*Section 1* -- First Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1601, under the Command of Captain James Lancaster
*Section 2* -- Account of Java, and of the first Factory of the English at Bantam; with Occurrences there from the 11th February, 1603, to the 6th October, 1605
*Section 3* -- Second Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1604, under the Command of Captain Henry Middleton
*Section 4* -- Third Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1607, by Captain William Keeling
*Section 5* -- Narrative by William Hawkins, of Occurrences during his Residence in the Dominions of the Great Mogul
*Section 6* -- Observations of William Finch, Merchant, who accompanied Captain Hawkins to Surat, and returned overland to Europe
*Section 7* -- Voyage of Captain David Middleton, in 1607, to Bantam and the Moluccas
*Section 8* -- Fourth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1608, by Captain Alexander Sharpey
*Section 9* -- Voyage of Captain Richard Rowles in the Union, the Consort of the Ascension
*Section 10* -- Fifth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1609, under the Command of Captain David Middleton
*Section 11* -- Sixth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1610, under the Command of Sir Henry Middleton
*Section 12* -- Journal of the preceding Voyage by Nicholas Downton, Captain of the
*Section 13* -- The Seventh Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1611, commanded by Captain Anthony Hippon
*Section 14* -- Notices of the preceding Voyage, by Peter Williamson Floris
*Section 15* -- Eighth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1611, by Captain John Saris --
*Section 16* -- Ninth Voyage of the East India Company, in 1612, by Captain Edmund Marlow
*Section 17* -- Tenth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1612, written by Mr Thomas Best, chief Commander
*Section 18* -- Observations made during the foregoing Voyage, by Mr Copland, Chaplain, Mr Robert Boner, Master, and Mr Nicholas Whittington, Merchant
*Section 19* -- Eleventh Voyage of the East India Company, in 1612, in the Salomon
*Section 20* --The Twelfth Voyage of the East India Company, in 1613, by Captain Christopher Newport
We have now to record the early voyages, fitted out from England, for trading to the East Indies, by THE GOVERNOR AND COMPANY OF MERCHANTS OF LONDON, TRADING INTO THE EAST INDIES. By which stile, or legal denomination, George Earl of Cumberland, Sir John Hart, Sir John Spencer, and Sir Edward Mitchelburne, knights, with 212 others, whose names are all inserted in the patent, were erected into a body corporate and politic, for trading to and from all parts of the East Indies, with all Asia, Africa, and America, and all the islands, ports, havens, cities, creeks, towns, and places of the same, or any of them, beyond the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Magellan, for fifteen years, from and after Christmas 1600; prohibiting all other subjects of England, not free of [[=granted permission by]] this company, from trading to these parts without licence from the company, under forfeiture of their goods and ships, half to the crown and half to the company, together with imprisonment during the royal pleasure, and until they respectively grant bond in the sum of £1000 at the least, not again to sail or traffic into any part of the said East Indies, &c. during the continuance of this grant. With this proviso, "That, if the exclusive privilege thus granted be found unprofitable for the realm, it may be voided on two years notice: But, if found beneficial, the privilege was then to be renewed, with such alterations and modifications as might be found expedient" This exclusive grant, in the nature of a patent, was dated at Westminster on the 31st December, 1600, being the 43d year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, signed by herself, and sealed with her privy seal.
It is by no means intended to attempt giving in this place any history of our East India Company, the early Annals of which, from its establishment in 1600, to the union of the London and English Companies in 1708, have been lately given to the public, in three quarto volumes, by John Bruce, Esq. M.P. and F.R.S. Historiographer to the Honourable East India Company, &c. &c. &c. to which we must refer such of our readers as are desirous of investigating that vast portion of the history of our commerce. All that we propose on the present occasion, is to give a short introduction to the series of voyages contained in this chapter, all of which have been preserved by Samuel Purchas, in his curious work, which he quaintly denominated PURCHAS HIS PILGRIMS, published in five volumes folio at London in 1625.
In the first extension of English commerce, in the sixteenth century, consequent upon the discoveries of Western Africa, America, and the maritime route to India, it seems to have been conceived that exclusive chartered companies were best fitted for its effectual prosecution. "The spirit of enterprise in distant trade, which had for a century brought large resources to Spain and Portugal, began to diffuse itself as a new principle, in the rising commerce of England, during the long and able administration of Queen Elizabeth. Hence associations were beginning to be formed, the joint credit of which was to support experiments for extending the trade of the realm."
In the reign of Edward VI. a company was projected with this view; which obtained a charter in 1553, from Philip and Mary, under the name of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Lands, Countries, Isles, &c. not before known to the English. This company, of which Sebastian Cabot was governor, in the last year of Queen Mary, had extended its trade through Russia into Persia, to obtain raw silks, &c. In the course of their proceedings, the agents of this company met with merchants from India and China, from whom they acquired a knowledge of the productions of these countries, and of the profits which might be derived from extending the trade of England to these distant regions. In 1581, Queen Elizabeth gave an exclusive charter to the Levant or Turkey Company, for trading to the dominions of the Grand Signior or Emperor of Turkey. In the prosecution of this trade, of which some account has been given in our preceding chapter, the factors, or travelling merchants, having penetrated from Aleppo to Bagdat and Basora, attempted to open an overland trade to the East Indies, and even penetrated to Agra, Lahore, Bengal, Malacca, and other parts of the East, whence they brought information to England of the riches that might be acquired by a direct trade by sea to the East Indies. The circumnavigations of Sir Francis Drake in 1577-1580, and of Mr Thomas Cavendish, or Candish, in 1586, of which voyages accounts will be found in a future division of this work, who brought back great wealth to England, obtained by making prizes of the Spanish vessels, contributed to spread the idea among the merchants of England, that great profits and national advantages might be derived from a direct trade to India by sea.
In consequence of these views, a memorial was presented to the lords of council in 1589, requesting a royal licence for three ships and three pinnaces to proceed for India, which gave rise to the expedition of Captain Raymond, in 1591, already related. In 1599, an association of London Adventurers entered into a contract for embarking, what was then considered as a large joint stock, for the equipment of a voyage to the East Indies. The fund subscribed amounted to £30,133: 6: 8, divided into 101 shares or adventures, the subscriptions of individuals varying from £100 to £3000. This project, however, seems to have merged into the East India Company, at the close of the next year 1600, as already mentioned.
On the 30th September, 1600, a draft of the patent, already said to have been subsequently sealed on the last day of that year, was read before the seventeen committees, such being then the denomination of what are now called directors; and being approved of, was ordered to be submitted to the consideration of the Queen and Privy Council. "In this early stage of the business, the lord-treasurer applied to the Court of Committees or Directors, recommending Sir Edward Mitchelburne to be employed in the voyage; and thus, before the Society of Adventurers had been constituted an East India Company, that influence had its commencement, which will be found, in the sequel, to have been equally adverse to the prosperity of their trade and to the probity of the directors. Yet, though still petitioners for their charter, the directors had the firmness to resist this influence, and resolved "Not to employ any gentleman in any place of charge, requesting to be permitted to sort their business with men of their own quality, lest the suspicion of employing gentlemen might drive a great number of the adventurers to withdraw their contributions."
In the commencement of its operations, the East India Company proceeded upon rather an anomalous plan for a great commercial company. Instead of an extensive joint stock for a consecutive series of operations, a new voluntary subscription was entered into among its members for each successive adventure. That of the first voyage was about £70,000. The second voyage was fitted out by a new subscription of £60,450. The third was £53,500. The fourth £33,000. The fifth was a branch or extension of the third, by the same subscribers, on an additional call or subscription of £13,700. The subscription for the sixth was £82,000. The seventh £71,581. The eighth £76,375. The ninth only £7,200.
In 1612, the trade began to be carried on upon a broader basis by a joint stock, when £429,000 was subscribed, which was apportioned to the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth voyages. In 1618, a new joint stock was formed by subscription, amounting to £1,600,000.
In the year 1617, King James I. of England and VI. of Scotland, granted letters patent under the great seal of Scotland, dated at Kinnard, 24th May, 1617, to Sir James Cunningham of Glengarnock, appointing him, his heirs and assigns, to be governors, rulers, and directors of a Scottish East India Company, and authorizing him "to trade to and from the East Indies, and the countries or parts of Asia, Africa, and America, beyond the Cape of Bona Sperantia, to the straits of Magellan, and to the Levant Sea and territories under the government of the Great Turk, and to and from the countries of Greenland, and all other countries and islands in the north, north-west, and north-east seas, and other parts of America and Muscovy." Which patent, and all the rights and privileges annexed to it, was subsequently, for a valuable consideration, assigned by Sir James Cunningham to the London East India Company.
It is quite unnecessary to extend this introductory view of the rise of the India Company any farther, as our limits could not possibly admit any satisfactory deduction of its history, any farther than is contained in the following series of the Early Voyages, for which we are almost entirely indebted to the Collection of Purchas. By this first English East India Company, with a capital or joint stock of about 70,000l. at least for the first voyage, were laid the stable foundations of that immense superstructure of trade and dominion now held by the present company. Their first joint stock did not exceed the average of 325l. or 330l. for each individual of 216 members, whose names are recorded in the copy of the charter in Purchas his Pilgrims, already referred to. Yet one of these was disfranchised on the 6th July, 1661, not six months after the establishment of the company, probably for not paying up his subscription, as the charter grants power to disfranchise any one who does not bring in his promised adventure.
