previous next

The voyage of M. Ralph Fitch marchant of London by the way of Tripolis in Syria , to Ormus, and so to Goa in the East India, to Cambaia, and all the kingdome of Zelabdim Echebar the great Mogor, to the mighty river Ganges, and downe to Bengala, to Bacola, and Chonderi, to Pegu , to Imahay in the kingdome of Siam , and backe to Pegu , and from thence to Malacca, Zeilan, Cochin, and all the coast of the East India: begunne in the yeere of our Lord 1583, and ended 1591, wherein the strange rites, maners, and customes of those people, and the exceeding rich trade and commodities of those countries are faithfully set downe and diligently described, by the aforesaid M. Ralph Fitch.

IN the yeere of our Lord 1583, I Ralph Fitch of London marchant being desirous to see the countreys of the East India, in the company of M. John Newberie marchant (which had beene at Ormus once before) of William Leedes Jeweller, and James Story Painter, being chiefly set foorth by the right worshipfull Sir Edward Osborne knight, and M. Richard Staper citizens and marchants of London, did ship my selfe in a ship of London called the Tyger, wherein we went for Tripolis in Syria : & from thence we tooke the way for Aleppo, which we went in seven dayes with the Carovan. Being in Aleppo, and finding good company, we went from thence to Birra, which is two dayes and an halfe travaile with Camels.

Birra is a little towne, but very plentifull of victuals: and neere to the wall of the towne runneth the river of Euphrates . Here we bought a boate and agreed with a master and bargemen, for to go to Babylon. These boats be but for one voiage; for the streame doth runne so fast downewardes that they cannot returne. They carie you to a towne which they call Felugia, and there you sell the boate for a litle money, for that which cost you fiftie at Birra you sell there for seven or eight. From Birra to Felugia is sixteene dayes journey, it is not good that one boate goe alone, for if it should chance to breake, you should have much a doe to save your goods from the Arabians, which be alwayes there abouts robbing: and in the night when your boates be made fast, it is necessarie that you keepe good watch. For the Arabians that bee theeves, will come swimming and steale your goods and flee away, against which a gunne is very good, for they doe feare it very much. In the river of Euphrates from Birra to Felugia there be certaine places where you pay custome, so many Medines for a some or Camels lading, and certaine raysons and sope, which is for the sonnes of Aborise, which is Lord of the Arabians and all that great desert, and hath some villages upon the river. Felugia where you unlade your goods which come from Birra is a little village: from whence you goe to Babylon in a day.

Babylon is a towne not very great but very populous, and of great traffike of strangers, for that it is the way to Persia, Turkia and Arabia : and from thence doe goe Carovans for these and other places. Here are great store of victuals, which come from Armenia downe the river of Tygris. They are brought upon raftes made of goates skinnes blowne full of winde and bordes layde upon them: and thereupon they lade their goods which are brought downe to Babylon, which being discharged they open their skinnes, and carry them backe by Camels, to serve another time. Babylon in times past did belong to the kingdome of Persia, but nowe is subject to the Turke. Over against Babylon there is a very faire village from whence you passe to Babylon upon a long bridge made of boats, and tyed to a great chaine of yron, which is made fast on either side of the river. When any boates are to passe up or downe the river, they take away certaine of the boates untill they be past.

The Tower of Babel is built on this side the river Tygris, towardes Arabia from the towne about seven or eight miles, which tower is ruinated on all sides, and with the fall thereof hath made as it were a litle mountaine, so that it hath no shape at all: it was made of brickes dried in the sonne, and certaine canes and leaves of the palme tree layed betwixt the brickes. There is no entrance to be seene to goe into it. It doth stand upon a great plaine betwixt the rivers of Euphrates and Tygris.

By the river Euphrates two dayes journey from Babylon at a place called Ait, in a fielde neere unto it, is a strange thing to see: a mouth that doth continually throwe foorth against the ayre boyling pitch with a filthy smoke: which pitch doth runne abroad into a great fielde which is alwayes full thereof. The Moores say that it is the mouth of hell. By reason of the great quantitie of it, the men of that countrey doe pitch their boates two or three inches thicke on the out side, so that no water doth enter into them. Their boates be called Danec. When there is great store of water in Tygris you may goe from Babylon to Basora in 8 or 9 dayes : if there be small store it will cost you the more dayes.

Basora in times past was under the Arabians, but now is subject to the Turke. But some of them the Turke cannot subdue, for that they holde certaine Ilandes in the river Euphrates which the Turke cannot winne of them. They be theeves all and have no setled dwelling, but remove from place to place with their Camels, goates, and horses, wives and children and all. They have large blew gownes, their wives eares and noses are ringed very full of rings of copper and silver, and they weare rings of copper about their legs.

Basora standeth neere the gulfe of Persia, and is a towne of great trade of spices and drugges which come from Ormus. Also there is great store of wheate, ryce, and dates growing thereabout, wherewith they serve Babylon and all the countrey, Ormus, and all the partes of India. I went from Basora to Ormus downe the gulfe of Persia in a certaine shippe made of boordes, and sowed together with cayro, which is threede made of the huske of Cocoes, and certaine canes or strawe leaves sowed upon the seames of the bordes which is the cause that they leake very much. And so having Persia alwayes on the left hande, and the coast of Arabia on the right hande we passed many Ilandes, and among others the famous Ilande Baharim from whence come the best pearles which be round and Orient.

Ormus is an Island in circuit about five and twentie or thirtie miles, and is the driest Island in the world: for there is nothing growing in it but onely salt; for their water, wood, or victuals, and all things necessary come out of Persia, which is about twelve miles from thence. All the Ilands thereabout be very fruitfull, from whence all kinde of victuals are sent unto Ormus. The Portugales have a castle here which standeth neere unto the sea, wherein there is a Captaine for the king of Portugale having under him a convenient number of souldiers, wherof some part remaine in the castle, and some in the towne. In this towne are marchants of all Nations, and many Moores and Gentiles. Here is very great trade of all sortes of spices, drugs, silke, cloth of silke, fine tapestrie of Persia, great store of pearles which come from the Isle of Baharim, and are the best pearles of all others, and many horses of Persia, which serve all India. They have a Moore to their king, which is chosen and governed by the Portugales. Their women are very strangely attyred, wearing on their noses, eares, neckes, armes and legges many rings set with jewels, and lockes of silver and golde in their eares, and a long barre of golde upon the side of their noses. Their eares with the weight of their jewels be worne so wide, that a man may thrust three of his fingers into them. Here very shortly after our arrivall wee were put in prison, and had part of our goods taken from us by the Captaine of the castle, whose name was Don Mathias de Albuquerque; and from hence the eleventh of October he shipped us and sent us for Goa unto the Viceroy, which at that time was Don Francisco de Mascarenhas. The shippe wherein we were imbarked for Goa belonged to the Captaine, and carried one hundred twentie and foure horses in it. All marchandise carried to Goa in a shippe wherein are horses pay no custome in Goa. The horses pay custome, the goods pay nothing; but if you come in a ship which bringeth no horses, you are then to pay eight in the hundred for your goods. The first citie of India that we arrived at upon the fift of November, after we had passed the coast of Zindi, is called Diu, which standeth in an Iland in the kingdome of Cambaia, and is the strongest towne that the Portugales have in those partes. It is but litle, but well stored with marchandise; for here they lade many great shippes with diverse commodities for the streits of Mecca , for Ormus, and other places, and these be shippes of the Moores and of Christians. But the Moores cannot passe, except they have a passeport from the Portugales. Cambaietta is the chiefe citie of that province, which is great and very populous, and fairely builded for a towne of the Gentiles: but if there happen any famine, the people will sell their children for very little. The last king of Cambaia was Sultan Badu, which was killed at the siege of Diu, and shortly after his citie was taken by the great Mogor, which is the king of Agra and of Delli, which are fortie dayes journey from the country of Cambaia. Here the women weare upon their armes infinite numbers of rings made of Elephants teeth, wherein they take so much delight, that they had rather be without their meate then without their bracelets. Going from Diu we come to Daman the second towne of the Portugales in the countrey of Cambaia which is distant from Diu fortie leagues. Here is no trade but of corne and rice. They have many villages under them which they quietly possesse in time of peace, but in time of warre the enemie is maister of them. From thence we passed by Basaim, and from Basaim to Tana , at both which places is small trade but only of corne and rice. The tenth of November we arrived at Chaul which standeth in the firme land. There be two townes, the one belonging to the Portugales, and the other to the Moores. That of the Portugales is neerest to the sea, and commaundeth the bay, and is walled round about. A little above that is the towne of the Moores which is governed by a Moore king called Xa-Maluco. Here is great traffike for all sortes of spices and drugges, silke, and cloth of silke, sandales, Elephants teeth, and much China worke, and much sugar which is made of the nutte called Gagara: the tree is called the palmer: which is the profitablest tree in the worlde: it doth alwayes beare fruit, and doth yeeld wine, oyle, sugar, vinegar, cordes, coles, of the leaves are made thatch for the houses, sayles for shippes, mats to sit or lie on: of the branches they make their houses, and broomes to sweepe, of the tree wood for shippes. The wine doeth issue out of the toppe of the tree. They cut a branch of a bowe and binde it hard, and hange an earthen pot upon it, which they emptie every morning and every evening, and still it and put in certaine dried raysins, and it becommeth very strong wine in short time. Hither many shippes come from all partes of India, Ormus, and many from Mecca : heere be manie Moores and Gentiles. They have a very strange order among them, they worshippe a cowe, and esteeme much of the cowes doung to paint the walles of their houses. They will kill nothing not so much as a louse: for they holde it a sinne to kill any thing. They eate no flesh, but live by rootes, and ryce, and milke. And when the husbande dieth his wife is burned with him, if shee be alive: if shee will not, her head is shaven, and then is never any account made of her after. They say if they should be buried, it were a great sinne, for of their bodies there would come many wormes and other vermine, and when their bodies were consumed, those wormes would lacke sustenance, which were a sinne, therefore they will be burned. In Cambaia they will kill nothing, nor have any thing killed: in the towne they have hospitals to keepe lame dogs and cats, and for birds. They will give meat to the Ants.

