Volume 8, Chapter 10, Section 18 -- Observations made during the foregoing Voyage, by Mr. Copland, Chaplain, Mr. Robert Boner, Master, and Mr. Nicholas Whittington, Merchant.
§1. Notes extracted from the Journal of Mr. Copland, Chaplain of the Voyage.
The bay of Saldhana, and all about the Cape of Good Hope, is healthful, and so fruitful that it might well be accounted a terrestrial paradise. It agrees well with our English constitutions; for, though we had ninety or an hundred sick when we got there, they were all as well in twenty days as when we left England, except one. It was then June, and we had snow on the hills, though the weather below was warmish. The country is mixed, consisting of mountains, plains, meadows, streams, and woods which seem as if artificially planted on purpose, they are so orderly; and it has abundance of free-stone for building. It has also plenty of fish and wild-fowl, as geese, ducks, and partridges, with antelopes, deer, and other animals. The people were very loving, though at first afraid of us, because the Dutch, who resort hither to make train-oil, had used them unkindly, having stolen and killed their cattle; but afterwards, and especially on our return, they were more frank and kind.
They are of middle size, well limbed, nimble and active; and are fond of dancing, which they do in just measure, but entirely naked. Their dress consists of a cloak of sheep or seals-skin to their middle, the hair side inwards, with a cap of the same, and a small skin like that of a rat hanging before their privities. Some had a sole, or kind of sandal, tied to their feet. Their necks were adorned with greasy tripes, which they would sometimes pull off and eat raw; and when we threw away the guts of beasts and sheep we bought from them, they would eat them half raw and all bloody, in a most beastly and disgusting manner. They had bracelets about their arms of copper or ivory, and were decorated with many ostrich feathers and shells. The women were habited like the men, and were at first very shy; but when here on our return voyage, they became quite familiar, even lifting their rat-skins. But they are very loathsome objects, their breasts hanging down to their waists.
The hair both of the men and women is short and frizzled. With these people copper serves as gold, and iron for silver. Their dwellings are small tents, removable at pleasure; and their language is full of a strange clicking sound, made by doubling their tongues in their throats. There is a high hill, called the Table Mountain, which covers all the adjoining territory for an hundred miles. The natives, who are quite black, behaved to us very peaceably, but seemed to have no religion, yet their skins were slashed or cut, like the priests of Baal; and one seemed to act as chief, as he settled the prices for the whole. Some of our people went a considerable way into the country, and discovered many bays and rivers.
When at Surat, the Guzerats took [[=bought]] some of our sea-coal to send to their sovereign, the Great Mogul, as a curiosity. At this place there came against us a Portuguese squadron of four galleons, attended by twenty-five or twenty-six armed barks or frigates, commanded by an admiral named Nuno de Accunna, and having all red colours displayed, in token of defiance. When advised by the sabander to keep between us and the shore, he proudly answered, that he scorned to spend a week's provisions on his men in hindering us from trade, as he was able to force us to yield to his superior force in an hour. After three fights, they sent one of their frigates against us, manned with six or seven score of their best men, intending to set us on fire, but they were all sunk.
Medhaphrabad, formerly a fine walled city, has been entirely ruined in the wars of the Moguls. It has still a strong castle, held by a refractory chief of the Rajapoots, and was besieged by the nabob, having fifty or sixty thousand men in his camp. The nabob dwelt in a magnificent tent, covered above with cloth of gold, and spread below with Turkey carpets, having declared he would not desist from the siege till he had won the castle. He sent a horse, and two vests wrought with silk and gold, to our general Captain Best, with four vests for four others. On the 23rd and 24th of December, we fought again with the Portuguese, in view of the whole army of the Moguls, and forced them to cut their cables and flee from us, being better sailing vessels than ours.
I rode from Swally to Surat in a coach drawn by oxen, which are ordinarily used in this country for draught, though they have plenty of excellent and handsome horses. On the way I was quite delighted to see at the same time the goodliest spring and harvest combined I had ever seen any where, often in two adjoining fields, one as green as a fine meadow, and the other waving yellow like gold, and ready to cut down; their grain being wheat and rice, of which they make excellent bread. All along the road there were many goodly villages, full of trees which yield a liquor called toddy, or palm-wine, which is sweet and pleasant, like new wine, being strengthening and fattening. They have grapes also, yet only make wine from the dried raisins.
In Surat there are many fair houses built of stone and brick, having flat roofs, and goodly gardens, abounding in pomegranates, pomecitrons, lemons, melons, and figs, which are to be had at all times of the year, the gardens being continually refreshed with curious springs and fountains of fresh water. The people are tall, neat, and well-clothed in long robes of white callico or silk, and are very grave and judicious in their behaviour. The sabander assured us that we had slain 350 of the Portuguese; but we heard afterwards, that above 500 were killed or maimed. Our general sent letters for England by land, but the messenger and his Indian attendant were poisoned by two friars. A second letter was entrusted to a mariner, which reached its destination.
