Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century/Chapter 15

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In preceding chapters I have referred in detail to the different supplies which were needed for use or consumption by people of all classes in the seventeenth century. Where and how were these supplies obtained? When not mere natural products, to what extent had they been manufactured at home or abroad? The most common varieties of food were in most cases of the growth of the soil of the Colony. We have seen that the main subsistence of the slave, the servant, and the master was principally drawn from the plantation itself; the meats, the vegetables, the flour, the meal, and, in large measure, the fermented liquors which were so freely indulged in, were produced in Virginia. A considerable proportion of the articles of food to be found on the tables of persons of wealth was not secured from their own estates, but had been imported from abroad. This was still more the case with the innumerable articles which made up the household goods of the individual planter, and, in a lesser degree, of the implements employed in tilling the ground. Many of these articles were manufactured, as will be hereafter shown, in the Colony, but the greater number had been brought in by local or foreign merchants, or by the landowners at their own expense. The importation of English merchandise into Virginia in the seventeenth century for the purpose of meeting the wants of its inhabitants had something more than a local significance. It was the beginning of that vast colonial trade which has performed so momentous a part in increasing the wealth of England, and giving her an undisputed supremacy among commercial nations. Almost from the foundation of the settlement at Jamestown, Virginia was an important dependence of the mother country, not only as a land to which those who desired to establish new homes could emigrate, but as a community which, as its population expanded, required an ever enlarging volume of artificial supplies. Its steady growth signified a proportionate advance in many branches of English manufacture. With the progress of time, the importance of all the Colonies as places where English goods could be disposed of at a profit, was more clearly recognized, and the benefit that would result to English trade from the exclusion of competition, foreign or domestic, from this field, was one of the principal influences which led to the passage of the Navigation laws, as well as to the prohibition of colonial manufacture on a large scale. As early as 1664, when the second Act of Navigation had been in operation only a few years, the merchandise imported into Virginia and Maryland was thought to be worth annually £200,000, a sum equal in purchasing power, perhaps, to four or five millions of dollars in our modern currency.[1] At the beginning of the Revolution, a hundred and twelve years later, the value of the goods shipped from England each year to her Colonies in North America was estimated at £2,732,036, a small amount in comparison with the value of the goods imported at the present time by the United States from the same country under a restrictive tariff, but in that age representing an enormous volume of trade.[2]

Previous to the issue of patents to associations of private adventurers in 1616, the cost of the transportation of supplies to the settlers in Virginia was borne entirely by the London Company or its members, to whom fell whatever profit was to be acquired from the sale of the commodities of the Colony. In the beginning, the expense was met by the Company alone, and from the fund which had been subscribed by the different adventurers who had united themselves under the letters patent obtained by Gates and his associates in 1606. How large was this fund and how great were the individual subscriptions, there are now no means of ascertaining. That the general amount was of notable proportions is to be inferred from the size of the first expedition, and the number of supplies following previous to the grant of the second charter in 1609. The same rule was adopted in the case of the London Company, when it was formed, as in the case of other organizations of similar character; the adventurer wrote opposite to his name the figures of such a sum as he was prepared to risk, and his profits were to be in proportion to it. Under the regulations laid down for the government of the Colony, the trade during the first five years was to be confined to three stocks at the most.[3] All supplies purchased with the money contributed were transported thither as the property of the subscribers as a body. The commodities to be obtained from Virginia, whether in exchange with the Indians or as the product of the industry of the settlers, were to be returned to England for sale, and the proceeds divided among the adventurers in proportion to their shares. The power was given to the persons named in the charter of 1606, to arrest all who were found engaged in traffic with the inhabitants, and to detain them if they were English subjects until they had paid two and a half per cent of the goods in which they had been trading, and if they were citizens of foreign states, five per cent.[4] Supervision of the articles to be conveyed to the Colony was, by the formal provisions for its government, to be assumed by a committee to be constituted of not less than three members, who were instructed to reside in or near London, or at any other place preferred by the Company. A careful account was to be kept by this committee of the various kinds of merchandise which should be exported. During a period of seven years, goods to be used for apparel, food, or defence, or for the necessary objects of the plantation, transported from England to Virginia, were to be exempted from all manner of custom and subsidy. For the purpose of preventing an abuse of this valuable privilege by persons who had no real intention of sending the articles which they professed to be exporting thither, but who only wished to escape from the duties imposed upon those who had foreign destinations in view, it was provided that if any one should take advantage of this clause in the charter to evade the customs which they ought properly to pay, and after getting out to sea, direct their course to a land under foreign dominion, not only was the whole cargo to be forfeited, but the vessel in which it was conveyed was to be confiscated. The object of the charter was violated even if the commodities thus designed for an alien country had first been carried into Virginia in order to comply with the letter of the law. The goods exported from England by the Company were, as soon as they reached the Colony, to be stored in a magazine, from which they could be drawn for distribution only upon the warrant of the President and Council, or the Cape Merchant and two clerks who were in immediate charge of the goods. Of the latter trio of officers, the Cape Merchant, as his name discloses, was the chief. He was also the Treasurer of the Colony.[5] In the beginning, it was his duty merely to preserve and guard the contents of the magazine, whether imported from England or produced by the labors of the inhabitants. It was not until a modified right of holding private property was granted that he became an agent in exchanging the goods of the Company or of private adventurers, for the commodities owned by the settlers. Previous to this, he was virtually a mere supercargo. The Cape Merchant was elected to fill the position which he occupied only for twelve months, but he was permitted to be a candidate for reëlection, his reëlection resting with the President and Council. At the time he was chosen, two clerks were also selected, and they remained, like the Cape Merchant, in office for a period of one year, their position being attended by less responsibility. They also could be reëlected. It was the duty of one of the clerks to keep a book in which all the supplies distributed were to be entered, and he as well as his associate could be suspended or removed by the President and Council, or by a majority of the body which they formed.

In the orders in Council drawn up for the guidance of the persons in charge of the expedition of 1607, the preservation and the supervision of the different articles to be conveyed to Virginia was imposed upon Captain Newport, who was in command of the fleet.[6] The immediate care of these articles, however, fell upon the Cape Merchant. The first person to fill this position was Thomas Studley, who, upon the departure of the vessels which brought the voyagers to Jamestown Island, remained in charge of the storehouse, erected, in accord with an order in Council, by a party of men who had been specially detailed for the work.[7] Studley perished in the course of the first summer following the foundation of the Colony, and was succeeded by Smith. In the interval preceding the arrival of the First Supply, an event which took place in the winter of 1607, the goods imported in the spring had almost entirely disappeared. The oil and vinegar, sack and aquavitæ, had been consumed, with the exception of the few gallons reserved for religious services and for persons stricken with extreme illness.[8] Many other commodities had been allowed by Wingfield, the President, to be dispersed in bartering with the Indians, or in making gifts to them.[9] The First Supply reached Jamestown in January in the charge of Newport, and it consisted of a great variety of articles thought by the Company in England to be necessary for the protection or subsistence of the settlers. Included among the articles of food were biscuits, one of which was given to each workingman at breakfast.[10] Newport had been at Jamestown only a few days when a fire, which had its origin in the cargo so recently brought over, broke out, and proved very destructive, more especially to the victuals and clothing of individual colonists. The serious character of the loss in the matter of apparel is disclosed in a letter written at this time by Francis Perkins, to a friend in England, in which he urges that all cast-off garments in the possession of this friend, doublets, trousers, stockings, and caps, should be sent to him in Virginia to provide him with means of hiding his nakedness.[11] The fire would probably have consumed the whole of the Supply if a part had not been detained on board the vessel. A large quantity of beef, pork, fish, butter, cheese, aquavitæ, beer, and oil, imported for the use of the settlers, was consumed by the sailors, who were permitted to remain at Jamestown with their commander nearly four months longer than at first was intended, merely in order that they might share in the profit of discovering ores of precious metals. When the ship sailed at last, Newport could spare only a small amount of biscuit, pork, fish, and oil, after having sold a large quantity of these articles of food to those persons among the colonists who were so fortunate as to have money or surplus clothing, furs, or rings, or who were able to give bills of exchange on England. At this time, the great mass of the settlers subsisted on bread and water. The Phoenix, which ought to have arrived in January in company with the vessel commanded by Newport, did not reach Virginia until the following April. The supplies contained in it were distributed among the colonists.[12]

The Company found great difficulty in securing the funds necessary to purchase and send out the Second Supply, which arrived at Jamestown in the autumn of 1608 in two ships.[13] A storehouse in anticipation of it had been erected for its accommodation. A private trade sprang up at once between the sailors and the colonists, and between the sailors and the Indians, the colonists acting as factors. A strong complaint was made that the articles which should have gone to the settlers without any charge, were thus disposed of to the private advantage of persons who belonged to the vessels. The hatchets, chisels, mattocks, and pickaxes, forming an important part of the Second Supply, were dispersed among the aborigines. Knives and pike-heads, shot and powder, disappeared into the same hands, a return being made through the secret agency of the colonists, in skins, baskets, and wild animals. One mariner alone is stated to have obtained by this means, furs which netted him thirty pounds sterling in England. The articles sold in an underhand way to the settlers by the sailors of the Second Supply were butter, cheese, beef, pork, biscuit, oatmeal, beer, and aquavitæ. There are indications that a large quantity of wheat was imported in this Supply. It had been deposited in casks as a protection, being intended for food, or, as seems most probable, for seed; this wheat in a few months had either rotted or been consumed by rats which had found their way into Virginia in the English vessels.[14] A part of the Second Supply was also made up of clothing; this was especially needed on account of the destruction of so much private apparel in the fire that broke out at Jamestown during the previous winter. Both in the First and Second Supplies there were doubtless consignments of garments to individual colonists from their relatives in England. In this way, George Percy received in 1608 from his brother, the Earl of Northumberland, articles of dress estimated to be worth about ten pounds sterling, perhaps as much as two hundred and fifty dollars in American currency, a quantity which must have been considered very large even for a nobleman.[15] The urgent request which Perkins had made of members of the Cornwallis family with reference to discarded clothes was very probably complied with on the occasion of the Second Supply.

The great difficulty which the Company, according to the account of the Spanish ambassador in London at the time, had found in securing the means for the purchase of the goods in the Second Supply, had quite probably the chief influence in creating the demand for the second charter, which was finally granted in May, 1609. Under the provisions of this charter, the fifty-six city companies of London and six hundred and fifty or more persons united themselves into a corporation of private adventurers for the advancement of the plantation. Among them, were many men of very large and many of very small fortunes. About one-third paid into the general fund thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings or more apiece; another third paid individually less than this sum, while the remainder failed to make payments at all.[16] The city companies did not contribute simply as incorporated bodies. In the records of the Grocers’ Company, there is a receipt showing that sixty-nine pounds sterling had been placed with the warden by members to be invested for their private benefit in bills of adventure in the Virginian undertaking. These sums appear to have been subscribed at regular meetings of the Company, each member being left to bind himself for whatever amount his own inclinations suggested. The names of those refusing to do so were carefully taken down. The Mercers’ Company agreed to adventure two hundred pounds sterling. The Clothworkers subscribed, as a body, one hundred marks, and the members seemed to have subscribed individually. The Fishmongers appear also to have been liberal in taking shares. In some instances, these trade associations not only contributed money, but also merchandise,[17] the different persons who constituted them being probably somewhat influenced by the prospect of selling to the London Company the goods in their special line of business needed for the supply of the Colony.[18] The first suggestion that each city company should take shares in the London was made in the form of a letter from the latter to the Lord Mayor, in which, in return for contributions, bills of adventure were promised to be drawn for the benefit of such as would subscribe. It was even proposed that the different wards should become shareholders. Upon the receipt of this letter, the Mayor sent out his precept to the master and warden of each company, requiring them to summon the members to meet with a view of making individual subscriptions.[19] The Council of Virginia at this time were content to seek assistance from the companies of London, but at a later period overtures were made to towns in other parts of the kingdom.

The strong inducements offered to obtain shareholders whose contributions would be expended in the purchase of supplies for the Colony are set forth in the contemporaneous pamphlet, Nova Britannia. It was fully anticipated by its author, in which opinion he was not alone, that it would be necessary to make but two more consignments of articles to Virginia, the returns from which were expected to be so large that not only would there be an ample fund for the purchase of the Third Supply, but there would be a surplus to be reserved for the shareholders. To assure a profit upon all the merchandise to be thereafter sent over, the right was to be enjoyed by the Company of holding a monopoly of the commodities of the Colony for a period of seven years from the date of the second charter. No division was to be made of the gain to be derived during this period from the labor of the settlers or by trade with the Indians until the seven years had expired, at which time it was anticipated that the capital to be distributed among the shareholders would be very large; the amount to be received by each one was to be further increased by the division of land to take place at the close of the same period, each shareholder being entitled to an area of soil in proportion to the amount of his stock. The distribution of the common property in money and land was to be made in 1616.[20]

The terms of the charter of 1609 differed in some respects from those of the charter of 1606 with reference to trade. The exemption from subsidies and customs and all forms of taxation was extended from seven to twenty one years. The duty to be paid by English subjects, not members of the Company, who imported goods into Virginia, was increased from two and a half per cent to five, and in case of aliens, from five per cent to ten. The privilege of exporting supplies to the Colony untaxed was not curtailed in its practical enjoyment. In the month in which the charter of 1609 received the final seal of the King, a general order was issued by the Earl of Salisbury, addressed to the officers who had charge of the customs, in which they were instructed to permit every commodity designed for Virginia to leave their ports free from all imposition;[21] this was intended to have direct application to the fleet making ready to sail for Virginia under the conduct of Sir Thomas Gates and now lying in the harbor of Plymouth. The eight ships and the pinnace constituting the fleet carried over the Third Supply to the Colony, which differed from the two preceding it only in quantity, being made up principally of food and apparel purchased with the funds contributed by the personal and corporate members of the Company in the manner already described. The flag-ship, in which one-fourth of the persons employed in the fleet and the greater part of the provisions were to be transported, was separated from the other vessels by a hurricane and finally wrecked upon the islands of Bermuda. The remainder arrived in Virginia safely. Previous to this event, Captain Argoll had reached the Colony on a fishing expedition, having in his ship a large supply of wine and biscuit designed for private trade; the necessities of the people at Jamestown being very urgent at this time, the provisions had been seized and consumed.[22] The supply brought in by the fleet was very small. After the departure of the vessels in the following October, although the maize planted by Smith had been recently gathered,[23] there intervened the frightful Starving Time, in which the greater number of the colonists perished. Somers and Gates, who had contrived means of escape from the Bermudas, reached Virginia in May, and finding the settlers plunged into the deepest misery, which they were unable to relieve with their insignificant cargo of provisions, embarked the whole number on board of their vessel and dropped down the river on their way to Newfoundland, but were met, before they had reached the Capes, by Lord Delaware in a fleet of three ships.

