Saturday, April 25, 2009

God Wants YOU to Colonize Virginia!

By RSB ---
During much of 1609, there was a "marketing" push -- by the government of England, and by the Virginia Company -- to get English persons to emigrate to the New World and help establish colonies. The Anglican Church also revved up the propaganda for colonization in 1609. Why? Because a "New World" order was on the verge of emerging. The game had previously been domination of Europe. Now there was geopolitical competition for the vast presumed wealth and potential of unknown and undiscovered countries. But would the New World be Catholic, dominated by Spain and Rome? Or Protestant, with profits returning to England and the Netherlands? In 1609 the mystique of the West Indies and America skyrocketed.

On April 25, 1609, Anglican preacher, William Symonds (1556-1616), gave a sermon of unrestrained colonialist propaganda. His message? God wants YOU to go to Virginia! The rationale? The Bible tells us so! The sermon was published shortly thereafter as:

Virginia. A sermon preached at VVhite-Chappel, in the presence of many, honourable and worshipfull, the aduenturers and planters for Virginia. 25. April. 1609 : Published for the benefit and vse of the colony, planted, and to bee planted there, and for the aduancement of their Christian purpose. By William Symonds, preahcer at Saint Sauiors in Southwarke. London : Printed by I. Windet, for Eleazar Edgar, and William Welby, and are to be sold in Paules Church-yard at the signe of the Windmill, 1609.

There are several interesting aspects to this book. One is the dedication to the Adventurers of the Virginia company. This language and these "adventurer" dedications became popular in 1609. The most famous is found in the dedication to Shake-Speares Sonnets, 1609. [...THE . WELL-WISHING. ADVENTVRER . IN . SETTING. FORTH .]

above, the dedication in Symonds Sermon.

Symonds also signs the dedication, "W. S." But those were his initials, so it's just a coincidence.
The argument of the sermon is that God told Abraham to go to another country to do God's work, where Abe would be richly rewarded for his service.

Later, Symonds analogizes the reward:

"the strong old bees do beat out the younger, to swarm and hive themselves elsewhere. Take the opportunity, good honest labourers, which indeed bring all the honey to the hive; God may so bless you that the proverb may be true of you, that a May swarm is worth a king's ransom."

One of Symonds' sponsors and patrons was Robert Bertie, Lord Willoughby, who also sponsored Captain John Smith. Symonds was instrumental in getting Smith's map published in 1612. Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey was the son of Peregrine Bertie (13th Willoughby de Eresby). His mother was Mary de Vere (daughter of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford). Thus, Robert Bertie, colonial sponsor, was nephew to the 17th Earl of Oxford.

Robert Bertie was, perhaps, the second most noted chrome-dome of his era.


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