I have given an account in the last chapter of the resolutions we took of going over to the East Indies. But, having more calmly considered on the length of our voyage from hence to Guam, one of the Ladrone Islands, which is the first place that we could touch at, and there also being not certain to find provisions, most of our men were almost daunted at the thoughts of it; for we had not sixty days' provision, at a little more than half a pint of maize a day for each man, and no other provision except three meals of salted jew-fish; and we had a great many rats aboard, which we could not hinder from eating part of our maize. Beside, the great distance between Cape Corrientes and Guam: which is variously set down. The Spaniards, who have the greatest reason to know best, make it to be between 2300 and 2400 leagues; our books also reckon it differently, between 90 and 100 degrees, which all comes short indeed of 2000 leagues; but even that was a voyage enough to frighten us, considering our scanty provisions. Captain Swan, to encourage his men to go with him, persuaded them that the English books did give the best account of the distance; his reasons were many, although but weak. He urged among the rest that Sir Thomas Cavendish and Sir Francis Drake did run it in less than fifty days, and that he did not question but that our ships were better sailers than those which were built in that age, and that he did not doubt to get there in little more than forty days: this being the best time in the year for breezes, which undoubtedly is the reason that the Spaniards set out from Acapulco about this time; and that although they are sixty days in their voyage it is because they are great ships deep laden, and very heavy sailers; besides, they wanting nothing, are in no great haste in their way, but sail with a great deal of their usual caution. And when they come near the island Guam they lie by in the night for a week before they make land. In prudence we also should have contrived to lie by in the night when we came near land, for otherwise we might have run ashore, or have out-sailed the islands and lost sight of them before morning. But our bold adventurers seldom proceed with such wariness when in any straits.
But of all Captain Swan's arguments that which prevailed most with them was his promising them, as I have said, to cruise off the Manilas. So he and his men being now agreed, and they encouraged with the hope of gain, which works its way through all difficulties, we set out from Cape Corrientes March the 31st 1686. We were two ships in company, Captain Swan's ship and a bark commanded under Captain Swan by Captain Teat, and we were 150 men, 100 aboard of the ship, and 50 aboard the bark, besides slaves, as I said.
We had a small land-wind at east-north-east which carried us three or four leagues, then the sea-wind came at west-north-west a fresh gale, so we steered away south-west. By six a clock in the evening we were about nine leagues south-west from the cape, then we met a land-wind which blew fresh all night; and the next morning about 10 a clock we had the sea-breeze at north-north-east so that at noon we were thirty leagues from the cape. It blew a fresh gale of wind which carried us off into the true trade-wind (of the difference of which trade-winds I shall speak in the Chapter of Winds in the Appendix) for although the constant sea-breeze near the shore is at west-north-west yet the true trade off at sea, when you are clear of the land-winds, is at east-north-east. At first we had it at north-north-east so it came about northerly, and then to the east as we ran off. At 250 leagues distance from the shore we had it at east-north-east and there it stood till we came within forty leagues of Guam. When we had eaten up our three meals of salted jew-fish in so many days time we had nothing but our small allowance of maize.
After the 31st day of March we made great runs every day, having very fair clear weather and a fresh trade-wind, which we made use of with all our sails, and we made many good observations of the sun. At our first setting out we steered into the latitude of 13 degrees which is near the latitude of Guam; then we steered west, keeping in that latitude. By that time we had sailed twenty days, our men seeing we had made such great runs, and the wind like to continue, repined because they were kept at such short allowance. Captain Swan endeavoured to persuade them to have a little patience; yet nothing but an augmentation of their daily allowance would appease them. Captain Swan, though with much reluctance, gave way to a small enlargement of our commons, for now we had about ten spoonfuls of boiled maize a man, once a day, whereas before we had but eight: I do believe that this short allowance did me a great deal of good, though others were weakened by it; for I found that my strength increased and my dropsy wore off. Yet I drank three times every twenty-four hours; but many of our men did not drink in nine or ten days' time and some not in twelve days; one of our men did not drink in seventeen days' time, and said he was not adry when he did drink; yet he made water every day more or less. One of our men in the midst of these hardships was found guilty of theft, and condemned for the same to have three blows from each man in the ship, with a two inch and a half rope on his bare back. Captain Swan began first, and struck with a good will; whose example was followed by all of us.
It was very strange that in all this voyage we did not see one fish, not so much as a flying-fish, nor any sort of fowl, but at one time, when we were by my account 4975 miles west from Cape Corrientes, then we saw a great number of boobies which we supposed came from some rocks not far from us, which were mentioned in some of our sea-charts, but we did not see them.
After we had run the 1900 leagues by our reckoning which made the English account to Guam the men began to murmur against Captain Swan for persuading them to come this voyage; but he gave them fair words and told them that the Spanish account might probably be the truest and, seeing the gale was likely to continue, a short time longer would end our troubles.
As we drew nigh the island we met with some small rain, and the clouds settling in the west were an apparent token that we were not far from land; for in these climates, between or near the tropics, where the trade-wind blows constantly, the clouds which fly swift overhead, yet seem near the limb of the horizon to hang without much motion or alteration, where the land is near. I have often taken notice of it, especially if it is high land, for you shall then have the clouds hang about it without any visible motion.
The 20th day of May, our bark being about three leagues ahead of our ship, sailed over a rocky shoal on which there was but four fathom water and abundance of fish swimming about the rocks. They imagined by this that the land was not far off; so they clapped on a wind with the bark's head to the north and, being past the shoal, lay by for us. When we came up with them Captain Teat came aboard us and related what he had seen. We were then in latitude 12 degrees 55 minutes steering west. The island Guam is laid down in latitude 13 degrees north by the Spaniards, who are masters of it, keeping it as a baiting-place as they go to the Philippine Islands. Therefore we clapped on a wind and stood to northward, being somewhat troubled and doubtful whether we were right, because there is no shoal laid down in the Spanish charts about the island Guam. At four a clock, to our great joy, we saw the island Guam at about eight leagues distance.
It was well for Captain Swan that we got sight of it before our provision was spent, of which we had but enough for three days more; for, as I was afterwards informed, the men had contrived first to kill Captain Swan and eat him when the victuals was gone, and after him all of us who were accessory in promoting the undertaking this voyage. This made Captain Swan say to me after our arrival at Guam, “Ah! Dampier, you would have made them but a poor meal;” for I was as lean as the captain was lusty and fleshy. The wind was at east-north-east and the land bore at north-north-east. Therefore we stood to the northward till we brought the island to bear east, and then we turned to get in to an anchor.
The account I have given hitherto of our course from Cape Corrientes in the kingdom of Mexico (for I have mentioned another cape of that name in Peru, south of the Bay of Panama) to Guam, one of the Ladrone Islands, has been in the gross. But for the satisfaction of those who may think it serviceable to the fixing the longitudes of these parts, or to any other use in geography or navigation, I have here subjoyned a particular Table of every day's run, which was as follows.
|March||31||S W 5 d W||27||17||20||20:11||W N W|
|April||1||S W 5 W||106||68||81||R. 19:2||N W : N N W|
|2||S W 1 W||142||98||101||R. 17:25||N b W|
|3||W by S||102||19||100||Ob. 17:6||N|
|4||W 12 S||140||29||136||Ob. 16:37||N : N N E|
|5||W 20 S||160||54||150||Ob. 15:43||N|
|6||W 10 S||108||18||106||Ob. 15:25||N E|
|7||W 15 S||89||23||86||Ob. 15:2||N E: E N E|
|8||W 2 S||64||5||63||R. 14:57||E N E|
|9||W 4 S||94||6||93||Ob. 14:51||E N E|
|10||W 5 S||138||12||137||Ob. 14:39||E N E|
|11||W 5 S||124||10||123||Ob. 14:29||E N E|
|12||W 5 S||170||14||169||R. 14:15||E N E|
|13||W 5 S||170||14||169||R. 14:1||E N E|
|14||W 5 S||180||15||177||R. 13:46||E N E|
|15||W 6 S||174||18||172||R. 13:28||E N E cloudy|
|16||W 6 S||182||19||180||R. 13:9||E N E misty|
|17||W 6 S||216||22||214||R. 12:47||E N E rain|
The Sum of the Westings hitherto is —— 2283 which make Deg. of Longitude —— 39 d. 5 m.
|Day||Course.||Dist||N or S.||W.||Lat.||Winds.|
|April||18||W||192||0||192||R 12:47||E by N|
|19||W||180||0||180||R 12:47||E cloudy|
|20||W||177||0||170||R 12:47||E N E|
|21||W||171||0||171||R 12:47||E N E|
|22||W||180||0||180||R 12:47||E by N|
Ob. W 4 N
|170||11 N||168||R 12:47|
|E by N|
|24||R. W.||146||0||146||R 12:58||E by N|
|25||W||146||0||146||R 12:58||E by N|
|26||W 3 N||185||9 N||184||Ob. 13:7||E by N|
|27||W||140||0||140||Ob. 13:7||E by N|
|28||W||167||0||167||R 13:7||E by N|
|29||W. 2 N.||172||5||171||R 13:12||E|
|30 †||W||172||0||173||R 13:12||E N E|
|May||1||W||196||0||196||R 13:12||E by N|
|2 †||W||100||0||160||Ob. 13:12||E by N|
|3||W||154||0||154||R 13:12||E N E|
Ob. W. 2 S
|153||5 S||152||R 13:12|
|E N E|
|5||W 2 N||180||7 N||179||Ob. 13:14||E N E|
|6||W 2 N||172||9 N||171||Ob. 13:22||E N E|
|7||W||160||0||160||Ob. 13:22||E N E|
|8||W 3 S||149||7 S||148||Ob. 13:15||E by N|
|9||W 4 S||134||9 S||133||Ob. 13:6||E N E|
|10||W||128||0||128||R. 13:6||E N E|
|11||W 5 S||112||0||111||Ob. 12:57||E N E|
|12||W||128||0||128||R. 12:57||E N E|
|13||W||129||0||129||R. 12:57||E N E|
|14||W||128||0||128||R. 12:57||E N E|
|15||W 4 N||188||8 N||117||Ob. 13:5||E N E|
|16||W 6 S||114||11 S||113||Ob. 12:54||E N E|
|17||W 3 S||109||5 S||108||Ob. 12:49||E N E|
|18||W||120||0||120||R. 12:49||E N E|
|19 †||W||127||0||137||R. 12:49||E N E|
|20 †||W||134||0||130||R. 12:50||E|
|21||NW 7 W||13||8 N||10||R. 12:59||E N E|
† Indicates row in which Distance and Westing should be the same, if “N. or S.” is 0, as indicated. It is unknown which column is in error.—JW.
Summ of all the Westings —— 7323.
Making Deg. of Longitude in all —— 125 d. 11 m.
Now the island Guam bore north-north-east eight leagues distance. This gives 22 minutes to my latitude and takes 9 from my meridian distance. So that the island is in latitude 13:21; and the meridian distance from Corrientes 7302 miles; which, reduced into degrees, makes 125 degrees 11 minutes.
The Table consists of seven columns. The first is of the days of the month. The 2nd column contains each day's course, or the point of the compass we ran upon. The 3rd gives the distance or length of such course in Italian or geometrical miles (at the rate of 60 to a degree) or the progress the ship makes every day; and is reckoned always from noon to noon. But because the course is not always made upon the same run in a direct line therefore the 4th and 5th columns show how many miles we ran to the south every day, and how many to the west; which last was our main run in this voyage. By the 17th of April we were got pretty near into the latitude Guam, and, our course then lying along that parallel, our northing and southing consequently were but little according as the ship deviated from its direct course; and such deviation is thenceforward expressed by north or south in the 5th column, and the ship's keeping straight on the west-rumb by 0, that is to say, no northing or southing. The 6th column shows the latitude we were in every day where R. signifies the dead reckoning by the running of the logs, and Ob. shows the latitude by observation. The 7th column shows the wind and weather.
To these I would have added an 8th column to show the variation of the needle; but as it was very small in this course so neither did we make any observation of it above once, after we were set out from the Mexican coast. At our departure from Cape Corrientes we found it to be 4 degrees 28 minutes easterly: and the observation we made of it afterwards, when we had gone about a third of the voyage, showed it to be so near the same, to be decreasing: neither did we observe it at Guam, for Captain Swan, who had the instruments in his cabin, did not seem much to regard it: yet I am inclined to think that at Guam the variation might be either none at all or even increasing to the westward.
To conclude, May 20th at noon (when we begin to call it 21st) we were in latitude 12 degrees 50 minutes north by R. having run since the noon before 134 miles directly west. We continued the same course till two that afternoon, for which I allow 10 miles more west still, and then, finding the parallel we ran upon to be too much southerly, we clapped on a wind and sailed directly north till five in the afternoon, having at that time run eight mile, and increased our latitude so many minutes, making it 12 degrees 58 minutes. We then saw the island Guam bearing north-north-east distant from us about eight leagues, which gives the latitude of the island 13 degrees 20 minutes. And according to the account foregoing its longitude is 125 degrees 11 minutes west from the Cape Corrientes on the coast of Mexico, allowing 58 or 59 Italian miles to a degree in these latitudes, at the common rate of 60 miles to a degree of the Equator, as before computed.
As a corollary from hence it will follow that, upon a supposal of the truth of the general allowance seamen make of 60 Italian miles to an equinoctial degree, that the South Sea must be of a greater breadth by 25 degrees than it's commonly reckoned by hydrographers, who make it only about 100, more or less. For since we found (as I shall have occasion to say) the distance from Guam to the eastern parts of Asia to be much the same with the common reckoning it follows by way of necessary consequence from hence that the 25 degrees of longitude, or thereabouts, which are under-reckoned in the distance between America and the East Indies westward are over-reckoned in the breadth of Asia and Africa, the Atlantic Sea, or the American continent, or all together; and so that tract of the terraqueous globe must be so much shortened. And for a further confirmation of the fact I shall add that, as to the Ethiopic or Indian Sea, its breadth must be considerably less than it is generally calculated to be if it be true what I have heard over and over from several able seamen, whom I have conversed with in these parts, that ships sailing from the Cape of Good Hope to New Holland (as many ships bound to Java or thereabouts keep that latitude) find themselves there (and sometimes to their cost) running aground when they have thought themselves to be a great way off; and it is from hence possibly that the Dutch call that part of this coast the Land of Indraught (as if it magnetically drew ships too fast to it) and give cautions to avoid it: but I rather think it is the nearness of the land than any whirlpool or the like that surprises them. As to the breadth of the Atlantic Sea I am from good hands assured that it is over-reckoned by six, seven, eight, or ten degrees; for besides the concurrent accounts of several experienced men who have confirmed the same to me, Mr. Canby particularly, who has sailed as a mate in a great many voyages, from Cape Lopez on the coast of Guinea to Barbados, and is much esteemed as a very sensible man, has often told me that he constantly found the distance to be between 60 and 62 degrees; whereas it is laid down in 68, 69, 70, and 72 degrees in the common charts.
