The first voiage to Guinea and Benin .IN the yeere of our Lord 1553. the twelfth day of August, sailed from Portsmouth two goodly ships, the Primerose and the Lion, with a pinnas called the Moone, being all well furnished aswell with men of the lustiest sort, to the number of seven score, as also with ordinance and victuals requisite to such a voiage: having also two captaines, the one a stranger called Anthonie Anes Pinteado, a Portugall, borne in a towne named The Port of Portugall, a wise, discreet, and sober man, who for his cunning in sailing, being as well an expert Pilot as a politike captaine, was sometime in great favour with the king of Portugall, and to whom the coasts of Brasile and Guinea were committed to be kept from the Frenchmen, to whom he was a terrour on the Sea in those parts, and was furthermore a gentleman of the king his masters house. But as fortune in maner never favoureth but flattereth, never promiseth but deceiveth, never raiseth but casteth downe againe: and as great wealth & favour have alwaies companions, emulation and envie, he was after many adversities & quarels made against him, inforced to come into England: where in this golden voyage he was evil matched with an unequal companion, and unlike match of most sundry qualities & conditions, with vertues few or none adorned. Thus departed these noble ships under saile on their voyage: But first captaine Windam putting forth of his ship at Portsmouth a kinsman of one of the head marchants, and shewing herein a muster of the tragicall partes hee had conceived in his braine, and with such small beginnings nourished so monstrous a birth, that more happy, yea and blessed was that yong man being left behind, then if he had bene taken with them, as some do wish he had done the like by theirs. Thus sailed they on their voyage, untill they came to the Iland of Madera, where they tooke in certaine wines for the store of their ships, and paid for them as they agreed of the price. At these Ilands they met with a great Galion of the king of Portugall, full of men and ordinance: yet such as could not have prevailed if it had attempted to withstand or resist our ships, for the which cause it was set foorth, not onely to let and interrupt these our shippes of their purposed voiage, but al other that should attempt the like: yet chiefly to frustrate our voiage. For the king of Portugall was sinisterly informed, that our ships were armed to his castle of Mina in those parties, whereas nothing lesse was ment. After that our ships departed from the Iland of Madera forward on their voiage, began this worthy captaine Pinteados sorow, as a man tormented with the company of a terrible Hydra, who hitherto flattred with him, & made him a faire countenance and shew of love. Then did he take upon him to command all alone, setting nought both by captain Pinteado, and the rest of the marchants factors, sometimes with opprobrious words, and somtimes with threatnings most shamfully abusing them, taking from Pinteado the service of the boies and certain mariners that were assigned him by the order and direction of the worshipful merchants, and leaving him as a common mariner, which is the greatest despite and grief that can be to a Portugale or Spaniard, to be diminished of their honor, which they esteem above all riches. Thus sailing forward on their voiage, they came to the Ilands of Canarie, continuing their course from thence until they arrived at the Iland of S. Nicholas, where they victualled themselves with fresh meat, of the flesh of wild goats, whereof is great plenty in that Iland, & in maner of nothing els. From hence folowing on their course and tarying here & there at the desert Ilands in the way, because they would not come too timely to the countrey of Guinea for the heat, and tarying somwhat too long (for what can be well ministred in a common wealth, where inequalitie with tyrannie wil rule alone) they came at the length to the first land of the country of Guinea, where they fel with the great river of Sesto , where they might for their marchandizes have laden their ships with the graines of that countrey, which is a very hote fruit, and much like unto a fig as it groweth on the tree. For as the figs are full of small seeds, so is the said fruit full of graines, which are loose within the cod, having in the mids thereof a hole on every side. This kind of spice is much used in cold countries, & may there be sold for great advantage, for exchange of other wares. But our men, by the perswasion or rather inforcement of this tragicall captaine, not regarding and setting light by that commoditie, in comparison of ye fine gold they thirsted, sailed an hundred leagues further, until they came to the golden land: where not attempting to come neere the castle pertaining to the king of Portugall, which was within the river of Mina , they made sale of their ware only on this side & beyond it, for the gold of that country, to the quantitie of an hundred and fiftie pounds weight, there being in case that they might have dispatched all their ware for gold, if the untame braine of Windam had, or could have given eare to the counsell and experience of Pinteado. For when that Windam not satisfied with the gold which he had, and more might have had if he had taried about the Mina , commanding the said Pinteado (for so he tooke upon him) to lead the ships to Benin , being under the Equinoctial line, and an hundred and fifty leagues beyond the Mina , where he looked to have their ships laden with pepper: and being counselled of the said Pinteado, considering the late time of the yeere, for that time to go no further, but to make sale of their wares such as they had for gold, wherby they might have bene great gainers: Windam not assenting hereunto, fell into a sudden rage, reviling the sayd Pinteado, calling him Jew, with other opprobrious words, saying, This whoreson Jew hath promised to bring us to such places as are not, or as he cannot bring us unto: but if he do not, I will cut off his eares and naile them to the maste. Pinteado gave the foresaid counsell to go no further for the safegard of the men and their lives, which they should put in danger if they came too late, for the Rossia which is their Winter, not for cold, but for smothering heate, with close and cloudie aire and storming weather, of such putrifying qualitie, that it rotted the coates of their backs: or els for comming to soone for the scorching heat of the sunne, which caused them to linger in the way. But of force and not of will brought he the ships before the river of Benin , where riding at an Anker, they sent their pinnas up into the river 50 or 60 leagues, from whence certaine of the marchants with captaine Pinteado, Francisco a Portugale, Nicholas Lambart gentleman, and other marchants were conducted to the court where the king remained, ten leagues from the river side, whither when they came, they were brought with a great company to the presence of the king, who being a blacke