13. A "RED LETTER" YEAR
The year 1619 was truly a milestone in the
development of Virginia. The highlight, of course, was the convening of
the Assembly yet there were other events long to be remembered.
Provisions were made to stimulate family life when the Company took
steps to send "Young maids to make wives for . . . the former Tenants".
The first of these were destined to reach Virginia in May and June,
1620. The Company was specific in its motives as the following excerpt
from its minutes will show.
Lastly he [Sir Edwin Sandys] wished that a fitt
hundreth might be sent of woemen, Maides young and uncorrupt to make
wifes to the Inhabitantes and by that meanes to make the men there more
setled & lesse moveable who by defect thereof (as is credibly
reported) stay there but to gett something and then to returne for
England, which will breed a dissolucon, and so an overthrow of the
Plantacon. These woemen if they marry to the publiq Farmors, to be
transported at the charges of the Company; If otherwise, then those that
takes them to wife to pay the said Company their charges of
transportacon, and it was never fitter time to send them then nowe.
Minutes of the Virginia Company of London, November,
Also in 1619 a number of Negroes arrived in the
colony. These were the first Negroes to be brought to Virginia and were
the forerunners of the system of slavery that began to evolve late in
the seventeenth century.
About the letter end of August, a Dutch man of Warr
of the burden of a 160 tunes arrived at Point-Comfort, the Comandors
name Capt Jope, his Pilott for the West Indies one Mr Marmaduke an
Englishman. They mett with the Trer [another ship] in the West Indyes,
and determyned to hold consort shipp hetherward, but in their passage
lost one the other. He brought not any thing but 20. and odd Negroes,
which the Governor and Cape Marchant bought for victualles (Whereof he
was in greate need as he pretended) at the best and easyest rates they
could. He hadd a lardge and ample comyssion from his Excellency to range
and to take purchase in the West Indyes.
A LETTER FROM JOHN ROLFE TO SIR EDWIN