A True and Almost Incredible Report of an Englishman

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Introductory notes

A True and Almost Incredible Report of an Englishman was first published in 1612.It was written by Captain Robert Coverte.Not much information is available about him.In the book Coverte talks about his experiences in travelling across the subcontinent and coming across various sides of life including aspects of food and water.Primary Reading Coverte,Robert, A TRUE AND ALMOST INCRE dible report of an Englishman,William Hall.Secondary Reading Foster William, The Journal of John Jourdain, The Hakluyt Society.

A TRUE AND ALMOST INCRE- dible report of an Englishman, that (being cast away in the good ship called the Assention in cambayathe farthest part the East Indies)Travelled by Land through many unknowne Kingdomes, and great cities.

With a particular Description of all those kingdomes, Cities, and People. As also A relation of their Commodities and manner of Traffique, and at what seasons of the yeere they are most in use, Faith- fully related. WITH A DISCOVERY OF A GREAT Emperour called the great Magoll, a prince not till now knowne to our Eng- glith Nation.

LONDON by WILLIAM HALL. PRINTED FOR Thomas Archerand Richard redmer 1612
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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE RO BERT,EARLE OF SALISBURY, KNIGHT OF THE MOST HO nourable order of the garter, vicount cranborne,Lord CECIL of Essindon, Lord-high TREASURER of England,chancellour of the university of Cambridge, and one of his Majesties most Honourable privie Councell.

As the most noble mae cenas of all good Arts, & the most worthy pa tron of all such as can any way merit of their Countrey: i have elected you (Right Honourable Lord) to whom i have presumed (encouraged by your known grace and Clemency) to Dedicate these my

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my tedious and dangerous Travels. In which, your Honour shall finde un doubtedly all truth, and some novelty. If after your more weighty and ferious Considerations, you will daine the perusall of this my rude and unpolight discourse. For being shipwrackt in Cambaya,the farthest part of the East Indies,and not dispairing in the power of the Almighty, of my safe re turne to my Countrey. Leaving the rest, to the number of 75. that would not hazard so desperate and unex pected an undertaking. I adventured to passe thorow many unknown King domes and Cities over Land: of all which, I have( to my plain understan ding) made a particular and faithfull discovery: Protesting to your Ho nor that in all my travels and(almost incredible

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incredible dangers) i have heere ex prest no more then i have directly seen, and to my great sufferance and diffi cultie prooved. Pardon,I intrest your Lordship, this my presumption, in se lecting you the noble and worthy pa tron, to so rude a discourse, whose sim plenesse is onely excused in the Truth. That granted, i shall thinke my selfe most comforted after al my precedent Hazards, that your Honor will but daine to accept of this report. Your Lordships Humbly devoted. Robert Coverte.

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To the Reader.

Receive, Courteous Reader,a true report of my dangerous Travels, which will (I make no question) be as pleasing to thee in reading, as they were painefull to me in suffering. Heere thou maiest safely and without danger see that, which hath cost me many a tedious and weary step; many a cold and comfortless lodging; and ma ny a thin and hungry meale. I publish not these my Adventures in any pride or Arro gancie: But i thinke, i should proove in gratefull to my preserver, not to let the world know his miraculous power, in safe garding me beyond mine owne hope or mans Imagination. The report of these my perils are freely thine, mine hath onely been the dangers and sufferance. Bee thou as well pleased with my faithfull discovery: as i am contented with my hard and paine ful pilgrimage. Thine Robert Coverte

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1. A TRUE AND AL most incredible report of an Englishman, that (being cast away in the ship called the Assention in Cambaya the farthest part of the East Indies )Tra velled by Land through many un known Kingdomes and great CITIES.

The 14.day of March, 1607. We came into the Downes, and there ancored against Deale, a bout 3. miles from Sandwich, where we staied untill the 25. day of the same moneth, being by computation the fist day of the yeare, 1608. Upon which day, about foure of the clock in the morning, we waighed ancor and past by Dover, be twaene three and foure of the clocke in the afternoone, without any staying, but giving them notice with 3 peeccs of Dabinance of our passing by, and so passed forwards some threa leagues, and then by a contrary winde we were driven backe againe into Dover roade where we ancored and staied till five of the clocke in the morning, being the twenty five day of March, and then weighing ancor, we failed some threa leagues, when the winde contrarving constrained us againe to cast ancor untill the 27. day in the morning about se ven


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uen or eight of the clocke, and then having a faire gale of winde, we failed to Plimouth, where we arrived the 29. day between tenne and eleven of the clorke in the afternoon, where we staied till the thirtie one day of march. And then having a faire gale of winde, wee waighed ancor and failed untill wee came in sight of an land called the salvages, on Sunday being the tenth day of Aprill, being about five hundred leagues from Plimouth, and still failed forwards untill the next morning, that we came within sight of the grand canaries, which belong to the spaniard. And upon the twelfth day of Aprill, about eight or nine of the clocke in the night we ancored, and discharged a peece of Dabinance, for a boat to come aboard, but to no ef fect : For before our arrivall in the road, there was a rumor of twelve saile of Flemmings that were coming that way, to no good intent (as the Spaniards after ward told us) to be some of those Flemmings that had overrunne the rest, where upon they sent up into the countrey for one hundred and fifty horse and foot or more, for their defence and safegard (if neede should be) nor would they be persuaded to the contrarie, un till two of our factors went on shore, and fully satis fied them in anything they demanded or doubted, and that our intent was only to make provision for such things as we wanted, and the next morning, (as the manner there is) we discharged another piece of Or dinance. And then the Governour of the towne sent a boat to know what we craved, whereupon we certi fied them of our wants, and they told us they would give the Governour intelligence, and returne us an answere, which was, that unless wee came into the road- it was beyond his Commission to releeve us, yet having first sworne and examined our Factors, and to knowing the truth of our intended Voiage, they gave them a warrant to take a boat, to come aboard at their pleasures with license to supply our wants, if they


