When examined collectively the trade and colonization charters that Tudor and Stuart monarchs issued demonstrate a developing English conception of world order based on trade monopolies and not on ecclesiastical premises or on the Grotian notion of freedom of the seas. There were therefore three early modern conceptions of how an international order might be created, not one, all of which affected European trade with the Americas and Asia. They all began with the assumption that the discovery of the several new worlds required developing rules of engagement to reduce if not to eliminate conflict among the European nations engaged in overseas exploration, settlement, and trade. As Koen Stapelbroek has pointed out, understanding the role of legal notions in the actual historical creation and gradually evolving function of a new kind of commercial-political entity, requires a distinctly non-doctrinal focus.’
C. G. Roelofsen‘Grotius and the International Politics of the Seventeenth Century’ in Hugo Grotius and International Relationsed. Hedley Bull Benedict Kingsbury and Adam Roberts (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992) pp. 95–131 at pp. 111 114–116. The most extensive treatment of these meetings is: The Colonial Conferences between England and The Netherlands in 1613 and 1615 2 vols. ed. G. N. Clark and W. J. M. van Eysinga (Leiden: E. J. Brill 1940 1951).
NewcombPagans in the Promised Land p. 125. In fact the papal position was that the indigenous infidel peoples that the European encountered did legitimately possess the lands they occupied: see James Muldoon ‘John Wyclif and the Rights of the Infidels: The Requerimiento Re-examined’ The Americas 36(1980) 301–316 esp. 311–316: reprinted in Muldoon Canon Law the Expansion no. vi.
Letters Patent to John Cabot (1496) Thorpe Federal and State Constitutions i pp. 46–47 at p. 46. The language of the charter makes no claim that infidels have no right to hold their lands or that the English will acquire such lands by conquest.
Ibid. pp. 109–110. The reference to rivers creeks and so on is an interesting extension of the claim to have access by sea not only to the coast but to the interior of any land by waters connected to the sea as well. The same language is found in all of the charters discussed here with the exception of John Cabot’s. For the importance of this claim: see Lauren Benton A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires 1400–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010) pp. 44–45 57. On the claims to have a monopoly of the Baltic trade: see Klein p. 411.
Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh1584in Thorpe Federal and State Constitutions i pp. 53–57 at p. 54.
Levant Company p. 32.
Ibid. p. 33. On the importance of English trade with Venice: see Maria Fusaro Political Economies of Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean: The Decline of Venice and the Rise of England 1450–1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015).
Levant Company p. 36.
Ibid. p. 38.
Ibid. p. 42.
Newfoundland Company pp. 52–53.
Ibid. p. 53.
Ibid. p. 53.
Newfoundland Company p. 54.
Ibid. pp. 55–56.
Ibid. pp. 57–58.
Ibid. pp. 58–59.
Ibid. pp. 61–62.
Ibid. p. 100.
Ibid. p. 103; P. E. H. Hair and Robin Law ‘The English in Western Africa to 1700’ in: The Oxford History of the British Empire vol. 1 The Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century ed. by Nicholas Canny and Alaine Low (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998) pp. 241–263 at p. 251.
African Company p. 103.
J. H. ParryThe Discovery of the Sea (Berkeley: University of California Press1981) pp. 104 119; Benton Search for Sovereignty p. 45.