THE HISTORY OF VIRGINIA. BOOK V.
_I HAVE, in •he former Book, been the more full and exact,* in relating the Affair of the Of|ficers and Salaries, as it afterwards became the Subject of much Wrangling and Contention. There was one Mr. Samuel Wrote, a Gentle|man of Fortune and Distinction in the Company, who had, ever till now, behaved himself with great Moderation, Judgment, and Industry, and had therefore been elected of his Majesty's Council for Virginia. This Gentleman did suddenly, in a s•bsequent Court, held on the 4th of De|cember this Year, break forth into much Violence, Inde|cency, and Opprobriousness of Language; and endeavour|ed, to call into question and cancel, in an inferior and ordi|nary Court, what had been settled and determined, by the Authority of a Great and General Q•arter Court. H• said, that this Affair, which was of especial Consequenc• to the Company, had been proposed and passed, without that due Preparation, which the Laws and Orders of the Company required in the like Cases; that the lawful and regular Course had not been taken for prep•ring Matters, but they had been h•stily shuffled over; that the Business 〈◊〉 the Salaries, in particular, was not duly committed, but Page 255 carried fouly, and disorderly, and with much Art, surrepti|tiously, and to private Ends; and that divers of theCompany did, both then and since, as well publickly as privately, in his Hearing, complain much against those Proceedings, but that they durst not speak their Minds freely, because they were overawed. He called the Laws of the Company Sir Edwin Sandys's Laws, because that Gentleman had been very active and industrious, in contriving and framing many of them; and being reprimanded by Lord Cavendish, for an Insinuation so unjust and opprobrious to the Company, and for so unsuitable a Return to Sir Edwin Sandys for do|ing publick Service, his Lordship added, that he had don• more Harm by that Day's Work, than Captain Martin, Captain Argall, or Captain Bailie; the last of which was Captain Somers's Sollicitor, and had given their Court• much Trouble and Abuse. To this Mr. Wrote replied▪ that, in terming their Laws Sir Edwin Sandys's Laws, h• called them no otherwise, than a great Lord did; and sinc• his Lordship was so displeased with him, he declared, h• would never more trouble that Court, where his Lordship presided, but would, at their next Meeting, deliver up hi• Share in the Somer-Islands Company.
HE farther objected, that the Committee, in which these things passed, was very disorderly, some Men talking privately by the Fire side; which he imputed to Mr. De|puty's Fault and Negligence, who ought to have moderate• and kept Order in their Meetings. And he said, that nei|ther the Council, nor the Committee, had any Authority to treat of the Matter of Salaries; and that there wer• things reported to the Court, as the Judgment of the Com|mittee, concerning Points, referred to them by the Com|pany, which nevertheless were not the Committee's Act• and Doing. And lastly, he charged and challenged th• Deputy, with wrong entering the Proceedings of a Court▪ the 7th of October before. And to this Violence of Accu|sation, and Acerbity of Speech, he joined an equally rud• and insolent Behaviour. All which was the more inexcu|sable in him, as he was himself one of the Committee, who prepared and brought this Matter before the Court, and had, when present, concurred with them in their Pro|ceedings, but through Absence and Negligence in attend|ing that Committe, had now spoke most of those bitter and reproachful things, merely upon Hearsay and Conjec|ture.
So many, and such various Accusations and Abuses, which affected divers of the greatest Lords and principal M•mber• of the Company, did n•turally produc• a long Page 256 and various Debate; in which Mr. Wrote's Arguments 〈◊〉 Allegations were fully answered and disproved, by several of the Company; particularly by the Deputy, Lord C•|vendish, Sir Edwin Sandys, and Mr. Iohn Farrar. M•ny also expressed much Grief and Concern, for this unhappy Altercation; as well out of their private Regard to Mr. Wrote, who had thus far been much beloved and esteemed, a• out of Fear, lest it should give a Handle to the Malici|ous, and be the Occasion of much Reproach •nd Scandal to the Company. But Mr. Wrote, with great Violenc• and Obstinacy, still persisted to have several Proposition•, •hich he made, relating to the Contract, put to the Vote▪ and being refused, he declared, that since he could not have things put to the Question, and for divers other ju•• Causes of Offence, he appealed to the Quarter Court. Neither could he be silenced or repressed, till the Deputy, at the Court's Request, put it twice to the Vote, and it was, by a general Consent (Mr. Wrote himself, and one other only dissenting) a second time ordered and resolved; That since the Points, now moved, had passed the Judgment of a Great and General Quarter Court, they should no more be called into question or disputed, before the next Quarter Court, at which time, if any Person had any thing to op|pose against them, they might come prepared, and do it.
THE whole Court, and particularly the Lord Cavendish, were much scandalised at this turbulent and offensive Be|haviour of Mr. Wrote; which was suspected to proceed, not so much from any evil Mind in himself, as from the malicious Infusions of some others, in order to cause Va|riance and Distraction in the Company. For Alderman Iohnson, and others of the Faction, were now present▪ who had of late been generally observed, never to appear at their Courts▪ but against some Storm and Confusion. Lord Cavendish therefore, without naming the Person, imme|diately wrote a full and particular Account of it to the Earl of Southampton, who was then in the Country. Whereupon the Earl, being willing to suppress, in the Beginning, an Affair of such dangerous Consequence, hastened up to Town, and called a Meeting of his Majesty's Council for Virginia, on the 11th of the same Month of December. But Mr. Wrote protested against their Power and Jurisdiction, as he had appealed to the Quarter Court; to which, he declared, he would only submit himself. He then renewed his Accusa|tion against the Deputy, for wrong entering a Court, th• 7th of October last passed, and th••eby bringing the Com|pany three thousand Pounds in Debt. And he did, from 〈◊〉 first coming into the Room, behave himself in a most Page 247 violent and contemptuous Manner, towards the Earl of Southampton, Lord Cavendish, and the whole Council.
MR. Deputy said, that the Accusation against himself was of a very high Nature, and deeply concerned the Com|pany. For the Entries of their Courts being the Compa|ny's Records, to charge them with Falsity, was to call into question all the Records and Proceedings of the Company. He therefore declared the Manner of entering their Courts: First, the Secretary drew them up, and brought them to him, which Draught he, according to the Company's Or|der, perused and corrected; that then it was read in the next Court, distinctly, Article by Article, and after a suf|ficient Pause and Examination, either confirmed, or amend|ed; after which, it was admitted to Record. And he said, that the very Court, now spoken of by Mr. Wrote, had accordingly gone through this Course; and that no Excep|tions had been taken to it, not even by Mr. Wrote, who was then present, and ought to have objected, if there had been any thing wrong. For he would otherwise himself become privy and consenting to the Falsification, which he now laid to his Charge. But he averred, that there was nothing in it, to his Knowledge, wrong entered or amiss; but the whole was truly and faithfully set down, by the Se|cretary and himself, according to the Meaning of the Court, as they conceived; which he would, by the Persons, that were present at it, sufficiently prove. And as to bringing the Company three thousand Pounds in Debt, there was, and could be, no Manner of Colour or Pretence for any such thing. He therefore solemnly protested his Innocen|cy; and as, if he should be found guilty of this grievou• Charge, he would deserve the greatest of Punishments, so he humbly insisted, for his own Justification, that the Mat|ter might be strictly looked into and examined.
THE Earl of Southampton also told Mr. Wrote, that he seemed to take himself to be so great a Man, that they were all, as Pigmies, in his Sight; but as he did not know him to be any Prince of the Blood, so he desired, h• would carry himself with more Calmness and Decency. And as to his affrontive Behaviour to Lord Cavendish, the Earl said; that altho' they were all there equal, as Coun|sellors of the Virginia Company, yet there was a very great Difference between the Persons of divers of them▪ and particularly between him and the Lord Cavendish, to whom he owed a more respectful Language and Behaviour. And some time after, 〈◊〉 him upon his Rashness and In|discretion, and on his Failure in his Duty, as a Vi•ginia Coun|sellor, Mr. Wrote went out abruptly and departed; saying, Page 248 that he came not thither, to hear ill Words. Whereupon the Earl appealed to the Judgment of the Council, the• present, what just Occasion of Offence had been given to Mr. Wrote, that he should go off in that rude and unre|spectful Manner. They therefore ordered and agreed, tha• a Collection should be made of those Matters, which should be objected against Mr. Wrote at the next Quarter Court, to which he had appealed. And in the mean while, in Regard to the great Contempt, he had that Day shew|ed, they suspended him from the Council, till he should clear himself of the Matters laid to his Charge, and should come to a better Temper and Deportment.
BEFORE the next Meeting of the Company, Sir Iohn Brooke, accompanied with Mr. Iohn Farrar, went to th• Lord Cavendish, and told him; that he found Mr. Wrot• sorry, for what he had done; and had the Earl of Sou|thampton been in Town, he would have gone to his Lord|ship, and given him Satisfaction. He therefore d•sired Lord Cavendish, on Mr. Wrote's Behalf, that the Court, which was the next Day to sit, might be put off. For if the Proceedings of the former Court, of the 4th of De|cember, should be openly read, Mr. Wrote would be pu• upon his Defence and Justification; which would tend to •iden the Breach, and to render the thing irreconcileable, which there were now Hopes of having compromised and settled upon amicable Terms. And the Lord Cavendish, out of this Hope, and in Compliance with Sir Iohn Brooke'• Request, did accordingly cause the Court to be put off and deferred. But Mr. Wrote was so far from answering Sir Iohn Brooke's Expectation, that at the next Meeting of th• Company, which was not before the 29th of Ianuary, h• made this very thing a Subject of Com•l•int; as if that long Intermission of Courts had been purposely contrived to his Prejudice. But being fully answered and silenced on this Head, by the joint Testimony of Lord Cavendis• and Sir Iohn Brooke, he insisted, that the Salary Men, a• being interested Persons, and the Deputy, whom he mo•• unjustly called his Accuser (for both he and his Brother were still fast Friends to Mr. Wrote, and endeavoured to palliate and make up the Affair) should not be present, when his Business was discussed. He also excepted, in th• gross, against the Entry of that Court; saying, he spoke not those Words, neither in Manner nor Form, as they were there set down. Whereupon a long Debate ensued▪ Whether it was agreeable to th• Custom of Courts, and would not be productive of great Inconveniency and Dis|order, and raise much Question and infinite Trouble to Page 249 the Company by the Precedent and Example,* i• they should suffer that, which had been entered by sworn Offi|cers, to be recommitted, and called afresh in question, whenever it should please any Man, to make Exceptions against it. But for Mr. Wrote's Satisfaction, and to take away all Pretence of Cavil and Complaint, an extraordinary Court was appointed, to examine by Parts, and to rectify the said Court of the 4th of December; to which they only, who were that Day present, were warned or ad|mitted, as being the only proper Witnesses and competent Judges of the Matter.
AT that Court, Mr. Wrote still behaved, in the same unaccountable and distempered Manner. He said, he suf|fered for the Service of his Majesty, and for doing his Du|ty. He repeated his Appeal to the Quarter Court; and thanked the Gentlemen, then present, for prejudging him to that Court. He also declared, if the Quarter Court righted him not, he would appeal to the King, the Foun|tain of Justice and Mercy; often repeating the same Words, with great Passion and Vehemence. Mr. Iohn Farrar having said, that something was untrue, he ran to him, and whispered in his Ear, that he durst not have said Untrue to him in another Place. For which rude Swag|gering, he was justly and sharply reproved, by the Earl of Southampton. He alledged, that Mr. With•rs, an eminent Lawyer of the Company, had somewhere said, that the Earl of Southampton, as a Privy Counsellor, might commit him; and protested, that under that Fear, •e durst not speak freely. He likewise, in a very rude and affronti•• Manner, charged the Earl of Southampton with saying; that he blundered out his Indiscretion; and for giving him the Lye in the third Person, his Lordship having said▪ That whoever should say, that Men were in any thing overawed, and durst not speak their Mind•, it was put into his Mouth by the Father of Lies; for a fouler Lye himself never told. The Earl owned, that he had spoke those Words; and he said, he would ju•tify and maintain them; and if Mr. Wrote applied them to himself, he could not help it. But as to committing him, he desired him to be under no such Fear. For whatever Honours and Respects were due to 〈…〉 laid them all aside, when he came to that Place, and only appeared there, as their Treasurer. But he declared, that had Mr. Wrote behaved himself towards him so, in any other Place but that, •e would not have endured it so pa|tiently; •nd he therefore willed him, to be more mannerly and discreet. As to the Court of the 4th of December, which they then met to examine and rectify, it wa• found Page 250 to be rightly entered▪ in the main Points and most material Passages; and it was accordingly, after a few slight Addi|tions and Alterations, so voted and determined, by an al|most unanimous Voice, one Person only dissenting. And to put the Matter still further out of Dispute, the Earl of Southampton summoned another Court, consisting of the same Persons, to meet three Days after, and to see, that the said Court was rightly entered, according to those R•|formations and Amendments.
SOON after, Mr. Wrote presented a Project, for the better and more thrifty Management of the Contract; wherein he proposed, to have the whole Business performed for twelve hundred Pounds a Year, and thereby to save thirteen hundred Pounds annually to his Majesty and the Companies. And to give the thing the fairer Course and Hearing, the Earl of Southampton summoned another Court extraordinary, to meet and examine his Proposal. They went through the Whole, Article by Article; and after a full Deliberation and Debate, which lasted a whole Day, till late at Night, each Point was disapproved and rejected, generally unanimously, and never with above three or four dissentient from the rest of the Company.
THE 5th of February being the Quarter Court Day, to which Mr. Wrote had appealed, and his Affair having made a great Noise, and been the Subject of much Scandal and Defamation to the Company, there was a very numerous and splendid Meeting, consisting of six Lords, thirty Knight•, Dr. Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, and a vast Concourse of others, Doc•ors, Esquires, Gentlemen, Merchants, and Citizens. And the Lord Cavendish also, to the same Time and Place, summoned a Court of the Somer-Islands Com|pany, as they were equally concerned and engaged in the Business of the Contract. But Mr. Wrote, having appear|ed in Court, soon withdrew; declaring to Sir Samuel San|dys (who met, and asked him, whither he was going) that he was ill at Ease, and could not stay. However Mr. Brooke, and other Gentlemen, learned in the Law, deliver|ed their Opinions clearly; that notwithstanding his Depar|ture, and his pretended Appeal to his Majesty, as there was 〈◊〉•vidence, that he had really made such Appeal, or that his Majesty had accepted it, they were no way debarred from proceeding against him, in a due and legal Manner. Whereupon Sir Edwin Sandys observed, that Mr. Wrot• was not accused, or prosecuted▪ to that Court, but was himself the Prosecutor and Accu••r. If therefore his Ac|cusation was well and justly grounded, why did he forsake it then, when that Day and that Court were come, to Page 251 which he himself had appealed; and when the Persons, by him accused, stood there, in the 〈◊〉 the Court, ready to submit themselves to the Trial, by him called for and demanded? But, he said, Truth and Innocency are bold and settled, whereas Calumny and Falshood are fugitive, fearful. Wherefore, as it was apparent, that the King's Ears had been possessed, and all Parts of the Town and Country filled, with causeless Clamours, by Mr. Wrote and his Friends; and whereas his Wrongs to the Council, Com|mittee, and whole Company, were so gre•t, so groundless, and so pernicious, he concluded, that unless some Course was taken, to punish and repress him, he could not see, but that the whole Government of the Company, must utterly dissolve, and fall into the most extreme Confusion and Contempt.
HEREUPON, at Sir Iohn Davers's Motion, it was first unanimously voted and agreed, that all Mr. Wrote's Ex|ceptions, Charges, and Imputations, at the late Courts, were utterly false and slanderous. And then proceeding to his Sentence, after a long Debate, in which some proposed severe, and others more gentle Methods, it was at last con|cluded and resolved; that he should be displaced, and for ever excluded from being of his Majesty's Council for Vir|ginia; and that he should not be entirely disenfranchised from the Company, but should only be suspended and ex|cluded from their Courts, for one whole Year absolutely, in which his Submission should not be accepted, altho' he should offer it. But if, at the Expiration of that Year, he should make his Submission to the next Quarter Court, that then it should be l•ft to the Pleasure of that Court, whether they would re-admit him or not. But without a full Submission, and due Acknowledgment of his Fault, it was ordered, that he should never be received at all. And 〈◊〉 was further resolved, upon Sir Iohn Davers's Motion, that, if Mr. Wrote still persisted in his wilful Courses and unjust Aspersions, or should any way wrong or molest the Company, then, for his Conviction and Disgrace, and for the Company's Justification, his Sentence, together with an authentic Copy of his whole Proceedings, should 〈…〉 into Print.
IT was the Company's great Unhappiness, that whatever Contests or Dissensions happened among them, the thing was always carried to his M•jesty in the worst Light; who was but too ready and willing, to receive Impressions to their Prejudice. And so it happened in this Cas• of Mr. Wrote. For Sir Henry Mildmay, professing himself, to b• neither of the Faction, nor the Factious, and that he cam•Page 252 not to stir up Storms, but to allay them, 〈◊〉 the Company, that upon some late Discourse with the King, his Majesty took Notice of these Differ•nces, which were a great Hindrance to the main Business, and to things of especial Consequence to the Colony; to which he also at|tributed the great Discouragement of divers Adventurers, an• their Willingness to give up their Shares. And his M•jesty farther signified his Will, that the Liberty of the Company, in every kind, should be preserved and kept entire; and particularly, that no Man should be abridged of the Liberty to speak his Mind freely, so he did it with due Respect and Decorum. But this, he said, he spoke, not as from the King, but as his private Advice and Admo|nition. And afterwards at this Quarter Court, when Mr. Wrote's Busin•ss came on, he informed the Company, that what he had before intimated to them, as from himself, he had now Warrant from his Majesty to tell them; who, by Way of Advice and Council, but no way to command them, wished, that they would leave verbal Differences, and go on with the Business of the Plantation.
UPON Occasion of this Information of Sir Henry Mild|may, Sir Edwin Sandys observed, that of all Mr. Wrote's Calumnies and Accusations, none was more unjust, nor more apparently false and groundless, than that, wherein he charged the Earl of Southampton (though not by Name, yet by necessary Inf•rence) of overawing the Company, and depriving them of the Liberty of Speech. And th• Earl told Sir Henry Mildmay, if it was his Majesty's Plea|sure, that they should not meddle with any evil Words, or seditious Behaviour, they would all obey and desist from the present Business. But Sir Henry declaring, that he had no such Command, but only Warrant, to speak by Way of Advice, what he had now delivered, the Court pro|ceeded to the Censure of Mr. Wrote. And the Earl of Southampton farther said, that this thing seemed very strang• and unaccountable to him, but he must attribute it wholly to Misinformation; and he wondered, that any Man should be found, so shameless and void of all Truth and Consci|ence as thus to abuse the Ears, and misinform the Mind of • King. Whereupon he app•aled to the Court, to bear Witness in that Point; and they all, with an universal Cons•nt and unanimous Voice, declared, that it was a fals• and unjust Imputation; and that they were not overawed, but enjoyed such Freedom and Liberty of Speech, as wa• in no other Company permitted. And this Declaration they often aft•rwar•s r•peat•d, with the same Unanimity; th• opponent Faction themselves, altho' they insinuated and Page 253 kept up the Lye at a Distance, not being so abandoned to all Sense of Shame, as to say any such thing, in the Face of the Court, where there were so many Witnesses to dis|prove and confound them. Divers of the Company also far|ther said, that if Men should use half the Liberty of Speech in some Companies of the City, or demean themselves with so much Rudeness and Disorder, as several Members did in that Court, it would not be suffered or endured, but they would be either punished in the Purse, or sent to the Coun|ters. And in Truth, the grand Fault of the Earl of Sou|thampton and this Court was, not a tyrannical Governm•nt▪ or imperious Restraint of the •reedom of Sp••ch and D••bate, but rather, out of a Principle of Candor and Fairness▪ the giving too much Way to Impertinence and Licentious|ness of Tongue; which had it been properly restrained▪ and duly punished, it would, in all Probability, have pre|served the Being and Privil•ges of the Company, and pre|vented that Dissolution, which followed.
FROM the very Beginning of this Commotion, Sir Ed|win Sandys desired Mr. Wrote, not to be disturbed at hi• Office and Salary. For as he had accepted them with much Reluctancy, and in sole Obedience to the Company's Re|quest, as they all knew and coul• testify, so he would resign both the one and the other, with a much better Will, than he had •ver received them. And he accordingly often made and declared his Resignation, and very seriously protested▪ that he would ne•er again accept the Place; and that, in Resentment of the late Cours•s taken to defame the Officers and Salaries, he would not, for any Reward whatsoever, any longer put up with, and endure such Affronts and A|buses. He therefore desired the Company, to make Choice of some other to the Place of Director, that the Business, for the Want of that Officer, might not stand still, or re|ceive any Prejudice.
BUT as Mr. Wrote had thus moved a f•esh the Affair of the Officers and Salaries, Sir Henry Mildmay confessed, that, •ltho' he was not directly of Mr. Wrote's Opinion, and the Salaries had formerly passed with his Vote, yet upon second Thoughts, he had since changed that Opinion, and now •onceived, that such large Salaries was the ready 〈◊〉 to ruin and overthrow the whole Business; which, in his Judg|ment, might have been better husbanded. And he particu|larly insisted, that as the Salaries were to be raised upon the Tobacco, it would be a great Burthen and Oppression on the poor Planter; which had also be•n a popular and con|stant Theme of Declamation with Mr. Wrote. In this O|•inion, Sir Henry Mildmay was seconded by Sir Thoma•Page 254 Wroth, Mr. Edward Iohnson, and some others. Thi• Point therefore of the Officers and Salaries was again called wholly into Question and reconsidered, at a Court, held for that Purpose, on the 12th of February. At that time, the Opposers of the Salaries desired, for various Reasons and Allegations, that the Consideration might be referred to a farther Day. But Mr. Deputy said, it seemed wonderful to him, that M•n, who had raise• such Storms and Cla|mours about the Salaries, not only to th• Disparagement of the Company's Proceedings, but also much to the Hindrance of the Plantation, and to the Disgrace and Defamation of some very worthy Persons, for accepting those Places, should now, after all this Scandal raised, and Mischief done, be yet unprepared with plain and evident Reasons, to overthrow them. And he said, he marvelled the more at this, as he then saw, before his Eyes, some Persons, who declared, at the Council of the 11th of December, when the Considera|tion of the Salaries was referred to that present Day, that they would, against this Time, arm and fortify thems•lves, to cut the Throat of the Salaries. Wherefore he earnestly besought them, not to interpose any farther Delays, but now at length pr•duce those Reasons, for which they had so much traduced and defamed both the Salaries and the Of|ficers. For they had certainly had sufficient Time, to con|sider and ripen the Matter; and nothing would be Reason in any future Day, which was not then so. H•reupon there arose a very long Debate; till the Company, being little satisfied with the Reasons given, and much wearied with the many Diversions, made from the main Question, especially by Alderman Iohnson, called upon the Earl of Southampton to put it to the Vote; and it was again voted and agr•ed, with an unanimous Voice (the Gentlemen in the Opposition either retiring, or else finding, how inconsi|derable their Number was, giving no Vote at all) that the Officers and Salaries should stand, as they had been former|ly ordered and a•pointed.
THIS was indeed a very great Concurrence and Unani|mity of the Company, in the only Affair, for which the opponent Faction ever seemed to have had the least Colour or S•adow of Reason. But altho' the Sum of five and twen|ty hundred Pounds a Year, for the Management of this Bu|siness, may, at a slight View, be thought very great and extraordinary, yet if it be considered, that those Officers (as it was then calculated and agreed) would have an hundred thousand Pounds per Annum, running through their Hands, it will not be foun• so exo•bitant and excessive. For it only amounts to two and a half per Cent. whereof five hundred Page 255 Pounds a Year, or the half per Cent. was not to be expended, except it could be evidently applied for raising the Price of Tobacco. And the two great Salaries, arising to nine hun|dred Pounds a Year, against which their Exceptions chiefly lay, did not amount quite to one per Cent. whereas the whole Stress and Burthen of the Business would lie upon those two Officers, and its Success entirely depend upon their Industry, Care, and Dexterity, in the Management of it.
