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

The voyage of Richard Rainolds and Thomas Dassel to the riuers of Senega and Gambra adioning vpon Guinea, 1591 with a discourse of the treasons of certaine of Don Antonio his seruants and followers.

By vertue of her Maiesties most gracious charter giuen in the yeere 1588, and in the thirtieth yeere of her Highnesse reigne, certaine English marchants are granted to trade, in and from the riuer of Senega to and in the riuer of Gambra, on the Westerne coast of Africa. The chiefest places of traffique on that coast betweene these riuers, are these:

The names of the chiefe places of traffike between Senega and Gambra. 1 Senega riuer: The commodities be hides, gumme, elephants teeth, a few graines, ostrich feathers, amber-griece, and some golde.

2 Beseguiache, a towne by Capo Verde * leagues from Senega riuer: The commodities be small hides, and a few teeth.

3 Refisca Vieio, a towne 4 leagues from Beseguiache: The commodities be small hides, and a few teeth now and then.

4 Palmerin, a towne 2 leagues from Refisca: The commodities be small hides, and a few elephants teeth now and then.

5 Porto d’Ally, a towne 5 leagues from Palmerin: The commodities be small hides, teeth, amber-griece, and a little golde: and many Portugals are there.

6 Candimal, a towne halfe a league from Porto d’Ally: The commodities be small hides, and a few teeth now and then.

7 Palmerin, a towne 3 leagues from Candimal: The commodities be small hides, and a few teeth now and then.

8 Ioala, a towne 6 leagues from Palmerin: The commodities be hides, waxe, elephants teeth, rice, and some golde: and many Spaniards and Portugals are there.

9 Gambra riuer: The commodities are rice, waxe, hides, elephants teeth, and golde.

The Frenchmen of Diepe and New-hauen haue traded thither aboue thirty yeres: and commonly with four or five ships a yere, whereof two small barks go into the riuer of Senega. The other were wont (vntill within these foure yeres, that our ships came thither) to ride with their ships in the road of Porto d’Ally and so sent their small shaloups of sixe or eight tunnes to some of these places on the Sea coast before repeated. Where in all places generally they were well beloued and as courteously entertained of the Negros, as if they had been naturally borne in the country. And very often the Negros come into France and returne againe, which is a further increasing of mutuall loue and amity. Since our comming to that coast the Frenchmen ride with their shippes at Refisca Vieio and suffered vs to ancre with our shippes at Porto d’Ally. The Frenchmen neuer vse to go into the riuer of Gambra: which is a riuer of secret trade and riches concealed by the Portugals. For long since one Frenchman entered the riuer with a small barke which was betrayed, surprised and taken by two gallies of the Portugals.

In our second voyage and second yeere there were by vile treacherous meanes of the Portugals and the king of the Negros consent in Porto d’Ally and Ioala about forty Englishmen cruelly slaine and captiued, and most or all of their goods confiscated: whereof there returned onely two, which were marchants. And also by procurement of Pedro Gonsalues, one of Don Antonio the kings seruants, Thomas Dassel and others had bene betrayed, if it had not pleased Almighty God to reueale the same, whereby it was preuented.

From the South side of Senega riuer on the Sea coast vnto about Palmerin is all one kingdome of Negros. The kings name is Melick Zamba, who dwelleth two dayes iourney within the land from Refisca.