We anchored in the road of Acheen on the 12th April, 1613, where we were kindly received by the king. On the 2nd of May, all the strangers then at Acheen were invited to a banquet at a place six miles from the town, and on this occasion two elephants were sent for our general. To this place all the dishes were brought by water by boys, who swam with one hand, while each carried a dish in the other; and the drink was brought in the same manner. When the guests had satisfied themselves with tasting any of the dishes, which indeed they must of all, the remainder was thrown into the river. In this feast there were at least 500 dishes served, all well dressed. It continued from one o'clock till five; but our general, who was wearied with sitting so long in the water beside the king, was dismissed an hour before the other guests. The captain or chief merchant of the Dutch factory, either by taking too much strong drink, or from sitting too long in the cold water, caught an illness of which he died soon after.
The 2nd June we were entertained by a fight of four elephants with a wild tyger, which was tied to a stake; yet did he fasten on the legs and trunks of the elephants, making them to roar and bleed extremely. This day, as we were told, one eye of a nobleman was plucked out by command of the king, for having looked at one of the king's women, while bathing in the river. Another gentleman, wearing a sash, had his head cut round, because it was too large. Some he is said to throw into boiling oil, some to be sawn in pieces, others to have their legs cut off, or spitted alive, or empaled on stakes. The 25th of June, the king of Acheen sent our general a letter for the king of England, most beautifully written and painted, of which the following is a translation of the preamble.
PEDUCKA SIRIE, Sultan, King of kings renowned in war, sole king of Sumatra, more famous than his ancestors, feared in his dominions, and honoured in all the neighbouring countries. In whom is the true image of a king, reigning by the true rules of government, formed as it were of the most pure metal, and adorned by the must splendid colours. Whose seat is most high and complete; whence floweth, as a river of fine crystal, the pure and undefiled stream of bounty and justice. Whose presence is like the most pure gold: King of Priaman, and of the mountain of gold: Lord of nine sorts of precious stones: King of two Umbrellas of beaten gold; who sitteth upon golden carpets; the furniture of whose horses, and his own armour, are of pure gold; the teeth of his elephants being likewise of gold, and everything belonging to them. His lances half gold half silver; his small shot of the same; a saddle also for an elephant of the same; a tent of silver; and all his seals half gold half silver. His bathing-vessels of pure gold; his sepulchre also entire gold, those of his predecessors being only half gold half silver. All the services of his table of pure gold; &c.This king of Acheen is a gallant-looking warrior, of middle size, and full of spirit. His country is populous, and he is powerful both by sea and land. He has many elephants, of which we saw 150 or 180 at one time. His galleys are well armed with brass ordnance, such as demi-cannons, culverins, sackers, minions, &c. His buildings are stately and spacious, though not strong; and his court or palace at Acheen is very pleasant, having a goodly branch of the main river surrounding and pervading it, which he cut and brought in from the distance of six miles in twenty days, while we were there. At taking leave, he desired our general to offer his compliments to the king of England, and to entreat that two white women might be sent him: "For," said he, "if I have a son by one of them, I will make him king of Priaman, Passaman, and the whole pepper coast; so that you shall not need to come any more to me, but may apply to your own English king for that commodity."
This great king sendeth this letter of salutation to James, king of Great Britain, &c.
§2. Notes concerning the Voyage, extracted from the Journal of Mr. Robert Boner, who was Master of the Dragon.
The regular trade-wind is seldom met with till two or three degrees south of the equator. Tornados are sure to be encountered in two or three degrees north of the line, and sometimes even four degrees. It is necessary to use the utmost diligence in getting well to the south, as in that consists the difference between a good and bad voyage, and the health of the men depend greatly on that circumstance. In passing the line, it is proper so to direct the course from the island of Mayo as to cross between the longitudes of seven and nine degrees west of the Lizard, if possible. At all events be careful not to come within six degrees, for fear of the calms on the coast of Guinea, and not beyond ten degrees west from the Lizard if possible, to avoid the W.N.W. stream which sets along the coast of Brazil to the West Indies; and in crossing the line, in 7°, 8°, or 9° west of the Lizard, you shall not fear the flats of Brazil: For the general wind in these longitudes is at E.S.E. or S.E. so that you may commonly make a S.S.W. course, so as to keep the ship full that she may go speedily through; for there is much loss of time in hauling the ship too close by the wind, and it is far better therefore to give her a fathom of the sheet.
