This voyage was set foorth by the right worshipfull sir Edward Osborne knight, chiefe merchant of all the Turkish company, and one master Richard Staper, the ship being of the burden of one hundred tunnes, called the Iesus, she was builded at Farmne a riuer by Portsmouth. The owners were master Thomas Thomson, Nicholas Carnaby, and Iohn Gilman. The master was one Aches Hellier of Black-wall, and his Mate was one Richard Morris of that place: their Pilot was one Anthonie Ierado a Frenchman, of the prouince of Marseils: the purser was one William Thomson our owners sonne: the merchants factors were Romane Sonnings a Frenchman, and Richard Skegs seruant vnto the said master Staper. The owners were bound vnto the marchants by charter partie therevpon, in one thousand markes, that the said ship by Gods permission should goe for Tripolis in Barbarie, that is to say, first from Portsmouth to Newhauen in Normandie, from thence to S. Lucar, otherwise called Saint Lucas, in Andeluzia, and from thence to Tripolie, which is in the East part of Africa, and so to returne vnto London. Man doth purpose, and God doth dispose. But here ought euery man to note and consider the workes of our God, that many times what man doth determine God doth disappoint. The said master hauing some occasion to goe to Farmne, tooke with him the Pilot and the Purser, and returning againe by meanes of a perrie of winde, the boat wherein they were, was drowned, with the said master, the purser, and all the company: onely the said Pilot by experience in swimming saued himselfe: these were the beginnings of our sorrowes. A new master chosen. After which the said masters mate would not proceed in that voiage, and the owner hearing of this misfortune, and the unwillingnesse of the masters mate, did send downe one Richard Deimond, and shipped him for master, who did chuse for his Mate one Andrew Dier, and so the said ship departed on her voiage accordingly: that is to say, about the 16. of October, in An. 1583. she made saile from Portsmouth, The new master died. and the 18 day then next following she arriued at Newhauen, where our saide last master Deimond by a surfeit died. The factors then appointed the said Andrew Dier, being then masters mate, to be their master for that voiage, who did chuse to be his Mates the two quarter masters of the same ship, to wit, Peter Austine, and Shillabey, and for Purser was shipped one Richard Burges. Afterward about the 8. day of Nouember we made saile forthward, and by force of weather we were driuen backe againe into Portesmouth, where we renued our victuals and other necessaries, and then the winde came faire. About the 29. day then next following we departed thence, and the first day of December by meanes of a contrarie winde, we were driuen to Plimmouth. The 18. day then next following, we made foorthward againe, and by force of weather we were driuen to Falmouth, where we remained vntill the first day of Ianuary: at which time the winde comming faire, we departed thence, and about the 20. day of the said moneth we arriued safely at S. Lucar. The Iesus arriued in Tripolis. And about the 9. day of March next following, we made saile from thence, and about the 18. day of the same moneth we came to Tripolis in Barbarie, where we were verie well intertained by the king of that countrey, and also of the commons. The commodities of that place are sweete oiles: the king there is a merchant, and the rather (willing to preferre himselfe before his commons) requested our said factors to traffique with him, and promised them that if they would take his oiles at his owne price, they should pay no maner of custome, and they tooke of him certaine tunnes of oile: and afterwarde perceiuing that they might haue farre better cheape notwithstanding the custome free, they desired the king to licence them to take the oiles at the pleasure of his commons, for that his price did exceede theirs: whereunto the king would not agree, but was rather contended to abate his price, insomuch that the factors bought all their oyles of the king custome free, and so laded the same aboord.
