A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. VIII.
by Robert Kerr
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The 24th January we arrived at the island of Bangaia,[309] whence the king and most of the people were fled for fear of some enemy, though I could not learn the truth. There was a Hollander there, who told me that the king had fled for fear of the King of Macassar, who, he thought, wanted to force him to become a Mahometan, as he was an idolater. But I rather think they had fled for fear of the Hollanders, who intended to have built a fort here, but desisted on seeing that the people fled. This single Hollander bore such sway, that none of those who remained in the island dared to displease him. He had two houses full of the young women of the island for his own use, taking as many women as he pleased, and had many slaves, both men and women. He is a pleasant companion, and will dance and sing from morn to night, almost naked like the natives. He has won the hearts of the people, along with whom he will often drink for two whole days. He lives here alone, and will not submit to be commanded by any other Hollander. Being over against Amboyna, when the governor of that place wants to speak with him, he must send two of his merchants to remain as hostages till his return. He collects the duties for the King of Ternate in all the islands hereabout, serving himself in the first place, and sending to the king what he pleases to spare.

[Footnote 309: From the sequel, Bangaia seems to have been near Amboyna, on the south-west of Ceram.—E.]

We had here abundance of good refreshments for our people, who were now, thank God, in better state than when we left England, not having hitherto one sick man on board. I had my long-boat sheathed at this place, for fear of the worms destroying her bottom, as we now towed her always astern. We sailed from Bengaia on the 29th of January, and on getting out to sea, found the wind right in our teeth in the way we wanted to go; so that striving all we could to get to windward, we found the current set so strong against us along with the wind, carrying us directly south, so that we lost fifteen leagues in two days. I then found myself constrained to change my purposed voyage for the Moluccas, and bore up the helm for Banda, to which we could go with a flowing sheet.

Sec. 2. Occurrences at Banda; Contests with the Hollanders; Trade at Pulo-way, and many Perils.

We got sight of the islands of Banda on the 5th February, and made all sail to get near before night. When near, I sent my skiff to procure intelligence from some of the natives, who sent me word that the Hollanders would not allow any ship to come into the roads, but would take all our goods, if they were such as they needed, and pay for them at their own pleasure. They said, likewise, that when any junks happened to come there with vendible commodities, they were not permitted to have any intercourse with the people; but were brought to the back of the Dutch castle, within musket-shot of their cannon, no one being allowed to set foot on shore, under penalty of being shot. There were, as was said, fifteen great junks detained under the guns at this time. We had little hope, therefore, of making any profit of our voyage here, seeing that they dealt so with all that came into the roads, whence they banished Captain Keeling, not permitting him even to gather in his debts, for which they gave him bills receivable at Bantam, as I hope your worships have been informed by him at large. Yet for all this, I stood into the roads, displaying my flag and ensign, and having a pendant at each yard-arm, as gallantly as we could. While we were standing in, a pinnace of about thirty tons came to meet us, sent by the governor of the castle, as believing we had been one of their own ships; but immediately on hailing us stood back into the roads, so that we could have no speech of her.

As soon as I got athwart Lantor, I saluted the town with my guns, and came to anchor within shot of their ships; when presently a boat came aboard from the Dutch governor, desiring me to bring my ship into the roads, and to come ashore and shew my commission. My answer was, that I was only new come, and that I did not think it proper to shew my commission to their governor, or to make any person acquainted with the nature of my business. They then asked me whether my ship was a man of war or a merchant-man. To which I made answer, that I should pay for whatever I had. They then threatened me, on which I answered, "Here I am, and am resolved to abide at anchor. You may do as you please, and I hope I shall defend myself as I ought." The Dutch messengers then returned to the castle in a rage; and they were no sooner gone, than a great number of the inhabitants of Lantor and the neighbouring country came on board. From them I learnt the state of the country, which was now in friendship with the Dutch, or rather under subjection; and that they would willingly trade with me, if I could procure permission from the Hollanders. They told me at the same time, that the inhabitants of Pulo-way and Pulo-tronu were at war with the Dutch. Knowing well that it is good to fish in troubled waters, and discovering that a native of Pulo-way was among the people now in my ship, I took him aside and had some private conversation with him. Giving some money, I desired him to make known to the people of his island, that I would give them money or commodities for all their spice; and that, although the Hollanders and me were likely to be enemies, I would contrive to get their spice one way or other.

There came another boat from the Dutch vice-admiral, accompanied by the former boat from the castle, bringing a second message from the governor, expressly commanding me to come into the roads. Being our dinner time, I detained the messengers to dine with me, and then told them that I should ride where I was; for, as our nations were friends in Europe, it would look ill for us to be enemies among the heathens. They then told me roundly they would bring me away by force. To which I again made answer, that I should certainly ride where I was till I experienced the inconvenience of the place, for they told me it was foul ground, and then I should come to occupy the best ground in their roads; for neither of our princes gave any such authority to their subjects, but that those of the other may ride or go as they please. They then said the country was theirs. "So much the better then," said I; "for as our countries are in friendship, I may the more boldly ride where I am." Upon this they went away much displeased.

In the evening I proposed to have landed some ordnance on the side of a hill which commanded the place where I rode at anchor, that I might the better be able to defend myself if the Hollanders should molest me; but on sending out some of my people to examine the bottom round about the ship, it was found to be all foul with rocks, wherefore I gave up the project of landing cannon. Next morning I sent Mr Spalding, and some others of my principal people, in the skiff; with a letter for the governor, desiring them not to add a syllable to what I had written, and to bring me off an answer as soon as possible. In this letter, after offering to supply the governor with any thing he might want, and deprecating hostilities between the subjects of friendly powers, I offered to shew my commission on equal terms, if he would meet me on the water, each in a boat equally manned, or in any other equally secure manner. I then requested to be considered as an Indian for my money, and that I was willing to purchase spice from him. Finally, as he was at enmity with the inhabitants of Pulo-way and Pulo-tronu,[310] I desired to know if I might have the spice of these islands without his hindrance.

[Footnote 310: At this place in the original, this island is called Pulo-ron, which is probably the right name.—E.]

The governor would send me no answer in writing. My people learnt that the Dutch had here three large ships of 1000 tons each, and three pinnaces of 30 tons; and that they proposed to lay one of their large ships, the Great Sun, which was unserviceable, on board of my ship to set me on fire, having put thirty barrels of powder into her for that express purpose, and had sworn sundry persons to bring her against me, and make her fast with chains, all the boats belonging to the ships and the castle attending to bring them off when she should be set on fire. The Great Horn, likewise, was to be brought out against me, and anchored within musket-shot to batter us, and their frigates or pinnaces were to come round about us, to keep warm work on all sides. Seeing them busied in warping out the Sun, my folks came and told me what preparations were going on. I therefore thought it now expedient to go on shore to the governor, to see what he would say to myself, before we should try the fate of battle. So, taking my commission along with me, I went on shore at the castle, and was met at my landing by the governor, and all the principal men belonging to the castle and the ships. I was led through a guard of 300 musketeers, who gave me three vollies, besides which, seven pieces of cannon were fired to welcome me. After this I was conducted to the governor's chamber, where chairs were set for him and me, and forms for all the others.

After many compliments on both sides, I addressed the governor to the following effect: Understanding from my people whom I had sent ashore, that they considered me as a pirate, having no commission, I had come myself to satisfy them to the contrary, having brought my commission, to make manifest that I had a regular commission under the great seal of the king, my master. This I shewed to them, reading the first line, and then wrapped it up again. They then desired to see it all. On which I declared that this was more than I could answer for, and having already exhibited the great seal of England, and my name contained in the commission, they should see no more while I had life. We now motioned to return on board, but they requested me to stay yet awhile. So there passed words between us, some sweet and some sharp: But at length they became more mild, and called for a cup of wine; after which we all rose up and went to walk about the castle, the offices in which were very neat, and well furnished with arms and ammunition.

Taking a favourable opportunity, I resolved to try what money might do, which often makes wise men blind, that so I might procure my loading by means of large bribes. I offered to give a thousand pounds, so that I might be sure of my loading, and besides to give the chain I wore about my neck, to any one who could procure me this, and offered to give a higher price than they paid for the spice. Having set this matter afloat, and knowing that my ship rode in a dangerous place, I told the governor that, now he was satisfied I was not a man of war, I would bring my ship into their roads. He and his officers then said, that I should find them ready to shew me all the friendship in their power. Being now late, I took my leave to go on board, on which the governor caused all the ordnance of the castle to be fired off; and as I passed the ships, they and the pinnaces fired their guns till I got to my own ship.

