Volume 8, Chapter 10, Section 17 -- Tenth Voyage of the English East India Company, in 1612, written by Mr Thomas Best, chief Commander.
From the full tide of this voyage, in the Pilgrims, we learn that there were two ships employed in this tenth voyage, named the Dragon and the Hosiander, in which were about 380 persons; and these were accompanied by two other ships, the James and the Solomon, which belonged to other voyages, each voyage being then a separate adventure, and conducted by a separate subscription stock, as formerly explained in the introduction to the present chapter. We learn from other parts of the Pilgrims, that the James belonged to the ninth voyage, related immediately before this, and the Solomon to the eleventh, to be afterwards narrated.--E.
§1. Observations during the Voyage from England to Surat.
We sailed from Gravesend on the 1st of February, 1612. At noon on the 22nd March we made the latitude 15° 20' N., and at two p.m. were abreast of Mayo, one of the Cape Verd islands, being S.W. by S. about twelve leagues from Bonavista. To the N. and N.N.W. of Mayo the ground is all foul, and due north of the high hummocks a great ledge of rocks runs out from the land for five or six miles, a mile without [[=outside]] which ledge there are twenty fathoms water. On the west side of the island, you may borrow in twelve or fifteen fathoms, till you come into the road, where we anchored in twenty-four fathoms.
On the morning of the 28th March, we came close by an island in lat. 23° 30', and long. from the meridian of Mayo, 1° 50' E. We did not land upon this island, but came within two or three miles of it, and in my opinion there is hardly any anchorage to be found. It may probably produce some refreshment, as it certainly has wood, which we saw, and it may have water, as we observed a fair plain spot and very green on its southern part; but we could find no ground within two or three miles of its coast. E.N.E. some seven or eight leagues from this, there is another island; and E. by S. or E.S.E. from the first island, about four or five leagues, there are two or three white rocks.
We remained twenty-one days in Saldanha road, and bought for the three ships thirty-nine beeves and 115 sheep, which we paid for with a little brass cut out of two or three old kettles. We got the sheep for small pieces of thin brass, worth about a penny or three halfpence each; and the beeves in the same manner for about the value of twelve-pence apiece. This is an excellent place of refreshment, as besides abounding in beef and mutton, there is plenty of good fish, all kinds of fowls, and great store of fat deer, though we could not kill any of these. It has likewise excellent streams of fresh water, and a most healthful climate. We landed eighty or ninety sick, who were lodged in tents, and they all recovered their health in eighteen days, save one who died. From the 7th to the 28th June, when we set sail from Saldanha bay, we had continual fine weather, the sun being very warm, and the air pleasant and wholesome.
We sailed from Saldanha road on the 28th June, and were 100 leagues to the east of Cabo das Aguilhas before we found any current, but it was then strong. The 31st July at noon, we found the latitude 17° 8' S., our longitude being 20° 47' E., and at four p.m. we saw the island of Juan de Nova, distant four leagues E.S.E. Its size, and I think we saw it all, is about three or four miles long, all very low and rising from the sea like rocks. Off the west end we saw breakers, yet could not get ground with a line of 150 fathoms, sounding from our boat. The latitude of this island, observed with great accuracy, is 17°, and it seems well laid down in our charts, both in regard to latitude and longitude. It is a most sure sign of being near this island, when many sea fowl are seen, and we accordingly saw there ranch fowl, some white, having their wings tipped only with black, and others all black.
The 3rd August, in lat 13° 35' by observation, and longitude 22° 30' from the Cape, we saw Mal-Ilha, one of the Comoros, about twelve leagues off, having on the east part of it a very fair sugar-loaf hill. At the same time with this island, we had sight of that named Comoro, bearing N.N.W. by W. being high land. At six a.m. of the 4th we were close in with Mal-Ilha, and standing in for some place in which to anchor, while some eight or nine miles from the shore, we saw the ground under the ship in not less than eight or ten fathoms. The Hosiander, two miles nearer the land, had four or five fathoms, and her boat was in three fathoms. We then sent both our boats to sound, which kept shoaling on a bank in eight, ten, and twelve fathoms, and off it only half a cable's length had no ground with 100 fathoms. At the north end of Mal-Ilha there is a fair big high island, about five or six miles in circuit. A bank or ledge of rocks extends all along the west side of Mal-Ilha, continuing to the small high island; and from this little island to Mal-Ilha may be some eight or nine miles, all full of rocks, two of them of good height. Being at the north end of this ledge, and the little island bearing S.E. you may steer in with the land, keeping the island fair aboard; and within the rocks or broken ground and Mal-Ilha there is a bay with good anchorage. To the eastwards, on coming in from the ledge of rocks, there is a great shoal, the outermost end of which is N.E. or N.E. by E. from the small island five or six miles, and no ground between that we could find with forty or fifty fathoms line. In fine, all the north side of Mal-Ilha is very dangerous, but the above-mentioned channel is quite safe. I would have come to anchor here, as there is a town about a mile east from the before-mentioned bay, the people being very good, and having abundance of refreshments, as beeves, goats, hens, lemons, cocoa-nuts in great plenty, and excellent water, but could not get in, owing to the wind being directly south.
Two of my men had belonged to a Dutch fleet, that year when they assaulted Mosambique, on which occasion they put in here, and recovered the healths of 400 or 500 men in five weeks. Yet it is well named Mal-Ilha, or the bad island, for it is the most dangerous of any place I ever saw. It is next to Comoro, from which it is distant some twelve or fourteen leagues S.S.E.
