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They set about their adventure in the hope that it would "here-
after tend to the glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of
Christian religion, to such people as yet live in darkness and mis-
erable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and

Motives for Colonization 427

may in time bring the infidels and savages living in those parts
to human civility, and to a settled and quiet government." The
Company endeavored to be careful in the selection of the men
who were to emigrate and to refuse "idle and wicked persons
such as shame or fear compels into this action, and such as are the
weeds and rankness of this land"; they issued a true and sincere
declaration . to show what settlers they would accept, both as
regards religion and conversation, and faculties, arts, and trades.
They also made careful provision for the maintenance of the reli-
gious habits they prized so highly; churches were built with such
elaboration as their means allowed, and the practice of attending
the daily services there was carefully enforced. The whole work
of colonization was treated as an enterprise in which it was a work
of piety to engage, and collections were made in parish churches
for the college that was planned, for English and Indians, at
Henrico. The work continued despite many difficulties of every
kind. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Company, the colony
had been the refuge of a certain number of dissolute adventurers
from the first; there had been much difficulty in keeping them in
order, and in preserving friendly relations with the natives, while
there had been many quarrels among the officials. On the whole,
the colony prospered more in its material life than as a missionary
enterprise ; but it was r jt in a very flourishing condition at the close
of King James' reign.

The religious impulse was also strongly at work in the first settle-
ment of New England, not merely as affecting the spirit in which
the enterprise was planned, but also as affording the main motive
of those who actually emigrated. The Pilgrim Fathers were not
much concerned in planting the existing English type of Christian
civilization in the New World; but they desired to secure the
opportunity of founding a society for themselves which should
be thoroughly scriptural in character ; they hoped that this would
serve as a bright example to the rest of mankind. They estab-
lished a very strict ecclesiastical discipline, but one which was
entirely unlike the system they had found so galling in England.
Under their scheme temporal privileges were dependent on church
membership. "Most of the persons at New England are not
admitted of their Church and therefore are not freemen; and
when they come to be tried there, be it for life or limb, name or
estate, or whatsoever, they must be tried and judged too by those
of the Church, who are in a sort their adversaries." The enthu-
siasts for Theocracy sought out witches and banished Antinomians ;

428 English Historians

they even expelled and shipped off two members of the council
who were in favor of using the Prayer Book.

In a community of men of this type there was much intense in-
dividual earnestness, but little sense of corporate duty to their
neighbors, except in the way of furnishing them with a model to
copy. Though they had traded with the Indians, they had made
no serious efforts to civilize them, and had been careful to keep
them at arm's length. The war of extermination, waged against
the Pequod nation, alarmed all the neighboring tribes; and some
of the colonies found it wise, in 1643, f r their own security, to con-
solidate themselves into "The United Colonies of New England."
Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven were the
first members of this union. It was the beginning of that federa-
tion which has proved such a convenient system for governing a
growing nation. Both in the nature of the impulse which gave
them birth, and in the character of the settlements themselves,
there is a marked contrast between the history of the Northern and
Southern colonies on the American coast.

Religious convictions of different kinds exercised a considerable
influence in connection with the planting of other English settle-
ments in North America. Maryland was taken in hand by Sir
George Calvert, a Romanist, in 1632; through the personal con-
nections of the proprietor, this territory became the resort of such
of his co-religionists as emigrated. It was a district where English
Romanists obtained toleration, till the aggressive action of the
Jesuits called forth the inevitable reaction. Liberty of conscience
was adopted, as a matter of conviction, by Roger Williams at
Rhode Island, the settlement which he founded in 1636, after he
had been obliged to withdraw from New England, and a similar
course was pursued by the Quakers in West New Jersey and Penn-
sylvania. No serious effort was made to enforce religious uni-
formity after the Restoration, and the principle of civil toleration
was formulated, on grounds of expediency, in the Constitutions
which Locke drew up for Carolina. He hoped that peace might
be maintained among the diversity of opinions, "and that Jews,
heathen and other dissenters from the Christian religion might not
be scared away from the new colony." When the Puritan The-
ocracy succumbed before the storm which was raised by the trials
of witches in New England, there was no longer any effective
obstacle to the diffusion of Whig principles in regard to religious
liberty. They found a congenial soil, and have so deeply impreg-
nated American life and thought that there is some excuse for the

