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CHAPTER IV Freemen and Freedmen
 It is obvious that the small planter class had its origin partly in the immigration of persons who paid their own passage, partly in the graduation into freedmen of large numbers of indentured servants. But to determine accurately the proportion of each is a matter of great difficulty. Had all the records of Seventeenth century Virginia been preserved, it would have been possible, by means of long and laborious investigation, to arrive at strictly accurate conclusions. But with the material in hand one has to be satisfied with an approximation of the truth.  
It must again be emphasized that the indentured servants were not slaves, and that at the expiration of their terms there was no barrier, legal, racial or social to their advancement. The Lords of Trade and Plantations, in 1676, expressed their dissatisfaction at the word "servitude" as applied to them, which they felt was a mark of bondage and slavery, and thought it better "rather to use the word service, since those servants are only apprentices for years."[4-1] "Malitious tongues have impaired it (Virginia) much," Bullock declared in 1649, "for it hath been a constant report among the ordinary sort of people that all those servants who are sent to Virginia are sold into slavery, whereas the truth is that the merchants who send servants and have no plantations of their own doe not only transferre their time over to others, but the servants serve no longer than the time they themselves agreed for in England, and this is the ordinary course in England, and no prejudice or hurt to the servant."[4-2]
The terms of indenture not only took for granted that the servant, upon completing his contract, would establish himself as a proprietor, but usually made it obligatory for the master to furnish him with the equipment necessary for his new life. With rare exceptions he received a quantity of grain sufficient to maintain him for one year; two suits, one of Kersey, the other of cotton; a pair of canvas drawers; two shirts; and one felt hat.[4-3] The historian Beverley states that to this outfit was added a gun worth twenty shillings.[4-4] Another writer tells us that the freedman received "a year's provision of corne, double apparel" and a supply of tools.[4-5]
There existed in England a widespread impression that the servant, upon securing his freedom, was entitled by law to fifty acres of land. This appears to have been a mistake arising from a misapprehension of the nature of the headright, which belonged not to the servant himself, but to the person who paid for his transportation. In many cases the indentures do not state the exact rewards to be received by the new freedman, but only that they are to accord with "the custom of the country," a very elastic term which could be construed by the master to suit his own interest.[4-6] John Hammond, in his Leah and Rachel, strongly advised the immigrant before affixing his signature to the indenture to insist upon the inclusion of a clause specifically providing for the payment of the fifty acres.[4-7] But the importance which attaches to this matter lies as much in the servant's expectation as in its fulfilment. Whether or not he received his little plantation, he believed that he was to get a tract of land, a very extensive tract it must have seemed to him, which would assure him a good living and make it possible for him to rise out of the class to which he belonged.[4-8]
In 1627 the Virginia General Court issued an order which is significant of the attitude of the colony itself to the freedmen. "The Court, taking into consideration that the next ensueing[62] year there will be many tenants and servants freed unto whom after their freedom there will be no land due, whereby they may without some order taken to the contrary settle and seat themselves ... have ordered that the Governor and Council may give unto the said servants and tenants leases for terms of years such quantities of land as shall be needful."[4-9] Thus, at this period at least, not only was it expected in the colony that servants would become land holders, but it was felt that for them not to do so was a matter of such grave concern as to require the special attention of the Government.
After all, however, the key to the situation must be sought in the history of tobacco culture and the tobacco trade. Tobacco was the universal crop of the colony and upon it every man depended for his advancement and prosperity. If the market was good and the price high, the planters flourished; if sales fell off and the price was low, they suffered accordingly. It is evident, then, that the ability of the freedman to secure a position of economic independence hinged upon the profit to be derived from his little tobacco crop. It does not matter whether he worked as a wage earner, tenant or freeholder, in the end the result would be the same. If the returns from his labor greatly exceeded his expenses, his savings would make it possible for him to establish himself firmly in the class of the colonial yeomanry. On the other hand, if he could wring from the soil no more than a bare subsistence, he would remain always a poor laborer, or perhaps be forced to seek his fortune in some other colony. Thus if we are to understand the status of the freed servant and the hope which he could entertain of advancement, it is necessary to turn our attention once more to economic conditions in the colony. First, we must determine the amount of tobacco the freedman could produce by his unassisted labor; second, the price he received for it; third, how much he had to give the[63] merchants in exchange for their wares; and finally, the margin of profit left after all expenses had been paid.
