England and America, ca. 1600
Some American history involving several of my ancestors, whose names I have highlighted in yellow.
The reign of Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was distinguished by energy, learning, independence of Europe, and flamboyant personalities. Among the latter, Sir Walter Raleigh continued an effort initiated by his brother to establish a colony on Roanoke Island in 1585. So far as is known, the 117 men, women and children Raleigh left there had all perished before the next ship's call, in 1591. But the stretch of land which he named Virginia, after his queen, became part of her estate. In that feudal world, the monarch would enfeof her royal domain to loyal subjects. They exercised her absolute authority abroad as at home.
Elizabeth was a popular ruler, both among her people and in her own understanding of sovereignty. More typical of absolutist Europe was her successor, James I (1566-1625), one of the strongest advocates of the divine right of kings. He understood his reign in the context of dynastic rivalry, especially with the Hapsburg hegemony in the Holy Roman Empire including the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain. From our point of view, this is the James who commissioned the Authorized Bible that bears his name, as does the river where in 1606 he granted the Virginia Company a charter for settlements. Jamestown was established on the James River in the subsequent year. These plantations were nearly as disastrous as had been the Roanoke attempt. Three quarters of all who shipped out of England over the next fourteen years for Virginia became victims of starvation, disease, and Indian depredations--or were lost at sea. Yet conditions in England were such that incentive to emigrate remained strong. Although thousands of emigrants had perished by 1620, hundreds, even thousands more were coming every year. Most of them came as indentured servants, but many were refugees from the severe punishments under English law, or even convicts; the vast majority were malnourished boys and very young men. The goings on in Virginia seldom attracted attention among European monarchs.
The Virginia Company was predicated on profit. Colonists sent back lumber products, slate, indigo, and eventually ores. They were encouraged to cultivate silk. Europe obtained this cherished material from China, and the greatest hope for Virginia lay in the expectation that China would be found not too far beyond the Appalachians. The most immediate profit came from a plant cultivated by the Indians and immediately beloved throughout Europe, tobacco. King James not only abominated it but wrote his most eloquent tract against its use. Children are still delighted by the account of how a faithful servant of Sir Walter Raleigh, upon glancing at a couch whence smoke was arising, dashed a bucket of water over his lordship.
Conditions in Jamestown were brutal and primitive, and the Virginia Company unprofitable. Nonetheless, in 1619 eight ships arrived with over 1,200 new settlers, this time including marriageable girls. Among the indentured servants sent in this year were the first Negroes (slavery laws did not yet exist). In 1622, the recently friendly Indians coordinated a surprise attack whereby hundreds of colonists up and down the river were all massacred at the same moment. This calamity was followed in 1623 by an epidemic of the plague. The failed Virginia Company was dissolved in 1625. Virginia was made a royal colony.
James's successor, Charles I (1609-1649), re-appointed Governor Francis Wyatt, who had come to Virginia in 1620 on the ship Sup[p]ly. Among Wyatt's retinue was a 13-year-old boy named George Hall or George Hale. This is the boy whom Maude Crowe (p. 1) connects with the name George Haile on a document of sale for 300 acres up in Northumberland County, some thirty-odd years later. Crowe does not trace or demonstrate any such coincidence. Actually, Crowe overlooked another servant in Jamestown named Thomas Haile. In the 1624 / 25 Jamestown Muster we find not only George Hale / Hall in the James Citty Hundred, age 13 when he arrived on the Supply in 1620, but also this Thomas Haile in the West & Sherley Hundred, age 20 when he arrived on the George in 1623.
Genealogists long had the diligence of Maude Crowe to thank for almost all their Haile records. Popular web sites continue to follow Crowe, often without knowing it. They seldom volunteer Crowe any credit, but sometimes they obliquely do give her credit, as when they routinely advance her dubious guess about George as if it were a fact, yet remain silent (as Crowe is) about Thomas.
One such web site points to a William Haile (1568-1634) in Hertfordshire (Kings Warden), married to a Rose Bond (1573-1648). They are said to be parents of a George (b. abt. 1602) and a Thomas (b. abt. 1605). According to this particular web site, William's son George turns up in America to sire Crowe's American Hailes. The prosperous region of Hertfordshire, just north of London, did indeed have an old and prominent family of Hales. William Hale was among three Protestants burnt at the stake there in 1554. Richard Hale of Kings Warden founded the Richard Hale School in 1617. It survives to this day. There is obviously no way to deny that this Hertfordshire family could indeed be the progenitors of the Virginia Hailes. But the George who Crowe finds came to Jamestown, like the Thomas Haile whom she did not find, clearly belonged to a servant class. To associate them with the illustrious Richard of the Richard Hale School seems difficult. Genealogists sometimes conclude that the name they have found is the very one they were looking for. Perhaps so, but can the documented name be linked to specific progeny? If not, then an American genealogist may sire her own English ancestors.
