Studies in English Commerce and Exploration in the Reign of Elizabeth

By Albert Lindsay Rowland; George Born Manhart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I THE FIRST STEPS

As far as we can find from the records, between the grant of privileges to Anthony Jenkinson in 1553 and the request of Edward Osborne for similar privileges in 1575, the trade to the eastern Mediterranean "was utterly discontinued and in maner quite forgotten as if it had never bene for the space of twenty yeares or more."1 That this should be literally true seems difficult to believe yet a painstaking search has revealed nothing to contradict Hakluyt's statement. Himself a contemporary, he clearly had unusual facilities for gathering his material, having access to manuscripts and an acquaintance with merchants, statesmen, and others of his time who had actual knowledge of the events of which he writes. Secondary writers have accepted Hakluyt's statement and scholars who have gone back to the original material have thrown no new light upon this puzzling point. To be sure, Scott, in his brief sketch of the history of the Levant Company in the second volume of his work on the joint-stock companies makes this statement, "The first mention of a company of Levant merchants occurs in 1567, when 'the governors,' William Gerrard and Rowland Hayward, issued instructions to their agents in that year."2 It happens,

____________________
1
The renuing of an ancient trade in the Levant seas; Hakluyt, vol. V, p. 168.
2
The Cottonian MSS. quoted in "The Constitution and Finance of English, Scottish and Irish Joint-Stock Companies to 1720" vol. II, W. R. Scott, Cambridge Press, 1910.

-3-

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