchedly sacrificed, resolved to stand up in this ruinous gap, and rather expose my life and fortune to all hazards than basely desert my post and by so bad an example make desolate a whole country in which no one dared to stir against the common Enemy...

Upon this I resolved to march out upon the Enemy with which volunteers I could then get, but by so doing found that I not only lost the Governor's favor, but exposed my very life and fortune at home as well as abroad... ; but considering the necessity, I still proceeded, and returned with a greater victory from sharper conflict than ever yet has been known in these parts of the world....

Editor's Note: In Sept. 1676 news of Bacon's uprising reached England. The Crown removed Gov. Berkeley from office and recalled him to London. In Oct. the King appointed a commission to investigate the rebellion, and in Feb. 1677 the Commissioners,. their assistants, and several hundred troops arrived in Virginia. The Commissioners received petitions of grievances, sworn testimony from private citizens, and reports from local officials. The final report entitled A True Narrative of the Late Rebellion in Virginia, By the Royal Commissioners 1677, was presented to the King's Privy Council in Oct. 1677.

DOCUMENT #10: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

... Bacon had got over the [James] River with his Forces and hastening away into the woods, went directly and fell upon the Indians and killed some of them [which] were some of our best Friends .... the people [would notl understand any distinction of Friendly Indians and Indian Enemies, for at that time it was impossible to distinguish one nation from another, they being deformed with paint of many colours...

So the common cry and vogue of the Vulgar was, away with these Forts, away with These distinctions, we will have war with all Indians ... we will spare none.

DOCUMENT #11: Testimony given by Mrs. William Bird, neighbor of the Bacon's (early 1677?)

[She stated] that before ever Mr. Bacon went out against the Indians, there were said to be above two hundred of the English murdered by the barbarous Indians, and posts [messages] came in daily to the Governor, giving notice of it, and yet no course was taken to secure them, till Mr. Bacon went out against them. And that [Mrs. Bird's] husband had 3 men killed by the Indians before Mr. Bacon stirred, which was made known to the Governor, who notwithstanding was so possessed to the contrary that he would not believe it to be any other than a mere pretence, for to make war against the Indians, and that the 3 men were alive and well, and only shut up in a chamber to make the world believe they were murdered. She further affirmed that neither Mr. Bacon nor any with him had injured any English man in their persons or Estates, and that the country was generally well pleased with what they had done, and she believed most of the council also, so far as they durst show it.

DOCUMENT #12: Excerpt from a letter written by William Sherwood, member of the House of Burgess and appointed Attorney General for the colony in 1677, to Sir Joseph Williamson, a member of the King's Privy Council in London. The letter is dated June 1, 1676.

... a nation of Indians called [Susquahannas] having killed some of the Inhabitants of this Country were pursued and several destroyed by the English and Sir Wm. Berkeley our honorable Governor (who hath had long experience of war with the Indians) that he might provide for the safety of this Country caused our Assembly... to...enact that forts should be built at the heads of several rivers, being the most way for security of our frontier plantations, but as no good Law can be so made to please all men, especially the rude sort of people, one Mr. Nathanial Bacon a person of little ekperience and but of two years [residence] in the country, thinking himself wiser than the law, hath stirred up a great number of indigent and dissatisfied persons to obstruct the proceedings upon the acts of Assembly, raising forces [and] Marching in warlike posture, in terror of his Majesty's good subjects, the intent of which so near as all sober men Judge, is the subversion of the Laws and to Level all [ed. note - to level meant to "reduce" society to a democracy, impose political and social equality] , this Mr. Bacon being styled by the rabble their General ... he having entered into Oaths to stand by them and notwithstanding the great care of our Governour and his several proclamations.... This Country hath had thirty four years' experience of the valour, conduct, Justice and Impartial proceedings of our honourable Governor, who hath endeavoured the General good of the Country, by spending his estate amongst us, yet he and all authority ... are by the rabble condemned.

DOCUMENT #13:From the Royal Commissioner's Narrative.

[At the beginning of 1676] the assembly met to consult for the Safety and defense of the Country against the Incursions and destructions of the Indians...What care the Assembly took to prevent these massacres was only to build Forts at the heads of each River and on the Frontiers and confines of the Country, for erecting of which and maintaining Guards on them a heavy levy [tax] was laid by act of Assembly on the People; throughout the country universally disliked, as being a matter from which was expected great charge [cost] and little or no security to the Inhabitants. The Situation of the Virginia Plantations being [surrounded] with thick woods, swamps and other cover, by the help of which the enemy might at their Pleasure make their approaches undiscovered... Their sculking nature being apt to use these advantages. The unsatisfied People finding themselves still liable to the Indian cruelties...gave out in Speeches that they were resolved to Plant tobacco rather than pay the tax for maintaining of Forts, and that the erecting of them was a great Grievance, Juggle and cheat, and of no more use to them than another Plantation with men at it, and that it was merely a Design of the Grandees to engross all their tobacco into their own hands. Thus the sense of this oppression and the dread of a common approaching calamity made the giddy-headed multitude mad and precipitated them upon that rash overture of Running out upon the Indians-themselves, at their own voluntary charge.. . only they first by Petition humbly craved leave or commission to be led by any commander as the Governor should please to appoint...But instead of Granting this Petition the Governor by Proclamation under great Penalty forbad the like Petitioning for the future.