It had been intended, after the departure from England of Sir Thomas Gates in the spring of 1609, to dispatch Lord Delaware to Virginia in the following August with ten vessels, and for the purpose of raising the funds required to purchase this additional supply, various expedients were used. Among the other steps taken, Captain Thomas Holcroft was authorized to visit the United Provinces in order to interest the English subjects residing in that country in the enterprise, to the extent of adventuring in it their persons or their means. All who should contribute to the supply to be sent in charge of Delaware were to receive the liberties and privileges of the Company in the same degree as if they had belonged to that body from its beginning. Upon them also were to be conferred, in proportion to the amount of their subscriptions, shares in the lands of Virginia and in the accumulated capital of the corporation, when the first division of both took place in 1616, previous to a general distribution among the members. The right to enter into private commercial relations with the colonists after 1616 was granted to each person contributing to the funds of the Company, who should desire to trade in the expectation that it would be profitable.[24]

The return to England in the autumn of 1609 of what remained of the fleet which had set out in the spring of the same year under such favorable auspices, had, on account of the discouraging reports brought over, the effect of diminishing interest in the enterprise, on the part of those who, if the issue had been more fortunate, would have contributed liberally to its support. Ratcliffe, in his letter to Salisbury, sent to England at this time, recommended that provisions for one year should be forwarded to Virginia, but it had now become difficult to secure the means for the purchase of supplies. The managers of the Company nevertheless were not to be daunted by the calamities of the expedition under Gates, upon which so many hopes had been founded; barely a fortnight after the vessels that had gone out in this expedition reached England, they issued the True and Sincere Declaration, in which a powerful appeal was made to every instinct of the English people, religious, political, and material, to induce them to contribute to the advancement of the enterprise, in spite of the repeated disasters that had over taken it.[25] This appeal was followed up doubtless by still more active and direct measures for securing the necessary funds. It proved highly effective. In April, 1610, Delaware sailed from England to Virginia with a fleet of three vessels, laden with cargoes purchased in a measure by his own contributions to the treasury of the Company. The additional money required had been adventured by other shareholders. As soon as Delaware had reestablished the Colony at Jamestown, he ordered Gates to proceed to England to obtain the articles for which provision had at the time of his own departure from the mother country been made, at least in part.[26] It was during this visit that Gates was summoned before the Council in London and questioned as to the advisability of abandoning the enterprise, the Council being very much discouraged by his failure to bring with him, on his return, commodities, by the sale of which, the expense of the supplies to be sent to Virginia could be met.[27] Among those who had contributed to the fund covering the charges for these supplies, were probably several of the city companies, subscribing in the persons of their members, and, in some instances, as incorporated bodies. The Grocers’ Company adventured one hundred pounds sterling. The Mercers positively refused to contribute further for the advancement of the Plantation, and in this course they were doubtless followed by other corporations to which similar appeals had been made.[28] In December, 1610, the ship Hercules sailed to Virginia with a cargo of supplies, and a few weeks later was followed by Sir Thomas Dale with a fleet of three vessels, containing a great abundance of victuals and furniture. In the following spring, Sir Thomas Gates set out for Jamestown in command of three ships and three caravels, with an equal quantity of provisions of all kinds for the colonists.

The funds with which the supplies forwarded to Virginia in the care of Gates had been purchased were procured in large part by circular letters addressed to private persons and city companies. Towns were invited to subscribe in their corporate capacity as well as in the name of particular citizens, the hope being confidently extended that the enterprise would now have great success. It was proposed to send to Virginia, in the course of the following two years, three cargoes valued at thirty thousand pounds sterling; of this amount, eighteen thousand had been raised previous to February, 1611, and it was expected to secure the remainder from the gentry, merchants, and cities of the kingdom. Of the subscriptions made by private persons, not one was less than thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings; in some cases, they ran to a figure as high as one hundred and seventy-five pounds. Noblemen and the companies of London subscribed five thousand of the eighteen thousand pounds sterling collected.[29]

During the time that Gates and Dale were in control in Virginia, the martial laws, drawn from the military administration of the Low Countries, were in operation, and were particularly effective in ensuring the preservation of the imported supplies. These supplies appear to have been still in the keeping of a Cape Merchant. Among those who were named by Lord Delaware as having been appointed by himself in the previous year to positions under him, no Cape Merchant is mentioned, although the clerks who were required to be associated with him are referred to.[30] By the martial laws, the fullest regulations were established for the guidance of such an officer, and for his punishment in case he misappropriated the stores placed under his charge;[31] if he embezzled, sold, or gave away any article belonging to these stores, or made out a false account when he presented his report to the Governor, he rendered himself liable to the penalty of death. If any private person carried off the victuals or arms, linen or woollen clothing, hose or shoes, hats or caps, instruments or tools in the care of the Cape Merchant, he exposed himself to the same extreme punishment. That this was not a provision designed in terrorem simply, is revealed in the fact that on one occasion a colonist who had committed a robbery upon the store was bound to a tree and suffered to perish by starvation.[32] Culprits of this kind, it is probable, were usually hung, the harshness in this special case being doubtless exemplary. In order to put an end to the serious evils resulting from the unlicensed trading between the sailors on the ships arriving in the James River, and the colonists on shore, the seamen bartering cheese and biscuit, meal, bacon, oil, butter, spice, and aquavitæ for the clothing, furniture, instruments, tools, and implements of the settlers, it was provided that all mariners who made this exchange should not only be deprived of the goods thus obtained and forfeit the entire amount of their wages, but should also be publicly whipped according to the verdict of the court-martial which should find the charge to be true. If the exchange had been at an unconscionable price, advantage being taken of the necessities of the inhabitants, death was to be the punishment. Proclamations setting forth the legal rates in the sale of all commodities were attached to the masts of every vessel that arrived, and this was to be taken as sufficient notice of the consequences of an extreme violation of the law, but it was, at the same time, no justification for buying without authority the articles specified, even at approved valuations.[33] In spite of the more careful administration enforced by Gates and Dale, there appears to have been at times a great lack of necessary supplies. Molina, writing in 1613, after a detention of two years in Virginia, refers to the wretched clothing of the colonists. He describes his own dress as being in a state of such raggedness as to leave him virtually naked.[34]

In 1612, the third charter was granted; in this the names of many additional adventures were inserted, the greater proportion of whom belonged to the gentry. The largest amount subscribed in any individual case was thirty-seven pounds and ten shillings sterling. Under the terms of this charter, the goods exported from England for use in Virginia were exempted from all duties for a period of seven years. A much more important clause authorized the officers of the Company to establish one or more lotteries to be held during twelve months, unless it was the pleasure of the King that they should continue for a longer time. At least six months’ warning was to be allowed after the expiration of the year. The right to hold lotteries was granted without regard to any special city, and such prizes and conditions were to be prescribed as seemed advisable to the members. The Company was empowered to name the persons who were to take charge of the drawings, and no interference with the performance of the duties assigned to them was to be attempted by any public officer or private individual.[35] The bestowal of the right to hold lotteries is an indication of the great difficulty found, after the various discouragements which had occurred, in raising funds by subscription in order to send supplies to Virginia. It was accepted at the time as an evidence of the loss of faith in the profitable character of the enterprise.[36] Whether those in charge of the affairs of the Company looked at it in this light or not, they proceeded with great promptness and energy in turning to account this new means of procuring money for the purpose they had in view. Books containing instructions were sent to the mayors of the different cities of England, with the request that they would urge the scheme upon the attention of their townsmen. Other books were prepared and stamped with the general seal, in which all who desired to invest in the lottery entered their names, with such sums attached as they should decide to risk. Lots were purchased not only by individuals, but also by churches and corporations. The first drawing began in June, 1612, and ended by the 20th of July, five thousand pounds sterling being distributed in prizes. From this lottery, the Company obtained sixty thousand ducats, for the purchase of supplies. A small standing lottery for the same purpose was erected in the winter of 1613, the announcement being made that it was no longer necessary to send victuals to Virginia, and that the goods to be shipped thither were to be restricted to clothing.[37]

So far, not less than forty-six thousand pounds sterling, obtained by private contributions or from lotteries, had been expended for the advancement of the Plantation. The Company now determined, as a means of increasing their funds, to bring suit in Chancery against all the adventurers who were derelict in turning over the full amount of their subscriptions; a bill was drawn and presented in April, 1613, in which it was stated that on many occasions when the treasury was empty, the Company had been compelled to raise money by pledging its credit in the expectation that the amount would be refunded by the payment of the claims against those members who had refused to deliver the sums for which they were bound over their signatures, or who had deferred doing so for an indefinite period. The delinquents included many very prominent persons. The suit against them was successful, about four thousand pounds sterling being thus secured.[38] In October, the ship Elizabeth left England for Virginia with provisions of different kinds, purchased, not improbably, with this sum. In the spring of 1614, a tract showing the condition of the Colony and setting forth the plan of a great lottery was issued, copies of which, accompanied by a letter from the Privy Council, were sent to all the city companies in London;[39] a strong appeal was made in this letter to induce their members to adventure in the proposed scheme. The need of some means of raising money was now so great that a proposition to yield up its patent was seriously entertained by the Company. With a view to obtaining the support of the state, a petition was presented to Parliament, but like all the measures of the same session, did not come to a final decision.[40] The response of the various city companies to the appeal of the Privy Council was so successful, that in February, 1615, a second letter was dispatched to the different cities and towns of the kingdom.[41] A Declaration was now issued by the London Company in which it was announced that the present standing lottery would be the last erected for the benefit of the Plantation. Special inducements were offered to all who would take lots amounting to twelve pounds, ten shillings or more; to such persons, provided they would remit any prize which they might win, bills of adventure would be given, entitling them to a proportionate share in the lands of the Colony when distributed, and in the profit of the capital to be divided. Members of the London Company who had failed to pay their subscriptions in full, were to be entirely exempted if they risked double the value of the shares in which they were delinquent; a failure to claim their prizes conferred on them a right to additional bills of adventure for the entire amount which they had expended in the lottery.[42] With a view to securing at the earliest date a sum of money to enable the Company to send supplies to the Colony, all persons who paid three pounds sterling into the lottery were to receive a silver spoon, valued at six shillings and eight pence, or that amount in coin was to be returned to them without diminishing the sum they had ventured.

The lottery was drawn in November, 1615. The extent to which the city companies of London and its citizens as well as the people of the other towns took lots must have been considerable, though it probably fell short of the hope that had been entertained.[43] In the meanwhile, the Company had not failed to send out supplies to Virginia. In the Declaration issued in February, 1615, it was stated that this body had very lately dispatched two instalments of men and provisions, including also clothing.[44] Argoll had captured in his expedition to Port Royal a large quantity of various articles which were of great service to the Colony.[45] In 1616, the period of seven years during which the stock of the Company to be accumulated by a monopoly of the trade of the Colony was to remain undivided, drew to a close. The returns from the enterprise had been so small,[46] that the profits, which were to be allowed to grow, were never realized; those who had adventured their money in supporting it, found their recompense only in the distribution of lands, conveyed in successive dividends as the country was cleared of forest. In this subdivision, all persons shared in proportion to their bills of adventure, whether they had invested many years before or but recently.[47] When the period of seven years ended in 1616, the Company was compelled, owing to the lack of funds in its treasury, to adopt a new method for furnishing the colonists with the different articles which they were forced to import to meet their necessities. There was erected what was described as the “Society of Particular Adventurers for Traffic with the People of Virginia in Joint Stock.” Instead of the supplies being forwarded in the name of the Company, they were now sent in the name of the Magazine; to which the members could contribute such sums as they were willing to venture in their individual capacity. It was practically an association of private persons, among whom were divided the returns in proportion to the amounts which they risked. The general Company was not prevented from investing the common funds in the Magazine; if it did so, it shared in the profits and losses like an ordinary adventurer.[48] The affairs of the Magazine were administered by a director, who was assisted by a committee of five councillors; it was so far subject to the supervision of the Company, that its accounts were required to be passed upon by auditors specially nominated at a Quarter Court. The adventurers, however, held separate meetings, at which all routine business was transacted.[49]

