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Crashawe’s Introduction to 'Good News from Virginia'

By William Crashawe – From Alexander Whitaker, The Minister of Henrico in Virginia. Wherein also is a Narration of the present State of that Countrey, and our Colonies there. Perused and published by direction from that Counsell. And a Preface prefixed of some matters touching that Plantation, very requisite to be made knowne.

At London, Imprinted by Felix Kyngston for William Welby, and are to be sold at his Shop in Pauls Church-yard at the signe of the Swanne 1613.

To the Right Honorable, My Very Good Lord, Ralph Lord Ure, Lord President of Wales: Continuance and encrease of all Honor and happinesse, from Christ Jesus.


 RIGHT HONORABLE, amongst the many discouragements that have attended this glorious business of the Virginian plantation, none hath been so frequent and so forcible as the calumnies and slanders raised upon our Colonies and the Countrey itself. These being devised by the Divell, and set abroach by idle and base companions, are blown abroad by Papists, Players, and suchlike, till they have filled the vulgar eares. And having once entred, then they run (like wilde fire) from man to man. For as wilde fire hardly finds a house which is not matter combustible, so these idle tales hardly meete a man who gives not passage at the least if not credit to them. Whereupon the Divell and his associates (of all sorts) hold and practice this rule, as a sure Maxime1, speake anything, some will beleeve it; be it never so false, some will entertaine it, Truth and Innocencie shall never so wipe it off but something will stick behind. Our onely comfort is (next to the assurance of Gods acceptation of the worke) that men of honourable minds, and ingenuous dispositions, and all that are godly- wise, will check and controule these idle and slanderous surmises, as they meet with them: and for their better assistance, encouragement, and direction in so doing, our Counsell and Governours hold it needfull to make knowne to the world such relations and informations as wee receive from thence, from men of judgment and experience and of approved faithfulnesse and integritie. And therefore though this ensuing Treatise (written by Master Whitaker, one of our ministers in Virginia) was spoken there, and sent hither rather for the private use and encouragement of such, whose purses here, or persons there were ingaged in the action than with any intent to make it public, yet for the reasons aforesaid it was held fit after mature consideration to divulge it, that so the naked and plaine truth may give a just affront to the cunning and coloured falshoods devised by the enemies of this Plantation.

And because the man was once so well knowne to me (as he is still, and ever shall beloved of me) I was desired by them, that may command mee to peruse the Originall it selfe, and for that I had (as they probably thought) some knowledge of his hand, to consider whether truly or suspiciously it bore his name. And if I found cause of the least suspicion, to reject it; but if, by true and infallible tokens, to be his hand, then to give some testimony to the world of a truth so evident.

Two points therefore I perceive needfull to bee made knowne, which I desire all men to take notice of, from mee, who have peculiar reason to know them both, so well, as few or no other can: first, who the Author is; and then, whether this come undoubtedly from him or no.

The Author is Master Alexander Whitaker, Preacher to the Colonie at Henrico, under the government of the valorous worthy Knight Sir Thomas Dale, with whom also he went: hee was sonne to that reverend renowned, Doctor Whitaker: a Master of Arts of five or sixe yeares standing in Cambridge; was seated in the North countrey, where he was well approved by the greatest, and beloved of his people, and had competent allowance to his good liking, and was in as good possibility of better living, as any of his time. He had also some meanes of his owne left him by his parents: all which notwithstanding, he meerely of himselfe, for ought I know, entertained a purpose of going to Virginia to assist that Christian plantation in the function of a Preacher of the Gospell. And having after many distractions and combates with himselfe (as he told me) setled his resolution, that God called him thither, and therefore he would goe: He accordingly made it good, notwithstanding the earnest diswasions of many his nearest friends, and the great discouragements which he daily heard of, touching the businesse and Countrey it selfe: and arrived there with Sir Thomas Dale by a very speedy and safe passage (scarce of eight weeks long) in May 1611, from whence he hath since then written many comfortable letters, both to the Counsell and Committies, and his private friends: and of late (after he had beene there a yeare and more) hath sent us this little Treatise which as I know assuredly to come from him and to be a great part of it written, and all of it subscribed with his owne hand. So I dare say, if he had thought wee would have published it, he would otherwise have adorned it: for I know (and so do others that know him) hee is able to have written it in Latine or in Greeke, and so to have decked it both for phrase and style, and other ornaments of learning and language, as might shew him no unworthy sonne of so worthy a father: And I dare say, if he live (be it in England or Virginia) he will in due time manifest to the world by true and good evidence, that God hath made him heire as of divers of the holy virtues, so of a good part of the learning of his renowned father. And the more liberall am I in giving him his due, the further he is off from mee, and by that meanes can be the lesse sensible of it.

