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[118]

A revolution had equally occurred in the purposes

Chap IV.} 1606
for which voyages were undertaken. The hope of Columbus, as he sailed to the west, had been the discovery of a new passage to the East Indies. The passion for rapidly amassing gold soon became the prevailing motive. Next, the islands and countries near the equator were made the tropical gardens of the Europeans for the culture of such luxuries as the warmest regions only can produce. At last, the higher design was matured, not to plunder, nor to destroy, nor to enslave; but to found states, to plant permanent Christian colonies, to establish for the oppressed and the enterprising places of refuge and abode, with all the elements of independent national existence.

The condition of England favored adventure in America. A redundant population had existed even before the peace with Spain;1 and the timid character of King James, throwing out of employment the gallant men who had served under Elizabeth by sea and land, left them no option, but to engage as mercenaries in the quarrels of strangers, or incur the hazards of ‘seeking a New World.’2 The minds of many persons of intelligence, rank, and enterprise, were directed to Virginia. The brave and ingenious Gosnold, who had himself witnessed the fertility of the western soil, long solicited the concurrence of his friends for the establishment of a colony,3 and at last prevailed with Edward Maria Wingfield, a groveling merchant of the west of England, Robert Hunt, a clergyman of persevering fortitude and modest worth. and John Smith, the adventurer of rare genius and undying fame, to consent to risk their own lives and

1 Bacon on Queen Elizabeth.

2 Gorges' Brief Narration, c. II.

3 Ebmund Howes' Continuation of Stowe, 1018—a prime authority on Virginia. See Stith, 229.

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