Another ship of Bristow came to Tripolis. In the meane time there came to that place one Miles Dickenson in a ship of Bristow, who together with our said Factors tooke a house to themselues there. Our French Factor Romane Sonnings desired to buy a commodity in the market, and wanting money, desired the saide Miles Dickenson to lend him an hundred Chikinoes vntill he came to his lodging, which he did, and afterward the same Sonnings mette with Miles Dickenson in the streete, and deliuered him money bound vp in a napkin: saying, master Dickenson there is the money I borrowed of you, and so thanked him for the same: hee doubted nothing lesse then falshoode, which is seldome knowne among marchants, and specially being together in one house, and is the more detestable betweene Christians, they being in Turkie among the heathen. The said Dickenson did not tell the money presently, vntill he came to his lodging, and then finding nine Chikinoes lacking of his hundred, which was about three pounds, for that euery Chikino is woorth seuen shillings of English money, he came to the sayde Romane Sonnings and deliuered him his handkerchiefe, and asked him howe many Chikinoes hee had deliuered him! Sonnings answered, an hundred: Dickenson, said no: and so they protested and swore on both parts. But in the ende the said Romane Sonnings did sweare deepely with detestable othes and curses, and prayed God that he might shewe his workes on him, that other might take ensample thereby, and that he might be hanged like a dogge, and neuer come into England againe, if he did not deliuer vnto the sayde Dickenson an hundred Chikinoes. And here beholde a notable example of all blasphemers, curses and swearers, how God rewarded him accordingly: for many times it cometh to passe, that God sheweth his miracles vpon such monstrous blasphemers, to the ensample of others, as nowe hereafter you shall heare what befell to this Romane Sonnings.
There was a man in the said towne a pledge, whose name was Patrone Norado, who the yere before had done this Sonnings some pleasure there. The foresaid Patrone Norado was indebted vnto a Turke of that towne in the summe of foure hundred and fiftie crownes, for certain goods sent by him into Christendome in a ship of his owne, and by his owne brother, and himselfe remained in Tripolis as pledge vntill his said brothers returne: and, as the report went there, after his brothers arriual into Christendome, he came among lewde companie, and lost his brothers said ship and goods at dice, and neuer returned vnto him againe.
A conspiracie practiced by the French Factor, to deceiue a Turkish marchant of 450 crowns. The said Patrone Norado being voyde of all hope, and finding now opportunitie, consulted with the said Sonnings for to swimme a seaboorde the Islands, and the ship being then out of danger, should take him in (as after was confessed) and so to goe to Tolan in the prouince of Marseilis with this Patrone Norado, and there to take in his lading.
The shippe being readie the first day of May, and hauing her sayles all aboorde, our sayde Factors did take their leaue of the king, who very courteously bidde them farwell, and when they came aboorde, they commanded the Master and the companie hastily to get out the ship: the Master answered that it was vnpossible, for that the winde was contrary and ouer-blowed. And he required vs vpon forfeiture of our bandes, that we should doe our endeuour to get her foorth. Then went wee to warpe out the shippe, and presently the king sent a boate aboord of vs, with three men in her, commaunding the saide Sonnings to come a shoare: at whose coming, the king demaunded of him custome for the oyles: Sonnings answered him that his highnesse had promised to deliuer them custome free. But notwithstanding the king weighed not his said promise, and as an infidell that hath not the feare of God before his eyes, nor regarde of his worde, albeit he was a king, hee caused the sayde Sonnings to pay the custome to the vttermost penie. And afterwarde willed him to make haste away, saying, that the Ianizaries would haue the oyle ashoare againe.
These Ianizaries are souldiers there vnder the great Turke, and their power is aboue the Kings. And so the saide Factor departed from the king, and came to the waterside, and called for a boate to come aboorde, and he brought with him the foresaid Patrone Norado. The beginning of their troubles, and occasion of all their miserie. The companie inquisitiue to know what man that was, Sonnings answered, that he was his countrymen, a passenger: I pray God said the companie, that we come not into trouble by this man. Then said Sonnings angerly, what haue you to do with any matters of mine? if any thing chance otherwise then well, I must answer for all.
