A Permit To Settle
The Virginia Company devised a plan in 1617 to grant a patent—a permit to do business—to groups of settlers to create “particular plantations;” that is, colonies that were franchises subordinate to Jamestown. It was with such a patent that the people who settled Plymouth colony set out across the Atlantic Ocean. When the Mayflower returned to England, the settlers of Plymouth Plantation sent a request for a new patent that would replace the patent whose terms they violated by settling outside the territory assigned to them. They received a new patent, the Second Peirce Patent—granted to John Peirce, the head of the joint stock company that funded Plymouth Plantation—from the newly formed Council of New England on June 1, 1621.