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[Footnote 60: The island of j.a.pan Proper reaches only to lat. 40 37′ N.

and the southern coast of Tacuxima, its most southerly detached isle, is in lat. 32 28′. The most southerly point of the largest island of Niphon being in 33 3′ N. The extreme length of Niphon, in a slight curve from N.E. to S.W. is about 815 English miles; or, continuing the measure to the S.W. extremity of Kiusiu at Cape Nomo, about 1020 miles. The breadth is very irregular, but cannot exceed 100 miles on the average.–E.]

Thus shortly am I constrained to write, hoping that by one means or other I may hear of my wife and children in process of time, and so with patience I wait the good will and pleasure of Almighty G.o.d; earnestly desiring all those to whom this letter may come, to use means to acquaint my good friends before named of its contents; that so my wife and children may hear of me, and I may have hope to hear of them before I die. Which G.o.d grant, to his glory and my comfort. _Amen_.

Dated in j.a.pan, the 22d of October, 1611, by your unworthy friend and servant, to command in what I can,


–3. _Letter of William Adams to his Wife_.[61]

Loving wife, you shall hereby understand how all things have pa.s.sed with me since I left you. We sailed from the Texel with five ships, on the 24th June, 1598, and took our departure from the coast of England the 5th July. The 21st August we came to St Jago, one of the Cape Verd Islands, where we remained twenty-four days. In this time many of our men fell sick, through the unwholesomeness of the air, and our general among the rest. We abode so long among these islands, because one of the captains of our fleet made our general believe that we should find plenty of refreshments there, as goats and other things, which was not the case. I and all the pilots in the fleet were here called to council; but as we all declared ourselves much averse to the place, our opinions were so much disliked by the captains, that they agreed among themselves to call us no more to council.

[Footnote 61: Although this fragment relates to the same circ.u.mstances that are detailed in the former letter, these are frequently given more at large, and it has therefore been retained.–E.]

The 15th September we departed from St Jago, and pa.s.sed the equator; and in the lat. of 3 S. our general died. The season being much too late, we were forced upon the coast of Guinea, falling in with a headland called _Cabo de Spiritu Santo_. The new general commanded us to bear up for Cape Lopo Gonsalves, to seek refreshments for our men, which was done accordingly. We landed all our sick at that place, where they did not find much benefit, as we could get no store of provisions. The 29th December we resumed our voyage, and on our way fell in with an island called An.o.bon, where we landed our sick men, taking possession of the island by force, the town containing about eighty houses. Having here refreshed our men, we again set sail, our general giving out in orders, that each man was only to have the allowance of one pound of bread in four days, being a quarter of a pound daily, with a like reduced allowance of wine and water. This scarcity of victuals made our men so feeble, that they fell into great weakness and sickness for very hunger, insomuch that they eat the calf-skins with which our ropes were covered.

The 3d April, 1599, we fell in with port St Julian,; and on the 6th we entered the Straits of Magellan, which are at first narrow. The 8th day we pa.s.sed the second narrows with a fair wind, and came to anchor at Penguin Island, where we landed, and loaded our boat with penguins.

These are fowls larger than ducks, and proved a great refreshment to us.

The 10th we weighed anchor, having much wind, yet fair for our pa.s.sage; but our general insisted upon taking in wood and water for all our ships, of which there is great abundance in all parts of the straits, and good anchoring grounds every three or four leagues. In the mean time the wind changed, and became southerly; so we sought for a good harbour on the north side of the straits, four leagues from Elizabeth Bay. April being out, we had a wonderful quant.i.ty of snow and ice, with great winds; for the winter there is in April, May, June, July, and August, being in 52 30′ S. Many times during the winter we had the wind fair for pa.s.sing through the straits, but our general would not; so that we remained in the straits till the 24th August,[62] 1599, on which day we came into the South Sea. Six or seven days after the whole fleet was separated, and the storm-continuing long, we were driven south, into 1st 54 30′ S. The weather clearing up, with a fair wind, we saw the admiral again, to our great joy. Eight or ten days afterwards, having very heavy wind in the night, our foresail was blown away, and we again lost sight of the admiral.

