"And moreover, we haue giuen and granted to them, their heires and deputies, that all the firme lands, isles, villages, townes, castles and places whatsoever 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 John and his sonnes..."
The Letters Patents of King Henry VII
Granted unto John Cabot
March 5, 1496
The Letters Patents of King Henry the Seventh Granted unto John Cabot and his Three Sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian and Sancius for the the Discouerie of New and Unknowen 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 heiress to our welbeloued John Cabot citizen of Venice, to Lewis, Sebastian, and Santius, sonnes of the sayd John, 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 fine 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 whatsoever 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, towns, castle, isle, or maine land of them newly found. And'that the aforesayd John and his sonnes, or their heires and assignee 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 jurisdiction of the same villages, townes, castles, & firme land so found. Yet so that the aforesayd John, and his sonnes and heires, and their deputies, be holden and bounder of all the fruits, profits, gaines, and commodities growing of such navigation, for euery their voyage, as often as they shall arrine at our port of Bristoll (at the which port they shall be bound and holden onely to arrine) all maner of necessary costs and charges by them made, being deducted, to pay vnto vs in wares or money the lift part of the capital! gaine so gotten. We gluing and granting vnto them and to their heires and deputies, that they shall be free from all paying of customer of all and singular such merchandise 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 moreover, we haue giuen and granted to them, their heires and deputies, that all the firme lands, isles, villages, townes, castles and places whatsoever 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 John and his sonnes, and their deputies, vnder payee 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 John, and his sonnes and deputies, and that as well in arming and furnishing their ships or vessels, as in provision of quietnesse, and in buying of victuals for their money, and all other things by them to be provided necessary for the sayd naulgation, they do gine them all their helpe and fanour. 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 eleventh yeere of our reigne.
Letters Patent. March 5, 1496.
Compiled and Edited Under the Act of Congress of June 30, 1906 by Francis Newton Thorpe
Washington, DC - Government Printing Office, 1909.
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