A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. VIII.
by Robert Kerr
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Having foul weather at Mona, we weighed anchor and set sail, directing our course for Cape Tiberoon, at the west end of Hispaniola; and, in doubling that cape, we had so violent a gust of wind from the shore, that it carried away all our sails from the yards, leaving us only one new fore-course, the canvass of which we had procured from the Frenchman. Having doubled the cape in that distress, the before-mentioned Captain de la Barbotiere gave us chase with his pinnace; and when come near, I went on board to inform him of our distress; and he now said, there was nothing in his ship but what he would spare for our assistance; so we agreed with him for some canvass. He said likewise, if we would accompany him to a harbour called Gonnavy,[26] to the northward of Tiberoon, that he would procure us plenty of fresh provisions. I went back to our ship, and reported this to our captain, who made it known to the company, and it was unanimously agreed to go there, which was done accordingly. We remained there fifteen days along with the Frenchman, but could get very small refreshment, as the Spaniards were in great fear of the Frenchman, supposing him a man of war, and that our ship was Portuguese, which he had captured, and could not be persuaded to the contrary by any thing he could say. Thus staying long, and procuring very little refreshment, our people begun to grow mutinous, pretending that the captain and I went on board the Frenchman to make good chear ourselves, taking no care of them; but I protest before God that our sole care was to procure victuals that we might leave him.

[Footnote 26: Hakluyt, on the margin, gives Guanaba as a synonime: it was probably Gonaives' Bay, in the northern part of the west end of Hispaniola.—E.]

In the mean time a great part of our people entered into a conspiracy to seize the Frenchman's pinnace, and with her to board the French ship; but while this was concerting among them, one of themselves went on board the Frenchman, and revealed the plot. Upon this Monsieur de la Barbotiere sent for the captain and me to dine with him. We went accordingly, and remained all the afternoon, being invited likewise to supper. While we were at supper the French captain did not come to us for a long time, and when he at length came into the cabin, he told us we must either leave him, or he must go seek another port. Informing Captain Lancaster of this, he desired me to say, that rather as be any hindrance to him we would depart. While we were thus talking together, the Frenchman weighed and set sail, which we perceived, and asked what he meant. He said he proposed to keep us as his sureties, because our men had plotted to seize his ship, as before mentioned.

When the French ship came athwart ours, it blowing then a stiff breeze, their boat, which was astern, and had in her two Moors and two Peguers, whom we had given to them, broke away. The French captain was now worse than before, and threatened sore to make us pay for his voyage. Seeing us pass, the Edward weighed and set sail, meaning to go for England; and the people shared among them all the captain's victuals and mine, when they saw us kept as prisoners.

Next morning the French ship went in search of her pinnace, which was at Laguna, and on firing a gun she came off, having three of our people on board, Edmund Barker our lieutenant, one John West, and Richard Lackland, one of our mutineers. Of this I told the French captain, which Lackland could not deny but that such a scheme was intended. I was then put into the French pinnace to seek their boat, while they went to see if they could overtake our ship.

Next day we all met at Cape St Nicholas, but could hear no tidings of the French boat. As there were Spaniards and negroes on board our ship, Captain de la Barbotiere requested to have them; on which our captain desired him to send his boat for them, and he might have them with all his heart. After much ado this was done, and they were brought on board. He then demanded of these people if his boat were in our ship, and being assured she was not, we became good friends again, to our great joy. The 12th August, 1593, our captain was again sent on board his own ship; but, before his departure, he requested the French captain to take me home with him, that I might certify to the owners all that had passed in our unfortunate voyage, as also the mutinous behaviour of our crew. Accordingly we took our leaves of each other, the Edward setting sail for England, while we in the French ship bore up again for Gonnavy, or Gonaives, where we afterwards found the French boat.[27]

[Footnote 27: In this part of the narrative, May is somewhat different from that formerly given from Edmund Barker, in the preceding section, or rather he is more minutely particular. The remainder of the narrative has no farther connection with the unfortunate Edward Bonadventure.—E.]

The last of November, 1593, Monsieur de la Barbotiere departed from a port called Laguna, in Hispaniola. The 17th of December we had the misfortune to be cast away on the north-west part of the island of Bermuda, about midnight. At noon of that day the pilots reckoned themselves twelve leagues to the south of that island, and certifying the captain that the ship was out of all danger, they demanded and received their wine of height.[28] After having their wine, it would seem that they became careless of their charge, so that through their drunkenness and negligence a number of good men were cast away. It pleased God that I, a stranger among above fifty Frenchmen and others, was among those who were saved: I trust to his service and glory. At first we comforted ourselves in the hope that we were wrecked hard by the shore of the island, being high cliffs; but we found ourselves seven leagues off. By means of our boat, and a raft which we made, about twenty-six of us were saved, among whom I was the only Englishman. Being among so many strangers, and seeing there was not room for half the people, I durst neither press to get into the boat or upon the raft, lest they should have thrown me overboard or killed me; so I remained in the ship, which, was almost full of water, till the captain called me into the boat, in which he was; so I presently entered, leaving the better half of our company to the mercy of the sea.

[Footnote 28: Probably alluding to some customary perquisite on getting safely through the dangerous navigation of the Bahama Islands.—E.]

We rowed all day, and an hour or two of the night, towing the raft after us, before we got to land: and, being all that day without drink, every man dispersed in search of water, but it was long before any was found. At length one of the pilots, by digging among a tuft of weeds, found water, to our great comfort. As there are many fine bays in this island, I think abundance of fresh water might be got by digging for it. Bermuda is all divided into broken islets; the largest, upon which I was, might be about four or five miles long, by two and a half miles over, all covered with wood, as cedar and other kinds, but cedar is the most abundant.

It pleased God, before our ship broke to pieces, that we saved our carpenter's tools, otherwise we must have remained on the island. With these tools we went immediately to work, cutting down trees, of which we built a small bark of about eighteen tons, almost entirely fastened with trunnels, having very few nails. As for tackle, we made a trip to our ship in the boat, before she split, cutting down her shrouds, and some of her sails and other tackle, by which means we rigged our bark. Instead of pitch, we made some lime, which we mixed with oil of tortoises; and as soon as the carpenters had caulked a seam, I and another, with small sticks, plastered the mortar into the seams, and being fine dry warm weather, in the month of April, it became dry, and as hard as stone, as soon as laid on. Being very hot and dry weather, we were afraid our water might fail us, and made therefore the more haste to get away. Before our departure, we built two great wooden chests, well caulked, which we stowed on each side of our mast, into which we put our provision of water, together with thirteen live sea-tortoises for our food during the voyage, which we proposed for Newfoundland.

There are hogs in the south part of Bermuda; but they were so lean, owing to the barrenness of the island, that we could not eat them. It yielded us, however, abundance of fowl, fish, and tortoises. To the eastwards this island has very good harbours, so that a ship of 200 tons might ride in them, perfectly land-locked, and with enough of water. This island also has as good pearl-fishing as any in the West Indies; but is subject to foul weather, as thunder, lightning, and rain. In April and part of May, however, when we were there, the weather was hot, and quite fair.

On the 11th of May it pleased God that we got clear of this island, to the no small joy of us all, after we had lived in it for five months. The 20th of that month we fell in with the land near Cape Breton, where we ran into a fresh water river, of which there are many on this coast, and took in wood, water, and ballast. Here the people of the country came to us, being cloathed in furs, with the hair side inwards, and brought with them sundry sorts of furs to sell, together with great quantities of wild ducks; and as some of our company had saved a few small beads, we bought a few of their ducks. We staid only about four hours at this place, which seemed a very good country, as we saw very fine champaign ground and woods. We ran from this place to the Banks of Newfoundland, where we met several vessels, none of which would take us in. At length, by the blessing of God, we fell in with a bark belonging to Falmouth, which received us all for a short time; and in her we overtook a French ship, in which I left my dear friend, Captain de la Barbotiere, and all his company, remaining myself in the English bark, in which I arrived at Falmouth in August, 1594.


The unfortunate Voyage of Captain Benjamin Wood, towards the East Indies, in 1596.[29]


In the year 1596, a squadron of three ships, the Bear, Bear's Welp, and Benjamin, was fitted out, chiefly at the charges of Sir Robert Dudley, and the command given to Mr Benjamin Wood. The merchants employed in this voyage were, Mr Richard Allot and Mr Thomas Bromfield, both of the city of London. As they intended to have proceeded as far as China, they obtained the gracious letters of Queen Elizabeth, of famous memory, to the king or emperor of that country, recommending these two merchants, or factors, to his protection.

[Footnote 29: Purchas his Pilgrims, I. 110, Astl. I. 252.]