Now the Turke vnto whom this Patrone Norado was indebted, missing him (supposed him to be aboorde of our shippe) presently went vnto the King, and tolde him that hee thought that his pledge Patrone Norado was aboord of the English ship, whereupon the King presently sent a boat aboord of vs, with three men in her commanding the said Sonnings to come a shoare, and not speaking any thing as touching the man, he saide that he would come presently in his owne boate, but as soone as they were gone, he willed vs to warp foorth the ship, and saide that he would see the knaues hanged before he would goe a shoare. And when the king sawe that he came not a shoare, but still continued warping away the shippe, he straight commaunded the gunner of the bulwarke next vnto vs, to shoote three shootes without ball. Then we came all to the said Sonnings, and asked of him what the matter was that we were shot at, he said that it was the Ianizaries who would haue the oyle a shoare againe, and willed vs to make haste away, and after that he had discharged three shots without ball, he commaunded all the gunners in the towne to doe their indeuour to sinke vs, but the Turkish gunners could not once strike vs, wherefore the king sent presently to the Banio: (this Banio is the prison whereas all the captiues lay at night) and promised if that there were any that could either sinke vs, or else cause vs to come in againe, he should haue a hundred crownes, and his libertie. With that came foorth a Spaniard called Sebastian, which had bene an olde seruitor in Flanders, and he said, that vpon the performance of that promise, hee would vndertake either to sinke vs, or to cause vs to come in againe, and therto he would gage his life, and at the first shotte he split our rudders head in pieces, and the second shotte he shotte vs vnder the water, and the third shotte he shotte vs through our foremast with a Coluering shot, and thus he hauing rent both our rudder and maste, and shot vs vnder water, we were inforced to goe in againe.
This Sebastian for all his diligence herein, had neither his liberty, nor an hundred crownes, so promised by the said king, but after his seruice done was committed againe to prison, whereby may appeare the regard that the Turke or infidell hath of his worde, although he be able to performe it, yea more, though he be a king.
Then, our merchants seeing no remedie, they together with fiue of our companie went a shoare, and then they ceased shooting: they shot vnto vs in the whole, nine and thirtie shootes, without the hurt of any man.
And when our marchants came a shoare, the King commaunded presently that they with the rest of our companie that were with them, should be cheined foure and foure, to a hundred waight of yron, and when we came in with the ship, there came presently aboue an hundred Turks aboord of vs, and they searched vs, and stript our very clothes from our backes, and brake open our chests, and made a spoyle of all that we had: and the Christian caitifes likewise, that came a boord of vs made spoyle of our goods, and vsed vs as ill as the Turkes did. And our masters mate hauing a Geneua Bible in his hand, there came the kings chiefe gunner, and tooke it out from him, who shewed me of it, and I hauing the language, went presently to the kings treasurer, and tolde him of it, saying, that sith it was the will of God that we should fall into their handes, yet that they should grant us to vse our consciences to our owne discretion, as they suffered the Spaniards and other nations to vse theirs, and he graunted vs: then I told him that the maister gunner had taken away a Bible from one of our men: the Treasurer went presently and commaunded him to deliuer vp the Bible againe, which he did: and within a litle after he tooke it from the man againe, and I shewed the Treasurer of it, and presently he commaunded him to deliuer it againe: saying, thou villaine, wilt thou turne to Christianitie againe? for he was a Renegado, which is one that first was a Christian, and afterwards becommeth a Turke, and so he deliuered me the Bible the second time. And then I hauing it in my hand, the gunner came to me, and spake these wordes, saying, thou dogge, I wil haue the booke in despight of thee, and tooke it from me, saying: If thou tell the kings treasurer of it any more, by Mahomet I will be reuenged of thee. Notwithstanding I went the third time vnto the kings Treasurer, and tolde him of it, and he came with me, saying thus unto the gunner: by the head of the great Turke, if thou take it from him againe, thou shalt haue an hundred bastonadoes. And foorthwith he deliuered me the booke, saying, he had not the value of a pin of the spoyle of the ship, which was the better for him, as hereafter you shall heare: for there was none, neither Christian nor Turke that tooke the value of a peniworth of our goods from vs, but perished both bodie and goods within seuenteene moneths following, as hereafter shall plainely appeare.
Then came the Guardian Basha, which is the keeper of the kings captiues, to fetch vs all a shoare, and then I remembring the miserable estate of poore distressed captiues, in the time of their bondage to those infidels, went to mine owne chest, and tooke out thereof a iarre of oyle, and filled a basket full of white Ruske to carie a shoare with me, but before I came to the Banio, the Turkish boyes had taken away almost all my bread, and the keeper saide, deliuer me the iarre of oyle, and when thou commest to the Banio thou shalt haue it againe, but I neuer had it of him any more.
But when I came to the Banio, and sawe our Marchants and all the rest of our company in chaines, and we all ready to receiue the same reward, what heart in the world is there so hard, but would haue pitied our cause, hearing or seeing the lamentable greeting there was betwixt vs: all this happened the first of May 1584.
