The contract for a voyage in 1622, signed by the colonist Sir William Alexander and by the founder of New Hampshire, John Mason, being an agreement made between Sir William Alexander, Sir Robert McClellane and John Mason on the one part and Thomas Hopkins, mariner of "Rederith,” Surrey, and master of the one-hundred-ton ship Planter on the other part, for "a voyage now intended by gods grace to be made wth the said ship to the North parts of Virginia or new England and other parts and places thereabouts,” with provisions that Hopkins should use his utmost skill for the safety of goods and passengers, signed by Alexander McClellane and Mason and with tie pendant seals, witnessed on the verso by Robert Norton, servant to Francis Mosse, notary public, 9 April 1622, broadside on paper (27 x 24 in.; 686 x 610 mm); some very light dampstaining, a few tiny holes at intersecting folds. Elaborately and handsomely displayed in a large green morocco portfolio, with a description and full transcription; and with a letter signed by King James I ("James R”), 27 December 1621, directing that Alexander be paid an appropriate pension "for sending away a Colony to Nova Scotia,” 1 page (11 1/8 x 7 in.; 283 x 178 mm), with integral blank bearing contemporary endorsement and royal seal.
The Most Honourable the Marquess of Downshire (Sotheby’s London, 14 December 1989, lot 217)
The contract for the "Canadian Mayflower.” The statesman and poet Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling (1567?–1540), received in 1621 a massive royal grant of the greater part of Canada, a charter subsequently increased to include jurisdiction over the upper part of America. He endeavored to promote colonization by publishing his Encouragement to Colonists in 1625. "In breadth of conception [Alexander’s colonizing] plan rivaled any of the bold and daring efforts made in the preceding reign to extend England’s greatness beyond the seas, and only the shifting give and take of international diplomacy brought it finally to a premature and disastrous end” (Thomas MacGrail).
John Mason (1586–1635) was the founder of New Hampshire. Author, in 1620, of A Brief Discourse of the Newfoundland, he returned to England in 1621 and was consulted by Alexander about the proposed settlement to Nova Scotia and also by Sir Ferdinando Gorges about colonizing Maine. He was granted a patent on 9 March 1621/22 for all the land between the Nahumheik and Merrimack rivers, and sailed the following year as Deputy-Governor of New England. A subsequent grant to him in 1631 inspired a fresh wave of settlement and consolidation in the New England area that became known as New Hampshire.
The date of the present document, just two years after the Pilgrim Fathers settled New Plymouth, was a vital year in the early history of British colonization of North America, marking, among other events, the Indian massacre of 347 Virginian settlers on 22 March.
Significant documents relating to the early colonial history of America are extremely uncommon on the market.
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