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The Business of Slavery - Chapter 12

Enter Willoughby of Parham - The Courteen Association - The Guinea Company - Endnotes

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In Penson's sometimes confusing book on Caribbean developments, (for 17 February, 1646-1647) it is recorded mysteriously that "the authority of the proprietor of the Caribbean Islands was represented by the earl of Carlisle's lessee", Francis, fifth Baron Willoughby of Parham.
Lillian M. Penson, The Colonial Agents of the British West Indies: A Study in Colonial Administration mainly in the Eighteenth Century. Orig. 1924. London, Frank Cass and Co., reprint 1971., pp. 21-22.

"A pioneer of colonialism", fifth Baron Willoughby of Parham (1613/1614-1666), remarks Harlow, had an easily-provoked temper. He helped develop Carolina, the settlement of Surinam in 1651-1663 and first promoted planters being sent to Santa Lucia. "Lord Willoughby did more to extend the British Empire in West Indian regions that any other man of his time", which cost him more than £50,000. He left colonial property to his daughters Frances, Lady Brereton, and Elizabeth, a later Countess of Ranelagh. Willoughby sided with Parliament in the civil war, then the Royalists.
Davies, Royal Africa Company, index. GEC, Peerage, Ranelagh, p. 733; Wimbledon, p. 743, Note b; Winchilsea, p. 778; Willoughby, pp. 703ff; Coningsby p. 396; Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 50. See also various listings for Finch in DNB. Interesting genealogy on the Willoughby line concerning the Muscovy Company is available in Josef Hamel, England and Russia; comprising The Voyages of John Tradescant The Elder, Sir Hugh Willoughby, Richard Chancellor, Nelson and others, to the White Sea. London, Richard Bentley, 1854. (Translated by John Studdy Leigh)

Follows an impression of the descendants of one William Willoughby (d. 1 Jun 1601), sp: Elizabeth Hildyard (d. 1600)
2. William Willoughby third Baron of Parham, (b. 1584; d. 28 Aug 1617), sp: Frances Manners (b. 22 Oct 1588;m.4 Feb 1602;d.1643)
Caribbean governor 3. Francis Willoughby, fifth Baron Willoughby (b. 1613/1614; d. 24 Jul 1666), sp: Elizabeth Cecil (m. 1629; d.1661)
4. Elizabeth Willoughby, Countess Ranelagh (d. 1 Aug 1695), first wife of sp: Richard Jones, third Viscount Ranelagh (b. 8 Feb 1640; m. 28 Oct 1662; d. 5 Jan 1711/1712)
5. Elizabeth Jones, Countess Kildare (b. 1665; d. 10 Apr 1758), 5. Frances Jones, Countess Coningsby(d. 19 Feb 1714/1715), sp: Thomas Coningsby, Earl1 Coningsby, first Baron Coningsby (b. 1656; m. 23 Apr 1698; d. 1 May 1729)
4. Frances Willoughby, Lady Brereton (d. 12 Sep 1680), sp: William Brereton, third Baron Brereton (b. 1631; m. 1659; d. 17 Mar 1679/1680)
5. John Brereton, fourth Baron Brereton (b. 2 Dec 1659; d. 1718), sp: Mary Tipping (m.26 Jun 1686;d.Feb 1714/1715)
Also in this line are: the wealthy 5. Elizabeth Jones, second wife of sp: John Fitzgerald, 18th Earl Kildare, (b. 1661; m. 12 Jun 1684; d. 9 Nov 1707)
Also 4. Diana WilloughbyY (d.Mar 1648) first wife of sp: Turkey Company merchant/Levant trader Heneage Finch, third Earl Winchilsea (b. 1627; d. 28 Aug 1689)
Also Caribbean governor, 3. William Willoughby, sixth Baron Willoughby of Parham (b. 1616; d. 10 Apr 1673), sp: Anne Cary (b. 1615; m.1638; d. 1671)
4. Mary Willoughby (b. 16 Mar 1660; d. 1715), sp: Sir Beaumont Dixie, Bart2 (m. Jan 1652)
5. Sir Wolstan Dixie, sp: Rebecca Atkins (m. 10 Dec 1685; d. Dec 1744)
5. Beaumont Dixie, sp: Jane Eyre; 5. Rev (rector) John Bosworth Dixie; 5. Mary Dixie (b. 16 Mar 1660; d. 1715), sp: Charles Willoughby, tenth Baron Willoughby of Parham, (b. 6 Oct 1650; d. 9 Dec 1679)
Also in the line are: 4. George Willoughby, seventh Lord Willoughby of Parham (b. 18 Mar 1638/1639; d.1674), sp: Elizabeth Clinton (b. 12 Jan 1650/1651; m. 9 Oct 1666; d. 24 Dec 1679)
Unmarried 5. John Willoughby, Baron Willoughby of Parham (b. 16 Jul 1669; d. 1677)
5. Elizabeth Willoughby, sp: Hon. James Bertie, of Middlesex (d. 18 Oct 1735)
4. Charles Willoughby tenth Baron Willoughby of Parham (b. 6 Oct 1650; d. 9 Dec 1679), sp: Mary Dixie (b. 16 Mar 1660; d. 1715)
4. Resident at Barbados, John Willoughby ninth Baron Willoughby of Parham (b. 29 Dec 1643; d. Sep 1678), sp: Anne Bolterton, of Bermuda (d. 3 Oct 1683)
4. Frances Willoughby (b. 12 Nov 1642; d. 25 May 1714), sp: Charles Henry Kirkhoven, Earl Bellomont, Baron Wotton (c.1679;d.5 Jan 1682/1683), also spouse of: Henry Stanhope, Lord Stanhope
4. Katherine Willoughby (d. 14 May 1655), sp: Charles Cokayne, third Viscount Cullen (b. 15 Nov 1658; d. 30 Dec 1688)
5. Charles Cokayne, fourth Baron Cullen (b. 4 Jan 1686/1687; d. 6 Apr 1716), sp: Anne Warren (m. 11 Jul 1706)
4. Sir William Willughby of Selston, 4. Henry Willoughby
Also 3. Elizabeth Willoughby 3. Frances Willoughby (d. May 1648), second wife of sp: Sir Bulstrode Whitelock of Hounslow (b. 6 Aug 1605; m. 10 Nov 1634; d. 28 Jul 1675)


