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teristics, he encamped for the night upon the firm land which bordered it, and finished his explorations on the following day.
In the ensuing session of the Virginia Legislature, the association in behalf of which he had acted, was chartered under the name of the Dismal Swamp Company; and to his observations and forecast may be traced the subsequent improvement and prosperity of that once desolate region.
TREATY OF PEACE-PONTIAC'S WAR-COURSE OF PUBLIO EVENTS-BOARD OF TRADE AGAINST PAPER CURRENCY-RESTRICTIVE POLICY OF ENGLAND-NAVIGATION LAWS-DISCONTENTS IN NEW ENGLAND OF THE OTHER COLONIES-PROJECTS TO RAISE REVENUE BY TAXATIONBLOW AT THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY-NAVAL MANDERS EMPLOYED AS CUSTOM-HOUSE OFFICERS-RETALIATION OF THE COLONISTS-TAXATION RESISTED IN BOSTON-PASSING OF THE STAMP ACT-BURST OF OPPOSITION IN VIRGINIA-SPEECH OF PATRICK HENRY.
TIDINGS of peace gladdened the colonies in the spring of 1763. The definitive treaty between England and France had been signed at Fontainebleau. Now, it was trusted, there would be an end to those horrid ravages that had desolated the interior of the country. "The desert and the silent place would rejoice, and the wilderness would blossom like the rose."
The month of May proved the fallacy of such hopes. In that month the famous insurrection of the Indian tribes broke out, which, from the name of the chief who was its prime mover and master spirit, is commonly called Pontiac's war. The Delawares and Shawnees, and other of those emigrant tribes of the Ohio, among whom Washington had mingled, were
foremost in this conspiracy. Some of the chiefs who had been his allies, had now taken up the hatchet against the English. The plot was deep laid, and conducted with Indian craft and secrecy. At a concerted time, an attack was made upon all the posts from Detroit to Fort Pitt (late Fort Duquesne). Several of the small stockaded forts, the places of refuge of woodland neighborhoods, were surprised and sacked with remorseless butchery. The frontiers of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, were laid waste; traders in the wilderness were plundered and slain; hamlets and farmhouses were wrapped in flames, and their inhabitants massacred. Shingis, with his Delaware warriors, blockaded Fort Pitt, which, for some time, was in imminent danger. Detroit, also, came near falling into the hands of the savages. It needed all the influence of Sir William Johnson, that potentate in savage life, to keep the Six Nations from joining this formidable conspiracy; had they done so, the triumph of the tomahawk and scalping-knife would have been complete; as it was, a considerable time elapsed before the frontier was restored to tolerable tranquillity.
Fortunately, Washington's retirement from the army prevented his being entangled in this savage war, which raged throughout the regions he had repeatedly visited; or rather his active spirit had been diverted into a more peaceful channel, for he was at this time occupied in the enterprise just noticed, for draining the great Dismal Swamp.
Public events were now taking a tendency which, without any political aspiration or forethought of his own, was destined gradually to bear him away from his
RESTRICTIVE POLICY OF ENGLAND.
quiet home and individual pursuits, and launch him upon a grander and wider sphere of action than any in which he had hitherto been engaged.
The prediction of the Count de Vergennes was in the process of fulfilment. The recent war of Great Britain for dominion in America, though crowned with success, had engendered a progeny of discontents in her colonies. Washington was among the first to perceive its bitter fruits. British merchants had complained loudly of losses sustained by the depreciation of the colonial paper, issued during the late war, in times of emergency, and had addressed a memorial on the subject to the Board of Trade. Scarce was peace concluded, when an order from the board declared that no paper, issued by colonial Assemblies, should thenceforward be a legal tender in the payment of debts. Washington deprecated this "stir of the merchants" as peculiarly ill-timed; and expressed an apprehension that the orders in question "would set the whole country in flames."
We do not profess, in this personal memoir, to enter into a wide scope of general history, but shall content ourselves with a glance at the circumstances and events which gradually kindled the conflagration thus apprehended by the anxious mind of Washington.
Whatever might be the natural affection of the colonies for the mother country,—and there are abundant evidences to prove that it was deep-rooted and strong, -it had never been properly reciprocated. They yearned to be considered as children; they were treated by her as changelings. Burke testifies that her policy toward them from the beginning had been pure
ly commercial, and her commercial policy wholly restrictive. "It was the system of a monopoly."
Her navigation laws had shut their ports against foreign vessels; obliged them to export their productions only to countries belonging to the British crown; to import European goods solely from England, and in English ships; and had subjected the trade between the colonies to duties. All manufactures, too, in the colonies, that might interfere with those of the mother country, had been either totally prohibited, or subjected to intolerable restraints.
The acts of Parliament, imposing these prohibitions and restrictions, had at various times produced sore discontent and opposition on the part of the colonies, especially among those of New England. The interests of these last were chiefly commercial, and among them the republican spirit predominated. They had sprung into existence during that part of the reign of James I. when disputes ran high about kingly prerogative and popular privilege.
The Pilgrims, as they styled themselves, who founded Plymouth colony in 1620, had been incensed while in England by what they stigmatized as the oppressions of the monarchy, and the established church. They had sought the wilds of America for the indulgence of freedom of opinion, and had brought with them the spirit of independence and self-government. Those who followed them in the reign of Charles I. were imbued with the same spirit, and gave a lasting character to the people of New England.
Other colonies, having been formed under other circumstances, might be inclined toward a monarchical