An Exact and Curious Survey of All the East Indies
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An exact and curious survey of all the East Indies , published in the year 1615. It is written by Henri de Feynes. It gives an account of de Feynes’s travel to China and the Mughal kingdom at the time of Sir Thomas Roe’s journey there. Henri de Feynes was born in 1573. He was popularly known as the Mannor of Monsart. His main source of fame is being the first Frenchman to visit China in 1609. He died in 1647. He gave a description of his journey in An exact and curious survey of all the East Indies. It is notable not only for the description of China but as well as the way of life in the Mughal court as well as the habits and customs of general people that De Feynes came across. Primary Source De Feynes, An exact and curious survey of all the East Indies,Thomas Dawson,London Suggested Reading Cope,Captain, A New History of the East- Indies,archive.org Anon, A True Relation of What Has Passed Between the English Company Trading to the EastIndies, Bodlean Library
Of all the East Indies, even to Can-
ton, the chiefe Cittie of China: All
duly performed by land, by Monsieur
de Monfart, the like whereof was
never hetherto, brought
to an end.
Wherein also are described the
huge Dominions of the great Mogor,
to whom that honorable Knight,
Sir Thomas Roe, was lately sent
Newly translated out of the
Printed by Thomas Dawson, for William
Arondell, in Pauls Church-yard,
at the Angell.
PUBLISHED BY Thomas Dawson
PUBLISHED FOR William Arondell
1. THE TRAVAILES of Monsieur de Monsart to CHINA by land, the like where-of was never yet performed.
IN the name of GOD, in the yeere of our LORD, 1608. I Henry Defeynes, commonly called by the name of the Mannor of Monsart, wayting then uppon the most Illustrious, & most Reverend Cardinall of Joyeuse, upon some private discontent taken against such a person, of whom I could not well, nor yet trulie would, revenge my selfe; knowing nothing doth so much aggravate, and nourrish up griefe, as Idlenes, yea, idlenes in the same place where the griefe hath beene taken, and in [Page 2] continuall sight of the cause and subject thereof; neither seeing at that time any worthy warre in Christendome, to applie my bodie and minde away from my wonted thoughts; did fully resolve to undertake some farre and hard travell, that by leaving behinde olde displeasures, and purposely going to seeke and finde me new, I should strive to banish the one, by meanes of the other; or at least trie what change (the chiefest, I thinke, comfort in misery) would worke in me: For sure it is not to have fellowes, otherwise a man might soone be contented.
First then I went the common and neerer way from Paris directly to Venice, not yet well resolved which way I should bend afterwards; but determining there to take my course. At Venice I must needs indeed take ship. Therefore having resolved upon Babilon, Persia, and the East Indies, I sayled to Alexandretta, otherwise called by the Turks, Scanderone, in Syria. This is a common way, a knowne towne, which serves for a haven to Aleppo, though three dayes journey off. It is an ill-favoured, unluckie, and unwholesome Citty, within eyght myles of Tharshis, the birth-Cittie of S. Paul. But many, going & returning daily from thence, have both sayd and written so much of it, as I neede little to add. Onely thus much, that it is the first place of firme land, where first and formost, and for the first discommoditie, there are no Innes to bee found for travellers: so that they must eyther carrie their owne victuals, and provision themselves, or put it uppon Cammels.
Secondly, almost all travellers, but trulie at least, and chiefely, all Christians, come to loose the [Page 3] right of themselves, and become as poore wretched slaves, subject to all injuries, disgraces, robberies, misusings in words and deeds, by theeves, drunkards, or the next base fellow, from which their very Janizaries and Gardes, cannot alwayes defend them, though they be payd deerely for it, and sometimes indeed do their best for the same: and for some private offence, eyther punish the malefactors themselves, or cause them sharply to be punished. But against hundreds of theeves, as they flocke ordinarily together, to assayle passengers, there is none, nor can be any Justice, or helpe at all. So that a Christian, being now become the weaker, though twice stronger, must here begin, whether he will or no, to observe his masters commandement, and turne the left cheeke, when hee hath beene smitten on the right. For indeed the readie way to prevent more blowes, is even to take the hand that hath stricken you, very hartilie kissing it, & with a cheereful countenance, stroake the knave by the beard, which he will take verie kindly.
From Scanderone therefore, I went to Aleppo; and your chiefe place in the way, is Antiochia, where Christians were first so called. This Aleppo is one of the fairest and greatest Mart-Citties in all the world. And from thence one cannot travell with a simple guarde or Convoy; but with whole Caravans, (otherwise called Caffes) that is, whole numbers and multitudes of men, with their Cammels, joining and cleaving all in a [Page 4] troope, like an Armie; to march together in those hence forward most hard, desolate, and very dangerous wayes.
There having found the usuall Embassador from the Basha of Babilon, Captaine of the Caffe, or Caravane, which goeth twice a yeare from thence thether, I gave him a 100. Rials of eight, for my dyet & safe conduct, through the Arabian desart. The Caravane consisted at that time of 10000 men or rather more. They travell all by night, as well to avoide the vehement heate of the day, as to be guided by the starre; and therefore such guides as are expert in that faculty, name themselves Pilots. They carry all their victuals on Cammels, till they come to certaine place beyond the Desart, wherof Ile speake anon. This desart is all sandy, and destitute of paths, or highwayes; neither may there be any, by reason of the continual motion, which the wind causeth in the sand. All that groweth there, as well trees as shrubbs, are Caperplants, or Tamariskes, on which the Cammels do feede. There shall you find no kind of fierce, or Savage beasts, but only Asses, Roes & Gazells, (which is a kind of wild goates) with an innumerable number of Staggs; yea in such quantity, and so bolde, as often times they run through the Caravane, not knowing whether men are to be feared or no.
We were most commonly constrained for meere necessity, to goe and bayte out of our way, to enjoy the use and commodity of some wells, [Page 5] which to this day are preserved among the ruines of certaine townes, that heretofore were builded, in those places; and sometimes without finding any: They make their provison of water in great Borachoes, made of whole goateskins; and sometimes are much distressed through want of it.
