"…the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the Giver of all goodness, for every plantation which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted out."

                                                       ​​​​​​​​                                                                                                    by Phyllis Mackall,

                                             I … willingly depend upon God's almighty providence which never fails them that trust in him.                                                                                                                       - Sir Francis Drake on the Spanish Main, 1572.

It was just a schoolboy's visit to his lawyer cousin in London.

But God used that day in the mid 1500s to drop a Scripture into young Richard Hakluyt's heart that not only influenced the course of his life, but blossomed 50 years later into the first permanent English settlement in North America:   Jamestown, Virginia.

Richard's cousin and namesake was a noted geographer who had become the lad's guardian after his father's death in 1557. As young Richard was visiting his cousin's rooms, he noticed some books and maps "lying open upon his board," he wrote many years later. His guardian, noticing his interest,

Young Richard earned his master's degree from Oxford University, became an Anglican clergyman, and developed into England's leading geographer. Skilled in foreign languages, Rev. Hakluyt read all the accounts he could find of foreign and English explorations, and he sought out and carefully interviewed sea captains and sailors who had been to the mysterious New World. He then published these reports and letters, as well as maps, in bestselling books. His lifelong passion was to see the virtually unexplored North American continent explored, colonized and evangelized by England. "Preacher Hakluyt" wrote and argued persuasively on the subject before Queen Elizabeth I, her successor, King James I, and anyone else who would listen.

Elizabeth was too preoccupied with the dangers posed by Spain and its "invincible" Armada to turn her considerable energies to colonizing that wilderness that Sir Walter Raleigh had named Virginia for her, the Virgin Queen. 

In 1578, however, she did grant a private patent or monopoly to Raleigh's half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, to colonize in North America. He dreamed of an English empire beyond the seas, but he went down with his ship off of Newfoundland in 1583.

The following year, Elizabeth granted a fresh patent to Raleigh, who was as enthused about colonization as his brother had been, but she decided Raleigh was too valuable to leave England, so he was forced to send others to the New World in his place. Raleigh sponsored five expeditions to Roanoke Island in modern-day North Carolina, losing his fortune (and eventually his head).

As historian William Perry, Bishop of Iowa, pointed out, Raleigh…

Explorers' ships traditionally carried chaplains, for church and state went hand in hand in efforts for discovery and settlement. It is believed that when John Cabot discovered and claimed North America for the English in 1497, he was accompanied by a minister of the Church of England.

A Master Wolfall was appointed by Queen Elizabeth's Council "to be their minister and preacher" when Sir Martin Frobisher's fleet left England in 1578 in a futile attempt to mine for gold along Hudson's Bay in Northern Canada. Rev. Wolfall was described in one of Rev. Hakluyt's books as having "a good, honest woman to wife, and very towardly (pleasant) children, being of good reputation… the only care he had to save souls and to reform these infidels" (Indians). He preached many sermons and celebrated Holy Communion both on the ships and on the frozen shores.

The first Protestant to minister the Word and Sacraments within the territory of the United States, according to Bishop Perry, was Rev. Francis Fletcher, long suffering chaplain during Sir Francis Drake's epic voyage around the world in 1577-79. Rev. Fletcher later wrote a book about this first circumnavigation of the globe by an Englishman.

And what an Englishman! Drake, born in Devonshire about 1541, was one of 12 sons of an "ardently Protestant" shipyard chaplain. During a time of religious persecution, the family lost their possessions and fled to Kent, where they lived in poverty on an old ship.

Drake grew up to become the Robin Hood of the seas and the thorn in the flesh of the Spanish king. He gleefully swooped down on treasure laden Spanish ships and settlements, treated his victims with courtesy and grace, and merrily sailed back to England with the loot: gold, silver, jewels, Chinese porcelain and silk, wine, spices, linen, food, arms, etc. At one point he held the world's record for plunder.

And it was all legal at least from the biased viewpoints of Drake and his monarch. Spain and England were engaged in a cold war, and Drake was allowed to dabble in guerilla warfare on the high seas during his searches for the Northwest Passage. Queen Elizabeth even gave him a commission, making him a privateer. Otherwise, people might have called him a pirate.

The queen was one of his backers. After one of his successful voyages, she was able to pay her bills and replenish her wardrobe. And she loved the Peruvian emeralds in the crown he "acquired" during a voyage to the New World. Backers of his 1577-79 voyage enjoyed a 4,700 percent return on their investment.

To Drake, these profitable excursions not only served to weaken the might of the colossus that was Spain, but spelled sweet revenge for a treacherous attack Spanish ships had made on the English in 1568 in the Gulf of Mexico. Drake lost many friends that day, and he barely escaped with his own life.

Drake ran a tight ship, and his men were devoted to him. Divine services were held twice a day. Special thanksgiving services were held after narrow escapes from death, which were not infrequent. Drake himself preached to his men, and he often was found reading Psalms or Christian books. He was not shy about sharing his Protestant faith; he once tried unsuccessfully to convert a Spanish priest he had captured.

The lighthearted privateer was admired by most of his Spanish victims. They reported how graciously "The Dragon" had treated them. He entertained some with banquets and music (he had musicians aboard). He gave lavish gifts to others. And he always provided his victims with ample means of survival.

Drake, ever chivalrous, never killed in cold blood. Not one Spanish life was lost during the many raids he and his men staged on Spanish ships and settlements in the New World during their 1577-79 voyage. Drake worried over the one Spaniard who was wounded. And not even his bitterest foes ever accused him or his men of molesting the Spanish or Indian women.

Drake's kindness extended to galley slaves (whom he always freed, whether black or white), and to the black slaves the Spaniards had imported from Africa to labor in their colonies. Bands of these runaway slaves, known as Cimaroons, were living in the jungles of Panama. Drake first encountered the Cimaroons in 1571, and they proved loyal friends on many occasions, helping him raid the treasures of their former masters.

In 1573, Drake and his men were visiting in one of the Cimaroon's jungle villages en route to ambush a mule train laden with gold and gems. His hosts showed him a very tall tree with notched steps, and led him up into it. It was a historic occasion. To the North Drake could see the familiar waters of the Atlantic. To the South he could see the Pacific Ocean. He asked God to grant him life to sail an English ship someday on those waters. When that day occurred about six years later, his chaplain recorded that Drake fell to his knees and offered thanks.

Historians have praised his patience with the California Coast Miwok Indians, whom he met during his epic voyage. Drake and his men landed June 17, 1579 at Drake's Bay, North of San Francisco Bay, to rest and repair their ship, the famed Golden Hind. As was their custom, they prudently built a fort as protection against the Indians.

The Miwoks were hostile until Rev. Fletcher held a prayer service on June 21. The Indians became awestruck at the sight of the rough sailors lifting their eyes and hands toward heaven "to indicate by these symbolic gestures that God is over all."

The English asked God to reveal Himself to the Indians, and, in the words of Rev. Fletcher, "to open their blinded eyes to the knowledge of Him and of Jesus Christ, the salvation of the Gentiles." The service was concluded with prayer and the singing of Psalms, then the only hymns used in the Anglican Church.

God answered their prayers. The Indians succumbed totally to Drake's boyish charm. They couldn't do enough for him: They made long speeches to him, crowned him, entertained him, fed him the best that they had (including acorn bread), and constantly begged to hear more of those Psalms.

Shortly before he left California, Drake named it Nova Albion (Albion being the Greek name for England). Thus, California actually was the first "New England" in America.

The Indians were inconsolable when their beloved English friends left them after five weeks a refreshing ending for once to encounters between Indians and white men in the New World.

Indians in North Carolina later complained that they found the white man's religion absolutely desirable but why didn't the white man follow it himself?

In 1584, the first of Sir Walter Raleigh's private expeditions, one of exploration, briefly visited the coast of present-day North Carolina, and returned to England with ecstatic reports -- and two Indians they had kidnapped on the fourth of July.

