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

To the Queenes most excellent Maiestie from the Lord Boris Pheodorouich Godonoua.

By the grace of God great Lord and great Duke Theodore Iuanouich gouernour of Russia, Volodimer, Mosco, and Nouogrod, King of Cazan and Astracan, Lord of Vobsko, and great Duke of Smolensco, Otuer, Vgbori, Perme, Viatsky, Bulgary, and other regions, Lord and great Duke of Nouogrod in the low countrey, of Chernigo, of Rezan, Polotsko, Rostoue, Ieroslaue, Bealozera, and of Lifland, of Vdorsky, Obdorsky, Condinsky, and all the countrey of Sibery, and commander of all the North parts, and Lord ouer the countrey of Iuersky, and King of Grusinsky, and of the countrey of Kabardinsky, Cherchasky, and duke of Igorsky, Lord and ruler of many countreys more, &c.

Most resplendent Queene Elizabeth of England, France, and Ireland, &c. his princely Maiesties seruant, Lord and Master of his horses, and high Steward of his house, and President of the territories of Cazan and Astracan, Boris Pheodorouich Godonoua, vnto your most excellent Maiesty, great Ladie Queene Elizabeth, send my humble commendations. The Empresse Irene deliuered of a daughter. It hath pleased your Maiestie to write vnto me your gracious and princely letter by your seruant Thomas Lind: which letter I receiued with all humblenesse. During the time of the abode of your Messenger Thomas Lind here in the Mosco, it pleased God of his mercifulnesse, and our Lady the mother of God, and holy Saints, by the prayers of our lord and king his Maiestie Theodore Iuanouich ouer all Russia gouernour, the right beleeuer and louer of Christ, to send our Queene and gracious Lady Irene a yoong Princesse, to the great ioy and comfort of our kingdome, named Pheodocine. Wherefore we giue all honour and glory to the almightie God vnspeakable, whose giftes had beene manifolde with mercie vnto vs: for which all wee Christians laud and praise God.

After all this your seruant was occasioned to stay vntill the comming of your merchants from the sea port.

Touching the letters which you haue receiued from your louing qbrother our Lord and Master by your ambassadour, therein you perceiue sufficiently my good meaning, in trauailing for the continuance of amitie and friendship betwixt you mighty great princes, in the which I will continue mine endeauour. Also your merchants I haue taken into my protection for to defend them for the loue I beare to your Maiestie. As heeretofore I haue done it willingly, and with great care of their good, so I meane to continue so farre as God will giue me leaue: to the end that brotherly loue be holden betweene you princes without disturbance.

As I haue beene to your merchants in times past, so now by the permission and commandement of our Lord and Master, I will be their defendour in all causes: and will cause all our authorised people to fauour them and to defend them, and to giue them free liberty to buy and sell at their pleasure. The merchants doe not certifie your princely Maiestie of all our friendship and fauour shewed vnto them from time to time. And whereas your Maiestie hath now written to our Lord and Master for the debts which your merchants ought to haue of William Turnebull lately disceased, I hauing perused your Maiesties letter, whereby I am requested to be a meane for the recouerie and obtaining of their sayd debts, I haue moued it to our Lord and King his Maiestie, that order may be giuen therein: and that his kinseman Rainold Kitchin with three persons more may be sent ouer together with company to sell or barter away their owne commodities in change or otherwise, for or at their pleasure as they will. And whensoeuer the said merchants or any of them come into our territories of great Nouogrod or Plesco, or to any other parts of our kingdome with their wares, by virtue of these our maiesties letters we straitly charge and command you our Captaines, generals, and all other that be authorised or in office, to suffer the aforesaid merchants to passe and repasse, and to take no kinde of custome or dutie of them, or any of their goods, howsoeuer it may haue name: nor in no place else where they shall come in all our kingdome. Likewise if they sell not nor buy no wares, you shall take no custome, but suffer them quietly to passe where they will with their goods. Of our gratious goodness and meere goodwill haue giuen the said merchants leaue to trafficke, throughout all our kingdomes, and in all townes and cities with all maner of wares and commodities without paying any custome or dutie. Wheresoeuer they shal happen to sel or barter away any of their commodities to our subiects, they are to barter or sell by wholesale, and not by retalie, as by the yard or by the ounce in their houses or elsewhere: but by the packe or whole clothes, veluets, damasks, taffaties by the piece, and not by the yard: and al other wares that are to be sold by weight, they are to be sold not by the ounce, but by great sale. Your wines shalbe solde by hogs heads, pipes or buttes, but not by quartes nor pintes.

The said English merchants are to sel or barter away their owne commodities themselues, and not to suffer any Russes to buy or sell for them: nor to cary or tranport any wares of strangers in stead of their owne in no wise. And if the saide English merchants shall be desirous to sell any of their commodities at Colmogro, or vpon the Riuer of Duina, or at Vologhda or at Yeraslaue: when as the saide merchants haue solde in any of the saide Townes, Cities or territories, then you our officers and authorised people by vertue of this our gratious letter wee will and straitly commaund not to take any custome of the aforesaid merchants, howsoeuer it may be named.

