A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. VIII.
by Robert Kerr
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[Footnote 53: In modern maps, Bungo is the name of the middle province on the eastern side of Japan, and includes the indicated latitude, the nearest sea-port town being named Nocea, thirty-five miles farther north. But as we have hardly any intercourse with Japan, our maps of that country are very imperfect.—E.]

The Emperor of Japan hearing of us, sent presently five gallies, or frigates, to us at Bungo, with orders to bring me to the court where he resided, which was almost eighty English leagues from Bungo.[54] When I came before him, he demanded to know from what country we were, and I answered him in all points. There was nothing almost that he did not enquire about, more especially concerning war and peace between different countries, to all of which I answered to the best of my knowledge, which were too long to write off at this time. After this conference, I was ordered to prison along with one of our mariners, who had accompanied me to serve me, but we were well used there. Some two days afterwards the emperor sent for me again, and demanded the reason of our having come so far. I made answer, that we were a people who sought peace and friendship with all nations, and to have trade with all countries, bringing such merchandise as our country had, and buying such others in foreign countries as were in request in ours, through which reciprocal traffic both countries were enriched. He enquired much respecting the wars between us and the Spaniards and Portuguese, and the causes of the same, all the particulars of which I explained to him, with which he seemed much pleased. After this I was again remanded to prison, but in another place, where my lodging was bettered.[55]

[Footnote 54: This was Osaca, which is eighty leagues from Bungo.—Purchas.

Osaka, in a straight line, is about ninety marine leagues, or 276 English miles, from the coast of Bungo.—E.]

[Footnote 55: The second letter, addressed to his wife, breaks off here.—E.]

I continued thirty-nine days in prison, hearing no news of our ship or captain, and knew not whether he were recovered or not, neither respecting the rest of our company. In all that time I expected continually to be crucified, as is the custom of Japan, as hanging is with us; for during my long imprisonment, the Portuguese and jesuits gave many false accounts against us to the emperor, alledging that we were thieves, who went about to rob and plunder all nations, and that if we were suffered to live it would be to the injury of the emperor and his nation; for then no nation would come there without robbing, but if justice were executed upon us, it would terrify the rest of our nation from coming there any more. They thus persuaded the emperor daily to cut us off, making all the friends at court they could to back them. But God was merciful to us, and would not permit them to have their will against us. At length the emperor gave them this answer: "That, as we had done no hurt to him or any of his subjects, it was contrary to reason and justice to put us to death; and if our country and theirs were at war, that was no reason why he should punish us." They were quite cast down by this answer, seeing their cruel intentions towards us disappointed, for which God be praised for ever and ever.

While I remained in prison, the emperor gave orders for our ship to be brought as near to the city where he resided as possible, which was done accordingly. Then, on the one and fortieth day of my imprisonment, I was again brought before the emperor, who asked me many more questions, which were too long to write. In conclusion, he asked me if I wished to go to the ship to see my countrymen, which I said would give me much satisfaction. So he bad me go, and I departed, being freed from imprisonment. I now first learnt that our ship and company were come to the city where the emperor resided; whereupon, with a joyous heart, I took a boat and went on board, where I found our captain and the rest recovered from their sickness. At our meeting they saluted me with tears, having heard that I was long since put to death. Thus, God be praised, all we that were left alive came again together.

All our things were taken out of our ship, all my instruments and other things being taken away, so that I had nothing left but the clothes on my back, and all the rest were in a similar predicament. This had been done unknown to the emperor, and, being informed of it, he gave orders to restore every thing to us; but they were all so dispersed among many hands that this could not be done. Wherefore 50,000 ryals were ordered to be given us, which the emperor himself saw delivered into the hands of one of his officers, who was appointed our governor, with orders to supply us from that fund as we had occasion, to enable us to purchase provisions, and all other necessary charges. At the end of thirty days, during which time our ship lay before a city called Sakay, three leagues, or two and a half, from Osaka, where the emperor then resided, an order was issued that our ship should be carried to the eastern part of the land of Japan called Quanto, whither, according to his commands, we went, the distance being about 120 leagues. Our passage there was long, owing to contrary winds.

Coming to the land of Quanto, and near to the city of Eddo, [Jedo,] [56] where the emperor then was, we used many supplications to get our ship set free, and to be allowed to seek our best profit at the place where the Hollanders have their trade,[57] in the prosecution of which suit we expended much of the money given us by the emperor. In this time three or four of our men mutinied against the captain and me, and drew in the rest of our men, by which we had much trouble with them, every one endeavouring to be commander, and all being desirous to share among them the money given us by the emperor. It would be too tedious to relate all the particulars of this disturbance. Suffice it to say, that we divided the money, giving to every one a share according to his place. This happened when we had been two years in Japan. After this, when we had received a positive denial to our petition for having our ship restored, and were told that we must abide in Japan, our people, who had now their shares of the money, dispersed themselves, every one to where he thought best. In the end, the emperor gave to every one to live upon two pounds of rice daily, and so much yearly as was worth eleven or twelve ducats, the captain, myself, and the mariners all equal.

[Footnote 56: Osaka, at the head of a bay of the same name on the south side of Niphon, is in lat. 34 deg. 58' N. long. 135 deg. 5' E. Sakay, or Sakai, on the eastside of the same bay, is about fifteen miles directly south from Osaka. Eddo, or Jedo, at the head of a bay of that name, likewise on the south side of Niphon, is in lat. 35 deg. 38' long. 140 deg. E. from Greenwich—E.]

[Footnote 57: This is probably an anachronism, meaning the place where the Hollanders had been allowed to trade by the time when Adams wrote in 1611.—E.]

In the course of three or four years the emperor called me before him, as he had done several times before, and on this occasion he would have me to build him a small ship. I answered that I was not a carpenter, and had no knowledge in ship-building. "Well then," said he, "do it as well as you can, and if it be not well done, there is no matter." Accordingly I built a ship for him of about eighty tons burthen, constructed in all proportions according to our manner. He came on board to see her, and was much pleased, so that I grew into favour with him, was often admitted to his presence, and received presents from him from time to time, and at length got an yearly revenue to live upon, equal to about seventy ducats, besides two pounds of rice daily, as before. Being in such grace and favour, owing to my having taught him some parts of geometry and mathematics, with other things, I so pleased him, that whatever I said was not to be contradicted. My former enemies, the jesuits and Portuguese, wondered much at this, and often solicited me to befriend them with the emperor, so that through my means both Spaniards and Portuguese have frequently received favours, and I thus recompensed their evil with good. In this manner, though at first it cost me much labour and pains to pass my time and procure a living, God hath at length blessed my endeavours.

At the end of five years I made supplication to the emperor for leave to quit Japan, desiring to see my poor wife and children, according to nature and conscience; but he was displeased with my request, and would not permit me to go away, saying that I must continue in the country. Yet in process of time, being greatly in his favour, I made supplication again, hearing that the Hollanders were in Acheen and Patane, which rejoiced us much, in the hopes that God would enable us to return again to our country by some means or other. I told him, if he would permit me to depart, I would be the means of bringing both the English and Hollanders to trade in his country. He said that he was desirous of both these nations visiting his country in the way of trade, and desired me to write to them for that purpose, but would by no means consent to my going away. Seeing, therefore, that I could not prevail for myself; I petitioned him for leave to our captain to depart, which he readily granted. Having thus procured his liberty, the captain embarked in a Japanese junk, in which he went to Patane, where he waited a year for Dutch ships; but none arriving in that time, he went from Patane to Johor, where he found a fleet of nine sail, of which Matleet was general, and in which fleet he was again made a master.

This fleet sailed for Malacca, where it fought with a Portuguese squadron, in which battle he was slain; so that I think as yet there can be no certain news respecting me, whether I be alive or dead. Wherefore I am very desirous that my wife and two children may learn that I am alive in Japan; my wife being in a manner a widow, and my children fatherless; which alone is my greatest grief of heart, and sorely afflicts me. I am a man not unknown in Ratcliff and Limehouse; particularly to my good master Mr Nicholas Diggines, Mr Thomas Best, Mr Nicholas Isaac and Mr William Isaac, brothers, with many others, as also to Mr William Jones and Mr Becket. Therefore, if this letter, or a copy of it, may come into any of their hands, I am sure that such is their goodness, that they will communicate the news to my family and friends, that I do as yet live in this vale of sinful pilgrimage: Which, thing I do again and again earnestly desire may be done, for the sake of Jesus.

