Summary of the King’s Proclamation to Suppress Bacon’s Rebellion
On October 27, 1676, King Charles II issued this proclamation, which accused Nathaniel Bacon and everyone involved in Bacon’s Rebellion of being traitors. By the time the proclamation reached Virginia, Bacon was dead and the rebellion was all but over.
Text of King Charles II’s Proclamation to Suppress Bacon’s Rebellion
Whereas Nathaniel Bacon, the younger, of the Plantation of Virginia, and others his adherents and complices, being persons of mean and desperate fortunes, have lately in a traitorous and rebellious manner levied war within the said Plantation against the King, and more particularly being assembled in warlike manner to the number of about 500 persons, did, in June last, besiege the Governor and Assembly, and by menaces and threats of present death compel said Governor and Assembly to pass divers pretended Acts. To the end that said Nathaniel Bacon and his complices may suffer such punishment as they justly deserve, his Majesty doth declare that said Nathaniel Bacon and all his Majesty’s subjects as have taken arms under and assisted or shall hereafter take arms or assist said Nathaniel Bacon in carrying on the war shall be guilty of high treason. And his Majesty strictly commands his loving subjects to use their utmost endeavours to secure the persons of the said Nathaniel Bacon and his complices in order to bring them to their legal trial. And his Majesty doth declare that such person or persons as shall apprehend said Nathaniel Bacon shall have a reward from his Majesty’s royal bounty of 300L. sterling, to be paid in money by the Lieutenant-Governor. And because many of Bacon’s adherents may have been seduced by him into this rebellion by false pretences, his Majesty doth declare that if within twenty days of the publishing this Proclamation any such adherent submits himself to his Majesty’s government, and takes the oath of obedience and gives security for his future good behaviour, such person is hereby pardoned: but those who shall not accept this offer of pardon, but persist in said rebellion, their servants or slaves as shall take arms under his Majesty’s Governor or Commander-in-Chief shall have their liberty and be for ever free from the service of said offenders. And that his Majesty’s loving subjects may understand how careful his Majesty is to remove all just grievances, he hath not only given instructions to reduce the salaries of the Members of the Assembly to such moderate rates as may render them less burthensome to the country, but hath also sent Herbert Jeffreys, Sir John Berry, and Francis Moryson, his Majesty’s Commissioners, to inquire into and report to his Majesty all such other grievances as his Majesty’s subjects within said Plantation do at present lie under, to the end such redress and relief may be made as shall be agreeable to his Majesty’s royal wisdom and compassion. And his Majesty hereby declares that the pretended Acts and Laws made in the Assembly held at James city in June last shall be null and void.