- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

LONDON — On the 400th anniversary of the departure of British colonists for America, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine yesterday opened a Jamestown exhibit at a dockside museum near where their ships set sail.

Surrounded by American and British dignitaries at a museum in London’s Docklands area and flanked by a Colonial color guard and Virginia Military Institute cadets, Mr. Kaine said the colonists’ ideals and aspirations were born in England.

“The important things [that they brought] were not physical things, but were ideas and passions and experiences and philosophies,” he said, crediting the English settlers with introducing the notion of equality before the law, freedom of religion and elected legislative leadership to the New World.

“Though the soil did not seem fertile, the seeds brought by those English settlers were powerful, and they’ve grown into a very powerful nation, a nation that we’re proud to call friends of this great nation today,” Mr. Kaine said.

The event is one in a series commemorating the voyage to and settlement of Jamestown, North America’s first successful English settlement. In May, Queen Elizabeth II will head to Virginia to recognize the 400th anniversary of the colony’s founding. President Bush also has been invited.

After the dedication, Mr. Kaine presented London’s Museum in Docklands with a replica of the Discovery, one of the three ships that ferried the colonists across the Atlantic. It is moored just outside the museum in the waters of West India Quay, along with a flag from a replica of the Godspeed and an etching of the Susan Constant — the colonists’ two other ships — that also were given to the museum.

The governor also handed the museum copies of the original bonds issued by the Virginia Company. Jamestown began as a business venture operating under a royal charter granted in 1606.

“I would venture to say they’ve appreciated somewhat,” Mr. Kaine said, to laughter and applause.

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