As to the supposition itself, which our seamen make, in the allowing but 60 miles to a degree, I am not ignorant how much this has been canvassed of late years especially, and that the prevailing opinion has been that about 70 or upwards should be allowed. But till I can see some better grounds for the exactness of those trials that have been made on land by Mr. Norwood and others considering the inequality of the Earth's surface as well as the obliquity of the way; in their allowing for which I am somewhat doubtful of their measures. Upon the whole matter I cannot but adhere to the general sea-calculation, confirmed as to the main by daily experience, till some more certain estimate shall be made than those hitherto attempted. For we find ourselves, when we sail north or south, to be brought to our intended place in a time agreeable enough with what we expect upon the usual supposition, making all reasonable allowance, for the little unavoidable deviations east or west: and there seems no reason why the same estimate should not serve us in crossing the meridians which we find so true in sailing under them. As to this course of ours to Guam particularly we should rather increase than shorten our estimate of the length of it, considering that the easterly wind and current being so strong, and bearing therefore our log after us, as is usual in such cases; should we therefore, in casting up the run of the log, make allowance for so much space as the log itself drove after us (which is commonly three or four miles in 100 in so brisk a gale as this was) we must have reckoned more than 125 degrees; but in this voyage we made no such allowance: (though it be usual to do it) so that how much soever this computation of mine exceeds the common charts, yet it is of the shortest, according to our experiment and calculation.
But to proceed with our voyage: the island Guam or Guabon (as the native Indians pronounce it) is one of the Ladrone Islands, belongs to the Spaniards, who have a small fort with six guns in it, with a governor and 20 or 30 soldiers. They keep it for the relief and refreshment of their Philippine ships that touch here in their way from Acapulco to Manila, but the winds will not so easily let them take this way back again. The Spaniards of late have named Guam the island Maria; it is about 12 leagues long, and four broad, lying north and south. It is pretty high champion land.
The 21st day of May 1686 at 11 a clock in the evening we anchored near the middle of the island Guam, on the west side a mile from the shore. At a distance it appears flat and even, but coming near it you will find it stands shelving, and the east side, which is much the highest, is fenced with steep rocks that oppose the violence of the sea which continually rages against it, being driven with the constant trade-wind, and on that side there is no anchoring. The west side is pretty low, and full of small sandy bays, divided with as many rocky points. The soil of the island is reddish, dry and indifferent fruitful. The fruits are chiefly rice, pineapples, watermelons, musk-melons, oranges and limes, coconuts, and a sort of fruit called by us bread-fruit.
The coconut-trees grow by the sea on the western side in great groves, three or four miles in length and a mile or two broad. This tree is in shape like the cabbage-tree, and at a distance they are not to be known each from other, only the coconut-tree is fuller of branches; but the cabbage-tree generally is much higher, though the coconut-trees in some places are very high.
The nut or fruit grows at the head of the tree among the branches and in clusters, 10 or 12 in a cluster. The branch to which they grow is about the bigness of a man's arm and as long, running small towards the end. It is of a yellow colour, full of knots, and very tough. The nut is generally bigger than a man's head. The outer rind is near two inches thick before you come to the shell; the shell itself is black, thick, and very hard. The kernel in some nuts is near an inch thick, sticking to the inside of the shell clear round, leaving a hollow in the middle of it which contains about a pint, more or less, according to the bigness of the nut, for some are much bigger than others.
This cavity is full of sweet, delicate, wholesome and refreshing water. While the nut is growing all the inside is full of this water, without any kernel at all; but as the nut grows towards its maturity the kernel begins to gather and settle round on the inside of the shell and is soft like cream; and as the nut ripens it increases in substance and becomes hard. The ripe kernel is sweet enough but very hard to digest, therefore seldom eaten, unless by strangers, who know not the effects of it; but while it is young and soft like pap some men will eat it, scraping it out with a spoon after they have drunk the water that was within it. I like the water best when the nut is almost ripe for it is then sweetest and briskest.
When these nuts are ripe and gathered the outside rind becomes of a brown rusty colour so that one would think that they were dead and dry; yet they will sprout out like onions after they have been hanging in the sun three or four months or thrown about in a house or ship, and if planted afterward in the earth they will grow up to a tree. Before they thus sprout out there is a small spongy round knob grows in the inside, which we call an apple. This at first is no bigger than the top of one's finger, but increases daily, sucking up the water till it is grown so big as to fill up the cavity of the coconut, and then it begins to sprout forth. By this time the nut that was hard begins to grow oily and soft, thereby giving passage to the sprout that springs from the apple, which nature has so contrived that it points to the hole in the shell (of which there are three, till it grows ripe, just where it's fastened by its stalk to the tree; but one of these holes remains open, even when it is ripe) through which it creeps and spreads forth its branches. You may let these teeming nuts sprout out a foot and a half or two foot high before you plant them, for they will grow a great while like an onion out of their own substance.
Beside the liquor or water in the fruit there is also a sort of wine drawn from the tree called toddy, which looks like whey. It is sweet and very pleasant, but it is to be drunk within 24 hours after it is drawn, for afterwards it grows sour. Those that have a great many trees draw a spirit from the sour wine called arak. Arak is distilled also from rice and other things in the East Indies; but none is so much esteemed for making punch as this sort, made of toddy, or the sap of the coconut tree, for it makes most delicate punch; but it must have a dash of Brandy to hearten it because this arak is not strong enough to make good punch of itself. This sort of liquor is chiefly used about Goa; and therefore it has the name of Goa arak. The way of drawing the toddy from the tree is by cutting the top of a branch that would bear nuts but before it has any fruit; and from thence the liquor which was to feed its fruit distils into the hole of a calabash that is hung upon it.
This branch continues running almost as long as the fruit would have been growing, and then it dries away. The tree has usually three fruitful branches which, if they be all tapped thus, then the tree bears no fruit that year; but if one or two only be tapped the other will bear fruit all the while. The liquor which is thus drawn is emptied out of the calabash duly morning and evening so long as it continues running, and is sold every morning and evening in most towns in the East Indies, and great gain is produced from it even this way; but those that distil it and make arak reap the greatest profit. There is also great profit made of the fruit, both of the nut and the shell.
The kernel is much used in making broth. When the nut is dry they take off the husk and, giving two good blows on the middle of the nut, it breaks in two equal parts, letting the water fall on the ground; then with a small iron rasp made for the purpose the kernel or nut is rasped out clean, which, being put into a little fresh water, makes it become white as milk. In this milky water they boil a fowl, or any other sort of flesh, and it makes very savoury broth. English seamen put this water into boiled rice, which they eat instead of rice-milk, carrying nuts purposely to sea with them. This they learnt from the natives.
But the greatest use of the kernel is to make oil, both for burning and for frying. The way to make the oil is to grate or rasp the kernel, and steep it in fresh water; then boil it, and scum off the oil at top as it rises: but the nuts that make the oil ought to be a long time gathered so as that the kernel may be turning soft and oily.
The shell of this nut is used in the East Indies for cups, dishes, ladles, spoons, and in a manner for all eating and drinking vessels. Well-shaped nuts are often brought home to Europe and much esteemed.
The husk of the shell is of great use to make cables; for the dry husk is full of small strings and threads which, being beaten, become soft, and the other substance which was mixed among it falls away like sawdust, leaving only the strings. These are afterwards spun into long yarns, and twisted up into balls for convenience: and many of these rope-yarns joined together make good cables. This manufactory is chiefly used at the Maldive Islands, and the threads sent in balls into all places that trade thither purposely for to make cables. I made a cable at Achin with some of it. These are called coir cables; they will last very well. But there is another sort of coir cables (as they are called) that are black, and more strong and lasting; and are made of strings that grow like horse-hair at the heads of certain trees almost like the coconut-tree. This sort comes most from the island Timor. In the South Seas the Spaniards do make oakum to caulk their ships with the husk of the coconut, which is more serviceable than that made of hemp, and they say it will never rot. I have been told by Captain Knox, who wrote the relation of Ceylon, that in some places of India they make a sort of coarse cloth of the husk of the coconut which is used for sails. I myself have seen a sort of coarse sail-cloth made of such a kind of substance but whether the same or no I know not.
I have been the longer on this subject to give the reader a particular account of the use and profit of a vegetable which is possibly of all others the most generally serviceable to the conveniences as well as the necessities of human life. Yet this tree that is of such great use, and esteemed so much in the East Indies, is scarce regarded in the West Indies, for want of the knowledge of the benefit which it may produce. And it is partly for the sake of my countrymen in our American plantations that I have spoken so largely of it. For the hot climates there are a very proper soil for it: and indeed it is so hardy, both in the raising it and when grown, that it will thrive as well in dry sandy ground as in rich land. I have found them growing very well in low sandy islands (on the west of Sumatra) that are over-flowed with the sea every spring-tide; and though the nuts there are not very big yet this is no loss for the kernel is thick and sweet; and the milk, or water in the inside, is more pleasant and sweet than of the nuts that grow in rich ground, which are commonly large indeed, but not very sweet. These at Guam grow in dry ground, are of a middle size, and I think the sweetest that I did ever taste. Thus much for the coconut.
The lime is a sort of bastard or crab-lemon. The tree or bush that bears it is prickly like a thorn, growing full of small boughs. In Jamaica and other places they make of the lime-bush fences about gardens, or any other inclosure, by planting the seeds close together, which, growing up thick, spread abroad and make a very good hedge. The fruit is like a lemon but smaller; the rind thin, and the enclosed substance full of juice. The juice is very tart yet of a pleasant taste if sweetened with sugar. It is chiefly used for making punch, both in the East and West Indies, as well ashore as at sea, and much of it is for that purpose yearly brought home to England from our West India plantations. It is also used for a particular kind of sauce which is called pepper-sauce and is made of cod-pepper, commonly called guinea-pepper, boiled in water and then pickled with salt and mixed with lime-juice to preserve it. Limes grow plentiful in the East and West Indies within the tropics.
The bread-fruit (as we call it) grows on a large tree, as big and high as our largest apple-trees. It has a spreading head full of branches, and dark leaves. The fruit grows on the boughs like apples: it is as big as a penny loaf when wheat is at five shillings the bushel. It is of a round shape and has a thick tough rind. When the fruit is ripe it is yellow and soft; and the taste is sweet and pleasant. The natives of this island use it for bread: they gather it when full grown while it is green and hard; then they bake it in an oven, which scorches the rind and makes it black: but they scrape off the outside black crust and there remains a tender thin crust, and the inside is soft, tender, and white, like the crumb of a penny loaf. There is neither seed nor stone in the inside, but all is of a pure substance like bread: it must be eaten new for if it is kept above 24 hours it becomes dry and eats harsh and choky; but it is very pleasant before it is too stale. This fruit lasts in season eight months in the year during which time the natives eat no other sort of food of bread kind. I did never see of this fruit anywhere but here. The natives told us that there is plenty of this fruit growing on the rest of the Ladrone Islands; and I did never hear of any of it anywhere else.
They have here some rice also but, the island being of a dry soil and therefore not very proper for it, they do not sow very much. Fish is scarce about this island; yet on the shoal that our bark came over there was great plenty and the natives commonly go thither to fish.
The natives of this island are strong-bodied, large-limbed, and well-shaped. They are copper-coloured like other Indians: their hair is black and long, their eyes meanly proportioned; they have pretty high noses; their lips are pretty full and their teeth indifferent white. They are long-visaged and stern of countenance; yet we found them to be affable and courteous. They are many of them troubled with a kind of leprosy. This distemper is very common at Mindanao: therefore I shall speak more of it in my next chapter. They of Guam are otherwise very healthy, especially in the dry season: but in the wet season, which comes in in June and holds till October, the air is more thick and unwholesome; which occasions fevers: but the rains are not violent nor lasting. For the island lies so far westerly from the Philippine Islands or any other land that the westerly winds do seldom blow so far; and when they do they do not last long: but the easterly winds do constantly blow here, which are dry and healthy; and this island is found to be very healthful, as we were informed while we lay by it.
The natives are very ingenious beyond any people in making boats, or proas, as they are called in the East Indies, and therein they take great delight. These are built sharp at both ends; the bottom is of one piece, made like the bottom of a little canoa, very neatly dug, and left of a good substance. This bottom part is instead of a keel. It is about 26 or 28 foot long; the under-part of this keel is made round, but inclining to a wedge, and smooth; and the upper-part is almost flat, having a very gentle hollow, and is about a foot broad: from hence both sides of the boat are carried up to about five foot high with narrow plank, not above four or five inches broad, and each end of the boat turns up round, very prettily. But, what is very singular, one side of the boat is made perpendicular, like a wall, while the other side is rounding, made as other vessels are, with a pretty full belly. Just in the middle it is about four or five foot broad aloft, or more, according to the length of the boat. The mast stands exactly in the middle, with a long yard that peeps up and down like a mizzen-yard. One end of it reaches down to the end or head of the boat where it is placed in a notch that is made there purposely to receive it and keep it fast. The other end hangs over the stern: to this yard the sail is fastened. At the foot of the sail there is another small yard to keep the sail out square and to roll up the sail on when it blows hard; for it serves instead of a reef to take up the sail to what degree they please according to the strength of the wind. Along the belly-side of the boat, parallel with it, at about six or seven foot distance, lies another small boat, or canoa, being a log of very light wood, almost as long as the great boat but not so wide, being not above a foot and a half wide at the upper part, and very sharp like a wedge at each end. And there are two bamboos of about eight or 10 foot long and as big as one's leg placed over the great boat's side, one near each end of it and reaching about six or seven foot from the side of the boat: by the help of which, the little boat is made firm and contiguous to the other. These are generally called by the Dutch, and by the English from them, outlayers. The use of them is to keep the great boat upright from oversetting; because the wind here being in a manner constantly east (or if it were at west it would be the same thing) and the range of these islands, where their business lies to and fro, being mostly north and south, they turn the flat side of the boat against the wind, upon which they sail, and the belly-side, consequently with its little boat, is upon the lee: and the vessel having a head at each end so as to sail with either of them foremost (indifferently) they need not tack or go about, as all our vessels do, but each end of the boat serves either for head or stern as they please. When they ply to windward and are minded to go about he that steers bears away a little from the wind, by which means the stern comes to the wind; which is now become the head, only by shifting the end of the yard. This boat is steered with a broad paddle instead of a rudder. I have been the more particular in describing these boats because I do believe they sail the best of any boats in the world. I did here for my own satisfaction try the swiftness of one of them; sailing by our log we had 12 knots on our reel, and she run it all out before the half minute-glass was half out; which, if it had been no more, is after the rate of 12 mile an hour; but I do believe she would have run 24 mile an hour. It was very pleasant to see the little boat running along so swift by the other's side.
