Volume 9, Chapter 11, Section 6g -- Journal of Sir Thomas Roe, Ambassador from King James I, to Shah Jehanguire, Mogul Emperor of Hindoostan, part 7
§7. A New-Year's Gift. --Suspicions entertained of the English. --Trade of Dabul. --Dissatisfaction of the Persian Ambassador. --English Ships of War in the Indian Seas.
On the 12th March, 1617, I carried, as a new-year's gift to the king, a pair of very handsome knives belonging to myself, and six glasses belonging to the Company, making an apology for the smallness of the present; which was well received, and the king used me very graciously, saying that whatever came from my hands he looked on as a sufficient present, and as a proof of my love, and that it was now his part to give me. He gave orders to an officer to send for Mr. Bidulph, to pay him his demands to his satisfaction, and all others who were indebted to us were ordered by name to pay what they owed to the Company. The king said likewise, that he would write to the prince in our favour.
But I found him unwilling to part with any of our things, of which the best sweet bag then lay before him. I replied, that I was very unwilling to go empty-handed. The king then commanded that I should come up and stand beside him on the steps of the throne, where stood on one side the Persian ambassador, and the old king of Candahar on the other, with whom I ranked. As soon as I had taken my place, the king asked me for a knife, which I sent him next day. The king then called the Persian to stand before him, to whom he gave a jewel and a young elephant, for which he kneeled and saluted the ground with his head.
On this occasion the same throne and furniture were used as last year, the upper end of the hall being adorned with the pictures of the king my master, the queen, the princess Elizabeth, Sir Thomas Smith, and some others, with two pieces of beautiful Persian tapestry hung below them. The throne was of gold, bespangled all over with rubies, emeralds, and turquoises. On one side, on a little stage or scaffold, was a company of women-singers.
I this day sent a dispatch to Surat, giving my advice respecting the trade of Persia, and of what had passed on that subject with the ambassador, and sent some remembrance to the governor, Ibrahim Khan. I had a letter from him in return, stating that the English nation had been wronged without his knowledge; but as his authority was now augmented by Prince Churrum, we might rest confident in his protection, as while he lived and held authority at that place, we should never more be liable to abuses, but should be allowed to reside and trade in perfect freedom and security.
The 13th I sent as a present to Asaph Khan a richly embroidered pair of gloves, and a fair wrought night-cap of my own. He received the cap, but returned the gloves, as useless in this country, and requested to have some Alicant wine, which I sent him next night. Aganor, whose diligence now gave me great hope of success in my desires, sent his Banian secretary to inform me that he had orders for the dispatch of the merchant goods, and that his man should attend Mr. Bidulph to finish that business; that the patterns should be sent me, and that the Mogul meant to give me a robe, and money to bear my charges in going to wait upon the prince.
I returned for answer, that I had no need of a garment or of money, but begged his majesty would graciously consider the injuries of which I had complained, and of which I had already given an account in writing, and that he would please to give me a letter to the prince, with some of our own presents which were intended for him, or else state my excuse in writing, that his majesty had intercepted and appropriated the whole. This was all I wished, as instead of gifts from the king, I only required justice.
The 21st I discovered that the Mogul suspected that I meant to steal out of the country. These doubts had been insinuated by the prince, either as a cover for his own guilt, or out of fear, or perhaps as a cunning pretence to cover his own designs. He had informed the king that the English meant next year to surprise Surat, and retain possession of that place. Indeed, their own folly gave some colour to the idea; as lately, upon one of the usual brawls at that place, our people had landed 200 musqueteers, with whom they marched towards Surat; and during their march, some of the jovial tars gave out to all they met that they meant to take the place.
This was a most absurd bravado, for a handful of men to march twelve miles against a walled town that was able to oppose them with 1000 horse, and as many foot armed with match-locks, and having besides to pass a river which could be defended by a handful of men against an army. It gave, however, just occasion both of scorn and offence; and the prince, perhaps to serve some ends of his own, took occasion from it to strengthen the fortifications of the town and castle, and to send down ordnance for their defence; perhaps a good precaution to have an open door to flee to in case his brother should live, and have the means of checking his ambitious views.
