Berkeley, Nathaniel Bacon, William Berkeley discussed on The Political History of the United States
Hello and welcome to the political history of the United States episode. Two point nine the June assembly. We left off last week. With governor Berkeley declaring that Nathaniel Bacon for his role in leading forces against the Indians on the frontier without his permission was now a traitor. Berkeley was left with little choice in had to do something to reassert the authority. The big head so seriously challenged. What results are some of the most famous times in the entire rebellion? This week? We are going to spend our time. Examining how William Berkeley took eight. Tenths situation poured gasoline on. It backed it with explosives and then threw in a match for good measure. We are going to focus. Mostly on June sixteenth. Seventy six today as we see Berkeley. Take misstep after misstep pushing the colony into the throats of an open rebellion. William Berkeley. Very quickly realized that he had a serious problem on. Its hands the mealy. After Bacon and his men set out into the frontier Berkeley could see the writing on the wall on May tenth Berkeley put out a call demanding that those under Bacon stand-down only a handful were interested in the message with most just choosing to ignore it. Those who did listen tended to be the large landowners who were basically the only one still loyal to Berkeley upon declaring Bacon a traitor. Berkeley failed to get the rousing response that he might have hoped for instead of rallying to the cause of their increasingly beleaguered governor. The colonists rallied over to the side of Bacon after all. Bacon understood their plight from the viewpoint of the frontier colonists. The hip been long ignored except a time for years by the Virginia Assembly. The government wasn't working for the small planters. It was working for Berkeley and his fellow assembly members. Bacon who is now affectionately being referred to as General Bacon was a man of the people even though Bacon really did have more in common with men like Berkeley in the rest of the assembly was the guy on the frontier. He knows their struggles at instead of just trying to use the occasion as an excuse to extract more tax dollars. He was out there. Actually doing something about it. Following his declaration that baking was a traitor. Berkeley as well as a few hundred men who were loyal to him made their way up to the James River to way for big to be intercepted and arrested Bacon smartly. Have become aware of this and had little interest in being arrested by the governor. Berkeley by this point is beginning to see the writing on the wall. He understood that well there were still those within the colony who were loyal to him. He was rapidly. Losing the support of the Communists the wealthy landowners who had gained so much under Berkeley remained loyal everybody else. However was at a minimum feeling overtaxed and for those out on the frontier they felt as though Berkeley had abandoned them so that he can maintain his position in the for trade knowing that his position as the Governor Verging Virginia was now in serious jeopardy. Berkeley goes ahead and for the first time in over fourteen years calls for a general election. Berkeley himself by this point is an old man. He has been empower for a long time and was ready to just throw his hands up on the matter and head back to England Berkeley wrote back to England. Let him know that he will be happy to resign. The governorship and that England needs to send somebody knew. He blamed his increasing loss of control over the fact that he had become an old man and that a more vigorous governor was needed to run Virginia. So now many of you are probably sitting there more than a little confused. Berkeley is prepared. To step. Down is called for a general election. Where does the rebellion come from? Didn't bake it in his men get more than what they were asking for. It is an interesting thought. What would have happened? If Berkeley withdrew the word and gave into the clearly widespread support that begin had would he have been able to turn this event into nothing more than a case of insubordination and the individual personal political career? Of course? We know that Berkeley isn't going to do that. Is going to take the path that is going to turn this incident into something far larger than it really ever needed to be the problem for Berkeley. Isn't that he wasn't willing to step down but rather he was unwilling to change his course as a concerned bacon after returning to Jamestown without Bake it on May twenty ninth Berkeley gave an impassioned speech setting himself apart from the rebel Bacon. He made clear that he given decades of service to the colony and that under his command Virginia had thrived. The speech was in every sense. Berkeley doing what he could to maintain the political systems that he had been so influential in building. The last thing he wanted was for somebody like Nathaniel Bacon to stroll in an undue a decades long career. The play takes place on the eve of the election and was meant to plead his case to keep the colony the same as it had been recognizing the danger the next day. Berkeley sent his wife a large amount of his personal fortune and that litter describing the current conditions as well as his request for a replacement onboard. A ship bound for London as a result of the election. The man who Berkeley had himself named a trader thanks. Bacon found himself as an elected representative from the county of Henrico to give you an idea of the locations that we are talking about. Henrico County