The thirde voyage into Persia, begun in the yeere 1565.
by Richard Johnson, Alexander Kitchin, and Arthur
A letter of Arthur Edwards to M. Thomas Nicols,
Secretarie to the worshipful company trading into
and other the North parts, concerning the preparation of their voyage into Persia.
MASTER NICOLS, my bounden duetie remembred, with
desire of God for the preservation of you and yours:
shall understand that the second of March I was sent
by M. Thomas Glover (your Agent) unto Jeraslave,
appointed to receive such goods as should come from
Vologhda, as also such kinde of wares as should be
bought and sent from Mosco by your Agent, and M.
Edward Clarke, thought meete for your voyage of Persia.
And further, I was to provide for biscuit, beere, and
beefe, and other victuals, and things otherwayes needful
according to advise. Thus I remained here until the
comming of your Agent, which was the 12. of May, who
taried here three dayes, to see us set forwards on our
voyage, and then he departed towards Colmogro, having
appointed (as chiefe for your voyage of Persia) Richard
Johnson. For my part I am willing, as also have bene &
shalbe content to submit my selfe under him, whom the
Agent shall appoint, although he were such a one as you
should thinke in some respects unmeete. Thirtie two
packes of carseis are all of that kinde of cloth that we
shall have with us. The other 18. packs that should have
gone, were sold in Mosco. What other goods are shipped
for our voyage, you shall understand by your Agents
letters. Whereas Edward Clarke (being an honest man)
was appointed Agent for Persia, as one for those parts
more fit then any I do know here, God hath taken him
unto his mercie, who departed this present life the 16. of
March last past. I wished of God for my part he had
lived: for my desire was in his company to have travelled
into Persia. Your barke or craer made here for the river
and the Caspian sea
is very litle, of the burthen
of 30. tunnes at the most. It is handsomly made after the
English fashion: but I thinke it too litle for your goods
and provision of victuals. If the worshipful company
would send hither a Shipwright, being skilfull to make
one of the burden of 60. tunnes or more, drawing but sixe
foote water at the most when it is laden, I thinke it
should be profitable. For if your owne goods would not
lade the same, here be Marchants that would bee glad and
faine to give great fraight to lade their goods with us,
whereby your charges would be much lessened: And so it
may happen, the wages of your men hired here may be
saved, and your servants and goods in farre greater assurance: for their boates here are dangerous to saile with
and to passe the Caspian sea
. There be Carpenters here
that will doe well ynough having one to instruct them.
Your wares bought here, and orders taken for those that
goe for your voyage of Persia are yet unknowen unto me:
wherefore I cannot (as I would at this present) write to
you thereof. Yet, (as you do know) it was the Governors
mind I should be acquainted with greater affaires then
these. Howbeit I doubt not but I shall be informed of
them that are appointed, and all things shall be bought
when they shall see time and have more laisure. Thus in
hast (as appeareth) I commit you and yours into the hands
of almightie God; who preserve you in perfect health with
increase of worship.
From Jeraslave the 15. of May 1565.
By yours to command here or elsewhere
during life. Arthur Edwards.
Another letter of the said M. Arthur Edwards, written the
26. of April 1566. in Shamaki in Media, to the right
worshipful Sir Thomas Lodge Knight and Alderman:
and in his absence to M. Thomas Nicols, Secretarie to
the right worshipfull companie trading into Russia
Persia, and other the North and East partes, touching
the successe of Richard Johnson in the third voiage into
WORSHIPFULL Sir, my bounden duetie remembred, with
heartie prayer unto God for the preservation of you and
yours in perfect health with increase of worship.
please you that my last letter I sent you was from
Astracan the 26 of July 1565. From whence Richard
Johnson, my selfe, and Alexander Kitchin, departed as the
30 of the same. And by meanes of contrary windes, it
was the 23 of August before we came to our desired port
named Nazavoe. There, after we had gotten your goods
on land, with much labour and strength of men, as also
windlesses devised and made, we haled your barke over a
barre of beach or peeble stones into a small River, sending
your ships apparell with other things to an house hired in
a village thereby. And as soone as we might get camels,
being the fift of September we departed thence, and came
to this towne of Shamaki the 11. of the same: and the
17. day folowing, we presented unto Abdollocan the king
of this countrey, one timber of Sables, one tunne or nest
of silver cups parsill gilt, three Morses teeth, 4. Arshines
of skarlet, 3. pieces of karseis, with 40. red foxes.
He received our presents with giving us thanks for
our good wils, demanding if M. Jenkinson were in good
health, and whether he would returne into these parts
againe. He willed us also himselfe to sit downe before
him the distance of a quoits cast from his tent, where
he sate with divers of his counsaile and nobilitie, sending
us from his table such meate as was before him: And
after certaine talke had with us, he sayd, if he might
perceive or know any maner of person to doe us any
wrong, he would punish them in example of others,
whereby we should live in quietnesse, and have no cause
to complaine, giving us a litle house for the time, untill
a better might be provided in such place as we should
thinke most meete, never willing us to rise or depart,
untill such time as we of our selves thought it convenient.
