Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

A letter of the Company of the Marchants aduenturers to Russia vnto George Killingworth, Richard Gray, and Henry Lane their Agents there, to be deliuered in Colmogro or els where: sent in the Iohn Euangclist.

After our heartie commendations vnto you and to either of you: your generall letter and other particular letters with two bookes of the sale and remainders of our goods, and the buying of wares there with you, we receiued about the ende of Nouember out of the Edward, with heauie newes of the losse of the sayde good shippe and goods at Petslego in Scotland, with the death of Richard Chancelor and his Boy, with certaine of the Embassadours seruants, and he himselfe with nine of his seruants escaped very hardly onely by the power of God: but all his goods and ours in maner were lost and pilfred away by the Scots, and that that is saued is not yet come to our hands, but we looke for it daily, and it will skant pay the charges for the recouering of it. No remedy but patience: and to pray to God to send vs better fortune hereafter. As touching the receiuing and entertaining of the Embssadour and his retinewe since his comming to England at the king and Queenes Maiesties hands, with the Counsell and Lords of this Realme, and the Marchants that be free in Russia with feasting and beneuolence giuen him, wee referre it to his report and others. The like we thinke haue not bene seene nor shewed here of a long time to any Ambassadour. The Philip and Marie arriued here tenne dayes past: she wintered in Norway. The Confidence is lost there. And as for the Bona Esperanza, as yet we haue no newes of her. We feare it is wrong with her. By your billes of lading receiued in your generall letters we perceiue what wares are laden in them both. Your letters haue no date nor mention where they were made, which were written by Henry Lane, and firmed by you George Killingworth, and Richard Gray: both it and the other letters and Bookes came so sore spoyled and broken with water that we cannot make our reckoning by them. You shall vnderstand we haue fraighted for the parts of Russia foure good shippes to be laden by you and your order: That is to say, The Primerose of the burthen of 240. Tunnes, Master vnder God Iohn Buckland: The Iohn Euangelist of 170. Tunnes, Master vnder God Laurence Roundal: The Anne of London of the burthen of 160. tunnes. Master vnder God Dauid Philly, and the Trinitie of London of the burthen of 140. Tunnes Master vnder God Iohn Robins, as by their Charter parties may appeare: which you may require to see for diuerse causes. You shall receiue, God willing, out of the said good ships, God sending them in safety for the vse of the Company, these kinds of wares following, all marked with the general marke of the Company as followeth. 25. fardels containing 207. sorting clothes, one fine violet in graine, and one skarlet, and 40. cottons for wrappers, beginning with number 1. and ending with number 52. The sorting clothes may cost the first peny 5. li. 9. s. the cloth, one with the other. The fine violet 18. li. 6. s. 6. d. The skarlet 17. li 13. s 6. d., the cottons at 9. li. 10. s. the packe, accompting 7. cottons for a packe, more 500. pieces of Hampshire kersies, that is 400. watchets, 43. blewes, 53. reds, 15. greenes, 5. ginger colours, and 2. yelowes which cost the first penny 4. li. 6. s. the packe, and 3. packes containing 21. cottons at 9. li. 10. s. the packe, and part of the clothes is measured by Arshines. More 9. barrels of Pewter of Thomas Hasels making, &c. Also the wares bee packed and laden as is aforesayde, as by an Inuoyce in euery Shippe more plainly may appear. So that when it shall please God to send the said good ships to you in safetie, you are to receiue our said goods, and to procure the sales to our most aduantage either by ready money, time or barter: hauing consideration that you doe make good debts, and giue such time, if you give any, as you may employ and returne the same against the next voyage; and also foreseeing that you barter to a profit, and for such wares as be here most vendible, as waxe, tallowe, traine oyle, hempe and flax. Of furres we desire no great plentie, becuase they be dead wares. And as for Felts we will in no wise you send any. And whereas you have provided tarre, and as we suppose, some hempe ready bought, our aduise is, that in no wise you send any of them hither vnwrought, because our fraight is 4. li a tunne or little lesse which is so deare as it would not beare the charges: and therefore we haue sent you 7. ropemakers, as by the copies of their covenants here inclosed shall appeare. Whom we wil you set to work with al expedition in making of cables and ropes of al sorts, from the smallest rope to xii. inches: And that such tarre and hempe as is already brought to the water side, they may there make it out, and after that you settle their worke in Vologhda or Colmogro as you shall thinke good, where their stuffe may be neerest to them: at which place and places you doe assigne them a principall overseer aswell to see the deliuerie of the stuffe vnwrought, as also to take charge of the stuffe wrought, and to foresee that neither the yarne be burnt in tarring, nor the hempe rotted in the watering: and also to furnish them so with labourers, workemen and stuffe, as hereafter when these workmen shall come away, we be not destitute of good workmen, and that these may dispatch as much as possibly they may, doing it substancially: for we esteme it a principal commoditie, and that the Counsel of England doth well allowe. Let all diligence be vsed, that at the returne of these shippes we may see samples of all ropes and cables if it be possible, and so after to continue in worke, that we may haue good store against the next yeere. Danske the old chiefe place for Cables. Therefore they haue neede to haue a place to worke in, in the winter: and at any hand let them haue helpe enough to spinne their stuffe: for seeing you haue great plentie of hempe there, and at a reasonable price, we trust we shallbe able to bring as good stuffe from thence, and better cheape then out of Danske: if it be diligently vsed; and haue a good ouerseer. Let the chiefest lading of these foure shippes be principally in wexe, flaxe, tallowe, and traine oyle. And if there be any more wares than these ships be able to take in, then leaue that which is least in valew and grossest in stouage vntill the next shipping: for wee doe purpose to ground our selues chiefly vpon these commodities, as wexe, cables and ropes, traine oyle, flaxe and some linen yarne. Commodities not bearing the charges of long fraight. As for Masts, Tarre, Hempe, Feathers, or any such other like, they would not beare the charges to haue any, considering our deere fraight. We haue sent you a Skinner to be there at our charges for meate, drinke, and lodging, to viewe and see such furres as you shall cheape or buye, not minding neuerthelesse, that you shall charge your selues with many, except those which bee most vendible, as good marterns, miniuers, otherwise called Lettis and Mynkes. Of these you may send vs plentie, finding them good and at a reasonable price. As for Sables and other rich Furres, they bee not euery mans money: therefore you may send the fewer, vsing partly the discretion of the skinner in that behalfe.

