The Smugglers' City
Department of History, University of Bristol


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A Petition from Bristol City Council to Lord Burghley for Freedom to Trade to the Levant, 1597

Source: Transcribed by: Vanes, J. (ed.), Documents Illustrating the Overseas Trade of Bristol in the Sixteenth Century, (Bristol Record Society Publications, Vol. XXXI, Kendal, 1979), No. 13, p. 37.
Manuscript: BL. Lansdowne MS. 84/24.

Righte honorable, our humble dewties remembred, whereas the
merchauntes of this Cittie are prohibited to sende their shippes to
Venice or to any place within the territories thereof or to Turkey or
Barberye in trade of merchandize, by reason that the merchauntes of
London have heretofore obtayned her Majesties lettres patentes
incorporatinge and aucthorizinge them only to traffique in those
partes, whereby the merchauntes heere, being barred of their
accustomed trade with Spayne and Porting all, are exceedinglie
hindrede and distressed, to the greate decaye and impoverishment of
this cittie, havinge verye small trade for the mayntenaunce of their
shippinge. Wee are therefore moved in this behalfe to become moste
humble suytors to your honour that your good lordshippe will
vouchesaffe to extende your honorable favoure towardes the
merchauntes of this cittie for their releif herein, and that by your
honorable meanes they maie obteyne libertie to traffique and sende
their shippes to any place within the Straightes. And that at their
retorne home they maie dischardge the same without payeinge any
impositions or exacions to the saied incorporated merchauntes of
London, and that the Customers of the portes heere maye receyve the
entryes of suche shipps and merchandizes as shall come from any of
the places aforesaide, the saide lettres pattentes graunted to the
merchauntes of London notwithstandinge. Wherein bothe wee and the
whole cittie shall most dewtifullie acknowledge your honours goodnes,
and soe moste humblie comende your honour to the most holie
protection of th' Almightye. Bristoll this xxth October, 1597,

Your honours moste humble at comaundmente,
John Webbe, Mayor
Thomas Aldworth, Alderman
Watar Stanfast, Alderman
Fraunces Knight, Alderman
Wyllyam Parphey, Alderman
William Ellys , Alderman

Endorsed: To the righte honourable our verye good lorde, the Lorde Heighe Treasorer of England.

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