This land of China is parted into 13. Shires, the which sometimes were ech one a kingdome by it selfe, but these many yeeres they haue bene all subiect vnto one King. Fuquien is made by the Portugals the first Shire, because there their troubles began, and they had occasion thereby to know the rest. In the shire be 8 cities, but one principally more famous then others called Fuquieo, the other seuen are reasonably great, the best knowen whereof vnto the Portugals is Cinceo, in respect of a certaine hauen ioyning thereunto, whither in time past they were wont for marchandise.
Cantan is the second shire, not so great in quantitie, as well accompted of, both by the king thereof, and also by the Portugals, for that it lieth neerer vnto Malacca then any other part of China, and was first discried by the Portugals before any other shire in that prouince: this shire hath in it seuen Cities.
Chequeam is the third shire, the chiefest Citie therein is Donchion, therein also standeth Liampo, with other 13. or 14. boroughes: countrey townes therein are too too many to be spoken of.
The fourth shire is called Xutiamfu, the principall Citie thereof is great Pachin, where the King is alwayes resident. In it are fifteene other very great Cities: of other townes therein, and boroughes well walled and trenched about, I will say nothing.
The fift shire hath name Chelim: the great Citie Nanquin chiefe of other fifteene cities was herein of ancient time the royall seat of the Chinish kings. From this shire, and from the aforesaid Chequeam forward bare rule the other kings, vntil the whole region became one kingdome.
Quianci, or, Quinzi. The 6. shire beareth the name Quianci, as also the principal City thereof, wherein the fine clay to make vessels is wrought. The Portugals being ignorant of this Countrey, and finding great abundance of that fine clay to be solde at Liampo, and that very good cheape, thought at the first that it had bene made there, howbeit in fine they perceiued that the standing of Quinzi more neere vnto Liampo then to Cinceo or Cantan was the cause of so much fine clay at Liampo: within the compasse of Quinci shire be other 12. cities.
The 7. shire is Quicin, the 8. Quansi, the 9. Confu, the 10. Vrnan, the 11. Sichiua. In the first hereof there be 16. Cities, in the next 15: how many Townes the other 3. haue, wee are ignorant as yet, as also of the proper names of the 12. and 13. shires, and the townes therein.
This finally may be generally said hereof, that the greater shires in China prouince may bee compared with mightie kingdomes.
In eche one of these shires bee set Ponchiassini and Anchiassini, before whom are handled the matters of other Cities. There is also placed in ech one a Tutan, as you would say, a gouernour, and a Chian, that is a visiter, as it were: whose office is to goe in circuit, and to see iustice exactly done. By these meanes so vprightly things are ordered there, that it may be worthily accompted one of the best gouerned prouinces in all the world.
The king maketh alwayes his abode in the great city Pachin, as much to say in our language, as by the name thereof I am aduertised, the towne of the kingdome. This kingdome is so large, that vnder fiue moneths you are not able to trauaile from the Townes by the Sea side to the Court, and backe againe, no not vnder three moneths in poste at your vrgent businesse. The post-horses in this Countrey are litle of body, but swift of foote. Many doe traueile the greater part of this iourney by water in certaine light barkes, for the multitude of Riuers commodious for passage from one Citie to another.
The king, notwithstanding the hugenesse of his kingdome, hath such a care thereof, that euery Moone (for by the Moones they reckon their monethes) hee is aduertised fully of whatsoeuer thing happeneth therein, by these meanes following.
The whole prouince being diuided into shires, and each shire hauing in it one chiefe and principall Citie, whereunto the matters of all the other Cities, Townes and boroughes, are brought, there are drawen in euery chiefe Citie aforesaid intelligences of such things as doe monethly fall out, and be sent in writing to the Court. If happely in one moneth euery Post be not able to goe so long a way, yet doeth there notwithstanding once euery moneth arriue one Poste out of the shire. Who so commeth before the new moone stayeth for the deliuery of his letters vntil the moone be changed. Then likewise are dispatched other Posts backe into all the 13. shires againe.
Before that we doe come to Cinceo wee haue to passe through many places, and some of great importance. For this Countrey is so well inhabited neere the Sea side, that you cannot goe one mile but you shall see some Towne, borough or hostry, the which are so aboundantly prouided of all things, that in the Cities and townes they liue ciuily. Neuertheles such as dwel abrode are very poore, for the multitude of them euery where is so great, that out of a tree you shall see many times swarme a number of children, where a man would not haue thought to haue found any one at all.
From these places in number infinite, you shall come vnto wo Cities very populous, and, being compared with Cinceo, not possibly to be discerned which is the greater of them. These Cities are as well walled as any Cities in all the world. As you come into either of them, there standeth so great and mighty a bridge, that the like thereof I haue neuer seene in Portugal nor else where. I heard one of my fellowes say, that hee tolde in one bridge 40. arches. The occasion wherefore these bridges are made so great is, for that the Countrey is toward the sea very plaine and low, and ouerflowed euer as the sea water encreaseth. The breadth of the bridges, although it bee well proportioned vnto the length thereof, yet are they equally built no higher in the middle then at either ende, in such wise that you may see directly from the one ende to the other: the sides are wonderfully well engraued after the maner of Rome-workes. But that we did most marueile at was therewithall the hugenesse of the stones, the like whereof, as we came into the Citie, we did see many set vp in places dishabited by the way, to no small charges of theirs, howbeit to little purpose, whereas no body seeth them but such as doe come by. The arches are not made after our fashion, vauted with sundry stones set together: but paued, as it were, whole stones reaching from one piller to an other, in such wise that they lye both for the arches heads, and galantly serue also for the highway. I haue bene astonied to beholde the hugenesse of the aforesaid stones: some of them are xii. pases long and vpward, the least ii. good pases long, and an halfe.
The wayes echwhere are galantly paued with fouresquare stone, except it be where for want of stone they vse to lay bricke: in this voyage wee trauailed ouer certaine hilles, where the wayes were pitched, and in many places no worse paued then in the plaine ground. This causes vs to thinke, that in all the world there bee no better workemen for buildings, then the inhabitants of China. The Countrey is so well inhabited, that no one foote of ground is left vntilled: small store of cattell haue we seene this day, we sawe onely certaine oxen wherewithall the countrey, men do plow their ground. One oxe draweth the plough alone not onely in this shire, but in other places also, wherein is greater store of cattell. These countreymen by arte do that in tillage, which we are constrained to doe by force. Here be solde the voydings of close stooles, although there wanteth not the dung of beastes: and the excrements of man are good marchandise throughout all China. The dungfermers seek in euery streete by exchange to buy this dirtie ware for herbs and wood. The custome is very good for keeping the Citie cleane. There is great aboundance of hennes, geese, duckes, swine, and goates, wethers haue they none: the hennes are solde by weight, and so are all other things. Two pound of hennes flesh, geese, or ducke, is worth two foi of their money, that is, d. ob. sterling. Swines flesh is sold at a penie the pound. Beefe beareth the same price, for the scarcitie thereof, howbeit Northward from Fuquieo and farther off from the seacoast, there is beefe more plentie and solde better cheape; We haue had in all the Cities we passed through, great abundance of all these victuals, beefe onely excepted. And if this Countrey were like vnto India, the inhabitants whereof eate neither henne, beefe, nor porke, but keepe that onely for the Portugals and Moores, they would be sold here for nothing. But it so falling out, that the Chineans are the greatest eaters in all the world, they do feed vpon all things, specially on porke, which, the fatter it is, is vnto them the lesse lothsome. The highest price of these things aforesaid I haue set downe, better cheap shal you sometimes buy them for the great plentie thereof in this countrey. Frogs are solde at the same price that is made of hennes, and are good meate amongst them, as also dogs, cats, rats, snakes, and all other vncleane meates.