You are to understand, that the first ship I built for the emperor made a voyage or two, whereupon he commanded me to build another, which I did of the size of 120 tons. In this ship I made a voyage from Meaco[58][in lat. 35 deg. 12' N. long. 135 deg. 37' E.] to Jeddo, being about as far as London is from the Lizard or Land's-end of England. In the year 1609, the emperor lent this ship to the governor of Manilla, to go with 86 of his men to Accapulco. In the same year 1609, a great ship of about 1000 tons, called the San Francisco, was cast away on the east coast of Japan, in the latitude of 30 deg. 50' N. Being in great distress in a storm, she cut her mainmast by the board, and bore away for Japan; and in the night time, before they were aware, the ship ran on shore, and was utterly wrecked, 136 men being drowned, and 340 or 350 saved, in which ship the governor of Manilla was going as a passenger for New Spain. This governor was sent off to Accapulco, as before said, in the larger ship of my building, and 1611 he sent back another ship in her stead, with a great present, and an ambassador to the emperor, giving him great thanks for his kindness, and sending the value of the emperor's ship in goods and money: which ship of my building, the Spaniards now have at the Philippine islands.

[Footnote 58: Meaco is entirely an inland city, thirty-five miles from Osaka, and on the same river, which runs into the bay of Osaka two or three miles below the latter city. It is probable, therefore, that this ship may have been built at Meaco, and floated down the river to the bay of Osaka.—E.]

At this time, for the services which I have performed to the emperor, and am daily performing, he hath given me a living, like unto a lordship in England, in which there are eighty or ninety husbandmen, who are as my servants and slaves, the like having never been done to any stranger before in this country. Thus God hath amply provided for me after my great misery To his name be the praise for ever and ever. Amen. But whether I shall ever get out of this land or not I know not. Until this present year, 1611, there has been no way or manner of accomplishing this my earnest desire, which there now is through the trade of the Hollanders. In 1609, two ships belonging to Holland came to Japan, in the intention of taking the carak which comes yearly from Macao. Being five or six days too late for that purpose, they came notwithstanding to Firando.[59] From thence they waited on the emperor, and were received in a friendly manner, receiving permission to come yearly to Japan with one or two ships, and so departed with the emperor's pass or licence. In consequence of this permission, a small ship is arrived this year, 1611, with cloth, lead, elephants' teeth, damask, black taffeties, raw silk, pepper, and other commodities; and have given a sufficient excuse why they missed the former year, as had been promised. This ship was well received, and entertained in a friendly manner.

[Footnote 59: Firando is an island about twenty miles in diameter, in the west of Japan, the centre of which is in lat. 33 deg. 10' N. and long. 128 deg. 30' E. from Greenwich.—E.]

You must understand that the Hollanders have here an Indies of money and profit; as by this trade they do not need to bring silver from Holland to the East Indies; for in Japan there is much silver and gold, to serve their turn in other places of the East Indies where it is needed. The merchandise that is most vendible here for ready money, is raw silk, damask, black taffety, black and red cloth of the best kind, lead, and such like goods. Learning, by this lately-arrived Hollander, that a settled trade is now carried on by my countrymen in the East Indies, I presume that some among them, merchants, masters, or mariners, must needs know me. Therefore am I emboldened to write these few lines, which I have made as short as I could, not to be too tedious to the readers.

This country of Japan is a great island, reaching in its northern part to the latitude of forty-eight degrees,[60] and its most southerly part is in thirty-five degrees, both north. Its length from east by north to west by south, for such is its direction, is 220 English leagues. The breadth from south to north is thirteen degrees, twenty leagues to the degree, or 260 leagues, so that it is almost square. The inhabitants of Japan are good-natured, courteous above measure, and valiant in war. Justice is executed with much severity, and is distributed impartially, without respect of persons, upon all transgressors of the law. They are governed in great civility, and I think that no part of the world has better civil policy. The people are very superstitious in their religion, and entertain various opinions or beliefs. There are many jesuits and franciscan friars in the country, and who have many churches in the land.

[Footnote 60: The island of Japan Proper reaches only to lat. 40 deg. 37' N. and the southern coast of Tacuxima, its most southerly detached isle, is in lat. 32 deg. 28'. The most southerly point of the largest island of Niphon being in 33 deg. 3' N. The extreme length of Niphon, in a slight curve from N.E. to S.W. is about 815 English miles; or, continuing the measure to the S.W. extremity of Kiusiu at Cape Nomo, about 1020 miles. The breadth is very irregular, but cannot exceed 100 miles on the average.—E.]

Thus shortly am I constrained to write, hoping that by one means or other I may hear of my wife and children in process of time, and so with patience I wait the good will and pleasure of Almighty God; earnestly desiring all those to whom this letter may come, to use means to acquaint my good friends before named of its contents; that so my wife and children may hear of me, and I may have hope to hear of them before I die. Which God grant, to his glory and my comfort. Amen.

Dated in Japan, the 22d of October, 1611, by your unworthy friend and servant, to command in what I can,


Sec.3. Letter of William Adams to his Wife.[61]

Loving wife, you shall hereby understand how all things have passed with me since I left you. We sailed from the Texel with five ships, on the 24th June, 1598, and took our departure from the coast of England the 5th July. The 21st August we came to St Jago, one of the Cape Verd Islands, where we remained twenty-four days. In this time many of our men fell sick, through the unwholesomeness of the air, and our general among the rest. We abode so long among these islands, because one of the captains of our fleet made our general believe that we should find plenty of refreshments there, as goats and other things, which was not the case. I and all the pilots in the fleet were here called to council; but as we all declared ourselves much averse to the place, our opinions were so much disliked by the captains, that they agreed among themselves to call us no more to council.

[Footnote 61: Although this fragment relates to the same circumstances that are detailed in the former letter, these are frequently given more at large, and it has therefore been retained.—E.]

The 15th September we departed from St Jago, and passed the equator; and in the lat. of 3 deg. S. our general died. The season being much too late, we were forced upon the coast of Guinea, falling in with a headland called Cabo de Spiritu Santo. The new general commanded us to bear up for Cape Lopo Gonsalves, to seek refreshments for our men, which was done accordingly. We landed all our sick at that place, where they did not find much benefit, as we could get no store of provisions. The 29th December we resumed our voyage, and on our way fell in with an island called Anobon, where we landed our sick men, taking possession of the island by force, the town containing about eighty houses. Having here refreshed our men, we again set sail, our general giving out in orders, that each man was only to have the allowance of one pound of bread in four days, being a quarter of a pound daily, with a like reduced allowance of wine and water. This scarcity of victuals made our men so feeble, that they fell into great weakness and sickness for very hunger, insomuch that they eat the calf-skins with which our ropes were covered.

The 3d April, 1599, we fell in with port St Julian,; and on the 6th we entered the Straits of Magellan, which are at first narrow. The 8th day we passed the second narrows with a fair wind, and came to anchor at Penguin Island, where we landed, and loaded our boat with penguins. These are fowls larger than ducks, and proved a great refreshment to us. The 10th we weighed anchor, having much wind, yet fair for our passage; but our general insisted upon taking in wood and water for all our ships, of which there is great abundance in all parts of the straits, and good anchoring grounds every three or four leagues. In the mean time the wind changed, and became southerly; so we sought for a good harbour on the north side of the straits, four leagues from Elizabeth Bay. April being out, we had a wonderful quantity of snow and ice, with great winds; for the winter there is in April, May, June, July, and August, being in 52 deg. 30' S. Many times during the winter we had the wind fair for passing through the straits, but our general would not; so that we remained in the straits till the 24th August,[62] 1599, on which day we came into the South Sea. Six or seven days after the whole fleet was separated, and the storm-continuing long, we were driven south, into 1st 54 deg. 30' S. The weather clearing up, with a fair wind, we saw the admiral again, to our great joy. Eight or ten days afterwards, having very heavy wind in the night, our foresail was blown away, and we again lost sight of the admiral.

[Footnote 62: In the former letter this is called the 24th September, which seems to be the true date from what follows—E.]

Having a fair wind for that purpose, we directed our course for the coast of Chili, where we arrived on the 29th October, at a place appointed by the general for a rendezvous, in lat. 46 deg. S. where we waited twenty-eight days, and set up a pinnace. In this place we found people, with whom we had friendly intercourse for five or six days, during which they brought us sheep, for which we gave them bells and knives, with which they seemed contented. But shortly afterwards they all went away from the place where our ship lay, and we saw no more of them. The twenty-eight days being expired, we set sail in the intention to go to Baldivia, and came to the mouth of the port; but as the wind was high, our captain changed his mind, and we directed our course for the island of Mocha, in thirty-eight degrees, where we arrived the 1st November. The wind being still high, we durst not come to anchor, and directed our course for Cape St Mary, two leagues south of the island of that name. Having no knowledge of the people, our men landed on the 2d of November, and the natives fought with them, wounding eight or, nine of our people; but in the end the natives made a false composition of friendship with them, which our men believed sincere.