The 12 of Nouember 1591, I Richard Rainolds and Thomas Dassel factors in a ship called the Nightingale of London 125 tunnes, and a pinnesse called the Messenger of 40 tonnes arriued neere vnto Capo Verde at a little Iland called The Iland of liberty. At this Iland we set vp a small pinnesse, with which we cary our marchandise on land when wee traffique. And in the meane time Thomas Dassel went with the great pinnesse to traffike with Spaniards or Portugals in Porto d’Ally or Ioala. Ouer against the sayd Iland on the maine is an habitation of the Negros called Besegueache. The alcaide or gouernor thereof with a great traine came aboord in their canoas to receiue the kings dueties for ankerage and permitting the quiet setting vp of our pinnesse: who liked passing well that no Portugall came in the shippe, saying, we should be better thought of by the king and people, if we neuer did bring Portugall, but come of our selues as the Frenchmen euer did and doe. And to purchase the more loue, I Richard Rainolds gaue him and all his company courteous entertainment. Also vpon his intreaty, hauing sufficient pledge aboord, I and others went on land with him. At this instant there was great warre betweene this alcaide and another gouernor of the next prouince. Neuerthelesse vpon our arriuall truce was taken for a space; and I with our company conducted among both enemies to the gouernors house in Besegueache, and were gently and friendly feasted after their maner, and with some presents returned safe aboord againe. The next day the alcaide came aboord againe, to wil me to send some yron and other commodities in the boat to traffike with the Negros, and also requested me that I would go to Refisca with the ship; which I did. And one thing I noted, that a number of Negros attended the alcaides landing in warlike maner with bowes and poisoned arrowes, darts poisoned, and swords, (because that the enemies by reason of the truce taken were there also to view the ship) who for the most part approched to him kneeling downe and kissed the backe of his hand.

The 17 of Nouember we weyed anker; and by reason no French ship was yet come, I went to the road of Refisca: where I sent for the alcaides interpreters, who came thither aboord, and receiued of me the kings duties for to haue free traffike with the Negros, with whom dayly I exchanged my yron and other wares for hides and some elephants teeth, finding the people very friendly and tractable. And the next day after our arriuall I went vp into the land about three miles to the towne of Refisca, where I was friendly vsed and well entertained of the alcaide, and especially of a yoong nobleman called Conde Amar Pattay, who presented me with an oxe for my company, goats and some yoong kids, assuring me that the king would be glad to heare of the arriuall of a Christians ship, whom they called Blancos, that is, white men: especially of an English ship. And so dayly the yong Conde came with a small company of horsemen to the sea side, feasting me very kindly and courteously. And the fift of December he with his traine came aboord to see the ship; which to them seemed woonderfull, as people that seldome had seene the like: who tolde me that his messenger from the king was returned; and the king reioyed much to heare that English men were come with a ship to trade in his ports; and being the first Englishman that euer came with a ship, I was the better welcome; promising that I or any Englishman hereafter should be wel intreated and find good dealing at their hands. And further the Conde on the kings behalfe and his owne, earnestly requested, that before my departure off the coast I would returne againe to his road to conferre with him for the better continuance and confirming of amity betweene them and Englishmen: which I agreed vnto. And so shewing him and his company the best friendship and courtesie I could, he went on shore, and should haue had the honor of our ordinance but that he desired the contrary, being amazed at the sight of the ship and noise of the gunnes, which they did greatly admire.

The 13 of December at night we weighed anker, and arriued the 14 day at the road of Porto d’Ally, which is another kingdome: the king thereof is called Amar Meleck, and sonne to Meleck Zamba the other king, and dwelleth a dayes iourney and an halfe from Porto d’Ally. When we had ankered, the kings kinsmen being gouernors, with all the officers of that towne came aboord to receiue all duties for the ship and licence to traffike due to the king; who there generally seemed to be very glad that no Portugall was come in our ship out of England; saying it was the kings pleasure we should bring none hereafter; for that the king did esteeme them as people of no truth; and complained of one Francisco de Costa seruant to Don Antonio, how he had often and the last yere also abused and deluded their king Amar Meleck in promising to bring him certaine things out of England, which he neuer performed, and deemed that to be the cause of his staying behinde this voyage, and that neither Spaniard nor Portugall could abide vs, but reported very badly and gaue out hard speeches tending to the defamation and great dishonour of England: The monstrous lies of a Portugall. and also affirmed that at the arriuall of an English ship called The Command, of Richard Kelley of Dartmouth, one Pedro Gonsalues a Portugall that came in the sayd ship from Don Antonio reported vnto them, that we were fled out of England and come away vpon intent to rob and do great spoile vpon this coast to the Negros and Portugals, and that Thomas Dassel had murdered Francisco de Acosta since our comming from England, who was comming to their king in our ship with great presents from Don Antonio, and desired that at our arriuall stay might be made of our goods and our selues in secret maner; which they denied, not giuing credit to his report, hauing bene often abused by such friuolous and slanderous speeches by that nation; telling me their king was sory for the former murder and captiuity of our nation, and would neuer yeeld to the like, hauing the Portugals and Spaniards in generall hatred euer since, and conceiueth much better of our countrey, and vs, then these our enemies report of. Port Dally the chief place of trade. For which I yeelded them hearty thanks, assuring them they should finde great difference betweene the loyalty of the one and disloyalty of the other; and so payed their dueties: and for that it was the chiefe place of trade, I shewed them how I was resolued to goe to their king with certaine presents which we had brought out of England; which we determined for the more honor and credit of our countrey, and augmenting of their better affection toward vs.