This made the People jealous that the Governor for the lucre of the Beaver and other trade etc. with the Indians, rather sought to protect the Indians than them. Since after public Proclamation prohibiting all trade with the Indians (they complain) he privately gave commission to some of his Friends to truck with them, and that those persons furnished the Indians with Powder, Shot etc., so that they were better provided than his Majesty's Subjects.

DOCUMENT #14: From History of Bacon's... Rebellion.

It seems, in the first rise of the War, this Gentleman [Bacon] had made some overtures unto the Governour for a Commission, to go and put a stop to the Indian proceedings. But the Governour, at present, either not willing to commence the quarrel (on his part) till' more suitable reasons presented, for to urge his more severe prosecution of the same, against the heathen: or that he doubted Bacon's temper, as he [Bacon] appeared Popularly inclined; a constitution not consistent with the time, and the peoples dispositions; being generally discontented, for want of timely provisions against the Indians, or for Annual impositions [taxes] laid upon them, too great (As some said) for them to bear, and against which they had some considerable time complained, without the least redress. For these, or some other reason, the Governour refused to comply with Bacon s proposals.

DOCUMENT #15: From the Royal Commissioners Narrative.

[Nathanial Bacon was] of a most imperious and dangerous hidden Pride of heart, despising the wisest of his neighbors for their Ignorance and very ambitious and arrogant. But all these things lay hid in him till after he was a councillor (on the Governor's Council], and until he became powerful and popular.... [The] Forwardness of Bacon [to lead the attack on the Indians with or without a commission' greatly cheered and animated the People, who looked upon him as the only Patron of the Country and preserver of their Lives and Fortunes.

For he pretended and boasted what great Service he would do for the country, in destroying the Common Enemy, securing their Lives and Estates, Liberties, and such like frauds he subtily and Secretly insinuated by his own Instruments over all the country, which he seduced the Vulgar and most ignorant People to believe (two thirds of each county being of that Sort) So that their Whole hearts and hopes were set now upon Bacon. Next he charges the Governor as neglegent and wicked, treacherous and incapable, the Laws and Taxes as unjust and oppressive....

Editor's Note: Thomas Mathews was a merchant-planter who was a prominent, but not politically involved, citizen of Virginia in 1676. He owned some property in the frontier counties which were attacked by Indians. He served as a representative from his county in the House of Burgesses in 1676, and was also a member of the Reforming or Baconian Assembly in the same year. His narrative, entitled The Beginning Progress and Conclusion of Bacons R.bellion in Virginia in the Years 1675 and 1676 was completed in 1705 from personal notes, or so the author maintains, kept during the period.

DOCUMENT #16: From Mathew's Beginnings ... of Bacon's Rebellion.

These (people] at the Heads of James and York Rivers (having now most People destroyed by the Indian Flight thither from the Patomack [River]) grew impatient at the many Slaughters of their Neighbors and rose for their own Defense, who chosing Mr. Bacon for their Leader sent often times to the Governour, humbly beseaching a commission to go against those Indians at their own Charge which his Honour as often promised but did not send; The Mysteries of these delays were Wondered at and which I never heard any could Penetrate into, other than the effects of his Passion, and a new occasion of Avarice,. to both which he was (by the common Vogue [opinion]) more than a little Addicted...

DOCUMENT #17: From a description of a battle between the English and the Indians written by one of the participants, May 1676.

Nathaniel Bacon, Esqr. being their General, the number of his men, two hundred and eleven.

We found the Indians in all places unwilling to assist us against the common enemy (the Susquehanna), they having received orders to the contrary from the Right Honorable the Governor, so that we were forced to go quite out of our way Southward, to get of the Nottoways and Mayherrings what assistance We could who at last amounted but to 24 men; during which time our provisions were much wasted...We entered Island [where "friendly" Indians had built a fortified camp] Hoping to find some small relief to the Weary and faint, We had made our agreement that the Mannekings and Annelectons should at a sign given, cut off the Susquehanocks, being in number but 30 men, besides Women and children, this accordingly was effected and the prisoners by the King [of the friendly Indians] brought in and several of the Susquahanocks by them put to death we again complained to the King for Want of provisions), and demanded the expected supply, but having viewed the Battle posture of our Men, who were in great discontent, many of them leaving the Island at the very instant and returned home the King began to alter his [plans] and desired us to stay six days, and went from us gathered together all his Indians manned all his forts, and lined the other side of the River thick with men, so that we neither will attack them, nor depart the Island, without some danger ... in this posture things stood, when by a Watch word from the other side of the River, they began and killed one of our men, which we quickly repaid them, firing in at all their men (inside the fort) so thick that the groans of Men, Women and Children were so loud, that with all their howling and singing, could not hinder them from being heard. Immediately we fell upon the Men, Women, and Children [outside the fort], and disarmed and destroyed them all ... what we did in that short time [a two day’s "battle"] and the poor condition we were in, was to destroy the King of Susquahan, the King of Ouhe, and the Mannekin King, with 100 men, besides what died unknown to us: The king's daughter we took prisoner, with some others ... what we reckon most material, is that we have left all nations of Indians, where we have been engaged in a civil war amongst themselves, so that with great ease we hope to manage the advantage to their utter ruin and destruction.

