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CH. III.] SLOW PROGRESS
On reaching England, White found the whole country aroused to prepare for the great invasion threatened by Philip of Spain and his Invincible Armada. Yet Raleigh was not forgetful of his colony; even amidst his engrossing cares at home, he managed to fit out, in April, two vessels with supplies; but the ships' company, eager after prize-money, sought the gains of privateering rather than the path of duty. Worsted in an engagement, they were compelled to put back, and thus they virtually abandoned the colony to ruin. The delay proved fatal; nothing further could be done at the time; Raleigh was nearly bankrupt by the heavy outlays to which he had been subjected; and it was not till 1590 that White was enabled to return and search for his family and the colony he had left. Roanoke was literally a desert ; the ruins of desolate habitations, and the word “Croatan,” on the bark of a tree, were all the traces that remained of the ill-fated colony. It was thought possible that they might have taken refuge with Manteo and his people; but nothing transpired ever after to point out what had been their lot.
Raleigh, who had spent nearly $200000 in his noble efforts, was unable to do anything more. Accordingly he assigned his rights as proprietary to Sir Thomas Smith and a company of merchants in London, and engaged in other schemes, especially that of penetrating into the heart of Guiana, where he fondly hoped to repair his shattered fortunes. The London company did not succeed in in
ducing colonists to go to Virginia; they simply carried on a traffic of no great moment, by the agency of a few vessels, without being able to effect any settlements in the New World. Hence, in 1603, after a period of more than a hundred years from the time that Cabot discovered the Continent of North America, and twenty from the time that Raleigh sent out his first colony, not a single Englishman remained in the New World. Thus slowly did the work of colonization go on 1 In the last year of the reign of Elizabeth, Bartholomew Gosmold set out in a small vessel to make a more direct course to Virginia than that which was usual by way of the Canaries and West Indies. In seven weeks he reached the coast of Massachusetts, near Nahant. Keeping to the south in search of a harbor, he discovered the promontory which he called Cape Cod ; this was the first spot in New England ever trod by Englishmen. Doubling the cape, and passing Nantucket, they entered BuzZard's Bay, which they called Gosnold's Hope. On the westernmost of the islands in the Bay they determined to settle, and named it Elizabeth, after the queen. They built a fort and store-house, on a rocky islet in the centre of a small lake of fresh water, traces of which were seen by Dr. Belknap in 1797. They were delighted with the luxuriant vegetation of early summer, the fragrance of the scented shrubs, the abundance of the wild grapes and strawberries; and the natural impulse was to wish to remain
there. But the smallness of their number, surrounded as they were with the Indians, the want of provisions, and the recollection of what had befallen the hapless settlers in Virginia, with the dissensions that sprung up, induced them, shortly after, to return to England. They arrived in less than four months from the time of their departure, without having suffered from any sickness; and spread on all sides most favorable reports of the soil and climate of the new-discovered lands, while the new course they had held was shorter by one third than any by which the shores of America had been previously visited. The accession of James I. was speedily followed by peace between England and Spain. Many act. ive and energetic men who had been engaged in the struggle, were desirous of new fields of labor and enterprise, and nothing promised so well as the New World. Merchants and others became deeply interested in the reports of Gosnold and his companions, and it was not found difficult to induce them to undertake the following up the discoveries already made. These projects were powerfully aided by the judicious counsel and zealous encouragement of Richard Hakluyt, a prebendary of Westminster, a man of eminent attainments in naval and commercial knowledge, the patron and counsellor of many of the English expeditions of discovery, and the historian of their exploits. By his persuasion, two vessels were fitted out by the merchants of Bristol, under command of Martin Pring, to examine the
discoveries of Gosnold, and ascertain the correctness of his statements. They returned with an ample confirmation of his veracity. A similar expedition, commanded by Captain Wey- |é. mouth, equipped and despatched by Lord Arundel, not only produced additional testimony to the same effect, but reported so many further particulars in favor of the country, that all doubts were removed; and an association sufficiently numerous, wealthy, and powerful, to attempt a settlement, being soon formed, a petition was presented to the king for the sanction of his authority to its being carried into effect. James listened with a favorable ear to the application. But as the extent as well as value of the American continent began now to be better known, a grant of the whole of such a vast region to any one body of men, however reputable, appeared to him an act of impolitic and profuse liberality. For this reason he divided that portion of North America, which stretches from the thirty-fourth to the forty-fifth degree of latitude, into two districts nearly equal; the one called the First or South Colony of Virginia, the other, the Second or North Colony. He authorized Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, Richard Hakluyt, and their associates in the Tondon Company, being mostly resident in London, to plant anywhere be-, tween thirty-four and forty-one degrees of north latitude, or between Cape Fear and the east end of Long Island. The Plymouth Company, composed of