Despite a marked divergence of testimony regarding the amount of tobacco one man could cultivate, we are able to determine this matter with some degree of exactness. In 1627 the King, in outlining a plan to take into his own hands the entire tobacco trade, proposed to limit the imports to 200 pounds for each master of a family and 125 for each servant.[4-10] To this, however, the planters entered a vigorous protest, claiming that the quantity was "not sufficient for their maintenance." They in turn suggested that the King take a total of 500,000 pounds a year, which for a population of 3,000 meant 167 pounds for each inhabitant, or perhaps about 500 pounds for each actual laborer.[4-11] Again in 1634 it was proposed that the Crown purchase yearly 600,000 pounds of Virginia tobacco.[4-12] As the population of the colony at that date was about 5,000, this would have allowed only 120 pounds for each person, and once more the planters protested vigorously.[4-13] It would seem that both of these offers were based not so much upon the amount that one man could raise as upon the quantity which could be sold in England at a certain price. In fact it is probable that even so early as 1628 the average output of one freedman was not less than 1,000 pounds. It is interesting to note that in 1640, soon after Governor Francis Wyatt's arrival from England, it was found that the excessive crop of the previous year had so clogged the market that upon the advice of the merchants the Government was "forced to a strict way of destroying the bad and halfe the goode."[4-14]
The author of A New Description of Virginia, published in 1649, claims that one man could plant from 1,600 to 2,000 pounds a year.[4-15] As the pamphlet presents a somewhat optimistic picture of affairs in general in the colony, this estimate[64] must be taken with some reserve. More trustworthy is the statement of Secretary Thomas Ludwell in 1667 that 1,200 pounds was "the medium of men's yearly crops."[4-16]
At all events, it is evident that the planter, even when entirely dependent upon his own exertions, could produce a goodly crop. It is now necessary to ascertain what he got for it. In the second and third decades of the Seventeenth century the price of tobacco was very high. The first cargo, consisting of 20,000 pounds consigned in the George, sold for no less than £5,250, or 5s. 3d. a pound.[4-17] No wonder the leaders of the London Company were pleased, believing that in the Indian weed they had discovered a veritable gold mine! No wonder the settlers deserted their pallisades and their villages to seek out the richest soil and the spots best suited for tobacco culture! The man who could produce 200 pounds of the plant, after all freight charges had been met, could clear some £30 or £35, a very tidy sum indeed for those days. It was the discovery that Virginia could produce tobacco of excellent quality that accounts for the heavy migration in the years from 1618 to 1623. In fact, so rich were the returns that certain persons came to the colony, not with the intention of making it their permanent residence, but of enriching themselves "by a cropp of Tobacco," and then returning to England to enjoy the proceeds.[4-18]
But this state of affairs was of necessity temporary. Very soon the increasing size of the annual crop began to tell upon the price, and in 1623 Sir Nathaniel Rich declared that he had bought large quantities of tobacco at two shillings a pound.[4-19] This gentleman felt that it would be just to the planters were they to receive two shillings and four pence for the best varieties, and sixteen pence for the "second sort." In the same year Governor Wyatt and his Council, in a letter to the Virginia Company, placed the valuation of tobacco at[65] eighteen pence a pound.[4-20] Three years later, however, the Governor wrote the Privy Council advising the establishment in Virginia of a "magazine" or entrepot, where the merchants should be compelled to take the tobacco at three shillings a pound.[4-21] This proposal did not seem reasonable to the King, and when Sir George Yeardley came over as Governor for the second time he was instructed to see to it that "the merchant be not constrained to take tobacco at 3. P. Pound in exchange for his wares," and to permit him to "make his own bargain."[4-22]
Apparently not discouraged by this rebuff, in 1628 the Governor, Council and Burgesses petitioned the King, who once more was planning to take the trade into his own hands, to grant them "for their tobacco delivered in the colony three shillings and six pence per pound, and in England, four shillings."[4-23] This valuation undoubtedly was far in advance of the current prices, and King Charles, considering it unreasonable would not come to terms with the planters. In fact, it appears that for some years the price of tobacco had been declining rapidly. In May, 1630, Sir John Harvey wrote the Privy Council that the merchants had bought the last crop with their commodities at less than a penny per pound,[4-24] and two years later, in a statement sent the Virginia Commissioners, he claimed that the price still remained at that figure.[4-25]
It may be taken for granted, however, that this estimate was far below the actual price. The planters showed a decided tendency to blow hot or cold according to the purpose in view, and in these two particular statements Sir John was pleading for better treatment from the merchants. Yet it is reasonably certain that tobacco was at a low ebb in the years from 1629 to 1633, and sold at a small fraction of the figures of the preceding decade.[4-26] The Governor repeatedly wrote asking for relief, while in the Assembly attempts were made[66] to restore the market by restricting the size of the annual crop.[4-27]
Yet things must have taken a favorable turn soon after, for in 1634 the planters informed the King's Commissioners that they would not sell him their tobacco at less than six pence in Virginia and fourteen pence delivered in England.[4-28] Later the King wrote to the Governor and Council that the rate had recently "doubly or trebly advanced."[4-29] This is substantiated by the fact that the Commissioners, in 1638, allowed the planters "4d. a pound clear of all charges," despite which they complained that in an open market they could do better.[4-30]
In 1638 several prominent Virginians estimated that on an average during the preceding eleven years they had received not more than two pence for their tobacco, but here again it is probable that there was some exaggeration.[4-31] In 1649 the author of A New Description of Virginia stated that tobacco sold in Virginia for three pence a pound.[4-32] All in all it seems that prices in the early years of the settlement varied from five shillings to a few pence, that a disastrous slump occurred at the end of the third decade, followed by a rapid recovery which brought the rate to about three pence, at which figure it remained fairly constant for twenty-five years or more throughout the Civil War and most of the Commonwealth periods.
