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FIRST VIRGIN IA CHARTER—1606.
THE favorable report of the country brought home by the early English explorers, joined to English activity, led to the formation of the Virginia Company, on a plan somewhat similar to the famous East India Company. In 1606 James I. granted the necessary charter, and in the spring of the following year Jamestown was founded.
“The first written charter of a permanent American colony, which was to be the chosen abode of liberty, gave to the mercantile corporation nothing but a desert territory, with the right of peopling it and defending it, and reserved to the monarch absolute legislative authority, the control of all appointments, and a hope of an ultimate revenue. The emigrants were subjected to the ordinances of a commercial corporation, of which they could not be members; to the dominions of a domestic council, in appointing which they had no voice; to the control of a superior council in
England, which had no sympathies with their rights; and finally, to the arbitrary legislation of the sovereign.” (Bancroft.) This charter is of especial interest as the first under which a permanent English settlement was planted in America. Consult Bancroft's U. S., 1st ed., I., 120; Centenary ed., I., 95; last ed., I., 85; Hildreth's U. S., I., 94; Doyle's English Colonies in America, Io9; Bryant and Gay's U. S., I., 267; Cooke's Va., 16; Meil's Va. Co., 3; Stith's Va., Chalmers' Political
THE FIRST CHARTER OF VIRGINIA—1606.
JAMES, by the Grace of God, King of England, ScotAland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. WHEREAS our loving and well-disposed Subjects, Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir George Somers, Knights, Richard Hackluit, Clerk, Prebendary of Westminster, and Edward. Maria Wingfield, Thomas Hanham, and Ralegs, Gilbert, Esqrs. William Parker, and George Popham, Gentlemen, and divers others of our loving Subjects, have been humble Suitors unto us, that We would vouchsafe unto them our Licence, to make Habitation, Plantation, and to deduce a colony of sundry of our People into that part of America commonly called VIRGINIA, and other parts and Territories in America, either appertaining unto us, or which are not now actually possessed by any Christian Prince or People, situate, lying, and being all along the Sea Coasts, between four and thirty Degrees of Northerly Latitude from the Equinoctial Line, and five and forty Degrees of the same Latitude, and in the main Land between the same four and thirty and five and forty De