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Certaine reports of the province of China learned through the Portugals there imprisoned, and chiefly by the relation of Galeotto Perera, a Gentleman of good credit, that lay prisoner in that Countrey many yeeres. Done out of Italian into English by Richard Willes.

THIS land of China is parted into 13. Shires, the which sometimes were ech one a kingdome by it selfe, but these many yeeres they have bene all subject unto one King. Fuquien is made by the Portugals the first Shire, because there their troubles began, & they had occasion thereby to know the rest. In this shire be 8. cities, but one principally more famous then others called Fuquieo, the other seven are reasonably great, the best knowen whereof unto the Portugals is Cinceo, in respect of a certaine haven joyning thereunto, whither in time past they were wont for marchandise to resort.

Cantan is the second shire, not so great in quantitie, as well accompted of, both by the king thereof, and also by the Portugals, for that it lieth neerer unto Malacca then any other part of China , and was first discried by the Portugals before any other shire in that province: this shire hath in it seven Cities.

Chequeam is the third shire, the chiefest Citie therein is Donchion, therein also standeth Liampo, with other 13. or 14. boroughes: countrey townes therin are too too many to be spoken of.

The fourth shire is called Xutiamfu, the principall Citie thereof is great Pachin, where the King is alwayes resident. In it are fifteene other very great Cities: of other townes therein, and boroughes well walled and trenched about, I wil say nothing.

The fift shire hath name Chelim: the great Citie Nanquin chiefe of other fifteene cities was herein of ancient time the royall seat of the Chinish kings. From this shire, & from the aforesaid Chequeam forward bare rule the other kings, until the whole region became one kingdome.

The 6. shire beareth the name Quianci, as also the principal City thereof, wherein the fine clay to make vessels is wrought. The Portugals being ignorant of this Countrey, and finding great abundance of that fine clay to be solde at Liampo, and that very good cheape, thought at the first that it had bene made there, howbeit in fine they perceived that the standing of Quinzi more neere unto Liampo then to Cinceo or Cantan was the cause of so much fine clay at Liampo: within the compasse of Quinci shire be other 12. cities.

The 7. shire is Quicin, the 8. Quansi, the 9. Confu, the io. Urnan, the II. Sichiva. In the first hereof there be 16. Cities, in the next 15: how many Townes the other 3. have, wee are ignorant as yet, as also of the proper names of the 12. and 13. shires, and the townes therein.

This finally may be generally said hereof, that the greater shires in China province may bee compared with mightie kingdomes.

In eche one of these shires bee set Ponchiassini and Anchiassini, before whom are handled the matters of other Cities. There is also placed in ech one a Tutan, as you would say, a governour, and a Chian, that is a visiter, as it were: whose office is to goe in circuit, and to see justice exactly done. By these meanes so uprightly things are ordered there, that it may be worthily accompted one of the best governed provinces in all the world.

The king maketh alwayes his abode in the great city Pachin, as much to say in our language, as by the name thereof I am advertised, the towne of the kingdome. This kingdome is so large, that under five monethes you are not able to travaile from the Townes by the Sea side to the Court, and backe againe, no not under three monethes in poste at your urgent businesse. The posthorses in this Countrey are litle of body, but swift of foote. Many doe traveile the greater part of this journey by water in certaine light barkes, for the multitude of Rivers commodious for passage from one Citie to another.

The King, notwithstanding the hugenesse of his kingdome, hath such a care thereof, that every Moone (for by the Moones they reckon their monethes) he is advertised fully of whatsoever thing happeneth therein, by these meanes following.

The whole province being divided into shires, and ech shire having in it one chiefe and principall Citie, whereunto the matters of all the other Cities, Townes and boroughes, are brought, there are drawen in every chiefe Citie aforesaid intelligences of such things as doe monethly fall out, and be sent in writing to the Court. If happely in one moneth every Post be not able to goe so long a way, yet doeth there notwithstanding once every moneth arrive one Poste out of the shire. Who so commeth before the new moone stayeth for the delivery of his letters until the moone be changed. Then likewise are dispatched other Posts backe into all the 13. shires againe.

Before that we doe come to Cinceo wee have to passe through many places, and some of great importance. For this Countrey is so well inhabited neere the Sea side, that you cannot goe one mile but you shal see some Towne, borough or hostry, the which are so aboundantly provided of all things, that in the Cities and townes they live civily. Neverthelesse such as dwel abrode are very poore, for the multitude of them every where is so great, that out of a tree you shall see many times swarme a number of children, where a man would not have thought to have found any one at all.

From these places in number infinite, you shall come unto two Cities very populous, and, being compared with Cinceo, not possibly to be discerned which is the greater of them. These cities are as well walled as any Cities in all the world. As you come in to either of them, there standeth so great and mighty a bridge, that the like thereof I have never seene in Portugal nor else where. I heard one of my fellowes say, that hee tolde in one bridge 40. arches. The occasion wherefore these bridges are made so great is, for that the Countrey is toward the sea very plaine and low, and overflowed ever as the sea water encreaseth. The breadth of the bridges, although it bee well proportioned unto the length thereof, yet are they equally built, no higher in the middle then at either ende, in such wise that you may see directly from the one ende to the other: the sides are wonderfully well engraved after the maner of Rome-workes. But that we did most marveile at was therewithall the hugenesse of the stones, the like whereof, as we came in to the Citie, we did see many set up in places dis-habited by the way, to no small charges of theirs, howbeit to little purpose, whereas no body seeth them but such as doe come by. The arches are not made after our fashion, vauted with sundry stones set together: but paved, as it were, whole stones reaching from one piller to an other, in such wise that they lye both for the arches heads, and galantly serve also for the high way. I have bene astonied to beholde the hugenesse of the aforesaid stones : some of them are xii. pases long and upward, the least 11. good pases long, and an halfe.