Next day, the 8th February, I brought my ship into the road, coming to anchor between the Dutch ships and the castle; and saluted them with all my ordnance, which was returned by the castle, and all the ships and pinnaces. Immediately after coming to anchor, the governor and all the principal people belonging to the castle and the ships came aboard to visit me, and staid to dinner; but I could neither prevail by arguments or gifts to get leave to purchase a single pound of spice, the governor plainly telling me he durst not permit me under pain of losing his head. Seeing no good could be done by remaining, I determined to take in water and try my fortune elsewhere; but on sending ashore for water, they made my people be accompanied by a Dutch-man, lest we might have any conference with the natives. Having procured water, I sent Mr Spalding ashore to acquaint the governor that I was going away, for I thought it wrong for me to leave the ship. The governor marvelled much where I could go, as the wind was westerly, but Mr Spalding said he knew not.

While I was warping from the roads till I could get sea-room for setting sail, the governor sent three pinnaces to accompany me, and one came in a boat with a message, saying, that the governor commanded me not to go near any of these islands. To this I answered, that I was not under his command, and was bound for Pulo-way as quickly as I could, and he might send his ships, if he pleased, to drive me away if they could, for I would soon make his frigates[311] leave me. Observing the governor go on board one of the frigates, and that the Dutch ships were likewise preparing for sea, and bending their sails, I ordered my people to prepare for action. I called them together that I might know their minds, plainly telling them, if they would stand by me, that I meant to trade at these islands, let the Hollanders do what they would; and I promised them, if any were maimed, he should have a maintenance during his life, which, God willing, I should see performed; and farther, if they would fight manfully, that I would give freely among them every thing in the ship that was mine own. So, with one consent, they all agreed to try what strength the Hollanders might send against me. Seeing us making all things ready for action, the Dutch aboard the pinnaces seemed to think it might be little to their profit to guard us any longer, and therefore bore up for their harbour. While we were warping out, the Dutch governor, and lieutenant-governor of the castle, and their admiral, were twice on board the pinnaces, but what they did there I know not.

[Footnote 311: On former occasions we have conjectured that by frigates, in these older days, very small vessels were intended; and in the present passage frigates and pinnaces are distinctly used as synonimous terms.—E.]

It fell calm, what wind there was being westerly, and a great current set to the E.N.E. which drove us at a great rate. So I sent Mr Spalding in the boat, with my purser's-mate and five more, giving him money, and desired him to inform the people of Pulo-way, that we had parted in enmity from the Hollanders, and that if they would sell me their spice, I would give them money for it, and would have come myself, but wished first to get the ship to some place where she might ride in safety, and would then come to them, either in the ship or in a pinnace which I had aboard, ready to set up. While my boat was absent, two praws came from Lantor, to enquire wherefore I had gone away? I told them I was forced away by the current; but desired them to tell the people of Lantor, that I would give them money or goods for their spice, if they would sell to me in preference to the Hollanders, who came to reduce their country to slavery. One of them said he would go first to Pulo-way to see my people, and would then deliver my message to those of Lantor.

When Mr Spalding came ashore, the people of Pulo-way flocked about him, and made him welcome, but would fix no price with him till I should come, offering to deliver spice on account till my arrival. I desired Mr Spalding to hire me a pilot, if possible, to bring my ship near; so the people of the country hired two, to whom they gave twenty rials, saying that I must give as much. Mr Spalding sent them aboard, and desired me at the same time to send him more money and cloth, which I did that night. We now bore up the helm for Ceram, and came to a place called Gelagula, a reasonably good road, some thirty leagues from Banda. As soon as possible we took a house, and brought the materials of our pinnace ashore to set her up. Labouring hard to get her fitted, I called her the Hopewell. The 27th March, 1610, we had all things in readiness for going to Pulo-way, and arrived there the night of the 31st, but could lade no spice till I had made agreement with the natives, who asked many duties and great gifts. In fine, I agreed to pay the same as had been paid by Captain Keeling. The chiefs had what they looked for, as every one must have something, and unknown to the rest, so that one can never have done giving, as they never cease begging, and it was not convenient to deny them any reasonable request, especially as I was situated.

After we had agreed, the Hopewell was loaded with mace, or filled rather; for she was only nine tons burden, and could carry very little of that commodity. So, after sending away the Hopewell, I hired a large praw, which I proposed to build upon, which we loaded with nutmegs, and sent to the ship, where she was built higher, so as to be of 25 tons burden; but she made only one voyage, and then we heard no tidings of her in three months. The Hopewell making two voyages, and hearing no news of the praw, I verily thought she had sunk; for I came in company with her myself in the Hopewell, and had so great a storm that I gave her up as lost, having twelve of my stoutest men in her. It was no small grief to me to see the season thus wear away, and could not get my loading to the ship, neither durst I bring over my ship to Pulo-way, as there was no safe anchorage for her. I made enquiry for some other vessel, and heard of a junk belonging to Lantor, but she was old and lay near the Dutch ships; yet I went and bought her, and got such help as I could to trim her.

The want of my twelve men in the praw put me to much trouble, as they would have shortened our labour much: For most of our men were laid up with sore legs, and whenever any one was reasonable well, he had to go in the Hopewell, in the room of another poor lame fellow, some being three several times well and down again. I was thus driven to my wits end, not knowing which way to turn me, being every hour in danger that the Hollanders would come and take the island. By intelligence at sundry times, I learnt that they endeavoured by various contrivances to get me made away with, offering large bribes for rogues to kill me, by poison or otherwise; but, God be praised, I had some friends on the island, who gave me secret warnings, and put me on my guard against such men-slaves, who would do me some mischief, and came for the purpose.

I prevailed on the islanders to combine and fit out their caracols, to keep the Dutch pinnaces from coming to assail us, after which the pinnaces durst not stir; and the islanders often landed secretly on Nera, and cut off sundry of the Hollanders, so that they durst not stir from the castle, except in numerous parties, well armed. The islanders even built a fort on the side of a hill, whence they fired into the castle, and troubled the Hollanders much. By this we were secured against the Dutch pinnaces coming out, to attempt intercepting our intercourse with Pulo-way. I made nine voyages myself in our small pinnace, and could never spare above seven seamen to go in her, leaving five at Pulo-way, all the rest being sick or lame with sore legs. This was a most villainous country, every article of food being excessively dear, and only sometimes to be had, which troubled us exceedingly; and we were so continually vexed with violent rains, that we thought to have all perished. I was forced to fetch away the junk I bought at Lantor unfitted for sea, as the Dutch, on seeing men at work upon her, sent out one of their ships to batter her to pieces. So that night I got the help of two tonies to launch her, having to carry her a great way on rollers, which we did under night, and got her out of sight before day. We brought her to Pulo-way, where we had to buy sails and every thing else for her, she being only a bare hulk; so I set the native carpenters to work upon her, who did her little good, as it was afterwards found. I likewise sent orders by the Hopewell to the ship, to send some rigging, and that Mr Davis should come to carry her over.

On this occasion the Hopewell did not appear again for three weeks, so that we were doubtful of some mischance; and it might have been long before they at the ship could have hired any one to bring us word, as the Hollanders have often used them very ill for carrying provisions to the Bandanese. The weather being tolerably good, and having our skiff at Pulo-way, I resolved to go over to the ship in her myself; for I could not hire men to carry over the junk, if I would have loaded her with silver, and I had not a man with me sound enough to stand on his legs; so I hired three natives, and put to sea in the skiff. When out of sight of Pulo-way, it came on to blow a heavy storm, so that I had to scud before the wind and sea to save our lives; yet, thank God, we got sight of Ceram, and kept her right afore the sea, but clean from the place where our ship lay, and on nearing the shore the sea did break so aloft, that we had no hope of getting safe on shore. Night being at hand, we strove all we could to keep the sea till day; but as the storm increased, we had no remedy for our lives but attempting to get through the surf over a ledge of rocks. This we did, but durst not leave the boat, lest we had been dashed in pieces on the rocks. Next morning we got her on shore, being brim-full of water, and every thing we had washed out.

Immediately afterwards, the blacks came and told us we must go to sea again instantly, if we valued our lives, for we had landed in the country of the canibals, who, if they saw us, would come and eat us. They said, nothing could ransom us from them if once taken, and especially because we were Christians, they would roast us alive, in revenge for the wrongs the Portuguese had done them. Our blacks added, if we would not put immediately to sea, they would go and hide themselves, being sure the canibals would be at the water-side as soon as it was light. On hearing this, and seeing by the moonlight that the sea was more calm, the wind having dulled, we pushed off, and having the tide in our favour, we got quickly a-head, so that by day-light we were beyond the watches of the canibals; and keeping close to the shore, we espied the hull of a bark, on nearing which we knew it to be the Diligence.[312] Coming up to her, I found two Englishmen on board, who told me they had come there to anchor the same night we had the storm in the skiff, and anchoring at this place, their cable broke and she drove on shore, Mr Herniman having gone to the town to get people to assist in weighing her. The sandy beach was covered with people who came to pillage her, and I advised the two Englishmen to fire a shot now and then, which scared them from coming nearer. On coming to the town, Mr Herniman was gone by land to our ship. I offered money to the governor to help to save the bark, when he said he would raise the country in two or three days for that purpose; but I told him, if it came to blow she would be lost in an hour. One of the Pulo-way people being there, plainly told me that the governor only waited to have her bilged, that he might have the planks to build a praw for himself.