Willoughby gained his authority from Charles, Prince of Wales in 1647. (The Earl of Marlborough may also have had a role here, but if so, this also has not been well explained). Willoughby got from the Earl of Carlisle a 21-year lease of the Caribee Islands, with a post of Lt-General. He was also appointed by Charles II as governor of Barbados.
With the Restoration of 1660, Willoughby was again confirmed in his "possession" of the Caribees. He had a plantation named Parham at Surinam, which he had colonized in 1651, and later with Lawrence Hyde he was granted a patent over Surinam of 2 June, 1663.

News in July 2006: The history websites on this domain now have a companion website, and an updating website as well, on a new domain, at Merchant Networks Project, produced by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens (of London).

This new website (it is hoped) will become a major exercise in economic and maritime history, with much attention to London/British Empire and some attention to Sydney, Australia.



At some point, Carlisle and associated merchants despatched to St Kitts some emigrants, stores and ordnance (said to be from Scotland), and the first English colony in the Caribbean was launched. Courteen, not to be outdone, obtained the patronage of Lord Treasurer, James Ley, Earl of Marlborough, for the colony at Barbados, apparently unsuccessfully. But in 1627, a wholesale grant covering many islands had been bestowed on the lord chamberlain, Philip, Earl of Montgomery (the fourth Earl of Pembroke) and confusion resulted.
(This was James Ley, brother of John the Amazon explorer. The third Earl Marlborough continued the family's preoccupations with Caribbean adventures.)

To make matters worse, reports on Barbados'' history have not been associated with reports on the Courteen bankruptcy, which was due (it is said) to investment or involvements in the Dutch East India Company. Pembroke's grant of Barbados was revoked in 1629. Little information exists on the Earl of Pembroke’s role, but it is said that in 1627, Pembroke had failed to enforce his own claims in the Caribee against the claims of the Earl of Carlisle, and about 1643, Pembroke failed in a bid to colonise Tobago, Trinidad and Margarita, so Pembroke then gave all his rights (not including those over Barbados, which stayed with the Earl of Carlisle) to the second Earl of Warwick - which resulted in an intensification of rivalry between Warwick and the heirs of Carlisle. Warwick tried to settle plantations on Tobago and Trinidad at his own expense, but was unsuccessful, largely due to manpower problems resulting from the civil war. (During the civil war, Pembroke, as with Warwick, took the parliamentary side). At some point, the Courteen Brothers bankrupted, (that is, Sir William Courteen Senior) with their debts apparently linked to Dutch East India Company men. Remarkably, their debts were bought by the Earls of Bridgwater, the Egertons, seemingly for "family reasons". As a purchase of debts, this transaction seems unique in English seventeenth century history. John Egerton the first Earl Bridgwater had married Margaret the sister of Sir William Courteen Senior; and William Courteen Junior married Catherine Egerton, daughter of John Egerton, third Earl Bridgwater.
GEC, Peerage, Bridgwater, pp. 311ff; Brackley, p. 272; Derby, p. 212; Exeter, p. 219; Bolingbroke, p. 204. DNB for Courteen Senior.

