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Pheodor Ivanowich the new Emperors gracious letter of privilege to the English Merchants word for word, obtained by M. Jerome Horsey, 1586.

THROUGH the wil of the almightie, and without beginning God, which was before this world, whom we glorifie in ye Trinitie, one only God the father, the sonne, and the holy ghost, maker of all things, worker of all in all every where, fulfiller of all things, by which will and working, he both loveth and giveth life to man, That our onely God, which inspireth every one of us his onely children with his word, to discerne God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy quickning spirit of life now in these perilous times, Establish us to keep the right Scepter, and suffer us of our selves to raigne to the good profite of the land, and to the subduing of the people, together with the enemies, and to the maintenance of vertue.

We Pheodor the ofspring of John, the great Lord, Emperor, king and great prince of all Russia , of Volodemeria, Moscovia and Novogrod, king of Cazan, king of Astracan, Lord of Plesko, and great prince of Smolensko, of Tuer, Yougoria, Permia, Viatsko, of Bolghar and others, lord and great prince of the land of the lower Novogrod, Chernigo, Rezan, Polotsko, Rostow, Yeraslave, the White lake , Liefland, Oudor, Condensa, and Ruler of all Siberia , and all the Northside, and lord of many other countries.

I have gratified the merchants of England, to wit, sir Rowland Haiward, and Richard Martin Aldermen, sir George Barnes, Thomas Smith esquire, Jerome Horsey, Richard Saltonstall, with their fellowes.

I have licensed them to saile with their shippes into our dominion the land of Dwina, with all kind of commodities to trade freely, and unto our kingdom and the citie of Mosco, and to all the cities of our empire of Moscovia.

An the english merchants sir Rowland Haiward & his societie desired us, that we would gratifie them to trade into our kingdom of Moscovia, and into our heritage of great Novogrod and Plesko, and into all parts of our kingdom, to buy and sell with their wares without custome.

Therefore we for our sisters sake Queene Elizabeth, & also because that they allege that they had great losse and hinderance by the venture of the sea, and otherwise, have gratified the said English merchants sir Rowland Haiward and his societie, freely to come into our kingdom of Moscovia, and into al our dominions with al kind of commodities, to trade, & traffique freely, & at their pleasure with all kind of their commodities: also I have commanded not to take any maner of custome for their goods, nor other customs whatsoever: That is to say, neither for passing by any place by water, nor for lanching, neither for passing through any place by land, neither for the vessels or boats, nor for their heads, nor for passing over bridges, nor for ferying over at any place, neither for acknowledgement at any place where they shall come, nor any maner of custome or dutie, by what name soever.

Only they shal not bring with them into our dominions, neither recarie out of our dominions, or father any other mens goods but their owne, neither sell them nor barter them away for them.

Also our naturall people shall not buy and sell for them, or from them, neither shal they retaine or keepe any of our naturall subjects goods, or pawnes by them to colour them.

Also they shall not send any of their Russe servants about into any citie to ingrosse, or buy up commodities, but into what citie they themselves shal come, they shal buy and sel, and shal sel their owne commodities and not ours.

And when they shal come into our inheritance of great Novogrod and Plesko, and through all our dominions with their commodities, then our noblemen and captains, and every one of our officers shall suffer them to depart according to this our letter, & shall take no custom at all of them, for any of their commodities, neither for passing through or passing by, nor for passage over any bridges, nor shall take of them any other dutie whatsoever name they have.

Also into what places of our dominion, or when they shal happen to come, and to proceed to buy or sell, and wheresoever they shall passe through with goods not buying of any commodities, neither will sell their owne, then in those cities and townes they shall take no maner of custome or dutie of them, accordingly as before.

And I have gratified them and given them free leave to traffique throughout all the dominions of our kingdom in all cities with their goods, to buy and sell all maner of commodities, without any dutie or custome whatsoever.

And the English merchants where they are desirous to buy or sell, or barter their wares with our merchants, whole wares for wares, they shal sell their commodities whole, and not by retaile: That is to say, neither by small weight nor by the yard, to sell or barter in their owne houses, and they shal sel and barter their wares wholy, Cloth by the packe, and by the whole Cloth, and Damaske and velvet by the piece and not by the yard, and al maner of commodities that are to be sold by weight, not to sell by the small weights, as by the pound and ounce, but by whole sale: also they shall sel wines by the pipe: and by the gallon, quart or stoope they shal not sell.

