A new voyage round the world
The Isthmus of America, several Coasts and Islands in the West Indies, the Isles of Cape Verd, the Passage by Terra del Fuego, the South Sea Coasts of Chili, Peru and Mexico, the Isle of Guam one of the Ladrones, Mindanao, and other Philippine and East-India Islands near Cambodia, China, Formosa, Luconia, Celebes, &c., New Holland, Sumatra, Nicobar Isles, the Cape of Good Hope, and Santa Hellena.
Soil, Rivers, Harbours, Plants, Fruits, Animals, and Inhabitants :
Customs, Religion, Government, Trade, &c.
By William Dampier.
Illustrated with Particular Maps and Draughts.
Printed fror James Knapton, at the Crown in St Paul s Church-yard. MDCXCVII
PUBLISHED FOR James Knapton
1.1. CHAP. II.
Tonquin, its Situation, Soil, Waters, and Provinces. Its natural Produce, Roots, Herbs, Fruits, and Trees. The Cam-chainand Cam-quitOranges. Their Limes, &c.Their Betleand LicheaFruit. The Pone-tree, Lack-trees, Mulberry-trees, and Rice. Their land Animals, Fowl tame and wild; Nets for wild Ducks, Locusts, Fish, Balachaun, Nuke mum-Pickle, Soy, and manner of Fishing. The Market, Provisions, Food and Cookery. Their Chauor Tea. The Temperature of their Air and Weather throughout the Year. Of the great Heatsnear the Tropicks. Of the yearly Land Floods here, and elsewhere in the Torrid Zone, and of the overflowing of the Nilein Egypt. Of Storms called Tuffoons: and of the influence the Rains have on the Harvest at Tonquin, and elsewhere in the Torrid Zone.
THE Kingdom of Tonquin is bounded to the North and North East with China, to the West with the Kingdom of Laos, to the S: and E. with Cochinchina and the Sea, which washes a part of this Kingdom. As to the particular bounds or extent of it, I cannot be a competent judge, coming to it by Sea, and going up directly to Cachao: but it is reasonable to believe it to be a pretty large Kingdom, by the many great Provinces which are said to be contained in it. That part of the Kingdom that borders on the Sea, is all [Page 19] very low Land: neither is there any Hill to be seen, but the Elephant Mountain, and a Ridge of a much less heighth, continued from thence to the mouth of the River of Domea. The Land for about 60 miles up in the Country is still very low, even and plain: nor is it much higher, for about 40 miles farther quite to Cachao, and beyond it; being without any sensible Hill, tho generally of a tolerable good heighth, and with some gentle risings here and there, that make it a fine pleasant Champian; and the further side of this also is more level than the Champian Country it self about Hean or Cachao. Farther still to the North, beyond all this, I have been inform'd that there is a chain of high Mountains, running cross the Country from East to West; but I could get no intimation of what is beyond them.
The Soil of this Country is generally very rich; That very low Land I speak of towards the Sea, is most black Earth, and the mould pretty deep. In some places there's very strong Clay. The Champian Land is generally yellowish or greyish earth, of a looser and more friable substance then the former: yet in some places it has a touch of the Clay too. In the plain Country, near the Mountains last mentioned, there are said to be some high steep rocks of Marble scattered up and down at unequal distances, which standing in that large plain Savannah, appear like so many great Towers or Castles: and they are the more visible, because the Land about them is not burdened with Wood, as in some places in its neighbourhood.
I have said somewhat already of the great River, and its 2 branches Rokbo and Domea, wherewith this Country is chiefly water'd: tho it is not distitute of many other pleasant streams, that are lost in these, in their course towards the Sea: and probably there are many others, that run immediately [Page 20] into the Sea, through their own channels, tho not so navigable as the other. The Country in general is very well watered; and by means of the great Navigable River and its Branches, it has the opportunity of Foreign Trade. This rises about the Mountains in the North, or from beyond them; whence running Southerly toward the Sea, it passes thro the beforemention'd plain of Marble Rocks, and by that time it comes to Cachao, which is about 40 or 50 miles to the South of the Mountains, 'tis about as broad as the Thames at Lambeth: vet so shallow in the dry Season, as that it may be forded on Horseback. At Hean 20 miles lower, us rather broader than the Thames at Gravesend; and so below Hean to the place where it divides it self.
The Kingdom of Tonquin is said to be divided into 8 large Provinces, viz. the East and West Provinces, the North and South Provinces, and the Province of Cachao in the middle between those 4: which 5 I take to be the principal Provinces, making the heart of the Country. The other 3, which are Tenan, Tenehoa, and Ngeam, lie more upon the Borders.
The Province of Tenan is the most Easterly, having China on the S. E., the Island Aynam and the Sea on the S. and S. W., and the East Province on the N. W. This is but a small Province: its chiefest product is Rice.
The East Province stretches away from Tenan to the North Province, having also China on its East side, part of the South Province, and the Province of Cachao on the West; and the Sea on the South. This is a very large Province; 'tis chiefly low Land, and much of it Islands, especially the S. E. part of it, bordering on the Sea towards Tenan; and here the Sea makes the Cod of a Bay. It has abundance of Fishermen inhabiting near the Sea: but its chief [Page 21] produce is Rice: here is also good pasturage, and much Cattle, &c. Hean is the chief place of this Pro vince, and the Seat of the Mandarin its Governor.
The S. Province is the triangular Island, made by Sea: the River of Domea is on it's E. side, dividing it from the East Province, and Rokbo on the West, dividing it from Tenan; having the Sea to its South. This Province is very low plain even Land, producing Rice in great abundance: here are large pastures, and abundance of Fishermen near the Sea.
Tenehoa to the West of Rokbo, has the West Province on its North, Aynam on its West, and the Sea on its South: this Province is also low Land, chiefly abounds in Rice and Cattle, and hath a great Trade in Fishing, as all the Sea Coast has in general.
The Province of Ngeam, hath Tenehoa on the East, and on the South and West it borders on Cochinchina, and has the West Province on its North. This is a pretty large Province, abounding with Rice and Cattle: and here are always Soldiers kept to guard the Frontiers from the Cochinchineses.
The West Provinces hath Ngeam on the South, the Kingdom of Laos on the West, the Province of Cachao on the East, and on the North the North Province. This is a large Province, and good Champion Land: rich in Soyl, partly woody, partly pasture. The product of this Province is chiefly in Lack; and here are bred a great abundance of Silk worms for making Silk.
The North Province is a large tract of Land, making the North side of this whole Kingdom. It hath the Kingdom of Laos on the West, and China on the East and North, the Kingdom of Bao Oi Baotan on the North West, and on the South it [Page 22] ders on 3 of the principal Provinces of Tonquin, viz. the West Province, that of Cachao, and the East Province. This North Province, as it is large, so it has variety of Land and Soyl; a great deal of plain Champion Land, and many high Mountains which yield Gold, &c. the wild Elephants of this Country are found most on these Mountains. The other parts of this Province produce Lack and Silk, &c.
The Province of Cachao, in the heart of the Kingdom, lies between the East, West, North, and South Provinces: 'tis a Champion pleasant Country: the Soil is yellow or grey earth: and 'tis pretty woody, with some Savannahs. It abounds with the two principal Commodities of their Trade, viz. Lack and Silk, and has some Rice: Nor are any of the Provinces destitute of these Commodities, tho in different proportions, each according to the respective Soil.
This Country has of its own growth all necessaries for the Life os Man. They have little occasion for eatable Roots, having such plenty of Rice; yet they have Yams and Potatoes for variety; which would thrive here as well as any where, were the Natives industrious to propagate them.
The Land is every where cloath'd with herbage of one kind or other, but the dry Land has the same Fate that most dry Lands have between the Tropicks, to be over-run with Purslain; which growing wild, and being pernicious to other tender Herbs and Plants, they are at the pains to weed it out of their Fields and Gardens, tho tis very sweet, and makes a good Sallad for a hot Country.
There is a sort of Herb very common in this Country, which grows wild in stagnant Ponds, and floats on the surface of the water. It has a narrow, long, green thick leaf. It is much esteemed [Page 23] and eaten by the Natives who commend it for a very wholesom herb, and say that 'tis good to expel poyson. This Country produces many other sorts of wild herbs; and their, gardens also are well furnish'd with pleasant and wholsome ones, especially many Onions, of which here are great plenty.
Plantains and Bonanoes grow and thrive here as well as any where, but they are used here only as Fruit, and not for Bread, as in many places of America. Besides these here are divers sorts of excellent fruits, both Ground fruit and Tree fruit. The ground Fruits are Pumpkins, Melons, Pine-apples, &c. the Tree Fruits are Mangoes a few, Oranges, Limes, Coco-nuts, Guava's, Mulberry's, their much esteem'd Betle, a Fruit call'd Lichea, &c. The Oranges are of divers sorts, and two of them more excellent than the rest. One sort is called Cam-chain, the other is called Camquit. Cam, in the Tonquinese Language signifies an Orange, but what the distinguishing words Cam and Quit signifie I know not.
The Cam-chain is a large Orange, of a yellowish colour: the rind is pretty thick and rough; and the inside is yellow like Amber. It has a most fragrant smell, and the taste is very delicious. This sort of Orange is the best that I did ever taste; I believe there are not better in the world: A man may eat freely of them; for they are so innocent, that they are not denied to such as have Fevers, and other sick people.
The Cam quit is a very small round Fruit, not above half so big as the former. It is of a deep red dolour, and the rind is very smooth and thin. The inside also is very red; the taste is not inferiour to the Cam-chain, but it is accounted very unwholesom fruit, especially to such as are subject to fluxes; for it both creates and heightens that [Page 24] distemper. These 2 sorts are very plentiful and cheap, and they are in season from October till February, but then the Cam-chain becomes redder, and the rind is also thinner. The other sorts of Oranges are not much esteemed.
