America and West Indies: July 1624

Pages 63-69

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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July 1624

July? Request [to the Privy Council?] that as the King is concluding a contract with divers persons for all tobacco from the English Colonies for his own use, orders may be given to the Governor of Virginia not to suffer any trade with the Hollanders who are now freighting ships for that purpose, their provisions not being required in that plantation. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Jac. I., Vol. CLXIX. No. 7, Cal. p. 290.]
July 2.
The King to Solicitor General Heath. The Commons have petitioned against the import of foreign tobacco, and the planters and adventurers in Virginia and the Somers Islands have also petitioned for consideration of the languishing state of those colonies, which can only subsist at present by the sale of their tobacco at reasonable prices Although well assured that these plantations cannot prosper, if they rely upon tobacco only and neglect other things of greater consequence, yet he is required, with the advice of Sec. Conway and Sir Rich. Weston, to draw up a contract with the planters and adventurers of these colonies for all their tobacco to be delivered for the King's use, on which His Majesty will declare his pleasure concerning that of other countries. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Jac. I., Vol. CLXIX., No. 5, Cal. p. 290.]
July? Statement [by Sol. Gen. Heath,] that the House of Commons having petitioned against the importation of foreign tobacco, not of the growth of the King's dominions, His Majesty conceiving it may further trade and bring money into this realm, is willing to contract with the Governor and Company of Virginia and the Bermudas for the import of a sufficient quantity for England and Ireland. The King will prohibit the import of foreign tobacco as requested, and the planting of any considerable quantity in England, and will take of those colonies 400,000 weight yearly, of two sorts, the better at 15l. the cwt. the worser at 10l. the cwt. The Companies to be allowed to export to foreign countries all imported above that quantity. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Juc. I., Vol. CLXIX., No. 6, Cal. p. 290.]
July 3.
Sir F. Nethersole to [Carleton]. A Commission of Privy Councillors and others appointed to advise on a fit patent for the Virginia Company, the old one having been overthrown by a quo warranto the last day of term. The intended reformation is that there shall be a Company for trade but not for government of the country, of which latter the King will himself take care. This is to avoid the faction that has grown in the Company and the "popularness" of the government, also displeasing to the King. Report speaks of a great army of 100 men to be sent thither to secure the inhabitants from the Indians without distracting them from their labours. [Extract. DOMESTIC Corresp. Jac. I., Vol. CLXIX. No. 14, Cal. p. 291.]
July. 17. Lord President Mandeville to Sec. Conway. Sends, for the King's information, a brief of the proceedings of the Commissioners for Virginia. All will be at a stand until a proclamation go forth to stay the importation of foreign tobacco; which if it be not prevented will throw back the progress of the Colony two or three years. It is in contemplation to make restitution to the King for any loss there may be in his customs, by raising it out of the plantation tobacco. Incloses,
17. I. Orders set down at a meeting of the Commissioners for Virginia, the Commission being sealed on the 15 July 1624 [See ante, 24 June]. To meet every Thursday at Sir Thos. Smythe's house; all charters, writings, and seals of the Company to be left in custody of the clerk and used by the Commissioners at their pleasure. The present state of that plantation to be considered at the next meeting. Power to the Committee to examine persons able to give information therein, and report to be made upon the fittest course to settle the government, the necessary supplies, defence against the savages, and the commodities that can be raised. Publication of the King's commission to be made at the Exchange; any going or sending to Virginia to repair to the Commissioners to receive directions, as they did before from the Company. The Committee are next to take into consideration how the plantation now slands, and how it did stand at the bringing of the quo warranto, and what transactions and grants have been made since that time, and by whom. The Commissioners conceive that there is absolute necessity, for the present, for maintaining the plantation by their tobacco, and that the importation of foreign tobacco should be restrained. The Lord President is desired to request the King that no ship be permitted to go to Virginia until resolution be taken for settling the government there, lest the report of the dissolution of the former government breed confusion. before the settling of a new. The Commissioners to meet every day until further resolutions are taken for the good of the plantation. 1624, July 16.
July 18. Order of the Privy Council to move the King for an allowance of 150l. to Thomas [John] Pory, employed by the Board in Virginia "about His Majties special affairs" in which service he hath expended 100l. [Colonial Entry Bk., Vol. LXXIX., p. 277.]
July 19.
Sec. Conway to Lord President Mandeville. The King approves the proceedings in the Virginia business. The restraint of import of tobacco is to be considered; propounds some difficulties therein. [Minute. Conway's Letter Bk., p. 136.]
July 19.
Sec. Conway to Att. Gen. Coventry. To put Mr. Bing in the Commission for Virginia, if he know no cause to the contrary. [Minute, Conway's Letter Bk., p. 137.]
July 20. Warrant to pay to John Pory 150l. in discharge of 100l., expended by him, and as a reward for his service when employed in Virginia about the King's special affairs. [Sign Manual, Jac. I., Vol. XVI., No. 50.]