This their honourable expedition, and gracious recommendations from her majesty for the furtherance of their mercantile affairs, had no answerable effects, but suffered a double disaster: first, in the miserable perishing of the squadron; and next, in losing the history, or relation, of that tragedy. Some broken plank, however, as after a shipwreck have yet been encountered from the West Indies, which gives us some notice of this East-Indian misadventure. Having the following intelligence by the intercepted letters of the licentiate Alcasar de Villa Senor, auditor in the royal audience of St Domingo, judge of the commission in Porto Rico, and captain-general of the province of New Andalusia, written to the King of Spain and his royal council of the Indies; an extract of which, so far as concerns this business, here follows; wherein let not the imputation of robbery and piracy trouble the minds of the reader, being the words of a Spaniard concerning the deeds of Englishmen, done in the time of war between us and them.

So far we have exactly followed the introductory remarks of Purchas. In the sequel, however, we have thought it better to give only an abridgement of the letter from Alcasar de Villa Senor, which Purchas informs us, in a side note, he had found among the papers of Mr Richard Hakluyt. In this we have followed the example of the editor of Astley's Collection, because the extract given by Purchas is very tedious, and often hardly intelligible. This letter, dated from Porto Rico, 2d October, 1601, gives no light whatever into the voyage itself, nor by what accident the ships, which had set out for the East Indies, had come into the West Indies; neither what became of the ships, nor the nature of the sickness which had reduced their men to four, but wholly refers to what passed after these sailors had quitted their ship, and landed on the island of Utias, near Porto Rico. All these circumstances were probably communicated in a former letter, alluded to in the commencement of that which was intercepted, as it proceeds upon having received a commission from the royal audience, to punish certain offenders who had usurped a great quantity of property belonging to the King of Spain in the island of Utias; the plunder taken by the English, and with which these four men had landed in that island—E.

* * * * *

It appears by this letter, that three English ships bound for the East Indies, belonging to Portugal, had captured three Portuguese ships, one of them from Goa, from the captain of which they took a large rich precious stone, which the captain had charge of for the King of Spain; the particulars of which had been communicated the year before in a letter from Alcasar to the king, together with a copy of the declaration of one Thomas, of the goods he and his three companions had in the said island of Utias. They had also many bags of ryals of eight and four, intended for the pay of the garrison in a frontier castle of India, and much more goods belonging to the Portuguese.

After this all the men died of some unexplained sickness, except four men, whose names were Richard, Daniel, Thomas, and George. These men, with all the jewels, money, and rich goods they could remove, put into a river or bay of the island of Utias,[30] three leagues from Porto Rico; where, after landing their goods, their boat sunk, and they remained on that island with only a small boat made of boards, which they had taken from some fishermen at Cape San Juan, the north-east headland of Porto Rico. With that small boat they crossed over to Porto Rico in search of water, and, on their return to Utias, left George behind them on Porto Rico. He, being found by Don Rodrigo de Fuentes and five others, gave information of all that had happened to them, and of the large stone, jewels, gold, plate, testoons, and other rich goods that were in the said island, and of the places where the other three Englishmen and their goods might be found.

[Footnote 30: From the context, it would appear, that the island of Utias is to the east of Porto Rico, among or towards the group called the Virgin isles. The ships of Wood were probably suffering from scurvy and famine, like the Edward Bonadventure; and, endeavouring, like Lancaster, to seek relief in the West Indies, may have perished among the Virgin isles.—E.]

Consulting together on this information, they agreed to pass over into the island, to take possession for their own benefit of these rich goods, and did so, carrying with them a letter from George the Englishman to his: comrades, advising them to submit to the Spaniards, and to deliver up to them their arms and riches. Coming near to where the three Englishmen dwelt, these Spaniards displayed a white flag in token of peace, and the Englishmen set up another; after which they held a friendly conference together, the Spaniards pledging their good faith and friendship. Upon which the Englishmen yielded themselves to Don Rodrigo and his companions, with their arms and all their goods, which they took possession of, and parted all the money among themselves. They hid and kept secret the great stone and other jewels, with a great quantity of gold, silver, and other rich goods; keeping out only a small quantity of silver in bars, and some silks, as a cover for the rest. And, that it might not be known what quantity of jewels, gold, silver, and other rich goods they had usurped, they agreed to murder the three Englishmen with whom they had eaten, drank, and slept in peace. They accordingly killed Richard and Daniel, and would have slain George, but he escaped from them to a mountain. They then returned to Porto Rico, where they put George to death by poison, and sent to Utias to seek out Thomas and put him to death; but he got over to this island in a wonderful manner by means of a piece of timber; which they hearing of, sought by all the means they could to kill him, but to no purpose.

Meanwhile Don Rodrigo, and two others of his accomplices, came to the city of San Juan, and informed the governor that they had found a small quantity of goods in the island of Utias, having slain three Englishmen in fight to get them; and their other accomplices presented themselves as witnesses, falsely declaring that they had found no more goods. But not agreeing in their story on farther investigation, and Thomas the Englishman being at length procured as evidence against them, they were all sent to prison; whence Don Rodrigo, though bolted and guarded by two soldiers, contrived to get out by filing off his irons in the night. After Don Rodrigo's escape, the rest confessed the whole affair; but either through favour or fear, no one would assist Alcasar to bring this rascally ringleader to justice. He pronounced sentence on all the rest, with a denunciation that they were to be put to death in five days, unless the goods were delivered up.

How this affair ended does not appear, as the letter was written before the expiry of the five days. Neither indeed is this letter of much importance, except to shew the miserable end of that unfortunate voyage, the villainy of Don Rodrigo and his comrades in murdering the poor Englishmen to conceal their plunder, and that Alcasar, in the prosecution, was solely intent upon recovering the treasure for the King of Spain, without any consideration of the murder of the three Englishmen; who, in his letter, are treated as robbers and thieves, though England was then at war with Spain, and they were consequently justifiable in taking the Portuguese ships as lawful prizes.


Voyage of Captain John Davis to the East Indies, in 1598, as Pilot to a Dutch Ship.[31]

This voyage was written by Davis himself, and appears to have been sent by him in a letter to Robert Earl of Essex, dated Middleburgh, 1st August, 1600. From this letter we learnt that Mr Davis had been employed by his lordship, for discovering these eastern parts of the world, for the service of Queen Elizabeth, and the good of England. He informs his noble patron, that his journal only contains such things as had fallen under his own observation; but, when favoured with an opportunity, he would give him an account of all that he had learnt abroad relating to the places of trade and strength belonging to the crown of Portugal, and respecting the commerce of those eastern nations with each other. The Portuguese possessions, he says, beginning at Sofala, being the first beyond the Cape of Good Hope, are Mozambique, Ornuus, Diu, Gor, Coulan, Onore, Mangalore, Cochin, Columbo, Negapatam, Portogrande or Chittigong in Bengal, Malacca, and Macao in China, with the islands of Molucca and Amboyna. That the Portuguese likewise trade to Monomotapa, Melinda, Aden, Arabia, Cambaya or Guzerat, the coast of Coromandel, Balagate, and Orissa.

[Footnote 31: Purch. Pilg. I. 116. Astley, I. 254.]

Of all these nations, as he says, there are some traders residing at Acheen, in the island of Sumatra; where likewise he met with Arabians, and a nation called Ramos,[32] from the Red-Sea, who have traded there many hundred years. There are there also many Chinese engaged in trade, who have been used to trade there for many hundred years, and used Davis kindly, so that he says he was able to give his lordship much information concerning the great empire of China. He concludes by saying, that the Portuguese had long industriously concealed all these things, which were now providentially laid open. He concludes by saying, that he had inclosed the alphabet of the Acheen language, with some words of their language, written from right to left, after the manner of the Hebrews; but this has not been printed in the Collection of Purchas. He says that he had also sent by one Mr Tomkins, probably the bearer of the letter and journal, some of the coin used there in common payments; The gold piece called mas, being worth about ninepence half-penny; and those of lead called caxas, of which it takes 1600 to make one mas.

[Footnote 32: Constantinople is called New Rome, and thence In the east the Turks are called Rumos.—Purchas.

By the Rumos, or Rums, are to be understood the people of Egypt; which, having been a part of the Roman empire, is, like Anatolia and other provinces of the Turkish empire, called Rum by the orientals. Hence likewise the Turks are called Rums; and not, as Purchas says, because they are in possession of Constantinople, which was called New Rome: For these provinces were called Rum several ages before the Turks took that city.—ASTLEY, I.254, b.]

"The relation which follows, titled "A brief Relation of Master John Davis, chief Pilot to the Zealanders in their East India Voyage, departing from Middleburgh," is obscure in some places, but must only be considered as an abstract of his large journal, perhaps written in haste. The latitudes are by no means to be commended for exactness, and seem to have been taken on shipboard, only two or three of them with any care. It is rather singular that he gives no observation for Acheen, though the chief object of the voyage, and that he staid there so long."—ASTLEY.

* * * * *

We departed from Flushing on the 15th of March, 1598, being two ships in company, the Lion of 400 tons, having 123 persons on board, and the Lioness of 250 tons, with 100 men. These ships were the sole property of Messrs Mushrom, Clarke, and Monef of Middleburgh, and entirely at their risk. Cornelius Howteman was chief commander of both ships, with the title of general, having a commission from Prince Maurice.

