PART I. His Voyage from Achin in Sumatra, to Tonquin, and other places in the East-Indies.
The Connexion of this discourse with the Voy∣age round the World. The Authors de∣parture from Achin in the Isle of Su∣matra with Captain Weldon. Their Course along the Streights of Malacca. Pu∣lo Nuttee, and other Islands. The R. and Kingdom of Jihore. Pulo Oro, and Pulo Timaon: Green Turtle there. Pulo Con∣dore. Sholes of Pracel, River of Cambo∣dia, Coast of Champa, Pulo Canton. Co∣chinchinese, Pulo Champello, R. and City of Quinam. Oyl of Porpusses and Turtle. Ship∣wrackt men detained usually at Cochinchina Page 2and Pegu. Aguala wood from the Bay of Si∣am. Bay of Tonquin. I. of Aynam, and other Islands. Rokbo one mouth of the chief R. of Tonquin. Fishers I. River of Domea, the other Mouth. Its Bar and Entrance. Mountain Elephant. Pearl-Islands. Pilots of Batsha. They go up the River of Domea. Domea and its Gardens, and Dutch there. They leave their Ships at Anchor above it, where the Natives build a Town. They go up to the chief City in the Country Boats. The River, and the Country about it. Leprous Beggars. Hean, a Town of note; Chinese there. The Governor, Shipping and Tide. They arrive at Cachao, the Metropolis of Ton∣quin.
THe Reader will find upon perusing my Voyage round the World, that I then omitted to speak particularly of the excursions I made to Tonquin, Malacca, Fort St. George, and Bencouli, from Achin in the Isle of Sumatra; together with the descrip∣tion I intended to give of those parts. I do but just mention them there; but shall now proceed to a more distinct account of them.
And to keep to the order of time, the Reader may recollect, that my first departure from Achin was to Tonquin, along with Captain Weldon, about July 1688. as I have said p. 505th of my former Volume. I have there related in a page or two before, to how weak a condition my self and my Companions were brought, through the fatigues of our passage from Nicobar to Achin: yet did not my weakness take me off from contriving some employment or expedition, whereby I might have a comfortable subsistence. Captain WeldonPage 3 touched here, to sell the Slaves he had brought with him from Fort St. George; it being in his way to the Streights of Malacca, and so to Tonquin, whither he was bound. This afforded me the op∣portunity of trying that Voyage, to which he kindly invited me, and to which I was the more incouraged because he had a good Surgeon in his Ship, whose Advice I needed: and my friend Mr. Hall was particularly animated thereby; who had also resolv'd upon this Voyage, and was in a weaker condition than my self. Besides, Captain Weldon promised to buy a Sloop at Tonquin, of which he would make me Commander, to go a trading Voyage from thence to Cochinchina, Champa, Cam∣bodia, or some other of the adjacent Countries: which Trade has been scarce yet been attempted by our Country men, and there were hopes it might turn to a good account; but this project came to nothing.
However, Captain Weldon having finished his business at Achin, I set out thence with him through the Streights of Malacca, and we soon arrived at the Town of Malacca: of which Town and Country, I shall have a better occasion to speak hereafter. Here we found the Caesar of London, commanded by Captain Wright, who came from Bombay, and was bound to China. He stopt here to water and refresh, as is usual for Ships to do do that pass these Streights. By him we were in∣formed that three other English Ships had touched here, and were past on to the Eastward 10 days before. These 3 Ships came from Fort St. George, in company with Captain Weldon: but his business calling him to Achin, they in the mean time pro∣secuting their Voyage, got the start of us thus much. The Caesar was soon ready to sail again, and went away the next morning after our arrival at Malacca.
Page 4 Our Captain being a stranger to the Bay of Ton∣quin, as were all his Ships company, he hired a Dutch Pilot at Malacca; and having finished his business there, we set sail, two days after the Cae∣sar. We were desirous to overtake these four Ships, and therefore crouded all the sail we could make; having a strong westerly wind, accompa∣nied with many hard Gusts and Tornadoes: and the very next day we got sight of them; for they had not yet passed through a narrow passage, called the Streights of Sincapore. We soon got up with them, and past through together; and sail∣ing about 3 leagues further we anchored near an Island called Pulo Nuttee, belonging to the King∣dom of Jihore.
Here Captain Weldon took in wood and water, and some of the Indian Inhabitants came aboard us in their Canoas, of whom we bought a few Co∣coa-nuts, Plantains, and fresh Fish. We staid here not above 24 hours; for the other Ships had filled most of their water at other Islands near this, before we came up with them: for tho Ships do usually take in water at Malacca Town, yet they do as frequently discharge it again at some of these Islands, and take in better.
We sailed the next day, and kept near the Ma∣lacca shore; and there passing by the mouth of the River Jihore, we left many other Islands on our Star-board side.
The River of Jihore runs by the City of that name, which is the seat of the little Kingdom of Jihore. This Kingdom lies on the Continent of Malacca, and consists of the extremity or doubling of that Promontory. It abounds with Pepper, and other good Commodities.
They are a Mahometan people, very warlike, and desirous of trade. They delight much in Shipping and going to Sea, all the neighbouring Page 5 Islands in a manner being Colonies of this King∣dom, and under its Government. They coast about in their own Shipping to several parts of Sumatra, Java, &c. their Vessels are but small, yet very serviceable; and the Dutch buy up a great many of them at a small price, and make good trading Sloops of them. But they first fit them up after their own fashion, and put a Rud∣der to them, which the Jihorians don't use, tho they are very good Sea-men in their way; but they make their Vessels sharp at each end, tho but one end is used as the Head: and instead of a Rudder, they have on each side the Stern a thing like a very broad Oar, one of which they let down into the water at pleasure, as there is occasion to steer the Ship either to the one side or the other, always letting down that which is to the Leeward. They have Proes of a particular neatness and curiosity. We call them Half-moon Proes, for they turn up so much at each end from the water, that they much resemble a Half moon, with the Horns upwards. They are kept very clean, sail well, and are much used by them in their Wars. The people of Jihore have formerly en∣deavoured to get a Commerce with our Nation. For what reason that trade is neglected by us I know not. The Dutch trade very much there; and have lately endeavoured to bring the King, who is very young, to their bow.
At the farther end of the Streights of Malacca, among many other Islands, we sail'd by those of Pulo Oro, and Pulo Timaon: which last is a place often touch'd at for wood, water, and other re∣freshments, tho we past it by. Among other things, there are great plenty of excellent Green Turtle among these Islands.
Being at length got clear of all the Islands into the wide Ocean, we steered away still together Page 6 till we came in sight of Pulo Condore: when having all brought to, and spoke with each other, we part∣ed for our several Voyages. The Caesar and two others, that were bound to China, steered away to the Eastward, keeping to the South of Pulo Con∣dore; it being their best course, thereby to avoid the large sholes of Pracel. We and the Saphire of Fort St: George, commanded by Captain Lacy, steered more Northerly; and leaving Pulo Condore on our Starboard, we hall'd in for the Continent, and fell in with it near the River of Cambodia. But leaving this also on our Starboard side, we coasted along to the Eastward, keeping near the Champa shore; and coming to the point of Land that bounds the S. W. part of the Bay of Tonquin, we doubled it, and coasting to the North, leaving Champa still on our Larboard side, and the dangerous shoals of Pracel about 12 or 14 leagues off on our Starboard side, we kept along fair by the shore, just without Pulo Canton.
This Island lies in about 13 d. North. It is much frequented by the Cochinchinese, whose Country begins hereabouts, bordering on the Kingdom of Champa. They are most Fishermen that come hither, and their chief business is to make Oyl of Porpusses: for these Fish are found in great plenty here at some seasons of the year, and then the Cochinchinese resort hither to take them. The people that we found on Pulo Condore, mentioned in the 14th Chapter of my Voyage round the World, page 395, were of these Co∣chinchinese. The Turtle also which they catch is chiefly in order to make Oyl of their fat: and there is great store of Turtle on all this Coast.
We coasted yet farther on this shore, till we came to the Islands of Champello. These may seem to have some affinity to Champa, by the sound of the word, which one would take to be Page 7 a Portuguese diminutive of Champa; yet they lye on the Cochinchina Coast, and belong to it, tho uninhabited. They are 4 or 5 in number, and lye 4 or 5 leagues from the shore. They are called Champello de la Mar, to distinguish them from others lying farther down in the Bay of Tonquin, called Champello de Terra. These last lye in about 16 d. 45 m. North, but the Islands of Champello de la Mar lye in about 13 d. 45 m. N.
Over against these last Islands, on the Main, there is a large navigable River empties itself into the Sea. The City of Quinam stands on the banks of this River, and is said to be the principal City of the Kingdom of Cochinchina. As to its distance from the Sea, its bigness, strength, riches, &c. I am yet in the dark: only I have been in∣form'd, that if a Ship is cast away on this Kingdom, the Seamen that escape drowning and get ashore become Slaves to the King. Captain John Tiler was thus served, and despaired of ever getting his freedom; but after a considerable stay there he was taken notice of by the King; and upon pro∣mise of returning thither again to trade there, he was sent away. I sailed in a Vessel of his after this: but I never found him inclined to Trade thither any more. However, notwithstanding this their severity to Shipwrackt people, I have been informed by Captain Tiler and others, that they have a desire to Trade, tho' they are yet de∣stitute of the means to attain it. This desire of Trade, they seem to have taken up from some Chinese fugitives, who fled from the Tartars, when they conquered their Country: and being kindly received by these Cochinchinese, and having among them many Artificers, they instructed their kind protectors in many useful Arts, of which they were wholly ignorant before. 'Tis probable this their custom of seizing Shipwrackt Seamen may soon vanish by the coming in of Trade, which is already Page 8 advancing among them; for the Merchants of China do now drive some small traffick among these people, and fetch thence some small quantities of Pepper, Lignum Aloes, and Aguala Wood, which is much esteemed for its rare scent, and is very valuable in other places of India. They also fetch Betle from hence, it growing here in great plenty. I have had no account of any Shipping the Cochinchinese have of their own, but I have met with them in their open Boats of 4, 5, or 6 Tun; imploying themselves chiefly in getting Pitch and Tar from Pulo Condore, in fishing about the Coast and Island to get Oyl, and in fetching Aguala Wood from the Bay of Siam; which, whether it grows there or no, I can't tell, but I have heard that 'tis only drift wood cast ashore by the Sea.
The seizing Shipwrackt-men has been also a custom at Pegu, but whether still continued I know not. They lookt on such as men preserv∣ed by God, purposely for them to feed and main∣tain; and therefore the King ordered them to be maintained by his Subjects; neither was any work required of them, but they had liberty to beg. By this means they got food and rayment from the Inhabitauts, who were zealously chari∣table to them.
But to proceed; we kept a little without all the Islands, and coasting 5 or 6 leagues further, we stood right over towards the N. E. Cod of the Bay of Tonquin. The Bay of Tonquin has its en∣trance between the S. E. point of Champa on the West side, which lies in the lat. of about 12 d. North, and the Island of Aynam near the S. W. part of China, on the East side. The Island of Ay∣nam is in about 19 d. North. It is a pretty consi∣derable Island, well peopled with Chinese Inhabi∣tants. They have Ships of their own, and drive Page 9 a great trade by Sea. I have seen many of their Ships, some of 100 Tun, with Outlagers on both sides, and others like ordinary Jonks, without Out∣lagers: but am wholly ignorant of their Trade, any farther than what I have mentioned of their having Pearl Oysters there, in the 7th Chapter of my Voyage round the World, page 174.
Near the Cod of the Bay of Tonquin there are abundance of small Islands, of which I shall speak more hereafter. The mouth of the Bay seems to be barr'd up with the great shole of Pracel, which lies stretched at length before it, yet leaving two wide Channels, one at each end; so that Ships may pass in or out either way. And therefore even the Ships that are bound from the Streights of Malacca or Siam to China, may as well pass to and fro within the shole at without.
The Bay of Tonquin is about 30 leagues wide in the broadest place. There is good sounding and anchoring all over it: and in the middle, where it is deepest, there is about 46 fathom water: There you have black Oaz, and dark Peppery Sand: but on the West side there is reddish Oazy Sand. Beside the other Islands before-mentioned, there are others of less note on the Cochinchina Coast; but none of them all above 4 or 5 miles from the shore.
In the bottom of the Bay also, there are some small Islands, close by the Tonquin shore: 2 of these are of especial note, not for their bigness, but for Sea-marks for the 2 principal Rivers, or mouth rather of the chief River of Tonquin. One of these Rivers or Mouths, is call'd Rokko. It discharges it self into the Sea near the N. W. cor∣ner of the Bay: and the mouth of it is in about 20 d. 6m. N. This River or branch I was not at: but have been informed, that it has not above 12 foot water at the entrance; but that its bottom Page 10 is soft Oaz, and therefore very convenient for small Vessels, and it is the way that all the Chinese and Siamers do use. About a League to the Westward of this Rivers mouth, there is a small pretty high Island called Fishers Island. It lyeth about 2 mile from the shore, and it hath good an∣choring about it in 17 or 18 foot water: and therefore it is not only a Sea-mark for the River, but a secure place to ride in, and very convenient for Ships to anchor at, to sheiter themselves when they come hither, especially if they have not a present opportunity to enter the River; either because of coming too late in the year, or being hindered by bad weather.
The other River or Mouth, was that by which we entered; and 'tis larger and deeper than the former. I know not its particular name; but for distinction I shall call it the River of Domea; be cause the first Town of note, that I saw on its bank, was so called. The mouth of this River is in lat 20 d. 45 m. It disembogues 20 leagues to the N. E. of Rokbo. There are many dangerous Sands and Shoals, between these 2 Rivers, which stretch into the Sea 2 leagues or more: and all the Coast, even from the Cochinchina shore on the West, to China on the East, admits of Shoals and Sands, which yet in some places lie stretched farther off from the shore than in others.
This River of Domea is that by which most European Ships enter, for the sake of its depth: yet here is a Bar of near 2 mile broad, and the Chan∣nel is about half a mile broad, having Sands on each side. The depth of the River is various at different times and seasons, by the relation of the Pilots who are best acquainted here: for at some times of the year here is not above 15 or 16 foot water on a springtide, and at other times here are 26 or 27 foot. The highest tides are said to be in the month of No∣vember, Page 11 December, and January, when the Nor∣therly Monsoons blow; and the lowest in May, June, and July, when the Southerly Monsoons blow: but to be particular in them is beyond my experience.
The Channel of the Bar is hard Sand, which makes it the more dangerous: and the Tides whirl∣ing among the Sands, set divers ways in a Tides time; which makes it the more dangerous still. Therefore Ships that come hither, commonly wait for a Pilot to direct them, and if they arrive when it is Nepe-tide, they must stay for a Spring before a Pilot will come off to take charge of them. The mark of this River is a great high ridgy Mountain in the Country, call'd the Elephant. This must be brought to bear N. W. by N.: then steering towards the shore, the water runs shallower, till you come into 6 fathom, and then you will be 2 or 3 miles from the foot or entrance of the Bar, and about the same distance from a small Island called Pearl Island; which will then bear nearest N. N. E. Having these marks and depth, you may anchor, and wait for a Pilot.
The Pilots for this River are Fishermen, who live at a Village call'd Batsha, at the mouth of the River; so seated, that they can see all Ships that wait for a Pilot, and hear the Guns too, that are often fired as signals by Europeans, to give notice of their arrival.
It was in the road before the Bar, in sight of the Elephant Land, that we found the Rainbow of London, Captain Pool Commander, riding and waiting for a Pilot, when we and Captain Lacy arrived. Captain Pool came directly from England, and passing through the Streights of Sundy, touched at Batavia.
He had lain here 2 or 3 days before we arrived: but the Spring-tides coming on, the Pilots came Page 12 aboard, and we all 3 in company passed in over the Bar, and entring about half flood, we had 14 foot and a half water on the Bar. Being got over the Bar we found it deeper, and the bottom soft Oaz. The River at its mouth is above a mile wide, but grows narrower as you run farther up. We had a moderate Sea-breeze, and having a good tide of flood, made the best of it to reach to our anchoring place.
Having run about 5 or 6 leagues up the River, we past by a Village called Domea. This is a hand∣some Village: and 'twas the first of note that we saw standing on the banks. 'Tis seated on the Starboard side going up, and so nigh the River, that the tide sometimes washes the walls of the Houses: for the tide rises and falls here 9 or 10 foot. This Village consists of about 100 Houses. The Dutch Ships that trade here do always lye in the River before this Town; and the Dutch Sea∣men, by their annual returns hither from Batavia, are very intimate with the Natives, and as free here as at their own homes: for the Tonquinese in general are a very sociable people, especially the traders and poorer sort: but of this more in its proper place. The Dutch have instructed the Na∣tives in the art of Gardening: by which means they have abundance of Herbage for Sallading; which among other things is a great refreshment to the Dutch Sea-men, when they arrive here.
Tho the Dutch who come to trade in this King∣dom, go no higher with their Ships than this Do∣mea, yet the English usually go about 3 mile farther up, and there lye at anchor during their stay in this Country. We did so at this time, and passing by Domea came to an anchor at that distance. The tide is not so strong here as at Domea; but we found not one house near it: yet our Ships had not lain there many days before the Natives came from Page 13 all the Country about, and fell a building them Houses after their fashion; so that in a months time there was a little Town built near our anchoring place. This is no unusual thing in other parts of India, especially where Ships lye long at a place, the poorer sort of Natives taking this opportunity to truck and barter; and by some little offices, or begging, but especially by bringing Women to let to hire, they get what they can of the Seamen.
This place where our Ships rode at anchor was not above 20 miles from the Sea: but the Trade of the Kingdom is driven at Cachao, the principal City; where for that reason the English and Dutch East India Companies have each of them their Factors constantly residing. The City was far∣ther up the River, about 80 miles from our An∣choring place; and our Captains got themselves in a readiness to go up thither; it being usual to send up the goods in the Country Boats, which are large and commodious enough; and the hire is pretty reasonable both for the Vessels, and the Men who manage them. They are Tonquinese, and use both Oars and Sails. Our Factory at Cachao had news of our arrival before we came to an anchor, and immediately the chief of the Factory, with some of the King of Tonquin's Officers, came down to us, by that time we had lain there about 4 or 5 days. The Tonquinese Officers came to take an account of the Ships and lading, and our Captains received them with great civility, firing of Guns, feasting for 2 or 3 days, and presents also at their return back to Cachao.
Soon after their departure, the chief of the Factory return'd thither again, and with him went our three Captains, and some others, among whom I got leave to go also. Captain Weldon had recommended me to the chief of the Factory, while he was aboard us: and my going up now to the Page 14 City, was in order to have his assistance in the Voyage to Cochinchina, Champa, or Cambodia, which Captain Weldon had contrived for me; nor was it his fault that it came to nothing.
We went from our Ships in the Country Boats we had hired, with the tide of flood, and an∣chored in the ebb: for the tide runs strong for 30 or 40 miles, beyond the place where we left our Ships. Our men contented themselves with look∣ing after their goods (the Tonquinese being very light finger'd) and left the management of the Boats entirely to the Boats crew. Their Boats have but one Mast; and when the wind is against them they take it down, and ply their Oars. As we advanced thus up the River, sometimes row∣ing sometimes sailing, we had a delightful prospect over a large level fruitful Country. It was gene∣rally either Pasture or Rice-fields; and void of Trees, except only about the Villages, which stood thick, and appeared mighty pleasant at a distance. There are many of these Villages stand close to the banks of the Rivers, incom∣passed with Trees on the back side only, but open to the River.
When we came near any of these Villages, we were commonly encountered with Beggars, who came off to us, in little Boats made of twigs, and plaistered over both inside and outside with Clay, but very leaky. These were a poor Leprous peo∣ple, who for that reason are compell'd by the rest to live by themselves, and are permitted to beg publickly. As soon as they spied us they set up a loud doleful cry, and as we past by them we threw them out some Rice, which they re∣ceived with great appearance of joy.
In about 4 days time we get to Hean, a Town on the East side of the River; which is here en∣tire: for a little before we came to Hean, we met Page 15 the main stream where it parts into the Channels, that of Domea, which we came up, and the other of Rokbo: making so a large and triangular Island between them and the Sea; the mouths of those Channels being, as I have said, 20 leagues asunder.
Hean is about 60 miles from the place where we left our Ships, and about 80 from the Sea that way: but along the River or Channel Rokbo, where the Land trends more to the Southward, it seems to be farther distant from the Sea. 'Tis a considerable Town, of about 2000 Houses: but the Inhabitants are most poor people and Souldi∣ers, who keep a Garrison there; tho it has nei∣ther Walls, Fort, nor great Guns.
Here is one street belonging to the Chinese Mer∣chants. For some years ago a great many lived at Cachao; till they grew so numerous, that the Natives themselves were even swallowed up by them. The King taking notice of it, ordered them to remove from thence, allowing them to live any where but in the City. But the major part of them presently forsook the Country, as not finding it convenient for them to live any where but at Cachao; because that is the only place of Trade in the Country, and Trade is the Life of a Chinese. However some of them were content to settle at Hean, where they have remained ever since. And these Merchants, notwithstanding the prohi∣bition, go often to Cachao, to buy and sell goods; but are not suffer'd to make it their constant resi∣dence. There were two of these China Merchants who traded yearly to Japan, with raw and wrought Silks, bringing back Money, chiefly. These all of them wore long Hair braided behind, as their own Country fashion was before the Tartarian Conquest. The French too have their Factory here, not being allowed to fix at Cachao, and their Bishops Page 16 Palace is the fairest building in Hean: but of this I shall have occasion to speak more hereafter.
The Governor of the adjacent Province lives here. He is one of the principal Mandarins of the Nation, and he has always a great many Soul∣diers in the Town, and inferiour Officers, whom he employs at his pleasure on any occasion. Be∣sides, here are also some of the Kings River Fri∣gots, which I shall hereafter describe, ready to be sent on any expedition: and tho no Europeans come up so far as this with their Ships, (that I could learn) yet the Siamites and Chinese bring their Ships up the River Rokbo, quite to Hean, and lie at anchor before it: and we found there seve∣ral Chinese Jonks. They ride afloat in the middle of the River; for the water does not rise and fall much at this place: Neither is the flood discerned by the turning of the stream; for that always runs down, tho not so swift near full Sea as at other times: for the tide pressing against the stream, tho faintly so far up the River, has not power to turn it, but only slackens its course, and makes the water rise a little.
The Governor or his Deputy gives his Chop or Pass to all Vessels that go up or down; not so much as a Boat being suffered to proceed without it. For which reason we also made a stop: yet we stayed here but a little while; and therefore I did not now go ashore; but had a while after this a better opportunity of seeing Hean.
From Hean we went up to Cachao in our Boats, being about 2 days more on our Voyage, for we had no tide to help us. We landed at the English Factory, and I stayed there 7 or 8 days, before I went down to our Ships again in one of the Coun∣try Boats. We had good weather coming up: but it rain'd all the time of this my first stay at Ca∣chao; and we had much wet weather after this. Page 17 But having got thus far I shall now proceed to give some general account of this Coun∣try; from my own observations, and the ex∣perience of Merchants and others worthy of credit, who have had their Residence there, and some of them a great may years.
Tonquin, its Situation, Soil, Waters, and Provinces. Its natural Produce, Roots, Herbs, Fruits, and Trees. The Cam-chain and Cam-quit Oranges. Their Limes, &c. Their Betle and Lichea Fruit. The Pone-tree, Lack-trees, Mulberry-trees, and Rice. Their land Animals, Fowl tame and wild; Nets for wild Ducks, Locusts, Fish, Balachaun, Nuke mum-Pickle, Soy, and manner of Fishing. The Market, Provisions, Food and Cookery. Their Chau or Tea. The Temperature of their Air and Weather throughout the Year. Of the great Heats near the Tropicks. Of the yearly Land Floods here, and elsewhere in the Tor∣rid Zone, and of the overflowing of the Nile in Egypt. Of Storms called Tuffoons: and of the influence the Rains have on the Harvest at Tonquin, and elsewhere in the Torrid Zone.
THE Kingdom of Tonquin is bounded to the North and North East with China, to the West with the Kingdom of Laos, to the S: and E. with Cochinchina and the Sea, which washes a part of this Kingdom. As to the particular bounds or extent of it, I cannot be a competent judge, coming to it by Sea, and going up directly to Cachao: but it is reasonable to believe it to be a pretty large Kingdom, by the many great Pro∣vinces which are said to be contained in it. That part of the Kingdom that borders on the Sea, is all Page 19 very low Land: neither is there any Hill to be seen, but the Elephant Mountain, and a Ridge of a much less heighth, continued from thence to the mouth of the River of Domea. The Land for about 60 miles up in the Country is still very low, even and plain: nor is it much higher, for about 40 miles farther quite to Cachao, and beyond it; being without any sensible Hill, tho generally of a tolerable good heighth, and with some gentle risings here and there, that make it a fine pleasant Champian; and the further side of this also is more level than the Champian Country it self about Hean or Cachao. Farther still to the North, beyond all this, I have been inform'd that there is a chain of high Moun∣tains, running cross the Country from East to West; but I could get no intimation of what is beyond them.
The Soil of this Country is generally very rich; That very low Land I speak of towards the Sea, is most black Earth, and the mould pretty deep. In some places there's very strong Clay. The Champian Land is generally yellowish or greyish earth, of a looser and more friable substance then the former: yet in some places it has a touch of the Clay too. In the plain Country, near the Mountains last men∣tioned, there are said to be some high steep rocks of Marble scattered up and down at unequal di∣stances, which standing in that large plain Savan∣nah, appear like so many great Towers or Castles: and they are the more visible, because the Land about them is not burdened with Wood, as in some places in its neighbourhood.
I have said somewhat already of the great River, and its 2 branches Rokbo and Domea, wherewith this Country is chiefly water'd: tho it is not disti∣tute of many other pleasant streams, that are lost in these, in their course towards the Sea: and probably there are many others, that run imme∣diately Page 20 into the Sea, through their own channels, tho not so navigable as the other. The Country in general is very well watered; and by means of the great Navigable River and its Branches, it has the opportunity of Foreign Trade. This rises about the Mountains in the North, or from beyond them; whence running Southerly toward the Sea, it passes thro the before-mention'd plain of Marble Rocks, and by that time it comes to Cachao, which is about 40 or 50 miles to the South of the Moun∣tains, 'tis about as broad as the Thames at Lambeth: vet so shallow in the dry Season, as that it may be forded on Horseback. At Hean 20 miles lower, us rather broader than the Thames at Gravesend; and so below Hean to the place where it divides it self.
The Kingdom of Tonquin is said to be divided into 8 large Provinces, viz. the East and West Provinces, the North and South Provinces, and the Province of Cachao in the middle between those 4: which 5 I take to be the principal Provinces, making the heart of the Country. The other 3, which are Tenan, Tenehoa, and Ngeam, lie more upon the Bor∣ders.
The Province of Tenan is the most Easterly, ha∣ving China on the S. E., the Island Aynam and the Sea on the S. and S. W., and the East Province on the N. W. This is but a small Province: its chiefest product is Rice.
The East Province stretches away from Tenan to the North Province, having also China on its East side, part of the South Province, and the Province of Cachao on the West; and the Sea on the South. This is a very large Province; 'tis chiefly low Land, and much of it Islands, especially the S. E. part of it, bordering on the Sea towards Tenan; and here the Sea makes the Cod of a Bay. It has abundance of Fishermen inhabiting near the Sea: but its chief Page 21 produce is Rice: here is also good pasturage, and much Cattle, &c. Hean is the chief place of this Pro vince, and the Seat of the Mandarin its Gover∣nor.
The S. Province is the triangular Island, made by Sea: the River of Domea is on it's E. side, dividing it from the East Province, and Rokbo on the West, di∣viding it from Tenan; having the Sea to its South. This Province is very low plain even Land, pro∣ducing Rice in great abundance: here are large pastures, and abundance of Fishermen near the Sea.
Tenehoa to the West of Rokbo, has the West Province on its North, Aynam on its West, and the Sea on its South: this Province is also low Land, chiefly abounds in Rice and Cattle, and hath a great Trade in Fishing, as all the Sea Coast has in gene∣ral.
The Province of Ngeam, hath Tenehoa on the East, and on the South and West it borders on Co∣chinchina, and has the West Province on its North. This is a pretty large Province, abounding with Rice and Cattle: and here are always Soldiers kept to guard the Frontiers from the Cochinchi∣neses.
The West Provinces hath Ngeam on the South, the Kingdom of Laos on the West, the Province of Cachao on the East, and on the North the North Province. This is a large Province, and good Champion Land: rich in Soyl, partly woody, partly pasture. The product of this Province is chiefly in Lack; and here are bred a great abun∣dance of Silk worms for making Silk.
The North Province is a large tract of Land, ma∣king the North side of this whole Kingdom. It hath the Kingdom of Laos on the West, and China on the East and North, the Kingdom of Bao Oi Baotan on the North West, and on the South it Page 22 ders on 3 of the principal Provinces of Tonquin, viz. the West Province, that of Cachao, and the East Pro∣vince. This North Province, as it is large, so it has variety of Land and Soyl; a great deal of plain Champion Land, and many high Mountains which yield Gold, &c. the wild Elephants of this Coun∣try are found most on these Mountains. The other parts of this Province produce Lack and Silk, &c.
The Province of Cachao, in the heart of the Kingdom, lies between the East, West, North, and South Provinces: 'tis a Champion pleasant Coun∣try: the Soil is yellow or grey earth: and 'tis pretty woody, with some Savannahs. It abounds with the two principal Commodities of their Trade, viz. Lack and Silk, and has some Rice: Nor are any of the Provinces destitute of these Commodities, tho in different proportions, each according to the re∣spective Soil.
This Country has of its own growth all necessa∣ries for the Life os Man. They have little occa∣sion for eatable Roots, having such plenty of Rice; yet they have Yams and Potatoes for variety; which would thrive here as well as any where, were the Natives industrious to propagate them.
The Land is every where cloath'd with herbage of one kind or other, but the dry Land has the same Fate that most dry Lands have between the Tropicks, to be over-run with Purslain; which growing wild, and being pernicious to other ten∣der Herbs and Plants, they are at the pains to weed it out of their Fields and Gardens, tho tis very sweet, and makes a good Sallad for a hot Coun∣try.
There is a sort of Herb very common in this Country, which grows wild in stagnant Ponds, and floats on the surface of the water. It has a narrow, long, green thick leaf. It is much esteemed Page 23 and eaten by the Natives who commend it for a very wholesom herb, and say that 'tis good to ex∣pel poyson. This Country produces many other sorts of wild herbs; and their, gardens also are well furnish'd with pleasant and wholsome ones, especially many Onions, of which here are great plenty.
Plantains and Bonanoes grow and thrive here as well as any where, but they are used here only as Fruit, and not for Bread, as in many places of Ame∣rica. Besides these here are divers sorts of excellent fruits, both Ground fruit and Tree fruit. The ground Fruits are Pumpkins, Melons, Pine-apples, &c. the Tree Fruits are Mangoes a few, Oranges, Limes, Coco-nuts, Guava's, Mulberry's, their much esteem'd Betle, a Fruit call'd Lichea, &c. The Oranges are of divers sorts, and two of them more excellent than the rest. One sort is called Cam-chain, the other is called Camquit. Cam, in the Tonquinese Language signifies an Orange, but what the distinguishing words Cam and Quit signifie I know not.
The Cam-chain is a large Orange, of a yellowish colour: the rind is pretty thick and rough; and the inside is yellow like Amber. It has a most fra∣grant smell, and the taste is very delicious. This sort of Orange is the best that I did ever taste; I believe there are not better in the world: A man may eat freely of them; for they are so innocent, that they are not denied to such as have Fevers, and other sick people.
The Cam quit is a very small round Fruit, not above half so big as the former. It is of a deep red dolour, and the rind is very smooth and thin. The inside also is very red; the taste is not inferi∣our to the Cam-chain, but it is accounted very un∣wholesom fruit, especially to such as are subject to fluxes; for it both creates and heightens that Page 24 distemper. These 2 sorts are very plentiful and cheap, and they are in season from October till Fe∣bruary, but then the Cam-chain becomes redder, and the rind is also thinner. The other sorts of Oranges are not much esteemed.
The Limes of Tonquin are the largest I ever saw. They are commonly as big as an ordinary Limon, but rounder. The rind is of a pale yellow colour when ripe; very thin and smooth. They are extraordinary juicy, but not near so sharp, of tart in taste as the West Indian Limes.
Coco nuts and Guava's do thrive here very well: but there are not many of the latter.
The Betle of Tonquin is said to be the best in India, there is great plenty of it; and 'tis most esteemed when it is young, green, and tender; for 'tis then very juicy. At Mindanao also they like it best green: but in other places of the East-Indies it is commonly chew'd when it is hard and dry.
The Lichea is another delicate fruit. 'Tis as big as a small Pear, somewhat long shaped, of a reddish colour, the rind pretty thick and rough, the inside white, inclosing a large black kernel, in shape like a Bean.
The Country is in some part woody; but the low Land in general is either grassy pasture, or Rice Fields, only thick set with small Groves, which stand scattering very pleasantly, all over the low-Country. The Trees in the Groves are of divers sorts, and most unknown to us. There is good Timber, for building either Ships or Houses, and indifferent good Masts may here be had.
