Author Hakluyt, Richard, ? Published A selection of curious, rare, and early voyages, and histories of interesting discoveries, Author Hakluyt, Richard, Author Alfred, King of England, Hakluyt, Richard, ? Wulfstan fl. Find in a library. Full view. Notwithstanding, they used to weigh batrie more often by the small weight than by the great. Whensoever you find the prices of your wares rated by the pode, consider that to be the great weight, and the pound to be small. Also they divide the small pound into forty-eight parts, and they call the eight-and-fortieth part a slotnike, by the which slotnike the retailers sell their wares out of their shops, as goldsmiths, grocers, silk-sellers, and such other, like as we do use to retail by the ounce.
And as for their great weight, which they call the beasemar, they sell by pode or ship pound.
The pode doth contain of the great weight, forty pounds; and of the small, eighty. There go ten podes to a ship pound. Yet you must consider that their great weight is not full with ours; for I take not their great pound to be full thirteen ounces, but above twelve I think it be. So that I think it the next way to know the just weight as well of the great pound as of the small.
The Discovery of Muscovy
There is another weight needful to be known, which is the weight of Wardhouse; for so much as they weigh all their dry fish by weight, which weight is the basemere as they of Russia do use, notwithstanding there is another sort in it. The names of those weights are these: the marke pound, the great pound, the wee and the ship pound. The marke pound is to be understood as our pound, and their great is twenty-four of their marke pound; the wee is three great pound; and eight wee is a ship pound. Now, concerning their measures. As they have two sorts of weights, so they have also two sorts of measures, wherewith they measure cloth, both linen and woollen.
They call the one an areshine, and the other a locut.
The areshine I take to be as much as the Flanders ell, and their locut half an English yard. With their areshine they may mete all such sorts of cloths as cometh into the land, and with the locut all such cloth, both linen and woollen, as they make themselves. And whereas we used to give yard and inch, or yard and handfull, they do give nothing but bare measure. They have also a measure wherewith they do mete their corn, which they call a set-forth, and the half of that an osmine.
This set-forth I take to be three bushels of London measure. And as for their drink measure, they call it a spanne, which is much like a bucket; and of that I never saw any true rate, but that some was greater than other some. And as for the measures of Wardhouse, wherewith they mete their cloth, there is no difference between that and the measure of danske, which in half an English ell. They also pay a certain horse toll, which is in divers places of his realm four pence of a horse. The Dutch nation are free of this; notwithstanding for certain offences, they had lost their privileges, which they have recovered this summer, to their great charge.
It was reported to me by a justice of that country, that they paid for it thirty thousand roubles, and also that Rye, Dorpt, and Revel, have yielded themselves under the government of the Emperor of Russia; whether this was a brag of the Russians or not, I know not, but thus he said, and, indeed, while we were there, there came a great ambassador out of Liffeland for the assurance of their privileges.
To speak somewhat of the commodities of this country, it is to be understood that there is a certain place fourscore miles from the sea called Colmogro; to which place there resort all the sorts of wares that are in the north parts—as oils, salt, stock-fish, salmon, feathers, and furs; their salt they make of salt water by the seaside; their oils they make of seals, whereof they have great store, which is brought out of the bay where our ships came in; they make it in the spring of the year, and bring it to Colmogro to sell, and the merchants there carry it to Novogrod, and so sell it to the Dutch nation.
Their stock-fish and salmon cometh from a place called Mallums, not far from Wardhouse; their salmon and their salt they carry to Moscow, and their dried fish they carry to Novogrod, and sell it there to the Leeflanders. The furs and feathers which come to Colmogro, as sables, beavers, minks, ermine lettis, graies, wolverins, and white foxes, with deer-skins, they are brought thither by the men of Penninge, Lampne, and Powstezer, which fetch them from the Samoydes that are counted savage people, and the merchants that bring these furs do use to truck with the merchants of Colmogro for cloth, tin, batrie, and such other like, and the merchants of Colmogro, carry them to Novogrod, Vologda, or Moscow, and sell them there.
The discovery of Muscovite Russia in Tudor England
The feathers which come from Penning they do little esteem. If our merchants do desire to know the meetest place of Russia for their standing house; in mine opinion I take it to be Vologda, which is a great town standing in the heart of Russia with many great and good towns about it.