AT this Court, the Lord Cavendish also moved, that since Sir Edwin Sandys would, by no means, hold the Place of Director any longer, they would propose some other Perso• for that Office. Wher•upon some named Sir Nathaniel Rich; but he excused himself, as uncapable of discharging such an Office, and would not therefore undertake it, for ten thousand Pounds a Year. But he declared, if he thought himself fit for the Business, he would willingly do it for no|thing. Then Sir Thomas Wroth, and Mr. Edward Iohnson, an eminent Lawyer, and very worthy Member of th• So|ciety, were proposed; but they both r•fused, as no way skilled in such Business, or able to execute the Place. Af|terwards it was put to the Question; Whether th• Compa|ny would accept of Sir Edwin Sandys's Resignation, and it was, by a general Erection of Hands, denied. He was therefore very pressingly entreated, not to leave the Place, upon any Discouragement whatsoever; the Company pro|fessin•, that, without his Assistance, they much doubted of the good Management and Success of so difficult a Business. Even some of the most violent in the Opposition did, •t other times, express great Satisfaction in the Choice of Sir Edwin Sandys; and declared, that he, or no Body, was able to go through with so thorny and troublesome an Em|ployment: Whilst others seemed disinclined and backward, to be any way engaged in it, exc•pt it was under his Ma|nagement and Direction. And thus the Office of Director was, a second Time forced upon Sir Edwin Sandys, with a very general and honourable Testimony of the Company; and he accordingly, with the Committee, entered into Con|sultation, about a proper Course and Regulation of the Bu|siness; which, being •rought before the Company, was generally approved and confirmed.
BUT the Centlemen in the Opposition, finding all At|tempts with the Company vain, took another and more effectual Way to destroy the Contract. For, twelve Days after the Thing had been thus examined a fresh, and again settled and determined, the Earl of Southampton and Lord Cavendish, the Treasurer and Governor of the two Com|panies, with the two Farrars, the Deputies, Sir Iohn Da|vers, Page 256 Sir Edwin Sandys, and some others, were called be|fore the Lord Treasurer; where appeared, on the other Part, the Earl of Warwick, Sir Nathaniel Rich, Alderman Iohnson, Mr. Wrote, Mr. Bing, and others of that Faction, who were seconded and assisted by Sir Iohn Wolstenholme and the Customers. There passed much Dispute and Contradic|tion between the two Parties, which the Lord Treasurer heard with great Patience, and without the least Interruption to either Side. And it was here confidently averred, especially by Mr. Wrote and Mr. Bing, that the Companies, in car|rying the Contract, had been overawed by the Earl of Sou|thampton; and threatened, unless the Contract proceeded, the Colonies would be taken from them. At length, one of the Customers proposed to the Lord Treasurer, that sinc• the Contract had been the Subject of so much Contention and Discord, it might be immediately dissolved; and that the Companies should be obliged, to bring all their Tobacco into England, and pay the old twelve Pence a Pound, Cus|tom and Impost; which, he said, would be more satisfac|tory to the Planters, and more beneficial to the King. And he then proceeded to calculate and shew, that a Revenue, of twenty thousand Pounds a Year upon Tobacco, would be thence raised for his Majesty; which was the utmost, that had been aimed at or expected. The Lord Treasurer also reminded the Companies of the great Grace and Favour, hi• Majesty had shewed them, by granting them Lotteries, and other Means, for the Advancement of the Colonies. And this, by the bye, was always insisted on, as a vast and infi|nite Obligation, which the Companies could never return▪ and it was therefore for ever urged as an Argument, for their granting his Majesty, whatever he demanded. And his Lordship concluded, that it was a very unfit and un|grateful thing, whether there was a Contract, or no Con|tract, not to bring all their Tobacco into England, to pay Duty, that his Majesty's Revenue might be thereby ad|vanced.
THESE Expressions of the Lord Treasurer were received with great Applause and Approbation, by the Warwickian Faction; who declared, that it had ever been their Desire, that all the Tobacco should be brought into England. And Mr. Wrote farther said, that the Colony in Virginia had sent a Petition, to be exhibited to his Majesty, to that Purpose▪ which was however never presented to the King, but had been concealed and suppressed by the Deputy. By this h• meant the Petition, already recited (p. 200) which was sent, when no Tobacco from Virginia was imported into England▪ but coming after the Prohibition was taken off, it was there|fore Page 257 never presented. The Earl of Southampton therefore replied, that the Colony meant nothing less by that Peti|tion, than what he now pretended. For the Scope of it was, to obtain Libe•ty to bring Tobacco into England, at a time, when they were utterly debarred from importing any. At last they were dismissed; and the Lord High Treasurer told them, they might still proceed with the Business of the Con|tract, notwithstanding these Dissentions and Oppositions.
BUT soon after, they were again summoned, to meet before the Lords of the Privy Council, on the 4th of March; Sir Edwin Sandys (the Earl of Southampton being then out of Town) and the two Farrars, with such, as they should bring with them, for the Virginia Company, and for the other Side, Sir Thomas Smith and Alderman Iohnson, with such Advocates and Assistants, as they should chuse; for the Somer-Islands Company, the Lord Cavendish, and such, as he would bring with him, and of the opposite Party, th• Earl of Warwick, or Sir Nathaniel Rich, with such others▪ as they thought proper. On that Day, they appeared ac|cordingly, being attended by the Lord St. Iohn, Lord Pa|get, Sir Edward Sackvil, Sir Iohn Brooke, Sir Iohn Davers, Sir Robert Killigrow, and divers other eminent Members of the Company; and they were told by the Lord High Trea|surer, tha• this Meeting had been •ppointed to examine sun|dry Complaints, that had been exhibited against the Con|tract, by some particular Members of their Companie•. Whereupon the Lord Cavendish made Protestation, that, a• the Contract had often been, most fairly and regularly, vo|ted and concluded, in several Quarter Courts, neither him|self, nor the rest of the Company, which then attended, came to give any Satisfaction to those Members, which now opposed it. For they were not only, as the lesser P•rt, involved in the 〈◊〉 Agreement of the Majority, but had, most of them, 〈◊〉 given their Vot•s and Consen• to the Contract; 〈…〉 would be to the 〈…〉 De|struction of all 〈…〉, to be 〈◊〉 tam|pering and treating with them about it. But he said, if their Lordships, upon any sini•ter Surmises or Informations, had conceived any Doubts about the Matter, himself, and the rest, were both ready and willing, to give their Lord|ships an Account of their whole Proceedings, and such an Account, as they trusted and were assured, would, in ever• Particular, give all reasonable Satisfaction.
HEREUPON, the Lords of the Council requirin• som• of the Complainants to make known their Grievances, Mr. Bing stepped forth, and made a long and very bitte••nvec|tive against the Contract, and the Manner of passing it. In Page 258 this, he used great Sharpness and Freedom of Speech against the Earl of Southampton; and endeavoured, by ridiculous and mimick Gestures, to mock, and turn him into Con|tempt. But Mr. Bing was not now in the Virginia Court; where he and his Party had long indulged themselves, in a most immoderate Licentiousness of Speech, and Indecency of Behaviour. And therefore, altho' the Earl of Southamp|ton was no ways gracious at Court, nor consequently to th• Lords of the Privy Council, his Majesty's immediate Crea|tures, yet they sharply checked and rebuked him. But the Lord Cavendish appealed to their Lordships for Justice a|gainst him, for having so wronged and abused the Earl of Southampton, a Peer of the Realm, and a Member of that Board, as well now in their Lordships Presence, as at other Times and Places, as he was ready, abundantly to prove. Wherefore Mr. Bing was afterwards committed to the Mar|shelsea, by an Order of the Privy Council; from whence he was not to be released, until he ha• made due Submission to the Earl of Southampton, and given him all fitting Satis|faction.
BUT as to the main Subject of Complaint in Mr. Bing's Speech, the Lord Treasurer proposed to the Companies Three Points, to be considered: First, whether the Companies had been overawed? Secondly, whether the Contract was for the Good of the Colonies? And Lastly, if it was not for the Good of the Colonies, how it might be made so? The debating and clearing up these Points took th• whole Day, both Forenoon and Afternoon. At length, after a long Hearing and Deliberation, the Lord Cavendish, Sir Edwin Sandys, and Mr. Nicholas Farrar, Deputy of the Virginia Company, were called in, and told by the Lord President of the Council; that they had given a good Account, both of the Reasons, which induced them to conclude the Con|tract, and of their fair and upright Proceeding in passi•g it. And he promised, that a Report should be made to his Ma|jesty, by that Board, accordingly; and he doubted not, but that the Contract would be confirmed to them, or else some other Bargain granted, as much to their Content and Advantage. The Lord Treasurer likewise gave them a most honourable Testimony, of their upright Proceedings, and wise Administration of the Affairs of the Colonies, for the four last Years; in which, he said, they had thriven won|derfully, and prospered beyond Belief. And his Lordship further added, that in the former Years, when Alderman Iohnson was Deputy, and the Business was in other Hands, it was carried fouly and disorderly; so that, if the Persons, then in the Government of the Companie•, should be called Page 259 to an Account for their Proceedings, he questioned, wh•|ther their Estates would answer it.
AND thus did this Affair go off, in all Appearance, great|ly to the Honour of the Companies, and to the utter Dis|grace and Confusion of the opposite Faction. But whilst the Companies were engaged in debating the Matter before the Council, the Earl of Warwick and Mr. Wrote were with the King; and what Effect their Calumnies and Insinua|tions might have on the Mind of that weak Prince, may be easily judged by the Event. For the Virginia Company, being incouraged by the Third Point, proposed by the Lord Treasurer, to be considered, viz. If the Contract was not for the Good of the Colonies, how it might be made so? reconsidered the Whole, in each Article and Particular, and proposed such Alleviations in the hardest Parts, as they con|ceived reasonable, or thought there were any Hopes of ob|taining. And to this End, the Gentlemen in the Opposition were expresly invited and desired, to join with them; that, laying aside all Study of Party and Contradiction, they might unanimously, and with the Calmness of 〈◊〉, examine and find out, what was most necessary and beneficial for the Colonies. But the Principal of those Gentlemen not vouch|safing their Presence, they proceeded, and drew up a long and particular Representation of the whole Matter to the Lords of the Privy Council; that they might assist their Suit, and be Intercessors to his Majesty for them. But whilst these things were in Agitation, the whole Contract was suddenly declared by his Majesty, to be void and of none Effect. But I cannot discover the exact Day, when this was done; nor what were the Reasons or Pretences for it.
AND this was the End of the Company's Contract with his Majesty, for the sole Importation of Tobacco; an Af|fair, which raised vast Heats and Animosities, and gave a Handle, especially on Account of the two great Salaries, to much Clamour and Reproach. And by this Means, the Warwickian Faction were strengthened by the Accession of Mr. Wrote, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Bing, and other Persons of Consi|deration and Figure; and it was now encreased to twenty six in the whole, whereas it had before been even less nume|rous and potent. As to the Contract itself, it was acknow|ledged, by those, who were most vigorous in upholding it, not to be absolutely and in itself advantageous, but only comparatively good, with Respect to their former State of Slavery and Oppression under the Customers and Farmer• of his Majesty's Revenues, and as it would shield them from their farther illegal and arbitrary Impositions. And the •reach of it was, at this time, the more apprehended, as it Page 260 was likely, that a sole Importation would be granted to some other Persons, who made Offer of so exceeding and large a Revenue to his Majesty, as could not possibly be raised, but with the extreme Oppression of the Colonies, and greatly to the Prejudice, if not to the utter Destructio•, of their growing Trade and Staple of Tobacco.
BUT the Faction, that oppos•d the Companies, did not only, by the Dissolution of the Contract, endanger the Trade, and render it again subject to the Rapaciousness and Extortions of the Farmers and Customers, but their Con|tentiousness and Malice had another unhappy Consequence. It hath been already related, that, in October 1621, th• Lords of the Privy Council commanded all the Tobacco and other Commodities, to be brought from Virginia into England; but upon Reasons given, and a Representation made by the Company, the Matter rested, and had been no farther insisted on. But now, chiefly at the Instigation, and by the Offers and Motions of the opponent Faction, their Lordships renewed that Order, in very strong and peremp|tory Terms. For, on the 4th of March, when the Com|panies were before the Council, the Lord Cavendish, Sir Edwin Sandys, and Mr. Deputy Farrar, of the Virginia Company, were very sharply reprimanded and threatened, because some Ships had lately gone from the Colonies to Holland; and they were ordered, to signify and declare to their Companies, that it was the Pleasure and express Com|mand of that Board, that all the Tobacco 〈◊〉 other Com|modities of the Plantations, should be brought directly to England.
WHEN this Affair came before the Company, Sir Ed|win Sandy• said, that he should always be the Son of Obe|dience, and yield a ready Submission to the Commands of the higher Powers; as he well knew, it was the Intent and Inclination of the Company to do. Yet, in Cases •f evi|dent Impossibility or publick Detriment, he thought it th• Part of well-ordered Duty, to make a just and true Represen|tation of the Matter, and modestly propose their Reason• against it. He therefore observed, that the Commoditie• of Virginia had three several Sorts of Owners: First, th• Company; secondly, particular Hundreds and Plantations, belonging to private Adventurers in England, as Southamp|ton Hundred, Martin's Hundred, and the like; and thirdly, Planters inhabiting and residing in V•rginia, whose Part h• conceived to be far the largest and most considerable. As to the first, the Company's Commodities, they certainly had them in their own Power, and could always import them into England. But over the two latter Sorts, he conceived Page 261 the Company to have no Power, by Law, to command or controle them. For the Inhabitants of Virginia were, by his Majesty's original Charters and Grants, declared to be as free, as the rest of his Majesty's Subjects, which inha|bited the Realm of England, or any other of his Domini|ons. And besides, the particular Societies, and divers of the private Brothers in England, and of the Inhabitants in Vir|ginia, had Ships of their own; and it was not in the Power of the Company, to prevent or restrain them, from carry|ing their Goods to the best and most promising Markets.
HE farther observed, that Virginia had, or would pro|b•bly soon have, many Commodities, as Salt, Fish, Pipe|staves, Caviary, and the like, which in other Countries might be vendible at an indifferent Price, but not in En|gland. Considering therefore, that within a few Years, when the Term granted in their Letters-patent was expir|ed, the King was to have Custom of all Merchandise in Virginia itself, if these Goods should pay a second Custom in England, and afterwards a third Custom in foreign Part•, where they were vended, there could be no Doubt, but that these three Customs, together with the Freight of such che•p and bulky Kinds of Merchandise, and the other con|tingent Charges, would so feed upon the Commodity, as to leave little or nothing, for the Sustenance and Profit of th• Adventurer and Planter.
HOWEVER, he said, as the Virginians had been driven, by the Rigor of former Contractors with the Crown, to seek foreign Marke•• for their Commodities, so he doubted not, but by gentle Usage and good Treatment, they would b• easily induced to return back to England, their best and most natural Market. But as for what had been alledged by • very honourable Person, that the Spanish Colonies brought all their Merchandises into Spain, and to no other Place, h• said, there was a very evident and important Difference be|tween the Case of the Spanish Colonies and the English. For the State of Spain suffered no other Commodities of th• same Kind, to be brought into that Kingdom, which was an exceeding great Encouragement and Benefit to their A|merican Plantations; whereas in En•land, the Commodity▪ which could be easily and abundantly supplied from our ow• Colonies, was not only permitted, but even strictly enjoined▪ and sternly commanded, to be imported from a foreign Country. But if his Majesty would afford them the sam• Privilege and Favour, that the King of Spain did to his Co|lonies, and would prohibit the Importation of all Commo|dities from foreign Parts, that could be furnished by our own Plantations, there would doubtless be all ready and Page 262 joyful Obedience yielded to this Command, of bringing all their Commodities into England. But without such a Qua|lification and Privilege, he declared it to be his Opinion, that this was a Proposition extremely oppressive and hurtful to the Colonies, and must soon bring them to utter Ruin and Destructic
THIS clear and pathetic Account of the Case was re|ceived with the general Applause and Approbation of the Company; and Mr. Rider added, that there seemed to him to be another material Difference, between the Spa|nish and English Plantations. For the Spanish Colonies were founded by the Kings of Spain, out of their own Treasury and Revenues, and they maintained the Garrison• there, together with a large Navy, for their Use and De|fence; whereas the English Plantations had been at first set|tled, and since supported, at the Charge of private Adven|turers; unless it might be excepted, that his Majesty, out of his great Grace and Favour, had granted them some Lotteries and Collections, the Produce of which had never|theless been expended, merely for the publick Service. To which it might have b•en justly added, that those vast Obli|gations of Lotteries and Collections were very cheap to his Majesty, he never having contributed one Farthing himself in them, altho' he was a very great, and in a manner the only Gainer yet, by these Settlements. At length, in or|der to lose no Time, Sir Edwin Sandys and Mr. Christopher Brooke▪ were desired, to take both the Reasons, which had been formerly presented to their Lordships by the Compa|ny, together with such new ones, as had been now al|ledged, and to draw up a brief Answer to this Order of the Privy Council. And whereas the Matter was already so well prepared and digested to their Hands, it was thought, they might easily do it, during the fitting of the Court. Whereupon they withdrew, and soon returned with an Answer, containing much the same in Purport with that, presented to their Lordships, about a Year and a Half before, by Mr. Iohn Farrar, then Deputy-Treasurer of the Virgi|nia Company. This Draught, being deliberately read in the Court, was ratified and approved by the Company; and Lord Cav•ndish, Lord Paget, and Sir Edward Sackvil were entreated, to deliver it to the Lords of the Privy Council, in the Company's Name.
BUT this Stifness and R•solution of the Company did, by no mean•, turn their Lord•hips from their Purpose. For I find, by another Order of th• Pri•y Council, dated the 28th of April this Year, that they still strenuously in|sisted on, and strictly enjoined them, to import all their Page 263 Commodities into England. But as some Alleviation and Encouragement, the King, in the same Order of Council, declares; that, instead of the ••elve Pence, formerly an|swered to his Majesty, he would, for the future, be con|sent with •ine Pence a Pound on Tobacco (the Customers having abated three Pence a Pound Custom) and that all Tobacco, then lately imported into England, should be delivered to the Proprietors, on paying that nine Pence on|ly. And for the Information of the People in Virginia, that they might know, how to comport themselves herein, 〈…〉 transmitted hither, and is still extant among the Record• of our Council. At the same time, the Lords of the Privy Council wrote a Letter to the Governor and Council here; informing them, of his Majesty's gracious Intention•, towards the Colony; and commanding them, not to be discouraged by any loose Advertisements, pro|ceeding from Faction, Malice, or private Ends. But they ••reightly charged and required them, in his Majesty'• Name, to live together, in that Concord, Unity, and joi•• Care of the common Good of the Plantation, as became the Undertakers of such an Action, the Subjects of such a King, and the Professors of such a Religion. They told them also, that they were informed by some, who had late|ly been Eye-witnesses, that their Fortifications, Houses of Habitation, and Provision of Victual, were not cared for in such sort, as they ought to be; which was highly dis|pleasing to his Majesty. And therefore they required them▪ to be more careful hereafter, as well for themselves, as for the publick Weal and Subsistence of the Colony.
BUT the Contract being dissolved, and the Benefit of sole Importation taken from the Company, the Warwickia• Faction themselves were soon alarmed, at the Apprehen|sion of a general and unlimited Importation of Tobacco▪ Wherefore Sir Nathaniel Rich proposed to the Company▪ their entering into a new Treaty with his Majesty, for the sole Importation, and for farming the forty thousand Weight, of Spanis• Tobacco; which he gave them to understand▪ from some Speech, he had lately had with the Lord Trea|surer, there were great Hopes of obtaining. But his Pro|position was slighted and rejected, as a Scheme, which had lately been rendered abortive, by himself and his Faction▪ and as it would be necessarily productive of t•ose Salarie• and Expences, which they had so loudly exclaimed against. But soon after, the same Gentleman informed the Com|pany, that there was like to be a free Importation of all Sort• of foreign Tobacco▪ without Stint o• Limitation • and •hat there was a Proclamation shortly to come forth, Page 264 to that Purpose. This was a thing before not suspected or imagined; and it was unanimously judged, to be utterly destructive of the Colonies. For as the meanest Tobaccoes might be bought in Spain, •or six Pence a Pound, the Price of the Plantation Tobacco, after the Discharge of Freight, Custom, Impost, and other Charges, would be reduced to little or nothing. The Company therefore unanimously entered upon several Schemes and Measures, to prevent so unfortunate •n Event; all which at last ended, in a bare Promise from the Lord Treasurer (and the Court Promises of that Time were not greatly to be depended upon) that forty thousand Weight of Spanish Tobacco only, ••ould be imported into England.
SIR Thomas Smith's Accounts remained still unsettled, and Sir Edward Sackvil was among the fre•st in his Cen|•ures and Complaints of this Matter. About this time, Sir Thomas Smith, casually meeting him, complained and expressed much Concern, that he should publickly, and in divers Places, say, that Sir Thomas was indebted to the Company. Sir Edward Sackvil was a young Nobleman of a frank and generous Nature. He spoke freely, whatever he thought, and was not at all of a Turn to deny, what he had once said. He therefore confessed it to be true, and gave his Reasons for it. Whereupon Sir Thomas Smith so|lemnly protested his Clearness and Integrity, and as a Proof of it, asked Sir Edward Sackvil; If he was so much in the Company's Debt, why they did not, especially in this their Time of Want and Necessity, sue and recover it? For he was undoubted solvent, and able to make them full Satis|faction. But, he said, it was so far from this, that he had been now, for the Space of three Years, in vain impor|tuning and solliciting an Audit of his Accounts, and had, for that End, delivered in all his Books to the Company. This was also confirmed by Sir Humphrey Handford, then Sherif of London, and one Mr. Abdy, a rich Merchant; who told Sir Edward Sackvil further, that they had for|merly, by the Company's Appointment, examined Sir Thomas Smith's Accounts, and found the Ballance five hun|dred and odd Pounds in his Favour, which they had ac|cordingly witnessed under their Hands, and delivered in to the Court. As to this Assertion of these two Gentlemen▪ I find, at a Court held May 12, 1619, on the Motion of Sir Thomas Smith, Mr. Mauric• Abbot, Mr. Humphrey Handford, and Mr. Anthony Abdy were admitted to be present at the auditing the Account, to see, that Sir Tho|mas Smith received no Wrong. But it was also ordered, •hat three of the old Auditors, viz. Sir Edwin Sandys, then Page 265 Treasurer, Sir Iohn Davers, and Mr. Iohn Wroth should be of the Quorum, and that nothing should be conclu•ed, without the Consent of two of them at the le•st. And soon after, at a Quarter Court, Mr. Abbot and those two Gentlemen, together with Mr. Thomas Keightly, for the Company, were admitted extraordinarily into the Number of legal Auditors. But that the Accounts had ever been fully audited and passed by them, is plainly false, by the whole Course and Tenor of the Company's Records. And if these Gentlemen, who were only Auditors ex parte, on Sir Thomas Smith's Behalf, did give in any Paper to the Court, relating to the full Settlement and Ballance of those Accounts, it could never surely, either in Law or Reason, be received as authentic and definitive. But Sir Edward Sackvil being unacquainted with the Proceedings of those Times, Sir Thomas Smith besought him, that his Accounts might be passed; and that he might be no farther molested upon that Head, but permitted to go in Peace to his Grave, being already far stricken in Years, and sufficiently afflicted with the many Infirmities, incident to old Age. But he declared, that none of those Pains and Afflictions were comparable to the Grief and Anguish of Mind, which he received from these injurious Attacks on his Good-name and Reputation; especially as they proceeded from Persons, from whom he had hoped, by his many Years Services, a far different Usage and Return.