Perhaps 25 "plantations," or settlements survived along the James River until the first Jamestown census. They were commonly called hundreds after the old Roman fashion, but contained scarcely more than a score or so men, and maybe no women at all. Beyond mere survival, their task was to produce profitable exports for England. Land by royal grant or headright (about 50 acres per head) was available to anyone paying for passage across the Atlantic. Labor, the main cost of a plantation, was commonly obtained by indenture in return for passage. Both George Hale / Hall and Thomas Haile were indentured servants. Thomas Haile came over on the Abigail in 1623, which also brought Governor Wyatt's wife (it is the boat suspected of bringing the plague to Jamestown). A Thomas Haile also appears in 1689 as signatory to a Somerset, Maryland allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary. By that date, the Jamestown Thomas would have been eighty-five. A connection is conceivable between one of these Jamestown fellows from the1620s and the continuous line of Hailes which Crowe does carefully trace after mid-century from Virginia and Maryland down to our Tennessee forebears at Flynn's Lick. Absent evidence for such a connection, however, we cannot even count those two servant boys among Jamestown's lucky survivors, much less imagine them to be direct progenitors of the family name when it appears some thirty years later, north of the Rappahannock River.
By the time of the reign of Charles I at the middle of the 17th century, the Virginia settlements had spread up and down the James, and also north toward the Pamunkey. To the south, below the Blackwater River, a tributary of the Chowan, lay swampland. The neck north of the Rappahannock was still prohibited. Some genealogists connect a Nicholas Haile with Elizabeth City County, and it is true that a very few Jamestown colonists did indeed advance from indentured servitude, like the explorer and Indian trader Abraham Wood, who rose to wealth and distinction, but I discover no link connecting a later Haile family back to this Nicholas--or to any other Jamestown colonist.
Founder of this Virginia family was a Nicholas Haile who had grown up in England during times so turbulent as to leave a profound influence on him--and indeed upon world history. While the earliest Virginia colonists had been struggling to survive in the settlement named after King James, that monarch himself was absorbed in the dynastic intrigues of Old Europe, so that machinations by European royal families constituted the political universe of Nicholas Haile's boyhood. The extravagant carryings on of royalty shaped a young man's ideas about government, and how he expected rulers to behave. Therefore I am going to offer just a quick look at the political world Nicholas was hearing about. Despite all its complications and despite even its silliness, European history does tell us something about the American settlers who came from there. Patience. It is only a few short paragraphs.
Attitudes toward Government
King James's daughter Elizabeth had married the dashing young Palatine Elector, Frederick V, on Valentine's Day of 1613. She was adulated as the Queen of Hearts, and what a handsome couple they were. The young bridegroom was leader of the Protestant Union on the continent. In 1619, the noble estates in Bohemia chose Frederick to be their new king. This disturbed an uneasy balance of power on the European continent.
Perhaps it was a fundamentally religious balance. The awakening we associate with Luther and Calvin had culminated at the middle of the previous century with that great schism we now call the Protestant Reformation. Back in Shakespeare's day, Frederick's father-in-law, King James, had inherited a Protestant kingdom from Queen Elizabeth. In accordance with Protestant emphasis on Scripture in the people's language, King James authorized the translation which bears his name. James and his new son-in-law Frederick became the eminent Protestant rulers. The great Catholic power on the continent was the Holy Roman Empire.
Among the hundreds of principalities in the Empire, seven were distinguished as Electors (i.e., privileged to choose the emperor). Three of the Electorates belonged to Catholic archbishops and one more, Bohemia, was also under Catholic rule. The remaining three, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Frederick's Palatinate, all had Protestant princes.
So when young Frederick accepted the Bohemian crown in 1619, that tilted the balance. It triggered a war which eventually drew armies from the Hapsburg lands, including Spain, into conflicts with the Protestant strongholds in the north. It wreaked devastation in the the middle of Europe, a catastrophe which historians name after its duration: Thirty Years War. By 1622, Elizabeth and Frederick had fled into the Protestant Netherlands. Should her father, King James, now come to their rescue and restore the "Queen of Hearts" to both her thrones?
