​13. The Earl of Carlisle is received by Tsar Alexis as British Ambassador from Charles II

(Nothing is known about Guy Miege, apart from the fact that he was a Swiss attendant to the Earl of Carlisle. The Earl, who had been Colonel of Cromwell's Life Guards, was created Baron Dacre, Viscount Howard of Morpeth, and Earl of Carlisle in 1661 by Charles II, and was sent by him as Ambassador Extraordinary to Muscovy, to restore English trade privileges there. He was then to proceed to the Courts of Sweden and Denmark, hence the title of Miege's account. The Embassy set out from England for Archangel in 1663, and returned the following year.)

In the mean time there were a great number of Boyars, of Stolnicks, and other persons of the Court, which came to meet the Ambassador, richly clad in Vests or Tuniques, of cloth of gold and silver, or velvets lined with Sables, with great caps on their heads of black Fox, made in the fashion of a Muff, which they use commonly in their Ceremonies. They were most of them very well mounted upon good horses, with rich trappings and bridles of silver, made like chains, with the linkes very broad and thin, so that whilst their horses were in motion, they made a noise altogether Majestique. There were severall also who had their houffes covered with pretious stones, whose lustre seemed to adde a richer light to the light of the day; and behind them they had their servants carrying covers for their sadles of Leopard skins, cloth of gold, velvet, and scarlet. All the Gentlemen of the firs chamber were there ready to accompany the Ambassador to his very house.

At length, the Master of the great Dukes horse came to present to the Ambassador from the far a sledg, & another for my Lord Morpeth, with several white horses for the Gentlemen: A while after, came Pronchissof, one of the Tzars Counsel, and Gregory Cosmevitz along with him, who were both deputed to serve his Excellence as Pristass, or Masters of the Ceremonies during his residence in Mosco. And in this occasion it was we had another ridiculous example of the pride and rusticity of the Moscovites, who are so quick and precise in anticipating the Prerogative of Ambassadors. Pronchissof being arrived within some small distance of the Ambassadors sledg, gave him to understand that he was sent to receive him from the grand Duke his Lord, and that he expected the Ambassador should first come out of his sledg. But his Excellence signified to him by his Interpreter, that his expectations were very ill grounded, that he represented the person of the King his Master, and that in that case all such Kind of respect was due to himself. Pronchissof however continued unmovable in his sledg as a Master of Ceremonies, and sent back to the Ambassador that he also was sent from the far his Master to represent his person: so that to have seen him, one would have thought he had taken upon him the forme of a statue, to represent the Majesty of his Prince. This answer, how absurd soever it was, caused several smart replies both on one side and the other: till at last the Ambassador to prevent any further delay in his Entrance, condescended to this, That they should both of them come out of their sledges together. But in this Pronchissof tooke occasion to deceive his Excellence, and falsify his word, hanging in the aire betwixt the armes of his servants, and but touching the earth with his tiptoes, whilst the Ambassador came out freely. At their meeting, they saluted one another, and Pronchissof first delivered his complement, which consisted in declaring his Employment, and acquainting his Excellence, that the Tzar had sent him, and his associate Gregory Cosmovitz (who was there present also) to take care that all things necessary should be provided during his continuance at Mosco. But the greatest part of his complement was the recitation of his Masters Titles, which he enumerated from the first to the last, in a most troublesome and ridiculous maner, as will appeare hereafter. His complement being made, and the Ambassador having answered him with a very good grace, they retired both of them into their sledges, Pronchissof returning in the same posture he came, his servants holding him up by his armes, as if they were afraid he should sinke under the burthen of the emploiment, which his Master had given him....

We past thorow the Tzars Guards, who were drawn up in rant on both sides of us reaching to the very bottom of the staires of the Hall, thorow which we were to pass to audience. Near the Castlegate we found another regiment of Guards drawn up also in very good order. A while after we past thorow another Regiment in one of the Courts of the Castle, and in this place we saw a great number of very fair Canon planted on one side and the other with the Canoniers by them, and ready in appearance to fire upon us from all parts. From thence we passed to another Court filled also with Guards, but when we came to the gate of a passage thorow which we were to go, all that were in sladdes or on horseback alighted. Those who were to go up into the Hall of audience were constraind to leave their swords behind them, it being not permitted for any body to pass any further with them by their sides, for the prevention of which ceremony, his Excellence and my Lord Morpeth carried none with them. When we had gone some paces this way (which is a way peculiar to Christian Ambassadors, those of Infidel Princes being carried another) there was a Boyar came to meet the Ambassador & complemented him from the great Duke. From thence we came to a great stone Galerie, where another Boyar received his Excellence with another complement. And from thence we came into a Hall thorow which we were to pass in to that of the audience, and here it was we saw the Guards of the Tzars body in a most splended Equipage, their Vests of velvet being lined with sables, their caps richly adorned with pearles and precious stones, and their very partesans covered with gold and silver. Neare the door of the Hall of audience, the Ambassador received a third Complement from the Tzars own Cousin. After which we opened to the right and left, and the Ambassador entered first into the Hall, after him my Lord Morpeth, and then the Gentlemen and the Pages.

