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Editor’s note: The following are essential historical sources that, by granting Letters Patent to John Cabot, Letters Patent to Sir Humfrey Gylberte, and Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh, worked hand-in-glove with Vatican papal bulls of the 1400s and early 1500s to further the ancient principle of Christian dominion and a distinction between paramount rights of “Christian people” and subordinate rights of “heathens” or non-Christians. For John Cabot, see page 219 into page 220 of Elements of International Law: With a Sketch of the History of the Science (Wheaton, first published: 1836).
THE FEDERAL AND STATE
CONSTITUTIONS
COLONIAL CHARTERS, AND OTHER
ORGANIC LAWS
OF THE
STATES, TERRITORIES, AND
COLONIES
NOW OR HERETOFORE FORMING
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Compiled and Edited
under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906
By
FRANCIS NEWTON THORPE, Ph. D., LL. D.
Member of the Pennsylvania Bar; Fellow and Professor of American Constitu-
tional History at the University of Pennsylvania, 1885-1898; Member of the
American Historical Association; Author of The Constitutional History
of the United States, 1765-1895; A (State) Constitutional History of
the American People, 1776-1850; A Short Constitutional History
of the United States; A (Social and Economic) History of the
American People; A History of the Civil War; Editor of the
History of North America, Volumes IX, XV, XVI, XVIII,
XIX, XX; Author of The Government of the People of the
United States; Benjamin Franklin and the University
of Pennsylvania; The Life of William Pepper, etc.
VOL. I
United States—Alabama—District of Columbia
WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
1909
Image Copy: Title Page
page 45, page 46, page 47
Hypertext
Internet Archive Copy: Title Page
Latin+English: page 45, page 46, page 47
local PDF copy

LETTERS PATENT TO JOHN CABOT

1496, March 5, Letters Patent of King Henry VII

Pro Johanne Caboto & Filiis suis super Terra Incognita Investiganda

Rex omnibus, ad quos &c. Salutem.

Notum sit et manifestum quòd Dedimus & Concessimus, ac per Præsentes Damus & Concedimus, pro Nobis & Hæredibus nostris, Dilectis Nobis Johanni Cabotto Civi Venetiarum, ac Lodovico, Sebastiano, & Sancto, Filiis dicti Johannis, & eorum ac cujuslibet eorum Hæredibus & Deputatis, plenam ac liberam Auctoritatem, Facultatem & Protestatem Navigandi ad omnes Partes, Regiones, & Sinus Maris Orientalis Occidentalis, & Septentrionalis, sub Banneris Vexillis & Insigniis nostris, cum Quinque Navibus sive Navigiis, cujuscumque Portituræ & Qualitatis existant, & cum tot & tantis Nautis & Hominibus, quot & quantis in dictis Navibus secum ducre voluerint, suis & eorum propriis Sumptibus & Expensis.

Ad inveniendum, Discooperiendum & Investigandum quascumque Insulas, Patrias, Regiones sive Provincias Gentilium & Infidelium, in quacumque Parte Mundi prositas, quæ Christianis omnibus ante hæc tempora fuerunt incognitæ.

Concessimus etiam eisdem & eorum cuilibet, eorumque & cujuslibet eorum Hæredibus & Deputatis, ac Licentiam dedimus Affigendi prædictas Banneras nostras & Insignia in quacumque Villa, Oppido, Castro, Insula seu Terra firma a se noviter inventis.

