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

Notes in writing, besides more priuie by mouth, that were giuen by M. Richard Hakluyt of Eiton in the Countie of Hereford, Esquire, Anno 1580: to M. Arthur Pet, and to M. Charles Iackman, sent by the Merchants of the Moscouie companie for the discouery of the Northeast straight, not altogether vnfit for some other enterprise of discouery, hereafter to be taken in hand.

What respect of Islands is to be had and why.

Whereas the Portingals haue in their course to their Indies in the Southeast certaine ports and fortifications to thrust into by the way, to diuers great purposes: so you are to see what Islands, and what ports you had neede to haue by the way in your course to the Northeast. For which cause I wish you to enter into consideration of the matter, and to note all the Islands, and to set them downe in plat, to two ends: that is to say, That we may deuise to take the benefit by them, And also foresee how by them the Sauages or ciuill Princes may in any sort annoy vs in our purposed trade that way.

And for that the people to the which we purpose in this voyage to go, be no Christians, it were good that the masse of our commodities were alwayes in our owne disposition, and not at the will of others. Therefore it were good that we did seeke out some small Island in the Scithian sea, where we might plant, fortefie, and staple safely, from whence (as time should serue) wee might feed those heathen nations with our commodities without cloying them, or without venturing our whole masse in the bowels of their countrey.

And to which Island (if neede were, and if wee should thinke so good) wee might allure the Northeast nauie, the nauie of Cambalu to resort with their commodities to vs there planted, and stapling there.

And if such an Island might be found so standing as might shorten our course, and so standing, as that the nauie of Cambalu, or other those parties might conueniently saile vnto without their dislike in respect of distance, then would it fal out well. For so, besides lesse danger and more safetie, our ships might there vnlade and lade againe, and returne the selfe same summer to the ports of England or of Norway.

And if such an Island may be for the stapling of our commodities, to the which they of Cambalu would not saile, yet we might hauing ships there, imploy them in passing betweene Cambalu and that stapling place.

Respect of hauens and harborowes.

And if no such Islands may bee found in the Scithian sea toward the firme of Asia, then are you to search out the ports that be about Noua Zembla, all along the tract of that land, to the end you may winter there the first yeere, if you be let by contrary winds, and to the end that if we may in short time come vnto Cambalu, and vnlade and set saile againe for returne without venturing there at Cambalu, that you may on your way come as farre in returne as a port about Noua Zembla: that the summer following, you may the sooner be in England for the more speedy vent of your East commodities, and for the speedier discharge of your Mariners: if you cannot goe forward and backe in one selfe same Summer.

And touching the tract of the land of Noua Zembla, toward the East out of the circle Arcticke in the mote temperate Zone, you are to haue regard: for if you finde the soyle planted with people, it is like that in time an ample vent of our warme woollen clothes may be found. A good consideration. And if there be no people at all there to be found, then you shall specially note what plentie of whales, and of other fish is to he found there, to the ende we may turne out newe found land fishing or Island fishing, or our whalefishing that way, for the ayde and comfort of our newe trades to the Northeast to the coasts of Asia.

Respect of fish and certaine other things.

And if the aire may be found vpon that tract temperate, and the soile yeelding wood, water, land and grasse, and the seas fish, then we may plant on that maine the offals of our people, as the Portingals do in Brasill, and so they may in our fishing in our passage, and diuers wayes yeelde commoditie to England by harbouring and victualling vs.

And it may be, that the inland there may yeeld masts, pitch, tarre, hempe, and all things for the Nauie, as plentifully as Eastland doth.

The Islands to be noted with their commodities and wants.

To note the Islands, whether they be hie land or low land, mountaine, or flat, grauelly, clay, chalkie, or of what sorte, woody or not woody, with springs and riuers or not, and what wilde beastes they haue in the same.

And whether there seeme to be in the same apt matter to build withall, as stone free or rough, and stone to make lime withall, and wood or coale to burne the same withall.