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had anything that might content us. Yet one thing above the rest made us much to marvell, which was, two English ships (which wee perceived and knew by their flagges) being in the road, who had not so much kindness in them as to give us notice, of the custome or manners of these subtill and currish peo ple. And of this doubt, wee were also resolved, that no man whatsoever, being once within their Do minions, may come aboard and ship, that shall arrive there, and lie out of the roade, although they be of their owne nation, without their Governors and coun cels permittance or license. At our being there some of them came aboard of us every day for the space of five daies that wee staied there, and eat and dranke with us, after an unsatiable manner, very gree dily. Also we sent the Governor a present of two choe ces, a Gammon of bakon, and five or six barrels of pickle Disters, which he accepted very thankefully and returned us in requital therof, two or three Boats and a shaepe or two, and store of onions. And there we tooke in fresh wate, Canarie wine,mar malad of Quinces a twelve pence the pound, little barrels of buckets at three shillings the barrell.O ranges, Limmons, pomcitrions and excellent faire white bread made with Anniseeds, and is by them cal led Aunnes bread.

The eighteenth day of April about seven of the clocke in the morning, we waighed Ancor and set saile having a faire gale of wind for some three houres and being then becalmed, we hovered too & fro till the 21. day, and having then againe a faire gale of winde, we sailed untill the 27.day about two or three of the clock in the afternoone, that we arrived & ancored at Mayo, being about three hundred leagues from the Canaries, and comming from thence, wee were determined to take in fresh water at a place called Bonavista, but ha ving ancored we found the water to bee two or three


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miles, up in the land, neither was it cleare water, so that we tooke the smaller quantity. But there were o ther good commodities. For at our first comming we were told by two Negroes, that there wee might have as many Boats as we would, gratis, and i well remember, we had to the number of two hundred, or thereabouts in both our ships. Also they told us that there were but twelve men in the Iland, and that there was verie great store of salt growing out of the ground so that (if we pleased) we might save both our ships therewith, it is excellent good white salt, and as cleare as ever i saw any in England. Over against the Ile of Mayo, some eight leagues distance, is an Iland called S.Deago; wee staied at Mayo from the twenty seventh of Aprill in the after noone untill the fourth day of May at five of the clocke in the morning, when we set saile and sailed untill the twentieth Day of May, that we were past the Equino ctiall line, about 4. or 6. of the clocke in the morning, being distant from the Ile of Mayo about three hundred fourty eight leagues or there abouts, as our master Philip de Grone of the description of the whole voyage. And thence we all sailed forwards untill the fourth of July, that wee came to a part of Souldania with al our men in health, Gods name be praised, but two which were touched a little with the scuruy, which soon after recovered themselves on shore to there former health. Also the same day we espied Land which is called, Cape bona Speranse being some fifteene or sixteene leagues of Souldania and standeth in some thirty five Degrees or thereabouts.

At Souldania wee refreshed our selves excellently well so long as we were there, and had, and tooke in for our provition about foure hundred head of Cattel, as Dren, Stores, Sheepe and lambes, and foules, and fish of sundry sorts very plentifull, and fresh wa ter


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ter, great store. Also in that place is an Iland called Pengwin, some five or sixe leagues from the maine Land, where are great store of fowles called also Pen gwins, infinite number of Sealles: And to fetch some of those Seales, we went twice thither and filled our boat each time, and made tranie Dile thereof for Lampes. Also in this Iland we found 20. fat sheepe, being left there by the Hollanders, for a Pinnis which we met some two hundred leagues from Cape bona Sperance, which sheepe we tooke with us and left six beasts or bullocks in their steads.

At our first comming to Souldania, wee began to build or set up our Pinnis, and launched her the fifth day of September next following, and in seven or eight daies after, she was rigged and ready in all points to have gone away, if any such necessity had beene. Souldania is within the Kingdome of Ethiopia, now the Ethiopians are by nature very brutish or beastly people, especially in their feeding. For I have saene them eate the guts &garbedge, yea even the very paunch where the dung & filth lieth. Also when we have cast off those Scale filthes into the river neere adioi ning where they have lyen the space fourteen daies, and that they have baene putrified and stancke so Vehi mently, that it could almost have stifled one of us to come by them, these people have taken them up and eaten them, when they have swarmed with crawling maggots.

Also in this countrey are sundry sorts of wilde beasts, which my selfe and others of our Company (going on shore of purpose) have seene, and perceived some of them to be very fierce and cruell: so that af terwards when we found their dens, we durst not en ter them, nor come very neere them, lest they should be in them.

The Ethiopians brought downe to the shore five to sell


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they will shake hands each with other, and speake one to another, which to us seemed to bee their kinde and friendly salutations one to another. They are Verie modest, streight, big limmed, and very comely in ge sture both men and women. Their Religion Maho meticall, and goe almost naked, onely their privities are covered with linnen cloth, and Turbants on their heads.

The women have a linnen cloth, that covereth their breasts before and reacheth to the middle, and from the middle to the knee and somewhat lower, they are covered round about with linnen, next to their skin, and sedges tied round about them like a rowle at their waste, and hung down, which both become them very well.

They goe all barefoot except the King, who hath a paire of soles on his feet : and for his apparell when I saw him, he had a white wrought networke Cap, a Scarlet wastcote loose about him, and open before, with sleeves and a linnen cloth about his middle, and another which hanged downe from his shoulders to his feet.

Also at our being there at the Town, they brought us Coquo nuts to sell, as bigge as a mans head, and round, and some bigger and some lesser, with water in them according to the proportion or bignesse of the shell, and as much meat in one shell as would suffice for a wans dinner.

