A true and sincere declaration of the purpose & ends of the Plantation begun in Virginia; of the degrees which it hath received; and meanes by which it hath bene advanced: And the resolution and conclusion of his Majesties Councell of that Colony, for the constant and patient prosecution thereof, untill by the mercies of God it shall retribute a fruitfull harvest to the Kingdom of Heaven, and to this Common-wealth.
IT IS RESERVED, AND onely proper to Divine wisedome to fore-see and ordaine, both the Endes and Wayes of every action. In humaine prudence it is all can be required, to propose Religious and Noble , and Feasable ends; & it can have no absolute assurance, and infalliblenesse in the Waies and Meanes, which are contingent, and various, perhaps equally reasonable, subject to unpresent circumstances, and doubtfull events, which ever dignifie, or beetray the Councells,
— page 2 —from whence they were derived. And the higher the quality, and nature, and more removed from ordinary action (such as this is, of which we discourse) the more perplexed and misty are the pathes there-unto. Upon which Grounds, we purpose to deliver roundly and clearely, our endes and Wayes to the hopefull Plantations begun in Virginia: and to examine the truth, and safety of both, to redeeme our selves and so Noble an action, from the imputations and aspertions, with which ignorant rumor, virulent envy, or impious subtilty, daily callumniateth our industries, and the successe of it: wherein we doubt not, not only to satisfie every modest and wel affected heart of this Kingdome; but to excite and kindle the affections of the Incredulous, and lazy; and to coole and asswage the curiosity of the jealous, and suspitious; & to temper and convince, the malignity of the false, and treacherous. The Principall and Maine Ends (out of which are easily derived to any meane understanding infinit lesse, & yet great ones) weare first to preach, & baptize into Christian Religion, and by propagation of that Gospell, to recover out of the armes of the Divell, a number of poore and miserable soules, wrapt upp unto death, in almost invincible ignorance; to
— page 3 —endeavour the fulfilling, and accomplishment of the number of the elect, which shall be gathered from out all corners of the earth; and to add our myte to the treasury of Heaven, that as we pray for the comming of the kingdome of glory, so to expresse in our actions, the same desire, if God have pleased, to use so weak instruments, to the ripening & consummation thereof. Secondly, to provide and build up for the publike Honour and safety of our gratious King and his Estates (by the favor of our Superiors even in that care) some small Rampier of our owne, in this opportune and generall Summer of peace, by trans-planting the rancknesse and multitude of increase in our people; of which there is left no vent, but age; and evident danger that the number and infinitenesse of them, will out-grow the matter, whereon to worke for their life, and sustentation, and shall one infest and become a burthen to another.
But by this provision they may bee seated as a Bulwarke of defence, in a place of advantage, against a stranger enemy, who shall in great proportion grow ritch in treasure, which was exhausted to a lowe estate; and may well indure an increase of his people long wasted with a continuall
— page 4 —warre, and dispersed uses and losses of them: Both which cannot choose but threaten us, if wee consider, and compare the ends, ambitions and practises, of our neighbour Countries, with our owne.
Lastly, the apparance and assurance of Private commodity to the particular undertakers, by recovering and possessing to them-selves a fruitfull land, from whence they may furnish and provide this Kingdome, with all such necessities, & defects under which we labour, and are now enforced to buy, and receive at the curtesie of other Princes, under the burthen of great Customes, and heavy impositions, and at so high rates in trafique, by reason of the great waste of them from whence they are now derived, which threatens almost an impossibilty long to recover them, or at least such losse in exchange, as both the kingdome and Merchant, will be weary of the deerenesse and perrill. These being the true, and essentiall ends of this Plantation, and corresponding to our first rule, of Religious, Noble, and Feaseable, two of which are not questioned, the third easie, and demonstrable in the second limme, when wee shall examine the causes of some disaster and distemper in the wayes unto them: These beeing admitted of,
— page 5 —for such as we pretend them to bee, and standing yet firme and safe in them-selves, we hope easily to justifie the first part of our undertaking, and presume to averre, that in this branche there ariseth to no peaceable man, any scruple or doubt, to suspect the issue, or to with-draw his affection and assistance, or to Callumniat the Project, or our choise of it.