The Cities be very gallant, specially neere vnto the gates, the which are marueilously great, and couered with iron. The gate houses are built on high with towers, and the lower part thereof is made of bricke and stone, proportionally with the walls, from the walles vpward the building is of timber, and many stories in it one aboue the other. The strength of their townes is in the mightie walles and ditches, artillerie haue they none.
The streetes in Cinceo, and in all the rest of the Cities we haue seene are very faire, so large and so straight, that it is wonderfull to behold. Their houses are built with timber, the foundations onely excepted, the which are layed with stone: in ech side of the streetes are pentises or continuall porches for the marchants to walke vnder: the breadth of the streets is neuertheless such, that in them 15. men may ride commodiously side by side. As they ride they must needs passe vnder many high arches of triumph that crosse ouer the streetes made of timber, and carued diuersly, couered with tiles of fine clay: vnder these arches the Mercers do vtter their smaller wares, and such as list to stand there are defended from raine and the heate of the Sunne. The greater gentlemen haue these arches at their doores: although some of them be not so mightily built as the rest.
I shall haue occasion to speake of a certaine order of gentlemen that are called Louteas. I wil first therefore expound what this word signifieth. Loutea is as much to say in our language as Sir, and when any of them calleth his name, he answereth Sir: and as we do say, that the king hath made some gentlemen, so say they, that there is made a Loutea. And for that amongst them the degrees are diuers both in name and office, I will tell you onely of some principals, being not able to aduertise you of all.
The maner how gentlemen are created Louteas, and do come to that honour and title, is by the giuing of a broad girdle, not like to the rest, and a cap, at the commaundement of the king. The name Loutea is more generall and common vnto mo, then the qualitie of honour thereby signified agreeth withall. Such Louteas as doe serue their prince in weightie matters for iustice, are created after trial made of their learning: but the other which serue in smaller affaires, as Captaines, constables, sergeants by land and sea, receiuers and such like, whereof there be in euery citie, as also in this, very many, are made for fauour: the chiefe Louteas are serued kneeling.
The whole prouince of China is diuided, as I haue said, into 13. shires, in euery shire at the least is one gouernour called there Tutan, in some shires there be two.
Chian, or, Chaen. Chiefe in office next vnto them be certaine other named Chians, that is, high Commissioners as you would say, visiters, with full authoritie in such wise, that they doe call vnto an accompt the Tutans themselues, but their authoritie lasteth not in any shire longer then one yere. Neuerthelesse in euery shire being at the least 7. cities, yea, in some of them 15. or 16. beside other boroughes and townes not well to be numbred, these visiters where they come are so honoured and feared, as though they were some great princes. At the yeres end, their circuit done, they come vnto that Citie which is chiefe of others in the shire, to do iustice there: finally busying themselues in the searching out of such as are to receiue the order of Louteas, whereof more shalbe said in another place.
Ouer and beside these officers, in the chiefe Citie of ech one of these aforesaid 13. prouinces, is resident one Ponchiassi, Captaine thereof, and treasurer of all the kings reuenues. This Magistrate maketh his abode in one of the foure greatest houses that be in all these head Cities. And although the principall part of his function be to be Captaine, to be treasourer of the reuenues in that prouince, and to send these reuenues at appointed times to the Court: yet hath he notwithstanding by his office also to meddle with matters appertaining vnto iustice.
Anchiassi, or Hexasi. In the second great house dwelleth an other Magistrate called Anchiassi, a great officer also, for he hath dealings in all matters of iustice. Who although he be somewhat inferior in dignitie vnto the Ponchiassi, yet for his great dealings and generall charge of iustice, whosoeuer seeth the affaires of the one house and the other might iudge this Anchiassi to be the greater.
Tuzi, an other officer so called, lieth in the thirde house, a magistrate of importance, specially in things belonging vnto warfare, for thereof hath he charge.
There is resident in the 4 house a fourth officer, bearing name Taissu. In this house is the principall prison of all the Citie. Ech one of these Magistrates aforesaide may both lay euill doers in prison, and deliuer them out againe, except the fact be heinous and of importance: in such a case they can do nothing, except they do meet al together. And if the deed deserueth death, all they together cannot determine thereof, without recourse made vnto the Chian wheresoeuer hee be, or to the Tutan; and eft soones it falleth put, that the case is referred vnto higher power. In all Cities, not onely chiefe in ech shire, but in the rest also, are meanes found to make Louteas. Many of them do study at the prince his charges, wherefore at the yeeres ende they resort vnto the head Cities, whither the Chians doe come, as it hath bene earst aside, as well to giue these degrees, as to sit in iudgement ouer the prisoners.
