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 VIII. Of our safe and secure living amongst the Natives there, if we do not provoke them. Of their faithfulness unto those that entertain them as Servants: For how little they serve, and yet how diligent they are, &c.

WHere first for our Living in East-India, it is with as much freedom and safety in our Journies and Tents, when we Page  392 travel; in our Houses when we are most fix'd, as if we were in an Army of Banners appointed for our Guard; or as if the Vines and Fig-trees under which we there sit were our own.

But there are Spoilers sometimes met with-all in those Pro∣vinces, that live by their Swords and Bows, having nothing for their subsistance (because they will take no other course) but what they get by rapine and spoil; of whom some-what more afterward.

And now by the way for those Villains who thus live, (where∣ever they be) and those sturdy Rogues who are next to them in guilt, by eating up the Bread of the Poor, having able limbs to carry them that they may beg from House to House, and Hands to receive Alms but none to labour; both these being the very vermin of those Common-wealths, wherein they are suffered to breathe, it were very well if such of these as have not deserved to be cut off by the Hand of Justice, were all served as Philip King of Macedon dealt with two Rogues, alterum è Macedonia fugere, alterum persequi jussit. He made one of them to whip the other out of his Country, and so he was rid of both of them.

But to return to the place from whence I am now digressed. I travelled from Surat with four English-men more, and about twenty of the Natives in our Company, we beginning our jour∣ney the first of Jan. towards Sir Thomas Row, at the Mogol's Court, then above four hundred miles distant from Surat. We had six Wagons drawn with Oxen in our Company, laden with rich English Goods (the principal part whereof was English broad Cloth) assign'd to an English Merchant at the Court, and some other Carriages we had, of all which we made a ring every night near some large Town or Village, where we resolved to stay, and pitched our Huts within that Circle, some of us watch∣ing, and the Natives with us, every night; we went on that long journey very safely, only in some places where there was any suspicion of danger, we had a Guard of Horse appointed to go with us for our defence, by the Command of Sultan Caroon then Prince, and now King, (who had his Revenew out of those parts we then travelled thorough) who sent a Foot-man, that continually kept us company, with his Letters to command a Company of Souldiers that were Horse-men, to guard us where he thought good; who as they did not expect, so they would take no recompence for their pains, though we freely offered it them. But the Providence of God did so order it, that though we had their Company in several places, we never had need of their help for our dfence. The truth is, that the People there in general are very civil, and we never had any affronts or ill usage from them, if we did not first provoke them.

But if we did, they would not well bear it, for twice in one Week, at my first coming to Surat, the whole Town in general were in an uproar, and surrounded our House there, both times Page  393 some of our English provok'd those Natives to stir against us, but by our speedy Addresses unto the Governour of that place, we excusing the fault of those that ministred the occasion of their discontent, they being newly come thither, and altogether un∣acquainted with their customs, he presently commanded that wild Assembly to depart from our House; and so immediately they did, we receiving no hurt at all from any of them.

When my Lord Ambassadour at first arrived at Surat, so it was, that an English Cook he carryed with him, the very first day of his coming thither, found a way to an Armenian Chri∣stians House, who sold Wine, which in that place, they call Armenian Wine. But (by the way) I do believe that there was scarce another in that populous City of that Trade: the greater shame for those whosoever they be that suffer so many unnecessary Tipling Houses (in the places where they have power to restrain them) which are the Devils nursery, the very Tents wherein Sathan dwells, where Almighty God receives abundance of dishonour, Drunkenness being a sin which hath Hands and Fingers to draw all other sins unto it; For a Drunk∣ard can do any thing, or be any thing but good. That Arme∣nian Wine I speak of is made of Raisons of the Sun and Sugar, with some other things put and boyl'd in water: which Wine, when it is ripe and clear, is in Colour like to our Muscadels, plea∣sant enough to the taste, but heavy and heady. The Cook had his Head quickly over-fraighted with it, and then staggering home-ward, in his way met the Governours Brother of Surat, as he was riding to his House: the Cook made a stand, staying him∣self up upon his Sword and Scabbard, and cry'd out to the Go∣vernours Brother, Now thou Heathen Dog! He not understand∣ing his soul Language, replyed civilly in his own, Ca-ca-ta; which signifies, What sayest thou? the Cook answered him with his Sword and Scabbard, with which he strook at him, but was im∣mediately seized on by his followers, and by them disarm'd and carryed to Prison; the Ambassadour had present intelligence of the misbehaviour of his drunken servant, and immediately sent word unto the Governour's Brother, that he was not come thither to patronize any disorderly person, and therefore desir'd him to do with him what he pleased, upon which he presently sent him home, not doing him the least hurt. But before I leave this Story, it will not be amiss to enquire who was the Heathen Dog at this time, whether the debaucht drunken Cook who call'd himself a Christian, or that sober and temperate Mahometan who was thus affronted.