At the taking of our leave, hee willed us to put our whole
minds and requests in writing, that he might further
understand our desires. But while we were about to doe
so, God tooke this good king our friend out of this present
life the 2. of October past. The want of him hath bene
the cause that as yet wee cannot receive certaine debts.
Howbeit, we doubt not but we shall recover all such
summes of money as are owing us for this voyage. As
for Thomas Alcocks debts they are past hope of recoverie,
which had not bene lost if the.king had lived. We trust
in the place of him, God will send as friendly a king
towards us: who by report (and as we be credibly
informed,) shall bee his sonne named the Mursay: who
since the death of his father, at our being with him,
promised to shew us more friendship then ever we found:
God grant the same.
Great troubles have chanced in these parts. Of those
which were of the old kings counsell or bare any rule
about him in these quarters, some are in prison, some are
pinched by the purse, and other sent for unto the Shaugh.
These troubles have partly bene the let that wares were
not sold as they might, to more profite. Your Agent
Richard Johnson bought foure horses, minding to have
sent to Casbin Alexander Kitchin, whom God tooke to his
mercy the 23. of October last: and before him departed
Richard Davis one of your Mariners, whose soules I trust
the Lord hath received to his mercy. We are now destitute of others to supply their roumes. Foure Mariners
were few enough to saile your barke, whereof at this
present we have but one, whose name is William Smith,
an honest yong man, and one that doeth good service
here. For want and lacke of Mariners that should know
their labours, we all were like to be cast away in a storme.
For all the broad side of our barke lay in the water, and
we had much adoe to recover it, but God of his mercy
delivered us. Mariners here may doe you good service
all the winter otherwayes : and merchants here will be
gladder to ship their goods in us giving good fraight.
One merchant at this present is content to pay 20. rubbles
for twentie camels lading fraight to Astracan. Such
barkes as must passe these seas, may not draw above five
foote of water, because that in many places are very
shallow waters. Wee mind hereafter to make the Russian
boates more strong, and they shall serve our turnes very well.
And whereas some in times past tooke great paines,
travell and care, and could not have their desire in the
getting of the Shaughs letters or priviledge: Now, I trust
(with Gods helpe) they may be obtained: which being had,
will be beneficiall to the company, and great quietnes to
those that shal remaine here, although heretofore things
have chanced ill, as the like in other countries hath bene.
But I doubt not, this priviledge once gotten and obtained,
we shall live in quietnesse and rest, and shall shortly grow
into a great trade for silkes both raw and wrought, with
all kind of spices and drugs, and other commodities here,
as to M. Anthonie Jenkinson is well knowen, who (I
doubt not) hath long agoe throughly advertised the Companie thereof.
The trueth of the slaughter of Thomas Alcock your
servant, is not certainly knowen. Some thinke it was
by the meanes of a noble man, with whom your sayd
servant was earnest in demanding of your debts: upon
whose words he was so offended, that he procured his
death. But other doe thinke verily, that in riding from
the Court without companie, false knaves lay in waite,
thinking he had much about him, and so slew him. I
doubt not though this misfortune hath chanced, that
things shall come well to passe, and that we shall be
better beloved when we shall be more knowen.
Honest merchants are glad of our being here, and
seeke to grow in acquaintance with us, being glad to
further us in that they may, & have spoken in our favours
to the chiefest of this Countrey: one being a noble man,
with whom your Agent and I are entred into friendship,
who is at this time in great favour with the Shaugh. He
hath here and in other places of these parts set a good
stay in things since the kings death: he is well knowen to
M. Jenkinson, his name is Cozamomet. Also another
Duke named Ameddinbeck is our great friend: And his
sister is the Shaughes wife. These two have promised
your Agent by their lawe, not onely to procure to get the
Shaughes priviledge, but also that I shall have the debts
paied me of those that went from hence to Casbin, if we
would send one with them. In consideration whereof, I
was upon short warning (for want of a better) appointed
by your Agent M. Richard Johnson, all excuses laied
apart, presently to put my selfe in readinesse, and to
depart in company with these noblemen: with charge,
when God should send me to Casbin, to use my discretion
with their advise, for the recovering of your debts and
priviledge. I shall have with mee one interpreter and two
bought servants: one of which partly understandeth this
tongue, and may be put in trust whatsoever should become
of me. I have received 6. tumens in ready money, 200.
shaughs is a tumen, reckoning every shaugh for sixe
. I have further received two timbers of
Sables, one to be sold, the other to bee given to Thomas
the Shaugh: and have order further to give as I shall see
good to those that shall further my suite, and as occasion
serveth. And forasmuch as I am commanded to go, I
shall willingly do my best, putting my trust in God that he
will send me well to speed in this journey.