Also they brought us Boats, Hens, Chickens, Li mons, Rice, Milke, Fish, and such like, which wee bought for Commodities, no two hens for a penny knife, Limmons, and Coquonuts for old Iron, as nailes, broken pickes, and such like. But for fresh water there is small store, and that they have is gotten out of the sands, viz. first they make a hole in the sands and when the water commeth into the hole, they lade it out into their Coquoshels, and so drinke it.


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it. They brought us of that water but none of our company would drinke thereof it looked so thicke, and muddy. In this Iland of Gomora wee staied from the 25. day of November untill the 29. of the same, and then we waighed Ancor and departed. The tenth day of December about two or three of the clocke in the morning, and the moone shining, we espied on a sudden a low lane with high trees gro wing by the shore side, we being not a league from the shore, so that if we had not espied the trees, we should have thought the land to have beene but the shadow of the moone and so might have run our selves on those, and call our selves away with ship and goods : but it was Gods good providence thus to defend us from so great and imminent danger, whose name be blessed and praised now and evermore.

This was the Land of Pemba, which we tooke to be Zinzabar, untill by one of the people of the Coun trie we found it to be Pemba. At the sight of this low Iland, after we plainely perceived it, wee presently tackt about and set from the shore till day, and then we tackt about againe to the shore side, and neering alongst the shore side for a harbour to ancor in, wee sent our pinnis in the meane time, to the shore with the Gang onlie and master Elmore to seeke for a con venient watering place, wee keeping our course till our pinnis came to the shore side. Then two or three of the people of the Iland demanded in the portugall language that we were, and one of our men made an swer, that we we were Englishmen. Then they deman ded againe what we had to doe there, in regard the king of portugall was king of that Iland : wee replied, that wee knew not so much, neither came we thither for any evill intent whatsoever, but only to water, and would give them satisfaction, for any o ther thing that we should have of them.


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Gandevee River

water in the well, then we plied the pumpe, some foure houres, viz. from seven of the Clocke to ele ven of the Clocke at night, then the water increased so fast that we were able to keepe her no longer, but were forced to take our boats.

The merchants had some 10000. I. lying betweene the maine maste and the Stearidge, whereof the Ge nerall bid the Company take what they would, and I thinke they tooke amongst them some 3000. pounds some having 100. pounds, some 50. pounds, some 40. pounds, some more, and some lesse, and so we left the ship, and tooke neither meat nor drinke with us. And betweene twelve and one of the clocke, wee set saile to come ashore, which was at the least 20. leagues to the castward, and so we failed all that night, and the next day, without any sustenance at all, till five or six of the Clocke at night, being the third day of Sep tember, that we made the Land being a little Iland, standing upon the bar, and then a gust came down up on us, and brok the midship thought of our long boat, wherein were 55. persons, yet it pleased God that we recovered our Maste, and (the gust ceading) we went over the barre, and got into the River of Gandevee, But when the Country people saw so many men in two boats, they strooke up their brums and were in Armes, taking us to be Portugales, and that wee came to take some of their Colones, which wee perceiving, ( and having by chance a Guzarat, aboard wee sent him ashore to tell them truly what we were : and when they knew we were Englishmen, they directed us to the city of Gandevee, where was a great Gover nour, who at our comming thither ( and understan ding we were Englishmen ) seemed to be very sory for our misfortunes, and welcomed us very kindly. And there ended our travels by Sea for that time.

The fourth day of September, 1609. we came to the City of Gandevee, which is a very faire haven, and


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The tarvell to Agra

and great store of shipping built there, whereof some are of foure or five hundreth Tun, it' landeth in a good soile, and is governed by the Gentiles. The 25. day of september, we tooke our journey towards Surrot, to a Towne called Sabay, which is a Towne, only consisting of Spinners and Weavers, and there is much Calico Mave, and from thence wee came to surrate, where we found one William Finch an English Merchant, and servant to Master Johnson in cheapside, who very curteously went to the Go vernour, and acquainted him with our distresse, who (as hereafter we found it to be true) was bribed by the Portugals, which told him we were a kinde of turbulet people that would make mutinies, and and sow civill di scention in the Towne, and so adventure to surprise the Towne, whereupon we were put into a Monaste ry, where we lived three daies, nor could this suffice, but we were remooved to a great house, being a Gen tiles house, where we lay 14. daies; in which time, (by the good advise of the said William Finch ) we made pro vision of Coaches, Horses, and other things to travell to the great Mogol, & certifie him of our great distresse and misfortunes. This is a city of great fame & Anti quity, being walled about with free stone, and a strong Garrison lying therein, and a city of great trading for Merchandise, and great store of shipping, whereof some are of 500. Tun, which they cannot lade at the Town but carry them over the bar with their ballance only, I there lade the, but for their smaller shipping they lade them at the town, and so goe over the bar, where at a high water, they have 16. foot water.

The 22. of September, we tooke our journey from Surrat to Agra, with our Generall and 52. men, with 21 Coaches of our owne, and some others being hi red, and 19.horses(?) to a great city called Bramport, and the first two nights we lay in the fields.

The 26, day we came to Nawbon where Sugar groweth in abundance, with Cotten and all maner of


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of graine, as Rice, Wheat, Beanes, pease,Chéecore Lanteechoes, Motte, &c. For the Countrey is so plen tifull, that you may have a gallon of milke for a halfe penny, a hen (?) for three halfpence, 16 eggs for a penny.

From Gandeuce to Sabay 1.2.course, 4 from Sabay to Surrot is 12: course and every two course is three English miles.

The 27. day, we travelled 12. course and came to a City of the bannions called Daytaotote, and there master Reuct one of our merchants died.

This City could never be conquered by the great Mogol, but yielded upon composition, and still holdeth his title of King of the Bannians, and at this City we staied two daies.

This City yieldes great store of Drugs, fine pen tathose and Calico Lawnes.

The first of October we travelled 12. course, and lay in the fields.