In making for the bay of Saldanha [Table bay], keep between the latitudes of 33° 50' and 34° 20' of S. lat. so as to be sure of coming not much wide of the bay. If, on seeing the land, it appear high, you are then to the S.W. of the bay; if low sand-hills, you are then to the northward of the bay. In falling in with the high land to the southward, which is between the Cape of Good Hope and the bay, the land trends N.N.W. and S.S.E. seven leagues from the Cape, and then trends away N.E. and S.W. towards the point of the Sugar-loaf, some four leagues. From this point of the Sugar-loaf lies Penguin island; but keep fair by the point, as two miles from Penguin island there are two shoals. From the point to the island there are some seven or eight miles N. and S. and so, borrowing on that point, in eight or nine fathoms, steer a course S.E. and E.S.E. till you bring the Table S.S.W. and the Sugar-loaf S.W. by W., when you may anchor in 6 or 6 1/2 fathoms as you please; and then will the point of land by the Sugar-loaf bear W.N.W. some two leagues off, and Penguin island N.N.W. some three leagues distant. The latitude of the point going into the bay of Saldanha [Table bay] is 34° 5' S. On coming in there is nothing to fear, though the air be thick, as the land is bold within a cable's length of the shore.
In my opinion, the current near Cape Aguillas sets to the southward not above fifty or sixty leagues from the land: Wherefore, in going to the eastwards, it is right to have sixty leagues from land, so that you may miss that current. For 90 or 100 leagues beyond Cape Aguillas, the land trends E. by N. and not E.N.E. as in the charts.
In my opinion the gulf of Cambaya is the worst place in all India for worms; wherefore ships going to Surat ought to use every precaution against injury from them. At Acheen our general was denominated Arancaya Patte_ by the king, who showed him extraordinary favour, sending for him to be present at all sports and pastimes; and all our men were very kindly used by the people at this place, more so than any strangers who had ever been there before.
§3. Extracts from a Treatise, written by Mr Nicholas Whittington, who was left as Factor in the Mogul Country by Captain Best, containing some of his Travels and Adventures.
The sheep at the Cape of Good Hope are covered with hair instead of wool. The beeves are large, but mostly lean. The natives of that southern extremity of Africa are negroes, having woolly heads, flat noses, and straight well-made bodies. The men have only one testicle, the other being cut out when very young. Their apparel consists of a skin hung from their shoulders, reaching to their waist, and two small rat-skins, one before and the other behind, and all the rest of their body naked, except a kind of skin or leather-cap on their heads, and soles tied to their feet, considerably longer and broader than the foot. Their arms are very scanty, consisting of bows and arrows of very little force, and lances or darts very artificially [[=artfully]] made, in the use of which they are very expert, and even with them kill many fish. They are in use to wear the guts of sheep and oxen hanging from their necks, smelling most abominably, which they eat when hungry, and would scramble for our garbage like so many dogs, devouring it quite raw and foul.
At Surat, although Sir Henry Middleton had taken their ships in the Red Sea, they promised to deal fairly with us, considering that otherwise they might burn their ships and give over all trade by sea, as Mill Jaffed, one of the chief merchants of Surat, acknowledged to us. While at Surat, every one of us that remained any time ashore was afflicted with the flux, of which Mr. Aldworth was ill for forty days. The custom here is that all strangers make presents on visiting any persons of condition, and they give other presents in return.
Finding it impossible to have any trade at Surat, as the Portuguese craft infested the mouth of the river, our general removed with the ships to Swally roads, whence we might go and come by land without danger, between that place and Surat. Mr. Canning had been made prisoner by the Portuguese, but the viceroy ordered him to be set ashore at Surat, saying, "Let him go and help his countrymen to fight, for we shall take their ships and all of them together." He was accordingly liberated, and came to us at Swally. The purser had likewise been nearly taken; but he escaped and got on board. The 3rd October, _\Seikh Shuffe, governor of Amadavar [Ahmedabad], the chief city of Guzerat, came to Surat and thence to Swally, where he entered into articles of agreement for trade and friendship.
The 29th of October, four Portuguese galleons and a whole fleet of frigates, or armed grabs, hove in sight. Our general went immediately to meet them in the Dragon, and fired not one shot till he came between their admiral and vice-admiral, when he gave each of them a broadside and a volley of small arms, which made them come no nearer for that day. The other two galleons were not as yet come up, and our consort the Hosiander could not get clear of her anchors, so that she did not fire a shot that day. In the evening both sides came to anchor in the sight of each other. Next morning the fight was renewed, and this day the Hosiander bravely redeemed her yesterday's inactivity. The Dragon drove three of them aground, and the Hosiander so danced the hay about them, that they durst never show a man above hatches. They got afloat in the afternoon with the tide of flood, and renewed the fight till evening, and then anchored till next day. Next day, as the Dragon drew much water, and the bay was shallow, we removed to the other side of the bay at Mendafrobay [Jaffrabat], where Sardar Khan, a great nobleman of the Moguls, was then besieging a castle of the Rajaputs, who, before the Mogul conquest, were the nobles of that country, and were now subsisting by robbery. He presented our general with a horse and furniture, which he afterwards gave to the governor of Gogo, a poor town to the west of Surat.
