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Document Number: AJ-081
Author: Pory, John, 1572-1636
Title: Letter of John Pory, 1619
Source: Tyler, Lyon Gardiner (editor). Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606-1625. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907). Pages 281-287.
Pages/Illustrations: 9 / 0
Citable URL:

Author Note

John Pory (1570-1636) was educated at Cambridge and became involved in English politics as a member of Parliament from 1608-1611. Pory traveled to Virginia as secretary of state under Governor Yeardley in January 1619. He was also appointed to the Virginia Commission on July 15, 1624 by King James I. John Pory was speaker for the General Assembly of 1619 and recorded the proceedings of America’s first legislative body. Pory remained involved in Virginia politics until his death in 1636.

Jamestown Settlement

The London Company sponsored the expedition to establish a profitable colony. The expedition started with 144 men but only 104 survived the trip. No women were a part of the initial expedition. In 1609, about six hundred people, including women and children, joined the Jamestown colony in the hopes of making it more like a settlement. Other voyages brought more settlers in the years between 1606 and 1624 expanding the population and goals of the colony.

Document Note

The letter of John Pory was published in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, fourth series, IX (1871). The letter was sent to Sir Dudley Carleton who was the English ambassador to the Netherlands. Pory reported to Carleton the state of Jamestown’s leading cash crops and his impressions of the colony. Pory mentioned his poor health and that of the settlers and Native American’s in the area during his first months in the colony. He described wheat, tobacco, vineyards and cattle as potential cash crops for the planters in the area and expressed hope that Carleton would send him reading material.

Other Internet and Reference Sources

Additional information about the General Assembly and John Pory’s role in Virginia politics can be found at the Colonial National Historic Park site “Jamestown Historic Briefs” at

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