There is no fowle in all the desart but Pigions, which nestle in those ruines. The king of this hether part of the desart, is a Mahometan, tributarie to the Turke, and so superstitious or timorous, that by reason of certaine vowes, customes and auncient traditions, hee never entreth under any roofe, the better to behold his forces about him. He is so strong, that at an hours warning he will bring 100000 horsemen to the field; with out any difficulty, their horses being the goodliest in the world. Their Attire is after the Turkish fashion, turbant onely excepted, in steed whereof they have a kind of Capp, rowled about with a black Turbant. They are of a swart complexion, and all as well men as women goe almost naked. It is very true that such as intend to write back to Aleppo, take with them at their departure some sitting Pigions from their young-ones, which afterwards they let flie backe againe from what part soever they will, handsomely loaden with their letters: And the like doe they in some other cases for speedy warnings through all those parts.
After thirty dayes journey, more or lesse, wee [Page 6] came to Nane, where the whole Caravan takes water upon Euphrates; and there we reposed and refresht our selves some eight dayes together, expecting boates for our transportation. It is a good Towne, full of bad people; but yet there begins to cease all penury, and discommodity for want of victuals, finding in that Country all kind of meates, and refreshings fit for mans life. So wee embarked our selves there; and after twelve dayes came within foure leagues of Babilon: having seene nothing else on either side the river but Palmetrees, & Datetrees, which beare most excellent fruite when they bee ripe, and returne a most comfortable odour on the water. Betweene Nane and Babilon, there is a great lake, which is vulgarly named the Pitchie sea. I went expresly to see the head of it; which proceedeth out of a rocke in five severall clefts, about the bignes of a mans waste; which soone after meeting al in one; run 18. leagues long, till it looseth it selfe under the ground. This blacke and thick lickour serves to build withall, instead of lime.
There the Basha, sent us all manner of necessarie assistance, to bring our men and Merchandice to Babilon, paying a certaine custome, as one per centum, silver and precious stones, excepted which are tole-free.
This Citty, which now the Turkes call Bagdat, is at this present scituate upon the River Tigris, and not upon Euphrates, as aunciently it was; though it bee still the selfe same stuffe and rubbish, which the Babilonians carried foure [Page 7] leagues further, to rebuild their CITTIE, on the banke of TIGRIS; wherein finding yet a further inconvenience, they transported it on the other side; as to this day there are yet extant great tokens, togeather with some habitations which have still kept in the first place. There is also a great bridge of boates, though somwhat incommodious by reason of the largenes and height of the River. The towne is twice as bigge as Paris, but therein are many great Gardens, Orchards, and arrable grounds: & that which seemes most admirable, is to see so great an enclosure, compassed with so faire wals. For indeed 4. waggons may goe a front upon them, and are built all with bricke. The houses within the Cittie are lowe enough, vaulted under, and tarassed on the top. The Castle is exceeding strong, faire, great, and well stored with munition. There the Basha makes his dwelling place. I sawe him walke abroad on a day, and twas reported hee had very neere 50000 foote to waite upon him, and as many horse, the best arraied that can ever bee, having their harnesses all deckt with gold, silver, and precious stones, to the very stirrups: with a great noise of Trumpets, Drummes, Cimbals, Clarions and hautbois. I was so curious likewise as to goe to the place, where it is said the great tower of Babel was built, being about halfe a dayes journey distant; where I sawe nothing but a high mountaine of earth in the midst of a plaine wherein digging you may finde certaine bricks, [Page 8] whereof it is laide the tower was built.
From Babilon I went to Ezpan, now the cheife and most gallant Cittie of Persia (I durst allmost say of all the world) where the Sophy is most resident. The way is troublesome and discomodious enough, beeing of fifteene long dayes travaile, through wast desarts, voyde of al townes and houses, or any other succour, partly by nature, partly so wasted of purpose to impeach th'approches of the Turke. Onely from one dayes Journey to another, the Sophie hath caused to bee erected certaine kind of great harbours, or huge lodgings (like hamlets) called Caravansara, or Surroyes, for the benefit of Caravanes; out of which lodgings, travailers dare not issue without a convoy, which the governors of the said places give from one to another; and the Captaine of the convoy must bring back a good certificat from the Captaine of the Caravan, how hee hath faithfully brought them to the next lodging, and that they were wel pleased with his convoy. Otherwise upon the least complaint the king should heare, hee would cause the Governors head to be cut off, & his house set a fire, under whom the spoyle were committed; restoring to the full out of his owne treasure, what goods soever of the Marchants, which were past recoverie. Yet is it true, thereof have beene seene few examples by reason of very few misdemeanures in that nature; but whensoever any hath happned, that justice hath beene severely executed. Now these lodgings [Page 9] are exceeding comely with faire shops belonging thereto; and are able to entertaine all Caravans, never so great, the like being so set throughout all Persia.
Hispaan is halfe as bigge againe as Paris; very strong, very populous, & wonderfull frequented, as-well because of trafficke, as for the Kings presence and all the Courts of Justice, Checker, and Religion. It is unpossible to relate the pleasures, recreations and delights which are there; either for stately Buildings, great faire Gardens; store and goodnes of fruits, continuall riding, and all other kinds of noble exercises, with an incredible Pompe, triumph and magnificence, where once they undertake it. There is also great peace and plenty through all Persia, both of common things, which others have in some sorte aswell as they; as of sundry other singularities which none have but they indeed, or at least with such abundance and excellencie. Among other, the finest, fairest, and best bezear stones which they find cleaving to the liver of certaine goates. There also is found the greate mine of Turquesses; and the greatest quantity of silke that can be imagined, which the men themselves doe spinne. For their bodyes, they are reasonable handsome, for their minds, reasonable tractable and civill.
Being in the said Cittie I saw 70000 gallant Harquebusiers go out to meete the king, at his returne from a victorious journey against the Turkes, upon whom hee had conquered foure [Page 10] Provinces; and because they were not come farre enough to his minde, he did condemne them to pay three Zequins a peece, with threats that if they offended againe in the like he would cut off their heads: And did compell them to remaine in guard in a large spatious place before his Pallace; where every evening he caused them to play and exercise themselves as though they had beene in warre: causing withall store of artillery to bee shot in among them, and if any one through feare seemed to neglect his dutie, hee caused his Turbant to be taken off, & the man knockt downe to death with staves, himselfe giving the first stroake. At this his entrie they made him a great triumph, with a long magnificence.
