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

Perceiving that I understood Turkish, which he spoke with great readiness, he commanded me to follow him into his presence-chamber, having then risen from the place of open audience, as he wished to have farther conference with me. I went in accordingly, and waited there two hours, till the King returned from his women. Their calling me to him, he said he understood that Mucrob Khan had not dealt well by me, but desired me to be of good cheer, for he would remedy all. It would seem that the enemies of Mucrob Khan had acquainted the king with all his proceedings; for indeed the king has spies upon the conduct of all his nobles. I made answer, that I was quite certain all matters would go well with me so long as his majesty was pleased to grant me his protection. After this, he presently dispatched a post to Surat with his commands to Mucrob Khan, earnestly enjoining him in our behalf, as he valued his friendship, which he would lose if he did not deal justly by the English, according to their desire. By the same messenger I sent a letter to William Finch, desiring him to go with this command to Mucrob Khan, at the receipt of which he wondered that I had got safe to Agra, and had not been murdered or poisoned by the way; of which speech Finch informed me afterwards.

After some farther conference with the king, as it grew late, he commanded that I should be brought daily into his presence, and gave me in charge to one of his captains, named Houshaber Khan, ordering that I should lodge at his house till a convenient residence could be procured for my use; and that when I was in want of any thing from the king, he was to act as my solicitor. According to his command, I resorted daily to court, having frequent conference with the king, both by day and by night; as he delighted much to talk with me, both of the affairs of England and other countries; and also made many enquiries respecting the West Indies, of which he had heard long before, yet doubted there being any such place, till I assured him I had been in the country.

Many days and weeks passed thus, and I became in high favour with the king, to the great grief of all mine enemies; when, chusing a favourable time, I solicited his order or commission for the establishment of our factory. He asked me, if I meant to remain at his court? to which I answered, that I should do so till our ships came to Surat, when I proposed to go home with his majesty's answer to the letter from my king. He then said, that he expected I should stay much longer, as he intended by our next ships to send an ambassador to the King of England, and he wished me to remain with him till a successor was sent to me from my sovereign: That my remaining would be of material benefit to my nation, as I should be in the way to put all wrongs to right, if any were offered to the English, as whatever I might see beneficial for them would be granted to my petitions; swearing by his father's soul, that if I remained with him, he would grant me articles for our factory to my full contentment, and would never go back from his word; and that besides he would give me ample maintenance. I answered, that I would consider of his proposal: And, as he was daily inciting me to stay, I at last consented; considering that I should be able to do good service both to my own sovereign and him, especially as he offered me an allowance of L4200 sterling for the first year, promising yearly to augment my salary till I came to the rank of 1000 horse; my first year being the allowance of commander of 400. The nobility of India have their titles and emoluments designated by the number of horse they command, from 40 up to 12,000, which last pay belongs only to princes and their sons.

Trusting, therefore, to his promises, and believing that it might be beneficial both to my nation and myself, I did not think it amiss to yield to his request; considering that I was deprived of the advantages I might have reaped by going to Bantam; and that your worships would send another in my place after half a dozen years, while in the mean time I might do you service and feather my own nest. Then, because my name was somewhat harsh for his pronunciation, he gave me the name of Ingles Khan, which is to say English lord: though in Persia khan is equivalent to duke. Being now in the height of favour, the Jesuits and Portuguese did every thing they could for my overthrow; and indeed the principal Mahometans about the king envied much to see a Christian in such favour.

Father Peneiro, who was with Mucrob Khan, and the Jesuits here at Agra, in my opinion did little regard their masses and other church matters, in studying how to overthrow my affairs. Advice being sent to Goa and Padre Peneiro at Surat or Cambaya, by the Jesuits here at Agra, of my favour with the king, they did all in their power to gain Mucrob Khan to aid the Portuguese; for which purpose the viceroy at Goa wrote to him, sending rich presents, together with many toys for the king. These presents, and many fair promises, so wrought with Mucrob Khan, that he sent a memorial to the king, accompanied by the present from the viceroy, stating, that permitting the English to trade in the land would occasion the loss of the maritime country about Surat, Cambaya, and other places; and that his ancient friends the Portuguese were much offended by his entertaining me, as a rumour went among them that I was now general of 10,000 horse, and was ready to assault Diu on the arrival of the next English ships. The letter of the Portuguese viceroy was much to the same effect. To all which the king answered, that he had but one Englishman at his court, whom they had no reason to fear, as he pretended to none of those things they alleged, and had refused an establishment near the sea, preferring to live at court.

The Portuguese were quite enraged with this answer, and laboured incessantly to get me out of the world. I then represented to the king the dangerous predicament in which I was, and the uncomfortable situation I was reduced to: My boy Stephen Grosvenor just dead, and my man Nicholas Ufflet extremely sick, who was the only English person with me, while I was myself beginning to fall much off. The king immediately called for the Jesuits, and assured them, if I died by any extraordinary casualty, that they should all feel it to their cost. The king was then very earnest with me to take a white maiden from his palace to be my wife, offering to give her slaves and all other things necessary, and promising that she would turn Christian; by which means, he said, my meat and drink would be properly looked after by her and her women, and I might live without fear. In answer, I refused to accept of any Mahometan woman, but said if any Christian could be found I would gratefully accept his royal bounty.

Then the king called to remembrance the daughter of one Mubarick Shah, who was an Armenian Christian, of the most ancient Christian race; Mubarick having been a captain, and in great favour with Acbar Padisha, this king's father. This captain had died suddenly, and without a will, leaving a vast deal of money, all of which was robbed by his brothers and kinsmen, or absorbed in debts due to him which could not be recovered, leaving only a few jewels to this his only child. Considering that she was a Christian of honest descent, and that I had passed my word to the king, I could no longer resist my fortune: Wherefore I took her, and, for want of a minister, I married her before Christian witnesses, my man Nicholas Ufflet acting as priest; which I thought had been lawful, till I met with the chaplain who came with Sir Henry Middleton, who shewed me the error; on which I was again married. Henceforwards I lived contented and without fear, my wife being willing to go where I went, and to live as I lived.[191]

[Footnote 191: She went away along with him for England; but as he died by the way, she afterwards married Mr Towerson.—Purch.]

After the settlement of this affair, news were sent me that the Ascension was coming to Surat, which was learnt from the men belonging to her pinnaces, which were cast away near that place. I then went to the king, and told him of this circumstance, craving his leave to repair to Surat, with his commission for settling trade at that port, which he was very willing to allow, limiting me to a certain time of absence, when I was to return again to Agra. When the king's chief vizir, Abdal Hassan, heard this, who was an enemy of all Christians, he told the king that my going would be the occasion of war, and might occasion the ruin of one of his great men, who had been sent to Goa to purchase toys for the king. Upon this, the king signified his pleasure that I was to remain; but gave immediate orders to have the commission effectually written and sent off to the chief factor at Surat. In fine, the commission was written out in golden letters under his great seal, as fully, freely, and firmly, for our benefit as we could possibly desire. This I presently obtained, and sent it off to William Finch at Surat.

Before its arrival, news came that the Ascension was cast away, and her men saved, but were not allowed to come to Surat. I immediately communicated this intelligence to the king, who was much dissatisfied with the conduct of Mucrob Khan, my great enemy, and gave me another order for their good usage, and that every means should be used to save the goods if possible. These two royal orders came almost at the same time to Surat, to the great joy of William Finch and the rest, who much admired how I had been able to procure them. Thus continuing in great favour with the king, being almost continually in his sight, and serving him for half the twenty-four hours, I failed not to have most of his nobles for my enemies, who were chiefly Mahometans; for it went against their hearts to see a Christian in so great favour and familiarity with the king, and more especially because he had promised to make his brother's children Christians, which he actually caused to be done about two years after my coming to Agra.