The Chians go in circuit euery yeere, but such as are to be chosen to the greatest offices meete not but from three yeeres to three yeeres, and that in certaine large halles appointed for them to be examined in. Many things are asked them, whereunto if they doe answere accordingly, and be found sufficient to take their degree, the Chian by and by granteth it them: but the Cap and girdle, whereby they are knowen to be Louteas, they weare not before that they be confirmed by the king. Their examination done, and triall made of them, such as haue taken their degree wont to be giuen them with all ceremonies, vse to banquet and feast many dayes together (as the Chineans fashion is to ende all their pleasures with eating and drinking) and so remaine chosen to do the king seruice in matters of learning. The other examinates founde insufficient to proceed are sent backe to their studie againe. Whose ignorance is perceiued to come of negligence and default, such a one is whipped, and sometimes sent to prison, where lying that yere when this kinde of acte was, we found many thus punished, and demaunding the cause thereof, they saide it was for that they knew not how to answere vnto certaine things asked them. It is a world to see how these Louteas are serued and feared, in such wise, that in publike assemblies at one shrike they giue, all the seruitors belonging vnto iustice tremble thereat. At their being in these places, when they list to mooue, be it but euen to the gate, these seruitors doe take them vp, and carry them in seates of beaten gold. After this sort are they borne when they goe in the City, either for their owne businesse abroade, or to see ech other at home. For the dignitie they haue, and office they doe beare, they be all accompanied: the very meanest of them all that goeth in these seates is vshered by two men at the least, that cry vnto the people to giue place, howbeit they neede it not, for that reuerence the common people haue vnto them. They haue also in their company certaine Sergeants with their maces either siluered or altogether siluer, some two, some foure, other sixe, other eight, conueniently for ech one his degree. The more principal and chiefe Louteas haue going orderly before these Sergeants, many other with staues, and a great many catchpoules with rods of Indish canes dragged on the ground, so that the streets being paued, you may heare affarre off as well the noyse of the rods, as the voyce of the criers. These fellowes serue also to apprehend others, and the better to be knowen they weare liuery red girdles, and in their caps peacocks feathers. Behinde these Louteas come such as doe beare certaine tables hanged at staues endes, wherein is written in siluer letters, the name, degree, and office of that Loutea, whom they follow. In like maner they haue borne after them hattes agreeable vnto their titles: if the Loutea be meane, then hath he brought after him but one hat, and that may not be yealowe: but if he be of the better sort, then may he haue two, three, or foure: the principall and chiefe Louteas may haue all their hats yealow, the which among them is accompted great honour. The Loutea for warres, although he be but meane, may notwithstanding haue yealow hats. The Tutans and Chians, when they goe abroad, haue besides all this before them ledde three or foure horses with their guard in armour.
Furthermore the Louteas, yea and all the people of China, are wont to eate their meate sitting on stooles at high tables as we doe, and that very cleanely, although they vse neither tableclothes nor napkins. Whatsoeuer is set downe vpon the boord is first carued before that it be brought in: they feede with two sticks, refraining from touching their meate with their hands, euen as we do with forkes: for the which respect they lesse do need any table clothes. Ne is the nation only ciuill at meate, but also in conuersation, and in courtesie they seeme to exceede all other. Likewise in their dealings after their maner they are so ready, that they farre passe all other Gentiles and Moores: the greater states are so vaine, that they line their clothes with the best silke that may be found. The Louteas are an idle generation, without all maner of exercises and pastimes, except it be eating and drinking. Sometimes they walke abroad in the fields to make the souldiers shoot at pricks with their bowes, but their eating passeth: they will stand eating euen when the other do draw to shoot. The pricke is a great blanket spread on certaine long poles, he that striketh it, hath of the best man there standing a piece of crimson Taffata, the which is knit about his head: in this sort the winners be honoured, and the Louteas with their bellies full returne home againe. The inhabitants of China be very great Idolaters, all generally doe worship the heauens: and, as wee are wont to say, God knoweth it: so say they at euery word, Tien Tautee, that is to say, The heauens doe know it. Some doe worship the Sonne, and some the Moone, as they thinke good, for none are bound more to one then to another. After the Dutch fashion. In their temples, the which they do call Meani, they haue a great altar in the same place as we haue, true it is that one may goe round about it There set they vp the image of a certaine Loutea of that countrey, whom they haue in great reuerence for certaine notable things he did. At the right hand standeth the diuel much more vgly painted then we doe vse to set him out, whereunto great homage is done by such as come into the temple to aske counsell, or to draw lottes: this opinion they haue of him, that he is malicious and able to do euil. If you aske them what they do thinke of the souls departed, they will answere that they be immortall, and that as soone as any one departeth out of this life, he becommeth a diuel if he haue liued well in this world, if otherwise, that the same diuel changeth him into a bufle, oxe, or dogge. Pythagorean like. Wherefore to this diuel they doe much honour, to him doe they sacrifice, praying him that he will make them like vnto himselfe, and not like other beastes. They haue moreouer another sort of temples, wherein both vpon the altars and also on the walls do stand many idols well proportioned, but bare headed; these beare name Omithofon, accompted of them spirits, but such as in heauen doe neither good nor euill, thought to be such men and women as haue chastly liued in this world in abstinence from fish and flesh, fed onely with rise and salates. Of that diuel they make some accompt: for these spirits they care litle or nothing at all. Againe they hold opinion that if a man do well in this life, the heauens will giue him many temporall blessings, but if he doe euil, then shall he haue infirmities, diseases, troubles, and penurie, and all this without any knowledge of God. Finally, this people knoweth no other thing then to liue and die, yet because they be reasonable creatures, all seemed good vnto them we speake in our language, though it were not very sufficient; our maner of praying especially pleased them, and truely they are well ynough disposed to receiue the knowledge of the trueth. Our Lord grant for his mercy all things so to be disposed, that it may sometime be brought to passe, that so great a nation as this is perish not for want of helpe.
Our maner of praying so well liked them, that in prison importunately they besought vs to write for them somewhat as concerning heauen, the which we did to their contentation with such reasons as we knew, howbeit not very cunningly. As they do their idolatry they laugh at themselues. If at any time this countrey might be ioyned in league with the kingdome of Portugale, in such wise that free accesse were had to deale with the people there, they might all be soone conuerted. The greatest fault we doe finde in them is Sodomie, a vice very common in the meaner sort, and nothing strange among the best. This sinne were it left of them, in all other things so well disposed they be, that a good interpreter in a short space might do there great good: If, as I said, the countrey were ioyned in league with vs.
Furthermore the Louteas, with all the people of China, are wont to solemnise the dayes of the new and full Moones in visiting one an other, and making great banquets: for to that end, as I earst said, do tend all their pastimes, and spending their dayes in pleasure. They are wont also to solemnise ech one his birth day, whereunto their kindred and friends do resort of custome with presents of iewels or money, receiuing againe for their reward good cheare. They keepe in like maner a generall feast with great banquets that day their king was borne. But their most principall and greatest feast of all, and best cheare, is the first day of new yeere, namely the first day of the new Moone of February, so that their first moneth is March, and they reckon the times accordingly, respect being had vnto the reigne of their princes: as when any deed is written, they date it thus, Made such a day of such a moone, and such a yeere of the reigne of such a king. And their ancient writings beare date of the yeeres of this or that king.
Now will I speake of the maner which the Chineans doe obserue in doing of iustice, that it be knowen how farre these Gentiles do herein exceed many Christians, that be more bounden then they to deale iustly and in trueth. Because the Chinish king maketh his abode continually in the city of Pachin, his kingdome is so great, and the shires so many, as tofore it hath bene said: in it therefore the gouernours and rulers, much like vnto our Shireffs, be appointed so suddenly and speedily discharged againe, that they haue no time to grow naught. Furthermore to keepe the state in more securitie, the Louteas that gouerne one shire are chosen out of some other shire distant farre off, where they must leaue their wiues, children and goods, carying nothing with them but themselues. True it is, that at their comming thither they doe finde in a readinesse all things necessary, their house, furniture, seruants, and all other things in such perfection and plentie, that they want nothing. Thus the king is well serued without all feare of treason.
