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The Story of Bacon's Rebellion
X - Governor Berkely in Accomac
by Standard, Mary Newton


While Bacon was scouring the wilderness in his pursuit of the Indians, the colony, which he was pleased to think he had left safe from serious harms, was in a state of wildest panic.

A plot had been formed by Governor Berkeley and Captain Larrimore to recapture the ship which, it will be remembered, Bacon had sent to the Eastern Shore after the Governor. When the ship cast anchor before Accomac, Berkeley sent for her commander, Captain Carver, to come ashore and hold a parley with him, promising him a safe return. Unfortunately for himself, the Captain seems to have forgotten for the moment how little Governor Berkeley's promises were worth. Leaving his ship in charge of Bland, he went well armed, and accompanied by his most trusty men, to obey the summons. While Sir William was closeted with Captain Carver, trying to persuade him to desert the rebel party, Captain Larrimore, who had a boat in readiness for the purpose, rowed a party of men, under command of Colonel Philip Budwell, of the Council, out to the ship. The Baconians, supposing that the approaching boat came in peace, were taken entirely by surprise, and all on board were made prisoners. Soon afterward, Captain Carver, his conference with Sir William over, set out for the ship, in blissful ignorance of what had happened in his absence until he came within gun-shot, when he, too, fell an easy prey into the trap, and soon found himself in irons with Bland and the others.

A few days later Sir William Berkeley rewarded the unfortunate Captain Carver for his thus thwarted designs against the liberty of his Majesty's representative, with the ungracious "gift of the halter."

Governor Berkeley was now having his turn in sweeping things before him. At the time of the seizure by Carver and Bland of Captain Larrimore's ship, another ship, lying hard by, in the James, commanded by Captain Christopher Evelyn, eluded the efforts of the Baconians to seize her also, and some days later slipped away to England, carrying aboard her a paper setting forth the Governor's own story of the doings of Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., in Virginia.

It was upon the first day of August that the Baconians had seized Captain Larrimore's ship and made her ready to go to Accomac after Berkeley. Upon the seventh of September Berkeley set sail for Jamestown, not as a prisoner, but with a fleet consisting of the recaptured ship and some sixteen or seventeen sloops manned by six hundred sturdy denizens of Accomac, whom he is said to have bribed to his service with promises of plunder of all who had taken Bacon's oath,-"catch that catch could, "-twenty-one years' exemption from all taxes except church dues, and regular pay of twelvepence per day so long as they should serve under his colors. He was, moreover, said to have offered like benefits, and their freedom besides, to all servants of Bacon's adherents who would take up arms against the Rebel.

The direful news of Sir William's approach, and of the strength with which he came, "outstripping the canvas wings," reached Jamestown before any signs of his fleet were spied from the landing. The handful of Baconians who had been left on guard there to "see the King's peace kept by resisting the King's vice-regent," as their enemies sarcastically put it, were filled with dismay, for they realized themselves to be "a people utterly undone, being equally exposed to the Governor's displeasure and the Indians' bloody cruelties."

To prove the too great truth of the report, the Governor's ships were before long seen sailing up the river, and the Governor's messenger soon afterward landed, bearing commands for the immediate surrender of the town, with promise of pardon to all who would desert to the Governor's cause, excepting only Bacon's two strongest friends, Mr. Drummond and "thoughtful Mr. Lawrence."

The Baconians had caught too much of the spirit of their leader to consider such terms as were offered them, and scornfully spurned them; but seeing that it would be madness to attempt to hold the town against such numbers, made their escape, leaving abundant reward in the way of plunder for the Governor and his six hundred men of Accomac. Mr. Lawrence, whose leave-taking was perhaps the more speedy by reason of the compliment Sir William had paid him in making him one of the honorable exceptions in his offer of mercy, left "all his wealth and a fair cup-board of plate entire standing, which fell into the Governor's hands the next morning."

About noonday, on September 8, the day following the evacuation, Sir William entered the little capital. He immediately fortified it as strongly as possible, and then once more proclaimed Nathaniel Bacon and his followers rebels and traitors, threatening them with the utmost extremity of the law.

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