But this information concurring with my discontents here, and some free language on that occasion, and my pressing demands to be allowed to go to Burhanpoor, together with flying reports [[=rumors]] that we had taken Goa, and were preparing a great fleet in England, raised suspicions in the mind of the king, though he concealed them as well as he could from me. By my explanations, however, I satisfied the king thoroughly, though I was by no means so, having been fed only with words, and knew well that our residence was only permitted out of fear.
The complaints I was enforced to make at this court against the misconduct of its officers towards us, greatly offended all the great men, as being in some sort their own case; for they all live by farming the several governments, in which they all practise every kind of tyranny against the natives under their jurisdiction, oppressing them with continual exactions, and are exceedingly averse from any way being opened by which the king may be informed of their infamous proceedings. They grind the people under their government, to extract money from them, often hanging men up by the heels to make them confess that they are rich, or to ransom themselves from faults merely imputed with a view to fleece them. Thus my complaints against exaction and injustice made me hated of all about the court, as an informer.
The 25th I received a letter from Captain Pepwell, then in Dabul roads, stating, --That, according to advice, he had stopped the junk bound for Mokha; but having well weighed the caution I had given him respecting the correspondence between that prince and Masulipatam, where the Solomon then was, he had freed her without spoil. By this courtesy he had procured such good entertainment as is seldom had in the Indies, being allowed free trade, with a promise of taking 300 pieces of broad-cloth yearly, and had sold a good quantity of lead for ready money, besides some ordnance.
This part of his procedure I do not like much, as tending to arm the Indians, and the Portuguese their friends, against the Moguls. If these courtesies proceeded not from the junk being still under his command, they give good prospect of an yearly sale at that port. However, the freeing of this junk gives me good assurance that Captain Pepwell will do nothing prejudicial to the Company, and will deliver himself honestly from the jealousies entertained of him at Dabul. He signifies his intention of proceeding to Calicut, and if that factory be not likely to succeed, he proposes transferring it to Dabul.
The 27th, by a foot-post from Masulipatam, I received advice that the Solomon had put to sea, and that the Hosiander was arrived from Bantam, with the bad news of the loss of the Hector and Concord, while careening in the roads of Jacatra, in the island of Java; but with the good news that the Dragon, Clove, and Defence were laden homewards from Bantam. I took the opportunity of this post to convey a letter to the governor of Dabul respecting the overture made by him of trade to that port; and though I had no great opinion of the place, I would neither have it entirely neglected, nor would I encourage the next fleet to proceed there, unless on better assurance than a forced friendship, and offers made when their junk was in our power.
I signified the causes of our having stopped their goods formerly for refusing trade to Sir Henry Middleton; but finding him now better disposed, and willing to establish a league of trade and amity, and to take a good quantity of our cloth, I required to know if he were hearty in these motions, and willing to act as a man of honour; as a pledge of which, I requested him to procure for us a firmaun from his sovereign, with such privileges as were fit for merchants, with a royal engagement under his seal to fulfil all the friendly offers made to us by this officer; desiring this firmaun might be transmitted to me with all expedition, to my present residence at the Mogul court.
By this, I said, I should be satisfied that they meant to treat us with good faith, and on its reception, I would undertake, on the behalf of the king of England, that a firm and lasting peace should be established with his master, whose subjects should have free passage on the seas without molestation from our ships; and should send yearly a ship to trade at his port, or, if desired, should establish a resident factory there. I have no doubt, either through fear or favour, that some good sales may be made there yearly, but I doubt of being able to procure any valuable investments.
In this I proceed cautiously, as all men ought on such occasions, not with too eager apparent desire, nor swallowing hungrily any offered conditions, without due assurances. Strict care in the first settling is of the utmost importance, as you can never mend your first establishment, and may often impair it. Every man succeeds best at first, when new and a stranger; for by the natural levity of these barbarians, they are fond of changes, and grow weary of things in their usual train.
I have committed this dispatch to the care of Mr. Bangham, whom I have directed to make diligent enquiry into the commodities, advantages, and inconveniences attendant on our projected trade, and to make himself acquainted with the humours and affections of the Deccaners towards us.
