Chronicles of America 

English Colonization of America

Elizabeth of England died in 1603. There came to the English throne James Stuart, King of Scotland, King now of England and Scotland. In 1604 a treaty of peace ended the long war with Spain. Gone was the sixteenth century; here, though in childhood, was the seventeenth century.

Now that the wars were over, old colonization schemes were revived in the English mind. Of the motives, which in the first instance had prompted these schemes, some with the passing of time had become weaker, some remained quite as strong as before. Most Englishmen and women knew now that Spain had clay feet; and that Rome, though she might threaten, could not always perform what she threatened. To abase the pride of Spain, to make harbors of refuge for the angel of the Reformation--these wishes, though they had not vanished, though no man could know how long the peace with Spain would last, were less fervid than they had been in the days of Drake. But the old desire for trade remained as strong as ever. It would be a great boon to have English markets in the New World, as well as in the Old, to which merchants might send their wares, and from which might be drawn in bulk, the raw stuffs that were needed at home. The idea of a surplus population persisted; England of five million souls still thought that she was crowded and that it would be well to have a land of younger sons, a land of promise for all not abundantly provided for at home. It were surely well, for mere pride's sake, to have due lot and part in the great New World! And wealth like that which Spain had found was a dazzle and a lure. "Why, man, all their dripping-pans are pure gold, and all the chains with which they chain up their streets are massy gold; all the prisoners they take are fettered in gold; and for rubies and diamonds they go forth on holidays and gather 'em by the seashore!" So the comedy of "Eastward Ho!" seen on the London stage in 1605--"Eastward Ho!" because yet they thought of America as on the road around to China.


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