Next day our captain went on shore, with twenty-three of our best men, meaning to get victuals in exchange for goods, as we were reduced to great straits. Two or three of the natives came immediately to the boat, bringing a kind of wine and some roots, and making signs for our people to land, where they would get sheep and oxen. The captain and men went accordingly on shore, being very anxious to get provisions; but above a thousand of the natives broke out upon them from an ambush, and slew them all, among whom was my brother, Thomas Adams. After this severe loss we had hardly as many men remaining as could hoist our anchor; so on the 3d November, in great distress and heaviness of mind, we went to the island of Santa Maria, where we found our admiral ship, by which our hearts were somewhat comforted: but when we went on board, we found them in as great distress as ourselves, the general and twenty-seven of their men having been slain at the island of Mocha, from whence they had departed the day before we passed that island. We here consulted what we should do to procure victuals, not being in condition to go to land and take them by force, as most of our remaining men were sick.

While in this sad dilemma, there came a Spaniard on board by composition to see our ship. He came on board again the next day, and we allowed him quietly to depart. The following day two Spaniards came, on board, without pawn or surety, to see if they could betray us. When they had seen our ship, they were for going again on land; but we would not let them, saying, as they had come on board without leave, we should not permit them to go away till we thought fit, at which they were very much offended. We then told them how much we were in want of victuals, and said if they would let us have such a number of sheep and ewes, that we would set them at liberty. Thus, against their wills, they entered into a composition with us, which, within the time appointed, they accomplished. Having procured so much refreshment, most of our men recovered.

In consequence of the death of the general, one Hudcopee, a young man, who knew nothing, and had served the former, was made general in his stead; and the master of our ship, Jacob Quaternack, of Rotterdam, was made captain of our ship, in the place of him who had been slain. So the new general and vice-admiral called me and the other pilot, an Englishman, named Timothy Shorten, who had been with Mr Thomas Candish in his voyage round the world, and desired our advice how to prosecute the voyage for the best profits of our merchants. It was at last resolved to go for Japan, as, by the report of one Dirrick Gerritson, who had been there with the Portuguese, woollen cloth was in great estimation in that island; and we concluded that the Moluccas, and most other parts of the East Indies, being hot countries, our woollen cloth would not be there in much request: wherefore we all agreed to go for Japan. Leaving, therefore, the coast of Chili, in lat. 36 deg. S. on the 27th November, 1599, we shaped our course direct for Japan, and passed the equinoctial line with a fair wind, which lasted several months. In our way we fell in with certain islands in lat. 16 deg. N. of which the inhabitants are canibals.[63] Coming near these islands, our pinnace, with eight men, ran from us, and were eaten, as we supposed, by the savages, of whom we took one man.

[Footnote 63: These islands seem to be the Ladrones.—Purchas.]

In the latitude of 27 or 28 degrees north, we had variable winds and stormy weather; and on the 24th February, 1600, we lost sight of our admiral, and never saw his ship more; yet we still continued our course for Japan. The 24th March we saw an island called Una Colona, at which time many of our men were again sick, and several dead. We were in the utmost misery, not above nine or ten of our men being able to creep about on their hands and knees; while our captain and all the rest were expecting every hour to die. The 11th April, 1600, we had sight of Japan, near to Bungo, at which time there were not more than five of us able to stand. The 12th we came close to Bungo, and let go our anchor, many barks coming aboard of us, the people whereof we willingly allowed to come into our ship, having indeed no power to resist them. These people did us no personal injury; but they stole every thing they could lay their hands upon, for which some paid very dear afterwards. Next day the king of that land sent a party of soldiers on board, to prevent the merchant goods from being stolen. Two or three days after, our ship was brought into a good harbour, there to remain till the emperor of the whole island was informed of our arrival, and should give his orders as to what was to be done with us. In the meantime we petitioned the King of Bungo for leave to land our captain and the other sick men, which was granted, having a house appointed for them, in which they were all laid, and had all manner of refreshments given them.

After we had been five or six days here, there came a Portuguese jesuit, with other Portuguese, who falsely reported of us that we were pirates, and not at all in the way of trade; which scandalous reports caused the governors and people to think very ill of us, so that we even looked for being set upon crosses, which is the punishment in this land for thievery and some other crimes. Thus daily did the Portuguese incense the rulers and the people against us. At this time two of our men became traitors, giving themselves up to the service of the emperor, and becoming all in all with the Portuguese, who warranted them their lives. One was named Gilbert de Conning, whose mother dwelt in Middleburg, who gave himself out as the merchant over all the goods in the ship; the name of the other was John Abelson van Oudwater. These traitors tried every means to get the goods into their hands; and made known to the Portuguese every thing that had happened during our voyage.

Nine days after our arrival, the emperor, or great king of the land, sent for me to come to him. So, taking one man with me, I went to him, taking leave of our captain and the sick men, and commending myself into HIS hands who had hitherto preserved me from the perils of the sea. I was carried in one of the emperor's gallies to the court of Osaka, where the emperor then resided, being about eighty leagues from where our ship lay. On the 12th May, 1600, I came to the city of Osaka, and was brought immediately into the presence of the emperor, his palace being a wonderfully costly house, gilded with gold in great profusion. On coming before him, he viewed me well, and seemed favourably disposed towards me, making many signs to me, some of which I comprehended, and others not. After some time there came one who could speak Portuguese, who acted as interpreter. Through this person the king demanded to know from what country I was, and what had induced us to come to his land, at so great a distance from our own country. I then told him whence we were, that our country had long sought out the East Indies, desiring to live in peace and friendship with all kings and potentates in the way of trade; having in our country various commodities which these lands had not, and wishing to purchase such commodities in this land as our country did not possess. He then asked me if our country had any wars; to which I answered, that we were at war with the Spaniards and Portuguese, but at peace with all other nations. He farther asked me, what was my religious belief; to which I made answer, that I believed in God, who created the heavens and the earth. After many questions about religion and many other things, he asked me by what way we came to his country. Having with me a chart of the world, I showed him the way in which we had come, through the straits of Magellan; at which he wondered, and seemed as if he did not believe I spoke truth. Asking me what merchandise we had in our ship, I gave him an account of the whole. Thus, from one thing to another, I remained with him till midnight. In the end, when he was ready to depart, I desired that we might be allowed the same freedom of trade which the Spaniards and Portuguese enjoyed. He made me some answer, but what it was I did not understand, and then commanded me to be carried to prison.

Two days afterwards he sent for me again, and made many inquiries about the qualities and conditions of our countries; about wars and peace, of beasts and cattle of all sorts, of the heavens, and many other things; and he seemed well pleased with my answers. Yet was I again remanded to prison; but my lodging was bettered in another place.

* * * * *

"The rest of this letter, by the malice of the bearers, was suppressed, but was probably the same in substance with the former; yet I have added this also, because it contains several things not mentioned in the other. This William Adams lately[64] died at Firando, in Japan, as by the last ship, the James, returning home in the year 1621, we have received intelligence."—Purchas.

[Footnote 64: This is in reference to the year 1625, when the Pilgrims of Purchas was published.—E.]


Voyage of Sir Edward Michelburne to India, in 1604.[65]


This voyage is given by Purchas under the title of "The Second Voyage of John Davis, with Sir Edward Michelburne, into the East Indies, in the Tiger, a ship of 240 tons, with a pinnace, called the Tiger's Whelp." Purchas adds, that, though later in time than the first voyage set forth by the English East India Company, he had chosen to insert it in his work previous to their voyages, because not performed in their employment; and we have here followed his example, because not one of the voyages equipped by the Company. It is called the second voyage of John Davis, because he had been to the East Indies before, as related in the ninth section of this chapter, and went upon this voyage with Sir Edward Michelburne. But it ought to have been called his third, and indeed it is actually so named in the table of contents of the Pilgrims; as, besides his first voyage along with the Dutch in 1594, he appears to have sailed in the first voyage instituted by the Company for India, in 1601, under Lancaster. The editor of Astley's Collection supposes this journal to have been written by the captain or master of one of the ships, from some expressions in the narrative; at all events, it was written by some person actually engaged in the voyage. It is very singular that Sir Edward Michelburne, though a member of the first East India Company, and the fourth of the list in the original patent, should have set forth this voyage on private account.

[Footnote 65: Purchas his Pilgrims, I. 192. Astley, I. 306.]

We learn from the annals, of the India Company, that the lord-treasurer of England, in 1600, when the company was first instituted, proposed that Sir Edward Michelburne should be appointed to command the first fleet dispatched to India; but this was firmly declined, as will afterwards appear. Sir Edward now commanded what may be called an interloping trading voyage to India, under a licence granted by James I. in absolute contravention of the exclusive privilege granted to the Company.—E.

