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Title: The Discovery of Muscovy
Author: Hakluyt, Richard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Discovery of Muscovy" ***

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Transcribed from the 1893 Cassell & Company edition by David Price, email

                        CASSELL’S NATIONAL LIBRARY

                                * * * * *

                          DISCOVERY OF MUSCOVY.

                         FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF

                             RICHARD HAKLUYT.

             _The Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan from King_
                           _Alfred’s Orosius_.

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                       CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED:
                      _LONDON_, _PARIS & MELBOURNE_.


THE first relations between England and Russia were established in Queen
Elizabeth’s reign, in the manner here set forth, by the expedition
undertaken by Sir Hugh Willoughby and completed by Richard Chanceler or
Chancellor, captain of the _Edward Bonaventure_.  Chanceler went on after
Willoughby and the crew of his ship, _The Admiral_, with the crew of
another vessel in the expedition, had been parted from Chanceler in a
storm in the North Sea, and Willoughby’s men were all frozen to death.  A
few men belonging to the other ship were believed to have found their way
back to England.  The story of Chanceler’s voyage and the following
endeavours to open Muscovy to English trade is here given, as it was told
in Hakluyt’s collection of “The Principal Navigations, Voyages, and
Discoveries made by the English Nation,” the folio published in 1589.

The story of our first contact with Russia belongs to the days of Ivan
the Terrible.  The Russians are a Slavonic people, with Finnish elements
to the North and Mongolian to the South, and old contact with the Swedes,
from whom they are supposed to have got their name through the Finnish
_Ruotsi_, a corruption, it is said, of the Swedish _rothsmenn_—rowers.
Legends point also to a Scandinavian settlement in the ninth century in
Northern Russia.  A chief Igor, whose name is supposed to represent the
Scandinavian Ingvar, was trained by a warrior chief Oleg (Scandinavian
Helgi?), who attacked Byzantium and wrung tribute from the Greeks.  After
the death of Oleg, Igor reigned, and after the death of Igor his wife
Olga was regent, and was baptised at Byzantium in the year 955.  Her son
Sviotoslaff the first chief with a Slavonic name, was a conquering chief,
who did not become Christian.  He was killed in battle, and his skull was
made into a drinking-cup.  His son Vladimir was a cruel warrior, who took
to Christianity, was baptised in the year 988, and caused the image of
the Slavonic god of Thunder, Perun, to be first cudgelled and then thrown
into a river.  Vladimir, who first introduced Christianity, divided his
dominions, leaving Novgorod to his son Yaroslaff, who established the
first code of laws.  After the death of Yaroslaff, in the year 1054,
Russia was broken into petty principalities, until the year 1238, when
there was a great invasion of the Mongols, who became a great disturbing
power, and remained so until the year 1462, when Ivan III. began the
consolidation of a Russian empire.  He reigned forty-three years,
suppressed the liberties of many independent regions, annexed states,
checked the Mongols, married a Byzantine princess, and so brought Greek
culture into Moscow.  Ivan III. bequeathed his throne to a son Basil, who
made further addition to the dominions of Muscovy, and treated with
foreign princes.  Herberstein, an ambassador to him from Germany, has
left a description of his court.  Then followed the reign of Basil’s son
Ivan IV., Ivan the Terrible, who was, when his father died, a child of
three years old.  He was at first, from 1533 to 1538, under the care of
his mother, Helen Glinska, a Pole.  In 1543, when a boy of thirteen, he
broke loose from the tutelage of chiefs, and caused one of them who had
most worried him to be torn to pieces by dogs.  In 1547, at the age of
seventeen, he was crowned, and took the title of Czar (Cæsar).  He
married a good wife, submitted to the guidance of a good priest,
Silvester, revised his grandfather’s code of laws, issued a code for the
Church, conquered enemies upon his borders, had desires towards the
civilisation of the West, and did nothing to earn his name of “the
Terrible” before the year 1558, five years after the setting out of
Willoughby and Chancellor.  His cruelties continued from 1558 until his
death, in 1584.

                                                                     H. M.


_By the North-East in the year 1553_: _Enterprised by_ SIR HUGH
WILLOUGHBIE, KNIGHT, _performed by_ RICHARD CHANCELER, _Pilot-major of
the voyage_.  _Translated out of the Latin into English_.

AT what time our merchants perceived the commodities and wares of England
to be in small request with the countries and people about us, and near
unto us, and that those merchandises which strangers in the time and
memory of our ancestors did earnestly seek and desire were now neglected,
and the price thereof abated, although by us carried to their own ports,
and all foreign merchandises in great account, and their prices
wonderfully raised; certain grave citizens of London, and men of great
wisdom, and careful of the good of their country, began to think with
themselves how this mischief might be remedied: neither was a remedy (as
it then appeared) wanting to their desires for the avoiding of so great
an inconvenience: for seeing that the wealth of the Spaniards and
Portuguese, by the discovery and search of new trades and countries, was
marvellously increased, supposing the same to be a course and means for
them also to obtain the like, they thereupon resolved upon a new and
strange navigation.  And whereas at the same time one Sebastian Cabot, a
man in those days very renowned, happened to be in London, they began
first of all to deal and consult diligently with him, and after much
speech and conference together, it was at last concluded that three ships
should be prepared and furnished out for the search and discovery of the
Northern part of the world, to open a way and passage to our men for
travel to new and unknown kingdoms.

And whereas many things seemed necessary to be regarded in this so hard
and difficult a matter, they first made choice of certain grave and wise
persons in manner of a senate or company which should lay their heads
together and give their judgments and provide things requisite and
profitable for all occasions; by this company it was thought expedient
that a certain sum of money should publicly be collected to serve for the
furnishing of so many ships.  And lest any private man should be too much
oppressed and charged, a course was taken that every man willing to be of
the society should disburse the portion of twenty and five pounds apiece,
so that in a short time by this means the sum of six thousand pounds
being gathered, the three ships were bought, the most part whereof they
provided to be newly built and trimmed.  But in this action, I wot not
whether I may more admire the care of the merchants, or the diligence of
the shipwrights: for the merchants, they get very strong and well
seasoned planks for the building, the shipwrights, they with daily
travail and their greatest skill, do fit them for the dispatch of the
ships, they caulk them, pitch them, and among the rest, they make one
most staunch and firm, by an excellent and ingenious invention.  For they
had heard that in certain parts of the ocean a kind of worm is bred which
many times pierceth and eateth through the strongest oak that is, and
therefore that the mariners and the rest to be employed in this voyage
might be free and safe from this danger, they cover a piece of the keel
of the ship with thin sheets of lead; and having thus built the ships,
and furnished them with armour and artillery, then followed a second care
no less troublesome and necessary than the former, namely the provision
of victuals which was to be made according to the time and length of the
voyage.  And whereas they afore determined to have the east part of the
world sailed unto, and yet that the sea towards the same was not open,
except they kept the northern tract where as yet it was doubtful whether
there were any passage yea or no, they resolved to victual the ships for
eighteen months, which they did for this reason.  For our men being to
pass that huge and cold part of the world, they wisely foreseeing it,
allow them six months’ victual to sail to the place, so much more to
remain there if the extremity of the winter hindered their return, and so
much more also for the time of their coming home.

Now this provision being made and carried aboard, with armour and
munition of all sorts, sufficient captains and governors of so great an
enterprise were as yet wanting: to which office and place, although many
men (and some void of experience) offered themselves, yet one Sir Hugh
Willoughbie, a most valiant gentleman, and well born, very earnestly
requested to have that care and charge committed unto him: of whom before
all others, both by reason of his goodly personage (for he was of a tall
stature) as also for his singular skill in the services of war, the
Company of the merchants made greatest account: so that at the last they
concluded and made choice of him for the general of this voyage, and
appointed to him the admiral, with authority and command over all the
rest.  And for the government of the other ships although divers men
seemed willing, and made offers of themselves thereunto, yet by a common
consent one Richard Chanceler, a man of great estimation for many good
parts of wit in him, was elected, in whom alone great hope for the
performance of this business rested.  This man was brought up by one
Master Henry Sidney, a noble young gentleman and very much beloved of
King Edward, who this time coming to the place where the merchants were
gathered together, began a very eloquent speech or oration, and spake to
them after this manner following:—

“My very worshipful friends, I cannot but greatly commend your present
godly and virtuous intention in the serious enterprising (for the
singular love you bear to your country), a matter which (I hope) will
prove profitable for this nation, and honourable to this our land.  Which
intention of yours we also of the nobility are ready to our power to help
and further: neither do we hold anything so dear and precious unto us,
which we will not willingly forego, and lay out in so commendable a
cause.  But principally I rejoice in myself, that I have nourished and
maintained that wit which is like by some means and in some measure to
profit and stead you in this worthy action.  But yet I would not have you
ignorant of this one thing, that I do now part with Chanceler not because
I make little reckoning of the man, or that his maintenance is burdensome
and chargeable unto me, but that you might conceive and understand my
goodwill and promptitude for the furtherance of this business, and that
the authority and estimation which he deserveth may be given him.  You
know the man by report, I by experience, you by words, I by deeds, you by
speech and company, but I by the daily trial of his life, have a full and
perfect knowledge of him.  And you are also to remember into how many
perils for your sakes, and his country’s love, he is now to run: whereof
it is requisite that we be not unmindful, if it please God to send him
good success.  We commit a little money to the chance and hazard of
fortune: he commits his life (a thing to a man of all things most dear)
to the raging sea, and the uncertainties of many dangers.  We shall here
live and rest at home, quietly with our friends and acquaintance; but he
in the meantime labouring to keep the ignorant and unruly mariners in
good order and obedience, with how many cares shall he trouble and bear
himself, with how many troubles shall he break himself, and how many
disquietings shall he be forced to sustain: we shall keep our own coasts
and country, he shall seek strange and unknown kingdoms.  He shall commit
his safety to barbarous and cruel people, and shall hazard his life
amongst the monstrous and terrible beasts of the sea.  Wherefore in
respect of the greatness of the dangers, and the excellency of his
charge, you are to favour and love the man thus departing from us, and if
it falls so happily out that he return again, it is your part and duty
also liberally to reward him.”

After that this noble young gentleman had delivered this or some such
like speech, much more eloquently than I can possibly report it, the
company then present began one to look upon another, one to question and
confer with one another; and some (to whom the virtue and sufficiency of
the man was known) began secretly to rejoice with themselves and to
conceive a special hope, that the man would prove in time very rare and
excellent, and that his virtues already appearing and shining to the
world would grow to the great honour and advancement of this kingdom.

After all this, the company growing to some silence, it seemed good to
them that were of greatest gravity amongst them to inquire, search, and
seek what might be learned and known concerning the easterly part or
tract of the world.  For which cause two Tartars (Tartarians) which were
then of the king’s stable were sent for, and an interpreter was gotten to
be present, by whom they were demanded touching their country, and the
manners of their nation.  But they were able to answer nothing to the
purpose: being indeed more acquainted (as one there merrily and openly
said) to toss pots than to learn the states and dispositions of people.
But after much ado and many things passed about this matter, they grew at
last to this issue, to set down and appoint a time for the departure of
the ships: because divers were of opinion that a great part of the best
time of the year was already spent, and if the delay grew longer the way
would be stopped and hard by the frost of the ice, and the cold climate;
and therefore it was thought best by the opinion of them all that by the
20th day of May the captains and mariners should take shipping and depart
from Ratcliffe upon the ebb, if it so pleased God.  They having saluted
their acquaintance, one his wife, another his children, another his
kinsfolks, and another his friends dearer than his kinsfolks, were
present and ready at the day appointed, and having weighed anchor, they
departed with the turning of the water, and sailing easily, came first to
Greenwich.  The greater ships were towed down with boats and oars, and
the mariners being all apparelled in watchet or sky-coloured cloth, rowed
amain, and made way with diligence.  And being come near to Greenwich
(where the court then lay), presently upon the news thereof the courtiers
came running out, and the common people flocked together, standing very
thick upon the shore: the Privy Council they looked out at the windows of
the court, and the rest ran by to the tops of the towers: the ships
hereupon discharge their ordnance and shoot off their pieces after the
manner of war and of the sea, insomuch that the tops of the hills sounded
therewith, the valleys and the waters gave an echo, and the mariners they
shouted in such sort that the sky rang again with the noise thereof.  One
stood in the poop of the ship, and by his gesture bids farewell to his
friends in the best manner he could.  Another walks upon the hatches,
another climbs the shrouds, another stands upon the main yard, and
another in the top of the ship.  To be short, it was a very triumph
(after a sort) in all respects to the beholders.  But, alas, the good
King Edward (in respect of whom principally all this was prepared) he
only by reason of his sickness was absent from this show, and not long
after the departure of these ships, the lamentable and most sorrowful
accident of his death followed.

But to proceed in the matter.  The ships going down with the tide, came
at last to Woolwich where they stayed and cast anchor, with purpose to
depart therehence again, as soon as the turning of the water and a better
wind should draw them to set sail.  After this they departed and came to
Harwich, in which port they stayed long, not without great loss and
consuming of time; yet at the last with a good wind they hoisted up sail,
and committed themselves to the sea, giving their last adieu to their
native country, which they knew not whether they should ever return to
see again or not.  Many of them looked oftentimes back, and could not
refrain from tears, considering into what hazards they were to fall, and
what uncertainties of the sea they were to make trial of.

Amongst the rest Richard Chanceler, the captain of the _Edward
Bonaventure_, was not a little grieved with the fear of wanting victuals,
part whereof was found to be corrupt and putrified at Harwich, and the
hogsheads of wine also leaked, and were not staunch; his natural and
fatherly affection also somewhat troubled him, for he left behind him his
two little sons, which were in the case of orphans if he sped not well;
the estate also of his company moved him to care, being in the former
respects after a sort unhappy, and were to abide with himself every good
or bad accident; but in the meantime while his mind was thus tormented
with the multiplicity of sorrows and cares, after many days’ sailing they
kenned land afar off whereunto the pilots directed the ships; and being
come to it they land, and find it to be Rose Island, where they stayed
certain days, and afterwards set sail again, and, proceeding towards the
north, they espied certain other islands which were called the Cross of
Islands.  From which places when they were a little departed Master
Willoughbie the General, a man of good foresight and providence in all
his actions, erected and set out his flag, by which he called together
the chiefest men of the other ships, that by the help and assistance of
their councils the order of the government and conduction of the ships in
the whole voyage might be the better: who being come together
accordingly, they conclude and agree that if any great tempest should
arise at any time, and happen to disperse and scatter them, every ship
should endeavour his best to go to Wardhouse, a haven or castle of some
name in the kingdom of Norway, and that they that arrived there first in
safety should stay and expect the coming of the rest.

The very same day in the afternoon, about four of the clock, so great a
tempest suddenly arose, and the seas were so outrageous, that the ships
could not keep their intended course, but some were perforce driven one
way and some another way, to their great peril and hazard.  The General,
with his loudest voice, cried out to Richard Chanceler and earnestly
requested him not to go far from him; but he neither would nor could keep
company with him if he sailed still so fast, for the _Admiral_ was of
better sail than his ship.  But the said _Admiral_ (I know not by what
means), bearing all his sails, was carried away with so great force and
swiftness, that not long after he was quite out of sight, and the third
ship also, with the same storm and like rage, was dispersed and lost us.

The ship-boat of the _Admiral_, striking against the ship, was
overwhelmed in the sight and view of the mariners of the _Bonaventure_;
and as for them that are already returned and arrived, they know nothing
of the rest of the ships what was become of them.

But if it be so that any miserable mishap have overtaken them, if the
rage and fury of the sea have devoured those good men, or if as yet they
live, and wander up and down in strange countries, I must needs say they
were men worthy of better fortune; and if they be living, let us wish
them safety and a good return, but if the cruelty of death hath taken
hold of them, God send them a Christian grave and sepulchre.

Now, Richard Chanceler with his ship and company being thus left alone,
and become very pensive, heavy, and sorrowful by this dispersion of the
fleet, he (according to the order before taken) shapeth his course for
Wardhouse, in Norway, there to expect and abide the arrival of the rest
of the ships.  And being come thither, and having stayed there the space
of seven days, and looked in vain for their coming, he determined at
length to proceed alone in the purposed voyage; and as he was preparing
himself to the part, it happened that he fell in company and speech with
certain Scottish men, who having understanding of his intention, and
wishing well to his actions, began earnestly to dissuade him from the
further prosecution of the discovery by amplifying the dangers which he
was to fall into, and omitted no reason that might serve to that purpose.

But he holding nothing so ignominious and reproachful as inconstancy and
levity of mind, and persuading himself that a man of valour could not
commit a more dishonourable part than for fear of danger to avoid and
shun great attempts, was nothing at all changed or discouraged with the
speeches and words of the Scots, remaining steadfast and immutable in his
first resolution; determining either to bring that to pass which was
intended or else to die the death.

And as for them which were with Master Chanceler in his ship, although
they had great cause of discomfort by the loss of their company (whom the
aforesaid tempest had separated from them), and were not a little
troubled with cogitations and perturbations of mind in respect of their
doubtful course, yet, notwithstanding, they were of such content and
agreement of mind with Master Chanceler, that they were resolute and
prepared under his direction and government to make proof and trial of
all adventures without all fear or mistrust of future dangers.  Which
constancy of mind in all the company did exceedingly increase their
captain’s carefulness; for he being swallowed up with like goodwill and
love towards them, feared lest, through any error of his, the safety of
the company should be endangered.  To conclude, when they saw their
desire and hope of the arrival of the rest of the ships to be every day
more and more frustrated, they provided to sea again, and Master
Chanceler held on his course towards that unknown part of the world, and
sailed so far that he came at last to the place where he found no night
at all, but a continual light and brightness of the sun shining clearly
upon the huge and mighty sea.  And having the benefit of this perpetual
light for certain days, at length it pleased God to bring them into a
certain great bay, which was of one hundred miles or thereabout over.
Whereinto they entered and somewhat far within it cast anchor, and
looking every way about them, it happened that they espied afar off a
certain fisher boat, which Master Chanceler, accompanied with a few of
his men, went towards to commune with the fishermen that were in it, and
to know of them what country it was, and what people, and of what manner
of living they were.  But they being amazed with the strange greatness of
his ship (for in those parts before that time they had never seen the
like), began presently to avoid and to flee.  But he still following
them, at last overtook them, and being come to them, they (being in great
fear as men half dead) prostrated themselves before him, offering to kiss
his feet; but he (according to his great and singular courtesy) looked
pleasantly upon them, comforting them by signs and gestures, refusing
those duties and reverences of theirs, and taking them up in all loving
sort from the ground.  And it is strange to consider how much they were
afterwards in that place this humanity of his did purchase to himself.
For they being dismissed, spread by-and-by a report abroad of the arrival
of a strange nation of a singular gentleness and courtesy, whereupon the
common people came together offering to those new-come guests victuals
freely, and not refusing to traffic with them, except they had been bound
by a certain religious use and custom not to buy any foreign commodities
without the knowledge and consent of the king.

By this time our men had learned that this country was called Russia or
Muscovy, and that Ivan Vasilivich (which was at that time their king’s
name) ruled and governed far and wide in those places.  And the barbarous
Russians asked likewise of our men whence they were and what they came
for.  Whereunto answer was made that they were Englishmen sent into those
coasts from the most excellent King Edward VI., having from him in
commandment certain things to deliver to their king, and seeking nothing
else but his amity and friendship and traffic with his people, whereby
they doubted not but that great commodity and profit would grow to the
subjects of both kingdoms.  The barbarians heard these things very
gladly, and promised their aid and furtherance to acquaint their king out
of hand with so honest and reasonable a request.

In the meantime Master Chanceler entreated victuals for his money of the
governor of that place, who, together with others, came aboard him, and
required hostages of them likewise for the more assurance of safety to
himself and his company.  To whom the governors answered that they knew
not in that case the will of their king, and yet were willing in such
things as they might lawfully do to pleasure him, which was as then to
afford him the benefit of victuals.  Now whilst these things were
a-doing, they secretly sent a messenger unto the Emperor to certify him
of the arrival of a strange nation, and withal to know his pleasure
concerning them.  Which message was very welcome unto him, insomuch that
voluntarily he invited them to come to his court.  But if by reason of
the tediousness of so long a journey they thought it not best so to do,
then he granted liberty to his subjects to bargain and to traffic with
them.  And further promised that if it would please them to come to him,
he himself would bear the whole charges of post-horses.  In the meantime
the governors of the place deferred the matter from day to day,
pretending divers excuses, and saying one while that the consent of all
the governors, and another while that the great and weighty affairs of
the kingdom compelled them to defer their answer.  And this they did of
purpose, so long to protract the time until the messenger (sent before to
the king) did return with relation of his will and pleasure.

