The King, that they might not be cheated, sent a crier over the city, ordering that nobody was to sell anything to the Portuguese for more than it was worth, and that, should the law be infringed, he would burn down the culprit's house.
The King now expressed his wish to visit the ships, and the Captain-Major having fixed a day, they were cleaned and ornamented with flags; the quarter-decks were covered with figured stuffs from Flanders, and carpets and rugs, lances with the points burnished, and naked swords and other weapons, with splendid breast-plates, on which were engraved the arms of the Captains, were hung up; while in the cabin was a sideboard covered with plate, all the attendants being splendidly dressed.
The Captain-Major, going on shore, received the King, who was accompanied to the ship by numberless boats, with flags flying, kettledrums and other musical instruments being played; but when the trumpets of the Portuguese sounded, all kept silence that they might be heard. The great guns of the ships fired salutes and the people shouted as the King, mounting the ladder, came on board, where the Captains, supporting him in their arms, with great courtesy placed him in a chair on the quarter-deck.
The King having sat some time, was conducted into the cabin, where a handsome table was spread with napkins, conserves, confectionery and preserved almonds which had been brought in glass bottles, oranges and cases of marmalade.
The King and his courtiers appeared to have been more pleased with the olives than anything else. They were presented with wine in gilt vessels, which they refused, but they drank water from silver cups and gilt glasses.
After the King had finished eating, Vasco da Gama took a richly gilt and chased hand-basin and ewer to match, and was about to pour water on the King's hands; but to this, out of courtesy, his Majesty would not consent. He, however, allowed one of his people to pour out the water, when he washed his hands and mouth, and dried them on a napkin embroidered with gold.
The Captain-Major then ordered the water to be emptied, and put the basin and ewer in their cases, and requested the King to accept them, saying that, as they had been employed in his service, it would be improper to allow anybody else to make use of them.
At this the King was highly pleased, declaring that no sovereign in India possessed such things. On returning to the shore, the King would not allow the Captains to leave their boats as he took leave of them. Vasco da Gama also sent the chair in which the King had sat as a present, greatly to his delight.
Thus was a firm friendship secured between the explorers and the natives, so that the former could go on shore without the slightest fear of receiving ill treatment.
VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA, CONTINUED—A.D. 1498.
Vessels fitted with tanks—Native pilots agree to guide them to India— Their advanced knowledge of navigation—Another column erected—A convict lad left with the King—Farewells—Ships sail—Mortality—Coast of India seen—Anchor off Capocate—Dark-skinned naked natives appear— Da Gama's politic treatment of natives—A Nair comes from the King of Calecut—Da Gama fabricates a story to account for his visit—The Moorish traders plot to destroy the Portuguese—A Castilian comes on board—Warns da Gama of the Moors' plot—Nicolas Coelho sent on shore with rich presents for the King—Tired by delays—Coelho received by the King—Arrangements made for trading—Merchandise landed—Damaged spices offered in return—Received by the Portuguese—The Castilian warns da Gama not to venture on shore without hostages—Hostages sent off—Vasco da Gama visits the King of Calecut—Magnificent presents sent by the King.
The time for continuing the voyage having arrived, being the 15th of July, 1498, the King assisted his new friends in making all preparations for their departure. He sent on board two experienced pilots, the Mozambique pilot also agreeing to go with them. They had constructed tanks at the bottom of the ships, sewn together with coir thread and covered with pitch in such a way that they were more watertight than casks. Each ship had four of these tanks placed at the foot of the mainmast, containing thirty pipes of water.
Their pilots possessed nautical instruments greatly differing from their own, but equally useful; indeed, they were not much inferior in skill to the Portuguese navigators. To each of the pilots, in the presence of the King, Vasco da Gama gave fifty cruzadados to leave with their wives, with which the King was greatly pleased, and still more so when the Captain-Major judiciously presented him, in a handkerchief, with ten golden Portugueses. The King assured Vasco da Gama that the broker Davane would act honestly, and that as he was now fairly acquainted with the Portuguese language, he would be of the greatest benefit. He warned his friends, however, to be on their guard against the people of Calecut, who were noted for their want of faith, advising them not to trust themselves on shore without safe hostages. Like a true friend, he gave them much more faithful counsel. He had also prepared a banquet, at which they were sumptuously entertained, and he sent boats laden with food to the ships sufficient for both crews.
The last duty Vasco da Gama had to perform was to set up one of the marble pillars which he had brought. The King, on hearing of his intention, requested that it might be placed within the palace, but Vasco da Gama explained that the object was to let it be visible to all who entered the port, and it was accordingly placed on the summit of a hill near the city. It was similar to that they had erected at the mouth of the River of Mercy. The King sent stonemasons to assist in erecting it. When it was placed the crews of the ships landed and offered up prayers, when the trumpets sounded and a salute was fired from the ships.
The Captain-Major now presented the King with a convict ship-boy, saying he was left in order, should any Portuguese ships come to the country, that he might be able to describe the benefits and gifts the King had bestowed on his countrymen. Vasco da Gama requested also, should the boy wish to go to any other place, that he might be permitted to do so, as no one without a willing heart could serve well. The same day the pilots went on board the ships, one accompanying Paulo da Gama, and the other, as also the Mozambique pilot, Vasco da Gama.
The men had cabins given them in which to live and stow their property. Lastly the King sent off boats laden with biscuits, rice, butter, cocoa-nuts, powdered sugar in sacks, sheep salted whole and others alive, and fowls and vegetables in great abundance. He also accompanied the boats alongside the ships, showing by unmistakable signs his regret at parting with them, and saying very affectionate things while he bade them farewell. As they hoisted in the boats the trumpets sounded, and the crews shouted "Lord God have mercy upon us! Farewell!"
With a fair wind the next morning, the trumpets sounding and the ships dressed in flags, the anchors were weighed, the sails hoisted, and the crews praising God for the favours shown them, they stood out to sea. The hardships they had endured and sickness had already carried off many of the seamen of both ships. Of the six priests four had died. Scurvy, although the name was unknown, had broken out during the lengthened period they had been at sea, without the power of obtaining fresh provisions, which could alone have cured the complaint.
After sailing on for twenty-two days, land was espied, as the pilots had told them it would be; and a lofty mountain, off which they came, was, they were informed, in the kingdom of Cananor. The name of the mountain was Delielly, or The Rat, so named on account of the number of rats frequenting the region, which prevented it being inhabited. On nearing the land, they sailed along it until they came in sight of a large city of thatched houses, in a bay called Cananor.
As a reward for the services they had rendered in carrying the ships safely across the Indian Ocean, each pilot received a robe of red cloth and ten testoons.
Standing along the coast, the ships passed close to the town of Cananor, which, being a mean place, greatly disappointed Vasco da Gama, as he supposed that it was Calecut; but the pilots set him right, and conducted him twelve leagues farther on, when the anchors were dropped off the town of Capocate, two leagues from the large city of Celecut, situated in a bay. As they gazed towards the shore, they could see a number of dark, nearly naked people, their only garments being cloths half-way down their thighs, who came flocking to the beach. A council was held on board Paulo da Gama's ship, when Davane advised that no one should venture on shore without hostages. He stated that the King of Calecut was the most powerful sovereign on the coast of India, and that he was very vain and very rich on account of the trade of his city.
In a short time a number of fishing-boats came off, and, being called alongside by the Moorish pilot, the fishermen willingly sold their fish.
Vasco da Gama told the pilots to repeat to the fishermen the story he had invented: that he had separated from a large fleet of Portuguese ships of which he was in search, and that he had hoped to find them at this port. He would allow no one on board to trade except the pilots, who were ordered to give whatever the fishermen demanded.
Among other boats one loaded with wood came alongside, but as the ships had abundance it was not purchased. There were six men in the boat, and knowing that they would be disappointed at not finding a market for their wood, to their great surprise, as also to that of Davane, Vasco da Gama ordered that a vintin should be given to each of them; so that, when they returned on shore, they did not fail to praise the strangers.
The Captain-Major had resolved not to land until he had received permission from the King to do so, but three days passed and no messenger came off. Davane was therefore directed to go on shore, with a request to the ruler of the country that he would allow the Portuguese to visit him. Just as he was about to set off a large boat came to the ship, bringing an officer of the King, called a Nair. His only garment was a white cloth, covering his body from the middle to half-way down his legs. He carried a light round shield and a short sword with an iron hilt. Addressing the Captain-Major, who was pointed out to him, he stated that he came to ascertain who the new-comers were, and what they required in the port.
Vasco da Gama replied that he was the servant of the greatest Christian king in the world, who had sent a fleet of fifty ships out to these seas to obtain cargoes of pepper and drugs, in exchange for the rich merchandise of gold and silver which they had brought, and that the Portuguese were anxious to establish a lasting peace with the King and people of the country at which they had arrived. He then stated that he himself was the ambassador who had been empowered to arrange the terms of the treaty his sovereign desired to make with the Zamorin of Calecut. To impress the natives with an idea of the power of the King of Portugal, and to prevent them from venturing on any hostile proceedings, for fear of the consequences, he added that he had been separated from the rest of his fleet for a couple of years, during which he had had visited Melinda, with whose King he had formed a lasting treaty of peace and friendship. He now requested the Zamorin to conclude one of the same character between their two nations; and, this being done, he would ask permission to land and carry on a trade with his people.
Soon after the Nair had gone back to the shore, a boat laden with fowls, figs (fresh and dry), and cocoa-nuts, came off. They were accepted out of courtesy, but the Captain-Major sent word that he could neither buy nor sell anything until the treaty was concluded. He stated, moreover, that he could not go on shore until the King had sent hostages for his safety.