Wee heare that there is great plentie of steele in Russia and Tartarie, whereof wee would you sent vs part for an example, and to write your mindes in it what store is to be had: for we heare say there is great plentie, and that the Tartars steele is better then that in Russia. And likewise we be informed that there is great plentie of Copper in the Emperours Dominions: we would he certified of it what plentie there is, and whether it be in plates or in round flat cakes, and send vs some for an example. Also we would haue you to certifie vs what kinde of wollen cloth the men of Rie and Reuel, and the Holes and Lettoes doe bring to Russia, and send the skantlings of them with part of the lists and a full aduise of the lengths and breadths, colours and prices, and whether they be strained or not: and what number of them may be vttered in a yeere, to the intent we may make prouision for them for the like sortes, and all other Flemish wares which they bring thither and be most vendible there. And to certifie vs whether our set clothes be vendible there or not: and whether they be rowed and shorne: because ofttimes they goe vndrest. Moreouer, we will you send vs of euery commoditie in that Countrey part, but no great quantitie other then such as is before declared. And likewise euery kinde of Lether, whereof wee bee informed there is great store bought yeerely by the Esterlings and Duches for hie Almaigne and Germaine.

More, that you doe send vs for proofe a quantity of such earth, hearbes, or what thing soeuer it be, that the Russes do die and colour any kinde of cloth linen or wollen, Lether or any other thing withall: and also part of that which the Tartars and Turkes doe bring thither, and how it must be vsed in dying and colouring. Moreouer, that you haue a speciall foresight in the chusing of your Tallowe, and that it may be well purified and tried, or els it will in one yeere putrifie and consume.

Also that you certifie vs the trueth of the waights and measures, and howe they doe answere with ours, and to send vs 3. robles in money, that we may trie the iust value of them.

Also we doe send you in these ships ten young men that be bound Prentises to the Companie, whom we will you to appoynt euery of them as you shall there finde most apt and meete, some to keepe accompts, some to buy and sell by your order and Commission, and some to send abroad into the notable Cities of the Countrey for vnderstanding and knowledge. And we will you send vs aduertisement from time to time as well as of the demeanours of our Prentises which we doe send now as also of such other as bee already there with you. And if you finde any of them remisse, negligent, or otherwise misuse themselues and will not be ruled, and then you doe send him home, and the cause why.

