Journey to India over-land, by Ralph Fitch, Merchant of London, and others, in 1583.
We learn from the following journal, that the present expedition was undertaken at the instigation, and chiefly at the expence of Sir Edward Osborne, Knight, and Mr Richard Staper, citizens and merchants of London. Besides Fitch, the author of the narrative, Mr John Newbery, merchant, William Leedes jeweller, and James Story painter, were engaged in the expedition. The chief conduct of this commercial enterprize appears to have been confided to John Newbery; and its object appears to have been, to extend the trade, which the English merchants seem to have only recently established through Syria, by Aleppo, Bagdat and Basora, to Ormus and perhaps to Goa, in imitation of the Italians, so as to procure the commodities of India as nearly as possible at first hand. In the prospect of being able to penetrate into India, and even into China, Newbery was furnished with letters of credence or recommendation, from Queen Elizabeth to Zelabdim Echebar, stiled king of Cambaia, who certainly appears to have been Akbar Shah, emperor of the Mogul conquerors of Hindostan, who reigned from 1556 to 1605; and to the emperor of China. The promoters of this enterprise, seem to have been actuated by a more than ordinary spirit of research for those times, by employing a painter to accompany their commercial agents. It is farther presumable that the promoters of the expedition, and their agents, Newbery and Fitch, were members of the Turkey company; and though the speculation turned out unsuccessful, owing to causes sufficiently explained in the narrative and its accompanying documents, it is obviously a prelude to the establishment of the English East India Company; which, from small beginnings, has risen to a colossal height of commercial and sovereign grandeur, altogether unexampled in all history.
[Footnote 402: Hakluyt, II. 382.]