For all kind of wares bought or sold, you shal throughly
be advertised by your Agent Richard Johnson, whose
reckonings or accompts at no hands I might see or be
privie unto. Your karseis were good and well sorted,
they are and will be sold from 150. shaughs, to 160. the
piece. Two hundred pieces were sold under, that needed
not: one 100. pieces at 146. and 147. the piece but more
would have bene given, if circumspection had bene used.
They were sold to those noble men aforesayd, when as
yet it was not knowen that I should have gone with them.
They may stand us much in stead, as they have promised
us their goods wils in that they may doe. Here is at this
time bought for England 11. packes of rawe silke, 25.
and 26. batmans being in every packe: The batman being
7. pound, which may be 6. pound and a halfe of English
waight, being bought here from 66. to 70. shaughes the
batman. It is fine and good, litle course at this time was
to be had. And where course silke might be had being
, we could not send thither: for that time was
neglected at the first. When wee shall have lidgers here
to remaine in Sommer, we may buy it at the first hand of
the countrey people that bring it to sell hither, and to
other places. I would to God the Companie could find the
meanes to have a vent to make sales for the one halfe
that we may buy here. The Companie may have for 30.
or 40. thousand pounds yeerely. And as appeareth by
your Agents wordes being at Varas
, he and others sawe
there so great abundance, that by report of divers, you
may bestow (if it were not for the Turkes) for a two
hundred thousand pounds: besides silke of all colours
died in graine, bound up in pound waights, I thinke 15. of
our ounces to their pound waight, and here sold for 23.
shaughs, at 6.d. the shaugh, may be 11.s. 6.pence.
From Astracan in 7. or 8. dayes, wee may saile with
our barke to a place named Gilan
: the which place in
time to come, (I thinke) shall serve our purpose best to
goe unto. Alom is there good cheape, being brought
from thence hither to Shamaki, and sold here for two
bists their batman, which may be 5. pence in our money:
and so I have bought to bee sent home 223. batmans for
example. And at Gilan
there is rawe silke enough for the
companies stocke. I beleeve, if any great store of wares
be sent from you, that must be the place: & from thence a
man may travell in 4. dayes to Casbin, and there make
quicke and better sales, at which place your commodities
are to be sold. For there be the chiefe and best merchants, and divers other cities round about, to wit,
Teveris, Ardouil, and Caishan, being the heart of the
countrey, where there is more civilitie and merchants are
better used. Concerning this point I have inquired of
divers merchants both Russes and others that have bene
in those parts, and found them all agreeing in one tale,
and perceive the same to be true, and that all kind of
wares come from thence into these parts. And from
Casbin to Ormus, is about 30. daies travelling with
camels. I have written the prices of wares in my letter
to the governour both for spices and some drugs which I
Also you shall understand here is plentie of yew for
bowstaves. I caused three horse loades to be bought
us for to know the trueth: but they were cut out of
season this moneth of April, the sap being in them.
Three moneths I never left speaking to the Countrey
men to bring some. Your Agent will send some home for
This day being the 26. of Aprill I departed towards
Casbin: God give me a good houre and well to speed,
with a mery heart in returning againe, as my hope is I
shall. I have written my mind to M. Glover your Agent,
what Russian wares I thinke best to be bought for this
Countrey, and to send some one hither that hath the
tongue, for we have need. And the companie shall
do well hereafter in taking of servants to be sent hither,
to see that they be such as have discretion, and be some
thing broken in the world, and seene in the trade of
merchandise, and one (if they can get some such) as can
speake the Portingall tongue, may do them as good
service, as those that shall be here two yeeres before him:
for then we may buy a slave that can speake this language
and the Portingal tongue also, which shall then interprete
unto us in all your secret doings, not making the Russes
privy: for they are sory that we doe trade into these
partes, for we are better beloved then they are: because
they are given to be drunkards, they are much hated of
these people. It is to be wished that none should serve
your worships in these parts that be given to that kind of
vice: And that your chiefe Agent and Factor should be
able to rule and governe himselfe, that no dishonestie
should be imputed to him and us. By his evill usage he
paied here 24 rubbles, being in this Countrey 4. tumens
for a boy, that he was charged to have conveied away
from a Tesicke one of this countrey men, who willed him
to sweare that he knew not where the boy was become,
and he should not pay it. If he were honest he might
do your worships good service because of his Russian
Your London reds are not to be sent hither, for they
will not give above 18. shaughes their arshine. Here be
reds of more orient colour, being Venice
die. The people
are given much to weare cloth: the common people
specially weare karseis, and the merchants of more wealth
weare broad cloth. You shall doe well to send five or sixe
broad clothes, some blackes, pukes, or other sad colours,
that may be affoorded at 20. shaughes the arshine, and
not above. It is here reported that King Philip hath
given the Turkes a great overthrow at Malta
, and taken
70. or 80. of his chiefe captains.