Now, as was afterwards ascertained, a large number of wealthy Moors resided in Calecut, who had got the entire trade of the country into their hands. They were Mohammedans, and by means of their wealth had won over a large number of the common people to their faith.
They, on hearing of the arrival of the Portuguese, at once became jealous lest the new-comers should take the trade from them, and therefore resolved by every artful means to defeat their object, by representing to the King that they were spies, come to gain information about the land and to possess themselves of it. For this purpose the Moors had won over the chief ministers of the King to favour their designs, though the liberality exhibited by the Portuguese had at the first gained his good-will.
Before going on shore himself, the Captain-Major sent Davane, accompanied by Joab da Nunez, one of the convicts,—a Christian and a man of talent, who could speak Arabic and Hebrew, and also understood the Moorish language, although he could not speak it,—that he might go to the city and ascertain the way of transacting business; he was ordered to buy only provisions, while he listened to what was said without speaking himself.
On reaching the shore the two were so mobbed that they had great difficulty in making their way, until an officer appeared, who took them under his charge, and compelled the people to move aside so that they could pass through the streets. The officer invited them to his house, and on their way they encountered a man clothed as a Moor, but who addressed them in Castilian, and requested them to come to his house, which they obtained permission from the officer to do. The seeming Moor gave them a brief outline of his history. He was, he said, a native of Seville, but that when a boy he was made a prisoner, and after having served many masters, had obtained his freedom. Although he had all the time, he averred, pretended to be a Moor, he was still at heart a Christian. On hearing the account he gave of himself, Joab Nunez invited him off to see the Captain-Major, and the next day he made his appearance on board. He then acknowledged that his object had at first been to betray the Portuguese, but on entering the cabin his heart had been changed, and his great desire was now to serve them. He warned them of the treachery intended them by the Moors, and offered to go on shore to obtain all the information he could, so as to give it to them.
At a council held soon after by the three Captains, Paulo and Nicolas Coelho entreated Vasco da Gama not to go on shore, as he would hazard his life; but he replied that he had resolved to do so in the service of the King; that his life he did not value, and that should he be killed, they must make the best of their way back to Portugal with the account of their important discovery.
He consented, however, before he went himself, to send Nicolas Coelho to obtain an audience of the King, and to ascertain his feelings towards the Portuguese. Accordingly he got ready the presents intended for his Majesty, and ordered twelve of the best-looking of his men, handsomely dressed, to accompany the brave captain.
The presents consisted of a piece of the finest scarlet cloth, one of crimson velvet, and another of yellow satin, a chair covered with brocade and studded with silver-gilt nails, a cushion of crimson satin with tassels of golden thread, a smaller one of red satin for the feet to rest on, a hand-basin and ewer chased and gilt, a splendid gilt mirror, fifty scarlet caps, and fifty sheathed knives with ivory handles gilt.
These things being arranged, were placed in napkins on the deck. The Nair, who soon afterwards came on board, greatly admired them, and intimated that the King was ready to receive the ambassador.
On this Nicolas Coelho, accompanied by the twelve men in rich costumes, at once went on shore, and, surrounded by the people, proceeded to the palace. He, however, was not received that evening, and was compelled to take up his abode in the house of one of the natives, where he was but meanly entertained.
During the night the Castilian came and warned him not to grow angry with these delays, as he was thus treated in order to make him lose his temper. Following this advice, he the next morning pretended to be quite at his ease.
At length, when the overseer appeared, Nicolas Coelho requested that a boat might be prepared to take him back to the ship. Seeing that he was not to be put out of temper, the overseer at last consented to introduce him to the King, whom he found seated in a summer-house on a low couch covered with white cloth, one of his priests attending near him.
Coelho kept silence until the King bade him speak. He then, Joab Nunez acting as interpreter, delivered the message he had brought from the Captain-Major.
After hearing it, the King bade him retire, saying that the overseer of the treasury would bring him an answer; but Nicolas replied that he could receive no answer but from the King himself. After he had waited for some time, the priest brought him out an agreement signed on the dry leaf of a palm-tree, granting all the requests of the Captain-Major, the priest swearing that it was the King's signature.
When Nicolas Coelho returned on board and gave an account of his interview with the King, Vasco da Gama was highly pleased, and ordered flags to be hoisted, trumpets to be sounded, and salutes to be fired.
Having appointed Digo Diaz to act as factor, and Pedro da Braga as clerk, to be assisted by Joao Nunez, Davane, and one of the pilots from Melinda, he sent on shore for the purpose of trading, a chest of unwrought branch coral, the same quantity of vermilion, a barrel of quicksilver, fifty pigs of copper, twenty strings of large cut coral, and as many of amber, five Portugueses of gold, fifty cruzados, and a hundred testoons in silver; as also a table with a green cloth, and a pair of wooden scales. He directed his people to accept the prices offered, and to verify the weight of everything with the scales. The clerk was ordered likewise to write down in a book which he carried the particulars of all transactions.
On arriving on shore, the factor hired a large house in two compartments, one for trade and the other for living in.
The overseer of the treasury soon made his appearance, and sending for a money-changer, weighed all the money, and proved it with his touchstones, setting a value on each coin which the clerk wrote down. It was found to be higher than in Portugal. A price was then set upon each article of merchandise separately, on which a large profit was made.
The overseer of the treasury then inquired whether they wished to begin weighing at once, and on their replying "Yes," he ordered a large number of sacks of pepper to be brought. These were weighed, and sent off to the ships.
As evening approached, the overseer requested the factor to say what goods were required for the next day, that he might have them ready. Accordingly Pedro da Braga was sent back to learn this from the Captain-Major, and to give a report of the transactions which had been concluded.
It should have been said that two armed boats were sent from the ships, which, as they could not on account of the surf reach the shore, were anchored outside, with guns in their bows to protect the factory, the people being carried ashore in the light native skiffs.
Vasco da Gama having received a hint that the natives were great rogues, resolved to outwit them by leading them to suppose the Portuguese to be so ignorant that they might easily be cheated, and thus greatly to desire their return to the country. He therefore directed the factor to receive any goods offered, and to pay whatever price might be asked, and always to appear perfectly satisfied.
The trading was carried on day after day. Pepper, being the heaviest, was the first article obtained. Ginger was next purchased; but it was, in order to preserve it, covered with clay. More than a due proportion had, however, been put on, of which the factor was aware; but according to the orders he had received, he did not complain, but desired that it should be surrounded by more clay, that it might keep the better, paying for it as though it was all ginger.
Cinnamon was next offered. The factor said he would rather wait, but the overseer of the treasury declared that as it was ready it must be received. When it came it was found to consist of old cinnamon of bad quality, done up in packages of sticks and mats. The factor again pretended not to notice the way he was cheated, but sent word to the Captain-Major, who directed him to take even worse goods.
These were afterwards offered, much of the pepper being mouldy and unfit for use, but it was received as if it had been in good order. Though the King was highly pleased at thus easily getting rid of the damaged goods in his stores, the Moorish merchants, more keen-sighted than he was, declared, with some show of reason, that the Portuguese could not be honest traders, but were in reality pirates, who had come to spy out the land.
According to the Oriental custom, to give the Portuguese a great idea of his importance, the King pretended to have forgotten all about the embassy, and day after day deferred sending a message to say that he was ready to receive it. The ministers at length, however, bribed by the Moorish merchants, who were anxious to get the Portuguese Admiral into their power, and hoped to do so should he venture on shore, advised the King no longer to delay inviting him to pay his promised visit.
On hearing this, the Castilian, disguising himself as a beggar, came to the factory, and begging alms in Castilian, was recognised by the factor, who took him inside.
The Castilian then strongly advised that the Captain-Major should not go on shore without proper hostages, and promised to give a sign as to which was a good one of those offered. After this he retired, begging as he had entered. The factor wrote to the Captain-Major, warning him of the treachery intended, and a message was conveyed to the King intimating that Vasco da Gama would not come until proper hostages were delivered up. Three nairs were accordingly sent to the factory, one of whom the Castilian pointed out as the King's nephew, and advised that he especially should be strictly watched. On the arrival of the hostages on board, they were received with due honour and conducted into one of the cabins, where a watch was set over them.
As he was about to depart, Vasco da Gama received information that the King had gone into the country, where he would receive him. The hostages soon afterwards requested to be allowed to go on shore to eat; but this Vasco da Gama would not allow, observing that as he had received them from the King, he could only return them by the King's command.
He had, in the meantime, sent word by a messenger, that he could not present himself as an ambassador before the King, except at his own royal palace. At length the messenger returned, saying that his Majesty had returned to the city, and was now ready to receive the embassy.
Upon this the Captain-Major embarked in his barge, accompanied by Davane as interpreter, taking with him several large Indian boats, loaded with packages.
Arriving at the factory, he dressed himself in a tawny-coloured cloak coming down to his feet, and underneath a short tunic of blue satin, with white buskins, and on his head he wore a blue velvet cap, having a white feather in it, fastened with a jewel; a richly enamelled collar on his shoulders, and a sash with a handsome dagger completed his costume. He had also a page habited in red satin. Before him went a file of men, handsomely dressed, then other men carrying the various gifts; in front of all the chair, carried upon Davane's head, while at their head marched trumpeters sounding their instruments, the whole being conducted by the factor, with a cane in his hand and his cap off.
As they proceeded through a long street the crowd was so great, many among the people being Moors, with swords and shields, that it was with difficulty the Portuguese could make their way, until several nairs arrived and drove the rabble aside.
