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trymen the importance of colonizing it. He and Captain Smith seem to have been drawn towards each other by that kind of instinct, which brings together kindred spirits, and Smith entered into his plans with characteristic ardor. It was indeed precisely the enterprise to be embraced by a man like Smith, who panted for action, who dreaded nothing so much as repose, who sighed for perils, adventures, "hair-breadth 'scapes," and moving accidents by flood and field." The statements of Gosnold having been amply confirmed by subsequent voyagers, and King James, who was well-inclined to any plan, which would give employment to his frivolous and restless mind, and increase his power and consequence, encouraging the plan of establishing a colony, an association was formed for that purpose. Letters patent, bearing date April 10th, 1606, were issued to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, Richard Hackluyt, and their associates, granting to them the territories in America, lying on the seacoast between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude, together with all islands situated within a hundred miles of their shores. The associates were divided into two companies, one consisting of London adventurers, to whom the northern part was assigned, and under whose auspices New England was afterwards settled. It was provided,
that there should be at least one hundred miles' distance between the two colonies. The terms of this charter were strongly expressive of the King's arbitrary character, and of that jealous regard for his prerogatives, which, in after times, proved so fatal to his race. The most important provision was, that the supreme government was vested in a council resident in England, to be nominated by the crown, and the local jurisdiction was confided to a colonial council, appointed and removable at the pleasure of the crown, who were to be governed by royal instructions and ordinances from time to time promulgated.
The royal favor was yet more abundantly vouchsafed to them. The King busied himself in the employment, highly agreeable to his meddling and insatiable vanity, of drawing up a code of laws for the colonies that were about to be planted; which, among other things, provided, that the legislative and executive powers should be vested in the colonial council, with these important qualifications, however, that their laws were not to touch life or limb, that they should conform to the laws of England, and should continue in force only till modified or repealed by the King or the supreme council in England.
It was not until the 19th day of the following December, that an expedition set sail from
England. This delay arose from a variety of causes, and especially a want of funds. On that day a hundred and five colonists embarked from London in a squadron of three small vessels, the largest of which did not exceed a hundred tons in burden. Among the leading adventurers were Captains Gosnold and Smith, George Percy, brother of the Earl of Northumberland, Edward M. Wingfield, a London merchant, and Mr. Robert Hunt, a clergyman. The transportation of the colony was entrusted to Captain Christopher Newport, who was esteemed a mariner of skill and ability on the American coast. Orders for ment were given to them, sealed in a box, which was not to be opened till their arrival in Virginia.
They went by the old and circuitous route of the Canary Islands and the West Indies. Being detained by contrary winds for six weeks upon the coast of England, troubles and dissensions sprang up among them, as often occurs in those expeditions, in which unanimity and harmony of feeling are of the most vital importance. Peace was with difficulty restored by the mild and judicious counsels of Mr. Hunt, who, though afflicted with a severe illness and the object of special dislike to some of the leading men, (who, as we are told, were "little better than Atheists,") devoted himself with unshaken firmness to his duty, and preferred
the service of God and his country in a perilous and irksome enterprise, to the comforts and security of his own home, which was but twenty miles distant from the spot where the windbound fleet was lying.
On their arrival at the Canaries the flames of discord broke out with renewed fury, and Captain Smith became the victim of unjust suspicions and groundless enmity. His high reputation and frank, manly bearing had made him popular with the majority of the colonists, and his influence over them had excited the envy and dislike of some of the leaders; while his pride of character and conscious innocence prevented him probably from making any exertions to conciliate them. He was accused by Wingfield and others of entering into a conspiracy to murder the council, usurp the government, and make himself king of Virginia. Upon these ridiculous charges he was kept a prisoner during the remainder of the voyage.
From the Canaries they steered to the West Indies, where they traded with the natives, and spent three weeks in recruiting. They then set sail for the Island of Roanoke, their original destination, but a violent storm providentially overtook them on the coast and carried them to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. They discovered land on the 26th of April, 1607, which they named
Cape Henry, in honor of the Prince of Wales. They sailed into the James River, and explored it for the space of forty miles from its mouth. The appearance of the country on each side filled them with delight. It was fertile and well watered, the landscape picturesquely varied with hills, valleys, and plains, and newly decked with the green mantle of spring. To the sea-worn voyagers, the scene was like enchantment, and this spot seemed to be pointed out by the finger of Heaven, as their resting-place and home.
They were employed seventeen days in pitching upon a convenient spot for their settlement, Upon the very first day of their arrival they went on shore, and were attacked by some Indians, who came "creeping upon all fours, from the hills, like bears," and who wounded some of the party with their arrows, but were forced to retire by a discharge of muskets. They found, in one of the shallow rivers, abundance of oysters, "which lay on the ground as thick as stones," and in many of them there were pearls. Going on shore, says the writer,* "we past through excellent ground, full of flowers of divers kinds and colors, and as goodly trees as I have seen, as cedar, cypress, and other kinds; going a little further we came to a little plat of ground, full of
* See note on page 214.