[Footnote 312: This afterwards appears to have been the praw, formerly mentioned, so named after being raised upon for carrying spice from Pulo-way to Ceram; but this circumstance is left here unexplained, possibly by the negligence of Purchas in abbreviating, by which he leaves matters often obscure, sometimes unintelligible.—E.]

Finding no help could be had except from the ship, which was twelve miles off by land, I hired guides to follow Mr Herniman, taking one of my own men to bear me company. Half-way we came to a large river, which it was necessary to swim across, and as my man could not swim, I sent him back with my clothes, except a scarlet mandilion,[313] which one of my guides engaged to carry over for me. He told me the river was full of alligators, and if I saw any I must fight with him, or he would kill me, and for that purpose my guide carried a knife in his mouth. Being very weary, as I had not slept for two nights, I took the water before the Indians, knowing they would be over before me. The river being very broad, and the stream swift, occasioned by late great rains, the Indians would have had me return when half way, to which I would not consent. While swimming, the Indian who carried my mandilion touched my side with a cane he carried in his hand; suspecting this had been an alligator, I immediately dived, when the current got such hold of me that I was carried out to sea, which threw me on the beach, and bruised me so on the back and shoulder that I could not get a-land, till the Indian came and gave me hold of one end of his cane, and pulled me out almost drowned, as every surf drove me against the beach and washed me out again. I praised God, and got on board, where my company was amazed to see me. So that night I sent all that were able to crawl to save the bark, which they did with much toil and small help of the natives; the country not permitting any one to assist in saving her,[314] expecting us to forsake her, that they might enjoy the spoil.

[Footnote 313: This word is explained by lexicographers as a loose garment, a sleeveless jacket, or a soldiers coat.—E.]

[Footnote 314: It will be seen in other voyages, that the Malays, who are widely diffused over the Indian archipelago, often live under a kind of aristocratical republican government; even where they are subjected to kings, partaking much of the feudal semblance. This observation seemed necessary as an attempt to explain the meaning in the text of the country not permitting, &c.—E.]

The Hopewell arrived next morning laden with spice, having been a-missing, as mentioned before. She had been driven thirty leagues to the east of Banda in a cruel storm, which gave them much ado to get again to windward. I returned to Pulo-way in the pinnace, which I again loaded without delay; and Mr Davis was taking in his loading in the junk, and making all the dispatch he could with his poor lame crew, the best part of my crew being long absent in the Diligence. We presently unladed her, and I that night set sail in her myself,[315] to see if I could come before Mr Davis came from thence, for I was told the junk was very leaky, and I wished to have her accompanied by the Hopewell, whatsoever might befall; as she had not a nail in her, but such as we had driven, and as we had none of ourselves, we caused the simple native smiths to make some iron pins, for they can make no nails,[316] and bestowed these in the most needful places. While striving in the Hopewell to reach Pulo-way, I was put past it in a mighty storm by the current; for the more the wind, the current is always the stronger: being put to leeward, and long before we could fetch the ship, and fain to take shelter on the Ceram shore, or else be blown away. After many trips, and still falling to leeward of the ship, I desired Mr Davis to look out for some harbour for our ship, to which we might come over direct from Pulo-way, without being obliged to ply to windward with our craft when deeply laden, which was effected.

[Footnote 315: This paragraph is utterly inexplicable, at least with any certainty, the abbreviation by Purchas having reduced it almost to absolute nonsense. Conjectural amendment being inadmissible, the subject is of so little moment as not to warrant any commentary.—E.]

[Footnote 316: Even to the present times, the boasted empire of China is unable to make a head to a nail. All their smiths can do for a substitute, is to bend the head of a small piece of iron like the letter z, which flattened, but not welded, serves as a substitute for the nail-head. Every chest of tea affords numerous examples of this clumsy qui pro quo.—E.]

In my long stay from Pulo-way and Banda on this occasion, the islanders had intelligence that our ship had weighed; and they were persuaded I had gone away for fear of the Hollanders. Upon this the islanders would not deal with my people whom I had left among them, neither even would they sell them provisions. They even began to rail at them and abuse them, saying that I had gone away with the ship, as the Hollanders did formerly, and would come back with a fleet, as they had done, and take their country from them. In this disposition of mind towards us, they had come to a determination to seize our house, and to send all our people prisoners to the top of a high rock, the consent only of the sabandar being a-wanting for taking possession of our goods, though some even began to take our goods forcibly. On the arrival of the sabandar, Mr Spalding waited upon him, and remonstrated upon the unjust conduct of the islanders in taking away our goods, craving his protection. The sabandar then said, that the islanders were resolved we should not do as the Hollanders had done, and were therefore resolved to make all the English prisoners; for the ship was gone, and our intentions seemed bad towards them. All that Mr Spalding could say, they would not be persuaded but that I was gone away in the ship, and that my people were left behind at Pulo-way for a sinister purpose.

Next day, the islanders met in council in their church, [mosque;] and while deliberating upon the seizure of our goods, and the imprisonment of Mr Spalding and our men, news were brought them that I was in sight in the Hopewell, on which they broke up their council. At my landing, Mr Spalding told me of the hard usage he had received, and the fear he was in. When I got to our house, the chief man of all the islands sat before the door, waiting my arrival, and told me plainly, if I had not then come myself, they would have taken our goods and made our people prisoners. I then explained to them the reason of removing the ship; adding, that it was no wonder the Hollanders had built a castle to defend themselves, when I received such hard and unjust usage from them, who was in friendship with them, had left my men among them with such commodities as the country required, had made the Hollanders my enemies because they were their enemies, and had done every thing in my power to serve them. They answered, that I must not blame them for being jealous of all Christians, as the Portuguese and Hollanders had done exactly like me for many years, but were now obviously determined to enslave their country.

Friendship and confidence being completely restored, I bought spice from them, and had soon enough to load my ship, which I dispatched in the Hopewell to where the Expedition now rode. Having still a considerable overplus of stock, I thought I could not do better service to your worships, than by laying out your money in farther purchases. I therefore loaded thirty tons more in a junk, and bought another junk of forty tons and spice to load her. But as she was not yet launched, I left Mr Spalding in charge of her loading, leaving Mr Chapman, a very honest and sufficient man, as master of this junk, with twelve persons to navigate her. I then took my leave of all the chiefs in a friendly manner, giving them various presents as farewell tokens, entreating them to give Mr Spalding such assistance as he might require, as after my departure he would have to rely on them.

Leaving Mr Chapman as master of the new junk, I was obliged to take charge of the Hopewell myself, and set sail the 7th September, 1610, from Pulo-way, having the junk Middleton in company, having remained longer in this country than any Englishman had done hitherto. I arrived at the ship on the 10th, which I now found was not fully laden, as seven tons of nutmegs that had come last from Pulo-way were spoiled and had to be thrown away. I laded her therefore from the Hopewell and the junk; and now turned off the Hopewell, which had done good service. She was only of half-inch plank, which we had never had leisure to sheath, and was so worm-eaten, that the pump had to be in constant use.

Sec. 3. Departure for Bantam, Escape from the Hollanders, and Voyage Home.

When the ship was fully laden, we set sail from Keeling bay for Bantam, having never a top-sail overhead, as the top-sails had been blown from the yards while Mr Davis was removing the ship from her original station to another bay, seven leagues more to the westward. As the junk went better than we, I wrote a letter by her to Bantam, desiring her crew to make all speed there, yet I hoped to overtake her when I could get up new top-sails, on which we were busy at work. Having completed our top-sails, I overtook the junk on the 16th September, when we found it could not now keep us company, unless we took in our top-sails. I directed them therefore to carry such sail in the junk as she was able to bear, and to follow me to Bantam, as my remaining with them could serve no good purpose, and I had much to do at Bantam to trim the ship for her voyage home. So we took leave of them and bore away for Bantam. I arrived there on the 9th October, where I found Mr Hensworth and Edward Neetles had both died shortly after my sailing for the spice islands; so that all the goods I had left were still there, not a yard of cloth being sold to the Chinese.