There is great plenty of corn, victuals, and of all such wares as are raised in Russland Russia , but specially flax, hemp, tallow, and bacon; there is also great store of wax, but it cometh from Moscow. The town of Vologda is meetest for our merchants, because it lieth amongst all the best towns of Russia, and there is no town in Russia but trades with it; also the water is a great commodity to it. If they plant themselves in Moscow or Novogrod their charge will be great and wonderful, but not so in Vologda, for all things will there be had better cheap by the one-half; and for their vent, I know no place so meet; it is likely that some will think the Moscow to be the meetest by the reason of the court, but by that reason I take it to be worse; for the charge there would be so great by cravers and expenses that the moiety of the profit would be wholly consumed, which in the other place will be saved.
And yet, notwithstanding, our merchants may be there in the winter to serve the Emperor and his Court. The Emperor is a great merchant himself of wax and sables, which with good foresight may be procured to their hands; as for other commodities there are little or none in Muscovy besides those above rehearsed; if there be other it is brought thither by the Turks, who will be dainty to buy our cloths considering the charges of carriages overland. Our merchants may do well to provide for the Russians such wares as the Dutch nation doth serve them of, as Flanders and Holland cloths, which I believe they shall serve better with less charge than they of Rye or Dorpt, or Revel; for it is no small adventure to bring their cloths out of Flanders to either of these places, and their charge not little to carry them overland to Novogrod which is from Rye nine hundred Russian miles.
This Novogrod is a place well furnished with flax, wax, hides, tallow, and many other things; the best flax in Russia is brought thither, and there sold by the hundred bundles, which is done also at Vologda, and they that bring the flax to Novogrod dwell as near Vologda as Novogrod, and when they hear of the utterance which they may have with our nation, they will as willingly come to them as go to the other. They have in Russia two sorts of flax, the one is called great flax, and the other small; that which they call great flax is better by four roubles in a hundred bundles than the small.
It is much longer than the other, and cleaner, without wood; and whereas of the small flax there go twenty-seven or twenty-eight bundles to a ship pound; there goeth not of the greater sort above twenty-two or twenty-four at the most. Articles conceived and determined for the Commission of the Merchants of this Company resiant resident in Russia , and at the Wardhouse , for the second voyage , , the first of May , as followeth.
Item, it is also committed, as above, to the said agents, to bind and charge the said company by debt for wares upon credit, as good opportunity and occasion shall serve, with power to charge and bind the said company and their successors for the payments of such things as shall be taken up for credit, and the said agents to be relieved, ab opere satis dandi.
Item, that all the said agents do well consider, ponder, and weigh such articles as be delivered to them, to know the natures, dispositions, laws, customs, manners, and behaviours of the people of the countries where they shall traffic, as well of the nobility as of the lawyers, merchants, mariners, and common people, and to note diligently the subtleties of their bargaining, buying and selling, making as few debts as possibly may be; and to be circumspect, that no law, neither of religion nor positive, be broken or transgressed by them, or any minister under them, nor yet by any mariner or other person of our nation; and to foresee that all tolls, customs, and such other rights, be so duly paid, that no forfeiture or confiscation may ensue to our goods either outward or inward; and that all things pass with quiet, without breach of the public peace or common tranquillity of any of the places where they shall arrive or traffic.
Item, that provision be made in Moscow or elsewhere, in one or more good towns, where good trade shall be found for a house or houses for the agents and company to inhabit and dwell at your accustomed diets, with warehouses, cellars, and other houses of offices requisite; and that none of the inferior ministers, of what place or vocation soever he be, do lie out of the house of the agents without license to be given; and that every inferior officer shall be obedient to the orders, rules, and governments of the said agents; and in case any disobedient person shall be found among any of them, then such person to be punished for his misbehaviour at the discretion of the said agents, or of one of them in the absence of the other.
Item, if any person of the said ministers shall be of such pride or obstinacy, that after one or two honest admonitions he will not be reformed nor reconciled from his faults, then the said agents to displace every such person from the place or room to him here committed, and some other discreet person to occupy the same, as to the said agents by their discretions shall seem meet. Item, if any person shall be found so arrogant, that he will not be ordered nor reformed by the said agents, or by one of them in the absence of the other, then the said person to be delivered to the justice of the country, to receive such punishment as the laws of the country do require.
Item, that the said agents and factors shall daily one hour in the morning confer and consult together what shall be most convenient and beneficial for the company; and such orders as they shall determine, to be written by the secretary of the company, in a book to be provided for that purpose; and no inferior person to infringe or break any such order or device, but to observe the same exactly, upon such reasonable pain as the agents shall put him to by discretion.