Goa is the most principal citie which the Portugals have in India, wherin the Viceroy remaineth with his court. It standeth in an Iland, which may be 25. or 30. miles about. It is a fine citie, and for an Indian towne very faire. The Iland is very faire, full of orchards and gardens, and many palmer trees, and hath some villages. Here bee many marchants of all nations. And the Fleete which commeth every yeere from Portugal , which be foure, five, or sixe great shippes, commeth first hither. And they come for the most part in September, and remaine there fortie or fiftie dayes; and then goe to Cochin, where they lade their Pepper for Portugall. Oftentimes they lade one in Goa, the rest goe to Cochin which is from Goa an hundred leagues southward. Goa standeth in the countrey of Hidalcan, who lieth in the countrey sixe or seven dayes journey. His chiefe citie is called Bisapor. At our comming we were cast into the prison, and examined before the Justice and demanded for letters, and were charged to be spies, but they could proove nothing by us. We continued in prison untill the two and twentie of December, and then we were set at libertie, putting in sureties for two thousand duckats not to depart the towne; which sureties father Stevens an English Jesuite which we found there, & another religious man a friend of his procured for us. Our sureties name was Andreas Taborer, to whom we paid 2150. duckats, and still he demaunded more: whereupon we made sute to the Viceroy and Justice to have our money againe, considering that they had had it in their hands neere five moneths and could proove nothing against us. The Viceroy made us a very sharpe answere, and sayd we should be better sifted before it were long, and that they had further matter against us. Whereupon we presently determined rather to seeke our liberties, then to bee in danger for ever to be slaves in the country, for it was told us we should have ye strapado. Wherupon presently, the fift day of April 1585. in the morning we ranne from thence. And being set over the river, we went two dayes on foote not without feare, not knowing the way nor having any guide, for we durst trust none. One of the first townes which we came unto, is called Bellergan, where there is a great market kept of Diamants, Rubies, Saphires, and many other soft stones. From Bellergan we went to Bisapor which is a very great towne where the king doeth keepe his court. Hee hath many Gentiles in his court and they bee great idolaters. And they have their idols standing in the Woods, which they call Pagodes. Some bee like a Cowe, some like a Monkie, some like Buffles, some like peacockes, and some like the devill. Here be very many elephants which they goe to warre withall. Here they have good store of gold and silver: their houses are of stone very faire and high. From hence wee went for Gulconda, the king whereof is called Cutup de lashach. Here and in the kingdome of Hidalcan, and in the countrey of the king of Decan bee the Diamants found of the olde water. It is a very faire towne, pleasant, with faire houses of bricke and timber, it aboundeth with great store of fruites and fresh water. Here the men and the women do go with a cloth bound about their middles without any more apparell. We found it here very hote.