Motives for Colonization 429

mistake of regarding them as an original element in its compo-

4. Colonies as Sources of Gain

Religious motives had much to do in shaping the character of
particular settlements, but the main impulse in the work of colo-
nization was economic. The plantations offered a field for the
profitable investment of capital. While many of the London
merchants were eager to establish themselves on English soil,
others were ready to develop colonial resources, and to promote the
cultivation of products, such as tobacco and sugar, which were
in demand in European lands. The development of the Southern
colonies and the West Indian Islands was promoted by moneyed
men in England, who directed the energies of the planters into
raising commodities for export. These traders were not specially
concerned to foster communities which should be self-sufficing;
they preferred that the planters should manage their estates with
a view to the requirements of outside markets. As a consequence,
there was little subsistence farming in these regions. The land
was mostly held in large estates by men who carried on their busi-
ness, either with their own capital or through the help of the credit
extended to them by the merchants who were interested in the
trade. The course which these London capitalists pursued did
not always commend itself to the government; King James,
while he sympathized with their enterprise, was somewhat afraid
of pushing it too vigorously, and involving himself in a dispute
with Spain. Charles I was eager for the prosperity of Virginia,
and was anxious that the colony should at least provide its own
food supply; he feared that the future of the territory was being
sacrificed to the immediate gain of the planters. It was clear,
however, that the development of these settlements was of advan-
tage to the realm, and successive commissions gave careful atten-
tion to their affairs. For one thing, the plantations served to
supplement the resources of the realm, and to furnish supplies of
commodities which had hitherto been procured from abroad, so as
to diminish the commercial indebtedness of the country and to
influence the balance of trade in our favor. Again, the trade with
the colonies opened up a field for the employment of our shipping ;
and efforts were made, both by the crown and Parliament, to
restrict this newly established line of intercourse to English vessels,
in the interest of the maritime power of the country. After the

430 English Historians

Restoration, when the plantations were firmly established, a third
economic advantage to the mother country came more and more
clearly into view. The colonists demanded considerable quan-
tities of European goods, and the progress of the settlements opened
a larger market, the advantage of which English manufacturers
endeavored to retain for themselves. On these various grounds
English moneyed men were inclined to promote the plantation
of new areas, and the English governments were ready to approve
of the undertaking.

5. Colonies as Homes /or Englishmen

There must also have been a very large class who looked eagerly
to the plantations in the hope of finding a sphere where they could
engage, as independent men, in rural occupations. They may
have had little capital of their own, but they were confident that
if they obtained a start, they could make a living by their labor.
There is reason to believe that the material prosperity, and the
comparative peace, which England enjoyed during the Elizabethan
and Jacobean periods, had resulted in a considerable increase
of population. The growth of trade afforded openings for her
younger sons of country gentlemen; but there must have been a
large number of young men who greatly preferred an outdoor life,
and who had difficulty in raising the premium that was required
in order to be apprenticed to any branch of commerce. The fact
that the competition for farms was so keen, is an incidental proof
that there were a number of men who desired to follow this avo-
cation; and if they had no opportunity at home, they would be
ready to look for one abroad. Such men would be prepared to
devote their own labor to the arduous work of clearing and tilling
the ground for a livelihood ; they desired to have a holding which
they could work on their own account. Those plantations, which
did not raise suitable products for export, offered a poor prospect
of profit to the capitalists, but they would attract the classes of the
community who were prepared to engage in farming for subsist-
ence. It was almost inevitable that the colonies which were
suitable for the growth of cereals should be settled with small
homesteads, and not with large plantations managed by men who
were catering for distant markets. .