Some time after, some of the people belonging to the Ascension came to me, whom I could have wished to have behaved themselves better, as their conduct was much pried into by the king.[192] In all this time I had been unable to recover the debt due me by Mucrob Khan. At length he was sent for by the king, to answer for many faults laid to his charge, and much injustice and tyranny he had been guilty of to the people under his authority, having ruined many, who petitioned the king for justice. This dog now sent many bribes to the king's sons and the nobles about his person, to endeavour to make his peace, and they laboured, in his behalf. When news came that Mucrob Khan was near, the king sent orders to attach his goods, which were so abundant that the king was two months in viewing them, every day allotting a certain quantity to be brought before him. What the king thought fit for his own use he kept, and returned the rest to Mucrob Khan. In viewing these goods, there appeared certain muskets, with a rich corselet and head-piece, with other things, forming the present I intended for the king; which Mucrob had taken from me under pretence that they were for the king, and would not allow me to deliver myself. At the sight of these, I was so bold as to tell the king they were mine.

[Footnote 192: In a side-note at this place, Purchas says that Mr Alexander Sharpey, their general, came to Agra along with them; which is not mentioned in the text, but will be found in the narrative of Sharpens voyage in the sequel.—E.]

After the king had viewed these goods, a Banyan made a most grievous complaint to the king against Mucrob Khan, who had taken away his daughter, pretending she was for the king; but had deflowered her himself, and gave her afterwards to a Bramin who was in his service. The man who made this charge protested, that his daughter surpassed all women he had ever seen for beauty. This matter being examined into, and the offence clearly proved against Mucrob, he was committed as a prisoner into the custody of a noble of high rank; and the Bramin was condemned to be made a complete eunuch. Before this happened I went several times to visit Mucrob, who made many fair promises that he would deal honestly by me and be my friend, and that I should have my right. After his disgrace his friends daily solicited for him, and at length got him clear; but with commandment to pay every man his right, and that no more complaints should be heard against him, if he loved his life. So he paid every one his due except me, whom he would not pay. I then entreated him to deliver me back my cloth, that I might if possible end with him by fair means; but he put me off from day to day with fresh delays till his departure shortly after; for the king restored him his place again, and he was to go to Goa about a fair ballas ruby and other rarities which were promised to the king.

Sec. 3. The Inconstancy of the King, and the Departure of Captain Hawkins with Sir Henry Middleton to the Red Sea, and thence to Bantam, and afterwards for England.

All my going and sending to Mucrob Khan for my money and cloth were in vain, and seeing myself so grossly abused by him, I was forced to demand justice of the king, who commanded that the money should be brought before him; yet for all the king's commands, Mucrob did as he liked, and in spite of every thing I could do or say, he finally cheated me of 12,500 mahmudies which he owed me, besides interest.[193] The greatest man in the whole country was his friend, who with many others took his part, and were continually murmuring to the king about suffering the English to come into the country, saying, that if our nation once got footing in the country we would dispossess him of it.[194] The king, upon this, called me before him to make answer to these charges. I said, if any such matters were done or attempted, I was ready to answer with my life, for the English were in no respect that base nation that our enemies represented; and that all these things were laid to our charge merely because I demanded my due and could not get it. At this time I used to visit daily the king's chief favourites and nearest relatives, who spoke to him in my favour, so that he commanded no more such injuries to be offered me. So, thinking to use my best endeavour to recover my loss, I spoke to the chief vizier, that he might aid me; but he answered me in a threatening manner, that if I opened my mouth again on this subject, he would oblige me to pay 100,000 mahmudies, which the king had lost in his customs at Surat, to which no persons durst now trade for fear of the Portuguese, who were displeased because the king entertained me, and granted licence for the English to trade. Owing to this I was constrained to be silent, for I knew that my money had been swallowed up by these dogs.

[Footnote 193: On some other occasions in these voyages, the mahmudy is said to be worth about a shilling.—E.]

[Footnote 194: This may appear somewhat in the spirit of prophecy, as the English are now masters of a very large portion of the Mogul empire in Hindostan. This unwieldy empire broke in pieces by its own weight, and the original vices of its constitution; after which its fragments have gradually been conquered by the India Company, whose dominions now include Delhi and Agra, two of its great capitals, and many of its finest provinces—E.]

Mucrob Khan was now ordered in public to make ready to depart upon an appointed day for Guzerat, whence he was to proceed to Goa, and was on that day to come to court to take leave, as is the custom. At this time three principal merchants of Surat came to court about affairs in which they had been employed by the king or the chief vizier. Likewise, some six days before this, a letter came to the king from the Portuguese viceroy, accompanied by a present of many rarities; in which letter the viceroy represented how highly the King of Portugal was dissatisfied at the English being admitted into the king's dominions, considering the ancient amity between him and his majesty. After many compliments, the viceroy stated, that a merchant had arrived at Goa with a very fine ballas ruby, weighing 350 rotties, of which the pattern was sent. On coming to take his leave, accompanied by Padre Peneiro, who was to go along with him, the three Surat merchants being in the presence, Mucrob Khan made his speech to the king, saying that he hoped to obtain the great ruby, and many other valuable things, for his majesty from the Portuguese, if the privileges granted to the English were disannulled; and besides, that it would occasion great loss to his majesty and his subjects, if the English were suffered any more to frequent his ports. In confirmation of this, he called upon the Surat merchants to declare to his majesty what loss was occasioned by the English, as they best knew. They affirmed that they were all likely to be undone because of the English trading at Surat, and that no toys or curiosities would hereafter come into his majesty's dominions, because the Portuguese, being masters of the sea, would not suffer them to go in or out of the ports, because of the licence granted to the English. All this was a plot concerted by the Portuguese with Mucrob Khan and the vizier, with the assistance of the jesuits; and by means of these speeches, and the king's anxiety to procure the great ruby, together with the promises of the padres to procure many rarities for his majesty, my affairs were utterly overthrown; and the king commanded Mucrob Khan to inform the Portuguese viceroy, that the English should not be suffered any more to come into his ports.

I now saw plainly that it would be quite bootless for me to make any attempt to counteract these plots, by petitioning the king, till a good while after the departure of Mucrob Khan, as my enemies were very numerous, though they had received many presents from me. When I saw a convenient time, I resolved to petition the king again, having in the mean time found a fit toy to present, as the custom is, for no man who makes a petition must come empty handed. On presenting this petition, the king immediately granted my request, commanding the vizier to make me out another commission or licence in as ample form as before, and expressly commanded that no person should presume to speak to him to the contrary, it being his fixed resolution that the English should have freedom to trade in his dominions. Of this alteration the Jesuits at Agra had immediate notice; for no matter passes in the court of the Mogul, however secret, but it may be known in half an hour, by giving a small matter to the secretary of the day; for every thing is written down, and the writers or secretaries have their appointed days in turn. The Jesuits instantly sent off a speedy messenger with letters to Peneiro and Mucrob Khan, giving them notice of this new turn in my affairs; on receipt of which they immediately resolved not to proceed to Goa till I were again overthrown. Thereupon Mucrob Khan transmitted a petition to the king, and letters to his friend the vizier, stating that it was not for his majesty's honour to send him to Goa, if the promises made to the Portuguese were not performed; and that the purpose of his journey would be entirely frustrated, if the new licence given to the English were not recalled. On reading this, the king went again from his word and recalled my licence, esteeming a few toys promised him by the Jesuits beyond his honour.

Being desirous to see the final issue of these things, I went to Hogio Jahan, [Haji Jehan], who was lord-general of the king's palace, and second officer of the kingdom, entreating him to stand my friend. He went immediately to the king, telling him that I was sore cast down, because Abdul Hassan, the chief vizier, would not deliver me the commission which his majesty had accorded to me. Being in the presence, and very near the king, I heard him give the following answer: "It is very true that the commission is sealed and ready for delivery; but owing to letters received front Mucrob Khan, and better consideration respecting the affairs of my ports in Guzerat, I do not now think fit that it should be granted." Thus was I tossed and tumbled, like a merchant adventuring his all in one bottom, and losing all at once by storms or pirates. In regard likewise to my pension, I was mightily crossed; as many times when I applied to Abdul Hassan, he would make answer, "I know well that you are in no such need, as your own master bears your charges, and the king knew not what he did in giving to you, from whom he ought on the contrary to receive." I represented to him that it was his majesty's pleasure, and none of my request, and being his majesty's gift, I saw no reason for being deprived of my right. Then he would bid me have patience, and he would find me out a good living. Thus was I put off from time to time by this mine enemy; insomuch that all the time I served at court I could not get a living that would yield me any thing, the vizier giving me always my living on assignments on places that were in the hands of outlaws or insurgents, except once that I had an assignment on Lahor by special command of the king, but of which I was soon deprived; and all I received from the beginning was not quite L300, and even of this a considerable portion was spent upon the charges of men sent to the lordships on which my pension was assigned.

