Calendar of State Papers Colonial, East Indies, China and Japan, Volume 2, 1513-1616. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1864.
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THE papers calendared in this volume are derived from three great archives, the Public Record Office, the British Museum, and the India Office, It comprises, to speak generally, all papers connected with the early voyages for discovery of the North-west or other passages to INDIA or “CATHAY,” in the Public Record Office, down to the year 1616; those in the British Museum on the same subjects; and, by permission of the Secretary of State for India, the original correspondence from that office, together with the Court Minutes of the East India Company from its establishment in 1600: a few of the Minutes are even previous to that date, Queen Elizabeth having delayed to grant the charter some eighteen months, on account of overtures for treaty of peace with Spain. (fn. n1)
The collection may therefore be considered as perfect as these sources of information could make it, and will be found to contain materials for a most complete history of the subjects it embraces.
The more important subjects and those the more particularly illustrated are the early voyages for discovery of a North-east or North-west passage; the establishment of the East India Company; the various successes of the early voyages to the East Indies; an account of the settling of the different factories, with the gradual development of the lasting influence of England in those distant countries; the commencement of a commercial intercourse with PERSIA; the first faint attempts at establishing a direct trade with CHINA; the opening of a communication with JAPAN, through a series of adventures as romantic as the history of Robinson Crusoe, and the approaching cessation of all intercourse with that empire, chiefly caused by the death of one Emperor and the different policy of his successor, in which religious considerations formed a predominant part.
The first mention of a voyage of discovery in this volume is by “the Worshipful Master Robert Thorne in anno“1527.” (fn. n2) His father was one of the dicoverers of Newfoundland, and the son conceived “a vehement desire to “attempt the navigation towards the North;” he endeavours to persuade King Henry VIII. to further the discovery, and, setting before him the rich countries to be found, “exhorts “him to take it in hand.” Master Robt. Thorne's efforts were not, however, a whit more successful than those of the daring adventurers who made similar attempts in the succeeding reign. The result of the voyage “intended for the “discovery of Cathay,” set forth by Sebastian Cabot, who obtained from Edward VI. “letters to the kings, princes, “and other potentates inhabiting the North-east parts of the “world toward the mighty empire of Cathay,” is too well known to need comment; it will be remembered that Sir Hugh Willoughby, who was appointed Captain General of the expedition, and most of his company, perished with cold in a river or haven called Arzina [Warsina] in Lapland. (fn. n3)
In the reign of Queen Mary we find no project set on foot to discover a passage; and, if Stephen Borowgh's North-eastern explorations through the strait between Vaigatz and Nova Zembla proper, now called “Burrough's Strait,” are excepted, no such voyages were attempted.
Elizabeth's accession brought a host of adventurers into the field. Letters, memorials, observations, and arguments were written and presented by many persons anxious to attempt the discovery, and equally willing to encounter dangers to attain it. The first letter of any importance of which we have notice was written by Anthony Jenckynson to the Queen in 1565. He had already made several voyages Russia and Persia, and now he “urges Her Majesty to “set forward this famous discovery of that renowned “Cathay;” he asserts that, by the traffic, the Queen will grow to infinite riches, and that she will be accounted “the “famous Princess in the world.” He wishes to be employed in the enterprise, and offers to venture his life, “as fervent zeal” he says, “moveth me, which, if I may live to “accomplish, I shall attain to the ‘some’ of my desire.” This letter, for the proving of a passage by the North-east, was answered by Sir Humphrey Gylberte in cap. 8. of his Discourse “to prove a passage by the North-west to Cathay “and the East Indies.” (fn. n4) Jenckynson was soon after this sent by the Queen on a voyage to Russia. (fn. n5) Previous to his leaving England he again writes, this time to Secretary Cecil, that although he has sued a long time to have the passage discovered he has never yet had any direct answer; that he has sundry times discoursed with Mr. Gylberte thereon, and not doubting good success, they mean to make a trial at heir own charges with such assistance as they can procure, if the Queen will grant them certain privileges; and he concludes by saying that he has conferred with Mr. Gylberte not only to solicit the above on behalf of them both, but has also taken order for furnishing the voyage in every respect, against his return. (fn. n6) Jenckynson no sooner leaves England than Gylberte himself petitions the Queen, specifying the privileges required from Her Majesty in consideration of the great charges, “besides the apparent miserable “travel, hazard, and peril of his life.” His petition is well received; Secretary Cecil makes favourable observations on it (fn. n7) and it seems likely to be successful, when the Company of Merchant Adventurers for the discovery of new trades, better known as the Muscovy or Russia Company, to whom the articles of privileges requested by Gylberte are referred, step in, and although they do not absolutely put their veto on the intended voyage of discovery, they state their objections to several of the articles, though they add that Mr. Gylberte “showeth himself very con “formable to surcease his suit in anything derogatory to “the privileges of the Company.” (fn. n8) Other discourses and arguments follow on “the Strait to be discovered towards “the North-west,” (fn. n9) when we come to 1576, a year ever memorable in the history of these voyages as the one in which Frobisher made his first attempt. Mr., now Sir Humphrey, Gylberte had written the year before (fn. n10) his celebrated discourse to prove a passage by the North-west; and this discourse, Chalmers says, was most probably the cause of Frobisher's first voyage.
In writing of a period so remote, and after reading of the expectations, the fears, and the solicitudes of so many, the money adventured, the labour expended, and the lives risked in the long desired discovery, one is naturally reminded of similar attempts in our own times. For upwards of three centuries the attention of one generation after another was attracted towards this interesting subject of adventure. Nearly every British sovereign was willing, if not desirous, to see it accomplished. Companies were formed, large sums of money subscribed, vessels fitted out, and able commanders were not wanting to make the attempt; yet it was reserved for our own day to establish the existence of the long sought for passage, though not without the sacrifice of some of our most heroic mariners, and the disappointment of all the golden dreams of the past as to the practical value of the discovery.
Of the details of Frobisher's voyages the papers in this volume give the fullest information; of the origin of the first, and the inducements which led to the setting forth of the second and third; and although not much is added to what is already known respecting Frobisher's geographical discoveries, yet many curious particulars in the accounts of them throw considerable light on the information furnished by Hakluyt, and on what has since been written on the subject. The names of the adventurers in all three of these voyages are preserved, the amounts subscribed by each, the names of the vessels, their size, the number of men, in fact every attendant circumstance has been carefully noted, and may now be readily referred to. Of the first voyage, Michael Lok gives an account considerably fuller, and differing in many particulars from either the accounts of Christopher Hall or Capt. Best, printed by Hakluyt.
Michael Lok is so intimately connected with Frobisher in all three of his celebrated voyages, that a short account of him, derived from a paper written by himself, will not be out of place. (fn. n11) The son of Sir Wm. Lok, an alderman of London, he was born in 1532. At the age of 13, his father being appointed sworn mercer and agent beyond the seas to King Henry VIII., Michael was sent to complete his education in Flanders and France. He travelled thirty-two years through almost all the countries of Christianity, and was captain of a ship of 1,000 tons in divers voyages to the Levant. Of late, Lok continues in his “Memorial,” he renewed his old acquaintance with Martin Frobisher, and furnished him with things necessary for the first voyage. Frobisher, in 1574, brought a letter from the Queen to the Muscovy Company, exhorting them again to attempt the discovery of Cathay, twenty years having passed since Willoughby's expedition in 1553. The Company's answer was unfavourable; but a second letter from the Queen, procured also by Frobisher, caused a licence to be granted in February 1575 to Lok, Frobisher, and such others as would be adventurers. The enterprise was delayed that year for lack of money, and it was mainly attributable to Lok's exertions (who himself disbursed 738l. 19s. 3d. out of 1,613l. 19s. 3d., the expenses of the first voyage), (fn. n12) as also probably to the appearance of Sir Humphrey Gylberte's book “for the “maintenance of the good hope and likelihood in this “enterprise of new discovery,” that subscriptions to the amount of 875l. were collected.
Three years later, when Lok and Frobisher were not only estranged, but the ruin of one and the disappointment of both had made them enemies, Lok asserts that he used Frobisher as his fellow and friend; that he opened all his own private studies and twenty years' labour to him, and showed him all his books, charts, maps, and instruments. “I daily instructed him,” adds Lok, “making my house “his home, my purse his purse at his need, and my credit “his credit to my power, when he was utterly destitute “both of money, credit, and friends.” Frobisher first lodged at the house of one Brown in Fleet Street—how unfortunate the name for the purpose of identification—then “to be nearer Lok,” at widow Hancock's house in Mark Lane. The whole of this paper in explanation of Frobisher's voyages is well worth attention. (fn. n13)
Frobisher had no sooner returned to England from his first voyage in Oct. 1576 than he petitioned the Queen, (fn. n14) “in “respect of his late discoveries in the North-west and his “great charges,” for letters patent appointing him and his heirs for ever High Admiral of those seas already or hereafter to be discovered by him, with government by land and other privileges. The result was, that “articles of grant “[were obtained] from the Queen's Majesty to the Com “pany of Cathay,” in which all the first venturers with Lok and Frobisher were to be one company and corporation for ever, to be named “the Company of Cathay.” In this grant Michael Lok of London, mercer, is named Governor for life, in consideration “of his industry, good direction, “and great travail” in Frobisher's first voyage; and Martin Frobisher is appointed Admiral of all new discoveries for life for “his industry, good order, and great travail” in his late voyage; and for “his good service “ he is to have one per cent. for ever upon all goods exported. (fn. n15)
Within six months of Frobisher's return Sir Wm. Wynter, Jenckynson, Lok, and others, commissioned by the Queen “to consider upon all matters requisite for the furniture “and dispatch of Mr. Frobisher for Cathay,” reported to the Privy Council that a second voyage was “a thing “worthy in their opinion to be followed.” (fn. n16) The charges were estimated at 4,500l., and a list was given of the ventures subscribed by each. The Queen subscribed 500l., but subsequently increased the amount to 1,000l. The Lord Treasurer, Lord Admiral, and other high dignitaries subscribed 100l. each; the name of Sir Thos. Gresham is down for 200l., Mr. Philip Sydney for 50l. Among the considerations which influenced the setting forth of Frobisher on a second voyage it is quite certain, from a letter of Lok to the Queen in April 1577, (fn. n17) that the chief was a hope of gold, and this doubtless had a considerable effect in swelling the list of adventurers. Pieces of a stone presented by Frobisher to Lok, “the first thing he found in the new land,” were given to Williams, the assay master of the Tower, and to other gold refiners. One, an Italian, by name John Baptista Agnello, made several proofs, and showed gold to Lok; this grain of gold Lok took to the Queen, and the few who knew of the discovery were exhorted to secrecy. Frobisher himself at Lok's dinner table was informed “that three or four had “found nothing in the stone, but that one man had found “a little silver,” whereat he was very glad. The secret was, however, discovered, and Lok took considerable pains “to set down all his proceedings in this matter” in a long letter to the Queen.
Frobisher started on his second voyage 26th May 1577, twelve days earlier than he had sailed the year before, and on that same day Lok in a memorial to the Queen gives an account of his acquaintance with Frobisher. He says, “finding him expert, fit, and ready to execute so great at “tempts, I joined with him;” and he entreats Her Majesty for recompense and help “in this great new matter now “enterprized by me and Martin Frobisher, whereof God “give good success,” having been at very great charges for two years, since Frobisher hath been in London, who “eat “the most of his meat at my table freely and gladly.” (fn. n18) Ten convicted men, out of various prisons, were taken by Frobisher in this voyage, (fn. n19) probably to help work the mines of gold ore which it was hoped might be found; but Lok afterwards declares that not one of these men went the voyage. They were set at liberty by Frobisher “for “friendship and money.” (fn. n20) Several copies of Frobisher's instructions for this voyage are preserved, among them a draft with corrections. They vary considerably; in the last (fn. n21) an article is added to give express command to the refiners and tryers of the ore not to discover the secret of the riches of the mines.
Frobisher had not long sailed, patronized by the Queen and favoured by her courtiers, before the pitiful voice of his wife is heard praying to be kept from starvation. Isabel Frobisher, “the most miserable poor woman in the world,” petitions Sec. Walsyngham. (fn. n22) She asserts that she was some time the wife of Thos. Riggat, of Snaith, co. York, a very wealthy man, who left her in very good state, and with good portions to all her children; but she adds that she afterwards took to husband Mr. Capt. Frobisher (“whom “God forgive”), who has spent all, and put them to the wide world to shift; that her children of her first husband are with her in a poor room at Hampstead ready to starve. She prays that one Kemp may be ordered to pay 4l. due to her husband, or for some relief until Frobisher's return to keep them from famishing. We are left in doubt as to the success of this appeal.
In September 1577 the ships arrive at Bristol, and Lok immediately suggests to the Privy Council that Frobisher should discharge the ore there, and that it should be kept in the castle or other safe place under four locks, the keys to be left with the Mayor of Bristol, Sir Richard Barkley, Frobisher, and himself; he also requests the Council to determine on the speedy melting of it, and that his office of Treasurer [to the Company of Cathay] may be ratified. (fn. n23) On 28th September, the Council directed Frobisher to unload his ships at Bristol. One of the main objects of this voyage, to obtain the gold ore, was undoubtedly thought to have been successful; but it is somewhat remarkable that throughout the correspondence relating to Frobisher's second and third voyages, the original intention of the first voyage, that is, the discovery of the North-west passage, is almost wholly lost sight of; gold is the pith, heart, and core of most of the correspondence.