The Indians, Manteo and Wanchese, survived their trip to England, and later were returned to Roanoke. Their reactions to the English culture typified relations between the races in the years to come: Manteo, a gentle man, was baptized into the Christian faith, but Wanchese became a bitter foe of the settlers. Manteo may have been the first Protestant convert in the United States (Catholic priests already had been working among the American Indians for about 40 years).

The first published account of Protestant missionary work among the Indians is traced to the second Raleigh expedition, a colonization attempt in 1585. A clergyman may have been among the 108 colonists, but a godly layman, Thomas Hariot, a geographer and scientist who acted as historian, seems to have carried out much of the work of evangelization. He wrote movingly:

Hariot wanted these Stone Age Indians to live peacefully with the Elizabethan Englishmen and "be made partakers of His truth, and serve Him in righteousness." A man of prayer, Hariot impressed the Indians with the value of prayer, and related how Chief Wingina and his people gladly joined the English in praying and singing Psalms. Hariot recalled:

The consummate U.S. historian Samuel Eliot Morison used this expedition of 1585 to illustrate another aspect of English zeal for evangelism. En route to Roanoke, the expedition had resupplied and plundered in Spanish Puerto Rico. One of their wealthy victims, Hernando de Altamorano, reported to the king that Manteo and Wanchese both spoke good English, loved music, and were well treated. He, too, was well treated, but the Englishmen forced him to accept a Spanish Protestant Bible to take back to San Juan.

Even the temptation of using "the new fort in Virginia" as a base to attack Spanish treasure ships wasn't enough to hold the 1585 expedition at Roanoke. They were overwhelmed with loneliness, discouragement, and fear in the strange New World. The governor of this military colony had foolishly mistreated the Indians, who supplied most of their food. The ubiquitous Drake, who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, turned up off the Outer Banks in 1586, and the colonists thankfully abandoned their fort and returned to England with his fleet.

Later that year, the supply ships the colonists were expecting arrived, and 15 men were left on the deserted island to hold the colony for the crown.

The 1587 expedition was launched from Portsmouth, England, on May 8, with great optimism: 150 men, women, and children could hardly fail. But when they arrived at Roanoke Island the last of July, they found that the fort had been razed, and deer were grazing on melons inside the thatched cottages Rev. Hakluyt had recommended Raleigh build. Only the skeleton of one of the 15 men left behind the previous year was found -- a grim welcome for what would be known in history as "The Lost Colony."

Raleigh had ordered this group to settle in the Chesapeake Bay area 130 miles North of Roanoke, but their pilot refused to sail that far. The colonists set to work repairing the abandoned fort and cottages in the "Cittie of Ralegh in Virginea."

Raleigh had given this expedition 100 pounds sterling to be invested as they pleased, with the profits to be used "in planting the Christian religion, and advancing the same." According to Bishop Perry, this was the first recorded gift for the Protestant evangelization of North America.

On August 28th, Gov. White and the ships returned to England, leaving the colonists at the mercies of the elements and the Indians. Upon his return to England, White found the country in imminent danger of invasion by Spain's dreaded Armada. England's very existence and the Protestant cause were at stake. The danger was so grave that no large ships were allowed to leave the country.

Two small pinnacles dispatched to the Roanoke Colony were plundered by the French. The handful of English colonists on faraway Roanoke Island would have to survive the best they could until England's fate was decided.

England was mobilized. Queen Elizabeth, wearing steel armour "like some Amazonian empress," reviewed her troops at Tilbury camp and gave a rousing speech. Drake, at whose name the Spanish paled, was one of the experienced captains called upon to defend England.

At a council of war, after the suggestion was made to send in fire ships, Drake volunteered one of his ships, and other captains followed his example. Loaded with tar and anything else that would burn, the eight crewless ships were lashed together and allowed to drift toward the wooden Spanish ships. At the fearsome sight of the blazing ships bearing down on them, the Spanish cut their cables and fled in the confusion. They did not know the English were out of powder.

When the English finally realized that the Spanish were not coming back for a return engagement, England was the scene of tremendous victory celebrations and thanksgiving services. On the Continent, too, the English victory was recognized as divine intervention. All during the week of the battle, the tides had favored the English ships, but when it looked like the Spanish ships were doomed to sink into Belgian sand dunes, the tide had turned enough for them to escape northward around Scotland and Ireland.

The defeat of the Spanish Armada marked a turning point for England. It preserved English freedom and the English Reformation, and it checked the advance of the Spanish colossus. It also paved the way for English colonization in North America.

It was not until August, 1590, however, that Governor White finally reached Roanoke Island again to search for his daughter and granddaughter. No trace of the colonists could be found. Their homes had been completely dismantled (archaeologists have not unearthed a single nail), and the settlement area had been enclosed, Indian style, in a high palisade of posts.

Bark had been peeled off of one post, and the letters CROATOAN carved on it, signifying the settlers' destination, an island just South of Roanoke. Croatoan was Manteo's birthplace. Storms and accidents forced the rescue party to return prematurely to England.

Governor White had to resign himself that he would never see his daughter or granddaughter again. On February 4, 1593, he wrote to Rev. Hakluyt, "And wanting my wishes, I leave off from prosecuting that whereunto I would to God my wealth were answerable to my will."

Persistent traditions among South Carolina Indians, however, tell of the white colonists being absorbed by friendly Indian tribes and migrating inland with them. In 1891, Professor Stephen Weeks wrote an article pointing out that 41 of the 95 surnames on the Lost Colony roster were found in an Indian tribe hundreds of miles from Roanoke Island. The pronunciation of certain old Anglo-Saxon words also had survived. Perhaps the settlers were not "lost"; just misplaced.

The English persevered, although it would be 17 years before their first permanent colony finally would take root in the alien wilderness.

In 1602, Samuel Mace halfheartedly searched for the Lost Colony, but bad weather kept him away from Croatoan (now spelled Croatan). In succeeding years, English crews cruised the coast off Massachusetts and other New England states.

In May, 1605, George Waymouth's expedition reached present-day Maine, anchoring in a pleasant harbor they named Pentecost Harbor. On May 29th, as was customary for all such explorations, they set up a cross and claimed the land. This party returned to England with five kidnapped Indians who fascinated the English and rekindled their interest in the New World -- despite the fact that the Indians had been dressed in taffeta finery.

By 1606, conditions had improved for establishing a permanent English colony abroad, thanks in part to the new king.

After Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603, her second cousin, King James VI of Scotland, was offered -- and gladly accepted -- the throne of England. He had been king of Scotland for 36 difficult years. In 1603, he was crowned James I of England, and united the two countries into Great Britain.

The following year, this "British Solomon" negotiated a peace treaty with Spain, making the seas relatively safe for shipping between the old and new worlds.

For centuries it has been fashionable for historians to write disparagingly about King James. Queen Elizabeth was "a hard act to follow." Only in the 20th century have historians begun to acknowledge that James' faults were at least balanced by his virtues. Lady Antonia Fraser, in her recent biography of James, concluded that he feared God and tried to serve Him by his own lights.

It was a miracle that James was born, survived, remained sane, and lived to make the significant contributions he made both to Great Britain and the world. The hand of God surely was upon his life, and James recognized that it was.

The tragic Mary Queen of Scots was his mother. While she was carrying him, her life was threatened, and she was made to witness a brutal murder that was staged, some believe, to cause her to miscarry.

When James was only an infant, he was removed permanently from Mary's care. He had no memories of her, and they never met again. Baptized a Catholic, at age 13 months James was crowned king of Scotland in Protestant rites. He was reared as a Protestant by the Scottish nobility, and his tutors turned the boy king into a wry, little old man. By the age of 8, James could easily translate a chapter of the Bible from Latin into French and then into English.

