Exploring the New World (part2)

[James I.] Contemporary transcript. A Pattent graunted by his Ma[jes]tie: for the Plantation of two Colonies in Virginia. 10 April 1606.

This charter formed and authorized the London Company (also called The Virginia Company of London) as a commercial trading company with the object of colonizing the eastern American coast between the 34th and 41st parallels. It was the first of three charters granted between 1606 and 1612 that led to English colonization of the area then known as Virginia. In December 1606, the London Company sent out three ships with 120 colonists, led by Captain John Smith and Bartholomew Gosnold. The colonists reached Virginia in May 1607 and founded Jamestown at the mouth of the James River.

No original version of any of the three charters is known to exist – only contemporary copies of varying degrees of completeness, of which this appears to be one. This specific copy may be a draft of the charter, as it does not contain some of the text found in the final version.

A transcription is available at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/va01.htm



[James I.] Contemporary transcript. Patent for New England in America. 1620.

The Plymouth Company was less successful than the London Company and abandoned two early attempts at colonization. In 1620, the Plymouth Company reorganized as a new company – the Council for New England. One of the principals, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, was instrumental in obtaining this proprietary grant covering all the land in North America between the 40th and 48th parallels. He intended to distribute the land as manors and fiefs to fellow gentry who were members of the Council but failed in that enterprise. Two English groups financed by joint-stock companies soon founded successful colonies at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. These colonies were comprised of middle-class people who established government by will of the majority.

The copy of the patent shown here appears also to be a draft and includes pages in two different hands.

A transcription is available at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/mass01.htm



Smith, John. A Description of New England: Or, The Observations, and Discoueries, of Captain Iohn Smith (Admirall of That Country) in the North of America, in the Year of Our Lord 1614 . . . .  London: Printed by Humfrey Lownes for Robert Clerke, 1616.




Linschoten, Jan Huygen van. Histoire de la navigation de Iean Hugues de Linschot Hollandois. Amsterdam: Chez Evert Cloppenburgh, 1638.




A Moderate and Safe Expedient to Remove Jealousies and Feares, of Any Danger, or Prejudice to This State, by the Roman Catholicks of This Kingdome, and to Mitigate the Censure of Too Much Severity towards Them, with a Great Advantage of Honour and Profit to This State and Nation. [London?]: n.p., 1646.

This sixteen-page pamphlet, A Moderate and Safe Expedient, includes the text of a previously published tract, Objections Answered Touching on Maryland. The pamphlet justifies the colonization of Maryland as the best way for Protestant England to deal with Catholics.

Objections Answered states five arguments against allowing Catholics to settle in Maryland and provides a rebuttal to each one. While the exact author has never been determined, the pamphlet was first published in 1633 with the support of Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, just before his departure to establish Maryland. As a Catholic in Protestant England, Calvert needed to build support for his new colonial venture and to justify his unpopular policy of religious toleration that was planned for Maryland.

Though published thirteen years later, A Moderate and Safe Expedient makes the same case as Objections Answered. During this time, the persecution of Catholics and opposition to Calvert's control of Maryland was intensifying and he needed to renew support for his venture.


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