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Introductory notes

A Geographical Account of Countries Around the Bay of Bengal, 1669-1679, was published in 1905. It was written by Thomas Bowrey. The author gives an account of his journey across several Indian regions namely Bengal, Orissa, Patna, Choromandel, Golconda and Cuttack. Bowrey was born in 1650.In his 20s and 30s he travelled to India as an independent trader. He was the owner of several ships.Thomas Bowrey passed away in 1713.The book is notable for providing a view of India different from that of official records.There is a detailed look at the day to day life of Indians. Primary Reading Bowrey,Thomas, A Geographical Account of Countries Around the Bay of Bengal, 1669-1679,Haklyut Society. Suggested Reading Foster, William, Early Travels In India 1583-1619,archive.org.


PUBLISHED BY Haklyut Society
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The begininge of my residence, or first Part of my Arrival (in India Orientalis) was att Fort St. Georg's, an English Garrison Upon the Coast of Choromandel. This Coast begineth at Negapatam, formerly a place Subject to the Kinge of Portugal, but some years Since [Page 3] taken from them by the Dutch, who now possesse it with great force and Splendor.

It Extendeth it Selfe to point Goodaware, on the South Side of the bay Corango, which, by Computation, is in length 400 English miles, Containinge many great and Eminent places of traffick and commerce, of which as followeth. But first of Fort St. Georg's.

This Fort and towne, which is very Considerable, is scituated very neare the Sea, indifferent well populated by the English, and wholy Governed by them, very well fortified and Surrounded with very potent and Strange Bulwarks, Points, and Battaries, within which many Portugals are admitted to dwell, beinge Subject to our English Goverment, many of which are very Eminent Merchants, [Page 4] and are admitted a free trade payinge Custom, vizt. 4 per Cent to the English in and out for theire goods; many of them alsoe beare arms in the Honourable English East India Company's Service as private Centinels, but not Otherways, none of them beinge raised to any place of Office; and although theire Sallary be Smal, yet they live very well of it, beinge paid monthly as all the English Soldiery are, and provisions with cloths well befittinge Suche a Climate very Cheape and good. This Fort lyeth in Lattitude North 13d-10", and is not at any time very cold or on the Contrary Very hott, haveinge the full benefit of all Sea breezes of wind, but in these following Months, May and June, although there be for the most part fresh Gales, yet it is something Sulphurous, which may most of all be alledged to the wind it Selfe, more then to the heat of the Sun.

It blowinge then for the most part at West and West N. West, beinge hot and dry land winds. The Coldest Season of the yeare is September, October, and November, yet not much colder then the middle of Summer is in England, but affor[d]eth raine in great abundance. But, in fine, it is a very healthy and moderate climate, much Exceedinge many places both in India and the South Seas, and consisteth of as great traffick both by Sea and land as any one place or more Upon all this Coast. It is without all dispute a beneficiall place to the Honourable English India Company, and with all the Residence of theire Honourable Agent and Governour of all their Affaires Upon this Coast and the Coast of Gingalee, the Kingdoms [Page 5] alsoe of Orixa , Bengala , and Pattana , the said Govenour and his Councell here resideinge, for the Honour of our English Nation keepinge and maintaineinge the place in great Splendour, Civil and good Goverment, Entertaineinge nobly all Foraign Embassadors, and provideinge great quantities of Muzlinge Callicoes &c. to be yearly trans ported to England.

Yet notwithstanding Such vast quantities are yearely Sent hence for England, great Stores are transported and Vended into most places of note in India, Persia, Arabia, China, and the South Seas, more Expecialy to Moneela one of the Molucca Isles, belongeinge to the Kinge of Spaine, but are Sent thither in the name and Under the Colours of The Portugals borne and bred in India , noe others beinge admitted a free trade thither, and Especialy the English, haveinge the Same prohibition as to trade to the Spanish Garrisons in Mexico, and Peruana, in America.

[Page 6]

The Native inhabitans are for the most part Gentiles, (commonly called Gentues) and Mallabars , many of which live within the Outermost walls of this place called Fort St. Georg's. I have heard it reported, and can well give credit thereto, that there are noe lesse then fourty thousand of them, vizt. men, Women, and Children that live under St. Georg's flagge and pay customes for all Sorts of goods they buy and Sell with in the Compasse or Command of our Guns [...]

[Page 9]

[...]They are generally a very Subtile and Cunninge Sort of men, Especially in the way of merchandizeing, also Very ingenuos in workinge Cotton Cloth or Silks, pantados, [Page 10] Striped cloth of Gold or Silver, of very curious Workemanship, a Very Sober people never touchinge any manner of Strange drinke, in fine they want nothinge but couradge, But indeed now they have lesse occasion for Soldiery then they had but a few Generations past, beinge then Sole Lords and masters of all the Coast of Choromandell, Orixa, and Bengala.

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[...]In this Vast Pagod (as I said before) there are noe lesse then 1000 or 1200 Brachmans maintained. The Brachmans are theire Priests, but I am Sure, and without all controversie, very Diabolicall Ones. Many hundreds [Page 14] of Women are here maintained to dance on theire festivals and days of Sacrifice and Offerings, with all Varieties of musick that Asia affordeth, to play before theire Gods, vizt. pipes, drums, trumpets, with Varieties of Stringed instruments, with multitudes of Voices very delicate to heare and behold were it acted in a better Sence, and not onely soe in this theire Cathedral Pagod, but in all Others, as many as theire Abilities will Extend to the maintainance of, and for their activities of body are much admired by all Spectators. They are for the most part very Streight handsome featured and a well limbed people. These Dancinge Women have a priviledge above all Others in these Easterne parts, which causeth such multitudes to Endeavour to attaine to Such Employs, where they may Enjoy Earthly pleasure Enough, without any Scandall to themselves or relations. They are wholy at theire own choice whether they will marry or noe, or live Subject to any one man, and have the liberty to be made use of by whom they please ; therefore I think Seldom or never that they leave this life to retire to theire homes and leade a Chast life, or to marry, whereby theire pleasure is very Uncertaine, not onely through the means of a jealous Husband, but for that Diabolicall Custome of this Sect in Generall [...]

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[...]They Often wash themselves in Ponds or Rivolets, vizt. two or 3 times, or more, Every day, but never faile of once. They burne many lamps in theire Pagods, and pray with a Very quick and lowde Voice to those molten Gods, often prostrating themselves and kissinge the Earth with great reverence. [...] [Page 16] [...] Sundry Festivall times they keep here with great Splendour, One amongst the rest continueth 7 or 8 [Page 17] days, to which Devilish feast resorteth many very rich Merchants and Brachmans, with many Others from the remotest Parts of Hindostan, in soe much that it is very rare if fewer then 150000 persons resort to one of the festivalls at the great Pagod, and noe few thousands to the Subordinate Pagods in the whole Empire. The maine Spectacle and purpose is to behold their graven God Jno. Gernaet, which at Such times is carried in a Chariot (richly adorned and of curious and costly Workmanship) round the Pagod and through the broadest Streets of the towne in great triumph and with great Solemnitie.