Gradually, despite threats on his life and incredible intrigues, the powerless, poverty-stricken young king gained control of the Scottish nobility and subdued them. To survive, he had learned to be devious, but the violence that had always threatened his existence made him a heart-felt pacifist who avoided bloodshed at any cost. His motto was Beati pacifici ("blessed are the peacemakers").

After having tamed the unruly Scots, James was convinced that ruling the more prosperous, settled English would be simple. It wasn't, to the increasing detriment of his temper.

James was one of the most theological and scholarly kings England ever had. He once admitted to English university students that he would have enjoyed devoting his life to being a scholar. Since God made him a king, James did the next best thing. Fancying himself schoolmaster of the realm, he wrote fatherly advice to his subjects in the form of tracts. He also wrote poetry and meditations on the Psalms.

His tract, Counterblaste to Tobacco, written in 1604, dealt with the evils of "drinking" (as it was called then) tobacco. James never forgave Raleigh for having introduced the unhealthy habit to his subjects.

Some suggest that William Shakespeare's Macbeth was written as a tribute of sorts to this Scottish monarch who believed in the existence of witches and demons. King James not only believed in demons, he wrote a tract on the subject, Demonologie, in 1597.

One of the first things James did after becoming king of England was to call the Hampton Court Conference in January, 1604, "for the hearing and for the determining, things pretended to be amiss in the Church."

James took his role as head of the Church of England seriously. He was well read in theology, and he once interrupted his bishop's sermon to correct the unfortunate man (Elizabeth reportedly had the same habit).

Protestants who had fled to the Continent to avoid persecution under Mary Tudor's reign (1553-1558) brought back the new, strict Protestantism called Puritanism, which spread rapidly throughout the church. Officially, however, the Church of England assumed a moderate position between Puritanism and Catholicism.

James was in his element at the Hampton Court Conference. He enjoyed matching wits with the Puritans -- for about a day, but then his patience wore thin, and he sided with his moderate bishops.

It was a Puritan, however, who made the suggestion that brought immortality to the Hampton Court Conference -- and to King James. Dr. John Reynolds, president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, a leader of the Puritan faction in the Church of England, proposed a new Bible translation.

James was delighted. "I profess," he said, "I could never yet see a Bible well translated in English; but I think that, of all, that of Geneva is the worst."

Actually, the Geneva Bible, translated in Geneva by the exiled Reformers, was popular throughout Europe. It even was the version authorized for use in the Church of Scotland. James detested it because some of its footnotes offered the possibility that a subject could disobey his king -- and James was a firm believer in subjects submitting to the divine right of kings.

The new "Authorized Version" that his English scholars and clergymen would translate with his backing -- and prodding -- would be printed without any of those "dangerous and traitorous" marginal notes.

Until John Wycliffe (c. 1330-1384), only portions of the Latin Bible had been translated into English, and then only for the use of priests and nuns. The first translation of the entire Bible into English was made by Wycliffe's friends and colleagues. All of the copies were in manuscript form, because this was in the days before the invention of printing.

Even though the translating or reading of the English Bible was banned in 1408, copies of the Wycliffe version were acquired and read by the English.

Wycliffe realized that men were accountable to God's laws, and therefore needed to know His Word. The Dutch humanist, Desiderius Erasmus agreed, and state in the preface to his Greek New Testament, printed in 1516:

Erasmus gave the world the first printed New Testament in Greek. Martin Luther gave the Germans the New Testament in their language in 1522. William Tyndale wished to do the same for the English, but was forced to complete the work in Germany. The first complete printed New Testament in English was printed in Worms, Germany, in 1526, and smuggled into England. To English royal and theological eyes, Tyndale was a Lutheran; hence, a heretic. His New Testaments were collected and burned. As the Reformation advanced, however, Tyndale's New Testament was allowed to be printed and distributed in England.

Tyndale lived his last years in the free city of Antwerp, Belgium. Kidnapped and taken to Vilvorde, North of Brussels, he was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1536.

Next to Tyndale, the man most used by God to publish the Bible in the English language was a former Augustinian friar, Myles Coverdale (1488-1569). Coverdale assisted Tyndale on the Continent.

Coverdale's Bible, the first complete Bible printed in English, was published in Germany in 1535, and was imported into England. It was allowed to circulate freely after King Henry VIII's bishops could find no heresies in it.

In 1537, another licensed Bible, Matthew's Bible, appeared in England. It was a combination of Tyndale's and Coverdale's Bibles. English bishops began encouraging their clergy to study the Bible. One bishop allowed a Bible to be chained to a desk in every church so that the literate could read aloud from it to the illiterate. It proved so popular that reading aloud from the chained church Bible had to be banned during services; the common people much preferred the Word of God to the sermons.

It was decided that Matthew's Bible should be revised by Coverdale, and this version, known as the Great Bible, was first printed in Paris in 1538. Two years before, a law had been written that would have allowed the English Bible to be accessible in every parish church in England. Political considerations, however, made it necessary to shelve this law until September 5, 1538, when it was issued in Henry VIII's name. The law charged the clergy:

By 1543, reaction against the Reformation had set in. Parliament banned Tyndale's translation, and made it a crime for any unlicensed person to read or teach the Bible publicly. Persons in the lower classes were forbidden to read the Bible at all. Three years later, King Henry ruled that no on in any class was to own Tyndale's or Coverdale's New Testament. Many Bibles were burned.

The Great Bible, however, survived, and was reprinted twice during the reign (1547-53) of Edward VI, Henry's son and successor. Edward was succeeded by his half-sister, Mary Tudor, who reversed the Reforming policy. More Bibles were burned, but, again, the Great Bible survived. When Elizabeth I succeeded her half-sister in 1558, she repeated the orders of her father and half-brother that "the whole Bible" in English should be placed in every English church.

Meanwhile, Reformers who had fled England congregated in Geneva, which had become a great center of Reformation study. Even Hebrew was studied there. The English exiles published their Geneva Bible in 1560, dedicating it to Queen Elizabeth. It was reprinted about 70 times during her long reign, and it became the first Bible ever to be printed in Scotland.

The Geneva Bible became the household Bible of English Protestants; it was the Bible Shakespeare was acquainted with, and it far excelled the Great Bible that was authorized to be used in the churches. Because English church leaders could not endorse the Geneva Bible's Calvinistic footnotes -- the same ones King James hated -- it was clear that a new authorized version was needed for the churches.

A number of bishops and scholars were put to work in 1561 on the Bishops' Bible. It was published seven years later to replace the Great Bible as the authorized version of the Church of England. The Geneva Bible, however, remained the better translation -- except to King James.

Although it was never formally authorized by either church or state, the King James Version, published in 1611, was "appointed to be read in Churches," and thus superseded the Bishop's Bible.

The translators' dedication to King James is fairly well known. Less well known is the seldom-published section entitled, The Translators to the Reader, which stated prophetically, "And what can the king command to be done, that will bring him more true honour than this?"

A spokesman for the 47 translators who worked on the King James Version said their goal was to make out of the many good translations "one principal good one." Furthermore:

The translators noted that they steered a middle course between the Puritans' non-ecclesiastical terms on the one hand the Roman Catholics' latinate terms on the other, desiring "that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar."

In conclusion, the translators stated that it was no light thing for them to have handled the Word of God, and they asked their readers for an equal sense of awe:

The 1611 version, commonly called the King James Version, became the greatest treasure of the English language, and the greatest tool Englishmen used when they evangelized the world in the years ahead. England became noted for its many Bible societies.

At the time the King James Version was translated, Englishmen were reveling in their language, which was still in plastic form. No dictionary existed in the time of Shakespeare. Words either were borrowed from other languages, or were coined to suite the occasion. The importance of the spoken and written word to the English cannot be underestimated.

Englishmen in the Elizabethan and Jacobean reigns piously believed that speech was God's greatest gift to man, and that if truth were truly uttered, it was bound to prevail. Furthermore, it was considered unnatural for a man to hear and reject God's truth, for it meant that Satan had entered into that man's heart.

