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Ordinances, instructions, and advertisements of and for the direction of the intended voyage for Cathay, com piled, made, and delivered by the right worshipfull M. Sebastian Cabota Esquier, governour of the mysterie and companie of the Marchants adventurers for the discoverie of Regions, Dominions, Islands and places unknowen, the 9. day of May, in the yere of our Lord God 1553. and in the 7. yeere of the reigne of our most dread soveraigne Lord Edward the 6. by the grace of God, king of England, Fraunce and Ireland , defender of the faith, and of the Church of England and Ireland , in earth supreame head.

FIRST the Captaine general, with the pilot major, the masters, marchants & other officers, to be so knit and accorded in unitie, love, conformitie, and obedience in every degree on all sides, that no dissention, variance, or contention may rise or spring betwixt them and the mariners of this companie, to the damage or hinderance of the voyage: for that dissention (by many experiences) hath overthrown many notable intended and likely enterprises and exploits.

2 Item, for as much as every person hath given an othe to be true, faithfull, and loial subjects, and liege men to the kings most excellent Majestie, his heires and successors, and for the observation of all lawes & statutes, made for the preservation of his most excellent Majestie, & his crown Imperiall of his realmes of England and Ireland , and to serve his grace, the Realme, and this present voyage truely, and not to give up, intermit, or leave off the said voyage and enterprise untill it shalbe accomplished, so farre forth as possibilitie and life of man may serve or extend: Therfore it behoveth every person in his degree, as well for conscience, as for dueties sake to remember his said charge, and the accomplishment thereof.

3 Item, where furthermore every mariner or passenger in his ship hath given like othe to bee obedient to the Captaine generall, and to every Captaine and master in his ship, for the observation of these present orders contained in this booke, and all other which hereafter shalbe made by the 12. counsailers in this present book named, or the most part of them, for the better conduction, and preservation of the fleete, and atchieving of the voyage, and to be prompt, ready and obedient in all acts and feates of honesty, reason, and duetie to be ministred, shewed & executed, in advancement and preferment of the voyage and exploit: therfore it is convenient that this present booke shall once every weeke (by the discretion of the Captaine) be read to the said companie, to the intent that every man may the better remember his othe, conscience, duetie and charge.

4 Item, every person by vertue of his othe, to doe effectually & with good wil (as farre forth as him shall complie) all, and every such act and acts, deede and deeds, as shalbe to him or them from time to time commanded, committed and enjoyned (during the voyage) by the Captain generall, with the assent of the Counsell and assistants, as well in and during the whole Navigation and voyage, as also in discovering and landing, as cases and occasions shall require.

5 Item, all courses in Navigation to be set and kept, by the advice of the Captaine, Pilot major, masters, & masters mates, with the assents of the counsailers and the most number of them, and in voyces uniformely agreeing in one to prevaile, and take place, so that the Captaine generall, shall in all counsailes and assemblies have a double voyce.

6 Item, that the fleete shal keep together, and not separate themselves asunder, as much as by winde & weather may be done or permitted, & that the Captaines, Pilots & masters shall speedily come aboord the Admiral, when and as often as he shall seeme to have just cause to assemble them for counsaile or consultation to be had concerning the affaires of the fleete and voyage.

7 Item, that the marchants, and other skilful persons in writing, shal daily write, describe, and put in memorie the Navigation of every day and night, with the points, and observation of the lands, tides, elements, altitude of the sunne, course of the moon and starres, and the same so noted by the order of the Master and pilot of every ship to be put in writing, the captaine generall assembling the masters together once every weeke (if winde and weather shal serve) to conferre all the observations, and notes of the said ships, to the intent it may appeare wherein the notes do agree, and wherein they dissent, and upon good debatement, deliberation, and conclusion determined, to put the same into a common leger, to remain of record for the company: the like order to be kept in proportioning of the Cardes, Astrolabes, and other instruments prepared for the voyage, at the charge of the companie.

8 Item, that all enterprises and exploits of discovering or landing to search lies, regions, and such like, to be searched, attempted, and enterprised by good deliberation, and common assent, determined advisedly. And that in all enterprises, notable ambassages, suites, requests, or presentment of giftes, or presents to Princes, to be done and executed by the captaine generall in person or by such other, as he by common assent shall appoint or assigne to doe or cause to be done in the same.

9 Item, the steward and cooke of every ship, and their associats, to give and render to the captaine and other head officers of their shippe weekely (or oftner) if it shall seeme requisite, a just or plaine and perfect accompt of expenses of the victuals, as wel flesh, fish, bisket, meate, or bread, as also of beere, wine, oyle, or vineger, and all other kinde of victualling under their charge, and they, and every of them so to order and dispende the same, that no waste or unprofitable excesse be made otherwise then reason and necessitie shall command.

