The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

A voiage made out of England vnto Guinea and Benin in Affrike, at the charges of certaine marchants Aduenturers of the Citie of London, in the yeere of our Lord 1553.

I was desired by certaine of my friends to make some mention of this Voiage, that some memorie thereof might remaine to our posteritie, if either iniquitie of time consuming all things, or ignorance creeping in by barbarousness and contempt of knowledge should hereafter bury in obliuion so woorthie attempts, so much the greatlier to bee esteemed, as before neuer enterprised by Englishmen, or at the least so frequented, as at this present they are, and may bee, to the great commoditie of our marchants, if the same be not hindered by the ambition of such, as for the conquering of fortie or fiftie miles here and there, and erecting of certaine fortresses, thinke to be Lordes of half the world, enuying that other should enioy the commodities, which they themselues cannot wholly possesse. And although such as haue bene at charges in the discouering and conquering of such landes ought by good reason to haue certaine priuileges, preheminences, and tributes for the same, yet (to speake vnder correction) it may seeme somewhat rigorous, and agaynst good reason and conscience, or rather agaynst the charitie that ought to be among Christian men, that such as inuade the dominions of other should not permit other friendly to vse the trade of marchandise in places neerer, or seldome frequented of them, whereby their trade is not hindered in such places, where they themselues haue at their owne election appointed the Martes of their traffike. But forasmuch as at this present it is not my intent to accuse or defend, approoue or improoue, I will cease to speake any further hereof, and proceed to the description of the first voyage, as briefly and faithfully as I was aduertised of the same, by the information of such credible persons, as made diligent inquisition to know the trueth thereof, as much as shall be requisite, omitting to speake of many particular things, not greatly necessarie to be knowen: which neuerthelesse, with also the exact course of the navigation, shall be more fully declared in the second voiage. And if herein fauour or friendship shall perhaps cause some to thinke that some haue bene sharply touched, let them lay apart fauour and friendship, and giue place to trueth, that honest men may receiue prayse for well doing, and lewd persons reproch, as the iust stipend of their euill desertes, whereby other may be deterred to doe the like, and vertuous men encouraged to proceed in honest attempts.

But that these voyages may be more plainly vnderstood of all men, I haue thought good for this purpose, before I intreat hereof, to make a briefe description of Africa, being that great part of the world, on whose West side beginneth the coast of Guinea at Cabo Verde, about twelue degrees in latitude, on this side the Equinoctiall line, and two degrees in longitude from the measuring line, so running from the North to the South, and by East in some places, within 5, 4, and 3 degrees and a halfe vnto the Equinoctiall, and so foorth in maner directly East and by North, for the space of 36 degrees or thereabout, in longitude from the West to the East, as shall more plainly appeare in the description of the second voyage.

A briefe description of Afrike gathered by Richard Eden.

In Africa the lesse are these kingdoms: the kingdom of Tunis and Constantina, which is at this day under Tunis, and also the region of Bugia, Tripoli, and Ezzah. This part of Afrike is very barren by reason of the great deserts, as the deserts of Numidia and Barca. The principall ports of the kingdome of Tunis are these: Goletta, Bizerta, Potofarnia, Bona, and Stora. The chiefe cities of Tunis are Constantina and Bona, with diuers other. Vnder this kingdom are many Ilands, as Zerbi, Lampadola, Pantalarea, Limoso, Beit, Gamelaro, and Malta, where at this present is the great master of the Rhodes. Vnder the South of this kingdom are the great deserts of Lybia. All the nations in this Africa the lesse are of the sect of Mahomet, and a rusticall people, liuing scattred in villages. The best of this part of Afrike is Barbaria lying on the coast of the sea Mediterraneum.

Mauritania (now called Barbaria) is diuided into two parts, as Mauritania Tingitana, and C├Žsariensis. Mauritania Tingitania is now called the kingdom of Fes, and the kingdom of Marocco. The principall citie of Fes is called Fessa: and the chiefe citie of Marocco is named Marocco.