DOCUMENT #18: From History of Bacon's... Rebellion.

The Governour could not [tolerate] this insolent deportment of Bacon.... instead of seeking means to appease his [the Governor's] anger they [members of the Governor's Council] devised means to increase it, by framing specious pretences, which they grounded upon the boldness of Bacons actions, and the peoples affections. They began (some of them) to have Bacons merits in mistrust, as a Luminary that threatened an eclipse to their rising glories. For though he was but a young man, yet they found that he was master and owner of those [qualities] which constitute a Complete Man, wisdom to apprehend and descretion to choose. By which embellishments, (if he should continue in the Governours favor) of Seniors they might become juniors, while their younger [collegue], through nimbleness of his wit, might steal away that blessing [benefits of high public office], which they accounted their own by birthright. This rash proceeding of Bacon, if it did not undo himself, by his failing in the enterprise, might chance to undo them [members of the Council] in the affections of the people; which to prevent, they [sought] to get the Governour in the mind to proclaim him a Rebel; as knowing that once being done... it must breed bad blood between Bacon and Sir William [Berkeley], not easily to be purged. For though Sir William might forgive what Bacon had acted; yet it might be questionable whether Bacon might forget what Sir William had done.

DOCUMENT #19: From "The Declaration and Remonstrance" issued by Gov. Berkeley in late May 1676.

The proclamation denounced Bacon as a rebel for setting out against the Indians without a commission, and for continuing these actions despite orders from the Governor to cease.

... about the year 1660, Col. Mathews the then Governor died, and then in consideration of the service I had done the Country, in defending them from, and destroying great numbers of Indians, without the loss of three men in all the time that war lasted, and in [consideration] of the equal and uncorrupt Justice I had distributed to all men, Not only the Assembley, but the unanimous votes of all the Country concurred to make me Governor...

... perhaps I have erred in things I know not of, if I have I am so conscious of human frailty, and my own defects, that I will not only acknowledge them, but repent of and mend them; and not like the Rebel Bacon persist in error only because I have committed [the error] and tells me in [several] of his letters that it is not for his honor to confess a fault, but I am of the opinion that it is only for devils to be incorrigable...

Now, my friends, I have lived 34 years among you, as uncorrupt and diligent as ever [a] Governor was; Bacon is a man of two years among you, his person and qualities unknown to most of you...

... if Mr. Bacon can show one precedent or example where such [actions] in any Nation whatever was approved of, I will mediate with the King. ..and excuse him [Bacon]; but I can show him a hundred examples where brave and great men have been put to death for gaining Victories against the command of their Superiors.

Lastly... I would have preserved those Indians that I knew were hourly at our mercy, to have our spies and intelligence to find out our bloody enemies, but as soon as I had the least [bit of information] that they were also trecherous enemies, I gave out commissions to destroy them all...

To conclude, I have done what was possible both to friend and enemy, have granted to Mr. Bacon three pardons, which he has scornfully rejected, [intending more to subvert than... to maintain the Laws, by which only, and [with] God assisting grace and mercy, all men must hope for peace and safety....

DOCUMENT #20: From Mathews' Beginnings ... of Bacon's Rebellion....

[After their "battle" with the Indians] they returned home where Writts were come up to Elect Members of an Assembly, When Mr. Bacon unanimously chosen for One [seat], who coming down the River was Commanded by a Ship with Guns to come aboard, where waited Major Hone the High Sheriff of James Town ready to Seize him, by whom he was Carried down to the Governor and by him received with a Surprizing Civility in the following Words "Mr. Bacon have you forgot to be a Gentleman?" "No, may it please your Honour," Answered Mr. Bacon; "Then," replied the Governor, "I'll take your Parole," and Gave him his Liberty.

[The day following Bacon's arrest and release during the opening session of the Assembly] the Governour stood up and said "if there be joy in,the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth, there is joy now, for we have penitent sinner come before us. call Mr. Bacon;" then did Mr. Bacon upon one knee at the Bar, deliver a Sheet of paper Confessing his Crimes, and begging Pardon of God the King and the Governour, Whereto (after a short Pause) He Answered "God forgive you, I forgive you"...When Colonel Cole (one of the Council) said, "and all that were with him;" "yea," said the Governour "and all that were with him," Twenty or more Persons being then in Irons Who taken Coming down in the same and other Vessals with Mr. Bacon.

About a Minute after this the Governour, Starting up from his Chair a Third time said, "Mr. Bacon! if you will live Civily but till the next [session of the] Quarter Court, I'll promise to restore you again to your Place [on the Governor's Council]."

DOCUMENT #21: From the Royal Commissioner's Narrative.