This Chariot is of Exceedinge great weight, beinge made of Very Solid wood, very rich, with much iron worke thereon and finely Engraven, with the Shapes of men and women dancinge, as alsoe many hideous Shapes of Satyrs, bulls, bears, Tigers, Elephants, Rhinocerots, &c., in soe much that it is soe Ponderous, that although it be fitted Upon 6 or 8 Good Axletrees, with good wheels on each Side, yet requireth more then an hundred Stronge men to draw it alonge Upon hard and Smooth ground (and this they accompt the Arke of God).

They have Small ones alsoe, fitted onely with one or two axletrees, that 8 or 10 men can draw, and doe [Page 18] frequently on the Ordinary feast days, theire ordinary Gods beinge placed therein.

In the Middle of that great Diabolicall Chariot, is placed theire great Patron Jno. Gernaet, have[ing] the foremost end Open, fairely to be beheld by many of the people, which in Generall they Endeavour to doe, but more then one halfe are prevented by the infinite multitude, in soe much that many of them are pressed downe by the crowde and Smothered, not much regardinge one another, but all in generall Showteinge their prayer [a]like to this Statue.

And which is both Stranger and more incredible, many of them come a great many miles to End their days here, Under the wheels of this ponderous but, accompted by them, holy Arke.

They Voluntarily and with great Couradge castinge themselves Under the wheels thereof, as it is drawne alonge, and are there crushed to death, the which is accompted by all of this Sect a most Noble, Heroick, and Zealous death.

A Very remarkable relation of a Very rich Gentue Merchant and of his devotion I shall here insert, it happeninge in time of my Stay in India Anno Dom: 1673.

This great Merchants Residence was Agra, the faire Citty of the Emperours Seat, which is many hundred miles from the Great Idolatrous temple. He, beinge very rich, had Vowed to bestow liberaly on the Pagod Jno. Gernaet, [Page 19] I suppose in hopes thereby to merit Eternall happinesse, the former of which he performed to admiration as followeth,-

Hee brought with him in this his travaile great Store of silver, Gold, jewels, &c., with a great number of men of his own Cast to be Spectators to that years first. His retinue were as followeth, (his riches let who will guesse) 500 Rashboot Soldiers, Six Palanchinos , 6 State horses, 3 or 4 very large and Stately tents, 6000 naked Fackeers, 6000 more that wore there ragged and patched Coats of Several colours, 500 labouringe men to carry burthens, to wit the Palanchinos, tents, treasure, provisions, &c., with noe Small number of Others that journeyed with him, some to See fashions and Some to regaine theire Cast.

This Charitable Heathen Extended his bounty to the Poore in a Surpassinge measure, for, dureinge this his devout but Sumptuos Pilgrimadge, his custome was to give Unto the Poore 500 rupees Every morninge (with his owne hands) fearinge they might be wronged of it, the fame of which doubtlesse caused many poore people to draw near where he pitched his tents overnight. He very rarely Stayed more then one night in a place, neither did he travaile very fast, not Exceedinge 24 English miles per diem, Employinge Severall forerunners to provide Store of [Page 20] rice and butter &c. for his whole retinue ; but often times sufficient thereof was provided for them by Some rich and devout men of his Own Cast, who took it as a great honour to themselves if he wold accept of it, by which they thought these gifts meritorious. When this his travaile was perfected that he arrived at theire holy Pagod, doubtlesse he was courteously received, where he neglected not to performe his Vow. I heard it very credibly reported that he gave 10 lack of rupees, Vizt. One hundred twenty five thousand pounds Sterlinge to the Pagod, with many faire and rich jewels, vizt. Diamonds, pearle, Saphir, Rubies, &c., of great Value. He alsoe caused many Vast Stone buildinge[s] (that had many years been falling to decay) to be repaired at his own proper cost and charges.

[...]As for the before mentioned people called Fackeers , they are pilgrims but very Strange Ones, but are very much Encouraged to what they doe, the law haveinge noe power to touch them in any respect, save for Murther, and very rarely for that. They range. all Asia over, and with great power, for, wherever they come, the inhabitants of the Countrey are forced, by their Antient Custome, (now not Easily to be broken) to give them rice, butter, tobacco, Oyle, or what else they demand (Except moneys), in soe much that many thousands of them doe range all the Mogol's territories over, alsoe the kingdoms of Vizepoore [Page 21] and Golcondah with many Other Countries, but for the most part they doe frequent the Kingdome of Bengala, I suppose more for the plenty of provisions that Countrey affordeth then for Ought else, although theire pretences be for the Sake of that much adored River of Ganges, to which indeed many thousands resort, that are not Fackeers.

Many of these Fackeers goe after a most carelesse manner, as though they abhorred this life, vizt. quite naked, and daube theire bodies over with ashes, not combeinge theire haire nor shaveinge their faces, nor paireinge their nailes, but let them grow like Vultures claws, and indeed they may very well be accompted Vultures, in respect to the many injuries they doe the poor inhabitants in the Countrey, theire haire by that means doth grow very longe and tangle togeather like Unto as much Ocom. Some, yea many there be, which onely weare the skin of a Leopard, over their Sholders. [Page 22] Some weare patched coats of divers colours, with Peacocks feathers, bobs of rags, and great Shells hangeinge about their necks and Sholders.

Some, nay Severall, that I have Seen doe weare a very broad round plate of beaten iron about their necks. I judge it may be 41/2 or 5 foot over, haveinge theire necks through a round hole in the midst thereof, and thus fastened on by a Smith very strongly rivotted on, soe that the party cannot ly downe, soe as to Sleepe, neither feed himselfe, but must Sleep Sittinge, and be fed by Others. To Such Fackeers, moneys are given, Especially by them of his cast , towards a helpe of performance of his Vow made, and that he may be at Libertie. I have, for curiosities Sake, sometime Enquired into the reasons of such Sorts of harebrained penalties, which is thus-They Vow that their bodys shall Endure such penants, Untill they (by the Charitie of Others) can procure soe much moneys as will build a Pagod of Such a price, but I Suppose many or most of them are frustrated of theire qesignes.

I have likewise Seen Severall Fackeers, who, in their infancie, have been hunge Up by the Arms with their fists grippen fast, (in imitation of a continual liftinge Up of hands to God Almightie) but by hangeinge up Some few years in this Posture, theire nerves have soe hardened that, dureinge life, they can never pull downe theire arms one inch, or Open theire hands beinge very much Stiffened, and clasped round with theire Nailes; they looke as on the Other side, I have described [...]

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[...]The Gentues accompt themselves a very antient people, as realy they are, and that which they often boast of is, they alter not theire Religion from the begininge. They are indeed the Antient Gentiles, and, as I imagine, of the Seed of those who revolted from Moses, forgettinge God to Worship a Molten Calfe [...] [Page 26] [...]But, in fine, they are a most Subtle people, very worldly given, and many of them Very rich in this World, and yet miserable poore in respect of theire liveing, and little good Use they make of theire riches, for they in generall live meanly both in cloths, diet, and all Other things. Theire dwellinge houses are very rarely better then a low thatched barne in Europe, containing but 2 or 3 very small darke lodgeinge rooms ; and Some, that are worth many thousands of pounds Sterlinge, doe dwell in Such Silly holes, the inner walls of which and floore too, onely Smoothed Over with Cow dunge, not at all Commodious, or becomeinge better then the Cows they soe circumspectly reverence.

