A commonwealths-man in Russia
Giles Fletcher’s early career and embassies
in Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth
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This chapter examines Giles Fletcher's embassy to Russia by exploring how his own personal history framed his particular experience there and influenced his negotiations at the Muscovite court. Fletcher's life, career and writings consistently demonstrated his commitment to the Elizabethan commonwealth and to reformed religion. All of Elizabeth's ambassadors to Russia had to deal with both the political and mercantile; both royal commissions and the affairs of the company. Fletcher's first ambassadorial mission in his own right was undertaken in May 1587 to Hamburg in order to negotiate the restoration of the Merchant Adventurers' trade rights. Muscovy Company governors and ambassadors, such as Fletcher, hoped to retain English civility abroad, as well as the company's lucrative trading privileges, in a far-off and uncivil land. The foreign emissaries reported the sequestration on arrival in Muscovy, which Daniel Printz von Buchau noted during his embassy to the Russian emperor in 1578.

Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth

The Muscovy Company and Giles Fletcher, the elder (1546–1611)

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