The letters patents, or priuileges graunted by her Maiestie to Sir Edward Osborne, Master Richard Staper, and certaine other Marchants of London for their trade into the dominions of the great Turke, in the yeere 1581.
Elizabeth by the grace of God Queene of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. To all our Officers, ministers, and Subiects, and to all other people as well within this our Realme of England, as else where vnder our obeysance, iurisdiction, or otherwise, vnto whom these our letters shall be seene, shewed or read, greeting. Where our welbeloued Subiects Edward Osborne Alderman of our Citie of London, and Richard Staper of our sayde City Merchant, haue by great aduenture and industrie, with their great costes and charges, by the space of sundry late yeeres, trauailed, and caused trauaile to bee taken, as well by secret and good meanes, as by dangerous wayes and passages both by lande and Sea, to finde out and set open a trade of Marchandize and traffique into the Lands, Islands, dominions, and territories of the great Turke, commonly called the Grand Signior, not heretofore in the memory of any man nowe liuing knowen to be commonly vsed and frequented by way of marchandise, by any the Marchants or any Subiects of vs, or our progenitours; and also haue by their like good meanes and industrie, and great charges procured of the sayde Grand Signior (in our name), amitie, safetie, and freedome, for trade and traffique of Marchandise to bee vsed, and continued by our Subiects within his sayde Dominions, whereby there is good and apparant hope and likelyhoode both that many good offices may bee done for the peace of Christendome, and reliefe of many Christians that bee or may happen to bee in thraldome or necessitie vnder the sayde Grand Signior, his vassals or Subiects, and also good and profitable vent and vtterance may be had of the commodities of our Realme, and sundry other great benefites to the aduancement of our honour, and dignitie Royall, the increase of the reuenues of our Crowne, and generall wealth of our Realme: Knowe ye, that hereupon wee greatly tendering the wealth of our people, and the incouragement of our Subiects in their good enterprises for the aduancement of the Common weale, haue of our speciall grace, certaine knowledge and meere motion, giuen and graunted, and by these presents for vs, our heires and successours, doe giue and graunt vnta our sayd trustie, and welbeloued Subiects Edward Osborne, and vnto Thomas Smith of London Esquier, Richard Staper, and William Garret of London Marchants, their executors, and administrators, and to the executours and administratours of them, and of euery of them, that they, and euery of them, and such other person and persons Englishmen borne, not exceeding the number of twelue, as they the sayde Edward, and Richard shall appoint, nominate, or admit to be parteners, aduenturers, or doers with them the sayde Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, in their societie by themselues, their seruants, Factours or deputies, and to such others as shall bee nominated according to the tenour of these our letters Patents, shall and may during the terme of seuen yeeres from the date of these Patents, freely trade, traffique, and vse feates of Marchandise into, and from the dominions of the sayde Grand Signior, and euery of them, in such order, and maner, forme, liberties and condition to all intents and purposes as shalbe betweene them limitted, and agreed, and not otherwise, without any molestation, impeachment, or disturbance, any Lawe, statute, vsage, diuersitie of religion or faith, or other cause or matter whatsoeuer to the contrary notwithstanding.
And that it shalbe lawful to the said Edward and Richard their executors and administrators, (during the said terme) to appoint or admit to be parteners and aduenturers with them the sayde Edward, Thomas, Richard and William; such persons not exceeding the number of twelue (as afore is said) to trafique and vse the said trade and feat of marchandise according to our saide graunt. And that all and euery such person and persons, as shall hereafter fortune to bee appointed or admitted as parteners in the saide trade or trafique according to these our letters patents, shall and may from the time of such appointment or admittance, haue and enioy the freedome and libertie of the said trade and trafique during the residue of the said terme of seuen yeeres, according to such limitation and agreement as is aforesaide, and that it shall and may be lawfull to and for the saide Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, their executours and administratours, seruants factours and deputies, and all such as shall be so appointed, nominated or admitted, to be parteners or aduenturers in the saide trade, or so many of them as can and will, to assemble themselues for or about any the matters, causes, affaires or businesse of the saide trade, in any place or places for the same conuenient, from time to time during the said terme of 7. yeeres, within our dominions or elsewhere, and to make, ordeine, and constitute reasonable lawes and ordinances, for the good gouernment of the said Company, and for the better aduancement and continuance of the said trade, and trafique, not being contrary or repugnant to the lawes, estatutes or customes of our Realme, and the same lawes or ordinances so made to put in vse, and execute accordingly, and at their pleasures to reuoke the same lawes and ordinances, or any of them, as occasion shall require.