Among the rest they erected in the said place before his Pallace, foure fortresses: all full of fire-workes, with Lions, Dragons, Leopards, Crocodils and other beasts; whose motion was artificially made to run upon lines, from one fort to another, fighting as they had beene alive. They made likewise foure forrests to be burnt, consisting of all sortes of fruit full trees; whereon the fruits were so naturally represented, that nothing could be more perfect.
The said place is all vaulted about with Porches, like to the Place Royall in Paris; having faire shops of every side, as wel within as without. There the king commanded each one, according to his severall trade, to deck their shops in the richest manner they coulde; which they also did: and having shut up all the passages for the sunne, [Page 11] there was no other light but with lamps and torches, placed in the best order that can ever bee devised, which burning continually did returne a brightnes cleerer then the day it selfe, and I might well have saide there was all the riches in the world, for so they had dilligently sought after, and either bought, or borrowed it of purpose from all parts, to appeare every one more gallant and well-minded to their Prince, then his neighbor. Surely all that ever I have seene since, through al my travails, I thinke I saw it first there. About foure a clocke in the evening, the King used to come within that place & remained there til morning, playing, walking, & passing the time: which triumphs, continued so for the space of two moneths togeather. There I saw the greatest quantity of rich stuffes and tapistries that ever I saw before or since; silver, and coyned money of all countries; yea with a good quantity out of France & Spaine. Within that place there is a 1000 peeces of ordinance as well great as small, which they say they had gotten from the Turke; And among the rest I perceived foure French peeces, of which having told the king, he made me answer, that hee had taken them from the great Vizier, when he defeated him before Tawris, in his fathers time.
He is in a manner of the same religion the Turke is of, except some, I know not what differences, which I understand not: being hereticks, one to another. When the King dies, he that succedeth [Page 12] puts out the eyes of all his Brethren, and keepeth them close prisoners in a great Castle, but yet with as much ease as he can; a kinde of curtesie which hath beene but since this kings time that now is, for in times past they slew them as they doe in Turkie.
From Ispaan I went to Casbin, 12. dayes journey distant, a very Populous and rich Citty, & of great Traffick, about the bignes of Orleans: which though it bee great and strong enough, yet the chiefest strength thereof lieth in the great number of horsemen that are continually about it. But there are no further commodities then at Ispaan. From thence I travailed 15 daies journy through very faire and well manured countryes, till I came to Tauris. A Citty very populous too, and of great traffick, somewhat perhaps bigger then Toulouze and was heretofore farre greater, yea of a huge bignes, as yet is to bee seene by the ruines; but since having bin sackt, and sackt againe by the Turke, hath lost allmost all former beauty, having heretofore, both for the fairenes and plentifulnes of the soyle, and statelines of the place, bin the seate of the Persian Kings.
Thence I prosecuted my travail to Syras, being 16 daies journey distant. It is still a brave place for trade, but chiefly for armour; the healthfullest Seate and the fairest in all Persia: where the Verdican or lieutenant generall of the Sophie, resideth with all his Janizaries, to the number of 50000 horsmen; the best horses in the world next to [Page 13] those of the desert: for they dare not have any other, but such as the king giveth them, neither can they sell them: and when they die he giveth them others, as also to all the rest of his horsemen.
The Citty is somewhat greater then Avignon, where there are the fairest remnants of greatnes, & of stately buildings, the finest Gardens Brookes and Fountaines that can be seene. There are kinds of causeys in those parts made for pleasure 12 leagues in length, bordered on each side with faire trees, in forme of a vaulted palisado, so thick, that the sunne beams cannot pierce through. Of each side of them there are faire springs of cleere running water, and betweene every 15 foote of ground, are great vessells full of cleere water, made in forme of a fountaine, which throwes out water the bignes of a mans bodie.
From Syras I went 8 daies journey to the chiefe Citty of the great Realme of Lar, which gives his name to the whole kingdome, and from whence coms the best Bezarstones.
There is the galan-test, the strongest, and best stored Castle under the Persian king, being impossible to be battered or mined; underneath is the Cittie wholly commanded by this Castle.
There the king causeth such an order to be observed through his whole kingdome, that before his Subjects sell any thing, those commodities, that are his owne shall first be put to sale, then they must sell theirs at the same rate. He is verie [Page 14] affable to strangers.
From Lar I went to Bandier, a small fort which the Portugals hold in Persia, to supply Ormus with water and victuall, which hath but verie litle or none at all.
Thence I past to Ormus, an Iland and kingdome which the Portugals do hold, though the Moorish king hath not abandoned his possession, but live in some reasonable peace one with another. It is of a great force and consequence to them, drawing from thence very great commodities, for it lyeth just in the passage to Mecha, and of necessitie everie ship that passeth that way, must make a stay there to pay the customs. Among the rest I can affirme to have seene one, that willingly taxed her selfe at 100000. Francs for her customs. There is but Brimstone and salt in this Iland, with out fresh water or any other commodity, and they must carry from Persia, all what they stand in need of: the Iland is but 3. leagues compasse, but there depends on it divers other countryes: the govlph is but 4 leagues over, which is all the distance from Persia to Ormus.
There I embarked my selfe for Macati, which is a fortresse in Arabia Petrea, on the same side of Ormus, and some 8 daies journey distant, belonging to the Portugals. This place is betweene Ormus, and Sourat: there are exceeding good horses, swifter then those of Persia: but lesser and yet more headstrong. There is also a great quantitie of Dates, which is their best merchandice, for [Page 15] man and horse doe eate of them. They are Mahometans, of a duskie hue, and as well men as women, weare long gownes with long high hats, without brim, and nothing but the crowne.
There I imbarked againe for Sindio, which is another Iland and kingdome, about 80 or a 100, leagues compasse, and there I saw nothing but store of faire feathers, and plumes of two kinds of Herons, whereof they make great traffick, because they are found no where else. Likewise they have all sorts of skins, which are wrought very curiously with needle-worke serving to sleepe on in the coole. There is also great quantitie of Rice, which is all their marchandise, and is a great trafficke throughout all the Indies. They are Gentiles, and adore that creature, on which they first place their devotion. They wash themselves every morning before the Sunne rising, and in the evening after Sunne setting, they wash their haire also, which they weare very long, and combe them very carefully, like women. They burne their dead men: and their best beloved wives being trickt up in their best and sumptuosest apparell, are conducted by their neerest kinsfolkes, and goe nine turnes about the fire, and at the ninth round throw themselves very cherefully in the midst of it. They are a very loyall and chaste people, and who would not be a lier for a world.