Et quòd prænominati Johannes & Filii ejusdem, seu Hæredes & eorum Deputati quibuscumque hujusmodi Villas, Castra, Oppida & Insular a se inventas, quæ Subjugari, Occupari & Possideri possint, Subjugare, Occupare & Possidere valeant, tanquam Vasalli nostri & Gubernatores, Locatenentes & Deputati eorumdem, Dominium Titulum & Jurisdictionem eorumdem Vallarum, Castrorum, Oppidorum, Insularum, ac Terræ firmæ sic inventarum, Nobis acquirendo;

Ita tamen ut ex omnibus Fructubus, Proficuis, Emolumentis Commodis, Lucris & Obventionibus, ex hujusmodi Navigatione provenientibus, præfati Johannes & Filii, ac Hæredes & eorum Deputati teneantur & sint obligati Nobis, pro omno Viagio suo, totiens quotiens ad Portum nostrum Bristolliæ applicuerint, ad quem omninò applicare teneantur & sint astricti, deductis omnibus Sumptibus & Impensis necessariis per eosdem factis, Quintam Partem totius Capitalis Lucri sui facti sive in Mercibus sive in Pecuniis persolvere;

Dantes Nos & Concendentes eisdem suisque Hæredibus & Deputatis ut ab omni Solutione Custumarum omnium & singulorum Bonorum ac Mercium, quas secum report arint ab illis Locis sic noviter inventis, Liberi sint & Immunes.

Et insuper Dedimus & Concessimus Eisdem ac suis Hæredibus & Deputatis, quòd Terræ omnes Firmæ, Insulæ, Villæ, Oppida, Castra, & Loca quæcumque, a se inventa, quotquot ab eis inveniri Edition: current; Page: [46] contigerit non possint ab aliis quibusvis nostris Subditis frequentari seu visitari, absque Licentia prædictorum Johannis & ejus Filiorum, suorumque Deputatorum, sub Pœna Amissionis tàm Navium sive Navigiorum quàm Bonorum omnium quorumcumque ad ea Loca sic inventa Navigare præsumentium;

Volentes & strictissimè Mandantes omnibus & singulis nostris Subditis, tàm in Terra quàm in Mare constitutis, ut præfacto Johanni & ejus Filiis ac Deputatis bonam Assistentiam faciant, & tàm in Armandis Navibus seu Navigiis quàm in Provisione Commeatûs & Victualium pro sua Pecunia emendorum, atque aliarum Rerum sibi providendarum, pro dictâ Navigatione sumendarum, suos omnes Favores & Auxilia impartiantur.

In cujus &c.

Teste Rege apud Westmonasterium, quinto die Martii.

Per ipsum Regem.

Rymer’s Fœdera, Vol. XII., pp. 595, 596.

Also, H. Harisen, John Cabot the Discoverer of North America, p. 313.


The Letters patents of King Henry the seuenth granted vnto Iohn Cabot and his three sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius for the the discouerie of new and vnknowen lands.*

HEnry, by the grace of God, king of England and France, and lord of Ireland, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting.

Be it knowen that we haue giuen and granted, and by these presents do giue and grant for vs and our heires, to our welbeloued Iohn Cabot citizen of Venice, to Lewis, Sebastian, and Santius, sonnes of the sayd Iohn, and to the heires of them, and euery of them, and their deputies, full and free authority, leaue, and power to saile to all parts, countreys, and seas of the East, of the West, and of the North, vnder our banners and ensignes, with fiue ships of what burthen or quantity soeuer they be, and as many mariners or men as they will haue with them in the sayd ships, vpon their owne proper costs and charges, to seeke out, discouer, and finde whatsoeuer isles, countreys, regions or prouinces of the heathen and infidels whatsoeuer they be, and in what part of the world soeuer they be, which before this time haue bene vnknowen to all Christians: we haue granted to them, and also to euery of them, the heires of them, and euery of them, and their deputies, and haue giuen them licence to set vp our banners and ensignes in euery village, towne, castle, isle, or maine land of them newly found. And that the aforesayd Iohn and his sonnes, or their heires and assignes may subdue, occupy and possesse all such townes, cities, castles and isles of them found, which they can subdue, occupy and possesse, as our vassals, and lieutenants, getting vnto vs the rule, title, and iurisdiction of the same villages, townes, castles, & firme land so found. Yet so that the aforesayd Iohn, and his sonnes and heires, and their deputies, be holden and bounden of all the fruits, profits, gaines, and commodities growing of such nauigation, for euery their voyage, as often as they shall arriue at our port of Bristoll (at the which port they shall be bound Edition: current; Page: [47] and holden onely to arriue) all maner of necessary costs and charges by them made, being deducted, to pay vnto vs in wares or money the fift part of the capitall gaine so gotten. We giuing and granting vnto them and to their heires and deputies, that they shall be free from all paying of customes of all and singular such merchandize as they shall be free from all paying of customes of all and singular they shall bring with them from those places so newlie found.