But Master Chanceler (seeing himself held in this suspense with long and
vain expectation and thinking that of intention to delude him, they
posted the matter off so often) was very instant with them to perform
their promise, which if they would not do he told them that he would
depart and proceed in his voyage.  So that the Muscovites (although as
yet they knew not the mind of their king) yet fearing the departure
indeed of our men, who had such wares and commodities as they greatly
desired, they at last resolved to furnish our people with all things
necessary, and to conduct them by land to the presence of their king.
And so Master Chanceler began his journey, which was very long and most
troublesome, wherein he had the use of certain sledges which in that
country are very common, for they are carried themselves upon sledges,
and all their carriages are in the same sort, the people almost not
knowing any other manner of carriage, the cause whereof is the exceeding
hardness of the ground, congealed in the winter time by the force of the
cold, which in those places is very extreme and horrible, whereof
hereafter we will say something.  But now, they having passed the greater
part of their journey, met at last with the sledgeman (of whom I spake
before) sent to the king secretly from the justices or governors, who by
some ill-hap had lost his way, and had gone to the seaside which is near
to the country of the Tartars, thinking there to have found our ship.
But having long erred and wandered out of his way, at the last in his
direct return, he met, as he was coming, our Captain on the way.  To whom
he by-and-by delivered the Emperor’s letters, which were written to him
with all courtesy, and in the most loving manner that could be: wherein
express commandment was given that post horses should be gotten for him
and the rest of his company without any money.  Which thing was of all
the Russians in the rest of their journey so willingly done, that they
began to quarrel, yea, and to fight also in striving and contending which
of them should put their post-horses to the sled: so that after much ado,
and great pains taken in this long and weary journey (for they had
travelled very near fifteen hundred miles), Master Chanceler came at last
to Moscow, the chief city of the kingdom, and the seat of the king, of
which city, and of the Emperor himself, and of the principal cities of
Muscovy, we will speak immediately more at large in this discourse.


Muscovy, which hath the name also of Russia the White, is a very large
and spacious country, every way bounded with divers nations.  Towards the
south and east it is compassed with Tartaria, the northern side of it
stretcheth to the Scythian Ocean; upon the west part border the Lappians,
a rude and savage nation, living in woods, whose language is not known to
any other people; next unto these, more towards the south, is Swecia,
then Finlandia, then Livonia, and last of all Lithuania.  This country of
Muscovy hath also very many and great rivers in it, and is marsh ground
in many places; and as for the rivers, the greatest and most famous
amongst all the rest is that which the Russians in their own tongue call
Volga, but others know it by the name of Rha.  Next unto it in fame is
Tanais, which they call Don, and the third Boristhenes, which at this day
they call Dnieper.  Two of these—to wit, Rha and Boristhenes—issuing both
out of one fountain, run very far through the land: Rha receiving many
other pleasant rivers into it, and running from the very head or spring
of it towards the east, after many crooked turnings and windings,
dischargeth itself and all the other waters and rivers that fall into it,
by divers passages into the Caspian Sea.  Tanais, springing from a
fountain of great name in those parts, growing great near to his head,
spreads itself at length very largely and makes a great lake; and then
growing narrow again, doth so run for certain miles until it fall into
another lake, which they call Ivan: and there hence, fetching a very
crooked course, comes very near to the river Volga; but disdaining, as it
were, the company of any other river, doth there turn itself again from
Volga, and runs towards the south, and falls at last into the Lake of
Moeotis.  Boristhenes, which comes from the same head that Rha doth (as
we said before), carrieth both itself, and other waters that are near
unto it, towards the south, not refusing the mixture of other small
rivers; and, running by many great and large countries, falls at last
into Pontus Euxinus.  Besides these rivers are also in Muscovy certain
lakes and pools—the lakes breed fish by the celestial influence, and
amongst them all the chiefest and most principal is called Belij Jesera,
which is very famous by reason of a very strong tower built in it,
wherein the kings of Muscovy reserve and repose their treasure in all
time of war and danger.

Touching the Riphean Mountains, whereupon the snow lieth continually, and
where hence in times past it was thought that Tanais the river did
spring, and that the rest of the wonders of Nature which the Grecians
feigned and invented of old were there to be seen, our men which lately
came from thence neither saw them, nor yet have brought home any perfect
relation of them, although they remained there for the space of three
months, and had gotten in that time some intelligence of the language of
Muscovy.  The whole country is plain and champaign, and few hills in it;
and towards the north it hath very large and spacious woods, wherein is
great store of fir-trees—a wood very necessary and fit for the building
of houses.  There are also wild beasts bred in those woods, as buffes,
bears, and black wolves, and another kind of beast unknown to us, but
called by them “roffomakka;” and the nature of the same is very rare and
wonderful, for when it is great with young, and ready to bring forth, it
seeketh out some narrow place between two stakes, and so going through
them, presseth itself, and by that means is eased of her burden, which
otherwise could not be done.  They hunt their buffes for the most part
a-horseback, but their bears afoot, with wooden forks.  The north parts
of the country are reported to be so cold, that the very ice or water
which distilleth out of the moist wood which they lay upon the fire is
presently congealed and frozen, the diversity growing suddenly to be so
great, that in one and the selfsame firebrand a man shall see both fire
and ice.  When the winter doth once begin there it doth still more and
more increase by a perpetuity of cold; neither doth that cold slake until
the force of the sunbeams doth dissolve the cold and make glad the earth,
returning to it again.  Our mariners which we left in the ship in the
meantime to keep it, in their going up only from their cabins to the
hatches, had their breath oftentimes so suddenly taken away, that they
eftsoons fell down as men very near dead, so great is the sharpness of
that cold climate; but as for the south parts of the country, they are
somewhat more temperate.


IT remaineth that a large discourse be made of Moscow, the principal city
of that country, and of the prince also, as before we have promised.  The
empire and government of the king is very large, and his wealth at this
time exceeding great.  And because the city of Moscow is the chiefest of
all the rest, it seemeth of itself to challenge the first place in this
discourse.  Our men say, that in bigness it is as great as the city of
London, with the suburbs thereof.  There are many and great buildings in
it, but, for beauty and fairness, nothing comparable to ours.  There are
many towns and villages also, but built out of order and with no
handsomeness; their streets and ways are not paved with stone as ours
are; the walls of their houses are of wood; the roofs, for the most part,
are covered with shingle boards.  There is hard by the city a very fair
castle, strong, and furnished with artillery, whereunto the city is
joined directly towards the north with a brick wall; the walls also of
the castle are built with brick, and are in breadth or thickness eighteen
feet.  This castle hath on the one side a dry ditch, and on the other
side the river Volga, whereby it is made almost impregnable.  The same
Volga, trending towards the east, doth admit into it the company of the
River Occa.

In the castle aforesaid there are in number nine churches or chapels, not
altogether unhandsome, which are used and kept by certain religious men,
over whom there is, after a sort, a patriarch or governor, and with him
other reverend fathers, all which for the greater part dwell within the
castle.  As for the king’s court and palace, it is not of the neatest,
only in form it is four-square and of low building, much surpassed and
excelled by the beauty and elegancy of the houses of the kings of
England.  The windows are very narrowly built, and some of them by glass,
some other by lattices admit the light; and whereas the palaces of our
princes are decked and adorned with hangings of cloth of gold, there is
none such there; they build and join to all their walls benches, and that
not only in the court of the emperor, but in all private men’s houses.

Now after that they had remained about twelve days in the city, there was
then a messenger sent unto them to bring them to the king’s house, and
they being after a sort wearied with their long stay, were very ready and
willing so to do; and, being entered within the gates of the court, there
sat a very honourable company of courtiers, to the number of one hundred,
all apparelled in cloth of gold down to their ankles, and therehence
being conducted into the chamber of presence, our men began to wonder at
the majesty of the Emperor.  His seat was aloft in a very royal throne,
having on his head a diadem or crown of gold, apparelled with a robe all
of goldsmith’s work, and in his hand he held a sceptre garnished and
beset with precious stones; and, besides all other notes and appearances
of honour, there was a majesty in his countenance proportionable with the
excellency of his estate.  On the one side of him stood his Chief
Secretary, and on the other side the Great Commander of Silence, both of
them arrayed also in cloth of gold; and then there sat the Council, of
one hundred and fifty in number, all in like sort arrayed, and of great
state.  This so honourable an assembly, so great a majesty of the Emperor
and of the place, might very well have amazed our men, and have dashed
them out of countenance; but, notwithstanding, Master Chanceler, being
therewithal nothing dismayed, saluted and did his duty to the Emperor
after the manner of England, and withal delivered unto him the letters of
their King Edward VI.  The Emperor having taken and read the letters,
began a little to question with them, and to ask them of the welfare of
our king, whereunto our men answered him directly and in few words.
Hereupon our men presented something to the Emperor by the Chief
Secretary, which at the delivery of it put off his hat, being before all
the time covered; and so the Emperor having invited them to dinner,
dismissed them from his presence; and going into the chamber of him that
was Master of the Requests to the Emperor, and having stayed there the
space of two hours, at the last the messenger cometh, and calleth them to
dinner.  They go, and being conducted into the Golden Court (for so they
call it, although not very fair), they find the Emperor sitting upon a
high and stately seat, apparelled with a robe of silver, and with another
diadem on his head; our men, being placed over against him, sit down.  In
the midst of the room stood a mighty cupboard upon a square foot,
whereupon stood also a round board, in manner of a diamond, broad
beneath, and towards the top narrow, and every step rose up more narrow
than the other.  Upon this cupboard was placed the Emperor’s plate, which
was so much that the very cupboard itself was scant able to sustain the
weight of it.  The better part of all the vessels and goblets was made of
very fine gold; and, amongst the rest, there were four pots of very large
bigness, which did adorn the rest of the plate in great measure, for they
were so high, that they thought them at the least five feet long.  There
were also upon this cupboard certain silver casks, not much differing
from the quantity of our firkins, wherein was reserved the Emperor’s
drink.  On each side of the hall stood four tables, each of them laid and
covered with very clean table-cloths, whereunto the company ascended by
three steps or degrees, all which were filled with the assembly present.
The guests were all apparelled with linen without, and with rich skins
within, and so did notably set out this royal feast.  The Emperor, when
he takes any bread or knife into his hand, doth first of all cross
himself upon his forehead.  They that are in special favour with the
Emperor sit upon the same bench with him, but somewhat far from him; and
before the coming in of the meat the Emperor himself, according to an
ancient custom of the Kings of Muscovy, doth first bestow a piece of
bread upon every one of his guests, with a loud pronunciation of his
title and honour in this manner, “The Great Duke of Muscovy and Chief
Emperor of Russia, John Basiliwich (and then the officer nameth the
guest), doth give thee bread,” whereupon all the guests rise up and
by-and-by sit down again.  This done, the Gentleman Usher of the hall
comes in with a notable company of servants carrying the dishes, and
having done his reverence to the Emperor, puts a young swan in a golden
platter upon the table, and immediately takes it thence again, delivering
it to the carver and seven other of his fellows to be cut up, which being
performed, the meat is then distributed to the guests with the like pomp
and ceremonies.  In the meantime, the Gentleman Usher receives his bread
and talketh to the Emperor, and afterward, having done his reverence, he
departeth.  Touching the rest of the dishes, because they were brought in
out of order, our men can report no certainty; but this is true, that all
the furniture of dishes and drinking vessels, which were then for the use
of a hundred guests, was all of pure gold, and the tables were so laden
with vessels of gold, that there was no room for some to stand upon them.

We may not forget that there were one hundred and forty servitors arrayed
in cloth of gold, that in the dinner-time changed thrice their habit and
apparel, which servitors are in like sort served with bread from the
Emperor as the rest of the guests.  Last of all, dinner being ended, and
candles brought in (for by this time night was come), the Emperor calleth
all his guests and noblemen by their names, in such sort that it seems
miraculous that a prince, otherwise occupied in great matters of estate,
should so well remember so many and sundry particular names.  The
Russians told our men that the reason thereof, as also of the bestowing
of bread in like manner, was to the end that the Emperor might keep the
knowledge of his own household, and withal, that such as are under his
displeasure might by this means be known.


Whensoever the injuries of their neighbours do call the king forth to
battle, he never armeth a less number against the enemy than three
hundred thousand soldiers, one hundred thousand whereof he carrieth into
the field with him, and leaveth the rest in garrison in some fit places
for the better safety of his empire.  He presseth no husbandmen nor
merchant; for the country is so populous that these being left at home
the youth of the realm is sufficient for all his wars.  As many as go out
to warfare do provide all things of their own cost; they fight not on
foot, but altogether on horseback: their armour is a coat of mail, and a
helmet; the coat of mail without is gilded, or else adorned with silk,
although it pertain to a common soldier; they have a great pride in
showing their wealth; they use bows and arrows as the Turks do; they
carry lances also into the field.  They ride with a short stirrup after
the manner of the Turks; they are a kind of people most sparing in diet,
and most patient in extremity of cold above all others.  For when the
ground is covered with snow, and is grown terrible and hard with the
frost, this Russian hangs up his mantle or soldier’s coat against that
part from whence the wind and snow drives, and so making a little fire,
lieth down with his back towards the weather; this mantle of his serves
him for his bed, wall, house and all; his drink is the cold water of the
river, mingled with oatmeal, and this is all his good cheer, and he
thinketh himself well and daintily fed therewith, and so sitteth down by
his fire, and upon the hard ground, roasteth, as it were, his weary sides
thus daintily stuffed; the hard ground is his feather bed, and some block
or stone his pillow; and as for his horse, he is, as it were, a
chamber-fellow with his master, faring both alike.  How justly may this
barbarous and rude Russian condemn the daintiness and niceness of our
captains, who, living in a soil and air much more temperate, yet commonly
use fur boots and cloaks! but thus much of the furniture of their common
soldiers.  But those that are of higher degrees come into the field a
little better provided.  As for the furniture of the Emperor himself, it
is then above all other times most notable.  The coverings of his tent
for the most part are all of gold, adorned with stones of great price,
and with the curious workmanship of plumasiers; as often as they are to
skirmish with the enemy, they go forth without any order at all; they
make no wings, nor military divisions of their men, as we do, but lying
for the most part in ambush, do suddenly set upon the enemy.  Their
horses can well abstain two whole days from any meat.  They feed upon the
barks of trees and the most tender branches in all the time of war.  And
this scant and miserable manner of living both the horse and his master
can well endure, sometimes for the space of two months lusty and in good
state of body.  If any man behave himself valiantly in the field to the
contentation of the Emperor, he bestoweth upon him in recompense of his
service some farm or so much ground as he and his may live upon, which,
notwithstanding, after his death returneth again to the Emperor if he die
without a male issue.  For although his daughters be never so many, yet
no part of that inheritance comes to them, except, peradventure, the
Emperor of his goodness give some portion of the land amongst them to
bestow them withal.  As for the man, whosoever he be, that is in this
sort rewarded by the Emperor’s liberality, he is bound in a great sum to
maintain so many soldiers for the war, when need shall require, as that
land in the opinion of the Emperor is able to maintain.  And all those to
whom any land falls by inheritance are in no better condition, for if
they die without any male issue, all their lands fall into the hands of
the Emperor; as, moreover, if there be any rich man amongst them, who in
his own person is unfit for the wars, and yet hath such wealth, that
thereby many noblemen and warriors might be maintained, if any of the
courtries present his name to the Emperor, the unhappy man is by-and-by
sent for, and in that instant deprived of all his riches, which with
great pains and travail all his lifetime he had gotten together, except
perhaps some small portion thereof be left him to maintain his wife,
children, and family.  But all this is done of all people so willingly at
the Emperor’s commandment, that a man would think they would rather make
restitution of other men’s goods than give that which is their own to
other men.  Now the Emperor having taken these goods into his hands,
bestoweth them among his courtiers according to their deserts, and the
oftener that a man is sent to the wars, the more favour he thinketh is
borne to him by the Emperor, although he go upon his own charge, as I
said before.  So great is the obedience of all men generally to their


The Muscovite, with no less pomp and magnificence than that which we have
spoken of, sends his ambassadors to foreign princes in the affairs of
estate.  For while our men were abiding in the city of Moscow, there were
two ambassadors sent to the King of Poland, accompanied with 500 notable
horse; and the greater part of the men were arrayed in cloth of gold and
of silk, and the worst apparel was of garments of a blue colour, to speak
nothing of the trappings of the horses, which were adorned with gold and
silver, and very curiously embroidered; they had also with them one
hundred white and fair spare horses, to use them at such times as any
weariness came upon them.  But now the time requireth me to speak briefly
of other cities of the Muscovites, and of the wares and commodities that
the country yieldeth.


Next unto Moscow, the city of Novogorode is reputed the chiefest of
Russia; for although it be in majesty inferior to it, yet in greatness it
goeth beyond it.  It is the chiefest and greatest mart town of all
Muscovy; and albeit the Emperor’s seat is not there, but at Moscow, yet
the commodiousness of the river falling into the gulf which is called
Sinus Finnicus, whereby it is well frequented by merchants, makes it more
famous than Moscow itself.  This town excels all the rest in the
commodities of flax and hemp; it yields also hides, honey, and wax.  The
Flemings there sometimes had a house of merchandise, but by reason that
they used the like ill-dealing there which they did with us they lost
their privileges—a restitution whereof they earnestly sued for at the
time that our men were there.  But those Flemings, hearing of the arrival
of our men in those parts, wrote their letters to the Emperor against
them, accusing them for pirates and rovers, wishing them to detain and
imprison them; which things, when they were known of our men, they
conceived fear that they should never have returned home.  But the
Emperor, believing rather the king’s letters which our men brought than
the lying and false suggestions of the Flemings, used no ill treaty
towards them.


Yeraslave also is a town of some good fame for the commodities of hides,
tallow, and corn, which it yields in great abundance.  Cakes of wax are
there also to be sold, although other places have greater store; this
Yeraslave is distant from Moscow about two hundred miles, and betwixt
them are many populous villages.  Their fields yield such store of corn,
that in conveying it towards Moscow, sometimes in a forenoon, a man shall
see seven hundred or eight hundred sleds going and coming, laden with
corn and salt fish; the people come a thousand miles to Moscow to buy
that corn, and then carry it away upon sleds; and these are those people
that dwell in the north parts, where the cold is so terrible that no corn
doth grow there, or, if it spring up, it never comes to ripeness.  The
commodities that they bring with them are salt fish, skins, and hides.


Vologda being from Moscow five hundred and fifty miles, yields the
commodities of hemp and flax, although the greatest store of flax is sold
at Novogorode.


The town of Plesco is frequented of merchants for the good store of honey
and wax that it yieldeth.


The north parts of Russia yield very rare and precious skins; and amongst
the rest those principally which we call sables, worn about the necks of
our noblewomen and ladies.  It hath also martens’ skins, white, black,
and red fox skins, skins of hares and ermines and others, which they call
and term barbarously as beavers, minxes, and minevers.  The sea adjoining
breeds a certain beast which they call mors, which seeketh his food upon
the rocks, climbing up with the help of his teeth.  The Russians used to
take them for the great virtue that is in their teeth, whereof they make
as great account as we do of the elephant’s tooth.  These commodities
they carry upon deers’ backs to the town of Lampas; and from thence to
Colmagro, and there in the winter time are kept great fairs for the sale
of them.  This city of Colmagro serves all the country about with salt
and salt fish.  The Russians also of the north parts send thither oil
which they call train, which they make in a river called “Vna,” although
it be also made elsewhere; and here they used to boil the water of the
sea, whereof they make very great store of salt.


Having hitherto spoken so much of the chiefest cities of Russia as the
matter required, it remaineth that we speak somewhat of the laws that the
Muscovites do use, as far forth as the same are come to our knowledge.
If any controversy arise among them they first make their landlords
judges in the matter, and if they cannot end it, then they prefer it to
the magistrate.  The plaintiff craveth of the said magistrate that he may
have leave to enter law against his adversary, and having obtained it,
the officer fetcheth the defendant and beateth him on the legs till he
bring forth a surety for him; and if he be not of such credit as to
procure a surety, then are his hands by an officer tied to his neck, and
he is beaten all the way till he come before the judge.  The judge then
asketh him (as, for example, in the matter of debt) whether he oweth
anything to the plaintiff.  If he denies it, then saith the judge, “How
canst thou deny it?”  The defendant answereth by an oath; thereupon the
officer is commanded to cease from beating of him until the matter be
further tried.  They have no lawyers, but every man is his own advocate;
and both the complaint of the accuser and the answer of the defendant are
in manner of petition delivered to the Emperor, entreating justice at his
hands.  The Emperor himself heareth every great controversy, and, upon
the hearing of it, giveth judgment, and that with great equity, which I
take to be a thing worthy of special commendation in the majesty of a
prince.  But although he do this with a good purpose of mind, yet the
corrupt magistrates do wonderfully pervert the same; but if the Emperor
take them in any fault, he doth punish them most severely.  Now at the
last, when each party hath defended his cause with his best reasons, the
judge demandeth of the accuser whether he hath any more to say for
himself.  He answereth that he will try the matter in fight by his
champion, or else entreateth that in fight betwixt themselves the matter
may be ended, which being granted, they both fight it out; or if both of
them, or either of them, seem unfit for that kind of trial, then they
have public champions to be hired which live by ending of quarrels.
These champions are armed with iron axes and spears, and fight on foot;
and he whose champion is overcome is by-and-by taken and imprisoned and
terribly handled, until he agree with his adversary.  But if either of
them be of any good calling and degree, and do challenge one another to
fight, the judge granteth it; in which case they may not use public
champions.  And he that is of any good birth doth contemn the other if he
be basely born, and will not fight with him.  If a poor man happen to
grow in debt, his creditor takes him, and maketh him pay the debt in
working either to himself or to some other man whose wages he taketh up.
And there are some among them that used willingly to make themselves,
their wives, and children bondslaves unto rich men—to have a little money
at the first into their hands, and so for ever after content themselves
with meat and drink, so little account do they make of liberty.


If any man be taken upon committing of theft, he is imprisoned, and often
beaten, but not hanged for the first offence, as the manner is with us;
and this they call the law of mercy.  He that offendeth the second time
hath his nose cut off, and is burnt in the forehead with a hot iron.  The
third time he is hanged.  There are many cut-purses among them, and if
the rigour of the prince did not cut them off, they could not be avoided.