To note the goodnesse or badnesse of the hauens and harborowes in the Islands.

If a straight be found, what is to be done, and what great importance it may be of.

And if there be a straight in the passage into the Scithian seas, the same is specially and with great regard to be noted, especially if the same straight be narrow and to be kept. I say it is to be noted as a thing that doeth much import: for what prince soeuer shall be Lorde of the same; and shall possesse the same, as the king of Denmarke doeth possesse the straight of Denmarke, he onely shall haue the trade out of these regions into the Northeast parts of the world for himselfe, and for his priuate profit, or for his subiects onely, or to enioy wonderfull benefit of the toll of the same, like as the king of Denmarke doth enioy of his straights by suffring the merchants of other Princes to passe that way. If any such straight be found, the eleuation, the high or lowe land, the hauens neere, the length of the straights, and all other such circumstances are to be set downe for many purposes: and al the Mariners in the voyage are to be sworne to keepe close all such things, that other Princes preuent vs not of the same, after our returns vpon the disclosing of the Mariners, if any such thing should hap.

Which way the Sauage may bee made able to purchase our cloth and other their wants.

If you find any Island or maine land populous, and that the same people hath need of cloth, then are you to deuise what commodities they haue to purchase the same withall.

If they be poore, then are you to consider of the soile, and how by any possibilitie the same may be made to inrich them, that hereafter they may haue something to purchase the cloth withall.

If you enter into any maine by portable riuer, and shall find any great woods, you are to note what kind of timber they be of, that we may know whether they are for pitch, tarre, mastes, dealeboord, clapboord, or for building of ships or houses, for so, if the people haue no vse of them, they may be brought perhaps to vse.

Not to venture the losse of any one man.

You must haue great care to preserue your people, since your number is so small, and not to venture any one man in any wise.

To bring home besides merchandize certaine trifles.

Bring home with you (if you may) from Cambalu or other ciuil place, one or other yong man, although you leaue one for him.

Also the fruites of the Countreys if they will not of themselues dure, drie them and so preserue them.

And bring with you the kernels of peares and apples, and the stones of such stonefruits as you shall find there.

Also the seeds of all strange herbs and flowers, for such seeds of fruits and herbs comming from another part of the world, and so far off, will delight the fansie of many for the strangenesse, and for that the same may grow, and continue the delight long time.

If you arriue at Cambalu or Quinsay, to bring thence the mappe of that countrey, for so shall you haue the perfect description, which is to great purpose.

To bring thence some old printed booke, to see whether they haue had print there before it was deuised in Europe as some write.

To note their force by sea and by land.

If you arriue in Cambalu or Quinsay, to take a speciall view of their Nauie, and to note the force, greatnesse, maner of building of them, the sailes, the tackles, the ankers, the furniture of them, with ordinance, armour, and munition.

Also, to note the force of the wals and bulwarks of their cities, their ordonance, and whether they haue any caliuers, and what powder and shot.

To note what armour they haue.

What swords.

What pikes, halberds and bils.

What horses of force, and what light horses they haue.

And so throughout to note the force of the Countrey both by sea and by land.

Things to be marked to make coniectures by.

To take speciall note of their buildings, and of the ornaments of their houses within.

Take a speciall note of their apparell and furniture, and of the substance that the same is made of, of which a Merchant may make a gesse as well of their commoditie, as also of their wants.

To note their Shoppes and Warehouses, and with what commodities they abound, the price also.

To see their Shambles, and to view all such things as are brought into the Markets, for so you shall soone see the commodities, and the maner of the people of the inland, and so giue a gesse of many things.

To note their fields of graine, and their trees of fruite, and how they abound or not abound in one and other, and what plenty or scarsitie of fish they haue.

Things to be caried with you, whereof more or lesse is to bee caried for a shew of our commodities to be made.

Karsies of all orient colours, specially of stamell, broadcloth of orient colours also.