The factor, having entered the palace, presented each of the articles to the King, who expressed great satisfaction, especially with the chair, on which he took his seat.
When the Captain-Major arrived, he was conducted through many courts to a building opposite to that where the audience was to be held. From thence he proceeded to a hall adorned with silken stuffs of various colours, in which the King was seated on the chair just presented to him under a white canopy, handsomely worked and covering the whole room. He was a very dark man, half naked, covered only from the middle to the knees by a white robe, at the end of which was a long point, on which were threaded several gold rings set with remarkably handsome rubies.
On his left arm he wore a bracelet, above the elbow, consisting of three rings, the centre one studded with rich jewels, and from it hung a large glittering diamond of inestimable price. Round his neck was a string of pearls of the size of hazel-nuts. The string took two turns, and reached to his middle. Above it he wore a thin gold chain, to which was suspended a jewel in the form of a heart, surrounded by pearls and rubies. In the middle was an emerald of the size of a bean.
These jewels, according to the information received from the Castilian, belonged to the ancient treasury of the Kings of Calecut. The long dark hair of the King was tied in a knot on the top of his head, and round the knot he wore a string of pearls, at the end of which was a pear-shaped pearl of large size. To his ears were suspended golden fairings of round beads.
By the side of the King stood two pages, one holding a red shield with a border of gilt and jewels, and a drawn sword, having a hilt ornamented with gold and pendent pearls. The other page held a gold cup, into which the King spat. By the side of his chair was a priest, who from time to time gave him a green leaf containing lime and areca, which he chewed, making his teeth and gums red.
Vasco da Gama, in his character of ambassador, on arriving made a profound salutation, and the King, bowing his head and extending his right hand and arm, touched the right hand of the Captain-Major with the tips of his fingers, and bade him sit on the dais by his side.
Vasco da Gama, through his interpreter, explained who he was, and repeated the account he had already given. He then presented a letter which had been written as if coming from the King of Portugal, and signed with his hand and seal. The King, receiving it, placed it on his breast with both hands, and then, opening it, gave it to the overseer to be translated, and assured Vasco da Gama that he might have whatever merchandise he wished to take on board and whatever he required for his ships, and that he might send his people on shore to amuse themselves and to buy what they liked. Having ordered his minister to announce this by the crier, he dismissed Vasco da Gama, saying that he would speak to him when more at leisure another day.
The Captain-Major, highly satisfied, retired, the trumpets blowing before him until he reached the factory, where he took up his abode for the night. Next day the overseer brought the Captain-Major twenty pieces of fine white stuff embroidered with gold, and twenty other pieces of stuff also white, and ten of coloured silk; also four large loaves of benzoin and fifty bags of musk, as well as six basins and six jars of porcelain. The overseer said that the King sent these things for Vasco da Gama's own use, and that when he went away he would send more for his King. Other presents were returned, and everything appeared to go on smoothly.
Vasco da Gama was much struck by the barbaric splendour of this petty Oriental potentate, little aware that in the far-off interior there were other sovereigns possessed of infinitely greater wealth and power, with whom the Portuguese would have found it impossible to contend.
VOYAGE OF VASCO DA GAMA CONCLUDED—A.D. 1498-9.
Treacherous trick to entrap Vasco da Gama—The Castilian warns him not to complain—Badly treated—Carried from place to place a prisoner— Sends on board for merchandise—Still kept a prisoner—Orders his brother to set sail for Spain—Nicolas Coelho refuses to desert him—He again sends, ordering the hostages to be set free—The King learns the treachery of the Moors and makes amends to Vasco da Gama—The Moors threatened with vengeance—The ships sail for Cananor—The King sends provisions and invites the captains to land—Nicolas Coelho sent with presents—The King has a pier and pavilion built, extending into the sea—The Captains visit him in great state—Davane leaves them—Sail and anchor in a harbour of the islands of Angediva—Native vessels—Friendly fishermen—Plot of a pilot to destroy the Portuguese—A Jew Admiral of the King of Goa sent to capture them—The Jew seized—Confesses—His fleet of fustas destroyed—The survivors made slaves—The Jew turns Christian—The ships sail across the Indian Ocean—Dreadful sickness— Mombas bombarded—A fleet of zambuks out of Pate attacks the Portuguese—Driven off—Second visit to Melinda—Pass close round the Cape of Good Hope—Many deaths—The Sargarco Sea—Reach the island of Tercejra—Death of Paulo da Gama—Enter the Tagus the 18th of September, 1499—Vasco da Gama cordially received by the King, who gives him the title of Dom—Nicolas Coelho exhibits the treasures to the Queen—Second voyage of Vasco da Gama—Anchade reaches China—Macao founded—Sequeiro sails up the Red Sea to the country of the Emperor of Ethiopia—The supposed Prester John—The Moluccas discovered by Abreu—Third voyage of Dom Vasco da Gama as Viceroy of India—His magnificent state in 1524— His death at Cochin, the same year—Buried at Vidigueira in Portugal, of which he was Count—Succeeded by his son Dom Estevan.
The trade at the factory continued. Drugs, cloves, and nutmegs were brought in; the cloves, however, were mostly bits of stick, and the nutmegs were half rotten, but the factor received them as if they were sound.
The chief minister now arrived in a richly ornamented litter, borne on men's shoulders, with a similar one empty, having a silken canopy over it and soft cushions within, saying that he was sent to bring the ambassador to pay another visit to the King. Accordingly Vasco da Gama got into the one intended for him, while eight of his men got ready to accompany him on foot and unarmed. Just as they were setting out, the Castilian passed, and uttered the words,—"Sufrir y callar."
"Endure and do not complain."
The Captain-Major had expected to arrive at the country palace of the King, but instead he found himself, as night fell, at a poor house with common straw mats on which to sit. Boiled rice and boiled fish were brought for supper, but he was too indignant at the way he was being treated to eat.
The next day the journey was continued, but by some means the officer who had charge of Vasco da Gama got him separated from five of his men. The heat was excessive; the sun beat down on their heads with terrible force. At last they reached a river, when they embarked in a boat, in which the Captain-Major was conducted a considerable distance, accompanied by Joao Nunez and two others. Again they landed, when the Captain-Major was shut up in a house, by himself while his men were placed in another, though both were ignorant how near they were together. The following day they were led by narrow paths through a jungle, and at the end of it the Captain-Major was again shut up, separated from his men. He now became not only indignant, but very anxious. At last he was led out and conducted to where the Prime Minister had taken up his quarters. That official, who looked very much out of humour, did not even bid him sit down, but kept him standing until Joab Nunez, who had been sent for, arrived. He then said that a ship had come from Mombas, by which information had been received that the Portuguese were pirates, and that they had behaved as such at Mombas and Quiloa. He added that the King of Calecut was very angry, and had ordered the Portuguese ship to be captured, and the officers and crews to be kept in prison until they confessed the truth. He therefore advised the Captain-Major to confess the truth to him, that he might relate to the King what he said.
Vasco da Gama, on hearing this, almost laughed. He replied that, if taken to the King, he would tell him the truth, and that he might go and say so. The Prime Minister, on hearing this, was in a great rage, and cross-questioned Joab Nunez, who replied as he had been instructed. The minister then told Vasco da Gama that he must land all the merchandise from both ships, and have it put into the factory, and that after that the King would fill them up with what they required.
Vasco da Gama replied that he would obey the commands of the King, but that it would be necessary to send a message to the ships, or otherwise the merchandise would not be delivered up. To this, however, the minister appeared in no way inclined to agree.
In the meantime the men who had landed with the Captain-Major, and who had been kept separated from him, were in great alarm as to what had happened, as were also those on board the ships; for the factor could give them no information, and serious fears were entertained that he had been murdered. The hostages had also made an attempt to escape, as the minister had sent them word by the boy who brought their food to do so; but Paulo had kept too strict a watch to allow them to get out of the cabin in which they were confined.
At length one of the men who had accompanied the Captain-Major, Joab Setabal, came on board, in a native boat, saying that he had been sent by Vasco da Gama, to let his brother know how treacherously he had been entrapped, and directing him to send a boat laden with merchandise of all sorts, and also that, should he himself not appear, he was to take back the factor, and allow nobody else to go on shore.
Paulo da Gama, mild as he generally was, became furious on hearing this, but at once sent back the native boat laden with merchandise. When the boat arrived at the factory, the factor sent to the minister—who had let him know where he was, and that the Captain-Major was with him—to say that it had arrived, but that unless Vasco da Gama was allowed to return on board, no more would be sent.
On hearing this the Captain-Major was much annoyed, and told the minister that if he would dispatch ten large native boats, he would agree to go off and bring them back full of goods.
When, however, he was about to embark, the minister stopped him, saying that all the Portuguese might return to their ships with the exception of himself, the interpreter, and two others, who must remain on shore for the present; and that when the merchandise arrived, then he would send him on board.
The Captain-Major, clearly seeing the treachery intended by the minister, dissembling his anger, sent word to his brother that he was convinced, even should the boats full of goods be landed, he himself would not be given up; and he therefore charged him to send the hostages on shore, and then to make sail and return to Portugal. "If he himself should be killed," he added, "nothing would be lost, but that if Paulo and the ships were destroyed, their country would fail to reap the benefit they had obtained for her." He also entreated Paulo to lose no time in getting under weigh, as he was very sure that the Moors would send out their ships to attack them.
On receiving this message, Paulo da Garna and all the crews swore that without the Captain-Major they would not leave the port, nor would they send any more goods; while honest Nicolas Coelho was eager to go on shore, resolving that if the Captain-Major were not set free, he would remain with him.