The seventh day after, being the 22d, we anchored in Torbay, having a contrary wind. We sailed thence on the 7th of April, and had sight of Porto Santo on the 20th; fell in with Palma on the 23d, and the 30th reached the Cape Verd islands. We first anchored at St Nicholas, in lat. 16 deg. 16' N. We here watered on the 7th of May, and setting sail on the 9th, fell in with St Jago. The 9th June we got sight of Brazil, in lat. 7 deg. S, not being able to double Cape St Augustine; for, being near the equator, we had very inconstant weather and bad winds; in which desperate case we shaped our course for the island of Fernando Noronho, in lat. 4 deg. S. where on the 15th June we anchored on the north side in eighteen fathoms. In this island we found twelve negroes, eight men and four women. It is a fertile island, having good water, and abounds in goats; having also beeves, hogs, hens, melons, and Guinea corn with plenty of fish and sea-fowl. These negroes had been left here by the Portuguese to cultivate the island, and no ships had been there for three years.

Leaving this island on the 26th August, with the wind at E.N.E. we doubled Cape St Augustine on the 30th. The 10th September we passed the Abrolhos, which we were in much fear of; these shoals being far out at sea in lat. 21 deg. S. and are very dangerous. On this occasion our Baas, for so a Dutch captain is called, appointed a Master of Misrule, named the Kesar, the authority of which disorderly officer lay in riot, as after dinner he would neither salute his friends, nor understand the laws of reason, those who ought to have been most respectful being both lawless and witless. We spent three days in this dissolute manner, and then shaped our course for the Cape of Good Hope, sailing towards the coast of Bacchus, to whom this idolatrous sacrifice was made, as appeared afterwards.

The 11th November we came to anchor in Saldanha bay, in lat. 34 deg. S. ten leagues short of the Cape of Good Hope, where there are three fresh water rivers.[33] The people came to us with great plenty of oxen and sheep, which they sold for spike nails and pieces of old iron, giving the best for not more than the value of a penny. Their cattle are large, and have a great lump of flesh on the shoulder, like the back of a camel. Their sheep have prodigiously large tails, entirely composed of fat, weighing twelve or fourteen pounds, but are covered with hair instead of wool. The people are not circumcised; are of an olive black colour, blacker than the Brazilians, with black curled hair like the negroes of Angola. Their words are mostly inarticulate, and in speaking they cluck with the tongue like a brood hen, the cluck and the word being pronounced together in a very strange manner. They go naked, except a short cloak of skins, and sandals tied to their feet, painting their faces with various colours, and are a strong active people, who run with amazing swiftness. They are subject to the King of Monomotapa,[34] who is reported to be a mighty sovereign. Their only weapons are darts.

[Footnote 33: It has been before remarked, that the Saldanha bay of the older navigators was Table bay. What is now called Saldanha bay has no river, or even brook, but has been lately supplied by means of a cut or canal from Kleine-berg river, near twenty-five miles in length.—E.]

[Footnote 34: This is an error, the Hotentots having been independent nomadic herders of cattle and sheep, divided into a considerable number of tribes, and under a kind of patriarchal government.—E.]

As the Dutchmen offered them some rudeness, they absented themselves from us for three days, during which time they made great fires on the mountains. On the 19th of November, there came a great multitude of them to us, with a great number of cattle, and taking a sudden opportunity while bartering, they set upon us and slew thirteen of our people with their hand-darts, which could not have hurt any of us at the distance of four pikes' length. The Dutchmen fled from them like mice before cats, basely throwing away their weapons. Our Baas or captain kept on board to save himself, but sent us corslets, two-handed swords, pikes, muskets, and targets, so that we were well laden with weapons, but had neither courage nor discretion, for we staid at our tents besieged by savages and cows. We were in muster giants, with great armed bodies; but in action babes with wrens' hearts. Mr Tomkins and I undertook to order these fellows, according to that excellent way which we had seen in your lordship's most honourable actions. Some consented to go with us, though unwillingly; but most of them ran to the pottage pot, swearing it was dinner time. We went all on board this night, except our great mastiff dog, which we could not induce to follow us, for I think he was ashamed of our cowardly behaviour. The land here is of an excellent soil, and the climate is quite healthy; the soil being full of good herbs, as mints, calamint, plantain, ribwort, trefoil, scabious, and such like. We set sail from Saldanha bay on the 27th of December, and doubled the Cape of Good Hope on the last day of the year.

The 6th of January, 1599, we doubled Cape Aguillas, the most southern point of Africa, in lat. 35 deg. S. [34 deg. 45'] where the compass has no variation.[35] The 6th of February we fell in with Madagascar, short of St Romano, [or Cape St Mary, at its southern end;] and not being able to double it, we bore room with [bore away to leeward for] the bay of St Augustine on the south-west side of that island, in lat. 23 deg. 50' S. [23 deg. 30'.] The 3d of March we anchored in that bay, where we saw many people on the shore, but they all fled when we landed; for when, our baas was in this bay on the former voyage, he greatly abused the people, and having taken one of them, he had him tied to a post and shot to death, having besides used them otherwise most shamefully. After seven days, we enticed some of them to come to us, from whom we bought some milk and one cow; but they soon left us, and would not have any more connexion with us. They are a strong well-shaped people, of a coal-black colour, having a sweet and pleasing language. Their weapons are spears or half pikes, headed with iron, which they keep very clear; and they go quite naked. The soil appeared very fertile, and we saw a vast number of tamarind trees. We found another high tree producing beans very good to eat, in pods two feet long, and the beans of a proportional size. We saw here many cameleons. We English suffered no small misery, especially in this bay: but God, the ever living commander, was our only succour.

[Footnote 35: This, it must be noticed, was in the year 1599. The variation alters progressively, increasing to a maximum in one deflexion; it then retrogrades till it points true north, which it progressively overpasses in the opposite deflexion to a maximum again. But these changes do not proceed with sufficient regularity to admit of being predicted with any certainty.—E.]

This 8th of March we came on board hungry and meatless, and on the 14th we set sail from this place, which we called Hungry bay, shaping our coarse to the northward along the west side of the island. The 29th, we came to the islands of Comoro, between 12 deg. and 13 deg. S. [12 deg. 32' and 15 deg. 16'.] There are five of these islands, named Mayotta, Anzuame, Magliaglie, San Christophero, and Spiritu Santo.[36] The 30th, we anchored at Mayotta close by a town, where there were many people who seemed rejoiced at our arrival, and came on board, bringing us presents of victuals. The king sent a message to our baas, inviting him on shore with promise of much kindness; and when he landed, the king met him with a great retinue, having three drums beaten before him. He and his principal followers were richly dressed, in long silken robes, embroidered in the Turkish fashion: and after using us with great kindness, gave us a letter of recommendation for the Queen of Anzuame, or Hinzuan, as that island has no king.

[Footnote 36: There are six islands in the Comoro group: 1. Comoro, Gasidza, of Angazesio: 2. Malalio, Senbraeas, or Moelia: 3. Mayotta: 4. St Christophus: 5. Hinzuan, Angouan, or Joanna: 6. St Esprit. Which last has four inlets off its western side, and one to the N.E. of its northern end.—E.]

We sailed from Mayotta on the 17th of April, and anchored at Hinzuan on the 19th, before a town named Demos, which appears from its ruins to have been a strong place, the houses being built of hewed freestone, and what remains being as large as Plymouth, but the walls are almost ruined. The queen used us in a most friendly manner, yet would not allow any of us to see her. In these islands we had rice, oxen, goats, cocoas, bananas, oranges, lemons, and citrons. The inhabitants are negroes, but smooth-haired, and follow the Mahometan religion. Their weapons are swords, targets, bows and arrows. These islands are very beautiful and fertile; and among them we found merchants of Arabia and India, but I could not learn what commodities they yielded. They greatly coveted weapons and iron, and were fond of procuring paper. The 28th we departed from Hinzuan, passing through the islands of Mascarenhas and the Shoals of Almirante.

The 23d of May, we fell in with the islands called Maldives, which are very low close to the water, and are so covered with cocoa-nut trees, that we saw only trees and no shore. Many of the native boats passed close by us, but none would come to us, wherefore our baas sent a ship's boat to take one of them, which on the 24th brought a boat to us, which was covered with mats like a close barge. In this boat was a gentleman and his wife. He was dressed in very fine white linen, made after the Turkish fashion, having several rings with red stones; and his countenance was so modest, his behaviour so sweet and affable, and his speech so graceful, that we concluded he could not be less than a nobleman. He was very unwilling to let his wife be seen; but our baas went into the boat along with him to see her, and even opened her casket, in which were some jewels and ambergris. He reported that she sat in mournful modesty, not speaking a word. What was taken from them I know not, but on departing, this gentleman shewed a princely spirit. He was a man of middle stature, of a black colour, with smooth or lank hair. There is considerable trade in these islands, by reason of the cocoa-trees; for they make ropes, cables, sails, wine, oil, and a kind of bread from that tree and its fruit. It is said that there are 11,000 of these islands.