Dynastic policy devolved upon the marital bed. The royal favorite, George Villiers, said by some also to be King James's lover, advised a marriage between young Prince Charles (Elizabeth's brother) and the Hapsburg Infanta, Maria Anna of Spain. Villiers thought this blessed union might relieve the predicament Elizabeth and Frederick had got themselves into with the Hapsburg Empire, but also enhance King James's diplomatic prestige and bring peace to all Europe. So Villiers and Prince Charles traveled precipitately to Madrid. But negotiations between the English prince and the Spanish monarchy broke down in hostility and mistrust. The disappointed bridegroom returned home to England, trying to give the impression that he had jilted his Spanish bride, not the other way around. Villiers even went ahead to launch an unsuccessful sea attack against Spain. Still, King James entertained ambitions to play an ecumenical rôle among the European dynasties: he now hoped to wed Prince Charles to Henrietta Maria, daughter of the Catholic French King (much to the dismay of English Protestants).
I tell all this just to convey the impression of royalty entertained by English boys and girls: dazzling celebrities not so unlike the glamorous but lethal campaigners for power in our own century. Tales of royalty were among the sensations riveting the attention of Englishmen while Jamestown was struggling to survive.
Legal Assumptions brought over by the English to Virginia
Needless to say, James's dynastic adventurism cost a lot. His heir, Charles I, had to beg Parliament for additional revenues, but Parliament indignantly refused. Charles resorted to interim "loans" from the greater nobility. When these were not all forthcoming, he imprisoned some of the recalcitrant nobles. Five of them appealed to the ancient lex terrae, the "law of the land," claiming they were entitled to due process: that is to say, they thought the king was obliged to show cause for the arrest of any free man. Supporters of the king, on the other hand, argued that any royal command was itself the law of the land. Their argument won the day, and the parsimonious knights were remanded to prison. This was the famous Case of the Five Knights (1627). Parliament debated. Should they introduce a bill declaring a free man's right to due process? Should Parliament merely remonstrate against the king's arbitrary arrests? Problems like this lay in the air breathed by Nicholas's parents. In the year of Nicholas's birth, 1628, Parliament passed the Petition of Right, asserting the constitutionality of habeas corpus. Pressed by his war efforts, Charles had to ratify the Petition.
Such was Nicholas's England. His family may have been monarchists, but they also were persuaded that they had wrested certain rights from royalty. Just one example, Englishmen were accustomed to being taxed only subject to Parliamentary approval. Much as Americans today revere their Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the English remembered their Great Charter, the Magna Carta, which they had compelled a king to sign in 1215. In the example given above, The Five Knights argued from Clause 39: it specifies that free men may be deprived of life, liberty or property only in accordance with the "law of the land," whereby (as attested in ancient writs) the magistrate or arresting officer must "have the person," habeas corpus, before a judge to show cause for the arrest. By the time England at last codified this basic Anglo Saxon protection as The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, the principle had already long been respected, or even even engrained as a fundamental character trait among those who came to Virginia. When young Nicholas was establishing himself there, he and the people around him were confident that a ruler's power does indeed have legal limits, and can be restrained by legal means. This idea of limited government was still fresh, however. I am not at all sure it has yet spread in continental Europe.
Nicholas on the Corotoman (1628-1672)
In January of the year in which Nicholas was to attain his majority all Christendom was scandalized to learn that Charles, Nicholas's defeated king, had been executed. In September of that year, young Charles II, now a fatherless exile in France, sought support back in England by means of land grants on Virginia's Northern Neck. The idea was to populate that wilderness with loyal subjects. Among them, Henry Fairfax (1631-1688), received vast tracts between the Rappahannock and the Potomac (See Nell Marilyn Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers ). Nicholas was among those who earned land patents from the Fairfax grant.
His best known neighbors had brought capital from home. John Carter (1620-69) purchased large tracts along the Rappahannock with wealth from his marriage to continental nobility. Other royal grantees in the neighborhood were Grey Skipwith (1622-1670) and Edward Dale (1624-1695), father-in-law to Thomas Carter, whose son became the wealthiest grandee in Virginia, Robert "King" Carter (1663-1732). Northern Neck families of later fame were the Jeffersons, the Lees, the Madisons, the Masons, the Munroes, the Randolphs, the Washingtons, etc. These were no doubt all loyalists. They belonged to the Church of England, and were at odds with Cromwellian England. At the same time, these were loyal families with critical views about the power of the Crown.
