VIRGINIA UNDER CHARLES I.
Self Government after the Breaking up of the London Company.
When King James overthrew the company he began to prepare a constitution for the colony, but died before it was completed. He was succeeded by Charles, who, on account of quarrels with parliament, wished to make friends of the colonists.
In 1624 the settled part of the colony of Virginia was along the coast and the avenues of trade were the many salt water estuaries and small streams. These conveniences hindered growth of good roads and aided isolation. The colony was divided into counties, hundreds or cities. The latter name was given to tracts of woodland much as it is given to communities in the West at the present day. However, all these different divisions were regarded in the light of boroughs, as is shown by the name, House of Burgesses, being given to the general assembly.
Social gatherings were few at that time and there was little literary interest. There were a few men of university education among the leaders and a few books were written in the colony. In 1621 funds were appropriated for founding a free school, which eventually became the second oldest college in America.
The accession of Charles I marks an important epoch in Virginia. He was desirous of obtaining a monopoly of the Virginian tobacco trade and so in order to gain favor of the colonists did not disturb the House of Burgesses. The assembly met at that time in Jamestown. This first American legislative body also had judicial power and was concerned with everything from questions of constitutional law down to the regulation of the behavior of the people. Several different governors were appointed by the king, when Governor Berkley came in 1642 and ruled for thirty-five years.
Since 1624 many colonies had sprung up in America and Virginia was jealous of all south of New England, especially of Maryland. The population had nearly doubled in eighteen years and negro slaves also increased greatly in numbers.