The year 1606 saw the founding of the Virginia Company to promote the production of tobacco in the colony, in 1607 Jamestown was founded, and by 1608 the colony had its first true leader and corporate evangelist, in the person of John Smith. Yet the growth of the Virginia colony hampered by a lack of manpower, so its Governor asked King James I to send over all those in prison and sentenced to die, that they might be put to work. The Privy Council, though slow to act, eventually established forced labour in the colonies as punishment for idleness or misdemeanours. Whilst not quite what had been asked for, this still established the principle of penal transportation, a system that would contribute significantly to the growth of Virginia, and in turn to the wealth of their trading partners in Bideford.
Meanwhile, further north, John Guy, a Bristol man, had tried to establish a colony in Newfoundland in 1610, his aim being to secure Cabot’s claim to the territory. As a result, by 1620, West-country fishermen controlled the island’s eastern coast.