The return which the Virginia farmer received from his one staple crop was determined by a number of factors over which he himself had but little control. Had he been permitted to seek his own market and drive his own bargain free from the restraining hand of the British Government, no doubt he would have secured a much better price. But from the moment it became apparent that the Virginia tobacco rivalled in flavor that of the Spanish colonies and could command as ready a sale throughout Europe, the trade was subjected[67] to various regulations and restrictions which proved most vexatious to the colony and elicited frequent and vigorous protests. Neither James nor Charles had any idea of permitting free trade. In their prolonged struggle with the liberal party both saw in tobacco a ready means of aiding the Exchequer, and so of advancing toward the goal of financial independence. These monarchs were by no means hostile to Virginia. In fact, both took great interest in the tiny settlement upon the James, which they looked upon as the beginning of the future British colonial empire. Yet they lent too willing an ear to those who argued that tobacco might be made to yield a goodly revenue to the Crown without injury to the planters.
The policy adopted by the early Stuart kings and adhered to with but minor changes throughout the colonial period consisted of four essential features. First, the tobacco raised in the plantations should be sent only to England; second, upon entering the mother country it must pay a duty to the Crown; third, Spanish tobacco should be excluded or its importation strictly limited; lastly, the cultivation of the plant in England itself was forbidden.
In the years when the colony was still weak and dependent upon the mother country this program was not unfair. The prohibition of tobacco growing in England, however unnecessary it would have been under conditions of free trade, was felt by the planters to be a real concession, while the restrictions upon foreign importations saved them from dangerous competition at the very time when they were least able to combat it. Nor were they seriously injured by the imposition of the customs duties. The planters themselves imagined that the incidence of this tax fell upon their own shoulders and that they were impoverished to the full extent of the revenues derived from it. But in this they were mistaken. The duty, in[68] the last resort, was paid not by the planters but by the British consumers. The colonists were affected adversely only in so far as the enhanced price of tobacco in England restricted the market.
