A discourse of the trade to Chio, in the yeere 1569. made by Caspar Campion, vnto master Michael Locke, and vnto master William Winter, as by his letters vnto them both shall appeare. Written the 14. of February.
Worshipfull Sir, &c. As these dayes past I spake vnto you about the procurement of a safeconduct from the great Turke, for a trade to Chio: The way and maner how it may be obtained with great ease shall plainly appeare vnto you in the lines following. Sir, you shall vnderstand that the Island of Chio in time past hath bene a Signiorie or lordship of it selfe, and did belong vnto the Genowaies. There were 24. of them that gouerned the island which were called Mauneses. But in continuance of time the Turke waxed so strong and mightie, that they, considering they were not able to keepe it, vnlesse they should become his tributaries, because the Island had no corne, nor any kind of vitailes to sustaine themselues, but onely that which must of necessitie come out of the Turkes dominions, and the sayd island being inclosed with the Turks round about, and but 12. miles from the Turks Continent, therefore the said Genowaies did compound and agree to be the Turkes tributaries, and to pay him 14000. thousand ducates yeerely. Alwayes prouided, that they should keep their lawes both spirituall and temporall, as they did when the Iland was in their owne hands. Thus he granted them their priuiledge, which they inioyed for many yeeres, so that all strangers, and also many Englishmen did trade thither of long continuance, and went and came in safety. The Prince Pedro Doria is captaine of 40 gallies vnder the Emperor. In this meane time, the prince Pedro Doria (being a Genouois) became a captaine to serue the Emperour with 30 or 40 gallies against the Turke. And since that time diuers other captaines belonging to Genoa haue bene in the seruice of king Philip against the Turke. Moreouer, whensoeuer the Turke made out any army, he perceiued that no nation did him more hurt then those Genouois, who were his tributaries. Likewise at the Turkes siege of Malta, before which place he lay a great while, with losse of his men, and also of his gallies, he found none so troublesome vnto his force, as one Iuanette Doria a Genouois, and diuers others of the Iland of Chio, who were his tributaries. The Mauneses put out of the Iland of Chio by the Turke. At which sight, he tooke such displeasure against them of Chio, that he sent certaine of his gallies to the Iland, for to seise vpon all the goods of the 24 Mauneses and to turne them with their wiues and children out of the Iland, but they would let none other depart, because the Iland should not be vnpeopled. So that now the Turke hath sent one of his chiefe men to rule there: whereby now it will be more easie to obtaine our safeconduct then euer it was before. The custome thorowout all Turkie is ten in euery hundreth. For if the townesmen of Chio did know that we would trade thither (as we did in times past) they themselues, and also the customer (for the Turke in all his dominions doth rent his customes) would be the chiefest procurer of this our safe conduct, for his owne gaine: which is no small matter: for we can pay no lesse than ten in the hundred thorowout the Turks whole dominion. Insomuch, that if one of our shippes should go thither, it would be for the customers profit 4000 ducats at least, whereas if we should not trade thither, he should lose so much. English men do buy more commodities of Chio then any other nation. Also the burgesses, and the common people would be very glad of our trade there, for the Communalty do get more by our countreymen then they do any nation whatsoeuer: for we do vse to buy many of their silke quilts, and of their Scamato and Dimite, that the poore people make in that towne, more then any other nation, so that we would not so gladly trade, but the people of the countrey would be twise so willing. Wherefore they themselues would be a meanes vnto their gouernour, by their petition to bring this trade to passe: giuing him to vnderstand that of all nations in the world we do him least hurt, and that we may do his countrey great good in consuming those commodities which his countrey people make. Furthermore, it were farre more requisite that we should cary our owne commodities, then to suffer a stranger to cary them thither, for that we can affoord them better cheape then a stranger can. I write not this by hearsay of other men, but of mine own experience, for I haue traded in the countrey aboue this 30 yeres, and haue bene maried in the towne of Chio full 24. yeres, so that you may assure yourselfe that I will write nothing but truth. Great store of sundry commodities to be had in Chio. Now I will