And in consideration that the said Edward Osborne hath bene the principall setter foorth and doer in the opening, and putting in vse of the said trade, we do therefore especially ordeine, constitute, and prouide by these patents, that the saide Edward Osborne shall be gouernour of all such as by vertue of these our letters patents, shall be parteners, aduenturers, or trafiquers in the said trade, during the said terme of seuen yeeres, if he so long liue: And that if the saide Edward shall happen to decease during the saide terme, the saide Richard Staper then liuing, then the said Richard Staper shall likewise be gouernour during the residue of the said terme (if he so long liue) and that if the said Edward and Richard shall both happen to decease during the said terme, then the partners or aduenturers for the time being, or the greatest, part of them, shall from time to time as necessitie shall require, choose and elect a gouernour of the said Company.
Prouided alwayes, that if there shall happen any great or vrgent occasion to remoue or displace any person that shall be gouernour of the saide fellowship, that then it shall, and may be lawfull for vs, our heires and successours, to remooue, and displace euery such gouernour, and to place another of the said fellowship in the same office, during such time as such person should haue enioyed the same, according to this our graunt, if there had bene no cause to the contrary.
And we further for vs, our heires, and successors, of our especiall grace, certaine knowledge, and meere motion, do graunt to the said Edward Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, their executors and administrators, that nothing shall bee done to be of force or validitie touching the sayde trade or trafique, or the exercise thereof, without or against the consent of the saide Edward, during such time as hee shall bee Gouernour as afore is saide. And after that time without the consent of the Gouernour for the time being, and the more part of the said Company.
And further, wee of our more ample and abundant grace, meere motion and certame knowledge, haue graunted, and by these patents for vs, our heires and successors, doe graunt to the saide Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, their executors and administrators, that they, the saide Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, their executors and administrators, and the said person and persons, by them the said Edward and Richard to be nominated, or appointed as afore is said, together, with such two other persons, as wee our heires or successors from time to time during the sayd terme shall nominate, shall haue the whole trade and trafique, and the whole entire onely libertie, vse and priuilege of trading, and trafiquing, and vsing feate of marchandise, into, and from the said dominions of the said Grand Signior, and euery of them. And when there shall be no such persons so nominated or appointed by vs, our heires or successors, that then the said Edward Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, their executors and administrators, and such persons by them so to be appointed, shall haue the saide whole trade and trafique, and the whole entire, and onely libertie, vse, and priuilege of trading and trafiquing aforesaid. And that they the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, their executors and administrators, and also al such as shal so be nominated or appointed to be partners or aduenturers in the said trade, according to such agreement as is abouesaid, and euery of them, their seruants, factors and deputies, shal haue ful and free authoritie, libertie, facultie, licence and power to trade and trafique into and from all and euery of the saide dominions of the saide Grand Signior, and into, and from all places where, by occasion of the said trade, they shall happen to arriue or come, whether they be Christians, Turkes, Gentiles or other, and into, and from all Seas, riuers, ports, regions, territories, dominions, coastes, and places with their ships, barks, pinnesses and other vessels, and with such mariners and men, as they will lead with them or send for the said trade, as they shall thinke good at their owne proper cost and expenses, any law, statute, vsage, or matter whatsoeuer to the contrary notwistanding. And that it shalbe lawful for the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, and to the person aforesaid, and to and for the mariners and seamen to bee vsed and employed in the said trade and voyage to set and place in the tops of their ships and other vessels the armes of England with the red crosse ouer the same, as heretofore, they haue vsed the red crosse, any matter or thing to the contrary notwithstanding.
And we of our further royall fauor, and of our especiall grace, certaine knowledge and meere motion haue graunted, and by these presents doe graunt to the said Edward Osburne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, their executors and administrators by these presents, that the said lands, territories, and dominions of the said Grand Signior, or any other of them, shall not be visited, frequented, nor haunted by way of marchandise by any other our subiects during the said terme, contrary to the true meaning of these patents.
