The Letters Patents graunted by Her Maiestie to Sir Humfrey Gilbert, knight, for the inhabiting and planting of our people in America.
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 mere motion, we haue giuen and granted, and by these presents for vs, our heires and successours, doe giue and graunt to our trustie and welbeloued seruant Sir Humfrey Gilbert of Compton, in our Countie of Deuonshire knight, and to his heires and assignes for euer, free libertie and licence from time to time and at all times for euer hereafter, to discouer, 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 and assignes, and to euery or any of them, shall seem good: and the same to haue, hold, occuppie and enioy to him, his heires and assignes for euer, with all commodities, iurisdictions and royalties both by sea and land: and the sayd sir Humfrey and all such as from time to time by licence of vs, our heires and successours shal goe and trauell 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 Fugitiues, 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 whatsoeuer to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. And wee doe likewise by these presents, for vs, our heires and successours, giue full authoritie and power to the saide Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and euery of them, that hee and they, and euery or any of the shall and may at all and euery time and times hereafter, haue, take, and lead in the same voyages, to trauell thitherward, and to inhabite there with him, and euery or any of them, such and so many of our subiects as shall willingly accompany him and them, and euery or any of them, with sufficient shipping, and furnitutre for their transportations, so that none of the same persons, nor any of them be such as hereafter shall be specially restrained by vs, our heires and successors. And further, that he, and the said Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and
— page 307 —euery or any one of them shall haue, hold, occupy and enioy to him, his heires, or assignes, and euery of them for euer, all the soyle of all such lands, countries, and territories so to be discouered or possessed as aforesaid, and of all Cities, Townes and Villages, and places, in the same, with the rites, royalties and iurisdictions, as well marine as other, within the sayd lands or countreys of the seas thereunto adioining, to be had or vsed with ful power to dispose thereof, and of euery part thereof in fee simple or otherwise, according to the order of the laws of England, as nere as the same conueniently may be, at his, and their will and pleasure, to any person then being, or that shall remaine within the allegiance of vs, our heires and successours, paying vnto vs, for all seruices, dueties and demaunds, the fift part of all the oare of gold and siluer, that from time to time, and at all times after such discouerie, subduing and possessing shall be there gotten: all which lands, countreys, and territories, shall for euer bee holden by the sayd Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes of vs, our heires and successours by homage, and by the sayd payment of the sayd fift part before reserued onely for all seruices.
And moreouer, we doe by those presents for vs, our heires and successours, giue and graunt licence to the sayde Sir Humfrey Gilbert, his heires or assignes, and to euery of them, that hee and they, and euery or any of them shall, and may from time to time and all times for euer hereafter, for his and their defence, encounter, expulse, repell, and resist, as well by Sea, as by land, and by all other ways whatsoeuer, all and euery such person and persons whatsoeuer, as without the speciall 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 neere to the place or places within such countreys as aforesayd, if they shall not be before planted or inhabited within the limites aforesayd, with the subiects of any Christian prince, being in amitie with her Maiesty, 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 vnlawfully to annoy either by Sea or land, the said sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, or any of them, or his or their, or any of their companies: giuing and graunting by these presents further power and authoritie to the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and
— page 308 —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 person and persons, with their shippes, vessels, and other goods and furniture, which without the licence of the said sir Humfrey, or his heires or assignes as aforesaysd, shall bee found traffiquing into any harborough or harboroughs, creeke or creekes within the limites aforesayde, (the subiects of our Realmes and dominions, and all other persons in amitie with vs, being driuen by force of tempest or shipwracke onely excepted) and those persons and euery of them with their ships, vessels, goods, and furniture, to detaine and possesse, as of good and lawfull prize, according to the discretion of him, the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and of euery or any of them. And for vniting in more perfect league and amitie of such countreys, lands 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 vs, our heires and successours. And wee doe graunt to the sayd sir Humfrey, 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 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 iourney for discouerie, or in the second iourney for conquest hereafter, trauel to such lands, countries and territories as aforesaid, and to their and euery of their heires: that they and euery 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 haue, and enioy all priuileges of free denizens and persons natiue of England, and within our allegiance: any law, custome, or vsage to the contrary notwithstanding.