"...Robert “King” Carter (1663–1732) and Thomas Carter (ca.1630–1700). Thomas lived in Christ Church Parish but was not related to Robert." SOURCE
John Carter (1620-69) was the father of Robert "King" Carter (1663-1732)
A ship venturing out of Chesapeake Bay into the Rappahannock encounters its first tributary and harbor at the Corotoman River. Whether his boat sailed direct from Bristol, or had put in first on the James, there came that moment when Nicholas stood on a deck bobbing in the expansive mouth of the Corotoman and looked out on huge Virginia forests--or rather through them: the first branches growing at forty feet above ground undergowth was sparse. His first thought must have gone to the overwhelming task of felling such timber--not even to speak of putting in crops. As their skiff pulled ashore the little party already sensed the isolation that was to surround them, accustomed as they were to an English countryside of manor houses and ancient villages. This harsh New World was to affect Nicholas's own personal deveopment. Historians have come to argue that but it would quite determine the character of the children and grandchildren. Whether they knew it or not, the boys and girls and apprentices must have actually relished their hardships. In any case, the laborious, lonely, and dangerous settling of the wilderness became a family mission passed down along the generations of early Americans, who again and again left home for what they called "newground." It has become a truism that the frontier shaped American character, especially American individualism. We dare not forget, however, that the new Americans were largely self selected. In departing for Virginia, but before he ever saw it Nicholas had had already forsaken the social and political norms of Old Europe with its kings and courtiers.
Land patents, leases, and sales from the 1650s and 1660s along the Corotoman went to Nicholas Haile, Planter. A power of attorney dated in 1654 suggests that he must have already been an individual of some standing and means, before he was thirty years old. Perhaps he brought his wife, Mary, with him. No record of the marriage turns up in Lancaster County, but genealogists pass down the notion that she was the daughter of Rawleigh Travers, a Westminster merchant who settled across the Rappahannock from Nicholas. In either case, Later documents attest to Nicholas Haile's dealings in England, including travel(s) and credit for transporting immigrants. He paid passage for apprentices to plant tobacco for him, and received a nominal 50 acres per person, e.g., several hundred acres near present-day Christ's Church. He was empowered to collect debts for a third party in 1666, was entrusted with the tutelage of his partner's son in 1667, was laid in the stocks for "Uncivil language and deportment to several of the Justices" in 1668.
Nicholas was either lucky in this instance, or redeemed by his status, because in 17th-century Virginia mere pillory was a mild punishment. When Charles Snead and Elizabeth Wig, "havinge been summoned to this Court for comittinge of ye odious sin of fornicacion which they havinge both confessed & acknowledged," Snead was fined five hundred pounds of tobacco and costs, "And ye sd Eliza: Wig to receive twenty stripes upon ye bare shoulders well layen on wth a whip." This particular moral severity should not cause us to compare the settlers along the Rappahannock and Corotoman with their more famous and revered Massachusetts contemporaries. The Puritans are extolled by historians for their sense of purpose and community. Virginians like Nicholas do not come off nearly so well. The way they obtained their land and profited from it, as well as their life style, encouraged "excessive individualism" (T. H. Breen, distinguished professor at Northwestern University), and they are roundly condemned for their independent and allegedly exploitative behavior. While Puritans sat patiently in church, a Virginian might be out at a racetrack, laying a bet on his quarter horse.
The English country folk displaced to America called themselves "adventurers." Historians refer to them as "gentry." As distinguished from Oliver Cromwell's "roundheads" they had been the "cavaliers" who sided with Charles. Station and rank were of paramount importance to them, and these were inseparably associated with the land. Their eagerness to acquire land is what attracted them to the New World. The same motive soon led their children to yet further migration. Like many other Virginia families, the Hailes never accommodated to the commercial, industrial, urban outlook and way of life. Land, in the feudal economy which they brought with them out of the Old World, was held only at the pleasure of the king, who received allegiance and rent in return. A similar relationship bound servants to their master, who was the king's proxy. Primogeniture and entail, common in feudal England, had helped motivate emigration, and were among the institutions to be abolished in America. Land acquisition kept these early families restlessly moving on.