Thence I returnd the same way I came, to Bandier, and prosecuting my travaile by land, I entered the confines of the great Mogor, and made it two [Page 16] moneths, and a halfe till I came to Cambaya, the Metropolitan Citty of that Kingdome, and whereof it beareth the name. There are found all kind of Marchandises, and Jewels, to wit, Diamonds, Saphirs, Pearles, Rubies, Catseies, & great quantitie of Christall, Cotton linnen, and silke stuffes. This Citty is very neere as bigge as Hispaan. The great Mogor oftentimes makes there his residence: he is a Gentile, and adoreth a Bull and a Cow, which they Marry together, and keepe them in a kind of Temple, of an inestimable value: their Cratch is all covered with Diamonds, Emeralds, and other more precious Jewels, the Arches and wals, are all full of them: and no sooner they can recover any rare things, but they carry them thither to the offring. Then the ofspring which is produced from this noble Marriage, succeedeth also to be their God. They have an hospitall for all sorts of sicke beasts, wheron they bestow great costs, and they observe the before mentioned custome in burning their dead bodies. This is a wonderfull mightie Prince, able to bring, at any tyme 400000 gallant souldiers, and above to the field. In my conscience, I thinke, he is very neere as mightie, as rich, and Lord of as much ground, better peopled (at least, I am sure) then the Turke himselfe; with as many great Kingdomes, with their Viceroyes, as many brave Townes, as Bramport by name, Agra, Lahor, and others, not inferior in any thing to any the Turke hath: They altogether make use of Elephants, as well to carrie [Page 17] burdens, as to launch forth ships: to guard their Fortresses, or any other Military actions, making them to carry a pretty big Tower on their backs, with 24 or 25 bowmen, & 4 harquebus a crocke, by which meanes they mightily molest the Portugals, who have not yet found any invention to defend themselves from them, except with fired lances, which they throw in their eyes; but whatsoever comes within their reach, they breake into peeces with their trunkes. For to take them (as it was related to me in the Country) they make use of a female, when shee goeth proud, in her heate, which they let goe up and downe in a great wood, well enclosed, and environed with great stakes and trees, leaving but onely one passage open with a strong Portcullis, on the top whereof stands a man as a Centinell, keeping himselfe unseene, letting downe the Portcullis, as soone as the Elephants be entred, then very solemnly, some certaine men which have therof a particular skil, goe to them, and capitulate with them, as with prisoners of warre, what exercise they will be put unto, either to serve in the warres, or some other imployments, wherupon, according as they like the conditions, they make signes with their head to the Interpretor, then they suffer them to come forth, & they faile not to follow him unto whom they have yeelded themselves. Then men must be sure to keepe promise with them, or else finding themselves abused, they would wilfully pine themselves to death. But some there are, who eyther [Page 18] through shame or courage, will not yeeld themselves, and had rather suffer themselves to be slaine on the place. The Interpretor must give them to understand whether they goe, and how they shall be intreated; but if they come and find the contrary, they starve themselves to death, & if their Lord doth sel them to a meaner man then himselfe, they will not goe to him. I have seene one my selfe, at Cochin, esteemed the valiantest of that Countrey, finding himselfe unable, to bring to passe an enterprise imposed upon him, which was to lanch a very great ship, made all the signes he could to avoide it, whereupon the Trucheman told him, that they should be constrained to goe and find out another that should doe it, which would prove a vile affront unto him, having already purchased, so great a reputation, as he had, whereupon he went to worke, upon meere desperate vaine glory, and drew the shippe into the sea, then bursted; which I have also heard to be usuall, and have hapned to many others in some such cases. It is a creature that never lieth downe, the female onely excepted, in her copulation with the male, which is very much alike to the man & woman, then with his trunke hee gently raiseth her up againe.
Now for the people, they are of a swartie kind, like to those of Sindio, and weare a white turbant very little, with Cotton garments. They bequeath their goods, to their sisters Children, before their Brothers, being well assured, that without doubt, [Page 19] they are sprung of their bloud. It is very profitable trading with this people, for if but a child went thither with his wares, he should gaine as much as the subtlest Merchant in the world. For as soone as you are arrived into the Citty, the Kings officers come and disburthen you of what you desire to expose to sale, which they lock up by account, within the publique Storehouse; you need but tell them the price, and make choyce of one of their Brokers, who goeth to exhibite them to their Merchants, and so make more of your wares by th' one halfe, then you should have done your selfe; in the end he comes and gives you a faithfull account of all. Likewise for such Merchandise as you desire to have among them, in giving them a note thereof, they will by & by bring you all kind of Patterns, and they themselves will fraught your shippe, you needing not to trouble your self any further, & most commonly will furnish you with better wares then they had before shewen you: yea, after having given you up their accounts, as well of the sale, as of the goods bought, and restored you the overplus, if there be any, somtimes they will present you with some good gift, for having done them the credit, in making choyce of them above all their fellowes.
The fruits of this Country are excellent, and farre differing from ours: among the rest there is one not much unlike a Mellon, which groweth on the ground betweene two leaves, with a verie yealow rinde, being ripe, and this is called Ananas, [Page 20] very hot of qualitie, but of taste, above all things so sweete, that after having eaten of it, water will seeme to you as bitter as gall. There is another very licquorish fruit, called Amangues, growing on trees, & is as bigge as a great quince, with a very great stone in it. Moreover there is another that groweth on trees, resembling a great Citrull, with a kind of hornie rinde, after the forme of a pointed Diamond; They are greene in colour, and called Jugues, containing a licquor like honie, which licquor is found likewise in another fruit named Chatagu, very good to eate, but dangerous to those that are not accustomed unto it, by reason of the heate of it. Furthermore, there is another, named Jambes, which also groweth on trees, and is of the bignes of an apple, very good and wholesome, containing five stones in it, the outside halfe red, and halfe yellow. They have yet another fruit, of colour greene, coole, and wholesome, (which groweth on a tree called Carambole) square, and of a fingers length they make great use of it in Phisicke. There is withall great quantitie of Anisseed, white Ginger, whereof they make great Trafficke, which also they preserve and confect.