The letters now become numerous. The Privy Council direct the officers of the Mint to receive into the Tower cer “tain ore brought out of the North-west parts by Martin “Frobisher,” by weight, which from time to time is to be delivered to be melted down, as directed by the commissioners appointed for oversight of the melting. (fn. n24) A month later Lok informs Walsyngham that the ore is not yet brought to perfection, the three workmasters being jealous of each other, and loth to show their coining; but he adds, the ore is very rich, and will yield better than 40l. a ton clear of charges; “this is assuredly true, which may suffice to embrace“the enterprise” The different “workmen” had, however, opposite opinions of the value of the ore; Jonas Schutz, an Almain, “engaged that two tons should yield in fine “gold, 20 ounces;” (fn. n25) while Dr. Burchard Kraurych (?), or, as he was commonly called, Dr. Burcott, certifies that “he has “proved it to the uttermost, and finds not such great “riches as is here spoken and reported of.” (fn. n26) A third declares that he finds no gold or silver, or next to none. (fn. n27) A curious document is calendared under No. 65; it contains proofs of the ore, but by whom made does not appear. There were four proofs, though the “great proof of the black ore” alone remains, small particles of the gold itself still remaining attached to the paper by sealing wax. A man and woman were also brought “from the North-west” by Frobisher on this voyage, and Dr. Donninge reports on the sickness and death of the man at Bristol, and on the nature of the woman “yet living.” (fn. n28) Whatever reports were spread of the unfavourable success of this second voyage must have been quickly suppressed, or at all events have met with little credence: Officers of State, Lords as well as Commoners, desired to be adventurers “in the goods “ now come home, or else in the next adventure,” (fn. n29) and before the truth could be fully ascertained of the value or worthlessness of the ore, the necessary expenses for a third and more costly expedition than the two preceding were quickly collected, or rather promised, for it is doubtful whether the whole was ever paid.
Sec. Walsyngham was commanded by the Queen to write to the Lord Treasurer and Lord Chamberlain, that Her Majesty, “understanding that the richness of that “earth is like to fall out to a good reckoning, is well “pleased that a third voyage be taken in hand;” (fn. n30) and the necessary instructions were given to “our loving friend “Martin Frobisher for the order to be observed in “the voyage.” (fn. n31) These instructions are in draft, with numerous corrections and additions in Lord Burghley's hand, whose original memoranda for this third voyage are also preserved. (fn. n32) It was proposed to send ships for 5,000 tons weight of ore, and the charges are calculated, as also to victual and keep 100 men in the country 18 months. When directions were given by the Privy Council to the Commissioners in March 1578 to proceed with a third voyage, Lok declares that Frobisher “grew into such a “monstrous mind that a whole kingdom could not contain “it but already, by discovery of a new world, he was be “come another Columbus,” (fn. n33) and that it was upon Burcott's promises “so great a dominion in his third voyage.” (fn. n34) Eleven vessels were fitted for this expedition: they sailed from Harwich on 31st of May 1578; the Queen herself, a large adventurer, watching their departure, and, it is said, wishing them success.
On Frobisher's arrival at Cornwall, 25th September 1578, he immediately repaired to the Court at Richmond, and from thence to London, “whereupon was no small joy conceived “on all parties” for the safety of the men, though many died of sickness, but especially for the treasure he brought, the ships being laden with rich gold ore, worth, as he said, 60l. and 80l. a ton. (fn. n35) Immediately afterwards the Privy Council write to the Commissioners, the Lord Mayor, and Lok the Treasurer, giving the necessary directions for payment of the mariners and discharge of the ships, they “having brought double the quantity of ore expected.” (fn. n36) The Commissioners are required to demand of the general, captains, masters, and pilots of the ships severally, an account in writing of their proceedings in the voyage, and to take from them all plats, charts, and descriptions of the countries and places, and forbid their being published. More than one account of Frobisher's third voyage will be found in this volume; (fn. n37) but although the journals of Ellis and Capt. Best are printed in Hakluyt, those of Capt. Hall and Edward Sellman, “the Register” of the fleet, furnish many details not to be found in Hakluyt. Lok, in his account of “the doings of Capt. Frobisher,” has furnished many curious particulars of what took place in all the three voyages. (fn. n37).
The adventurers stock in the three voyages amounted to the large sum of 20,160l., “whereof Michael Lok and “his children” subscribed 4,920l., the Earl of Oxford becoming a partner with him for 2,000l. In this account Lok complains that he is now openly slandered by Capt. Frobisher, “thus to be a false accountant to the Company, “a cozener of my Lord of Oxford, no venturer at all in “the voyages, a bankrupt knave,” and he beseeches the commissioners and auditors of his accounts to certify what he has done. (fn. n38) A little later Lok declares that Frobisher, lacking the money he was wont to have at Lok's hands, “entered into great storms and rages with me, 'lyke a made “‘best,’ and raised on me such shameful reports and false “slanders as the whole court and city was full thereof.” (fn. n39) In another paper he says that Frobisher with 40 men came to his house in a fury, accusing him, &c. (fn. n40) Soon after this Lok was superseded in the treasurership by Thos. Allen; then follow accusations against Lok, with his written replies to Sec. Walsyngham, whom he beseeches to stand his friend, (fn. n41) and his “Relation of the abuses of Capt. “Frobisher against the Company,” (fn. n42) probably a counter accusation. Little more than a month had elapsed when Lok's successor complains to Walsyngham that “Frobisher much “misuses him in words. Sir, he will weary us all, and he “have the bridle too much;” and Allen adds, “I would I “were discharged rather than I will be thus railed at for “my pains.” (fn. n43) Frobisher had scarcely returned four months, when, in the beginning of 1579, the real value of the large quantity of ore brought home by him began to be understood. Lok, as we have already stated, had risked nearly 5,000l. on the faith of it turning out as was generally believed it would, but with his large family he could brook no further delays. In despair he petitions the Council, beseeching their consideration, having, as he says, for three years past taken charge of all the business of Frobisher's voyages, and paid 6,250l., “whereby himself, his wife, “and 15 children are left to beg their bread henceforth, “unless God turn the stones at Dartford (whither the ore “had been taken) into his bread again.” (fn. n44) The total amount allowed by Burghley for Lok's three years' service and expenses was 430l.; he demanded 1,200l. (fn. n45)
Two years had elapsed; the positive value of the ore does not seem to have been ascertained, although the Queen and those interested in the result of the “proofs” must have been fully convinced that to expect a large amount of gold from the ore which had been brought home by Frobisher would be a delusion. During this time more than one report was made of the value of the ore. It was variously estimated as worth from 10l. to 15l. a ton, (fn. n46) though no quantity appears to have been melted either at Dartford or the Tower. The real truth, however, came out at last, and all doubts were finally set at rest by two assays made by Wm. Williams in July 1583. (fn. n47) The two minute particles of silver found in 2 cwt. of “Frobisher's ore” were not nearly so big as a pin's head, and they remain to this day, fastened by sealing wax to the report, an evidence of the worthlessness of the ore. Lok had previously made an “offer for all the North-west ore “brought by Capt. Frobisher;” but from Burghley's remarks, “to have better security than by himself,” it is more than probable Lok was unable to satisfy the Lord Treasurer of his capability to carry out his “offer.” (fn. n48) The last of Lok, and in fact of any mention of Frobisher's voyages, is as a petitioner from the Fleet Prison. He was condemned at the suit of Wm. Borowgh to pay 200l. for a ship bought of him for Frobisher's last voyage, but he adds it is not his debt. He complains that he has sustained great troubles, many imprisonments, and extreme losses to his utter undoing; and he prays for his release, a “quietus est” for his discharge from his account, that his bond for 4,000l. for the Queen's adventure may be cancelled, and that he may have a warrant of protection from further trouble for debts owing by the Company. (fn. n49) To this petition Lok has appended no less than 15 papers, which contain in themselves a history of his connexion and proceedings with Frobisher and the “Company of the North-west voyage.” There is evidence of his having been six months in prison “for the debts of “the adventurers.” (fn. n50)
Lok has left behind him a very full record of “the “doings of Capt. Frobisher amongst the Company's busi “ness,” of which two copies are extant, one in the Public Record Office, and the other in the British Museum. (fn. n51) In this paper Lok somewhat fiercely declares that all Frobisher's arguments were found to be false by his two latter voyages, the passage being left as uncertain as at the beginning.
There is another Captain Frobisher mentioned in this Calendar in 1615, but what relative, if any, to the celebrated Sir Martin, I am unable to say. He desired employment as captain, in one of the East India Company's ships, and the Lord Admiral wrote to the Governor in his behalf; but being informed that none were employed“ but were skilful in merchandising,” he pressed his suit no further. (fn. n52) One Rich. Furbisher or Furbusher (Sir Martin's name was frequently written thus) was in the employ of the East India Company. (fn. n53)
Nothing is known of any expedition having been undertaken for the discovery of a North-east passage, since Stephen Borowgh's unsuccessful attempt in 1556, until 1580, when Arthur Pet and Charles Jackman, two captains in the service of the Muscovy Company, started from Harwich in two small barks. Their instructions, (fn. n54) which slightly differ from the printed copy in Hakluyt, were found in the British Museum, a portion of the document being in the Cotton, the remainder in the Lansdowne collection. They are wholly in the handwriting of John Dee, the celebrated mathematician. The part omitted by Hakluyt is important, as the original MS. supplies the name of the framer of the instructions, and most probably the originator of the voyage. The omission referred to is “God be favourable to these “attempts greatly tending to His glory and the great honour “of His Kingdom. 1580, May 15. By me, John Dee.” Dr. John Dee was one of those whose opinion had great weight in the prosecution of Frobisher's voyages, and he was also the “official adviser of the Muscovy Company.” The commission, Hakluyt's notes, given to Pet and Jackman, and the journal of the voyage, (fn. n55) are all printed in Hakluyt, though the latter is a much fuller account than the one written by Hugh Smith. Appended to the MS. is also a rough map. This voyage was likewise unsuccessful; the only discovery being a strait between Vaigatz and the mainland of Russia, which is now called Pet Strait. Pet reached England in December 1580; but Jackman, who wintered in Norway, perished on his homeward voyage the following spring. This is the last well authenticated English voyage in search of a North-east passage anterior to those of Hudson in 1607 and 1608. (fn. n56) Voyages were undertaken by the Dutch for a similar object in 1594, 1595, and 1596, the celebrated Wm. Barents being the chief pilot. “The reciting “of the manner and courses of the third voyage” (fn. n57) may be found in the British Museum, but neither of the MS. accounts exactly corresponds with the one printed in Hakluyt.
Dr. Asher in his admirable introduction to “Henry “Hudson the Navigator,” and Mr. Rundall in his “Narra,tives of Voyages towards the North-west,” both printed for the Hakluyt Society, refer to a projected fourth voyage under Frobisher. Dr. Asher says “the enterprise came “to naught because it had been projected on too large a “scale. It is mentioned for the last time in 1581.” Mr. Rundall after quoting some of the documents in the British Museum on the subject, says, “Positive evidence “of the fact [of a projected fourth voyage towards the “North-west under the command of Sir Martin Frobisher] “is nevertheless wanting, and the researches of some future “enquirer may prove the opinion now expressed to be “erroneous.” Nearly eighty documents, all relating to this voyage, have been found. They include letters from the Earls of Leicester and Shrewsbury, from Frobisher, Hawkins, Drake, and others interested, and are calendared in this volume. From them a very accurate history of the object in contemplation may be gathered. (fn. n58) The names of the adventurers and every other detail is supplied, and all doubt set at rest as to the projected voyage and the success attending it. The first notice occurs in a letter from the Earl of Shrewsbury to Leicester, dated 24 Sept. 1581, (fn. n59) in which Shrewsbury thanks Leicester for informing him of the setting forth of two or three ships into the East Indies, and expresses his willingness to be one of the adventurers to about 1,000l., his “adventure, ship, and “furniture considered;” he also exhibits his satisfaction that Frobisher likes the ship well for this voyage. A few days later Frobisher himself writes to Leicester, in a piece of penmanship (fn. n60) which is one of the most difficult to read I ever saw, informing him that he has agreed with Mr. Ughtrede for the Earl to pay 2,000l., Ughtrede adventuring the other 800l., the two sums being probably the price of a ship of his own, which it was suggested should go the voyage. Sir Fras. Drake also is not backward in giving his support to the adventure; he declares that “nothing “shall be wanting in him to be assistant to bring it to “good effect;” and he promises not only to supply Frobisher with sufficient men of Drake's own company, who “have “some experience that way,” but to venture 1,000 marks in money; or he offers to furnish a ship of his own of 180 tons, wherein he will bear the adventure of 1,000l. (fn. n61) It will be remembered that Drake had only lately completed his voyage round the world, in which he sailed to the Moluccas and returned home by the Cape of Good Hope; his sailors, no doubt, then had “some experience that way.” Hawkins excuses himself from having to do with the enterprise, though he says he would be glad if his ability and estate were such as he might be an adventurer, but he is hardly able to overcome the debt he owes Her Majesty and keep his credit. His sickness continually abides with him; every second day he has a fit, and he is more like to provide for his grave than to encumber himself with worldly matters. (fn. n62) All the biographies of Sir John Hawkins which I have consulted are silent as to this particular period of his life. Whether young Hawkins, who went this voyage, was a son or any other relation of the great navigator, I am unable to say. It is somewhat curious that England should have lost the services of all three of these great men above-mentioned in three successive years: Frobisher died in 1594, Hawkins in 1595, and Drake in 1596. The project of this voyage once set on foot, and encouraged by so many great navigators, little time was lost in bringing it to maturity. Many letters were written; adventurers, whose names are given, subscribed 11,600l. for the expenses; (fn. n63) three ships and a pinnace were furnished for the voyage; 2,000l. being spent in merchandise, “it were wished it might be more if there “were more money;” and the instructions were drawn out (fn. n64) in February 1582 for Frobisher to be captain-general of the expedition. For some cause unassigned, though I think a perusal of the instructions will clear up any doubt that might be entertained as to the reasons for the change, Edward Fenton was suddenly appointed in the place of Frobisher, and Fenton's instructions were signed by Burghley, Leicester, and Walsyngham, on 9th April, to take command of the fleet. (fn. n65) The original “articles of agreement for the voyage,” and the first draught” of Capt. Frobisher's instructions, (fn. n66) were Probably dictated by Leicester; they are in the handwriting of Thos. Atye, the Earl's secretary. It will be seen that Frobisher's instructions were to use all diligence to depart from Southampton before the last of February 1582; and hat he was not to pass to the North-eastward of 40° lat. at the most, “because we will that this voyage shall be only “for trade, and not for discovery of the passage by the“ North-east to Cataya, otherwise than if, without hindrance “of your trade, and within the said degree, you can get any “knowledge touching that passage, whereof you shall do “well to be inquisitive as occasion in this sort may serve. “his was doubtless an article that Frobisher would not on sent to. The experience gained in his previous voyages. made him anxious to renew his efforts to be again set forth. on a further search. And although he might not have been altogether pleased at being fettered with instructions as to he trade he was expected to carry on, as in a similar manner he had been hampered in his previous voyages in the one great object of his ambition, by orders to procure the sup posed gold ore, we cannot doubt for a moment, when he found the voyage was not for discovery of the passage but for trade only, that he declined to take the command, and gave up all thoughts of going the voyage. That he did not go, is quite certain.