Bacon feigns a most deep sense of shame and sorrow for his Guilt, and expresses the greatest kind of obligation to Gratitude towards the Governour imaginable. And to make it look the more real and sincere drew up an humble Submission for and acknowledgement of his so late crimes and disobedience, imploring thereby the Governor's Pardon and Favor...

After a short while [Bacon] was sent for in again and had his pardon confirmed to him, Is restored into favor and readmitted into the [Governor's] council, to the wonder of all men.

DOCUMENT #22: From History of_Bacon's ... Rebellion.

... in the morning, before his [Bacon's] trial, he was, in his Enemies hopes, and his Friends fears, judged for to receive the Guardian due to a Rebel, (and such he was proclaimed to be) and ere night, [he was] crowned the Darling of the Peoples hopes and desires, as the only man fit in Virginia, to put a stop unto the bloody [depredations] of the Heathen; [but] with in two or three days, the peoples hopes, and his desires, were both frustrated by the Governours refusing to sign the promised Commission. At which being disgusted, [Bacon] begged leave of the Governour...to visit his Lady [wife] ... he said, had informed him, [that she] was indisposed ... which request the Governour (after some contest with his own thoughts) granted, contrary to the advice of some about him who suspected Bacons designs, and that it was not so much his Lady's sickness, as the distempers of a troubled mind, that caused him to draw to his own house, and that this was the truth, with in a few days was manifested, when that he returned to Towne at the head of 500 Men in Arms.

DOCUMENT #23: From a letter to Sir Jos. Williamson dated June 28, 1676 from William Sherwood.

Thursday [the] 22nd It was generally reported (and before night, confirmed) that Mr. Bacon was marching hither with 500 men in Amrs, the Governour thereupon orders that four great Guns should be drawn from the fort to sandy Bay....

Friday 23rd This morning all men [were] ordered to lay by their Arms...Mr. Bacon with at least 400 [on] foot, the scum of the Country, and 120 [on] horse entered the sandy Bay, there leaving a party to secure the passage, then marched into Town... and draws his forces against the state house, where the Governour council and Burgesses were setting, expecting this firey mans actions, and first he sends one of his Captains requiring the Governour to send some of the Council to him. . .[Bacon] demanded 1st that a commission should immediately be sent him as General of all volunteers against the Indians: 2ndly to know how the 1000 men ordered by the Assembly to be raised should be paid, if by Levy, the declared they would not submit to it, all crying out No Levies ... The Governor went to him saying for prevention of the [spilling] of Christian blood let you and I decide this controversy by our swords, come along with me; Mr. Bacon answered that was not his business, he came for redress of the peoples grievances. ...[the Governour] said to him his hand should be cut off rather than he would consent to [grant the commission]; he [Bacon] swore his usual oaths he would have it, upon which... these proposals were sent to the Burgesses to consider ... who debating longer than he thought fit, Mr. Bacon comes under the window of the house, calls to them saying, you Burgesses I expect your speedy result, his soldiers mounting their Guns ready to fire; Immediately (for in this minute if not all night have been in a flame) the Burgesses make it their request to the Governour to Issue forth such a commission....

Saturday 24th This morning the forced commission was delivered to Mr. Bacon, and some time after Capt. Gardner [who arrested Bacon a few days before] coming to Town, was secured by the Soldiers, and Mr. Bacon went into the house of Burgesses with his guard requiring 1st, that several persons who had been active in obeying the Governour's Commands should be made uncapable of all offices, 2nd, that being informed the Governour had writ[ten] to his Majesty desiring Aid for suppressing the tumults here and declaring Mr. Bacon a Rebel, It should be discovered whether it was [true], and publicly contradicted by the Governour, Council and Burgesses.... These demands were sent to the Governour who declared he would rather suffer death than condescend to the [demand] but considered the Ruin that threatened, the Governour was requested by the Burgesses to grant whatever Bacon demanded ... Now raggtagg and bobtail carry a high hand, a Guard is set upon the Governour and the rabble are appointing new Councilors.

Sunday 25th This day the house of Burgesses met to prepare business to Mr. Bacon's dispatch... now he gives out he will punish some of the Councilors, many persons are forced to lie obscurely; yet we were in hopes they would have marched out of Town in that they had the commission, and not loose time, [some frontier counties] being left without any forces whilst they were Lording it over us... But about Noon comes the sad news that the Indians had this morning killed 8 persons at the head of Chickahomony [river] and in New Kent [county] ... on Monday morning Mr. Bacon with his men marched out of Town....

DOCUMENT #24: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

[After the commission was granted and the oath administered] there was also an act of Indemnity passed to Bacon and his party who committed the offenses on the assembly, and a Public Letter of applause and approbation of Bacon's actions... signed by the Governour and assembly. Which upon the breaking up of this Session, were sent [out] and read among the Ignorant People who believed thereby that all was well and nothing coming forth of a long time to quash, contradict or disown this Commission, Indemnity, Letter granted to Bacon... they were the more easily inclined to swallow so fair a bait not seeing Rebellion at the end of it, and most men grew ambitious of the service as thinking it both safe and for the Public good as having the approbation of the Governour and assembly, at least there yet appeared nothing to the contrary nor of a good while after.