The 27th of May we set sail, and that morning there came on board of us an old man who could speak a little Portuguese, who piloted us through the channel, as by chance we had fallen upon the right channel called Maldivia, in lat. 4 deg. 15' N. Here the compass varied 17 deg. westerly. It is a very dangerous thing to miss the right channel, the trade and navigation through which is very great of various nations, to most places of India, as I hope in your lordship's presence to inform you at large. The 3d June we fell in with the coast of India near Cochin, in lat. 8 deg. 40' N.[37] and coasting along the shore, we shaped our course eastwards for Cape Comorin, and thence to the island of Sumatra.

[Footnote 37: Cochin is in lat. 9 deg. 56' 30" N. 8 deg. 40', the lat. in the text falls very near Anjengo; to the south of Coulan.—E.]

The 13th June we saw the coast of Sumatra, in lat. 5 deg. 40' N. at its most northerly extremity; and when stopping at an island near the shore to take in water, on the 16th, we spoke with some of the people. The 21st, we anchored in the bay of Acheen in twelve fathoms, on which the king sent off his officers to measure the length and breadth of our vessels, and to take the number of our ordnance and men, which they did. Our baas sent two of his people on shore along with these officers, with a present to the king, consisting of a looking glass, a drinking glass, and a coral bracelet. Next day our people returned on board, being apparelled by the king after the country fashion, in dresses of white calico, and brought a friendly message of peace, welcome, and plenty of spices. We found, three barks belonging to Arabia and one of Pegu riding in the bay, which had come to lade pepper. There was here also a Portuguese officer, Don Alfonso Vincente, with four barks from Malacca, who had come expressly to endeavour to prevent our trade, as was shewn in the sequel.

On the 23d June, the king sent at midnight for our baas to come to wait upon him, sending a noble as his hostage. He went immediately on shore, and was kindly used by the king, who promised him a free trade, and cloathed him after the fashion of the country, giving him likewise a criss of honour. This criss is a dagger, having a haft or handle of a kind of metal of fine lustre esteemed far beyond gold, and set with rubies. It is death to wear a criss of this kind, except it has been given by the king; and he who possesses it is at absolute freedom to take victuals without money, and to command all the rest as slaves. Our baas, or captain, came on board the 26th with a boat-load of pepper, making incredible boasts of his mighty good fortune, and the wonderful trade he had procured, with no small rejoicing in his pride. He said likewise that the king had often asked if he were from England, which he strongly denied, using many unhandsome speeches of our nation; and after coming on board, he said he would have given a thousand pounds to have had no English with him, thus thrusting us poor souls into a corner.

The 27th of June, our merchants went on shore with their goods, having a house appointed for their residence by the king. On the 20th July, our captain being with the king, was well entertained by him, and on this occasion the king was very importunate to know if he were English. "Tell me truly," said he, "for I love the English; and I must farther tell you that Alfonso Vincente has been earnest with me to betray you, but it shall not be, for I am your friend." With that he gave him a purse of gold. The captain gave him thanks for the present and his friendly disposition, declaring that he was not from England but from Flanders, and entirely disposed to serve his majesty. "I have heard of England," said the king, "but never of Flanders; pray what land is that?" He farther enquired who was their king, and what was the state and government of the country? The captain made a large report on this topic, saying that they had no king, but were governed by an aristocracy. He likewise requested that the king would give orders to his subjects not to call him an Englishman, as that gave him much displeasure, which the king promised should be done. The king then asked if there were no English in the ships? To which the captain answered, that there were some, but they had been bred up in Flanders. The king then said, he understood there were some men in the ships that differed from the others in apparel, language, and manners, and desired to know who these were? To this the baas answered, that they were English, and that his chief pilot was one of them. The king then said that he must see these men. "As for your merchandize," added he, "I have war with the king of Johor, and if you will assist me against him with your ships, your recompence shall be a full lading of pepper." To this our captain agreed. The 28th of July, the Sabandars,[38] the secretary, the merchants of Mecca, who were Turks and Arabians, together with Don Alfonso Vincente and some others of the Portuguese, came on board with our baas, and all returned passing drunk.

[Footnote 38: The Shah bandar, signifies in Persian, the King of the Port; being the title of the principal officer of the customs.—Astl. I. 257. a.]

The 20th of August the king began to change his countenance to our captain, demanding why the English pilot had not been to wait upon him; for hitherto Mr Tomkins and I had not been permitted to go on shore; adding, that when the Dutch had got their pepper, he supposed they would ran away without performing the service they had promised. Upon this I was immediately sent for, and came ashore on the 21st. I waited on the king early next morning, and he treated me very kindly. I staid with him four boars, or more, banqueting And drinking. After an hour, he ordered the sabandar to stand up, and me likewise; upon which the sabander took off my hat, and put a roll of white linen about my head. He then put about my middle a long white linen cloth, embroidered with gold, which went twice about me, the ends hanging down half my leg. After this, taking the roll from my head, and laying it before the king, he put a white garment on me, and above that a red one. Then, replacing the roll on my head, I sat down before the king, who drank to me in aquavitae, [arrak, or brandy,] and made me eat of many strange meats. All his service was in gold, except some of the dishes, which were fine porcelain. These were all set upon the floor, without table, napkins, or other linen. He asked me many questions about England, about the queen, and her bashas, or nobles; and enquired how she could carry on war against so great a monarch as the king of Spain, for he believed that all Europe was under his government. I satisfied him as well as I could on all these points, and he seemed very much pleased.

On the 23d I was sent for by the prince, and rode to his court on an elephant. He used me extremely well, our entertainment consisting in excessive eating and drinking. While I was on shore, I met with a very sensible merchant of China, who spoke Spanish, and of whom I learnt some things which I hope will give your lordship good contentment hereafter. There are many people here from China who follow trade, and who have their separate town. So have the Portuguese, the Guzurates, the Arabs, Bengalese, and Peguers. As our baas disliked that I should so much frequent the company of the Chinese, he ordered me on board, and came off himself next day in a very dull humour, having had some sour looks from the king.

The 1st of September the king gave out that we were to receive ordnance on board for battering Johor, and to take in soldiers for that service. Many gallies were manned and brought out of the river, and rode at anchor about half a mile from our ships. The sea was all full of paraws and boats. There came that day on board our ship the secretary, named Corcoun, and the chief sabander, named Abdala, accompanied by many soldiers armed with cutlasses, darts, crisses, and targets. They brought with them many kinds of meats, and a great jar of aquavitae, making a great shew of friendship and banqueting. Suspecting some treachery, we filled our tops with stones, made fast and prepared our gratings, all without orders from our baas, who was exceedingly angry, and ordered us to discontinue, but we would not.

There is a kind of seed in this country, by eating a little of which a man becomes quite foolish, all things seeming to be metamorphosed; but, above a certain quantity, it is deadly poison. With this all the meat and drink they brought on board was infected. While banqueting, the sabandar sent for me and Mr Tomkins, who kept me company, and said some words to one of their attendants, which I did not understand. In a short time we were foolishly frolicsome, gaping one upon another in a most ridiculous manner, our captain, or baas, being at that time a prisoner in their hands, yet knew it not. A signal was made from the other ship, where the like treachery was going on under the direction of the secretary, who went there from our ship for that purpose. They immediately set upon us, murdered our baas, and slew several others. Mr Tomkins and I, with the assistance of a Frenchman, defended the poop, which, if they had gained, our ship had been lost, for they already had the cabin, and some of their fellows were below among our guns, having crept in at the port-holes. The master of our ship, whom the Dutch call captain, leapt into the sea, with several others, but came on board again when all was over. In the end, we put them to flight, for our people in the tops annoyed them sore; and, when I saw them run, I leapt from the poop to pursue them, Mr Tomkins following my example. At this time a Turk came out of the cabin, who wounded him grievously, and they lay tumbling over each other on the deck. On seeing this, I ran the Turk through the body with my rapier, and our skipper thrust him down the throat into the body with a half pike.

All the principal people in the other ship were murdered, and the ship obviously in possession of the Acheenese; on which we instantly cut our cables and drove towards her, and, with our shot, made the Indians abandon her, so that we recovered her likewise. The gallies did not venture near us. In our great distress, it was some comfort to see how these base Indians fled, how they were killed, and how they were drowned; the whole sea being covered with dead Indians, floating about in hundreds. Abdala, the sabandar, and one of the king's near kinsmen, were slain, with many others, and the secretary was wounded. The king was by the shore at this time, attended by a vast many, people; and, on learning the death of the sabandar, and the overthrow of this treachery, the furious infidels murdered all of our people who were on shore, except eight, who were put in irons as slaves. In this great calamity we lost sixty-eight persons, of whom we are not certain how many may be in captivity, having only knowledge of these eight. We lost at this time two fine pinnaces of twenty tons each, and our ship's boat.