No sooner were Frobisher's intentions known than various alterations were made in the instructions. It was agreed that the ships should not sail until the month of April;they did not leave England until June, and the objectionable article to Frobisher was made even more stringent for the new commander: (fn. n67) “You shall take your right course to the “isles of the Moluccas, for the better discovery of the North- “west passage,” provided always that the discovery might then be made “without hindrance of your trade.” This was next to an impossibility; and Drake, newly arrived from those parts, must have known that it was so. As it afterwards turned out, the inhabitants of the places where the English vessels were likely to touch, refused any communcation with them; they had express orders to do so, “in respect of the spoils and robberies committed by Sir Fras. Drake in the South Sea.” (fn. n68) To carry on trade at the Moluccas, keep constant watch against surprise from Spanish vessels, maintain a sufficient force to repel attack, and endeavour, with any hope of success, the finding of a North-east or any other unknown passage, with the ships placed under his command, (fn. n69) all this must at once have struck Frobisher as wholly out of his power to accomplish. The result, though differing from anything that was anticipated, proved that he was right. (fn. n68) Frobisher was not the only commander who refused to go the voyage: Christopher Carlile, son-in-law to Sec. Walsyngham, “a “proper man, of experience, sober, and tractable,” and already prepared for the expedition, as the correspondence in this volume proves, and Hakluyt laconically remarks, “upon occasion was not in this voyage.” (fn. n70) Besides the commanders and mariners, preachers, merchants, surgeons, pursers, a jeweller, garbler (for the spices), distiller of fresh water, smith, shoemaker, tailor, apothecary, some good shipwrights, and three musicians embarked in the ships, (fn. n71) and everything bade fair for a successful voyage in point of trade. Every circumstance that took place on the voyage is described in detail in the numerous journals and accounts of it calendared in this volume. Hakluyt (in Evans' edition, 5 vols., 1811, the edition quoted throughout this book,) prints in fourteen pages the account of this voyage by Luke Ward, the Vice-Admiral of the Fleet, but the other accounts herein abstracted furnish more perfect narratives. That written by the Rev. Rich. Madox, chaplain, is well worth notice: his diary, (fn. n72) from the commencement of 1582, six months before the vessels sailed, is certainly the fullest account of all. It consists of 146 pages, interspersed with very curious drawing and tables. By some mischance this diary has been divided, and bound in two separate volumes, but the cross references made by the indefatigable keeper of the MSS. in the British Museum prevent any real inconvenience to the reader.
The ships returned to Plymouth in May 1583; and the commander, Edward Fenton, in a letter to Burghley, gave a sad account of the failure of the voyage. (fn. n73) They did not reach the coast of Brazil until December 1582, where they were forced to water. They were unable, through contrary winds and want of victuals, to pass the Cape of Good Hope, and the certain intelligence of a large Spanish fleet prevented them from navigating the Straits of Magellan. Thus reduced, a council was summoned, at which it was proposed that they should go either to the River Plate or to St. Vincent on the coast of Brazil. Is was decided to sail for St. Vincent, but they had scarcely arrived there when three Spanish ships, with 700 soldiers and marines, suddenly appeared, and a “hot fight” was the consequence. Although the Vice-Admiral, a Spanish ship equal to Fenton's, and full of able men, was sunk, and the English commander lost but five men killed and twenty wounded, “their honest proceedings were overthrown by the King of Spain's forces;” or, Fenton adds, “he dares well assure the Lord Treasurer they had “brought home in honest trade above 40,000l. or 50,000l.” One of the surgeons, in a report to Leicester on the state of the health of the men during the voyage, states that, including three who died of wounds received from the enemy, they lost forty-five persons. (fn. n74) Thus ended the voyage, and with it all hope of gain by the adventurers. The discovery of the long soughtfor passage was hardly expected, and Frobisher, originally selected as the commander, was at all events spared the disappointment of this fourth attempt. (fn. n75)
Equally without result were the endeavours of Adrian Gylberte, to whom letters patent “for the search and dis “covery of the North-west passage to China” were granted in February 1584, as printed in Hakluyt, III., 129–132. The papers numbered 234 to 236 have reference to this grant. There is, however, one curious addition to the articles, not included in the patent: “The said Adrian Gylberte, Walter “Ralegh (the name of John Dee appears in the preceding “abstract), and John Davis, to be custom free for their proper “goods, during the space of 60 years, which they shall bring “from those lands to be discovered.” In the very year that Adrian Gylberte petitioned for this grant, Sir Humphrey's ship foundered at sea on her way home from Newfoundland, in a violent storm at midnight, and all souls on board perished. Adrian does not seem to have undertaken any voyage. Anderson says (II. 156), “This scheme ended “in nothing at all.”
It was reserved for John Davis, seven years after Frobisher's third voyage, to follow up and as it were develop the indications of the latter; but it is somewhat remarkable that no trace is to be found in this Calendar of either one of his three celebrated voyages. It is true that his name occurs more than once, and that each mention of it has a peculiar interest; but in reference to his voyages for discovery of the North-west passage these papers are wholly silent, and I am not aware of any particulars having been published beyond those furnished by Hakluyt. This deficiency may, perhaps, be accounted for, when it is remembered that the chief promoter of the voyage was Sanderson, a merchant of London, and that the setters forth of the voyage, although including “certain honorable personages,” were principally “divers worshipful merchants of London and “of the West country,” so that there would have been no official correspondence. That Davis was employed by the East India Company, and accompanied Sir Edward Michel borne in his voyage to India in 1605, is well known; his “Observations in voyaging from Acheen to Tecoe and “Priaman, a town upon the west side of Sumatra,” are calendared. (fn. n76) A report circulated in London that the Spaniards had met with Michelborne at sea, and massacred him and all his company. This report was not true, though unhappily Davis and several of his company were slain in a fight with Japanese on 27th December 1605. (fn. n77) Purchas prints a circumstantial account of this melancholy catastrophe. Had we not the authority of Purchas for the date and manner of Davis' death, we should have had some doubts whether “John Davis, who went pilot in the Ascension, “and is now (April 1609) to go pilot in the Expedition,” were not the great Arctic navigator towards the North-west. He was paid 3l. 6s. 8d. for a book he wrote “of all the “courses, occurrences, and occasions of and in the said “last voyage,” for the Governor and Company. (fn. n78)
The next voyage for discovery of a North-west passage was undertaken, at the expense of the East India Company, in 1602, by Capt. Geo. Way mouth. The Court Minutes, calendared in this volume, supply all the details of it. The project was brought to the notice of the Company in a letter from Geo. Waymouth, “a navigator.” (fn. n79) A committee was named to set down the charge of the voyage for three pinnaces, and it was agreed that the expenses should be levied at the rate of 12d. in the pound, according to the first list of adventurers in the East India Company. (fn. n80) Two pinnaces, one of 50 tons manned with 16 men, and one of 40 tons with 14 men, were considered “sufficient for the dis,covery,” and the charges were estimated at 3,000l. or there abouts. An agreement was at the same time entered into between the East India Company and Way mouth, who was to have 100l. to prepare his instruments and other necessaries; and it was also decided that if he discovered the passage he was to be paid 500l., referring himself to the favour of the Company for any further gratification, but that if he did not make the discovery he was not “to ask anything for his “pains and travel.” A difficulty, however, arose which had well nigh put an end to the whole affair. The Muscovy Company asserted their exclusive right of navigating the Northern seas. A committee was appointed to inquire of that Company, “whether they would permit the East “India Company to enter into the discovery of the passage, “and wholly relinquish all claim of privilege thereunto “during the continuance of the patent to the East India “Company.” (fn. n81) This subject was debated at a subsequent meeting a month later (fn. n82), but further negotiation with the Muscovy Company did not remove the difficulty. They “seemed to have no liking” to join in the discovery; they would have rather undertaken it themselves, yet they assigned no time for doing so. The East India Company, conceiving that an enterprise of such importance should not be “slaked,” resolved to urge the expedition, being of so great consequence to the commonwealth. Another committee was appointed to confer with the Muscovy Company, and it was determined that if the latter would not undertake the discovery themselves, or join with the East India Company, or do neither, an appeal should be made to the Privy Council. (fn. n83) The Council were doubtless appealed to; for on December 22, the Muscovy Company, “having received “letters from the Privy Council,” consented to join the East India Company in the discovery; a resolution was passed to prosecute the discovery with all expedition, and the committee appointed for both Companies agreed upon the conditions and other business of the voyage. (fn. n84) Notwithstanding all that had passed the East India Company eventually set forth the voyage on their own responsibility. On 5th January 1602 the opinion of counsel was had, and “it was resolved for law that the interest of the “North-west passage is expressly in this Company.” Six days later “the voyage to the North-west was finally “determined on.” The contributions of 12d. in the pound were ordered to be paid in by the last of March, that the Company be not discredited, “the discovery being made “so public as well to our own country as to strangers in “foreign parts.” Officers were appointed, and their salaries fixed; the supplies agreed to; and the Privy Council were petitioned to aid the Company with their authority. By the end of April everything was ready for the voyage. The articles of agreement with Capt. Waymouth were signed, “the Queen's letters to the Emperors of China and Ca “they” read, and auditors chosen to audit the accounts of the charge of the voyage. (fn. n85)
An agreement was also concluded with John Cartwright, the minister who was to accompany Waymouth. This person turned out to be the worst that could have been selected. Dr. Asher says, “the presumption and cowardice “of this man have blighted Way mouth's fame.” It is certain, according to the evidence of the officers of the Godspeed, one of Waymouth's ships, “that he was the “persuader and mover of the (ship's) company to return for “England, and give over the voyage.” (fn. n86) Capt. Waymouth started from Ratcliffe on 2d May 1602, with the Discovery and the Godspeed, victualled for sixteen months He undertook “to sail towards the coast of Greenland, and “pass on into those seas by the North-west towards Cathay “or China, without giving over proceeding on his course, so “long as he finds any possibility to make a passage through “those seas, and not to return for any let or impediment “whatever, until one year has been bestowed in attempting “the passage.” Purchas, in his account of this voyage, (fn. n87) prints the particulars of the mutiny which broke out among his crew, and compelled Way mouth to return to England. Unable to proceed as he judged best, he had to retrace his steps; and the man on whose support he had the most right to rely, to further the objects of the voyage, was the chief cause of its failure. Writers on Arctic voyages, however much they differ on the geographical importance of Waymouth's discoveries, agree in this point, that he” lighted “Hudson into his strait.” John Cartwright had previously travelled in Persia with Sir Anthony and Sir Robt. Sherley, and an account of his travels, called “the Preacher's “Travels,” is printed in the Harleian Collection of Voyages by Thos. Osborne. (fn. n88)
Thus terminated another unsuccessful voyage in search of the North-west passage. Although after Waymouth's answers to the interrogatories demanded by the Commissioners appointed by the Privy Council, giving the reason of his return, and declaring “the possibility and hope of “divers inlets that went through the coast of America into “the South Seas or the East Indies,” it was resolved that he should be employed in a new attempt, and a committee was appointed for preparation of the ships and all necessaries for the voyage and for calculation of the charges, the project, after a protracted discussion, which lasted from 24th November 1602 to 24th May 1603, was “utterly left off.” Orders were issued to put to sale the shipping victuals and merchandise; the price of each vessel was fixed at 300l. (fn. n89) Way mouth had been previously set out in 1593, at the joint expense of Russia and Turkey merchants, with two ships to discover the passage. In 1605 the Earl of Southampton and Lord Arundel fitted out a ship with a view to this discovery, under the command of Waymouth; but the “Relation of his Discovery,” as printed in Purchas, seems to have been confined to the northward of Virginia. In October 1607, James I. granted him a pension of 3s. 4d. per diem “until such time as he shall receive from His Ma “jesty some other advancement;” and this is the last mention we have of “a man of knowledge in navigation, “and of a resolution to put in execution all possibility of “industry and valour.” (fn. n90) It may be remarked that Anderson and others are mistaken when they say the voyage in 1602 was set forth at the expense of the Russia and Turkey Companies.
Of the subsequent voyages of Hudson, of Button, Bylot, and Baffin, and others, these papers add comparatively little to what is already known. The East India Company, about the year 1611, subscribed 300l. per annum for three years, “towards the discovery of the North-west passage;” and through the recommendation of the Governor, who hoped they would “not refuse to adventure again somewhat more, “considering it were dishonourable to withdraw from so “worthy a work, and that the honour and benefit will be “great if found,” the Company came to a resolution in 1614 to adventure 200l., “so there may be no expectation of any “further supply.” (fn. n91)
“The wife or widow of Mr. Hudson, who was left in the “North-west discovery” did not appeal to the East India Company in vain. She desired their favour for employing “a youth, a son of his,” she being left very poor. The Company conceived “they were partly obliged in charity “to give assistance, in regard that his father perished in the “service of the commonwealth.” The youth was recommended to the care of the master's mate of one of their ships, and 5l. was laid out upon him in apparel and necessaries. He most probably sailed for the East Indies in 1614. (fn. n92).