They maintain the opinions of the Greek Church; they suffer no graven
images of saints in their churches, but their pictures painted in tables
they have in great abundance, which they do adore, and offer unto and
burn wax candles before them, and cast holy water upon them, without
other honour.  They say that our images, which are set up in churches,
and carved, have no divinity in them.  In their private houses they have
images for their household saints, and, for the most part, they are put
in the darkest place of the house; he that comes into his neighbour’s
house doth first salute his saints, although he see them not.  If any
form or stool stand in his way, he oftentimes beateth his brow upon the
same, and often, ducking down with his head and body, worshippeth the
chief image.  The habit and attire of the priests and of the laymen doth
nothing at all differ; as for marriage, it is forbidden to no man: only
this is received, and held amongst them for a rule and custom, that if a
priest’s wife do die, he may not marry again nor take a second wife; and,
therefore, they of secular priests, as they call them, are made monks, to
whom then chastity for ever is commanded.  Their divine service is all
done and said in their own language, that every man may understand it;
they receive the Lord’s Supper with leavened bread, and after the
consecration they carry it about the church in a saucer, and prohibit no
man from receiving and taking of it that is willing so to do.  They use
both the Old and the New Testament, and read both in their own language,
but so confusedly that they themselves that do read understand not what
they themselves do say; and while any part of either Testament is read
there is liberty given by custom to prattle, talk, and make a noise; but
in the time of the rest of the service they use very great silence and
reverence, and behave themselves very modestly and in good sort.  As
touching the Lord’s Prayer, the tenth man amongst them knows it not; and
for the Articles of our Faith and the Ten Commandments, no man, or, at
the least, very few of them, do either know them or can say them: their
opinion is that such secret and holy things as they are should not rashly
and imprudently be communicated with the common people.  They hold for a
maxim amongst them that the old Law, and the Commandments also, are all
abolished by the death and blood of Christ; all studies and letters of
humanity they utterly refuse; concerning the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew
tongues, they are altogether ignorant in them.

Every year they celebrate four several fasts, which they call according
to the names of the saints: the first begins with them at the time that
our Lent begins; the second is called amongst them the Fast of St. Peter;
the third is taken from the Day of the Virgin Mary; and the fourth, and
last, begins upon St. Philip’s Day.  But as we begin our Lent upon
Wednesday, so they begin theirs upon the Sunday.  Upon the Saturday they
eat flesh.  Whensoever any of those fasting feasts do draw near, look
what week doth immediately go before them; the same week they live
altogether upon white meats, and in their common language they call those
weeks the fast of butter.

In the time of their fasts the neighbours everywhere go from one to
another, and visit one another, and kiss one another with kisses of
peace, in token of their mutual love and Christian concord; and then also
they do more often than at any other time go to the Holy Communion.  When
seven days are past, from the beginning of the fast, then they often do
either go to their churches or keep themselves at home and use often
prayer; and for that seven nights they eat nothing but herbs; but after
that seven night fast is once past, then they return to their old
intemperance of drinking, for they are notable toss-pots.  As for the
keeping of their fasting days, they do it very straitly, neither do they
eat anything besides herbs and salt fish as long as those fasting days do
endure; but upon every Wednesday and Friday, in every week throughout the
year, they fast.

There are very many monasteries of the order of Saint Benedict amongst
them, to which many great livings, for their maintenance, do belong; for
the friars and the monks do at the least possess the third part of the
livings throughout the whole Muscovite Empire.  To those monks that are
of this order there is amongst them a perpetual prohibition that they may
eat no flesh; and, therefore, their meat is only salt fish, milk, and
butter; neither is it permitted them by the laws and customs of their
religion to eat any fresh fish at all, and at those four fasting times
whereof we spake before they eat no fish at all: only they live with
herbs, and cucumbers, which they do continually for that purpose cause,
and take order, to grow and spring for their use and diet.

As for their drink, it is very weak and small.  For the discharge of
their office they do every day say service, and that early in the
mornings, before day; and they do in such sort and with such observation
begin their service, that they will be sure to make an end of it before
day; and about nine of the clock in the morning they celebrate the
Communion.  When they have so done they go to dinner, and after dinner
they go again to service, and the like also after supper; and in the
meantime, while they are at dinner, there is some exposition or
interpretation of the Gospel used.

Whensoever any abbot of any monastery dieth, the Emperor taketh all his
household stuff, beasts, flocks of sheep, gold, silver, and all that he
hath, or else he that is to succeed him in his place and dignity doth
redeem all those things, and buyeth them of the Emperor for money.

Their churches are built of timber, and the towers of their churches for
the most part are covered with shingle boards.  At the doors of their
churches they usually build some entrance or porch, as we do, and in
their churchyards they erect a certain house of wood, wherein they set up
their bells—wherein sometimes they have but one, in some two, and in some
also three.

There is one use and custom amongst them which is strange and rare, yet
it is very ridiculous, and that is this: when any man dieth amongst them
they take the dead body and put it in a coffin or chest, and in the hand
of the corpse they put a little scroll, and in the same there are these
words written, that the same man died a Russian of Russia, having
received the faith and died in the same.  This writing or letter they say
they send to St. Peter, who, receiving it (as they affirm), reads it, and
by-and-by admits him into heaven, and that his glory and place is higher
and greater than the glory of the Christians of the Latin Church,
reputing themselves to be followers of a more sincere faith and religion
than they; they hold opinion that we are but half Christians, and
themselves only to be the true and perfect Church—these are the foolish
and childish dotages of such ignorant barbarians.


There is a certain part of Muscovy, bordering upon the countries of the
Tartars, wherein those Muscovites that dwell are very great idolaters;
they have one famous idol amongst them, which they call the Golden Old
Wife, and they have a custom that whensoever any plague or any calamity
doth afflict the country, as hunger, war, or such like, then they go
by-and-by to consult with their idol, which they do after this manner:
they fall down prostrate before the idol, and pray unto it, and put in
the presence of the same a cymbal, and about the same certain persons
stand, which are chosen amongst them by lot: upon their cymbal they place
a silver toad, and sound the cymbal, and to whomsoever of those lotted
persons that toad goeth he is taken, and by-and-by slain; and
immediately, I know not by what illusions of the devil or idol, he is
again restored to life, and then doth reveal and deliver the causes of
the present calamity.  And by this means knowing how to pacify the idol,
they are delivered from the imminent danger.


The common houses of the country are everywhere built of beams of
fir-trees; the lower beams do so receive the round hollowness of the
uppermost, that by the means of the building thereupon they resist and
expel all winds that blow, and where the timber is joined together, there
they stop the chinks with moss.  The form and fashion of their houses in
all places is four-square, with straight and narrow windows, whereby with
a transparent easement made or covered with skin like to parchment they
receive the light.  The roofs of their houses are made of boards covered
without with the bark of trees: within their houses they have benches or
grieves hard by their walls, which commonly they sleep upon, for the
common people know not the use of beds: they have stoves wherein in the
morning they make a fire, and the same fire doth either moderately warm
or make very hot the whole house.

The apparel of the people for the most part is made of wool, their caps
are picked like unto a rike or diamond, broad beneath, and sharp upward.
In the manner of making whereof there is a sign and representation of
nobility; for the loftier or higher their caps are, the greater is their
birth supposed to be, and the greater reverence is given them by the
common people.


These are the things, most excellent Queen, which your subjects newly
returned from Russia have brought home concerning the state of that
country: wherefore if your Majesty shall be favourable, and grant a
continuance of the travel, there is no doubt but that the honour and
renown of your name will be spread amongst those nations, whereunto three
only noble personages from the very creation have had access, to whom no
man hath been comparable.


“The almighty power of God, and the incomprehensible Holy Trinity,
rightful Christian belief, etc.  We, great Duke Ivan Vasilivich, by the
grace of God Emperor of all Russia, and great Duke of Vladermerskij,
Moskowskij, Novogrodskij, Cazanskii, Pskanskii, Smolenskii, Tuerskij,
Hugorskij, Permskii, Veatskii, Bolgarskii, with divers other lands,
Emperor also and great Duke of Novogoroda, and in the low countries of
Chernigouskii, Rezanskii, Volotskii, Refskii, Belskii, Rostouskii,
Yaroslavskii; Belocherskii, Oodorskii, Obdorskii, Codinskii, and many
other countries, lord over all the north coast, greeting.

“Before all right great and worthy of honour Edward, King of England,
&c., according to our most hearty and good zeal, with good intent and
friendly desire, and according to our holy Christian Faith and great
governance, and being in the light of great understanding, our answer by
this our honourable writing unto your kingly governance, at the request
of your faithful servant Richard Chanceler, with his company, as they
shall let you wisely know, is thus.  In the strength of the twentieth
year of our governance, be it known, that at our sea coasts arrived a
ship, with one Richard and his company, and said, that he was desirous to
come into our dominions, and according to his request hath seen our
Majesty and our eyes; and hath declared unto us your Majesty’s desire as
that we should grant unto your subjects, to go and come, and in our
dominions, and among our subjects to frequent free marts, with all sorts
of merchandises, and upon the same to have wares for their return.  And
they have also delivered us your letters which declare the same request.
And hereupon we have given order, that wheresoever your faithful servant
Hugh Willoughbie land or touch in our dominions, to be well entertained,
who as yet is not arrived, as your servant Richard can declare.

“And we, with Christian belief and faithfulness, and according to your
honourable request and my honourable commandment will not leave it
undone, and are furthermore willing that you send unto us your ships and
vessels, when, and as often as they may have passage, with good assurance
on our part to see them harmless.  And if you send one of your Majesty’s
council to treat with us, whereby your country merchants may with all
kinds of wares, and where they will, make their market in our dominions,
they shall have their free mart with all free liberties through my whole
dominions with all kinds of wares, to come and go at their pleasure,
without any let, damage, or impediment, according to this our letter, our
word, and our seal, which we have commanded to be under-sealed.  Written
in our dominion in our town and in our palace in the Castle of Moscow, in
the year seven thousand and sixty, the second month of February.”

This letter was written in the Muscovian tongue, in letters much like to
the Greek letters, very fair written on paper with a broad seal hanging
at the same, sealed in paper upon wax.  This seal was much like the broad
seal of England, having on the one side the image of a man on horseback
in complete harness fighting with a dragon.

Under this letter was another paper written in the Dutch tongue, which
was the interpretation of the other written in the Muscovian letters.
These letters were sent the next year after the date of King Edward’s
letters, 1554.


               _Written by_ JOHN HASSE _in the year_ 1554.

Forasmuch as it is most necessary for all merchants which seek to have
traffic in any strange regions, first to acquaint themselves with the
coins of those lands with which they do intend to join in traffic, and
how they are called from the valuation of the highest piece to the
lowest, and in what sort they make their payments, as also what their
common weights and measures be.  For these causes I have thought good to
write something thereof, according to mine own knowledge and experience,
to the end that the merchants of that new adventure may the better
understand how the wealth of that new frequented trade will arise.

First, it is to be noted that the Emperor of Russia hath no other coins
than silver in all his land which goeth for payment amongst merchants;
yet, notwithstanding, there is a coin of copper, which serveth for the
relief of the poor in Moscow, and nowhere else, and that is but only for
quas, water, and fruit—as nuts, apples, and such like.  The name of which
money is called pole or poles, of which poles there go to the least of
the silver coins eighteen.  But I will not stand upon this, because it is
no current money amongst merchants.

Of silver coins there be these sorts of pieces: the least is a poledenga;
the second, a denga; the third, nowgrote, which is as much to say in
English, as halfpenny, penny, and twopence; and for other valued money
than this there is none.  There are oftentimes there coins of gold, but
they come out of foreign countries; whereof there is no ordinary
valuation, but they pass according to the agreement of merchants.

Their order in summing of money is this: as we say in England, halfpenny,
penny, shilling, and pound, so say they, poledenga, denga, altine, and
rubble (rouble).  There goeth two poledengas to a denga, six dengaes to
an altine, and twenty-three altines and two dengaes to a rubble.

Concerning the weights of Russia, they are these.  There are two sorts of
pounds in use amongst them—the one great, the other small.  The great
pound is just two small pounds; they call the great weight by the name of
beasemar, and the small they call the skallawaight.  With this small
weight they weigh their silver coins, of which the Emperor hath commanded
to put to every small pound three rubbles of silver; and with the same
weight they weigh all grocery wares, and almost all other wares, which
come into the land, except those which they weigh by the pode, as hops,
salt, iron, lead, tin, and batrie, with divers others.  Notwithstanding,
they used to weigh batrie more often by the small weight than by the

Whensoever you find the prices of your wares rated by the pode, consider
that to be the great weight, and the pound to be small.  Also they divide
the small pound into forty-eight parts, and they call the
eight-and-fortieth part a slotnike, by the which slotnike the retailers
sell their wares out of their shops, as goldsmiths, grocers,
silk-sellers, and such other, like as we do use to retail by the ounce.
And as for their great weight, which they call the beasemar, they sell by
pode or ship pound.  The pode doth contain of the great weight, forty
pounds; and of the small, eighty.  There go ten podes to a ship pound.

Yet you must consider that their great weight is not full with ours; for
I take not their great pound to be full thirteen ounces, but above twelve
I think it be.  But for your just proof, weigh six rubbles of Russian
money with our pound weight, and then shall you see what it lacketh; for
six rubbles of Russia is, by the Emperor’s standard, the great pound.  So
that I think it the next way to know the just weight as well of the great
pound as of the small.

There is another weight needful to be known, which is the weight of
Wardhouse; for so much as they weigh all their dry fish by weight, which
weight is the basemere as they of Russia do use, notwithstanding there is
another sort in it.  The names of those weights are these: the marke
pound, the great pound, the wee and the ship pound.  The marke pound is
to be understood as our pound, and their great is twenty-four of their
marke pound; the wee is three great pound; and eight wee is a ship pound.

Now, concerning their measures.  As they have two sorts of weights, so
they have also two sorts of measures, wherewith they measure cloth, both
linen and woollen.  They call the one an areshine, and the other a locut.
The areshine I take to be as much as the Flanders ell, and their locut
half an English yard.  With their areshine they may mete all such sorts
of cloths as cometh into the land, and with the locut all such cloth,
both linen and woollen, as they make themselves.  And whereas we used to
give yard and inch, or yard and handfull, they do give nothing but bare

They have also a measure wherewith they do mete their corn, which they
call a set-forth, and the half of that an osmine.  This set-forth I take
to be three bushels of London measure.  And as for their drink measure,
they call it a spanne, which is much like a bucket; and of that I never
saw any true rate, but that some was greater than other some.  And as for
the measures of Wardhouse, wherewith they mete their cloth, there is no
difference between that and the measure of danske, which in half an
English ell.

Concerning the tolls and customs of Russia, it was reported to me in
Muscovy that the Turks and Armenians pay the tenth penny custom of all
the wares they bring into the Emperor’s land, and above that they pay for
all such goods as they weigh at the Emperor’s beam two pence of the
rouble, which the buyer or seller must make report of to the master of
the beam.  They also pay a certain horse toll, which is in divers places
of his realm four pence of a horse.

The Dutch nation are free of this; notwithstanding for certain offences,
they had lost their privileges, which they have recovered this summer, to
their great charge.  It was reported to me by a justice of that country,
that they paid for it thirty thousand roubles, and also that Rye, Dorpt,
and Revel, have yielded themselves under the government of the Emperor of
Russia; whether this was a brag of the Russians or not, I know not, but
thus he said, and, indeed, while we were there, there came a great
ambassador out of Liffeland for the assurance of their privileges.

To speak somewhat of the commodities of this country, it is to be
understood that there is a certain place fourscore miles from the sea
called Colmogro; to which place there resort all the sorts of wares that
are in the north parts—as oils, salt, stock-fish, salmon, feathers, and
furs; their salt they make of salt water by the seaside; their oils they
make of seals, whereof they have great store, which is brought out of the
bay where our ships came in; they make it in the spring of the year, and
bring it to Colmogro to sell, and the merchants there carry it to
Novogrod, and so sell it to the Dutch nation.  Their stock-fish and
salmon cometh from a place called Mallums, not far from Wardhouse; their
salmon and their salt they carry to Moscow, and their dried fish they
carry to Novogrod, and sell it there to the Leeflanders.

The furs and feathers which come to Colmogro, as sables, beavers, minks,
ermine lettis, graies, wolverins, and white foxes, with deer-skins, they
are brought thither by the men of Penninge, Lampne, and Powstezer, which
fetch them from the Samoydes that are counted savage people, and the
merchants that bring these furs do use to truck with the merchants of
Colmogro for cloth, tin, batrie, and such other like, and the merchants
of Colmogro, carry them to Novogrod, Vologda, or Moscow, and sell them
there.  The feathers which come from Penning they do little esteem.

If our merchants do desire to know the meetest place of Russia for their
standing house; in mine opinion I take it to be Vologda, which is a great
town standing in the heart of Russia with many great and good towns about
it.  There is great plenty of corn, victuals, and of all such wares as
are raised in Russland (Russia), but specially flax, hemp, tallow, and
bacon; there is also great store of wax, but it cometh from Moscow.

The town of Vologda is meetest for our merchants, because it lieth
amongst all the best towns of Russia, and there is no town in Russia but
trades with it; also the water is a great commodity to it.  If they plant
themselves in Moscow or Novogrod their charge will be great and
wonderful, but not so in Vologda, for all things will there be had better
cheap by the one-half; and for their vent, I know no place so meet; it is
likely that some will think the Moscow to be the meetest by the reason of
the court, but by that reason I take it to be worse; for the charge there
would be so great by cravers and expenses that the moiety of the profit
would be wholly consumed, which in the other place will be saved.  And
yet, notwithstanding, our merchants may be there in the winter to serve
the Emperor and his Court.  The Emperor is a great merchant himself of
wax and sables, which with good foresight may be procured to their hands;
as for other commodities there are little or none in Muscovy besides
those above rehearsed; if there be other it is brought thither by the
Turks, who will be dainty to buy our cloths considering the charges of
carriages overland.

Our merchants may do well to provide for the Russians such wares as the
Dutch nation doth serve them of, as Flanders and Holland cloths, which I
believe they shall serve better with less charge than they of Rye or
Dorpt, or Revel; for it is no small adventure to bring their cloths out
of Flanders to either of these places, and their charge not little to
carry them overland to Novogrod which is from Rye nine hundred Russian

This Novogrod is a place well furnished with flax, wax, hides, tallow,
and many other things; the best flax in Russia is brought thither, and
there sold by the hundred bundles, which is done also at Vologda, and
they that bring the flax to Novogrod dwell as near Vologda as Novogrod,
and when they hear of the utterance which they may have with our nation,
they will as willingly come to them as go to the other.

They have in Russia two sorts of flax, the one is called great flax, and
the other small; that which they call great flax is better by four
roubles in a hundred bundles than the small.  It is much longer than the
other, and cleaner, without wood; and whereas of the small flax there go
twenty-seven or twenty-eight bundles to a ship pound; there goeth not of
the greater sort above twenty-two or twenty-four at the most.  There are
many other trifles in Russia, as soap, mats, &c., but I think there will
be no great account made of them.

                                * * * * *

_Articles conceived and determined for the Commission of the Merchants of
this Company resiant_ (_resident_) _in Russia_, _and at the Wardhouse_,
_for the second voyage_, 1555, _the first of May_, _as followeth_.

First the governor, consuls, assistants, and whole company assembled this
day in open Court committeth and authoriseth Richard Gray and George
Killingworth jointly and severally to be agents, factors, and attorneys,
general and special, for the whole body of this company; to buy, sell,
truck, change, and permute, all and every kind and kinds of wares,
merchandises, and goods, to the said company appertaining, now laden and
shipped in the good ship called the _Edward Bonaventure_, appointed for
Russia, the same to utter and sell to the most commodity, profit, and
advantage of the said corporation, be it for ready money, wares, and
merchandises, or truck, presently, or for time, as occasion and benefit
of the company shall require, and all such wares as they or either of
them shall buy, truck, or provide, or cause to be bought for the company
to lade them homeward in good order and condition, as by prudent course
of merchandises shall, and ought to appertain, which article extendeth
also to John Brooke for the Wardhouse, as in the seventeenth and
eighteenth articles of this commission appeareth.

2.  Item, it is also committed, as above, to the said agents, to bind and
charge the said company by debt for wares upon credit, as good
opportunity and occasion shall serve, with power to charge and bind the
said company and their successors for the payments of such things as
shall be taken up for credit, and the said agents to be relieved, _ab
opere satis dandi_.

3.  Item, full authority and power is committed to the said first-named
factors, together with Richard Chanceler, grand pilot of this fleet, to
repair to the Emperor’s court, there to present the King and Queen’s
Majesty’s letters, written in Greek, Polish, and Italian, and to give and
exhibit the merchants’ presents at such time and place as shall be
thought most expedient; they, or one of them, to demand, and humbly
desire of the Emperor, such further grants and privileges to be made to
this company as may be beneficial for the same, to continue in traffic
with his subjects, according to such instructions as be in this behalf
devised and delivered to the agents whereunto relation is to be had, and
some one of these persons to attend upon the court for the obtaining of
the same, as to their discretions shall be thought good.

4.  Item, that all the said agents do well consider, ponder, and weigh
such articles as be delivered to them, to know the natures, dispositions,
laws, customs, manners, and behaviours of the people of the countries
where they shall traffic, as well of the nobility as of the lawyers,
merchants, mariners, and common people, and to note diligently the
subtleties of their bargaining, buying and selling, making as few debts
as possibly may be; and to be circumspect, that no law, neither of
religion nor positive, be broken or transgressed by them, or any minister
under them, nor yet by any mariner or other person of our nation; and to
foresee that all tolls, customs, and such other rights, be so duly paid,
that no forfeiture or confiscation may ensue to our goods either outward
or inward; and that all things pass with quiet, without breach of the
public peace or common tranquillity of any of the places where they shall
arrive or traffic.

