DOI link for MERCHANT ADVENTURERS
MERCHANT ADVENTURERS book
The Hanseatic merchants alone were allowed to ship goods in their own vessels without payment of penal dues, when no English ships were available. While the Spaniards and Portuguese were discovering a New World and opening up a sea-route to the Indies, English merchants and shipowners were still absorbed in their struggle for a fair share in the distribution of English cloth to the continental markets. The fear of Spain checked his encouragement of oceanic exploration. Fear of the Hansa drove him to exempt the German merchants from most of the restrictions placed on foreign traders. The merchant service was still of immense importance as a second line of naval defence. Thus for military as well as commercial reasons, the encouragement of merchant shipping remained one of the chief objects of English policy. English merchants as a class rejoiced in their opportunity.