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refolve whether they would fubmit, and re-
fign their charter ; and in default of fuch
fubmiffion, the King fignified his determina
tion to proceed for recalling their charter, in
fuch manner as to him ihould feem meet.

This arbitrary mandate fo aftoniihed the
Company, that when they met, it was read
over three times, as if they had diftrufted
their own ears.* Then a long filence en-
fued ; and when the queftion was called for,


* Stith, 304.

W Y A T. 89

twenty-fix only voted for a furrencler, and
one hundred and twelve declared againft it.
Thefe proceedings gave fuch an alarm to
all who were concerned in the plantation or
trade of the Colony, that fome {hips which
were preparing to fail were flopped ; but
the King ordered them to proceed ; declar
ing that the change of government would
injure no man's property. At the fame
time he thought it proper to appoint Com-
miffioners to go to Virginia, and inquire in
to the ftate of the Colony. Thefe were Sir
John Harvey, afterward Governor, John Po-
ry, who had been Secretary, Abraham Percy>
Samuel Matthews, and John JefFerfon.* The
fubjects of their inquiry were " How many
plantations there be ; which of them be pub
lic and which private ; what people, men
women and children, there be in each planta
tion ; what fortifications, or what place is
beft to be fortified ; what houfes and how
many ; what cattle, arms, ammunition and
ordnance ; what boats and barges ; what
bridges and public works ; how the Colony
ftandeth in refpect of the favages ; what
hopes may be truly conceived of the planta-
M tlon

* Chalmers 77.

Y A t.

tion and the means to attain thefe hopes."
The Governor and Council of Virginia
were ordered to afford their beft affiftance
to the Commiffioners but no copy of their
inftructions was delivered to them.

After the departure of the Cormriiffioners,
a writ of >uo Warranto was iflued by the
Court of King's Bench againft the Company
(November 10, 1623) and upon the repre-
fentation of the Attorneys-General that no de
fence could be made by the Company with
out their books and their Deputy-Treafurer,
the latter was liberated and the former were
reftored. The re-delivery of them to the
Privy Council was protracted, till the Clerks
of the Company had taken copies of them.*

In the beginning of 1624 the Commif
fioners arrived in Virginia, and a General
AfTembly was called, not at their requeft ;
for they kept all their defigns as fecret as pof-
fible. But notwithftanding all the precau

* Thefe copies were depofited in the hands of the Earl
of Southampton ; and after his death, which happened in
1624, defcended to his fon. After his death in 1667, they
were purchafed of his Executors for fixty guineas, by Col. ,
Byrd, of Virginia, then in England. From thefe copies,
and from the Records of the Colony, Mr. Stith compiled
his Hiftory of Virginia ; which extends no further than
the year 1624. Preface, p. vi.

\V Y A T. 9l

tions which had been taken, to prevent the
Colony from getting any knowledge of the
proceedings in England, they were by this
time, well informed 01 the whole, and had
copies of feveral papers which had been ex
hibited againft them.

The Aflembly, which met on the i4th of
February,* drew up anfwers to what had
been alleged, in a fpirited and mafterly ftyle ;
and appointed John Porentis, one of the
Council, to go to England as their agent, to
folicit the cauie of the Colony. This gen
tleman unhappily died on his pafTage ; but
their petition to the King and their addrefs
to the Privy Council were delivered, in which
they requeued that in cafe of a change of the
Government they might not again fall into
the power of Sir Thomas Smith, or his
confidents ; that the Governors fent over
to them might not have abfolute authority,
but be reftrained to at by advice of Coun
cil ; and above all, that they might " have
the liberty of General Aflemblies, than
which nothing could more conduce to the
public fatisfaction and utility." They com~
plained that the fhort continuance of their


* Stith, 305.

9* W Y A T.

Governors had been very difadvantageous.
" The firft year they were raw and inexpe
rienced, and generally in ill health, through
a change of climate. The fecond, they be
gan to underftand fomething of the affairs
of the Colony ; and the third, they were
preparing to return."

To the honour of Governor Wyat, it is ob-
ferved, that he was very active, and joined
moil cordially in preparing thefe petitions ;*
and was very far from defiring abfolute and
inordinate power, either in himfelf or in fu
ture Governors.

The Aflembly was very unanimous in their
proceedings, and intended, like the Commif-
fioners, to keep them fecret. But Pory, who
had long been verfed in the arts of corrup
tion, found means to obtain copies of all thei?
acls. Edward Sharpies, Clerk of the Coun
cil, was afterward convicted of bribery and
breach of truft ; for which he was fentenced
to the pillory, and loft one of his ears-

The Commiffi oners, finding that things
were going in the Aflembly contrary to their
wifhes, refolved to open feme of their pow,
ers with a view to intimidate them ; and then

* Stith, 315.