The English had become a people of The Book, and The Book subtly remolded their thinking.

Once the English Bible got into the hands of the English, they began to develop a love and appreciation for the Jewish people, for they began to see them in the light of Bible prophecy. By the 1650s, the Puritans wanted to witness to Jews, but there were none (technically) in England; the Jews had been expelled in 1290!

The Jews themselves wanted to resettle in England, also to fulfill prophecy: the Scripture in Deuteronomy that their dispersion from the Holy Land would be "to the ends of the earth." If England's doors remained closed to them, that Scripture could not be fulfilled."

And if that Scripture were not fulfilled, then they believed they could not be restored to their cherished homeland in Palestine -- and the Messiah could not return.

A decidedly pro-Jewish atmosphere prevailed in England in 1655, when the Jews petitioned Oliver Cromwell's government for permission to resettle in England. Cromwell gave them his personal protection; official permission was not granted until 1664, during the reign of Charles II.

Three centuries later, the English government was privileged to pave the way for the establishment of the modern State of Israel. On November 2nd, 1917, England issued the Balfour Declaration, which began:

"His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object."

God was bringing all the pieces together: the virgin land with its heathen Indians, the greatest English translation of His Word, and colonists who were strongly motivated to spread the Gospel.

By the pivotal year 1606, the English were almost a century behind Spain and Portugal in establishing a world empire. The gold and other treasures these countries had brought back to Europe were famous.

Englishmen were suffering from "the Virginia fever." Many dreamed of the gold, silver, and gems they would find without effort in the New World. Rev. Hakluyt, on the other hand, dreamed of preaching the Gospel to countless thousands of Indians who had never heard the name of Christ. Raleigh stated, "I dream of a new English nation in Virginia." Other Englishmen simply wanted an opportunity to better themselves.

The rigid medieval social order was bursting at the seams with an ambitious, growing population that was basking in the light of Renaissance knowledge and Reformation freedom. The invention of the printing press had unleashed a flood of books on every subject -- and Bibles.

It was an optimistic age. Thousands of villagers flocked to London each year to seek their fortunes and to enjoy a more cosmopolitan lifestyle in the world seaport. Numerous laws were passed to stop the growth of London, but all were in vain. By 1606, the population of London and its suburbs was estimated at 200,000-300,000 persons, including foreigners. The homeless milled about in the narrow, filthy streets. The unsanitary living conditions contributed to sporadic outbreaks of the plague.

At the end of the 16th century, an aspiring actor by the name of William Shakespeare left his home in Stratford to seek a career on the London stage. Some said his wife, Anne, and their children remained in Stratford because Anne came from a Puritan family that was aghast at Shakespeare's working on the sinful stage. When Anne died, her daughter Susanna put an inscription on her tombstone stating that she prayed that Christ would come quickly and her mother would then rise again and seek the stars.

Younger sons of wealthy families did not inherit land; they were expected to make their own way in the world. Land was relatively difficult to buy; however, a middle class did develop, and merchants had money to invest in colonization and trading companies. England's mushrooming overseas trade was sponsored by such privately supported companies as the Muscovy Company (1555), the Levant Company (1581), the Venice Company (1583), and the East India Company (1600). Shakespeare invested in land in Stratford.

Not everyone was prosperous. There was a high rate of inflation. Now that peace had been made with Spain, mercenaries and sailors were out of work, and local parishes were hardpressed to care for their poor. Colonization offered an attractive solution to this dilemma.

In addition, Englishmen were restless. They enjoyed more freedom than most people, yet they chaffed under many laws and restrictions they considered unjust. Change was definitely in the wind. Perhaps the playwrights Ben Johnson, George Chapman, and John Marston best captured the longings of the common people in their successful comedy, Eastward Ho, which enjoyed four printings in 1605.

The character Seeagull, after promising gold, diamonds, and rubies aplenty in the New World, told his friends:

For all this enthusiasm, there still was no English settlement anywhere in the world: no colonies, no empire. England, in fact, had lost the last of its traditional holdings in France during the last year of Mary Tudor's reign, 1558.

Englishmen had visited the New World countless times, and had brought back Indians {natives}, exotic souvenirs, sketches, maps, and live animals for King James' zoo. But every attempt at a permanent English colony had ended in failure.

English expeditions had mined for gold along Hudson's Bay, had planted summer gardens and explored the coast of what was later known as New England, and had even strolled through California meadows. Raleigh had lost most of his fortune in his unsuccessful attempts to colonize Roanoke Island.

Now, however, God was about to reward Rev. Hakluyt's patience and zeal by bringing to pass the great dream He had implanted in him as a youngster. God was about to open a land He had seemingly reserved for English settlement.

On April 10, 1606, King James granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London, which was composed of Rev. Hakluyt and some of his friends, mostly well-to-do merchants.

During the time preparations were made for the journey to Virginia, Londoners were suffering the effects of another bout with the plague. Raleigh was languishing in the Tower of London, placed there by a distrustful King James. Gentle, gracious Anne of Denmark, James' wife, was expecting their seventh and last child, Sophia, who was born and died the following year, and who was buried in a poignant, cradle-shaped tomb in Westminster Abbey. James dearly loved his children.

His teen-aged son, Henry, the beloved, athletic Prince of Wales, was extremely interested in the colonization venture, which was headed by Sir Thomas Smyth, the leading businessman of London. (Smythe and Rev. Hakluyt were among the men to whom Raleigh had deeded his interest in the Roanoke Colony when he ran into financial difficulties in 1589).

Stock in the Virginia Company was purchased by noblemen, merchants, clergymen, and 50 of London's city companies, remnants of her powerful medieval guilds. It has been suggested that some prominent men may have invested out of a sense of patriotism and public responsibility. Previous colonization attempts, such as the Raleigh brothers', had been private money-making ventures. The Virginia Company was the first chartered company for colonization, and as such was not entirely a commercial venture. The English wanted to settle permanently in the New World, not plunder and return to Europe.

Modern secular man has difficulty understanding the missionary zeal that is clearly expressed in the charters and instructions for the Virginia Company of London. Modern believers, however, rejoice that the Virginia planters sought to spread "the Christian Religion to such people, as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God."

In 1610, the leaders of the company published in London A True and Sincere Declaration of the Purpose and Ends of the Plantation Begun in Virginia, stating: 

A Princeton University professor who wrestled with this subject in recent years finally conceded that when one realizes that religious matters were uppermost in the minds of men in Jacobean England, it is not so difficult to understand the religious overtones of the colonization after all.

In 1908, Rev. Corbin Bryan wrote in Colonial Churches:

Not money, but the planting of the English race in the New World, and with it the seeds of civil and religious truth … this they aimed at, and this they accomplished.

Experienced captains and seamen were hired by the Virginia Company. The 100-ton flagship, Susan Constant (76 feet from bow to stern), and the 40-ton Godspeed (50 feet in length) were leased from the Muscovy Company, which had been using them to transport coal from the British Isles to Russia. The 20-ton pinnace Discovery (which measured only 38 feet) also was used for the voyage to the New World.

At the Blackwall docks on the Thames, the holds of these tiny ships were crammed with the necessities of 17th century life: food, ale, and wine; seed oats, barley, and wheat; muskets, gunpowder, helmets, and breastplate; beads and baubles for Indian trade; building tools and farm implements; altar vessels, prayer books, and Bibles.

A motley assortment of 105 prospective colonists were accepted for the voyage. Ironically, the two men who probably most wanted to go -- Raleigh and Rev. Hakluyt -- were prevented, one by imprisonment and one by age.