The original grant, in reference to Button's voyage in 1612, with the names of all those who were included in it, are preserved. (fn. n93) A curious letter was written by Lord Admiral Nottingham in 1604. Capt. Button was supposed to have died in the Indies, and King James was therefore induced to give away his pension and the place bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth, “but understanding that “he is living and safely returned,” the King upon petition granted him the reversion of the pension and place, and in the meantime a pension of 6s. 8d. per diem. (fn. n94)
In 1607 Rich. Penkevell had a grant to discover the passage, but there is no evidence of his having undertaken any voyage. (fn. n95)
The name of Bylot occurs but once in this volume, in a letter from Lord George Carew in April 1615: “The “merchants of London for discovery of the North-west “passage,” he informs Sir Thos. Roe, “have set forth a “small bark victualled for nine months under the charge “of Robert Bilot, who has been thrice in Hudson's Sound.” (fn. n96) A summary of these early voyages is given in “A true “declaration of the discovery of the mainlands, islands, “seas, ports, havens, and creeks, lying in the North-west, “North, and North-east parts of the world.” (fn. n97)
There was also a great desire in Japan to discover this passage. Wm. Addames, an Englishman resident there, of whom we shall have occasion to speak presently, was very anxious to be employed in the discovery. The Emperor of Japan himself, when Capt. Saris was presented to him to deliver King James's letters in 1613, asked whether he had not come for the purpose of discovering the passage; he spoke with Saris on the subject, and offered many encouragements if it were undertaken. In Addames' “simple judgment, if the “North-west passage be ever discovered it will be disco “vered by this way of Japan.” Rich. Cocks, the chief English factor in Japan, warmly seconded Addames in his project, and declared he would most willingly venture his own person in the action. (fn. n98) In April 1615 the East India Company had the proposal under consideration. Addames was held very fit to be employed. The furtherance of the Emperor of Japan, “so much as he shall be willing to con “tribute,” was to be solicited, and a pair of globes and maps sent out (fn. n99) But, unfortunately, without result. Thos. Arthington, who served under Capt. Newport, was likewise “very confident of being able to find the North-west “passage from Japan,” and expressed himself to the Company ready to adventure his life in the action. (fn. n100). This same Capt. Cocks was very desirous to purchase “a book of “Sir Walter Ralegh's” from an English factor in Siam. Edward Willmott, in his letter from Firando, in which this offer is made, in speaking of Sir Walter, says, “surely he “is a most faithful honest man, and one surely he that will “wrong no man.” (fn. n101)
One of the results of the defeat of the Spanish Armada was, doubtless, to inspire the English mariner and Englishmen in general with additional confidence in our national superiority at sea. It is not surprising, therefore, that no sooner was the country able to turn attention once more to the advancement of commerce, than some of the first English merchants were desirous to try the experiment of a trade themselves, of which they had heard such marvel lous accounts as of the riches accumulated by the Spaniards in its prosecution. In October 1589, less than one year after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a body of English merchants memorialized the Queen for permission to send ships to trade in India. After surveying the Portuguese settlements on the Malabar and Coromandel coasts, their occupation of Malacca, the Bandas, and the Moluccas, the memorialists drew attention to the many ports in the countries bordering on the India and China Seas, and in the peninsula of India, which might be visited with advantage by English ships, and, where it is added, sales might be made of English cloths, and other staple and manufactured articles, and the produce of those countries purchased. (fn. n102) Elizabeth, ever alive to the interests of commerce, and ready to give the weight of her authority, if not at all times of her purse, to the promulgation of any project calculated to add to the power of England, granted the desired permission, and three vessels under the command of Capt. Geo. Raymond sailed in 1591. Hakluyt has printed an account of this expedition written from the mouth of Edmund Barker, the lieutenant on the voyage. Purchas gives another account by Henry May, the purser; other writers follow, but all agree that the ships were severed by a storm, that Capt. Raymond in the principal ship was never heard of again; and after extraordinary adventures, and “many grievous misfortunes,” the voyage was only accomplished by Master James Lancaster in the Rear-Admiral, The Edward. It was not, however, without effect. True, the adventurers were disappointed in their speculation, but the knowledge which Capt. Lancaster, the survivor, had acquired of the practicability of the scheme, encouraged others to embark in a similar project. It is stated by more than one authority, that “this experiment” was the first English voyage to the East Indies. Accounts of two previous voyages may, however, be found in Purchas as well as Hakluyt; one undertaken in 1579 by Thos. Stevens, and another begun in 1583 by Ralph Fitch, “wherein the strange rites, manners, and customs “of those people, and the exceeding rich trade and com, “modities of those countries, are faithfully set down and “diligently described.” (fn. n103)
The next adventure “towards the East Indies” of which there is any account, is “the unfortunate voyage” of Capt. Benj. Wood in 1596. This is to be found in almost every collection of voyages. Three ships under Capt. Wood, fitted out principally at the charges of Sir Robt. Dudley, sailed from England, having Queen Elizabeth's letter to the Emperor of China, but not one of the Company ever returned, “and thus perished the attempt to open a passage into India.” (fn. n104) More than two years after, an interesting passage respecting this little fleet occurs in a letter to Cecil. In September 1598, news was received that two English ships in “the India” had taken two Portugal ships, rich with treasure, on their voyage from Goa to China, and it was supposed that “Capt. Wood in Mr. Dudley's shipping” was the captor. (fn. n105) Elizabeth, in her letter, which is in Latin, recommends two English merchants to the Emperor's protection, and vouches for the probity of their dealings. Her majesty desires to be informed, through them, of those institutions by which the Empire of China had become so celebrated for the encouragement of trade; and in return. the Queen offers the fullest protection to the Emperor's subjects should they be disposed to open a trade to any of the ports in Her Majesty's dominions. This letter must surely have been the composition of Sir Robt. Cecil, in whose hand a correction has been made in the title of the King of China. (fn. n106) It is somewhat singular, that one of the names of these two “merchants and citizens of London,” in whom Elizabeth placed so much confidence, has been hitherto incorrectly printed. They were Richard Allen and Thos. Bromfield. (fn. n104)
It is more than probable that these detached voyages, coupled with the representations of Capt. Jas. Lancaster, and with the fact of the Dutch at this period forming associations for a trade to the East Indies, had the effect of bringing into union a large number of English merchants for a similar purpose. “The names of such persons as have “written with their own hands to venture in the pretended “voyage to the East Indies (the which it may please the “Lord to prosper), and the sums that they will adventure, “the xxii. September 1599,” will show their character and position and the large amount of the stock underwritten. (fn. n107) The association formed, it was resolved to apply to the Queen for her royal assent to the intended project. 30,133l. 6s. 8d. was subscribed, in sums varying from 3,000l. to 100l., to be paid in November and December. It was resolved that the share of every future adventurer should not be for less than 200l.; and 12d. upon every 100l. was ordered to be paid at once “to defray present petty charges.” (fn. n108) A petition to the Council was subsequently approved, praying to be incorporated into a company, “for “that the trade of the Indies, being so far remote from “hence, cannot be traded but in a joint and a united stock,” and for a grant with certain privileges, one of which was, that the Company might have freedom of custom for six voyages. (fn. n109) The petition was favourably received; (fn. n110) and a few days later Her Majesty's gracious acceptance of the voyage was reported. But just as everything was about to be settled, and preparations for the voyage had begun, the Council declared that it was more beneficial for the general state of merchandise to entertain a peace between England and Spain than that it should be hindered “by the standing “with the Spanish Commissioners, for the maintaining of “this trade, to forego the opportunity of the concluding of “the peace.” The result was, that the preparations of the voyage were deferred for one year. (fn. n111).
Yet although the voyage was put off, the adventurers were not idle. They drew up “certain reasons why the “English merchants may trade into the East Indies, espe “cially to such rich kingdoms and dominions as are not “subject to the King of Spain and Portugal.” They described “the true limits of the Portugals conquest and “jurisdiction in those Oriental parts;” and distinguished “the names of the chief known islands and kingdoms “beyond the Cape of Buena Sperança, wholly out of the “dominion of the Portuguese and Spaniards,” in proof of which numerous authors were cited. This document was referred to the celebrated “Foulke Grevil,” then Treasurer of the Navy, for his opinion. His report is preserved, and the two papers form, perhaps, the most important links in the events which led to the establishment of the East India Company. (fn. n112)
Six months had elapsed; the basis of an alliance with Spain had been fixed, though the alliance itself did not take place till the commencement of the subsequent reign. “The “adventurers for the East India voyage” again solicited the Queen's assent to the enterprise, and her furtherance of it, with “a grant of privilege and other tolerations.” They were commanded “to proceed in their purpose, and accept “of her certificate as an earnest of a further warrant to be “afterwards granted to them;” they therefore agreed to go forward in the voyage. (fn. n113) It is, perhaps, worth recording, that the name of the first ship purchased was the Susan, for 1,600l. The Court Minutes of the Company supply every detail in connexion with the preparations for the voyage. On 16th December, all preparations completed, Capt. Jas. Lancaster was appointed General or Admiral of the fleet, though not before a letter had been received from the Lord Treasurer, “using much persuasion to the Company to “accept of the employment” of Sir Edward Michelborne as a principal commander; but the Company immediately came to a resolution not to employ any gentleman in any place of charge or command in the voyage, and begged the Lord Treasurer “to give them leave to sort their business “with men of their own quality.” (fn. n114) Capt. John Davis, the North-west navigator, was chosen second in command under the title of pilot major, the consent of the Earl of Essex having been previously given to his employment; and the factors and officers were also decided upon. (fn. n115) Some idea may be formed of the liberality of the adventurers by perusing the terms of their agreement with Capt. Davis. (fn. n116)
The “Charter of Incorporation of the East India Com “pany by the name of the Governor and Company of “Merchants of London trading into the East Indies” was granted on 31st December 1600. (fn. n117) It was to remain in force fifteen years. The names of Geo. Earl of Cumberland, and two hundred and fifteen knights, aldermen, and merchants, are inserted as the original members of the Company. Sir Thos. Smythe is named the first Governor; and the twenty four committees to be elected annually are also named. Anderson remarks, that “this is the very same East India Com “pany which, through many various vicissitudes, existed “under the same denomination until the year 1708, when “it was absorbed by the present  United Company “of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies.” (fn. n118)
The patent secured, and the ships ready furnished, nothing remained but to take precaution that the venture might turn out successful. A list of upwards of seventy different “commodities that are brought out of the East Indies,” probably obtained by John Chamberlain, (fn. n119) who, with some half-dozen of his family connexions, was interested in the success of the voyage, must have been of great use to the Company. Elizabeth's circular letter to “the Kings of “Sumatra and other places in the East Indies,” (fn. n120) shows that the importance and advantage which would be attached to the Queen's introduction to the kings or chiefs of the places to which the vessels might resort was not overlooked. But the care of the Company is further illustrated by the fact that “Mr. Hakluyt, the historiographer of the voyages of “the East Indies,” was frequently consulted by them. (fn. n121) The value of his notes can scarcely be over-estimated, though unhappily a copy of them has not been found. Twenty years before, when Pet and Jackman undertook their voyage for discovery of a North-east passage, Hakluyt was applied to by the Muscovy Company to give them the benefit of his knowledge; and his subsequent experience doubtless made his advice of the highest value and importance. That his abilities were held in high respect there is ample proof. The East India Company selected him as their historiographer. More than one instance occurs in these papers of the practical value of his services. (fn. n122) In the grant of 1612 for discovery of the North-west passage, his name will be found. (fn. n123)
Purchas has left a record in his Travels of all the early voyages undertaken by the Company to the East Indies. Where the originals are now preserved I know not. A journal or an account of a voyage has been found here and there; but although the originals of such journals or accounts are wanting, the letters written to the Company supply in most cases every requisite detail.
To carry the reader seriatim through the fortunes of each voyage as illustrated in this volume would be to write a fresh history of the East India Company. Attention will, therefore, be directed to those points only which seem worthy of special notice.
It seems that the Queen thought the Company “so slack” in seconding their first voyage that the Council wrote them a letter of sharp reproof, in which it is hinted that others were ready to furnish ships for a second voyage, if the Company did not “use the benefit of their own privileges.” (fn. n124) The remonstrance of the Council was not without effect: the preparations for a second voyage were at once renewed and carried on with vigour.
It is very much to be regretted that several books which contained original entries of the Company's proceedings have not been preserved. (fn. n125) “All letters to and from the “Company, and other material writings,” were not only ordered to be registered, but a person, Francis Sadler by name, was especially appointed to that office. (fn. n126). I have not seen any volume with instructions or letters from the Company to their officers. The earlier correspondence to the Company is exceedingly scanty; not more than a dozen documents previous to 1610 have been saved from destruction. That many were received which are not now preserved is evident. (fn. n127) From 1610 they become numerous in each year. All have been most carefully arranged and bound in volumes by the authorities at the India Office. Some of the MS. books were probably lost at a very early period. In 1614, “certain journals” were wanted which could not then be found; and it was ordered that none should henceforth be lent without copies first having been taken. Some months later a resolution to the same effect was passed, “journals having been lost to the great prejudice “of the Company.” (fn. n128) Not only is this the case, but there are unfortunately considerable gaps in the Court Minute Books. Although the first volume finishes 10th August 1603, (fn. n129) the second does not begin till 31st December 1606. (fn. n130) From that period until January 1610 the entries are complete; then a hiatus of four years occurs, volume the third beginning with January 1614. (fn. n131) The last entry in that book is 17th November 1615, but the next Court Book does not begin before 19th September 1617, (fn. n132) so that three volumes have evidently been lost out of seven. The first missing volume, between 1606 and 1610, is perhaps of the most consequence, because the correspondence does not supply the deficiency, which, in a measure, it fortunately does, after that date.