And because we doe perceiue the Countrey to be large, and that you haue three housholds, we doe appoynt Henry Lane to be one of our Agents, and to ioin with you in all your doings, and to haue like authoritie and power as you George Killingworth and Rich and Gray haue: not doubting but you three will so conferre together, as both our Prentises and others may be appoynted and diuided euery of them to his office, and to that he can best skill of: and you also so diuide your selues euery of you to an house, as by aduertisement one from another, our businesse and trafficke may take good successe. And for diuers considerations, to auoyde many troubles and businesse that might happen, wee haue appoynted that hee which shall abide at Colmogro (which we doe think to bee most meetest Henry Lane) shall haue with him there such of our young men, as can best skill in keeping of accompts after the maner of Marchants, that is, by Debitor and Creditor: And that there shall be the place, where our bookes shalbe kept: because it is nearer the sea side, where our goods shalbe discharged and our ships laden. And the said Henry Lane to be charged with all such goods as we shall discharge there out of our ships, according to our Inuoyces. Which goods are to be sent from Colmogro to Vologhda or to Mosco, or to any other place where you three or two of you do appoynt them to be sold, so that Henry Lane be one. And so from time to time immediately as any thing is sold, doe you certifie the same to Henry Lane, that he may enter it into the Bookes as appertaineth: otherwise he should be too farre behinde in his Bookes at the comming of our ships, when he should send vs the accompt of the whole yeere passed. And we will also that you George Killingworth and Richard Gray doe in the fine of April next send either of you vnto Henry Lane a whole, perfit, and iust accompt firmed with your owne hands of all the goods you haue solde and bought vntill that time, and what remaineth vnsolde: and also the accompt of all maner costs of wares, and charges of you and the yong men vnder you particularly in such sort as the said accompt may bee with him in Colmogro at the fine of May at the furthest: to the intent that hee may make all our accompts perfite against the comming of our ships: and in any wise to keepe accompt of euery voyage by it selfe, and not minde one voyage with another at no hand. And as we will haue you to keepe accompt of euery voyage by it selfe, euen so wee would haue all the whole costes and charges of euery yeere put into the voyage of that yeere. As the charges of all the last yeere must be put to the accompt of the third voyage: and the charges of this yeere present, must in the fine of April next, be put to the fourth voyage. Not doubting but your wisedome is such that you will not take it in euill part, that wee doe appoynt Henry Lane to take the accompt of the rest. For we doe it for none other cause, but to keepe a good order in our bookes, that his bookes and ours may by this meanes agree: and hee being the yonger man, may best take paines: and that you doe keepe accompt of euery kinde of wares by it selfe, to the intent wee may perceiue wherein is our most gaine. And also in the making of your returne, in any wise name in your billes of lading, letters, and accompts, what wares doe appertaine to the first, second, and third voyage: and that wee may knowe the same by the numbers or otherwise as you shall thinke good by your wisedomes, putting the charges of the said wares vnto them, as nigh as you can. And all such money as shall bee made of your goods in any place, wee referre that to your discretion, where it shall remaine vntill it bee employed, either at Vologhda, Mosco, or els where. And likewise wee will that Henry Lane doe make in a readinesse about the beginning of Iune euery yeere our whole accompt of the voyage in that yeere passed: in such sort that wee may receiue the same by our shippes: and that wee may plainely perceiue what sales are made, and what remaineth of the first, second, third, and fourth voyage, and what charges haue been layde out for the sayd voyages, and what wares bee bought, and laden, and what they cost, and for what voyage euery parcell thereof is: and to send vs a copie of the same accompt in euery shippe. And also forasmuch as at this time we haue sent you but small store of wares in comparison of that we haue hope will bee vttered in short space, and yet neuerthelesse much more then you wrote for, whereby there shall not be sufficient to make any ample returne: and vnderstandinig that there is great quantitie of goods stayed for our trade there by the Emperour, wee haue mooued the Embassador that you may haue credite for such quantitie as shall seeme good to you to prouide for our benefite. Which credite if you may by his means obtaine, or otherwise haue, we would you bought as much Wexe principally as you may get. For if there be in that countrey so great quantitie, as we be informed there is, it will be the best commoditie we may haue: for hauing that wholly in our hands, we may serue our owne countrey and others. Therefore seeing the Emperour doth minde, that such commodities as bee in his dominions shall not passe to Rie and Reuel and Poland as they haue done, but bee reserued for vs: therefore we must so lay for it, that it may not ly upon their hands that haue it to sell, always hauing consideration in the price and time as our next dispatch may correspond. Whereof you may send a certaine aduise, as well what you shall receiue of credit, and to what quantite, as also what wares are remaining in your hands: which together well considered, you may aduertise vs as well for how many hundreth tonnes we must prouide fraight against the next yeere, as also what sortes, quantities and qualities of wares we shall send you, as well to pay your credite, as also to furnish the next aduenture after. Of this we would be answered largely. For we trust by this time you are able to giue full instructions of the state of the countrey: according to the articles of your first Commissions, and what commodities doe principally abound there with their prices: and likewise what of our commodities haue most vtterance there, and what prices will be given for them there: and all other things requisite and necessary to be knowen.