Inseparable from land, since time out of mind, has been the labor to work it. Purchase of land rights did not become possible in Virginia until the very end of the century, under Governor Andros.The only way for Nicholas to obtain acreage (if not by direct grant from the King) was by his guaranteeing the transport of people to Virginia. Nicholas may have been a younger son with meager inheritance, perhaps he was driven out by the Puritan Parliament of Oliver Cromwell. In any case he obtained his patent to acreage along the Corotoman in return for transporting servants to Virginia. For their part, they indentured themselves to him. Bonded servitude continued to supply labor for the family's tobacco production during subsequent generations in Maryland, Virginia, and still in Tennessee as late as the eighteenth century. English servants bonded for a specific term, perhaps four, perhaps seven years, were legally members of their "guardian's" family.
Early Virginians still understood the concept of family in the ancient sense of Greek oikos = "home," or in the compound oikonomia = "household" (whence English "economy"). Like Roman familia, the oikos meant the entire household including servants. In Virginia, Nicholas was bound by law to responsibility for just such an extended family. We must not think of him with his wife and three children as being about like a family in our own neighborhood. Nicholas and his wife took care of the material welfare of the servants they had brought over, and were of course responsible for their occupational training and Christian upbringing. Their understanding of family was nearer to that of ancient Rome, or to a guild master in medieval Europe.
A young Englishman signed an indenture as a way of entering into a livlihood. It was a contract, whose name came from its outward appearance. The terms, stipulating the mutual obligations between apprentice and master, were copied twice on one long sheet. The paper was then cut between the copies so as to leave a wavy or jagged, an "indentured" separation. Thus each end, one for the master and one for the apprentice, was demonstrably a part of the same piece of paper. In America as in England, the indenture recognized the master's need for skilled labor, on the one hand, and the servant's need to learn a skill, on the other.
Growing and harvesting tobacco was a lengthy process comprising several delicate stages. The young man who mastered it could hope for a very profitable future in a colony with plenty of land awaiting him. At the end of his apprenticeship, his master was obliged to help establish him. In the meantime, the master enjoyed the servant's labor and was in turn required to to provide--beyond linens, lodging, and board--instruction in reading, and sometimes ciphering as well. In practice, this meant, in addition to "job training," a thorough grounding in the Bible, and in arithmetic through the "rule of threes."* In short, Nicholas and his wife Mary were in loco parentis to their three children, George, Mary, and Nicholas jr., together with as many servants as they had the energy and means to transport.
The colonists by no means left behind them their caste system, which one can observe in England to this day. "Condition" was their most important possession, because it was immutable. Born an aristocrat, one remained so; born a servant, a servant for life. According to the old feudal understanding, one's condition included a distinctive code of behavior. The concept "honor" had profound and enduring implications. This feudal stricture still imbued the founders: a century and a half later it cost Alexander Hamilton his life. Attempts to replace honor with codified rules distinguishes modern existence. Nonetheless, both the seventeenth and the twenty-first century share a common word for the essential trait: honesty. In Nicholas's day it was manifest differently according to sex, and Nicholas did not really expect it outsice the gentry. In short, even as he gazed out at Virginia's virgin forests Nicholas was still an Englishman through and through. He beheld his new world with eyes accustomed to a landscape which had been under cultivation for four or five millennia. As his ship put in from the Corotoman, the huge trees must have seemed invincile. The first boughs were set forty feet off the ground, their canopy discouraged undergrowth. The peculiar thinking of these new Virginians probably still reflected outrages imposed by monarchs like James and his sons, but Nicholas's mind and character would have to develope along with with the virgin land, which was to shape the character and condition of his children and children's children.
His acreage shows that Nicholas brought at least a dozen bonded servants, which means that--as compared with the "huddled masses" of London or with the starving wretches on the James River,--or, for that matter, with the great majority of immigrants in his own generation--he enjoyed a privileged existence. But his life on the Corotoman cannot have been an easy one. The Indians remained a fearful presence, the massacre of 1622 still remembered by most, and that of 1644 by everyone. Cautious separation of Indians and whites was maintained by strict regulations imposed on both. The wilderness beyond the tidewater was mysterious and deadly. Nicholas surely brought along his armor, which included a helmet and probably chain vest and greaves, as well as sword and knives. He had muskets, from our point of view not very reliable, but a terror to the Indians. His residence was probably crude. Archeological digs suggest that early homes near the James River might not have even been above ground. Still, makeshift accommodations by Nicholas's day may have become more substantial.
Brick construction was generally preferred, as it had been in the southwest of England in Nicholas's day. Light was provided by candles of tallow or beeswax. Cooking utensils might be hung in the fireplace.