SIR Edward Sackvil's generous Nature was affected with this Discourse; and he very earnestly and warmly moved the Company, to appoint some Persons, to put an immediate and effectual End to this Business. For, as Sir Thomas Smith had thus fairly put himself upon his Trial, he thought, that to delay it, would hardly be just, and to de|ny it quite, would be an evident and downright Injustice. Whereupon Sir Edwin Sandys said, that the Office of Au|ditors, as he conceived, was not to make, but to examine and settle an Account; that the Accounts, exhibited by Sir Thomas Smith, had been found by the Auditors, after great Labour and Pains spent upon them, to be so disorderly, intricate, and defective, that they scarce merited the Name of Accounts; that he spoke not this, to lay any Asp•rsion on Sir Thomas Smith, further than of Neglect (for it was well known, that he neither made, nor kept those Ac|counts himself) but to clear the Auditors and the Compa|ny, from all Imputation and Blame. For they had often declared their Exceptions and the Difficulties of those Ac|counts, as well to Sir Thomas Smith, as to the Company; and he then had a Writing, which contained many weighty Page 266 Exceptions against them. However, altho' they seemed to him to be altogether bottomless and unexaminable, yet 〈◊〉 promised, that the Auditor• should proceed in them, with all possible Expedition,
ALDERMAN Iohnson and Mr. Essington were now likewise found, to be clearly indebted eight hundred Pounds to the Company, besides the old Magazine Accounts, which they kept so dark and intricate, that the Auditors had not yet been able, fully to explicate and unravel them. And Sir Samuel Argall (for, about this time, he received the Honour of Knighthood) was still under Prosecution from the Company, for his Rapines and extortionate Ad|ministration in Virginia. So that it was evident, that thes• Gentlemen could never be safe or secure, as long as the Company continued in Being; and it is greatly to be sus|pected, that they, by the Part they acted in the late Com|motions, aimed not so much at the Dissolution of the Con|tract, as the Dissolution of the Company. But now the Contract being annulled, and the Disturbances somewhat allayed, they resolved to keep the Company still in Em|ployment, and not permit them to enjoy any long Leisur• or Tranquility. For soon after the Dissolution of the Con|tract, Alderman Iohnson presented, in a private and con|cealed Manner, a Writing to his Majesty, entitled; The humble Petition of sundry Adventurers and Planters in the Virginia and Somer-Islands Plantations. The Substance of this was:
THAT among the many memorable Works of his Ma|jesty's gracious Reign, the Plantations of Virginia and the Somer-Islands were not the least considerable: That these were the first American Colonies, attempted and brought to Effect, by the English Nation: That the Beginning of th• Enterprise was attended with so great an Expence, withou• any present Hope of Retribution, as was sufficient, at th• first View and Computation, to have discouraged the mo•• forward and resolute Adventurers: That however, by the Divine Assistance and his Majesty's gracious Encourage|ment, together with that mild and discreet Government▪ at first settled and appointed by his Majesty, all Sorts of Men were, in such kind and friendly Manner, invited and induced to engage themselves in it, that notwithstanding those many Difficulties, that great Action, which must otherwise have perished in the Birth, not only took Life and Being, but also proceeded, for many Years, in a most hopeful and comfortable Course: That there was then Unity and Love among themselves at home, and Peace and Quiet with the Savages abroad; by which means, sundry Page 267 of those Infidels, and some of eminent Rank, were con|verted to the Christian Religion, and many Staple Com|modities began to be raised and imported into England: That such were the Bless••gs, in those Times, upon their just and peaceable Proce•••ngs; whereas it had come to pass, they knew not ho•, that notwithstanding his Maje|sty's Subjects had been, in great Multitudes, transported to the Plantations, yet the aforesaid Commodities, and the other Fruits of the Enterprise, had not appeared of late, as in former Times; their Unity at home was turned into civil Discord and Dissension; and their Peace abroad, into Massacre and Hostility between the Natives and the Colony; and that many of the ancient Adventurers and Planters conceived themselves, to be many ways injured, abused, and oppressed:
THAT fearing, upon these Accounts, without the Help of a supreme Hand, the utter Ruin and Destruction of those great and noble Undertakings, and not holding it fit, to trouble his Majesty's sacred Ears with all particular Com|plaints and Allegations, they humbly besought him, to no|minate and appoint some worthy Persons, by Commission under the great Seal of England, who by Oath, or other|wise, by all lawful Ways and Means, should enquire and examine; What was the true State of the Colonies, at the Time, when Sir Thomas Smith left the Government of the Companies; what Monies had since been collected for the Plantations; by whom received, and how the same had been procured and expended; and what, after so vast an Expence, was the present State and Condition of the Colo|nies: That the said Commissioners should also enquire into all Grievances and Abuses; what Wrongs had been done to any of the Adventurers or Planters, together with the Grounds and Causes thereof; and should propose, how the same might in time to come, be reformed and prevented; and how the Business of the Colonies might be better ma|naged and carried on. So that, all Contentions being re|conciled, the Authors thereof condignly punished, Peace and Unity restored, and the Government of Affairs better established, those noble Works might go on and prosper with a Blessing from Heaven, to his Majesty's great Ho|nour and Profit, and to the religious and publick Ends, for which they were at first undertaken.
ABOUT the same time, Captain Nathaniel Butler, a Creature of the Earl of Warwick's, who •ad been sent to pillage Bermudas, and had fled thence to Virginia▪ as hath been already mentioned, was introduced to the King, and obliged, as it was pretended, to give his Majesty an Ac|count Page 268 of the State of the Colony in Virginia. This he presented, under the starched and affected Title of, The unmasked Face of our Colony in Virginia, as it was in the Winter 1622. This contained the following Particulars and Allegations.
1. THAT he found the English Plantations generally seated upon mere Marshes, full of infectious Bogs and mud|dy Creeks and Lakes; and thereby subject to all those In|conveniencies and Diseases, which are commonly found in the most unhealthy Parts of England, whereof every Coun|try and Climate hath some.
2. THAT he found the Shores and Sides of those Parts of the main River, where the Plantations were settled, every where so shallow, that no Boat could approach the•. So that, besides the Difficulty, Danger, and Spoil of Goods in landing, the poor People were forced to a continual Wetting and Wading, and that in the Midst of Winter, when the Ships commonly arrived; and that they thereby got such violent Surfeits of Cold upon Cold, as never le•t them, till they were brought to their Graves.
3. THAT the People, sent over, arriving, for the most part, very unseasonably in Winter, found neither Guest-house, Inn, nor any such Place, to shelter themselves from the Weather; no, not so much as a Stroke given, towards any such charitable and necessary Work. So that many, for want hereof, were not only seen dying under Hedge•, and in the Woods, but being dead, lay some of them many Days, unregarded and and unburied.
4. THAT the Colony, that Winter, was in great Di|stress for Provisions, so that English Meal was sold for thir|ty, and their own native Corn, called Maize, for ten and fifteen Shillings a Bushel. But that, however heavy this might lay upon the poor People, there were Reasons to suspect, it was not unaffected by the chief Men. For they only having the Means, in these Extremities, to trade with the Natives, did hereby engross all into their Hands, and sell it out at their own Prices. To which he added, that he himself had heard from the Mouth of a prime one among them, that he would never wish their own Corn cheaper, than eight Shillings a Bushel.
5. THAT their Houses were generally the worst, that he had ever seen; the meanest Cottages in England being every way equal, if not superior, to the best Houses in Virginia. And that besides, they were seated, so impro|vidently, and scatteringly one from another, as partly by their Distance, but especially by the Interposition of Creek•Page 269 and Swamps, they offered all Advantages to the savage Ene|my, and were utterly deprived of the Means of sudden Re|collection, upon any emergent Occasion.
6. THAT he found not the least Piece of Fortification: That three Pieces of Ordinance only were mounted at Iames-City, and one at Flower-de-hundred, but not one of them serviceable. So that it was certain, that a small Bark of an hundred Tons might take it's Time, to pass up the River, and coming to an Anchor before Iames-Town, might beat all their Houses about their Ears, and so forcing them to retreat into the Woods, land under the Favour of their Ordinance, and rifle the Town at Pleasure.
7. THAT expecting, according to their printed Ac|counts, to find sundry Commodites in great Forwardness, he found not any one of them so much as in any Toward|ness of Being. For the Iron-works were utterly wast•d, and the People dead; the Glass Furnaces at a Stand, and in small Hopes of proceeding; and as for the rest, they were had in general Derision, even among themselves; and the Pamphlets concerning them, being sent thither by hun|dreds, were laughed to Scorn, and every base Fellow gave them the Lye in divers Particulars. So that Tobacco was their only Business, and for ought he could observe, every Man madded upon that, and little thought of, or looked after, any thing else,
8. THAT he found the ancient Plantations of Henrico and Charles-City quite deserted, and abandoned to the Spoil of the Indians; who not only burnt the Houses (said to be once the best in the Country) but fell upon their Stocks of all Kinds, and killed and destroyed them, to the great Grief, as well as utter Ruin of the old Inhabitants; who stuck not to affirm, that these were not only the best and most healthy Parts of the Country, but might also, by their natural Strength of Situation, have been the most ea|sily preserved of all others.
9. THAT whereas, according to his Majesty's gracious Letters-patent, his People in Virginia were to be governed, as near as possibly could be, according to the excellent Laws and Customs of England, he found▪ not only igno|rant and forced Errors in divers Particulars, but also wilful and designed Deviations from Law. Insomuch that som• Persons, who urged due Conformity to his Majesty's gra|cious Intentions, were termed, in Contempt, Men of th• Law, and were even excluded from those Rights, which they were elected and sworn unto in England.
10. THAT there having been, as it was thought, ten ••ousand Souls transported to Virginia, there were not, at Page 270 that present, through the aforesaid Abuses and Neglects, above two Thousand of them to be found, and many of those also, in a most sickly and desperate State. So that it might be undoubtedly expected, unless the Confusions and private Ends of some of the Company in England, and the bad Execution of their Agents in Virginia, were speedily redressed, by a divine and supreme Hand, instead of a Plan|tation, it would shortly get the Nam• of a Slaughter-house, and so justly •ecome odious to themselves, and contempti|ble to all the World.
THE End and Design of these Representations, together with their Falshood and Unjustness in the main, will be easily seen from the foregoing Narration. But however slily and covertly they were presented to the King, the Knowledge of them could not be long kept from the Com|pany. For the Lord Cavendish and Sir Edward Sackvil were soon advertised, by their Friends at Court, of Alder|man Iohnson's Petition; and they had an extraordinary Court of the Company immediately warned▪ in order to enter upon some present Course, to prevent it's making any sinister Impressions upon his Majesty's Breast. This Court sent some of their Body to desire Alderman Iohnson, either to bring, or send them, a Copy of the Petition, he had lately presented to his Majesty. But he said, he had nei|ther himself a Copy, nor knew of any Person that kept a Copy of it. However he assured them, that the Petition was no ways against the Company. This was likewise af|firmed by some, then present in Court, who had been at the Delivery of the Petition. They also professed them|selves, to be as studious of the Good of the Plantation and of the Company, as any other whatsoever; and therefore desired the Company, not to intermeddle or engage them|selves in the Matter, before they had seen the Petition. But this not satisfying the Court, they were desired to de|clare, what was the Subject of their Complaint, and against what Persons. For Lord Cav•ndish said, if they did not find themselves aggrieved with the Company, they ought not to have complained to his Majesty at all, 'till they had first made known their Grievances to the Court, and seen, what Remedy would have been by them applied. At length, Sir Edward Sackvil said, that altho' Alderman Iohnson and his Accomplices would give them no Light into the Affair, yet himself, and some others in Court, could fully and certainly inform the Company, what was the Substance of that Petition. Whereupon he gave them a short and exact Account of it's Purport and Aim, and Page 271 declared it to be true, upon his own certain Knowledge; which was likewise confirmed by the Lord Cavendish. The Court was in no Doubt or Hesitation about the Matter, but clearly judged it, to be directly against the Company▪ and accordingly resolved, to justify their Conduct. But as to the Issue of the Alderman's Petition, they readily joined in it, and ordered a Petition to be presented in the Company's Name, to beseech his Majesty, that the Examination of these things might be referred to the Lords of the Privy Council; that so their Innocency, or their Guiltiness, might be either cleared, or punished. And in the mean time, to prevent all Prepossession against them, they ordered a De|claration of the present State of Virginia, comparatively with it's former State under Sir Thomas Smith, which had▪ by the Earl of Southampton's Order, been drawn up by a Committee of the Council, about the Christmas before, to be now read in the Court, and being, with some small Al|terations, confirmed, to be delivered to his Majesty, as the Company's Act. This Declaration set fo•th:
THAT in December, 1618, being the twelfth Year from the first Settlement of the Colony, after fourscore thousand Pounds Expence, and upwards, of the publick Stock, be|sides other Sums of private Planters and Adventurers, there were remaining in Virginia about six hundred Persons, Men, Women, and Children, and of Cattle about three hundred at the most; and that the Company was then left in Debt near five thousand Pounds: But that then (Christ|mas 1622) through the Divine Blessing, notwithstanding the late Mortalities in all those Parts of America, and notwith|standing the Massacre, and the great Mortality, consequent thereon, by the People's being driven from their Habitations and Provisions, there were still remaining (as was compu|ted) above five and twenty hundred Persons, sent over a• the Expence only of thirty thousand Pounds of the publick Stock, besides the Charges of particular Societies and Plan|ters; that the Cattle were also encreased to above a thousand Head, besides Goats, and infinite Numbers of Swine; and that the old Debt, left on the Company by Sir Thomas Smith, was wholly discharged:
THAT at the said Time, December, 1618, the only Commodities of Value, returned from Virginia, were To|bacco and Sassafras; whereas, during the four last Years, great Sums had been expended, and infinite Care and Di|ligence bestowed, by the Officers and Company, for setting forward various Commodities and Manufactures; as Iron-Works, Wine, Silk, Sawing-Mills, Salt-Pans, and other •hings of the like Nature: And that they had been particu|larly Page 272 careful, according to his Majesty's Advice and Di|rections, to restrain the Colony from their too eager Pur|suit of Tobacco, as did abundantly appear, from their fre|quent Letters, Instructions, and Charters to that Effect, with sundry printed Books and Pamphlets, made purposely and published for their Use and Direction:
THAT as to the Government, it had been, within the four l•st Years, reformed according to his Majesty's original Directions, in the Letters-patent; and the People were no longer discontented and mutinous, but now lived in great Peace and Tranquility: And to the End, that Persons of Worth might be allured to the Places of Power and Profit, and all Occasion of Rapine and Extortion removed, they had raised a competent annual Provision and Revenue, for the Governor, and all other Officers and Magistrates, and particularly for the Clergy, according to the Degree and Quality of each Place:
THAT these their Cares were, by no means, lost or in|effectual; but as they had settled the Colony in perfe•t Quiet and Content, so they had raised at home so great a Fame of Virginia, that Men now, not only out of Necessity, as at first, but many Persons of good Quality and Fortune had, out of Choice, removed themselves thither, and were daily providing to remove:
THAT there had been granted, in the last four Years, forty four Patents for Land, for each of which the Patentees had undertaken to transport one hundred Men at the least; whereas, in the former twelve Years, there had not been granted above six:
THAT, in the said time, there had been employed forty two Ships, most of great Burthen (whereof seventeen Sail were, about Christmas last, in Iames River at once) where|as, in four Years before, there were not above twelve em|ployed:
THAT, in the said four last Years, there had come in ten times the Number of Adventurers, as had done in twice the time before: So that, whereas before the legal Number of twenty could scarce be got together, to make a Quarter Court, it seldom now consisted of less than two hundred, and sometimes of many more:
THAT they could not omit the extraordinary Blessing of God, in exciting the Hearts of many zealous and devout Persons, to extend their Aid towards this glorious Work▪ who had contributed, within the four last Years, to the Value of fifteen hundred Pounds, for pious and religious U|ses; a Fruit, whereof the preceeding Years were altogether barren:
Page 273THAT however it could not be denied, but that the Encrease and Prosperity of the Colony had lately received a fatal Blow and Interruption, by the Indian Massacre; and their Peace and Unity at home had been much broken and disturbed, by divers troublesome Oppositions. But the one, they hoped, would soon be sharply punished and revenged; and the other must, with Patience be borne, and overcome with Constancy.
AND lastly, they concluded with beseeching his Majesty (as being the first Founder, and gracious Supporter of this great Enterprise, which would continue to all Posterity a constant Monument of his glorious Name) to grant them the four hundred young Men, long since promised to be levied on the several Counties, in order to be sent to Virginia, to root out the barbarous Enemy, and to supply the Colony, in Parts yet defective and unsettled; and they doubted not, in a short time to be able, to yield him so good and so real an Account of the Fruit of their Care• and Labours, as might, in some sort, be answerable to their Duty, and to his Majesty's princely Expectation.
BESIDES this Declaration, the Lord Cavendish produced another Writing, containing a Vindication of the late Con|duct of the Virginia and Somer-Islands Companies. His Lordship had drawn this up himself, for the Satisfaction of some very noble Persons, who had, from sinister Informa|tions, conceived a hard Opinion of the Companies Proceed|ings; and as, he said, those Noblemen, upon reading that Discourse, were fully satisfied of the Justice and Fairness of their Actions, so he hoped, it might work the like Effect upon his Majesty's Mind. Whereupon that Writing was deliberately read, and every Article and Branch thereof, being duly weighed and considered, was severally put to the Question, and it was ordered to be delivered to his Majesty, as the Company's Act and Answer; there being not above three Voices against any Part thereof, and most of them be|ing confirmed and approved, by 〈◊〉 unanimous Consent. This long Discourse contained three •ifferent Heads: First, Answers to the several Objections against the Company's Proceedings: Secondly, the true Causes of the late Disa|greement and Disturbances: And thirdly, it proposed Re|medies, for preventing the like Inconveniencies and Faction• for the future.
I am sensible, that the long Detail of Declarations and Answers, is 〈◊〉 most tedious and unpleasant Part of History to the com•••• Reader; and I have observed, that such Pieces, even in the Hands of our best Writers, and howe|ver necessary to clear up Points of History, have neverthe|less Page 274 been much distasted by several Persons. But as these publick Papers contain the most authentic Reason and Ac|count of things, and as they are the surest and most indu|bitable Materials, for an Historian to proceed upon, I shall not be turned from my Course, by the accidental Dislike of some Readers. For the Dissolution of the Company now draws on, and I intend to give a full View of the Motives and Proceedings in that Affair; which can be from nothing drawn so well, as from the publick Acts and Writings of both Parties, and their outward Pretences at least, and dif|ferent Allegations. However, I esteem it my Part and Du|ty, to save the Reader from all unnecessary Forms and Re|petitions; and to give him the Substance of those original Acts and Records, in the shortest Manner I possibly can, without injuring or obscuring their main Sense and material Points. As for this Discourse therefore, now presented by Lord Cavendish, and adopted by the Company, it set forth▪ That it was manifest, his Majesty's Ears had been abused by divers Misinformations, to which they held it their Duty to give a true and justifiable Answer.
1. IT was objected, that some few of the Company led and overswayed the rest; and that, in the particular Busi|ness of the Contract, these Persons, aiming at their own private Advantage, especially in the Point of Salaries, had therefore persuaded and misled the Court.
To this it was answered; that it was true, some parti|cular Persons, with great Labour and Pains, and without any Hope or Prospect of Reward, had employed much of their Time and Endeavours, in studying, what might tend to the Good and Benefit of the Colonies; and this only with the View, to propose and communicate to the Courts their faithful and impartial Advice; which was the Duty, and in the Power, of every Member of those Societies, to do▪ But that this honest Diligence, and these clear and disin|terested Views, should be interpreted an enslaving or mis|leading the Courts, was, in their Opinion, a most unjus• Censure, and a hard Requital to those Persons, who, for the publick Good, had bestowed so much of their Time, and neglected many Opportunities of private Gain.
AND as to the Supposition, that these Men, in Respect of the Salaries, had misguided the Courts in the Case of the Contract, they made his Majesty a clear and faithful Nar|rative of their Proceedings in that Business; much the same in Effect as I have already related it. And they declared, that the Gentlemen, elected to the two great Salaries, a|gainst which the opponent Faction chiefly exclaimed, did, at sundry times, both in publick and private, use all possi|ble Page 275 Endeavour and Industry, to keep themselves from being chosen: But that the Company's Experience of their Faith|fulness and Ability, had caused them to be elected, and in a manner forced to those Employments, against their Wills: And that they had since, in several Courts, as much as in them lay, surrendered their Offices; but their Resignation would never be received or admitted by the Company.
2. It was objected, that the Courts were overawed, espe|cially in the Business of the Contract.
To which it was replied, that it was a strange Boldnes• in any, especially in any of the Company, who knew their Proceedings therein, to affirm a thing so manifestly false and groundless; which the Company were so perfectly con|vinced off, that this was one of the principal C•uses, why Mr. Wrote, who first broached that Slander, was censured and suspended. And they told his Majesty, that this Point had been put to the Vote, often and in different Courts▪ when different Persons were present, and it had always been unanimously adjudged a false and scandalous Imputation.
3. It was alledged, that these Persons, when they could not carry Matters by Plurality of Voices, spun out the Courts 'till eleven o'Clock at Night; by which Means, those, who would have opposed their Schemes, being over|wearied with so long sitting, departed.
THEY owned, that the Day, here meant, the Courts sat 'till about ten o'Clock. But they gave his Majesty the Reasons of it: That many long Courts were to be read and examined; that Mr. Wrote's Affair took up much Time▪ and that they were afterwards obliged, to enter upon seve|ral Points relating to the Contract, which must be then de|termined, or else deferred for above three Months, till the next Quarter Court; and that this would have been much to the Prejudice of that Business, as they daily expected the Arrival of a great Quantity of Tobacco. But as to what was chiefly insinuated by this Objection, they declared it to be utterly false. For altho' some perha•s departed before the Rising of the Court, yet not one of the opponent Party went away; and at the very last, when the Question was put, there were, besides divers Noblemen and Knights, a|bout an hundred Persons in the Court.
4. It was alledged, that whilst the Contract was in Agi|tation, the Courts were purposely put off, for seven Weeks together; that some Planters who were shortly to go away, might not have Opportunity to complain against it.
THIS Objection they averred to be manifestly f•lse and impossible. For the Contract, which could only be ratified in a Quarter Court, was concluded upon at their last Mid|summer Page 276 Quarter Court, when all the old Planters, being about thirty in Number, were, or might have been in the Court; for none went away, till about eight Weeks after. Neither could it then be discovered, that any of them were discontented with it; but on the contrary, some argued very earnestly for it. And besides, it was untrue, that the Courts were at all put off so long. For altho', by the Orders of the Companies, there might be a Cessation of their Meet|ings, in the long Summer Vacation, when the Noblemen and Gentlemen of principal Figure and Consequence were in the Country, unless there should occur some extraordinary and pressing Occasion, yet the Courts met more frequently that Summer, than had been usual at such Times, by rea|son of sending out several Ships, and with them the Com|pany's Orders and Directions to the Colonies.
5. IT was confidently affirmed, that the Virginia Plan|ters had petitioned his Majesty, to bring all their Tobacco into England; and that this Petition was, by the Officers of the Company, suppressed.
IN Confutation of this, they referred to the original Peti|tion itself, then in the Hands of the Lord High Treasurer▪ and they said, that no Man, that had ever seen that Peti|tion, and had not a Mind wilfully to put Wrongs upon the Company, could ever screw such a Sense out of it. They likewise gave his Majesty an Account of the Occasion of the Petition, and the Reason why it was not presented; the same, that has been already given, in the foregoing Parts of this History.
