East Indies: October 1589

Pages 94-95

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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October 1589

239. Memorial of English merchants to the Queen. Survey of the Portuguese settlements on the Malabar and Coromandel coasts; their occupation of Malacca, the Bandas; and the Moluccas. Many ports in the countries bordering on the Indian and China seas, and in the peninsula of India, which might be visited with advantage by English ships, where sales might be made of English cloths, and other staple and manufactured articles, and the produce of those countries purchased. Such a trade would by degrees add to the shipping, seamen, and naval force of the kingdom, in the same manner as it has increased the Portuguese fleets. The memorialists therefore request the Queen's licence for the Royal Merchant, the Susan, the Edward, and two or three pinnaces to be equipped and protected in this trade, without being subject to any other condition than that of the payment of customs on their return. Indorsed, “Reasons persuading our merchants to traffic to the East Indies.” [East Indies, Vol. I., No. 8. Vide “Bruce's Annals of the East India Company,” I., 109. A voyage with the Penelope, Merchant Royal, and Edward Bonaventure to the East Indies, began by Capt. Geo. Raymond in 1591, and performed by Jas. Lancaster, written from the mouth of Edmund Barker, lieut. On the voyage, by Richard Hakluyt, is printed in Hakluyt, II., 586–595. Another account by Henry May, purser, is printed in Purchas, I., 110, who adds “that the ships were severed by a storm,” and the said voyage was only accomplished by Master Jas. Lancaster, in the Rear-Admiral [the Edward]. Anderson, in his “History of Commerce,” II., 180, says “this experiment” was the first English voyage to the East Indies. Purchas, however, prints accounts of two previous voyages, one in 1579 by Thos. Stevens, and another begun in 1583, by Ralph Fitch, and continued till 1591; see also Hakluyt, II., 382–399, 581–586.]