May 23, 1609
James, by the grace of God [King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, etc.] To all [to whom these presents shall come, greeting.]
Whereas, at the humble suite and request of sondrie oure lovinge and well disposed subjects intendinge to deduce a colonie and to make habitacion and plantacion of sondrie of oure people in that parte of America comonlie called Virginia, and other part and territories in America either apperteyninge unto us or which are not actually possessed of anie Christian prince or people within certaine bound and regions, wee have formerly, by oure lettres patents bearinge date the tenth of Aprill in the fourth yeare of oure raigne of England, Fraunce, and Ireland, and the nine and thirtieth of Scotland, graunted to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers and others, for the more speedie accomplishment of the said plantacion and habitacion, that they shoulde devide themselves into twoe colloniesthe one consistinge of divers Knights, gentlemen, merchaunts and others of our cittie of London, called the First Collonie; and the other of sondrie Knights, gentlemen and others of the citties of Bristoll, Exeter, the towne of Plymouth, and other places, called the Seccond Collonieand have yielded and graunted maine and sondrie priviledges and liberties to each Collonie for their quiet setlinge and good government therein, as by the said lettres patents more at large appeareth.
Nowe, forasmuch as divers and sondrie of oure lovinge subjects, as well adventurers as planters, of the said First Collonie (which have alreadie engaged them selves in furtheringe the businesse of the said plantacion and doe further intende by the assistance of Almightie God to prosecute the same to a happie ende) have of late ben humble suiters unto us that, in respect of their great chardeges and the adventure of manie of their lives which they have hazarded in the said discoverie and plantacion of the said countrie, wee woulde be pleased to graunt them a further enlargement and explanacion of the said graunte, priviledge and liberties, and that suche counsellors and other officers maie be appointed amonngest them to manage and direct their affaires [as] are willinge and readie to adventure with them; as also whose dwellings are not so farr remote from the cittye of London but that they maie at convenient tymes be readie at hande to give advice and assistance upon all occacions requisite.
We, greatlie affectinge the effectual prosecucion and happie successe of the said plantacion and comendinge their good desires theirin, for their further encouragement in accomplishinge so excellent a worke, much pleasinge to God and profitable to oure Kingdomes, doe, of oure speciall grace and certeine knowledge and meere motion, for us, oure heires and successors, give, graunt and confirme to oure trustie and welbeloved subjects,
And to such and so manie as they doe or shall hereafter admitt to be joyned with them, in forme hereafter in theis presentes expressed, whether they goe in their persons to be planters there in the said plantacion, or whether they goe not, but doe adventure their monyes, goods or chattels, that they shalbe one bodie or communaltie perpetuall and shall have perpetual succession and one common seale to serve for the saide bodie or communaltie; and that they and their successors shalbe knowne, called and incorporated by the name of The Tresorer and Companie of Adventurers and Planters of the Citty of London for the Firste Collonie in Virginia.
And that they and their successors shalbe from hensforth, forever enabled to take, acquire and purchase, by the name aforesaid (licens for the same from us, oure heires or successors first had and obtained) anie manner of lands, tenements and hereditaments, goods and chattels, within oure realme of England and dominion of Wales; and that they and their successors shalbe likewise enabled, by the name aforesaid, to pleade and to be impleaded before anie of oure judges or justices, in anie oure courts, and in anie accions or suits whatsoever.
And wee doe also, of oure said speciall grace, certaine knowl- edge and mere mocion, give, grannte and confirme unto the said Tresorer and Companie, and their successors, under the reservacions, limittacions and declaracions hereafter expressed, all those lands, countries and territories scituat, lieinge and beinge in that place of America called Virginia, from the pointe of lande called Cape or Pointe Comfort all alonge the seacoste to the northward twoe hundred miles and from the said pointe of Cape Comfort all alonge the sea coast to the southward twoe hundred miles; and all that space and circuit of lande lieinge from the sea coaste of the precinct aforesaid upp unto the lande, throughoute, from sea to sea, west and northwest; and also all the island beinge within one hundred miles alonge the coaste of bothe seas of the precincte aforesaid; togeather with all the soiles, groundes, havens and portes, mynes, aswell royall mynes of golde and silver as other mineralls, pearles and precious stones, quarries, woods, rivers, waters, fishings, comodities, jurisdictions, royalties, priviledges, franchisies and preheminences within the said territorie and the precincts there of whatsoever; and thereto or there abouts, both by sea and lande, beinge or in anie sorte belonginge or appertayninge, and which wee by oure lettres patents maie or cann graunte; and in as ample manner and sorte as wee or anie oure noble progenitors have heretofore graunted to anie companie, bodie pollitique or corporate, or to anie adventurer or adventurers, undertaker or undertakers, of anie discoveries, plantacions or traffique of, in, or into anie forraine parts whatsoever; and in as large and ample manner as if the same were herin particulerly mentioned and expressed: to have, houlde, possesse and enjoye all and singuler the said landes, countries and territories with all and singuler other the premisses heretofore by theis [presents] graunted or mencioned to be grannted, to them, the said Tresorer and Companie, their successors and assignes, forever; to the sole and proper use of them, the said Tresorer and Companie, their successors and assignes [forever], to be holden of us, oure heires and successors, as of oure mannour of Estgreenewich, in free and common socage and not in capite; yeldinge and payinge, therefore, to us, oure heires and successors, the fifte parte onlie of all oare of gould and silver that from tvme to time, and at all times hereafter, shalbe there gotton, had and obtained, for all manner of service.