Thence I continued my journey 12. dayes together, all along the coast, till I came within foure leagues of Sourate, which is a most faire Iland, and a very populous Kingdome, (much frequented by Merchants) subject to the great Mogor. There I embarked my selfe to passe that little gulfe. The [Page 21] Citty is about the bignes of Roan, the Castle impregnable, because inaccessible: for of one side it is invironed with the Sea, and the other side is built on so strong and sleepe a Rocke, that it is as much as a man can do with great difficultie to get up, and withall, the best garded and furnished with Ordinance, and all kind of Munition, as ever I saw, & indeed they have good reason, for on that place depends the saftie of the whole Iland.
Thence I held my course for Diu, some foureteene dayes journey distant, which is a most important strong hold, which the Portugals possesse there, by them conquered from the great Mogor, very neere as bigge as Pontoise. They are Gentiles, and differ little or nothing from the others, in humours, Religion, Trafficke, soyle, or fruits. Thence I travailed to the Kingdome of Calicut, the King whereof is a Mahometan; and made it 17 dayes journey compleat, along the coast, no extraordinarie thing presenting it selfe to my view, beside the fore mentioned Commodities: the men being of a wartie hue.
Departing from the afore said Kingdome, I entered into that of Malebar, where they are exceeding black, but yet not curled, flat nose, or great lips, as the Negroes be; neverthelesse, with as good faces, as any in all Europe. They are Mahometans, and valiant, although they are somewhat of a savage inclination, and would never come to composition with the Portugals, but delight themselves to be at variance with all their neighbours.
They lie in the field, and have very few houses of any importance. Meane while that I was there, they tooke 160 Caravels from the Portugals. And when they take any prisoner, who by chance hath his garments cut, or jag'd, they say hee did teare them of purpose; knowing they should once bee theirs, and knocke him in the head with staves. This Kingdome containes in length some 14 dayes journey.
Departing thence, I entered the Kingdome of Cananor, where I travailed foure dayes, without the sight of any rarity of importance, more then is abovesayd. It is a little Mahometan Kingdome, they are swartie, and great Traffickers.
Thence I entered the Countrey of Mangalor, which is also a little Mahometan Kingdome; the inhabitants of a swartie colour, where I travailed 8 daies along the coast, without any thing worth writing, besides that which is in their neighbour Countries, onely that they have no formall Townes, or scarce any good houses.
Thence I entered the Iland and Realme of Sumatra, resembling altogether the former in all things, as well for Religion, and commodities, as for the stature & hue of men. Onely they have more then the rest, the great pepper in abundance, whereof they doe furnish the Portugals. But they are wise enough, to keepe the best from them, which they call Ganry, of a gray colour, bigger & smoother, then that which they send us, which is but that which falleth from the tree, before it be [Page 23] ripe, which makes them become so withered and bare, keeping the better sort for their owne use, whereof they preserve a great part, delighting much to eate hotte things, although their Countrey be very hot. This pepper groweth on a tree, about the bignesse of a mans arme there groweth also a great quantitie of good Ginger.
Thence I entered the Kingdome of Bombas, in all things like the other, Pepper onely excepted, being found in no part of the East Indies, but in Sumatra, and I travailed 12. dayes journey along the coast, without seeing one good Towne. Departing thence, I returned within the Countryes of the great Magor, and arrived at Chaoul, a small Towne, about the bignes of S. Clou. There are made the fairest Cabinets in the world, being not to be matched by any, or Germany, or of China. They are Gentiles, as in Cambaya, and great Traffickers.
Thence I wont to Damans, which is a place fortified by the Portugals, about the bignesse of Chaoul, being 11 dayes journey, one from another, and are likewise Gentiles.
Thence to the Kingdome of the Canarrins which is but a little one, & 5 dayes journey from Damans. They are tall of stature, idle, for the most part, & therefore the greater theeves. They hold some points of Christianitie. They weare a cap, a long cloake, in forme of a gowne. They lie in the field, under vile Cabbins of Turfe.
Thence I entered the Kingdome of Brameny, [Page 24] which containeth but 2 dayes journey in length, and in a manner, of the same qualities, and habit, with the Canarrins. Onely they have a kind of linnen cloth, which they make Marchandice of.
Thence to the Kingdome of Coulam, (who are Gentiles, and of a swartie hue) which having traversed from one end to the other, in a 11 dayes journey, I beheld no place of importance. There is nothing there, but all open.
Thence I tooke my way to Conchin, possessed by the Portugals: though the King keepes (neverthelesse) still there his title and Court. The Cittie is about the bignesse of Mante, and is as well frequented with Marchants, as any other place in all the Indies, being the thorowfare to China. And there is a Citadell of exceeding great strength.
Thence I went to the Mountaine of S. Thomas, where they are all Christians, and have alwayes so borne themselves (notwithstanding their king is a Gentile) their number being so great, that very hardly may they be rooted out; besides that, the passages to it are most difficult. They goe for the most part almost naked, as commonly they doe in all those Countries. And there is a certaine place where there is a Miraculous crosse, whether they goe to procession, in the holy weeke. And then during their service time, while they repeate the passion, this crosse begins to change colour, and to sweat I know not what kind of blacke liquor like inke, but the passion being ended, it returnes to its former nature. They hold it to be a [Page 25] grace which Saint Thomas obtained from God, for their perseverance in the faith. The Cittie is about the bignes of Poissy there are found certaine stuffs by them much esteemed, although they bee made but of hearbs, wherewith they cloath themselves, and make a great trade thereof.
