Articles conceiued and determined for the Commission of the Merchants of this company residant in Russia, and at the Wardhouse, for the second voyage, 1555. the first of May, as followeth.
First, the Gouernour, Consuls, Assistants and whole company assembled this day in open court, committeth and authorizeth Richard Gray and George Killingworth, iointly and seuerally to be Agents, Factors, and Atturneis generall and speciall, for the whole body of this company, to buy, sel, trucke, change and permute al, and every kind and kindes of wares, marchandises and goods to the said company appertaining, now laden and shipped in the good ship called the Edward Bonauenture, appointed for Russia, the same to vtter and sell to the best commoditie, profit and aduantage of the said corporation, be it for ready money, wares and merchandises, or truck, presently, or for time, as occasion and benefit of the company shal require: and all such wares as they or either of them shal buy, trucke, or prouide, or cause to be bought for the company to lade them homeward in good order and condition, as by prudent course of marchandises, shall, and ought to appertaine, which article extendeth also to Iohn Brooke for the Wardhouse, as in the 17. and 18. articles of this commission appeareth.
2. Item, it is also committed, as aboue, to the said Agents, to binde and charge the said company by debt for wares vpon credit, as good opportunitie and occasion shal serue, with power to charge and bind the said company, and their successors, for the paiments of such things as shalbe taken vp for credite, and the said Agents to be relieued ab opere satis dandi.
3. Item full authoritie and power is committed to the said first named factors, together with Richard Chancelor grand Pilot of this fleete, to repaire to the Emperors court, there to present the king and Queenes Maiesties letters, written in Greeke, Polish, and Italian, and to giue and exhibite the marchants presents at such time and place as shalbe thought most expedient, they, or one of them to demand, and humbly desire of the Emperour such further grants and priuiledges to be made to this companie, as may be beneficiall for the same, to continue in traffike with his subiects, according to such instructions as bee in this behalfe deuised and deliuered to the Agents whereunto relation is to be had, and some one of these persons to attend vpon the court for the obtaining of the same, as to their discretions shalbe thought good.
4. Item, that all the saide Agents doe well consider, ponder and weigh such articles as bee deliuered to them to know the natures, dispositions, lawes, customes, maners and behauiours of the people of the countries where they shal traffike, as well of the Nobilitie as of the Lawyers, Marchants, Mariners and common people, and to note diligently the subtilties of their bargaining, buying and selling, making as fewe debtes as possiblie may bee, and to bee circumspect, that no lawe neither of religion nor positiue bee broken or transgressed by them or any minister vnder them, ne yet by any mariner or other person of our nation, and to foresee that all tolles, customes, and such other rites be so duely paid, that no forfeiture or confiscation may ensue to our goods either outward or inward, and that al things passe with quiet, without breach of the publike peace or common tranquilitie of any of the places where they shall arriue or traffique.
5. Item, that prouision bee made in Mosco or elsewhere, in one or mo good townes, where good trade shall be found for a house or houses for the Agents, and companie to inhabite and dwell at your accustomed diets, with warehouses, sellers, and other houses of offices requisite, and that none of the inferiour ministers of what place or vocation soeuer he be, doe lie out of the house of the Agents without licence to be giuen, and that euery inferiour officer shalbe obedient to the orders, rules and gouernments of the said Agents, and in case any disobedient person shall be found among any of them, then such person to be punished for his misbehauiour, at the discretion of the said Agents, or of one of them in the absence of the other.
6. Item, if any person of the said ministers shall be of such pride or obstinacie, that after one or two honest admonitions, hee will not bee reformed nor reconciled from his faultes, then the saide Agents to displace euery such person from the place or roume to him heere committed, and some other discreete person to occupie the same, as to the saide Agents by their discretions shal seeme meete.
7. Item, if any person shall be found so arrogant, that he will not be ordered nor reformed by the said Agents or by one of them in the absence of the other, then the sayde person to bee deliuered to the Iustice of the countrey, to receiue such punishment, as the lawes of the countrey doe require.