The Limes of Tonquin are the largest I ever saw. They are commonly as big as an ordinary Limon, but rounder. The rind is of a pale yellow colour when ripe; very thin and smooth. They are extraordinary juicy, but not near so sharp, of tart in taste as the West Indian Limes.
Coco nuts and Guava's do thrive here very well: but there are not many of the latter.
The Betle of Tonquin is said to be the best in India, there is great plenty of it; and 'tis most esteemed when it is young, green, and tender; for 'tis then very juicy. At Mindanao also they like it best green: but in other places of the East-Indies it is commonly chew'd when it is hard and dry.
The Lichea is another delicate fruit. 'Tis as big as a small Pear, somewhat long shaped, of a reddish colour, the rind pretty thick and rough, the inside white, inclosing a large black kernel, in shape like a Bean.
The Country is in some part woody; but the low Land in general is either grassy pasture, or Rice Fields, only thick set with small Groves, which stand scattering very pleasantly, all over the low-Country. The Trees in the Groves are of divers sorts, and most unknown to us. There is good Timber, for building either Ships or Houses, and indifferent good Masts may here be had.
There is a Tree called by the Natives Pone, chiefly used for making Cabinets, or other wares to be lackered. This is a soft sort of wood, not much unlike Fir, but not so serviceable. Another Tree grows in this Country that yields the Lack, with which Cabinets and other fine things are overlaid. [Page 25] These grow plentifully in some places especially in the Champion Lands. Here are also Mulberry Trees in great plenty, to feed the Silk worms, from whence comes the chief Trade in the Country. The Leaves of the old Trees are not so nourishing to the Silkworms, as those of the young Trees, and therefore they raise crops of young ones every year, to feed the Worms: for when the season is over, the young Trees are pluckt up by the roots, and more planted against the next year; so the Natives suffer none of these Trees to grow to bear Fruit. I heard of no Mulberries kept for eating, but some few raised by our English Merchants at Hean, and these bear but small hungry Fruit.
Here is good plenty of Rice, especially in the low Land, that is fatned by the overflowing Rivers. They have two crops every year, with great increase, if they have seasonable Rains and Floods. One crop is in May, and the other in November: and tho the low Land is sometimes overflown with water in the time of Harvest, yet they matter it not, but gather the crop and fetch it home wet in their Canoas; and making the Rice fast in small bundles, hang it up in their Houses to dry. This serves them for Bread-corn; and as the Country is very kindly for it, so their Inhabitants live chiefly of it.
Of Land Animals in this Country there are Elephants, Horses, Buffaloes, Bullocks, Goats, Deer, a few Sheep for their King, Hogs, Dogs, Cats, Lizards, Snakes, Scorpions, Centapees, Toads, Frogs, &c. The Country is so very populous, that they have but few Deer or wild Game for Hunting, unless it be in the remoter parts of the Kingdom. But they have abundance of Fowls both tame and wild. The tame Fowls are Cocks and Hens, and Ducks also in great plenty, of the same sort with ours. The Inhabitants have little [Page 26] Houses made purposely for the Ducks to lay their Eggs in, driving them in every night in laying time, and letting them out again in the morning. There are also some Geese, Parrots, Partridges, Parakites, Turtle Doves, &c. with many sorts of smaller Birds. Of wild Water-fowls they have Ducks, Widgeons, Teals, Herons, Pelicans, and Crabcatchers, (which I shall describe in the Bay of Campeachy) and other smaller Water-fowls. The Duck, Widgeon, and Teal are innumerable: they breed here in the months of May, June, and July; then they fly only in couples: but from October to March you will see over all the low watry Lands great companies together: and I have no where seen such large flights, nor such plenty of Game. They are very shy since the English and Dutch settled here; for now the Natives as well as they shoot them: but before their arrival the Tonquinese took them only with Nets: neither is this custom left off yet. The Net that is us'd for this Game is made square, and either bigger or less according as they have occasion. They fix two Poles about 10 or 11 foot high, upright in the ground, near the Pond, where the Ducks haunt; and the Net has a headcord, which is stretched out streight, made from the top of one Pole to the other; from whence the lower part of the Net hangs down loose towards the ground; and when in the evening they fly towards the Pond, many of them strike against the Net, and are there entangled.
There is a kind of Locust in Tonquin, in great abundance. This Creature is about the bigness of the top of a mans Finger, and as long as the first joynt. It breeds in the earth, especially in the banks of Rivers and Ditches in the low Country. In the months of January and February, which is the season of taking them, being then only seen, this creature first comes out of the Earth in huge [Page 27] swarms. It is then of a whitish colour, and having 2 small wings, like the wings of a Bee, at its first coming out of the Earth it takes its flight; but for want of strength or use falls down again in a short time. Such as strive to fly over the River, do commonly fall down into the water, and are drowned, or become a prey to the Fish of the River, or are carried out into the Sea to be devoured there: but the Natives in these months watch the Rivers, and take up thence multitudes, skimming them from off the Water with little Nets. They eat them fresh, broiled on the Coals; or pickle them to keep. They are plump and fat, and are much esteemed both by rich and poor, as good wholesome food, either fresh or pickled.
The Rivers and Ponds are stored with divers sorts of excellent Fish, besides abundance of Frogs, which they Angle for, being highly esteemed by the Tonquinese. The Sea too contributes much towards the support of the poor People, by yielding plentiful stores of Fish, that swarm on this Coast in their seasons, and which are commonly preferr'd before the River Fish. Of these here are divers sorts, besides Sea Turtle, which frequently come ashore on the Sandy Bays, in their seasons, to lay their Eggs. Here are also both Land crabs and Seacrabs good store, and other Shellfish, viz. Craw-fish, Shrimps, and Prawns. Here is one sort of small Fish much like an Anchovy, both in shape and size, which is very good pickled. There are other sorts of small Fish, which I know not the names of. One sort of them comes in great shoals near the shore, and these the Fishermen with their Nets take so plentifully as to load their Boats with them. Among these they generally take a great many Shrimps in their nets, which they carry ashore mixt together as they take them, and make Balachaun with them.
Balachaun is a composition of a strong savor; yet a very delightsom dish to the Natives of this Country. To make it, they throw the Mixture of Shrimps and small Fish into a sort of weak pickle made with Salt and Water, and put into a tight earthen Vessel or Jar. The Pickle being thus weak, it keeps not the Fish firm and hard, neither is it probably so designed, for the Fish are never gutted. Therefore in a short time they turn all to a mash in the Vessel; and when they have lain thus a good while, so that the Fish is reduced to a pap, they then draw off the liquor into fresh Jars, and preserve it for use. The masht Fish that remains behind is called Balachaun, and the liquor pour'd off is call'd Nuke-Mum. The poor people eat the Balachaun with their Rice. 'Tis rank scented, yet the taste is not altogether unpleasant; but rather savory, after one is a little used to it. The NukeMum is of a paie brown colour, inclining to grey; and pretty clear. It is also very savory, and used as a good sauce for Fowls, not only by the Natives, but also by many Europeans, who esteem it equal with Soy. I have been told that Soy is made partly with a Fishy composition, and it seems most likely by the taste: tho a Gentleman of my acquaintance, who was very intimate with one that sailed often from Tonquin to Japan, from whence the true Soy comes, told me, that it was made only with Wheat, and a sort of Beans mixt with Water and Salt.
Their way of Fishing differs little from ours: in the Rivers, they take some of their Fish with Hook and Line, others with Nets of several sorts. At the mouths of the Rivers, they set nets against the Stream or Tide. These have two long wings opening on each side the mouth of the Net, to guide the Fish into it; where passing through a narrow neck, they are caught in a bag at the farther end.
Where the Rivers mouth is so wide, that the wings of the Net will not reach from side to side; as at Batsha particularly it will not, there they supply that defect, with long slender Canes, which they stick upright near one another in a row: for on both sides of the River, when the tide runs strong (which is the time that the Fish are moving) the limber Canes make such a ratling, by striking against each other, that thereby the Fish are scared from thence towards the Mouth of the Net; in the middle of the Stream. Farther up the River, they have Nets made square like a great sheet. This sort hath two long Poles laid across each other. At this crossing of the Poles a long Rope is fastned; and the Net hangs down in a bag by its corners from them. To manage it there is a substantial post, set upright and firm in the River; and the top of it may be 8 or 10 foot above the water. On the top of this post there is a Mortice made, to receive a long pole, that lies athwart like the Beam of a Ballance: to the heavier end of which they tie the Rope, which holds the Net; and to the other end another Rope to pull up the Net on occasion. The Fishermen sink it with Stones to the Rivers bottom, and when they see any Fish come over it, one suddenly pulls the Rope at the opposite end of the beam, and heaves Net and Fish out of the Water. They take a great deal of Fish this way: and sometimes they use Drag-Nets, which go quite across, and sweep the River.
In the stagnant Ponds, such as the Mandarins have commonly about their Houses, they go in and trouble the water with their feet, till 'tis all muddy and thick: and as the Fish rise to the surface, they take what they please with small Nets, fastned to a hoop, at the end of a pole.
For all these sorts of provision there are Markets duly kept all over Tonquin, one in a week, in a neighbourhood of 4 or 5 Villages; and held at each of them successively in its order: so that the same Village has not the Market return'd to it till 4 or 5 weeks after. These Markets are abundantly more stor'd with Rice (as being their chief subsistence, especially of the poorer sort) than either with Flesh or Fish, yet wants there not for Pork, and young Pigs good store, Ducks and Hens, plenty of Eggs, Fish great and small, fresh and salted Balachaun and Nuke-Mum, with all sorts of Roots, Herbs, and Fruits, even in these Country Markets. But at Cachao, where there are markets kept every day, they have besides these, Beef of Bullocks, Buffaloes Flesh, Goats Flesh, Horse Flesh, Cats and Dogs, (as I have been told) and Locusts.
