In The First Extension Of English Commerce, In The Sixteenth Century,
Consequent Upon The Discoveries Of Western Africa, America, And The
Maritime Route To India, It Seems To Have Been Conceived That Exclusive
Chartered Companies Were Best Fitted For Its Effectual Prosecution.
spirit of enterprise in distant trade, which had for a century brought
large resources to Spain and Portugal, began to diffuse itself as a new
principle, in the rising commerce of England, during the long and able
administration of Queen Elizabeth.
Hence associations were beginning to
be formed, the joint credit of which was to support experiments for
extending the trade of the realm."
[Footnote 76: Ann. of the Honb. East India Co, I. 206.]
In the reign of Edward VI. a company was projected with this view; which
obtained a charter in 1553, from Philip and Mary, under the name of
Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Lands, Countries, Isles, &c.
not before known to the English. This company, of which Sebastian Cabot
was governor, in the last year of Queen Mary, had extended its trade
through Russia into Persia, to obtain raw silks, &c. In the course of
their proceedings, the agents of this company met with merchants from
India and China, from whom they acquired a knowledge of the productions
of these countries, and of the profits which might be derived from
extending the trade of England to these distant regions. In 1581,
Queen Elizabeth gave an exclusive charter to the Levant or Turkey
Company, for trading to the dominions of the Grand Signior or Emperor
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