The second day we travelled 14.course to a great City of the Banmans called Netherberry, where is a great Bafar or Market, and all manner of brasen wares to be sold, as Poto, Bettles, Candlesticks, and Cal drons of foure foot long, Shirts of Male, Swords and Bucklers, Lances, Horses in Armour of Arrowe proofe, Camels, and all maner of beasts.

There is also great store of Cotten wools, Cotten yarne, pentathoes, Callico Lawnes, Shathes for Turbants for their heades, Limmons, potatoes, three pound for a penny, and all manner of Drugs.

And surely cloth would be a very vendible commo dity there : for course felt is there extreame deare. Al so Glod and Silver is there very plentifull, and these are very good people to deale withall.

The third day we travelled ten course, to a small towne of Husbandry called Sailote, where is also great store of Sugar, and fruits of all sorts.

The next day we travelled 18 course to a Garrison Towne


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Towne called Saddisee, and there is the river of Tyn dee which runneth to Surrat, wherein is great store of fish of all sorts, and this River divideth the confines, of the bannians and the Guzarates.

The Bannians are a strange people in their beliefe, and honour God in a strange fashion, viz. in pictures of stone, hanging their heades on the heades of the pictures, and then with their faces towards the sun doe worship it, saying that all their comforts proceeds from it. And yet I saw more then this, which was a Cow adorned with a Veste of gold and many Jewels, her head bedecked with garlands and flowers, and then being brought to a buriall place, where they doe use to make sermons, they kisse her feet and teats, and worship her, that it grieved mee to see their fond superstition, and abhominable zoolatry. And asking why they did it, they answered, that shee was the mo ther of beasts, and brought them, milke, butter, cheese, and the Dre to till the ground, and lastly, her hide did make leather to make them shooes. Moreover, they say, she is blest by the Mother of God, to be honoured above all beasts. And so leaving the Bannians, wee crossed the River of Tindee into the Gentiles Coun trey.

Now at Saddifee, we being many, some in coaches, some on horseback, they thought we had come to take their Town, and bid shut their gates, I bent their Or dinance upon us. But our General sent our Linguist or Interpreter to certifie them, what wee were, and then the Governour opened the gates, and came himself to entertaine us with great curtesie and state. Yet that night we lay by the River side, and the next day being the fifth of Doctor, wee came into the Towne, where we lay that night : And the next day we travelled some 12 course, and lay at a monastery : And the seventh day wee went to the great City of Brampore where the great Generall called the Can Canawe


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Canawe liveth, this being his Garrison or resting place when he is out of the warres, and on the twelfth of October, he came from the warres with 1500.E lephants, 30000. Horses, 10000. Camels, 3000. Drumdaries.

The Elephant serveth in the field with a small tower of wood or timber upon his back, wheron is pla ced 4 pieces of brasse as big as abnets, and 10. men very artificially placed in the said Tower, with bows and arrowes, and to discharge those pieces.

The Elephants skin is musket proofe, unlesse it be on his face and belly, and he is a beast of so great un erstanding, that he is ruled and governed by word of mouth, understanding what his keeper commandeth him to doe.

This Countrey beareth towards the Northwest, in the height of 28 Degrees, or thereabouts : And heere Muskets, Snaphances, Pistols, Petronels, and Swords, be good commodities, but no Firclocks in in any wife.

Also Cloth is an excellent commodity to my know ledge, for I was offered three pound for an old cloake, which heere, is not worth 20. shillings at the utter- most.

And in Bramport we staied from the seventh of O ctober untill the 11. of November following : Then I and John Frencham one of our Company went to crave te Generals passe, to goe to the great Mogol, but he asked us if we would serve him in his warres, and he would give us what meanes we would desire : but we told him, we were poore distressed Merchants, that had beene shipwracked : and bee againe replied, that there was no Englishman, Merchant, nor other but he was a Souldier. But we told him that we had wives and children in our Countrey, to whom wee must of necessity goe, to which hee said, it was very well spoken, and that it was against their Lawes to keepe


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Keepe any man against his will : Then hee asked if we had any Jewels for his Ladies, I answe red I had one stone and one jewell, which I sold him for forty pound sterling, and then hee comman ded his Secretary to make us a passe, and seale it with his great Seale, for our safe Conduct to Agra. Also for the nature & strength of the Elephant, I can say thus much of mine owne knowledge because I saw it.

An Elephant rotall being brought to remove a piece of Ordinance of one and twenty foot long, which caried a shot of seven inches high, and lay upon the ca riage on the side of a hill, and to carry the same some halfe furlong off; which he did as it seemed to the great dislike of his keeper, who told him hee was a lazy bil laine, and deserved not his meat. Now the nature of the Elephant is, not to be disparaged in any thing, and standeth much upon his reputation and valour : so that upon these speeches of his keeper, he came to it a gaine, and with maine strength tore the carriage in pieces, and left the piece lying on the ground. Then were Carpenters set on worke to make a new carri age, which being done, the same Elephant was broght, who clapt his Trunke about the wheeles, and brought the Ordinance where his keeper commanded him.

This Citie is farre bigger then London, and great trade of all sorts of merchandise therein : it is one of the most heathen Cities that ever I came in, and the Citizens are very good and kind people, and very many Gallants in the Citie. Also fine rivers, ponds, orchards, gardens, pleasant walkes, and excel lent faire prospects as ever I saw. Heere any Gentle man may have pastime to hunt or hawke : and if hee will not goe farre, he may buy a deere in the Bufar or market for a Doller being but foure shillings ster ling, and hunt him where and when he will.