There have been many periods of English history when the
government would have looked askance on schemes for drawing off
large numbers of adult men to distant countries, where they could

Motives for Colonization 431

not be called upon to play a personal part in defending England
against invaders. More pressing anxiety was felt in the seven-
teenth century as to the best means of utilizing the able-bodied
population in times of peace; and the government was quite pre-
pared to give active assistance in promoting emigration. The
statute of 1563 had doubtless done much to bring about the ab-
sorption of vagrants in industrial pursuits; but, despite the excel-
lence of the London system for dealing with the poor, there appears
to have been a considerable body of the unemployed in the city
during the earlier part of the reign of James I. Among the motives
and reasons which the king urged with the view of inducing the
city to promote the Ulster Plantations it was pointed out that,
if a body of the inhabitants were to hive off from London to Dcrry,
the evils of overcrowding would be reduced, and there would
neither be the same risk of infection nor as great a pressure of com-
petition. The city was not easily induced to take active steps in
response to the invitation. In the subsequent story we hear more
of the king's endeavors to obtain contributions in money than of
any great success in securing emigrants from London.

The city merchants were much more keenly alive to the advantage
of developing trade, by planting in Virginia, than to the wisdom
of schemes for prosecuting subsistence farming in the north of
Ireland. The colonists, who were managing large estates and
raising tobacco for export, were in constant need of labor; the
Virginia Company and, after its dissolution, the agents of the
planters, were willing to pay a good price for servants of every
class; a large business sprang up, both at London and Bristol,
in the shipment of laborers to the plantations.

There can be no doubt that a preference would be given to per-
sons who had been brought up in the country and were accustomed
to out-of-door employment. The young and active men in any
parish, who saw little prospect of getting a holding of their own,
would possibly feel that they could better themselves by emigration,
though it is not probable that many adult servants in husbandry
had either the inclination or the opportunity to go so far afield.
There was more chance of drawing on the surplus population of
the towns, and on those artisans who were thrown out of work
by the fluctuations of their trade. It has already been pointed
out that the arrangements which were made for the relief of the
poor, prove how very easily the well-doing and industrious persons
of this class might be reduced to destitution; the rigidity of the
Elizabethan system, which told alike against change of residence

English Historians

and change of occupation, must have put great obstacles in the
way of any man obtaining employment when once he was thrown
out. Recruits could also be obtained from less desirable elements
of the population, as there was a constant desire on the part of the
judges and the government to mitigate the severity of our penal
code, and to inflict sentences of transportation in many cases
where the penalty of death had been incurred. The colonists did
their best to protect themselves against the intrusion of criminal
elements, as the Virginia Company had done in its day. They
insisted that each emigrant should be provided with a guarantee
of character and respectability; but these regulations could not
be maintained in the face of the great demand for labor.

6. Transportation of Irish and Servants

The openings afforded by the colonies must have done much to
relieve the country from the after-effects of the disturbances caused
by the Civil War. It is in the case of Ireland that we get the fullest
evidence ; Cromwell's campaign was ruthless enough ; and those
of the garrison at Drogheda, who escaped with their lives, were
transported to the Barbadoes. The scheme in which Parliament
then engaged, for the wholesale planting of Ireland by Cromwell's
soldiers, was an ingenious endeavor to get rid at once of a political
danger and of the arrears of pay. It could not be carried out,
however, until a wholesale deportation of the existing population
had been effected, and numbers of them seem to have been com-
pulsory immigrants to the plantations. Similar measures were
taken with regard to the Royalist prisoners after the battle of
Worcester, and the possibility of getting rid of restive -or danger-
ous elements in the population must have contributed immensely
to the establishment of civil order once more.

