In the region along the Atlantic seaboard which England claimed for her own, two settlements were made at dates not far apart. Early in 1607 a group of about one hundred settlers established at Jamestown in Virginia the first permanent Anglo-American colony, and through the inevitable hardships of a pioneer community managed to hold the settlement on its feet. With them they had brought a royal charter couched in the legal diction of the time, and in due course established their own system of local self-government with its boroughs and its House of Burgesses reproducing in miniature the old English administrative system.〖First Charter of Virginia, H. C., xliii, 49-58.〗 Farther to the north unsuccessful attempts to found settlements had been made near the mouth of the Kennebec as early as 1607; but it was not until 1620 that the Mayflower Pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth and laid the foundations of New England. The Pilgrims had gone first from England to Holland, but finding that they were being drawn into the vortex of an alien environment, reached a decision to set forth for a new land where they could create their own surroundings. Before they went ashore the Pilgrims made a political compact among themselves whereby they created a “civil body politick” and covenanted each with each to enact just laws for the welfare of the new community.〖The Mayflower Compact, H. C., xliii, 59.〗 The early years of this settlement were passed in great hardship and the population grew very slowly. Ten years after the disembarkation at Plymouth Rock it numbered but three hundred in all. The first economic and social system was communistic, but in due course this was abandoned and by dint of persistent effort the colony rounded the corner on the road to prosperity.

A more important settlement in New England, however, was that made by John Winthrop and his followers on the shores of Massachusetts Bay. In 1630 Winthrop brought to Salem a body of nearly a thousand settlers, and these, during the ensuing two years, founded a half-dozen towns, including Boston. The colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay continued a separate existence for more than a half-century after their foundation; in 1690 they were amalgamated into the province of Massachusetts.

By 1630, therefore, Englishmen had firmly established their outposts on the Atlantic seaboard both to the north and to the south; their next enterprise was to dominate the interval between. From Massachusetts the settlers, driven forth in some cases because of their refusal to observe stringent religious requirements, moved southward into the Rhode Island and Connecticut territories. William Penn, Lord Baltimore, and others proved ready to undertake colonization as a private enterprise and, being favored by the Crown in their ambitions, laid the foundations of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Swedes on the Delaware and the Dutch on the Hudson were overpowered and their lands brought under English control. Then having possessed herself of the whole region from Virginia to Massachusetts it was England’s next task to expel France from her menacing position still farther above.

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