6. IT was objected, that no Business could be done in their Courts, by reason of Faction and Wrangling.
To this they answered, that it was an odd thing, for Men to complain of that, wherein themselves were princi|pally faulty. Yet they denied this to be true, in so general and extensive a Sense; altho' it must be confessed, that some discontented Persons, who had lately joined together to op|pose the Contract, had long waited for all Occasions, to raise Troubles and Contentions in the Companies; whose Faces, for several Years past, had never been seen in the Courts, except when they came to raise a Tempest and Disturbance. However, they assured his Majesty, that this Faction, when they had mustered all their Forces, and sent for their whole Strength out of the Country, amounted to but twenty six Persons; whereas the Virginia Com|pany, in particular, consisted of about a thousand Adventu|rers, and oftentimes two hundred, or more, were assembled at once. So that this Objection of Faction and Wrangling must necessarily return back and reflect on themselves; a•Page 277 in all well-governed Societies, the major Part was ever un|derstood to involve the Consent of the minor, which, by making Opposition and Clamour, did undoubtedly thereby render themselves the factious Party.
7. IT was objected, that the Government of the Com|panies, as it then stood, was democratical and tumultuous, and ought therefore to be altered, and reduced into the Hands of a Few.—And this was properly argumentum ad hominem, and very weighty in the Eyes of that Prince; who had a noted Aversion to all republican Forms of Govern|ment, and was, in Truth, for a Monarchy, in the strictest and highest Sense of the Word.
HOWEVER, the Company replied, that as to the Tu|multuousness objected, it was already answered in the for|mer Article of Faction, and plainly appeared to proceed only from themselves. And as to the Democracy, they said, that the Government of the Companies was no other, than what was prescribed in his Majesty's Letters-patent; and it was a bold Censure, thus to tax a Government, ordained and constituted by such an Authority. But yet they denied this Allegation to be just, or that their Government was properly democratical. For the Companies had not supreme Authority over the People of the Plantations, but governed them by an Authority derived from the King, according to his Laws, and were accountable to his Majesty for their Conduct; and therefore that Government could not pro|perly be termed democratical, where the King was supreme, and where the People swore Allegiance only to him. And they added farther, that the Companies were so far from having supreme Power over the People of the Colonies, that when any Man had committed Offences, of what high Na|ture so ever (as lately appeared by two notorious Instances) if they could escape Punishment in the Plantations, where the Companies had Power, by his Majesty's Letters-patent, to call them to Trial and Account, they might, there in England, outface the Companies (as those two did) and they could have no Means of Redress, but by appealing to higher Justice.
HOWEVER, they owned, that, according to his Ma|jesty's Institution, their Government had some Shew of a democratical Form; which was nevertheless, in that Case, the most just and profitable, and most conducive to the Ends and Effect aimed at thereby. For those Plantations, tho' much furthered by his Majesty's Grace, were yet chiefly founded by the Purses of private Men; who would never have adventured their Fortunes in such an Enterprise, if, in the Regulation and Government of the Business, their own Page 278 Votes and Opinions had not been admitted. Besides which▪ such infant Undertakings often called for large and speedy Supplies, which could not be sent, but by the Purse• of many Men; who, had their Voices been excluded, and the Management committed to a Few, would not perhaps have been over-forward and hasty in contributing towards their Relief.
LASTLY, they observed, that the opponent Faction cried out loudly against Democracy, and yet called for O|ligarchy; which would, as they conceived, make the Go|vernment neither of better Form, nor more monarchial. •ut they however hereby discovered their Aim and Desire, which was to draw all things into their own Hands and Power, as had been sufficiently manifested before, by some of their late Steps and Actions.
HAVING thus given Answers to the most material Scan|dals •••inst the Companies, they next proceeded, to inform his Majesty of the true Causes, tho' disguised, why thes•〈◊〉 six, by their secret Whisperings and Insinuations, 〈◊〉 by their continual under-hand Practices, so much 〈◊〉▪ to disgrace the Government of the Companies, 〈…〉 Effect, to bring the Plantations to utter Ruin. And they •ssured his Majesty, that, whatever Imputations they migh• l•y on the Companies behind their Backs, they never y•s had the Confidence, openly to avow and maintain them i• their Courts, but always qualified them with such Distinc|tions and Equivocations, as amounted •• a flat Denial of what they had said. And
1. THE first Cause of these Mens Malice, was the ill Affection of the old Officers; out of whose Hands (the 〈◊〉 having not prospered under them) the Governmen• was necessarily taken; and their Prosperity since, implying the evident Benefit of that Removal, and a manifest Proof• of their ill Government, it had so offended them, that they endeavoured, the better to cover that Fault, by publick Disturbances, and private Practice and Confederation, to interrupt the present Prosperity of the Colonies, and to ble|mish the Reputation, and disturb the Peace of the Compa|nies: And that, to this End, they had not forborn to set 〈◊〉 their Hands in Attestation of most safe and scandalous Peti|tions; frequently to lay Imputations themselves on the Courts; sometimes to procure Complaints from others a|gainst them; and at all •imes to yield a publick Encourage|ment and Protection to such Persons, as had done Wrong, or were declared Enemies, to the Companies.
2. THE second Cause was, that the principal of thos•〈◊〉, and some others, who had wove themselves into Page 279 the Opposition, were for the most Part such, as had for|merly borne Office, either in the Companies, or the Plan|tations; who having not cleared their many Accounts (some of which were very suspicious) and being pressed by the Companies, used all the Art, that Malice could invent, to do Prejudice, and give Disturbance, to the present Govern|ment; hoping▪ by that means to shroud themselves from a due Examination, and so, in the Storm and Confusion, to go off, unconvicted and unpunished.
3. SOME others of these Opponents, of a different Rank and Quality, had either been concerned in spoiling and fleec|ing the Plantations, and in setting forth a piratical Ship, called the Treasurer; or else had abetted and protected those, who had done it, with such Violence, as was greatly to the Offence, Scandal, and Wrong of the Company. But their Ends not fully answering their Expectations, they had there|fore abandoned the Virginia Courts, except when they came to raise Troubles and Dissentions, in order; by that means; to keep the Company from calling those Offences into Question.
4. MOST of the Twenty-six were involved in some, or all these Causes of Dissension; and the few that remained; were either Servants to, or had necessary Dependency upon▪ some of the rest.
LASTLY, they went on to propose some Remedies, to prevent the like Inconveniences and Disturbances for the fu|ture. Since therefore these Colonies were chiefly settled; for the 〈◊〉 of his Majesty's Times, in propagating the Christian Reli•ion in those barbarous Parts; for the Enlarge|ment of his Dominions; for the Encrease of his Revenue; for the enriching his People; and for the future Strength and Ornament of the Kingdom of England; they besought his Majesty, to give Countenance and Encouragement to their Labours; to believe well of the Companies, and not give too ready a Credit to the malicious and pre-conce•ted Informations of some of their Members; and to gran• them some such present Testimony of his good Opinion, and gra|cious Acceptance of their Endeavours, by Letter or other|wise, as might do Honour to the Company, and strengthen their Authori•• And this they were the rather induced to hope, as the •ate great Breach in the Companies had been occasioned, by their Forwardness and Desire, to advance his Majesty's Profit and Revenue by the Contract. And they farthe• besought his Majesty, to be graciously ple•sed to declare his Intention, that, in all Business of the Courts for the future, they should be left freely to govern them|selves, by their Charters and Laws; and withal, to give Page 280 present Order to the Lords of the Privy Council, that, if there should be any such private Conspiracy, Confederation, or Opposition, as the Companies themselves could neither remedy nor punish, to afford them their Help and Assistance, in the Remedy and Punishment of the same. And lastly they prayed, that for such, as had been accused of henious Crimes, committed in the Plantations, and had thence esca|ped, and then braved the Companies in England, his Ma|jesty would be graciously pleased, to extend his Power, and send them back to the Plantations, there to receive their just and legal Trials. And by these Assistances, the Companie• would be enabled, chearfully to proceed, and in short time so to advance those great and noble Undertakings, as would give his Majesty full Content, and just Cause to believe, that these his Favours had been well bestowed, and rightly used.
THE Earl of Southampton was not present, when thes• thing• passed; and as he was obnoxious at Court, and had received some ill Usage from it, it may be surmished, that he kept out of the Way purposely, to av•id being farther em|broiled. But it is, I think, much more agreeable to the Character of that worthy and patriot Nobleman, to sup|pose, that he did not desert his Station in such a Manner, but was absent on other just and necessary Occasions. In his Absence therefore, these two Papers (together with a Petition to his Majesty, to refer the Hearing of the Com|plaints of Alderman Iohnson and his Associates, to the Body of his most Honourable Privy Council) were committed to Lord Cavendish, Lord Delawarr, Sir Edward Sackvil, Sir Iohn Brooke, and Colonel Ogle, to take the first proper Op|portunity to present them to his Majesty, and to make Choice of such others of the Company, as they thought fit, to attend them.
THIS Court also, at Mr. Deputy Farrar's Motion, conferred the Freedom of the Company on Carew Ralegh Esq the only surviving Son of Sir Walter. He had gone, after his Father's Death, a Gentleman Commoner, to Wad|ham College, in Oxford; where he continued his Studies, about five Years. About this time, being yet scarce twenty Years of Age, he came up to London, and went to Court; hoping by the Favour of William, Earl of Pembroke, his noble Kinsman, to obtain some Redress, in the Hardship• and Wrongs done him. But the King did not like his Countenance there; and said, that he appeared in his Court, like his Father's Ghost. Wherefore, by the Earl's Advice, he removed himself from his Majesty's Sight, and went upon his Travels, •ill a more favourable Conjuncture should Page 281 offer. But however fixed this Monarch might be in his Antipathy, and however steady and constant in doing an eternal Dishonour to his own Judgment and Fame, by dis|gracing and depressing every thing that had Relation to this Great Man, the Virginia Company seems to have ••d a quite different Notion of things. For they willingly •m|braced the Pretence, of Sir Walter Raleigh's being the first Discoverer of Virginia, to testify their Respect to his M•|mory and Merit, by conferring extraordinarily, upon his Son, the Freedom of the Company, and a Voice in their Courts. And he accordingly appears at their Courts, com|monly ranked with the Knights, till Iune the next Year, at which time, it may be supposed, he went on his Tra|vels.
SOON after this, authentic Copies of Alderman Iohn|son's Petition and Captain Butler's Information we•e, by some Person, sent to the Company; which being publickly and distinctly read, the Court was informed by Persons of Worth, that this Report, in particular, of the Unhealthi|ness of the Country, and of the Colony's being seated among Bogs and Marshes, having been industriously spread by Captain Butler and his Associates, not only over all Parts of the City, but likewise into divers Parts of the Country, was likely to stop many hundreds of People, who were preparing to transport themselves thither; and that it was therefore absolutely necessary, to make an immediate Enquiry about that Matter. Whereupon some, then pre|sent, who had been long and often in Virginia, affirmed upon their certain Knowledge, that, at all the Plantations on the main River, they might land, with Boats drawing three Foot Water, from half Flood to half Ebb, safe and dry, without wetting their Foot; and that they had found, by their own Experience, the Air to be as wholesome, and the Soil for the most part, as fertile, as in any Part of En|gland, or of any other Country, where they had been. But the better to obviate the ill Consequences and C•lum|nies of Captain Butler's Information, an Answer was drawn up in Writing against the next Meeting of the Company, and subscribed by the Rev. Mr. William Mease, a Minister, who had lived ten Years in Virginia; by one Mr. Iohn Procter, a Man of good Sort, who had lived there fourteen Years; and by fourteen others, Masters of Ships, Mari|ners, and Inhabitants, who had been and lived, some •••re and some l•ss, in the Country, and were perfectly ac|quainted with the River, and all Parts of the Colony. This Answer, which they declared themselves ready to justify upon Oath, contained a flat Denial and Disproof of Page 282 the seven first Articles of Butler's Information. As to the three l•st, they left them to be answered by the Governor and Company, as relating immediately to themselves, and cont•ining things, either above their Determination, or out of their Knowledge. And as this Writing contained the Testimony of Eye-witnesses to Matters of Fact, it agreed so exactly in Substance with an Answ•r, afterwards return|ed from Virginia by the Governor and General Assembly, that I shall not detain the Reader, at present, with an Ab|stract of it, but shall refer to that more authentic Testimo|ny of the whole Body of the Colony, which will be here|after recited, in it's proper Time and Place.
BUT besides this Disproof of Captain Butler's Informa|tion, the farther to detect and expose his malicious De|signs and unfair Proceedings, two Papers were produced in Court, and admitted to Record, under the Hands of Iohn Severne, Masters-mate, and Iohn Lowe, Boatswain, of the Iames. In these they affirmed, that coming, one Morn|ing, to Captain Nathaniel Butler, about some Business, the said Captain brought a Writing in his Hand, and began to read some Part of it; telling them, he had been with the King, and protesting, the Writing was for the Good of the Country. Whereupon they, being in great Haste, having heard a few Lines only read, and not attending much to the Matter, and besides conceiving Captain Butler to be a very honest Man, did readily set their Hands to the said Writing. But h•••ng since understood, that it was in Dis|grace and Disp•••gement of the Coun•ry, they, the said Iohn Severne〈◊〉Iohn Lowe, did thereby disavow the said Writing, as 〈◊〉 and unjust; and farther protested, that, upon their Oaths, they must declare the contrary. And all these Proofs of his wilful Malice and Injustice did Captain Butler sit in the Court and hear, and calmly demanded a Copy of the Answer to his Information.
BUT as his Majesty intended, in Compliance with the Petitions of both Alderman Iohnson and the Company, to app•int Commissioners to enquire into all these Matters and Allegations, the Court thought it proper, to prepare be|times to make their Defence. To this End, as the Com|pany consisted of many Members of both Houses of Parlia|ment, they were naturally led to the Parliamentary Me|thods of proceeding and resolved thems•lves into a grand Committee of the whole Company, which had Power, to su••titute and ordain other Sub-Committees, for expediting M•tt•rs; that so the Business, being parted among many H•nds, might be the more speedily and better accomplished. And now having Copies of Alderman Iohnson's and Cap|tain Page 283Butler's Complaints, they soon after drew up direct and particular Answers to them both.
IN Answer to Alderman Iohnson's Petition, they ob|served, that it was founded upon three main Allegations: First, that the former Government, under Sir Thomas Smith, as Treasurer, and Mr. Canni•g and himself, as Deputy-Treasurers, was mild and discreet; whereby all Sorts of Persons were induced to engage themselves in that great and difficult Action, which thence proceeded in a most hopeful Way, and with Peace and Concord; whereas it had of late come to pass, that th•ir Love and Unity at home were turned into civil Discord and Dissension; and that divers of the ancient Adventurers and Planters con|ceived themselves, to be many ways injured, abused and oppressed.
To this they replied: That as to the Government at home in those times, all his Majesty's particular Instructions therein were clean ••ppressed and extinguished, and the Origin•ls no longer extant; and that there were no Orders made for the Government of the Company, except now and then one, upon present Occasion. And as to the Go|vernment abroad in the Colony, it was, for the most part, left absolutely to the Governor's Will and Pleasure; only instead of a Body of moderate Laws, agreeable to the Con|stitution and Government of England, there was printed at home, and with great Honour dedicated to Sir Thomas Smith, and afterwards by him sent to Virginia, by his own Authority, and without the Company's Order or Consent, a Book of most truculent Laws, written in Blood; which, altho' they might serve for Martial Government in time of War, being translated most of them from the Martial Laws of the United Provinces, yet were absolutely destruc|tive of all the native Rights and Liberties of English Sub|jects, and very far from deserving the Name of a mild Go|vernment, here given it by the Petitioners: And that, for this Cause, People in England were deterred from going over in Person, to live there under such bloody and tyran|nical Laws, and many of his Majesty's Subjects in Virgi|nia were put to most unjust and undeserved Deaths. But most especially, such a Weapon was h•reby put into the Hands of one of the Govern•rs, a Kinsman of Sir Thomas Smith, that he, in a manner, s•••led and destroyed the whole Colony, as was still extant and to be s•en, in the Letters of Sir Thomas Smith himself and Alderman Iohnson.
THAT the Consequence of this Misgovernment was, that the Colony was wasted to a few hundreds of Peo|ple, who had nevertheless no Intent to proceed in the Plan|tation, Page 284 but being destitute of Food, both spiritual and tem|poral, cried out loudly against the Company, for Injustice and Cruelty; being some times, in Despair, all shipped to return, and at other times, in Revenge, adopting to them|selves new Patrons and Defenders against their bad Govern|ment. And that Adventurers at home did indeed, at first, com• plentifully in, as to a new Thing; but that, at last, they abandoned the Courts, and refused to pay their Mo|nies subscribed; for which being sued, they pleaded in Chanc•ry, upon their Oaths, that the Monies were not converted to the Use intended, but to particular Men's Gains; and that no Accounts were kept, or were at least to be seen. But on the contrary, they said, what Refor|mations had been made, and what Measures taken, in Point of Government, for the four last Years, might be appa|r•nt to all Men; and that their Labours herein had given such Satisfaction to the Plantations, that the Colony of Vir|ginia had, in particular, by a public• Act in their General Assembly, returned Thanks to the Company, for their great Love, Justice, and Care.
As for Discord and Dissension, they a••••wledged, within ••e Compas• of the four last Years, th••• had been some great Rents made in the Council and Company; but that thes• proceeded wholly from the Alderman and his Party, the greatest Number of whom were seldom seen in their Courts, but when they came to raise, or to nourish, this very Discord and Faction, they here complained of. And as to the Wrongs and Oppression of the ancient Ad|ventur•rs and Planters, they challenged him to shew, that the Justice, which it was in the Company's Power to give, had ever been denied to any Man whatsoever; much less had the Goods of some particular Persons in the Colonies, by private Directions and underhand Letters, been taken violently from them, contrary to all Justice and due Course of Law, and consigned into the Hands of their potent Ad|versaries in E•gland; as was notoriously done, in the Case of Captain Miles Kendal, formerly Governor of Bermudas, who was spoiled by Captain Butler, his Successor, of four|teen Negroes, granted him by a Dutch Captain, under a false and groundless Pretence, that they belonged to their piratical Ship, the Treasurer.
THE s•cond Allegation of Alderman Iohnson's Petition was: Th•t, under the former Government, they had Peac• with the Indians, by which means sundry of thos• Infide••, •nd some of eminent Rank, were converted to the 〈◊〉 R•••gi•n; whereas, of late, there had been a Massacr••nd Ho•tility between the Natives and the Colony of Virginia.
Page 285IN Answer to this, they denied, that except Pocahontas (whom they here call Matoax) there had happened any thing of Note in the Conversion of those Infidels, under Sir Thomas Smith's Administration. And they farther af|firmed, that, during his time, the English were almost in a continual War and Hostility with the Indians; and that, in particular, Captain Argall came away, in the last Part of that time, and left unpunished the Murder of ten of the English, by a Party of the Chickahominies. But on the contrary, how great, and what chargeable Attempts, had been made, within the last four Years, for the Conversion and Education of those Infidels, was sufficiently evident, from the Plantation for the College; on which, notwith|standing the late Massacre, they conceived, there were yet remaining sixty Tenants, or thereabouts. And the Com|pany had indeed, in their first Letter after the Knowledge of the Massacre, proposed Methods, and given strict Or|ders, to the Governo• and Council, for the Renewal of the College, and Resettlement of it's Lan•; but Means being wanting, the Governor and Council could do nothing in it to Effect. However they promised, that that pious Work should, by the Divine Assistance, again proceed, in due time. And as to the Hostil•ty with the Indians, they de|clared, there had been none, within the four last Years, be|fore the late treacherous and bloody Massacre; which had it not happened, these Maligners must have been mute, and would have had nothing to alledge to the Disgrace of the Company and Plantation.
THE third Allegation of the Alderman's Petition was: That, in the first twelve Years, divers Staple-Commodities began to be raised and imported into England; whereas, of late Years, the aforesaid Commodities did not appear.
THEY replied, that this Objection reflected strongly on the Objector himself. They owned, that some Samples of those Commodities had been, by the Industry of Sir Thomas Dale, sent home, in the ninth and tenth Years of the first twelve; but that none had appeared, in the two last, un|der the Government of Captain Argall. The Reason of which was, that the Magazine being then on foot, whereof the Alderman was Director, it pleased him, to set no Price upon any other Commodity, except Tobacco and Sassafras, being Commodities of his own Trade, and for the greatest Part whereof he himself became t•e Company's Chapman; and that, by this means, all Endeavours for those other Commodities were abandoned, and the Colony possessed with that doating Affection for Tobacco, which the Com|pany had not since, with all their Care, been able to •x|tinguish. Page 286 And they then proceeded, to recount their late Endeavours for raising divers Commodities; which had in|deed lately received a sore Interruption from the Massacre, but it was their Intent and Resolution, shortly again to re|store and set them up.
As for that Pretence, that the Petition aimed at no other End, but that after the Work of some necessary Reforma|tion, the Work of the Plantations might be again renewed and prosper; they said, they were obliged, therein to de|tect the Alderman's uncl••r Proceedings. For it should be justified against him, by undeniable Proof: That he had laboured of late, by strange and false Allegations, to dis|courage some Persons of Eminence and Fortune, from fa|vouring or proceeding in the Enterprise: That he had brow-•eaten and found Fault with such, as had commended the Coun••y, so much extolled formerly by himself, in sun|dry printed Treatises; and had declared, that the World had been cheated and deluded by Virginia: That he had said, there w•re too many of the English Nation there al|ready; that the Staple-Commodities, spoken of, would come to nothing; that the Iron was base, and not worth the Freight; the Grapes sour, and the Climate improper for Wine; that the Mulberry Trees had a Prickle in them, which destroyed the Silk-worms, when they came to any Bigness; and that the Conversion of the Infidels was a vain and impossible Attempt, they being descended of the cur|sed Rac• of Ham. And now, whether a Person of this Malice and Virulency of Disposition was a proper Instru|ment to work out the Good of th• Colonies, they left to the Judgment of all clear and impartial Minds.
LASTLY, touching the Issue of the Petition, that all Abus•s might be examined and reformed, the Company de|cl•red, they willingly concurred with the Petitioners there|in, but could not forbear remarking their too evident Par|tiality. For they desired only, that the Accounts since Sir Thomas Smith's Time might be examined, whi•h had al|was been fairly kept, and leg•lly audited, according to the Orders of th• Court, (except by one only of the Petitioner's Society) and yet they passed the Accounts of the former Years ov•r in Silence, which were nevertheless three times as large, and thrice three time• more questionable.
IN their Answer to Captain Butler's Information, they recited, that the seven first Articles had been answered by sixt••n Eye-witnesses of the Matters alledged, Men of un|questionable Character and V•racity, who were ready, at any time, to justify the same upon their Oaths. They th•r•fore refe••ed to that, as being the highest and most Page 287 unexceptionable Evidence, that could be had in such a Case; and they proceeded themselves, to give Answers to the three last Articles. But as the Answer, afterwards re|turned from Virginia by the Governor and General As|sembly, was much the same in Purport with this, I shall still, to avoid all tedious and needless Repetition, refer to that, hereafter to be given. But as to Butler's last Clause, of the Confusions and private Ends of some of the Com|pany in England, and of the bad Execution of their Agents in Virginia, they besought his Majesty, that he might not be permitted to wander in such general and indeterminate Accusations, which only tended to Slander and Defamation, but might be obliged to make an express and particular Discovery of those Persons and Measures before the Com|missioners, that were soon to be appointed. And in the mean while, they protested against it, as calumnious and unjust, and of the self-same Truth with the rest of his In|formations.