The ways echwhere are galantly paved with fouresquare stone, except it be where for want of stone they use to lay bricke: in this voyage wee travailed over certain hilles, where the wayes were pitched, and in many places no worse paved then in the plaine ground. This causeth us to thinke, that in all the world there bee no better workemen for buildings, then the inhabitants of China . The Countrey is so well inhabited, that no one foote of ground is left untilled: small store of cattell have we seene this day, we saw onely certaine oxen wherewithall the countreymen do plow their ground. One oxe draweth the plough alone, not onely in this shire, but in other places also, wherein is greater store of cattell. These countreymen by arte do that in tillage, which we are constrained to doe by force. Here be solde the voydings of close stooles, although there wanteth not the dung of beastes: and the excrements of man are good marchandise throughout all China . The dungfermers seek in every streete by exchange to buy this durtie ware for herbs and wood. The custome is very good for keeping the Citie cleane. There is great aboundance of hennes, geese, duckes, swine, and goates, wethers have they none: the hennes are solde by weight, and so are all other things. Two pound of hennes flesh, geese, or ducke, is worth two foi of their money, that is, d.ob.sterling. Swines flesh is sold at a penie the pound. Beefe beareth the same price, for the scarcitie thereof, howbeit Northward from Fuquieo and farther off from the seacoast, there is beefe more plentie and solde better cheape; We have had in all the Cities we passed through, great abundance of all these victuals, beefe onely excepted. And if this Countrey were like unto India, the inhabitants whereof eate neither henne, beefe, nor porke, but keepe that onely for the Portugals and Moores, they would be sold here for nothing. But it so falling out, that the Chineans are the greatest eaters in all the world, they do feed upon all things, specially on porke, which, the fatter it is, is unto them the lesse lothsome. The highest price of these things aforesaid I have set downe, better cheape shal you sometimes buy them for the great plentie thereof in this countrey. Frogs are solde at the same price that is made of hennes, and are good meate amongst them, as also dogs, cats, rats, snakes, and all other uncleane meates.

The Cities be very gallant, specially neere unto the gates, the which are marveilously great, and covered with iron. The gatehouses are built on high with towers, & the lower part thereof is made of bricke & stone, proportionally with the walls, from the walls upward the building is of timber, and many stories in it one above the other. The strength of their townes is in the mightie walles and ditches, artillerie have they none.

The streetes in Cinceo, and in all the rest of the Cities we have seene are very faire, so large and so straight, that it is wonderfull to behold. Their houses are built with timber, the foundations onely excepted, the which are layd with stone: in ech side of the streetes are pentises or continuall porches for the marchants to walke under: the breadth of the streets is neverthelesse such, that in them 15. men may ride commodiously side by side. As they ride they must needs passe under many high arches of triumph that crosse over the streetes made of timber, and carved diversly, covered with tiles of fine clay: under these arches the Mercers do utter their smaller wares, & such as list to stand there are defended from raine and the heate of the Sunne. The greater gentlemen have these arches at their doores: although some of them be not so mightily built as the rest.

I shall have occasion to speake of a certaine order of gentlemen that are called Louteas. I wil first therefore expound what this word signifieth. Loutea is as much to say in our language as Sir, and when any of them calleth his name, he answereth Sir: and as we do say, that the king hath made some gentleman, so say they, that there is made a Loutea. And for that amongst them the degrees are divers both in name and office, I will tell you onely of some principals, being not able to advertise you of all.

The maner how gentlemen are created Louteas, and do come to that honour and title, is by the giving of a broad girdle, not like to the rest, and a cap, at the commaundement of the king. The name Loutea is more generall & common unto mo, then the equalitie of honour thereby signified agreeth withall. Such Louteas as doe serve their prince in weightie matters for justice, are created after trial made of their learning: but the other which serve in smaller affaires, as Captaines, constables, sergeants by land and sea, receivers and such like, whereof there be in every citie, as also in this, very many, are made for favour: the chiefe Louteas are served kneeling.

The whole province of China is divided, as I have said, into 13. shires, in every shire at the least is one governour called there Tutan, in some shires there be two.

Chiefe in office next unto them be certaine other named Chians, that is, high Commissioners as you would say, or visiters, with full authoritie in such wise, that they doe call unto an accompt the Tutans themselves, but their authoritie lasteth not in any shire longer then one yere. Neverthelesse in every shire being at the least 7. cities, yea, in some of them 15. or 16. beside other boroughes and townes not well to be numbred, these visiters where they come are so honoured and feared, as though they were some great princes. At the yeres end, their circuit done, they come unto that Citie which is chiefe of others in the shire, to do justice there: finally busying themselves in the searching out of such as are to receive the order of Louteas, whereof more shalbe said in another place.

Over and besides these officers, in the cheife City of ech one of these aforesaid 13. provinces, is resident one Ponchiassi, Captaine thereof, and treasurer of all the kings revenues. This Magistrate maketh his abode in one of the foure greatest houses that be in all these head Cities. And although the principall part of his function be to be Captaine, to be treasourer of the revenues in that province, & to send these revenues at appointed times to the Court: yet hath he notwithstanding by his office also to meddle with matters appertaining unto justice.

In the second great house dwelleth an other Magistrate called Anchiassi, a great officer also, for he hath dealings in all matters of justice. Who although he be somewhat inferior in dignitie unto the Ponchiassi, yet for his great dealings and generall charge of justice, whosoever seeth the affaires of the one house and the other might judge this Anchiassi to be the greater.

Tuzi, an other officer so called, lieth in the thirde house, a magistrate of importance, specially in things belonging unto warfare, for thereof hath he charge.

There is resident in the 4. house a fourth officer, bearing name Taissu. In this house is the principall prison of all the Citie. Ech one of these Magistrates aforesaide may both lay evill doers in prison, & deliver them out againe, except ye fact be heinous & of importance: in such a case they can do nothing, except they do meet al together. And if the deed deserveth death, all they together cannot determine thereof, without recourse made unto the Chian wheresoever hee be, or to the Tutan: and eftsoones it falleth out, that the case is referred unto higher power. In all Cities, not onely chiefe in ech shire, but in the rest also, are meanes found to make Louteas. Many of them do study at the prince his charges, wherefore at the yeeres ende they resort unto the head Cities, whither the Chians doe come, as it hath bene earst saide, as well to give these degrees, as to sit in judgement over the prisoners.