There is a Tree called by the Natives Pone, chiefly used for making Cabinets, or other wares to be lackered. This is a soft sort of wood, not much unlike Fir, but not so serviceable. Another Tree grows in this Country that yields the Lack, with which Cabinets and other fine things are overlaid. Page 25 These grow plentifully in some places especially in the Champion Lands. Here are also Mulberry Trees in great plenty, to feed the Silk worms, from whence comes the chief Trade in the Country. The Leaves of the old Trees are not so nourishing to the Silk-worms, as those of the young Trees, and therefore they raise crops of young ones every year, to feed the Worms: for when the season is over, the young Trees are pluckt up by the roots, and more planted against the next year; so the Natives suffer none of these Trees to grow to bear Fruit. I heard of no Mulberries kept for eating, but some few raised by our English Merchants at Hean, and these bear but small hungry Fruit.
Here is good plenty of Rice, especially in the low Land, that is fatned by the overflowing Ri∣vers. They have two crops every year, with great increase, if they have seasonable Rains and Floods. One crop is in May, and the other in November: and tho the low Land is sometimes overflown with water in the time of Harvest, yet they matter it not, but gather the crop and fetch it home wet in their Canoas; and making the Rice fast in small bundles, hang it up in their Houses to dry. This serves them for Bread-corn; and as the Country is very kindly for it, so their Inhabitants live chiefly of it.
Of Land Animals in this Country there are Elephants, Horses, Buffaloes, Bullocks, Goats, Deer, a few Sheep for their King, Hogs, Dogs, Cats, Lizards, Snakes, Scorpions, Centapees, Toads, Frogs, &c. The Country is so very popu∣lous, that they have but few Deer or wild Game for Hunting, unless it be in the remoter parts of the Kingdom. But they have abundance of Fowls both tame and wild. The tame Fowls are Cocks and Hens, and Ducks also in great plenty, of the same sort with ours. The Inhabitants have little Page [unnumbered] Houses made purposely for the Ducks to lay their Eggs in, driving them in every night in laying time, and letting them out again in the morning. There are also some Geese, Parrots, Partridges, Para∣kites, Turtle Doves, &c. with many sorts of smal∣ler Birds. Of wild Water-fowls they have Ducks, Widgeons, Teals, Herons, Pelicans, and Crab∣catchers, (which I shall describe in the Bay of Campeachy) and other smaller Water-fowls. The Duck, Widgeon, and Teal are innumerable: they breed here in the months of May, June, and July; then they fly only in couples: but from October to March you will see over all the low watry Lands great companies together: and I have no where seen such large flights, nor such plenty of Game. They are very shy since the English and Dutch settled here; for now the Natives as well as they shoot them: but before their arrival the Tonquinese took them only with Nets: neither is this custom left off yet. The Net that is us'd for this Game is made square, and either bigger or less according as they have occasion. They fix two Poles about 10 or 11 foot high, upright in the ground, near the Pond, where the Ducks haunt; and the Net has a head-cord, which is stretched out streight, made from the top of one Pole to the other; from whence the lower part of the Net hangs down loose towards the ground; and when in the even∣ing they fly towards the Pond, many of them strike against the Net, and are there entangled.
There is a kind of Locust in Tonquin, in great abundance. This Creature is about the bigness of the top of a mans Finger, and as long as the first joynt. It breeds in the earth, especially in the banks of Rivers and Ditches in the low Country. In the months of January and February, which is the season of taking them, being then only seen, this creature first comes out of the Earth in huge Page 27 swarms. It is then of a whitish colour, and having 2 small wings, like the wings of a Bee, at its first coming out of the Earth it takes its flight; but for want of strength or use falls down again in a short time. Such as strive to fly over the River, do com∣monly fall down into the water, and are drowned, or become a prey to the Fish of the River, or are car∣ried out into the Sea to be devoured there: but the Natives in these months watch the Rivers, and take up thence multitudes, skimming them from off the Water with little Nets. They eat them fresh, broiled on the Coals; or pickle them to keep. They are plump and fat, and are much esteemed both by rich and poor, as good wholesome food, either fresh or pickled.
The Rivers and Ponds are stored with divers sorts of excellent Fish, besides abundance of Frogs, which they Angle for, being highly esteemed by the Tonquinese. The Sea too contributes much to∣wards the support of the poor People, by yielding plentiful stores of Fish, that swarm on this Coast in their seasons, and which are commonly pre∣ferr'd before the River Fish. Of these here are divers sorts, besides Sea Turtle, which frequently come ashore on the Sandy Bays, in their seasons, to lay their Eggs. Here are also both Land crabs and Sea-crabs good store, and other Shell-fish, viz. Craw-fish, Shrimps, and Prawns. Here is one sort of small Fish much like an Anchovy, both in shape and size, which is very good pickled. There are other sorts of small Fish, which I know not the names of. One sort of them comes in great shoals near the shore, and these the Fishermen with their Nets take so plentifully as to load their Boats with them. Among these they generally take a great many Shrimps in their nets, which they carry ashore mixt together as they take them, and make Balachaun with them.
Page 28Balachaun is a composition of a strong savor; yet a very delightsom dish to the Natives of this Country. To make it, they throw the Mixture of Shrimps and small Fish into a sort of weak pickle made with Salt and Water, and put into a tight earthen Vessel or Jar. The Pickle being thus weak, it keeps not the Fish firm and hard, neither is it probably so designed, for the Fish are never gutted. Therefore in a short time they turn all to a mash in the Vessel; and when they have lain thus a good while, so that the Fish is reduced to a pap, they then draw off the liquor into fresh Jars, and preserve it for use. The masht Fish that remains behind is called Balachaun, and the liquor pour'd off is call'd Nuke-Mum. The poor people eat the Balachaun with their Rice. 'Tis rank scented, yet the taste is not altogether unpleasant; but rather savory, after one is a little used to it. The Nuke-Mum is of a paie brown colour, inclining to grey; and pretty clear. It is also very savory, and used as a good sauce for Fowls, not only by the Natives, but also by many Europeans, who esteem it equal with Soy. I have been told that Soy is made partly with a Fishy composition, and it seems most likely by the taste: tho a Gentleman of my ac∣quaintance, who was very intimate with one that sailed often from Tonquin to Japan, from whence the true Soy comes, told me, that it was made only with Wheat, and a sort of Beans mixt with Water and Salt.
Their way of Fishing differs little from ours: in the Rivers, they take some of their Fish with Hook and Line, others with Nets of several sorts. At the mouths of the Rivers, they set nets against the Stream or Tide. These have two long wings opening on each side the mouth of the Net, to guide the Fish into it; where passing through a narrow neck, they are caught in a bag at the far∣ther end.
Page 29 Where the Rivers mouth is so wide, that the wings of the Net will not reach from side to side; as at Batsha particularly it will not, there they sup∣ply that defect, with long slender Canes, which they stick upright near one another in a row: for on both sides of the River, when the tide runs strong (which is the time that the Fish are mov∣ing) the limber Canes make such a ratling, by striking against each other, that thereby the Fish are scared from thence towards the Mouth of the Net; in the middle of the Stream. Farther up the River, they have Nets made square like a great sheet. This sort hath two long Poles laid across each other. At this crossing of the Poles a long Rope is fastned; and the Net hangs down in a bag by its corners from them. To manage it there is a substantial post, set upright and firm in the Ri∣ver; and the top of it may be 8 or 10 foot above the water. On the top of this post there is a Mortice made, to receive a long pole, that lies athwart like the Beam of a Ballance: to the heavier end of which they tie the Rope, which holds the Net; and to the other end another Rope to pull up the Net on occasion. The Fishermen sink it with Stones to the Rivers bottom, and when they see any Fish come over it, one suddenly pulls the Rope at the opposite end of the beam, and heaves Net and Fish out of the Water. They take a great deal of Fish this way: and sometimes they use Drag-Nets, which go quite across, and sweep the Ri∣ver.
In the stagnant Ponds, such as the Mandarins have commonly about their Houses, they go in and trouble the water with their feet, till 'tis all mud∣dy and thick: and as the Fish rise to the surface, they take what they please with small Nets, fastned to a hoop, at the end of a pole.
Page 30 For all these sorts of provision there are Markets duly kept all over Tonquin, one in a week, in a neighbourhood of 4 or 5 Villages; and held at each of them successively in its order: so that the same Village has not the Market return'd to it till 4 or 5 weeks after. These Markets are abundantly more stor'd with Rice (as being their chief subsistence, especially of the poorer sort) than either with Flesh or Fish, yet wants there not for Pork, and young Pigs good store, Ducks and Hens, plenty of Eggs, Fish great and small, fresh and salted Balachaun and Nuke-Mum, with all sorts of Roots, Herbs, and Fruits, even in these Country Markets. But at Cachao, where there are markets kept every day, they have besides these, Beef of Bullocks, Buffa∣loes Flesh, Goats Flesh, Horse Flesh, Cats and Dogs, (as I have been told) and Locusts.
They dress their food very cleanly, and make it savory: for which they have several ways un∣known in Europe, but they have many sorts of dishes, that wou'd turn the Stomach of a stranger, which yet they themselves like very well; as par∣ticularly, a dish of raw Pork, which is very cheap and common. This is only Pork cut and minced very small, fat and lean together; which being afterwards made up in balls, on rolls like Sausages, and prest very hard together, is then neatly wrapt up in clean leaves, and without more ado, served up to the Table. Raw Beef is another dish, much esteemed at Cachao. When they kill a Bullock they singe the hair off with Fire, as we singe Bacon Hogs in England. Then they open it; and while the Flesh is yet hot, they cut good Collops from off the lean parts, and put them into very tart Vine∣gar; where it remains 3 or 4 hours or longer, till it is sufficiently soaked, and then, without more trouble, they take it out, and eat it with great delight. As for Horseflesh, I know not whether Page 31 they kill any purposely for the Shambles; or whe∣ther they only do it when they are not likely to live; as I have seen them do their working Bullocks at Galicia in Old Spain; where the Cattel falling down with labour, and being so poor and tired, that they cannot rise, they are slaughtered, and sent to market, and I think I never eat worse Beef than at the Groin. The Horseflesh comes to Market at Cachao very frequently, and is as much esteemed as Beef. Elephants they eat also; and the Trunk of this Beast is an acceptable present for a Nobleman, and that too tho the beast dyes with Age or Sickness. For here are but few wild Elephants, and those so shy, that they are not easily taken. But the King having a great number of tame Elephants, when one of these dyes, 'tis given to the poor, who presently fetch away the Flesh; but the Trunk is cut in pieces, and presented to the Mandarins. Dogs and Cats are killed pur∣posely for the Shambles, and their Flesh is much esteemed, by people of the best fashion, as I have been credibly informed. Great yellow Frogs also are much admired: especially when they come fresh out of the Pond. They have many other such choice dishes: and in all the Villages, at any time of the day, and be it market day or not, there are several to be sold by poor people, who make it their Trade. The most common sorts of Cookeries, next to boil'd Rice, is to dress little bits of Pork, spitted 5 or 6 of them at once, on a small skiver, and roasted. In the Markets also, and daily in every Village, there are Women sitting in the Streets, with a Pipkin over a small Fire, full of Chau, as they call it, a sort of very ordinary Tea, of a reddish brown colour, and 'tis their ordinary drink.
The Kingdom of Tonquin is in general healthy enough, especially in the dry season, when also it is very delightsom. For the seasons of the year Page 32 at Tonquin, and all the Countries between the Tro∣picks, are distinguished into Wet and Dry, as pro∣perly as others are into Winter and Summer. But as the alteration from Winter to Summer, and vice versa is not made of a sudden, but with the interchangeable Weather of Spring and Autumn; so also toward the end of the dry season, there are some gentle showers now and then, that precede the violent wet months; and again toward the end of these, several fair days that introduce the dry time. These seasons are generally much alike at the same time of the year in all places of the Torrid Zone, on the same side of the Equator: but for 2 or 3 degrees on each side of it, the weather is more mixt and uncertain, (tho inclining to the wet extreme) and is often contrary to that which is then settled on the same side of the Equator more toward the Tropick. So that even when the wet Season is set in, in the Northern parts of the Torrid Zone, it may yet be dry weather for 2 or 3. degrees North of the Line: and the same may be said of the con∣trary Latitudes and Seasons. This I speak with respect to the driness or moisture of Countries in the Torrid Zone: but it may also hold good of their Heat or Cold, generally: for as to all these qualities there is a further difference arises from the make or situation of the Land, or other acci∣dental causes, besides what depends on the re∣spective latitude or regard to the Sun. Thus the Bay of Compeachy in the West Indies, and that of Ben∣gal in the East, in much the same latitude, are ex∣ceeding hot and moist; and whether their situa∣tion, being very low Countries, and the scarcity and faintness of the Sea-breezes, as in most Bays may not contribute hereunto, I leave others to judge. Yet even as to the Latitudes of these places, lying near the Tropicks, they are generally upon that account alone more inclined to great Heats, Page 33 than places near the Equator. This is what I have experienc'd in many places in such Latitudes both in the East and West Indies, that the hottest parts of the World are these near the Tropicks, especially 3 or 4 Degrees within them; sensibly hotter than under the Line itself. Many reasons may be assign'd for this, beside the accidental ones from the make of the particular Countries, Tropical Winds, or the like. For the longest day at the Equator never exceeds 12 hours, and the night is always of the same length: But near the Tropicks the longest day is about 13 hours and an half; and an hour and an half being also taken from the night, what with the length of the day, and the shortness of the night, there is a difference of three hours; which is very cousiderable. Be∣sides which, at such places as are about 3 degrees within the Tropicks, or in the Lat. of 20 Deg. N., the Sun comes within 2 or 3 degrees of the Ze∣nith in the beginning of May; and having past the Zenith, goes not above 2 or 3 degrees beyond it, before it returns and passeth the Zenith once more; and by this means is at least 3 months within 4 degrees of the Zenith: so that they have the Sun in a manner over their heads from the be∣ginning of May, till the latter end of July. Where∣as when the Sun comes under the Line, in March or September, it immediately posts away to the North or the South, and is not 20 days in passing from 3 degrees on one side, to 3 degrees on the other side the Line. So that by his small stay there, the heat cannot be answerable to what it is near the Tropick, where he so long continues in a manner Vertical at Noon, and is so much longer above the Horizon each paaticular day, with the intervening of a shorter night.
But to return to Tonquin. During the wet months there 'tis excessive hot, especially when∣ever Page 34 the Sun breaks out of the Clouds, and there is then but little Wind stirring: And I have been told by a Gentleman who liv'd there many years, that he thought it was the hottest place that ever he was in, tho he had been in many other parts of India. And as to the Rains, it has not the least share of them, tho neither altogether the greatest of what I have met with in the Torrid Zone; and even in the same Latitude, and on the same side of the Equator. The wet season begins here the lat∣ter end of April, or the beginning of May; and holds till the latter end of August: in which time are very violent Rains, some of many hours, others of 2 or 3 days continuance: Yet are not these Rains without some considerable intervals of fair weather, especially toward the beginning or end of the season.
By these Rains are caus'd those Land-floods, which never fail in these Countries between the Tropicks at their annual periods; all the Rivers then overflowing their Banks. This is a thing so well known to all who are any way acquainted with the Torrid Zone, that the cause of the over∣flowing of the Nile, to find out which the Ancients set their wits so much upon the rack, and fancied melting of Snows, and blowing of Etesiae, and I know not what, is now no longer a secret. For these floods must needs discharge themselves upon such low Lands as lie in their way; as the Land of Egypt does with respect to the Nile, coming a great way from within the Torrid Zone, and falling down from the higher Ethiopia. And any one who will be at the pains to compare the time of the Land flood in Egypt, with that of the Torrid Zone in any of the parts of it along which the Nile runs, will find that of Egypt so much later than the other, as 'twill be thought reasenable to allow for the daily progress of the Waters along so vast a tract Page 35 of Ground. They might have made the same wonderment of any other Rivers which run any long course from out the Torrid Zone: but they knowing only the North Temperate Zone, and the Nile being the only great River known to come thither a great way from a Country near the Line, they made that only the subject of their enquiry: but the same effect must also follow from any great River that should run from out of the Torrid Zone into the South Temperate Zone. And as to the Torrid Zone, the yearly floods, and their cause, are every where as well known by people there, as the Rivers themselves. In America par∣ticularly, in Campeachy Rivers, in Rio Grande, and others, 'tis a vast havock is made by these floods; bringing down sometimes Trees of an incredible bigness; and these floods always come at the stated season of the year. In the dry part of Peru, along the coasts of Pacifick Sea, where it never rains, as it seldom does in Egypt, they have not only Floods, but Rivers themselves, made by the annual falling of Rain on the Mountains within Land; the Channels of which are dry all the rest of the year. This I have observ'd concerning the River Ylo, on the Coast of Peru, in my former Volume, p. 95. But it has this difference from the Floods of Egypt, that besides its being a River in the Torrid Zone, 'tis also in South Latitude; and so overflows at a contrary season of the year; to wit, at such time as the Sun being in Southern Signs, causes the Rains and Floods on that side the Line.
But to return from this digression, in August the weather at Tonquin is more moderate, as to heat or wet, yet not without some showers, and September and October are more temperate still: yet the worst weather in all the year for Seamen, is in one of the 3 months last mentioned: for then the violent Storms, called Tuffoons, (Typhones) are ex∣pected. Page 36 These winds are so very fierce, that for fear of them the Chinese that Trade thither, will not stir out of Harbour, till the end of October: after which month there is no more danger of any violent Storms, till the next year.
Tuffoons are a particular kind of violent Storms, blowing on the Coast of Tonquin, and the neighbor∣ing Coasts in the months of July, August, and Sep∣tember. They commonly happen near the full or change of the Moon, and are usually preceded by very fair weather, small winds and a clear Sky. Those small winds veer from the common Trade of that time of the year, which is here at S. W. and shuffles about to the N. and N. E. Before the Storm comes there appears a boding Cloud in the N. E. which is very black near the Horizon, but towards the upper edge, it looks of a dark copper colour, and higher still it is brighter, and after∣wards it fades to a whitish glaring colour, at the very edge of the Cloud. This appears very amazing and ghastly, and is sometimes seen 12 hours before the Storm comes. When that Cloud begins to move apace, you may expect the Wind presently. It comes on fierce, and blows very vio∣lent at N. E. 12 hours more or less. It is also com∣monly accompanied with terrible claps of Thunder, large and frequent flashes of Lightning, and exces∣sive hard rain. When the Wind begins to abate it dyes away suddenly, and falling flat calm, it conti∣nues so an hour, more or less: then the wind comes about to the S. W. and it blows and rains as fierce from thence, as it did before at N. E. and as long.
November and December are 2 very dry, wholesom warm and pleasant months. January, February, and March are pretty dry: but then you have thick fogs in the morning, and sometimes drisling cold rains: the Air also in these 3 months, particularly in January and February is very sharp, especially Page 37 when the wind is at North East, or North North East, whether because of the Quarter it blows from, or the Land it blows over I know not: for I have elsewhere observ'd such Winds to be Colder, where they have come from over Land. April is counted a moderate month, either as to heat or cold, driness or moisture.
This is ordinarily the state of their year: yet are not these various Seasons so exact in the returns, but that there may sometimes be the difference of a month, or more. Neither yet are the several Seasons, when they do come, altogether alike in all years. For sometimes the Rains are more violent and lasting, at other times more mode∣rate; and some years they are not sufficient to pro∣duce reasonable Crops, or else they come so unsea∣sonably as to injure and destroy the Rice, or at least to advance it but little. For the Husbandry of this Country, and other Countries in the Torrid Zone depends on the Annual Floods, to moysten and fatten the Land, and if the wet season proves more dry than ordinary, so as that the Rice Land is not well dranched with the overflowings of the Rivers, the Crops will be but mean: and Rice being their Bread, the staff of Life with them, if that failes, such a populous Country as this cannot subsist, without be∣ing beholding to its Neighbours. But when it comes to that pass, that they must be supplyed by Sea, many of the poorer sort sell their Children to relieve their wants, and so preserve their Lives, whilst others that have not Children to sell, may be famished and dye miserable in the Streets. This manner of Parents dealing with their Children is not peculiar to this Kingdom alone, but is custo∣mary in other places of the East Indies, especialy on the Coasts of Malabar and Coromandel. There a famine happens more frequently, and rages some∣times to a degree beyond belief: for those Coun∣tries Page 38 are generally very dry, and less productive of Rice then Tonquin. Neither are there such large Rivers to fatten the Land: but all their Crop de∣pends on Seasons of Rains only, to moisten the earth: and when those seasons fail, as they do very often, then they can have no Crop at all. Sometimes they have little or no rain in 3 or 4 years, and then they perish at a lamentable rate. Such a Famine as this happen'd 2 or 3 years before my going to Fort St. George, which raged so sore, that thousands of people perished for want, and happy were they that cou'd hold out, till they got to the Sea-port Towns, where the Europeans lived, to sell themselves to them, tho they were sure to be transported from their own Country presently. But the fa∣mine does never rage so much at Tonquin, neither may their greatest scarcity be so truly called a Famine: for in the worst of times there is Rice, and 'tis thro the poverty of the meaner people, that so many perish, or sell their Children, for they might else have Rice enough, had they money to buy it with: and when their Rice is thus dear, all other provi∣sions are so proportionably.
There is a further difference between the Coun∣tries of Malabar and Coromandel, and this of Tonquin, that there the more Rain they have there, the greater is their blessing: but here they may have too much rain for the lower part of the Kingdom; but that is rare. When this happens, they have Banks to keep in the Rivers, and Ditches to drain the Land; tho sometimes to little purpose, when the floods are violent, and especially if out of sea∣son. For if the floods come in their seasons, tho they are great, and drown all the Land, yet are they not hurtful; but on the contrary, very beneficial, because the mud that they leave behind fattens the Land. And after all, if the low Land Page 39 should be injured by the floods, the dry Champion Land yields the better increase, and helps out the other; as that does them also in more kindly seasons. In the dry seasons the low Lands have this ad∣vantage, that Channels are easily cut out of the River, to water them on each side. So that let the Seasons be wet or dry, this Country seldom suffers much. Indeed considering the number of its inha∣bitants, and the poverty of the major part, it is sometimes here, as in all populous Countries, very hard with the poor, especially the Trades people in the large Towns. For the Trade is very uncer∣tain, and the people are imployed according to the number of Ships that come thither, to fetch away their Goods: and if but few Ships come hither, as sometimes it happens, then the poor are ready to famish for want of work, whereby to get a sub∣sistance. And not only this, but most Silk Coun∣tries are stockt with great multitudes of poor peo∣ple, who work cheap and live meanly on a little Rice: which if it is not very cheap, as it com∣monly is here, the poor people are not able to maintain themselves.
Of the Natives of Tonquin: Their Form, Dis∣position, Capacity, Cloaths, Buildings, Villages, Groves, Banks, Ditches, and Gardens. Of Cachao, the Capital City. Ovens to secure goods from Fire; and other precautions against it. The Streets of the City, the Kings Pa∣laces, and English and Dutch Factories. An Artificial Mole above the City, to break the force of the Land floods. Of their Wives and Common women. Feasts at the Graves of the Dead, and Annual Feasts: their entertaining with Betle and Arek, &c. Their Religion, Idols, Pagods, Priests, Offerings, and Pray∣ers. Their Language and Learning. Their Mechanick Arts, Trades, Manufactures, Com∣modities and Traffick.
TOnquin is very populous, being thick set with Villages; and the Natives in general are of a middle stature, and clean limb'd. They are of a Tawny Indian colour: but I think the fairest and clearest that I ever saw of that Complexion: for you may perceive a blush or change of colour in some of their faces, on any sudden surprize of passion; which I could never discern in any other Indians. Their faces are generally flattish, and of an oval form. Their noses and lips are proportio∣nable enough, and altogether graceful. Their hair is black, long and lank, and very thick; and they wear it hanging down to their shoulders.
Page 41 Their teeth are as black as they can make them; for this being accounted a great ornament, they dye them of that colour, and are 3 or 4 days doing it. They do this when they are about 12 or 14 years old, both Boys and Girls: and during all the time of the operation they dare not take any nou∣rishment, besides Water, Chau, or some liquid thing, and not much of that neither, for fear, I judge, of being poyson'd by the Dye, or Pig∣ment. So that while this is doing they undergo very severe Penance: but as both Sexes, so all Qualities, the poor as well as the rich, must be in this fashion: they say they should else be like Brutes; and that 'twould be a great shame to them to be like Elephants or Dogs; which they com∣pare those to that have white teeth.
They are generally dextrous, nimble, and active; and ingenious in any Mechanick science they pro∣fess. This may be seen by the multitude of fine Silks that are made here; and the curious Lacker∣work, that is yearly transported from thence. They are also laborious and diligent in their Cal∣lings: but the Country being so very populous, many of them are extreme poor for want of em∣ployment: and tho the Country is full of Silk, and other materials to work on, yet little is done, but when strange Ships arrive. For 'tis the Money and Goods that are brought hither, especially by the English and Dutch, that puts life into them: for the Handicrafts men have not Money to set themselves to work; and the Foreign Merchants are therefore forc'd to trust them with advance∣money, to the value of at least a third, or half their goods; and this for 2 or 3 months or more, before they have made their goods, and brought them in. So that they having no Goods ready by them, till they have Money from the Merchant strangers, the Ships that trade hither must of ne∣cessity Page 42 stay here all the time that their Goods are making, which are commonly 5 or 6 months.
The Tonquinese make very good Servants; I think the best in India. For as they are generally apprehensive and docil, so are they faithful when hired, diligent and obedient. Yet they are low spirited: probably by reason of their living under an Arbitrary Government. They are patient in labour, but in sickness they are mightily dejected. They have one great fault extreme common among them, which is gaming. To this they are so uni∣versally addicted, Servants and all, that neither the awe of their Masters nor any thing else is suf∣ficient to restrain them, till they have lost all they have, even their very Cloaths. This is a reigning Vice amongst the Eastern Nations, especially the Chinese, as I said in the 15th Chapter of my former Volume. And I may add, that the Chinese I found settled at Tonqnin, were no less given to it than those I met with elsewhere. For after they have lost their Money, Goods, and Cloaths they will stake down their Wives and Children: and lastly, as the dearest thing they have, will play upon tick, and mortgage their Hair upon honour: And whatever it cost 'em, they will be sure to redeem it. For a free Chinese, as these are, who have fled from the Tartars, would be as much asham'd of short Hair, as a Tonquinese of white Teeth.
The Cloaths of the Tonquinese are made either of Silk or Cotton. The poor people and Soldiers do chiefly wear Cotton cloath died to a dark tawny colour. The rich men and Mandarins commonly wear English Broad-cloath: the chief colours are red or green. When they appear before the King, they wear long Gowns which reach down to their heels: neither may any man appear in his pre∣sence but in such a garb. The great men have also long Caps made of the same that their Gowns Page 43 are made of: but the middle sort of men and the poor commonly go bare-headed. Yet the Fisher∣men, and such Labourers as are by their employ∣ments more exposed to the weather, have broad brim'd Hats, made of Reeds, Straw, or Palmeto∣leaves. These Hats are as stiff as boards, and sit not plyant to their heads: for which reason they have Bandstrings or Necklaces fastened to their Hats; which coming under their chins are there tyed, to keep their Hats fast to their heads. These Hats are very ordinary things; they seldom wear them but in rainy weather: Their other Cloaths are very few and mean: a ragged pair of Britches commonly sussiceth them. Some have bad Jackets, but neither Shirt, Stockings, nor Shooes.
The Tonquinese buildings are but mean. Their Houses are small and low: the Walls are either Mud, or Watle bedawbed over: and the Roofs are thatched, and that very ill, especially in the Country. The Houses are too low to admit of Chambers; yet they have here 2 or 3 partitions on the ground floor, made with a watling of Canes or Sticks, for their several uses; In each of which there is a Window to let in the light. The Win∣dows are only small square holes in the Walls, which they shut up at night with a Board, fitted for that purpose. The Rooms are but meanly fur∣nished; with a poor Bed or two (or more, accord∣ing to the bigness of the family) in the inner Room. The outer Rooms are furnish'd with Stools, Benches, or Chairs to sit on. There is also a Ta∣ble, and on one side a little Altar, with two In∣cense-pots on it: nor is any House without its Altar. One of these Incense-pots has a small bun∣dle of Rushes in it; the ends of which I always took notice had been burnt, and the sire put out. This outer Room is the place where they common∣ly dress their food: yet in fair weather they do it Page 44 as frequently in the open air, at their doors, or in their yards; as being thereby the less incommoded by heat or smoak.
They dwell not in lone houses, but together in Villages: 'tis rare to see a single house by itself. The Country Villages commonly consist of 20, 30, or 40 houses, and are thick seated over all the Country; yet hardly to be seen till you come to their very doors, by reason of the Trees and Groves they are surrounded with. And 'tis as rare to see a Grove without a Village, in the low Coun∣try near the Sea, as to see a Village without a Grove: but the high Lands are full of Woods, and the Villages there stand all as in one great Forest. The Villages and Land about them do most belong to great men, and the Inhabitants are Tenants that manure and cultivate the ground.
The Villages in the low Land are also surround∣ed with great banks and deep ditches. These in∣compass the whole Grove, in which each Village stands.
The banks are to keep the water from over∣flowing their gardens, and from coming into their houses in the wet time, when all the Land about them is under water, 2 or 3 foot deep. The ditches or trenches are to preserve the water in the dry time, with which they water their gardens when need requires. Every man lets water at pleasure, by little drains that run inward from the Town-ditch, into his own garden; and usually each mans yard or garden is parted from his neighbours by one of these little drains on each side. The houses lie scattering up and down in the Grove; no where joyning to one another, but each apart, and fenced in with a small hedge. Every house hath a small gate or stile to enter into the garden first, for the house stands in the middle of it: and the garden runs also from the backside of the house Page 45 to the Town-Ditch, with its drain and hedge on each side. In the gardens every man has his own Fruit-trees, as Oranges, Limes, Betle, his Pumpkins, Melons, Pine-apples, and a great many Herbs. In the dry season these Grovy dwellings are very pleasant; but in the wet season they are altoge∣ther uncomfortable: for tho fenced in thus with banks, yet are they like so many Duck houses, all wet and dirty: neither can they pass from one Village to another, but mid-leg or to their knees in water, unless sometimes in Boats, which they keep for this purpose: but notwithstanding these, they are seldom out of mire and wet, even in the midst of the Village or Garden, so long as that season lasts. The Inhabitants of the higher part of the Kingdom are not troubled with such incon∣veniencies, but live more cleanly and comfortably, forasmuch as their Land is never overflown with water: and tho they live also in Villages or Towns as the former, yet they have no occasion to sur∣round them with banks or trenches, but lie open to the Forest.
The Capital City Cachao, which stands in the high Country, about 80 miles from the Sea, on the West side of the River, and on a pretty level, yet rising ground, lies open in the same manner, with∣out wall, bank, or ditch. There may be in Cachao about 20000 Houses. The Houses are generally low, the walls of the Houses are of mud, and the covering thatch, yet some are built with brick, and the covering with pantile. Most of these Houses have a yard or backside belonging to them. In each yard you shall see a small arched building made somewhat like an Oven, about 6 foot high, with the mouth on the ground. It is built from top to bottom with brick, all over daub'd thick with mud and dirt. If any house wants a yard, they have nevertheless such a kind of Oven as this, but Page 46 smaller, set up in the middle of the House it self: and there is scarce a house in the City with∣out one. The use of it is to thrust their chiefest goods into, when a Fire happens: for these low thatch'd Houses are very subject to take fire, espe∣cially in the dry times, to the destruction of many Houses in an instant, that often they have scarce time to secure their goods in the arched Ovens, tho so near them.
As every private person hath this contrivance, to secure his own goods, when a Fire happens, so the Government hath carefully ordered necessary means to be used for the preventing of Fire, or extinguishing it before it gets too great a head. For in the beginning of the dry season, every man must keep a great Jar of water on the top of his House, to be ready to pour down, as occasion shall serve. Besides this, he is to keep a long pole, with a basket or bowl at the end of it, to throw water out of the Kennels upon the houses. But if the Fire gets to such a head, that both these ex∣pedients fail, then they cut the straps that hold the Thatch of the Houses, and let it drop from the rafters to the ground. This is done with little trouble; for the Thatch is not laid on as ours, nei∣ther is it tyed on by single leaves, as in the West Indies, and many parts of the East Indies, where they Thatch with Palmeto or Palm tree leaves: but this is made up in Panes of 7 or 8 foot square, before it is laid on; so that 4 or 6 Panes more or less, accor∣ding to the bigness of the House, will cover one side of it: and these Panes being only fastned in a few places to the rafters with Rattans, they are ea∣sily cut, and down drops half the covering at once, These panes are also better than loose thatch, as being more managable, in case any of them should fall on or near near the Oven where the Goods are; for they are easily dragg'd off to another Page 47 place. The Neighbouring Houses may this way be soon uncovered, before the flame comes to them; and the Thatch either carried away, or at least laid where it may burn by itself. And for this purpose every man is ordered to keep a long Pole or Bambo at his door, with a Cutting-hook at the end of it, purposely for uncovering the houses: and if any man is found without his Jar upon the house, and his Bucket-pole and long Hook at his door, he will be punish'd severely for his neglect. They are rigorous in exacting this: for even with all this caution they are much and often damaged by Fire.
The principal streets in this City are very wide, tho some are but narrow. They are most of them pav'd, or pitch'd rather, with small Stones; but after a very ill manner. In the wet season they are very dirty; and in the dry time there are ma∣ny stagnant ponds, and some ditches full of black stinking mud, in and about the City. This makes it unpleasant, and a man would think unwhole∣some too: yet it is healthy enough, as far as I per∣ceiv'd, or could ever learn.