The native Indians are no less dextrous in managing than in building these boats. By report they will go from hence to another of the Ladrone Islands about 30 leagues off, and there do their business and return again in less than 12 hours. I was told that one of these boats was sent express to Manila, which is above 400 leagues, and performed the voyage in four days' time. There are of these proas or boats used in many places of the East Indies but with a belly and a little boat on each side. Only at Mindanao I saw one like these with the belly and a little boat only on one side and the other flat, but not so neatly built.
The Indians of Guam have neat little houses, very handsomely thatched with palmetto-thatch. They inhabit together in villages built by the sea on the west side, and have Spanish priests to instruct them in the Christian religion.
The Spaniards have a small fort on the west side near the south end, with six guns in it. There is a governor, and 20 or 30 Spanish soldiers. There are no more Spaniards on this island beside two or three priests. Not long before we arrived here the natives rose on the Spaniards to destroy them and did kill many: but the governor with his soldiers at length prevailed and drove them out of the fort: so when they found themselves disappointed of their intent they destroyed the plantations and stock and then went away to other islands: there were then three or 400 Indians on this island; but now there are not above 100; for all that were in this conspiracy went away. As for these who yet remain, if they were not actually concerned in that broil yet their hearts also are bent against the Spaniards: for they offered to carry us to the fort and assist us in the conquest of the island; but Captain Swan was not for molesting the Spaniards here.
Before we came to an anchor here one of the priests came aboard in the night with three Indians. They first hailed us to know from whence we came and what we were: to whom answer was made in Spanish that we were Spaniards and that we came from Acapulco. It being dark they could not see the make of our ship nor very well discern what we were: therefore we came aboard but, perceiving the mistake they were in in taking us for a Spanish ship they endeavoured to get from us again, but we held their boat fast and made them come in. Captain Swan received the priest with much civility and, conducting him into the great cabin, declared that the reason of our coming to this island was want of provision, and that he came not in any hostile manner but as a friend to purchase with his money what he wanted: and therefore desired the priest to write a letter to the governor to inform him what we were and on what account we came. For, having him now aboard, the captain was willing to detain him as an hostage till we had provision. The padre told Captain Swan that provision was now scarce on the island but he would engage that the governor would do his utmost to furnish us.
In the morning the Indians in whose boat or proa the friar came aboard were sent to the governor with two letters; one from the friar, and another very obliging one from Captain Swan, and a present of four yards of scarlet cloth and a piece of broad silver and gold lace. The governor lives near the south end of the island on the west side; which was about five leagues from the place where we were; therefore we did not expect an answer till the evening, not knowing then how nimble they were. Therefore when the Indian canoa was dispatched away to the governor we hoisted out two of our Canoas, and sent one a-fishing and the other ashore for coconuts. Our fishing canoa got nothing; but the men that went ashore for coconuts came off laden.
About 11 a clock that same morning the governor of the island sent a letter to Captain Swan, complimenting him for his present and promising to support us with as much provision as he could possibly spare; and as a token of his gratitude he sent a present of six hogs, of a small sort, most excellent meat, the best I think, that ever I ate: they are fed with coconuts and their flesh is as hard as brisket-beef. They were doubtless of that breed in America which came originally from Spain. He sent also 12 musk-melons, larger than ours in England, and as many watermelons, both sorts here being a very excellent fruit; and sent an order to the Indians that lived in a village not far from our ship to bake every day as much of the bread-fruit as we did desire, and to assist us in getting as many dry coconuts as we would have; which they accordingly did, and brought off the bread-fruit every day hot, as much as we could eat. After this the governor sent every day a canoa or two with hogs and fruit and desired for the same powder, shot, and arms; which were sent according to his request. We had a delicate large English dog which the governor did desire and had it given him very freely by the captain, though much against the grain of many of his men, who had a great value for that dog. Captain Swan endeavoured to get this governor's letter of recommendation to some merchants at Manila, for he had then a design to go to Fort St. George, and from thence intended to trade to Manila: but this his design was concealed from the company. While we lay here the Acapulco ship arrived in sight of the island but did not come in the sight of us; for the governor sent an Indian proa with advice of our being here. Therefore she stood off to the southward of the island and, coming foul of the same shoal that our bark had run over before, was in great danger of being lost there, for she struck off her rudder and with much ado got clear; but not till after three days' labour. For though the shoal be so near the island and the Indians go off and fish there every day yet the master of the Acapulco ship, who should (one would think) know these parts, was utterly ignorant of it. This their striking on the shoal we heard afterward when we were on the coast of Manila; but these Indians of Guam did speak of her being in sight of the island while we lay there, which put our men in a great heat to go out after her but Captain Swan persuaded them out of that humour, for he was now wholly averse to any hostile action.
The 30th day of May the governor sent his last present which was some hogs, a jar of pickled mangoes, a jar of excellent pickled fish, and a jar of fine rusk, or bread of fine wheat-flour, baked like biscuit but not so hard. He sent besides six or seven packs of rice, desiring to be excused from sending any more provision to us, saying he had no more on the island that he could spare. He sent word also that the west monsoon was at hand, that therefore it behoved us to be jogging from hence unless we were resolved to return back to America again. Captain Swan returned him thanks for his kindness and advice and took his leave; and the same day sent the friar ashore that was seized on at our first arrival, and gave him a large brass clock, an astrolabe, and a large telescope; for which present the friar sent us aboard six hogs and a roasting-pig, three or four bushels of potatoes, and 50 pound of Manila tobacco. Then we prepared to be gone, being pretty well furnished with provision to carry us to Mindanao, where we designed next to touch. We took aboard us as many coconuts as we could well stow, and we had a good stock of rice and about 50 hogs in salt.
While we lay at Guam we took up a resolution of going to Mindanao, one of the Philippine Islands, being told by the friar and others that it was exceedingly well stored with provisions; that the natives were Mohammedans, and that they had formerly a commerce with the Spaniards, but that now they were at wars with them. This island was therefore thought to be a convenient place for us to go; for besides that it was in our way to the East Indies, which we had resolved to visit; and that the westerly monsoon was at hand, which would oblige us to shelter somewhere in a short time, and that we could not expect good harbours in a better place than in so large an island as Mindanao: besides all this, I say, the inhabitants of Mindanao being then, as we were told (though falsely) at wars with the Spaniards, our men, who it should seem were very squeamish of plundering without licence, derived hopes from thence of getting a commission there from the prince of the island to plunder the Spanish ships about Manila, and so to make Mindanao their common rendezvous. And if Captain Swan was minded to go to an English port yet his men, who thought he intended to leave them, hoped to get vessels and pilots at Mindanao fit for their turn, to cruise on the coast of Manila. As for Captain Swan he was willing enough to go thither as best suiting his own design; and therefore this voyage was concluded on by general consent.
Accordingly June 2nd 1686 we left Guam bound for Mindanao. We had fair weather and a pretty smart gale of wind at east for 3 or 4 days, and then it shifted to the south-west being rainy, but it soon came about again to the east and blew a gentle gale; yet it often shuffled about to the south-east. For though in the East Indies the winds shift in April, yet we found this to be the shifting season for the winds here; the other shifting season being in October, sooner or later, all over India. As to our course from Guam to the Philippine Islands, we found it (as I intimated before) agreeable enough with the account of our common charts.
The 21st day of June we arrived at the island St. John, which is one of the Philippine Islands. The Philippines are a great company of large islands, taking up about 13 degrees of latitude in length, reaching near upon from 3 degrees of north latitude to the 19th degree, and in breadth about 6 degrees of longitude. They derive this name from Phillip II, King of Spain; and even now do they most of them belong to that crown.
The chiefest island in this range is Luconia, which lies on the north of them all. At this island Magellan died on the voyage that he was making round the world. For after he had passed those straits between the south end of America and Tierra del Fuego which now bear his name, and had ranged down in the South Seas on the back of America; from thence stretching over to the East Indies, he fell in with the Ladrone Islands and from thence, steering east still, he fell in with these Philippine Islands and anchored at Luconia; where he warred with the native Indians to bring them in obedience to his master the king of Spain, and was by them killed with a poisoned arrow. It is now wholly under the Spaniards who have several towns there. The chief is Manila, which is a large sea-port town near the south-east end, opposite to the island Mindoro. It is a place of great strength and trade: the two great Acapulco ships before mentioned fetching from hence all sorts of East India commodities which are brought hither by foreigners, especially by the Chinese and the Portuguese. Sometimes the English merchants of Fort St. George send their ships hither as it were by stealth under the charge of Portuguese pilots and mariners: for as yet we cannot get the Spaniards there to a commerce with us or the Dutch, although they have but few ships of their own. This seems to arise from a jealousy or fear of discovering the riches of these islands, for most if not all the Philippine Islands are rich in gold: and the Spaniards have no place of much strength in all these islands that I could ever hear of besides Manila itself. Yet they have villages and towns on several of the islands, and padres or priests to instruct the native Indians from whom they get their gold.
The Spanish inhabitants of the smaller islands especially would willingly trade with us if the government was not so severe against it: for they have no goods but what are brought from Manila at an extraordinary dear rate. I am of the opinion that if any of our nations will seek a trade with them they would not lose their labour; for the Spaniards can and will smuggle (as our seamen call trading by stealth) as well as any nation that I know; and our Jamaicans are to their profit sensible enough of it. And I have been informed that Captain Goodlud of London, in a voyage which he made from Mindanao to China, touched at some of these islands and was civilly treated by the Spaniards who bought some of his commodities, giving him a very good price for the same.
There are about 12 or 14 more large islands lying to the southward of Luconia; most of which, as I said before, are inhabited by the Spaniards. Besides these there are an infinite number of small islands of no account, and even the great islands, many of them, are without names; or at least so variously set down that I find the same islands named by divers names.
The island St. John and Mindanao are the southermost of all these islands and are the only islands in all this range that are not subject to the Spaniards.
St. John's Island is on the east side of the Mindanao and distant from it 3 or 4 leagues. It is in latitude about 7 or 8 north. This island is in length about 38 leagues, stretching north-north-west and south-south-east, and it is in breadth about 24 leagues in the middle of the island. The northermost end is broader, and the southermost is narrower: this island is of a good height and is full of many small hills. The land at the south-east end (where I was ashore) is of a black fat Mould; and the whole island seems to partake of the same fatness by the vast number of large trees that it produces; for it looks all over like one great grove.
As we were passing by the south-east end we saw a canoa of the natives under the shore; therefore one of our Canoas went after to have spoken with her; but she ran away from us, seeing themselves chased, put their canoa ashore, leaving her, fled into the woods; nor would be allured to come to us, although we did what we could to entice them; besides these men we saw no more here nor sign of any inhabitants at this end.
When we came aboard our ship again we steered away for the island Mindanao, which was now fair in sight of us: it being about 10 leagues distant from this part of St. John's. The 22nd day we came within a league of the east side of the island Mindanao and having the wind at south-east we steered toward the north end, keeping on the east side till we came into the latitude of 7 degrees 40 minutes, and there we anchored in a small bay, about a mile from the shore in 10 fathom water, rocky foul ground.
Some of our books gave us an account that Mindanao City and Isle lies in 7 degrees 40 minutes. We guessed that the middle of the island might lie in this latitude but we were at a great loss where to find the city, whether on the east or west side. Indeed, had it been a small island lying open in the eastern wind we might probably have searched first on the west side; for commonly the islands within the tropics, or within the bounds of the trade-winds, have their harbours on the west side, as best sheltered; but the island Mindanao being guarded on the east side by St. John's Island we might as reasonably expect to find the harbour and city on this side as anywhere else: but, coming into the latitude in which we judged the city might be, found no Canoas or people that might give us any umbrage of a city or place of trade near at hand, though we coasted within a league of the shore.
The island Mindanao is the biggest of all the Philippine Islands except Luconia. It is about 60 leagues long and 40 or 50 broad. The south end is in about 5 degrees north and the north-west end reaches almost to 8 degrees north. It is a very mountainous island, full of hills and valleys. The Mould in general is deep and black and extraordinary fat and fruitful. The sides of the hills are stony yet productive enough of very large tall trees. In the heart of the country there are some mountains that yield good gold. The valleys are well moistened with pleasant brooks and small rivers of delicate water; and have trees of divers sorts flourishing and green all the year. The trees in general are very large, and most of them are of kinds unknown to us.
There is one sort which deserves particular notice; called by the natives libby-trees. These grow wild in great groves of 5 or 6 miles long by the sides of the rivers. Of these trees sago is made, which the poor country people eat instead of bread 3 or 4 months in the year. This tree for its body and shape is much like the palmetto-tree or the cabbage-tree, but not so tall as the latter. The bark and wood is hard and thin like a shell, and full of white pith like the pith of an elder. This tree they cut down and split it in the middle and scrape out all the pith; which they beat lustily with a wooden pestle in a great mortar or trough, and then put it into a cloth or strainer held over a trough; and, pouring water in among the pith, they stir it about in the cloth: so the water carries all the substance of the pith through the cloth down into the trough, leaving nothing in the cloth but a light sort of husk which they throw away; but that which falls into the trough settles in a short time to the bottom like mud; and then they draw off the water, and take up the muddy substance, wherewith they make cakes; which being baked proves very good bread.
The Mindanao people live 3 or 4 months of the year on this food for their bread-kind. The native Indians of Ternate and Tidore and all the Spice Islands have plenty of these trees, and use them for food in the same manner; as I have been informed by Mr. Caril Rofy who is now commander of one of the king's ships. He was one of our company at this time; and, being left with Captain Swan at Mindanao, went afterwards to Ternate and lived there among the Dutch a year or two. The sago which is transported into other parts of the East Indies is dried in small pieces like little seeds or comfits and commonly eaten with milk of almonds by those that are troubled with the flux; for it is a great binder and very good in that distemper.
In some places of Mindanao there is plenty of rice; but in the hilly land they plant yams, potatoes, and pumpkins; all which thrive very well. The other fruits of this island are watermelons, musk-melons, plantains, bananas, guavas, nutmegs, cloves, betel-nuts, Durians, jacks, or jacas, coconuts, oranges, etc.