Mauritania C├Žsariensis is at this day called the kingdom of Tremisen, with also the citie called Tremisen or Telensin. This region is full of deserts, and reacheth to the Sea Mediterraneum, to the citie of Oram, with the port of Mersalquiber. The kingdom of Fes reacheth vnto the Ocean Sea, from the West to the citie of Argilla: and the port of the sayd kingdom is called Sala.

The kingdom of Marocco is also extended aboue the Ocean Sea, vnto the citie of Azamor and Azafi, which are vpon the Ocean Sea, toward the West of the sayd kingdom. Nere Mauritania Tingitana (that is to say, by the two kingdoms of Fes, and Marocco) are in the Sea, the Ilands of Canarie, called in old time, The fortunate Ilands. Toward the south of this region is the kingdom of Guinea, with Senega, Ialofo, Gambra, and many other regions of the Blacke Moores, called Aethiopians or Negros all which are watered with the riuer Negro, called in old time Niger. In the sayd regions are no cities, but onely certaine lowe cottages made of boughes of trees, plastered with chalke, and couered with strawe. In these regions are also very great deserts.

The kingdom of Marocco hath vnder it these seuen kingdoms: Hea, Sus, Guzula, the territorie of Marrocca, Duccala, Hazchora, and Tedle. The kingdom of Fes hath as many: as Fes, Temesne, Azgar, Elabath, Errif, Garet, and Elcair. The kingdom of Tremisen hath these regions: Tremisen, Tenez, and Elgazair, all which are Machometists. But all the regions of Guinea are pure Gentiles, and idolatrous, without profession of any religion, or other knowledge of God, then by the law of nature.

Africa the great is one of the three parts of the world, knowen in old time, and seuered from Asia, on the East by the riuer Nilus, on the West from Europe by the pillars of Hercules. The hither part is now called Barbarie, and the people Moores. The inner part is called Lybia and Aethiopia. Afrike the lesse is in this wise bounded: On the West it hath Numidia; On the East Cyrenaica: On the North, the sea called Mediterraneum. In this countrey was the noble city of Carthage.

In the East side of Afrike beneath the red sea, dwelleth the great and mighty Emperour and Christian king Prester Iohn, well knowen to the Portugales in their voyages to Calicut. His dominions reach very farre on euery side: and hath vnder him many other Kings both christian and heathen that pay him tribute. This mightie prince is called Dauid the Emperour of Aethiopia. Some write that the king of Portugall sendeth him yeerely eight ships laden with marchandize. His kingdom confineth with the red Sea, and reacheth far into Afrike toward Aegypt and Barbarie. Southward it confineth with the Sea toward the Cape de Bona Speranza: and on the other side with the sea of sand, called Mare de Sabione, a very dangerous sea lying between the great citie of Alcair, or Cairo in Aegypt, and the country of Aethiopia: In the which way are many vnhabitable deserts, continuing for the space of fiue dayes iourney. And they affirme, that if the sayd Christian Emperour were not hindered by those deserts (in the which is great lacke of victuals, and especially of water) he would or now haue inuaded the kingdom of Egypt, and the citie of Alcair. The chiefe city of Ethiopia, where this great emperor is resident, is called Amacaiz, being a faire citie, whose inhabitants are of the colour of an Oliue. There are also many other cities, as the city of Saua vpon the riuer of Nilus, where the Emperour is accustomed to remaine in the Sommer season. There is likewise a great city named Barbaregaf, and Ascon, from whence it is said that the Queene of Saba came to Hierusalem to heare the wisedom of Salomon. This citie is but litle, yet very faire, and one of the chiefe cities in Ethiope. In this prouince are many exceeding high mountains, vpon the which is said to be the earthly paradise: and some say that there are the trees of the Sunne and Moone, whereof the antiquitie maketh mention: yet that none can passe thither by reason of great deserts of an hundred daies iourney. Also beyond these mountains is the Cape of Bona Speranza. And to haue said thus much of Afrike it may suffice.