And moreouer, we haue giuen and granted to them, their heires and deputies, that all the firme lands, isles, villages, townes, castles and places whatsoeuer they be that they shall chance to finde, may not of any other of our subjects be frequented or visited without the licence of the foresayd Iohn and his sonnes, and their deputies, vnder payne of forfeiture as well of their ships as of all and singular goods of all them that shall presume to saile to those places so found. Willing, and most straightly commanding all and singular our subjects as well on land as on sea, appointed officers, to giue good assistance to the aforesaid Iohn, and his sonnes and deputies, and that as well in arming and furnishing their ships or vessels, as in prouision of quietnesse, and in buying of victuals for their money, and all other things by them to be prouided necessary for the sayd nauigation, they do giue them all their helpe and fauour. In witnesse whereof we haue caused to be made these our lettres patents. Witnesse our selfe at Westminister, the fift day of March, in the eleuenth yeere of our reigne.—

SECOND CABOT PATENT

REFERENCES

Letters Patent. February 3, 1498.
Latin text in Harrise, John and Sebastian Cabot. (1896.) pp. 393, 394.
In English—
Harrise, Jean and Sebastian Cabot. (Paris, 1882.) pp. 327, 328.
Biddle, Richard. A Memoir of Sebastian Cabot. (Phila., 1831.) pp. 74, 75.
Beazley, John and Sebastian Cabot. pp. 95, 96.

LETTERS PATENT TO SIR HUMFREY GYLBERTEa

June 11, 1578

Elizabeth by the grace of God Queene of England, &c. To all people to whom these presents shall come, greeting.

Know ye that of our especiall grace, certaine science and meere motion, we have given and granted, and by these presents for us, our heires and successours, doe give and graunt to our trustie and welbeloved servaunt Sir Humphrey Gilbert of Compton, in our castle of Devonshire Knight, and to his heires and assignes for ever, free libertie and licence from time to time, and at all times for ever hereafter, to discover, finde, search out, and view such remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countreys and territories not actually possessed of any Christian prince or people, as to him, his heirs & assignes, and to every or any of them, shall seeme good: and the fame to have, hold, occupie and enjoy to him, his heires and assignes for ever, with all commodities, iurisdictions, and royalties both by sea and land; and the said sir Humfrey and all such as from time to time by licence of us, our heiress and successours, shall goe and travell thither, to inhabite or remaine there, to build and fortifie at the discretion of the sayde Sir Humfrey, and of his heires and assignes, the statutes or actes of Parliament made against Fugitives, or against such as shall depart, remaine or continue out of our Realme of England without licence, or any other acte, statute, lawe or matter whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. And wee doe likewise by these presents, for us, our heires and successours, give full authoritie and power to the saide Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and every of them, that hee and they, and every of any of them, shall and may at all and every time and times hereafter, have, take and lead in the same voyages, to travell thitherward, and to inhabite there with him, and every or any of them, such and so many of our subjects as shall willingly accompany him and them, and every or any of them, with sufficient shipping and furniture for their transportations, so that none of the same persons, nor any of them be such as hereafter shall be specially restrained by us, our heires and successors. And further, that he the said Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and every or any of them shall have, hold, occupy and enjoy to him, his heires and assignes, and every of them for ever, all the soyle of all such lands, countries, & territories so to be discovered or possessed as aforesaid, and of all Cities, Castles, Townes and Villages, and places in the same, with the rites, royalties and Edition: current; Page: [50] jurisdictions, as well marine as other, within the sayd lands or countreys of the seas thereunto adjoyning, to be had or used with ful power to dispose thereof, & of every part thereof in fee simple or otherwise, according to the order of the laws of England, as near as the same conveniently may be, at his, and their will & pleasure, to any person then being, or that shall remaine within the allegiance of us, our heires and successours, paying unto us for all services, dueties and demaunds, the fift part of all the oare of gold and silver, that from time to time, and at all times after such discoverie, subduing and possessing shall be there gotten: all which kands, countreys and territories, shall for ever bee holden by the said Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes of us, our heires and successors by homage, and by the sayd payment of the sayd fift part before reserved onely for all services.