No outside trader at this time could send supplies to the Colony, the regulation being as strict after the adoption of the new joint stock as it was previous to 1616.[50] Doubtless, however, the general rule was modified now, as it was under the Orders and Constitutions of 1619, which permitted any one, whether connected with the Company or not, to import cattle, grain, and munition into Virginia if the members of that body, when requested by the Quarter Court, declined or failed to subscribe to the Magazine.[51] The vessels which before this year had carried supplies to the Colony, had also brought in a large number of persons who proposed to reside in Virginia. The ship now conveying the articles purchased by the adventurers who entered into the joint stock, was known as the magazine ship, and its loading was confined to goods and to the few men who were appointed to take charge of them both before and after their arrival at Jamestown. The first magazine ship was the Susan, a vessel of small size. Its cargo was restricted to clothing, of which the Colony at all times stood in great need, apparel being only procurable from England.[52] The goods in the Susan were placed in the care of Abraham Piersey as Cape Merchant, both during the voyage and after Virginia was reached. The Cape Merchant who came over in the magazine ship was not simply a supercargo; he was also the factor of the subscribers to the joint stock, who relied upon his integrity and faithfulness in exchanging the articles they sent over, at the rates agreed upon beforehand. At this time, the only commodities produced in the Colony which assured a profit when sold in England were tobacco and sassafras; for them alone the contents of the magazine ship were exchanged, and for that reason, the members of the joint stock sought to confine their monopoly in the trade of Virginia only to these products. Piersey returned to England in the Susan, but in the following year he came back in the George, the second magazine ship of which he had charge in the capacity of Cape Merchant.[53] The cargo of this vessel was probably not larger than that of the Susan, but it was delayed five months in the outward voyage, which caused the articles brought over in it to arrive in bad condition.[54] Piersey, as soon as he reached Virginia, delivered to Argoll, who at that time was at the head of affairs in the Colony, letters with which he had been entrusted, placing his authority in disposing of the goods of the Magazine upon the same footing as that of the Governor.[55] This excited the warm indignation of Argoll, who now proceeded to treat with contempt the command of the Company in England, that the tobacco and sassafras should be reserved to be exchanged for the merchandise imported in the magazine ship. In spite of the severe laws introduced by Gates and Dale, condemning with the utmost severity all bartering between the captains and mariners of vessels and the settlers, Argoll permitted the former, as well as the passengers in their ships, to buy up all the tobacco and sassafras that they could obtain, thus seriously diminishing if not dissipating the supply upon which the Cape Merchant had depended for the profitable disposition of the goods in the Magazine. Moreover, the free trade inaugurated by the Governor destroyed all uniformity in the rates of purchase, upon which the adventurers in the joint stock had relied for their margin of gain.[56] Argoll was undoubtedly influenced in this independent course by a spirit of the grossest selfishness. His general career as Executive was in keeping with this open violation of the orders which he had received from his superior officers in England. It is, however, an open question as to what extent a conscientious person in his position might have thought that a free exchange of the products of Virginia for the merchandise of any trader who might come forward to barter, was more promotive of the best interests of the inhabitants, even at this early period, than the monopoly enjoyed by the adventurers of the Magazine, who had the countenance and the aid of the Company itself. There was no difference of opinion as to Argoll’s action among the great body of the members, those not immediately interested in the Magazine holding the same views as those who were. The Magazine, they declared with great earnestness, was the prop of the Plantation and the life of the adventurers. To destroy the profit expected of it by allowing an absolute free commerce was to deprive the Colony, still in a state of infancy, of an animal supply which could be relied on with the fullest confidence. No adventurers would be willing to send out a cargo of goods without assurance of a market, or at best with the prospect only of sales at very low rates. The collapse of the joint stock would inevitably inflict injury upon the people, even though it should give encouragement to persons who desired to trade in Virginia on their own private account.[57] There are indications that the monopoly the Company sought to enforce in tobacco and sassafras would, if it had been put into the strictest operation, have excluded all independent traffic. In 1618, a petition was offered to Lord Zouch as the warden of the Cinque Ports, in which permission was sought by Captain Andrews of the Silver Falcon, who was associated with a Dutch merchant, to make a trading voyage to America. Among the objects to be secured were the erection of a plantation for the production of tobacco and grain, the purchase of furs from the Indians, and the barter of fish caught on the coast of Canada for the commodities to be obtained in Virginia. The great evils to be expected, according to the statement of the promoters of the enterprise, were that the “monopolists” of that Colony would break up any settlement the petitioners established, by removing the people, or would prohibit all trade between them and the Virginians, or if they did not do this, would at any rate except tobacco and sassafras from the list of articles to be exchanged, in which case, all the rest might as well be denied.[58] As a means of conciliating the Company, they proposed that if the result of the voyage was highly profitable, they should contribute in proportion to their gains to meeting the regular charges upon that body in supporting the plantation. Zouch granted the warrant sought, the vessel being described as his own.[59]

The magazine ship, the George was followed in the course of the year of its arrival by two other vessels, which had been dispatched by the same combination of private adventurers contributing in joint stock under the auspices of the Company. The William and Thomas, the last of these two vessels to reach Virginia, which was in January, 1618, was accompanied by the Gift, a ship sent to the Colony by the Society of Martin’s Hundred, one of the private associations to which a large grant of land had been made when the year came around for the first declaration of a dividend.[60] This vessel brought over supplies intended for the Hundred only. The supplies imported in the William and Thomas seem to have been exchanged for tobacco in spite of the presence of Argoll and the ruin which his policy had caused, for it returned to England in July, 1619, having on board a cargo of twenty thousand pounds. A large sum in the shape of bills of exchange upon the Company was also brought back, apparently indicating that the Magazine had fallen short in quantity of goods, of the demand in the Colony, so that the Cape Merchant was forced to pay in this form for a part of the tobacco bought. Abraham Piersey did not return to England in the magazine ship, but instead wrote a letter in which he recommended that thereafter he should be permitted to sell the articles forwarded to him as Cape Merchant at such rates as he could secure, without regard to any price fixed upon by the adventurers of the joint stock. He also complained that much of the merchandise sent him was not suited to the character of the trade in Virginia.[61] The suggestion of Piersey as to abolishing all fixed prices in bartering goods for tobacco did not receive the approval of the Company. Among the instructions laid down for the guidance of the first Assembly convening in the Colony, was one that required the members to pass a law establishing the rate of exchange at three shillings a pound for the highest grade of tobacco, and eighteen pence for the lowest. The Cape Merchant was ordered by the Assembly to appear before it and to consent to the adoption of this regulation, which he declined to do until a distinct command lead been given him to that effect, to serve as an acquittance in case the intention of the Company had not been clearly understood. He was limited to a gain of twenty-five per cent in the hundred on the original cost of the goods. In paying for tobacco offered him for sale, he was required to settle in bills of exchange if this should be desired by the owner, which was not unlikely, as he might wish to remit money to debtors or friends in England. In the mother country only were such bills to be made payable.[62]

Precautions were taken to prevent fraud on the part of the Cape Merchant in exchanging goods for Virginian commodities. In making payment, he was instructed to draw up two invoices, one of which was to be retained by himself and the other to be presented to the Governor for safe-keeping. If a dispute were to arise, there would be at least one voucher to show the character of the original transaction. Under special circumstances, the law passed by the Assembly exempted the planter from the operation of the rule constraining him to dispose of his tobacco to the Magazine. If the supplies contained in the Magazine did not include some article recognized as a necessary of life, such an article might be bought from any one who offered it for sale, but the purchaser was required in doing so to pay at the rate laid down for the same in all cases in which the Cape Merchant was the seller. In such purchases the consent of the Governor had first to be secured. The commodities produced in the boundaries of the land owned by private associations and known as Hundreds, were not brought to the Cape Merchant for exchange, the adventurers interested in the Hundreds enjoying the right to dispose of these commodities to their own profit, since this privilege had been granted to them under the provisions of their patents. They were, however, subject to certain important conditions. The commodities must have been produced in the limits of their jurisdiction and not obtained by trading with the planters who occupied lands which were the property of the Company. Furthermore, if upon the termination of a joint stock, a quantity of goods remained in the Magazine unsold, these goods were to be exhausted by purchasers residing in the Hundreds before the adventurers of the Hundreds could furnish them with supplies of the same character.

In 1619, a list of standing orders and laws, drawn from the letters patent of the King, the royal instructions and the rules established by the Company from time to time, was adopted. In the provisions for the regulation of trade, it was stated with great particularity that as soon as the period agreed upon for the continuation of the joint stock for the Magazine expired, entire liberty was to be allowed every one to enter into private commercial relations with the colonists.[63] In the meanwhile, much complaint seems to have been made of an inclination on the part of the Cape Merchant to set a higher value on the articles in his charge than he was authorized to do, an indirect means of reducing the value of the planters’ tobacco below the prices laid down by the Assembly, acting under orders from the Company. The complaint coming to the knowledge of the latter, the Governor and Council were commanded to examine his invoices to find out whether he had disposed of the goods sent him to be bartered, at higher figures than he could justify in his instructions.[64] It would seem that the legal rates at which the tobacco was to be exchanged, namely, three shillings for that of the best quality and eighteen pence for that of the worst, were too much, and that the Cape Merchant in raising the prices of the articles in the Magazine was merely seeking to secure a legitimate margin of profit. The planters asserted that the adventurers in England sold the leaf procured in the Colony at an advance of two hundred per cent over its cost in Virginia, and on this ground they justified a number of deceits in passing bad tobacco upon the Cape Merchant at the highest rates.[65] There does not appear to have been any ground for this assertion. The Magazine sent out in the course of 1620, under the charge of Mr. Blaney, not only failed to assure any profit to the adventurers of that particular joint stock,[66] but the very principal of the subscription was lost, and lost on account of the impossibility of obtaining in England prices for tobacco that would cover the amount expended in its purchase in Virginia, and the various charges attendant upon the voyage.[67] The abolition of the special rates adopted by the Assembly in 1619 became imperative. In July, 1621, the Company, in a letter addressed to the Governor and Council in Virginia, instructed them to secure for the Cape Merchant who would dispose of the cargo of the ship in which the letter was conveyed, full liberty to sell the goods at the highest prices offered, and to get the main commodity of the country in exchange without regard to the rates formerly prescribed by law.[68] In the same month in which this order had been given, a Quarter Court was held, and four rolls were offered for subscriptions. One of these rolls related to clothing and articles of a like nature. Eighteen hundred pounds sterling were at once obtained, although many members were not present, this being the period of vacation and the town deserted.[69] In August, the following month, the magazine ship not being yet ready to sail, the Company took advantage of the departure of the Marmaduke to write again to the Governor and Council in Virginia, and after complaining of the inferior tobacco passed surreptitiously upon the Cape Merchant, announced that upon the expiration of the year 1621 they would not furnish any supplies to the planters in exchange, as the latter considered it entirely proper to purchase these supplies on long credits, but never failed to demand cash when they disposed of their crops to the Company. The disinterestedness of this body in relation to the Colony in the matter of trade appears from the warning in the same communication that in paying for the cattle which Mr. Gookin was at this time importing into Virginia from Ireland, the best grades of tobacco only should be used, as a means not only of securing further consignments of live stock, but also of goods, which could from that country be obtained at easier rates than from the Company in England.[70]

According to the promise of the Company, the magazine ship, the Warwick, accompanied by a pinnace, sailed for Virginia in September, with a large cargo of clothing and other necessaries not to be procured in the Colony. The articles forwarded were designed merely for the relief and comfort of the planters, although the Company was aware that a far greater profit was to be got from sending over what would pander to the vanity and the appetites of the people, such as spirits and fine apparel. This cargo was valued at a thousand pounds sterling. In order to avoid the certain loss which would result from exchanging the goods included in the Magazine, for tobacco at the rate of three shillings a pound for the best, or eighteen pence for the meanest grades, the Governor and Council were enjoined to leave Mr. Blaney, who was in charge of it, to his free discretion in disposing of the merchandise within the limits as to price laid down in private instructions for his guidance. The Company also urged that it was to the interest of the planters that there should be a profitable return upon this Magazine, as those who had invested large sums in its purchase would be encouraged to continue in the same course, assuring a certain and steady supply of necessary goods for the people of the Colony.[71] The Company admitted that its own treasury was empty and that only reliance was to be placed upon the purses of its members coming forward in the character of private adventurers.[72] The pinnace accompanying the magazine ship was captured by the Turks and never reached Virginia, thus causing the loss of the goods on board designed for the planters.[73] In the reply returned by the Governor and Council to the instructions sent over, they informed the Company that the bulk of the crop of the previous season had been disposed of before the magazine ship arrived, and in consequence of this fact, they had recommended Mr. Blaney to distribute among the colonists the merchandise which he had imported, taking their bonds to secure his ownership in the tobacco to be planted in the following season. This letter reveals the fact that in practice free trade had now been fully established in Virginia.[74] As early as the autumn of 1619, a ship had been dispatched to Newfoundland with a cargo of tobacco in charge of the Cape Merchant, Abraham Piersey, who was then residing in the Colony, to be exchanged for fish.[75] The general example set by the Dutch privateer which in 1619 imported into Virginia the first cargo of negroes introduced, was doubtless imitated by other vessels of the Low Countries, especially after the establishment by the Company of factories at Middleburg and Flushing. In the Discourse drawn up by former members of that body after its dissolution, it is distinctly affirmed that the people during the administration of Yeardley, and also during that of Wyatt previous to the massacre, had enjoyed, in consequence of the free trade allowed at that time, ample supplies of necessaries from abroad.[76] In a letter from the Governor and Council in Virginia to the authorities in England, referring to the latter part of 1622, the year in which the massacre took place, it was stated that private adventurers were constantly reaching the Colony who furnished the inhabitants with articles that were particularly acceptable, such as sweetmeats, sack, and strong liquors.[77] The Dutch were probably the chief participants in this trade.[78] Specific orders were sent to Governor Wyatt to prohibit all exchange with the people of Holland, as this diversion of tobacco from England diminished the volume of the royal customs. In 1623, Wyatt was thrown into a state of great doubt as to what course he ought to pursue, by the information received from the captain of an English vessel, that a Dutch ship which he had passed at sea had expressed an intention of making a voyage to Virginia to exchange supplies for its principal commodity.[79] The need of such supplies was now urgent. The financial inability of the Company had been fully set forth in its letter to the Governor and Council in the previous autumn, in which stress was also laid upon the discouragement of the adventurers in consequence of the failure of Mr. Blaney, the Cape Merchant, who had arrived at Jamestown in the Warwick in the previous year, to dispose of the goods in his charge except on credits which had not yet been collected.[80] The Company had by this time expended one hundred thousand pounds sterling in the Virginian enterprise without profit and without recovery of even a part of the capital invested.[81] In 1623, it was compelled in spite of its poverty to pay out an enormous sum for that age to rescue the inhabitants of the Colony from a famine precipitated by the terrible mortality prevailing there in the spring of that year. The Privy Council issued an order requiring that the name of every member of the Company and the number and value of his shares should be certified to the Council, the object of this being to mulct him in proportion to his holding, as it contribution to the fund to be raised for purchasing supplies for the starving people. The payment made by each shareholder was not to fall short of ten shillings.[82] It was not intended to restrict the proportion which each was to give, to the amount of his stock; each could contribute a larger sum if he wished to do so, or become an adventurer in a private magazine to be sent out to the Colony. Such a magazine was erected, Richard Caswell receiving the appointment of Treasurer. By July 4th, sixteen names had been obtained, the amount promised being seven hundred and twenty-seven pounds sterling, in sums ranging from ten to one hundred pounds;[83] the subscriptions were attached to several rolls, the signatures having been secured by Mr. Caswell, who had made personal visits to members of the Company who happened to be in town.[84] The supplies included in the magazine were transported to Virginia in the charge of a cape merchant appointed especially to superintend its disbursement. This cape merchant was afterwards accused by the faction hostile to the Southampton Administration of selling its contents at excessive rates, being able to do so on account of the great demand for such articles. The charge was fully refuted by Mr. Caswell. In a speech delivered at a General Court, he stated that the meal, which constituted a very important part of the supplies, and in connection with which it was asserted extortion had been exercised, had been purchased in England at nine shillings a bushel, an amount swelled to thirteen shillings by the charges for custom and freight. In England, a hogshead of meal measuring nine bushels was valued in the market at five pounds and seventeen shillings. In Virginia, at this time, the same quantity was sold for eighty pounds of tobacco, a commodity commanding in England eighteen pence a pound, in consequence of which the margin of profit upon each bushel sank to six pence after the payment of all charges and after allowance for shrinkage.[85]