[Footnote 62: In the former letter this is called the 24th September, which seems to be the true date from what follows–E.]

Having a fair wind for that purpose, we directed our course for the coast of Chili, where we arrived on the 29th October, at a place appointed by the general for a rendezvous, in lat. 46 S. where we waited twenty-eight days, and set up a pinnace. In this place we found people, with whom we had friendly intercourse for five or six days, during which they brought us sheep, for which we gave them bells and knives, with which they seemed contented. But shortly afterwards they all went away from the place where our ship lay, and we saw no more of them. The twenty-eight days being expired, we set sail in the intention to go to Baldivia, and came to the mouth of the port; but as the wind was high, our captain changed his mind, and we directed our course for the island of Mocha, in thirty-eight degrees, where we arrived the 1st November. The wind being still high, we durst not come to anchor, and directed our course for Cape St Mary, two leagues south of the island of that name. Having no knowledge of the people, our men landed on the 2d of November, and the natives fought with them, wounding eight or, nine of our people; but in the end the natives made a false composition of friendship with them, which our men believed sincere.

Next day our captain went on sh.o.r.e, with twenty-three of our best men, meaning to get victuals in exchange for goods, as we were reduced to great straits. Two or three of the natives came immediately to the boat, bringing a kind of wine and some roots, and making signs for our people to land, where they would get sheep and oxen. The captain and men went accordingly on sh.o.r.e, being very anxious to get provisions; but above a thousand of the natives broke out upon them from an ambush, and slew them all, among whom was my brother, Thomas Adams. After this severe loss we had hardly as many men remaining as could hoist our anchor; so on the 3d November, in great distress and heaviness of mind, we went to the island of Santa Maria, where we found our admiral ship, by which our hearts were somewhat comforted: but when we went on board, we found them in as great distress as ourselves, the general and twenty-seven of their men having been slain at the island of Mocha, from whence they had departed the day before we pa.s.sed that island. We here consulted what we should do to procure victuals, not being in condition to go to land and take them by force, as most of our remaining men were sick.

While in this sad dilemma, there came a Spaniard on board by composition to see our ship. He came on board again the next day, and we allowed him quietly to depart. The following day two Spaniards came, on board, without p.a.w.n or surety, to see if they could betray us. When they had seen our ship, they were for going again on land; but we would not let them, saying, as they had come on board without leave, we should not permit them to go away till we thought fit, at which they were very much offended. We then told them how much we were in want of victuals, and said if they would let us have such a number of sheep and ewes, that we would set them at liberty. Thus, against their wills, they entered into a composition with us, which, within the time appointed, they accomplished. Having procured so much refreshment, most of our men recovered.

In consequence of the death of the general, one Hudcopee, a young man, who knew nothing, and had served the former, was made general in his stead; and the master of our ship, Jacob Quaternack, of Rotterdam, was made captain of our ship, in the place of him who had been slain. So the new general and vice-admiral called me and the other pilot, an Englishman, named Timothy Shorten, who had been with Mr Thomas Candish in his voyage round the world, and desired our advice how to prosecute the voyage for the best profits of our merchants. It was at last resolved to go for j.a.pan, as, by the report of one Dirrick Gerritson, who had been there with the Portuguese, woollen cloth was in great estimation in that island; and we concluded that the Moluccas, and most other parts of the East Indies, being hot countries, our woollen cloth would not be there in much request: wherefore we all agreed to go for j.a.pan. Leaving, therefore, the coast of Chili, in lat. 36 S. on the 27th November, 1599, we shaped our course direct for j.a.pan, and pa.s.sed the equinoctial line with a fair wind, which lasted several months. In our way we fell in with certain islands in lat. 16 N. of which the inhabitants are canibals.[63] Coming near these islands, our pinnace, with eight men, ran from us, and were eaten, as we supposed, by the savages, of whom we took one man.

