Dangerous Times of War in the Virginia Colony in 1644

Dateline: Virginia, June 3, 1644: Not afraid to declare war, these Anglican colonists are at war yet again with the Natives.

At the end of the excerpt, Mr. Cornelius Lloyd is commissioned to conduct business with the Dutch, Swedes, and the English in New England, looking for ammunition. The Swedes and Dutch settled in what is now Delaware and Pennsylvania, long before William Penn and the Quakers arrived.

In any case, here is a modernized transcription of an original source.

Modern transcription begins:

It is ordered by the authority aforesaid [evidently some documents are not included] that the last year’s sheriffs throughout the colony respectively do at the next session of Assembly bring in all their accounts of the last year.

And they are further hereby required to take due notice hereof as they will answer the contrary to their peril.

It is ordered by the authority of the aforesaid that whereas by the late bloody massacre divers [various] businesses have wanted [lacked] their present dispatch and especially the administration of the oath, a matter of no mean [insignificant] consequence in these dangerous times.

It is therefore ordered that the commissioners of each county forthwith do see the due execution thereof according to the former order to that purpose provided.

Whereas new matters of importance have now most unexpectedly interposed itself, as also the deplorable estate of this afflicted country, being unable to manage the affairs that do continually arise by reason of this present War, being no ways furnished with a fit proportion of arms and ammunition, for the preservation and safety thereof, but that in all likelihood may decline to a sudden ruin and desolation.

It is therefore ordered by this present Grand Assembly that the Governor be entreated to repair [travel] for England and implore his Majesty’s gracious assistance for our relief which motion and desires of our, he having willingly embraced.

It is thought fit this present Assembly, having used their best endeavour for the country’s defence and preservation that it be ordered that there be an adjournment until the 15th day of November next, at which time all business now depending may then receive a final determination;

And that the sheriff of each county be hereby authorized and commanded to give notice to the Burgesses of each county to make their repair to James City [Jamestowne] at the time aforesaid. Hereof they may not fail as they will answer the contrary at their peril.

It is ordered by this present grand Assembly that MR. CORNELIUS LLOYD be employed to the Dutch plantation, the Swedes and New England, as agent for the country [of Virginia] and that he have commission granted him for that purpose.

Who has freely proffered for the expedition of the voyage besides his own service to lend the country thirty barrels of corn and six hogshead of tobacco and what ammunition shall be brought in, to be disposed of by the Governor and Council.

Transcription ends.

Desperate times require disciplined response. This document seems to doubt the colony would survive: “that in all likelihood [the country of Virginia] may decline to a sudden ruin and desolation.” However, the colonists rose to the occasion and won the peace in 1646.


Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619-1658/9, ed. by H. R. McIlwaine, Classic Reprint Series (orig. Richmond: 1915).

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