They dress their food very cleanly, and make it savory: for which they have several ways unknown in Europe, but they have many sorts of dishes, that wou'd turn the Stomach of a stranger, which yet they themselves like very well; as particularly, a dish of raw Pork, which is very cheap and common. This is only Pork cut and minced very small, fat and lean together; which being afterwards made up in balls, on rolls like Sausages, and prest very hard together, is then neatly wrapt up in clean leaves, and without more ado, served up to the Table. Raw Beef is another dish, much esteemed at Cachao. When they kill a Bullock they singe the hair off with Fire, as we singe Bacon Hogs in England. Then they open it; and while the Flesh is yet hot, they cut good Collops from off the lean parts, and put them into very tart Vinegar; where it remains 3 or 4 hours or longer, till it is sufficiently soaked, and then, without more trouble, they take it out, and eat it with great delight. As for Horseflesh, I know not whether [Page 31] they kill any purposely for the Shambles; or whether they only do it when they are not likely to live; as I have seen them do their working Bullocks at Galicia in Old Spain; where the Cattel falling down with labour, and being so poor and tired, that they cannot rise, they are slaughtered, and sent to market, and I think I never eat worse Beef than at the Groin. The Horseflesh comes to Market at Cachao very frequently, and is as much esteemed as Beef. Elephants they eat also; and the Trunk of this Beast is an acceptable present for a Nobleman, and that too tho the beast dyes with Age or Sickness. For here are but few wild Elephants, and those so shy, that they are not easily taken. But the King having a great number of tame Elephants, when one of these dyes, 'tis given to the poor, who presently fetch away the Flesh; but the Trunk is cut in pieces, and presented to the Mandarins. Dogs and Cats are killed purposely for the Shambles, and their Flesh is much esteemed, by people of the best fashion, as I have been credibly informed. Great yellow Frogs also are much admired: especially when they come fresh out of the Pond. They have many other such choice dishes: and in all the Villages, at any time of the day, and be it market day or not, there are several to be sold by poor people, who make it their Trade. The most common sorts of Cookeries, next to boil'd Rice, is to dress little bits of Pork, spitted 5 or 6 of them at once, on a small skiver, and roasted. In the Markets also, and daily in every Village, there are Women sitting in the Streets, with a Pipkin over a small Fire, full of Chau, as they call it, a sort of very ordinary Tea, of a reddish brown colour, and 'tis their ordinary drink.
The Kingdom of Tonquin is in general healthy enough, especially in the dry season, when also it is very delightsom. For the seasons of the year [Page 32] at Tonquin, and all the Countries between the Tropicks, are distinguished into Wet and Dry, as properly as others are into Winter and Summer. But as the alteration from Winter to Summer, and vice versa is not made of a sudden, but with the interchangeable Weather of Spring and Autumn; so also toward the end of the dry season, there are some gentle showers now and then, that precede the violent wet months; and again toward the end of these, several fair days that introduce the dry time. These seasons are generally much alike at the same time of the year in all places of the Torrid Zone, on the same side of the Equator: but for 2 or 3 degrees on each side of it, the weather is more mixt and uncertain, (tho inclining to the wet extreme) and is often contrary to that which is then settled on the same side of the Equator more toward the Tropick. So that even when the wet Season is set in, in the Northern parts of the Torrid Zone, it may yet be dry weather for 2 or 3. degrees North of the Line: and the same may be said of the contrary Latitudes and Seasons. This I speak with respect to the driness or moisture of Countries in the Torrid Zone: but it may also hold good of their Heat or Cold, generally: for as to all these qualities there is a further difference arises from the make or situation of the Land, or other accidental causes, besides what depends on the respective latitude or regard to the Sun. Thus the Bay of Compeachy in the West Indies, and that of Bengal in the East, in much the same latitude, are exceeding hot and moist; and whether their situation, being very low Countries, and the scarcity and faintness of the Sea-breezes, as in most Bays may not contribute hereunto, I leave others to judge. Yet even as to the Latitudes of these places, lying near the Tropicks, they are generally upon that account alone more inclined to great Heats, [Page 33] than places near the Equator. This is what I have experienc'd in many places in such Latitudes both in the East and West Indies, that the hottest parts of the World are these near the Tropicks, especially 3 or 4 Degrees within them; sensibly hotter than under the Line itself. Many reasons may be assign'd for this, beside the accidental ones from the make of the particular Countries, Tropical Winds, or the like. For the longest day at the Equator never exceeds 12 hours, and the night is always of the same length: But near the Tropicks the longest day is about 13 hours and an half; and an hour and an half being also taken from the night, what with the length of the day, and the shortness of the night, there is a difference of three hours; which is very cousiderable. Besides which, at such places as are about 3 degrees within the Tropicks, or in the Lat. of 20 Deg. N., the Sun comes within 2 or 3 degrees of the Zenith in the beginning of May; and having past the Zenith, goes not above 2 or 3 degrees beyond it, before it returns and passeth the Zenith once more; and by this means is at least 3 months within 4 degrees of the Zenith: so that they have the Sun in a manner over their heads from the beginning of May, till the latter end of July. Whereas when the Sun comes under the Line, in March or September, it immediately posts away to the North or the South, and is not 20 days in passing from 3 degrees on one side, to 3 degrees on the other side the Line. So that by his small stay there, the heat cannot be answerable to what it is near the Tropick, where he so long continues in a manner Vertical at Noon, and is so much longer above the Horizon each paaticular day, with the intervening of a shorter night.
But to return to Tonquin. During the wet months there 'tis excessive hot, especially whenever [Page 34] the Sun breaks out of the Clouds, and there is then but little Wind stirring: And I have been told by a Gentleman who liv'd there many years, that he thought it was the hottest place that ever he was in, tho he had been in many other parts of India. And as to the Rains, it has not the least share of them, tho neither altogether the greatest of what I have met with in the Torrid Zone; and even in the same Latitude, and on the same side of the Equator. The wet season begins here the latter end of April, or the beginning of May; and holds till the latter end of August: in which time are very violent Rains, some of many hours, others of 2 or 3 days continuance: Yet are not these Rains without some considerable intervals of fair weather, especially toward the beginning or end of the season.
By these Rains are caus'd those Land-floods, which never fail in these Countries between the Tropicks at their annual periods; all the Rivers then overflowing their Banks. This is a thing so well known to all who are any way acquainted with the Torrid Zone, that the cause of the overflowing of the Nile, to find out which the Ancients set their wits so much upon the rack, and fancied melting of Snows, and blowing of Etesiae, and I know not what, is now no longer a secret. For these floods must needs discharge themselves upon such low Lands as lie in their way; as the Land of Egypt does with respect to the Nile, coming a great way from within the Torrid Zone, and falling down from the higher Ethiopia. And any one who will be at the pains to compare the time of the Land flood in Egypt, with that of the Torrid Zone in any of the parts of it along which the Nile runs, will find that of Egypt so much later than the other, as 'twill be thought reasenable to allow for the daily progress of the Waters along so vast a tract [Page 35] of Ground. They might have made the same wonderment of any other Rivers which run any long course from out the Torrid Zone: but they knowing only the North Temperate Zone, and the Nile being the only great River known to come thither a great way from a Country near the Line, they made that only the subject of their enquiry: but the same effect must also follow from any great River that should run from out of the Torrid Zone into the South Temperate Zone. And as to the Torrid Zone, the yearly floods, and their cause, are every where as well known by people there, as the Rivers themselves. In America particularly, in Campeachy Rivers, in Rio Grande, and others, 'tis a vast havock is made by these floods; bringing down sometimes Trees of an incredible bigness; and these floods always come at the stated season of the year. In the dry part of Peru, along the coasts of Pacifick Sea, where it never rains, as it seldom does in Egypt, they have not only Floods, but Rivers themselves, made by the annual falling of Rain on the Mountains within Land; the Channels of which are dry all the rest of the year. This I have observ'd concerning the River Ylo, on the Coast of Peru, in my former Volume, p. 95. But it has this difference from the Floods of Egypt, that besides its being a River in the Torrid Zone, 'tis also in South Latitude; and so overflows at a contrary season of the year; to wit, at such time as the Sun being in Southern Signs, causes the Rains and Floods on that side the Line.
But to return from this digression, in August the weather at Tonquin is more moderate, as to heat or wet, yet not without some showers, and September and October are more temperate still: yet the worst weather in all the year for Seamen, is in one of the 3 months last mentioned: for then the violent Storms, called Tuffoons, (Typhones) are expected. [Page 36] These winds are so very fierce, that for fear of them the Chinese that Trade thither, will not stir out of Harbour, till the end of October: after which month there is no more danger of any violent Storms, till the next year.
Tuffoons are a particular kind of violent Storms, blowing on the Coast of Tonquin, and the neighboring Coasts in the months of July, August, andSeptember. They commonly happen near the full or change of the Moon, and are usually preceded by very fair weather, small winds and a clear Sky. Those small winds veer from the common Trade of that time of the year, which is here at S. W. and shuffles about to the N. and N. E. Before the Storm comes there appears a boding Cloud in the N. E. which is very black near the Horizon, but towards the upper edge, it looks of a dark copper colour, and higher still it is brighter, and afterwards it fades to a whitish glaring colour, at the very edge of the Cloud. This appears very amazing and ghastly, and is sometimes seen 12 hours before the Storm comes. When that Cloud begins to move apace, you may expect the Wind presently. It comes on fierce, and blows very violent at N. E. 12 hours more or less. It is also commonly accompanied with terrible claps of Thunder, large and frequent flashes of Lightning, and excessive hard rain. When the Wind begins to abate it dyes away suddenly, and falling flat calm, it continues so an hour, more or less: then the wind comes about to the S. W. and it blows and rains as fierce from thence, as it did before at N. E. and as long.