The hostages were then brought out of the cabin, and Paulo da Gama asked them if they were sent by the King to remain in case any harm should be done to the ambassador. They acknowledged that such was the case, and that the Portuguese might cut off their heads if they pleased.
Paulo da Gama then replied that he had no intention of depriving them of life, but that they should be immediately sent on shore, without any stipulation, as he would trust to their honour to exert their influence in obtaining the liberty of his brother and his companions. He remarked also that should any harm be done their ambassador, the inhabitants of Calecut would for ever be considered by all nations as the most treacherous and barbarous people in the world. He then bestowing many handsome presents on the hostages, sent them on shore with all due honour in one of the ship's boats.
Meantime the Moors had gone to the King, and declaring that the Portuguese were pirates, had offered to go out in their ships and attack them. The King, believing this falsehood, ordered the goods in the Portuguese factory to be brought to his palace, and commanded that the Captain-Major and his companions should at once be put to death.
His chief priest and overseer of the treasury, on hearing this order issued, and clearly foreseeing the consequences, hurried to the king, and entreated him not to commit so atrocious an act, observing that the Portuguese had done no harm, but had been kind and peaceable, and had presented the richest presents ever yet offered to a sovereign in India. At this juncture the hostages arrived, and by stating how liberally they had been treated, and how nobly they had been set free, turned the scale in favour of the Portuguese.
The King immediately sending for Vasco da Gama, humbly begged his pardon for the way he had been treated, declaring that much had been done without his knowledge, and that he also had been deceived by evil counsel. Vasco da Gama replied that the King must act according to the dictates of his sense of honour, and that had he murdered an ambassador, the world would have spoken very ill of his Majesty.
The King then gave Vasco da Gama several pieces of fine stuff, and a piece of silk, with several rubies and pearls, and again asking his pardon, and saying that those who had given him bad counsel should be punished, honourably dismissed him.
On his way to the boats Vasco da Gama met the factor, who informed him that the factory had been robbed, no doubt by the order of the King, but he would not allow the factor to complain, though he warned the overseer of the treasury that he would at some time come back and revenge on the heads of the Moors the wrongs he had received. He then embarked with all his men, and proceeded to the ships. The Castilian, as they were shoving off, leaped into the boat and begged leave to accompany them. Vasco da Gama was received with unbounded joy by his brother and the officers and crews of the ships.
He rewarded the Castilian for his services by giving him five Portugueses of gold and a piece of cloth and several red caps, and he signed a paper to the effect that he was a sincere friend to the Portuguese, a faithful Christian, and that all confidence might be placed in him. With this the Castilian returned on shore, when he told the Moors of the hatred they had produced in the breasts of the Portuguese, who swore that they would revenge themselves on their return to India. He also informed the overseer of the treasury that the Portuguese, when they came back, would be his sincere friends. These things were related to the King, who immediately dispatched the Castilian with one of his chief ministers again to express his regret at what had happened, saying that if the Portuguese would come again on shore they would see the punishment he would inflict on the persons who had injured them.
The Captain-Major replied that he should not return to the port, and that he would take upon himself at a future time the punishment of the Moors who had behaved ill to him and his followers.
As there was a fair wind the ships set sail and ran down the coast until they came off Cananor. The King of that country having heard all that had taken place, resolved to win the friendship of the Portuguese.
No sooner did the ships approach than he sent off a large boat, carrying a minister, to invite them to his country. Following the first boat came a number of others, laden with provisions of all sorts. The King stated that he would fill up their ships with cargoes of the goods they had come in search of, at more favourable prices and in better condition than those they had obtained in Calecut.
Vasco da Gama, highly pleased, as soon as the ships came to an anchor, sent off a boat with Nicolas Coelho, bearing valuable presents, similar to those before presented to the King of Calecut, but no one else was allowed to land.
Nicolas Coelho was well received, and was sent back in a native boat by the King, with a message expressing a hope that the Captain-Major would visit him. He also brought word that the King had ordered a wooden pier to be run out into the water, with a small pavilion at the end of it.
The next day his Majesty came with numerous attendants and took a seat in the pavilion, which was adorned with silken stuffs, and had also within it a dais covered with silk. As soon as he came in sight the captains, in their most splendid costumes, accompanied by a number of their men handsomely dressed, the boats being highly decorated, and having streamers flying of white and red silk, and the trumpets sounding, while salutes were fired as they left the ships, rowed for the pier.
On approaching the pavilion in which the King was seated, the two Captains, taking off their hats, bowed profoundly, when he, stepping to the front, entreated them to come up and take seats by his side. He then asked which of them had been imprisoned in Calecut. Paulo da Gama, pointing to his brother, answered, "That is the person whom the King of Calecu: thus insulted."
The King of Cananor then told them that he had received a letter from the King of Calecut exculpating himself, and saying that what had been done was without his sanction, and that he was determined to inflict a severe punishment on the guilty persons. Much further conversation took place of a satisfactory character, when the Captains returned to their ships.
They were three days taking on board the goods and provisions with which the King of Cananor supplied them. Vasco da Gama here dismissed Davane, and signed a document calling on all the captains coming from Portugal to treat him as a sincere friend, whom they were always to honour. He gave him also a hundred cruzados and a hundred testoons, besides the payment due to him, and goods and other presents, so that the honest broker departed highly pleased.
As the crews were lifting the anchors, two large boats came off with a further supply of fowls and other fresh provisions. The sails were then loosed, and the two ships commenced their homeward voyage on the 20th of November, in the year of grace 1498. After proceeding some distance, finding the winds contrary, the pilots recommended that they should put back; but as Vasco da Gama objected to this, they steered a course for the island of Angediva, which had a good port with plenty of wood and water, where they proposed to remain until the monsoon had commenced. The only inhabitant of the island was a hermit, who lived in a grotto, and subsisted on what was given him by passing ships.
The people enjoyed themselves much by being able to go on shore without fear of interruption. Several native vessels came in, not seeing them until they were round the point. They were of two descriptions, some having their planks sewn together with coir rope, which had keels, and others flat bottomed, the planking being secured by nails. Their anchors were of hard wood, with stones fastened to the shanks, so that they might sink to the bottom. The rudders were fastened by ropes passed outside. They had no tops, and only one large sail of matting. Instead of decks they had compartments, in which the different sorts of merchandise was stowed, the whole covered with matting of palm-leaves, which formed a sort of shelving roof so that the water could run off it, and was of strength sufficient to enable the crew to walk on the top. They had no pumps, but only buckets of leather. The yards were long and tapering, two-thirds abaft the mast and one-third before it, with only a single sheet. The tack of the sail was made fast to the end of a sprit almost as long as the mast, so that they could set their sails very flat, and steer close to the wind. When they had to tack they lowered the sail half down the mast, and then hauled upon the heel of the yard until they brought it to the foot of the mast, and passed it over to the other side.
The ships which came in attempted to escape, but the boats were sent after them with Moorish pilots, who persuaded them to return, assuring them that the Portuguese were peaceable, and wished to be their friends. The captains, therefore, brought figs, cocoa-nuts, and fowls, and persuaded the fishermen who had before kept away to come and sell their fish while the crews and passengers landed to wash their clothes, so that the Portuguese and the natives became great friends.
Here the ships were refitted, and water taken in. While thus employed, a floating object, which looked like a large raft, was seen approaching from the main coast, covered over with branches. Vasco da Gama's suspicions being aroused, he inquired of the fishermen what it was. They informed him that it in reality consisted of a number of large low boats fastened together, and was the device of a famous pirate, Timoja by name, who hoped thus to get alongside, and then, with his men, while the Portuguese were unprepared, attack them.
On this the Captain-Major ordered his brother and Nicolas Coelho, who was on board the same ship, to get under weigh, and go out and meet the pirate. They did so, firing their guns as they approached with such effect, that the boats were seen to separate and make with all speed towards the shore.
Thus the Portuguese were saved from the threatened danger. Some time passed, when, their preparations being nearly completed, a small, fast, rowing vessel, called a fusta, carrying sails as well as oars, was seen approaching Vasco da Gama's ship, and would have been received without suspicion had not the faithful fishermen again warned him that treachery was intended. They said that during the night they had observed a large number of fustas come in and conceal themselves in the islets and bays round the island, not more than half a league off, and that it was very evident from this that they intended mischief; that they were under the command of a Jew, who was admiral of the fleet of Sabayo, the ruler of Goa, a large city twelve leagues off; that the object of the Jew was to surprise the ships, hoping to find them unprepared, and carry them into Goa, so that Sabayo might obtain their cargoes. Soon after dawn a small fusta, with the Jew, came close up to the ships, as if about to pass by them to some other part. On getting near the stern he hailed the ships in Castilian, saying, "God preserve the Christian captains and their crews," when the rowers giving a shout, the trumpets from the ships replied. The Jew, getting nearer, said, "Noble captain, give me a safe conduct, that I may come on board your ships to learn the news." Vasco da Gama replied that he might come on board in peace, and that they would do him honour, as they were highly pleased to see a person who could speak their language. On this he came up the side, when he was placed in a chair, and the question as to who he was, and where he came from, was put to him.
The Captain-Major now ordered Nicolas Coelho, who was in the other ship, to come with a boat full of armed men, on the side where the fusta lay, and to board and capture her crew.
Several men were stationed ready to seize the Jew, and at the same moment he and all his men were then suddenly made prisoners. The Jew, on finding himself bound, complained bitterly of the way he had been treated, having trusted to the safe conduct which had been given him. The Captain-Major replied that he was aware of the treachery that he had intended, and that he should be flogged, and tortured by having hot fat poured on him, if he refused to confess his evil intentions. The Jew, finding there was no escape, acknowledged that he was worthy of death, but entreated that the noble Captain would have pity on his white beard.
