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Of their Colonies, and maintaining of their conquests, or purchases by force.

THE Russe Emperors of late yeres have very much enlarged their dominions, & territories. Their first conquest after the Dukedome of Mosco, (for before that time they were but Dukes of Volodomer, as before was said) was the citie, & Dukedome of Novogrod on ye West, and Northwest side: which was no smal enlargement of their dominion, & strengthening to them for the winning of the rest. This was done by Ivan great grandfather to Theodor now Emperor, about the yere 1480. The same began likewise to encroach upon the countries of Lituania and Livonia , but the conquest only intended, & attempted by him, upon some part of those countries, was pursued & performed by his sonne Basileus, who first wan the citie & dukedom of Plesko, afterwards the citie & duke dome of Smolensco, & many other faire towns, with a large territory belonging unto them, about the yere 1514. These victories against the Lettoes or Lituanians, in the time of Alexander their duke, he atchieved rather by advantage of civil dissentions, & treasons among themselves, then by any great policie, or force of his own. But al this was lost againe by his son Ivan Vasiliwich, about 8 or 9 yeres past, upon composition with ye Polonian king Stephan Batore: wherunto he was forced by the advantages which the Pole had then of him, by reason of the foile he had given him before, and the disquietnes of his own state at home. Onely the Russe Emperor, at this time hath left him on that side his countery, the cities of Smolensco, Vobsco, Chernigo, & Bealagorod in Lituania . In Livonia , not a towne nor one foot of ground.

When Basilius first conquered those countries, he suffered then the natives to keepe their possessions, and to inhabite all their townes, onely paying him a tribute, under the governement of his Russe Captaines. But by their conspiracies & attempts not long after, he was taught to deale more surely with them. And so comming upon them the second time, he killed and caried away with him, three parts of foure, which he gave or sold to the Tartars that served him in those wars, and in stead of them placed there his Russes, so many as might overmatch the rest, with certaine garisons of strength besides. Wherein notwithstanding this oversight was committed, for that (taking away with him the upland, or countrey people that should have tilled the ground, & might easily have bene kept in order without any danger, by other good policies) he was driven afterwards may yeres together, to vitaile the countrey (specially the great townes) out of his owne countrey of Russia, the soile lying there in the meane while wast, and untilled.

The like fell out at the port of Narve in Liefland, where his sonne Ivan Vasiliwich devised to build a towne, and a castle on the other side the river, (called Ivangorod ) to keepe the towne and countrey in subjection. The castle he caused to be so built and fortified, that it was thought to be invincible. And when it was furnished, for reward to the Architect (that was a Polonian) he put out both his eyes, to make him unable to build the like againe. But having left the natives all within their owne countrey, without abating their number or strength, the towne and castle not long after was betraied, and surrendred againe to the king of Sweden .

On the Southeast side, they have got the kingdomes of Cazan, and Astracan. These were wonne from the Tartar, by the late Emperour Ivan Vasiliwich, the one about thirtie five, the other about thirtie and three yeares agoe. Northward out of the countrey of Siberia , he hath layed unto his realme a great breadth and length of ground, from Wichida to the river of Obba, about a 1000 miles space: so that he is bolde to write himselfe now, The great Commander of Siberia. The countries likewise of Permia and Pechora are a divers people and language from the Russe , overcome not long since, and that rather by threatning, and shaking of the sword, then by any actuall force: as being a weake and naked people, without meanes to resist.

That which the Russe hath in his present possession, he keepeth on this sort. In his foure chief border townes of Vobsko, Smolensko, Astracan, and Cazan, he hath certaine of his counsel not of greatest nobility, but of greatest trust, which have more authoritie within their precincts, (for the countenancing and strengthening of their government there) then the other Dukes that are set to governe in other places, as was noted before, in the maner of ordering their Provinces. These he changeth sometime every yere, sometime every second or third yere, but exceedeth not that time, except upon very speciall trust, and good liking of the party, and his service: least by enlarging of their time, they might grow into some familiaritie with the enemie (as some have done) being so farre out of sight.

The townes besides are very strongly fenced with trenches, castles, & store of munition, and have garisons within them, to the number of two or three thousand a piece. They are stored with victual if any siege should come upon them, for the space of two or three yeres before hand. The foure castles of Smolensko, Vobsko, Cazan and Astracan, he hath made very strong to beare out any siege : so that it is thought that those townes are impregnable.

As for the countries of Pechora and Permia, and that part of Siberia , which he hath now under him, they are kept by as easie meanes, as they were first got. vz. rather by shewing, then by using of armes. First, he hath stored the countrie with as many Russes as there are natives, & hath there some few souldiers in garison, inough to keepe them under. Secondly, his officers & Magistrates there are of his own Russe people, and he changeth them very often, vz. every yere twise or thrise: notwithstanding there be no great feare of any innovation. Thirdly, he devideth them into many smal governments, like a staffe broke in many small pieces: so yt they have no strength being severed, which was but litle neither when they were al in one. Fourthly, he provideth that the people of the countrie have neither armor, nor money, being taxed & pilled so often as he thinketh good: without any meanes to shake off that yoke, or to relieve themselves.

In Siberia (where he goeth on in pursuing his conquest) he hath divers castles & garisons to the number of 6000 souldiers of Russes & Polonians, & sendeth many new supplies thither, to plant and to inhabite, as he winneth ground. At this time besides he hath gotten the kings brother of Siberia , allured by certaine of his captaines, to leave his own country by offers of great entertainment, and plesanter life with the Russe Emperor, then he had in Siberia . He was brought in this last yere, and is now with the Emperor at Mosco well enterteined.

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