The winter beginneth here about the last of May. In these partes is a porte or haven called Masulipatan, which standeth eight dayes journey from hence toward the gulfe of Bengala, whether come many shippes out of India, Pegu , and Sumatra, very richly laden with Pepper, spices, and other commodities. The countrie is very good and fruitfull. From thence I went to Servidore which is a fine countrey, and the king is called, the king of Bread. The houses here bee all thatched and made of lome. Here be many Moores and Gentiles, but there is small religion among them. From thence I went to Bellapore, and so to Barrampore, which is in the country of Zelabdim Echebar. In this place their money is made of a kind of silver round and thicke, to the value of twentie pence, which is very good silver. It is marvellous great and a populous countrey. In their winter which is in June, July, and August, there is no passing in the streetes but with horses, the waters be so high. The houses are made of lome and thatched. Here is great store of cotton cloth made, and painted clothes of cotton wooll: here groweth great store of corne and Rice. We found mariages great store both in townes and villages in many places where wee passed, of boyes of eight or ten yeeres, and girles of five or six yeeres old. They both do ride upon one horse very trimly decked, and are caried through the towne with great piping and playing, and so returne home and eate of a banket made of Rice and fruits, and there they daunce the most part of the night and so make an ende of the marriage. They lie not together untill they be ten yeeres old. They say they marry their children so yoong, because it is an order that when the man dieth, the woman must be burned with him : so that if the father die, yet they may have a father in lawe to helpe to bring up the children which bee maried: and also that they will not leave their sonnes without wives, nor their daughters without husbands. From thence we went to Mandoway, which is a very strong towne. It was besieged twelve yeeres by Zelabdim Echebar before hee could winne it. It standeth upon a very great high rocke as the most part of their castles doe, and was of a very great circuite. From hence wee went to Ugini and Serringe, where wee overtooke the ambassadour of Zelabdim Echebar with a marveilous great company of men, elephants, and camels. Here is great trade of cotton and cloth made of cotton, and great store of drugs. From thence we went to Agra passing many rivers, which by reason of the raine were so swollen, that wee waded and swamme oftentimes for our lives. Agra is a very great citie and populous, built with stone, having faire and large streetes, with a faire river running by it, which falleth into the gulfe of Bengala. It hath a faire castle and a strong with a very faire ditch. Here bee many Moores and Gentiles, the king is called Zelabdim Echebar: the people for the most part call him The great Mogor. From thence we went for Fatepore, which is the place where the king kept his court. The towne is greater then Agra, but the houses and streetes be not so faire. Here dwell many people both Moores and Gentiles. The king hath in Agra and Fatepore as they doe credibly report 1000. elephants, thirtie thousand horses, 1400. tame Deere, 800. concubines: such store of Ounces, Tigers, Buffles, Cocks & Haukes, that is very strange to see. He keepeth a great court, which they call Dericcan. Agra and Fatepore are two very great cities, either of them much greater then London and very populous. Betweene Agra and Fatepore are 12. miles, and all the way is a market of victuals & other things, as full as though a man were still in a towne, and so many people as if a man were in a market. They have many fine cartes, and many of them carved and gilded with gold, with two wheeles which be drawen with two litle Buls about the bignesse of our great dogs in England, and they will runne with any horse, and carie two or three men in one of these cartes: they are covered with silke or very fine cloth, and be used here as our Coches be in England. Hither is great resort of marchants from Persia and out of India, and very much marchandise of silke and cloth, and of precious stones, both Rubies, Diamants, and Pearles. The king is apparelled in a white Cabie made like a shirt tied with strings on the one side, and a litle cloth on his head coloured oftentimes with red or yealow. None come into his house but his eunuches which keepe his women. Here in Fatepore we staied all three untill the 28. of September 1585. and then master John Newberie tooke his journey toward the citie of Lahor , determining from thence to goe for Persia and then for Aleppo or Constantinople, whether hee could get soonest passage unto, and directed me to goe for Bengala and for Pegu , and did promise me, if it pleased God, to meete me in Bengala within two yeeres with a shippe out of England. I left William Leades the jeweller in service with the king Zelabdim Echebar in Fatepore, who did entertaine him very well, and gave him an house and five slaves, an horse, and every day sixe S. S. in money. I went from Agra to Satagam in Bengala, in the companie of one hundred and fourescore boates laden with Salt, Opium, Hinge, Lead, Carpets, and divers other commodities downe the river Jemena. The chiefe marchants are Moores and Gentiles. In these countries they have many strange ceremonies. The Bramanes which are their priests, come to the water and have a string about their necks made with great ceremonies, and lade up water with both their hands, and turne the string first with both their hands within, and then one arme after the other out. Though it be never so cold, they will wash themselves in cold water or in warme. These Gentiles will eate no flesh nor kill any thing. They live with rice, butter, milke, and fruits. They pray in the water naked, and dresse their meat & eate it naked, and for their penance they lie flat upon the earth, and rise up and turne themselves about 30. or 40. times, and use to heave up their hands to the sunne, & to kisse the earth, with their armes and legs stretched along out, and their right leg alwayes before the left. Every time they lie downe, they make a score on the ground with their finger to know when their stint is finished. The Bramanes marke themselves in the foreheads, eares and throates with a kind of yellow geare which they grind, & every morning they do it. And they have some old men which go in the streetes with a boxe of yellow pouder, and marke men on their heads & necks as they meet them. And their wives do come by 10. 20. & 30. together to the water side singing, & there do wash themselves, & then use their ceremonies, & marke themselves in their foreheds and faces, and cary some with them, and so depart singing. Their daughters be maried, at, or before the age of 10. yeres. The men may have 7. wives. They be a kind of craftie people, worse then the Jewes. When they salute one another, they heave up their hands to their heads, and say Rame, Rame. From Agra I came to Prage, where the river Jemena entreth into the mightie river Ganges, and Jemena looseth his name. Ganges commeth out of the Northwest, & runneth East into the gulfe of Bengala. In those parts there are many Tigers and many partriges & turtle-doves, and much other foule. Here be many beggers in these countries which goe naked, and the people make great account of them: they call them Schesche. Here I sawe one which was a monster among the rest. He would have nothing upon him, his beard was very long, and with the haire of his head he covered his privities. The nailes of some of his fingers were two inches long, for he would cut nothing from him, neither would he speake. He was accompanied with eight or tenne, and they spake for him. When any man spake to him, he would lay his hand upon his brest and bowe himselfe, but would not speake. Hee would not speake to the king. We went from Prage downe Ganges, the which is here very broad. Here is great store of fish of sundry sorts, & of wild foule, as of swannes, geese, cranes, and many other things. The countrey is very fruitfull and populous. The men for the most part have their faces shaven, and their heads very long, except some which bee all shaven save the crowne: and some of them are as though a man should set a dish on their heads, and shave them round, all but the crowne. In this river of Ganges are many Ilands. His water is very sweete and pleasant, and the countrey adjoyning very fruitfull. From thence wee went to Bannaras which is a great towne, and great store of cloth is made there of cotton, and Shashes for the Moores. In this place they be all Gentiles, and be the greatest idolaters that ever I sawe. To this towne come the Gentiles on pilgrimage out of farre countreys. Here alongst the waters side bee very many faire houses, and in all of them, or for the most part they have their images standing, which be evill favoured, made of stone and wood, some like lions, leopards, and monkeis, some like men & women, and pecocks, and some like the devil with foure armes and 4. hands. They sit crosse legged, some with one thing in their hands, & some another, & by breake of day and before, there are men & women which come out of the towne and wash themselves in Ganges. And there are divers old men which upon places of earth made for the purpose, sit praying, and they give the people three or foure strawes, which they take & hold them betweene their fingers when they wash themselves: and some sit to marke them in the foreheads, and they have in a cloth a litle Rice, Barlie, or money, which, when they have washed themselves, they give to the old men which sit there praying. Afterwards they go to divers of their images, & give them of their sacrifices. And when they give, the old men say certaine prayers, and then is all holy. And in divers places there standeth a kind of image which in their language they call Ada. And they have divers great stones carved, whereon they poure water, & throw thereupon some rice, wheate, barly, and some other things. This Ada hath foure hands with clawes. Moreover, they have a great place made of stone like to a well with steppes to goe downe; wherein the water standeth very foule and stinketh: for the great quantitie of flowers, which continually they throwe into it, doe make it stinke. There be alwayes many people in it: for they say when they wash themselves in it, that their sinnes be forgiven them, because God, as they say, did wash himselfe in that place. They gather up the sand in the bottome of it, and say it is holy. They never pray but in the water, and they wash themselves overhead, and lade up water with both their handes, and turne themselves about, and then they drinke a litle of the water three times, and so goe to their gods which stand in those houses. Some of them will wash a place which is their length, and then will pray upon the earth with their armes and legs at length out, and will rise up and lie downe, and kisse the ground twentie or thirtie times, but they will not stirre their right foote. And some of them will make their ceremonies with fifteene or sixteene pots litle and great, and ring a litle bel when they make their mixtures tenne or twelve times: and they make a circle of water round about their pots and pray, and divers sit by them, and one that reacheth them their pots : and they say divers things over their pots many times, and when they have done, they goe to their gods, and strowe their sacrifices which they thinke are very holy, and marke many of them which sit by, in the foreheads, which they take as a great gift. There come fiftie and sometime an hundred together, to wash them in this well, and to offer to these idols.

They have in some of these houses their idoles standing, and one sitteth by them in warme weather with a fanne to blowe winde upon them. And when they see any company comming, they ring a litle bell which hangeth by them, and many give them their almes, but especially those which come out of the countrey. Many of them are blacke and have clawes of brasse with long nayles, and some ride upon peacockes and other foules which be evill favoured, with long haukes bils, and some like one thing and some another, but none with a good face. Among the rest there is one which they make great account of: for they say hee giveth them all things both foode and apparell, and one sitteth alwayes by him with a fanne to make wind towards him. Here some bee burned to ashes, some scorched in the fire and throwen into the water, and dogges and foxes doe presently eate them. The wives here doe burne with their husbands when they die, if they will not, their heads be shaven, and never any account is made of them afterward. The people goe all naked save a litle cloth bound about their middle. Their women have their necks, armes and eares decked with rings of silver, copper, tinne, and with round hoopes made of Ivorie, adorned with amber stones, and with many agats, and they are marked with a great spot of red in their foreheads, and a stroke of red up to the crowne, and so it runneth three maner of wayes. In their Winter, which is our May, the men weare quilted gownes of cotton like to our mattraces and quilted caps like to our great Grocers morters, with a slit to looke out at, and so tied downe beneath their eares. If a man or woman be sicke and like to die, they will lay him before their idols all night, and that shall helpe him or make an ende of him. And if he do not mend that night, his friends will come and sit with him a litle and cry, and afterwards will cary him to the waters side and set him upon a litle raft made of reeds, and so let him goe downe the river. When they be maried the man and the woman come to the water side, and there is an olde man which they call a Bramane, that is, a priest, a cowe, and a calfe, or a cowe with calfe. Then the man and the woman, cowe and calfe, and the olde man goe into the water together, and they give the olde man a white cloth of foure yards long, and a basket crosse bound with divers things in it: the cloth hee laieth upon the backe of the cowe, and then he taketh the cowe by the ende of the taile, and saith certaine wordes: and she hath a copper or a brasse pot full of water, and the man doeth hold his hand by the olde mans hand, and the wives hand by her husbands, and all have the cowe by the taile, and they poure water out of the pot upon the cowes taile, and it runneth through all their hands, and they lade up water with their handes, and then the olde man doeth tie him and her together by their clothes. Which done, they goe round about the cowe and calfe, and then they give somewhat to the poore which be alwayes there, and to the Bramane or priest they give the cowe and calfe, and afterward goe to divers of their idoles and offer money, and lie downe flat upon the ground and kisse it divers times, and then goe their way. Their chiefe idoles bee blacke and evill favoured, their mouthes monstrous, their eares gilded, and full of jewels, their teeth and eyes of gold, silver, and glasse, some having one thing in their handes, and some another. You may not come into the houses where they stand, with your shooes on. They have continually lampes burning before them. From Bannaras I went to Patenaw downe the river of Ganges: where in the way we passed many faire townes, and a countrey very fruitfull : and many very great rivers doe enter into Ganges, and some of them as great as Ganges, which cause Ganges to bee of a great breadth, and so broad that in the time of raine you cannot see from one side to the other. These Indians when they bee scorched and throwen into the water, the men swimme with their faces downewards, the women with their faces upwards, I thought they tied something to them to cause them to doe so: but they say no. There be very many thieves in this countrey, which be like to the Arabians: for they have no certaine abode, but are sometime in one place and sometime in another. Here the women bee so decked with silver and copper, that it is strange to see, they use no shooes by reason of the rings of silver and copper which they weare on their toes. Here at Patanaw they finde gold in this maner. They digge deepe pits in the earth, and wash the earth in great bolles, and therein they finde the gold, and they make the pits round about with bricke, that the earth fall not in. Patenaw is a very long and a great towne. In times past it was a kingdom, but now it is under Zelabdim Echebar the great Mogor. The men are tall and slender, and have many old folks among them: the houses are simple, made of earth and covered with strawe, the streetes are very large. In this towne there is a trade of cotton, & cloth of cotton, much sugar, which they cary from hence to Bengala and India, very much Opium & other commodities. He that is chiefe here under the king is called Tipperdas, and is of great account among the people. Here in Patenau I saw a dissembling prophet which sate upon an horse in the market place, and made as though he slept, and many of the people came and touched his feete with their hands, and then kissed their hands. They tooke him for a great man, but sure he was a lasie lubber. I left him there sleeping. The people of these countries be much given to such prating and dissembling hypocrites.