The Chians go in circuit every yere, but such as are to be chosen to the greatest offices meete not but from three yeeres to three yeeres, and that in certaine large halles appointed for them to be examined in. Many things are asked them, whereunto if they doe answere accordingly, and be found sufficient to take their degree, the Chian by and by granteth it them: but the Cap and girdle, whereby they are knowen to be Louteas, they weare not before that they be confirmed by the king. Their examination done, and triall made of them, such as have taken their degree wont to be given them with all ceremonies, use to banquet and feast many dayes together (as the Chineans fashion is to ende all their pleasures with eating and drinking) and so remaine chosen to do the king service in matters of learning. The other examinates founde insufficient to proceed are sent backe to their studie againe. Whose ignorance is perceived to come of negligence and default, such a one is whipped, and sometimes sent to prison, where lying that yeere when this kinde of acte was, we found many thus punished, and demaunding the cause thereof, they saide it was for that they knew not how to answere unto certaine things asked them. It is a world to see how these Louteas are served and feared, in such wise, that in publike assemblies at one shrike they give, all the servitors belonging unto justice tremble thereat. At their being in these places, when they list to moove, be it but even to the gate, these servitors doe take them up, and carry them in seates of beaten gold. After this sort are they borne when they goe in the City, either for their owne businesse abroade, or to see ech other at home. For the dignitie they have, and office they doe beare, they be all accompanied: the very meanest of them all that goeth in these seates is ushered by two men at the least, that cry unto the people to give place, howbeit they neede it not, for that reverence the common people have unto them. They have also in their company certaine Sergeants with their Maces either silvered or altogether silver, some two, some foure, other sixe, other eight, conveniently for ech one his degree. The more principal and chiefe Louteas have going orderly before these Sergeants, many other with staves, and a great many catchpoules with rods of Indish canes dragged on the ground, so that the streets being paved, you may heare afarre off as well the noyse of the rods, as the voyce of the criers. These fellowes serve also to apprehend others, and the better to be knowen they weare livery red girdles, and in their caps peacocks feathers. Behinde these Louteas come such as doe beare certaine tables hanged at staves endes, wherein is written in silver letters, the name, degree, and office of that Loutea, whom they follow. In like maner they have borne after them hattes agreeable unto their titles: if the Loutea be meane, then hath he brought after him but one hat, and that may not be yealowe: but if he be of the better sort, then may he have two, three, or foure: the principall and chiefe Louteas may have all their hats yealow, the which among them is accompted great honour. The Loutea for warres, although he be but meane, may notwithstanding have yealow hats. The Tutans and Chians, when they goe abroad, have besides all this before them ledde three or foure horses with their guard in armour.

Furthermore the Louteas, yea and all the people of China , are wont to eate their meate sitting on stooles at high tables as we doe, and that very cleanely, although they use neither table-clothes nor napkins. Whatsoever is set downe upon the boord is first carved before that it be brought in: they feede with two sticks, refraining from touching their meate with their hands, even as we do with forkes : for the which respect they lesse do neede any table clothes. Ne is the nation only civill at meate, but also in conversation, and in courtesie they seeme to exceede all other. Likewise in their dealings after their maner they are so ready, that they farre passe all other Gentiles and Moores : the greater states are so vaine, that they line their clothes with the best silke that may be found. The Louteas are an idle generation, without all maner of exercises and pastimes, except it be eating and drinking. Sometimes they walke abroad in the fields to make the soldiers shoot at pricks with their bowes, but their eating passeth: they will stand eating even when the other do draw to shoot. The pricke is a great blanket spread on certaine long poles, he that striketh it, hath of the best man there standing a piece of crimson Taffata, the which is knit about his head: in this sort the winners be honoured, and the Louteas with their bellies full returne home againe. The inhabitants of China be very great Idolaters, all generally doe worship the heavens: and, as wee are wont to say, God knoweth it: so say they at every word, Tien Tautee, that is to say, The heavens doe know it. Some doe worship the Sonne, and some the Moone, as they thinke good, for none are bound more to one then to another. In their temples, the which they do call Meani, they have a great altar in the same place as we have, true it is that one may goe round about it. There set they up the image of a certaine Loutea of that countrey, whom they have in great reverence for certaine notable things he did. At the right hand standeth the divel much more ugly painted then we doe use to set him out, whereunto great homage is done by such as come into the temple to aske counsell, or to draw lottes: this opinion they have of him, that he is malicious and able to do evil. If you aske them what they do thinke of the soules departed, they will answere that they be immortall, and that as soone as any one departeth out of this life, he becommeth a divel if hee have lived well in this world, if otherwise, that the same divel changeth him into a bufle, oxe, or dogge. Wherefore to this divel they doe much honour, to him doe they sacrifice, praying him that he will make them like unto himselfe, and not like other beastes. They have moreover another sort of temples, wherein both upon the altars and also on the walls do stand many idols well proportioned, but bare headed: these beare name Omithofon, accompted of them spirits, but such as in heaven do neither good nor evill, thought to be such men and women as have chastly lived in this world in abstinence from fish and flesh, fed onely with rise and salates. Of that divel they make some accompt: for these spirits they care litle or nothing at all. Againe they holde opinion that if a man do well in this life, the heavens will give him many temporall blessings, but if he doe evil, then shall he have infirmities, diseases, troubles, and penurie, and all this without any knowledge of God. Finally, this people knoweth no other thing then to live and die, yet because they be reasonable creatures, all seemed good unto them we speake in our language, though it were not very sufficient: our maner of praying especially pleased them, and truely they are well ynough disposed to receive the knowledge of the trueth. Our Lord grant for his mercy all things so to be disposed, that it may sometime be brought to passe, that so great a nation as this is perish not for want of helpe.

Our maner of praying so well liked them, that in prison importunately they besought us to write for them somewhat as concerning heaven, the which we did to their contentation wt such reasons as we knew, howbeit not very cunningly. As they do their idolatry they laugh at themselves. If at any time this countrey might be joyned in league with the kingdome of Portugale, in such wise that free accesse were had to deale with the people there, they might all be soone converted. The greatest fault we do finde in them is Sodomie, a vice very common in the meaner sort, and nothing strange amongst the best. This sinne were it left of them, in all other things so well disposed they be, that a good interpreter in a short space might do there great good: If, as I said, the countrey were joyned in league with us.

Furthermore the Louteas, with all the people of China , are wont to solemnize the dayes of the new and full Moones in visiting one an other, and making great banquets: for to that end, as I earst said, do tend all their pastimes, and spending their days in pleasure. They are wont also to solemnize ech one his birth day, whereunto their kindred and friends do resort of custome, with presents of jewels or money, receiving againe for their reward good cheare. They keepe in like maner a generall feast with great banquets that day their king was borne. But their most principall and greatest feast of all, and best cheare, is the first day of their new yeere, namely the first day of the new Moone of February, so that their first moneth is March, and they reckon the times accordingly, respect being had unto the reigne of their princes: as when any deed is written, they date it thus, Made such a day of such a moone, and such a yeere of the reigne of such a king. And their ancient writings beare date of the yeeres of this or that king.

