Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/133

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The Colonial Virginian. 127

The fact remains, however, that the list of Revolutionary leaders in Congress and State politics from 1765 to 1799 would be very much less in number and importance were the Virginians to be stricken from it." To him who would believe, there should be little cause for marvel.

Whatever may have been the general interest of the English nation in colonizing Virginia, the fact should not be ignored that in the first charter of King James to the Virginia Company " their desires " in the " propagating of the Christian religion " has signal acknowledg- ment.

This pious object is noted in the third and last charter. Was there no earnestness in reiterated desire ? It is admitted by Neill, who is constantly cited as an arch-detractor of the glories of " Ould Vir- ginia," that the Virginia Company were the first to take steps relative to the establishment of schools in the English colonies of America.* It is not only ungenerous, but disingenuous to urge that the results of the desire for the civilizing and Christianizing of the natives ended substantially with the blight of the college at Henricopolis by the Indian massacre of March 22, 1622. The conversion of the "gentle Pocahontas " can scarcely be regarded as unimportant fruit. The Indians, like those of our own day, were perverse pupils. Never- theless, efforts for their enlightenment did not cease. The Braffer- ton school at William and Mary College, endowed by the Hon. Robert Boyle in 1691, it is noted by an English traveller, exercised its useful offices in 1759, 6 and it is believed they were continued until the period of the Revolution. Governor Spotswood, in 1711, de- siring to increase the facilities for the education of the Indians, re- commended to the Assembly an annual appropriation for the pur- pose. 6 That the companions of John Smith were not as graceless as he would stigmatize them as being, it is in evidence that they held religious observances in regard.

Their piety and reverence are instanced both by Smith and Wing- field. In Bagnall's narrative in the "Historic" of the first 7 it is

4 The History of Education in Virginia During the Seventeenth Century, 1867, page 3.

Travels of Rev. Andrew Burnaby, Virginia Historical Register, Volume III, page 87.

6 Spotswood Letters, Volume I, page 123. Virginia Historical Collec- tions, new series, Volume I.

1 'General Historic, pages 55-65.