A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 08 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 754 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 08.
subjects of England, not free of this company, from trading to these parts without licence from the company, under forfeiture of their goods and ships, half to the crown and half to the company, together with imprisonment during the loyal pleasure, and until they respectively grant bond in the sum of L1000 at the least, not again to sail or traffic into any part of the said East Indies, &c. during the continuance of this grant.  With this proviso, “That, if the exclusive privilege thus granted be found unprofitable for the realm, it may be voided on two years notice:  But, if found beneficial, the privilege was then to be renewed, with such alterations and modifications as might be found expedient” This exclusive grant, in the nature of a patent, was dated at Westminster on the 31st December, 1600, being the 43d year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, signed by herself, and sealed with her privy seal.

[Footnote 75:  So denominated in the copy of the charter in the Pilgrims of Purchas, vol.  I. p. 139—­147, which we have not deemed it necessary to insert.—­E.]

It is by no means intended to attempt giving in this place any history of our East India Company, the early Annals of which, from its establishment in 1600, to the union of the London and English Companies in 1708, have been lately given to the public, in three quarto volumes, by John Bruce, Esq.  M.P. and F.R.S.  Historiographer to the Honourable East India Company, &c. &c. &c. to which we must refer such of our readers as are desirous of investigating that vast portion of the history of our commerce.  All that we propose on the present occasion, is to give a short introduction to the series of voyages contained in this chapter, all of which have been preserved by Samuel Purchas, in his curious work, which he quaintly denominated PURCHAS HIS PILGRIMS, published in five volumes folio at London in 1625.

In the first extension of English commerce, in the sixteenth century, consequent upon the discoveries of Western Africa, America, and the maritime route to India, it seems to have been conceived that exclusive chartered companies were best fitted for its effectual prosecution.  “The spirit of enterprise in distant trade, which had for a century brought large resources to Spain and Portugal, began to diffuse itself as a new principle, in the rising commerce of England, during the long and able administration of Queen Elizabeth.  Hence associations were beginning to be formed, the joint credit of which was to support experiments for extending the trade of the realm."[76]

[Footnote 76:  Ann. of the Honb.  East India Co, I. 206.]

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