November and December are 2 very dry, wholesom warm and pleasant months. January, February, and March are pretty dry: but then you have thick fogs in the morning, and sometimes drisling cold rains: the Air also in these 3 months, particularly in January and February is very sharp, especially [Page 37] when the wind is at North East, or North North East, whether because of the Quarter it blows from, or the Land it blows over I know not: for I have elsewhere observ'd such Winds to be Colder, where they have come from over Land. April is counted a moderate month, either as to heat or cold, driness or moisture.
This is ordinarily the state of their year: yet are not these various Seasons so exact in the returns, but that there may sometimes be the difference of a month, or more. Neither yet are the several Seasons, when they do come, altogether alike in all years. For sometimes the Rains are more violent and lasting, at other times more moderate; and some years they are not sufficient to produce reasonable Crops, or else they come so unseasonably as to injure and destroy the Rice, or at least to advance it but little. For the Husbandry of this Country, and other Countries in the Torrid Zone depends on the Annual Floods, to moysten and fatten the Land, and if the wet season proves more dry than ordinary, so as that the Rice Land is not well dranched with the overflowings of the Rivers, the Crops will be but mean: and Rice being their Bread, the staff of Life with them, if that failes, such a populous Country as this cannot subsist, without being beholding to its Neighbours. But when it comes to that pass, that they must be supplyed by Sea, many of the poorer sort sell their Children to relieve their wants, and so preserve their Lives, whilst others that have not Children to sell, may be famished and dye miserable in the Streets. This manner of Parents dealing with their Children is not peculiar to this Kingdom alone, but is customary in other places of the East Indies, especialy on the Coasts of Malabar and Coromandel. There a famine happens more frequently, and rages sometimes to a degree beyond belief: for those Countries [Page 38] are generally very dry, and less productive of Rice then Tonquin. Neither are there such large Rivers to fatten the Land: but all their Crop depends on Seasons of Rains only, to moisten the earth: and when those seasons fail, as they do very often, then they can have no Crop at all. Sometimes they have little or no rain in 3 or 4 years, and then they perish at a lamentable rate. Such a Famine as this happen'd 2 or 3 years before my going to Fort St. George, which raged so sore, that thousands of people perished for want, and happy were they that cou'd hold out, till they got to the Sea-port Towns, where the Europeans lived, to sell themselves to them, tho they were sure to be transported from their own Country presently. But the famine does never rage so much at Tonquin, neither may their greatest scarcity be so truly called a Famine: for in the worst of times there is Rice, and 'tis thro the poverty of the meaner people, that so many perish, or sell their Children, for they might else have Rice enough, had they money to buy it with: and when their Rice is thus dear, all other provisions are so proportionably.
There is a further difference between the Countries of Malabar and Coromandel, and this of Tonquin, that there the more Rain they have there, the greater is their blessing: but here they may have too much rain for the lower part of the Kingdom; but that is rare. When this happens, they have Banks to keep in the Rivers, and Ditches to drain the Land; tho sometimes to little purpose, when the floods are violent, and especially if out of season. For if the floods come in their seasons, tho they are great, and drown all the Land, yet are they not hurtful; but on the contrary, very beneficial, because the mud that they leave behind fattens the Land. And after all, if the low Land [Page 39] should be injured by the floods, the dry Champion Land yields the better increase, and helps out the other; as that does them also in more kindly seasons. In the dry seasons the low Lands have this advantage, that Channels are easily cut out of the River, to water them on each side. So that let the Seasons be wet or dry, this Country seldom suffers much. Indeed considering the number of its inhabitants, and the poverty of the major part, it is sometimes here, as in all populous Countries, very hard with the poor, especially the Trades people in the large Towns. For the Trade is very uncertain, and the people are imployed according to the number of Ships that come thither, to fetch away their Goods: and if but few Ships come hither, as sometimes it happens, then the poor are ready to famish for want of work, whereby to get a subsistance. And not only this, but most Silk Countries are stockt with great multitudes of poor people, who work cheap and live meanly on a little Rice: which if it is not very cheap, as it commonly is here, the poor people are not able to maintain themselves.
1.2. CHAP VII.
The Country of Achindescribed: its Situation and Extent. Golden Mount, and the Neighbouring Isles of Wayand Gomez, &c.making several Channels and the Road of Achin. The Soil of the Continent; Trees and Fruits; particularly the Mangastanand Pumple-nose. Their Roots, Herbs, and Drugs, the Herb Gangaor Bang, and Camphire: the Pepper of Sumatra, and Gold of Achin. The Beasts, Fowl, and Fish. The People, their Temper, Habits, Buildings. City of Achin, and Trades. The Husbandry, Fishery, Carpenters, and Flying Proes. The Money-Changers, Coin and Weights. Of the Gold-Mines. The Merchants who come to Achin: and of the ChineseCamp or Fair. The washing used at Achin. A ChineseRenegado. Punishments for Theft and other Crimes. The Government of Achin; of the Queen, Oronkeysor Nobles; and of the Slavery of the People. The State kept by the EasternPrinces. A Civil War here upon the choice of a new Queen. The A. and the other Englishin a fright, upon a seizure made of a MoorsShip by an EnglishCaptain. The weather, floods, and heat at Achin.
BEing now arrived at Achin again, I think it not amiss to give the Reader some short account of what observations I made of that City and Country. [Page 121] This Kingdom is the largest and best peopled of many small ones, that are up and down the Isle of Sumatra; and it makes the North West end of that Island. It reaches Eastward from that N. W. point of the Island, a great way along the shore, towards the Streights of Malacca, for about 50 or 60 Leagues. But from Diamond point; which is about 40 Leagues from Achin, towards the borders of the Kingdom, the Inhabitants, tho belonging to Achin, are less in subjection to it. Of these I can say but little; neither do I know the bounds of this Kingdom, either within Land, or along the West Coast. That West side of the Kingdom, is high and mountainous: as is generally the rest of the West Coast of the whole Island. The point also of Achin, or extremity of the Island, is High Land: but Achin it self, and the Country to the Eastward, is lower, not altogether destitute of small Hills, and every where of a moderate heighth, and a Champion Country, naturally very fit for Cultivation.
There is one Hill more remarkable than ordinary, especially to Seamen. The English call it the Golden Mount: but whether this name is given it by the Natives, or only by the English, I know not, 'Tis near the N. W. end of the Island; and Achin stands but 5 or 6 mile from the bottom of it. 'Tis very large at the foot, and runs up smaller towards the head; which is raised so high, as to be seen at Sea 30 or 40 leagues. This was the first Land that we saw coming in our Proe from the Nicobar Islands, mentioned in my former Voyage. The rest of the Land, tho of a good heighth, was then undiscerned by us, so that this Mountain appeared like an Island in the Sea; which was the Reason why our Achin Malayans took it for Pulo Way. But that Island tho pretty high Champion Land, was invisible, when this Golden Mount appeared so plain, tho as far distant as that Island.
Besides what belongs to Achin upon the Continent, there are also several Islands under its Jurisdiction, most of them uninhabited; and these make the Road of Achin. Among them is this Pulo Way, which is the Easternmost of a Range of Islands, that lye off the N. W. end of Sumatra. It is also the largest of them, and it is inhabited by Malefactors, who are banisht thither from Achin. This, with the other Islands of this Range, lye in a semicircular form, of about 7 Leagues diameter. Pulo Gomez is another large Island about 20 mile West from Pulo Way, and about 3 Leagues from the N. W. point of Sumatra. Between Pulo Gomez, and the Main are 3 or 4 other small Islands; yet with Channels of a sufficient breadth between them, for Ships to pass through; and they have very deep water. All Ships bound from Achin to the Westward, or coming from thence to Achin, go in and out thro one or other of these Channels: and because shipping comes hither from the Coast of Surrat, one of these Channels, which is deeper than the rest, is called the Surrat Channel. Between Pulo Gomez and Pulo Way, in the bending of the Circle, there are other small Islands, the chief of which is called Pulo Rondo. This is a small round high Island, not a above 2 or 3 mile in circumference. It lyes almost in the extremity of the bending on the N. E. part of the Circle, but nearer Pulo Way than Pulo Gomez. There are large deep Channels on either side, but the most frequented is the Channel on the West side. Which is called the Bengal Channel, because it looks towards that Bay; and Ships coming from thence, from the Coast of Coromandel, pass in and out this way. Between Pulo Way and the Main of Sumatra is another Channel of 3 or 4 Leagues wide: which is the Channel for Ships, that go from Achin to the Streights of Malacca, or any Country to the East of those Streights, and vice versa. There is good riding [Page 123] in all this Semicircular Bay between the Islands and Sumatra: but the Road for all Ships that come to Achin is near the Sumatra Shore, within all the Islands. There they anchor at what distances they please, according to the Monsoons or Seasons of the Year. There is a small Navigable River comes out into the Sea, by which Ships transport their Commodities in smaller Vessels up to the City. The mouth of this River is 6 or 7 Leagues from Pulo Rondo, and 3 or 4 from Pulo Way, and near as many from Pulo Gomez. The Islands are pretty high Champion Land, the mould black or yellow, the Soyl deep and fat, producing large tall Trees, fit for any uses. There are brooks of water on the 2 great Islands of Way and Gomez, and several sorts of wild Animals; especially wild Hogs in abundance.
