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First Charter of Virginia 1606

[Text derived from Smith’s History of Virginia.] The first English colony in America was planted by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 under a grant from Queen Elizabeth. After several ventures which came to nothing he gave up his hope of colonizing America. England was occupied with her war with Spain and for a time Virginia, which was the name given to the country at large, was forgotten. After the close of the war the interest in Virginia was renewed by the reports of some returned explorers and some enterprising gentlemen petitioned King James for a charter enabling them to plant colonies in the new world. This charter which is a typical one, was granted 10 April 1606 to an association having two branches, one having its headquarters in London and the other being established at Plymouth.


Old Virginia and her Neighbors. Vol. I. John Fiske.
Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas. J. A. Doyle.
A Short History of the English Colonies in America.

Henry Cabot Lodge.
The Making of Virginia and the Middle Colonies. S. A.


The May flower Compact 1620 [Text derived from Bradford's History "Of Plimoth Plantation." Edition of 1899. From the original. The spelling is slightly modernized.]


This compact was made in the cabin of the Mayflower 21 November (11 November old style) 1620. The vessel had dropped anchor in Cape Cod harbor at noon and the Pilgrims were about to land and settle in the neighborhood. They carried with them a grant or patent from the London branch of the Virginia company but owing to foul weather instead of making the Virginia coast they had been driven to Cape Cod bay. All this northern coast belonged to the Plymouth company but the Pilgrims anticipated no trouble in securing a charter from that body. In the mean time there would be no recognized authority in the land where they were about to settle for the London company had jurisdiction over New England. There was reason to fear that there were lawless spirits among the hired laborers on shipboard. Bradford says in his History of New England that some of them

had let fall ... that when they came ashore they would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them.”

“ It was thought good," says Mourt's Relation, “ that there should be an association or agreement that we should combine together in one body; to submit to such government and Governors as we should, by common consent, agree to make or choose.” The compact was signed by 41 of the 65 adult male passengers of the Mayflower, seven of the signers being servants or hired laborers.

18 Northern parts of Virginia. The Pilgrims used the old name for New England. It was called North Virginia till Captain John Smith in 1614 proposed the name New England.


New England's Memorial. Nathaniel Morton.
History of New England. Vol. I. John Gorham Palfrey.
The Pilgrim Fathers of New England. John Brown.

Articles of Confederation of the New England

Colonies 1643

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[Text derived from Bradford's History “Of Plimoth Plantation.” Edition of 1899. From the original. The spelling is modernized.]

A confederation of the New England colonies was first proposed in 1637. The matter was discussed from time to time but it was not till 1643 that commissioners from Plymouth, Connecticut, New Haven, and Massachusetts met at Boston to form a union. These coming to a consultation, encountered some difficulties; but being all desirous of union and studious of peace, they readily yielded to each other in such things as tended to common utility, so as in some two or three meetings they lovingly accorded,” wrote John Winthrop.

The articles were signed 10 May by all the commissioners except those from Plymouth, who had not been authorized to sign but they were soon ratified by the government of that colony. In 1662 a charter was granted Connecticut. New Haven was annexed to that colony and the articles were revised in accordance with this change. The confederation came to an end when the charter of Massachusetts was revoked in 1684.

19 Further dispersed. The dispersion of the colonists was partly due to differences of opinion on theology and on questions touching the relations of church and state. Thomas Hooker, a pastor of the church at Newtown, Massachusetts, and his congregation of over a hundred migrated to the Connecticut valley because unlike the majority of the ministers he was opposed to a measure intended to increase the political weight of the clergy and maintained that the

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foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people.

19 People of several nations. The French were upon the eastern border, the Dutch upon the western, and the Swedes upon Delaware bay.

19 Combined . against us. By reason of the plotting of the Narragansetts ... the Indians were drawn into a general conspiracy against the English," wrote Bradford.

19 Sad distractions in England. War had begun between King Charles and parliament. If the Puritan cause should fail in England there was all the more need that New England should be a safe refuge for exiles.

19 Hindered . . . seeking advice. The colonists found it necessary to send some one to London to explain and defend the action of the colonies and Edward Winslow was chosen. He said to the king, If we in America should forbear to unite for offence and defence against a common enemy till we have leave from England, our throats might all be cut before the messenger would be half seas through.”

20 The Massachusetts. Massachusetts was incorporated under the name of The Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England."

20 Member of this confederation. Rhode Island asked to join the federation but was refused on the ground that she had no separate government. She was offered annexation to Massachusetts or Plymouth.

21 A true account and number. The population of the colonies was 24,000; 15,000 belonged to Massachusetts while the other colonies had only about 3,000 each. There were 39 towns.

21 An hundred men. Massachusetts had hesitated about joining a confederation in which she would have no more power than the smaller and less populous states and yet would be obliged to bear more than an equal share of expense for the common safety.


New England's Memorial. Nathaniel Morton.
History of New England. Vols. I and II. John Gorham

Beginnings of New England. John Fiske.
The Pilgrim Fathers of New England. John Brown.
The Puritan Colonies. Vol. I. J. A. Doyle.
The Rise of the Republic of the United States. Richard


A Typical Early Indian Treaty 1645 [Text derived from Historical Collection Consisting of State Papers. By Ebenezer Hazard, 1792-94.]

The Narragansett and Mohegan Indians were the most powerful tribes in southern New England and they were constantly on the verge of war. In 1640 the colonists undertook to arbitrate and the tribes agreed not to make war upon each other without the consent of the English. The Narragansetts broke the agreement, attacked the Mohegans and were defeated. Uncas, the Mohegan chief, took Miantonomo, the Narragansett chief, prisoner, and after consulting with the colonists put him to death. The Narragansetts claimed that a ransom had been paid for Miantonomo; the Mohegans denied it. Again the English arbitrated and in September 1644 a truce was made, the Narragansetts and their allies, the Nyanticks, promising not to commit any acts hostile to Uncas “ till after the next planting of corn and that before making war on the Mohegans they would give thirty days' warning to the English. In

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