Seeing now that the living which the king had bestowed upon me was taken away, I was past all hope; for before this, on hearing that our ships were arrived, I expected the king would perform his former promises, in hopes of receiving rare things from England. When I now presented a petition to the king concerning my pension, he turned me over to Abdul Hassan, who not only refused to let me have my pension, but gave orders that I should be no more permitted to come within the red rails, being the place of honour in the presence; where all the time of my residence hitherto I was placed very near the king's person, only five men of the whole court being before me.

My affairs being thus utterly overthrown, I determined, with the advice of my friends, to know exactly what I had to rest upon, and either to be well in or well out. I therefore made ready and presented a petition to the king, representing how I had been dealt with by Abdul Hassan who had himself appropriated what his majesty had been pleased to order for my living: That the expences of my residence at court for so long a time, at his majesty's command, and under promises to provide for me, would be my utter ruin; wherefore, I humbly entreated his majesty to take my case into his gracious consideration, either to establish me as formerly, or to grant me leave to depart. In answer to this, he gave me permission to go away, and commanded a safe conduct to be given me, to pass freely and without molestation throughout his dominions. On receiving this passport, I came to make my obeisance, and to take my leave, when I entreated to have an answer to the letters of my sovereign. On this Abdul Hassan came to me from the king, and utterly refused in a disdainful manner; saying, that it was not meet for so great a monarch to write a letter to any petty prince or governor. To this I answered, that the king knew more of the mightiness of the King of England than to suppose him a petty governor.

I went home to my house, using all my endeavours to get my goods and debts gathered together, meaning to purchase commodities with the money remaining, and exerted every diligence to get out of the country, waiting only for the return of Nicholas Ufflet from Lahor with some indigo then in charge of William Finch, who was determined to go home over land, as he had no hope of our ever being able to embark at Surat. I would willingly have gone home by the same route, but it was well known that I could not travel through Turkey, especially in company with a female. I was forced therefore to curry favour with the Jesuits, to procure me a pass or seguro from the Portuguese viceroy, to go by way of Goa to Portugal, and thence to England. But when the mother and kindred of my wife saw that I was about to take her away, and supposing they should never see her more, they were so importunate with me, that I was forced to engage that she should go no farther with me than Goa, which was in India, and where they could go to visit her; and that, if at any time I were to go to Portugal or elsewhere, I should then leave her with such a dower as is usual with the Portuguese when they die. But knowing that if my wife should chuse to go with me, all these might have no effect, I concerted with the Jesuits to procure me two seguros or passports; one giving me free permission and liberty of conscience to reside and trade at Goa, which only I meant to show to my wife's relations; while the other was to contain an absolute grant for a free passage to Portugal, and so for England, with my wife and goods, so as not to be hindered by any interference of my wife's relations; any thing that I might be under the necessity of conceding to them to be void and of no effect, but that I should have liberty to stay or go when I pleased, with liberty of conscience for myself. This last seguro was desired to be transmitted to me at Cambaya by the fleet of Portuguese frigates, as at my departure our ships were not yet come.

The fathers would readily have done this and much more for me, only to get me out of the country. About this time I had notice of the arrival of three English ships at Mocha, and that they were surely to come to Surat at the proper season; which news were sent me from Burhanpoor by Nicholas Banham, who had gone from me six weeks before for the recovery of some debts, and with letters for our ships if any came, and it were possible to send them. While I was preparing to depart, news came of the return of Mucrob Khan from Goa, with many rare and fine things for the king; but he brought not the balas ruby, saying that it was false; or at least he made this excuse, lest, if he had given the Portuguese merchant his price, it might be valued much lower when it came to the king, and he be forced to pay the overplus, as had happened before on similar occasions. I likewise understood that Mucrob Khan did not receive such satisfaction from the Portuguese as he expected.

At this time my great enemy the chief vizier was thrust out of his place, owing to the complaints of many of the nobles who were in debt for their expences, and were unable to procure payment of their pensions, having their assignments either upon barren places, or on such as were in rebellion, Abdul Hassan having retained all the good districts to himself, and robbed them all. From these complaints and others he had much ado to escape with his life, being degraded from his high office, and ordered to the wars in the Deccan. One Gaih Beg, who was the king's chief treasurer, and whose daughter was chief queen or favourite, was made vizier in his stead. The new vizier was one who, in outward show at least, made much of me, and was always willing to serve me on occasion. His son and I were great friends, having often visited at my house, and was now raised to high dignities by the king. On this change of affairs, and being certified through various channels of the arrival of our ships, I determined to try what I could now do to re-establish my affairs; and knowing that nothing could be accomplished through these Moors without gifts and bribes, I sent my broker to procure me some jewels fit to be presented to the king's sister and new paramour, and to the new vizier and his son. After receiving my gifts, they began on all sides to solicit my cause.

News came to Agra, from certain Banyans at Diu, that three English ships were seen off that place, and three days afterwards other intelligence was received that they were anchored at the bar of Surat. Upon these news, the visier asked me if I had a proper gift for the king, on which I showed him a ruby ring, and he desired me to prepare for going to court along with him, when he would present my petition to the king, who, he said, was already won over to my interest. So, once more coming before his majesty, and my petition being read, he presently granted the establishment of our factory, and that the English might come and trade in all freedom at Surat, commanding the vizier to make out my commission or licence to that effect with all expedition. The vizier made me a sign to come forwards and make my obeisance, which I did according to the custom. But mark what followed. A nobleman of high rank, and in great favour with the king, who was a most intimate friend both of the late vizier and of Mucrob Khan, having been brought up along with them from childhood as pages together to the king, made a speech to the king to the following effect: "That the granting of this licence would be the ruin of all his majesty's sea-ports and people, as his majesty had been already certified by several of his subjects: That it was not consistent with the king's honour to contradict what he had granted to the Portuguese, his ancient friends: And that whoever solicited in favour of the English knew not what they were about; or, if they knew, were not friends to his majesty." Upon this speech my business was again quite overthrown, and all my time and presents thrown away, as the king now said he would not allow the English to trade at his sea-ports, owing to the inconveniences that had already arisen from their trading at Surat. But as for myself, if I would remain in his service, he would command that the allowance he had formerly granted me should be given to my satisfaction. I declined this, unless the English were allowed the freedom of trade according to his promise; saying that my own sovereign would take care that I should not want. I then requested his majesty would be pleased to give me an answer to the letter I had brought him from my sovereign; but after consulting some time with his viziers, this was refused.

I now took my leave, and departed from Agra the 2d of November, 1611, being in a thousand difficulties what course I had best take. I was in fear lest the Portuguese might poison me for the sake of my goods; it was dangerous to travel through the Deccan to Masulipatam on account of the wars; I could not go by land to Europe by reason of the Turks; and I was resolved not to remain among these faithless infidels. I arrived at Cambaya the 31st December, 1611, where I had certain news of our ships being at Surat, to which place I sent a foot-messenger with a letter, saying that the friars at Cambaya asserted that four large ships, with certain gallies and frigates, wore preparing at Goa to attack our ships, and that the Portuguese were contriving treachery against Sir Henry Middleton; all of which the fathers wished me to apprize him of, which I afterwards found was a political contrivance to put Sir Henry in fear, that he might depart.

As for me, my ostensible object was to go home by means of the Portuguese, as I had promised my wife and her brother, who was now with us, and to delude him and the friars till I could get away on board our ships, which I was sure to know by the return of my messenger. In the mean time I used every endeavour to get away my wife's brother, who departed two days afterwards for Agra, without once suspecting that I meant to go in the English ships. Nicholas Ufflet now went from Cambaya to examine the road; and when two days journey from Cambaya, he met Captain William Sharpey, Mr Fraine, and Mr Hugh Greete, who were sent to me at Cambaya by Sir Henry to my no small joy. Wherefore, making all the haste I could to prepare for my departure, I left Cambaya on the 18th January, 1612, and got to our ships on the 26th of the same month, when I was most kindly received and welcomed by Sir Henry Middleton.