July 25.
18. Attorney General Conventry to Sec. Conway. Certifies why [Robt] Bing was willingly forgotten in the commission for Virginia. The business in hand is weighty and serious, this man somewhat light, and to use the Lord Keeper's words, "a mere good fellow, a man of no estate, who, for saucy conduct before the Council table, and offensive behaviour to Lord Southampton, had been committed to the Marshalsea." Prays for speedy directions, that, if these reasons be not allowed by the King, he may take a course for adding him to the commission himself, having no other end in view but His Majesty's service.
July 26.
Sec. Conway to Lord President Mandeville. The King has been importuned by the bearer, Capt. Bargrave, for the continuance of his protection. The Privy Council is to examine what advance Bargrave has made in the payment of his debts, and to renew protection for six months if his real purpose is to order his estate for the payment of them, with provision that he desist from molesting others by suits in the Star Chamber, and especially Sir Thos. Smythe, the King being informed that is the only use Bargrave would make of his protection. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Jac. I., Vol. CLXX., No. 65.]
July 31. 19. Solicitor General Heath to Sec. Conway. The Commissioners for Virginia conceive that a commission from the King, under the Great Seal, should be sent to some of the principal inhabitants there for present government of the colony. Sends a form agreed on [wanting] for His Majesty's signature. and desires that a last of powder may be sent thither out of the King's store.
July 31.
Philpot Lane.
20. Sir Thos. Smythe to Sec. Conway. Capt. Bargrave has returned from Court to London, and gives out that his protection is renewed. The Virginia Company were in hopes that their debt of 500l. would have been first satisfied, which they intended for relief of the colony. Desires the inclosed petition may be shown to the King.Annexed,
20. I. Petition of sundry Commissioners and Adventurers of the Virginia Company to the King. [Duplicate of the petition to the Privy Council calendared under date of 26 June1624, ante, p. 62.]
July 21. Petition of Gov. Sir Fran. Wyatt, the Council and Assembly of Virginia to the King. Have understood that His Majesty, not-withstanding the unjust disparagement of the planation, has taken it under his especial care; intreat that credit may not be given to the late declarations presented to His Majesty concerning the happy but indeed miserable estate of the colony during the first twelve years [of Sir Thos. Smythe's government] nor to the malicious im-putations which have been laid upon the late government. Inclose the true state of both, and earnestly request that the present government may be continued. Pray that the King's tender compassion will not allow them to fall into the hands of Sir Thos. Smythe or his confidents. Being disabled through the late massacre, continued war, and mean price of tobacco, from setting up staple commodities, extirpating the savages, and much less fortifying against foreign enemies, they solicit the effect of His Majesty's intention for the colony and the Somers Islands to have the sole importation of tobacco, not as an end to affect that contemptible weed, but as a present means to set up staple commodities; and that they may have a voice in the disposal of the soldiers they have been put in hopes will be sent over. Signed by Sir Fran. Wyatt, Capt. Fran. West, Sir Geo. Yeardley, and twenty-six others. Inclose,
21. I. Brief declaration of the plantation of Virginia during the first twelve years, when Sir Thos. Smythe was Governor of the Company, and down to this present time by the ancient planters now remaining alive in the colony." Read in General Assembly and fully approved. The heads of this paper, consisting of eighteen pages, may be abstracted as follows:— Reasons that were published why a plantation should be settled in Virginia [in 1606]; extreme wants of the first plantation of 100 persons. The first supply sent about nine months after in the John and Francis, and the Phoenix, with 120 persons found not more then 40 inhabitants, and of those only ten able-bodies men. Wholly employed in cutting down trees for masts, and digging for gold. Some few houses built, and four acres of ground cleared for the whole colony. The second supply sent in the Mary Margaret, with 60 persons, mostly gentlemen and some Poles, arrived about nine months after, Michaelmas [1608].In less than two months, want compelled them to trade with the Indians for corn. Capt. Samuel Argoll then came in a small barque, but with neither men nor provisions. The following month the third supply arrived, called Sir Thos. Gates' fleet, of seven ships and near 500 persons; but there were so few houses that these were quartered in an open field. The colony was then divided into three parties; the 1st, under Capt. Fran. West, to seat at the head of the river; the 2nd, under Capt. John Smith, then President, at James Town; and the third, under Capt. John Martin, in Nansamund River. The Indians soon forced them all to retire, and famine compelled them to devour hogs, dogs, and horses, or what they could light upon. On 20 May [1610] Sir Thos. Gates and Sir Geo. Somers happily arrived in two small barques built in the Somers Islands, after the Sea Adventure was wrecked, and with them 100 persons barely provided. Their number at that time consisted of 60 persons. They soon resolved to leave the colony, hoping never to return, and had all embarked in two pinnaces when they met with Lord De la