* * * * *

The 5th of December, 1604, we sailed from Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, and arrived in the road of Aratana, in the island of Teneriffe, on the 23d of that month. During the whole night of the 14th January, 1605, we were troubled with excessive heat, thunder, lightning, and rain. The 6th we passed the line, shaping our course for the isle of Noronha, with the wind at S.S.E., our course being S.S.W. About three degrees south of the line, we met with incredible multitudes of fish; so that, with hooks and harping irons, we took so many dolphins, bonitos, and other fishes, that our men were quite weary with eating them. There were likewise many fowls, called parharaboves and alcatrarzes. We took many of the former, as it delights to come to a ship in the night-time, insomuch, that if you hold up your hand, they will light upon it. The alcatrarze is a kind of hawk that lives on fish; for, when the bonitos and dolphins chase the flying fishes in the water till they are forced to take wing for safety, the alcatrarzes fly after them like hawks after partridges. I have seen often so many of these flying fishes at one time in the air, that they appeared at a distance like a large flock of birds. They are small fishes, hardly so large as a herring.

The 22d of January we came to anchor at the island of Fernando Noronba, in lat. 4 deg. S. where our skiff was overset going ashore, by the violence of the surf, and Richard Michelburne, a kinsman of our general, was drowned, all the rest being saved. The 25th, our long-boat, while going to fill some empty casks with water, fell in with the same unfortunate surf, and was overset, when two more of our men were drowned. We were so much put about in getting wood and water on board, by the danger of the surf, that we had to pull our casks on shore by means of ropes, and so back again when filled. Not six days before our arrival, there was a Holland ship here, whose boat, in going for water, was stove on the rocks, and all the men dashed to pieces, having their legs and arms cut from their bodies.

The 26th, the general went on shore to view the island, which was found entirely waste, being only inhabited by six negro slaves. There were formerly in this island many goats, and some wild cattle; but as the Portuguese caraks sometimes water here in their way to the East Indies, and these poor slaves are left here purposely to kill goats and dry their flesh for these ships, we could find very few of them. There are, however, great quantities of turtle-doves, alcatrarzes, and other fowls, of which we killed many with our fire-arms, and found them excellent eating. There is likewise here plenty of maize or Guinea wheat, and abundance of cotton trees, on which grows fine bombast; with great numbers of wild gourds and water melons. Having completed our supply of wood and water, we came on board, and continued our voyage.

The 12th February, when in lat. 7 deg. 5' S. we saw at night the most extraordinary sight, in my opinion, that ever was seen. The sea seemed all night, though the moon was down, all over, as it were, burning and shining with flames of fire, so that we could have seen to read any book by its light. The 15th, in the morning, we descried the island, or rock rather, of Ascension, in lat. 8 deg. 30' S. Towards night, on the 1st April, we descried land from the maintop, bearing S.S.E. when, according to our reckoning, we were still 40 leagues off. The 2d, in the morning, we were close to the land, being ten or twelve leagues north of Saldanha bay. The 3d we sailed by a small island, which Captain John Davis took to be one that is some five or six leagues from Saldanha bay, called Dassen island, which our general was desirous to see; wherefore he went on shore in the skiff, with only the master's mate, the purser, and myself, with four rowers. While we were on shore, a storm arose, which drove the ship out of sight of the island, so that we were forced to remain on shore two days and nights. This island has great numbers of seals and conies, or rabbits, on which account we called it Conie island.

The 8th, we came to anchor in the road or bay of Saldanha,[66] and went ashore on the 9th, finding a goodly country, inhabited by the most savage and beastly people that ever were created. In this place we had most excellent refreshments, the like of which is not to be found among any other savage people; for we wanted neither for beef nor mutton, nor wild-fowl, all the time we lay there. This country is very full of cattle and sheep, which they keep in great flocks and herds, as we do in England; and it abounds likewise in wild beasts and birds, as wild deer, in great abundance, antelopes, baboons, foxes, hares, ostriches, cranes, pelicans, herons, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridges, and various other excellent kinds, of which we killed as many as we pleased, with our fire-arms. The country is most pleasantly watered with many wholesome springs and brooks, which have their origin in the tops of exceeding high mountains, and which, pervading the vallies, render them very fertile. It has many trees growing close-to the sea-shore, not much unlike our bay trees, but of a much harder consistence. The natives brought us more cattle and sheep than we could use during all the time we remained there, so that we carried fresh beef and mutton to sea with us. For a piece of an old iron hoop, not worth two-pence, we could purchase a large bullock; and a sheep for a small piece of iron not worth two or three good hob-nails. These natives go quite naked, having only a sheep skin on their shoulders, and a small flap of skin before them, which covers them just as much as if it were not there. While we were there, they lived on the guts and offal of the meat which we threw away, feeding in a most beastly manner, as they neither washed nor cleaned the guts, but covered them merely with hot ashes, and, before they were heated through, pulled them out, shook them a little, and eat guts, excrements, ashes and all. They live on raw flesh, and a kind of roots, which they have in great abundance.

[Footnote 66: This Bay was probably that now called Table bay, which all the early navigators seem to have denominated Saldanha, or Saldania bay.—E.]

We continued here from the 9th April, till the 3d May, by which good recreation on shore and excellent refreshment, we were all in as good health as when we first put to sea. The 7th May we were off the Cape of Good Hope, ten leagues south by estimation, and that night we passed over the shoals of cabo das Aguilhas. The 9th there arose a great storm, when we lost sight of our pinnace, being driven from her by the violence of the gale. This storm continued in a most tremendous manner for two days and two nights, with much rain, thunder, and lightning, and we often shipped a great deal of water. By reason of the extreme fury of the tempests, and the danger they find in passing the southern promontory of Africa, the Portuguese call this place the Lion of the Sea. At night, during the extremity of the storm, there appeared a flame on our top-mast head, as big as a great candle, which the Portuguese call corpo sancto, holding it as a divine token that the worst is past when it appears; as, thanks be to God, we had better weather after. It appeared to us two successive nights, after which we had a fair wind and good weather. Some think this to be a spirit, while others say that it is an exhalation of moist vapours. Some affirm that the ship is fortunate on which it appears, and that she shall not perish.

The 24th, the island of Diego Roiz, in 1st. 19 deg. 40' S. and long. 98 deg. 30' E. bore north of us, eight leagues distant, about five o'clock[67] We bore down, intending to have landed there, but the wind freshened so much in the night that we changed our purpose. We saw many white birds about this island, having two long feathers in their tails. These birds, and various other kinds, accompanied us along with, such contrary winds and gusts that we often split our sails, and being obliged to lie to, or tack to and again, we rather went to leeward than gained way, having the wind strong at E.S.E.

[Footnote 67: The latitude and the name agree with Diego Rodriguez; but the longitude is inexplicable, as Diego Rodriguez is in long. 63 deg. 10' E. from Greenwich, or 80 deg. 56' from Ferro; making an error of excess in the text at the least of 17 deg. 51'.—E.]

The 3d June, while standing for the isle de Cisne[68] we came again in sight of Diego Roiz, and bore down for it, intending to wait there for a fair wind; but finding it a dangerous place, we durst not come thereto anchor, for fear of the rocks and shoals that lie about it, so that we changed our purpose, and stood for the East Indies. The 15th of June, we had sight of the isle dos Banhos, in lat. 6 deg. 37' S. and long. 109 deg. E.[69] These islands are laid down far too much to the west in most charts. We sent our boats to try if they could here find any good anchoring ground, but they could find none either on the south or west shore. There are five of these islands, which abound in fowls, fish, and cocoa-nuts; and our boats going on shore, brought us off a great store of all these, which proved a great refreshment to us. Seeing we could find no good anchorage, as in some places close to the shore we could find no bottom, while in other places the ground was full of shoals and sharp rocks, we stood our course as near as we could for India, the winds being bad and contrary.

[Footnote 68: By some thought to be Diego Rodriguez, by others the Mauritius, or isle of France.—Astl. 1. 507. a.]

[Footnote 69: A group of islands, one of which is called Peros Banhos, is found about the indicated latitude, and between the longitude of 70 deg. and 74 deg. E. having a similar excess with what was mentioned before in regard to Diego Roiz or Rodriguez.—E.]

The 19th of June, we fell in with the island of Diego Grasiosa, in lat. 7 deg. 30' S. and in long. 110 deg. 40' S. by our reckoning.[70] This seemed a pleasant island, and a good place for refreshment, if any proper place could be found for anchoring. We sought but little for anchoring there, as the wind was bad, and the tide set towards the shore, so that we durst not stay to search any farther. The island seemed to be some ten or twelve leagues long, abounding in fish and birds, and appeared an entire forest of cocoa-trees. What else it yielded we knew not. The 11th July, we again passed the equator, where we were becalmed, with excessive heat, and much thunder and lightning. The 19th we descried land, which seemed many islands, locked as it were into one, in lat. 2 deg. N. under the high coast of the great island of Sumatra.[71] We here sent off our boat to get some fresh water; but the sea went with so violent a breach [surf] upon the shore, that the people durst not land. The natives of the island, or islands, made great fires along the shore, as if inviting us to land.

[Footnote 70: Diego Garcia, in the indicated latitude nearly, and in long. 72 deg. E. from Greenwich.—E.]