Thus wishing I had more time to write, I pray you to
beare with this my scribled letter, and after you have red
it, that M. Nicols may have a sight thereof.
By your servant to command,
Commodities to be carried out of England into Persia,
with their prizes there.
- KARSEIS are sold there for 180. Shaughes: so that a
karsey is sold there in Persia for foure pound ten
shillings : for every shaugh is sixe pence English,
and every Bist
is two pence halfepeny English,
and in Russe
money three pence.
- Tinne is sold in Persia for 14. and 18. shaughes the
batman. The batman containing as I have mentioned before.
is at 10. and 12. shaughes the batman.
- Red cloth fine, at 25. and 30. shaughes the yard.
- Copper at 20. and 25. shaughes the batman.
Commodities to be brought out of Persia for England.
- RAW silke at 60. shaughs ye batman.
- Pepper at 32. shaughs ye batman.
- Ginger at 18. & 20. shaughs ye batman.
- Nutmegs at 30. shaughs the batman.
- Brimstone at 4 shaughs the great batman. The
great batman is 12. li. English.
- Allom at 2. bists and a halfe the batman and lesse.
- Rice at halfe a bist the batman.
- Gals at halfe a bist the batman.
- Cloves at 40. shaughs the batman.
- Yew for bow staves, at
A letter of M. Arthur Edwards, written the 8. of August
1566. from the towne of Shamaki in Media, to the right
worshipfull the Governours, Consuls, Assistants, and
generalitie of the companie of Russia
, &c. Shewing his
accesse unto the Emperour of Persia, his conference
with him, his obtaining of a priviledge, with divers
other good observations.
RIGHT worshipfull Sirs, my bounden dutie remembred,
with most humble commendations and like request to God
for the preservation of your good healths, with the rest of
the companie, &c.
It may please you to understand, that
the last letter which I sent you from hence was of the 26.
of April of this present yeere by Richard Johnson at my
departure towards Casbin : to which citie I came the 25.
of May folowing, not slacking any day, houre, nor
moment, to procure and make friends for the speedie
bringing me before the presence of the Shaugh, being the
29. day of the same moneth brought before him, with
whose majestie I was in talke (as I thinke) two houres.
He willed me twise to come neerer him, demanding what
were my requests: and having heard them, he promised
me his gracious letters. Afterwards he called me twise
againe to come neerer him, and talked with me of our
Queenes majestie and Countrey, and what commodities we
had, and what other commodities we desired: and then of
other countries adjoyning to us and their commodities, as
also of king Philip, what overthrow he gave the Turks at
the siege of Malta
. And how long we had traded into
Russeland and Moscovia, and in what space we might
saile out of England into Russeland, & how many weekes
travell it is from Colmogro to Astracan: and then came to
discourse of Russeland, and what townes the Emperour
had wonne, declaring unto me himselfe most of our commodities. In the end he willed that your worships should
send him of all sorts of clothes, but of one especially
which maidens do make (as he sayd :) He named it
Karengi, I thinke it is Westerne dozens died into scarlets.
Time will not permit mee to write at large the conference
which I had with his majesty. It was strange to his
people (knowing our religion) to see me so long in talke
with him, willing his Secretarie before mee to write what
he was desirous of: to wit, of London clothes, three or
foure of all sorts for example, being well shorne and
drest. Violets in graine and fine reds be most worne,
but other good colours will away, when they shall see
them. I wore a garment of London russet, being much
esteemed. You shall doe well to send such sorts as be
lively to the sight, and some blacks for womens garments,
with some Orenge colours and tawneis. Here is much
broad cloth worne. They talke much of London clothes,
and they that know the wearing, are desirous of them
before the cloth of the womens making, for they find it
nothing durable. For when it commeth to weare on the
threed, it renteth like paper. Here is much Venice
worne, being cromplisted a yard and a halfe broad, and
sold here from 24. to 30. shaughes their arshine, being
longer by two inches then the Russe
arshine is. I wish
also that you send some good chamlets & velvets died in
graine, with purple colours & fine reds: because these are
most worne. Also some blacks with other colours: some
cloth of gold, tissue & bocky, some velvets wrought with
gold, with sattins and damaskes, most purple, and reds
of all sorts. You may not forget to send some Western
karseis, to wit, dozens, which be thicked well, and close
shut in the weaving, being died into fine reds, and some
skarlets: for I thinke there is no such cloth for their
Your worships shall understand, that after my first
departure from the presence of the Prince, I neglected no
time in daily attendance on them, who had my priviledge
in writing, that I might have it in readinesse at such time
as I should againe bee called before the presence of the
Shaugh, which was the 29. of June last. I was in apparell
that he gave unto me, with other garments to mine interpreter, and one of your servants, and then I received your
letters or priviledge, according to my desire, sealed and
firmed with the Shaughs owne hand. Praysed bee God
who hath wrought with me, and for me, in all my doings.