On the other hand, the prohibition of foreign trade was a very real grievance and elicited frequent protests from the planters. Dutch merchants paid high prices for the Virginia tobacco and offered their manufactured goods in return at figures far below those of the British traders. The Virginians could not understand why they should not take advantage of this opportunity. "I humbly desire to be informed from your honors," wrote Governor Harvey to the Virginia Commissioners in 1632, "whether there be any obstacle why we may not have the same freedome of his Majesties other subjects to seek our best market."[4-33]
But Harvey was attacking what already had become a fixed policy of the Crown, a policy which was to remain the cornerstone of the British colonial system for centuries. The Government had, therefore, not the slightest intention of yielding, and from time to time issued strict orders that all colonial tobacco, whether of Virginia or the West Indies, be brought only to England or to English colonies. When Sir William Berkeley was appointed Governor in 1642 he was instructed to "bee verry careful that no ships or other vessels whatsoever depart from thence, freighted with tobacco or other commodities which that country shall afford, before bond with sufficient securities be taken to his Majesty's use, to bring the same directly into his Majesty's Dominions and not elsewhere."[4-34]
Despite the insistence of the British Government in this matter, there is abundant evidence to show that the Virginians continued to indulge in direct trade with the continent for many years after the overthrow of the Company. In 1632 Governor Harvey wrote that "our intrudinge neighbours, the[69] Dutch, doe allow us eighteen peance p. pound" for tobacco, while a few months later we find him reporting the attempt of John Constable and others "to defraud his Majesty of his duties by unloading in the Netherlands."[4-35]
With the advent of the English Civil War and throughout the Commonwealth period Virginia enjoyed a large degree of independence and found it possible to trade with the Dutch almost with impunity. Even the strict Berkeley seems to have felt it no disloyalty for the planters to seek foreign markets for their staple while the mother country was torn by the contending armies of King and Parliament. And so the merchantmen of Flushing and Amsterdam pushed their prows into every river and creek in Virginia and Maryland, taking off large quantities of tobacco and giving in return the celebrated manufactured goods of their own country. At Christmas 1648, if we may believe the testimony of the author of A New Description of Virginia, there were trading in the colony ten ships from London, two from Bristol, seven from New England and twelve from Holland. In 1655 the statement was made that "there was usually found intruding upon the plantation divers ships, surruptitiously carrying away the growth thereof to foreign ports to the prejudice of this Commonwealth."[4-36]
Thus in the years prior to the Restoration Virginia was never fully subjected to the operation of the British colonial system. When the price of tobacco in the London market fell lower and lower, the planters might and often did find relief by defying the King's commands and trading directly with the Dutch.[4-37] And this benefitted them doubly, for not only did they strike a better bargain with the foreign traders, but every cargo of tobacco diverted from England tended to relieve the market there and restore prices. In fact there can be little doubt that the frequent violations of the trade restrictions[70] of this period alone saved the colony from the poverty and distress of later days and made possible the prosperity enjoyed by the planters.
It must be noted also that of the tobacco sent to England itself, a part was reshipped to foreign countries. In 1610 a law was enacted for the refunding of all import duties upon articles that were re-exported. This drawback applied also to colonial products, but under Charles I an exception was made in their case and the privilege withdrawn. In consequence the importers made a vigorous protest in Parliament, and the King, in 1631, modified his policy by ordering that of the nine pence duty then in operation, six pence should be refunded when the tobacco was shipped abroad. In 1632 the drawback was increased to seven pence leaving the total duty paid by the merchants who traded through England to foreign countries two pence a pound only.[4-38] Although this constituted a most serious obstacle to trade and at times aroused the merchants to bitter protest, it by no means completely blocked re-exportation. So great were the natural qualifications of Virginia for producing tobacco, that it was possible to purchase a cargo from the planters on the James, proceed with it to London, pay there the two pence a pound duty, reship it to the continent and sell it there at a profit.[4-39] Although this trade was not extensive, it must have had an important influence in maintaining prices and in bringing prosperity to all classes in the colony.
Thus Virginia, contrary to the wishes of the mother country and in defiance of her regulations, enjoyed for its staple product in the years prior to 1660, a world market. Whether by direct trade or by re-exportation from England a goodly share of the annual crop was consumed in foreign countries, a share which had it been left in England to clog the market, would have reacted disastrously upon all concerned.
It is apparent, then, that in the first half century of its existence Virginia was the land of opportunity. The poor man who came to her shores, whether under terms of indenture or as a freeman, found it quite possible to establish himself as a person of some property and consideration. We may imagine the case of the servant who had completed his term and secured his freedom at any time during the third decade of the Seventeenth century. As we have seen, it was an easy matter for him to secure a small patch of land and the tools with which to cultivate it. By his unassisted efforts, if he applied himself steadily to the task, he could produce a good crop of tobacco, consisting perhaps of some 400 pounds. This he could sell to the merchants for from two shillings to six pence a pound, or a total of from £10 to £40.[4-40]
In the years from 1630 to 1640, when the price of tobacco seems to have stabilized itself at from two to three pence, cases of such extraordinary returns must have been of less frequent occurrence, but to some extent lower prices were offset by larger crops. If our freedman in 1635 could raise 800 pounds of leaf and dispose of it for four pence, his income would be £13.6.8; in 1649, by producing 1,000 pounds, he could sell it at three pence for £12.10.0. In fact, it is not too much to say that the average annual income from the labor of one able worker at any time prior to 1660 was not less than £12. When we take into consideration the fact that the planter produced his own food, and that out of the proceeds of his tobacco crop he paid only his taxes and his bills to the English importers, it is evident that he had a goodly margin of profit to lay aside as working capital.