Now will I speake of the maner which the Chineans doe observe in doing of justice, that it may be knowen how farre these Gentiles do herein exceed many Christians, that be more bounden then they to deale justly and in trueth. Because the Chinish king maketh his abode continually in the City Pachin, his kingdome so great, & the shires so many, as tofore it hath bene said: in it therefore the governours and rulers, much like unto our Shiriffes, be appointed so suddenly and speedily discharged againe, that they have no time to grow naught. Furthermore to keepe the state in more securitie, the Louteas that governe one shire are chosen out of some other shire distant farre off, where they must leave their wives, children and goods, carying nothing with them but themselves. True it is, that at their comming thither they doe finde in a readinesse all things necessary, their house, furniture, servants, and all other things in such perfection and plentie, that they want nothing. Thus the king is well served without all feare of treason.

In the principall Cities of the shires be foure chiefe Louteas, before whom are brought all matters of the inferiour Townes, throughout the whole Realme. Divers other Louteas have the managing of justice, and receiving of rents, bound to yeelde an accompt thereof unto the greater officers. Other do see that there be no evil rule kept in the Citie: ech one as it behoveth him. Generally all these doe imprison malefactours, cause them to be whipped and racked, hoysing them up and downe by the armes with a cord, a thing very usuall there, and accompted no shame. These Louteas do use great diligence in the apprehending of theeves, so that it is a wonder to see a theefe escape away in any City, towne or village. Upon the sea neere unto the shoare many are taken, and looke even as they are taken, so be they first whipped, and afterward layde in prison, where shortly after they all die for hunger and cold. At that time when we were in prison, there died of them above threescore and ten. If happely any one, having the meanes to get food, do escape, he is set with the condemned persons, and provided for as they be by the King, in such wise as hereafter it shalbe said.

Their whips be certaine pieces of canes, cleft in the middle, in such sort that they seeme rather plaine then sharpe. He that is to be whipped lieth grovelong on the ground: upon his thighes the hangman layeth on blowes mightily with these canes, that the standers by tremble at their crueltie. Ten stripes draw a great deale of blood, 20. or 30. spoile the flesh altogether, 50. or 60. will require long time to bee healed, and if they come to the number of one hundred, then are they incurable.

The Louteas observe moreover this: when any man is brought before them to be examined, they aske him openly in the hearing of as many as be present, be the offence never so great. Thus did they also behave themselves with us: For this cause amongst them can there be no false witnesse, as dayly amongst us it falleth out. This good commeth thereof, that many being alwayes about the Judge to heare the evidence, and beare witnesse, the processe cannot be falsified, as it happeneth sometimes with us. The Moores, Gentiles, and Jewes have all their sundry othes, the Moores do sweare by their Mossafos, the Brachmans by their Fili , the rest likewise by the things they do worship. The Chineans though they be wont to sweare by heaven, by the Moone, by the Sunne, and by all their Idoles, in judgement neverthelesse they sweare not at all. If for some offence an othe be used of any one, by and by with the least evidence he is tormented, so be the witnesses he bringeth, if they tell not the trueth, or do in any point disagree, except they be men of worship and credit, who are beleeved without any further matter: the rest are made to confesse the trueth by force of torments and whips. Besides this order observed of them in examinations, they do feare so much their King, and he where he maketh his abode keepeth them so lowe, that they dare not once stirre. Againe, these Louteas as great as they be, notwithstanding the multitude of Notaries they have, not trusting any others, do write all great processes and matters of importance themselves. Moreover one vertue they have worthy of great praise, and that is, being men so wel regarded and accompted as though they were princes, yet they be patient above measure in giving audience. We poore strangers brought before them might say what we would, as all to be lyes and fallaces that they did write, ne did we stand before them with the usuall ceremonies of that Countrey, yet did they beare with us so patiently, that they caused us to wonder, knowing specially how litle any advocate or Judge is wont in our Countrey to beare with us. For wheresoever in any Towne of Christendome should be accused unknowen men as we were, I know not what end the very innocents cause would have: but we in a heathen Countrey, having our great enemies two of the chiefest men in a whole Towne, wanting an interpreter, ignorant of that Countrey language, did in the end see our great adversaries cast into prison for our sake, and deprived of their Offices and honour for not doing justice, yea not to escape death: for, as the rumour goeth, they shalbe beheaded. Somewhat is now to be said of the lawes that I have bene able to know in this Countrey, and first, no theft or murther is at any time pardoned: adulterers are put in prison, and the fact once proved, are condemned to die, the womans husband must accuse them: this order is kept with men & women found in that fault, but theeves and murderers are imprisoned as I have said, where they shortly die for hunger and cold. If any one happely escape by bribing the Gailer to give him meate, his processe goeth further, and commeth to the Court where he is condemned to die. Sentence being given, the prisoner is brought in publique with a terrible band of men that lay him in Irons hand and foot, with a boord at his necke one handfull broad, in length reaching downe to his knees, cleft in two parts, and with a hole one handfull downeward in the table fit for his necke, the which they inclose up therein, nailing the boord fast together; one handfull of the boord standeth up behinde in the necke: The sentence and cause wherefore the fellon was condemned to die, is written in that part of the table that standeth before.

This ceremony ended, he is laid in a great prison in the company of some other condemned persons, the which are found by the king as long as they do live. The bord aforesaid so made tormenteth the prisoners very much, keeping them both from rest, & eke letting them to eat commodiously, their hands being manacled in irons under that boord, so that in fine there is no remedy but death. In the chiefe Cities of every shire, as we have erst said, there be foure principall houses, in ech of them a prison: but in one of them, where the Taissu maketh his abode, there is a greater and a more principal prison then in any of the rest: and although in every City there be many, neverthelesse in three of them remaine onely such as be condemned to die. Their death is much prolonged, for that ordinarily there is no execution done but once a yeere, though many die for hunger and cold, as we have seene in this prison. Execution is done in this maner. The Chian, to wit, the high Commissioner or Lord chiefe Justice, at the yeres end goeth to the head City, where he heareth againe the causes of such as be condemned. Many times he delivereth some of them, declaring ye boord to have bene wrongfully put about their necks: the visitation ended, he choseth out seven or eight, not many more or lesse of the greatest malefactors, the which, to feare and keepe in awe the people, are brought into a great market place, where all the great Louteas meete together, and after many ceremonies and superstitions, as the use of the Countrey is, are beheaded. This is done once a yeere: who so escapeth that day, may be sure that he shall not be put to death all that yeere following, and so remaineth at the kings charges in the greater prison. In that prison where we lay were alwayes one hundred and mo of these condemned persons, besides them that lay in other prisons.