At dawn on the 1st September we got sight of land to the eastwards, four or five leagues distant, my reckoning being then eighty or ninety leagues short, owing, I suppose, to some current setting east from the coast of Melinda; neither from the latitude of Socotoro to Damaun could we see the sun, to know our variation. The 3rd at seven a.m. we spoke two country boats, which informed us that the town, church, and castle in sight was Damaun. From these boats I got two men, who engaged to carry the Dragon to the bar of Surat, promising not to bring us into less than seven fathoms. On the 5th a Surat boat came on board with Jaddow the broker, who had served Captain William Hawkins three years, and Sir Henry Middleton all the time he was here. There were likewise in this boat the brother of the customer [[=customs officer]] of Surat, and three or four others.
All these remained with us till the 7th, when we came to anchor at the bar of Surat, in 8 1/4 fathoms at high water, and 6 1/2 at neap tides. At spring tides, however, I have found the tide to rise in the offing three fathoms, and even 3 1/2. The latitude of our anchorage was 21° 10' N. and the variation 16° 20' or 16° 27'. On the 11th, Thomas Kerridge came aboard, with a certificate or licence under the seals of the justice and governor of Surat, for our quiet and peaceable trade and intercourse, and with kind entreaties to come ashore, where we should be heartily welcomed by the people. They also brought off a letter or narrative, written by Sir, Henry Middleton, which had been left in charge of the Moccadam of Swally. On the same day, I again sent Mr. Kerridge ashore, accompanied by Hugh Gettins.
§2. Transactions with the Subjects of the Mogul, Fights with the Portuguese, Settlement of a Factory, and Departure for Acheen.
On the 13th September, 1612, sixteen sail of Portuguese frigates, or barks, put into the river of Surat. The 22nd, we determined in council to send a dispatch to the king at Agra, signifying our arrival, and to require his explicit answer, whether he would permit us to trade and settle a factory; and if refused, that we would quit his country. The 30th, I got notice that Mr. Canning, our purser, and William Chambers, had been arrested ashore; wherefore I caused a ship of Guzerat to anchor close beside me, determining to detain her till I should see how matters went ashore. We also stopped a bark laden with rice from Bassare, belonging to the Portuguese, out of which we took twelve or fourteen quintals of rice, for which we paid at the rate of thirteen-pence the quintal.
When I had taken possession of the Guzerat ship, I wrote to the chiefs of Surat, requiring them to send me all my men, together with the value of the goods I had landed; on which I should deliver up their ship and people, allowing them till the 5th of October to give me an answer; at which time, if I had not a satisfactory answer, I declared my determination to dispose of the ship and her goods at my pleasure. There were some 400 or 450 men aboard that ship, ten of the chiefest among whom I brought into my ship, to serve as hostages.
On the 6th October, Medi Joffer came aboard my ship, accompanied by four chiefs and many others, bringing me a great present, and came to establish trade with us, and to solicit the release of the Guzerat ship. On the 10th I left the bar of Surat, and came to Swally roads, where I anchored in eight fathoms at high water. This road-stead is ten or twelve miles north from the bar of Surat. The 17th, the governor of Aamadavar [Ahmedabad] came to the water side. I landed on the 19th, having four principal persons sent aboard my ship, as pledges for my safety. On the 21st I concluded upon articles of agreement with the governor and merchants, of which the tenor follows:
"Articles agreed upon, and sealed, by the governor of Ahmedabad, the governor of Surat, and four principal merchants; and to be confirmed by the firmaun and seal of the Great Mogul, within forty days from the date and sealing hereof, or else to be void; for the settlement of trade and factories in the cities of Surat, Cambaya, Ahmedabad, Goga, or in any other part or parts of the dominions of the Great Mogul in this country. Witnessed by their hands and seals, the 21st of October, 1612."
1. All that concerns Sir Henry Middleton is to be remitted, acquitted, and cleared to us; so that they shall never make seizure, stoppage, or stay of our goods, wares, or commodities, as satisfaction for the same.
2. They shall procure at their own proper cost, from the King or Great Mogul, his grant and confirmation of all the articles of this agreement, under the great seal of his government, and shall deliver the same to us, for our security and certainty of perpetual amity, commerce, and dealing, within forty days from the date and sealing hereof.
3. It shall be lawful for the king of England to keep his ambassador continually at the court of the Great Mogul, during all the time of this peace and trade, there to accommodate and conclude upon all such great and weighty matters as may in any respect tend to disturb or break the said peace.
4. At all times, on the arrival of any of our ships in the road of Swally, proclamation shall be made in the city of Surat, during three successive days, that all the people of the country shall be free to come down to the shore, and there to have free trade, dealing, and commerce with us.
5. That all English commodities shall pay custom, according to the value or price they bear, at the time of entry at the custom-house, after the rate of 3 1/2 per cent. ad valorem.
6. All petty and pedlar ware to be free from duty, that does not exceed the value of ten dollars.
7. The English are to have ten manu carried from the water side to Surat for a manuda, and at the same rate back; and are to be furnished with carts on application to the moccadam of Swally for sending to Surat, and at that place by a broker with carts downwards to the sea side at Swally.
8. If any of our people die in the country, neither the king, the governor, nor any inferior officer should pretend any title or claim to any thing that had belonged to the deceased, neither should demand any fees, taxes, or customs, upon the same.
