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The Citie Malacca.

MALACCA is a Citie of marvellous great trade of all kind of marchandize, which come from divers partes, because that all the shippes that saile in these seas, both great and small, are bound to touch at Malacca to paie their custome there, although they unlade nothing at all, as we doe at Elsinor: and if by night they escape away, and pay not their custome, then they fall into a greater danger after: for if they come into the Indies and have not the seale of Malacca, they pay double custome. I have not passed further then Malacca towards the East, but that which I wil speake of here is by good information of them that have bene there. The sailing from Malacca towards the East is not common for all men, as to China and Japan , and so forwards to go who will, but onely for the king of Portugall and his nobles, with leave granted unto them of the king to make such voiages, or to the jurisdiction of the captaine of Malacca, where he expecteth to know what voiages they make from Malacca thither, & these are the kings voiages, that every yere there departeth from Malacca 2. gallions of the kings, one of them goeth to ye Moluccos to lade Cloves, and the other goeth to Banda to lade Nutmegs and Maces. These two gallions are laden for the king, neither doe they carie any particular mans goods, saving the portage of the Mariners and souldiers, and for this cause they are not voiages for marchants, because that going thither, they shal not have where to lade their goods of returne; and besides this, the captaine will not cary any marchant for either of these two places. There goe small shippes of the Moores thither, which come from the coast of Java , and change or guild their commodities in the kingdom of Assa , and these be the Maces, Cloves, and Nutmegs, which go for the streights of Mecca . The voiages that the king of Portugall granteth to his nobles are these, of China and Japan , from China to Japan , and from Japan to China , and from China to the Indies, and the voyage of Bengala, Maluco, and Sonda, with the lading of fine cloth, and every sort of Bumbast cloth. Sonda is an Iland of the Moores neere to the coast of Java , and there they lade Pepper for China . The ship that goeth every yeere from the Indies to China , is called the ship of Drugs, because she carieth divers drugs of Cambaia, but the greatest part of her lading is silver. From Malacca to China is eighteene hundred miles: and from China to Japan goeth every yeere a shippe of great importance laden with Silke, which for returne of their Silke bringeth barres of silver which they trucke in China . The distance betweene China and Japan is foure and twentie hundred miles, and in this way there are divers Ilands not very bigge, in which the Friers of saint Paul, by the helpe of God, make many Christians there like to themselves. From these Ilands hitherwards the place is not yet discovered for the great sholdnesse of Sandes that they find. The Portugals have made a small citie neere unto the coast of China called Macao , whose church and houses are of wood, and it hath a bishoprike, but the customs belong to the king of China , and they goe and pay the same at a citie called Canton, which is a citie of great importance and very beautifull two dayes journey and a halfe from Macao . The people of China are Gentiles, and are so jealous and fearefull, that they would not have a stranger to put his foote within their land: so that when the Portugals go thither to pay their custome, and to buy their marchandize, they will not consent that they shall lie or lodge within the citie, but send them foorth into the suburbes. The countrey of China is neere the kingdom of great Tartaria, and is a very great countrey of the Gentiles and of great importance, which may be judged by the rich and precious marchandize that come from thence, then which I beleeve there are not better nor in greater quantitie in the whole world besides.

First, great store of golde, which they carie to the Indies, made in plates like to little shippes, and in value three and twentie caracts a peece, very great aboundance of fine silke, cloth of damaske and taffata, great quantitie of muske, great quantitie of Occam in barres, great quantitie of quicksilver and of Cinaper, great store of Camfora, an infinite quantitie of Porcellane, made in vessels of diverse sortes, great quantitie of painted cloth and squares, infinite store of the rootes of China : and every yeere there commeth from China to the Indies, two or three great shippes, laden with most rich and precious marchandise. The Rubarbe commeth from thence over lande, by the way of Persia, because that every yeere there goeth a great Carovan from Persia to China , which is in going thither sixe moneths. The Carovan arriveth at a Citie called Lanchin, the place where the king is resident with his Court. I spake with a Persian that was three yeeres in that citie of Lanchin, and he tolde me that it was a great Citie and of great importance. The voiages of Malacca which are in the jurisdiction of the Captaine of the castle, are these: Every yeere he sendeth a small shippe to Timor to lade white Sandols, for all the best commeth from this Iland: there commeth some also from Solor , but that is not so good: also he sendeth another small ship every yere to Cauchin China, to lade there wood of Aloes, for that all the wood of Aloes commeth from this place, which is in the firme land neere unto China , and in that kingdome I could not knowe how that wood groweth by any meanes. For that the people of the countrey will not suffer the Portugales to come within the land, but onely for wood and water, and as for all other things that they wanted, as victuals or marchandise, the people bring that a boord the ship in small barkes, so that every day there is a mart kept in the ship, untill such time as she be laden: also there goeth another ship for the said Captaine of Malacca to Sion , to lade Verzino : all these voiages are for the Captaine of the castle of Malacca, and when he is not disposed to make these voiages, he selleth them to another.

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