From Patanaw I went to Tanda which is in the land of Gouren. It hath in times past bene a kingdom, but now is subdued by Zelabdim Echebar. Great trade and traffique is here of cotton, and of cloth of cotton. The people goe naked with a litle cloth bound about their waste. It standeth in the countrey of Bengala. Here be many Tigers, wild Bufs, and great store of wilde foule: they are very great idolaters. Tanda standeth from the river Ganges a league, because in times past the river flowing over the bankes, in time of raine did drowne the countrey and many villages, and so they do remaine. And the old way which the river Ganges was woont to run, remaineth drie, which is the occasion that the citie doeth stand so farre from the water. From Agra downe the river Jemena, and downe the river Ganges, I was five moneths comming to Bengala, but it may be sailed in much shorter time.

I went from Bengala into the country of Couche, which lieth 25. dayes journy Northwards from Tanda . The king is a Gentile, his name is Suckel Counse: his countrey is great, and lieth not far from Cauchin China: for they say they have pepper from thence. The port is called Cacchegate. All the countrie is set with Bambos or Canes made sharpe at both the endes & driven into the earth, and they can let in the water & drowne the ground above knee deepe, so that men nor horses can passe. They poison all the waters if any wars be. Here they have much silke & muske, and cloth made of cotton. The people have eares which be marvellous great of a span long, which they draw out in length by devises when they be yong. Here they be all Gentiles, and they will kil nothing. They have hospitals for sheepe, goates, dogs, cats, birds, & for all other living creatures. When they be old & lame, they keepe them until they die. If a man catch or buy any quicke thing in other places & bring it thither, they wil give him mony for it or other victuals, & keepe it in their hospitals or let it go. They wil give meat to the Ants. Their smal mony is almonds, which oftentimes they use to eat. From thence I returned to Hugeli, which is the place where the Portugals keep in the country of Bengala which standeth in 23. degrees of Northerly latitude, and standeth a league from Satagan: they cal it Porto Piqueno. We went through the wildernes, because the right way was full of thieves, where we passed the countrey of Gouren, where we found but few villages, but almost all wildernes, & saw many buffes, swine & deere, grasse longer then a man, and very many Tigers. Not far from Porto Piqueno southwestward, standeth an haven which is called Angeli, in the countrey of Orixa. It was a kingdom of it selfe, & the king was a great friend to strangers. Afterwards it was taken by the king of Patan which was their neighbour, but he did not enjoy it long, but was taken by Zelabdim Echebar, which is king of Agra, Delli, & Cambaia. Orixa standeth 6. daies journey from Satagan, southwestward. In this place is very much Rice, and cloth made of cotton, & great store of cloth which is made of grasse, which they call Yerva, it is like a silke. They make good cloth of it which they send for India & divers other places. To this haven of Angeli come every yere many ships out of India, Negapatan, Sumatra, Malacca, and divers other places; & lade from thence great store of Rice, & much cloth of cotton wooll, much sugar, & long pepper, great store of butter & other victuals for India. Satagam is a faire citie for a citie of the Moores, and very plentifull of all things. Here in Bengala they have every day in one place or other a great market which they call Chandeau, and they have many great boats which they cal pericose, wherewithall they go from place to place and buy Rice and many other things: these boates have 24. or 26. oares to rowe them, they be great of burthen, but have no coverture. Here the Gentiles have the water of Ganges in great estimation, for having good water neere them, yet they will fetch the water of Ganges a great way off, and if they have not sufficient to drinke, they will sprinkle a litle on them, and then they thinke themselves well. From Satagam I travelled by the countrey of the king of Tippara or porto Grande, with whom the Mogores or Mogen have almost continuall warres. The Mogen which be of the kingdom of Recon and Rame, be stronger then the king of Tippara, so that Chatigan or porto Grande is oftentimes under the king of Recon.

There is a country 4. daies journie from Couche or Quicheu before mentioned, which is called Bottanter and the citie Bottia, the king is called Dermain; the people whereof are very tall and strong, and there are marchants which come out of China , & they say out of Muscovia or Tartarie. And they come to buy muske, cambals, agats, silke, pepper and saffron like the saffron of Persia. The countrey is very great, 3. moneths journey. There are very high mountains in this countrey, & one of them so steep that when a man is 6. daies journey off it, he may see it perfectly. Upon these mountains are people which have eares of a spanne long: if their eares be not long, they call them apes. They say that when they be upon the mountaines, they see ships in the Sea sayling to and fro; but they know not from whence they come, nor whether they go. There are marchants which come out of the East, they say, from under the sunne, which is from China , which have no beards, and they say there it is something warme. But those which come from the other side of the mountains which is from the North, say there it is very cold. These Northren merchants are apparelled with woollen cloth and hats, white hosen close, and bootes which be of Moscovia or Tartarie. They report that in their countrey they have very good horses, but they be litle: some men have foure, five, or sixe hundred horses and kine: they live with milke and fleshe. They cut the tailes of their kine, and sell them very deere, for they bee in great request, and much esteemed in those partes. The haire of them is a yard long, the rumpe is above a spanne long: they use to hang them for braverie upon the heades of their Elephants: they bee much used in Pegu and China : they buie and sell by scores upon the ground. The people be very swift on foote.

From Chatigan in Bengala, I came to Bacola; the king whereof is a Gentile, a man very well disposed and delighteth much to shoot in a gun. His countrey is very great and fruitful, and hath store of Rice, much cotton cloth, and cloth of silke. The houses be very faire and high builded, the streetes large, the people naked, except a litle cloth about their waste. The women weare great store of silver hoopes about their neckes and armes, and their legs are ringed with silver and copper, and rings made of elephants teeth.

From Bacola I went to Serropore which standeth upon the river of Ganges, the king is called Chondery. They be all hereabout rebels against their king Zelabdim Echebar: for here are so many rivers & Ilands, that they flee from one to another, whereby his horsemen cannot prevaile against them. Great store of cotton cloth is made here.