The Kings of Tonquin, who make this City their constant Residence, have two or three Pa∣laces in it, such as they be. Two of them are very mean; they are built with timber, yet have they many great Guns planted in Houses near them, Stables for the Kings Elephants and Horses, and pretty large square spots of ground for the Soldiers to draw themselves up regularly before him. The third Palace is call'd the Palace Royal It is more magnificently built than the other two: yet built also with timber, but all open, as the Divans in Turky are said to be. The wall that in∣compasseth it is most remarkable. It is said to be 3 leagues in circumference. The heighth of this Wall is about 15 or 16 foot, and almost as many Page 48 broad or thick. It is faced up on both sides with Brick: there are several small Gates to go in and out at, but the main Gate faceth to the City. This they say is never opened, but when the Boua or Emperor goes in or comes out. There are two smaller Gates adjoyning to it, one on each side, which are opened on all occasions, for any con∣cern'd there to pass in and out; but strangers are not permitted this liberty. Yet they may ascend to the top of the Wall, and walk round it; there being stairs at the Gate to go up by: and in some places the Walls are fallen down.
Within this Wall there are large Fish-ponds, where also there are Pleasure-Boats for the Empe∣rors diversion. I shall defer speaking of him, whose Prison this is rather than Court, till the next Chapter, where I shall discourse of the Go∣vernment.
The house of the English Factory, who are very few, is pleasantly seated on the North end of the City, fronting to the River. 'Tis a pretty hand∣some low built. House; the best that I saw in the City. There is a handsome Dining-room in the middle, and at each end convenient apartments for the Merchants, Factors, and Servants belong∣ing to the Company to live in, with other conve∣niences. This House stands parallel with the Ri∣ver; and at each end of it, there are smaller Houses for other uses, as Kitchin, Store-Houses, &c. run∣ing in a line from the great House towards the River, making two Wings, and a square Court open to the River. In this square space, near the banks of the River, there stands a Flag-staff, purposely for the hoysing up the English Colours, on all occasions: for it is the custom of our Coun∣trymen aboard, to let fly their Colours on Sundays, and all other remarkable days.
Page 49 The Dutch Factory joyns to the English Factory on the South side: I was never in it, and therefore can say nothing of it, but what I have heard, that their ground is not so large as ours, tho they are the longest standers here by many years: for the English are but newly removed hither from Hean, where they resided altogether before.
There is nothing more in or about the City worth noting, but only a piece of work on the same side, up the River. This is a massy frame of Timber, ingeniously put together, and very arti∣ficially placed on great piles, that are set upright in the River, just by its banks. The piles are dri∣ven firmly into the ground, close one by another: and all the space between them and the bank is filled up with stones, and on them great Trees laid across, and pinn'd fast at each end to the piles: so that the whole fabrick must be moved before any part of it will yield. This piece of work is raised about 16 or 17 foot above the water in the dry time: but in the wet season the floods come within 2 or 3 foot of the top. It was made to resist the violence of the water in the rainy sea∣son: for the stream then presseth so hard against this place, that before this pile was built, it broke down the bank, and threatned to carry all before it, even to the ruining of the City, if this course had not timely been taken to prevent it. And so much the rather, because there is a large pond just within Land, and low ground between it and the City: so that had it made but a small breach into the pond, it would have come even to the skirts of the City. And tho the City stands so high as that the Land floods never reach it, yet the Land on which it stands being a sort of yielding Sand, could not be thought capable of always resisting such violence. For the natural floods do very often make great changes in the River, breaking down Page 50 one point of Land, and making another point in the opposite side of the River; and that chiefly in this part of the Country, where it is bounded with high banks: for nearer the Sea, where it presently overflows, the floods do seldom make any conside∣able change, and move more quietly.
But to return to the people. They are cour∣teous and civil to strangers, especially the trading people: but the great men are proud, haughty and ambitious; and the Souldiers very insolent. The poorer sort are very Thievish; insomuch that the Factors and Strangers that traffick hither are forced to keep good watch in the night to secure their goods, notwithstanding thesevere punishments they have against Thieves. They have indeed great opportunities of Thieving, the Houses being so slightly built: but they will work a way under ground, rather than fail; anduse many sub∣tle stratagems. I am a stranger to any ce∣remonies used by them in Marriage, or at the Birth of a Child, or the like, if they use any: Polygamy is allowed of in this Country, and they buy their Wives of the Parents. The King and and great Men keep several, as their inclinations lead them, and their ability serves. The poor are stinted for want of means more than desire: for tho many are not able to buy, much less to maintain one Wife; yet most of them make a shift to get one, for here are some very low prized ones, that are glad to take up with poor Husbands. But then in hard times, the man must sell both Wife and Children, to buy Rice to main∣tain himself. Yet this is not so common here as in some places; as I before observed of the Mala∣bar and Coromandel Coasts. This custom among them of buying Wives, easily degenerates into that other of hiring Misses, and gives great liberty to the young Women, who offer themselves of their Page 51 own accord to any strangers, who will go to their price. There are of them of all prizes, from 100 Dollars to 5 Dollars, and the refuse of all will be caressed by the poor Seamen. Such as the Lascars, who are Moors of India, coming hither, in Vessels from Fort St. George, and other places: who yet have nothing to give them, but such fragments of Food, as their Commons will afford. Even the great men of Tonquin will offer their Daughters to the Merchants and Officers, tho their stay is not likely to be above 5 or 6 Months in the Country: neither are they affraid to be with Child by White men, for the Children will be much fairer than their Mothers, and consequently of greater repute, when they grow up, if they be Girls. Nor is it any great charge to breed them here: and at the worst if their Mothers are not able to maintain them, 'tis but selling them when they are young. But to return, the Women who thus let themselves to hire, if they have been so frugal as to save what they have got by these loose amours, they soon procure Husbands, that will love and esteem them well enough: and themselves also will prove afterwards obedient and faithful Wives. For 'tis said, that even while they are with strangers, they are very faithful to them; especially to such as remain long in the Country, or make annual returns hither, as the Dutch generally do. Many of these have gotten good Estates by their Tonquin Ladies; and that chiefly by trusting them with Money and Goods. For in this poor Country 'tis a great advantage to watch the Market: and these female Merchants having stocks will mightily im∣prove them, taking their opportunities of buying raw Silk in the dead time of the year. With this they will employ the poor people, when work is scarce; and get it cheaper and better done, than when Ships are here: for then every man being em∣ployed Page 52 and in a hurry of business, he will have his price according to the haste of work. And by this means they will get their Goods ready against the Ships arrive, and before the ordinary working sea∣son, to the profit both of the Merchant and the Pagally.
When a man dyes he is interr'd in his own Land, for here are no common Burying-places: and within a month afterwards the friends of the de∣ceased, especially if he was the master of the fami∣ly, must make a great feast of Flesh and Fruit at the Grave. 'Tis a thing belonging to the Priests office to assist at this solemnity; they are always there, and take care to see that the friends of the deceased have it duly performed. To make this Feast they are obliged to sell a piece of Land, tho they have Money enough otherways: which Money they bestow in such things as are necessary for the solemnity, which is more or less, according to the quality of the deceased. If he was a great man, there is a Tower of Wood erected over the Grave; it may be 7 or 8 foot square, and built 20 or 25 foot high. About 20 yards from the Tower, are little Sheds built with Stalls, to lay the Provi∣sions on, both of Meat and Fruits of all sorts, and that in great plenty. Thither the Country people resort to fill their Bellies, for the Feast seems to be free for all comers, at least of the Neighbourhood. How it is drest or distributed about I know not; but there the People wait till 'tis ready. Then the Priest gets within the Tower, and climbs up to to the top, and looking out from thence, makes an oration to the People below. After this the Priest descends, and then they set fire to the foun∣dation of the Tower, burn it down to the Ground: and when this is done they fall to their Meat. I saw one of these Grave-Feasts, which I shall have elsewhere occasion to mention.
Page 53 The Tonquinese have two Annual Feasts. The chief is at the first New Moon of the New Year: and their New Year begins with the first New Moon that falls out after the middle of January, for else that Moon is reckon'd to the old year. At this time they make merry and rejoyce 10 or 12 days, and then there is no business done, but every man makes himself as fine as may be, especially the common sort. These spend their time in gaming or sport∣ing, and you shall see the Streets full of people, both Citizens and Country folks, gazing at several diverting exercises. Some set up Swings in the Streets, and get money of those that will swing in them. The Frames are contriv'd like ours in the Fields about London in Holiday times: but they who swing stand upright on the lower part of the Swing, which is only a stick standing on each end, being fastened to a pendulous rope, which they hold fast with their hands on each side; and they raise themselves to such prodigious heighth, that if the Swing should break they must needs break their Limbs at best, if not kill themselves outright. Others spend their time in drinking. Their ordi∣nary drink is Tea: but they make themselves mer∣ry with hot Rack, which sometimes also they mix with their Tea. Either way it hath an odd nasty taste, but is very strong: and is therefore much esteemed by them: especially at this time, when they so much devote themselves to mirth, or mad∣ness, or even bestial drunkenness. The richer sort are more reserved: yet they will also be very merry at this time. The Nobles treat their friends with good cheer and the best Rack; but indeed there is, none good in this Country. Yet such as they have they esteem as a great Cordial; especially when Snakes and Scorpions have been infused therein, as I have been informed. This is not only accounted a great Cordial, but an antidote against the Leprosie, and Page 54 all sorts of Poyson; and 'tis accounted a great piece of respect to any one to treat him with this Liquor. I had this relation from one that had been treated thus by many of the great men. They also at this time more especially chew abundance of Betle, and make presents thereof to one another.
The Betle Leaf is the great entertainment in the East for all Visitants; and 'tis always given with the Arek folded up in it. They make up the Arek in pellets fit for use by first peeling off the outer green hard rind of the Nuts, and then splitting it lengthways in 3 or 4 parts, more or less, according to its bigness. Then they dawb the Leaf all over with Chinam or Lime made into a Morter or Paste, and kept in a Box for this purpose, spreading it thin.
And here by the way I shall take notice of a slip in my former Volume, p. 318, which I desire may be corrected: the Nut being there by mistake call'd the Betle, and the Arek-tree call'd the Betle∣tree, whereas Betle is the name of the Leaf they chew. In this Leaf, thus spread with Chinam, they roll up a flice of Arek-Nut, very neatly, and make a pellet of about an inch long, and as big as the top of ones finger. Every man here has a Box that will hold a great many of these pellets, in which they keep a store ready made up: for all persons, of what quality soever, from the Prince to the Reggar, chew abundance of it. The poorer sort carry a small pouchful about with them: But the Mandarins, or great men, have curious oval Boxes, made purposely for this use, that will hold 50 or 60 Betle pellets. These Boxes are neatly lacker'd and gilded, both inside and outside, with a cover to take off; and if any stranger visits them, espe∣cially Europeans, they are sure, among other good entertainment, to be treated with a Box of Betle. The Attendant that brings it holds it to the left Page 55 hand of the stranger; who therewith taking off the cover, takes with his right hand the Nuts out of the Box. 'Twere an affront to take them, or give or receive any thing with the left hand, which is confin'd all over India to the viler uses.
It is accounted good breeding to commend the taste or neatness of this present; and they all love to be flatter'd. You thereby extremely please the master of the house, and engage him to be your friend: and afterwards you may be sure he will not fail to send his Servant with a present of Betle once in two or three mornings, with a complement to know how you do. This will cost you a small gratuity to the Servant, who joyfully acquaints his Master how gratefully you receiv'd the present: and this still engages him more; and he will com∣plement you with great respect whenever he meets you. I was invited to one of these New-years Feasts by one of the Countrey, and accordingly went ashore, as many other Sea-men did upon like invitations. I know not what entertainment they had; but mine was like to be but mean, and there∣fore I presently left it. The staple Dish was Rice, which I have said before is the common food: Besides which, my friend, that he might the better entertain me and his other guests, had been in the morning a fishing in a Pond not far from his house, and had caught a huge mess of Frogs, and with great joy brought them home as soon as I came to his house. I wonder'd to see him turn out so ma∣ny of these creatures into a Basket; and asking him what they were for? he told me to eat: but how he drest them I know not; I did not like his dainties so well as to stay and dine with him.
The other great Feast they have, is after their May crop is hous'd, about the beginning of June. At this Feast also they have publick Rejoycings; but much inferiour to those of their New years Feast.
Page 56 Their Religion is Paganism, and they are great Idolaters: Nevertheless they own an omnipotent, supream, over-ruling power, that beholds both them and their actions, and so far takes notice of them, as to reward the good and punish the bad in the other world. For they believe the immor∣tality of the Soul: but the notion that they have of the Deity is very obscure. Yet by the figures which they make, representing this God, they manifestly shew that they do believe him to excel in sight, strength, courage and wisdom, justice, &c. For tho their Idols, which are made in human shapes are very different in their forms; yet they all represent somewhat extraordinary either in the countenance, or in the make of the body or limbs. Some are very corpulent and fat, others are very lean, some also have many eyes, others as many hands, and all grasping somewhat. Their aspects are also different, and in some measure representing what they are made to imitate, or there is some∣what in their hands or lying by them, to illustrate the meaning of the Figure. Several passions are also represented in the countenance of the Image, as love, hated, joy, grief. I was told of one Image, that was placed sitting on his Hams, with his Elbows resting on his Knees, and his Chin rest∣ing on his 2 Thumbs, for the supporting his Head, which lookt drooping forwards: his Eyes were mournfully lifted up towards Heaven, and the figure was so lean, and the countenance and whole compo∣sure was so sorrowful, that it was enough to move the beholder with pity and compassion. My Friend said he was much affected with the sight thereof.
There are other Images also, that are in the shape of Beasts, either Elephants or Horses: for I have not seen them in any other shape. The Pago∣das or Idol Temples, are not sumptuous and mag∣nificent, as in some of the Neighbouring Kingdoms. Page 57 They are generally built with Timber, and are but small and low: yet mostly covered with Pan∣tile; especially the City Pagodas. But in the Coun∣try some of them are thatched. I saw the Horse and Elephant Idols only in the Country: and in∣deed I saw none of the Idols in the City Cachao, but was told they were generally in humane shapes.
The Horse and Elephant Images I saw, were both sorts about the bigness and height of a good Horse, each standing in the midst of a little Tem∣ple, just big enough to contain them, with their heads towards the Door: and sometimes one, some∣times two together in a Temple, which was always open. There were up and down in the Country other buildings, such as Pagodas, or Temples, Tombs, or the like, less than these; and not above the heighth of a man: but these were always shut so close, that I could not see what was within them.
There are many Pagan Priests belonging to these Pagodas, and 'tis reported that they are by the Laws tyed up to strict rules of living; as abstinence from Women, and strong drink especially and en∣join'd a poor sort of Life. Yet they don't seem to confine themselves much to these Rules: but their subsistance being chiefly from Offerings, and there being many of them, they are usually very poor The offering to the Priest is commonly 2 or 3 handfuls of Rice, a box of Betle, or some such like present. One thing the people resort to them for is fortune-telling, at which they pretend to be very expert, and will be much offended if any dispute their skill in that, or the truth of their Reli∣gion. Their Habitations are very little and mean, close by the Pagodas, where they constantly attend to offer the petitions of the poor people, that fre∣quently resort thither on some such errand. For they have no set times of Devotion, neither do they seem to esteem one day above another, except Page 58 their Annual Feasts. The people bring to th Priest in writing what Petition they have to make: and he reads it aloud before the Idol, and after∣wards burns it in an Incense-pot, the supplicant all the while lying prostrate on the Ground.
I think the Mandarins and rich people seldom come to the Pagodas, but have a Clerk of their own, who reads the Petition in their own Courts or Yards: and it should seem by this, that the Mandarins have a better sense of the Deity, than the common People; for in these Yards, there is no Idol, before whom to perform the Ceremony, but 'tis done with Eyes lift up to Heaven. When they make this Pe∣tition they order a great deal of good meat to be drest, and calling all their Servants into the Court, where the Ceremony is to be performed, they place the food on a table, where also 2 Incense-pots are placed, and then the Mandarin presents a paper to the Clerk, who reads it with an audible voice. In the first place there is drawn up an ample account of all that God has blest him withal, as Health, Riches, Honour, Favour of his Prince, &c. and long Life, if he be old; and towards the conclusion, there is a Petition to God for a continuance of all these blessings, and a farther augmentation of them; especially with long life and favour of his Prince, which last they esteem as the greatest of all Bles∣sings. While this paper is reading the Master kneels down, and bows his face down to the Earth: and when the Clerk has done reading it, he puts it to the burning Rushes, that are in the Incense∣pot, where 'tis consumed. Then he flings in 3 or 4 little bundles of sacred paper, which is very fine and gilded; and when that also is burnt, he bids his Servants eat the Meat. This Relation I had from an English Gentlemen, who understood the Lan∣guage very well, and was present at such a Cere∣mony. This burning of paper seems a great Custom Page 59 among the Eastern Idolaters: and in my former Volume I observed the doing so by the Chinese, in a sacrifice they had at Bencouli.
The Tonquinese Language is spoken very much through the throat, but many words of it are pro∣nounced through the teeth. It has a great affinity to the Chinese Language, especially the Fokien dia∣lect, as I have been inform'd: and tho their words are differently pronounc'd, yet they can understand each others writings, the characters and words being so near the same. The Court Language especially is very near the Chinese; for the Courtiers being all Scholars, they speak more elegantly; and it differs very much from the vul∣gar corrupted language. But for the Malayan Tongue, which Monsieur Tavernier's Brother in his History of Tonquin says is the Court Language, I could never hear by any person that it is spoken there, tho I have made particular enquiry about it; neither can I be of his opinion in that matter. For the Tonquinese have no manner of Trade with any Malayans that I could observe or learn, neither have any of their neighbours: and for what other grounds the Tonquinese should receive that language I know not. It is not probable that either Con∣quest, Trade or Religion could bring it in; nor do they travel towards Malacca, but towards China; and commonly 'tis from one of these causes that men learn the language of another Nation. The remarkable smoothness of that Language, I confess, might excite some people to learn it out of curiosity: but the Tonquinese are not so curious.
They have Schools of Learning, and Nurseries to tutor youth. The Characters they write in are the same with the Chinese, by what I could judge; and they write with a hair Pencil, not sitting at a Table as we do, but standing upright. They hold their Paper in one hand, and write with the other, Page 60 making their Charracters very exact and fair. They write their lines right down from the top to the bottom, beginning the first line from the right hand, and so proceeding on towards the left. Af∣ter they can write, they are instructed in such Sciences as their Masters can tutor them in; and the Mathematicks are much studied by them. They seem to understand a little of Geometry and Arith∣metick, and somewhat more of Astronomy. They have Almanacks among them: but I could not learn whether they are made in Tonquin, or brought to them from China.
Since the Jesuits came into these parts, some of them have improv'd themselves in Astronomy pretty much. They know from them the Revo∣lutions of the Planets; they also learn of them natural Philosophy, and especially Ethicks: and when young Students are admitted or made Gra∣duates, they pass thro a very strict examination. They compose something by way of trial, which they must be careful to have wholly their own, for if it is found out that they have been assisted, they are punished, degraded, and never admitted to a second examination.
The Tonquinese have learnt several Mechanick Arts and Trades, so that here are many Tradesmen, viz. Smiths, Carpenters, Sawyers, Joyners, Tur∣ners, Weavers, Tailors, Potters, Painters, Money∣changers, Paper-makers, Workers on Lacker ware, Bell-founders, &c. Their Saws are most in frames. and drawn forwards and backwards by two men. Money changing is a great profession here. It is managed by Women, who are very dextrous and ripe in this employment. They hold their cabals in the night, and know how to raise their Cash as well as the cunningest Stock-iobber in Lon∣don.
Page 61 The Tonquinese make indifferent good Paper, of two sorts. One sort is made of Silk, the other of the rinds of Trees. This being pounded well with wooden Pestles in large Troughs, make the best writing Paper.
The vendible Commodities of this Kingdom are Gold, Musk, Silks, both wrought and raw, some Callicoes, Drugs of many sorts, Wood for Dying, Lacker Wares, Earthen-Wares, Salt, Anniseed, Wormseed, &c. There is much Gold in this Country: It is like the China Gold, as pure as that of Japan, and much finer. Eleven or twelve Tale of Silver brings one of Gold. A Tale is the name of a summ of About a Noble Engl. Besides, the raw Silk fetched from hence, here are several sorts of wrought Silks made for exportation, viz: Pe∣longs, Sues, Hawkins, Piniasco's, and Gaws The Pelongs and Gaws, are of each sort either plain or flower'd very neatly. They make several other sorts of Silk, but these are the principal that are bought by the English and Dutch.
The Lacker'd Ware that is made here, is not in∣feriour to any but that of Japan only, which is esteemed the best in the world; probably because the Japan wood is much better than this at Tonquin; for there seems not any considerable difference in the Paint or Varnish. The Lack of Tonquin is a sort of gummy juice, which drains out of the Bodies or limbs of Trees. It is gotten in such quantities by the Country people, that they daily bring it in great Tubs to the Markets at Cachao to sell, especi∣ally all the working season. The natural colour is white, and in substance thick like Cream: but the air will change its colour, and make it look blackish: and therefore the Country people that bring it to Town, cover it over with 2 or 3 sheets of paper, or leaves, to preserve it in its fresh native colour. The Cabinets, Desks, or any sort of Page 62 Frames to be Lackered, are made of Fir, or Pone-tree: but the Joyners in this Country may not compare their work with that which the Eu∣ropeans make: and in laying on the Lack upon good or fine joyned work they frequently spoil the joynts, edges, or corners of Drawers of Cabinets: Besides, our fashions of Utensils differ mightily from theirs, and for that reason Captain Poole, in his second Voyage to the Country, brought an ingenious Joyner with him, to make fashionable Commodities to be lackered here, as also Deal∣boards, which are much better than the Pone-wood of this Country.
The Work-houses where the Lacker is laid on, are accounted very unwholsom, by reason of a poisonous quality, said to be in the Lack, which fumes into the Brains through the Nostrils of those that work at it, making them break out in botches and biles; yet the scent is not strong, nor the smell unsavory. The Labourers at this Trade can work only in the dry season, or when the drying North Winds blow: for as they lay several Coats of Lack, one on another, so these must all have time to be throughly dry, before an outer Coat can be laid on the former. It grows blackish of itself, when exposed to the air; but the colour is heightned by Oyl, and other ingredients mixt with it. When the outside Coat is dry, they polish it to bring it to a gloss. This is done chiefly by often rubbing it with the ball or palm of their Hands. They can make the Lack of any colour, and tem∣per it so as to make therewith good Glew, said to be the best in the world. It is also very cheap, and prohibited exportation. They make Varnish also with the Lack.
Here is also Turpentine in good plenty, and very cheap. Our Captain bought a considerable quan∣tity for the Ships use: and of this the Carpenter Page 60 made good Pitch, and used it for covering the Seams after they were caulk'd.
The Earthen-ware of this Country is course and of a grey colour, yet they make great quantities of small Earthen Dishes, that will hold half a pint or more. They are broader towards the brim than at the bottom, so that they may be stowed within one another. They have been sold by Europeans, in many of the Malayan Countries, and for that reason Captain Pool in his first Voyage, bought the best part of 100000, in hopes to sell them in his return homeward at Batavia; but not finding a market for them there, he carried them to Bencouli on the Island Sumatra, where he sold them at a great profit to Governor Bloom; and he also sold most of them at good advantage to the Native Malayans there: yet some thousands were still at the Fort when I came thither, the Country being glutted with them. Captain Weldon also bought 30 or 40000, and carried them to Fort St. George, but how he disposed of them I know not. The China wares which are much finer, have of late spoiled the sale of this Commodity in most places: yet at Rackan, in the Bay of Bengall, they are still esteem'd, and sell at a good rate.
The several sorts of Drugs bought and soldhere, are beyond my knowledge: but there is China root, Galingame, Rhubarb, Ginger, &c. Neither do I know whether any of these grow in this Country, for they are mostly imported from their Neigh∣bours; tho as to the Ginger, I think it grows there. Here is also a sort of Fruit or Berry said to grow on small Bushes, called by the Dutch Annise, because its scent and taste is strong like that of the Anniseed. This Commodity is only exported hence by the Dutch, who carry it to Batavia, and there distil it among their Arack, to give it an Anniseed flavour. This sort of Arack is not fit to make Page 64 Punch with, neither is it used that way, but for want of plain Arack. It is only used to take a Dram of by itself, by the Dutch chiefly, who in∣stead of Brandy, will swallow large Doses of it, tho it be strong: but 'tis also much used and esteemed all over the East Indies.
There is one sort of Dying wood in this Coun∣try much like the Campeachy Log-wood, tho whether the same, or Wood of greater value, I know not. I have heard that 'tis called Sappan Wood; and that it comes from Siam. It was smaller than what we usually cut in the Bay of Campeachy; for the biggest stick that I saw here was no bigger than my Leg, and most of it much smaller, and crooked. They have other sorts of Dyes, but I can give no account of them. They dye several colours here, but I have been told they are not lasting. They have many sorts of good tall Tim∣ber-trees in this Country, fit for any sorts of building: but, by relation, none very durable. For Masting the Fir and Pone Trees are the best Here is much Wormseed, but it grows not in this Kingdom. It is brought from within the Land, from the Kingdom of Boutan, or from the Province of Yunam, bordering on this Kingdom, yet belong∣ing to China. From thence comes the Musk and Rhubarb; and these 3 Commodities are said to be peculiar to Boutan and Yunam. The Musk grows in the Cods of Goats. The same Countries yield Gold also, and supply this Country with it: for whatever Gold Mines the Tonquinese are said to have in their own Mountains, yet they don't work up∣on them.
With all these rich Commodities, one would ex∣pect the people to be rich; but the generality are very poor, considering what a Trade is driven here. For they have little or no Trade by Sea them∣selves, except for eatables, as Rice, and Fish, Page 65 which is spent in the Country: but the main Trade of the Country is maintained by the Chinese, English, Dutch, and other Merchant Strangers, who either reside here constantly, or make their annual returns hither. These export their Commo∣dities, and import such as are vendible here. The Goods imported hither besides Silver, are Salt∣peter, Sulphur, English Broad-cloath, Cloath∣rashes, some Callicoes, Pepper and other Spices, Lead, great Guns &c. but of Guns the long Saker is most esteemed. For these Commodities you receive Money or Goods, according to contract: but the Country is so very poor, that, as I for∣merly observed, the Merchant commonly stays 3 or 4 months for his Goods, after he has paid for them; because the poor are not employ'd till Ships arrive in the Country, and then they are set to work by the Money that is brought thither in them. The King buys great Guns, and some pieces of Broad cloath: but his pay is so bad, that Merchants care not to deal with him, could they avoid it. But the trading people, by all accounts, are honest and just: that I heard a man say, who had traded there ten years, in which time he dealt for many thousands of pounds, that he did not in all that time lose 10 l. by them all.
Of the Government of Tonquin. The 2 Kings Boua and Choua; the Revolt of the Co∣chinchinese, and Original of the present constitution at Tonquin. Of the Boua's con∣finement, and the Choua's or ruling Kings Person and Government; and the Treasure, Elephants and Artillery. Their manner of making Gunpowder. Of the Soldiers, their Arms, Employment, &c. Of the Naval Force, their fine Gallies and Management of them. The Watch kept in their Towns, their Justice, and punishing of Debtors, and Cri∣minals of all sorts. Of the Eunuch Manda∣rins: their promotion and Dispositions. Of their swearing upon a draught of Hens Blood: and the Trial by bitter Waters in Guinea. Of the Mandarins Entertainments: The Chop sticks used at Meals; and their kindness to Strangers.
THis Kingdom is an absolute Monarchy, but of such a kind as is not in the world again; for it has two Kings, and each supreme in his particular way: The one is called Boua, the other Choua; which last name I have been told signifies Master. The Boua and his Ancestors were the sole Mo∣narchs of Tonquin; tho I know not whether as in∣dependent Soveraigns, or as Tributaries to China, of which they have been thought to have been a Frontier Province, if not a Colony: for there is a great affinity between them in their Language, Page 67 Religion, and Customs. These a Kings they have at present, are not any way related in their Descent or Families: nor could I learn how long their Government has continued in the present form; but it appears to have been for some successions. The occasion is variously reported; but some give this account of it.
The Boua's, or antient Kings of Tonquin, were formerly Masters of Cochinchina, and kept that Na∣tion in subjection by an Army of Tonquinese con∣stantly kept there, under a General or Deputy, who ruled them. When Cochinchina threw off the Tonquinese Yoak, the King had two great Generals, one in Cochinchina, and another in Tonquin itself. These two Generals differing, he who was in Cochinchina revolted from his Soveraign of Tonquin, and by his power over the Army there, made himself King of Cochinchina: since which these two Nations have always been at Wars; yet each Nation of late is rather on the defensive part than on the offensive. But when the General who Commanded in Cochinchina had been thus suc∣cessful in his revolt from under the Boua, the Tonquinese General took the Courage to do so too; and having gained the affections of his Army, de∣prived the King, his Master, of all the Regal power, and kept it with all the Revenues of the Crown in his own hands: yet leaving the other the Title of King; probably, because of the great zeal the people had for that Family. And thus the Kingdom came wholly into the power of this Tonquinese General, and his Heirs, who carry the Title of Choua; the Boua's of the antient Fami∣ly having only the shadow of that Authority they were formerly Masters of. The Boua lives the life of a kind of a Prisoner of State, within the old Palace, with his Women and Children; and diverts himself in Boats among his Fish-ponds Page 68 within the Palace Walls, but never stirs without those bounds. He is held in great veneration by all the Tonquinese, and seemingly by the Choua also; who never offers any violence to him, but treats him with all imaginable respect. The people say they have no King but Boua; and seem to have sad apprehensions of the loss they should have, if he should dye without an Heir: and whenever the Choua comes into his presence, which is 2 or 3 times in the year, he useth abundance of Com∣pliments to him, and tells him that his very life is at his service, and that he governs and rules wholly to do him a kindness: and always gives him the upper hand. So also when any Ambassadors are sent from the Emperor of China, they will deliver their Message to none but the Boua, and have their Audience of him. Yet after all this pageantry, the Boua has only a few Servants to attend him, none of the Mandarins make their Court to him, nor is he allow'd any Guards: All the Magistracy and Soldiery, Treasure, and the ordering of all matters of Peace and War, are en∣tirely at the Choua's disposal; all preferment is from him, and the very Servants who attend the Boua, are such only as the Choua places about him. Besides these Servants, none are ever suffer'd to see the Boua, much less Strangers: so that I could learn nothing as to his person. But as to the Choua, I have been informed that he is an angry, ill-natured, leprous person. He lives in the second Palace, where he has ten or twelve Wives; but what Children I know not. He governs with absolute authority over the Subjects, and with great tyranny: for their Lives, Goods, and Estates are at his command. The Province of Tenehoa is said to have belonged properly to his Ancestors, who were great Mandarins before the usurpation. So that he now seems to have a particular value Page 69 for it, and keeps his Treasure there, which, by report, is very great. This Treasure is buried in great Cisterns full of Water, made purposely for that use: and to secure it, he keeps a great many Soldiers there; and commits the charge, both of them and the Treasure to the Governour of the Province, who is one of his principal Eunuchs.
The Choua has always a strong guard of Soldiers about his Palace, and many large Stables for his Horses and Elephants. The Horses are about 13 or 14 hands high, and are kept very fat: there are 2 or 300 of them. The Elephants are kept in long Stables by themselves, each having a pecu∣liar room or partition, with a Keeper to dress and feed him. The number of the Kings Elephants are about 150 or 200. They are watered and washed every day in the River.
Some of the Elephants are very gentle and go∣vernable, others are more indocil and unruly. When these rude ones are to pass through the Streets, tho only to be watered, the Rider or Dresser orders a Gong or Drum to be beaten before him, to warn People that an unruly Elephant is coming; and they presently clear the Streets and give a passage for the Beast; who will do mis∣chief to any that are in the way, and their Riders or Keepers cannot restrain him.
Before the Choua's Palace, there is a large parade, or square place for the Soldiers to be drawn up. On one side there is a place for the Mandarins to sit, and see the Soldiers exercise, on the other side there is a shed, wherein all the Cannon and heavy Guns are lodged. There may be 50 or 60 Iron Guns from Falcon to Demy-Culverin, 2 or 3 whole Culverin or Demi-Cannon, and some old Iron Mortars lying on logs. The Guns are mount∣ed on their Carriages, but the Carriages of these Guns are old and very ill made. There is one Page 70 great Brass Gun, much bigger than the rest, sup∣posed to be 8 or 9000 pound weight. It is of a taper bore; of a foot diameter at the mouth, but much smaller at the britch. It is an ill shaped thing, yet much estemeed by them, probably be∣cause it was cast here, and the biggest that ever they made. It was cast about 12 or 13 years ago, and it being so heavy, they cou'd not contrive to mount it, but were beholding to the English, to put it into the Carriage; where it now stands more for a show than service. But tho this is but an ordinary piece of workmanship, yet the Tonquinese understand how to run Metals, and are very expert in temper∣ing the Earth, where with they make their mould.
These are all the great Guns, that I saw or heard of in this Kingdom, neither are here any Forts, yet the King keeps always a great many Soldiers. 'Tis said that he has always 70 or 80000 constant∣ly in pay. These are most Foot, they are arm'd with Curtans or Sword, and Hand Guns of 3 foot and an half or 4 foot in the Barrel. The bore is about the bigness of our Horse Pistols, they are all Match∣locks, and they are very thick and heavy. The Soldiers do all make their own Powder. They have little Engins for mixing the ingredients, and make as small a quantity as they please. They know not how to corn it, and therefore it is in unequal lumps, some as big as the top of a mans Thumb, and some no bigger than a white Pea: neither have I seen any Powder well corn'd, that has been made in any of these Eastern Nations.