The third Earl of Bridgwater had taken up Courteen Senior’s debts by about 1640. John Egerton (1579-1649), first Earl Bridgwater and second Viscount Brackley was the son of Thomas Egerton (1540-1617) Lord Chancellor and the first Viscount Brackley and Elizabeth Ravenscroft, and had married Frances Stanley (1583-1635) (daughter of the fifth Earl Derby Ferdinando Stanley and Alice Spencer of the Spencers of Althorp) and Margaret Courteen (sister of Sir William Courteen Snr). The first wife of John Egerton (1623-1686) second Earl Bridgwater was Elizabeth Cavendish. John, third Earl Bridgwater married as first wife, Elizabeth Cranfield (1647-169), a descendant of Lionel Cranfield, ex-merchant and first Earl Middlesex, the Treasurer for Charles I Part of the later extended family was Anthony Ashley Cooper (1621-1683), first Earl Shaftesbury, often mistakenly regarded as the founder of the Whig Party. By the 1640s, Anthony Ashley Cooper (some claim he invented the Whig party) was an investor on Barbados, but one biographer claims Cooper's role as a commercial promoter or entrepreneur has been overstated.
Rabb, Enterprise, p. 219.

Follows an impression of the descendants of Courteen, a religious refugee born circa 1572
his son, William Courteen, Tailor, sp: Margaret Casiere
. 3: Sir Charles Courteen (active c.1624)
3. Sir William I Courteen (b.1572;d.1636), sp: Miss Cromling (a wealthy Dutchwoman
4. Sir Peter (Courten) Courteen, Bart, (c.1623; d.1624/1625), spouses: Jane Stanhope (d.12 Mar 1683/1684) and Hester Tryon
4. Financier/merchant, William II Courteen (d.1655), sp: Catherine Egerton, and their daughter Katherine Courteen married to NOTKNOWN
There was also a naturalist, hard to place in the family, William Courteen (b.1642; d.1702)
The line continued: The sister of William II above was, 4. Hester Courteen, sp: Royalist Sir Edward Lyttleton, Bart
5. Sir Edward Lyttleton, Bart2, sp: Mary Wrotesely, wife1
6. Edward Lyttleton, sp: Susannah Biddulph (d. 25 Aug 1722)
7. Sir Edward Lyttleton, Bart3 (d. 21 Jan 1741), sp: Mary Hoare (b.17 Jan 1685; m.10 Jul 1781; d.18 Apr 1761)
8. Sir Edward Lyttleton, Bart4 (no issue) (d. 18 May 1812) sp: Frances Horton
Also in the line are: 8. Frances Lyttleton, sp: Moreton Walhouse
- 9. Moreton II Walhouse, sp: Anne Cracroft Portal
10. Member of the New Zealand Company, Edward John Lyttleton, Baron1 Hatherton (b.18 Mar 1791; d.4 May 1863) sp: Hyacinthe Mary Wellesley (b.25 Feb 1789; m.21 Dec 1812; d.6 Jan 1849) and also sp: widow, Caroline Anne Hurt, wife2 (m. 11 Feb 1852; d.16 May 1897)
Also 5. Anne Lyttleton; 5. Margaret Lyttleton, spouses: Robert Napier and Thomas Thorne
Also 4. Mary Courteen (b. Jul 1609; d.Mar 1643), first wife of sp: MP, Henry Grey, Earl Kent (b. 24 Nov 1594; m.14 Oct 1641; d.28 May 1651)
4. Anna Courteen, second wife of sp: Barrister, Essex Devereux (d. 20 Feb 1639)
5. Elizabeth Devereux, sp: Sir Richard Knightley, KB, (b. 1593;d. 1639), 5. Essex Knightley
3. Margaret Courteen, sp: Michael Boudean (d.1569) (who had a son Peter who was influential in the House of Courteen, according to Goslinga in Dutch in the Caribbean)
Margaret Courteen above also married merchant Sir John Moncy (active by c.1562) and John Egerton, first Earl Bridgwater and Second Viscount Brackley (b.1579; d.4 Dec 1649)
And there followed also: 4. Catherine Egerton, 4. Frances Egerton who married Sir John Hobart, Bart2, the father of 5. Philippa Hobart (d. 19 Jan 1654/1655) who married the Norfolk Cromwellian, Sir John Hobart (b. 1627; d.22 Aug 1683). There was also the little-known, unmarried merchant and promoter of colonies, working at Cologne, Peter Courteen (b. 1581; d.1631).