There were other magazine ships dispatched to Virginia in 1623, in addition to the Hopewell, which transported the supplies secured by Mr. Caswell. The magazine sent in the Truelove was valued at five hundred and thirty-six pounds sterling. The master of the ship invested sixty pounds in its cargo, while Mr. Dodson, a prominent member of the Company, subscribed to an interest in it, which would now be represented by two thousand dollars.[86] This last subscription reveals the liberal spirit shown at this crisis in the history of the Colony, for Mr. Dodson had already been compelled by the order in Council to contribute to the general fund for the use of the people in Virginia, in proportion to his shares. In making a venture in the private magazine carried over in the Truelove, his prospect of gain, owing to the depressed condition of the Colony, must have been very small. His action was reflected in that of many other members of the Company, whose experience in the past had not been such as to raise their expectation of profit.

The supplies forwarded to the people in Virginia were not obtained from England only. The William and John brought in a cargo from Flushing in the Low Countries, in which city, as has been seen, the Company had opened a factory for the sale of its tobacco.[87] A large quantity of necessary articles of all kinds was also received by individual planters from friends or relatives in England; in September, for instance, there arrived for George Harrison, from his brother, flour, oatmeal, peas, cheese, vinegar, and a chest containing spices, tools, and powder.[88] The goods imported at this time were introduced in hogs heads, one ship bringing over two hundred and forty. In the same year, several vessels were engaged in transporting fish to Virginia from Newfoundland.[89]

The revocation of the charter in 1624 left the plantations open without restriction to independent traders. In a brief interval immediately following the recall of the letters patent, before the new relations of the Colony with the mother country had been fully adjusted, the English Government, which had now absorbed into itself all the powers of the former Company, took the necessary precautions to prevent a dearth of supplies in Virginia. The Company, as long its it remained in existence, felt under the strongest obligation, apart from all consideration of profit, to promote the importation of English goods to meet the necessities of the people. This feeling was transmitted to the royal government when that corporation ceased to exist. The royal government was also in some measure actuated by the desire to prevent the diversion of tobacco to Holland, which would have diminished the customs of England proportionately. In the beginning, the Colony was in serious danger of suffering in the extreme from the want more especially of apparel and munition. The object which Sir George Yeardley was instructed to accomplish in his mission to London in 1625 was to obtain ample quantities of tools, powder, shot, and clothing, wine, aquavitæ, sugar, and spice.[90] He found on his arrival that an order had been issued by the Privy Council to the municipal authorities of Southampton to send a vessel to Virginia loaded with a large cargo of the articles needed there;[91] to this order, an answer was returned that a ship was already fitting out in that port designed to carry a great store of merchandise to the Colony. In addition to this ship, a vessel of one hundred and eighty tons sailed from London and a third from Plymouth.[92] In the course of 1626 and 1627, it was clearly shown that so far from the abolition of the Company having inflicted any suffering upon the settlers by curtailing their imported supplies, they had never before received so large a quantity, especially in the matter of liquors and clothing. The most active participant in this new trade was John Preen of London, who at this time had only reached his thirty-sixth year; in 1626, he is found, together with Thomas Willoughby of Rochester and John Pollington of London, seeking permission to convey to Virginia not only passengers and munition, but also goods of various sorts. Ten barrels of powder constituted a part of the cargo. As the voyage was attended with great danger of attack from enemies roaming the seas, Preen obtained the consent of the authorities to the purchase of an additional fifteen barrels to be reserved for the defence of his ship. It is an indication of the perils of the age that he thought it necessary, before starting upon his voyage, to secure exemption from impressment, however great apparently the emergency.[93] In 1628, he testified to the fact that he had transported supplies to the Colony on four different occasions, and that in each instance he had borne the whole burden of the expense.[94]

The English Government was very much disposed at this time to encourage the several schemes advanced on the part of private individuals looking to the purchase of the annual crop of Virginia under the terms laid down in a regular contract, the object being to increase the amount of the customs by assuring the transportation into the mother country of all the tobacco raised in the Colony. Much stress was laid upon the fact that in this way the planters would receive in each year a large magazine of goods representing every variety needed. The Virginians were not adverse to the suggestion, as has been seen, provided that in buying their product, a rate was adopted which would not assure a higher degree of profit to the owners of the goods than twenty-five per cent.[95] In the negotiations carried on by Sir George Yeardley, as the agent of the planters, and a Mr. Amis, who proposed to enter into a contract for a large part of the annual crop, it was required of the latter that he should furnish a standing magazine of articles to be exchanged for tobacco on the basis of eighteen pence a pound. This proposition was rejected by Amis, although it would have insured him a gain of fifty per cent upon the cost of his merchandise in England.[96]

There was now no dearth of imported supplies in the Colony. So great was the abundance of goods brought in immediately previous to 1630, that the planters became deeply indebted to the different persons who traded in Virginia.[97] The quantity of commodities of various sorts brought in after that date increased in proportion to the growth of population, not being exposed to serious interruptions except in an interval when foreign wars were in progress. During the long period between 1630 and 1700, the great volume of goods landed in the Colony were exported from England. A very important proportion, however, previous to 1661, came from Holland, and also both before and after that year, from the New Netherlands, the West Indies, New England, New York, and Maryland. Before entering into a description of the course of exchange between England and Virginia from 1630 to 1700, it will be interesting to give some account of the commercial relations of the planters with the countries which have just been named.


I have already referred to the commerce with the Dutch during the existence of the Company and the steps taken to put an end to it. After the dissolution of that body, similar measures were adopted by the English Government, but they do not appear to have had more than a temporary effect.[98] In the winter of 1626, the Flying Hart arrived in Virginia from Flushing, and although its commander could show no commission, the authorities of the Colony, contrary to the well-known orders in Council issued on several occasions, admitted the vessel to trade.[99] In justifying their conduct afterwards, they declared that the owners of the Flying Hart were Englishmen and adventurers of the late Company, one of them, Arthur Swain, having been its principal factor in Holland. In the instructions drawn for the guidance of Yeardley, when he became Governor in 1626, the warmest disapprobation was expressed of the intercourse between Virginia and the Low Countries, but the uselessness of the disapproval is shown by the fact that a few years later the commerce with the Dutch had grown to such proportions that Captain Tucker, a leading merchant of the Colony, protested to the Privy Council against its being permitted to continue. He declared that the admission of supplies from Holland curtailed the Virginian market for English traders to an extent which diminished their profits very seriously, and that the discouragement of these traders signified that the planters would be deprived of the only agency upon which they could rely with absolute certainty for the acquisition of necessary foreign commodities; that the Dutch were already encroaching upon the boundaries of the Colony, and that a monopoly of its product would give them in the end the most complete possession of its soil. As an evidence that his statement as to the large volume of transactions by Dutch merchants in Virginia was not exaggerated, Captain Tucker called attention to the fact that two vessels from Zealand were then on the point of setting out for the Colony, the exchange of the cargoes of which for tobacco would impose a loss upon English merchants of four thousand pounds sterling.[100] The active commercial relations between Holland and Virginia at this time seem to have been maintained in part at least by English merchants who resided in the Low Countries. In 1633, for instance, there arrived in the Colony from thence two vessels dispatched by John Constable and his associates, who were only prevented from carrying into Holland the tobacco obtained in Virginia in exchange for their goods, by the vigilance of the English admiral who was in command of the fleet cruising in the English channel.[101] Governor Harvey recommended to the Privy Council that no shipmaster should be allowed to dispose of a cargo in the Colony unless he could present a cocquet which had the approval of the authorities at Jamestown. The only effective means in his opinion for the enforcement of the rule shutting out all foreigners was to erect a customhouse in which vessels arriving should be compelled to make entry.[102] The suggestion was not acted upon. Even if steps had been taken to put it into practice, there is no reason to think that it would have accomplished the purpose in view. This was afterwards shown in the history of the different laws passed for the erection of ports, which, on account of the peculiar configuration of the country, failed to check the dispersion of trade. Public opinion at the date of Harvey’s suggestion was opposed to the imposition of any restraint upon freedom of exchange with the Dutch, and little attention seems to have been paid to the wishes in this respect of the authorities in England. In the embittered controversy that arose in 1635 between Governor Harvey and Samuel Mathews, one of the gravest charges brought against the latter by the former was, that in the face of the expressed command of the Privy Council that all commerce with the Dutch should cease, he had admitted merchants from Holland into his house and had large transactions with them.[103] The open way in which they traded is disclosed by abundant evidence. Thus in 1634 there arrived in the Colony a ship from the Low Countries which disembarked one hundred and forty passengers who had been taken on board when the vessel touched at the Bermudas in the course of its voyage to Virginia.[104] In the following year, Devries, a Dutch captain of distinction, visited the Colony and disposed of his cargo apparently with as much freedom from restraint as if he had been an English subject. The character of the business is revealed in the fact that he was compelled to disperse his goods among the planters upon the security of liens on the growing crop. In the autumn of the same year, he returned to Virginia, and his first step after his arrival was to obtain a license entitling him to the privilege of sailing up and down James River for the purpose of receiving from his debtors the amount of tobacco for which they were bound to him. He seems to have had poor success in gathering his dues in hand. The volume of the crop was small and the greater portion of what had been produced had, at the earliest moment, been seized by the factors of the English traders who resided in the Colony. Devries not having a representative of his interests there at that time, found that the security for his credits had for that year at least been preempted, and in consequence he was forced to defer his collections for a period of twelve months.[105] This fact indicates the extreme precariousness of the trade, and it was quite probably no uncommon instance. The necessary loss of interest for twenty-four months on the money originally invested in the goods disposed of to the colonists in the case especially referred to, could only have been covered by an extraordinary profit in the sale of the tobacco when it lead at last been paid. It was only the certainty of such a profit which would have justified the merchant in running such risks.

