previous next

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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gilan (Iran) (10)
Venice (Italy) (8)
Ormus (Iran) (6)
Colmogro (Russia) (6)
Russe (Bulgaria) (4)
Syria (Syria) (2)
Russia (Russia) (2)
Malta (Malta) (2)
Johnson (Ohio, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
August, 1566 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: