2. [f.1] 9 Feb. 1610. Proposals made by London and Bristol merchants to
the privy council, referred to Trinity House
The petitioners, having used the fishing trade of Newfoundland, are
confident that the country is habitable in winter because it is in latitude
47°, which is further south than any part of England and is the same as
Bordeaux. It is full of woodland and fair rivers stocked with fish, and
there are fowls and edible animals such as stags. The voyage from
England and Ireland takes only 3 weeks, with reasonable winds, and the
island is as near to England as it is to Spain. They seek to establish a
plantation with a few men to make trial thereof, especially since they
would not be molested because savages have not been seen there. The
following reasons may be considered: (a) 200 ships with about 6,000
mariners go there each year 'whereby great benefit accrueth not only to
many private persons, but also to the whole commonwealth by the
increase of navigation and trade in merchandise which ships going thither
to fish and in manner empty are fit to carry all matters for plantation'. (b)
If a foreign prince or state took possession of the land and erected
fortifications, thereby debarring the use of harbours and fishing, the
consequences would be very serious. Indeed, the French tried to winter
there in about 1580, (fn. 1) but by lack of foresight they all perished 'for want of
necessaries for plantation'. (c) If the plantation succeed, fishing would be
secure forever, and the commodity greater because of the probable
increase in the number of ships engaged in the trade, since planters could
fish in boats in places otherwise unusable for lack of harbours. (d) The
settlers could provide supplies to the fishermen, care for the sick, and
look after the boats. (e) The ground may be fit for tillage and pasturing
cattle, and the woodland put to use. (f) The settlers will learn whaling for
great profit, as the Biscayans already do on nearby coasts. [f.lv] (g) It is
hoped that the country will afford furs, 'heath', pitch, turpentine, boards
made from pine trees, masts and yards for small ships, soap-ashes [wood
ash used in making soap], stags, skins, hawks of all kinds, seal skins, train
oil and either copper or iron mines which in view of the woods and rivers
might easily be very profitable. (h) The land lies on the direct route to
Virginia and a plantation or fortification there would make it a
serviceable rendezvous. Letters patent are sought for a small settlement
in an area not previously occupied by christians, together with rights in
respect of fishing and the use of the land.
3. 24 Feb. 1610. Trinity House to the privy council
Mr John Slanye of London, Mr John Guye of Bristol, and other
merchants brought the above proposal . The corporation considered
the plan at their meeting at Ratcliff today and concluded that people
could live there and that a plantation would be valuable in view of the
fishing trade and for other reasons, provided that there was no
interference with the freedom of fishing now enjoyed.
Hugh Merritt, master; William Jones, William Bygate, Robert Rickman,
William Jordan, William Hare, William Sims, Nicholas Diggens, John
Goodlad, William Goodlad, Robert Kitchen.
4. [f.2–2v] 4 Aug. 1610. Bonds [partly in Latin]
Thomas Silvester and others [listed in 5], and Humphrey Basse and
others, enter bonds to accept the arbitration of Trinity House to settle
their dispute. Witnesses: William Allexander and Francis Pensax,
servants to Thomas Hill, scrivener.
5. [f.3] 25 Aug. 1610. Award by Trinity House
Humphrey Basse, girdler of London, Luke Barefoote and Tobias
Johnson, mariners of London, on the one hand, and Thomas Silvester,
Thomas Wilkenson, mariners of Ipswich, Samuel Cutler, merchant,
Edward Man, vintner, Elizabeth Man, spinster, and John Sturgen,
brewer of Ipswich, on the other, entered bonds  of £200 on 4 Aug. 1610
to accept the award of at least 6 members of Trinity House in respect of
their dispute, provided that the award be made before 4 Sept. 1610. The
award is as follows: (a) Silvester and his associates are to pay £47 to Basse
and his associates. £21 is to be deposited at the house of Richard
Nottingham in Ratcliff on 29 Sept., and the balance on 2 Nov. 1610. (b)
Wilkenson is to pay £30 towards the cost of weighing the Providence of
London in the Thames, of which Johnson was master. (c) The liability to
pay the £47 [f.3v] and the cost of weighing the Providence over and above
the £30 which Wilkenson himself has to pay is to be shared between
Silvester and his associates in proportion to their shares in the ownership
of the Sea Adventure of Ipswich at the time of the weighing of the
Providence. (d) On or before 10 Sept., both parties are to relinquish all
claims on each other in respect of all disputes up to 4 Aug. 1610.