residents in the west of England,
CHARTER OF THE
LONT)ON COMPANY. 3]
might plant anywhere between the thirty-eighth and forty-fifth degrees of north latitude, or between Delaware Bay and Halifax; but neither company were to begin its settlement within a hundred miles of any spot previously occupied by the other. Each colony was to extend along the coast fifty miles either way from the point first occupied, and from the same point inland a hundred miles, embracing ten thousand square miles of continental territory. The supreme government of the colonies that were to be settled, was vested in a council, resident in England, named by the king, with laws and ordinances given under his sign manual; and the subordinate jurisdiction was committed to a council, resident in America, which was also nominated by the king, and to act conformably to his instructions. The charter, while it thus restricted the emigrants in the important article of internal regulations, secured to them and their descendants all the rights of denizens, in the same manner as if they had remained or had been born in England; and granted them the privilege of holding their lands in America by the freest and least burdensome tenure. The king permitted whatever was necessary for the sustenance or commerce of the new colonies to be exported from England, during the space of seven years, without paying any duty; and, as a farther incitement to industry, he granted them liberty of trade with other nations; and appropriated the duty to be levied on foreign commodities, as a fund for the benefit of the colonies, for the pe. riod of twenty-one years. He also
granted them liberty of coining money, of repelling enemies, and of detaining ships trading there without their leave. “In this singular charter,” says Dr. Robertson, “the contents of which have been little attended to by the historians of America, some articles are as unfavorable to the rights of the colonists as others are to the interest of the parent state. By placing the legislative and executive powers in a council nominated by the crown, and guided by its instructions, every person settling in America seems to be bereaved of the noblest privilege of a free man; by the unlimited permission of trade with foreigners, the parent state is deprived of that exclusive commerce which has been deemed the chief advantage resulting from the establishment of colonies.
But in the infancy of colonization, and
without the guidance of observation or experience, the ideas of men, with respect to the mode of forming new settlements, were not fully unfolded or properly arranged. At a period when they could not foresee the future grandeur and importance of the communities which they were about to call into existence, they were ill qualified to concert the best plan for governing them. Besides, the English of that age, accustomed to the high prerogative and arbitrary rule of their monarchs, were not animated with such liberal sentiments, either concerning their own personal or political rights, as have become familiar in the more mature and improved state of their constitution.”
* Robertson's “JHistory of America,” book ix., p. 212.
Not long after the grant of this charter, James issued “Instructions for the Government of Virginia,” in which he appointed a council, as provided for in the charter, to be increased or altered at the king's pleasure, and authorized to nominate and superintend the local councils, reduced by these instructions to seven members each. These seven were to choose a president from their own number, with power to suspend him or any counsellor for good cause, and to fill vacancies till new appointments came from England; the president to have a double vote. It was made the especial duty of these councils to provide that “the true Word and service of God, according to the rites and service of the Church of England, be preached, planted, and used in the colonies and among the neighboring savages.” Tumults, rebellion, conspiracy, mutiny and
sedition, along with seven other of. fences, all triable by jury, were declared capital; lesser offences were to be tried summarily, and punished by the local councils at their discretion ; all laws enacted by these councils not touching life or limb, to remain in force till set aside by the king or the council for Virginia. For five years after their first plantation, the trade and industry of the colonists were to remain a common stock, or “two or three stocks at the most,” to be managed, in each colony, by a factor selected annually by the local council, and in England, by committees appointed for that purpose. A knowledge of these provisions is quite necessary to make the early history of Virginia intelligible. Under such a state of things as this, and under auspices of this nature, was the first permanent settlement effected by Englishmen in the New World.
