Description

The East India Company was founded in 1600 for the purpose of trading in South-East Asia, but its monopoly in that region soon raised concerns in England about the company’s influence. This anonymous treatise invoked clause 41 of the Great Charter – protecting the free movement of merchants – to challenge the East India Company’s monopoly as ‘absolutely against the right of the freeborn subject of England, no mean Infringement of Magna Charta’. To ensure that this clause was respected and that trading remained open to all English subjects, the author advocated the creation of a new company which would give wider opportunities to investors. Although a rival company was established in 1698, by 1709 it had merged with the existing East India Company, which maintained its monopoly well into the 19th century.

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