The first voiage to Guinea and Benin.

In the yeere of our Lord 1553. the twelfth day of August, sailed from Portsmouth two goodly ships, the Primerose and the Lion, with a pinnas called the Moone, being all well furnished aswell with men of the lustiest sort, to the number of seuen score, as also with ordinance and victuals requisite to such a voiage: hauing also two captaines, the one a stranger called Anthonie Anes Pinteado, a Portugall, borne in a towne named The Port of Portugall, a wise, discreet, and sober man, who for his cunning in sailing, being as well an expert Pilot as a politike captaine, was sometime in great fauour with the king of Portugall, and to whom the coasts of Brasile and Guinea were committed to be kept from the Frenchmen, to whom he was a terrour on the Sea in those parts, and was furthermore a gentleman of the king his masters house. But as fortune in maner neuer fauoureth but flattereth, neuer promiseth but deceiueth, neuer raiseth but casteth downe againe: and as great wealth and fauour haue alwaies companions, emulation and enuie, he was after many aduersities and quarels made against him, inforced to come into England: where in this golden voyage he was euil matched with an vnequal companion, and vnlike match of most sundry qualities and conditions, with vertues few or none adorned. Thus departed these noble ships vnder saile on their voyage: But first captaine Windam putting forth of his ship at Portsmouth a kinsman of one of the head marchants, and shewing herein a muster of the tragicall partes hee had conceiued in his braine, and with such small beginnings nourished so monstrous a birth, that more happy, yea and blessed was that yong man being left behind, then if he had bene taken with them, as some do wish he had done the like by theirs. Thus sailed they on their voyage, vntill they came to the Iland of Madera, where they tooke in certaine wines for the store of their ships, and paid for them as they agreed of the price. At these Ilands they met with a great Galion of the king of Portugall, full of men and ordinance: yet such as could not haue preuailed if it had attempted to withstand or resist our ships, for the which cause it was set foorth, not onely to let and interrupt these our shippes of their purposed voiage, but al other that should attempt the like: yet chiefly to frustrate our voiage. For the king of Portugall was sinisterly informed, that our ships were armed to his castle of Mina in those parties, whereas nothing lesse was ment.