Item, that no inferior minister shall take upon him to make any bargain or sale of any wares, merchandises, or goods, but by the commission and warranties of the said agents under their hands; and he not to transgress his commission by any way, pretence, or colour. Item, that every inferior minister—that is to understand, all clerks and young merchants being at the order of the said agents—shall ride, go, sail, and travel to all such place and places as they or he shall be, appointed unto by the said agents, and effectually to follow and do that which to him or them shall be committed, well and truly to the most benefit of the company, according to the charge to him or them committed, even as by their oaths, duties, and bonds of their masters they be bounden and charged to do.
Item, that all the agents do diligently learn and observe all kinds of wares, as well naturals as foreign, that be beneficial for this realm, to be sold for the benefit of the company; and what kind of our commodities and other things of these west parts be most vendable in those realms with profit, giving a perfect advice of all such things requisite.
Item, it is to be had in mind that you use all ways and means possible to learn how men may pass from Russia, either by land or by sea, to Cathaia, and what may be heard of our other ships, and to what knowledge you may come, by conferring with the learned or well-travelled persons, either natural or foreign, such as have travelled from the north to the south.
Item, it is committed to the said agents that, if they shall be certified credibly that any of our said first ships be arrived in any place whereunto passage is to be had by water or by land, that then certain of the company, at the discretion of the agents, shall be appointed to be sent to them to learn their estate and condition, to visit, refresh, relieve, and furnish them with all necessaries and requisites at the common charges of the company, and to embrace, accept, and entreat them as our dear and well-beloved brethren of this our society to their rejoicing and comfort, advertising Sir Hugh Willoughbie and others of our carefulness of them and their long absence, with our desire to hear of them, with all other things done in their absence for their commodity, no less than if they had been present.
Item, that John Brooke, our merchant for the Wardhouse, take good advice of the rest of our agents how to use himself in all affairs while the ship shall be at the Wardhouse; he to see good order to be kept, and make bargains advisedly, not crediting the people until their natures, dispositions, and fidelities shall be well tried; make no debts, but to take ware for ware in hand, and rather be trusted than to trust.
Note diligently what be the best wares for those parts, and how the fish falleth on the coast, and by what means it is to be bought at the most advantage, what kinds and diversities of sorts in fishes be, and whether it will keep better in bulk piled or in cask. Item, he to have a diligent eye and circumspection to the beer, salt, and other liquid wares, and not to suffer any waste to be made by the company; and he in all contracts to require advice, counsel, and consent of the master and pilot; the merchant to be our housewife, as our special trust is in him.
He to tender that no laws nor customs of the country be broken by any of the company, and to render to the prince and other officers all that which to them doth appertain—the company to be quiet, void of all quarrelling, fighting, or vexation; abstain from all excess of drinking as much as may be, and in all to use and behave themselves as to quiet merchants doth and ought to appertain.
Item, it is decreed by the company that the Edward shall return home this year with as much wares as may be conveniently and profitably provided, bought and laden in Russia, and the rest to be taken in at the Wardhouse as by the agents shall be accorded. And that every officer shall show the invoice of his charge to him first committed, and to examine the wastes and losses, and to deliver the remainder to the use and benefit of the company, according to such order as shall be appointed in that behalf.
Forasmuch as it is not possible to write and indite such prescribed orders, rules, and commissions to you the agents and factors, but that occasion, time, and place, and the pleasures of the princes, together with the operation or success of fortune, shall change or shift the same, although not in the whole, yet in part, therefore the said company do commit to you their dear and entire beloved agents and factors, to do in this behalf for the commodity and wealth of this company, as by your discretions, upon good advised deliberations, shall be thought good and beneficial.
Provided always that the honour, good-name, fame, credit, and estimation of the same company be conserved and preserved; which to confirm we beseech the living Lord to his glory, the public benefit of this realm, our common profit, and your praises. Finally, for the service and due accomplishment of all the premises, every agent and minister of, and for, this voyage hath not only given a corporal oath upon the Evangelists to observe, and cause to be observed, this commission, and every part, clause, and sentence of the same, as much as in him lieth, as well for his own part as for any other person, but also have bound themselves and their friends to the company in several sums of money, expressed in the acts and records of this society, for the truth and fidelities of them for the better, and also manifester testification of the truth, and of their oaths, promises, and bands aforesaid, they have to this commission subscribed particularly their several hands, and the company also in confirmation of the same, have set their seal.