After ten days' stay the Portuguese, having refreshed, came hither to attack us. Sardar Khan advised our general to flee; but in four hours we drove them out of sight, in presence of thousands of the country people. After the razing of this castle, Sardar Khan reported this gallant action to the Great Mogul, who much admired it, as he thought none were like the Portuguese at sea. We returned to Swally on the 27th December, having only lost three men in action, and one had his arm shot off: while the Portuguese acknowledged to have lost 160, though report said their loss exceeded 300 men.
The 13th January, 1613, I was appointed factor for the worshipful company, and bound under a penalty of four hundred pounds. Our ships departed on the 18th, the galleons not offering to disturb them; and at this time Anthony Starkey was ordered for England. Mr. Canning was seventy days in going from Surat to Agra, during which journey he encountered many troubles, having been attacked by the way, and shot in the belly with an arrow, while another Englishman in his company was shot through the arm, and many of his peons were killed and wounded. Two of his English attendants quitted him, and returned to Surat, leaving only two musicians to attend upon him.
He arrived at Agra on the 9th April, when he presented our king's letter to the Great Mogul, together with a present of little value; and being asked if this present came from our king, he answered that it only came from the merchants. The Mogul honoured him with a cup of wine from his own hand, and then referred him, on the business of his embassy, to Morak Khan. One of his musicians died, and was buried in the church-yard belonging to the Portuguese, who took up the body, and buried it in the highway; but on this being complained of to the king, they were commanded to bury him again, on penalty of being all banished the country, and of having all the bodies of their own dead thrown out from the church-yard. After this, Mr. Canning wrote that he was in fear of being poisoned by the jesuits, and requested to have someone sent up to his assistance, which was accordingly agreed to by us at Surat. But Mr. Canning died on the 29th of May, and Mr. Kerridge went up on the 22nd of June.
At this time I was to have been sent by the way of Mokha to England; but the master of the ship said it was impossible, except I were circumcised, to go so near Mecca. The 13th October, 1613, the ship returned, and our messenger made prisoner at the bar of Surat by the Portuguese armed frigates, [grabs] worth an hundred thousand pounds, and seven hundred persons going to Goa. This is likely to be of great injury here, for no Portuguese is now permitted to pass either in or out without a surety; and the Surat merchants are so impoverished that our goods are left on our hands, so that we had to send them to Ahmedabad. John Alkin, who deserted from Sir Henry Middleton to the Portuguese, came to us at this time, and told us that several of their towns were besieged by the Decaners, and other neighbouring Moors, so that they had to send away many hundred Banians and others that dwelt among them, owing to want of provisions; and indeed three barks came now with these people to Surat, and others of them went to Cambaya. Their weak behaviour in the sea-fight with us was the cause of all this.
About this time also, Robert Claxon of the Dragon, who had deserted to the Portuguese for fear of punishment, came to us accompanied by a German who had been a slave among the Turks. One Robert Johnson, who was with the Portuguese, and meant to have come to us, was persuaded by another Englishman, while passing through the Decan, to turn mussulman, and remain in that country, where he got an allowance of seven shillings and sixpence a-day from the king, and his diet from the king's table. But he died eight days after being circumcised. Robert Trully, the musician, fell out with Mr. Kerridge at Agra, and went to the king of Decan, carrying a German with him as interpreter. They both offered to turn Mahometans; and Trully, getting a new name at his circumcision, received a great allowance from the king, in whose service he continues; but the German, who had been, formerly circumcised in Persia, and now thought to have deceived the king, was not entertained; whereupon he returned to Agra, where he serves a Frenchman, and now goes to mass. Robert Claxon, above mentioned, had also turned Mahometan in the Decan, with a good allowance at court; but, not being contented, he came to Surat, where he was pitied by us for his seeming penitence; but being entrusted with upwards of forty pounds, under pretence of making purchases, he gave us the slip and returned to the Decan. Thus there are at present four English renegadoes in the Decan, besides many Portuguese. The 27th October, 1613, we received letters sent by Mr. Gurney of Masulipatam, written by Captain Marlow of the ship Janus, informing us of his arrival and trade at that place.
From Surat I went to Periano? three coss; thence to Cossumba, a small village, ten coss; and thence to Broach, ten coss. This is a very pretty city on a high hill, encompassed by a strong wall, and having a river running by as large as the Thames, in which were several ships of two hundred tons and upwards. Here are the best calicoes in the kingdom of Guzerat, and great store of cotton. From thence I went to Saninga [Sarang], ten coss; to Carrou? ten c. and then fourteen c. to Boldia [Brodrah], a smaller city than Broach, but well built, having a strong wall, and garrisoned by 3000 horse under Mussuff Khan. I went thence ten c. to a river named, the Wussach [the Mahy?], where Mussuff was about to engage with the Rajaputs who lay on the opposite side of the river, the chief of whom was of the race of the former kings of Surat.
