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The booke of the great and mighty Emperor of Russia, and Duke of Moscovia, and of the dominions orders and commodities thereunto belonging: drawen by Richard Chancelour.

FORASMUCH as it is meete and necessary for all those that minde to take in hande the travell into farre or strange countreys, to endevour themselves not onely to understande the orders, commodities, and fruitfulnesse thereof, but also to applie them to the setting foorth of the same whereby it may incourage others to the like travaile: therefore have I nowe thought good to make a briefe rehearsall of the orders of this my travaile in Russia and Moscovia, and other countreys thereunto adjoyning; because it was my chaunce to fall with the North partes of Russia before I came towards Moscovia, I will partly declare my knowledge therein. Russia is very plentifull both of land and people, and also welthy for such commodities as they have. They be very great fishers for Salmons and small Coddes: they have much oyle which wee call treine oyle, the most whereof is made by a river called Duina. They make it in other places, but not so much as there. They have also a great trade in seething of salte water. To the North parte of that countrey are the places where they have their Furres, as Sables, marterns, greese Bevers, Foxes white, blacke, and redde, Minkes, Ermines, Miniver, and Harts. There are also a fishes teeth, which fish is called a Morsse. The takers thereof dwell in a place called Postesora, which bring them upon Hartes to Lampas to sell, and from Lampas carie them to a place called Colmogro, where the hie market is holden on Saint Nicholas day. To the West of Colmogro there is a place called Gratanove, in our language Novogorode, where much fine Flaxe and Hempe groweth, and also much waxe and honie. The Dutch marchants have a Staplehouse there. There is also great store of hides, and at a place called Plesco: and thereabout is great store of Flaxe, Hempe, Waxe, Honie; and that towne is from Colmogro 120 miles.

There is a place called Vologda; the commodities whereof are Tallowe, Waxe, and Flaxe: but not so great plenty as is in Gratanove. From Vologda to Colmogro there runneth a river called Duyna, and from thence it falleth into the sea. Colmogro serveth Gratanowe, Vologda and the Mosco with all the countrey thereabout with salte and saltfish. From Vologda to Jeraslave is two hundreth miles: which towne is very great. The commodities thereof are hides, and tallowe, and corne in great plenty, and some Waxe, but not so plentifull as in other places.

The Mosco is from Jeraslave two hundreth miles. The countrey betwixt them is very wel replenished with small Villages, which are so well filled with people, that it is wonder to see them: the ground is well stored with come which they carie to the citie of Mosco in such abundance that it is wonder to see it. You shall meete in a morning seven or eight hundred sleds comming or going thither, that carrie corne, and some care fish. You shall have some that carie corne to the Mosco, and some that fetch corne from thence, that at the least dwell a thousand miles off; and all their cariage is on sleds. Those which come so farre dwell in the North partes of the Dukes dominions, where the cold will suffer no corne to grow, it is so extreme. They bring thither fishes, furres, and beastes skinnes. In those partes they have but small store of cattell.

The Mosco it selfe is great: I take the whole towne to bee greater then London with the suburbes: but it is very rude, and standeth without all order. Their houses are all of timber very dangerous for fire. There is a faire Castle, the walles whereof are of bricke, and very high: they say they are eighteene foote thicke, but I doe not beleeve it, it doth not so seeme, notwithstanding I doe not certainely know it: for no stranger may come to viewe it. The one side is ditched, and on the other side runneth a river called Moscua which runneth into Tartarie and so into the sea called Mare Caspium: and on the North side there is a base towne, the which hath also a bricke wall about it, and so it joyneth with the Castle wall. The Emperour lieth in the castle, wherein are nine fayre Churches, and therin are religious men. Also there is a Metropolitane with divers Bishops. I will not stande in description of their buildinges nor of the strength thereof because we have better in all points in England. They be well furnished with ordinance of all sortes.

The Emperours or Dukes house neither in building nor in the outward shew, nor yet within the house is so sumptuous as I have seene. It is very lowe built in eight square, much like the olde building of England, with small windowes, and so in other poynts.