Now in my judgement, our English cloth of gold and


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and silver, velvets, broad-cloth, bayes, and cottons, would be very vendable, in regard there are so many Gallants. And thus much for the great City of Bram port. The eleventh of November we tooke our journy to wards Agroe, I and Joseph Salebanck our purser, and one Jo . Frencham, with one of the Country people for our guide, taking leave of our Generall, who was ex treame sicke of an Agve, and no hope of any speedy re covery. Also we had thought to have gone along with a Carravand of foure hundred and fifty strong, which were bound for Agro : but the Captaine told us, that they were to stay seven daies longer; but said, if wee would travel some two daies journy (which we might safely doe without any danger of theeves) we should meet with a greater Carravand then they were.

So on the twelfth day, wee travelled to a Towne called Caddor, some fifteene course from thence, where we lay that night.

Heere the Governor hearing that wee were stran gers, or Christians, demanded what we would have, and whether we travelled. We answered, to Agro, to the King, and that we came from Surrot. Then he as ked us what we would doe with the king. And when I heard him so inquisitive, I peremptorily answered, that my businesse was too great for him to know : but he said, he would know it ere we went out of the towne : and I againe replied, that my businesse was such, that I would goe out of the Towne and aske him no leave: and so making us ready to depart, we said, we would see who would stay us, without a very law full occasion : Then the Governor sent his Cotwall or the Maigz of the Towne, who asked us why we used such peremptory Speeches to the Governor. We told him, we answered him in no worse manner then his plac and caring deserved, and that it was not for him to force us to acquaint him with our businesse to the king,


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King,and then we shewed him the Can Canawes passe to the king. Thereupon the Governor came to us again with twenty Gentlemen of the Towne, and by all means intreated us to stay all night, and what soever wee wanted that the country could afford, should be at our service; and withall told us, the way was dangerous, and very bad to travell.

The next day we gave him halfe a pound of Tobac co for a present, which wee brought out of England, which he accepted very thankfully.

The thirteenth day wee came to a Towne called Sawbon, Some 14 course from Caddor, but before wee were halfe a course out of the Towne, the Gover nour sent 12. Horsemen with Launces, Bowes and Arrowes, to conduct us some part of the way that was most dangerous, which was some 10. 02 12. English miles.

And when we came to Sawbon, we found the Car ravand being 500. Camels bound for Agro. And were laden with Taffateis, wrought Silkes, Cloth, Sugar, and other Commodities, some from Bram port, some from Bengalla, and some from Cambaia.

The 14. day we set forwards with the Carravand, and travelled some 12. course to a Monastery called Tindey.

The 15. day, wee travelled some 10. course and lay in the woods.

The next day, we came to a great City called Can nowe, where is much trading for cloth, Swords, Shashes, Péeces, and Armour tied on with strings, being onely Arrow proofe.

There is great store of fruit, and colour for Di ars, of all sorts : and I thinke our English cloth would be an excellent commodity there : for it is very cold, es specially in January, February and March, for it bea reth to the Northwards. The 16 day we travelled some 14 course to a great river


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River, called the River of Andee, which is as broad as the Thames at Woolwich, and runneth into the Bay of Bengalla, and this is the utmost part or bor der of the Gentiles, and one the 17. day we passed over the River and went out of the Gentiles Countrey.

The Gentiles will eat nothing that bleedeth, and the Sun is their great god, For, should they eat any thing that bleedeth, they believe that they may eat the foules of their father, Mother, Sister, Brother, or friends, that are deceased: For, they say, that when any one dieth, their breath presently goeth into one beast or o ther, & so, in eating that beast, a man may eat the foule of some friend together with the flesh of that beast, such is their great blindenesse and ignorance. Nay more, they doe make every living thing their Idols : as, the first living they méete in the morning is their god or saint for that day, to worship that, and so leaving the Gentiles, we come to the Bulloits, or Pithagoreans. The 17. day we came to the city of Gorra, where are many Surroyes, or Innes, where Travellers may set their Camels, Horses or Catell, and cost nothing.

Also there are foure great Schooles for learning like to a University : In this Countrey were two Brothers being kings sonnes, who warred fr this City, being eight miles in compasse, and in the mid dle a great wall, and there they laid their Seedge, a long time. And at the last the King of the East part got the Victory, and held the same for seven yeeres, and then the great Mogol Tamberlaine the sixth overcame the whole Countrey and tooke it into his hands.

The 18. day, we went ten course to a great Tanck or poole of water, like unto the Bath, the water boiling out of the earth and is very warme.

The 19. day, wee travelled some 15. course to a Towne called Sanday where is great store of Wooll, like spanish Wool, heere are made great store of Caps to cover Turbants, felt gownes to ride in, both fine and


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and course, there are great store of sheepe, and so much Sugar, that they feed horses therewith as we do with provender, also there are goodly Surroies or Innes for horsemen and footmen.

The 20. day, wee travelled some fifteene course to a great Surroy, neere unto a Monastery, where wee had great store of fruit called Mangees being like an Apple, and have a stone as big as an Apricocke, and in sent or taste, and is excellent good for the Flixe, and are there much esteemed of.

The 21. day we travelled twelve course to a small village, called Lee.

The 22. day we travelled some 16. course to a City called Easman, where is a great Bussart or Market for the countrey people, for Wooll, Cotten, Cotten pearne, Swords, Xaveins, and other weapons for the warres.

The 23. day, wee came to a little Towne called Zingreene, some 14. course, where is great store of Dad, and aboundance of Drugs for DIARS.

The 24. day, we travelled 16. course to a Ci tie called Barrandonn where are great store of Mer chants of the Bannians and Meslipatanians.

It is a City where the great Carravans meet, and there is great trade of Merchandise, for cloth, Sha shes, Armour, for men and Horses, Coats of Male, Armour of Arrow proose, bombast Headpieces, and Elephants teeth, also many wilde Elephants in the Countrey : here we staied two daies and left our Cae ravant in the City.