5.  Item, that provision be made in Moscow or elsewhere, in one or more
good towns, where good trade shall be found for a house or houses for the
agents and company to inhabit and dwell at your accustomed diets, with
warehouses, cellars, and other houses of offices requisite; and that none
of the inferior ministers, of what place or vocation soever he be, do lie
out of the house of the agents without license to be given; and that
every inferior officer shall be obedient to the orders, rules, and
governments of the said agents; and in case any disobedient person shall
be found among any of them, then such person to be punished for his
misbehaviour at the discretion of the said agents, or of one of them in
the absence of the other.

6.  Item, if any person of the said ministers shall be of such pride or
obstinacy, that after one or two honest admonitions he will not be
reformed nor reconciled from his faults, then the said agents to displace
every such person from the place or room to him here committed, and some
other discreet person to occupy the same, as to the said agents by their
discretions shall seem meet.

7.  Item, if any person shall be found so arrogant, that he will not be
ordered nor reformed by the said agents, or by one of them in the absence
of the other, then the said person to be delivered to the justice of the
country, to receive such punishment as the laws of the country do

8.  Item, that the said agents and factors shall daily one hour in the
morning confer and consult together what shall be most convenient and
beneficial for the company; and such orders as they shall determine, to
be written by the secretary of the company, in a book to be provided for
that purpose; and no inferior person to infringe or break any such order
or device, but to observe the same exactly, upon such reasonable pain as
the agents shall put him to by discretion.

9.  Item, that the said agents shall in the end of every week, or
oftener, as occasion shall require, peruse, see, and try, not only the
cashier’s books, reckonings, and accounts, firming the same with their
hands, but also shall receive and take weekly the account of every other
officer, as well of the vendes, as of the empteous, and also of the state
of the household expenses, making thereof a perfect declaration as shall
appertain; the same accounts also to be firmed by the said agents’ hands.

10.  Item, that no inferior minister shall take upon him to make any
bargain or sale of any wares, merchandises, or goods, but by the
commission and warranties of the said agents under their hands; and he
not to transgress his commission by any way, pretence, or colour.

11.  Item, that every inferior minister—that is to understand, all clerks
and young merchants being at the order of the said agents—shall ride, go,
sail, and travel to all such place and places as they or he shall be,
appointed unto by the said agents, and effectually to follow and do that
which to him or them shall be committed, well and truly to the most
benefit of the company, according to the charge to him or them committed,
even as by their oaths, duties, and bonds of their masters they be
bounden and charged to do.

12.  Item, that at every month’s end all accounts and reckonings shall be
brought into perfect order into the ledger or memorial; and the decrees,
orders, and rules of the agents, together with the privileges and copies
of letters, may and shall be well and truly written by the secretary, in
such form as shall be appointed for it, and that the copies of all their
doings may be sent home with the said ship at her return.

13.  Item, that all the agents do diligently learn and observe all kinds
of wares, as well naturals as foreign, that be beneficial for this realm,
to be sold for the benefit of the company; and what kind of our
commodities and other things of these west parts be most vendable in
those realms with profit, giving a perfect advice of all such things

14.  Item, if the Emperor will enter into bargain with you for the whole
mass of your stock, and will have the trade of it to utter to his own
subjects, then debating the matter prudently among yourselves, set such
high prices of your commodities as you may assure yourselves to be
gainers in your own wares, and yet—to buy theirs at such base prices as
you may here also make a commodity and gain at home, having in your minds
the notable charges that the company have defrayed in advancing this
voyage; and the great charges that they sustain daily in wages, victuals,
and other things, all which must be requited by the wise handling of this
voyage, which, being the first precedent shall be a perpetual precedent
for ever; and therefore all circumspection is to be used; and foreseeing
in this first enterprise, which God bless and prosper under you to His
glory and the public wealth of this realm, whereof the Queen’s majesty
and the Lords of the Council have conceived great hope, whose
expectations are not to be frustrated.

15.  Item, it is to be had in mind that you use all ways and means
possible to learn how men may pass from Russia, either by land or by sea,
to Cathaia, and what may be heard of our other ships, and to what
knowledge you may come, by conferring with the learned or well-travelled
persons, either natural or foreign, such as have travelled from the north
to the south.

16.  Item, it is committed to the said agents that, if they shall be
certified credibly that any of our said first ships be arrived in any
place whereunto passage is to be had by water or by land, that then
certain of the company, at the discretion of the agents, shall be
appointed to be sent to them to learn their estate and condition, to
visit, refresh, relieve, and furnish them with all necessaries and
requisites at the common charges of the company, and to embrace, accept,
and entreat them as our dear and well-beloved brethren of this our
society to their rejoicing and comfort, advertising Sir Hugh Willoughbie
and others of our carefulness of them and their long absence, with our
desire to hear of them, with all other things done in their absence for
their commodity, no less than if they had been present.

17.  Item, it is decreed that, when the ships shall arrive at this going
forth at the Wardhouse, that their agents—with Master Chanceler, grand
pilot; John Brooke, merchant, deputed for the Wardhouse, with John
Backhand, master of the _Edward_; John Howlet, master, and John Robbins,
pilot, of the _Philip and Mary_—shall confer and consult together that is
most profitable to be done therefore for the benefit of the company, and
to consider whether they may bargain with the captain of the _Castle_,
and the inhabitants in that place, or along the coast for a large
quantity of fish—dry or wet—killed by the naturals, or to be taken by our
men at a price reasonable for truck of cloth, meal, salt, or beer, and
what train-oil or other commodity is to be had there at this time, or any
other season of the year; and whether there will be had or found
sufficient lading for both the said ships to be bought there, and how
they may confer with the naturals for a continuance in haunting the
place, if profit will so arise to the company; and to consider whether
the _Edward_ in her return may receive at the Wardhouse any kind of
lading homeward, and what it may amount unto, and whether it shall be
expedient for the _Philip_ to abide at Wardhouse the return of the
_Edward_ out of Russia, or getting that she may return with the first
good wind to England without abiding for the _Edward_; and so to conclude
and accord certainly among themselves upon their arrival that the
certainty may (upon good deliberation) be so ordered and determined
between both ships that the one may be assured of the other; and their
determinations to be put in writing duplicate to remain with each ship,
according to such order as shall be taken between them.

18.  Item, that John Brooke, our merchant for the Wardhouse, take good
advice of the rest of our agents how to use himself in all affairs while
the ship shall be at the Wardhouse; he to see good order to be kept, and
make bargains advisedly, not crediting the people until their natures,
dispositions, and fidelities shall be well tried; make no debts, but to
take ware for ware in hand, and rather be trusted than to trust.  Note
diligently what be the best wares for those parts, and how the fish
falleth on the coast, and by what means it is to be bought at the most
advantage, what kinds and diversities of sorts in fishes be, and whether
it will keep better in bulk piled or in cask.

19.  Item, he to have a diligent eye and circumspection to the beer,
salt, and other liquid wares, and not to suffer any waste to be made by
the company; and he in all contracts to require advice, counsel, and
consent of the master and pilot; the merchant to be our housewife, as our
special trust is in him.  He to tender that no laws nor customs of the
country be broken by any of the company, and to render to the prince and
other officers all that which to them doth appertain—the company to be
quiet, void of all quarrelling, fighting, or vexation; abstain from all
excess of drinking as much as may be, and in all to use and behave
themselves as to quiet merchants doth and ought to appertain.

20.  Item, it is decreed by the company that the _Edward_ shall return
home this year with as much wares as may be conveniently and profitably
provided, bought and laden in Russia, and the rest to be taken in at the
Wardhouse as by the agents shall be accorded.  But by all means it is to
be foreseen and noted that the _Edward_ return home, and not to winter in
any foreign place, but to come home, and bring with her all the whole
advertisements of the merchants, with such further advices for the next
year’s provisions as they shall give.

21.  Item, it is further decreed and ordained inviolably to be observed,
that when the good ships, or either of them (by God’s grace) shall return
home to the coast of England, that neither of them shall stay or touch in
any haven or port of England, otherwise than wind and weather shall
serve, but shall directly sail and come to the port of the city of
London, the place of their right discharge; and that no bulk be broken,
hatches open, chest, fardell, truss, barrell, fat, or whatsoever thing it
shall be, be brought out of the ship, until the company shall give order
for the same, and appoint such persons of the company as shall be thought
meet for that purpose, to take view and consider the ship and her lading,
and shall give order for the breaking up of the said bulk, or give
license by discretion, for things to be brought to land.  And that every
officer shall show the invoice of his charge to him first committed, and
to examine the wastes and losses, and to deliver the remainder to the use
and benefit of the company, according to such order as shall be appointed
in that behalf.

22.  Item, the company exhorteth, willeth, requireth, not only all the
said agents, pilots, masters, merchants, clerks, boatswains, stewards,
skafemasters, and all other officers and ministers of this present
voyage, being put in charge and trust daily to peruse, read, and study,
such instructions as be made, given, and delivered to them for perfect
knowledge of the people of Russia, Muscovy, Wardhouse, and other places;
their dispositions, laws, manners, customs, uses, tolls, carriages,
coins, weights, numbers, measures, wares, merchandises, commodities and
incommodities, the one to be accepted and embraced, the other to be
rejected and utterly abandoned, to the intent that every man taking
charge, may be so well taught, perfected, and readily instructed, in all
the premises, that, by ignorance, no loss or prejudice may grow or chance
to the company, assuring themselves, that forasmuch as the company hath
travailed and laboured so in these their instructions to them given, that
every man may be perfect, and fully learned to eschew all losses, hurts,
and damages, that may ensue by pretence or colour of none knowledge, the
company extendeth not to allow, or accept ignorance for any lawful or
just cause of excuse, in that which shall be misordered by negligence,
the burthen whereof shall light upon the negligent offending person,
especially upon such as of their own heads, or temerity, will take upon
him or them to do or to attempt anything, whereby prejudice may arise,
without the commission of the agents as above is mentioned, whereunto
relation be had.

23.  Forasmuch as it is not possible to write and indite such prescribed
orders, rules, and commissions to you the agents and factors, but that
occasion, time, and place, and the pleasures of the princes, together
with the operation or success of fortune, shall change or shift the same,
although not in the whole, yet in part, therefore the said company do
commit to you their dear and entire beloved agents and factors, to do in
this behalf for the commodity and wealth of this company, as by your
discretions, upon good advised deliberations, shall be thought good and
beneficial.  Provided always that the honour, good-name, fame, credit,
and estimation of the same company be conserved and preserved; which to
confirm we beseech the living Lord to his glory, the public benefit of
this realm, our common profit, and your praises.

Finally, for the service and due accomplishment of all the premises,
every agent and minister of, and for, this voyage hath not only given a
corporal oath upon the Evangelists to observe, and cause to be observed,
this commission, and every part, clause, and sentence of the same, as
much as in him lieth, as well for his own part as for any other person,
but also have bound themselves and their friends to the company in
several sums of money, expressed in the acts and records of this society,
for the truth and fidelities of them for the better, and also manifester
testification of the truth, and of their oaths, promises, and bands
aforesaid, they have to this commission subscribed particularly their
several hands, and the company also in confirmation of the same, have set
their seal.  Given the day, month, and years first above mentioned.


Ye swear by the holy contents of that book, that ye shall well,
faithfully, and truly and uprightly, and with all your endeavour, serve
this right worshipful company in that order, which by this fellowship’s
agent or agents in the dominions of the Emperor of Russia, &c., shall be
unto you committed, by commission, commandment, or other his direction.
And that you shall be obedient and faithful to the same, our agent or
agents, and that well and truly and uprightly, according to the
commission, charge, commandment, or other direction of the said agent or
agents to you from time to time given and to be given, you shall
prosecute and do all that which in you lieth for the good renown,
commodity, benefit, and profit of the said fellowship; and you shall not,
directly or indirectly, openly or covertly, do, exercise, or use any hide
or feat of merchandises for your own private account, commodity, gain, or
profit, or for the account of or for any other person or persons without
consent or license of this said fellowship first obtained in writing.
And if you shall know or understand any other person or persons to use,
exercise, or do any trade, traffic, or feat of merchandise to or for his
or their own account or accounts, at any time or times hereafter, that
then ye shall truly and plainly disclose, open, utter, and reveal, and
show the same unto the said fellowship, without fraud, colour, covin, or
delay: So help you God, _&c._


_Touching their entertainment in their second voyage_.  _Anno_ 1555,
_the_ 27_th_ _of November_, _in Moscow_.

Right worshipful, my duty considered, &c.—It may please your worship to
understand that at the making hereof we all be in good health, thanks be
to God, save only William, our cook, as we came from Colmogro fell into
the river out of the boat and was drowned.  And the 11th day of September
we came to Vologda, and there we laid all our wares up, and sold very
little; but one merchant would have given us twelve roubles for a
broadcloth (and he said he would have had them all) and four altines for
a pound of sugar, but we did refuse it because he was the first, and the
merchants were not come thither, nor would not come before winter,
trusting to have more; but I fear it will not be much better; yet,
notwithstanding, we did for the best.  And the house that our wares lie
in cost from that day until Easter ten roubles.  And the 28th day of
September we did determine with ourselves that it was good for Masters
Gray, Arthur Edwards, Thomas Hattery, Christopher Hudson, John
Sedgewicke, Richard Johnson, and Richard Good, to tarry at Vologda, and
Masters Chanceler, Henry Lane, Edward Prise, Robert Best, and I, should
go to Moscow.  And we did lade the Emperor’s sugar, with part of all
sorts of wares to have had to the Moscow with us, and the way was so deep
that we were fain to turn back and leave it still at Vologda till the
frost.  And we went forth with post-horse, and the charge of every horse,
being still ten in number, comes to 10s. 7½d., besides the guides; and we
came to the Moscow the fourth day of October, and were lodged that night
in a simple house; but the next day we were sent for to the Emperor his
secretary, and he bade us welcome with a cheerful countenance and
cheerful words, and we showed him that we had a letter from our Queen’s
grace to the Emperor his grace, and then he desired to see them all (and
that they might remain with him, to have them perfect, that the true
meaning might be declared to the Emperor), and so we did; and then we
were appointed to a better house; and the seventh day the secretary sent
for us again, and then he showed us that we should have a better house,
for it was the Emperor his will that we should have all things that we
did lack, and did send us mead of two sorts, and two hens, our house
free, and every two days to receive eight hens, seven altines, and
twopence in money and medow and a certain poor fellow to make clean our
house and to do that whereunto we should set him; and we had given many
rewards before, which you shall perceive by other, and so we gave the
messengers a reward with thanks; and the ninth day we were sent to make
us ready to speak with the Emperor on the morrow.  And the letters were
sent us that we might deliver them ourselves, and we came before him the
tenth day; and before we came to his presence we went through a great
chamber, where stood many small tons, pails, bowls, and pots of silver (I
mean like washing-bowls), all parcel gilt; and within that another
chamber, wherein sat (I think) near a hundred in cloth of gold, and then
into the chamber where his grace sat, and there, I think, were more than
in the other chamber, also in cloth of gold; and we did our duty, and
showed his grace our Queen’s grace’s letters, with a note of your present
which was left in Vologda, and then his grace did ask how our Queen’s
grace did, calling her cousin, saying that he was glad that we were come
in health into his realm, and we went one by one unto him and took him by
the hand, and then his grace did bid us go in health, and come to dinner
again; and we dined in his presence, and were set with our faces towards
his grace, and none in the chamber sat with their backs towards him,
being, I think, near a hundred at dinner then, and all served with gold
as platters, chargers, pots, cups, and all not slender, but very massive,
and yet a great number of platters of gold, standing still on the
cupboard, not moved.  And divers times in the dinner-time his grace sent
us meat and drink from his own table; and when we had dined we went up to
his grace and received a cup with drink at his own hand, and the same
night his grace sent certain gentlemen to us with divers sorts of wine
and medow, to whom we gave a reward.  And afterwards we were by divers
Italians counselled to take heed whom we did trust to make the copy of
the privileges that we would desire to have for fear it should not be
written in the Russian tongue, as we did mean.  So first, a Russian did
write for us a breviate to the Emperor, the tenour whereof was, that we
did desire a stronger privilege.  And when the secretary saw it he did
deliver it to his grace; and when we came again his grace willed us to
write our minds, and he would see it, and so we did.  And his grace is so
troubled with preparations to wars that as yet we have no answer.  But we
have been required of his secretary, and of the under-chancellor, to know
what wares we have brought into the realm, and what wares we do intend to
have that are or may be had in this realm.  And we showed them; that they
showed the Emperor thereof.  And then they said his grace’s pleasure was
that his best merchants of the Moscow should be spoken to to meet and
talk with us.  And so a day was appointed, and we met in the secretary
his office, and there was the under-chancellor, who was not past two
years since the Emperor’s merchant, and not his chancellor.  And then the
conclusion of our talk was that the chancellor willed us to bethink us
where we would desire to have a house or houses, that we might come to
them as to our own house, and for merchandise to be made preparation for
us, and they would know our prices of our wares and frise.  And we
answered, that for our prices they must see the wares before we could
make any price thereof, for the like in goodness had not been brought
into the realm, and we did look for an example of all sorts of our wares
to come from Vologda with the first sled way, and then they should see
them, and then we would show them the prices of them.  And likewise we
could not tell them what we would give them justly till we did know as
well their just weight as their measures (for in all places where we did
come all weights and measures did vary).  Then the secretary (who had
made promise unto us before) said that we should have all the just
measures under seal, and he that was found faulty in the contrary to buy
or sell—with any other measure than that, the law, was that he should be
punished.  He said, moreover, that if it so happen that any of our
merchants do promise by covenant at any time to deliver you any certain
sum of wares in such a place, and of such like goodness, at such a day,
for such a certain price, that then because of variance we should cause
it to be written, according as the bargain is, before a justice or the
next ruler to the place.  If he did not keep covenant and promise in all
points, according to his covenant, that then look what loss or hindrance
we could justly prove that we have thereby, he should make it good if he
be worth so much.  And in like case we must do to them; and to that we
did agree, save only if it were to come over the sea, then if any such
fortune should be (as God forbid) that the ship should mischance or be
robbed, and the proof to be made that such kind of wares were laden, the
English merchants to bear no loss to the other merchant.  Then the
chancellor said, “Methinks you shall do best to have your house at
Colmogro, which is but one hundred miles from the right discharge of the
ships; and yet I trust the ships shall come nearer hereafter, because the
ships may not tarry long for their lading, which is one thousand miles
from Vologda by water, and all our merchants shall bring all our
merchandise to Colmogro to you, and so shall our merchants neither go
empty nor come empty.  For if that they lack lading homeward, there is
salt, which is good ware here, that they may come laden again.”  So we
were very glad to hear that, and did agree to his saying.  For we shall,
nevertheless, if we list, have a house at Vologda and at the Moscow, yea,
and at Novogrod, or where we will in Russland.  But the
three-and-twentieth of this present we were with the secretary, and then
among other talk we moved, that if we should tarry at Colmogro with our
wares, and should not come to Vologda, or, further, to seek our market,
but tarry still at Colmogro, and then the merchants of the Moscow and
others should not come and bring their wares, and so the ships should
come, and not have their lading ready, that then it were a great loss and
hindrance for us.  Then said he again to us, that the merchants had been
again together with him, and had put the like doubt that if they should
come and bring their wares to Colmogro, and that they should not find
wares there sufficient to serve them, that then they should be at great
loss and hindrance, they leaving their other trades to fall to that.  And
to that we did answer, that after the time that we do appoint with them
to bring their wares to Colmogro, God willing, they should never come
thither but at the beginning of the year, they should find that our
merchants would have at the least for a thousand roubles, although the
ships were not come.  So that he said, that then we must talk further
with the merchants.  So that as yet I know not but that we shall have
need of one house at Colmogro and another at Vologda, and if that they
bring not their wares to Colmogro, then we shall be sure to buy some at
Vologda, and to be out of bondage.

And thus may we continue three or four years, and in this space we shall
know the country and the merchants, and which way to save ourselves best,
and where to plant our houses, and where to seek for wares.  For the
Moscow is not best for any kind of wares for us to buy, save only wax,
which we cannot have under sevenpence the Russian pound, and it lacks two
ounces of our pound; neither will it be much better cheap, for I have
bidden sixpence for a pound.  And I have bought more—five hundred weight
of yarn—which stands me in eightpence farthing the Russian pound, one
with another.  And if we had received any store of money, and were
dispatched here of that we tarry for, as I doubt not but we shall be
shortly (you know what I mean), then as soon as we have made sail, I do
intend to go to Novogrod and to Pletsco, whence all the great number of
the best tow flax cometh, and such wares as are there I trust to buy
part.  And fear you not, we will do that may be done, if God send us
health; desiring you to prepare fully for one ship to be ready in the
beginning of April to depart off the coast of England.

Concerning all those things which we have done in the wares you shall
receive a perfect note by the next bearer (God willing), for he that
carrieth these from us is a merchant of Turwell, and he was caused to
carry these by the commandment of the Emperor, his secretary, whose name
is Evan Mecallawiche Weskawate, whom we take to be our very friend.  And
if it please you to send any letters to Dantiske, to Robert Elson, or to
William Watson’s servant, Dunstan Walton to be conveyed to us, it may
please you to enclose ours in a letter sent from you to him, written in
Polish, Dutch, Latin, or Italian; so enclosed coming to the Moscow to his
hands, he will convey our letters to us wheresoever we be.  And I have
written to Dantiske already to them for the conveyance of letters from

And to certify you of the weather here, men say, that these three hundred
years was never so warm weather in this country at this time of the year.
But as yesternight we received a letter from Christopher Hudson from a
city called Yereslave, who is coming hither with certain of our wares,
but the winter did deceive him, so that he was fain to tarry by the way;
and he wrote that the Emperor’s present was delivered to a gentleman at
Vologda, and the sled did overthrow, and the butte of Hollocke was lost,
which made us all very sorry.

