East Indies: December 1566

Pages 6-7

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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December 1566

1566? 11. Petition of Humphrey Gylberte to the Queen. Nothing for a long time having been said or done concerning the discovery of a passage by the north–east to Cathay, beseeches Her Majesty that he may have privileges according to articles set forth to make trial thereof at his own cost and charges, with the help of those friends who are willing to assist him. The privileges desired are in three articles, as follow:—No one to pass to any part of the world, through this undiscovered passage, except such as are made free by him or his heirs; himself, his two brothers, and all lineally descended from them to adventure for ever at their pleasure, paying all customs; and to have to his own use, for 99 years, a fifth part of the customs of merchandise returned by means of this discovery. [Brit. Mus., Birch, 4159, fol. 176. Indorsed, “Humfrey Gilberte.” He was knighted in 1570 by Sir H. Sydney, Lord Deputy of Ireland.]
12. [A. Jenckynson] to [Sec. Sir Wm. Cecil]. Has sued a long time to have the passage discovered to Cathay, but never yet had any direct answer. Has sundry times discoursed with Mr. Gylberte thereon, and not doubting good success they mean to make a trial at their own charges with such assistance as they can procure, if Her Majesty will grant them for their lives the following privileges:— None to go to any part of the world through the passage, by them to be discovered, upon pain of confiscation of body, goods, and lands. They and their heirs to trade, custom free, for ever, and to traffic their own stock, or to the sum of 500l. of any other man's without paying custom. All free of this voyage, not to pay custom for 21 years for any merchandise brought through “this our discovered passage;” the ordinary custom of all goods exported being always answered [subsequently added in different ink]. 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 my return.” Beseeches “his honour” to further the same. [One page. Domestic, Eliz., Vol. XLII., No. 23a. Indorsed, “A. Jenkynson, for the passage into the Cataia which shall be discovered by them.”]
1567? 13. Memorial of Humphrey Gylberte to the Queen. Her Majesty having established by Parliament the Corporation for Discovery of New Trades [the Bill passed 17th Nov. 1566], and being one of that Company, he is encouraged to attempt with all possible speed the discovery of a passage to Cathay, “and all other the rich parts of the world not found.” Requests a grant of the following privileges, in consideration of his great charges, “besides the apparent miserable travel, hazard, and peril of my life.”:—
1st. To have for the four first voyages the use of two of the Queen's ships, with commission to press mariners.
2nd. He and the heirs male of his body, or in default, those of Otes Gylberte, to pay but half custom, for 40 years, for all goods transported into any places to be discovered through him towards the North–west, and 12d. for every ton of merchandise brought from thence.
3rd. He and his heirs to enjoy the tenth part of all such lands so discovered, with all profits, and free passage to and fro, holding the same by the yearly rent of a knight's fee.
4th. To be appointed to the government, during life, of all countries and territories so discovered, with power to nominate a deputy.
5th. To have half of Her Majesty's forfeited goods and fines for infringing the privileges of the Corporation for any offence committed towards the North–west, or taking any part of West.
6th. All ships employed in the traffic to any of the discovered countries of the Corporation to be free for ever from arrest or imprest for any common service of the realm. [Two pages. Domestic, Eliz., Vol. XLII., No. 23.]
On the third page are the
Observations of Sec. Sir Wm. Cecil on the above. In what time the four voyages shall be, if any of the first perish. Victualling of the Queen's ships. Privileges of custom to his heirs, or the heirs of his father's body. The deputy to be allowed by the Queen. Infringement of the privileges of the Corporation. [“A discourse written by Sir H. Gylberte, in 1576, to prove a passage by the North–west to Cathay and the East Indies,” is printed in Hakluyt, III., pp. 32–47; “which was,” says Chalmers, “most probably the cause of Frobishers voyage.”]
1567? 14. Copy of the preceding, with additions. In the first article, after the four first voyages is added, “so as the same be performed within the space of ten years next following March come twelvemonth, being in anno 1568.” In the second, the number of years to pay half custom is left blank, and there are other alterations of minor importance. [One page. Indorsed, “Humphrey Gylberte. Discovery of new found countries.” Domestic, Eliz., Vol. XLII, No. 23. Cal., p. 288.]