We left Acheen that same day, and anchored at Pedier, where we had sent a small pinnace for rice, but could get no tidings of her. Next day, the 2d September, there came eleven gallies to take our ships, having Portuguese in them, as we thought. We sank one of them, and defeated all the rest, so that they fled amain. That same afternoon, the son of Lafort, a French merchant, dwelling in Seethinglane, London, came on board of us, being one of the eight prisoners. He brought the following message from the king:—"Are you not ashamed to be such drunken beasts, as, in your drunkenness, to murder my people whom I sent on board of you in kindness?" He farther required of us, in satisfaction of his pretended wrong, that we should give up our best ship, on which he would release our men, telling Lafort, if he could succeed in this, that he would make him a great nobleman. To this ridiculous proposal we gave a flat denial; and, being in distress for water, we went over to Pulo Lotum, on the coast of Queda, or northern part of Malacca, on its western coast, in lat. 6 deg. 50' N. where we refreshed and watered.

During our stay at Acheen, we received into both our ships 140 tons of pepper, what precious stones and other merchandize besides I know not. But, on the day of treason, our merchants lost all the money and goods they had on shore, which was said to be of great value. On this occasion, many of our young adventurers were utterly ruined; among whom, I most grieve at the loss sustained by poor John Davis, having not only lost my friendly factor, but all my European commodities, with those things I had provided to shew my love and duty to my best friends; so that, though India did not receive me rich, she hath sent me back sufficiently poor.

The island of Sumatra is pleasant and fertile, abounding in many excellent fruits; but their only grain is rice, which serves them for bread. They plough the land with buffaloes, which they have in great numbers, but with small skill, and less industry. The rice grows in all respects like our barley. They have plenty of pepper, which is grown in large gardens or plantations, often a mile square. It grows like hops, from a planted root, winding about a stake set to support it, till it grows like a great bushy tree, whence the pepper hangs in small clusters, three inches long, and an inch about, each cluster having forty pepper-corns; and it yields as great increase as mustard-seed. At Acheen they are able to load twenty ships every year, and might supply more, if the people were industrious. The whole country resembles a pleasure-garden, the air being temperate and wholesome, having every morning a fruitful dew, or small rain. The harbour of Acheen is very small, having only six feet water on the bar, at which there is a stone fort, the ramparts of which are covered or flanked with battlements, all very low, and very despicable. In front of this fort is an excellent road, or anchoring ground for ships, the wind being, always off shore, so that a ship may ride safely a mile from the shore, in eighteen fathoms, and close in, in six and four fathoms.

In this country there are elephants, horses, buffaloes, oxen, and goats, with many wild-hogs. The land has plenty of mines of gold and copper, with various gums, balsams, many drugs, and much indigo. Its precious stones are rubies, sapphires, and garnets; but I know not whether they are found there, or are brought from other places. It has likewise most excellent timber for building ships. The city of Acheen,[39] if such it may be called, is very spacious, and is built in a wood, so that the houses are not to be seen till we are close upon them; neither could we go into any place but we found houses and a great concourse of people, so that the town seems to spread over the whole land. Their houses are raised on posts, eight feet or better from the ground, leaving free passage under them, the walls and roofs being only of mats, the poorest and weakest things that can be conceived. I saw three great market-places, which were every day crowded like fairs, with all kinds of commodities exposed for sale.

[Footnote 39: This place, called likewise Achin and Achien by Davis, is commonly called Achen; but in the letters from the king to Queen Elizabeth, which will be mentioned in the sequel it is called Ashi.—Astl. I. 259. b.]

The king, called Sultan Aladin, is said to be an hundred years old, yet is a lively man, exceedingly gross and fat. In his young days he was a fisherman, of which there are many in this place, as they live mostly on fish. Going to the wars with the former king, he shewed himself so valiant and discreet in ordering the king's gallies, that he acquired the royal favour so much as to be appointed admiral of all the sea-force, in which he conducted himself so valiantly and wisely, that the king gave him one of his nearest kinswomen to wife. The king had an only daughter, whom he married to the king of Johor, by whom she had a son, who was sent to Acheen to be brought up as heir to his grandfather. The king who now is, being commander in chief by sea and land, the old king died suddenly; on which the present king took the child under his guardianship, against which the nobility protested: but, as he had the command of the whole armed force, he maintained his point, putting to death more than a thousand of the nobles, raised the rascal people to be new lords, and made new laws. Finally, the young prince was murdered, and he proclaimed himself king, in right of his wife; on which there arose great wars between him and the king of Johor, which continue to this day. He has held the kingdom by force these twenty years, and seems now secure in his usurped and ill-got power.

The king's court, or residence, is situated upon the river, about half a mile from the city, having three inclosures, and guards, before any one can come to him, and a wide green between each guarded inclosure. His house is built like all the rest, but much higher, so that he can see, from where he sits, all that come to any of his guards, yet no one can see him. The walls and covering of his house are made of mats, which are sometimes hung with cloth of gold, sometimes with velvet, and at other times with damask. He sits on the ground, cross-legged, like a tailor, and so must all do who are admitted into his presence. He always wears four crisses, two before and two behind, richly ornamented with diamonds and rubies, and has a sword lying in his lap. He is attended by at least forty women; some with fans to cool him, some with cloths to wipe off sweat, others to serve him with aquavitae or water, and the rest to sing pleasant songs. He doth nothing all day but eat and drink, there being no end of banqueting from morning till night; and, when ready to burst, he eats areka betula[40], which is a fruit like a nutmeg, wrapped in a leaf like tobacco, with sharp-chalk [lime] made of the shells of pearl oysters. Chewing these ingredients makes the spittle very red, causes a great, flow of saliva, and occasions a great appetite; it also makes the teeth very black, and the blacker they are is considered as so much the more fashionable. Having recovered his appetite by this means, he returns again to banqueting. By way of change, when his belly is again gorged, he goes into the river to bathe, where he has a place made on purpose, and gets a fresh appetite by being in the water. He, with his women and great men, do nothing but eat, drink, and talk of venery; so that, if the poets have any truth, then is this king the great Bacchus, for he practises all the ceremonies of gluttony. He spends his whole time in eating and drinking with his women, or in cock-fighting. Such is the king, and such are his subjects; for the whole land is entirely given to such habits of enjoyment.

[Footnote 40: Areka is the nut, and betel the leaf in which it is wrapped, along with chunam, or lime, called sharp-chalk in the text.—E.]

While, in all parts of Christendom, it is the custom to uncover the head in token of reverence, it is here the direct contrary; as, before any man can come into, the presence of this king, he must put off his shoes and stockings, coming before him bare-footed and bare-legged, holding his hands joined over his head, bowing his body, and saying dowlat; which duty performed, he sits down, cross-legged, in the king's presence. The state is governed by five principal officers, his secretary, and four others, called sabandars, in whom are all the authority of government, and who have inferior officers under them. The will of the king is the law: as there seemed to be no freemen in all the land, the lives and properties of all being at the king's pleasure. In punishing offenders, he makes no man happy by death, but orders their hands and feet to be cut off, and then banishes them to an island called Pulo Wey. When any one is condemned to die, he is either trodden to death by elephants, or empaled. Besides those in jails, many prisoners in fetters are seen going about the town. The king has three wives, and many concubines, who are very closely kept, and his women are his chief counsellors.

The king has many gallies, an hundred, as I think, some of them so large as to carry four hundred men. These are all made like wherries, very long, narrow, and open, without deck, forecastle, or poop, or any upper works whatever. Instead of oars, they have paddles, about four feet long, made like shovels, which they hold in their hands, not resting them on the gunwales, or in row-locks, as we do. The gallies have no ordnance; yet with these he holds all his neighbours under subjection. His admiral is a woman, as he trusts no man with that high office. Their weapons are bows and arrows, javelins, swords, and targets, having no defensive armour, and fighting entirely naked. They have a great many pieces of brass ordnance, which they fire lying on the ground, using no carriages. Some of these are the greatest I ever saw, and the metal of which they are made is said to be rich in gold. The great dependence of his land-force is in the elephants.

These people boast of being descended from Abraham, through Ismael, the son of Hagar, and can distinctly reckon the genealogies in our Bible. They follow the Mahometan religion, and use rosaries, or strings of beads, in praying, like the papists. They bring up their children in learning, and have many schools. They have an archbishop, and other spiritual dignitaries. There is a prophet in Acheen, who is greatly honoured, and is alleged to have the spirit of prophecy, like the ancients. This person is distinguished from all the rest by his dress, and is in great favour with the king. The natives are entirely addicted to commerce, in which they are very expert; and they have many mechanics or artisans, as goldsmiths, cannon-founders, shipwrights, tailors, weavers, hatters, potters, cutlers, smiths, and distillers of aquavitae, [arrak,] which is made from rice, as they must drink no wine.

