In the early years of the seventeenth century Englishmen vigorously prosecuted the search for a North West Passage to the Pacific. The fabled wealth of India and Cathay beckoned to them as enticingly as it had attracted their sixteenth century predecessors. The foundation of the English East India Company in 1600n symbolized the determination of the late Elizabethans to share in this trade. This body, however, was determined to limit the Eastern commerce to its own members. All other English merchants, therefore, whether from London or the outports, were strictly debarred. The result was that those who were excluded were stimulated to find some new way to the Far East which would be free of Iberian interference and the arrogant pretentions of the East India Company.
C. M. MacInnes, last updated: 16th January 2015