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Connecting Links with Jamestown and New England

Following his marriage to Elizabeth Throckmorton, which displeased the Queen, Raleigh remained out of favor until after the capture of Cadiz, in 1596, in which he had participated. Upon the accession of King James I, in 1603, he again lost favor at Court and on July 16, 1603, was imprisoned in the Tower of London on the charge of having conspired to place Arabella Stuart on the throne instead of James. At the trial in November, Raleigh, along with Lords Cobham and Grey, was convicted and condemned to death. The lives of all three were dramatically spared at the last minute, but the conviction and sentence of death against Raleigh were allowed to stand and he remained in prison in the Tower until 1616.

One consequence of the conviction of Raleigh was the loss of any rights that he might still have had under the patent of 1584 giving him the sole right to colonize the vast territory called Virginia. The patent had obligated him to settle Virginia within 6 years but so long as the mystery of the Lost Colonists remained unsolved, Raleigh could allege that his colonists might be living somewhere in Virginia and that in consequence his rights under the Charter of Queen Elizabeth were still in force. These claims he asserted as late as 1603. In fact, the abolition of Raleigh's claims appears to have been one of the outstanding consequences of the Cobham plot trails. Because his patent was now clearly lost and because of his imprisonment, Raleigh was unable to participate in the movement that culminated in the settlement of Virginia in 1607. Yet this movement, and the movement to settle New England, had close ties with him. Among the leading spirits behind the later successful Virginian enterprise were Richard Hakluyt and Sir Thomas Smythe, two of those to whom Raleigh had deeded his interest in the Lost Colony undertaking on March 7, 1589. Likewise, among the early leaders of the North Virginia, or Plymouth, group were Raleigh Gilbert and Sir John Gilbert, sons of Raleigh's half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Raleigh Gilbert participated in the effort to plant a settlement on the Kennebec River in Maine in 1607 and was a member of the Plymouth Company as late as 1620.


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