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The thirde voyage into Persia, begun in the yeere 1565. by Richard Johnson, Alexander Kitchin, and Arthur Edwards.

A letter of Arthur Edwards to M. Thomas Nicols, Secretarie to the worshipful company trading into Russia 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:
you 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 of Volga 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 Persia.

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.
It may 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 pence Russe . 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 at Grosin, 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 do know.

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 example.

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 Russe 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 tongue.

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, Arthur Edwards.

Commodities to be carried out of England into Persia, with their prizes there.

  1. 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.
  2. Tinne is sold in Persia for 14. and 18. shaughes the batman. The batman containing as I have mentioned before.
  3. Brasil is at 10. and 12. shaughes the batman.
  4. Red cloth fine, at 25. and 30. shaughes the yard.
  5. Copper at 20. and 25. shaughes the batman.

Commodities to be brought out of Persia for England.

  1. RAW silke at 60. shaughs ye batman.
  2. Pepper at 32. shaughs ye batman.
  3. Ginger at 18. & 20. shaughs ye batman.
  4. Nutmegs at 30. shaughs the batman.
  5. Brimstone at 4 shaughs the great batman. The great batman is 12. li. English.
  6. Allom at 2. bists and a halfe the batman and lesse.
  7. Rice at halfe a bist the batman.
  8. Gals at halfe a bist the batman.
  9. Cloves at 40. shaughs the batman.
  10. 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 cloth 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 caps.

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 countrey.

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 by water, a moneth or five weekes sailing. As I learne, from hence to Venice 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 prizes.

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 & Venice 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 lately.

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 during life, Arthur Edwards.

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 into Russia , Persia, and other the North and Northeast partes.

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 Edwards.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Item, that no person returne any kind of wares backe againe, being once bought or sold.
  8. 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 good.
  • 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, being good.
  • 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 travel withall.
  • 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 Russia 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, Arthur Edwards.

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