And, nevertheles, oure will and pleasure is, and wee doe by theis presentes chardge, commannde, warrant and auctorize, that the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors, or the major parte of them which shall be present and assembled for that purpose, shall from time to time under their common seale distribute, convey, assigne and set over such particuler porcions of lands, tenements and hereditaments, by theise presents formerly grannted, unto such oure lovinge subjects naturallie borne of denizens, or others, aswell adventurers as planters, as by the said Companie, upon a commission of survey and distribucion executed and retourned for that purpose, shalbe named, appointed and allowed, wherein oure will and pleasure is, that respect be had as well of the proporcion of the adventure[r] as to the speciall service, hazarde, exploite or meritt of anie person so as to be recompenced, advannced or rewarded.
And for as muche as the good and prosperous successe of the said plantacion cannot but cheiflie depende, next under the blessinge of God and the supporte of oure royall aucthoritie, upon the provident and good direccion of the whole enterprise by a carefull and understandinge Counsell, and that it is not convenient that all the adventurers shalbe so often drawne to meete and assemble as shalbe requisite for them to have metings and conference aboute theire affaires, therefore we doe ordaine, establishe and confirme that there shalbe perpetually one Counsell here resident, accordinge to the tenor of oure former lettres patents, which Counsell shall have a seale for the better governement and administracion of the said plantacion besides the legall seale of the Companie or Corporacion, as in oure former lettres patents is also expressed.
And further wee establishe and ordaine that
shalbe oure Counsell for the said Companie of Adventurers and Planters in Virginia.
And the said Sir Thomas Smith wee ordaine to be Tresorer of the said Companie, which Tresorer shall have aucthoritie to give order for the warninge of the Counsell and sommoninge the Companie to their courts and meetings.
And the said Counsell and Tresorer or anie of them shalbe from henceforth nominated, chosen, contynued, displaced, chaunged, altered and supplied, as death or other severall occasions shall require, out of the Companie of the said adventurers by the voice of the greater parte of the said Counsell and adventurers in their assemblie for that purpose; provided alwaies that everie Councellor so newlie elected shalbe presented to the Lord Channcellor of England, or to the Lord Highe Treasurer of England, or the Lord Chambleyne of the housholde of us, oure heires and successors, for the tyme beinge to take his oathe of a Counsellor to us, oure heires and successors, for the said Companie and Collonie in Virginia.
And wee doe by theis presents, of oure especiall grace, certaine knowledge and meere motion, for us, oure heires and successors, grannte unto the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors, that if it happen at anie time or times the Tresorer for the tyme beinge to be sick, or to have anie such cause of absente from the cittie of London as shalbe allowed by the said Counsell or the greater parte of them assembled, so as he cannot attende the affaires of that Companie, in everie such case it shall and maie be lawfull for such Tresorer for the tyme beinge to assigne, constitute and appointe one of the Counsell for Companie to be likewise allowed by the Counsell or the greater parte of them assembled to be the deputie Tresorer for the said Companie; which Deputie shall have power to doe and execute all things which belonge to the said Tresorer duringe such tyme as such Tresorer shalbe sick or otherwise absent, upon cause allowed of by the said Counsell or the major parte of them as aforesaid, so fullie and wholie and in as large and ample manner and forme and to all intents and purposes as the said Tresorer if he were present himselfe maie or might doe and execute the same.