The 29. of June is one of their chiefe festivall daies, so
that all his nobilitie was there present, with two Ambassadors in companie with his majestie, who sayd unto me
that if my letters were not to my mind, in time to come
they should be mended. Whereupon I made my reverence, and gave his highnesse most humble and heartie
thanks, saying, that with as much speed as might bee, our
Queenes Majestie should understand of hiss goodnesse
towardes her Merchants, which I thought would write
their letters of request unto his Highnes, in such forme &
order as by them should be thought meete and requisite
for their good assurance in the trade of merchandizes:
who replied with these wordes: when wee shall see their
reasonable requests, we will shew them our farther good
will, and so I departed.
Since the receiving of the Shaughs letters, I have eaten
in company of good Dukes and others, who before would
not come neere me. And every day some would come to
my Shop, and eate and drinke with me out of mine owne
dish. Likewise in riding from Casbin hither, on the way
when I sate downe to dinner, they would come and eate
with mee unbidden, when I wished them further off: for
I spared them that, which gladly I would have eaten my
selfe. I doubt not but we shall live here from hencefoorth
in quietnes: for now in all places where I come, I am
friendly used with the best.
I was asked by the Shaugh if you were able to bring
him yeerly one hundred thousand pieces of kersies, and
clothes. And I answered him, saying, your worships
were able to furnish his countrey with two hundred
thousand. Whereat his Highnesse rejoyced: for the
Turkes Ambassador the last yere, as divers have told me,
did put the Shaugh in despaire, saying, that the Turke
would not permit any cloth to be brought into his
There is a citie in Syria
named Aleppo, wherein continually are many Venetians dwelling, besides other that
come yeerely and there buy wools, gals, tallow, saffron,
skins, cotton wooll, and other wares, and great store of
spices. Also the Armenians yeerly receive at the Venetians hands, karsies in barter for rawe silks, giving sometimes 60. pieces of karsies for 70. batmans of silke of this
countrey, and 40. pieces for Grosin silke. And karsies
sold commonly for ready money in Aleppo, at 11. and 12.
duckets the piece, (the ducket being here woorth 12.
shillings) may cost the first peny 132. and 144. Shaughs a
karsie. By report it is one moneths travel from this
towne of Shamaky to Aleppo, and from thence to Tripolis,
six dayes journey: and from Tripolis to Venice
a moneth or five weekes sailing. As I learne, from hence
may easily be travelled in lesse then three
moneths. Therefore I wish your worships to procure
some trustie and assured friend there, to whom from
hence letters may be sent. For I can have them here to
put in suerties to deliver my letters, and to bring answere.
If I had any other here with me, I would nothing have
doubted to have brought you the Shaughs letters that way.
The Armenians and other are desirous to barter with
us, giving silke for karsies, and also will serve us of all
kind of spices, we giving them sufficient warning to fetch
it in the Indies, and will deliver it us in Shamaky at these
Pepper this townes batman for 18. Shaughs, every
Shaugh is sixepence.
Maces large for 40. Shaughs, and 45. the batman.
Cloves for 40. Shaughs the batman.
Nutmegs for 16. and 18. Shaughs the batman.
Sinamon for 40. Shaughs the batman. I doubt not but
there will be profite and good done in spices, with drugs
and other like in time.
From Casbin to Ormus is six weeks travel, and from
hence to Casbin is 16. dayes with camels laden: but if
one travell with a good Mule unladen, it may be gone in
seven or eight dayes. And I thinke to Ormus and other
places, may be travelled in like order and proportion,
with cattel unladen. But here in all places as men travel,
they must carie their owne provision on horses, which they
are to buy, and thus they travell but a footepase.
The Shaugh himselfe is desirous to bargaine with you
who will give money, silke, and other wares as we will,
and take our wares as we may affoord them, willing me
himselfe to bring such wares as we might gaine by him.
The Armenians by report, and as I perceive, bring from
Aleppo yeerely, foure, five, and six thousand pieces of
karsies, and clothes, besides those which other men bring.
If your Worships might procure and find vent or sales for
rawe silke, and silke died in graine, besides other silkes
wrought and made here, by which, profite may be made:
then you might send a great substance of wares hither.
But I feare you shall be hindered by the Venetians if they
may: for I know it will grieve them that you doe trade
into these partes: for in short time it shall clean alter
their trade, and hinder the sales of their clothes in Aleppo
and other places adjoyning. You shall understand that
60. batmans of silke is a Mules lading: and as it is
reported, one village of the Armenians yerely carieth 400.
and 500. Mules lading of silke to Aleppo, and bringeth
thence 800. or a thousand Mules laden with karsies &
clothes. And 18. pieces of karsies are a Mules
lading. But I wish you not to send above 2000. pieces
of karsies, although I have bene willed to write for more.
