America and West Indies: February 1623

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1860.

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'America and West Indies: February 1623', in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660, ed. W Noel Sainsbury( London, 1860), British History Online [accessed 18 July 2024].

'America and West Indies: February 1623', in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Edited by W Noel Sainsbury( London, 1860), British History Online, accessed July 18, 2024,

"America and West Indies: February 1623". Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Ed. W Noel Sainsbury(London, 1860), , British History Online. Web. 18 July 2024.

February 1623

Feb. 2.
Order of the Privy Council. A contract between the Lord Treasurer on behalf of the King and the Virginia Company, touching the importation of tobacco, is allowed. [Colonial Entry Bk., Vol. LXXIX., p. 203.]
Feb. 4. Minutes of the Council for New England. A composition for three Barnstaple vessels, which left for the New England fisheries before the proclamation was known, is accepted. Rich. Row, merchant, desires to be admitted a patentee. Bills of adventure for 160l. each are sealed for the Duke of Lenox and the Earl of Arundel. Sir John Bourchier's answer concerning the Earl of Salisbury's rooms over the new Exchange. [Colonial Corresp., 1622, May 31, pp. 30–32.]
Feb. 18. Minutes of the Council for New England. The seat of the plantation for the public to consist of 40 square miles, to be settled upon the river of Sagadahock, and called the state county. The King to be petitioned to name the city; the county and city to be equally divided by casting lots amongst the patentees. No new grant to be passed in the meantime. A statute of Queen Elizabeth for binding poor children apprentices, proposed by Sir H. Spilman, to be made use of for the benefit of the plantation. The letter proposed to be sent by the King to the Lieutenants, for providing poor people, to be respited. Delivery of the two pinnaces. Petition, presented from Mr. Peirce and his associates, for the Mayor of Norwich to deliver up certain barrels of meal, provided for the relief of the planters in New England, and stayed by him. Licence granted to Richard Bushrode, who is to be admitted a patentee, to set forth a ship for discovery and other employments in New England. No ship to transport men or goods to the plantation without a licence. [Colonial Corresp., 1622, May 31, pp. 32–35.]
Feb. 18. 19. Wil. Lord Cavendish, Governor of the Somers Islands Company, to James Marquis of Hamilton. Sends a declaration and other papers respecting the well-being of the government of those islands, which he desires may be presented to the Privy Council.Incloses,
19. I. Declaration of the Governor and Company of the Somers Islands. Were appointed Commissioners to examine Captain Butler, then Governor of those islands, and other inhabitants there, touching the business of the Spanish wreck; but he secretly fled eight days before the arrival of the new Governor, and the Commissioners. Never believed that Butler would have so abandoned his trust, more especially as he had passed an Act for securing a resident Governor.
19. II. Act concerning the acknowledgment of resident Governors in case their commissions expire before the arrival of a successor from England. 1620, Aug.].
19. III. Instruction to the Commissioners for inquiry and examination into the business of the Spanish wreck in the Somers Islands. 1622, Sept. 5. [Copy.]
Feb. 20. Minute of the Council for New England. Licence granted to Rich. Bushrode and his associates, for setting forth a ship for discovery in New England. He is admitted a patentee. [Colonial Corresp., 1622, May 31, pp. 35–36.]
Feb. 25. Minutes of the Council for New England. Capt. Sam. [? Emman.] Alchem's licence for the Little James altered by petition of the adventurers for Mr. Peirce's plantation. Commission to be prepared for Lord Gorges' ship, the Katherine, Thos. Squibb, captain, as well for transportation of passengers as for other employments. Grants to be henceforth passed to one patentee only. Finance. Bills of adventure for the Earls of Warwick and Holdernesse, and Alex. Narme to be sealed. [Colonial Corresp., 1622, May 31, pp. 36–37.]