We departed from Surat on the 11th February, and arrived at Dabul on the 16th, where we took a Portuguese ship and frigate, out of which we took some quantity of goods. Leaving Dabul on the 5th March for the Red Sea, with intention to revenge our wrongs both on the Turks and Moguls, we arrived there on the 3d April, where we found three English ships, whose general was Captain John Saris. Having dispatched our business in the Red Sea, we sailed from thence the 16th August, 1612, and arrived at Tecu in Sumatra the 19th October. Our business there being ended, we departed thence on the night of the 19th November, and struck that night, three leagues off, on a bed of coral, in about three fathoms water, but by the great mercy of God escaped being lost; yet we were forced to put back to Tecu to stop our leaks, for which purpose we had to unload our ship. The leaks being somewhat stopped, and our goods reloaded, we departed again the 8th December, and arrived at Bantam the 21st of that month.

As Sir Henry did not think his ship, the Trades-increase, in sufficient condition for going home that season, he was forced to remain and have her careened. Having closed accounts with Sir Henry to his satisfaction, I shipped my goods in the Solomon, which came for our voyage,[195] for saving a greater freight, but could not be admitted in her myself; Captain Saris, however, accommodated me in the Thomas, and it was agreed that the Solomon and we were to keep company. We accordingly sailed from Bantam on the 30th January, 1613, and arrived at Saldanha bay the 21st April, having much foul weather for near 200 leagues from the Cape. We here found four ships of Holland, which left Bantam a month before us. The Hollanders were very kind to us all, and especially attentive to me, as they had heard much of my favour and high estate at Agra, by an agent of theirs who resided at Masulipatam. Some eight days afterwards the Expedition came in,[196] and brought me a letter from your worships, which was delivered two days after. The wind coming fair, we departed from Saldanha the 21st May, 1613.[197]

[Footnote 195: This uncommon expression is not easily explicable, as the ships under Saris appear to have been in the employ of the same company. It probably refers to the partial subscriptions for particular voyages, in use at the first establishment of the Company.—E.]

[Footnote 196: This alludes to the twelfth voyage fitted out by the English East India Company, under the command of Christopher Newport, of which hereafter.—E.]

[Footnote 197: We have formerly seen, from a side-note of Purchas, that Captain Hawkins died before reaching England, and that his Armenian wife afterwards married Mr Towerson. The journal here breaks off abruptly, and Purchas remarks, that he had omitted many advices of the author, respecting forts, Indian factories, &c. not fitting for every eye.—E.]

4. _A brief Discourse of the Strength, Wealth, and Government of the Great Mogul, with some of his Customs.[198]

I first begin with his princes, dukes, marquisses, earls, viscounts, barons, knights, esquires, gentlemen, and yeomen; for as the Christian sovereigns distinguish their nobility by these titles, so do the Moguls distinguish theirs by the numbers of horse they are appointed to command; unless it be those whom he most favours, whom he honours with the title of Khan and Immirza; none having the title of Sultan except his sons. Khan, in the Persian language, is equivalent to duke with us in Europe. Immirza is the title given to the sons of the king's brother. These titles or ranks are of 12,000 horse, of which there are only four, being the king himself, his mother, his eldest son, Prince or Sultan Parvis, and one more named Khan Azam, who is of the blood-royal of the Usbecks. The next rank, equivalent to our dukes, are leaders of 9000 horse, of whom there are three. Then of marquisses, or commanders of 5000, there are eighteen. The others are from 2000 down to 20; of all which ranks there are 2950. Besides which there are 5000 men, called Haddies, who receive monthly pay, equal to from one to six horsemen. Of such officers as belong to the court and camp there are 36,000, as porters, gunners, watermen, lackies, horse-keepers, elephant-keepers, matchlock-men, frasses or tent-men, cooks, light-bearers, gardeners, keepers of wild beasts, &c. All these are paid from the royal treasury, their wages being from ten to three rupees[199]. All the captains under the king are obliged, on eight days warning, to furnish the number of horsemen which belong to the rank they respectively hold, from 12,000 down to 20, for all which they draw pay, and which they are obliged to maintain; making a total of three lacks, or 300,000 horse.

[Footnote 198: This appears to have been written by Captain Hawkins, as appended to his narrative by Purchas. It is said by the author, that he had partly seen these things, and partly learnt them by information, from the chief officers and overseers of the court.—E]

[Footnote 199: The rupee, or rupia, as it is called in the original, is stated by Purchas, in a side-note, at 2s. each; while, he adds, some call it 2s. 3d. and others 2s. 6d. In fact, the rupee varies materially in its value according to circumstances, which will be fully explained in the sequel.—E.]

The entire compass of the dominions of the Great Mogul is two years travel for caravans; reaching from Agra, which is in a manner in the heart of all his kingdoms, in various directions, to Candahar, to Soughtare[200] in Bengal, to Cabul, Deccan, Surat, and Tatta in Sinde. His empire is divided into five great kingdoms: Punjab, of which Lahore is the capital; Bengal, of which Sonargham[201] is the chief place; Malwa, of which Ugam [Ougein] is the capital; Deccan, with its capital Bramport [Burhanpoor]; and Guzerat, having Amadavar [Ahmedabad] as its capital. Delhi is reckoned the chief or royal city of the great kingdom of the Mogul in India, where all the ceremonials of his coronation are performed. There are six principal fortresses or castles, Agra, Gualiar, Nerwer, Ratamboor, Hassier, and Roughtaz; in which castles his treasures are securely kept.[202]

[Footnote 200: This name is so completely corrupted as to be inexplicable.—E.]

[Footnote 201: This name is nearly in the same predicament with Soughtare, unless Chunarghur be meant, including Oude Allahabad and Bahar in Bengal.—E.]

[Footnote 202: The three last names are inexplicable, unless Ruttampoor be meant for one of them. But this slight sketch of the Mogul empire is so exceedingly imperfect and unsatisfactory, as not to merit any commentary.—E.]

In all this great empire there are three arch enemies, which all his power has been unable to subdue; these are, Amberry Chapu in the Deccan, Baadur, the son of Muzafer, who was formerly king of Guzerat, and Rajah Rahana in Malwa. The present Great Mogul[203] has five sons, Sultan Cussero, Sultan Parvis, Sultan Chorem, Sultan Shariar, and Sultan Bath. He has two young daughters, and 300 wives, four of whom, being the chief, are reckoned queens; Padisha Bann, the daughter of Kaime Khan; Nour Mahal, the daughter of Gaih Beg; the third is the daughter of Sein Khan; and the fourth is the daughter of Hakim Hamaun, who was brother to his own father the Padisha Akbar.[204]

[Footnote 203: His name is no where given by Hawkins; but in the journal of Sir Thomas Rae, who went a few years afterwards ambassador to the same king, he is called Jehan-Guire.—E.]

[Footnote 204: We have here omitted a long account of the Mogul treasures in gold, silver, and jewels, and an immense store of rich ornaments in gold, silver, and jewellery, together with the enumeration of horses, elephants, camels, oxen, mules, deer, dogs, lions, ounces, hawks, pigeons, and singing birds, extremely tedious and uninteresting.—E.]

The daily expences of the Mogul for his own person, and for feeding his cattle of all sorts, among which are some royal elephants, and all other particular expences, as dress, victuals, and other household charges, come to 50,000 rupees a-day; and the daily expences of his women amount to 30,000 rupees.

The custom of the Mogul is, to take possession of all the treasure belonging to his nobles when they die, giving among the children what he pleases; but he usually treats them kindly, dividing their fathers land among them, and giving great respect to the eldest son, who is generally promoted in time to the full rank of his father. In my time Rajah Gaginat, a great lord or prince among the idolaters, died, when his effects being seized to the king's use, besides jewels, silver, and other valuables, his treasure in gold only amounted to 60 mauns, every maun being 25 pounds weight.

The king has 300 royal elephants on which he himself rides; and when brought before him they appear in great state, having thirty-two men going before them with streamers. The housings or coverings of these elephants are very rich, being either cloth of gold or rich velvet; each royal elephant is followed by his female, and his cub or cubs, usually having four or five young ones as pages, some seven, eight, or nine. These royal elephants, which are the largest and handsomest, eat every day to the value of ten rupees, in sugar, butter, grain, and sugar canes. They are so tame and well managed, that I one day saw the king order one of his sons, named Shariar, a child of seven years old, to go to the elephant and be taken up by his trunk, which was so done, the elephant delivering him to his keeper, who rules him with a hooked iron. When any of these elephants are brought Jean before the king, those having charge of them are disgraced unless they have all the better excuse: so that every one strives to bring his in good order, even though he may have to spend of his own funds.