I pray you be not offended with these my rude letters, for lack of time;
but as soon as sales be made I will find the means to convey you a letter
with speed; for the way is made so doubtful, that the right messenger is
so much in doubt, that he would not have any letters of any effect sent
by any man if he might, for he knows not of these; and to say the truth,
the way is not for him to crawl in.  But I will make another shift
beside, which I trust shall serve the turn till he come, if sales be made
before he be ready, which is and shall be as pleaseth God; Who ever
preserve your worship, and send us good sales.  Written in haste,

                           By yours to command,

                                              GEORGE KILLINGWORTH, Draper.

                                * * * * *

_Certain Instructions delivered in the Third Voyage_, _Anno_ 1556, _for
Russia_, _to every Purser and the rest of the Servants_, _taken for the
Voyage_, _which may serve as good and necessary Directions to all other
like Adventurers_.

1.  First, you shall, before the ship doth begin to lade, go aboard, and
shall there take and write one inventory by the advice of the master, or
of some other principal officer, there aboard, of all the tackle,
apparel, cables, anchors, ordnance, chambers, shot, powder, artillery,
and of all other necessaries whatsoever doth belong to the said ship; and
the same justly taken you shall write in a book, making the said master,
or such officer, privy of that which you have so written, so that the
same may not be denied when they shall call account thereof.  That done,
you shall write a copy of the same with your own hand, which you shall
deliver before the ship shall depart for the voyage, to the company’s
bookkeeper, here to be kept to their behalf, to the end that they may be
justly answered the same when time shall require; and this order to be
seen and kept every voyage orderly, by the pursers of the company’s own
ship in any wise.

2.  Also, when the ship beginneth to lade, you shall be ready aboard with
your book to enter such goods as shall be brought aboard to be laden for
the company, packed or unpacked, taking the marks and numbers of every
pack, fardell, truss, or packet, coronoya, chest, vat, butt, pipe,
puncheon, whole barrel, half barrel, firkin, or other cask, maunde, or
basket, or any other thing which may or shall be packed by any other
manner of way or device.  And first, all such packs or trusses, etc., as
shall be brought aboard to be laden not marked by the company’s mark, you
shall do the best to let that the same be not laden, and to inquire
diligently to know the owners thereof, if you can, and what commodity the
same is that is so brought aboard to be laden; if you cannot know the
owners of such goods learn what you can thereof, as well making a note in
your book, as also to send or bring word thereof to the agent, and to
some one of the four merchants with him adjoined so speedily as you can,
if it be here laden, or to be laden in this river, being not marked with
the company’s mark, as is aforesaid; and when the said ship hath received
in all that the company’s agent will have laden, you shall make a just
copy of that which is laden, reciting the parcels, the marks and numbers
of everything plainly, which you shall likewise deliver to the said
bookkeeper to the use aforesaid.

3.  Also, when the ship is ready to depart, you shall come for your
cockets and letters to the agent, and shall show him all such letters as
you have received of any person or persons privately or openly, to be
delivered to any person or persons in Russia or elsewhere, and also to
declare if you know any other that shall pass in the ship either master
or mariner that hath received any letters to be privily delivered to any
there, directed from any person or persons, other than from the agent
here to the agent there; which letters so by you received, you shall not
carry with you, without you be licensed so to do by the agent here, and
some of the four merchants as is aforesaid; and such others as do pass,
having received any privy letters to be delivered, you shall all that in
you lieth let the delivery of them at your arriving in Russia; and also
if you have, or do receive, or shall know any other that doth or hath
received any goods of ready money to be employed in Russia, or to be
delivered there to any person or persons from any person or persons other
than such as be the company’s goods, and that under their mark, you
shall, before the ship cloth depart, declare the same truly to the said
agent, and to some of the other merchants to him adjoined, as it is
before declared.

4.  Also, when the ship is ready to depart, and hath the master and the
whole company aboard, you shall diligently foresee and take heed, that
there pass not any privy person or persons, other than such as be
authorised to pass in the said ship, without the licence and warrant of
one of the governors and of the assistants, for the same his passage, to
be first shown.  And if there be any such person or persons that is to
pass and will pass without showing the same warrant, you shall let the
passage of any such to the uttermost of your power; and for that there
may no such privy person pass under the cloak and colour of some mariner,
you shall upon the weighing of your ship’s anchor call the master and the
mariners within board by their names, and that by your books, to the end
that you may see that you have neither more nor less, but just the number
for the voyage.

5.  Also, you must have in remembrance that if it shall chance the ship
to be put into any harbour in this coast by contrary winds, or otherwise
in making the voyage, to send word thereof from time to time as the case
shall require, by your letters in this manner: “To Master I. B., Agent
for the Company of the New Trades in S. in London.”  If you do hire any
to bring your letters, write that which he must have for the postage.
And for your better knowledge and learning, you shall do very well to
keep a daily note of the voyage both outwards and homewards.

6.  And principally see that you forget not daily in all the voyage, both
morning and evening, to call the company within board to prayer, in which
doing you shall please God, and the voyage will have the better success
thereby and the company prosper the better.

7.  Also in calm weather and at other times when you shall fortune to
come to anchor in the seas during the voyage, you shall for the company’s
profit, and for good husbanding of the victuals aboard, call upon the
boatswain and other of the company to use such hooks and other engines as
they have aboard to take fish with, that such fish so taken may be eaten
for the cause aforesaid; and if there be no such engines aboard, then to
provide some before you go from hence.

8.  And when God shall send you in safety into the Bay of St. Nicholas at
anchor, you shall go ashore with the first boat that shall depart from
the ship, taking with you such letters as you have to deliver to the
agent there: and if he be not there at your coming ashore, then send the
company’s letters to Colmogro to him by some sure mariner or otherwise,
as the master and you shall think best; but go not yourself at any hand,
nor yet from aboard the ship unless it be ashore to treat with the agent
for the lading of the ship that you be appointed in, which you shall
apply diligently to have done so speedily as may be.  And for the
discharging of the goods therein in the bay, to be carried from thence,
see that you do look well to the unlading thereof, that there be none
other goods sent ashore than the company’s, and according to the notes
entered in your book as aforesaid: if there be, inquire diligently for
whom they be, and what goods they be, noting who is the receiver of the
said goods, in such sort that the company may have the true knowledge
thereof at your coming home.

9.  Also there ashore, and likewise aboard, you shall spy, and search as
secretly as you may, to learn and know what bargaining, buying, and
selling there is with the master and mariners of the ship, and the
Russians, or with the company’s servants there; and that which you shall
perceive and learn you shall keep a note thereof in your book, secretly
to yourself, which you shall open and disclose at your coming home, to
the governors and the assistants, in such sort as the truth of their
secret trades and occupyings may be revealed and known.  You shall need
always to have Argus’ eyes, to spy their secret packing and conveyance,
as well on land as aboard the ship, of and for such furs, and other
commodities, as yearly they do use to buy, pack, and convey hither.  If
you will be vigilant and secret in this article, you cannot miss to spy
their privy packing one with another, either on shore or aboard the ship;
work herein wisely, and you shall deserve great thanks of the whole

10.  Also at the lading again of the ship, you shall continue and abide
aboard, to the end that you may note and write in your book all such
goods and merchandise as shall be brought and laden, which you shall
orderly note in all sorts as heretofore, as in the second article partly
it is touched; and in any wise, put the master and the company in
remembrance to look and foresee substantially to the roomaging of the
ship, by fair means or threats, as you shall see and think will serve for
the best.

11.  Thus, when the ship is fully laden again, and all things aboard in
good order, and that you do fortune to go ashore to the agent for your
letters, and despatch away, you shall demand whether all the goods be
laden that were brought thither, and to know the truth thereof you shall
repair to the company’s storehouse there, at St. Nicholas, to see if
there be any goods left in the said storehouse; if there be, you shall
demand why they be not had laden, and to note what kind of goods they be,
that be so left; and seeing any of the ships there, not fully laden, you
shall put the agent in remembrance to lade those goods so left, if any
such be to be laden, as is aforesaid.  And thus, God sending you a fair
wind, to make speed and away.

12.  Finally, when God shall send you to arrive again upon this coast in
safety, either at Harwich or elsewhere, go not you ashore, if you may
possible, to the end that when you be gone ashore there may no goods be
sent privily ashore to be sold, or else to be sold aboard the ship in
your absence, but keep you still aboard, if you can by any means, for the
causes aforesaid, and write the company a letter from the ship of your
good arrival, which you may convey to them by land, by some boy or
mariner of the ship, or otherwise as you shall think best and likewise
when God shall send you and the ship into the river here, do not in any
wise depart out of the ship that you be in, until the company do send
some other aboard the ship, in your stead and place, to keep the said
ship in your absence.


_Of the honourable receiving into England of the first Ambassador from
the Emperor of Russia_, _in the year of Christ_ 1556, _and in the third
year of the reign of Queen Mary_, _serving for the third voyage to
Moscow_.—_Registered by Master John Incent_, _Protonotarie_.

IT is here recorded by writing and authentical testimony, partly for
memory of things done and partly for the verity to be known to posterity
in time to come, that whereas the Most High and Mighty Ivan Vasivilich,
Emperor of all Russia, Great Duke of Volidemer, Muscovy and Novogrode,
Emperor of Cassan and of Astrachan, Lord of Piskie, and Great Duke of
Smolenski, Tverski, Yowgoriski, Permiski, Viatski, Boligarski, and
Sibieriski, Emperor and Great Duke of many others, as Novogrode in the
Nether Countries, Charnogoski, Rizanski, Volodski, Rezewski, Bielski,
Rostoski, Yeraslavski, Bialazarski, Woodarski, Opdorski, Condinski, and
many other countries, and lord over all those parts in the year of our
Lord God ensuing, the account of the Latin Church, 1556, sent by the sea
from the Port of St. Nicholas, in Russia, his Right honourable
Ambassador, surnamed Osepp Napea, his high officer in the town and
country of Vologhda, to the most famous and excellent Princes, Philip and
Mary, by the grace of God King and Queen of England, Spain, France, and
Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Burgundy,
Milan, and Brabant, counties of Hasburge, Flanders, and Tyrol, his
ambassador and orator, with certain letters tenderly conceived, together
with certain presents and gifts mentioned in the foot of this memorial,
as a manifest argument and token of a mutual amity and friendship to be
made and continued between their Majesties and subjects respectively, for
the commodity and benefit of both the realms and people; which orator was
the 20th day of July embarked and shipped in and upon a good English ship
named the _Edward Bonaventura_, belonging to the Governor, Consuls, and
company of English merchants, Richard Chanceler being grand pilot, and
John Buckland master of the said ship, in which was laden, at the
adventure of the aforesaid ambassador and merchants, at several accounts,
goods and merchandise, _viz._, in wax, train oil, tallow, furs, felts,
yarn, and such-like, to the sum of 20,000 li. sterling, together with
sixteen Russians, attendant upon the person of the said ambassador—over
and above ten other Russians shipped within the said Bay of St. Nicholas
in one other good ship, to the said company also belonging, called the
_Bona Speranza_, with goods of the said orators and merchants to the
value of 6,000 li. sterling as by the invoices and letters of lading of
the said several ships (whereunto relation is to be had) particularly
appeareth; which good ships, coming in good order into the seas, and
traversing the same in their journey towards the coast of England, were
by contrary winds and extreme tempest of weather severed the one from the
other; that is to say, the said _Bona Speranza_, with two other English
ships, also appertaining to the said company, the one surnamed the
_Philip and Mary_, the other the _Confidentia_, were driven on the coast
of Norway into Drenton Water, where the said _Confidentia_ was seen to
perish on a rock, and the other, videlicet the _Bona Speranza_, with her
whole company, being to the number of four-and-twenty persons, seemed to
winter there, whereof no certainty at this present day is known.  The
third, videlicet the _Philip and Mary_, arrived in the Thames nigh London
the eighteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord 1557.  The _Edward
Bonaventura_, traversing the seas for months, finally, the tenth day of
November, of the aforesaid year of our Lord 1556, arrived within the
Scottish coast in a bay named Pettislego, where, by outrageous tempests
and extreme storms, the said ship, being beaten from her ground tackles,
was driven upon the rocks on shore, where she broke and split in pieces;
in such sort as the grand pilot, using all carefulness for the safety of
the body of the ambassador and his train, taking the boat of the said
ship, trusting to attain the shore and so to save and preserve the body,
and seven of the company or attendants of the said ambassador, the same
boat by rigorous waves of the seas was by dark night overwhelmed and
drowned, wherein perished, not only the body of the said grand pilot,
with seven Russians, but also divers of the mariners of the said ship;
the noble personage of the said ambassador, with a few others (by God’s
preservation and special favour), only with much difficulty saved.  In
which shipwreck, not only the said ship was broken, but also the whole
mass and body of the goods laden in her was, by the rude and ravenous
people of the country thereunto adjoining, rifled, spoiled, and carried
away, to the manifest loss and utter destruction of all the lading of the
said ship, and together with the ship, apparel, ordnance, and furniture,
belonging to the company, in value of £1,000 of all, which was not
restored towards the costs and charges to the sum of 500 li. sterling.

As soon as by letters addressed to the said company, and in London
delivered the 6th of December last past, it was to them certainly known
of the loss of their pilot, men, goods, and ship, the same merchants with
all celerity and expedition obtained, not only the Queen’s Majesty’s most
gracious and favourable letters to the Lady Dowager and Lords of the
Council of Scotland for the gentle comfortment and entertainment of the
said ambassador, his train and company, with preservation and restitution
of his goods, as in such miserable cases to Christian pity, princely
honour, and mere justice appertaineth, but also addressed two gentlemen
of good learning, bravity, and estimation, videlicet Master Lawrence
Hussie, Doctor of the Civil Law, and George Gilpin, with money and other
requisites, into the realm of Scotland, to comfort, aid, assist, and
relieve him and his there, and also to conduct the ambassador into
England, sending with them by post a talmack or speechman, for the better
furniture of the service of the said ambassador, trusting thereby to have
the more ample and speedy redress of restitution; which personages, using
diligence, arrived at Edinburgh (where the Queen’s Court was) the
three-and-twentieth day of the said month of December, who, first
visiting the said ambassador, declaring the causes of their coming and
commission, showing the letters addressed in his favour, the order given
them for his solace and furniture of all such things as he would have,
together with their daily and ready service to attend upon his person and
affairs, repaired consequently to the Dowager Queen, delivering the

Whereupon they received gentle answers with hope and comfort of speedy
restitution of the goods, apparel, jewels, and letters; for the more
apparance whereof the Queen sent first certain commissioners with a
herald of arms to Pettislego, the place of the shipwreck, commanding by
proclamation and other edicts all such persons (no degree excepted) as
had any part of such goods as were spoiled and taken out or from the
ship, to bring them in, and to restore the same with such further order
as Her Grace by advice of her council thought expedient; by reason
whereof, not without great labours, pains, and charges, (after a long
time) divers small parcels of wax, and other small trifling things of no
value, were by the poorer sort of the Scots brought to the commissioners;
but the jewels, rich apparel, presents, gold, silver, costly furs, and
such-like, were conveyed away, concealed, and utterly embezzled.
Whereupon the Queen, at the request of the said ambassador, caused divers
persons, to the number of one hundred and eighty or more, to be called
personally before her princely presence to answer to the said spoil, and
really to exhibit and bring in all such things as were spoiled and
violently taken, and carried out of the same, whereof not only good
testimony by writing was shown, but also the things themselves found in
the hands of the Scottish subjects, who by subtle and crafty dealings, by
connivance of the commissioners, so used (or rather abused) themselves
towards the same orator and his attendants, that in effectual restitution
was made; but he, wearied with daily attendance and charges, the 14th day
of February next ensuing, distrusting any real and effectual rendering of
the said goods and merchandises and other the premises, upon leave
obtained of the said Queen, departed towards England, having attending
upon him the said two English gentlemen and others (leaving,
nevertheless, in Scotland three Englishmen to pursue the delivery of such
things as were collected to have been sent by ship to him into England,
which being in April next, and not before, embarked for London, was not
at this present day here arrived), came the 18th day of February to
Barwike (Berwick) within the dominion and realm of England, where he was
by the Queen’s Majesty’s letters and commandment honourably received,
used, and entertained by the Right Honourable Lord Wharton, Lord Warden
of the East Marches, with goodly conducting from place to place as the
daily journeys done ordinarily did lie, in such order, manner, and form
as to a personage of such estate appertaineth.  He, prosecuting his
voyage until the 27th of February, approached the City of London within
twelve English miles, where he was received with fourscore merchants with
chains of gold and goodly apparel, as well in order of men-servants in
one uniform livery, as also in and upon good horses and geldings, who
conducting him to a merchant’s house four miles from London, received
there a quantity of gold, velvet, and silk, with all furniture thereunto
requisite, wherewith he made him a riding garment, reposing himself that
night.  The next day being Saturday, and the last day of February, he was
by the merchants adventuring for Russia, to the number of one hundred and
forty persons, and so many or more servants in one livery as above said,
conducted towards the City of London, where by the way he had not only
the hunting of the fox and such-like sport shown him, but also by the
Queen’s Majesty’s commandment was received and embraced by the Right
Honourable Viscount Montagu, sent by her Grace for his entertainment.  He
being accompanied with divers lusty knights, esquires, gentlemen, and
yeomen to the number of three hundred horses, led him to the north parts
of the City of London, where by four notable merchants, rich apparelled,
was presented to him a right fair and large gelding, richly trapped,
together with a foot-cloth of Orient crimson velvet, enriched with gold
laces, all furnished in most glorious fashion, of the present and the
gift of the said merchants; whereupon the ambassador at instant desire
mounted, riding on the way towards Smithfield Bars, the first limits of
the liberties of the City of London.  The Lord Mayor, accompanied with
all the aldermen in their scarlet, did receive him; and so riding through
the City of London in the middle between the said Lord Mayor and Viscount
Montagu, a great number of merchants and notable personages riding
before, and a large troop of servants and apprentices following, was
conducted through the City of London (with great admiration and
plausibility of the people, running plentifully on all sides, and
replenishing all streets in such sort as no man without difficulty might
pass) into his lodging situate in Fant Church (Fenchurch) Street, where
were provided for him two chambers richly hung and decked over and above
the gallant furniture of the whole house, together with an ample and rich
cupboard of plate of all sorts, to furnish and serve him at all meals and
other services during his abode in London, which was, as is
under-written, until the third day of May; during which time, daily,
divers aldermen and the gravest personages of the said company did visit
him, providing all kinds of victuals for his table and his servants, with
all sorts of officers to attend upon him in good sort and condition, as
to such an ambassador of honour doth and ought to appertain.

It is also to be remembered that, at his first entrance into his chamber,
there was presented unto him on the Queen’s Majesty’s behalf for a gift
and present, and his better furniture in apparel, one rich piece of cloth
of tissue, a piece of cloth of gold, another piece of cloth of gold
raised with crimson velvet, a piece of crimson velvet ingrained, a piece
of purple velvet, a piece of damask purpled, a piece of crimson damask,
which he most thankfully accepted.  In this beautiful lodging, refreshing
and preparing himself and his train with things requisite, he abode
expecting the King’s Majesty’s repair out of Flanders into England; whose
Highness arriving the one-and-twentieth of March, the same ambassador the
five-and-twentieth of March, being the Annunciation of Our Lady (the day
twelvemonth he took his leave from the Emperor his master), was most
honourably brought to the King’s and Queen’s Majesty’s Court at
Westminster, where, accompanied first with the said viscount and other
notable personages and the merchants, he arriving at Westminster Bridge,
was there received with six lords, conducted into a stately chamber,
where by the Lords Chancellor, Treasurer, Privy Seal, Admiral, Bishop of
Ely, and other councillors, he was visited and saluted; and consequently
was brought unto the King’s and Queen’s Majesty’s presence, sitting under
a stately cloth of honour, the chamber most richly decked and furnished,
and most honourably presented.  Where, after that he had delivered his
letters, made his oration, given two timber of sables, and the report of
the same both in English and Spanish, in most loving manner embraced, was
with much honour and high entertainment, in sight of a great confluence
of people, lords and ladies, soon after remitted by water to his former
lodging, to the which, within two days after, by assignment of the King’s
and Queen’s Majesties, repaired and conferred with him secretly two grave
councillors—that is, the Lord Bishop of Ely and Sir William Peter Knight,
Chief Secretary to their Highnesses, who, after divers secret talks and
conference, reported to their Highnesses their proceedings, the gravity,
wisdom, and stately behaviour of the said ambassador, in such sort as was
much to their Majesties’ satisfaction.

Finally, concluding upon such treaties and articles of amity as the
letters of the King’s and Queen’s Majesties most graciously, under the
Great Seal of England, to him by the said councillors delivered, doth

The four-and-twentieth of April, being the Feast of St. George wherein
was celebrated the solemnity of the Noble Order of the Gaiter at
Westminster, the same lord ambassador was soon after required to have an
audience; and therefore conducted from the said lodging to the Court by
the Right Noble the Lords Talbot and Lumley to their Majesties’ presence,
where (after his oration made, and thanks both given and received) he
most honourably took his leave, with commendations to the Emperor, which
being done, he was with special honour led unto the chapel, where, before
the King and Queen’s Majesties, in sight of the whole Order of the
Garter, was prepared for him a stately seat, wherein he, accompanied with
the Duke of Norfolk, the lords last above mentioned, and many other
honourable personages, was present at the whole service, in ceremonies
which were to him most acceptable.  The divine service ended, he was
quickly remitted and reduced to his barge, and so repaired to his
lodgings in like order and gratulation of the people universally as

The time of the year hasting the departure of the ambassador, the
merchants having prepared four goodly and well-trimmed ships laden with
all kinds of merchandise apt for Russia, the same ambassador making
provision for such things as him pleased, the same ships in good order
valed (sailed?) down the river of Thames from London to Gravesend, where
the same ambassador, with his train and furniture, was embarked towards
his voyage homeward, which Cod prosper in all felicity.