And moreover, we doe by these presents for us, our heires and successours, give and graunt licence to the sayde Sir Humfray Gilbert, his heires or assignes, and to every of them, that hee and they, and every or any of them shall, and may from time to time, and all times for ever hereafter, for his and their defence, encounter, expulse, repell and resift, as well by Sea as by land, and by all other wayes whatsoever, all and every such person and persons whatsoever, as without the special licence and liking of the sayd Sir Humfrey, and of his heires and assignes, shall attempt to inhabite within the sayd countreys, or any of them, or within the space of two hundreth leagues nerre to the place or places within such countreys as aforesayd, if they shall not bee before planted or inhabited within the limites aforesayd, with the subjects of any Christian prince, being amitie with her Majesty, where the said sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or his, or their or any of their associates or companies, shall within sixe yeeres next ensuing, make their dwellings and abidings, or that shall enterprise or attempt at any time hereafter unlawfully to annoy either by Sea or land, the said sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or his, or their, or any of their companies: giving and graunting by these presents, further power and authorite to the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and every of them from time to time, and at all times for ever hereafter to take and surprise by all maner of meanes whatsoever, all and every person and persons, with their shippes, vessels, and other goods and furniture, which without the licence of the sayd sir Humfrey, or his heires or assignes as aforesayd, shall bee found traffiquing into any harborough or harboroughs creeke or creekes within the limites aforesayde, the subjects of our Realmes and dominions, and all other persons in amitie with us, being driven by force of tempest or shipwracke onely excepted, and those persons and every of them with their ships, vessels, goods, and furniture, to detaine and possesse, as of good and lawful prize, according to the discretion of him the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and of every or any of them. And for uniting in more perfect league and amitie of such countreys, landes and territories so to bee possessed and inhabited as aforesayde, with our Realmes of England and Ireland, and for the better encouragement of men to this enterprise: wee doe by these presents graunt, and declare, that all such countreys so hereafter to bee possessed and inhabited as aforesayd, from thencefoorth shall bee of the allegiance of us, our heires, and successours. And wee Edition: current; Page: [51] doe graunt to the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and to all and every of them, and to all and every other person and persons, being of our allegiance, whose names shall be noted or entred in some of our courts of Record, within this our Realme of England, and that with the assent of the said sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, shall nowe in this journey for discoverie, or in the second journey for conquest hereafter, travel to such lands, countries and territories as aforesaid, and to their and every of their heires: that they and every or any of them being either borne within our sayd Realmes of England or Ireland, or within any other place within our allegiance, and which hereafter shall be inhabiting within any the lands, countreys and territories, with such licence as aforesayd, shall and may have, and enjoy all the priveleges of free denizens and persons native of England, and within our allegiance: any law, custome, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.