When the Mogul goes out to hunt, his camp is about as much in compass as the city of London, or even more; and I may even say that at least 200,000 people follow him on this occasion, every thing being provided as for the use of a large city. The elephant is of all beasts the most sagacious, of which I shall give one instance, which was reported to me as a certainty. An elephant upon a hard journey having been ill-used by his keeper, and finding the fellow asleep one day near him, but out of his reach, and having green canes brought him as food, he took hold of a cane by one end with his trunk, and reached the other end to the keeper's head, which was bare, his turban having fallen off, and twisting the cane among his long hair, drew the fellow towards him, and then slew him.

The king has many dromedaries, which are very swift, and are used for coming with great speed to assault any city, as was once done by this king's father, who assaulted Ahmedabad in Guzerat, when he was supposed to be at Agra; going there with 12,000 men in nine days upon dromedaries, striking such terror into the Guzerats by his sudden arrival, that they were easily reduced. This king has much reduced the numbers of the Rajaput captains, who were idolaters, and has preferred Mahometans, who are weak-spirited men, void of resolution; so that this king is beginning to lose those parts of the Deccan which were conquered by his father. He has a few good captains yet remaining, whom his father highly valued; but they are out of his favour, as they refused to join him in his unnatural rebellion against his own father. For this purpose, being in Attabasse, the regal seat of a kingdom called Porub,[205] he rose in rebellion with 80,000 horse, intending to have taken Agra and got possession of his father's treasure, who was then engaged in conquering the Deccan.

[Footnote 205: Probably an error for the royal city of the kingdom of Porus, in the time of Alexander the Great; in which case Attabasse may be what is now called Attock Benares, on the main stream of the Indus, in the Punjab, or the eastern frontier of Lahore.—E.]

Before the former emperor Akbar departed for the wars in the Deccan, he gave orders to his son Selim, who is now emperor, to go with the forces he commanded against Raja Rahana, the great rebel in Malwa, who coming to a parley with Selim, told him he would get nothing in warring against him but hard blows; and he had much better, during his father's absence in the Deccan, go against Agra, and possess himself of his father's treasure and make himself king, as there was no one able to resist him. Selim followed this advice: but his father getting timely notice, came in all haste to Agra to prevent him, and sent immediately a message to his son, that he might either come and fall at his feet for mercy, or try the chance of a battle. Considering his father's valour, he thought it best to submit to his father, who committed him to prison, but soon released him at the intercession of his mother and sisters. In consequence of this rebellion Selim was disinherited, and his eldest son Cussero was proclaimed heir-apparent; all the younger sons of Akbar having died in the Deccan or in Guzerat.

Akbar died shortly after, having restored Selim to his inheritance while on his death-bed. But Cussero raised troops against his father, and being defeated and taken prisoner, still remains confined in the palace, but blinded, according to report. Since that time he has caused all the adherents of his son to be put to cruel deaths, and has reigned since in quiet; but is ill beloved by the greatest part of his subjects, who are in great fear of him. While I was at his court, I have seen him do many cruel deeds. Five times a week he orders some of his bravest elephants to fight in his presence, during which men are often killed or grievously wounded by the elephants. If any one be sore hurt, though he might very well chance to recover, he causes him to be thrown into the river, saying, "Dispatch him, for as long as he lives he will continually curse me, wherefore it is better that he die presently." He delights to see men executed and torn in pieces by elephants.

In my time, a Patan of good stature came to one of the king's sons, called Sultan Parvis, and petitioned to have some place or pension bestowed on him. Demanding whether he would serve him, the Patan said no, for the prince would not give him such wages as he would ask. The prince asked him how much would satisfy him, on which he said that he would neither serve his father nor him unless he had 1000 rupees a-day, equal to L100 sterling. On the prince asking what were his qualifications that he rated his services so highly, he desired to be tried at all kind of weapons, either on foot or on horseback, and if any one was found to surpass him, he was willing to forfeit his life. The prince having to attend his father, ordered the Patan to be in the way. At night, the king's custom being to drink, the prince told him of the Patan, whom the king commanded to be brought before him. Just at this time a large and very fierce lion was brought in, strongly chained, and led by a dozen men. After questioning the Patan, as to whence he came, his parentage, and what was his valour, that he demanded such wages, the Patan desired the king to put him to a trial: Then, said the king, go and wrestle with that lion. The Patan replied, that this was a wild, beast, and it would be no trial of his manhood to make him go against the lion without a weapon. The king however insisted upon it, and the poor fellow was torn in pieces. Not yet satisfied, but desirous to see more sport, the king sent for ten of his horsemen who were, that night on guard, whom he commanded, one after the other, to buffet with the lion. They were all grievously wounded, and three of them lost their lives. The king continued three months in this cruel humour; in which time, merely for his pleasure, many men lost their lives, and many were grievously wounded. Afterwards, and till I came away, twelve or fifteen young lions were made tame, and used to play with each other in the king's presence, frisking about among people's legs, yet doing no harm in a long time.

His custom is every year to be two months out hunting; and when he means to begin his journey, if he comes from his palace on horseback, it is a sign he goes to war; but if on an elephant or in a palanquin, his expedition will only be for hunting.

He cannot abide that any one should have precious stones of value without offering them to him for sale, and it is death for any one to possess such without immediately giving him the refusal. A Banyan, named Herranand, who was his jeweller, had bought a diamond of three meticals weight, for which he paid 100,000 rupees, yet had not done it so covertly but news of it was brought to the king; and some friend of Herrenand presently acquainted him that it had come to the king's knowledge. Upon this the jeweller waited on the king, saying that his majesty had often promised to come to his house, and that now was the proper time, as he had a fine present to make him, having bought a diamond of great weight. The king smiled, and said, "Thy luck has been good." By these and such means the king has engrossed all the finest diamonds, as no one dare purchase one from five carats upwards without his leave. All the lands of the whole monarchy belong to the king, who giveth and taketh at his pleasure. If any one, for instance, has lands at Lahore, and is sent to the wars in the Deccan, his lands at Lahore are given to another, and he receives new lands in or near the Deccan. Those lands which are let pay to the king two-thirds of the produce; and those which are given away in fee pay him one-third. The poor riots, or husbandmen who cultivate the land, are very hardly dealt by, and complain much of injustice, but little is given them. At his first coming to the throne he was more severe than now, so that the country is now so full of outlaws and thieves, that one can hardly stir out of doors in any part of his dominions without a guard, as almost the whole people are in rebellion.

There is one great Ragane[206] between Agra and Ahmedabad, who commands an extent of country equal to a good kingdom, maintaining 20,000 horse and 50,000 foot; and as his country is strong and mountainous, all the force of the king has never been able to reduce him. There are many of those rebels all through his dominions, but this is one of the greatest. Many have risen in Candahar, Cabul, Mooltan, Sindy, and the kingdom of Boloch.[207] Bengal, Guzerat, and the Deccan are likewise full of rebels, so that no one can travel in safety for outlaws; all occasioned by the barbarity of the government, and the cruel exactions made upon the husbandmen, which drive them to rebellion.

[Footnote 206: Hawkins calls rebels, as the Moguls did, all those that refused subjection; though some of them were perhaps originally independent kings, as this Ragane or Ranna, supposed to have been the true successor of Porus, who was conquered by Alexander. He is now reduced, or rather, as they say, peaceably induced to acknowledge the Mogul, and to pay tribute.—Purch.]

[Footnote 207: Probably meaning the Ballogees, a people on the south-side of the Wulli mountains, bordering to the southward on Candahar.—E.]