Sinnergan is a towne sixe leagues from Serrepore, where there is the best and finest cloth made of cotton that is in all India. The chiefe king of all these countries is called Isacan, and he is chiefe of all the other kings, and is a great friend to all Christians. The houses here, as they be in the most part of India, are very litle, and covered with strawe, and have a fewe mats round about the wals, and the doore to keepe out the Tygers and the Foxes. Many of the people are very rich. Here they will eate no flesh, nor kill no beast: they live of Rice, milke, and fruits. They goe with a litle cloth before them, and all the rest of their bodies is naked. Great store of Cotton cloth goeth from hence, and much Rice, wherewith they serve all India, Ceilon, Pegu , Malacca, Sumatra, and many other places.

I went from Serrepore the 28. of November 1586. for Pegu in a small ship or foist of one Albert Caravallos, and so passing downe Ganges, and passing by the Island of Sundiva, porto Grande, or the countrie of Tippera, the kingdom of Recon and Mogen, leaving them on our left side with a faire wind at Northwest: our course was South & by East, which brought us to the barre of Negrais in Pegu : if any contrary wind had come, we had throwen many of our things over-boord : for we were so pestered with people & goods, that there was scant place to lie in. From Bengala to Pegu is 90. leagues. We entred the barre of Negrais , which is a brave barre & hath 4. fadomes water where it hath least. Three dayes after we came to Cosmin, which is a very pretie towne, and standeth very pleasantly, very well furnished with all things. The people be very tall & well disposed; the women white, round faced, with litle eies: the houses are high built, set upon great high postes, & they go up to them with long ladders for feare of the Tygers which be very many. The countrey is very fruitful of all things. Here are very great Figs, Orenges, Cocoes, and other fruits. The land is very high that we fall withall, but after we be entred the barre, it is very lowe and full of rivers, for they goe all too and fro in boates, which they call paroes, and keepe their houses with wife and children in them.

From the barre of Nigrais to the citie of Pegu is ten dayes journey by the rivers. Wee went from Cosmin to Pegu in Paroes or boates, and passing up the rivers wee came to Medon, which is a prety towne, where there be a wonderfull number of Paroes, for they keepe their houses and their markets in them all upon the water. They rowe too and fro, and have all their marchandizes in their boates with a great Sombrero or shadow over their heads to keepe the sunne from them, which is as broad as a great cart wheele made of the leaves of the Coco trees and fig trees, and is very light.

From Medon we went to Dela, which is a very faire towne, and hath a faire port into the sea, from whence go many ships to Malacca, Mecca , and many other places. Here are 18. or 20. very great and long houses, where they tame and keep many elephants of the kings: for there about in the wildernesse they catch the wilde elephants. It is a very fruitfull countrey. From Dela we went to Cirion, which is a good towne, and hath a faire porte into the sea, whither come many ships from Mecca , Malacca, Sumatra, and from divers other places. And there the ships staie and discharge, & send up their goods in Paroes to Pegu. From Cirion we went to Macao , which is a pretie towne, where we left our boats or Paroes, & in the morning taking Delingeges, which are a kind of Coches made of cords & cloth quilted, & caried upon a stang betweene 3. or 4. men: we came to Pegu the same day. Pegu is a citie very great, strong, and very faire, with walles of stone, and great ditches round about it. There are two townes, the old towne and the newe. In the olde towne are all the marchants strangers, and very many marchants of the countrey. All the goods are sold in the olde towne which is very great, and hath many suburbes round about it, and all the houses are made of Canes which they call Bambos, and bee covered with strawe. In your house you have a Warehouse which they call Godon, which is made of bricke to put your goods in, for oftentimes they take fire and burne in an houre foure or five hundred houses: so that if the Godon were not, you should bee in danger to have all burned, if any winde should rise, at a trice. In the newe towne is the king, and all his Nobilitie and Gentrie. It is a citie very great and populous, and is made square and with very faire walles, and a great ditch round about it full of water, with many crocodiles in it: it hath twenty gates, and they bee made of stone, for every square five gates. There are also many Turrets for Centinels to watch, made of wood, and gilded with golde very faire. The streets are the fairest that ever I saw, as straight as a line from one gate to the other, and so broad that tenne or twelve men may ride a front thorow them. On both sides of them at every mans doore is set a palmer tree which is the nut tree : which make a very faire shew and a very commodious shadow, so that a man may walke in the shade all day. The houses be made of wood, and covered with tiles. The kings house is in the middle of the city, and is walled and ditched round about: and the buildings within are made of wood very sumptuously gilded, and great workemanship is upon the forefront, which is likewise very costly gilded. And the house wherein his Pagode or idole standeth is covered with tiles of silver, and all the walles are gilded with golde. Within the first gate of the kings house is a great large roome, on both sides whereof are houses made for the kings elephants, which be marvellous great and faire, and are brought up to warres and in service of the king. And among the rest he hath foure white elephants, which are very strange and rare: for there is none other king which hath them but he: if any other king hath one, hee will send unto him for it. When any of these white elephants is brought unto the king, all the merchants in the city are commanded to see them, and to give him a present of halfe a ducat, which doth come to a great summe: for that there are many merchants in the city. After that you have given your present you may come and see them at your pleasure, although they stand in the kings house. This king in his title is called the king of the white elephants. If any other king have one, and will not send it him, he will make warre with him for it: for he had rather lose a great part of his kingdome, then not to conquere him. They do very great service unto these white elephants; every one of them standeth in an house gilded with golde, and they doe feede in vessels of silver and gilt. One of them when he doth go to the river to be washed, as every day they do, goeth under a canopy of cloth of golde or of silke carried over him by sixe or eight men, and eight or ten men goe before him playing on drummes, shawmes, or other instruments: and when he is washed and commeth out of the river, there is a gentleman which doth wash his feet in a silver basin: which is his office given him by the king. There is no such account made of any blacke elephant, be he never so great. And surely there be woonderfull faire and great, and some be nine cubites in height. And they do report that the king hath above five thousand elephants of warre, besides many other which be not taught to fight. This king hath a very large place wherein he taketh the wilde elephants. It standeth about a mile from Pegu , builded with a faire court within, and is in a great grove or wood: and there be many huntsmen, which go into the wildernesse with she elephants: for without the she they are not to be taken. And they be taught for that purpose: and every hunter hath five or sixe of them: and they say that they anoint the she elephants with a certaine ointment, which when the wild elephant doth smell, he will not leave her. When they have brought the wilde elephant neere unto the place, they send word unto the towne, and many horsemen and footmen come out and cause the she elephant to enter into a strait way which doeth goe to the palace, and the she and he do runne in: for it is like a wood: and when they be in, the gate doth shut. Afterward they get out the female: and when the male seeth that he is left alone, he weepeth and crieth, and runneth against the walles, which be made of so strong trees, that some of them doe breake their teeth with running against them. Then they pricke him with sharpe canes, & cause him to go into a strait house, and there they put a rope about his middle and about his feet, and let him stand there three or foure dayes without eating or drinking: and then they bring a female to him, with meat and drinke, and within few dayes he becommeth tame. The chiefe force of the king is in these elephants. And when they go into the warres they set a frame of wood upon their backes, bound with great cordes, wherein sit foure or sixe men, which fight with gunnes, bowes and arrowes, darts and other weapons. And they say that their skinnes are so thicke that a pellet of an harquebush will scarse pearce them, except it be in some tender place. Their weapons be very badde. They have gunnes, but shoot very badly in them, darts and swords short without points. The king keepeth a very great state: when he sitteth abroad as he doth every day twise, all his noble men which they call Shemines sit on ech side, a good distance off, and a great guard without them. The Court yard is very great. If any man will speake with the king, he is to kneele downe, to heave up his hands to his head, and to put his head to the ground three times, when he entreth, in the middle way, and when he commeth neere to the king: and then he sitteth downe and talketh with the king : if the king like well of him, he sitteth neere him within three or foure paces : if he thinke not well of him, he sitteth further off. When he goeth to warre, he goeth very strong. At my being there he went to Odia in the countrey of Siam with three hundred thousand men, and five thousand elephants. Thirty thousand men were his guard. These people do eate roots, herbs, leaves, dogs, cats, rats, serpents, and snakes; they refuse almost nothing. When the king rideth abroad, he rideth with a great guard, and many noblemen, oftentimes upon an elephant with a fine castle upon him very fairely gilded with gold; and sometimes upon a great frame like an horsliter, which hath a little house upon it covered over head, but open on the sides, which is all gilded with golde, & set with many rubies & saphires, whereof he hath infinite store in his country, and is caried upon sixteene or eighteene mens shoulders. This coach in their language is called Serrion. Very great feasting and triumphing is many times before the king both of men and women. This king hath little force by Sea, because hee hath but very few ships. He hath houses full of golde and silver, and bringeth in often, but spendeth very little, and hath the mines of rubies and saphires, and spinelles. Neere unto the palace of the king, there is a treasure woonderfull rich; the which because it is so neere, he doth not account of it: and it standeth open for all men to see in a great walled court with two gates, which be alwayes open. There are foure houses gilded very richly, and covered with leade: in every one of them are Pagodes or images of huge stature and great value. In the first is the picture of a king in golde with a crowne of golde on his head full of great rubies and saphires, and about him there stand foure children of golde. In the second house is the picture of a man in silver woonderfull great, as high as an house; his foot is as long as a man, and he is made sitting, with a crowne on his head very rich with stones. In the third house is the picture of a man greater then the other, made of brasse, with a rich crowne on his head. In the fourth and last house doth stand another, made of brasse, greater then the other, with a crowne also on his head very rich with stones. In another court not farre from this stand foure other Pagodes or idoles, marvellous great, of copper, made in the same place where they do stand; for they be so great that they be not to be remooved: they stand in foure houses gilded very faire, and are themselves gilded all over save their heads, and they shew like a blacke Morian. Their expences in gilding of their images are wonderfull. The king hath one wife and above three hundred concubines, by which they say he hath fourescore or fourescore and ten children. He sitteth in judgement almost every day. They use no speech, but give up their supplications written in the leaves of a tree with the point of an yron bigger then a bodkin. These leaves are an elle long, and about two inches broad; they are also double. He which giveth in his supplication, doth stand in a place a little distance off with a present. If his matter be liked of, the king accepteth of his present, and granteth his request: if his sute be not liked of, he returneth with his present; for the king will not take it.