And forasmuch, as upon the finding out, discovering and inhabiting of such remote lands, countreys and territories, as aforesayd, it shall be necessarie for the safetie of all men that shall adventure themselves in those journeys or voiages, to determine to live together in Christian peace and civil quietnesse each with other, whereby every one may with more pleasure and profit, enjoy that whereunto they shall attaine with great paine and perill: wee for us, our heires and successours are likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents doe give and graunt to the sayd sir Humfrey and his heires and assignes for ever, that he and they, and every or any of them, shall and may, from time to time, for ever hereafter within the sayd mentioned remote lands and countreys, and in the way by the Seas thither, and from thence, have full and meere power and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, governe and rule by their, and every or any of their good discretions and policies, as well in causes capitall or criminall, as civill, both marine and other, all such our subjects and others, as shall from time to time hereafter adventure themselves in the sayd journeys or voyages habitative or possessive, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite any such lands, countreys or territories as aforesayd, or that shall abide within two hundred leagues of any sayd place or places, where the sayd sir Humfrey or his heires, or assignes, or any of them, or any of his, or their associats or companies, shall inhabite within sixe yeers next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes and ordinances, as shall be by him the said sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, or every, or any of them, devised or established for the better governement of the said people as aforesayd: so alwayes that the sayd statutes, lawes and ordinances may be as neere as conveniently may, agreeable to the forme of the lawes & pollicy of England: and also, that they be not against the true Christian faith or religion now professed in the Church of England, nor in any wise to withdraw any of the subjects or people of those lands or places from the allegiance of us, our heires or successours, as their immediate Soveraignes under God. And further we do by these presents for us, our heires and successours, give and graunt full power and authority to our trustie and well-beloved counsellor, sir William Cecill Knight, lord Burleigh, our high treasurer of England, and to the lord treasurer of England of us, for the time being, and to the privie counsell of us, our heires and successours, or Edition: current; Page: [52] any foure of them, for the time being that he, they, or any foure of them, shall, and may from time to time, and at all times hereafter, under his or their handes or seales by vertue of these presents, authorize and licence the sayd sir Humfrey Gilbert, his heires and assignes, and every or any of them by him and themselves, or by their or any of their sufficient atturneys, deputies, officers, ministers, factors and servants, to imbarke and transport out of our Realmes of England and Ireland, all, or any of his or their goods, and all or any of the goods or his or their associates and companies, and every or any of them, with such other necessaries and commodities of any of our Realmes, as to the said lord treasurer or foure of the privie counsell of us, our heires, or successours for the time being, as aforesayd, shall be from time to time by his or their wisedoms or discretions thought meete and convenient for the better reliefe and supportation of him the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and every or any of them, and his and their, and every or any of their said associates and companies, any act, statute, lawe, or other thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

Provided alwayes, and our will and pleasure is, and wee doe hereby declare to all Christian Kings, princes and states, that if the said sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any other by their licence or appointment, shall at any time or times hereafter robbe or spoile by Sea or by land, or doe any act of unjust and unlawfull hostilitie to any of the Subjects of us, our heires, or successours, or any of the Subjects of any King, prince, ruler, governour or state being then in perfect league and amitie with us, our heires or successours: and that upon such injurie, or upon just complaint of any such prince, ruler, governour or state, or their subjects, wee, our heires or successours shall make open proclamation within any of the portes of our Realme of England commodious, that the said Sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any other to whom these our Letters patents may extend, shall within the terme to be limited by such proclamations, make such restitution and satisfaction of all such injuries done, so as both we and the said Princes, or others so complayning, may holde us and themselves fully contented: And if the saide Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, shall not make or cause to bee made satisfaction accordingly, within such time so to be limited; that then it shall be lawfull to us, our heires and successours, to put the said Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and adherents, and all the inhabitants of the said places to be discovered as is aforesaide, or any of them out of our allegiance and protection, and that from and after such time of putting out of protection the saide Sir Humfrey, and his heires, assignes, adherents and others so to be put out, and the said places within their habitation, possession and rule, shall be out of our protection and allegiance, and free for all princes and others to pursue with hostilitie as being not our Subjects, nor by us any way to be advowed, maintained or defended, nor to be holden as any of ours, nor to our protection, dominion or allegiance any way belonging, for that expresse mention, &c. In witnesse whereof, &c. Witnesse ourselfe at Westminster the 11, day of June, the twentieth yeere of our raigne. Anno Dom. 1578.

a Text in Sir Humfrey Gylberte and His Enterprise of Colonization in America. By Rev. Carlos Shafter. Publications of the Prince Society. (Boston, 1903.) pp. 95-102.