9. In case all the men left in these parts should die before the return of any of our ships, then some officer appointed for the purpose shall make a true inventory and schedule of all monies, goods, jewels, provisions, apparel, or other things, belonging to our nation, and shall safely preserve and keep the same, to be delivered over to the general, captain, or merchants of the first English ships that arrive afterwards, from whom a regular receipt and discharge shall be given for the same.
10. That they shall guarantee all our men and goods on land, redeeming all of both or either that may happen to be taken on the land by the Portuguese; delivering both to us again free of all charges, or in lieu thereof the full value of our said goods and men, and that without delay.
11. Insomuch as there are rebels and disobedient subjects in all kingdoms, so there may be some pirates and sea-rovers of our nation, who may happen to come into these parts to rob or steal. In that case, the trade and factory belonging to the English shall not be held responsible or liable to make restitution for goods so taken; but we shall aid the subjects of the Great Mogul, to the best of our power who may happen to be thus aggrieved, by application to our king for justice against the aggressors, and for procuring restitution.
12. That all victuals and provisions required during the stay of our ships in the roads of Surat and Swally, shall be free of custom, provided they do not exceed the value of 1000 dollars.
13. That in all questions of wrongs and injuries offered to us and to our nation, we shall receive speedy justice from the judges and others in authority, according to the nature of our complaints and the wrongs done to us, and shall not be put off by delays, or vexed by exorbitant charges or loss of time.
On the 24th October, I landed the present intended for the Great Mogul, which I brought to the tent of the governor of Ahmedabad, who took a memorandum of all the particulars, as also a copy of our king's letter to their sovereign. After which, as before agreed upon with the governor, I sent them back aboard ship: For I had told him, unless his king would confirm the articles agreed upon, and likewise write our king a letter, that I would neither deliver the present nor our king's letter; for, if these things were refused, then was their king an enemy not a friend, and I had neither present nor letter for the enemy of our king. At this time, however, I delivered our present to the governor, and another to his son.
The 14th November, a great fleet of frigates or barks, consisting of some 240 sail, came in sight. I thought they had come to attack us, but they were a caffila of merchantmen bound for Cambaya; as there comes every year a similar fleet from Goa, Chaul, and other places to the southwards, for Cambaya, whence they bring the greatest part of the loading which is carried by the caracks and galleons to Portugal.
The 27th I received notice from Mr. Canning and Edward Christian, who were both ashore, that four galleons were fitted out from Goa, and were coming to attack us, having been in full readiness, and at anchor on the bar of Goa on the 14th November. The Portuguese fleet came in sight of us on the 28th; and on the 29th drew near us with the tide of flood. At two in the afternoon I got under weigh, and by four was about two cables length from their vice-admiral, fearing to go nearer lest I might have got my ship aground. I then opened a fire upon him, both with great guns and small arms, and in an hour had peppered him well with some fifty-six great shot. From him we received one small ball, either from a minnion or saker, into our mizen-mast, and with another he sunk our long-boat, which we recovered, but lost many things out of it.
The 30th at day-light, I set sail and steered among the midst of the Portuguese fleet, bestirring ourselves manfully, and drove three of their four ships aground on the bar of Surat; after which I anchored about nine a.m. This morning the Hosiander did good service, coming through also among the enemy's ships, and anchored beside me. At the tide of flood, the three ships that were aground floated. We then weighed and made sail towards them, they remaining at anchor. On getting up to them, we spent upon three of them 150 great shot, and the morning after some fifty more. At night, we gave the admiral a salute from our four stern guns as a farewell; in return for which he fired one of his bow guns, a whole or demi-culverine, the shot from which came even with the top of our forecastle, went through our Davie, killed William Burrel, and carried off the arm of another of our men. The Hosiander spent the whole of this day in firing against one of the ships that was aground, and received many shots from the enemy, one of which killed Richard Barker the boatswain.
Night coming on, we anchored some six miles from the Portuguese ships; and at nine p.m. they sent a frigate down towards us, which came driving right athwart halse of the Hosiander, and being discovered by their good watch, was speedily saluted by shot. The first shot made them hoist sail, the second went through their sails, and, they immediately made off. Their intention certainly was to have set our ships on fire, if they had found us off our guard.
We remained at anchor all the first December, the Portuguese not coming to us nor we to them; though they might easily have come to us without danger from the sands, but not so we to them. This day I called a council, and it was concluded to go down to the south, that we might have a broader channel, hoping that the galleons would follow us. We accordingly went down some six or seven leagues on the 2nd, but they did not follow us; wherefore on the 3rd we stood up again, and anchored fairly in sight of them. We weighed again on the morning of the 4th, and stood away before them, they following: But in the afternoon they gave us over, and hauled in with the land, and at night we directed our course for Diu. At night of the 5th, we anchored in fourteen fathoms near the shore, four or five leagues eastwards of Diu.