[Footnote 63: These islands seem to be the Ladrones.–_Purchas_.]

In the lat.i.tude of 27 or 28 degrees north, we had variable winds and stormy weather; and on the 24th February, 1600, we lost sight of our admiral, and never saw his ship more; yet we still continued our course for j.a.pan. The 24th March we saw an island called _Una Colona_, at which time many of our men were again sick, and several dead. We were in the utmost misery, not above nine or ten of our men being able to creep about on their hands and knees; while our captain and all the rest were expecting every hour to die. The 11th April, 1600, we had sight of j.a.pan, near to _Bungo_, at which time there were not more than five of us able to stand. The 12th we came close to Bungo, and let go our anchor, many barks coming aboard of us, the people whereof we willingly allowed to come into our ship, having indeed no power to resist them.

These people did us no personal injury; but they stole every thing they could lay their hands upon, for which some paid very dear afterwards.

Next day the king of that land sent a party of soldiers on board, to prevent the merchant goods from being stolen. Two or three days after, our ship was brought into a good harbour, there to remain till the emperor of the whole island was informed of our arrival, and should give his orders as to what was to be done with us. In the meantime we pet.i.tioned the King of Bungo for leave to land our captain and the other sick men, which was granted, having a house appointed for them, in which they were all laid, and had all manner of refreshments given them.

After we had been five or six days here, there came a Portuguese jesuit, with other Portuguese, who falsely reported of us that we were pirates, and not at all in the way of trade; which scandalous reports caused the governors and people to think very ill of us, so that we even looked for being set upon crosses, which is the punishment in this land for thievery and some other crimes. Thus daily did the Portuguese incense the rulers and the people against us. At this time two of our men became traitors, giving themselves up to the service of the emperor, and becoming all in all with the Portuguese, who warranted them their lives.

One was named Gilbert de Conning, whose mother dwelt in Middleburg, who gave himself out as the merchant over all the goods in the ship; the name of the other was John Abelson van Oudwater. These traitors tried every means to get the goods into their hands; and made known to the Portuguese every thing that had happened during our voyage.

Nine days after our arrival, the emperor, or great king of the land, sent for me to come to him. So, taking one man with me, I went to him, taking leave of our captain and the sick men, and commending myself into HIS hands who had hitherto preserved me from the perils of the sea. I was carried in one of the emperor’s gallies to the court of Osaka, where the emperor then resided, being about eighty leagues from where our ship lay. On the 12th May, 1600, I came to the city of Osaka, and was brought immediately into the presence of the emperor, his palace being a wonderfully costly house, gilded with gold in great profusion. On coming before him, he viewed me well, and seemed favourably disposed towards me, making many signs to me, some of which I comprehended, and others not. After some time there came one who could speak Portuguese, who acted as interpreter. Through this person the king demanded to know from what country I was, and what had induced us to come to his land, at so great a distance from our own country. I then told him whence we were, that our country had long sought out the East Indies, desiring to live in peace and friendship with all kings and potentates in the way of trade; having in our country various commodities which these lands had not, and wishing to purchase such commodities in this land as our country did not possess. He then asked me if our country had any wars; to which I answered, that we were at war with the Spaniards and Portuguese, but at peace with all other nations. He farther asked me, what was my religious belief; to which I made answer, that I believed in G.o.d, who created the heavens and the earth. After many questions about religion and many other things, he asked me by what way we came to his country. Having with me a chart of the world, I showed him the way in which we had come, through the straits of Magellan; at which he wondered, and seemed as if he did not believe I spoke truth. Asking me what merchandise we had in our ship, I gave him an account of the whole.

Thus, from one thing to another, I remained with him till midnight. In the end, when he was ready to depart, I desired that we might be allowed the same freedom of trade which the Spaniards and Portuguese enjoyed. He made me some answer, but what it was I did not understand, and then commanded me to be carried to prison.

Two days afterwards he sent for me again, and made many inquiries about the qualities and conditions of our countries; about wars and peace, of beasts and cattle of all sorts, of the heavens, and many other things; and he seemed well pleased with my answers. Yet was I again remanded to prison; but my lodging was bettered in another place.

