A Discourse of Western Planting, by Richard Hakluyt

Chap. II.

That all other Englishe trades are growen beggerly or daungerous, especially daungerous in all the Kinge of Spayne his domynions, where our men are dryven to flinge their bibles and prayer bookes into the sea, and to forsweare and renounce their relligion and conscience, and consequently their obedience to her Majesty.

Wee are nowe to consider the qualitie and condition of all the trades which at this day are frequented by our nation. And firste, to begynne southwarde, and so come to the northe; leavinge Bresill and Guynea where wee have little to doe, let us firste speake of our trade in Barbarie. Barbary If any of our shippes tradinge thither be dryven upon the coaste of Spaine, and that proofe may be made that wee have bene there, they make it a very sufficient cause of confiscation of shippe and goodds, and so they thruste our men into the Inquisition, chardging them that they bringe armour, munition, and forbidden merchandize to strengthen the infidells againste these partes of Christendome; which thinge is comitted to printe and confessed by all our marchants tradinge thither. And thoughe our men escape the Spaniardes tyrannie, yet at the deathe of the prince in Barbary, all our mennes goodds there are subjecte to the spoile, the custome of the contrie permitting the people to robbe and rifle until another kinge be chosen, withoute making any kinde of restitution. Besides that inconvenience, the traficque groweth daily to worse termes then heretofore. I omytt to shewe here howe divers have bene undon by their servauntes which have become renegadoes, of whome by the custome of the contrie their masters can have no manner of recovery, neither call them into justice.1

The Domynions of the Kinge of Spayne. In all the Kinge of Spaines domynions our men are either inforced with wounded consciences to playe the dissemblinge hipocrites, or be drawen to mislike with the state of relligion mainteyned at home, or cruelly made away in the Inquisition. Moreouer, he being our mortall enemye, and his empire of late beinge increased so mightely, and our necessitie of oiles and colours for our clothinge trade being so greate, he may arreste almoste the one halfe of our navye, our traficque and recourse being so greate to his domynions.

For the new trade in Turky, besides the greate expences in mayneteyninge a kind of embassador at Constantinople, and in sendinge of presentes to Selym the Graunde Segnior, and to divers of his insatiable bassoes, our marchantes are faine with large rewardes to gratifie the Knightes of Malta, in whose daunger their shippes must often passe. Moreover that trade is so moche to the detrymente of the State of Venice, and all the other States of Italie, that they are dayly occupied in seekinge howe they may overthrow the same. Neither is it the leaste incomoditie that our shippes are contynually assaulted by the corsaries and pirates and gallies of Algiers, by which they had a rich shippe, called the Mary Martin, soncke this yere; and the last yere another was taken at Trypoly in Barbary, and the master with another hanged, and the reste made slaves. Besides, the barke Reynoldes was arrested at Malta, and at lengthe with moche adoe delivered.2

France. To leave the Levant and to come to France, the traficque there of myne owne knowledge3 is growen to such decaye, partely by the impositions and taxes which are daily devised by the kinges partely by their subtil sleights and devices to confiscate our clothes for insufficient workemanshippe, and partely by their owne labour in makinge more and better clothe then heretofore they were accustomed, that our men for the moste parte are wearye of the contrie, and some of them utterly undone by their subtill and unconcionable wranglinge. Flaunders. As for all Flaunders and the Lowe Contries, these eightene yeres moste cruell civill warres have so spoiled the traficque there, that there is nothinge but povertie and perill, and that which is worse, there is no hope of any spedy amendemente.

Estlande. To come to the Esterlinges and the trades with the cities within the Sounde of Denmarke, they beinge deprived of the olde priviledges of the Stilliarde here in London, have not only offred our men at home many injuries in their cities, but seeke all the meanes they can devise wholy to cutt of all our occupienge that way; and to the same purpose have lately cleane debarred our men of their accustomed and auncient priviledges in all their greate townes. Denmarke. Also the exactions of the Kinge of Denmarke at our passage in and oute by the Sounde to Lubecke, Danske, Elvinge, Rye, Revell, and the Narve, besides the power that he hath to arreste all our shippes within the Sounde at his pleasure, are twoo no small inconveniences and myschefes.

Russye. Our trade into Muscovye ys the laste, which was so chardgeable in the begynnynge, what with the coste of the discoverie, what with presentes to the Emperour, together with the disorderly dealinge of their factors, that it stoode them in fourscore thousande poundes before they broughte it to any goodd passe. And nowe after longe hope of gayne, the Hollanders, as also the men of Diepe, are entred into their trade by the Emperours permission; yea, whereas at the firste our men paid no custome, of late yeres, contrarie to their firste priviledge, they have bene urged to pay yt. Also the chardges of bringinge the Emperours embassador hither, and mayneteyninge him here, and the settinge furthe of her Majesties embassadour thither with presentes to the Emperour, lyenge all upon the poore marchantes neckes, is no easie burden unto their shoulders. And to encrease the some, the Kinge of Denmarke requireth a tribute of them, thoughe they touche not upon any of his domynions. And nowe the Emperour of Russia beinge late deade,4 yt is greately feared that the voyadge wilbe utterly ouerthrowen, or els become not worthe the contynuaunce.

Thus hauinge regarde unto the premisses, yt behoveth us to seeke some newe and better trade, of lesse daunger and more securitie, of lesse dammage, and of more advauntage; the rather to avoide the wilfull perjurie of suche of our Englishe nation as trade to Spaine and other of Kinge Phillipps domynions, where this oathe followinge ys usually ministred unto the master of our shippes. Firste, he willeth the master to make a crosse with his fore finger and his thombe, layenge one ouer the other crosswise. This beinge don, he saieth these wordes followinge: You shall sweare to speake the truthe of all thinges that shalbe asked of you, and yf you doe not, that God demaunde yt of you: and the Englishe master muste saye, Amen. You shall sweare by that crosse that you bringe no man in your shippe but suche as are goodd christians, and doe beleue as our Catholicke Churche of Rome dothe beleve. Nexte, that you bringe no manner of bookes but suche as are allowed by our Catholicke Churche of Rome; and that you use no manner of prayers but suche as are allowed by our Churche of Rome. What marchandize bringe you; suche and suche. We will and commaunde you and your companie to come on land to masse every Sonday and holy day, upon paine of discommunication. Then they open their chestes, and looke if the master and maryners bringe any bookes with them in their chests. This don, the officers that come with the preestes aske of the master and maryners chese, butter, befe, bacon, and candles, as beggers, and they give it to them for feare they have of them, and so they goe from the shippes with their walletts full of victualls. The master doth pay four ryalls of plate for the barke that bringeth them aboorde to visite them. Thus is wilfull perjurye permitted by the governours if they knowe it. Thus the covetous marchante wilfully sendeth headlonge to hell from day to day the poore subjectes of this realme. The marchant in England cometh here devoutly to the communyon, and sendeth his sonne into Spaine to here masse. These thinges are kepte secrete by the marchantes, and suche as depende upon the trade of marchandize are lothe to utter the same.

1 Master Wolfall was the name of the minister who accompanied Frobisher, (see vol. xii. of this edition, p. 81), and Master Francis Fletcher was with Drake in his voyage round the world in 1577–80. His notes of the voyage were republished by the Hakluyt Society in 1854.

2 See the accounts of Voyages to Barbary given in Vol. xi. of this Edition.

3 See Vol xi. of this Edition.

4 Hakluyt was chaplain to the English Ambassador in Paris for five years.


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