Having dispatched my affairs at Bantam, I appointed Richard Wooddies as chief of our factory, with whom I left directions for Mr Spalding, when God should send him to Bantam, to consider of a voyage to Succadania in Borneo for diamonds. I set sail on the 16th November, and having a good passage to Saldanha bay, I got there on the 21st January, 1611. I found that my brother Sir Henry Middleton had been there, arriving the 24th July, and departing the 10th August, 1610. I there found a copy of a letter my brother had sent home by a Hollander the day after he came to the road; which, if your worships have not received, you may see that they will detain all your worships letters. I took in water at Saldanha bay, and made all the dispatch I could for England.

Thus have I certified your worships of all matters in an ample manner, as seemed my duty. I have on board 100 tons, six cathayes, one quartern, and two pounds of nutmegs; and 622 suckets of mace, which are thirty-six tons, fifteen cathayes, one quartern, and twenty-one pounds. I left in the junk with Mr Herniman twenty-four tons, seven cathayes, two quarterns, eight pounds. All this cost me 25,071-1/4 rials; of which sum I have disbursed 500 rials of my own, for spice, which lies mostly on the orlop; and being in bond to your worships, it shall there remain till I know your worships pleasure whether I shall enjoy it.


Sixth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1610, under the Command of Sir Henry Middleton.[317]


This is one of the most curious of all the early voyages of the English to India, particularly on account of the transactions of Sir Henry in the Red Sea. According to the title of the voyage in the Pilgrims, the narrative was written by Sir Henry himself, probably an abstract of his journal. It breaks off abruptly, and leaves the fate of the voyage entirely unexplained, which will be found in some measure supplied by the subsequent narrative of Downton.

[Footnote 317: Purch. Pilgr. I. 247. Astl. I. 360.]

From the title given by Purchas to the narrative, it appears that there were three ships employed in this voyage: The Trades-increase of 1000 tons, admiral, commanded by Sir Henry Middleton, general of the expedition; the Pepper-corn of 250 tons, vice-admiral, commanded by Captain Nicholas Downton; and the Darling of 90 tons. Besides these, the bark Samuel of 180 tons accompanied as a victualler to Cape Verd.—E.

Sec. 1. Incidents of the Voyage till the Arrival of the Squadron at Mokha.

We came to anchor in the roads of Cape Verd on the 1st May, 1610, under an island, where we found a Frenchman of Dieppe, who was setting up a pinnace. Next day, I set all the carpenters of the fleet to work on my mainmast; and having taken off the fishes, they found it so sore wrung about three feet above the upper-deck, that it was half through, so that it must have gone by the board if we had met with any foul weather. I sent one of my carpenters a-land on the main to search for trees, who returned that night, saying he had seen some that would answer. The third we began to unload the Samuel, and sent the carpenters on shore to cut down trees, having leave of the alcaide, who came on board to dine with me, and to whom I gave a piece of Rouen cloth which I bought of the Frenchman, and some other trifles. The fifteenth, the mast being repaired, and all our water-casks full, we stowed our boats at night, and prepared to be gone next morning. Cape Verd is the best place I know of for our outward-bound ships; not being out of the way, the road being good and fit for the dispatch of any kind of business, and fresh fish to be had in great plenty. In a council with Captain Downton and the masters, it was agreed that our best course to steer for the line from hence was S.S.W. for sixty leagues, then S.S.E. till near the line, and then easterly. We dismissed the Samuel to return home, and held on our way.

We came into Saldanha roads the 24th July, and saluted the Dutch admiral with five guns, which he returned. There were also two other Holland ships there, which came to make train-oil of seals,[318] and which had made 300 pipes. This day I went a-land, and found the names of Captain Keeling and others, homewards-bound in January, 1610; also my brother David's name, outward-bound, 9th August, 1609, and likewise a letter buried under ground, according to agreement between him and me in England, but it was so consumed with damp as to be altogether illegible. The 26th, we set up a tent for our sick men, and got them all ashore to air our ships. From this till we departed, nothing happened worth writing.

[Footnote 318: In a letter which I had from Mr Femell, written from Saldanha bay, he mentions two French ships in like employment, which he suspected lay in wait for distressed ships coming from India.—Purch.]

The 6th September, in lat. 23 deg. 30' S. wind southerly, a pleasant gale. This day, after dinner, we saw land, and before night, came to anchor in the bay of St Augustine, where we found the Union distressed for want of provisions.[319] The 7th, I went ashore in my pinnace to endeavour to get fresh victuals for the people, but could not; we got however wood and water. The 10th, we steered along the coast with a fresh gale at S.E. reckoning to have made twenty-six leagues that day, but we only went twenty-two, owing to a current setting south. The 11th, we steered along the land, having still a great current against us. The 20th, at noon, our latitude was 11 deg. 10', the variation being 12 deg. 40' This afternoon we saw land, being the islands of Queriba,[320] which are dangerous low islands, environed with rocks and shoals.

[Footnote 319: See the narrative of her voyage in sect. ix. of this chapter.]

[Footnote 320: Querimba, an island and river of that name on the Cafre coast, in lat. 12 deg. 30' S. There is an island called Oibo, a little way to the north, and another named Goat's island, a little-way south of Querimba; all three being probably the islands of Queriba in the text.—E.]

The 16th October, early in the morning, we saw the Duas Irmanas, or Two Sisters, bearing N. by W. the wind at S.W. and the 18th, we came to anchor in a sandy bay in the island of Socotora, in lat. 12 deg. 25' N.[321] In the evening we caught many fish with the sein. The 21st, we endeavoured to get into the road of Tamarin, the chief town of the island, but from contrary winds were unable to get there till the 25th. The latitude of Tamarin is 12 deg. 30' [13 deg. 37'] S. This town stands at the foot of high rugged hills, and the road is all open between E. by N. and W.N.W. We anchored in ten fathoms on good ground. I sent Mr Femell ashore well accompanied, with a present to the king of a cloth vest, a piece of plate, and a sword-blade, when he promised all possible kindness. The 26th, I went ashore, accompanied by the chief merchants and a strong guard, and being conducted to the king's house, he entertained me courteously. I enquired of him concerning the trade of the Red Sea, which he highly commended, saying, the people of Aden and Mokha were good, and would be glad to trade with us. He said farther, that the Ascension had sold all her goods there at high prices, and came so light to Tamarin as to require much ballast. This news gave me good content. I asked leave to set up my pinnace on his island, but he would not allow it in this road, as if I staid long at Tamarin it might deter all others from coming there; but if I chose to return to the former port, I might set up the pinnace at that place. On enquiring for aloes, he said he had sent away all his aloes to his father, who resides at Kushem, near Cape Fartak, being king of that part of Arabia Felix. I asked leave to wood and water. He gave me free leave to take water, but said, if I would have any wood, I must pay very dear for it. He confirmed the loss of the Ascension and her pinnace, which was no small grief to me. He urged me much to go to the Red Sea, but advised me not to attempt trade at Fartak, as he thought his father would not allow me. I and all my people dined with the king, and then went aboard.

[Footnote 321: The latitude in the text is very erroneous; the most southerly part of Socotora being in 13 deg. 6' N.]

The 7th November, while steering along the coast of Arabia, we saw a high land about ten o'clock, rising like Abba-del-curia, and capable of being seen a great way off, which we imagined to be the high land of Aden. In the evening, we came to anchor before the town in twenty fathoms on sandy ground. Aden stands in a vale at the foot of a mountain, and makes a fair appearance. It is surrounded by a stone wall, and has forts and bulwarks in many places; but how these are furnished I know not. The 8th, there came off a small boat in which were three Arabs, who said they were sent by the lieutenant of the town to enquire of what nation we were; sending us word we were welcome if English, and that Captain Sharpey had been there the year before, and had gone thence to Mokha, where he sold all his goods. I asked the name of the pacha, and whether he was a good man. They answered his name was Jaffer Pacha; that the former pacha was a very bad man, this rather better, but all the Turks were bad. Asking what sort of place Mokha was for trade, they told me there was one man in Mokha who would purchase all my goods. I sent John Williams ashore, one of my factors, who could speak Arabic, who was kindly entertained.

The morning of the 9th, I sent my pinnace ashore to procure a pilot for Mokha, and in the mean time weighed anchor and got under sail. The pinnace returned without a pilot, saying, they would not let us have any unless we left three of our chief merchants in pledge, and that they entreated me to leave one ship, and they would buy all her goods. Being desirous of trade, I agreed to leave the Pepper-corn, and did what we could to regain the road, but were carried to leeward by the current, so we came to anchor to the south of the town. I then sent Mr Fowler and John Williams ashore, to tell them I was to leave one ship with them to trade, and begged they would let me have a pilot They seemed glad that one of the ships was to remain, and promised me a pilot next day. Seeing no hope of a pilot on the 12th, and having dispatched our business with the Pepper-corn, I sailed about noon with the Trades-increase and Darling for Mokha.

