Volume 8, Chapter 10 -- Early Voyages of the English to India, after the Establishment of the East India Company: *section index*

Volume 8, Chapter 10, Section 3 -- Second Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1604, under the Command of Captain Henry Middleton.[152]


There are two relations of this voyage in the Pilgrims of Purchas, or rather accounts of two separate voyages by different ships of the fleet; which consisted of four, the Red Dragon, admiral, Captain Henry Middleton general; the Hector, vice-admiral, Captain Sorflet; the Ascension, Captain Colthurst; and the Susan. These were, in all probability, the same ships which had been in the former voyage under Lancaster. The former of these journals, written on board the admiral, confines itself chiefly to Captain Middleton's transactions at Bantam and the Moluccas; having sent Captain Colthurst in the Ascension to Banda. The latter contains the separate transactions of Captain Colthurst, and is described as a brief extract from a larger discourse written by Thomas Clayborne, who seems to have sailed in the Ascension; and, besides describing what particularly relates to the trip to Banda, gives some general account of the whole voyage. In the Pilgrims of Purchas, these narratives are transposed, the former being given in vol. I. p. 703, and the latter in vol. I. p. 185. "But should have come in due place before, being the second voyage of the company, if we had then had it: But better late than never." Such is the excuse of Purchas for misplacement, and we have therefore here placed the two relations in their proper order, in separate subdivisions of the section. The first indeed is a very bald and inconclusive article, and gives hardly any information respecting the object and success of the voyage to the Moluccas.

§ 1. Voyage of the General Henry Middleton, afterward Sir Henry, to Bantam and the Moluccas, in 1604.[153]

Being furnished with all necessaries, and having taken leave of the company, we set sail from Gravesend on the 25th March, 1604, and arrived about the 20th December, after various accidents, in the road of Bantam, with our crews very weak and sickly. After many salutations, and interchange of ordnance between us and the Hollanders, the general of the Hollanders dined with our general on the 31st December. Next day, being 1st January, 1605, the general went on shore with a letter and presents from James I. King of England, to the King of Bantam, then a youth of thirteen years of age, and governed by a protector. The 16th of the same month, our general came on board to proceed for the Moluccas, having appointed Captain Surtlet to go home in the Hector. The 7th February, we anchored under the shore of Veranula, the people of which having a deadly hatred against the Portuguese, had sent to the Hollanders for aid against them, promising to become their subjects if they would expel the Portuguese. In short, the castle of Amboyna was surrendered to the Hollanders; after which, by their command, the governor of the town debarred us from all trade.

At this time there was war between the islands of Ternate and Tidor, the former assisted by the Dutch, and the latter by the Portuguese. Shortly after we got near the coast of Tidor, we saw, between Pulo Canally and Tidor, two galleys or coracoras belonging to Ternate, making great haste towards us; and waving for us to shorten sail and wait for them. At the same time, seven galleys of Tidor were rowing between us and the shore to assault the Ternaters; and seeing them in danger, our general lay to, to see what was the matter. In the foremost of the two galleys were the King of Ternate with several of his nobles, and three Dutch merchants, who were in great fear of their enemies, and prayed our general for God's sake to save them from the Tidorians, who would shew them no mercy if we did not protect them: They likewise entreated him to save the other coracora, which followed them, in which were several Dutchmen, who expected nothing but death if taken by their cruel enemies. Our general thereupon commanded his gunner to fire at the Tidor gallies; yet they boarded the second Ternate coracora even under our guns, and put all on board to the sword, except three; who saved themselves by swimming, and were taken up by our boat.

Being determined to go to Tidor, the Dutchmen entreated our general not to allow the King of Ternate and them to fall into the hands of their enemies, from whom he had so lately delivered them; promising him mountains of cloves and other commodities at Ternate and Makeu, but performing mole-hills, verifying the proverb, "When the danger is over the saint is deceived." One thing I may not forget: When the King of Ternate came on board, he was trembling for fear; which the general supposing to be from cold, put on his back a black damask gown laced with gold, and lined with unshorn velvet; which he had not the manners to restore at his departure, but kept it as his own.

When we arrived at the Portuguese town in Tidor, the governor of the fort sent one Thomas de Torres on board with a letter, stating that the King of Ternate and the Hollanders reported there was nothing but treachery and villainy to be expected from us; but that he believed better of us; considering their reports to be entirely malicious: Such was our recompence from these ungrateful men. Not long afterwards, on coming to the town of the King of Ternate, our general sent Mr Grave on board the Dutch admiral, who gave him only cold entertainment, affirming that we had assisted the Portuguese in the late wars against the King of Ternate and them, with ordnance and ammunition; which our general proved to be untrue by some Portuguese they had taken in that conflict, on which, being ashamed of this slander, the Dutch general pretended he had been so informed by a renegado Guzerate, but did not believe it to be true.