Also we doe vnderstand that in the Countrey of Permia or about the river of Pechora, is great quantitie of Yewe, and likewise in the Countrey of Vgory, which we be desirous to haue knowledge of because it is a special commoditie for our Realme. Leonard Brian sent to search out Yewe in the North parts of Russia. Thereon wee haue sent you a yong man, whose name is Leonard Brian, that hath some knowledge in the wood, to show you in what sorte it must be cut and clouen. So our minde is if there be any store, and that it bee found to be good, that there you doe prouide a good quantitie against the next yeere for the comming of our shippes and if there can bee found none that will serue for our purpose then you may set the sayd Leonard Brian to any other businesse that you shall finde most fittest for him, vntill the returne of our ships the next yeere. For he is hired by the yeere onely for that purpose. We doubt not but that hee shall doe you good seruice there. For hee hath good knowledge of wares of that Countrey for his bringing vp hath bene most in Danske, and hath good vnderstanding in making of Ropes and Cables. Also we doe send you two Coopers to remaine there with you at our finding hogmeat and drinke and lodging to make in a readinesse all such caske as shalbe needfull for traine oyle, tallowe, or any thing else One of them may goe with Leoonard Brian to cut and cleue such Yewe as he shall like there. And because we be not sure what timber they shall finde there to make Caske, we haue laden in these ships 140. tunnes emptie Caske, that is 94. tunnes shaken Caske and 46. tunnes whole, and ten thousand hoopes, and 480. wrethes of twigs: they may be doing with that till they can prouide other timber, which we would be glad to heare of. They haue an example with them of the bigness of the Caske they shall make. Neuerthelesse, all such Buttes and Hoggesheads as may be found to serue we will shalbe filled with Traine Oyle.

Also we charge you that you suffer no goods nor marchandise of any persons being not free of the Company, and of the accompt of the Company to be laden in any wise in our ships either now or at any time hereafter: except the Emperour or Ambassadour minde to send any thing to the King and Queenes Maiesties, or to any noble man, or to the Marchants of the Companie: Nor likewise that you suffer any goods that goe in these ships to be brought on land there, except the Ambassadours goods, and the Physitions and Apothecaries, and others that he hath with him, who carie no Marchandise. And because our ships be freighted by the great, it shalbe very needful that you do appoynt certaine to see the romaging of the ships, and to giue the master or Boatswaine, or him that will take vpon him to romage, a good reward for his labour to see the goods well romaged. If it be iii d. or iiii d. the tunne, it shall not be amisse. For if it be not substantially well looked into, it may bee a great deale of money [illegible] of our wayes.

Also because we reckon that from the Mosco will bee always better conueyance of letters to vs by land: our minde is that from time to time as occasion shall serue, our Agents shall write to him that shall lie at Mosco of all things that shall passe, that hee may giue vs large instructions, as well what is solde and bought as also what lading we shall take, and what quantitie and kinde of goodes we shall send. For hitherto we haue had but a slender aduise, more like a bill to serue a Chapman, then for quantitie of wares to serue a kingdom. For we must procure to vtter good quantities of wares, especially the commodities of our Realme, although we affoord a good penyworth, to the intent to make other that haue traded thither, wearie, and so to bring our selues and our commodities in estimation, and likewise to procure to haue the chiefe commodities of that countrey in our hand, as waxe and such others, that other nations may be serued by vs and at our hands. For wee doe vnderstand that the greatest quantitie of waxe that commeth to Danske, Lubeck, and Hambourgh, commeth out of Russia. Therefore if wee should buy part, and they also buy, it would raise the price there, and would bee little woorth here. And all such letters of importance and secrecie as you doe send by land for any wares or otherwise, you must write them in Cyphers, after the order of a booke sent you in the shippes: always taking good heede in placing of your letters and cyphers, that wee may vnderstand them by the same booke heere, and to send them in such sort that we may haue them here by Christmas or Candlemas, if it be possible. And because you cannot so certainly aduertise vs by letters of your doings, but some doubt may arise, whereof we would most gladly be certified: our mind is therefore that with these ships you send vs home one such yong man as is most expert in knowledge of that countrey, and can best certifie vs in such questions as may be demanded, whome we will remit vnto you again in the next ships. We thinke Arthur Edwards wilbe fittest for that purpose: neuerthelesse vse your discretion in that matter.

