It is the 17th century and I have no option at this point in my life but to seek a new life in a new world by traveling to America. There are actually several options for me in that direction and I must carefully choose which one I should follow. I have heard much about the colonies there, so I would like to find a place that would provide me with the best opportunity for improving my station in life. Having weighed all possible variants, I realize that there are only three choices – the Puritan colonies of the north, the Chesapeake colonies in the central region, which has its own sub-colony of Catholics in Maryland, and the Caribbean colonies on the West Indian islands.
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A large part of my difficulties in attempting to settle in the northern regions, either with the Puritans or with the Catholics is my own less-than-perfect religious observation. It is impossible to find a place where religion is not an important part of life. Unfortunately, very often, the church imposes almost despotic rules on people, and I do not intend to follow all of them. It is without question that I could never live with the Catholics. We have been battling them at home and I just do not see how I could coexist with my neighbors if they were papists.
The West Indies is, by contrast, perhaps too far from religion for me. I know that there are plenty of opportunities to gain great wealth and power within the island colonies through the production of sugar cane. Yet, there are two obstacles, preventing me from going there. First, my family and I will hardly be able to raise enough capital to purchase land and labor force. Additionally, it is necessary to buy slaves rather than indentured servants, because no one wants to work under such severe conditions. Should anything go wrong, I could very easily find myself at the wrong end of the whip. This is my second reason for avoiding this area. In good conscience, I cannot put other men to work at something I myself could not consider.
This leaves only the Chesapeake region for me to try. This area is open for newcomers for very little money and does not necessarily require me to purchase slaves in order to make a living. For the price of passage, I can gain enough land to construct a shelter and begin a farm of my own without needing to consider the distasteful possibility of ending up under someone else’s control. Furthermore, if I cannot persuade my family to contribute to my price of passage, I may take the indentured servant route to America. I may offer my services to a wealthier man in America for the next seven years and then become a free man. This is not a perfect solution, as either a poor farmer or an indentured servant means a great deal of struggle and hard work, but I am still young and up to the challenge.
Thus, if I wish to remain true to my own personal and religious beliefs, the Chesapeake colony seems to be the best possible option in my position. All of these colonies require a great deal of hard work, sacrifice and often a great deal of personal danger, but the risks are worth the reward, especially considering the limited options some of us have here in England. Chesapeake is the only place, where I can eventually become my own man.