In the morning, at break of day, the king is at his beads, praying, on his knees, upon a Persian lambskin, having some eight rosaries, or strings of beads, each containing 400. The beads are of rich pearl, ballace rubies, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, aloes wood, eshem, and coral. At the upper end of a large black stone on which he kneels, there are figures graven in stone of the Virgin and Christ, so, turning his face to the west, he repeats 3200 words, according to the number of his beads. After this he shews himself to the people, receiving their salams or good-morrows; a vast multitude resorting every morning to the palace for that purpose. After this he takes two hours sleep, then dines, and passes his time among his women till noon. From that time till three o'clock he shews himself again to the people, looking at sports and pastimes made by men, or at fights of various animals. At three o'clock, all the nobles then in Agra, who are in health, resort to court, when the king comes forth to open audience, sitting in his royal seat, and all the nobles standing before him, each according to his degree. The chiefs of the nobles standing within the red rail, and all the rest without, all being properly placed by the lieutenant-general. The space within the red rail is three steps higher than where the rest stand, and within this red rail I was placed among the chiefest of the land. All the rest are placed in their order by officers, and they likewise are placed within another rail in a spacious place; and without the rail stand all kinds of horsemen and foot-soldiers belonging to his captains, and all other comers. At these rails there are many doors kept by a great number of porters, who have white rods to keep every one in order.

In the middle of the place, right before the king, stands one of the king's sheriffs or judges, together with the chief executioner, who is attended by forty executioners, distinguished from all others by a peculiar kind of quilted caps on their heads, some with hatchets on their shoulders, and others with all sorts of whips, ready to execute the king's commands. The king hears all manner of causes in this place, staying about two hours every day for that purpose; for the kings in India sit in judgment every day, and their sentences are put in execution every Tuesday.

After this he retires to his private chamber for prayer, when four or five kinds of finely-dressed roast meats are set before him, of which he eats till his stomach is satisfied, drinking after this meal one cup of strong drink. He then goes into a private room, into which no one enters but such as are named by himself, where for two years I was one of his attendants; and here he drinks other five cups of strong liquor, being the quantity allowed by his physicians. This done, he chews opium, and being intoxicated, he goes to sleep, and every one departs to his home. He is awakened after two hours to get his supper, at which time he is unable to feed himself, but has it thrust into his mouth by others, which is about one o'clock in the morning; after which he sleeps the rest of the night.

During the time that he drinks his six cups of strong liquor, he says and does many idle things; yet whatsoever he does or says, whether drunk or sober, there are writers who attend him in rotation, who set every thing down in writing; so that not a single incident of his life but is recorded, even his going to the necessary, and when he lies with his wives. The purpose of all this is, that when he dies all his actions and speeches that are worthy of being recorded may be inserted in the chronicle of his reign. One of the king's sons, Sultan Shariar, a boy of seven years old, was called by him one day when I was there, and asked if he chose to accompany him to some place where he was going for amusement. The boy answered he would either go or stay, as it pleased his majesty to command. Because he had not said, that he would go with all his heart along with his majesty, he was sore beaten by the king, yet did not cry. The king therefore asked him, why he cried not? Because, he said, his nurse had told him that it was the greatest possible shame for a prince to cry when beaten; and that ever since he had never cried, and would not though beaten to death. On this his father struck him again, and taking a bodkin, thrust it through his cheek; yet would he not cry, though he bled much. It was much wondered at by all that the king should so treat his own child, and that the boy was so stout-hearted as not to cry. There is great hopes that this child will exceed all the rest.


Observations of William Finch, Merchant, who accompanied Captain Hawkins to Surat, and returned overland to Europe.[208]


This article is said by Purchas to have been abbreviated out of the larger journal kept by Finch during his voyage to India and residence there, and seems a most useful supplement to the preceding section, being in many circumstances more full and satisfactory than the relation of Hawkins. In the Pilgrims of Purchas it does not follow the former relation, but that was owing to its not reaching him in time, as is stated in the following note, which is both characteristic of that early collector of voyages and travels, and of the observations of William Finch.

[Footnote 208: Purch. Pilg. I. 414.]

"This should have followed next after Master Hawkins, with whom William Finch went into the Mogolls country, if I then had had it. But better a good dish, though not in duest place of service, than not at all: Neither is he altogether born out of due time, which comes in due place, while we are yet in India, and in time also, before the Mogoll affairs received any latter access or better maturity: And for that circumstance failing, you shall find it supplied in substance, with more accurate observations of men, beasts, plants, cities, deserts, castles, buildings, regions, religions, than almost any other; as also of ways, wares, and wars."—Purchas.

* * * * *

Sec. 1. Remembrances respecting Sierra Leona, in August 1607, the Bay, Country, Inhabitants, Rites, Fruits, and Commodities.

The island, which we fell in with some ten leagues south from the bay of Sierra Leona, in lat. 8 deg. N. has no inhabitants; neither did I learn its name. It has some plantains, and, by report, good watering and wooding for ships; but about a league from the shore there is a dangerous ledge of rock, scarcely visible at high water. The bay of Sierra Leona is about three leagues broad, being high land on the south side, full of trees to the very edge of the water, and having several coves, in which we caught plenty and variety of fish. On the farther side of the fourth cove is the watering place, having excellent water continually running. Here on the rocks we found the names of various Englishmen who had been there. Among these was Sir Francis Drake, who had been there twenty-seven years before; Thomas Candish, Captain Lister, and others. About the middle of the bay, right out from the third cove, lieth a sand, near about which there are not above two or three fathoms, but in most other parts eight or ten close in shore. The tide flows E.S.E. the highest water being six or eight feet, and the tide is very strong. The latitude is 8 deg. 30' N.

The king of Sierra Leona resides at the bottom of the bay, and is called by the Moors Borea, or Captain Caran, caran, caran, having other petty kings or chiefs under him; one of whom, called Captain Pinto, a wretched old man, dwells at a town within the second cove; and on the other side of the bay is Captain Boloone. The dominions of Borea stretch 40 leagues inland, from which he receives a tribute in cotton-cloth, elephants teeth, and gold; and has the power of selling his people as slaves, some of whom he offered to us. Some of them have been converted to Christianity by the Portuguese priests and Jesuits, who have a chapel, in which is a table inscribed with the days that are to be observed as holy. The king and a few of his principal attendants are decently clothed in jackets and breeches; but the common people have only a slight cotton-cloth round their waists, while the women have a kind of short petticoat or apron down to their knees; all the rest of their bodies, both men and women, being quite naked; the young people of both sexes having no dress whatever. All the people, both men and women, have all parts of their bodies very curiously and ingeniously traced and pinked [tatooed], and have their teeth filed very sharp. They pull off all the hair from their eye-lids. The men have their beards short, black, and cropped, and the hair on their heads strangely cut into crisped paths or cross alleys; while others wear theirs in strange jagged tufts, or other foolish forms; the women's heads being all close shaved.

Their town contains not more than thirty or forty houses, all irregularly clustered together, all thatched with reeds; yet each has a kind of yard inclosed with mud walls, like our hovels or hog-styles in England. Instead of a locked and bolted door, the entrance is only closed by a mat, having nothing to be stolen; and for bedsteads they have only a few billets covered by a mat; yet some have hangings of mats, especially about their beds. Their furniture consists of two or three earthen pots to hold water, and to boil such provisions as they can get; a gourd or two for palm-wine; half a gourd to serve as a drinking cup; a few earthen dishes for their loblolly or pottage; a basket for the maria [wife], to gather cockles; and a knapsack for the man, made of bark, to carry his provisions, with his pipe and tobacco. When a negro man goes from home, he has always his knapsack on his back, in which he has his provisions and tobacco, his pipe being seldom from his mouth; besides which, he has always his do-little sword by his side, made by themselves of such iron as they get from the Europeans; his bow also, and quiver full of poisoned arrows, pointed with iron like a snake's-tongue, or else a case of javelins or darts, having iron heads of good breadth and made sharp, sometimes both.

The men of this country are large and well-made, strong and courageous, and of civilized manners for heathens; as they keep most faithfully to their wives, of whom they are not a little jealous. I could not learn their religion; for though they have some idols, they seem to know that there is a God in heaven, as, when we asked them about their wooden puppets, they used to lift up their hands to heaven. All their children are circumcised, but I could not learn the reason why. They are very just and true in their dealings, and theft is punished with instant death. When any one dies, a small thatched roof is erected over his bier, under which are set earthen pots kept always full of water, and some earthen plates with different kinds of food, a few bones being stuck up around the body. To the south of this bay, some thirty or forty leagues into the interior country, there are very fierce people, who are cannibals, and sometimes infest the natives of Sierra Leona.