On the 30th of April the Persian ambassador sent to excuse himself for going away without paying his respects to me, alleging illness, but his messenger said he was not so sick as he pretended; but finding no success in his negotiations with the king, he had taken his leave, and made a present of thirty-five horses at his departure. In return, the king gave him 3000 rupees, which he took in great scorn. Upon which, to justify himself, the king caused two lists to be drawn up, in one of which all the presents made by the ambassador were enumerated, with their values, meanly rated, much lower than their real worth; and in the other, all the gifts the king had presented to him since his arrival, --as slaves, melons, pine-apples, plantains, hawks, plumes of feathers, the elephant, and not even forgetting the drink he had received, all charged at extremely high prices, much above their value.
These two lists were laid before the ambassador, with their amounts summed up, offering him the rest of the money to make up the balance. Owing to this bad usage, the Persian feigned himself sick of a fever, as an excuse for not waiting upon Asaph Khan and Etemon Dowlet, for which reason he could not come through the town to visit me, without discovering the counterfeit, but desired his messenger to acquaint me with the truth; which Aganor as freely delivered, and with no small bitterness against the king, and to which I seemed unwilling to listen. The ambassador also desired him to assure me that he was ready to serve my nation in his country, to the utmost of his power.
I presented him with some Alicant wine, and a few knives, to be taken to his master, and so we parted. The 12th May I received news of a great blow given by the Turkish army to the Persians, the former having taken and utterly destroyed Tauris; and that Shah Abbas was unable to keep the field.
On the night of the 25th, a lion and a wolf broke into my quarters, and gave us great alarm, carrying off some sheep and goats that were in my court-yard, and leaping with them over a high wall. I sent to ask leave to kill them, as in that country no person may meddle with lions except the king. Receiving permission, and the animals returning next night, I ran out into the court upon the alarm, and the beast missing his prey, seized upon a little dog before me, and escaped; but my servants killed the wolf, which I sent to the king.
The 14th of June, a cabinet belonging to the Jesuits was sent up from Cambay, containing medicines and other necessaries, and a letter; which were betrayed by the bringer, and delivered to the king. He opened the cabinet, and sent for the padre to read the letter, and to see everything contained in the boxes; but finding nothing to his liking, he returned all. I mention this circumstance as a caution to all who deal in this country, to be careful of what they write or send, as it is the humour of this prince to seize and see everything, lest any curiosity or toy should escape his greed.
The 18th, I had letters from Ahmedabad, advising that indigo had greatly fallen in price, in consequence of the non-arrival of the flotilla from Goa. The unicorn's horn had been returned, as without virtue; concerning which I sent new advice. Many complaints were made concerning Surat and others, which I do not insert. I received two letters from Burhanpoor, stating the doubtfulness of recovering the debt due to Mr. Ralph Fitch. Spragge had returned from the leskar or camp of the Deccan army, where Melick Amber, with much show of honour, had given instant orders for searching the whole camp; but the Persian had fled to Visiapour, so that the business was referred by letter to a Dutchman who resided there.
The general of the Deccan army desired Spragge to be the means of sending English cloth and swords to his camp, which is within six days march of Burhanpoor; and in my opinion, this might be a good employment for some idle men, and an excellent opportunity to get vent for our dead commodities.
The 30th of July I received news from Surat of two Dutch ships being cast away on the coast near Damaun. They were from the southwards, laden with spices and China silks, and bound for the Red Sea; but losing the season, with much bad weather, they had tried to take shelter in Socatora, or some other port on the coast of Arabia, but failing after beating about many weeks, they bore away for Surat, hoping to be able to ride out the adverse monsoon in safety, as they had done in other years.
But the years differ, and being forced to come to anchor, they had to cut away their masts by the violence of the gale; the smaller vessel of sixty tons was beaten to pieces, and the cables of the other breaking, she was driven ashore in oosy ground, within musket shot of the land. The ship kept upright; but having lost their long-boat, and the skiff being unable to live [[=float]], four men got ashore on a raft. The spring-tides heaved her up so near the shore, that much of her goods and all her people were saved.