The 17. day we tooke our journey forwards, and by the way we met with a Con or knight of that Countrey, with fourty Horse being bound for Agro, and fifty shot, with whom we also kept company, be ing about 140. strong, and travelled in the Desart some sixe daies, where are great store of wilde Ele phants, Lions, Tygars, Cat of Mountaines, Por pentines,


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pentines and other wilde beasts innumerable, but those wee saw. These Desarts are 100. course long, where every nigt we made great fires round about our tents, to shunne the dangers of the wilde beasts : This Con or knight told us the nature or wit of the Elephant, who knowing us is hunted to death for his teeth, will goe to a tree and there by maine force will wring or wrest his teeth out of his head, knowing that so he shall live secure and free from that danger, and this he protested to be true.

The third of December, we past those Desarts and came to a Towne called Tranado.

The fourth day, we travelled some 16. course to a Towne called Zaioberdee, where is hay, corne, and graine, great plenty.

The fifth day we travelled some 18. course to a City called Handee, where the king hath a castle and house, cut out of the maine Rocke, and brought with carved worke round about. This Castle is invincible, and hath fifty pieces of Ordinance in it.

There lay in this Castle, when wee were there 200, knights, Captaines, and other Gallants, that had transgressed the Law, or the kings commandement, as in Treason, Rebellion, and such like matters. Al so, in this City are two houses much like Saint Jones, where Captaines and Caviliers, that have beene mai med, and hurt in the warres, do live, and have each one a Mammothee a day being nine pence English, and meat and drinke at the kings allowance.

The 6. day we came to the River of Tamluo, which runneth into the River Indus, which parteth the Coun tries of the Pythagoreans, and the Indestands.

The pithagoreans in former times have beene a vile and treacherous kinde of people, and had a Law that when the husband died, the wife should be also burnt, which is holden till this day, though not in so strict a maner, for now shee may refuse it, but then her


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her head is shaven and she clad in a blacke besture or garment, which among them is reputed most vile and hatefull, that the basest slave in the Countrey will not succor nor relieve her though she should starve.

Now, the cause why this Law was first made, was, for that the women there were so fickle and inconstant, that, upon any slight occasion of dislike or spléene, they would poison their husbands. Whereas now the esta blishing and executing of this Law, is the cause that moveth the wife to love and cheerish her husband, and wisheth not to survive him.

As for example, I saw a young woman the wife of a Doctor, whose husband being dead, shee made choice to bee carried in a pageant, by foure men, shee being cloathed in Lawne, and her head deacked with Jewels and rich Ornaments, and before her went Musike of all sorts that the Countrey afforded, as Hoeboies, Drums, fifes, and Trumpets, and next unto her all her kindred, and so shee was brought to the place of Execution, where was a stake and a hole to set her feet in, and so being tied to the stake, all her kindred kneeling round about her, & praying to the sun and their other Idols, the fire was set to her,she ha ving under each arme a bagge of gunpowder, and a bagge betwixt her leggs, and so burnt to death, the fire being made of Beniamin, Storare, Lignomal [...], and other sweet woods. Thus much for the Bul loits, and so to the Indestands, and the next day we tra velled some ten course to a Towne called Addar.

The eight day, wee travelled some 26. course, and came to the great City of Agro where the great Mo goll keepeth his Court and residence.

The ninth day Captaine Hawkins came to us, and brought us before the king, as it is the custome and manner of the Countrey. For no stranger must stay a bove twenty foure houres before he be brought before the king to know what hee is, and wherefore hee com meth


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meth. Also every stranger must present the king with some present, bee it never so small, which hee will not refuse. And I gave him for a present, a small whistle of gold, waighing almost an ounce, set with sparks of Rubies, which hee tooke and whistleled therewith al most an houre. Also I gave him the picture of Saint Johns head cut in Amber and Gold, which hee also re ceived very gratiously.

The whistle hee gave to one of his great women, and the picture to Sultane Caroone his yongest sonne. His eldest son rebelled, and is in prison with his eies sea led up, and it is noised amongst the common people that his eies are put out : But it was told mee by a great man, that they are but sealed up. His name is Batteshaw Shelham, which in our language is heire ap parent to the Crowne : His second sonne liveth with him and is called Sultane Nawbree, and him hee think, eth to make his heire apparent : His third sonne is called Sultane Lawlle, and is Viceroy of Lihorne : His fourth sonne is called Sultane Lill, and is Viceroy of the Gentiles, and these are his five sonnes. Also hee hath ten Viceroys, more under him, that govern ten se verall provinces or Countries, viz. Can Canow vice roy of the Guzarats ; Can John Viceroy of the Bulloi res : Michall can viceroy of the Bannians : Howsover can, Viceroy of Cambaia : Hodge John, Viceroy of Bengolla : Michaell Can, Viceroy of the Hendownes : Sawder Can Viceroy of the Puttans, and hee lieth in the City of Candahar : Alee can viceroy of the Bullo chies, and lieth in the City of Buckera : Sawber Can, Viceroy of the Multans, and Can Bullard Viceroy of the Indestands.

These are the names of his ten Viceroys, beeing all Heathens, but very worthy men, and expert in the warres. Hee hath a great number of Noble men to attend on him. An Earle is called a Nawbob, and they are the chiefe men that attend on him, when he go eth


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eth abroad : for at home none attend him but Evenu ches or gelded men.

His Lord chiefe Justice is an Euenuch, and is cal, led Awlee Nawbob : hee is thought to bee woorth twen ty English millions : Hee keepeth twenty Elephants, one hundreth Horse to attend on him.