Thence [[an]]other fourteen coss to Niriand [Nariad], a large town where they make indigo; and thence, ten c. more to Amadabar, or Ahmedabad, the chief city of Guzerat, nearly as large as London, surrounded by a strong wall, and seated in a plain by the side of the river Mehindry. There are here many merchants, Mahometans, Pagans, and Christians; with great abundance of merchandize, which chiefly are indigo, cloth of gold, silver tissue, velvets, but nothing comparable to ours, taffeties, gumbucks, coloured baffaties, drugs, &c. Abdalla Khan is governor of this place, who has the rank and pay of a commander of 5000 horse. From, thence, on my way to Cambay, I went seven c. to Barengeo [Baregia], where every Tuesday a cafilla or caravan of merchants and travellers meet to go to Cambay, keeping together in a large company to protect themselves from robbers. From thence sixteen c. we came to Soquatera, a fine town with a strong garrison; whence we departed about midnight, and got to Cambay about eight next morning, the distance being ten coss.
In November, we rode to Sarkess, three coss from Ahmedabad, where are the sepulchres of the Guzerat kings, the church and handsome tombs being kept in fine order, and many persons resort to see them from all parts of the kingdom. At the distance of a coss, there is a pleasant house with a large garden, a mile round, on the banks of the river, which Chon-Chin-Naw, the greatest of the Mogul nobles, built in memory of the great victory he gained at this place over the last king of Guzerat, in which he took the king prisoner, and subjugated the kingdom. No person inhabits this house, and its orchard is kept by a few poor men. We lodged here one night, and sent for six fishermen, who in half an hour caught more fish for us than all our company could eat.
The 28th November, we received intelligence at Ahmedabad, that three English ships had arrived at Larry Bunder, the port town of Guta-Negar-Tutla [Tatta], the chief city of Sindy. I was sent thither, and came on the 13th December to Cassumparo, where I overtook a cafilla or caravan travelling to Rahdunpoor, six days journey on my way. We went thence to Callitalouny, a fair castle; thence seven c. to Callwalla, a pretty village, given by the emperor Akbar to a company of women and their posterity for ever, to bring up their children in dancing and music. They exhibited their talents to our caravan, and every man made them some present, and then they openly asked if any of us wanted bedfellows. On the 16th we went eight coss to Cartya, where is a well-garrisoned fortress.
We remained here till the 18th, waiting for another caravan for fear of thieves, and then went to Deccanaura, on which day our camel was stolen and one of our men was slain. The 19th we travelled ten c. to Bollodo, a fort held by Newlock Abram Cabrate for the Mogul, and who that day brought in 169 heads of the Coolies, a plundering tribe. The 20th in thirteen c. we came to a fort named Sariandgo, and the 21st in ten c. we arrived at Rhadunpoor, a large town with a fort. We remained here till the 23rd, to provide water and other necessaries for our journey through the desert.
The 23rd, leaving Rhadunpoor, we travelled seven coss, and lay all night in the fields, having that day met a caravan coming from Tatta that had been plundered of everything. On the 24th I sent off one of my peons with a letter to Larry Bunder, who promised to be there in ten days, but I think he was slain by the way; we went twelve c. that day. The 25th we travelled fourteen c. and lodged by a well, the water of which was so salt that our cattle would not drink it. The 26th ten c. to such another well, where our camels took water, not having had any for three days. The 27th after fourteen c. we lodged on the ground; and the 28th, in ten c. we came to a village called Negar Parkar. In this desert we saw great numbers of wild asses, red deer, foxes, and other wild animals. We stopt all the 29th, and met another caravan, that had been robbed within two days' journey of Tatta.
Parkar pays tribute yearly to the Mogul; but all the people from thence to Inno, half a day's journey from Tatta, acknowledge no king, but rob and spare at their pleasure. When any of the Moguls come among them, they set their own houses on fire, and flee into the mountains; and as their houses are only built of straw and mortar, they are soon rebuilt. They exact customs at their pleasure, and even guard passengers through the desert, not willing they should be robbed by any but themselves. The 30th we left Parkar, and after travelling six coss, we lay at a tank or pond of fresh water. The 31st we travelled eight c. and lay in the fields beside a brackish well. The 1st January, 1614, we went ten c. to Burdiano, and though many were sick of this water, we had to provide ourselves with a supply for four days. The 2nd we travelled all night eighteen c. The 3rd, from afternoon till midnight, we went ten c. The 4th, twelve c. This day I fell sick and vomited, owing to the bad water. The 5th, after seven c. we came to three wells, two of them salt and one sweetish. The 6th, having travelled ten c. we came to Nuraquimire, a pretty town, where our company from Rhadunpoor left us. We who remained were two merchants and myself with five of their servants, four of mine, ten camels, and five camel-drivers.