All this while Thomas Dassel was with our great pinnesse at the towne of Ioala, being in the kingdome of king Iocoel Lamiockeric, traffiking with the Spaniards and Portugals there. And the forenamed Pedro Gonsalues, which came out of England, was there also with other English marchants about the busines of Rich. Kelley; and as it should seeme, for that he could not obtaine his mischieuous pretended purpose against Thomas Dassel and others at the towne of Porto d’Ally, where I Richard Rainolds remained, he attempted with consent of other Portugals which were made priuy to his intent to betray the sayd Thomas Dassel at this towne, and had with bribes seduced the chiefe commanders and Negros to effect his wicked and most villanous practise: which as God would, was reuealed to the sayd Thomas Dassel by Rich. Cape an Englishman and seruant to the forenamed Rich. Kelley: to whom this sayd Pedro Gonsalues had disclosed his secret treachery, willing him with all expedition to stand vpon his guard. The Cherubin of Lime at Ioala. Whereupon Thomas Dassel went aboard a small English barke called The Cherubin of Lime, and there one Iohn Payua a Portugall and seruant of Don Antonio declared, that if he and one Garcia a Portugall of the sayd towne would haue consented with Pedro Gonsalues, the sayd Thomas Dassel had bene betrayed long before. And vpon this warning Thomas Dassel the next day hauing gotten three Portugals aboord, aduised for our better securities to send two on land, and detained one with him called Villa noua, telling them that if the next day by eight of the clocke, they would bring Pedro Gonsalues aboard to him, he would release the sayd Villa noua, which they did not. And Thomas Dassel hauing intelligence that certaine Negros and Portugals were ridden post ouerland to Porto d’Ally with intent to haue Richard Rainolds and his company stayd on land, being doubtfull what friendship soeuer the vnconstant Negros professed (by reason they be often wauering being ouercome with drinking wine) how they would deale, to preuent the dangerous wiles that might be effected in the road by Portugals, and for better strength, the 24 of December he came with his pinnesse and Portugall to ride in the road of Porto d’Ally, where our great shippe the Nightingall was: who was no sooner arriued but he had newes also from the shore from Iohn Baily Anthony Dassels seruant, who was there with our goods detained by the Portugals means, that aboue 20 Portugals and Spaniards were come from Ioala by land, and Pedro Gonsalues in their company, to take order for the releasing of Villa noua. So hauing had conference two or three dayes with the Commanders, the Negros, some Spaniards, and some Portugals, in the end by due examination of the matter the Negros seeing how vilely Pedro Gonsalues had delt, he being in their power, sayd he should suffer death or be tortured, for an example to others. But we in recompense of his cruelty pitied him and shewed mercy, desiring the Negros to intreat him well though vndeserued: and therevpon the Commanders brought him aboord the pinnesse to Thomas Dassel to do with him what he would: where at his comming from the shore, for lauish speeches which he used of Princes, he was well buffetted by a Spaniard, and might haue bene slaine, if for our sakes he had not bene rescued.