And here it was we were like those who coming suddainly out of the dark are dazled with the brightnes of the Sun: the splendor of their jewels seeming to contend for priority with that of the day; so that we were lost as it were in this confusion of glory. The far like a sparkling Sun (to speak in the Russian dialect) darted forth most sumptuous rays, being most magnificently placed upon his Throne with his Scepter in his hand, and having his Crown on his Head. His Throne was of massy Silver gilt, wrought curiously on the top with several works and Pyramids; and being seven or eight steps higher than the floor, it rendered the person of this Prince transcendently Ilajestick. His Crown (which he wore upon a Cap lined with black Sables) was covered quite over with precious stones, it terminated towards the top in the form of a Pyramid with a golden cross at the spire. The Scepter glistered also all over with Jewels, his vest was sett with the like from the top to the bottom down the opening before, and his collar was answerable to the same. By his side he had four of the tallest of his Lords standing below his Throne, each of them with his battle-ax upon his shoulder, and with a profound gravity casting their Eys now and then upon their Tzar, as inviting us to an admiration of his grandeur. Their habits were no less remarquable than their countenances, being all four of them from the top of their head to the sole of their foot clothed in white vests of Ermine, and having great chaines of Gold, and their Caps of that large sort which they use in their Ceremonies, but whereas others were of black Fox these were of Ermin as well as their Vests, their very Boots also were covered with the same. But that which was farther admirable was the glorious equippage of the Boyars present at this audience, who were as so many beams of the Sun elevated in his triumphal Carr, and seemed to have no lustre but to do homage withal to their great Monarch. They were about two hundred cloathed all with vests of cloth of gold, cloth of silver or velvet set with Jewels, all placed in order upon benches covered with tapistry round about by the wall; the floor being raised there three or four steps high and about the bredth of a good walke. At the Entrance into the Hall there was a great number also of his Goses which are his Merchants or Factors whom he furnishes with rich robes to appear at such Ceremonies; This was the Splendour we found this great Prince in, with a countenance perfectly majestick; as having not only the advantage of a handsome proportion, but of a lively and vigorous age, for this was but his four and thirtieth year. The Hall notwithstanding answered not very well to this Magnificence, saving in its Vastnes, and that it was covered all the floor over with tapistry. But it was wanting on the walls, which had no other Ornament than a few old pictures; the roof of it was arched, and supported by a great Pillar in the middle.

My Lord Ambassador made a low Reverence to his Majestie assoon as he was entred into the Hall, the Throne being opposite to the Door; then he advanced some paces, and stopping at the Pillar in the midst of the Hall, he made him a second, then being ready to speak, made him a third, and saluted him in the behalf of his Master the King of England in these words; The most Serene and most Puissant Prince Charles the Second by the Grace of God King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. To You the most High, most Potent, and most Illustrious Prince Great Lord, Emperour, and Grand Duke Alexey Michailovitz, of all the great, and little, and white Russia Self-upholder, of Moscovie, Keavie, Volodimerie, Nofgorod, Emperour of Cazan, Emperor of Astracan, Emperour of Siberia, Lord of Pscove, great Duke of Lituania, Smolensco, Twersco, Volinsco, Podolsko, Ughersco, Permsco, Veatsco, Bolgarsco, & c. Lord and Great Duke of Nofgorod in the Lower Countries, of Chernigo, Resansco, Polotsco, Rostofsco, Yeroslafsco, Beloozarsco, Obdorsco, Obdorsco, Condinsco, Wetepsco, Mstisclanco, and all the Northern parts, Lord of the Country of Iversco of the Tzars of Cartalinsco, and of Gruzinsco, and of the Country of Cabardinsco, of the Dukes of Chercaso, and Igorsco, Lord and Monarch of several other Dominions, and Provinces, East, West, and North, of which he is Heir from Father to Son, by me Charles Earle of Carlisle, Vicomte Howard of Morpeth, Baron Dacre of Gillesland, His Majesties Lieutenant in the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, one of his Majesties most honourable Privy Councel, and his Extraordinary Ambassador sendeth greeting, and hath commanded me to deliver these Letters (being his Letters Patents which he held in his hand) to Your Imperial Majestie. Which words being with a loud voice explained by his Interpreter which stood by his Excellencies side, the Ambassador advanced towards the Throne to present the Letter which he immediately delivered into the hands of his Chancellor.

His Excellence returning to his place, the far rose up, and the Boyars doing the like all of them at the same time, their Vests of Tissue made such a rustling one against another, that we were something amuzed at the suddenness of the noise. Then after a short silence, his Majestic began to speak, and to enquire of the Ambassador concerning the Kings health....

17:04