The Englishmen arraigned. And the second day of the same moneth, the King with all his counsell sate in Judgment vpon vs. The first that were had forth to be arraigned, were the Factors, and the Masters, and the King asked them wherefore they came not a shoare when he sent for them. And Romaine Sonnings answered, that though he were king on shoare, and might commaunde there, so was hee as touching those that were vnder him: and therefore said, if any offence be, the fault is wholly in my selfe, and in no other. Then foorthwith the king gaue iudgement, that the saide Romaine Sonnings should be hanged ouer the Northeast bulwarke: from whence he conueyed the forenamed Patrone Norado, and then he called for our Master Andrew Dier, and vsed fewe wordes to him, and so condemned him to be hanged ouer the walles of the Westermost bulwarke.
Then fell our other Factor (named Richard Skegs) vpon his knees before the king, and said, I beseech your highnesse either to pardon our Master, or else suffer me to die for him, for he is ignorant of this cause. And then the people of that countrey fauouring the said Richard Skegs besought the king to pardon them both. So then the king spake these wordes: Beholde for thy sake, I pardon the Master. Then presently the Turkes shouted, and cried, saying: Away with the Master from the presence of the king. And then he came into the Banio whereas we were, and tolde vs what had happened, and we all reioyced at the good hap of master Skegs, that hee was saued, and our Master for his sake.
Master Dier condemned to be hanged ouer a bulwarke. But afterward our ioy was turned to double sorrow, for in the meane time the kings minde was altered: for that one of his counsell had aduised him, that vnlesse the Master died also, by the lawe they could not confiscate the ship nor goods, neither captive any of the men: whereupon the king sent for our Master againe, and gaue him another iudgement after his pardon for one cause, which was that hee should be hanged. Here all true Christians may see what trust a Christian man may put in an infidels promise, who being a King pardoned a man nowe, as you haue heard, and within an houre after hanged him for the same cause before a whole multitude: and also promised our Factors their oyles custome free, and at their going away made them pay the vttermost penie for the custome thereof.
A Frenshman turned Turke, in hope of his life, and afterwards was hanged. And when that Romaine Sonnings saw no remedy but that he should die, he protested to turne Turke, hoping thereby to haue saued his life. Then said the Turke, if thou wilt turne Turke, speake the words that thereunto belong: and he did so. Then saide they vnto him, Now thou shalt die in the faithe of a Turke, and so hee did, as the Turkes reported that were at his execution. And the forenamed Patrone Norado, whereas before he had libertie and did nothing he then was condemned slaue perpetuall, except there were paiment made of the foresaid summe of money.
Then the king condemned all vs, who were in number sixe and twentie, of the which, two were hanged (as you haue heard) and one died the first day wee came on shoare, by the visitation of Almightie God: and the other three and twentie he condemned slaues perpetually vnto the great Turke, and the ship and goods were confiscated to the vse of the great Turke: and then we all fell downe vpon our knees, giuing God thankes for this sorrowfull visitation, and giuing our selues wholy to the Almightie power of God, vnto whom all secrets are knowen, that he of his goodnesse would vouchsafe to looke vpon vs.
Here may all true Christian hearts see the wonderfull workes of God shewed vpon such infidels, blasphemers, whoremasters, and renegate Christians, and so you shall reade in the ende of this booke, of the like vpon the vnfaithfull king and all his children, and of as many as tooke any portion of the said goods.