MR. Berblock also desired, that a short Passage, out of one of Sir Thomas Dale's Letters to Sir Thomas Smith, might be read; which he had accidentally happened upon, in pe|rusing the Company's Books, by Order of the Court. This was dated in Iune 1613, and has been already mentioned and extracted. In it, he desires them not to be gulled by the clamorous Reports of base People, but to believe Caleb and Ioshua, and gives a very great and lavish Commenda|tion of the Country; which Mr. Iohn Smith declared to agree exactly, with what he, and divers other Persons of Worth, had heard from his own Mouth in England; and Mr. Copeland affirmed, that Sir Thomas Dale had told him the same in Effect, at Iapan in the East-Indies. There was also read Part of a Letter from Sir Samuel Argall to the Company, dated in Iuly 1617, highly commending the Healthiness and Conveniency of Iames-Town. To these was added, at the Lord Cavendish's Motion, a long Decla|ration, by his Majesty's Council for Virginia, and the prin|cipal Assistants for the Somer-Islands; in which, they plain|ly, and without Disguise or Palliation, laid open the whole Scene of the Earl of Warwick's Proceedings, with the ini|quitous Practices of himself and his Faction, but most espe|cially of his too grand Instruments of Rapine, Sir Samuel Argall and Captain Butler. This long and particular Rela|tion has been of singular Service, and given great Light, in the fuller Detection of their fraudulent Arts and Manage|ment; but as it contains nothing materially different from the foregoing Relation of their Proceedings, I shall case both myself and the Reader from the Trouble of an Abstract.
Page 288ALL these publick Acts, Declarations, and Testimonials were laid before his Majesty, the Lords of the Privy Coun|cil, and the Commissioners. For, two Days after this, on the 9th of May, a Commission issued, under the Great Seal of England, to Sir William Iones, Knight, one of his Ma|jesty's Justices of the Court of Common Pleas, Sir Nicholas Fortescue, Sir Francis Gofton, Sir Richard Sutton, Sir Wil|liam Pit, Sir Henry Bourchier, and Sir Henry Spilman, Knights, or any four of them, to examine and enquire into all Matters and Businesses, any ways relating or appertain|ing to the Plantations of Virginia and the Somer-Islands. Altho' the Points, to be enquired into, ran very much, in this Commission, according to the general Heads, and even the very Words, of the latter Part of Alderman Iohnson's Petition, yet the Lords of the Privy Council had the Alder|man's Partiality reformed, and their Enquiry was not con|fined to the four last Years, but extended to all Acts and Things, from the first Incorporation of the Companies, and Settlement of the Colonies. Who these Commissioners were, and what were their real Characters and Conduct through Life, I cannot say. I only find, that Cambden, in his Annals for the Year 1619, briefly mentions Fortescu•, Gofton, Sutton, and Pit, late Commissioners for the Navy, and for Domestick Affairs, to be then knighted.
FROM this time, all Letters from the Colonies, both publick and private, were intercepted by his Majesty's Command; in order to surprise, and find out, any secret Combinations and underhand Practices of the Companies, or their Officers. All their Books and Records were like|wise sequestered, by an Order of the Privy Council; and both the Mr. Farrars, the Deputy-Treasurers to the two Companies, were laid under Arrest, and confined. I can|not discover, by what Colour or Pretence this was done; but it was a great Interruption, in prep•••ng the Company's Business, which was to be laid before the Commissioners. For their Defence depended entirely on their Books and Records, from which, they doubted not, to make their Innocency abundantly appear. And they were so sensible of the Prejudice, that would arise to the Companies, by their Deputies Restraint, who were their greatest Accomp|tants, and by reason of their Places, the most conversant of all others in the Business of late Years, that they peti|tioned the Privy Council, so far at least to set them at Li|berty, that they might be able to go forward with the Com|pany's Business, and attend the Commissioners. And their Books were accordingly soon after restored, and the Depu|ties released.
Page 289BUT from these, and other discouraging Circumstances, it was an easy Matter to conjecture, what was aimed at, and how things were going. And therefore the great Of|ficers of the Company, the Earl of Southampton, Sir Edwin Sandys, and the two Farrars, through whose Hands all the Company's Business and Money had of late Years passed, sued out their general Acquittances in the Court. And as their Accounts had undergone the Examination of the Company's Auditors, and had laid, all their legal time, and some much longer, open in the Courts, for any Person to examine, and make Exceptions against them, their Dis|charges were granted, under the legal Seal, by a chearful and unanimous Concurrence of the whole Company. The Proportions of Land, formerly granted, were also confirm|ed to them in the strongest Manner, and Mr. Iohn Farrar had the best Security, they could give him, for three hun|dred and twenty Pounds, which he had taken up at Interest, for the Use, and by the Order of the Company; all their Effects from Virginia being ordered, to be consigned into his and his Brother Nicholas Farrar's Hands (who was like|wise soon after found to be about eighty Pounds in Advance for the Company) till their Ballances, with all other Da|mages incident thereto, were discharged.
IN Consideration of the ill Consequences, of having con|tinued Sir Thomas Smith so many Years in the Place of Treasurer, the Company had made it a standing Rule and Order, that no Person, after that, should hold the Place of Treasurer or Deputy, above three Years together. The Earl of Southampton's three Years being therefore now ex|pired, Lord Cave•dish and Lord Paget were named, to stand in Election to succeed him. The King had always been endeavouring, to get such a Person chosen into that Place of chief Government, as should be perfectly submis|sive to his Pleasure and Command. And now, on the Day of Election, the Court received a Letter from his Majesty, signifying; That he had appointed Commissioners, to exa|mine into the present State of the Colony of Virginia; and as he expected to receive, within a few Days, some Account of their Labours therein, it was his Will and Pleasure, that all Officers should continue, as they were; and that they should not proceed to any new Election, be|fore the Morrow fortnight after, at the soonest. This un|expected Order, and mysterious Reason, caused a long and general Silence in the Court. But at length, considerin•, that they were restrained, by their Charters, to Quarter Courts only for the Election of Officers; and that, all Of|fices expiring that Day, their Government would become Page 290 void, and their Patents forfeited, unless something was done therein, they continued all Officers in their Places, not a Fortnight longer, but 'till the next Quarter Court, when only Election could legally be made. And thus, the King never after having expressed his Pleasure herein, and the Company, to avoid Misconstruction, forbearing to do any thing, 'till his Majesty's Pleasure was farther known, the Earl of Southampton and Mr. Nicholas Farrar were, from time to time, continued in their Places, 'till the Suppression of the Courts and Dissolution of the Company.
IN some of the intercepted Letters from Virginia, the Lords of the Privy Council found great Complaints of the Scarcity of Provisions. This had been occasioned by the Massacre, and the consequent War with the Indians; by which much of their Corn and Stocks had been destroyed, and a general Interruption given to the Culture of their Lands. Their Lordships therefore called the Deputy, and a few more of the Company, before them; and acquaint|ing them therewith, commanded them, to send an imme|diate Relief to the Colony. And they proposed, that the whole Company should be obliged to contribute their Parts towards it, according to the Number of each Man's Shares, by rating them at twenty, or at least ten Shillings, a Share▪ and tha• they should be compelled to pay the same, by an Order of that Board But Mr. Farrar and his Associates seem, not to have been perfectly c•nvinced of the Legality of such a Proceeding; and conceived themselves to have no Power by Law, to lay such a general Assesment on the Com|pany, without their Consent. Wherefore, after much De|bate, they prevailed on their Lordships, to permit them to proc•ed, in their usual Method of voluntary Subscriptions. And as the opponent Faction had been loud before the Lords of the Council, and pressed much the sending a speedy Sup|ply, thereby endeavouring to insinuate and reflect on the Negligence and sinister Views of the Company, a Roll of Subscription was prepared purposely, and presented to them, to subscribe by themselves; and Sir Edward Sackvil earn|estly entreated them, to be liberal and exemplary in their Contributions, since they had expressed, before the Council, so tender a Sense of the distressed State of the Colony. But they had the Confidence to withstand so strong a Snare; and the Colony was obliged to the other Side for the Supply, as I find intimated, in • Letter from Mr. Deputy Farrar, sent at the same time, in the Name of the Council and Com|pany. However, it was not of that vast Use and Relief, as was imagined or pretended. For, as the Deputy and Com|pany had judged, the Colony had gathered in their Corn, before it could possibly arrive.
Page 291BUT notwithstanding these lowering Prospects, and this unpromising Aspect of their Affairs, the Company proceed|ed chearfully and boldly in their Defence. And therefore, as soon as the Commissioners were known, the deputed Sir Edward Sackvil, Sir Robert Killigrew, and Sir Iohn Da|vers, to wait upon them, in the Company's Name; and to declare their Joy and Satisfaction, in the Commission's being issued. And they very earnestly and unanimously besought them, to take into their immediate Consideration Captain Butler's Information to his Majesty, entitled; The unmasked Face of the Colony in Virginia; which had given a deadly Wound to the happy Progress and Prosperity of that Plantation. So that until, by their Wisdom and Integrity, the Truth should be discovered, and the World again pos|sessed wi•h their former Hopes and good Opinion of that Colony, it must undoubtedly languish, if not shortly perish, for Want of those daily Supplies, which its Reputation a|lone had before raised, in great Abundance. But I do not find, that the Commissioners took the least Notice, or did any thing in Consequence, of this just and reasonable Re|quest; altho' the Company urged it often, as a Point of great Importance, which required an immediate Examina|tion and Dispatch. But soon after, they issued their War|rant to Mr. Collingwood, the Secretary, and to all other the Clerks and Officers of the Virginia Company, to bring before them, to the Quest-House, adjoining to St. Andrew's Church in Holborn, all and singular Letters-patent, Pro|clamations, Commissions, Warrants, Records, Orders, Books, Accounts, Entries, •nd all other Notes and Wri|tings whatsoever, in their Custody. Hereupon the Com|pany appointed a Committee, consisting of Sir Robert Kil|ligrew, Sir Iohn Davers, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Tomlyns, Mr. White, Mr. Withers, Mr. Bland, Mr. Barber, and Mr. Berblock, who should all, or any three of them, with the Secretary, attend the Commissioners, from time to time, with the Letters-patent, Books of Accompt, and other Writings. But they charged them, at every Rising of the Commis|sioners, to bring back the original Letters-patent, and to leave with them only a Copy; which, they hoped and con|ceived, would be sufficient. The Commissioners were like|wise desired, in the Company's Name, to respite the Deli|very of their Books of Account, 'till their Accomptant had taken Copies of them; when they were, together with all other Writings and Records, delivered into their Hands, and never afterwards returned to the Company.
WHILST the Comp•ny urged to the Commissioners an immediate Enquiry into the Truth of Captain Butler's Al|legations, Page 292 they, at the same time, recommended to their View and Perusal, as a thing relative to that Affair, the Declaration of the Council for Virginia and of the princi|pal Assistants of the Somer-Islands Company, which hath been before mentioned, and which charged, in a home and open Manner, the Earl of Warwick and his Faction, but particularly Sir Samuel Argall and Captain Butler, with ma|ny illegal and oppressive Practices. This, I presume, gave Occasion to a Letter, which the Company soon after re|ceived from the King; wherein he utterly forbids, that any Complaints should be brought before the Commissioners against any Man, in the Name of the Council or Company, because that Course only tended to Defa•ation, and to raise more Contention; and because to bring Matters, deter|mined by the Council or Company, before the Commis|sioners, was to preoccupate the Commissioners Judgments, or else to oppose the Act and Opinion of the Council and Company, to the Act and Opinion of the Commissioners: It was therefore his express Pleasure and Command, that whosoever would exhibit Complaints against any Man, ei|ther for publick Wrong to the Company, or for private Injuries to himself, he should bring the same in Writing, subscribed with his Name, to the Commissioners, who should receive the Answer thereto in Writing, and there|upon proceed, as they should see Cause.
WHAT was the End or Design of such an Order is not easily conceived, I think; unless it was to prevent the Com|pany from acting with that Unanimity and Agreement, which it plainly appeared, they would, and which, in the Eyes of all impartial Men, would give the greater Weight and Authority to their Proceedings. And where the Justice was, or Legality, of forbidding the Company to prosecute for publick Wrong to themselves, as a Body corporate, and to leave it only to private Men, who could not legally do it, without being first authorised and impowered by the Com|pany (and then it became their Act and Deed) is to me equally mysterious and inconceiveable. I am unwilling to make hard and uncharitable Interpretations; but this whole Affair of the Commissioners appears to have very little of the Face of Justice, but seems to have been set on Foot for quite different Ends and Purposes.
BUT besides this, that Letter contained another express Command; That no Man, of what Degree or Quality so|ever, should be admitted to their Courts or Committees, who, besides his Freedom and Land, had not some Men then, or lately before, planted upon his Shares; or that was not, at that time, actually engaged in, and according|ly Page 293 pursued, the sending of Men or Supplies over. And he farther ordered, if any other presumed to be present at their Meetings, that they should be proceeded against, as factious and seditious Persons. This was likewise a manifest In|fringement of their Charters, which had specified the dif|ferent Ways, by which Men should become free, and act as Members of the Company. Being therefore much stag|gered and surprised at both these Points, they resolved to hold no more Courts, 'till the King's Pleasure was farther understood. To this End, they presented a Petition to hi• Majesty; in Answer to which, he, in effect, took off and reversed those two Prohibitions and Commands. After which, the Company again proceeded, as a Body corporate, in their Business before the Commissioners; and they laid before them their Reasons and Exceptions against Sir Thomas Smith's Accounts, together with all the other Declarations, Answers, and Writings, which had been drawn up, and so unanimously agreed to, by the Committee of the whole Company. And they still particularly insisted upon, and strenuously pressed, the expediting Captain Butler's Affair, as that Business was the most urgent, and most immediately hurtful and pernicious to the Colony.
BUT what the Commissioners did, what Enquiries they entered upon, and what Reports they made to his Majesty, was a dead Secret to the Company; who, in a Letter to the Colony, acknowledge themselves to be entirely in the Dark, as to what was passing, or what was intended. At length, after long waiting for the Issue of their Enquiries and Determinations, Mr. Deputy Farrar, with some few more of the Company, were called, on the 8th of October, before the Lords of the Privy Council, who made some Proposals to the Deputy. But these being of a very weighty and important Nature, and Mr. Farrar conceiving himself to have no Power to give an Answer to them, they were, at his Request, drawn up into an Order of that Board; that so he might, under that Form, present them to the Com|pany. This Order of Council set forth:
THAT his Majesty h•d taken into his princely Consi|deration the distressed State of the Colony of Virginia, oc|casioned, as it seemed, by the ill Government of the Com|pany: That this could not well be remedi•d, but by redu|cing the Government into fewer Hands, near the Number of those, that were, in the first Patent, appointed: That therein especial Provision should be made, for continuing and preserving the Interests of all Adventurers and private Persons whatsoever: That his Majesty had therefore re|solved, by a new Charter, to appoint a Governor and twelve Page 294 Assistants, to be resident in England, to whom should be committed the Government of the Company and Colony: That the said Governor and Assistants should be nominated and chosen, for the first time, by his Majesty; and that their Election afterwards should be in the following Manner, viz. the Assistants should present the Names of three to his Majesty, of whom he should nominate one, to be Gover|nor; and the Assistants themselves should be chosen, by the major Part of their own Body for the time being, the Names of those to be chosen being first presented to the King, or the Council Board▪ to be allowed of, or disallowed, by his Majesty; and that the Governor, and six of the Assistants, should be changed, once in two Years: That there should also be resident in Virginia, a Governor and twelve Assis|tants, to be nominated by the Governor and Assistants in England, they first presenting their Names to his Majesty, or the Council Board, for their Allowance or Disallowance of the same: And that, as the Governor and Assistants, resident in Virginia, should have Relation and Dependence on the Governor and Assistants in England, so the Gover|nor and Assistants in England, should have Relation and De|pendence upon the Council Board, that so all Matters of Importance might thereby be under his Majesty's immediate Direction at that Board: And that his Majesty further pur|posed, to make the like Grants, as well of Lands, as of other Franchises and Benefits, as had been granted in the former Charters; with Declaration, that for settling and establish|ing all private Interests, this new Company should confirm, or grant anew to all Persons, the like Interests, as they en|joyed by the Grant, Order, or Allowance of the former Company. And therefore, the Deputy and the rest were, by their Lordships, required, to assemble a Court forthwith, to resolve, whether the Company would submit, and sur|render their former Charters, and be content to accept a new one, with the aforesaid Alterations; and they were com|manded to return their Answer with all Expedition, his Majesty being determined, in Default of such Submission, to proceed for recalling their former Charters, in such Sort, as to him should seem just and meet.
THIS Order of Council so struck and amaze• the Com|pany, that, as if they distrusted their own Ears, they caused it to be read over three several times; and after that, no Man, for a long while, spoke a Word to it. However, eight of the Faction of Twenty-six, being present with Sir Samuel Argall at their Head, moved the Company, in Con|formity to their Lordships Order, to make an immediate Surrender of their Charters; but far the major Part of the Page 295 Court, to the Number of an hundred and twelve Persons, declared resolutely against it. They said, it was a Matter of such Weight and Consequence, that they thought them|selves to have no Power to give an Answer to it, in that ordinary Court. For such Courts were, by their Charters, only permitted, to treat of casual and particular Occurren|ces of less Consequence; but all weighty Affairs, and par|ticularly all things relating to Government, were restrained, by the precise Words of their Letters-patent, to Quarter Courts only. Wherefore, whilst their present Patents were in Force, that ordinary Court had no Authority, to deter|mine such a Matter as this, being of the highest and most important Nature, that had ever been propounded to them. To which it was added, that, in Obedience to their Char|ters, they had never taken to themselves the Liberty, to dispose of so much as a single Share of Land, but in their Quarter Court; and they conceived themselves much more, even in Conscience, bound, not to betray their Trust, and so suddenly pass away all the Rights of themselves and the rest of their numerous Society, and of all the Planters in Virginia also▪ who were equally interested with them in their Letters-patent. They therefore besought their Lord|ships, that their Answer might, upon these just Grounds, be respited till the Quarter Court; which, being the 19th of November, was not far off; and against then, they should have Leisure to consider well of so weighty a Proposition. And to this End; they ordered a very large and particular Summons to be given to all the Adventurers, against that Day; and that their Officers should give them especial No|tice of the Business, then to be treated; and desire them, in the Company's Name, not to fail to be present; which if they did, they would be without Excuse, and would have no Manner of Pretence, to complain afterwards.
THIS Answer, however consonant to both Law and Reason, gave no Satisfaction to the Lords of the Privy Council; who, by another Act of their Board, dated the 17th of the same Month of October, declared it to be mer•ly delatory. Wherefore, as his Majesty expected a speedy Account of their Proceedings in that Business, and as it did likewise, in itself, require all Expedition, in Regard of the Importance and Consequence thereof (which, by the bye, was an odd Reason for being hasty) they ordered, and ex|presly charged, the Deputy and the rest, to assemble them|selves again immediately, and on the Monday following, being the 20th of the said Month, to deliver a clear, direct, and final Answer to that, which had been before propound|ed, and was that Day re•terated unto them: viz. Whether Page 296 the Company would be content, to submit and surrender their former Charters, and to accept a new one, with the Alterations, mentioned in the aforesaid Act of Council. And the Deputy was likewise commanded, to propound the Question to the Company, in those clear and precise Terms, in which it was then delivered.
IN Obedience to this Order of the Privy Council, Mr. Farrar called an extraordinary Court; at which, by rea|son of the Shortness of the Warning, there were only se|venty Persons present. And having proposed the Question to them, in the express Terms, prescribed in the Act of Council, nine Voices only were for submitting, Sir Thomas Wroth being added to the former eight. But all the re•t being strenuously against the Surrendry of their Charters, an Answer was accordingly returned to their Lordships.
THESE Proceedings, which struck plainly at the Root and Foundation of all the Rights and Franchises of both the Company and Colony, made a great Noise, and natu|rally gave the Alarm to all such, as were any way deeply, or immediately, engaged in the Action. Some Ships there|fore, which were preparing to sail, were stopped, till the Issue and Intent of these Acts of Power were farther seen into and understood. But the Lords of the Council, being apprised of this ill Consequence, made another Order of their Board, on the 20th of October, importing: That their Lordships were that Day informed, there was so gr••t a Discouragement among many of the Virginia Adventurers, on Account of the intended Reformation and Change of the Government, as rendered them fearful to prosecute their Adventures; so that it would probably occasion some Stop to those Ships, which were then ready freighted, and bound to that Country. That, altho' their Lo•dships much mar|velled, that any Man should so far mistake their Meaning, considering the Declarations, that had been made at that Board, viva voce, as also by an Act of Council, and other wise, yet for the better satisfying of those, who, throug• their own Error, or the false Suggestions of others, had con|ceived any such Fear or Discouragement, they thereby a|gain declared, that there was no other Intention, than merely and only the Reformation and Change of the present Government; whereof his Majesty had seen so many bad Effects, as would endanger the whole Plantation, if it was not corrected and amended: That nevertheless, for so much as concerned the private Interest of every Man, his Ma|jesty's Royal Care was such, that no Man should receive any Prejudice in his Property, but should have his Estate fully and wholly conserved to him, and if any thing was Page 297 found defective, better secured; so that none needed to ap|prehend any such Fears or Inconveniencies, but contrariwise chearfully proceed. It was therefore ordered by their Lord|ships, and thought fit to be published to the Company, that it was his Majesty's absolute Command, that the Ships, then intended for Virginia, and in some Readiness to go, should be forthwith dispathced away, for the Relief of the Colony and Good of the Plantation, without any farther Hindrance or Stop.
WHAT were the Proceedings of the Commissioners all this while, I cannot tell; nor whether his Majesty found sufficient Matter, as he thought, from their Reports, to suppress the Company, and revoke their Charters. But the better to fortify this Design, and to raise Matter of Com|plaint and Accusation, the Lords of the Privy Council, on the 24th of October, ap•ointed Iohn Harvey, Esq (after|wards well known, as Governor of Virginia, by the Title of Sir Iohn Harvey) Iohn Pory, (formerly Secretary, and a noted Tool of the Earl of Warwick's) Abraham Piersey, Samuel Matthews, and Iohn Iefferson, Gentlemen, to be their Commissioners, to make particular and diligent En|quiry, touching divers Matters, which concerned the State of the Colony of Virginia. And that they might the better perform the Orders they had received, and discharge the Trust committed to them, their Lordships strictly willed and required the Governor and Council here, to yield them their best Aid and Assistance, upon all Occasions, and in all Matters, wherein they should find Cause to make Use of the same. The three Acts of Council also, just before recited, were committed to Mr. Pory, and particularly the last, to be published in such Places in Virginia, as he should judge fit, for the Quieting and Satisfaction of the Inhabi|tants here. Captain Harvey indeed and Mr. Pory seem, to have been the most active, and most depended upon, in this Business; and therefore Captain Smith, who had pro|bably never seen their Commission, and knew nothing of the others, only mentions two, as sent upon this Errand. As for Mr. Iefferson, he never appeared in it, but seems all along a hearty Friend to the Company, and their present Constitution and Government. Besides, he was present at their Courts in England, at such times, as were incon|sistent with his prosecuting that Commission in Virginia. And Captain Matthews expresly joins with the General As|sembly, in their Opposite Representations to his Majesty, as will be hereafter related.
THINGS being laid in this Train, soon after, on the 10th of November, Mr. Deputy-Treasurer Farrar, and di|vers Page 298 others of the Company, were served with a Process of Quo Warranto out of the King's Bench; to shew, by what Authority, they claimed to be a Body corporate, and to have and enjoy those Liberties and Privileges, which they did. The Company chearfully acknowledged this to be a fair and legal Manner of proceeding; and they desired the Defendants, to take especial Care of the Business, as being the Company's Cause, altho' prosecuted in particular Names; and as their Charter was called in Question by it, which, they conceived, was therefore to be pleaded. As for the Charge of this Suit (which, it was judged, would be very great) it was agreed, that it should be borne by the Com|pany's general Stock. Wherefore it was unanimously or|dered, that whatever Disbursements should be made by the Defendants, or others, in the Process of the Suit (provi|ded, it were for the Company's Cause and Defence, and not for Matters, that in the Issue would fall upon particu|lar Persons, or their Actions) they should all be duly re|paid, and made good by the Company. But the entertain|ing Counsel and Attornies 〈◊〉 wholly left and entrusted to the Choice and Care of the Defendants.