[Footnote 71: There is no such cluster of islands in the indicated latitude and situation; but off the S.W. coast of Sumatra, between the line and lat. 2 deg. N. are several islands of some size, considerably distant from each other and from Sumatra.—E.]

The 28th we anchored near a small island, where we sent our boat ashore for fresh water; but finding none, the people brought off some cocoa-nuts, saying that the island was quite full of cocoa palms, which had very few nuts upon them. We saw three or four persons on this island, but they went away and would not come near us: It was supposed these people were left here to gather cocoa-nuts, to have them ready when others should come to carry them away. The 26th of the same month, July 1605, we came to anchor within a league of a large island called Bata,[72] in lat. 20' S. We here set up a shallop or bark, and named her the Bat. This island has no inhabitants, but abounds in woods and streams of water, as also with fish, monkies, and a kind of bird, said to be the bat of the country, of which I killed one as large as a hare. In shape it resembled a squirrel; only that from its sides there hung down great flaps of skin; which, when he leapt from tree to tree, he could spread out like a pair of wings, as though to fly with them.[73] They are very nimble, and leap from bough to bough, often holding only by their tails. As our shallop was built in the kingdom of these beasts, we called her therefore the Bat.

[Footnote 72: Pulo Botoa is about as much north of the line as Bata is said in the text to be south. But the island at which they stopt may have been Pulo Mintaon, about 40 minutes in length from S. to N. and the north end of which reaches to the equator.—E.]

[Footnote 73: There are a considerable number of animals of this description, known to naturalists by the general name of flying squirrels, sciuri volantes, or Petauri. The species mentioned in the text may have been the sciurus petaurista of Linnaeus, the taguan, flying-cat, flying-hare, or Indian flying-squirrel of various authors. It is much larger than any others of this genus, being eighteen inches long from nose to rump. Two varieties are mentioned in authors; one of a bright chesnut colour; and the other black on the upper parts of the body, and hoary underneath.—E.]

While walking along the shore on the 29th, I noticed a roader, or small vessel, riding at anchor under a small island about four leagues off, which made me very glad, hoping it might be our pinnace which we lost sight of in a great storm near the Cape of Good Hope, and made haste on board with the news to our general, who sent me with Captain John Davis next morning to endeavour to find her. On coming to the place, we found three barks riding under the small isle, the people of which made signs for us to come to them, informing us they had hens for sale. Some of them understood Portuguese, so we told them we would go back to our ship for money, not being then provided; but in reality we durst not go on board them, not being strong enough in case of treachery. We went back next morning better furnished, thinking to have made some purchases; but they had weighed anchor and gone away, seeming to have been afraid of us.

The 4th August we weighed anchor and stood for Priaman, and on the 9th the general manned the shallop, and sent us along the coast to see if we could find any roaders, [coasters.] Spying a sail we gave chase, and finding they could not get away, the people came to anchor and forsook their bark, going all ashore to an island in a small boat, where we could not follow them. Going on board the bark, in which not a man remained, we found it loaded with cocoanuts, cocoa-oil, and fine mats. Seeing it was such mean stuff, and knowing our general would not have liked us to take her, we came away, not taking any thing worth speaking of. The 10th and 11th we stood close along the shore of Sumatra, where we espied eight praws riding at anchor over against a place called Ticoo. Being in great hope of finding our pinnace, the Tiger's Whelp, among them, we stood on; and although she was not there, they put us in good hope, by telling us there was an English ship at Priaman, not above six leagues from this town of Ticoo. Then standing out to sea to rejoin our admiral, we got soon on board, and told the news to our general. We had not sailed a league farther, when our ship grounded on a rock of white coral: But, God be praised, having a strong breeze, we got her soon off again without any hurt. On approaching the road of Priaman, we had the great satisfaction to see our pinnace there, which we had lost sight of so long before in the storm at the Cape of Good Hope. The captain and master of the pinnace came to meet us in their skiff, half a league from the road, and on coming aboard, our general welcomed them, with a peal of cannon. After many discourses, recounting what had happened to each during our separation, we came to anchor in the road of Priaman in good ground and five fathoms water.

The 14th August, the general sent me on shore with a present to the governor and others, to enquire the price of pepper, to buy fresh provisions, and to know if our people might land in safety. But on coming on shore, the governor durst not speak with us in private, on account of wars then subsisting among them, owing to which they were jealous of each other. The cause of these wars was this: The old King of Acheen had two sons, the elder of whom he kept with himself intending him as his successor, and made the younger King of Pedier; upon which the elder made his father a prisoner, pretending that he was too old to govern any longer, and afterwards made war on his younger brother. Seeing that little good could be done here, and having refreshed with fresh provisions, we weighed anchor on the 21st, and stood for Bantam. That same day we took two praws, in which there was nothing but a little rice. In one of these praws two of our men were sore wounded. Thinking that all the people had leapt overboard, they boarded the praw; but two of the natives had hidden themselves behind the sail, and as soon as the two foremost of our men had entered, they came suddenly from their concealment, wounded our men very severely, and then leapt into the water, where they swam like water spaniels. Taking such things as we liked from the praws, we left them without any farther harm.

We took a fishing boat on the 23d, and let her go again, as she had nothing of value; only that one of her men was shot through the thigh, as they resisted us at the first. The 25th we descried a sail, and sent our shallop, long-boat, and skiff to see what she was, as neither our ship nor pinnace was able to fetch her, being becalmed. On coming up with her we desired her to strike, but she would not, so we fought with her from three in the afternoon till ten at night, by which time our pinnace came up, when she struck her sails and yielded. We made her fast to our pinnace, and towed her with us all night. In the morning our general sent for them to know what they were, and sent three of us on board to see what she was loaden with. They told our general they were of Bantam; for which reason, as not knowing what injury he might do to the English merchants who had a factory at Bantam, and learning from us that their loading was salt, rice, and china dishes, he sent them again on board their bark, not suffering the value of a penny to be taken from them. They stood on for Priaman, and we for Bantam. This bark was of the burden of about forty tons.

We met a small ship of Guzerat or Cambaya, on the 2d September, of about eighty tons, which we took and carried into the road of Sillibar, in lat. 4 deg. S. into which road many praws continually come for refreshments, as they may here have wood, water, rice, buffaloes, goats, hens, plantains, and fresh fish, but all very dear. Having dispatched our business, we weighed anchor on the 28th September, and stood for Bantam. The 23d October, we came to anchor in the road of Marrah in the strait of Sunda, where we took in fresh water. In this place there is great plenty of buffaloes, goats, hens, ducks, and many other good things for refreshment; and the people do not esteem money so much in payment, as white and painted calicoes, and such like stuffs. If well used, these people will use you well; but they must be sharply looked after for stealing, as they think all well got that is stolen from a stranger.

We weighed anchor on the 28th of October from before Marrah, and stood for Bantam; which is in lat. 6' 40' S. We came this day within three leagues of Bantam, and anchored for the night. Here we expected to have met the English fleet, but it had sailed for England three weeks before our arrival. Yet those who had been left as factors of our nation came on board us, being glad to see any of their countrymen in so distant a foreign land. They told our general, that the Hollanders belonging to the ships in the road, had made very slanderous reports of us to the King of Bantam, to the following purport: "That we were all thieves and lawless persons, who came there only to deceive and cheat them, or to use violence, as time and opportunity might serve; adding, that we durst not come into the road among them, but kept two or three leagues from thence for fear of them." When our general heard this report, he was so much moved to anger, that he immediately weighed anchor, sending word to the Hollanders that he was coming to ride close by them, and bade the proudest of them all that durst be so bold as to put out a piece of ordnance against him: Adding, if they dared either to brave or disgrace him or his countrymen, he would either sink them or sink by their sides. There were five ships of these Hollanders, one of which was seven or eight hundred tons, but all the rest much smaller. We went and anchored close beside them, but no notice was taken of our general's message; and though the Hollanders were wont to swagger and make a great stir on shore, they were so quiet all the time we lay there, that we hardly ever saw one of them on land.

We took leave of our countrymen, and departed from Bantam on the 2d of November, shaping our course for Patane. While on our way between the Chersonesus of Malacca and Piedra branca, we met with three praws, which being afraid of us, anchored so close to the shore that we could not come near them, either in our ship or pinnace. Our general therefore manned the shallop with eighteen of us, and sent us to request that he might have a pilot for money, to carry his ship to Pulo Timaon, which is about five days sail from where we met them. But, as they saw that our ship and pinnace were at anchor a mile from them, and could not come near, they told us flatly that none of them would go with us, and immediately weighed anchor to go away. We therefore began to fight them all three, and took one of them in less than, half an hour, all her men, to the number of seventy-three, getting ashore. Another fought with us all night, but yielded about break of day next morning, our general having joined us in his skiff a little while before she yielded. They were laden with benzoin, storax, pepper, china dishes, and pitch. The third praw got away while we were fighting the other. Our general would not allow any thing to be taken out of them, because they belonged to Java, except two of their men to pilot us to Pulo Timaon. The people of Java are very resolute in a desperate case. Their principal weapons are javelins, darts, daggers, and a kind of poisoned arrows which they blow from trunks or tubes. They have likewise some arquebusses, but are by no means expert in using these; they use also targets, and most of them are Mahometans. They had been at Palimbangan, and were on their way back to Grist, a port town on the north-east coast of Java, to which place they belonged.

