Dateline: Virginia, 1676/7: After the troubles of Bacon’s Rebellion, the Queen of the Pamunkey Natives asks for restoration of her royal position, property and rights.
Chaos resulted from the rebellion, and she wanted things that she lost to be restored as they were before. One could not appear before this august assembly without getting oneself organized and writing up formal petitions. She wrote out, no doubt with legal counsel, nine petitions.
Here’s a write-up about Pamunkey River:
Here’s a write up about the Pamunkey tribes:
Here’s a write-up about her:
Modernized transcription begins:
To the proposals or petitions of the Queen of Pamunkey (vizt):
To her petition to have her lands restored which she formerly held alleging her leaving her town was occasioned through her fear of the rebel Bacon and his accomplices:
It is thought reasonable that her land be restored to her, provided she comply with the Acts of Assembly made March last and all other injunctions as shall from time to time be enjoined her by the Grand Assembly.
To her second petition praying that her Indians may not be entertained nor employed by the English:
It is thought convenient that no Englishman upon pretence whatsoever employ any Indian belonging to the Queen of Pamunkey to hunt or otherwise nor entertain them in their houses above one night without a certificate from her or by her procurement upon the penalty of thirty pounds of tobacco for every night so entertaining any of her Indians.
To her prayer that she may have the goods restored to her which she left at her town when she fled and were taken away by the English:
It is thought reasonable that what of her goods can be found that was so left as aforesaid be again restored; and that she stand obliged to deliver up all such horses and other good as she or any of her Indians took away from the English or have purchased from other Indians.
To her petition that to many of her Indians may not be required on service at once [instant service in a militia or other work]:
It is thought convenient that not above one-third of her Indians be required on service.
To her petition that such of her Indians as are employed in the English service may have the plunder they get from other Indians:
It is conceived reasonable that all such Indians that are or shall be employed in the Country’s service have what plunder they shall get from other Indians, horses, arms, and ammunition excepted. And those to be returned or delivered to such person or persons as shall be appointed by the Right Honorable the Governor or other authority appointed under him to receive the same.
To her petition paying liberty to gather bark from trees from any man’s land to build cabins:
It is thought reasonable that she first obtain leave [permission] from the owners of such land from which she would gather the same.
To her petition praying liberty to hunt on the frontier lands and plantations:
It is conceived reasonable that liberty be given to her and her Indians to fish in all convenient places, provided that she never fish without first giving notice to Capt. William Bird or such other as dwell near the said places or some other that belongs to him or them.
To her petition praying that her Indians may not be abused by the English:
It is thought reasonable that if any abuses be offered by the English to them that they have recourse to a justice of the peace who by his warrant may command the person or persons doing the injury to appear at the county court where they are to afford all due redress.
To her petition praying liberty to redeem her Indians and goods:
It is thought reasonable that she have liberty so to do (if she can); and where the terms cannot be agreed on that the matter be determined by the county court whose order therein shall be binding.
Should she have been required to stand before the English to begin with? How was law and order imposed on the Virginia colony, including native inhabitants? Was there warring and cannibalism amongst the Natives before the English settled in what they called Virginia? Did things improve over the long haul under the English?
Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1659/60-1693, ed. H. R. McIlwaine (Richmond: 1914), pp. 89-90.