of his household and his government, the most wealthy
and powerful of the English
nobility, a patent,1
in American annals, and even in the history of the world, has but one parallel.
The adventurers and their successors were incorporated as ‘The Council established at Plymouth
, in the county of Devon
, for the planting, ruling, ordering and governing New England
, in America
The territory conferred on the patentees in absolute property, with unlimited jurisdiction, the sole powers of legislation, the appointment of all officers and all forms of government, extended, in breadth, from the fortieth to the forty-eighth degree of north latitude, and, in length, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific
; that is to say, nearly all the inhabited British possessions to the north of the United States
, all New England
, New York, half of New Jersey
, very nearly all Pennsylvania
, and the whole of the country to the west of these states, comprising, and, at the time, believed to comprise,2
much more than a million of square miles, and capable of sustaining far more than two hundred millions of inhabitants, were, by a single signature of King James, given away to a corporation within the realm, composed of but forty individuals.
The grant was absolute and exclusive: it conceded the land and islands; the rivers and the harbors; the mines and the fisheries.
Without the leave of the council of Plymouth, not a ship might sail into a harbor from Newfoundland
to the latitude of Philadelphia
; not a skin might be purchased in the interior; not a fish might be caught on the coast; not an emigrant might tread the soil.
No regard was shown for the