The Lord Treasurer is a mighty man, called Sul tan Carowdon : Hee hath forty Elephants to attend him, two hundreth Camels and Dromedaries, and one thousand Horse at his service. And when he Com, meth to sit in his place of Justice, hee is brought upon an Elephant clad in cloth of gold or silver, and some times in a Pollankan, carried by foure slaves, he lying in it, as if hee lay in a cradle, in as great pomp and ease as may bee, and hath four maces of silver and gilt car ried before him, and ten banners, and as great atten dance, as if hee were a King; yet on Twesdaies and Thursdaies the king himselfe fits in Judgement of all causes : He custometh all strangers goods himselfe, the custome beeing but small at his pleasure, as some, times, the value of ten shillings, custometh goods worth two hundreth pound. Also if a Merchant stran ger, bring wares or merchandise from a farre Coun trey : as from Chyna, Bengalla, and thinketh hee shall make a bad voiage, or lose thereby : if hee acquaint the king therewith, and that the merchandise bee fit for Kings, Princes, and noble men, the king himselfe will take part thereof, and cause his nobles to take the rest, at such rates as the Merchant, shall not only bee a saver, but a great gainer thereby.

The Mogoll, lyveth in as great state and pompe as may be devised, both for Majestie and princely pleasure; for hee had brought before him every day during our a bode there, 50. Elephants royall, clad in cloth of golde and silver, with drums fifes and trumpets, inhereof, some fight one with another, wounding one another ve- ry


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Also there are 4, Basars or markets every day in the weeke, and great store of all things to be brought and sold there, and at a very reasonable rate. As a hen for 2. pence, a Turkey for 6. pence, a live beare for a dollar, a sheep for 2. shillings, a goat for 2. shillings, a couple of oxen for 4. dollars, being 16. shillings sterling, a good hogge for 2. shil lings, but none buy them but Christians, and none sell them but the Bannyans, who breed them, and as much fish for 3. pence as will serve 5.reasonable men at a meale.

Also great store of fruit, as Limmons, Oranges, Apri cocks, Grapes, Peares, Apples and Plummes; But with their grapes they make no wines because their lawes forbid it : Also Raisons as great and faire as Raisons of Damasko, with great store of cloth of golde uelvets and silkes out of persia, and silkes and cloth of gold from Chyna, but those are course and lowe priced; but abundance are their uended; and Captaine Haw kins thinketh that our Richer silkes, uelvets, and such like would be excellent good commodities there. But especially our Cloth of light coulors. For there is no cloth, but a kind of course Cloth like Cotton, which is made at Lyhore, and at a Towne called Esineere : and their finest and best, is a kind of course red cloth, like a Venice red and this is the usuall wearing for the chief est Caviliers; and these are all the places of clothing that I could by any means heare of. in all that Country.

The word Mogoll, in their language is as much as to say, the great white king; for he is a white man and of the Race of the Tartares. He is king of many king domes, and writeth himselfe in his stile, Patteshaw Shel ham Shogh, that is , the king of all the great Coynes. For there is a severall coyne at Lahore, another at Brampore, another


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another at Surrot, another at Cambaia, another at Sab barton, and another at Awgru, And for his severall kingdomes, he is king, of the Guzarats, of the Banni ans of the Bulloits of Callicot and Bengolla which are Gentiles, of the Indellands of the Mogolles, of the Hen douns, of the Moltans, of the Puttans, of the Bullochies, and of the Alkeysors, with some others, which I cannot particularly name. Also he writeth himselfe the nynthe king from Tamberlaine. And to this his great stile he is also of as great power, wealth and commande, yet will he urge none of what nation soever to forsake their Re ligions, but esteometh any man so much the better, by how much the more he is firme and constant in his Re ligion, and of all other he maketh most accompt of Chri stians, and will allow them double the meanes that bee giveth to any other nation, and keepeth continually two Christians Friars, to converse with them in the Christi an Religion and manners of Christendome. He hath also the picture of our Lady in the place of his praier or Religious proceedings, and hath oftentimes said that he could find in his heart to be a Christian, if they had not so many Gods : There was at my being there an Armenian Christian that in hope of gaine and prefer ment turned More, which being told the king, he saide, if he thought to save his sould thereby, that was a suffi cient Recompence for him, but he would rather have given him preferment if he had kept himselfe still a Chri stian.

The Mogoll is also verie bountifull, for to one that gave him a little beere he gave 1000. Ruckees, being 100. pound sterling, also to another that gave him a cou ple of land spannels, he gave the like reward, and to ano ther that gave him two Cocks he gave 2000. Ruckees.

Also there be excellent faire Dawkes of all sorts from the Goshauke to the Sparehauke, and great store of game, as phesants, Partriges, plovers, Quailes, Mallard, and of all other sorts of fowle in great plentie. There


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And having viewed and seen this great and rich Ci tie of Agra with the pleasures and Commodities there of, on the 18. day of Januarie, my selfe with Joseph Sale bancke and John Frencham, went to the king and cra ved his passe for England, who very courteously de manded of us, if we would serve him in his wars, offering us what maintenance we would aske of him; which wee humbly excused, both in regard of this our voiage, wher in divers others besids our selves, were partners, as also, in regard we had Wives and children in our owne Countrie, to whom both by Law and nature, wee were bound to make returne, if it were possible; whereupon most graciously he granted us his passe, under his hand and great Seale, for our safe conduct thorow al his king domes and dominions. Then his chiefe Secretary, went with us to his third queene (for it is said that hee hath


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hath ten Queenes, one thousand Concubines, and two hundreth Euenuches.) And this Queene is keeper of his great Deale, where it was sealed and delivered unto us. Then I also went to the chiefe Friar, and craved his let ters, as well to the kings and Princes, whose Kingdoms and Dominions we were to passe thorow, as also to the Clergy and places of Religion, which he most willingly granted, beeing a man of great Credit there, and greatly esteemed and well knowne in other Kingdomes.

Also hee gave me his letters of commendations to one John Midnall an English Merchant or factor, who had lien in Agroe three yeeres : but before I came into Eng land John Midnall was gone againe for the East Indies, and I delivered his letter to MR. GREENAwAY De. puty governor in London for the Company of the East Indian Merchants.


