Sir John Harvey was a royal governor of Virginia who was ousted from office by a powerful faction in the governor’s Council.
Charles I appointed Harvey, a ship owner and councilor, in 1628. While he oversaw a dramatic increase in population and production, conflicts between himself and the Council defined his regime. The largest in a series of disputes involved the nature of Virginia’s government, which had been brought under royal authority. Harvey understood that his instructions gave him full control over the colony with the Council acting as an advisory body, while the councilors felt he could not act without their consent. His aggressive manner further alienated its members. In the spring of 1635 an official protest against a planned tobacco monopoly brought their tensions into direct conflict.
On April 28 both Harvey and the Council attempted to arrest each other on charges of treason. The councilors, backed by musketeers, prevailed. Charles I reappointed him as a means of asserting royal power, but Harvey’s opponents eventually engineered a second removal in favor of former Governor Sir Francis Wyatt. Harvey remained in Virginia for several more years, but was in debt and had much of his property seized. He died in England sometime before July 16, 1650. MORE…
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