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Page 133 text:
0 irginia s S. art in the uilJing the 0 J ahon Prize Essay FTER making a study of history and of that outstand- ing and all important part Virginia played in opening up and establishing this nation of ours, as one, if not the greatest, of the world powers today, we cannot help but feel a deeper love and respect for our beloved State, Virginia — the State which has proudly given her sons, her daughters, and her resources to every noble and righteous cause, the State which rightly deserves those immortal and endearing terms “Mother State” and “The Old Diminion.” In order that we may better understand the subject let us make a brief survey of the different fields through which Virginia and Virginians have exerted their influence and treat of each separately. The first of these which we would naturally think of would probably be the period of colonization. Here we find Virginia leading- all the other colonies; in fact it was on Virginia soil that the first per- manent English colony, Jamestown, was founded in 1607. The success of that colony may be said to be due largely to that dynamic and courageous character, Captain John Smith. Smith, facing great difficulties and with keen foresight and strict discipline, enforced law and order in the small colony. We find that one of the greatest dangers that the earlier colonists faced was the attacks of the Indians. At one time when Smith was away the Indians raided the colony and might have killed all the settlers had it not been for the protection of the ships on the bay. Finally, by means of kindness and diplomacy, Smith befriended the Indians and we find that they became so loyal to him and to the colonists that they brought them food when the colonists were near starvation. No sooner was the Indian question settled than we find other troubles with which Smith had to cope, the greatest of these being an insurrection among the colonists themselves, led by President Wingfield, who, being jealous of Smith, wanted all the power for himself. All of these troubles and man},- others we find Smith settling in a satisfactory way, being at all times a brave and valiant soldier and at the same time a perfect gentleman. 127
Page 132 text:
“Well, thank goodness we have started at last,” said June; “Goodness knows, we have had excitement enough for one night.” “Amen!” — from John. “What!” she exclaimed. “1 forgot to put on the right cuff-links after all!” The little brook glides gently on, Laughing and murmuring as it goes, As swift and determined as a young faun Dancing gaily along on its wee silvery toes. Like a jewel it sparkles a nd glows, When covered with shining sun rays; When over its white sandy bottom it flows, ’ Tis the prettiest treasurer of summer days. “Oh, June!” Virginia Wood, ' 29. Rosa Lee Reynolds, 31 • 126
Page 134 text:
Later vve find the work that Smith laid down was picked up and carried on by Lord Delaware, who brought supplies and aid to the colonists when they were in destitute circumstances. The colony became stronger in a few years and prospered under the governorship of Dale and George Yeardley. In the year 1619 the first real legislative body was established in Virginia, which is usually termed the House of Burgesses and was a law-making body that has been used as a pattern for almost all of the State legislatures and may be called the “pioneer law making body” in the new country. Thus from the very beginning we find Virginians establishing principles and ideals which years later a nation would follow. When Charles II came to the throne in England, the first direct opposition to royal tyranny occurred in Virginia. Governor Berke- ley, a favorite of Charles II, was Virginia’s royal governor. Berke- ley, an ardent royalist and a harsh and self-opinionated man, refusing to protect the colonists from the depredations of the Indians, the young Virginian, Nathaniel Bacon, defied the royal authority and raised troops to protect the plantations, and, in an indirect way, caused the removal of Berkeley from the governorship. From that time on we find the attitude of the colonists in general was hostile, and this condition was constantly growing worse. All during these pre-Revolutionary days, when things were darkest, we find the liberty loving Virginians leading in protests, holding up the principles of right and justice against the tyranny and oppression of the British king. The very first serious opposition came from Virginia in the form of Patrick Henry’s resolutions which in general stated : “That the general assembly of this colony has the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony, and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever, other than the general assembly aforesaid, has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom.” These resolutions caused an angry debate in the Virginia assem- bly which gave rise to Patrick Henry’s famous speech in which, after denouncing the tyranny of the Stamp Act, he exclaim ed: “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles I his Cromwell, and George III may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.” Thus a Virginian dared to challenge the authority of an Empire when he knew he was right. Also in our own Southwest Virginia we find opposition against the oppression of the king in the form of the Fincastle Resolutions, which were signed at Fort Chiswell. According to the account given 128
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