In discussion and examination of the second part, which is the wayes, by which wee hope to arrive at these ends, and in which no humaine reason can so provide but that many circumstances, and accidents, shall have as great a stroake in the event, as any Councell shall have; wee must first briefly deliver the course of this Plantation, from the Infancie thereof; and then let us equally consider, whether from so small a roote, it hath not had a blessed and unexpected growth: Next, wee will call before us all the objections, and confesse ingenuously all the errors & discouragements, which seeme to lye so heavie, as almost to presse to death this brave and hopefull action; and releeve it, wee doubt not, from that, which with reasonable men, can at most bee but a pause, and no entire desertion, and restore it to the Primarie estate, life, and reputation.
— page 6 —In the yeare 1606. Captaine Newport, with three ships, discovered the Bay of Chessiopeock in the height of thirty seaven degrees of Northerly latitude, and landed a hundred persons of sundry qualities and Arts, in a River falling into it; and left them under the Government of a President and Councell, according to the authority derived from, and limitted by his Majesties Letters Pattents. His returne gave us no hope of any extraordinary Consequence, yet onely upon report of the Navigablenesse of the River, pleasure, fertility, and scituation of the land, to our projected ends , wee freshly and cheerefully sent in the next yeare a like number: and yet also receiving nothing new, wee had courage and constancie to releeve them the third time, with one hundred more: at which returne experience of error in the equality of Governors, and some out-rages, and follies committed by them, had a little shaken so tender a body; after Consultation and advise of all the inconveniences in these three supplies, and finding them to arise out of two rootes, the forme of Government, and length and danger of the passage, by the Southerly course of the Indyes: To encounter the first, wee did resolve and obteine, to renew our Letters Pattents,
— page 7 —and to procure to our selves, such ample and large priviledges and powers, by which wee were at liberty to reforme and correct those already discovered, and to prevent such as in the future might threaten us; and so, to sett and furnish out under the Conduct of one able and absolute Governor, a large supply of five hundred men, with some number of families, of Wife, Children, and Servants, to take fast holde and roote in that land, and this resolution was with much alacritie and confidence. And to meete the second Inconvenience, wee did also prepare to sett out, one small shipp, for discovery of a shorter way, and to make tryall of the Fishing within our Bay, and River.
Hetherto, untill the sending of this Avisall for experience, and Fleete for setling the Government, appeares no distaste, nor despaire; for every supply in some respect, was greater then other, and that in preparation greater then them all in every respect, and must in reason hold Anologie and proportion with our expectations and hopes at the dis-inboging of it.
So that what-so-ever wound or Palsie this Noble action hath gotten, & the sicknesse under which it seemes to faint, must needs arise
— page 8 —out of the successe of these two: which wee will now examine apart with all equitye and cleerenesse, and waigh, whither there bee any such reason, to desist from the prosecution thereof, in rectified judgement; or to fall so lowe in our resolutions, and opinions of it, as rumor and ignorance doth pretend wee doe, or have cause to doe.
For the Discoverie, Captaine Argoll received our Commission under our Seale, with instruction (to avoide all danger of quarrell with the Subjects of the King of Spaine) not to touch upon any of his Dominions actually possessed, or rightly entituled unto, and to shape his course free from the roade of Pyrotts, that hang upon all streights and skirts of lands; and to attempt a direct and cleare passage, by leaving the Canaries to the East, and from thence, to runne in a streight Westerne Course, or some point neere there-unto. And so to make an experience of the Windes and Currents which have affrighted all under-takers by the North. By which discovery, there would growe to us much securitie, and ease, and all occasion of offence remooved, and wee should husband and save a moyetie of the charge in victuall and freight, which
— page 9 —was expended, and lost in the Southerne passage.
To these endes hee sett sayle from Portsmouth the fift day of May; and shaping his course South-south-west to the height of thirty degrees, leaving the Canaries a hundred leagues to the East, hee found the windes large, and so tooke his course direct West, & did never turne nearer the South: & beeing in the longitude of the Barmudos hee found the winde a little scant uppon him, yet so, that on the thirteenth of July he recovered our harbor: and in tryall found no currant, nor any thing else which should deter us from this way.
Hee made his journey in nine weekes, and of that, was becalmed fourteene dayes: wherupon hee hath divers times since his returne publikely avowed, and undertaken to make this passage within seaven weekes: and that the windes in all this course, are as variable, as at other places, and no apparant inconvenience in the way.