This town of Nuraquimire is within three days journey of Tatta, and to us, after coming out of the desert, seemed quite a paradise. We agreed with a kinsman of the Rajah, or governor, for twenty laries, or shillings, to conduct us on the remainder of our journey. We accordingly departed on the 8th, and travelled ten c. to Gaundajaw, where we had [[=would have]] been robbed but for our guard. The 9th we were twice set upon, and obliged to give each time five laries to get free. We came to Sarruna, a great town of the Rajputs_with a castle, fourteen coss from Tatta. We visited the governor, Ragee Bouma, eldest son to sultan Bulbul, who was lately captured by the Moguls and had his eyes pulled out, yet had escaped about two months ago, and was now living in the mountains inviting all his kindred to revenge.
The Ragee treated me kindly as a stranger, asking me many questions about my country. He even made me sup with him, and gave me much wine, in which he so heartily partook, that he stared again. A banian at this place told me that Sir Robert Sherly had been much abused by the Portuguese and the governor of Larry Bunder, having his house set on fire, and his men much hurt in the night; and that on his arrival at Tatta, thirteen days journey from thence, he had been unkindly used by the governor of that city. He likewise told me of the great trade carried on at Tatta, and that ships of 300 tons might be brought up to Larry Bunder; and advised me to prevail upon Ragee Bouma to escort us to Tatta.
According to this bad advice, we hired the Ragee for forty laries to escort us with fifty horsemen to the gates of Tatta. We departed from Sarruna on the 11th January, and having travelled five coss we lay all night by the side of a river. Departing at two next morning, the Ragee led us in a direction quite different from our right road, and came about daybreak into a thicket, where he made us all be disarmed and bound, and immediately strangled the two merchants and their five men by means of their camel ropes. After stripping them of all their clothes, he caused their bodies to be flung into a hole dug on purpose. He then took my horse and eighty rupees from me, and sent me and my men up the mountains to his brothers, at the distance of twenty coss, where we arrived on the 14th, and where I remained twenty days a close prisoner. On the 7th February, an order came to send me to Parkar, the governor of which place was of their kindred, and that I should be sent from thence to Rhadunpoor; but I was plundered on the way of my clothes and every thing else about me, my horse only being left me, which was not worth taking away.
Arriving at Parkar on the 28th February, and finding the inhabitants charitable, we were reduced to the necessity of begging victuals; and actually procured four mahmoodies by that means, equal to as many shillings. But having the good fortune to meet a banian of Ahmedabad, whom I had formerly known, he relieved me and my men. We were five days in travelling from Parkar to Rhadunpoor, where I arrived on the 19th March, and went thence to Ahmedabad on the 2nd April, after an absence of 111 days. Thence to Brodia and Barengeo, thence sixteen c. to Soquatera, and ten c. to Cambay. We here crossed the large river, which is seven coss in breadth, and where many hundreds are swallowed up yearly. On the other side of the river we came to Saurau, where is a town and castle of the Razbootches or Rajputs. The 16th of April I travelled twenty-five coss to Broach. The 17th I passed the river [Narbuddah], and went ten c. to Cossumba; and on the 18th thirteen c. to Surat.
According to general report, there is no city of greater trade in all the Indies than Tatta in Sinde; its chief port being Larry Bunder, three days' journey nearer the mouth of the river. There is a good road without the river's mouth, said to be free from worms; which, about Surat especially, and in other parts of India, are in such abundance, that after three or four months riding, were it not for the sheathing, ships would be rendered incapable of going to sea. The ports and roads of Sinde are said to be free. From Tatta they go in two months by water to Lahore, and return down the river in one. The commodities there are baffatys, stuffs, lawns [muslins], coarse indigo, not so good as that of Biana. Goods may be carried from Agra on camels in twenty days to Bucker on the river Indus, and thence in fifteen or sixteen days aboard the ships at the mouth of the Indus. One may travel as soon from Agra to Sinde as to Surat, but there is more thieving on the Sinde road, in spite of every effort of the Mogul government to prevent it.
The inhabitants of Sinde consist mostly of Rajputs, Banians, and Baloches, the governors of the cities and large towns being Moguls. The country people are rude; going naked from the waist upwards, and wear turbans quite different from the fashion of the Moguls. Their arms are swords, bucklers, and lances; their bucklers being large and shaped like bee-hives, in which they are in use to give their camels drink, and their horses provender. Their horses are good, strong, and swift, and though unshod, they ride them furiously, backing [[=mounting]] them at a year old. The Rajputs eat no beef or buffalo flesh, even worshipping them; and the Moguls say that the Rajputs know how to die as well as any in the world. The Banians kill nothing, and are said to be divided into more than thirty different casts, that differ somewhat among them in matters of religion, and may not eat with each other. All burn their dead; and when the husband dies, the widow shaves her head, and wears her jewels no more, continuing this state of mourning as long as she lives.