It must not be forgotten, however, that this margin was greatly reduced by the high cost of clothing, farm implements and all other articles brought from across the ocean. The long and dangerous voyage from London to the Chesapeake[72] made the freight rates excessive, while the merchants did not scruple to drive a hard bargain whenever possible. The letters of the Governors are filled with complaints against the exactions of these men. "This year the Merchants have bought our tobacco with their commodities at less than a penny the pounde," Harvey wrote in 1630, "and have not shamed to make the planters pay twelve pounds Sterlinge the tunn freight home."[4-41] Two years later he complained that a certain Captain Tucker had just sailed leaving his stores well stocked with goods, but with "instructions to his factors not to sell but at most excessive rates."[4-42] In 1628, the Governor, Council and Burgesses, in a petition to the King, declared that for years they had "groaned under the oppression of unconscionable and cruel merchants by the excessive rates of their commodities."[4-43] Six years later Governor Harvey stated that all things which "come hither" are sold at "thrice the value they cost in England."[4-44]
It is obvious, however, that after all expenses had been paid, a goodly margin of profit was left, a margin perhaps averaging some three or four pounds sterling. The provident and industrious immigrant, a few years after the conclusion of his term, might well lay aside enough to make it possible for him in turn to secure a servant from England. This accomplished, he at once rose into the class of employers and his future advance was limited only by his capabilities and his ambition.
We would naturally expect to find, then, that during these years a large percentage of those who came to the colony under terms of indenture, sooner or later acquired land, perhaps bought servants, and became persons of some standing in the colony. Certainly the opportunity was theirs. It will be interesting therefore to study the early records in order to glean what evidence we may concerning this matter. If the servants graduated in any appreciable numbers into the planter[73] class, the patents, wills, inventories, land transfers and muster rolls could hardly fail to yield some evidence of the fact.
Turning first to the earliest period, we find that of the laborers who were imported by the London Company to cultivate the public lands, a fair proportion became proprietors and were regarded by later comers with especial esteem as "ancient planters." At the termination of their service they were granted 100 acres and when this was fully cultivated received another tract of the same extent. To the apprentices bound out to tenants even more liberal treatment was accorded, for they were provided with a year's store of corn, a house, a cow, clothing, armor, household utensils, farm tools and as much land as they could till.[4-45]
The guiding hand of the Company was missed by the freedmen after the revoking of the charter, for the Governors seem to have left them to shift for themselves. Yet this fact did not prevent many from forging ahead, acquiring land, and in some cases positions of trust in the Government itself. In Hotten's Immigrants is published a muster roll for the year 1624 of all the settlers in Virginia, in which servants are carefully distinguished from freemen.[4-46] By following, as well as the imperfect records of the period permit, the after careers of the former, it is possible to determine with a fair degree of accuracy to what extent the small farmer class at this period was recruited from persons coming to the colony under terms of indenture.
Of the forty-four Burgesses who sat in the Assembly of 1629, no less than seven—John Harris, William Allen, William Popleton, Anthony Pagett, Richard Townsend, Adam Thoroughgood and Lionell Rowlston—were listed as servants in the muster of 1624.[4-47] Thus some sixteen per cent of this important body, the Virginia House of Commons, at this time was made up of men who five years previously had been working[74] out their passage money. Among the thirty-nine members of the House of 1632, six appear as servants in the muster—Thomas Barnett, Adam Thoroughgood, Lionell Rowlston, Thomas Crump, Roger Webster and Robert Scotchmon. Whether there were other members who came over under terms of indenture but secured their freedom before 1624, we have no means of determining.
The author of Virginia's Cure, published in 1662, asserted that the Burgesses "were usual such as went over as servants thither; and though by time, and industry, they may have obtained competent estates, yet by reason of their poor and mean condition, were unskilful in judging of a good estate, either of church or Commonwealth."[4-48] This statement is a gross exaggeration both as to the composition of the Burgesses and their abilities. Instances of the election of freedmen to the House, fairly frequent in the early years of the colony, became rarer as the century advanced and the field of selection widened. Yet in the Assembly of 1652, of the thirty-five members, eight or nine appear on the patent rolls as headrights brought over by others.[4-49] It is evident that even so late as the middle of the century the door of opportunity was still open to the freedmen.