In the principall Cities of the shires be foure chiefe Louteas, before whom are brought all matters of the inferiour Townes, throughout the whole Realme. Diuers other Louteas haue the managing of iustice, and receiuing of rents, bound to yeelde an accompt thereof vnto the greater officers. Other do see that there be no euil rule kept in the Citie: ech one as it behoueth him. The Italians call it the strapado. Generally all these doe imprison malefactors, cause them to be whipped and racked, hoysing them vp and downe by the armes with a cord, a thing very vsuall there, and accompted no shame. These Louteas do vse great diligence in the apprehending of theeues, so that it is a wonder to see a theefe escape away in any City, towne or village. Vpon the sea neere vnto the shoare many are taken, and looke euen as they are taken, so be they first whipped, and afterward layde in prison, where shortly after they all die for hunger and cold. At that time when we were in prison, there died of them aboue threescore and ten. If happely any one, hauing the meanes to get food, do escape, he is set with the condemned persons, and prouided for as they be by the King, in such wise as hereafter it shalbe said.
Their whips be certaine pieces of canes, cleft in the middle, in such sort that they seeme rather plaine then sharpe. He that is to be whipped lieth groueling on the ground: vpon his thighes the hangman layeth on blowes mightily with these canes, that the standers by tremble at their crueltie. Ten stripes draw a great deale of blood, 20. or 30. spoile the flesh altogether, 50. or 60. will require long time to bee healed, and if they come to the number of one hundred, then are they incurable.
The Louteas obserue moreouer this: when any man is brought before them to be examined, they aske him openly in the hearing of as many as be present, be the offence neuer so great. Thus did they also behaue themselues with vs: For this cause amongst them can here be no false witnesse, as daily amongst vs it falleth out. This good commeth thereof, that many being alwayes about the Iudge to heare the euidence, and beare witnesse, the processe cannot be falsified, as it happeneth sometimes with vs. The Moores, Gentiles, and Iewes haue all their sundry othes, the Moores do sweare by their Mossafos, the Brachmans by their Fili, the rest likewise by the things they do worship. The Chineans though they be wont to sweare by heauen, by the Moone, by the Sunne, and by all their Idoles, in iudgement neuertheless they sweare not at all. If for some offence an othe be vsed of any one, by and by with the least euidence he is tormented, so be the witnesses he bringeth, if they tell not the trueth, or do in any point disagree, except they be men of worship and credit, who are beleeued without any further matter: the rest are made to confesse the trueth by force of torments and whips. Besides this order obserued of them in examinations, they do feare so much their King, and he where he maketh his abode keepeth them so lowe, that they dare not once stirre. Againe, these Louteas as great as they be, notwithstanding the multitude of Notaries they haue, not trusting any others, do write all great processes and matters of importance themselues. Moreouer one vertue they haue worthy of great praise, and that is, being men so wel regarded and accompted as though they were princes, yet they be patient aboue measure in giuing audience. We poore strangers brought before them might say what we would, as all to be lyes and fallaces that they did write, ne did we stand before them with the usuall ceremonies of that Countrey, yet did they beare with vs so patiently, that they caused vs to wonder, knowing specially how litle any aduocate or Iudge is wont in our Countrey to beare with vs. For wheresoeuer in any Towne of Christendome should be accused vnknowen men as we were, I know not what end the very innocents cause would haue: but we in a heathen Countrey, hauing our great enemies two of the chiefest men in a whole Towne, wanting an interpreter, ignorant of that Countrey language, did in the end see our great aduersaries cast into prison for our sake, and depriued of their Offices and honour for not doing iustice, yea not to escape death: for, as the rumour goeth, they shalbe beheaded. Somewhat is now to be said of the lawes that I haue bene able to know in this Countrey, and first, no theft or murther is at any time pardoned: adulterers are put in prison, and the fact once prooued, are condemned to die, the womans husband must accuse them: this order is kept with men and women found in that fault, but theeues and murderers are imprisoned as I haue said, where they shortly die for hunger and cold. If any one happely escape by bribing the Gailer to giue him meate, his processe goeth further, and commeth to the Court where he is condemned to die. A pillory boord. Sentence being giuen, the prisoner is brought in publique with a terrible band of men that lay him in Irons hand and foot, with a boord at his necke one handfull broad, in length reaching downe to his knees, cleft in two parts, and with a hole one handfull downeward in the table fit for his necke, the which they inclose vp therein, nailing the boord fast together; one handfull of the boord standeth vp behinde in the necke: The sentence and cause wherefore the fellon was condemned to die, is written in that part of the table that standeth before.
This ceremony ended, he is laid in a great prison in the company of some other condemned persons, the which are found by the king as long as they do liue. The bord aforesaid so made tormenteth the prisoners very much, keeping them both from rest, and eke letting them to eat commodiously, their hands being manacled in irons vnder that boord, so that in fine there is no remedy but death. In the chiefe Cities of euery shire, as we haue erst said, there be foure principall houses, in ech of them a prison: but in one of them, where the Taissu maketh his abode, there is a greater and a more principall prison then in any of the rest: and although in euery City there be many, neuerthelesse in three of them remaine onely such as be condemned to die. Their death is much prolonged, for that ordinarily there is no execution done but once a yeere, though many die for hunger and cold, as we haue seene in this prison. Execution is done in this maner. The Chian, to wit, the high Commissioner or Lord chiefe Iustice, at the yeres end goeth to the head City, where he heareth againe the causes of such as be condemned. Many times he deliuereth some of them, declaring that boord to haue bene wrongfully put about their necks: the visitation ended, he choseth out seuen or eight, not many more or lesse of the greatest malefactors, the which, to feare and keepe in awe the people, are brought into a great market place, where all the great Louteas meete together, and after many ceremonies and superstitions, as the vse of the Countrey is, are beheaded. This is done once a yeere: who so escapeth that day, may be sure that he shall not be put to death all that yeere following, and so remaineth at the kings charges in the greater prison. In that prison where we lay were alwayes one hundred and mo of these condemned persons, besides them that lay in other prisons.
These prisons wherein the condemned caytifes do remaine are so strong, that it hath not bene heard, that any prisoner in all China hath escaped out of prison, for in deed it is a thing impossible. The prisons are thus builded. First all the place is mightily walled about, the walles be very strong and high, the gate of no lesse force: within it three other gates, before you come where the prisoners do lye, there many great lodgings are to be seene of the Louteas, Notaries, Parthions, that is, such as do there keepe watch and ward day and night, the court large and paued, on the one side whereof standeth a prison, with two mighty gates, wherein are kept such prisoners as haue committed enormious offences. This prison is so great, that in it are streets and Market places wherein all things necessary are sold. Yea some prisoners liue by that kind of trade, buying and selling, and letting out beds to hire: some are dayly sent to prison, some dayly deliuered, wherefore this place is neuer void of 7. or eight hundred men that go at libertie.
