The legacy of John Frampton: Elizabethan trader and translator
John Frampton was one of the Bristol merchants in the Spanish trade who suffered the confiscation of his goods and imprisonment by the Inquisition in Seville on trumped up charges, largely in compensation for the piracy practiced by the English on the high seas. A striking account of his experiences as a prisoner who was later condemned to 'house-arrest' in Spain for the rest of his days, and of his eventual escape, can be pieced together from the records of his own quest for compensation before the English Admiralty Court. During his sojourn in Spain, Frampton achieved a very real competence in Spanish, which enabled him to turn to translation in his later years. His choice of works included most notably the Spanish version of the travels of Marco Polo and the treatise by Nicholas Monardes of Seville on the medical simples and medicinal herbs brought back by the conquistadors. He also translated books on the exploration of the Far East, and on the arts of navigation. Frampton's motives for making this effort are open to interpretation, whether he was merely exploiting a talent in search of success through the English book trade, or whether he was seeking, as well, to make known vital information that would strengthen England's mercantile aspirations on a global basis, (pp. 320-339).