So that the maine end of this advise hath succeeded almost beyond our hopes; The second for fishing, proved so plentifull, especially of Sturgion, of which sort hee could have loaded many ships, if he had had, some man of
— page 10 —skill to pickell and prepare it for keeping, whereof he brought sufficient testimony both of the flesh and Caveary, that no discreet man will question the truth of it, so it appeares cleerely that from hence there can bee derived no cause to susspect or desist from our first endes, but so contrary, that in this project both our purposes and waies were happy and successefull even to our desires. But from this Ship ariseth a rumor of the necessity and distresse our people were found in, for want of victuall: of which, though the noise have exceeded the truth, yet we doe confesse a great part of it; But can lay aside the cause and fault from the dessigne, truely and home upon the misgovernment of the Commaders, by dissention and ambition among themselves, and upon the Idlenesse and bestiall slouth, of the common sort, who were active in nothing but adhearing to factions and parts, even to their owne ruine, like men almost desperate of all supply, so conscious, and guilty they were to them-selves of their owne demerit, and lasinesse. But so soone as Captaine Argoll arrived among them, whose presence and example gave new assurance of our cares, and new life to
— page 11 —their indeavours, by fishing onely in few daies, they were all recovered, growne hearty, able, and ready to undertake every action: So that if it bee considered that without industry no land is sufficient to the Inhabitants: and that the trade to which they trusted, betrayed them to loose the opportunity of seed-time, and so to rust and weare out them-selves: for the Naturals withdrew from all commerce and trafficke with them, cunningly making a war upon them, which they felt not, who durst no other-way appeare an enemye: And they beeing at division among themselves, and without warrant from hence, could not resolve to inforce that, which might have preserved them, and which in such a necessity is most lawfull to doe, every thing returning from civill Propryety to Naturall, and Primary Community: Lastly if it bee remembred, that this Extremitie in which they were now relieved, (which is as happy in the presage of Gods future blessing as in his present providence and mercy) was but an effect of that, we did fore-see in the first Government, and for which the forme was chaunged, and the new in project, and therfore cannot bee objected as any just exception to the successe of this, but a consequent
— page 12 —Considered, and digested in the former: It is then I say evident, that in al the progresse of this discovery, or any thing accidentall to it, there cannot bee rack'd nor pressed out any confession, either of error in the ends, or miscarriadges in the waies unto them.
To the establishment of a government, such as should meete with all the revealed inconveniences; wee gave our Commission to an able & worthy Gentleman, SrThomas Gates, whome we did nominat and appoint sole and absolute Governor of that Colony, under divers limitations, & instructions expressed in writing: and with him wee sent Sir George Summers Admirall, and Captaine Newport Vice-Admirall of Virginia, and divers other persons of rancke and quality, in seaven shippes, and two pinnaces, with severall Commissions sealed, successively to take place one after another, considering the mortality, and uncertainty of humaine life, and these to be devided into severall ships.
Our fleete weighed anchor from Falmouth the eight of June, the winde beeing fayre, they shaped a course for the height of the Canaries; within few dayes sayle, the Governor calling a Councel of al the Captaines, Maisters and Pilots, it was resolved, they should runne southerly
— page 13 —unto the Tropicque, and from thence beare away West: (which error will take upp all the objections of sicknesse, the sun being then in it, was the cause of all the infection, and disease of our men) At this consultation, was delivered an instruction under seale, to every Maister, with a provision what course should bee taken, if the fleete were seperated; which was that if the windes scanted, or were contrary, or that any lost sight of the Admirall, they should steere away for the West Indies, and make the Baruada an Iland to the North of Dominico, and there to have their Rendevous, and to stay seaven daies one for another.