As the year drew to a close, public prayers for the success of the Virginia Company were said in the churches, and special sermons were preached. Poet Laureate Michael Drayton waxed eloquent in The Virginia Voyage, terming Virginia "earth's only paradise." He exhorted the adventurers, "Such heroes bring ye forth, as those from whom we came, and plant our name, under that star, not known unto our North." This stanza was prophetical, for the Commonwealth of Virginia became the mother of many other states, Presidents, and statesmen.

Drayton concluded by praising Rev. Hakluyt, whose books, he said, "inflame men to seek fame." By now Rev. Hakluyt was the Archdeacon of Westminster. In 1589, his 825-page best seller, The Principall Navigations, Voyages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, had been published. It has been called one of the most influential books in English history.

Another writer also was busy. Shakespeare had achieved fame as an actor, and wrote popular plays when he wasn't acting. Late 1606 found him polishing a new version of King Lear to open the Christmas season at court. King James enjoyed Shakespeare's plays and was a generous patron of the theatre (one of his few personal extravagances except for hunting).

The Spanish ambassador sent dark reports home to King Philip III, for Spain had claimed this Virginia that the English were preparing to colonize. On Spanish maps, the region was called Jactan, and Chesapeake Bay, the colonists' destination, was known as Bahia Santa Maria. Spanish colonization parties had been sent from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay in 1566 and 1570, but both had failed.

Father Juan Bautista Segura, Jesuit vice-provincial, led the latter expedition of eight Jesuits. They sought to convert the Indians {natives} and to hold the region for Spain as a northern St. Augustine. One member of the group, a converted Chesapeake Bay Indian renamed Luis Velasco, defected. On February 14, 1571, with a band of fellow Indians, he massacred all but one converted Indian boy, Alonso.

Prospects for the 105 English colonists were bleak. No other group had been able to survive the hostile Indians and the constant threat of starvation in the Virginia wilderness. Added to these perils was the very real possibility that Spanish ships cruising along the coast might locate and destroy the fledgling colony as they had two French colonies in what is now Florida. And if the colonists survived all these threats, would their supply ships arrive safely from the motherland?

Within their group lay a threat that was realized, perhaps, by only one man, the experienced, colorful soldier of fortune Captain John Smith: half the prospective colonists were "gentlemen," probably younger sons who had never done a hard day's work in their lives. They were spectacularly unsuited to tame a wilderness -- or survive.

The 105 settlers and 39 seamen sailed December 20th, 1606, as Raleigh watched from his comfortable suite in the Tower. Would these men be the first to plant a permanent English settlement in North America?

His Majesty's Council for Virginia may have been echoing the king's own sentiments in its last solemn advice to the "adventurers":

While King James was prodding his 47 scholars on his pet project of translating the Bible, another Englishman was struggling with a far more difficult group: the Jamestown colonists.

The rowdy crew bound for Virginia could scarcely have survived had it not been for the ceaseless peace-making efforts of their chaplain, Rev. Robert Hunt. "No better man came to America than Robert Hunt," a 20th century English historian wrote about this godly man. {source?}

Captain John Smith reminisced 20 years after the voyage to Jamestown that the Archbishop of Canterbury had appointed Rev. Hakluyt to be minister of the colony, but the archdeacon appointed Rev. Hunt to serve in his stead. The reasons remain as illusive as portraits of the two men.

Rev. Hakluyt was about 55 when the Virginia colonists left England in 1606. Although that was almost elderly by 17th century standards, he lived until age 64. Was it friendship that compelled him to encourage Rev. Hunt to leave England?

Robert Hunt made his will on November 20, 1606, exactly a month before sailing. It is clear from his will that he suspected that his wife, Elizabeth, had entered into an alliance with another man. The man is named. Rev. Hunt's heartbreak doubtless reinforced his missionary zeal, and made it easier for him to leave his wife, daughter Elizabeth, son Thomas, and brother Steven.

"In the quiet of his village home this young English preacher had dreamed dreams and seen visions of a larger world," an unnamed Episcopalian writer commented in 1907 in a memorial published to commemorate Rev. Hunt's celebration of the first Anglican Communion at Jamestown. (A plaque was dedicated in his memory at Jamestown, and on March 7th, 1976, a statue of Rev. Hunt was dedicated in the Washington National Cathedral).

The memorial writer continued, "Men talked ever of strange lands and savage peoples, and he yearned to go forth and claim these lands for the Christ. The words of the first charter to the Virginia Company show that others shared his ideals."

Edward Maria Wingfield, one of the organizers and later president of the colony, took credit for selecting Rev. Hunt. In his Discourse of Virginia, Wingfield claimed, "For my first work (which was to make a right choice of a spiritual pastor), I appealed to the remembrance of my Lord of Canterbury … and the world knoweth whom I took with me."

The world may know the name of Robert Hunt, but details of his life remain sketchy. He was born about 1569, received a B.A. from Oxford University in 1592, and an M.A. in 1595. Two years later, he married Elizabeth Edwards of St. Margarets, Canterbury. In his will, he notes that his brother, who lived in Reculver, was a yeoman. This placed the family above husbandmen and below gentlemen in the social order.

From 1594-1602, Rev. Hunt was vicar of Reculver, Kent, "a noble church" that was torn down in the early 1800s. He became associated with plans for the Virginia Colony during the years he was vicar in Heathfield, 1602-05.

His shipmates feared that he would not be able to complete the voyage, which got off to a bad start in late December, 1606. For six weeks the three tiny ships were forced to remain in English waters due to a hurricane {severe storm}. Rev. Hunt became so ill his shipmates despaired of his life.

Captain Smith recalled, "although he were but twenty miles from his habitation … all this could never force from him so much as a seeming desire to leave the business, but preferred the service of God in so good a voyage, before any affection to contest with his godless foes." Some of the prospective colonists, Captain Smith added, were "little better than atheists," but by his "true devoted example," Rev. Hunt "quenched those flames of envy and dissention."

One modern writer has theorized that Chaplain Hunt read aloud from the Bible two hours every day to relieve the tedium of the four-month voyage. Certainly he held morning and evening worship services as the Englishmen followed the long South Atlantic route of Christopher Columbus, another devout Christian.

They sailed down through the Canary Islands, and beyond to the West Indies before starting up the eastern coast of North America. Their destination was the Chesapeake Bay, which had been tentatively explored by Raleigh's expeditions on the advice of the Indians.

They were almost at Hampton Roads when "a vehement tempest" threatened their ships. On April 25, 1607, Captain Christopher Newport admitted that he was lost, and he proposed that they all return to England. The others refused.

Land was sighted the next morning about 4 o'clock. It was Sunday, April 26th, 1607. God was given the credit for their safe arrival: "But God, the guide of all good actions, did drive them by His providence to their desired port beyond all expectation, for never any of them had see that coast."

Being the Third Sunday after Easter, the service read that day, either on the ship or ashore, included an appropriate Epistle, beginning with I Peter 2:11, warning the colonists "as strangers and pilgrims" to practice self-discipline, to submit to authority, and to live in love.

Landing on the windswept sand dunes in what is now Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Englishmen were "ravished" by the beauty of the countryside. They rested and feasted on roasted oysters abandoned by some unfriendly Indians, and "fine beautiful strawberries."

Colonist George Percy also recorded that "the nine and twentieth day we set up a cross at Chesapeake Bay, and named that place Cape Henry" (for Henry Prince of Wales). To Rev. Hunt goes the honor of having dedicated the land to Almighty God on behalf of the first permanent English settlers.

Explorers from other nations also had erected crosses at various sites across North America; however, this service of prayer and thanksgiving on April 29th, 1607 finds its niche in history as the first official act by the first permanent English settlers in the New World.

The day after the April 29th service at Cape Henry, the colonists sailed across Chesapeake Bay, explored carefully for two weeks, and on May 14th founded Jamestown on the James River (both named, of course for their king).

The wooded peninsula named Jamestown seemed an ideal location: being 40 miles from the mouth of the river, it was well hidden from Spanish ships; being a peninsula, it offered good protection from Indian or Spanish attack; and having deep water around it, ships could be moored to the trees growing in the water.