On this the Captain-Major ordered him to be unbound, and becomingly dressed. The Jew then informed the Admiral that when a lad he was living at Grenada, that on the capture of that city by the Christians he had left Spain, and travelling through many lands, he had gone to Mecca. Thence he had made his way to India, where he had taken service with Sabayo, who had made him captain-major of his fleet; that to please his master he had undertaken to capture the Portuguese ships. He now repented of his design, and as a proof of his desire to obtain the friendship of the Portuguese, he offered to deliver up all the fustas into their hands.
It was therefore arranged that the Jew should go in his own fusta, manned by Portuguese, and that several boats should follow, with the crews well armed. As soon as it was dark they pushed off from the ships. As they approached where the fustas lay, the people on board hailed to know who was coming, when the Jew replied, "It is I. I bring some relations with me."
On this the fusta and boats dashed on, the Captain-Major shouting his war-cry of Saint George, while the crews, who had kept their matches concealed, shouting and firing their guns, threw their powder-jars among the sleeping crews, who being thus alarmed, leaped into the sea, while the fighting men, who were few in number, made but a faint resistance. They were all immediately killed, while the fusta went about destroying the hapless wretches who were in the water. A number also who had taken refuge on the island were made prisoners, not one escaping. The boats and fusta, having thus finished the work, returned to the ships. The Portuguese then selected from among the captives twelve of the strongest-looking men, to work the pumps and do other service, while the rest were killed in the presence of the fishermen, who accordingly knew there would be none left to betray them.
The Captain-Major gave the fishermen permission to carry off the fustas; but this they declined doing, taking only the sails and tackling for their own boats.
The Jew, seeing the punishment inflicted on the other prisoners, became dreadfully alarmed, suspecting that he also would be put to death. The Captain-Major, however, ordered him to be taken below, and confined in a cabin.
The monsoon having just commenced, the pilots advised that the ships should proceed on their voyage. They accordingly made sail and steered westward, their great object accomplished, across the Indian Ocean. The wind was fair, and the sea, as before, calm; but sickness broke out among the men, and many more died. The first land made was near the city of Magadaxo. The Captain-Major having had ample experience of the Moorish rulers of these coasts, bombarded it as he sailed by. He then proceeded, without stopping, until he came off another city called Pate, from which eight large zambuks came out to attack him. A few broadsides drove them away, and he sailed on until he reached Melinda.
Owing to calms, the voyage lasted nearly four months during which, from the want of fresh provisions, scurvy, scarcely before known, attacked the crews. Ulcers broke out on their arms and legs, and their gums became swollen and rotten, so that thirty men died, and others could hardly move about. Some of the pilots also mutinied, and wanted to put back to Calecut; but Vasco da Gama had them placed in irons, and undertook the guidance of the ships himself.
On the shore near Melinda they found the King waiting to receive them, and standing in the water. The Captains leaping out of their boats, he embraced them and conducted them to his palace, where he treated them right courteously. He wrote a letter on gold leaf to the King of Portugal, calling him his brother and promising to befriend his people.
Vasco da Gama, pleased with the conduct of the native pilots, begged that two of them might be permitted to accompany him to Portugal, at which the King expressed his pleasure. To reward the pilots, the Captain-Major presented them with two hundred cruzados in gold, to be given to their wives.
Several more men here died, and were buried on shore, so that the crews of the two ships were reduced to a very small number. Before they took their departure, the King sent a magnificent present to the King and Queen of Portugal. Among other articles was a broad gold neck-chain, with precious stones and pearls, worth ten thousand cruzados; a chest richly inlaid with silver and ivory, full of white stuffs, silks and gold thread, and a piece of ambergris set with silver, half an ell long, and as thick as a man's wrist.
Vasco da Gama, in order to sustain the honour of the King of Portugal, presented numerous valuable articles in return. After taking an affectionate farewell of the King of Melinda, the native pilots being received on board and Mass having been said, the Captain-Major ordered the anchors to be weighed, and on the feast of San Sebastian, 1499, the ships sailed from Melinda. They first stood out from the land, and then made a course along it to the southward. They sighted Mozambique, but did not put in there, and continued their course until off Sofala, where they encountered several severe squalls. They escaped danger by furling all the sails, warned in time by the native pilots. Sometimes they were exposed to heavy seas with little or no wind, which greatly tried the ships.
At length they came off the Cape of Good Hope, in sight of which they passed without accident. Pressing on all sail, they stood into the Atlantic, when, seeing the Cape astern and that they were steering towards Portugal, the seamen in their great joy embraced each other, and then, kneeling down, offered up their praises and thanksgivings to Heaven for having thus far preserved them.
In order to make the shortest possible course for Portugal they kept away from the land, but as they approached the equator they suffered much delay from calms. Paulo da Gama was also taken very ill, and kept to his bed, when Vasco went on board his ship that he might be with him leaving Coelho in charge of his own.
Seeing that they were approaching Portugal, the pilots who had mutinied became very uneasy, until Vasco da Gama told them that they were forgiven, but that he should take them bound into the presence of the King. Even the stoutest hearted, however, might have doubted whether they should ever reach the land, for the ships were so leaky that it was necessary to keep the pumps constantly at work. Frequent calms were also met with, and they passed through a vast mass of seaweed, to which the name of Sargarco was given, from its resembling the leaf of the grape so-called. That part of the ocean has ever since retained the name of the Sargarco Sea. It is that vast collection of seaweed thrown off by the Gulf Stream, and prevented from drifting farther south by the counter-current which sets westward towards Central America.
At length, to the great joy of the pilots, they caught sight of the north star, almost on the same altitude as it was seen at Portugal. They thus knew that they were approaching the termination of their voyage. Steering north, they came to an anchor in the port of Angra, in the island of Terceira, towards the end of August. So battered were the ships that it was with difficulty they could be kept afloat. Of the two crews not sixty men survived. Many of these also died on reaching the shore, and among them, to the great grief of his brother, was Paulo da Gama, who survived but one day, and was buried in the Monastery of Saint Francis.
The authorities wished to discharge the cargoes and place them on board other ships, but to this Vasco da Gama would not consent; and having them partially repaired, he again sailed, accompanied by several other vessels, and arrived safely in the Tagus on the 18th of September, 1499. Endeavouring to overcome the grief he felt for the loss of his brother, handsomely dressed, his beard, not cut since he sailed, streaming over his breast, he landed to present himself to the King, who had come down to the beach at Cascaes to welcome him. The next day the King received him at his palace, when he bestowed upon him the honourable title of "dom," to be borne by him and his heirs. They afterwards repaired to the Queen's apartments, where Nicolas Coelho, who had charge of the presents, was summoned, and where, having kissed the hands of the King and Queen, they exhibited the magnificent jewels and stuffs which they had brought.
Although the King promised to reward honest Coelho, it does not appear how this was done. The pilots, having been brought in chains before the King, as Vasco da Gama had sworn to do, they were pardoned. The old Jew, the Moorish pilots, and the prisoners taken in the fustas were landed, and either from the instructions they received from the priests on board or afterwards, all became Christians, the old Jew taking the name of Gaspar da Gama, the Captain-Major standing as his godfather. The King also had frequent conversations with him, and so pleased was his Majesty with what he heard that he made him many presents from his own wardrobe and horses from his stables, and gave him the slaves who had been brought from India. After this he was always known as Gaspar of the Indies.
The crews were handsomely paid, and each man received a portion of the cargoes to bestow in gifts on their families and friends, while the heirs of the deceased also received the wages which were their due. This memorable voyage lasted, from the day Dom Vasco left Lisbon to that of his return, exactly thirty-two months, and of the one hundred and fifty men who left Portugal only fifty-five came back.
This voyage may be considered one of the most notable on record. The dreaded Cape of Storms, henceforth to be known as the Cape of Good Hope, had been doubled, a large portion of the east coast of Africa hitherto unknown had been visited, the Indian Ocean, which no European keel had ever before ploughed, had been traversed, and India, the great object of the voyage, had been reached, all the difficulties and dangers to which the explorers were exposed being manfully overcome. More remarkable still had been the return voyage in battered ships, the scanty crews suffering from sickness, yet their brave leaders, with indomitable perseverance and hardihood, keeping on their course week after week and month after month over the ocean, guided by the stars and the imperfect instruments they possessed.
Twice after this Vasco da Gama sailed for India. His second voyage was commenced in 1502, when he visited many places he had before discovered, and returned the next year with twelve richly-laden ships. Meantime the Portuguese had sent out, year after year, numerous fleets with large bodies of men, who, by force or stratagem, took possession of many places along the eastern coast of Africa, and on the west of that of Hindostan. Among the most important were Goa and Cochym and others on the coast of Ceylon. While penetrating eastward their ships reached the Indian Archipelazo and the far-off shores of China.
In 1505 Dom Francisco de Almeyda was sent out to India under the title of Viceroy, in command of twenty-two ships, and in them fifteen hundred men, when he began the erection of those forts by means of which the Portuguese ultimately established themselves in the country.
The following year Alfonso da Alburquerque and Tristan da Conha sailed with thirteen ships and thirteen hundred men. On their passage the latter, parting company off the Cape of Good Hope, ran far away to the south, where he discovered the islands which still bear his name— Tristan da Conha. He afterwards, with part of his fleet, cruised along the Arabian shores, while Alburquerque was employed in trading, building forts, and establishing factories on the coasts already discovered.