The plantain I take to be the king of all fruit, not except the coco itself. The tree that bears this fruit is about 3 foot or 3 foot and a half round, and about 10 or 12 foot high. These trees are not raised from seed (for they seem not to have any) but from the roots of other old trees. If these young suckers are taken out of the ground and planted in another place it will be 15 months before they bear, but if let stand in their own native soil they will bear in 12 months. As soon as the fruit is ripe the tree decays, but then there are many young ones growing up to supply its place. When this tree first springs out of the ground it comes up with two leaves; and by that time it is a foot high two more spring up in the inside of them; and in a short time after two more within them; and so on. By that time the tree is a month old you may perceive a small body almost as big as one's arm, and then there are eight or ten leaves, some of them four or five foot high. The first leaves that it shoots forth are not above a foot long and half a foot broad; and the stem that bears them no bigger than one's finger; but as the tree grows higher the leaves are larger. As the young leaves spring up in the inside so the old leaves spread off, and their tops droop downward, being of a greater length and breadth by how much they are nearer the root, and at last decay and rot off, but still there are young leaves spring up out of the top, which makes the tree look always green and flourishing. When the tree is full grown the leaves are 7 or 8 foot long and a foot and a half broad; towards the end they are smaller and end with a round point. The stem of the leaf is as big as a man's arm, almost round, and about a foot in length between the leaf and the body of the tree. That part of the stem which comes from the tree, if it be the outside leaf, seems to enclose half the body as it were with a thick hide; and right against it on the other side of the tree is another such answering to it. The next two leaves in the inside of these grow opposite to each other in the same manner, but so that, if the two outward grow north and south, these grow east and west, and those still within them keep the same order. Thus the body of this tree seems to be made up of many thick skins growing one over another, and when it is full grown there springs out of the top a strong stem, harder in substance than any other part of the body. This stem shoots forth at the heart of the tree, is as big as a man's arm, and as long; and the fruit grows in clusters round it, first blossoming and then shooting forth the fruit. It is so excellent that the Spaniards give it the preeminence of all other fruit, as most conducing to life. It grows in a cod about 6 or 7 inches long and as big as a man's arm. The shell, rind, or cod, is soft and of a yellow colour when ripe. It resembles in shape a hog's-gut pudding. The enclosed fruit is no harder than butter in winter, and is much of the colour of the purest yellow butter. It is of a delicate taste and melts in one's mouth like marmalet. It is all pure pulp, without any seed, kernel or stone. This fruit is so much esteemed by all Europeans that settle in America that when they make a new plantation they commonly begin with a good plantain-walk, as they call it, or a field of plantains; and as their family increases so they augment the plantain-walk, keeping one man purposely to prune the trees and gather the fruit as he sees convenient. For the trees continue bearing, some or other, most part of the year; and this is many times the whole food on which a whole family subsists. They thrive only in rich fat ground, for poor sandy will not bear them. The Spaniards in their towns in America, as at Havana, Cartagene, Portobello, etc., have their markets full of plantains, it being the common food for poor people: their common price is half a rial, or 3 pence a dozen. When this fruit is only used for bread it is roasted or boiled when it's just full grown but not yet ripe, or turned yellow. Poor people, or Negroes, that have neither fish nor flesh to eat with it, make sauce with cod-pepper, salt and lime-juice, which makes it eat very savoury; much better than a crust of bread alone. Sometimes for a change they eat a roasted plantain and a ripe raw plaintain together, which is instead of bread and butter. They eat very pleasant so, and I have made many a good meal in this manner. Sometimes our English take 5 or 7 ripe plantains and, mashing them together, make them into a lump, and boil them instead of a bag-pudding; which they call a buff-jacket: and this is a very good way for a change. This fruit makes also very good tarts; and the green plantains sliced thin and dried in the sun and grated will make a sort of flour which is very good to make puddings. A ripe plantain sliced and dried in the sun may be preserved a great while; and then eat like figs, very sweet and pleasant. The Darien Indians preserve them a long time by drying them gently over the fire; mashing them first and moulding them into lumps. The Moskito Indians will take a ripe plantain and roast it; then take a pint and a half of water in a calabash and squeeze the plantain in pieces with their hands, mixing it with the water; then they drink it all off together: this they call mishlaw, and it's pleasant and sweet and nourishing: somewhat like lamb's-wool (as it is called) made with apples and ale: and of this fruit alone many thousand of Indian families in the West Indies have their whole subsistence. When they make drink with them they take 10 or 12 ripe plantains and mash them well in a trough: then they put 2 gallons of water among them; and this in 2 hours' time will ferment and froth like wort. In 4 hours it is fit to drink and then they bottle it and drink it as they have occasion: but this will not keep above 24 or 30 hours. Those therefore that use this drink brew it in this manner every morning. When I went first to Jamaica I could relish no other drink they had there. It drinks brisk and cool and is very pleasant. This drink is windy, and so is the fruit eaten raw; but boiled or roasted it is not so. If this drink is kept above 30 hours it grows sharp: but if then it be put out in the sun it will become very good vinegar. This fruit grows all over the West Indies (in the proper climates) at Guinea, and in the East Indies.
As the fruit of this tree is of great use for food so is the body no less serviceable to make clothes; but this I never knew till I came to this island. The ordinary people of Mindanao do wear no other cloth. The tree never bearing but once, and so, being felled when the fruit is ripe, they cut it down close by the ground if they intend to make cloth with it. One blow with a hatchet or long knife will strike it asunder; then they cut off the top, leaving the trunk 8 or 10 foot long, stripping off the outer rind, which is thickest towards the lower end, having stripped 2 or 3 of these rinds, the trunk becomes in a manner all of one bigness, and of a whitish colour: then they split the trunk in the middle; which being done they split the two halves again as near the middle as they can. This they leave in the sun 2 or 3 days, in which time part of the juicy substance of the tree dries away, and then the ends will appear full of small threads. The women, whose employment it is to make the cloth, take hold of those threads one by one, which rend away easily from one end of the trunk to the other, in bigness like whited-brown thread; for the threads are naturally of a determinate bigness, as I observed their cloth to be all of one substance and equal fineness; but it is stubborn when new, wears out soon, and when wet feels a little slimy. They make their pieces 7 or 8 yards long, their warp and woof all one thickness and substance.
There is another sort of plantains in that island which are shorter and less than the others, which I never saw anywhere but here. These are full of black seeds mixed quite through the fruit. They are binding and are much eaten by those that have fluxes. The country people gave them us for that use and with good success.
The banana-tree is exactly like the plantain for shape and bigness, not easily distinguishable from it but by its fruit, which is a great deal smaller and not above half so long as a plantain, being also more mellow and soft, less luscious yet of a more delicate taste. They use this for the making drink oftener than plantains, and it is best when used for drink, or eaten as fruit; but it is not so good for bread, nor does it eat well at all when roasted or boiled; so it is only necessity that makes any use it this way. They grow generally where plantains do, being set intermixed with them purposely in their plantain-walks.
They have plenty of clove-bark, of which I saw a shipload; and as for cloves, Raja Laut, whom I shall have occasion to mention, told me that if the English would settle there they could order matters so in a little time as to send a shipload of cloves from thence every year. I have been informed that they grow on the boughs of a tree about as big as a plum-tree but I never happened to see any of them.
I have not seen the nutmeg-trees anywhere; but the nutmegs this island produces are fair and large, yet they have no great store of them, being unwilling to propagate them or the cloves, for fear that should invite the Dutch to visit them and bring them into subjection as they have done the rest of the neighbouring islands where they grow. For the Dutch, being seated among the Spice Islands, have monopolised all the trade into their own hands and will not suffer any of the natives to dispose of it but to themselves alone. Nay, they are so careful to preserve it in their own hands that they will not suffer the spice to grow in the uninhabited islands, but send soldiers to cut the trees down. Captain Rofy told me that while he lived with the Dutch he was sent with other men to cut down the spice-trees; and that he himself did at several times cut down 7 or 800 trees. Yet although the Dutch take such care to destroy them there are many uninhabited islands that have great plenty of spice-trees, as I have been informed by Dutchmen that have been there, particularly by a captain of a Dutch ship that I met with at Achin who told me that near the island Banda there is an island where the cloves, falling from the trees, do lie and rot on the ground, and they are at the time when the fruit falls 3 or 4 inches thick under the trees. He and some others told me that it would not be a hard matter for an English vessel to purchase a ship's cargo of spice of the natives of some of these Spice Islands.
He was a free merchant that told me this. For by that name the Dutch and English in the East Indies distinguish those merchants who are not servants to the company. The free merchants are not suffered to trade to the Spice Islands nor to many other places where the Dutch have factories; but on the other hand they are suffered to trade to some places where the Dutch Company themselves may not trade, as to Achin particularly, for there are some princes in the Indies who will not trade with the Company for fear of them. The seamen that go to the Spice Islands are obliged to bring no spice from thence for themselves except a small matter for their own use, about a pound or two. Yet the masters of those ships do commonly so order their business that they often secure a good quantity and send it ashore to some place near Batavia before they come into that harbour (for it is always brought thither first before it's sent to Europe) and if they meet any vessel at sea that will buy their cloves they will sell 10 or 15 tuns out of 100, and yet seemingly carry their complement to Batavia; for they will pour water among the remaining part of their cargo, which will swell them to that degree that the ship's hold will be as full again as it was before any were sold. This trick they use whenever they dispose of any clandestinely; for the cloves when they first take them in are extraordinary dry, and so will imbibe a great deal of moisture. This is but one instance of many hundreds of little deceitful arts the Dutch seamen have in these parts among them, of which I have both seen and heard several. I believe there are nowhere greater thieves; and nothing will persuade them to discover one another; for should any do it the rest would certainly knock him on the head. But to return to the products of Mindanao.
The betel-nut is much esteemed here, as it is in most places of the East Indies. The betel-tree grows like the cabbage-tree, but it is not so big nor so high. The body grows straight, about 12 or 14 foot high without leaf or branch except at the head. There it spreads forth long branches like other trees of the like nature, as the cabbage-tree, the coconut-tree, and the palm. These branches are about 10 or 12 foot long, and their stems near the head of the tree as big as a man's arm. On the top of the tree among the branches the betel-nut grows on a tough stem as big as a man's finger, in clusters much as the coconuts do, and they grow 40 or 50 in a cluster. This fruit is bigger than a nutmeg and is much like it but rounder. It is much used all over the East Indies. Their way is to cut it in four pieces, and wrap one of them up in an arek-leaf which they spread with a soft paste made of lime or plaster, and then chew it altogether. Every man in these parts carries his lime-box by his side and, dipping his finger into it, spreads his betel and arek-leaf with it. The arek is a small tree or shrub, of a green bark, and the leaf is long and broader than a willow. They are packed up to sell into parts that have them not, to chew with the betel. The betel-nut is most esteemed when it is young and before it grows hard, and then they cut it only in two pieces with the green husk or shell on it. It is then exceeding juicy and therefore makes them spit much. It tastes rough in the mouth and dyes the lips red, and makes the teeth black, but it preserves them, and cleanses the gums. It is also accounted very wholesome for the stomach; but sometimes it will cause great giddiness in the head of those that are not used to chew it. But this is the effect only of the old nut for the young nuts will not do it. I speak of my own experience.
This island produces also durians and jacks. The trees that bear the durians are as big as apple-trees, full of boughs. The rind is thick and rough; the fruit is so large that they grow only about the bodies or on the limbs near the body, like the Cacoa. The fruit is about the bigness of a large pumpkin, covered with a thick green rough rind. When it is ripe the rind begins to turn yellow but it is not fit to eat till it opens at the top. Then the fruit in the inside is ripe and sends forth an excellent scent. When the rind is opened the fruit may be split into four quarters; each quarter has several small cells that enclose a certain quantity of the fruit according to the bigness of the cell, for some are larger than others. The largest of the fruit may be as big as a pullet's egg. It is as white as milk and as soft as cream, and the taste very delicious as those that are accustomed to them; but those who have not been used to eat them will dislike them at first because they smell like roasted onions. This fruit must be eaten in its prime (for there is no eating of it before it is ripe) and even then it will not keep above a day or two before it putrefies and turns black, or of a dark colour, and then it is not good. Within the fruit there is a stone as big as a small bean, which has a thin shell over it. Those that are minded to eat the stones or nuts roast them, and then a thin shell comes off, which encloses the nut; and it eats like a chestnut.
The jack or jaca is much like the durian both in bigness and shape. The trees that bear them also are much alike, and so is their manner of the fruits growing. But the inside is different; for the fruit of the durian is white, that of the jack is yellow, and fuller of stones. The durian is most esteemed; yet the jack is a very pleasant fruit and the stones or kernels are good roasted.
There are many other sorts of grain, roots, and fruits in this island, which to give a particular description of would fill up a large volume.
In this island are also many sorts of beasts, both wild and tame; as horses, bulls, and cows, buffaloes, goats, wild hogs, deer, monkeys, Guanos, lizards, snakes, etc. I never saw or heard of any beasts of prey here, as in many other places. The hogs are ugly creatures; they have all great knobs growing over their eyes, and there are multitudes of them in the woods. They are commonly very poor, yet sweet. Deer are here very plentiful in some places where they are not disturbed.
Of the venomous kind of creatures here are scorpions, whose sting is in their tail; and centipedes, called by the English 40-legs, both which are also common in the West Indies, in Jamaica, and elsewhere. These centipedes are 4 or 5 inches long, as big as a goose-quill but flattish; of a dun or reddish colour on the back, but belly whitish, and full of legs on each side the belly. Their sting or bite is more raging than the scorpion. They lie in old houses and dry timber. There are several sorts of snakes, some very poisonous. There is another sort of creature like an Guano both in colour and shape but four times as big, whose tongue is like a small harpoon, having two beards like the beards of a fish-hook. They are said to be very venomous, but I know not their names. I have seen them in other places also, as at Pulo Condore, or the island Condore, and at Achin, and have been told that they are in the Bay of Bengal.
The fowls of this country are ducks and hens: other tame fowl I have not seen nor heard of any. The wild fowl are pigeons, parrots, parakeets, turtle-doves, and abundance of small fowls. There are bats as big as a kite.
There are a great many harbours, creeks, and good bays for ships to ride in; and rivers navigable for Canoas, proas or barks, which are all plentifully stored with fish of divers sorts, so is also the adjacent sea. The chiefest fish are boneta, snook, cavally, bream, mullet, 10-pounder, etc. Here are also plenty of sea-turtle, and small manatee which are not near so big as those in the West Indies. The biggest that I saw would not weigh above 600 pound; but the flesh both of the turtle and manatee are very sweet.