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[...]The Gentues may kill or Eat any thinge Save the Bull, Cow, or Calfe [...] [Page 28] [...]Many of them are men very well accowtred with worldly riches, and most Zealous in theire way, soe that in Charity they doe much resemble the jews, relieveinge and En couradgeinge all of their own Cast, if any whit ingenuous. They feed for the most part upon that which is very good, as Rice, peas, bread, butter, Sweetmeats, potatos, yamms [Page 29] Salatinge &c.; they eat noe Eggs, nor Cheese, the former by reason they will not prevent increase of liveinge Creatures, the latter, by reason it cannot be made without Useinge Some Small part that did appertaine to a liveinge creature, commonly called the Runnett.

Neither of these Casts drinke any manner of Liquor Save water and milke, or Congye, which is noe more then fresh Water boyled with a little rice in it, but they doe allow theire Wifes to drinke wine or distilled waters, dureinge the time of theire beinge with childe, but at noe Other times, and then but Very Sparingely, and of Liquor not Over Stronge [...]

[Page 32]

[...]Theire Garments are Very thinne, Suitable Enough in that respect for the Climate they live in, but not at all fashionable. They are a Slender, Straight Limed, well favoured people, of a tawny complexion, black haired. Their Children for the most part goe Starke naked to 6 or 7 years of age. Theire Garment[ s] are then as here described.

They often wash themselves over with water, and daube all theire bodies with Oyle, more Especially the haire, and are for the most part dayly marked in the forehead with a Stroke or two of red or white lead, or both, Exactly between the Eye brows, which marke is put on by a Brachman (Otherways of noe Esteeme). They say it is a Sure badge or token of good luck that day, and with these and many the like fopperies they are apparently deluded and cheated out of a great deale of moneys [...] [Page 34] The Banjans and Gentues, as well male as female, doe in generall Suffer the Nailes of theire hands and feet to grow of a great length, more like to birds claws then otherways, which amongst them is Esteemed as a great Ornament, alsoe weare in theire noses a ringe or pendant of Gold or Silver. The males alsoe generally weare one 2 or 3 large rings in each Eare, and the females have very [Page 35] large holes cut in the eare, wherein they weare very large rings like to small hoops, not as pendants, but hoops Surrounded with the Skin of the Eare. When they are younge (yea in theire infancie), they have Small Ones made of palmero leafe thrust in, and soe, as they encrease in age, larger and larger, Untill they many of them come to have them 2 or 3 inches broad in each Eare, and if larger, Esteemed soe much the more beautifull. The Mallabars Use the Same customes, and differ in many points of theire Idolatrous Sect, and as much alsoe in Complexion, for they are for the most part of a Very black colour, not Unlike in that to the Ethiopians, but much comlier, haveinge very longe haire, and well favoured both in face and body.

They are for the most part very poore in Comparison of the Other, not beinge in abilitie to weare soe many rich Jewels, but neverthelesse they imitate as nigh as theire abilities will allow. The Wealthiest Sort have Sheckels of Silver upon theire Arms, neare soe high as the Elbow, from the wrist upwards, Others of brasse, or Coppar, and Some have them of greene glasse, with great brasse rings Upon theire tows [...]

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[...]There are another Sort of inhabitants about this Coast that are the Offscum of all the rest; they are called Parjars ; they are of noe Cast whatever, deficient in the knowledge of any Religion whatever, worshipinge nothinge, but live and dye quite after the manner of beasts and noe better, neither do they abstaine from any thinge that is fit for a man to eat or drinke, yet they keep a good decorum in some things of theire owne heads. They have every man one woman, and do labour hard for the maintenance of her and her Children ; they dwell in Small Cottages apart, not intermixed with any Other of the inhabitants; many of them nowadays are yearly converted to the Christian faith by the Portugal Priests and Jesuites. [...] [Page 44]

[...]One of these Mallabars, (an inhabitant of Enore) about 11 English miles Northward of Fort St. Georg's, a fellow I knew very well, chanced to be out on fishinge when Extremitie of weather tooke him, and soe Violently, that he lost Sight of the Shore, and was soe farre out that he cold not ride at anchor, but was constrained to leave her, and betake himselfe to Swimminge, but lost his way both to Shore and findinge his Cattamaran againe, and in that helplesse condition this poore fellow lay, keepinge himselfe above water with all the Ease he cold, but e're he got the Shore, it was almost 4 days and 4 nights, and at length by meere accident, more then his owne Endeavours, he was thrown upon the Shore about 1/4 of [a] mile from the barre in the night time, by the helpe of a Stronge tide of flood and an Easterne rowleinge Sea, after he had been go hours at least Upon the Wate [...]r

[Page 48]

The Mangoe is a very faire and pleasant fruite ; the Palmero tree affordeth that rare liquor formerly termed [Page 49] Palme-Wine, now vulgarly called Toddy. The Palmito is noe more then a rough Sort of wood Especially the Rhine of noe great Use; they beare Some bunches of fruite, very lucious, but noe way pleasant, beinge noe better then wild dates; they afford liquor alsoe that drop from the top of it, vizt. from the younge branches, and is called date Toddy, not soe good as the Other, more lucious, but Soon Eager.

Upon the top of Mount St. Thomas, groweth naturaly a Very remarkable tree, larger then most mulberrie trees be, which is called Arbor triste, vizt. the Sorrowfull tree, and not improperly so called. It Seemeth not to fiowrish all the day longe, but from Sun Settinge to Sun riseinge it is Exceedinge full of white blossoms, both fragrant and beautifull, but noe Sooner is but broad day light, but all the blossoms fall to the ground and Suddenly wither ; and the Very leaves Shut themselves, and Seeme to be in a very languishinge posture, and furthermore, the next [Page 50] Eveninge it appears as flourishinge as before, and thus not Once but every day and night throughout the yeare.

I have Seen many of the like Sort in Other places of India and Persia; but, however, the Portugal Patrees, whose dependence is meerly upon telling faire tales to Strangers that come here, will, and have ready to tell you very Strange Constructions upon Such rarities and reliques of the blessed Apostle, which the Proselytes of India, Especially this Coast, doe much confide in ; and they take it as a great favour to be called Christians of St. Thomas [...]

[Page 51]

[...]Some twenty or twenty two miles to the Northward of Fort St. Georg's, the Dut[c]h have a towne and Garrison called Pullicatt, which is nigh hard if not [Page 53] altogeather as bigge as our Fort, but our outworks doe much Exceede theirs, but againe theirs is a more safe and Commodious place for ladeinge and dischargeinge Goods, haveinge a Very good River that cometh close to the, towne Side, but the barre is not very good, noe better then for boats of 20, 30, or 40 tunns, all this Coast indeed wantinge nothinge but Some good harbours for Shippinge. [...] Soe that the Next English Factorie wee have is Pettipolee, a Very pleasant and healthy place, and very [Page 55] well populated by the Gentues, of whom many are very Wealthy. It lyeth to the Southward of Point Due, in a Sandy bay called Pettipolee bay. The English and Dutch have each of them a Factory in the towne, but very few Factors reside here, not above 2 or 3 who provide goods accordinge to Order from the Governour of Fort St. Georg's or Chiefe of Metchlipatam. [...] Very Considerable quantities of these followinge Commodities are here wrought and Sold to Foraign Merchants vizt. Longecloth, Murrees, Salampores, Lungees, Painted [Page 56] Callicos of divers Sorts, Salt peeter, Iron, Steele, which is brought downe from the high land Over this place which is called Montapolee.

