The Second Virginia Company Charter: 1609

The Virginia Company was created by as Charter from King James I. As the colony created by the charter and managed by the Company struggled to survive, additional charters were issued with an eye toward improving its chances of success. Each subsequent charter was designed to attract new investors, thereby increasing the pool of capital necessary to keep the colony afloat. Investors could "adventure” their capital-monies-or settlers could more literally set out on an "adventure” to the colony in the hopes of eventually making a profit. The colony failed as an investment company-none of the stockholders ever made a cent in profit-so the real winners turned out to be those who came to Virginia and stayed. The colonists eventually inherited the land—the real "gold” of Virginia.

This was the Second Charter of 1609.

Now, forasmuch as divers and sundry of our loving Subjects, as well Adventurers, as Planters, of the said first Colony ... have of late been humble Suitors unto Us, that... We would be pleased to grant them a further Enlargement and Explanation of the said Grant, Privileges, and Liberties, and that such Counselors, and other Officers, may be appointed amongst them, to manage and direct their affairs, as are willing and ready to adventure with them, as also whose Dwellings are not so far remote from the city of London but that they may, at convenient Times, be ready at Hand, to give their Advice and Assistence, upon all occasions requisite.

We do GIVE, GRANT and CONFIRM, to our trusty and well-beloved Subjects, [names of grantees] ..., and to such, and so many, as they do, or shall hereafter, admit to be joined with them, in form hereafter in these presents expressed, whether they go in their Persons, to be Planters there in the said Plantation, or whether they go not, but adventure their monies, goods or Chattels, that they shall be one Body or Commonalty perpetual, and shall have perpetual Succession, and one common Seal, to serve for the said Body or Commonalty, and that they, and their Successors, shall be known, called, and incorporated by the Name of, The Treasurer and Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for the first Colony in Virginia ...

And we do also ... give, grant and confirm, unto the said Treasurer and Company, and their Successors, under the Reservations, Limitations, and Declarations, hereafter expressed, all those Lands, Countries, and Territories, situate, lying, and being, in that Part of America called Virginia, from the Point of Land, called Cape or Point Comfort, all along the Sea Coast, to the Northward two hundred Miles, and from the said Point of Cape Comfort all along the, Sea Coast, to the Southward two hundred Miles, and all that Space and Circuit of Land, lying from the Sea Coast of the Precinct aforesaid, up into the Land, throughout from Sea to Sea, West, and Northwest; ...

AND forasmuch, as the good and prosperous Success of the said Plantation cannot but chiefly depend, next under the Blessing of God, and the Support of our Royal Authority, upon the provident and good Direction of the whole Enterprize, by a careful and understanding Council, and that it is not convenient, that all the Adventurers shall be so often drawn to meet and assemble, as shall be requisite for them to have Meetings and Conference about the Affairs thereof; Therefore we Do ORDAIN, establish, and confirm, that there shall be perpetually one COUNCIL here resident, according to the Tenour of our former Letters-patents.. ..

AND further... we do ... GIVE and GRANT full Power and Authority to our said Council, here resident,...to nominate, make, constitute, ordain, and confirm, by such Name or Names, Stile or Stiles, as to them shall seem good, And likewise to revoke, discharge, change, and alter, as well all and singular Governors, Officers, and Ministers, which already have been made, as also which hereafter shall be by them thought fit and needful to be made or used, for the Government of the said Colony and Plantation: AND also to make, ordain, and establish all Manner of Orders, Laws, Directions, Instructions, Forms and Ceremonies of Government and Magistracy, fit and necessary, for and concerning the Government of the said Colony and Plantation; And the same, at all times hereafter, to abrogate, revoke, or change.... as they, in their good Discretion ' shall think to be fittest for the Good of the Adventurers and inhabitants there....

AN]) we do further... ORDAIN and establish, that the said Treasurer and Council here resident, and their Successors, or any four of them, being assembled (the Treasurer being one) shall, from time to time, have full Power and Authority, to admit and receive any other Person into their Company, Corporation, and Freedom; And further, in a General Assembly of the Adventurers, with the Consent of the greater Part, upon good Cause, to disfranchise and put out any Person or Persons, out of the said Freedom or Company....

ALSO WE DO ... DECLARE ... that all and every Persons being our Subjects, which shall go and inhabit within the said Colony and Plantation, and every their Children and Posterity; which shall happen to be born within any of the Limits thereof, shall HAVE and Enjoy all Liberties, Franchizes, and Immunities of Free Denizens and natural Subjects within any of our other Dominions to all Interests and Purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within this our realm of England...

And forasmuch, as it shall be necessary for all such our loving Subjects, as shall inhabit within the said Precincts of Virginia, aforesaid, to determine to live together, in the Fear and true worship of Almighty God, Christian Peace, and civil Quietness, each with other, whereby every one may, with more Safety, Pleasure, and Profit, enjoy that, 'whereunto they shall attain with great Pain and Peril; We...do GIVE and GRANT unto the said Treasurer and Company,... and to such Governors, Officers, and Ministers, as shall be, by our said Council, constituted and appointed,... that they shall and may, from time to time for ever hereafter, within the said Precincts of Virginia,...have full and absolute Power and Authority, to correct, punish, pardon, govern, and rule, all such the Subjects of Us ... as shall, from time to time, adventure themselves in any Voyage thither, or that shall at any time hereafter, inhabit in the Precincts and Territories of the said Colony....

AND Further ... in all Questions and Doubts that shall arise upon any Difficulty of Construction or Interpretation of Any thing contained either in this, or in our former Letters- patents, the same shall be ... interpreted in most ample and beneficial manner for the said Treasurer and Company ...

AND lastly, because the principal Effect, which we can desire or expect of this Action, is the Conversion and Reduction of the People in those Parts unto the true worship of God and Christian Religion, in which Respect we should be loath, that any Person should be permitted to pass, that we suspected to affect the Superstitions of the Church of Rome, we do hereby DECLARE, that is our Will and Pleasure, that none be permitted to pass in any Voyage, from time to time to be made into the said Country, but such, as first shall have taken the Oath Of Supremacy; ...

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