Devries formed a high opinion of the capacity of the Virginians in the matter of bargains. Peter, he said, was always very near Paul in that country. Unless the foreign merchant was on the alert, he was in danger of being stuck in the tail. To get the best of him in an exchange, by deceit, was considered to be a Roman action, which entitled the performer to admiration and praise.[106] The Dutchman was probably smarting under the recollection of having been outwitted when he expressed this opinion; it sounds oddly as coming from a citizen of the nation which was justly regarded as being composed of the shrewdest and not the most scrupulous traders of that age. If all the deceits practised in the dealings with the people of the Colony in the seventeenth century were carefully summed up and a balance struck as to which party secured the greatest advantage from them, the planter or the merchant, it would be soon seen that the former was more often the victim than the latter, and that his necessities were used to force him into bargains in which he alone suffered. The English authorities seem to have thought at this time that the Virginians were in much more danger from the Dutch in their commercial intercourse with that people than the Dutch were from the Virginians. The colonists were warned in a solemn document sent over by the Government that the Hollanders were seeking to make a prey of their tobacco by securing it at rates of exchange highly extortionate. It was pointed out that one of the worst evils of the exclusive devotion of the planters to that commodity was that it forced them to look to the Dutch in large part for their supplies, England not furnishing a sufficient market for the whole quantity produced, a fact of which the Dutch took advantage. The Governor and Council were ordered to put a stop to all trade with the Low Countries except in a time of great distress, and even in such a period, when a Dutch ship, after disposing of its cargo, left the Colony loaded down with tobacco, a bond was to be required of its master that he should proceed to London with his vessel for the purpose of paying the customs, after which he was to be permitted to continue his voyage to Holland.[107] An injunction to the same effect was inserted in the instructions given to Wyatt when he became Governor in 1638,[108] and it was repeated in the instructions to Berkeley in 1641.[109] There was quite probably an irresistible disposition on the part of the authorities in Virginia to consider that the period of distress in which the strictness of the rule was to be relaxed had arrived whenever a Dutch ship made its appearance in the James or York, and that it was, therefore, entirely proper to issue to its captain a license to trade.[110] A case of this kind occurred in 1640. A Flemish vessel reached the Colony early in the season, and exchanged her goods for tobacco, which was taken on board and a security given for the payment of the customs in London. A petition was entered by the masters of the English ships riding at that time in Virginian waters, asking that an example should be made of the alien by confiscating her cargo. The General Court rejected it, alleging that when the Dutch vessel had arrived the people were in pressing want of supplies; and that the articles imported by her had afforded great relief; that the English ships reaching Virginia at a later date had been lacking in the commodities so much needed, and that if dependence had been placed upon them alone, the colonists would have been left in a state of “intolerable exigency.” The license to the Fleming, instead of being revoked, was solemnly confirmed.[111]

The authorities of Virginia were disposed to extend to the Dutch as ample encouragement as they dared. A special statute was passed in the session of 1642-43 having this object directly in view. The shipowners from Holland had complained, in a paper presented by them to the Assembly, that the requirement that they should always give bond, before their vessels departed from the Colony, to pay the duty on their cargoes of tobacco, had had the effect of seriously restricting the introduction of supplies from the Low Countries because it was difficult for Dutch traders to obtain the necessary security in Virginia. To remove this obstruction, the Assembly provided that no obligation should be demanded of the master or owner of any Dutch vessel who had procured letters of credit from an English merchant of high standing, guaranteeing the payment of the customs by the holder. This amount was to be settled in the form of a bill of exchange drawn on the person who had come forward as his surety.[112] The passage of this Act had a marked tendency to increase commercial intercourse with Holland. In the year in which it became a law, Devries observed four vessels from that country in the waters of Virginia, and there were doubtless others escaping his notice because lying in other parts of the Colony during his stay.[113]

An incident, occurring in 1643, reveals the little importance attached by many of the Dutch traders to the requirements as to letters of credit. During the visit of Devries to New Amsterdam in the autumn of this year, a vessel from Rotterdam arrived, having been driven far out of her intended course. This vessel, after leaving Holland, had proceeded to Madeira, and there taking on board a cargo of wine, had afterwards sailed to the West Indies. From thence, she had turned towards Virginia, where it was proposed to exchange the wine for tobacco. Ignorant of the coast, the master of the vessel had passed the Capes and had been blown as far to the north as New England. This Colony was found to be no market for liquors, and in consequence he had sailed to New Amsterdam, hoping to find purchasers in the burghers of that town. It will be seen in this case, that although the master of the ship had not touched at an English port and obtained the letters of credit which were necessary, he nevertheless had made his way towards Virginia with the full purpose of selling his wines to the planters. He disposed of them to an Englishman whom he met in New Amsterdam, but agreed to transport them to the Colony and there to deliver them into the hands of a factor. A portion of the wines were discharged at Jamestown and a portion at Fleur de Hundred.[114]

In 1646, the Dutch West India Company gave formal permission to the citizens of Holland to send out their own ships to the different places, including Virginia, coming within the jurisdiction of that corporation.[115] The records of the county courts belonging to this part of the seventeenth century show the importance of the private trade which in consequence of this order sprang up between Holland and Virginia. In 1646, an attachment was issued in York against all the property of Captain Derrickson, a citizen of the Low Countries, which was to be found in that county, Derrickson having carried off a maid-servant who was under articles of indenture to Mr. Richard Glover.[116] A few years later, Captain Francis Yeardley made an assignment, to a prominent firm of Rotterdam, of three negroes as security for the payment of a large amount of tobacco which he had promised to deliver in return for goods already received.[117] Powers of attorney from Dutch merchants to representatives in Virginia now become numerous. One instance among many was the appointment of John Merryman in 1647, to serve as the agent of Cornelius Starrman of Rotterdam in the collection of every form of indebtedness due the latter in the Colony.[118] In 1647, also, Thomas Lee was selected as one of the attorneys of William Scrapes of the same town.[119] The disordered condition of affairs in the mother country at this time, by withdrawing the attention of the English Government from Virginia, was doubtless highly promotive of the commerce between the planters and the Dutch, which only required absolute freedom for its expansion. In the winter of 1649, twelve ships from Holland arrived with cargoes of goods for exchange; the number of English ships coming in during this season was the same, indicating that the trade of the Colony was now equally divided between the Dutch and the English.[120] In 1651, when Virginia yielded to Cromwell, a war was in progress between England and Holland, but it appears to have had no influence upon the intercourse between the planters and the owners of Dutch vessels. When the surrender to the Commissioners of the Commonwealth took place, the quantity of goods in the Colony belonging to Dutch merchants was so large that a special clause was introduced in the articles of submission, stipulating that these goods should be protected from surprisal.[121]

In a previous chapter, I have dwelt at some length on the exports of the Dutch from the Colony in the course of the Protectorate. There are only a few details relating to the importations by the same traders during this interval to be touched upon. In a petition now offered to the States-General by a large number of the merchants of Holland, who declare that for twenty years they had been engaged in commerce with the Virginians, they mention incidentally that the principal commodities which they had been conveying to the Colony were linen and coarse cloths, beer, brandy, and other distilled spirits.[122] These goods were exempted from Dutch customs.[123] Stuyvesant was at this time anxious that all vessels leaving the Low Countries with cargoes of merchandise for Virginia should be required to stop at New Amsterdam on the outward voyage, but the directors of the West India Company refused to comply with his request to that effect.[124] The owners of these cargoes were in many cases English merchants engaged in business in Holland. In 1653, Henry Mountford of Rotterdam appointed an agent in Lancaster County, who was instructed to collect all that was due his principal for advances of goods; and a similar power was given by John Sheppard of the same city to his representative in that county.[125] In 1656, Simon Overzhe, who described himself as a citizen of Rotterdam, granted a full discharge to Thomas Lambert, who had been acting as his factor in the county of Lower Norfolk.[126] A few years later, John de Potter of Amsterdam chose as his attorney in Virginia, his sister, who had married Thomas Edmunds of Elizabeth River.[127] Among the merchants residing in the Low Countries who were engaged at the time in trade with the planters of the Eastern Shore were Cornelius Schut, Nicholas Van Bleck, and Cornelius Stennick.[128] The passage of the Navigation Act of 1660, which was directed against the people of all the Colonies, deprived the Virginians of the advantage of free trade enjoyed by them for so extended a period. In the beginning an illicit commercial intercourse was maintained with Dutch merchants, but at the end of ten years, except on the Eastern Shore, where smuggling continued throughout the rest of the century, the law seems to have been substantially enforced against all foreign countries. Ludwell declared in 1670, that no alien vessel had been allowed to exchange with the people of the Colony, and that the foreign shipmasters who had attempted to sell their commodities for tobacco had been arrested and brought to trial.[129] It was in this year that the Dolphin, which pretended to hail from Dartmouth, but which in reality was the property of Dutchmen, was seized by order of court and her contents confiscated, on the ground that she was navigated contrary to the Act. A similar charge was brought in 1670 against the Hope of Amsterdam and the same judgment entered.[130] All trade with Holland carried on after that period had first to pass through England. In consequence of the expense attending this necessity, it soon became unprofitable.[131]

The commerce between the Colony and the Dutch community seated at New Amsterdam was one of very considerable volume. It was so important, indeed, that in December, 1652, when hostilities were soon to break out between Holland and England, the Directors of the West India Company urged upon Stuyvesant the strong expediency of maintaining the most harmonious relations with the people of Virginia in order to retain their trade.[132] In the following spring, a commission was dispatched to Jamestown for the purpose of concluding a treaty, although the English and Dutch were now actually at war. The Governor there did not consider that he had the power to enter into such an arrangement without the permission of the authorities of the Commonwealth. A few months later, Stuyvesant sent a second commission, who were to ask for the continuation of the commercial intercourse between Virginia and the people of New Amsterdam, and who were also to secure the right to pay what the merchants of the Dutch province owed in the Colony, and to collect what was due them by its inhabitants. It was proposed that the grant of these privileges should be wholly provisional until the consent of their respective governments in Europe to the agreement had been obtained. This arrangement, it would appear, led to an extensive sale of merchandise in Virginia.[133] In 1655, the hostilities between Holland and England having been brought to a close, the Directors of the West India Company again instructed Stuyvesant to promote by every means in his power the commerce between Virginia and the New Netherlands, a matter which they thought devoid of difficulty, as the English were unable to supply the people of the Colony with all of the different kinds of merchandise they required.[134] To encourage the course of trade between the two, Stuyvesant was ordered in 1657 to impose a duty of only one per cent on all commodities shipped from New Netherlands to Virginia. In 1660, the volume of this trade was described as being very great.[135] The vessels from the Dutch province which brought in goods proceeded, as soon as they had secured their cargoes of tobacco, directly to Holland.[136]

When the New Netherlands became a possession of England, the volume of trade between that Colony and Virginia continued to be important. In 1666, Jacob Leisler of the former place put on record in the county court of Rappahannock, a power of attorney authorizing Thomas Hawkins to collect the different debts due him in that part of the country, in the form of bills, bonds, and open accounts.[137] In 1680, Edward Hill of Charles City became the agent of Daniel De Hart of Manhattan Island.[138] Henry Linch, in 1680, entered in the records of Lower Norfolk a power of attorney which he had received of John Smith of New York to enable him to collect the sums in which the planters of that county were indebted to his principal.[139] Julian Verplanck of the same town likewise imported, during a long period of years, a large quantity of goods into Lower Norfolk.[140] Jacobis Vis had important transactions in the exchange of merchandise for tobacco in the counties of the Northern Neck.[141]

The debts due in the Colony to these merchants of New York became very often the subject of suit.[142] On the other hand, actions were not infrequently brought against their attorneys in Virginia and valuable property attached. In 1698, a judgment was secured by Major William Wilson of Hampton against Thomas Walton in the sum of fifty-two pounds and ten shillings sterling. In the same year, a vessel from New York ran aground near Hampton, and her cargo was seriously damaged.[143] There are evidences that the commercial intercourse between Virginia and New England began at an early date. In 1640, the General Court sitting at New Haven laid clown the scale of prices to be used in the purchase of commodities from the Southern Colony.[144] The trade with this community increased in volume with the progress of time. In 1645, a suit was brought in New Haven by Richard Cateliman, as attorney for Florentine Payne of Virginia, against Thomas Hart, who was largely indebted to Payne in their business transactions in that Colony.[145] John Thompson, at a subsequent date, was engaged in transporting supplies to the plantations on the James and York, and Mr. Evance was also the owner of a vessel employed in the same trade. In 1655, complaint was entered in the court at New Haven, that the badness of the biscuit and flour made at Milford had brought discredit in the Southern Colony upon all goods imported from the north.[146]

John Treworgie and Nicholas Shiplagh of New England, in 1647, appointed Isaac Allerton, Edward Gibbons, and John Richards their agents, to recover the amount in which George Ludlow of York was indebted to them in running accounts.[147] During the previous year, Gibbons had dispatched a ship to Virginia with a cargo of goods, which had barely escaped being wrecked.[148] In 1648, the dealings of Roger Fletcher of Boston with the Colony were so large that he appointed Thomas Bridge to act as his attorneys Three years subsequent to this, there were found in the waters of Virginia as many as seven vessels belonging to citizens of New England, which had entered to obtain cargoes of the different products of the country in return for merchandise.[149] In 1654, a sale was made by Thomas Willett of New Plymouth to Mathew Fassett of Lower Norfolk of his entire interest in the Hopewell, a vessel of twenty-six tons, to be used in the New England trade.[150] The owners of ships in that region not infrequently hired them to persons in Virginia who wished to export goods from the North; thus in 1654, William Vincent of Lower Norfolk County entered into a charter party with John Hart, by which the latter rented his bark to Vincent for five months and sixteen days at the rate of eight pounds sterling per mouth, payment to be made in coin, merchandise, and agricultural products to the extent of one-third in each.[151] Two years later the goods which Francis Emperor and Richard Whiting, prominent citizens of the Colony, were importing from New England in the Dolphin of Salem were damaged by a leak that was sprung not long after the ketch passed out of Nantucket. Captain Emperor, who at this time owned a part interest in the ship, the Francis and Mary, was actively engaged in the trade with the English provinces at the North.[152] The Dolphin, it appeared, belonged to James Underwood, who had a considerable estate in Norfolk County; in 1662, an attachment was laid against his property because his vessel had on three different occasions taken in tobacco in Virginia without obtaining a license to trade or paying the duties laid down in Acts of Assembly.[153] A few years before, the ship of a prominent merchant of Boston had been seized with its cargo of goods at Nominy by the collector of the district on the ground of having violated the law.[154]

In the interval between 1656 and 1664, there were recorded a number of powers of attorney from merchants in New England, including among many others such men as John Saffin, Timothy Prout, and John Giffard of Boston, William Payne of Ipswich, William Browne of Salem, and John Holland of Dorchester.[155] A duty of ten shillings had, previous to 1665, been imposed upon every hogshead exported from Virginia to New England, but in this year, the Assembly having reason to believe that this tax diverted from the Colony an important part of the trade of the Northern provinces, repealed it, thus placing all ships from that quarter upon the same footing as the vessels arriving from England.[156]

As soon as hostilities broke out between England and Holland in 1672, the ships employed in the trade with New England were in special danger, since, being principally ketches, they had little ability to resist an attack of the enemy. In 1673, the Providence, belonging to Richard Hollingsworth, was captured off Block Island while on a voyage to Virginia, and in the same year, a vessel owned by John Grafton of Salem was also taken. It had on board for the Southern market a large quantity of rum, salt, sugar, mackerel, and cloth.[157]