When a Rajput dies, his wife accompanies his body to the funeral pile in her best array, attended by all her friends and kindred, and by music. When the funeral pile is set on fire, she walks round it two or three times, bewailing the death of her husband, and then rejoicing that she is now to live with him again: After which, embracing her friends, she sits down on the top of the pile among dry wood, taking her husband's head on her lap, and orders fire to be put to the pile; which done, her friends throw oil upon her and sweet perfumes, while she endures the fire with wonderful fortitude, loose not bound. I have seen many instances of this. The first I ever saw was at Surat, the widow being a virgin of ten years old, and her affianced husband being a soldier slain in the wars at a distance, whence his clothes and turban were sent to her, and she insisted on burning herself along with these. The governor refused to give her permission, which she took grievously to heart, and insisted on being burnt; but they durst not, till her kindred procured leave by giving the governor a present, to her great joy.
The kindred of the husband never force this, but the widow esteems it a disgrace to her family not to comply with this custom, which they may refrain from if they choose: But then they must shave their heads, and break all their ornaments, and are never afterwards allowed to eat, drink, sleep, or keep company with any one all the rest of their lives. If, after agreeing to burn, a woman should leap out of the fire, her own parents would bind her and throw her in again by force; but this weakness is seldom seen.
The Banian marriages are made at the age of three years or even under; and two pregnant women sometimes enter into mutual promises, if one of their children should prove male and the other female, to unite them in marriage. But these marriages are always in the same cast and religion, and in the same trade and occupation; as the son of a barber with the daughter of a barber, and so on. When the affianced couple reach three years of age, the parents make a great feast, and set the young couple on horseback dressed in their best clothes, a man sitting behind each to hold them on. They are then led about the city in procession, according to their state and condition, accompanied by bramins or priests and many others, who conduct them to the pagoda or temple; and after going through certain ceremonies there, they are led home, and feasts are given for several days, as they are able. When ten years of age, the marriage is consummated. The reason they assign for these early marriages is, that they may not be left wifeless, in case their parents should die. Their bramins are esteemed exceedingly holy, and have the charge of their pagodas or idol temples, having alms and tithes for their maintenance; yet they marry, and follow occupations, being good workmen and ready to learn any pattern. They eat but once a day, washing their whole bodies before and after meat, and use ablutions after the natural evacuations.
The Baloches are Mahometans, who deal much in camels, and are mostly robbers by land or on the rivers, murdering all they rob; yet are there very honest men among them in Guzerat and about Agra. While I was in Sinde, they took a boat with seven Italians and a Portuguese friar, all the rest being slain in fight. This was ripped up by them in search of gold.
John Mildnall, or Mildenhall, an Englishman, had been employed with three other young Englishmen, whom he poisoned in Persia, to make himself master of the goods. He was himself also poisoned, yet, by means of preservatives, he lived many months afterwards, though exceedingly swelled, and so came to Agra with the value of 20,000 dollars. On this occasion I went from Surat for Agra, on the 14th May, 1614. I arrived first at Bramport [Burhanpoor], where Sultan Parvis lives, situated in a plain on the river Taptee or of Surat, which is there of great breadth, and at this place there is a large castle.
Thence I went to Agra in twenty-six days, having travelled the whole way from Surat to Agra, which is 700 coss or 1010 English miles, in thirty-seven days of winter, during which time it rained almost continually. From Surat to Burhanpoor is a pleasant champain country, well watered with rivers, brooks, and springs. Between Burhanpoor and Agra the country is very mountainous, not passable with a coach, and scarcely to be travelled on camels. The nearest way is by Mando, passing many towns and cities on every day's journey, with many high hills and strong castles, the whole country being well inhabited, very peaceable, and clear of thieves.
Agra is a very large town, its wall being two coss in circuit, the fairest and highest I ever saw, and well replenished with ordnance; the rest of the city being ruinous, except the houses of the nobles, which are pleasantly situated on the river. The ancient royal seat was Fatipoor, twelve coss from Agra, but is now fallen into decay. Between these two is the sepulchre of the king's father, to which nothing I ever saw is comparable: yet the church or mosque of Fatipoor comes near it, both being built according to the rules of architecture.