And further of oure especiall grace, certaine knowledge and meere mocion, for us, oure heires and successors, wee doe by theis presents give and grannt full power and aucthoritie to oure said Counsell here resident aswell at this present tyme as hereafter, from time to time, to nominate, make, constitute, ordaine and confirme by such name or names, stile or stiles as to them shall seeme good, and likewise to revoke, dischardge, channge and alter aswell all and singuler governors, oficers and ministers which alreadie hath ben made, as also which hereafter shalbe by them thought fitt and meedefull to be made or used for the government of the said Colonie and plantacion.
And also to make, ordaine and establishe all manner of orders, lawes, directions, instructions, formes and ceremonies of government and magistracie, fitt and necessarie, for and concerninge the government of the said Colonie and plantacion; and the same att all tymes hereafter to abrogate, revoke or chaunge, not onely within the precincts of the said Colonie but also upon the seas in goeing and cominge to and from the said Collonie, as they in their good discrecions shall thinke to be fittest for [the] good of the adventurers and inhabiters there.
And we doe also declare that for divers reasons and consideracions us thereunto especiallie moving, oure will and pleasure is and wee doe hereby ordaine that imediatlie from and after such time as anie such governour or principall officer so to be nominated and appointed by oure said Counsell for the governement of the said Colonie, as aforesaid, shall arive in Virginia and give notice unto the Collonie there resident of oure pleasure in this behalfe, the government, power and aucthority of the President and Counsell, heretofore by oure former lettres patents there established, and all lawes and constitucions by them formerlie made, shall utterly cease and be determined; and all officers, governours and ministers formerly constituted or appointed shalbe dischardged, anie thinge in oure said former lettres patents conserninge the said plantacion contayned in aniewise to the contrarie notwithstandinge; streightlie chardginge and commaundinge the President and Counsell nowe resident in the said Collonie upon their alleadgiance after knowledge given unto them of oure will and pleasure by theis presentes signified and declared, that they forth with be obedient to such governor or governers as by oure said Counsell here resident shalbe named and appointed as aforesaid; and to all direccions, orders and commandements which they shall receive from them, aswell in the present resigninge and giveinge upp of their aucthoritie, offices, chardg and places, as in all other attendannce as shalbe by them from time to time required.
And wee doe further by theis presentes ordaine and establishe that the said Tresorer and Counsell here resident, and their successors or anie fower of them assembled (the Tresorer beinge one), shall from time to time have full power and aucthoritie to admitt and receive anie other person into their companie, corporacion and freedome; and further, in a generall assemblie of the adventurers, with the consent of the greater parte upon good cause, to disfranchise and putt oute anie person or persons oute of the said fredome and Companie.
And wee doe also grannt and confirme for us, oure heires and successors that it shalbe lawfull for the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors, by direccion of the Governors there, to digg and to serche for all manner of mynes of goulde, silver, copper, iron, leade, tinne and other mineralls aswell within the precincts aforesaid as within anie parte of the maine lande not formerly graunted to anie other; and to have and enjoye the gould, silver, copper, iron, leade, and tinn, and all other mineralls to be gotten thereby, to the use and behoofe of the said Companie of Planters and Adventurers, yeldinge therefore and payinge yerelie unto us, oure heires and successors, as aforesaid.
And wee doe further of oure speciall grace, certaine knowledge and meere motion, for us, oure heires and successors, grannt, by theis presents to and withe the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors, that it shalbe lawfull and free for them and their assignes at all and everie time and times here after, oute of oure realme of England and oute of all other [our] dominions, to take and leade into the said voyage, and for and towards the said plantacion, and to travell thitherwards and to abide and inhabite therein the said Colonie and plantacion, all such and so manie of oure lovinge subjects, or anie other straungers that wilbecomme oure lovinge subjects and live under oure allegiance, as shall willinglie accompanie them in the said voyadge and plantation with sufficient shippinge armour, weapons, ordinannce, municion, powder, shott, victualls, and such merchaundize or wares as are esteemed by the wilde people in those parts, clothinge, implements, furnitures, catle, horses and mares, and all other thinges necessarie for the said plantation and for their use and defence and trade with the people there, and in passinge and retourninge to and from without yeldinge or payinge subsedie, custome, imposicion, or anie other taxe or duties to us, oure heires or successors, for the space of seaven yeares from the date of theis presents; provided, that none of the said persons be such as shalbe hereafter by speciall name restrained by us, oure heires or successors.