An increased number of powers of attorney from New England merchants were placed on record in the county courts in the interval between 1670 and 1685. Among these merchants were Thomas Hillard, Joseph Townsend, Anthony Haywood, Thomas Maul, John Price, Richard West, Jonathan Corwin, John Pinchon, and Peter Sergeant. They secured their debts by mortgages upon the plantations, servants, slaves, and live stock of their debtors.[158] In one instance, Henry Ashton, a planter residing in Lancaster County, sold to John Saffin of Boston a house in that town in consideration of twenty-two pounds sterling, but this was probably a transfer of property, in which no security for previous obligations entered.[159] There is recorded in Lancaster, a letter from Captain James Barton of New England, which throws light on the relations of the merchants there with the trade of Virginia at this time. He urges his correspondent, who was in the latter Colony and who was acting as his attorney, to secure a cargo of tobacco, hides, and pork for the market in Barbadoes, to be purchased with commodities already in his hands, and with goods that Barton would dispatch in his own ketch, now about to sail for Virginia. While the vessel was absent on the voyage to and from the West Indies, that being the second point of destination, the attorney was to make a further collection of hides, which, with tobacco, was to be shipped directly to Holland, an evidence that the merchants of New England openly evaded the injunctions of the Navigation Act.[160]

In case of disputes between New England traders and Virginian planters, it seems to have been occasionally the habit to settle the causes of difference by reference to arbitrators chosen among the citizens of Virginia. Such was the course pursued in 1680 by Hugh Campbell of Boston and Philip Edwards of Lower Norfolk County.[161] The attorneys representing many of the merchants of New England were shipmasters of the two Colonies.[162]

The commodities brought in by these vessels were only in small part of West Indian or New England growth or manufacture; through the merchants and shipowners of the Northern Colonies, the planters of Virginia obtained a large quantity of supplies which had originally come from Europe. The letters of Colonel William Byrd disclose the fact that he ordered through his correspondents in New England a great variety of goods, such as clothing, agricultural implements, and the like, a large proportion of which was not obtained by means of tobacco, but was purchased with bills of exchange.[163] His example was doubtless imitated by many of his contemporaries, whose letter books have not been transmitted to us.

The proximity of Maryland to Virginia naturally led to a very extensive trade between the two Colonies. As early as 1641, the records of the former show that its inhabitants purchased many of their supplies in the older communities south of the Potomac, and, on the other hand, that citizens of the latter were obtaining goods of different sorts from persons living in Maryland.[164] In 1642, Leonard Calvert acknowledged in court that he had at one time owed Thomas Stegg of Virginia as much as five thousand pounds of tobacco, and in the same year James Neale was granted process upon all the debts and merchandise which William Holmes of the same Colony possessed in Maryland, where he had been engaged in important transactions.[165] Suits on protested bills of exchange indicate at this time the volume of the mutual dealings; thus Margaret Brent of Maryland sought to compel Colonel George Ludlow of York to pay a bill of this kind for twenty pounds sterling returned from England dishonored, while Robert Kinsy of Virginia demanded of the court at St. Mary’s that Robert Nicholls should settle an obligation amounting to fifteen hundred pounds of tobacco which he had refused to deliver. In 1643, John Hollis, as the representative of John Hillard of Maryland, was instructed to enter suit in Virginia against John Thatcher.[166]

These suits were not confined to tobacco. In the same year, William Parry of Virginia, through his attorney, Giles Brent, sought in the court at St. Mary’s a verdict against Thomas Boys for eight pounds of beaver. This beaver was probably the consideration in a sale of cattle, as there seems to have been from an early date a trade in live stock between the citizens of Kecoughtan, the place where Parry resided, and the Colony farther to the north. In 1644, Leonard Calvert and Fulk Brent of Maryland were sued by Richard Bennett for a sum of tobacco due for supplies; and John Walton by Edward Bland for the value of a boat which Walton had obtained while trading in Virginia. Among other citizens of prominence in the latter Colony who at thus time were carrying on commercial transactions with merchants in Maryland, were Thomas Mathew, Robert West, and John Hansford.[167]

When on one occasion it was decided by the authorities in Maryland to make an incursion upon the Indians living upon the Eastern Shore of that Province, a shallop was dispatched to Virginia to procure twenty corselets, a barrel of powder, four rundlets of shot, a barrel of oatmeal, three firkins of butter, and four cases of spirits.[168] In 1640, a proclamation was issued forbidding the transfer in Maryland, without a special license, of goods purchased in the Colony to the south. A strict inquiry was required to be made of the sales of liquors on board of the vessel owned by Ralph Beane, a citizen of that Colony.[169] During the course of the last half of the century, the volume of trade between Virginia and Maryland steadily increased with their growth in wealth and population. The intercourse between the latter province and Lower Norfolk County seems to have been extremely frequent. Among the citizens of Maryland engaged in these commercial transactions, were William Holland, Edward Lloyd, Emanuel Ratcliffe, and Charles Egerton.[170] The exchanges with York and the Northern Neck were also very extensive. One of the notable features of the commerce between the two peoples at this time was the introduction into Virginia of mares from the Colony north of the Potomac, which was doubtless undertaken with a view to improving the breed of horses.[171]

The trade with the West Indies began as early as 1633, in which year, Captain Devries states that he made at Jamestown the acquaintance of Captain Stone, who had recently arrived from that part of America, it is to be presumed with a cargo of supplies to be bartered for tobacco.[172] The directors of the Dutch West India Company, writing to Stuyvesant in 1646, called his attention to the fact that persons from Virginia had already made their way to Curacoa, and were exchanging their commodities for its products.[173] Only a few years later, shipmasters from Barbadoes are found selling negroes to the planters along the York and James.[174] It was the custom of many of the vessels sailing from this island to proceed first to Virginia and afterwards to New England. The occasional course of trade is shown in the case of a cargo forwarded to the Colony towards the close of the century by Messrs. Anthony Palmer and Company; it was to be delivered to Paul Carrington, who was instructed to exchange it for tobacco, pitch, tar, and live hogs. If he found it impossible to obtain the return cargo in the course of five weeks, or to secure a freight rate of five pounds sterling a ton, he was commanded to dispatch the ship to Philadelphia with a load of pitch and tar.[175] In a vessel which left Barbadoes in 1661, the Charles of Southton, there were among the consignments for Virginia, six hogsheads of bay salt.[176] In some instances these consignments were restricted to negroes, in others to sugar, rum, and molasses.[177] How large they were very often, is illustrated in the case of William Byrd. On one occasion he obtained from this island twelve hundred gallons of rum, five thousand pounds of muscovado sugar, three tons of molasses, two hundred pounds of ginger, and one cask of lime-juice; on another, four thousand gallons of rum, five thousand pounds of muscovado, one very heavy barrel of white sugar, and ten tons of molasses. The planter who had gone to Barbadoes to buy these commodities in person was frequently able to make his purchases with bills of exchange which he had brought with him; thus in 1668, John Keele presented to Nathaniel Cooke of that island, three instruments of this character calling for payment in sugar, amounting in the aggregate to nearly five thousand pounds.[178] Disputed accounts arising in the course of this trade were carried to the General Court in Virginia for decision, and were ordered to be settled in kind, and not in coin or tobacco. An instance of this nature occurred in 1673, when this body, in a suit by Mr. Edmund Cowles against the attorneys of Mr. William Marshall, required the latter to deliver two hogsheads of muscovado sugar, one puncheon of rum, and eighty-five gallons of molasses.[179]

Tobacco and grain were not the only articles used in procuring the commodities of Barbadoes; in 1686, the sloop Happy transported from Lancaster County to that island, two firkins of butter, two barrels of pork, and twenty-two sides of tanned leather, in addition to one hundred and forty-four bushels of Indian corn.[180]

Many instances might be given of persons who were either residing in Virginia or who were visiting it for the special purpose, being invested with a power of attorney by merchants of Barbadoes who had disposed of goods there. In 1665, Edwin Thomas, who was on the point of setting out for the Colony from that island, was appointed the factor of Giles Hall, with the authority to gather together the different amounts in the form of pork and beef which were due him for West Indian goods, delivered some time previously.[181] A power of attorney is recorded in Rappahannock in the same year from Epiphany Hill of Barbadoes, to Mr. Gates Hussey of that county, to collect all indebtedness to Hill, not only in the form of pork and beef, but also of tobacco and money sterling, as evidenced by note, bond, and judgment.[182] Many ships from year to year arrived in Virginia with cargoes of West Indian commodities, the owners of which depended on casual purchasers for the disposal of their stock, these purchasers being sought by passing from landing to landing in the principal rivers, the lower rates at which these articles were often sold under these circumstances inducing many planters who were engaged in trade not to send their orders to merchants in the West Indies.[183] The operations of these persons covered all parts of the Colony, from the country adjacent to the Potomac on the north to the valley of the James on the south. The rum, sugar, and molasses were conveyed in casks and barrels. The former not infrequently held only twenty-five gallons, eight being required to make a ton. The loss in consequence of the number of casks, casks and contents not being discriminated in the weight, was estimated at one-third. The same objection was urged against the sugar-barrel, which, by increasing the number needed in transportation, added in proportion to the amount paid in freight, without any compensation for so much dead material.[184]

The commercial intercourse between Virginia and the islands of the West Indies was often of an illicit character, the duty on liquor, so much of which was imported into the Colony from these islands, causing many shipowners and masters to make no report to the collector of the district in which their vessels came to anchor. The unlawful trading was especially prevalent on the Eastern Shore and in the Lower James, as these localities offered many facilities for eluding the vigilance of the officers of the revenue.[185]

In one instance only has evidence of a trade between South America and Virginia in the seventeenth century been discovered.[186] In 1670, it was decided that the articles enumerated in the Act of Navigation should not be transported directly to Ireland. Previous to the passage of this statute, as well as subsequent to it, there was a considerable volume of commerce between Virginia and the Irish ports.[187]

There are a few indications of commercial intercourse between Virginia and Scotland in the seventeenth century. In 1638, a special warrant was issued to John Burnett of Aberdeen, granting him the privilege of trading in the Colony upon condition that he paid the customs due upon the tobacco to be exported by him, and that he gave bond that he would only unload in Scotland.[188] In 1670, Thomas Bushrod, acting as the attorney of Thomas Lowey of Edinburgh, obtained judgment in the General Court against Samuel Onsteen for one hundred and twenty-seven pounds sterling, and four years later the same factor brought suit against William Drummond and Samuel Austin for the payment of a somewhat smaller amount.[189] In 1697, Benjamin Harrison shipped a cargo of tobacco directly to Scotland, but it is worthy of note that the name of the vessel was illegally changed in order to enter the port of its destination.[190]