The 104 colonists (one had died in the Caribbean) were not the first Englishmen to set foot on the rich American soil, but they were the first to successfully transplant the fragile flower of civilization to the New World. The Pilgrims would follow 13 years later.

No record exists of what Rev. Hunt prayed or preached the day he dedicated the Virginia Colony to God and king. Perhaps an echo can be heard in a similar service that Captain Newport and a handful of colonists held about a month later, May 24th, when they explored the James River as far as its falls. Rev. Hunt did not accompany the men because it was a Sunday, Whit-Sunday, and he would have had to have preached in Jamestown.

Captain Newport and his party enjoyed a feast with Chief Powhatan, and then raised a cross (near Richmond, Virginia) with the inscription "Iacobus, Rex, 1607" and Newport's name beneath it. Captain Newport's description of the ceremony in Discoveries in Virginia may shed some light on what happened at the April 29th ceremony:

Newport described the natives as being "a very witty and ingenious people, apt both to understand and speak our language. So that I hope in God, as he hath miraculously preserved us hither from all dangers both of sea and land and their fury, so he will make us authors of his holy will in converting them to our true Christian faith, by his own inspiring grace and knowledge of his deity."

Rev. Hunt was successful in his role as peacemaker. One of the first settlers recalled, "he went from one to the other with words of counsel, how that we should love and forgive our enemies."

To seal his success, Rev. Hunt celebrated the first Holy Communion at Jamestown on June 21, 1607, the Third Sunday after Trinity. Smith recorded, "we all received the holy Communion together as an outward and visible pledge of reconciliation." Some Indians observed the service with silent respect, for the importance of the sacrament had been described to them.

The Epistle for the day, from I Peter 5, was appropriate: "All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." The Gospel of the day told of the lost sheep sought and found, and the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.

The next day, the ships and their 40 seamen were returning to England, so many prayers were said for Captain Newport's safe journey.

The best account of the religious life in early Jamestown has come down to us from Captain Smith's pen. Chaplain Hunt's ministry made such an impact on the colorful soldier of fortune that Smith wrote 20 years later n his memoirs:

Meanwhile, relations with the Indians waxed hot and cold.  Then summer heat and sickness struck. Twenty-one deaths occurred in one month alone. Provisions ran short. President Wingfield reserved the two remaining gallons of wine for the Communion table. One-half of the colonists died before autumn.

Colonist Percy lamented:

Smith was able to trade for food with the Indians from time to time in the following months, allowing the colonists to survive. The winter of 1607-08, however, was one of the coldest on record. The colonists' problems were compounded in early January 1608, when their church and other buildings caught fire and burned.

"Good Master Hunt, our preacher," said Smith, "lost all his library, and all that he had (but the clothes on his back) yet none ever saw him repine at his loss. Upon any alarm he would be as ready for defense as any; and till he could not speak he never ceased to his utmost to animate us constantly to persist; whose soul questionless is with God."

All sources agree about Rev. Hunt's Christ-like nature. Church historian Dr. Francis Hawks was quoted as stating: 

Help finally arrived the month of the fire when Captain Newport returned with more supplies and more men. The sailors and newcomers helped rebuild the church and other buildings. This second church must have seen the last rites performed for Rev. Hunt, who died sometime that first winter. He is not mentioned again in the chronicles of the settlers, and his will was "proved" in England on July 14, 1608.

The learned chaplain must have preached long, learned sermons during his lifetime. When President Wingfield's religion was questioned later, he defended himself by saying he "never failed to take such notes in writing of Mr. Hunt's sermons as his capacity could comprehend." (Wingfield also was blamed for not having a Bible. He explained this by saying that his Bible had been inadvertently omitted when his trunk was packed in England).

Perhaps the most touching of Rev. Hunt's eulogies comes, again, from Smith. He called Rev. Hunt "an honest, religious, and courageous Divine; during whose life our factions were oft qualified, our wants and greatest extremities so comforted, and they seemed easy in comparison of what we endured after his memorable death."

Smith is here referring to the tragic "Starving Time" the colonists suffered during the winter of 1609-10 {??}. Their ranks had been increased by hundreds of new settlers, both men and women, who arrived in October, 1608 and August, 1609. But after the "Starving Time," the populace dwindled from 500 to about 50, who were forced to eat anything they could get their hands on, including dogs, cats, rats, and worse. One settler threw his Bible into the fire, declaring that God had forsaken them. The settlers were determined to leave for blessed England on the first ships that called -- after burning Jamestown with all its "incredible" memories.

Their supply ships had sailed on June 1, 1609 to a glorious send-off, including inspiring sermons. However, the lieutenant governor, Sir Thomas Gates, and the new administrators encountered a fierce storm off of Bermuda. Shipwrecked, they spent the winter in Bermuda building new ships to take them to Jamestown. Electrifying accounts of their miraculous survival were later published in England, inspiring Shakespeare's play The Tempest.

Accompanying Gates' fleet was a new minister for the colony, Rev. Richard Bucke, who was kept busy with daily prayers, two sermons on Sundays, six burials, a marriage, two christenings, and Communion services while on Bermuda. As the English left Bermuda in their crude cedar ships, Gates erected a cross "in memory of our great deliverance." The new ships were named Deliverance and Patience. Gates had no way of knowing just how apt those names were.

When he finally arrived at Jamestown on May 23, 1610, the colonists' patience had worn out. He found the fort dismantled, the palisades torn down, and the gates forced off their hinges.

The newcomers went at once to the unfrequented church, and Gates had the bell rung to gather the survivors for "zealous and sorrowful prayer," led by Rev. Bucke. In discussions afterwards, Gates agreed with the emaciated settlers, and decided to abandon Jamestown.

June 7th, and June 8th, 1610 were two of the most crucial days in the history of the United States. Jamestown was abandoned -- but not burned -- at noon on the 7th. At eventide, the ships drifted down the river, heading for the Atlantic Ocean -- and home.

On the morning of the 8th, the ships lay at anchor at the mouth of the James River waiting for the return of the tide. They were within hours of sailing. Suddenly an English ship was spotted!

It had been sent by the company-appointed Governor of Virginia, Lord Delaware, to announce his arrival from England. He had not been able to leave with Gates' fleet the year before. Gates and his vessels turned back to Jamestown. Jamestown was saved!

As Rev. Bryan wrote in Colonial Churches, "evidently it was God's will that Virginia should be tried, but it was not His will that she should be abandoned." Lord Delaware was well aware of the miracle of the timing of his arrival. In a few more hours, Gates' ships would have left for good, and Delaware would have found an abandoned fort and settlement, a sad reminder of the earlier failures on Roanoke Island.

On the first Sunday after Trinity, June 10th, 1610, Delaware's three ships arrived off the fort. He and his retinue landed that afternoon. Although the lieutenant governor and the few survivors were drawn up under arms to receive him, before he acknowledged their courtesy or showed any authority, Delaware fell on his knees and offered long and silent prayer to God. He then marched to the little church.

After prayers and a sermon by Rev. Bucke, the governor's commission was read, the seals of office were surrendered to him, and he addressed the assembly with words of encouragement and admonition. A new day had dawned for Jamestown.

A deeply religious man, Delaware was careful to repair the church, which was in the same disrepair as the rest of Jamestown. Colonist William Strachey, the secretary-recorder, gives this picture of religious life in Jamestown under Lord Delaware and Gov. Gates:


When the Christian Broadcasting Network discovered that work on its new International Headquarters would be started during the U.S. Bicentennial year just 12 miles from where the first permanent English colonists in North America had dedicated the New World to Almighty God, Dr. Pat Robertson asked me to research the religious background of these first colonists. This booklet is the result.