In India there are few commodities which serve for Pegu , except Opium of Cambaia, painted cloth of S. Thome, or of Masulipatan, and white cloth of Bengala, which is spent there in great quantity. They bring thither also much cotton, yarne red coloured with a root which they called Saia, which will never lose his colour: it is very wel solde here, and very much of it commeth yerely to Pegu . By your mony you lose much. The ships which come from Bengala, S. Thome, and Masulipatan, come to the bar of Nigrais and to Cosmin. To Martavan a port of the sea in the kingdome of Pegu come many ships from Malacca laden with Sandall, Porcelanes, and other wares of China , and with Camphora of Borneo, and Pepper from Achen in Sumatra. To Cirion a port of Pegu come ships from Mecca with woollen cloth, Scarlets, Velvets, Opium, and such like. There are in Pegu eight Brokers, whom they call Tareghe, which are bound to sell your goods at the price which they be woorth, and you give them for their labour two in the hundred: and they be bound to make your debt good, because you sell your marchandises upon their word. If the Broker pay you not at his day, you may take him home, and keepe him in your house: which is a great shame for him. And if he pay you not presently, you may take his wife and children and his slaves, and binde them at your doore, and set them in the Sunne; for that is the law of the country. Their current money in these parts is a kinde of brasse which they call Gansa, wherewith you may buy golde, silver, rubies, muske, and all other things. The golde and silver is marchandise, and is worth sometimes more and sometimes lesse, as other wares be. This brasen money doeth goe by a weight which they call a biza; and commonly this biza after our account is worth about halfe a crowne or somewhat lesse. The marchandise which be in Pegu , are golde, silver, rubies, saphires, spinelles, muske, benjamin or frankincense, long pepper, tinne, leade, copper, lacca whereof they make hard waxe, rice, and wine made of rice, and some sugar. The elephants doe eate the sugar canes, or els they would make very much. And they consume many canes likewise in making of their Varellaes or Idole temples, which are in great number both great and small. They be made round like a sugar loafe, some are as high as a Church, very broad beneath, some a quarter of a mile in compasse: within they be all earth done about with stone. They consume in these Varellaes great quantity of golde; for that they be all gilded aloft: and many of them from the top to the bottome: and every ten or twelve yeeres they must be new gilded, because the raine consumeth off the golde: for they stand open abroad. If they did not consume their golde in these vanities, it would be very plentifull and good cheape in Pegu . About two dayes journey from Pegu there is a Varelle or Pagode, which is the pilgrimage of the Pegues: it is called Dogonne, and is of a woonderfull bignesse, and all gilded from the foot to the toppe. And there is an house by it wherein the Tallipoies which are their Priests doe preach. This house is five and fifty paces in length, and hath three pawnes or walks in it, and forty great pillars gilded, which stand betweene the walks; and it is open on all sides with a number of small pillars, which be likewise gilded: it is gilded with golde within and without. There are houses very faire round about for the pilgrims to lie in: and many goodly houses for the Tallipoies to preach in, which are full of images both of men and women, which are all gilded over with golde. It is the fairest place, as I suppose, that is in the world: it standeth very high, and there are foure wayes to it, which all along are set with trees of fruits, in such wise that a man may goe in the shade above two miles in length. And when their feast day is, a man can hardly passe by water or by land for the great presse of people; for they come from all places of the kingdome of Pegu thither at their feast. In Pegu they have many Tallipoies or priests, which preach against all abuses. Many men resort unto them. When they enter into their kiack, that is to say, their holy place or temple, at the doore there is a great jarre of water with a cocke or a ladle in it, and there they wash their feet; and then they enter in, and lift up their hands to their heads first to their preacher, and then to the Sunne, and so sit downe. The Tallipoies go very strangely apparelled with one camboline or thinne cloth next to their body of a browne colour, another of yellow doubled many times upon their shoulder: and those two be girded to them with a broad girdle: and they have a skinne of leather hanging on a string about their necks, whereupon they sit, bare headed & bare footed : for none of them weareth shooes; with their right armes bare and a great broad sombrero or shadow in their hands to defend them in the Summer from the Sunne, and in the Winter from the raine. When the Tallipoies or priests take their Orders, first they go to schoole untill they be twenty yeres olde or more, and then they come before a Tallipoie appointed for that purpose, whom they call Rowli: he is of the chiefest and most learned, and he opposeth them, and afterward examineth them many times, whether they will leave their friends, and the company of all women, and take upon them the habit of a Tallipoie. If any be content, then he rideth upon an horse about the streets very richly apparelled, with drummes and pipes, to shew that he leaveth the riches of the world to be a Tallipoie. In few dayes after, he is caried upon a thing like an horsliter, which they call a serion, upon ten or twelve mens shoulders in the apparell of a Tallipoie, with pipes and drummnes, and many Tallipoies with him, and al his friends, and so they go with him to his house which standeth without the towne, and there they leave him. Every one of them hath his house, which is very little, set upon six or eight posts, and they go up to them with a ladder of twelve or foureteene staves. Their houses be for the most part by the hie wayes side, and among the trees, and in the woods. And they go with a great pot made of wood or fine earth, and covered, tied with a broad girdle upon their shoulder, which commeth under their arme, wherewith they go to begge their victuals which they eate, which is rice, fish, and herbs. They demand nothing, but come to the doore, and the people presently doe give them, some one thing, and some another: and they put all together in their potte: for they say they must eate of their almes, and therewith content themselves. They keepe their feasts by the Moone: and when it is new Moone they keepe their greatest least: and then the people send rice and other things to that kiack or church of which they be; and there all the Tallipoies doe meete which be of that Church, and eate the victuals which are sent them. When the Tallipoies do preach, many of the people cary them gifts into the pulpit where they sit and preach. And there is one which sitteth by them to take that which the people bring. It is divided among them. They have none other ceremonies nor service that I could see, but onely preaching.

