The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The letters of the Queenes most excellent Maiestie sent by one Laurence Aldersey vnto the Emperour of Aethiopia, 1597.

Inuictissimo potentissimoque Abassenorum regi, magnoque vtriusque Aethiopiæ imperatori &c.

Elizabetha Dei gratia Angliæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ regina, fidei defensor &c. summo ac potentissimo Æthiopiæ imperatori salutem. Quod ab omnibus qui vbiuis terrarum ac gentium sunt regibus principibusque præstari par et æquum est, vt quanquàm maximo locorum interuallo dissiti, et moribus ac legibus discrepantes, communem tamen generis humani societatem tueri et conseruare, mutuáque vt occasio ferret, charitatis et beneuolentiæ officia velint exercere: in eo nos de vestra fide atque humanitate spem certissimam concipientes huic subito nostro Laurentio Alderseio in regnum vestrum proficiscenti, hasce literas nostras, quibus et nostra erga vos beneuolentia testata sit, et illum hinc profectum esse constet, potissimùm vobis indicandus dedimus. Qui cùm orbis terrarum perscrutandi cognoscendique studio permotus, multis antehàc regionibus peragratis, iam tandem in eas regiones, quæ vestræ ditionis sunt, longum, periculosumque iter instituat: cùm ipse existimauit, tum nos etiam sumus in eadem opinione, ad incolumitatem suam, atque etiam ad gratiam apud vos, plurimum illi prafuturum, si diplomate nostro munitus, beneuolenentiæ nostræ et profectionis hinc suæ testimonium ad vos deferret. Nam cum summus ille mundi conditor rectorque præpotens Deus, regibus principibusque qui suam vicem gerunt, orbem terrarum, suis cuique finibus pro rata portione designatis, regendum atque administrandum dederit; eoque munere ius quoddam inter eos fraternæ necessitudinis, æternumque foedus ab illis colendum sanxerit: non erit (vt arbitramur) ingratum vobis, cùm beneuolentiæ nostræ significationem, tàm immensa maris ac terrarum spatia transgressam, ab vltima Britannia ad vos in Aetheiopiam perferri intellexeritis. Nobisque rursùs erit incundum, cùm subditorum nostrorum prædicatione, ab ipsis Nili fontibus, et ab ijs regionibus quæ solis cursum definiunt, fama vestri nominis ad nos recurret. Erit igitur humanitatis vestræ huic subdito nostro eam largiri gratiam, vt in ditionem vestram sub præsidio ac tutela vestri nominis intrare, ibique saluus et incolumis manere possit: quod ipsum etiam ab aliis principibus, per quorum regiones illi transeundum erit magnoperè petimus, nobisque ipsis illud honoris causa tributum existimabimus: néque tamèn maiorem hac in re gratiam postulamus, quàm vicissim omnium principum subditis, omniumque gentium hominibus ad nos commeantibus liberrimè concedimus. Datum Londini quinto die Nouembris: anno regni nostri tricesimo nono: annoque Dom. 1597.

The same in English.

To the most inuincible and puissant king of the Abassens, the mightie Emperour of Aethiopia the higher and the lower.

Elizabeth by the grace of God Queene of England, France and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. To the most high and mightie Emperour of Aethiopia greeting. Whereas it is a matter requisite and well beseeming all kings and princes of what lands or nations soeuer, be they neuer so much disseuered in place or differing in customes and lawes, to maintaine and preserue the common societie of mankinde, and, as occassion shall be offered, to performe mutuall duties of charitie and beneuolence: we for that cause concerning most undoubted hope of your princely fidelity and courtesie, haue giuen vnto this our subiect Laurence Aldersey intending to trauell into your dominions, these our letters to be deliuered without faile vnto your Highnesse, to the end they may be a testimony of our good will towards you and of our saide subiect his departure from England. Who, after his trauels in many forren countreys, being as yet enflamed with a desire more throughly to surueigh and contemplate the world, and now at length to vndertake a long and daungerous iourney into your territories and regions: both the sayd Laurence thought, and our selues also deemed, that it would very much auaile him, as well for his owne safetie as for the attayning of your fauour, if, being protected with our broad seale, hee might transport vnto your Highnesse a testimony of our louing affection and of his departure from hence. For sithence almightie God the highest creatour and gouernour of the world hath allotted vnto kings and princes his viceregents ouer the face of the whole earth, their designed portions and limits to be ruled and administred by them; and by this his gift hath established among them a certaine law of brotherly kindnesse, and an eternall league by them to be obserued: it will not (we hope) seeme vnpleasant vnto your highnesse, when you shall haue intelligence of our louing letters sent so huge a distance ouer sea and land, euen from the farthest realme of England vnto you in Aethiopia. On the other side our selues shall take great solace and delight, when as by the relation of our owne subiects, the renowme of your name shall be brought vnto vs from the fountains of Nilus, and from those regions which are situate vnder the Southerne Tropike. May it please you therefore of your princely clemencie to vouchsafe so much fauour on this our subiect, that he may, vnder the safeguard and protection of your name, enter into your highnesse dominions, and there remaine safe and free from danger. Which fauour and courtesie wee doe likewise most earnestly request at the hands of other princes, through whose Seigniories our said subject is to passe; and we shall esteeme it as done vnto our selfe and for our honours sake.

Neither do we require any greater fauour in this behalfe, then we are vpon the like occasion most ready to graunt unto the subiects of all princes and the people of all Nations, trauelling into our dominions. Given at London the fift day of Nouember, in the thirtie and ninth yeere of our reigne: and in the yeare of our Lord 1597.

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