The 14th, we saw the head-land going into the Red Sea, rising like an island, and about eleven, we were athwart the entrance, being only three miles broad.[322] On the north side is a rugged land like an island, and on the other side is a low flat island, called Babelmandd,[323] on the south side of which island there appeared to be a broad strait or entrance. After passing through the strait, we saw a village in a sandy bay on the north shore, to which place I sent my pinnace to get a pilot. It soon returned with two Arabs, who pretended to be very skilful. Our depth in the straits was from eight to eleven fathoms, and the distance from Aden to the straits is thirty leagues. About four o'clock p.m. we had sight of the town of Mokha; and about five, while luffing with a strong wind, we split our main-top-sail, and putting abroad our mizen, it split likewise. At this time our pilots got our ship aground on a sand bank, the wind blowing hard, and the sea somewhat high, so that we much feared her getting safe off again.

[Footnote 322: This must have been the N.E. passage, between the island of Prin and the promontory on the coast of Arabia. The other passage is much broader.—E.]

[Footnote 323: The name of the island is Prin, Bab-al-Mondub, signifying the gate of lamentation, is the Arabian name of the straits leading into the Red Sea.—E,]

Sec. 2. Transactions at Mokha, and Treachery of the Turks there, and at Aden.

That same night, a boat came off to us from the town, in which was a proper man of a Turk, sent by the governor to enquire who we were, and what was our business. I answered that we were English merchants, who came in search of trade. To this he replied, that we were heartily welcome, and should not fail in what we wanted; and that Alexander Sharpey had sold all his goods there, and we might do the like. He made light of the grounding of our ship, saying it was quite customary for the great ships of India to get there aground, and yet none of them ever suffered any harm by it. He then hastened on shore to acquaint the aga what we were, and promised to return in the morning with boats to lighten our ship. This man, as I afterwards understood, was what they call lord of the sea;[324] his office is to board all ships that come to Mokha, to see lighters sent to discharge the ships, and to take care that they do not defraud the customs; for all which he has certain fees, which constitute his salary.

[Footnote 324: In Arabic, Amir-al-Bahar.—Astl. I. 363. a.]

Early in the morning of the 14th, the lord of the sea returned with three or four other Turks in his company, two of whom spoke Italian. They brought me a small present from the aga, with hearty welcome to his port, saying, we should have as good and free trade as we had in Stamboul, [Constantinople,] Aleppo, or any other part of the Turkish dominions, with many other compliments, and offers of every thing that the country could afford. They brought three or four, lighters, into which we put any thing that first came to hand to lighten the ship. Mr Femell went ashore in one of these before I was aware, carrying with him every thing he had in the ship. We sent our money, elephants teeth, and all our shot, aboard the Darling; and in the evening carried out our anchors into deep water, trying to heave off our ship, but could not. The 15th we sent more goods ashore, and some on board the Darling, and about five p.m. on heaving the capstan, our ship went off the bank to all our comforts. I had this day a letter from Mr Femell, telling me he hod received kind entertainment from the aga, and had agreed to pay five per cent custom for all we should sell, and all that was not sold to be returned custom-free. Likewise the aga sent me a letter under his hand and seal, offering himself and every thing in his country at my disposal, with many other compliments.

The 19th two boats came off for iron to Mr Femell, which I caused to be sent; but wrote to him, not to send for any more goods till those he had already were sold. In answer, Mr Femell wrote, that I must come ashore according to the custom of the country, if I minded to have trade, otherwise they could not be persuaded but we were men of war. The aga likewise sent his interpreter to entreat me to come ashore, if I were a merchant and friend to the Great Turk, and hoped for trade; alledging, that Captain Sharpey, and all Indian captains, did so. The 20th, I went ashore, and was received at the water-side by several of the chief men, accompanied with music, and brought in great state to the aga's house, where all the chief men of the town were assembled. I was received with much kindness, was seated close to the aga, all the rest standing, and many compliments paid me. I delivered his majesty's letter for the pacha, and a present, which I requested might be sent up to the pacha with all speed. I likewise gave the aga a present, with which he seemed much pleased, assuring me I should have free trade, and if any of the townspeople offended me or my men, he would punish them severely. He then made me stand up, and one of his chief men put upon me a vest of crimson silk and silver, saying, this was the Grand Seignor's protection, and I need fear no ill. After some compliments, I took my leave, and was mounted on a gallant horse with rich furniture, a great man leading my horse, and was conducted in my new coat, accompanied by music, to the English factory, where I staid dinner. Meaning to go aboard in the evening, I was much entreated to remain, which I yielded to, being forced also for some days following by bad weather.

Every day I had some small present sent me by the aga, with compliments from him, enquiring if I were in want of any thing. On the 28th, he sent twice complimentary messages, desiring me to be merry, as when their fast was over, now almost expired, he would take me along with him to his gardens and other places of pleasure. This afternoon Mr Pemberton came ashore for cocoa-nuts, and wishing afterwards to return on board, the Turks would not allow him, saying it was too late, and he might go as early next morning as he pleased. I sent to entreat permission for him to go, but it was refused. All this time we suspected no harm, only thinking the officer was rather too strict in his conduct on this occasion, which we thought had been without orders, and of which I meant next day to complain to the aga. After sun-set, I ordered stools to be set for us at the door, where Mr Femell, Mr Pemberton, and I, sat to take the fresh air, having no suspicions that any evil was intended us. About eight o'clock, a janissary brought some message for me from the aga; and as we could not understand him, I sent my man to call one of my people who could speak Turkish. While this man was interpreting the aga's message, which was merely complimentary, my own man came to us in great consternation, saying we were betrayed, for the Turks and my people were by the ears at the back of the house.

The Turk who sat beside us rose up immediately, and desired my man to shew him where the quarrel was, several of my folks following to see what was the matter. I immediately ran after them, calling as loud as I was able for them to turn back and defend our house; but while speaking, I was struck on the head by one behind me with such violence, that I fell down and remained senseless till they had bound my hands behind me so tightly, that the pain restored my senses. As soon as they saw me move, they set me on my feet, and led me between two of them to the house of the aga, where I found several of my people in a similar situation with myself. On the way the soldiers pillaged me of all the money I had about me, and took from me three gold rings, one of which was my seal, another was set with seven diamonds, which were of considerable value, and the third was a gimmall ring. When all of us that escaped alive in this treacherous and bloody massacre were brought together, they began to put us in irons, I and seven more being chained together by the neck, others by their feet, and others again by the hands. This being done they all left us, except two soldiers appointed to keep guard over us. These soldiers had compassion upon us, and eased us of the bands which tied our hands behind; for most of us were so tightly bound that the blood was ready to start from our finger-ends.

After my hands were thus eased, being much distressed both for myself and the rest, and in great anxiety for the ships, which I believed the faithless Turks would leave no villainy unattempted to get possession of, we began to converse together as to what could be the reason of this infamous usage. I demanded if any of them could tell how the affray began, and if any of our people were slain. I was informed by those of our company who were in the fray, and had escaped, that Francis Slanny, John Lanslot, and six more were slain, and that fourteen of those now in custody along with me were sore wounded. They said that our house was surrounded by soldiers, who, when I was knocked down, attacked our company with merciless cruelty, against those who had no weapons to defend themselves.

Having thus succeeded in the first act of their treachery, they now aimed to gain possession of our ships and goods. For about ten o'clock that same night, they manned three large boats with about 150 armed men, in order to take the Darling, which rode somewhat nearer the shore than our large ship. The boats put off from the shore together, and that they might be mistaken for Christians, the Turks took off their turbans, and all boarded the Darling, most of them getting upon her deck. This attack was so sudden, that three men belonging to the Darling were slain before they could get down below: The rest took to their close quarters, and stood on their defence. At this time, the Emir al Bahar, who commanded on this enterprize, called to his soldiers to cut the tables in the house.[325] The soldiers misunderstanding him, many of them leapt into the boats and cut the boat ropes, so that they drifted away. By this time our men had got hold of their weapons and manned their close quarters, the Turks standing thick in the waste, hallooing and clanging their swords upon the deck. One of our company threw a large barrel of powder among them, and after it a fire-brand, which took instant effect, and scorched several of them. The rest retired to the quarter-deck and poop, as they thought for greater safety, where they were entertained with musket-shot and another train of powder, which put them in such fear that they leapt into the sea, many of them clinging to the ship's side and desiring quarter, which was not granted, as our men killed all they could find, and the rest were drowned. One man only was saved, who hid himself till the fury was over, when he yielded and was received to mercy. Thus God, of his goodness and mercy, delivered our ship and men out of the hands of our enemies, for which blessed be his holy name for ever more. Amen.

