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Readings in the Economic
History of the United States




A. The Cost of Colonizing, 1648 1

The actual work of colonizing America was undertaken by companies chartered for this purpose by the crown, or by wealthy individuals on their own account who were proprietors of the lands granted them. In either case there was usually hope and expectation of a financial return from the venture. The “adventurers” who financed the schemes generally contributed their money as an investment or speculation. In this description of the new country there are shrewdly intermingled directions to prospective adventurers, a statement of the terms upon which colonists will be received, and an optimistic picture of the returns to be secured.

Each Adventurer of twenty or fifty men must provide household necessaries, as irons and chains for a draw-bridge, two Mares or Horses to bred or ride on, Pots, Pans, Dishes, Iron for a Cart and Plow, Chains, Sithes, and Sickles, Nets, Lines, and Hooks. A sail for a fishing Shallop of three tun, and Hemp to employ his people in making them, as with hair, and canvas for quilts, as well on shipboard as demurring at the sea port, as with locks, keys, bolts, and glasse casements for his house. And generally fit Implements for the work or trade he intends.

For trade with the Indians, buy Dutch or Welch rugged cloth, seven quarters broad, a violet blew or red, at four or five shillings a yard, small hooks and fishing lines, Morris bels, Jewes-harps, Combes, trading knives, Hatchets, Axes, Hoes, they will bring you Venison,

" A Description of the Province of New Albion. And a Direction for Adventurers with small stock to get two for one, and good land freely. . By Beauchamp Plantaganet (1648). In Force, Tracts and Other Papers (Washington, 1838), II, no.

vü, 31-35.

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