These prisons wherein the condemned caytifes do remaine are so strong, that it hath not bene heard, that any prisoner in all China hath escaped out of prison, for in deed it is a thing impossible. The prisons are thus builded. First all the place is mightily walled about, the walles be very strong and high, the gate of no lesse force: within it three other gates, before you come where the prisoners do lye, there many great lodgings are to be seene of the Louteas, Notaries, Parthions, that is, such as do there keepe watch and ward day and night, the court large and paved, on the one side whereof standeth a prison, with two mighty gates, wherein are kept such prisoners as have committed enormious offences. This prison is so great, that in it are streetes and Market places wherein all things necessary are sold. Yea some prisoners live by that kinde of trade, buying and selling, and letting out beds to hire: some are dayly sent to prison, some dayly delivered, wherefore this place is never void of 7. or eight hundred men that go at libertie.

Into one other prison of condemned persons shall you go at three yron gates, the court paved and vauted round about, and open above as it were a cloister. In this cloister be eight roomes with yron doores, and in ech of them a large gallerie, wherein every night the prisoners do lie at length, their feet in the stocks, their bodies hampered in huge wooden grates that keep them from sitting, so that they lye as it were in a cage, sleepe if they can: in the morning they are losed againe, that they may go into the court. Notwithstanding the strength of this prison, it is kept with a garrison of men, part whereof watch within the house, part of them in the court, some keepe about the prison with lanterns and watch-bels answering one another five times every night, and giving warning so lowd, that the Loutea resting in a chamber not neere thereunto, may heare them. In these prisons of condemned persons remaine some 15, other 20. yeres imprisoned, not executed, for the love of their honorable friends that seeke to prolong their lives. Many of these prisoners be shoomakers, and have from the king a certaine allowance of rise: some of them worke for the keeper, who suffreth them to go at libertie without fetters and boords, the better to worke. Howbeit when the Loutea calleth his checke roll, & with the keeper vieweth them, they all weare their liveries, that is, boords at their necks, yronned hand and foot. When any of these prisoners dieth, he is to be seene of the Loutea and Notaries, brought out of a gate so narrow, that there can but one be drawen out there at once. The prisoner being brought forth, one of the aforesaid Parthions striketh him thrise on the head with an yron sledge, that done he is delivered unto his friends, if he have any, otherwise the king hireth men to cary him to his buriall in the fields.

Thus adulterers and theeves are used. Such as be imprisoned for debt once knowen, lie there until it be paied. The Taissu or Loutea calleth them many times before him by the vertue of his office, who understanding the cause wherefore they do not pay their debts, appointeth them a certaine time to do it, within the compasse whereof if they discharge not their debts being debters in deed, then they be whipped and condemned to perpetuall imprisonment : if the creditors be many, and one is to be paied before another, they do, contrary to our maner, pay him first of whom they last borrowed, and so ordinarily the rest, in such sort that the first lender be the last receiver. The same order is kept in paying legacies: the last named receiveth his portion first. They accompt it nothing to shew favour to such a one as can do the like againe: but to do good to them that have litle or nothing, that is worth thanks, therefore pay they the last before the first, for that their intent seemeth rather to be vertuous then gainefull.

When I said, that such as be committed to prison for theft and murther were judged by the Court, I ment not them that were apprehended in the deed doing, for they need no triall, but are brought immediatly before the Tutan, who out of hand giveth sentence. Other not taken so openly, which do need trial, are the malefactors put to execution once a yere in the chiefe cities, to keepe in awe the people: or condemned, do remaine in prison, looking for their day. Theeves being taken are caried to prison from one place to another in a chest upon mens shoulders, hired therfore by the king, the chest is 6. handfuls high, the prisoner sitteth therein upon a bench, the cover of the chest is two boords, amid them both a pillery-like hole, for the prisoners necke, there sitteth he with his head without the chest, and the rest of his body within, not able to moove or turne his head this way or that way, nor to plucke it in: the necessities of nature he voydeth at a hole in the bottome of the chest, the meate he eateth is put into his mouth by others. There abideth he day and night during his whole journey: if happily his porters stumble, or the chest do jogge or be set downe carelessly, it turneth to his great paines that sitteth therein, al such motions being unto him hanging as it were. Thus were our companions caried from Cinceo, 7. daies journey, never taking any rest as afterward they told us, & their greatest griefe was to stay by the way: as soone as they came, being taken out of the chests, they were not able to stand on their feet, and two of them died shortly after. When we lay in prison at Fuquieo, we came many times abroad, & were brought to the pallaces of noble men, to be seene of them & their wives, for that they had never seene any Portugale before. Many things they asked us of our Country, and our fashions, & did write every thing, for they be curious in novelties above measure. The gentlemen shew great courtesie unto strangers, and so did we finde at their hands, and because that many times we were brought abroad into the City, somewhat wil I say of such things as I did see therein, being a gallant City, and chiefe in one of the 13. shires aforesaid. The City Fuquieo is very great, & mightily walled with square stone both within and without, and, as it may seeme by the breadth therof, filled up in the middle with earth, layd over with brick & covered with tyle, after the maner of porches or galleries, that one might dwel therein. The staires they use are so easily made, that one may go them up and downe a hors-backe, as eftsoones they do: the streets are paved, as already it hath bin said: there be a great number of Marchants, every one hath written in a great table at his doore such things as he hath to sel. In like maner every artisane painteth out his craft: the market places be large, great abundance of al things there be to be sold. The city standeth upon water, many streames run through it, the banks pitched, & so broad that they serve for streets to the cities use. Over the streams are sundry bridges both of timber & stone, which being made level with the streets, hinder not the passage of the barges too and fro, the chanels are so deepe. Where the streames come in and go out of the city, be certaine arches in the wal, there go in and out their Parai, that is a kind of barges they have, & that in the day time only: at night these arches are closed up with gates, so do they shut up al the gates of the City. These streames and barges do ennoblish very much the City, and make it as it were to seeme another Venice . The buildings are even, wel made, high, not lofted, except it be some wherein marchandize is laid. It is a world to see how great these cities are, and the cause is, for that the houses are built even, as I have said, & do take a great deale of roome. One thing we saw in this city that made us al to wonder, and is worthy to be noted: namely, over a porch at the comming in to one of the aforesaid 4. houses, which the king hath in every shire for his governors, as I have erst said, standeth a tower built upon 40. pillers, ech one whereof is but one stone, ech one 40. handfuls or spans long: in bredth or compasse 12, as many of us did measure them. Besides this, their greatnesse is such in one piece, that it might seeme impossible to worke them: they be moreover cornered, and in colour, length and breadth so like, that the one nothing differeth from the other. This thing made us all to wonder very much.