10 Item, when any inferiour or meane officer of what degree or condition he shalbe, shalbe tried untrue, remisse, negligent, or unprofitable in or about his office in the voyage, or not to use him selfe in his charge accordingly, then every such officer to be punished or removed at the discretion of the captaine and assistants, or the most part of them, and the person so 'removed not to be reputed, accepted, or taken from the time of his remove, any more for an officer, but to remaine in such condition and place, as hee shall be assigned unto, and none of the companie, to resist such chastisement or worthie punishment, as shalbe ministred unto him moderately, according to the fault or desert of his offence, after the lawes and common customes of the seas, in such cases heretofore used and observed.

11 Item, if any Mariner or officer inferiour shalbe found by his labour not meete nor worthie the place that he is presently shipped for, such person may bee unshipped and put on lande at any place within the kings Majesties realme & dominion, and one other person more able and worthy to be put in his place, at the discretion of the captaine and masters, & order to be taken that the partie dismissed shalbe allowed proportionably the value of that he shall have deserved to the time of his dismission or discharge, & he to give order with sureties, pawn, or other assurance, to repay the overplus of that he shall have received, which he shall not have deserved, & such wages to be made with the partie newly placed as shalbe thought reasonable, and he to have the furniture of al such necessaries as were prepared for the partie dismissed, according to right and conscience.

12 Item, that no blaspheming of God, or detestable swearing be used in any ship, nor communication of ribaldrie, filthy tales, or ungodly talke to be suffred in the company of any ship, neither dicing, carding, tabling, nor other divelish games to be frequented, whereby ensueth not onely povertie to the players, but also strife, variance, brauling, fighting, and oftentimes murther to the utter destruction of the parties, and provoking of Gods most just wrath, and sworde of vengeance. These and all such like pestilences, and contagions of vices, and sinnes to bee eschewed, and the offenders once monished, and not reforming, to bee punished at the discretion of the captaine and master, as appertaineth.

13 Item, that morning and evening prayer, with other common services appointed by the kings Majestie, and lawes of this Realme to be read and saide in every ship daily by the minister in the Admirall, and the marchant or some other person learned in other ships, and the Bible or paraphrases to be read devoutly and Christianly to Gods honour, and for his grace to be obtained, and had by humble and heartie praier of the Navigants accordingly.

14 Item, that every officer is to be charged by Inventorie with the particulars of his charge, and to render a perfect accompt of the diffraying of the same together with modest & temperate dispending of powder, shot, and use of all kinde of artillery, which is not to be misused, but diligently to be preserved for the necessary defence of the fleete and voyage, together with due keeping of all instruments of your Navigation, and other requisites.

15 Item, no liquor to be spilt on the balast, nor filthines to be left within boord: the cook room, and all other places to be kept cleane for the better health of the companie, the gromals & pages to bee brought up according to the laudable order and use of the Sea, as well in learning of Navigation, as in exercising of that which to them appertaineth.

16 Item, the liveries in apparel given to the mariners be to be kept by the marchants, and not to be worne, but by the order of the captaine, when he shall see cause to muster or shewe them in good aray, for the advancement and honour of the voyage, and the liveries to bee redelivered to the keeping of the marchants, untill it shal be thought convenient for every person to have the ful use of his garment.

17 Item, when any mariner or any other passenger shal have neede of any necessarie furniture of apparell for his body, and conservation of his health, the same shall bee delivered him by the Marchant, at the assignement of the captaine and Master of that shippe, wherein such needie person shall be, at such reasonable price as the same cost, without any gaine to be exacted by the marchants, the value therof to be entred by the marchant in his booke, and the same to be discounted off the parties wages, that so shal receive, and weare the same.

18 Item the sicke, diseased, weake, and visited person within boord, to be tendred, relieved, comforted, and holpen in the time of his infirmitie, and every maner of person, without respect, to beare anothers burden, and no man to refuse such labour as shall be put to him, for the most benefite, and publike wealth of the voyage, and enterprise, to be atchieved exactly.

19 Item if any person shal fortune to die, or miscary in the voyage, such apparell, and other goods, as he shall have at the time of his death, is to be kept by the order of the captaine and Master of the shippe, and an inventorie to be made of it, and conserved to the use of his wife, and children, or otherwise according to his mind, and wil, and the day of his death to be entred in the Marchants and Stewards bookes: to the intent it may be knowen what wages he shall have deserved to his death, and what shall rest due to him.

