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Bacon's Rebellion

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1676l        NARRATIVE OF THE COMMISSIONERS        117

bard before ever I shall desire you to drawe it. I come for a
commission against the Heathen who dayly inhumanely mur-
der us and spill our Brethrens Blood, and noe care is taken to
prevent it," adding, "God damne my Blood, I came for a com-
mission,"and a commission I will have before I goe," and turn-
ing to his soldiers, said "Make ready and Present," which they
all did. Some of the Burgesses looking out at the windows and
seeing the soldiers in that posture of Firing cry’d out to them,
"For God’s sake hold your handes and forebear a little, and
you shall have what you please."1 Much hurrying, solicita-
tion and importunity is used on all sides to the Governor to
grant Bacon a commission. At last the Governor consents,
a commission is drawne up and sent him, he dislikes it, they
pray him to draw or direct one himself and the Governour
should signe it. Whereupon Bacon drawes up the contents
of a commission according to his owne mind, and returnes it
to the Clerke, to prepare one by, which is done, liked of and
received.

     After the Governor had signed the Principall Commission
to Bacon, hee is also pleas’d to signe 30 commissions more
[ Blanke] for officers that were to serve under him.

     But Bacon finding occasion for more, sent to Sir William
Berkley to signe others also, who said hee had signed enough
already, and bid him signe the rest himself if hee would.

      The assembly also passe orders to raise or presse 1000 men,
and to raise Provisions etc. for this intended service ag’t the
Indians wherein severell of the councell and assembly-members
were concern’d and acted in the promoting this designe, en-
couraging others to list themselves into Bacon’s service, and
particularly one Ballard who endeavoure’d to perswade some

     1 This dramatic scene took place on Saturday, June 24. On the Monday
following Bacon and his men marched out of town.

      2Colonel Thomas Ballard, of Jamestown. He is described by Jeffreys as
"a fellow of a turbulent, mutinous spirit, yet one that knows how to be as humble
and penitent as insolent and rebellious, and for these virtues is called by Sir
William Berkeley his Mary Magdalene, but was before Bacon’s chief trumpet,
parasite, subscriber, and giver of his unlawful oath and an eminent abetter of
the late rebellion" (Cal. St. P. Col., 1677-1680, §298). Ballard seems to have
been particularly influential in persuading the people to take Bacon’s "unlawful"
oath of August 3. He was a councillor in 1670 and 1677, was excluded in the
latter year, but became speaker in 1680 and 1684.

 

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