As touching our goods that were robbed and pilfred out of our ships at Colmogro and Vologda we trust by this time they are restored againe, and the malefactors so punished that other may take example for doing the like, otherwise it will be an euil president. Moreouer, we doe perceiue that Richard Gray doeth buy mastes to send into England; they will not quit the costes, except we had a ship of purpose for them. And likewise that Steuen Burrow is returned from his discouere with the Serchthrift and wintereth at Colmogro, and is minded to set forth in the beginning of Iune next to seeke the riuer of Ob. We pray God to speede him well, and trust to haue him here in England this yeere to bring vs good newes.

We doe perceiue there is a riuer found about the mouth of S. Nicholas Bay that hath thirteen foot vpon the barre at a lowe water, and is as neere Colmogro as S. Nicholas: which will be a great pleasure vnto vs. We will that Steuen Burrowe doe proceed on his voiage to discouer. M. Anthonie Ienkinson his first trauaile intended for Cathay by the Caspian sea and Beghar. Also we haue sent you one Anthonie Ienkinson Gentleman, a man well trauelled, whom we mind to vse in further travelling, according to a Commission deliuered him, subscribed by master Antonie Huse and others. Wherefore we will you deliuer him one or more of such painfull young men as he shal thinke meetest for his purpose: and likewise such money and wares as he shal think best to take with him. He must haue fourty pounds a yeere for foure yeeres, to be paid him by the halfe yeere, or as he wil demaund it of you, so let him haue it from Easter last. Also the prices of wares here at this present are, bale flaxe twenty pound the packe and better, towe flaxe twentie eight pound the hundred, traine oyle at nine pound the tunne, waxe at foure pound the hundred, tallow at sixteen shillings the hundred, cables and ropes very deare: as yet there are no shippes come out of Danske.

Kept vntill the tenth day of this present. As this day came the goods, out of Scotland that were recouered out of the Edward Bonauenture: and nowe we doe preceiue that the caske that the trayne oyle came in, is verie good, and much better then ours. Therefore our minde is, that you shall lade it all in such barrels of the biggest sort as you laded in the Edward, and no long barrels nor small. And that caske that wee haue sent may serue for the Tallowe or anie other ware that is not leakage. Neuerthelesse this voyage you must take such as you can get.

Also if the Emperour bee minded to deliuer you any summe of money, or good Waxe, at as reasonable a price as you may buye for readie money, wee will that you shall take it and lade it for our accomptes, and to come at our aduenture, and hee to bee payed at the return of the Shippes in Veluets, Sattens, or any other kinde of silk, or cloth of golde, cloth of tissue, or according as his Commission shall bee that hee shall sende vs in the shippes and according to such paternes as hee shall send. Wee doe not finde the Ambassadour nowe at the last so conformable to reason as wee had thought wee shoulde. Hee is very mistrustfull, and thinketh euery man will beguile him. Therefore you had neede to take heede howe you haue to doe with him or with any such, and to make your bargaines plaine, and to set them downe in writing. For they bee subtill people, and doe not alwaies speake the trueth, and thinke other men to bee like themselues. Therefore we would haue none of them to send any goods in our shippes at any time, nor none to come for passengers, vnless the Emperour doe make bargaine with you, as is aforesaid, for his owne person.

Also we charge you not to suffer any of our nation to send any wares to their wiues or friends in any of our ships; but to take their money there to be paid heere by the companie and not otherwise: and to haue consideration how you doe take the roble. For although we doe rate it after sixteene shillings eight pence of our money, yet it is not worth past 12 or 13 shillings sterling. Moreouer, you had neede to sende newe accomptes, for them that came in the Edward bee marred and torne, so that we can make no reckoning by them: and likewise to write vs a perfect note of all the goodes which you receiued the last voyage out of the Edward, and heerein not to faile.

Andrew Iudde.
George Barne.
Anthonie Huse.
William Garrand.
William Chester.

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Last updated Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 22:12