DOCUMENT #25: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

While the Governour was in the Upper Parts [near the frontier] to wait Bacon's return [to arrest him] the people below began to draw into arms, and to declare against the Forts. He [the Governor] to appease the commotion of the People... comes immediately back to his own house, and caused ... the Forts to be forthwith dismantled, and dissolving the assembly that enacted the, gave the country a free new election, which new assembly were to be for the Settlement of the then distracted condition of Virginia.

At this new election (such was the Prevelency of Bacon's Party) that they chose instead of Freeholders [men of property], Free men that had but lately crept out of the condition of Servants (which were never before Eligible) for their Burgesses and such as were eminent abettors to Bacon, and for faction and ignorance fit Representatives of those that chose them.

DOCUMENT #26: From a letter to Henry Coventry, one of King Charles II's Secretaries of State, written by Sir William Berheley dated Feb. 2, 1677 (the day Berkeley sailed for England).

[No sooner was Bacon's Commission signed] but that all his Rabble verily believed I had resigned all my power to their New General and Bacon himself made them believe he thought so too and accordingly fell to work confiscating and Plundering diverse good mens' houses .... And hearing that Bacon intended to make me and Sir Henry Chicheley prisoners, and perhaps deal more severely with us, for he had proclaimed us both Traitors [to] his rebellious Army, I went to Sir Harry's house pursuading him to retire with me to Accomack [county] which place I understood continued Loyal (and indeed half of it was so) ... But now, Sir, begins God's Virible mercies to shine upon me, for though I went to Accomack but with [only] four Gentlemen, yet I had in three days at least forty Gentlemen of the best quality in Virginia that came over to me, many of them with their wives and children and left their estates to the Repine of Bacon's Barbarous Soldiers.

DOCUMENT #27: From T. Mathews Beginnings... of Bacon's Rebellion...

We [heard an] Account that General Bacon was Marched with a Thousand Men into the Forest to Seek the Enemy Indians, and in a few days after our next News was, that the Governour had Summoned together the Militia of Glocester and Middlesex Counties to the Number of twelve Hundred Men, and proposed to them to follow and Suppress that Rebel Bacon; whereupon arose a Murmuring before his face "Bacon, Bacon, Bacon," and all Walked out of the field, Muttering as they went, "Bacon, Bacon, Bacon," leaving the Governour and those that came with him to themselves, who being thus abandoned [sailed] over Chesepeake Bay 30 Miles to Accomac where are two Counties of Virginia.

Mr. Bacon hearing of this came back part of the Way, and sent out Parties of [mounted soldiers] Patrolling through every County, Carrying away Prisoners all whom he Distrusted might any more molest his Indian Prosecution, yet giving liberty to such as Pledged him their Oaths to return home and live quiet; the Copies or Contents of which Oaths I never Saw, but heard were very Strict, tho' little observed.

The Governour made a 2nd attempt coming over from Accomac with what men he could procure in Sloops and Boats, forty miles up the River to James Town, which Bacon hearing of, Came again down from his Forrest Pursuit, and... [landed on] the Penninsula there in James Town, He Stormed it and took the Town ... But the Governour with most of his followers fled back, down the River...

Here resting a few days [Bacon's men] Concerted the Burning of the Town, wherein Mr. Laurence and Mr. Drummond owning the Two best houses, set fire each to his own house, which Example the Soldiers following Laid the whole Town (with Church and Statehouse) in Ashes, Saying, The Rogues should harbour no more there.

On these [repeated] Molestations Bacon Calls a Convention at Middle Plantation [later to become Williamsburg] 15 miles from James Town in the Month of August 1676, Where an Oath with one or more Proclamations were formed, and Writs by him Issued for an Assembly; The Oaths or Writts I never Saw but One Proclamation Commanded all Men in the Land on Pain of Death to Join him, and retire into the Wilderness upon Arrival of forces expected from England, and oppose them until they should propose or accept to treat of an Accommodation...

DOCUMENT #28: From The Humble Remonstrance and address of The Inhabitants of Charles City County within his Majesty's Colony of Virginia - a petition of grievances presented to the Royal Commissioners in May 1677.

These we humbly confess,were the greatest seducements [Berkeley 's arbitrary rule and unjust taxation, his neglect of an adequate Indian defense; etc.] that provoked most of us at first to take up arms only against the ... barbarous enemies the Indians...

But after that grand Imposter Bacon had by these and many other specious pretences allowed many of us to join with him in the forcing [of] his commission. And that Sir.Wm. Berkeley not only permitted the levying and raising [of] the thousand horses and foot [soldiers] but with great numbers of volunteers in several parts, but [several] of his council and all magistrates ...assisted therein (as by the pretended act in June they were enjoined) without any declaration or prohibition of Sir Wm. Berkeley to the contrary for the space, of one month or more, until such time that Bacon was by these means furnished with the power of the whole country, or the greatest part thereof, And was then arrived to that height of fierceness and cruelty he afterwards exercised over us.