In our journey towards the Court (after we had been in our way about seven dayes from Surat) we rested at a place called Ditat, where many of the Inhabitants offered to guard us and our goods, though we (observing there no danger) desired it not; but they would do it, and in the Morning expected and asked something of us, by way of recompence. One of our Page  394 Company (who had been in East-India a year or two before) told them, that what they had done they did without our de∣sire, and therefore they should have nothing from us, but some ill Language which he then gave them. We set forward in the Morning according to our wonted custom, they follow∣ed after us, to the number at the least of three hundred Men, (for the place was great and populous) and when we were gone about a mile from that Town, stopped our carriages; he of our Company who told them they should have no recompence, was presently ready to shoot at them with his Musket, which made them all to bend their Bows at us: but I happily and suddenly stepping in, prevented his firing at them, and their shooting at us; which if I had not by Gods good Providence done, but we had madly engaged a great multitude, there could not have been less expected in the sad issue thereof, than the loss of all our lives and goods. But having a little Parlee with them, for the value of three shillings of English money given amongst them, they were all quieted and contented, and immediately left us, wishing us a good journey.

After this, when we had gone forward about twenty dayes journey, (which daily Remoovs were but short, by reason of our heavy carriages, and the heat of the weather) it hapned, that another of our Company, a young Gentleman about twenty years old, the Brother of a Baron of England, behaved himself so ill, as that we feared it would have brought very much mis∣chief on us.

This young man being very unruly at home, and so many others that have been well born, when their friends knew not what to do with them, have been sent to East-India, that so they might make their own Graves in the Sea, in their passage thither; or else have Graves made for them on the Indian shore, when they come there. A very cleanly conveyance (but how just and honest, I leave to others) for Parents to be rid of their unruly Children; but I never knew any who were thus supposed to be sent thither, but they out-lived that Voyage.

For the young Gentleman I spake of, his imployment was to wait upon our Chief Commander in his Cabin, who very cour∣teously, when he came to Sea, turn'd him before the mast amongst the common Saylors [a great preferment for a Man of his Birth] but for all this he out-liv'd that harsh usage, and came safely to East-India, and my Lord Ambassadour hearing of him, and being well acquainted with his great kindred, sent for him up to Court, and there entertain'd him as a Companion for a year; then giving him all fit accommodations, sent him home again as a passenger for England, where after he safely arrived.

But in our way towards that Court, it thus happened, that this hot-brains being a little behind us, commanded him [then near him] who was the Princes servant [before spoken of] to Page  395 hold his horse; the man replied, that he was none of his servant and would not do it. Upon which this most intemperate mad youth, who was like Philocles, that angry Poet; and therefore called, Bilis, & Salsigo, Choler and Brine, [for he was the most hasty and cholerick young man that ever I knew] as will appear by his present carriage, which was thus; first he beat that stranger, for refusing to hold his horse, with his horse-whip, which, I must tell you, that people cannot endure, as if those whips stung worse than Scorpions. For of any punishments that carry most disgrace in them, as that people think, one is to be beaten with that whip, wherewithall they strike their beasts; the other to be beaten [and this they esteem the more disgraceful punishment of the two] about the head with shooes. But this stranger (being whipt as before) came up and complained to me; but to make him amends, that frantick young man (mad with rage, and he knew not wherefore) presently followed him, and being come up close to him, discharg'd his Pistol laden with a brace of bullets directly at his body, which bullets, by the spe∣cial guidance of the hand of God, so flew, that they did the poor man no great hurt; only one of them first tearing his coat, bruised all the knuckles of his left hand, and the other brake his bow which he carried in the same hand. We presently disarmed our young Bedlam, till he might return again to his wits. But our greatest business, was how to pacifie the other man, whom he had thus injured: I presently gave him a Roopee, in our money two shillings and nine pence; he thanked me for it, and would have taken it with his right, but I desired him to take it with his maim'd hand, and so he did, and could clinch it very well, which I was glad of. Then we did shew (as we had cause) all the dis∣like we could against that desperate act of him, from whom he re∣ceived his hurt, telling him, that we were all strangers, and for our parts had done him no wrong at all; and therefore hoped that we should not be made any way to suffer for the faults of another: and we further told him, that if he would be quiet till we came up to the Court, he should have all the satisfaction he could desire. He told us, that we were good men, and had done him no wrong, and that he would till then rest contented; but he did not so, for about two hours after we met with a great man of that Country, having a mighty train with him, (as all the Grandees there have when they travel, of whom more after-ward): He presently went towards him, that to him he might make his complaint; and so did, telling him, that he was the Prince's servant, why he came to us, and how he had been used by us, shewing him his hand and his other breaches. The great man replied, that it was not well done of us, but he had nothing to do with it; and so departed on his way. That night after, we came to a strong large Town, and placing our selves on the side of it, he did what he could (as we imagined) to raise up that People against us, some of them coming about us to view us, as Page  396 we conceived, but putting on the best confidence we could, and standing then upon our guard, and all of us watching that night, but (in a special manner) by the good providence of God, who kept us in all our journey, we here felt none of that mischief we feared; but early in the morning quietly departed without the least molestation. After which, with a little money, and a great many good words, we so quieted this man, that we never after heard any more complaining from him. So that (as before I observed) we were not at any time in any dangers of suffering by that people, but some of our own Nation were the procuring causes of it.