◄Chapter XIV  Directory of Files  Chapter XVI►


  1. Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Council, vol. 1636-1667, p, 504.
  2. Report of a Committee of the Privy Council on the Trade of Great Britain with United States, 1791.
  3. Instructions for the Government of the Colonies, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 71.
  4. Charter of 1606, § XIII, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp 59-61.
  5. Instructions for the Government of the Colonies, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 72.
  6. Orders in Council, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 76.
  7. Ibid., p. 82; Percy’s Discourse, p. lxxii.
  8. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. lxxviii.
  9. A Discourse of Virginia, Works of Capt. John Smith, p. lxxxi.
  10. Ibid., p. lxxxiii.
  11. Letter of Francis Perkins, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 176.
  12. Works of Capt. John Smith, pp. 103-105.
  13. Zuniga to Philip III, Spanish Archives, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 172.
  14. Works of Capt. John Smith, pp. 121, 127, 128, 155.
  15. Memoranda (1607-1608) of Ninth Earl of Northumberland, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 178.
  16. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 228.
  17. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 252, 257, 258, 280, 389.
  18. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 929: “Most of the tradesmen in London that would adventure but 12£ 10 sh.,” wrote Smith, “had the furnishing the Company of all such things as belonged to his trade; such juggling there was betwixt them and such intruding Committees, their associates, that all the trash they could get in London was sent us in Virginia.”
  19. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 252, 254.
  20. Nova Britannia, pp. 23-25, Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. I.
  21. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 307.
  22. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 169.
  23. Ibid., pp. 167, 170.
  24. Instructions to Holcroft, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 317, 318.
  25. True and Sincere Declaration, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 339.
  26. Zuniga to Philip III, Spanish Archives, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 386.
  27. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 504.
  28. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 389, 391, 442.
  29. Circular Letter of the Virginia Council, Lists of Subscribers, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 463-469.
  30. Council in Virginia to the Virginia Company, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 408. Two clerks, Daniel Tucker and Robert Wild, were appointed by Delaware on his arrival in the Colony.
  31. Lawes, Divine, Morall and Martiall, p. 13, Force’s Historical Tracts, Vol. III.
  32. Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 74.
  33. Lawes, Divine, Morall and Martiall, p. 14, Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. III.
  34. Molina to Velasco, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 651.
  35. Third Charter, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 552, 553.
  36. Digby to Carleton, May 22, 1613, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 634.
  37. For these various details, see documents published in Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 555, 560, 561, 570, 572, 575, 591, 608.
  38. Brooke to Ellesmere, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 630; Chamberlain to Carleton, Ibid., p. 655.
  39. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 685.
  40. Extract from Commons’ Journal, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 689. Ibid., pp. 692, 696.
  41. Neill’s Virginia Vetusta, p. 199.
  42. A Declaration for the Lottery, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 763.
  43. See extracts from records of Dover and Wycombe, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 768, 769.
  44. A Declaration for the Lottery, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 762.
  45. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 517.
  46. Extract from the Trade’s Increase, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 766.
  47. A Briefe Declaration, Brown’s Genesis of the United States, pp. 778, 779.
  48. Orders and Constitutions, 1619-1620, pp. 23, 24, Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. III.
  49. Collingwood MS. Records of London Company, in Congressional Library, vol. I, pp. 22, 50. The first director was Alderman Johnson, who showed at this time the unscrupulous qualities which at a later period distinguished him so conspicuously as a member of the Warwick faction. In 1619, he was charged with diverting to the Magazine, funds which belonged to the Company. This had been done by him first in 1617, the sum being £341 13s. 4d., and afterwards in 1618, when he appropriated for the Magazine the money obtained from the sale of the tobacco produced in the common garden. See Ibid., p. 26.
  50. A broadside, issued in 1616-17, gave permission to persons in England to send private supplies to their friends in Virginia. Brown’s Genesis of the United States, p. 798.
  51. Orders and Constitutions of 1619, p. 23, Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. III.
  52. Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 77.
  53. Va. Land Patents, vol. 1623-1643, p. 19.
  54. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 536. The following “Reasons touching the most convenient time and season of ye year for ye magazine ship to set forth from England towards Virginia,” are taken from Records of Jno. Rolfe, secretary and receiver-general, Register Book, No. 41, in the manuscript, Ch. 23, No. 221, now preserved in the library of the Supreme Court at Washington, which formed a part of Mr. Jefferson’s library, purchased by Congress; they are also in Randolph MSS., vol. III, p. 139, Virginia Historical Society Manuscript Collections. “1. To be here (Virginia) in September, start in June, at which time corn and tobacco are harvested. 2. After September, goods can be landed or shipt without great hazard. 3. Because there being few tailors, people will not be able to get their clothes in time for winter. 4. You (that is, the Company) will then have the best tobacco. 5. Your ships will get home by Candlemas, before the East India ships set out, which will help ye speedy venting of your tobacco. 6. If the ships fail to arrive before March, our seed time, we cannot afford to attend to the Magazine. 7. For want of boats, it will be fourteen days loss to a man in transportation of goods, in which time he may lose all his corn and tobacco. 8. If your ships return after April, the heat of the hole will hurt the tobacco. 9. Furnish the Magazine with more than is needed in the present and let a continual trade be on foot, and then at the arrival of your shipping, you will have a cargo of commodities ready, which will be soon despatched. 10. If you grant more commissions for general trade, as you have to Captain Martin, (of Martin’s Hundred, which enjoyed special privileges and immunities) you will overthrow the Magazine.”
  55. Randolph MSS., vol. III, p. 140.
  56. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. II, pp. 31, 32.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Project of the voyage of the Silver Falcon, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. I, No. 38; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1618, p. 238, Va. State Library.
  59. Warrant from Zouch as warden of the Cinque Ports, British State Papers, Colonial; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1618, p. 8, Va. State Library.
  60. Briefe Declaration of the Plantation of Virginia, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 78.
  61. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, pp. 12, 13. The Cape Merchant had difficulty in collecting some of the debts due the Magazine, owing to the perversity of Captain Martin. “Mr. Piersey, the Cape Merchant, taking notice of Captain Martin’s denial of protecting any within his territory from arrest for debt, affirmed that having delivered divers warrants to the provost marshal of James City in Virginia, to be served on men that were indebted, living loosely within Captain Martin’s plantation, the provost marshall told him that the said Captain Martin resisted the officer, and drew arms upon and would not suffer him to execute the said Warrants.” Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, pp. 187, 188.
  62. For these and following details, see Lawes of Assembly, 1619, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, pp. 22-24.
  63. Orders and Constitutions, 1619, p. 23, Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. III. The “Society of Particular Adventurers for Traffic with the People of Virginia in Joint Stock” was dissolved Jan. 22, 1619-20. The minute of the Company showing this is as follows: “Concerning the Magazine touching the joynt . . . whether it should continue or not, after some discussion given for the maintenance of it no longer, it was generally agreed by ye adventurers that it should be dissolved, which by raising of hands being put to ye question was ratified, now ordering that for ye 5200 and odd pounds worth of goods here remaining, rated at the cost of first penny, shall first be put off before any of ye same kind shall be sent.” Collingwood MS. Records of London Company, in Congressional Library, vol. I, p. 64. It was declared February 2, that as the Magazine, that is to say, the Society of Particular Adventurers, had voluntarily dissolved itself, “now matters of trade are free and open for all men.” Ibid., p. 72. It should be remembered that the supplies which had since 1616 been dispatched to Virginia had been sent by this Society, which had been granted a monopoly recognized by all except during Argoll’s administration. Magazines continued to be forwarded to the Colony, but they were the property of particular associations of subscribers, united in temporary joint stock.
  64. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, p. 55.
  65. Company’s Letters, August and September, 1621, Neill’s Virginia Company of London, pp. 238, 244.
  66. The Society of Particular Adventurers in Joint Stock had now been dissolved. This Magazine was sent out by a special and temporary association of subscribers.
  67. Company’s Letter, September, 1621, Neill’s Virginia Company of London, p. 243; Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, p. 124.
  68. Neill’s Virginia Company of London, p. 262.
  69. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, p. 158.
  70. Neill’s Virginia Company of London, pp. 238, 240.
  71. Neill’s Virginia Company of London, pp. 241-246.
  72. Company’s Letter, December, 1621, Neill’s Virginia Company of London, p. 268.
  73. Letter of Governor and Council of Virginia to Company, January, 1621-22, Neill’s Virginia Company of London, p. 276.
  74. Neill’s Virginia Company of London, p. 277.
  75. Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 541.
  76. The Discourse of the Old Company, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. III, No. 40; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. I, p. 160.
  77. Governor and Council of Virginia to Company, January, 1622-23, Neill’s Virginia Company of London, p. 372.
  78. In Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. I, p. 25, the following entry will be found under date of September, 1621 “Resolution of the States of Holland and Westvriesland dated 13 Septr. Read a petition from Gerret Van Schoudhoven and other Guinea Traders; Item also, the petition of Traders to Virginia requesting to be allowed to send out some ships to bring their returns thence to this country as the trade and commerce thither are not to be lost before the West India Company be formed and ready.” These petitions were allowed on condition that the petitioners pledged “themselves to be back to this country (i.e. Holland) before the 1st of July next.” On Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1621, the States General granted permission to Henrich Elkens, Hans Jooris Mouton, and Adriaen Janssen “to send their ship named the White Dove, burden about forty lasts . . . to Virginia, on condition that they shall have returned to this country before the first of July next with their goods and ship.” Ibid., p. 26. After this period the Dutch trade with Virginia was carried on under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company.
  79. Governor Wyatt to John Ferrer, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 26; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 87, Va. State Library.
  80. Neill’s Virginia Company of London, pp. 355, 356.
  81. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. I, p. 144. In a petition to the King, presented in 1623 by the Somers Isles (Bermudas) and London Companies, it is stated that £200,000 had been expended in their plantation. British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 50; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 158, Va. State Library.
  82. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. II, p. 227.
  83. List of Underwriters for a Speedy Supply to Virginia, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 39; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, pp. 122, 123, Va. State Library.
  84. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. II, p. 228.
  85. Abstracts of Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, vol. II, p. 261.
  86. British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 43, II; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 139, Va. State Library.
  87. British State Papers, Colonial, Vol. II, No. 42.
  88. Ibid. No. 44; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 142, Va. State Library.
  89. Dephebus Canne to John Delbridge, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. II, No. 36; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1623, p. 119, Va. State Library.
  90. Petition of Sir George Yeardley, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. III, No. 46; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1625, pp. 119, 120, Va. State Library.
  91. Mayor and Aldermen of Southampton to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, Vol. III, No. 48; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1625, p. 123, Va. State Library.
  92. Mayor and Aldermen of Southampton to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. III, No. 48; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1625, p. 123, Va. State Library.
  93. British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. 13; No. 13, I; No. 15; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1626, pp. 148, 149, 152, Va. State Library.
  94. Petition of Captain John Preen, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. 58; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1628, p. 189, Va. State Library.
  95. Governor and Council of Virginia to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. 10; Sainsbury Abstracts far 1626, p. 142, Va. State Library.
  96. Governor Yeardley to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. 21; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1627, p. 156, Va. State Library.
  97. Governor West and Council to Attorney-General Heath, British State Papers, Colonial, Vol. IV, No. 40; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1628, p. 172, Va. State Library.
  98. “That as the King has directed his commission to divers gentlemen to treat and conclude a contract for all the tobacco of the English colonies for his Majesty’s use, and that there are at this time divers ships freighting in the Low Countries for Virginia and the Caribbees, with intention to trade there and return with tobacco contrary to several orders and proclamations, as also the utter ruin of the contract now in treaty and likely to take effect, it is desired that strict charge be given from his Majesty or this Honorable Board (Privy Council) to the Governor of Virginia especially not to suffer any such trade, there being no need of their provisions, ships of good store of our own already gone and now going to supply their wants if any there be. This to be despatched with all speed, there being a ship ready to set sail, which may convey this Command before any of the Hollanders arrive” Dom. Car. James I, vol. 169, No. 7, Sainsbury Abstracts for 1624, p. 2, Va. State Library. This letter was written in 1624. In October of that year, a ship reached Holland from Virginia, having on board a cargo of furs and other commodities, tobacco included presumably. Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. I, p. 34.
  99. Governor and Council to Commissioners for Virginia, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IV, No. I; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1626, p. 124, Va. State Library.
  100. Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. III, p. 43; British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VI, No. 82; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 48, Va. State Library. Tucker was supported in his position by Sir John Wolstenholme, who used all his influence to procure letters from the Privy Council to the Governor and Council in Virginia, prohibiting the admission of the Dutch to trade. See his letter to Sir William Beecher, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VI, No. 81; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 47, Va. State Library.
  101. These were the two vessels from Zealand to which Captain Tucker had referred. See British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VIII, No. 3; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 53, Va. State Library.
  102. Governor and Council to Privy Council, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VIII, No. 3; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1633, p. 53, Va. State Library,
  103. British State Papers, Colonial, vol. VIII, No. 85.
  104. Census of 1634, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, 1874, p. 91.
  105. Devries’ Voyages from Holland to America, pp. 112, 113. Devries, commenting on his own experience, said that “the English Virginias were an unlit place for the Dutch nation to trade, unless they continued the trade through all the year.” pp. 113, 114.
  106. Ibid., p. 186.
  107. British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 47; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1637, p. 193, Va. State Library.
  108. Colonial Entry Book, vol. 79, pp. 219-236; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1638, p. 49, Va. State Library.
  109. Instructions to Berkeley, McDonald Papers, vol. I, p. 388, Va. State Library. See, also, for these Instructions, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. II, p. 280.
  110. In the well-known speech delivered by Sir William Berkeley in March, 1651, before the Assembly, in condemnation of the first Act of Navigation, he charged the “men at Westminster” with the desire to bring the people of the Colony “to the same poverty wherein the Dutch found and relieved them.” See Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. I, p. 77.
