The king of England
, too timid to be active, yet too
vain to be indifferent, favored the design of enlarging his dominions.
He had attempted in Scotland
the introduction of the arts of life among the Highlanders
and the Western Isles
, by the establishment of colonies;1
and the English
plantations which he formed in the northern counties of Ireland, are said to have contributed to the affluence and the security of that island.2
When, therefore, a company of men of business and men of rank, formed by the experience of Gosnold
, the enthusiasm of Smith
, the perseverance of Hakluyt
, the hopes of profit and the extensive influence of Popham
applied to James I. for leave ‘to deduce a colony into Virginia
,’ the monarch promoted the
noble work by readily issuing an ample patent.
The first colonial charter;4
under which the English
were planted in America
, deserves careful consideration.
A belt of twelve degrees on the American
coast, embracing the soil from Cape Fear
, excepting perhaps the little spot in Acadia
then actually possessed by the French
, was set apart to be colonized by two rival companies.
Of these, the first was composed of noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants, in and about London
; the second, of knights, gentlemen, and merchants, in the west.
adventurers, who alone succeeded, had an exclusive right to occupy the regions from thirty-four to thirty-eight degrees of north latitude, that is, from Cape Fear
to the southern limit of Maryland
; the western men had