In this height and resolution, short of the West-Indies 150. leagues, on S. James day a terrible tempest over-took them, and lasted in extremity 48. houres, which scattered the whole fleete, and wherein some of them spent their masts, and others were much distressed: Within three daies foure of the fleete mette in consort, and hearing no newes of their Admirall, and the windes returning large for Virginia, and they wearied and beaten, it was resolved among them, to beare right away for our Bay, and to decline their commission, which
— page 14 —within fewe dayes they made, and arrived in the Kings River, on the eleventh of August: In this passage, foureteene degrees to the South-ward of Virginia, ran no current with them, which should hinder or make difficult that in Proposition by the North-west. Within sixe dayes after came in one, and within five, another of our fleete, the Maisters of both having fallen upon the same Councell, by the opportunity of the winde, not to seeke the Baruada, but to steere away for our Harbor, which doubtlesse the Admirall him-selfe did not observe, but obeyed his owne directions, and is the true or probable cause of his beeing cast so farre into suspition; where perhapps bound in with winde, perhaps enforced to stay the Masting or mending of some what in his ship, torne or lost in this tempest, wee doubt not, but by the mercy of God hee is safe, with the Pinnace which attended him, and shall both, or are by this time arrived at our Colony.
Not long after these, another of our small Pinnaces, yet also unaccounted for, recovered the River alone; and now seaven of our Fleete beeing in, they landed in health neere foure hundred persons; who beeing put a shore without their Governor, or any order
— page 15 —from him, (all the Commissioners and principall persons beeing aboord him,) no man would acknowledge a superior: nor could from this headlesse and unbrideled multitude, bee any thing expected, but disorder and ryott, nor any councell prevent, or fore-see, the successe of these wayes.
Now if wee compare the disasters of this supply, with the maine ends, it will appeare they have weakened none of them, but that they still remaine safe and feasable, for any thing ariseth in objection out of them. For that these accidents and contingencies, were ever to bee expected, and a resolution was to bee put on at first, armed against the probability of them. Who can avoid the hand of God, or dispute with him? Is hee fitt to under-take any great action, whose courage is shaken and dissolved with one storme? Who knows, whither he that disposed of our hearts to so good beginnings, bee now pleased to trye our constancie and perseverance, and to discerne betweene the ends of our desires, whither Pyety or Covetousnesse carryed us swifter? For if the first were the principall scope, hence ariseth nothing to infirme or make that impossible: But as it falleth out in businesse of greatest consequence, some-
— page 16 —time the noblest ends, upon which wee are most intense, are furthest remooved from the first stepps made unto them, and must by lesser and meaner bee approched; so Plantation of religion beeing the maine and cheefe purpose, admitts many things of lesse and secondary consequence of necessity to bee done before it: for an error or miscarriage in one of which, to desist or staggar, were to betray our principall end cowardly and faintly, and to drawe upon our selves just scorne and reprehension.
Whither we shall discourse out of reason, or example; that every action hath Proportionall difficulties, to the greatnesse thereof, such as must necessarily bee admitted from the first conception, and such as even in the passage, dignifie both the actors and the worke, if with prudence they fore-see all the hazards, and with Patence and Constancie, meete and encounter them. It must eyther bee confessed, that it was folly from the Origen and first stepp, not to have beene prepar'd for such as these; or that it is none now, not to quitt it, for them, but the greatest of all to say, who would have expected this? If wee cast our eye upon the Spanish Conquest of the Indyes, how aboundant their
— page 17 —stories are of Fleets, Battailes, & Armies lost: eighteene upon the attempt of Guiana, and more then seventie in both the Indies, and yet with how indefatigable industrye, and prosperous fate, they have pursued and vanquished all these, their many Armies maintained in Europe, can witnesse, with too lamentable an experience.
If wee compare the beginnings, they were meaner then ours, and subject to all the same, and much more uncertainty, If the Religion, which shall crowne the successe, it admitts no Controversie nor Comparison, among those, to whome we write: if the Commodities, they, which wee have in assurance and knowledge, are of more necessity, and those in hope equally rich and aboundant.