W Y A T, 93

endeavoured to draw * them into an explicit
fubmiffion to the revocation of their Charter :
But the Aflembly had the wifdom and firm-
nefs to evade the propofal, by requefting to


fee the whole extent of their commhTion.
This being denied, they anfwered, that when
the furrender of their Charter mould be de
manded by authority, it would be time ^ v .
enough to make a reply.

The laws enaded by this Aflembly are the
oldeft which are to be found in the records
of the Colony. They contain many wife
and good provifions.* One of them is equiv
alent to a Bill of 'Rights, defining the powers
of the Governor, Council, and Aflembly ;
and the privileges of the people, with regard
to taxes, burdens and perfonal fervices."j~
The twenty-fecond of March, the day of the


* Stith, 319 322. *

f At this time women were fcarce and much in requefl,
and it was common for a woman to connect herfelf with
more than one man at a time ; by which means great uu-
ealinefs arofe between private peribns, and much trouble
to the Government. It was therefore ordered " That ev
ery miniftcr fhould give notice in his church, that what
man or woman foever, fhould ufe any word or fpeech,
tending to a contract of marriage to two feveral peribns at
one time, although not precife and legal, fhould either un
dergo corporal punifhment, or pay a fine, according to the
quality of the offender." Stith, 322.

W Y A T.

maflacre, was ordere$ to be folemnized as a
day of devotion,

Whilft thefe things were doing in the Col
ony, its enemies in England were endeavour
ing, by means of fome perfons who had re
turned from Virginia, to inj ure the character
of the Governor ; but he was fufficiently
vindicated, by the teftimony of other perfons,
who aflerted, on their own knowledge, the
uprightnefs of his proceedings, and declared
upon their honour and confcience, that they
efteemed him juft and fmcere, free from all
corruption and private views, As he had
requefted leave to quit the Government at
the expiration of his Cornmiffion, the Com
pany took up the matter ; and when Sir
Samuel Argal was nominated as a candidatQ
in competition with him, there appeared but
eight votes in his favour, and fixty-nine for
the continuance of Wyat,

The Parliament aflembled in February,
1624, and the Company finding themfelves
too weak to refift the encroachments of a
Prince, who had engroffed almoft the whole
power of the State, applied to the Houfe of
Commons for protection. The King was
highly offended at this attempt, and fent a


W Y A T. 55

prohibitory letter to the Speaker, which was
no fooner read, than the Company's petition
was ordered to be withdrawn.

However fmgular this interference on the
one hand, and compliance on the other may
now appear, it was ufual at that time for the
King to impofe his mandates, and for the
Commons,* who knew not the extent of
their own rights, to obey j though not with
out the animadverfions of the moft intelli
gent and zealous members. The royal pre
rogative was held inviolably facred, till the
indifcretions of a fubfequent reign reduced it
to an object of contempt. In this inftance,
the Commons, however paflive in their fub-
miflion to the Crown, yet (hewed their re
gard to the intereft of the complainants as
Weil as of the nation, by petitioning the King
that no tobacco fhould be imported, but of
the growth of the Colonies, f To this James
confented, and a Proclamation was iflued

The Commiffioners, on their return from
Virginia, reported to the King, J " that the
people fent to inhabit there were moft of
them, by ficknefs, famine and mafiacres of the


* Chalmers, 66. f Hazard, I. 198.

J Hazard I. 190.

9<5 W Y A T.

favages, dead ; that thofe who were living
were in neceffity and want, and in continual
danger from the favages ; but that the coun-*
try itfelf appeared to be fruitful, and to thofe
who had refided there fome time, healthy ;
that if induftry were iifed, it would produce
divers ftaple commodities, though for fixteen
years pair, it had yielded few or none ; that
this neglect muft fall on the Governors and
Company, who had power to direct the plan
tations ; that the faid plantations were of
great importance, and would remain a lafting
monument to poflerity of his Majefty's moft
gracious and happy government, if the fame
were profecuted to thofe ends for which they
were firft undertaken ; that if the provifions
and inftructions of the firft Charter (1606)
had been purfued, much better effect had
been produced than by the alteration thereof
into fo popular a courfe, and among fo many
hands as it then was, which caufed much
confufion and contention."

On this report, the King, by a proclama
tion, (July 15) fupprefled the meetings of the
Company ; and, till a more perfect fettlement
could be made, ordered a Committee of the
Privy Council to fit every Thurfday, at the


W Y A T. 97

houfe of Sir Thomas Smith for conducing
the affairs of the Colony.* Soon after, viz.
in Trinity term, the Quo Warranto was
brought to trial, in the Court of King's
Bench ; judgment was given againft the Com
pany, and the Charter was vacated.

This was the end of the Virginia Compa
ny, one of the moft public fpirited focieties
which had ever been engaged in fuch an un
dertaking, f Mr. Stith, who had fearched
all their records and papers, concludes his
hiftory by obferving that they were "gen
tlemen of very noble, clear, and difmterefted
views, willing to fpend much of their time
and money, and did actually expend more
than 1 00,000 of their own fortunes, with
out any profpect of prefent gain or retribu
tion, in advancing an enterprize which they
conceived to be of very great confequenee
to their country."

No fooner was the Company diflblved,
than James iflued a new Commiffion (Auguft
26) for the government of the Colony. In
it, the hiftory of the plantation was briefly
recited. Sir Francis Wyat was continued
Governor, with eleven Affiftants or Counfel-
N lors,

* Stith, 329. f Ibid, p. 330,

9$ W Y A T.

lors, Francis Weft, Sir George Yeardley,
George Sandys, Roger Smith, Ralph Ham-
or, who had been of the former Council,*
with the addition of John Martin, John Har
vey, Samuel Matthews, Abraham Percy,
Ifaac Madifon, and William Clayborne. The
Governor and Council were appointed dur
ing the King's pleafure, with authority to
rule the Colony, and punim offenders, as fully
as any Governor and Council might have
done. No Aflembly was mentioned or al
lowed, becaufe the King fuppofed, agreeable
to the report of the Commiffioners, that " fo
popular a courfe" was one caufe of the late
calamities ; and he hated the exiftence of
fuch a body within any part of his domin
ions, efpecially when they were difpofed to
inquire into their own rights, and redrefs the
grievances of the people.

After the death of James, which happened
on the 27th of March, 1625, his ion and fuc-
ceffor, Charles, iffued a proclamation, f ex-
prefling his refolution, that the Colony and
Government of Virginia mould depend im
mediately on himfelf, without the interven
tion of any commercial company. He alfo

* Hazard, I. 189. f Ibid, I. 203.

W Y A T. 99

followed the example of his father, in making
no mention of a Rcprefentative Affembly, in
any of his fubfequent commiflions.

Governor Wyat, on the death of his fa
ther, Sir George Wyat,* having returned to
Ireland, the government of Virginia fell
again into the hands of Sir George Yeard-
ley. But, his death happening within the
year 1626, he was fucceeded by Sir John

Hazard, I. 231, 236.




JL HE voyages made to America, by
thefe navigators, in tjie beginning of the fev-
enteenth century, may be confidered as the
leading fteps to the colonization of New-
England. Excepting the fifhery at New
foundland, the Europeans were at that time
in actual pofleflion of no part of North-
America ; though the Englilh claimed a right
to the whole, by virtue of prior difcovery.
The attempts which Raleigh had made, to
colonize the fouthern part of the territory >
called Virginia, had failed ; but he and his
affociates enjoyed an exclufive patent from
the Crown of England, for the whole coaft j


* The account of Gpfnold's voyage and difcovery, in
the firft volume cf this work, is fo erroneous, from the
misinformation which I had received, that I thought it
beft to write the whole of it anew. The former miftakes
are here corrected, partly from the beft information which
I could obtain, after the moft afliduous inquiry ; but prin
cipally from my own obfervations, on the fpot ; compared
with the journal of the voyage more critically examined
than before.

G O S N O L D. 101

and thefe adventurers obtained a licenfe, un
der this authority, to make their voyages and

tive, intrepid, and experienced mariner, in
the w.eft of England.* He had failed in one
of the mips employed by Raleigh, to Vir
ginia ; and was convinced that there muft
be a fhorter and fafer way, acrofs the At
lantic, than the ufual route, by the Canaries
and the Weft-India Iflands. At whofc ex-
penfe he undertook his voyage to the north
ern part of Virginia, does not appear ; but
that it was with the approbation of Sir Wal
ter Raleigh and his aflbciates, is evident from
an account of the voyage which was prefent-
ed to him.")"

On the 26th of March, 1602, Gofnold
failed from Falmouth,^ in a fmall bark, the
tonnage of which is not mentioned, carrying
ihirty-two perfons, of whom eight were
manners. The deftgn of the voyage was


* Stith, 35, 48. Oldmixon, I. 218.

.f Purchas, v. 1651. J Ibid, 1647.

