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Colonial Settlement, 1600s-1763
Evolution of the Virginia Colony, 1610-1630
A Declaration of the State of Virginia, June 22, 1620

The Virginia Company undertook several changes to cope with its many troubles. The following document describes some of these changes. According to the document, what reforms was the Virginia Company pursuing? What specific problems were these solutions designed to solve? Compare these plans with the concerns voiced by Sir George Yeardley (the third document).

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After the many disasters, wherewith it pleased Almighty God to suffer the great Enemy of all good Actions and his Instruments, to encounter and interrupt, to oppresse and keepe weake, this noble Action for the planting of Virginia, with Christian Religion, and English people: It hauing pleased him now contrarily of his especiall great grace, so to blesse and prosper our late carefull endeuours, as well for the repairing of all former breaches, as for supplying of the present defects, wherewith the Colony was kept downe, that it hath as it were on a sodaine growne to double that height, strength, plenty, and prosperity, which it had in former times attained: We haue thought it now the peculiar duety of our place, accordingly as it hath beene also ordered by a generall Court, to Summon as it were by a kinde and louing inuitement, the whole Body of the Noble and other worthy Aduenturors, as well as to the conseruing and perfecting of this happy worke, as to the reaping of the fruit of their great expences and trauailes.

. . . Now touching the present estate of our Colony in that Country, We haue thought it not vnfit thus much briefly to declare. There haue bin sent thither this last yeere, and are now presently in going, twelue hundrend persons and vpward . . . and there are neere one thousand more remaining of those that were gone before. The men lately sent, haue bin most of them choise men, borne and bred vp to labour and industry. . . . The people are all diuided into seueral Burroughs; each man hauing the shares of Land due to him set out, to hold and enioy to him and his Heires. The publike Lands for the Company here, for the Gouernour there, for the College, and for each particular Burrough, for the Ministers also, and for diuers other necessary Officers, are likewise laid out by order, and bounded. The particular Plantations for diuers priuate Societies, are setled in their Seates, being allotted to their content, and each in conuenient distance. The rigour of Martiall Law, wherewith before they were gouerned, is reduced within the limits prescribed by his Maiestie: and the laudable forme of Iustice and gouernment vsed in this Realme, established, and followed as neere as may be. The Gouernour is so restrained to a Counseil ioyned with him, that hee can doe wrong to no man, who may not haue speedy remedy. . . .

And now to come to that which concerneth the Aduenturors in particular . . . We therefore let them know, that in this last yeare now ended, there haue beene granted by the Company vnder their legall Seale, eleuen seuerall Patents for particular Plantations; and more are in hand to be passed this next Quarter-Court. It is not vnprobable that vpon each of these Patents, diuers hundreds of persons will soone Plant in Virginia: there haue beene already transported vpon the first, aboue three hundred men. . . . Seeing therefore the onely matter of retribution to the Aduenturors, is by a faire proportion of Land to them and their heires; namely of one hundred acres for euery share of twelue pounds & ten shillings, vpon a first diuision; & as much more vpon a second, the first being peopled; with fiftie acres for euery person, (to be doubled in like manner) which at their own charges they shall transport to inhabit in Virginia before the 24. day of Iune 1625. if he continue there for three yeeres . . .

A Declaration of the Supplies intended to be sent to Virginia, in this yeare 1620. . . .

First, therefore we haue thought fit, to make it publikely knowne, that besides the great store of particular Plantations now in prouiding, and like very shortly in large proportion to augment, the Company haue resolued . . . to set out this yeere at the publike charge, and to send to Virginia, eight hundred choise persons, of the qualities ensuing: First, foure hundred, to be Tenants of the general land of the Company, to make vp the number of those Tenants ful 500. whereof 200. to be placed at Elizabeth Citie . . . 100. at Henrico, 100. at Charles Citie: And at Iames Citie there are a hundred and more already. Secondly, one hundred, to be Tenants to such Officers, &c. as the Court already hath . . . Thirdly one hundred yong Maides to make wiues for these Tenants as the former 90. which haue been lately sent. Fourthly, one hundred Boyes, to be apprentizes likewise to the publike Tenants. Fiftly, one hundred seruants to be disposed amongst the old Planters, which they greatly desire, and haue offered to defray their charges with very great thankes. . . .

Every man transported into Virginia, with intent there to inhabit, as Tenants to the Common land of the Company, or to the publike land, shall be freely landed there at the charge of the Company: And shal be furnished with prouisions of victuall for one whole yeare next after his arriuall, as also of Cattle: And with apparell, weapons, tooles and implements, both of house and labour, for his necessary vse. He shall enioy the ratable moytie of all the profits that shall be raised of the land on which he shall be Planted, as well Corne and Cattle, as other commodities whatsoeuer: the other halfe being due to the Owners of the Land.

He shall be tyed by Couenant, to contine vpon that Land for the Terme of seauen yeares: which being expired, if shal be in his choyse, whither to continue there or to remoue to any other place, at his owne will and pleasure.


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