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The Ambassage of M. Giles Fletcher, Doctor of the Civil Law, sent from her Majestie to Theodor the Emperor of Russia, Anno 1588.

IN the yeere 1588. was sent Ambassador from her highnesse into the countrey of Russia, Giles Fletcher Doctor of the Civil Lawe, as well to treat with the new Emperor Pheodor Ivanowich, about league and amitie, in like maner as was before with his father Ivan Vasilowich, as also for the reestablishing and reducing into order the decaied trade of our Englishmen there. Who notwithstanding at his first arrivall at the Mosco, found some parts of hard entertainment, by meanes of certaine rumors concerning the late navall victory which was there reported to have fallen on the Spanish side, as also for some dislike conceived against the privileged trade of our English merchants. Yet in the end he obtained of the Emperour many good & equall conditions, and was curteously and honourably dismissed by him. The principall points which he entreated of, and were granted unto him by the said Emperor, were these:
  1. A continuation of league and amitie betweene her Highnesse and the sayd Emperour Pheodor Ivanowich, in like maner as was before with his father Ivan Vasilowich.
  2. A confirmation and reestablishment of the former privileges of the Companie of our English merchants, which were infringed and annulled in the principal points, with divers necessary additions to the same, for the better ordering of their trade in those countreys hereafter, viz. That the state of the privilege granted before in the names of some private and particular men, be altered in that point, and the same granted by the name and stile of their incorporation, viz. To the felowship of English merchants for the discoverie of new trades.
  3. That upon every surmise and light quarel, the said privilege be not revoked and annulled, as before time it hath bene.
  4. That justice shall be administred to the said Companie and their Agent without delay, upon such as shal offer them any despite or injurie, or shal exact or impose upon them any paiment, taxation or imposition whatsoever, contrary to the freedome of the said grant.
  5. That the goods & commodities of the said Companie, be not forcibly taken as before time they had bene by the Emperors officers or people of authoritie, either for the use of the said Emperor or of his officers. But in case they have need of the said commodities, the same to be taken at reasonable prices, and for ready money.
  6. That the said Companie be not charged hereafter with the answering of such debts as are made by any Englishman not being of the societie.
  7. That the Emperors authorized people shall not hereafter repute any Englishman resiant in that countrey, to be any factor, servant, or dealer in the said Companies affaires, but such as the Agent shall inregister by name, within the offices where custome is entered in all such places of the land where the sayd Companie have residences to traffike.
  8. That the names of such as shall so be inregistred be no longer continued in record, nor themselves reputed as factors or dealers for the said Companie, then the Agent shall thinke good. But in case the said Agent in his discretion shall thinke meet to strike out of the Register any name of such as have bene imploied in the Companies service, the said person to be held as private, & whose acte in bargaining or otherwise, shall not charge the said Companie.
  9. That if any English man within the countrey of Russia be suspected for any notorious crime, as felony, treason, &c. the same be not straightwaies set upon the Pudkey, nor otherwise tormented, till such time as he shall be convicted by plaine and evident proofes: which being done, the whole proceeding to be sent over to the Queene of England.
  10. That the said privilege with the additions, shall be published in all townes and partes of the Emperors dominions, where the said Companie have traffike.
  11. That the said Companie shall be permitted to use a sole trade through the Emperours countries, by the river Volga into Media, Persia, Bogharia, and the other the East countries.
  12. Whereas there was claimed of the said Companie the summe of 23553. markes of debt, made by certaine of their factors for the said company, for paiment whereof, their whole stocke was in danger of arrest, by publike authoritie: Further also 2140. rubbles for custome and houserent, he obtained a rebatement of eighteene thousand, one hundred fiftie and three marks of the sayd debt.

The said Ambassador M. Giles Fletcher, as I understand, hath drawen a booke intituled, Of the Russe Common wealth, containing:

First, a Cosmographicall description of the countrey, which hath these chapters.

  1. Of the length and bredth of the countrey of Russia, with the names of the shires.
  2. Of the soile and climate.
  3. Of the native commodities of the countrey.

Secondly, a description of their policie contained in these Chapters, viz.

  • Of the constitution or state of the Russe Common wealth.
  • Of their Parliaments, and maner of holding them.
  • Of the Russe Nobilitie and meanes whereby it is kept in an under proportion agreeable to that state.
  • Of the maner of governing their provinces or shires.
  • Of the Emperours privie counsell.
  • Of the Emperors customs & their revenues, with the practises for the increase of them.
  • Of the Russe communaltie and their condition.
  • Of their publike justice and maner of proceeding therein.
  • Of the Emperors forces for his warres, with the chiefe officers, and their salarie or pay.
  • Of their maner of mustering, armour, and provision for victuall.
  • Of their ordering, marching, charging, and their martiall discipline.
  • Of their colonies and policie in maintaining their purchases by conquest.
  • Of their borderers with whom they have most to doe in warre and peace.
  • Of their church offices and degrees.
  • Of their liturgie or forme of Church service.
  • Of their maner of administring the Sacraments.
  • Of the doctrine of the Russe church.
  • Of the maner of solemnizing their mariages.
  • Of the other ceremonies of the Russe church.

Thirdly, the Oeconomie or private behaviour of the Russe containing these chapters.

  • Of the Emperors houshold officers, and order of his house.
  • Of the private behaviour and maner of the Russe people.

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