When the supply of prisoners and conquered persons fell off,
however, there were no legitimate means of keeping up the stream
of immigration or meeting the requirements of the planters, and a
systematic practice of kidnapping sprang up, by which large num-
bers of persons were spirited away to work as servants in the colo-
nies. The extent to which this shameful traffic was carried on is
very remarkable, and interesting evidence about it is afforded by
the mention of occasional and unsuccessful attempts to put it
down. In 1660 John Clarke petitioned for letters patent em-
powering him to keep a register office, to which all servants and
children might be brought before being transported to Virginia

Motives for Colonization 433

and the Barbadoes, so as to prevent the abuses of forcible trans-
portation of persons without their own or their parents' consent.
A similar proposal was made in 1664, and the complaints of mer-
chants, planters, and masters of ships, as well as of the Lord Mayor
and Aldermen of London, show how greatly some such institution
was required.




AMONG the many Elizabethan sailors whose daring exploits
initiated the British struggle for world trade and dominion there
is none more famous than Sir Francis Drake. As a Protestant
seaman, he added religious zeal to his enthusiasm for the plun-
der of Spanish commerce. In a time when the contest for oceanic
traffic took the form of ill-disguised warfare, Drake showed him-
self master of the art of sailing, fighting, and freebooting. He
made many bold and successful expeditions, but one of them stands
out above all others on account of its uniqueness and daring.
That is his voyage around the world, on which he set out in 1577.
The story of this journey is told in Mr. Corbett's little volume
on Drake from which is taken the following extract relating a part
of the tale after the rounding of South America.

i. Raiding Spanish Shipping 1

Lord Burleigh's scheme had failed, and Drake was knocking
at the golden gates. In the teeth of the astutest ministers of the
time, he was about to blow the blast before which the giant's doors
would fly open, and deliberately to goad the giant into open fight.
Full of the momentous meaning of his resolve, he paused upon the
threshold to do honor to the mistress whose favor he wore. Be-
fore the frowning entry he caused his fleet, in homage of their
sovereign lady, to strike their topsails upon the bunt as a token
of his willingness and glad mind, and to show his dutiful obedience
to her Highness. It was a piece of true Elizabethan chivalry, and
like a true Elizabethan knight he accompanied it with a shrewd
stroke of policy. Sir Christopher Hatton had now no visible

1 Corbett, Drake, chap. vi. By permission of Julian Corbett, Esq., and
The Macmillan Company, Publishers.


Drake and the Circumnavigation 435

connection with the venture. The vessel named after him had
been broken up, and his representative had been beheaded.
Drake knew well how flat fell prowess at the Faery Queene's court
if a man had not a friend at her ear. He knew, too, that no repu-
tation was so fashionable just then as that of a patron of discoveries,
nor could he be ignorant that all the new favorite's good-will
would be required to save him from Burleigh's power. So on the
poop of the little flagship was placed the crest of the Captain of
the Guard, and in his honor the Pelican became the Golden Hind.
So protected, Drake boldly entered the straits. Then from the
towering snow-cones and threatening glaciers that guarded the en-
try the tempests swept down upon the daring intruders. Out of the
tortuous gulfs that through the bowels of the fabulous Austral
continent seemed to lead beyond the confines of the world, rude
squalls buffeted them this way and that, and currents, the like
of which no man had seen, made as though they would dash them
to pieces in the fathomless depths where no cable would reach.
Fires lit by natives on the desolate shores as the strangers strug-
gled by, added the terrors of unknown magic. But Drake's
fortitude and consummate seamanship triumphed over all, and
in a fortnight he brought his ill-sailing ships in triumph out upon
the Pacific. Then, as though maddened to see how the adven-
turers had braved every effort to destroy them, the whole fury
of the fiends that guarded the South Sea's slumber rushed howling
upon them. Hardly had the squadron turned northward than
a terrific gale struck it and hurled it back. The sky was darkened,
and the bowels of the earth seemed to have burst, and for nearly
two months they were driven under bare poles to and fro without
rest, in latitudes where no ship had ever sailed. On the maps
the great Austral continent was marked, but they found in its
place an enchanted void, where wind and water, and ice and
darkness, seemed to make incessant war. After three weeks'
strife, the Marygold went down with all hands; and in another
week Wynter lost heart, and finding himself at the mouth of the
Straits, went home in despair; while the Golden Hind, ignorant
of the desertion, was swept once more to the south of Cape Horn.
Here, on the fifty-third day of its fury, the storm ceased, exhausted,
and Drake found himself alone. But it was no moment to repine,
for he knew he had made a discovery so brilliant as to deprive
even Magellan's of its radiance. He was anchored among the
islands southward of anything known to geographers, and before
him the Atlantic and Pacific rolled together in one great flood.