Documents to this effect are to be deposited at the house of Nottingham
by 12 Sept. 1610. (e) Both parties are to pay a fee of [blank] to
Nottingham, clerk of Trinity House, for drawing up this award.
Hugh Merret, Robert Salmon, William Jurden, William Jones, Robert
Kytchen, Robert Ryckman, Thomas Milton, Nicholas Dygens, Matthew
Woodcot, William Byam, John Osborne, John Skinner.
6. [f.4] 11 Sep. 1610. Award by Trinity House
Edmund Wynn, merchant of London, has withheld the wages of sundry
mariners who served in the Ellen and John of London arrived from
Virginia and sought to lay the burden of the insurance of his adventure in
the ship on the crew. The mariners contradict. Both parties agreed to
arbitration. The award is that since the ship reached the Thames safely as
soon as her consort, and since the insurance seems to have been given out
of fear, and not for any just cause, the crew have no liability. Since,
however, a boat was lost through negligence, £7 is to be deducted from
the wages and 'entertainment' of the master and the wages of the crew,
divided up in proportion to earnings. The master must also pay £2 from
his 'entertainment' as compensation to the owners because, after landing
the passengers at Dartmouth, he went ashore, and commanded the crew
to do likewise, whereby 'the owner received a day's hinderance in wages
and victuals for their stay there'. No allowance is to be made for
insurance, as is demanded.
Hugh Merryt, Robert Salmon, William Wye, William Jurden, Robert
Kytchen, William Bygat, Thomas Milton, Nicholas Dygons, Matthew
Woodcott, Robert Ryckman, Richard Chester, Thomas Norreys.
7. [f.4v] 9 Oct. 1610. Sir Thomas Smith, governor of the East India
company, to Trinity House
The company seek an opinion on the wages due, according to the right or
custom of the sea, to mariners of the Hector and Ascention. On 3 Oct.
1608, 19 mariners of the Hector were captured by Portuguese frigates on a
voyage from Surat with goods of great value. They admit not fighting, for
which some blame the captain, but most say the fault was the gunner's for
want of shot expended previously in 'creating a new captain' [? a gun
salute]. Some of the 19 died before the return home of the Hector; some
have come home; some are prisoners 'in the country' or at Lisbon; others
are in the pay of the Portuguese or the grand mogul. The company wish to
know whether any wages are due and, if so, whether payment should be
made up to the date of their capture, their return to England, or the ship's
return to England. The Ascention was cast away near Cambay. Elmer
was put off her in a pinnace with 6 or 8 men and sailed to within 5 leagues
of Surat. He then left the pinnace and travelled to Surat overland. He
admits that he might have sold the pinnace for 300 rials, but alleges that
he acted on the instructions of one of the factors at Surat. This is untrue
because the company has no factor there. By these means the pinnace
was lost 'as also the ship out of which he was shipped' because it is said
that he could not be awakened when he should have borne up sail.
Consequently he lost contact with the Ascention.
8. [f.5] 9 Oct. 1610. Trinity House [to Sir Thomas Smith]
Their opinion was sought  on the wages due to the mariners of the
Hector, who were captured in the East Indies, and those of the Ascention,
who were left alive when she perished, 'whether they come home before
or after the return of the Union'. In the case of the Hector, the mariners
who were taken prisoner should be paid up to the date of the return of the
ship, whether they came home before or after her return, because, had
they not been sent out of her for the benefit of the merchant, they might
have come home in her if they had lived. Those who are still prisoners
deserve consideration, but that is for the company to decide. Those who
are now serving another nation voluntarily should be paid only up to the
date of their capture. As for the crew of the Ascention, Trinity House
have never known wages to be payable if a ship and her cargo are lost,
because the money for wages is derived from freight. But it is understood
that the mariners were engaged for the voyage of both vessels and not for
one particular ship. If that is the case, and the Union returns, the crew of
the Ascention should be paid up to the date of the Union's return, because
both ships were engaged on the discovery of a trade which may prove
profitable to the company, and the men died because they were strangers
to the area. But 'if the lading in both ships were so divided, as that the
company of one ship should nor ought to have been ready at the general's
dispose to have brought home the other ship if occasion had been
offered', no wages are due in view of the loss of the Ascention. Those in
the pinnace of the Ascention, which lost contact with the ship for want of
sails and victuals (a fact known to the ship's master), did their utmost in
the service of the company and deserve consideration.
