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The second voyage of M. Laurence Aldersey, to the Cities of Alexandria, and Cayro in Ægypt. Anno 1586.

I EMBARKED my selfe at Bristoll, in the Hercules, a good ship of London, and set saile the 21 day of Februarie, about ten of the clocke in the morning, having a merry winde: but the 23 day, there arose a very great storme, and in the mids of it we descried a small boate of the burden of ten tunnes, with foure men in her, in very great danger, who called a maine for our helpe. Whereupon our Master made towardes them, and tooke them into our ship, and let the boate, which was laden with timber, and appertained to Chepstow , to runne a drift. The same night about midnight arose another great storme, but the winde was large with us, untill the 27 of the same moneth, which then grew somewhat contrary: yet notwithstanding we held on our course, and the tenth day of March, we descried a saile about Cape Sprat, which is a litle on this side the streight of Gibraltare, but we spake not with her. The next day we descried twelve sayle more, with whom we thought to have spoken, to have learned what they were, but they made very fast away, and we gave them over.

Thursday the 16 of March, we had sight of the streights, and of the coast of Barbary. The 18 day we passed them, and sailed towards Patras . Upon the 23 of March, we met with the Centurion of London which came from Genoa , by whom we sent letters to England, and the foure men also which we tooke in, upon the coast of England, beforementioned.

The 29 of March we came to Goleta a small Iland, and had sight of two shippes, which we judged to be of England.

Tuesday the fourth of Aprill, we were before Malta , and being there becalmed, our Maister caused the two ship boates to be had out, and they towed the ship, till we were out of sight of the Castle of Malta. The 9 day of Aprill we came to Zante , and being before the towne, William Aldridge, servant to Master Thomas Cordall of London, came aboord us, with whom our Master and twelve more of our company, thought to have gone on shoare, but they could not be permitted: so we all came aboord againe, and went to Patras , where we arrived upon good Friday, and lay there with good entertainement at the English house, where was the Consull Master Grimes, Ralph Ashley, and John Doddington, who very kindly went with us, and shewed us the pleasures of the towne.

They brought us to the house of the Cady, who was made then to understand of the 20 Turks that wee had aboord, which were to goe to Constantinople, being redeemed out of captivitie, by sir Francis Drake in the West Indies, and brought with him into England, and by order of the Queenes Majestie sent now into their Countrey. Whereupon the Cady commaunded them to be brought before him, that he might see them: and when he had talked with them, and understood howe strangely they were delivered, hee marvelled much, and admired the Queenes Majestie of England, who being but a woman, is notwithstanding of such power and renowne amongst all the princes of Christendome, with many other honourable wordes of commending her Majestie. So he tooke the names of those 20. Turkes, and recorded them in their great bookes, to remaine in perpetuall memory. After this, our foresaid countreymen brought mee to the Chappel of S. Andrew where his tombe or sepulchre is, and the boord upon which he was beheaded, which boord is now so rotten, that if any man offer to cut it, it falleth to powder, yet I brought some of it away with me.

Upon Tuesday in Easter weeke, wee set out towards Zante againe, and the 24. of April with much adoe, wee were all permitted to come on shoare, and I was caried to the English house in Zante , where I was very well entertained. The commodities of Zante are Currans and oyle: the situation of the Towne is under a very great hill, upon which standeth a very strong Castle, which commaundeth the Towne. At Zante we tooke in a Captaine and 16. soldiers, with other passengers. Wee departed from Zante upon Tuesday the 15. of April, and the next day we ankered at a small Island, called Strivalaia, which is desolate of people, saving a fewe religious men, who entertained us well, without taking any money: but of courtesie we bestowed somewhat upon them for their maintenance, and then they gave us a couple of leane sheepe, which we caried aboord. The last day of Aprill, wee arrived at Candie, at a Castle, called Sowday, where wee set the Captaine, Souldiers, and Mariners ashoare, which wee tooke in at Zante , with all their carriage.

