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the wicked caitiff made answer with a brutish obstinacy, that at no hand he would yield to forsake his law, shewing himself so hardened in the resolution to continue therein, as if he had been born in it, and never had profest any other. By these speeches of his, the captains, perceiving there was no hope of recalling him from his damnable error, caused him to be bound hand and foot, and so, with a great stone tied about his neck, to be cast alive into the sea, sending him to participate with the torments of this Mahomet, and to be his companion in the other world, as he had been his confident in this. This infidel being executed in this sort, we put the other prisoners into one of our foists, and then sunk their vessel, with all the goods that were in her, which consisted most in packs of stained cloths, whereof we had no use, and a few pieces of chamlet that the soldiers got to make them apparel.”
So much for summary injustice and murder. They then continue their journey by land, to the “ mother of Prester John,” re-embarking at the port of Arquice, and traverse a considerable portion of Ethiopia, where they see the son of the governor of that kingdom, of whose good actions a very pleasant account is given. Soon after their embarkation they encounter three Turkish vessels, by whom they are taken prisoners, made slaves, hurried back to the coast, and treated with outrageous cruelty, and at length thrust into a dungeon, where all their food was a few peas soaked in water. In this dreadful state some of his companions died, but himself and nine others were drawn out for sale ; but during the time of their exposure a quarrel arose respecting the disposal of their property, in which many excellent things were said on both sides, but not tending to the relief of the prisoners. Ferdinand was purchased by a Greek renegado, who, for the space of three whole months, tortured him incessantly, and then sold him again (lest he should die upon his hands) to a Jew. In the mean time money had been gathered in the town, from pity, for his ransom, which, though trifling, the new master accepted, and forwarded him to Goa, where he was received into the service of the King of Portugal. He was soon sent out with the fleet assigned by the governor to succour one of the native princes, at war with another, or rather so to act, (agreeably to the policy of Europe in the east,) as that some portion of the power and riches of the belligerent powers might fall to the lot of the insidious mediator.
Ferdinand now begins to see the interior of a court, and to relate those particulars of state ceremony, of which he afterwards saw so much on a larger scale; for the present King of Batas, and the Queen of Oner, do not appear from the nature of their equipments to be of greater power and importance, than the petty sovereigns of Germany. The
queen shews much good sense in her management of the affair, but the king and his queen, and court, are the more interesting, especially, when after many misfortunes we find, that from the irruption of another and unexpected enemy, the tyrant of Achem, his happiness and his kingdom are alike endangered.
Ferdinand was sent from his general, Gonsalez, as a plenipotentiary to this sovereign, from whence we may infer, that he was a young fellow of quick parts, and had already made some progress in the language of the country, especially as he gives us various speeches of the King of Batas, whose critical situation renders him an earnest and humble suppliant to the Portugal (Portugueze) governor. The aid slowly granted to this injured prince proves insufficient; the kingdom is entered, various battles are fought bravely by the king and his people, (but in no one instance are the deeds of any person extolled as extraordinary), but, after various changes, the tyrant succeeds in gaining the capital, where a dreadful butchery ensues. The king dies in battle, and nearly all the Portugals engaged in his cause share his fate, Ferdinand himself being severely wounded. The queen, who was the innocent cause of the war (for the tyrant had commanded his brother king to divorce her, after a marriage of twenty-six years, and to marry his sister, in order that their empires might be consolidated), flies from one king to another, beseeching the compassion of each, in order to the revenging the death of her husband, but it was long before she found any inclined to pity her sorrows, or perceive the political necessity of reducing the ambition of the tyrant. At length, the King of Aaru pities her, and marries her; and, on the day of her nuptials, declares war against the tyrant of Achem, now termed the sultan; but this unfortunate prince is, after one successful encounter, slain in the second by a shot from the harquebuss of a Turk, and his body, after many ceremonies, was “ publicly sawed into sundry pieces, was boiled in a cauldron full of oil and pitch,” &c. The distract queen, with more cause, still seeks for
vengeance, which the King of Aaru so far obtains, as through the means of his general to regain the kingdom of Aaru, and establish there the heir of the deceased monarch. But this king is murdered soon after his conquest, violence being ever in these eastern dominions the order of the day. During the period of these transactions, our traveller is engaged in many battles and some long journeys, in the course of his communications between the contending parties, and is frequently in great danger of his life, both from parties of the natives and the circumstances of the country. On coasting the Isle of Sumatra, says he, “ we entered a little river, and saw athwart a wood such a many adders and crawling creatures, no less prodigious for their length than for the strangeness of their forms, that I shall not marvel if they that read this history will not believe my report of them.” “ Those of this country assured us, that these creatures are so hardy, as there be some of them that will set upon an Almadia when there is not above four or five men in her, and overturn it with their tails, swallowing the men whole, without dismembering them.”
“ In this place also we saw a strange kind of creatures, which they call Caquesseitan : they are of the bigness of a great goose, very black and scaly on their backs, with a row of sharp pricks on their chins, as long as a writing pen; moreover, they have wings like unto those of bats, long necks, and a little bone growing on their heads resembling a cock's spur, with a very long tail spotted black and green, like unto the lizards of that country; these creatures hop and fly together, like grasshoppers; and in that manner they hunt apes, and such other beasts, whom they pursue even to the tops of the highest trees. Also, we saw adders, that were copped on the crowns of their heads, as big as a man's thigh, and so venomous, as the negroes of the country informed us, that if any living thing came within the reach of their breath, it died presently, there being no remedy nor antidote against it. We likewise saw others that were not copped on their crowns, nor so venomous as the former, but far greater and longer, with an head as big as a calf's. We were told, that they hunt their prey in this manner: they get up into a tree, and winding their tails about some branch of it, let their bodies hang down to the foot of the tree, and then laying one of their ears close to the ground, they hearken whether they can hear any thing stir during the stillness of the night, so that if an ox, a boar, or any other beast, doth chance to pass by, they presently seize on it, and so carries it up into the tree, where he devours it. In like sort we descried a number of baboons, both grey and black, as big as a great mastiff, of whom the negroes of the country are more afraid, than of all the other beasts, because they will set upon them with that hardiness, as they have much ado to resist them.”