8. Item, that the Agents and factours shall daily one houre in the morning conferre and consult together what shall bee most conuenient and beneficial for the companie, and such orders as they shall determine, to bee written by the Secretarie of the companie in a booke to bee prouided for that purpose, and no inferiour person to infringe and breake any such order or deuise, but to obserue the same exactly, vpon such reasonable paine as the Agents shall put him to by discretion.
9. Item, that the said Agents shall in the ende of euerie weeke, or oftener as occasion shall require, peruse, see, and trie, not onely the Casshers, bookes, reckonings and accounts, firming the same with their handes, but also shall receiue and take weekly the account of euery other officer, as well of the Vendes, as of the empteous, and also of the state of the houshold expenses, making thereof a perfect declaration as shall appertaine, the same accounts also to bee firmed by the saide Agents hands.
10. Item, that no inferior minister shall take vpon him to make any bargains or sale of any wares, marchandises or goods, but by the Commission and Warrantise of the sayde Agents vnder their handes, and hee not to transgresse his Commission by any way, pretense or colour.
11. Item, that euery inferiour minister, that is to vnderstand, all Clerks and yong merchants, being at the order of the saide Agents, shall ride, goe, saile and trauaile to all such place, and places, as they or hee shall be appointed vnto by the saide Agents, and effectually to follow and do all that which to him or them shall be committed, well and truely to the most benefite of the company, according to the charge to him or them committed, euen as by their othes, dueties and bondes of their masters they be bounden and charged to doe.
12. Item, that at euery moneths end, all accounts and reckonings shalbe brought into perfect order, into the Lidger or memoriall, and the decrees, orders, and rules of the Agents together with the priuileges, and copies of letters, may and shall be well and truely written by the secretarie, in such forme as shalbe appointed for it, and that copies of all their doings may be sent home with the said ship at her returne.
13. Item, that all the Agents doe diligently learne and obserue all kinde of wares, as wel naturals as forrein, that be beneficiall for this Realme, to be sold for the benefit of the company, and what kinde of our commodities and other things of these West partes bee most vendible in those Realmes with profite, giuing a perfect aduise of all such things requisite.
14. Item, if the Emperour will enter into bargain with you for the whole masse of your stock, and will haue the trade of it to vtter to his owne subiects, then debating the matter prudently among your selues, set such high prises of your commodities, as you may assure your selues to be gainers in your owne wares, and yet to buy theirs at such base prises, as you may here also make a commoditie and gaine at home, hauing in your mindes the notable charges that the companie haue diffrayed in aduancing this voyage: and the great charges that they sustaine dayly in wages, victuals and other things: all which must bee requited by the wise handling of this voyage, which being the first president shalbe a perpetual president for euer: and therefore all circumspection is to be vsed, and foreseene in this first enterprise, which God blesse and prosper vnder you, to his glorie, and the publike wealth of this Realme, whereof the Queenes Maiestie, and the Lords of the Councell haue conceiued great hope, whose expectations are not to be frustrated.
15. Item, it is to be had in minde, that you vse all wayes and meanes possible to learne howe men may passe from Russia, either by land or by sea to Cathaia, and what may be heard of our other ships, and to what knowledge you may come, by conferring with the learned or well trauailed persons, either naturall or forrein, such as haue trauailed from the North to the South.
16. Item, it is committed to the said Agents, that if they shall be certified credibly, that any of our said first ships be arriued in any place whereunto passage is to be had by water or by land, that then certaine of the company at the discretion of the Agents shall bee appointed to be sent to them, to learne their estate and condition, to visite, refresh, relieue, and furnish them with all necessaries and requisites, at the common charges of the companie, and to imbrace, accept, and intreat them as our deare and wel-beloued brethren of this our societie, to their reioycing and comfort, aduertising Syr Hugh Willoughbie and others of our carefulnes of them and their long absence, with our desire to heare of them, with all other things done in their absence for their commoditie, no lesse then if they had bene present.