After that our ships departed from the Iland of Madera forward on their voiage, began this worthy captaine Pinteados sorow, as a man tormented with the company of a terrible Hydra, who hitherto flattred with him, and made him a faire countenance and shew of loue. Then did he take vpon him to command all alone, setting nought both by captain Pinteado, and the rest of the marchants factors, sometimes with opprobrious words, and sometimes with threatnings most shamfully abusing them, taking from Pinteado the seruice of the boies and certain mariners that were assigned him by the order and direction of the worshipful merchants, and leauing him as a common mariner, which is the greatest despite and grief that can be to a Portugale or Spaniard, to be diminished of their honor, which they esteem aboue all riches. Thus sailing forward on their voiage, they came to the Ilands of Canarie, continuing their course from thence vntil they arriued at the Iland of S. Nicholas, where they victualled themselues with fresh meat, of the flesh of wild goats, whereof is great plenty in that Iland, and in maner of nothing els. From hence following on their course and tarying here and there at the desert Ilands in the way, because they would not come too timely to the countrey of Guinea for the heat, and tarying somewhat too long (for what can be well ministred in a common wealth, where inequalitie with tyrannie wil rule alone) they came at the length to the first land of the country of Guinea, where they fel with the great riuer of Sesto, where they might for their marchandizes haue laden their ships with the graines of that countrey, which is a very hote fruit, and much like vnto a fig as it groweth on the tree. For as the figs are full of small seeds, so is the said fruit full of graines, which are loose within the cod, hauing in the mids thereof a hole on euery side. This kind of spice is much vsed in cold countries, and may there be sold for great aduantage, for exchange of other wares. But our men, by the perswasion or rather inforcement of this tragicall captaine, not regarding and setting light by that commoditie, in comparison of the fine gold they thirsted, sailed an hundred leagues further, vntil they came to the golden land: where not attempting to come neere the castle pertaining to the king of Portugall, which was within the riuer of Mina, they made sale of their ware only on this side and beyond it, for the gold of that country, to the quantitie of an hundred and fiftie pounds weight, there being in case that they might haue dispatched all their ware for gold, if the vntame braine of Windam had, or could haue given eare to the counsell and experience of Pinteado. For when that Windam not satisfied with the gold which he had, and more might haue had if he had taried about the Mina, commanding the said Pinteado (for so he tooke vpon him) to lead the ships to Benin, being vnder the Equinoctial line, and an hundred and fifty leagues beyond the Mina, where he looked to haue their ships laden with pepper: and being counselled of the said Pinteado, considering the late time of the yeere, for that time to go no further, but to make sale of their wares such as they had for gold, wherby they might haue bene great gainers: Windam not assenting hereunto, fell into a sudden rage, reuiling the sayd Pinteado, calling him Iew, with other opprobrious words, saying, This whoreson Iew hath promised to bring vs to such places as are not, or as he cannot bring vs vnto: but if he do not, I will cut off his eares and naile them to the maste. Pinteado gaue the foresaid counsell to go no further for the safegard of the men and their liues, which they should put in danger if they came too late, for the Rossia which is their Winter, not for cold, but for smothering heate, with close and cloudie aire and storming weather, of such putrifying qualitie, that it rotted the coates of their backs: or els for comming to soone for the scorching heat of the sunne, which caused them to linger in the way. [Sidenote: The king of Benin his court.] But of force and not of will brought he the ships before the riuer of Benin, where riding at an Anker, they sent their pinnas vp into the riuer 50 or 60 leagues, from whence certaine of the marchants with captaine Pinteado, Francisco, a Portugale, Nicholas Lambert gentleman, and other marchants were conducted to the court where the king remained, ten leagues from the riuer side, whither when they came, they were brought with a great company to the presence of the king, who being a blacke Moore (although not so blacke as the rest) sate in a great huge hall, long and wide, the wals made of earth without windowes, the roofe of thin boords, open in sundry places, like vnto louers to let in the aire.

And here to speake of the great reuerence they giue to their king, it is such, that if we would giue as much to our Sauior Christ, we should remooue from our heads many plagues which we daily deserue for our contempt and impietie.

So it is therefore, that when his noble men are in his presence, they neuer looke him in the face, but sit cowring, as we vpon our knees, so they vpon their buttocks, with their elbowes vpon their knees, and their hands before their faces, not looking vp vntil the king command them. And when they are comming toward the king, as far as they do see him, they do shew such reuerence, sitting on the ground with their faces couered as before. Likewise when they depart from him, they turn not their backs toward him, but goe creeping backward with like reuerence.

[Sidenote: The communication between the king of Benin and our men.] And now to speake somewhat of the communication that was between the king and our men, you shall first vnderstand that he himselfe could speake the Portugall tongue, which he had learned of a child. Therefore after he had commanded our men to stand vp, and demanded of them the cause of their comming into that countrey, they answered by Pinteado, that they were marchants trauelling into those parties for the commodities of his countrey, for exchange of wares which they had brought from their countries, being such as should be no lesse commodious for him and his people. The king then hauing of old lying in a certaine store house 30 or 40 kintals of Pepper (euery kintall being an hundred weight) willed them to looke vpon the same, and againe to bring him a sight of such marchandizes as they had brought with them. [Sidenote: The kings gentlenes towards our men. ] And thereupon sent with the captaine and the marchants certaine of his men to conduct them to the waters side, with other to bring the ware from the pinnas to the court. Who when they were returned and the wares seen, the king grew to this ende with the merchants to prouide in 30 dayes the lading of al their ships with pepper. And in case their merchandizes would not extend to the value of so much pepper, he promised to credite them to their next returne, and thereupon sent the country round about to gather pepper, causing the same to be brought to the court: So that within the space of 30 dayes they had gathered fourescore tunne of pepper.