Maree Rustam, who had been king of Candahar, came to visit me on the 21st of August, and brought a present of wine and fruit, staying about half an hour, and concluded his visit by begging a bottle of wine. This day Sultan Cusero had his first prospect of long-hoped liberty, being allowed to leave his prison, and to take the air and his pleasure in a banqueting house near mine. Sultan Churrum had contracted a marriage at Burhanpoor, without waiting for the king's consent, for which he had fallen under displeasure; and some secret practices of his against the life of his brother had been discovered, on which he was ordered to court in order to clear himself.
By the advice of their father, Etimon Dowlet, Noormahal and Asaph Khan now made proposals of friendship and alliance with Cusero. This news has diffused universal joy among the people, who now begin to hope that their good prince may recover his full liberty. The 22nd, the king feasted Asaph Khan. The 25th, Asaph Khan feasted Noormahal. It is reported the Prince Cusero is to make a firm alliance, as above stated, and is to take a wife of his father's choice. This will produce his entire liberty, and the ruin of our proud oppressor, Churrum.
The 1st of September was the solemnity of the king's birth-day, when he is publicly weighed, to which I went. I was conducted into a beautiful garden, in the middle of which was a great square pond or tank, set all round with trees and flowers, and in the middle was a pavilion or pleasure-house, under which hung the scales in which the king was to be weighed. The scales were of beaten gold, set with many small stones, as rubies and turquoises. They hung by chains of gold, large and massy, yet strengthened by silken ropes for more security. The beam and tressels from which it hung were covered with thin plates of gold. In this place all the nobles of the court attended, sitting round on rich carpets; and waiting the king's arrival.
He appeared at length, clothed, or laden rather, with diamonds, rubies, pearls, and other precious vanities, making a great and glorious shew. His sword, target, and throne were corresponding in riches and splendour. His head, neck, breast, and arms, above the elbows, and at the wrist, were all decorated with chains of precious stones, and every one of his fingers had two or three rich rings. His legs were as it were fettered with chains of diamonds, rubies as large as walnuts, and some larger, and such pearls as amazed me.
He got into one of the scales, crouching or sitting on his legs like a woman; and there were put into the other scale, to counterpoise his weight, many bags said to contain silver, which were changed six times, and I understood his weight was 9000 rupees, which are almost equal to a thousand pounds sterling. After this, he was weighed against gold, jewels, and precious stones, as I was told, for I saw none, as these were all in bags, and might only have been pebbles. Then against cloth of gold, silk stuffs, cotton goods, spices, and all sort of commodities; but I had to believe all as reported, as these were all in packages.
Lastly, against meal, butter, and corn, all of which is said to be distributed to the Banians, with all the rest of the stuff, but I saw all carefully carried away, and nothing distributed. The silver only is reserved for the poor, and serves for the ensuing year, as it is the king's custom at night frequently to call for some of these before him, to whom, with great familiarity and humility, he distributes some of this money with his own hands.
While the king was sitting in the scale, he looked upon me and smiled, but spoke not, as my interpreter could not be admitted. After he was weighed, he ascended the throne, and had basins of nuts, almonds, and spices of all sorts, artificially made of thin silver, which he threw about, and for which his great men scrambled prostrate on their bellies. I thought it not decent for me to do so, which seeing, he reached one basin almost full, and poured the contents into my cloak. The nobles were so bold as to put in their hands to help themselves, and so thick, that they had soon left me none, if I had not pocketed up a remainder.
Till I had myself been present, I was told that he scattered gold on this occasion, but found it to be only silver, and so thin, that all I had at first, being thousands of small pieces, had not weighed sixty rupees, of which I saved to the amount of twenty rupees, yet a good dishful, which I keep to shew the ostentation of this display of liberality; for by my proportion, I think all he cast away could not exceed the value of an hundred pounds.
At night he drinks with his nobles from rich plate, to which I was invited; but being told that I must not refuse to drink, and their liquors being excessively hot and strong, I durst not stay to endanger my health, being already somewhat indisposed with a slight dysentery.
On the 9th September the king rode out to take the air on the banks of the river Darbadath [Nerbuddah], a distance of five cosses. As he was to pass my house, I mounted my horse to meet him; and, as it is the custom for all men whose gates he passes to make him some present, which is taken as a good sign, and is called mombareck, or good news; and as I had nothing to give, neither could go with nothing, nor stay without offence, I ventured to take with me a fair book, well bound, filleted, and gilt, being the last edition of Mercator's Maps of the World, which I presented, saying, That I had nothing worthy the acceptance of so great a king, but begged to offer him the world, in which he had so great and rich a share.