Warr, who had brought three good ships, 250 persons, and some store of provisions. Within a few months not less than 150 died of calenture and fever. Two small forts were erected at Kiccowtan. At the end of October, Lord De la Warr sent orders to Capts. Yeardley and Holcroft to abandon the forts, go to James Town, and soon after Capts. Ed. Brewster and Yeardley, with 150 persons, marched towards the mountains for discovery of gold; but this design was hindered thro' the chiefs being slain by the savages. Then came the Dainty with 12 men and one woman. About three months after, Lord De la Warr, "his disease of body growing much upon him," quitted Virginia, leaving Capt. Geo. Percy, Deputy Governor. At his departure the plantations held were James Town and Point Comfort, and, a fortnight after, the Hercules landed 30 people and provisions. On 12 May following [1611] arrived Sir Thos. Dale, with three ships, 300 persons, and provisions "for the most part, such as hogs refused to eat." He immediately published most tyrannous and cruel laws sent over by Sir Thos. Smythe. Sir Thos. Gates' three ships, "three carvills," and 300 persons, meanly provided with victuals, came soon afterwards. The following Michaelmas, Sir Thos. Dale, with 300 persons, began to build Henrico Town; his whole company endured the most extraordinary sufferings. The colony continued in extreme misery and slavery for five years. Fortifications, buildings, and other improvements in the time of Sirs Thos. Dale and Gates (the people not allowed to employ themselves in husbandry); the ships then sent over were the John and Francis and the Sarah, with few men and less victuals; the Treasurer, with Capt. Sam. Argoll and 50 men; and the Elizabeth with 13 persons, in which Sir Thos. Gates went for England, leaving the government with Sir Thos. Dale. Soon after they were seated at Charles Town, peace was concluded with the savages. Want and scarcity then caused an intended mutiny, but it was discovered and six were executed. After this the John and Francis came, with 20 persons; the Treasurer, with 20 persons, in which ship Sir Thos. Dale quitted Virginia, leaving the government to Capt. Geo. Yeardley, under whom the colony lived in peace and plenty. The following Michaelmas, the Susan landed the first magazine consisting of necessary clothing. At Christmas the Governor and a company of 84 men marched against the Indians, revenged themselves upon them, and con-cluded a league which lasted inviolable almost two years. In the March following those who had served three years demanded their long desired freedom, to which the Governor assented. In May, Capt. Sam. Argoll arrived, with 100 persons. The next ship, the George, came so meanly provided that, had not the men been relieved by the old planters, they must have starved. The Neptune and the Treasurer arrived in August following, set out at the charge of Lord De la Warr, which brought a disease they had never known before, called the bloody flux. Then came the William and Thomas, and the Gift in January, followed by the Eleanor in April, in which Capt. Argoll shipped himself for England. Miseries and calamities were endured during the whole twelve years; few works of importance were performed, and all men's letters were examined, that the true state of the colony might not be declared. No man was permitted to go home, but was kept in the colony by force. One man received the King's pass closely made up in a garter, lest it should have been seized. Sir Thos. Dale, at his arrival, pulled Capt. Newport's beard, and threatened to hang him, for affirming Sir Thos. Smythe's relation to be true. 70,000 l. was advanced during Smythe's 12 years' government, at the end of which time, in April 1619, Sir Geo. Yeardley arrived Governor. State in which he found the colony, his commissions and instructions from the Company, and proceedings. All who arrived before the departure of Sir Thos. Dale were made free; the cruel laws by which they had been governed were abrogated, liberty was given to all to choose and plant their dividends of land; a General Assembly was established, and ordered to be held yearly, to consist of the Governor, Council, and two Burgesses from each plantation, freely to be elected by the inhabitants. In three years the country was in a flourishing condition, which is described. In October 1621, Sir Fran. Wyatt arrived Governor, who confirmed them in all their privileges. Then came the massacre by the Indians, on 22 March 1622, "that almost defaced the beauty of the whole colony," and prevented the continuance of "those excellent works wherein they had made so fair a beginning," and after that the famine the following year. The colony has been revenged upon the savages, and in time it is hoped they will be driven from those parts. The present state of the colony is left to the report of the Commissioners now sent over by the Privy Council.
July? 22. Reasons alleged on behalf of the King's Farmers of the custom and impost upon tobacco. Arguments in favour of a reduction of the duties. Capt. Downton's tobacco was 6,000 weight, the impost and custom more than 2,000l., the composition 500l., which he is not provided to pay. Pray that duties may be imposed proportionable to the value and quality of that drug, and for redress of several grievances.
July? 23. Brief answer to the propositions touching tobacco lately delivered by the King's Farmers of Customs, showing a profit of 93,350l. to the Crown on the importation of 300,000 lbs. of tobacco from Virginia, 100,000 lbs. from the Somers Islands, and 50,000 lbs. from Spain, or elsewhere.