While this blog has lain dormant, several potential British Virginia editions have gotten underway; VCU Libraries has moved British Virginia publications to Scholars Compass; and we there have replaced our inaugural editions with corrected versions and new, much more informative abstracts written by Kevin Farley, VCU Humanities Collections Librarian and British Virginia Advisory Board member. If you have already downloaded a photo facsimile of the Symonds sermon, please replace it with this new and improved version. Here’s Kevin’s abstract of the Symonds editions.
British Virginia is a series of peer-reviewed, open-access editions of original documents related to the colony. British Virginia publications illustrate both the enduring ideological discourse of English settlement in and around the James River, and the unique historical artifacts that record the area’s modern colonization. Editions derive from original sources and original research on them. The first two publications in the series, by Professor Joshua Eckhardt (VCU English), are each documentary (or, in other words, single-witness) editions of the Virginia Historical Society’s copy of a printed sermon preached by William Symonds to the Virginia Company of London in April, 1609 (VHS Rare Books F 229 S98). One of the two editions is a type facsimile: a retyped reproduction of the VHS copy that retains original spelling and layout. This edition offers the advantages of sharp visual contrast and a small file size. The other is a photographic facsimile. It offers searchable, full-color images of the VHS copy. Symonds’ sermon is the first of “The Virginia Company Sermons,” which different preachers addressed to both the company and the London public, in some cases from the pulpit and in each case from the bookstall. Reexamining these scarce or seldom-read works reveals the subtle arguments for colonization, as well as the indirect presence of opposition voices seeking to question the moral and political assumptions behind the colonization of Virginia.