CHAPTER VII. HOW THE COLONIES WERE GOVERNED

BACON'S REBELLION. - Massachusetts and New York were not the first colonies in which bad government led to uprisings against a royal governor. In Virginia, during the reign of Charles II, the rule of Governor Berkeley was selfish and tyrannical. In 1676 the planters on the frontier asked for protection against Indian attacks, but the governor, who was engaged in Indian trade, refused to send soldiers; and when Nathaniel Bacon led a force of planters against the Indians, Berkeley declared him a rebel, raised a force of men, and marched after him. While Berkeley was away, the people in Jamestown rose and demanded a new Assembly and certain reforms. Berkeley yielded to the demands, and was also compelled to give Bacon a commission to fight the Indians; but when Bacon was well on his way, Berkeley again proclaimed him a rebel, and fled from Jamestown.

Bacon, supported by most of the people, now seized the government and sent a force to capture Berkeley. The governor and his followers defeated this force and occupied Jamestown. Bacon, who was again on the frontier, returned, drove Berkeley away, burned Jamestown lest it should be again occupied, and a month later died. The popular uprising then subsided rapidly, and when the king's forces arrived (1677) to restore order, Berkeley was in control. [12]

GROWTH OF POPULATION. - During the century which followed the restoration of monarchy (1660) the colonies grew not only in number but also in population and in wealth. In 1660 there were probably 200,000 people in the English colonies; by 1760 there were nearly 2,000,000 - all east of the Appalachian watershed. The three great centers were Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Sparse as the population seems to us, the great march across the continent had begun. [13]

CITIES AND TOWNS. - The century (1660-1760) had seen the rise of but one real city in the South - Charleston. Annapolis was a village, Baltimore a hamlet of a hundred souls, Williamsburg and Norfolk were but towns, and no place in North Carolina was more than a country village. Philadelphia, which did not exist in 1660, had become a place of 16,000 people in 1760, neat, well-built, and prosperous. Near by was German town, and further west Lancaster, the largest inland town in all the colonies. Between Philadelphia and New York there were no places larger than small villages. New York had a population of some 12,000 souls; Boston, the chief city in the colonies, some 20,000; and in New England were several other towns of importance.

LIFE IN THE CITIES. - In the cities and large towns from Boston to Charleston in 1760 were many fine houses. Every family of wealth had costly furniture, plenty of silver, china, glass, and tapestry, and every comfort that money could then buy. The men wore broadcloth, lace ruffles, silk stockings, and silver shoe buckles, powdered their hair, and carried swords. The women dressed more elaborately in silks and brocades, and wore towering head-dresses and ostrich plumes. Shopkeepers wore homespun, workingmen and mechanics leather aprons.

THINGS NOT IN USE IN 1660. - Should we make a list of what are to us the everyday conveniences of life and strike from the list the things not known in 1660, very few would remain. A business man in one of our large cities, let us suppose, sets off for his place of business on a rainy day. He puts on a pair of rubbers, takes an umbrella, buys a morning newspaper, boards a trolley car, and when his place of business is reached, is carried by an elevator to his office floor, and enters a steam-heated, electric-lighted room. In 1660 and for many years after, there was not in any of the colonies a pair of rubbers, an umbrella, a trolley car, a morning newspaper, an elevator, a steam-heated room, [14] an electric light.

The man of business sits down in a revolving chair before a rolltop desk. In front of him are steel pens, India rubber eraser, blotting paper, rubber bands, a telephone. He takes up a bundle of typewritten letters, dictates answers to a stenographer, sends a telegram to some one a thousand miles away, and before returning home has received an answer. In 1660 there was not in all the land a stenographer, or any of the articles mentioned; no telephone, no telegraph, not even a post office.

TRAVEL AND COMMUNICATION. - If business calls him from home, he travels in comfort in a steamboat or a railway car, and goes farther in one hour than in 1660 he could have gone in two days, for at that time there was not a steamboat, nor a railroad, nor even a stagecoach, in North America. Men went from one colony to another by sailing vessel; overland they traveled on horseback; and if a wife went with her husband, she rode behind him on a pillion. The produce of the farms was drawn to the village market by ox teams.

NEWSPAPERS AND PRINTING. - In 1660 no newspaper or magazine of any sort was published in the colonies. The first printing press in English America was set up at Cambridge in 1630, and was long the only one. The first newspaper in our country was the Boston News Letter, printed in 1704, and there was none in Pennsylvania till 1719, and none south of the Potomac till 1732.

LIBERTY OF THE PRESS did not exist. No book, pamphlet, or almanac could be printed without permission. In 1685, when a printer in Philadelphia printed something in his almanac which displeased the Council, he was forced to blot it out. Another Philadelphia printer, Bradford, offended the Quakers by putting into his almanac something "too light and airy for one that is a Christian," whereupon the almanac was suppressed; and for later offenses Bradford was thrown into jail and so harshly treated that he left the colony.