1584 Patent granting Settlement Rights in Virginia to Sir Walter Raleigh by Queen Elizabeth I.
The letters patents, granted by the Queenes Majestie to M. Walter Ralegh, now Knight, for the discovering & planting of new lands & Countries, to continue the space of 6 yeeres & no more.
Elizabeth by the grace of God of England, France & Ireland Queene, defender of the faith, &c. To all people to whom these presents shal come, greeting. Know ye that of our especial grace, certaine science, & meere motion, we have given & granted, & by these presents for us, our heires & successors doe give & grant to our trusty & welbeloved servant Walter Ralegh Esquire, & to his heires & assignes forever, free liberty & licence from time to time, & at all times for ever hereafter, to discover, search, finde out, & view such remote, heathen & barbarous lands, countreis, & territories, not actually possessed of any Christian prince, nor inhabited by Christian people, as to him, his heires & assignes, & to every or any of them shall seeme good, & the same to have, holde, occupy & enjoy to him, his heires & assignes for ever, with all prerogatives, commodities, jurisdictions, royalties, priviledges, franchises & preeminences, thereto or thereabouts both by sea & land, whatsoever we by our letters patents may grant, & as we or any of our noble progenitors have heretofore granted to any person or persons, bodies politique or corporate: & the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & all such as from time to time, by licence of us, our heires & successors, shal goe or travaile thither to inhabite or remaine, there to build & fortifie, at the discretion of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, the statutes or act of Parliament made against fugitives, or against such as shall depart, remaine or continue out of our Realme of England without licence, or any other statute, act, law, or any ordinance whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
And we do likewise by these presents, of our especial grace, meere motion, & certaine knowledge for us, our heires & successors, give & graunt full authoritie, libertie & power to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & every of them, that he & they, & every or any of them, shall & may at all & every time & times hereafter, have, take, & leade in the sayde voyage, & travaile thitherward, or inhabite there with him or them, & every or any of them, such, & so many of our subjects as shall willingly accompany him or them, & every or any of them: & to whom also we doe by these presents, give full libertie & authoritie in that behalfe, & also to have, take & employ, & use sufficient shipping & furniture for the transportations, & Navigations in that behalfe, so that none of the same persons or any of them be such as hereafter shall be restrained by us, our heires or successors.
And further that the said Walter Ralegh his heires & assignes, & every of them, shall have, holde, occupie & enjoy to him, his heires & assignes, & every of them for ever, all the soyle of all such landes, territories, & Countreis, so to be discovered & possessed as aforesayd, & of all such Cities, Castles, Townes, Villages, & places in the same, with the right royalties, franchises, & jurisdictions, as well marine as other within the sayd landes, or Countreis, or the seas thereunto adjoyning, to be had, or used, with full power to dispose thereof, & of every part in fee simple or otherwise, according to the order of the lawes of England, as neere as the same conveniently may be, at his, & their wil & pleasure, to any persons then being, or that shall remaine within the allegiance of us, our heires & successors: reserving alwayes to us, our heires & successors, for all services, dueties, & demaunds, the fift part of all the oare of golde & silver, that from time to time, & at all times after such discoverie, subduing & possessing, shall be there gotten & obteined: All which lands, Countries, & territories shall for ever be holden of the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, of us, our heires & successors, by homage, & by the sayd payment of the sayd fift part, reserved onely for all services.
And moreover, we do by these presents, for us, our heires & succsessors, give & grant licence to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires, & assignes, & every of them, that he, & they, & every or any of them, shall & may from time to time, & at all times for ever hereafter, for his & their defence, encounter & expulse, repell & resist aswell by sea as by lande, & by all other wayes whatsoever, all & every such person & persons whatsoever, as without the especiall liking & license of the sayd Walter Ralegh, & of his heires & assignes, shall attempt to inhabite within the sayde Countryes, or any of them, or within the space of two hundreth leagues neere to the place or places within such Countryes as aforesayde (if they shall not bee before planted or inhabited within the limits as aforesayd with the subjects of any Christian Prince being in amitie with us) where the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires, or assignes, or any of them, or his, or their, or any of their associats or company, shall within sixe yeeres (next ensuing) make their dwellings or abidings, or that shall enterprise or attempt at any time hereafter unlawfully to annoy, eyther by Sea or Lande the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or his or their, or any of his or their companies: giving, & graunting by these presents further power & authoritie to the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & every of them from time to time, & at all times for ever hereafter, to take & surprise by all maner of meanes whatsoever, all & every those person or persons, with their Shippes, Vessels, & other goods & furniture, which without the licence of the sayde Walter Ralegh, or his heires, or assignes, as aforesayd, shalbe found traffiquing into any Harbour, or Harbours, Creeke, or Creekes, within the limits aforesayd, (the subjects of our Realmes & Dominions, & all other persons in amitie with us, trading to the Newfound lands for fishing as heretofore they have commonly used, or being driven by force of a tempest, or shipwracke onely excepted :) & those persons, & every of them, with their shippes, vessels, goods, & furniture to deteine & possesse as of good & lawfull prize, according to the discretion of him the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires, & assignes, & every, or any of them. & for uniting in more perfect league & amitie, of such Countryes, landes, & territories so to be possessed & inhabited as aforesayd with our Realmes of England & Ireland, & the better incouragement of men to these enterprises: we doe by these presents, graunt & declare that all such Countries, so hereafter to be possessed & inhabited as is aforesayd, from thencefoorth shall be of the allegiance to us, our heires & successours. & wee doe graunt to the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires, & assignes, & to all, & every of them, & to all, & every other person & persons, being of our allegiance, whose names shall be noted or entred in some of our Courts of recorde within our Realme of England, that with the assent of the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, shall in his journeis for discoverie, or in the journeis for conquest hereafter travail to such lands, countreis & territories, as aforesayd, & to their, & to every of their heires, & they, & every or any of them being eyther borne within our sayde Realmes of England or Irelande, or in any other place within our allegiance, & which hereafter shall be inhabiting within any the Lands, Countryes, & Territories, with such licence, (as aforesayd) shall & may have all the priviledges of free Denizens, & persons native of England, & within our allegiance in such like ample maner & forme, as if they were borne & personally resident within our said Realme of England, any law, custome, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