Great Abundance of White salt is made in the Vallies of Pettipolee, with very little industry, onely fencinge in the lowest of Soile which is soe brackish that the Sun doth cause the water which lyeth there not ab[ o ]ve one foot deep to harden into a perfect good and cleare Salt. It is afterwards laid in great heaps, and vended all the Kingdome over. Noe Merchant is admitted to deale in this Commoditie, beinge the Kings Commoditie as is bees Wax alsoe. [Page 57] I have heard it by Severall Eminent persons affirmed that this very Commoditie Salt draweth into the King's Exchequer two millions of Old Pagodos yearly.

This place alsoe hath the benefit of a pleasant River, such another as Pullicat hath, the barre but indifferent, which is a vaste hinderance to this part of the Countrey that doth afford, and is replenished with Such quantities of the beforementioned goods, which are proper for Sale all India and the South Seas Over as well as to be transported into Europe by the Christians [...]

[Page 58]

[...]All Sorts of Provisions are here to be had in very great Plenty, and at very Reasonable rates, vizt. Cows, Buffaloes, hoggs, all Sorts of Poultry, Severall Sorts of wild fowle, Many Excellent Sorts of Sea and River Fish; [Page 59] but most Especially Venison, as Deere, hares, Wild hoggs, or that most Nimble Annimall the Antilope.

All these Varieties before mentioned are brought to the Christian Factories, Namely the English and Dutch, and Sold by Some Mahometans that live about and in this towne, Rice, butter, Oyle, Fruit, &c., are Sold by the Gentues, and as Cheape here as in any place upon this Coast. Theire Weights and Measures be the Same with those of Metchlipatam, of which in Order, as alsoe the Coines the Same, that are Currant there.

The Antilope is a very comely Annimall, very Slick and Smooth, of a browne Colour, neater in Shape then any Deere, very Slender leggs, the body bespotted with round or Ovall Spots of white in many places, as some deere be, but the horns of this Creature differ quite from those of any Other, beinge in length from two foot to 31/2, pointinge backwards, of Colour very black, And wreathinge as though they were Artificially turned [...]

[Page 71]

Metchlipatam Affordeth many very good and fine Commodities, vizt. all Sorts of fine Callicoes plaine and coloured, more Especially fine Palampores for Quilts, divers Sorts of Chint curiously flowred, which doth much represent flowred Sattin, of Curious lively Colours, as alsoe Chaires and tables of that admirable wood Ebony, Chests of drawers, Screetores finely wrought inlaid with turtle Shell or ivory, for which a Very great trafficke is driven into most parts of India, Persia, Arabia, China; and the South Seas, as well as into England and Holland [...] [Page 77] [...] That Strange East India Liquor called Arack is made and Sold in great abundance by the Gentues here, but not by the Mahometans, beinge averse from the law of their Patron Mahomet, as alsoe the drinkinge of any Strange drinke, which in Publick is pretty well Observed, but they find means to besott themselves Enough with Bangha and Gangah, and, Some of them, with any manner of Strange drinke they can have in Private.

Arack is a liquor distilled Severall ways, as Some out [Page 78] of the graine called Rice, another Sort from the Jagaree or Very course Sugar, with Some drugs, another Sort there is that [is] distilled from Neep toddy and that is commonly called Nipa de Goa, but the weakest of these is much Stronger then any Wine of the Grape.

Bangha, theire Soe admirable herbe, groweth in many places of this Coast as alsoe in Bengala; but Gangah is brought from the Island Sumatra, and is oftentimes Sold here at Very high rates. It is a thinge that resembleth hemp Seed and groweth after the Same mannar, but the Other is of a larger leafe and grosse Seed. Gangah beinge of a more pleasant Operation, much addictinge to Venery, is Sold at five times the price the Other is. They Study [Page 79] many ways to Use it, but not One of them that faileth to intoxicate them to admiration.

Sometimes they mix it with theire tobacco and Smoak it, a very Speedy way to be besotted ; at Othersometimes they chaw it, but the most pleasant way of takeinge it is as followeth :-Pound or grinde a handfull of the Seed and leafe togeather, which mixt with one Pint of fresh Water, and let it Soake neare one quarter of an houre or more, then Strained through a piece of Calicoe or what else is fine, and drinke off the liquor, and in lesse then 1/2 an houre it's Operation will Shew it Selfe for the Space of 4 or 5 hours [...]

[Page 85]

Roundels Are in these Warm Climats very Necessarie, to keep the

[Sailors' mark in old logs for "the sun"]

from Scorchinge a man; they may alsoe and are Serviceable to keep the raine off. Most men of accompt maintaine one, 2, or 3 roundelliers, whose office is onely to attend theire Masters Motion. They are Very light but of Exceedinge Stiffnesse, beinge for the most part made of Rhinocerots hide, very decently painted and Guilded with what flowrs they best admire. On the inside exactly in the midst thereof is fixed a Smooth handle (made of wood) by which the Roundeliere doth carry it, holdinge it up, with one hand, a foot or more above his Master's bead, directinge the Centre thereof as Opposite to the

[Sailors' mark in old logs for "the sun"]

as possibly he may. Sumbareros or Catysols are here very Usefull and necessarie for the Same purpose, which are carried 3 or 4 foot or more above a mans head, [Page 86] and Shade a great matter, beinge rather more Convenient then the Other but not soe fashionable or Honourable, by reason any man whatever that will goe to the Charge of it, which is noe great Matter, may have one or more Catysols to attend him, but not a Roundell Unlesse he be in a Credible Office, and then noe more then one Unlesse he be a Governour or One of the Councell. The Same Custome the English hold good amongst their own people, whereby they may be distinguished by the Natives.

[Page 94]

[...]It is needlesse to Speake at large as to the Religion of Mahomet, most men haveinge the full accompt thereof from Turkia, a neighbouringe Countrey to Christendome. These followinge the Very laws of that Saracen law giver, and have many Native Turks amongst them.

[Page 96]

They hold a fast, as they call it, for one month in the yeare, abstaininge from all Sorts of food in the day time, but, to make amends, they feast all night. It beginneth on the New Moone in the Month of October, and continueth the Whole Moone. They doe call it the Ramazan, and is Observed annually in Celebration of the Alcoron, affirmeinge that at this time of the yeare it was delivered by God Almightie to theire Prophet Mahomet.

They Seldome or Never accustome themselves to Walkinge for recreations Sake, as wee Europians doe, but if they hold any Conversation it must be Sittinge, and not Upon Chairs, Stools, or benches, but Upon Carpets or Matts Spread Upon the ground, and on them they Sit crosse legged with much facilitie, Often Smoakinge their Hoocars as they call [them] of tobacco, [Page 97] drinke[ing] much Coffee and often chawinge Betelee Areca , which they call Paune.