The 12th November we dismissed them, pursuing our course for Patane. The 26th we saw certain islands to the N.W. of us, which neither we nor our pilots knew; but, having a contrary wind for Patane, we thought it necessary to search these islands for wood and water, hoping to have a better wind by the time we had watered. The 27th we came to anchor within a mile of the shore, in sixteen fathoms, on good ground, on the south side of these islands. Sending our boat on shore, we found some of them sunken islands, having nothing above water but the trees or their roots. All these islands were a mere wilderness of woods, but in one of them we found a tolerably good watering place; otherwise it was a very uncomfortable place, having neither fruits, fowls, or any other refreshment for our men. We took these islands to be some of the broken lands which are laid down to the south-east of the island of Bantam. Having taken in wood and water, we weighed anchor and stood for Patane, as well as a bad wind would permit; for we found the winds in these months very contrary, keeping always at N. or N.W. or N.E.

While near Pulo Laor, on the 12th December, we descried three sail, and sent our pinnace and shallop after one of them which was nearest, while we staid with the ship, thinking to intercept the other two; but they stood another course in the night, so that we saw them no more. In the morning we descried our pinnace and shallop about four leagues to leeward, with the other ship which they had taken; and as both wind and current were against them, they were unable to come up to us, so that we had to go down to them. On coming up with them, we found the prize was a junk of Pan-Hange,[74] of about 100 tons, laden with rice, pepper, and tin, going for Bantam in Java. Not caring for such mean luggage, our general took as much rice as was necessary for provisioning our ship, and two small brass guns, paying them liberally for all; and took nothing else, except one man to pilot us to Patane, who came willingly along with us, when he saw our general used them well. The other two pilots, we had taken before from the three praws, were very unskilful, wherefore our general rewarded them for the time they had been with us, and sent them back to their own country in this junk.

[Footnote 74: This should rather be, perhaps, Pau-hang, being the same place called by other writers Pahaung, Pahang, or Pahan, often called Pam in the Portuguese accounts, and pronounced by them Pang.—Astl. I. 310. c.]

We parted from her on the 13th, steering for Pulo Timaon, adjoining to the country of the King of Pan-Hange, [Pahan,] and were much vexed with contrary winds and adverse currents: For, from the beginning of November to the beginning of April, the sea runs always to the southwards, and from April to November back again towards the north. The wind also in these first five months is most commonly northerly, and in the other seven months southerly. All the ships, therefore, of China, Patane, Johor, Pahan, and other places, going to the northward, come to Bantam, or Palimbangan, when the northern monsoon is set in, and return back again when the southern monsoon begins, as before stated, by observing which rule they have the wind and current along with them; but by following the opposite course, we found such violent contrary winds and currents, that in three weeks we did not get one league forwards. The country of Pahan is very plentiful, being full of gentry according to the fashion of that country, having great store of victuals, which are very cheap, and many ships. It lies between Johor and Patane, stretching along the eastern coast of Malacca, and reaches to Cape Tingeron, which is a very high cape, and the first land made by the caraks of Macao, junks of China, or praws of Cambodia, on coming from China for Malacca, Java, Jumbe, Johor Palimbangan, Grisi, or any other parts to the southwards.

Here, as I stood for Patane, about the 27th December, I met with a Japanese junk, which had been pirating along the coasts of China and Cambodia. Their pilot dying, what with ignorance and foul weather, they had lost their own ship on certain shoals of the great island of Borneo; and not daring to land there, as the Japanese are not allowed to come a-shore in any part of India with their weapons, being a desperate people, and so daring that they are feared in all places; wherefore, by means of their boats, they had entered this junk, which belonged to Patane, and slew all the people except one old pilot. This junk was laden with rice; and having furnished her with such weapons and other things as they had saved from their sunken ship, they shaped their course for Japan; but owing to the badness of their junk, contrary winds, and the unseasonable time of the year, they were forced to leeward, which was the cause of my unfortunately meeting them.

Having haled them and made them come to leeward, and sending my boat on board, I found their men and equipment very disproportionate for so small a junk, being only about seventy tons, yet they were ninety men, most of them in too gallant habits for sailors, and had so much equality of behaviour among them that they seemed all comrades. One among them indeed was called captain, but he seemed to be held in very little respect. I made them come to anchor, and on examining their lading, found nothing but rice, and that mostly spoilt with wet, for their vessel was leaky both in her bottom and upper works. Questioning them, I understood they were pirates, who had been making pillage on the coast of China and Cambodia, and had lost their own ship on the shoals of Borneo, as already related. We rode by them at anchor under a small island near the isle of Bintang for two days, giving them good usage, and not taking any thing out of them, thinking to have gathered from them the place and passage of certain ships from the coast of China, so as to have made something of our voyage: But these rogues, being desperate in minds and fortunes, and hopeless of ever being able to return to their own country in that paltry junk, had resolved among themselves either to gain my ship or lose their own lives.

During mutual courtesy and feastings, sometimes five or six and twenty of the principal persons among them came aboard my ship, of whom I would never allow more than six to have weapons; but there never was so many of our men on board their junk at one time. I wished Captain John Davis, in the morning, to possess himself of their weapons, putting the company before the mast, and to leave a guard over their weapons, while they searched among the rice; doubting that by searching, and perhaps finding something that might displease them, they might suddenly set upon my men and put them to the sword, as actually happened in the sequel. But, beguiled by their pretended humility, Captain Davis would not take possession of their weapons, though I sent two messages to him from my ship, expressly to desire him. During the whole day my men were searching among the rice, and the Japanese looking on. After a long search, nothing was found except a little storax and benzoin. At sun-set, seeking opportunity, and talking to their comrades who were in my ship, which was very near, they agreed to set upon us in both ships at once, on a concerted signal. This being given, they suddenly killed and drove overboard all of my men that were in their ship. At the same time, those who were on board my ship sallied out of my cabin, with such weapons as they could find, meeting with some targets there, and other things which they used as weapons. Being then aloft on the deck, and seeing what was likely to follow, I leapt into the waste, where, with the boatswains, carpenter, and some few more, we kept them under the half-deck. At first coming from the cabin, they met Captain Davis coming out of the gun-room, whom they pulled into the cabin, and giving him six or seven mortal wounds, they pushed him before them out of the cabin. He was so sore wounded, that he died immediately on getting to the waste.

They now pressed so fiercely upon us, while we received them on our levelled pikes, that they attempted to gather them with one hand that they might reach us with their swords, so that it was near half an hour before we could force them back into the cabin, after having killed three or four of their leaders. When we had driven them into the cabin, they continued to fight us for at least four hours, before we could finally suppress them, in which time they several times set the cabin on fire, and burnt the bedding and other furniture; and if we had not beaten down the bulkhead and poop, by means of two demi-culverines from under the half-deck, we had never been able to prevent them from burning the ship. Having loaded these pieces of ordnance with bar-shot, case-shot, and musket-bullets, and discharged them close to the bulk-head, they were so annoyed and torn with shot and splinters, that at last only one was left out of two and twenty. Their legs, arms, and bodies were so lacerated as was quite wonderful to behold. Such was the desperate valour of these Japanese, that they never once asked quarter during the whole of this sanguinary contest, though quite hopeless of escape. One only leapt overboard, who afterwards swam back to our ship and asked for quarter. On coming on board, we asked him what was their purpose? To which he answered, that they meant to take our ship and put us all to death. He would say no more, and desired to be cut in pieces.

Next day, being the 28th December, we went to a small island to leeward; and when about five miles from the land, the general ordered the Japanese who had swum back to our ship to be hanged; but the rope broke, and he fell into the sea, but whether he perished or swam to the island I know not. Continuing our course to that island, we came to anchor there on the 30th December, and remained three days to repair our boat and to take in wood and water. At this island we found a ship belonging to Patane, out of which we took the captain, whom we asked whether the China ships were yet come to Patane? He said they were not yet come, but were expected in two or three days. As he knew well the course of the China ships, we detained him to pilot us, as we determined to wait for them. The 12th January, 1606, one of our mates from the top of the mast descried two ships coming towards us, but which, on account of the wind, fell to leeward of the island. As soon as we had sight of them, we weighed anchor and made sail towards them, and came up with the larger that night. After a short engagement, we boarded and took her, and brought her to anchor.