BUT for this Cause, since another Course had been taken to bring the Business to a legal Trial, by the Attorney Ge|neral's prosecuting a Quo Warranto against the Company, they refused, at their Quarter Court on the 19th of Novem|ber, to enter into any Consideration about the Matter. But that Court, with a general Unanimity, (seven only dissent|ing) solemnly ratified and confirmed all the Proceedings of the former Courts, which had refused to surrender up their Charters. And for the better Management of so weighty a• Affair, which would require often and serious Consultation, a Grand Committee was appointed, to direct all Matters appert•ining thereto; and the Deputy had Authority given him, at all times to call them together, or such a Part of them, as he should think proper. And that the Company might be the better enabled to prepare their Proofs, and make good their Defence, a Petition was ordered to be de|livered to the Lords of the Privy Council, for restoring their Books and Writings; which had now, for some time, bee• in theirs and the Commissioners Hands. But Mr. Bing said, let them make as many Petitions as they please, they should as soon have an Halter, as have their Writings; which gave such universal and just Offence, that Complaint was made thereof to the Lords of the Council. But I do not find, that any Right was done them, for so atrocious an Insult and Affront on the Court, or that they ever af|terwards r•covered their Records.
Page 299BUT soon after, on the 8th of December, the more to perplex and discourage the Company, and to oppress those private Members, who were Defendants in this Suit, Alder|man Iohnson, with others of his Faction, presented a Pe|tition to the Lords of the Privy Council, signifying▪ That they had always been, and still were ready, according to his Majesty's express Will and Pleasure, to render up their Charters to his Majesty's Disposal: But forasmuch as Mr. Nicholas Farrar, and some others, withstood the Sur|rendry, and the better to free themselves from the Charge of the Suit, and to enable them to oppose his Majesty, they had lately made an Order of their Court, that the Expence of defending that Cause should be borne by the Company's publick Stock; they therefore humbly prayed, that it might be ordered by their Lordships, that the Charge of those Suits should b• borne by the Defendants them|selves, and no Part by the Company's publick Stock, nor by the Goods of any of the Adventurers or Planters, that shewed themselves conformable to his Majesty's Pleasure. And they further besought their Lordships, to order, for better Assurance in this Point, that all such Goods, as should thereafter be imported for the General Company, should be sequestered in the Custom House, till their Lord|ships farther Order, for disposing thereof to the Use and Benefit of the Plantation.
THIS last Clause was purposely aimed and designed, to deprive the Deputy and his Brother, with some others, (to whom the Company had made over all such Goods, as Security for considerable Sums of Money, now due to them) of ever having it in their Power, to get their said Debts. Their Lordships therefore, being apprised of this, would not concur with the Alderman in a Design, so plain|ly fraudulent and iniquitous. However, they made an Order of their Board, that all they, who were questioned by the Quo Warranto, should make their Defence, at their own private Charge, without any Help or Expence from the publick Stock; and that such, as were willing to sur|render their Charters, should be discharged from all Con|tribution towards the Expence of the said Suit, both in their Persons and Estates. And this perhaps will be thought sufficiently hard and oppressive. But however, considering the noble Fortunes and generous Dispositions of the Earl of Southampton and many others of the Company, who entire|ly agreed to, and abetted 〈◊〉 Proceedings of the Courts and Deputy, the Expence was, in all Probability, made very easy, and did not fall upon the Defendants so heavi|ly, as was hereby designed. And I cannot here forbear r•|marking Page 300 the Generosity and publick Spirit of the Deputy, and other Merchants and Citizens. For the Noblemen, and other Gentlemen of capital Fortune and Figure, were not returned out of the Country, when the Quo War|ranto was issued; so that it was served entirely upon Mer|chants and Citizens, who nevertheless bravely undertook the Defence of the Company, at the Risk of their own Fortunes. And this was the more meritorious then, as the Rights of the Crown, and the Liberties of the Subject, were not so well limited and understood at that time, as they now are; but the little Finger of Regal Power was supposed two heavy, for the Loins of any private Man to bear. To which may be added, that Acts of Power, at that Juncture, ran very high, and were plainly attempted to be carried still higher; and the Deputy and Company had no Reason to expect any Favour, but had found from manifold Experience, that all Advantages, even beyond what was strictly fair and legal, would be taken against them.
IT will also doubtless seem strange to many Persons, that the Privy Council should assume to themselves such a Ju|dicature, as thus arbitrarily to dispose of Men's Fortunes, and load a few private Persons with the Expence of defend|ing the publick Cause of the Company, even against the Company's Will and Desire. But to clear this Point, it must be known, that the Privy Council of that time as|sumed a most extraordinary Power and Jurisdiction, and were plainly drawing into their Hands all the Parts of Go|vernment; or perhaps to speak more properly, the King, through them, was endeavouring to draw them into his own Hands. And this, as I take it, was the Occasion of a great and very dangerous Error in the Constitution of this Colony. For as our Council was settled and constituted at the Time, that the Privy Council's Authority was strained to such a Height, there was perhaps too great a Power as|signed to them. I speak freely, and I hope, without Of|fence; for what I mean, is simply this. Our Council act in a double Capacity: First, as his Majesty's Council of State, from which all Acts of Power and Government issue▪ and secondly, as the supreme Judicature of the Colony, and the last Interpreters of Law. Now, if the Council should exert any Act of Power against a Man, and he should appeal from it, the Cause must be brought before the same Persons again in the General Court, who would be natu|rally led to support their own Act. But in England, the Case is quite different. For should the Privy Council ex|ercise any Act of Power upon the Subject there, he may appeal from them, to the Courts in Westminster-Hall; Page 301 where the Cause must be determined by the Law, which is always impartial and unbiassed. So that all Acts of Power there, are exposed to an immediate and severe Check from the Law. And indeed this is the great Beauty and Strength of all free Constitutions of Government, to have all their Parts, but most especially the highest and most dangerous to Liberty, continually under the Check and Coercion of the Law. But if we consider the many Infirmities of hu|man Nature and Contingencies of human Governments▪ the Charms and Allurements of Ambition and the strange grasping and insatiable Nature of Power, the natural Pride and Peremptoriness of Men in Authority, their false Shame of owning themselves in the Wrong, and Proneness to de|fend and persist in their Errors, together with the natural and perpetual Contest between Liberty and Power, this must, I think, be acknowledged, to be a very great and material Defect in our Constitution. It is true, there are not perhaps any great Inconveniences felt from this at pre|sent, at least that I know of; which I speak not, with In|tent to flatter our present Government or Governors: For I flatter no Man. But however, altho' the Sword did not actually fall upon the Sicilian Sycophant, yet no Person, I believe, would chuse 〈◊〉 be in his Situation, and have a Sword perpetually hanging over his Head by a Hair. Who|ever therefore should contrive and effect an Alteration in this dangerous Point, he should have my Suffrage for a Sta|tue, or any other, the most honourable, or most beneficial Reward, for so signal a Service to the Country. But to return from this Digression.
BESIDES the Petition, formerly recited, Alderman Iohnson, being much galled by the Company's home An|swers and Exposure of his and Sir Thomas Smith's Con|duct, drew up another Writing, under the Title of; A Declaration of the prosperous Estate of the Colony, during Sir Thomas Smith's Time of Government▪ In this, subscribed by himself, Sir Samuel Argall, and Mr. Wrote, he said: That notwithstanding the many disastrous Accidents, to which Enterprises of that Nature, especially in their In|fancy, are subject, yet it pleased God, so to bless their La|bours and Endeavours, who were then employed, that in the first twelve Years, during all which Time Sir Thomas Smith was Treasurer and Governor of the Company, with the Expence of seventy thousand Pounds, or thereabouts, brought in for the most part by voluntary Adventurers, be|ing a great many of them Sir Thomas's near Friends and Relations, and for his Sake joining in the Business, and with the Help and Use of a very few of his Majesty's Sub|jects, Page 302 and those mostly People of the meanest Rank, a large and very spacious Part of the Country was fully discover|ed; the Coasts, Havens, Ports, Creeks, and Rivers thereof perfectly known; the most commodious Places of Strength, and for Conveniency of Habitation, selected and made Choice of; those Places partly recovered, or procured from the Savages, and partly with infinite Labour, being gene|rally ove•spread with Wood, cleared, enclosed, and culti|vated; many Houses, Barns, and Forts built; Churches, Bridges, and Storehouses, with all other publick and ne|cessary Works, erected; not less, as he judges, than a thousand English, when Sir Thomas Smith left the Govern|ment, being there inhabiting, with Plenty of Corn, Cattle, Swine, Poultry, and other good Provisions, to feed and nourish them: That there was a competent Number of able and sufficient Ministers, to instruct them; worthy and expert Commanders, Captains, and Officers, to direct and govern them; and Store of Arms and Ammunition, to de|fend them: That divers Staple Commodities, besides To|bacco, were found out, at the present to encourage, and in process of time to enrich them; Barks, Pinnaces, Shal|lops, Barges, and Bo•ts, built in the Country, the better to accommodate and secure them: That the Natives were in so awful a League and Amity with them, that many of those Heathens voluntarily yielded themselves Subjects and Servants to our most gracious Sovereign; and priding them|selves in that Title, paid, together with most of the rest, a Yearly Contribution of Corn, for Sustentation of the Co|lony; and they were kept in such good Respect and Corre|spondency, that they became mutually helpful and profita|ble, each to other: That to this Growth of Perfection was that Plantation advanced, even in the first twelve Y••rs; the Affairs thereof being, with great Unanimity, Mo•eration, Integrity, and Judgment, chiefly directed by Sir Thomas Smith; and the Accompts of Monies, received and diburs•d, being audited upon Oath, by Men of Credit and Reputation, without all Exception.
THE Comm•ssi•ne•• were still sitting; and the Com|pany, being •••ried with long waiting for the Issue of their Labours, app•inted •heir Grand Committee, to press them to m•ke some R•port to the Lords of the Council, what they •ad done in the several Affairs, brought before them by th• Company and their Opponents. For they said, they greatly depended, that the Fairn•ss and Upright|ness of their Pr•ceedin•s would be thence manifested to all the World. And they were likewise entreated, to re|quire Sir Thomas Smith, either to shew sufficient Cause, Page 303 why he should not pay the eight hundred Pounds, found against him on the first two Heads of Exception against his Accounts; or else, that he might be compelled to pay the same, as the Company was now in great Want of Money. But I cannot discover, that the Commissioners, who were, properly speaking, a Committee of Secrecy, ever did any thing in either of these Points.
WHILST Things were in this Posture in England, the Colony in Virginia had recovered a tolerably easy and com|fortable State of their Affairs. Their Health, which had been much affected by the Famine, and by the Hardships and Inconveniences, they underwent by being driven from their Habit•tions, was now well restored; and the Famine itself entirely relieved by a plentiful Crop of Corn. Having likewise, by pretending Peace and Friendship, come to the Knowledge of the Indians principal Places of Residence, they had cut up and destroyed their Corn, when it was too late for them to have another Crop; and by a successful Attack, they had slain a great Number of them, among whom were some of their Kings, and several of their greatest War-Captains and Commanders; of which Opechancanough was hoped to be one. For the Stratagem was chiefly aimed at him, and things, as they thought, so well laid, that he could scarce possibly escape the Snare. The Governor also went himself, this Year, in Person into Patowmack River, and took a full Revenge upon the Pascoticons, who had slain Captain Spilman; putting many to the Sword, and burning their Houses, with a prodigious Quantity of Corn, which they had conveyed into the Woods, and the English were not able to bring to their Boats. And he issued Commissions to Captain William Pierce, Captain of his Guard and Lieutenant-Governor of Iames-City, to go against the Chickahominies; to Captain Nathaniel West, to go against the Appamatocks and the Taux-Wyanokes; to Captain Samuel Matthews, against the Taux-Powhatans; and to Captain William Tucker, Commander of Kicquotan and those lower Parts of the Country, to go agains• the Nand|samonds and Warrasqueakes; all which Parties fell upon them the very same Day, the 23rd of Iuly, with vast Spoil to their Corn and Habitations, and no small Slaughter. And a Week after, Captain Maddison marched against the great Wyanokes, and Captain Tucker made a second Expedi|tion to Nandsamond.
BUT in the Midst of these Tumults and Alarms, the Muses were not silent. For at this time, Mr. George San|dys, the Company's Treasurer of Virginia, made his Trans|lation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, a very laudable Performance Page 304 for the Times. In his Dedication of that Piece to King Charles I. he tells him, that it was limned by that imper|fect Light, which was snatched from the Hours of Night and Repose. For the Day was not his own, but dedicated to the Service of his Father and himself; and had that Ser|vice proved as fortunate, as it was faithful, in him, as well as others more worthy, they had hoped, before the Revo|lution of many Years, to have presented his Majesty with a rich and well-peopled Kingdom. But as things had turn|ed, he had only been able to bring from thence himself and that Composition, which needed more than a single Denization. For it was doubly a Stranger, being sprung from an ancient Roman Stock, and bred up in the new World, of the Rudeness whereof it could not but partici|pate; especially as it was produced among Wars and Tu|mults; instead of under the kindly and peaceful Influences of the Muses.
*THE Beginning of the next Year 1624, Captain Har|vey and Mr. Pory arrived, as Commissioners from the Privy Council; and the 26th of Ianuary, Warrants were issued for summoning a General Assembly. However this Assem|bly was not called, at the Commissioners Motion or Re|quest. For they kept their Commission secret from the Colony, and did every thing, they could, to conceal their Powers and Designs. The King also and the Privy Council had, the last Year, given very strict and menacing Orders to the Company, and to all private Adventurers, to write nothing to Virginia, concerning the Differences, then sub|sisting among them; because, as they said, it would give great Discouragement to the Planters, and bring Prejudice to the Colony. To this End, the Privy Council had often perused, and angrily returned, the Company's general Let|ters, before they could be formed entirely to their Liking; and they had taken all Methods, to intercept and prevent any Accounts going from private Hands. But notwith|standing these Precautions, the Colony was, by this time, well informed, of what had passed in England; and Copies of the several Writings had been sent over to them espe|cially of Alderman Iohnson's Declaration of the prosperous Estate of the Colony, during Sir Thomas Smith's Govern|ment, and of Captain Butler's Information to his Majesty. For those Papers related more particularly to them, as be|ing upon the Spot, and therefore the best Judges of the Truth or Falshood of the several Matters, therein alledged. Wherefore, wh•n the General Assembly met, which was the 14th of February, the first thing, they entered upon, was the Consideration of those two Pieces; and by the 20th Page 305 of the same Month, they had drawn up Answers to them.* Their Answer to the Alderman's Declaration set forth:
THAT holding it a Sin against God and their own Suf|ferings, to permit the World to be abused with false Reports, and to give to Vice the Reward of Virtue, They, in the Name of the whole Colony of Virginia, in their General Assembly met, many of them having been Eye-witnesses and Sufferers in those Times, had framed, out of their Duty to the Country, and Love to Truth, the following Answer to the Praises given to Sir Thomas Smith's Govern|ment, in the said Declaration.
THEY averred, that, in those twelve Years of Sir Tho|mas Smith's Government, the Colony for the most part, remained in great Want and Misery, under most severe and cruel Laws, which were sent over in Print, and were contrary to the express Letter of the King's most gracious Charters, and as mercilesly executed here, oftentimes with|out Trial or Judgment: That the Allowance for a Man, in those Times, was only eight Ounces of Meal and half a Pint of Pease a Day, both the one and the other being moldy, rotten, full of Cobwebbs and Maggots, loathsome to Man, and not fit for Beasts; which forced many to fly to the Savage Enemy for Relief, who, being again taken, were put to sundry Kinds of Death, by hanging, shooting, breaking upon the Wheel, and the like: 〈…〉 were forced, by Famine, to filch for their Bellies; 〈◊〉 whom one, for stealing two or three Pints of Oatmeal, had a Bodkin thrust through his Tongue, and was chained to a Tree, till he starved: That if a Man, through Sickness, had not been able to work, he had no Allowance at all, and so con|sequently perished: That many through these Extremi|ties, dug Holes in the Earth, and there hid themselves, till they famished: That they could not, for those their Mise|ries, blame their Commanders here; for their Sustenance was to come from England, and had they given them bet|ter Allowance, they must have perished in general: That their Scarcity sometimes was so lamentable, that they were constrained to eat Dogs, Cats, Rats, Snakes, Toadstools, Horse-hides, and what not? That one Man, out of the Misery he endured, killed his Wife, and powdered her up to eat; for which he was burnt: That many others fed on the Corpses of dead Men; and that one, who, through Custom, had got an insatiable Appetite to that Food, could not be restrained, till he was executed for it: And that, indeed, so miserab•e was their State, that the happiest Day, many ever hoped to see, was, when the Indians had killed a Mar•; the People wishing, as s•e was boil|ing, Page 306 that Sir Thomas Smith was upon her Back in the Kettle.
AND whereas it was affirmed, that very few of his Ma|jesty's Subjects were lost in those Days, and those Persons of the meanest Rank, they replied; that for one, that then died, five had perished in Sir Thomas Smith's Times▪ many being of ancient Houses, and born to Estates of a thousand Pounds a Year, some more, some less, who likewise perish|ed by Famine: That those, who survived, and had in Ven|tures both their Estates and Persons, were constrained to serve the Colony seven or eight Years for their Freedom, and underwent as hard and as servile Labour, as the basest Fellow, that was brought out of Newgate: As for Dis|covery, they owned, that much had been discovered in those twelve Years, but in the four or five last Years, much more than formerly: That the Houses and Churches, then built, were so mean and poor by reason of these Calamities▪ that they could not stand above one or two Years; the People going to work indeed, but out of the Bitterness of their Spirits, breathing execrable Curses upon Sir Thomas Smith; neither could a Blessing from God be hoped for in those Buildings, which were founded upon the Blood of so many Christians: That the Towns were only Iames-City, Henrico, Charles Hundred, West and Shirley Hundred, and Kicqu•tan; all which were ruined in those Times, except ten or twelve Houses in Iames-Town: That at that Present, there were four for every one then, and forty times ex|ceeding them in Goodness: That Fortifications there were none against a foreign Enemy, and those against the do|•estick Foe very few and contemptible: That there was only one Bridge, which also decayed in that time: That if, through the aforesaid Calamities, many had not perish|ed, there would doubtless have been larg•ly above a thou|sand People in the Country, when Sir Thomas Smith left the Government; but they conceived, when Sir George Yeardley arrived Governor, he found not above four hun|dred, most of them in Want of Corn, and utterly desti|tute of Cattle, Swine, Poultry, and other necessary Provi|sions to nourish them: That there were some Ministers to instruct the People, whose Ability they would not tax, but divers of them had no Orders: That they were never over furnished with Arms, Powd•r and Ammunition; yet that in Qu•lity almost •ntirely useless▪ They acknowledge, that in th•se times a 〈◊〉 was made of divers Staple Com|modities, which they had not Means to proceed in; but they hoped, in time a better Progress would be made there|in, and had it not been for the Massacre, many by that Page 307 time would have been brought to Perfection: That for Boats, there was only one serviceable one left in the Colo|ny, at the End of that Government; for which one, be|sides four or five Ships and Barks, there were not then so few as forty: That the Barks and Barges, then built, were in Number so few, and so unwillingly and weakly by the People effected, that in the same time they perished: That they never knew, that the Natives did voluntarily yield themselves Subjects to the King, took any Pride in that Title, or paid any Contribution of Corn towards the Sup|port of the Colony; neither could they, at any time, keep them in such good Correspondency, as to become mutually helpful to each other; but contrariwise, whatever was done, proceeded from Fear, and not Love, and their Corn w•• got by Trade or the Sword.
AND now, to what a Growth of Perfection the Colony could arrive at the End of those twelve Years, they left to be judged, by what had been said; and they besought his Majesty, rather than be reduced to live under the like Go|vernment again, that he would send Commissioners over to hang them. As to Alderman Iohnson, one of the Author• of that Declaration, they said, he had great Reason to com|mend Sir Thomas Smith, to whose Offences and Infamy he was so inseparably linked. And all this they affirmed to be true by the general Report of the Country, which they never heard contradicted; many of them also having been Eye-Witnesses, or else resident in the Country, when every Particular here reported, happened.
THIS Declaration was signed by Sir Francis Wyat, the Governor; by George Sandys, Iohn Pot, Iohn Pountis, Ro|ger Smith, and Ralph Hamer, Esqrs. of the Council; and by William Tucker, William Pierce, Ralegh Croshaw, Sa|muel Matthews, Iabez Whitaker, and others, to the Num|ber of twenty four, of the House of Burgess•s. And this, I judge (or the Number of twenty five, which subscribed the Answer to Captain Butler's Information) was nearly about the full Number of the House of Burgesses at that time. For there were, three Years before, eleven Boroughs which had Right to send Members to the Assembly; and there mi•ht he, and undoubtedly were, a few others since added to th•m. Th•ir Answ•r to Captain Butler's Infor|mation, ran in the followin• Manner.
Most gracious Sover•ign,
WHEREAS a 〈◊〉 of 〈◊〉 Inf•rmation, presented to Your Majesty 〈◊〉 Captain Nath ni•l •utler, en|titled, The Unmas•ing of Virg••••, is c•me to our Ilands; Page 308 and whereas the same is full of notorious Slanders and Falshoods, proceeding from the Malice of his corrupt Heart, and abetted by private Emnity and publick Division, which aim at the Sa|tisfaction of their particular Spleen, altho' it be to the Subver|sion of this whole Colony; Wee, the Governor, Council, and Colony of Virginia, in our General Assembly, out of Zeal and Respect to Your Majesty and this our Country, not to suffer Your sacred Ears to be prophaned with false Suggestions, nor Your Royal Thoughts to be diverted from so hopeful a Plan|tation, which may add in time a principal Flower to Your Diadem, do, in all Humbleness, submit this our Answer to Your Princely Survey, annexed to the several Untruths of the said Informer.
1. I found the Plantations generally seated, &c.*
THE Plantations, for the most Part, are high and plea|santly seated; and the rest not low, nor infested with Mar|shes, which, we wish, were more frequent. The Cree•• are rather useful, than noisome; and no Bogs have been seen here by any, that have lived twice as many Years, a• he did Weeks, in the Country; the Place• which he s•…miscalls, being the richest Parts of the Ear••, if we had a sufficient Force to clear their Woods, and to give the fresh Springs, which run through them, a free Passage The Soil is generally rich, and restores our Trust with Abun|dance; the Air is sweet, and the Clime healthful, all Cir|cumstances considered, to Men of so••d Bodies and good Government.
2. I found the Shores, &c.
IN this he traduceth one of the goodliest Rivers in the habitable World, which runs for many Miles together within upright Banks, till at length, enlarged with the Receipt of others, it beats on a sandy Shore, and imitates the Sea in Greatness and Majesty. It is approachable on both Sides, from half Flood to half Ebb, for Boats of good Burthen; neither is there any River in the World of this Vastness, without Cranes or Wharfs, more commodious for landing. And it is equally contrary to Truth, that by wading we get violent Surfeits of Cold, which never leave us, till we are brought to our Graves.
3. THE new People, sent over, arriving for the most Part, &c.
WE affirm, that the Winter is the only proper time for the Arrival of new Comers; whereof the Governor and Council have often, by their Letters, informed the Com|pany; Page 309 and the like Advice has been given to their Corres|pondents, from time to time, by private Planters, for their Supply of Servants. As to Houses of Entertainment, there was a general Subscription, amounting to an unexpected Sum, and Workmen actually employed, to build a fair Inn in Iames City, and every principal Plantation had resolved on the like, for the Entertainment of their new Supplies; when it pleased God, to punish our Crimes by the bloody Hands of the Indians, which obliged us to divert that Care to the Housing ourselves, many of us having been unfur|nished by that Disaster. But Buildings of late have every where encreased exceedingly; neither have new Comers any Reason to complain, when every Man's House is, without Recompence, open to the Stranger, even to the disaccom|modating ourselves. So that we may with Modesty boast, that no People in the World do exercise the like Hospita|lity. As for dying under Hedges (whereof there are none in Virginia) or lying unburied in the Woods, by reason of this Defect, it is utterly false. However, if such things should sometimes be seen accidentally here, the like may▪ and often doth happen, in the most flourishing Countries of Europe.
