The General Assembly of Virginia Expresses Their Needs

Dateline: Virginia, 29 March 1628: 38 men of the General Assembly signed this document to send a commission back to England to request several things.

The seventh request says the Assembly wants to expand their monopoly on tobacco into other countries.

The asterisks mean the original text is illegible.

Modern transcription begins:

The General Assembly’s Commission to Francis Wyatt, knight, Mr. Edward Bennett and Mr. Michael Marshart.

1 First that you Mr. Bennett and Mr. Marshart do upon your arrival in England repair [travel] to Francis Wyatt and that by his Council and advice together with yours, our affairs may be managed, of whose wisdom and integrity we do not doubt and we in the name of the Colony do entreat that you would be pleased to undergo the trouble and as in your discretion you shall think most conducing to the good of the plantation [of Virginia], either to refuse the propositions of this contract or to establish a sure and certain means of our subsistence; that we may no longer be always subject to ruin upon the uncertainty of the noise [rumor] of any contract.

2ly That you inform yourselves how the business of the contract stands at that present and acquaint yourselves with the Agent of the Bermudas and St. Christopher’s to the [end?] you (if you can agree) proceed jointly together both for the better effecting of your business and proceedings with less charge.

3ly That what letters shall be committed to your trust you use all diligence to deliver them safe and as soon after your arrival as you can and especially the letters directed to the [Lords?] to the end [goal] you may have their assistance *** the petition to his Majesty shall [come?] to be delivered; chiefly you must have care ******* Lord Treasurer, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his Majesty’s Attorney General, to inform them touching our proceedings.

4ly If his Majesty shall refuse our propositions that then you advise what course may be taken to give his Highness content[ment] and agree to settle the custom and impost at six d. a pound.

5ly Whereas in our declaration we have entreated his Majesty that we may have allowed for our tobacco 3s 6d if we upon our charge of freight and adventure do deliver it in England.

6ly We desire you to advertize us of all occurrences by the best and speediest means you have or can procure from time to time; and if any difficulties shall arise or the necessity of our affairs require it, we do entreat you to send us a barque expressly about 50 tons and to lade her hither with meal, 12 field carriages for demi-culverin, 4 for saker, 4 for minion, 20 barrels of powder, 2 or 3 tons for great shot, with ladles, sponges and all things necessary, 2 c. weight of match, 20 men whereof as many carpenters, gunsmiths, and other smiths as you can with necessary provision of victuals and apparel for a year.

7ly That by your best means you can you make it known to the lords that by the importation of all our tobacco to London and the prohibition of Spanish, that city may in a short time be staple of tobacco and that other countries may both import commodities and money for the same as formerly they have done into Spain where whole trade of that commodity has been, and so be a means greatly to increase his Majesty’s customs.

And whatsoever charges you shall be at in the prosecution of this business, we promise to repay, and if by your diligence you shall effect anything for the good of this country we shall for that also give you satisfaction to your contents.

Dated the 29th March 1628

Francis West, John Pott, Roger Smith, Samuel Matthews, William Claybourne, William Tucker, William Farrar, John West, Nathaniel Basse, Thomas Osborne, Edward Bennett, John Uty, Thomas Pawlett, Francis Epes, Edward Crinden, Edward Waters, Michael Marshart, John Chewe, Thomas Weston, Thomas Willoughby, Robert Sweet, Humphrey Rashell, William Harwood, Thomas Burgess, William English, Tho. Harwood, William Perry, Thomas Farley, John Jackson, Richard Taylor, Maximilian Stone, John Smyth, John Harris, John Burland, Walter Price, Percival Wood, Thomas Jordan, William Popeleton

Transcription ends.

They seem to still be trying to get the plantation of Virginia up and running, so they can survive and thrive.

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