A family's diet included fruits, fruit pies, and pickled fruit, grains and porridge, game fish and animals. One ate with one's narrow, pointed knife and a ceramic or pewter spoon. Only later did a dinner knife come to table with its broad blade, sometimes even with a broadened tip for transporting food to the mouth. Eventually the fork was borrowed from the kitchen and refined for table use. When cutting meat, the sophisticated fork user did not need to switch hands, but could take his already stabbed morsel directly to the mouth with his left hand, or so it was practiced by Europeans. Americans like Nicholas retained the older habit of switching hands.
Nicholas probably did not himself do field work, but he did have to teach and supervise the entire tedious process of tobacco production. In the beginning, no attempt was made to clear land. The trees were killed by girding them. Corn could be grown on uncleared acreage without the use of draft animals. Tobacco grew best on newground with plenty of sun. Enormous labor was required to bring down the ancient forests, but once that was accomplished a draft animal might be hitched to a horse hoe for scraping the weeds.
Preparation of a seedbed in the last winter months, careful tending of the fragile seedlings through the spring, and a series of transplantings as summer began finally permitted topping the plants so as to produce large tobacco leaves. These had to be regularly trimmed. By summer's end the mature tobacco might stand nine feet high. Harvesting the huge leaves, curing, and packing them were similarly arduous and skilled tasks. Despite formidable difficulties, tobacco brought such windfall profits that early colonists overproduced it, to the neglect of other crops. Fertilizing was not yet practiced, nor was crop rotation. As a consequence, tobacco exhausted a plot after a year or so. This was portentous for subsequent generations.
Tobacco growing provided the first "American Dream" of the good life. It assured the rapid development and advance of American civilization. Tobacco's vast and increasing demands for land laid waste the virgin forests, leached the rich soil, and encouraged slavery. These complaints were made by the growers themselves, Thomas Jefferson for example. Looking back from our day, we may be more impressed by the human lives snuffed out by cancer and other tobacco related diseases than by Jefferson's worries.
By the time Nicholas arrived in Virginia, the Roundhead Parliament had replaced the the royal government. But whether under commonwealth or after the Restoration in 1660, the British Empire was, for all practical purposes, a far flung for-profit organization run by appointees striving for place and favor at home. The colonists proudly regarded themselves as loyal, submissive subjects of the king. Consider, "The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina," drawn up in 1669,
for the better settlement of the Government of the said Place, and establishing the interest of the Lords Proprietors with Equality, and without confusion; and that the Government of this Province may be made most agreeable unto the Monarchy under which we live, and of which this province is a part; and that we may avoid erecting a numerous Democracy.
The author of this document was presumably the young John Locke, upon whom the Founders in 1783 looked back as champion of human rights. Nicholas believed he enjoyed the same liberties as other Englishmen under the constitution and common law, and the king agreed.
Charles I, for example, after stating that he truly desired the people's liberty and freedom, went on to say, "But I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists in having of government; those laws by which their life and their goods may be most their own. It is not for having share in government, Sir, that is nothing pertaining to them." Nicholas wielded the same authority over his own servants, whose taxes he paid and for whose welfare he was responsible. As to grievances which Nicholas might himself have, these would be addressed to the Governor, William Berkeley, who was supposed to speak up in England for his vassals in America. Berkeley answered to the ministry in London, who deliberated Royal policy. As time passed, some colonists dared argue that they were entitled to participate in decisions affecting them. This claim was treated as absurd: it went without saying that the ministry and each member of Parliament, including Commons, acted always in the interest of the whole empire and never in favor of any particular constituency, much less in self-interest.
Nicholas had come to America while Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector. Although it is unlikely Nicholas favored that Puritan regime, the colonies fared well enough. After the Restoration in 1660, old Governor William Berkeley resumed his post. This good administrator under Charles I had been reinstated by Charles II, but had by now grown old, cruel, and arbitrary. Like the courtier he was, Sir William valued his colony as a source of both personal and royal revenue (the feudal mind drew no bright line between these two). London dictated what was to be shipped from America. The Navigation Acts of 1660 and 1663 restricted shipments to English bottoms and English ports only, whatever the final destination. That actually made trade among American ports illegal. Tobacco, so profitable during the governor's first administration, had now become an article of contention because of overproduction, lack of quality control, competition with the Dutch and other countries, and failure of the British government to address any of these problems.