The East India Company of Holland, the elder sister of that of England, now a nonentity, though once the most extensive and most flourishing commercial establishment that ever existed, long ago published, or permitted to be published, a very extensive series of voyages of commerce and discovery, called Voyages which contributed to establish the East India Company of the United Netherlands. It were, perhaps, worthy of the Royal Merchants who constitute the English East India Company, now the unrivalled possessors of the entire trade and sovereignty of all India and its innumerable islands, to publish or patronize a similar monument of its early exertions, difficulties, and ultimate success.--E.
[Footnote 75: So denominated in the copy of the charter in the Pilgrims of Purchas, vol. I. p. 139-147, which we have not deemed it necessary to insert.--E.]
[Footnote 76: Ann. of the Honb. East India Co, I. 206.]
[Footnote 77: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 107.]
[Footnote 78: Ann. of the Hon. E. India Co. I. 108.]
[Footnote 79: Id. ib.]
[Footnote 80: Id. III.--From the peculiar amount of this capital sum, the subscriptions were most probably in marks, of 13s 4d. each.--E.]
[Footnote 81: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I.128.]
[Footnote 82: Id. ib.]
[Footnote 83: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. Vol. I. passim.]
[Footnote 84: Ann. &c. I. 192.--Note.]
Volume 8, Chapter 10, Section 1 -- First Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1601, under the Command of Captain James Lancaster.
From the historiographer of the company we learn, that the period of this voyage being estimated for twenty months, the charges of provisions were calculated at £6,600 4:10: and the investment, exclusive of bullion, at £4,545; consisting of iron and tin, wrought and unwrought, lead, 80 pieces of broad cloth of all colours, 80 pieces of Devonshire kersies, and 100 pieces of Norwich stuffs, with smaller articles, intended as presents for the officers at the ports where it was meant to open their trade. Captain John Davis, who appears to have gone as chief pilot, was to have £100 as wages for the voyage, with £200 on credit for an adventure; and, as an incitement to activity and zeal, if the profit of the voyage yielded two for one, he was to receive a gratuity of £500; if three for one, £1000; if four for one, £1500; and if five for one, £2000. Thirty-six factors or supercargoes were directed to be employed for the voyage: Three of the first class, who seem to have been denominated cape merchants, were to have each £100 for equipment, and £200 for an adventure; four factors of the second class at £50 each for equipment, and £100 for an adventure; four of the third class, with £30 each for equipment, and £50 for adventure; and four of the fourth class, with £20 each for equipment, and £40 for adventure. They were to give security for their fidelity, and to abstain from private trade; the first class under penalties of £500 the second of 500 marks, the third at £200 and the fourth of £100 each. These only exhaust fifteen of the thirty-six, and we are unable to account for the remaining twenty-one ordered to be nominated.
In the Annals of the Company, we are told that the funds provided for this first voyage amounted to £68,373, of which £39,771 were expended in the purchase and equipment of the ships, £28,742 being embarked in bullion, and £6,860 in goods. But the aggregate of these sums amounts to £77,373; so that the historiographer appears to have fallen into some error, either in the particulars or the sum total. We are not informed of the particular success of this first voyage; only that the conjunct profits of it and of the second amounted to £95 per cent. upon the capitals employed in both, clear of all charges.
We may state here from the Annals of the Company, that the profits of the third and fifth voyage combined amounted to £234 per cent. Of the fourth voyage to a total loss, as one of the vessels was wrecked in India on the outward-bound voyage, and the other on the coast of France in her return. The profits of the sixth voyage were £121 13:4: per cent. Of the seventh £218 per cent. Of the eighth £211 per cent. Of the ninth £160 per cent. The average profits of the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth voyages were reduced to £87-1/2 per cent.
Captain James Lancaster, afterwards Sir James, who was general in this
voyage, was a member of the company; and is the same person who went to
India in 1591, along with Captain Raymond. Captain John Davis, who had
been in India with the Dutch, was pilot-major and second in command of
the Dragon, or admiral ship. It does not appear who was the author of the
following narrative; but, from several passages, he seems to have sailed
in the Dragon.--E.
§ 1. Preparation for the Voyage, and its Incidents till the Departure of the Fleet from Saldanha Bay.
Having collected a joint stock of seventy thousand pounds, to be employed in ships and merchandize in the prosecution of their privileged trade to the East Indies, by means of which they were to bring spices and other commodities into this realm, the company bought and fitted out four large ships for their first adventure. These were the Dragon of 600 tons, and 202 men, admiral, in which Mr James Lancaster was placed as general; the Hector of 300 tons, and 108 men, commanded by Mr John Middleton, vice-admiral; the Ascension of 260 tons, and 82 men, Captain William Brand; and the Susan, commanded by Mr John Hayward, with 84 men: Besides these commanders, each ship carried three merchants or factors, to succeed each other in rotation in case of any of them dying. These ships were furnished with victuals and stores for twenty months, and were provided with merchandize and Spanish money to the value of twenty-seven thousand pounds; all the rest of the stock being expended in the purchase of the ships, with their necessary stores and equipment, and in money advanced to the mariners and sailors who went upon the voyage. To these was added, as a victualler, the Guest of 130 tons.
On application to the queen, her majesty furnished the merchants with friendly letters of recommendation to several of the sovereigns in India, offering to enter into treaties of peace and amity with them, which shall be noticed in their proper places. And, as no great enterprise can be well conducted and accomplished without an absolute authority for dispensing justice, the queen granted a commission of martial law to Captain Lancaster, the general of the fleet, for the better security of his command.
Everything being in readiness, the fleet departed from Woolwich, in the river Thames, on the 13th of February, 1600, after the English mode of reckoning, or more properly 1601. They were so long delayed in the Thames and the Downs, for want of wind, that it was Easter before they arrived at Dartmouth, where they spent five or six days, taking in bread and other provisions appointed to be procured there. Departing thence on the 18th of April, they came to anchor in Torbay, at which place the general sent on board all the ships instructions for their better keeping company when at sea, and directions as to what places they were to repair to for meeting again, in case of being separated by storms or other casualties. These were the calms of Canary; Saldanha bay, in case they could not double the Cape of Good Hope; Cape St. Roman, in Madagascar; the island of Cisne, Cerne, or Diego Rodriguez; and finally, Sumatra, their first intended place of trade.
* * * * *
The wind came fair on the 22d of April, when we weighed and stood out of Torbay, directing our course for the Canaries. As the wind continued fair, we had sight of Alegranza, or Great Island, the northermost of the Canaries, on the 5th of May, and we directed our course to pass between Fuertaventura and Gran Canaria; and coming to the south of Gran Canaria, thinking to have watered there, we fell into the calms, which are occasioned by the high lands being so near the sea. About three in the afternoon of the 7th of May, having the wind at N.E., we departed from Gran Canaria, shaping our course S.W. by S. and S.S.W. till we came into the lat. of 21° 30' N. From the 11th to the 20th, our course was mostly S till we came to lat. 8° N., the wind being always northerly and N.E. In this latitude we found calms and contrary winds, which, at this season of the year, prevail much off this part of the coast of Guinea, alternating with many sudden gusts of wind, storms, and thunder and lightning very fearful to behold, and very dangerous to the ships, unless the utmost care be taken suddenly to strike all the sails, on perceiving the wind to change even never so little. Yet such was the suddenness many times, although the masters of the ships were very careful and diligent, that it could hardly be done in time.
From the 20th of May till the 21st of June, we lay mostly becalmed, or with contrary winds at south; and standing to now and again to bear up against this contrary wind, we got with much ado to 2° N. where we espied a ship, to which the general gave chase, commanding all the ships to follow him. By two in the afternoon we got up with and took her. She was of Viana, in Portugal, and came from Lisbon, in the company of two caraks and three galleons, bound for the East Indies, but had parted from them at sea. The three galleons were ships of war, intended to keep the coast of India from being traded with by other nations. From this ship we took 146 butts of wine, 176 jars and 12 casks of oil, and 55 hogsheads and vats of meal, which were of great service to us afterwards during our voyage. The general divided these victuals impartially among all the ships, giving a due proportion to each.
The 31st June about midnight we crossed the line, having the wind at S.E., and lost sight of the north star; and continuing our course S.S.W. we passed Cape St Augustine about 26 leagues to the eastward. The 20th July, we reached the latitude of 19° 40' S., the wind getting daily more and more towards the east. We here unloaded the Guest, which went along with us to carry such provisions as we could not stow in the other four ships; after which we took out her masts, sails, yards, and all other tackle; broke up her upper works for fire-wood, and left her hull floating in the sea, following our own course southwards. We passed the tropic of Capricorn on the 24th July, the wind N.E. by N., our course E.S.E. On account of our having been so long near the line, by reason of leaving England too late in the season by six or seven weeks, many of our men fell sick; for which reason the general sent written orders to the captain of each ship, either to make Saldanha bay or St. Helena for refreshment.