And forasmuch as upon the finding out, discovering, or inhabiting of such remote lands, countries, & territories as aforesaid, it shalbe necessary for the safety of all men, that shall adventure themselves in those journeyes or voyages, to determine to live together in Christian peace, & civill quietnesse eche with other, whereby every one may with more pleasure & profit enjoy that whereunto they shall atteine with great paine & perill, wee for us, our heires & successors, are likewise pleased & contented, & by these presents doe give & grant to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes fo ever, that he & they, & every or any of them, shall & may from time to time for ever hereafter, within the said mentioned remote lands & countries, in the way by the seas thither, & from thence, have full & meere power & authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, governe, & rule by their & every or any of their good discretions & policies, aswell in causes capitall, or criminall, as civil, both marine & other, all such our subjects, as shal from time to time adventure themselves in the said journeis or voyages, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite any such lands, countreis, or territories as aforesayd, or that shall abide within 200 leagues of any of the sayd place or places where the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any of his or their associats or companies, shall inhabite within 6 yeeres next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes & ordinances as shall be by him the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & every or any of them devised, or established, for the better government of the said people as aforesaid. So alwayes as the said statutes, lawes, & ordinances may be, as nere as conveniently may bee, agreeable to the forme of the lawes, statutes, governement, or pollicie of England, & also so as they be not against the true Christian faith, nowe professed in the Church of England, nor in any wise to withdrawe any of the subjects or people of those lands or places from the alleagance of us, our heires & successours, as their immediate Soveraigne under God.
And further, we doe by these presents for us, our heires & successors, give & grant ful power & authoritie to our trustie & welbeloved Counsailour Sir William Cecill knight, Lorde Burghley, or high Treasourer of England, & to the Lorde Treasourer of England for us, our heires & successors for the time being, & to the privie Counsaile of us, our heires & successors, or any foure or more of them for the time being, that he, they, or any foure or more of them, shall & may from time to time, & at all times hereafter, under his or their handes or Seales by vertue of these presents, authorise & licence the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & every or any of them by him, & by themselves, or by their, or any of their sufficient Atturneis, Deputies, Officers, Ministers, Factors, & servants, to imbarke & transport out of our Realme of England and Ireland, & the Dominions thereof, all or any part of his or their goods, & all or any the goods of his & their associats & companies, & every or any of them, with such other necessaries & commodities of any our Realmes, as to the sayde Lorde Treasurer, or foure or more of the privie Counsaile, of us our heires & successors for the time being (as aforesaid) shalbe from time to time by his or their wisedomes, or discretions thought meete & convenient, for the better reliefe & supportation of him the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires, & assignes, & every or any of them, & of his or their or any of their associats & companies, any act, statue, law, or any thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
Provided alwayes, & our wil & pleasure is, & we do hereby declare to all Christian kings, princes, & states, that if the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any other by their licence or appointment, shall at any time or times hereafter robbe or spoile by sea or by land, or doe any acte of unjust or unlawfull hostilitie, to any of the subjects of us, our heires or successors, or to any of the subjucts of any the kings, princes, rulers, Governours, or estates, being then in perfect league & amitie with us, our heires & successours, & that upon such injurie, or upon just complaint of any such Prince, Ruler, Governour or estate, or their subjects, wee, our heires & successors, shall make open Proclamation within any the portes of our Realme of England, that the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & adherents, or any to whom these our Letters patents may extende, shall within the termes to bee limited, by such Proclamation, make full restitution, & satisfaction of all such injuries done: so as both we & the said Princes, or other so complaining, may hold us & themselves fully contented: & that if the said Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, shall not make our cause to be made satisfaction accordingly within such time so to be limitted, that then it shal be lawful to us, our heires & successors, to put the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, & adherents, & all the inhabitants of the saide places to be discovered (as in aforesaid) or any of them out of our allegeance & protection, & that from & after such time of putting out of protection of the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, assignes & adherents, & others so to be put out, & the said places within their habitation, possession & rule, shall be out of our allegeance & protection, & free for all Princes & others to pursue with hostilitie, as being not our subjects, nor by us any way to be avouched, maintained, or defended, nor to be holden as any of ours, nor to our protection, or dominion, or allegeance any way belonging: for that expresse mention of the cleere yeerely value of the certaintie of the premisses, or any part thereof, or of any other gift, or grant by us, or any our progenitors, or predecessors to the said Walter Ralegh, before this time made in these presents, bee not expressed, or any other grant, ordinance, provision, proclamation, or restraint to the contrary thereof, before this time, given, ordained, or provided, or any other thing, cause or matter whatsoever, in any wise notwithstanding. In witnesse whereof, wee have caused these our letters to be made Patents. Witnesse our selves, at Westminster the five & twentie day of March, in the sixe & twentith yeere of our Raigne.