Hoocars: commonly called hubble-bubble.

The Poore Sort of Inhabitants, vizt. the Gentues, Mallabars, &c. Smoke theire tobacco After a Very meane, but I Judge Original manner, Onely the leafe rowled up, and light one end, and holdinge the Other betweene their lips, and Smoke untill it is soe fare Consumed as to warme theire lips, and then heave the End away ; tnis is called a bunko, and by the Portugals a Cheroota.

Theire food in Generali consists of very little more then very coarse rice and Water, and Sometimes a little dryed fish to relish it.

Theire habit is noe more then a Small Clout just to cover theire privities, wherewith they Seemingly live very contentedly, much better then many that pamper up themselves with plenty of Varieties, and have plenty of Children, and in generall as chearefull in poverty as any mortals can [Page 98] be that enjoy the riches and fatt of the Land ; they dance and Singe very frequently, Even as men Secured from all Cares and fears that doe accompanie the Wealth of the Universe [...]

[Page 100]

The English East India Company have a Very good Factory called Madapollum , from the name of the [Page 101] Villadge adjoyninge to it. It is accompted a most healthy and pleasant place and not a whit Undeservedly, haveinge the benefit of Such a pleasant River that cometh up even to one of [the] Gates thereof, with very pleasant Gardens almost Surroundinge it, noe way hindered of all benefit of Sea breezes, for which reasons our English Chiefe (and most Eminent Factors of Metchlipatam) repaire hither and Stay 2 or 3 months, dureinge the time of the heats, vizt. April, May and June [...][Page 102] Here is the best and well growne timber in Sufficient plenty; the best Iron upon the Coast is for the most part Vended here and att reasonable rates, with the Workmanship alsoe; any Sort of lronworke is here ingenuously performed by the Natives, as Speeks, bolts, Anchors, &c [...]

[Page 106]

[...]This part of the Countrey affordeth plenty of divers Sorts of Callicoes and Paintings, Lungees , Pallampores, &c., but are for the most part carried to Metchlipatam, and vended there, that beinge a great market place, and indeed, the Great Bazars of these parts for above 100 miles in Circuit [...][Page 107] Noe Commodities this countrey affordeth are any ways prohibited to be Sold to men of any Nation, the Seller thereof Payinge the Kings Duties, which is about 4 per Cent. Onely tobacco that hath its growth in any part of this Kingdome is not admitted to be Sold to any Save to the Commissioners that have farmed it from the Kinge for more then 100 miles round the towne of Metchlipatam, and what Merchants or Others doe buy of them by wholesale may then with freedome goe to any Bazar and there Vend in Publique.

They are Soe Severe in it, that in most places of note in the Countrey they keep waiters to Search any travailer, and if they find more tobacco then what they judge convenient for his journey, they Seize upon it, and perhaps he Escapes not Unpunished. The Natives in Generali Smoke much tobacco, in soe much t[h]at children Of 3 or 4 years of age frequently take it, and it is made as frequent amongst them as meat and drinke. Now before I leave this Coast, I shall Speake Some thinge of the Metropolitan Citty.


[Page 108]

[...]It is a Citty of very Small Antiquitie, for the most part built within these [Page 109] 100 years past, begun when the Ancestors of the familie of this present Kinge revolted from the Mogoll and conquered this Kingdome, then called by the name of Bisnagar , that beinge the Metropolitan and Seat of a Viceroy; but, Upon the Conquest hereof, they did, as the Mahometan Custome hath been of Antient times, in a manner demolish the Old one and Erect a New one giveinge another Name thereto [...] [Page 110] The fort of this Metropolitan is an admirable One, noe lesse then 5 English miles in Circuit, the walls of Vast height and Substance proportionable thereunto, gunned all round, which addeth much to the Excellencie of this Cittie, which is alsoe blessed with many more conveniencies that adde much to the Strength hereof, the Saile most wholesom and fertile, aboundinge with all Sorts of graine and in great Measure, the temperancie of the Aire, and famous for the River Kishna , that Spreadeth it Selfe into many branches runninge Up neare this Citty which is above 200 miles, and issueth out Upon Point Due, the Entrance of the Roade , of Metchlipatam. All [Page 111] which conveniences cause great resort of Merchants and other both Natives and Forraigners.

Many Europeans, Especially of our English Nation, are here become inhabitants, Entertained in the King's Service, and are for the most part in One Office or Other, accordinge to their deserts, as Gunners, Gunners Mates, Armorers, and Some Troopers', and have very considerable Sallary, which hath Encouraged many English Soldiers of Fort St. Georg's to flee theire Colours, and hasten thither, but nowadays are but Ordinarilie respected or Entertained, by. theire debauched and Unchristian like behaviours, in Soe much that they are now. become Odious that repaire thither for Succor, and that come Upon Such frivolous accompts, without Either good repute or habit.

This Kingdome amongst the many Merchandizes it affordeth, as all Sorts of Callicoes, Saltpeeter, paintings', Carpets of all Sorts, raw and wrought Silkes &c., hath the Enjoyment of the most plenty of rich Diamonds in the Universe [...]

[Page 117]

One thinge more I must needs Mention for the honour and Praise all travellers ought to give it, (beinge what is it's desert) I meane the Kingdome in General, through out which great care is taken both for the Safety wee Enjoy, and for relieve all travailers may have, which is first it is blessed with good and cleane Roades, and Upon Every common of above 4 or 5 miles in length, there is built a Small house or two where, if the travailer is thirsty, a thinge frequent in these warme climates, he may have milke or Congy, which is water boyled very well with Some rice in it, at the King's charge, and the people demand nothinge for it, but if any man will give them a penny or two, they have the wit to receive it very thankfully.

Moreover, att Every 12 miles End a house or two, (accordinge as the Roade is frequented) are built and kept in repaire (att the King's charges) for the conveniency of lodgings, for any comers or goers, the first come first Served, without any respect of Persons, which are fine conveniences for them, more Especially for that the Idolatrous people who inhabit most of the Countrey Villadges dare not admit of any of another Cast to enter theire doors.

Then for the Safety thus, If the travailer hath goods or moneys, whereby he is Suspicious of beinge robbed, [Page 118] at Every Eminent towne (the residence of a Governour) he is Very ready to give his Chopp, which is Signet, by Vertue of which he goeth very Safely to the next Goverment, and there tendered with his Chopp and soe forward. It is a Seale put upon his wrist in black, which gives a durable impression, not at once Easily washed off, and if in case it soe happens that he is robbed, a thinge lesse common in this Kingdome then any Other, lie hath, Upon Shewinge that Signet (in the Same Goverment) restitution made [...]