The success of Capt. Lancaster's first voyage is exhibited in several ways. The customs on the goods brought home amounted to nearly 1,000l. (fn. n133) But this was not all. Capt. Lancaster settled factories at Acheen and Bantam. From the King of Acheen and Sumatra he succeeded in obtaining the most favourable privileges for English merchants to trade there, (fn. n134) besides being the bearer of a letter from the King of Acheen to Queen Elizabeth, and presents consisting of a ruby ring, and two vestures embroidered with gold and placed within a purple box of china. (fn. n135)
Encouraged by the success of their first voyage, the Company conceived “good hope” to set out another for further discovery. (fn. n133) Henry Middleton was appointed Chief Governor and Lieutenant General of this second voyage; (fn. n136) and license was granted to export 12,000l. in foreign coin, besides merchandise, for purposes of trade. (fn. n137) This voyage was likewise successful, though there is no evidence that Middleton settled any new factory. On his arrival at Bantam that King wrote a most friendly letter to James I., in which he thanked His Majesty for the present sent, and declared, now that James had come to the Crown, that “England and Bantam were both one.” (fn. n138) The profits on these two first voyages are stated in Sir Jeremy Sambrooke's report on the East India trade to have amounted to 95l. per cent. upon the capital subscribed, clear of all charges.
The third voyage was made with three ships, Capt. Wm. Keeling being appointed to the chief command, and David Middleton second (fn. n139) On this occasion letters were obtained from King James to the King of Cambaya, the Governors of Aden, and “two more places not far from Aden.” Ralph Fitch, most probably the same who in 1583 visited the East Indies, and had experience in “the strange rites, “manners, and customs of those people,” was consulted as to the titles of these kings and princes, (fn. n140) and the advice and opinion of Sir James Lancaster seems to have been obtained upon almost every subject of moment in reference to this third voyage. (fn. n141) The ships were to go towards Aden, and from thence to Bantam and the Moluccas, while one was to be sent to Guzerat. (fn. n142) Wm. Hawkins, “on account of his “experience and language,” probably the same “young Hawkins” who accompanied Fenton in his voyage in 1582–3, “was selected to deliver His Majesty's letters to the princes “and governors of Cambaya.” His apparel was to be of scarlet and violet, and his cloak lined with taffeta and silver lace. Several copies of the King's letters were translated into Portuguese, and engrossed by Mr. Segar, the herald, and plate and cloth to the value of 200 marks were provided as presents to be sent with them. (fn. n143) The authority before quoted states that the profits on the whole of this voyage amounted to two hundred and thirty-four per cent. on the original subscription; 4,500l. was the amount paid for customs. (fn. n144)
While the East India Company was thus active in increasing their trade, and extending the basis of their operations by the settlement of factories wherever their ships arrived and permission could be obtained to leave factors, it will be as well to see what the Spaniards, the Portuguese, and the Dutch, all of whom had gained a footing in India some time before the English attempted to trade there, thought of the Company's proceedings, and the steps they took to stop the rapid progress of England towards a permanent settlement in many of the countries with which they had long held intercourse. As early as 1604 the Spaniards seriously felt the power of the Dutch, who, if we are to believe Thos. Wilson's report from Bayonne to Sec. Cecil, “quite spoiled their commerce in the south parts,” and “no “man dared budge forth or venture anything.” In short according to a letter received from Goa, the Spanish trade in those parts was considered ruined. (fn. n145) In 1607 the losses of the Spaniards were reported to have been so great in the East Indies, by the hands of the Dutch, that it was then thought “in those places a wound almost incurable.” (fn. n146) Yet the Spanish Government at home were determined, if possible, to uphold their sway in India. The Conde de Lemos, “Presi “dent of the Council for the Indies,” declared to the English ambassador at Madrid that the Spaniards would appropriate their dominions in India to themselves, and exclude all others; that they were “resolved never to take the English “for friends, nor allow them for traders that should resort “thither.” (fn. n147) Two years later the English resident at Lisbon doubted whether the King of Spain would send any more shipping to trade in the East Indies, but rather give leave to all nations to do so upon paying a duty of 50 per cent, on all goods inwards and outwards. (fn. n148) With the Portuguese the case was little different. Although Philip III. governed Portugal with Spain, the Portuguese still carried on a brisk trade to India from the port of Lisbon; they had a Viceroy in Goa, and were powerful in several important places in India. So strong were they in Cambaya that the Company were recommended by no means to send any vessels there. (fn. n149)
The Dutch “did much service” in securing several places which the Portuguese threatened to overrun, and turn both the English and Dutch out. They had a few months before, engaged the Portuguese armada, consisting of 26 vessels, in a “very hot fight,” which lasted several days, the Portuguese Admiral being taken prisoner. The Dutch did not attain their object, the possession of Malacca; but the battle was a very bloody one, and the losses very great on both sides. The Dutch in these fights lost upwards of 600 men and two great ships. (fn. n150)
The Dutch were thus bent on expelling, if possible, the Portuguese as well as the Spaniards from their strongholds in the Indies, and in this desire the English joined. The Dutch were at that time reported to “bear the greatest sway in those parts.' (fn. n151) The “relation of their successes in the “East Indies” was made the subject of a communication by their Ambassador in London to the English Government. (fn. n152) Nevertheless, it turned out that the English had more reason to complain of their supposed friends, the Dutch, than of their sworn enemies, the Spaniards and Portuguese. The latter, always carefully guarded against, were but a partial hindrance to English enterprise in India; the former, by pretensions of friendship, though actions of an opposite character, were nearly the cause of the ruin of our trade in those parts, and the dissolution of the English East India Company.
The fourth voyage, which consisted of two ships, under the command of Alex. Sharpey and Rich. Rowles, (fn. n153) turned out very unfortunate. One of the vessels, the Ascension, was wrecked on the coast of India; the other, the Union, on he coast of France, purposely by the people of Audierne in bringing her into the haven. (fn. n154) The value of the Union and her goods was estimated at 70,000l. In 1616, 7,000l. had been spent in continually suing for justice, yet no remedy could be obtained. (fn. n155)
As soon as the Company found that they had established a trade in India they directed their attention to a renewal of their charter. This was granted by the King in May 1609; (fn. n156) but instead of limiting their exclusive privileges to 15 years, as Queen Elizabeth had done, “the whole, entire, and only “trade and traffic to the East Indies” was granted to the Company for ever; and by a prohibitory clause all persons were enjoined not to trade within the Company's limits except by licences obtained from them under their common seal; it was, however, added, that if the trade should not be found profitable to the realm, such exclusive privileges were to cease and determine after three years warning.
This new charter gave such encouragement to the Company that they immediately set about to build the largest merchant ship in England.
On the very day the new patent was signed the Governor admitted the Lord Treasurer, Lord Admiral, the Lords of Worcester, Southampton, and many other important persons, freemen of the Company. (fn. n157) A brace of bucks, sent by the Earl of Southampton “to make merry withal in regard of “their kindness in accepting him of their Company,” was the occasion of the first public dinner given by the Company. (fn. n158) The Earl of Southampton promised afterwards to signalize their annual election with a similar present; (fn. n159) and Lord Monteagle was pleased to be made free of the Company on the same conditions as Lord Southampton. (fn. n160)
An oath was ordered to be administered to each freeman, in which he pledged himself not to betray the secrets and “privities of the Company;” (fn. n161) and rules were made for the sale of adventures, it being particularly stated that the Company were to have the first refusal of the shares to be sold. (fn. n162) While on this subject it will not be out of place to notice the prices which certain adventures sold by the Company realised at different times: In July 1614 an adventure of 60l. in the sixth voyage was “sold by the candle” for 130l. (fn. n163) In December of the same year adventures for 600l. in the 9th voyage were sold in a similar manner; the highest bidding being 194l. for each 100l.; the lowest 192l. (fn. n164) In October 1615, three adventures in the joint stock of 200l. were sold for 141l. 10s. and 141l. 15s. per 100l.; the object of such sale that the Company “may better know the “worth of their adventures.” (fn. n165)
“The largest merchant ship” already mentioned finished and ready to be launched, great preparations were made to celebrate the event. The King signified his intention to be present, and to give the ship her name. (fn. n166) A “silk ancient,” emblazoned with the Company's arms in silk or in metal, (fn. n167) was ordered; and, that nothing might be wanting to give èclat to the proceedings, it was resolved to invite His Majesty to a banquet. (fn. n168) The arrangements complete, the ship was successfully launched on 30th December 1609. The King named her the “Trades Increase"; salutes were duly fired; and His Majesty, the Queen, and the Prince were present at the grand banquet; it was served on board “on china “dishes.” Chamberlain, in one of his amusing chatty letters, tells us that on this occasion the King graced Sir Thos. Smythe with a great chain of gold, and put a medal about his neck with His Majesty's own hands. (fn. n169) In spite of these rejoicings the ship was doomed to be unfortunate. On her first voyage her commander, Sir Henry Middleton, (fn. n170) was taken prisoner by the Turks in Mocha. All the circumstances are detailed in the correspondence. (fn. n171) On her second voyage the ship was wrecked, and Sir Henry died. (fn. n172)
It is a circumstance worth notice that at this particular time all the Company's officers and servants in the East Indies were ordered to reserve for the King “all strange “fowls and beasts, &c.” to be found there. (fn. n173)
A curious idea seems to have originated with James I. about this period. Letters are read to the Company from the Lord Mayor and the Lord Treasurer, “intimating that “His Majesty, having lately made a treaty with the French “King, is inclined to establish a company of English mer “chants in France.” (fn. n174) What was the result of this proposal we are unable to say; but it is more than probable that the French, “who had long aspired to make themselves strong “by sea,” took this opportunity, and “set on foot this “invention, a society to trade into the East Indies,” with a stock of four millions of crowns. A letter from the English resident at Paris, dated December 1609, adds that “Low “Country seamen were engaged at great pay, and many of “their ships bought.” (fn. n175) Strong remonstrances were made against the project by the Dutch; and the French were assured that if they proceeded in it to the prejudice of the State, the Dutch would be driven to do justice on their own people in their own territories, board the French ships wherever they met them, and hang all Flemings found in them. (fn. n176) This well-timed remonstrance had doubtless the desired effect; the project was abandoned. Five years later, in 1614, accounts were received of the preparations in France of another voyage to the East Indies, with letters patent from the French King, (fn. n177) but it led to no result. (fn. n178)
It is therefore evident that France was equally desirous with England, Portugal, Holland, and Spain to have trade with the East Indies. The only reference in this volume to Germany in connexion with the East Indies is made by the Spanish President of the Council for the Indies to the English ambassador at Madrid. He argues that the Spaniards had found by experience that the access of French, Germans, Hollanders, and English had sown among the people of those parts, but newly seasoned with the Catholic faith, such a mixture and confusion of diversity of sects and opinions as, once tasted, were hardly possible to be rooted out. (fn. n179) If we may judge from the care taken by the East India Company in the selection of their preachers, they were very desirous not to increase this confusion. Every minister previous to his appointment was required to preach before the Governor and the Committee; sometimes a text was chosen by them. (fn. n180) In one instance a Mr. Sturdivant, nominated by Dr. Layfield, was conceived unfit for the Company's employment, because it was reported “he hath a straggling humour, can frame himself “to all company as he finds men affected, and delighteth “in tobacco and wine.” (fn. n181) The Company in 1614 had “preachers” at Bantam and Surat, as most probably in other places. Mr. Evans, “of Little St. Helen's,” was recommended to live at Bantam, a preacher having been provided for Surat. (fn. n182) Mr. Leske, a correspondent of Sir Thos. Roe, English ambassador with the Great Mogul, was sent to Surat, “where he may oppose the Jesuits, who “are busy there.” (fn. n183) Some insight into the views of the Company respecting the conversion of the Indians may be obtained from the following minute: “The Indian youth “brought home by Capt. Best, and taught by Mr. Cop “land to read and write, to be sent to school and instructed “in religion, that hereafter he may be sent home to convert “some of his own nation.” (fn. n184) We are told in a letter from Patrick Copland, written a year afterwards, that this Indian youth “had profited in the knowledge of the Christian “religion, so that he is able to render an account of his “faith.” The Archbishop of Canterbury was consulted as to his baptism. It was thought “fit to have it publicly “effected, being the first fruits of India;” yet they desired the Archbishop's opinion “before they resolved anything in “so weighty a business.” (fn. n185) There is an instance of a “very “dissolute scape-thrift” who, discontented with his state, “capitulated his soul to the devil by turning accursed “Mahometan.” (fn. n186)
The rapid progress in the extension of the Company's trade during the next seven years, that is from 1609, the date of the new charter, to 1616, the period at which this volume concludes, is clearly defined in the letters from the several commanders, factors, and other officers to the Governor and Committees. To almost every place where there was the least likelihood of obtaining a communication with the natives, English vessels resorted, in most instances with success; and where this was not so, the cause was rather attributable to the conduct of the Dutch than to the Company's neglect of the necessary precautions, the English being almost invariably received with courtesy and even kindness wherever they went. The Company never lost sight of the danger of attack from Spaniards or Portuguese. Care was always taken, before trading or settling in a new country, to ascertain the feeling of the natives, and in most cases leave or “licence” was granted for the English to do as they liked. From the Dutch no dangers were anticipated; and thus the surprise of the Company was the greater at their failure in carrying on a trade with the Moluccas, and in taking advantage of those privileges which the inhabitants themselves fruitlessly wished the English to enjoy.