The second day of May wee set saile againe, and the fourth day came to the Islands of Milo, where we ankered, and found the people there very courteous, and tooke in such necessaries as we wanted. The Islands are in my judgement a hundred in number, and all within the compasse of a hundred miles.

The 11. day, the Chaus, which is the greatest man there in authoritie, for certaine offences done in a little Chappell by the water side, which they saide one of our shippe had done, and imputed it to mee, because I was seene goe into it three dayes before, came to us, and made much a doe, so that we were faine to come out of our shippe armed: but by three pieces of golde the brabling was ended, and we came to our shippe. This day wee also set saile, and the next day passed by the Castle of Serpeto, which is an old ruinated thing, and standeth under a hils side.

The 13. day we passed by the Island of Paris, and the Island of the bankes of Helicon, and the Island called Ditter, where are many boares, and the women bee witches. The same day also wee passed by the Castle of Tino, standing upon a very high mountaine, and neere unto it is the Island of Diana.

The 15. of May, wee came to Sio, where I stayed thirtie and three dayes. In it is a very proper Towne, after the building of that Countrey, and the people are civil: and while we were here, there came in sixe Gallies, which had bene at Alexandria, and one of them which was the Admiral, had a Prince of the Moores prisoner, whom they tooke about Alexandria, and they meant to present him to the Turke. The towne standeth in a valley, and a long the water side pleasantly. There are about 26. winde-mills about it, and the commodities of it are cotton wooll, cotton yarne, mastike, and some other drugs.

As we remained at Sio, there grew a great controversie betweene the mariners of the Hercules, and the Greekes of the Towne of Sio, about the bringing home of the Turkes, which the Greekes tooke in ill part, and the boyes cried out, Vive el Re Philippe: whereupon our men beate the boyes, and threwe stones, and so a broile beganne, and some of our men were hurt: but the Greekes were fetcht out of their houses, and manacled together with yrons, and threatned to the Gallies: about fourtie of them were sent to the prison, and what became of them, when we were gone, we know not, for we went thence within two dayes after, which was the 19. of June.

The 20. day wee passed by the Island of Singonina, an Island risen by the casting of stones in that place: the substance of the ground there is brimstone, and burneth sometimes so much that it bloweth up the rockes.

The 24. of June wee came to Cyprus , and had sight in the way of the aforesaide sixe Gallies, that came from Alexandria, one whereof came unto us, and required a present for himselfe, and for two of the other Gallies, which we for quietnesse sake gave them.

The 27. of June, wee came to Tripolie, where I stayed till the fift of July, and then tooke passage in a smal barke called a Caramusalin, which was a passage boat, and was bound for Bichieri, thirteene miles on this side Alexandria, which boate was fraighted with Turkes, Moores, and Jewes.

The 20. day of July, this barke which I passed in ranne upon a rocke, and was in very great danger, so that we all began some to be ready to swimme, some to leape into the shippe boate, but it pleased God to set us quickly off the rocke, and without much harme.

The 28. of July I came to Bichieri, where I was well entertained of a Jewe which was the Customer there, giving me Muskadine, and drinking water himself: having broken my fast with him, he provided mee a Camell for my carriage, and a Mule for mee to ride upon, and a Moore to runne by me to the City of Alexandria, who had charge to see mee safe in the English house, whither I came, but found no Englishmen there: but then my guide brought mee aboord a ship of Alderman Martins, called the Tyger of London, where I was well received of the Master of the said ship, whose name was Thomas Rickman, and of all the company.

The said Master having made me good cheere, and made me also to drinke of the water of Nilus, having the keyes of the English house, went thither with me himselfe, & appointed mee a faire chamber, and left a man with me to provide me all things that I needed, and every day came himselfe to me, and caried me into the City, and shewed me the monuments thereof, which be these.

Hee brought mee first to Pompey his pillar, which is a mighty thing of gray marble, and all of one stone, in height by estimation above 52. yards, and the compasse about sixe fadome.

The City hath three gates, one called the gate of Barbaria, the other of Merina, and the thirde of Rossetto.