4. THE Colony was, this Winter, in great Distress, &c.
THE Colony, that Winter, was in no Distress of Vic|tual, as the Accuser well knoweth. For he bought Corn himself for eight Shillings a Bushel, cheaper, as we hear, than it was then sold in England. It is true, a succeedi•• Scarcity was feared. But what less could be expected, after such a Massacre; when near half the Colony were driven from their Habitations in time of planting, others streigh|tened in their Ground by receiving them, and all interrupted in their Business by supporting a sudden War? English Meal sold, as he affirmeth, at thirty Shillings the Bushel, was only sold for ten Pounds of Tobacco; for which, in truck, we ordinarily receive under twelve Pence a Pound, real Value. And it is not to be supposed, that any of the Great should affect Scarcity, in order to enrich themselves by Trade. For Trade hath ever been free for us all; nei|ther have they, who have brought in most Corn, sold it out at unconscionable Rates, but have often freely imparted it to the Necessity of others, without any other Advantage than Repayment. We agree with that Prime-one, who wished, that Corn might never be under eight Shillings a Bushel; meaning in Tobacco at three Shillings a Pound. For so there would be some Proportion between the Profit of making the one and the other, and Corn would thereby be planted in greater Abundance.
Page 3105. THEIR Houses are generally the worst, &c.
OUR Houses, for the most Part, are rather built for Use than Ornament; yet not a few for both, and fit to give Entertainment to Men of good Quality. If we may give Credit to those, who are accounted the most faithful Re|laters of the West-Indies, many Cities of great Rumour there, after threescore Years Progress, are not to be com|pared in their Buildings to ours. And so far are they from the meanest Cottages in England; that many Towns there have hardly one House in them, which exceedeth ours in Conveniency or Structure. The greatest Disparagement, that some of them received, proceeded from his Riots and las••vious Filthin••• with lewd Women, purchased with Ri|als of Eight and Wedges of Gold, the Spoils of the dis|tressed Spaniards in Bermudas; which, as we are informed by a Gentleman of good Credit, who casually surveyed his Inventory, did, with other Treasure, amount to divers Thousands. As for the Interposition of Creeks, which Men are most desirous to seat upon, where we cannot go by Land, we have Boats and Canoes, for our sudden Trans|port on any Occasion.
6. I found not the least Piece of Fortification, &c.
WE have, as yet, no Fortifications against a foreign E|nemy, altho' it hath been endeavoured by the Company, with a Success unanswerable to their Care and Expence; as also lately by ourselves. But the Work, b••ng inter|••pted by the Scarcity of last Summer, shall proceed again, God willing, with all convenient Expedition; and almost all our Houses are sufficiently fortified against the Indians, with strong Palisadoes. His Envy would not let him num|ber truly the Ordinance at Iames City; four Demi-Culve|rins being there mounted, and all serviceable. At Flower|de-Hundred, he makes but one of six; neither was he ever there, but, according to his Custom, reporteth the unseen as seen. The same Envy would not let him see the three Pieces at Newport's-News, and those two at Elisabeth-City. Two great Pieces there are at Charles Hundred, and seven at Henrico. Besides which, several private Planters have since furnished themselves with Ordinance. So that it were a desperate Enterprise, and unlikely to be attempted by a Man of his Spirit, to b••t down our Houses about our Ears, with a Bark of that Burthen.
7. EXPECTING, according to their printed Books, &c.
THE time that this Informer came over, was in the 〈◊〉, after the M•s••cre; when those Wounds were green, and the F•uth deprived of her Beauty. His Ears wer••pen to nothing but Detraction, and he only enquired Page 311 after the Factious, of which there were none among us, and how he might gather Accusations against those in the Government, being, as it should seem, sent over for that Purpose. Otherwise he could not but hear of our Procla|mations for the Advancement of Staple Commodities, and with what Alacrity and Success they proceeded; Vines and Mulberry Trees being planted throughout the whole Coun|try, the Iron-Works in great Forwardness and shortly to receive Perfection, and the Glass-Works laboured after with all possible Care, till the Slaughter by the Indians, and the succeeding Mortality, gave a Ruin to some, and Interrup|tion to all. So that he hath nothing but our Misfortunes to accuse and upbraid us with; which have obliged us, still to follow that contemptible Weed, as well to sustain the War, as to enable us again to erect those Works. As for deriding the Books, that were sent over by the Company, it was done by himself, and no other, that we know of.
8. I found the ancient Plantations of Henrico, &c.
STILL he abuseth your Majesty with these Words, I found, in Places, where he never was by some Score of Miles; having never been higher up the River, than the Territories of Iames City. Henrico was quitted in Sir Tho|mas Smith's Time, only the Church and one House remain|ing. Charles City, so much spoken of, never had but six Houses. The Soil of both is barren, worn out, and not fit for Culture. The Loss of our Stocks the Informer hath less Reason to urge. For he joined with the Indians in killing our Cattle, and carried the Beef aboard his Ship; which would have cost him his Life, if he had had his De|serts.
9. WHEREAS according to his Majesty's gracious, &c.
THE Governor and Council, whom it only concerned, replied to this; that they had followed the Laws and Cus|toms of England to their utmost Skill; neither could he, or any other, produce any Particular, wherein they had failed. As to their Ignorance, they held him to be no competent Judge of those, who so far transcended him in Point of Learning and Ability. For he had never been bred to the Law (as was not unknown to some of them) nor yet in any other of the liberal Sciences. But his prin|cipal Spleen in this Article, appeared to proceed from his not being admitted of the Council, which they could by no means, consist•••ly with thei• Inst•uctions, do.
10. THERE having been, as it is thought, ten thou|sand, &c.
HIS Computation of ten thousand Souls saileth short of four thousand; and those were, in great part▪ wasted by Page 312 the more than Egyptian Slavery and Scythian Cruelty, which was exercised on us, your poor and miserable Subjects, by Laws written in Blood, and executed with all Sorts of Ty|ranny, in the Time of Sir Thomas Smith's Government; whereof we send your Majesty the true and tragical Rela|tion, from which it will plainly appear, that the pretended Confusions and private Ends will strongly reflect upon him and his Instructors. And how unfit such Men are, to re|store that Plantation, which suffered so much under their Government, we humbly refer to your princely Considera|tion; invoking, with him, that divine and supreme Hand, to protect us from such Governors and their Ministers, who have poured out our Blood on the Earth like Water, and have fatted themselves with our Famine. And we be|seech your Majesty, to support us in this just and gentle Authority, which has cherished us of late by more worthy Magistrates; and We, our Wives, and poor Children, a• is our Duty, shall ever pray to God, to give you in this World all Increase of Happiness, and to crown you in the World to come, with immortal Glory.
THIS Answer was subscribed by the same Persons as the former; only with the Addition of the Honourable Francis West, Brother to the late, and Uncle to the then Lord Delawarr, and Sir George Yeardley, of the Council, and of one more Member of the House of Burgesses. Mr. Iohn Pountis also, one of the Council of State, was appoint|ed to go to England, to sollicite the general Cause of the Colony (for so they call it); and four Pounds of Tobacco was levied upon every Male Tithable, that had been a Year in the Country, to support his Expences. But this Gen|tleman, in his Voyage home, died upon the Coast of En|gland; and was therefore able to do nothing in the Affair. But to these, the General Assembly added two other Wri|tings; the one a Petition to the King, and the other a Let|ter to the Lords of the Privy Council.
IN their Petition to the King, they declared their great Joy and Satisfaction, that his Majesty, notwithstanding the late unjust Disparagement of this Plantation, had taken it into his nearer and more especial Care. And that his Royal Intentions might have their due Effect, they humbly be|sought him, being urged thereto by their Duty and Expe|rience, to give no Credit to the late Declarations of the happy, as it was called, but in Truth, miserable Estate of the Colony, during the first twelve Years, nor to the ma|licious Imputations, which had been laid on the Govern|ment of late; but that he would be pleased to behold, in Page 313 Miniature, the true Estate of both Times by their Rela|tions, which they then presented by the Hands of Mr. Iohn Pountis, a worthy Member of their Body; and which con|tained nothing but the Truth, without Disaffection or Par|tiality. From these they doubted not, but that his Ma|jesty would clearly understand the true Condition of both Times; and would be pleased, according to their earnest Desire, to continue, and even farther confirm, the Govern|ment, under which they then lived. But if it should pleas• him otherwise to determine, they besought him, by all the Ties of Compassion and Humanity, not to suffer them, his poor Subjects, to fall again into the Hands of Sir Thomas Smith, or his Confidents; but that he wo•ld graciou••y protect them from those Storms of Faction, which threa|tened the Ruin of some Persons (whose Endeavours had deserved a better Reward) and in general the Subversion of the whole Colony. And if the Government must be al|tered, they desired, since the Action was of such Honour and Consequence, that they might still depend upon such great and noble Persons, as they lately had done▪ And far|ther, in Consideration of the late Massacre and subsequent Calamities, they besought his Majesty, to grant them and the Somer-Islands the sole Importation of Tobacco; assuring him, that they affected not that contemptible Weed, as • thing good and desirable in itself, but as a present Means of Support. And if it should please his Majesty, to send over that Aid of Soldiers, whereof they had been put in Hopes▪ or any other Assistance, they humbly desired, that the Go|vernor and General Assembly might have a Voice in their Disposal; since none at that Distance, by reason of Acci|dents and emergent Occasions, could direct such an Affai• so advantageously, as they were enabled to do, by their Presence and Experience in the Country.
IN their Letter to the Privy Council, they acknowledged the Receipt of several of theirs, and returned their Thank• to his Majesty for his princely Care of the Colony; parti|cularly for remitting three Pence a Pound in the Custom of Tobacco, and for his gracious Intention to grant them a sole Importation, than which nothing could give greater Life, or a more speedy Advancement, to the Colony. For little or nothing could be expected from Poverty, to which the mean Prices of Tobacco, and great Expence of th• War against the Indians, had reduced them. Neither had they, in their present State, the Means to fortify them|selves, or to set up Staple Commodities, which would re|quire a long Expectation of Profit; the Fruit of their La|bours at present amounting to no more, if so much, as Page 314 would barely feed and cloath them. They therefore hum|bly entreated their Lordships, to be a Means to his Ma|jesty to confirm his gracious Intention; and to take into their Consideration the heavy Burthen, of paying for Cus|tom above a Third of their Labour; which, they desired, might be reduced to five per Cent. according to the express Tenor of their original Charters.
THEY further told their Lordships, that they understood by their Letters, that they had been accused by one, who went from hence, of Neglect in Fortifications, in building Houses, and in providing themselves Sustenance; but they protested against his Relation, which was, as in other things, so in this, most false and slanderous. They had, in due Submission, published their Orders, sent over by Mr. Pory; by which they understood his Majesty's Intention, to change the Government. They professed themselves ignorant of the Dangers and Ruin, that threatened them from the Go|vernment, as it then stood; and declared, they had no|thing to accuse those Gentlemen of, who had swayed their Affairs, since the Expiration of Sir Thomas Smith's Autho|rity; their Slavery having since been converted into Free|dom, and the Colony cherished under a just and moderat• Government. Neither would they have been subject to Censure, had not the bitter Effects of the Massacre clouded the Company's Zeal and their Endeavours.
BUT however it might please his Majesty to dispose of them, it was their humble Desire, that the Governors, sent over, might not have absolute Authority, but might be restrained to the Consent of the Council; which Title, they desired, might still be retained to the Honour of the Colony, and not converted to the Name of Assistants, a• was proposed in an Order of their Board. They said, they had found some Inconveniencies, by the strict Limitations of the Governor and Council, to proceed according to their Instructions out of England. For in so far a Distance, and imperfect Knowledge of the Country, those things might seem good in Advice, which might happen to prove very inconvenient in Execution; neither was it fit, that any main Project should be set on Foot, which had not first Appro|bation from hence. They conceived, the present short Continuance of Governors to be very disadvantageous to the Colony. The first Year, they were raw and unexperien|ced in the Country, and for the most part in ill Disposition of Health, through the Change of Climate; th• second, they began to understand something of the Affairs of the Colony; and the third, they were providing to return. But above all, they made it their most humble Request to their Page 315 Lordships, that they might still retain the Libe•ty of their General Assemblies; than which nothing could more con|duce, to the publick Satisfaction, and publick Utility.
THESE two were signed by almost the same Persons as the former; and I cannot but observe, to the immortal Honour of Sir Francis Wyat, that he was so far from de|siring the Tyranny of an absolute Authority, that he was most strenuous and active, and joined very cordially in all these Petitions and Representations, for restraining the ex|orbitant Power of Governors. All these things were car|ried, in the Assembly, with the utmost Unanimity and Dis|patch; and they were kept secret from the Commissioners, whom they found to be in other Interests, and to have quit• different Views from themselves. For, having at first pro|mised to communicate all their Representations and Papers to the Governor and Assembly, expecting the like Favour from them, they afterwards stood off, and indeed absolutely refused to let them know any thing they were doing; un|der Pretence, that the Lords of the Privy Council ought to have the first View of what they intended to present. Whereupon the Governor and Assembly, suspecting some sinister Designs, endeavoured to conceal from the Commis|sioners what was passing among them. But Mr. Pory, a Tool of Power, and versed in Corruption, by the Promise of a Reward, obtained Copies of all these Writings from Edward Sharples, Clerk of the Council; and altho' Captain Harvey had no Hand in corrupting him, he afterwards pro|mised him fifty Pounds of Tobacco, in Reward of his Trea|chery. This Sharples had been entertained, by the late Mr. Secretary Davidson, as a Writer in his Office; and after the Secretary's Death, which happened towards the last of the former Year, he was admitted, far above his Condition and Desert, Clerk of the Council, and took an Oath (a Copy whereof is still extant in our Records) to deliver no Copies of any Papers or Writings, without the Governor's Leave. Wherefore I find, at a Court held the 10th of May following, as it appeared by sufficient Evidence, and by his own Confession, that he, being sworn Clerk of the Council of State, had betrayed their Councils to the Commissioners, he was sentenced to stand in the Pillory, and there to have his Ears nailed to it, and cut off. However, he was only just set on the Pillory, and lost a Piece of one of his Ears. A Letter was also sent by the Governor and Council to the Company, to inform them of his Crime and his Punishment; and to complain of Mr. Pory's Subornation of him, that they, understanding his double Dealing, might thence be upon their Guard, and prevent his corrupt Practices. But Page 316 it was now too late for the Company to do any thing in it. For such a mean and prostitute Instrument of their Aim• and Designs, as Pory, had long before this more Power and Interest at Court, and was likely to be more regarded, than all the noble, great, and worthy Members of the Company.
BUT the Commissioners, finding, that things were go|ing in the Assembly quite contrary to their Hopes and De|sires, resolved to lay some of their Powers before them, which might probably intimidate and influence them, and restrain them from proceeding with so much Sharpness and Vigor. They therefore opened some Part of their Com|mission to the Assembly, on the 24th of February. A Week after, they wrote them a Letter, importing: That they supposed, in a Week's Time, since their publishing the Orders of the Lords of the Privy Council, the •ssem|bly could not but have maturely considered the same: That therefore, for the speedier Advancement of the Colo|ny in general, and for the securing every Man's Interest in particular; and that they might all, by Submission and Thankfulness, as by Obedience and Sacrifice both together, ingratiate themselves and their common Cause to his Maje|sty's renowned Clemency, They, as Remembrancers, thought it no less than their Duty, to propose to their Con|sideration the Form enclosed; which, they hoped, they would apprehend very fit to be subscribed by the whol• Assembly, it being no other, than what they themselves would, most readily, and most humbly, set their Hands unto. The Form proposed was, as follows.
WHEREAS we understand by three Acts of Council in England, lately published in this General Assembly, that his Majesty hath signified his gracious Pleasure, for the uni|versal Good of this Plantation, which by reason of our late Calamities is in an unsettled State, to institute another Form of Government, whereby the Colony may be upheld, and pros|per the better in time to come, and to that End hath required a Surrendry of the present Patents, declaring his Royal In|tention, to secure to the particular Members of the Company such Lands and Privileges in the said Country, as, according to the Proportion of each Man's Adventure and private In|terest, shall be found due unto him; We of this General As|sembly do, by Subscription of our Names, not only profess and testify our Thanfulness, for that his Majesty's most gracious and tender Care over us, but do moreover, for our Parts, in all Humility and Willingness, submit ourselves t• his princely Pleasure, of revoking our old Charters, and of vouchsafing his Page 317 new Letters-patent, to those noble Ends and Purposes, above|mentioned.
THUS to draw the General Assembly to surrender and petition for a Revocation of their Charters, which the Courts in England would by no means submit to, was cer|tainly a very crafty and effectual Way, to disgrace the Com|pany, and to make the Colony seem disaffected to them, and willing to throw off their Yoke; and would also have given some Colour to their violent Suppression afterwards. But the Assembly seems fully to have understood their Aim, and even to suspect, that this was Part of their Errand and Instructions from England. For in their Answer, they en|deavoured to draw from them, by what Authority they made such a Proposal, and said; As they could not see, how this Proposition had any Ground in the Instructions, they had yet seen, they desired, before the Assembly returned an Answer, that the Commissioners would shew them the Depth of their Authority; or otherwise set it down under their Hands, that they had no further Com|missions or Instructions, which might concern them.
BUT this Answer gave the Commissioners great Offence, and drew from them a very fierce and menacing Reply: That they had acknowledged, in delivering their Papers, that they had neither Commission nor Instruction, to move them to subscribe the Form proposed; neither could the least Shadow of any such thing be collected from their Letter: That what they had proposed, was out of their Discretion, as wholesome Counsel for the Good of the Colony; neither was it precipitate of sudden, but proper to the Time, Oc|casion, and Persons: That the Mark, aimed at, was no less than his Majesty's Favour upon their Persons and com|mon Cause, to be obtained by Obedience and Thankful|ness: That as there needed neither Commission nor In|struction, for them to propound the Practice of so eminent a Duty, so it was lawful for them, as being Freemen and Planters, to offer to the General Assembly any reasonable Motion, tho' of far less Consequence; and had they not vouchsafed to return an Answer, they might justly have seemed discontented, or at least discourteous: That they had no Reason, upon this Occasion, to search into the Depth of their Authority (since their Motion depended not, nor needed to depend, on their particular Commission) much less, to urge them to set down any thing under their Hands: That they could not profess, that they had no farther Commis|sions, which might concern them, besides that already put in Execution; for their Commissions, yet unperformed, con|cerned Page 318 them in their Houses, Persons, Servants, Corn, Cattle, Arms, &c. That however they need not suspect, that they would attempt any thing •o any Man's Wrong, or which they could not very well answer.
To this the Assembly calmly replied: That they had already presented their humblest Thanks to his Majesty, for his gracious Care of them; and h•d returned their An|swer to the Lords of the Privy Council: That when their Assent to the Surrendry of their Charters should be required by Authority, it would then be the most proper Time to make a Reply: But in the mean while, they conceived, his Majesty's Intention to change the Government had pro|ceeded from wrong Information; which, they hoped, would be altered upon their more faithful Declarations. But the better to enable them to take a View of the Plan|tations, and to render an exact Account of the State of the Colony, the Assembly ordered, upon the Commissioners Application for their Assistance, that the several Plantations should transport them from Plantation to Plantation, as they should desire; and should accommodate them in the best Manner, their Houses and Rooms would afford. The Commissioners also made the Assembly four Propositions; concerning the best Places of Fortification and Defence; the State of the Colony, with Respect to the Savages; the Hopes, that might be really and truly conceived of the Plantation; and the properest Means, to attain those Hopes: To all which the Assembly gave full and particu|lar Answers. And I cannot but remark, that Captain Matthews, who had joined with the General Assembly in their publick Acts and Representations against the former Government, did likewise join with the Commissioners in all these Proceedings: Whether he was brought over by the almighty Force and irresistable Allurement of private Ad|vantage; or whether he thought himself obliged to do something in Conjunction with them, as he was included in the same Commission.
THE Laws of this Assembly consisted of thirty five Articles. For that Manner (taken, I presume, from the Articles, sent over by Sir Thomas Smith) was at this time, and continued long after, the usual Way of drawing up and enacting their Laws; which indeed had this Good in it, that all tedious Forms were thereby cut off, and the main Sense and Substance of their Acts appeared at once, in clear and precise Terms. As these Laws are the oldest, that I can now find upon our Records, and as they contain some things of especial Note, I shall here present them to the Reader.
Page 319THE first seven related to the Church and Ministry, and enacted: That in every Plantation, where the People were wont to meet for the Worship of God, there should be a House, or Room, set apart for that Purpose, and not con|verted to any temporal Use whatsoever; and that a Place should be empaled and sequestered, only for the Burial of the Dead: That whosoe•er should absent himself from Di|vine Service any Sunday, without an allowable Excuse, should forfeit a Pound of Tobacco, and that he, who ab|sented himself a Month, should forfeit fifty Pounds of To|bacco: That there should be an Uniformity in the Church, as near as might be, both in Substance and Circumstance, to the Canons of the Church of England; and that all Persons should yield a ready Obedience to them, upon Pain of Censure: That the 22d of March (the Day of the Massacre) should be solemnised and kept holy; and that all other Holidays should be observed, except when two fell to|gether in the Summer Season (the Time of theirWorking and Crop) when the first only was to be observed, by reason of their Necessities and Employment: That no Minister should be absent from his Cure, above two Months in the whole Year, upon Penalty of forfeiting half his Salary; and who|soever was absent above four Months, should forfeit his whole Salary and his Cure: That whosoever should dis|par•ge a Minister, without sufficient Proof to justify his Reports, whereby the Minds of his Parishioners might be alienated from him, and his Ministry prove the less effec|tual, should not only pay five hundred Pounds of Tobacco, but should also ask the Minister Forgiveness, publickly in the Congregation: That no Man should dispose of any of his Tobacco, before the Minister was satisfied, upon For|feiture of double his Part towards the Salary; and that one Man of every Plantation should be appointed, to collect the Minister's Salary, out of the first and best Tobacco and Corn.
THE eighth and ninth Articles related to the Gover|nor's Power: That he should not lay and Taxes or Im|positions upon the Colony, their Lands, or Commodities, otherwise than by the Authority of the General Assembly; to be levied and employed, as the said Assembly should ap|point: That he should not withdraw the Inhabitants from their private Labours to any Service of his own, under any Colour whatsoever; and if the publick Service should re|quire the Employment of many Hands, before another General Assembly met to give Order for the same, in that Case, the levying Men should be done, by the Order of the Governor and whole Body of the Council; and that in such Sort, as to be least burthensome to the People, and Page 320 most free from Partiality. Thus early was the Assembly, out of the Memory of their past Miseries and Oppressions, studious and careful to establish our Liberties; and we had here, by the ready Concurrence and Co-operation of this excellent Governor, a Petition of Right passed, above four Years, before that Matter was indubitably settled and ex|plained in England. For these two Articles contain the same in Effect, as that famous explanatory and fundamental Law of the English Constitution; viz. The firm Property of the Subjects Goods and Estates, and the Liberty of their Persons.