In Surat the timid policy of the Governor, “whose disposition savoured more of child than man,” (fn. n187) was very disadvantageous to the English. He feared the enmity of the Portuguese, and mistrusted the friendship of the English, and, with characteristic indecision, argued that if he “broke” with the former, he “should be sure of the friendship of “neither.” (fn. n188) The arrival of an English fleet under the command of Capt. Thos. Best materially altered the aspect of affairs. The Portugals, fearing the ascendancy of the English, attacked the Company's ships with four galleons and 25 frigates, but “were forced to a dishonorable flight, “having had killed by report some 200, while the English “had only three slain.” (fn. n189) Articles were afterwards concluded by Capt. Best, confirmed by the Great Mogul, for permission to trade and settle factories in Surat, Cambaya, Ahmedabad, Goga, “or any other parts of the country within the Great Mogul's dominions.” (fn. n190) Thos. Keridge, a factor, was dispatched to Agra to deliver James I.'s letter to the Great Mogul, or King of Agra, as he was called. He was admitted to the King's chamber, “where he sat on his bed newly “risen from sleep.” Keridge complains of being slighted, and attributes the cause to his coming empty handed. “No “other treatment,” he says, “is to be expected without “continual gifts both to the King and others.” The character of the Great Mogul is described as extremely proud and covetous, a drunkard, and so given to vice that the chief captains care not for him, and willingly would never come near him. He appears to have been fond of music, and was “exceedingly delighted” to hear Robt. Trully's cornet, though virginals “were not esteemed,” probably on account of the way in which Lawes played upon them, for “it is thought Lawes died with conceit” at the King's indifference. (fn. n191) When Sir Thos. Roe went over the following year, in 1615, he took with him “a skilful per “son upon the harp, and some virginals,” the Emperor delighting much in such kinds of music. (fn. n192)
The Company followed up the advantages they had gained. Edwardes was sent over as lieger, with “great presents” to the Great Mogul, including pictures of King James and his Queen, and “one that will content the Mogul above all, the “picture of Tamberlaine, from whence he derives himself.” (fn. n193) He was instructed to procure the Mogul's firman “for kind “usage of the English, free trade, and so forth.” This was granted. (fn. n194)
We have seen that “continual gifts” to the Great Mogul were necessary. “Something or other, though not worth “two shillings, must be presented every eight days,” writes the chief factor at Ajmere. The Great Mogul was exceedingly delighted with anything strange, though of small value. Rich gloves, embroidered caps, purses, looking and drinking glasses, curious pictures, knives, striking clocks, coloured beaver hats or silk stockings for his women, were among the articles which the lieger was advised to bring with him to court; and, continues the factor, “if [you have] a jack “to roast meat on, I think he would like it, or any toy of “new invention.” Presents were equally necessary for the nobility. (fn. n195) The list of “particulars desired” by the Governor of Surat, and handed to Capt. Downton, included two suits of armour, swords, mastiffs, greyhounds, spaniels, and little dogs. (fn. n196) On his arrival, Edwardes presented the Mogul with Sir Thos. Smythe's picture, “which,” writes the lieger, “he esteemed so well for the workmanship, that the “day after he sent for all his painters in public to see the “same, who did admire it, and confessed that none of them “could anything near imitate the same, which makes him “prize it above all the rest, and esteem it for a jewel.” (fn. n197) It “seems the Mogul's picture was drawn in England,” and sent to Ajmere, but it was “nothing like him, and served for no “use at all.” The Company were advised to send pictures “well wrought, those of France, Germany, Flanders, &c. “being fittest for that purpose.” Sir Thos. Roe said they would “sell best here of any part in the world.” (fn. n198) The Mogul was also presented with an English mastiff, which greatly pleased him. By his orders it fought with a tiger or a leopard (for both are mentioned), which the mastiff killed, and also with a bear which some dogs sent by the King of Persia would not touch, and “so disgraced the “Persian dogs, whereby the King was exceedingly pleased.” Two or three mastiffs, a couple of Irish greyhounds, and a couple of wellfed water spaniels, the Company were informed, “would give him great content.” (fn. n199) The dogs were most probably sent. (fn. n200) A coach and horses were also dispatched for a present on another occasion to the Great Mogul, with a coachman who had been in the service of the Bishop of Lichfield, “to drive the coach.” (fn. n201) The Great Mogul, although he expected so many things to be given to him, was a considerable purchaser of the Company's goods. “Pearls, rubies, and emeralds will be bought by “the King in infinite quantities,” writes a factor from Agra, “as also rich velvets, cloth of gold, rich tapestry, satins, “damasks, &c,” (fn. n202). and he adds, “the King is the best “paymaster in the country.”
The Portuguese had “made themselves odious” by seizing “a great ship of 1,100 or 1,200 tons in Swally road, “worth from 100,000l. to 130,000l.,” and in which the Great Mogul's mother was a great adventurer. This act caused the Great Mogul to drive them out of Surat, and to join forces with the King of Deccan to besiege most of the forts belonging to the Portuguese between Surat and Goa. (fn. n203) This offence was never forgotten nor forgiven. The Portugal city of Damaun was besieged, and orders were given to seize all Portuguese and their goods; their church doors were sealed up, the exercise of their religion forbidden, and Xavier, the great Jesuit, whom before the King had loved, was imprisoned. (fn. n204) Every means were used by them to compound a peace with the Great Mogul, but he would by no means hear of it, “forewarning all men any more to “solicit their cause;” (fn. n205) and so strong was the feeling of the natives against them, that “they vowed they would not “leave the Portugals until they had expelled them their “countries.” (fn. n206) Capt. Downton thereupon resolved to take advantage of a favorable opportunity, and to engage the Portuguese fleet, consisting of nine ships, two galleys, and fifty-eight frigates. The English were victorious; many of the gallants of Portugal were killed, besides above 300 men carried in the frigates to Damaun to be buried. (fn. n207) The Great Mogul was highly pleased at the result of this battle; he “much applauded our people's resolution, saying his “country was before them to do therein whatsoever “ourselves desired,” and spoke “very despitefully and “reproachfully of the Portugals.” (fn. n208)
In June 1615 the English ambassador at Madrid, in speaking of the combination of the kings and princes of the East Indies against the Portuguese, says that he knows the wisest in Madrid are of opinion that the Portuguese hazard losing the greatest part of what they hold in those countries, their trade having infinitely decayed, and the kingdom of Portugal grown so extremely poor that they will be scarcely able to send succours thither; and Sir John Digby adds, the Spaniards are little troubled with these misfortunes, nor apt to relieve them. (fn. n209) The same ambassador a little later prophetically remarks, “I little doubt but by God's blessing “and our own perseverance, the chief profit of those countries may be diverted towards our own kingdom.” (fn. n210)
The “wrongs” suffered by the English at the hands of the Governor of Surat had been for some time a frequent source of complaint. The victories of the English failed to put a stop to them. The factors' goods were seized and used at the pleasure of Mocrob Chan. Their arms of defence were taken from them, they were forced to show the King's presents, which they had certified the court should not be seen; and other indignities were heaped upon them “by “this malicious wretch.” (fn. n211)
But the time was arriving for them to cease. Sir Thos. Smythe proposed to the Company in London “to employ “Sir Thos. Roe at Agra, he being a gentleman of pregnant “understanding, well spoken, learned, industrious, of a “comely personage, and one of whom there are great hopes “that he may work much good for the Company.” Roe's fitness to be about the Emperor was the subject of discussion. It was necessary “to procure and confirm the most “beneficial articles and privileges; to obtain from the “Great Magore an absolute settlement, and by fair means “to obtain a quiet and peaceable trade.” (fn. n212) Others were proposed, but none esteemed so fitting for that service as Sir Thos. Roe. (fn. n213) He sailed early in 1615. (fn. n214) In June a letter from Saldanha speaks of “the Lord Ambassador “setting up a pillar at the Cape with an inscription of his “embassy.” (fn. n215) On his arrival at Surat, Sir Thos. Roe at once made his “demands and complaints” to the Governor. He detailed wrongs and violence, and declared that unless they were reformed he should be forced to complain to the Great Mogul, as he could no longer rely on the Governor's promises. (fn. n216) His remonstrance was ineffectual, and he wrote to the Governor perhaps one of the most characteristic letters in the volume. “I come hither,” he says, “not to “beg, nor do, nor suffer injury. I serve a King that is “able to revenge whatever is dared to be done against his “subjects.” After describing the injuries received, Roe declares that he will seek no further friendship from him, but go with speed to the Great Mogul and desire justice. “I am better resolved to die upon an enemy than to flatter “him, and for such I give you notice to take me until your “master hath done me justice.” (fn. n217) This vigorous conduct had its desired effect; the Governor was displaced. (fn. n218) The next day he also wrote to the Viceroy of Goa, complaining of injuries offered to the subjects of the King of England, and giving him notice that His Majesty was resolved to maintain his subjects in their honest endeavours, in spite of an enemy, and to that purpose had sent Roe to conclude a league with the Great Mogul for ever, in which he was commanded to offer the Viceroy “comprisure;” that he will await hs answer at Ajmere forty days, but in case of his refusal or silence, letters of reprisal will be granted to make war upon him in all parts of the Indies, “when you shall not be able to look out of your ports, “much less to attempt to injure us . . . Your friend or “enemy at your own choice.” (fn. n219) No reply was received, and “Roe pronounced open war against the Portugals in the “East Indies, with fire and sword, in the name of the King “of England.” Capt. Keeling seized three Portuguese ships on his return from Surat, “having first settled a factory at “Calicut, which is thought will prove a matter of great “moment.” (fn. n220)
Besides Surat, the English had factories at Agra, Ahmedabad, Baroach, and Ajmere. Late in 1616 Ambassador Roe, when reporting to the Company his opinion concerning new factories in Bengala, advises that goods should be sent from Agra to Surat by cart, and not by camel. (fn. n221)
On the eastern coast the Company settled factories at Masulipatam and Pettapoli. (fn. n222) A curious instance of the difficulty of collecting money for goods purchased occurred at Masulipatam. Finding it difficult to obtain payment of a debt of about 9,000 ryals due from the Governor's son, the English factor had him carried aboard one of the Company's ships, in spite of 1,000 of his people, “to the Com “pany's benefit, the honor of our King and country, and to “the great content of all the Moors;” he was kept under restraint six days before the money was paid. (fn. n223)
Besides the places already mentioned in the Peninsula of India, where the East India Company had established factories, the most important islands in the Indian Ocean had not been overlooked. In Sumatra the Company had trade with seven of the chief cities or ports; in Borneo with four; and in Java likewise with four principal towns. In Macassar, in the Celebes, a factory had been settled; and with the kingdoms of Malacca, Camboja, Pegu, Siam, and Cochin China they had more or less trade.
Acheen, Baros, Passaman, Pedir, Priaman, and Tiku, besides Jambee, were the chief places in Sumatra with which the East India Company traded.
All sorts of difficulties in keeping up a trade with Acheen had to be surmounted. The Hollanders used every possible endeavour to debar the English from it, “but the more they sought the less they prevailed.” (fn. n224) The factor chosen to follow the “court business” unfortunately turned out very unfit for his office. His proud and disdainful carriage to the King and nobility caused him to be thrust out of the court, and afterwards out of the King's barge. On one occasion he narrowly escaped being killed with a spear by the king's commands for his “cross answers” to the King. (fn. n225) The King of Acheen is described as very cruel, very griping, base, and covetous, as well as his people, whom he keeps in great slavedom; as “taking great delight in dogs, and also in drinking and “making men drunk.” The King of Jhor, now at Acheen, “having married that King's sister, they often drink drunk “together.” (fn. n226) At first the settling of English factories at Tiku and Priaman were utterly refused, the King saying that it would be the undoing of his own subjects, the chief officers relieving themselves by bribing and trading to those parts; and it was not without considerable difficulty that factories were obtained for two years under certain restrictive conditions. (fn. n227) At Jambee the Hollanders reported that the English were “a rude and un “governed nation, given to drunkenness and abusing of “women, quarrelling, fighting, and such like.” (fn. n228) Yet the English were “entertained with much show of love and “friendship both of the King and country people,” though the King dissuaded them from settling a factory. (fn. n229) An English factory was, however, established, and Rich. Westby left chief factor. (fn. n230)
A singular proposition of the “King of Sumatra” was submitted for the Company's consideration at two meetings in November 1614. The King, wishing to manifest his affection to the English nation, desired King James “to grant “him one of his subjects for wife, with sundry proffers “of privileges to such issue as God should send unto “them.” A gentleman of “honourable parentage” proffered his daughter, “a gentlewoman of most excellent parts for “music, her needle and good discourse, as also very “beautiful and personable.” The proposal was entertained. It was thought, among other things, to be “a means for the “propagation of the Gospel, and very beneficial to this “country by a settled trade there.” Her father was to take her, and remain with her in the country; and “the action “itself” was referred to the “learned fathers of the Church,” to be “approved and held lawful. They appear to have raised objections. But the young lady's father” collected certain reasons to prove by Scripture the lawfulness of the enterprize, which were held by the Company “to be very “pregnant and good.” Further arguments were satisfactorily answered by the father, among others “that the rest of the “women appertaining to the King, if they shall find the “King's favour extraordinary unto her, will not leave until “they have poisoned her;” and “it was thought it would “prove a very honourable action to this land,” if the father “could work His Majesty's consent.” (fn. n231) Perhaps he could not, as there is no further mention of the subject.
In Borneo the Company were carrying on trade with more or less success at Landak, Banjermassin, Sambas, and Succadana.
The best diamonds in the world were said to be procured from Succadana, Japara, Gressycq, and Macassar. (fn. n232)
The people of Landak were very desirous for the English to settle a factory in their country, but it turned out to be by no means easy of accomplishment. The river, which reached upwards of 100 leagues, (fn. n233) was swarmed by a people called Dyaks, whose savageness was such that they “lie in “the rivers on purpose to take off the heads of all they can “overcome.” Two attempts were made to settle a factory. On the first attempt, three Englishmen “ were assailed by “1,000 men, but the Dyaks, not used to powder and “shot, were fain to run ashore.” On the second attempt nine Englishmen went up the river, and were used very kindly by their “old customers,” though it was thought to be more for fear than love. At Sambas a factory was settled without difficulty, (fn. n234) but “the trade of the country “being nothing answerable to the great charges and “dangers,” the English factor shipped all his goods and slaves in the night for Succadana. The same factor early in 1615 went to Banjermassin. There he found the people very sociable, very kind and tractable; their language Malay, their habit Java. He reports favorably of the trade, and says their diamonds are as good as those of Landak. (fn. n235) Diamonds were frequently sold by the Company in London; one “great diamond” realized 535l. (fn. n236)
At Java, the East India Company had factories in Bantam, Gracia, Jacatra, and Japara.