Into one other prison of condemned persons shall you go at three yron gates, the court paued and vauted round about, and open aboue as it were a cloister. In this cloister be eight roomes with yron doores, and in ech of them a large gallerie, wherein euery night the prisoners do lie at length, their feet in the stocks, their bodies hampered in huge wooden grates that keep them from sitting, so that they lye as it were in a cage, sleepe if they can: in the morning they are losed againe, that they may go into the court. Notwithstanding the strength of this prison, it is kept with a garrison of men, part whereof watch within the house, part of them in the court, some keepe about the prison with lanterns and watch-bels answering one another fiue times euery night, and giuing warning so lowd, that the Loutea resting in a a chamber not neere thereunto, may heare them. In these prisons of condemned persons remaine some 15, other 20. yeres imprisoned, not executed, for the loue of their honorable friends that seeke to prolong their liues. Many of these prisoners be shoomakers, and haue from the king a certaine allowance of rise: some of them worke for the keeper, who suffreth them to go at libertie without fetters and boords, the better to worke. Howbeit when the Loutea called his checke roll, and with the keeper vieweth them, they all weare their liuerses, that is, boords at their necks, yronned hand and foot. When any of these prisoners dieth, he is to be seene of the Loutea and Notaries, brought out of a gate so narrow, that there can but one be drawen out there at once. The prisoners being brought forth, one of the aforesaid Parthions striketh him thrise on the head with an yron sledge, that done he is deliuered vnto his friends, if he haue any, otherwise the king hireth men to cary him to his buriall in the fields.
Thus adulterers and theeues are vsed. Such as be imprisoned for debt once knowen, lie there vntill it be paied. Of like the first lenders be the more wealthie. The Taissu or Loutea calleth them many times before him by the vertue of his office, who vnderstanding the cause wherefore they do not pay their debts, appointeth them a certaine time to do it, within the compasse whereof if they discharge not their debts being debtors in deed, then they be whipped and condemned to perpetuall imprisonment: if the creditors be many, and one is to be paied before another, they do, contrary to our maner, pay him first of whom they last borrowed, and so ordinarily the rest, in such sort that the first lender be the last receiuer. The same order is kept in paying legacies: the last named receiueth his portion first. They accompt it nothing to shew fauour to such a one as can do the like againe: but to do good to them that haue litle or nothing, that is worth thanks, therefore pay they the last before the first, for that their intent seemeth rather to be vertuous then gainefull.
When I said, that such as be committed to prison for theft and murther were iudged by the Court, I ment not them that were apprehended in the deed doing, for they need no triall, but are brought immediatly before the Tutan, who out of hand giueth sentence. Others not taken so openly, which do need trial, are the malefactors put to execution once a yere in the chiefe cities, to keepe in awe the people: or condemned, do remaine in prison, looking for their day. Theeues being taken are caried to prison from one place to another in a chest vpon mens shoulders, hired therefore by the king, the chest is 6. handfuls high, the prisoner sitteth therein vpon a bench, the couer of the chest is two boords, amid them both a pillery-like hole, for the prisoners necke, there sitteth he with his head without the chest, and the rest of his body within, not able to mooue or turne his head this way or that way, nor to plucke it in; the necessities of nature he voydeth at a hole in the bottome of a chest, the meate he eateth is put into his mouth by others. There abideth he day and night during his whole iourney: if happily his porters stumble, or the chest do iogge or be set down carelessly, it turneth to his great paines that sitteth therein, al such motions being vnto him hanging as it were. Thus were our companions carried from Cinceo, 7. dayes iourney, neuer taking any rest as afterward they told vs, and their greatest griefe was to stay by the way: as soone as they came, being taken out of the chests, they were not able to stand on their feet, and two of them died shortly after. When we lay in prison at Fuquieo, we came many times abroad, and were brought to the pallaces of noble men, to be seene of them and their wiues, for that they had neuer seene any Portugale before. Many things they asked vs of our Countrey, and our fashions, and did write euery thing, for they be curious in nouelties aboue measure. The gentlemen shew great curtesie vnto strangers, and so did we finde at their hands, and because that many times we were brought abroad into the City, somewhat wil I say of such things as I did see therein, being a gallant City, and chiefe in one of the 13. shires aforesaid. The City Fuquieo is very great, and mightily walled with square stone both within and without, and, as it may seeme by the breadth thereof, filled vp in the middle with earth, layd ouer with brick and couered with tyle, after the maner of porches or galleries, that one might dwel therein. The staires they vse are so easily made, that one may go them vp and downe a horse-backe, as eftsoones they do: the streets are paued, as already it hath bin said: there be a great number of Marchants, euery one hath written in a great table at his doore such things as he hath to sel. In like maner euery artisane painteth out his craft: the market places be large, great abundance of al things there be to be sold. The city standeth vpon water, many streames run through it, the banks pitched, and so broad that they serue for streets to the cities vse. Ouer the streams are sundry bridges both of timber and stone, which being made leuel with the streets, hinder not the passage of the barges too and fro, the chanels are so deepe. Where the streames come in and go out of the city, be certaine arches in the wal, there go in and out their Parai, that is a kind of barges they haue, and that in the day time only: at night these arches are closed vp with gates, so do they shut vp al the gates of the City. These streames and barges do ennoblish very much the City, and make it as it were to seeme another Venice. The buildings are euen, wel made, high, not lofted, except it be some wherein marchandize is laid. It is a world to see how great these cities are, and the cause is, for that the houses are built euen, as I haue said, and do take a great deale of roome. One thing we saw in this city that made vs al to wonder, and is worthy to be noted: namely, ouer a porch at the comming in to one of the aforesaid 4. houses, which the king hath in euery shire for his gouernors, as I haue erst said, standeth a tower built vpon 40. pillers, ech one whereof is but one stone, ech one 40. handfuls or spans long: in bredth or compasse 12, as many of vs did measure them. Besides this, their greatnesse is such in one piece, that it might seeme impossible to worke them: they be moreouer cornered, and in colour, length and breadth so like, that the one nothing differeth from the other. This thing made vs all to wonder very much.
We are wont to cal this country China, and the people Chineans, but as long as we were prisoners, not hearing amongst them at any time that name, I determined to learne how they were called: and asked sometimes by them thereof, for that they vnderstood vs not when we called them Chineans, I answered them, that al the inhabitants of India named them Chineans, wherefore I praied them that they would tel me, for what occasion they are so called, whether peraduenture any city of theirs bare that name. Hereunto they alwayes answered me, that they haue no such name, nor euer had. Then did I aske them what name the whole Country bareth, and what they would answere being asked of other nations what countrymen they were? It was told me that of ancient time in this country had bin many kings, and though presently it were al vnder one, ech kingdom neuertheles enioyed that name it first had, these kingdomes are the prouinces I spake of before. Tamen the proper name of China. In conclusion they said, that the whole country is called Tamen, and the inhabitants Tamegines, so that this name China or Chineans, is not heard of in that country. I thinke that the neernesse of another prouince thereabout called Cochinchina, and the inhabitants thereof Cochinesses, first discovered before China was, lying not far from Malacca, did giue occasion to ech of the nations, of that name Chineans, as also the whole country to be named China. But their proper name is that aforesaid.