He accepted it in good part, laying his hand repeatedly on his breast, saying, that everything which came from me was welcome. He asked about the arrival of our ships, which I said we daily expected. He then said he had some fat wild-hogs lately sent him from Goa, and if I would eat any he would send me some at his return. I made him due reverence, answering, that anything from his majesty was to me a feast.
He rode on upon his elephant, and when I offered to accompany him to the gate, the way being stony, he desired me to return, bidding God keep me. He asked which was my house, and being told, praised it, as indeed it was one of the best in the place, though only an old temple and a large tomb, enclosed by a wall. Repeating his farewell, he said the way was bad, and desired me to go home, with much shew of courtesy and kindness, on which I took my leave.
On the 16th I went to repay the visit of Maree Rustam, prince of Candahar, who sent word at my arrival that he dared not receive any visit unless he asked leave of the king, or acquainted Etimon Dowlet or Asaph Khan, which he would do at the next durbar. I made answer, that he needed not, as I never meant any more to trouble myself about so uncivil a person. That I knew well this was a mere shift out of ill manners, as the king would be no more angry for his receiving me at his house than for coming to mine, and that I cared not for seeing him, and had only come in pure civility to return his visit.
His man desired me to wait till he had reported what I said to his master, but I would not. At night I waited upon the king at court, who spoke to me about the book of maps; but I forbore to speak to him about our debts. But on the 25th, though very weak, I went again to court to make trial of the king about our debts. Muckshud, one of our debtors, having pled in excuse for not paying that he had missed receiving his prigany, and knew not how to pay unless he sold his house.
I delivered the merchants' petition to the king, which he caused to be read aloud by Asaph Khan; all the names of the debtors, with the sums they owed, and their respective sureties, being distinctly enumerated. The king then sent for Arad Khan, the chief officer of his household, and the Cutwall, and gave them some orders which I did not understand. Then reading over the names, and finding some of them dead, and some strangers, he made enquiry as to their abilities and qualities, and what goods they had received. Concerning Rulph, Asaph Khan undertook to speak to the prince on the subject, and to get that affair concluded when he came.
My interpreter was now called in, and the king, turning to me, said that our merchants had trusted people according to their own fancies, and to whom they pleased, not coming to him with an inventory of their goods, and therefore, if their debtors were insufficient, it was their own faults, and they had no reason to expect payment of their money from him. This I supposed to allude to his servant Hergonen, lately dead, whose goods had been seized to the king's use.
He added, however, as this was the first time, he would now assist me, and cause our money to be paid: but, if the English should hereafter deliver their goods to his servants without money, they must stand to the hazard themselves. But if when they brought their commodities to court, they would bring the inventory of the whole to him, he would first serve himself, and then distribute the rest among such as were willing to buy them; and then, if any failed in payments, he would pay the money himself.
This indeed is the custom of the Persian merchants, who bring all to the king, as I have often seen. He first takes his own choice, and delivers the rest among his nobles, his scribes writing down the names of all to whom they are delivered, and the sums, another officer settling the prices. After which a copy is given to the merchant, who goes to their houses for his money; and if they do not pay, there is a particular officer who has orders to enforce payment. It was then told to my interpreter that Arad Khan was to call the debtors before him, and cause them to pay. This did not satisfy our merchants, but it seemed to me a just and gracious answer, and better than private persons usually get from great princes.
Hearing that I had been sick and was in want of wine, the king ordered me to have five bottles, and when these were done that I should send for five more, and so from time to time as I needed. He sent me also the fattest wild-hog I ever saw, which had been sent from Goa by Mucrob Khan. This was sent to me at midnight by a huddy, with this message, that it had eaten nothing but sugar and butter since it came to the king. I accepted this as a sign of great favour; which, in this court, I know to be a great one. He then sent for the book of maps, saying that he had shewed it to his mulahs, and not one of them could read a word of it, wherefore I might have it again. To this I answered, that his majesty in this would use his pleasure; and so it was returned.
