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SECTION VI.

A new association formed in England, to colonise America, The let

ters patent commonly called the first charter of Virginia–Proceed. ings of the Plymouth Company under this charter-The king's instructions relative to both the colonies or companies to be formed under this charter-Proceedings of the first or South Virginia Company--The first colony sent out to South Virginia under Newport, and a permanent settlement formed at James' town.

VI.

. A new association

America.

ALTHOUGH one hundred and eighty years SECT. had now elapsed, since the discovery of the northern part of the continent of America, by Cabot, yet the 1606. English had as yet made noeffectual settlement in any part of this new world. From the coast of Labrador formed in

England, to the Cape of Florida, not a single European family to colonise was to be found, except the small settlement of Spaniards at St. Augustine, and a few French at Port Royal, in Acadié. The period, however, of English colonisation was at length arrived. Through the unremitting endeavours of the rev. Mr. Richard Hackluyt, before mentioned, * or, as some will have it, through the zeal and exertions of captain Bartholomew Gosnold,+ who had made the successful voyage of experiment in the year 1602, before spoken of, an association was formed in England in the year 1606, consisting both of men of rank and men of business, who had resolved to repeat the at

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* Robertson's Hist. of America, Vol. 4, p. 176, 177.

+ Oldmixon's British Empire in America, Vol. 1, p. 220. Burk's Hist. of Virginia, Vol. 1, p. 75.

VI.

SECT. tempt to colonise some part of North America. The

former grant made to Sir Walter Raleigh being now 1606. void by his conviction and attainder for high trea

son, for which he now lay imprisoned in the tower, it was supposed that a clearer way was thereby opened to any subsequent royal grant for the same purpose. This association of respectable merchants and gentlemen, therefore, now petitioned the king for the sanction of his authority, to warrant the execution of their plans. It was not a subject with which James was altogether unacquainted : he had before this, turned his attention to consider the advantages which might be derived from colonies, at a time when he patronised his scheme for planting them in some of the ruder provinces of his ancient kingdom of Scotland, with a view of introducing there, industry and civilization.* He was now no less fond of directing the active genius of his English subjects, towards occupations not repugnant to his own pacific maxims, and listened with a favourable ear to their application.

He accordingly, by letters patent bearing date the ters pam tenth day of April, in the fourth year of his reign, monly

(A. D. 1606,) at the desire and request of the apfirst char- plicants, divided that portion of North America ginia.

which stretches from the thirty-fourth to the forty fifth degree of north latitude, into two districts nearly equal, and the members of the association “ into two several colonies and companies; the one. consisting of certain knights, gentlemen, merchants,

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The let

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called the

ter of Vir

* Robertson's Hist, of America, Vol. 4, p. 178. Also see note (G) at the end of this volume.

VI.

and other adventurers of our city of London, and SECT. elsewhere, which are, and from time to time shall be, joined unto them, which do desire to begin 1606. their plantation and habitation in some fit and convenient place, between four-and-thirty and one-andforty degrees of the said latitude, alongst the coasts of Virginia, and the coasts of America aforesaid : and the other consisting of sundry knights, gentlemen, merchants, and other adventurers of our cities of Bristol and Exeter, and of our town of Plimouth, and of other places which do join themselves unto that colony, which do desire to begin their plantation and habitation, in some fit and convenient place between eight-and-thirty degrees and five-and-forty degrees of the said latitude, all alongst the said coasts of Virginia and America, as that coast

lyeth.”*

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• Robertson, in his History of Virginia, (see his Hist. of America, Vol. 4, p. 178,) scems to make the above division of the continent of America, an act of the king himself, assigning the reason of that division to have been, that “ a grant of the whole of such a vast region to any one body of men, however respectable, appeared to the king an act of impolitic and profuse liberality. In his History of New England (same Vol. p. 255,) he seems to assign a different reason: rangement (meaning the division above-mentioned) seems to have been formed upon the idea of some speculative refiner, who aimed at diffusing the spirit of industry by fixing the seat of one branch of the trade that was now to be opened, on the east coast of the island, (Great Britain,) and the other on the west." But whoever will attentively read the letters patent, will see that this division was made at the special instance and request of the association. It is probable, indeed, that the vast extent of the country to be colonised might have suggested to the associators a reason for requesting it to be divided into two

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SECT.

VI.

And granted, “ that Sir Thomas Gates, Sir w , ,

George Somers, Richard Hackluyt, and Edward
1606. Maria Wingfield, adventurers of and for our city of

London, and all such others, as are, or shall be
joined unto them of that colony, shall be called the
first colony ; and they shall, and may begin their
said first plantation and habitation, at any place upon
the said coast of Virginia or America, where they
shall think fit and convenient, between the said four-
and-thirty and one-and-forty degrees of the said la-
titude; and that they shall have all the lands, &c.
from the said first seat of their plantation and habi-
tation by the space of fifty miles of English statutes
measure, all along the said coast of Virginia and
America, towards the west and southwest, as the
coast lyeth, with all the islands within one hundred
miles directly over against the same sea-coast; and
also all the lands, &c. from the said place of their
first plantation, &c. for the space of fifty like Eng-
lish miles, all alongst the said coasts, &c. towards
the east and northeast, or towards the north, as the
coast lyeth, together with all the islands, &c. and
also all the lands, &c. from the same fifty miles every
way on the sea-coast, directly into the main land, by
the space of one hundred like English miles.”
And likewise granted, “that Thomas Hanham

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colonies. See Hubbard M. S. N. Eng. 29, cited in Holmes's
Annals, Vol. 1, p. 152, note 1. To which may be added also,
the probability, that as many of the associators resided in De-
vonshire, at Exeter, and Plymouth, the convenience of a se-
parate arrangement into two trading companies, might have
been a further reason for the division. See Oldmixon's Bri-
tish Empire in America, Vol. 1, p. 26.

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