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COCHIN is, next unto Goa, the chiefest place that the Portugales have in the Indies, and there is great trade of Spices, drugges, and all other sortes of merchandize for the kingdome of Portugale, and there within the land is the kingdome of Pepper, which Pepper the Portugales lade in their shippes by bulke, and not in sackes: the Pepper that goeth for Portugale is not so good as that which goeth for Mecca , because that in times past the officers of the king of Portugale made a contract with the king of Cochin, in the name of the king of Portugale, for the prizes of Pepper, and by reason of that agreement betweene them at that time made, the price can neither rise nor fall, which is a very lowe and base price, and for this cause the villaines bring it to the Portugales, greene and full of filthe. The Moores of Mecca that give a better price, have it cleane and drie, and better conditioned. All the Spices and drugs that are brought to Mecca , are stollen from thence as Contrabanda. Cochin is two cities, one of the Portugales, and another of the king of Cochin: that of the Portugales is situate neerest unto the Sea, and that of the king of Cochin is a mile and a halfe up higher in the land, but they are both set on the bankes of one river which is very great and of a good depth of water which river commeth out of the mountaines of the king of the Pepper, which is a king of the Gentiles, in whose kingdome are many Christians of saint Thomas order: the king of Cochin is also a king of the Gentiles and a great faithfull friend to the king of Portugale, and to those Portugales which are married, and are Citizens in the Citie Cochin of the Portugales. And by this name of Portugales throughout all the Indies, they call all the Christians that come out of the West, whether they bee Italians, Frenchmen, or Almaines, and all they that marrie in Cochin do get an office according to the trade he is of: this they have by the great privileges which the Citizens have of that city, because there are two principal commodities that they deale withal in that place, which are these. The great store of Silke that commeth from China , and the great store of Sugar which commeth from Bengala: the married Citizens pay not any custome for these two commodities: for all other commodities they pay 4. per cento custome to the king of Cochin, rating their goods at their owne pleasure. Those which are not married and strangers, pay in Cochin to the king of Portugale eight per cento of all maner of merchandise. I was in Cochin when the Viceroy of the king of Portugale wrought what hee coulde to breake the privilege of the Citizens, and to make them to pay custome as other did: at which time the Citizens were glad to waigh their Pepper in the night that they laded the ships withall that went to Portugale and stole the custome in the night. The king of Cochin having understanding of this, would not suffer any more Pepper to bee weighed. Then presently after this, the marchants were licensed to doe as they did before, and there was no more speach of this matter, nor any wrong done. This king of Cochin is of a small power in respect of the other kings of the Indies, for hee can make but seventie thousand men of armes in his campe: hee hath a great number of Gentlemen which hee calleth Amochi, and some are called Nairi : these two sorts of men esteeme not their lives any thing, so that it may be for the honour of their king, they will thrust themselves forward in every danger, although they know they shall die. These men goe naked from the girdle upwardes, with a clothe rolled about their thighs, going barefooted, and having their haire very long and rolled up together on the toppe of their heads, and alwayes they carrie their Bucklers or Targets with them and their swordes naked, these Nairi have their wives common amongst themselves, and when any of them goe into the house of any of these women, hee leaveth his sworde and target at the doore, and the time that hee is there, there dare not any bee so hardie as to come into that house. The kings children shall not inherite the kingdome after their father, because they hold this opinion, that perchance they were not begotten of the king their father, but of some other man, therefore they accept for their king, one of the sonnes of the kings sisters, or of some other woman of the blood roial, for that they be sure they are of the blood roiall.

The Nairi and their wives use for a braverie to make great holes in their eares, and so bigge and wide, that it is incredible, holding this opinion, that the greater the holes bee, the more noble they esteeme themselves. I had leave of one of them to measure the circumference of one of them with a threed, and within that circumference I put my arme up to the shoulder, clothed as it was, so that in effect they are monstrous great. Thus they doe make them when they be litle, for then they open the eare, & hang a piece of gold or lead thereat, & within the opening, in the hole they put a certaine leafe that they have for that purpose, which maketh the hole so great. They lade ships in Cochin for Portugale and for Ormus, but they that goe for Ormus carrie no Pepper but by Contrabanda, as for Sinamome they easilie get leave to carrie that away, for all other Spices and drugs they may liberally carie them to Ormus or Cambaia, and so all other merchandize which come from other places, but out of the kingdom of Cochin properly they cary away with them into Portugale great abundance of Pepper, great quantitie of Ginger dried and conserved, wild Sinamom, good quantitie of Arecca, great store of Cordage of Cairo, made of the barke of the tree of the great Nut, and better then that of Hempe, of which they carrie great store into Portugale.

The shippes every yeere depart from Cochin to goe for Portugall, on the fift day of December, or the fift day of January. Nowe to follow my voyage for the Indies: from Cochin I went to Coulam, distant from Cochin seventie and two miles, which Coulam is a small Fort of the king of Portugales, situate in the kingdom of Coulam, which is a king of the Gentiles, and of small trade: at that place they lade onely halfe a ship of Pepper, and then she goeth to Cochin to take in the rest, and from thence to Cao Comori is seventie and two miles, and there endeth the coast of the Indies: and alongst this coast, neere to the water side, and also to Cao Comori, downe to the lowe land of Chialo, which is about two hundred miles, the people there are as it were all turned to the Christian faith: there are also Churches of the Friers of S. Pauls order, which Friers doe very much good in those places in turning the people, and in converting them, and take great paines in instructing them in the law of Christ.

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