Euery fiue men allowed but two pence of bread a day. But first to shewe our miserable bondage and slauerie, and vnto what small pittance and allowance wee were tied, for euery fiue men had allowance but fiue aspers of bread in a day, which is but two pence English: and our lodging was to lye on the bare boards, with a very simple cape to couer vs, wee were also forceably and most violently shauen, head and beard, and within three dayes after, I and six more of my fellowes, together with fourescore Italians and Spaniards were sent foorth in a Galeot to take a Greekish Carmosell, which came into Africa to steale Negroes, and went out of Tripolis vnto that place, which was two hundred and fourtie leagues thence, but wee were chained three and three to an oare, and wee rowed naked aboue the girdle, and the Boteswaine of the Galley walked abaft the maste, and his Mate afore the maste, and eche of them a bulls pissell dried in their handes, and when their diuelish choller rose, they would strike the Christians for no cause: and they allowed vs but halfe a pound of bread a man in a day without any other kinde of sustenance, water excepted. And when we came to the place whereas wee saw the Carmosell, we were not suffered to haue neither needle, bodkin, knife, or any other weapon about vs, nor at any other time in the night, vpon paine of one hundred bastonadoes: wee were then also cruelly manackled in such sort, that we could not put our handes the length of one foote asunder the one from the other, and euery night they searched our chaines three times, to see if they were fast riueted: Wee continued fight with the Carmosell three houres, and then wee tooke it, and lost but two of our men in that fight, but there were slaine of the Greekes fiue, and foureteene were cruelly hurt, and they that were sound, were presently made slaues and chained to the oares: and within fifteene dayes after we returned againe into Tripolis, and then wee were put to all maner of slauerie. The Turkes builded a church. I was put to hewe stones, and other to cary stones, and some to draw the Cart with earth, and some to make morter, and some to draw stones, (for at that time the Turkes builded a church:) And thus we were put to all kinde of slauerie that was to be done. And in the time of our being there, the Moores that are the husbandmen of the countrey rebelled against the king, because he would haue constrained them to pay greater tribute then heretofore they had done, so that the Souldiours of Tripolis marched foorth of the towne to haue ioyned battell against the Moores for their rebellion, and the King sent with them foure pieces of Ordinance, which were drawen by the captiues twenty miles into the Country after them, and at the sight thereof the Moores fled and then the Captaines returned backe againe. Then I and certaine Christians more were sent twelue miles into the countrey with a Cart to lode timber, and we returned againe the same day.
The Christians sent 3. times a weeke 30 miles to fetch wood. Nowe the king had 18. captiues, which three times a weeke went to fetch wood thirtie miles from the towne: and on a time he appointed me for one of the 18. and wee departed at eight of the clocke in the night, and vpon the way as wee rode vpon the camels, I demaunded of one of our company, who did direct vs the way? he sayd, that there was a Moore in our company which was our guide: and I demavnded of them how Tripolis and the wood bare one of the other? and hee said, East Northeast and West Southwest. And at midnight or neere thereabouts, as I was riding vpon my camel, I fell asleepe, and the guide and all the rest rode away from me, not thinking but I had bene among them. When I awoke, and finding my selfe alone durst not call nor hallow for feare least the wilde Moores should heare me, because they holde this opinion, that in killing a Christian they do God good seruice: and musing with my selfe what were best for me to do, if I should goe foorth, and the wilde Moores should hap to meete with mee, they would kill mee: and on the other side, if I should returne backe to Tripolis without any wood or company, I should be most miserably vsed: therefore of two euils, rather I had to goe foorth to the loosing of my life, then to turne backe and trust to their mercie, fearing to bee vsed as before I had seene others: for vnderstanding by some of my company before, howe Tripolis and the saide wood did lie one off another, by the North starre I went forth at aduenture, and as God would haue it, I came right to the place where they were, euen about an houre before day: there altogether wee rested and gaue our camels prouender, and assoone as the day appeared, we rode all into the wood: and I seeing no wood there, but a sticke here and a sticke there, about the bignesse of a mans arme growing in the sand, it caused mee to maruile how so many camels should be loden in that place. The wood was Iuniper, we needed no axe nor edge toole to cut it, but pluckt it vp by strength of hands rootes and all, which a man might easily do, and so gathered it together, a little at one place and so at another, and laded our camels, and came home about seuen of the clocke that night following: because I fell lame, and my camel was tired, I left my wood in the way.