I went from Pegu to Jamahey, which is in the countrey of the Langeiannes, whom we call Jangomes; it is five and twenty dayes journey Northeast from Pegu . In which journey I passed many fruitfull and pleasant countreys. The countrey is very lowe, and hath many faire rivers. The houses are very bad, made of canes, and covered with straw. Heere are many wilde buffes and elephants. Jamahey is a very faire and great towne, with faire houses of stone, well peopled, the streets are very large, the men very well set and strong, with a cloth about them, bare headed and bare footed: for in all these countreys they weare no shooes. The women be much fairer then those of Pegu . Heere in all these countreys they have no wheat. They make some cakes of rice. Hither to Jamahey come many marchants out of China , and bring great store of muske, golde, silver, and many other things of China worke. Here is great store of victuals: they have such plenty that they will not milke the buffles, as they doe in all other places. Here is great store of copper and benjamin. In these countreys when the people be sicke they make a vow to offer meat unto the divell, if they escape: and when they be recovered they make a banket with many pipes & drummes and other instruments, and dansing all the night, and their friends come and bring gifts, cocos, figges, arrecaes, and other fruits, and with great dauncing and rejoycing they offer to the divell, and say, they give the divel to eat, and drive him out. When they be dancing and playing they will cry & hallow very loud; and in this sort they say they drive him away. And when they be sicke a Tallipoy or two every night doth sit by them & sing, to please the divell that he should not hurt them. And if any die he is caried upon a great frame made like a tower, with a covering all gilded with golde made of canes caried with foureteene or sixteene men, with drummes and pipes and other instruments playing before him to a place out of the towne and there is burned. He is accompanied with all his friends and neighbours, all men: and they give to the tallipoies or priests many mats and cloth: and then they returne to the house and there make a feast for two dayes : and then the wife with all the neighbours wives & her friends go to the place where he was burned, and there they sit a certaine time and cry and gather the pieces of bones which be left unburned and bury them, and then returne to their houses and make an end of all mourning. And the men and women which be neere of kin do shave their heads, which they do not use except it be for the death of a friend: for they much esteeme of their haire.

Caplan is the place where they finde the rubies, saphires, and spinelles: it standeth sixe dayes journey from Ava in the kingdome of Pegu . There are many great high hilles out of which they digge them. None may go to the pits but onely those which digge them.

In Pegu , and in all the countreys of Ava, Langeiannes, Siam , and the Bramas, the men weare bunches or little round balles in their privy members: some of them weare two and some three. They cut the skin and so put them in, one into one side and another into the other side; which they do when they be 25 or 30 yeeres olde, and at their pleasure they take one or more of them out as they thinke good. When they be maried the husband is for every child which his wife hath, to put in one untill he come to three and then no more: for they say the women doe desire them. They were invented because they should not abuse the male sexe. For in times past all those countries were so given to that villany, that they were very scarse of people. It was also ordained that the women should not have past three cubits of cloth in their nether clothes, which they binde about them; which are so strait, that when they go in the streets, they shew one side of the leg bare above the knee. The bunches aforesayd be of divers sorts: the least be as big as a litle walnut, and very round: the greatest are as big as a litle hennes egge: some are of brasse and some of silver: but those of silver be for the king and his noble men. These are gilded and made with great cunning, and ring like a title bell. There are some made of leade, which they call Selwy because they ring but litle: and these be of lesser price for the poorer sort. The king sometimes taketh his out, and giveth them to his noblemen as a great gift: and because he hath used them, they esteeme them greatly. They will put one in, and heale up the place in seven or eight dayes.

The Bramas which be of the kings countrey (for the king is a Brama) have their legs or bellies, or some part of their body, as they thinke good themselves, made black with certaine things which they have: they use to pricke the skinne, and to put on it a kinde of anile or blacking, which doth continue alwayes. And this is counted an honour among them: but none may have it but the Bramas which are of the kings kinred.

These people weare no beards: they pull out the haire on their faces with little pinsons made for that purpose. Some of them will let 16 or 20 haires grow together, some in one place of his face and some in another, and pulleth out all the rest: for he carieth his pinsons alwayes with him to pull the haires out assoone as they appeare. If they see a man with a beard they wonder at him. They have their teeth blacked both men and women, for they say a dogge hath his teeth white, therefore they will blacke theirs.

The Pegues if they have a sute in the law which is so doubtfull that they cannot well determine it, put two long canes into the water where it is very deepe: and both the parties go into the water by the poles, and there sit men to judge, and they both do dive under the water, and he which remaineth longest under the water doth winne the sute.

The 10 of January I went from Pegu to Malacca, passing by many of the ports of Pegu , as Martavan, the Iland of Tavi, from whence commeth great store of tinne which serveth all India, the Ilands of Tanaseri, Junsalaon, and many others; and so came to Malacca the 8 of February, where the Portugals have a castle which standeth nere the sea. And the countrey fast without the towne belongeth to the Malayos, which is a kinde of proud people. They go naked with a cloth about their middle, and a litle roll of cloth about their heads. Hither come many ships from China & from the Malucos, Banda, Timor , and from many other Ilands of the Javas, which bring great store of spices and drugs, and diamants and other jewels. The voyages into many of these Ilands belong unto the captaine of Malacca: so that none may goe thither without his licence: which yeeld him great summes of money every yeere. The Portugals heere have often times warres with the king of Achem which standeth in the Iland of Sumatra: from whence commeth great store of pepper and other spices every yeere to Pegu and Mecca within the Red sea, and other places.

When the Portugals go from Macao in China to Japan , they carry much white silke, golde, muske, and porcelanes: and they bring from thence nothing but silver. They have a great caracke which goeth thither every yere, and she bringeth from thence every yere above sixe hundred thousand crusadoes: and all this silver of Japan , and two hundred thousand crusadoes more in silver which they bring yeerely out of India, they imploy to their great advantage in China : and they bring from thence golde, muske, silke, copper, porcelanes, and many other things very costly and gilded. When the Portugals come to Canton in China to traffike, they must remaine there but certaine dayes: and when they come in at the gate of the city, they must enter their names in a booke, and when they goe out at night they must put out their names. They may not lie in the towne all night, but must lie in their boats without the towne. And their dayes being expired, if any man remaine there, they are evill used and imprisoned. The Chinians are very suspitious, and doe not trust strangers. It is thought that the king doth not know that any strangers come into his countrey. And further it is credibly reported that the common people see their king very seldome or not at all, nor may not looke up to that place where he sitteth. And when he rideth abroad he is caried upon a great chaire or serrion gilded very faire, wherein there is made a little house with a latise to looke out at: so that he may see them, but they may not looke up at him: and all the time that he passeth by them, they heave up their hands to their heads, & lay their heads on the ground, and looke not up untill he be passed. The order of China is when they mourne, that they weare white thread shoes, and hats of straw. The man doth mourne for his wife two yeeres, the wife for her husband three yeeres : the sonne for his father a yeere, and for his mother two yeres. And all the time which they mourne they keepe the dead in the house, the bowels being taken out and filled with chownam or lime, and coffined : and when the time is expired they carry them out playing and piping, and burne them. And when they returne they pull off their mourning weeds, and marry at their pleasure. A man may keepe as many concubines as he will, but one wife onely. All the Chineans, Japonians, and Cauchin Chineans do write right downwards, and they do write with a fine pensill made of dogs or cats haire.

Laban is an Iland among the Javas from whence come the diamants of the New water. And they finde them in the rivers: for the king will not suffer them to digge the rocke.

Jamba is an Iland among the Javas also, from whence come diamants. And the king hath a masse of earth which is golde; it groweth in the middle of a river: and when the king doth lacke gold, they cut part of the earth and melt it, whereof commeth golde. This masse of earth doth appeare but once in a yere; which is when the water is low: and this is in the moneth of April.

Bima is another Iland among the Javas, where the women travell and labour as our men do in England, and the men keepe house and go where they will.