We little realized that our quest would take us to so many fascinating persons and places, both modern and historic, or that God would use this quest to touch many lives, and rekindle in others pride in this great nation.

We found to our sorrow that much of our Christian heritage has been laundered out of contemporary history books. We had to go back to books 100 years old to learn the truth. Modern secular writers have conveniently forgotten that the brave Englishmen who sailed to Virginia feared God and loved His Word.

The purpose of this booklet, therefore, is to put Christ back into history, for He was the Rock upon which the Jamestown Colony of 1607 and the Plymouth Colony of 1620 were built.

Examining the settlement at Jamestown, which clung so precariously to the banks of the James River, we discovered a colorful Jacobean tapestry of history. The threads in that tapestry led us back to the exciting courts of Queen Elizabeth I and James I; to the lonely, lost colony on Roanoke Island; to thrilling ocean voyages around the world; to gentle scholars in their quiet studies; and to inspired ministers in their pulpits.

We read some books that depicted the Jamestown colonists as base creatures, and books that pictured them as saints. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Although times change, men's hearts do not, as evidenced in Biblical accounts of great men. James said of Elijah, he was "a man subject to like passions as we are." Men in Elizabethan and Jacobean England had the same aspirations as modern man: they were ambitious; they wanted a good life for themselves and their families; and they wanted to find eternal life through their religion. If anything, they were more introspective than 20th century man, for they lived in a dangerous, disease-ridden age when a man of 50 was considered elderly.

Time and space limited our research to a tiny slice of history: Jamestown before 1620. Our examination of this small fragment of history, however, does not lessen our appreciation of the fine contributions the Pilgrims, Catholics, Quakers, Baptists, Protestants, and others made in the New World. But because Jamestown was settled by English Anglicans, this is their story.

Phyllis Mackall
Virginia Beach, VA
April, 1976

And in what sort did these assemble? In the trust of their own knowledge, or of their sharpness of wit, or deepness of judgment, as it were in an arm of flesh? At no hand. They trusted in him that hath the key of David … they prayed to the Lord, the Father of our Lord, to the effect that St. Augustine did: "O let thy Scriptures be my pure delight; let me not be deceived in them, neither let me deceive by them." In this confidence, and with this devotion, did they assemble together … neither did we disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring it back to the anvil that which we had hammered: but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to the pass that you see.

At Oxforde the yere 1546 … when I kepe Mr. Letymers shype I bout thys boke when the testament was obberagatyd that shepe herdys myght not red hit I prey God amend that blyndness. Wryt by Robert Wyllyams keppynge shepe uppon Seynbury hill 1546.

At the erecting hereof, we prayed for our king, and our own prosperous success in this his action; and proclaimed him king with a great shout." Newport trusted the expedition would "tend to the glory of God, his majesty's renown, our country's profit, our own advancing, and fame to all posterity.

The Captain General hath given order for the repairing the church, and at this instant many hands are about it. It is in length threescore foot, in breadth twenty-four, and shall have a chancel in it of cedar, with fair broad windows, to shut and open, as the weather shall occasion, of the same wood, a pulpit of the same, with a font hewen hollow, like a canoe, with two bells at the West end. It is so cast, as to be very light within, and the Lord Governor and Captain General doth cause it to be kept passing sweet, and trimmed up with divers flowers, with a sexton belonging to it: and in it every Sunday we have sermons twice a day, and Thursday a sermon, having true [two] preachers, which take their weekly turns; and every morning at the ringing of the bell, about ten of the clock, each man addresseth himself to prayers, and so at four of the clock before supper. Every Sunday, when the Lord Governor and Captain General goeth to church, he is accompanied with all the counselors, captains, and other officers, and all the gentlemen, with a guard … in his Lordship's livery, fair red cloaks, to the number of fifty both on each side, and behind him: and being in the church, his Lordship hath his seat in the choir, in a green velvet chair, with a cloth, with a velvet cushion spread on a table before him, on which he kneeleth…

Rev. Bucke, a worthy successor to Rev. Hunt, seems to have shared Drake's and Smith's happy facility for being in the right place at the right time when history was being made.

He was still ministering in Jamestown in 1619, when Governor George Yeardley called a meeting in the new, wooden church to make "some kind of laws for the whole colony."

This meeting on July 30th, 1619, was the first representative legislative assembly in America. It marked the beginning of the present system of legislative government in the United States; the General Assembly of Virginia has continued without interruption since that time.

In 1624, a year before his death, King James dissolved the Virginia Colony {Company Charter}, and Virginia became a royal colony, which it remained until 1776.

It was recorded of that historic day in July, 1619: "forasmuch as men's affairs do little prosper where God's service is neglected, all the burgesses stood in their places, until a prayer was said by Mr. Bucke that it would please God to guide and sanctify all our proceedings to His own glory and the good of the plantation."

​It is the goodliest and most pleasing territory of the world (for the soil is of a huge and unknown greatness, and very well peopled and towned though savagely) and the climate so wholesome that we have not had not one sick since we touched the land here... if Virginia had but horses and kine in some reasonable proportion, I dare assure myself, being inhabited with English, no realm in Christendom were comparable to it. -- Ralph Lane, governor of the first Roanoke Colony, 1585.

Before the end of the world come … before all things Christ, his kingdom profited, and the last enemy shall be subdued to Christ, his kingdom profited, and the last enemy, Death destroyed, this Gospel must be preached … to all men. Further and hasten you this blessed, this joyful, this glorious consummation of all … by preaching the Gospel to those men. Preach to them doctrinally, preach to them practically, enamore them with your justice, and … your civility; but inflame them with your godliness and your religion. Bring them … to fear and adore the Name of that King of kings, that sends men to teach them the ways of religion for the next world.

Those among you that are old now, shall pass out of this world with this great comfort, that you contributed to the beginning of that Commonwealth [of Virginia], and of that church, though they live not to see the growth thereof to perfection. Apollos watered, but Paul planted; he that began the work was the greater man. And you that are young now, may live to see the enemy as much impeached by that place, and your friends, yea children, as well accommodated in that place, as any other.

…you shall have made this island [Jamestown], which is but as the suburbs of the old world, a bridge, a gallery to the new; to join all to that world which shall never grow old, the Kingdom of Heaven. You shall add persons to this kingdom, and to the Kingdom of Heaven, and add names to the books of our chronicles, and to the Book of Life. 

-- Sermon preached before the Virginia Company in London by John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, on November 13, 1622.

Richard Hakluyt

For God has allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his

sovereign will that all human history ​​​​shall be consummated in Christ, that everything

that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him.

Twice this Wiroans (chief) was so grievously sick that he was like to die, and as he lay languishing, doubting of any help by his own priests, and thinking he was in such danger for offending us, and thereby our God, sent for some of us to pray and be a means to our God, that it would please Him that he might live, or after death dwell with Him in bliss: so likewise were the requests of many others...

…is not only to be regarded as the founder of the transatlantic colonies of England, but also has the credit of securing for the colonists those guarantees of political rights and privileges which formed the grounds on which, in later years, the people of North America made successful issue with the motherland in the struggle which resulted in independence.

In the charter granted to him on Lady-day, 1584, not only was he empowered to plant colonies upon "such remote heathen and barbarous lands, not actually possessed by any Christian prince nor inhabited by Christian people," as his expeditions might discover, but the lands thus acquired by discovery were to be enjoyed by the colonies
forever, and the settlers themselves were to "have all the privileges of free denizens and persons native of England…"

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but a blessed thing it is, and will bring us to everlasting blessedness in the end, when God speaketh unto us, to hearken; when he setteth his word before us, to read it; when he stretcheth out his hand and called, to answer, Here am I, here we are to do thy will, O God. The Lord work a care and conscience in us to know him and serve him that we may be acknowledged of him at the appearing of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, to whom with the Holy Ghost be all praise and thanksgiving. Amen.