Thence I returned to Conchin, & from Conchin to the kingdome of Bengala, wherein the Portugals also hold the capitall citty, & best fortresse, of which the whole kingdome takes their name, which not-withstanding, is very small & of little strength. It is a countrey full of all sorts of commodities. Among the rest, they have prettie coverlets, of yellow linen-cloth, all pinkte and wrought with needle worke whereof some are to bee seene in these parts, This Cittie lies all open, being of the bignes of Saint Denis, and is some 5. weekes journey from Conchin. Thence to the kingdome and Iland of Seilan, which the portugals holde, being a place of importance. In that contrey are whole forests of Cinamon, all other countries being destitute of it. There be also whole mountaines of Christall, and out of their rivers they draw Perles; Rubies, Saphirs, and Catseyes, which are of great valew, and whereof they make a great trade in China. It is a good country and exceeding plentifull in corne, rice, fruits, and all other things which are frequent throughout the Indies. And is held to be 300 leagues compasse, being all Gentiles. True it is, that the beasts which they adore, varie from the [Page 26] others, for they will worship the first creature they meete withal. They eate nothing that hath bloud, and of their very bread they will make no more then wil be eaten at a meale, for if it be kept but 2 houres, they are forbiden by their religion to eate it. Moreover there is a River of salt water which issueth out of the sea, and runneth neere the fort, where there is a certaine fish, or rather a kind of sea dragon, a monster, or I know not what, coms often howling even under the windowes, & will not depart before they have given him his pray, because (as they say) the Governour hath used him to it, causing all such as he beareth grudge unto, or he any way distrusteth, to be throwne to him, so that none but he and his men can tell, what is become of them.
Thence I bent my course, (for the kingdome of Jor) as much as I could by land, for this climate is all full of waters, and Ilands and is very temperate, being about a monthes travaill betweene Seilan and, Jor, which is a very pretty little towne, about the bignes of Avignon. They are Gentiles, and of a yellowish hew, they worship I know not what shape with three heads, they observe the like abstinence as is above mentioned, and have very neere the selfe same commodities.
Thence I past to Malaca, an exceeding strong fortres, belonging to the Portugals, 10 dayes travaill beyond Jor. There you have an aire most unholesome, and those whose constitution is able to beare it and live, at least their complexion is all [Page 27] changed to a yeallow; There groweth a certaine fruit, prickled like a chesnut, and as big as ones fist, the best in the world to eate, these are some-what costly, all other fruits being at an easie rate. It must be broken with force, and therein is contained a white liquor like unto creame, neverthelesse it yelds a very unsavory sent, like to a rotten oynion, and it is called Esturion. There groweth likewise, and no where els, Nutmegs and Cloves upon their trees, or stalkes; as also the Bezarstone; which is found joyned to the breast of Monkies, but not so good as those of the Persian Goates. Likewise there be Diamonds, but farre inferior to those, whereof I am to speake anon: yet are there Porcupinestones of the couller of white soape, which are had in great estimation, having seene one about the bignes of a Nutmeg, sold for 300. crownes which indeed was a faire one, they make use of it, allmost against all diseases, leaving it an howre to steepe in water, which afterwards they drinke of, though it be as bitter as Gall.
This kingdome is of the Molucos, and the Hollanders possesse there a strong fortresse, called Sonde, whence they bring us the birds of Paradice, for they are found noe where else, the countrey folkes take them up dead, and sell them for 8. rialls a peece; All a long this coast, is found great quantitie of gray Amber, and black, Muske and Civet, But the men of those countries are very liquorish of the Amber, and eate the most part of it, as fast as they finde it. They are well furnished [Page 28] with all manner of commodities, wine only excepted: But they have in steed of it, a certaine drinke called Caahiete as blacke as inke, which they make with the barke of a tree, and drinke it as hot as they can endure it. Their houses are low, vaulted, and tarrased on the top, the better to sleepe in the coole aire.
From Malaca I went to Macao, (neere a months travaile: which is a Cittie scituate on the sea coaste, at the foote of a great Mountaine, where in times past the Portugalls had a greate fort, and to this day, there be yet many that dwell there. This is the entrance into China, but the place is of no great importance; they are Gentiles, and there the inhabitants begin to bee faire complextioned.
Thence I travailled 2 months to the Cochinchines, finding nothing by the way worthie of note; no not so much as necessaries, so that wee were faine to carrie our victuals with us, the greatest part of the way. They are Subjects to the King of China, but sometimes they rebell and make warre against him; And there is great number of Christians among them. Their Kings treasure consisteth in a certaine kind of wood called Calamba: for which the Portugalls pay 100. crownes a pound, to make Paternosters with. It is of a mixte color, with blacke and yeallow vaines; the better sorte of it is moiste, so that being cut it expelleth a kind of fat oylie liquor, It groweth out of a certaine tree, which they fell [Page 29] and let it lie a while a putrifying: then they bruse it, and within the same, they finde this kind of wood, like many hard knots. They are a very white people, because there it begins to be colde, lowe of stature, flat nosed, and little eyed, with a very few haires on their chins, and mustachoes: none at all on their cheekes, the haire of the head they weare long like women, tied up with a black silke hairelace, & weare a flat cap upon them. They weare cloth Breeches made very levell, & a short robe above them, like a master of the chamber of accounts. There are found a kind of Serpents that will swallowe up a whole Stag; Two Friers assured me that travailling in that countrey, together with 16 other men, through a fennimarsh, about the dawning of the day, they met to their seeming, a great tree lying along the ground, the boughes beging lopped off, upon which they all began to sit down & rest themselves: but no sooner were they sate, but that which they tooke for a tree, fiercely rowed it selfe from under them, and left them all to picke strawes on the ground, for indeed this was one of those Serpents.
Their custome is (as they say) to put themselves in ambush among the boughs of a tree, and when they espie their pray to draw neere, bee it man or beast, they fal upon him with open mouth and devoure it. There are also store of Lions, Leopards, and Tigres: and there the fruits begin to resemble those of these partes: but the fruit, which above al others aboundeth there, is the Mirabolan.
Thence I set forwards to Canton, the principall Cittie of all China, (some 3 moneths travaill distant) beyond which there is no passage, say any body what hee will to the contrary; for never any man proceeded further, except (as they say) 6 Jesuits, who dwelled 20 yeares at Canton, as well to learne the language perfectly, as to let their haire to growe long, after the countrey manner, of whom there was never since heard any newes, nor is their hope ever to see their returne. That people is very white, and apparelled as is above said; they are likewise Gentiles, and worship the same Image with three heads. Their women of of the better sorte; and quality, which are able to live of their owne without working, never goe out of their houses but as they are carried in a chaire. And to that effect, from their infancie, they put their feete into certaine woodden slippers, to make them stump-footed and impotent, in so much as they are not able to goe: the reason they alleadge for it, is that women were made to no other ende, then to keepe at home.