Given the day, month, and years first above mentioned. And that you shall be obedient and faithful to the same, our agent or agents, and that well and truly and uprightly, according to the commission, charge, commandment, or other direction of the said agent or agents to you from time to time given and to be given, you shall prosecute and do all that which in you lieth for the good renown, commodity, benefit, and profit of the said fellowship; and you shall not, directly or indirectly, openly or covertly, do, exercise, or use any hide or feat of merchandises for your own private account, commodity, gain, or profit, or for the account of or for any other person or persons without consent or license of this said fellowship first obtained in writing.
Touching their entertainment in their second voyage. Anno , the 27 th of November , in Moscow. And the 11th day of September we came to Vologda, and there we laid all our wares up, and sold very little; but one merchant would have given us twelve roubles for a broadcloth and he said he would have had them all and four altines for a pound of sugar, but we did refuse it because he was the first, and the merchants were not come thither, nor would not come before winter, trusting to have more; but I fear it will not be much better; yet, notwithstanding, we did for the best.
And the house that our wares lie in cost from that day until Easter ten roubles. And we went forth with post-horse, and the charge of every horse, being still ten in number, comes to 10s. And divers times in the dinner-time his grace sent us meat and drink from his own table; and when we had dined we went up to his grace and received a cup with drink at his own hand, and the same night his grace sent certain gentlemen to us with divers sorts of wine and medow, to whom we gave a reward.
And afterwards we were by divers Italians counselled to take heed whom we did trust to make the copy of the privileges that we would desire to have for fear it should not be written in the Russian tongue, as we did mean. So first, a Russian did write for us a breviate to the Emperor, the tenour whereof was, that we did desire a stronger privilege. And when the secretary saw it he did deliver it to his grace; and when we came again his grace willed us to write our minds, and he would see it, and so we did.
And his grace is so troubled with preparations to wars that as yet we have no answer. But we have been required of his secretary, and of the under-chancellor, to know what wares we have brought into the realm, and what wares we do intend to have that are or may be had in this realm.
And we showed them; that they showed the Emperor thereof. And then the conclusion of our talk was that the chancellor willed us to bethink us where we would desire to have a house or houses, that we might come to them as to our own house, and for merchandise to be made preparation for us, and they would know our prices of our wares and frise. And we answered, that for our prices they must see the wares before we could make any price thereof, for the like in goodness had not been brought into the realm, and we did look for an example of all sorts of our wares to come from Vologda with the first sled way, and then they should see them, and then we would show them the prices of them.
And likewise we could not tell them what we would give them justly till we did know as well their just weight as their measures for in all places where we did come all weights and measures did vary. Then the secretary who had made promise unto us before said that we should have all the just measures under seal, and he that was found faulty in the contrary to buy or sell—with any other measure than that, the law, was that he should be punished.
He said, moreover, that if it so happen that any of our merchants do promise by covenant at any time to deliver you any certain sum of wares in such a place, and of such like goodness, at such a day, for such a certain price, that then because of variance we should cause it to be written, according as the bargain is, before a justice or the next ruler to the place. If he did not keep covenant and promise in all points, according to his covenant, that then look what loss or hindrance we could justly prove that we have thereby, he should make it good if he be worth so much.
Catalog Record: The discovery of Muscovy. From the | HathiTrust Digital Library
And in like case we must do to them; and to that we did agree, save only if it were to come over the sea, then if any such fortune should be as God forbid that the ship should mischance or be robbed, and the proof to be made that such kind of wares were laden, the English merchants to bear no loss to the other merchant.
For if that they lack lading homeward, there is salt, which is good ware here, that they may come laden again. For we shall, nevertheless, if we list, have a house at Vologda and at the Moscow, yea, and at Novogrod, or where we will in Russland. But the three-and-twentieth of this present we were with the secretary, and then among other talk we moved, that if we should tarry at Colmogro with our wares, and should not come to Vologda, or, further, to seek our market, but tarry still at Colmogro, and then the merchants of the Moscow and others should not come and bring their wares, and so the ships should come, and not have their lading ready, that then it were a great loss and hindrance for us.
Then said he again to us, that the merchants had been again together with him, and had put the like doubt that if they should come and bring their wares to Colmogro, and that they should not find wares there sufficient to serve them, that then they should be at great loss and hindrance, they leaving their other trades to fall to that. And to that we did answer, that after the time that we do appoint with them to bring their wares to Colmogro, God willing, they should never come thither but at the beginning of the year, they should find that our merchants would have at the least for a thousand roubles, although the ships were not come.
So that he said, that then we must talk further with the merchants. So that as yet I know not but that we shall have need of one house at Colmogro and another at Vologda, and if that they bring not their wares to Colmogro, then we shall be sure to buy some at Vologda, and to be out of bondage.