Per ipsam Reginam, &c.

CHARTER TO SIR WALTER RALEIGH—1584*a

Elizabeth by the Grace of God of England, Fraunce and Ireland Queene, defender of the faith, &c. To all people to whome these presents shall come, greeting.

Knowe yee that of our especial grace, certaine science, and meere motion, we haue given and graunted, and by these presents for us, our heires and successors, we giue and graunt to our trustie and welbeloued seruant Walter Ralegh, Esquire, and to his heires assignes for euer, free libertie and licence from time to time, and at all times for euer hereafter, to discouer, search, finde out, and view such remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countries, and territories, not actually possessed of any Christian Prince, nor inhabited by Christian People, as to him, his heires and assignes, and to euery or any of them shall seeme good, and the same to haue, holde, occupie and enjoy to him, his heires and assignes for euer, with all prerogatiues, commodities, jurisdictions, royalties, priuileges, franchises, and preheminences, thereto or thereabouts both by sea and land, whatsoeuer we by our letters patents may graunt, and as we or any of our noble progenitors haue heretofore graunted to any person or persons, bodies politique or corporate: and the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and all such as from time to time, by licence of us, our heires and successors, shall goe or trauaile thither to inhabite or remaine, there to build and fortifie, at the discretion of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, the statutes or acte of Parliament made against fugitiues, or against such as shall depart, remaine or continue out of our Realme of England without licence, or any other statute, acte, lawe, or any ordinance whatsoeuer to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.

And we do likewise by these presents, of our especial grace, meere motion, and certain knowledge, for us, our heires and successors, giue and graunt full authoritie, libertie and power to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and euery of them, that he and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may at all and euery time, and times hereafter, haue, take, and leade in the saide voyage, and trauaile thitherward, or to inhabit there with him, or them, and euery or any of them, such and so many of our subjects as shall willingly accompanie him or them, and euery or any of them to whom also we doe by these presents, giue full libertie and authority in that behalfe, and also to haue, take, and employ, and vse sufficient shipping and furniture for the Transportations and Nauigations in that behalfe, so that none of the same persons or any of them, be such as hereafter shall be restrained by us, our heires, or successors.

And further that the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and euery of them, shall haue holde, occupie, and enioye to him, his heires and assignes, and euery of them for euer, all the soile of all such lands, territories, and Countreis, so to bee discouered and possessed as aforesaide, and of all such Cities, castles, townes, villages, and places in the same, with the right, royalties, franchises, and iurisdictions, as well marine as other within the saide landes, or Countreis, or the seas thereunto adioyning, to be had, or used, with full power to dispose thereof, and of euery part in fee-simple or otherwise, according to the order of the lawes of England, as neere as the same conueniently may bee, at his, and their will and pleasure, to any persons then being, or that shall remaine within the allegiance of us, our heires, and successors: reseruing always to us our heires, and successors, for all seruices, duties, and demaundes, the fift part of all the oare of golde and siluer, that from time to time, and at all times after such discouerie, subduing and possessing, shal be there gotten and obtained: All which landes, Countreis, and territories, shall for euer be holden of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, of us, our heirs and successors, by homage, and by the said paiment of the said fift part, reserued onely for all services.