The 9th we came to Madafaldebar, which is ten or eleven leagues E. by N. from Diu, the coast between being very fair, and having no unseen dangers. The depth near Diu is fifteen or sixteen fathoms, halfway to Madafaldebar twelve fathoms, then ten and nine, but not less; and in nine fathoms we anchored in a fine sandy bay, on the west side of which is a river coming from a considerable distance inland. This place is some five or six miles west from the isles of Mortie The 15th we set sail to explore the bay of Mohar, having been reported by some of the people who had belonged to the Ascension to be a good place for wintering in, or waiting the return of the monsoon for sailing to the southwards. We accordingly anchored that night in the bay, which is nine or ten leagues E.N.E. from Madafaldebar, finding the coast and navigation perfectly good, with ten fathoms all the way, and no danger but what is seen. I sent my boat ashore, and got twenty excellent sheep for three shillings each, the best we had seen in the whole voyage. We found the ruins of a great town at this place, but very few inhabitants.
There happened to be an army encamped in the neighbourhood of this place, and on the 17th, the general sent four men to me, requesting a conference. I landed on the 21st, and had much conversation with the general, who greatly desired to have two pieces of ordnance from us, making many fair promises of favour to our nation, and even presented me with a horse and furniture and two Agra girdles or sashes; but I refused him, having none to spare, and needing all we had for our defence. I presented him in return with two vests of stammel cloth, two firelocks, two bottles of brandy, and a knife.
The 22nd, we saw the four galleons coming towards us, and at nine p.m. they anchored within shot of where we lay. At sun-rise next morning we weighed and bore down upon them, and continued to fight them till between ten and eleven a.m. when they all four weighed and stood away before the wind. We followed them two or three hours, but they sailed much better large than we, so that we again came to anchor, and they likewise anchored about two leagues from us. In this day's fight, I expended 133 great shot, and about 700 small. At sunrise of the 24th we again weighed and bore down upon the galleons, and began to fight them at eight a.m., continuing till noon, having this day expended 250 great shot, and 1000 small. By this time both sides were weary, and we all stood to sea, steering S. by E. The galleons followed us till two or three p.m. when they put about and come to anchor. I now took account of our warlike ammunition, and found more than half our shot expended, the store of the Hosiander being in a similar situation. We had now discharged against the enemy 625 great shot, and 3000 small.
Being about four or five leagues from the land, we met with a sand, on which there was only 2 or 2 1/2 fathoms, laying S.S.E. or thereabout from Mosa. I went over it in nine fathoms, at which time the two high hills over Gogo were nearly N. from us. Upon this sand the Ascension was cast away. Between the main and this sand, the channel is nine and ten fathoms, and the shoaling is rather fast. We continued steering S. with the tide of ebb, and anchored in eight fathoms, finding the tide to set E.N.E. and W.S.W. by the compass. At midnight of the 24th we weighed, standing S.S.E.; and at two p.m. of the 25th we anchored in seventeen fathoms at high water, full in sight of Damaun, which bore E.S.E. In the afternoon of the 26th we anchored off the bar of Surat. The 27th we went to Swally road, when Thomas Kerridge and Edward Christian came aboard.
On the 6th of January, 1613, the Firmaun from the Great Mogul, in confirmation of peace and settlement of a factory for trade, came to Swally as a private letter; wherefore I refused to receive it, lest it might be a counterfeit, requiring that the chief men of Surat should come down and deliver it to me, with the proper ceremonials. Accordingly, on the 11th, the sabandar, his father-in-law Medigoffar, and several others, came to Swally, and delivered the Firmaun to me in form, making great professions of respect for our nation in the name of their king. The 14th we landed all our cloth, with 310 elephants' teeth, and all our quicksilver. This day likewise the Portuguese galleons came within three or four miles of us. The 16th, I landed Anthony Starkey, with orders to travel over land for England, carrying letters to give notice of our good success.
The 17th, having received all my goods from Surat, I set sail at night, leaving these coasts. The 18th we passed the four galleons, which all weighed and followed us for two or three hours; but we finally separated without exchanging shots. The 19th, when abreast of Basseen, we stopt three Malabar barks, which had nothing in them, and from one of which we took a boat. The 20th at night we were abreast of Chaul, both town and castle being full in sight. In the afternoon of the 21st we were abreast of Dabul, where we boarded three junks belonging to Calicut, laden with cocoanuts. The 22nd in the morning, the Hosiander sent her boat aboard two junks, and at noon we were at the rocks, which are ten or eleven leagues north of Goa, and six or eight miles from the main. Two or three of these rocks are higher than the hull of a large ship. At six p.m. we were abreast of Goa, which is easily known by the island at the month of the river, on which island there is a castle. All the way from Damann to Goa, the coast trends nearly N. and S. with a slight inclination to N.W. and S.E., the whole being very fair and without danger, having fair shoaling and sixteen or seventeen fathoms some three or four leagues off shore, with good anchorage every where.
The 24th we saw a fleet of sixty or eighty frigates or barks bound to the southwards, being in lat. 13° 00' 30". The high land by the sea now left us, and the shore became very low, yet with fair shoaling of sixteen and seventeen fathoms some three or four leagues off. In the afternoon we went into a bay, where all the before-mentioned frigates were at anchor, together with three or four gallies. We brought out a ship with us, whence all the Portuguese fled in their boats, and as two frigates lay close aboard of her, they had carried away every thing valuable. Next day we examined our prize, and found nothing in her except rice and coarse sugar, with which we amply supplied both ships; and having taken out her masts, and what firing she could afford, we scuttled and sunk her, taking out likewise all her people, being twenty or twenty-five Moors. The 26th we met a boat belonging to the Maldives laden with cocoa-nuts and bound for Cananor, into which I put all the people of the prize, except eight, whom I kept to assist in labour, one of them being a pilot for this coast.
