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.

On the 30th September, 1600, a draft of the patent, already said to have been subsequently sealed on the last day of that year, was read before the seventeen committees, such being then the denomination of what are now called directors; and being approved of, was ordered to be submitted to the consideration of the Queen and Privy Council.  “In this early stage of the business, the lord-treasurer applied to the Court of Committees or Directors, recommending Sir Edward Mitchelburne to be employed in the voyage; and thus, before the Society of Adventurers had been constituted an East India Company, that influence had its commencement, which will be found, in the sequel, to have been equally adverse to the prosperity of their trade and to the probity of the directors."[81] Yet, though still petitioners for their charter, the directors had the firmness to resist this influence, and resolved Not to employ any gentleman in any place of charge, requesting to be permitted to sort their business with men of their own quality, lest the suspicion of employing gentlemen might drive a great number of the adventurers to withdraw their contributions.[82]

[Footnote 81:  Ann. of the H.E.I.  Co.  I.128.]

[Footnote 82:  Id. ib.]

In the commencement of its operations, the East India Company proceeded upon rather an anomalous plan for a great commercial company.  Instead of an extensive joint stock for a consecutive series of operations, a new voluntary subscription was entered into among its members for each successive adventure.  That of the first voyage was about L70,000.  The second voyage was fitted out by a new subscription of L60,450.  The third was L53,500.  The fourth L33,000.  The fifth was a branch or extension of the third, by the same subscribers, on an additional call or subscription of L13,700.  The subscription for the sixth was L82,000.  The seventh L71,581.  The eighth L76,375.  The ninth only L7,200.

In 1612, the trade began to be carried on upon a broader basis by a joint stock, when L429,000 was subscribed, which was apportioned to the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth voyages.  In 1618, a new joint stock was formed by subscription, amounting to L1,600,000.[83]

[Footnote 83:  Ann. of the H.E.I.  Co.  Vol.  I. passim.]

In the year 1617, King James I. of England and VI. of Scotland, granted letters patent under the great seal of Scotland, dated at Kinnard, 24th May, 1617, to Sir James Cunningham of Glengarnock, appointing him, his heirs and assigns, to be governors, rulers, and directors of a Scottish East India Company, and authorizing him “to trade to and from the East Indies, and the countries or parts of Asia, Africa, and America, beyond the Cape of Bona Sperantia, to the straits of Magellan, and to the Levant Sea and territories under the government of the Great Turk, and to and from the countries of Greenland, and all other countries and islands in the north, north-west, and north-east seas, and other parts of America and Muscovy.”  Which patent, and all the rights and privileges annexed to it, was subsequently, for a valuable consideration, assigned by Sir James Cunningham to the London East India Company.[84]

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