“The rest of this letter, by the malice of the bearers, was suppressed, but was probably the same in substance with the former; yet I have added this also, because it contains several things not mentioned in the other. This William Adams _lately_[64] died at Firando, in j.a.pan, as by the last ship, the James, returning home in the year 1621, we have received intelligence.”–_Purchas_.

[Footnote 64: This is in reference to the year 1625, when the Pilgrims of Purchas was published.–E.]


_Voyage of Sir Edward Michelburne to India, in_ 1604.[65]


This voyage is given by Purchas under the t.i.tle of “The Second Voyage of John Davis, with Sir Edward Michelburne, into the East Indies, in the Tiger, a ship of 240 tons, with a pinnace, called the Tiger’s Whelp.”

Purchas adds, that, though later in time than the first voyage set forth by the English East India Company, he had chosen to insert it in his work previous to their voyages, because not performed in their employment; and we have here followed his example, because not one of the voyages equipped by the Company. It is called the _second_ voyage of John Davis, because he had been to the East Indies before, as related in the ninth section of this chapter, and went upon this voyage with Sir Edward Michelburne. But it ought to have been called his _third_, and indeed it is actually so named in the table of contents of the Pilgrims; as, besides his _first_ voyage along with the Dutch in 1594, he appears to have sailed in the first voyage inst.i.tuted by the Company for India, in 1601, under Lancaster. The editor of Astley’s Collection supposes this journal to have been written by the captain or master of one of the ships, from some expressions in the narrative; at all events, it was written by some person actually engaged in the voyage. It is very singular that Sir Edward Michelburne, though a member of the first East India Company, and the fourth of the list in the original patent, should have set forth this voyage on private account.

[Footnote 65: Purchas his Pilgrims, I. 192. Astley, I. 306.]

We learn from the annals, of the India Company, that the lord-treasurer of England, in 1600, when the company was first inst.i.tuted, proposed that Sir Edward Michelburne should be appointed to command the first fleet dispatched to India; but this was firmly declined, as will afterwards appear. Sir Edward now commanded what may be called an interloping trading voyage to India, under a licence granted by James I.

in absolute contravention of the exclusive privilege granted to the Company.–E.

The 5th of December, 1604, we sailed from Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, and arrived in the road of Aratana, in the island of Teneriffe, on the 23d of that month. During the whole night of the 14th January, 1605, we were troubled with excessive heat, thunder, lightning, and rain. The 6th we pa.s.sed the line, shaping our course for the isle of _Noronha_, with the wind at S.S.E., our course being S.S.W. About three degrees south of the line, we met with incredible mult.i.tudes of fish; so that, with hooks and harping irons, we took so many dolphins, bonitos, and other fishes, that our men were quite weary with eating them. There were likewise many fowls, called _parharaboves_ and _alcatrarzes_. We took many of the former, as it delights to come to a ship in the night-time, insomuch, that if you hold up your hand, they will light upon it. The alcatrarze is a kind of hawk that lives on fish; for, when the bonitos and dolphins chase the flying fishes in the water till they are forced to take wing for safety, the alcatrarzes fly after them like hawks after partridges.

I have seen often so many of these flying fishes at one time in the air, that they appeared at a distance like a large flock of birds. They are small fishes, hardly so large as a herring.

The 22d of January we came to anchor at the island of Fernando Noronba, in lat. 4 S. where our skiff was overset going ash.o.r.e, by the violence of the surf, and Richard Michelburne, a kinsman of our general, was drowned, all the rest being saved. The 25th, our long-boat, while going to fill some empty casks with water, fell in with the same unfortunate surf, and was overset, when two more of our men were drowned. We were so much put about in getting wood and water on board, by the danger of the surf, that we had to pull our casks on sh.o.r.e by means of ropes, and so back again when filled. Not six days before our arrival, there was a Holland ship here, whose boat, in going for water, was stove on the rocks, and all the men dashed to pieces, having their legs and arms cut from their bodies.