The Mold of this Continent is different according to the natural position of it. The Mountains are Rocky, especially those towards the West Coast; yet most that I have seen seems to have a superficial covering of Earth, naturally producing Shrubs, small Trees, or pretty good Grass. The small Hills are most of them cloathed with Woods, the Trees whereof seem by their growth to spring from a fruitful Soyl: the Champion Land, such as I have seen, is some black, some grey, some reddish, and all of a deep mold. But to be very particular in these things, especially in all my Travels, is more than I can pretend to: tho it may be I took as much notice of the difference of Soil as I met with it, as most Travellers have done, having been bred in my youth in Somersetshire, at a place called East Coker near Yeovil or Evil: In which Parish there is as great variety of Soil, as I have ordinarily met with any where, viz. black, red, yellow, sandy, stony, clay, morass, or swampy, &c. I had the more reason to take notice of this, because this Village [Page 124] in a great measure is Let out in small Leases for Lives of 20, 30, 40, or 50 pound per Ann. under Coll. Helliar the Lord of the Mannor: and most, if not all these Tenants, had their own Land scattering in small pieces, up and down several sorts of Land in the Parish: so that every one had some piece of every sort of Land, his Black ground, his Sandy, Clay, &c. some of 20, 30, or 40 Shillings an Acre, for some uses, and other not worth 10 groats an Acre. My Mother being possest of one of these Leases, and having of all these sorts of Land, I came acquainted with them all, and knew what each sort would produce, (viz.) Wheat, Barley, Massin, Rice, Beans, Peas, Oats, Fetches, Flax, or Hemp: in all which I had a more than usual knowledge for one so young; taking a particular delight in observing it: but enough of this matter.
The Kingdom of Achin has in general a deep mould: It is very well watered with Brooks and small Rivers, but none navigable for Ships of burthen. This of Achin admits not of any but small Vessels. The Land is some part very woody, in other places Savannah; the Trees are of divers sorts, most unknown to me by name. The Cotton and Cabbage-trees grow here, but not in such plenty as in some part of America. These Trees commonly grow here, as indeed usually whereever they grow, in a champion dry ground, such at least as is not drowned or morassy; for here is some such Land as that by the Rivers; and there grow Mangrove Trees, and other Trees of that kind. Neither is this Kingdom destitute of Timbertrees fit for building.
The Fruits of this Country are Plantains, Bonanoes, Guava's, Oranges, Limes, Jacks, Durians, Coco-nuts, Pumple noses, Pomgranates, Mangoes, Mangastans, Citrons, Water melons, Muskmelons, [Page 125] Pine-apples, &c. Of all these sorts of Fruits, I think the Mangastan is without compare the most delicate. This Fruit is in shape much like the Pomgranate, but a great deal less. The outside rind or shell is a little thicker than that of the Pomgranate, but softer, yet more brittle; and and is of a dark red. The inside of the shell is of a deep crimson colour. Within this shell the Fruit appears in 3 or 4 Cloves, about the bigness of the top of a man's thumb. These will easily separate each from the other; they are as white as Milk, very soft, and juicy, inclosing a small black Stone or Kernel. The outside rind is said to be binding, and therefore many when they eat the Fruit, which is very delicious, do save the rind or shell, drying it and preserving it, to give to such as have Fluxes. In a small Book, entitled, A new Voyage to the East Indies, there is mention made of Mangastans, among the Fruits of Java: but the Author is mistaken, in that he compares it to a Sloe, in shape and taste: Yet I remember there is such a sort of Fruit at Achin; and believe by the description he gives of it, it may probably be the same that he calls the Mangastan, tho nothing like the true Mangastan.
The Pumple-nose is a large Fruit like a Citron, with a very thick tender uneven rind. The inside is full of Fruit: it grows all in cloves as big as a small Barly-corn, and these are all full of juice, as an Orange or a Lemon, tho not growing in such partitions. 'Tis of a pleasant taste, and tho there are of them in other parts of the East Indies, yet these at Achin are accounted the best. They are ripe commonly about Christmas, and they are so much esteemed, that English men carry them from hence to Fort St George, and make presents of them to their Friends there. The other Fruits mentioned here, are most of them described by me in my first Volume.
The eatable Roots of this Country are Yams and Potatoes, &c. but their chiefest, bread kind is Rice. The Natives have lately planted some quantities of this Grain, and might produce much more were they so disposed, the Land being so fruitful. They have here a sort of Herb or Plant called Ganga, or Bang. I never saw any but once, and that was at some distance from me. It appeared to me like Hemp, and I thought it had been Hemp, till I was told to the contrary. It is reported of this Plant, that if it is infused in any Liquor, it will stupify the brains of any person that drinks thereof; but it operates diversly, according to the constitution of the person. Some it makes sleepy, some merry, putting them into a Laughing fit, and others it makes mad: but after 2 or 3 hours they come to themselves again. I never saw the effects of it on any person, but have heard much discourse of it. What other use this Plant may serve for I know not: but I know it is much esteemed here, and in other places too whither it is transported.
This Country abounds also with Medicinal Drugs and Herbs, and with variety of Herbs for the Pot. The chief of their Drugs is Camphire, of which there are quantities found on this Island, but most of it either on the borders of this Kingdom to the Southward, or more remote still, without the precincts of it. This that is found on the Island Sumatra is commonly sent to Japan to be refined, and then brought from thence pure, and transported whither the Merchants please afterwards. I know that here are several sorts of Medicinal Herbs made use of by the Natives, who go often a simpling, seeming to understand their Virtues much, and making great use of them: but this being wholly out of my sphere, I can give no account of them; and tho here are plenty of Pot [Page 127] Herbs, yet I know the names of none, but Onions, of which they have great abundance, and of a very good sort, but small.
There are many other very profitable Commodities on this Island: but some of them are more peculiar to other parts of it than Achin, especially Pepper. All the Island abounds with that Spice, except only this North West end; at least so much of it, as is comprehended within the Kingdom of Achin. Whether this defect is through the negligence or laziness of these people, I know not.
Gold also is found, by report, in many parts of this Island: but the Kingdom of Achin is at present most plentifully stored with it. Neither does any place in the East Indies, that I know of, yield such quantities of it as this Kingdom. I have never been at Japan, and therefore can make no estimate of the great riches of that Kingdom: but here I am certain there is abundance of it.
The Land Animals of this Country are Deer, Hogs, Elephants, Goats, Bullocks, Buffaloes, Horses, Porcupines, Monkeys, Squirrils, Guanoes, Lizards, Snakes, &c. Here are also abundance of Ants of several sorts, and Woodlice, called by the English in the East Indies White Ants. The Elephants that I saw here were all tame: yet 'tis reported there are some wild: but I judge not many, if any at all. In some places there are plenty of Hogs; they are all wild, and commonly very poor. At some times of the year, when the wild Fruits fall from the Trees, they are indifferent fat, or at least fleshy: and then they are sweet and good: they are very numerous; and whether for that reason, or scarcity of food, it is very rare to find them fat. The Goats are not very many, neither are there many Bullocks: but the Savannahs swarm with Buffaloes, belonging to some or other of the Inhabitants, [Page 128] who milk them and eat them; but don't work them, so far as I saw. The Horses of this Country are but small, yet sprightly; and sometimes they are transported hence to the Coast of Coromandel. The Porcupines and Squirrels are accounted good food by the English; but how they are esteemed by the Natives I know not.
The Fowls of this Country are Dunghil Fowls and Ducks, but I know of no other tame Fowls they have. In the Woods there are many sorts of wild Fowls, viz. Maccaws, Parrots, Parakites, Pigeons, and Doves of 3 or 4 sorts. There are plenty of other small Birds; but I can say nothing of them.
The Rivers of this Country afford plenty of Fish. The Sea also supplys divers sorts of very good Fish, (viz.) Snooks, Mullets, Mudfish, Eels, Stingrays, which I shall describe in the Bay of Campeachy, Ten pounders, Old Wives, Cavallies, Crawfish, Shrimps, &c.
The Natives of this Country are Malayans. They are much the same people with those of Queda, Jihore, and other places on the Continent of Malacca, speaking the same Malayan Language, with very little difference: and they are of the same Mahometan Religion, and alike in their haughty humour and manner of living: so that they seem to have been originally the same people. They are people of a middle stature, straight and well shaped, and of a dark Indian copper colour. Their Hair is black and lank, their Faces generally pretty long, yet graceful enough. They have black Eyes, middling Noses, thin Lips, and black Teeth, by the frequent use of Betle. They are very lazy, and care not to work or take pains. The poorer sort are addicted to theft, and are often punished severely for it. They are otherwise good natured in general, and kind enough to strangers.
The better sort of them wear Caps fitted to their heads, of red or other coloured Woollen Cloath, like the Crown of a Hat without any brims: for none of the Eastern people use the Complement of uncovering their Heads when they meet, as we do. But the general wear for all sorts of people is a small Turban, such as the Mindanaians wear, described in the 12th Chapter of my former Volume, page 326. They have small Breeches, and the better sort will have a piece of Silk thrown loosely over their Shoulders; but the poor go naked from the waste upwards. Neither have they the use of Stockings and Shoes, but a sort of Sandals are worn by the better sort.
Their Houses are built on Posts, as those of Mindanao, and they live much after the same fashion: but by reason of, their Gold Mines, and the frequent resort of strangers, they are richer, and live in greater plenty. Their common food is Rice, and the better sort have Fowls and Fish, with which the Markets are plentifully stored, and sometimes Buffaloes flesh, all which is drest very savourily with Pepper, and Garlick, and tinctured yellow with Turmerick, to make it pleasant to the Eye, as the East Indians generally love to have their food look yellow: neither do they want good Achars or Sauces to give it a relish.
The City of Achin is the chief in all this Kingdom. It is seated on the Banks of a River, near the N. W. end of the Island, and about 2 miles from the Sea. This Town consists of 7 or 8000 Houses; and in it there are always a great many Merchantstrangers, viz English, Dutch, Danes, Portuguese, Chinese, Guzarats, &c. The Houses of this City are generally larger than those I saw at Mindanao, and better furnished with Houshold Goods. The City has no Walls, nor so much as a Ditch about it. It has a greater number of Mosques, generally square [Page 126] built, and covered with Pantile, but neither high nor large. Every morning a man madea great Noise from thence: but I saw no Turrets or Steeples, for them to climb up into for that purpose; as they have generally in Turkey. The Queen has a large Palace here, built handsomely with Stone: but I could not get into the inside of it. 'Tis said there are some great Guns about it, 4 of which are of Brass, and are said to have been sent hither as a present by our K. James the 1st.