Frizadoes, Motlies, Bristow friezes, Spanish blankets, Baies of al colours, specially with Stamel, Worsteds, Carels, Saies, Woadmols, Flanels, Rash, &c.

Felts of diuers colours.

Taffeta hats.

Deepe caps for Mariners coloured in Stamel, whereof if ample bent may be found, it would turne to an infinite commoditie of the common poore people by knitting.

Quilted caps of Leuant taffeta of diuers colours, for the night.

Knit stocks of silke of orient colours.

Knit stocks of Iersie yarne of orient colours, whereof if ample vent might folow the poore multitude should be set in worke.

Stocks of karsie of diuers colours for men and for women.

Garters of silke of seuerall kinds, and of colours diuers.

Girdles of Buffe and all other leather, with gilt and vngilt buckles, specially waste girdles, waste girdles of veluet.

Gloues of all sorts knit, and of leather.

Gloues perfumed.

Points of all sorts of silke, threed, and leather, of all maner of colours.

Shooes of Spanish leather of diuers colours, of diuers length, cut and vncut.

Shooes of other leather.

Veluet shooes and pantophles.

These shooes and pantophles to be sent this time, rather for a shew then for any other cause.

Purses knit, and of leather.

Nightcaps knit, and other.

A garnish of pewter for a shew of a vent of that English commoditie, bottles, flagons, spoones, &c. of that mettall.

Glasses of English making.

Venice glasses.

Looking glasses for women, great and faire.

Small dials, a few for proofe, although there they will not hold the order they do here.

Spectacles of the common sort.

Others of Christall trimmed with siluer, and other wise.

Hower glasses.

Combes of Iuorie.

Combes of boxe.

Combes of horne.

Linnen of diuers sorts.

Handkerchiefs with silke of seuerall colours wrought.

Glazen eyes to ride with against dust.

Kniues in sheaths both single and double, of good edge.

Needles great and small of euery kind.

Buttons greater and smaller, with moulds of leather and not of wood, and such as be durable of double silke, and that of sundry colours.

Boxes with weights for gold, and of euery kind of the coine of gold, good and bad, to shew that the people here vse weight and measure, which is a certaine shew of wisedom, and of certaine gouernment setled here.

All the seuerall siluer coynes of our English monies, to be caried with you, to be shewed to the gouernours at Cambalu, which is a thing that shall in silence speake to wise men more then you imagine.

Locks and keyes, hinges, bolts, haspes, &c. great and small of excellent workemanship, whereof if vent may be, hereafter we shall set our subiects in worke, which you must haue in great regard. For in finding ample vent of any thing that is to be wrought in this realme, is more woorth to our people besides the gaine of the merchant, then Christchurch, Bridewell, the Sauoy, and all the Hospitals of England.

For banketting on shipboord persons of credite.

First, the sweetest perfumes to set vnder hatches to make the place sweet against their comming aboord, if you arriue at Cambalu, Quinsey, or in any such great citie, and not among Sauages.


Figs barrelled.


Raisins of the sunne.

Comfets of diuers kinds made of purpose by him that is most excellent, that shal not dissolue.

Prunes damaske.

Dried Peares.




Oliues to make them taste their wine.

The apple Iohn that dureth two yeres to make shew of our fruits.



Vials of good sweet waters, and casting bottels of glasses to besprinkle the ghests withall, after their comming aboord.

Suger to vse with their wine if they will.

The sweet oyle of Zante, and excellent French vineger, and a fine kind of Bisket stieped in the same do make a banketting dish, and a little Sugar cast in it cooleth and comforteth, and refresheth the spirits of man.

Cynamon water/Imperiall water: is to be had with you to make a shew of by taste, and also to comfort your sicke in the voyage.

With these and such like, you may banket where you arriue the greater and best persons.

Or with the gift of these Marmelades in small boxes, or small vials of sweet waters you may gratifie by way of gift, or you may make a merchandize of them.

The Mappe of England and of London.

Take with you the mappe of England set out in faire colours, one of the biggest sort I meane, to make shew of your countrey from whence you come.