The Soldiers have each a Cartage Box, covered with leather, after the manner of the West Indian Privateers: but instead of Paper Cartages, these are filled with small hollow Canes, each containing a load or charge of Powder; which they empty out of the Cane into the Gun; so that each Box has in it, as it were, so many Bandeleers. Their Arms are kept Page 71 very bright and clean: for which purpose every one of them has a hollow Bambo to lay over the Barrel of his Gun; and to keep the dust from it, as it lies over the rack in his House. When they march also in rainy weather, they have another Bambo, to cover their Guns. This is large enough to cover the whole Barrel, and very well lacker'd: so that it is not only handsome, but also preserves the Gun dry.
The Soldiers when they march are led by an Officer, who is leader of the File: and every File consists of 10 men: but as I have been informed by one who has seen them march, they don't keep their ranks in marching. The Soldiers are most of them lusty strong well made men: for 'tis that chiefly recommends them to the Kings service. They must also have good Stomachs, for that is a greater recommendation then the former; neither can any man be entertain'd as a Soldier, that has not a greater stroke than ordinary at eating: for by this they judge of his strength and constitution. For which reason, when a Soldier comes to be listed, his Stomach is first proved with Rice, the common subsistence of the ordinary People in this Kingdom: and according as he acquits himself in this first tryal of his manhood, so he is either discharged or entertain'd in the service. 'Tis re∣ported, that at these Tryals they commonly eat 8 or 9 cups of Rice, each containing a pint, and they are ever afterwards esteem'd and advanced, according to the first days service: and the greatest eaters are chiefly imploy'd as guards to the King, and commonly attend on his Person. The Pro∣vince of Ngean breeds the lustiest men, and the best eaters: for that reason those of that Province are generally imploy'd as Soldiers. After 30 years service a Soldier may petition to be disbanded; and then the Village where he was born must send another man to serve in his room.
Page 72 The Horsemen are but few, and armed with Bows, and long Spears or Lances, like the Moors and Turks. Both these and the Foot Soldiers are very dexterous in using their weapons, and shoot very well with either with Gun or Bow; for they are often exercised by shooting at Marks. The King orders a shooting match once a year, and rewards the best marks-man with a fine Coat, or about 1000 Cash, as tis called, which is a summ about the value of a Dollar. The mark is a white earthen Cup, placed against a Bank. The distance they stand to fire at it is about 80 yards. He who breaks the first Cup has the finest Coat; for there are others also of less worth and finery for the rest, that have the good fortune to break the other Cups, or Cash in lieu of them. This is all at the Kings charge, who incourages this exercise very much, as a means to make them good Marks-men; and they generally prove such. They will load and fire the quickest of any People. They draw the Rammer at one motion, and powring down the Powder and Bullet, they ram all down at one motion more. Then they withdraw the Rammer, and put it into its place, at 2 motions more. All the 4 motions are performed very dexterously and quick: and when they shoot at a mark, they level, and fire at first sight, yet very success∣fully.
Tho the King of Tonquin has no Forts, yet he keeps always a great many Souldiers in the Fron∣tier Towns of his Kingdom; especially on the S. W. part thereof, to check the Cochinchinese, his implacable Enemies: and tho there seldom hap∣pens a pitch'd Battel between them, yet there are often Skirmishings, which keep the Souldiers on each side upon their guards: and sometimes there are considerable excursions made by one or other party into the Enemies Territories, where they Page 73 kill, spoyl, and bring away what booty they can find. The King also has always about 30000 near his person, and quarter'd in or about Cachao, ready on all occasions. The Dry season is the time for his Armies to take the Field, or go against an Ene∣my: for in these Countries there is no marching in the Wet season. When he sends an Army by Land on any expedition, the General, and other great Officers are mounted on Elephants. These have neat little boarded Houses or Castles fastned on their backs, where the great men sit in state, secur'd from the Sun or Rain. They have no Field-pieces in their Armies, but instead thereof they carry on mens backs Guns that will carry a 4 ounce Shot. The barrels of these Guns are about 6 or 7 foot long: but tho one man carries one of them on his back, yet he cannot hold it out to fire, like small Guns, but rests it on its Carriage, which is another mans burden, and they two manage it between them. The Carri∣age is only a round piece of Wood, about 4 inches thick, and 6 or 7 foot long. One end of the Carriage is supported with two Legs, or a Fork of three foot high, the other rests on the ground. The Gun is placed on the top, where there is an Iron Socket for the Gun to rest in, and a Swivel to turn the Muzzel any way. From the britch of the Gun there is a short stock, for the man who fires the Gun to traverse it withal, and to rest it against his shoulder. The use of these Guns is to clear a Pass, or to fire over the Rivers, when the Enemy is so commodiously plac'd, that there is no other way to move him; and they are carry'd by these two men almost with as much ease as Mus∣kets. In these Land-expeditions they carry but little baggage, besides their necessary Arms, Am∣munition, and Provender: So that if they are routed they lightly scamper away; and generally Page 74 in these Countries the Dispute is soon over, for they will not long sustain a smart Onset.
Besides the Souldiers on the Frontiers, and those who attend the King about Cachao, he has many others that keep guards in several parts of his King∣dom, especially in the great Roads, and on the Rivers. These search all exported goods, to see that no prohibited goods are sent out of the King∣dom, especially Arms: and no prohibited goods brought in. They also look after the Custome, and see that all goods have paid, before they may pass further. All Travellers are also search'd by them, and strictly examined; and if any persons are taken only on suspicion, they are used very severely, till they can clear themselves: So that no disaffected or rebellious person can stir, with∣out being presently known; and this renders the King very safe in his Government.
The Kings Naval force consists only in a sort of flat bottom Gallies, and these seemingly designed more for State than service, except to transport Soldiers from one place to another. These Vessels are 50, 60, or 70 foot long, and about 10 or 12 foot broad in the waste; and the 2 ends near as many foot high out of the water, especially the hinderpart orStern: but the waste or middle of the Vessel is not above 2 foot and an half from the wa∣ter, that being the place, by which all the men go in and out. From thence towards each end, it is gently and very artificially raised, to a considerable heighth, so that the whole fabrick appears very graceful and pleasant, as it moves on the water. The head or forepart is not altogether so high as the Stern, neither is there so much cost bestowed on it for ornament: for tho it wants neither carv'd work nor painting, yet 'tis not comparable to that of the Stern, which has great variety of carving, and is curiously lacker'd and gilded. The place Page 75 where the Captain sits is in the Stern, and is neatly covered to keep off the Sun or the Rain: and it being higher than any other part of the Vessel, ap∣pears like a little throne, especially that of the Generals Galley. This is more magnificent than the rest, tho all are built much of one form. From the Stern to the waste, it is covered over with a slight covering, to shelter the Men and their Arms from the Rain in the wet season, and the scorching Sun in the dry. Before the waste there are places for the Oars on each side, and a plain even Deck for the Rowers to stand by their tack∣ling. Each Galley carries a small brass Gun, either Minion or Saker, which is planted afore, and looks out through a port in the Bow. They have a small Mast and Matt Sail, and they are rowed with from 16 or 20 to 24 Oars.
The Soldiers are always the men that row, and they are all naked, except that they have a nar∣row piece of black Cloath like a Sash about their Wastes, which is brought between their Thighs, and tuckt again under their Waste. Every one stands upright behind his Oar, which lies in its notch on the Gunnal, and he thrusts or pushes it forward with a great strength; and they plunge their Oars all at one instant into the Water, keep∣ing exact time with each other: and that they may the better do this, there is one that strikes on a small Gong, or a wooden Instrument, before every stroke of the Oar. Then the Rowers all at once answer with a sort of a hollow noise, through the Throat, and a stamp on the deck with one foot, and immediately plunge their Oars into the Water. Thus the Gong and the Rowers alternately answer each other, making a sound that seems very pleasant and warlike to those who are at a small distance on the Water or Shoar.
Page 79 These Boats draw about 2 foot and a half wa∣ter. They are only serviceable in Rivers, or at Sea near the Shoar, and that in very fair wea∣ther too. They are best in the broad Rivers near the Sea, where they may take the advantage of the Tides to help them: for tho they row pretty swift when they are light, yet when they have 60, 80, or 100 men aboard, as sometimes they have, they are heavy and row slowly against the stream. Nevertheless when there is occasion they must go against the stream a great way, tho they perform it with great labour.
The Soldiers in these Vessels are equipt with Bows, Swords, and Lances, and when many of them are sent on any expedition, they are di∣vided into Squadrons. They are distinguished by their several Flags of different colours; as appear∣ed by an expedition they made up the River, a∣gainst some of their Northern Neighbours, while we were there. There were then about 60 of these Galleys sent out up the River; and they had from 16 to 40 Soldiers in each, all well armed. Their General was called Ungee Comei, who was a great Mandarin, and was the person appointed by the King to inspect into our English Traffick; being made director or protector of the English Factory, who used to speak of him as a generous man. There were two more great Officers under him, each in a Vessel by himself. These three had Flags of distinction: the first was yellow, the second blue, the third red or green. They went away from Cachao towards the Mountains, but did not return while we were there: but since we came from thence, I have been informed that the expedition prov'd fruitless, and that the General Ungee Comei was much disgraced.
Page 77 When the Galleys are not in service, they are dragged ashoar, and placed in Houses built for that purpose; where they are set upright on their bottoms, made very clean, and kept neat and dry. These Galley-Houses are 50 or 60 paces from the River side; and when they bring the Galleys into them, there is a strong Rope brought round the stern of the Vessel, and both ends stretched along, one on each side: then 3 or 400 men, standing ready with the Rope in their hands, wait for the signal; which being given by the beat of a Gong, they begin to draw with all their strength, and making a great shricking noise, they run her up in a trice into her place. This also is their Soldiers work, who having thus Housed all their Galleys, return to their Land∣service.
Some of the Souldiers are imploy'd also in keep∣ing Watch and Ward, for the security of private men, as well as in the Kings business: and the Tonquinese are observ'd to keep good orders in the night in all Towns and Villages; but more parti∣cularly in the great Cities, amd especially at Ca∣ehao. There every Street is guarded with a strong watch, as well to keep silence, as to hinder any disorder. The Watch-men are armed with Staves, and stand in the Street by the Watch-houses, to examin every one that passeth by. There is also a Rope stretched cross the Street brest high, and no man may pass this place, till he is examin'd, unless he will venture to be soundly bang'd by the Watch. These men can handle their weapon so well, that if they design mischief, they will dex∣trously break a Leg or Thigh-bone, that being the place which they commonly strike at. There is a pair of Stocks by every Watch house, to secure night ramblers in: but for a small piece of Money a man may pass quiet enough, and for the Page 78 most part only the poor are taken up. These Watch-men are Soldiers, but belong to the Governor or some other men of great power, who will hear no complaints against them, tho never so justly made: and therefore they often put men in the Stocks at their pleasure, and in the morning carry them before a Magistrate: who commonly fines the Prisoners to pay somewhat; and be it more or less, it falls part to the Magistrate. Neither dares any man complain of injustice upon such usage: in this case especially; tho his cause be never so just: and therefore patience is in this Country as ne∣cessary for poor people, as in any part of the World.
But notwithstanding these Abuses, they have one Custom in the administring Justice, that is pleasing enough. For if a difference or quarrel at any time happens between 2 mean men, and they are not to be reconciled without going before aMa∣gistrate, he usually considering their Poverty, lays no heavy mulct on the offender, but injoyns him this as his penalty, that he shall treat the injur'd Person with a Jarr of Arack, and a Fowl, or a small Por∣ker, that so feasting together, they may both drown all animosity in good liquor, and renew their Friendship.
But if it be a Controversy about a Debt, they take a very different Method. For the Debtors are many times order'd to be Prisoners in their Creditors houses where they are beaten, or kept with a log of wood made fast to their Legs, to hinder them from run∣ning away. These poor Prisoners eat nothing but Rice and drink Water, and are tyranically insulted over by their rigid Creditors, till the debt is satisfied. Their Corporal Punishments upon Malefactors, and some∣times upon others, are very severe. Some are loaden with Iron chains fastned to their Legs, with logs also like the Debtors, but now mention'd. Others have their Necks inclosed between 2 great Page 79 heavy planks made like a Pillory, but moveable, for they carry it about with them where-ever they go, and even when they go to rest they are forced to lye down and sleep in it as they can.
There is another sort of punishing instrument not unlike this, called a Gongo. This also is made to wear about the neck, but is shaped like a Lad∣der. The sides of it are 2 large Bamboes, of about 10 or 12 foot long, with several such rounds or sticks as Ladders have to keep the sides asunder; but much shorter: for the 2 side Bamboes are no farther asunder, than to admit of a narrow room for the Neck; and the 2 rounds in the middle are much at the same distance from each other, on each side the Neck, forming a little Square: thro which the man looks as if he were carrying a Ladder on his Shoulders, with his head through the rounds. If either of these Yoke's were to be taken off in a short time, as in 6, 9, or 12 hours, it would be no great matter: but to wear one of them a month, 2, 3, or longer, as I have been informed they sometimes do, seems to be a very severe punish∣ment. Yet 'tis some comfort to some, that they have the Liberty to walk abroad where they will: but others are both yoak'd and imprison'd: and the Prisoners in publick Prisons are used worse than a man would use a Dog, they being half starved and soundly beaten to boot.
They have a particular punishment, for such as are suspected to fire Houses, or who are thought to have occasioned the Fire through their neglect. The master of the House, where the Fire first breaks out, will hardly clear himself from suspicion, and the severity of the Law. The punishment in this case is to sit in a Chair of 12 or 14 foot high, bare-heade, d3 whole days successively in the hot scorching Sun: this Chair is set, for his greater dis∣grace, before the place where his House stood.
Page 80 Other smaller Crimes are punished with blows; which we call Bambooing. The Criminal is laid flat on his belly on the ground, with his britches pluckt down over his hams: in which posture a lusty fellow bangs his bare britch with a split Bam∣bo, about 4 fingers broad, and 5 foot long. The number of his blows are more or less, according to the nature of the crime, or the pleasure of the Magistrate; yet Money will buy favour of the Executioner, who knows how to moderate his strokes for a fee before-hand. Otherwise his blows usually fall so heavy, that the poor offender may be lamed a month or two. After a man has suffered any of these punishments, he can never obtain any publick favour or employment.
They have no Courts of Judicature, but any single Magistrate issues out his Warrants for the apprehending of Malefactors, and upon taking them immediately tries them: and as the Sentence is final, and without appeal, so 'tis no sooner past but 'tis executed also without more ado. Their punishment in capital crimes is usually beheading. The Criminal is carried immediately from the Ma∣gistrates house to his own: for there is no com∣mon place of Execution, but the Malefactor suf∣fers near his own house, or where the fact was committed. There he is placed, sitting on the ground, with his body upright, and his legs stretched out: and the Executioner being pro∣vided with a large Curtane or Backsword, and striking a full back-blow on the neck, at one stroke he severs the head from the body; the head com∣monly tumbling down into the owners lap, and the trunk falling backward on the ground.
Theft is not thought worthy of Death, but is punished with cutting off some member, or part of a member, according to the degree of the of∣fence. For sometimes only one joynt of a Finger Page 81 is chopt off, for other crimes a whole finger, or more, and for some the whole hand.
The Magistrates and other great men of this Kingdom, are called Mandarins: Most of them in office about the King are Eunuchs, and not only gelded, but also their members cut quite off quite flat to their Bellies. These, as I have been informed, are all very learned men after their way, especially in the Laws of the Country. They rise gradually by their merit or favour, from one degree to another, as well they who are em∣ploy'd in Civil as in Military affairs: and scarce place of trust or profit goes beside them. No man is permitted to walk familiarly about the Kings Palace without the leave of the Eunuch Mandarins, and for this reason, having such free access to the King themselves, and excluding whom they will, they engross his favour. This is taken so much to heart by some, that through envy and discontent, they often pine away, as is commonly said, even to death: and I heard of such an one, who was called Ungee Thuan Ding: Ungee seems a title of honour among them. He was a man of great Learning in the Laws, ex∣tremely politick, and mighty high spirited. This man sought all the means imaginable to be pre∣ferred, but could not for want of being an Eu∣nuch. He fretted to see his inferiours raised: but plainly seeing that there was no rising without removing that objection, he one day in a rage took up a sharp Knife, and qualify'd himself ef∣fectually. He had a Wife and 6 or 8 Children, who were all in great fear of his life: but he was not at all dismayed, tho in that condition; and the King advanced him. He was living when I was there, and was a great Mandarin. He had the care of the Armory and Artillery, being great Master of the King's Ordnance.
Page 82 There was another Mandarin also, one Vngee Hane, who finding himself baffled by the Eunuchs, was forced to make himself one to be upon the level with them. This Gentleman, it seems, was Lord of a Village or two, where both he and his Tenants were often plagued with the do∣mineering Eunuchs, and having born their ma∣lice for some time, and seeing no end of it, he agreed with an expert Gelder to castrate him: for here are many in this Country, who profess this Art, and are so expert at it, that they will undertake to cut a man of any Age, for so many thousand Cash as the man is years old. 'Tis report∣ed, that they first put the Patient into a Sleep: but how long they are curing him after the Ope∣ration is over, I know not. I heard of but 3 Mandarins of any grandeur in the Government, who were not Eunuchs. One was the Governor of the East Province, whose Daughter was married to a Prince of the Royal Family. The other two, who were Governors of Cachao, were also married men, and had Children, and one of these married the Kings Daughter. All the Mandarins rule with absolute power and authority in their several precincts, yet in great obedience to the King, who is as abso∣lute over them, as they are over the Common people.
These Eunuch Mandarins especially live in great state. Many of these have command of the Soul∣diery, and have Guards attending them at their own Houses: there being a certain number of Sol∣diers allowed to attend on each Mandarin, accord∣ing to his Quality. They are generally covetous beyond measure, and very malicious. Some of them are Governors of Provinces, but all are raised to places of trust and profit.
Once every year the Mandarins receive an Oath of Allegiance to the King, from all the principal Page 83 Officers under them. This is done with great Ceremony: they cut the Throat of a Hen, and let the Blood fall into a Bason of Arack. Of this Arack every man has a small draught given him to drink, after he has publickly declared his sincerity, and readiness to serve his Prince. 'Tis esteem'd the solemnest tye by whichany man can ingage himself. This way of giving solemn potions to drink, is used also in other Countries, on different occasions. As particularly, on the Gold Coast of Guinea; where when Men or Women are taxed for a Crime, be it of what nature it will, but especially Adultery, and the matter cannot be proved by Evidence, the Fetissero or Priest, decides the difference, by giving a Potion of bitter water, to the person ac∣cused: which if they refuse to take, they are sup∣posed to be guilty without farther proof: but if they drink it off, the event is said to be, that if the persons be guilty, this water immediately swells their bodies till they burst; but if innocent, they are not hurt thereby. What tricks the Fetissero's may play in compounding this water, I know not: but this kind of Tryal is frequent among them, and seems to be a remainder of the old Jewish Tryal by the waters of jealousy, spoken of in the 5th Chapter of Numbers. I am not sufficiently inform'd whether the event of the Tryal, be such as it was among the Jews; but it seems they have a strong perswasion of it: and a guilty person does ordinarily so dread the being brought to this Trial, that for the most part he or she choose rather to suffer the punishment of the Country, which is to be sold to Europeans as Slaves. This potion is called Bitter∣water, and 'tis given by way of Trial upon any light suspicion even of a small injury. This account I have had from several, who have been in Guinea. but especially from Mr. Canby.
But to return to the Eunuch Mandarins, tho they are bitter Enemies to those whom they take Page 84 aversion against, yet on the other hand, they are as kind to their favorites, and as complacentto their visitants, whether Foreigners or others, feasting them often. They love mightily to be visited, esteeming themselves highly honoured thereby. When they treat any, they are best pleased with those who eat and drink heartily; for this they suppose proceeds from their Love and hearty affection to them: and indeed the Ton∣quineers in general are very free to their Visitants, treating them with the best cheer they are able to procure.
In their entertainments, and at their ordinary eating, instead of Forks and Spoons, they use two small round sticks about the length and bigness of a Tobacco-pipe. They hold them both in the right hand, one between the fore-finger and thumb; the other between the middle-finger and the fore-finger, as our Boys do their Snappers. They use them very dextrously, taking up the smallest grain of Rice with them; nor is it account∣ed mannerly to touch the food, after it is drest, with their hands: and tho it be difficult for stran∣gers to use them, being unaccustom'd to them, yet a little use will overcome that difficulty; and persons that reside here ought to learn this, as well as other customs of the Country, that are inno∣cent, that so their Company may be more accept∣able. All the Tonquineses keep many of these Sticks in their Houses, as well for their own use, as to entertain Strangers at meals: they are as ordina∣rily placed at the Table here, as Knives, Forks, and Spoons are in England: and a man that cannot dextrously handle these instruments, makes but an odd figure at their Tables. The richer sort of people, especially the Mandarins, have them tipt with Silver. In China also these things are con∣stantly used: they are called by the English Sea∣men Page 85Chopsticks. When the Eunuch Mandarins dye, all their riches fall to the King, who as Heir pre∣sently seizeth on their Estates, and by it gets vast Riches: for there is but little money in the King∣dom, but what falls into the clutches of these birds of prey. This probably may be one reason why the King is for preferring none but them; for they are excellent Spunges for him: and whatever some have said of their Love to Justice, I could never learn that they deserve that Character: but thro their oppression, and injuri∣ous dealings, trading is discouraged, and the Country is kept poor, which otherwise might bea flourishing Kingdom. After all, as very Eunuchs as these Mandarins are, yet they are as great admirers of the female Sex as any men, and not satisfied without them, but they all keep several handsome young Wenches to dally and spend their time withal. They also love to be courted by Strangers to favour them with a Miss of their procuring. Nothing will ingage them more than to petition them on this account; and the person thus sollicited will not fail to procure a young Damsel for his Friend, be it but for a night or two, or for 4 or 5 months. Ever afterwards he will take a more than ordinary care of the persons he has thus brought together, and their affairs; and this base sort of Office is here accounted very decent and honourable. Yet the common Baudy-houses, tho extremly rife here, are by all of them accounted •…ateful and scanda∣lous.
Some Vessels sent from Cachao to Tenan to fetch Rice. A Rencounter with some sup∣p•…d Robbers. Cash, a sort of Coin, and Pearl-Oysters. The Author's second Journey up to Cachao: Of the Pagoda's and Funeral Tower and Feast he met by the way. The French Bishops and Missionaries at Hean, their House, the Author's entertainment there, and discourse with one of their Priests. The state of thier Mission, and of Christianity, in these Idolatrous Countries. His making of Gun-powder. He goes on from Hean to Ca∣chao, and after a short stay there, back again to the Ships. Of the improvements that might be made of our English Factory here. The Author's departure from Tonquin.
I Have already spoken of my first going up the River to Cachao, and my returning back again to our Ships after a few days. There I lay on board for a great while, and sickly for the most part; yet not so, but that I took a Boat and went ashoar one where or other almost every day: and by this means I took as particular notice as I could of the Country, and have supplied my own observations with those of our Merchants residing there, and other persons of judgment and inte∣grity.
During this interval, Rice being dear at Cachao, as it had been for some time, both our Merchants and Natives were for making up a Fleet of small Page 87 Vessels, to fetch Rice from the Neighbouring Provinces, both for their own use and to supply the Markets: and they never go in single Vessels, for fear of Pirates, who infest the Coasts with their Canoas, and shelter themselves among seve∣ral little Islands, lying at the edge of the East-Province, and bordering upon the Province of Tenan, whither these Merchants were bound.
Captain Weldon was one who concern'd himself in this expedition, hiring a Vessel and Seamen of the Tonquinese, and sending some of his own men with them as a Guard, among whom I would very fain have gone, had I not been indisposed. Mr. Ludford, who had liv'd some time at Cachao before our arrival, was another Undertaker, and went himself on board the Bark he had hired; but Cap∣tain Weldon staid behind at the City, yet took care to get a Commission from the Governour of the East-Province for his Vessel. In the Commission 'twas exprest, that his Boat should be armed with Guns, or other Weapons, and that his men should resist any that came to oppose them, or any Ves∣sels in their company; and that they might kill and destroy any Robbers that they met with. The passage to Tenan lay most within Land, thro Creeks and narrow Channels, among the Islands before-mentioned, which are so many, and lye on the East-side of the Bay so thick together, and so nigh the shoar, that at a small distance off at Sea they appear to be part of the main. This little Archipelago lies within the precincts of the Gover∣nour of the East-Province, from whom Captain Weldon had his Commission, and who was a very great man in the Court of Tonquin. When the Fleet came to this place, some who lay here came forth; and they concluded they must be the Pirates, come to seize their prey as at other times. These always choose rather to take the outward Page 88 bound Vessels, because then they have all of them Cash or Money aboard to purchase their Ladings; but in their returns they would have only Rice, which these people don't so much regard. At this time Captain Weldon's Dutch Pilot, the chief man whom he sent in his Bark, was aboard Mr. Ludford's: and when the supposed Pirates came up, Mr. Ludford and he made the Seamen row the Bark to meet them, and in a short time got so near, that they fired at them. These Men not expecting to have met such a reception, for the Tonquinese have no Guns, but in the Kings Gallies, thought to save themselves by Flight: but were so eagerly pursued by Mr. Ludford, that at last they yielded to his mercy, after they had lost one man in fight. He joyful of this success secured the Prisoners, and made the best of his course to the next Town on the Coast in his way; there deli∣vering up his Prisoners to the Magistrates, and giving a full relation of the Action. He expected a reward for his pains, or at least to be highly ap∣plauded for it; but found himself mistaken. For the Prisoners obstinately denying what was al∣ledged against them by Mr. Ludford, saying they were poor Fishermen, they were immediately ac∣quitted as very honest persons, and Mr. Ludford was accused for committing a Riot on men who were about their lawful occasions. Mr. Ludford brought many of the Natives, that were in his comp any, to justify what he had done, but to no purpose; for he was fined 100000 Cash, as our Merchants call it, for the man that was killed. Cash are a small kind of Copper Money: and 'tis the only Coin they have of their own, if it be their own, and not rather brought them from China. They rise and fall in value according to the want or plenty of them, or as the Women-exchangers can manage them: but at this time they were at Page 89 the rate of a Doller a thousand; so that his fine was 100 Dollars. When Mr. Ludford saw how hard it was like to go with him, he thought to clear himself, or lessen his fine, by bringing Cap∣tain Weldon into the snare; saying that he had no Guns in his Bark, but made use of Captain Weldon's, and that Captain Weldon's Pilot was aboard his Ves∣sel, and assisted in the Action. But neither did this help him: for upon trying the matter at Cachao, whither 'twas carried by Appeal, Captain Weldons Commission saved him: so that Mr. Ludford was forced to pay the Money, which was more than he got by the Voyage. This might be a warning to him, how he meddled with Tonquin Pirates again; for it was not enough for him to plead that they came with a intent to rob him. Indeed if he had been robb'd, he might have been pitied by the Magistrates on complaint of his misfortune: but yet it is very probable, that if he shou'd have taken them in the very fact, possest of his goods, these Vermin, would have had one hole or ano∣ther to creep out at; so corrupt are the great men of this Kingdom. And indeed 'tis not improbable, that these fellows were Fishermen, and going about their business: for there is good Fishing in all the Bay of Tonquin clear round it, and there are many Boats that go out a fishing and the Fishermen are generally very honest and harmless men; except now and then, they attempt to make prize of some poor Vessel they meet, and can overcome by their numbers without fighting; for such an one they board, and strip all the men naked even to there Skin. Among these Islands also, by report, their are plenty of Pearl Oysters, that have good Pearls in them; but the Seamen are discouraged from fishing for them by the King, for he seizeth on all he finds. But this by their way; nor was any thing else observable in this Voyage to Tenan.
Page 90 These Vessels were 5 or 6 weeks in their Voy∣age to and from Tenan: and at their return Captain Weldon's Bark went not up to Cachao with the Rice, but unladed it into our Ship to supply us. Soon after this I went a second time up to Cachao, not in a Boat as before, but on foot along the Coun∣try, being desirous to see as much of it as I could: and I hired a Tonquinese for about a Dollar to be my guide. This, tho but a small matter, was a great deal out of my Pocket, who had not above 2 Dollars in all, which I had gotten on board, by teaching some of our young Seamen Plain Sailing.
This was all I had to bear my own charges and my Guide's; and 'twas the worse with me, be∣cause I was forc'd to make short Journeys every day, by reason of my weakness: It was about the latter end of Nov. 1688, when we set out. We kept on the East-side of the River, where we found the Roads pretty dry, yet in some places dirty enough. We ferry'd over several Creeks and Brooks running into the great River, where are Ferry-boats always plying, which have a few Cash for their fare. The Fever and Ague which I brought with me from Achin was gone: yet the Fruits I eat here, especially the small Oranges, brought me into a Flux. However, tho I was but weak, yet was I not discouraged from this Journey, being weary of lying still, and impa∣tient of seeing somewhat that might further gra∣tify my curiosity.
We found no Houses of Entertainment on the Road, yet at every Village we came we got House∣room, and a Barbacue of split Bambooes to sleep on. The people were very civil, lending us an earthen Pot to dress Rice, or any thing else. Usually after Supper, if the day was not shut in, I took a ramble about the Village, to see what was worth taking notice of, especially the Pagoda of Page 91 the place. These had the image of either an Horse, an Elephant, or both, standing with the head looking out of the doors: The Pagodas themselves were but small and low. I still made it dark night before I returned to my lodging, and then I laid me down to sleep. My Guide carried my Sea-gown, which was my covering in the night, and my Pillow was a Log of Wood: but I slept very well, tho the weakness of my body did now require better accommodation.
The third day after my setting out, about 3 a Clock in the afternoon, I saw before me a small Tower; such as I mentioned before, as erected for a time in honour of some great person de ceased. But I knew not then the meaning of it, for I had not seen the like before in the Country. As I came nearer to it, I saw a multitude of people most of them Men and Boys; and coming nearer still, I saw a great deal of meat on the Stalls, that were plac'd at a small distance from the Tower. This made me conclude that it was some great Market, and that the Flesh I saw was for sale: therefore I went in among the Crowd, as well to see the Tower as to buy some of the Meat for my Supper, it being now between 4 and 5 a clock in the Afternoon. My Guide could not speak English, neither could I speak the Tonquinese Lan∣guage: So I askt him no questions about it; and he too went readily in with me; it may be not knowing my intent was to buy. First I went round the Tower and viewed it: It was four-square, each side about 8 foot broad: at the ground the heighth of it was about 26 foot, but at the top somewhat narrower than at the bottom. I saw no door to enter into it: it seemed to be very slighty built, at least covered with thin boards, which were all joyned close together, and painted of a dark red∣dish colour. I then went on to the Stalls, which Page 92 had Sheds built over them: and there I viewed the Fruits and Flesh, each of which was ranged in order apart. I past by abundance of Oranges packt up in Baskets, which I think were the fairest I ever saw, and for quantity more than I had seen gathered all the time I was at Tonquin. I past by these, and seeing no other Fruit, I came to the Flesh-Stalls, were was nothing but Pork, and this also was all cut into quarters and sides of Pork: I thought there might be 50 or 60 Hogs cut up thus, and all seem'd to be very good meat. When I saw that there was none of it in small pieces, fit for my use, I, as was customary in the Markets, took hold of a quarter, and made signs to the Master of it, as I thought, to cut me a piece of 2 or 3 pound. I was ignorant of any ceremony they were about, but the superstitious people soon made me sensible of my errour: for they assaulted me on all sides, buffeting me and renting my Cloaths, and one of them snatched away my Hat. My Guide did all he could to appease them, and dragg'd me out of the Crowd: Yet some surly fellows followed us, and seemed by their countenance and gestures to threaten me; but my Guide at last pacify'd them and fetched my Hat, and we marched away as fast as we could. I could not be informed of my Guide what this meant; but some time after when I was return'd to our Ship, the Guide's Brother, who spoke English told me, it was a Funeral Feast, and that the Tower was the Tomb which was to be burned; and some English men who lived there told me the same. This was the only Funeral Feast that ever I was at among them, and they gave me cause to remember it: but this was the worst usage I received from any of them all the time that I was in the Country. When I was out of this trouble, my Guide and I marched for∣wards. Page 93 I was both weary and hungry, and I think my appetite was raised by seeing so much food: for indeed at first sight of it I concluded to have had a good Supper; but now I was likely to sup only on Rice, or a Yam roasted, and two Eggs, as I us'd to do. For tho there were Fowls to be bought at every house where I lay, yet my pocket would not reach them; and for other Flesh, there was none to be had, unless my way had lain thro the Town when it was Market day with them.
Two days after this I got with much ado to Hean, for my Flux encreased, and my strength decreased. I presently made towards the French Bishops, as the likeliest place for me both to rest at, and get larger Informations of the Country, from the European Missionaries, whose seat it is. The Bishops Palace is a pretty neat low house, standing at the North end of the Town, by the side of the River. 'Tis encompass'd with a pretty high Wall, and has a large Gate to enter at. The Gate stands fronting to the street, and runs up with houses on both sides, and ends at the Palace. Within the Wall there is a small yard, that goes round the Palace; and at the farther end of the yard there are small lodging-rooms for the Ser∣vants, and other necessary Offices. The house itself is not very large nor high; it stands not in the middle of the yard, but rather nearest the gate, which gate is open all day, but shut in the night. That part that fronts the Gate, has a pretty neat room, which seems to be designed for the reception of Strangers: for it has no communi∣cation with any other room in the House, tho joyned to it as one building: the door by which you enter it fronts to the Gate, and this door also stands open all the day.