Eighteene captiues run away from Tripolis. There was in Tripolis that time a Venetian, whose name was Benedetto Venetiano, and seuenteene captiues more of his company, which ranne away from Tripolis in a boate, and came in sight of an Island called Malta, which lieth fourtie leagues from Tripolis right North, and being within a mile of the shoare, and very faire weather, one of their company said, In dispetto de Dio adesso venio a pilliar terra, which is as much to say: In the despite of God I shall now fetch the shoare, The iudgement of God vpon blasphemers. and presently there arose a mighty storme, with thunder and raine and the wind at North, their boate being very small, so that they were inforced to beare vp roome, and to sheare right afore the winde ouer against the coast of Barbarie from whence they came, and rowing vp and downe the coast, their victuals being spent, the 21. day after their departure they were inforced through the want of food to come ashoare, thinking to haue stolne some sheepe: but the Moores of the country very craftily perceiuing their intent, gathered together a threescore horsemen, and hid themselues behinde a sandie hill, and when the Christians were come all a shoare, and past vp halfe a mile into the countrey, the Moores rode betwixt them and their boate, and some of them pursued the Christians, and so they were all taken and brought to Tripolis, from whence they had before escaped: and presently the king commaunded that the foresaide Benedetto with one more of his company should lose their eares, and the rest should be most cruelly beaten, which was presenly done. The Greene Dragon. This king had a sonne which was a ruler in an Island called Gerbi, whereunto arriued an English shippe called the Greene Dragon, of the which was Master one M. Blonket, who hauing a very vnhappy boy in that shippe, and vnderstanding that whosoeuer would turne Turke should be well enterteined of the kings sonne, this boy did runne a shoare, and voluntarily turned Turke. Shortly after the kings sonne came to Tripolis to visite his father, and seeing our company, hee greatly fancied Richard Burges our Purser, and Iames Smith: they were both yong men, therefore he was very desirous to haue them to turne Turkes, but they would not yeeld to his desire, saying: We are your fathers slaues, and as slaues wee will serue him. Then his father the king sent for them, and asked them if they would turne Turkes? And they saide: If it please your highnesse, Christians we were borne, and so we will remaine, beseeched the king that they might not bee inforced thereunto. The Kings sonne had a captiue that was sonne to one of the Queenes Maiesties guard, that was forced to turne Turke. The king had there before in his hosue a sonne of a yeoman of our Queenes guard, whom the kings sonne had inforced to turne Turke, his name was Iohn Nelson: him the king caused to be brought to these yong men, and thea said vnto them: Wil not you beare this your countreymen company, and be Turke as hee is? And they saide, that they would not yeeld thereunto during life. But it fell out, that within a moneth after, the kings sonne went home to Gerbi againe, being sixe score miles from Tripolis, and carried our two foresaid yong men with him, which were Richard Burges, and Iames Smith: and after their departure from vs, they sent vs a letter, signifying that there was no violence shewed vnto them as yet, but within three dayes after they were violently vsed, for that the kings sonne demaunded of them againe, if that they would turne Turke? Then answered Richard Burges, a Christian I am, and so I will remaine. Then the kings sonne very angerly said vnto him: By Mahomet thou shall presently be made Turke. Then called he for his men, and commaunded them to make him Turke, and they did so, and circumcised him, and would haue had him speake the wordes that thereunto belonged, but he answered them stoutly that he would not: and although they had put on him the habite of a Turke, yet sayd he, A Christian I was borne, and so I will remaine, though you force me to doe otherwise.
And then he called for the other, and commaunded him to be made Turke perforce also: but he was very strong, for it was so much as eight of the kings sonnes men could doe to holde him, so in the ende they circumcised him, and made him Turke. Now to passe ouer a little, and so to shewe the maner of our deliuerance out of that miserable captiuitie.
The first motion for those Engmens deliuerie. In May aforesaid, shortly after our apprehension, I wrote a letter into England vnto my father dwelling in Tauistoke in Deuonshire, signifying vnto him the whole estate of our calamities: and I wrote also to Constantinople, to the English Embassadour, both which letters were faithfully deliuered. But when my father had receiued my letter, and vnderstood the trueth of our mishap, and the occasion thereof, and what had happened to the offenders, he certified the right honourable the earle of Bedford thereof, who in short space acquainted her highnesse with the whole cause thereof, and her Maiestie like a most mercifull princesse tendering her Subiects, presently tooke order for our deliuerance. Whereupon the right worshipful sir Edward Osborne knight directed his letters with all speed to the English Embassadour in Constantinople, to procure our deliuery: and he obtained the great Turkes Commission, and sent it foorthwith to Tripolis, by one Master Edward Barton, together with a Iustice of the great Turkes, and one souldiour, and another Turke, and a Greeke which was his interpretour, which could speake besides Greeke, Turkish, Italian, Spanish and English. And when they came to Tripolis, they, were well interteined. And the first night they did lie in a Captaines house in the towne: all our company that were in Tripolis came that night for ioy to Master Barton and the other Commissioners to see them. Then master Barton said vnto vs, welcome my good countreymen, and louingly interteined vs, and at our departure from him, he gaue vs two shillings, and said, Serue God, for to morrow I hope you shall be as free as euer you were; We all gaue him thankes and so departed.