Hugh Mearett, master; Robert Salmon, William Wye, William Bygatt,
William Jones, Peter Hills, Robert Rickman, Nicholas Diggins, John
Vassall, Matthew Woodcott, Thomas Norris, Robert Kytchen.
9. [f.5v] 6 March 1609. Algiers. Certificate by Richard Allen, consul [for
the English at Algiers]
The bearer, Thomas Nicols, gunner of the Sara Jone, Robert Rippon,
master, was captured with the rest of the crew by the Bizerte galleys in the
'Gulf of Venice' [see 13] on 31 Aug. 1608 and all were enslaved. The
merchants, master and company of the Dorcas of London out of charity
ransomed him when they called at Tunis and brought him hither.
According to the testimony of those named below, Nichols has not
engaged in piracy, but has asked merchants and shipmasters to secure his
passage to his native country.
Endorsements (a) by Nicholas Keale and Hewet Staper that the above
was written in Allen's hand; (b) of the truth of the above by Ralph
Shotboulte, Walter Whiting, master, John Mootham, Richard Perston,
William Harris and John Daye, all of the Dorcas; (c) by Jo. King, master
of the Mathue of London, that he brought the bearer to England.
10. 7 Aug. 1610. Trinity House to the king
The bearer, Thomas Nichols, gunner, has asked for a certificate of his
misfortunes. They know that the attached statement  is true. He was
dispossessed of all he had, maimed in fighting the Turks, and was
enslaved in their galleys. His ransom cost £50, for which his friends stand
bond because he has nothing.
Hugh Merret, William Jones, William Jurden, Thomas Milton, Robert
Ryckman, Robert Kytchen, Richard Chester, Nicholas Digens, Matthew
Woodcott, John Kinge.
11. [f.6] 4 Nov. 1610. Trinity House to lord Ellesmere, lord chancellor
At the request of John Fryer, the petitioner, they certify that he went to
sea as master gunner of the Gift of God of London, about a year ago.
Shortly afterwards, she sank in a storm on the Irish coast. All her cargo
was lost and the crew barely escaped with their lives. Not long afterwards,
the ship was recovered and was freighted again, but on 2 Feb. last was
captured off Spain by Captain Parker, a pirate. Fryer and others,
numbering 12 in all, were held prisoner for 4 months. Parker then took
away 7, and turned Fryer and the others away, ransacked. On their way
homewards, they were captured on about 2 July by another pirate,
Captain Easton, who robbed them of the remainder of their estates, and
maltreated them. All these misfortunes occurred within 11 months. Fryer
has lost his entire estate of £300 and friends stand surety for part of his
Hugh Mearit, William Bygatt, Robert Salmon, William Hare, Robert
Rickman, Thomas Best, Robert Kytchen, Thomas Norreis.
12. [f.6v] 8 Dec. 1610. Trinity House to the same
William Androwes, the petitioner, and his neighbours of Ipswich have
asked them to certify his misfortunes. Last March, the Content, of which
he was master and part-owner, set out but owing to foul weather was
wrecked at night on a rock off the Norwegian coast and sank in 10
fathoms. Eight of the crew were drowned, but 4 escaped miraculously by
sitting in the maintop, which remained above water, until they were
rescued by a fishing boat. He lost £300, which is more than his estate is
worth, and he owes another £100 as part of his adventure, which he is
unable to pay.
Hugh Meret, master; Robert Salmon, William Jurden, John Osborne,
William Wye, wardens; William Joanes, Thomas Milton, Matthew
Woodcott, William Hare, Nicholas Dygens, Robert Rickman, William
Byam, Richard Chester, Thomas Beast, Robert Kytchen.