And forasmuch, as vpon the finding out, discouering and inhabiting of such remote lands, couutreys and territories, as aforesayd, it shall be necessarie for the safetie of all men that shal aduenture themselues in those iourneys or voiages, to determine to liue together in Christian peace and ciuill quietnesse
— page 309 —each with other, whereby euery one may with more pleasure and profit, enioy that whereunto they shall attaine with great paine and perill: wee for vs, our heires and successours are likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents doe giue and graunt to the sayd sir Humfrey and his heires and assignes for euer, that he and they, and euery or any of them, shall and may from time to time for euer hereafter within the sayd mentioned remote lands and countreys, and in the way by the Seas thither, and from thence, haue full and mere 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 capitall or criminall, as ciuill, both marine and other, all such our subiects and others, as shall from time to time hereafter aduenture themselues in the sayd iourneys or voyages habitatiue or possessiue, 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 the 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 yeeres next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes and ordinances, as shall be by him the said sir Humfrey, his heires an assigned, or euery, or any of them deuised or established for the better gouernment of the said people as aforesayd: so alwayes that the sayd statutes, lawes and ordinances may be as neere as conueniently may, agreeable to the forme of the lawes and policy 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 subiects or people of those lands or places from the allegiance of vs, our heires or successours, as their immediate Soueraignes vnder God. And further we doe by these presents for vs, our heires and successours, giue and graunt full power and authority to our trustie and welbeloued counseller, sir William Cecill knight, lord Burleigh, our high treasurer of England, and to the lord treasurer of England of vs, for the time being, and to the priuie counsell of vs, our heires and successours, or 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, vnder his or their handes or seales by virtue of these presents, authorize and licence the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and euery or any of them by him and themselues,
— page 310 —or by their or any of their sufficient atturneys, deputies, officers, ministers, factors and seruants, to imbarke and transport out of our Realmes of England and Ireland, all, or any of his goods, and all or any the goods of his or their associates and companies, and euery or any of them, with such other necessaries and commodities of any our Realmes, as to the said lord treasurer or foure of the priuie connsell of vs, our heires, or successours for the time being, as aforesayd, shall be from time to time by his or their wisedomes or discretions thought meete and conuenient for the better reliefe and supportation of him the sayd sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, and euery or any of them, and his and their, and euery or any of their associates and companies, any act, statute lawe, or other thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
Prouided 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 ay 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 vniust and vnlawfull hostilitie to any of the Subiects of vs, our heires, or successours, or any of the Subiects of any King, prince, ruler, gouernour or state being then in perfect league and amitie with vs, our heires or successours: and that vpon such iniurie, or vpon iust complaint of any such prince, ruler, gouernour or state or their subiects, wee, our heires or successours shall make open proclamation within any the portes of our Realme of England commodious, that the said Sir Humfrey, his heires or assignes, or any other to whom those Letters patents may extend, shall within the terme to be limited by such proclamations, make full restitution and satisfaction of all such iniuries done, so that both we and the saide Princes, or others so complaining, may holde vs and themselues fully contended: And that if the saide Sir Humfrey, his heires and assignes, shall not make our cause to bee made satisfaction accordingly, within such time so to be limited: that then it shall bee lawfull to vs, 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 discouered as is aforesaid, or any of them out of our allegiance and protection, and that from and after such time of putting out of our protection the saide Sir Humfrey, and his heires, assignes adherents and others so to be
— page 311 —put out, and the said places within their habitation, possession and rule, shal be out of our protection and allegiance, and free for all princes and others to pursue such hostilities as being not our Subiects, nor by vs any way to bee aduowed, maintained or defended, nor to be holden as any of ours, nor to be 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 Iune, the twentieth yeere of our raigne. Anno Dom. 1578.
Per ipsam Reginam, &c.