The next day in the morning very early, the King hauing intelligence of their comming, sent word to the keeper, that none of the Englishmen (meaning our company) should goe to worke. Then he sent for Master Barton and the other Commissioners, and demaunded of the saide Master Barton his message: the Iustice answered, that the great Turke his Souereigne had sent them vnto him, signifying that he was informed that a certaine English shippe, called the Iesus, was by him the saide king confiscated, about twelue months since, and nowe my saide Souereigne hath here sent his especiall commission by vs vnto you, for the deliuerance of the saide shippe and goods, and also the free libertie and deliuerance of the Englishmen of the same shippe, whom you haue taken and kept in captiuitie. The Englishmen released. And further the same Iustice saide, I am authorized by my said soueraigne the great Turke to see it done: And therefore I commaund you by vertue of this commission, presently to make restitution of the premisses or the value thereof: and so did the Justices deliuer vnto the King the great Turkes commission to the effect aforesaide, which commission the king with all obedience receiued: and after the perusing of the same, he foorthwith commanded all the English captiues to be brought before him, and then willed the keeper to strike off all our yrons, which done, the king said, You Englishmen, for that you did offend the lawes of this place, by the same lawes therefore some of your company were condemned to die as you knowe, and you to bee perpetuall captiues during your liues: notwithstanding; seeing it hath pleased my soueraigne lord the great Turke to pardon your said offences, and to giue you your freedome and libertie, beholde, here I make deliuery of you to this English Gentleman: so hee deliuered vs all that were there, being thirteene in number, to Master Barton, who required also those two yong men which the Kings sonne had taken with him. Then the king answered that it was against their lawe to deliuer them, for that they were turned Turkes: and touching the ship and goods, the king said, that he had solde her, but would make restitution of the value, and as much of the goods as came vnto his hands, and so the king arose and went to dinner, and commaunded a Iew to goe with Master Barton and the other commissioners, to shew them their lodging, which was a house prouided and appointed them by the said king. And because I had the Italian and Spanish tongues, by which their most trafique in that countrey is, Master Barton made me his Cater to buy his victuals for him and his company, and deliuered me money needfull for the same. Thus were wee set at libertie the 28. day of April, 1585.
The plagues and punishments that happened to the King and his people. Nowe to returne to the kings plagues and punishments, which Almighty God at his will and pleasure sendeth vpon men in the sight of the world, and likewise of the plagues that befell his children and others aforesaide. First when we were made bondmen, being the second day of May 1584. the king had 300. captiues, and before the moneth was expired, there died of them of the plague 150. The king lost 150. camels taken by the wilde Moores. And whereas they were 26. men of our company, of whom two were hanged, and one died the same day that wee were made bondslaues: that present moneth there died nine more of our company of the plague, and other two were forced to turne Turkes as before is rehearsed: and on the fourth day of June next following the king lost 150 camels, which were taken from him by the wilde Moores: and on the 28. day of the saide moneth of Iune, one Geffrey Maltese, a renegado of Malta, ranne away to his countrey, and stole a Brigandine which the king had builded for to take the Christians withall, and carried with him twelue Christians more which were the kings captiues. Afterward about the tenth day of Iuly next following, the king road foorth vpon the greatest and fairest mare that might be seene, as white as any swanne: hee had not ridden fourtie paces from his house, but on a sudden the same mare fell downe vnder him starke dead, and I with sixe more were commaunded to burie her, skinne, shoes and all, which we did. And about three moneths after our deliuerie, Master Barton, with all his residue of his company departed from Tripoli to Zante, in a vessell, called a Settea, of one Marcus Segoorus, who dwelt in Zante, and after our arriuall at Zante we remained fifteene dayes there aboorde our vessell, before wee could haue Platego, (that is, leaue to come a shoare) because the plague was in that place, from whence wee came: and about three