We then as unable to resist his will and commands... as his Honor had been in granting his commission... and for fear of death were all of us forced to do what we did in opposing Sir Wm. Berkeley's power, raised for suppressing the Rebellion...

DOCUMENT #29: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

Bacon goes up again to the [frontier] where he bestirs himself lustily in order to [conduct] a speedy march against the Indians, in prosecution of his first pretentions which were against the Occannechees and Susquahannocks ... he marched to pursue the Pamunkey Indians... although it was well known to the whole country that the Queen of Pamunkey and her People had never at any time betrayed or injured the English. But among the Vulgar it matters not whether they be Friends or Foes, So [long as] they be Indians.

They marching ... at random (yet hoping and aiming still to find them out) at last met with an Indian Path against which led them to a main Swamp, where several nations of Indians lay encamped... [After a day's march Bacon's party] falls upon the Pamunky Indians, who lay encamped beyond a small branch of [the] swamp... As the onset was given they did not at all oppose, but fled, being followed by Bacon and his Forces killing and taking them Prisoners, and looking for Plunder...

DOCUMENT #30: Excerpts from "Nathaniel Bacon, His Manifesto Concerning the Present Troubles in Virginia," which was composed and issued during the July 1676 "convention" held at Middle Plantation.

We appeal to the Country itself what and of what nature their Oppressions have been or by what Cabal and mystery the designs of many of those whom we call great men have been transacted, but let us trace these men in Authority and Favor to whose hands the dispensation of the Country's wealth has been committed; let us observe the sudden Rise of their Estates and see what sponges have sucked up the Public Treasure and whether it hath not been privately contrived away by unworthy Favourites and Juggling Parasites whose tottering Fortunes have been repaired and supported at the Public charge...

Another main article of our Guilt is our open and manifest aversion to all, not only the Foreign but the protected and Darling Indians...they have been for many years enemies to the King and Country, Robbers and Thieves and Invaders of his Majesty's Right and our Interest and Estates ....

Another main article of our Guilt is our Design not only to ruin and extirpate all Indians in General but all Manner of Trade and Commerce with them...

Another article of our Guilt is to Assert all those neighbor Indians as well as others to be outlawed, wholly unqualifying for the benefit and Protection of the law...

DOCUMENT #31: Excerpts from "The Declaration of the People" composed and signed by Nathaniel Bacon and issued during the July "convention."

For having upon specious pretences of Public works raised unjust Taxes upon the Commonality for the advancement of private favourites and other sinister ends...

For having wronged his Majesty's Prerogative and Interest by assuming the monopoly of the Beaver Trade.

By having in that unjust gain Bartered and sold his Majesty's Country and the lives of his Loyal Subjects to the Barbarous Heathen.

For having protected, favored and Emboldened the Indians against his Majesty's most Loyal subjects...

For having, when the Army of the English was Just upon the Track of the Indians ... expressly Countermanded and sent back our Army.

For having...against the Consent of the People... raising and effecting a Civil War and distractions...thereby calling down our Forces, from the defense of the Frontiers...

Of these the aforesaid Articles we accuse Sir William Berkeley as guilty ... and as one who hath Traitorously violated and injured his Majesty's Interest here...

And we do further demand, that the said Sir William Berkeley with all the Persons in this List ed. note, the list contained 19 names, mostly intimates of Berkeley and members of the Governor's Council; Robert Beverly and William Sherwood were included in this list] be forthwith delivered up, or surrender themselves, within four days... or otherwise we declare that in whatsoever house, place, or ship, any of the said Persons shall reside, be hide or protected, We do delcare that the Owners, masters or Inhabitants of the said places to be Confederates, and Traitors to the People, and the Estates of the, as also of the aforesaid Persons to be Confiscated. This we the Commons of Virginia do declare desiring prime Union among ourselves ... And Let not... the Faults or Crimes of the Oppressors divide and separate us, who have suffered by their oppression.


DOCUMENT #32: From a conversation between Bacon and John Goode that took place in September 1676. Goode wrote down what was said and reported the discussion to Governor Berkeley in January 1677.

Bacon: There is a report that Sir Wm. Berkeley has sent to the King for two thousand Redcoats [English soldiers], and I do believe it may be true; Tell me your opinion, may not five hundred Virginians beat them, we having the same advantages against them the Indians have against us?

Goode: On the contrary, I think five hundred Redcoats may either subject [subdue] or ruin Virginia.

Bacon: You talk strangely; Are we not acquainted with the country, so that we can lay in [ambush]? Can we not hide behind trees to render their discipline of no avail? Are we not as good or better shots than they?

Goode: They can accomplish what I said without hazard or coming into such disadvantages by taking opportunities of landing where there is no opposition, firing our houses and fences, destroying our cattle, preventing trade and cutting off supports.

Bacon: We can prevent their making any progress in such mischiefs.

Goode: You see, sir, that in a manner all the principal men in the country, who disliked your proceedings, will, may you be sure, make a common cause with the Redcoats.

Bacon: I will see to it that they do not have the opportunity.

Goode: Sir, you speak as though you design a total defection from the King and our native country.