Every family or tribe has its own particular place of burial, which are all in the fields. The bodies are all deposited in graves, with the heads laid towards Mecca, having a stone at the head, and another at the feet, curiously wrought, so as to designate the rank and worth of each person. In the burial-place of the kings, as we were told, every grave has a piece of gold at the head, and another at the feet, each weighing 500 pounds, curiously embossed and carved. I was very desirous to see this royal cemetery, because of its great riches, but could not obtain permission; yet am disposed to believe it to be true, as the reigning king has made two such costly ornaments for his own grave, which are almost finished. They are each of gold, a thousand pounds weight a-piece, and are to be richly ornamented with precious stones.[41]

[Footnote 41: In the Portuguese Asia is a story which confirms this report. George Brito, who went in 1521 to Acheen with six ships, and three hundred men, having been informed, by an ungrateful Portuguese, whom the king had relieved from shipwreck, that there was a great treasure of gold in the tombs of the kings, and having made other inquiries on this subject, picked a quarrel with the king, and landed with two hundred men in order to seize it: But being opposed by the king, at the head of a thousand men, and six elephants, he, and most of his men, were slain; a just reward of injustice, ingratitude, and avarice.—Astl. 1. 260. a.]

The people who trade to this port are from China, Bengal, Pegu, Java, Coromandel, Guzerata, Arabia, and Rumos. Rumos is in the Red-Sea, whence Solomon sent his ships to Ophir for gold; which Ophir is now Acheen, as they affirm upon tradition; and the Rumos people have followed the same trade from the time of Solomon to this day.[42] Their payments are made in different denominations, called cash, mas, cowpan, pardaw, and tayel. I only saw two sorts of coin, one of gold, and the other of lead: The gold coin, or mas, is of the size of a silver-penny, and is as common at Acheen as pence are in England. The other, of lead, called cash, is like the little leaden tokens used in London by the vintners: 1600 cashes make one mas; 400 cashes make a cowpan, and four cowpans a mas; five mases are equal to four shillings sterling; four mases make a pardaw, and four pardaws a tayel. Hence one mas is 9-3/5d. sterling; one pardaw, 3s. 2-2/5d.; one tayel, 12s. 9-3/5d.; one cowpan, 2-3/5d.; and one cash is a two-hundredth part of a penny. Pepper is sold by the Bahar, which is 360 English pounds, for 3l. 4s. Their pound is called catt, being twenty-one of our ounces; and their ounce is larger than ours in the proportion of sixteen to ten. They sell precious stones by a weight named masse, 10-3/4 of which make an ounce.

[Footnote 42: The Turks are called Rumos in India, because their chief city, Constantinople, was called New Rome. Their tradition of Ophir is more to be marked than this conceit of Rumos in the Red-Sea.—Purchas, in a marginal note.

The Egyptians might follow this trade from the days of Solomon, but the Rums, or Romans, could not, as they did not possess Egypt till long after Solomon.—Astl. 1. 260. c.

It would be too long, in a note, to enter upon any critical discussion respecting the Ophir of Solomon, which was more probably at Sofala, on the eastern coast of Africa.—E.]

Once every year they have the following strange custom, which happened while we were there. The king and all his nobles go in great pomp to the church, or mosque, to see if the Messias be come. On that occasion, I think, were at least forty elephants, all richly covered with silk, velvet, and cloth of gold, several nobles riding on each elephant. One elephant was exceedingly adorned beyond the rest, having a little golden castle on his back, which was led for the expected Messias to ride upon. On another elephant, the king sat alone in a little castle, so that the whole made a very splendid procession; in which some bore targets of pure massy gold, others large golden crescents, with streamers, banners, ensigns, drums, trumpets, and various other instruments of music. Going to the church with great solemnity, and using many ceremonies, they looked into the church, and not finding the Messias there, the king descended from his own elephant, and rode home on that prepared for the Messias. After which, the day was concluded with great feastings, and many pleasant sports.

The island of Sumatra is divided into four kingdoms, Acheen, Pedier, Monancabo, and Aru, of which Acheen is the chief, Pedier and Monancabo being tributary to it; but Aru refuses subjection, and adheres to the king of Johor, in Malacca. I only heard of five principal cities in this island, Acheen, Pedier, Pacem, [Pisang,] Daia, [perhaps Daga,] and Monancabo.

I now return to our proceedings after the slaughter of Acheen. On the 10th September we anchored at the islands of Pulo Lotum, in lat. 6 deg. 50' N. near the coast of the kingdom of Queda, where we watered, and procured refreshments. There were in our ship three sealed letters, superscribed A.B.C. which were to be opened on the death of our baas, or captain. On opening that marked A. one Thomas Quymans was appointed our chief; but, as he was slain at Acheen, we opened B. by which Guyan Lafort, who escaped death by bringing the message from the king to us at Pedier, was nominated our chief, and was accordingly received by us in that capacity. The letter marked C. was not opened.

Leaving Pulo Lotum on the 30th September, we sailed for Acheen, for the purpose of endeavouring to recover our men who were there in captivity. We came in sight of Acheen on the 6th October, and got into the bay on the 12th, where twelve of their gallies set upon us. We got up with one of them, and gave her several shots; but, as the weather was very calm, she escaped from us under the land, and the rest did not dare to approach us, for they are proud base cowards. On the 18th, we set sail for Tanaserim,[43] which is a place of great trade, and anchored among the islands in the bay belonging to that place, in lat. 11 deg. 20' N. on the 25th. We were here so much crossed by contrary winds, that we could not get up to the city, which stands twenty leagues within the bay; and, being in great distress for provisions, we made sail for the Nicobar islands, hoping there to find relief. We anchored at these islands on the 12th November, in lat. 8 deg. N. when the people brought us off great abundance of poultry, oranges, lemons, and other fruit, with some ambergris, which we paid for in pieces of linen cloth and table napkins. These islands consist of pleasant and fertile low land, and have good anchorage for ships; but the people are very barbarous, living on fish and natural fruits, not cultivating the ground, and consequently having no rice.

[Footnote 43: Mergui, the sea-port of Tanaserim, is in lat. 12 deg. N.]

We departed on the 16th of November, shaping our course for Ceylon, being in great distress, especially for rice. By the great goodness of God, on the 6th December, we took a ship from Negapatam, on the coast of Coromandel, laden with rice, and bound for Acheen. There were in her about sixty persons, belonging to Acheen, Java, Ceylon, Pegu, Narsinga, and Coromandel. From these people we learnt that there is a city in Ceylon called Matecalon,[44] a place of great trade, where we might load our ships with cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. They also told us that there were great store of precious stones and pearls to be had in Ceylon; that the country abounded in all kinds of provisions, and that the king was a bitter enemy to the Portuguese. They likewise told us of a city called Trinquanamale, [Trinconomale, usually called Trinquamalee,] at which was a similar trade. They engaged that we might load our ships, and procure a plentiful supply of provisions, at either of these places, for little money; and we accordingly used our utmost possible exertions to get to them, but all to no purpose, as the wind was quite contrary. The Indians then told us, that if we would remain till January, we should meet above an hundred sail of ships, laden with spiceries, linen cloth, [cottons,] and commodities of China; but our commander would not agree to stay there for the purpose of war, as his commission only authorised him to trade, but proposed to remain for traffic, paying for every thing he might be able to procure. To this, however, the company would not consent; and we accordingly began our voyage homewards on the 28th of December, after beating up for sixteen days to endeavour to make Batacolo. We had discharged our prize on the 18th, after taking out most of her rice, for which our commander paid them to their satisfaction; but our men plundered the Indians of their goods and money in a disorderly manner. We took with us twelve of the Indians, belonging to different countries; and after they had been with us some time, they informed us that the merchants in the Negapatam ship had a large quantity of precious stones in the ship, hidden under the planks of her lining. How far this might be true I know not, as, for some unknown reason, Mr Tomkins and I were not allowed to go on board her.

[Footnote 44: Perhaps Batacolo is here meant, on the east side of Ceylon, in lat. 7 deg. 45' N.]

The 5th March, 1600, our victuals were poisoned, but God preserved us; for one of our people tasting it by chance, or from greediness, was infected. It was strongly poisoned before it came to us, being fresh fish; for our surgeon took almost a spoonful of poison out of one fish. But this is not the first time, if the grieved would complain.[45] The 10th March we fell in with the Cape of Good Hope, where we encountered a heavy storm; and on the 26th we doubled that Cape.

[Footnote 45: This story is very unintelligible, as no circumstance is mentioned as to where the fish were got, nor who was suspected of introducing the poison.—E.]

We anchored at St Helena on the 13th March. This island is in lat. 16 deg. S. [15 deg. 45'.] We here found plenty of water, with abundance of figs, and as many fish as we chose to take. At sun-set, on the 15th, a caravel came into the roads, and anchored a large musket-shot to windward of us. She was totally unprepared for fighting, as none of her guns were mounted. We fought her all night, giving her in that time, as I think, upwards of 200 shots, though, in the course of eight hours, she did not return a single shot, nor seemed to regard us. By midnight she got six pieces mounted, which she used to good purpose, shooting us often through, and slew two of our men. So, on the 16th, in the morning, we departed, having many of our men sick, and shaped our course for the island of Ascension, where we hoped to find relief. The 23d April we got sight of that island, which is in lat. 8 deg. S. [7 deg. 50'.] But it has neither wood, water, or any green thing upon it, being a barren green rock, five leagues broad. The 24th, at midnight, we agreed to proceed to the island of Fernando Loronio, [Noronho,] where we knew that sufficient relief could be had, as we had stopt ten weeks there when outward-bound, when unable to double Cape St Augustine.