The chief Trades at Achin are Carpenters, Blacksmiths, Goldsmiths, Fishermen, and Moneychan gers: but the Country people live either on breeding heads of Cattle, but most for their own use, or Fowls, especially they who live near the City, which they send weekly thither to sell: others plant Roots, Fruits, &c. and of late they have sown pretty large Fields of Rice. This thrives here well enough; but they are so proud, that it is against their Stomach to work: neither do they themselves much trouble their heads about it, but leave it to be managed by their Slaves: and they were the Slaves brought lately by the English and Danes from the Coast of Coromandel, in the time of a Famin there, I spoke of before, who first brought this sort of Husbandry into such request among the Achinese. Yet neither does the Rice they have this way supply one quarter of their occasions, but they have it brought to them from their Neighbouring Countreys.
The Fishermen are the richest working people: I mean such of them as can purchase a Net; for thereby they get great profit; and this sort of imployment is managed also by their Slaves. In fair weather you shall have 8 or 10 great Boats, each with a Sain or haling Net: and when they see a Shoal of Fish, they strive to incompass them with these Nets, and all the Boats that are near assist each other to drag them ashore. Sometimes they [Page 127] draw ashore this way 50, 60, or 100 large Fish, as big as a mans Leg, and as long: and then they rejoyce mightily, and scamper about, making a great shout. The Fish is presently sent to the Market in one of their Boats, the rest looking out again for more. Those who Fish with Hook and Line, go out in small Proes, with but 1 or 2 Slaves in each Proe. These also get good Fish of other sorts, which they carry home to their Masters.
The Carpenters use such hatchets as they have at Mindanao. They build good Houses after their fashion: and they are also ingenious enough in building Proes, making very pretty ones, especially of that sort which are Flying Proes; which are built long, deep, narrow, and sharp, with both sides alike, and outlagers on each side, the Head and Stern like other Boats. They carry a great Sail, and when the Wind blows hard, they send a man or two to sit at the extremity of the Windward outlager, to poise the Vessel. They build also some Vessels of 10 or 20 Tuns burthen, to Trade from one place to another: but I think their greatest ingenuity is in building their Flying Proes; which are made very smooth, kept neat and clean, and will sail very well: for which reason they had that name given them by the English.
There are but few Blacksmiths in this Town, neither are they very skilful at their Trade. The Goldsmiths are commonly strangers, yet some of the Achinese themselves know how to work Metals, tho not very well. The Money-changers are here, as at Tonquin, most Women. These sit in the Markets and at the corners of the Streets, with leaden Money called Cash, which is a name that is generally given to small money in all these Countreys: but the Cash here is neither of the same Metal, nor value with that at Tonquin; for that is Copper, and this is Lead, or Block Tin, such as will bend about [Page 132] the Finger. They have but two sorts of Coin of their own; the least sort is this Leaden money call'd Cash, and 'tis the same with what they call Petties at Bantam. Of these, 1500 make a Mess, which is their other sort of Coin, and is a small thin piece of Gold, stampt with Malayan Letters on each side. It is in value 15 pence English. 16 Mess, make a Tale, which here is 20 s. English, 5 Tale make a Bancal, a weight so called, and 20 Bancal make a Catty, another weight. But their Gold Coin seldom holds weight, for you shall sometimes have 5 Tale and 8 Mess over go to make a Pecul, and tho 1500 Cash; is the value of a Mess, yet these rise and fall at the discretion of the Money-changers: for sometimes you shall have 1000 Cash for a Mess: but they are kept usually between those 2 numbers; seldom less then 1000, and never more then 1500. But to proceed with these Weights, which they use either for Money or Goods, 100 Catty make a Pecul, which is 132 l. English weight Three hundred Catty is a Bahar, which is 396 l English weight; but in some places, as at Bencouli, a Bahar is near 500 English weight. Spanish pieces of Eight go here also, and they are valued according to the plenty or scarcity of them. Sometimes a Piece of Eight goes but for 4 Mess, sometimes for 4 and half, sometimes 5 Mess.
They Coin but a small quantity of their Gold; so much as may serve for their ordinary occasions in their Traffick one with another. But as the Merchant, when he receives large Summs, always takes it by weight, so they usually pay him unwrought Gold, and quantity for quantity: the Merchants chuse rather to receive this, than the coined Gold; and before their leaving the Country, will change their Messes for uncoined Gold: perhaps because of some deceits used by the Natives in their Coining.
This Gold they have from some Mountain a pretty way within Land from Achin, but within their Dominions, and rather near to the West Coast than the Streights of Malacca. I take Golden Mount, which I spoke of before, to lie at no great distance from that of the Mines; for there is very high Land all thereabouts. To go thither they set out Eastward, towards Passange Jonca, and thence strike up into the heart of the Country. I made some inquiry concerning their getting Gold, and was told, that none but Mahometans were permitted to go to the Mines: That it was both troublesom and dangerous to pass the Mountains, before they came thither; there being but one way, and that over such steep Mountains, that in some places they were forced to make use of Ropes, to climb up and down the Hills. That at the foot of these Precipices there was a Guard of Soldiers, to see that no uncircumcised person should pursue that design, and also to receive custom of those that past either forward or backward. That at the Mines it was so sickly, that not the half of those that went thither did ever return again; tho they went thither only to Traffick with the Miners, who live there, being seasoned: that these who go thither from the City stayed not usually above 4 months at the Mines, and were back again in about 6 Months from their going out. That some there made it their constant imployment to visit the Miners once every year: for after they are once seasoned, and have found the profit of that Trade, no thoughts of danger can deter them from it: for I was credibly told that these made 2000 per cent. of whatever they carreid with them, to sell to the Miners: but they could not carry much by reason of the badness of the ways. The rich men never go thither themselves but send their Slaves: and if 3 out of 6 returns, they think they make a very profitable journey [Page 130] for their Master, for these 3 are able to bring home as much Gold as the Goods which all 6 carried out could purchase. The Goods that they carry thither are some sort of cloathing, and liquor. They carry their Goods from the City by Sea part of the way: Then they land somewhere about Passange-Jonca, and get Horses to carry their Cargo to the foot of the Mountains. There they draw it up with Ropes, and if they have much goods, one stays there with them, while the rest march to the Mines with their load; and return again for the rest. I had this relation from Captain Tiler, who lived at Achin, and spoke the Language of the Country very well. There was an English Renegado that used that trade, but was always at the Mines when I was here. At his Return to Achin he constantly frequented an English Punch-house, spending his Gold very freely, as I was told by the Master of the house. I was told also by all that I discoursed with about the Gold, that here they dig it out of the Ground; and that sometimes they find pretty large lumps.
It is the product of these Mines that draws so many Merchants hither, for the Road is seldom without 10 or 15 sail of Ships of several Nations. These bring all sort of vendible Commodities, as Silks, Chints, Muzlins, Callicoes, Rice, &c. and as to this last, a man would admire to see what great quantities of Rice are brought hither by the English, Dutch, Danes, andChinese: when any arrives the Commanders hire each a House to put their goods in. The Silks, Muzlins, Callicoes, Opium, and such like rich Goods, they sell to the Guzurats, who are the chief men that keep Shops here: but the Rice, which is the bulk of the Cargo, they usually retail. I have heard a Merchant say, he has received 60, 70, and 80 l. a day for Rice, when it has been scarce; but when there are many sellers, [Page 131] then 40 or 50 s. worth in a day is a good sale: for then a Mess will buy 14 or 15 Bamboes of it: whereas when Rice is scarce, you will not have above 3 or 4 Bamboes for a Mess. A Bamboe is a small seal'd measure, containing, to the best of my remembrance, not much above half a Gallon. Thus it rises and falls as Ships come hither. Those who sell Rice keep one constantly attending to measure it out; and the very Grandees themselves never keep a stock before hand, but depend on the Market, and buy just when they have occasion. They send their Slaves for what they want, and the poorer sort, who have not a Slave of their own, will yet hire one to carry a Mess worth of Rice for them, tho not one hundred paces from their own homes, scorning to do it themselves. Besides one to measure the Rice, the Merchants hire a man to take the money; for here is some false Money, as Silver and Copper Mess gilt over: Besides, here are some true Mess much worn, and therefore not worth near their value in tale. The Merchants may also have occasion to receive 10 or 20 l. at a time for other Commodities; and this too, besides those little summs for Rice, he must receive by his Broker, if he will not be cheated; for 'tis work enough to examin every piece: and in receiving the value of 10 l. in Mess, they will ordinarily be forc'd to return half or more to be chang'd; for the Natives are for putting off bad Money, if possibly they can. But if the Broker takes any bad Money, 'tis to his own loss. These sort of Brokers are commonly Guzurats, and 'tis very necessary for a Merchant that comes hither, especially if he is a stranger, to have one of them, for fear of taking bad or light Money.