[Page 120]


This Coast called Gingalee is Certainly the most pleasant and Commodious Sea Coast that India affordeth, pleasant in many respects, beinge a most delicate Champion Land, and one of the most fertile lands in the Universe, and Commodious for Navigation's Sake, enjoyinge many pleasant and good harbours, very well populated, and of a reasonable good Extent [...] [Page 121]

[...]They have annually 3 crops, each yeildinge great Encrease, and notwithstandinge the Sea Coast as also the Inland be Extraordinary populous, yett they transport above 10000 Gorse of graine yearly, with great quantities [Page 122] of butter and Lacca . And great Store of Calicos' are made here, most Especially beteelis (which wee call Muzlin). For the better transportinge of the beforementioned commodities, Ships and Vessels in great Numbers resort hither att all times of the yeare, beinge, a Very Secure Coast to harbour in, [Page 123] namely in Corango, Vizegapatam, Bimlipatam, Wattara, [Page 124] Pondy, Manichapatam. There be many Other faire towns alonge this Shore but noe more good harbours, Some Fortifications alsoe but all Under the Goverment of the Moors, Subject to the Golcondah Kinge, Of which Chicacol is the [Page 125] most famous for large and stately buildings, the richest Merchants, the most populated, and Especially for that it is the residence of Sr. Larskare, the Kings deputy or Viceroy, Who bears as great Sway Over this Coast in Generall as the Kinge his Master doth in Golcondah. He liveth in great State and Splendor, and hath continually a great Retinue of Lifeguard men and Soldiery, being for the most part Moors and Persians. Hee keeps many Stately Elephants, and a huge number of Concubines, which are the 2 Chiefe pieces of State Esteemed On amonge the Inhabitants of Asia [...]

[Page 127]

[...]Theire habit is generally but meane, more like to Servants then Masters, theire houses very Ordinary low and for the most part thatched over, and are for the foregoeinge reasons forced, for the benefit of theire Posteritie, to bury the Major part of their treasure in the Earth.

But all Forraigners, more Especially the English and Dutch, have great freedome here, the Same wee have in Other parts of this King's Dominions, and live Very pleasantly Upon the fatt of the land, provisions Vizt. Cows, fowle, Sheep, goats, fish, and all Sorts of Venison beinge to be had in great abundance and incredibly Cheap [Page 128] and good. Theire Cows are the largest and fattest I have Seen in India. They have Excellent good Pasture ground, the fields and trees always green, theire butter and rice and Oyle the best in India. Theire Oyle is for the most part made of Mustard Seede, and is Vendible all India and South Seas over.

In fine, it is a most delicate countrey for the Use of man, the Aire good and comfortable, and the land aboundinge with all Necessaries for the Sustainance of mankind.


[Page 129]

[...]Sea Ports this Kingdome affordeth onely one, and that none to be admired, affordinge not water Enough for a Ship of 200 tunns in burden to goe into the River, and to ride out is very Unnecessary and dangerous, by reason it is noe better then a very wild Open bay that Extendeth it selfe from Point Conjaguaree to Palmeris; the River is called Haraspoore Here are considerable quantities [Page 130] of Callicoes made and Sold to the English and Dutch, but are first brought over land to them to their Factories in Ballasore, in the bay of Bengala [...]


[Page 131]

It is one of the largest and most Potent Kingdoms of Hindostan , Containing in Circuit noe lesse then English miles, blessed with many fine Rivers that Issue out into the Sea or Gulph of Bengala , vizt. between Point Palmeris (the Entrance thereof) and the Arackan Shore, the whole Extent of the bay beinge about 300 English miles Over, Some of which are navigable both for great and Small Ships, togeather with many Other conveniences, this Kingdome is now become most famous and Flourishinge

[Page 132]

First for the great River of Ganges' and the many large and faire arms thereof, Upon the banks of which are Seated many faire Villages, delicate Groves and Fruitefull lands, affordinge great plenty of sugars, Cottons, Lacca, honey, beeswax, butter, Oyles, Rice [Page 133] Gramme, with many Other beneficiall Commodities to Satisfie this and many Other Kingdoms [...]

This Kingdome most plentifully doth abound with the before mentioned commodities, as alsoe Callicoes of Sundry Sorts, Rammals, raw and wrought Silks, Opium [Page 134] (the best in lndia), Muske in Codd and out of it, Long Pepper, and Severall Sorts of druggs, which causeth it to be soe admirable well populated and Effected by the best European travellers.

[Page 150]

[...]An admirable Citty for it's greatnesse, for it's magnificent buildings, and multitude of Inhabitants. A very great and Potent army is here in constant Sallary and readinesse, as alsoe many large, Strange, and Stately Elephants, trained Up for a Warlike Service, which are kept continually neare to the Pallace.

Many Elephants, both for Warre and State, are here kept by Severall rich men, and therefore by consequence a Very great Soldiery, for noe man in the Kingdome is admitted to ride an Elephant in State, Unlesse he Continually keep 500 horse to be ready at the Princes Service [...]

[Page 151]

[...]The Secound best Citty that is in this Kingdome is called Cattack, a very decent and more comely Citty then [Page 152] Dacca, but not one halfe soe large, but much more beautifull, although an Inland one, five days Journey from Ballasore, adorned with goode and Sumpteous buildings, broad Streets, surrounded with Excellent Ponds and Water Springs, delicate Groves of Mango, tamarin, Palmito, Palmero and Coconutt trees all very much adorninge.

The Governour hereof hath a very large traine, a very Potent army, and liveth Prince like, and is the next in place to the Prince himselfe, and hath the title of Nabob [...]

[Page 165]

[...]This Kingdome of Bengala (as I said before) is replenished with many faire and pleasant Rivers, the most famous and much admired of which is the great River [Page 166] Ganges, one of the foure principall rivers in the world, and is Supposed to runne up Paradise or the garden of Eden. The Other brave and Navigable Rivers are for the most part onely branches of this.

One of the most admirable of which arms is Hugly river. Up and downe the Same a very Considerable Merchandize is drove, and very beneficiall, Especially to the English and Dutch Nations, haveinge Excellent conveniences for carryinge theire European Commodities up into the inland towns and Citties, and the like for bringinge [Page 167] downe the commodities purchased in this or some Other Kingdoms.

This River is soe named from the great towne of Hugly Scituated Upon the banks of it, neare 150 miles up from the Braces or Shoals that lye at the Entrance thereof. The towne or Citty of Hugly is a famous and Sumptuous place, adorned with many fine Structures, and very populous, and what addeth to the beauty hereof, it is well furnished with gardens, fine groves, a very large Bazar or markett place, one of the finest Chowlteries (or free lodgeinge houses for all travellers) that is contained in this Kingdome, and, more Especially, the 2 fine European Factories, namely the English and Dutch [...]

[Page 168]

The towne is not very Uniforme, but is a very good and pleasant place, inhabited with Some of the richest Merchants of the Kingdome ; and all Sorts of Commodities that Orixa, Bengala, and Pattana doe afford are here dayly to be bought and Sold in the publicke Bazar, commonly called the great Bazar, by reason there are many where onely Cotton, course Callicoes, provisions, &c. are to be Sold [...]

[Page 171]

[...]The freshes' are wholy caused by the great rains that [Page 172] fall at Such and such Seasons of the yeare, not with what fall here nor a considerable way further Up, but a great way Up as high as Pattana, yea as high as South Tartaria, which is mountanious, and raineth there for a quarter of a yeare togeather, and rusheth downe the Ganges and arms thereof with Such Violence that all these rivers afford not issue for it, unto the Sea, untill a considerable time be spent and an abatement made; but, like Unto the great River Nilus, overflowinge its banks in many places for some miles Compasse. These waters are at their full height generally in the Month September [...]