We arrived on the 6th May at Fernando Noronho, [in lat. 3 deg. 28' S. off the coast of Brazil,] where we remained six days to take in water, and to refresh ourselves. The 13th of the same month we departed, shaping our course for the English channel, and arrived at Middleburgh, in Zealand, on the 29th of July, 1600.


Voyage of William Adams to Japan, in 1598, and long Residence in that Island.[46]


This very curious article consists chiefly of two letters from Japan, written by William Adams, an Englishman, who went there as pilot in a Dutch fleet, and was detained there. His first letter, dated Japan, 22d October, 1611, is addressed,—"To my unknown Friends and Countrymen; desiring this letter, by your good means, or the news or copy thereof may come to the hands of one, or many of my acquaintance, at Limehouse, or elsewhere; or at Gillingham, in Kent, by Rochester." The second letter has no date, the concluding part of it being suppressed or lost, by the malice of the bearers, as Purchas suspected; but is addressed to his wife, and was probably inclosed in the former, or perhaps sent home by Saris, whose voyage will be found in the sequel. Adams appears to have died about 1620, in Japan, as reported by the ship James, which arrived from that island, in England, in 1621. Purchas observes, that though this voyage was not by the Cape of Good Hope, he had yet inserted it among the early English voyages to India, because performed to Japan. The editor of Astley's Collection says that he once intended to have placed it in a different division of his work, as performed by a south-west course; but, because Adams is frequently mentioned in the journals of Saris and Cocks, to whom he was serviceable in Japan, he chose to follow the example of Purchas. One of the views of Adams, in the first of these letters, in the opinion of the editor of Astley's Collection, appears to have been to excite the English to repair to Japan; and they seem to have entertained that object at the same time, as Saris set out upon his voyage to that island six months before the date of the letter from Adams.

[Footnote 46: Purchas his Pilgrims, I. 125. Astley, I. 525.]

In Astley's Collection, the editor has used the freedom, as he has done in a variety of other instances, to make great alterations in the arrangement of the original document, and even often makes important changes in the sense, which is by no means commendable. In this article, as in all others, we have chosen to have recourse to the original source, merely accommodating the language to that of the present day.

Before the letters of Adams, it seemed proper to give the following short notice of the earlier part of the voyage in which Adams went to Japan, as contained in the Pilgrims of Purchas, vol. I. p. 78.—E.

* * * * *

Sec. 1. Brief Relation of the Voyage of Sebalt de Wert to the Straits of Magellan.

In the year 1598, the following ships were fitted out at Amsterdam for a voyage to India: The Hope, of 250 tons, admiral, with 136 persons; the Charity, of 160 tons, vice-admiral, with 110 men; the Faith, of 160 tons, and 109 men; the Fidelity, of 100 tons, and 86 men; and the Good News, of 75 tons, and 56 men; of which fleet Sir Jaques Mabu was general, and Simon de Cordes vice-admiral; the captains of the other three ships being Benninghen, Bockholt, and Sebalt de Wert. Being furnished with all necessary provisions, they set sail on the 27th June, 1598. After much difficulty, and little help at the Cape de Verd islands, where they lost their general, to whom Cordes succeeded, they were forced, by their pressing wants, and the wiles of the Portuguese, being severely infected with the scurvy in all their ships, to leave these islands, with the intention of going to the Isle of Anabon, in the gulf of Guinea, in lat. 1 deg. 40' S. to make better provision of water, and other necessaries, and to refresh their men. Falling in unexpectedly with the land, in about the lat. of 3 deg. S. 120 miles before their reckoning, they determined to go to Cape Lope Gonsalves, driving a peddling trade with the negroes as they went along the coast.

Arriving at the bay of Cape Lope, the sick men were sent a-shore on the 10th November. The 23d, a French sailor came aboard, who promised to procure them the favour of the negro king, to whom Captain Sebalt de Wert was sent. This king was found on a throne hardly a foot high, having a lamb's skin under his feet. He was dressed in a coat of violet cloth, with tinsel lace, without shirt, shoes, or stockings, having a party-coloured cloth on his head, with many glass beads hanging from his neck, attended by his courtiers adorned with cocks feathers. His palace was not comparable to a stable. His provisions were brought to him by women, being a few roasted plantains and some smoke-dried fish, served in wooden vessels, with palm-wine, in such sparing measure, that Massinissa, and other renowned examples of temperance, might have been disciples to this negro monarch. One time the Dutch captain regaled his majesty with some of the ship's provisions; but he forgot all his temperance on being treated with Spanish wine, and had to be carried off mortal drunk. Very little refreshment could be procured here. They killed a boar and two buffaloes in the woods, and snared a few birds, besides buying some provisions from the negroes. The worst of all was, as the scurvy subsided, they were afflicted with dangerous fevers.

Departing from this place on the 8th December, they came to the island of Anobon on the 16th, where they procured some provisions by force. By the scurvy and fever they lost thirty men, among whom was Thomas Spring, a young Englishman of promising parts. In the beginning of the year 1599, they departed from Anabon, steering for the straits of Magellan, being too late for passing the Cape of Good Hope. The 10th March they observed the sea all red, as if mixed with blood, occasioned by being full of red worms, which when taken up leapt like fleas. They entered the straits on the 6th April, supplying themselves at Penguin islands with thirteen or fourteen hundred of these birds. On the 18th of that month they anchored in Green bay within the straits, where they got fresh water and large mussels. They remained at this place till the 23d of August, in a perpetually stormy winter, and lost a hundred of their men. The storm found them continual labour, without any furtherance of their intended voyage; suffering continual rain, wind, snow, hail, hunger, loss of anchors, and spoiling of their ships and tackling, sickness, death, and savages, want of stores and store of wants, so that they endured a fulness of misery. The extreme cold increased their appetites, which decreased their provisions, and made them anxious to look out for more.

On the 7th May, going in their boats to take gudgeons on the south side of the straits, opposite Green bay, they descried seven canoes with savages, who seemed ten or eleven feet high, with red bodies and long hair.[47] The Dutch were much amazed at these men, who likewise terrified them with stones and loud cries. The Dutch got immediately into their boats, and stood on their defence; but when the savages saw four or five of their companions fall down dead, slain by Dutch thunder, they fled to the land; and plucking up large trees, barricaded themselves against the Hollanders, who left them. After this, three of the Dutchmen, in seeking food to preserve their life, found death at the hands of naked savages, who were armed with barbed darts, which, if they entered the flesh, had to be cut out.

[Footnote 47: This is the first notice we have yet met with of the long-famed Patagonians; but their enormous stature in the text is very diffidently asserted. We shall have future opportunities of becoming better acquainted with these South American giants. Perhaps the original may only have said they seemed ten or eleven spans high, and some careless editor chose to substitute feet.—E.]

This Green bay, in which they staid so long, was named Cordes bay after the commander. In another, called Horse bay, they erected a new guild or fraternity, binding themselves with much solemnity and many oaths to certain articles, and calling it the Fraternity of the Freed Lion. The general added six chosen men to himself in this society, and caused their names to be engraven on a board, which was hung up on high pillars, to be seen by all passing that way; but it was defaced by the savages, who likewise disinterred the dead bodies from their graves and dismembered them, carrying one away.

The 3d September, they left the straits, and continued till the 7th, when De Wert was forced to stay by a storm, and the Faith and Fidelity were left behind in much misery, hunger, tempests, leaks, and other distress. The death of their master, and the loss of their consorts, added much to their misery, and in the end of the month they were forced again into the straits; after which, in two months, they had not one fair day to dry their sails. The 14th October, the Faith lost two anchors. To one place they gave the name of Perilous bay, and called another Unfortunate bay, in remembrance of their distresses, to all of which the devil added mutiny among their people and thieving. They took a savage woman who had two children, one of whom they thought to be only six months old, yet it could walk readily, and had all its teeth. I loath to relate their loathsome feeding, with the blood running from their mouths. They here met General Oliver Noort, whose men were all lusty, and was yet unable to spare them any relief. After a world of straits in these straits, too long to rehearse, they departed thence on the 22d January, 1600, and arrived in the Maese on the 14th July. Without the straits, in lat. 50 deg. 40' S. they saw three islands, sixty miles from land, stored with penguins, which they called the Sebaldines of the Indies, but which are not inserted in maps.[48]

[Footnote 48: The only islands which agree in any respect with the position assigned in the text, are the north-westermost of the Malouines or Falkland islands, which are nearly in that latitude, but much farther from the land.—E.]

Sec. 2. First Letter of William Adams.