The inhabitants of Sierra Leona feed on rice, of which they only cultivate what is indispensibly needful for their subsistence, in small patches near their dwellings, which they clear by burning the woods. They likewise sow another very small grain, called pene, of which they make bread, not much unlike winter savory. They rear a few poultry about their houses, using no other animal food, except when they sometimes get a fawn of the wild deer, a few of which are found in the mountains, or some wild fowl. They feed also on cockles and oysters, of which there are vast quantities on the rocks and trees by the sea-side, but these have rather an insipid taste; and they catch plenty of excellent fish, by means of wears and other devices. They also feed on herbs and roots, cultivating about their dwellings many plantains, gourds, pumpkins, potatoes, and guinea pepper. Tobacco likewise is planted by every one, and seems to constitute half their food. The hole of their tobacco pipe is very large, and made of clay well burnt into the lower end of which they thrust a small hollow cane eighteen inches long, through which they suck the smoke, both men and women swallowing most of it. Every man carries a small bag called a tuffio, in his knapsack, in which is his pipe and tobacco, and the women have their tuffio in their wrappers, carrying their pipes in their hands. They prepare their tobacco for smoking by straining out its juice while quite green, and they informed us by signs that it would otherwise make them drunk. They afterwards shred it very small, and dry it on an earthen dish over the embers. On an island in the bay we saw about half a dozen goats, and no where else in this country.

They have innumerable kinds of fruits growing wild in the woods, in which are whole groves of lemon trees, especially near the town and watering-place, and some few orange trees. Their drink is mostly water, yet the men use great quantities of palmito wine, which they call moy, giving little or none to the women. It is strange to see their manner of climbing the palmito trees, which are of great size and height, having neither boughs nor branches except near the top. Surrounding the tree and his own, body by means of a withe, or band of twisted twigs, on which he leans his back, and jerking up his withe before him, he foots it up with wonderful speed and certainty, and comes down again in the same manner, bringing his gourd full of liquor on his arm. Among their fruits are many kinds of plumbs; one like a wheaten plumb is wholesome and savoury; likewise a black one, as large as a horse plumb, which is much esteemed, and has an aromatic flavour. A kind called mansamilbas, resembling a wheaten plumb, is very dangerous, as is likewise the sap of the boughs, which is perilous for the sight, if it should chance to get into the eyes.[209] Among their fruits is one called beninganion, about the size of a lemon, with a reddish rind, and very wholesome; also another called bequill, as large as an apple, with a rough knotty skin, which is pared off, when the pulp below eats like a strawberry, which likewise it resembles in colour and grain, and of which we eat many. There are abundance of wild grapes in the woods, but having a woody and bitterish taste. The nuts of the palmito are eaten roasted. They use but little pepper and grains, the one in surgery and the other in cooking. There is a singular fruit, growing six or eight together in a bunch, each as long and thick as one's finger, the skin being of a brownish yellow colour, and somewhat downy, and within the rind is a pulp of a pleasant taste; but I know not if it be wholesome.

[Footnote 209: Probably the Manchencel—E.]

I observed in the woods certain trees like beeches, bearing fruit resembling beans, of which I noticed three kinds. One of these was a great tall tree, bearing cods like those of beans, in each of which was four or five squarish beans, resembling tamarind seeds, having hard shells, within which is a yellow kernel, which is a virulent poison, employed by the negroes to envenom their arrows. This they call Ogon. The second is smaller, having a crooked pod with a thick rind, six or seven inches long, and half that breadth, containing each five large beans an inch long. The third, called quenda, has short leaves like the former, and much bigger fruit, growing on a strong thick woody stalk, indented on the sides, nine inches long and five broad, within which are five long beans, which are also said to be dangerous. I likewise saw trees resembling willows, bearing fruit like pease-cods.

There is a fruit called Gola, which grows in the interior. This fruit, which is inclosed in a shell, is hard, reddish, bitter, and about the size of a walnut, with many angles and corners. The negroes are much given to chew this fruit along with the bark of a certain tree. After one person has chewed it a while, he gives it to his neighbour, and so from one to another, chewing it long before they cast it away; but swallowing none of its substance. They attribute great virtues to this for the teeth and gums; and indeed the negroes have usually excellent teeth. This fruit passes also among them for money.[210] Higher within the land they cultivate cotton, which they call innumma, and of which they spin very good yarn with spindles, and afterwards very ingeniously weave into cloths, three quarters of a yard broad, to make their girdles or clouts formerly mentioned; and when sewed together it is made into jackets and breeches for their great men. By means of a wood called cambe, they dye their purses and mats of a red colour.

[Footnote 210: In a side-note; Purchas calls this the fruit of the carob tree.—E.]

The tree on which the plantains grow is of considerable height, its body being about the thickness of a man's thigh. It seems to be an annual plant, and, in my opinion, ought rather to be reckoned among reeds than trees; for the stem is not of a woody substance, but is compacted of many leaves wrapped close upon each other, adorned with leaves from the very ground instead of boughs, which are mostly two yards long and a yard broad, having a very large rib in the middle. The fruit is a bunch of ten or twelve plantains, each a span long, and as thick as a man's wrist, somewhat crooked or bending inwards. These grow on a leafy stalk on the middle of the plant, being at first green, but grow yellow and tender as they ripen. When the rind is stripped off, the inner pulp is also yellowish and pleasant to the taste. Beneath the fruit hangs down, from the same stalk, a leafy sharp-pointed tuft, which seems to have been the flower. This fruit they call bannana, which they have in reasonable abundance. They are ripe in September and October. We carried some with us green to sea, which, were six weeks in ripening. Guinea pepper grows wild in the woods on a small plant like privet, having small slender leaves, the fruit being like our barberry in form and colour. It is green at first, turning red as it ripens. It does not grow in bunches like our barberry, but here and there two or three together about the stalk. They call it bangue. The pene, of which their bread is made, grows on a small tender herb resembling grass, the stalk being all full of small seeds, not inclosed in any bask. I think it is the same which the Turks call cuscus, and the Portuguese yfunde.

The palmito tree is high and straight, its bark being knotty, and the wood of a soft substance, having no boughs except at the top, and these also seem rather reeds than boughs, being all pith within, inclosed by a hard rind. The leaf is long and slender, like that of a sword lilly, or flag. The boughs stand out from the top of the tree on all sides, rather more than a yard long, beset on both sides with strong sharp prickles, like saw-teeth, but longer. It bears a fruit like a small cocoa-nut, the size of a chesnut, inclosed in a hard shell, streaked with threads on the outside, and containing a kernel of a hard horny substance, quite tasteless; yet they are eaten roasted. The tree is called tobell, and the fruit bell. For procuring the palmito wine, they cut off one of the branches within a span of the head, to which they fasten a gourd shell by the mouth, which in twenty-four hours is filled by a clear whitish sap, of a good and strong relish, with which the natives get drunk. The oysters formerly mentioned grow on trees resembling willows in form, but having broader leaves, which are thick like leather, and bearing small knobs like those of the cypress. From these trees hang down many branches into the water, each about the thickness of a walking-stick, smooth, limber, and pithy within, which are overflowed by every tide, and hang as thick as they can stick of oysters, being the only fruit of this tree.

They have many kinds of ordinary fishes, and some which seemed to us extraordinary; as mullets, rays, thornbacks, old-wives with prominent brows, fishes like pikes, gar-fish, cavallios like mackerel, swordfishes, having snouts a yard long, toothed on each side like a saw, sharks, dogfish, sharkers, resembling sharks, but having a broad flat snout like a shovel, shoe-makers, having pendents at each side of their mouths like barbels, and which grunt like hogs, with many others. We once caught in an hour 6000 fishes like bleaks. Of birds, there are pelicans as large as swans, of a white colour, with long and large bills. Herons, curlews, boobies, ox-eyes, and various other kinds of waterfowl. On land, great numbers of grey parrots, and abundance of pintados or Guinea fowls, which are very hurtful to their rice crops. There are many other kinds of strange birds in the woods, of which I knew not the names; and I saw among the negroes many porcupine quills. There are also great numbers of monkeys leaping about the trees, and on the mountains there are lions, tigers, and ounces. There are but few elephants, of which we only saw three, but they abound farther inland. The negroes told us of a strange beast, which our interpreter called a carbuncle, which is said to be often seen, but only in the night. This animal is said to carry a stone in his forehead, wonderfully luminous, giving him light by which to feed in the night; and on hearing the slightest noise he presently conceals it with a skin or film naturally provided for the purpose. The commodities here are few, more being got farther to the eastwards. At certain times of the year, the Portuguese get gold and elephants teeth in exchange for rice, salt, beads, bells, garlick, French bottles, copper kettles, low-priced knives, hats, linen like barber's aprons, latten basins, edge-tools, bars of iron, and sundry kinds of specious trinkets; but they will not give gold for toys, only exchanging victuals for such things.

