A collection of letters illustrative of the progress of science in England, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth to that of Charles the Second/Letter 6

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[MS. Lansd. No. 122, Art. 5. Orig.]

Instructions for the two masters, Charles Jackman and Arthur Pett, geven and delyvered to them, at the Court day holden at the Moschovy house, the 17th of May, anno 1580, with which instructions a new charte (made by hand) was geven allso to eche of the sayd two Masters, expressing their Cathay voyage more exactly than any other yet published.

In the name of Jesus!

Yf we recken from Wardhouse to Colgoyeve Iland 400 myles, for allmost 20 degrees difference, only of longitude, very nere east and west, and abowt the latitude of 70⅔.

And from Colgoyeve to Vaygatz 200 myles, for 10 degrees difference (only in longitude) at 70 degrees of latitude allso.

And from Vaygatz to the promontory Tabin, being 60 degrees different in longitude; (the whole course or shortest distance betwene which two is allso east and west, in the latitude likewise of 70) are 1200 myles. Then is summa totalis from Wardhouse to Tabin, 600 leages or 1800 myles English.

Therefore allowing in a discovery voyage, for one day with an other, but 50 myles English; yt is evident that from Wardhouse to Tabin, the course may be sayled easily in 36 dayes. But by God's help, it may be fynisshed in much shorter tyme: both by help of wynde prosperous, and lyght continuall for the tyme requisite thereto.

When you are past Tabin, or come to the longitude of 142 (as your charte sheweth) or 2, 3, 4, or 5 degrees farder easterly, it is probable that you shall fynde the lande on your right hand, running much sowtherly and eastward, in which course you are like either to fall into the mowth of the famous ryver Oechardes, or some other: which (yet) I conjecture, to pas by the renowned City of Cambalu: and that mouth to be in the latitude abowt 50 or 52 degrees, and within 300 or 400 myles of Cambalu, ytself being in latitude abowt 45

degrees sowtherly of the said river mowth: or els, that you shall trend about the very northen and most easterly poynt of all Asia, passing by the province Ania, and then in the latitude of 46, keping still the land in vewe on your right hand (as nere as you may with safety) you may enter into Quinsay haven, being the chief city in the northen China, as I terme yt, for distinction sake, from the other better known.

And in, or about eyther, or both of these two warme places, you may (to great good purpose) be occupyed the whole wynter after your aryvall in those quarters: as, sometyme by sea, sometyme in notable fresh ryvers, sometymes in discrete vew, and noting down the situation of cities within land, &c.: and ever assaying to come by some chartes, or maps, of the cuntry, made and printed in Cathay or China; and by some of their bookes likewise, for language, &c.

You may have opportunity allso to sayle over to Japan Iland, where you shall fynde Christen men, Jesuites of many cuntries of Christendom, and perhaps some Englishemen; at whose hands you may have great instruction and advise for our affayres in hand. God be favorable to these attempts, greatly tending to his glory, and the great honour of this kingdome ! Amen[1].

 Anno 1580. Δ. Maij. 15.

By me John Dee. 

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

  1. Among the Harleian charters, EE. xix., is "the counterfet of Mr. Fernando Simon his sea charte, whiche he lent unto my master at Mortlake, anno 1580." In the same collection, EE. xvii., is Dr. Dee's own chart.