The 1st August we were in 30° S., at which time we got the wind at S.W. to our great comfort, for by this time many of our men were sick of the scurvy; insomuch that in all our ships, except the admiral, they were hardly able to manage the sails. This wind held fair till we were within 250 leagues of the Cape of Good Hope, and then came clean contrary at E., continuing so for fifteen or sixteen days, to the great discomfort of our men; for now the few that had continued sound began also to fall sick, so that in some of the ships the merchants had to take their turn at the helm, and to go into the tops to hand the top-sails along with the common mariners. But God, shewing us mercy in our distress, sent us again a fair wind, so that we got to Saldanha bay on the 9th September, when the general, before the other ships bore in and came to anchor, sent his boats to help the other ships. The state of the other three ships was such that they were hardly able to let go their anchors. The general went on board them all with a number of men, and hoisted out their boats for them, which they were not able to do of themselves.
The reason of the men in the admiral being in such better health than in the other three ships was this: he brought with him to sea several bottles of lemon juice, of which he gave to each man, as long as it would last, three spoonfuls every morning fasting, not suffering them to eat any thing afterwards till noon. This juice worketh much the better if the person keeps a spare diet, wholly refraining from salt meat; which salt meat, and being long at sea, are the only causes of breeding this disease. By this means the general cured many of his men and preserved the rest; so that, though his ship had double the number of men of any of the rest, he had not so many sick, nor did he lose so many men, as any of the rest.
After getting all the ships to anchor, and hoisting out their boats, the general went immediately aland, to seek refreshments for our sick and weak men. He presently met with some of the natives, to whom he gave various trifles, as knives, pieces of old iron, and the like; making signs for them to bring him down sheep and oxen. For he spoke to them in the cattle's language, which was not changed at the confusion of Babel; using mouth for oxen, and baa for sheep, imitating their cries; which language the people understood very well without any interpreter. Having sent the natives away, well contented with the kind usage and presents he had given them, orders were given for so many men from every ship to bring sails ashore, to make tents for the sick; and also to throw up fortifications for defence, lest by any chance the natives might take offence and offer violence. He at the same time prescribed regulations for buying and selling with the natives; directing, when they should come down with cattle, that only five or six men selected for the purpose should go to deal with them, and that the rest, which should never be under thirty muskets and pikes, should keep at the distance of at least eight or ten score yards, always drawn up in order and readiness, with their muskets in the rests, whatever might befall. This order was so strictly enforced, that no man was permitted to go forward to speak with the natives, except with special leave. I attribute our continuing in such amity and friendship with the natives to these precautions, for the Hollanders had lately five or six of their men slain by the treachery of these natives.
The third day after our arrival in Saldanha bay, the natives brought down beeves and sheep, which we bought for pieces of old iron hoops; as two pieces of eight inches each for an ox, and one piece for a sheep, with which the natives seemed perfectly satisfied. In ten or twelve days, we bought 1000 sheep and 42 oxen, and might have had more if we would. After this they discontinued bringing any more cattle, but the people often came down to us afterwards; and when we made signs for more sheep, they would point to those we had already, which the general kept grazing on the hills near our tents; which, as we judged, was the reason why they did not bring us more, as they thought we meant to inhabit there. But, God be thanked, we were now well provided, and could very well pass without farther purchases. The oxen were as large as ours in England, and very fat; and the sheep were many of them bigger than ours, of excellent flesh, sweet and fat, and to our liking much better than our English mutton, but having coarse hairy wool.
The people of this place are all of a tawny colour, of reasonable stature, swift of foot, and much given to pick and steal. Their language is entirely uttered through their throats, and they cluck with their tongues in so strange a manner, that, in seven weeks which we remained here, the sharpest wit among us could not learn one word of their language, yet the natives soon understood every sign we made them. While we stayed at this bay, we had such royal refreshing that all our men recovered their health and strength, except four or five. Including these, and before we came in, we lost out of all our ships 105 men; yet on leaving this bay, we reckoned ourselves stronger manned than when we left England, our men were now so well inured to the southern climates and to the sea.
§ 2. Continuation of the Voyage, from Saldanha Bay to the Nicobar and Sombrero Islands.
The general ordered all our tents to be taken down on the 24th of October, and all our men to repair on board their respective ships, having laid in an ample supply of wood and water. We put to sea the 29th of that month, passing a small island in the mouth of the bay which is so full of seals and penguins, that if no better refreshment could have been procured, we might very well have refreshed here. Over the bay of Saldanha there stands a very high and flat hill, called the Table; no other harbour on all this coast having so plain a mark to find it by, as it can be easily seen seventeen or eighteen leagues out at sea. In the morning of Sunday the 1st November, we doubled the Cape of Good Hope in a heavy gale at W.N.W.
On the 26th November we fell in with the head-land of the island of St Lawrence or Madagascar, somewhat to the eastward of cape St Sebastian, and at five mile from the shore we had 20 fathoms; the variation of the compass being 16°, a little more or less. In an east and west course, the variation of the compass serves materially, and especially in this voyage. From the 26th November till the 15th December we plied to the eastwards, as nearly as we could, always striving to get to the island of Cisne, called Diego Rodriguez in some charts; but ever from our leaving Madagascar, we found the wind at E. or E.S.E. or E.N.E. so that we could not accomplish it, and we could not continue to strive long in hopes of the wind changing, as our men began again to fall sick of the scurvy. The captain of our vice-admiral, John Middleton of the Hector, now proposed to our general to bear away for the bay of Antongit, on the east coast of Madagascar, where we might refresh our men with oranges and lemons, so as to get rid again of this cruel disease; which counsel was approved by him and the whole company.
We had sight of the southernmost part of the island of St. Mary [in lat. 16° 48' S. long. 50° 17' E.] and anchored next day between that island and the main of Madagascar. We immediately sent our boats to St. Mary, where we procured some store of lemons and oranges, being very precious for our sick men to purge them of the scurvy. While riding here, a great storm arose, which drove three of our ships from their anchors; but within sixteen hours the storm ceased, and our ships returned and recovered their anchors. The general thought it improper to remain here any longer, on account of the uncertainty of the weather, the danger of riding here, and because we were able to procure so little refreshment at this island; having got, besides a few lemons and oranges, a very little goat's milk, and a small quantity of rice: But as our men were sick, and the easterly winds still prevailed, he gave orders to sail for Antongil.
The isle of St. Mary is high land and full of wood. The natives are tall handsome men, of black colour and frizzled hair, which they stroke up at their foreheads as our women do in England, so that it stands three inches upright. They go entirely naked, except covering their parts; and are very tractable and of familiar manners, yet seemed valiant. Most of their food is rice, with some fish; yet while we were there we could get very little rice to purchase, as their store was far spent, and their harvest near at hand. There are two or three watering places on the north part of this island, none of them very commodious, yet there is water enough to be had with some trouble.
Departing from this island of St. Mary on the 23d December, we came into the bay of Antongil on Christmas day, and anchored in eight fathoms water, at the bottom of the bay, between a small island and the main. The best riding is nearest under the lee of that small island, which serves as a defence from the wind blowing into the bay; for while we were there it blew a very heavy storm, and those ships which were nearest the island fared best Two of our ships drove with three anchors a-head, the ground being oozy and not firm. Going a-land on the small island, we perceived by a writing on the rocks, that five Holland ships had been there, and had departed about two months before our arrival, having had sickness among them; for, as we could perceive, they had lost between 150 and 200 men at this place.
The day after we anchored, we landed on the main, where the people presently came to us, making signs that five Dutch ships had been there, and had bought most of their provisions. Yet they entered into trade with us for rice, hens, oranges, lemons, and another kind of fruit called plantains; but held every thing very high, and brought only small quantities. Our market was beside a considerable river, into which we went in our boats, such of our men as were appointed to make the purchases going ashore; the rest always remaining in the boats with their arms in readiness, and the boats about twenty or thirty yards from the land, where the natives could not wade to them, and were ready at all times, if needful, to take our marketers from the land. In this manner we trifled off some days before we could get the natives to commence a real trade; for all these people of the south and east parts of the world are subtle and crafty in bartering, buying, and selling, so that, without sticking close to them, it is difficult to bring them to trade in any reasonable sort, as they will shift continually to get a little more, and then no one will sell below that price. Upon this, the general ordered measures to be made of about a quart, and appointed how many glass beads were to be given for its fill of rice, and how many oranges, lemons, and plantains were to be given for every bead, with positive orders not to deal at all with any who would not submit to that rule. After a little holding off, the natives consented to this rule, and our dealing became frank and brisk; so that during our stay we purchased 15-1/4 tons of rice, 40 or 50 bushels of their peas and beans, great store of oranges, lemons, and plantains, eight beeves, and great numbers of hens.
