Instructions made by the company of English, merchants for discouery of new trades, vnto Richard Gibs, William Biggat, Iohn Backhouse, William Freeman, Iohn Haly, and Iames Woodcock, &c. masters of the 9. ships and one barke that we had freighted for a voiage with them to be made (by the grace of God) from hence to S. Nicholas in Russia, and backe againe: which ships being now in the riuer of Thames are presently ready to depart vpon the said voyage, with the next apt winds that may serue thereunto: and with this Fleet afterwards was ioned M. Christopher Carlisle with the Tyger. The 1 off Iune 1582.
Forasmuch as the number of shippes which we purpose to send in this fleete together for Saint Nicholas in Russia is greater then at any time heretofore wee haue sent thither, as also for that some speeches are giuen out that you shall be met withall by such as with force and violence will assault you as enemies, to the end that good order may be established among you for keeping together in company, and vniting your forces, as well for the better direction to be had in your nauigation, as also for your more safety and strength against the enemie, we haue thought good to appoint among you an Admirall and Viceadmirall, and that all of you and eueryone particularly shall be bound in the summe of one hundred pounds to keepe company together.
2 Because the Salomon is the biggest ship, best appointed, and of greatest force to defend or offend the enemie, we doe therefore appoint that ship Admirall, which shall weare the flag in the maine top.
3 The Thomas Allen being a good ship and well appointed, and for that the master of her is the ancientest master of the Fleete that hath taken charge that way, we doe appoint the same ship to be Viceadmirall, and to weare the flag in the foretop.
4 And for that the master of the Prudence is of great experience and knowledge in that voyage, we doe appoint that he with the master of the Admirall and Viceadmirall shall conferre, consult and agree vpon the courses and directions that shall be vsed in this voyage, and it shall be lawfull vnto the master of the Admirall, with the consent of M. Gibs, and M. Biggat, or one of them to make his courses and directions from time to time during the whole voyage, and all the fleete are to follow and obserue the same without straying or breaking of company at any time vpon the penaltie before specified.
5 The appointing of the ships for Admiral and Viceadmiral, and those men to consult and agree vpon the courses and directions of the voyage, as aforesaid, hath bene done by the consents and with the liking of you all, and therefore doubt not but that you will all carefully and willingly obserue the premisses.
6 Item, we haue thought good to put in mind, that at such times as you may conueniently from time to time, you do assemble and meete together, to consider, consult, and determine vpon such articles as you shall think necessary to be propounded touching your best safetie and defence against all forces that may be offered you in this voyage, as well outwards bound, and while you shall remaine in the roade and bay of S. Nicholas, as also homewardes hound, and that which you shall agree vpon, or that which most of you shal consent vnto, cause it to be set down in writing for record, which may serue for an acte amongst your selues to binde you all to obserue the same.
7 We haue appointed Iames Woodcock in the smal barke to attend vpon you, and to receiue his directions from you. You are therefore to remember well what conference and talke hath bene had with you here before your going touching the sayd barke, to what purposes she may best serue, and the maner how to imploy her, and thereupon to giue your order and direction vnto him, as the time and place shall require.
Berozoua Vstia. 8 Item, if you shall vnderstand as you are outwards bound, that the enemie is gone before you to S. Nicholas, remember what aduice hath bene giuen you for your stay at Berozoua Vstia, till you haue by espials viewed and vnderstood the forces, and the manner of their abode at that place.
9 And if in the sea either outwards or homewards, or in the time of your abode at anker at Saint Nicholas, you shall be assaulted by force of any, as enemie whatsoeuer, you are to defend your selues with such forces as you may or can: trust not too farre, neither giue place to inconuenience.
10 You will not forget what conference we had touching your passing outwards bound by Wardhouse, to view and vnderstand what you can at that place, and to shew your selues, to see if there be any there that haue a mind to speake with you, for that we thinke it better then, and thereabout, then afterwards or els where.
11 While you shall remaine in the road at S. Nicholas, be circumspect and carefull to haue your ships in readinesse and in good order alwaies, and vpon all suddens. The greatest danger vnto you in that place will be while you shall shift your ships: therefore you are to consider of it, but the fittest time for you to doe the same, will bee when the winde is Southerly off the shore, or calme, and at such time you may the better doe it without danger. You must take such order among you, that your companies may be alwaies willing and ready to help one the other, and appoint among your selues such ships to shift first, and such after, in such sort and forme as you shall thinke best and most conuenient. And while they shall be in discharging, shifting, and lading, let the rest of your companies which haue not then to doe in lading or discharging, helpe those ships that shall haue labour to doe, as well for carying the barkes from ships to the shoare, or from shore to the shippe: with your boates, as also for any other helpe that they shall haue need of.
12 Remember what hath bene said vnto you touching the moring of your ships, &c. for vsing aduantage against the enemie, if you shall be assaulted in that place.
13 See that you serue God, abolish swearing and gaming, be carefull of fire and candles, &c.
14 You are to consult and agree among your selues vpon signes, tokens, and good orders for the better keeping of company together, and also the maner how and by what meanes, rescue, ayde, or helpe may be giuen by one to the other in fight, if you happen to come to it.
Thus we pray God to send you a prosperous voyage and safe returne.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51