In May 1646 some Courteen factors at the Madagascar colony planted in 1645 had coated a batch of brass pagodas in gold, (pagodas being a standard weight of bullion in India)... to the later "infinite embarrassment" of the East India Company in India. Specimens were sent home to embarrass the Courteens and their dishonesty. It is said, William Courteen Junior after his Weddell disasters had recouped money by marrying Catherine, the daughter of Earl Bridgwater, and he fled "penniless" to the continent in 1646.
Meanwhile, of many merchant names mentioned here, some found in Brenner’s Merchants and Revolution, can be cross-checked with names listed variously in Rabb's book, Enterprise and Empire. Maurice Thomson here becomes a partner with William Courteen Jnr.
Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 110, p. 173.

Maurice Thomson had already got into the business, and built a virtual empire in twenty years.
James Williamson, The Caribee Islands Under The Proprietary Patents. Oxford, 1926., cited in Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. 13.

With the English settlement of the West Indies dominated by the earls of Carlisle, proprietors failed to invest and simply milked settlers by way of taxes and impositions. Only the Bermuda Company and the Providence Island Company could function effectively with gentry control and finance, but they also became outposts in the 1630s of Puritanism, having been backed by the colonising faction of the second Earl of Warwick.
Newton, Colonising Puritans, variously.

Presumably, the Earl of Egerton had saved his son-in-law, William Courteen Junior, by buying the Courteen debts. Inevitably, purchasing such debts involved Egerton/Bridgwater in a fracas with the Carlisle interest over the Caribbean. It is from here that one might begin to discern more clearly the linkages which developed between two sets of slaving interests and East India Company interests, (in both England and The Netherlands), which have gone too unremarked.
Furber, Rival, p. 39. K. G. Davies, Royal Africa Company, index. Penson, Colonial Agents, pp. 26-27.) On the manipulators of Caribbean politics, Povey and Modyford, see Bliss, Revolution and Empire, [on Cordell, p. 48] p. 39, pp. 66-67, pp. 76ff, pp. 98ff, p. 143. See also Goslinga, Dutch in the Caribbean.

Courteen Junior's backers included John Dike, Thomas Ferrars, Humphrey Onby, and Thomas Briggs, and perhaps Peter Courteen at Cologne. In Andrews’ book, Ships, Money and Politics, is a list of men in the Barbary trade, who were associates of Maurice Thomson, overthrown by Courteen the Younger. They were William Cloberry Senior and Junior, Oliver Cloberry Junior, George Fletcher, Humphrey Slaney Snr. And Jnr., John Fletcher, Thomas Fletcher, William Geere, Henry Janson, Samuel Crispe, Ellis Crispe, John Wood, Edward Russell, Robert Blake Junior. Several of these traded to North America.
Andrews, Ships, Money and Politics, p. 183, Note 69. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution.

The story of the Courteen/Bridgwater debts has remained unresearched, but these debts seem significant in the history of slavery, in terms of the role of slavery in the development of capitalism (English capitalism, at least). What is not clear is whether the arrangement kept Bridgwater in touch, financially or otherwise, with the Dutch East India Company in a way still unknown to nationalistic history? Or with the Dutch West India Company (WIC). After the Egerton-Bridgwater interventions in the Courteen disasters, some questions appearing become involved with some history of English infighting in the Caribbean in the seventeenth century. And those questions become involved with many family outcomes of English civil war - and some of those family outcomes became involved yet again with the institution of slavery.

**********

Sir William Courteen Junior was fated to continue his father's projects. In 1631, a new joint-stock East India Company had been formed. In December 1635, Charles I had granted a charter to Courteen Senior and his associates, a licence to trade from the coast of Africa to the Far East, on the grounds that the East India Company had "neglected the interests of England" and broken some conditions of its privileges. Sometime in 1635, Sir John Penington wrote to the Council that,
"There is a great rumour there that Sir William Courteen is setting out ships for the South Seas, and that Capt Weddall goes chief commander of them: others say that he is stayed by a letter from the King to go along with our Custos Maris". Courteen appears to have been the treasurer for these "fishing adventurers".

