America and West Indies: May 1626

Pages 80-81

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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May 1626

May 3. Petition of Ralph Merrifield to the Privy Council. Having set forth two ships under the command of Capts. Warner and Smith to the new plantation [St Christopher] in the Caribbee Islands, on their passage to the Downs they made prize of a small vessel of Dunkirk, which being a good sailer, they intended to take with them, but Sir Elen. Palmer required Capt. Warner to clear her in the Admiralty. Prays that she may go the voyage, and that Warner may answer for her on his return. [DOMESTIC Corresp. Car. I., Vol. XXVI., No. 36, Cal. p. 328.] On the same day there was an Order in Council for the restoration of the above to Capts. Warner and Smith. [Ibid, No. 28, Cal. p. 327.]
May 17.
James City.
10. Governor Sir Francis Wyatt and Council of Virginia to the Privy Council. Inclose a particular of all the lands granted by patent or otherwise. Besides those unable to plant their land, many are either dead or gone for England; suggest that all should be compelled either to manure or forfeit their lands. The reservation of a penny an acre upon patents would prevent the excessive engrossing of land. Reasons of "the slow proceeding of the growth of the plantation," chiefly through the government being divided between England and Virginia. Advise, as commanded, upon the most direct ways for settling a firm plantation. Dangers of being seated in small bodies; proposals to secure the forest by running a palisade from Martin's Hundred to Kiskyack about six miles, and to build houses therein at convenient distances; by which means they will gain, free from the savages, a rich circuit of ground little less than 300,000 acres; 1,200l. in ready money will be required for the work, and 100l. a year to maintain it. Have reduced the agreement to a certainty, which they inclose; desire answer by the next shipping. Forts and fortified towns must also be built, for which purpose 200 men at least with commanders and engineers of skill will be necessary. Not less than two hundred soldiers, well furnished, required to go against the Indians. Such means will enable them to undertake discoveries by land, "both for the riches of the mountains and probabilities of finding the passage to the South Sea," and will encourage "voluntaries to people the country." Staple commodities will be raised. The price of tobacco, must, in the mean-time be upheld, and all other but their own and the Somers Islands' prohibited. A constant magazine should be furnished yearly with such commodities as they may advertise. Nothing has hindered the progress of the arts, manual trades, and staple commodities, more than want of money amongst them; tobacco is their currency and they do not have it all the year round to pay workmen. So great a work, computed at not less than 20,000l. a year, requires a sufficient public stock a great proportion of which should be wholly at the disposal of the Governor, Council, and Assembly. The Governor, Council and other officers must be maintained by it; the forest won and stocked with cattle; fortifications raised; a running army maintained; and discoveries made by sea and land. Sir Francis Wyatt, who goes over by these ships, will clear any objections to these opinions. [Signed by Sir F. Wyatt and five of the Council. Sec. Coke has written a précis of this letter on the outer side, and added "referred for more particulars to Sir Fr. Wyatt; answer to be directed by the Lords."] Inclose,
10. I. Note of all lands granted in Virginia, by patent or otherwise, whether to societies or private persons, with names and number of acres granted.
10. II. 10. II. Proposition concerning the winning of the forest, signed by Sam. Mathews and Will. Claybourne, who are willing to undertake the same, upon certain conditions therein specified.
May 17.
James City.
11. Copy of the preceding letter and inclosure No. 1.