Hearing that some English merchants are residing in the island of Java, although by name unknown, and having an opportunity, I presume to write these lines, desiring your worshipful company, being unknown to me, to pardon my boldness. The reason of my writing is chiefly that my conscience binds me to love my country and country men. Your worships will therefore please to understand that I am a Kentish man, born in the town of Gillingham, two miles from Rochester and one mile from Chatham, where the king's ships lie; and that from the age of twelve years I was brought up at Limehouse near London, being apprentice twelve years to one Mr Nicholas Diggines. I have served both as master and pilot in her majesty's ships; and served eleven or twelve years with the worshipful company of Barbary merchants. When the Indian trade of Holland began, I was desirous of making some trial of the small knowledge which God hath given me in that navigation. So, in the year 1598, I was hired as chief pilot of a fleet of five sail, which was fitted out by Peter Vanderhag and Hans Vanderuke, the chiefs of the Dutch India company. A merchant named Jaques Mayhay,[49] was general of this fleet, in whose ship I was pilot.

[Footnote 49: Called Mahu in the preceding narrative.—E.]

It being the 23d or 24th of June before we set sail, we were too late in coming to the line to pass it without contrary winds, for it was then the middle of September, at which time we found much southerly winds, and many of our men fell sick, so that we were obliged to go upon the coast of Guinea to Cape Lopo Gonsalves, where we landed our sick men, many of whom died. Few recovered here, as the climate was very unhealthy, and we could procure little or no refreshment. We determined therefore, for the fulfilment of our voyage, to sail for the coast of Brazil, and to pass through the straits of Magellan. By the way we came to an island called Ilha da Anobon, where we landed and took the town, consisting of about eighty houses. We refreshed in this island, where we had plenty of lemons, oranges, and various other fruits; but such was the unhealthiness of the air, that as one grew better another fell sick. We spent upon the coast of Cape Gonsalves and at Anobon about two months, till the 12th or 13th of November, when we sailed from Anobon, having the wind still at S. by E. and S.S.E. till we got four degrees south of the line; at which time the winds became more favourable, coming to S.E. E.S.E. and E. so that we ran from Anobon to the straits in about five months. During this passage, one of our ships carried away her mainmast, by which we were much hindered, having to set up a new mast at sea.

The 29th of March we espied the land in the latitude of 50 deg. S. after having the wind for two or three days contrary; but the wind becoming again fair, we got into the straits of Magellan on the 6th April, 1599, by which time the winter was come on, so that there was much snow. Through cold and hunger combined, our men became very weak. We had the wind at east for five or six days, in which time we might have passed through the straits; but we waited refreshing our men, taking in wood and water, and setting up a pinnace of about fifteen or sixteen tons. At length, we would have passed the straits, but could not, on account of southerly winds, attended by much rain and great cold, with snow and ice; so that we had to winter in the straits, remaining there from the 6th April till the 24th September, by which time almost all our provisions were spent, so that many of our men died of hunger. Having passed through the straits into the South Sea, we found many violent currents, and were driven south into 54 degrees, where we found the weather excessively cold. Getting at last favourable winds, we prosecuted our intended voyage towards the coast of Peru; but in the end lost our whole fleet, being all separated from each other.

Before the fleet separated, we had appointed, in case of separation by foul weather, that we should wait on the coast of Chili, in the latitude of 46 deg. S. for thirty days, in hopes of rejoining. Accordingly, I went to that latitude, where we remained twenty-eight days, and procured refreshments from the natives, who were very good-natured, though the Spaniards had nearly prevented them at first from dealing with us. They brought us sheep and potatoes, for which we gave them bells and knives; but at length they retired into the country, and came no more near us. Having set up a pinnace which we brought with us, and remained in waiting for our consorts during twenty-eight days, we proceeded to the port of Baldivia in lat. 40 deg. 20' S. but entered not by reason of contrary winds, on which we made for the island of Mocha, where we arrived next day. Finding none of our ships there, we sailed for the island of Santa Maria,[50] and came next day to the Cape, which is within a league and half of that island, where we saw many people; being much tempest-tost endeavouring to go round that cape, and finding good ground, we came to anchor in a fine sandy bay, in fifteen fathoms water.

[Footnote 50: The island of Santa Maria, or St Mary, is on the coast of Chili near Conception, in about the latitude 86 deg. 50' N.]

We went in our boat, to endeavour to enter into a friendly conference with the natives, but they opposed our landing, and shot a great many arrows at our men. Yet, having no victuals in our ship, and hoping to procure refreshments here, we forcibly landed between twenty-seven and thirty men, driving the natives from the shore, but had most of our men wounded by their arrows. Being now on land, we made signs to them of friendship, and at length succeeded in bringing them to an amicable conference, by means of signs and tokens which the people understood. By our signs we communicated our desire to procure provisions, in exchange for iron, silver, and cloth. They gave us some wine, potatoes, and fruits; and desired us by signs to return to our ship, and come back the next day, when they would supply us with victuals. It being now late, our people came on board, most of them more or less hurt, yet glad of having brought the natives to a parley.

Next day, the 9th November, 1599, our captain and all our officers prepared to land, having come to the resolution of only going to the shore, and landing two or three men at the most, as the people were very numerous, and our people were not willing to put too much trust in them. Our captain went in one of our boats, with all the force we were able to muster; and when near the shore, the natives made signs for him to land, which our captain was not willing to do. But as the natives did not come near the boats, our captain and the rest determined to land, notwithstanding what had been agreed upon in the ship. At length twenty-three men landed, armed with muskets, and marched up towards four or five houses; but had hardly got a musketshot shot from the boats, when above a thousand Indians fell upon them from an ambush, with such weapons as they had, and slew them all within our sight. Our boats waited long, to see if any of our men would return; but seeing no hope to recover any of them, they returned to the ship with, the sorrowful news that all who had landed were slain. This was a most lamentable affair, as we had scarcely as many men remaining as could weigh our anchor.

We went next day over to the island of St Mary, where we found our admiral, who had arrived there four days before us, and had departed from the island of Mocha the day after we came from thence, the general, master, and all the officers having been wounded on shore.[51] We were much grieved for our reciprocal misfortunes, so that the one bemoaned the other, yet were glad that we had come together again. My good friend Timothy Shotten of London was pilot of this ship. At this island of St Mary, which is in lat. 37 deg. S, [36 deg. 50'] near the coast of Chili, it was concluded to take every thing into one of the ships, and burn the other; but the new captains could not agree which of the ships to burn, so that this agreement was not executed. Having much cloth in our ships, it was agreed to steer for Japan, which we understood was a good market for cloth; and we were the more inclined to this measure, because the King of Spain's ships upon the coast of Peru having now intelligence of us, would come in search of us, and knew that we were weak by the loss of our men, which was all too true, for one of our ships, as we learnt afterwards, was forced to surrender to the enemy at St Jago.

[Footnote 51: In the second letter, the general and twenty-seven men are said to have been slain at Mocha.—E.]

Having procured refreshments at Santa Maria, more by policy than force, we departed from the road of that island on the 27th November with our two ships, having heard nothing of the rest of our fleet. We took our course direct for Japan, and passed the line together, keeping company till we came into the latitude of 28 deg. N. in which latitude, on the 22d and 23d of February, we had as heavy a storm of wind as I ever saw, accompanied with much rain; during which storm we lost sight of our other and larger ship, being very sorry to be left alone, yet comforted ourselves with the hope of meeting again at Japan. Continuing our course as we best could for wind and weather, till we were in the lat. of 30 deg. N. we sought for the north cape of that island, but found it not; because it is falsely laid down in all charts, maps, and globes, for that cape is 35 deg. 30' N. which is a great difference.[52] At length, in 32 deg. 30' N. we saw land on the 19th April, having been four months and twenty-two days between Santa Maria and Japan, and at this time there were only six men, besides myself, who could stand on their feet.

[Footnote 52: The geographical notices in the text are hardly intelligible. The northern cape of Japan is in 40 deg. 30' N. Sanddown point, towards the south end of the eastern side of the great island of Niphon, is nearly in the latitude indicated in the text. The latitude of 32 deg. 30', where, according to Adams, they had first sight of Japan, is on the eastern side of Kiusiu, the south-western island of Japan, in long. 131 deg. 25' E. while Sanddown point is in long. 141 deg. E. from Greenwich.—E.]

Being now in safety, we let go our anchor about a league from a place called Bungo.[53] Many boats came off to us, and we allowed the people to come on board, being quite unable to offer any resistance; yet, though we could only understand each other very imperfectly by signs, the people did us no harm. After two or three days, a jesuit came to us from a place called Nangasacke, to which place the Portuguese caraks from Macao are in use to come yearly. This man, with some Japanese chieftains, interpreted for us, which was bad for us, being our mortal enemies; yet the King of Bungo, where we had arrived, shewed us great friendship, giving us a house on shore for our sick, and every refreshment that was needful. When we came to anchor off Bungo, we had twenty-four men living, sick and well, of whom three died next day, and other three after continuing long sick, all the rest recovering.

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