A Discourse of Western Planting, by Richard Hakluyt

Chap. XIII.

That hereby the revenewes and customes of Her Majestie, bothe outewarde and inwarde, shall mightily be inlarged by the toll, excises, and other dueties which withoute expression may be raysed.

The manifolde testimonies, verbatim alleaged by me in the thirde chapiter, of John Ribault, John Verarsanus, Stephen Gomes, Vasques de Coronado, Jaques Cartier, Gasper Corterialis, and others, which all were the discoverers of the coaste and inlande of America betwene 30 and 63 degrees, prove infallibly unto us that golde, silver, copper, perles, pretious stones, and turqueses, and emraldes, and many other commodities, have bene by them founde in those regions. To which testimonies I shoulde have added many more yf I had not feared to be tedious. Nowe the fyfte parte of all these aforenamed comodities cannot choose but amounte to a greate matter, beinge yerely reserved unto her Majestie, accordinge to the tenor of the patent graunted by King Henry the Seaventh in the xj’th. yere of his raigne to John Gabote and his three sonnes, Lewes, Sebastian, and Sancius; the wordes whereof it shoulde not be amisse here to sett downe, as they are printed in my booke of voyadges. These are the wordes: Ex omnibus fructibus, proficuis, emolumentis commodis, lucris, et obuentionibus ex huiusmodi nauigatione prouenientibus, prefatus Joannes et filij ac heredes et eorum deputati teneantur, et sint obligati nobis pro omni viagio suo toties quoties ad portum nostrum Bristolliæ applicuerint (ad quem omnino applicare teneantur et sint astricti), deductis omnibus sumptibus et impensis necessarijs per eosdem factis, quintam partem capitalis lucri facti, siue in mercibus, siue in pecuniis, persoluere.1

What gaines this imposition may turne unto the Crowne of England in shorte tyme wee may more then gesse, havinge but an eye to the Kinge of Spaines revenewes, which he nowe hath out of all his domynions in all the West Indies.

The like in all respectes may be saied of the revenewes of the Crowne of Portingale, which, beinge of itselfe one of the smallest and poorest kingdomes of all Christendome, became in shorte space so riche and honourable soone after their entringe into their southesterne discoveries, traficques, and conquestes, that, before the deathe of their late younge kinge Sebastian, their embassadors woulde strive and chalenge for the chefest place with the embassadores of the greatest kinges of Christendome; as I have hearde it dyvers tymes spoken at Paris at my lordes table by men of greate honour and experience, in which citie moste princes and states of Christendome have their embassadors comonly resident.

To leave them and to come to our nation, I say that amonge other meanes to encrease her Majesties customes this shalbe one, especially that by plantinge and fortifieinge nere Cape Briton, what by the strengthe of our shipps beinge harde at hande, and bearinge the sway already amongest all nations that fishe at Newfoundelande, and what by the fortes that there may be erected and helde by our people wee shall be able to inforce them, havinge no place els to repaire unto so convenient, to pay us soche a contynual custome as shall please us to lay upon them; which imposition of twoo or three hundred shippes laden yerely with sondry sortes of fish, trane oyle, and many kyndes of furres and hides, cannot choose but amounte to a greate matter, beinge all to be levied upon straungers. And this not onely wee may exacte of the Spaniardes and Portingales, but also of the Frenche men, our olde and auncient enemyes. What shoulde I speake of the customes of the greate multitudes of course clothes, Welshe frise, and Irishe ruggs, that may be uttered in the more northerly partes of the lande amonge the Esquimawes of the Grande Bay, and amonge them of Canada, Saguynay, and Hochelaga, which are subjecte to sharpe and nippinge winters, albeit their somers be hotter moche then oures. Againe, the multitudes of small yron and copper workes, wherewith they are exceedingly delighted, wilt not a little encrease the customes, being transported oute of the lande. I omitt the rehersall of a thousande other trifinge wares, which, besides they may sett many women, children, and ympotent persons on worke in makinge of them, woulde also helpe to the encreasinge of the customes. Lastly, whatsoever kind of commodyties shoulde be broughte from thence by her Majesties subjectes into the realme, or be thither transported oute of the realme, cannot choose but inlarge the revenewes of the Crowne very mightely, and inriche all sortes of subjectes in generally.

1 Hakluyt here refers to his “Divers Voyages,” published in 1582.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55