American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia

By Edmund S. Morgan | Go to book overview

10
A GOLDEN FLEECING

OF those who profited from the labor of Virginia's tobacco growers after 1660, the king stood foremost. Royal interest in the wealth that came from tobacco long antedated Berkeley's efforts to renovate Virginia's economy. Already in 1619 James I, even as he denounced the evils of tobacco, had tried to gain for the crown some of the profits of supplying Englishmen with it. 1 Charles I had also tried, also unsuccessfully, to talk Virginians into giving him or his favorites the exclusive right to market their product. 2 But the royal government had another way to collect the lion's share of the profits from tobacco: by requiring the colonists to ship their crop to the mother country, where an import duty could be collected on it.

The first edict requiring shipment to England was issued in I62I, 3 but could not be effectively enforced; and while the English were preoccupied with their Civil Wars, the Dutch had taken the opportunity to enter the trade. During the years when the Virginians were establishing their society, it was mainly the Dutch who carried off their tobacco. When Cromwell first began to gather in the strings of empire in the I650s, London merchants stood behind him in the attempt to wrest from the Dutch their control of trade everywhere. And when Charles II took the throne in 1660, the same merchants had joined him in moves to make as much as possible out

____________________
1
Beer, Origins of the British Colonial System, 117-42; Gray, History of Agriculture, I, 238-40.
2
Beer, Origins, 142-75; Gray, History of Agriculture, I, 240-41.
3
RVC, I, 537.

-196-

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American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • American Slavery American Freedom - The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Book I - The Promised Land *
  • 1 - Dreams of Liberation 3
  • 2 - The Lost Colony 25
  • 3 - Idle Indian and Lazy Englishman 44
  • 4 - The Jamestown Fiasco 71
  • 5 - The Persistent Vision 92
  • 6 - Boom 108
  • Book II - A New Deal *
  • 7 - Settling Down 133
  • 8 - Living with Death 158
  • 9 - The Trouble with Tobacco 180
  • 10 - A Golden Fleecing 196
  • Book III - The Volatile Society *
  • 11 - The Losers 215
  • 12 - Discontent 235
  • 13 - Rebellion 250
  • 14 - Status Quo 271
  • Book IV - Slavery and Freedom *
  • 15 - Toward Slavery 295
  • 16 - Toward Racism 316
  • 17 - Toward Populism 338
  • 18 - Toward the Republic 363
  • Footnote Abbreviations 389
  • Appendix - Population Growth in Seventeenth-Century Virginia 395
  • A Note on the Sources 433
  • Index 443
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