And they shall buy, sell and exchange their owne commodities themselves, and the Russe merchants shall not make sales or exchange for them or from them any of their commodities, neither shal they themselves convey or cary through any other mans goods at no place in stead of their owne: and which of the English merchants will at any time sell his commodities at Colmogro or Vologda or Yeraslave, they may, and of their commodities throughout all our cities and dominions, our noblemen, captains, and every of our officers shall take no maner of custome, according as it is written in this our gracious letter: and throughout all our dominions and cities they shal hire carriers and vessels with men to labour, at their owne charge, to transport their goods.

So likewise, whensoever the English merchants are disposed to depart out of our kingdom into any other countrey or into their owne land, if our pleasure be, they shall take our goods with them from our Treasurie, and shall sell them, and exchange them for such commoditie as is commodious for our kingdom, and shall deliver it into our Treasurie, and with those our commodities, our Noblemen and captains, and every of our officers shall let them passe through all our cities also without custome according to these our letters.

Also whensoever the English merchants shall have sold their own goods & bought themselves commodities, & wil depart out of Mosco, then they shal manifest themselves to our chiefe Secretarie Andrew Sholkalove, in the office where the Ambassadors are alwayes dispatched.

And if the English merchants comming, have had any mischance by the sea, insomuch that the ship be broken or if that ship do come to any part of our countrey : then we will cause the goods to be sought out in true Justice, and to be given to the English people, which at that time shall bee here resident in our countrey: and if so be that it so fall out that at that time there be no Englishmen within our realme: then wil we cause these goods to be laid up in a place together, and when the people of England shall come into our realme, then we will command all those goods to be delivered to the sayd English people.

Also we have gratified all the English merchants with the house of one Urie here in the Mosco right over against S. Maximes church behind the market, and they shal dwel in the same house according as before time, and they shall keepe one alwayes in the house to keepe it, either a Russe , or one of their owne people.

Also the English merchants shal possesse their houses, to wit, at Yeraslave, Vologda, Colmogro, and the house at the haven of the sea, & they shal dwel in those houses, according as our goodnes hath bene to them heretofore: and we have commanded, that there shall not be taken of them no yeerely rent, nor no maner of custome, taxe, rent or any other dutie whatsoever for those houses, neither shal they pay any dutie or taxe with any of the townsmen of those places, & in every one of those houses, to wit, at Yeraslave, Vologda, and Colmogro, they shall have men to keepe their houses, two or three of their owne countrey people, strangers or els Russes, men of the meanest sort, which shall be no merchants, that they may lay their goods in those houses, and they may sell the commodities out of those their houses to whom they please, according to this our gracious letter: and those that keepe their houses shall not sell or buy no part of their commoditie, except they be there or give order, whereby they be not deceived by them.

So likewise I have gratified them with their house at the sea haven, at the mouth of Podezemsky, & we have commanded that they shal not cary their goods from thence to the new castle S. Michael the archangel, but shall arrive, and doe as they have done heretofore with their wares at that their house, and shall unlade their commodities out of their ships, and shal lade them againe with Russe commodities, even there at that their house without interruption: onely they shal permit our officers of Colmogro & sworn men to write up those commodities, both the commodities of England, and those of Russeland, what the merchants shal declare themselves, & no otherwise, but they shal not overlooke their commodities, neither shal they unbind any of their packs.

And when the English merchants are disposed to send into their owne countrey, to wit, any of their owne people on land through any other kingdom whatsoever, they shall not send their people without our kingly knowledge and commandement, and which of their people so ever they do meane to send out of our kingdom into their owne countrey, then they shal send those their people, not without our kingly majesties knowledge, to wit, those that go of pleasure without carying any commodities with them, and they shall have a letter of passe given unto them, out of the office where the Ambassadors have alwayes their dispatch.

And whosoever hath any thing to doe with them in matters of controversie, either concerning merchandize or injuries, then they are to be judged by our treasurers and Secretarie of the Ambassadors office to do justice between both parties, & to seek out the trueth of matters in al things, and whatsoever cannot be found out by the Law, shalbe tried by othe and lots: whose lot soever is taken foorth, him to have right.

And in what place of all our kingdom, in what citie soever they or their people shall bee, and that there happen any matter of controversie, either concerning merchandise, injuries or otherwise, that they have occasion to set upon any man by lawe, or that any seeke upon them, concerning what matter soever in all our kingdom and cities, then our lieutenants, captains, and our officers shall give them Justice, and shall minister all true justice betweene them, seeking out the trueth: and what cannot be truly sought by law, shalbe sought out by othe and lot: whose lot soever is taken out, him to have right accordingly as before, and the Judges or Justices shall take of them no kind of dutie, for matters of law no where throughout all our realmes. This letter is given in our princely palace within the citie of Mosco, in the yeere from the foundation of the world, seven thousand fourescore and fifteene in the moneth of February.

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1586 AD (1)
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