Library of Congress

Teachers

The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Timeline
Timeline Home Page
home
Colonial Settlement, 1600s-1763
Evolution of the Virginia Colony, 1610-1630
The Virginia Company's Public Relations Campaign, 1612

From the start of the colony, the stockholders in the Virginia Company were disappointed with the lack of returns on their investments in Jamestown. If the current stockholders were disappointed, potential new investors became even more cautious. As a result, the Virginia Company was constantly trying to find ways to encourage new investors. In the excerpts from the pamphlet The New Life in Virginea (1612), what mistakes did the Company admit? What does the Company claim it has done to correct these mistakes?

View the original document from The Capital and the Bay. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


The New Life in Virginea: Declaring the former successes and present estate of that plantation

It is come to passe . . . with the businesse and plantatio of Virginea, as it is commonly seene in the attempt and progress of all other most excellent things (which is) to be accompained with manifold difficulties, crosses and disasters, being such as are appointed by the highest providence, as an exercise in patience and other vertues, and to make more wise thereby the managers thereof: by which occasion not only the ignorant and simple minded are much discourages, but the malitious and looser sort . . . have whet their tongues with scornfull taunts against the action it selfe, in so much as there is no common speech nor publicke name of any thiug this day, . . . which is more vildly depraved, traduced and derided by such unhallowed lips, then the name of Virginea. For which cause (right noble Knight) I have set my selfe to publish this briefe apollogie to the sight and view of all men, not to answer any such in their particular folly, but to free the name it selfe from the injurious scoffer, and this commendable enterprise from the scorne and diresion of any such as by ignorance or malice have sought the way to wrong it. Which albeit I am well assured will no way availe to admonish or amend the incorrigible loosenes of such untamed tongues, yet shall I hold moine endevours well acquited, if I may but free your selfe, and so many right noble, and well affected gentelmen (touching the former ill sucesse) from wrongfull imputation, as also satisfie the depairing thoughts, and quicken the zeal of such friends and lovers to this businesse, as in their remote and forraine residence, but the spreading of rumours and false reports doe rest unsatisfied. Wherein (as I hope) not to exceed the bounds of modestie and truth, so for orders sake I have set it down in a briefe method of three parts. The first is nothing else but a briefe relating of things alreadie done and past: The second of the present estate of the businesse: And the third doth tend as a premonition to the planters and adventurers for the time to come. . . .

The second part ensueth of the present estate of the businesse, upon which point I know that all mens eares are now most attent . . . we know that Sir Thomas Gates with his sixe shippes, men and cattell, safelie arived at James Towne, about the fine of August last, the suddaine approach of suc an unlooked for supplie, did so amaze our people . . .

When they had all things well landed, and give thankes to God, the Knights and Captaines now began to frame the Colonie to a new conformitie . . . their first and chiefest care was shewed in settling Lawes devine and morall, for the honour and service of God, for daily frequenting the Church, . . . for due reverence to the Ministers of the Word, and to all superiours, for peace and love among themselves, and enforcing the idle to paines and honest labours, against blasphemie, contempt and dishonour of God, against breach of the Sabbath by gaming: and otherwise against adultrie, sacrildege and felonie; and in a word, against all wrongfull dealing amongst themseles, or injurious violence against the Indians. Good are these beginnings, wherein kGod is thus before, good are these lawes, and long may they stand in their due execution, But what is this (will some object) if wholesome lodging, cloathing for the backe and bodilie foode be wanting, the bellie pincht with hunger cannot heare, though your charme be otherwise never so sweet. All this was true, we have already confest it, when there was nothing but a confused troope that sought their owne consumption. . .

You shall know that our Colonie consisteth now of seven hundred men at least, of sundrie arts and professions, some more or lesse, they stand in health, and few sicke, at the ships comming thence, having left the fort at Cape Henry, fortified and kept by Captaine Davies, and the keeping of James towne to that noble and well deserving Gentleman Master George Percie. The Colony is removed up the river fourscore miles further beyond James towne to a place of higher ground, strong and defencible by nature, a good aire, wholesome and cleere (unlie the marish seate at James towne) with fresh and plentie of water springs, much faire and open grounds freed from woods, and wood enough at hand [refers to Henrico].

Being thus invited, here they pitch, the spade men fell to digging, the brick men burnt their bricks, the company cut down wood, the Carpenters fell to squaring out, the Sawyers to sawing, the Souldier to fortifying, and every man to somewhat. And to answer the first objection for holesome lodging, here they have built competent and decent houses, the first storie all of bricks, that every man may have his lodging and dwelling place apart by himselfe, with a sifficient quantitie of ground alotted thereto for his orchard and garden to plant at his pleasure, and for his own use. . . . And as for their clothing, first of wollen (whereof they have least need, because the countrie is very warme) it is and must be alwaies supplied from hence, to the benefit of English clothing: but for linnen, which they shall most need, without doubt by small and easie industrie there may amount a great increase from thence. . .

And for the last and maine objection of food, it cannot be denied by any one of reason, but with their now diligent planting and sowing of corne (whereof they have two harvests in a sommer)  the plentifull fishing there, the store of fowles and fruits of the earth, their present provision sent from hence at every shipping, together with the speedy increase of those sundrie sort of tame Poultry, Conies, Goats, Swine and Kine landed there above a yere agoe with Sir Thomas Dale, and since againe by Sir Thomas Gates, that this objection too, this maine objection of wanting food is utterly remooved: so that I cannot see, not any man else can judge in truth, but that ill and odious wound of Virginea, which setled so deepe a scarre in the mindes of many, in so sufficiently recovered, as it may now encourage not such alone (as heretofore) which cannot live at home, nor lay their bones to labour, but those of honest minds and better sort, which get their bread bu meanly heere, may seek to mend it there. . . .

The Lord Governour himselfe is now preparing to goe in his owne person, and sundrie other Knights and Gentlemen, with ships and men, so farre as our meanes will extend to furnish: and for preventing that wrong, which some Masters and Stewards have formerly done to their passengers at sea, in shortening their allowance, for their owne private lucar, it is ordered that every ship upon her mast shall have it written, what ought to be every daies allowance, that every one may see it, and no man be defrauded. And thus much briefly for the present condition of this plantation.


top of page

View the original document from The Capital and the Bay. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.