The weather at Mindanao is temperate enough as to heat for all it lies so near the Equator; and especially on the borders near the sea. There they commonly enjoy the breezes by day and cooling land-winds at night. The winds are easterly one part of the year and westerly the other. The easterly winds begin to blow in October and it is the middle of November before they are settled. These winds bring fair weather. The westerly winds begin to blow in May but are not settled till a month afterwards. The west winds always bring rain, tornadoes, and very tempestuous weather. At the first coming in of these winds they blow but faintly; but then the tornadoes rise one in a day, sometimes two. These are thunder-showers which commonly come against the wind, bringing with them a contrary wind to what did blow before. After the tornadoes are over the wind shifts about again and the sky becomes clear, yet then in the valleys and the sides of the mountains there rises thick fog which covers the land. The tornadoes continue thus for a week or more; then they come thicker, two or three in a day, bringing violent gusts of wind and terrible claps of thunder. At last they come so fast that the wind remains in the quarter from whence these tornadoes do rise, which is out of the west, and there it settles till October or November. When these westward winds are thus settled the sky is all in mourning, being covered with black clouds, pouring down excessive rains sometimes mixed with thunder and lightning, that nothing can be more dismal. The winds raging to that degree that the biggest trees are torn up by the roots and the rivers swell and overflow their banks and drown the low land, carrying great trees into the sea. Thus it continues sometimes a week together before the sun or stars appear. The fiercest of this weather is in the latter end of July and in August, for then the towns seem to stand in a great pond, and they go from one house to another in Canoas. At this time the water carries away all the filth and nastiness from under their houses. Whilst this tempestuous season lasts the weather is cold and chilly. In September the weather is more moderate, and the winds are not so fierce, nor the rain so violent. The air thenceforward begins to be more clear and delightsome; but then in the morning there are thick fogs continuing till 10 or 11 a clock before the sun shines out, especially when it has rained in the night. In October the easterly winds begin to blow again and bring fair weather till April. Thus much concerning the natural state of Mindanao.
This island is not subject to one prince, neither is the language one and the same; but the people are much alike in colour, strength, and stature. They are all or most of them of one religion, which is Mohammedanism, and their customs and manner of living are alike. The Mindanao people, more particularly so called, are the greatest nation in the island and, trading by sea with other nations, they are therefore the more civil. I shall say but little of the rest, being less known to me but, so much as has come to my knowledge, take as follows.
There are besides the Mindanayans, the Hilanoones (as they call them) or the Mountaineers, the Sologues and Alfoores.
The Hilanoones live in the heart of the country: they have little or no commerce by sea, yet they have proas that row with 12 or 14 oars apiece. They enjoy the benefit of the gold-mines and with their gold buy foreign commodities of the Mindanao people. They have also plenty of beeswax which they exchange for other commodities.
The Sologues inhabit the north-west end of the island. They are the least nation of all; they trade to Manila in proas and to some of the neighbouring islands but have no commerce with the Mindanao people.
The Alfoores are the same with the Mindanayans and were formerly under the subjection of the sultan of Mindanao, but were divided between the sultan's children, and have of late had a sultan of their own; but having by marriage contracted an alliance with the sultan of Mindanao this has occasioned that prince to claim them again as his subjects; and he made war with them a little after we went away, as I afterwards understood.
The Mindanayans properly so-called are men of mean statures; small limbs, straight bodies, and little heads. Their faces are oval, their foreheads flat, with black small eyes, short low noses, pretty large mouths; their lips thin and red, their teeth black, yet very sound, their hair black and straight, the colour of their skin tawny but inclining to a brighter yellow than some other Indians, especially the women. They have a custom to wear their thumb-nails very long, especially that on their left thumb, for they do never cut it but scrape it often. They are endued with good natural wits, are ingenious, nimble, and active, when they are minded but generally very lazy and thievish, and will not work except forced by hunger. This laziness is natural to most Indians; but these people's laziness seems rather to proceed and so much from their natural inclinations, as from the severity of their prince of whom they stand in awe: for he, dealing with them very arbitrarily, and taking from them what they get, this damps their industry, so they never strive to have anything but from hand to mouth. They are generally proud and walk very stately. They are civil enough to strangers and will easily be acquainted with them and entertain them with great freedom; but they are implacable to their enemies and very revengeful if they are injured, frequently poisoning secretly those that have affronted them.
They wear but few clothes; their heads are circled with a short turban, fringed or laced at both ends; it goes once about the head, and is tied in a knot, the laced ends hanging down. They wear frocks and breeches, but no stockings nor shoes.
The women are fairer than the men; and their hair is black and long; which they tie in a knot that hangs back in their poles. They are more round-visaged than the men and generally well-featured; only their noses are very small and so low between their eyes that in some of the female children the rising that should be between the eyes is scarce discernible; neither is there any sensible rising in their foreheads. At a distance they appear very well; but being nigh these impediments are very obvious. They have very small limbs. They wear but two garments; a frock and a sort of petticoat; the petticoat is only a piece of cloth, sowed both ends together: but it is made two foot too big for their waists, so that they may wear either end uppermost: that part that comes up to their waist, because it is so much too big, they gather it in their hands and twist it till it fits close to their waists, tucking in the twisted part between their waist and the edge of the petticoat, which keeps it close. The frock fits loose about them and reaches down a little below the waist. The sleeves are a great deal longer than their arms and so small at the end that their hands will scarce go through. Being on, the sleeve fits in folds about the wrist, wherein they take great pride.
The better sort of people have their garments made of long cloth; but the ordinary sort wear cloth made of plantain-tree which they call saggen, by which name they call the plantain. They have neither stocking or shoe, and the women have very small feet.
The women are very desirous of the company of strangers, especially of white men; and doubtless would be very familiar if the custom of the country did not debar them from that freedom, which seems coveted by them. Yet from the highest to the lowest they are allowed liberty to converse with or treat strangers in the sight of their husbands.
There is a kind of begging custom at Mindanao that I have not met elsewhere with in all my travels; and which I believe is owing to the little trade they have; which is thus: when strangers arrive here the Mindanao men will come aboard and invite them to their houses and inquire who has a comrade (which word I believe they have from the Spaniards) or a pagally, and who has not. A comrade is a familiar male friend; a pagally is an innocent platonic friend of the other sex. All strangers are in a manner obliged to accept of this acquaintance and familiarity, which must be first purchased with a small present and afterwards confirmed with some gift or other to continue the acquaintance: and as often as the stranger goes ashore he is welcome to his comrade or pagally's house, where he may be entertained for his money, to eat, drink, or sleep; and complimented as often as he comes ashore with tobacco and betel-nut, which is all the entertainment he must expect gratis. The richest men's wives are allowed the freedom to converse with her pagally in public, and may give or receive presents from him. Even the sultans and the generals wives, who are always cooped up, will yet look out of their cages when a stranger passes by and demand of him if he wants a pagally: and, to invite him to their friendship, will send a present of tobacco and betel-nut to him by their servants.
The chiefest city on this island is called by the same name of Mindanao. It is seated on the south side of the island, in latitude 7 degrees 20 minutes north on the banks of a small river, about two mile from the sea. The manner of building is somewhat strange yet generally used in this part of the East Indies. Their houses are all built on posts about 14, 16, 18, or 20 foot high. These posts are bigger or less according to the intended magnificence of the superstructure. They have but one floor but many partitions or rooms, and a ladder or stairs to go up out of the streets. The roof is large and covered with palmetto or palm-leaves. So there is a clear passage like a piazza (but a filthy one) under the house. Some of the poorer people that keep ducks or hens have a fence made round the posts of their houses with a door to go in and out; and this under-room serves for no other use. Some use this place for the common draught of their houses but, building mostly close by the river in all parts of the Indies, they make the river receive all the filth of their house; and at the time of the land-floods all is washed very clean.
The sultan's house is much bigger than any of the rest. It stands on about 180 great posts or trees a great deal higher than the common building, with great broad stairs made to go up. In the first room he has about 20 iron guns, all Saker and Minion, placed on field-carriages. The general and other great men have some guns also in their houses. About 20 paces from the sultan's house there is a small low house built purposely for the reception of ambassadors or merchant strangers. This also stands on posts but the floor is not raised above three or four foot above the ground, and is neatly matted purposely for the sultan and his council to sit on; for they use no chairs but sit cross-legged like tailors on the floor.
The common food at Mindanao is rice or sago, and a small fish or two. The better sort eat buffalo or fowls ill dressed, and abundance of rice with it. They use no spoons to eat their rice but every man takes a handful out of the platter and, by wetting his hand in water, that it may not stick to his hand, squeezes it into a lump as hard as possibly he can make it, and then crams it into his mouth. They all strive to make these lumps as big as their mouth can receive them and seem to vie with each other and glory in taking in the biggest lump; so that sometimes they almost choke themselves. They always wash after meals or if they touch anything that is unclean; for which reason they spend abundance of water in their houses. This water, with the washing of their dishes and what other filth they make, they pour down near their fireplace: for their chambers are not boarded but floored with split bamboos like lath, so that the water presently falls underneath their dwelling rooms where it breeds maggots and makes a prodigious stink. Besides this filthiness the sick people case themselves and make water in their chambers, there being a small hole made purposely in the floor to let it drop through. But healthy sound people commonly ease themselves and make water in the river. For that reason you shall always see abundance of people of both sexes in the river from morning till night; some easing themselves, others washing their bodies or clothes. If they come into the river purposely to wash their clothes they strip and stand naked till they have done then put them on and march out again: both men and women take great delight in swimming and washing themselves, being bred to it from their infancy. I do believe it is very wholesome to wash mornings and evenings in these hot countries at least three or four days in the week: for I did use myself to it when I lived afterwards at Bencoolen, and found it very refreshing and comfortable. It is very good for those that have fluxes to wash and stand in the river mornings and evenings. I speak it experimentally for I was brought very low with that distemper at Achin; but by washing constantly mornings and evenings I found great benefit and was quickly cured by it.
In the city of Mindanao they speak two languages indifferently; their own Mindanao language and the Malaya: but in other parts of the island they speak only their proper language, having little commerce abroad. They have schools and instruct their children to read and write and bring them up in the Mohammedan religion. Therefore many of the words, especially their prayers, are in Arabic; and many of the words of civility the same as in Turkey; and especially when they meet in the morning or take leave of each other they express themselves in that language.
Many of the old people both men and women can speak Spanish for the Spaniards were formerly settled among them and had several forts on this island; and then they sent two friars to the city to convert the sultan of Mindanao and his people. At that time these people began to learn Spanish, and the Spaniards encroached on them and endeavoured to bring them into subjection; and probably before this time had brought them all under their yoke if they themselves had not been drawn off from this island to Manila to resist the Chinese, who threatened to invade them there. When the Spaniards were gone the old sultan of Mindanao, father to the present, in whose time it was, razed and demolished their forts, brought away their guns, and sent away the friars; and since that time will not suffer the Spaniards to settle on the islands.
They are now most afraid of the Dutch, being sensible how they have enslaved many of the neighbouring islands. For that reason they have a long time desired the English to settle among them and have offered them any convenient place to build a fort in, as the general himself told us; giving this reason, that they do not find the English so encroaching as the Dutch or Spanish. The Dutch are no less jealous of their admitting the English for they are sensible what detriment it would be to them if the English should settle here.
There are but few tradesmen at the city of Mindanao. The chiefest trades are goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and carpenters. There are but two or three goldsmiths; these will work in gold or silver and make anything that you desire: but they have no shop furnished with ware ready-made for sale. Here are several blacksmiths who work very well, considering the tools that they work with. Their bellows are much different from ours. They are made of a wooden cylinder, the trunk of a tree, about three foot long, bored hollow like a pump and set upright on the ground, on which the fire itself is made. Near the lower end there is a small hole, in the side of the trunk next the fire, made to receive a pipe through which the wind is driven to the fire by a great bunch of fine feathers fastened to one end of the stick which, closing up the inside of the cylinder, drives the air out of the cylinder through the pipe: two of these trunks or cylinders are placed so nigh together that a man standing between them may work them both at once alternately, one with each hand. They have neither vice nor anvil but a great hard stone or a piece of an old gun to hammer upon: yet they will perform their work, making both common utensils and iron-works about ships to admiration. They work altogether with charcoal. Every man almost is a carpenter for they can work with the axe and adze. Their axe is but small and so made that they can take it out of the helve, and by turning it make an adze of it. They have no saws but when they make plank they split the tree in two and make a plank of each part, planing it with the axe and adze. This requires much pains and takes up a great deal of time; but they work cheap, and the goodness of the plank thus hewed, which has its grain preserved entire, makes amends for their cost and pains.
They build good and serviceable ships or barks for the sea, some for trade, others for pleasure; and some ships of war. Their trading vessels they send chiefly to Manila. Thither they transport beeswax, which, I think, is the only commodity besides gold that they vend there. The inhabitants of the city of Mindanao get a great deal of beeswax themselves: but the greatest quantity they purchase is of the Mountaineers, from whom they also get the gold which they send to Manila; and with these they buy their calicoes, muslins, and China silk. They send sometimes their barks to Borneo and other islands; but what they transport thither, or import from thence, I know not.
The Dutch come hither in sloops from Ternate and Tidore and buy rice, beeswax, and tobacco: for here is a great deal of tobacco grows on this island, more than in any island or country in the East Indies that I know of, Manila only excepted. It is an excellent sort of tobacco; but these people have not the art of managing this trade to their best advantage as the Spaniards have at Manila. I do believe the seeds were first brought hither from Manila by the Spaniards, and even thither, in all probability, from America: the difference between the Mindanao and Manila tobacco is that the Mindanao tobacco is of a darker colour and the leaf larger and grosser than the Manila tobacco, being propagated or planted in a fatter soil. The Manila tobacco is of a bright yellow colour, of an indifferent size, not strong, but pleasant to smoke. The Spaniards at Manila are very curious about this tobacco, having a peculiar way of making it up neatly in the leaf. For they take two little sticks, each about a foot long and flat and, placing the stalks of the tobacco leaves in a row, 40 or 50 of them between the two sticks, they bind them hard together so that the leaves hang dangling down. One of these bundles is sold for a rial at Fort St. George: but you may have 10 or 12 pound of tobacco at Mindanao for a rial; and the tobacco is as good or rather better than the Manila tobacco, but they have not that vent for it as the Spaniards have.
The Mindanao people are much troubled with a sort of leprosy, the same as we observed at Guam. This distemper runs with a dry scurf all over their bodies and causes great itching in those that have it, making them frequently scratch and scrub themselves, which raises the outer skin in small whitish flakes like the scales of little fish when they are raised on end with a knife. This makes their skin extraordinary rough, and in some you shall see broad white spots in several parts of their body. I judge such have had it but were cured; for their skins were smooth and I did not perceive them to scrub themselves: yet I have learnt from their own mouths that these spots were from this distemper. Whether they use any means to cure themselves or whether it goes away of itself, I know not: but I did not perceive that they made any great matter of it, for they did never refrain any company for it; none of our people caught it of them, for we were afraid of it, and kept off. They are sometimes troubled with the smallpox but their ordinary distempers are fevers, agues, fluxes, with great pains and gripings in their guts. The country affords a great many drugs and medicinal herbs whose virtues are not unknown to some of them that pretend to cure the sick.