Before I observed, that for the generality of this people they have very low and timorous spirits, but there are some I named in my last Section, who are stout daring men, as the Ba∣loches, Patans, and Rashboots, who, as they have the honour above all the rest of the people in those large Provinces to be accounted valiant; so, as occasion is offered, they will shew themselves so to be: and therefore they are much hired as Convoys to secure Mens Persons and Goods, from place to place.

For those Provinces, they are not without Mountains of prey, and Tabernacles of Robbers, as David and Job speak: where desperate men keep in some Woods and Deserts, which are not far from great road-ways, most frequented and used; and there, like the wild Arabes, in Companies, meet and spoil, and de∣stroy poor Passengers, when they expect them not; it being the cursed manner of those Spoilers, if they prevail against them whom they surprise, to kill them before they rifle them; and therefore the first thing heard from them is, Mor, mor, mor, that is, Kill, kill, kill, which they all speak out as loud as they can. We were often told of them as we travelled sometimes in the night, by reason of the extream heat of the day (after we had taken leave of the King, and so were journeying towards Surat) that we should meet with those cruel villains; but, through Gods mercy, we were never in danger of them but once; and that was about midnight, neer a large City called Brodera; but we being a competent number of English-men together, about twenty, and all of us resolved to sell our lives at as dear a rate as we could, and having twice so many In∣dian servants with us, which are very nimble with their Bows and Arrows, we with our Pistols and Carbins, which we pre∣sently discharged amongst them, and our Indians plying them with their Arrows, made them suddenly to retreat, we recei∣ving little hurt from them; but after this, we made no more night-marches.

Those Indians I named before, are so faithful to their trusts unto whomsoever they engage, to the English as well as to any other, that if they be at any time assaulted, they will rather dye in their defence, than forsake them at their need. Page  397 So that I am very confident, if an English Merchant should tra∣vel alone with a very great treasure in Gold, and Jewels (both, or either) from Surat, to Lahor, which is more than one thou∣sand English miles, and take those Indian servants only for his company, and guard, and all they knew what he carried with him, He paying them their Wages, they would be so far from injuring him of the least peny of his wealth, that whosoever be∣sides should attempt his spoiling, must make a way through their blood, before they should be able to do it.

Here is a great and good example of faithfulness, and it is very true. But I much doubt, that if a great Indian Merchant, I mean a Native of that Countrey, should come for England with like treasure, with a desire to pass through this whole Nation, and should for his more safe passage take a guard of Sword-men here, and pay them well for their service, they might lye under such a strong tentation, as might make them to spoil the Egyptian, by shortning his journey, dividing his substance, and by disposing so of his person, that it should never tell tales.

But for that people, as their faithfulness is very remarkable, so is their diligence very exemplary likewise; for they keep continually within the call of their Masters, and will not at any time depart thence without special leave. And the plenty of all Provisions being very great throughout the whole Monarchy, they serve at very low rates, which I never knew them to raise, not requiring more than five shillings Sterling every new Moon, paid the next day after its Change, which is all the recompence they do desire, or expect from their Masters, to provide them∣selves with all necessaries

—quibus hinc Toga, Calceus hinc est,
Et Panis fumusque Domi.—

Juven. Sat. 1.
Their coat, their shooes, their bread, their fire,
And all besides, bought with this hire.
and for this do as good service, as if they had ten times as much wages.

They stand to be hired in the Bazar or Market-place, an an∣cient custom, as may appear, Mat. 20.3. where some of them may be at all times had.

But it is their manner, when they are hired to receive advance-money, that is, one moneths pay before hand, and to have their pay thus in hand every moneth so long as they serve; and so ho∣nest they are, that if they be bidden to provide themselves of other Masters, they will serve out the time for which they have received pay, to an hour before, they depart.

Now these who are so exact in performing their duty by their faithfulness and diligence, must be exactly paid their Salary Page  398 at the time they expect it, otherwise they will be ready to quit their service, as one of them whom we thus hired, left us as we were travelling up to the Court; the reason, because our money was almost quite gone (though we were supplied again a day or two after) and we could not punctually pay him at his day, as we had formerly done. This fellow led one of our Camels, and had been with us two moneths before; but upon this little failing him, would needs leave us: but before he de∣parted he made a speech to his Camel, telling him, that he had led him thus long, and had during that time lived by him; but now our money (as he supposed) quite failing, he told him that he must be gone, desiring God to bless him; and that he might have some other to lead him that might not be less care∣ful of him than he had been. So he took leave of his Camel, though not of us, and departed. All the rest of his company were perswaded to continue with us, and had their pay a day or two after; and so we proceeded on our journey, and so shall I further in this Discourse. And now I have spoken somthing of the people, I shall speak