Relations between England and the American colonies,1607-1625

“King James retained considerable control over the first permanent English colony in America. With the grant to the Plymouth and London Companies of 1606, the first attempt was made by the Crown to regulate somewhat the anticipated settlement and government of the colony. By the charter the patentees were granted the land lying along the coast of North America between thirty-four and forty-five degree* north latitude, and the islands adjacent to or within one hundred miles of the coast.

The patentees divided themselves into two companies and colonies “for a more speedy accomplishment of their said intended plantation and habitation.” Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, Richard Hakluyt, Edward-Maria Wingfield, and other adventurers of London and elsewhere who might from time to time join them, were known as the first colony. This group was to plant its settlement between thirty-four and forty-one degrees north latitude along the coast of Virginia. The second colony was to settle between thirty-eight and forty-five degrees north latitude.

Each colony was to have “all the lands, woods, soil, grounds, havens, ports, rivers, mines, minerals, marshes, waters, fishing, commodities, and hereditaments, whatsoever” from the place of settlement one hundred and fifty English miles along the coast of Virginia toward the west and southwest or south, including the islands within one hundred miles of the coast and fifty English miles to the east, northeast, or north, including the islands within one hundred miles of the coast. The colonies should not be within one hundred miles of one another.

The king expected the colonists to explore the neighboring territory. The Royal Council ordered Captain Newport before he returned to England to spend two months in the exploration and to load his ships with the products of the country.

Any British subjects living in the colonies, and also any children born there, were to “have and enjoy all liberties, franchises, and Immunities, within any of our other dominions, and to all intent and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within our realm of England.

Under the patent of 1606, the whole of North America between thirty-four and forty-five degrees north latitude was claimed by the king of England. This entire territory was placed under the management of one council, the Royal Council for Virginia. The charter of 1606 gave no governmental powers to the patentees. To carry out the governing of Virginia, three councils were created by the charter. The first, whose thirteen members were appointed by the Crown, was called the Royal Council or Our Council for Virginia.”

Oktabec, Josephine, “Relations between England and the American colonies, 1607–1625” (1953). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 3387.