11 de marzo de 2009

1612

Delaware's brief, mild sway was always a benediction, in pleasing contrast with the severities of Dale and Argall, who successively governed after his departure. Under Dale, death was the penalty for slaughtering cattle, even one's own, except with the Governor's leave, also of exporting goods without permission. A baker giving short weight was to lose his ears, and on second repetition to suffer death. A laundress purloining linen was to be flogged. Martial law alone prevailed; even capital punishment was ordained without jury. Such arbitrary rule was perhaps necessary, so lawless were the mass of the population. It at any rate had the excellent effect of rousing the Virginians to political thought and to the assertion of their rights. In 1612 a change took place in the Company's methods of governing its colony. The superior council was abolished, its authority transferred to the corporation as a whole, which met as an assembly to elect officers and enact laws for the colony. The government thus became more democratic in form and spirit.
See also: 1609-1610

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