We are wont to cal this country China , and the people Chineans, but as long as we were prisoners, not hearing amongst them at any time that name, I determined to learne how they were called: and asked sometimes by them thereof, for that they understood us not when we called them Chineans, I answered them, that al the inhabitants of India named them Chineans, wherefore I praied them that they would tel me, for what occasion they are so called, whether peradventure any city of theirs bare that name. Hereunto they alwayes answered me, yt they have no such name, nor ever had. Then did I aske them what name the whole Country beareth, & what they would answere being asked of other nations what countrymen they were? It was told me that of ancient time in this country had bin many kings, & though presently it were al under one, ech kingdom nevertheles enjoyed that name it first had, these kingdomes are the provinces I spake of before. In conclusion they said, that the whole country is called Tamen, & the inhabitants Tamegines, so that this name China or Chineans, is not heard of in yt country. I thinke that the neernesse of another province therabout called Cochinchina, & the inhabitants therof Cochinesses, first discovered before China was, lying not far from Malacca, did give occasion to ech of the nations, of that name Chineans, as also the whole country to be named China . But their proper name is that aforesaid.

I have heard moreover that in the City of Nanquim remaineth a table of gold, and in it written a kings name, as a memory of that residence the kings were wont to keepe there. This table standeth in a great pallace, covered alwayes, except it be on some of their festivall dayes, at what time they are wont to let it be seene, covered neverthelesse as it is, all the nobilitie of the City going of duetie to doe it every day reverence. The like is done in the head Cities of all the other shires in the pallaces of the Ponchiassini, wherein these aforesaid tables doe stand with the kings name written in them, although no reverence be done thereunto but in solemne feastes.

I have likewise understood that the City Pachin, where the king maketh his abode, is so great, that to go from one side to the other, besides the Suburbs, the which are greater then the City it selfe, it requireth one whole day a horseback, going hackney pase. In the suburbs be many wealthy marchants of all sorts. They told me furthermore that it was moted about, and in the motes great store of fish, whereof the king maketh great gaines.

It was also told me that the king of China had no king to wage battel withall, besides the Tartars, with whom he had concluded a peace more then 80. yeres ago. Neverthelesse their friendship was not so great, that the one nation might marry with the other. And demanding with whom they married, they said, that in olde time the Chinish kings when they would marry their daughters, accustomed to make a solemne feast, whereunto came all sorts of men. The daughter that was to be married, stood in a place where she might see them all, and looke whom she liked best, him did she chuse to husband, and if happely he were of a base condition, hee became by and by a gentleman: but this custome hath bene left long since. Now a dayes the king marrieth his daughters at his owne pleasure, with great men of the kingdome : the like order he observeth in the marriage of his sonnes.

They have moreover one thing very good, and that which made us all to marveile at them being Gentiles: namely, that there be hospitals in all their Cities, alwayes full of people, we never saw any poore body begge. We therefore asked the cause of this : answered it was, that in every City there is a great circuit, wherein be many houses for poore people, for blinde, lame, old folke, not able to travaile for age, nor having any other meanes to live. These folke have in the aforesaid houses ever plentie of rice during their lives, but nothing else. Such as be received into these houses, come in after this maner. When one is sicke, blinde or lame, he maketh a supplication to the Ponchiassi, and proving that to be true he writeth, he remaineth in the aforesaid great lodging as long as he liveth: besides this they keepe in these places swine and hennes, whereby the poore be relieved without going a begging.

I said before that China was full of rivers, but now I minde to confirme the same anew: for the farther we went into the Countrey, the greater we found the rivers. Sometimes we were so farre off from the sea, that where we came no sea fish had bene seene, and salt was there very deare, of fresh water fish yet was there great abundance, and that fish very good: they keep it good after this maner. Where the rivers do meete, and so passe into the sea, there lieth great store of boats, specially where no salt-water commeth, and that in March and April. These boates are so many that it seemeth wonder full, ne serve they for other then to take small fish. By the rivers sides they make leyres of fine and strong nettes, that lye three handfuls under water, and one above to keepe and nourish their fish in, untill such time as other fishers do come with boates, bringing for that purpose certaine great chests lined with paper, able to holde water, wherein they cary their fish up and downe the river, every day renuing the chest with fresh water, and selling their fish in every City, towne and village where they passe, unto the people as they neede it: most of them have net leyres to keepe fish in alwayes for their provision. Where the greater boates cannot passe any further forward, they take lesser, and because the whole Countrey is very well watered, there is so great plenty of divers sorts of fish, that it is wonderfull to see: assuredly we were amazed to behold the maner of their provision. Their fish is chiefly nourished with the dung of Bufles and oxen, that greatly fatteth it. Although I said their fishing to be in March and April at what time we saw them do it, neverthelesse they told us that they fished at all times, for that usually they do feed on fish, wherefore it behoveth them to make their provision continually.

When we had passed Fuquien, we went into Quicin shire, where the fine clay vessell is made, as I said before: and we came to a City, the one side whereof is built upon the foote of a hill, whereby passeth a river navigable: there we tooke boat, and went by water toward the Sea: on ech side of the river we found many Cities, Townes and villages, wherein we saw great store of marchandize, but specially of fine clay: there did we land by the way to buy victuals and other necessaries. Going downe this river Southward, we were glad that wee drew neere unto a warmer Countrey, from whence we had bene farre distant: this Countrey we passed through in eight dayes, for our journey lay downe the streame. Before that I doe say any thing of that shire we came into, I will first speake of the great City of Quicin, wherein alwayes remaineth a Tutan, that is a governour, as you have seene, though some Tutans do governe two or three shires.

