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

The report of Iohn Huighen van Linchoten concerning M. Newberies and M. Fitches imprisonment, and of their escape, which happened while he was in Goa.

In the moneth of December, Anno 1583, there arriued in the towne and Iland of Ormus, foure English men, which came from Aleppo in the countrey of Syria, hauing sailed out of England, and passed thorow the straights of Gibralter to Tripoli a towne and hauen lying on the coast of Syria, where all the ships discharge their wares and marchandises, and from thence are caried by land vnto Aleppo, which is nine dayes iourney. In Aleppo there are resident diuers marchants and factours of all nations, as Italians, French men, English men, Armenians, Turks and Moores, euery man hauing his religion apart, paying tribute vnto the great Turke. In that towne there is great traffique, for that from thence euery yeere twise, there trauell two Caffyls, that is, companies of people and camels, which trauell vnto India, Persia, Arabia, and all the countreys bordering on the same, and deale in all sorts of marchandise, both to and from those countreys, as I in another place haue already declared. Three of the sayd English men aforesayd, were sent by a company of English men that are resident in Aleppo, to see if in Ormus they might keepe any factours, and so traffique in that place, like as also the Italians do, that is to say, the Venetians which in Ormus, Goa, and Malacca haue their factours, and traffique there, aswell for stones and pearles, as for other wares and spices of those countreyes, which from thence are caried ouer land into Venice. [Iohn Newbery had beene in Ormus before. Anno. 1581.] One of these English men had bene once before in the sayd towne of Ormus, and there had taken good information of the trade, and vpon his aduise and aduertisement, the other were as then come thither with him, bringing great store of marchandises with them, as Clothes, Saffron, all kindes of drinking glasses, and Haberdashers wares, as looking glasses, kniues, and such like stuffe: and to conclude, brought with them all kinde of small wares that may be deuised. And although those wares amounted vnto great summes of money, notwithstanding it was but onely a shadow or colour, thereby to giue no occassion to be mistrusted, or seen into: for that their principall intent was to buy great quantities of precious stones, as Diamants, Pearles, Rubies, &c. to the which end they brought with them a great summe of money and golde, and that very secretly, not to be deceiued or robbed thereof, or to runne into any danger for the same. They being thus arriued in Ormus, hired a shoppe, and beganne to sell their wares: which the Italians perceiuing, whose factours continue there (as I sayd before) and fearing that those English men finding good vent for their commodities in that place, would be resident therin, and so dayly increase, which would be no small losse and hinderance vnto them, did presently inuent all the subtile meanes they could to hinder them: and to that end they went vnto the Captaine of Ormus, as then called Don Gonsalo de Meneses, telling him that there were certaine English men come into Ormus, that were sent onely to spie the countrey; and sayd further, that they were heretikes: and therefore they sayd it was conuenient they should not be suffered so to depart without being examined, and punished as enemies, to the example of others. The Captaine being a friend vnto the English men, by reason that one of them which had bene there before, had giuen him certaine presents, would not be perswaded to trouble them, but shipped them with all their wares in a shippe that was to saile for Goa, and sent them to the Viceroy, that he might examine and trie them, as he thought good: where when they were arriued, they were cast into prison, and first examined whether they were good Christians or no: and because they could speake but badde Portugall, onely two of them spake good Dutch, as hauing bene certaine yeres in the Low countreyes, and there traffiked, there was a Dutch Iesuite born in the towne of Bruges in Flanders, that had bene resident in the Indies for the space of thirty yers, sent vnto them, to vndermine and examine them: wherein they behaued themselues so well, that they were holden and esteemed for good Catholicke Christians: yet still suspected, because they were strangers, and specially English men. The Iesuites still tolde them that they should be sent prisoners into Portugall, wishing them to leaue off their trade of marchandise, and to become Iesuites, promising them thereby to defend them from all trouble. The cause why they sayd so, and perswaded them in that earnest maner, was, for that the Dutch Iesuite had secretly bene aduertised of great summes of money which they had about them, and sought to get the same into their fingers, for that the first vowe and promise they make at their entrance into their Order, is to procure the welfare of their sayd Order, by what meanes soeuer it be. But although the English men denied them, and refused the Order, saying, that they were vnfit for such places, neuerthelesse they proceeded so farre, that one of them, being a Painter that came with the other three for company, to see the countreys, and to seeke his fortune, and was not sent thither by the English marchants, partly for feare, and partly for want of meanes to relieue himselfe, promised them to become a Iesuite: and although they knew and well perceiued he was not any of those that had the treasure, yet because he was a Painter, whereof there are but few in India, and that they had great need of him to paint their Church, which otherwise would cost them great charges, to bring one from Portugall, they were very glad thereof, hoping in time to get the rest of them with all their money into their fellowship: so that to conclude, they made this Painter a Iesuite, where he remained certaine dayes, giuing him good store of worke to doe, and entertaining him with all the fauour and friendship they could deuise, and all to winne the rest, to be a pray for them: but the other three continued still in prison, being in great feare, because they vnderstood no man that came to them, nor any man almost knew what they sayd: till in the end it was tolde them that certaine Dutch men dwelt in the Archbishops house, and counsell giuen them to send vnto them, whereat they much reioyced, and sent to me and an other Dutch man, desiring vs at once to come and speake with them, which we presently did, and they with teares in their eyes made complaint vnto vs of their hard vsage, shewing vs from point to point (as it is sayd before) why they were come into the countrey, withall desiring vs for Gods cause, if we might by any meanes, to helpe them, that they might be set at liberty vpon sureties, being ready to endure what iustice should ordaine for them, saying, that if it were found contrary, and that they were other then trauelling marchants, and sought to finde out further benefit