The travels of Sig. Pietro della Valle, a noble Roman, into East-India and Arabia Deserta in which, the several countries, together with the customs, manners, traffique, and rites both religious and civil, of those Oriental princes and nations, are faithfully described : in familiar letters to his friend Signior Mario Schipano : whereunto is added a relation of Sir Thomas Roe's Voyage into the East-Indies.
Della Valle, Pietro, 1586-1652., Roe, Thomas, Sir, 1581?-1644., Havers, G. (George)

SECTION XXVII. Of the Mogols Leskar, or Camp Royal, &c.

WHich indeed is very glorious, as all must confess, who have seen the infinite number of Tents, or Pavilions there pitched together; which in a Plain make a shew equal to a most spacious and glorious City. These Tents, I say, when they are al∣together, cover such a great quantity of ground, that I believe it is five English-miles at the least, from one side of them to the other, very beautiful to behold from some Hill, where they may be all seen at once.

They write of Xerxes, that when from such a place he took a view of his very numerous Army, consisting at the least of three hundred thousand men, he wept, saying, that in less than the compass of one hundred years, not one of that great mighty Host would be alive. And to see such a company then together of all sorts of people (and I shall give a good reason presently why I believe that mixt company of men, women, and children may make up such an huge number, as before I named, if not exceed it) and to consider that death will seize upon them all, within such a space of time, and that the second death hath such a power over them, is a thing of more sad consideration.

Now to make it appear that the number of people of all sorts is so exceeding great, which here get and keep together in the Mogols Leskar, or Camp Royal; first there are one hundred thousand Souldiers, which always wait about that King (as be∣fore observed) and all his Grandees have a very great train of Page  467 followers and servants to attend them there, and so have all other men according to their several qualities; and all these carry their Wives and Childern, and whole family with them, which must needs amount to a very exceeding great number. And further to demonstrate this; when that King removes from one place to another, for the space of twelve hours, a broad passage is continually fill'd with Passengers, and Elephants, and Horses, and Dromedaries, and Camels, and Coaches, and Asses, and Oxen, (on which the meaner sort of men and women with little children, ride) so full as they may well pass one by the other. Now in such a broad passage, and in such a long time, a very great number of people, the company continually moving on forward, may pass.

Thus this people moving on from place to place, it may be said of them, what Salvian speaks of Israel, while they were in their journy to the land of promise, that it was Ambulans Respub∣lica, a walking Commonwealth. And therefore that ancient people of God were called Hebrews, which signified Passengers: their dwelling so in Tents, signified thus much to all the people of God in all succeeding ages, that here they dwell in moveable habitations, having no continuing City here, but they must look for one, and that is above.

The Tents pitch'd in that Leskar, or Camp Royal, are for the most part white, like the cloathing of those which own them. But the Mogols Tents are red, reared up upon poles, higher by much than the other. They are placed in the middest of the Camp, where they take up a very large compass of ground, and may be seen every way, and they must needs be very great to afford room in them, for himself, his Wives, Children, Wo∣men, Eunuchs, &c.

In the fore-front, or outward part, or Court within his Tent, there is a very large room for access to him, 'twixt seven and nine of the clock at night, which (as before) is called his Goozulcad.

His Tents are encompassed round with Canats, which are like our Screens to fold up together; those Canats are about ten foot high, made of narrow strong Callico, and lined with the same, stiffened at every breadth with a Cane; but they are strongest lined on their out-side by a very great company of arm'd Souldiers, that keep close about them night and day. The Tents of his great Men are likewise large, placed round about his. All of them throughout the whole Leskar reared up in such a due and constant order, that when we remove from place to place, we can go as directly to those moveable dwel∣lings, as if we continued still in fixed and standing habitations, taking our direction from several streets and Bazars, or Market places, every one pitched upon every remove alike, upon such, or such a side of the Kings Tents, as if they had not been at all removed.

Page  468The Mogol (which I should have observed before) hath so much wealth, and consequently so much power, by reason of his marvellous great multitudes of fighting men, which he always keeps in Arms, commanding at all times as many of them as he pleaseth; that as the Moabites truly said of Israel, (while they had Almighty God fighting with them, and for them) so it may be said of him (if God restrain him not) That his huge Companies are able to lick up all that are round about him, as the Oxe licketh up the grass of the field, Numb. 22.4.

When that mighty King removes from one place to another, he causeth Drums to be beat about midnight, which is a signal token of his removing. He removes not far at one time; sometimes ten miles, but usually a less distance, according to the best convenience he may have for water; there being such an infinite company of Men, and other Creatures, whose drink is water, that in a little time it may be as truely said of them, as it was of that mighty Host of Sennacherib that Assyrian Monarch, Esay 37.25. That they are able to drink up Rivers.

But when the place he removed to afforded plenty of good water, he would usually stay there three or four days, or more; and when he thus rested in his Progress, would go abroad to find out pastimes; to which end he always carried with him divers kinds of Hawks, and Dogs, and Leopards, which (as before) they train up to hunt withall; and being thus provided for variety of sports, would fly at any thing in the Air, or seize on any Creature he desired to take on the Earth.

The Mogol, when he was at Mandoa (which was invironed with great Woods as before was observed) sometimes with some of his Grandees, and a very great company beside of Per∣sian and Tartarian horse-men, his Souldiers (which are stout daring men) would attempt to take some young wild Elephants found in these Woods, which he took in strong toyls made for that purpose, which taken, were mann'd, and made fit for his service. In which hunting they likewise pursued on horse-back Lions, and other wild beasts, and kill'd some of them with their Bows, and Carbines, and Launces.

I waiting upon my Lord Embassadour two years, and part of a third, and travelling with him in Progress with that King, in the most temperate moneths there, 'twixt September and April, were in one of our Progresses 'twixt Mandoa and Amadavar nineteen days, making but short journeys in a Wilderness, where (by a very great company sent before us, to make those passages and places fit to receive us) a way was cut out and made even, broad enough for our convenient passage, and in the places where we pitched our Tents, a great compass of ground rid, and made plain for them, by grubbing a num∣ber of Trees and Bushes; yet there we went as readily to our Tents (the same order being still observed in the pitching of Page  469 them) as we did, when they were set up in the Plains. But that which here seemed unto me to be most strange, was, that not∣withstanding our marvellous great company of men, women, and children there together, that must all be fed, and the ve∣ry great number of other creatures which did eat Corn, as we never there wanted water, so we had so many Victuallers with us, and so much Provision continually brought in unto us, that we never felt there the want of any thing beside, but had it at as low rates as in other places.

The Mogols Wives and Women, when as they are removed from place to place, are carried in Coaches (such as were before described) made up close, or in Palankees on mens shoulders, or else on Elephants in pretty Receptacles, surrounded with cur∣tains, which stand up like low and little Turrets on their backs; and some of the meaner sort ride in Cradles, hanging on the sides of Dromedaries, all covered close, and attended by Eunuchs, who have many Souldiers, which go before them to clear the way as they pass, they taking it very ill if any (though they cannot see them) presume so much as to look towards them; and therefore, though I could never see any of them, I shall here take the liberty to speak somewhat I have heard and do believe