The English Merchants are very welcome here, and I have heard that they do not pay so much Custom as other Nations. The Dutch Free-men [Page 136] may trade hither, but the Company's Servants are deny'd that privilege. But of all the Merchants that trade to this City, the Chinese are the most remarkable. There are some of them live here all the year long; but others only make annual Voyages hither from China. These latter come hither some time in June, about 10 or 12 sail, and bring abundance of Rice, and several other Commodities. They take up Houses all by one another, at the end of the Town, next the Sea: and that end of the City is call'd the China Camp, because there they always quarter, and bring their goods ashore thither to sell. In this Fleet come several Mechanicks, (viz.) Carpenters, Joyners, Painters, &c. These set themselves immediately to work, making of Chests, Drawers, Cabinets, and all sorts of Chinese Toys: which are no sooner finish'd in their Working houses, but they are presently set up in Shops and at the Doors to sale. So that for two months or ten weeks this place is like a Fair, full of Shops stufft with all sort of vendible commodities, and people resorting hither to buy: and as their goods sell off, so they contract themselves, into less compass, and make use of fewer Houses. But as their business decreases, their Gaming among themselves increases; for a Chinese, if he is not at work, had as lieve be without Victuals as without Gaming; and they are very dexterous at it. If before their goods are all sold, they can light of Chapmen to buy their Ships, they will gladly sell them also, at least some of them: if any Merchant will buy, for a Chinese is for selling every thing: and they who are so happy as to get Chapmen for their own Ships, will return as passengers with their Neighbours, leaving their Camp, as tis called, poor and naked like other parts of the City, till the next year. They commonly go away about the latter end of September, and never fail to return again at the Season: [Page 137] and while they are here, they are so much followed, that there is but little business stirring for the Merchants of any other Nations; all the discourse then being of going down to the China Camp. Even the Europeans go thither for their diversion: the English, Dutch, andDanes, will go to drink their Hoc-ciu, at some China Merchants House who sells it; for they have no tippling Houses. The European Seamen return thence into the City drunk enough, but the Chinese are very sober themselves.
The Achinese seem not to be extraordinary good at Accounts, as the Banians or Guzurats are. They instruct their youth in the knowledge of Letters, Malayan principally, and I suppose in somewhat of Arabick, being all Mahometans. They are here, as at Mindanao, very superstitious in washing and cleansing themselves from defilements: and for that reason they delight to live near the Rivers or Streams of water. The River of Achin near the City is always full of People of both Sexes and all Ages. Some come in purposely to wash themselves, for the pleasure of being in the Water: which they so much delight in, that they can scarce leave the River without going first into it, if they have any business brings them near. Even the sick are brought to the River to wash. I know not whether it is accounted good to wash in all distempers, but I am certain from my own Experience, it is good for those that have Flux, especially Mornings and Evenings, for which reason you shall then see the Rivers fullest, and more especially in the Morning. But the most do it upon a Religious account: for therein consists the chief part of their Religion.
There are but few of them resort daily to their Mosques; yet they are all stiff in their Religion, and so zealous for it, that they greatly rejoice in making a Proselyte. I was told, that while I was [Page 134] at Tonquin, a Chinese inhabiting here turn'd from his Paganism to Mahometanism, and being circumcised, he was thereupon carry'd in great state thro the City on an Elephant, with one crying before him, that he was turn'd Believer. This man was call'd the Captain of the China Camp; for, as I was informed, he was placed there by his Country-men as their chief Factor or Agent, to negotiate their affairs with the people of the Country. Whether he had dealt falsly, or was only envied by others, I know not: but his Countrymen had so entangled him in Law, that he had been ruined, if he had not made use of this way to disingage himself; and then his Religion protected him, and they could not meddle with him. On what score the two English Runagadoes turn d here, I know not.
The Laws of this Country are very strict, and offenders are punished with great severity. Neither are there any delays of Justice here; for as soon as the offender is taken, he is immediately brought before the Magistrate, who presently hears the matter, and according as he finds it, so he either acquits, or orders punishment to be inflicted on the Party immediately. Small offenders are only whipt on the back, which sort of punishment they call Chaubuck. A Thief for his first offence, has his right hand chopt off at the wrist: for the second offence off goes the other; and sometimes instead of one of their hands, one or both their feet are cut off; and sometimes (tho very rarely) both hands and feet. If after the loss of one or both hands or feet they still prove incorrigible, for they are many of them such very Rogues and so arch, that they will steal with their Toes, then they are banish'd to Pulo Way, during their Lives: and if they get thence to the City, as sometimes they do, they are commonly sent back again; tho sometimes they get a Licence to stay.
On Pulo Way there are none but this sort of Cattle: and tho they all of them want one or both hands, yet they so order matters, that they can row very well, and do many things to admiration, whereby they are able to get a livelihood: for if they have no hands, they will get somebody or other to fasten Ropes or Withes about their Oars, so as to leave Loops wherein they may put the stumps of their Arms; and therewith they will pull an Oar lustily. They that have one hand can do well enough: and of these you shall see a great many, even in the City. This sort of punishment is inflicted for greater Robberies; but for small pilfering the first time Thieves are only whipt; but after this a Petty Larceny is look'd on as a great crime. Neither is this sort of punishment peculiar to the Archinese Government, but probably, used by the other Princes of this Island, and on the Island Java also, especially at Bantam. They formerly, when the King of Bantam was in his prosperity, depriv'd men of the right hand for Theft, and may still for ought I know. I knew a Dutchman so serv'd: he was a Seaman belonging to one of the King of Bantam's Ships. Being thus punished, he was dismist from his service, and when I was this time at Achin he lived there. Here at Achin, when a member is thus cut off, they have a broad piece of Leather or Bladder ready to clap on the Wound. This is presently applied, and bound on so fast, that the Blood cannot issue forth. By this means the great Flux of Blood is stopt, which would else ensue; and I never heard of any one who died of it. How long this Leather is kept on the Wound I know not: but it is so long, till the blood is perfectly stanched; and when it is taken off, the clods of Blood which were prest in the Wound by the Leather, peel all off with it, leaving the Wound clean. Then, I judge, they use cleansing [Page 140] or healing Plaisters, as they see convenient, and cure the Wound with a great deal of ease.
I never heard of any that suffer'd Death for Theft. Criminals, who deserve death, are executed divers ways, according to the nature of the offence, or the quality of the offender. One way is by Impaling on a sharp Stake, which passeth upright from the Fundament through the Bowels, and comes out at the Neck. The Stake is about the bigness of a mans Thigh, placed upright, one end in the ground very firm; the upper sharp end is about 12 or 14 foot high. I saw one man spitted in this manner, and there he remain'd 2 or 3 days: but I could not learn his offence.
Noblemen have a more honourable death; they are allowed to fight for their lives: but the numbers of those with whom they are to engage, soon put a period to the Combat, by the death of the Malefactor. The manner of it is thus; the person condemned is brought bound to the place of execution. This is a large plain Field, spacious enough to contain thousands of people. Thither the Achinese, armed, as they usually go, with their Cresset, but then more especially resort in Troops, as well to be spectators, as actors in the Tragedy. These make a very large Ring, and in the midst of the multitude the Criminal is placed, and by him such Arms as are allow'd on such occasions; which are, a Sword, a Cresset, and a Lance. When the time is come to act, he is unbound, and left at his liberty to take up his fighting weapons. The spectators being all ready, with each man his Arms in his hand, stand still in their places, till the Malefactor advances. He commonly sets out with a shriek, and daringly faces the multitude: but he is soon brought to the ground, first by Lances thrown at him, and afterwards by their Swords and Cressets. One was thus executed while [Page 141] I was there: I had not the fortune to hear of it till it was ended: but had this relation the same evening it was done, from Mr. Dennis Driscal, who was then one of the Spectators.
This Country is governed by a Queen, under whom there are 12 Oronkeyes, or great Lords. These act in their several precincts with great power and authority. Under these there are other inferiour Officers, to keep the Peace in the several parts of the Queens dominions. The present Shabander of Achin is one of the Oronkeyes. He is a man of greater knowledge than any of the rest, and supposed to be very rich. I have heard say he had not less than 1000 Slaves, some of whom were topping Merchants, and had many Slaves under them. And even these, tho they are Slaves to Slaves, yet have their Slaves also; neither can a stranger easily know who is a Slave and who not among them: for they are all, in a manner, Slaves to one another: and all in general to the Queen and Oronkeyes; for their Government is very Arbitrary. Yet there is nothing of rigour used by the Master to his Slave, except it be the very meanest, such as do all sorts of servile work: but those who can turn their hands to any thing besides drudgery, live well enough by their industry. Nay, they are encouraged by their Masters, who often lend them Money to begin some trade or business withal: Whereby the Servant lives easie, and with great content follows what his inclination or capacity fits him for; and the Master also, who has a share in the gains, reaps the more profit, yet without trouble. When one of these Slaves dies, his Master is Heir to what he leaves; and his Children, if he has any, become his Slaves also: unless the Father out of his own clear gains has in his life time had wherewithal to purchase their Freedom. The Markets are kept by these people, and you scarce [Page 138] trade with any other. The Money-changers also are Slaves, and in general all the Women that you see in the streets; not one of them being free. So are the Fisher-men, and others, who fetch Firewood in Canoas from Pulo Gomez, for thence those of this City fetch most of their Wood, tho there is scarce any thing to be seen but Woods about the City. Yet tho all these are Slaves, they have habitations or houses to themselves in several parts of the City, far from their Masters houses, as if they were free people. But to return to the Shabander I was speaking of, all Merchant Strangers, at their first arrival, make their Entries with him, which is always done with a good present: and from him they take all their dispatches when they depart; and all matters of importance in general between Merchants are determined by him. It seems to have been by his Conversation and Acquaintance with strangers, that he became so knowing, beyond the rest of the Great men: and he is also said to be himself a great Merchant.
The Queen of Achin, as 'tis said, is always an old Maid, chosen out of the Royal Family. What Ceremonies are used at the choosing her I know not: Nor who are the Electors; but I suppose they are the Oronkeys. After she is chosen, she is in a manner confin'd to her Palace; for by report, she seldom goes abroad, neither is she seen by any people of inferiour rank and quality; but only by some of her Domesticks: except that once a year she is drest all in white, and placed on a Elephant, and so Rides to the River in state to wash herself: but whether any of the meaner sort of people may see her in that progress I know not: for it is the custom of most Eastern Princes to skreen themselves from the sight of their Subjects: Or if they sometimes go abroad for their pleasure, yet the people are then ordered either to turn their backs [Page 139] towards them while they pass by, as formerly at Bantam, or to hold their hands before their eyes, as at Siam. At Mindanao, they may look on their Prince: but from the highest to the lowest they approach him with the greatest respect and veneration, creeping very low, and oft-times on their knees, with their eyes fixt on him: and when they withdraw, they return in the same manner, creeping backwards, and still keeping their eyes on him, till they are out of his sight.
