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Right worshipfull Sir,
FORASMUCH as I haue alwayes obserued jour honest zeale to God, accompanied with so excellent carriage and resolution, in actions of best consequence, I cannot hut discouer vnto jou for jour further encouragement, the summe of a priuate speech or discourse, touching our plantation in Virginia, vttered not long since in London, where some few aduenturers (well affecting the enterprise) heing met together touching their intended proiect, one among the rest stood vp and hegan to relate (in effect) as followeth.
Planting in Virginia.
WHereas in our last meeting and conference the other day, obseruing your sufficient reasons answering all obiections, and your costant resolution to go on in our Plantation, they gaue me so good content and satisfaction, that I am driuen against my selfe, to confesse mine own error in standing out so long, whereby many of you (my friends) were engaged in the businesse before m£e, at whose often instigations I was but little moued, and lightly esteemed of it till being in place, where observing the wise and prudent speech, of a worthy Gentleman, (well knowne to you all) a most painful mannager of such publike afTayres within this Cittie, which moued so effectually, touching the publike vtilitie of this noble enterprise, that withholding no longer, I yielded my money and endeauours as others did to aduance the same, and now vpon more aduised consideration, I must needes say I neuer accompted my poore meanes employed to better purpose, then (by Gods helpe) the successe of this may bee, and therefore I cannot but deliuer (if you please to heare) what I rudely conceiue of a suddaine.
There are diuers monuments already publisht in Print to the world, manifesting and shewing, that the Coasts and parts of Virginia haue beene long since discouered, peopled and possessed by many English, both men, women, and children, the naturall subiects of our late Queene Elizabeth, of famous memorie, conducted and left there at sundrie times. And that the same footing and possession is there kept and possessed by the same English, or by their seede and of-spring, without any interruption or inuasion, either of the Sauages (the natiues of the countrie) or of any other Prince or people (for ought wee heare or know) to this day, which argueth sufficiently to vs (and it is true) that ouer those English and Indian people, no Christian King or Prince (other then James our Soueraigne Lord and King) ought to haue rule or Dominion, or can by possession, conquest or, inheritance, truely claime or make iust title to those Territories, or to any part thereof, except it bee (as wee heare of late) thai a challenge is laid to all, by vertue of a Donation from Alexander the first Pope of Rome, wherein (they say) is giuen all the West Indies, including Florida and Virginia, with all America, and whatsoeuer Hands adiacent.
But what is this to vs? they are blind indeede that stumble here; it is much like that great donation of Constantine whereby the Pope himselfe doeth hold and claime the Cittie of Rome, and all the Westerne Empire, a thing that so crosseth all Histories of truth, and sound Antiquitie, that by the apt resemblance of those two Donations, the whole West Empire, from a temporail Prince to the Pope, and the whole West Indies, from the Pope to a temporall Prince. I doe verily gesse they be neere of kinne, they are so like each other, the One an olde tale vaine and fabulous, the other a new toy most idle and ridiculous.
When the flatterers of Cambises King of Persia, could find no law to warrant his immoderate lust and incestuous marriage with his owne daughter, yet they told him of another law which they had found, whereby the Kings of Persia might doe what they listed: if in these cases likewise there be a law that the Pope may doe what he list, let them that list obey him, for we beleeue not in him.
Letting goe (therefore) these legendarie fables, which howsoeuer some men holde authenticke as their Creede, yet are they in the iudgementof wise men, things of no value, nor doe import to vs, any cause of doubt or feare, but that we goe on in our honest enterprise, and lawfull purpose now in hand, that (as wee hope) his Maiestie mindeth not the relinquishing his estate and enterest, deriued to him by right of succession, from his immediate predecessor, but for the further planting and succouring our old Colony, hath giuen vs leaue to make new supplies, which wee lately sent thither vnder the conduct of Christopher Newport Captaine: And hath granted many gratious priuiledges, vnder the great Seale, to vs and to our Heirs for euer, that will aduenture or plant in the said plantation: So I wish and intreat all well affected subiects, some in their persons, others in their purses, cheerefully to aduenture, and ioyntly take in hand this high and acceptable worke, tending to aduance and spread the kingdome of God, and the knowledge of the truth, among so many millions of men and women, Sauage and blind, that neuer yet saw the true light shine before their eyes, to enlighten their minds and comfort their soules, as also for the honor of our King, and enlarging of his kingdome, and for preseruation and defence of that small number our friends and countrimen already planted,