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

The maner of Iustice by lots in Russia, written by Master Henrie Lane, and executed in a controuersie betweene him and one Sheray Costromitskey in Mosco. 1560.

After the comming home into Russia of Ioseph Napea the first ambassadour to Queene Marie, I remaining the Agent there, sundrie Russian marchants by Iosephs procurement obtained letters from the Emperour to freight goods and passe in our ships for England: which thing vpon good consideration I answered and refused. They were then driuen to credite vs and compound in value vntill the next returne. At which time, notwithstanding good accompt in the value of 600 robles, there grewe question by their double demand. Triall by combat or lot. So in April Anno 1560. before my comming from Moscouia, they obtained trial by combat or letter to haue their summe double, or as I proffered 600 robles. For combatte I was prouided of a strong willing Englishman, Robert Best, one of the companies seruants: whome the Russes with their Champion refused. So that we had the words of our priuiledge put in effect, which were to draw lots. The day and maner of triall appointed by the Emperour at his castle in his palace and high Court of Moscouia was thus. The Emperours two Treasurers, being also Chancelours and chiefe Iudges, sate in court. They appointed officers to bring me, mine interpreter, and the other, through the great presse within the rayle or barre, and permitted me to sit downe some distance from them: the aduerse parties being without at the barre. Both parties were first perswaded with great curtesie, to wit, I to enlarge mine offer, and the Russes to mitigate their challenge. Notwithstanding that I protested my conscience to be cleere, and their gaine by accompt to bee sufficient, yet of gentlenes at the magistrates request, I made proffer of 100 robles more: which was openly commended, but of the plaintifes not accepted. Then sentence passed with our names in two equall balles of waxe made and holden vp by the Iudges, their sleeues stripped vp. Then with standing vp and wishing well to the trueth attributed to him that should be first drawen, by both consents among the multitude they called a tall gentleman, saying: Thou with such a coate or cap, come vp: where roome with speede was made. He was commanded to holde his cappe, wherein they put the balles, by the crowne vpright in sight, his arme not abasing. With like circumspection, they called at aduenture another tall gentleman, commanding him to strip vp his right sleene, and willed him with his bare arme to reach vp, and in Gods name seuerally to take out the two balles: which he did, deliuering to either Iudge one. Then with great admiration the lotte in ball first taken out was mine: which was by open sentence so pronounced before all the people, and to be the right and true parte. The chiefe plaintifes name was Sheray Costromitsky. I was willed forthwith to pay the plaintifes the summe by me appointed. Out of which for their wrong or sinne, as it was termed, they payd tenne in the hundred to the Emperor. Many dayes after, as their maner is, the people took our nation to be true and vpright dealers, and talked of this iudgement to our great credite.

The former letters dated 1558, 1559, and 1560, should all followe M. Ienkinsons voyage to Boghar.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55