In Agra the Jesuits have a house and a handsome church, built by the Great Mogul, who allows their chief seven rupees a-day, and all the rest three, with licence to convert as many as they can: But alas! these converts were only for the sake of money; for when, by order of the Portuguese, the new converts were deprived of their pay, they brought back their beads again, saying they had been long without pay, and would be Christians no longer. In consequence of the Portuguese refusing to deliver back the goods taken at Surat, the king ordered the church doors to be locked up and they have so continued ever since; so the padres make a church of one of their chambers, where they celebrate mass twice a day, and preach every Sunday, first in Persian to the Armenians and Moors, and afterwards in Portuguese for themselves, the Italians, and Greeks.
By them I was informed of the particulars of Mildenhall's goods, who had given them all to a French protestant, though himself a papist, that he might marry [[off]] a bastard daughter he had left in Persia, and bring up another. The Frenchman refusing to make restitution, was thrown into prison; and after four months all was delivered up.
Between Agumere and Agra, at every ten coss, being an ordinary day's journey, there is a Serai or lodging house for men and horses, with hostesses to dress your victuals if you please, paying a matter of three-pence for dressing provisions both for man and horse. And between these two places, which are 120 coss distant, there is a pillar erected at every coss, and a fair house every ten coss, built by Akbar, on occasion of making a pilgrimage on foot from Agra to Agimere, saying his prayers at the end of every coss. These houses serve for accommodating the king and his women, no one else being allowed to use them. The king resides at Agimere on occasion of wars with Rabna, a rajput chief, who has now done homage, so that there is peace between them. I made an excursion to the Ganges, which is two days journey from Agra. The Banians carry the water of the Ganges to the distance of many hundred miles, affirming that it never corrupts, though kept for any length of time. A large river, called the Geminie [Jumna], passes by Agra.
On the 24th of May, 1616, while on our voyage home to England, we went into Suldunha bay, where were several English ships outwards bound, namely, the Charles, Unicorn, Janus, Globe, and Swan, the general being Mr. Benjamin Joseph. We arrived safe at Dover on the 15th September, 1616.
* * * * *
John Mildenhall, mentioned in the foregoing article, left England on the 12th February, 1600, and went by Constantinople, Scanderoon, Aleppo, Bir, Caracmit, Bitelis, Cashbin, Ispahan, Yezd, Kerman, and Sigistan, to Candhar; and thence to Lahore, where he arrived in 1603. He appears to have carried letters from Queen Elizabeth to the Great Mogul, by whom he was well received, and procured from him letters of privilege for trade in the Mogul dominions. He thence returned into Persia, whence he wrote to one Mr. Richard Staper from Cashbin, on the 3rd October, 1606, giving some account of his travels, and of his negociations at the court of the Mogul. This letter, and a short recital of the first two years of his peregrinations, are published in the Pilgrims, vol. I. pp. 114-116, but have not been deemed of sufficient importance for insertion in this collection.--E.
[Footnote 92: Purch. Pilgr. I. 466. On this occasion, only such notices as illustrate the preceding voyage are extracted.--E.]
[Footnote 93: Called Madafaldebar in the preceding section, and there supposed to be the place now named Jaffrabat, on the coast of Guzerat.--E.]
[Footnote 94: Being merely complimentary, it has not been deemed necessary to give any more of this letter than the hyperbolical titles assumed by the petty Mallay rajah.--E.]
[Footnote 95: Only 33° 54'--E.]
[Footnote 96: Captain Saris told me that some have two; but these are of the baser sort and slaves, as he was told by one of these marked by this note of gentility.--Purch.]
[Footnote 97: Probably owing to careless abridgement by Purchas, this passage is quite unintelligible. The meaning seems to be, That the ship in which was the English messenger, having a cargo worth 100,000£ sterling, and 700 persons aboard, bound on the pilgrimage to Mecca, was taken and carried into Goa.--E.]
[Footnote 98: This name seems strangely corrupted, more resembling the name of a Chinese leader than of a Mogul Khan or Amir. Perhaps it ought to have been Khan-Khanna.--E.]
[Footnote 99: It singularly happens, in the excellent map of Hindoostan by Arrowsmith, that none of the stages between Ahmedabad and Rahdunpoor are laid down, unless possibly Decabarah of the map may be Decanauru of the text; while Mr. Arrowsmith actually inserts on his map the route of Whittington across the sandy desert of Cutch, between Rahdunpoor and the eastern branch of the Indus, or Nulla Sunkra, and thence through the Delta to Tatta.--E.]
[Footnote 100: The great river in the text is assuredly the upper part of the gulf of Cambay, where the tide sets in with prodigious rapidity, entering almost at once with a vast wave or bore, as described on a former occasion in the Portuguese voyages.--E.]
[Footnote 101: Probably Sarrode, on the south side of the entry of the river Mahy.--E.]
[Footnote 102: This is obscurely expressed, leaving it uncertain what was ripped up in search of gold: the boat, the bodies of the slain, or the prisoners.--E.]
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