Nor speak I this so much for his sake (though I live him above many, and known it above any other) whose owne deeds will sufficiently approve him. As for the truth which is so much suppressed, and that Christian plantation so much disparaged in this base world: for are they not so impudent as to say; Who go thither but base and banke-rupt persons, and who have no meanes of their own? or else such as are perswaded and wrought upon to go? And when they come there are they not starved, and do they not die like dogges? But how false this is in respect of the Countrey, the narration interlaced in this discourse from him that lives there, will declare: and how slanderous the other is to the persons, I shall in some sort make it appeare.

I therefore hereby let all men know (and malice it selfe shall never disprove it) that a Scholler, a Graduate, a Preacher, well borne, and friended in England, not in debt or disgrace, but competently provided for, and liked and beloved where he lived, not in want, but (for a scholler, and as these dayes be) rich in possession, and more in possibilitie, of himself, without any perswasion (but Gods, and his owne heart) did voluntarily leave his warme nest, and to the wonder of his kindred, and amazement of them that knew him, undertook this hard but in my judgement, heroicall resolution to go to Virginia, and helpe to beare the name of God unto the Gentiles. Men may muse at it; some may laugh, and others wonder at it. But will you know the reason? God will be glorified in his owne works, and what he hath determined to do, hee will find meanes to bring to passe, for the perfecting therefore of this blessed worke; he hath stirred up able and worthie men to undertake the manning and managing of it: Magistracie and Ministery are the strength and sinewes; nay, the very life and being of a Christian body politique. Therefore seeing without these all-emptying of purses heere and ventering of persons thither is to no purpose. God in His wisdom provided, and in his mercie provoked, godly and able men to furnish both these functions: and such as might at home have lived in places of honour and command, or in fashion competent and convenient to their conditions.

And this, Right Honorable, is one of the foure Arguments and, as it were, plaine demonstrations that have convinced mee to beleeve that assuredly God himselfe is the founder, and favourer of this Plantation. And I will crave leave of Your Lordship to put them downe, because I am of minde that the want either of knowledge or consideration hereof, hath beene and is the cause of the error and misprision of the world, touching this business; and doe thinke that if men did ruminate and advisedly consider of these particulars, they would reproove themselves for their former thoughts, and say plainly Digitus Dei est hic.

1 The marvellous and indeed miraculous deliverance of our worthy Governours, Sir Thomas Gates, Lieftenant generall, and Sir George Somers, Admirall, with all their company, of some hundred and fiftie persons, upon the feared and abhorred Ilands of the Barmudaes, without losse of one person, when the same houre nothing was before their eyes, but imminent and inevitable death; as never ship came there that perished not, so never was it heard of, that any ship wrack'd there, but with the death of all or most of the people, save onely this of ours. Oh, how the world should have rung of it ere this, if a far less deliverance had happened to any of the Jesuiticall plantations! And surely the Counsell of Virginia do wrong themselves and the business: nay, they must give me leave to tell them they obscure the glorie of God, if they take not order, that a full, compleate, and plain narration of that whole action, both danger and deliverance be published to the world.