While at anchor in this bay, we set up a pinnace which we had brought in pieces from England; and cutting down trees, which were large and in plenty, we sawed them into boards, with which we sheathed her. This pinnace was about 18 tons burden, and was very fit and necessary for going before our ships at our getting to India. While we remained here, there died out of the Admiral, the master's mate, chaplain, and surgeon, with about ten of the common men; and out of the Vice-Admiral, the master and some two more. By very great mischance, the captain and boatswain's mate of the Ascension were slain. For when the master's mate of the Admiral was to be buried, the captain of the Ascension took his boat to go on shore to his funeral; and as it is the rule of the sea to fire certain pieces of ordnance at the burial of an officer, the gunner fired three pieces that happened to be shotted, when the ball of one of them struck the Ascension's boat, and slew the captain and boatswain's mate stark dead; so that, on going ashore to witness the funeral of another, they were both buried themselves. Those who died here were mostly carried off by the flux, owing, as I think, to the water which we drank; for it was now in the season of winter, when it rained very much, causing great floods all over the country, so that the waters were unwholesome, as they mostly are in these hot countries in the rainy season. The flux is likewise often caught by going open, and catching cold at the stomach, which our men were very apt to do when hot.
We sailed from this bay on the 6th March, 1602, steering our course for India, and on the 16th fell in with an island called Rogue Pize [in lat. 10° 30' S. and long. 64° 20' E.]. The general sent his boat to see if there were any safe anchorage, but the water was found almost every where too deep. As we sailed along, it seemed every where pleasant, and full of cocoa-nut trees and fowls, and there came from the land a most delightful smell, as if it had been a vast flower garden. Had there been any good anchorage, it must surely have been an excellent place of refreshment; for, as our boats went near the land, they saw vast quantities of fish, and the fowls came wandering about them in such flocks, that the men killed many of them with their oars, which were the best and fattest we had tasted in all the voyage. These fowls were in such vast multitudes, that many more ships than we had might have been amply supplied.
The 30th March, 1602, being in lat. 6° S we happened upon a ledge of rocks, and looking overboard, saw them under the ship about five fathoms below the surface of the water, which amazed us exceedingly by their sudden and unexpected appearance. On casting the ship about, we had eight fathoms, and so held on our course to the east. Not long after, one of our men in the top saw an island S.E. of us, some five or six leagues off, being low land, which we judged to be the island of Candu, though our course by computation did not reach so far east. Continuing our course some thirteen or fourteen leagues, we fell upon another flat of sunken rocks, when we cast about southwards, and in sailing about twelve leagues more found other rocks, and in trying different ways we found rocks all round about, having twenty, thirty, forty, and even fifty fathoms among the flats. We were here two days and a half in exceeding great danger, and could find no way to get out. At last we determined to try to the northward and in 6° 40' S. thank God, we found six fathoms water. The pinnace went always before, continually sounding, with orders to indicate by signals what depth she had, that we might know how to follow.
Being delivered out of this pound [=impoundment], we followed our course till the 9th May about four in the afternoon, when we got sight of the islands of Nicobar, on which we bore in and anchored on the north side of the channel. But as the wind changed to S.W. we had to weigh again, and go over to the south side of the channel, where we came to an anchor under a small island on that shore. We here got fresh water and cocoa-nuts, but very little other refreshments; yet the natives came off to us in long canoes that could have carried twenty men in each. They brought gums to sell instead of amber, with which they deceived several of our men; for these eastern people are wholly given to deceit. They brought also hens and cocoa-nuts for sale; but held them at so dear a rate that we bought very few. We stayed here ten days, putting our ordnance in order and trimming our ships, that we might be in readiness at our first port, which we were not now far from.
In the morning of the 20th April, we set sail for Sumatra, but the wind blew hard at S.S.W. and the current set against us, so that we could not proceed. While beating up and down, two of our ships sprung leaks, on which we were forced to go to the island of Sombrero, ten or twelve leagues north of Nicobar. Here we in the Admiral lost an anchor, for the ground is foul, and grown full of false coral and some rocks, which cut our cable asunder, so that we could not recover our anchor. The people of these islands go entirely naked, except that their parts are bound up in a piece of cloth, which goes round the waist like a girdle, and thence between their legs. They are all of a tawny hue, and paint their faces of divers colours. They are stout and well-made, but very fearful, so that none of them would come on board our ships, or even enter our boats. The general reported that he had seen some of their priests all over cloathed, but quite close to their bodies, as if sewed on; having their faces painted green, black, and yellow, and horns on their heads turned backwards, painted of the same colours, together with a tail hanging down behind from their buttocks, altogether as we see the devil sometimes painted in Europe. Demanding why they went in that strange attire, he was told that the devil sometimes appeared to them in such form in their sacrifices, and therefore his servants the priests were so clothed. There grew many trees in this island, sufficiently tall, thick, and straight to make main-masts for the largest ship in all our fleet, and this island is full of such.
Upon the sands of this island of Sombrero we found a small twig growing up like a young tree, and on offering to pluck it up, it shrinks down to the ground, and sinks, unless held very hard. On being plucked up, a great worm is found to be its root, and as the tree groweth in greatness, so doth the worm diminish; and as soon as the worm is entirely turned into tree, it rooteth in the earth, and so becomes great. This transformation is one of the strangest wonders that I saw in all my travels: For, if this tree is plucked up while young, and the leaves and bark stripped off, it becomes a hard stone when dry, much like white coral: Thus is this worm twice transformed into different natures. Of these we gathered and brought home many.
* * * * *
The editor of Astley's Collection supposes this a mere fiction, or that it might take its rise from coral growing accidentally on shell fish. The first_part of the story probably arose from some of the animals called animal flowers, the body of which, buried in the sand, and resembling a worm, extends some member having the appearance of a young tree, which retracts when touched rudely. The second part may have been some corraline or madrepore growing in shallow water, the coriaccous part of which, and the animals residing in the cells, may have resembled the bark and leaves of a plant. Considering both of these erroneously as the same plant in different states, might easily give occasion to the wonders in the text, without the smallest intention of fiction.--E.
§ 3. Their Reception and Trade at Acheen.
We set sail from the island of Sombrero on the 29th May, and got sight of Sumatra on the 2d June, coming to anchor in the road of Acheen on the 5th, about two miles from the city. We here found sixteen or eighteen sail of different countries, Guzerat, Bengal, Calicut, Malabar, Pegu, and Patane, which had come for trade. There came on board two Dutch merchants or factors, who had been left behind by their ships to learn the language and the customs of the country; who told us we should be made welcome by the king, who was desirous to entertain strangers; and that the Queen of England was already famous in those parts, on account of the wars and great victories she had gained over the King of Spain. That same day, the general sent Captain John Middleton, with four or five gentlemen in his train, to wait upon the king, and to inform him, that the general of our ships had a message and letter from the most famous Queen of England to the most worthy King of Acheen and Sumatra, to request [that] the king would vouchsafe to give audience to the said ambassador, to deliver his message and letter, giving sufficient warranty for the safety of him and his people, according to the law of nations. Captain Middleton was very kindly entertained by the king, who, on hearing the message, readily granted the request, and communed with him on many topics; after which a royal banquet was served up to him; and, at his departure, he was presented with a robe, and a tuke or turban of calico wrought with gold, as is the manner of the kings of this place to those whom they are pleased to favour. The king sent his commendations to the general, desiring him to remain yet another day on board, to rest from the fatigues of his voyage, and to come the day following on shore, when he might be sure of a kind reception and free audience, in as much safety as if in the dominions of the queen his mistress: but, if he doubted the royal word, such honourable pledges should be sent for his farther assurance as might give him entire satisfaction.
The general went ashore on the third day after our arrival with thirty attendants or more. He was met on landing by the Holland merchants, who conducted him to their house, as had been appointed; as the general did not think fit to have a house of his own till he had been introduced to the king. He remained at the Holland factory, where a nobleman from the king came and saluted him kindly, saying that he came from the king, whose person he represented, and demanded the queen's letter. The general answered, that he must himself deliver the letter to the king, such being the custom of ambassadors in Europe. The nobleman then asked to see the superscription of the letter, which was shewn him. He read the same, looked very earnestly at the seal, took a note of the superscription and of the queen's name, and then courteously took his leave, returning to tell the king what had passed. Soon afterwards six great elephants were sent, with many drums, trumpets and streamers, and much people, to accompany the general to court. The largest elephant was about thirteen or fourteen feet high, having a small castle like a coach on his back, covered with crimson velvet. In the middle of the castle was a large basin of gold, with an exceedingly rich wrought cover of silk, under which the queen's letter was deposited. The general was mounted upon another of the elephants, some of his attendants riding, while others went a-foot. On arriving at the gate of the palace, the procession was stopped by a nobleman, till he went in to learn the king's farther pleasure; but he presently returned, and requested the general to come in.
On coming into the presence of the king, the general made his obeisance according to the manner of the country, saying, that he was sent by the most mighty Queen of England, to compliment his majesty, and to treat with him concerning peace and amity with the queen his mistress, if it pleased him to do so. He then began to enter upon farther discourse; but the king stopt him short, by desiring him to sit down and refresh himself, saying, that he was most welcome, and that he would readily listen to any reasonable conditions, for the queen's sake, who was worthy of all kindness and frank conditions, being a princess of great nobleness, of whom fame reported much. The general now delivered the queen's letter, which the king graciously received, delivering it to a nobleman who waited on him. The general then delivered his present, consisting of a basin of silver, having a fountain in the middle of it, weighing 205 ounces; a large standing cup of silver; a rich mirror; a head-piece with a plume of feathers; a case of very fair dagges; a richly embroidered sword-belt; and a fan made of feathers. All these were received in the king's presence by a nobleman of the court, the king only taking into his own hand the fan of feathers, with which he made one of his women fan him, as if this had pleased him more than all the rest.