by their wares, they would be content to be punished. With that we departed from them, promising them to do our best: and in the end we obtained so much of the archbishop, that he went vnto the Viceroy to deliuer our petition, and perswaded him so well, that he was content to set them at libertie, and that their goods should be deliuered vnto them againe, vpon condition they should put in sureties for two thousand pardawes, not to depart the countrey before other order should be taken with them. Thereupon they presently found a Citizen of the towne that was their surety for two thousand pardawes, to whom they payed in hand one thousand and three hundred pardawes, and because they sayd they had no more ready money, he gaue them credit, seeing what store of marchandise they had, whereby at all times if need were, he might be satisfied: and by that meanes they were deliuered out of prison, and hired themselues an house, and beganne to set open shoppe: so that they vttered much ware, and were presently well knowen among all the marchants, because they alwayes respected gentlemen, specially such as bought their wares, shewing great courtesie and honour vnto them, whereby they woon much credit, and were beloued of all men, so that euery man favoured them, and was willing to doe them pleasure. To vs they shewed great friendship, for whose sake the Archbishop fauoured them much, and shewed them very good countenance, which they knew well how to increase, by offering him many presents, although he would not receiue them, neither would euer take gift or present at any mans hands. Likewise they behaued themselues so discreetly that no man caried an euill eye, no, nor an euill thought towards them. Which liked not the Iesuites, because it hindred them from that they hoped for, so that they ceased not still by this Dutch Iesuite to put them in feare, that they should be sent into Portugall to the King, counselling them to yeeld themselues Iesuits into their Cloister, which if they did, he sayd they would defend them from all troubles, saying further, that he counselled them therein as a friend, and one that knew for certaine that it was so determined by the Viceroyes Priuy councell: which to effect he sayd they stayed but for shipping that should saile for Portugall, with diuers other perswasions, to put them in some feare, and so to effect their purpose. The English men to the contrary, durst not say any thing to them, but answered, that as yet they would stay a while, and consider thereof, thereby putting the Iesuites in comfort, as one among them, being the principall of them (called Iohn Newbery) complained vnto me often times, saying that he knew not what to say or thinke therein, or which way he might be ridde of those troubles: but in the end they determined with themselues to depart from thence, and secretly by meanes of other friendes they imployed their money in precious stones; which the better to effect, one of them was a Ieweller, and for the same purpose came with them. Which being concluded among them, they durst not make knowen to any man, neither did they credite vs so much, as to shew vs their mindes therein, although they tolde vs all whatsoeuer they knew. But on a Whitsunday they went abroad to sport themselues about three miles from Goa, in the mouth of the riuer in a countrey called Bardes, hauing with them good store of meate and drinke. And because they should not be suspected, they left their house and shoppe, with some wares therein vnsolde, in custody of a Dutch boy, by vs prouided for them, that looked vnto it. This boy was in the house not knowing their intent, and being in Bardes, they had with them a Patamar, which is one of the Indian postes, which in the Winter times carieth letters from one place to the other, whom they had hired to guide them: and because that betweene Bardes and the firme land there is but a little riuer, in a maner halfe drie, they passed ouer it on foot, and so trauelled by land, being neuer heard of againe: but it is thought they arriued in Aleppo, as some say, but they know not certainely. [The Arabian tongue generall in the East.] Their greatest hope was that Iohn Newbery could speake the Arabian tongue, which is vsed in all those countreys, or at the least vnderstood: for it is very common in all places there abouts, as French with vs. Newes being come to Goa, there was a great stirre and murmuring among the people, and we much woondered at it: for many were of opinion that we had giuen them counsell so to do: and presently their surety seised vpon the goods remaining, which might amount vnto aboue two hundred pardawes; and with that and the money he had received of the English men, he went vnto the Viceroy, and deliuered it vnto him: which the Viceroy hauing receiued forgaue him the rest. This flight of the English men grieued the Iesuites most, because they had lost such a praye, which they made sure account of: whereupon the Dutch Iesuite came to vs to aske vs if we knew thereof, saying, that if he had suspected so much, he would haue dealt otherwise, for that he sayd, he once had in his hands of theirs a bagge wherein was forty thousand veneseanders (ech veneseander being two pardawes) which was when they were in prison. And that they had alwayes put him in comfort to accomplish his desire: vpon the which promise he gaue them their money againe, which otherwise they should not so lightly haue come by, or peraduenture neuer, as he openly sayd: and in the ende he called them hereticks, and spies, with a thousand other railing speeches, which he vttered against them. The English man that was become a Iesuite, hearing that his companions were gone, and perceiuing that the Iesuites shewed him not so great fauour, neither vsed him so well as they did at the first, repented himselfe; and seeing he had not as then made any solemne promise, and being counselled to leaue the house, and tolde that he could not want a liuing in the towne, as also that the Iesuites could not keepe him there without he were willing to stay, so they could not accuse him of any thing, he tolde them flatly that he had no desire to stay within the Cloister. And although they vsed all the meanes they could to keepe him there, yet he would not stay, but hired an house without the Cloister, and opened shoppe, where he had good store of worke: and in the end married a Mestizos daughter of the towne, so that he made his account to stay there while he liued. By this English man I was instructed of all the wayes, trades, and voyages of the countrey, betweene Aleppo and Ormus, and of all the ordinances and common customes which they vsually holde during their voyage ouer the land, as also of the places and townes where they passed. And since those English mens departures from Goa, there neuer arriued any strangers, either English or others, by land, in the sayd countreys, but onely Italians which dayly traffique ouer land, and vse continuall trade going and comming that way.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 19:52