entirely independent of the emigrants whom they were
to govern; having power to elect or remove its president, to remove any of its members, and to supply its own vacancies.
Not an element of popular liberty was introduced into the form of government.
Religion was specially enjoined to be established according to the doctrine and rites of the church of England; and no emigrant might withdraw his allegiance from King James, or avow dissent from the royal creed.
Lands were to descend according to the common law. Not only murder, manslaughter, and adultery, but dangerous tumults and seditions were punishable by death; so that the security of life depended on the discretion of the magistrate, restricted only by the necessity of a trial by jury.
All civil causes, requiring corporal punishment, fine or imprisonment, might be summarily determined by the president and council; who also possessed full legislative authority in cases not affecting life or limb.
Kindness to the savages was enjoined, with the use of all proper means for their conversion.
It was further, and most unwisely, though probably at the request of the corporation, ordered, that the industry and commerce of the respective colonies should for five years, at least, be conducted in a joint stock.
The king also reserved to himself the right of future legislation.
Thus were the political forms of the colony established, when, on the nineteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and six, one hundred and nine years after the discovery of the American
continent by Cabot
, forty-one years from the settlement of Florida
, the little squadron of three vessels, the largest not exceeding one hundred tons