The general was then commanded to sit down in the presence, on the ground, after the manner of the country, and a great banquet was served, all the dishes being either of pure gold, or of tomback, a metal between gold and brass, which is held in much estimation. During this banquet, the king, who sat aloft in a gallery about six feet from the ground, drank often to the general in the wine of the country, called arrack, which is made from rice, and is as strong as our brandy, a little of it being sufficient to set one to sleep. After the first draught of this liquor, the general either drank it mixed with water, or pure water, craving the king's pardon, as not able to take such strong drink; and the king gave him leave.
After the feast was done, the king caused his damsels to come forth and dance, and his women played to them on several instruments of music. These women were richly attired, and adorned with bracelets and jewels; and this was accounted a great favour, as the women are not usually seen of any but such as the king will greatly honour. The king gave also to the general a fine robe of white calico, richly wrought with gold: a very fine girdle of Turkey work; and two crisses, which are a kind of daggers, all of which were put on him by a nobleman in the king's presence. He was then courteously dismissed, and a person was sent along with him, to make choice of a house in the city, wherever the general might think most suitable. But at that time he refused the proffered kindness, choosing rather to go on board the ships, till the king had considered the queen's letter.
The letter from the queen was superscribed, To the great and mighty King of Achem, &c. in the island of Sumatra, our loving brother, greeting. After a long complimentary preamble, and complaining against the Portuguese and Spaniards for pretending to be absolute lords of the East Indies, and endeavouring to exclude all other nations from trading thither, it recommended the English to his royal favour and protection, that they might be allowed to transact their business freely then and afterwards in his dominions, and to permit their factors to remain with a factoryhouse in his capital, to learn the language and customs of the country, till the arrival of another fleet. It likewise proposed that reasonable capitulations, or terms of commercial intercourse, should be entered into by the king with the bearer of the letter, who was authorised to conclude the same in her name; and requested an answer accepting the proffered league of amity.
At his next audience, the general had a long conference with the king respecting the queen's letter, with which he seemed well satisfied; saying, if the contents came from the heart he had reason to think of it highly, and was well pleased to conclude the proposed treaty of amity and commerce. As for the particular demands made in the queen's name by the general, respecting trade, the king referred him to two noblemen, who were authorised to confer with him, promising that all which was requested by the queen should be granted. With this satisfactory answer, and after another banquet, the general departed. He sent next day to the two noblemen appointed to treat with him, to know when they proposed to meet, and confer with him. One of these was chief bishop or high-priest of the realm, a person in high estimation with the king and people, as he well deserved, being a very wise and prudent person. The other was one of the ancient nobility of the country, a man of much gravity, but not so fit for conferring on the business in hand as the former.
After a long conference, the general demanded that proclamation might be instantly made, that none of the natives should abuse the English, but that they might be permitted to follow their business in peace and quietness. This was so well performed, that though there was a strict order for none of their people to walk by night, yet ours were allowed to go about by day or night without molestation; only, when any of our people were found abroad at unlawful hours, the justice brought them home to the general's house, and delivered them there.
At the close of the conference, the chief-priest required from the general notes of his demands of privileges for the merchants in writing, with the reasons of the same, that they might be laid before the king; promising that he should have answers within a few days. With these conferences, and much courtesy, and after some conversation on the affairs of Christendom, they broke up for that time. The general was not negligent in sending his demands in writing to the noblemen, as they were mostly drawn up before coming ashore, being not unready for such a business.
On his next going to court, and sitting before the king, beholding a cock-fight, which is one of the sports in which the king takes great delight, the general sent his interpreter with his obeisance to the king, requesting him to be mindful of the business on which he had conferred with the two noblemen. The king then made him draw near, telling him he was careful of his dispatch, and would willingly enter into a league of peace and amity with the Queen of England, which he would truly perform: and that the demands and articles he had set down in writing should all be extended in proper form by one of his secretaries, which he should then authorise and confirm. Within five or six days these were delivered to the general, from the king's own hands, with many gracious words. It were too long to insert the entire articles of this treaty; but the whole demands of the English were granted. First, free trade and entry. Second, freedom from customs on import and export. Third, assistance of their vessels to save our goods and men from wreck, and other dangers. Fourth, liberty of testament, to bequeath their goods to whom they pleased. Fifth, stability of bargains and payments by the subjects of Acheen, &c. Sixth_ authority to execute justice on their own people offending. Seventh, justice against injuries from the natives. Eighth, not to arrest or stay our goods, or to fix prices upon them. Lastly, freedom of conscience.
This important treaty being settled, the merchants were incessantly occupied in providing pepper for loading the ships; but it came in slowly and in small quantities, as the last year had been very sterile. Hearing of a port called Priaman, about 150 leagues from Acheen, in the south part of Sumatra, where one of the smaller ships might be loaded, the general prepared to send the Susan thither, placing in her Mr. Henry Middleton as captain and chief merchant. The general was not a little grieved that Mr. John Davis, his chief pilot, had told the merchants before leaving London, that pepper was to be had at Acheen for four Spanish, ryals of eight the hundred, whereas it cost us almost twenty. Owing to this, the general became very thoughtful, considering how to load his ships, and save his credit in the estimation of his employers; as it would be a disgrace to all concerned, in the eyes of all the neighbouring nations of Europe, seeing there were merchandise enough to be bought in the East Indies, while his ships were likely to return empty.
§ 4. Portuguese Wiles discovered, and a Prize taken near Malacca.
A Portuguese ambassador was at this time in Acheen, who looked with an evil eye on every step we took, but was by no means in favour with the king: for, on the last day of his being at court, on demanding leave to settle a factory in the country, and to build a fort at the entrance of the harbour, for the protection of the merchants' goods, because the city was subject to fire, the king, perceiving what he meant, gave him this sharp answer: "Has your master a daughter to give my son, that he is so careful for the security of my country? He shall not need to be at the charge of building a fort; for I have a fit house about two leagues inland from the city, which I can give him for a factory, where you need neither fear enemies nor fire, for I will protect you." The king was much displeased with this insolent demand, and the ambassador left the court much discontented.
Shortly after this, an Indian, who belonged to a Portuguese captain, who came to the port with a ship-load of rice from Bengal, came to our house to sell hens. The Portuguese captain lodged at the ambassador's house, and our general suspected he came only as a spy to see what we were about; yet he gave them orders to treat the Indian well, and always to give him a reasonable price for his hens. At last he took occasion to commune with this Indian, asking whence he came and what he was, saying to him pleasantly, that a young man of his appearance deserved a better employment than buying and selling hens. To this he answered, "I serve this Portuguese captain, yet am neither bound nor free; for, though free-born, I have been with him so long that he considers me as his property, and he is so great a man that I cannot strive with him." Then, said the general, "If thy liberty be precious to thee, thy person, seems to merit it; but what wouldst thou do for him who should give thee thy liberty, without pleading to thy master for it?" "Sir," said the Indian, "freedom is as precious as life, and I would venture my life for him that would procure it for me: Try me, therefore, in any service that I can perform for you, and my willingness shall make good my words."
"Then," said the general, "thou desirest me to try thee? What says the ambassador of me and my shipping, and what are his purposes?" The Indian told him, that the Portuguese had a spy employed over his ships, being a Chinese who was intimate with the men, so that he has procured drawings of the ships, and of every piece of ordnance in them, and how they are placed, with a list of all the men in each: that he thought the ships strong and well equipped, but being weak in men, believed they might easily be taken, if any force could be had to attack them suddenly; and intended in a few days to send his draughts to Malacca, to induce the Portuguese to send a force from thence to attack them as they lay at anchor. The general laughed heartily at this account, but said the ambassador was not so idle as the Indian thought, for he well knew the English ships were too strong for all the forces in those parts. He then desired the Indian to go his way, and return in a day or two to inform him if the ambassador continued his project, and when he was to send his messenger to Malacca. Saying, that although it would serve him little to know these things, yet he would give the Indian his liberty for the good-will he shewed to serve him.
The Indian went away well pleased, as might easily be seen by his countenance and the lightness of his steps. When he was gone, the general said to me, that we had now met with a fit person to betray his master, if we could derive any benefit from his treachery; and in this he was not deceived, for by his means, whatever was done or said by the ambassador during the day, was regularly reported to our general that night or next morning; yet did this fellow conduct himself so prudently, that neither was he suspected by any one in the Portuguese ambassador's house, nor was it known to any one in ours, what business he was engaged in. He had the right character for a spy, being crafty, careful, and subtle, never trusting any one to hear his conversation with our general, but always spoke to him when alone, and that in a careless manner, as if he had answered idly; for he was in fear that our people should discover that the selling of hens was a mere pretence for coming continually to our house.