In the absence of a complete census for the decades after 1624, it is very difficult to determine what proportion of the servants listed in the muster roll of that year subsequently became landowners. Some light is thrown on the matter by a search through the patent books. Here are found a surprisingly large number of persons who in 1624 were servants. Among these are Anthony Jones, John Sparkes, John Cooke, Roger Delk, John Trussell, William Woolritch, Pettyplace Cloyse, Edward Sparshott, William Dawson, Richard Bell, Robert Browne, Nicholas Browne, John Chandler, Lionell Rowlston, Thomas Savadge, Samuel Bennett, Daniel Shurley,[75] James Hatfield, Adam Thoroughgood, John Robinson, John Hill, John Seaward, William Ramshaw, Samuel Weaver, John Upton, John Watson, Thomas Crompe and John Russell.[4-50]
Of these persons several acquired a fair degree of wealth and became of importance in the early life of the colony. It is interesting to note also, that some were men of good condition in England, the case of Adam Thoroughgood, whose brother Sir John Thoroughgood was at one time secretary to the Earl of Pembroke, is notable in this respect. John Hill, before coming to Virginia, had been a book binder in Oxford university, and his father had been a fletcher.[4-51] The patents of Thomas Crompe and John Russell state that fifty acres was due in each case for the "personal adventure" of the patentee, but since they are distinctly listed as servants in 1624 it seems probable that subsequently each made a visit to England and put in claims for the headright for the return voyage.[4-52]
Thus it is evident that a large proportion of the landholders during and prior to 1635 had come to the colony under terms of indenture, either under the Company or with private individuals. Perhaps it would not be unfair to estimate this proportion at from thirty to forty per cent, but it must be distinctly understood that the matter cannot be determined with any degree of accuracy or finality. Some years later Governor Berkeley in an address before the Assembly, stated that hundreds of examples testified to the fact that no man in Virginia was denied the opportunity to rise and to acquire both property and honor.[4-53] Careful research tends to corroborate this assertion but it does not and cannot show whether the bulk of the early planters came to the colony as freemen or as indentured servants.
During the years from 1635 to 1660 the process of building up a class of small farmers in large part from freedmen continued unabated. But the difficulties of the investigator in[76] studying this period are also very great. Yet it is possible, by examining the names that appear in the land patents and wills, and comparing them with the list of headrights, to arrive at fairly satisfactory results. We find that of the 131 persons listed in the York county wills from 1646 to 1659 no less than twenty-five appear as headrights for others. Of these the major part became landowners, some of them men of influence in Virginia.[4-54] The Rappahannock wills for the years from 1656 to 1664 show a like result. Thirty-nine persons appear in the records, of whom seven came in as headrights.[4-55]
There is always the possibility of error in identifying these persons for the recurrence of such names as Smith, Jones, Turner, Davis, Hall, the monotonous repetition of a few common given names, and the universal omission of middle names add greatly to our difficulties. Moreover, mistakes are apt to occur because of the transfer of headrights by sale. The free immigrant to whom was due fifty acres for his "personal adventure" might not care to settle on the frontier where alone unpatented land could usually be found. At times he sold his right and purchased a plantation in some one of the older and more advanced counties. It is not conclusively proved, then, that a certain person came as a servant merely because he is listed as a headright. On the other hand, the fact that it was the custom to set forth such transfers clearly in the patent itself, justifies the conclusion that in the cases where no statement of the kind is made, the headright for which the land was granted usually came in under terms of indenture.
In Volume III of the land patents are listed in the years from 1635 to 1653 patents to fifty-seven persons in James City county.[4-56] Of these no less than thirty-one are found also as headrights belonging to others, although a duplication of names in several cases makes identification uncertain. One[77] person only claimed the fifty acres for having paid his own passage to Virginia. When all possible allowance is made for transfers of rights it is obvious that at this time freedmen were still entering freely into the class of landowners.
An examination of the James City county patents in Volume IV, covering the years from 1653 to 1663, leads to similar results, for of the eighty-five names which appear there, forty-five are listed as headrights belonging to others. And although the tracts granted these men were usually small in size, in certain cases they were far in excess of the average plantation. Thus Edward Cole, who appears as a headright in 1642, patented 900 acres in 1655;[4-57] Thomas Warburton patented 1,664 acres;[4-58] George Gilbert 1,000 acres; Francis Burwell 1,000 and John Underwood 2,000 acres.[4-59] The number of years which elapsed between the listing of the headrights and the granting of the patents varied from two to twenty-eight. The average for the thirty-five cases in which the dates are given is twelve years. As the claims for headrights were often made long after the actual arrival of the servant, it may be assumed that the average was even greater than this. Once more, however, it must be remembered that these lists do not record personal transfers of land, while it is quite certain that many freedmen, instead of patenting unoccupied tracts, secured their little farms by purchase. Some probably became proprietors in the very first year of their freedom and set to work with hoe and plow to wrest their living from the soil.
