Mrs M. S. Jayne
Diplomatic and General History
The earliest patent of a British consul which appears in the Chancellaria books is that of John Taylor, or, as his name is written therein «João Telarte». The patent, which is dated November 13th 1583, is valid for a period of three years, and empowers him to act on behalf of the English, Irish, and Scottish nations.
As he represented both England and Scotland - still under separate crowns – and there is no mention of him in the State Papers, Portugal, it seems likely that he was chosen from themselves by the local merchants of both nationalities, who, owing to some similarity of language, and the enjoyment of an equal degree of official suspicion, were fast hardening into one community.
Three years earlier Portugal had become a province of Spain ruled by a Vice-roy; Elizabeth had refused to recognize the annexation, and continued to make inexpensive gestures of sympathy to the Prior de Crato, while her captains alleged this respectable motive for sacking cities and waylaying treasure ships.
Whether England and Spain were actually at war must have been a matter of continual debate among the subjects of both crowns, but there was no doubt at all that as far as the English and Scotch in Lisbon were concerned they had no one to look to but themselves.
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