The names of the ptrfons who went in this voyage, as
fxr as I can colled* them, are as follows :



to find a direct and fhort courfe to Virginia ;
and, upon the difcovery of a proper feat for
a plantation, twelve of the company were to
return to England, and twenty to remain in
America ; till further afiiftance and fupplies
could be fent to them.

The former part of this defign was accom-
plilhed, as far as the winds and other circum-
flances would permit. They went no far
ther fouthward, than the 37th degree of lati
tude, within fight of St. Mary, one of the
Weflern Iflands. In the 43d degree they
approached the continent of America, which
they firft difcovered on the I4th of May,
after a pan 1 age of feven weeks,* The weak-


Bartholomew Gofnold, commander.

Bartholomew Gilbert, fecond officer.

John Angel.

Robert Salterne. He went again the next year with
Pring. He was afterward a Clergyman.

William Streete.

Gabriel Archer, gentleman and jouinalift. He af
terward went to Virginia. Archer's Hope, near
Williamfburg, is named from him.

James Rofier. He wrote an account of the voyage,
and prefented it to Sir Walter Raleigh.

John Brierton, or Brereton.

..... . Tucker, from whom the fhoal called Tucker's

Terrot is named.

* Smith, 1 6.

G O S N O L D. 103

nefs of their bark, and their ignorance of the
route, made them carry but little fail; or
they might have arrived fome days fooner.
They judged that they had fhortened the
diftance 500 leagues.

It is not eafy to determine, from the jour
nal, what part of the coaft they firft faw.*
Oldmixon fays it was the north fide of Maf-
fachufetts Bay. The defcription in the jour
nal does, in fome refpe&s, agree with the
coaft, extending from Cape- Ann to Marble-
head, or to the rocky point of Nahant.

From a rock, which they called Savage
Rock^ a ftiallop of European fabric came off
to them ; in which were eight favages ; two
or three of whom were dreffed in European
habits. From thefe circumftances, they con
cluded that fome filhing veflel of Bifcay had
been there, and that the crew were deftroy-
ed by the natives. Thefe people, by figns,
invited them to ftay, but " the harbour be
ing naught, and doubting the weather," they
did not think proper to accept the invitation.

In the night they ftood to the fouthward,
and the next morning, found themfelves
" embayed with a mighty headland," which

* Hift. Amer. I. 218.

104 G O S N O L D;

at firft appeared " like an ifland, by reafoii
of a large found, which lay between it and
the main." Within a league of this land,
they came to anchor in fifteen fathoms, and
took a very great quantity of cod. From
this circumfhmce, the land was named Cape-
Cod. It is defcribed as a low fandy more,
but without danger, and lying in the latitude
of 42. Capt. Gofnold with Mr. Brierton
and three men, went to it and found the
more bold and the farid very deep. A
young Indian, with copper pendants in his
ears, a bow in his hand, and arrows at his
back, came to them, and in a friendly man
ner offered his fervice ; but, as they were irl
hafte to return to the fhip, they had little
conference with him.

On the 1 6th, they failed by the more
foutherly ; and, at the end of twelve leagues,
faw a point of land, with breakers at a dif-
tance. In attempting to double this point,
they came fuddenly into ihoal water ; from
which they extricated themfelves by (landing
off to fea. This point they named Point
Care, and the breakers, "Tucker s Terror, from
the perfon who firft difcovered the danger.
In the night they bore up toward the land,


G O S N O L D. 105

and came to anchor in eight fathoms. The
next day, (ryth) feeing many breakers about
them, and the weather being foul, they lay
at anchor.

On the i 8th, the weather being clear, they
fent their boat to found a breach, which lay
off another point, to which they gave the
name of Gilbert's Point. The fhip remained
at anchor the whole of this day ; and fome
of the natives came from the fhore in their
canoes to vifit them. Thefe people were
dreiFed in fkins, and furnifhed with pipes
and tobacco ; one of them had a breaft-plate
of copper. They appeared more timorous
than thofe of Savage Rock, but were very

When the people in the boat returned from
founding, they reported a depth of water
from four to feven fathoms, over the breach ;
which the {hip pafled the next day, (i9th)
and came to anchor again above a league be
yond it. Here they remained two days,
furrounded by fcools of fih and flocks of
aquatic birds. To the northward of weft,
they faw feveral hummocks, which they
imagined were diftinct iflands ; but when
they failed toward them, (on the 21 ft) they
O found

io6 G O S N O L D,

found them to be frnall hills within the land*
They difcovered alfo an opening,, into which
they endeavoured to enter, fuppofmg it to be
the fouthern extremity of the found between
Cape-Cod and the main land. But on ex
amination, the water proving very fhoal, they
called it Shoal Hope, and proceeded to the
weftward. The coaft was full of people,
who ran along the fhore, accompanying the
hip as he failed ; and many fmokes appear
ed within the land*