In the patent rolls the bulk of the headrights are alluded to simply as "persons," leaving it undecided whether those included in the various lists are freemen or servants. But occasionally the newcomers are specifically described as "servants," in which case, of course, there can be no doubt whatever as to their status. By selecting at random a number of names from those so termed, avoiding for convenience sake[78] all Smiths, Joneses and others the frequent recurrence of whose names would make identification difficult, it is possible to arrive at definite conclusions by following, as best we can, their careers in after life. With this in view we have made up the following list of servants: Henry Arnetrading, George Archer, Silvester Atkins, Nicholas Atwell, Edward Ames, John Aram, Robert Arnall, Peter Asheley, William Baldwin, Edward Burt, Francis Baile, John Bauchees, John Bishop, John Blackstone, Anthony Box, Michael Brichley, Peter Buck, William Burcher, John Causey, Robert Chesheire, Thomas Chilcott, Thomas Clayton, Annanias Coplestone, James Courtney, Thomas Cropp, Thomas Connagrave, John Day, John Dodman, Jonathan Ellison, Edward Eastwood, James Fletcher, Thomas Foanes, John Fouke, Francis Francklin, Armstrong Foster, Robert Fossett, John Farr, Robert Garsell, George Gilbert, Henry Giles, Hector Godbear, Francis Gray, Reginald Griffin, Thomas Halcock, Thomas Hand, Henry Hartwell, Hugh Hayes, John Hedler, Richard Huett, John Hodgbins, John Holdin, William Hankinson, John Hether, Lazarus Manning, Thomas Pattison, John Pullapin, Sampson Robins, George Walton, Francis Withers, Robert Webstie and Thomas Warden. A search through the patent rolls, wills, tithable lists and other data found in the records of the period, has led to the more or less positive identification of fifteen of these persons.
John Bishop, who was transported by Thomas Gray, became a man of influence and means. He represented Charles City county in the House of Burgesses in the sessions of 1644, 1652 and 1653, and was variously known as Captain Bishop or Mr. Bishop.[4-60] Although he became a landowner so early as 1638,[4-61] his family arrived from England only in 1651. Francis Gray, brought to Virginia at the age of fifteen by Joseph Johnson, also became prominent, securing a[79] seat in the Assembly and acquiring a fair estate. In 1653 he took up 750 acres in Charles City county, while ten years later he is credited with 374 acres more in Westmoreland.[4-62] His will was recorded in 1667.[4-63]
George Archer became an extensive landowner, patenting 250 acres in 1663, 550 acres in 1665, 784 acres in 1671 and 1,395 acres in 1673.[4-64] In 1691 he received, in conjunction with others, title to a tract of 2,827 acres in Henrico.[4-65] John Holding patented in York county 850 acres in 1649 and 389 acres in 1653.[4-66] William Baldwin, who came in the Plaine Joan when he was twenty-four years of age, received three grants of land, one for 600 acres in York county, one for 67 acres in Isle of Wight, and one, in conjunction with Richard Lawrence, for 300 in Rappahannock.[4-67]
Thomas Pattison, transported by Francis Epes in 1635, took up in Lancaster two tracts, one for 200 acres and one for 400.[4-68] He also became part owner of two more tracts, one for 220 acres and the other for 504.[4-69] John Dodman secured a patent for 350 acres in Westmoreland in the year 1662.[4-70] Thomas Warden is mentioned as a landowner in James City county in 1643.[4-71] George Gilbert, transported in 1635 by Joseph Johnson, took up fifty acres in James City county in 1643.[4-72] In 1663, in partnership with Richard Scruely, he patented 1,000 acres in the same county north of the Chickahominy river.[4-73] John Blackstone acquired two tracts, one for 100 acres and the other for 151 acres,[4-74] while William Burcher received a grant for 300 acres.[4-75]
Several of these men who came as servants to the Eastern Shore are found in succeeding years among the yeomanry of Accomac and Northampton. Henry Arnetrading, Armstrong Foster, William Burcher and Sampson Robins were signers of the Northampton submission to the Commonwealth in 1652.[4-76] Henry Arnetrading was the owner of 300 acres of land.[4-77][80] Armstrong Foster was the official tobacco viewer for Hungers, a position entailing no little responsibility.[4-78] Sampson Robins received a patent for a tract of land in Northampton in 1655.[4-79] Thomas Clayton is listed among the Northampton tithables of 1666.[4-80]
In the case of John Day some uncertainty arises. Apparently there were two men of this name in the colony, one transported by John Slaughter, and the other not only paying for his own passage, but for that of a servant as well.[4-81] A John Day later secured 400 acres in Gloucester county,[4-82] but whether it was the one who had come as a servant or the one who had entered the colony as a freeman, apparently there is no way of ascertaining.