Now to declare my comming before his Majestie: After I had remained twelve daies, the Secretary which hath the hearing of strangers did send for me, advertising me that the Dukes pleasure was to have me to come before his Ma. with the kings my masters letters: whereof I was right glad, and so I gave mine attendance. And when the Duke was in his place appointed, the interpretour came for me into the utter chamber, where sate one hundred or moe gentlemen, all in cloth of golde very sumptuous, and from thence I came into the Counsaile chamber, where sate the Duke himselfe with his nobles, which were a faire company: they sate round about the chamber on high, yet so that he himselfe sate much higher then any of his nobles in a chaire gilt, and in a long garment of beaten golde, with an emperial crowne upon his head, and a staffe of Cristall and golde in his right hand, and his other hand halfe leaning on his chaire. The Chancelour stoode up with the Secretary before the Duke. After my dutie done and my letter delivered, he bade me welcome, & enquired of me the health of the King my master, and I answered that he was in good health at my departure from his court, and that my trust was that he was now in the same. Upon the which he bade me to dinner. The Chancelour presented my present unto his Grace bareheaded (for before they were all covered) and when his Grace had received my letter, I was required to depart: for I had charge not to speake to the Duke, but when he spake to me. So I departed unto the Secretaries chamber, where I remayned two houres, and then I was sent for againe unto another palace which is called the golden palace, but I saw no cause why it should be so called; for I have seene many fayrer then it in all poynts: and so I came into the hall, which was small and not great as is the Kings Majesties of England, and the table was covered with a tablecloth; and the Marshall sate at the ende of the table with a little white rod in his hand, which boorde was full of vessell of golde: and on the other side of the hall did stand a faire cupborde of plate. From thence I came into the dining chamber, where the Duke himselfe sate at his table without cloth of estate, in a gowne of silver, with a crowne emperiall upon his head, he sate in a chaire somewhat hie: There sate none neare him by a great way. There were long tables set round about the chamber, which were full set with such as the Duke had at dinner: they were all in white. Also the places where the tables stoode were higher by two steppes then the rest of the house. In the middest of the chamber stoode a table or cupbord to set plate on; which stoode full of cuppes of golde: and amongst all the rest there stoode foure marveilous great pottes or crudences as they call them, of golde and silver: I thinke they were a good yarde and a halfe hie. By the cupborde stoode two gentlemen with napkins on their shoulders, and in their handes each of them had a cuppe of gold set with pearles and precious stones, which were the Dukes owne drinking cups: when he was disposed, he drunke them off at a draught. And for his service at meate it came in without order, yet it was very rich service: for all were served in gold, not onely he himselfe, but also all the rest of us, and it was very massie: the cups also were of golde and very massie. The number that dined there that day was two hundred persons, and all were served in golden vessell. The gentlemen that waited were all in cloth of gold, and they served him with their caps on their heads. Before the service came in, the Duke sent to every man a great shiver of bread, and the bearer called the party so sent to by his name aloude, and sayd, John Basilivich Emperour of Russia and great Duke of Moscovia doth reward thee with bread: then must all men stand up, and doe at all times when those wordes are spoken. And then last of all he giveth the Marshall bread, whereof he eateth before the Dukes Grace, and so doth reverence and departeth. Then commeth the Dukes service of the Swannes all in pieces, and every one in a severall dish: the which the Duke sendeth as he did the bread, and the bearer sayth the same wordes as he sayd before. And as I sayd before, the service of his meate is in no order, but commeth in dish by dish: and then after that the Duke sendeth drinke, with the like saying as before is tolde. Also before dinner hee changed his crowne, and in dinner time two crownes; so that I saw three severall crownes upon his head in one day. And thus when his service was all come in hee gave to every one of his gentlemen waiters meate with his owne hand, & so likewise drinke. His intent thereby is, as I have heard, that every man shall know perfectly his servants. Thus when dinner is done hee calleth his nobles before him name by name, that it is wonder to heare howe he could name them, having so many as he hath. Thus when dinner was done I departed to my lodging, which was an hower within night. I will leave this, and speake no more of him nor his