But to come home to our purpose: that which seemes to disharten or shake our first grounds in this suppyle; ariseth from two principall sources, of which, one was cause of the other; First, the Tempest: and can any man expect an answer for that? next, the absence of the Governour, an effect of the former, for the losse of him is in suspence, and much reason of his safetye against some doubt; and the hand of GOD reacheth all the Earth. Now if these two onely bee the maine
— page 18 —crosses, which staggar the feasablenesse, consider that of three voyadges before, no man miscaried in the way, and that all other depend on these, as the misgovernment of our men, their Idlenesse, their want, and the empty returne of out fleet, wherein if wee recover and correct the Cause, we vanquish al things consequent unto it, and yet in apparance, if with these wee compare the advantages which we have gotten, in the Shortnesse and security of the passadge, in the intelligence of some of our Nation planted by Sir Water Raleigh (yet a live) within fifty mile of our fort, who can open the wombe and bowells of this country: as is testefied by two of our colony sent out to seeke them, who, (though denied by the Slavages speech with them) found Crosses, & Leters, the Characters & assured Testimonies of Christians newly cut in the barkes of trees: if wee consider the assurednesse of the commodities, Wines, Pitch, Sope-ashes, Timber for al uses, Iron, Steele, Copper Dyes, Cordage, Silke-grasse, Pearle, which, (though discoulered and softned by fire, for want of skill in the Naturalls to peirce them) was found in great aboundance in the house of their sepultures.
If wee consider I say, and compare these
— page 19 —certainties and truthes, as lesse endes to strengthen, and produce our first and principall, with those casuall and accidentall misadventures and errors, which have befalne us, before every equall and resolved heart, they will vanish and become smoake and ayre, and not only keep upright, but raise our spirits and affections, and reconcile our reasons to our desires.
If any object the difficulty of keeping that wee shall possesse; if this discourse could admit a disputation of it, it should easilye appeare, that our confidence against any enemy, is built uppon solid and substantiall reason: And to give some taste thereof; Our enemies must bee eyther the Natives, or Strangers; Against the first the war would be as easie as the argument. For the second; a few men may dispute the possession of any place wherin they are fortified, where the enemy is so much a stranger, as that hee must discover and fight at once: upon al dis-advantages of Streights, Foords, and Woods; and where hee can never march with horse, nor with ordinance without them; nor can abide to stay many months, when all his releefe must bee had from his shipps, which cannot long supply a number competent to besiege:
— page 20 —Neither is it possible to blocke us up, by planting betweene us and the Sea, the Rivers beeinge so broad, and so many out-lets from them into the Bay. Besides the protection and priviledge of Subjects to so Potent a King, whome any wise estate wilbe wary to affront or provoke.
Wee doubt not, but by examination of what is said, our first ends are yet safe, and the waies unto them in no sort so difficult, as should more affright and deter us now, then at the first meditation of them. But if these bee not sufficient to satissie, and encourage, every honest affection we will not so desist, but urge the necessity of a present supply, to redeeme the defects, and misadventures of the last: that seeing all the dangers and sicknesses have sprung from want of effecting our purpose of Sending an able Governor: wee have concluded and resolved to set forth the Right Honor: the Lord de la Warr by the last of January, and to give him all the liberties and priviledges, which wee have power to derive upon him, and to furnish him with all necessaries fit for his quality, person, and the businesse which he shall undergoe, and so by Gods grace to persist untill we have made perfect our good and happy beginnings.
— page 21 —If these shall not yet suffice to resolution, that a Baron and Peere of this kingdom (whose Honour nor Fortune needs not any desperate medecine) one of so approved courage, temper, and experience, shall expose him-selfe for the common-good to al these hazards and paines which we feare and safely talke off, that sitt idle at home; & beare a great part upon his owne charge, and revive and quicken the whole by his example, constancy, and resolution? If you have no implicite faith nor trust in us, that governe this businesse; to whom there must be some advantage granted in our practise, and intelligence (especially in this) above ordinary persons; that we have no will nor intent, to betray our poore Country-men, nor to burthen our owne consciences, nor to draw so just scorne, and reproach uppon our reputations? If our knowledge and constant perswasion, of the fruitfulnesse and wholesomnesse of this Land, and of the recompence it shall in time bring to this Kingdome, and to every particular member of this plantation, be of no authority? If this seem not to you some argument, that every man returned is desirous to go backe to that which they account and call their owne home: and doe uppon their lives justifie, which else they wilfully betray; that if
— page 22 —the Government be settled, and a supply of victuall for one yeare sent, so that they may have a seed and Harvest before them, they will never neede nor expect to charge us with more expence, for any thing of necessity to mans life; but they will have leasure and power, to retribute with infinite advantage all the cost bestowed upon them: If all these bee yet too weake to confirme the doubtfull, or awake the drousie, then let us come nearer, and arise, from their reasons and affections to their Soules, and Consciences: remember that what was at first but of Conveniency, and for Honor, is now become a case of necessity, and piety: let them consider, that they have promised to adventure and not performd it, that they have encouraged & exposed many of Honorable birth, and which is of more consequence 600. of our Bretheren by our common mother the Church, Christians of one faith, and one Baptisme to a miserable and un-evitable death, Let not any man flatter himselfe, that it concernes not him: for hee that forsakes another, whome he may safely releeve, is as guilty of his death as he that can swimme, and forsakes himselfe by refusing, is of his owne.