2 The full discoverie (by means of their former deliverance) of those Barmuda Islands, which hitherto have been held in the world, as inaccessible, so not habitable, but so fearefull, hideous, and hatefull, as it seemed a place abandoned of God and Man, and given up to the devils power and possession, and to be of all known places in the world a very hell upon earth, rather than a place for men to dwell in. But those honorable Gentlemen, being by the heavenly Pylot preserved upon them where all men else perished, living there almost a yeare (till they had made themselves two little ships of Cedar) found it so goodly, so ritch, so plentiful, so healthie, and so temperate a Countrey as in so long a time, scarce three died of 150. In so much as hardly could they get their men away when they departed: these Ilands, being then discovered, and since possessed and planted by us, are found a habitation of such safetie and securitie (having no enemie within nor any to be feared without, because the entrance is so difficult:) and of such plentie of all things for life; and of so good temper for health; and fraught with so many rich commodities for satisfaction of the Adventurers, as for the present they bee even as a new life and a seminarie to Virginia, and for the future times, it is likely, will proove a matter of greater consequence, than most men thinke of, and of more worth than any Ilands or continent discovered in our age.

 3 The speciall and most fatherly providence of God over this action, in upholding it when man had forsaken it, and giving it life againe when man had left it for dead: for had not Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers come into Virginia from the Barmudaes even when they did, the poore Colonie (which during that yeare of their absence, by enduring the miserie of misgovernement, had fallen into all extremitie of distresse) had been gone away, and our Plantation possessed by the Savages: And (which was much more miraculous) when they being come in, and in all about 240. persons, and in such extreame miserie and famine as the Honorable Commander was even forced to yeeld to that which others moved (but himselfe had rather have died than done) namely, to put themselves to the Sea to come for England, and quit the Countrey: and when this (full sore against his heart) was put in execution, and every man aboord, their Ordenance and Armour buried, and not an English soul left in James Towne, and, giving by their peale of shot, their last and wofull farewell to that pleasant land, were now with sorrowfull hearts going downe the River: Behold the hand of heaven from above, at the very instant, sent in the Right Honorable La-war to meet them even at the rivers mouth with provision and comforts of all kind; who if hee had staied but two Tydes longer had come into Virginia and not found one Englishman: whereupon they all with as much joy returned, as with sorrow they had come away, and making, as it were, a new entrie and possession, took up their Ordnance and their Armour, and the next day received their Honorable Lord Generall, with all joy and applause, and from that day by Gods blessing, they never wanting government, they never wanted bread for him that would take paines and do his dutie. If ever the hand of God appeared in action of man, it was heere most evident: for when man had forsaken this businesse, God tooke it in hand; and when men said, now hath all the earth cast off the care of this Plantation, the hand of heaven hath taken hold of it. God therefore bee glorified in his owne worke.

But it will be heere said by such as are strangers or enemies to this businesse: if this Countrey be so rich and plentifull, and your Commanders so wise and provident, as you pretend, how could it be that they being there and not hindered by warre nor invasions, should fall into such extremities of want as to be faine to quit the Countrey and come for England, or else there to starve for want of food.

Indeed (Right Honorable) this Objection is of such moment, as though I am unwilling to be large, yet must I needs spend some lines in giving answere, which shall be such I hope as shall give satisfaction to the indifferent, and stop the mouthes of the malignant.

Let therefore the Christian and courteous Reader be pleased to know that when the two forenamed Commanders in the great shippe (called the Sea-Venture) were lost and yet saved upon the Barmudaes, their Fleet consisting of sixe or seven ships more, and fraught with almost foure hundred men, landed (after a long and terrible tempest) in Virginia; where so many men wanting their Governors, and being too many to be commanded by the Colony they found there before them, fell first into factions, and at last into plaine distractions: and so one yeare of misgovernment overthrew that body, which till then had prospered, and by good government was brought to so good a state, as at their landing they had corne sufficient in store, a harvest in the ground, good store of living cattell, and had the savages in good correspondencie. But this one, yea, our want of government) the most disastrous accident that ever befell that businesse) brought all to nothing, for it hindered the building of houses, and planting of corne, nay, it burnt up the houses and consumed the provisions; so that of good store of poultrie it left not one alive, and of six hundred living Swine not three; and which was worse consumed our men, and which was worse of all, it lost us the Savages, which since hath cost many a man his blood, and to this day is not recovered.