The general was sent for to court next day, when the king had a conference with him about an embassy from the King of Siam respecting the conquest of Malacca, having sent to know what force he would employ for that service by sea, if the King of Siam undertook to besiege it by land. This King of Acheen is able to send a great force of galleys to sea, if he may have four or five months warning to make them ready. The general endeavoured to further this proposal with many reasons; and took occasion to talk about the Portuguese ambassador, who conducted himself with much proud insolence, and who, he said, had come to Acheen for no other reason but to spy out the strength of his kingdom. "I know it well," said the king, "for they are my enemies, as I have been to them; but what makes you see this?" The general then said, that he could take nothing in hand but that they employed spies to mark his conduct, and that the ambassador intended to send drawings of all his ships to Malacca, to procure a force from thence to fall upon him suddenly.
The king smiled at this, saying that he need fear no strength that could come from Malacca, as all the force they had there was quite insufficient to do the English any harm. Then said the general, that he did not fear their strength or what they could do against him; but as they would know when he was to go to sea, the ambassador would send them notice to keep in port, so that he would be unable to do them harm; wherefore he entreated the king to arrest two of the ambassador's servants that were to go for Malacca in a few days, not meaning to sail from Acheen, but to go thence to another port of the king's, and there to hire a bark for Malacca. "Well," said the king, "let me know when they depart from hence, and thou shall see what I will do for thee." The general now took leave of the king, well pleased with his friendly intentions, and continued his daily conferences with his hen-merchant, so that he became privy to everything that was either done or said in the ambassador's house.
When the time was come, the ambassador's servants went away to a port about twenty-five leagues from Acheen; upon which the general went immediately to inform the king, who had already given proper orders, so that, on their arrival at the port, when they had hired a vessel in which they embarked with their letters, and were even going over the bar a mile from the town, a galley went after them, and caused the bark to strike sail, that the justice might see what was their lading. On the justice coming on board, and seeing the two Portuguese, he asked whence they came and whither they were going? They answered, that they came from Acheen, being in the service of the Portuguese ambassador. "Nay," said the justice, "but you have robbed your master and run away with his goods; wherefore I shall return you again to him, that you may answer for your conduct." In this confusion they lost their plots and letters, their trunks having been broke open; and they were sent back to Acheen to the king, to be delivered to the ambassador, if they belonged to him. The general was immediately sent for to court, and asked by the king if he were satisfied; on which he gave the king humble and hearty thanks for his friendship in the business. The merchant of hens continued to come daily to our house with his goods; and the general suspected, not without his master's knowledge, as indeed he afterwards confessed, to carry news from us as well as bringing us intelligence.
It was now September, and summer being past, and the general intending to go to sea to seek for means to supply his necessities, was like to have been crossed worse than ever. The Portuguese ambassador had got his dispatches of leave from the king, and was about to go from Acheen; which coming to the knowledge of our general, he went immediately to court, where the king sat looking at certain sports which were made for his amusement. The general sent his interpreter to request permission to speak with the king, who immediately called him, desiring to know what he wished. "It has pleased your majesty," said the general, "to shew me many courtesies, by which I am emboldened to entreat one more favour." "What is that?" said the king, smiling: "Are there any more Portuguese going to Malacca to hinder your proceedings?" "The ambassador himself," said the general, "as I am given to understand, has received your majesty's dispatches, with licence to go when he pleases, and is determined to go in five days." Then, said the king, "What would you have me do?" To this the general replied, "Only stay him for ten days after I have sailed." "Well," said the king, laughing, "you must bring me a fair Portuguese maiden at your return."
With this answer the general took his leave, and made all the haste he could to be gone, having recommended the factors during his absence to the protection and favour of the king, and to purchase pepper, to help out the loading of the Ascension, which was now more than three parts laden; yet he did not choose to leave her behind, as the road was open. When all the three ships were nearly ready, the captain of a Holland ship, called the Sheilberge, then in the roads, requested permission of the general to join company with him, and take part in the adventure upon which he was going. This ship was above 200 tons burden; but her captain was as short of money in proportion as we were, and was therefore desirous of a chance of making some addition to his stock; and as our general was content to have his aid, he agreed to let him have an eighth part of what might be taken. The general then went to take leave of the king, to whom he presented two of the chief merchants, Messrs Starkie and Styles, whom the king graciously took under his protection, as they and some others were to remain behind to provide pepper against the return of the ships.
We sailed on the 11th September, 1602, steering our course for the straits of Malacca; but, before giving an account of this adventure, I shall relate how the king dealt with the Portuguese ambassador after our departure. Every day the ambassador urgently pressed for permission to depart; but still, on one pretence or another, the king delayed his voyage; till at last, twenty-four days after our departure, the king said to him, "I wonder at your haste to be gone, considering that the English ambassador is at sea with his ships, for if he meet you he will do you some wrong or violence." "I care little for him," said the ambassador, "for my frigate is small and nimble, with sails and oars; and if I were only her length from the Englishman, I could easily escape all his force." The king then gave him his dispatch, and allowed him to depart. This delay served well for us, for had he got away in time, such advices would have been sent from Malacca into the straits by frigates, that all ships would have had warning to avoid us: but by detaining the ambassador, we lay within 25 leagues of Malacca, and were never descried.
While we lay in the straits of Malacca, on the 3rd October, the Hector espied a sail, and calling to us, we all saw her likewise. Being towards night, the general directed us to spread out in a line, a mile and a half from each other, that she might not pass us in the night. During the night the strange sail fell in with the Hector, which first espied her. The captain immediately hailed her to surrender, firing two or three shots to bring her to; so that the rest of our ships were apprized of where she was, and all gathered about her, firing at her with their cannon, which she returned. On the coming up of the admiral, which shot off six pieces at once out of her prow, the main-yard of the chase fell down, so that she could not escape. The admiral now ordered all our ships to discontinue firing, lest some unfortunate shot might strike between wind and water, and sink our expected prize; so we lay by her till morning without any more fighting. At break of day, the captain of the chase, and some of his men, went into his boat; on which the Hector, being nearest, called to them to come to his ship. Mr. John Middleton, the captain of the Hector, being vice-admiral, brought the boat and captain immediately aboard the general, to whom they surrendered their ship and goods.
The general gave immediate orders to remove all the principal men of the prize on board our ships, and only placed four of our men in the prize, for fear of rifling and pillaging the valuable commodities she contained, and gave these men strict warning, if any thing were amissing, that they should answer for the value out of their wages and shares, ordering them on no account to allow any one to come on board the prize, unless with his permission. When the prize was unloaded, her own boatswain and mariners did the whole work, none of our men being allowed to go on board even to assist. They only received the goods into our boats, carrying them to such ships as they were directed by the general; by which orderly proceeding there was neither rifling, pillaging, nor spoil, which could hardly have been otherwise avoided in such a business. Within five or six days we had unladen her of 950 packs of calicoes and pintados, or chintzes, besides many packages of other merchandise. She had likewise much rice and other goods, of which we made small account: And as a storm now began to blow, all their men were put on board, and we left her riding at anchor. She came from San Thome, [or Meliapour near Madras,] in the bay of Bengal, and was going to Malacca, being of the burden of about 900 tons. When we intercepted her, there were on board 600 persons, including men, women, and children.
The general would never go on board to see her, that there might be no suspicion, either among our mariners, or the merchants in London, of any dishonest dealing on his part, by helping himself to any part of her goods. He was exceeding glad and thankful to God for this good fortune, which had eased him of a heavy care, as it not only supplied his necessities, to enable him to load his ships, but gave him sufficient funds for loading as many more; so that now his care was not about money, but how he should leave these goods, having so much more than enough, till the arrival of other ships from England.
The 21st October, we began our voyage from the straits of Malacca to return to Acheen; and by the way there came a great spout of water, pouring from the heavens, and fell not far from our ship, to our extreme terror. These spouts come pouring down like a river of water; so that, if they were to fall upon a ship, she would be in imminent danger of sinking downright; as the water falls all at once like one vast drop, or as a prodigious stream poured from a vessel, and with extreme violence, sometimes enduring for an hour together, so that the sea boils and foams to a great height.
§ 5. Presents to and from the King of Acheen, and his Letters to Queen Elizabeth. Their Departure to Priaman and Bantam, and Settlement of Trade at these Places.
We again cast anchor in the road of Acheen, on the 24th of October, when the general went immediately on shore, and found all our merchants well and in safety, giving great commendations of the kind entertainment they had from the king in the absence of the general. On this account, the general, willing to gratify the king with some of the most valuable articles taken in the prize, selected a present of such things as he thought might be most to his liking, and presented them to him on his first going to court. The king received the present very graciously, and welcomed the general on his return, seeming to be much pleased with his success against the Portuguese; but jestingly added, that the general had forgotten his most important commission, which was to bring back with him a fair Portuguese maid. To this the general replied, that there were none worthy of being offered. The king smiled, and said, if there were any thing in his dominions that could gratify the general, he should be most welcome to have it.
The merchants were now directed to ship in the Ascension, all the pepper, cinnamon, and cloves they had bought in the absence of the ships, which was scarcely enough to complete her loading; but there was no more to be had at the time, nor could any more be expected that year. The general, therefore, ordered everything to be conveyed on board the ships, as he was resolved to depart from Acheen, and to sail for Bantam in Java Major, where he understood good sale might be procured for his commodities, and a great return of pepper at a much more reasonable price than at Acheen. Upon this order being promulgated, every person made haste to get their things embarked.