17. Item, it is decreed, that when the ships shal arriue at this going foorth at the Wardhouse, that their Agents, with master Chancelor grand pilot, Iohn Brooke, merchant, deputed for the Wardhouse, with Iohn Buckland master of the Edward, Iohn Howlet master, and Iohn Robins pilot of the Philip and Marie, shall conferre and consult together, what is most profitable to be done therfore for the benefit of the company, and to consider whether they may bargaine with the captaine of the castle, and the inhabitants in that place, or alongst the coast for a large quantitie of fish, drie or wet, killed by the naturals, or to be taken by our men at a price reasonable for trucke of cloth, meale, salt, or beere, and what traine oyle, or other commodity is to be had there at this time, or any other season of the yeere, and whether there will be had or found sufficient lading for both the sayd shippes, to be bought there, and how they may conferre with the naturals for a continuance in hanting the place, if profit wil so arise to the company, and to consider whether the Edward in her returne may receiue at the Wardhouse any kind of lading homeward, and what it may amount vnto, and whether it shall be expedient for the Philip to abide at the Wardhouse the returne of the Edward out of Russia, or getting that she may returne with the first good wind to England, without abiding for the Edward, and so to conclude and accord certainely among themselues vpon their arriuall, that the certaintie may (vpon good deliberation) be so ordered and determined betweene both ships, that the one may be assured of the other, and their determinations to be put in writing duplicate to remaine with ech ship, according to such order as shall be taken betweene them.
18. Item, that Iohn Brooke our marchant for the Wardhouse take good aduise of the rest of our Agents, how to vse himselfe in al affaires, whiles the ship shalbe at the Wardhouse, he to see good order to be kept, make bargains aduisedly, not crediting the people vntill their natures, dispositions and fidelities shal be well tried, make no debts, but to take ware for ware in hand, and rather be trusted then to trust. Note diligently what be the best wares for those parts, and howe the fishe falleth on the coast, and by what meane it is to bee bought at the most aduantage, what kindes and diuersities of sortes in fishes be, and whether it will keepe better in bulke piled, or in caske.
19. Item, he to haue a diligent eye and circumspection to the beere, salt, and other liquid wares, and not to suffer any waste to be made by the companie, and he in all contracts to require aduise, counsel, and consent of the master and pilot, the marchant to be our houswife, as our special trust is in him, he to tender that no lawes nor customes of the countrey be broken by any of the company, and to render to the prince, and other officers, all that which to them doth appertaine, the company to be quiet, voide of all quarrelling, fighting, or vexation, absteine from all excesse of drinking as much as may bee, and in all to vse and behaue themselues as to quiet marchants doeth, and ought to apperteine.
20. Item, it is decreed by the companie, that the Edward shall returne home this yeere with as much wares as may be conueniently, and profitably prouided, bought, and laden in Russia, and the rest to be taken in at the Wardhouse, as by the Agents shall be accorded. But by all meanes it is to be foreseene and noted, that the Edward returne home, and not to winter in any forrein place, but to come home and bring with her all the whole aduertisements of the marchants, with such further aduise for the next yeeres prouision, as they shall giue.
21. Item, it is further decreed and ordeined, inuiolably to be obserued, that when the good ships, or either of them (by Gods grace) shall returne home to the coastes of England, that neither of them shall stay or touch in any Hauen or Port of England, other wise then wind and weather shall serue, but shall directly saile and come to the Port of the citie of London, the place of their right discharge, and that no bulke be broken, hatches opened, chest, fardell, trusse, barrel, fat, or whatsoeuer thing it shall be, be brought out of the shippe, vntill the companie shall giue order for the same, and appoint such persons of the companie as shall be thought meet for that purpose, to take viewe, and consider the shippe and her lading and shall giue order for the breaking vp of the saide bulke, or giue licence by discretion, for things to be brought to land. And that euery officer shall shewe the inuoise of his charge to him first committed, and to examine the wastes and losses, and to deliuer the remainder to the vse and benefit of the company, according to such order as shall be appointed in that behalfe.