The Christians are not permitted to lie within the Cittie, but as soone as night approaches they must retire themselves to their ships, being lawfull for them to traffick whersoever they please by day light. And for their trafficke, what rarities soever there be throughout all China, are to bee had in this citty, which are diligently brought thither, to wit great store of cloth of gold and silke, cabinets, wrought vessels, Venus shells, Massive gold, and [Page 31] many other things. They will exchaunge or barter gold for twice as much waight in silver; for they have no coyned money, for when they would buy any thing, they carry with them a peece of gold, and will cut of as much as they intend to bestowe on what they take. They make carved images of silver, which they erect heere and there through the streets, and no bodie dares touch them. The Citty is governed by 4 rulers, and each one hath his government, or circuit a part, secluded from each other: those of one quarter dare not goe and labour in another, and those which cause themselves to be carried, from one part to another, must change their bearers when they come to the gate of the next circuit: those gates are opened every morning, and shut every night, unlesse there be any complaint made of some misdemeanure, committed within the circuit: for then they shut them suddenly, or if they be shut, they open them not, till the offendor bee found. The King bestowes these commands on those, who are best learned. This is a most faire Cittie, and well built, very neere as big as Paris, but there the houses are arched, and nothing neere so high. Their Venusshells consist of certaine kind of earth or clay which hath remaind a 100 yeares in one place, and removed every eight dayes. There is so much sugar, in that Country, that it is by them very little set by, yet is silke in farre more great abundance, but withall more course then ours, by reason of their store, being so great as [Page 32] they are constrained to make it abroad in the fields, on the very trees, in this wise; when the wormes are hatched, (whereof the eggs are farre greater then ours) They observe what quantitie of wormes each tree will bee able to feede, then they lay so many on it, leaving them there without any more adoe, except it bee to gather the quods, when they are ready to be spunne, which is done as they gather Apricocks: for indeed a farre off they appeare to be so, and is a very fine sight to behould: they use a strange kind of fishing with Cormorants, and surely from thence must needes have derived at first the like invention, which (as I heare) was of late brought into England, and thence hether. They tie their necks a litle above their stommacks, least they should devour the fish they take: then comming to their maister, hee pulleth it a live, out of their throates: likewise for water foule, they make use of great bottles with two holes, which they leave floating up and downe the water a good while, to acquaint the foules therewith: then some fellowes will wade up to the necke in the water, thrusting their heads into those bottles, and having a bag underneath, come as neere the foule as they will, taking them with their hands, without the rest being afraid of it.
From Canton I returned to Macao, and tooke, my way through the kingdome of Pegu, which is much transformed from what it was heretofore by reason of a certaine king, who forbad his people [Page 33] the exercise of husbandry and Tillage, or any other thing necessary for the use of man; And having gathered togeather all the victualls of the country, caused it strongly to be immured, where he kept his residence, suffering the most part of his subjects to perish, through famine or sicknes, so that at this instant the whole countrey, remaines waste and desolate. Where in times past, there was wont to be found many rare commodities: namely, most faire rubies, and is now all togeather frequented with savage beastes; yea in so great quantity that they have almost driven out the inhabitants. Yet for such as remaine there to this day, they bee Gentiles and of a swhartie hue.
Thence I made it 18 dayes journeyes, to the realme of Camboge, which is very spatious, but voyd of any rarieties of note, onely that the King is able to bring 400000 men to the field, and makes warre upon the King of Sian. Thence I came to Sian, the King whereof is able to bring 600000 men to the field. These two Kings have neyther Horses, nor any fiery Instruments: but make use onely of bowes, and a certaine kind of pike, made of a knottie wood like Canes, called Baubuc, which is exceeding strong, though pliant and supple for use.
Both these Kings are Gentiles, but yet differ enough in manners; for the King of Sian worshippeth a white Elephant; And that of Camboge doth as the most of the above-mentioned.
I saw nothing [Page 34] remarkable in both these kingdomes, (having but coasted them) but onely much Benzoin in Sian; which is an aramaticall gumme, distilling out of a certaine tree, when they have first cut an incision into it, whereof they make a great trade: as being the onely place where it is found. I spent three moneths in traversing these two Kingdomes.
Thence I embarqued my selfe in one of the Portugall ships, which usually trafficke thither for Benzoin, and arrived at Conchin, a most fertile Kingdome, as likewise all the others be in those Climes, Pegu onely accidentally excepted. From Conchin I travailed by land 2 moneths and a halfe, to Bisnagat, otherwise called Ballagat, by the Portugals: which is a most faire Cittie, and the Metropolitan of the kingdome, unto which it gives his name. It stands within two leagues of the rocke of Diamonds, belonging to the King, who makes his ordinarie abode in the said Citty, and retaineth 15000 men, continually labouring in the said mine, with straight commandement, that all the great ones be layed up in his Treasurie, suffering none to be sold, but little ones, such as we see in these parts. So that there is not any great ones sold, or transported, unlesse it bee by stealth, or some device; As I have seene one with the great Mogor, as bigge as a Hens egge, and of that very forme, which he caused expresly to bee peirced like a pearle, to weare it on his arme; which stone had beene so purloin'd from this [Page 35] King, and cost the other 500000 Parots, which is little lesse then a million. It waigheth 198 Mangelins, and each Mangelin waigheth five graines. I my selfe found meanes by mony, privily to have another great one, conveyed into my handes, whereof I will speake more by and by.
This King is a Gentile, and of a hard, Swartie complexion. Hee worshippeth the tooth of a Monkey, and some in his Kingdome, worship a certaine kind of Serpent.