But in August 1635 Capt John Weddell and Nathaniel Mountney, a former member of the East India Company's council at Surat, arrived home bringing news of a "truce". Both had grievances and turned to Sir William Courteen Senior as a way of furthering their own eastern ambitions.
K. G. Davies, Royal Africa Company, index. Furber, Rival, p. 39, pp. 69ff. On Weddell here, see also, Austin Coates, Macao and the British, 1637-1842: Prelude to Hong Kong. Oxford University Press, 1988. Coates however makes no mention of Courteen.

Sir William Courteen and another influential courtier plus another merchant who sometimes lent money to the king had put up a scheme to trade with Portuguese settlements in India, justifying the plan by alleging that the East India Company had neglected to establish fortified factories or seats of trade, to which the King’s subjects could resort with safety. By 12 December 1635, this syndicate obtained a license to trade to all areas in the east not exploited by East India Company, and it also hoped to find a north-west passage. The syndicate claimed that the East India Company had failed to fortify, and so had forfeited strategic positions.

So, in 1635 Charles issued letters of patent to the Courteen association for a voyage to the east, assuring the East India Company that the association would not engage in trade in the Company's jurisdiction. Courteen's Association got up four vessels, poached East India Company's naval and mercantile servants as officers and supercargoes, and sent them east under Capt. Wendell (Weddell), says Griffiths.
Sir Percival Griffiths, A Licence To Trade: The History of the English Chartered Companies. London, Ernest Benn, 1974.

Two Courteen Association vessels plundered a dhow in the Red Sea and since the Moguls did not distinguish between rival Englishers, the President and Council at Surat were imprisoned. There was a fine of Rs 1,70,000, and English were obliged to take an oath not to further molest Mogul shipping. By September 1635 the East India Company directors had stopped a payment on a man named Clement, suspicious of his private trade. At this time, Clement was also privateering with Maurice Thomson in the West Indies. Also involved meanwhile with Courteen was John Fowke, a little-known Levant merchant, a man who squabbled with the East India Company for thirty years. Fowke was a partner with William Cloberry, yet another associate of Maurice Thomson. Cloberry was also a promoter of the Kent Island project (Maryland, near Virginia). This network of merchants evidently fitted out their ship Dragon for Courteen's use in the East as part of an interloping fleet of 1635-1636.

Also in 1635, one of the Charles 1's most powerful courtiers, Endymion Porter (1587-1649), attempted to follow suit (in the East), with London men including Thomas Kynnaston the cashier to the government financier, Sir Abraham Dawes.
Dawes was treasurer of the Earl of Arundel's Madagascar scheme of 1639. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 170, p. 299.

Two ex-employees of the East India Company were John Weddell and Nathaniel Mountney, who offered to trade to Goa, Malabar, China and Japan, contacting Endymion Porter via Sir William Monson and secretary Francis Windebank.
An admiral, Sir William Monson, is noted in GEC, Peerage, Monson of Bellinguard, p. 67.

The final partnership apparently involved Bonnell, Kynnaston, Porter, but was backed by Courteen, as well as by Paul Pindar (so also, it appears, by Sir Peter Pindar). Paul Pindar put in up to £36,000, and John Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury (probably the 8th Earl?) put in about £2500.
W. R. Scott, The Constitution and Finance of English, Scottish and Irish Joint-stock Companies to 1720. Three Vols., Cambridge, 1910-1912, Vol., 2. Pindar is noted in the DNB entry for Sir William Courteen Senior. On Bonnell: Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 170.

Samuel Bonnell had been an agent for Courteen Senior, who now conceived ambitions to exploit the Convention of Goa, which had opened up the Indo-Portuguese markets to the English. Porter sent two ships, the Samaritan and the Roebuck, under William Cobb, licenced to pirate on anyone not in amity with England. Roebuck plundered two Red Sea ships, so East India Company men who had noting to do with these insults were imprisoned, and/or forced to make reparation. It is probable that Courteen was linked to Cobb's endeavour. It is said, that with the truce with the Portuguese, some Englishmen wanted to break with the East India Company monopoly and become interlopers; "chief of them was Sir William Courteen", who troubled the Company's Surat factors.
Furber, Rival, p. 69.

After Sir William Senior's death in 1636, his son William Courteen and associates received a new charter of June 1637.
K. G. Davies, Royal Africa Company, index. Furber, Rival.