[Footnote 325: This seems unintelligible nonsense, from what follows, it would appear that the order was to cut the cables in the hose, that the ship might drift a-shore.—E.]

On the return of the boats to Mokha, they reported that the ship was taken, for which there were great rejoicings. The aga sent off the boats again, with orders to bring the ship close to the shore; but on getting out to where she rode, they found her under sail and standing off, on which they returned, and told the aga that the ship had escaped and was gone, and they now believed the Emir-al-bahar and his soldiers were taken prisoners, which was no pleasing news to him. Before day, he sent his interpreter to tell me that my small ship was taken, which I believed. At day-break, I was sent for to come before the aga, and went accordingly with my seven yoke-fellows, all fastened with me by the neck to the same chain. With a frowning countenance, he asked how I durst be so bold as to enter their port of Mokha, so near their holy city of Mecca? I answered, that he already knew the reason of my coming, and that I had not landed till earnestly entreated by him, with many promises of kind usage. He then said it was not lawful for any Christian to come so near their holy city, of which Mokha was as one of the gates, and that the pacha had express orders from the Great Turk to captivate all Christians who came into these seas, even if they had the imperial pass. I told him the fault was his own, for not having told me so at first, but deluding us with fair promises.

He now gave me a letter to read from Captain Downton, dated long before at Aden, saying, that two of his merchants and his purser had been detained on shore,[326] and that they could not get them released, without landing merchandize, and paying 1500 Venetian chequins for anchorage. After I had read the letter, the aga desired to know its purport, which I told him. He then informed me that the ship, since the writing of that letter, had been cast away on a rock, and all her goods and men lost. He then commanded me to write a letter to the people in my large ship to know how many Turks were detained in the small one. I said that was needless, as he had already sent me word the small ship was taken. To this he replied, that she was once taken, but the large ship had rescued her. He then ordered me to write a letter, commanding all the people of the large ship to come ashore, and to deliver the large ship and her goods into his hands, when he would give us the small ship to carry us home. I said it would be folly to write any such thing, as those who were aboard and at liberty would not be such fools as to forsake their ship and goods, and come ashore to be slaves, merely for my writing them. He said he was sure if I wrote such a letter, they durst not disobey me. When I told him plainly I would write no such letter, he urged me again, threatening to cut off my head if I refused. I bade him do so, in which he would give me pleasure, being weary of my life. He then asked what money we had in the ship, and what store of victuals and water? I said we had but little money, being only for purchasing victuals, not merchandize, and that we had enough of victuals and water for two years, which he would not believe.

[Footnote 326: Besides these, twenty more were treacherously betrayed at Aden, having leave given them to go onshore for business.—Purch.]

I was now taken out of my chain and collar, having a large pair of fetters put upon my legs, with manacles on my wrists; and being separated from the rest of my company, I was bestowed all that day in a dirty dog-kennel under a stair; but at night, at the entreaty of Shermall, consul of the Banians, I was taken to a better room, and allowed to have one of my men along with me who spoke Turkish; yet my bed was the hard ground, a stone my pillow, and my company to keep me awake were grief of heart and a multitude of rats. About midnight came the lieutenant of the aga with the trugman,[327] entreating me to write a letter on board to enquire how many Turks they had prisoners, and what were their names; but in no case to write any thing of the loss of our men, and the hard usage we had met with; but to say we were detained in the aga's house till orders came from the pacha, and that we wanted for nothing. This letter I wrote exactly as they wished; but commanded them to look well to their ships and boats, and by no means to let any of their men come ashore. Taking this letter with them, they examined two or three of my men apart as to its meaning.

[Footnote 327: Or interpreter, now commonly called dragoman, druggeman, or trucheman, all of which are corruptions from the Arabic tarijman.—Astl. I. 366. a.]

They could not at first get any one who would venture on board, so that my first letter was not sent. But at length a person, who was born at Tunis, in Barbary, and spoke good Italian, undertook to carry a letter, providing I would write to use him well. I wrote again as they desired, which was taken on board and answered, saying, that all the Turks were slain or drowned, save one, named Russwan, a common soldier; in this answer they expressed their satisfaction to hear that I was alive; as Russwan told them he believed I and all the rest were slain. We continued in this misery till the 15th December, never hearing any thing from the ships nor they from us. The aga came several times to me, sometimes with threats and sometimes soothing, to have me write for all my people to come ashore and deliver up the ships; but I always answered him as before. He was in hopes our ships would be forced, for want of water and provisions, to surrender to him, knowing they could not have a wind to get out of the straits till May, and would by no means believe me that they were provided for two years.

In the mean time they in the ships were at their wits end, hearing nothing from us ashore, and not knowing well what to do. They rode very insecurely in an open anchorage, the wind blowing continually hard at S.S.E. inclosed all round with shoals, and their water beginning to fail, as we had started fifty tons in our large ship to lighten her when we got aground. While in this perplexity, an honest true-hearted sailor, named John Chambers, offered to go ashore and see what was become of us, putting his life and liberty at stake, rather than see the people so much at a loss. He effected this on the 15th December, being set ashore upon a small island with a flag of truce, a little to windward of the town, having one of our Indians along with him as an interpreter. On being carried before the aga, who asked him how he durst come on shore without leave, he said he came with a flag of truce, and was only a messenger, which was permitted among enemies. Being asked what message he had to deliver, he said a letter for his general, and likewise, if allowed, to see and enquire how we all did. He and the Indian were strictly examined as to the store of provisions and water on board, when both answered as I had done, that there was enough of both for two years.

Chambers was then brought to my dark cell, and could not for some time see me on coming out of the light. He delivered me the letter with watery eyes, on seeing me so fettered, both hands and feet being in irons. When he had told me how he came ashore, I told him I hardly thought they would let him off again; as, not many days before, a man who brought a letter for me from the Pepper-corn was detained a prisoner, being neither allowed to return nor to go aboard the ships in the roads. His answer was, that before leaving the ship he had made up his mind to submit to the same hard fate as I did, if they were so villainous as to detain him who was only a messenger. The 16th I wrote an answer, and delivered it to Chambers, and, contrary to my expectation, they let him and the Indian return, with leave to come again next day if they had occasion. Next day accordingly, Chambers returned alone, for the Indian was so terrified that he durst not venture again. My man sent me various things by Chambers, but the aga was my receiver, thinking them too good for me.

While daily expecting orders from the pacha to put us to death, or to make us perpetual prisoners or slaves, on the 20th December an aga came down from Zenan, who was captain, or chief of the chiauses, with orders to bring us all up there. Being desirous to see me and my company, three chairs were brought into my prison, on which Regib aga, Ismael aga, the messenger, and Jaffer aga, seated themselves. Regib aga began by asking, how I dared to come into that country so near their holy city, without a pass from the Turkish emperor? I answered, that the king my master was in peace and amity with the Grand Turk, and that by the treaty between them, trade was allowed to us in all his dominions, of which this being a part, we needed no pass. He then said, that this place being the door, as it were, of their holy city, was not lawful for any Christians to enter; and then asked me if I did not know the grand signior had a long sword? I answered, we were not taken by the sword, but by treachery; and if I and my people were aboard, I would not care for the length of his sword, nor for all their swords. He then said, this was proudly spoken; and, as formerly, desired I would write, commanding all my people to come ashore, and surrender themselves and ships to the pacha, to which I answered as formerly. Ismael aga now broke off this idle discourse, by telling me, he came from the pacha with express orders to conduct me and all my people to Zenan, and therefore advised me to send aboard for warm clothing, as we should find it very cold in the mountains. I requested him that my poor men might be sent aboard ship, and that only I and a few more should go up to Zenan. He said, it was not in his power to remedy this, as the pacha had ordered all to go; but Regib aga said I should have my wish, and that I and five more should go to Zenan, the rest remaining where they were till farther orders from the pacha. This same day, the 20th December, Captain Downton came in the Pepper-corn to Mokha roads from Aden; and learning this, I wrote him a letter, giving him my opinion of what was best for him to do, he being commander in my absence.

Sec. 3. Journey of Sir Henry Middleton to Zenan, in the Interior of Yemen, or Arabia Felix, with some Description of the Country, and Occurrences till his Return to Mokha.

The 22d December, our irons were all taken off our legs, except the carpenters and smiths, who were detained at Mokha to set up our pinnace, and some sick men who were unable to travel. I and thirty-four of my people were destined to go up to Zenan, the chief city of the kingdom,[328] where the pacha resided. About four p.m. of the 22d we left Mokha, myself and Mr Femell being on horseback, and all the rest of my people upon asses. About ten at night, when ten or twelve miles from Mokha, Mr Pemberton slipped away. We missed him immediately, but said not a word, aiding his escape with our prayers to God to speed him safe aboard. About one hour after midnight, we came to an inn or town, called Mowssie, when we were counted, but Pemberton was not missed. We remained here till four in the afternoon of the 23d, when, at our coming out to depart, we were again counted, and one was now found wanting. The aga asked me how many of us left Mokha, on which I answered, thirty-four, as I thought, but I was not certain. He insisted there certainly were thirty-five, and that one was now missing; on which I said that was more than I knew.