All this while were the Commanders and their company in the Barmudaes, where no man dreamed of them, but all the world held them dead men; and being there where none could heare from them, nor they from any others, after almost a years absence, they got out of the rockes in the two ships themselves there made, and going for Virginia they landed there in the beginning of May; where expecting to find a full and well planted Colony, of six or seven hundred men, well stored with corne and cattell: (in assurance whereof they had carried no live Hogges with them from the Barmudaes, nor other provisions, more than for a monthes voyage which they might have done in as great abundance as they could have carried) they contrariwise found a poore Colony, of not an hundred men, who had endured all miseries and more than ever we heard of; all the live cattell, corne, and other provisions spent, and the savages their deadly enemies. At which meeting, though there was joy to see them, who had beene held so long in the bottom of the sea; yet their sweete congratulation was sharpely sauced, when it was knowne they had no provision of their own, the Savages sought their lives, the earth could yeeld none where none had been planted, and if it had, yet in May the old being spent, the new is not readie. All which considered, it soone appeared there was no humane help left on earth but with all speed to hasten for England for new provisions: which motion, though so harsh to the honourable Commander, as hee had rather there have starved, yet being carried by voices, he would not over-rule: and so having buried their Armour and Ordnance, they went away as we heard before.

All this to be true I know well. And if any man ask how I know it, for their satisfaction I answere; I have it from the faithful relation of that religious, valourous and prudent gentleman, Sir Thomas Gates, then and yet our Liefetenant generall, who being himself in his own person a doer of much, a sufferer of more, and an eyewitness of the whole, hath since related this and much more unto mee, face to face. And all that know him, know him for such a man as well deserves to be beleeved.

All which then being true (as is also well known to many my betters) then let any reasonable man judge (especially if hee be experienced in such affaires) if there were not a necessary cause of their comming away, and yet neither fault in the Governour nor want in the Countrey.

4 My fourth and last Argument is the stirring up of so many honorable and worthy persons of all conditions, to disburse so freely and so willingly, such faire summes of money, and some of them even a good part of their estate, and that without any certaine or apparant hope of speedie profit. This to do willingly and voluntarily, and without assurance of gaine, cannot be but the working of God to some higher end than ordinary. And if it be said, there be some, that wish their money in their purses, it may be so, but for one so base-thoughted man, I dare say we have many that wish a great deal more out of their purses, conditionally this happy businesse may take good effect. And this, though it be much, yet in my judgment is but little to this that followeth: that God should vouchsafe to stirre up such able and worthy men for the functions both of Magistracy and Ministerie, who upon very uncertain hope of profit, and most certain danger of life itself, should put themselves into this businesse, and voluntarily undergo the danger of sea and all the miseries and difficulties that necessarily and undoubtedly attend a new Plantation. To have done this upon pressure or by calling of Superiours or command of a state, had bin little; to have done it upon safe and faire tearms and without danger had been no great matter; to have done it upon expectation, and assurance of high rewards and present profit had been nothing: but to do it voluntarily, upon sight of danger present and certaine, but of gaine future and contingent; seeing it is contrary to the course of reason & cánot proceed from folly or madnes (they being wise men) nor from humor or rashness (being stayed men) nor from malcontentedness (being men that lived in good respect at home) nor in the cóceit of meriting (being not Papists but of sound religion): it must therefore needs proceed fró y extraordinary motió of Gods Spirit. For if any, out of ignoráce or malice, do object they had nothing to do at home; it is false and frivolous; false, for they were mé employed; frivolous, for many more had lesse to do than they, yet would not go.