And by vertue of our high prerogatiue royall (which wee will not haue argued or brought in question) we straightly charge and commaund, and prohibite for vs, our heires, and successours, all our subiects (of what degree or qualitie soeuer they be) that none of them directly, or indirectly, do visite, haunt, frequent or trade, trafique, or aduenture by way of marchandise into, or from any of the Dominions Of the saide Grand Signior, or other places aboue sayde by water or by lande (other then the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, their executours or administrators, or such as shalbe admitted, and nominated as is aforesaide) without, expresse licence, agreement, and consent of the saide Gouernour, and company or the more part of them, whereof the said Gouernour alwayes to be one, vpon paine of our high indignation, and of forfeiture and losse, as well of the ship and shippes, with the furniture thereof, as also of the goods, marchandizes, and things whatsoeuer they be of those our Subiects which shall attempt, or presume to saile, trafigue, or aduenture, to or from any the dominions, or places abouesaid, contrary to the prohibition aforesaid: the one halfe of the same forfeiture to be to the vse of vs, our heires and successors, and the other halfe to the vse of the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, and the said companie, and further to suffer imprisonment during our pleasure, and such other punishment as to vs, for so high contempt, shal seeme meete and conuenient.
And further of our grace speciall, certaine knowledge and meere motion we haue condescended and graunted, and by these patents for vs, our heires and successors, doe condescend and graunt to the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, their executors and administrators, that we our heires and successors during the said terme, will not graunt liberty, licence or power to any person or persons whatsoeuer, contrary to the tenor of these our letters patents, to saile, passe, trade, or trafique into or from the said dominions of the said Grand Signior or any of them, without the consent of the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, and such as shalbe named or appointed as afore is said, or the most of them. And that if at any time hereafter during the said terme, the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, or the suruiuors of them, shal admit or nominate any of our subiects to be partners and aduenturers in the said trade to the number of 12. or vnder as afore is said, that, then we our heires and successors at the instance and petition of the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, or the suruiuors of them in our Chauncerie to be made, and vpon the sight of these presents, will grant and make to the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, of to the suruiuors of them, and to such persons as so shall be nominated or appointed by their speciall names, surnames, and additions as is aforesaid, new letters patents vnder the great seale of England in due forme of law with like agreements, clauses, prohibitions, prouisoes and articles (mutatis mutandis) as in these our letters patents are conteined, for, and during the residue of the said terme of seuen yeres then remaining vnexpired. And that the sight of these presents shalbe sufficient warrant to the Lord Chancellour, or Lord keeper of the great seale for the time being, for the making, sealing and passing of such new letters patents, without further writ or warrant for the same to be required, had, or obtained.
And the said Edward Osburne, Thomas Smith, and Richard Staper, and William Garret and such others as shalbe so nominated or appointed, as is aforesaid, to be of their trade or companie; shall yeerely during 6. of the last yeres of the said 7. yeres, lade out of this our Realme, and bring home yeerely, for, and in the feate and trade of marchandizing aforesaid, so much goods and marchandizes, as the custome, and subsidie inwards and outwards, shall amount in the whole to the summe of 500. li. yeerely. So that the said Edward Osburne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret and the said persons so to be nominated as is aforesaid, or any of them, or their ship or shippes be not barred, stayed, restrained or let by any reasonable occasion from the saide trade or trafique, and so that the said ship or ships do not perish by any misfortune, or bee spoyled by the way in their voyage.
And further, the said Edward Osborne; Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, and such others as shall be appointed as aforesaide to be of their said trade or Company, shall giue notice vnto the Lord Admirall of England, or to some of the principall officers of the Admiraltie for the time being, of such ship or shippes as they shall set foorth in the same voyage, and of the number of Mariners appointed to goe in the same ship or shippes, by the space of fifteene dayes before the setting or going foorth of the same ship or shippes. And also the said Edward Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper and William Garret, and such other as shall be by them the saide Edward and Richard, nominated to be of the said trade, shall and will at the setting foorth of their ship, or shippes, for the same voyage, permit and suffer the Master of the Ordinance of vs, our heires and successors, or some others, our or their principall officers of the Ordinance, to take a view of the number and quantitie of such Ordinance, power, and munition as shall be caried in the said ship, or shippes, and shall also at the returne of the same ship, or shippes, suffer a view to be taken, and vpon request made, make an accompt to the saide officers of our Ordinance, of the expenses, and wastes of the said Ordinance, power, and munition, so to bee caried in the same ship, or shippes.