43 6 English Historians .

In his exultation he landed on the farthest island, and walking
alone with his instruments to its end, he laid himself down, and
with his arms embraced the southernmost point of the known
world. . . .

About a month later, little dreaming what had taken place, the
crew of the Grand Captain of the South were lazily waiting in
Valparaiso harbor for a wind to carry them to Panama with their
cargo of gold and Chili wine. As they lounged over the bulwarks
a sail appeared to the northward, and they made ready a pipe of
wine to have a merry night with the newcomers. As the stranger
anchored they beat her a welcome of their drum, and then watched
her boat come alongside. In a moment all was in confusion.
A rough old salt was laying about him with his fists, shouting in
broken Spanish, "Down, dog, down!" and the astounded Span-
iards were soon tight under hatches. It was Tom Moone
at his old work. Hither the Golden Hind had been piloted by
a friendly Indian in its search for provisions and loot. The little
settlement was quickly plundered of all it had worth taking, and
Drake's mariners, who for months had been living on salted pen-
guin, and many of whom were suffering from wounds received in
an encounter with the islanders of Mocha, were revelling in all
the dainties of the Chilian paradise. For three days the mysteri-
ous ship, which seemed to have dropped from the skies, lay in
the harbor collecting provisions, and then, laden with victuals, it
sailed away northward with its prize.

Drake's great anxiety now was to rendezvous his scattered fleet
for the sack of Lima and Panama, and assured that Wynter must
be ahead he fully expected to find him in 30 north latitude, the
point agreed on. After an ineffectual attempt to water at Co-
quimbo, where he found the Spaniards in arms, he discovered a
natural harbor a little north of it which suited his purpose. In a
month his preparations were complete. The men were thoroughly
refreshed ; a pinnace had been set up ; the Golden Hind refitted
from stem to stern, and under the guidance of the pilot of the Grand
Captain he set out to realize the dream of his life. Every one
except perhaps poor John Doughty was in the highest spirits.
The return of health and the glorious climate made them reckless
of the dangers of their single-handed attempt. Still they trusted
to find the Elizabeth, and as they searched the coast for water
with the pinnace they never lost hope of hearing of her. Fresh
plunder constantly compensated for their continued disappoint-
ment. At one point on the coast of Tarapaca they found a Span-

Drake and the Circumnavigation 437

iard asleep with thirteen bars of silver beside him. They apolo-
gized profusely for disturbing his nap, and politely insisted on
making amends by relieving him of his burden. Farther on they
met another driving a train of guanacoes laden with some eight
hundred pounds of silver, and expressing themselves shocked to
see a gentleman turned carrier they took his place ; but somehow,
as they afterwards said, they lost the way to his house and found
themselves suddenly just where they had left the pinnace.

So they romped along that peaceful coast, startling its luxurious
slumbers with shouts of reckless laughter till they came to Arica,
the frontier town of Peru and the point where the fabulous wealth
of the Potosi mines was embarked for Panama. It was a place
important enough to have tempted the Elizabeth from her tryst.
But not only was no trace of her to be found, but so hot was the
alarm in front of Drake that two small treasure-barks were all
there was in the harbor to plunder and the town was in arms.
A few hours ago a galleon had escaped northward, laden with
eight hundred bars of silver, all belonging to the king cf Spain,
and fuming to so narrowly miss his revenge, Drake at once resolved

Online LibraryCharles Austin BeardAn introduction to the English historians → online text (page 43 of 67)