A letter of master Richard Gray one of the first Agents of the Moscouie companie to Master Henrie Lane at Mosco, written in Colmogro the 19. of Februarie 1558.
Lampas a great mart for the Samoeds in the North. Worshipfull Sir, after heartie commendations &e. You shall vnderstand that this Lent commeth to Lampas such a number of men of diuers nations with wares, as hath not bene seene these ten yeeres. Thither came many out of Vgori: therefore I would haue bene there my selfe, and also haue receiued such money as is owning vs in wares by Kerill his brother and Osep Boscouo. For as you well know, thence they will go with their wares to the Mosco, and make vs payment with delayes, as they haue done these other yeeres past. Colobone and his partner be departed towards Lampas with seuen sleddes laden with victuals. Others also are gone to that Mart. As touching the bringing of money with you, it will bee good, for I assure you since our comming to this countrey haue not so many persons gone to the Sea, as will doe this yeere. Trusting that God will send good store of traine oyle, I will cause as much caske to bee in a readinesse as I can, if you shall think it meete to send some money before. All our old hempe is spunne and wrought in tenne cables from fifteene ynches to ten the least, and thirteene Hausers from six ynches to three ynches: and all may weigh white eight and twenty thousand pound weight and vpwarde. There is in hempe ockam fiue thousand pound two hundred weight in twelue sackes at the least: the flaxe that came downe in the Nassadaes with those seuen podes that came last is all spunne with a good part of that hempe that came last. God send more shortly, for all that is here and that is comming in the three other sleddes will bee dispatched by the fourth weeke in Lent. Within these few dayes I bought thirteen podes, seuen pound of hempe that cost two robles, twenty eight altines, foure pence, which together with that that was bought before, shall bee laide in dipping and sounding lines, for it is very good. There are spent aboue fiftie barrels of tarre alreadie: you shall vnderstand that these eight workemen will spinne and lay aboue fourescore and tenne thousand pound of hempe, so it bee dressed readie to their hands, hauing two to turne the wheeles, and two to winde vp. Therefore I haue agreed with these two boyes to serue the worshipfull companie foure yeeres a piece. One of them windeth vp and is very apt to spinne: therefore I will haue two other young men Russes to spinne, if they can finde good sureties for their trueth. I haue bene in hand with these two yong men that came put of the Trinitie, and they with me, but vnder seuen pound a year they will not serue, nor Thomas Bunting that was Roger Bunting his seruant. Therefore I would haue three Russes at the least to spinne, fiue of them will be as good as these three, and will not be so chargeable all, as one of these would be. I thinke it were good that our Nassada were somewhat strengthened in her floore on both sides with plankes of fiue or sixe ynches thicke, from the stemme to the sterne, as I haue written to Thomas Hawtrey at Vologda. Also if you shall so thinke meet, your waxe and tallowe shall be laden in two Dosnickes, for they bee meete to goe aboord the shippes: I doe intend to set vp an house at Boroseua ouer against the place whereat the shippes shall ride, your aduise therein I expect it shall not cost aboue three robles, and yet if we will, there shall be two warme roomes in it. As for other matter at this present I haue not to trouble you withall, and if it would please yow I would be glad to heare some good newes of Master Ienkinson. Thus Iesus be with you and be his guide.
White hawks and white beares prohibited without licence. As for these our Hawkes they bee not white, but white and mayled, but indeede be Iarfawkons. These dayes past our Olen died. So this yeere our Masters of the companie are like to haue none, nor any white beares. Neither may any passe out of the realme without a special licence from the Emperour.
I intend God willing to goe to Lampas, if I doe I will take foure or fiue kerseys with me, but as for money there is small store here to carie.
Yours, Richard Gray.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09