All in all the story of these men tends to confirm the conclusions hitherto arrived at. It must be remembered that the mortality among the servants in the tobacco fields in the early days of the colony was extremely heavy. It is not improbable that of our sixty-one servants, twenty or more succumbed before the completion of their first year. That of the remaining forty-one, fourteen or fifteen established themselves as solid farmers, while several became men of influence in the colony, is a striking proof that at this period many freedmen had the opportunity to advance. Taking it for granted that the records of some of the sixty-one have been lost, or that our research has failed to reveal them, we once more come to the conclusion that a full thirty or forty per cent of the landowners of the period from 1635 to 1666 came to the colony under terms of indenture.
On the other hand, it is equally positive that the class of poor planters was recruited in part from free immigrants, men who paid their own passage across the ocean and at once established themselves as freeholders. Of this too, the records furnish ample testimony. Thus in 1636 we find that[81] Richard Young was granted 100 acres in Warwick "due him for his personal adventure and for the transportation of his wife Dorothy Young."[4-83] A year later Roger Symonds received 100 acres in Charles City "due him for the transportation of his wife, Alice, and one servant, Richard Key."[4-84] Similarly in May 1636, Thomas Wray was allowed 50 acres for his "personal adventure." Such cases could be multiplied indefinitely.[4-85]
A careful analysis of the patent rolls from 1623 to July 14, 1637, published in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography for April, 1901, shows conclusively that the lists contain the names of many persons who at no time were under terms of indenture. Of the 2,675 names appearing in the records, the editor states that 336 are positively known to have come over as freemen, many of them being heads of families. "There are 245 persons whose names do not occur as headrights and yet of whom it is not positively shown that they were freemen, though the probability seems to be that by far the greater number were. And there were 2,094 persons whose transportation charges were paid by others. This last number includes some negroes, all those specifically termed 'servants' and all others.... It would probably be a fair estimate to say that of the names represented in the patents cited, there were about 675 free men, women and children who came to Virginia and about 2000 servants and slaves."[4-86] Similarly in the issue of the magazine for January, 1902, the editor says that "for some years, about this period, it is probable (from the best calculations which can be made) that seventy-five per cent of the emigrants to Virginia were indentured servants."[4-87]
There seems to be no reason to doubt the accuracy of these conclusions. Certainly any study of immigration to Virginia in the Seventeenth century is woefully incomplete if it fails to take into consideration the very considerable proportion of[82] free settlers. On the other hand, it is probable that a similar study of the lists for a later date would show a smaller percentage of freemen. However this may be, it is evident that by far the larger part of the newcomers at all periods must have been indentured servants intended for service in the tobacco fields. In 1638 Richard Kemp wrote Secretary Windebanke that "of hundreds which are yearly transported, scarce any but are brought in as merchandise to make sale of."[4-88]
Yet it must not be forgotten that any immigration of poor freemen, however small, would have a very marked influence upon the formation of the small farmer class. Of the host of servants a certain proportion only, a proportion probably less than fifty per cent, could hope even in the most favorable times to become freeholders. If they survived the hardships and dangers of the service with their masters, it still remained for them to acquire property and win for themselves a place in the life of the colony. And to accomplish this they must display determination, intelligence, industry and thrift, qualities by no means universal among the classes in England from which the servants were chiefly drawn. But for the free immigrant there need be no period of probation. He might at once purchase his farm, erect his home, secure all necessary tools and put out his crop of tobacco. And whereas the servant usually found it possible to maintain a family only after many years of hard work, perhaps not at all, the free settler often married before leaving England and brought his wife and children with him.
In conclusion it may be said that in the first fifty years of the colony's existence conditions were very favorable for the graduation of the servant into the class of small freeholders, that the records amply prove that many succeeded in doing so, but that at this period a fair proportion of free immigrants also came to the colony. Before the expiration of the Commonwealth[83] period was formed from these two sources, perhaps in not unequal proportions, a vigorous, intelligent, independent yeomanry, comprising fully 90 percent of all the landowners.

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