Dateline: Virginia, March 5, 1623: The year is 1624 by our dating system. The Privy Council is King James I’s closest advisers. 24 men signed this Act.
Apparently the commissioners are coming to inquire into the one commodity that the colonists can’t get away from—tobacco. In another petition they call it a “contemptible weed.” Ever the salesmen, they talk business. Are the investments in the Virginia colony paying off?
Sometimes the manuscript is unclear, so the transcribers note the unclarity in brackets or underlines.
Modernized transcription begins:
It is ordered that the several plantations shall transport the commissioners sent over by his Majesty’s Privy Council from plantation according to their desire and to accommodate them in the best state their houses and rooms will afford.
It is agreed by the General Assembly that so much tobacco shall be levied the next [season?] by the Burgesses of the plantations for which they serve, as shall suffice to discharge the [sum?] of two hundred pounds in money with the interest, to be brought in by them to _____ in the best merchantable tobacco by the last of October next to the dwelling [house?] of Capt. Will Peirce and to pay the same to Sir George Yardley, George Sandys Threar. [sic], Capt. William Peirce and Edward Blayney merchant or their assigns [for payment?] of the dept. wherein they shall stand bound to Mr. John Hart of London, merchant, [for?] two hundred pounds with the interest above named, who has levied by four ____ the Colony.
The surplus of the tobacco (if there be any) that shall surmount the two hundred pounds with the interest, to be received in gunpowder [at?] a just account for the use of the country, provided that the country is to bear the [freight?] of the tobacco into England and to save harmless those that are bound for the payment there.
And if Mr. John Pountis shall not arrive in England or if the money be not paid, then this Act to be void.
Francis Wyatt, Esq. [knight and governor]
John Pott, Roger Smith, Raphe [Ralph] Hamer
William Tucker, Nicholas Marten, Raughley [Rawley] Croshaw, Nathaniel Bass, Isaac Chaplin, Richard Biggs, Luke Boyce, Henry Watkins, Jabez Whitakers, John Utie, Nathaniel Cawsey [Caussey] Robert Addams, Richard Stephens, Thomas Harris, John Wilcox, Richard Kingsmill, Thomas Morlatt, John Chew, John Pollington, Gabriel Holland
The three names under the governor are probably members of the Council, while the majority of the names are members of the Assembly.
Another post about the Convention of 1625 lists these names as members of a commission located in England: William Lord Padgett; Sir Richard Weston, Knight Chancellor of the Exchequer; Sir Humphrey May, Knight Chancellor of the Duchy; and Sir Robert Killigrew.
But I can’t be sure if the same body is pictured here.
Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619-1658/59, ed. H. R. McIlwaine (Richmond: 1915).