houshold: but I will somewhat declare of his land and people, with their nature and power in the wars. This Duke is Lord and Emperour of many countreis, & his power is marveilous great. For he is able to bring into the field two or three hundred thousand men: he never goeth into the field himselfe with under two hundred thousand men: And when he goeth himselfe he furnisheth his borders all with men of warre, which are no small number. He leaveth on the borders of Liefland fortie thousand men, and upon the borders of Letto 60 thousand men, and towarde the Nagayan Tartars sixtie thousand, which is wonder to heare of: yet doeth hee never take to his warres neither husbandman nor marchant. All his men are horsemen: he useth no footmen, but such as goe with the ordinance and labourers, which are thirtie thousand. The horsemen are all archers, with such bowes as the Turkes have, and they ride short as doe the Turkes. Their armour is a coate of plate, with a skull on their heads. Some of their coates are covered with velvet or cloth of gold: their desire is to be sumptuous in the field, and especially the nobles and gentlemen: as I have heard their trimming is very costly, and partly I have seene it, or else I would scarcely have beleeved it: but the Duke himselfe is richly attired above all measure: his pavilion is covered either with cloth of gold or silver, and so set with stones that it is wonderfull to see it. I have seene the Kings Majesties of England and the French Kings pavilions, which are fayre, yet not like unto his. And when they bee sent into farre or strange countreys, or that strangers come to them, they be very gorgious. Els the Duke himselfe goeth but meanly in apparell: and when he goeth betwixt one place and another hee is but reasonably apparelled over other times. In the while that I was in Mosco the Duke sent two ambassadours to the King of Poleland, which had at the lest five hundred horses; their sumptuousnes was above measure, not onely in themselves, but also in their horses, as velvet, cloth of golde, and cloth of silver set with pearles and not scant. What shall I farther say? I never heard of nor saw men so sumptuous: but it is no dayly guise, for when they have not occasion, as I sayd before, all their doing is but meane. And now to the effect of their warres: They are men without al order in the field. For they runne hurling on heapes, and for the most part they never give battell to their enemies: but that which they doe, they doe it all by stelth. But I beleeve they be such men for hard living, as are not under the sun: for no cold wil hurt them. Yea and though they lie in the field two moneths, at such time as it shall freese more then a yard thicke, the common souldier hath neither tent nor any thing else over his head: the most defence they have against the wether is a felte, which is set against the winde and weather, and when Snowe commeth hee doth cast it off, and maketh him a fire, and laieth him down thereby. Thus doe the most of all his men, except they bee gentlemen which have other provision of their owne. Their lying in the fielde is not so strange as is their hardnes: for every man must carie & make provision for himselfe & his horse for a moneth or two, which is very wonderful. For he himselfe shal live upon water & otemeale mingled together cold, and drinke water thereto: his horse shal eat green wood, & such like baggage, & shal stand open in the cold field without covert, & yet wil he labour & serve him right wel. I pray you amongst all our boasting warriors how many should we find to endure the field with them but one moneth. I know no such region about us that beareth that name for man & beast. Now what might be made of these men if they were trained & broken to order and knowledge of civill wars? If this Prince had within his countreys such men as could make them to understand ye things aforesaid, I do beleeve that 2 of the best or greatest princes in Christendome were not wel able to match with him, con sidering the greatnes of his power & the hardnes of his people & straite living both of people and horse, and the small charges which his warres stand him in: for he giveth no wages, except to strangers. They have a yerely stipend & not much. As for his own countrey men every one serveth of his owne proper costes and charges, saving that he giveth to his Harcubusiers certaine allowance for powder & shot: or else no man in all his countrey hath one pennie wages. But if any man hath done very good service he giveth him a ferme or a piece of lande; for the which hee is bound at all times to bee readie with so many men as the Duke shall appoynt: who considereth in his mind what that lande or ferme is well able to finde: and so many shall he bee bound to furnish at all and every such time as warres are holden in any of the Dukes dominions. For there is no man of living, but hee is bound likewise, whether the Duke call for either souldier or labourer, to furnish them with all such necessaries as to them belong.