Note. While I went on shore with Villa noua, the sayd Pedro Gonsalues confessed vnto Thomas Dassel that he did enquire of some Negros and Portugals if he might not stay him and his goods in the land, and that he did nothing but by commission from his king by his letters which he receiued from London in Dartmouth after we were departed from London, for that we presumed to come to Guinea to traffike without a seruant of his: and further, that he had power or procuration from Francisco de Costa the Portugall that stayed behinde in England to detaine the goods of Anthony Dassel in Guinea.

By consent of M. Francis Tucker, Iohn Browbeare, and the rest of the factours of Richard Kelley, with whom this Pedro Gonsalues came, for auoiding further mischiefe that might be practised, we agreed that the sayd Pedro Gonsalues should stay aboord our shippe, and not goe any more on land vntill they departed. So the ninth of Ianuary he was deliuered aboord to goe for England in the same ship wherein he came: who was all the time of his abode in our shippe both courteously and friendly vsed at my hands, much against the mariners willes, who could not abide such a wicked creature and caitiue, that is nourished and relieued in our countrey, and yet by villanous meanes sought the destruction of vs all.

The Spaniards and Portugals though they be dissemblers and not to be trusted, when they perceiued how king Amar Melicks Negros befriended and fauored vs, and that it would be preiudiciall to their trade for diuers respects, if we should any way be iniuried, renounced the sayd practises, detesting the author, and protested to defend vs in such cases with all faithfulnesse: desiring we would, as the king of Negros had commanded vs, neuer bring Portugal with vs more: vsing this phrase in disdaine of such as came out of England, let your Portugals be barres of yron: for in trueth in regard of the rich trade maintained by Frenchmen and by vs of late, they esteeme more of one barre of yron then of twenty Portugals which we should bring out of England: who at their comming thither very subtilly disaduantage vs, and doe great hurt to euery party.

At the beginning of these broiles the king Amar Melick had sent his chiefe secretary and three horses for me Richard Rainolds: but I denied to goe by reason of the hurley burley, though I might haue had Negros of account for pledges aboord: yet we sent the presents vnto the king; who so soone as he vnderstood the cause why I came not to him, being sory and offended thereat, commanded presently by proclamation, that no iniury should be offered vs in his dominions by his owne people, or suffered to be done by Spaniards or Portugals. And if the Negros ioyning to his kingdome should confederate with the Spaniards and Portugals to molest or trouble vs; that his subiects the Negros should be ready to ayde, succor and defend vs. In which people appeared more confident loue and good will toward vs, then euer we shall finde either of Spaniards or Portugals, though we should relieue them of the greatest misery that can be imagined.

In the riuer of Senega no Spaniard or Portugall vse to trade: and onely one Portugall called Ganigoga dwelleth farre within the riuer, who was maried to a kings daughter.

Note this trade. In the townes of Porto d’Ally and Ioala, being townes of chiefest trade, and in the townes of Canton and Cassan in the riuer of Gambra are many Spaniards and Portugals resident by permission of the Negros; who haue rich trades there along the coast, especially to San Domingo and Rio grande, not far distant from Gambra riuer; whither they transport the yron which they buy of Frenchmen and vs, and exchange it for Negros; which be caried continually to the West Indies in such ships as came from Spaine. A rich trade for golde in Rio grande. Also by the gouernors order and Renters of Castel de Mina and other places, where golde is, vpon the coast of Guinea, they haue a place limited how farre they must go to trade within the riuer of Gambra; and further they may not go vpon paine of confiscation of their goods, and losse of life: for that the Renters themselues send at certaine times their owne barkes within the riuer to such places, where as they haue great store of golde. And in all these places hereabouts, where we vse to trade, they haue no Fort, Castle, or place of strength, but onely trading by the Negros safeconduct and permission. And the most part of the Spaniards and Portugals that be resident in these places be banished men or fugitiues, for committing most hainous crimes and incestuous acts, their life and conuersation being agreeable; and they are of the basest behauiour that we haue euer seene of these nations in any other countrey.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55