Other commanders followed, and Fernando Perez da Andrade, sailing east, passed through the Straits of Malacca, until he reached Canton, then the most celebrated sea-port on the southern coast of China. Thence he sent an ambassador to the Emperor of China, to settle trade and commerce. At first things went well; but when the next Portuguese squadron arrived, the people on board behaved so outrageously to the Chinese that their envoy was murdered, and they were driven out of the country. Some years afterwards the Portuguese obtained leave to settle in a little island opposite to Canton. It was called Macao, and they have ever since held it, though subject to the Emperor of China.
In 1520 Jago Lopez da Sequeiro sailed for the Red Sea, with a fleet of twenty-four ships. Coming to the island of Mazua, he found it forsaken by the inhabitants, who had fled over to Arquico, a port belonging to the Emperor of Ethiopia, the far-famed Prester John, whose country was now first discovered by sea. At this time it was a vast monarchy, and extended along the shores of the Red Sea above one hundred and twenty leagues.
In following years the Portuguese made some progress into the country, five hundred of them being sent under the command of Don Christofero da Gama, to assist the Emperor against his rebellious subjects and his enemies the Turks.
The Moluccas, five in number, named Tirnate, Tidore, Mousel, Machien, and Bacham, were discovered by Antonio da Abreu.
In 1521 Antonio da Brito was sent from Malacca to take possession of them. The Portuguese were, however, ultimately driven out by the Dutch, who hold them to the present day. In the year 1524 Dom Vasco da Gama was again sent out as Viceroy of India, being the second person who had held that important post. He now possessed the title of Conde da Vidigueira and Admiral of the Indian Seas. He was accompanied by his two sons, Dom Estevan and Dom Paulo da Gama, on board the Saint Catarina, with numerous officials, and everything calculated to maintain his state, besides a guard of two hundred men with gilt pikes, clothed with his livery. He kept also a magnificent table, at which all his officers dined with him. He ruled the country with a stern and inflexible justice, which was much required, as abuses of all kinds had sprung up; and so, although he was much feared, he was greatly respected. Leaving Goa, he went to Cochin, a city of considerable size, where many Portuguese had established themselves. Here he was shortly afterwards seized with a mortal malady, of which he died a few minutes past midnight on the 24th of December, 1524, when he was succeeded in his vice-royalty by his son, Dom Estevan.
His remains were sent to Portugal in 1538, and buried in a tomb at Vidigueira, from which town he took his title. It would have been fortunate for the honour of Portugal had all her Viceroys of India possessed the same sense of duty as that which animated the renowned Vasco da Gama.
VOYAGE OF FERNANDO MAGALHAENS—THE DISCOVERER OF THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN—ROUND THE WORLD A.D. 1519-20.
Rivalry between the crowns of Castile and Portugal—Magalhaens, a Portuguese, offers his services to the Emperor Charles the Fifth of Spain, to find a passage through America into the Pacific—Associated with Ruy Falero—Offer accepted—The squadron, consisting of the Trinidad and four other ships, leaves Seville the 10th of August, 1519—Long detained by calms—Enters harbour in the Brazils—Proceeds farther south—Winter season—Enters Port Saint Julien—Visited by a gigantic native dressed in skins—Terror at seeing himself in a mirror— Brings off a guanaco—Two natives captured—Attempt to take two more defeated—Natives called Patagons—Possession of the country taken for the crown of Spain—Mutiny discovered—Ringleaders executed—One of the squadron wrecked—Squadron sails south—Entrance to the straits discovered—Ships advance through them—The crews, alarmed, desire to return—Two ships missing—Smoke seen—Land to south called Tierra del Fuego—One of the ships deserts—Cape Deseado reached—The Pacific appears—Squadron steers north-west—Two small islands seen—Fearful sufferings from hunger—The crews attacked by scurvy—The Ladrones reached, so-called from thievish natives—Some natives killed—Island of Good Signs—Arrive at the Philippines—Natives friendly—Anchor off the Island of Mazaqua—The Rajah Colamba—The Admiral plants a banner with a cross, and invites the natives to worship it—Two officers dine with the Rajah, who gets tipsy—The ships sail—The Rajah accompanies them—Reach Zebut—Tribute demanded by the Rajah—Refused—How Magalhaens converted the Rajah and all his people to the Romish faith.
Jealous rivalry for some time existed between the crowns of Castile and Portugal, to obtain possession of the rich countries lately discovered by their subjects in the Eastern seas and Pacific. The Pope, who claimed to be the Lord Paramount of the whole world, had munificently bestowed all the lands in the east on the crown of Portugal, and those in the west on that of Spain. Yet these gifts rather increased than diminished the contention existing between the two countries. Each was ready to undertake any enterprise which might injure the other.
Fernando De Magalhaens.
Of this ill feeling several adventurers took advantage, and if their offers of service were not accepted at one Court, they went over to the other to seek employment. Among them was Fernando Magalhaens, a Portuguese gentleman of good family, who had considerable experience in nautical affairs, having performed a voyage to India and as far as the Straits of Malacca. He was also formed by nature for command, possessing a courage in danger which nothing could appal, at the same time a calm and amiable temper, which won the regard of all those with whom he was brought in contact. His personal appearance, notwithstanding, was rather mean, as he was short in stature, and was lame from a wound which he had received in battle with the Moors. He had, however, a quick and ready mind, and never wanting in self-possession, was very fertile in expedients. The pride of the Spanish officers, and the national jealousy they felt, made them, however, murmur sometimes against his authority. He had eloquence to support his views, and indomitable perseverance to carry them out.
After serving in India under the famous Albuquerque, he offered his services to Portugal to lead an expedition to the west; but on meeting with a rebuff, he went to Spain. Here he formed the acquaintance of a talented astronomer, Ruy Falero, and soon afterwards they together proceeded to Cardinal Ximenez, to propose leading an expedition westward from the Atlantic into the newly-discovered South Sea. Their proposals being favourably listened to by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, were accepted, and they were furnished by his orders with five ships, manned by two hundred and thirty-four men, having provisions for two years. To the adventurers was granted a twentieth part of the clear profit, and the governorship of any islands they might discover was to be vested in them and their heirs, who were to bear the title of Adelantado.
The squadron, which was fitted out at Seville, consisted of the Trinidad, the Admiral's ship, of which Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese, went as pilot; the Saint Vitoria, commanded by Don Luis de Mendoza; the Saint Antonio, Don Juan de Carthagena; the Santiago, Don Juan Serrano; and the Conception, Don Caspar de Quixada.
The Admiral Magalhaens depended chiefly on the naval skill of thirty of his Portuguese countrymen whom he took with him, as he did likewise on that of Serrano, who had served for many years in India, and for some time at the Moluccas, which islands they hoped to reach from the eastward, instead of their being approached, as before, from the west.
The ships being ready, the squadron set sail on the 10th of August, 1519, and steering south, they arrived on the 3rd of October off the Cape de Verde Islands. Getting into the region of calms, they were detained for the long space of seventy days without making any progress; but at last a breeze springing up, they got to the south of the line, then steered a course which brought them about twenty degrees south in sight of the coast of Brazil. Putting into harbour, they obtained an abundant supply of fruits, sugar-canes, and animals of various kinds, differing greatly in appearance from those of Europe. Proceeding about two and a half leagues farther south, they again came to an anchor, at the mouth of a large fresh water river, probably that of the Rio de la Plata, as no other of the size mentioned exists in the south of the continent.
Here, soon after they arrived, a number of persons of wild and furious aspect and prodigious stature, making strange noises, rather resembling the bellowing of bulls than the voices of human beings, came down to the beach. Notwithstanding their enormous size, these people when they ran were so nimble, that none of the Spaniards or Portuguese could overtake them.
They had not, however, much intercourse with these savages; they here, however, obtained some pearls from oyster-shells which they fished up. Proceeding south, they in a short time came off two islands, so thickly covered with seals and penguins that they might easily, in the course of a few hours, have laden all their ships with them. The penguins were black, heavy-looking, unwieldy fowl, extremely fat, covered with a sort of down instead of feathers, having bills like those of ravens. Fish appeared to be their only food.
Continuing south until they reached latitude 49 degrees 30 minutes, the weather becoming very tempestuous, with a contrary wind, they put into harbour, hoping that the wind would soon change, when they might continue their course. In this, however, they were disappointed. Day after day went by, and the weather only grew worse and worse. It was evidently the winter of that region, though on the other side of the line it was summer. This caused no small astonishment to the crews. They went on shore, but finding no inhabitants, believed that they had arrived at some desert region of the world. The wind blew fearfully hard, with sleet and rain, and being ill provided to meet the inclemency of the season, they preferred living on board.
One day they had landed for the sake of exercise, when, to their surprise, they saw a human being approaching them. He was a big fellow, and strongly built, his body painted all over, with a stag's horn on each cheek and large circles round his eyes. The natural colour of his skin, as far as could be perceived, was yellow, and his hair was of a light tint. His only garment was the skin of a beast roughly sewn together, covering his whole body and limbs from head to foot. In his hand he carried a stout bow, and his arrows, instead of having iron heads, were tipped with sharp stones. As he advanced he began singing and dancing, and as he got nearer he stood for some time throwing dust upon his head. The Spaniards imitating him, he came close up to them without any signs of fear. Being invited to go on board the ships, he willingly stepped into a boat. The Spanish chronicler declares that so big was he, that the tallest of their number only reached up to his waist; but as no persons of a stature so gigantic have been seen in the country since, this statement must be doubted. The Admiral welcomed him on board, and directed that meat and drink should be given him, of which he willingly partook, and seemed to enjoy himself. Various toys were shown him, and among them was a mirror, in which, happening to see himself, he was so frightened that, starting back, he capsized two of the crew, and did not easily recover his composure.