Bacon: Why, have not many princes lost their dominions so?

Goode: [There] have been such people as have been able to subsist without their prince. The poverty of Virginia is such that the major part of the inhabitants can [scarcely survive] one year without supplies from England. You may be sure that the people who so fondly follow you, when they come to feel the miserable want of food and clothing, will be in great haste to leave you...

Bacon: I know, of nothing; with which this country could not in time supply itself, save ammunition and iron, and I believe the King of France or the States of Holland would be glad to trade with us.

Goode: Sir, our King is a very great Prince and his amity is infinitely

more valuable to these countries than any advantage they could reap from Virginia. They will not provoke his displeasure by supporting rebels here. Besides, your followers do not think themselves engaged against the King's authority, but merely against the Indians.

DOCUMENT #33: From Governor Berkeley's letter to Henry Coventry.

... within a week [after Berkeley fled to Accomack] Bacon sent a ship with two hundred men under the Command of one [named] Bland and Captain Carver with a joint commission to take me and all my friends and Bring us to him dead or alive. . . [Carver was tricked by Berkeley's men and captured, which] put all the soldiers into our hands who having not Victuals for eight hours surrendered themselves and Arms took the Oaths of allegiance and Supremacy. ...However this action gave the Loyal party a great reputation in the country and now the fear of me made many declare for the King who never after dared go back to Bacon... [E]levated with this success we resolved with all speed to make for James-Town ... where we found five hundred of Bacons men, but our numbers being trebled in the opinion of the Enemy and I issuing out a Proclamation pardoning all the Common soldiers that would lay down their Arms and all officers but Bacon, [William] Drummond and [Richard] Lawrence, though they would not lay down their Arms Yet the same night we arrived at James-Town they all fled to Bacon, who was about fifty miles from us, ...without shooting one Gun at us...

But, Sir, twice Bacon's forces [would have] not been able to hurt us if our officers and soldiers had had Courage or loyalty, but there was a want of both in both, for the common soldiers mutinied and the officers did not do their whole duty to suppress them, but some of them, as I afterwards found, did all they could to foment the mutiny.

One night having rode from Guard to guard and from quarter to quarter all day long to encourage the soldiers, I went to bed about six at night. I was no sooner lain down but there came three or four of the chief officers to me and told me I must presently rise and go to the ship, for the soldiers were all mutinying and running away . . . . The next day came more officers to me and represented to me again the necessity of my quitting the Town...

I no sooner quitted the Town but Bacon entered it, burned five houses of mine and twenty of other Gentlemen and they say that a very commodious Church he set afire too, with his own sacreligious hands...

DOCUMENT #34: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

But so great was the Cowardice and Baseness of the [great majority] of Sir Wm. Berkeley's Party (being most of them men intent only upon plunder or compelled and hired into his service) that of all, at least there were only some 20 Gentlemen willing to stand by him, the rest (whom the hopes or promises of Plunder brought there) being now all in haste to be gone, to secure what [loot] they had gotten; so that Sir Wm. Berkeley ... was at last persuaded [and] hurried away against his own Will to Accomack and forced to leave the Town to the mercy of the enemy.

DOCUMENT #35: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

But so great was the Cowardice and Baseness of the [great majority] of Sir Wm. Berkeley's Party (being most of them men intent only upon plunder or compelled and hired into his service) that of all, at least there were only some 20 Gentlemen willing to stand by him, the rest (whom the hopes or promises of Plunder brought there) being now all in haste to be gone, to secure what [loot] they had gotten; so that Sir Wm. Berkeley ... was at last persuaded [and] hurried away against his own Will to Accomack and forced to leave the Town to the mercy of the enemy.

DOCUMENT #36: From a report by the Royal Commissioners entitled "A List of the names of those worthy persons, whose services and sufferings by the late Rebel Nathaniel Bacon, Junior, and his party, ...during the late unhappy troubles in Virginia, And Particularly of such whose approved Loyalty, constancy and courage hath rendered them most deserving of, his Majesty's Royal Remark..."

The list contained 45 names and a general statement about the many unnamed "other poor Inhabitants" of James Town who lost home and possessions in the fire. Below is a selection of individual cases.

Sir Henry Chichely, Barbarously Imprisoned and treated Bacon and his party for many months and much [damage to] his Estate...

Col. Philip Ludwell, one that was constantly in the Governor's service, and was not only plundered in his own Personal Estate, but also of the Estate of an Orphan committed to his trust...

Mr. Thomas Ludwell, Secretary of Virginia, whose stock was utterly ruined and taken away by the late Rebel, though at the same time he was acting here in England (as the Country's agent, at his own [expense] ...

Col. Daniel Parkes, then also n England, and one of the Treasurers for the country's money, who was plundered (according to the computation we have made... of at least 1500 [pounds sterling] ...

Major Richard Lee, a Loyal discreet Person ... was Imprisoned by Bacon [for over] seven weeks, at least 100 miles from his own home, whereby he received great [damage] in his health by hard usage [ill treatment?] and very greatly in his whole Estate by his absence.