Next morning we unladed some of her cargo, being raw silk and silk goods. They had fifty tons of their country silver, but we took little or none of it, being in good hope of meeting with the other China ships. So we allowed them to depart on the 15th January, and gave them to the value of twice as much as we had taken from them. Leaving this ship, we endeavoured to go back to China Bata, but could not fetch it on account of contrary wind, so that we had to go to leeward to two small islands, called Palo Sumatra by the people of Java, where we anchored on the 22d January. On the 24th there arose a heavy storm, during which we parted our cable, so that we were under the necessity of taking shelter in the nearest creek.

The 5th February, five homeward-bound ships belonging to Holland put into the same road where we lay. Captain Warwick, who was general of these ships, invited our general to dine with him, which he accepted. He told us, that our English merchants at Bantam were in great peril, and looked for nothing else but that the King of Java would assault them, because we had taken the China ship, by which he was deprived of his customs. For which reason Captain Warwick requested our general to desist from his courses, and to go home along with him. But our general answered, that he had not yet made out his voyage, and would not return till it should please God to send him somewhat to make up his charges. Seeing that he could not persuade our general to give up his purpose, Captain Warwick and the Hollanders departed from us on the 3d February.

Our general now considered, if he were to continue his voyage, that it might bring the English merchants who were resident in those parts into danger; and besides, as he had only two anchors and two cables remaining, he thought it best to repair his ships and return home with the poor voyage he had made. Our ships being ready, and having taken in a supply of wood and water, we set sail on the 5th February, on our return to England. The 7th April, after encountering a violent storm, we had sight of the Cape of Good Hope. The 17th of the same month we came to the island of St Helena, where we watered and found refreshments, as swine and goats, which we ourselves killed, as there are many of these animals wild in that island. There are also abundance of partridges, turkies, and guinea fowls, though the island is not inhabited. Leaving St Helena on the 3d May, we crossed the line on the 14th of that month, and came to Milford Haven in Wales on the 27th June. The 9th of July, 1606, we came to anchor in the roads of Portsmouth, where all our company was dismissed, and here ended our voyage, having occupied us for full nineteen months.




We have now to record the early voyages, fitted out from England, for trading to file East Indies, by THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF MERCHANTS OF LONDON, TRADING INTO THE EAST INDIES.[75] By which stile, or legal denomination, George Earl of Cumberland, Sir John Hart, Sir John Spencer, and Sir Edward Mitchelburne, knights, with 212 others, whose names are all inserted in the patent, were erected into a body corporate and politic, for trading to and from all parts of the East Indies, with all Asia, Africa, and America, and all the islands, ports, havens, cities, creeks, towns, and places of the same, or any of them, beyond the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Magellan, for fifteen years, from and after Christmas 1600; prohibiting all other subjects of England, not free of this company, from trading to these parts without licence from the company, under forfeiture of their goods and ships, half to the crown and half to the company, together with imprisonment during the loyal pleasure, and until they respectively grant bond in the sum of L1000 at the least, not again to sail or traffic into any part of the said East Indies, &c. during the continuance of this grant. With this proviso, "That, if the exclusive privilege thus granted be found unprofitable for the realm, it may be voided on two years notice: But, if found beneficial, the privilege was then to be renewed, with such alterations and modifications as might be found expedient" This exclusive grant, in the nature of a patent, was dated at Westminster on the 31st December, 1600, being the 43d year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, signed by herself, and sealed with her privy seal.

[Footnote 75: So denominated in the copy of the charter in the Pilgrims of Purchas, vol. I. p. 139—147, which we have not deemed it necessary to insert.—E.]

It is by no means intended to attempt giving in this place any history of our East India Company, the early Annals of which, from its establishment in 1600, to the union of the London and English Companies in 1708, have been lately given to the public, in three quarto volumes, by John Bruce, Esq. M.P. and F.R.S. Historiographer to the Honourable East India Company, &c. &c. &c. to which we must refer such of our readers as are desirous of investigating that vast portion of the history of our commerce. All that we propose on the present occasion, is to give a short introduction to the series of voyages contained in this chapter, all of which have been preserved by Samuel Purchas, in his curious work, which he quaintly denominated PURCHAS HIS PILGRIMS, published in five volumes folio at London in 1625.

In the first extension of English commerce, in the sixteenth century, consequent upon the discoveries of Western Africa, America, and the maritime route to India, it seems to have been conceived that exclusive chartered companies were best fitted for its effectual prosecution. "The spirit of enterprise in distant trade, which had for a century brought large resources to Spain and Portugal, began to diffuse itself as a new principle, in the rising commerce of England, during the long and able administration of Queen Elizabeth. Hence associations were beginning to be formed, the joint credit of which was to support experiments for extending the trade of the realm."[76]

[Footnote 76: Ann. of the Honb. East India Co, I. 206.]

In the reign of Edward VI. a company was projected with this view; which obtained a charter in 1553, from Philip and Mary, under the name of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Lands, Countries, Isles, &c. not before known to the English. This company, of which Sebastian Cabot was governor, in the last year of Queen Mary, had extended its trade through Russia into Persia, to obtain raw silks, &c. In the course of their proceedings, the agents of this company met with merchants from India and China, from whom they acquired a knowledge of the productions of these countries, and of the profits which might be derived from extending the trade of England to these distant regions.[77] In 1581, Queen Elizabeth gave an exclusive charter to the Levant or Turkey Company, for trading to the dominions of the Grand Signior or Emperor of Turkey. In the prosecution of this trade, of which some account has been given in our preceding chapter, the factors, or travelling merchants, having penetrated from Aleppo to Bagdat and Basora, attempted to open an overland trade to the East Indies, and even penetrated to Agra, Lahore, Bengal, Malacca, and other parts of the East, whence they brought information to England of the riches that might be acquired by a direct trade by sea to the East Indies.[78] The circumnavigations of Sir Francis Drake in 1577-1580, and of Mr Thomas Cavendish, or Candish, in 1586, of which voyages accounts will be found in a future division of this work, who brought back great wealth to England, obtained by making prizes of the Spanish vessels, contributed to spread the idea among the merchants of England, that great profits and national advantages might be derived from a direct trade to India by sea.[79]

[Footnote 77: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 107.]

[Footnote 78: Ann. of the Hon. E. India Co. I. 108.]

[Footnote 79: Id. ib.]

In consequence of these views, a memorial was presented to the lords of council in 1589, requesting a royal licence for three ships and three pinnaces to proceed for India, which gave rise to the expedition of Captain Raymond, in 1591, already related. In 1599, an association of London Adventurers entered into a contract for embarking, what was then considered as a large joint stock, for the equipment of a voyage to the East Indies. The fund subscribed amounted to L30,133: 6: 8, divided into 101 shares or adventures, the subscriptions of individuals varying from L100 to L3000.[80] This project, however, seems to have merged into the East India Company, at the close of the next year 1600, as already mentioned.

[Footnote 80: Id. III.—From the peculiar amount of this capital sum, the subscriptions were most probably in marks, of 13s 4d. each.—E.]

On the 30th September, 1600, a draft of the patent, already said to have been subsequently sealed on the last day of that year, was read before the seventeen committees, such being then the denomination of what are now called directors; and being approved of, was ordered to be submitted to the consideration of the Queen and Privy Council. "In this early stage of the business, the lord-treasurer applied to the Court of Committees or Directors, recommending Sir Edward Mitchelburne to be employed in the voyage; and thus, before the Society of Adventurers had been constituted an East India Company, that influence had its commencement, which will be found, in the sequel, to have been equally adverse to the prosperity of their trade and to the probity of the directors."[81] Yet, though still petitioners for their charter, the directors had the firmness to resist this influence, and resolved Not to employ any gentleman in any place of charge, requesting to be permitted to sort their business with men of their own quality, lest the suspicion of employing gentlemen might drive a great number of the adventurers to withdraw their contributions.[82]

[Footnote 81: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I.128.]

[Footnote 82: Id. ib.]

In the commencement of its operations, the East India Company proceeded upon rather an anomalous plan for a great commercial company. Instead of an extensive joint stock for a consecutive series of operations, a new voluntary subscription was entered into among its members for each successive adventure. That of the first voyage was about L70,000. The second voyage was fitted out by a new subscription of L60,450. The third was L53,500. The fourth L33,000. The fifth was a branch or extension of the third, by the same subscribers, on an additional call or subscription of L13,700. The subscription for the sixth was L82,000. The seventh L71,581. The eighth L76,375. The ninth only L7,200.

In 1612, the trade began to be carried on upon a broader basis by a joint stock, when L429,000 was subscribed, which was apportioned to the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth voyages. In 1618, a new joint stock was formed by subscription, amounting to L1,600,000.[83]

[Footnote 83: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. Vol. I. passim.]