— page 23 —Let every man looke inward, and disperse that clowd of avarice, which darkeneth his spirituall sight, and hee will finde there, that when hee shall appeare before the Tribunall of Heaven, it shall be questioned him what hee hath done? Hath hee fed and cloth'd the hungry and naked? It shall be required, what hee hath done for the advancement of that Gospell which hath saved him; and for the releefe of his makers Image, whome hee was bound to save: O let there bee a vertuous emulation betweene us and the Church of Rome, in her owne Glory, and Treasury of good workes! and let us turne all our contentions upon the common enemy of the Name of CHRIST. How farre hath shee sent out her Apostles and thorough how glorious dangers? How is it become a marke of Honor to her faith, to have converted Nations, and an obloquie cast uppon us, that wee having the better Vine, should have worse dressers and husbanders of it?
If Piety, Honour, Easinesse, Profit, nor Conscience, cannot provoake, and excite (for to all these wee have applyed our discourse.) Then let us turne from hearts of Stone and Iron, and pray unto that mer-
— page 24 —cifull and tender God, who is both easie & glad to be intreated, that it would please him to blesse and water these feeble beginnings, and that as he is wonderfull in all his workes, so to nourish this graine of seed, that it may spread till all people of the earth admire the greatnesse, and seeke the shades and fruite thereof: That by so faint and weake indevors his great Councels may bee brought forth, and his secret purposes to light, to our endlesse comforts and the infinite Glorye of his Sacred Name. Amen.
— page 25 —TO render a more particular satisfaction and account of our care, in providing to attend the Right Honourable the Lord de la War, in this concluded and present supply, men of most use and necessity, to the foundation of a Common-wealth; And to avoyde both the scandall and perill, of accepting idle and wicked persons; such as shame, or feare compels into this action; and such as are the weedes and rancknesse of this land; who beeing the surfet, of an able, healthy, and composed body; must needes bee the poyson of one so tender, feeble, and yet unformed: And to divulge and declare to all men, what kinde of persons, as well for their religion and conversations, as Faculties, Arts, and trades, we purpose to accept of: wee have thought it convenient to pronounce that for the first provision, wee will receive no man, that cannot bring or render some good testimony of his religion to God, and civill manners and behaviour to his neighbour, with whom he hath lived; and for the second, wee have set downe in a Table annexed, the proportion, and number wee will entertaine in every necessary Arte, upon proofe and assurance, that every man shall bee able to performe that which hee doth undertake, whereby such as are requisite to us, may
— page 26 —have knowledge and preparation, to offer themselves, and wee shall bee ready to give honest entertainment and content, and to recompence with extraordinary reward, every fit and industrious person, respectively to his paines and quality.
The Table of such as are required to this Plantation.
- Foure honest and learned Ministers.
- 2. Surgeons.
- 2. Druggists.
- 10. Iron men for the Furnace and Hammer.
- 2. Armorers.
- 2. Gun-founders.
- 6. Black-smiths.
- 10. Sawyers.
- 6. Carpenters.
- 6. Ship-wrights.
- 6. Gardeners.
- 4. Turners.
- 4. Brick-makers.
- 2. Tile-makers.
- 10. Fisher-men.
- 6. Fowlers.
- 4. Sturgion dressers, and preservers of the Caneary.
- 2. Salt-makers.
- 6. Coopers.
- 2. Coller-makers for draught.
- 2. Plow-wrights.
- 4. Rope-makers.
- 6. Vine dressers.
- 2. Presse makers.
- 2. Joyners.
- 2. Sope-ashe makers.
- 4. Pitch Boylers.
- 2. Minerall men.
- 2. Planters of Sugar Cane.
- 2. Silke dressers.
- 2. Pearle Drillers.
- 2. Bakers.
- 2. Brewers.
- 2. Colliers.