The Mindanao men have many wives: but what ceremonies are used when they marry I know not. There is commonly a great feast made by the bridegroom to entertain his friends, and the most part of the night is spent in mirth.
The sultan is absolute in his power over all his subjects. He is but a poor prince; for, as I mentioned before, they have but little trade and therefore cannot be rich. If the sultan understands that any man has money, if it be but 20 dollars, which is a great matter among them, he will send to borrow so much money, pretending urgent occasions for it; and they dare not deny him. Sometimes he will send to sell one thing or another that he has to dispose of to such whom he knows to have money, and they must buy it and give him his price; and if afterwards he has occasion for the same thing he must have it if he sends for it. He is but a little man, between 50 or 60 years old, and by relation very good-natured but overruled by those about him. He has a queen and keeps about 29 women, or wives, more, in whose company he spends most of his time. He has one daughter by his sultaness or queen, and a great many sons and daughters by the rest. These walk about the streets and would be always begging things of us; but it is reported that the young princess is kept in a room and never stirs out, and that she did never see any man but her father and Raja Laut her uncle, being then about fourteen years old.
When the sultan visits his friends he is carried in a small couch on four men's shoulders, with eight or ten armed men to guard him; but he never goes far this way for the country is very woody and they have but little paths, which renders it the less commodious.
When he takes his pleasure by water he carries some of his wives along with him. The proas that are built for this purpose are large enough to entertain 50 or 60 persons or more. The hull is neatly built, with a round head and stern, and over the hull there is a small slight house built with bamboos; the sides are made up with split bamboos about four foot high, with little windows in them of the same to open and shut at their pleasure. The roof is almost flat, neatly thatched with palmetto-leaves. This house is divided into two or three small partitions or chambers, one particularly for himself. This is neatly matted underneath and round the sides; and there is a carpet and pillows for him to sleep on. The second room is for his women, much like the former. The third is for the servants, who tend them with tobacco and betel-nut; for they are always chewing or smoking. The fore and after-parts of the vessel are for the mariners to sit and row. Besides this they have outlayers, such as those I described at Guam; only the boats and outlayers here are larger. These boats are more round, like a half moon almost; and the bamboos or outlayers that reach from the boat are also crooked. Besides, the boat is not flat on one side here, as at Guam; but has a belly and outlayers on each side: and whereas at Guam there is a little boat fastened to the outlayers that lies in the water; the beams or bamboos here are fastened traverse-wise to the outlayers on each side, and touch not the water like boats, but 1, 3 or 4 foot above the water, and serve for the barge-men to sit and row and paddle on; the inside of the vessel, except only just afore and abaft, being taken up with the apartments for the passengers. There run across the outlayers two tier of beams for the paddlers to sit on, on each side the vessel. The lower tier of these beams is not above a foot from the water: so that, upon any the least reeling of the vessel, the beams are dipped in the water and the men that sit are wet up to their waist, their feet seldom escaping the water. And thus, as all our vessels are rowed from within, these are paddled from without.
The sultan has a brother called Raja Laut, a brave man. He is the second man in the kingdom. All strangers that come hither to trade must make their address to him, for all sea-affairs belong to him. He licenses strangers to import or export any commodity, and it is by his permission that the natives themselves are suffered to trade: nay, the very fishermen must take a permit from him: so that there is no man can come into the river or go out but by his leave. He is two or three years younger than the sultan, and a little man like him. He has eight women, by some of whom he has issue. He has only one son, about twelve or fourteen years old, who was circumcised while we were there. His eldest son died a little before we came hither, for whom he was still in great heaviness. If he had lived a little longer he should have married the young princess; but whether this second son must have her I know not, for I did never hear any discourse about it. Raja Laut is a very sharp man; he speaks and writes Spanish, which he learned in his youth. He has by often conversing with strangers got a great sight into the customs of other nations, and by Spanish books has some knowledge of Europe. He is general of the Mindanayans, and is accounted an expert soldier, and a very stout man; and the women in their dances sing many songs in his praise.
The sultan of Mindanao sometimes makes war with his neighbours the Mountaineers or Alfoores. Their weapons are swords, lances, and some hand-cressets. The cresset is a small thing like a baggonet, which they always wear in war or peace, at work or play, from the greatest of them to the poorest, or the meanest persons. They do never meet each other so as to have a pitched battle but they build small works or forts of timber wherein they plant little guns and lie in sight of each other two or three months, skirmishing every day in small parties and sometimes surprising a breast-work; and whatever side is like to be worsted, if they have no probability to escape by flight, they sell their lives as dear as they can; for there is seldom any quarter given, but the conqueror cuts and hacks his enemies to pieces.
The religion of these people is Mohammedanism; Friday is their sabbath; but I did never see any difference that they make between this day and any other day; only the sultan himself goes then to the mosque twice.
Raja Laut never goes to the mosque but prays at certain hours, eight or ten times in a day, wherever he is, he is very punctual to his canonical hours, and if he be aboard will go ashore on purpose to pray. For no business nor company hinders him from this duty. Whether he is at home or abroad, in a house or in the field, he leaves all his company and goes about 100 yards off, and there kneels down to his devotion. He first kisses the ground then prays aloud, and divers time in his prayers he kisses the ground and does the same when he leaves off. His servants and his wives and children talk and sing, or play how they please all the time, but himself is very serious. The meaner sort of people have little devotion: I did never see any of them at their prayers or go into a mosque.
In the sultan's mosque there is a great drum with but one head called a gong; which is instead of a clock. This gong is beaten at 12 a clock, at 3, 6, and 9; a man being appointed for that service. He has a stick as big as a man's arm, with a great knob at the end, bigger than a man's fist, made with cotton bound fast with small cords: with this he strikes the gong as hard as he can, about twenty strokes; beginning to strike leisurely the first five or six strokes; then he strikes faster, and at last strikes as fast as he can; and then he strikes again slower and slower so many more strokes: thus he rises and falls three times, and then leaves off till three hours after. This is done night and day.
They circumcise the males at 11 or 12 years of age, or older; and many are circumcised at once. This ceremony is performed with a great deal of solemnity. There had been no circumcision for some years before our being here; and then there was one for Raja Laut's son. They choose to have a general circumcision when the sultan or general or some other great person has a son fit to be circumcised; for with him a great many more are circumcised. There is notice given about eight or ten days before for all men to appear in arms. And great preparation is made against the solemn day. In the morning before the boys are circumcised presents are sent to the father of the child that keeps the feast; which, as I said before, is either the sultan or some great person: and about 10 or 11 a clock the Mohammedan priest does his office. He takes hold of the foreskin with two sticks and with a pair of scissors snips it off.
After this most of the men, both in city and country being in arms before the house, begin to act as if they were engaged with an enemy, having such arms as I described. Only one acts at a time, the rest make a great ring of 2 or 300 yards round about him. He that is to exercise comes into the ring with a great shriek or two and a horrid look; then he fetches two or three large stately strides and falls to work. He holds his broadsword in one hand, and his lance in the other, and traverses his ground, leaping from one side of the ring to the other; and, in a menacing posture and look, bids defiance to the enemy whom his fancy frames to him; for there is nothing but air to oppose him. Then he stamps and shakes his head and, grinning with his teeth, makes many rueful faces. Then he throws his lance and nimbly snatches out his cresset, with which he hacks and hews the air like a madman, often shrieking. At last, being almost tired with motion, he flies to the middle of the ring, where he seems to have his enemy at his mercy, and with two or three blows cuts on the ground as if he was cutting off his enemy's head. By this time he is all of a sweat, and withdraws triumphantly out of the ring, and presently another enters with the like shrieks and gestures. Thus they continue combating their imaginary enemy all the rest of the day; towards the conclusion of which the richest men act, and at last the general, and then the sultan concludes this ceremony: he and the general, with some other great men, are in armour, but the rest have none. After this the sultan returns home, accompanied with abundance of people, who wait on him there till they are dismissed. But at the time when we were there there was an after-game to be played; for, the general's son being then circumcised, the sultan intended to give him a second visit in the night, so they all waited to attend him thither. The general also provided to meet him in the best manner, and therefore desired Captain Swan with his men to attend him. Accordingly Captain Swan ordered us to get our guns and wait at the general's house till further orders. So about 40 of us waited till eight a clock in the evening when the general with Captain Swan and about 1000 men went to meet the sultan, with abundance of torches that made it as light as day. The manner of the march was thus: first of all there was a pageant, and upon it two dancing women gorgeously apparelled, with coronets on their heads, full of glittering spangles, and pendants of the same hanging down over their breast and shoulders. These are women bred up purposely for dancing: their feet and legs are but little employed except sometimes to turn round very gently; but their hands, arms, head, and body are in continual motion, especially their arms, which they turn and twist so strangely that you would think them to be made without bones. Besides the two dancing women there were two old women in the pageant holding each a lighted torch in their hands, close by the two dancing women, by which light the glittering spangles appeared very gloriously. This pageant was carried by six lusty men: then came six or seven torches lighting the general and Captain Swan who marched side by side next, and we that attended Captain Swan followed close after, marching in order six and six abreast, with each man his gun on his shoulder, and torches on each side. After us came twelve of the general's men with old Spanish matchlocks, marching four in a row. After them about forty lances, and behind them as many with great swords, marching all in order. After them came abundance only with cressets by their sides, who marched up close without any order. When we came near the sultan's house the sultan and his men met us, and we wheeled off to let them pass. The sultan had three pageants went before him: in the first pageant were four of his sons, who were about ten or eleven years old. They had gotten abundance of small stones which they roguishly threw about on the people's heads. In the next were four young maidens, nieces to the sultan, being his sister's daughters; and in the third, there was three of the sultan's children, not above six years old. The sultan himself followed next, being carried in his couch, which was not like your Indians' palanquins but open and very little and ordinary. A multitude of people came after without any order: but as soon as he was passed by the general and Captain Swan and all our men closed in just behind the sultan, and so all marched together to the general's house. We came thither between 10 and 11 a clock, where the biggest part of the company were immediately dismissed; but the sultan and his children and his nieces and some other persons of quality entered the general's house. They were met at the head of the stairs by the general's women, who with a great deal of respect conducted them into the house. Captain Swan and we that were with him followed after. It was not long before the general caused his dancing women to enter the room and divert the company with that pastime. I had forgot to tell you that they have none but vocal music here, by what I could learn, except only a row of a kind of bells without clappers, 16 in number, and their weight increasing gradually from about three to ten pound weight. These are set in a row on a table in the general's house, where for seven or eight days together before the circumcision day they were struck each with a little stick, for the biggest part of the day making a great noise, and they ceased that morning. So these dancing women sung themselves and danced to their own music. After this the general's women and the sultan's sons and his nieces danced. Two of the sultan's nieces were about 18 or 19 years old, the other two were three or four years younger. These young ladies were very richly dressed with loose garments of silk, and small coronets on their heads. They were much fairer than any women I did ever see there, and very well featured; and their noses though but small yet higher than the other women's, and very well proportioned. When the ladies had very well diverted themselves and the company with dancing the general caused us to fire some sky-rockets that were made by his and Captain Swan's order, purposely for this night's solemnity; and after that the sultan and his retinue went away with a few attendants and we all broke up, and thus ended this day's solemnity: but the boys being sore with their amputation went straddling for a fortnight after.
They are not, as I said before, very curious, or strict in observing any days or times of particular devotions except it be Ramdam time, as we call it. The Ramdam time was then in August, as I take it, for it was shortly after our arrival here. In this time they fast all day, and about seven a clock in the evening they spend near an hour in prayer. Towards the latter end of their prayer they loudly invoke their prophet for about a quarter of an hour, both old and young bawling out very strangely, as if they intended to fright him out of his sleepiness or neglect of them. After their prayer is ended, they spend some time in feasting before they take their repose. Thus they do every day for a whole month at least; for sometimes it is two or three days longer before the Ramdam ends: for it begins at the New Moon and lasts till they see the next New Moon, which sometimes in thick hazy weather is not till three or four days after the change, as it happened while I was at Achin, where they continued the Ramdam till the New Moon's appearance. The next day after they have seen the New Moon the guns are all discharged about noon, and then the time ends.
A main part of their religion consists in washing often to keep themselves from being defiled; or after they are defiled to cleanse themselves again. They also take great care to keep themselves from being polluted by tasting or touching anything that is accounted unclean; therefore swine's flesh is very abominable to them; nay, anyone that has either tasted of swine's flesh or touched those creatures is not permitted to come into their houses in many days after, and there is nothing will scare them more than a swine. Yet there are wild hogs in the islands, and those so plentiful that they will come in troops out of the woods in the night into the very city, and come under their houses to rummage up and down the filth that they find there. The natives therefore would even desire us to lie in wait for the hogs to destroy them, which we did frequently, by shooting them and carrying them presently on board, but were prohibited their houses afterwards.
And now I am on this subject I cannot omit a story concerning the general. He once desired to have a pair of shoes made after the English fashion, though he did very seldom wear any: so one of our men made him a pair, which the general liked very well. Afterwards somebody told him that the thread wherewith the shoes were sowed were pointed with hogs' bristles. This put him into a great passion; so he sent the shoes to the man that made them, and sent him withal more leather to make another pair with threads pointed with some other hair, which was immediately done, and then he was well pleased.
Having in the two last chapters given some account of the natural, civil, and religious state of Mindanao, I shall now go on with the prosecution of our affairs during our stay here.
It was in a bay on the north-east side of the island that we came to an anchor, as has been said. We lay in this bay but one night and part of the next day. Yet there we got speech with some of the natives, who by signs made us to understand that the City Mindanao was on the west side of the island. We endeavoured to persuade one of them to go with us to be our pilot but he would not: therefore in the afternoon we loosed from hence, steering again to the south-east, having the wind at south-west. When we came to the south-east end of the island Mindanao we saw two small islands about three leagues distant from it. We might have passed between them and the main island, as we learnt since; but not knowing them, nor what dangers we might encounter there, we chose rather to sail to the eastward of them. But meeting very strong westerly winds we got nothing forward in many days. In this time we first saw the islands Meangis, which are about sixteen leagues distant from the Mindanao, bearing south-east. I shall have occasion to speak more of them hereafter.
The 4th day of July we got into a deep bay four leagues north-west from the two small islands before mentioned. But the night before, in a violent tornado, our bark being unable to bear any longer, bore away, which put us in some pain for fear she was overset, as we had like to have been ourselves. We anchored on the south-west side of the bay in fifteen fathom water, about a cable's length from the shore. Here we were forced to shelter ourselves from the violence of the weather, which was so boisterous with rains and tornadoes and a strong westerly wind that we were very glad to find this place to anchor in, being the only shelter on this side from the west winds.