In the year 1617, King James I. of England and VI. of Scotland, granted letters patent under the great seal of Scotland, dated at Kinnard, 24th May, 1617, to Sir James Cunningham of Glengarnock, appointing him, his heirs and assigns, to be governors, rulers, and directors of a Scottish East India Company, and authorizing him "to trade to and from the East Indies, and the countries or parts of Asia, Africa, and America, beyond the Cape of Bona Sperantia, to the straits of Magellan, and to the Levant Sea and territories under the government of the Great Turk, and to and from the countries of Greenland, and all other countries and islands in the north, north-west, and north-east seas, and other parts of America and Muscovy." Which patent, and all the rights and privileges annexed to it, was subsequently, for a valuable consideration, assigned by Sir James Cunningham to the London East India Company.[84]

[Footnote 84: Ann. &c. I. 192.—Note.]

It is quite unnecessary to extend this introductory view of the rise of the India Company any farther, as our limits could not possibly admit any satisfactory deduction of its history, any farther than is contained in the following series of the Early Voyages, for which we are almost entirely indebted to the Collection of Purchas. By this first English East India Company, with a capital or joint stock of about 70,000l. at least for the first voyage, were laid the stable foundations of that immense superstructure of trade and dominion now held by the present company. Their first joint stock did not exceed the average of 325l. or 330l. for each individual of 216 members, whose names are recorded in the copy of the charter in Purchas his Pilgrims, already referred to. Yet one of these was disfranchised on the 6th July, 1661, not six months after the establishment of the company, probably for not paying up his subscription, as the charter grants power to disfranchise any one who does not bring in his promised adventure.

The East India Company of Holland, the elder sister of that of England, now a nonentity, though once the most extensive and most flourishing commercial establishment that ever existed, long ago published, or permitted to be published, a very extensive series of voyages of commerce and discovery, called Voyages which contributed to establish the East India Company of the United Netherlands. It were, perhaps, worthy of the Royal Merchants who constitute the English East India Company, now the unrivalled possessors of the entire trade and sovereignty of all India and its innumerable islands, to publish or patronize a similar monument of its early exertions, difficulties, and ultimate success.—E.


First Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1601, under the Command of Captain James Lancaster.[85]


From the historiographer of the company[86] we learn, that the period of this voyage being estimated for twenty months, the charges of provisions were calculated at L6,600 4:10: and the investment, exclusive of bullion, at L4,545; consisting of iron and tin, wrought and unwrought, lead, 80 pieces of broad cloth of all colours, 80 pieces of Devonshire kersies, and 100 pieces of Norwich stuffs, with smaller articles, intended as presents for the officers at the ports where it was meant to open their trade. Captain John Davis, who appears to have gone as chief pilot, was to have L100 as wages for the voyage, with L200 on credit for an adventure; and, as an incitement to activity and zeal, if the profit of the voyage yielded two for one, he was to receive a gratuity of L500; if three for one, L1000; if four for one, L1500; and if five for one, L2000.[87] Thirty-six factors or supercargoes were directed to be employed for the voyage: Three of the first class, who seem to have been denominated cape merchants, were to have each L100 for equipment, and L200 for an adventure; four factors of the second class at L50 each for equipment, and L100 for an adventure; four of the third class, with L30 each for equipment, and L50 for adventure; and four of the fourth class, with L20 each for equipment, and L40 for adventure.[88] They were to give security for their fidelity, and to abstain from private trade; the first class under penalties of L500 the second of 500 marks, the third at L200 and the fourth of L100 each.[89] These only exhaust fifteen of the thirty-six, and we are unable to account for the remaining twenty-one ordered to be nominated.

[Footnote 85: Purch. Pilgr. I. 147. Astl. I. 262.]

[Footnote 86: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 129.]

[Footnote 87: Id. I. 130.]

[Footnote 88: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 131.]

[Footnote 89: Id. I. 133.]

In the Annals of the Company,[90] we are told that the funds provided for this first voyage amounted to L68,373, of which L39,771 were expended in the purchase and equipment of the ships, L28,742 being embarked in bullion, and L6,860 in goods. But the aggregate of these sums amounts to L77,373; so that the historiographer appears to have fallen into some error, either in the particulars or the sum total. We are not informed of the particular success of this first voyage; only that the conjunct profits of it and of the second amounted to L95 per cent. upon the capitals employed in both, clear of all charges.[91]

[Footnote 90: Id. I.146.]

[Footnote 91: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 153.]

We may state here from the Annals of the Company, that the profits of the third and fifth voyage combined amounted to L234 per cent. Of the fourth voyage to a total loss, as one of the vessels was wrecked in India on the outward-bound voyage, and the other on the coast of France in her return. The profits of the sixth voyage were L121 13:4: per cent. Of the seventh L218 per cent. Of the eighth L211 per cent. Of the ninth L160 per cent. The average profits of the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth voyages were reduced to L87-1/2 per cent.

Captain James Lancaster, afterwards Sir James, who was general in this voyage, was a member of the company; and is the same person who went to India in 1591, along with Captain Raymond. Captain John Davis, who had been in India with the Dutch, was pilot-major and second in command of the Dragon, or admiral ship. It does not appear who was the author of the following narrative; but, from several passages, he seems to have sailed in the Dragon.[92]—E.

[Footnote 92: Astl. I. 262., a and b.]

Sec. 1. Preparation for the Voyage, and its Incidents till the Departure of the Fleet from Saldanha Bay.

Having collected a joint stock of seventy thousand pounds, to be employed in ships and merchandize in the prosecution of their privileged trade to the East Indies, by means of which they were to bring spices and other commodities into this realm, the company bought and fitted out four large ships for their first adventure. These were the Dragon[93] of 600 tons, and 202 men, admiral, in which Mr James Lancaster was placed as general;[94] the Hector of 300 tons, and 108 men, commanded by Mr John Middleton, vice-admiral; the Ascension of 260 tons, and 82 men, Captain William Brand;[95] and the Susan,[96] commanded by Mr John Hayward, with 84 men:[97] Besides these commanders, each ship carried three merchants or factors, to succeed each other in rotation in case of any of them dying. These ships were furnished with victuals and stores for twenty months, and were provided with merchandize and Spanish money to the value of twenty-seven thousand pounds; all the rest of the stock being expended in the purchase of the ships, with their necessary stores and equipment, and in money advanced to the mariners[98] and sailors who went upon the voyage. To these was added, as a victualler, the Guest of 130 tons.[99]

[Footnote 93: This ship, originally called the Malice Scourge, was purchased from the Earl of Cumberland for 3,700l.—Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 128.]

[Footnote 94: In these early voyages the chief commander is usually styled general, and the ship in which he sailed the admiral.—E.]

[Footnote 95: This person is called by Purchas chief governor. Perhaps the conduct of commercial affairs was confided to his care.—E.]

[Footnote 96: The burden of this ship was 240 tons.—Ann. I. 129.]

[Footnote 97: Besides there was a pinnace of 100 tons and 40 men.—Ann. I. 129.]

[Footnote 98: In many of the old voyages, this distinction is made between mariners and sailors: Unless a mere pleonasm, it may indicate able and ordinary seamen; or the former may designate the officers of all kinds, and the latter the common men.—E.]

[Footnote 99: Perhaps the pinnace already mentioned.—E.]

On application to the queen, her majesty furnished the merchants with friendly letters of recommendation to several of the sovereigns in India, offering to enter into treaties of peace and amity with them, which shall be noticed in their proper places. And, as no great enterprize can be well conducted and accomplished without an absolute authority for dispensing justice, the queen granted a commission of martial law to Captain Lancaster, the general of the fleet, for the better security of his command.

Every thing being in readiness, the fleet departed from Woolwich, in the river Thames, on the 13th of February, 1600, after the English mode of reckoning,[100] or more properly 1601. They were so long delayed in the Thames and the Downs, for want of wind, that it was Easter before they arrived at Dartmouth, where they spent five or six days, taking in bread and other provisions, appointed to be procured there. Departing thence on the 18th of April, they came to anchor in Torbay, at which place the general sent on board all the ships instructions for their better keeping company when at sea, and directions as to what places they were to repair to for meeting again, in case of being separated by storms or other casualties. These were the calms of Canary; Saldanha bay,[101] in case they could not double the Cape of Good Hope; Cape St Roman, in Madagascar; the island of Cisne, Cerne, or Diego Rodriguez; and finally, Sumatra, their first intended place of trade.

[Footnote 100: At this time, and for long after, there was a strangely confused way of dating the years, which were considered as beginning at Lady-day, the 25th of March. Hence, what we would now reckon the year 1601, from the 1st January to the 24th March inclusive, retained the former date of 1600. The voyage actually commenced on the 13th February, 1601, according to our present mode of reckoning.—E.]

[Footnote 101: It will appear distinctly in the sequel of these voyages, that the place then named Saldanha, or Saldania bay, was what is now termed Table bay at the Cape of Good Hope.—E.]

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