It is also to be remembered that during the whole abode of the said
ambassador in England the agents of the said merchants did not only
prosecute and pursue the matter of restitution in Scotland, and caused
such things to be laden in an English ship hired purposely to convey the
ambassador’s goods to London, there to be delivered to him, but also,
during his abode in London, did both invite him to the mayor and divers
worshipful men’s houses, feasting and banqueting him right friendly,
showing unto him the most notable and commendable sights of London, as
the King’s Palace and house, the Churches of Westminster and Paul’s, the
Tower and Guild Hall of London, and such-like memorable spectacles.  And,
also, the said nine-and-twentieth day of April the said merchants,
assembling themselves together in the house of the Drapers’ Hall of
London, exhibited and gave unto the said ambassador a notable supper
garnished with music, interludes, and banquets, in the which a cup of
wine being drunk to him in the name and lieu of the whole company, it was
signified to him that the whole company, with most liberal and friendly
hearts, did frankly give to him and his all manner of costs and charges
and victuals, riding from Scotland to London during his abode there, and
until setting of sail aboard the ship, requesting him to accept the same
in good part, as a testimony and witness of their good hearts, zeal, and
tenderness towards him and his country.

It is to be considered that of the _Bona Speranza_ no word nor knowledge
was had at this present day, nor yet of the arrival of the ships or goods
from Scotland.

The third of May the ambassador departed from London to Gravesend,
accompanied with divers aldermen and merchants, who in good guard set him
aboard the noble ship the _Primrose_, admiral to the fleet, where leave
was taken on both sides and parts, after many embracements and divers
farewells, not without expressing of tears.

Memorandum, that the first day of May the councillors, videlicet the
Bishop of Ely and Sir William Peter, on behalf of the King’s and Queen’s
Majesties, repairing to the Lord Ambassador, did not only deliver unto
him their Highnesses’ letters of recommendation under the Great Seal of
England to the Emperor, very tenderly and friendly written, but also, on
their Majesties’ behalf, gave and delivered certain notable presents to
the Emperor’s person, and also gifts for the Lord Ambassador’s proper use
and behoof, as by the particulars under-written appeareth, with such
further good words and commendations as the more friendly have not been
heard; whereby it appeareth how well affected their honours be to have
and continue amity and traffic between their honours and their subjects;
which thing as the King’s and Queen’s Majesties have shown of their
princely munificences and liberalities, so have likewise the merchants
and fellowship of the adventurers for and to Russia manifested to the
world their good-wills, minds, and zeals borne to this new-commenced
voyage, as by the discourse above mentioned, and other the notable acts
overlong to be recited in this present memorial, doth and may most
clearly appear, the like whereof is not in any precedent or history to be

Forasmuch as it may be doubted how the ship named the _Edward
Bonaventura_ received shipwreck, what became of the goods, how much they
were spoiled and detained, how little restored, what charges and expenses
ensued, what personages were drowned, how the rest of the ships either
arrived or perished, or how the disposition of Almighty God had wrought
His pleasure in them; how the same ambassador hath been after the
miserable case of shipwreck in Scotland irreverently abused, and
consequently into England received and conducted, there entertained,
used, honoured, and, finally, in good safety towards his return and
repair furnished, and with much liberality and frank handling friendly
dismissed, to the intent that the truth of the premises may be to the
Most Mighty Emperor of Russia sincerely signified in eschewment of all
events and misfortunes that may chance in this voyage (which God defend!)
to the ambassador’s person, train, and goods, this present memorial is
written and authentically made, and by the said ambassador, his servants
whose names be under-written, and train, in presence of the notary, and
witnesses under-named, recognised, and acknowledged.  Given the day,
month, and year under-written, of which instrument into every of the said
ships one testimonial is delivered, and the first remaineth with the said
company in London.

                                * * * * *

_Gifts sent to the King and Queen’s Majesties of England by the Emperor
of Russia_, _by the report of the Ambassador_, _and spoiled by the Scots
after the Shipwreck_.

1.  First, six timber of sables rich in colour and hair.

2.  Item, twenty entire sables exceeding beautiful with teeth, ears, and

3.  Item, four living sables with chains and collars.

4.  Item, thirty Lausannes large and beautiful.

5.  Item, six large and great skins, very rich and rare, worn only by the
Emperor for worthiness.

6.  Item, a large and fair white Jerfawcon, for the wild swan, crane,
goose, and other great fowls.  Together with a drum of silver, the hoops
gilt, used for a lure to call the said hawk.

                                * * * * *

_Gifts sent to the Emperor of Russia by the King and Queen’s Majesties of

1.  First, two rich pieces of cloth of tissue.

2.  Item, one fine piece of scarlet.

3.  Item, one fine violet in grain.

4.  Item, one fine azure cloth.

5.  Item, a notable pair of brigandines, with a murrian covered with
crimson velvet and gilt nails.

6.  Item, a male and female lions.

                                * * * * *

_Gifts given to the Ambassador at his Departure_, _over and above such as
were delivered unto him at his first Arrival_.

1.  First, a chain of gold of one hundred pound.

2.  Item, a large basin and ewer, silver and gilt.

3.  Item, a pair of pottle pots gilt.

4.  Item, a pair of flagons gilt.


_Wherein_ OSEPP NAPEA, _the Muscovite Ambassador_, _returned home into
his Country_, _with his Entertainment at his Arrival at Colmogro_; _and a
large description of the Manners of the Country_.

THE 12th of May, in the year of our Lord 1567, there departed from
Gravesend four good ships, well appointed for merchants, which were
presently bound into the Bay of St. Nicholas in Russia, with which ships
were transported or carried home one Osepp Gregoriwich Napea, who was
sent messenger from the Emperor and Great Duke of Muscovy.  The four
ships were these whose names follow, viz.

  The _Primrose_, Admiral.

  The _John Evangelist_, Vice-Admiral.

  The _Anne_, and the _Trinity_, Attendants.

The 13th of July, the aforesaid four ships came to an anchor in the Bay
of St. Nicholas, before an Abbey called the Abbey of St. Nicholas,
whereas the said messenger, Osepp Gregoriwich Napea, went ashore, and as
many Englishmen as came to serve the Emperor, remained with him at the
Abbey, for the space of six days, until he had gotten all his things
ashore, and laden the same in barques to go up the river Dwina, unto
Vologhda, which is by water 1,000 verstes, and every verste is about
three-quarters of an English mile.

The 20th of July, we departed from St. Nicholas, and the 24th of the same
we came to Colmogro, where we remained eight days; and the same messenger
was there of all his acquaintance welcomed home, and had presents
innumerable sent unto him, but it was nothing but meat and drink; some
sent white bread, some rye bread, and some buttered bread and pancakes,
beef, mutton, bacon, eggs, butter, fishes, swans, geese, ducks, hens, and
all manner of victuals—both fish and flesh—in the best manner that the
rude people could devise; for among them these presents are highly

The 29th of July we departed from Colmogro, and the 14th of August we
came to Vstioug, where we remained one day, and changed our barques, or

The 27th of August we came to Vologhda, where we remained four days,
unlading the barques, and lading our chests and things in small waggons,
with one horse in a piece—which in their tongue are called “telegos”; and
these telegos, they carried our stuff from Vologhda unto the Moscow,
which is 500 verstes; and we were upon the same way fourteen days; for we
went no faster than the telegos.

There are three great towns between the Moscow and Vologhda—that is to
say, Yereslava, Rostave, and Pereslava.  Upon one side of Yereslava
runneth a famous river, which is called Volga.  It runneth into the
Caspian Sea, and it divideth itself, before it come into the Mare
Caspium, in fifty parts or more: and near unto the same sea there stands
a great city called Boghare; the inhabitants of the which are called by
the same name.

The people of the said city do traffic in the city of Moscow: their
commodities are spices, musk, ambergris, rhubarb, with other drugs.  They
bring also many furs, which they buy in Siberia, coming towards the
Moscow.  The said people are of the sect of Mahomet.

The 12th of September we came unto the city of Moscow, where we were
brought by Napea and two of the Emperor’s gentlemen unto a large house,
where every one of us had his chamber appointed.

The 14th of September we were commanded to come unto the Emperor, and
immediately after our coming we were brought into his presence, unto whom
each of us did his duty accordingly, and kissed his right hand, his
Majesty sitting in his chair of state, with his crown on his head and a
staff of goldsmith’s work in his left hand well garnished with rich and
costly stones; and when we had all kissed his hand and done our duty, his
Majesty did declare by his interpreter that we were all welcome unto him,
and into his country, and thereupon willed us to dine with him that day.
We gave thanks unto his Majesty, and so departed until the dinner was

When dinner-time approached we were brought again into the Emperor’s
dining chamber, where we were set on one side of a table that stood over
against the Emperor’s table, to the end that he might well behold us all,
and when we came into the aforesaid chamber we found there ready set
these tables following:—

First, at the upper end of one table were set the Emperor’s Majesty, his
brother, and the Emperor of Cassan, who is prisoner.  About two yards
lower sat the Emperor of Cassan’s son, being a child of five years of
age, and beneath him sat the most part of the Emperor’s noblemen.

And at another table near unto the Emperor’s table there was set a monk
all alone, who was in all points as well served as the Emperor.  At
another table sat another kind of people called Chirkasses, which the
Emperor entertaineth for men of war to serve against his enemies; of
which people and of their country I will hereafter make mention.

All the tables aforesaid were covered only within salt and bread, and
after that we had sat awhile, the Emperor sent unto every one of us a
piece of bread, which was given and delivered unto every man severally
with these words: “The Emperor and Great Duke giveth thee bread this
day;” and in like manner three or four times before dinner was ended he
sent unto every man drink, which was given with these words: “The Emperor
and Great Duke giveth thee to drink.”  All the tables aforesaid were
served in vessels of pure and fine gold, as well basins and ewers,
platters, dishes, and saucers, as also of great pots, with an innumerable
sort of small drinking-pots of divers fashions, whereof a great number
were set with stone.  As for costly meats, I have many times seen better;
but for change of wines, and divers sorts of meads, it was wonderful; for
there was not left at any time so much void room on the table that one
cup more might have been set, and as far as I could perceive all the rest
were in the like manner served.

In the dinner-time there came in six singers who stood in the midst of
the chamber, and their faces towards the Emperor, who sang there before
dinner was ended three several times, whose songs or voices delighted our
ears little or nothing.

The Emperor never putteth morsel of meat in his mouth but he first
blesseth it himself, and in like manner as often as he drinketh; for
after his manner he is very religious, and he esteemeth his religious
persons above his noblemen.

This dinner continued about the space of five hours, which being ended,
and the tables taken up, we came into the midst of the chamber, where we
did reverence unto the Emperor’s Majesty, and then he delivered unto
every one of us with his own hands a cup of mead, which when every man
had received and drunk a quantity thereof we were licensed to depart, and
so ended that dinner.  And because the Emperor would have us to be merry,
he sent to our lodging the same evening three barrels of mead of sundry
sort, of the quantity in all of one hogshead.

The 16th day of September the Emperor sent home unto our lodging for
every one of us a Tartary horse to ride from place to place as we had
occasion, for that the streets of Moscow are very foul and miry in the

The 18th of September there were given unto Master Standish, doctor in
physic, and the rest of our men of our occupations, certain furred gowns
of branched velvet and gold, and some of red damask, of which Master
Doctor’s gown was furred with sables, and the rest were furred, some with
white ermine, and some with grey squirrel, and all faced and edged round
about with black beaver.

The 1st of October, in the morning, we were commanded to come unto the
Emperor’s Court, and when we came thither we were brought unto the
Emperor, unto whom we did our duties accordingly, whereupon he willed us
to dine with him that day, and so with thanks unto his Majesty we
departed until dinner-time, at which time we came and found the tables
covered with bread and salt as at the first; and after that we were all
set upon one side of the table, the Emperor’s Majesty according to his
accustomed manner sent unto every man of us a piece of bread by some of
the dukes who attended upon his Highness.

And whereas the 14th of September we were served in vessels of gold, we
were now served in vessels of silver, and yet not so abundantly as was
the first of gold; they brought drink unto the table in silver bowls,
which contained at the least six gallons apiece, and every man had a
small silver cup to drink in, and another to dip or to take his drink out
of the great bowl withal.  The dinner being ended, the Emperor gave unto
every one of us a cup with mead, which when we had received, we gave
thanks and departed.

Moreover, whensoever the Emperor’s pleasure is that any stranger shall
dine with him, he doth send for them in the morning, and when they come
before him, he with his own mouth biddeth them to dinner, and this order
he always observeth.

The 10th of October the Emperor gave unto Master Standish seventy roubles
in money and to the rest of our men of occupations thirty roubles apiece.

The 3rd of November we dined again with the Emperor, where we were served
as before.

The 6th of December being St. Nicholas’ Day, we dined again at the
Emperor’s, for that is one of the principal feasts which the Muscovites
hold.  We were served in silver vessels, and ordered in all points as
before, and it was past seven of the clock at night before dinner was

The Emperor’s Majesty useth every year in the month of December to have
all his ordnance that is in the city of Moscow carried into the fields
which are without the suburbs of the city, and there to have it planted
and bent upon two houses of wood filled within with earth.  Against which
two houses there were two fair white marks set up, at which marks they
discharge all their ordnance, to the end the Emperor may see what his
gunners can do.  They have fair ordnance of brass of all sorts-bases,
falcons, minions, sakers, culverins, cannons (double and royal),
basilisks (long and large); they have six great pieces, whose shot is a
yard of height, which shot a man may easily discern as they flee.  They
have also a great many of mortar pieces or pot guns, out of which pieces
they shoot wild fire.

The 12th of December the Emperor’s Majesty and all his nobility came into
the field on horse-back in most goodly order, having very fine jennets
and Turkey horses garnished with gold and silver abundantly; the
Emperor’s Majesty having on him a gown of rich tissue and a cap of
scarlet on his head, set not only with pearls, but also with a great
number of rich and costly stones; his noblemen were all in gowns of cloth
of gold, who did ride before him in good order by three and three, and
before them there went 5,000 arquebusiers, which went by five and five in
a rank in very good order, every of them carrying his gun upon his left
shoulder and his match in his right hand, and in this order they marched
into the field where the aforesaid ordnance was planted.

And before the Emperor’s Majesty came into the field there was a certain
stage made of small poles, which was a quarter of a mile long, and about
three score yards off from the stage of poles were certain pieces of ice
of two feet thick and six feet high set up, which rank of ice was as long
as the stage of poles; and as soon as the Emperor’s Majesty came into the
field, the arquebusiers went upon the stage of poles, where they settled
themselves in order.  And when the Emperor’s Majesty was settled where he
would be, and where he might see all the ordnance discharged and shot
off, the arquebusiers began to shoot off at the bank of ice as though it
had been in any skirmish or battle, who ceased not shooting until they
had beaten all the ice flat on the ground.

After the hand-guns, they shot off their wild fire up into the air, which
was a goodly sight to behold.  And after this they began to discharge the
small pieces of brass, beginning with the smallest, and so orderly bigger
and bigger, until the last and biggest.  When they had shot them all off,
they began to charge them again, and so shot them all off three times
after the first order, beginning with the smallest and ending with the
greatest.  And note that before they had ended their shooting, the two
houses that they shot unto were beaten in pieces, and yet they were very
strongly made of wood and filled with earth, being at the least thirty
feet thick.  This triumph being ended, the Emperor departed and rode home
in the same order that he came forth into the field.  The ordnance is
discharged every year in the month of December, according to the order
before mentioned.

On Christmas Day we were all willed to dine with the Emperor’s Majesty,
where for bread, meat, and drink we were served as at other times before.
But for goodly and rich plate we never saw the like or so much before.
There dined that day in the Emperor’s presence above 500 strangers and
200 Russians, and all they were served in vessels of gold, and that as
much as could stand one by another upon the tables.  Besides this there
were four cupboards garnished with goodly plate, both of gold and silver.
Among the which there were twelve barrels of silver containing above
twelve gallons apiece, and at each end of every barrel were six hoops of
fine gold.  This dinner continued about six hours.

Every year upon the Twelfth Day they use to bless or sanctify the river
Moska, which runneth through the city of Moscow (Moscovia), after this

First, they make a square hole in the ice about three fathoms large every
way, which is trimmed about the sides and edges with white boards.  Then
about nine of the clock they come out of the church with procession
towards the river in this wise:—

First and foremost there go certain young men with wax tapers burning,
and one carrying a great lantern.  Then follow certain banners, then the
cross, then the images of Our Lady and St. Nicholas, and of other saints,
which images men carry upon their shoulders.  After the images follow
certain priests to the number of 100 or more.  After them the
Metropolitan, who is led between two priests; and after the Metropolitan
came the Emperor, with his crown upon his head, and after his Majesty all
his noblemen orderly.  Thus they followed the procession unto the water,
and when they came unto the hole that was made, the priests set
themselves in order round about it.  And at one side of the same pool
there was a scaffold of boards made, upon which stood a fair chair, in
which the Metropolitan was set, but the Emperor’s Majesty stood upon the

After this the priests began to sing, to bless, and to cense, and did
their service, and so by the time that they had done the water was holy,
which being sanctified, the Metropolitan took a little thereof in his
hands and cast it on the Emperor, likewise upon certain of the dukes, and
then they returned again to the church with the priests that sat about
the water; but the press that there was about the water when the Emperor
was gone was wonderful to behold, for there came above 5,000 pots to be
filled of that water.  For that Muscovite which hath no part of that
water thinks himself unhappy.

And very many went naked into the water, both men, women, and children.
After the press was a little gone, the Emperor’s jennets and horses were
brought to drink of the same water, and likewise many other men brought
their horses thither to drink, and by that means they make their horses
as holy as themselves.

All these ceremonies being ended, we went to the Emperor to dinner, where
we were served in vessels of silver, and in all other points as we had
been beforetime.

The Russians begin their Lent always eight weeks before Easter: the first
week they eat eggs, milk, cheese, and butter, and make great cheer with
pancakes and such other things, one friend visiting another, and from the
same Sunday until our Shrove Sunday there are but few Russians sober; but
they are drunk day by day, and it is accounted for no reproach or shame
among them.

The next week, being our first week of Lent, or our cleansing week,
beginning our Shrove Sunday, they make and keep a great fast.  It is
reported, and the people do verily believe, that the Metropolitan neither
eateth nor drinketh any manner of thing for the space of seven days; and
they say that there are many religious men who do the like.

The Emperor’s Majesty eateth but one morsel of bread and drinketh but one
draught of drink but once in the day during that week, and all men that
are of any reputation come not out of their houses during that time; so
that the streets are almost void of company, saving a few poor folk who
wander to and fro.  The other six weeks they keep as we do ours, but not
one of them will eat either butter, cheese, eggs, or milk.

On Palm Sunday they have a very solemn procession in this manner

First, they have a tree of a good bigness, which is made fast upon two
sleds, as though it were growing there, and it is hung with apples,
raisins, figs, and dates, and with many other fruits abundantly.  In the
midst of the same tree stand five boys in white vestures, which sing in
the tree before the procession.  After this there followed certain young
men with wax tapers in their hands burning and a great lantern, that all
the light should not go out; after them followed two with long banners,
and six with round plates set upon long staves (the plates were of
copper, very full of holes, and thin); then followed six carrying painted
images upon their shoulders; after the images follow certain priests to
the number of one hundred or more, with goodly vestures, whereof ten or
twelve are of white damask set and embroidered round about with fair and
Orient pearls as great as peas, and among them certain sapphires and
other stones.  After them followed the one-half of the Emperor’s
noblemen; then cometh the Emperor’s Majesty and the Metropolitan, after
this manner:—

First, there is a horse covered with white linen cloth down to the
ground, his ears being made long with the same cloth like to an ass’s
ears.  Upon this horse the Metropolitan sitteth sidelong, like a woman;
in his lap lieth a fair book, with a crucifix of goldsmith’s work upon
the cover, which he holdeth fast with his left hand; and in his right
hand he has a cross of gold, with which cross he ceaseth not to bless the
people as he rideth.

There are, to the number of thirty, men who spread abroad their garments
before the horse, and as soon as the horse is passed over any of them
they take them up again and run before and spread them again, so that the
horse doth always go on some of them.  They who spread the garments are
all priests’ sons, and for their labours the Emperor giveth unto them new

One of the Emperor’s noblemen leadeth the horse by the head, but the
Emperor himself, going on foot, leadeth the horse by the end of the rein
of his bridle with one of his hands, and in the other of his hands he had
a branch of a palm-tree; after this followed the rest of the Emperor’s
noblemen and gentlemen, with a great number of other people.  In this
order they went from one church to another within the castle, about the
distance of two flights’ shot; and so returned again to the Emperor’s
church, where they made an end of their service; which being done, the
Emperor’s Majesty and certain of his noblemen went to the Metropolitan’s
house to dinner, where of delicate fishes and good drinks there was no

The rest of this week until Easter Day they keep very solemnly,
continuing in their houses for the most part; and upon Monday or Thursday
the Emperor doth always use to receive the Sacrament, and so doth most
part of his nobles.