Page 94 When I came hither I entred the Gate, and seeing no body in the yard, I went into that Room. At the door thereof, I found a small Line hanging down, which I pull'd; and a Bell ringing within, gave notice of my being there: yet no body appearing presently, I went in and sat down. There was a Table in the middle of the Room, and handsome Chairs, and several European Pictures hung upon the Walls.
It was not long before one of the Priests came into the Room to me, and received me very ci∣villy. With him I had a great deal of discourse: he was a French Man by Nation, but spoke Spanish and Portuguese very well. It was chiefly in Spanish that we entertained each other, which I under∣stood much better, than I could speak: yet I ask'd him Questions, and made a shift to answer him to such questions as he asked me; and when I was at a loss in my Spanish, I had recourse to Latin, having still some smatterings of what I learnt of it at School in my youth. He was very free to talk with me, and first asked me my business thither? I told him that my business was to Cachao, where I had been once before: that then I went by Water, but now I was moved by my curiosity to travel by Land, and that I could not pass by any Europeans without a Visit, especially such a famous place as this. He asked me many other questions, and particularly if I was a Roman Catholick? I told him no, but falling then into discourse about Re∣ligion, he told me what Progress the Gospel was like to make in these Eastern Nations. First he began with the Nicobar Islands, and told me what I have related of that matter, in the 17 Chap∣ter of my Voyage round the World, page 177, for this was the person I there quoted, and from whom I had that Relation; as he told me he had it from the Friar, who wrote to him from Fort St. George. But Page 95 that Friar having been a Passenger in Captain Weldon's Ship, from one of the Nicobar Islands to Fort St. George, I askt the Captain's opinion of that relation, since my writing that Book, and he gave me a quite contrary account of the people of Ni∣cobar; that they were a very perverse, false, thievish people, and did not deserve the good character the Friar gave of them.
But to proceed with the discourse I had with the French Priest at Hean. He told me, that in Siam the Gospel was in a very fair way to receive incouragement by the means of a French Bishop there, and several Ecclesiasticks he had with him there to assist him: that the great Minister of State, Constant Falcon, had embraced the Ro∣mish Faith; and that the King was very much inclined to it, the Courtiers also seeming well enough pleased with it. Insomuch that 'twas hop'd, that in a short time the whole Nation would be converted: and that tho the Country people in general were against it, yet by the ex∣ample of the King and his Court, the rest might come over by degrees: especially because the Priests had free Toleration to use their endeavours. As for Tonquin, he told me that the people in ge∣neral were inclined to embrace the Christian Faith, but that the Government was wholly averse to it: that the Missionaries who lived here did not open∣ly profess to be Teachers of their doctrine, but that they lived here under the notion of Mer∣chants, and not as Clergy-men; that this was a great obstacle to Christianity, yet nevertheless they found ways to draw the people from their Ignorance: that at present they had about 14000 Converts, and more coming in daily. He told me, that here were two Bishops, I think both French men; one of them was entitled the Bishop of Ascalon, the other of Auran; and that here were Page 96 ten Priests of Europe, and three more of the Natives of Tonquin, who had been ordain'd Popish Priests. But since, I have been informed that these French Bishops were not suffer'd to live at Cachao; neither may they at any time go thither without Licence from the Governour; and such a Licence also must be procur'd by the favour of some Mandarin who lives at Cachao, for whom the Bishop or other Missionary is to perform some trivial work or other. For the Missioners living here are purpose∣ly skill'd in mending Clocks, Watches, or some Mathematical Instruments, of which the Country people are ignorant; and this gives them the op∣portunity of being often sent for to Cachao by the Mandarins: and when they are there, a small job that would not require above 5 or 6 hours to per∣form, they will be twice as many days about, pretending great difficulty in the work; by which means they take their liberty, privately to teach their Disciples that live there; and then also they enjoy themselves with the English and Dutch Mer∣chants, to whom they are always welcome.
As to the Converts these people have made, I have been credibly informed that they are chiefly of the very poor people; and that in the scarce times, their Alms of Rice have converted more than their preaching: and as to those also who have been converted, as they call it, that is, to Beads and new Images, and belief in the Pope, they have fallen off again, as Rice grew plentiful, and would no longer be Christians than while the Priests administred food to them. Yet I cannot think but that these people, who have such notions of a supreme Deity, might by the industry and example of good men, be brought to embrace the Christian Faith. But as things stand at pre∣sent, it seems very improbable that Christianity should fructify there: for as the English and Page 97Dutch in these parts of the world are too loose Livers to gain reputation to their Religion, so are the other Europeans, I mean the Missionary Priests, especially the Portuguese, but very blind Teachers. But indeed as the Romanists are the only men who com∣pass Sea and Land to gain proselytes, so they may seem to have one advantage over Protestant Ministers in these Idolatrous Countries, that they pre∣sent them with such a kind of Objects, for Reli∣gious Worship, as they have been used to already: for the exchange is not great from Pagan Idols to Images of Saints, which may serve altogether as well for the poor Souls they convert, who are guided only by sence. But then even here also, these people having been bred up in the belief of the goodness of their own Gods or Heroes, they will more hardly be brought over to change their own Idols for new ones, without some better Ar∣guments to prove these to be more valuable, than the Missionaries ordinarily are able to afford them: and if I may freely speak my opinion, I am apt to think, that the gross Idolatry of the Papists is ra∣ther a prejudice, than advantage to their Missions: and that their first care should be to bring the people to be virtuous and considerate, and their next, to give them a plain History and Scheme of the fundamental Truths of Christianity, and shew them how agreeable they are to natural light, and how worthy of God.
But to return to the French Priest; he at length asked me, if any of our English Ships brought Pow∣der to sell? I told him I thought not. Then he asked me if I knew the composition of Powder? I answer'd that I had receipts how to make either Cannon or fine Powder, and told him the manner of the Composition. Said he, I have the same receipts from France, and have tryed to make Powder but could not, and therefore I think the Page 98 fault is in our Coals. Then he asked me many questions about the Coals, what were properto be used, but that I could not satisfie him in. He de∣sired me to try to make a pound, and withal told me, that he had all the ingredients, and an engine to mix them. I was easily perswaded to try my skill, which I had never yet tried, not knowing what I might be put to before I got to England; and having drank a glass or two of Wine with him, I went to work; and it succeeded so well, that I pleased him extremely, and satisfied my own de∣sire of trying the Receipt, and the Reader shall have the History of the Operation, if he pleases. He brought me Sulphur and Salt-Petre, and I weighed a portion of each of these, and of Coals I gathered up in the hearth, and beat to powder. While his man mixed these in a little Engine, I made a small Sieve of Parchment, which I pricked full of holes, with a small Iron made hot, and this was to corn it. I had 2 large Arek Nuts to roul in the Sieve, and work it thro the holes to corn it. When it was dry we proved it, and it answered our expecta∣tion. The receipt I had out of Captain Stur∣iney s Magazin of Arts.
The being so successful in this put me afterwards on the re•…ewing of Powder at Bencouli, when I was there Gunner of that Fort. There being then about 30 Barrels damnified, which was like mud, they took it out of the Cask, and put it into earthen Jars, that held about 8 Barrels a piece. These they call Mortaban Jars, from a Town of that name in Pegu, whence they are brought and carried all over India. In these 'twas intended to send the Powder to Fort St. George, to be renewed there: But I desired the Governour to let me first try my skill on it, because we had but little Powder in the Fort, and might have, wanted before any, returns could Page 99 be expected from thence. The Salt-petre was sunk to the bottom of the Jars, but I mixt it, and beat it altogether, and corned it with Sieves which I made of my own old Parchment draughts. I made thus 8 Barrels full of very good Powder before I went from thence. The French Priest told me in conclusion, that the Grandees made all their own Powder; and since I have been informed, that the Soldiers make Powder, as I have already said.
I spent the remainder of the day in the Palace with the Priest. He told me that the Bishop was well, otherwise I should haveseen him: and that be∣cause it was a Fish day, I could not expect such entertainment, as I might have had on another day; yet he ordered a Fowl to be broyled for my dinner, and I dined by my self. In the evening he sent me out of the Palace, de∣siring to be excused, that he could not entertain me all night: yet ordered his man to lodge me in a Tonquinese Christian House not far from thence. The people were civil, but very poor, and my Lodging such as I had met with on the Road. I have since been told, that the new Christans come to do their devotion in the Pallace at night, and for that reason probably, I was so soon dis∣mist.
I was now again pretty well refreshed, and might have gone to Cachao City a foot: but fearing my strength, I chose to go by water. Therefore I sent back my Guide: yet before he departed back to our Ships, he bargained with a Tonquinese Waterman for my passage to Cachao.
The Tide not serving presently to imbark, I walked about the Town, and spent the day in viewing it: in the evening I embarked, and they choose an evening for coolness, rowing Page 100 all night. The Boat was about the bigness of a Gravesend Wherry, and was used purposely to carry passengers, having a small covering over-head to keep them dry when it rained. There were 4 or 5 more of these Boats, that went up this Tide full of Passengers. In our Boat were about 20 Men and Women, besides 4 or 6 that rowed us. The Women chose their places, and sate by themselves, and they had much respect shewed them: but the men stowed close together, without shewing any respect more to one than to another, yet all very civil. I thrust in among the thickest of them at first, but my Flux would not suffer me to rest long in a place. About midnight we were set ashore to refresh our selves at a Baiting place, where there were a few Houses close by the Rivers side, and the people up, with Candles lighted, Arack and Tea, and little Spits of Meat, and other Pro∣visions ready drest, to receive us. For these were all Houses of entertainment, and probably got their living by entertaining passengers. We stayed here about an hour, and then entred again on our Boat, and rowed forwards. The passen∣gers spent the time in merry discourse, or Singing, after their way, tho to us it seems like crying; but I was mute for want of person I could converse with. About 8 or 9 a Clock the next day I was set ashore: the rest of the passengers remained in the Boat, but whither they were bound I know not, nor whether the Boat went quite up to Cachao. I was now 5 or 6 mile short of the City, but in a good path: for the Land here was pretty high, le∣vel and Sandy, and the Road plain and dry, and I reached Cachao by Noon. I presently went to one Mr. Bowyers House, who was a free Merchant with whom Captain Weldon lodged; and staid with them a few days: but so weak with my Flux, which daily encreased, that I was scarce able to Page 101 go about; and so was forced to learn by others, a great measure, several particulars relating to this place. This my weakness, joyned with my disappointment, for I found that I was not like to be imployed in any Voyage to the Neighbouring Countries, as it had been proposed to me, made me very desirous of returning back again, as soon as might be: and it happened opportunely, that Captain Weldon had by this time done his business, and was preparing for his departure.
I went therefore down the River again to our Ships, in a Vessel our Merchants had hired, to carry their Goods aboard from Cachao. Among other freight, there were 2 Bells of about 500 weight each, which had been cast at Cachao by the Tonquinese, for my Lord Falcon, the King of Siam's chief Minister of State, and for the use of some of the Christian Churches in Siam. The per∣son who bespoke them and was to carry them was Captain Brewster, who had not very long before come from Siam in a Ship of that Kings, and had been cast away on the Coast of Tonquin, but had saved most of his Goods. With these he traded at Cachao, and among other goods he had purchased to return with to Siam, were these 2 Bells, all which he sent down to be put on board Captain Weldon's Ship. But the Bark was no sooner come to Hean, in going down the River, but the Gover∣nor of Heans Officers come on board the Bark and seized the 2 Bells in behalf of the chief of the English Factory; who understanding they were de∣signed for the King of Siam, which they were not so sure of as to the rest of the goods, and the En∣glish being then at War with the Siamers, he made this his pretence for seizing them, and got the Governor to assist him with his Authority: and the Bells were accordingly carried ashore, and kept at Hean. This was thought a very strange Page 102 action of the chief of the Factory, to seize Goods as belonging to the King of Siam, while they were in a River of Tonquin: but he was a person but meanly qualified for the station he was in. Indeed had he been a man of Spirit, he might have been serviceable in getting a Trade with Japan, which is a very rich one, and much coveted by the East∣ern people themselves, as well as Europeans. For while I was there, there were Merchants came every year from Japan to Tonquin; and by some of these our English Factory might probably have set∣tled a Correspondence and Traffick. But he who was little qualified for the station he was in, was less fit for any new undertaking: and tho men ought not to run inconsideratly into new discoveries or undertakings, yet where there is a prospect of profit, I think it not amiss for Merchants to try for a Trade: for if our Ancestors had been as dull as we have been of late, 'tis probable we had ne∣ver known the way so much as to the East Indies, but must have been beholden to our Neighbours, for all the Product of those Eastern Nations. What care was formerly taken to get us a Trade into the E. Indies, and other Countries? what pains particularly did some take to find out the Muscovites by doubling the North Cape, and a way thence by land Trade into Persia? but now as if we were cloyed with Trade, we sit still contented, saying with Cato, Non minor est virtus quam quaerere parta tueri. This was the saying of an eminent Merchant of the East India Company to me: but by his leave, our Neighbours have incroached on us, and that in our times too. However 'tis certainly for the interest of our Merchants, to imploy fit men in their Facto∣ries, since the reputation of the Company riseth or falls by the discreet management, or ill conduct, of the Agents. Nor is it enough for the chief of a Factory to be a good Merchant, and an honest Page 103 man: for though these are necessary qualifications, yet the Governor, or chief of the Factory ought to know more than barely how to buy, sell, and keep accounts. Especially where other European Merchants reside among them, or Trade to the same places; for they keep a diligent Eye on the management of our affairs, and are always ready to take all advantages of our mis-improvements. Nei∣ther ought this care to be neglected where we have the Trade to our selves, for there ought to be a fair understanding between us and the Na∣tives, and care taken that they should have no reason to complain of unjust dealings, as I could shew where there has been; but 'tis an invidious subject, and all that I aim at is to give a caution. But to the matter in hand, it seemed to me that our Factory at Tonquin might have got a Trade with Japan: and to China as much as they pleased. I confess the continual Wars, between Tonquin and Cochinchina, were enough to obstruct the designs of making a Voyage to this last: and those other places of Champa and Cambodia, as they are less known, so was it more unlikely still to make thither any profitable Voyages: yet possibly the difficulties here also are not so great, but resolution and industry would overcome them; and the profit would abundantly compensate the trouble.
But to proceed, we found there was no reco∣vering the Bells: so we fell down from Hean to our Ships: and Captain Weldon coming to us in a few days and Captain Brewster with him, to go as a Passenger in his Ship, toge∣ther with one or two more; and the 2 Ships who came with us being also ready for their departure, we all weighed anchor, and took leave of Tonquin.
They set sail out of the Bay of Tonquin. Of the R. and Country of Cambodia: of Chi∣nese Pirates settled there, and the Buggasses a sort of Soldiers under the King of Siam, both routed by the English in his service. They pass by Pulo Condore, are in fear of the King of Siam, and enter the Streights of Malacca by Brewers Streights. They arrive at Malacca. The Story of Captain Johnson: his buying a Vessel at Malacca, and going over to Bancalis, a Town on the opposite Coast of Sumatra, to buy Pepper. His Murder by the Malayans there, and the narrow escape of his Men and Vessel. The State of Trade in those parts, and the Restraint put upon it. Captain Johnson's Vessel brought to Malacca by Mr. Wells. The Authors departure from Malacea, and arrival at Achin.
IT was the beginning of February 168 8/9 when we left this Country. We went over the Bar 3 Ships in Company, the Rainbow Captain Pool Com∣mander bound for London, and Captain Lacy in the Saphire bound for Fort St. George, and I was in Captain Weldons Ship the Curtane, bound thither also. We kept Company some time after our de∣parture from Tonquin, and having an Easterly Wind we kept more to the middle of the Bay of Tonquin, or towards the Eastern side, than when we entred: by which means we had the opportu∣nity of sounding as well in the middleof the Bay Page 105 now, as we had on the West side of it, at our co∣ming into the Bay.
Coming out of the Bay of Tonquin, we stood away Southward, having the Sholes of Pracel on our Larboard, and the Coasts of Cochinchina, Cham∣pa, and Cambodia on our Starboard. I have just mentioned these Kingdoms in my former Volume; and here I have but little to say of them, having only sailed by them. But not altogether to fail the Readers expectation, I shall give a brief account of one or two particulars relating to Cam∣bodia: for as to Champa, I have nothing material to speak; and Cochinchina, I have already spoken of in this Volume, as I went to Tonquin.
The Kingdom of Cambodia seems to be much such a kind of Country within Land, as the lower parts of Tonquin: low Land, very woody, and little inhabited, lying on each side a great River, that comes from the North a great way, and falls into the Sea over against Pulo Condore. I know not the particular product of Cambodia, but in the Vessels mentioned in my former Vol. p. 399. as taken at Pulo Uby, and which came thither from Cambodia; there were besides Rice, Dragons Blood, Lack, in great Jars, but it lookt blackish and thick; and the yellow purging Gum, which we from thence call Cambodia, in great Cakes, but I know not whence they get it. This River and Kingdom (if it be one) is but little known to our Nation: yet some English men have been there; particularly Captain Williams and Captain Howel, the last of whom I came acquainted with some time after this at Fort St. George, and I had of him the following account, the particulars of which I have also had confirmed by the Seamen who were with them.
These two Captains, with many more English men, had been for some time in the service of the King of Siam, and each of them commanded a Page 106 stout Frigot of his, mann'd chiefly with English, and some Portuguese born at Siam. These the King of Siam sent against some Pyrates, who made spoyl of his Subjects Trading in these Seas, and nest∣ed themselves in an Island up the River of Cambodia. Captain Howel told me, that they found this River very large, especially at its mouth; that 'tis deep and navigable for very great Vessels, 60 or 70 Leagues up, and that its depth and wideness extended much further up, for ought he knew: but so far they went up, at this time, with their Ships. The Course of the River is generally from North to South: and they found the Land low on each side, with many large creeks and branches, and in some places considerable Islands. They bended their Course up that branch which seem'd most considerable, having the Tyde of flood with them, and the River commonly so wide, as to give them room to turn, or make Angles, where the bending of the River was such, as to receive a contrary East, or South East Sea Wind. These reaches or bendings of the River East and West were very rare; at least so as to make their Course be against the Sea wind, which commonly blew in their Stern, and fo fresh, that with it they could stem the Tyde of Ebb. But in the night when the Land winds came, they anchored, and lay still till about 10 or 11 a Clock the next day, at which time the Sea-breeze usually sprang up again, and enabled them to continue their Course, till they came to the Island, where the Pirats inha∣bited. They presently began to fire at them, and landing their men, routed them, and burned their Houses and Fortifications, and taking many pri∣soners returned again.
These Piratical People were by Nation Chinese, who when the Tartars conquered their Country, fled from thence in their own Ships: as choosing Page 107 rather to live any where free, than to submit to the Tartars. These it seems in their flight bent their Course towards this Country, and finding the River of Cambodia open before them, they made bold to enter, and settle on the Island before men∣tioned. There they built a Town, and fenced it round about with a kind of Wood-pile, or Wall of great Timber Trees laid along of the thickness of 3 or 4 of these Trees, and of about as many in heighth. They were provided with all sorts of Planters instruments, and the Land hereabouts was excellent good, as our English men told me, so that 'tis like they might have lived here happily enough, had their inclinations led them to a quiet Life: but they brought Arms along with them, and chose to use them, rather than their Instru∣ments of Husbandry: and they lived therefore mostly by rapin, pillaging their Neighbours, who were more addicted to traffick than fighting. But the King of Siams Subjects having been long harrassed by them at Sea, he first sent some Forces by Land, to drive them out of their Fort: till not succeeding that way, he entirely Routed them by sending these 2 Ships up the River. The 2 English Captains having thus effected their business, re∣turned out of the River with many Prisoners: but the South West Monsoon being already set in, they could not presently return to Siam, and therefore went to Macao in China; as well to wait for the N. East Monsoon; as to ingratiate themselves with the Tartars, who they thought would be pleased with the Conquest, which they had made over these Chinese Pyrates. They were well entertained there by the Tartarian Governor, and gave him their Prisoners: and upon the shifting of the Monsoon, they returned to Siam. There they were received with great applause. Nor was this the first successful expedition the English have Page 108 made in the K. of Siams service. They once saved the Country, by suppressing an insurrection made by the Buggasses. The Buggasses are a sort of war∣like Trading Malayans, and mercenary Soldiers of India: I know not well whence they come, unless from Macasser in the Island Celebes. Many of them had been entertained at Siam in the Kings service: but at last being disgusted at some ill usuage, they stood up in their own defence. Some hun∣dreds of them got together, all well armed: and these struck a dread into the hearts of the Siamites none of whom were able to stand before them; till Constant Falcon the chief Minister, Commanded the English that were then in the Kings service to march against them, which they did with success, tho with some considerable loss. For these services the King gave every year to each of them, a great Silk Coat, on which were just 13 Buttons. Those of the chief Commanders were of Massy Gold, and those of the inferiour Officers were of Silver Plate. This Expedition against the Chinese Pi∣rats was about the year 1687: the other broyl with the Buggasses was, as I take it, some time before.
But to proceed with our Voyage, we still kept our way Southward, and in company together, till we came about Pulo Condore: but then Captain Pool parted from us, standing more directly South, for the Streights of Sundy: and we steer'd more to the Westward, to go thro the Streights of Malacca thro which we came before. Captain Brewster and another of our Passengers began now to be in fear that the King of Siam would send Ships to lye at the Mouth of the Streights of Malacca, and intercept our passage, because there was a War broke out between the English East India Company and that Prince. This seemed the more likely, because the French at this time were imployed in that Kings service, by the means of a French Bishop Page 109 and other Ecclesiasticks; who were striving to con∣vert the King and people to Christianity, thro the Interest they had got in Constant Falcon. Particu∣larly they were afraid, that the King of Siam would send the 2 Ships before mentioned, which Captain Williams and Capt Howel had commanded a little before, to lye at the west end of the Streights mouth; but probably mann'd with French Men and French Commanders, to take us. Now tho this made but little impression on the minds of our Commanders and Officers, yet it so happened that we had such thick dark weather, when we came near the first Entrance of the Streights of Malacca, which was that we came by, and by which we meant to return, that we thought it not safe to stand in at night,: and so lay by till morning. The next day we saw a Jonk to the Southward, and chased her; and having spoke with her we made sail, and stood to the Westward to pass the Streights; and making the Land, we found we were to the Southward of the Streights first mouth, and were gotten to the Southermost Entrance, near the Sumatra shore: but Captain Lacy, who chose to go the old way, made sail again to the Northward, and so passed nearer the Malacca shore by the Sincapore, the way we went before. His was also the best and nearest way: but Captain Weldon was willing to sa∣tisfie his curiosity, and try a new passage: which we got thro, tho we had but little depth of water: and this Entrance we past is called Brewers Streights.
Brewers Streights are sometimes passed by small Ships, that sail from Batavia to Malacca, because for them it is a nearer cut, than to run so far as Pulo Timaon, or the Streights of Sincapore. In this Channel, tho in some places we found but 14 or 15 foot water, yet the bottom was soft Oaze: and it lies so among Islands, that there cannot go a Page 110 great Sea, Captain Weldon had also a Dutch man aboard who had been this way, and he professing to know the Channel, incouraged our Captain to try it, which we effected very well, tho sometimes we had but little more water than we drew. This made us make but an easy Sail, and therefore we were 7 or 8 days before we arrived at Malacca; but Captain Lacy was there 2 or 3 days before us.
Here we first heard of the Death of Constant Falcon, for whom Captain Brewster seemed to be much concerned. There also we found, besides several Dutch Sloops, and our Companion Captain Lacy, an English Vessel of 35 or 40 Tuns. This Vessel was bought by one Captain Johnson, who was sent by the Governor of Bencouli, in a small Sloop, to Trade about the Island of Sumatra for Pepper: but Captain Johnson being killed, the Sloop was brought hither by one Mr. Wells.
Being thus insensibly fallen into the mention of this Captain Johnson; and intending to defer what little I have to say of Malacca, till my coming thi∣ther again from Achin: I shall bestow the rest of this Chapter in speaking of this mans Tragedy, and other occurences relating to it, which tho of no great moment in themselves, yet the Circumstances I shall have occasion to relate with them, may be of use to the giving some small light into the state of the opposite Coast of Sumatra, which was the Scene of what I am going to speak of: for tho I shall have other occasion to speak of Achin and Bencouli, yet I shall not have opportunity to say any thing of this part oft hat Island, opposite to Malacca, unless I do it here. To go on therefore with his Story, it seems Captain Johnson was part owner of the small Bencooly Sloop: but thinking it too small for his turn, he came to Malacca, intending to buy a larger Sloop of the Dutch, if he could light on a bargain. He had the Page 111 best part of a thousand Dollars in Spanish money aboard, for which one may purchase a good Sloop here: for the Dutch, as I have before observ'd, do often buy Proe-bottoms for a small matter, of the Malayans, especially of the people of Jihore, and convert them into Sloops, either for their own use, or to sell. Of these sort of Vessels therefore the Dutch men of Malacca have plenty, and can afford good pennyworths, and doubtless it was for this reason that Captain Johnson came hither to purchase a Sloop. Here he met with a bargain, not such a Proe-bottom reformed, but an old ill shaped thing, yet such a one as pleased him. The Dutch man who sold him this Vessel told him withal that the Government did not allow any such dealings with the English, tho they might wink at it: and that therefore the safest way for them both to keep out of trouble, would be to run over to the other side the Streights, to a Town called Bancalis on Sumatra; where they might safely buy and sell, or exchange without any notice taken of them. Cap∣tain Johnson accepting the offer, they sailed both together over to Bancalis, a Malayan Town on that Coast, commanding the Country about it. There they came to an anchor, and Captain Johnson paying the price agreed on for the Vessel, he had her delivered to him. The Dutchman immediately returned over to Malacca again, leaving Captain Johnson with 2 Vessels under his Command, viz. the Sloop that he brought from Bencooly, and this new bought Vessel. The Bencooly Sloop he sent into a large River hard by, to Trade with the Malayans for Pepper, under the Command of Mr. Wells. He was no Seaman, but a pretty intelligent person, that came first out of England as a Soldier, to serve the East India Company in the Island Santa Helena. He lived sometime very meanly in that Island: but having an aspiring mind, he left that poor, but Page 112 healthy place, to serve the Company at Bencooly; which tho 'tis accounted the most unhealthy place of any that we Trade too, yet the hopes of preferment engaged him to remove thither. After some stay there, he was sent with Captain Johnson to assist him in this Pepper expedition; more because he could use his Pen, than his Hands in Sea service. He had 3 or 4 raw Seamen with him, to work the Sloop up into the River. Captain Johnson stayed near Bancalis to fit his new Vessel: for with other necessaries she wanted a new Boltsprit, which he intended to cut here, having a Carpenter with him for that purpose; as also to repair and fit her to his mind. He had also a few other raw Seamen, but such as would have made better Landmen, they having served the King of Siam as Soldiers: and they were but lately come from thence with the French, who were forced to leave that Country. But here in the Indies, our English are forced for want of better, to make use of any Seamen such as they can get, and indeed our Merchants are often put hard to it for want of Seamen. Here are indeed Lascars or Indian Seamen enough to be hired; and these they often make use of: yet they always covet an English man or 2 in a Vessel to assist them. Not but that these Lascars are some of them indifferent good Sailers, and might do well enough: but an English man will be accounted more faithful, to be employed on mat∣ters of moment; beside the more free Conversation that may be expected from them, during the term of the Voyage. So that tho oft times their English men are but ordinary Sailers, yet they are pro∣moted to some charge of which they could not be so capable any where but in the East Indies. These Seamen would be in a manner wholly useless in Europe, where we meet with more frequent and hard storms, but here they serve indifferent well, Page 113 especially to go and come with the Monsoons; but enough of that.
Mr. Wells being gone to purchase Pepper, Capt. Johnson went ashore about 5 or 6 leagues from Ban∣calis Town with his Carpenter, to cut a Boltsprit; there being there plenty of Timber Trees fit for his purpose. He soon chose one to his mind, and cut it down. He and his Carpenter wrought on it the first and second days without molestation. The 3d day they were both set upon by a band of armed Malayans, who killed them both. In the evening the Sailers who were left aboard, looke out for their Commander to come off: but night approached without seeing or hearing from him. This put them in some doubt of his safety; for they were sensible enough, that the Malayans that inhabited thereabouts were very treacherous: as indeed all of them are, especially those who have but little Commerce with Strangers: and there∣fore all people ought to be very careful in dealing with them, so as to give them no advantage; and then they may Trade safe enough.
There were but 4 Seamen aboard Captain John∣sons Sloop. These being terrified by the absence of their Commander, and suspecting the truth, were now very apprehensive of their own safeties. They charged their Guns, and kept themselves on their guards expecting to be assaulted by the Malayans. They had 2 Blunderbusses, and 3 or 4 Muskets: each man took one in his Hand, with a Caduce box at his waste, and looked out sharp for fear of an Enemy. While they were thus on their guard, the Malayans in 6 or 8 Canoes, came very silently to attack the Sloop. They were about 40 or 50 men, armed with Lances and Cresses. The darkness of the night favour'd their designs, and they were even aboard before the Seamen per∣ceived them. Then these began to Fire, and the Page 114 Enemy darted their Lanccs aboard, and boarding the Vessel, they entered her over the Prow. The Seamen resolutely defended her, and drove them overboard again. Of the 4 Seamen, 2 were des∣perately wounded in the first attack. The Malay∣ans took fresh Courage and entered again; and the 2 Seamen who were not wounded, betook them∣selves to close quarters in the Steerage; and there being Loop-holes to fire out at, they repulsed the Malayans again, forcing them into their Canoas. Their bellies being now pretty full, they returned ashore without hopes of conquering the Sloop. The poor Seamen were still in fear, and kept watch all night; intending to sell their lives as dear as they could, if they had been attacked again. For they might not, neither did they expect quarter, from these Salvage Malayans: but they were no more assaulted. These two that were wounded, dyed in a short time.
The next day the 2 Seamen got up their anchor, and run as nigh the Town of Rancalis as they could, it may be within half a mile. There they an∣chor'd again, and made signs for the People to come aboard. It was not long before the Shaban∣der or chief Magistrate of the Town came off: to him they told all their misfortunes, and desired him to protect them, because they were not of sufficient strength to hold out against another attack. The Shabander seemed very sorry for what had hapned, and told them withal, that he could not help what was past, for that the People that did it were wild unruly Men, not subject to Government, and that it was not in his power to suppress them: but that as long as they lay there some of his men should lye aboard to secure the Ship, and he, in the mean time, would send a Canoa to their con∣sort Mr. Wells, to give him an account how things went. Accordingly he left 10 or 12 of his own Page 115Malayans aboard the Bark, and sent a Letter writ∣ten by the Seamen to Mr. Wells; who was, as I have said, dealing with the Natives for Pepper, in a River at some distance.
It was 2 or 3 days before Mr. Wells came to them. He had not then received the Letter, and therefore they suspected the Shabander of falshood; tho his men were yet very kind, and serviceable to the 2 Seamen. Mr. Wells had heard nothing of their disasters, but returned for want of Trade; at least such a full Trade as he expected. For tho here is Pepper growing, yet not so much as might allure any one to seek after it: for the Dutch are so near, that none can come to Trade among them but by their permission. And tho the Natives themselves were never so willing to Trade with any Nation, as indeed they are, yet the Dutch could soon hin∣der it, even by destroying them, if in order to it they should set themselves to produce much Pepper. Such small quantities as they do at present raise up, or procure from other parts of the Island, is lickt by the Dutch, or by their friends of Bancalis for them: for the Town of Bancalis being the princi∣pal of these parts, and so nigh Malacca, as only parted by the narrow Sea or Streights, 'tis visited by the Dutch in their small Vessels, and seems wholly to depend on a Trade with that Nation, not daring to Trade with any besides: and I judge it is by the friendship of this Town, that the Dutch drive a small Trade for Pepper in these parts, and by it also vend many their own Commodities: and these also trading with their Neighbours into the Country, do bring their Commodities hither, where the Dutch come for them. The people of Bancalis therefore, tho they are Malayans, as the rest of the Country, yet they are civil enough, engaged thereto by Trade: for the more Trade, the more civility; and on the contrary, Page 116 the less Trade the more barbarity and inhumanity. For Trade has a strong influence upon all people, who have found the sweet of it, bringing with it so many of the Conveniencies of Life as it does. And I believe that even the poor Americans, who have not yet tasted the sweetness of it, might be allured to it by an honest and just Commerce; even such of as them do yet seem to covet no more than a bare subsistance of meat and drink, and a clout to cover their nakedness. That large Continent hath yet Millions of inhabitants, both on the Mexi∣can and Peruvian parts, who are still ignorant of Trade: and they would be fond of it, did they once experience it; tho at the present they live happy enough, by enjoying such fruits of the Earth, as nature hath bestowed on those places, where their Lot is fallen: and it may be they are happier now, than they may hereafter be, when more known to the Avaritious World. For with Trade they will be in danger of meeting with oppression: men not being content with a free Traffick, and a just and reasonable gain, especially in these remote Countries: but they must have the current run altogether in their own Channel, tho to the de∣priving the poor Natives they deal with, of their natural Liberty: as if all mankind were to be ruled by their Laws. The Islands of Sumatra and Java can sufficiently witness this; the Dutch, having in a manner ingrost all the Trade of those, and several of the Neighbouring Countries to them∣selves: not that they are able to supply the Natives with a quarter of what they want, but because they would have all the produce of them at their own disposal. Yet even in this they are short, and may be still more disappointed of the Pepper Trade, if other People would seek for it. For the greatest part of the Island of Sumatra propagates this Plant, and the Natives would readily comply with any, Page 117 who would come to Trade with them, notwith∣standing the great endeavours the Dutch make against it: for this Island is so large, populous, and pro∣ductive of Pepper, that the Dutch are not able to draw all to themselves. Indeed this place about Bancalis, is in a manner at their devotion; and for ought I know, it was through a design of being revenged on the Dutch that Captain Johnson lost his life. I find the Malayans in general, are implacable Enemies to the Dutch; and all seems to spring from an earnest desire they have a free Trade, which is restrained by them, not only here, but in the Spice Islands, and in all other places, where they have any power. But 'tis freedom only must be the means to incourage any of these remote people to Trade; especially such of them as are in∣dustrious, and whose inclinations are bent this way; as most of the Malayans are, and the Major part of the people of the East Indies, even from the Cape of Good Hope Eastward to Japan, both Continent and Islands. For tho in many places, they are limited by the Dutch, English, Danes, &c. and re∣strain'd from a free Trade with other Nations, yet have they continually shewn what an uneasiness that is to them. And how dear has this Restraint cost the Dutch? when yet neither can they with all the Forts and Guard-Ships secure the Trade wholly to themselves, any more then the Barlaventa Fleet can secure the Trade of the West Indies to the Spa∣niards: but enough of this matter.