And for their further encouragement, of oure speciall grace and favour, wee doe by theis present for us, oure heires and successors, yeild and graunte to and with the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors and everie of them, their factors and assignes, that they and every of them shalbe free and quiett of all subsedies and customes in Virginia for the space of one and twentie yeres, and from all taxes and imposicions for ever, upon anie goods or merchaundizes at anie time or times hereafter, either upon importation thither or exportation from thence into oure realme of England or into anie other of oure [realms or] dominions, by the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors, their deputies, factors [or] assignes or anie of them, except onlie the five pound per centum due for custome upon all such good and merchanndizes as shalbe brought or imported into oure realme of England or anie other of theis oure dominions accordinge to the auncient trade of merchannts, which five poundes per centum onely beinge paid, it shalbe thensforth lawfull and free for the said Adventurers the same goods [and] merchaundizes to export and carrie oute of oure said dominions into forraine partes without anie custome, taxe or other duty tO be paide to us oure heires or successors or to anie other oure officers or deputies; provided, that the saide goods and merchaundizes be shipped out within thirteene monethes after their first landinge within anie parte of those dominions.
And wee doe also confirme and grannt to the said Tresorer and Companie, and their successors, as also to all and everie such governer or other officers and ministers as by oure said Counsell shalbe appointed, to have power and aucthoritie of governement and commannd in or over the said Colonie or plantacion; that they and everie of them shall and lawfullie maie from tyme to tyme and at all tymes forever hereafter, for their severall defence and safetie, enconnter, expulse, repell and resist by force and armes, aswell by sea as by land, and all waies and meanes whatsoever, all and everie such person and persons whatsoever as without the speciall licens of the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors shall attempte to inhabite within the said severall precincts and lymitts of the said Colonie and plantacion; and also, all and everie such person and persons whatsoever as shall enterprise, or attempte at anie time hereafter, destruccion, invasion, hurte, detriment or annoyannce to the said Collonye and plantacion, as is likewise specified in the said former grannte.
And that it shalbe lawful for the said Tresorer and Companie, and their successors and everie of them, from time to time and at all times hereafter, and they shall have full power and aucthoritie, to take and surprise by all waies and meanes whatsoever all and everie person and persons whatsoever, with their shippes, goods and other furniture, traffiquinge in anie harbor, creeke or place within the limitts or precincts of the said Colonie and plantacion, [not] being allowed by the said Companie to be adventurers or planters of the said Colonie, untill such time as they beinge of anie realmes or dominions under oure obedience shall paie or agree to paie, to the hands of the Tresorer or [of] some other officer deputed by the said governors in Virginia (over and above such subsedie and custome as the said Companie is or here after shalbe to paie) five poundes per centum upon all goods and merchaundizes soe brought in thither, and also five per centum upon all goods by them shipped oute from thence; and being straungers and not under oure obedience untill they have payed (over and above such subsedie and custome as the same Tresorer and Companie and their successors is or hereafter shalbe to paie) tenn pounds per centum upon all such goods, likewise carried in and oute, any thinge in the former lettres patents to the contrarie not withstandinge; and the same sommes of monie and benefitt as aforesaid for and duringe the space of one and twentie yeares shalbe wholie imploied to the benefitt and behoof of the said Colonie and plantacion; and after the saide one and twentie yeares ended, the same shalbe taken to the use of us, oure heires or successors, by such officer and minister as by us, oure heires or successors, shalbe thereunto assigned and appointed, as is specified in the said former lettres patents.
Also wee doe, for us, oure heires and successors, declare by theis presents, that all and everie the persons beinge oure subjects which shall goe and inhabit within the said Colonye and plantacion, and everie of their children and posteritie which shall happen to be borne within [any] the lymitts thereof, shall have [and] enjoye all liberties, franchesies and immunities of free denizens and naturall subjects within anie of oure other dominions to all intents and purposes as if they had bine abidinge and borne within this oure kingdome of England or in anie other of oure dominions.