And also the large Mappe of London to make shew of your Citie. And let the riuer be drawen full of Ships of all sorts, to make the more shew of your great trade and traffike in trade of merchandize.

Ortelius booke of Mappes.

If you take Ortelius booke of Mappes with you to marke all these Regions, it were not amisse: and if need were to present the same to the great Can, for it would be to a Prince of marueilous account.

The booke of the attire of all Nations.

Such a booke caried with you and bestowed in gift would be much esteemed, as I perswade my selfe.


If any man will lend you the new Herball and such Bookes as make shew of herbes, plants, trees, fishes, foules and beasts of these regions, it may much delight the great Can, and the nobilitie, and also their merchants to haue the view of them: for all things in these partes so much differing from the things of those regions, since they may not be here to see them, by meane of the distance, yet to see those things in a shadow, by this meane will delight them.

The booke of Rates.

Take with you the booke of Rates, to the end you may pricke all those commodities there specified, that you shall chance to find in Cambalu, in Quinsey, or in any part of the East, where you shall chance to be.


Rowles of Parchment, for that we may vent much without hurt to the Realme, and it lieth in small roume.


To carie Glew, for that we haue plenty and want vent.

Red Oker for Painters.

To seeke vent because we haue great mines of it, and haue no vent.

Sope of both kindes.

To try what vent it may haue, for that we make of both kinds, and may perhaps make more.


To try what vent you may haue of Saffron, because this realme yeelds the best of the world, and for the tillage and other labours may set the poore greatly in worke to their reliefe.


By new deuises wonderful quantities may be made here, and therefore to seeke the vent.

Blacke Conies skins.

To try the vent at Cambalu, for that it lieth towards the North, and for that we abound with the commoditie, and may spare it.

Threed of all colours.

The vent may set our people in worke.

Copper Spurres and Hawkes bels.

To see the vent for it may set our people in worke.

A note and Caueat for the Merchant.

That before you offer your commodities to sale, you indeuour to learne what commodities the countrey there hath. For if you bring thither veluet, taffeta, spice, or any such commoditie that you your selfe desire to lade your selfe home with, you must not sell yours deare, least hereafter you purchase theirs not so cheape as you would.

Seeds for sale.

Carie with you for that purpose all sorts of garden seeds, as wel of sweete strawing herbs, and of flowers, as also of pot herbes and all sorts for roots, &c.

Lead of the first melting.

Lead of the second melting of the slags.

To make triall of the vent of Lead of all kinds.

English iron, and wier of iron and copper.

To try the sale of the same.


To try the vent of the same, because we abound with it made in the Realme.

Antimonie a Minerall.

To see whether they haue any ample vse there for it, for that we may lade whole nauies of it, and haue no vse of it vnlesse it be for some small portion in founding of bels, or a litle that the Alcumists vse: of this you may haue two sortes at the Apothecaries.

Tinder boxes with Steele, Flint & Matches and Tinder, the Matches to be made of Iuniper to auoid the offence of Brimstone.

To trie and make the better sale of Brimstone by shewing the vse.

Candles of Waxe to light.

A painted Bellowes.

For that perhaps they haue not the vse of them.

A pot of cast iron.

To try the sale, for that it is a naturall commoditie of this Realme.

All maner of edge tools.

To be sold there or to the lesse ciuil people by the way where you shall touch.

What I would haue you there to remember.

To note specially what excellent dying they vse in these regions, and therefore to note their garments and ornaments of houses: and to see their Die houses and the Materials & Simples that they vse about the same, and to bring musters and shewes of the colours and of the materials, for that it may serue this clothing realme to great purpose.

To take with you for your owne vse.

All maner of engines to take fish and foule.

To take with you those things that be in perfection of goodnesse.

For as the goodnesse now at the first may make your commodities in credite in time to come: so false and Sophisticate commodities shall draw you and all your commodities into contempt and ill opinion.

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