20 Item, that the Marchants appointed for this present voyage, shall not make any shew or sale of any kind of marchandizes, or open their commodities to any forrein princes, or any of their subjects, without the consent, privitie, or agreement of the Captaines, the cape Mar chants and the assistants, or foure of them, whereof the captaine generall, the Pilot Major, and cape marchant to be Three, and every of the pettie marchants to shewe his reckoning to the cape marchant, when they, or any of them shall be required: and no commutation or trucke to be made by any of the petie marchants, without the assent abovesaid: and all wares, and commodities trucked, bought or given to the companie, by way of marchandise, trucke, or any other respect, to be booked by the marchants, and to be wel ordred, packed, and conserved in one masse entirely, and not to be broken or altered, until the shippes shall returne to the right discharges, and inventorie of al goods, wares, and marchandises so trucked, bought, or otherwise dispended, to be presented to the Governor, Consuls, and Assistants in London, in good order, to the intent the Kings Majestie may be truly answered of that which to his grace by his grant of corporation is limited, according to our most bound dueties, and the whole companie also to have that which by right unto them appertaineth, and no embezelment shall be used, but the truth of the whole voyage to bee opened, to the common wealth and benefite of the whole companie, and mysterie, as appertaineth, without guile, fraude, or male engine.

21 Item, no particular person, to hinder or prejudicate the common stocke of the company, in sale or preferment of his own proper wares, and things, and no particular emergent or purchase to be employed to any severall profite, untill the common stocke of the companie shall be furnished, and no person to hinder the common benefite in such purchases or contingents, as shal fortune to any one of them, by his owne proper policie, industrie, or chance, nor no contention to rise in that behalfe, by any occasion of jewel, stone, pearles, precious mettals, or other things of the region, where it shall chance the same to rise, or to be found, bought, trucked, permuted, or given: but every person to be bounden in such case, and upon such occasion, by order, and direction, as the generall captaine, and the Councell shall establish and determine, to whose order and discretion the same is left: for that of things uncertaine, no certaine rules may or can be given.

22 Item not to disclose to any nation the state of our religion, but to passe it over in silence, without any declaration of it, seeming to beare with such lawes, and rites, as the place hath, where you shall arrive.

23 Item for as much as our people, and shippes may appeare unto them strange and wonderous, and theirs also to ours: it is to be considered, how they may be used, learning much of their natures and dispositions, by some one such person, as you may first either allure, or take to be brought aboord your ships, and there to learne as you may, without violence or force, and no woman to be tempted, or intreated to incontinencie, or dishonestie.

24 Item the person so taken, to be well entertained, used, and apparelled, to be set on land, to the intent that he or she may allure other to draw nigh to shewe the commodities: and if the person taken may be made drunke with your beere, or wine, you shal know the secrets of his heart.

25 Item our people may not passe further into a lande, then that they may be able to recover their pinnesses, or ships, & not to credit the faire words of the strange people, which be many times tried subtile, and false, nor to be drawen into perill of losse, for the desire of golde, silver, or riches, and esteeme your owne commodities above al other, and in countenance shew not much to desire the forren commodities: neverthelesse take them as for friendship, or by way of permutation.

26 Item every nation and region is to be considered advisedly, & not to provoke them by any disdaine, laughing, contempt, or such like, but to use them with prudent circumspection, with al gentlenes, and curtesie, and not to tary long in one place, untill you shall have attained the most worthy place yt may be found, in such sort, as you may returne wt victuals sufficient prosperously.

27 Item the names of the people of every Island, are to be taken in writing, with the commodities, and incommodities of the same, their natures, qualities, and dispositions, the site of the same, and what things they are most desirous of, & what commodities they wil most willingly depart with, & what mettals they have in hils, mountaines, streames, or rivers, in, or under the earth.

28 Item if people shal appeare gathering of stones, gold, mettall, or other like, on the sand, your pinnesses may drawe nigh, marking what things they gather, using or playing upon the drumme, or such other instruments, as may allure them to harkening, to fantasie, or desire to see, and heare your instruments and voyces, but keepe you out of danger, and shewe to them no poynt or signe of rigour and hostilitie.

29 Item if you shall be invited into any Lords or Rulers house, to dinner, or other parliance, goe in such order of strength, that you may be stronger then they, and be warie of woods and ambushes, and that your weapons be not out of your possessions.

30 Item if you shall see them weare Lyons or Beares skinnes, having long bowes, and arrowes, be not afraid of that sight: for such be worne oftentimes more to feare strangers, then for any other cause.