Also, if any gentleman or man of living do die without issue male, immediately after his death the Duke entreth his land, notwithstanding he have never so many daughters, and peradventure giveth it foorthwith to another man, except a small portion that he spareth to marrie the daughters with all. Also if there be a rich man, a fermour, or man of living, which is striken in age or by chance is maimed, and be not able to doe the Duke service, some other gentleman that is not able to live and more able to doe service, will come to the Duke and complayne, saying, your Grace hath such an one, which is unmeete to doe service to your Highnes, who hath great abundance of welth, and likewise your Grace hath many gentlemen which are poore and lacke living, and we that lacke are well able to doe good service, your Grace might doe well to looke upon him, and make him to helpe those that want. Immediately the Duke sendeth forth to inquire of his wealth: and if it be so proved, he shall be called before the Duke, and it shall bee sayd unto him, friend, you have too much living, and are unserviceable to your prince, lesse will serve you, and the rest will serve other men that are more able to serve. whereupon immediately his living shal be taken away from him, saving a little to find himselfe and his wife on, and he may not once repine thereat: but for answere he will say, that he hath nothing, but it is Gods and the Dukes Graces, and cannot say, as we the common people in England say, if wee have any thing; that it is Gods and our owne. Men may say, that these men are in wonderfull great awe, and obedience, that thus one must give and grant his goods which he hath bene scraping and scratching for all his life to be at his Princes pleasure and commandernent. Oh that our sturdie rebels were had in the like subjection to knowe their duety towarde their Princes. They may not say as some snudges in England say, I would find the Queene a man to serve in my place, or make his friends tarrie at home if money have the upper hand. No, no, it is not so in this countrey: for hee shall make humble sute to serve the Duke. And whom he sendeth most to the warres he thinketh he is most in his favour: and yet as I before have sayde, he giveth no wages. If they knewe their strength no man were able to make match with them: nor they that dwel neere them should have any rest of them. But I thinke it is not Gods will: For I may compare them to a young horse that knoweth not his strength, whome a little childe ruleth and guideth with a bridle, for all his great strength: for if hee did, neither childe nor man could rule him. Their warres are holden against the Crimme Tartarians and the Nagaians.