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This City of Ispahawne, is a gallant City, and one of the principall Cities of Persia, and aboundeth in traffique of all sorts of Merchandise. There are ma ny great Surroies, where are houses made of purpose for the laying in and keeping of Merchants goods, and to harbour and lodge themselves and their Camels Horses or other Cattle, and provision; the profits of which Surroies revound to the King only.

The whole Countrey above a hundred miles round about, doe wholly and generally trade to this City with their chiefest and best commodities. There is also a place in forme like the exchange, of an inesti mable wealth, where is nothing to be sold but things of great value and worth. As Cloth of Gold, silver and tissue, sattans, velvets, Jewels and pearles. In one end are nothing but raw silkes, in another end are twisted and wrought silkes. In another none but Merchanttailors, who sell, all sorts of apparell ready made, as it is in Birching lane, but farre more rich, and all of the Persian fashion, as, sutes of cloth of gold and


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and silver, velvet, satten, taffety, Callico and none almost of any worser sorts.

Also there is great score of Indico and Anneele, and of all manner of Drugs, which are sold by Jewes and other strangers, that send them thither, and have continuall trading there.

Also there are Camels, the best and strongest that are to bee found, with gallant Horses and Mules a bundance. For whereas an ordinary Camels load is five hundred waight, the persian Camels load is usu ally 800. waight.

The Shawbash (or, as we call him, the king) hath there divers gallant and stately houses, and banque ting houses, with Orchards, Gardens, Springs, ponds of water, walks and Galleries, as pleasantly seated and artificially contrived, as can be thought or devised. But the king himselfe before my comming thither, was removed to a place called Tobrin, as it was told me by the Christian Friars.

And at his chiefest house standing over against the great Basar or market place, there are good store of brasse Ordinance orderly planted before the gate thereof, for defence if neede be, as namely, two [...]my Cannons, two whole Culverings, two Cannon Pe drars, and thirty other field pieces.


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A Portugal Embassa-dor legier

Also there are great store of Grapes and Wines, and of all sorts of fruits; their stronger Wines like unto Canary Sacke, their red Wines like high Coun trey Claret, and their smaller Wines like to Iland Wines. Also victuals good store and good cheape. And there lieth continually a Portugall Embassa dor, and fine Portugall friars, who have a Church, and a house to entertaine Roman Catholics, and other Christians at their pleasures, and have meanes suffi cient to maintaine the same. Also there are great store of Armenian Christians, and some Greekes, who live all at free liberty without revrant or controll for their Religion. And so much for the great and rich City of Ispahawne.


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Calaria porte Towne in Sardinia; Callaria Towne of Sardinia; The strait of Gibraltar, Berelen-gas, Dover, 1611

ed ancor and brought the shippe up to Callar,an went himselfe, and made complaint to the grand Seniors, who presently granted a discharge for them both, and withall promised that the Captaine should be punished for so abusing of his place, and so after foure daies imprisonment the purser and knight were both set at liberty and came aborde.

Calarie is a great Towne, where a number of Ca viliers doe live, and hath some small shipping belong ing to it.

It standeth in the Iland of Sardinia, which is a great and fruitfull Iland of corne and fruit, where we lay some sixe daies, and 5.026. daies more of and on, about the Iland : In which time we discribed two small men of warre, which we imagined to be some of Cap taine wards crew, who at the first chased us, and then we had them in chase, but when they perceived we were not for their turne, they made away, as fast as they could, and so we left them.

Then it pleased God to send us a wind, that brought us thorow the Levant, and put us out to the mouth of the straits of Gebraltar, from whence we also had a faire winde that carried us to the height of the Burlans, which is off the Rocke going to Lisbone in Portugale, where the winde tooke us short : so that our Captaine thought it best to put into Cast Cales, for beating the ship in the sea, which he did for 23. or 4 daies, untill it pleased God to send us a faire winde, and so putting to sea againe we arrived safe in England at the Towne and port of Dover in Kent, about the latter end of Aprill, 1611.

For which I gave God thankes, and setting my foot on English ground, I thought all my miseries to be at an end.

For to mee, all the nations and Kingdomes, that in this my travels I passed by and saw, both by sea and land, seemed nothing comparable to it.


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But that in respect of them all, it may be called the onely paradize and blessed Countrey of the world. And so desiring God of his mercy to blesse every good man from so great miseries as wee indured by the follies and oversight of a lewd and indiscreet Ma ster, being both unfit and unworthy to bee imploied in so great affaires, and for so worshipfull and worthy men as were Masters, Owners, and Adventurers therein.

For, Phillip de Grove our Master being a Flem ming, and an Arch-villaine, who was not onely accu sed, but it was (by the boy with whom he committed the fact) confessed to my selfe, that he was a detesta ble buggerer : So that had not Gods mercy beene the greater, it was a wonder that in regard thereof, and of others being offenders in the like, that our ship had not sunck in the Ocean.

Lastly, praying to the Almighty, for the long and prosperous raigne of our most Gracious Soveraigne, king JAMES, with the health and prosperity of the Queenes most excellemt Majestly, and all their Royall ISSUE, As also for the Lords of of his most Honoura ble Privie Councell, and for all the Honourable, Worshipfull, and others, the Masters, Owners and Adventurers, of the Company of the East Indian Merchants, their Factors, Friends, and Welwit lers. I cease, and humbly commit my selfe and this small Relation of my Travels, to their kinde and favourable Censures. FINIS.

This is a selection from the original text


health, miles, monastery, religion, sugar, trade, travel, war, wind

Source text

Title: A True and Almost Incredible Report of an Englishman

Author: Captaine Robert Coverte

Publisher: William Hall

Publication date: 1612

Original date(s) covered: c.1607-1611

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Original date(s) covered: c.1607-1611

Digital edition

Original author(s): Captaine Robert Coverte

Language: English


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > non-fiction prose > travel narratives and reports

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.