  111. General Court Orders, Feb. 4, 1640, Robinson Transcripts, p. 183. The following is preserved in the Records of Accomac County in vol. 1632-1640, p. 17 (Va. State Library), being a part of an account between Mr. Barnett and Daniel Cughley of “several voyages made by the good vessel called the Virgine.” “Pr. Contra: more for overplus of goods received out of ye Dutch voyage, 9 £.”
  112. Hening’s Statutes, vol. I, p. 258.
  113. Devries’ Voyages from Holland to America, p. 183.
  114. Devries’ Voyages from Holland to America, pp. 176, 181, 183.
  115. Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. I, p. 162. In this year (Jan. 23, 1646), parliament adopted a regulation which remitted customs on merchandise exported to Virginia, the Bermudas, and Barbadoes, the excise tax alone excepted. This privilege of exemption from payment of customs was, however, to be withdrawn from all the Plantations which continued to transport their tobacco to Europe in foreign (that is, continental) bottoms. Hazard, vol. I, pp. 634, 635.
  116. Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 189, Va. State Library.
  117. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1651, f. p. 162.
  118. Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 301, Va. State Library.
  119. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1616-1651, p. 165. There is the following entry in the same vol. f. p. 138, with reference to Lee: “It is ordered that three good hogsheads of tobacco be provided to be sent to Holland with Mr. Thomas Lee, to be sold there for the best advantage of Henry Seawell, to defray the charge of his passage and other charges of the said Seawell, who is to go to Holland with the said Lee.” Seawell, it appears, was an orphan, and Lee, his kinsman, probably his guardian.
  120. New Description of Virginia, p. 14, Force’s Historical Tracts, vol. II.
  121. Hening’s Statutes, vol. I, p. 365.
  122. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. I, p. 437. The Maryland Council declared that “the Dutch trade was the darling of the people of Virginia and Maryland.” Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Council, 1636-1667, p. 428.
  123. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. XIV, p. 130.
  124. Ibid., vol. XIV, p. 209.
  125. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1652-1657, pp. 83, 84.
  126. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1651-1656, p. 232. Simon Overzhe resided at one time in Virginia, and at another in Maryland. Among other English merchants seated in Holland, who had dealings with planters in Lower Norfolk County, was William Harris. See his release of Francis Yeardley from all debts due by him to Harris, Ibid., p. 24. William Moseley, who lived in Lower Norfolk County, was at one time a resident of Rotterdam. See Ibid., p. 24.
  127. Ibid., 1650-1666, p. 240.
  128. Records of Northampton County, original vol. 1655-1657, p. 53; Ibid., original vol. 1657-1666, orders Sept. 7, 1666. There is entered in the records of the same county a power of attorney from Jacob Herrick son and Abram Johnson of Holland to John Johnson to serve as their factor, both in Maryland and Virginia. See original vol. 1654-1655, f. p. 121. The following charter party drawn up in 1646 is a fair sample of the charter parties by which English merchants secured the advantages of Dutch shipping: “In the name of God, Amen. A charter party made the fourth day of September, 1646, and an agreement made by me Abraham Pyle, a publique . . . allowed and admitted of by the Lord of Holland, dwelling in . . . in the presence of the following partyes, namely, William Wright, Rowland Marstone, and John Bason together and every one, as all (in solidum) English merchants and freighters, to Reignard Cornelius, husband and master of the shipp next, under God named, the Foxe, being of burthen about twos hundred and sixty tunnes and being mounted with six good iron gunnes, and all other ammunition for warre, accordingly made in manner and form as followeth, vizt., that the aforesaid husband is obliged with the shipp to bee ready . . . . to deliver her tight and well caulkt, and also to be p’vided with anchors, cables, sayles and ropes, and in all other needful necessaries to be sufficiently provided, the which being thus made ready, then shall the officers and mariners bee taken care for by the fraighters, viz.: theirs wages and victual’s; this done then shall the master sett sayle and run with the first convenient wynd and weather right through the seas to Virginia, and there having delivered and traded her goods, then to lade her again with such goods and wares as the fraighters please, and then the said ship being laded, the maister and officers with the aforesaid shipp (with the next fair wynd and weather which God shall be pleased to send), sett sayle back again for the Tassell and then to the port where he is to deliver. All which, in forms and manner before written, being accomplished, the aforesaid fraighters shall then first and not before, bee engaged and obliged to pay unto the said husband or his owners for his deserved freight, that is to say, for each month that the voyage shall last (to reckon a running months according to the almanacke) the summe of five hundred gilders per month, together with average and pilotage according to the manner and custom of the seas, which voyage shall begin when the said shipp shall be without the last boye in the Tassell. And then the said shipp being arrived at her desired port and at anchor, then shall the fraighters bee engaged for seaven months certain, although the voyage could be performed in a shorter time, but in case it doth continue longer, then to pay as before understood, viz., every month five hundred gilders; And it is also agreed that the fraighters in their returne, may put into Rochelle to seek convoy, but finding there none for Tassell, the said fraighters may then arrive in the Mase; there being arrived, the fraight shall then be due and the shipp out of pay. Allsoe, it is agreed that if the said shipp do arrive in the Mase, that the fraighters shall pay the half of the charges to bring her to the Tassell or otherwyse do agree thereupon; moreover it is conditioned that the shipp shall not be carried into any other place to trade in any manner. Alsoe we are on both sides agreed that the shipp shall be ready to sett sayle in the space of one and twenty dayes without further delay or any neglect of either side, beginning upon the ninth of this instant month; farther, the freighters shall pay for such powder as, they shall unnecessarily shoote away or deliver other powder in the place. Allsoe, it is conditioned that the fraighters shall give to the shipp one Jack and flagg; alsoe it is conditioned that the said husband shall eat and drink and sleep in the cabbin at the fraighters’ charges, but his wages to bee payd him by his owners. It is alsoe conditioned that the said husband shall have privilidge to lay into the shipp see much goods as may produce four hogsheads of tobacco, without paying fraight for; And it is agreed the shipp shall bee delivered at . . . ; whereupon wee bind ourselves each to other for the performance of what is aforesaid mentioned both in our persons and estates, and especially the fraighters’ goods, shipped abroad, and the husband and said shipp fraight and all belonging to her, to be under submission unto all courts and justice. All this being uprightly done within . . . in the presence of Peter Losooke and Frederick Hopkins, as witness hereunto with the Notarie Publique.” Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1651, f. p. 30. We find the following in Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1656-1666, p. 342: “Acct. of Nicholas Brotis, April 15, 1662, forty ells of white linen . . . at forty gilders, Dutch ells; six and twenty Dutch ells of canvas, sixty-seven gliders; three pieces of callicoe, thirty-six gilders; half piece of fustian, sixteen gilders.”
  129. Letter of Secretary Ludwell, British State Papers, Colonial, vol. XXV; Winder Papers, vol. I, p. 257, Va. State Library.
  130. Records of General Court, pp. 8, 12.
  131. See Letters of William Fitzhugh, April 26, 1686.
  132. Documents Relating to Colonial History of New York, vol. XIV, p. 194.
  133. Ibid., p. 301.
  134. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. XIV, pp. 333, 350. A considerable proportion of the commodities which were now imported into Virginia from New Amsterdam had been brought by way of Holland from the far East. Ibid., p. 385.
  135. Ibid., pp. 389, 471.
  136. Ibid., vol. XII, p. 328.
  137. Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1663-1668, p. 115, Va. State Library.
  138. Records of Henrico County, vol. 1677-1692, p. 170, Va. State Library.
  139. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. p. 90.
  140. Ibid., 1666-1675, p. 62; original vol. 1656-1666, p. 419.
  141. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1654-1702, p. 332.
  142. Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 4, Va. State Library.
  143. Records of Elizabeth City County, vol. 1684-1699, pp. 127, 162. There is an incident connected with the trade between Virginia and New York which shows the determination of the authorities in the former Colony to enforce the Navigation laws. An information was lodged in 1685 by the Attorney-General against the sloop Katharine of New York, on the ground that her master and some of her seamen were not of English nativity. The master appeared in York court and admitted that he was a Frenchman by birth, but insisted that he had received denizen papers from the Governor of New York. The Attorney-General proved that certain commodities of European growth had been imported into Virginia by the sloop, without having been loaded, as the Navigation Act required, in England, Wales, or Scotland. The captain replied by saying that these commodities had been obtained in New York, and he produced in court a certificate from the collector of that port in confirmation of his statement. The case was submitted to the justices, who gave a verdict that the vessel and its contents should be forfeited to the Crown. Records of York County, vol. 1684-1687, p. 148, Va. State Library.
  144. New Haven Colonial Records, vol. 1638-1649, p. 35.
  145. Ibid., p. 170.
  146. Ibid., vol. 1653-1665, pp. 142, 317; vol. 1638-1649, p. 291.
  147. Records of York County, vol. 1638-1648, p. 423, Va. State Library. Letter of Governor Winthrop, October, 1646, Neill’s Virginia Carolorum, p. 172, note.
  148. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646;-1651, f. p. 61. See also New England Historical and Genealogical Register for April, 1893, p. 201. A few years later the widow of Cornelius Lloyd of Lower Norfolk County appointed Nicholas Hart of New England her attorney, presumably to collect what was due the estate of her late husband in those parts. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1651-1656, f. p. 109. He may, however, have been expected to act only in Virginia. See original vol. 1656-1666, p. 338.
  149. Weeden’s Social and Economic History of New England, vol. I, p. 250. The wages of a sailor employed in the navigation of these ships were three pounds sterling by the month. The wages of a boy for the same length of time were one pound and fourteen shillings. See Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1651-1656, f. p. 129.
  150. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1651-1656, f. p. 83.
  151. Ibid., f. p. 129.
  152. Ibid., 1656-1666, pp. 34, 114.
  153. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1656-1666, p. 350.
  154. Neill’s Virginia Carolorum, Appx., 418.
  155. See Records of Northampton and Rappahannock Counties. Saffin was very actively engaged in the trade between New England and Virginia, either on his own account or as the agent of others. See Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1668-1672, p. 117, Va. State Library, for an instance in which he was the representative of John Pinchon of New England.
  156. Hening’s Statutes, vol. II, p. 218.
  157. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. II, p. 662. There are several references in the Records of Northampton County to a ketch named the Providence. See original vol. 1664-1674, f. pp. 170, 173. Some years later the brigantine, the Rose of New England, came near being wrecked in Lynnhaven Bay. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. p. 233.
  158. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1682, p. 398. Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1679-1694, p. 1. In 1673, Anthony Checkley and John Malley of Boston made a single shipment to Cherrystone in Northampton of goods valued at £171 9s. Records of Northampton County, original vol. 1664-1674, f. p. 187.
  159. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1682, p. 190. There are entries in the county records which show that persons residing in Virginia not infrequently removed to Now England, and, on the other hand, that citizens of New England sometimes established themselves in Virginia. In the will of Captain Nathaniel Walker of Northampton (original vol. 1683-1689, p. 24), he describes himself as “late of Boston, now of Northampton.” On another occasion, he speaks of himself as “formerly of New England.” Records of Northampton County, original vol. 1664-1674, f. p. 175. In 1679, Thomas Bridge of Lower Norfolk County disposed of several tracts of land which he owned in that county, and took up his residence in Salem, Massachusetts. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. p. 76.
  160. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1682, p. 440.
  161. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1676-1686, p. 90.
  162. Ibid., 1686-1695, f. pp. 58, 73, 84.
  163. Records of similar instances are very numerous in his letter book, now preserved among the Manuscript Collections of the Virginia Historical Society.
  164. Archives of Maryland, Court and Testamentary Business, vol. 1637-1660, pp. 116, 143.
  165. Ibid., pp. 147, 164.
  166. Archives of Maryland, Court and Testamentary Business, vol. 1637-1650, pp. 191, 192, 214.
  167. Ibid., Parry, p. 220; Bennett, p. 269; Bland, p. 345; Mathew, West, and Hansford, pp. 410, 483, 518.
  168. Ibid., Proceedings of Council, vol. 1636-1667, p. 85.
  169. Archives of Maryland, Proceedings of Council, vol. 1636-1667, pp. 94, 177.
  170. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1661-1656, f. p. 109. Ibid., original vol. 1675-1686, f. pp. 106, 166, 186.
  171. Records of the General Court, p. 47.
  172. Devries’ Voyages from Holland to America, pp. 51, 52.
  173. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. XIV, p. 77.
  174. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1651, f. p. 115. The monthly wages of these shipmasters were frequently paid in sugar at the rate of six pennies the hundred-weight, ten pounds in the hundred being allowed for shrinkage. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1646-1651, f. p. 205.
  175. William and Mary College Quarterly, April, 1893, pp. 200, 201.
  176. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1666-1682, p. 31.
  177. Records of Rappahannock County, original vol. 1656-1664, p. 274. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, p. 23.
  178. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, p. 41.
  179. Records of General Court, p. 158.
  180. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1682-1687, p. 111.
  181. Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1663-1668, p. 87, Va. State Library.
  182. Records of Rappahannock County, vol. 1663-1668, p. 85, Va. State Library. The following entries in the county records will farther show the intimacy of the connection between Virginia and Barbadoes in this age. John Thomas, of the sloop Content, belonging to the Isle of Barbadoes, appoints as his attorney in Virginia, Thomas Ward. Records of Norfolk County, original vol. 1695-1703, f. p. 125. Benjamin Dwight, of Barbadoes, sues Christopher Wormeley for debt. See orders, Oct. 7, 1689, Records of Middlesex County, original vol. 1680-1694. It is stated in the inventory of John Godsill of Lancaster County that a parcel of rum belonging to his estate is expected from Barbadoes. Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1674-1687, f. p. 22. The will of John Morrah of Rappahannock County contains the following: “I give to my godson, Thomas Warden of Barbados, 1000 lbs. of muscovado sugar, now in the hands of Joseph Warden of Barbados, his father.” Vol. 1677-1682, p. 17, Va. State Library. Nicholas Ware of Rappahannock County “acknowledges himself bound to John Vasssall of Barbados in 17,234 lbs. tobacco.” Original vol. 1656-1661, p. 374. See also, William and Mary College Quarterly for April, 1892, p. 145.
  183. Letters of William Bird, May 29, 1689.
  184. Among the merchants of Barbadoes who made large sales of commodities in Virginia in the course of the last half of the seventeenth century were James Graham, Thomas Beard, John Felton, Richard Bats, Christopher Mercer, John Barwick, and John Sadler. The trade between Virginia and the West Indies was not confined to Barbados. The following is taken from the Records of Lower Norfolk County: “Know all men . . . that I, William Sheers, of London, merchant, have agreed with Mr. John Brett of Nansemond, merchant, that I, the said William Sheers, is to receive aboard ye ship Francis and Mary, now riding in Elizabeth River and bound for Antigua, Mavis and St. Christopher, within thirty days after ye date, six head of neat cattle with provisions for there, on the said Brett paying for their transportation 700 lbs. of the best muscovado sugar, to be paid at ye arrival of the ship at either of above places within ten days, the said Sheers to find water for said cattle until their arrival, and one hogshead of corn for every one of them, freight free; and for all other goods Brett shall have aboard is to pay at ye rate of 350 lbs. good muscovado sugar, the penalty being 1600 lbs. Virginia tobacco.” This contract is dated 1657. See Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1656-1666, p. 133. In 1685, William Dundas of Jamaica appointed Henry Spratt and Antony Lawson of the “continent of Virginia” his agents in the collection of debts due him by the estate of Robert Calderwood. Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1675-1686, f. p. 202. In 1693, John Wilkinson, Governor of the Bermudas, empowered Thomas Walke of Lower Norfolk County to act as his attorney in that county. See original vol. 1685-1696, f. p. 194. Reference to a Jersey ship will be found in Records of General Court, p. 99, and to a Jersey merchant’s estate in Virginia, in ibid. p. 62.
  185. See Official Letters of Gov. Spotswood, Virginia Historical Society Publications.
  186. William and Mary College Quarterly, April, 1893, p. 152.
  187. This was a regulation of Parliament. See acquittance in Virginia, in 1670, of the ship Anthony of Londonderry, against which an information had been lodged by one of the collectors, on the ground that she was not a free vessel. Records of General Court, p. 40. For evidences of the trade between Virginia and Ireland, see Records of Lower Norfolk County, original vol. 1666-1675, pp. 46, 179; Records of Lancaster County, original vol. 1687-1700, pp. 167, 177; original vol. 1666-1682, p. 150.
  188. British State Papers, Colonial, vol. IX, No. 118; Sainsbury Abstracts for 1638, p. 23, Va. State Library.
  189. Records of General Court, pp. 5, 173.
  190. British State Papers, Colonial, Virginia B. T., vol. II, B. 3.