You have heard before, that Mr. Wells came with his Sloop to Bancalis, to the great joy of the 2 men, that were yet alive in Captain Johnson's Vessel. These 2 Seamen were so just, that they put all Captain Johnsons Papers and Money into one Chest, then lockt it, and put the Key of it into another Chest; and locking that, flung the Key of it into the Sea: and when Mr WellsPage 118 came aboard, they offered him the Command of both Vessels. He seemingly refused it, saying that he was no Seaman, and could not manage either of them: yet by much importunity he accepted the Command of them, or at least undertook the ac∣count of what was in the Sloop, engaging to give a faithful account of it to Governor Bloom.
They were all now so weakned, that they were but just enough to sail one of the Vessels. There∣fore they sent to the Shabander of Bancalis, to desire some of his Men, to help sail the Sloops over to Malacca, but he refused it. Then they offered to sell one of them for a small matter, but neither would he buy. Then they offered to give him the smallest: to that he answered, that he did not dare to accept of her, for fear of the Dutch. Then Mr. Wells and his crew concluded to take the Pepper and all the Stores out of the small Vessel, and burn her; and go away with the other to Malacca. This they put in execution, and presently went away, and opening Captain Johnson's Chest, they found 2 or 300 Dollars in Money. This with all his Writings, and what else they found of value, Mr. Wells took into his possession. In a very short time they got over to Malacca. There they stayed expecting the coming of some English Ship, to get a Pilot to Navigate the Sloop: for neither of them would undertake to Navigate her farther. Captain Lacy coming hither first, he spared Mr. Wells, his chief Mate, to Navigate her to Achin: when we came hither, they were ready to sail, and went away 2 or 3 days before us.
To return therefore to our own Voyage, Cap∣tain Weldon having finished his business at Malacca, we failed again, steering towards Achin, where he designed to touch in his way to Fort St. George. We overtook Mr Wells about 35 leagues short of Achin, against the River Passange Jonca: and shortly after Page 119 we both arrived at Achin, and anchored in the Road, about the beginning of March 1689. Here I took my leave of Captain Weldon, and of my friend Mr. Hall, who went with us to Tonquin, and I went ashore, being very weak with my Flux, as I had been all the Voyage. Captain Weldon offered me any kindness that lay in his Power at Fort St. George, if I would go with him thither: but I chose rather to stay here, having some small acquaintance, than to go in that weak condition, to a place where I was wholly unknown. But Mr. Hall went with Captain Weldon to Fort St. George, and from thence in a short time returned to England in the Williamson of London.
The Country of Achin described: its Situation and Extent. Golden Mount, and the Neigh∣bouring Isles of Way and Gomez, &c. making several Channels and the Road of Achin. The Soil of the Continent; Trees and Fruits; par∣ticularly the Mangastan and Pumple-nose. Their Roots, Herbs, and Drugs, the Herb Ganga or Bang, and Camphire: the Pepper of Sumatra, and Gold of Achin. The Beasts, Fowl, and Fish. The People, their Temper, Habits, Buildings. City of Achin, and Trades. The Husbandry, Fishery, Carpenters, and Fly∣ing Proes. The Money-Changers, Coin and Weights. Of the Gold-Mines. The Merchants who come to Achin: and of the Chinese Camp or Fair. The washing used at Achin. A Chi∣nese Renegado. Punishments for Theft and other Crimes. The Government of Achin; of the Queen, Oronkeys or Nobles; and of the Slavery of the People. The State kept by the Eastern Princes. A Civil War here upon the choice of a new Queen. The A. and the other English in a fright, upon a seizure made of a Moors Ship by an English Captain. The weather, floods, and heat at Achin.
BEing now arrived at Achin again, I think it not amiss to give the Reader some short account of what observations I made of that City and Coun∣try. Page 121 This Kingdom is the largest and best peopled of many small ones, that are up and down the Isle of Sumatra; and it makes the North West end of that Island. It reaches Eastward from that N. W. point of the Island, a great way along the shore, towards the Streights of Malacca, for about 50 or 60 Leagues. But from Diamond point; which is about 40 Leagues from Achin, towards the borders of the Kingdom, the Inhabitants, tho belonging to Achin, are less in subjection to it. Of these I can say but little; neither do I know the bounds of this King∣dom, either within Land, or along the West Coast. That West side of the Kingdom, is high and moun∣tainous: as is generally the rest of the West Coast of the whole Island. The point also of Achin, or extremity of the Island, is High Land: but Achin it self, and the Country to the Eastward, is lower, not altogether destitute of small Hills, and every where of a moderate heighth, and a Champion Country, naturally very fit for Cultivation.
There is one Hill more remarkable than ordinary, especially to Seamen. The English call it the Golden Mount: but whether this name is given it by the Natives, or only by the English, I know not, 'Tis near the N. W. end of the Island; and Achin stands but 5 or 6 mile from the bottom of it. 'Tis very large at the foot, and runs up smaller towards the head; which is raised so high, as to be seen at Sea 30 or 40 leagues. This was the first Land that we saw coming in our Proe from the Nicobar Islands, mentioned in my former Voyage. The rest of the Land, tho of a good heighth, was then undiscerned by us, so that this Mountain appeared like an Island in the Sea; which was the Reason why our Achin Malayans took it for Pulo Way. But that Island tho pretty high Champion Land, was invisible, when this Golden Mount appeared so plain, tho as far distant as that Island.
Page 122 Besides what belongs to Achin upon the Conti∣nent, there are also several Islands under its Juris∣diction, most of them uninhabited; and these make the Road of Achin. Among them is this Pulo Way, which is the Easternmost of a Range of Islands, that lye off the N. W. end of Sumatra. It is also the largest of them, and it is inhabited by Male∣factors, who are banisht thither from Achin. This, with the other Islands of this Range, lye in a semi∣circular form, of about 7 Leagues diameter. Pulo Gomez is another large Island about 20 mile West from Pulo Way, and about 3 Leagues from the N. W. point of Sumatra. Between Pulo Gomez, and the Main are 3 or 4 other small Islands; yet with Chan∣nels of a sufficient breadth between them, for Ships to pass through; and they have very deep water. All Ships bound from Achin to the Westward, or coming from thence to Achin, go in and out thro one or other of these Channels: and because shipping comes hither from the Coast of Surrat, one of these Channels, which is deeper than the rest, is called the Surrat Channel. Between Pulo Gomez and Pulo Way, in the bending of the Circle, there are other small Islands, the chief of which is called Pulo Rondo. This is a small round high Island, not a above 2 or 3 mile in circumference. It lyes almost in the extremity of the bending on the N. E. part of the Circle, but nearer Pulo Way than Pulo Gomez. There are large deep Channels on either side, but the most frequented is the Channel on the West side. Which is called the Bengal Channel, because it looks towards that Bay; and Ships coming from thence, from the Coast of Coromandel, pass in and out this way. Between Pulo Way and the Main of Sumatra is another Channel of 3 or 4 Leagues wide: which is the Channel for Ships, that go from Achin to the Streights of Malacca, or any Country to the East of those Streights, and vice versa. There is good riding Page 123 in all this Semicircular Bay between the Islands and Sumatra: but the Road for all Ships that come to Achin is near the Sumatra Shore, within all the Islands. There they anchor at what distances they please, according to the Monsoons or Seasons of the Year. There is a small Navigable River comes out into the Sea, by which Ships transport their Commodities in smaller Vessels up to the City. The mouth of this River is 6 or 7 Leagues from Pulo Rondo, and 3 or 4 from Pulo Way, and near as many from Pulo Gomez. The Islands are pretty high Champion Land, the mould black or yellow, the Soyl deep and fat, producing large tall Trees, fit for any uses. There are brooks of water on the 2 great Islands of Way and Gomez, and several sorts of wild Animals; especially wild Hogs in abun∣dance.
The Mold of this Continent is different according to the natural position of it. The Mountains are Rocky, especially those towards the West Coast; yet most that I have seen seems to have a superfi∣cial covering of Earth, naturally producing Shrubs, small Trees, or pretty good Grass. The small Hills are most of them cloathed with Woods, the Trees whereof seem by their growth to spring from a fruitful Soyl: the Champion Land, such as I have seen, is some black, some grey, some reddish, and all of a deep mold. But to be very particular in these things, especially in all my Travels, is more than Ican pretend to: tho it may be I took as much notice of the difference of Soil as I met with it, as most Travellers have done, having been bred in my youth in Somersetshire, at a place called East Coker near Yeovil or Evil: In which Parish there is as great variety of Soil, as I have ordinarily met with any where, viz. black, red, yellow, sandy, stony, clay, morass, or swampy, &c. I had the more reason to take notice of this, because this Vil∣lage Page 124 in a great measure is Let out in small Leases for Lives of 20, 30, 40, or 50 pound per Ann. under Coll. Helliar the Lord of the Mannor: and most, if not all these Tenants, had their own Land scatter∣ing in small pieces, up and down several sorts of Land in the Parish: so that every one had some piece of every sort of Land, his Black ground, his Sandy, Clay, &c. some of 20, 30, or 40 Shillings an Acre, for some uses, and other not worth 10 groats an Acre. My Mother being possest of one of these Leases, and having of all these sorts of Land, I came acquainted with them all, and knew what each sort would produce, (viz.) Wheat, Bar∣ley, Massin, Rice, Beans, Peas, Oats, Fetches, Flax, or Hemp: in all which I had a more than usual knowledge for one so young; taking a par∣ticular delight in observing it: but enough of this matter.
The Kingdom of Achin has in general a deep mould: It is very well watered with Brooks and small Rivers, but none navigable for Ships of burthen. This of Achin admits not of any but small Vessels. The Land is some part very woody, in other places Savannah; the Trees are of divers sorts, most unknown to me by name. The Cot∣ton and Cabbage-trees grow here, but not in such plenty as in some part of America. These Trees commonly grow here, as indeed usually where∣ever they grow, in a champion dry ground, such at least as is not drowned or morassy; for here is some such Land as that by the Rivers; and there grow Mangrove Trees, and other Trees of that kind. Neither is this Kingdom destitute of Timber-trees fit for building.
The Fruits of this Country are Plantains, Bo∣nanoes, Guava's, Oranges, Limes, Jacks, Durians, Coco-nuts, Pumple noses, Pomgranates, Man∣goes, Mangastans, Citrons, Water melons, Musk∣melons, Page 125 Pine-apples, &c. Of all these sorts of Fruits, I think the Mangastan is without compare the most delicate. This Fruit is in shape much like the Pomgranate, but a great deal less. The outside rind or shell is a little thicker than that of the Pomgranate, but softer, yet more brittle; and and is of a dark red. The inside of the shell is of a deep crimson colour. Within this shell the Fruit appears in 3 or 4 Cloves, about the bigness of the top of a man's thumb. These will easily separate each from the other; they are as white as Milk, very soft, and juicy, inclosing a small black Stone or Kernel. The outside rind is said to be binding, and therefore many when they eat the Fruit, which is very delicious, do save the rind or shell, drying it and preserving it, to give to such as have Fluxes. In a small Book, entitled, A new Voyage to the East Indies, there is mention made of Mangastans, among the Fruits of Java: but the Author is mistaken, in that he compares it to a Sloe, in shape and taste: Yet I remember there is such a sort of Fruit at Achin; and believe by the description he gives of it, it may probably be the same that he calls the Mangastan, tho nothing like the true Mangastan.
The Pumple-nose is a large Fruit like a Citron, with a very thick tender uneven rind. The inside is full of Fruit: it grows all in cloves as big as a small Barly-corn, and these are all full of juice, as an Orange or a Lemon, tho not growing in such partitions. 'Tis of a pleasant taste, and tho there are of them in other parts of the East Indies, yet these at Achin are accounted the best. They are ripe commonly about Christmas, and they are so much esteemed, that English men carry them from hence to Fort St George, and make presents of them to their Friends there. The other Fruits mentioned here, are most of them described by me in my first Volume.
Page 126 The eatable Roots of this Country are Yams and Potatoes, &c. but their chiefest, bread kind is Rice. The Natives have lately planted some quantities of this Grain, and might produce much more were they so disposed, the Land being so fruitful. They have here a sort of Herb or Plant called Ganga, or Bang. I never saw any but once, and that was at some distance from me. It ap∣peared to me like Hemp, and I thought it had been Hemp, till I was told to the contrary. It is re∣ported of this Plant, that if it is infused in any Liquor, it will stupify the brains of any person that drinks thereof; but it operates diversly, ac∣cording to the constitution of the person. Some it makes sleepy, some merry, putting them into a Laughing fit, and others it makes mad: but after 2 or 3 hours they come to themselves again. I never saw the effects of it on any person, but have heard much discourse of it. What other use this Plant may serve for I know not: but I know it is much esteemed here, and in other places too whither it is transported.
This Country abounds also with Medicinal Drugs and Herbs, and with variety of Herbs for the Pot. The chief of their Drugs is Camphire, of which there are quantities found on this Island, but most of it either on the borders of this King∣dom to the Southward, or more remote still, without the precincts of it. This that is found on the Island Sumatra is commonly sent to Japan to be refined, and then brought from thence pure, and transported whither the Merchants please after∣wards. I know that here are several sorts of Me∣dicinal Herbs made use of by the Natives, who go often a simpling, seeming to understand their Virtues much, and making great use of them: but this being wholly out of my sphere, I can give no account of them; and tho here are plenty of Pot Page 127 Herbs, yet I know the names of none, but Onions, of which they have great abundance, and of a very good sort, but small.
There are many other very profitable Commodi∣ties on this Island: but some of them are more pe∣culiar to other parts of it than Achin, especially Pepper. All the Island abounds with that Spice, except only this North West end; at least so much of it, as is comprehended within the Kingdom of Achin. Whether this defect is through the negli∣gence or laziness of these people, I know not.
Gold also is found, by report, in many parts of this Island: but the Kingdom of Achin is at present most plentifully stored with it. Neither does any place in the East Indies, that I know of, yield such quantities of it as this Kingdom. I have never been at Japan, and therefore can make no estimate of the great riches of that Kingdom: but here I am certain there is abundance of it.
The Land Animals of this Country are Deer, Hogs, Elephants, Goats, Bullocks, Buffaloes, Horses, Porcupines, Monkeys, Squirrils, Guanoes, Lizards, Snakes, &c. Here are also abundance of Ants of several sorts, and Woodlice, called by the English in the East Indies White Ants. The Elephants that I saw here were all tame: yet 'tis reported there are some wild: but I judge not many, if any at all. In some places there are plenty of Hogs; they are all wild, and commonly very poor. At some times of the year, when the wild Fruits fall from the Trees, they are indifferent fat, or at least fleshy: and then they are sweet and good: they are very numerous; and whether for that reason, or scarcity of food, it is very rare to find them fat. The Goats are not very many, neither are there many Bullocks: but the Savannahs swarm with Buffaloes, belonging to some or other of the Inha∣bitants, Page 128 who milk them and eat them; but don't work them, so far as I saw. The Horses of this Country are but small, yet sprightly; and some∣times they are transported hence to the Coast of Coromandel. The Porcupines and Squirrels are ac∣counted good food by the English; but how they are esteemed by the Natives I know not.
The Fowls of this Country are Dunghil Fowls and Ducks, but I know of no other tame Fowls they have. In the Woods there are many sorts of wild Fowls, viz. Maccaws, Parrots, Parakites, Pigeons, and Doves of 3 or 4 sorts. There are plenty of other small Birds; but I can say nothing of them.
The Rivers of this Country afford plenty of Fish. The Sea also supplys divers sorts of very good Fish, (viz.) Snooks, Mullets, Mudfish, Eels, Stingrays, which I shall describe in the Bay of Cam∣peachy, Ten pounders, Old Wives, Cavallies, Craw∣fish, Shrimps, &c.
The Natives of this Country are Malayans. They are much the same people with those of Queda, Jihore, and other places on the Continent of Ma∣lacca, speaking the same Malayan Language, with very little difference: and they are of the same Mahometan Religion, and alike in their haughty hu∣mour and manner of living: so that they seem to have been originally the same people. They are peo∣ple of a middle stature, straight and well shaped, and of a dark Indian copper colour. Their Hair is black and lank, their Faces generally pretty long, yet graceful enough. They have black Eyes, middling Noses, thin Lips, and black Teeth, by the fre∣quent use of Betle. They are very lazy, and care not to work or take pains. The poorer sort are addicted to theft, and are often punished severely for it. They are otherwise good natured in gene∣ral, and kind enough to strangers.
Page 129 The better sort of them wear Caps fitted to their heads, of red or other coloured Woollen Cloath, like the Crown of a Hat without any brims: for none of the Eastern people use the Complement of uncovering their Heads when they meet, as we do. But the general wear for all sorts of people is a small Turban, such as the Mindanaians wear, described in the 12th Chapter of my former Volume, page 326. They have small Breeches, and the better sort will have a piece of Silk thrown loosely over their Shoulders; but the poor go naked from the waste upwards. Neither have they the use of Stockings and Shoes, but a sort of Sandals are worn by the better sort.
Their Houses are built on Posts, as those of Min∣danao, and they live much after the same fashion: but by reason of, their Gold Mines, and the fre∣quent resort of strangers, they are richer, and live in greater plenty. Their common food is Rice, and the better sort have Fowls and Fish, with which the Markets are plentifully stored, and sometimes Buffaloes flesh, all which is drest very savourily with Pepper, and Garlick, and tinctured yellow with Turmerick, to make it pleasant to the Eye, as the East Indians generally love to have their food look yellow: neither do they want good Achars or Sauces to give it a relish.
The City of Achin is the chief in all this Kingdom. It is seated on the Banks of a River, near the N. W. end of the Island, and about 2 miles from the Sea. This Town consists of 7 or 8000 Houses; and in it there are always a great many Merchant∣strangers, viz English, Dutch, Danes, Portuguese, Chinese, Guzarats, &c. The Houses of this City are generally larger than those I saw at Mindanao, and better furnished with Houshold Goods. The City has no Walls, nor so much as a Ditch about it. It has a greater number of Mosques, generally square Page 126 built, and covered with Pantile, but neither high nor large. Every morning a man madea great Noise from thence: but I saw no Turrets or Steeples, for them to climb up into for that pur∣pose; as they have generally in Turkey. The Queen has a large Palace here, built handsomely with Stone: but I could not get into the inside of it. 'Tis said there are some great Guns about it, 4 of which are of Brass, and are said to have been sent hither as a present by our K. James the 1st.
The chief Trades at Achin are Carpenters, Black∣smiths, Goldsmiths, Fishermen, and Money-chan∣gers: but the Country people live either on breed∣ing heads of Cattle, but most for their own use, or Fowls, especially they who live near the City, which they send weekly thither to sell: others plant Roots, Fruits, &c. and of late they have sown pretty large Fields of Rice. This thrives here well enough; but they are so proud, that it is against their Stomach to work: neither do they themselves much trouble their heads about it, but leave it to be managed by their Slaves: and they were the Slaves brought lately by the English and Danes from the Coast of Coromandel, in the time of a Famin there, I spoke of before, who first brought this sort of Husbandry into such request among the Achinese. Yet neither does the Rice they have this way supply one quarter of their occasions, but they have it brought to them from their Neighbouring Countreys.
The Fishermen are the richest working people: I mean such of them as can purchase a Net; for thereby they get great profit; and this sort of im∣ployment is managed also by their Slaves. In fair weather you shall have 8 or 10 great Boats, each with a Sain or haling Net: and when they see a Shoal of Fish, they strive to incompass them with these Nets, and all the Boats that are near assist each other to drag them ashore. Sometimes they Page 127 draw ashore this way 50, 60, or 100 large Fish, as big as a mans Leg, and as long: and then they rejoyce mightily, and scamper about, making a great shout. The Fish is presently sent to the Market in one of their Boats, the rest looking out again for more. Those who Fish with Hook and Line, go out in small Proes, with but 1 or 2 Slaves in each Proe. These also get good Fish of other sorts, which they carry home to their Masters.
The Carpenters use such hatchets as they have at Mindanao. They build good Houses after their fashion: and they are also ingenious enough in building Proes, making very pretty ones, especially of that sort which are Flying Proes; which are built long, deep, narrow, and sharp, with both sides alike, and outlagers on each side, the Head and Stern like other Boats. They carry a great Sail, and when the Wind blows hard, they send a man or two to sit at the extremity of the Windward outlager, to poise the Vessel. They build also some Vessels of 10 or 20 Tuns burthen, to Trade from one place to another: but I think their greatest in∣genuity is in building their Flying Proes; which are made very smooth, kept neat and clean, and will sail very well: for which reason they had that name given them by the English.
There are but few Blacksmiths in this Town, neither are they very skilful at their Trade. The Goldsmiths are commonly strangers, yet some of the Achinese themselves know how to work Metals, tho not very well. The Money-changers are here, as at Tonquin, most Women. These sit in the Mar∣kets and at the corners of the Streets, with leaden Money called Cash, which is a name that is gene∣rally given to small money in all these Countreys: but the Cash here is neither of the same Metal, nor value with that at Tonquin; for that is Copper, and this is Lead, or Block Tin, such as will bend about Page 132 the Finger. They have but two sorts of Coin of their own; the least sort is this Lea∣den money call'd Cash, and 'tis the same with what they call Petties at Bantam. Of these, 1500 make a Mess, which is their other sort of Coin, and is a small thin piece of Gold, stampt with Ma∣layan Letters on each side. It is in value 15 pence English. 16 Mess, make a Tale, which here is 20 s. English, 5 Tale make a Bancal, a weight so called, and 20 Bancal make a Catty, another weight. But their Gold Coin seldom holds weight, for you shall sometimes have 5 Tale and 8 Mess over go to make a Pecul, and tho 1500 Cash; is the value of a Mess, yet these rise and fall at the discretion of the Money-changers: for sometimes you shall have 1000 Cash for a Mess: but they are kept usually between those 2 numbers; seldom less then 1000, and never more then 1500. But to proceed with these Weights, which they use either for Money or Goods, 100 Catty make a Pecul, which is 132 l. English weight Three hundred Catty is a Bahar, which is 396 l English weight; but in some places, as at Bencouli, a Bahar is near 500 English weight. Spanish pieces of Eight go here also, and they are valued according to the plenty or scarcity of them. Sometimes a Piece of Eight goes but for 4 Mess, sometimes for 4 and half, sometimes 5 Mess.
They Coin but a small quantity of their Gold; so much as may serve for their ordinary occasions in their Traffick one with another. But as the Merchant, when he receives large Summs, always takes it by weight, so they usually pay him un∣wrought Gold, and quantity for quantity: the Merchants chuse rather to receive this, than the coined Gold; and before their leaving the Coun∣try, will change their Messes for uncoined Gold: perhaps because of some deceits used by the Natives in their Coining.
Page 133 This Gold they have from some Mountain a pretty way within Land from Achin, but within their Dominions, and rather near to the West Coast than the Streights of Malacca. I take Golden Mount, which I spoke of before, to lie at no great distance from that of the Mines; for there is very high Land all thereabouts. To go thither they set out East∣ward, towards Passange Jonca, and thence strike up into the heart of the Country. I made some in∣quiry concerning their getting Gold, and was told, that none but Mahometans were permitted to go to the Mines: That it was both troublesom and dan∣gerous to pass the Mountains, before they came thither; there being but one way, and that over such steep Mountains, that in some places they were forced to make use of Ropes, to climb up and down the Hills. That at the foot of these Precipices there was a Guard of Soldiers, to see that no uncir∣cumcised person should pursue that design, and also to receive custom of those that past either forward or backward. That at the Mines it was so sickly, that not the half of those that went thither did e∣ver return again; tho they went thither only to Traffick with the Miners, who live there, being seasoned: that these who go thither from the City stayed not usually above 4 months at the Mines, and were back again in about 6 Months from their going out. That some there made it their constant imployment to visit the Miners once every year: for after they are once seasoned, and have found the profit of that Trade, no thoughts of danger can deter them from it: for I was credibly told that these made 2000 per cent. of whatever they car∣reid with them, to sell to the Miners: but they could not carry much by reason of the badness of the ways. The rich men never go thither them∣selves but send their Slaves: and if 3 out of 6 re∣turns, they think they make a very profitable iour∣ney Page 130 for their Master, for these 3 are able to bring home as much Gold as the Goods which all 6 car∣ried out could purchase. The Goods that they carry thither are some sort of cloathing, and liquor. They carry their Goods from the City by Sea part of the way: Then they land somewhere about Passange-Jonca, and get Horses to carry their Cargo to the foot of the Mountains. There they draw it up with Ropes, and if they have much goods, one stays there with them, while the rest march to the Mines with their load; and return again for the rest. I had this relation from Captain Tiler, who lived at Achin, and spoke the Language of the Country very well. There was an English Rene∣gado that used that trade, but was always at the Mines when I was here. At his Return to Achin he constantly frequented an English Punch-house, spending his Gold very freely, as I was told by the Master of the house. I was told also by all that I discoursed with about the Gold, that here they dig it out of the Ground; and that sometimes they find pretty large lumps.
It is the product of these Mines that draws so many Merchants hither, for the Road is seldom without 10 or 15 sail of Ships of several Nations. These bring all sort of vendible Commodities, as Silks, Chints, Muzlins, Callicoes, Rice, &c. and as to this last, a man would admire to see what great quantities of Rice are brought hither by the English, Dutch, Danes, and Chinese: when any arrives the Commanders hire each a House to put their goods in. The Silks, Muzlins, Callicoes, Opium, and such like rich Goods, they sell to the Guzurats, who are the chief men that keep Shops here: but the Rice, which is the bulk of the Cargo, they usu∣ally retail. I have heard a Merchant say, he has received 60, 70, and 80 l. a day for Rice, when it has been scarce; but when there are many sellers, Page 131 then 40 or 50 s. worth in a day is a good sale: for then a Mess will buy 14 or 15 Bamboes of it: whereas when Rice is scarce, you will not have a∣bove 3 or 4 Bamboes for a Mess. A Bamboe is a small seal'd measure, containing, to the best of my remembrance, not much above half a Gallon. Thus it rises and falls as Ships come hither. Those who sell Rice keep one constantly attending to measure it out; and the very Grandees themselves never keep a stock before hand, but depend on the Market, and buy just when they have occasion. They send their Slaves for what they want, and the poorer sort, who have not a Slave of their own, will yet hire one to carry a Mess worth of Rice for them, tho not one hundred paces from their own homes, scorning to do it themselves. Besides one to measure the Rice, the Merchants hire a man to take the money; for here is some false Money, as Silver and Copper Mess gilt over: Besides, here are some true Mess much worn, and therefore not worth near their value in tale. The Merchants may also have occasion to receive 10 or 20 l. at a time for other Commodities; and this too, besides those little summs for Rice, he must re∣ceive by his Broker, if he will not be cheated; for 'tis work enough to examin every piece: and in receiving the value of 10 l. in Mess, they will ordinarily be forc'd to return half or more to be chang'd; for the Natives are for putting off bad Money, if possibly they can. But if the Broker takes any bad Money, 'tis to his own loss. These sort of Brokers are commonly Guzurats, and 'tis very necessary for a Merchant that comes hither, especially if he is a stranger, to have one of them, for fear of taking bad or light Money.
The English Merchants are very welcome here, and I have heard that they do not pay so much Custom as other Nations. The Dutch Free-men Page 136 may trade hither, but the Company's Servants are deny'd that privilege. But of all the Merchants that trade to this City, the Chinese are the most re∣markable. There are some of them live here all the year long; but others only make annual Voy∣ages hither from China. These latter come hither some time in June, about 10 or 12 sail, and bring abundance of Rice, and several other Commodities. They take up Houses all by one another, at the end of the Town, next the Sea: and that end of the City is call'd the China Camp, because there they always quarter, and bring their goods ashore thither to sell. In this Fleet come several Mecha∣nicks, (viz.) Carpenters, Joyners, Painters, &c. These set themselves immediately to work, making of Chests, Drawers, Cabinets, and all sorts of Chi∣nese Toys: which are no sooner finish'd in their Working houses, but they are presently set up in Shops and at the Doors to sale. So that for two months or ten weeks this place is like a Fair, full of Shops stufft with all sort of vendible commodities, and people resorting hither to buy: and as their goods sell off, so they contract themselves, into less compass, and make use of fewer Houses. But as their business decreases, their Gaming among them∣selves increases; for a Chinese, if he is not at work, had as lieve be without Victuals as without Gaming; and they are very dexterous at it. If before their goods are all sold, they can light of Chapmen to buy their Ships, they will gladly sell them also, at least some of them: if any Merchant will buy, for a Chinese is for selling every thing: and they who are so happy as to get Chapmen for their own Ships, will return as passengers with their Neighbours, leaving their Camp, as tis called, poor and naked like other parts of the City, till the next year. They commonly go away about the latter end of September, and never fail to return again at the Sea∣son: Page 137 and while they are here, they are so much followed, that there is but little business stirring for the Merchants of any other Nations; all the discourse then being of going down to the China Camp. Even the Europeans go thither for their di∣version: the English, Dutch, and Danes, will go to drink their Hoc-ciu, at some China Merchants House who sells it; for they have no tippling Houses. The European Seamen return thence into the City drunk enough, but the Chinese are very sober them∣selves.
The Achinese seem not to be extraordinary good at Accounts, as the Banians or Guzurats are. They instruct their youth in the knowledge of Letters, Malayan principally, and I suppose in somewhat of Arabick, being all Mahometans. They are here, as at Mindanao, very superstitious in washing and cleansing themselves from defilements: and for that reason they delight to live near the Rivers or Streams of water. The River of Achin near the City is always full of People of both Sexes and all Ages. Some come in purposely to wash themselves, for the pleasure of being in the Water: which they so much delight in, that they can scarce leave the River without going first into it, if they have any business brings them near. Even the sick are brought to the River to wash. I know not whether it is accounted good to wash in all distempers, but I am certain from my own Experience, it is good for those that have Flux, especially Mornings and Even∣ings, for which reason you shall then see the Rivers fullest, and more especially in the Morning. But the most do it upon a Religious account: for therein consists the chief part of their Religion.
There are but few of them resort daily to their Mosques; yet they are all stiff in their Religion, and so zealous for it, that they greatly 〈◊〉 in making a Proselyte. I was told, that while I was Page 134 at Tonquin, a Chinese inhabiting here turn'd from his Paganism to Mahometanism, and being circumcised, he was thereupon carry'd in great state thro the City on an Elephant, with one crying before him, that he was turn'd Believer. This man was call'd the Captain of the China Camp; for, as I was in∣formed, he was placed there by his Country-men as their chief Factor or Agent, to negotiate their affairs with the people of the Country. Whether he had dealt falsly, or was only envied by others, I know not: but his Countrymen had so entangled him in Law, that he had been ruined, if he had not made use of this way to disingage himself; and then his Religion protected him, and they could not meddle with him. On what score the two English Runagadoes turn d here, I know not.
The Laws of this Country are very strict, and offenders are punished with great severity. Nei∣ther are there any delays of Justice here; for as soon as the offender is taken, he is immediately brought before the Magistrate, who presently hears the matter, and according as he finds it, so he either acquits, or orders punishment to be in∣flicted on the Party immediately. Small offenders are only whipt on the back, which sort of punish∣ment they call Chaubuck. A Thief for his first of∣fence, has his right hand chopt off at the wrist: for the second offence off goes the other; and sometimes instead of one of their hands, one or both their feet are cut off; and sometimes (tho very rarely) both hands and feet. If after the loss of one or both hands or feet they still prove incor∣rigible, for they are many of them such very Rogues and so arch, that they will steal with their Toes, then they are banish'd to Pulo Way, during their Lives: and if they get thence to the City, as some∣times they do, they are commonly sent back again; tho sometimes they get a Licence to stay.
Page 135 On Pulo VVay there are none but this sort of Cattle: and tho they all of them want one or both hands, yet they so order matters, that they can row very well, and do many things to admiration, whereby they are able to get a livelihood: for if they have no hands, they will get somebody or o∣ther to fasten Ropes or Withes about their Oars, so as to leave Loops wherein they may put the stumps of their Arms; and therewith they will pull an Oar lustily. They that have one hand can do well enough: and of these you shall see a great many, even in the City. This sort of punishment is inflicted for greater Robberies; but for small pil∣fering the first time Thieves are only whipt; but after this a Petty Larceny is look'd on as a great crime. Neither is this sort of punishment peculiar to the Archinese Government, but probably, used by the other Princes of this Island, and on the Island Java also, especially at Bantam. They formerly, when the King of Bantam was in his prosperity, depriv'd men of the right hand for Theft, and may still for ought I know. I knew a Dutch-man so serv'd: he was a Seaman belonging to one of the King of Bantam's Ships. Being thus punished, he was dismist from his service, and when I was this time at Achin he lived there. Here at Achin, when a member is thus cut off, they have a broad piece of Leather or Bladder ready to clap on the Wound. This is presently applied, and bound on so fast, that the Blood cannot issue forth. By this means the great Flux of Blood is stopt, which would else ensue; and I never heard of any one who died of it. How long this Leather is kept on the Wound I know not: but it is so long, till the blood is perfectly stanched; and when it is taken off, the clods of Blood which were prest in the Wound by the Leather, peel all off with it, leaving the Wound clean. Then, I judge, they use cleansing Page 140 or healing Plaisters, as they see convenient, and cure the Wound with a great deal of ease.
