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Colonial Settlement, 1600s-1763
Evolution of the Virginia Colony, 1610-1630
A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affaires in Virginia, 1622

When Edward Waterhouse wrote the following "declaration," Virginia was just recovering from the so-called Massacre of 1622. Much of Waterhouse's narrative is, in fact, devoted to describing this event (see additional excerpt in Virginia's Early Relations with Indians). In this uprising, which took the colonists completely by surprise, the Indians killed nearly 350 colonists. To what extent does the massacre shape Waterhouse's description of the colony? How?

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To The Honrable Companie of Virginia.

Right Honorable and Worthy:

The fame of our late vnhappy accident in Virginia, hath spread it selfe, I doubt not, into all parts abroad, and as it is talked of of all men, so no question of many, and of most, it cannot but be misreported, some carryed away with ouer-weak lightnesse to beleeue all they heare, how vntrue soeuer; others out of their disaffection possibly to the Plantation, are desirous to make that, which is ill, worse; and so the truth of the Action, which is only one, is varied and misreported. I haue thought it therefore a part of some acceptable seruice in me towards you, whose fauors haue preferred me to be a member of your Company, to present you with these my poore labours, the Collection of the truth hereof, drawne from the relation of some of those that were beholders of that Tragedie, and who hardly escaped from tasting of the same cup . . . That so the world may see that it was not the strength of a professed enemy that brought this slaughter on them, but contriued by the perfidious treachery of a false-hearted people, that know not God nor faith. . . .

This spatious and fruitful Country of Virginia, is (as is generally knowne to all) naturally rich, and exceedingly well watered, very temperate, and healthfull to the Inhabitants, abounding with as many naturall blessings . . . as any Country in the world is knowne to afford. . . . From whence ariseth an asurance that (by the assistance and skill of industry) those rich Furres, Cordage, and other Commodities, which with difficulty and danger are now drawn from Russia, will be had in Virginia and the part adioyning, with ease and safety. And the Masts, Plancks, and Boards, the Pitch and Tarre, the Pot-ashes and Sope-ashes, the Hempe and Flaxe, which now are fetched from Norway, Denmarke, Poland, and Germany, will there be had in abundance. The Iron, which hath so wasted our English Woods, (that it selfe in short time must decay together with them) is to be had in Virginia (where wasting of Woods is an ease and benefit to the Planter) for all good conditions answerable to the best Iron of the world, whereof proofe hath beene made. The Wines, Fruits, and Salt of France and Spaine: the Silkes of Persia and Italy, will be had also in Virginia, in no kinde of worth inferiour, where are whole Woods of many miles together of Mulberry trees of the best kindes, the proper food of the Silke-worme, and a multitude of other naturall commodities. Of Woods, Roots and Berries, for excellent Dyes; of Plants and other Drugs for Physicall seruice; of sweet Woods, Oyles and Gummes, for pleasure and other vse; of Cotton-wooll, Silke-grasse and Sugar-Canes, will there be had in abundance, with many other kindes. And for Corne, Cattell, and Fish, (which are the substance of the food of man) in no place better: and Graine also of our owne Country prospering there very well; but their Maize (being the naturall Graine of Virginia) doth farre exceed in pleasantnesse, strength, fertilities, and generalitie of vse, the Wheat of England.

To conclude (but out of certaine aduertisements so often reiterated from thence, as well as by the constant relations of many hundreds now yearely coming and going) they auow, that it is a Country which nothing but ignorance can thinke ill of, and which no man but of a corrupt minde & ill purpose can defame . . . And for the Passage thither, and Trade there, it is free from all restraint by forren Princes, whereunto most of our other accustomed trades are subiect . . .

In the three last yeares of 1619, 1620, and 1621, there hath beene prouided and sent for VIRGINIA forty two Saile of ships, three thousand fiue hundrend and seauenty men and women for Plantation, with requisite prouisions, besides store of Cattell, and in those ships haue beene aboue twelue hundred Mariners imployed . . . In which space haue been granted fifty Patents to particular persons, for Plantation in VIRGINIA, who with their Associates haue vndertaken therein to transport great multitudes of people and cattell thither . . .

The Letters written from the Gouernor and Treasurer in VIRGINIA in the beginning of March last, (which came hither in April) gaue assurance of ouercomming and bringing to perfection in this yeare, the Iron-works, Glasse-works, Salt-works, the plentifull sowing of all sorts of English graine with the Plough, hauing now cleared good quantitie of ground; setting of store of Indian Corne or Maize, sufficient for our selues, and for trucke with the Natiues; restraint of the quantity of Tobacco, and amendment of it in the quality, learned by time and experience; . . . and for the erecting of a fayre Inne in Iames-Citie for the better entertainment of new commers, whereto and to other publike workes, euery old planter there offered freely and liberally to contribute. . . .

By this (though it be but in part) the Reader may vnderstand the great riches and blessings of this excellent Countrey, which euen ordinary diligence and care must needes strangely improue. But that all men may see the vnpartiall ingenuity of this Discourse, we freely confesse, that the Countrey is not so good, as the Natiues are bad, whose barbarous Sauagenesse needs more cultiuation then the ground it selfe, being more ouerspread with inciuilitie and treachery, then that with Bryers. For the land being tilled and vsed well by vs, deceiued not our expectation, but rather exceeded it farre, being so thankfull as to returne an hundred for one. But the Sauages though neuer Nation vsed so kindly vpon so small desert, haue in stead of that Haruest which our paines merited, returned nothing but Bryers and thornes, pricking euen to death many of their Benefactors: yet doubt wee not, but that as all wickedness is crafty to vndoe it self, so these also, thorow our sides, haue more wounded themselues then vs, God Almighty making way for seueritie there, where a fayre gentlenesse would not take place. The occasion whereof thus I relate from thence.

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