The 27th we were a little past Calicut, abreast of Paniany, our lat. at noon being 10° 30' N. In the morning of the 28th, we saw Cochin, which is known by the towers and castle, being in lat 9° 40' N. or thereby. All the way from Goa to Cochin we never had above twenty fathoms, though sometimes four or five leagues from the land; and when only three, four, or six miles off, the depths were from ten to twelve fathoms. From lat 11° 30' N. to Cochin, the land was all very low by the water side; but up the country it was very high all along. Four or five leagues to the north of Cochin, there is a high land within the country, somewhat like a table mountain, yet rounded on the top, having long high mountains to the north of this hill. All this day, the 28th, we sailed within six or eight miles of the land, in nine, ten, and twelve fathoms.
We anchored on the 30th in fifteen fathoms, about twenty-six leagues to the north of Cape Comorin right over against a little village, whence presently came off six or eight canoes with water and all kinds of provisions; the name of this place is Beringar, which our mariners usually call Bring-John, being in the kingdom of Travancor. The 1st February, the king sent me a message, offering to load my ship with pepper and cinnamon, if I would remain and trade with him. The 5th we were abreast of Cape Comorin, where we had a fresh gale of wind at E. by N. which split our fore-top-sail and main bonnet, yet a canoe with eight men came off to us three or four leagues from the land. We were here troubled with calms and great heat, and many of our men fell sick, of which number I was one.
On the 8th we were forced back to the roads of Beringar. This place has good refreshments for ships, and the people are very harmless, and not friends to the Portuguese. From this place to Cape Comorin, all the inhabitants of the sea coast are Christians, and have a Portuguese priest or friar residing among them. It is to be remarked, that the whole coast, even from Damaun to Cape Comorin, is free from danger, and there is fair shoaling all the way from Cochin to that cape, having sixteen, eighteen, and twenty fathoms close to the land, and no ground five or six leagues off, after you come within twenty-five or thirty leagues of the Cape. The variation at Damaun was 16° 30'; halfway to the Cape about 15°, and 14° at the cape, the latitude of which is 7° 30' N. [exactly 7° 57'].
In the afternoon we were fair off the Cape, and found much wind at E.S.E. giving small hope of being able to go eastwards till the end of the monsoon, which our Indians reported would be about the end of April. So I bore up, and came to anchor, four or five leagues within the Cape, in twenty fathoms close by two rocks. About two miles right off these two rocks is a sunken rock, which is very dangerous, especially if sailing in twenty fathoms, but by keeping in twenty-four fathoms all danger is avoided. We remained here nine days, when we again made sail. In the morning of the 28th we had sight of Ceylon, some eight or nine leagues E.S.E. being in lat. 7° N. At 4 p.m. we were close in with that island, in thirteen, fifteen, and sixteen fathoms. The 1st of March, at 6 p.m. we were abreast of Columbo, the lat. of which is about 6° 30' N. [7° 2']; having twenty-four and twenty-five fathoms three leagues off. The 12th we stood in with the land, and anchored in twenty-four fathoms, the wind being S.E. and S.
I sent my boat ashore four leagues to the north of Punta de Galle, and after some time a woman came to talk with one of our Indians who was in the boat. She said we could have no provisions: but by our desire she went to tell the men. Afterwards two men came to us, who flatly refused to let us have any thing, alleging that our nation had captured one of their boats; but it was the Hollanders, not the English. The 14th, in the morning, the southern point of Ceylon, called Tanadare [Dondra], bore E.S.E. of us, some five leagues off. This point is in lat. 5° 30' [5° 54' N.], and is about ten or twelve leagues E.S.E. from Punta de Galle. The 17th we were near one of the sands mentioned by Linschoten, being two leagues from the land. We had twenty-five fathoms water, and on the land, right opposite this sand, is a high rock like a great tower. The land here trends E.N.E.
§3. Occurrences at Acheen, in Sumatra.
At noon of the 12th April, 1613, we came to anchor in the road of Acheen, in twelve fathoms, but ships may ride in ten or even eight fathoms; the best place in which to ride being to the eastward of the castle, and off the river mouth. I landed the merchants on the 13th; but the king did not come to town till the 15th, when he sent me his chop or licence to land, which was brought by an eunuch, accompanied by the Xabander and six or eight more, to whom I gave 120 mam. I landed along with them, and two hours afterwards the king sent me a present of some provisions, I having sent him on my landing a present of two pieces; the custom being to make the king some small present on landing, in return for which he sends several dishes of meat.
On the 17th, the king sent an elephant, with a golden bason, for our king's letter, which I accompanied to court, attended by forty of our men, who were all admitted into the king's presence. After many compliments, the king returned me our king's letter, that I might read it to him; and accordingly the substance of it was explained in the native language, with the contents of which he was well pleased. After some time, the king told me that he would shew me some of his diversions, and accordingly caused his elephants to fight before us. When six of them had fought for some time, he caused four buffaloes to be brought, which made a very excellent and fierce fight; such being their fierceness that sixty or eighty men could hardly part them, fastening ropes to their hind-legs to draw them asunder. After these, some ten or twelve rams were produced, which fought very bravely. When it was so dark that we could hardly see, these sports were discontinued, and the king presented me with a banquet of at least 500 dishes, and such abundance of hot drinks as might have sufficed to make an army drunk. Between nine and ten at night, he gave me leave to depart, sending two elephants to carry me home; but as they had no coverings I did not ride either of them.
