First Grants & Settlements

Burlington, New Jersey 1765

First Grant & Settlement-1584

Although the Enlish had very early made the discovery of North-America, a considerable time elapsed before any advantages accrued: Sir Walter Raliegh, in 1584, was the first Englishman who attempted to plant a colony in it. [That is a regular colony under grants -- "Sir Armigell Wadd, of Yorkshire, clerk of the council to Henry VIII, and Edward VI, and author of a book of travels, was the first Englishman that made discoveries in America." H. Walpole's anecdotes of painting, vol. ii. Catalogue of engravers, p. 18, 19. A note.] In this year he obtained a patent from Queen Elizabeth, for him and his heirs, to discover and possess for ever, under the crown of England, all such countries and lands as were not then possessed by any christian prince, or inhabited by christian people: --Encouraged by this grant, Raleigh and other partners, at divers times, fitted out ships, and settled a colony at Roanor, [now Roanoke, in North Carolina] in Virginia; but notwithstanding various attempts, they met with such discouragements, that no great improvements were made until some time afterwards.

In the year 1606, King James, without any regard to Raleigh's right, granted a new patent of Virginia; in which was included New-England, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland; from Queen Elizabeth's time to the time of this patent, the whole country bearing that name, which was given it by Raleigh in honour of his virgin mistress, as some say; others have it that it took its rise from the country's not being settled before. The patentees were sir Thomas Gaters, sir George Summers, Richard Hackluyt, clerk, Edward Maria Wingfield, Thomas Hanham, and Raleigh Gilbert, Esqrs. William Parker, George Popham, [L.C.J. of England] and others: The extent of the land granted, was from 34 to 45 degrees of north latitude, with all the islands lying within 100 miles of the coast. Two disctinct colonies were to be planted by virtue of this patent, and the property ascertained in two different bodies of adventurers: The first to belong to Summers, Hackluyt, and Wingfield, under the title of the London adventurers, or the London company; and was to reach from 34 degrees to 41, with all lands, woods, mines, minerals, &c. The other colony was to reach from the end of the first, to 45 degrees, granting the same priviledges to Hanham, Gilbert, Parker, and Popham, under the name of the Plymouth company, with liberty to both colonies to take as many partners as they pleased; forbidding others to plant within those degrees, without their licence; only reserving the 5th part of all gold and silver mines, and the 15th part of copper, to the use of the crown. By virtue of this grant, the London company fitted out several ships with artificers of every kind, and all things requisite for a new settlement; which sailed for America, and planted a colony there; but in the year 1623, there were so many complaints made of bad management, that on enquiry a Quo warranto was issued against the patent; and after a trial had in the king's bench, it was declared forfeited; [Other accounts say, the patent was dissolved by the king's proclamation, in 1624; and that tho a quo warranto was issued against it, no determination followed in the courts of justice.] since which time Virginia has been under the immediate direction of the crown.

In the same year the patent was granted, the Plymouth company also attempted to make a settlement; but with no great success, until about the year 1620, when the sent a fresh recruit from England, under the command of capt. Standish, who arrived at Cape Cod in the latitude of 42 degrees, and having turned the cape, found a commodious harbor opposite the point, at the mouth of the bay, at the entry of which were two islands well stocked with wood: Here they built a town, which they called Plymouth. About this time the colonies in New-England were much augmented; multitudes of dissenters thinking this a good opportunity of enjoying libery of conscience, offered their service to the Plymouth company; and the grand patent being delivered up to the king, particular patents were granted to the lord Musgrave, the duke of Richmond, the earl of Carlisle, the lord Edward Georges, and new colonies were planted in diverse places.

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