Moore (although not so blacke as the rest) sate in a great huge hall, long and wide, the wals made of earth without windowes, the roofe of thin boords, open in sundry places, like unto lovers to let in the aire. And here to speake of the great reverence they give to their king, it is such, that if we would give as much to our Savior Christ, we should remoove from our heads many plagues which we daily deserve for our contempt and impietie. So it is therfore, that when his noble men are in his presence, they never looke him in the face, but sit cowring, as we upon our knees, so they upon their buttocks, with their elbowes upon their knees, and their hands before their faces, not looking up until the king command them. And when they are comming toward the king, as far as they doe see him, they do shew such reverence, sitting on the ground with their faces covered as before. Likewise when they depart from him, they turn not their backs toward him, but goe creeping backward with like reverence. And now to speake somewhat of the communication that was between the king and our men, you shall first understand that he himselfe could speake the Portugall tongue, which he had learned of a child. Therefore after he had commanded our men to stand up, and demanded of them the cause of their comming into that countrey, they answered by Pinteado, that they were marchants travelling into those parties for the commodities of his countrey, for exchange of wares which they had brought from their countries, being such as should be no lesse commodious for him and his people. The king then having of old lying in a certaine store-house 30 or 40 kintals of Pepper (every kintall being an hundred weight) willed them to looke upon the same, and againe to bring him a sight of such merchandizes as they had brought with them. And thereupon sent with the captaine and the marchants certaine of his men to conduct them to the waters side, with other to bring the ware from the pinnas to the court. Who when they were returned and the wares seen, the king grew to this ende with the merchants to provide in 30 dayes the lading of al their ships with pepper. And in case their merchandizes would not extend to the value of so much pepper, he promised to credite them to their next returne, and thereupon sent the country round about to gather pepper, causing the same to be brought to the court: So that within the space of 30 dayes they had gathered fourescore tunne of pepper. In the meane season our men partly having no rule of themselves, but eating without measure of the fruits of the countrey, and drinking the wine of the Palme trees that droppeth in the night from the cut of the branches of the same, and in such extreme heate running continually into the water, not used before to such sudden and vehement alterations (then the which nothing is more dangerous) were thereby brought into swellings and agues: insomuch that the later time of the yeere comming on, caused them to die sometimes three & sometimes 4 or 5 in a day. Then Windam perceiving the time of the 30 daies to be expired, and his men dying so fast, sent to the court in post to Captaine Pinteado, & the rest to come away and to tary no longer. But Pinteado with the rest, wrote backe to him againe, certifying him of the great quantity of pepper they had alreadie gathered & looked daily for much more: desiring him furthermore to remember the great praise and name they should win, if they came home prosperously, and what shame of the contrary. With which answere Windam not satisfied, and many of their men dying dayly, willed and commaunded them againe either to come away forthwith, or els threatened to leave them behinde. When Pinteado heard this answere, thinking to perswade him with reason, hee tooke his way from the court toward the ships, being conducted thither with men by the kings commandement. In the rneane season Windam all raging, brake up Pinteados Cabin, brake open his chestes, spoiled such provision of cold stilled waters and suckets as he had provided for his health, and left him nothing, neither of his instruments to saile by, nor yet of his apparell: and in the meane time falling sicke, himselfe died also. Whose death Pinteado comming aboord, lamented as much as if he had bene the deerest friend he had in the world. But certaine of the mariners and other officers did spit in his face, some calling him Jewe, saying that he had brought them thither to kill them: and some drawing their swords at him, making a shew to slay him. Then he perceiving that they would needs away, desired them to tary that he might fetch the rest of the marchants that were left at the court, but they would not grant this request. Then desired he them to give him the ship-boate, with as much of an old saile as might serve for the same, promising them therwith to bring Nicholas Lambert and the rest into England, but all was in vaine. Then wrote he a letter to the court to the marchants, informing them of all the matter, and promising them if God would lend him life to returne with all haste to fetch them. And thus was Pinteado kept ashipboord against his will, thrust among the boyes of the ship, not used like a man, nor yet like an honest boy, but glad to find favour at the cookes hand. Then departed they, leaving one of their ships behind them, which they sunke for lacke of men to cary her. After this, within 6 or 7 dayes sayling, dyed also Pinteado for very pensivenesse & thought that stroke him to the heart. A man worthy to serve any prince, and most vilely used. And of sevenscore men came home to Plimmouth scarcely forty, and of them many died. And that no man should suspect these words which I have saide in commendation of Pinteado, to be spoken upon favour otherwise then trueth, I have thought good to adde hereunto the copie of the letters which the king of Portugall and the infant his brother wrote unto him to reconcile him, at such time as upon the king his masters displeasure (and not for any other crime or offence, as may appeare by the said letters) he was only for povertie inforced to come into England, where he first perswaded our marchants to attempt the said voyages to Guinea. But as the king of Portugall too late repented him that he had so punished Pinteado, upon malicious informations of such as envied the mans good fortune: even so may it hereby appeare that in some cases even Lions themselves may either be hindered by the contempt, or aided by the help of the poore mise, according unto the fable of Esope.
ALL these foresaid writings I saw under seale, in the house of my friend Nicholas Liese, with whom Pinteado left them, at his unfortunate departing to Guinea. But, notwithstanding all these friendly letters and faire promises, Pinteado durst not attempt to goe home, neither to keepe companie with the Portugals his countrey men, without the presence of other: forasmuch as he had secrete admonitions that they intended to slay him, if time and place might have served their wicked intent.