On the 18th, I went again to court by appointment of the king, when we began to treat concerning the articles formerly granted by his grandfather to Mr. James Lancaster; but when we came to that in which all goods were to be brought in and carried out free from customs, we broke off without concluding any thing. The 19th the ambassador of Siam came to visit me, and told me that about thirty months before, three Englishmen had waited upon his king, who gave them kind entertainment, being rejoiced at receiving letters from the king of England. He also said that his king would be much pleased if our ships came to his ports, telling me what great quantities of Portugal cloth, for so he called our English cloth, would sell in his country. According to his opinion, the colours most saleable in his country are, stammel and other reds, yellows, and other light, gay, and pleasing colours, such as those already in most request at Surat. He also told me, that his king had made a conquest of the whole kingdom of Pegu, as that he is now the most powerful sovereign in the east, except the emperor of China, having twenty-six tributary kings under his government and authority, and is able to equip for war 6000 elephants.
Their coin is all of silver, gold being less esteemed, and of less proportional value than with us. That country produces great abundance of pepper and raw silk; and he said the Hollanders have factories at Patane, an excellent port, where they are called English. Siam likewise, according to him, is a good port, and nearer the court than Patane: Those who go to the city in which the king resides land always at the port of Siam, whence the royal residence is twenty days journey by land. I requested from the ambassador to give me a letter to his sovereign, and letters also to the governors of the maritime towns in Siam, in favour of the English nation, when we should come upon these coasts, which he promised me. And, lastly, in token of friendship we exchanged coins; I giving him some of our English coin, and receiving from him the coins of Siam. I had often, after this first interview, friendly intercourse with this ambassador.
I went to court on the 20th, butt had no opportunity to speak with the king; whereupon I sent to the king's deputy, or chief minister, and complained of having been dishonoured, and of having been abused by the shahbander. He promised me speedy redress, and that he should inform the king without delay, which indeed he did that same day. On the day following, the king sent two officers of his court to me, to intimate that I might repair freely to his court at all times, passing the gate without hindrance or waiting for his criss. He also removed the shahbander of whom I had complained, and appointed a gentleman, who had formerly been his vice-ambassador to Holland, to attend upon me at all times to court, or any where else, at my pleasure.
The 24th I went to court, and had access to the king, who satisfied me in all things, and promised to ratify and renew all the articles formerly agreed upon between his predecessor and Mr. James Lancaster. After many compliments, he gave me leave; and presently after my return, he sent me an elephant to attend upon me, and to carry me at all times to any place I pleased. This is a sign of the highest honour and esteem, as no person may have an elephant, or ride upon one, but those whom the king is pleased to honour with that privilege.
The 2nd of May, the king invited me to his fountain to swim, and I was there accordingly along with him, the place being some five or six miles from the city; and he even sent me two elephants, one to ride upon, and the other to carry my provision. Having washed and bathed in the water, the king made me partake of a very splendid banquet, in which there was too much arrak, the whole being eaten and drank us we sat in the water; and at this entertainment all his nobles and officers were present. Our banquet continued from one till towards five in the evening, when the king allowed me to depart. Half an hour afterwards, all the strangers were permitted to go away, and presently afterwards he came away himself.
On the 14th, some Portuguese came to Acheen on an embassy from the governor of Malacca to the king; and as the wind was scant, they landed three leagues to the east of Acheen road. I immediately sent the Hosiander, of which I appointed Edward Christian captain, to go in search of the bark from Malacca, which was brought to me on the 17th: But the king sent me two messengers, desiring me to release her and her people and cargo; which I refused, till I had examined the bark and her contents; saying, however, that in honour and respect for his majesty, I should then do whatever he was pleased to desire. Afterwards, I was informed by Mr Christian, that there were only four or five bales of goods in the bark, and that nothing she contained had been meddled with. Being satisfied of this I went ashore, and found my merchants were at the court. They returned presently, saying that the king was greatly displeased at the capture of the Portuguese bark in his port, protesting by his god that he would make us all prisoners, if she were not released.
Having notice that I was ashore, the king presently sent for me; and as I was on my way to the court, I met with a gentleman from the king, who desired me in his name to release the bark; but I told him I must first see and speak to the king. I was then brought into the king's presence, and, after much discourse with him, I gave him the bark and all her contents; with which he was so much pleased, that he gave me the title of Arancaia Puto, signifying the honourable white man, requiring all his nobles to call me by that name. In farther proof of his satisfaction with my conduct on this occasion, he sold me all his benzoin at my own price, being twenty tailes the bahar, though then selling commonly at thirty-four and thirty-five tailes. He at the same time expressed his esteem and affection for me in the strongest terms, desiring me to ask from him whatever I thought proper. I only requested his letters of recommendation and favour for Priaman, which he most readily promised; and, at my taking leave, he both made me eat some mangoes, of which he was then eating, and gave me some [[to take]] home with me.
On the 27th, Malim Cairy came to Acheen, by whom I received letters from our merchants at Surat, as also a copy of the firmaun, sent them from Agra, bearing date the 25th January, in the seventh year of the then reigning Great Mogul, by which everything was confirmed that had been agreed upon between the governor of Ahmedabad and me. The 17th of June, a Dutch merchant came to Acheen from Masulipatam, who had been eight months on his way, from whom we learnt the death of Mr. Anthony Hippon at Patane, and of Mr. Brown, master of the Globe, who died at Masulipatam, where our people had met with evil usage. The 24th I received of the king his present for the king of England, consisting of a criss or dagger, a hasega, four pieces of fine Calicut lawn, and eight camphire dishes.