Not long afterwards, when the King of Ternate seemed to affect [[=incline toward]] our nation, the Dutch threatened to forsake him, and to join with his deadly enemy the King of Tidor, if he suffered the English to have a factory, or allowed them any trade; affirming that the English were thieves and robbers, and that the King of Holland, as they called their stadtholder, was stronger at sea than all the other powers of Christendom; a just consideration for all nations, to think what this insolent frothy nation[154] will do, if they gain possession of the East Indies. To these insolent speeches, our general made answer, that whatsoever Hollander made such reports lied like a traitor, and that he would make it good against any one who dared to spread any such report; affirming, if Queen Elizabeth had not taken pity upon them, they had been utterly ruined and enslaved by the King of Spain, and branded for rebels and traitors. The particular wrongs done by them to our nation would fill volumes, and amaze the world to hear.

       *       *       *       *       *

Appended to this very unsatisfactory notice of the voyage of Middleton to the Moluccas, are two letters to the King of England, one from the King of Ternate, and one from the King of Tidor. In the former, the King of Ternate mentions that one of his predecessors, about thirty years before, had sent a ring by Sir Francis Drake to Queen Elizabeth. He complains that the Hollanders had prevented him from permitting Captain Middleton to establish a factory in the island, for which he craves pardon, being against his will, and promises a better reception afterwards to the English ships.

The letter from the King of Tidor requests the King of England to take pity of him, and not permit him and his country to be oppressed by the Hollanders and the King of Ternate, but to send him succours, which he requests may be under the command of Captain Henry Middleton or his brother.

There is a third letter likewise, from the King of Bantam to King James, acknowledging having received a present by Captain Henry Middleton, and announcing that he had sent in return, two bezoars, one weighing fourteen mas, and the other three.

§ 2. Voyage of Captain Colthurst, in the Ascension, to Banda.[155]

The 2d of April, 1604, we had sight of the Lizard. The 23d we fell in with the western part of St .Jago bearing W. by N. six leagues; when we stood eastward for Mayo, having the wind at north. The 24th we fell in with Mayo, and stood to the southward of that island, coming to anchor in fifteen fathoms. We landed on the 25th, when one of our merchants was taken by the people of the island. Next day we landed 100 men to endeavour to recover our merchant, but could not get near any of the islanders, so that we had to leave him behind, setting sail that night with the wind at north. We passed the equinoctial on the 16th May, and got sight of the Cape of Good Hope on the 18th July.

The 17th July we came to anchor in Saldanha bay, in lat. 33° 56' S. or 34°, having sixty men bad of the scurvy, all of whom, God be praised, recovered their health before we went from thence, where we remained five weeks wanting one day. Here Mr Cole was drowned, who was master of the Hector, our vice-admiral. We weighed anchor from Saldanha bay on the 20th August, standing to the westwards with the wind at south. On Sunday the 23d December, 1604, we came to anchor in Bantam roads, where we found six ships of Holland, and three or four pinnaces. The 18th January, 1605, we sailed out of Bantam roads, with the Dragon and Ascension, but parted at Amboyna, the general going with the Dragon to the Moluccas, while the Ascension, Captain Colthurst, went for Banda, The Hector and Susan laded pepper at Bantam, and sailed thence for England about the middle of February.

We arrived in the Ascension at Banda on the 20th February, and anchored in 4-1/2 fathoms beside Nera, the principal place in these islands. From the south part of Amboyna to Banda, the course is E. by S. and to the southwards, 30 leagues. The latitude of Banda is 4° 40' N. and the going in is to the westwards. There is a very high hill which burns continually, which hill must be left to larboard, having the great island on the starboard. The entry is very narrow, and cannot be seen till within half a mile; but you may stand fearlessly to within two cables' length of the island on which is the high hill, for so you must do, and will have 20 fathoms. Then stand along that island, at the distance of a cable's length, if the wind permit, when you will find the water shoaling, 8, 7, 6 fathoms, and 5 in the narrowest part, which depth continues till you get into the road of Nera. With God's help, a man may go in without danger, keeping near the before-mentioned island. It is somewhat shallow on the starboard side of the narrow passage, but that will shew itself. There are two small islands, Pulo-way and Pulo-rin, about three leagues west of this entrance, but there is no danger about them that is not quite obvious; and you may leave these islands on either side you find convenient, either in going in or out.

At this place we found the wind variable about the middle of March, and it so continued till about the middle of April; when it became stationary between E. and S.E. four months to our knowledge: But, as the people of the country say, it continues so for five mouths; and likewise five months between W. and N.W. the other two months being variable. In the dark moons, they have here much gusty weather with rains. We staid here twenty-one weeks and six days, in which time eleven of our men died, mostly of the flux.

