[VIRGINIA COMPANY]. A Declaration of the state of the colonie and affaires in Virginia: with the names of the adventurors, and summes adventured in that action. By His Maiesties Counseil for Virginia. 22 Iunij 1620. London: by T. S[nodham and F. Kingston], 1620.
4o (175 x 134 mm). Collation: A-B4 [printer's flower]4 C4 2C4 D-F4 2A2 3A4 2B4 3C4 2D-E4 (A1 blank, A2r general title, A2v blank, A3r text, [flower]1r A note of the shipping, men and provisions sent to Virginia, by the treasurer and company in the yeere, 1619, C1r Declaration of the supplies intended to be sent to Virginia, in this yeare 1620, 2C1r The names of the adventurers, with their severall sums adventured, paid to Sir Thomas Smith, Knight, late treasurer of the Company for Virginia, F4 blank, 2A1r Names of the adventurers, with the sums paid by order to Sir Baptist Hicks, Knight, 3A1r Orders and constitutions, partly collected out of his Maiesties letters patents, and partly ordained upon mature deliberation, by the Treasuror, Counseil and Companie of Virginia... Anno 1619 and 1620, 2E4v blank). 53 leaves (of 54, without A1 blank). 6 parts in one, parts 2-3 continuously paginated, the remaining parts separately paginated. General title with woodcut medallion portrait of King James I, woodcut arms of the Company of Virginia on B4v, one metalcut and two woodcut initials, woodcut headpieces. (General title rehinged, with first line shaved, and slightly rubbed at gutter margin, and small wormhole in lower margins of last 24 leaves occasionally catching a letter, last 2 leaves slightly soiled.) Red morocco, covers and spine gilt panelled, by Zaehnsdorf. Provenance: Lord Tollemache (Helmingham Library inkstamp); Lionel Robinson (Sotheby's London, 27 June 1988, lot 880).
FIRST EDITION, third and most complete issue, incorporating the "Orders and Constitutions," first added in the second issue, and the "Declaration of the supplies," added for this third issue. In 1609 and 1612 the Virginia Company of London secured charters that transferred matters of colonial government from the Crown to the company. The Company "adopted 'Orders and Constitutions' to secure legality of action and they were read at one quarter court each year. The forms and usages followed in other commercial companies, in other corporate bodies, and in Parliament greatly influenced the decisions of the company ... The company, domiciled at London, was thus a body of adventurers that had gained the freedom of the company by payment of money, by rendering of service or by settlement of land in Virginia. It was presided by a treasurer chosen by itself at will and conducted all of its business through its regularly elected officers or committees or by special committees. According to its 'Orders and Constitutions,' it kept a complete record of its actions in the courts and compelled its committees to do the same" (Concise Dictionary of American History, New York: Scribner's, 1962, pp. 987-988). The first representative assembly in North America, the Virginia House of Burgesses, met at Jamestown in 1619. The Company was dissolved in 1624 and Virginia became a royal colony.
This collection of tracts, prepared by Sir Edwin Sandys and Dr. Thomas Winstone following a resolution of the court of the company on 5 December 1619, includes a general statement vaunting the good conditions and prospects of the Colony ("the Countrey is rich, spacious, and well-watered; temperate as for the Climate; very healthful after men are a little accustomed to it"...[A3v]), a list of all the ships, men and provisions sent there in 1619, a list of supplies sent in 1620, two lists of "adventurers" with the sums subscribed, and the orders and constitutions, or rules for the government of Virginia derived from royal letters patent and ordinances of the company. COMPLETE COPIES ARE RARE.
Church 381; JCB (3) II, 150; Sabin 99879; STC 24841.4.