I haue heard moreover that in the City of Nanquim remaineth a table of gold, and in it written a kings name, as a memory of that residence the kings were wont to keepe there. This table standeth in a great pallace, couered alwayes, except it be on some of their festiuall dayes, at what time they are wont to let it be seene, couered neuertheless as it is, all the nobilitie of the City going of duetie to doe it euery day reuerence. The like is done in the head Cities of all the other shires in the pallaces of the Ponchiassini, wherein these aforesaid tables doe stand with the kings name written in them, although no reuerence be done thereunto but in solemn feastes.
Pochan, or Pachin. I haue likewise vnderstood that the city Pachin, where the king maketh his abode, is so great, that to go from one side to the other, besides the Suburbs, the which are greater then the City it selfe, it requireth one whole day a horseback, going hackney pase. In the suburbs be many wealthy marchants of all sorts. They tolde me furthermore that it was moted about, and in the moates great store of fish, whereof the King maketh great gaines.
Their enemies. It was also told me that the king of China had no kings to wage battel withall, besides the Tartars, with whom he had concluded a peace more then 80. yeres ago. Neuerthelesse their friendship was not so great, that the one nation might marry with the other. Marriage of the kings children. And demanding with whom they married, they said, that in olde time the Chinish kings when they would marry their daughters, accustomed to make a solemne feast, whereunto came all sorts of men. The daughter that was to be married, stood in a place where she might see them all, and looke whom she liked best, him did she chuse to husband, and if happely he were of a base condition, hee became by and by a gentleman: but this custome hath bene left long since. Now a dayes the king marrieth his daughters at his owne pleasure, with great men of the kingdome: the like order he obserueth in the marriage of his sonnes.
They haue moreouer one thing very good, and that which made vs all to maruelle at them being Gentiles: namely, that there be hospitals in all their Cities, alwayes full of people, we neuer saw any poore body begge. He speaketh not here of all China, but of the Cities, for in other places there be beggers, as you haue seene already, swarming out of trees. We therefore asked the cause of this: answered it was, that in euery City there is a great circuit, wherein be many houses for poore people, for blinde, lame, old folke, not able to trauaile for age, nor hauing any other meanes to liue. These folke haue in the aforesaid houses euer plentie of rice during their liues, but nothing else. Such as be receiued into these houses, come in after this maner. When one is sicke, blinde or lame, he maketh a supplication to the Ponchiassi, and prouing that to be true he writeth, he remaineth in the aforesaid great lodging as long as he liueth: besides this they keepe in these places swine and hennes, whereby the poore be relieued without going a begging.
I said before that China was full of riuers, but now I minde to confirme the same anew: for the farther we went into the Countrey, the greater we found the riuers. Sometimes we were so farre off from the sea, that where we came no sea fish had bene seene, and salt was there very deare, of fresh water fish yet was there great abundance, and that fish very good: they keep it good after this maner. Where the riuers do meete, and so passe into the sea, there lieth great store of boats, specially where no salt-water commeth, and that in March and April. These boates are so many that it seemeth wonderfull, ne serue they for other then to take small fish. By the riuers sides they make leyres of fine and strong nettes, that lye three handfulls vnder water, and one aboue to keepe and nourish their fish in, vntill such time as other fishers do come with boates, bringing for that purpose certaine great chests lined with paper, able to holde water, wherein they cary their fish vp and downe the riuer, euery day renuing the chest with fresh water, and selling their fish in euery City, towne and village where they passe, vnto the people as they neede it: most of them haue net leyres to keepe fish in alwayes for their prouision. Where the greater boates cannot passe any further forward, they take lesser, and because the whole Countrey is very well watered, there is so great plenty of diuers sorts of fish, that it is wonderfull to see: assuredly we were amazed to behold the maner of their prouision. Meanes to fat fish. Their fish is chiefly nourished with the dung of Bufles and oxen, that greatly fatteth it. Although I said their fishing to be in March and April at what time we saw them do it, neuerthelesse they told vs that they fished at all times, for that vsually they do feed on fish, wherefore it behoueth them to make their prouision continually.
When we had passed Fuquien, we went into Quicin shire, He speaketh of Fuquien shire. where the fine clay vessell is made, as I said before: and we came to a City, the one side whereof is built vpon the the foote of a hill, whereby passeth a riuer nauigable: there we tooke boat, and went by water toward the Sea: on ech side of the riuer we found many Cities, Townes and villages, wherein we saw great store of marchandize, but specially of fine clay: there did we land by the way to buy victuals and other necessaries. Going downe this riuer Southward, we were glad that wee drew neere vnto a warmer Countrey, from whence we had bene farre distant: this Countrey we passed through in eight dayes, for our iourney lay downe the streame. Before that I doe say any thing of that shire we came into, I will first speake of the great City of Quicin, wherein alwayes remaineth a Tutan, that is a gouernour, as you haue seene, though some Tutans do gouerne two or three shires.