But to return to the Queen of Achin, I think Mr Hackluit, or Purchas, makes mention of a King here in our King James I. time: But at least of later years there has always been a Queen only, and the English who reside there, have been of the opinion that these people have been governed by a Queen ab Origine; and from the antiquity of the present constitution, have formed notions, that the Queen of Sheba who came to Soloman was the Queen of this Country: and the Author of an old Map of the World which I have seen, was, it seems of this opinion, when writing the old Hebrew names of Nations, up and down the several parts anciently known of Europe, Asia, and Africa, he puts no other name in the Isle of Sumatra, but that of Sheba. But be that as it will, 'tis at present part of it under a Queen, tho she has little power or authority: for tho there is seemingly abundance of respect and reverence shewn her, yet she has little more than the title of a Soveraign, all the Government being wholly in the hands of the Oronkeys.
While I was on my Voyage to Tonquin, the old Queen died, and there was another Queen chosen in her room, but all the Oronkeys were not for that Election; many of them were for choosing a King. Four of the Oronkeys who lived more remote from the Court, took up Arms to oppose the new Queen [Page 144] and the rest of the Oronkeys, and brought 5 or 6000 men against the City: and thus stood the state of affairs, even when we arrived here, and a good while after. This Army was on the East side of the River, and had all the Country on that side, and so much of the City also, as is on that side the River, under their power. But the Queen's Palace and the main part of the City, which stands on the West side, held out stoutly. The River is wider, shallower, and more sandy at the City, than any where else near it: yet not fordable at low water. Therefore for the better communication from one side to the other, there are Ferry-boats to carry Passengers to and fro. In other places the Banks are steep, the River more rapid, and in most places very muddy: so that this place, just at the City itself, is the most convenient to transport Men or Goods from one side to the other.
It was not far from this place the Army lay, as if they designed to force their passage here. The Queens party, to oppose them, kept a small Guard of Souldiers just at the Landing-place. The Shabander of Achin had a Tent set up there, he being the chief manager of her Affairs: and for the more security, he had 2 or 3 small brass Guns of a Minion bore planted by his Tent all the day, with their Muzzels against the River. In the Evening there were 2 or 3 great Trees drawn by an Elephant, and placed by the side of the River, for a barricado against the Enemy: and then the Brass Guns were drawn from the Shabander's Tent, which stood not far from it, and planted just behind the Trees, on the rising Bank: So that they looked over the Trees, and they might Fire over, or into the River, if the Enemy approached. When the Barricado was thus made, and the Guns planted, the Ferryboats passed no more from side to side, till the next morning. Then you should hear the Soldiers caling [Page 145] to each other, not in menacing Language, but as those who desired peace and quietness, asking why they would not agree, why they could not be of one mind, and why they should desire to kill one another. This was the Tone all night long; in the morning as soon as Snn was risen, the Guns were drawn again to the Shabanders Tent, and the Trees were drawn aside, to open the passage from one side to the other: and every man then went freely about his business, as if all had been as quiet as ever, only the Shabander and his Guard staid still in their stations. So that there was not any sign of Wars, but in the Night only, when all stood to their Arms: and then the Towns people seemed to be in fear, and sometimes we should have a Rumour, that the Enemy would certainly make an attempt to come over.
While these stirs lasted, the Shabander sent to all the Foreigners, and desired them to keep in their own Houses in the night, and told them, that whatever might happen in the City by their own civil broyls, yet no harm should come to them. Yet some of the Portuguese, fearing the worst, would every Night put their richest Goods into a Boat, ready to take their flight on the first Alarm. There were at this time not above 2 or 3 English Families in the Town, and 2 English Ships, and one Dutch Ship, besides 2 or 3 Moors Ships of the Moguls Subjects, in the Road. One of the English Ships was called the Nellegree; the name taken from Nellegree Hills in Bengal, as I have heard. She came from the Bay of Bengal, laden with Rice, Cotton, &c. the other was the Dorothy of London, Captain Thwait Commander, who came from Fort St George, and was bound to Bencouli with Souldiers, but touched here, as well to sell some goods, as to bring a present to the Queen from our East India Company. Captain Thwait, according to custom went with his present [Page 146] to the Queen, which she accepted; and complemented him with the usual Civilities of the Country; for to honour him he was set upon an Elephant of the Queens to ride to his Lodgings, drest in a Malayan habit which she gave him: and she sent also two Dancing Girls, to shew him some pastime there: and I saw them at his Lodgings that Evening, dancing the greatest part of the night, much after the same manner as the Dancing Women of Mindanao, rather writhing their Hands and Bodies with several Antick gestures, than moving much out of the place they were in. He had at this time about 20 great Jars of Bengal Butter, made of Buffaloes Milk, and this Butter is said also to have Lard or Hogs fat mixt with it, and rank enough in these hot Countries, tho much esteemed by all the Achinese, who give a good price for it; and our English also use it. Each of the Jars this came in, contained 20 or 30 Gallons; and they were set in Mr. Driscal's yard at Achin: what other goods the Captain brought I know not.
But not long after this, he being informed, that the Moors Merchants residing here had carryed off a great Treasure aboard their Ships, in order to return with it to Surrat, and our Company having now Wars with the Great Mogul, Captain Thwait in the Evening drew off all his Seamen, and seized on one of the Moors Ships, where he thought the Treasure was. The biggest he let alone: she was a Ship, that one Captain Constant took in the Road some time before, and having plundered her, he gave her to the Queen: of whom the Moors bought her again. The Moors Merchants had speedy notice of this action of Captain Thwait, and they presently made their Application to the Queen for satisfaction. But her affairs at this time, being in such posture as I mentioned, by reason of their intestine Broyls, she said she could do nothing for them.
It was 11 or 12 a Clock the next day, before we who lived ashore heard of Captain Thwaits proceedings: but seeing the Moors flock to Court, and not knowing what answer they had from the Queen, we posted off to the Ships, for fear of being imprisoned, as some English men had been while I was at Tonquin, on the like score. Indeed I had at this time great cause to be afraid of a Prison, being sick of a flux: So that a Prison would have gone near to have killed me: yet I think it fared not much better with me, for the Ships I fled to afforded me but little comfort. For I knew no man aboard the Dorothy, and could expect no comfort there. So I and the rest went aboard the Nelligree, where we could more reasonably expect relief, than in a Ship that came from England: for these which come so long a Voyage, are just victualled for the Service, and the Seamen have every one their stinted allowance, out of which they have little enough to spare to Strangers.
But tho there were Victuals enough aboard the Nellegree, yet so weak as I then was, I had more mind to rest my self than to eat: and the Ship was so pestered with Goods, that I could not find a place to hang up my Hammock in. Therefore it being fair weather, I made a shift to lye in the Boat that I came aboard in. My Flux was violent, and I sleept but little: so I had the opportunity of observing the Moon totally Eclipsed, had I been in a condition to observe any thing. As soon as I perceiv'd the Moon to be Eclipsed, I gazed at it indeed, as I lay, till it was totally obscured, which was a pretty while: but I was so little curious, that I remembred not so much as what day of the Month it was, and I kept no Journal of this Voyage, as I did of my other; but only kept an account of several particular Remarks and Observations as they occurred to me. I lay 3 or 4 days [Page 148] thus in this Boat, and the people of the Ship were so kind as to provide me with necessaries: and by this time the Moors had got a Pass from the Dutch Captain then in the Road, for 4 or 500 Dollars, as I was then told, and Captain Thwait delivered them their Ship again, but what terms he made with them, I know not. Thus that fray was over, and we came ashore again: recovered of the fright we had been in. In a short time also after this, the Achinese all agreed to own the new Queen, and so the War ended without any Bloodshed.
I was perswaded to wash in the River, Mornings and Evenings, for the recovery of my Health: and tho it seemed strange to me before I tryed it, yet I found so much comfort in the first trial, that I constantly applyed my self to it. I went into the River, till the water was as high as my waste, and then I stooped down and sound the water so cool and refreshing to my body, that I was always loth to go out again. Then I was sensible that my Bowels were very hot, for I found a great heat within me, which I found refresht by the cool water. My food was Salt fish broyled, and boyled Rice mixt with Tire. Tire is sold about the Streets there: 'tis thick sower Milk. It is very cooling, and the Salt-fish and Rice is binding: therefore this is thought there the proper food for the common People, when they have Fluxes. But the Richer sort will have Sago, which is brought to Achin from other Countries, and Milk of Almonds.
But to return to the state of Achin, before I go off from it I shall add this short account of the Seasons of year there, that their weather is much the same as in other Countries North of the Line, and their dry Seasons, Rains, and Land floods come much at the same time, as at Tonquin and other places of North Latitude. Only as Achin lies within a few Degrees of the Line, so upon the Suns crossing the [Page 149] Line in March, the Rains begin a little sooner there than in Countries nearer the Tropick of Cancer: and when they are once set in, they are as violent there as any where. I have seen it Rain there for 2 or 3 days without intermission; and the River running but a short course, its head not lying very far within Land, it soon overflows; and a great part of the Street of the City, shall on a sudden be all under water; at which time people row up and down the Streets in Canoas. That side of the City, towards the River especially, where the Fo eign Merchants live, and which is lower ground, is frequently under water in the Wet Season: a Ships Longboat has come up to the very Gate of our English Factory laden with Goods; which at other times is ground dry enough, at a good distance from the River, and moderately raised above it. I did not find the heat there any thing different from other places in that Latitude; tho I was there both in the wet and dry Season. 'Tis more supportable than at Tonquin; and they have constantly the Refreshment of Sea and Land Breezes every 24 hours.