And forasmuch as it shalbe necessarie for all such our lovinge subjects as shall inhabitt within the said precincts of Virginia aforesaid to determine to live togither in the feare and true woorshipp of Almightie God, Christian peace and civill quietnes, each with other, whereby everie one maie with more safety, pleasure and profitt enjoye that where unto they shall attaine with great paine and perill, wee, for us, oure heires and successors, are likewise pleased and contented and by theis presents doe give and graunte unto the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors and to such governors, officers and ministers as shalbe, by oure said Councell, constituted and appointed, accordinge to the natures and lymitts of their offices and places respectively, that they shall and maie from time to time for ever hereafter, within the said precincts of Virginia or in the waie by the seas thither and from thence, have full and absolute power and aucthority to correct, punishe, pardon, governe and rule all such the subjects of us, oure heires and successors as shall from time to time adventure themselves in anie voiadge thither or that shall at anie tyme hereafter inhabitt in the precincts and territorie of the said Colonie as aforesaid, accordinge to such order, ordinaunces, constitution, directions and instruccions as by oure said Counsell, as aforesaid, shalbe established; and in defect thereof, in case of necessitie according to the good discretions of the said governours and officers respectively, aswell in cases capitall and criminall as civill, both marine and other, so alwaies as the said statuts, ordinannces and proceedinges as neere as convenientlie maie be, be agreable to the lawes, statutes, government and pollicie of this oure realme of England.
And we doe further of oure speciall grace, certeine knowledge and mere mocion, grant, declare and ordaine that such principall governour as from time to time shall dulie and lawfullie be aucthorised and appointed, in manner and forme in theis presents heretofore expressed, shall [have] full power and aucthoritie to use and exercise marshall lawe in cases of rebellion or mutiny in as large and ample manner as oure leiutenant in oure counties within oure realme of England have or ought to have by force of their comissions of lieutenancy. And furthermore, if anie person or persons, adventurers or planters, of the said Colonie, or anie other at anie time or times hereafter, shall transporte anie monyes, goods or marchaundizes oute of anie [of] oure kingdomes with a pretence or purpose to lande, sell or otherwise dispose the same within the lymitts and bounds of the said Collonie, and yet nevertheles beinge at sea or after he hath landed within anie part of the said Colonie shall carrie the same into anie other forraine Countrie, with a purpose there to sell and dispose there of that, then all the goods and chattels of the said person or persons so offendinge and transported, together with the shipp or vessell wherein such transportacion was made, shalbe forfeited to us, oure heires and successors.
And further, oure will and pleasure is, that in all questions and doubts that shall arrise upon anie difficultie of construccion or interpretacion of anie thinge contained either in this or in oure said former lettres patents, the same shalbe taken and interpreted in most ample and beneficiall manner for the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors and everie member there of.
And further, wee doe by theis presents ratifie and confirme unto the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors all privuleges, franchesies, liberties and immunties graunted in oure said former lettres patents and not in theis oure lettres patents revoked, altered, channged or abridged.
And finallie, oure will and pleasure is and wee doe further hereby for us, oure heires and successors grannte and agree, to and with the said Tresorer and Companie and their successors, that all and singuler person and persons which shall at anie time or times hereafter adventure anie somme or sommes of money in and towards the said plantacion of the said Colonie in Virginia and shalbe admitted by the said Counsell and Companie as adventurers of the said Colonie, in forme aforesaid, and shalbe enrolled in the booke or record of the adventurers of the said Companye, shall and maie be accompted, accepted, taken, helde and reputed Adventurers of the said Collonie and shall and maie enjoye all and singuler grannts, priviledges, liberties, benefitts, profitts, commodities [and immunities], advantages and emoluments whatsoever as fullie, largely, amplie and absolutely as if they and everie of them had ben precisely, plainely, singulerly and distinctly named and inserted in theis oure lettres patents.
And lastely, because the principall effect which wee cann desier or expect of this action is the conversion and reduccion of the people in those partes unto the true worshipp of God and Christian religion, in which respect wee would be lothe that anie person should be permitted to passe that wee suspected to affect the superstitions of the Churche of Rome, wee doe hereby declare that it is oure will and pleasure that none be permitted to passe in anie voiadge from time to time to be made into the saide countrie but such as firste shall have taken the oath of supremacie, for which purpose wee doe by theise presents give full power and aucthoritie to the Tresorer for the time beinge, and anie three of the Counsell, to tender and exhibite the said oath to all such persons as shall at anie time be sent and imploied in the said voiadge.
Although expresse mention [of the true yearly value or certainty of the premises, or any of them, or of any other gifts or grants, by us or any of our progenitors or predecessors, to the aforesaid Treasurer and Company heretofore made, in these presents is not made; or any act, statute, ordinance, provision, proclamation, or restraint, to the contrary hereof had, made, ordained, or provided, or any other thing, cause, or matter, whatsoever, in any wise notwithstanding.] In witnes whereof [we have caused these our letters to be made patent. Witness ourself at Westminster, the 23d day of May (1609) in the seventh year of our reign of England, France, and Ireland, and of Scotland the ****]
Per ipsum Regem exactum.