I will stand no longer in the rehearsall of their power and warres. For it were too tedious to the reader. But I will in part declare their lawes, and punishments, and the execution of justice. And first I will begin with the commons of the countrey, which the gentlemen have rule on: And that is, that every gentleman hath rule and justice upon his owne tenants. And if it so fall out that two gentlemens servants or tenaunts doe disagree, the two gentlemen examine the matter, and have the parties before them, and soe give the sentence. And yet cannot they make the ende betwixt them of the controversie, but either of the gentlemen must bring his servant or tenant before the high judge or justice of that countrey, and there present them, and declare the matter and case. The plaintife sayth, I require the law; which is graunted: then commeth an officer and arresteth the party defendant, and useth him contrarie to the lawes of England . For when they attach any man they beate him about the legges, untill such time as he findeth suerties to answere the matter: And if not, his handes and necke are bound together, and he is led about the towne and beaten about the legges, with other extreme punishments till he come to his answere: And the Justice demaundeth if it be for debt, and sayth: Owest thou this man any such debt? He will perhaps say nay. Then sayth the Judge: art thou able to denie it? Let us heare how? By othe sayth the defendant. Then he commandeth to leave beating him till further triall be had.

Their order in one point is commendable. They have no man of Lawe to pleade their causes in any court: but every man pleadeth his owne cause, and giveth bill and answere in writing: contrarie to the order in England. The complaint is in maner of a supplication, & made to the Dukes Grace, and delivered him into his owne hand, requiring to have justice as in his complaint is alleaged.