And moreouer, we doe by these presents, for us, our heires and successors, giue and graunt licence to the said Walter Ralegh, his heirs, and assignes, and euery of them, that he, and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may from time to time, and at all times for euer hereafter, for his and their defence, encounter and expulse, repell and resist as well by sea as by lande, and by all other wayes whatsoeuer, all, and every such person and persons whatsoeuer, as without the especiall liking and licence of the saide Walter Ralegh, and of his heires and assignes, shall attempt to inhabite within the said Countreis, or any of them, or within the space of two hundreth leagues neere to the place or places within such Countreis as aforesaide (if they shall not bee before planted or inhabited within the limits as aforesaide with the subjects of any Christian Prince being in amitie with us) where the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, or assignes, or any of them, or his, or their or any of their associates or company, shall within sixe yeeres (next ensuing) make their dwellings or abidings, or that shall enterprise or attempt at any time hereafter unlawfully to annoy, either by sea or lande, the saide Walter Ralegh, his heirs or assignes, or any of them, or his or their, or any of his or their companies: giuing, and graunting by these presents further power and authoritie, to the said Walter Ralegh, his heirs and assignes, and euery of them from time to time, and at all times for euer hereafter, to take and surprise by all maner of meanes whatsoeuer, all and euery those person or persons, with their shippes, vessels, and other goods and furniture, which without the licence of the saide Walter Ralegh, or his heires, or assignes, as aforesaide, shalbe founde trafiquing into any harbour, or harbors, creeke, or creekes, within the limits aforesaide, (the subjects of our Realms and Dominions, and all other persons in amitie with us, trading to the Newfound lands for fishing as heretofore they haue commonly used, or being driuen by force of a tempest, or shipwracke onely excepted:) and those persons, and euery of them, with their shippes, vessels, goods and furniture to deteine and possesse as of good and lawfull prize, according to the discretion of him the saide Edition: current; Page: [55] Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and euery, or any of them. And for vniting in more perfect league and amitie, of such Countreis, landes, and territories so to bee possessed and inhabited as aforesaide with our Realmes of Englande, and Ireland, and the better incouragement of men to these enterprises: we do by these presents, graunt and declare that all such Countreis, so hereafter to be possessed and inhabited as is aforesaide, from thencefoorth shall bee of the allegiance of vs, our heires and successours. And wee doe graunt to the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and to all, and euery of them, and to all and euery other person, and persons being of our allegiance, whose names shall be noted or entred in some of our Courtes of recorde within our Realme of Englande, that with the assent of the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, shall in his journeis for discouerie, or in the iourneis for conquest, hereafter traueile to such lands, countreis and territories, as aforesaide, and to their, and to euery of their heires, that they, and every or any of them, being either borne within our saide Realmes of Englande, or Irelande, or in any other place within our allegiance, and which hereafter shall be inhabiting within any the lands, Countreis, and territories, with such licence (as aforesaide) shall and may haue all the priuiledges of free Denizens, and persons natiue of England, and within our allegiance in such like ample maner and fourme, as if they were borne and personally resident within our saide Realme of England, any lawe, custome, or vsage to the contrary notwithstanding.

And for asmuch as upon the finding out, discouering, or inhabiting of such remote lands, countreis, and territories as aforesaid, it shal be necessary for the safetie of al men, that shal aduenture them selues in those iournies or voyages, to determine to liue together in Christian peace, and ciuil quietnes ech with other, whereby euery one may with more pleasure and profit enioy that whereunto they shall attaine with great paine and perill, we for vs, our heires and successors, are likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents do giue and graunt to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes for ever, that hee and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may from time to time for euer hereafter, within the said mentioned remote landes and Countreis in the way by the seas thither, and from thence, haue full and meere power and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, gouerne, and rule by their and euery or any of their good discretions and pollicies, as well in causes capital, or criminall, as ciuil, both marine and other, all such our subiects as shall from time to time aduenture themselves in the said iournies or voyages, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite any such landes, countreis, or territories as aforesaide, or shall abide within 200. leagues of any of the saide place or places, where the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any of his or their associates or companies, shall inhabite within 6. yeeres next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes and ordinances, as shall bee by him the saide Walter Ralegh his heires and assignes, and euery or any of them deuised, or established, for the better government of the said people as aforesaid. So always as the said statutes, lawes, and ordinances may be as neere as conueniently may be, agreeable to the forme of the lawes, statutes, governement, or pollicie of England, and also so as they be not against the true Christian faith, nowe professed in the Edition: current; Page: [56] Church of England, nor in any wise to withdrawe any of the subiects or people of those landes or places from the allegiance of vs, our heires and successours, as their immediate Soueraigne vnder God.