Also whensoeuer the saide English merchants or any of their factours shalbe desirous to hire carriers to carry their wares to any place of our dominions or Cities, it shalbe at their choyse and pleasure to hier them the best they can, and where they will, either watermen to rowe, or vessels.

Also when any of the said merchants themselues, or any of theirs are desirous to trauel into any part of our dominions, or into any other kingdomes, or into their owne kingdome if any of our treasure be deliuered to them, they to take it with them, and to sel it in bartar or otherwise for such wares as are most requisit and necessary to be brought into our kingdome and to be deliuered into our treasury. You our nobilitie, generals & al others in authority suffer them to passe through al our cities, towns & countries without taking any custome of them. And when the said merchants haue done their traffick in any place & come to the Mosco, they shal make it knowen at their arriual at the house of Chancery and Secretariship to Vasili Shalcan. And further when there come any English Merchants with their ships or vessels by sea, that by mishap shalbe cast away vpon any of our shoars or costes, we wil and command you to ayde & helpe them, and to seeke for their goods so perished by any casualtie, and to be restored againe to the saide English merchants or their assignes without any prolonging or detayning. As also if any of the aforesaide merchants goods be found in any part of our coastes or streames and they not present themselues, let the sayd goods be taken and layd vp in safetie in some place or other, and be deliuered to the aforesaid merchants or their factors, vnder penaltie of our displeasure.

Furthermore we King, Lord and great duke of all Russia, of our gracious goodnesse giue vnto the English merchants and their company, their house in the Citie of Mosco lying hard by the Church of S. Marke behinde the market place: which they shall keepe and remaine therein after their old accustomed vse. Prouided alwayes that they shall keepe one Russe porter or one of their owne people, & may keepe any other Russe seruant at their discretion. Also their houses in sundry places, as at Ieraslaue, Vologhda, Colmogro, and at S. Michael Archangel, all these houses they shall keepe and vse at their owne pleasure, according to our former letters patents without paying any dutie, rent, or custome. Nor you the communaltie of the said townes shal take any thing of them or theirs for any duetie that should belong to you, especially of the houses aforesaid: but the said English merchants shal enioy them peaceably for themselues and their families, but shall not suffer any other strangers Russes or others to vse the aforesaid houses. Also you shall suffer them to lay their wares and commodities in their warehouses, and to sell their commodities to whom they please without let or hindrance, by vertue of this our gratious letter.

Their housekeeper being a Russe shall not vndertake to meddle, or sell any of their wares without they themselues be present, nor to buy any thing for them.

Also it shalbe lawfull for the said merchants when they shal arriue at their port to lade and vnlade their merchandises as in times past they haue done at their pleasure. And when they lade their ships with Russe commodities or vnlade them, it shalbe lawfull for them to hire any of our subiects to helpe them for the present time, and for them to carry their goods to and fro with their owne vessels to S. Michael Archangel, or elsewhere.

Also we command you our authorised people at the sea side as wel Customers as others to take of the foresaid merchants a note, or remembrance, what goods they bring in and ship out: whereby it may be knowen what goods come in and go out. But in no wise shall you open or vnpacke any of their wares or merchandises.

In like maner when as they ship or sende away any of their countrey commodities from S. Michael Archangel to any other place, or to our royall Citie of Mosco yee shall not hinder nor let them any maner of wise for the shipping of their merchandises in or out by virtue of these our gratious letters of priuiledge giuen them.

And whensoeuer any of the said English merchants haue any occasion to send ouer land out of our dominions into their own countrey any of their seruants or factors, by vertue of this our gratious letter we command you to giue them their passeport out of the office of our Secretariship.

And whensoeuer any of our subiects hath any thing to do with any of the foresaid merchants by way of contentions: or that they be damnified or hindered by any of our subiects: then we appoint and ordeine our Chanceller and Secretary Vasili Shalcan to heare their causes, and finally to determine on both sides according to equitie and iustice: and that he shall search the trueth betweene both parties.

And when the trueth cannot be proued or found out, then to cast lots by order of the foresaide Iudge, and he to whom the lot shall fall to take his othe.

Furthermore whensoeuer any of the English merchants or their factors shall come into any parts of our dominions or Cities, and shalbe wronged any kinde of wayes in trading, or otherwise by any abused, or haue any occasion of contention with any by way of trade in merchandise or otherwayes: we straightly charge and commaund you our gouernours, and authorised subiects within all our realme and territories of the same, to minister iustice vnto the aforesaid merchants, or to their deputies, and to search the trueth of the contention: and for want of sufficient proofe cast lots who shall take his oath for the more ready triall of the cause: And in no wise to take any fee or duetie of the aforesaid English merchants for the said iudgement in Lawe.

We wil and commaund all this to be obserued and kept in all parts of our dominions by all our subiects and authorised people by vertue of these our royal letters patents: And the said letters not to be diminished in any part or parsell thereof by any persons howsoeuer they be named. And whosoeuer shall withstand and not regard these our gracious letters shalbe in our high displeasure, and shal incurre the losse of his life. After our accompt 1596. This our gracious letter was giuen in our kingdom and royal City of Mosco, in the yere from the beginning of the world 7104. in the moneth of May.

Subscribed by the Emperours Chancellour and Secretarie Vasili Shalean.

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