If I might have had any understanding what your Worships had written for in your letters sent this yeere, I
should in this my letter have bene better able to have
answered you. They which be now in Astracan, might
have written some thing unto me hither, if it had pleased
them, or else have sent me such letters of mine, as I hope
some of my friends have written to me: for here are
arrived eight weekes past, two boates with wares and
Russes, by whom they might have written, had it bene
but 3. or 4. lines. They promised the Russes to write,
but promise was not kept. I would be sory that any boat
should depart out of these partes, and not write unto
them, waying how all things stand. I heare they have
bought a boat, which cost 40. rubbles, and shipped certaine wares to come hither. God send them in safetie. I
do tarie their comming, or els I had thought to have
come to Astracan in those boates which departed hence
The fifteenth of July last, I departed from Casbin, and
came to this towne the 29. of ye same. And the fourth of
August I found meanes to arrest the falsest knave in this
countrey, to wit, the Customer for 22. tumens, and 100.
shaughs, (200. shaughs is a tumen.) I have caused him to
put in suerties for his foorthcomming at all times, what
ende I shall have with him, God knoweth, the debt will be
recovered, but not yet, for he must pay the Shaugh 1000.
rubbles. These partes as yet are in no stay for lacke of a
Governour or head to rule, which I thinke shall bee the
Mursey. Within 5. or 6. dayes we shall know, for it is
time, because men are in feare to travell for being robbed.
If there were a prince placed, I should soone get in your
debts, for they dare not disobey the Shaughs letters or
priviledge: wherein he hath not onely written that our
debts shall be paied, but also that we shall be taken heed
to, so as we need not to doubt (God willing) in time to
come, to be here as wel used as we are in Russeland
The bits of debts that Rich. Johnson
left with me, had
neither the parties name nor summe of mony in two of
them, and in other bils but his own name. If I had not
used discretion in causing to be written in our priviledge,
that such debtes as are owing, should be paied any of us
in the absence of the other, some men would not have
paied one penie, but onely to Richard Johnson, who hath
written but his owne name onely in the bils. I received
in Casbin of Forackan in part of 29. tumens, 300. shaughs
in money: the rest he will deliver me here in silke, and
this is all that I have received to this day. And as for
Hawrambecks twelve tumens, I make accompt, that if I
could ride to speake with him, I should be paid in money
and wares. Touching Ackons money, by meanes of Duke
Ameddinbeck, who first owed the debt, because they
meant not to pay a penie, he did rather seeke to hinder my
sute then to further mee, but I found out a present
remedie: for God sent me friends that were alwayes
about the Shaugh, and daily put on his apparell, who
opened all my sute, and brought mee to the presence of
the Shaugh before that Cozomomet sawe the Shaughs
eyes. But Cozomomet in the end was my friend: for he
was sent for, and declared unto the Shaugh what good
merchants we were, using trueth in all our doings, and
how we were in great favour with the Emperour of Russia,
and what good commodities wee might bring into his
Countrey, with other talke. And daily he was sent for to
the Shaugh about the affaires in those partes, for no man
was able to advise the Shaugh of the state and affaires of
those Countreys so much as hee was. He owed your
Worships seven tumens and 48 shaughs, which was not
all this time to be gotten at his hands: for hee was at
great charges in riding to Casbin, and giving great gifts
since his comming, which he twise declared unto me. I
feeling his griefe became Physicion to ease his paine, and
forgave him his debt abovesayd, in recompence of ten
pieces of karsies, that were promised him by Richard
Johnson and me, to give him at the comming of our
goods, in consideration that he should with speed doe
what lay in him, to dispatch me away: for I perceive hee
procured other that did helpe me in my sute to delay me
of, till time he had his purpose. I never was in quiet, till
I had the Princes priviledge, and had got mee out of
Casbin: for victuals, and all other things are very deare
there, because they are brought thither from farre off. As
for all other smal debts (which may be about 7. tumens)
when our Merchants are come hither, we shall seeke to
get them in as we may. I wish your Worships to send
some bullion to bee coyned here, it will please the prince
there, and be profitable to you. Silke is better cheape by
two or three shaughs the batman, then it was the last
yeere. You shall understand that I have written two
letters of all my proceedings, which I sent from Casbin
long since: to wit, the 24. and 29. of June last, by one
of your servants to Gilan
, there to take ship and to goe to
Astracan, and to deliver the same unto your Factors,
which might have bene to their quietnes and mine, long
agoe. But I am right sorie to heare since my comming
hither, that he hath plaied the loitering merchant in Gilan
not going in those boats that went first, but taried for the
last boats. But I will teach him, to the example of other,
how he shall make haste hereafter in such affaires. The
karsies which you sent last, being bought of M. Quarles,
were good and full lengths and well sorted. The Princes
Ambassador of Gilan
was in Casbin, at my being there.
