Publisher: University of Virginia Special Collections
Arrest of Nathaniel Bacon
Nathaniel Bacon, a member of the governor's Council and a leader of the rebellion against Governor Sir William Berkeley in 1676, is seized by Berkeley's agents in the streets of Jamestown. This early twentieth-century illustration of Bacon's arrest is featured in Edward S. Ellis's young adult novel The Cromwell of Virginia: A Story of Bacon's Rebellion (1905), a work dubbed by the New York Times as "history made pleasant for the juvenile palate." Bacon's Rebellion has inspired more than a dozen works of fiction. Scholarly interpretations of Nathaniel Bacon's motivations and his significance, meanwhile, vary widely. Early in the nineteenth century the Virginia historian John Daly Burk presented Bacon as a patriotic precursor to the American revolutionaries of 1776—a widely popular interpretation that was used by Ellis in his novel.