His dress, which was composed of several skins, was wrapped round his body from his head to his ankles. On his feet he wore shoes or boots of the same material as his robe, so roughly made as to be almost round, from which circumstance the Spaniards called him Patagon, or Big-footed, a name they applied to all the people of that country.
He was so well treated that on returning on shore he induced several of his countrymen to visit the ships, and one of them especially behaved with so much good humour, and was so completely at his ease, that he won the regard of the voyagers. To show his gratitude, he brought them off an animal, from the skin of which, he let them understand, the robe he wore was composed. The voyagers had never seen any creature like it before, and described it as a beast which was neither mule, horse, nor camel, but partaking of all three, having the ears of a mule, the tail of a horse, and the body shaped like a camel. He was probably a guanaco or llama, commonly known as the Peruvian sheep. The Admiral, wishing to make prisoners of some of these big fellows, gave orders to his crew to secure them. Accordingly, while the poor savages were being amused with toys put into their hands, which they grasped eagerly, the Spaniards put iron shackles on the legs of two of them, persuading the men that they were fine ornaments, like the rest of the things shown them. They appeared highly pleased with the jingling sound they produced when struck together, until they suddenly found themselves hampered and betrayed, on which they began bellowing like bulls, and shouting to their god—Setebos—for assistance. From this Shakespeare has undoubtedly taken the name of the demon Setebos, introduced in the play of the "Tempest." This act of treachery was not calculated to raise the Spaniards in the opinion of the natives. One of the prisoners remained on board the Admiral's ship, while his companion was carried to another for safe keeping.
In spite of this they did not object to the strangers coming among them, although they kept their women out of the way. They were all dressed like those who came on board, in the skins of beasts, and their hair was short or tied up by a string. They had apparently no fixed dwellings, but lived in huts covered with skins and supported by poles, so that they could easily be moved. They were not seen to cook their food, but ate meat raw, with a sweet root called capar, which name they applied to the ship's biscuit offered them.
The only remedies they were seen to use when sick was bleeding and vomiting. The former was performed by giving a chop with an edge tool to the part afflicted, while the latter was produced by thrusting an arrow down the throat of the patient.
The voyagers, ignorant and superstitious themselves, declared that they saw among the savages on shore all sorts of strange creatures of horrible forms, such as horned demons, with long shaggy hair, throwing out fire before and behind, which especially made their appearance when the natives were dying.
The Captain had a great wish to secure some females as companions to the men, that a race of giants might be introduced into Europe; but though the ladies were far from attractive, their husbands exhibited great jealousy, and would not allow them to appear. It was resolved, therefore, to capture two of their principal men, that they might be exchanged for women.
After a time the natives, having overcome their fears, again mixed freely with their visitors. On one occasion a number of Spaniards had gone on shore, when two natives came among them, upon whom they threw themselves, nine Spaniards seizing one man, while a number of others brought his companion to the ground. Some of the Spaniards having ropes ready, had begun to bind the hands of one of their captives, but he struggled so violently, at the same time shouting out for assistance, that he managed to break loose from them, and, striking out right and left, sent them flying in all directions; then bursting away, he took to flight, the other soon afterwards following his example. One of the Spaniards pursuing was shot by an arrow. The rest fired at the fugitives, but could not hit them, for instead of running along in a straight line, they kept leaping from side to side at a rate equal to that of a horse at full gallop.
From the name of Patagons or Patagonians, which the natives have ever since borne, their country was called Patagonia, and that of Saint Julien was given to the port in which the squadron had sought refuge. The Admiral now took solemn possession of the country around for the crown of Spain, erecting on the shore a cross, the sign of sovereignty. He was sorely troubled, however, by discovering that a mutiny had been projected by many of the crew, headed by two of the principal officers, Don Luis Mendoza and Don Juan de Carthagena, with others of inferior rank. Should he put to sea, he had reason to believe that they would run off with some of the ships. He therefore waited in port, hoping to reduce them to obedience. Fortunately, the greater number of officers and men remained faithful. The Admiral, concealing the knowledge he had obtained of their treachery, was able at length to seize the ringleaders.
This done, having summoned a council of his principal officers, the mutineers were tried and condemned, Mendoza to death, and Carthagena, with others less guilty, to be left in the country among the savages. No time was lost in carrying this stern decree into execution. A stout gallows was erected on the shore, on which, notwithstanding his rank, Don Luis was hung, while Don Juan de Carthagena, a priest, and others, were landed and driven among the natives, to endure whatever fate was in store for them.
Having re-established his authority, the Admiral sent the Saint Iago on an exploring cruise, when she discovered a river, to which the name of Santa Cruz was given, it being the anniversary, in the Romish calendar, of the finding of the holy cross. The vessel having advanced about three leagues farther, a storm coming on, she was wrecked; but her crew escaped to the shore, and after enduring great hardships they got back to the harbour of Saint Julien, where they rejoined their companions, and were distributed among the other ships.
The bad weather and the quelling of the mutiny kept the squadron at the port of Saint Julien for five months. At the end of this time the Admiral set sail, and the unfortunate Patagonians who had been entrapped were carried off, the equally unfortunate Spaniards being left on shore. Sailing southward, the explorers at length reached the latitude of 51 degrees 40 minutes, where, finding a convenient port, and plenty of fuel, water, and fish, they remained two months longer. Magalhaens carefully examined every inlet and bay as he proceeded, hoping to find a passage through the continent into the South Sea, of the existence of which passage he was fully persuaded. He was not aware how close he had been to it in the last harbour where he had taken refuge.
On reaching latitude 52 degrees, an opening appearing in the rocky mountainous-looking coast, the squadron sailed into it, having on one side a cape, to which the Admiral gave the name of Cabo de los Virgines, because it was discovered on the feast of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins. At first many supposed that it was merely a deep bay or gulf, but as the ships proceeded on, the hopes of the Admiral that he had at length discovered the long-sought-for channel increased. The wind being fair, onwards they sailed, though when night came down upon them they were compelled to anchor.
At this juncture the pilot Estevan Gomez proposed, as it was doubtful whether they could get through, and as their provisions were running short and their ships were unseaworthy, that they should return to Spain. The Admiral listened to all that was said in silence, and then declared that rather than fail in fulfilling his promise to the King of Spain, he would endure far greater hardships than they had yet suffered, and would eat the skins on the ship's yards and rigging; and he forbade any one, on pain of death, to speak of turning back on account of want of provisions, or their longing for home.
Anxiously they waited for the return of day, when the light would enable them to see their way. The channel, as they proceeded from east to west, varied greatly in its breadth, sometimes being several leagues wide, and in others no more than half a league across. The land on both sides was high, rugged, and uneven, the mountains capped with snow, in some places barren, and in others covered with woods. Having sailed on upwards of fifty leagues, a broad channel was seen opening out before them. Two ships were sent to explore it, while the Admiral and others came to an anchor. During their absence a violent storm arose, and great fears were entertained that the ships were lost. For two days the Admiral waited for their re-appearance, and, at length, a cloud of smoke being seen rising to the southward, it was supposed that it was produced from fires kindled by those of the ship wrecked crews who had escaped.
Now, more than ever, the people believed that the voyage had ended, and were giving way to despair, when the two ships were seen approaching under full sail, with flags flying. As they drew near the crew shouted with joy and fired salutes from their guns. The captains of the exploring vessels reported that a passage had been seen ahead, but that they deemed it wise to return and announce their discovery. From the circumstance of the smoke rising in the south, to the country on which it was seen was given the name of "Tierra del Fuego," or the Land of Fire.
On this the squadron again got under weigh and sailed forward; but another passage appearing, opening out to the south-east, the two ships which had been before sent away were again dispatched to ascertain in what direction it led. One of them returned, but the crew of the other, instigated by the traitor Estevan Gomez, finding themselves away from the Admiral, rose on their captain and officers, and, confining them below, insisted on returning homewards. In vain the Admiral looked out, expecting her to rejoin him. Day after day the rest of the squadron pressed on, their gallant commander anticipating the realisation of his long-cherished hopes. We may picture him, as he stood on the forecastle of the Trinidada, leading the way, eagerly looking out ahead. How anxious he must have felt when the channel narrowed, and it became possible that some rocky barrier might impede his progress! Then, as he saw it again stretching out into a broad, lake-like expanse, how he must have rejoiced, while seamen in the chains on either side kept heaving the lead and announcing the depth of water. On and on the explorers pushed their way under all sail. If they saw the natives in their tiny canoes, darting out from behind some rocky point, they were too eager to stop and communicate with them.
Above their heads rose the lofty snow-capped mountains, their outlines reflected in the calm waters, often producing scenes of much grandeur, though the barren and rugged rocks offered no temptation to the voyagers to land.
A hundred leagues had been passed over, and, unless the land should extend much farther west, according to the theory held by the Admiral, the termination of the channel must be reached. What must have been his joy, when about ten leagues more had been made good, on the 28th of November, 1520, as rounding a point to which he gave the name of Cape Deseado, he saw the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean spreading out to the westward. From the topmast-head not a speck of land could be seen, to denote that there was the slightest impediment to his further progress into the great South Sea.
He had now practically demonstrated that it was possible to sail to the east by way of the west. To the long-sought-for straits Magalhaens ultimately gave the appellation of the Straits of the Patagonians; but it has more properly ever since been called after his name, corrupted by the English into Magellan.