I never heard of any that suffer'd Death for Theft. Criminals, who deserve death, are executed divers ways, according to the nature of the of∣fence, or the quality of the offender. One way is by Impaling on a sharp Stake, which passeth up∣right from the Fundament through the Bowels, and comes out at the Neck. The Stake is about the bigness of a mans Thigh, placed upright, one end in the ground very firm; the upper sharp end is about 12 or 14 foot high. I saw one man spitted in this manner, and there he remain'd 2 or 3 days: but I could not learn his offence.
Noblemen have a more honourable death; they are allowed to fight for their lives: but the num∣bers of those with whom they are to engage, soon put a period to the Combat, by the death of the Malefactor. The manner of it is thus; the person condemned is brought bound to the place of exe∣cution. This is a large plain Field, spacious e∣nough to contain thousands of people. Thither the Achinese, armed, as they usually go, with their Cresset, but then more especially resort in Troops, as well to be spectators, as actors in the Tragedy. These make a very large Ring, and in the midst of the multitude the Criminal is placed, and by him such Arms as are allow'd on such occasions; which are, a Sword, a Cresset, and a Lance. When the time is come to act, he is unbound, and left at his liberty to take up his fighting weapons. The spectators being all ready, with each man his Arms in his hand, stand still in their places, till the Malefactor advances. He commonly sets out with a shriek, and daringly faces the multitude: but he is soon brought to the ground, first by Lances thrown at him, and afterwards by their Swords and Cressets. One was thus executed while Page 141 I was there: I had not the fortune to hear of it till it was ended: but had this relation the same even∣ing it was done, from Mr. Dennis Driscal, who was then one of the Spectators.
This Country is governed by a Queen, under whom there are 12 Oronkeyes, or great Lords. These act in their several precincts with great power and authority. Under these there are other inferiour Officers, to keep the Peace in the several parts of the Queens dominions. The present Shabander of Achin is one of the Oronkeyes. He is a man of great∣er knowledge than any of the rest, and supposed to be very rich. I have heard say he had not less than 1000 Slaves, some of whom were topping Merchants, and had many Slaves under them. And even these, tho they are Slaves to Slaves, yet have their Slaves also; neither can a stranger easily know who is a Slave and who not among them: for they are all, in a manner, Slaves to one ano∣ther: and all in general to the Queen and Oron∣keyes; for their Government is very Arbitrary. Yet there is nothing of rigour used by the Master to his Slave, except it be the very meanest, such as do all sorts of servile work: but those who can turn their hands to any thing besides drudgery, live well enough by their industry. Nay, they are en∣couraged by their Masters, who often lend them Money to begin some trade or business withal: Whereby the Servant lives easie, and with great content follows what his inclination or capacity fits him for; and the Master also, who has a share in the gains, reaps the more profit, yet without trou∣ble. When one of these Slaves dies, his Master is Heir to what he leaves; and his Children, if he has any, become his Slaves also: unless the Father out of his own clear gains has in his life time had wherewithal to purchase their Freedom. The Markets are kept by these people, and you scarce Page 138 trade with any other. The Money-changers also are Slaves, and in general all the Women that you see in the streets; not one of them being free. So are the Fisher-men, and others, who fetch Fire∣wood in Canoas from Pulo Gomez, for thence those of this City fetch most of their Wood, tho there is scarce any thing to be seen but Woods about the City. Yet tho all these are Slaves, they have ha∣bitations or houses to themselves in several parts of the City, far from their Masters houses, as if they were free people. But to return to the Shabander I was speaking of, all Merchant Strangers, at their first arrival, make their Entries with him, which is always done with a good present: and from him they take all their dispatches when they depart; and all matters of importance in general between Merchants are determined by him. It seems to have been by his Conversation and Acquaintance with strangers, that he became so knowing, be∣yond the rest of the Great men: and he is also said to be himself a great Merchant.
The Queen of Achin, as 'tis said, is always an old Maid, chosen out of the Royal Family. What Ceremonies are used at the choosing her I know not: Nor who are the Electors; but I suppose they are the Oronkeys.. After she is chosen, she is in a manner confin'd to her Palace; for by report, she seldom goes abroad, neither is she seen by any people of inferiour rank and quality; but only by some of her Domesticks: except that once a year she is drest all in white, and placed on a Elephant, and so Rides to the River in state to wash herself: but whether any of the meaner sort of people may see her in that progress I know not: for it is the custom of most Eastern Princes to skreen them∣selves from the sight of their Subjects: Or if they sometimes go abroad for their pleasure, yet the people are then ordered either to turn their backs Page 139 towards them while they pass by, as formerly at Bantam, or to hold their hands before their eyes, as at Siam. At Mindanao, they may look on their Prince: but from the highest to the lowest they ap∣proach him with the greatest respect and venerati∣on, creeping very low, and oft-times on their knees, with their eyes fixt on him: and when they withdraw, they return in the same manner, creep∣ing backwards, and still keeping their eyes on him, till they are out of his sight.
But to return to the Queen of Achin, I think Mr Hackluit, or Purchas, makes mention of a King here in our King James I. time: But at least of la∣ter years there has always been a Queen only, and the English who reside there, have been of the opinion that these people have been governed by a Queen ab Origine; and from the antiquity of the present constitution, have formed notions, that the Queen of Sheba who came to Soloman was the Queen of this Country: and the Author of an old Map of the World which I have seen, was, it seems of this opinion, when writing the old Hebrew names of Nations, up and down the several parts anciently known of Europe, Asia, and Africa, he puts no other name in the Isle of Sumatra, but that of Sheba. But be that as it will, 'tis at present part of it under a Queen, tho she has little power or authority: for tho there is seemingly abundance of respect and reverence shewn her, yet she has little more than the title of a Soveraign, all the Government being wholly in the hands of the O∣ronkeys.
While I was on my Voyage to Tonquin, the old Queen died, and there was another Queen chosen in her room, but all the Oronkeys were not for that Election; many of them were for choosing a King. Four of the Oronkeys who lived more remote from the Court, took up Arms to oppose the new Queen Page 144 and the rest of the Oronkeys, and brought 5 or 6000 men against the City: and thus stood the state of affairs, even when we arrived here, and a good while after. This Army was on the East side of the River, and had all the Country on that side, and so much of the City also, as is on that side the River, under their power. But the Queen's Palace and the main part of the City, which stands on the West side, held out stoutly. The River is wider, shallower, and more sandy at the City, than any where else near it: yet not fordable at low water. Therefore for the better communication from one side to the other, there are Ferry-boats to carry Passengers to and fro. In other places the Banks are steep, the River more rapid, and in most places very muddy: so that this place, just at the City it∣self, is the most convenient to transport Men or Goods from one side to the other.
It was not far from this place the Army lay, as if they designed to force their passage here. The Queens party, to oppose them, kept a small Guard of Souldiers just at the Landing-place. The Sha∣bander of Achin had a Tent set up there, he being the chief manager of her Affairs: and for the more security, he had 2 or 3 small brass Guns of a Minion bore planted by his Tent all the day, with their Muzzels against the River. In the Evening there were 2 or 3 great Trees drawn by an Elephant, and placed by the side of the River, for a barricado against the Enemy: and then the Brass Guns were drawn from the Shabander's Tent, which stood not far from it, and planted just behind the Trees, on the rising Bank: So that they looked over the Trees, and they might Fire over, or into the River, if the Enemy approached. When the Barricado was thus made, and the Guns planted, the Ferry-boats passed no more from side to side, till the next morning. Then you should hear the Soldiers cal∣ing Page 145 to each other, not in menacing Language, but as those who desired peace and quietness, asking why they would not agree, why they could not be of one mind, and why they should desire to kill one another. This was the Tone all night long; in the morning as soon as Snn was risen, the Guns were drawn again to the Shabanders Tent, and the Trees were drawn aside, to open the passage from one side to the other: and every man then went freely about his business, as if all had been as quiet as ever, only the Shabander and his Guard staid still in their stations. So that there was not any sign of Wars, but in the Night only, when all stood to their Arms: and then the Towns people seemed to be in fear, and sometimes we should have a Ru∣mour, that the Enemy would certainly make an attempt to come over.
While these stirs lasted, the Shabander sent to all the Foreigners, and desired them to keep in their own Houses in the night, and told them, that whatever might happen in the City by their own civil broyls, yet no harm should come to them. Yet some of the Portuguese, fearing the worst, would every Night put their richest Goods into a Boat, ready to take their flight on the first Alarm. There were at this time not above 2 or 3 English Families in the Town, and 2 English Ships, and one Dutch Ship, besides 2 or 3 Moors Ships of the Moguls Sub∣jects, in the Road. One of the English Ships was called the Nellegree; the name taken from Nelle∣gree Hills in Bengal, as I have heard. She came from the Bay of Bengal, laden with Rice, Cotton, &c. the other was the Dorothy of London, Captain Thwait Commander, who came from Fort St George, and was bound to Bencouli with Souldiers, but touched here, as well to sell some goods, as to bring a present to the Queen from our East India Company. Captain Thwait, according to custom went with his present Page 146 to the Queen, which she accepted; and comple∣mented him with the usual Civilities of the Coun∣try; for to honour him he was set upon an Elephant of the Queens to ride to his Lodgings, drest in a Malayan habit which she gave him: and she sent also two Dancing Girls, to shew him some pastime there: and I saw them at his Lodgings that Even∣ing, dancing the greatest part of the night, much after the same manner as the Dancing Women of Mindanao, rather writhing their Hands and Bodies with several Antick gestures, than moving much out of the place they were in. He had at this time about 20 great Jars of Bengal Butter, made of Buf∣faloes Milk, and this Butter is said also to have Lard or Hogs fat mixt with it, and rank enough in these hot Countries, tho much esteemed by all the Achi∣nese, who give a good price for it; and our English also use it. Each of the Jars this came in, contained 20 or 30 Gallons; and they were set in Mr. Driscal's yard at Achin: what other goods the Captain brought I know not.
But not long after this, he being informed, that the Moors Merchants residing here had carryed off a great Treasure aboard their Ships, in order to return with it to Surrat, and our Company having now Wars with the Great Mogul, Captain Thwait in the Evening drew off all his Seamen, and seized on one of the Moors Ships, where he thought the Treasure was. The biggest he let alone: she was a Ship, that one Captain Constant took in the Road some time before, and having plundered her, he gave her to the Queen: of whom the Moors bought her again. The Moors Merchants had speedy notice of this action of Captain Thwait, and they presently made their Application to the Queen for satisfaction. But her affairs at this time, being in such posture as I men∣tioned, by reason of their intestine Broyls, she said she could do nothing for them.
Page 147 It was 11 or 12 a Clock the next day, before we who lived ashore heard of Captain Thwaits proceed∣ings: but seeing the Moors flock to Court, and not knowing what answer they had from the Queen, we posted off to the Ships, for fear of being im∣prisoned, as some English men had been while I was at Tonquin, on the like score. Indeed I had at this time great cause to be afraid of a Prison, being sick of a flux: So that a Prison would have gone near to have killed me: yet I think it fared not much bet∣ter with me, for the Ships I fled to afforded me but little comfort. For I knew no man aboard the Do∣rothy, and could expect no comfort there. So I and the rest went aboard the Nelligree, where we could more reasonably expect relief, than in a Ship that came from England: for these which come so long a Voyage, are just victualled for the Service, and the Seamen have every one their stinted allowance, out of which they have little enough to spare to Strangers.
But tho there were Victuals enough aboard the Nellegree, yet so weak as I then was, I had more mind to rest my self than to eat: and the Ship was so pestered with Goods, that I could not find a place to hang up my Hammock in. Therefore it being fair weather, I made a shift to lye in the Boat that I came aboard in. My Flux was violent, and I sleept but little: so I had the opportunity of observing the Moon totally Eclipsed, had I been in a condition to observe any thing. As soon as I per∣ceiv'd the Moon to be Eclipsed, I gazed at it indeed, as I lay, till it was totally obscured, which was a pretty while: but I was so little curious, that I re∣membred not so much as what day of the Month it was, and I kept no Journal of this Voyage, as I did of my other; but only kept an account of several particular Remarks and Obser∣vations as they occurred to me. I lay 3 or 4 days Page 148 thus in this Boat, and the people of the Ship were so kind as to provide me with necessaries: and by this time the Moors had got a Pass from the Dutch Captain then in the Road, for 4 or 500 Dollars, as I was then told, and Captain Thwait delivered them their Ship again, but what terms he made with them, I know not. Thus that fray was over, and we came ashore again: recovered of the fright we had been in. In a short time also after this, the Achinese all agreed to own the new Queen, and so the War ended without any Bloodshed.
I was perswaded to wash in the River, Mornings and Evenings, for the recovery of my Health: and tho it seemed strange to me before I tryed it, yet I found so much comfort in the first trial, that I constantly applyed my self to it. I went into the Ri∣ver, till the water was as high as my waste, and then I stooped down and sound the water so cool and refreshing to my body, that I was always loth to go out again. Then I was sensible that my Bowels were very hot, for I found a great heat within me, which I found refresht by the cool water. My food was Salt fish broyled, and boyled Rice mixt with Tire. Tire is sold about the Streets there: 'tis thick sower Milk. It is very cooling, and the Salt-fish and Rice is binding: therefore this is thought there the proper food for the common People, when they have Fluxes. But the Richer sort will have Sago, which is brought to Achin from other Coun∣tries, and Milk of Almonds.
But to return to the state of Achin, before I go off from it I shall add this short account of the Sea∣sons of year there, that their weather is much the same as in other Countries North of the Line, and their dry Seasons, Rains, and Land floods come much at the same time, as at Tonquin and other places of North Latitude. Only as Achin lies within a few Degrees of the Line, so upon the Suns crossing the Page 149 Line in March, the Rains begin a little sooner there than in Countries nearer the Tropick of Cancer: and when they are once set in, they are as violent there as any where. I have seen it Rain there for 2 or 3 days without intermission; and the River running but a short course, its head not lying very far within Land, it soon overflows; and a great part of the Street of the City, shall on a sudden be all under water; at which time people row up and down the Streets in Canoas. That side of the City, towards the River especially, where the Fo eign Merchants live, and which is lower ground, is fre∣quently under water in the Wet Season: a Ships Longboat has come up to the very Gate of our English Factory laden with Goods; which at other times is ground dry enough, at a good distance from the River, and moderately raised above it. I did not find the heat there any thing different from other places in that Latitude; tho I was there both in the wet and dry Season. 'Tis more supportable than at Tonquin; and they have constantly the Refresh∣ment of Sea and Land Breezes every 24 hours.
The A. prepares to go for Pegu. Among others a Ship arrives here from Merga in Siam. Of the Massacre of the English there. His in∣tended Cargo for Pegu. The Arrival of other English men from the City of Siam. The A. sets out for Malacca instead of Pegu. They are becalmed, and soon after in great danger of running aground. The Coast of Sumatra from Diamond point to the R. Dilly. They water there and at Pulo Verero; where they meet a Ship of Danes and Moors from Trangambar. Pulo Arii, and Pulo Parse∣lore, a useful Sea-mark to avoid Sholes near Malacca Shore. The A. arrives at Malacca Town. The Town and its Forts described: the Conquest of it by the Dutch, from the Portu∣guese. Chinese and other Merchants residing here. The Sale of Flesh and Fish; the Fruits and Animals. The Shabander, State of the Trade, and Guardships. Opium, a good Commodity among the Malayans. Rattan-Cables. They prepare for their Return back to Achin.
AS soon as I was pretty well recovered, I was Shipt Mate of the Sloop that came from Ma∣lacca with us, which Mr Wells had sold to Captain Tyler, who lately come from Siam: and I was sent aboard to take possession of her, about the begin∣ning of May, 1689. He who was designed to Page 151 mand her came to Achin Mate of the Nellegree; and we were now to go to Pegu: but before the mid∣dle of June he left the employ, being sick, and loth to go at this dead time of the year to Pegu, because the Westerly wind was set in strong, and the Coast of Pegu is low Land, and we were both unacquaint∣ed on the Coast. I was then made Commander, and took in goods in order to depart for that Coast. In the mean time Mr. Coventry arrived in his Ship from the Coast of Coromandel laden with Rice, and a small Vessel belonging to Captain Tyler came also from Merga much about the same time.
This last Ship had been at Merga a considerable time, having been seized on by the Siamites, and all the men imprisoned, for some difference that hap∣pened between the English and them. Neither was a Prison then thought hard usage by them, for during the Havock was made of the English there, many of those who lived at Merga were massacred. Those who were imprisoned were kept there till all the English who lived at the City of Siam, on the other side of the Kingdom, withdrew from thence: and then these men had their liberty restored also, and their Ship given them, but no goods, nor sa∣tisfaction for their losses, nor so much as a Com∣pass to bring with them, and but little Provision. Yet here they safely arrived, this being a better Ship that I was gone aboard of, Captain Tyler im∣mediately fitted her up for the Sea, in order to send her to Pegu.
By this time my Vessel was loaden, and my Cargo was eleven thousand Coco-nuts, 5 or 600 wait of Sugar, and half a dozen Chests of Drawers of Japan work, 2 were very large, designed for a pre∣sent to the King. Besides this, Captain Tyler, for so we used to call him, tho he was only a Merchant, said he intended to send a good quantity of Gold thither, by which he expected to gain 60 or 70 per Page 152 Cent; for by report the King of Pegu had lately built a very magnificent Pagoda, and was gilding it very richly with Gold: besides he was making a large Image of Massy Gold for the chief Pagod of this Temple. By this means Gold was risen in its value here: and Achin being a place abounding in that 〈◊〉, much of it had already been sent thi∣ther from hence, and more was going in other Vessels, belonging to the Moors of Achin, beside what Captain Tyler designed to send.
It was now about the middle of August; and tho I was ready to sail, yet I was ordered to stay for Captain Tyler's other Vessel, till she had taken in her lading, which was daily sent off. Her Cargo also was Coco-nuts, and she had about 8 or 9000 already aboard: when I received an order from Captain Tyler to hale aboard of her, and put all my Cargo into her; as also all my Water-cask and whatever else I could spare that they wanted; but withal he desired me to be satisfied, and told me I should in a short time be sent to Sea: but that Ship being the biggest, he thought it more conve∣nient to dispatch her first. I presently did as I was ordered; and finding that I should not go this Voyage, I sold also, my small Cargo, which consisted only of some Coco-nuts, and about 100 Nutmegs, which had the Shells on as they grew on the Trees. I bought all that I could meet with in the Town, and paid abous 3 d. a piece, and expected to have had 12 d. a piece for them at Pegu, where they are much esteemed if the Shells be on, for else they don't value them.
About this time the George, a great English Ship belonging to one Mr. Dalton, arrived here from the City of Siam, coming thro the Streights of Malacca. He had been there some years, Trading to and fro, and had made very profitable Voyages: but the late Revolution that happened there by the death of the Page 153 King, and the unhappy fate of my Lord Falcon, caused the English to withdraw from thence. The French were all sent away some Months before, being not suffered to stay in the Kingdom: but before this Ship came from thence, the broyls of State were over; for the new King being settled, all tumults, which commonly arise in these Countries at the death of the King, were appeased. The English were then desired to stay there, and those who had yielded up their places and offices, wereeven in∣treated to accept them again, for they owned that they had all served the Nation faithfully. But not long before the Revolution, the Governour of Fort St. George sent for all the English from thence particularly, and from the service of all other Indian Princes, to come and serve the East India Company at the Fort, or where else they should send them. For that reason they all came away with Mr Dal∣ton, and he, in kindness to his Country-men, re∣fused to take in Goods or Freight, because he would have room enough for their Passage, and their Houshold Goods: for here were some Families of Men, Women and Children.
They were a long time coming from Siam to Achin, because they came against the Monsoon; and in their passage they touched at Malacca, and when they arrived at Achin, Mr Dalton went ashoar and hired a House, as did also most of his Passen∣gers: and among the rest Captain Minchin, who had formerly served the East India Company at Surrat, but on some disgust left that place and came to Siam. There he was made Gunner of a Fort, and maintained his Wife and Family very well in that employ, till the Revolution there, and the Companies orders came and called him from thence. He being now destitute of employment, the Merchants there thought of making him Com∣mander of the Vessel that I was in, because Cap∣tain Page 154Tyler was minded to sell part of her. Accord∣ingly they met about it, and the Vessel was divid∣ed into 4 parts, 3 of which was were purchased by Mr Dalton, Mr Coventry, and Captain Minchin, and Captain Tyler kept the 4th. The next day Captain Minchin came off, with an order to me, to deliver him the possession of the Ship, and told me, that that if I liked to go his Mate, I might still keep aboard till they had agreed on a Voyage. I was forced to submit, and accepted a Mates employ under Captain Minchin. It was not long before we were ordered for Malacca to buy Goods there. We carried no Goods with us, besides 3 or 400 pound of Opium.
It was about the middle of September, 1689. when we sailed from Achin. We were 4 white men in the Vessel, the Captain, and Mr Coventry, who went Supercargo, my self and the Boatswain. For common Seamen we had 7 or 8 Moors: and gene∣rally in these Country Ships the White men are all Officers. Two days after we left Achin, being becalmed under the Shore, we came to an Anchor. Not long after, a Ship coming in from the Sea∣ward, came to an anchor about two mile a head of us. Mr Coventry knew her to be a Danish Ship be∣longing to Trangambar; and therefore we hoisted out our Boat, and thought to have spoken with her: but a small breeze springing up, they weigh∣ed their Anchors, and went away; neither would they speak with us, tho we made signs for them to stay. We weighed also and jogg'd on after them, but they sailed better than we. We met little winds and calms, so that 'twas 7 or 8 days before we got as far as Diamond-point, which is about 40 leagues from Achin.
Being about 4 leagues short off that point, Cap∣tain Minchin desired me to set the Land, and withal prick the Card, and see what course we ought to Page 155 keep all night; for it was now about 6 a clock, and we had a fine gale at W. S. W. our course yet being E. S. E.
After I had set the Land, I went into the Cab∣bin to look over the Draught, to see what course we must steer after we came about the point. Mr Coventry followed me, and when I had satisfied my self, he asked me what course we must steer? I told him E. S. E. till 12 a clock, if the gale stood, and then we might hale more Southerly. He seemed to be startled at it, and told me, that the Captain and he had been pricking the Card, and thought that a S. E. or S. E. by S. course would do well at 8 a clock. I said it was a good course to run ashore; he argued a long time with me, but I persisted in my opinion, and when I told Captain Minchin of my opinion, he was well satisfied. Pre∣sently after this we had a pretty strong Tornado out of the S. W. which obliged us to hand our Top∣sail. When the stress of the Weather was over, we set our Sails again, and went in to Supper, and ordered the man at Helm not to come to the Southward of the E. S. E. We stayed in the Cab∣bin till about 8 a clock, and then we came out to set the Watch. It was now very dark, by reason of a Thunder cloud that hung rumbling over the Land: yet by the flashes of lightning we plainly saw the Land, right ahead of us. I was much surprized, and ran into the Steeridge to look on the Compass, and found that we were steering S. S. E. instead of E. S. E. I clapt the Helm a Star∣board, and brought her to N. E. by E. and N. E. we very narrowly escap'd being cast away.
When we first went to Supper, we were 3 leagues off Land, and then E. S. E. was a good course, the Land lying E. S. E. parallel with our course.
Page 156 But then the Man at Helm mistaking him Com∣pass, steer'd S. S. E. which runs right in upon the Shore. I believe we had also some counter∣current, or Tide that help'd us in, for we were quickly got into a Bay within the points of Land. So that 'twas now absolutely necessary to steer Northerly to get out of the Bay; and by this time Mr Coventry was satisfied with what I told him in the Evening, and was convinced of his error. I un∣dertook to direct the man at helm, and the wind continuing, I kept off till ten a Clock: then I steer∣ed E. S. E. till 12, and then haled up S. S. E. and in the morning we were about 4 leagues S. E. from Diamond point, and about 3 leagues to the North of an Island.
The Land from hence lying S. S. E. we steered so; but meeting with calms again, we anchored several times before we came to the River of Dilly, which is 28 leagues from Diamond-point. The Land between seems to be uneven, most of it pret∣ty high, and very woody: and 'tis said that all this Country, as far as the River Dilly, is under the Queen of Achin.
About a League before we came to that River, being within 2 mile of the Shore, we saw the water of a muddy grey colour, and tasting it, found it to be sweet. Therefore we presently filled some of our Water Cask; and 'tis an ordinary thing in several places to take up fresh water at Sea, against the mouth of some River, where it floats above the Salt water: but we must dip but a little way down, for sometimes if the Bucket goes but a foot deep, it takes up Salt water with the fresh.
In the evening we had a fine Land Breeze, with with which we ran along the Shore, keeping on a wind, and sounding every now and then. At last we were got among the Sholes, at the mouth of that River, and puzzled to get our again. The River Page 157 is in Lat. 3 d. 50 m. N. It seems to be very large, but it is not well known, but only to the Natives, who inhabit it; and they are not very sociable; but are, by report, a sort of Pirats living on rapin. In the Morning we saw a sail standing off to an Island called Pulo Verero, lying in Lat 3 d. 30 m. N. 7 Lea∣gues from the Mouth of the River Dilly. We having a fair wind, stood after them, intending there to wood and water at Pulo Verero. For tho we took no fresh Water the evening before out of the Sea, yet at the R. of Dilly it was brackish: for tho the fresh water is born up by the Salt, and it might be intire without mixture, yet by plung∣ing of the Bucket somewhat too low, we might pro∣bably take up some of the Salt water with it. They came to an Anchor, about 2 or 3 a clock in the Afternoon: but the Wind slackened, and it was 8 Clock at night before we came thither. We An∣chored about a mile from them, and presently hoysed out our Boat to go aboard: for we judged that this was the Danish Ship, that we saw when we came first from Achin. I went in the Boat, be∣cause Mr Coventry told me, that Mr Coppenger was Surgeon of her, the same person who was with me in the Boat when I was set ashore at the Nico∣bar Isles, but was not suffered to stay with me. Mr Coventry was now in the Boat with me, and we went and haled the Ship, asking whence she came? and who was Commander? They answered they were Danes from Trangambar, for 'twas the Ship we took it to be. Then they askt who we were? I answered, English from Achin, and that Mr Coventry was in the Boat, but they would not believe it till Mr.Coventry spoke, and the Captain knew his Voice: neither did they till then believe we were Friends; for they had every man his Gun in his hand, ready to fire on us, if we had gone aboard without haling, as Mr. Coventry would have done, in confidence Page 158 that they knew him, had not I disswaded him. For it seems they were extreamly afraid of us, insomuch that the Commander, seeing us follow them in the morning, would not have touched at these Islands, tho he was in great want of Water; and had not his black Merchants fallen before him on their Knees, and even prayed him to take pity on them, they had not anchored here. These Merchants were inhabitants of Trangambar on the Coast of Coromandel. They having no Ships of their own, when the Danes, fit out a Ship, on any Voyage that they are inclined to, these Moors are obliged to joyn Stock with them, and they first make an offer of it to them as a kindness: and the Moors being gene∣rally desirous to Trade, frequently accept of it al∣most on any terms: but should they be unwilling, yet dare they not refuse, for fear of disobliging the Danes, who are Lords of the place. In this Ship I found Mr Coppenger: and he was the first that I had seen of all the Company that left me at the Nicobar Islands. The next morning we filled our water and weigh'd again; the Dane being gone a little before. He was bound to Jihore, to load Pepper, but in∣tended to touch at Malacca, as most Ships do that pass these Streights. He also sailed better than we, and therefore left us to follow him.
We stood on yet nearest to the Sumatra shore, till we came in sight of Pulo Arii, in Lat 3 d 2 m. N. These are several Islands lying S. E. by E. l Easter∣ly from Pulo Verero, about 32 leagues distant. These Islands are good marks for Ships bound thro the Streights: for when they bear S. E. at 3 or 4 leagues distance, you may steer away E. by S. for the Ma∣lacca Shore, from whence you then may be about 20 leagues. The first Land you will see is Pulo Parse∣lore, which is a high peeked Hill in the Country, on the Malacca Coast: which standing by it self amidst a low Country, it appears like an Island, Page 159 tho I know not whether it is is really one; for it stands some miles within the shoar of the Continent of Malacca. It is a very remarkable Hill, and the only Sea mark for Seamen to guide themselves through certain Sands that lye near the Main; and if it is thick hazy Weather, and the hill is obscur'd, Pilots, unless they are very knowing in the Sound∣ings, will hardly venture in: for the Channel is not above a league wide, and there are large shoals on each side. These shoals lye ten leagues from Pulo Arii, and continue till within 2 or 3 of the Malacca shoar. In the Channel there is 12 or 14 fathom water, but you may keep in 7 or 8 fathom on either side; and sounding all the way, you may pass on without danger.
We had a good gale at West, which brought us in sight of Pulo Parsalore: and so we kept sounding till we came within the shoar, and then we had the Town of Malacca about 18 leagues distant from us, to the S. E. and by E. Being shot over to the Malacca shore, there is good wide Channel to sail in, you having the shoals on one side, and the Land on the other; to which last you may come as nigh as you see convenient, for there is water enough, and good anchoring. The Tide runs pretty strong here; the Flood sets to the Eastward, and the Ebb to the West: and therefore when there is little wind, and Ships cannot stem the Tide, they commonly anchor. But we being in with the Malacca shoar, had a westerly Wind, which brought us before Malacca Town, about the middle of October; and here I first heard that King William and Queen Mary were Crowned King and Queen of England. The Dane that left us at Pulo Verero was not yet arrived: for, as we after∣wards understood, they could not find the way through the Sands, but were forc'd to keep along without them, and fetch a great Compass about, which retarded their Passage.
Page 160Malacca is a pretty large Town, of about 2 or 300 Families of Dutch and Portuguese, many of which are a mixt breed between those Nations. There are also many of the Native Malayans inhabiting in small Cottages on the skirts of the Town. The Dutch Houses are built with Stone, and the Streets are wide and straight, but not paved. At the N. West of the Town, there is a Wall and Gate to pass in and out; and a small Fort always guarded with Soldiers. The Town stands on a level low ground, close by the Sea. The Land on the back∣side of the Town seems to be morassy, and on the West side, without the Wall, there are Gardens of Fruits and Herbs, and some fair Dutch Houses: but that quarter is chiefly the habitation of the Malay∣ans. On the East side of the Town, there is a small River, which at a Spring Tide will admit small Barks to enter. About 100 paces from the Sea there is a Draw bridge, which leads from the midst of the Town to a strong Fort, built on the East side of the River.
This is the chief Fort, and is built on a low level ground, close by the Sea, at the foot of a little steep Hill. Its form is semicircular, according to the natural position of the adjacent Hill. It fronts chiefly to the Sea, and having its foundation on firm Rocks, the Walls are carried up to a good heighth, and of a considerable thickness. The lower part of is washed by the Sea every Tide. On the back of the Hill, the Land being naturally low, there is a very large Moat cut from the Sea to the River, which makes the whole an Island; and that back part is stockadoed round with great Trees, set up an end: so that there is no entring when once the Draw-bridge is haled up. On the Hill, within the Fort, stands a small Church, big enough to receive all Towns people, who come hither on Sundays to hear Divine service: and on the Main, Page 161 beyond the Fort, the Malayans are also seated close by the Sea.
The first Europeans who settled here were the Portuguese. They also built the great Fort: but whether they moted round the Hill, and made an Island of that spot of ground, I know not, nor what charges have been bestowed on it since to make it defenceable; nor what other alterations have been made: but the whole building seems to be pretty antient, and that part of it which fronts to the Sea was, in all probability, built by the Portu∣guese; for there are still the marks of the Conque∣rors shot in the Walls. It is a place so naturally strong, that I even wonder how they could be beaten out: but when I consider what other places they then lost, and their mismanagements, I am the less surprized at it. The Portuguese were the first discoverers by Sea of the East Indies, and had thereby the Advantage of Trade with these 〈◊〉Eastern people, as also an opportunity, thro their weakness, to settle themselves where they pleased. Therefore they made Settlements and Forts among them in divers places of India, as here for one: and presuming upon the strength of their Forts, they insulted over the Natives; and being grown rich with Trade, they fell to all manner of looseness and debauchery; the usual concomitant of Wealth, and as commonly the fore runner of Ruin. The Portuguese at this place, by report, made use of the Native Women at their pleasure, whether Virgins or Married Women; luch as they liked they took without controle: and it is probable, they as little restrained their lust in other places; for the breed of them is scattered all over India; neither are there any people of more different Complexions than of that race, even from the cole black to a light tawney. These injuries exasperated the Native Page 162Malayans here, who joyning with the Dutch, as I have been informed, found means to betray to them their insolent masters the Portuguese: than whom there are not a more despicable people now in all the Eastern Nations: and of all they once possest, they have now only Goa left, of any place of consequence. The Dutch are now masters of most of the places they were once possest of; and ticularly this of Malacca.
