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Sir Thomas Dale

DALE, Sir Thomas, colonial governor of Virginia; died near Bantam, East Indies, early in 1620. He had been a soldier of distinction in the Low Countries, and had been knighted by King James in June 1606. The London Company, before the retirement of Lord Delaware, had sent him to Virginia with supplies, and on his arrival in the Chesapeake he assumed the government. He found the colony, then consisting of about 200 men, in great despondency over the departure of Delaware, and gave them new cause for sorrow by his administration of the government, which he carried on under a code (chiefly cotnpiled from the rules of war of the United Provinces) sent to Virginia, without the company's authority, by its treasurer, Thomas Smythe. Notwithstanding this introduction of martial law, Dale has received praise for his vigor and industry. Seeing the feeble state of the colony, he wrote at once to England for aid; and in August 1611, a new fleet reached Jamestown under Sir Thomas Gates, who relieved Dale in the government. The latter continued, however, to be active in colonial affairs, founding the new settlement of Henrico, and conquering the Appomattox Indians. On Gates's return to England in March 1614, the government was again left with Dale, and he administered it till 1615, when he sailed for home in the same vessel with Pocohontas and John Rolfe, who had been married during his term of office. Dale was in Holland in February 1617, and in January 1619, made commander of the East Indian fleet, participating in an engagement with the Dutch near Bantam. The climate at his post proved fatal to him. Dale deserves special praise for the important changes that he introduced in the colonial land-laws, under which, as established by him, the cultivator was given a chance of becoming proprietor of the soil, which was an impossibility under the old system.

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