He brought me to a stone in the streete of the Citie, whereupon S. Marke was beheaded: to the place where S. Katherine died, having there hid herselfe, because she would not marry: also to the Bath of S. Katherine.

I saw there also Pharaos needle, which is a thing in height almost equall with Pompeys pillar, and is in compasse five fadome, and a halfe, and all of one stone.

I was brought also to a most brave and daintie Bath, where we washed our selves: the Bath being of marble, and of very curious workemanship.

The Citie standeth upon great arches, or vawtes, like unto Churches, with mightie pillars of marble, to holde up the foundation: which arches are built to receive the water of the river of Nilus, which is for the use of the Citie. It hath three Castles, and a hundred Churches: but the part that is destroyed of it, is sixe times more then that part which standeth.

The last day of July, I departed from Alexandria towards Cayro in a passage boate, wherein first I went to Rossetto, standing by the river side, having 13. or 14. great churches in it, their building there is of stone and bricke, but as for lodging, there is litle, except we bring it with us.

From Rossetto wee passed along the river of Nilus, which is so famous in the world, twise as broad as the Thames at London: on both sides grow date trees in great abundance. The people be rude, insomuch that a man cannot traveile without a Janizary to conduct him.

The time that I stayed in Ægypt was the Turkes and Moores Lent, in all which time they burne lamps in their churches, as many as may hang in them: their Lent endureth 40. dayes, and they have three Lents in the yere: during which time they neither eate nor drink in the day time, but all the night they do nothing else.

Betwixt Rossetto and Cayro there are along the water side three hundred cities and townes, and the length of the way is not above three hundred miles.

To this famous Citie of Cayro I came the fift day of August, where I found M. William Alday, and William Caesar, who intertained me in very good sort. M. Caesar brought mee to see the Pyramides which are three in number, one whereof king Pharao made for his owne tombe, the tombe it selfe is almost in the top of it: the monuments bee high and in forme 4. square, and every of the squares is as long as a man may shoote a roving arrowe, and as high as a Church, I sawe also the ruines of the Citie of Memphis hard by those Pyramides.

The house of Joseph is yet standing in Cayro, which is a sumptuous thing, having a place to walke in of 56. mighty pillars, all gilt with gold, but I saw it not, being then lame.

The 11. day of August the lande was cut at Cayro, to let in the water of the river of Nilus, which was done with great joy and triumph.

The 12. of August I set from Cayro towards Alexandria againe, and came thither the 14. of August. The 26. day there was kept a great feast of the Turkes and Moores, which lasted two dayes, and for a day they never ceased shooting off of great Ordinance.

From Alexandria I sailed to Argier, where I lay with M. Typton Consull of the English nation, who used me most kindly, and at his owne charge. Hee brought mee to the kings Court, and into the presence of the King, to see him, and the maners of the Court: the King doeth onely beare the name of a King, but the greatest government is in the hands of the souldiers.

The king of Potanca is prisoner in Argier, who comming to Constantinople, to acknowledge a duety to the great Turke, was betrayed by his owne nephew, who wrote to the Turke, that hee went onely as a spy, by that meanes to get his kingdome. I heard at Argier of seven Gallies that were at that time cast away at a towne called Formentera : three of them were of Argier, the other foure were the Christians.

We found here also 13. Englishmen, which were by force of weather put into the bay of Tunis , where they were very ill used by the Moores, who forced them to leave their barke: whereupon they went to the Councell of Argier, to require a redresse and remedy for the injurie. They were all belonging to the shippe, called the Golden Noble of London, whereof Master Birde is owner. The Master was Stephen Haselwood, and the Captaine Edmond Bence.

The thirde day of December, the pinnesse called the Mooneshine of London, came to Argier with a prize, which they tooke upon the coast of Spaine, laden with sugar, hides, and ginger: the pinnesse also belonging to the Golden Noble: and at Argier they made sale both of shippe and goods, where wee left them at our comming away, which was the seventh day of Januarie, and the first day of February, I landed at Dartmouth , and the seventh day came to London, with humble thankes to Almightie God, for my safe arrivall.

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