declare vnto you the wares and commodities that are in the countreys neere about Chio. There are very good galles, the best sort whereof are sold in England fiue shillings deerer then any other countrey galles, There is also cotton wooll, tanned hides, hides in the haire, waxe, chamlets, mocayares, grogerams, silke of diuers countreys, cordouan skinnes, tanned white, to be made blacke, of them great quantity, and also course wooll to make beds. The naturall commodities growing in the Iland it selfe are silke rawe, and masticke. Of these commodities there are laden yeerely ten or twelue great ships of Genoa, besides fiue or sixe that do belong to the towne of Chio, which ships are fraughted for Genoa, Messina, and Ancona. And now that the Mauneses and the chiefe merchants of Genoa are banished, the trade is cleane lost, by reason whereof merchandise must now of necessity be better cheape then they haue bene in times past. But yet when all those ships did trade to the countrey, and also our ships, we neuer had lesse then three kintals of galles for a carsie, and in England we sold them for 35 and 36 shillings the hundred. And whereas now they are brought by the Venetians, they sell them vnto vs for three pound tenne shillings, and foure pound the hundred. Also we had three kintals of cotten wooll for a carsie, and solde the wooll in England for 50 shillings or 3 pound at the most, whereas now the Italians sell the some to vs for 4 pound 10 shillings and 5 pound the hundred. In like maner chamlets, whereas we had three pieces, and of the best sort two and a halfe for a carsie, and could not sell them aboue 20 shillings and 22 shillings the piece, they sell them for 30 and 35 shillings the piece. Also grogerams, where we had of the best, two pieces and a halfe for a carsie, they sell them for foure shillings and foure shillings and sixe pence the yard. Carpets the smaller sort which serue for cupboords, we had three for a carsie: whereas we at the most could not sell them but for 26 shillings the piece, they sell them for 35 shillings the piece. And so all other commodities that the Venetians do bring, they sell them to vs for the third part more gaines then we our selues in those dayes that we traded in those parts. Likewise the barrels of oile that they bring from Candia, we neuer could sell them aboue foure nobles the barrell, where they sell them alwayes for 50 shillings and 3 pound the barrell. What great pity is this, that we should loose so good a trade, and may haue it in our owne hands, and be better welcome to that countrey then the Venetians. Moreouer, the Venetians come very little to Chio, for their trade is into Alexandria. And for to assure you that we had these commodities in barter of our carsies, looke into your fathers books, and the books of Sir Iohn Gresham, and his brethren, and you shall finde what I haue sayd to be true.
Diuers places where we may haue sweete oiles for our clothing farre cheaper then out of Spaine. Also you know, that we are forced to seeke oiles out of Spaine, and that for these many yeeres they haue bene solde for 25 pound and 30 pound the tunne: whereas, if we can obtaine the foresayd safeconduct from the Turke, there are diuers places in his dominions, where we may lade 500 tunnes, at 5 pound sterling the tunne. The places are Modon, and Coron, which are but twelue miles distant the one from the other, and do stand in our way to Chio, as you may plainly see by the Card. Also these are places where we may vtter our owne commodities, and not onely these two places, but many others, where we may haue oiles, and be better vsed then we are in Spaine, where we pay very deare, and also are very euill intreated many wayes, as to you is hot vnknowen. So that by these meanes (if the marchants will) we may be eased, and haue such a trade as the like is not in Christendome. Now, as for getting the safeconduct, if I were but able to spend one hundred pounds by the yeere, I would be bound to lose it, if that I did not obtaine the foresayd safeconduct. For I know that if the inhabitants of Chio did but thinke that wee would trade thither againe, they at their owne cost would procure to vs a safeconduct, without any peny of charges to the marchants. So that if the marchants will but beare my charges to solicit the cause, I will vndertake it my selfe. Wherefore I pray you speake to M. Winter and the other marchants, that this matter may take effect And let me haue your answere herein assoone as conueniently you may, for that the time of the yeere draweth nigh that this businesse must be done. Thus I commit you to God, and rest alwayes yours to command.
Yours as your seruant Gaspar Campion.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51