The Jamestown Settlement
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth." -John Adams. Jamestown, Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
The Jamestown Colony is a town in Virginia. It is the oldest, and first, English colony in North America. The London Company, formed in 1606, was a group of ten men, mostly well-to-do merchants, who decided to colonize Virginia (Fishwick, 49). Francis Bacon, a member of the Company, decided the colony was to be a long-term scheme and settlers were to be given twenty years to find their feet (Fishwick, 49). Settlers were selected for their special skills, and included many farmers so the colony could become self-sufficient. The Colonial Council was a group of thirteen settlers who would be directed by a royal council of thirteen in England (Fishwick, 49). One member was selected to be the president, and he would make laws, vote taxes, mint money, and dispense justice in Virginia (Fishwick, 49). The settlers were granted “all rights and immunities…” of citizens in England, including the right to own land and trial by jury (Fishwick, 50). All taxes on trade with Virginia were used to benefit the colony. The London Company set sail from Blackwell, England, on December 20, 1606 (Fishwick, 50). They had three ships, tools, weapons, ammunition, food, grain, and 105 “hardy adventurers” (Fishwick, 50). Many settlers were classified as “gentlemen”, and there were some skilled craftsmen and farmers, and two surgeons (Fishwick, 50). The settlers came to the New World to acquire land, gold, or quick fortunes in trade. They sought a greater measure of liberty, though some were merely restless or driven by the love of adventure, but they all shared a hope for better things in Virginia (Fishwick, 50). The Council’s...
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