[Footnote 328: Zenan, or Sanaa, is a city in the interior of Yemen, or Yaman, in lat. 16 deg. 45' N. and long. 46 deg. E. from Greenwich; being about 250 miles N.N.E. from Mokha, and about 150 miles N.N.W. from the nearest coast of the Indian ocean, situated on one of the very few rivers that are to be found in Arabia.—E.]

I ought to have mentioned, that, while a prisoner at Mokha, I found much kindness from one Hamet aga, who sent me various presents, encouraging me to be of good comfort, as my cause was good. He sent a supply of bread for me and my people on the journey, and gave me letters for the kiahya of the pacha. The consul likewise of the Banians came every day to visit me, and never empty handed; and Tookehar was our great friend all the time we were prisoners, sending every day to each man, fifty-one in all, two cakes of white bread, and a quantity of dates or plantains. He went away from Mokha for Zenan two days before us, promising me to use his beat endeavours with the pacha for our good; and I believe he did what he said, for I was told by several persons at Zenan, that he laboured hard in our business, both with the pacha and the kiahya, which latter was a very discreet person, and governed the kingdom.

On Christmas day we arrived at the city of Tyes, four days journey from Mokha, where we were marshalled two and two together, as they do at Stambol[329] with captives taken in the wars, our aga riding in triumph, as a great conqueror. We were met a mile out of town by the chief men of the place on horseback, multitudes of people standing all the way gazing and wondering at us; and this was done at all the cities and towns through which we passed. A youth belonging to Mr Pemberton fell sick at this town, and had to be left in charge of the governor, being unable to travel.

[Footnote 329: Stambola, Stamboli, Stamboul, vulgar names in the east for Constantinople, is a correction and corruption of [Greek] which the Greeks used to say when going to Constantinople, i.e. to the city, by way of especial eminence above all other cities.—Purch.]

I kept no journal all the way from Tyes to Zenan; but this I well remember, that it was exceedingly cold all that part of the journey, our lodging being the cold ground, and every morning the ground was covered with hoar frost. I would not believe at Mokha when I was told how cold was the upper country, but experience taught me, when too late, to wish I had come better provided. I bought fur gowns for most of my men, who were slenderly clothed, otherwise I think they would have starved. Zenan is, as I judge, about 180 miles N.N.W. from Mokha.[330] It is in lat. 16 deg. 15', as I observed by an instrument I made there. We were fifteen days between Mokha and Zenan. The 5th of January, 1611, two hours before day, we came within two miles of Zenan, where we had to sit on the bare ground till day-light, and were much pinched by the cold, and so benumbed that we could hardly stand. Every morning the ground was covered with hoar frost, and in Zenan we have had ice an inch thick in one night, which I could not have believed unless I had seen it.

[Footnote 330: See a former note, in which its geographical relation to Mokha is given on the authority of our latest and best maps.—E.]

About a mile from the town, we were met by the subasha, or sheriff, with at least 200 shot, accompanied by drums and trumpets. We were now drawn up in single file, or one behind the other, at some distance, to make the greater shew, our men having their gowns taken from them, and being forced to march on foot in their thin and ragged suits. The soldiers led the way, after whom went our men one by one, our trumpeters being next before me, and commanded by the aga to sound, but I forbade them. After our trumpeters, came Mr Femell and I on horseback; and lastly, came the aga riding in triumph, with a richly caparisoned spare horse led before him. In this order we were led through the heart of the city to the castle, all the way being so thronged with people that we could hardly get through them. At the first gate there was a good guard of armed soldiers; at the second were two great pieces of cannon on carriages. After passing this gate, we came into a spacious court yard, twice as long as the Exchange at London. The soldiers discharged their pieces at this gate, and placed themselves, among many others there before them, on the two sides, leaving a lane for us to walk through. Mr Femell and I alighted at this gate, and placed ourselves on one side along with our men, but he and I were soon ordered to attend upon the pacha, it being their divan day, or meeting of the council. At the upper end of the court-yard, we went up a stair of some twelve steps, at the top of which two great men came and held me by the wrists, which they griped very hard, and led me in this manner to the pacha, who was seated in a long spacious gallery, many great men standing on each side of him, and others stood on each side all along this gallery, making a good shew, the floor being all covered with Turkey carpets.

When I came within two yards of the pacha, we were commanded to stop. The pacha then, with a frowning and angry countenance, demanded of what country I was, and what brought me into these parts? I answered, that I was an Englishman and a merchant, a friend to the grand signior, and came to seek trade. He then said, it was not lawful for any Christian to come into that country, and he had already given warning to Captain Sharpey for no more of our nation to come hither. I told him Captain Sharpey was cast away on the coast of India, and did not get to England to tell us so; which, if we had known, we had never put ourselves to the trouble we were now in; that Regib aga had imposed upon us, saying, we were welcome into the country, and that we should have as free trade as in any part of Turkey, with many other fair promises; and, contrary to his word, had assaulted us with armed soldiers, had murdered several of my men, and made me and others prisoners. He said Regib aga was no more than his slave, and had no power to pass his word to me without his leave, and that what had befallen me and my people was by his orders to Regib aga; he having such orders from the grand signior so to chastise all Christians that dared to come into these parts. I told him we had already received great harm, and if it pleased him to let us return to our ships, what we had suffered would be a sufficient warning for our nation never to return again into his country. He answered, that he would not allow us to depart, but that I should write to the ambassador of our nation at Constantinople, and he would write to the grand signior, to know his pleasure as to what was to be done with us, or whether he chose to permit us to trade or no.

The pacha then dismissed me, desiring me to go to the lodging that was appointed for me, taking four or five of my people with me at my choice. These men and I were conveyed to the jailor's house, while all the rest were committed to the common prison, where they were all heavily ironed. At the time when I was taken before the pacha, one of our youths fainted, thinking I was led away to be beheaded, and that his turn would soon follow. He sickened immediately, and died shortly after. The 6th, I was sent for to breakfast with the kiabya, or lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and after breakfast, I gave him a particular account of the vile treachery that had been practised against me by Regib aga. He desired me to be of good cheer, not thinking of what was past, which could not be remedied, as he hoped all would go well in the end, for which his best endeavours to do me good should not be wanting. Shermall, the Banian at Mokha, had made this man my friend. The 7th, I was sent for again by the kiabya to his garden, where he feasted Mr Femell and me, telling me that I and my people should be soon set at liberty, and sent back to Mokha, where all my wrongs should be redressed, as he was resolved to stand my friend. This declaration was made before many of the principal persons, both Turks and Arabs, his only inducement being for God's sake, as he pretended, but I well knew it was in hopes of a reward. The letter of Hamet aga to this man did us much good.

At this time there came to Zenan a Moor of Cairo, who was an old acquaintance of the pacha, and had lent him large sums at his first coming from Constantinople very poor. This man was our next neighbour in Mokha at the time when we were betrayed, and had a ship in the road of Mokha, bound for India, which he feared our ships would have taken in revenge of our injuries, but as she was allowed peaceably to depart, he became our great friend. He wrote a letter in our behalf to the pacha, blaming him for using us so ill, and saying he would destroy the trade of the country by such conduct. On coming now to the pacha, he repeated what he had written and much more, urging him to return me all my goods, and to send me and my people away contented. His influence prevailed much; as when the pacha sent for us, it was his intention to have put me to death, and to make slaves of all the rest. Of all this I was informed by Shermall and Hamet Waddy, who were both present when the letter was read, and at the conference between the pacha and him. This Hamet Waddy is a very rich Arabian merchant, residing in Zenan, and is called the pacha's merchant: He was much our friend, in persuading the pacha to use us kindly and permit us to depart.

The 8th January, I represented to the pacha, that at my coming away, from Mokha, I had ordered the commanders of my ships to forbear hostilities for twenty-five days, and afterwards to use their discretion, unless they heard farther from me. And as the time was almost expired, I requested he would enable me to write them some encouraging news, to stay them from doing injury to Mokha. The 11th, I was sent for to the kiahya, who told me my business was ended satisfactorily, and that the only delay now was in waiting for the rest of my people coming from Aden, immediately after which we should be sent to Mokha. The 17th, Mr Fowler and eighteen more of the company of the Pepper-corn arrived at Zenan from Aden, and were carried before the pacha, who asked them the same question he had done me. Afterwards, Mr Fowler, John Williams, and Robert Mico were sent to keep me company, and all the rest to the common prison with my other men, where they were all put in irons. Their only allowance from the pacha was brown bread and water, and they had all died of hunger if I had not relieved them.

