, a negative on appointments in Virginia
and the supreme control of all colonial affairs.
interests were to be sacredly preserved; and all grants of land to be renewed and confirmed.
Should the company resist the change, its patent would be recalled.1
This was in substance a proposition to revert to the charter originally granted.
It is difficult to obtain a limitation of authority from a corporate body: an aristocracy is, of all forms of government, the most tenacious of life, and the least flexible in its purposes.
The company heard the order
in council with amazement: it was read three several times; and after the reading, for a long while, no man spoke a word.
Should they tamely surrender privileges which were conceded according to the forms of law, had been possessed for many years, and had led them to expend large sums of money, that had as yet yielded no return?
The corporation was inflexible, for it had no interest to yield.
It desired only a month's delay, that all its members might take part in the final decision.
The privy council peremptorily demanded a decisive answer within three days; and,
at the expiration of that time, the surrender of the charter was strenuously refused.2
The liberties of the company were a trust which might be yielded to superior force, but could not be freely abandoned without dishonor.
But the decision of the king was already taken,
and commissioners were appointed to proceed to Virginia
, to examine into the state of the plantation, to ascertain what expectations might be conceived, and to discover the means by which good hopes were to