The unhealthiness of Bantam was a frequent source of complaint. Capt. Downton in 1613 declared that “he “that escapes without disease from that stinking stew of “the Chinese part of Bantam must be of a strong consti “tution of body.” (fn. n237) The chief factor there, designated it “a most unhealthy country.” (fn. n238) Capt. David Middleton reported “great mortality among the factors;” (fn. n239) and Capt. Best advised the Company to leave Bantam, and make their rendezvous at Jacatra, about five leagues off, “the air being “much more healthy, and the King [of Jacatra] desirous of “proffering them all kindness, where they shall pay but '“3/2; per cent. customs, instead of 5¾ per cent. as at Ban “tam.” (fn. n240) These representations seem at length to have had the desired effect. The factors in 1614 were directed to deal with the King of Jacatra, to “prevent those mis “chiefs;” yet not to quit Bantam wholly, but keep a small factory there for providing pepper. (fn. n241) It was thought also that the Flemings might in such case have the opportunity to keep the English away altogether; “whereas no place “can perform so much on the sudden as Bantam, for the “furnishing of the Company's ships that want lading.” (fn. n242)
The first English factory settled at Macassar, although favoured by the king of the country, (fn. n243) met with disaster. The year after it was dissolved. Chauncey, the chief factor, fled in a Dutch ship, “leaving goods to the matter of “2,000 ryals.” A “ pitiful tragedy,” played at Macassar by the Hollanders, who “murdered the King's most dearly “loved nephew more like cannibals than Christians,” caused the King to make a vow that no Christians should ever trade in his country again. All the Portuguese were commanded hence, but “through wise management the English were “allowed to trade.” (fn. n244)
In Malacca the Company do not seem to have settled any factories. The English factor at Tiku reported to the East India Company that “good might be done at “Jhor by sending a pinnace there; but,” he adds, “the “English have not yet learnt the right description of “that place or of Pegu.” (fn. n245) On a previous occasion the King of Jhor sent a letter to the King of Jambee not to entertain the English, “for they were a vile people, drunk"ards and thieves.” This letter, the Governor of the East India Company was assured, “was procured by the “Flemings.” (fn. n246)
In Patani the English were honorably received by the Queen and country people, “but with some disgust and “distaste from the Dutch.” About twenty miles up the river, at Bankok, they were also well received; and 100 miles further, at the city of Siam, the King as well as the people furnished them with everything they required, including a stone house three stories high. Such treatment was quite contrary to the wishes of the Dutch. (fn. n247) Capt. Best, writing from Acheen in July 1613, says that he had received letters from ambassadors of Siam in the name of their kings for the safe trade of the English nation in his kingdom, as also a letter to the King of England to move him to send ships thither, with assurances of good entertainment. (fn. n248) In March 1614 the East India Company came to a resolution to settle more factories, “hoping to beat out a trade at Siam, Patani, “and other places,” and it was at the same time determined to appoint a greater number of factors. (fn. n249)
In Camboja a factor was resident. He was directed to dig the river a fathom deep at the water-side, according to express orders from the King of Siam to all his people and the strangers of other nations trading into his country, that every one dwelling at the water-side should be at his proper charge for doing so. (fn. n250)
The attempt to open a trade with Cochin China was very disastrous. A cargo of goods worth 728l. was taken there from Japan, under the direction of two English factors, who carried King James's letter with them, and were at first kindly entertained with large promises; but it seemed “the “Hollanders must needs also make a voyage there.” The King of Cochin China purchased some of the commodities; but while on their way to receive payment, the King sent a great boat after them, which forcibly ran against their little boat, and overturned it. “Both English, Dutch, and Japans, “their followers,” were “cut all to pieces,” and “killed in the “water with harping irons like fishes.” It was “generally “reported that the King of Cochin China did this to be “revenged on the Hollanders,” who had burnt a town and slain many of the King's subjects not many years before. The original cause was said to have been “a great quantity “of false dollars bartered away by the Hollanders for com,modities.” Of five [Englishmen?] who left Firando only two returned. Tempest Peacocke, a factor, was slain. “His valour in opposing the country people at Priaman, to “the hazard of himself and safeguard of the Company's “men on shore,” had, shortly before this melancholy event, been brought before the notice of the East India Company (fn. n251)
In the “spice islands,” or the Moluccas, the success of the East India Company was very different to what they had usually experienced elsewhere. From the onset, the Hollanders appear to have been determined to prevent the English from having communication with any of those islands. When they did so, and were well received, as the English invariably were, the Hollanders with overwhelming force compelled the English ships to depart, and where they were sufficiently powerful forbad the natives trading with them. It is worthy of remark, by the way, that as the English ultimately gained possession of almost all the places with which they traded in the Peninsula of India, so they either lost or resigned nearly all those in the several islands in the Indian Ocean where they at first carried on trade, in some instances not inconsiderable.
The East India Company, “having long endured notorious “injuries” were at length in l6l1 “enforced to break silence “and complain of their griefs.” In their petition they implore the Lord Treasurer's assistance and mediation with the States for redress. (fn. n252) The English ambassador at the Hague was instructed to make the proper remonstrance in the Assembly of the States General. (fn. n253) The result was that Dutch commissioners were sent to London in March 1613. The conferences lasted two months, but as nothing would be satisfactorily settled the King advised that they should be referred to a future treaty. (fn. n254) The English Company in the meantime were not wholly relying upon the success of the negotiations with the Dutch Government. They dispatched a vessel to Bachian, one of the Moluccas, early in 1613, but could get “no trade there because of the sway of the “Flemings.” The island of Machian, which was offered to Sir, Henry Middleton by the inhabitants, who expected for three years his return, they were at length forced to yield to the Flemings. The people desired to trade with the English, but the Flemings sent great ships to prevent it, and threatened the islanders with punishment. At Tidore and Ternate it was hoped the Company would not “put up with such “insupportable injuries.” (fn. n255)
In a conference with the Dutch ambassador a proposal was made, which, if carried out, would have been as fatal to the real interests of the English Company as that which the Hollanders insisted upon throughout these negotiations, of the two Companies forming one joint stock. It was that the Hollanders may make use of trading to Cambaya, and the Company to the Moluccas, in such manner that no places may be overlayed.” (fn. n256) In every letter received from the English factors the accounts were the same. The Bandanese protested that they would live and die with the English, for they have open wars with the Dutch. (fn. n257) The people of Pooloway desired the English to relieve them from the oppression and cruelty of the Dutch. (fn. n258) These accounts had their effect. In 1615 a voyage was undertaken to Amboyna, with instructious to settle a factory at Banda. (fn. n259) The Company at home encouraged their factors in the attempt, “supposing that although the Hollanders threaten “to take any who do but peep into those parts, they will “be better advised than to proceed with open force to make “the English their enemies.” (fn. n260) In the meantime Commissioners were sent to the Hague, (fn. n261) where they arrived in January 1615. (fn. n262) The King expressed his “dislike to the “Company refusing to join with the Dutch, if they should “fall upon a joint stock” but the Company secretly resolved to prevent it if possible. (fn. n263) The Commissioners returned to London in May 1615, but nothing was effected. They informed the Company that the Dutch had fifty-one ships in the East Indies, a stock of 900,000l. sterling, and owed 400,000l. sterling at interest, which, they add, “is a great “discouragement to their adventurers.” (fn. n264) Still Sir Noel Caron, the Dutch ambassador, kept up negotiations in London. The groundwork of the Dutch propositions was to have 1,100,000l. or 1,200,000l. put into stock by the two Companies together. Caron used every persuasion to induce the Company to join in stock with the Dutch. The Company drew up reasons, “for the King's better satisfaction,” to show “the inconveniences and impossibilities” of accepting the Dutch propositions; and at the same time that he was “thanked for his pains,” the Dutch ambassador was plainly informed that the Company could not join with his nation, yet they “desired to have good correspon “dence with them in the Indies.” (fn. n265) At whichever of these islands the English attempted to trade, they were “beaten away” by superior force, and the natives “threatened with “the loss of their heads if they dealt with the English.” (fn. n266) From the English factory at Pooloway the Bandanese sent one of their principal men as ambassador to capitulate with the chief in Bantam concerning conditions of agreement between themselves and the English. (fn. n267) The Bandanese had declared war against the Hollanders, and killed above 300 of their best soldiers. (fn. n268) In 1616, the differences with the Dutch and English, through the latter trading at the Moluccas, had grown so great that, as one of the factors at Bantam observed, “it hath bred quite a strangeness “between them.” (fn. n269) Late in the year two English vessels were again sent to trade at Pooloway, Pooloroon, and other islands. The commander was expressly ordered to certify the position of the English in those places to the Hollanders, and if they offered violence, “to the utmost of his power, “even to the loss of lives and goods, to make good the “same.” (fn. n270)
As an evidence of the trade carried on by the East India Company, they paid 14,000l. customs in 1615, for two ships returned. In 1613 they paid 13,000l. customs, whereas in the Queen's time all the customs were farmed by Mr. Customer Smith for 12,000l. (fn. n271) In 1616, one ship alone from the East Indies was valued at better than 140,000l. (fn. n272)
Although several voyages had been made to Persia in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and commercial intercourse with England had then been opened, the communication had not led to the establishment of a direct or settled trade. It was reserved for the East India Company, with the same energy which characterized all their proceedings, to try their fortune in that country, and they did so, as well as in almost every part of Asia. The travels, adventures, and “hair “breadth scapes” of the brothers Sherley will be in the recollection of most readers. A full account of them (fn. n273) has been printed in Purchas, the “Harleian Collection of “Voyages,” and other works. It is partly attributable to the exertions of Sir Robt. Sherley that the East India Company sent factors to Persia. Privileges for trade were granted by Shah Abbas as early as 1599; (fn. n274) these, doubtless, were procured by Sir Anthony Sherley, commissioned from the King of Persia to all the Christian potentates, (fn. n275) though he did not visit England as the King of Persia's envoy. Sir Robert was accredited by Shah Abbas to King James I. about 1607. (fn. n276) He went first to Spain, but his negotiations there led to no result. He then came to England. Salisbury had recommended him “first to address himself to “other princes, that, seeing the reception he had in other “courts, His Majesty might know better how he was to be “proceeded with.” (fn. n277) He submitted his proposals to King James, and he afterwards informed Salisbury that His Ma “jesty was determined to make a combination between this “state and the Persian.” (fn. n278) Nothing was, however, concluded at that time, and Sir Robert returned to Persia. (fn. n279) King James granted him an allowance of 4l. a day from 1st October 1611 to 14th January 1613. (fn. n280) From India Sir Robert writes to the East India Company, persuading them to trade with Persia. (fn. n281) The chief factors also at Surat report that “the King of Persia much favoureth the English nation, and is of late fallen out with the Portugals;” Jask, a headland at the entrance of the Gulf of Persia, 40 leagues from Ormus, was suggested as a fit place to lade vessels. The Portugals attempted to burn Sir Robt. Sherley's house at Sinde; “his chief men were slain, and himself hardly used.” The Great Mogul promised to do justice on all who wronged him. (fn. n282) The advantages considered, Richard Steele and John Crouther were commissioned, on 2nd January 1615, “to proceed from Agra to Ispahan, and “inform themselves of the condition and hopes of trade of “the countries they pass through, especially between “Ispahan and Jask.” They were likewise instructed to deliver their letters to Sir Robt. Sherley. at Ispahan, to procure, by his assistance, letters from the King of Persia for the “peaceable entertainment” of the Company's servants, ships, and goods. (fn. n283) In October following, Steele reported on the moneys, weights, and measures of Persia, the prices of commodities, and the English goods vendible there, “and their worth.” (fn. n284) Cloths and other things were provided for Persia, (fn. n285) and in spite of Sir Thos. Roe, who “earnestly persuaded” the factors to desist, a ship was laden with commodities from Swally Road, and factors were appointed to sail directly for Jask. (fn. n286) In December l6l6, the vessel arrived at Jask, 27 days after leavi n Surat. The factor describes their kind entertainment by the Governor, says English cloth and all sorts of spices will sell well; that he finds the country peaceable, the people courteous, and plenty of all necessary provisions. (fn. n287)
With China the East India Company carried on a promiscuous trade, by means of junks plying between the English factories in Macassar, Siam, and other places. Up to 1616 no direct commercial intercourse between England and China was however established. Before the East India Company existed, Queen Elizabeth had written to the Emperor of China to encourage trade between the two kingdoms, but, as mentioned before, not one of the company who undertook the voyage ever returned. (fn. n343) In 1614 the “first junk from China” put in at Macassar, “with great store of Chinese commodities.” (fn. n288) The chief of the English factory in Japan informed the Company that the Emperor and other great men in China delighted to hear reports of the English nation; that some China merchants wished to know “whether the King of England would debar the Hol “landers from robbing and spoiling their junks;” and he declared that if the King of England would write to the Emperor of China, and send him a present it would be taken in good part. The Dutch offered 100,000 ducats or dollars to have trade at Canton, but could not obtain it. (fn. n289) At a meeting of the East India Company, Rich. Cocks, the factor, who had given such “good intelligence con “cerning China,” was held worthy of the employment he desired, to be the bearer of a letter from King James to the Emperor with a present. (fn. n290) There is evidence in October 1615 of a considerable sale by the Company of China saucers, dishes, basons, roots, rhubarb, silks, &c. (fn. n291) In February 1616, Cocks reported to the Company that he had great hopes of trade with China, and to that purpose had had one of the blank letters from His Majesty filled up to the Emperor, and letters and presents sent to two great China lords by the China captains in Firando and Nangasaki. (fn. n292) In December 1616, Cocks was still sanguine in his opinion. He requested the English factor at Patani to use all Chinese well, because he was certainly informed that the Emperor of China had sent spies to see how they were treated. (fn. n293)