We are compelled now to hasten over a considerable portion of the narrative, detailing various commercial voyages and battles in the junks and foists (vessels) in which they were made, from which it appears, that Ferdinand had indeed good reason for terming Fortune his bitter enemy; for no sooner has he from the kindness of some king, or the taking of some prize, obtained a few ducats, than the pirates or the Turks contrive to get hold of them, or the waters, equally merciless, swallow them up. He is, however, a true sailor, ever ready to set out again, and willing, as he says, to get a better coat than that on his back,” by any new adventure in the service of
any new master (so he was a true Portugal) that should offer.
The greatest trouble of his troubled life now advances; on a voyage to China, he is cast away in the Gulf of Nanquin and suffers a " lamentable shipwreck," in which, out of five and twenty Portugals, there were but fourteen saved; and he adds, this miserable disaster happened on a Monday, in 1542, the 5th of August, for which the Lord be praised everlastingly.” Cast thus upon a country ever inhospitable to strangers, and doubtless, at that time, inimical to the Christian visitors in their neighbourhood, without food or clothing, expecting to be devoured by the tigers, their situation was indeed dreadful, and their numbers were soon reduced by the loss of four, who were drowned in the crossing of a little streight, as they endeavoured to pursue their journey northward, apprehending that was their way to Nanquin, where they hoped for succour. On every day's history of this disastrous period, our unhappy voyager now dwells, with that minute remembrance which cold and hunger, stripes and nakedness, have imprinted indelibly on his memory, accompanied with long and numerous speeches from those strangers who administered to the necessities, and compassionated the situation of the wretches before them.
From Ferdinand's account, there were in China, at that period, in most of the towns, “ houses of the poor,” where relief might be obtained for three days, but no longer, save for sick people or women with child ; at one of these they were kindly assisted, and even forwarded thence to another, but when compelled to leave this, and thrown on the mercy of the less civilized inhabitants, their situation increased in misery. In one village they were pitilessly flogged, and driven forth without food-in the next, their wounds were dressed, food and raiment were given them, and the way pointed out; but on the very same night, when they were discovered in a wood where they had taken shelter, they were denounced as thieves, dragged to a loathsome prison," and so fearfully whipped, that we were in perpetual pain for twenty-six days, having irons on our hands and feet, and great iron collars about our necks;" from this place they were sent to the parliament of Cheans, at Nanquin, because the jurisdiction of that court did not suffer them to condemn prisoners to death.
On their road they were again imprisoned for forty-two days, and treated with so much cruelty, that three of the party died, and the only wonder is that any survived ; for at one place, after another severe flogging, they were all thrust naked into large cisterns, and for two days and nights they stood thus
plunged up to the waist in water, wherein was a multitude of horse leeches." After all these hardships, they were, on their arrival at the seat of jurisdiction, sentenced to be publicly whipped, and have their thumbs cut off; the former part of the sentence being carried into effect with such severity, that another of his companions died under it, and he justly observes, " that it was a miracle any one of them survived.”
It appears, however, that this court was itself subject to a revision of its judgement, and at the instance of a certain fraternity “ resembling the order of mercy in papist countries,” these poor wretched men not only received relief in their “sure necessity;" but the magistrates, who had so overstepped their office, were called to account and reproved for their conduct, and the shipwrecked wanderers, after their recovery, were placed on a new footing in society, and furnished with a long letter, reversing the sentence, which is thus dated : “ Written in the chamber of the zeal of God's honour, the ninth day of the seventh moon, and the three and twentieth year of the reign of the Lyon, crowned in the throne of the world.”
Our traveller, recovered in some measure of his wounds, begins to look about him in the great city of Nanquin, but declares he will never relate one half of the riches and grandeur he there beheld, seeing he shall never be believed; he, however, says: “The Chineses assured us, that there are eight hundred thousand fires, fourscore thousand Mandarins' houses, threescore and two great market places, an hundred and thirty butchers' shambles, each containing fourscore shops-eight thousand streets, whereof six hundred that are fairer than the rest are compassed with ballustres of copper. There are two thousand and three hundred pagodas, exceeding rich and sumptuous, with very high steeples, wherein were between sixty and seventy such mighty huge bells, it was dreadful to hear them rung.”—The ceremonies of religion frequently give much offence to the Catholic traveller, yet he greatly praises the government, the wisdom, and even the piety of the Chinese, observing, that “ those gentiles do take abundant pains to damn their souls, by their devotion to vain idols, much more than do we by true worship to save ours.”
It appears, that the Portugals were still considered as in a state of slavery, and although sometimes treated with respect as possessing some extraordinary talents, yet subject to much caprice and occasional cruelty, so that Jorge Mendez, who appears a fine spirited fellow, considered his life as scarce worth playing for at primero;" but it appears, that much of the ill-usage they had suffered latterly arose from their having quarrelled with each other, which struck the barbarous Chineses as a great fault. As the hatred of the people and the strangers towards each other was excessive, it is not surprising, that on an attack of the King of Tartaria upon Nanquin they