The duke giveth sentence himselfe upon all matters in the Law. Which is very commendable, that such a Prince wil take paines to see ministration of justice. Yet notwithstanding it is wonderfully abused: and thereby the Duke is much deceived. But if it fall out that the officers be espied in cloking the trueth, they have most condigne punishment. And if the plaintife can nothing proove, then the defendant must take his oth upon the crucifixe whether he bee in the right or no. Then is demanded if the plaintife be any thing able further to make proofe: if hee bee not; then sometimes he will say, I am able to proove it by my body and hands, or by my champions body, so requiring the Campe. After the other hath his othe, it is graunted aswell to the one as to the other. So when they goe to the field, they sweare upon the Crucifixe, that they bee both in the right, and that the one shall make the other to confesse the trueth before they depart foorth of the field: and so they goe both to the battell armed with such weapons as they use in that countrey: they fight all on foote, & seldome the parties themselves do fight, except they be Gentlemen, for they stand much upon their reputation, for they wil not fight, but with such as are come of as good an house as themselves. So that if either partie require the combate, it is granted unto them, and no champion is to serve in their roome: wherein is no deceit: but otherwise by champions there is. For although they take great othes upon them to doe the battell truely, yet is the contrary often seene: because the common champions have none other living. And assoone as the one party hath gotten the victorie, hee demandeth the debt, and the other is carried to prison, and there is shamefully used till he take order. There is also another order in the lawe, that the plaintife may sweare in some causes of debt. And if the partie defendant be poore, he shalbe set under the Crucifixe, and the partie plaintife must sweare over his head, and when hee hath taken his othe, the Duke taketh the partie defendant home to his house, and useth him as his bond-man, and putteth him to labour, or letteth him for hier to any such as neede him, untill such time as his friends make provision for his redemption: or else hee remaineth in bondage all the dayes of his life. Againe there are many that will sell themselves to Gentlemen or Marchants to bee their bond-men, to have during their life meate, drinke and cloth, and at their comming to have a piece of mony. yea and some will sell their wives and children to bee bawdes and drudges to the byer. Also they have a Lawe for Fellons and pickers contrary to the Lawes of England. For by their law they can hang no man for his first offence; but may keepe him long in prison, and oftentimes beate him with whips and other punishment: and there he shall remaine untill his friends be able to bayle him. If he be a picker or a cut-purse, as there be very many, the second time he is taken, he hath a piece of his Nose cut off, and is burned in the forehead, and kept in prison till hee finde sureties for his good behaviour. And if he be taken the third time, he is hanged. And at the first time he is extremely punished and not released, except hee have very good friends, or that some Gentleman require to have him to the warres: And in so doing, he shall enter into great bonds for him: by which meanes the countrey is brought into good quietnesse. But they be naturally given to great deceit, except extreme beating did bridle them. They be naturally given to hard living aswell in fare as in lodging. I heard a Russian say, that it was a great deale merrier living in prison then foorth, but for the great beating. For they have meate and drinke without any labour, and get the charitie of well disposed people: But being at libertie they get nothing. The poore is very innumerable, and live most miserably: for I have seene them eate the pickle of Hearring and other stinking fish: nor the fish cannot be so stinking nor rotten, but they will eate it and praise it to be more wholesome then other fish or fresh meate. In mine opinion there be no such people under the sunne for their hardnesse of living. Well, I will leave them in this poynt, and will in part declare their Religion. They doe observe the lawe of the Greekes with such excesse of superstition, as the like hath not bene heard of. They have no graven images in their Churches, but all painted, to the intent they will not breake the commandement: but to their painted images they use such idolatrie, that the like was never heard of in England. They will neither worship nor honour any image that is made forth of their owne countrey. For their owne images (say they) have pictures to declare what they be, and howe they be of God, and so be not ours: They say, Looke how the Painter or Carver hath made them, so we doe worship them, and they worship none before they be Christened. They say we be but halfe Christians: because we observe not part of the olde law with the Turks. Therefore they call themselves more holy then us. They have none other learning but their mother tongue, nor will suffer no other in their countrey among them. All their service in Churches is in their mother tongue. They have the olde and newe Testament, which are daily read among them: and yet their superstition is no lesse. For when the Priests doe reade, they have such tricks in their reading, that no man can understand them, nor no man giveth eare to them. For all the while the Priest readeth, the people sit downe and one talke with another. But when the Priest is at service no man sitteth, but gagle and ducke like so many Geese. And as for their prayers they have but little skill, but use to say As bodi pomele: As much to say, Lord have mercy upon me. For the tenth man within the land cannot say, the Pater noster. And as for the Creede, no man may be so bolde as to meddle therewith but in the Church: for they say it shoulde not bee spoken of, but in the Churches. Speake to them of the Commandements, and they wil say they were given to Moses in the law, which Christ hath nowe abrogated by his precious death and passion: therefore, (say they) we observe little or none thereof. And I doe beleeve them. For if they were examined of their Lawe and Commaundements together, they shoulde agree but in fewe poynts. They have the Sacrament of the Lords Supper in both kindes, and more ceremonies then wee have. They present them in a dish in both kindes together, and carrie them rounde about the Church upon the Priestes head, and so doe minister at all such times as any shall require. They bee great offerers of Candles, and sometimes of money, which wee call in England, Soule pense, with more ceremonies then I am able to declare. They have foure Lents in the yeere, whereof our Lent is the greatest. Looke as we doe begin on the Wednesday, so they doe on the Munday before: And the weeke before that they call The Butter weeke: And in that weeke they eate nothing but Butter and milke. Howbeit I beleeve there bee in no other countrey the like people for drunkennesse. The next Lent is called Saint Peters Lent, and beginneth alwayes the Munday next after Trinitie sunday, and endeth on Saint Peters even. If they should breake that fast, their beliefe is, that they should not come in at heaven gates. And when any of them die, they have a testimoniall with them in the Coffin, that when the soule commeth to heaven gates it may deliver the same to Saint Peter, which declareth that the partie is a true and holy Russian. The third Lent beginneth fifteene dayes before the later Lady day, and endeth on our Lady Eeven. The fourth Lent beginneth on Saint Martins day, and endeth on Christmas Eeven : which Lent is fasted for Saint Philip, Saint Peter, Saint Nicholas, and Saint Clement. For they foure be the principall and greatest Saints in that countrey. In these Lents they eate neither Butter, Egges, Milke, nor Cheese; but they are very straitely kept with Fish, Cabbages, and Rootes. And out of their Lents, they observe truely the Wednesdayes and Fridayes throughout the yeere: and on the Saturday they doe eate flesh. Furthermore they have a great number of Religious men : which are blacke Monks, and they eate no flesh throughout the yeere, but fish, milke and Butter. By their order they should eate no fresh-fish, and in their Lents they eate nothing but Coleworts, Cabbages, salt Cowcumbers, with other rootes, as Radish and such like. Their drinke is like our peny Ale, and is called Quass. They have service daily in their Churches; and use to goe to service two houres before day, and that is ended by day light. At nine of the clocke they goe to Masse: that ended, to dinner: and after that to service againe: and then to supper. You shall understand that at every dinner and supper they have declared the exposition of the Gospel that day: but howe they wrest and twine the Scripture and that together by report it is wonderfull. As for whoredome and drunkennesse there be none such living: and for extortion, they be the most abhominable under the sunne. Nowe judge of their holinesse. They have twise as much land as the Duke himselfe hath: but yet he is reasonable eeven with them, as thus: When they take bribes of any of the poore and simple, he hath it by an order. When the Abbot of any of their houses dieth, then the Duke hath all his goods moveable and unmoveable: so that the successour buieth all at the Dukes hands: and by this meane they be the best Fermers the Duke hath. Thus with their Religion I make an ende, trusting hereafter to know it better.

To the right worshipfull and my singular good Uncle, Master Christopher Frothingham, give these.

Sir, Reade and correct;
For great is the defect.

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