The general went to court, and communicated to the king his intentions of departing, and had a long conference with his majesty, who delivered to him a complimentary letter for the Queen of England. A present was likewise delivered to him for the queen, consisting of three fine vestments, richly woven and embroidered with gold of exquisite workmanship, and a fine ruby set in a gold ring, the whole enclosed in a red box of Tzin. He likewise presented the general with another ruby set in a ring, and when about to take leave, he asked the general if we had the Psalms of David extant among us. On being told that we had, and sang them daily, he said, that he and his nobles would sing a psalm to God for our prosperous voyage, which they did very reverently. He then desired that we might sing another psalm in our own language; and being about twelve of us present, we sang a psalm. That being ended, the general took leave of the king, who shewed him much kindness at his departure, desiring God to bless us during our voyage, and to guide us safely to our country; adding, that if any of our ships should come hereafter to his ports, they might depend on receiving as kind treatment as we had got.
All our goods and men being shipped, we departed from Acheen on the 9th November, 1602, with three ships, the Dragon, Hector, and Ascension, the Susan having been long before sent to Priaman. We kept company for two days, in which time the general prepared his letters for England, sending them away in the Ascension, which now directed her course by the Cape of Good Hope for England; while we steered along the south-western coast of Sumatra in our way to Bantam, meaning to look for the Susan, which had been sent formerly to endeavour to procure a loading on that coast. While in this course we suddenly fell in among a number of islands in the night, and when the morning dawned were astonished how we had got in among them, without seeing or running upon any of them. They were all low land, environed with rocks and shoals, so that we were in great danger; but thanks be to God, who had delivered us from many dangers, and enabled us to extricate ourselves from the present difficulty. Continuing our course, we passed the equinoctical line for the third time, and coming to Priaman, the 26th November, we rejoined the Susan, which the general had sent there from Acheen to load with pepper.
The people of the Susan were rejoiced at our arrival, having already provided 600 bahars of pepper, and sixty-six bahars of cloves. Pepper was cheaper here than at Acheen, though none grows in the neighbourhood of this port, being all brought from a place called Manangcabo, eight or ten leagues within the country; which place has no other merchandise, except a considerable store of gold in dust and small grains, which is washed out of the sands of rivers after the great floods of the rainy season, by which it is brought down from the mountains. Priaman is a good place of refreshment, and is very pleasant and healthy, though it lies within 15' of the line. Having refreshed ourselves here with good air, fresh victuals, and water, the general left orders for the Susan to complete her loading in all speed, which wanted only a few hundred bahars of pepper, and then to proceed direct for England.
Leaving the Susan at Priaman, we left that place with the Dragon and Hector on the 4th December, directing our course for Bantam in Java. Entering the straits of Sunda, the 15th December, we came to anchor under an island three leagues from Bantam, called Pulo Pansa. Next morning we got into the road of Bantam, and fired a great peal of ordnance from our two ships, the like of which had never been heard in that place before. Next morning, the general sent Captain John Middleton on shore with a message for the king, to say that he, the general, was sent by the Queen of England with a letter and message for his majesty, and required his majesty's licence and safe conduct to come on shore to deliver them. The king sent back word that he was glad of his arrival, sending a nobleman along with Captain Middleton to welcome the general, and accompany him on shore. Taking about sixteen attendants, the general went on shore with this nobleman to the court, where he found the king, being a boy of ten or eleven years of age, sitting in a round house, surrounded in some decent state by sixteen or eighteen of his nobles. The general made his obeisance after the custom of the country, and was welcomed very kindly by the young king. After some conference about his message, he delivered the queen's letter into the king's hands, and made him a present of plate and some other things, which the king received with a smiling countenance, and referred the general for farther conference to one of his nobles, who was protector or regent of the kingdom in his minority.
After a conference of an hour and a half; the regent in the king's name received the general and all his company under the king's protection, with perfect freedom to come on land, to buy and sell without molestation, assuring him of as great security as in his own country, to all which the other nobles gave their consent and assurance. There passed many discourses upon other topics at this conference, which I omit troubling the reader with for the sake of brevity; my purpose being to shew the effect of this first settlement of trade in the East Indies, rather than to be tediously particular. After this kind welcome and satisfactory conference, the general took his leave of the king and nobles, and immediately gave orders for providing houses, of which he had the king's authority to make choice to his liking. Within two days, the merchants brought their goods ashore, and began to make sales; but one of the nobles came to the general, saying, that it was the custom of the place, for the king to buy and provide himself before the subjects could purchase any thing. The general readily consented to this arrangement, being informed that the king would give a reasonable price and make punctual payment.
When the king was served, the merchants went on with their sales, and in a few weeks sold more goods than would have sufficed to purchase loading for both ships, yet we only brought away from thence 276 bags of pepper, each containing sixty-two pounds. Each bag cost at first rate 5-1/2 ryals of eight, of 4s. 6d. being £1:4:9 per bag, or something less than 5d. a pound. This was, however, besides duty of anchorage and custom to the king. By agreement with the Sabander or governor of the city, the general paid as anchorage duty for the two ships, 1500 ryals of eight; and one ryal of eight as custom for each bag of pepper. We traded here very peaceably, though the Javans are reckoned the greatest thieves in the world: But; after having received one or two abuses, the general had authority from the king to put to death whoever was found about his house in the night, and after four or five were thus slain, we lived in reasonable peace and quiet, yet had continually to keep strict watch all night.
We went on with our trade, so that by the 10th February, 1603, our ships were fully laden and ready to depart. In the mean time, Mr. John Middleton, captain of the Hector, fell sick on board his ship in the road. For, from the very first of our voyage, the general made it an invariable rule, if he were ashore, that the vice-admiral must be on board, and vice versa, that both might not be at one time from their charge. Hearing of his sickness, the general went aboard to visit him, and found him much weaker than he himself felt or suspected, which experience in these hot climates had taught our general to know; for, although Captain Middleton was then walking about the deck, he died about two o'clock next morning.
The general now proceeded to put every thing in order for our speedy departure, and appointed a pinnace of about 40 tons, which we had, to be laden with commodities, putting into her twelve mariners with certain merchants, whom he sent to the Moluccas, to trade there and settle a factory, against the arrival of the next ships from England. He likewise left eight men and three factors in Bantam, Mr. William Starkie being head factor; whom he appointed to sell such commodities as were left, and to provide loading for the next ships. Everything being arranged, the general went to court to take his leave of the king, from whom he received a letter for Queen Elizabeth, with a present of some fine bezoar stones. To the general he gave a handsome Java dagger, which is much esteemed there, a good bezoar stone, and some other things. After this the general took leave of the king, with many courteous expressions on both sides.
§ 6. Departure for England, and Occurrences in the Voyage.
We all embarked on the 20th February, 1603, shot off our ordnance, and set sail for England, giving thanks to God with joyful hearts for his merciful protection. We were in the straits of Sunda on the 22d and 23d of that month, and on the 26th we got clear of all the islands in these straits and of the land, shaping our course S.W. so that on the 28th we were in lat. 8° 40' S. On Sunday the 13th March, we were past the tropic of Capricorn, holding our course mostly S.W. with a stiff gale at S.E. The 14th April we were in lat. 34° S. judging the great island of Madagascar to be north of us. We had a great and furious storm on the 28th, which forced us to take in all our sails. This storm continued a day and night, during which the sea so raged that none of us expected our ships to live; but God, in his infinite mercy, calmed the violence of the storm, and gave us opportunity to repair the losses and injuries we had received; but our ships were so shaken by the violence of the wind and waves, that they continued leaky all the rest of the voyage.
We had another great storm on the 3d May, which continued all night, and did so beat on the quarter of our ship that it shook all the iron work of our rudder, which broke clean off next morning from our stern, and instantly sunk. This misfortune filled all our hearts with fear, so that the best and most experienced among us knew not what to do, especially seeing ourselves in so tempestuous a sea, and a so stormy place, so that I think there be few worse in the world. Our ship now drove about at the mercy of the winds and waves like a wreck, so that we were sometimes within a few leagues of the Cape of Good Hope, when a contrary wind came and drove us almost into 40° S. among hail, snow, and sleety cold weather. This was a great misery to us, and pinched us sore with cold, having been long used to hot weather. All this while the Hector carefully kept by us, which was some comfort, and many times the master of the Hector came aboard our ship to consult upon what could be done. At length it was concluded to put our mizen-mast out at a stern port, to endeavour to steer our ship into some place where we might make and hang a new rudder to carry us home. This device, was however to little purpose; for, when we had fitted it and put it out into the sea, it did so lift up with the strength of the waves, and so shook the stem of our ship, as to put us in great danger, so that we were glad to use all convenient haste to get the mast again into the ship.