The 3rd of July, the fleet of armed vessels belonging to Acheen arrived, being only twenty days from the coast of Johor, at which place they had captured the factory of the Hollanders, making prize of all their goods, and had brought away some twenty or twenty-four Dutchmen as prisoners. The 7th, I received the king's letter for Priaman, together with a chop or licence for my departure; and on the 12th, taking my leave of Acheen, I embarked. In the morning of the 13th I set sail. It is to be noted, that from the 12th April to the middle of June, we had much rain here at Acheen, seldom two fair days following, and accompanied by much wind in sudden gusts. From the 15th June to the 12th July, we had violent gales of wind, always at S.W. or W.S.W. or W.
§4. Trade at Tecoo and Passaman, with the Voyage to Bantam, and thence Home to England.
Leaving Acheen, as said before, on the 13th July, 1613, we came in sight of Priaman on the 3rd of August, it being then nine or ten leagues off, N.E. by E. and clearly known by two great high hills, making a great swamp or saddle between them. We saw also the high land of Tecoo, which is not more than half the height of that of Priaman, and rises somewhat flat. At the same time likewise we saw the high land of Passaman, some seven or eight leagues north of Tecoo, mid-way between Tecoo and Priaman, which mountain is very high, and resembles Aetna in Sicily. In the afternoon of the 7th we came to Tecoo, and anchored to the eastward of the three islands in seven fathoms, the southmost isle bearing W.S.W., the middle isle W.N.W., and the northern isle N. 1/2 E., our anchorage being a mile from them.
I sent ashore my merchants on the 19th, and landed myself in the afternoon. Next day, by advice of our council, the Hosiander was sent to Priaman, with the letter of the king of Acheen. She sailed from Tecoo on the 12th, and came back on the 18th, when she was dispatched to Bantam. The 25th there came a junk from Bantam, the owners of which were Chinese. They confirmed to me the reported death of Sir Henry Middleton, with the loss of most of the men belonging to the Trades-increase, in consequence of her main-mast breaking, while heaving her down for careening her bottom. She was now returned from Pulo-Pannian to Bantam, and they said that three hundred Chinese had died while employed at work upon her.
The 28th, a boat I had sent to Passaman returned, having been well entertained at that place, and brought with them the Scrivano to deal with me, with whom accordingly I concluded a bargain. The 29th, the governor of Tecoo sent for me to come ashore, when I went to wait upon him. He was in council, with all the chiefs of the district, and, after a long discussion, we agreed on the following price of pepper. In the first place, we were to pay eighteen dollars the bahar; then there was 8d. the bahar for lastage or weighing, 30d. for canikens, and 35 d. for seilars: Besides all which they bargained for presents to sixteen chiefs or great men. On the 30th, Henry Long came from Passaman, and informed me that Mr. Oliver had fallen sick, and that several others of our men had died there; upon which I sent my pinnace to bring back Mr. Oliver and all others who survived, and to discontinue our factory at that place.
The 21st October, the Hosiander returned from Bantam, bringing me letters from the English merchants at that place; saying that they had 17,000 bags of pepper ready, all of which I might have, or any part of it I thought proper, if I chose to come for it, at thirteen dollars the timban.. On this, and several other considerations, I held a mercantile council, in which it was agreed that the Hosiander should be left at Tecoo for the sale of our Surat goods, all of which were accordingly put on board her for that purpose, and I departed in the Dragon for Bantam from the road of Tecoo on the 30th October. I remained in this road of Tecoo eleven weeks, in which time I bought 115 or 120 tons of pepper, and buried twenty-five of our men. All of these either died, or contracted their mortal illnesses, at Passaman, not at Tecoo; and surely, if we had not attempted to trade at Passaman, all or at least most of these might have now been living. Wherefore, I earnestly advise all of our nation to avoid sending any of their ships or men to Passaman, for the air there is so contagious, and the water so unwholesome, that it is impossible for our people to live at that place.
I set sail from Tecoo on the 30th October, and arrived in the road of Bantam on the 11th November, where I anchored in a quarter less four fathoms [3-3/4 fathoms]. Next day I convened our English merchants on board my ship, and agreed on the price of pepper at thirteen dollars the bahar, which is 600 pounds of our weight. Having concluded my business at this place, I set sail for Saldanha bay; where I bought for a small quantity of copper, worth perhaps between three and four pounds, 494 sheep, 4 beeves, and 9 calves. We sailed again from that place on the 4th March, 1614; and on the day of our departure, the natives brought us more live-stock than we knew how to dispose of; but we brought away alive, eighty sheep, two beeves, and one calf.