The 26th, the general went on sh.o.r.e to view the island, which was found entirely waste, being only inhabited by six negro slaves. There were formerly in this island many goats, and some wild cattle; but as the Portuguese caraks sometimes water here in their way to the East Indies, and these poor slaves are left here purposely to kill goats and dry their flesh for these ships, we could find very few of them. There are, however, great quant.i.ties of turtle-doves, alcatrarzes, and other fowls, of which we killed many with our fire-arms, and found them excellent eating. There is likewise here plenty of maize or Guinea wheat, and abundance of cotton trees, on which grows fine _bombast_; with great numbers of wild gourds and water melons. Having completed our supply of wood and water, we came on board, and continued our voyage.

The 12th February, when in lat. 7 5′ S. we saw at night the most extraordinary sight, in my opinion, that ever was seen. The sea seemed all night, though the moon was down, all over, as it were, burning and shining with flames of fire, so that we could have seen to read any book by its light. The 15th, in the morning, we descried the island, or rock rather, of Ascension, in lat. 8 30′ S. Towards night, on the 1st April, we descried land from the maintop, bearing S.S.E. when, according to our reckoning, we were still 40 leagues off. The 2d, in the morning, we were close to the land, being ten or twelve leagues north of Saldanha bay.

The 3d we sailed by a small island, which Captain John Davis took to be one that is some five or six leagues from Saldanha bay, called _Da.s.sen_ island, which our general was desirous to see; wherefore he went on sh.o.r.e in the skiff, with only the master’s mate, the purser, and myself, with four rowers. While we were on sh.o.r.e, a storm arose, which drove the ship out of sight of the island, so that we were forced to remain on sh.o.r.e two days and nights. This island has great numbers of seals and conies, or rabbits, on which account we called it Conie island.

The 8th, we came to anchor in the road or bay of Saldanha,[66] and went ash.o.r.e on the 9th, finding a goodly country, inhabited by the most savage and beastly people that ever were created. In this place we had most excellent refreshments, the like of which is not to be found among any other savage people; for we wanted neither for beef nor mutton, nor wild-fowl, all the time we lay there. This country is very full of cattle and sheep, which they keep in great flocks and herds, as we do in England; and it abounds likewise in wild beasts and birds, as wild deer, in great abundance, antelopes, baboons, foxes, hares, ostriches, cranes, pelicans, herons, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridges, and various other excellent kinds, of which we killed as many as we pleased, with our fire-arms. The country is most pleasantly watered with many wholesome springs and brooks, which have their origin in the tops of exceeding high mountains, and which, pervading the vallies, render them very fertile. It has many trees growing close-to the sea-sh.o.r.e, not much unlike our bay trees, but of a much harder consistence. The natives brought us more cattle and sheep than we could use during all the time we remained there, so that we carried fresh beef and mutton to sea with us. For a piece of an old iron hoop, not worth two-pence, we could purchase a large bullock; and a sheep for a small piece of iron not worth two or three good hob-nails. These natives go quite naked, having only a sheep skin on their shoulders, and a small flap of skin before them, which covers them just as much as if it were not there. While we were there, they lived on the guts and offal of the meat which we threw away, feeding in a most beastly manner, as they neither washed nor cleaned the guts, but covered them merely with hot ashes, and, before they were heated through, pulled them out, shook them a little, and eat guts, excrements, ashes and all. They live on raw flesh, and a kind of roots, which they have in great abundance.

[Footnote 66: This Bay was probably that now called Table bay, which all the early navigators seem to have denominated Saldanha, or Saldania bay.–E.]