The 26th, a rajah of the Rajpoots being in rebellion in the hills, not above twenty cosses from the leskar, the king sent out two Omrahs with a party of horse to fetch him in a prisoner. But he stood on his defence, slew one of the omrahs and twelve maansipdares [munsubdars] and about 500 men, sending an insulting message to the king to send his son against him, as he was no prey to be subdued by ordinary forces.
The 2nd September, Sultan Churrum made his entry into Mundu, accompanied by all the great men, in wonderous triumph. Contrary to all our expectations, the king received him as if he had been an only son. All the great men and the queen-mother went to meet him at the distance of five cosses from the town. I had sent to Asaph Khan to excuse me not meeting him, for I was not able to stir from sickness, and besides, had no presents to give. I also sent some of my servants with my just excuse to the prince, to which he, in his pride, only answered by a nod.
The 5th of September I received advice of our ships being arrived at Surat, the admiral a-missing, but all the rest well, and that they had taken two English rovers or pirates, which were found in chase of the queen-mother's ship returning from the Red Sea, which they fortunately rescued and brought safe in. Had this ship been taken, we had all been in trouble. With these letters, I received the Company's letter, the invoice of the goods, and instructions for Persia, with various other notes of advice. They advised me also that owing to the admiral's absence, they knew not what course to take with the pirates they had taken. I immediately sent orders to Surat concerning all business, as will appear in my letters.
The 6th, I rode to visit the prince at his usual hour of giving audience, intending to bid him welcome, and to acquaint him with our business, meaning to shew him all proper respect; and that I might not come empty-handed, I bought a fine gold chain, made in China, which I proposed to have presented to him. On sending in to acquaint him that I was in waiting, he returned a message, desiring me to come next morning at sun-rise, when he sat to be worshipped, or to wait till he rode to court, which I must have done at his door.
I took this in high dudgeon, having never been denied access by the king his father; but such is this prince's pride, that he might even teach Lucifer. This made me answer roundly, that I was not the prince's slave, but the free ambassador of a great king; and that I would never more visit or attend upon him who had denied me justice; but I should see him at night with the king, to whom only I should now address myself, and so I departed. I went at night to the king, who received me graciously. I made my reverence to the prince, who stood beside his father, but he would not even once stir his head.
Then I acquainted the king that, according to his order, I had brought an abstract to him of our merchandize, and waited his commands. After his usual manner, he asked many questions as to what were brought, and seemed mightily satisfied with what was in the inventory, especially with the tapestry, promising me all the favour and privileges I could desire. He enquired for dogs, but I could say nothing on that subject. He then asked for jewels, but I told him these were dearer in England than in India, at which he rested satisfied.
I durst not name the pearls for many reasons, but chiefly as I knew our people in that case would be way-laid by the prince, and it would have cost me infinite trouble to get them back. I thought they might easily be brought on shore, and so to court, by stealth, and I thought they would be the more valued the less they were expected: but my main reason of concealment was that I expected to make friends by their means; therefore when Asaph Khan pressed me on that head, I desired him to make the answer already mentioned of their dearness, saying that I would speak to him farther when alone. He readily understood me, and made my excuse accordingly.
Seeing the king to be well pleased, I thought it a good time to move him again about our debts; and having my petition ready, I opened it and held it up, as offering it to the king. He happened not to notice this, and it being discovered by some others what was its contents, who knew the king would be enraged that his order was neglected, one of them stept up to me, and gently drew down my hand, requesting me not to present that petition. I answered that Arad Khan had absolutely refused me justice, and I had no other resource. Arad heard this, being by, and went in much fear to Asaph Khan, desiring him to hinder me from making my complaint. I answered, that our ships were arrived, and we could neither brook nor endure such delays and loss of time.
Thereupon they consulted together, and calling the Cutwall, gave directions for him to put the king's orders into execution. The Cutwall, accordingly, beset the tents of our debtors that very night, and caught some of them; so that we shall now have justice. I had many thanks from all the Omrahs for the protection given to the queen's ship, and the civility shown by our people to the passengers. This, they said, they had properly represented to the king, who took it kindly, and they all declared they were obliged in honour to love our nation, and would do us every service in their power; yet they all wondered we could not govern our own people, and that any should presume to take ships out of the kingdom, and to rob upon the seas without leave of our king.
