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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

Yet did not expressly forbid them


As

in these transactions attention was principally directed to the commerce in the products of the East Indies carried on through the medium of Turkish harbours, was it not to be expected that an attempt should be made to open direct communication with that country? The Dutch had already anticipated the English in that quarter; but Elizabeth was for a long time withheld by anxiety lest the negotiations for peace with Spain, which were just about to be opened, should be interrupted by such an enterprise. Yet under her government the company was formed for trading with the East Indies, to which, among other exceptional privileges, the right of acquiring territory was granted. It was only bound to hold aloof from those provinces which were in the possession of Christian sovereigns. We have seen how carefully in the peace which James I concluded with Spain everything was avoided which could have interrupted this commerce. James confirmed this company by a charter which was not limited to any particular time. And in the very first contracts which this company concluded with the great Mogul, Jehangir, they had the right bestowed on them of fortifying the principal factories which were made over to them. The native powers regarded the English as their allies against the Spaniards and Portuguese.

In the year 1612 Shirley, a former friend of Essex, who had been induced by the Earl himself to go to the East, and who had there formed a close alliance with

Shah Abbas, returned to England, where he appeared wearing a turban and accompanied by a Persian wife. He entrusted the child of this marriage to the guardianship of the Queen, when he again set off for Persia, in order to open up the commerce of England in the Persian Gulf.

But it was a still more important matter that the attempts which had been made under the Queen to set foot permanently on the other hemisphere could now be brought to a successful issue under King James. It may perhaps be affirmed that, so long as the countries were at open war, these attempts could not have been made, unless Spain had first been completely conquered. England could not resume her old designs until a peace had been concluded, which, if it did not expressly allow new settlements, yet did not expressly forbid them, but rather perhaps tacitly reserved the right of forming them. Under the impulse which the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot gave, I will not say to war, but certainly to continued opposition to Spain, the King bestowed on the companies formed for that purpose the charters on which the colonisation of North America was founded. The settlement of Virginia was again undertaken, and, although in constant danger of destruction from the opposition of warlike natives and the dissensions of its founders, yet at last by the union of strict law and personal energy it was quickened into life, and kindled the jealousy of the Spaniards. They feared especially that it would throw obstacles in the way of the homeward and outward voyages of their fleets.[363] Their hands, however, were tied by the peace: and we learn that when they made overtures for the marriage of the Prince of Wales with a Spanish Infanta, they proposed at the same time that this colony should be given up. But the Prince of Wales from the interest which he took in all maritime enterprises was just the man to exert himself most warmly in its behalf. Under his auspices a new expedition was equipped, which did not sail till after his death, and then materially contributed to secure the colony. Not without good reason have the colonists commemorated his name.


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