The 25th, I was sent for to the kiahya's garden, where we spent some hours in conference. He told me I was to accompany him to the pacha, and advised me to sooth him with fair words. The chief cause of this man being our friend was, that I had promised him 1500 sequins after we were delivered, which I had done through Shermall, the consul of the Banians, after a long negotiation. Mr Femell and I were brought to the pacha's garden, where we found him in a kiosk, or summer-house, sitting in a chair, the kiabya standing at his right hand, and five or six others behind him. The pacha asked me how I did, desiring me to be of good cheer, as I and my people should soon be sent to Mokha, where I and twenty-nine more were to remain till all the India ships were come in, and the winds settled westerly, and then I and all my company should be allowed to embark and proceed on our voyage to India. I requested that he would not detain so many of us; but he answered, "Thirty have I said, and thirty shall remain." I then asked if our goods should be returned. He answered no, for they were all put to the account of the grand signior. I asked if all my people should be allowed to depart at the time appointed. To which he answered, that not one should be detained, not even if I had a Turkish slave, and I might depend on his word.

Having given him thanks for his kindness, as counselled by the kiahya, he began to excuse himself; and to praise his own clemency, saying, it was happy for us we had fallen into his hands, as if it had been in the time of any of his predecessors, we had all suffered death for presuming to come so near their holy city. He said, what had been done was by order of the grand signior, proceeding upon the complaints of the pachas of Cairo and Swaken, and the sharif of Mecca, who represented that, when the Ascension and her pinnace were in the Red Sea, they had bought up all the choice goods of India, by which the Turkish customs were much diminished; and, if allowed to continue, it would ruin the trade of the Red Sea. Wherefore the grand signior had given orders, if any more Englishmen or other Christians came into these parts, to confiscate their ships and goods, and to kill or reduce to slavery all their men they could get hold of.

In the mean time many of our people fell sick, and became weak through grief, cold, bad air, bad diet, wretched lodging, and heavy irons. I never ceased urging the kiahya, till he procured their liberations from the loathsome prison; so that on the 11th February they were freed from their irons, and had a house in the town to live in, with liberty to walk about. Next day the kiahya sent me six bullocks for my men, so that in a few days, with wholesome food and exercise, they recovered their former health and strength. The kiahya informed me, that Regib aga had written to the pacha to send us all down to Aden, to be there taken on board his ships; by which means his town of Mokha, and the India ships in passing the bab[331] would be freed from the danger of suffering any harm from our ships. This advice had nearly prevailed with the pacha, but was counteracted for our good by the kiahya.

[Footnote 331: This is the gate or straits of Bab-al-Mondub, or Babel Mandel, as corruptly called by Europeans.—Astl I. 372. a,]

Early in the morning of the 17th February, I and Mr Femell and others were sent for by the kiahya, and told that we were all to depart next morning for Mokha. After breakfast, he took us to the pacha to take leave. After again extolling his clemency and magnifying the power of the grand signior, he strictly enjoined me to come no more into those seas; saying, that no Christian or Lutheran should be allowed to come thither, even if they had the grand signior's pass. I requested, if any of our nation came there before I could give advice to England, that they might be permitted to depart quietly, and not betrayed as I had been: but this he positively refused to comply with. I then entreated him to write to Regib aga, to execute all that the pacha had promised me; for, being my mortal enemy, he would otherwise wrong me and my people. He answered with great pride, "Is not my word sufficient to overturn a city? If Kegib wrong you, I will pull his skin over his ears, and give you his head. Is he not my slave?" I then asked him for an answer to his majesty's letter, but he would give me none. On my departure, I told the kiahya that I had no weapon, and therefore desired leave to buy a sword, that I might not ride down like a prisoner. He acquainted the pacha with my request, who sent me one of his cast swords. The kiahya also gave me this morning an hundred pieces of gold of forty maydens, having before given me fifty. The 18th, I paid all the dues of the prison, and went to breakfast with the kiahya, where I received my dispatch, and a letter for the governor of Aden, to deliver the boat belonging to the Pepper-corn, I requested also his letter to the governor of Tyes, to restore Mr Pemberton's boy who was left sick there, and who, I had been informed, was forced to turn Mahometan. He wrote a letter and sealed it, but I know not its purport. I now took leave of the kiahya, and departed for Mokha; I, Mr Femell, and Mr Fowler, being mounted on horses, and alt the rest on asses or camels. We had two chiautes to conduct us on the way, one a-horseback and the other a-foot.

The city of Zenan is somewhat larger than Bristol,[332] and is well built of stone and lime, having many churches or mosques. It is surrounded by a mud wall, with numerous battlements and towers. On the west side there is a great deal of spare ground enclosed within the walls, where the principal people have their gardens, orchards, and kiosks, or pleasure-houses. It stands in a barren stony valley, enclosed among high hills at no great distance, on one of which to the north, which overlooks the town, there is a small castle to keep off the mountaineers, who used from thence to offend the city. Its only water is from wells, which have to be dug to a great depth. Wood is very scarce and dear, being brought from a distance. The castle is at the east side of the city, and is enclosed with mudwalls, having many turrets, in which they place their watch every night, who keep such a continual hallooing to each other all night long, that one unaccustomed to the noise, can hardly sleep. The pacha and some other principal men dwell within the castle. The house of the keeper of the prison, in which I was confined, adjoins the wall, at the foot of which is a spacious yard, where a great number of people, mostly women and children, are kept as pledges, to prevent their husbands, parents, and relations from rebelling. The boys while young run about loose in the yard, but when they come to any size, they are put in irons, and confined in a strong tower. The women and children dwell in little huts in the yard built on purpose, the children going mostly naked, unless when the weather is very cold, and then they have sheep-skin coats.

[Footnote 332: This is a most improper mode of description, as it is now impossible to say what size Bristol was then.—E.]

The first night of our journey we arrived at Siam, a small town, with a cattle, on the side of a hill, sixteen miles from Zenan, the country about being very barren. The 19th we came to Surage, a small village eighteen miles from Siam, in a very barren country. The people are very poor, and go almost naked, except a cloth round their middles reaching to their knees. The 20th, Damare, or Dhamar, a town built of stone and lime, but in five separate parts, like so many distinct villages. It stands in a spacious plain or valley, abounding in water, and producing plenty of grain and other provisions. This town is twenty miles from Surage, and we remained here two days by order of Abdallah Chelabi, the Kiabys, who was governor of this province. The 22d we came to Ermin, a small village, about fifteen miles. The 23d, Nakhil Sammar, a common inn for travellers, called Sensors by the Turks. There are many of these sensors between Mokha and Zenan, being built at the cost of the grand signior for the relief of travellers. This sensor stands in the middle of a very steep hill, called Nakhil Sammar, on the top of which is a great castle, in which the governor of the province resides, who is an Arabian; these craggy mountainous countries being mostly governed by Arabians, as the inhabitants of the mountains cannot brook the proud and insolent government of the Turks. No Turk may pass this way, either to or from Zenan, without a passport from the governor of the province from which they come. This sensor is about fourteen miles from Ermin.

The 24th we came to Mohader, a small village at the foot of the great hill, thirteen miles from Nakhil Sammar. Our chiaus had a warrant from the pacha to take up asses for our men, and accordingly did so at this place over night; but next morning the Arabians lay in ambush in the way, and took back their asses, neither of our chiauses daring to give them one uncivil word. The 25th we came to Rabattamaine, a sensor, with a few small cottages and shops, on the side of a hill, sixteen miles. Here grow poppies, of which they make opium, but it is not good. The 26th we came to a coughe[333] house, called Merfadine, in the middle of a plain, sixteen miles. The 27th, Tayes, a city half as big as Zenan, surrounded by a mud wall. We staid here two days, in which time I did all I could to recover Mr Pemberton's boy, whom Hamet aga the governor had forced to become Mahometan, and would on no account part with him. Walter Talbot, who spoke the Turkish language, was allowed to converse with him in a chamber among other boys. He told Talbot that he was no Turk, but had been deluded by them, saying that I and all my people were put to death at Zenan, and that he must change his religion if he would save his life, but he refused: yet they carried him to a bagnio, where he was circumcised by force. Finding the aga would not deliver the boy, I gave him the kiahya's letter, desiring him to be given up if not turned; so he was refused. This city stands in a valley under very high hills, on the top of one of which is a fair strong castle. All kinds of provisions are here plentiful and cheap, and in the neighbourhood some indigo is made, but I could not learn what quantity or quality. This city is very populous, as indeed are all the cities and districts we passed through.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse