Ordinance of 1621

Topics: London Company, George Yeardley, Edwin Sandys Pages: 2 (477 words) Published: November 7, 2010
After unsuccessful years of trying to establish Virginia, and a growing reputation as a deathtrap, Virginia and the London Company launched a new plan to invigorate the venture. This was done through a plan called “The Great Charter” of 1618. The intent of the new charter was to reform land tenures, improve local administration and to supplant current laws with English common laws; giving Virginia a more representative resident government. This charter was led by the treasurer, Sir Edwin Sandys. Sandys appointed Sir George Yeardley as governor. “While the original instructions do not exist, Yeardley prepared a copy in 1621 for his successor, Sir Francis Wyatt.” (Billings 11) This would lead one to assume that the author was actually Sir Edwin Sandys, treasurer for the Virginia Company. The purpose of this document originally was to entice more Englishmen to settle in Virginia. Given the growing reputation as a deathtrap, the company was failing at an alarming rate. With the new agenda of reorganizing current laws and giving a sense of familiarity of the social environment plus developing a new “head right system” for land, many English became more willing to attempt their fate of settling in Virginia. (Conlin 32) This document laid the foundation for new government in the Virginia settlement which soon took to all colonies. As Billings states, “Although the assembly would undergo modification in its functions, and its right to exist would be in doubt after the company lost its charter; that first meeting established a precedent for the evolution of representative political institutions and self-government in English North America”. (Billings 12) This new government consisted of Two Supreme councils. One included the governor and company -appointed Council of State. The other consisted of two Burgesses from every town, hundred or other particular Plantation to be respectively chosen by the inhabitants. (Document 1) These two councils were to establish and...
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