Upon Good Friday they continue all the day in contemplation and prayers,
and they use every year on Good Friday to let loose a prisoner in the
stead of Barabbas.  The night following they go to the church, where they
sleep unto the next morning; and at Easter they have the Resurrection,
and after every of the Lents they eat flesh the next week following
Friday, Saturday and all.

They have an order at Easter which they always observe, and that is
this:—Every year, against Easter, to dye or colour red with brazil a
great number of eggs of which every man and woman giveth one unto the
priest of their parish upon Easter Day, in the morning; and, moreover,
the common people use to carry in their hands one of these red eggs, not
only upon Easter Day, but also three or four days after; and gentlemen
and gentlewomen have eggs gilded, which they carry in like manner.  They
use it, as they say, for a great love, and in token of the Resurrection,
whereof they rejoice; for when two friends meet during the Easter
holidays, they come and take one another by the hand: the one of them
saith, “The Lord or Christ is risen,” the other answereth, “It is so, of
a truth;” and then they kiss and exchange their eggs (both men and
women), continuing in kissing four days together.

The 12th of April being Tuesday in the Easter week, Master Jenkinson and
Master Gray and certain other of us Englishmen dined with the Emperor,
where we were served as we had been beforetime.  And after dinner the
Emperor’s Majesty gave unto Master Jenkinson and unto Master Gray, and so
orderly unto every one of us, a cup of mead, according to his accustomed
manner, which when every man had received and given thanks, Master
Jenkinson stepped into the midst of the chamber before the Emperor’s
Majesty and gave thanks to his Highness for his goodness unto him
extended, desiring his Grace to license him for to depart; and in like
manner did Master Gray.  His Majesty did not only license them to depart,
but also granted unto Master Jenkinson his letters, under his Great Seal,
unto all princes through whose dominions Master Jenkinson should have
occasion to pass, that he might the sooner and quietlier pass by means
thereof.  Which being granted, Masters Jenkinson and Gray lowly submitted
themselves, thanking his Majesty.  So the Emperor gave unto either of
them a cup of mead to drink, and willed them to depart at their pleasure
in God’s peace.

The 14th of April, in the morning, when Master Gray and I were ready to
depart towards England, the Chancellors sent unto us, and willed us to
come to their office in the Chancery, where at our coming they showed us
a great number of the Emperor’s jewels and rich robes, willing us to mark
and behold them well, to the end that at our arrival into England we
might make report what we had seen there.

The chiefest was his Majesty’s crown, being close under the top very fair
wrought; in mine opinion, the workmanship of so much gold few men can
amend.  It was adorned and decked with rich and precious stones
abundantly, among the which one was a ruby, which stood a handful higher
than the top of the crown upon a small wire; it was as big as a good
bean.  The same crown was lined with a fair black sable worth by report
forty roubles.

We saw all his Majesty’s robes, which were very richly set with stones;
they showed us many other great stones of divers kinds, but the most part
of these were uneven, in manner as they came out of the work, for they do
more esteem the greatness of stones than they do the proportion of them.

We saw two goodly gowns, which were as heavy as a man could easily carry,
all set with pearls over and over; the guards or borders round about them
were garnished with sapphires and other good stones abundantly.  One of
the same gowns was very rich, for the pearls were very large, round, and
Orient.  As for the rest of his gowns and garments, they were of rich
tissue and cloth-of-gold, and all furred with very black sables.

When we had sufficiently perused all these things, they willed Master
Gray, at his arrival in England, to provide, if he could, such jewels and
rich clothes as he had seen there, and better if he could, declaring that
the Emperor would gladly bestow his money upon such things.

So we took our leave the same time, and departed towards Vologhda


                            _Of the Emperor_.

THE Emperor’s name in their tongue is Evan Vasilivich; that is as much as
to say, John, the son of Vasilie.  And by his princely state he is called
Otesara, as his predecessors have been before; which, to interpret, is “A
King that giveth not tribute to any man.”  And this word Otesara, his
Majesty’s interpreters have of late days interpreted to be an Emperor; so
that now he is called Emperor and Great Duke of all Russia, &c.  Before
his father, they were neither called Emperors nor Kings, but only Ruese
Velike; that is to say, Great Duke.  And as this Emperor, which now is
Ivan Vasilivich, doth exceed his predecessors in name—that is, from a
Duke to an Emperor—even so much by report he doth exceed them in
stoutness of courage and valiantness, and a great deal more: for he is no
more afraid of his enemies, which are not a few, than the hobby of the

His enemies with whom he hath wars for the most part are these:—Litto
Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Lifland, the Crimmes, Nagaians, and the whole
nation of the Tartarians, which are a stout and a hardy people as any
under the sun.

This Emperor useth great familiarity, as well unto all his nobles and
subjects, as also unto Strangers which serve him either in his wars or in
occupations: for his pleasure is that they shall dine oftentimes in the
year in his presence; and, besides that, he is oftentimes abroad, either
at one church or another, and walking with his noblemen abroad.  And by
this means he is not only beloved of his nobles and commons, but also had
in great dread and fear through all his dominions, so that I think no
prince in Christendom is more feared of his own than he is, nor yet
better beloved.  For if he bid any of his dukes go, they will run; if he
give any evil or angry word to any of them, the party will not come into
his Majesty’s presence again for a long time if he be not sent for, but
will feign him to be very sick, and will let the hair of his head grow
very long, without either cutting or shaving, which is an evident token
that he is in the Emperor’s displeasure; for when they be in their
prosperity, they account it a shame to wear long hair—in consideration
whereof they use to have their heads shaven.

His Majesty heareth all complaints himself, and with his own mouth giveth
sentence and judgment of all matters, and that with expedition; but
religious matters he meddleth not withal, but referreth them wholly unto
the Metropolitan.

His Majesty retaineth and well rewardeth all strangers that come to serve
him, and especially men of war.

He delighteth not greatly in hawking, hunting, or any other pastime, nor
in hearing instruments or music, but setteth all his whole delight upon
two things: first, to serve God, as undoubtedly he is very devout in his
religion; and the second, how to subdue and conquer his enemies.

He hath abundance of gold and silver in his own hands or treasury; but
the most part of his know not a crown from a counter, nor gold from
copper—they are so much cumbered (combred) therewithal; and he that is
worth two, three, or four groats is a rich man.

                        _Of their Religious Men_.

The Metropolitan is next unto God, Our Lady and St. Nicholas excepted;
for the Emperor’s Majesty judgeth and affirmeth him to be of higher
dignity than himself: “For that,” saith he, “he is God’s spiritual
officer, and I, the Emperor, am His temporal officer;” and therefore his
Majesty submitteth himself unto him in many things concerning religious
matters, as in leading the Metropolitan horse upon Palm Sunday, and
giving him leave to sit on a chair upon the Twelfth Day, when the river
Moscow was in blessing, and his Majesty standing on the ice.

All matters of religion are reformed by the Metropolitan: he heareth the
causes and giveth sentence as himself listeth, and is authorised so to
do.  Whether it be to whip, hang, or burn, his will must needs be

They have both monks, friars, and nuns, with a great number of great and
rich monasteries; they keep great hospitality, and do relieve much poor
people day by day.  I have been in one of the monasteries called
Troities, which is walled about with brick very strongly, like a castle,
and much ordnance of brass upon the walls of the same.  They told me
themselves that they are seven hundred brethren of them which belong unto
that house.  The most part of the lands, towns, and villages which are
within forty miles of it belong unto the same.  They showed me the
church, wherein were as many images as could hang about, or upon the
walls of the church roundabout; and even the roof of the church was
painted full of images.  The chief image was of Our Lady, which was
garnished with gold, rubies, sapphires, and other rich stones abundantly.
In the midst of the church stood twelve wax tapers of two yards long, and
a fathom about in bigness.  There stands a kettle full of wax, with about
one hundredweight, wherein there is always the wick of a candle
burning—as it were, a lamp which goeth not out day nor night.

They showed me a coffin, covered with cloth-of-gold, which stood upon one
side within their church, in which they told me lay a holy man, who never
ate nor drank, and yet he liveth.  And they told me (supposing that I had
believed them) that he healeth many diseases, and giveth the blind their
sight, with many other miracles; but I was hard of belief, because I saw
him work no miracle whilst I was there.

After this they brought me into their cellars, and made me taste of
divers kinds of drinks, both wine and beer, mead and quassia, of sundry
colours and kinds.  Such abundance of drink as they have in their
cellars, I do suppose few princes have more, or so much at once.

Their barrels or vessels are of an unmeasurable bigness and size, some of
them are three yards long and more, and two yards and more broad in their
heads.  They contain six or seven tons apiece.  They have none in their
cellars of their own making that are less than a ton.  They have nine or
ten great vaults, which are full of those barrels, which are seldom
removed, for they have trunks which come down through the roof of the
vaults in sundry places, through which they pour the drink down, having
the cask right under it to receive the same, for it should be a great
trouble to bring it all down the stairs.

They give bread, meat, and drink unto all men that come to them, not only
while they are at their abbey, but also when they depart, to serve them
by the way.

There are a great number of such monasteries in the realm, and the
Emperor’s Majesty rideth oftentimes from one to another of them, and
lieth at them three or four days together.

The same monks are as great merchants as any in the land of Russia, and
do occupy buying and selling as much as any other men, and have boats
which pass to and fro in the rivers with merchandise from place to place
where any other of their country do traffic.

They eat no flesh during their lives, as it is reported; but upon Sunday,
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, it is lawful for them to eat
eggs, butter, cheese, and milk, and at all times to eat fish; and after
this sort they lead their lives.

They wear all black garments, and so do none other in all the land, but
at that abbey only.

They have no preachers—no, not one in all the land to instruct the
people, so that there are many, and the most part of the poor in the
country, who if one ask them how many gods there be, they will say a
great many, meaning that every image which they have is a god; for all
the country and the Emperor’s Majesty himself will bless and bow and
knock their heads before their images, insomuch that they will cry
earnestly unto their images to help them to the things which they need.
All men are bound by their law to have those images in their houses; and
over every gate in all their towns and cities are images set up, unto
which the people bow and bend, and knock their heads against the ground
before them.  As often as they come by any church or cross, they do in
like manner.  And when they come to any house, they bless themselves
three or four times before they will salute any man in the house.

They reckon and hold it for great sin to touch or handle any of their
images within the circle of the board where the painting is, but they
keep them very daintily, and rich men deck them over and about with gold,
silver, and stones, and hang them over and about with cloth-of-gold.

The priests are married as other men are, and wear all their garments as
other men do, except their night-cap, which is cloth of some sad colour,
being round, and reacheth unto the ears; their crowns are shaven, but the
rest of their hair they let grow as long as Nature will permit, so that
it hangeth beneath their ears upon their shoulders; their beards they
never shave.  If his wife happen to die, it is not lawful for him to
marry again during his life.

They minister the Communion with bread and wine, after our order, but he
breaketh the bread and putteth it into the cup unto the wine, and
commonly some are partakers with them; and they take the bread out again
with a spoon, together with part of the wine, and so take it themselves,
and give it to others that receive with them after the same manner.

Their ceremonies are all, as they say, according to the Greek Church,
used at this present day; and they allow no other religion but the
Greeks’ and their own, and will not permit any nation but the Greeks to
be buried in their sacred burials or churchyards.

All their churches are full of images, unto the which the people, when
they assemble, do bow and knock their heads, as I have before said, that
some will have knobs upon their foreheads, with knocking, as great as

All their service is in the Russian tongue, and they and the common
people have no other prayers but this, “Ghospodi Jesus Christos esine
voze ponuloi nashe.”  That is to say, “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy upon us;” and this is their prayer, so that the most part of
the unlearned know neither Paternoster, nor the Belief, nor Ten
Commandments, nor scarcely understand the one-half of the service which
is read in their churches.

                           _Of their Baptism_.

When any child is born, it is not baptised until the next Sunday; and if
it chance that it be not baptised then, it must tarry until the second
Sunday after the birth.  And it is lawful for them to take as many
godfathers and godmothers as they will; the more the better.

When they go to the church, the midwife goeth foremost, carrying the
child; and the godfathers and godmothers follow into the midst of the
church, where there is a small table ready set, and on it an earthen pot
full of warm water, about the which the godfathers and godmothers with
the child settle themselves.  Then the clerk giveth unto every of them a
small wax candle burning; then cometh the priest, and beginneth to say
certain words which the godfathers and godmothers must answer word for
word, among which one is, that the child shall forsake the Devil, and as
that name is pronounced, they must all spit at the word, as often as it
is repeated.  Then he blesseth the water which is in the pot, and doth
breathe over it; then he taketh all the candles which the gossips have,
and, holding them all in one hand, letteth part of them drop into the
water, and then giveth every one his candle again.  And when the water is
sanctified he taketh the child and holdeth it in a small tub, and one of
the godfathers taketh the pot with warm water, and poureth it all upon
the child’s head.

After this, he hath many more ceremonies—as anointing ears and eyes with
spittle, and making certain crosses with oil upon the back, head, and
breast of the child; then, taking the child in his arms, carrieth it to
the images of St. Nicholas and Our Lady, &c., and speaketh unto the
images, desiring them to take charge of the child, that he may live and
believe as a Christian man or woman ought to do, with many other words.
Then, coming back from the images, he taketh a pair of shears and
clippeth the young and tender hairs of the child’s head in three or four
places; and then delivereth the child, whereunto every of the godfathers
and godmothers lays a hand.  Then the priest chargeth them that the child
be brought up in the faith and fear of God or Christ, and that it be
instructed to cling and bow to the images, and so they make an end.  Then
one of the godfathers must hang a cross about the neck of the child,
which he must always wear; for that Russian who hath not a cross about
his neck, they esteem as no Christian man; and thereupon they say that we
are no Christians, because we do not wear crosses as they do.

                          _Of their Matrimony_.

Their matrimony is nothing solemnised, but rather in most points
abominable, and, as near as I can learn, in this wise following:—

First, when there is love between the parties, the man sendeth unto the
woman a small chest or box, wherein is a whip, needles, thread, silk,
linen-cloth, shears, and such necessaries as she shall occupy when she is
a wife; and perhaps sendeth therewithal raisins, figs, or some such
things—giving her to understand that, if she do offend, she must be
beaten with the whip; and by the needles, thread, cloth, &c., that she
should apply herself diligently to sew, and do such things as she could
best do; and by the raisins or fruits he meaneth, if she do well, no good
thing shall be withdrawn from her, nor be too dear for her.  And she
sendeth unto him a shirt, handkerchiefs, and some such things of her own
making.  And now to the effect.

When they are agreed, and the day of marriage appointed, when they shall
go towards the church, the bride will in no wise consent to go out of the
house, but resisteth and striveth with them that would have her out, and
feigneth herself to weep; yet in the end two women get her out, and lead
her towards the church, her face being covered close, because of her
dissimulation, that it should not be openly perceived; for she maketh a
great noise, as though she were sobbing and weeping, until she come at
the church, and then her face is uncovered.  The man cometh after, among
other of his friends, and they carry with them to the church a great pot
with wine or mead.  Then the priest coupleth them together, much after
our order, one promising to love and serve the other during their lives
together, &c.; which being done, they begin to drink.  And first the
woman drinketh to the man, and when he hath drunk he letteth the cup fall
to the ground, hasting immediately to tread upon it, and so doth she, and
the one who treads first upon it must have the victory and be master at
all times after, which commonly happeneth to the man, for he is readiest
to set his foot on it, because he letteth it fall himself.  Then they go
home again, the woman’s face being uncovered.  The boys in the streets
cry out and make a noise in the meantime with very dishonest words.

When they come home, the wife is set at the upper end of the table, and
the husband next unto her.  They fall then to drinking, till they be all
drunk; they perchance have a minstrel or two.  And two naked men, who led
her from the church, dance naked a long time before all the company.
When they are weary of drinking, the bride and the bridegroom get them to
bed (for it is in the evening always when any of them are married); and
when they are going to bed, the bridegroom putteth certain money—both
gold and silver, if he have it—into one of his boots, and then sitteth
down in the chamber, crossing his legs; and then the bride must pluck off
one of his boots, which she will, and if she happen on the boot wherein
the money is, she hath not only the money for her labour, but is also at
such choice as she need not ever from that day forth to pull off his
boots; but if she miss the boot wherein the money is, she doth not only
lose the money, but is also bound from that day forwards to pull off his
boots continually.

Then they continue in drinking and making good cheer three days
following, being accompanied with certain of their friends; and during
the same three days he is called a duke, and she a duchess, although they
be very poor persons.  And this is as much as I have learned of their
matrimony; but one common rule is amongst them—if the woman be not beaten
with the whip once a week, she will not be good, and therefore they look
for it orderly; and the women say that if their husbands did not beat
them, they should not love them.

They use to marry there very young—their sons at sixteen and eighteen
years old, and the daughters at twelve or thirteen years, or younger.
They use to keep their wives very closely—I mean, those that be of any
reputation; so that a man shall not see one of them but at a chance, when
she goeth to church at Christmas or at Easter, or else going to visit
some of her friends.

The most part of the women use to ride astride in saddles with stirrups,
as men do, and some of them on sleds, which in summer is not commendable.

The husband is bound to find the wife colours to paint her withal, for
they use ordinarily to paint themselves; it is such a common practice
among them that it is counted for no shame.  They grease their faces with
such colours that a man may discern them hanging on their faces almost a
fight-shot off.  I cannot so well liken them as to a miller’s wife, for
they look as though they were beaten about the face with a bag of meal;
but their eyebrows they colour as black as jet.

The best property that the women have, is that they can sew well, and
embroider with silk and gold excellently.

                            _Of their Burial_.

When any man or woman dieth, they stretch him out, and put a new pair of
shoes on his feet, because he hath a great journey to go; then do they
wind him in a sheet, as we do; but they forget not to put a testimony in
his right hand, which the priest giveth him to testify unto St. Nicholas
that he died a Christian man or woman.  And they put the corse always in
a coffin of wood, although the party be very poor—and when they go
towards the church, the friends and kinsmen of the party departed carry
in their hands small wax candles, and they weep and howl and make much

They that be hanged or beheaded, or such-like, have no testimony with
them; how they are received into heaven, it is a wonder, without their

There are a great number of poor people among them who die daily for lack
of sustenance, which is a pitiful case to behold; for there hath been
buried in a small time, within these two years, above eighty persons
young and old, who have died only for lack of sustenance; for if they had
straw and water enough, they would make shift to live; for a great many
are forced in the winter to dry straw and stamp it, and to make bread
thereof—or, at the least, they eat it instead of bread.  In the summer
they make good shift with grass, herbs, and roots; barks of trees is good
meat with them at all times.  There is no people in the world, as I
suppose, that live so miserably as do the poor in those parts; and the
most part of them that have sufficient for themselves, and also to
relieve others that need, are so unmerciful that they care not how many
they see die of famine or hunger in the streets.

It is a country full of diseases, divers and evil; and the best remedy is
for any of them, as they hold opinion, to go often unto the hothouses, as
a manner every man hath one of his own, which he heateth commonly twice
every week, and all the household sweat and wash themselves therein.


      _To the White Sea and to the Mouth of the Vistula in the Time_
           _of Alfred the Great_, _with Notes on the Geography_
                         _of Europe inserted by_
                               KING ALFRED,
                     _In his Translation of Orosius_.

                          KING ALFRED’S OROSIUS.
                      (_FROM_ “_ENGLISH WRITERS_.”)

ONE of King Alfred’s labours for the enlightenment of his countrymen was
a translation of the “Universal History of Orosius, from the Creation to
the year of our Lord 416.”  This book had long been in high repute by the
familiar name of “Orosius” among students and teachers in the
monasteries; and it retained its credit so, that after the invention of
printing it was one of the first works put into type, and appeared in
numerous editions.  The author was a Spanish Christian of the fifth
century.  Born at Tarragona and educated in Spain, he crossed over to
Africa about the year 414, and received instruction from St. Augustine
upon knotty questions of the origin of the soul and other matters.  In
Augustine’s works are contained the “Consultation of Orosius with
Augustine on the Error of the Priscillianists and Origenists,” and a
letter from Augustine to Orosius against them.  Augustine sent Orosius to
consult Jerome, who was in Palestine; and in his letter of introduction
said, “Behold, there has come to me a religious young man, in catholic
peace a brother, in age a son, in rank a co-presbyter, Orosius—of active
talents, ready eloquence, ardent application, longing to be in God’s
house a vessel useful for disproving false and destructive doctrines,
which have killed the souls of Spaniards much more grievously than the
barbarian sword their bodies.”  In Palestine, towards the latter half of
the year 415, Orosius attacked the Pelagians by writing against them a
treatise on Free Will, and presenting a memorial against them to the
Council of Diospolis.  It was at the request of St Augustine that Orosius
wrote his History.  The sack of Rome by Alaric having caused the
Christians of Rome to doubt the efficacy of their faith, Augustine, while
he himself wrote his “De Civitate Dei” to show from the history of the
Church that the preaching of the Gospel could not augment the world’s
misery, incited Orosius to show the same thing in a compendium of profane
history also.  Orosius began his work in the year 410, when Augustine had
got through ten books of his, and he finished it about the year 416.
Like a good old-fashioned controversialist, he made very light of the
argument of terror from the sack of Rome by Alaric, so representing the
event that King Alfred, in his translation, thus abridged the detail:—

    “Alaric, the most Christian and the mildest of kings, sacked Rome
    with so little violence, that he ordered no man should be slain, and
    that nothing should be taken away or injured that was in the
    churches.  Soon after that, on the third day, they went out of the
    city of their own accord.  There was not a single house burnt by
    their order.”