31 Item there are people that can swimme in the sea, havens, & rivers, naked, having bowes and shafts, coveting to draw nigh your ships, which if they shal finde not wel watched, or warded, they wil assault, desirous of the bodies of men, which they covet for meate: if you resist them, they dive, and so will flee, and therefore diligent watch is to be kept both day & night, in some Islands.

32 Item if occasion shal serve, that you may give advertisements of your proceedings in such things as may correspond to the expectation of the company, and likelihood of successe in the voyage, passing such dangers of the seas, perils of ice, intollerable coldes, and other impediments, which by sundry authors & writers, have ministred matter of suspition in some heads, that this voyage could not succede for the extremitie of the North pole, lacke of passage, & such like, which have caused wavering minds, and doubtful heads, not onely to withdraw themselves from the adventure of this voyage, but also disswaded others from the same, the certaintie wherof, when you shall have tried by experience, (most certaine Master of all worldly knowledge) then for declaration of the trueth, which you shall have experted, you may by common assent of counsell, sende either by land, or otherwaies, such two or one person, to bring the same by credite, as you shal think may passe in safetie: which sending is not to be done, but upon urgent causes, in likely successe of the voyage, in finding of passage, in towardlines of beneficiall traffike, or such other like, whereby the company being advertised of your estates and proceedings, may further provide, foresee, and determine that which may seeme most good and beneficiall for the publike wealth of the same: either providing before hand such things, as shall bee requisite for the continuance of the voyage, or else otherwise to dispose as occasion shall serve: in which things your wisedomes and discretions are to be used, and shewed, and the contents of this capitule, by you much to be pondred, for that you be not ignorant, how many persons, as well the kings Majestie, the Lords of his honorable Counsel, this whole companie, as also your wives, children, kinsfolkes, allies, friends and familiars, be replenished in their hearts with ardent desire to learne and know your estates, conditions, and welfares, and in what likelihood you be in, to obtain this notable enterprise, which is hoped no lesse to succeed to you, then the Orient or Occident Indias have to the high benefite of the Emperour, and kings of Portingal, whose subjects industries, and travailes by sea, have inriched them, by those lands and Islands, which were to all Cosmographers, and other writers both unknowne, and also by apparances of reason voide of experience thought and reputed unhabitable for extremities of heates, and colds, and yet indeed tried most rich, peopled, temperate, and so commodious, as all Europe hath not the like.

33 Item no conspiracies, parttakings, factions, false tales, untrue reports, which be the very seedes, and fruits of contention, discord, & confusion, by evill tongues to be suffered, but the same, & all other ungodlines to be chastened charitably with brotherly love, and alwaies obedience to be used and practised by al persons in their degrees, not only for duetie and conscience sake towards God, under whose mercifull hand navigants above all other creatures naturally bee most nigh, and vicine, but also for prudent and worldly pollicie, and publike weale, considering and alwaies having present in your mindes that you be all one most royall kings subjects, and naturals, with daily remembrance of the great importance of the voyage, the honour, glorie, praise, and benefite that depend of, and upon the same, toward the common wealth of this noble Realme, the advancement of you the travailers therein, your wives, and children, and so to endevour your selves as that you may satisfie the expectation of them, who at their great costs, charges, and expenses, have so furnished you in good sort, and plentie of all necessaries, as the like was never in any realme seene, used, or knowen requisite and needful for such an exploit, which is most likely to be atchieved, and brought to good effect, if every person in his vocation shall endevour himselfe according to his charge, and most bounden duetie: praying the living God, to give you his grace, to accomplish your charge to his glorie, whose merciful hand shal prosper your voyage, and preserve you from all dangers.

In witnes whereof I Sebastian Cabota, Governour aforesaide, to these present ordinances, have subscribed my name, and put my seale, the day and yeere above written.

The names of the twelve Counsellors appointed in this voyage.

  1. 1 SIR Hugh Willoughby Knight, Captaine generall.
  2. 2 Richard Chancelour Captaine of the Edward Bonaventure, and Pilot generall of the fleete.
  3. 3 George Burton Cape marchant.
  4. 4 Master Richard Stafford Minister.
  5. 5 Thomas Langlie Marchant.
  6. 6 James Dalabere Gentleman.
  7. 7 William Gefferson Master of the Bona Speranza Admirall.
  8. 8 Stephen Borrough Master of the Edward Bonaventure.
  9. 9 Cornelius Durfurth Master of the Confidentia.
  10. 10 Roger Wilson. Masters mates.
  11. 11 John Buckland.
  12. 12 Richard Ingram.

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