Thence I travailed 11 dayes, till I came to the Realme of Decan, Dialcan, or Idalcan; their King dwelleth within a dayes journey of Goa, which is a strong Citty, the Portugals hold: and the vizroy of the Portugall-Indies keeps there his residence, against whom this King (who is a Mahometan, and very mightie) makes warre now and then. Thence I came to Goa it selfe, an Iland but five leagues in compasse, neverthelesse the greatest Mart towne in all the Indies: for there all the above-mentioned Kingdomes, and the Portugals, mutually come to discharge and recharge themselves. It is a verie faire Cittie, about the bignes of Poictiers. At the mouth of the Port, on each side is erected a great Fortresse, very strongly manned by the Portugals. In this Iland is the hard Waxe made (which we call Spanish Waxe) and is made in manner following. They inclose a large plotte of ground, with a little trench filled with water, then they sticke up a great number of small staves, uppon the sayd plot, that being [Page 36] done; they bring thither a sort of pismires, farre bigger then ours, which being debar'd by the water to issue out, are constrained to retire themselves uppon the sayd staves, where they are kil'd with the heate of the Sunne, and thereof it is that the Lacka is made. This is a Climate where it raines, without intermission, the three moneths of Winter, and so outragiously, that it is unpossible to keepe the sea uppon that coast, without Shipwracke. After the rayne is fallen, comes there a land winde, which dryeth up the ayre, and two houres after, is very safe sayling.
Thence I embarqued my selfe, (with the permission, and Pasport of the Vizroy) for Lisbone, but we had such a terrible tempest, that we were eyght whole dayes, in the bottomes and Iles of Las Chagues, despairing ever to come out againe: in the end, God miraculously delivered us, and brought us to Mozambique, which is a Fort belonging to the Portugals. Then to Solfale, where they are Mahometans, and all blacke; And thence onely commeth the Ebony. Then we arryved at Lisbone, where I was imprisoned, and continued so foure yeeres long, without ever telling me the cause why. Finally, after much adoe, I was set at libertie, through the great meanes my LORD the Duke of Mayenne made for me, when he came into Spaine about the marriages; And as it seemeth in favour and hope of them; or else I fully beleeve I had never beene released. For as I heard there, [Page 37] by the meanes of some prisoners, the Vizroy of Goa had given straight warning, that I was an undertaking man, who had exactly viewed all those Countries, and could doe much hurt unto the King their Master, by the acquaintances, and intelligences I had of them, if ever I could come among the French, English, or Hollanders. There was I in my chamber of the prison, by an unlucky adventure miserably robd, of a little hollow pipe of white latten, long and slender, which I had ever kept so close, that no body in the world knew of it, and therein were 35. rough Diamonds, which was all that I ever had gotten, in my long and painefull travels, among which (the others being but common) there was a mighty great one, waighing no lesse then 79 Carrats, and therfore of an unestimable valew, the first theese was presently, yea within a quarter of an howre robd of them by another, & so being passed, from hand to hand, when after many daies and troubles, I almost had given over at enquiry, all last the second theese was found out, by meanes of the first, and being found seased with my Diamonds, hee was both taken by the Justice, and they with him, which afterward were restored backe unto me, I meane all the small ones, but not the great, which came never since in sight, and did vanish away, through so many honest hands. So that all the reason I could ever have for it, yea after much importunity to the King himselfe and the officers, was to have (though not at my request, nay [Page 38] most against my will) that poore fellow hang'd, who in my conscience I thinke, was not the least nor the last theese, having bin (as I am sure) robd also by a third; howsoever, the stone is not of so small valew, but a great Prince may bee gorgious and proud with it. God grant pardon to all sinners.
2. Certaine generall observations, touching the Indies.
IT is to be understood, that all the kings and kingdomes betweene Cochin and the great Mogor, were in times past his subjects, but in the ende many have withdrawne themselves from him, & are become soveraignes: Yet there are still whole numbers that acknowledge him.
The Portugals possesse no inland forte, through all the above named countries, but altogeather on the borders and sea-coasts. From Cambaya to Macao, they make use of Elephants all togeather in battels, Garrisons, and for Carriage. All these Gentiles, keepe living Serpents in their ships, in stead (as it were) of an Alminacke, or rather some Demygod, for their good lucke; so that if they see them not frollicke and blithe, they dare not set sayle: but if they be jolly and [Page 39] merry, they will sette out, whatsoever comes of it.
The abovenamed drinke Caahiete, is drunke from Turkey to China, and is exceeding wholsome and good. Throughout all these Indies, in stead of glasse-windowes, they use mother of pearle.
They have the fruit of a tree, like unto a Peach stone, called Areque, which they continually keepe in their mouth, and can no more forbeare it, then those who have us'd themselves to Tobacco; in like manner, they use an hearbe, which they call Betre, somewhat like Juie, which both men and women chaw night and day in their mouths: and to abstaine from that, would make their harts faint: Sometimes they eate it with lime; which makes it the ardentest thing in the world. Once I would needs taste of it, but I thought verily to have burnt all my Intrails: thus they forbeare 5. or 6. dayes from meate. They have also certaine figtrees, which beare leaves, about 3 ells long, in so much, that they cover themselves with it, from the raine, and use them in stead of Table-clothes, and the onely halfe of one sufficeth 10 or 12 men. They are exceeding faire and greene, and a farre off, seeme a peece of water-chamlet; their fruit is of 2 sorts, the one, of the bignesse of a meane Cucumber, the other, somewhat lesse; both yellow, being ripe, and wonderfull good, but the lesser is the best. Out of this fig tree groweth a stemme, as big [Page 40] as a mans arme, within the which lie a great number of figs, clustring together, like a bunch of Grapes, every stem, together with the figs, waighing 50 or 60 li. They gather the said stems, while the figs be greene, for they ripen as well in the house, as upon the tree, therfore they make great use of them in long voyages. The custome they use in planting these trees, is to take a long lyne, and to draw it stiffly through the figs, (as a Shoo-maker waxeth his thred) to the end, that the small seed within the fruit, may sticke to the corde, then they stretch it in the ground, halfe a foote deepe, whereof proceedeth an infinite number of figgetrees.
Moreover, you have there, as farre as Macao, a kind of Palme trees, like those which beare Dates, but this beares another fruit, which together with the shell is as big as a mans head. It is exceeding wholesome, and yeelds both wine, vineger, oyle to eate, and to burne, sugar, and a kind of liquor, which they drinke: the fruit it selfe tasteth like a haslenut; of his rinde, they make cordage, and of the wood; they build houses and ships. Many other things, could I adde but thus much will suffice, for a taste to such, as will be pleased, to heare me further speake.