That Tutan that was condemned for our cause, of whom I spake before, was borne in this Countrey, but he gouerned Foquien shire: nothing it auailed him to be so great an officer. This Countrey is so great, that in many places where we went, there had bene as yet no talke of his death, although he were executed a Whole yere before. Aliàs Cenchi. At the Citie Quanchi whither we came, the riuer was so great it seemed a Sea, though it were so litle where we tooke water, that we needed small boats. One day about nine of the clocke, beginning to row neere the walls with the streame, we came at noone to a bridge made of many barges, ouerlinked al together with two mightie cheines. There stayed we vntill it was late, but we saw not one go either vp thereon or downe, except two Louteas that about the going downe of the Sunne, came and set them down there, the one on one side, the other on the other side. Then was the bridge opened in many places, and barges both great and small to the number of sixe hundred began to passe: those that went vp the streame at one place, such as came downe at an other. When all had thus shot the bridge, then was it shut vp againe. The kings reuenues. We heare say that euery day they take this order in all principall places of marchandize, for paying of the Custome vnto the king, specially for salt, whereof the greatest reuenues are made that the king hath in this Countrey. The passage of the bridge where it is opened, be so neere the shoare, that nothing can passe without touching the same. To stay the barges at their pleasure, that they goe no further forward, are vsed certaine iron instruments The bridge consisteth of 112. barges, there stayed we vntill the euening that they were opened, lothsomely oppressed by the multitude of people that came to see vs, so many in number, that we were enforced to go aside from the banke vntil such time as the bridge was opened: howbeit we were neuerthelesse thronged about with many boates full of people. And though in other Cities and places where we went, the people came so importunate vpon vs, that it was needfull to withdraw our selues: yet were we here much more molested for the number of people: and this bridge is the principall way out of the Citie vnto another place so wel inhabited, that were it walled about, it might be compared to the Citie. When we had shot the bridge, we kept along the Citie vntil it was night, and then met we with another riuer that ioyned with this, we rowed vp that by the walls vntill we came to another bridge gallantly made of barges, but lesser a great deale then that other bridge ouer the greater streame: here stayed we that night, and other two dayes with more quiet, being out of the preasse of the people. These riuers do meet without at one corner point of the City. In either of them were so many barges great and small, that we all thought them at the least to be aboue three thousand: the greater number thereof was in the lesser riuer, where we were. Amongst the rest here lay certaine greater vessels, called in their language Parai, that serue for the Tutan, when he taketh his voyage by other riuers that ioyne with this, towards Pachin, where the king maketh his abode. For, as many times I haue erst said, all this Countrey is full of riuers. Desirous to see those Parai we got into some of them, where we found some chambers set foorth with gilded beds very richly, other furnished with tables and seats, and all other things so neat and in perfection, that it was wonderfull.
Quiacim shire, as farre as I can perceiue, lieth vpon the South. On that side we kept at our first entry thereinto, trauayling not farre from the high mountaines we saw there. Asking what people dwelleth beyond those monntaines, it was told me that they be theeues and men of a strange language. And because that vnto sundry places neere this riuer the mountaines doe approch, whence the people issuing downe do many times great harme, this order is taken at the entry into Quiacim shire. To guard this riuer whereon continually go to and fro Parai great and small fraught with salt, fish poudred with peper, and other necessaries for that countrey, they do lay in diuers places certaine Parai, and great barges armed, wherin watch and ward is kept day and night on both sides of the riuer, for the safety of the passage, and securitie of such Parai as do remaine there, though the trauailers neuer go but many in company. In euery rode there be at the least thirtie, in some two hundred men, as the passage requireth. This guard is kept vsually vntill you come to the City Onchio, where continually the Tutan of this shire, and eke of Cantan, maketh his abode. From that City vpward, where the riuer waxeth more narrow, and the passage more dangerous, there be alwayes armed one hundred and fiftie Parai, to accompany other vessels fraught with marchandize, and all this at the Kings charges. This seemed to me one of the strangest things I did see in this Countrey.
When we lay at Fuquien, we did see certaine Moores, who knew so litle of their secte, that they could say nothing else but that Mahomet was a Moore, my father was a Moore, and I am a Moore, with some other wordes of their Alcoran, wherewithall, in abstinence from swines flesh, they liue vntill the diuel take them all. This when I saw, and being sure that in many Chinish Cities the reliques of Mahomet are kept, as soone as we came to the City where these fellowes be, I enfourmed my selfe of them, and learned the trueth.
Great ships comming from the North. These Moores, as they tolde me, in times past came in great ships fraught with marchandise from Pachin ward, to a port granted vnto them by the king, as hee is wont to all them that traffique into this Countrey, where they being arriued at a litle Towne standing in the hauens mouth, in time conuerted vnto their sect the greatest Loutea there. When that Loutea with all his family was become Moorish, the rest began likewise to doe the same. In this part of China the people be at libertie, euery one to worship and folow what him liketh best. Wherefore no body tooke heede thereto, vntil such time as the Moores perceiuing that many followed them in superstition, and that the Loutea fauoured them, they began to forbid wholy the eating of swines flesh. But all these countreymen and women chosing rather to forsake father and mother, then to leaue off eating of porke, by no meanes would yeeld to that proclamation. For besides the great desire they all haue to eate that kinde of meate, many of them do liue thereby: and therefore the people complained vnto the Magistrates, accusing the Moores of a conspiracie pretended betwixt them and the Loutea against their king. In this countrey, as no suspition, no not one traiterous word is long borne withall, so was the king speedily aduertised thereof, who gaue commandement out of hand that the aforesaid Loutea should be put to death, and with him the Moores of most importance: the other to be layde first in prison, and afterward to be sent abroad into certaine Cities, where they remained perpetuall slaues vnto the king. To this City came by happe men and women threescore and odde, who at this day are brought to fiue men and foure women, for it is how twenty yeeres since this happened. That is their temples. Their offspring passeth the number of two hundreth, and they in this City, as the rest in other Cities whither they were sent, haue their Moscheas, whereunto they all resort euery Friday to keepe their holy day. But, as I thinke, that will no longer endure, then whiles they doe liue that came from thence, for their posteritie is so confused, that they haue nothing of a Moore in them but abstinence from swines flesh, and yet many of them doe eate thereof primly. It should seeme by their voyage to be Cardandan in Ortelius. They tell mee that their natiue Countrey hath name Camarian, a firme land wherein be many kings, and the Indish countrey well knowen vnto them. It may so be: for as soone as they did see our seruants (our seruants were Preuzaretes) they iudged them to be Indians: many of their wordes sounded vpon the Persian tongue, but none of vs coulde vnderstand them. I asked them whether they conuerted any of the Chinish nation vnto their secte: they answered mee, that with much a doe they conuerted the women with whom they doe marry, yeelding me no other cause thereof, but the difficultie they finde in them to be brought from eating swines flesh and drinking of wine. I am perswaded therefore, that if this Countrey were in league with vs, forbidding them neither of both, it would be an easie matter to draw them to our Religion, from their superstition, whereat they themselues do laugh when they do then idolatry.
A Northerne Sea. I haue learned moreouer that the Sea, whereby these Moores that came to China were wont to trauaile, is a very great gulfe, that falleth into this Countrey out from Tartaria and Persia, leauing on the other side all the Countrey of China, and land of the Mogores, drawing alwayes toward the South: and of all likelyhood it is euen so, because that these Moores, the which we haue seene, be rather browne then white, whereby they shewe themselues to cone from some warmer Countrey then China is neere to Pachin, where the riuers are frosen in the Winter for colde, and many of them so vehemently that carts may passe ouer them.
We did see in this Citie many Tartars, Mogores, Brames, and Laoynes, both men and women. The Tartars are men very white, good horsemen and archers, confining with China on that side where Pachin standeth, separated from thence by great mountaines that are bewixt these kingdomes. Ouer them be certaine wayes to passe, and for both sides, Castles continually kept with Souldiers: in time past the Tartars were wont alwayes to haue warres with the Chineans, but these fourescore yeeres past they were quiet, vntill the second yeere of our imprisonment. The Mogores be in like maner white, and heathen, we are aduertised that of one side they border vpon these Tartars, and confine with the Persian Tartars on the other side, whereof we sawe in them some tokens, as their maner of clothes, and that kinde of hat the Saracens doe weare. The Moores affirmed, that where the king lyeth, there be many Tartars and Mogores, that brought into China certaine blewes of great value: all we thought it to be Vanil of Cambaia wont to be sold at Ormus. So that this is the true situation of that Countrey, not in the North parts, as many times I haue heard say, confining with Germanie.
