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[240] who were possessed of the circumjacent continent,
Chap. VII.}
spread a gloom over the future. Twice, it is said, did Lord Baltimore, in person, visit his settlement; with ships, manned at his own charge, he repelled the French, who were hovering round the coast with the design of annoying the English fishermen; and, having taken sixty of them prisoners, he secured a temporary tranquillity to his countrymen and his colonists. But, notwithstanding this success, he found all hopes of a thriving plantation in Avalon to be vain. Why should the English emigrate to a rugged and inhospitable island, surrounded by a hostile power, when the hardships of colonizing the milder regions of Virginia had already been encountered, and a peaceful home might now be obtained without peril?

Lord Baltimore looked to Virginia, of which the climate, the fertility, and the advantages, were so much extolled. Yet, as a Papist, he could hardly expect a hospitable welcome in a colony from which the careful exclusion1 of Roman Catholics had been originally avowed as a special object, and where the statutes of the provincial legislature, as well as the commands of the sovereign, aimed at a perpetual religious uniformity. When in Oct., 1629, he visited Virginia in person, the zeal of the assembly immediately

1629. Oct.
ordered the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to be tendered him. It was in vain that he proposed a form which he was willing to subscribe; the government firmly insisted upon that which had been chosen by the English statutes, and which was purposely framed in such language as no Catholic could adopt. A letter was transmitted from the assembly to the privy council, explanatory of the dispute which had grown out

1 Hazard, i. 72

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