As for those that thinke they wanted in England, do they not see how in disgracing the persons they honor the Countrey? For if they went from England to Virginia because they were in want, and voluntarily stay there still, then it follows that Virginia is able to supply the wants of England. But how idle and slanderous that imputation is, may easily appeare if we take a view of the persons themselves. And to beginne with the Magistrates and Commanders, what Noble man is there in England, what Coronall or Captaine in the Low Countries, but knowes and will acknowledge that the Right Honorable the Lord La-war, and the Right worthie Knights, Sir Thomas Gates, Sir Thomas Dale, and Sir George Somers, bee persons of honor, estimation, and good respect, and had both means and imployment at home of their owne: but to speake of them and other religious gentlemen and captains who voluntarily left their easie, pleasant, and wealthy lives in England, and betook themselves to this voyage, I will leave it to some who are better able to doe it, according to their desert and worth: I will containe myself within my element, and speake of them of my owne function, and amongst them, of those two especially, Master Glover, and Master Whitaker, because they went by my knowledge, but not by my procurement; for I testifie it for truth they moved me that they might go; not I them that they would go. Master Glover, an ancient Master of Arts in Cambridge, an approved Preacher in Bedford and Huntington- shire, reverenced and respected, and never wanting a competent stipend, yet of himselfe (I know not how, or why) made knowne his desire to go to Virginia to a Reverend Preacher in Huntington4, and procuring his letters to me; upon my answer, came up, being a man I had never seen before: and so being well liked of the Counsell, and conditions being tendered him to his content, he went away with Sir Thomas Gates in June 1611; but being in yeares and of a weak constitution, endured not the sea and sicknesse of the Countrey so well as yonger and stronger bodies; and so after zealous and faithful performance of his Ministeriall duty whilest he was able, he gave his soule to Christ Jesus (under whose banner he went to fight; and for whose glorious names sake he undertooke the danger, more worthy to be accounted a true Confessor of Christ, than hundreds that are canonized in the Popes Martyrologe.

Master Whitaker, a man borne, brought up, qualitied, and qualified, setled and provided for, as you heard before (of whom I have spoken the more because he was of long time so well knowne to mee) though he lived as well and in as good case and credit as most yong men in our Church: yet voluntarily, and not suddenly, but after serious deliberation, overcomming, as himself said, many inward temptations and outward discouragements and disswasions, remooved himselfe from a good stipend of valew and certaintie, and put himself into this dangerous voyage, where now he diligently preacheth and Catechizeth: and thereby, and by other Ministeriall duties, publike and private (and otherwise also, for he is otherwaies qualitied) he performs daily and diligent Service, acceptable to God & comfortable to our people; over whom hee is Pastor: and from whence, as a token of his love and duetie to the Counsell and Adventurers and as a testimonie of the good liking he conceives of the Countrie (by these almost two yeares experience) hee hath sent us this plaine, but pithie and godly exhortation, interlaced with narrations of many particulars touching the Countrey, climate, and commodities, worthie to bee knowne of all, especially comming from one of his place and profession, and of so good experience in the matter he writes of. There is also (besides it may be some others whom I know not) Master Bucke, an able and painfull Preacher: of whom I can say the lesse because he was of Oxford and unknown to me; but of whom I have heard Sir Thomas Gates give a good and worthie testimonie, and he came to the Counsell, and to this imployment, with the commendation of a right reverend Prelate6: but no matter, though I say nothing of him; seeing I doubt not, he will shortly give notice to the world what he is, and what the countrey of Virginia is, and what hope there is of that Plantation; for the service whereof he hazarded his dearest life, and the rather do I expect it from him because he is a man now of long experience7, having been there so long a time, and was himselfe in person in the danger and deliverance at the Barmudaes. So that now (for the conclusion) we see to our comfort, the God of Heaven found us out and made us readie to our hands, able and fit men, for the Ministeriall function in this Plantation; all of them Graduates, allowed Preachers, single men, having no Pastorall Cures, nor charge of children; and as it were every way fitted for that worke. And because God would more grace this businesse and honor his owne worke, he provided us such men as wanted neither living nor libertie of preaching at home: (more in my judgment have they to answere for who, wanting both, will not only not go themselves, but disparage and deprave them that go) hereafter, when all is setled n peace and plentie, what marvel if many and greater than they be willing to goe? But in the infancie of this Plantation to put their lives into their hands, and under the assurance of so many dangers and difficulties to devote themselves unto it, was certainely a holy and heroicall resolution, and proceeded undoubtedly from the blessed spirit of Christ Jesus, who for this cause appeared, that He might dissolve the workes of the Devill[I. John 3.7]. And though Satan visibly and palpably raignes there more than in any other known place of the world: yet be of courage (blessed brethren) God will treade Satan under your feet shortly[Rom. 16.], and the ages to come will eternize your names, as the Apostles of Virginia.