And further, wee doe by these presents for vs, our heires and successors, giue and graunt full power and authoritie to our trustie and welbeloued counsailer sir William Cicill knight, Lorde Burghley, our high Treasourer of England, and to the Lorde Treasourer of England, for vs, our heires and successors for the time being, and to the priuie Counsell, of us, our heirs and successours, or any foure or more of them for the time being, that hee, they, or any foure or more of them, shall and may from time to time, and at all times hereafter, vnder his or their handes or seales by vertue of these presents, authorise and licence the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and euery or any of them by him, and by themselues, or by their, or any of their sufficient Atturnies, deputies, officers, ministers, factors, and seruants, to imbarke and transport out of our Realme of England and Ireland, and the Dominions thereof all, or any of his, or their goods, and all or any the goods of his and their associats and companies, and euery or any of them, with such other necessaries and commodities of any our Realmes, as to the saide Lorde Treasourer, or foure or more of the priuie Counsaile, of vs, our heires and successors for the time being (as aforesaide) shalbe from time to time by his or their wisdomes, or discretions thought meete and conuenient, for the better reliefe and supportation of him the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and euery or any of them, and of his or their or any of their associats and companies, any acte, statute, lawe, or other thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

Provided alwayes, and our will and pleasure is, and wee do hereby declare to all Christian kings, princes and states, that if the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any other by their licence or appointment, shall at any time or times hereafter, robbe or spoile by sea or by lande, or do any acte of unjust or unlawful hostilitie, to any of the subjects of vs, our heires or successors, or to any of the subjects of any the kings, princes, rulers, governors, or estates, being then in perfect league and amitie with us, our heires and successors, and that upon such injury, or upon iust complaint of any such prince, ruler, governoir, or estate, or their subiects, wee, our heires and successours, shall make open proclamation within any the portes of our Realme of England, that the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and adherents, or any to whome these our letters patents may extende, shall within the termes to be limitted, by such proclamation, make full restitution, and satisfaction of all such injuries done, so as both we and the said princes, or other so complayning, may holde vs and themselues fully contented. And that if the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, shall not make or cause to be made satisfaction accordingly, within such time so to be limitted, that then it shall be lawfull to us our heires and successors, to put the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes and adherents, and all the inhabitants of the said places to be discouered (as is aforesaide) or any of them out of our allegiance and protection, and that from and after such time of putting out of protection the said Walter Ralegh, his heires, assignes and adherents, and others so to be put out, Edition: current; Page: [57] and the said places within their habitation, possession and rule, shal be out of our allegeance and protection, and free for all princes and others, to pursue with hostilitie, as being not our subiects, nor by vs any way to be auouched, maintained or defended, nor to be holden as any of ours, nor to our protection or dominion, or allegiance any way belonging, for that expresse mention of the cleer yeerely value of the certaintie of the premisses, or any part thereof, or of any other gift, or grant by vs, or any our progenitors, or predecessors to the said Walter Ralegh, before this time made in these presents be not expressed, or any other grant, ordinance, prouision, proclamation, or restraint to the contrarye thereof, before this time giuen, ordained, or prouided, or any other thing, cause, or matter whatsoeuer, in any wise notwithstanding. In witness whereof, we haue caused these our letters to be made patents. Witnesse our selues, at Westminster, the 25. day of March, in the sixe and twentieth yeere of our Raigne.

* Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, Third Series, VIII, 117. Hakluyt Society Publications, 1849.
a This charter constitutes the first step in the work of English colonization in America. Five voyages were made under it, but without success in establishing a permanent settlement.


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