Communication between England and Japan was the result of accident. It was caused through the adventures of an Englishman, which have been printed elsewhere. William Addames was hired by the Dutch, in 1598, as pilot-major to a fleet of five ships. The vessels lost company, and Addames the pilot was forced with his ship to winter at the Straits of Magellan, where “with cold on the “one side and hunger on the other, the men grew weak.” After meeting with extraordinary adventures and escaping unheard of dangers, the twenty-four men who alone were left, resolved to direct their course for Japan; the general, master, and all the officers of the ship had been murdered at the Cape. “A wondrous storm of wind as ever I was “in, with much rain,” and failing to find the Cape they sought, “by reason that it lyeth false in all cards and maps “and globes,” added to their discomfiture. When at length land was seen, on 19th April 1600, only six men besides Addames “could stand upon their feet;” six out of the twenty-four left, died soon after landing. Addames, in this letter to “his unknown friends and countrymen,” gives an account of his audiences with the Emperor of Japan; of his being sent to prison, and subsequent kind treatment; the efforts of the Jesuits and Portuguese to have him put to death; the allowance of two pounds of rice a day and twelve ducats a year from the Emperor; of his building a ship of 80 tons at the Emperor's command; and the favour he ultimately got into with the Emperor, whom he taught geometry and mathematics, and pleased him so, “that what I said he “would not contrary.” He promised that Addames should be a means for both English and Hollanders to traffic in Japan, “but by no means he would let me go;” and he gave Addames a “living like unto a lordship in England, “with 80 or 90 husbandmen that be as his slaves or “servants.” Addames specifies the commodities vendible in Japan, describes the island and the people, who he says are of good nature, courteous above measure, and valiant in war; that there is not a land better governed by civil policy; that the Jesuits and Franciscan friars have converted many to Christianity, and have many churches in the island. He hopes by some means or other to hear of his wife and children, and prays all into whose hands this letter may come to do their best that they and his good acquaintance may hear of him. A copy of this letter was fortunately transmitted to the East India Company, probably through Augustin Spalding, their factor at Bantam. (fn. n294) There are two copies preserved. This communication led to the opening of commercial intercourse between England and Japan. It is dated 23rd October 1611; in January 1613 Capt. Saris was “ready to sail for Japan.” (fn. n295)
A second letter from Addames, dated January 1613, (fn. n296) gives the reason of his long silence, why nothing had been heard of him from his arrival in Japan to 1611, a period of eleven years; “all his former letters had been intercepted “by the Hollanders.” When Addames told the Emperor that “the King of England would send his ambassador, with “merchants and merchandise, to trade in Japan, he was “very glad and rejoiced that strange nations had such good “opinions, with many other good speeches.” Sir Thos. Smythe had written to say he would send a ship to Japan to establish a factory; Addames boldly asserted that his countrymen would be as welcome and free as in the river of London. At the same time he expressed his fears that there would be no profit for English commodities which were so “good cheap” in Japan, by reason of the ships from New Spain and Holland. On China goods he observed great profit might be made, and he recommended English merchants “to get the handling or trade with the Chinese,” especially as the Company would not have need to send money out of England, “for there is gold and silver in “abundance,” as well as iron, copper, and minerals, in Japan. The charges in Japan would consist of presents only to the Emperor and others, “other customs here be none.” (fn. n297)
Capt. Saris' voyage was successful. The Clove anchored at Firando, 12th June 1613. (fn. n298) The most ample privileges were granted by the Emperor, “in the name of the right “honoured Sir Thos. Smythe, governor of the East India “Company,” and presents were likewise sent by the Emperor to King James. (fn. n299) A factory was left at Firando, and Rich. Cocks, a person of great experience appointed chief factor. To make certain, however, of the continued favour of the Emperor, and “building their hopes upon his long “experience,” a “contract” was made with “Capt. Wm. “Addames,” by Capt. Saris, on behalf of the East India Company, and he was entertained in their service with a salary of 100l. per annum. (fn. n300) The Flemings, it appears, “did what they could to get him from the English.” The presents which Addames recommended should be sent to the Emperor were “Russian glass of the greatest sort to “glass him a room of two fathoms four square, fine lamb “skins, holland, and three or four pair of spectacle glasses;” for merchandise he advised some 1,000 bars of steel. (fn. n301) The English rapidly put themselves in communication with several important places in Japan. Early in 1614 Rich. Wickham was instructed to go to Yedo, Surunga, “and “those parts,” with a cargo of merchandise, including 600 bars of lead. A factory was likewise left at Osaka, (fn. n302) and another at Nangasaki. (fn. n303) The factor at Osaka writes about this time that all the houses and churches which belonged to the Friars and Jesuits were pulled down and burnt, and all who were Christians had recanted, “so as now there is “no more Christians of Japanners in these parts.” Tobacco must have been very obnoxious to the Emperor. At least 150 persons were apprehended for buying and selling it “contrary to the Emperor's command, and are in jeopardy “of their lives.” Great store of tobacco was burnt. (fn. n304) There are illustrations of slavery or serfdom in Japan. Cocks in one of his letters says he bought a wench for three taies (about 15s.), who must serve five years and then repay the three taies or else remain a perpetual captive; at the time of her purchase she was only 12 years old. (fn. n305) Some 200 Persons were executed at Sakaii “for making merchandise “of the poor people.”
The reports from the several factories in Japan were not of a very encouraging character as concerning trade, but then the East India Company were trading in other parts with such enormous profits that less than cent. per cent. profit was not considered advantageous. (fn. n306) At Miako goods could only be sold at very poor rates, and those not in any quantity. (fn. n307) At Faccatay and Tushma the same complaints were made, the factor “not having sold one yard of English “cloth.” (fn. n308) On Capt. Saris' return to England, in October 1614, the question was raised at a meeting of the Company “whether it will be profitable to continue trading to Japan “by sending commodities directly from England.” The Flemings had, it seems, spent some 1,500l. upon a house in Japan and had reaped great gain; and as there were English factories, and the country was rich and populous, it was resolved to send a pinnace, with fitting commodities, to be provided on Capt. Saris' advice. (fn. n309) The English nation was reported to have been the cause of the banishment of the Jesuits and the pulling down of their monasteries, “but it “was well known to have been through their own deserts,” their misdemeanors and covetousness. Civil war was at the same time raging in the empire between the reigning Emperor and the son of the deceased Emperor. The most extravagant accounts were received of the government and wealth of Japan, the habits of the Emperor, &c. (fn. n310)
With the island of Osima, the English had also intercourse. The people are described as very gentle and courteous, and much resembling the Chinese, yet speaking the Japan tongue, “although with difficulty to be under “stood of the Japans.” They wore their hair long, bound up like the Chinese, with a bodkin thrust through, but it was made up on the right sides of their heads. (fn. n311)
The accounts received by the Company from Japan in 1615 were not more favorable as to trade. (fn. n312) Towards the end of that year, when Capt. Coppindall carried up “the present,” the Emperor offered to give the English anything that might be for the benefit of their nation, “esteeming us above all “other Christian nations whatsoever.” (fn. n313)
In February 1616 an extraordinary fire broke out in Osaka; seven streets, in which there were at least 500 houses, were burnt, “and still the fire is very vehement, and is like “to do much harm by reason the wind is so big.” (fn. n314) In another account “two great cities,” Osaka and Sakaii, were reported to have been burnt to the ground, each one almost as big as London, and not one house left standing; 300,000 men were said to have lost their lives. (fn. n315)
The death of Ogusho Same, Emperor of Japan, in April 1616, (fn. n316) was the cause of very great changes throughout the empire of Japan. The English were considerably affected by them. Cocks was at once warned not to sell any goods until instructions were received from the “new Emperor;” and although the privileges from the “old Emperor” were shown as sufficient authority for the factor's proceedings, he was told that Ogusho Same was dead, and the privileges had not been renewed. (fn. n317) Upon this he took a “toilsome “journey” to the Emperor's court at Yedo, and after four months delay (fn. n318) obtained a grant of privileges for the English nation. They were very different, however, to those granted by the deceased Emperor. Shongo Same confined the trade of the English to Firando and Nangasaki, and they were forced to withdraw their factories from Yedo, Miako, Osaka, and Sakaii. Cocks was informed by the Council that the only reason for this alteration was because the Jesuits had crept secretly into all parts of Japan to make Christians and baptize, which the Emperor would not permit. (fn. n319) The most severe orders were issued against concealing “padres.” It was thought doubtful whether all Christians should be banished out of Japan, and considered certain that those, who it could be proved had christened any children “with papist priests,” would be banished. The Spaniards had direct order to depart with their ships, and on pain of their lives not to return any more; for the Emperor could not “abide padres in any sort.” (fn. n320) Cocks' last letter from Firando in l616 is not very encouraging. He says the cargo of English commodities will not vent at any rate, much less yield such large sums as the Company expect. “I am weary of the place,” he adds, “and were it not for “extraordinary hope to get trade into China, would rather “depart from hence to-night than tarry till the morning.” (fn. n321)
It will be in the recollection of some that the English did not abandon their factories in Japan until about the year 1623.
Several curious circumstances are mentioned in connexion with the employment of different persons by the East India Company. Edward Wright, “the excellent mathe “matician and engineer,” (fn. n322) of whom Henry Prince of Wales “had so good an opinion, that he intended to “make him his library-keeper,” was allowed 50l. a year by the Company for a course of lectures, in consideration of his having “gathered great knowledge in the universities, “and effected many worthy works in rectifying errors “formerly smothered.” He was also appointed by the Company to examine their journals and mariners, and to “perfect their plots” [? maps or plans]. A request of Prince Charles to lend Wright some money on his books was, however, declined by the Company. (fn. n323) Christopher Lanman, one of the Company's “book-keepers,” was “applauded as one of the most perfect and sufficient “accountants in London.” (fn. n324) Capt. Edward Gyles, “expe “rienced in knowing the latitude and longitude by obser “vation of the sun or any star,” offered his services to the Company; but though he had been with Sir Fras. Drake in his voyages, four times to the West Indies with the Earl of Cumberland, besides many other sea voyages, had served under the Morrises and the Earl of Essex, was able to give directions for fortifications, and “especially acquainted” with the commodities of the East Indies, after “inquiries had “been made of him” he was not thought “fit for the “Company's service.” (fn. n325) John Stammer was more fortunate; “finding his trade to decay, and devising of some “course of life, he was pinched in his sleep, and called “sundry times in his sleep by his name, willing him to go “to Sir Thos. Smythe and proffer his service for the East “Indies.” This is entered in the Court Minutes of the East India Company of 19 October 1615. He was entertained in their service. (fn. n326)
The health of the Company's officers and men employed in the East Indies was naturally a subject often discussed at their meetings. “The flux” was a disease “incident to the English” in India, (fn. n327) and any remedies that seemed worthy of attention were well considered. In 1607 lemon water, “alligant [wine] from Allicant,” were recommended, not only as very fit beverages, but as “good against the flux.” (fn. n328) Dr. John Burgis was admitted a free brother of the Company gratis (fn. n329) for his great skill in the prevention of flux, scurvy, and fever, and with the fleet dispatched in 1615 to the East Indies “boxes of such things,” together with instructions in writing for their use, were delivered to each ship; the charges were about 23l. (fn. n330) Various other proposals were suggested for the health and comfort of the seamen. Two Frenchmen offered to divulge a secret for the preservation of fresh water. (fn. n331) Trial was directed to be made of sundry of Capt. Castleton's proposals, including the baking of fresh bread at sea, with the grinding of corn, “an exercise “fit to preserve men in health,” distilling fresh water from salt water by having stills fitted to the furnaces, and carrying a hogshead of fresh provisions, to be used only in cases of necessity. (fn. n332) Instances are recorded of men dying with the flux, through the “inordinate drinking of a wine “called tadie, distilled from the palmetto trees;” (fn. n333) and of their being poisoned by drinking water in which a multitude of grasshoppers had fallen.” (fn. n334) The amusement of the sailors was not lost sight of. A virginal was bought “for “two to play upon at once, and by a pin pulled out, one “man will make both to go, which is a delightful sight for “the jacks to skip up and down in such manner as they “will.” (fn. n335) There is no mention of any women going in the ships to the East Indies. One of the Company's most valuable servants, Capt. Keeling, was not allowed to take his wife with him, though he did everything he could to persuade the Company to allow him to do so, and he had nearly succeeded in taking her, when he was informed that “if she accompany him they will hold him unworthy “their service.” (fn. n336) A request of three Indians to take their wives with them was refused, “as being unfitting for such “women to go among so many unruly sailors in a ship.” (fn. n337) A discourse of the Governor to the factors is worth attention. He exhorts them to discharge their trusts conscientiously, and to avoid private trade; acquaints them with the Company's care to furnish them with things needful for their spiritual comfort and the health of their bodies, as “books “of divinity for the soul, and history to instruct the mind;” tells them of the offensive behaviour of some of the Company's factors in the East Indies, and admonishes them “to be the more respective, and shun all sin and evil be “haviour, that the heathen may take no advantage to “blaspheme our religion by the abuses and ungodly “behaviour of our men.” (fn. n338) In several cases the factors had acquired “great wealth” by trading on their own account. (fn. n339)
It may easily be imagined that the Company were not altogether free from attack. A book called the Trades Increase, some portion being “very near to treason, and all “the rest very dangerous,” appeared, which caused the Company no little trouble. The Archbishop of Canterbury's opinion was asked, and the Law Officers of the Crown were consulted respecting it; the Court thought the author should be punished, “and thereby discover the dislike the “State hath to such pamphlets that shall tax what the State “hath approved.” Sir Dudley Diggs recommended that it should be answered by a book?"in defence of the East “India trade,” but the Archbishop was of opinion that it should rather be suffered to die than be suppressed, “which would cause many men to seek after it the more “earnestly.” (fn. n340)
“Condemned men from Newgate” were taken on board the ships bound for the East Indies, and put ashore on the south coast of Africa. This “was approved as a very “charitable deed, and a means, as was hoped, to bring “them to God by giving them time of repentance to crave “pardon for their sins, and reconcile themselves unto His “favour.” (fn. n341) There is a “writing” preserved, signed by three condemned men, set ashore at Saldanha Bay, in which they acknowledge King James' clemency in granting them their forfeited lives, and “according to their own desire trans “porting them to this foreign land.” (fn. n342)
In conclusion, I would observe that every statement in these remarks has been founded upon the documents themselves. In most cases the exact words of the original writers are quoted; in every instance the reference is given.
W. NOEL SAINSBURY.
21st November 1862.