We sailed from Banda the 21st July, 1605, having the wind at E.S.E. and stood to the westwards. The 22d we fell in with the south end of Bourro. The 27th we fell in with Deselem, and then came about to the south end of the island, leaving seven islands to starboard. We then stood close by the wind to the northward, hard by the main island of Deselem, to clear ourselves of a small island, and a shoal off the S.W. part of Deselem; then, leaving this island, and all the other shoals on our larboard side, we stood N.N.W. along the W. side of Deselem, till we came into the latitude of 6° 10' S. Then steered 18 leagues west, and fell in with the shoal off the S.W. point of Celebes, the very southmost part of which is in lat. 6° S. [only 5° 45'], and being clear of that, we steered westwards, coming to anchor in Bantam roads on the 16th August.

We set sail from Bantam on the 6th October, the Dragon and Ascension in company. The 15th November, we were in lat. 31° 48' S., the wind W.N.W., thick foggy weather, when about 10 a.m. we came within our ship's length of a rock or sunken island, on which the water appeared very brown and muddy, and in some places very blue. When a ship's breadth or two to the north of it, the water by the ship's side was very black and thick, as though it had earth or coarse sand boiling up from the bottom. The variation here was 21 degrees westerly. The 16th December, in lat. 34° 20' S. we had sight of the land of Ethiopia [Africa], about 12 leagues from us. The 26th, being in lat. 34° 30' S. and within one league of the Cape of Good Hope, we steered N.W. and N.N.W. and N. going round the Cape.

The 27th we came to anchor in Saldanha bay, where we found our admiral and the Hector. Our admiral had fallen in with that ship seven days before, driving up and down at sea, about four leagues from the Cape of Good Hope, having only ten men in her; all the rest, to the number of 53, having died since leaving Bantam nine months before. Being in great distress, three months after leaving Bantam, she lost company with the Susan, which ship was never heard of afterwards. We came to anchor at Saldanha bay in seven fathoms' water, having the low point going in N.W. by W. the sugar-loaf S.W. half W. the point of the breach of the Penguin island N.W. by N. the hill between the sugar-loaf and the low point, W.S.W. and the peak of the hill to the eastward of the Table S. by E.

In the morning of the 16th January, 1606, we sailed from Saldanha bay, going to the northward of Penguin island, between it and the main. We sounded when we had the land south from us about a mile and a half, and had ground at 20 fathoms, white coral and broken shells. On clearing the island, we stood W. by S. and W.S.W. till we brought the island to bear S.E. by E., being now about six in the evening, when we saw the Hector coming out by the south side of the island, having left her at anchor when we weighed. The wind being at S. we stood all night westwards, and in the morning had lost company with the Hector, when we steered N.W. with little sail till noon, thinking to get sight of the Hector, but could not. The 1st February, in lat. 16° 20' S. we had sight of St. Helena, 12 or 13 leagues N.W. The 2d, having the wind at S.E., we lay off and on east of the island the most part of the night, and in the following morning we stood to the north of the island, coming to anchor about noon in the road of St. Helena, in 20 fathoms, on blackish gravelly sand. We had a point of land to the N.E., a sharp hill like a sugar-loaf, with a cross upon it, N.E. by E,. the church in the valley S.E. In this valley there are many trees, the high land S.E. from the church, and the entire valley being full of trees. We moored S.E. and N.W., the anchor in the offing being in 21 fathoms.

At night of the 3d, we had sight of the Hector coming round the south end of the island, but she could not fetch into the road, yet stood to the northward as near as she could, having the wind at east. The 4th and 5th our boats went out to endeavour to help her into the road, but could not. Having a little wind on the 6th, our boats towed her in, bringing her to anchor in 35 fathoms, a mile and half from shore, bearing from us S.W. by W., distant about two leagues. The 11th we set sail from St. Helena, the wind at E.N.E. and steering N.W. The N.W. part of St. Helena is in lat. 16° S. and the variation is 7° 45'. The church, that bore S.E. of us when we were in the road, stands in the bottom of the fifth valley from that point which bore N.E. from us. We came to anchor in the Downs on the 6th May, 1606, where we lay at anchor eight days, waiting for a fair wind.

[Footnote 152: Purch. Pilgr. I.185, and I. 703. Astl. I.279, and I. 281.]
[Footnote 153: Purch. Pilgr. I.708. Astl. I. 279.]
[Footnote 154: This is to be understood of the merchants who traded, or warred rather; not of the whole country or best men of Holland. Losers will have leave to speak, and merchants envy each other.--Purch.]
[Footnote 155: Purch. Pilgr. I.185. Astl. I. 281.]


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