Prouided alwayes, that if any of the said trade or Company, or their seruants, factors, or sailers, in any ship by them laden, shall commit any piracie or outrage vpon the seas, and that, if the said Company or societie shall not, or do not, within reasonable time, after complaint made, or notice giuen to the said Company, or to any of them, either satisfie or recompense the parties that so shall fortune to be robbed, or spoiled by any of the said Company, or sailers, in the said ships, or else shall not do their endeuour to the vttermost oftheir reasonable power, to haue the parties so offending punished for the same their offences, that then, and from thencefoorth, these present letters patents shall be vtterly voyd, cease, and determine.
Prouided likewise, that if it shall hereafter appeare vnto vs, our heires, or successors that this grant, or the continuance thereof in the whole, or in any part thereof, shall not be profitable to vs, our heires, our successors, or to this our Realme, that then, and from thencefoorth, vpon, and after one full yeeres warning, to be giuen vnto the said Company, or to the Gouernour thereof, by vs, our heires or successors, this present grant shall cease, be voyd, and determine, to all intents, constructions, and purposes.
Prouided also, that we, our heires and successors, from time to time, during the said 7. yeeres, may lawfully nominate, appoint, and authorise two persons, being fit men, to be of the saide company, and for want or lacke of them, two others to be aduenturers in the said trade, for such stocke and summe of money, as they shall put in, so that the said persons to bee nominated, or authorised, shall be contributorie to all charges of the said trade and aduenture indifferently, according to their stockes: and as other aduenturers of the said trade shall doe for their stockes, and so that likewise they doe obserue the orders of the said Company, allowable by this our graunt, and that such persons so to be appointed by vs, our heires or successors, shall and may, with the saide Company, and fellowship, vse the trade and feate of marchandise aforesaide, and all the liberties and priuileges herein before granted, according to the meaning of these our letters patents, any thing in these our letters patents contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
And further of our speciall grace, certaine knowledge, and meere motion, we haue condescended and granted, and by these presents for vs, our heires and successors, doe condescend, and grant to the said Edward Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, their executors, and administrators, that if at the ende of the said terme of seuen yeeres, it shall seeme meete, and conuenient vnto the saide Edward Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, or the suruiuer of them, that this present grant shall be continued: and if that also it shall appeare vnto vs, our heires, or successors, that the continuance thereof shall not be preiudiciall, or hurtfull to this our Realme, that then we, our heires, or successors, at the instance and petition of the said Edward Osborne, Thomas Smith, Richard Staper, and William Garret, or the suruiuor of them, to be made to vs, our heires, or successors, wil grant and make to the said Edward, Thomas, Richard and William, or the suruiuor of them, and to such other persons, as so shall be by the said Edward and Richard nominated and appointed, new letters patents, vnder the great seale of England, in due forme of lawe, with like couenants, grants, clauses, and articles, as in these presents are contained, or with addition of other necessary articles, or change of these, in some part, for and during the full terme of seuen yeeres then next following. Willing, and straightly commanding, and charging all and singuler our Admirals, Viceadmirals, Justices, Maiors, Sheriffes Escheaters, Constables, Bailiffes, and all and singuler our other officers, ministers, liege men, and subiects whatsoeuer, to be aiding, fauouring, helping, and assisting vnto the said Gouernour, and company, and their successors, and to their Deputies, officers, seruants, assignes, and ministers, and euery of them, in executing and enioying the premisses, as well on land as on sea, from time to time, and at all times when you, or any of you, shall be thereunto required, any statute, act, ordinance, prouiso, proclamation, or restraint heretofore had, made, set forth, ordained, or prouided, or any other matter, cause or thing to the contrary, in any wise notwithstanding.
In witnesse whereof we haue caused these our letters to be made patents, witnesse our selfe, at Westminster, the 11. day of September, in the 23. yeere of our raigne.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55