And thus (Right Honorable) you have the reasons that have satisfied my conscience that this worke is of God, and will therefore stand, though man should unfaithfully forsake it: and I doubt not, but if many others did know them, and consider of them, they would certainely change their minds and say with me, Doubtless heere is the finger of God. As for the continuall calumnies and daily slanders raised of the place, Plantation, and persons that are in it: and the iests of prophane Players and other Sycophants, and the flouts and mockes of some, who by their age and profession should be no mockers, (for as for the rest, who can expect any better figs from thistles, or any sweeter grapes from such pricking thornes?) for all those, I say, and all other discouragements and depravements of like nature, I professe I like the businesse the better, and have more hope of God's blessing upon it, even of that God, whose wisdome is but foolishnesse with worldly men, and whose wayes are hid from carnall eyes.

And these reasons, I confesse, have so far prevailed with me, at this Plantation shall ever have a portion of my poore estate, and my best prayers, and my personall paines, and presence also, if God had not provided them fitter men for such worke.

There is but one thing more, that an indifferent Reader may probably stumble at, which I wil briefly, and easily remove. It may bee very well, will some say, that these Honourable persons, godly Preachers, and valorous Gentlemen, out of their good minds or desire to see foreign countries, might put themselves for once into this worke, but do they hold on or are they there still? and how many of them having once bin there will go again? Or being there, would they not full gladly bee at home again if they could? Indeed, such base words are given out by some, but they be either ignorant, or malicious; and how can Ignorance or Malice speak the truth? Ignorance cannot, though it would, and Malice will not though it can: but will your Lordship and all men know the truth? Bee pleased then to bee informed that all the aforenamed persons of imployment, Sir George Somers, that famous Sea-man, our worthie Admirall, that true and constant friend to Virginia (who in his old age left a pleasant seat8, a good living, and an easie life to live and die for the good of Virginia) and that godly good Preacher, Master Glover, have both of them given their lives in this businesse, the former in the Barmudaes, the latter in Virginia; crying to their God with the blessed Apostle of the Gentiles (their father whom they followed) Wee passe not at all, neither is our life deare unto us, so that we may fulfill our course with ioy, and the Ministration which wee have received of the Lord Jesus, to make way for the Gospel of the Grace of God[Act. 20]. It was the Divel that said Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give for his life[Job 2.]: and he spake like himself. But these champions of Christ said, All we have, and even life it selfe, will we willingly give and consecrate to God, that the Gospell may bee preached, and the name of Jesus Christ called upon in Virginia: and so gave up their soules to God & their flesh to nature, honoring and in a sort consecrating those Heathenish Earths with their happy bodies, more worthie to bee esteemed precious reliques than thousands that are preserved and adored in the Romish Church: blessed and glorious shall their portions bee at the resurrection of the Just, and in the meane time their names shall flourish when the memory of the wicked shall rot. Of the rest afore named, the worthy Knights, Sir Thomas Gates and Sir Thomas Dale, Liefetenant and Marshall, Master Whitaker and Master Bucke, Preachers, are now in Virginia and have been some divers yeares, and everyone almost two yeares. And of them, Sir Thomas Gates hath been here once and is gone the second time: Master Whitaker went with purpose to stay three yeares; which, as hee resolved heere so hee there performes, and intends, for ought I perceive, rather to augment than diminish the prefixed number: This Lord La-war, our honourable Generall, having spent some time there, for want of health was constrained to come home, but with resolution (as his Lordship spake in an honorable presence at his returne, and since hath published) to returne againe and spend his life in the prosecution of that action. And if the Company were as able to furnish and send away His Lordship with a fleete and power, sufficient, as his Lordship is ready and resolved to ingage his person again, and with him many worthy Gentlemen and Captaines, there would soone be, not a verball but a real answer given to that question, which is in all mens mouthes so common; Why goes not the Lord La-war againe to Virginia. And doest thou aske why His Lordship goes not againe? I tell thee because thou that askest the question, and others like thee, will not put to your hands to help forward so holy and honorable a work: when the danger is passed and profit comes in, then wee shall have partakers enow, but now, for laying of the foundation, the world is content to looke on and aske us why wee goe not forward; we can answere, with good consciences, we goe forward according to our power, wee move as wee have strength, and we move no faster for want of helpe: Let the world be like it selfe, and he that is filthie left him bee filthie still: He that rowseth the hogge out of the mire or the wordling out of the sensuality doth but trouble himself in vain. But you, the noble and worthy Adventurers, whose hearts God hath touched, whether you bee ingaged in purse here, or person there, goe forward and move on, if not so fast as you would, yet as you may, let this be your comfort (besides the assured hope of gaine in due time) that you move not against but for and with God: a little strength doth prevaile better with the streame, than much against it: so great meanes should doe not good if God were against you, but your weake means shall prevaile, seeing you worke with God: Goe forward in that name and by the strength of the Lord your God; and rest assured that his goodnesse will either raise you more strength, or will make the strength you have alreadie able to prevaile: be not therefore faint-hearted, but remember it is Gods cause you have taken in hand. It may therefore be hindred, but cannot bee overthrowne: If we then, were, so base as to betray and forsake it, God whose it is will stir up our children after us, and give them that good land to enjoy, which wee are not worthie of, and which nothing but our sinnes and sluggishnes can keep from us: Let us not therefore to our owne shame leave so blessed a worke, to them that follow us, least the ensuing ages say of us: Why was there such a price put into the hands of fooles who had not hearts to take it?[Proverb.] Stand to it therefore and be not wanting to yourselves, and God will never bee wanting to you nor it, till His blessed providence hath brought it to passe that men shall say, "God hath made his waies knowne upon earth, and his saving health amongst all nations, and blessed be the Lord God, of Virginia, world without end.