A first Courteen Junior expedition was sent in spring 1636, equipped at a cost of £120,000 and sent out under Captain Weddell with Mountney as supercargo. The voyage was a success, but they had also harmed the East India Company's reputation. Basically, it seems Courteen and his associates were generally interested in acquiring areas not yet touched by the East India Company. Here with English colonialism is noted the continual tussle between the old versus the new, with the new constantly reworking the fringes of older-exploited areas, till finally, English colonialism moved east, to China and Australia, beyond to Fiji. Piracy also acted (or was used?) as a spearhead at times. And so, the Courteen and other private traders assailing the East India Company were, so to speak, expanding the areas first explored by Ralph Fitch and his companions in the 1580s. It was this expansiveness of English traders, expressed as old versus new, which was finally to dominate not so much actual English interest in Australasia, as certain oddities in the writing on the history of English interest in Australasia - and the Pacific.

As we found earlier, Courteen had secured "privileges" regarding Terra Australis Incognita (although Collingridge differs here). The Courteen Association's plans cited latitudes and longitudes, their plan was to sail basically north of New Guinea, east, to examine "Magellan's islands" and the Straits of Lemair. Courteen's men evidently suspected that an interesting area of land existed south of New Guinea, or south of known areas of the Indonesian archipelago. (A region known to some as Java Le-Grande.)
McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p. 50 and elsewhere.

Even by 1650, the East India Company was accused of not being far-seeing enough regarding land possibly lying south of New Guinea. By about 1637, Courteens also developed a case for trading to China and/or Japan. By 1637, Peter Hay was trying to collect proprietary rents for Carlisle. There would be a depression in England 1640-1650, a stimulus to exploitation in colonies as power struggles both in London and on island-colonies, not to speak of conflict with the French, Dutch and Spanish, and chattel slavery, which all led to conflict and turbulence in the Caribbean, making it a place of uncertainty and suffering amid great natural beauty.

Meanwhile, from the early 1630s, some noted London pepper dealers became Daniel Harvey (of a Levant Company background) and a deputy-governor of the East India Company, Alderman Clitherow, Sir James Cambell (sic) and other Eastland merchants, plus John Langham.

The Cambell family (who were not Scots Campbells, Argyll or Breadalbane) are mysterious in that they rose from nowhere and died away after several generations. They became closely connected with the commercial name Abdy via a marriage of Abigail Cambell to London alderman Sir Anthony Abdy .
Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, Abdy; Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, pp. 98ff.

Family members included: London merchant and Lord Mayor Sir Thomas Cambell (1535-1613) married to Alice Bugle; his son Sir Robert Cambell London alderman; and Sir Robert's son, alderman and Levant Company merchant Robert; one of the Abdys also married Mary Corsellis. A Cambell daughter also married London Lord Mayor Christopher Clitherow. One Miss Corsellis also married Sir (Bart) Thomas Cambell of Clay Hall (died 1665).)

In 1639-1640 the East India Company sent pepper to the Levant, then to Venice and Leghorn, selling the balance of stock to the King, who sold it at a loss, as... [although the connection is unstated]; the King was then helping to back the Courteen Association... (Here, information tends to read as though the English king had exercised some long-standing but little-commented royal semi-monopoly on the English pepper market).
K. N. Chaudhuri, The English East India Company: The Study of an Early Joint-Stock Company, 1600-1640, pp. 165-171.

What this means is hard to say, unless the information below is helpful.

In 1640 a fourth East India Company joint-stock was made; the third joint-stock had foundered in the troubles with the Civil War. Charles issued a more comprehensive patent to Courteen's son, and promised to revoke the licence if the East India Company could raise new and substantial stock, but the Company could not raise such stock. Charles I in 1640 bilked the East India Company of an advance of its pepper stock, valued at £63,000. Charles never repaid this money.
Ian B. Watson, Foundation, pp. 35-36.

After Courteen Senior died, his son William took on East India ventures hoping to receive half-profits; Endymion Porter got one quarter, and Kynnaston, Captain John Weddell (finally drowned at sea) and Nathaniel Mountney got the balance. Charles I had been secretly bribed with £10,000, and he granted the full royal patent in June 1637 to Courteen Junior and his associates - the Courteen Association. The group seems to have had no official title however, and it turned out a miserable failure. About this time, also, another interloping voyage set off for Madagascar, which the East India Company had used for years as a stopover. The Blackheath Connection logo

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