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Title An Oath of Allegiance [to the English Crown], Signed by Walloons Emigrating to Virginia
Author de Forest, Jessé
Date 1621
Document Type Correspondence; Legal Papers
Reference MFQ 1/565
Library / Archive The National Archives
Collection Name Privy Council and Related Bodies: America and West Indies, Colonial Papers (General Series)
Description One of the earliest 'round robin' documents in the world, requesting permission from the English Ambassador to the Hague for a group of Huguenot protestants to emigrate to Virginia to found a protestant colony. The would-be colonists wished to escape Catholic Belgium, therefore their names were signed in a circle to prevent the ring-leaders being identified if the petition fell into the wrong hands.
Series Description This series relates to the American and West Indian colonies and includes some records of the Board of Trade. It ends virtually in 1688, after which date most of the American papers are to be found in CO 5, and the West Indian ones in CO 318 and under the various colonies.
Biographical Note / History The petition was granted on condition that the settlers did not live together once they reached America. The Walloon group refused to accept such a condition and instead, were given permission to set up a colony a year later in the West Indies as agents for the Dutch West India Company. The colony failed, however, many of the Walloons found their way to the mouth of the Hudson River and founded what eventually became New York City.
Theme(s) Motives for Emigration
Country (from) Belgium
Country (to) United States of America
Places Virginia, United States
Nationality Walloon; Belgian
People Carleton, Sir Dudley
Keywords government, legislation, petition, children, women, emigration, labourer, Catholicism, Protestantism, religion, persecution
Additional Information Item extracted from CO 1/1: America and West Indies, Colonial Papers.
Language French
Copyright Crown Copyright documents © are reproduced by permission of The National Archives London, UK