is the eastern side of Modern Day Richmond. Despite there being a warrant for his arrest Bacon was not going to take his responsibility lightly make in border to ship and set sail down the James River for Jamestown with every intention of taking his seat in the assembly well. Tensions have been mounting for a long time. It really has felt that a full-blown rebellion could have been avoided head Berkeley accepted the public mandate following the election. Allowed baked. You take his seat and then let reform follow then. I think there is a pretty good bet that I'm not having to spend weeks writing episodes about Bacon's rebellion however when it comes to the question of the revolt becoming inevitable. Berkeley is about to ensure that he minor civil disturbance becomes a full fledged rebellion on June. Six ship carrying the FANEUIL Bacon plus forty or so bodyguards made its way down the James River towards the Jamestown eventually docking. It's one point. Any small outcropping lend directly across the James River from Jamestown. It was on his way to take his seat in the assembly. The bodyguards onboard. The ship are made up from the veterans of the campaigns against the Indians and they came armed with muskets. They made their message clear. General Bacon was going to Jamestown he was going to take his seat as the representative from Henrico County and he was going to be their voice in the Assembly despite Bacon reassurances to his men that he was confident that he will be allowed to take a seat in the assembly. One has got to believe that. Bacon himself would have doubted this assertion down to further. Prove his point that he was going to be able to take that seat eat decided to send a few men in a rowboat along to make sure that the coast was clear and always going to go well. It was an ominous sign of things to come. When the men failed to return it was even worse on when the cannons mounted for the Defensive Jamestown opened fire on Bacon and his men they can unsurprisingly was not super thrilled with this reception and quickly cut anchor and got out of Dodge as Bacon sailed away from swamp point. Several of the ships incurred across the river in Jamestown joined in the fun and opened fire on big at his men. The good news for Nathaniel Bacon. Is that the artillerymen. Had really poor aim. They get and his men aboard. The ships were able to escape without a scratch however by this point it clear that Berkeley was not messing around. This is not something that he was going to simply let drop with the opening salvo by Berkeley. The ball had really shifted to big. It's court making good either. Pack up and get out of Virginia or he could regroup and return to take his seat much as in the same vein as Berkeley. Bacon had no intention of just letting this go he had after all been elected the representatives from Henrico County. He knows that for him. This moment is just as critical as for Berkeley. Should BACON BACK. Down now in fleet. Virginia it is going to those living on the frontier vulnerable not just to the violence of the Indians but to the machinations of the governor and the assembly they can had no intention of backing down and fleeing from the colony however at this exact moment he does have some more pressing issues that he's going to have to deal with the very top of that list. Is that moments earlier. He hit come under Ken. Fire in Jamestown after Hino for a few hours out of sight and more importantly out of range in the early morning hours of June seventh. They can turn around and was able to sail right back into Jamestown landing at Sandy Bay. Because you know apparently nobody on Berkeley side thought that having a watch might be a good idea. Following the Landing Bacon and his men marched through Jamestown unmolested to the House of Richard Lawrence Lawrence was well off and he had a nice estate inside of Jamestown more importantly however he like. Bacon viewed governor Berkeley as corrupt. His home had become something of a headquarters for Berkeley Resistance. Inside of Jamestown well. The resistance had previously been constrained to some grumbling and complaining of Berkeley and the Assembly with big rival in Jamestown. The resistance had quickly taken a quantum leap forward in his resistance. To Berkeley's rule. Women men like William Drummond and John Colpepper together culpepper who was the leader drumming and Lawrence form the core of the resistance against Berkeley for his leadership. In this moment they were most importantly friendly faces. Who were more than happy to give aid to Baker and his men all three men as well as Bacon. We're largely cut from the same cloth educated wealthy and articulate. They were really perfect group to lead a rebellion. Well sitting around and waxing poetic about the corrupt nature of William Berkeley may have been with the men really wanted to do. The fact remained that for Bacon. Stagnation very likely mun death. He was a wanted man and wasn't exactly hiding out in a forest. He was sitting right there in the middle of Jamestown just prior to dawn on the seventh after spending the last several hours at the Lawrence House big and his men decided to retreat from Jamestown. They manage to make their way back down to the boat and set sail however before they could get out of Seti Bay. The Sheriff of James County appeared on the duck of the Adam and eve arch tobacco boat. The boat was heavily armed and quickly opened up on Bacon and his men. Unlike the day before Bacon would not escape this time and instead was forced to head back to the shores of Jamestown which obviously was a less than ideal situation.