The London Company — Members of the council and emigrants — Dissensions — Enter Chesapeake Bay — Jamestown — John Smith — His eminent value to the colony — Sickness — Smith takes the lead — Explorations — Taken prisoner — Saved by Pocahontas — New arrivals — Smith explores the Chesapeake — Made president of the council — New charter — Lord Delaware captain-general — Character of emigrants — Smith returns to England — The “starving-time” — Timely arrival of Gates, Somers, and Lord Delaware – Return of better days — Dale — Enlargement of grant — Marriage of Pocahontas — Rights of private property — Argall — Yeardley — First Colonial Assembly—Introduction of Negro slavery — Tobacco, cotton, etc. — Colony not profitable to the Company — Massacre by the Indians — Retaliation — Dissolution of the Company – Death of
THE London Company consisted of
field, and others, especially Sir Thomas
Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, Smith, one of the assignees of Raleigh's Richard Hakluyt, Edward Maria Wing- | patent. Every contributor of about
CH. TV.] SETTLEMENT
OF JAMESTOWN. 38
sixty dollars was entitled to a hundred acres of land, and every person emigrating to the colony, or carrying others there at his own expense, was allowed a hundred acres for each person. On all grants of lands a quit-rent was reserved. Three vessels were fitted out by the Company, under command of Christopher Newport, and together with Wingfield, Gosnold, Hunt, the chaplain, and the famous John Smith, a hundred and five men embarked—this was on the 19th of December, 1606. Unfortunately, less than twenty of these were practical mechanics and workmen, the large proportion being in no sense possessed of the qualifications necessary in laying the foundations of a colony in a new and unknown world. Dissensions arose on the voyage, almost of necessity, for the king, by a refinement of folly, had sealed up in a tin box, the names and instructions of those who were to form the council. The evident superiority of Smith for the present undertaking excited envy and jealousy, and on a frivolous charge he was put in confinement on the voyage. The prudent and judicious conduct and exhortations of the excellent chaplain served, however, greatly to allay the feelings of jealousy and animosity which had been aroused. Newport took the old route by the Canaries, so that he did not reach the coast of Virginia till April, 1607. By what may be termed a fortunate gale, he was driven quite past the site of the old colony, into the mouth of the noble Chesapeake Bay. The headlands were
called Cape Henry and Cape Charles, Wol. I.-7
and the deep water for anchorage led to the name of Point Comfort. Delighted with this noble inlet, they Sailed up and explored James River for fifty miles, and there fixed upon the site for the colony. The name JAMES
TOWN was adopted, and it is the old
'est town founded by the English in America. Smith was found named as one of the council, when the box came to be opened, yet so great was the jealousy of Wingfield that he succeeded in having the only competent man among them excluded from the council, and put upon his trial for sedition. He was honorably acquitted, and by the good offices of Hunt, the chaplain, was restored to his seat in the council. Indeed, had it not been for this courageous, energetic, and ever ready man, the whole colony would probably soon have shared the like disastrous fate with that at Roanoke. In company with Newport, Smith ascended James River, and visited Powhatan, who received them with ceremony, but with little cordiality. In June, Newport returned to England
with the ships, and the colonists be
came speedily sensible of their true position. Weak in numbers, reduced by sickness, without suitable provisions, suffering from the summer heats, exposed to the hostility of the natives, their condition was truly deplorable; half of the whole died before autumn, one of whom was Gosnold. The president of the council, Wingfield, was deposed for avarice and endeavoring meanly to desert the colony in its trouble; Ratcliffe, his successor, was