Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

A Letter written from Goa by Master Ralph Fitch to Master Leonard Poore abouesaid.

Louing friend Master Poore, &c. Since my departure from Aleppo, I haue not written vnto you any letters, by reason that at Babylon I was sicke of the fluxe, and being sicke, I went from thence for Balsara, which was twelue dayes joumey downe the riuer Tygris, where we had extreame hot weather, which was good for my disease, ill fare, and worse, lodging, by reason our boat was pestered with people. In eight daies, that which I did eate was very small, so that if we had stayed two dayes longer vpon the water, I thinke I had died: but comming to Balsara, presently I mended, I thanke God. There we stayed 14 dayes, and then we imbarked our selues for Ormuz, where we arriued the fifth of September, and were put in prison the ninth of the same moneth, where we continued vntill the 11 of October, and then were shipt for this citie of Goa in the captaines ship, with an 114 horses, and about 200 men: [Diu. Chaul.] and passing by Diu and Chaul, where we went on land to water the 20 of Nouember, we arriued at Goa the 29 of the said moneth, where for our better intertainment we were presently put into a faire strong prison, where we continued vntill the 22 of December. It was the will of God that we found there 2 Padres, the one an Englishman, the other a Flemming. The Englishmans name is Padre Thomas Steuens, the others Padre Marco, of the order of S. Paul. These did sue for vs vnto the Viceroy and other officers, and stood vs in as much stead, as our liues and goods were woorth: for if they had not stucke to vs, if we had escaped with our liues, yet we had had long imprisonment.

After 14 dayes imprisonment they offered vs, if we could put in sureties for 2000 duckats, we should goe abroad in the towne: which when we could not doe, the said Padres found sureties for vs, that we should not depart the countrey without the licence of the Viceroy. [The Italians our great enemies for the trade in the East.] It doth spite the Italians to see vs abroad: and many maruell at our deliuery. The painter is in the cloister of S. Paul, and is of their order, and liketh there very well. While we were in prison, both at Ormuz and here, there was a great deale of our goods pilfered and lost, and we haue beene at great charges in gifts and otherwise, so that a great deale of our goods is consumed. There is much of our things which wil sell very well and some we shall get nothing for. I hope in God that at the returne of the Viceroy, which is gone to Chaul and to Diu, they say, to winne a castle of the Moores, whose returne, is thought will be about Easter, then we shall get our libertie, and our sureties discharged. Then I thinke it will be our best way, either one or both to returne, because our troubles haue bene so great, and so much of our goods spoyled and lost. But if it please God that I come into England, by Gods helpe, I will returne hither againe. It is a braue and pleasant countrey, and very fruitfull. The summer is almost all the yeere long, but the chiefest at Christmas.

The day and the night are all of one length, very litle difference, and marueilous great store of fruits. For all our great troubles, yet are we fat and well liking, for victuals are here plentie and good cheape. And here I will passe ouer to certifie you of strange things, vntill our meeting, for it would be too long to write thereof. And thus I commit you to God, who euer preserue you and vs all. From Goa in the East Indies the 25 of Ianuarie 1584.

Yours to command, Ralph Fitch.

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