That Tutan that was condemned for our cause, of whom I spake before, was borne in this Countrey, but he governed Foquien shire: nothing it availed him to be so great an officer. This Countrey is so great, that in many places where we went, there had bene as yet no talke of his death, although he were executed a whole yere before. At the Citie Quanchi whither we came, the river was so great that it seemed a Sea, though it were so litle where we tooke water, that we needed small boats. One day about 9. of the clocke, beginning to row neere the walls with the streame, we came at noone to a bridge made of many barges, overlinked al together with two mightie cheines. There stayed we untill it was late, but we saw not one go either up thereon or downe, except two Louteas that about the going downe of the Sunne, came and set them downe there, the one on one side, the other on the other side. Then was the bridge opened in many places, and barges both great and small to the number of sixe hundred began to passe: those that went up the streame at one place, such as came downe at an other. When all had thus shot the bridge, then was it shut up againe. We heare say that every day they take this order in all principall places of marchandize, for paying of the Custome unto the king, specially for salt, whereof the greatest revenues are made that the king hath in this Countrey. The passages of the bridge where it is opened, be so neere the shoare, that nothing can passe without touching the same. To stay the barges at their pleasure, that they goe no further forward, are used certaine iron instruments. The bridge consisteth of 112. barges, there stayed we untill the evening that they were opened, lothsomely oppressed by the multitude of people that came to see us, so many in number, that we were enforced to go aside from the banke untill such time as the bridge was opened: howbeit we were neverthelesse thronged about with many boates full of people. And though in other Cities and places where we went, the people came so importunate upon us, that it was needfull to withdraw our selves: yet were we here much more molested for the number of people: & this bridge is the principall way out of the Citie unto another place so wel inhabited, that were it walled about, it might be compared to the Citie. When we had shot the bridge, we kept along the Citie until it was night, and then met we with an other river that joyned with this, we rowed up that by the walls untill we came to another bridge gallantly made of barges, but lesser a great deale then that other bridge over the greater streame: here stayed we that night, and other two dayes with more quiet, being out of the preasse of the people. These rivers do meet without at one corner point of the City. In either of them were so many barges great and small, that we all thought them at the least to be above three thousand: the greater number thereof was in the lesser river, where we were. Amongst the rest here lay certaine greater vessels, called in their language Parai, that serve for the Tutan, when he taketh his voyage by other rivers that joyne with this, towards Pachin, where the king maketh his abode. For, as many times I have erst said, all this Countrey is full of rivers. Desirous to see those Parai we got into some of them, where we found some chambers set foorth with gilded beds very richly, other furnished with tables and seats, and all other things so neat and in perfection, that it was wonderfull.

Quiacim shire, as farre as I can perceive, lieth upon, the South. On that side we kept at our first entry thereinto, travayling not farre from the high mountaines wesaw there. Asking what people dwelleth beyond those mountaines, it was tolde me that they be theeves & men of a strange language. And because that unto sundry places neere this river the mountaines doe approch, whence the people issuing downe do many times great harme, this order is taken at the entry into Quiacim shire. To guard this river whereon continually go to & fro Parai great & small fraught with salt, fish poudred with peper, and other necessaries for that countrey, they do lay in divers places certaine Parai, and great barges armed, wherin watch and ward is kept day and night on both sides of the river, for the safety of the passage, & securitie of such Parai as do remaine there, though the travailers never go but many in company. In every rode there be at the least thirtie, in some two hundred men, as the passage requireth. This guard is kept usually untill you come to the City Onchio, where continually the Tutan of this shire, and eke of Cantan, maketh his abode. From that City upward, where the river waxeth more narrow, and the passage more dangerous, there be alwayes armed one hundred and fiftie Parai, to accompany other vessels fraught with marchandize, and all this at the Kings charges. This seemed to me one of the strangest things I did see in this Countrey.

When we lay at Fuquien, we did see certaine Moores, who knew so litle of their secte, that they could say nothing else but that Mahomet was a Moore , my father was a Moore , and I am a Moore , with some other wordes of their Alcoran, wherewithal, in abstinence from swines flesh, they live untill the divel take them all. This when I saw, & being sure that in many Chinish Cities the reliques of Mahomet are kept, as soone as we came to the City where these fellowes be, I enfourmed my selfe of them, and learned the trueth.

These Moores, as they tolde me, in times past came in great ships fraught with marchandise from Pachin ward, to a port granted unto them by the king, as hee is wont to all them that traffique into this Countrey, where they being arrived at a litle Towne standing in the havens mouth, in time converted unto their sect the greatest Loutea there. When that Loutea with all his family was become Moorish, the rest began likewise to doe the same. In this part of China the people be at libertie, every one to worship and folow what him liketh best. Wherefore no body tooke heede thereto, untill such time as the Moores perceiving that many followed them in superstition, and that the Loutea favoured them, they began to forbid wholy the eating of swines flesh. But all these countreymen and women chosing rather to forsake father and mother, then to leave off eating of porke, by no meanes would yeeld to that proclamation. For besides the great desire they all have to eate that kinde of meate, many of them do live thereby: and therefore the people complained unto the Magistrates, accusing the Moores of a conspiracie pretended betwixt them and the Loutea against their king. In this countrey, as no suspition, no not one traiterous word is long borne withall, so was the king speedily advertised thereof, who gave commandement out of hand that the aforesaid Loutea should be put to death, and with him the Moores of most importance: the other to be layde first in prison, and afterward to be sent abroad into certaine Cities, where they remained perpetuall slaves unto the king. To this City came by happe men and women threescore and odde, who at this day are brought to five men and foure women, for it is now twenty yeeres since this happened. Their offspring passeth the number of two hundreth, and they in this City, as the rest in other Cities whither they were sent, have their Moscheas, whereunto they all resort every Friday to keepe their holy day. But, as I thinke, that will no longer endure, then whiles they doe live that came from thence, for their posteritie is so confused, that they have nothing of a Moore in them but abstinence from swines flesh, and yet many of them doe eate thereof privily. They tell mee that their native Countrey hath name Camarian, a firme land, wherein be many kings, and the Indish countrey well knowen unto them. It may so be: for as soone as they did see our servants (our servants were Preuzaretes) they judged them to be Indians: many of their wordes sounded upon the Persian tongue, but none of us coulde understand them. I asked them whether they converted any of the Chinish nation unto their secte: they answered mee, that with much a doe they converted the women with whom they doe marry, yeelding me no other cause thereof, but the difficultie they finde in them to be brought from eating swines flesh and drinking of wine. I am perswaded therefore, that if this Countrey were in league with us, forbidding them neither of both, it would be an easie matter to draw them to our Religion, from their superstition, whereat they themselves do laugh when they do their idolatry.

I have learned moreover that the Sea, whereby these Moores that came to China were wont to travaile, is a very great gulfe, that falleth into this Countrey out from Tartaria and Persia, leaving on the other side all the Countrey of China, and land of the Mogores, drawing alwayes toward the South: and of all likelyhood it is even so, because that these Moores, the which we have seene, be rather browne then white, whereby they shewe themselves to come from some warmer Countrey then China is neere to Pachin, where the rivers are frosen in the Winter for colde, and many of them so vehemently, that carts may passe over them.