When the king arose, Asaph Khan carried me with him to his retiring-place, where we first translated the inventory of our goods into Persian, to shew the king an hour after. In this inventory I inserted the money with some addition, that the king might see we brought profit into his dominions by our trade. I next inserted the cloths of different kinds, with the fine wares; and lastly, the gross commodities, concluding by praying his majesty to give orders for what he wished to purchase, and then to give us liberty of selling the rest.
When this was finished, Asaph Khan asked why I wished to speak with him in private, desiring me to speak my mind with freedom, bowing, and protesting such friendship as I never could have expected. I told him that my reason for asking this private conference was to have his advice. It was certainly true that I had some things which were not enumerated, but had been so badly used last year that I durst not trust any one; but to shew my confidence in him, I was willing to open myself to him, on his oath of secrecy, which he readily gave.
I then told him that I had a rich pearl, and some other strings of fair pearls, and knew not whether it were fit to tell the king, lest the prince might be displeased. I informed him likewise, how I had gone in the morning to visit the prince, and of his discourtesy, and my consequent determination; yet I knew his favour was necessary for us, and I had hopes to recover it by means of this pearl, which I had purposely concealed for him. This was my purpose, and the reason of my concealment; and as he was father-in-law to the prince, and the king's favourite, I was desirous to please both, and therefore begged his advice.
After embracing me, he said I had done discreetly, and should acquaint neither; for if I did, I should never get out of trouble. If the king were to know of it, he would indeed use me courteously, but would make a great stir to get it into his hands, and then, according to custom, I might sue in vain to recover my own. The prince, I knew, was ravenously greedy and tyrannical, and wearied all with his scandalous exactions. He desired me to steal all ashore, trusting none, and explained to me many means of conveyance, bidding me observe the usage of the Portuguese on the like occasions; adding that he wished to purchase the pearl, and if I would grant his desire, would deposite its value in my hands, whatever I chose to ask, and, in recompence for this confidence I had reposed in him, he would hereafter be my solicitor in all things, and assured me I could do nothing without him.
I answered that I was most willing to let him have the pearl, and hoped he would never betray my confidence. Having received his oath, and a ceremony of mutual covenant, by crossing thumbs according to the custom of the country, we embraced. I promised to be guided entirely by him, and he engaged to do everything I required for the safe conveyance of the other things, engaging to give me firmauns so that no person should touch anything, but all should come safely to me, to dispose of at my pleasure.
He engaged likewise to reconcile me to the prince, and would take me with him the next time he went to visit him, and would make the prince use me with all manner of grace and favour; adding that I should have a particular judge assigned me to take care of our business, and to give us every satisfaction we could desire. He also advised me to make a present to his sister, Queen Noormahal, and she would prevail upon the king to give me money. To this I replied, that I wished only for the good usage of my countrymen.
He then carried me to the king, to whom I presented the inventory translated into Persian, and was graciously received. He asked me if the arras were a present, to which I answered in the affirmative, as the prince was by, lest it might be seized. In conclusion, the king said he would take a considerable quantity of our cloths and other commodities, desiring me to cause them to be brought up speedily, and directed Asaph Khan to make out an order for their free passage in the prince's name.
I was well pleased with the success of this day; for though I knew that there was no faith to be placed in these barbarians, yet I was sure Asaph Khan would deal truly in this, as he was to help himself; and durst not betray me, lest he should miss the pearl; neither could I suspect him afterwards, as he could not betray my secret without discovering his own falsehood to the prince.
[Footnote 211: More likely to have been a tyger and hyena.--E.]
[Footnote 212: This of the unicorn's horn, or rather the horn of a rhinoceros, may allude to some supposed inherent virtue of detecting poison, anciently attributed to cups made of that material.--E.]
[Footnote 213: In the edition by Churchill, this person is named Sulph, but no elucidation is given.--E.]
[Footnote 214: Both in the Pilgrims and in Churchill's Collection this personage is termed the king's mother; but it is more probable she was the mother of Sultan Churrum.--E.]
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