In translating and adapting this book to the uses of his time, King
Alfred did not trouble himself at all with its old ecclesiastical
character, as what Pope Gelasius I. had called a book written “with
wonderful brevity against heathen perversions.”  Looking to it
exclusively as a digest of historical and geographical information,
Alfred abridged, omitted, imitated, added, with a single regard to his
purpose of producing a text-book of that class of knowledge.  Omitting
the end of the fifth book and the beginning of the sixth, and so running
two books into one, he made the next and last book the sixth instead of
the seventh, as it is in the original.

The “History of Orosius” itself is bald, confused; but it was enriched
and improved by Alfred’s addition to the first book of much new matter,
enlarging knowledge of the geography of Europe, which he calls Germania,
north of the Rhine and Danube.  Alfred adds also to the same book
geographical narratives taken from the lips of two travellers.  One was
Ohthere, a Norwegian, who sailed from Halgoland, on the coast of Norway,
round the North Cape into the Cwen-Sæ, or White Sea, and entered the
mouth of the river Dwina, the voyage ending where there is now Archangel,
the most northern of the Russian seaports.  Ohthere afterwards made a
second voyage from Halgoland along the west and south coast of Norway to
the Bay of Christiania, and Sciringeshæl, the port of Skerin, or Skien,
near the entrance of the Christiania fjord.  He then sailed southward,
and reached in five days the Danish port æt Hæđum, the capital town
called Sleswic by the Saxons, but by the Danes Haithaby.  The other
traveller was Wulfstan, who sailed in the Baltic, from Slesvig in Denmark
to Frische Haff within the Gulf of Danzig, reaching the Drausen Sea by
Elbing.  These voyages were taken from the travellers’ own lips.  Of
Wulfstan’s, the narrative passes at one time into the form of direct
personal narration—“Wulfstan said that he went . . . that he had . . .
And then we had on our left the land of the Burgundians [Bornholmians],
who had their own king.  After the land of the Burgundians we had on our
left,” &c.  The narrative of the other voyage opens with the sentence,
“Ohthere told his lord, King Alfred.”  These three additions to
“Orosius”—the Description of Europe, the two voyages of Ohthere, and the
voyage of Wulfstan—may be considered Alfred’s own works.

The Description is the king’s own account of Europe in his time, and the
only authentic record of the Germanic nations, written by a contemporary,
so early as the ninth century.

Ohthere was a man of great wealth and influence in Norway, as wealth was
there reckoned; for he had 600 reindeer, including six decoy-deer; but
though accounted one of the first men in the land, he had only twenty
horned cattle, twenty sheep, and twenty swine.  The little that he
ploughed he ploughed with horses, and his chief revenue was in tribute of
skin and bone from the Finns.  The fame of his voyages attracted to him
the attention of King Alfred.  He said that he dwelt “Northmost of all
northmen,” in Halgoland; and wishing to find out how far the land lay due
north, and whether any man dwelt north of him—for the sake also of taking
the walruses, “which have very good bone in their teeth; of these teeth
they brought some to the king; and their hides are very good for
ship-ropes”—he sailed northward.  Ohthere may have obtained some of his
wealth by whale-fishing.  He says that “in his own country is the best
whale-hunting; they are eight-and-forty ells long, and the largest fifty
ells long;” of these he said “that he was one of six who killed sixty in
two days;” meaning, no doubt, that his vessel was one of six.  He relates
only what he saw.  “The Biarmians,” he says, “told him many stories both
about their own land and about the countries which were around them, but
he knew not what was true, because he did not see it himself.”

Wulfstan was perhaps a Jutlander, and his voyage was confined to the
Baltic.  Neither his account nor that of Ohthere contradicts the opinion
then held, that Scandinavia was a large island, and the Gulf of Bothnia
or Cwæner Sea flowed into the North Sea.


                            KING ALFRED, ETC.

_Translated in_ 1807 _by the Rev. James Ingram_, _M.A._, _Professor of
Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford_.

NOW will we describe the geography of Europe, so far, at least, as our
knowledge of it extends.  From the river Tanais, westward to the river
Rine (which takes its rise from the Alps and runs directly north
thenceforward on to the arm of the ocean that surrounds Bryttania), then
southward to the river Danube (whose source is near the river Rine,
running afterwards in its course along the confines of Northern Greece,
till it empties itself into the Mediterranean), and northward even unto
the ocean, which men call Cwen-sea; within these boundaries are many
nations; but the whole of this tract of country is called Germany.

Then to the north of the source of the Danube, and to the east of the
Rine, are the Eastern Franks, and to the south of them are the Suabians;
on the opposite bank of the Danube, and to the south and east, are the
Bavarians, in that part which is called Regnesburh.  Due east from thence
are the Bohemians, and to the north-east the Thyringians, to the north of
these are the Old Saxons, to the north-west are the Frieslanders, and to
the west of the Old Saxons is the mouth of the Elbe, as also Friesland.
Hence to the west-north is that land which is called Angleland, Sealand,
and some part of Den-marc; to the north is Apdredè, and to the east-north
the wolds, which are called the Heath-wolds.  Hence eastward is the land
of the Veneti (who are also called Silesæ), extending south-west over a
great part of the territory of the Moravians.  These Moravians have to
the west the Thyringians and Bohemians, as also part of Bavaria, and to
the south, on the other side of the Danube, is the country of the
Carinthians, lying southward even to the Alps.  To the same mountains
also extend the boundaries of the Bavarians and the Suabians.  Thence to
the eastward of Carinthia, beyond the waste, is the land of the
Bulgarians.  To the east of them is the land of the Greeks, and to the
east of Moravia is Wisle-land; to the east of that are the Dacæ, who were
originally a tribe of Goths.  To the north-east of the Moravians are the
Dalamensæ; east of the Dalamensians are the Horithi, and north of the
Dalamensians are the Servians; to the west also are the Silesians.  To
the north of the Horiti is Mazovia, and north of Mazovia are the
Sarmatians, quite to the Riphæan mountains.  To the west of the Southern
Danes is the arm of the ocean that surrounds Britannia, and to the north
of them is the arm of the sea called Ost Sea; to the east and to the
north of them are the Northern Danes, both on the continent and on the
islands; to the east of them are the Afdredè; and to the south is the
mouth of the Elb, with some part of Old Saxony.  The Northern Danes have
to the north of them the same arm of the sea called Ost Sea; to the east
of them is the nation of the Estonians, and the Afdredè to the south.
The Estonians have to the north of them the same arm of the sea, and also
the Winedæ and Burgundæ, and to the South are the Heath-wolds.  The
Burgundians have the same arm of the sea to the west of them, and the
Sweons to the north; to the east of them are the Sarmatians, and to the
south the Servians.  The Sweons have to the south of them the same arm of
the sea, called Ost Sea; to the east of them the Sarmatians; and to the
north, over the wastes, is Cwenland; to the west-north of them are the
Scride-Finnas, and to the west the Northmen.

“Ohthere told his lord, King Alfred, that he lived to the north of all
the Northmen.  He says that he dwelt on the mainland to the northward, by
the west sea; that the land, however, extends to a very great length
thence onward to the north; but it is all waste, except in a few places
where the Finlanders occasionally resort, for hunting in the winter, and
in the summer for fishing along the sea-coast.  He said that he was
determined to find out, on a certain time, how far this country extended
northward, or whether any one lived to the north of the waste.  With this
intent he proceeded northward along the coast, leaving all the way the
waste land on the starboard, and the wide sea on the backboard, for three
days.  He was then as far north as the whale-hunters ever go.  He then
continued his voyage, steering yet northward, as far as he could sail
within three other days.  Then the land began to take a turn to the
eastward, even unto the inland sea, but he knows not how much farther.
He remembers, however, that he stayed there waiting for a western wind,
or a point to the north, and sailed thence eastward by the land as far as
he could in four days.  Then he was obliged to wait for a due north wind,
because the land there began to run southward, quite to the inland sea;
he knows not how far.  He sailed thence along the coast southward, as far
as he could in five days.  There lay then a great river a long way up in
the land, into the mouth of which they entered, because they durst not
proceed beyond the river from an apprehension of hostilities, for the
land was all inhabited on the other side of the river.  Ohthere, however,
had not met with any inhabited land before this since he first set out
from his own home.  All the land to his right, during his whole voyage,
was uncultivated and without inhabitants, except a few fishermen,
fowlers, and hunters, all of whom were Finlanders; and he had nothing but
the wide sea on his left all the way.  The Biarmians, indeed, had well
cultivated their land; though Ohthere and his crew durst not enter upon
it; but the land of the Torne-Finnas was all waste, and it was only
occasionally inhabited by hunters, and fishermen, and fowlers.

“The Biarmians told him many stories, both about their own land and about
the other countries around them; but Ohthere knew not how much truth
there was in them, because he had not an opportunity of seeing with his
own eyes.  It seemed, however, to him, that the Finlanders and the
Biarmians spoke nearly the same language.  The principal object of his
voyage, indeed, was already gained; which was, to increase the discovery
of the land, and on account of the horse-whales, because they have very
beautiful bone in their teeth, some of which they brought to the king,
and their hides are good for ship-ropes.  This sort of whale is much less
than the other kinds, it is not longer commonly than seven ells: but in
his own country (Ohthere says) is the best whale-hunting; there the
whales are eight and forty ells long, and the largest fifty; of these, he
said, he once killed (six in company) sixty in two days.  He was a very
rich man in the possession of those animals, in which their principal
wealth consists, namely, such as are naturally wild.  He had then, when
he came to seek King Alfred, six hundred deer, all tamed by himself, and
not purchased.  They call them reindeer.  Of these six were stall-reins,
or decoy deer, which are very valuable amongst the Finlanders, because
they catch the wild deer with them.

“Ohthere himself was amongst the first men in the land, though he had not
more than twenty rother-beasts, twenty sheep, and twenty swine; and what
little he ploughed, he ploughed with horses.  The annual revenue of these
people consists chiefly in a certain tribute which the Finlanders yield
them.  This tribute is derived from the skins of animals, feathers of
various birds, whalebone, and ship-ropes, which are made of whales’ hides
and of seals.  Everyone pays according to his substance; the wealthiest
man amongst them pays only the skins of fifteen marterns, five reindeer
skins, one bear’s skin, ten bushels of feathers, a cloak of bear’s or
otter’s skin, two ship-ropes (each sixty ells long), one made of whale’s
and the other of seal’s skin.

“Ohthere moreover said that the land of the Northmen was very long and
very narrow; all that is fit either for pasture or ploughing lies along
the sea coast, which, however, is in some parts very cloddy; along the
eastern side are wild moors, extending a long way up parallel to the
cultivated land.  The Finlanders inhabit these moors, and the cultivated
land is broadest to the eastward; and, altogether, the more northward it
lies, the more narrow it is.  Eastward it may perhaps be sixty miles
broad, in some places broader; about the middle, thirty miles, or
somewhat more; and northward, Ohthere says (where it is narrowest), it
may be only three miles across from the sea to the moors, which, however,
are in some parts so wide, that a man could scarcely pass over them in
two weeks, though in other parts perhaps in six days.  Then parallel with
this land southward is Sweoland, on the other side of the moors,
extending quite to the northward; and running even with the northern part
of it is Cwenaland.  The Cwenas sometimes make incursions against the
Northmen over these moors, and sometimes the Northmen on them; there are
very large meres of fresh water beyond the moors, and the Cwenas carry
their ships overland into the meres, whence they make depredations on the
Northmen; they have ships that are very small and very light.

“Ohthere said that the shire which he inhabited is called Halgoland.  He
says that no human being abode in any fixed habitation to the north of
him.  There is a port to the south of this land, which is called
Sciringes-heal.  Thither he said that a man could not sail in a month, if
he watched in the night, and every day had a fair wind; and all the while
he shall sail along the coast; and on his right hand first is Island, and
then the islands which are between Island and this land.  Then this land
continues quite to Sciringes-heal; and all the way on the left is Norway.
To the south of Sciringes-heal a great sea runs up a vast way into the
country, and is so wide that no man can see across it.  (Jutland is
opposite on the other side, and then Sealand.)  This sea lies many
hundred miles up into the land.  Ohthere further says that he sailed in
five days from Sciringes-heal to that port which men call Æt-Hæthum,
which stands between the Winedæ, the Saxons, and the Angles, and is
subject to the Danes.

“When Ohthere sailed to this place from Sciringes-heal, Denmark was on
his left, and on his right the wide sea, for three days; and for the two
days before he came to Hæthum, on his right hand was Jutland, Sealand,
and many islands; all which lands were inhabited by the English, before
they came hither; and for these two days the islands which are subject to
Denmark were on his left.”

“Wulfstan said that he went from Heathum to Truso in seven days and
nights, and that the ship was running under sail all the way.  Weonodland
was on his right, and Langland, Læland, Falster, and Sconey, on his left,
all which land is subject to Denmark.  “Then on our left we had the land
of the Burgundians, who have a king to themselves.  Then, after the land
of the Burgundians, we had on our left the lands that have been called
from the earliest times Blekingey, and Meore, and Eowland, and Gotland,
all which territory is subject to the Sweons; and Weonodland was all the
way on our right, as far as Weissel-mouth.  The Weissel is a very large
river, and near it lie Witland and Weonodland.  Witland belongs to the
people of Eastland; and out of Weonodland flows the river Weissel, which
empties itself afterwards into Estmere.  This lake, called Estmere, is
about fifteen miles broad.  Then runs the Ilfing east (of the Weissel)
into Estmere, from that lake on the banks of which stands Truso.  These
two rivers come out together into Estmere, the Ilfing east from Eastland,
and the Weissel south from Weonodland.  Then the Weissel deprives the
Ilfing of its name, and, flowing from the west part of the lake, at
length empties itself northward into the sea, whence this point is called
the Weissel-mouth.  This country called Eastland is very extensive, and
there are in it many towns, and in every town is a king.  There is a
great quantity of honey and fish; and even the king and the richest men
drink mare’s milk, whilst the poor and the slaves drink mead.  There is a
vast deal of war and contention amongst the different tribes of this
nation.  There is no ale brewed amongst the Estonians, but they have mead
in profusion.

“There is also this custom with the Estonians, that when anyone dies the
corpse continues unburnt with the relations and friends for at least a
month, sometimes two; and the bodies of kings and illustrious men,
according to their respective wealth, lie sometimes even for half a year
before the corpse is burned, and the body continues above ground in the
house, during which time drinking and sports are prolonged till the day
on which the body is consumed.  Then, when it is carried to the funeral
pile, the substance of the deceased, which remains after these drinking
festivities and sports, is divided into five or six heaps; sometimes into
more, according to the proportion of what he happens to be worth.  These
heaps are so disposed that the largest heap shall be about one mile from
the town; and so gradually the smaller at lesser intervals, till all the
wealth is divided, so that the least heap shall be nearest the town where
the corpse lies.

“Then all those are to be summoned together who have the fleetest horses
in the land, for a wager of skill, within the distance of five or six
miles from these heaps; and they all ride a race toward the substance of
the deceased.  Then comes the man that has the winning horse toward the
first and largest heap, and so each after other, till the whole is seized
upon.  He procures, however, the least heap who takes that which is
nearest the town; and then everyone rides away with his share, and keeps
the whole of it.  On account of this custom fleet horses in that country
are wonderfully dear.  When the wealth of the deceased has been thus
exhausted, then they carry out his corpse from the house and burn it,
together with his weapons and clothes; and generally they spend his whole
substance by the long continuance of the body within the house, together
with what they lay in heaps along the road, which the strangers run for,
and take away.

“It is also an established custom with the Estonians that the dead bodies
of every tribe or family shall be burned, and if any man findeth a single
bone unconsumed, they shall be fined to a considerable amount.  These
Estonians also have the power of producing artificial cold; and it is
thus the dead body continues so long above ground without putrefying, on
which they produce this artificial cold; and, though a man should set two
vessels full of ale or of water, they contrive that either shall be
completely frozen over; and this equally the same in the summer as in the

Now will we speak about those parts of Europe that lie to the south of
the river Danube; and first of all, concerning Greece.  The sea which
flows along the eastern side of Constantinople (a Grecian city) is called
Propontis.  To the north of this Grecian city an arm of the sea shoots up
westward from the Euxine; and to the west by north the mouths of the
river Danube empty themselves south-east into the Euxine.  To the south
and west of these mouths are the Moessians, a tribe of Greeks; to the
west of the city are the Thracians; and to the west also are the
Macedonians.  To the south of this city, towards the southern part of
that arm of the sea which is called the Egean, Athens and Corinth are
situated.  And to the west by south of Corinth is the land of Achaia,
near the Mediterranean.  To the west of Achaia, along the Mediterranean,
is Dalmatia, on the north side of the sea; to the north of Dalmatia are
the boundaries of Bulgaria and Istria.  To the south of Istria is that
part of the Mediterranean which is called the Adriatic; to the west are
the Alps; and to the north that desert which is between the Carinthians
and the Bulgarians.

Italy, which is of great length west by north, and also east by south, is
surrounded by the Mediterranean on every side but towards the west-north.
At that end of it lie the Alps, which begin westward from the
Mediterranean, in the Narbonense country, and end eastward in Dalmatia,
near the [Adriatic] sea.

With respect to the territory called Gallia Belgica, to the east of it is
the river Rine, to the south the Alps, to the west by south the sea
called the British Ocean, and to the north, on the other side of the arm
of the ocean, is Britannia.  The land to the west of the river Loire is
Æquitania; to the south of Æquitania is some part of the Narbonense; to
the west by south is the territory of Spain; and to the south the ocean.
To the south of the Narbonense is the Mediterranean, where the Rone
empties itself into the sea, having Provençe both on the east and west.
Over the Pyrenean wastes is Ispania citerior, to the west of which, by
north, is Æquitania, and the province of Gascony to the north.  Provençe
has to the north of it the Alps; to the south of it is the Mediterranean;
to the north-east of it are the Burgundians; and the people of Gascony to
the west.

Spain is triangular, and entirely guarded on the outside by the sea,
either by the great ocean or by the Mediterranean, and also well guarded
within over the land.  One of the angles lies south-west against the
island of Gades, the second eastward against the Narbonense territory,
and the third north-west against Braganza, a town of Gallicia.  And
against Scotland (i.e., Ireland), over the arm of the sea, in a straight
line with the mouth of the Shannon, is Ispania ulterior.  To the west of
it is the ocean; and to the south and east of it, northward of the
Mediterranean, is Ispania citerior; to the north of which are the lands
of Equitania; to the north-east is the weald of the Pyrenees, to the east
the Narbonense, and to the south the Mediterranean.

With regard to the island Britannia, it is of considerable length to the
north-east, being eight hundred miles long and only two hundred miles
broad.  To the south of it, on the other side of the arm of the sea, is
Gallia Belgica; to the west, on the other side of an arm of the sea, is
the island Ibernia, and to the northward the Orkney Isles.  Igbernia,
which we call Scotland, is surrounded on every side with the ocean; and
hence, because the rays of the setting sun strike on it with less
interruption than on other countries, the weather is milder there than it
is in Britain.  Thence, to the west-north of Ibernia, is that utmost land
called Thila, which is known to a few men only, on account of its
exceeding great distance.

Thus have we now sufficiently described all the landmarks of Europe,
according to their respective situations.


                 _In Memory of a Brother Drowned at Sea_.

                              TO THE DAISY.

   Sweet Flower! belike one day to have
   A place upon thy poet’s grave,
   I welcome thee once more:
   But He, who was on land, at sea,
   My Brother, too, in loving thee,
   Although he loved more silently,
   Sleeps by his native shore.

   Ah! hopeful, hopeful was the day
   When to that ship he bent his way,
   To govern and to guide:
   His wish was gained: a little time
   Would bring him back in manhood’s prime
   And free for life, these hills to climb;
   With all his wants supplied.

   And full of hope day followed day
   While that stout Ship at anchor lay
   Beside the shores of Wight;
   The May had then made all things green;
   And, floating there, in pomp serene,
   That Ship was goodly to be seen,
   His pride and his delight!

   Yet then, when called ashore, he sought
   The tender peace of rural thought:
   In more than happy mood
   To your abodes, bright daisy Flowers!
   He then would steal at leisure hours,
   And loved you glittering in your bowers,
   A starry multitude.

   But hark the word!—the ship is gone;—
   Returns from her long course:—anon
   Sets sail:—in season due,
   Once more on English earth they stand:
   But, when a third time from the land
   They parted, sorrow was at hand
   For Him and for his crew.

   Ill-fated Vessel?—ghastly shock!
   —At length delivered from the rock,
   The deep she hath regained;
   And through the stormy night they steer;
   Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
   To reach a safer shore—how near,
   Yet not to be attained!

   “Silence!” the brave Commander cried;
   To that calm word a shriek replied,
   It was the last death-shriek.
   —A few (my soul oft sees that sight)
   Survive upon the tall mast’s height;
   But one dear remnant of the night—
   For Him in vain I seek.

   Six weeks beneath the moving sea
   He lay in slumber quietly;
   Unforced by wind or wave
   To quit the Ship for which he died,
   (All claims of duty satisfied);
   And there they found him at her side;
   And bore him to the grave.

   Vain service! yet not vainly done
   For this, if other end were none,
   That He, who had been cast
   Upon a way of life unmeet
   For such a gentle Soul and sweet,
   Should find an undisturbed retreat
   Near what he loved, at last—

   That neighbourhood of grove and field
   To Him a resting-place should yield,
   A meek man and a brave!
   The birds shall sing and ocean make
   A mournful murmur for _his_ sake;
   And Thou, sweet Flower, shalt sleep and wake
   Upon his senseless grave.

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