Col. John Smith sustained great losses by the Rebels, his stock and other estate being taken and destroyed by them.

Mr. Charles Roane, one that had his dwelling House and other Houses Burned down to the ground, and most part of his goods and provisions destroyed and carried away by a party of the Rebels Commanded by Gregory Wolkate after Bacon's death.

Mr. Philip Lightfoote, a great Looser and sufferer both in Estate and person being both Plundered and imprisoned by the Rebels.

DOCUMENT #37: From Gov. Berkeley's letter to Henry Coventry.

...But within three weeks after [Bacon seized and burned down James Town] the Justice and Judgement of God overtook [Bacon]. His usual oath which he swore at least a Thousand times a day was Goddamn my Blood, and God so infected his blood that it bred Lice in an incredible number so that for twenty days he never washed his shirts but burned them.. To this God added. the Bloody flux [ed. note, this was a severe case of dysentery Bacon probably contracted while marching through the swamp in pursuit of the Pamunkey Indians] and an honest Minister wrote this Epitaph on him:


Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my heart That Lice and flux should take the hangman's part.

And now [it is] Right honorable that God has brought this most Atheistic man to his deserved end, I must [summarize] the rest and say that Bacon being dead, the Rabble chose another General which had been [a man named] Bland but he was out of their reach; continued the other officers who soon disagreed among themselves, mistrusting one [to] the other. In the meantime my soldiers Killed four of their most obstinate officers, two are dead in Prison, and fourteen Executed. Their Lieutenant General first, and after, their General gave up all their men and Arms into my hands and are pardoned. More than one hundred I had in prison before this surrender.

DOCUMENT #38: From the Royal Commissioners' Narrative.

After Bacon's Death one Joseph Ingram, a stranger in Virginia and came over but the year before this Rebellion, under whose conduct the Faction began to fall into several parties and opinions, which gave Sir Wm. Berkeley's party opportunity by these divisions to surprise the Rebels in small Bodies as they sculked up and down the country.

After Ingram had [surrendered] to the Governor ... Lawrence, that notorious Rebel, fled... some others were taken Prisoner after they had laid down their arms, and the rest went home in Peace. About the 16th of January, 1677, the whole country had submitted to the Governor and the 22nd he came home to his house at Green Spring, and had issued out new... summons for the convening of a free assembly at his own house, the State house being ruined with the rest of James Town.


DOCUMENT #39: From the Royal Commissioners "List of the names of worthy persons" victimized by Bacon.

Major Robert Beverley, clerk of the Assembly, a person very active... in surprizing and beating up of Quarters and small Guards about the country, and as himself says (and we have no reason to believe the only person that got by the unhappy troubles) in Plundering (without distinction of honest mens Estates from others) as will be found when accounts are adjusted... and [he] was one that had the confidence to say he had not plundered enough, so that the Rebellion ended too soon for his purpose; Besides we ourselves have observed him to have been the Evil Instrument that fomented the ill humors between the two Governors [Berkeley and Bacon] then on the place and was a great occasion of their clashing and Difference.

DOCUMENT #40: From The Humble Remonstrance... of Charles City County.

And since your Honors are willing to be informed of such other matters (besides what seduced us into the Rebellion...) ... we have of late feared that our representatives (of which for this country in nine years time past there hath been very doubtful elections as we conceive) have been overswayed by the power and prevelency of Sir Wm. Berkeley and his council (diverse instances of which we conceive might be given and have neglected our grievances ...) we are moved humbly to present the following to your Honors:

That besides the great quantities of Tobacco raised and paid for building of forts which were never finished but suffered to go to ruin... great quantities of Tobacco have been raised upon us his Majesty's poor Subjects... for erecting a [public] house for the use of the country which Colonel Edward Hill [friend of Gov. Berkeley and one of his principal officers during the Rebellion] received... and converted to his own use....

That on or about the 15th of January last past, when the late commotions were appeased and quieted, the Colonel Edw. Hill without any warrant or authority unlawfully took upon him to raise by impress a company of men within this country... whom he presumptuously did take upon him to lead out of the county at his will and pleasure..

That the Col. Edw. Hill covetously minding to enrich himself by the ruin of diverse of us his Majesty's subjects, hath endeavoured most arrogantly to smother, conceal and [invalidate] his Majesty's late gracious proclamation of pardon, and by menaces and threats extorted diverse compositions and Rewards from diverse of us (not to inform against them as he said and to procure their pardon) namely from [ed. note, here the petition lists nine names]...although he well knew the said persons and every of them were not only absolutely pardoned by the King's proclamations as aforesaid but also by Sir Wm. Berkeley's proclamation likewise .... And the more to terrify and frighten his Majesty's subjects... Edw. Hill by his interest and prevelency with Sir Wm. Berkeley procures warrants to be to him directed from Sir Wm. Berkeley for seizing and securing the persons and estates of diverse in this county that had (and that he knew had) laid hold of and were pardoned by the Governor's and the King's proclamations...

That Edw. Hill contrary to his duty and trust in him reposed by the warrants aforesaid, converted diverse of the goods by him seized for the use of the King to his own use...