‘Certain Directions for the Sending of Men and Comodities, & Cattle to Virginia’, a 10pp secretarial manuscript thought to date from c.1609 – £80,000 at Forum.

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It sold at £80,000; a far, far higher sum than the suggested £4000-6000.

Based on the experiences of earlier travellers, he advises would-be emigrants that it is best to arrive in early July and that prospective farmers should be ‘lustie’.

It also offers advice as to the amounts of trading commodities and provisions that emigrants should take with them.

Sub-headings include ‘Comodities that are fittest to be carried to Virginia, and those most ysefull and vendible…’, along with details of what would be required to provision and sustain emigrants travelling on ships carrying 500 passengers and what quantities are needed to sustain them over three months.

The writer draws on previous expeditions and is aware of the qualities that prospective colonists will need to show, what sort of vendible stock should be taken for trade (rugs, blankets, wine, etc), recommending that ‘Oates’ are a good bet and making a particular note that cattle are much prized in Virginia.

Colonisation of the territory by the Virginia Company presents a history of repeated setbacks and failure. Most colonists were unsuited to farming, while adverse weather conditions and poor relations with the First Nations people resulted in extremely high mortality rates.

These early colonies’ main hope of survival were the supply ships and this manuscript probably relates to the ‘Third Supply’, one which led to shipwreck of the Sea Venture at Bermuda and the loss of essential supplies for the colony.

This led in turn to the ‘Starving Time’ in the winter of 1609-10, the abandonment of the settlement at Jamestown and its re-establishment by a Fourth Supply mission in 1610.

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