[Marginal note] By testimony of a letter from Ipswich under the hands of
John Carnabye, John Chaplin, John Martin, Edmund Morgane, Richard
Wade, Richard Birlingham, Robert Castone, John Hawkes.
13. [f.7] 16 July 1610. Tripoli. Samuel Harres to his father
On the 15th day, 2 galleys of Tripoli and a frigate approached his ship off
'Cape Spartemint' [? Spartimento, now Palinuro, or Spartivento]. The
master consulted the crew, but although most wanted to fight, others
would not for fear of being enslaved. So the sails were struck, and Harres
and all but 6 of his companions were taken aboard the galleys, while the
ship was sent to Tripoli. The galleys made for the Gulf, (fn. 2) intending to sail
to Valona, but since the wind was northwest, they had to go north of
'Sufelane' [? now Sazan], and there joined 5 galleys of Bizerte. When
they put out to sea, the wind was southerly, so they sailed for Valona, but
off 'Cape Lugo' [? now Kep-i-Lagit], they encountered 5 Venetian galleys
which gave chase and captured the last of the Turkish galleys which was
their consort and which had 6 of 'our' men aboard. Harres' galley
escaped, and that night she took a ship of Ragusa, which had been laden
at Corfu and was bound for Venice. The Turks took the men but released
the ship. Harres arrived at Tripoli and found his ship and companions
there. He was afraid of being enslaved because he had been made to row
naked and had been beaten aboard the galley. He caught such a cold that
he suffered from the 'blody flix' [dysentery] and is still unwell. His captors
say that he and his companions will only have to serve for one or 2
voyages, and that then they will be released but he does not believe them.
He beseeches his father to secure his release and to write if he is 'at Lant'.
If his portion is due, it should be paid to his mother or used on his behalf.
He asks his father to mediate for him if it is dangerous for him to come
home for he 'must go perforce, and about 2 months hence'. He believes
that his ship, which is the best, is going in a group of 4 to the west. He
commends himself to his 'brother' William and Richard, his sisters,
William Bull, and his friends. Randal Jesson commends himself to
Harres' father and brother, William, and to 'fillup' [Philip].
14. [f.7v] 13 Dec. 1610. Westminster. Order in chancery to Hugh
Merricke, master of Trinity House, Thomas Beast and William Bigott of
Trinity House, Ralph Freeman, Humphrey Basse and Robert Bell,
commissioners for assurance policies
In a dispute in chancery between Robert Howe, Thomas Dennys,
William French and others [John Falkner and Hugh French], pls., and
William Jones, William Wye the elder, and John Barbor, defs.,
concerning the freight of a ship hired by the pls. from the defs. it appeared
that 45 members of the crew had been unjustly deprived of their wages.
Four or 5 of the addressees are to enquire and arbitrate by whose default
the wages are unpaid and the amounts due. Upon certifying chancery, the
mariners are to be paid forthwith. Or if agreement is not reached the suit
is to return to chancery by [f.8] 20 Jan.
Brace [? Lord Bruce, master of the rolls].
15.20 Dec. 1610. Return to chancery. See 14.]
The voyage lasted for 15 months and a day, and the freight was £146 10s a
month. The pls. have not proved that the defs. broke the charter party.
The voyage appears to have been completed properly and the freight,
from which the mariners are paid, is therefore due. According to the
custom of merchants and shipowners, half should have been paid within 4
or 5 days of the discharge of the ship at London so that the crew of 45
could receive their wages, which amount to £732 13s. The failure of the
pls. to pay the freight (apart from £120 already received) is the reason
why the crew are unpaid. The pls. should pay £732 13s to William Jones
and William Wye the elder, 2 of the defs., or their assignees, on 10 Jan. at
the Telling House on the west side of the Royal Exchange, which is the
usual place for making such payments. The crew can then be paid. The
pls. may yet be able to establish a stronger case, so the remainder of the
freight should not be paid until witnesses have been examined. [f.8v] The
writers can then either negotiate a settlement or certify their opinions.
Hugh Mericke, Humphrey Basse, Thomas Beast, William Bygatt, Ralph
Freeman, Robert Bell.
[Marginal note] Registered in the office of assurance on 13 Dec. 1610 and
compared with the original, which is lodged in chancery, by Simon
Cowell, servant to Richard Candeler, deputy register.