And thus (Right Honorable) you may see by that, that hath been said in what tearmes our Colonies now stand and what they want. It may hereby appeare they have God their friend and protector, they have honorable and worthie Governours, godly and painefull Preachers, a goodly Countrie, and no want of necessaries. Since they had government, they onely want the hands and helpe of men willing and able to do such duties of men, as be requisite in a Plantation, and the expence that principally and almost onely now lyes upon us is the charge of sending away, a competent number of men, the charge whereof wil be about 20. pound a man. If this were done, it would soone appeare, that our cares and cost were at an end, and that a glorious and comfortable Issue is shortly to bee looked for; which, howsoever it may be deferred, through the backwardnesse of some, backsliding of others, and coldnesse of all: yet that it will come assuredly in the end, the goodnesse, riches, and excellency of the Country, doth undoubtedly promise us, as may appeare (beside others) in the booke lately put out,9 of Captaine Smithes (who was there divers yeares, and whose paines and service there, deserves in my judgment high commendations) and by this exhortation and narration of Master Whitaker, who now is there: which by direction of authority is therefore published that the world may see how false and scandalous those imputations bee that are laid upon the Countrey and Plantation, by some base and idle lubbers, that come from thence, and some amongst us that are ever opposite to all good publike works.

And these true and welcome newes from Virginia, as they go out to the world ushered and attended with this my poore preface, So I send them first to Your Lordship, as having a peculiar interest both in them and me: which I do not only because Your Lordship, amongst many other of your rancke and qualitie, is a well-willer, furtherer, and advancer of this noble action: But that hereby I may make good to your Lordship the truth of something alreadie passed betwixt us in private discourse; and for that your Lordship knew Master Whitaker in the North and, by your peculiar knowledge of the man and the place where hee lived, can be an honorable witnesse with me, and an evidence beyond all exception, to a good part of what I have here said: And now what remaines but that I beseech the God of heaven to blesse his own worke which we have in hand, and to multiply his heavenly graces upon Your Lordship: That as your Lordship hath been a Mecenas of learning, a maintainer of true religion, and a furtherer of al honorable actions and good works; So you may continue to the end, and advance forward towards perfection: And so with humble recommendation of my service, do take my leave, and rest

Your Lordships devoted in Christ,


Reclaiming the Covenant Special Section

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Notes: Good News from Virginia was sent to the Counsell and Company of Virginia, resident in England. First Hand Account of Virginia, 1575-1705.

Download and print this commemorative article -- Cape Henry: Spiritual Roots of a Nation

The Assembly 2007 -- Rededicating America to God

From the Library of Congress American Memory Collection

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