Malacca is a place of no great Trade, yet there are several Moors Merchants always residing here. These have shops of wares, such as come from Sur∣rat, and the Coast of Coromandel and Bengal. The Chinese also are seated here, who bring the Com∣modities of their Country hither, especially Tea, Sugarcandy, and other Sweetmeats. Some of them keep Tea-houses, where for a Stiver a man has near a pint of Tea, and a little Porrenger of Sugarcandy, or other Sweet meats, if he pleases. Others of them are Butchers: their chief flesh is Pork, which you may have very reasonably, either fresh or salted: Neither are you desired to take any particular piece, but they will cut a piece at one place, and the like at another, either fat or lean, as you would have it. Others among these Chinese are Trades people; and they are all in general very industrious, but withal extraordinary Gamesters: and if they can get any to play with them, all business must submit to that.
This Town is plentifully stored with Fish also. When the Fishermen come in, they all resort to a place built purposely for the sale of them. There are Soldiers waiting, who take the best for the Officers of the Fort. Whether they pay for it, or that 'tis a Toll or Custom belonging to the Gover∣nor I know not: but after they are served, the the rest are sold to any who will buy. The man∣ner Page 163 of selling is thus; the Fish which every man brings in is sorted, yet all sold by the lump at once in the manner of an Outcry or Auction, but not by raising but lowering the price: for there is one ap∣pointed for this Sale, who sets the first price higher than the value of the Fish, and falls by degrees, till the price seems reasonable: then one or other buys. But these first bargains are commonly bought by the Fishwives, who Retail them out again. Oysters are in great plenty here, and very good when they are Salt, but sometimes they are fresh and unsavoury.
As for other Provisions, their Rice is brought to them from abroad. Such Fruits as they have are much the same as I have already described and are proper to the Climate, as Plantains, Bonanoes, Pine-apples, Oranges, Water-melons, Pumplenoses, Mango's, &c. but these are only in their Gardens, in no great plenty; and the Country is all covered with Wood, like one Forest: and most of our walking Canes used in England, are brought from thence. They have also a few Cattle, Bullocks, and Horses, &c. having but little pasturage, but good store of tame Fowl, Ducks, and Poultrey. The principal person in the Town is the Shabander, a Dutch man, next in power to the Governor, who lives in the Fort, and meddles not with Trade, which is the Shabander's Province, who seems to be chiefly concerned about the customes of goods.
This Town has no great Trade, by what I could see, but it seems to be designedly built to Command the passage of shipping, going this way to the more Eastern Nations. Not but that Ships may pass far enough out of reach of their Canon; but Guardships belonging to the Town, and lying in the Road, may hinder others from passing. How the Portuguese managed their Affairs I know not; Page 164 but the Dutch commonly keep a Guard-ship here; and I have been told they require a certain Duty of all Vessels that pass this way, the English only excepted: for all Ships touch at this place, espe∣cially for Wood, Water and refreshment.
Two days after our arrival here, the Danish Ship came also to an Anchor; but reporting that they were bound to Jihore, to lade Pepper, the Dutch told them it was but in vain for them to seek a Trade there; for that the King of Jihore had agreed with the Dutch to Trade only with them; and that to secure that Trade, they had a Guardship lying there. I had this account from the Surgeon, Mr Coppinger, who seemed a little concerned at it: because when he told me this, he could not tell whether they should proceed thither or no; but they did go thither, and found all this a sham, and Traded there to their own and the Natives satis∣faction, as he told me the next time I met him. This of Jihore being but a small Kingdom on the same Malacca Coast, 'tis not of strength sufficient to resist the power of the Dutch: neither could it benefit the Dutch to take it, should they attempt it; for the people would probably forsake it, and it would be too great a charge for the Dutch to settle it themselves. And therefore they only endeavour to ingross the Pepper Trade; and it is probable enough that the Dutch might sometimes keep a Guardship there, as they do at other places, parti∣cularly at Queda Pulo Dindin, &c. For where there is any trade to be had, yet not sufficient to maintain a Factory; or where there may not be a convenient place to build a Fort, so as to secure the whole Trade to themselves, they send their Guardships, which lying at the mouths of the Rivers, deter strangers from coming thither, and keep the petty Princes in awe of them. They commonly make a Page 165 shew as if they did this out of kindness to those peo∣ple; yet most of them know otherwise, but dare not openly resent it. This probably causes so many petty Robberies and Piracies as are committed by the Malayans on this Coast. The Malayans, who inhabit on both sides the Streights of Malacca, are in general a bold people: and yet I do not find any of them addicted to Robbery, but only the pilfering poorer sort, and even these severely punished among the Trading Malayans, who love Trade and Pro∣perty. But being thus provoked by the Dutch, and hindred of a free Trade by their Guard-ships, it is probable, they therefore commit Piracies them∣selves, or connive at and incourage those who do. So that the Pirates who lurk on this Coast, seem to do it as much to revenge themselves on the Dutch, for restraining their Trade, as to gain this way what they cannot obtain in way of Traffick.
But to retturn to our concerns here, I have said already, that we had only 3 or 400 l. of Opium in goods, the rest was in Money to the value of 2000 Dollars in the whole: but we did not pre∣tend, that we came hither purposely to Trade, but that finding our Vessel unfit for the Sea, we put in here to mend and repair her. Leave was granted us for this; and I prepared to hale our Vessel ashore, at the west end of the Town, not far from the small Fort. It is there soft Oazy ground, near a mile off shore, and it deepens very leisurely, being shole water just by the shore; and when the Tide goes out, it leaves the Oaz dry a quarter of a mile from the shore: but a mile from shore, you have clean sand, and about 4 fathom at low Water. Our Vessel floated in close to the Fort, and lay not 20 yards from it; and at low water it sunk down into the mud: that we could not fit the after-part, as I would Page 166 have done. Opium, which is much used by the Malayans in most places, was a great Commodity here at this time: but it is prohibited Goods, and therefore tho many asked for it, we were shy of having it too openly known that we had any. But in short, Mr. Coventry found a Customer, and they found means to get it ashore, while the Soldiers of the Fort were at dinner. The Customer was a Dutch man; and the price he was to pay for it was as much as he was worth: and finding it to be nought, he would have been off his bargain; and when Mr. Coventry would not release him, he absconded. But Mr Coventry having an interest in the Shabander, he compelled the Mans Wife to pay for the Opium, under the name of Gold; for so Mr Coventry called it. The Shabander chid Mr. Co∣ventry for smuggling with an inferiour, when he might have done it better with him: but stood his friend in compelling the Woman, tho unjustly, to pay for the Opium. I saw this Dutch man on board his own Vessel, when he had bought the Opium, and he was very pensive and sad. He had a pretty fine House without the Gates, and a Garden, which maintained his Family with Pot-herbs, Sallading, and Fruits, besides some for the Mar∣ket. This was managed by his Wife, and he himself had 2 Sloops; and either imployed them, in Trading among the Malayans for Pepper, carrying them such Commodities as they wanted, especially Opium, or by hiring himself and Sloop to the Dutch East India Company, to go whither they would send him. It was not long since he he had been at the Spice Islands with Rice, which he sold at a profitable rate: but he told me he was not suffered to bring any Spice from thence, except 8 or 10 pound for his own spending: nei∣ther was there so much profit that way for him, Page 167 as by Trading at home among the Malayans, either on the Coast of Malacca or Sumarta. For tho he and other free Men are not suffered to Trade for them∣selves to any places where the Company have Facto∣ries, or Guardships, yet they could find Trade enough nearer home, and by this Trade the Freemen of Malacca pick up a good livelihood. It was on this home Trade that he was now bound, and the Opium had been very beneficial to him, had it been good: but he went away, and ordered his Wife not to pay for it, but left Mr Coventry to take it again; and upon the Shabander's compelling her to take it and pay for it, she complained they were utterly undone, for the Opium, when it came to be examined was really very bad, and worth little or nothing.
Here Mr Coventry bought Iron Bars, Arack, Canes, and Rattans, wherewith we loaded our Vessel, which was now set afloat again. The Dutch brought most of our goods aboard, and were more kind than I expected, for they had not used to Trade with us, and I believe the news of our Revolution in England had sweetned them; for they often drank the Konings health with us very hear∣tily. While we were here we made 2 new Cables of Rattans, each of them 4 inches about. Our Captain bought the Rattans, and hired a Chinese to work them, who was very expert at making such wooden Cables. These Cables I found serviceable enough after, in mooring the Vessel with either of them; for when I carried out the Anchor, the Cable being thrown out after me, swam like Cork in the Sea; so that I could see when it was tight, which we cannot so well discern in our Hemp Cables, whose weight sinks them down: nor can we carry them out but by placing 2 or 3 Boats at some distance asunder, Page 168 to buoy up the Cable, while the Long Boat rows out the Anchor. To conclude with Malacca, our goods being all aboard, we fill'd our water, and got all in a readiness for our departure back again.
The A. departs from Malacca. They lose a yard and return to refit. They set out again, and run on a Shole, but get off with the flood. Pulo Sambilong. They lose their Mizen-yard, and put into Pulo Dinding. The Island and Fort described; the opposite Coast. Tutaneg, a sort of Tin. The Enmity between the Dutch here, and the Malayans on the Coast. A Ren∣counter with them. They leave P. Dinding and arrive at Achin. The escape of some English Prisoners out of Bengal. The A. sets out again from Achin, and arrives at Fort St George. Its pleasant Prospect. He goes thence to Bencouli in Sumatra. Its sight at Sea. Point of Sillabar. The Scituation of Ben∣couli, Houses, Weather, Soil, Fruits, Ani∣mals, and Inhabitants. The Pepper Trade here and elsewhere. The first settlement of the En∣glish here. The Fort; and usage of the Natives. The Conclusion of the Supplement.
WE departed from Malacca towards Achin about the middle of November 1689. Mr Coventry being weary of Captain Minchin's Company, had bought a small Vessel of 7 or 8 Tuns, and laded her also with the same kind of goods. This he commanded himself, having a Portuguese Pilot, and 3 or 4 Mariners under him, and we set out both Ships in Company together. We had now in Captain Minchin's Ship, but 2 white Men, the Cap∣tain and I, the Boat-swain being gone with Mr. Page 170Coventry: but we took in as a Passenger one Mr. Richards an Englishman, who having lately married a Dutch Woman at Malacca, came abroad us with her, to go as passengers to Achin with us.
We had a Land Wind in the morning, and about 11 a Clock had the Wind at N. W. a pretty strong gale: and at 12 our fore-yard broke in the middle. We made signs to Mr. Coventry to bear down to us; who weighing before us, was a mile to windward of us: but he kept on, fearing to return, as having bought his Ship there by stealth: and we therefore returned alone into Malacca Road. As soon as we anchored, Mr. Richards was sent ashore to buy a new yard; I gave him the length and bigness. It was Evening before he came aboard again, and he brought aboard an old yard much too big and too long for us. This piece I shortned and shaped to my mind, and by 12 a Clock at night, had it fixt and slung, rigg'd, and the sail bent to it.
Then we weighed again having a small land Wind; but the Tyde of flood was against us, and drove us to the Eastward. When the Ebb came we jogged on, and got about 3 leagues, anchoring when the Flood came, because the Winds were against us. Thus we continued plying with the Ebb, and ancho∣ring every flood, till we came to Pulo Parsalore, where the Captain told me he would not go out the same way we came in, as I would have perswaded him, but kept the Malacca Shore aboard, and past within the Sholes. But in a few Hours after we ran upon a Shole, driven on it by the Tide of Flood, which here set to the Eastward, tho by our Reckoning it should have been half Ebb, and the Flood should have set Westward, as we had it all the rest of the way from Malacca: but the Sholes probably caused some whirling about of the Tide. However, the Sand we were struck upon was not above an 100 yards in circumference, and the flood being rising, we Page 171 waited the time of high water, and then drove over it, having sent our Boat to discover how the Sholes lay, while our Ship was aground: Mr Ri∣chards all the while being in great fear, lest the Malayans should come off in their Boats and attack the Vessel.
We were now afloat again, and soon got without all the Sholes: yet we did not stand over towards Su∣matra, but coasted along nearest the Malacca shore, it being now most proper for us so to do yet; for having the winds Westerly, we could not have beat under the other shore. 2 or 3 days after this we had sight of some Islands called Pulo Sambilong, which in the Malayan Language signifies nine Islands, there being so many of them, lying scattering at unequal distances from each other. It was near one of these Islands, that Captain Minchin in a former Voyage was like to lose his hand by a prick with a Cat fishes Fin, as I have said in my former Vol. p. 149. and tho his hand was cured, yet he has lost the use of it ever since; and is never likely to regain it more.
We stood in pretty near the shore, in hopes to gain a fresh Land Wind. About 10 a Clock the Land Wind came off, a gentle breez, and we coasted along shore. But a small Tornado coming off from the shore about midnight, we broke our Mizen yard, and being near a Dutch Island called Pulo Dinding, we made in for it, and anchored there the night ensuing, and found there a Dutch Sloop, mann'd with about 30 Soldiers at an anchor.
This is a small Island lying so nigh the main, that Ships passing by cannot know it to be an Island. It is pretty high Land and well watered with Brooks. The mold is blackish, deep and fat in the lower ground: but the Hills are somewhat Rocky, yet in general very woody. The Trees are of divers sorts, many of which are good Timber, and large enough for any use. Here are also some good for Masts and Yards; they being naturally Page 172 light, yet tough and serviceable. There s good riding on the East side, between the Island and the Main. You may come in with the Sea breeze, and go out with a Land wind, there is water enough, and a secure Harbour.
The Dutch, who are the only Inhabitants, have a Fort on the East side, close by the Sea, in a bend∣ing of the Island, which makes a small Cove for Ships to anchor in. The Fort is built 4 square, without Flankers or Bastions, like a house: every square is about 10 or 12 yards. The Walls are of a good thickness, made of stone, and carried up to a good heighth, of about 30 foot, and covered over head like a dwelling House. There may be about 12 or 14 Gnns in it, some looking out at every square. These Guns are mounted on a strong Platform, made within the Walls, about 16 Foot high; and there are steps on the outside to ascend to the Door that opens to the Platform, there be∣ing no other way into the Fort. Here is a Go∣vernour and about 20 or 30 Souldiers, who all lodge in the Fort. The Soldiers have their lodging in the Platform among the Guns, but the Go∣vernour has a fair Chamber above it, where he lies, with some of the Officers. About a hundred yards from the Fort on the Bay by the Sea, there is a low timbered House, where the Governour abides all the day time. In this House there were two or three Rooms for their use, but the chiefest was the Governours Dining Room. This fronted to the Sea, and the end of it looked towards the Fort. There were two large Windows of about 7 or 8 foot square; the lower part of them about 4 or 5 foot from the ground. These Windows were wont to be left open all the day, to let in the re∣freshing breeze; but in the night, when the Go∣vernour withdrew to the Fort, they were closed with strong shutters, and the Doors made fast till Page 173 the next day. The Continent of Malacca op∣posite to the Island, is pretty low champion Land, cloathed with lofty Woods; and right against the Bay where the Dutch Fort stands, there is a naviga∣ble River for small craft.
The product of the Country thereabouts, besides Rice and other eatables, is Tutaneg, a sort of Tin; I think courser than ours. The Natives are Ma∣layans, who, as I have always observed, are bold and treacherous: yet the trading people are affa∣ble and courteous to Merchants.
These are in all respects, as to their Religion, Custom, and manner of Living, like other Ma∣layans. Whether they are governed by a King or Raja, or what other manner of Government they live under I know not. They have Canoas and Boats of their own, and with these they fish and traffick among themselves: but the Tin Trade is that which has formerly drawn Merchant Strangers thither. But tho the Country might probably yield great quantities of this metal, and the Natives are not only inclinable, but very desirous to trade with Strangers, yet are they now restrained by the Dutch, who have monopoliz'd that Trade to them∣selves. It was probably for the lucre of this Trade that the Dutch built the Fort on the Island; but this not wholly answering their ends, by reason of the distance between it and the Rivers mouth, which is about 4 or 5 miles, they have also a Guardship commonly lying here, and a Sloop with 20 or 30 armed men, to hinder other Nations from this Trade. For this Tutaneg or Tin is a valuable Com∣modity in the Bay of Bengal, and here purchased rea∣sonably, by giving other Commodities in exchange: neither is this Commodity peculiarly found here∣abouts, but farther Northerly also on the Coast; and particularly in the Kingdom of Queda there is much of it: The Dutch also commonly keep a Page 174 Guardship, and have made some fruitless essays to bring that Prince and his Subjects to trade only with them; but here, over against P. Dinding, no strangers dare approach to trade; neither may any Ship come in hither but with consent of the Dutch. Therefore as soon as we came to an Anchor at the East end of the Island, we sent our Boat ashore to the Governour, to desire leave to wood, water, and cut a new Mizen-yard. He granted our re∣quest, and the Boat returned again aboard, and brought word also that Mr Coventry touch'd here to water, and went out that morning. The next morning betimes Captain Minchin sent me ashore to cut a Yard. I applyed my self to the Gover∣nour, and desired one of his Souldiers might go with me, and shew me the best Timber for that use; but he excused himself, saying that his Souldiers were all busie at present, but that I might go and cut any Tree that I liked. So I went into the Woods, where I saw abundance of very fine strait Trees, and cut down such an one as I thought fit for my turn: and cutting it of a just length, and stripping off the Bark, I left it ready to be fetcht away, and return'd to the Fort, where I dined with the Governor. Pre∣sently after dinner, our Captain, with Mr Richards and his Wife came ashore, and I went aboard. The Governor met them at landing, and conduct∣ed them into the Dining Room I spoke of, where they treated the Governor with Punch, made of Brandy, Sugar, and Lime-juice, which they brought with them from aboard: for here is nothing, not so much as the Governors drink, but what is brought from Malacca: no Herbs or Fruit growing here: but all is either fetcht from Malacca, or is brought by the Malayans from the main. It is not through any sterility in the Soyl, for that is very fat, and fruitful: neither is it through laziness of the Dutch, for that is a Vice they are not guilty of: Page 175 but it is from a continual fear of the Malayans, with whom tho they have a Commerce, yet dare they not trust them so far, as to be ranging about the Island in any work of Husbandry, or indeed to go far from the Fort, for there only they are safe. But to return to the Governour, he, to retalliate the Captains and Mr Richards's kindness, sent a Boat a fishing, to get some better entertain∣tainment for his Guests, than the Fort yielded at present. About 4 or 5 a Clock the Boat returned with a good dish of Fish. These were immediately drest for Supper, and the Boat was sent out again to get more, for Mr Richards and his Lady to carry aboard with them. In the mean time the Food was brought into the Dining Room, and placed on the Table. The Dishes and Plates were of Silver, and there was a Silver Punch Bowl full of Li∣quor. The Governour, his Guests, and some of his Officers were seated, but just as they began to fall to, one of the Souldiers cried out, Malayans, and spoil'd the entertainment: for immediately the Governor, without speaking one word, leapt out of one of the Windows, to get as soon as he could to the Fort. His Officers followed, and all the Servants that at∣tended were soon in motion. Every one of them took the nearest way, some out of the Windows others out of the Doors, leaving the 3 guests by themselves, who soon followed with all the haste they could make, without knowing the meaning of this sudden consternation of the Governor and his people. But by that time the Capt. and Mr Richards and his Wife were got to the Fort, the Governour who was arrived before, stood at the door to re∣ceive them. As soon as they were entered the Fort, the door was shut, all the Souldiers and Ser∣vants being within already: nor was any man suf∣fered to fetch away the Victuals, or any of the Plate: but they fired several Guns, to give notice Page 176 to the Malayans that they were ready for them; but none of them came on. For this uproar was occasioned by a Malayan Canoa full of armed men, that lay skulking under the Island, close by the shore: and when the Dutch Boat went out the se∣cond time to fish, the Malayans set on them sud∣denly, and unexpected, with their Cressets and Lances, and killing one or two, the rest leapt over∣board, and got away, for they were close by the shore; and they having no Arms were not able to have made any resistance. It was about a mile from the Fort: and being landed, every one of them made what haste he could to the Fort, and the first that arrived was he who cried in that man∣ner, and frighted the Governour from Supper. Our Boat was at this time ashore for water, and was filling it, in a small brook by the Banquetting-house. I know not whether our Boats crew took notice of the Alarm, but the Dutch call'd to them; and bid them make haste aboard, which they did; and this made us keep good watch all night, having all our Guns loaden and primed for service. But it rained so hard all the night, that I did not much fear being attacked by any Malayans; being inform∣ed by one of our Sea-men whom we took in at Ma∣lacca, that the Malayans seldom or never make any attack when it rains. It is what I had before ob∣served of other Indians, both East and West: and tho then they might make their attacks with the greatest advantage on men armed with Hand Guns, yet I never knew it practised; at which I have wondered, for 'tis then that we most fear them, and they might be then most successful, because their Arms, which are usually Lances and Cressets, which these Malayans had, could not be damaged by the rain, as our Guns would be. But they cannot endure to be in the rain: and 'twas in the evening, before the Rain fell, that they assaulted the Page 177Dutch Boat. The next morning the Dutch Sloop weighed, and went to look after the Malayans: but having sailed about the Island, and seeing no Ene∣mies, they anchored again. I also sent men ashore in our Boat to bring off the Mizan-yard that I had cut the day before: but it was so heavy a kind of Timber, that they could not bring it out of the Woods. Captain Minchin was still ashore, and he being acquainted with it, desired the Governour to send a Souldier, to shew our men what Trees were best for our use: which he did, and they presently cut a small Tree, about the bigness and length of that which I cut, and brought it aboard. I imme∣diately went to work, and having fitted it for use, bent my Sail, and hoysed it up in its place. In the Evening Captain Minchin and Mr Richards and his Wife came aboard, having staid one night at the Fort; and told me all that happened to them ashore.
We now waited only for a Land Wind to carry us out. The former part of the night we had much Rain, with Thunder and Lightning; but no Wind. At one a clock we had a small Land Wind, and got up our Anchors. We got out before day clear of the Island, and we steered along shore to the North ward intending to keep this shore aboard for 20 or 30 leagues farther, if the winds did not favour us; for the Sea Winds were now at N. W. This day we kept near the shore, and the night ensuing; but the next day the Wind coming at N. and N. N. E. we stood over for Sumatra, and the next evening we past by Diamond Point: and the wind coming at E. N. E. we got, in about two days more, to Achin, about the end of November 1689.
Here we found Mr Coventry, who had got hither 2 or 3 days before us. Captain Minchin went ashore with his Passengers, and was discharged of his Com∣mand. I kept aboard till all the goods were unla∣den, and then lay ashore, and was very sick for a Page 178 sortnight of a kind of Fever. But after Christmas I was sent aboard again, by order of Mr Coventry, who had then bought out Mr Dalton's and Capt. Ti∣ler's shares, to take charge of the Vessel, which he then laded with Pepper, Cubebs (which I think grow somewhere in Sumatra) and Tutanegg, which he bought of an English Vessel that came from Queda to Achin; and with these he had also some of our Malacca Cargo, which we kept on board, viz. Rat∣tans and Walking-canes. With this Cargo we were bound for Fort St. George. We took in also two En∣glish Passengers, who had escap'd out of Prison in the Mogul's Country. The one belong'd to the De∣fence, Captain Heath's Ship, which I came home to England in afterwards; he was Purser of it: the other was Midship man in the Princess Anne, which return'd to England at the same time. But during our War with the Mogul these Ships had been in the Bay of Bengal, to fetch away our effects from the R. of Hugly. These 2 men, with 2 or 3 others, went a∣shore upon some occasion, and were taken Prisoners by the Mogul's Subjects; who sent them a great way up into the Country, where they were kept in close Custody, and often threatned with Death. The old Anabob, or Governour of the Province, be∣ing remov'd, and a new one coming thither, he re∣leased these men, and gave them leave to go to the Sea side, where finding a Dutch Ship bound to Bata∣via, these 2 and one more went aboard her, the rest getting other passage: but she meeting with that English Ship coming from Queda, which brought the Tutanegg I but now mention'd to Achin, they left the Dutch Ship, and went to Achin with the other English Vessel; and those 2 were now for go∣ing with us to Fort St George.
'Twas about New-years day, 1690. that we set out from Achin again: We steered away toward the Nicobar Islands, and came in sight of that, which I had formerly been set ashore upon. But leaving Page 179 it on our Star-board, we stood more Northerly up into the Bay; for by Mr Coventry I had learnt there were Northerly and North Easterly Winds in the Bay at this time of year. We stood over therefore as high as Pallacat; and having then a fair North East Wind, we run along the Coast till we came before Fort St George, which was about the middle of January.
I was much pleased with the Beautiful prospect this place makes off at Sea. For it stands in a plain Sandy spot of Ground, close by the shore, the Sea sometimes washing its Walls; which are of Stone and high, with Half Moons and Flankers, and a great many Guns mounted on the Battlements: so that what with the Walls and fine Buildings within the Fort, the large Town of Maderas without it, the Pyramids of the English Tombs, Houses and Gar∣dens adjacent, and the variety of fine Trees scat∣ter'd up and down, it makes as agreeable a Landskip as I have any where seen.
But 'tis not my design to enter into a Description of a place so well known to my Country-men as this is. It may suffice to have mentioned it; and that after some months stay here, and meeting with Mr Moody and Jeoly the painted Prince, I prepared to go for Sumatra again; to Bencouli, as I have said in my former Vol. p. 512. I set out from Fort St George with Captain Howel in July, 1690. we steered a pretty way along the Coast of Coromandel, before we stood over for Sumatra; and then made the best of our way for Bencouli. I have in that Volume spoken of my Arrival there: but having given no account of the place, I shall do it briefly now, and so shut up this Supplement.
Bencouli lyes on the West Coast of the Island of Su∣matra, in about 4 d. S. Lat. It is a place noted enough at Sea, by reason of a high slender Hill in the Country. It has a small Island before it within which Ships ride. The point of Sillabar lies 2 or 3 Page 180 leagues to the Southward of it, and runs out farther than any part of the shore, making a small bay within it. Besides these marks, when you come within 2 or 3 Leagues of the shore, you'll see the English Fort fronting to the Sea, which makes a fine show: On the N. W. of the Fort is a small River, at the mouth of which is a large Store-house to put Pepper in. About a quarter of a mile from the Sea stands a small Indian Village, close by the River, on the same side that the Fort is on, and but a small distance from it. The Houses are small and low, all built on posts, after the Malayan manner, as at Mindanao and Achin; for 'tis a Swamp that the Town stands on: but the Malayans usually choose to build in such low places near Rivers, for the convenience of washing themselves, which they greatly delight in; as 'tis indeed a part of their Religion as Mahometans: and if they can, they will have their Houses stand on posts over the River.
The Weather here is none of the pleasantest. There are great Rains, chiefly in September, October, and November, and pretty great heats. But when the Wind blew hard, which 'twould often do, the Air would be chill: and the Sea-breezes in fair wea∣ther were generally pretty fresh and comfortable. The Land Winds coming over Swamps, usually brought a stink with them. 'Tis in general an un∣healthy place; and the Soldiers of the Fort were sickly and died very fast. On the South side of the Fort is a fair champion Savannah, of a mile or 2 Square, called Greenhil. It produces long thick Grass: the N W. part of it fronts the Sea, and the S. E. is bounded with lofty Woods.
The Soil of this Country is very different, accord∣ing to its different position: for within Land 'tis hilly, yet those hills are cloathed with Trees; which shews it to be fruitful enough. The low Land, near the River, especially near the Sea, is swampy, producing nothing but Reeds, or Bamboes: Page 181 but the higher ground, which is of a reasona∣ble heigth, is very fruitful. The mould is deep, and is either black or yellow: and in some places clay; or such mould as is very proper for making Bricks.
The Trees in the Woods are mostly large bodied, straight and tall: they are of divers sorts, some or other of them fit for any uses. The Fruits of the Country are much the same as at Achin and Malac∣ca, viz. Limes, Oranges, Guava's, Plantains, Bonanoes, Coco-Nuts, Jacks, Durians, Mangoes, Mangastans, Pompkins, Pine-apples, and Pepper. The Roots are Yams, and Potatoes: Rice grows here pretty well also; but whether the Natives sow enough for their own spending or no, I know not. The Land Animals are Buffaloes, Bullocks, Deer, Wild Hogs, Porcu∣pines, Guanoes, Lizards, &c. The tame Fowls are Ducks and Dung-hill Fowls, both in great plenty. The wild Fowl are Parrots, Parakites, Pidgeons, Turtle-Dowes, and many sorts of smaller Birds.
The Natives also are swarthy Indians like their Neighbours of Achin. They are slender, straight, active, and industrious. They are sociable and desi∣rous of Trade: but if they are affronted, they are trea∣cherous and revengeful. They live together in Towns; and speak the Malayan Language: con∣forming themselves in their habit, food, and cu∣stoms to other Malayans; who are all, so far as I learnt, of the Mahometan Religion. There are some Mechanicks among them; a few Smiths: but most of them are Carpenters, and let themselves out to hire to the English at the Fort. The Hatchets they work with are such as they use at Mindanao, so con∣trived as to serve also for an Ads. Here are also Fishermen, who get a livelihood by Fishing; and there are several sorts of Fish on the Coast, besides plenty of Green Turtle: such of the Malayans as live near the English Fort are usually employed in the East India Companies service, to work for Page 182 them: but the Country people are most Husband-men. They plant Roots, Rice, Pepper bushes, &c.
Pepper is the chief vendible Commodity in this Country. It thrives very well on all the Coast; but the greatest quantity of what is exported from hence, is either brought down this River out of the Country, or fetched from Sillabar, or other places bor∣dering en the Sea, in small Vessels. Pepper grows plenty in other places of this Island; as at Indrapore, Pan∣gasanam, Jamby, Bancalis, &c. It grows also on the Island Java, on the Coasts of Malacca, Malabar, Cochinchina, &c. The Coast of Malabar is said to produce the best; or at least there the Natives take most care to have the best, by letting it grow till it is full ripe; for which reason it is larger and fairer than here, where they gather it too soon, to avoid losing any: for as soon as it grows ripe, 'tis apt to shed and fall in waste to the ground.
It was the Pepper Trade that drew our English Merchants to settle here. For after Bantam was lost, our English who were wont to trade thither for this Spice, were at a great loss to regain the Pepper Trade, which now was in a manner fallen with the other sorts of Spice into the hands of the Dutch: Tho the Pepper which we were wont to fetch from Ban∣tam did not all grow on ths Island Java, nor perhaps the tenth part of it; for as I have been informed it came most from Sumatra, particularly from Bencouli, and the adjacent parts. For this reason it behoved our Merchants to get an Interest here to prop up their declining Trade. Yet, as I have been told, the success was more owing to the Natives of this place than themselves; for that some of the Raja's of the Country sent Ambassadors to Fort St. George to invite the English hither to take possession, be∣fore the Dutch should get it; who are never slack to promote their Interest, and were now setting out on the same design. But however that were, the English had the good fortune to get hither first: Page 183 though so narrowly, that the Dutch were within an ace of preventing them, their Ships being in sight before our Men got ashore. But the Dutch coming thus too late, were put by of their designs; for the English immediately got ashore some Guns, and stood ready to defend their interest. This might happen about the year 1685, as I was informed; for they told me it was 5 or 6 years before I came hither: and the English immediately fortified them∣selves. The Fort, as I said before, fronts to the Sea, and stands about 100 paces from the River. There has been a great deal of cost bestowed on it, but to little purpose; for 'tis the most irregular piece I ever saw. I told the Governor the best way was to new Model it, and face it with Stone or Brick, either of which might be easily had. He said he liked my Counsel, but being saving for the Com∣pany, he rather chose to repair it, by the making some Alterations: but still to as little purpose, for 'twas all made ground, and having no facing to keep it up, 'twould moulder away every Wet Season, and the Guns often fall down into the Ditches. What was possible to be done I endeavoured to do while I was there. I made the Bastions as regular as I could upon the Model they were made by: and whereas the Fort was designed to be a Pentagone, and there were but 4 of the Bastions made, I staked out ground for a 5th, and drew a Plan of it, which I gave the Government; and had I staid longer I should have made up the other Bastion: but the whole Plan is too big by half for so sorry a Garrison; and the best way of mending it, is to demolish all of it, and make a new one.
The Fort was but sorrily governed when I was there; nor was there that care taken to keep a fair Correspondence with the Natives in the Neighbour∣hood, as I think ought to be, in all Trading places especially. When I came thither there were 2 Neigh∣bouring Raja's in the Stocks; for no other Reason, but Page 184 because they had not brought down to the Fort such a quantity of Pepper, as the Governor had sent for. Yet these Raja's rule in the Countrey, and have a consi∣derable number of Subjects: who were so exasperated at these insolences, that, as I have since been in∣formed, they came down and assaulted the Fort, under the Conduct of one of these Raja's. But the Fort, as bad as it is, is Guard enough against such indifferent Souldiers as they are: who tho they have Courage enough, yet scarce any Arms besides Back-Swords, Cressets, and Lances, nor skill to use Artillery if they had it. At another time they made an attempt to surprize the Fort, under Pretence of a Cock match; to which they hoped the Garrison would come out, to share in the Sport, and so the Fort be left with small defence. For the Malayans here are great Lovers of Cock-fighting, and there were about 1000 of them got together about this Match, while their armed Men lay in ambush. But it so hapened that none of the Garrison went out to the Cockmatch, but one John Necklin, a Dane, who was a great Gamester himself: and he discovering the Ambush, gave notice of it to the Governor; who was in disorder enough upon their approach: but a few of the great Guns drove them away.
I have nothing more to add, but what concerns myself; which is not so material, that I should need to trouble the Reader with it I have said in my for∣mer Volume, p. 519. upon what motives I left Bencouli: and the particulars of my Voyage thence to England are also in that Volume: so that I may here conclude this Supplement to my Voyage round the World.