We did see in this Citie many Tartars, Mogores, Brames, and Laoynes, both men and women. The Tartars are men very white, good horsemen and archers, confining with China on that side where Pachin standeth, separated from thence by great mountaines that are betwixt these kingdomes. Over them be certaine wayes to passe, and for both sides, Castles continually kept with Souldiers: in time past the Tartars were wont alwayes to have warres with the Chineans, but these fourescore yeeres past they were quiet, untill the second yeere of our imprisonment. The Mogores be in like maner white, and heathen, we are advertised that of one side they border upon these Tartars, and confine with the Persian Tartars on the other side, whereof wee sawe in them some tokens, as their maner of clothes, and that kinde of hat the Saracens doe weare. The Moores affirmed, that where the king lyeth, there be many Tartars and Mogores, that brought into China certaine blewes of great value: all we thought it to be Vanil of Cambaia wont to be sold at Ormus. So that this is the true situation of that Countrey, not in the North-parts, as many times I have heard say, confining with Germanie.

As for the Brames we have seene in this city Chenchi certaine men & women, amongst whom there was one that came not long since, having as yet her haire tied up after the Pegues fashion: this woman, and other mo with whom a black Moore damsel in our company had conference, and did understand them wel ynough, had dwelt in Pegu . This new come woman, imagining that we ment to make our abode in that citie, bid us to be of good comfort, for that her countrey was not distant from thence above five dayes journey, and that out of her countrey there lay a high way for us home into our owne. Being asked the way, she answered that the first three daies the way lieth over certaine great mountaines & wildernesse, afterward people are met withall againe. Thence two dayes journey more to the Brames countrey. Wherefore I doe conclude, that Chenchi is one of the confines of this kingdome, separated by certaine huge mountaines, as it hath bene alreadie said, that lie out towards the South. In the residue of these mountaines standeth the province of Sian , the Laoyns countrey, Camboia, Campaa, and Cochinchina.

This citie chiefe of other sixteene is situated in a pleasant plaine abounding in all things necessarie, sea-fish onely excepted, for it standeth farre from the sea: of fresh fish so much store, that the market places are never emptie. The walles of this city are very strong and high: one day did I see the Louteas thereof go upon the walles to take the view thereof, borne in their seates which I spake of before, accompanied with a troupe of horsemen that went two and two: It was tolde me they might have gone three & three. We have seene more over, that within this aforesayd Citie the king hath moe then a thousande of his kinne lodged in great pallaces, in divers partes of the Citie: their gates be redde, and the entrie into their houses, that they may be knowen, for that is the kings colour. These Gentlemen, according to their neerenesse in blood unto the king, as soone as they be married receive their place in honour: this place neither increaseth nor diminisheth in any respect as long as the king liveth, the king appointeth them their wives and familie, allowing them by the moneth all things necessarie abundantly, as he doth to his governours of shires and Cities, howbeit, not one of these hath as long as he liveth any charge or governement at all. They give themselves to eating and drinking, and be for the most part burly men of bodie, insomuch that espying any one of them whom we had not seene before, we might knowe him to be the King his cosin. They be neverthelesse very pleasant, courteous, and faire conditioned: neither did we find, all the time wee were in that citie, so much honour and good intertainement any where as at their hands. They bid us to their houses to eate and drinke, and when they found us not, or we were not willing to go with them, they bid our servants and slaves, causing them to sit downe with the first. Notwithstanding the good lodging these Gentlemen have, so commodious that they want nothing, yet are they in this bondage, that during life they never goe abroad. The cause, as I did understand, wherefore the king so useth his cosins is, that none of them at any time may rebell against him: and thus he shutteth them up in three or foure other cities. Most of them can play on the Lute, and to make that kinde of pastime peculiar unto them onely, all other in the cities where they doe live be forbidden that instrument, the Curtisans and blinde folke onely excepted, who be musicians and can play.

This king furthermore, for the greater securitie of his Realme and the avoyding of tumults, letteth not one in all his countrey to be called Lord, except he be of his blood. Manie great estates and governours there be, that during their office are lodged Lordlike, and doe beare the port of mightie Princes: but they be so many times displaced and other placed a new, that they have not the time to become corrupt. True it is that during their office they be well provided for, as afterward also lodged at the kings charges, and in pension as long as they live, payed them monethly in the cities where they dwell by certaine officers appointed for that purpose. The king then is a Lord onely, not one besides him as you have seene, except it be such as be of his blood. A Nephew likewise of the king, the kings sisters sonne, lyeth continually within the walles of the citie in a strong pallace built Castlewise, even as his other cousins do, remayning alwayes within doores, served by Eunuches, never dealing with any matters. On their festivall dayes, new moones, & full moones the magistrates make great bankets, and so do such as be of the king his blood. The kings Nephew hath to name Vanfuli, his pallace is walled about, the wall is not high, but foure-square, and in circuit nothing inferiour to the wals of Goa, the outside is painted red, in every square a gate, and over each gate a tower made of timber excellently well wrought: before the principall gate of the foure that openeth into the high streete no Loutea, be he never so great, may passe on horsebacke, or carried in his seat. Amidst this quadrangle standeth the pallace where that Nobleman lyeth, doubtlesse worth the sight, although we came not in to see it. By report the roofes of the towers and house are glased greene, & the greater part of the quadrangle set with savage trees, as Okes, Chestnuts, Cypresse, Pineapples, Cedars, and other such like that we do want, after the manner of a wood, wherein are kept Stags, Oxen, and other beasts, for that Lord his recreation never going abroad as I have sayd. One preheminence this citie hath above the rest where we have bene, & that of right, as we do thinke, that besides the multitude of market places wherein all things are to be sold through every streete continually are cryed all things necessary, as flesh of all sortes, freshfish, hearbes, oyle, vineger, meale, rise: in summa, all things so plentifully, that many houses neede no servants, every thing being brought to their doores. Most part of the marchants remaine in the suburbes, for that the cities are shut up every night, as I have sayd. The marchants therefore, the better to attend their businesse, do chuse rather to make their abode without in the suburbes then within the citie. I have seene in this river a pretie kinde of fishing, not to be omitted in my opinion, and therefore I will set it downe. The king hath in many rivers good store of barges full of sea-crowes that breede, are fedde and doe die therein, in certaine cages, allowed monethly a certaine provision of rise. These barges the king bestoweth upon his greatest magistrates, giving to some two, to some three of them as he thinketh good, to fish therewithall after this manner. At the houre appointed to fish, all the barges are brought together in a circle, where the river is shalow, and the crowes tyed together under the wings are let leape downe into the water, some under, some above, woorth the looking upon: each one as he hath filled his bagge, goeth to his own barge and emptieth it, which done, he returneth to fish againe. Thus having taken good store of fish, they set the crowes at libertie, and do suffer them to fish for their owne pleasure. There were in that citie where I was, twentie barges at the least of these aforesayd crowes. I went almost every day to see them, yet could I never be throughly satisfied to see so strange a kind of fishing.

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