This Day (Que Videtur Pœna Edition)

Published:November 8, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

On this day in 1610 A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia was published by the Virginia Company of London, serving as a bit of very necessary propaganda on behalf of the struggling colony at Jamestown. The wreck of the Sea Venture, which carried the colony’s new leadership and many necessary supplies, not to mention the ensuing Starving Time, might easily have been seen signs from God—a bit of temper even. Well, actually, they did see it that way, only they decided that God was actually helping them. After all, the Sea Venture crew—including Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers—survived, didn’t they?

What is there in all this tragicall Comædie that should discourage us with impossibilitie of the enterprise? when of all the Fleete, one onely Ship, by a secret leake was indangered, and yet in the gulfe of despaire, was so graciously preserved. Que videtur pœna, est medicina, that which we accompt a punishment of evill, is but a medicine against evill.

When all was said and done, these disasters were nothing less than “the direct line of Gods providence.”

IMAGES: Detail from a map of Bermuda, illustrating the wreck of the Sea Venture, by William Janzon Blaeu, 1640 (The Mariners’ Museum); title page of A True Declaration of the Estate of the Colonie in Virginia, November 8, 1610 (Virginia Historical Society)