The 24th of March we saw St. Helena, eight or nine leagues to the W.N.W,. its latitude, by my estimation, being 16° S. and its long, from the Cape of Good Hope, 22° W. At three p.m. we anchored in the road of that island, right over against the Chappel. While at St. Helena, finding the road from the Chappel [church valley] to where the lemon-trees grow, a most wicked way, insomuch that it was a complete day's work to go and come, I sent my boats to the westward, in hopes of finding a nearer and easier way to bring down hogs and goats. In this search, my people found a fair valley; some three or four miles to the S.W., which leads directly to the lemon-trees, and is the largest and finest valley in the island, after that at the Chappel, and is either the next, or the next save one, from the valley of the Chappel. At this valley, which is some three or four miles from that of the Chappel, and is from it the fourth valley or swamp one way, and from the point to the westward the second, so that it cannot be missed, it is much better and easier for getting provisions or water, and the water is better and clearer. The road or anchorage is all of one even ground and depth, so that it is much better riding here than at any other part of the island; and from this place, a person may go up to the lemon-trees and back again in three hours. We here got some thirty hogs and pigs, and twelve or fourteen hundred lemons; but if we had laid ourselves out for the purpose, I dare say we might have got 200 hogs, besides many goats.
Continuing our voyage home, we got sight of the Lizard point on the 4th June, 1614, our estimated longitude from the Cape of Good Hope being then 27° 20', besides two degrees carried by the currents; so that the difference of longitude between the Cape and the Lizard, is 29° 20', or very nearly. Though we had then only left the Cape of Good Hope three months before, and were only two months and nine days from St. Helena, more than half our company was now laid up by the scurvy, of which two had died. Yet we had plenty of victuals, as beef, bread, wine, rice, oil, vinegar, and sugar, as much as every one chose. All our men have taken their sickness since we fell in with Flores and Corvo; since which we have had very cold weather, especially in two great storms, one from the N. and N.N.E. and the other at N.W., so that it seemeth the sudden coming out of long heat into the cold is a great cause of scurvy. All the way from the Cape of Good Hope to the Azores, I had not one man sick.
The 15th of June, 1614, we came into the river Thames, by the blessing of God, it being that day six months on which we departed from Bantam in Java.
[Footnote 72: Purch. Pilgr. I.456.]
[Footnote 73: In the text it is not said if the latitude be N. or S. yet S. is probably meant. No island is however to be found in the indicated situation. In the eleventh voyage, an island is said to have been discovered in lat. 19° 34'S. certainly known to have been Trinidad, Santa Maria d'Agosto, or Martin Vaz, of which hereafter.--E.]
[Footnote 74: One of the ships appears to have been separated from the fleet, but it does not appear which.--E.]
[Footnote 75: St. Juan de Nova is in lat. 17° 50' S. and long. 45° 30'E. from Greenwich--E.]
[Footnote 76: In lat. 17° S. and long. 60° E. is an island or bank called Nazareth, Corados, or Garajos, a long way however from St. Juan de Nova.--E.]
[Footnote 77: Mohilla, the Mal-ilha of the text, is in lat. 16° 44° S. and long. 44° E. from Greenwich. Its difference of long. from the Cape of Good Hope is 23° 45' E. Thus, in every instance hitherto, the observations of lat. and long. by Captain Best, at least as printed by Purchas, are grossly erroneous.--E.]
[Footnote 78: This description seems rather to refer to the island of Mayotto, about thirty leagues E. of S. from Mohilla; the small island to the north, or N. by W. being called Saddle Isle.--E.]
[Footnote 79: Sorat bar is in lat. 21° 2' N. and long. 72° 50' E. from Greenwich--E.]
[Footnote 80: This unexplained rate of carriage was probably ten manuda for one mahinoodic.--E.]
[Footnote 81: Nathaniel Salmon of Leigh was master of the Hosiander.--Purch.]
[Footnote 82: This frigate was sunk by the shot, as I was assured by Mr. Salmon the actor, and eighty of her men were taken up drowned.--Purch.]
[Footnote 83: On this occasion the Portuguese had four great galleons and some twenty-six frigates, or armed barks. In these fights they lost all their quondam credit, and 160 men, or as others say 500; and the English settled trade at Surat in spite of all their efforts.--Purch.]
[Footnote 84: From the indications in the text, this must be Jaffrabat on the coast of Guzerat, about thirty-one miles E. by N. from Diu. The name used in the text must be taken from the native language, while that of modern geography is the Persian, Mogul, or Arabic name of the place.--E.]
[Footnote 85: Called Searbett in Arrowsmith's excellent map of Hindostan, eight miles E.N.E. from Jaffrabat.--E.]
[Footnote 86: Called on the margin of the Pilgrims, Moha, Mona, or Mea; and which from the context appears to be a bay immediately west from Wagnagur.--E.]
[Footnote 87: Mr Starkey and his Indian companion or guide were poisoned on the way by two friars.--Purch.]
[Footnote 88: Owing probably to careless abbreviation by Purchas, this solitary notice is all that is given of the voyage between Dondra-head in Ceylon and Acheen, in the north-west end of Sumatra, to which the observation in the text seems to refer.--E.]
[Footnote 89: These pieces, so often mentioned in the early voyages, were probably fowling-pieces, or European fire-arms.--E.]
[Footnote 90: In the translation of the letter accompanying these presents, to be noticed hereafter, they are thus described:--"A criss wrought with gold, the hilt being of beaten gold, with a ring of stones; an Assagaya of Swasse, half gold half copper; eight porcelain dishes small and great, of camfire one piece of souring stuff; three pieces of callico lawns." --The passage in italics is inexplicable, either in the words of the letter, or in the description in the text.--E.]
[Footnote 91: Perhaps this observed similarity with Aetna is meant to indicate that this hill also is a volcano.--E.]
-- *Index of Part Two, Book Three* -- *Glossary*-- *Robert Kerr index page* -- *FWP's main page* --