THE other Articles enacted: That all the old Planters, who were here before, or came in at the last Arrival of Sir Thomas Gates (in August 1611.) should both themselves and their Posterity, except such as were employed to com|mand in Chief, be exempted from their personal Service in the Wars, and from all other publick Charges (Church Duties only excepted) but without the like Exemption of their Servants and Families: That no Burgess of the Ge|neral Assembly should be arrested, during the sitting of the Assembly, and a Week before and Week after; upon Pain of the Creditor's forfeiting his Debt, and such Punishment upon the Officer, as the Court should award: That there should be Courts kept once a Month, in the Corporations of Charles-City and Elisabeth-City, for deciding Suits and Controversies, not exceeding the Value of one hundred Pounds of Tobacco, and for punishing petty Offences; and that the Commanders of the Places, with such others, as the Governor and Council should appoint by Commission, should be Judges, the Commanders to be of the Quorum, and Sentence given by Majority of Voices; with Reserva|tion nevertheless of Appeal, after Sentence, to the Gover|nor and Council; and that whosoever appealed and was cast upon such Appeal, should pay double Damages: That every private Planter's Dividend of Land should be surveyed and laid off separately, and the Bounds recorded by the Sur|veyor, who should have ten Pounds of Tobacco for every hundred Acres surveyed; and that all pet•y Differences, be|tween Neighbours about their Bounds, should be decided by the Surveyor, but if of Importance, referred to the Governor and Council: That, for the People's Encourage|ment to plant Store of Corn, the Price should be left free, and every Man might sell it, as dear as he could: (For the Governor and Council did the•, and long after|wards, set • Rate Yearly upon all Commodities, with Pe|nalties upon those, who exceeded it) That there should be • publick Granery in each Parish, to which every Planter▪ Page 321 above eighteen Years of Age, who had been in the Country a Year, and was alive at the Crop, should contribute a Barrel of Corn, to be disposed of, for the publick Uses of the Parish, by the major Part of the Freemen; the Remain|der to be taken out by the Owners, Yearly on St. Thomas's Day, and the new brought and put in it's Room: That three capable Men, of every Parish, should be sworn, to see, that every Man planted and tended Corn sufficient for his Family; and that those, who neglected so to do, should be presented by the said three Men, to the Censure of the Governor and Council: That all Trade with the Indians for Corn, as well publick as private, should be prohibited, after the Iune following: That every Freeman should fence in a Quarter of an Acre of Ground, before the Whitsuntide next ensuing, for planting Vines, Herbs, Roots, and the like, under the Penalty of ten Pounds of Tobacco a Man; but that no Man, for his own Family, should be obliged to fence above an Acre; and that whosoever had fenced a Gar|den, and was outed of the Land, should be paid for it by the Owner of the Soil; and that they should also plant Mulberry Trees: That the Proclamations against Swearing and Drunkenness, set forth by the Governor and Council, were ratified by this Assembly; and it was farther ordered, that the Churchwardens should be sworn, to present all Of|fenders, to the Commanders of their respective Plantations▪ and that they should collect the Forfeitures for publick Uses▪ That a Proclamation should be read aboard every Ship, and afterwards fixed to the Mast, prohibiting them, without special Order from the Governor and Council, to break Bulk, or make private Sale of any Commodities, till they came up to Iames-City: That the ancient Rates of Com|modities should be still in Force; and that Men should be sworn, in every Plantation, to censure the Tobacco: (So old are the first Rudiments of our Tobacco-Law; which never|theless, after such long Experience, raised much Opposition and Disturbance:) That there should be no Weights or Measures used, but such as were sealed, by Officers appoint|ed for that Purpose: That every Dwelling-house should be Palisadoed in, for Defenc• against the Indians: That no Man should go, or send abroad, without a sufficient Party, well armed: That Men should not go to Work, without their Arms and a Sentinel set: That the Inhabitants of the Plantations should not go on board Ships, or upon any other Occasion, in such Numbers, as thereby to weaken and en|danger the Plantation: That the Commander of every Plan|tation should take Care, that there be sufficient of Powder and Ammunition within his Plantation; and that their Page 322 Pieces be fixed, and Arms compleat: That there be suffi|cient Watch kept, every Night: That no Commander of any Plantation should either spend himself, or suffer others to spend Powder unnecessarily, in Drinking, Entertain|ments, and the like: That such Persons of Condition, as were found delinquent in their Duty, and were not fit to undergo corporal Punishment, might notwithstanding be imprisoned at the Discretion of the Commander, and for greater Offences be subject to a Fine, inflicted by the Month|ly Court; so that it did not exceed the Value abovesaid: That every Person who had not found a Man at the Castle (then building at Warrasqueake) should pay, for himself and Servants, five Pounds of Tobacco a Head, towards defray|ing the Charge of those, who had their Servants there: That, at the Beginning of Iuly following, every Corpora|tion should fall upon their adjoining Indians; and that those who should be hurt upon the Service, should be cured at the publick Expence; and if any were lamed, they should be maintained by the Country, according to their Person and Quality: That for discharging such publick Debts, as their Troubles had brought upon them, there should be le|vied ten Pounds of Tobacco upon every Male, above sixteen Years of Age, then living; but not including such, as had arr•ved since the Beginning of Iuly last: That no Person, within this Colony, should presume, upon the Rumour of any supposed Change and Alteration in England, to be dis|obedient to the present Government, not Servants to their private Masters, Officers, or Overseers, at their utmost Peril. And the last Article related to sending Mr. Pountis•o England, and levying four Pounds of Tobacco a Head, to support his Expences. Most of these Laws were taken from preceeding Proclamations and Orders of the Governor and Council; and I find, that the Governor was obliged, soon after, to issue a Proclamation, forbidding Women to contract themselves to two several Men at one time. For Women being yet scarce and much in re••est, this Offence was become very common; whereby great Disquiet arose between Parties, and no small Trouble to the Government. It was therefore ordered; That every Minister should give Notice in his Church, that what Man or Woman soever should use any Word or Speech, tending to a Contract of Marriage, to two several Persons at one time, altho' not precis• and legal, yet so as might entangle or breed Scruple in their Consciences, should, for such their Offence, either undergo corporal Correction, or be punished by Fine, or otherwise, according to the Quality of the Person so of|fending.
Page 323BUT whilst the Commissioners were pushing the Court Designs in Virginia, the opponent Faction in England were not less diligent and industrious to blacken and defame the Company. To this end, they engaged, according to their usual Method, some Planters, lately returned from Virgi|nia, to petition and complain to his Majesty. Neither wa• it a difficult thing, among so many weak, indigent, or wicked Persons, as were concerned in the Plantations, to procure some to second and abet any Complaint, however false and unjust. Among other Matters of Grievance, they complained of the many Impositions and Levies, laid upon the Planters towards the Support of the Company, from whom they were wont formerly to receive Relief; and therefore they besought his Majesty, to take them into his Royal Mercy and Protection, and to free them for the futur• from the grievous Impositions of the said Company. But Mr. Deputy Farrar desired them, to set down in Writing the particular Grievances and Oppressions, which they thus complained of in general; that the Company might thereby be enabled to return a full and particular Answer. This they promised to do, but afterwards, upon better Advice, refused; till at length, being farther pressed, they brought nine Articles, which however they could not be induced to subscribe, being restrained by those behind the Scene. These Articles contained criminal Charges of a very high Nature, and some of them Capital, against the Governor and Coun|cil in Virginia; so that the Lawyers of the Company de|clared, that the Persons who presented them, except they could maintain and make them good, had incurred the Pe|nalty of Libellers. But at last, after much Shuffling and Absurdity of Complaint and Accusation, the Complainant• in general, and one Perry in particular, confessed, that al|tho' they pretended to have Authority and Commission from the Planters in Virginia to make these Complaints, yet the Whole, both the Petition and Grievances, were entirely framed in England. Wherefore the Company, perceiving, they had been abused and drawn into it by the Malice of others, thought fit to pass it over, in Favour and Com|passion to their Ignorance and Credulity.
UPON Occasion of these grievous Accusations against the Governor and Council, Sir Francis Wyat's Character and Conduct were called much into Question and canvassed. But he was sufficiently cleared by the rest of the Planter• then in England; who gave ample Testimony to the Wor|thiness and Uprightness of his Proceedings, and declared upon their Conscien••s, that they esteemed him to be a most just and sincere Gentleman, and free from all Manner of Page 324 Corruption and private Ends. As therefore he had, by a Letter to the Company, declared his Desire to leave the Government at the Expiration of his Commission, which would be shortly, they took the Matter into their seriou• Consideration. But finding, that he had given very great Satisfaction to the Colony, as appe•red by the Report of the Planters; and considering also, how much the Compa|ny was in his Debt, by not furnishing him with his legal Number of Tenants, and that they had no Means left to make good their Promise to him, much less were they able to set out a new Governor, it was thought best and most adviseable, to continue him still in his Office. But some of the opponent Faction moving, that Sir Samuel Argall, in Regard of his Worth, and of his Desire for the Place, might stand in Election with him, th•y were both ballotted; and Sir Francis Wyat was chosen by having sixty nine Balls, and Sir Samuel Argall only eight. And as the Company was then unable to send over more Men to him, it was ordered, that he should be supplied with his full Complement, out of the Company's Tenants in Virginia; and the Considera|tion of some Recompence, for his former Loss and Disap|pointment, was referred to the next Quarter Court.
THE last Parliament, out of their Love and Esteem for Virginia, but more especially out of Regard to the Advance|ment of the Trade of England, had taken into their Con|sideration the Case of the Plantation Tobacco, and had enter|ed into a very good Course about it; but by Reason of their sudden Adjournment and Breach with the King, they were obliged to leave it unfinished. The Company therefore, being encouraged by this, and quite wearied out by the •quivocal and suspicious Conduct of the King and his Mi|nisters, presented a Petition to the House of Commons, set|ting forth:
THAT after divers Discoveries had confirmed the Opi|nion, that Virginia was situate in a temperate and wholsome Climate, that the Soil was rich and fertile, the Country well watered with fruitful and navigable Rivers, and that their Ships, through a fair Sea, might have a comfortable falling in on a safe Coast, it pleased God so to affect the Minds of divers worthily disposed Noblemen, Gentlemen, and others, as to think it a Matter of great Religion, and Honour, to endeavour the Propagation of Christianity among those barbarous People, and to gain such a hopeful Addition of Territory to his Majesty's Dominions: That his Ma|jesty also, being informed thereof, and apprehending, that great Honour and Commodity would thence arise to this Kingdom, was pleased, by his most gracious Letters-patent Page 325 of Incorporation, from time to time renewed and enlarged, to confer as ample Privileges and Immunities, both for their Assistance, who should become Directors of the Busines• at home, and for their Comfort and Encouragement, that would settle and inhabit the Country, as could be then fore|seen or desired: That this gave so general an Encourage|ment, that Noblemen, Knights, Gentlemen, Citizens, and others, in great Numbers, became Adventurers; who, be|sides their Money, afforded many other Helps by their In|dustry, towards the Advancement and Perfection of thi• noble Work: And that, notwithstanding a Multitude of Accidents and Disasters, incident to such Undertakings in a remote and savage Country, yet it pleased God, often to enliven their Hopes and Endeavours, by such an undoubted Probability of obtaining, at least for the Publick and Poste|rity, so beneficial a Retribution for all their Pains and Ex|pence, as would, in the End, crown their Labours with as much Glory, Honour, and Profit to the Realm of En|gland, as could be well wished or expected.
THEY then proceeded to recount the several Emolu|ments and Advantages to England, which they had in their View and Expectation. 1. The Conversion of the Savage• to Christianity, and establishing the first Colony of the Re|formed Religion. 2. The discharging the Overplus of necessitous People, which administered Fewel to dangerous Insurrections, and the leaving greater Plenty for those, who remained. 3. The gaining a large Territory, already known to be great, and which might prove much greater; whose Fertility of Soil, and Temperature of Clime, agreed well with the English, and produced by Nature and In|dustry, whatever useful Commodities were found in any known Country. 4. The beneficial Fisheries discovered; which, together with the continual Intercourse and Com|merce between People of the same Nation, would contri|bute exceedingly to the Increase of the English Trade and Navigation. 5. The vast Quantity of Timber and Mate|rials, for building and setting forth Ships; whereof there was a great Scarcity throughout all Europe. 6. The Assu|rance, that many rich Trades might be found out there, and driven on to the incredible Benefit of the Nation; be|sides the no small Hopes of an easy and short Passage to the South Sea, either by Sea or Land. 7. The inestimable Advantage, that would be gained, in Case of War, both for the easy assaulting the Spanish West-Indies, and for th• relieving and succouring all Ships and Men of War; the Want whereof had in former times, disappointed and over|thrown so many Voyages. But hereby the Benefit to the Page 326English would be certain, and the Enemy's Loss and An|noyance inevitable. After which, they went on in the fol|lowing Manner:
BUT so it is, that now, when the natural Diffic•lties, incident to all new Plantations, are by Diligence and Tract of Time, but most especially by the Blessing of Almighty God, in a great Measure overcome; yet there have risen other unnatural Impediments, proceeding from Faction and Discord, from the cunning Courses and Practises of some Persons, who tended wholly to their own Profit, from Mis|employment of the publick Stock, false Accounts, and the like Corruptions and Diversions from the main Business; and that these were so encreased of late, and supported by strong Hand, as threatened speedy Ruin and Destruction to that excellent Work, if Remedies were not timely applied: That they, the Council and Company of Virginia, differed not a little from other Companies; as well in their Composition, consisting of principal Noblemen, Gentlemen, Merchants and others; as in the Ends, for which they were establish|ed, being not simply for Matter of Trade, but for things of a higher and more publick Nature: That nevertheless, finding themselves, in their Body, as it was then distempered, unable to be their own Physicians without higher Assistance, they thought it their Duty, as well to clear their own Re|putation, as in Discharge of their Conscience, and of the Trust reported in them, to represent to the Parliament this Child of the Nation, exposed, as in the Wilderness, to ex|treme Danger, and then fainting, as it were, and labouring for Life.
THEY therefore humbly entreated that honourable House, to take into their Commiseration, the distressed Co|lony and oppressed Company; and to receive an Account from such of his Majesty's Council for Virginia, as, being Members of their House, had been appointed by the Com|pany, to give them a full and exact Relation of all their Grievances and Oppressions: Which, tho' of sundry Kinds, yet had received (as they doubted not to make evident) ei|ther their Original or Strength from the Lord High Trea|surer, out of his private and unjust Designs; not only to almost the Overthrow of the Colony, but also to the Decep|tion of his Majesty in his Profit and Revenue, to the great Prejudice of the whole Kingdom in Matter of Trade, and even to Points of dangerous Consequence to the Liberty of the Subject.
THIS Proceeding was certainly no ways grateful to the King, who conceived himself much injured and affronted, if the Parliament entered upon any Consideration, which Page 327 was not recommended to them by himself. For he looked upon them, not as the grand Council of the Nation, but of the King; and expected, that they should proceed with the abject Adulation and Submission of his Privy Council, and never touch upon any disagreeable Subjects. But above all, Matters of Grievance were the Points, on which he was most tender and touchy, and would often winch grievous|ly; and altho' the thing was disguised, and even Praises were given him in some Parts of this Petition, yet it was evidently levelled, in the main, against him and his Minis|ters. However, as his Majesty had called this Parliament with quite different Views, and treated it in a quite different Manner from the last, he took no Notice of it, but permit|ted it to take its Course in the House. Its Reception was also secured by the Complaints, in the latter Part, against the Lord High Treasurer; whom Buckingham and the Prince were, at this time, pulling down and tearing, as it were, with great Violence from the King's Side, not without very great Pain and Grief to his Majesty.
THIS Petition was committed to the Deputy; and such others of the Council, as were also Members of the House of Commons; to present it to their House, in the Name of the Council and Company of Virginia. It was received by the Commons very acceptably, notwithstanding some Opposition at first; and a Committee was appointed to hear and examine their Grievances and Oppressions, to which all of the Company, that were Members of the House, were admitted, to come and to hear, but not to have any Voice. But conceiving, that Counsel at Law could not be so fully informed of all Passages, as was requisite, and would not perhaps be so cordially concerned, or favourably heard, they divided their Grievances into four several Heads, and committed them to the following Gentlemen, to deliver and speak to them. 1. The Case of their Tobacco, with all the Oppressions and Impositions upon it, was committed to Mr. Deputy-Treasurer, Nicholas Farrar: 2. The Busi|ness of the Contract, to Sir Edwin Sandys: 3. The Pro|ceedings of the Commissioners, to the Lord Cavendish: 4. All Passages and Measures since, to Sir Iohn Davers. And all these Gentlemen, but especially the Lord Cavendish, did very nobly and chearfully undertake, to perform and make good their several Parts.
IT was the Misfortune of these Affairs, to be brought into Parliament very late in the Sessions; and they were besides of a very tender and delicate Nature. For, in their Process and Issue, they must have turned to a plain Ar|raignment of the Weakness and Unfairness, or even of th•Page 328 downright Injustice and Oppressiveness of the King's Con|duct towards the Company and Colony. The main Busi|ness therefore of their Oppr•ssions and Grievances did not proceed in Parliament, but was waved and slurred over in Silence. But the particular Case of Tobacco, by the ex|ceedi•g Care and Wisdom of Sir Edwin Sandys, assisted by the Lord Cavendish, and the other Gentlemen of the Com|pany, who had Seats in Parliament, was brought to a hap|py Issue. For the Importation of foreign Tobacco was put, as one of the nine Grievances of the Realm in Point of Trade, which this Session presented to his Majesty, and desired Re|lief in. And altho' this was done professedly for the Good of England, without any Mention or Relation to Virginia, yet the Deputy told the Company, that he doubted not, but the whole House had, in their Hearts, an especial Re|gard to the Advancement of the Colonies. And as this Course was as effectual for Exclusion of Spanish Tobacco, as if it had been done by Bill, so was it much better, than if it had been done by the Bill, which was drawn the last Parliament. For since that Time, the State and Price of Tobacco was so much altered, that it could then no ways bear the twelve Pence a Pound Duty, which that Bill laid upon it, but must thereby have been as certainly ruined and overthrown, as by any other Course. But this second Way brought with it all the Good of the Bill, and left out all its Evil. Wherefore, he said, it could not be too much com|mended, nor Sir Edwin Sandys, to whom they were be|holden for it, sufficiently thanked. And it may be here far|ther observed, that the King's Measures by this time were entirely reversed. For the Spanish Match was now broke off, and even War was declared against the King of Spain, and the whole House of Austria. So that the Interest of England would no longer be obliged to stoop to the Interest of Spain; and a Prohibition of their Tobacco would be ea|sily granted, as it agreed with the present Passions and Mea|sures of the Court.
THIS was the last Service that Sir Edwin Sandys, or the Company, were able to do the Colony and Trade. For soon after, Captain Harvey and Mr. Po•y, the Privy Coun|cil's Commissioners, returned from Virginia. What their Report was of the State of the Colony, I cannot discover▪ but we may easily judge, by the Principles and Dispositions of the Men, that it was not much to the Honour or Advan|tage of the present Government. Upon their Return there|fore, his Majesty was pleased, by a Proclamation bearing Date the 15th of Iuly, 1624, to suppress the Course of their Courts at Deputy Farrar's. And for the present Ordering Page 329 of the Affairs of the Colony, 'till a fuller and more perfect Settlement of them could be made, the Lord President of his Majesty's Privy Council, with other Privy Counsellors, and several Knights and Gentlemen, were appointed to meet, every Thursday in the Afternoon, at Sir Thomas Smith's House, in Philpot-Lane; whither all Persons, whom it might concern, were ordered to repair. And thus Sir Tho|mas Smith triumphed over the Companies and the Colonies; and notwithstanding the authentic Representations of the Company in England, and our General Assembly here a|gainst him, and the plain Detection of his Cruelties and Op|pressions, to all Men of common Sense and common Justice, yet he did at last recover his Power again, and was the Per|son chiefly depended upon, by the Solomon of that Age, in all Matters relating to them. For the Somer-Islands Courts had been suppressed some Months before, by a simple Let|ter from the King; and Meetings appointed, at Sir Thomas Smith's, for the Management of their Affairs. But these Meetings were without the Mixture of any Privy Coun|sellors, and wholly consisted of himself and his Creatures. And by this time, in the Absence of Sir Edward Sackvil, now Earl of Dorset, their Governor, who had, the Year before, succeeded the Lord Cavendish, now also Earl of De|vonshire, and under Colour of some Complaints and Dissen|tions, the Lords of the Privy Council appointed Sir Thomas Smith again Governor of that Company; assuming to them|selves a boundless Power of placing and displacing legal Offi|cers, as they pleased. This Appointment, Captain Smith tells us, was afterwards confirmed, and Sir Thomas Smith elected by the Court. But this Court was only his Faction, who assumed to themselves that Name and Character. For I find, that many of the Company, and as it appears, a vast Majority, complained of them, and declared against their Meetings, as Usurpations upon the Government of the Com|pany, and no ways legal or valid.
THIS was the End of the Virginia Company; one of the noblest, most illustrious, and publick-spirited Societies, that ever yet perhaps engaged in such an Undertaking. It was an Event certainly of Benefit and Advantage to the Country, as we in America find by Experience, that it i• better to be under a Royal Government, than in the Hands of Proprietors, in what Shape or Manner soever. But yet it must be at last confessed, that it was brought about with all imaginable Instances of Unrighteousness and Oppression; and that not even the Decency of Forms of Law were kept up or regarded in it. For alth•' a Writ of Quo Warranto (an oppressive Writ in itself, and for the most part turned Page 330 to very base and illegal Purpos••) was issued against the Company, yet I cannot understand, altho' I have taken no small Pains to find it out, that it ever came to an Issue or Determination. And to dissolve them by the arbitrary Au|thority of a Proclamation, whilst a legal Process was de|pending, seems but a more bare-faced Injustice and Oppres|sion. Far the greater Part of the Company did, by no means, deserve such Treatment. They appear, from all the Papers and Records that I have perused, to have been Gentlemen of very noble, clear, and disinterested Designs; who, as they were above the Necessity of any Access to their own Fortunes, were willing and intent to spend much of their Time and Money, in advancing an Undertaking, which they justly conceived to be of very great Consequence to their Country. And even Captain Smith, who was cer|tainly no Friend to the Company, and whose History see•• much in Honour and Vindication of Sir Thomas Smith and his Government, yet owns, that scarce any of the Nobility and Gentry expected or aimed at any thing else, but the Prosperity of the Action: And he was confidently persua|ded, that some Merchants, and others, took more Care and Pains, even at their own continual great Charge, than they could be hired to, for the Love of Money; so hones•ly regarding the general Good of the Enterprise, that they would hold it worse than Sacrilege, to wrong it but a Shil|ling, or to extort a Penny upon the common People.
IT may indeed be thought something strange, how so many Gentlemen, of the noblest Fortunes and most publick Spirits in the Nation, could so patiently submit to such evi|dent Injury and Wrong, without bringing the Matter to a legal Trial. But they had been much harrassed and fatigued of late, by the Discords and Factions in the Company; which, they plainly saw, were supported and abetted by the King, for some unjust and partial Views of his own, being much charmed with the unexpectedly large and rising Re|venue from Tobacco, and therefore desirous to get the Plantations wholly into his own Hands. They had also ex|pended largely above an hundred thousand Pounds, out of their own private Fortunes, without any probable Prospect of present Retribution or Gain to themselves; and they could not but see, that proceeding in the Enterprise would still engage them in farther Expences, for which they would only be exposed to the Abuses and Affronts of the opponent Faction, and to Injuries and Oppressions from the King and his Council. They might also consider perhaps the State of the Courts of Law at that time, which could give them but slender Hopes of obtaining any Redress there. For the Page 331 Judges and Oracles of Law are greatly wronged and abused, if they were not then, like the lying Oracle of old, much addicted to philippizing, and willing to raise the Royal Pre|rogative above all Restraints of Law, or of any other earthly Power. Their original Records, on which their Proofs must chiefly depend, had likewise been taken from them by the Privy Council. And the Earl of Southampton, who had all their Eyes and Hearts fixed upon him, after languish|ing some time, and having first lost his eldest Son, the Lord Wriothsley, died this following Winter 1624. To which may be added, that the Success of the Colonies was still doubtful, without the King's Favour and Protection; or at least against his Will, and the perpetual Stretch of his Power thwarting and oppressing them. They therefore silently ac|quiesced and submitted to this illegal Dissolution; and qui|etly withdrew from an Affair, which had cost them so much Money and Pains, and had given them such continual Trou|ble and Vexation.