dayes after we came a shoare, thither came another Settea of Marseils bound for Constantinople. Two Englishmen shipped to Constantinople with M. Barton. Then did Master Barton, and his company, with two more of our company, shippe themselues as passengers in the same Settea, and went to Constantinople. But the other nine of vs, that remained in Zante, about three moneths after, shipt our selues in a ship of the said Marcus Segoorus, which came to Zante, and was bound for England. The souldiers of Tripolis kil the king. In which three moneths, the souldiers of Tripolie killed the said king. And then the kings sonne, according to the custome there, went to Constantinople, to surrender vp all his fathers treasure, goods, captiues, and concubines, vnto the great Turke, and tooke with him our saide Purser Richard Burges, and Iames Smith, and also the other two Englishmen, which he the said kings sonne had inforced to become Turkes, as is aforesayd. And they the said Englishmen finding now some opportunitie, concluded with the Christian captiues which were going with them vnto Constantinople, being in number about one hundred and fiftie, to kill the kings sonne, and all the Turkes which were aboorde of the Galley, and priuily the saide Englishmen conueyed vnto the saide Christian captiues, weapons for that purposes. And when they came into the maine Sea, towards Constantinople (vpon the faithfull promise of the sayde Christian captiues) these foure Englishmen lept suddenly into the Crossia, that is, in the middest of the Galley, where the canon lieth, and with their swordes drawne, did fight against all the foresaid Turkes, and for want of helpe of the saide Christian captiues, who falsly brake their promises, the said Master Blonkets boy was killed, and the sayde Iames Smith, and our Pursser Richard Surges, and the other Englishman, were taken and bound into chaines, to be hanged at their arriual in Constantinople: and as the Lordes will was, about two dayes after, passing through the gulfe of Venice, at an Island called Cephalonia, they met with two of the duke of Venice his Gallies, Two Gallies of Venice tooke the King of Tripolie his galley, and killed the kings sonne, and all the Turkes in it, and released all the Christians being in number 150. which tooke that Galley, and killed the kings sonne, and his mother, and all the Turkes that were there, in number 150. and they saued the Christian captiues, and would haue killed the two Englishmen because they were circumcised, and become Turkes, had not the other Christian captiues excused them, saying, that they were inforced to be Turkes, by the kings sonne, and shewed the Venetians also, how they did enterprise at sea to fight against all the Turks, and that their two fellowes were slaine in that fight. Then the Venetians saued them, and they, with all the residue of the said captiues, had their libertie, which were in number 150. or thereabouts, and the said Gallie, and all the Turkes treasure was confiscated to the vse of the state of Venice. And from thence our two Englishmen traueiled homeward by land, and in this meane time we had one more of our company, which died in Zante, and afterward the other eight shipped themselues at Zante, in a shippe of the said Marcus Segorus, which was bound for England: and before we departed thence, there arriued the Assension, and the George Bonauenture of London in Cephalonia, in a harbour there, called Arrogostoria, whose Marchants agreed with the Marchants of our shippe, and so laded all the marchandise of our shippe into the said ships of London, who tooke vs eight in as passengers, and so we came home, and within two moneths after our arriuall at London, our said Purser Richard Surges, and his fellow came home also: for the which we are bound to praise Almightie God, during our liues, and as duetie bindeth vs, to pray for the preseruation of our most gracious Queene, for the great care her Maiestie had ouer vs, her poore Subjects, in seeking and procuring of our deliuerance aforesaide: and also for her honourable priuie Counsell, and I especiall for the prosperitie and good estate of the house of the late deceased, the right honourable the Earle of Bedford, whose honour I must confesse, most diligently at the suite of my father now departed, traueiled herein: for the which I rest continually bounden to him, whose soule I doubt not, but is already in the heauens in ioy, with the Almightie, vnto which place he vouchsafe to bring vs all, that for our sinnes suffered most vile and shameful death vpon the Crosse, there to liue perpetually world without ende, Amen.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09