[Feb.] 20. The Governor, Council, and Assembly of Virginia to the King. Represent Capt. Nathaniel Butler's information, entitled "The unmasking of Virginia," to be full of slanders and notorious untruths, proceeding from the malice of his corrupted heart. The plantations, for the most part, high and pleasantly seated, the soil rich, the air sweet, and the climate healthy. Butler traduces one of the goodliest rivers in the habitable world; most commodious for landing. Winter is the only proper time for the arrival of new comers. A subscription was raised and workmen were hired for the building of a fair Inn in James City, when the massacre by the Indians forced them to direct that care to housing themselves. Buildings have everywhere increased. The greatest hospitality is shown to new comers. There are no hedges in Virginia, neither do the people lye unburied in the woods. The colony was not in any distress for victuals in the winter of 1622; corn was then bought by their accuser at 8s. the bushel, a cheaper rate than it sold for in England. Trade has been free to all. Their houses built rather for use than ornament, and fit to accommodate men of good quality. Many cities of great rumour in the West Indies, established more than sixty years, not to be compared to them. Great disparagement thro' Capt. Butler's riots and lascivious living. They have boats and canoes for their sudden transport across the creeks. No fortifications against a foreign enemy, but their houses are strongly fortified against the Indians; James City, Flowerdieu Hundred, Newport News, Elizabeth City, Charles City, Henrico, and divers private plantations mounted with great ordnance. Until the massacre and succeeding mortality, vines and mulberry trees were being planted throughout the country. Iron and glass works were in great forwardness, but are now interrupted, and the people are forced to follow that contemptible weed, tobacco, to enable them to sustain their continual wars with the Indians, and to support themselves. Henrico, where only a small church and one house remained, was quitted during Sir Thos. Smythe's government; Charles City never had but six houses; the soil of both is worn out and not fit for culture. Capt. Butler joined with the Indians in killing their cattle, and carried the beef on board his ship. Have followed the laws and customs of England to their uttermost. Butler's spleen proceeded from not being admitted one of the Council. Six, not ten, thousand persons have been transported to Virginia, who for the most part were wasted by the more than Egyptian slavery and Scythian cruelty exercised upon them by laws written in blood during Sir Thos. Smythe's government. Inclose a true and tragical relation of all sorts of tyranny exercised in his time, whose unfitness to restore the plantation is humbly referred to the King's consideration. This long and interesting letter is signed by Sir Francis Wyatt, Francis West, Sir Geo. Yeardley, George Sandys, Roger Smyth, Ralph Hamor, Isaac Maddison, John Pott, Sam. Mathews, John Utie, Wil. Peirce, and 23 others. Annexed,
20. I. Capt. Butler's unmasked face of our colony in Virgina as it was in the winter of the year 1622.
20. II. "Answer of the General Assembly in Virginia to the Declaration of the state of the colony in the twelve years of Sir Thos. Smythe's government, exhibited by Alderman Johnson, and others." Wants and miseries of the colony under most cruel laws sent over in print, contrary to the charter. The allowance of food in those times for a man was loathsome and not fit for beasts; many fled for relief to the savages but were taken again, and hung, shot, or broken upon the wheel: one man for stealing meal had a bodkin thrust through his tongue, and was chained to a tree until he starved. Many dug holes in the earth and hid themselves till they famished. So great was the scarcity that they were constrained to eat dogs, cats, rats, snakes, &c. and one man killed his wife and powdered her up to eat, for which he was burned. Many fed on corpses. Some wished Sir Thos. Smythe on the back of a mare which the Indians had killed and were boiling. Many born of ancient houses perished by famine; those who survived were constrained to serve the colony seven or eight years for their freedom. Houses and churches then built were so mean and poor that they could not stand above two or three years. The people breathed execrable curses upon Sir Thos. Smythe. All houses were ruined except some ten or twelve in James City. There are now four to every one that then was. There were no fortifications against a foreign enemy. Above one thousand people were reduced by these calamities to four hundred when Sir Geo. Yeardly arrived Governor. Ministers there were, but not in orders. The general condition of the colony in Sir Thos. Smythe's twelve years government is contrasted with the perfection then attained, and the Assembly declare that rather than live under the like government, they would desire the King to send Commissioners with authority to hang them. This paper is "affirmed to be true" and signed by Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor, and 15 others; also by Capt. Francis West, Sir Geo. Yeardley, and thirteen others "eye witnesses or resident in the country when every particular within written was effected." 1623, Feb 20.