In coafting along to the weftward, they
difcovered an iiland, on which the next day
(22d) they landed* The defcription of it in
the Journal is this 5 u A difmhabited iiland j
from Shoal Hope it is eight leagues ; in cir
cuit it is five miles, and hath forty-one de
grees and one quarter of latitude. The
place moft pleafant ; for we found it full of
wood, vines ) goofeberry bufhes, hurt-berries,
rafpices, eglantine [fweet-briar,] &c. Here
we had cranes, herns, {haulers, gcefe, and di
vers other birds ; which there, at that time,
upon the cliffs, being fandy wath fome rocky
ftones, did breed and had young. In this
place we faw deer. Here we rode in eight
fathoms, near the.ihore ; where we took great


G O S N a L D*. fo;

ftore of cod, as before at Cape-Cod, but much
better. This ifland is found, and hath no
danger about it." They gave it the name
of Martha s Vineyard^ from the great num
ber of vines which they found on it.

From this iiland, they paffed (on the 24th)
round a very high and diftinguifhed pro
montory, to which they gave the name of
Dover Cliff; and came to anchor " in a fair
found, where they rode ail night.'*

Between them and the main, which was
then in fight, lay " a ledge of rocks, extend
ing a mile into the fea, but all above water,
and without danger." They went round
the weftern extremity of this ledge, and
" came to anchor in eight fathoms, a quar
ter of a mile from the fhore, in one of the
flatelieft founds that ever they had feen."
This they called Gof/iold's Hope. The north
fide of it was the main land ftretching eafl
and weft, diftant four leagues from the ifl
and, where they came to anchor, to which
they gave the narae' of Elizabeth^ in honour
of their Queen.

On the 28th of May, they held a coun
cil, refpecYmg the place of their abode, which
they determined to be " in the weft part of


G O S N O L D.

Elizabeth Ifland, the north-eaft part, running
out of their ken." The ifland is thus de-
fcribed. " In the weftern fide, it admitteth
fome creeks or fandy coves, fo girded, as the
water in forne places meeteth ; to which the
Indians from the main, do often refort for
fifhing crabs. There is eight fathom very
near the more, and the latitude is 41 10'.*
The breadth of the ifland from found to
found, in the weftern part, is not paffing a
mile, at mpft ; altogether unpeopled and dif-

" It is overgrown with wood and rubbifh.
The woods are oak, am, beech walnut,
witch-hafel, fafiafrage and cedars, with divers
others of unknown names. 'JThe rubbifh is
wild-peas, young faflafrage, cherry trees,
vines^ eglantine (or fweet-briar,) goofeberry
bufhes, hawthorn, honey fuckles, with others
of the like quality. The herbs an4 roots are
ftrawberries, rafps, ground-nuts, alexander,
furrin, tanfy, &c. without count. Touching
the fertility of the foil, by our own exr^erir
ence, we found it to be excellent ; for, fow-


* In Gofnold's letter to his father, the latitude is faid
to be 41 20', which is nearer the truth, It is laid dcwr.
in Des Barres's Charts, 41 24'.

G O S N O L D. 109

ing fome Englifh pulfe,it fprouted out in one
fortnight almoft half a foot.

" In this ifland is a pond of frefli water,
in circuit two miles ; on one fide not diftant
from the fea thirty yards. In the centre of
it, is a rocky i/let, containing near an acre of
ground, full of wood and rubbim, on which
we began our fort and place of abode, and
made a punt or flat-bottomed boat to pafs
to and fro over the frefh water.

" On the north fide, near adjoining to
Elizabeth, is an iflet, in compafs half a mile,
full of cedars, by me called Hill's Hap ; to
the northward of which, in the middle of
an opening on the main, appeared another
like it, which I called Hop's Hill." When
Capt. Gofnold with divers of the Company
" went in the fliallop toward Hill's Hap to
view it, and the fandy cove," they found a
bark canoe, which the Indians had quitted for
fear of them. This they took and brought
to England. It is not faid that they made
any acknowledgment or recompenfe for it.

Before I proceed in the account of Gof-
nold's tranfactions, it is neceflary to make
fome remarks on the preceding detail, which
}s either abridged or extracted from the

Online LibraryUnknownAmerican biography: or, An historical account of those persons who have been distinguished in America, as adventurers, statesmen, philosophers, divines, warriors, authors, and other remarkable characters .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 24)