This bay is not above two miles wide at the mouth, but farther in it is three leagues wide and seven fathom deep; running in north-north-west. There is a good depth of water about four or five leagues in, but rocky foul ground for about two leagues in from the mouth on both sides of the bay, except only in that place where we lay. About three leagues in from the mouth, on the eastern side, there are fair sandy bays and very good anchoring in four, five, and six fathom. The land on the east side is high, mountainous and woody, yet very well watered with small brooks, and there is one river large enough for Canoas to enter. On the west side of the bay the land is of a mean height with a large savannah bordering on the sea, and stretching from the mouth of the bay a great way to the westward.
This savannah abounds with long grass and it is plentifully stocked with deer. The adjacent woods are a covert for them in the heat of the day; but mornings and evenings they feed in the open plains, as thick as in our parks in England. I never saw anywhere such plenty of wild deer, though I have met with them in several parts of America, both in the North and South Seas.
The deer live here pretty peaceably and unmolested; for there are no inhabitants on that side of the bay. We visited this savannah every morning and killed as many deer as we pleased, sometimes 16 or 18 in a day; and we did eat nothing but venison all the time we stayed here.
We saw a great many plantations by the sides of the mountains on the east side of the bay, and we went to one of them in hopes to learn of the inhabitants whereabouts the city was, that we might not over-sail it in the night, but they fled from us.
We lay here till the 12th day before the winds abated of their fury, and then we sailed from hence, directing our course to the westward. In the morning we had a land-wind at north. At 11 a clock the sea-breeze came at west, just in our teeth, but it being fair weather we kept on our way, turning and taking the advantage of the land-breezes by night and the sea-breezes by day.
Being now past the south-east part of the island we coasted down on the south side and we saw abundance of Canoas a-fishing, and now and then a small village. Neither were these inhabitants afraid of us (as the former) but came aboard; yet we could not understand them, nor they us, but by signs: and when we mentioned the word Mindanao they would point towards it.
The 18th day of July we arrived before the river of Mindanao, the mouth of which lies in latitude 6 degrees 22 minutes north and is laid in 231 degrees 12 minutes longitude west, from the Lizard in England. We anchored right against the river in 15 fathom water, clear hard sand, about two miles from the shore and three or four miles from a small island that lay without us to the southward. We fired seven or nine guns, I remember not well which, and were answered again with three from the shore; for which we gave one again.
Immediately after our coming to an anchor Raja Laut and one of the sultan's sons came off in a canoa, being rowed with ten oars, and demanded in Spanish what we were? and from whence we came? Mr. Smith (he who was taken prisoner at Leon in Mexico) answered in the same language that we were English, and that we had been a great while out of England. They told us that we were welcome and asked us a great many questions about England; especially concerning our East India merchants; and whether we were sent by them to settle a factory here? Mr. Smith told them that we came hither only to buy provision. They seemed a little discontented when they understood that we were not come to settle among them: for they had heard of our arrival on the east side of the island a great while before, and entertained hopes that we were sent purposely out of England hither to settle a trade with them; which it should seem they are very desirous of. For Captain Goodlud had been here not long before to treat with them about it; and when he went away told them (as they said) that in a short time they might expect an ambassador from England to make a full bargain with them.
Indeed upon mature thoughts I should think we could not have done better than to have complied with the desire they seemed to have of our settling here; and to have taken up our quarters among them. For as thereby we might better have consulted our own profit and satisfaction than by the other loose roving way of life; so it might probably have proved of public benefit to our nation and been a means of introducing an English settlement and trade, not only here, but through several of the Spice Islands which lie in its neighbourhood.
For the islands Meangis, which I mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, lie within twenty leagues of Mindanao. These are three small islands that abound with gold and cloves, if I may credit my author Prince Jeoly, who was born on one of them and was at that time a slave in the city of Mindanao. He might have been purchased by us of his master for a small matter, as he was afterwards by Mr. Moody (who came hither to trade and laded a ship with clove-bark) and by transporting him home to his own country we might have gotten a trade there. But of Prince Jeoly I shall speak more hereafter. These islands are as yet probably unknown to the Dutch who, as I said before, endeavour to engross all the spice into their own hands.
There was another opportunity offered us here of settling on another Spice Island that was very well inhabited: for the inhabitants fearing the Dutch and understanding that the English were settling at Mindanao, their sultan sent his nephew to Mindanao while we were there to invite us thither: Captain Swan conferred with him about it divers times, and I do believe he had some inclination to accept the offer; and I am sure most of the men were for it: but this never came to a head for want of a true understanding between Captain Swan and his men, as may be declared hereafter.
Beside the benefit which might accrue from this trade with Meangis and other the Spice Islands the Philippine Islands themselves, by a little care and industry, might have afforded us a very beneficial trade, and all these trades might have been managed from Mindanao by settling there first. For that island lies very convenient for trading either to the Spice Islands or to the rest of the Philippine Islands: since, as its soil is much of the same nature with either of them, so it lies as it were in the centre of the gold and spice-trade in these parts, the islands north of Mindanao abounding most in gold, and those south of Meangis in spice.
As the island Mindanao lies very convenient for trade, so, considering its distance, the way thither may not be over-long and tiresome. The course that I would choose should be to set out of England about the latter end of August, and to pass round Tierra del Fuego, and so, stretching over towards New Holland, coast it along that shore till I came near to Mindanao; or first I would coast down near the American shore as far as I found convenient and then direct my course accordingly for the island. By this I should avoid coming near any of the Dutch settlements and be sure to meet always with a constant brisk easterly trade-wind after I was once past Tierra del Fuego. Whereas in passing about the Cape of Good Hope, after you are shot over the East Indian Ocean and are come to the islands, you must pass through the Straits of Malacca or Sunda, or else some other straits east from Java, where you will be sure to meet with country-winds, go on which side of the Equator you please; and this would require ordinarily seven or eight months for the voyage, but the other I should hope to perform in six or seven at most. In your return from thence also you must observe the same rule as the Spaniards do in going from Manila to Acapulco; only as they run towards the North Pole for variable winds, so you must run to the southward till you meet with a wind that will carry you over to Tierra del Fuego. There are places enough to touch at for refreshment, either going or coming. You may touch going thither on either side of Terra Patagonia, or, if you please, at the Gallapagos Islands, where there is refreshment enough; and returning you may probably touch somewhere on New Holland, and so make some profitable discovery in these places without going out of your way. And to speak my thoughts freely, I believe it is owing to the neglect of this easy way that all that vast tract of Terra Australis which bounds the South Sea is yet undiscovered: those that cross that sea seeming to design some business on the Peruvian or Mexican coast, and so leaving that at a distance. To confirm which I shall add what Captain Davis told me lately that, after his departure from us at the haven of Ria Lexa (as is mentioned in the 8th chapter) he went, after several traverses, to the Gallapagos, and that, standing thence southward for wind to bring him about Tierra del Fuego in the latitude of 27 south, about 500 leagues from Copayapo on the coast of Chile, he saw a small sandy island just by him; and that they saw to the westward of it a long tract of pretty high land tending away toward the north-west out of sight. This might probably be the coast of Terra Australis Incognita.
But to return to Mindanao; as to the capacity we were then in, of settling ourselves at Mindanao, although we were not sent out of any such design of settling, yet we were as well provided, or better, considering all circumstances, than if we had. For there was scarce any useful trade but some or other of us understood it. We had sawyers, carpenters, joiners, brick-makers, bricklayers, shoemakers, tailors, etc. We only wanted a good smith for great work; which we might have had at Mindanao. We were very well provided with iron, lead, and all sorts of tools, as saws, axes, hammers, etc. We had powder and shot enough, and very good small arms. If we had designed to build a fort we could have spared 8 or 10 guns out of our ship and men enough to have managed it, and any affair of trade beside. We had also a great advantage above raw men that are sent out of England into these places, who proceed usually too cautiously, coldly, and formally to compass any considerable design, which experience better teaches than any rules whatsoever; besides the danger of their lives in so great and sudden a change of air: whereas we were all inured to hot climates, hardened by many fatigues, and in general, daring men, and such as would not be easily baffled. To add one thing more, our men were almost tired and began to desire a quietus est; and therefore they would gladly have seated themselves anywhere. We had a good ship too, and enough of us (beside what might have been spared to manage our new settlement) to bring the news with the effects to the owners in England: for Captain Swan had already five thousand pound in gold, which he and his merchants received for goods sold mostly to Captain Harris and his men: which if he had laid but part of it out in spice, as probably he might have done, would have satisfied the merchants to their hearts' content. So much by way of digression.
To proceed therefore with our first reception at Mindanao, Raja Laut and his nephew sat still in their canoa, and would not come aboard us; because, as they said, they had no orders for it from the sultan. After about half an hour's discourse they took their leaves; first inviting Captain Swan ashore and promising to assist him in getting provision; which they said at present was scarce, but in three or four month's time the rice would be gathered in and then he might have as much as he pleased: and that in the meantime he might secure his ship in some convenient place for fear of the westerly winds which they said would be very violent at the latter end of this month and all the next, as we found them.
We did not know the quality of these two persons till after they were gone; else we should have fired some guns at their departure: when they were gone a certain officer under the sultan came aboard and measured our ship. A custom derived from the Chinese, who always measure the length and breadth, and the depth of the hold of all ships that come to load there: by which means they know how much each ship will carry. But what reason this custom is used either by the Chinese or Mindanao men I could never learn: unless the Mindanayans design by this means to improve their skill in shipping, against they have a trade.
Captain Swan, considering that the season of the year would oblige us to spend some time at this island, thought it convenient to make what interest he could with the sultan; who might afterwards either obstruct or advance his designs. He therefore immediately provided a present to send ashore to the sultan, namely, three yards of scarlet cloth, three yards of broad gold lace, a Turkish scimitar and a pair of pistols: and to Raja Laut he sent three yards of scarlet cloth and three yards of silver lace. This present was carried by Mr. Henry More in the evening. He was first conducted to Raja Laut's house; where he remained till report thereof was made to the sultan, who immediately gave order for all things to be made ready to receive him.
About nine a clock at night a messenger came from the sultan to bring the present away. Then Mr. More was conducted all the way with torches and armed men till he came to the house where the sultan was. The sultan with eight or ten men of his council were seated on carpets, waiting his coming. The present that Mr. More brought was laid down before them, and was very kindly accepted by the sultan, who caused Mr. More to sit down by them and asked a great many questions of him. The discourse was in Spanish by an interpreter. This conference lasted about an hour and then he was dismissed and returned again to Raja Laut's house. There was a supper provided for him, and the boat's crew; after which he returned aboard.
The next day the sultan sent for Captain Swan: he immediately went ashore with a flag flying in the boat's head and two trumpets sounding all the way. When he came ashore he was met at his landing by two principal officers, guarded along with soldiers and abundance of people gazing to see him. The sultan waited for him in his chamber of audience, where Captain Swan was treated with tobacco and betel, which was all his entertainment.
The sultan sent for two English letters for Captain Swan to read, purposely to let him know that our East India merchants did design to settle here, and that they had already sent a ship hither. One of these letters was sent to the sultan from England by the East India merchants. The chiefest things contained in it, as I remember, for I saw it afterwards in the secretary's hand, who was very proud to show it to us, was to desire some privileges in order to the building of a fort there. This letter was written in a very fair hand; and between each line there was a gold line drawn. The other letter was left by Captain Goodlud, directed to any English-men who should happen to come thither. This related wholly to trade, giving an account at what rate he had agreed with them for goods of the island, and how European goods should be sold to them with an account of their weights and measures, and their difference from ours.
The rate agreed on for Mindanao gold was 14 Spanish dollars (which is a current coin all over India) the English ounce, and 18 dollars the Mindanao ounce. But for beeswax and clove-bark I do not remember the rates, neither do I well remember the rates of Europe commodities; but I think the rate of iron was not above 4 dollars a hundred. Captain Goodlud's letter concludes thus. “Trust none of them, for they are all thieves, but tace is Latin for a candle.” We understood afterwards that Captain Goodlud was robbed of some goods by one of the general's men, and that he that robbed him was fled into the mountains and could not be found while Captain Goodlud was here. But, the fellow returning back to the city some time after our arrival here, Raja Laut brought him bound to Captain Swan and told him what he had done, desiring him to punish him for it as he pleased; but Captain Swan excused himself and said it did not belong to him, therefore he would have nothing to do with it. However the General Raja Laut would not pardon him, but punished him according to their own custom, which I did never see but at this time.
He was stripped stark naked in the morning at sun-rising, and bound to a post, so that he could not stir hand nor foot but as he was moved; and was placed with his face eastward against the sun. In the afternoon they turned his face towards the west that the sun might still be in his face; and thus he stood all day, parched in the sun (which shines here excessively hot) and tormented with the mosquitoes or gnats: after this the general would have killed him if Captain Swan had consented to it. I did never see any put to death; but I believe they are barbarous enough in it. The general told us himself that he put two men to death in a town where some of us were with him; but I heard not the manner of it. Their common way of punishing is to strip them in this manner and place them in the sun; but sometimes they lay them flat on their backs on the sand, which is very hot; where they remain a whole day in the scorching sun with the mosquitoes biting them all the time.
This action of the general in offering Captain Swan the punishment of the thief caused Captain Swan afterwards to make him the same offer of his men when any had offended the Mindanao men: but the general left such offenders to be punished by Captain Swan as he thought convenient. So that for the least offence Captain Swan punished his men, and that in the sight of the Mindanayans; and I think sometimes only for revenge; as he did once punish his chief mate Mr. Teat, he that came captain of the bark to Mindanao. Indeed at that time Captain Swan had his men as much under command as if he had been in a king's ship: and had he known how to use his authority he might have led them to any settlement, and have brought them to assist him in any design he had pleased.
Captain Swan being dismissed from the sultan, with abundance of civility, after about two hours' discourse with him, went thence to Raja Laut's house. Raja Laut had then some difference with the sultan, and therefore he was not present at the sultan's reception of our captain but waited his return and treated him and all his men with boiled rice and fowls. He then told Captain Swan again, and urged it to him, that it would be best to get his ship into the river as soon as he could because of the usual tempestuous weather at this time of the year; and that he should want no assistance to further him in anything. He told him also that, as we must of necessity stay here some time, so our men would often come ashore; and he therefore desired him to warn his men to be careful to give no affront to the natives; who, he said, were very revengeful. That their customs being different from ours, he feared that Captain Swan's men might some time or other offend them, though ignorantly; that therefore he gave him this friendly warning to prevent it: that his house should always be open to receive him or any of his men, and that he, knowing our customs, would never be offended at anything. After a great deal of such discourse he dismissed the Captain and his company, who took their leave and came aboard.
