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Bacon’s Rebellion

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  1. Bacon’s Rebellion The end of Virginian Independence

  2. Early Events • 1672 Dutch attacks in the Chesapeake • 1673 Two servant uprisings • 1674 Bacon emigrates to Virginia • 1675 Indian conflict begins on Potomac

  3. 1670s Sources of Friction • Trade Laws • mercantilism • 2 shillings/hogshead • 1 penny/lb of tobacco • Lack of available lands • land grab in 1650s • shaky title to lands secured in 1650s.

  4. 1670s Sources of Friction Fall Line Line of Settlement

  5. 1670s Sources of Friction • Landless men • increasing number of servants gaining freedom • life expectancy increases • early release without “freedom dues” • who emigrates? • “the Synke to Drayne England of its Scum” • captured commonwealth soldiers • lower middle class.

  6. Emigrating servants

  7. 1670s Sources of Friction • Taxation • “increased every year in every jurisdiction” - June 1676 • assessing fees • taxes collected in cash - paid in tobacco 8 per 100/wt vs. 16 • Poll Tax - 250 lbs/year for each: • head of household, 16+ male children, male servants, slaves • 60 pounds tobacco per poll - for purchasing VA lands from proprietors • lands given back by Duke of York • no need for the tax.

  8. 1670s Sources of Friction • Taxation • Fort tax: for defense • useless in Piedmont vs. Tidewater regions • “were made of Mud & Dirt & soe of noe use” • useful only for contractor & absentee commander • Other Fees • secretaries, sheriff, clerk, coroner • Other Taxes • parish levy, county tax, militia fines, powder dues. • Total Cost: 25-50% of income to taxes.

  9. 1670s Sources of Friction • Perquisites of Office • Tax Exempt Status • Governor, members of the Council of State, Clergy • their sons, servants and slaves • High pay • salary, expense account; gifts; contracts; militia officers pay • (for Burgesses these would more than pay yearly taxes) • Comestibles • food and drink provided while on government business.

  10. 1670s Sources of Friction • Indians • Alliances from 1644 • Conflict • constant skirmishing along borders • Trade • Berkeley allies retain monopoly on Indian trade • anger over guns sold to Indians.

  11. 1670s Sources of Friction • Political representation • Long Assembly 1662-75 • no elections • 1670 Berkeley removes right to vote from landless.

  12. 1670s Sources of Friction • Explosion waiting to happen • only needs an acceptable leader

  13. Bacon’s Background • Family background, education • deported with wife to VA with £1800 • immediately connected to Gov. Berkeley • appointment to Council of State.

  14. Conflict begins • July 1675 Conflict on the Potomac • Doegs take some hogs belonging to Thomas Matthew in payment for goods Matthew got from them • Matthew pursues them and kills/beats several Doegs • The Doegs kill one of Matthew's servants • Colonel Mason and Captain Brent lead the Westmoreland militia across the Potomac, where Brent requests a parley, but kills one of the kings and ten of the Doeg Indians • Mason kills fourteen Susquehannahs, who had sought refuge with the Piscattaways to escape from invading Senecas • The Susquehannahs continue to retaliate by raiding the Virginians • Berkeley commissions Colonel John Washington and Major Isaac Allerton of Westmoreland to investigate and retaliate

  15. Conflict begins • September 26 • Allerton and Washington, with ~1000 VA and MD militia, siege Piscattaways' fort. • Murder the five chiefs seeking peace under flag of truce. • Indians kill ten sentinels to escape and break siege. • The Susquehannahs retaliate in the Rappahannock River area

  16. Conflict begins • January 1676 • Susquehanna Indians begin moving southward along Virginia border • April • Bacon joins Giles Bland & agrees to lead an army against all Indians

  17. Conflict begins • May 10 • Bacon leads an army to friendly Occaneechees holding captured Susquehannahs • kill the prisoners; the army turns on Occaneechees and takes their beaver pelts • May 26 • Berkeley declares Bacon a “rebel” • popular reaction forces reassessment - elections • HenricoCounty elects Bacon to House of Burgesses

  18. Berkeley’s Fears • King Philip’s War • fear of continent-wide Indian rebellion • desire to avoid conflict with friendly tribes • May 29 letter • June 1 • Berkeley sends wife & cash to England

  19. House of Burgesses • June 5-25 • Passes “Bacon’s Laws”

  20. June Events • June 6 • Bacon requests a commission to head army attacking Indians • June 7 • Berkeley captures Bacon • June 10 - Berkeley in charge • Berkeley pardons Bacon after his confession; restored to Council of State • declares war on enemy Indians; army by lot; paid by poll tax

  21. June Events • 11 June • Berkeley secretly writes out arrest warrant for Bacon • Berkeley requests militia to suppress riots from Bacon’s execution • 12 June • Bacon escapes • Berkeley • 17 June • word that Bacon returning at head of troops

  22. June 23 Showdown • Unable to flee, Berkeley forced to defend • Bacon arrives unexpectedly • 400 + foot • 120 horse (men of some means) • Gov. 50 men total - cannons unusable • Bacon demands commission • Gov refuses • Assembly wilts before soldiers • “We will have it, We will have it!” • Gov capitulates

  23. June 24 Laws • Bacon demands four laws • Gov and friends prohibited from public office • letters sent to King 1 June must be contradicted • captain of Adam & Eve must pay for damages and be tried for interfering with a Burgesses traveling to meet at Jamestown • defense bill must support actions of volunteer army

  24. Civil War • June 25 - Bacon leaves to avenge attacks by Indians • July • Berkeley declares Bacon’s commission void • Bacon returns to fight Berkeley • Berkeley flees to Eastern shore • 30 July - Bacon proclaims “Declaration of the People”

  25. Civil War • August begins using “Bacon’s Oath” • offers freedom to servants and slaves of loyalists • Bacon captures 45 friendly Pamunkey Indians • marches them to Jamestown • 2 Sept - loss of Rebecca signals doom to rebellion • Sept - Berkeley solidifies hold on eastern shore • sends troops to occupy Jamestown • 19 Sept Bacon burns Jamestown • w/o fleet cannot hold city

  26. Bacon’s occupation of Jamestown 19 Sept 1676

  27. Civil War • 26 Oct - Bacon dies from “blood flux” • at headquarters in Gloucester • Dec - last of Bacon’s troops surrender • Berkeley hangs 23 for “rebellion” William Berkeley

  28. Aftermath • Feb 20 - reformed House of Burgesses at Green Springs inviolates all “Bacon’s Laws” of June 1676 • Feb 1000 English troops arrive to suppress rebellion • Apr - Berkeley replaced as governor

  29. Aftermath • strict supervision by England • warfare opens new lands for settlement • whites of all classes unite against non-whites • race-based slavery accelerates