We continued here from the 9th April, till the 3d May, by which good recreation on sh.o.r.e and excellent refreshment, we were all in as good health as when we first put to sea. The 7th May we were off the Cape of Good Hope, ten leagues south by estimation, and that night we pa.s.sed over the shoals of _cabo das Aguilhas_. The 9th there arose a great storm, when we lost sight of our pinnace, being driven from her by the violence of the gale. This storm continued in a most tremendous manner for two days and two nights, with much rain, thunder, and lightning, and we often shipped a great deal of water. By reason of the extreme fury of the tempests, and the danger they find in pa.s.sing the southern promontory of Africa, the Portuguese call this place the _Lion of the Sea_. At night, during the extremity of the storm, there appeared a flame on our top-mast head, as big as a great candle, which the Portuguese call _corpo sancto_, holding it as a divine token that the worst is past when it appears; as, thanks be to G.o.d, we had better weather after. It appeared to us two successive nights, after which we had a fair wind and good weather. Some think this to be a spirit, while others say that it is an exhalation of moist vapours. Some affirm that the ship is fortunate on which it appears, and that she shall not perish.

The 24th, the island of Diego Roiz, in 1st. 19 40′ S. and long. 98 30′

E. bore north of us, eight leagues distant, about five o’clock[67] We bore down, intending to have landed there, but the wind freshened so much in the night that we changed our purpose. We saw many white birds about this island, having two long feathers in their tails. These birds, and various other kinds, accompanied us along with, such contrary winds and gusts that we often split our sails, and being obliged to lie to, or tack to and again, we rather went to leeward than gained way, having the wind strong at E.S.E.

[Footnote 67: The lat.i.tude and the name agree with Diego Rodriguez; but the longitude is inexplicable, as Diego Rodriguez is in long. 63 10′ E.

from Greenwich, or 80 56′ from Ferro; making an error of excess in the text at the least of 17 51′.–E.]

The 3d June, while standing for the isle _de Cisne_[68] we came again in sight of Diego Roiz, and bore down for it, intending to wait there for a fair wind; but finding it a dangerous place, we durst not come thereto anchor, for fear of the rocks and shoals that lie about it, so that we changed our purpose, and stood for the East Indies. The 15th of June, we had sight of the isle _dos Banhos_, in lat. 6 37′ S. and long. 109 E.[69] These islands are laid down far too much to the west in most charts. We sent our boats to try if they could here find any good anchoring ground, but they could find none either on the south or west sh.o.r.e. There are five of these islands, which abound in fowls, fish, and cocoa-nuts; and our boats going on sh.o.r.e, brought us off a great store of all these, which proved a great refreshment to us. Seeing we could find no good anchorage, as in some places close to the sh.o.r.e we could find no bottom, while in other places the ground was full of shoals and sharp rocks, we stood our course as near as we could for India, the winds being bad and contrary.

[Footnote 68: By some thought to be Diego Rodriguez, by others the Mauritius, or isle of France.–Astl. 1. 507. a.]

[Footnote 69: A group of islands, one of which is called _Peros Banhos_, is found about the indicated lat.i.tude, and between the longitude of 70 and 74 E. having a similar excess with what was mentioned before in regard to Diego Roiz or Rodriguez.–E.]

The 19th of June, we fell in with the island of _Diego Grasiosa_, in lat. 7 30′ S. and in long. 110 40′ S. by our reckoning.[70] This seemed a pleasant island, and a good place for refreshment, if any proper place could be found for anchoring. We sought but little for anchoring there, as the wind was bad, and the tide set towards the sh.o.r.e, so that we durst not stay to search any farther. The island seemed to be some ten or twelve leagues long, abounding in fish and birds, and appeared an entire forest of cocoa-trees. What else it yielded we knew not. The 11th July, we again pa.s.sed the equator, where we were becalmed, with excessive heat, and much thunder and lightning.

The 19th we descried land, which seemed many islands, locked as it were into one, in lat. 2 N. under the high coast of the great island of Sumatra.[71] We here sent off our boat to get some fresh water; but the sea went with so violent a _breach_ [surf] upon the sh.o.r.e, that the people durst not land. The natives of the island, or islands, made great fires along the sh.o.r.e, as if inviting us to land.

[Footnote 70: Diego Garcia, in the indicated lat.i.tude nearly, and in long. 72 E. from Greenwich.–E.]


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