22. Item, the company exhorteth, willeth, and requireth, not onely all the said Agents, pilots, masters, marchants, clerkes, boatswaines, stewards, skafemasters, and all other officers and ministers of this present voyage, being put in charge and trust daily to peruse, reade, and studie such instructions as be made, giuen, and deliuered to them for perfect knowledge of the people of Russia, Moscouia, Wardhouse and other places, their dispositions, maners, customes, vses, tolles, cariages, coines, weights, numbers, measures, wares, merchandises, commodities, and incommodities, the one to be accepted and imbraced, the other to be reiected and vtterly abandoned, to the intent that euery man taking charge, may be so well taught, perfited, and readily instructed in all the premisses, that by ignorance, no losse or preiudice may grow or chance to the company: assuring themselues, that for asmuch as the company hath trauelled and laboured so in these their instructions to them giuen, that euery man may bee perfect, and fully learned to eschew all losses, hurts and damages that may insue by pretence or colour of none knowledge, the company entendeth not to allow, or accept ignorance for any lawfull or iust cause of excuse, in that which shall be misordered by negligence, the burden whereof shall light vpon the negligent offending person, especially vpon such as of their owne heads, or temeritie, will take vpon him or them to doe or to attempt any thing, whereby preiudice may arise, without the commission of the Agents as aboue is mentioned, whereunto relation must be had.
23. Forasmuch as it is not possible to write and indite such prescribed orders, rules and commissions to the Agents and factours, but that occasion, time and place, and the pleasures of the princes, together with the operation or successe of fortune shall change or shift the same, although not in the whole, yet in part, therefore the said company doe commit to you their deare and intire beloued Agents and factors to doe in this behalfe for the commodity and wealth of this company, as by your directions, vpon good aduised deliberations shalbe thought good and beneficiall. Prouided alwayes, that the honour, good name, fame, credite, and estimation of the same companie be conserued and preserued: which to confirme we beseech the liuing Lord to his glory, the publike benefite of this realme, our common profits, and your praises.
Finally for the seruice, and due accomplishment of all the premisses, euery Agent and minister of and for this voyage, hath not onely giuen a corporall othe vpon the Euangelists, to obserue, and cause to be obserued, this commission, and euery part, clause and sentence of the same, as much as in him lyeth, as well for his owne part as for any other person, but also haue bounde themselues and their friendes to the companie in seuerall summes of money, expressed in the actes and records of this societie, for the trueth and fidelities of them, for the better, and also manifester testification of the trueth, and of their othes, promises, and bands aforesaid, they haue to this commission subscribed particularly their seuerall hands, and the company also in confirmation of the same, haue set their seale. Yeuen the day, moneth, and yeeres first aboue mentioned.
The othe ministred to the seruants of the fellowship.
Ye sweare by the holy contents of that booke, that ye shal wel, faithfully and truely, and vprightly, and with all your indeuour, serue this right worshipfull company in that order, which by this fellowships Agent or Agents in the dominions of the Emperours of Russia, &c. shall bee vnto you committed, by commission, commandement, or other his direction. And that you shall bee obedient and faithfull to the same our Agent or Agents, and that well, and truely and vprightly according to the commission, charge, commandement, or other direction of the said Agent or Agents to you from time to time giuen and to be giuen, you shall prosecute and doe all that which in you lieth, for the good renowme, commoditie, benefite and profite of the said fellowship: and you shall not directly or indirectly, openly or couertly doe, exercise or vse any trade or feate of marchandises for your owne priuate account, commodity, gaine or profite, or for the account of or for any other person or persons, without consent or licence of this said fellowship, first obtained in writing. And if you shall know or vnderstand any other person or persons to vse, exercise or doe any trade, traffike or feat of marchandise, to or for his or their own account or accounts, at any time or times hereafter, that then ye shall truely and plainly disclose, open, vtter and reueale, and shew the same vnto this said fellowship, without fraude, colour, couin or delay: So helpe you God, &c.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55