In the meane season our men partly hauing no rule of themselues, but eating without measure of the fruits of the countrey, and drinking the wine of the Palme trees that droppeth in the night from the cut of the branches of the same, and in such extreme heate running continually into the water, and vsed before to such sudden and vehement alterations (then the which nothing is more dangerous) were thereby brought into swellings and agues: insomuch that the later time of the yeere comming on, caused them to die sometimes three and sometimes 4 or 5 in a day. Then Windam perceiuing the time of the 30 daies to be expired, and his men dying so fast, sent to the court in post to Captaine Pinteado, and the rest to come away and to tary no longer. But Pinteado with the rest, wrote backe to him againe, certifying him of the great quantity of pepper they had alreadie gathered, and looked daily for much more: desiring him furthermore to remember the great praise and name they should win, if they came home prosperously, and what shame of the contrary. With which answere Windam not satisfied, and many of their men dying dayly, willed and commaunded them againe either to come away forthwith, or els threatened to leaue them behinde. When Pinteado heard this answere, thinking to perswade him with reason, hee tooke his way from the court toward the ships, being conducted thither with men by the kings commandement.

[Sidenote: The Death of Windham.] In the meane season Windam all raging, brake vp Pinteados Cabin, brake open his chestes, spoiled such prouision of cold stilled waters and suckets as he had prouided for his health, and left him nothing, neither of his instruments to saile by, nor yet of his apparell: and in the meane time falling sicke, himselfe died also. Whose death Pinteado comming aboord, lamented as much as if he had bene the deerest friend he had in the world. [Sidenote: Pinteado euill vsed of the mariners.] But certaine of the mariners and other officers did spit in his face, some calling him Iewe, saying that he had brought them thither to kill them: and some drawing their swords at him, making a shew to slay him. Then he perceiuing that they would needs away, desired them to tarry that he might fetch the rest of the marchants that were left at the court, but they would not grant this request. Then desired he them to giue him the ship-boate, with as much of an old saile as might serue for the same, promising them therwith to bring Nicholas Lambert and the rest into England, but all was in vaine. [Sidenote: This Lambert was a Londiner borne, whose father had bin Lord Maior of London.] Then wrote he a letter to the court to the marchants, informing them of all the matter, and promising them if God would lend him life to returne with all haste to fetch them. And thus was Pinteado kept ashipboord against his will, thrust among the boyes of the ship, not vsed like a man, nor yet like an honest boy, but glad to find fauour at the cookes hand. Then departed they, leauing one of their ships behind them, which they sunke for lacke of men to cary her. [Sidenote: The death of Pinteado.] After this, within 6 or 7 dayes sayling, dyed also Pinteado for uery pensiuenesse and thought that stroke him to the heart. A man worthy to serue any prince, and most vilely vsed. And of seuenscore men came home to Plimmouth scarcely forty, and of them many died. [Sidenote: Pinteado first perswaded our men to the voiage of Guinea.] And that no man should suspect these words which I haue saide in commendation of Pinteado, to be spoken vpon fauour otherwise then trueth, I haue thought good to adde hereunto the copie of the letters which the king of Portugall and the infant his brother wrote vnto him to reconcile him, at such time as vpon the king his masters displeasure (and not for any other crime or offence, as may appeare by the said letters) he was only for pouertie inforced to come into England, where he first perswaded our marchants to attempt the said voyages to Guinea. But as the king of Portugall too late repented him that he had so punished Pinteado, vpon malicious informations of such as enuied the mans good fortune: euen so may it hereby appeare that in some cases euen Lions themselues may either be hindered by the contempt, or aided by the helpe of the poore mise, according vnto the fable of Esope.

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Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 22:20