Sir Francis Drake

G O D ' S   P L A N T A T I O N

…began to instruct my ignorance and pointed with his wand to all the known seas, gulfs, bays, straits, capes, rivers, empires, kingdoms, dukedoms, and territories. 

From the map he brought me to the Bible and turning to the 107th Psalm, directed me to the 23rd and 24th verses, where I read, that "they which go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." 

The words of the prophet together with my cousin's discourse … took in me so deep an impression, that I constantly resolved, if ever I were preferred to the university … I would by God's assistance prosecute that knowledge and kind of literature, the doors whereof … were so happily opened before me.

"…by keeping the fear of God, the planters in short time, by the blessing of God, may grown into a nation formidable to all the enemies of Christ, and be the praise of all that part of the world." -- William Symonds' sermon, Virginia, preached at White Hall, April 25, 1609.

Thomas Hariot

Now because I have spoke so much of the body, give me leave to say somewhat of the soul, and the rather because I have been often demanded by so many how we began to preach the Gospel in Virginia, and by what authority, what churches we had, our order of service, and maintenance of our ministers, therefore I think it not amiss to satisfy their demands, it being the mother of all our plantations…

When I first went to Virginia, I well remember, we did hang an awning (which is an old sail) to three or four trees to shadow us from the sun, our walls were rails of wood, our seats unhewed trees till we cut planks; our pulpit a bar of wood nailed to two neighboring trees; in foul weather we shifted into an old rotten tent, for we had few better…

This was our church, till we built a homely thing like a barn, set upon cratchets, covered with rafts, sedge and earth; so was also the walls; the best of our houses (were) of the like curiosity, but the most part far much worse workmanship, that neither could well defend wind nor rain, yet we had daily Common Prayer morning and evening, every Sunday two sermons, and every three months the holy Communion, till our minister died. But our prayers daily with an homily on Sundays, we continued two or three years after, till more preachers came.

…in the celebration of … the beginning of English civil and religious life in America, it should be borne distinctly in mind that this work from which our national life began was no mere private or commercial venture. For years life and treasure were poured out in Virginia without stint and without reward. To accuse the founders of Virginia of making money their first aim is to accuse them of the greatest folly. Such a man as Sir Thomas Smith, the Treasurer, and the most influential man in the practical management of the Colony, who was also Governor of the East India Company, and one of the most successful merchant princes of his age, would never have persevered in such a bootless venture as was the Colony in Virginia, if money had been his chief aim.

For God has allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his
sovereign will that all human history ​​​​shall be consummated in Christ, that everything
that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him.

Not an incident is related of him which does not illustrate the possession of a Christian spirit. The wholesome influence by which he was able to control the angry passions of his companions was probably founded in their respect for his consistent piety, and as we hear of no efforts made to enrich himself in the colony, it is not difficult to believe that his emigration resulted from an honest desire to supply the ministrations of the Gospel to the destitute and benighted.

Had nothing more been related of him than that he was twice able to reconcile discords of angry rulers without being claimed as a partisan by either, he would have left behind him a reputation becoming the Minister of Him who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers."

Two highlights of the colonists' first weeks in the New World were the baptism of Manteo on August 13th -- the first recorded Protestant baptismal service in the New World -- and the christening a week later of Virginia Dare, granddaughter of the colony's governor, John White. Virginia was the first white child born in America.                                                 Baptism of Virginia Dare, lithograph, 1880

And seeing thou hast honored us to choose us out to bear thy name unto the gentiles, we therefore beseech thee to bless us, and this our plantation, which we and our nation have begun in thy fear and for thy glory… And seeing, Lord, the highest end of our plantation here is to set up the standard and display the banner of Jesus Christ, even here where Satan's throne is, Lord, let our labor be blessed in laboring the conversion of the heathen. And because thou usest not to work such mighty works by unholy means, Lord sanctify our spirits, and give us holy hearts, that so we may be thy instruments in this most glorious work … And seeing by thy motion and work in our hearts, we have left our warm nests at home, and put our lives into thy hands, principally to honor thy name, and advance the kingdom of thy son, Lord give us leave to commit our lines into thy hands; let thy angels be about us, and let us be as angels of God sent to this people … Lord bless England our sweet native country … And Lord hear their prayers for us and us for them, and Christ Jesus our glorious Mediator for us all. Amen.

-- Prayer written by Rev. William Crashaw of Temple Church and appended to the code of laws strictly enforced at Jamestown. This prayer was "duly said morning and evening upon the Court of Guard, either by the captain of the watch himself, or by some one of his principal officers."

…ye shall discourage no many privily or apertly from the reading or hearing of the said Bible, but shall expressly provoke, stir and exhort every person to read the same, as that which is the very lively Word of God, that every Christian person is bound to embrace, believe, and follow, if he look to be saved; admonishing them nevertheless to avoid all contention and altercation theirin, but to use an honest sobriety in the their inquisition of the true sense of the same, and to refer the explication of obscure places to men of higher judgment in Scripture.

"…you shall live freely there, without sergeants, or courtiers, or lawyers, or intelligencers [spies] … Then for your means to advancement, there it is simple, and not preposterously mixed. You may be an alderman there, and never be scavenger; you may be any other officer, and never be a slave. You may come to preferment enough, and never be a pander; to riches and fortune enough, and have never the more villany nor the less wit. Besides, there we shall have no more law then conscience and not too much of either; serve God enough, eat and drink enough, and 'enough is as good as a feast.'"

Many times and in every Indian town where I came ... I made declaration of the contents of the Bible, that therein was set forth the true and only God, and his mighty works, that therein was contained the true doctrine of salvation through Christ, with many particularities of miracles and chief points of religion as I was able then to utter, and thought fit for the time. And although I told them the book materially and of itself was not of any such virtue, as I thought they did conceive, but only the doctrine there in contained; yet would many be glad to touch it, to embrace it, to kiss it, to hold it to their breasts and heads...

I totally disagree with those who are unwilling that the Holy Scriptures, translated into the common tongue, should be read by the unlearned. Christ desires His mysteries to be published abroad as widely as possible. I could wish that even all women should read the Gospel and St. Paul's Epistles, and I would that they were translated into all the languages of all Christian people, that they might be read and known not merely by the Scots and the Irish but even by the Turks and Saracens. I wish that the farm worker might sing parts of them at the plough, that the weaver might hum them at the shuttle, and that the traveler might beguile the weariness of the way by reciting them.

G O D ' S   P L A N T A T I O N

The principal and main ends … were first to preach and baptize into Christian religion, and by propagation of the Gospel, to recover out of the arms of the devil, a number of poor and miserable souls, wrapped up unto death, in almost invincible ignorance, and to endeavor the fulfilling, and accomplishment of the number of the elect, which shall be gathered from out {of} all corners of the earth; and to add our mite to the treasury of heaven, that as we pray for the coming of the Kingdom of Glory to so express in our actions, the same desire, if God, have pleased, to use so weak instruments, to the ripening and consummation thereof.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert

For God has allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his
sovereign will that all human history ​​​​shall be consummated in Christ, that everything
that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him.

In her days every man shall eat in safety,
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
Nor shall this peace sleep with her: but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself
His honour and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish,
And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
To all the plains about him: our children's children
Shall see this, and bless heaven.

-- Archbishop Cranmer's "prophecy" concerning Queen Elizabeth and King James in Shakespeare's King Henry the Eighth, 1613

There were never Englishmen left in a foreign country in such miseries as we were in this new discovered Virginia … Our food was but a small can of barley sod in water to five men a day. Our drink cold water taken out of the river; which was at flood very salt, and at low tide, full of slime and filth; which was the destruction of many of our men. Thus we lived for the space of five months in this miserable distress, not having five able men to man our bulwarks upon any occasion. If it had not pleased God to put a terror in the savages' hearts, we had all perished by those wild and cruel pagans.

Ephesians 1:9-10 (Philips)