* * * * *

"This diligent observer hath taken like pains touching Saldanha bay: But as we touch there often, and have already given many notices of that place, we shall now double the Cape, and take a view along with him of Cape St Augustine."—Purch.

* * * * *

Sec. 2. Observations made at St Augustine in Madagascar, and at the Island of Socotora.

St Augustine, in the great island of St Lawrence or Madagascar, is rather a bay than a cape or point, as it has no land much bearing out beyond the rest of the coast. It is in 23 deg. 30' S. latitude, the variation here being 15 deg. 40, and may be easily found, as it has breaches[211] on either side some leagues off to the W.S.W. Right from the bay to seaward the water is very deep; but within the bay the ground is so very shelvy, that you may have one anchor to the north in 22 fathoms, and your other anchor in more than 60; while in some places nearer shore you will not have two feet at low water, and deep water still farther in; the whole ground a soft ooze. Within a mile or two of the bay the land is high, barren, and full of rocks and stones, with many small woods. Two rivers run into the bottom of the bay, the land about them being low, sandy, and overflowed; and these rivers pour in so much water into the bay that their currents are never stemmed by the tide, which yet rises two fathoms, by which the water in the bay is very thick and muddy. Great quantities of canes are brought down by these rivers, insomuch that we have seen abundance of them twenty or thirty leagues out at sea. This bay is open to a north-west wind, yet the force of the sea is broken by means of a ledge of rocks. We caught here smelts of a foot long, and shrimps ten inches: The best fishing is near the sandy shore off the low land, where the natives catch many with strong nets. Within the woods we found infinite numbers of water-melons growing on the low lands, which yielded us good refreshment. But we had nothing from the rivers, except that one of our men was hurt by an alligator. The water also was none of the best; but we got wood in plenty.

[Footnote 211: Probably meaning breakers.—E.]

This place did not seem populous, as we never saw above twenty natives at any one time. The men were comely, stout, tall, and well-made, of a tawny colour, wearing no cloathing excepting a girdle or short apron made of rind of trees. Their beards were black and reasonably long; and the hair of their heads likewise black and long, plaited and frizzled very curiously; neither had their bodies any bad smell. They carry many trinkets fastened to their girdles, adorned with alligators teeth, some of them being hollow, in which they carry tallow to keep their darts bright, which are their chief weapons, and of which each man carries a small bundle, together with a fair lance, artificially headed with iron, and kept as bright as silver. Their darts are of a very formidable and dangerous shape, barbed on both sides; and each man carries a dagger like a butcher's knife, very well made. They therefore showed no regard for iron, and would not barter their commodities for any thing but silver, in which we paid twelve-pence for a sheep, and 3s. 6d. for a cow. They asked beads into the bargain, for which alone they would give nothing except a little milk, which they brought down very sweet and good in gourds.

Their cattle have great bunches on their fore-shoulders, in size and shape like sugar-loaves, which are of a gristly substance and excellent eating. Their beef is not loose and flabby like that at Saldhana, but firm and good, little differing from that of England. Their mutton also is excellent, their sheep having tails weighing 28 pounds each, which therefore are mostly cut off from the ewes, not to obstruct propagation. In the woods near the river there are great numbers of monkeys of an ash-colour with a small head, having a long tail like a fox, ringed or barred with black and white, the fur being very fine.[212] We shot some of these, not being able to take any of them alive. There are bats also, as large almost in the bodies as rabbits, headed like a fox, having a close fur, and in other respects resembling bats, having a loud shrill cry. We killed one whose wings extended a full yard. There are plenty of herons, white, black, blue, and divers mixed colours; with many bastard hawks, and other birds of an infinite variety of kinds and colours, most having crests on their heads like peacocks. There are great store of lizards and camelions also, which agree in the description given by Pliny, only it is not true that they live on air without other food; for having kept one on board for only a day, we could perceive him to catch flies in a very strange manner. On perceiving a fly sitting, he suddenly darts out something from his mouth, perhaps his tongue, very loathsome to behold, and almost like a bird-bolt, with which he catches and eats the flies with such speed, even in the twinkling of an eye, that one can hardly discern the action. In the hills there are many spiders on the trees, which spin webs from tree to tree of very strong and excellent silk of a yellow colour, as if dyed by art. I found also hanging on the trees, great worms like our grubs with many legs, inclosed within a double cod of white silk.

[Footnote 212: Called the beautiful beast in Keeling's voyage.—Purch.]

There grows here great store of the herb producing aloes, and also tamarind trees by the water side. Here also is great abundance of a strange plant which I deem a wild species of cocoa-nut, seldom growing to the height of a tree, but of a shrubby nature, with many long prickly stalks some two yards long. At the end of each foot-stalk is a leaf about the size of a great cabbage-leaf, snipt half round like a sword-grass. From the tops of this plant, among the leaves, there spring out many woody branches, as thick set with fruit as they can stand, sometimes forty of them clustering together on one branch. These are about the size of a great katharine pear; at the first greenish, and shaped almost like a sheep's bell, with a smooth rind flat at top; within which rind is a hard substance almost like a cocoa-nut shell, and within that is a white round hollow kernel of a gristly consistence, yet eatable, and in the central hollow about a spoonful of cool sweet liquor, like cocoa-nut milk. There is another tree, as big as a pear-tree, thick set with boughs and leaves resembling those of the bay, bearing a large globular fruit like a great foot-ball, hanging by a strong stalk; The rind is divided by seams into four quarters, and being cut green, yields a clammy substance like turpentine. The rind is very thick, consisting of divers, layers of a brown substance like agaric, but harder, and contains thirteen cells, in each of which is contained a large kernel of a dirty white colour, hard, bitter, and ill tasted.

In Socotora[213] the natives of Guzerat and the English build themselves slight stone-houses, with pieces of wood laid across and covered with reeds and branches of the date palm, merely to keep out the sun, as they fear no rain during the season of residing here. The stones are easily procured for this purpose, as the whole island seems almost nothing but stones; yet about the head of the river, and a mile farther inland, there is a pleasant valley replenished with date trees. On the east side of this vale is a small town called Dibnee, very little inhabited except in the date harvest. In the months of June and July the wind blows in this valley with astonishing violence; yet only a short gun-shot off towards the town of Delisha, over against the road where the ships ride, there is hardly there a breath of wind. About 100 years ago [1500] this island was conquered by the King of Caixem, or Cushem, as the Arabs pronounce it, a sovereign of no great force, as his army does not exceed two or three thousand soldiers. Besides Socotora, this king has likewise the two Irmanas and Abba del Curia. The Irmanas, or Two Brethren, are small uninhabited stony and barren isles, having nothing but turtles. Abba del Curia is large, having great abundance of goats, and some fresh water, but not above three or four inhabitants, as we were told. Amer Benzaid, son to the King of Kissem, resides at Socotora, which he rules under his father. He trades to the Comora islands and to Melinda, for which he has two good frigates,[214] in which rice and mello [millet] are brought from the main, being their chief food.

[Footnote 213: In his abbreviation of Finch's observations Purchas has not clearly distinguished where those respecting Madagascar end, and those made at Socotora begin.—E.]

[Footnote 214: It has been formerly noticed, that, frigates, in these early navigators, were only small barks, in opposition to tall ships, galleons, and caraks: These frigates, and those frequently mentioned as belonging to the Portuguese and Moors in India at this time, could only be grabs, or open sewed vessels, already frequently mentioned in the course of this collection.—E.]

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