I hope in God, if I remaine here, and may goe to Gilan
to obtaine for your worships the like priviledge at the
kings hand there also. For I have somthing moved the
matter, being put in such comfort, that I doubt not the
getting thereof with small charges, which I had done at
this time if I had had other here with me to put in trust: for
from Casbin to Gilan
is but 5. dayes riding, which Countrey may be profitable to your Worships. There is in that
Province good store of silke, better cheape, & better in
goodnesse then this countrey silke is. Also great store of
Alom, being there sold this townes batman, for one bist
and a halfe. I have made reckoning, al charges borne
from hence to Colmogro, & from thence fraight into
England at three pounds the tunne, al charges accounted,
will not stand you in above 18. and 20. shillings the
hundreth. You have yeerly by report two or three
hundred tunnes lading. Other commodities there for
England I heare not of. As for gals here to bee bought,
there is no profit to be done by them. They be brought
from Aleppo, and sold here not under 3. or 4. shaughs their
batman, being six pounds English waight. Graine that
you die scarlet withall is worth the batman ready mony,
200. shaughs, reckoning the shaugh for 6. pence Russe
it may be 6. rubbles their batman. Your worships may
send some portion of mony, if you may buy, as I thinke
you may, for 12. and 13.s. a pound the berries, so you
shall gaine both in the price and waight. If one Englishman more had bene here with me, to whom I might have
delivered our bils of debts and other things, whatsoever
should have chanced of me, I would then have become
servant to mine Interpreter, and so have gone to Ormus
and Aleppo, which both joyne on the borders of this
countrey, being the chiefe Mart townes, whereunto from
all places merchants resort. And thus would I have spent
4. or 5. months in travelling for further knowledge of
things for to have certified your worships of. I hope in
God to use things in such order, that yeerly you shall have
returne of your goods from hence, as you have forth of
Russeland, and in those ships. For if we may, as I doubt
not with diligence, provide to make sales in time, and
with speed receive silke at the Shaughs hand, and other
mens, that it may be sent from hence to be in Astracan
at the beginning of Aprill, from whence it may be sent
to Colmogro in three moneths and lesse, and there to be
ready with the rest of your goods by the end of June for
your ships to receive, that will be time inough. This I
doubt not to bring to passe within a yeere or two, when
we are throughly setled in these parts, and better knowen.
Moreover you shall understand, that at my last being in
the presence of the Shaugh, it was sayd to mee that M.
Anthonie Jenkinson did proffer to take all the rawe silke
in those parties, delivering cloth and other commodities
for the same. I assure you there is in those parts to be
had three or foure thousand horses lading, every horse
load being 50. or 60. batmans, beside silke of Grosin.
Great abundance of silke at times is sent out of these
parts, to wit, 4. or 5. hundred horse lodes at a time by
the Turkes, who bring great store of silver to be coined,
to wit, Dollars at ten shaughs the piece. The Hungarie Ducket is at 12. shaughs. And having money in readines
at the time of the yeere, they buy silke the better cheape,
when the countrey men bring it first to be sold. If your
worships may bargaine with the Venetians to take silke at
your hands, or otherwise deale with them, I doe not
mistrust but to have at the Shaughs hand sixe batmans
of silke for two pieces and a halfe of karsies. Your good
advise herein, and in other matters, I trust you will write
with convenient speed. Master Anthonie Jenkinson hath
deserved great commendation at all your worships hands:
for the good report of his well and wise doings in those
parts, was oftentimes a comfort to me to heare thereof,
and some good helpe to me in my proceedings. To this
day I never heard from any of our merchants. God
graunt me in health to see your worships, for I have had a
carefull travell, with many a sorrowfull day and unquiet
sleepes. Neither had I the company of one English
person, to whom sometimes I might have eased my
pensive heart, as God well knoweth, who hath delivered
me from mine enemies. Thus almightie God graunt you
in health and wealth long to live.
Your humble servant at commandement
Another letter of Arthur Edwards written in Astracan the
16. of June, 1567. at his returne in his first voiage out
of Persia, to the right worshipfull Companie trading
, Persia, and other the North and Northeast
IT may please your Worships that herein I have written
not onely certaine articles of your priviledge, but also the
Governours names, with the Consuls, Assistants and
generalitie. Also such commodities as the Prince or
Emperour of the Countrey
hath written in one of his
letters directed to your Worships to be sent him, with
other notes which I thought good to be remembred, as
may appeare hereafter following. Your priviledge is
written, graunted, and given in the names of these sixe
persons following: to wit, sir William Garrard, sir
William Chester, governours, sir Thomas Lodge, master
Anthony Jenkinson, master Thomas Nicols and Arthur
- First, it is granted that you shall pay no maner of
customes or tols, any kinde of wayes, now, nor in time
comming, unto his heires after him. And that all English
merchants, such as you shall appoint now and hereafter,
shall and may passe and repasse into all places of his
dominions and other countries adjoining in the trade of
merchandise, to buy and sell all maner of commodities,
with all maner of persons.
