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

Another letter of Arthur Edwards written in Astracan the 16. of Iune 1567. at his returne in his first voiage out of Persia, to the right worshipfull Companie trading into Russia, Persia, and other the North and Northeast partes.

It may please your Worships that herein I haue written not onely certaine articles of your priuiledge, but also the Gouernours names, with the Consuls, Assistants and generalitie. The Shaughs letters to the Moscouy companie. Also such commodities as the Prince or Emperour of the Countrey hath written in one of his letters directed to your Worships to be sent him, with other notes which I thought good to be remembered, as may appeare hereafter following. Your priuiledge is written, graunted, and giuen in the names of these sixe persons following: to wit, sir William Garrard, sir William Chester, gouernours, sir Thomas Lodge, master Anthony Ienkinson, master Thomas Nicols and Arthur Edwards.

1 First, it is granted that you shall pay no maner of customes or tols, any kinde of wayes now, nor in time comming, vnto his heires after him. And that all English merchants, such as you shall appoint now and hereafter, shall and may passe and repasse into all places of his dominions and other countries adioining in the trade of merchandise, to buy and sell all maner of commodities, with all maner of persons.

2 Item, that in all places where any of our merchants shall haue their resort, or abiding, his chiefe Gouernours, Rulers and. Iustices shall take heed vnto vs, being our aide and defence against all euil persons, punishing those that shall do vs any wrong.

3 Item, that for all such debts as shall be owing by any maner of person, iustice shal be done on the partie, and we paid at the day.

4 Item, that no maner of persons whatsoever estate or degree they be of, shall be so hardie as to take any kind of wares, or any gifts, without any leaue and good will.

5 Item, if by chance medley any of our merchants or seruants, as God forbid, should kill any of his subiects, that no part of your goods shall be touched or medled withall, neither any partie but the offendour, and true iustice to bee ministred, and being any of vs, not to suffer without the Princes knowledge and aduise.

6 Item, that all such debts as are now owing, or hereafter shall be, are to be paied vnto any of vs, in the absence of the other, be the partie dead, or aliue.

7 Item, that no person returne any kind of wares backe againe, being once bought or sold.

8 Item, that when God shall send your goods to shore, presently his people shall helpe vs on land with them.

These articles before written, I trust in God wil content your minds, vntil your farther letters be hitherto written vnto the Prince, who I am assured will graunt your farther reasonable requests, which his maiestie hath promised. For I moued the question, declaring vnto him that I thought your worships would write your letters of requests, to craue his farther good will, as should be thought meet for your better assurance in the trade of merchandise: you will hardly beleeue what long and gracious, talke he had with mee, which I assure you continued two houres, which was strange vnto the people and other merchant strangers. For betwixt euery question that his maiestie moued, when I had answered him, hee would talke with his Nobles and other his seruants hauing some knowledge of our Westerne parts and commodities, and then againe would demaund other questions. He caused his Secretarie to write the articles before named, in all of his foure letters giuen me (whereof two as I required, are in the Turkish tongue to be sent you.) On the, backe side of the one, hee hath written what wares his Maiestie would haue you to send him. He held me one houre within night before I departed from him.

These bee the names of the wares or commodities, which on the backe side of one of his letters the Shaugh hath written to you to be sent him.

First, some cloth of Gold, with cloth of Tissue, and cloth of Botky, as Veluets wrought with gold.

Item, good veluets, to wit, crimosins, purples, reds, greenes and blackes. Those colours his maiestie requireth, for they are most worne. And though there be some of these wares made in his citie of Cassan, yet nothing like in goodnes, to those that you may procure for him. Small profite I thinke will be in these wares: yet for diuers considerations, as also to satisfie the Princes mind, I wish you to send some, and those that be especiall good.

Item, good damasks and sattins of all sortes, with an hundred pieces of good chamlets, which are woorth here 80. shaughs the piece, at sixe pence the shaugh, and those silkes to bee of those colours aboue written, to wit, crimosins, purples, reds, greenes, blackes, with some light watchet colours.

Item, three or foure complete harnesses that wil abide the shot of a handgun with 10. or 12. targets of steele, being good.

Item, ten or twelue good shirts of male being very good or els none, that may abide the shot of an arrow, and two buffe ierkins.

Item, ten or twelue pieces of Westerne karsies, being thicked well and close shut in the weauing, and died into scarlets and fine reds. I thinke there wil be no such cloth for noblemens caps. The prince named them karangies By the word Karangies, I thinke they meane Karsies., saying, that maidens did make them, and is desirous of them.

Item, six pieces of fine Holland cloth for the Prince, with some other for Noblemen, of a lower price.

Item, twentie handguns being good, some of them with fire lockes, and also six good dags, with locks to trauell withall.

Item 100. brusshes for garments (none made of swines haire,) for gifts, and otherwise to be sold.

Item, six stone bowes that shoot lead pellets.

Item, a mill to grind corne in the field as they goe, finely deuised: for Cozomomet willed me to write for one to be sent, to giue the Prince.

Item, the Prince requireth of all sortes and colours of London clothes. I wish you to send no lesse then 40. or 50. for I know they will be sold to profit, especially such cloth as may be affoorded for 20. shaughs the arshine, which is longer by two of mine inches then Russia arshine is. Let there be fine skarlets, violets in graine, fine reds, blacks, browne blewes, foure or fiue of euery sort, for the Prince and other lords: the rest of other colours liuely to the sight, as London russets, tawnies, lion colours, good liuely greenes, with other, as you shall thinke good: for the prince desireth to see of all sorts, which will be an occasion that the Venetians and Turkes shall bee in lesse estimation then they are: for they themselues do feare, and secretly say the same. And truely the Princes subiects intend to enter into trade with vs for spices and other commodities that they were woont to sell vnto the Venetians and Turkes.

Thus I commit you all to God, who send you health with increase of worship. Written in Astracan the 16. of Iune, 1567.

By your seruant during life to command,

Arthur Edwards.

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