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Saint Thomas or San Tome.

FROM Negapatan following my voyage towards the East an hundred and fiftie miles, I found the house of blessed Saint Thomas, which is a Church of great devotion, and greatly regarded of the Gentiles for the great miracles they have heard to have bene done by that blessed Apostle: neere unto this Church the Portugals have builded them a Citie in the countrey subject to the king of Bezeneger, which citie although it bee not very great, yet in my judgement it is the fairest in all that part of the Indies : and it hath very faire houses and faire gardens in vacant places very well accommodated: it hath streetes large and streight, with many Churches of great devotion, their houses be set close one unto another, with little doores, every house hath his defence, so that by that meanes it is of force sufficient to defend ye Portugals against the people of that countrey. The Portugals there have no other possession but their gardens and houses that are within the citie: the customes belong to the king of Bezeneger, which are very small and easie, for that it is a countrey of great riches and great trade: there come every yeere two or three great ships very rich, besides many other small ships: one of the two great ships goeth for Pegu , and the other for Malacca, laden with fine Bumbast cloth of every sort, painted, which is a rare thing, because those kinde of clothes shew as they were gilded with divers colours, and the more they be washed, the livelier the colours will shew. Also there is other cloth of Bumbast which is woven with divers colours, and is of great value: also they make in Sant Tome great store of red Yarne, which they die with a roote called Saia, and this colour will never waste, but the more it is washed, the more redder it will shew: they lade this yarne the greatest part of it for Pegu , because that there they worke and weave it to make cloth according to their owne fashion, and with lesser charges. It is a marvelous thing to them which have not seene the lading and unlading of men and merchandize in S. Tome as they do: it is a place so dangerous, that a man cannot bee served with small barkes, neither can they doe their businesse with the boates of the shippes, because they would be beaten in a thousand pieces, but they make certaine barkes (of purpose) high, which they call Masadie, they be made of litle boards; one board being sowed to another with small cordes, and in this order are they made. And when they are thus made, and the owners will embarke any thing in them, either men or goods, they lade them on land, and when they are laden, the Barke-men thrust the boate with her lading into the streame, and with great speed they make haste all that they are able to rowe out against the huge waves of the sea that are on that shore, untill that they carie them to the ships: and in like maner they lade these Masadies at the shippes with merchandise and men. When they come neere the shore, the Barke-men leap out of the Barke into the Sea to keepe the Barke right that she cast not thwart the shore, and being kept right, the Suffe of the Sea setteth her lading dry on land without any hurt or danger, and sometimes there are some of them that are overthrowen, but there can be no great losse, because they lade but a litle at a time. All the marchandize they lade outwards, they emball it well with Oxe hides, so that if it take wet, it can have no great harme.

In my voyage, returning in the yeere of our Lord God one thousand, five hundred, sixtie and sixe, I went from Goa unto Malacca, in a shippe or Gallion of the king of Portugal , which went unto Banda for to lade Nutmegs & Maces: from Goa to Malacca are one thousand eight hundred miles, we passed without the Iland Zeilan, and went through the chanell of Nicubar, or els through the chanell of Sombrero , which is by the middle of the Iland of Sumatra, called in olde time Taprobana: and from Nicubar to Pegu is as it were a rowe or chaine of an infinite number of Ilands, of which many are inhabited with wilde people, and they call those Ilands the Ilands of Andemaon, and they call their people savage of wilde, because they eate one another: also these Ilands have warre one with another, for they have small Barkes, and with them they take one another, and so eate one another: and if by evil chance any ship be lost on those Ilands, as many have bene, there is not one man of those ships lost there that escapeth uneaten or unslaine. These people have not any acquaintance with any other people, neither have they trade with any, but live onely of such fruites as those Ilands yeeld : and if any ship come neere unto that place or coast as they passe that way, as in my voyage it happened as I came from Malacca through the chanell of Sombrero , there came two of their Barkes neere unto our ship laden with fruite, as with Mouces which wee call Adams apples, with fresh Nuts, and with a fruite called Inani, which fruite is like to our Turneps, but is very sweete and good to eate: they would not come into the shippe for any thing that wee could doe: neither would they take any money for their fruite, but they would trucke for olde shirtes or pieces of olde linnen breeches, these ragges they let downe with a rope into their Barke unto them, and looke what they thought those things to bee woorth, so much fruite they would make fast to the rope and let us hale it in: and it was told me that at sometimes a man shall have for an old shirt a good piece of Amber.

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