As for the Brames we haue seene in this city Chenchi certaine men and women, amongst whom there was one that came not long since, hauing as yet her haire tied vp after the Pegues fashion: this woman, and other mo with whom a black Moore damsel in our company had conference, and did vnderstand them wel ynough, had dwelt in Pegu. This new come woman, imagining that we ment to make our abode in that citie, bid vs to be of good comfort, for that her countrey was not distant from thence aboue fiue dayes iourney, and that out of her countrey there lay a high way for vs home into our owne. Being asked the way, she answered that the first three daies the way lieth ouer certaine great mountaines and wildernesse, afterward people are met withall againe. Southward from Chenchi to the sea. Thence two dayes iourney more to the Brames countrey. Wherefore I doe conclude, that Chenchi is one of the confines of this kingdome, separated by certaine huge mountaines, as it hath bene alreadie said, that lie out towards the South. In the residue of these mountaines standeth the prouince of Sian, the Laoyns countrey, Camboia, Campaa, and Cochinchina.
This citie chiefe of other sixteene is situated in a pleasant plaine abounding in all things necessarie, sea-fish onely excepted, for it standeth farre from the sea: of fresh fish so much store, that the market places are neuer emptie. The walles of this city are very strong and high: one day did I see the Louteas thereof go vpon the walles to take the view thereof, borne in their seates which I spake of before, accompanied with a troupe of horsemen that went two and two: It was tolde me they might haue gone three and three. We haue seene moreouer, that within this aforesayd Citie: the king hath moe then a thousande of his kinne lodged in great pallaces, in diuers partes of the Citie: their gates be redde, and the entrie into their houses, that they may be knowen, for that is the kings colour. These Gentlemen, according to their neerenesse in blood vnto the king, as soone as they be married receiue their place in honour: this place neither increaseth nor diminisheth in any respect as long as the king liueth, the king appointeth them their wiues and familie, allowing them by the moneth all things necessarie abundantly, as he doth to his gouernours of shires and Cities, howbeit, not one of these hath as long as he liueth any charge or gouernement at all. They giue themselues to eating and drinking, and be for the most part burly men of bodie, insomuch that espying any one of them whom we had not seene before, we might knowe him to be the King his cosin. They be neuerthelesse very pleasant, courteous, and faire conditioned: neither did we find, all the time wee were in that citie, so much honour and good intertainement any where as at their hands. They bid vs to their houses to eate and drinke, and when they found vs not, or we were not willing to go with them, they bid our seruants and slaues, causing them to sit downe with the first. Notwithstanding the good lodging these Gentlemen haue, so commodious that they want nothing, yet are they in this bondage, that during life they neuer goe abroad. The cause, as I did vnderstand, wherefore the king so vseth his cosins is, that none of them at any time may rebell against him: and thus he shutteth them vp in three or foure other cities. Most of them can play on the Lute, and to make that kinde of pastime peculiar vnto them onely, all other in the cities where they doe liue be forbidden that instrument, the Curtisans and blinde folke onely accepted, who be musicians and can play.
This king furthermore, for the greater securitie of his Realme and the auoiding of tumults, letteth not one in all his countrey to be called Lord, except he be of his blood. Manie great estates and gouernours there be, that during their office are lodged Lord-like, and doe beare the port of mightie Princes: but they be so many times displaced and other placed a new, that they haue not the time to become corrupt. True it is that during their office they be well prouided for, as afterward also lodged at the kings charges, and in pension as long as they liue, payed them monethly in the cities where they dwell by certaine officers appointed for that purpose. The king then is a Lord onely, not one besides him as you haue seene, except it be such as be of his blood. A Nephew likewise of the king, the kings sisters sonne, lyeth continually within the walles of the citie in a strong pallace built Castlewise, euen as his other cousins do, remayning alwayes within doores, serued by Eunuches, neuer dealing with any matters. On their festiuall dayes, new moones, and full moones the magistrates make great bankets, and so do such as be of the king his blood. Goa is a city of the Portugals in the East Indies. The kings Nephew hath to name Vanfuli, his pallace is walled about, the wall is not high but fouresquare, and in circuit nothing inferiour to the wals of Goa, the outside is painted red, in euery square a gate, and ouer each gate a tower made of timber excellently well wrought: before the principall gate of the foure that openeth in to the high street no Loutea, be he neuer so great, may passe on horsebacke, or carried in his seat. Amidst this quadrangle standeth the pallace where that Nobleman lyeth, doubtlesse worth the sight, although we came not in to see it. By report the roofes of the towers and houses are glased greene, and the greater part of the quadrangle set with sauage trees, as Okes, Chesnuts, Cypresse, Pineapples, Cedars, and other such like that we do want, after the manner of a wood, wherein are kept Stags, Oxen, and other beasts, for that Lord his recreation neuer going abroad as I haue sayd. One preheminence this citie hath aboue the rest where we haue bene, and that of right, as we do thinke, that besides the multitude of market places wherein all things are to be sold through euery streete continually are cryed all things necessary, as flesh of all sortes, freshfish, hearbes, oyle, vineger, meale, rise: in summa, all things so plentifully, that many houses neede no servants, euery thing being brought to their doores. Most part of the marchants remaine in the suburbes, for that the cities are shut vp euery night, as I haue said. The marchants therefore, the better to attend their businesse, do chuse rather to make their abode without in the suburbes then within the citie. I haue seene in this riuer a pretie kinde of fishing, not to be omitted in my opinion, and therefore I will set it downe. Odeicus writeth of the like. The king hath in many riuers good store of barges full of sea-crowes that breede, are fedde and doe die therein, in certaine cages, allowed monethely a certaine prouision of rise. These barges the king bestoweth vpon his greatest magistrates, giuing to some two, to some three of them as be thinketh good, to fish therewithal after this manner. At the houre appointed to fish, all the barges are brought together in a circle, where the riuer is shalow, and the crowes tyed together vnder the wings are let leape downe into the water some vnder, some aboue, woorth the looking vpon: each one as he hath filled his bagge, goeth to his owne barge and emptieth it, which done, he returneth to fish againe. Thus hauing taken good store of fish, they set the crowes at libertie, and do suffer them to fish for their owne pleasure. There were in that city where I was, twentie barges at the least of these aforesayd crowes. I went almost euery day to see them, yet could I neuer be throughly satisfyed to see so strange a kind of fishing.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09