The 29 of March 1588, I returned from Malacca to Martavan, and so to Pegu , where I remained the second time untill the 17 of September, and then I went to Cosmin, and there tooke shipping; and passing many dangers by reason of contrary windes, it pleased God that we arrived in Bengala in November following: where I stayed for want of passage untill the third of February 1589, and then I shipped my selfe for Cochin. In which voyage we endured great extremity for lacke of fresh water: for the weather was extreme hote, and we were many marchants and passengers, and we had very many calmes, and hote weather. Yet it pleased God that we arrived in Ceylon the sixth of March, where we stayed five dayes to water, and to furnish our selves with other necessary provision. This Ceylon is a brave Iland, very fruitfull & faire; but by reason of continuall warres with the king thereof, all things are very deare: for he will not suffer any thing to be brought to the castle where the Portugals be: wherefore often times they have great want of victuals. Their provision of victuals commeth out of Bengala every yere. The king is called Raia, and is of great force: for he commeth to Colombo , which is the place where the Portugals have their fort, with an hundred thousand men, and many elephants. But they be naked people all of them; yet many of them be good with their pieces which be muskets. When the king talketh with any man, he standeth upon one legge, and setteth the other foot upon his knee with his sword in his hand: it is not their order for the king to sit but to stand. His apparell is a fine painted cloth made of cotton wooll about his middle: his haire is long and bound up with a little fine cloth about his head : all the rest of his body is naked. His guard are a thousand men, which stand round about him, and he in the middle; and when he marcheth, many of them goe before him, and the rest come after him. They are of the race of the Chingalayes, which they say are the best kinde of all the Malabars. Their eares are very large; for the greater they are, the more honourable they are accounted. Some of them are a spanne long. The wood which they burne is Cinamom wood, and it smelleth very sweet. There is great store of rubies, saphires, and spinelles in this Iland: the best kinde of all be here; but the king will not suffer the inhabitants to digge for them, lest his enemies should know of them, and make warres against him, and so drive him out of his countrey for them. They have no horses in all the countrey. The elephants be not so great as those of Pegu , which be monstrous huge: but they say all other elephants do feare them, and none dare fight with them, though they be very small. Their women have a cloth bound about them from their middle to their knee: and all the rest is bare. All of them be blacke and but little, both men and women. Their houses are very little, made of the branches of the palmer or coco-tree, and covered with the leaves of the same tree.

The eleventh of March we sailed from Ceylon , and so doubled the cape of Comori. Not far from thence, betweene Ceylon and the maine land of Negapatan, they fish for pearles. And there is fished every yere very much; which doth serve all India, Cambaia, and Bengala, it is not so orient as the pearle of Baharim in the gulfe of Persia. From cape de Comori we passed by Coulam, which is a fort of the Portugals: from whence commeth great store of pepper, which commeth for Portugall: for oftentimes there ladeth one of the caracks of Portugall. Thus passing the coast we arrived in Cochin the 22 of March, where we found the weather warme, but scarsity of victuals: for here groweth neither corne nor rice: and the greatest part commeth from Bengala. They have here very bad water, for the river is farre off. This bad water causeth many of the people to be like lepers, and many of them have their legs swollen as bigge as a man in the waste, & many of them are scant able to go. These people here be Malabars, and of the race of the Naires of Calicut: and they differ much from the other Malabars. These have their heads very full of haire, and bound up with a string: and there doth appeare a bush without the band wherewith it is bound. The men be tall and strong, and good archers with a long bow and a long arrow, which is their best weapon: yet there be some calivers among them, but they handle them badly.

Heere groweth the pepper; and it springeth up by a tree or a pole, and is like our ivy berry, but something longer like the wheat eare: and at the first the bunches are greene, and as they waxe ripe they cut them off and dry them. The leafe is much lesser then the ivy leafe and thinner. All the inhabitants here have very little houses covered with the leaves of the coco-trees. The men be of a reasonable stature; the women litle; all blacke, with a cloth bound about their middle hanging downe to their hammes: all the rest of their bodies be naked: they have horrible great eares with many rings set with pearles and stones in them. The king goeth incached, as they do all; he doth not remaine in a place above five or sixe dayes: he hath many houses, but they be but litle: his guard is but small: he remooveth from one house to another according to their order. All the pepper of Calicut and course cinamom groweth here in this countrey. The best cinamom doth come from Ceylon , and is pilled from fine yoong trees. Here are very many palmer or coco trees, which is their chiefe food: for it is their meat and drinke : and yeeldeth many other necessary things, as I have declared before.

The Naires which be under the king of Samorin, which be Malabars, have alwayes wars with the Portugals. The king hath alwayes peace with them; but his people goe to the sea to robbe & steale. Their chiefe captaine is called Cogi Alli; he hath three castles under him. When the Portugals complaine to the king, he sayth he doth not send them out: but he consenteth that they go. They range all the coast from Ceylon to Goa, and go by foure or five parowes or boats together; and have in every one of them fifty or threescore men, and boord presently. They do much harme on that coast, and take every yere many foists and boats of the Portugals. Many of these people be Moores. This kings countrey beginneth twelve leagues from Cochin, and reacheth neere unto Goa. I remained in Cochin untill the second of November, which was eight moneths; for that there was no passage that went away in all that time: if I had come two dayes sooner I had found a passage presently. From Cochin I went to Goa, where I remained three dayes. From Cochin to Goa is an hundred leagues. From Goa I went to Chaul, which is threescore leagues, where I remained three and twenty dayes: and there making my provision of things necessary for the shippe, from thence I departed to Ormus; where I stayed for a passage to Balsara fifty dayes. From Goa to Ormus is foure hundred leagues.

Here I thought good, before I make an end of this my booke, to declare some things which India and the countrey farther Eastward do bring forth.

The pepper groweth in many parts of India, especially about Cochin: and much of it doeth grow in the fields among the bushes without any labour: and when it is ripe they go and gather it. The shrubbe is like unto our ivy tree: and if it did not run about some tree or pole, it would fall downe and rot. When they first gather it, it is greene; and then they lay it in the Sun, and it becommeth blacke.

The ginger groweth like unto our garlike, and the root is the ginger: it is to be found in many parts of India.

The cloves doe come from the Iles of the Moluccoes, which be divers Ilands : their tree is like to our bay tree.

The nutmegs and maces grow together, and come from the Ile of Banda : the tree is like to our walnut tree, but somewhat lesser.

The white sandol is wood very sweet & in great request among the Indians; for they grinde it with a litle water, and anoynt their bodies therewith: it commeth from the Isle of Timor.

Camphora is a precious thing among the Indians, and is solde dearer then golde. I thinke none of it commeth for Christendome. That which is compounded commeth from China : but that which groweth in canes and is the best, commeth from the great Isle of Borneo.

Lignum Aloes commeth from Cauchinchina.

The benjamin commeth out of the countreys of Siam and Jangomes.

The long pepper groweth in Bengala, in Pegu , and in the Ilands of the Javas.

The muske commeth out of Tartarie, and is made after this order, by report of the marchants which bring it to Pegu to sell; In Tartarie there is a little beast like unto a yong roe, which they take in snares, and beat him to death with the blood: after that they cut out the bones, and beat the flesh with the blood very small, and fill the skin with it: and hereof commeth the muske.

Of the amber they holde divers opinions; but most men say it commeth out of the sea, and that they finde it upon the shores side.

The rubies, saphires, and spinelles are found in Pegu .

The diamants are found in divers places, as in Bisnagar, in Agra, in Delli, and in the Ilands of the Javas.

The best pearles come from the Iland of Baharim in the Persian sea, the woorser from the Piscaria neere the Isle of Ceylon, and from Aynam a great Iland on the Southermost coast of China .

Spodium and many other kindes of drugs come from Cambaia.

Now to returne to my voyage; from Ormus I went to Balsara or Basora, and from Basora to Babylon: and we passed the most part of the way by the strength of men by hailing the boat up the river with a long cord. From Babylon I came by land to Mosul, which standeth nere to Ninive , which is all ruinated and destroyed; it standeth fast by the river of Tigris . From Mosul I went to Merdin, which is in the countrey of the Armenians; but now there dwell in that place a people which they call Cordies, or Curdi. From Merdin I went to Orfa, which is a very faire towne, and it hath a goodly fountaine ful of fish; where the Moores hold many great ceremonies and opinions concerning Abraham; for they say he did once dwell there. From thence I went to Bir, & so passed the river of Euphrates . From Bir I went to Aleppo, where I stayed certaine moneths for company; and then I went to Tripolis; where finding English shipping, I came with a prosperous voyage to London, where by Gods assistance I safely arrived the 29 of April 1591, having bene eight yeeres out of my native countrey.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Pegu (Myanmar) (36)
Goa (Goa, India) (15)
China (China) (14)