- Item, that in all places where any of our merchants
shall have their resort, or abiding, his chiefe Governours,
Rulers and Justices shall take heed unto us, being our
aide & defence against all evil persons, punishing those
that shall do us any wrong.
- Item, that for all such debts as shall be owing by any
maner of person, justice shal be done on the partie, and
we paid at the day.
- Item, that no maner of persons of whatsoever estate
or degree they be of, shall be so hardie as to take any
kind of wares, or any gifts, without any leave and good will.
- Item, if by chance medley any of our merchants or
servants, as God forbid, should kill any of his subjects,
that no part of your goods shall be touched or medled
withall, neither any partie but the offendour, and true
justice to bee ministred, and being any of us, not to
suffer without the Princes knowledge and advise.
- Item, that all such debts as are now owing, or
hereafter shall be, are to be paied unto any of us, in
the absence of the other, be the partie dead or alive.
- Item, that no person returne any kind of wares
backe againe, being once bought or sold.
- Item, that when God shall send your goods to shore,
presently his people shall helpe us on land with them.
These articles before written, I trust in God wil content
your minds, untill your farther letters be hitherto written
unto the Prince, who I am assured will graunt your
farther reasonable requests, which his majestic hath
promised. For I moved the question, declaring unto
him that I thought your Worships would write your
letters of requests, to crave his farther good will, as
should be thought meet for your better assurance in the
trade of merchandize: you will hardly beleeve what long
and gracious talke he had with mee, which I assure you
continued two houres, which was strange unto the people
& other merchant strangers. For betwixt every question
that his majestic moved, when I had answered him, hee
would talke with his Nobles and other his servants,
having some knowledge of our Westerne parts & commodities, and then againe would demaund other questions.
He caused his Secretarie to write the articles before
named, in all of his foure letters given me (whereof two
as I required, are in the Turkish tongue to be sent you.)
On the backe side of the one, hee hath written what
wares his Majestie would have you to send him. He held
me one houre within night before I departed from him.
These bee the names of the wares or commodities, which
on the backe side of one of his letters the Shaugh hath
written to you to be sent him.
- FIRST, some cloth of Gold, with cloth of Tissue, and
cloth of Botky, as Velvets wrought with gold.
- Item, good velvets, to wit, crimosins, purples, reds,
greenes and blackes. These colours his majestic requireth,
for they are most worne. And though there be some
of these wares made in his citie of Cassan, yet nothing
like in goodnes, to those that you may procure for him.
Small profite I thinke will be in these wares: yet for
divers considerations, as also to satisfie the Princes mind,
I wish you to send some, and those that be especiall
- Item, good damasks and sattins of all sortes, with an
hundred pieces of good chamlets, which are woorth here
80. shaughs the piece, at sixe pence the shaugh, and
those silkes to bee of those colours above written, to
wit, crimosins, purples, reds, greenes, blackes, with some
light watchet colours.
- Item, three or foure complete harnesses that wil abide
the shot of a handgun with 10. or 12. targets of steele,
- Item, ten or twelve good shirts of male being very
good or else none, that may abide the shot of an arrow,
and two buffe jerkins.
- Item, ten or-twelve pieces of Westerne karsies, being
thicked well and close shut in the weaving, and died
into scarlets and fine reds. I thinke there wil be no
such cloth for noblemens caps. The prince named them
karangies, saying, that maidens did make them, & is
desirous of them.
- Item, six pieces of fine Holland
cloth for the Prince,
with some other for noblemen, of a lower price.
- Item, twentie handguns being good, some of them
with fire locks, and also six good dags, with locks to
- Item 100. brusshes for garments (none made of swines
haire,) for gifts, and otherwise to be sold.
- Item, six stone bowes that shoot lead pellets.
- Item, a mill to grind corne in the field as they goe,
finely devised: for Cozomomet willed me to write for
one to be sent, to give the Prince.
- Item, the Prince requireth of all sortes and colours
of London clothes. I wish you to send no lesse then
40. or 50. for I know they will be sold to profit, especially
such cloth as may be affoorded for 20. shaughs the
arshine, which is longer by two of mine inches then
arshine is. Let there be fine skarlets, violets in
graine, fine reds, blacks, browne blewes, foure or five
of every sort, for the prince and other lords: the rest
of other colours lively to the sight, as London russets,
tawnies, lion colours, good lively greenes, with other,
as you shall thinke good: for the prince desireth to see
of all sorts, which will be an occasion that the Venetians
and Turkes shall bee in lesse estimation then they are:
for they themselves do feare, and secretly say the same.
And truely the Princes subjects intend to enter into trade
with us for spices and other commodities that they were
woont to sell unto the Venetians and Turkes.
Thus I commit you all to God, who send you health
with increase of worship. Written in Astracan the 16.
of June, 1567.
By your servant during life to command,