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[120]

The king of England, too timid to be active, yet too

Chap. IV.} 1606.
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 and Gorges,3 applied to James I. for leave ‘to deduce a colony into Virginia,’ the monarch promoted the
April 10.
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 to Halifax, 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. The London 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

1 Robertson's Scotland, b. VIII.

2 Leland's History of Ireland, II. 204—213. Lord Bacon's speech as Chancellor to the Speaker, Works, III. 405.

3 Gorges, c. v. and VI.

4 See the charter, in Hazard, i. 51—58; Stith's Appendix, 1—8 Hening's Statutes of Virginia at large, i. 57—66. In referring to this collection, I cannot but add, that no other state in the Union possesses so excellent a work on its legislative history.

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