[Page 191]

A great Multitude of Portugals inhabit the Kingdome of Bengala, Especially in Hugly and Some Other Creeks or Rivolets of the River thereof. Many of them are filias de Lisboa (as they call them selvs), vizt. Europeans borne, but many more of them are filias de Indies. They have a very large towne, about one English mile above the English Factory; it is called the Bandell. I judge it is [Page 192] 2 English miles in circuit, very populous of men, women and children. They are for the most part very poore , but are much to be commended for their lndustrie, in acquireinge a livelyhood by honest means, much more commendable and honourable then for Christians to begge in a heathen Country.

They knitt Stockins of silke and Cotton they bake bread for the English and Dutch Factories and particular dwellinge houses, and for theire Ships and Vessels; they make many Sorts of Sweetmeats, vizt. Mangoe, Orange, Lemon, Ginger, Mirabolins, Ringo Roots', &c. Severall [Page 193] Sorts of Achar, as Mangoe, Bamboo, Lemon, &c. very good and Cheape. Many of the men Use the Sea in English or Moors Ships and Vessels, soe that these people live very happily, better then in most places in Asia, all Sorts of provisions beinge here very Cheape. A Very good Cow is Sold for foure Shillings Six Pence, [Page 194] vizt. 2 rupees, a good hogg for 3/4 of a Rupee, 45 or 50 fowls for one Rupee, fish alsoe in great plenty, by reason of which plenty of all Sorts of belly timber and cloths fittinge for the Climate very Cheape alsoe, this Kingdome is soe well inhabited Especially by Foraigners, which maketh Bernyer's Opinion of it to be to the purpose- That the Kingdome of Bengala hath many dares into it, and but one out of it, which is very true, For thousands that were borne in Other Countries doe live and Ends theire days with Old age in Bengala.

[Page 200]

[...]When any Party (man or woman) is visited with Sicknesse, which brings them soe low that they cannot Eat in 2 days time, they are then in a manner given over for dead, as very well they may, consideringe how roughly they are dealt with, enough to kill a Sound person, as followeth :- The Sick party is carried downe to the River Side in a hammaker, or course piece of Dungaree Cloth, where he [Page 201] is laide upon the ground Even at the brinke of the water. They lift up his head and back, and keep poureinge River water down his throat, untill they make his belly Swell by fillinge him soe full of that Element, a great quantitie of the Sick parties kindred and Friends sittinge by howlinge and cryinge, Even as the wild Irish Used to doe for theire parents deceased.

They then carry the Sick man up to highwater marke, and there he is accompanied with his nearest relations. The next day (if not dead) he is Served soe againe, and Soe, day after day, untill Either dead or they See some palpable Signes of recovery; but I thinke they Seldome Obtaine the latter. When dead theire Carcasses are throwne into the River.

Dureinge the time of Sicknesse, the Brachmans, some of them, are very diligent to sitt by them and pray, Seldome leavinge off Untill the Party be quite dead, Especially to put the party in mind of the Pagod, to leave to it accordinge to his abilitie; and thus all the Ouria Sicke folke are Served [...]

[Page 202]

[...]The River Ganges and it's branches is held in soe great adoration by these ignorant heathens , that they make many Sacrifices thereto, and one Extraordinary and generall feast per annum, to which doe resort many thousands of men Women and Children, where att the houre appointed by the Brachmans, they all throw themselves into the River, some carryinge flowers of divers colours, pots of rice, butter, Oyle, &c. and sett them float [Page 203] inge on the river for a Sacrifice. This is done some 2 miles above Hugly, where they thronge into the River in Such numbers, that they Spread a mile or two, and soe thick that many of them that by beinge longer in the water then they can Endure, that they are forced to Stay a great deale longer, for by beinge wearied, and one pullinge another Striveinge to get to land, many are drowned, and when soe they are not att all lamented for, but theire relations are mightilic Encouraged by the Seduceinge Brachmans, who confidently assure them they are most happy that departed this life in that most Sacred Element.

Before they Enter the River att this washinge Festivall, they prostrate themselves on the banks thereof with great devotion and many bows to the Water, mutteringe words to themselves, not much unlike to the Mahometan Custome when they pray to the Sun. The Gentues of this Kingdome doe burne the Carcasses of theire dead people, and the Wifes and Concubines with the deceased husband, Even as they doe upon the Coasts of Choromandell and Gingalee, onely this one Ceremonie added thereto, vizt. their Ashes are throwne into the River [...]

[Page 211]

Formerly, yea not many years agoe, the Inhabitants on the Northerne parts of Bengala trained up their Children (from theire infancie) to Eeat raw fish and flesh, and when growne Up Sent them upon travaile to discover the great Ganges, to find out the garden of Eden (by Order of theire Kings), but few or none Ever made returne, ergo now quite left off as a thinge Impossible to be accomplished.

Many Isles there be in the mouth of the Ganges, not inhabited more then with wild beasts, the Natives much [Page 212] dreadinge to dwell there, beinge timerous of the Arackaners with theire Gylyars, who many times have come through the Rivers and carried away Captive many poore families of the Orixa folke.

Some 20 leags from the Sea and Soe Upwards this Countrey is blessed with many faire Villages and Markett towns, fine green banks, and delicate Groves, with Store of brave fish ponds, good Store of Venison and wilde fowle.

[Page 213]


A Very famous and pleasant towne, famous in many respects, first and Chiefely for its great commerce and plenty of very rich Merchants, the onely market place in this Kingdome for all Commodities made and vended therein, whence it received this name, Cossum signifieinge the husband or Chiefe, and Bazar a markett.

The English and Dutch Companies have each a very Stately Factorie here, but the English out doe them here both in trade and alsoe in theire Factorie and Factors too.

[Page 215]

[...]Wee goe up by water from Hugly, vizt. through the Rivers, I judge it is 150 miles up, commonly 3 days goeinge Up, very pleasant all the way, a fertile Soyle and a delicate Aire, beinge a most healthy Climate.

[Page 219]

[...]The Woods of this Kingdome are well replenished with wild beasts, most Especially with Tygers and Bears of Vast largenesse, and the most fierce of any in the knowne world: those about the Ganges are Soe accompted. They are of Such a bloody Salvage Nature, that if they meet with a Cow, a deere, or any Other Annimal that hath been newly killed by Shot, or what else, they will not meddle therewith, but will rather Suffer most rageinge hunger, by reason they had not the killinge of it themselvs [...]

[Page 220]

[...]The Bears in the woods and on the Mountains of this Kingdome are, many of them, an incredible bignesse. I have Seen many of them Cole black, and as large as an Ordinary heifer ; and those woods that afford most plenty of Peacocks, are generally frequented with these Uglyest of Annimals. Some they tame in this Kingdome, and lead them about to Shew, but none of the large ones. I have often shot att them, yet never soe but they got away into the Woods againe.

Infinite Number of Wild hogge in this countrey as alsoe a creature called a Jackall, resemblinge both dogge and fox, and are as large as good Ordinary hounds in England, beinge a most bold and mischiefous Annimall. They doe great prejudice to the Standinge corne, tearinge it up by the roots, and are soe bold in the night to come and walke the Streets of a towne like tame doggs, on purpose to gett Opportunities to runne away with geese, henns, ducks, or the like. I have Seen Severall of them togeather, but by night heard the Noise of Some hundreds at once.