Having waited at the entrance of the straits for the missing ship till the time appointed for her rejoining had passed, the three remaining vessels proceeded on their voyage. The cold being severe, the Admiral considered it desirable to steer towards the Line, and accordingly shaped a north-westerly course.
On the 24th of January, 1521, a small island was discovered, to which the name of Saint Pablo was given, in memory of the hapless Patagonian, who, after being baptised, had shortly before died. A few days afterwards another small island was sighted, and called Tiburones, or Shark's Island. In this manner he proceeded for three months and twenty days, having sighted only the two small islands already mentioned. The crew by this time had exhausted all their provisions, including even their bread. The fresh water had become so bad that it could be with difficulty swallowed, while they at length had nothing left to eat but pieces of skin and bits of feather. In order to enable them to chew these unsavoury morsels, they were first steeped in hot water for some days, and then cooked with any fat or grease which remained. Owing to the impure and scanty means of subsistence many died, and those who remained became sickly, weak, and low spirited. The gums of many of them grew over their teeth on both sides, so that they were unable to masticate the pieces of skin, and were thus miserably starved to death. The sea, however, continued smooth and the wind fair, and they were blown gently along at a good rate. In consequence of the calmness of the water, the Admiral gave the sea over which he was sailing the name of the Pacific Ocean, which it has ever since retained, although considered by many, from their different experience, very inappropriate, as at certain periods severe storms prevail there, as in other parts of the world.
In a short time nineteen men had died, and thirty were so weak that they were unable to do duty. After sailing on all this time, they were anxiously looking out for islands where they could obtain fresh provisions, but, except the two barren rocks they passed, none were seen.
The needles of their compasses varied so much, and moved so irregularly, that they were often compelled to quicken them with a touch of the loadstone.
After crossing the equator and steering west, they at length arrived, on the 6th of March, at a cluster of three fertile inhabited islands in thirteen or fourteen degrees north latitude, just three months and twenty days from the time of leaving the Straits.
Here they anchored. No sooner did the natives perceive them, than they came off in their canoes, bringing cocoa-nuts, yams, and rice. They were well-formed men, of an olive-brown colour, their teeth stained black and red. Some of them wore long beards, and the hair of their heads hung down to their waists. They were perfectly naked, their bodies anointed with cocoa-nut oil, some of them wearing head-dresses made from the leaves of the palm-tree. The women appeared to have some idea of modesty, and wore coverings of cloth made from the bark of a tree. Their hair was black and thick, reaching almost to the ground. They appeared to be very industrious, and were seen employed in making nets and mats from fibre. Their houses were built of timber, thatched with large leaves, and divided into several apartments, the beds in which were of palm mats piled one above another. Their only weapons were clubs and long poles tipped with horn. Their canoes were formed of planks sewn together with fibre, the stem and stern alike, and were painted either black, white, or red. The sails, which were balanced by outriggers, were made of broad leaves sewn together, and the rudder was formed of a broad board at the end of a pole.
When the Spaniards went on shore, the natives received them in a friendly way, but soon showed that they were of an especially thievish disposition, pilfering everything on which they could lay hands, either from those who landed, or when they themselves went on board the vessels.
From this circumstance Magalhaens bestowed on the islands the name of the Ladrones, or thieves. The voyagers, indeed, found it impossible to enjoy any quiet, either while they were ashore or on land, as the natives stood hovering about to pick up whatever they could find.
At length they stole one of the boats from the stern of the Admiral's ship, on which, to punish them, he landed with a party of ninety men, and marching up the country, set fire to one of their villages, which being built of wood thatched with leaves, burnt rapidly. He also killed some of the natives, who, when they were wounded, drew out the arrows, and gazed at them with astonishment, as if they had never before seen such weapons. When the Spaniards retired, after their cruel exploit, the natives followed them in wellnigh a hundred canoes, as if disposed to renew the traffic; but instead of doing so, as they got near, uttering shouts and shrieks, they threw showers of stones on board the ships, and then took rapidly to flight.
Having refreshed themselves, and finding no advantage could be gained by a longer stay at the Ladrones, the Spaniards set sail. They touched at a beautiful uninhabited island, where they found springs of clear water and abundance of fruit-trees, and to this the Admiral gave the name of the Island of Good Signs.
While the ships lay at anchor, canoes from other islands, seen in the distance, came towards them, bringing presents of fish, cocoa-nuts, cocoa-nut wine, and other provisions. Though nearly naked, they were remarkably well behaved, and wore ornaments of gold, and cotton head-dresses. Their bodies were tatooed and perfumed with aromatic oils. They used harpoons and fishing—nets, and had swords, lances, clubs, and shields.
When the Spaniards went on shore they found that the island was cultivated, and that spices were grown, of which they saw considerable stores. The whole group was at first called the Archipelago of Saint Lazarus, but it is now known as a portion of the Philippines. The island where the squadron anchored was called Humuna. The wine, it was found, was the sap of a tree, which was drawn out by cutting off a branch, into which a large reed was fixed, and by its means the sap, of a light amber colour, with a tart taste, dropped out, when it was considered at once fit for drinking.
The fruit, with which many of the voyagers now first became acquainted, was described as big as a man's head, with two rinds, the outermost being green, two fingers thick, and full of strings and shreds. Within this was a shell of considerable thickness and very hard, the kernel being white and of the thickness of a finger, with a pleasant taste like that of almonds. In the midst was a hollow full of pure limpid water, of a very cordial and refreshing nature. When the natives wish to make oil of it, they leave the root to steep in water until it putrifies. They then set it over a fire, and boil it until the oil rises to the surface.
Their visitors came from the island of Zulvan, where they produced cinnamon, spices, cloves, nutmegs, ginger, and mace, which they brought off in their canoes. They exhibited also numerous articles made of gold. They had earrings of gold, and had jewels fastened with pieces of gold to their arms, besides which they possessed daggers, knives, and lances ornamented with the same metal. They were broad-shouldered, well-made men, of olive colour, their naked bodies being well greased and anointed with oil.
On the 25th of March the squadron left Humuna, and steering between numerous islands, again brought up off the island of Mazagua. The Admiral having on board a slave, a native of Sumatra, took him to act as interpreter in his intercourse with the chief or Rajah of the island.
Everything was done to impress the Rajah with the power of the Europeans, and the dignity of the King their master. The Rajah was a fine-looking man, with long hair, of an olive complexion, and his body perfumed with sweet oil. He had gold rings in his ears, three on every finger, and on his head he wore a fine silk turban, while a piece of cotton, embroidered with silk and gold, covered his body to the knees. At his side he carried a long dagger, with a gold handle and a scabbard of fine carved wood. He and his Court were constantly chewing the areca-nut.
In order to impress the Rajah Colambu, as the prince was called, with the power and superiority of Europeans, the Admiral dressed up one of his sailors in complete armour, and directed three others to cut at him with swords, and endeavour to pierce him with their poniards. The Rajah, on seeing that he was unharmed, was much astonished, and remarked that one warrior so protected might contend with a hundred foes.
"Yes," replied the Admiral, through his interpreter, "and each of my three vessels has two hundred armed in the same manner."
The natives appeared to have no religious rites, but only lifted up their faces, their hands joined together, towards heaven when they called upon their god Abba.
Under the idea of inducing the natives to become Christians, the Admiral landed on Easter Day, with a banner, on which was portrayed a cross, a crown of thorns, and nails. He told all his men to reverence it, and informed the Rajah that it should be set up on some high mountain, not only as a memorial of the good treatment the Christians had received, but for his own security, since if they devoutly prayed to it, they would be protected from lightning and thunder. Some of the Spaniards then received the communion, and after discharging their muskets, to the great astonishment of the savages, returned to their ships.
The Rajah promised to do as the Admiral wished, knowing no better. After this a priest, the chronicler of the voyage, and a companion, went on shore to partake of a feast which the Rajah had prepared, and which was served in porcelain vessels. His manner of eating and drinking was to take alternately a mouthful of meat and a spoonful of wine, lifting up his hands to heaven before he helped himself, when he suddenly extended his left fist in a way which made the priest expect that he was going to receive a buffet in the face. Among the luxuries on the table were candles, composed of gums, rolled up in palm-leaves. The Rajah, who had on the previous day attended Mass and nominally professed himself a Christian, became so tipsy that he was unable to attend to any of the duties of the state.
On his recovery he requested that the Admiral would allow his crews to assist in gathering in his harvest, which friendly office they performed with much satisfaction. This done, the ships again sailed, accompanied by the Rajah in his big canoe; but she being unable to keep up with the squadron, he and his people were taken on board, and after passing by several other islands, the ships arrived on the 7th of April, about noon, at Zebut, the principal port of the Philippine Islands.
In order to impress the Rajah of this place and his people—two thousand of whom, armed with spears and shields, were collected at the water's edge gazing at a sight so novel to them—with the greatness and power of the Spaniards, the ships were decked with banners and a salute fired from all the great guns, which caused no small amount of consternation among the spectators.
To allay their fears, an envoy, accompanied by the slave from Sumatra, called Enrique, to act as interpreter, was sent on shore, who informed the Rajah that it was the custom for Spaniards to discharge their cannon whenever they came into great ports, and that it was done in respect to him. The envoy also expressed the high consideration in which the King of Spain, the greatest monarch on the earth, and his Captain-General Magalhaens, held the Rajah of Zebut, adding that the ships had come, on their way to the Moluccas, to obtain provisions and articles of merchandise. The Rajah, in return, bade them welcome, but said that it was customary for all ships to pay him tribute, and that he expected the like acknowledgment from them.