We were now apparently without hope or remedy, unless we made a new rudder, and could contrive to hang it at sea, which may easily be judged was no easy matter, in so dangerous a sea, and our ship being of seven or eight hundred tons. But necessity compelled us to try all possible means. The general ordered our carpenters to make a new rudder of the mizen-mast; but there was this great obstacle, that we had lost all our rudder-irons along with the old rudder: Yet we proceeded with all expedition; One of our men dived, to search what might remain of our rudder-irons on the stern port, who found but two, and another that was broken. Yet, with God's help, finding a fair day, we made fast our new rudder, and were able to make sail homewards. Within three or four hours, the sea took it off again, and we had great difficulty to save it, losing another of our irons, so that only two now remained to hang it by, and our men began to propose quitting the ship and going on board the Hector to save themselves. "Nay," said the general, "we will abide God's leisure, and see what mercy he will shew us; for I do not yet despair to save ourselves, the ship, and the goods, by some means which God will appoint." With that, he went into his cabin, and wrote a letter for England, proposing to send it by the Hector, commanding her to continue her voyage and leave us; but not one of our ship's company knew of this command. The tenor of the letter was as follows, little more or less, addressed to the Governor and Company:
What hath passed in this voyage, and what trades I have settled for the company, and what other events have befallen us, you shall understand by the bearers hereof, to whom (as occasion has fallen) I must refer you, I shall strive with all diligence to save my ship and her goods, as you may perceive by the course I take in venturing my own life, and those that are with me. I cannot tell where you should look for me, if you send any pinnace to seek me; because I live at the devotion of the winds and seas. And that, fare you well, praying God to send us a merry meeting in this world, if it be his good will and pleasure.
The passage to the_ East India _lieth in 62 1/2 degrees, by the north-west on the America side.
Your very loving friend,
When this letter was delivered to the Hector, together with his orders for her departure, the general expected she would have gone off from us in the night, according to instructions; but when he espied her in the morning, he said to me that they regarded no orders. But the Hector kept some two or three leagues from us, not coming any nearer; for the master was an honest and good man, who loved our general, and was loth to leave him in such great distress. It was now incumbent upon us to try every means to save ourselves and the ship. Our carpenter mended our new rudder, and in a few days the weather became somewhat fair and the sea smooth. So we made a signal for the Hector to come near, out of which came the master, Mr Sander Cole, bringing the best swimmers and divers belonging to his ship, who helped us materially in our work. By the blessing of God, we hung our rudder again on the two remaining hooks, and then had some hope of being able to fetch some port for our relief.
We were sore beaten to and fro in these raging seas, and had many more storms than are here expressed, sometimes for a whole month together, so that our men began to fall sick, and the wind was so scant that we could fetch no port on the coast of Africa, which was the nearest land. Committing ourselves therefore into the hands of God, we made sail for the island of St. Helena, knowing that we were to the westwards of the Cape of Good Hope, especially by the height we were now in to the northward. While in this course our main-yard fell down, and drove one of our men into the sea, where he was drowned; this being the last of our misfortunes. The 5th June, we passed the tropic of Capricorn, and in the morning of the 16th we got sight of St. Helena to our great joy. We bore close along shore, to get to the best part of the road, where we came to anchor in twelve fathoms water, right over against a chapel which the Portuguese had built there long since.
When we went ashore, we found by many writings, that the Portuguese caraks had departed from thence only eight days before our arrival. In this island there are excellent refreshments to be had, especially water and wild goats; but the latter are hard to be got at, unless good means are followed. For this purpose the general selected four stout active men, the best marksmen among our people, who were directed to go into the middle of the island, each of these having four men to attend him, and to carry the goats he killed to an appointed place, whence every day twenty men went to bring them to the ships. By this plan there was no hooting or hallooing about the island to scare the goats, and the ships were plentifully supplied to the satisfaction of all. While we remained here, we refitted our ships as well as we could, and overhauled our temporary rudder, securing it so effectually that we had good hope it might last us home. All our sick men recovered their health, through the abundance of goats and hogs we procured for their refreshment. Indeed all of us stood in great need of fresh provisions, having seen no laud in three months, but being continually beaten about at sea.
We departed from St. Helena on the 5th July, steering N.W., and passed the island of Ascension, in lat. 8° S., on the 13th. No ships touch at this island, for it is altogether barren and without water; only that it abounds with fish all around in deep water, where there is ill riding for ships. Holding our course still N.W. with the wind at E. and S.E. till the 19th of that month, we then passed the equator, and on the 24th were in lat. 6° N. at which time we judged ourselves to be 150 leagues from the coast of Guinea. We then steered N. by W. and N. till the 29th, when we got sight of the island of Fuego, one of the Cape Verds, where we were becalmed five days, striving to pass to the eastwards of this island, but could not, for the wind changed to the N.E. so that we had to steer W.N.W. We were in lat. 16° N. on the 7th August, and on the 12th we passed the tropic of Cancer, in lat. 23° 30' N., holding our course to the north. The 23d the wind came westerly; and on the 29th we passed St Mary, the southeasternmost of the Azores, with a fair wind. We had soundings on the 7th September, 1603, the coast of England being then 40 leagues from us by our reckoning; and we arrived in the Downs on the 11th of that month, where we came safe to anchor. For which we thanked the Almighty God, who hath delivered us from infinite perils and dangers, in this long and tedious navigation; having been, from the 2d April, 1601, when we sailed from Torbay, two years five months and nine days absent from England.
[Footnote 85: Purch. Pilgr. I. 147. Astl. I. 262.]
[Footnote 86: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 129.]
[Footnote 87: Id. I. 130.]
[Footnote 88: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 131.]
[Footnote 89: Id. I. 133.]
[Footnote 90: Id. I.146.]
[Footnote 91: Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 153.]
[Footnote 92: Astl. I. 262., a and b.]
[Footnote 93: This ship, originally called the Malice Scourge, was purchased from the Earl of Cumberland for 3,700l.--Ann. of the H.E.I. Co. I. 128.]
[Footnote 94: In these early voyages the chief commander is usually styled general, and the ship in which he sailed the admiral.--E.]
[Footnote 95: This person is called by Purchas chief governor. Perhaps the conduct of commercial affairs was confided to his care.--E.]
[Footnote 96: The burden of this ship was 240 tons.--Ann. I. 129.]
[Footnote 97: Besides there was a pinnace of 100 tons and 40 men.--Ann. I. 129.]
[Footnote 98: In many of the old voyages, this distinction is made between mariners and sailors: Unless a mere pleonasm, it may indicate able and ordinary seamen; or the former may designate the officers of all kinds, and the latter the common men.--E.]
[Footnote 99: Perhaps the pinnace already mentioned.--E.]
[Footnote 100: At this time, and for long after, there was a strangely confused way of dating the years, which were considered as beginning at Lady-day, the 25th of March. Hence, what we would now reckon the year 1601, from the 1st January to the 24th March inclusive, retained the former date of 1600. The voyage actually commenced on the 13th February, 1601, according to our present mode of reckoning.--E.]
[Footnote 101: It will appear distinctly in the sequel of these voyages, that the place then named Saldanha, or Saldania bay, was what is now termed Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope.--E.]
[Footnote 102: Probably wheaten meal or flour.--E.]
[Footnote 103: In a marginal note, Purchas gives the lat. of Saldanha bay as 34° S. The place then called Saldanha bay was certainly Table bay, the entrance to which is in 33° 50' S. So that Purchas is here sufficiently, accurate.--E.]
[Footnote 104: At this period, and for long afterwards, mariners estimated their longitudes by dead reckonings, or by the observed variations of the compass; both very uncertain guides.--E.]
[Footnote 105: This island of Maroise is in lat. 15° 10' S. and almost in the same longitude with the isle of St. Mary, being 62 English miles from its northern extremity.--E.]
[Footnote 106: The Speaker bank, in long. 78° E. is nearly in the indicated latitude.--E.]
[Footnote 107:4 There are two islands called Candu, very small, and direct N. and S. of each other, in lat. 50° 40' S. long. 78° E. and less than half a degree N.N.E. is a small group called the Adu islands, surrounded by a reef--E.]
[Footnote 108: So called, because on the north end of the largest island of the cluster there is a hill resembling the top of an umbrella--ASTL. I. 267. a.]
[Footnote 109: A case of handsomely mounted pistols.--E.]
[Footnote 110: In the Pilgrims this letter is given at full length; but, being merely complimentary, is here only abridged.--E.]
[Footnote 111: As the grand Turk has his Mufti, so other Mahomedan princes have their chief priests in all countries of that profession.--Purch.]
[Footnote 112: A long train of formal particulars are here omitted, as tedious and uninteresting.--E.]
[Footnote 113: Frigates, in the present day, are single-decked ships of war, of not less than 20 guns: The term seems then to have been applied to a swift-sailing vessel of small size and force; and is frequently applied to armed or even unarmed barks or grabs, small Malabar vessels employed by the Portuguese for trade and war.--E.]
[Footnote 114: Purchas gives a copy of this letter, as translated from the Arabic by William Bedwell. It is long, tedious, and merely composed of hyperbolical compliment; and therefore omitted.--E.]
[Footnote 115: This was probably a casket of red Chinese lacker or varnish, usually denominated "Japanned."--E.]
[Footnote 116: This officer, as his title implies, which ought to be written Shah-bander, is lord of the port or harbour.--E.]
[Footnote 117: At the commencement of this article, the burden of the Dragon is only stated at 600 tons.--E.]
[Footnote 118: This latter paragraph obviously refers to the ignis fatuus of a northwest passage by sea to India, to be noticed in an after part of this work.--E.]
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