[Page 221]


A Very large and potent Kingdome, but longe Since become tributarie to the Emperours of Hindostan (or Great Mogol). This is a Countrey of Very great Trafficke and Commerce, and is really the great Gate that Openeth into Bengala and Orixa, and soe consequently into most parts of India, vizt. from the Northerne Kingdoms or Empires (by land), namely, Persia, Carmania, Georgia, Tartaria, &c. The Commodities of those countries are transported hither by Caffila, who alsoe Export the commodities brought hither by the English and Dutch, as alsoe of this Kingdome.

The Chiefe Citty whereof is called Pattana, a very [Page 222] large and Spacious one indeed, and is Scituate neare to the River of Ganges, many miles up, not lesse then 1000 or 1100 miles above the towne Hugly. There are many delicate groves and plaines adjoyneinge thereto; the Woods in this Kingdome afford great Store of those deformed Annimals called Rhinocerots [Plate XII.] and many of them are taken younge and tamed. There be of them in the Woods of Bengala, but noe wild Elephants in these Kingdoms, although the Kingdome of Arackan is well stored with them, and is but a neighbouringe Country to that of Bengala. [Page 223] Soe that soe farre as is reported of them to be Utter Enemies to the Elephant I doe confide in, for in all Kingdoms where are found the Rhinocerot the Elephant is not found wild there, nor dare the tame ones frequent the Woods, As for instance, Pattana, Bengala, and Java Major.

Many of our Countreymen and Others in Europe doe take this Creature to be the Unicorne, and will very hardly be convinced from that theire Opinion, And will make no Scruple to Say that our Fore Fathers mistooke in Limninge his true Shape, which, if soe, was a very grosse mistake indeed, for noe Creatures in that can be more different. But I doe rather Condemne the Errour of this present age, holdinge with them not any further then this, that this is a Unicorne as it is a one horned beast, but I cannot Say that it is the Unicorne. For Example, I saw a home of about 13 or 14 inches longe, in the very forme and Shape that wee picture or carve a Unicorn's horne ; it was of a very darke gray colour. I happened accidentally both to See and handle the Same, which gave me more Satisfaction as to the Unicorne then I had before, which Shall be Spoken of more at large in the accompt of Mocho in the Red Sea.

[Page 225]

The Dutch have a Factory here alsoe, for procureinge of Saltpeeter, but live with little freedome or Enjoyment of any worldly pleasures here, dareinge not to presume to Enter any of the Gates of the Citty without leave from Some of the great Officers. All the Saltpeeter is Sent hence to Hugly in great flatt bottomed Vessels, of an Exceedinge Strength, which are called Patellas ; each of them will bringe downe 4, 5, 6000 Bengala maunds. They are built very Strange, by reason of the most impetuous Eddies they meet with in some places, that force them many times Upon one Shoale or Other, soe that, were they not Stronge and very flatt, they wold be in greater peril of wringinge to pieces or turning bottom up. Yet some years both the English and Dutch doe Suffer very Considerable losses by them. Many Patellas come downe yearly laden with Wheat and Other graine, and goe Up laden with Salt and bees wax, the Kings onely commodities.

[Page 226]

Notwithstandinge Pattana be soe fertile to afford graine to Such a plentifull countrey as Bengala, yett in the yeare of our Lord 1670 they had as great a Scarcitie, in soe much that one Pattana Seere weight of rice (the plentifullest graine in the country) was Sold for one rupee the Seere containing onely 27 Ounces, and, in a few months, there was none at all to be had at that rate, in soe much that many thousands of the Natives perished in the Streets and open feilds for want of food, and many glad to Sell theire own children for a handfull of rice.1

[Page 227]

And yett, at that time, the Nabobs Chiefe Wife had Severall very large Storehouses full of graine, and wold not dispose of any, unlesse they wold give the weight of Silver in one Scale of its weight of rice or wheat in the Other. But it pleased God to frustrate her Covetous designe, and Sent them as great plenty as Ever they had2
Several! Sorts of boats that Use the
Rivers, whose Shapes are as here
followeth. [Plates XIII. and XV.]

This is called an Olocko. They row Some with 4, Some with 6 owers, and ply for a faire as wherries doe in the Thames.

[Page 229]

[...]The onely Commodities of this Kingdome that are yearly Sent for England are Saltpeeter, of which great quantities are sent to England and Holland, with a Considerable investment of each Nation in Codde Muske, which is here found to be very good. It is in generall taken from a Small deere of about 2 foot high, of which this Countrey doth mightilie abound. They take it out Upon [Page 230] the full of the Moone, but not every full Moone out of the Same deere, by reason it cometh not to maturitie in Soe Short a time. It is the Navle of the deere, which although cutt out, doth wonderfully grow as before [...]

From Dacca The Chief Commodities brought are fine Cossas, commonly called Muzlinge.

From Cossumbuzar, Sundry Sorts of raw and wrought Silks, fine Sashes and Stripes8 interwoven with gold and Silver. [Page 231] From Hugly and Ballasore, Sanas, Ginghams, Orammalls, [Page 232] Cotton yarne, &c., which goods are Embailed in the beforementioned Factories, and, accordinge to Order from the Honourable English East India Company, are Sent On board the English ships that yearly doe arrive and anchor in Ballasore Roade, and thence doe Sett Saile in the Month December, bound up to Metchlipatam and Fort St. Georg's, where theire full ladeinge is prepared, and in a few days Shipped On board, and about the latter End of January doe Saile intendinge (God assistinge them) for England.

The Staple Commodities brought into these 3 Kingdomes (namely Orixa, Bengala, and Pattana) are Scarlet, broad Cloths of divers colours, Vermilion, quick Silver, Brimstone, Lead, Coppar, Ryals of 8, and Corall.

This is a selection from the original text


air, cheap, climate, food, health, plenty, rice, trade, wealth

Source text

Title: A Geographical Account of Countries Round the Bay of Bengal, 1669-1679

Author: Thomas Bowrey

Editor(s): Lt. Col. Sir Richard Carnac Temple

Publisher: The Hakluyt Society

Publication date: 1905

Original compiled 1669-1679

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: Cambridge

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Internet Archive: http://archive.org. Original compiled 1669-1679

Digital edition

Original author(s): Thomas Bowrey

Original editor(s): Lt. Col. Sir Richard Carnac Temple

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Selections from pages 2 to 6, 9, 10, 13, 14
  • 2 ) Selections from pages 15-22
  • 3 ) Selections from pages 25-29, 32, 34, 35
  • 4 ) Selections from pages 41, 44, 48-51
  • 5 ) Selections from pages 53, 55-59, 71, 77-79
  • 6 ) Selections from pages 85, 94, 96, 97, 98, 100-2
  • 7 ) Selections from pages 106-111, 117, 118, 120-25, 127-134
  • 8 ) Selections from pages 150-52, 165-68, 171-172, 191-194, 200-3, 211-213
  • 9 ) Selections from pages 215, 219-223, 225-227, 229-232


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.