Captain Swan, having seen the two letters, did not doubt but that the English did design to settle a factory here: therefore he did not much scruple the honesty of these people, but immediately ordered us to get the ship into the river. The river upon which the city of Mindanao stands is but small and has not above 10 or 11 foot water on the bar at a spring-tide: therefore we lightened our ship and, the spring coming on, we with much ado got her into the river, being assisted by 50 or 60 Mindanayan fishermen who lived at the mouth of the river; Raja Laut himself being aboard our ship to direct them. We carried her about a quarter of a mile up, within the mouth of the river, and there moored her head and stern in a hole where we always rode afloat.
After this the citizens of Mindanao came frequently aboard to invite our men to their houses, and to offer us pagallies. It was a long time since any of us had received such friendship, and therefore we were the more easily drawn to accept of their kindnesses; and in a very short time most of our men got a comrade or two, and as many pagallies; especially such of us as had good clothes and store of gold, as many had who were of the number of those that accompanied Captain Harris over the Isthmus of Darien, the rest of us being poor enough. Nay, the very poorest and meanest of us could hardly pass the streets but we were even hauled by force into their houses to be treated by them: although their treats were but mean, namely, tobacco, or betel-nut, or a little sweet spiced water; yet their seeming sincerity, simplicity, and the manner of bestowing these gifts made them very acceptable. When we came to their houses they would always be praising the English, as declaring that the English and Mindanayans were all one. This they expressed by putting their two forefingers close together and saying that the English and Mindanayans were “samo, samo,” that is, all one. Then they would draw their forefingers half a foot asunder and say the Dutch and they were “bugeto,” which signifies so, that they were at such distance in point of friendship: and for the Spaniards they would make a greater representation of distance than for the Dutch: fearing these, but having felt and smarted from the Spaniards who had once almost brought them under.
Captain Swan did seldom go into any house at first but into Raja Laut's. There he dined commonly every day; and as many of his men as were ashore and had no money to entertain themselves resorted thither about 12 a clock, where they had rice enough boiled and well dressed, and some scraps of fowls, or bits of buffalo, dressed very nastily. Captain Swan was served a little better, and his two trumpeters sounded all the time that he was at dinner. After dinner Raja Laut would sit and discourse with him most part of the afternoon. It was now the Ramdam time, therefore the general excused himself that he could not entertain our captain with dances and other pastimes, as he intended to do when this solemn time was past; besides, it was the very height of the wet season, and therefore not so proper for pastimes.
We had now very tempestuous weather and excessive rains which so swelled the river that it overflowed its banks; so that we had much ado to keep our ship safe: for every now and then we should have a great tree come floating down the river and sometimes lodge against our bows, to the endangering the breaking our cables, and either the driving us in over the banks or carrying us out to sea; both which would have been very dangerous to us, especially being without ballast.
The city is about a mile long (of no great breadth) winding with the banks of the river on the right hand going up, though it has many houses on the other side too. But at this time it seemed to stand as in a pond, and there was no passing from one house to another but in Canoas. This tempestuous rainy weather happened the latter end of July, and lasted most part of August.
When the bad weather was a little assuaged Captain Swan hired a house to put our sails and goods in while we careen'd our ship. We had a great deal of iron and lead, which was brought ashore into this house. Of these commodities Captain Swan sold to the sultan or general 8 or 10 tuns at the rates agreed on by Captain Goodlud, to be paid in rice.
The Mindanayans are no good accountants; therefore the Chinese that live here do cast up their accounts for them. After this Captain Swan bought timber-trees of the general, and set some of our men to saw them into planks to sheath the ship's bottom. He had two whip-saws on board which he brought out of England, and four or five men that knew the use of them, for they had been sawyers in Jamaica.
When the Ramdam time was over, and the dry time set in a little, the general, to oblige Captain Swan, entertained him every night with dances. The dancing women that are purposely bred up to it and make it their trade I have already described. But beside them all the women in general are much addicted to dancing. They dance 40 or 50 at once; and that standing all round in a ring, joined hand in hand and singing and keeping time. But they never budge out of their places nor make any motion till the chorus is sung; then all at once they throw out one leg and bawl out aloud; and sometimes they only clap their hands when the chorus is sung. Captain Swan, to retaliate the general's favours, sent for his violins and some that could dance English dances; wherewith the general was very well pleased. They commonly spent the biggest part of the night in these sort of pastimes.
Among the rest of our men that did use to dance thus before the general there was one John Thacker who was a seaman bred, and could neither write nor read but had formerly learnt to dance in the music houses about Wapping: this man came into the South Seas with Captain Harris and, getting with him a good quantity of gold, and being a pretty good husband of his share, had still some left besides what he laid out in a very good suit of clothes. The general supposed by his garb and his dancing that he had been of noble extraction; and to be satisfied of his quality asked of one of our men if he did not guess aright of him? The man of whom the general asked this question told him he was much in the right; and that most of our ship's company were of the like extraction; especially all those that had fine clothes; and that they came aboard only to see the world, having money enough to bear their expenses wherever they came; but that for the rest, those that had but mean clothes, they were only common seamen. After this the general showed a great deal of respect to all that had good clothes, but especially to John Thacker, till Captain Swan came to know the business, and marred all; undeceiving the general and drubbing the nobleman: for he was so much incensed against John Thacker that he could never endure him afterwards; though the poor fellow knew nothing of the matter.
About the middle of November we began to work on our ship's bottom, which we found very much eaten with the worm: for this is a horrid place for worms. We did not know this till after we had been in the river a month, and then we found our Canoas' bottoms eaten like honeycombs; our bark, which was a single bottom, was eaten through; so that she could not swim. But our ship was sheathed, and the worm came no further than the hair between the sheathing plank and the main plank.
We did not mistrust the general's knavery till now: for when he came down to our ship, and found us ripping off the sheathing plank, and saw the firm bottom underneath, he shook his head, and seemed to be discontented; saying he did never see a ship with two bottoms before. We were told that in this place where we now lay a Dutch ship was eaten up in 2 months' time, and the general had all her guns; and it is probable he did expect to have had ours: which I do believe was the main reason that made him so forward in assisting us to get our ship into the river, for when we came out again we had no assistance from him.
We had no worms till we came to this place: for when we careen'd at the Marias the worm had not touched us; nor at Guam, for there we scrubbed; nor after we came to the island Mindanao; for at the south-east end of the island we heeled and scrubbed also. The Mindanayans are so sensible of these destructive insects that whenever they come from sea they immediately haul their ship into a dry dock, and burn her bottom, and there let her lie dry till they are ready to go to sea again. The Canoas or proas they haul up dry and never suffer them to be long in the water. It is reported that those worms which get into a ship's bottom in the salt water will die in the fresh water; and that the fresh-water worms will die in salt water; but in the brackish water both sorts will increase prodigiously. Now this place where we lay was sometimes brackish water, yet commonly fresh; but what sort of worm this was I know not. Some men are of opinion that these worms breed in the plank; but I am persuaded they breed in the sea: for I have seen millions of them swimming in the water, particularly in the Bay of Panama; for there Captain Davis, Captain Swan, and myself and most of our men did take notice of them divers times, which was the reason of our cleaning so often while we were there: and these were the largest worms that I did ever see. I have also seen them in Virginia and in the Bay of Campeachy; in the latter of which places the worms eat prodigiously. They are always in bays, creeks, mouths of rivers, and such places as are near the shore; being never found far out at sea that I could ever learn: yet a ship will bring them lodged in its plank for a great way.
Having thus ripped off all our worm-eaten plank and clapped on new, by the beginning of December 1686, our ship's bottom was sheathed and tallowed, and the 10th day we went over the bar and took aboard the iron and lead that we could not sell, and began to fill our water and fetch aboard rice for our voyage: but Captain Swan remained ashore still and was not yet determined when to sail or whither. But I am well assured that he did never intend to cruise about Manila, as his crew designed; for I did once ask him, and he told me that what he had already done of that kind he was forced to; but now being at liberty he would never more engage in any such design: for, said he, there is no prince on Earth is able to wipe off the stain of such actions. What other designs he had I know not, for he was commonly very cross; yet he did never propose doing anything else, but only ordered the provision to be got aboard in order to sail; and I am confident if he had made a motion to go to any English factory most of his men would have consented to it, though probably some would have still opposed it. However his authority might soon have over-swayed those that were refractory; for it was very strange to see the awe that these men were in of him, for he punished the most stubborn and daring of his men. Yet when we had brought the ship out into the road they were not altogether so submissive as while it lay in the river, though even then it was that he punished Captain Teat.
I was at that time a-hunting with the general for beef, which he had a long time promised us. But now I saw that there was no credit to be given to his word; for I was a week out with him and saw but four cows which were so wild that we did not get one. There were five or six more of our company with me; these who were young men and had Delilahs there, which made them fond of the place, all agreed with the general to tell Captain Swan that there were beeves enough, only they were wild. But I told him the truth, and advised him not to be too credulous of the general's promises. He seemed to be very angry, and stormed behind the general's back, but in his presence was very mute, being a man of small courage.
It was about the 20th day of December when we returned from hunting, and the general designed to go again to another place to hunt for beef; but he stayed till after Christmas Day because some of us designed to go with him; and Captain Swan had desired all his men to be aboard that day that we might keep it solemnly together: and accordingly he sent aboard a buffalo the day before that we might have a good dinner. So the 25th day about 10 a clock Captain Swan came aboard and all his men who were ashore: for you must understand that near a third of our men lived constantly ashore with their comrades and pagallies, and some with women-servants whom they hired of their masters for concubines.
Some of our men also had houses which they hired or bought, for houses are very cheap, for 5 or 6 dollars. For many of them, having more money than they knew what to do with, eased themselves here of the trouble of telling it, spending it very lavishly, their prodigality making the people impose upon them, to the making the rest of us pay the dearer for what we bought, and to endangering the like impositions upon such Englishmen as may come here hereafter. For the Mindanayans knew how to get our squires gold from them (for we had no silver) and when our men wanted silver they would change now and then an ounce of gold and could get for it no more than ten or eleven dollars for a Mindanao ounce, which they would not part with again under eighteen dollars. Yet this and the great prices the Mindanayans set on their goods were not the only way to lessen their stocks; for their pagallies and comrades would often be begging somewhat of them, and our men were generous enough and would bestow half an ounce of gold at a time, in a ring for their pagallies, or in a silver wrist-band, or hoop to come about their arms, in hopes to get a night's lodging with them.
When we are all aboard on Christmas Day, Captain Swan and his two merchants; I did expect that Captain Swan would have made some proposals or have told us his designs; but he only dined and went ashore again without speaking anything of his mind.
Yet even then I do think that he was driving on a design of going to one of the Spice Islands to load with Spice; for the young man before mentioned, who I said was sent by his uncle, the sultan of a Spice Island near Ternate, to invite the English to their island, came aboard at this time, and after some private discourse with Captain Swan they both went ashore together. This young man did not care that the Mindanayans should be privy to what he said. I have heard Captain Swan say that he offered to load his ship with spice provided he would build a small fort and leave some men to secure the island from the Dutch; but I am since informed that the Dutch have now got possession of the island.
The next day after Christmas, the general went away again, and 5 or 6 Englishmen with him, of whom I was one, under pretence of going a-hunting; and we all went together by water in his proa, together with his women and servants, to the hunting-place. The general always carried his wives and children, his servants, his money and goods with him: so we all embarked in the morning and arrived there before night. I have already described the fashion of their proas and the rooms made in them. We were entertained in the general's room or cabin. Our voyage was not so far but that we reached our fort before night.
At this time one of the general's servants had offended, and was punished in this manner: he was bound fast flat on his belly on a bamboo belonging to the prow, which was so near the water that by the vessel's motion it frequently delved under water, and the man along with it; and sometimes when hoisted up he had scarce time to blow before he would be carried under water again.
When we had rowed about two leagues we entered a pretty large deep river and rowed up a league further, the water salt all the way. There was a pretty large village, the houses built after the country fashion. We landed at this place, where there was a house made ready immediately for us. The general and his women lay at one end of the house and we at the other end, and in the evening all the women in the village danced before the general.
While we stayed here the general with his men went out every morning betimes and did not return till four or five a clock in the afternoon, and he would often compliment us by telling us what good trust and confidence he had in us, saying that he left his women and goods under our protection and that he thought them as secure with us six (for we had all our arms with us) as if he had left 109 of his own men to guard them. Yet for all this great confidence he always left one of his principal men for fear some of us should be too familiar with his women.
They did never stir out of their own room when the general was at home, but as soon as he was gone out they would presently come into our room and sit with us all day, and ask a thousand questions of us concerning our Englishwomen and our customs. You may imagine that before this time some of us had attained so much of their language as to understand them and give them answers to their demands. I remember that one day they asked how many wives the King of England had? We told them but one, and that our English laws did not allow of any more. They said it was a strange custom that a man should be confined to one woman; some of them said it was a very bad law, but others again said it was a good law; so there was a great dispute among them about it. But one of the general's women said positively that our law was better than theirs, and made them all silent by the reason which she gave for it. This was the War Queen, as we called her, for she did always accompany the general whenever he was called out to engage his enemies, but the rest did not. By this familiarity among the women, and by often discoursing them, we came to be acquainted with their customs and privileges. The general lies with his wives by turns; but she by whom he had the first son has a double portion of his company: for when it comes to her turn she has him two nights, whereas the rest have him but one. She with whom he is to lie at night seems to have a particular respect shown her by the rest all the precedent day; and for a mark of distinction wears a striped silk handkerchief about her neck, by which we knew who was queen that day.
We lay here about 5 or 6 days but did never in all that time see the least sign of any beef, which was the business we came about, neither were we suffered to go out with the general to see the wild kine, but we wanted for nothing else: however this did not please us, and we often importuned him to let us go out among the cattle. At last he told us that he had provided a jar of rice-drink to be merry with us, and after that we should go with him.
This rice-drink is made of rice boiled and put into a jar, where it remains a long time steeping in water. I know not the manner of making it but it is very strong pleasant drink. The evening when the general designed to be merry he caused a jar of this drink to be brought into our room, and he began to drink first himself, then afterwards his men; so they took turns till they were all as drunk as swine before they suffered us to drink. After they had enough then we drank, and they drank no more, for they will not drink after us. The general leapt about our room a little while; but having his load soon went to sleep.
The next day we went out with the general into the savannah where he had near 100 men making of a large pen to drive the cattle into. For that is the manner of their hunting, having no dogs, But I saw not above eight or ten cows; and those as wild as deer, so that we got none this day: yet the next day some of his men brought in three heifers which they killed in the savannah. With these we returned aboard, they being all that we got there.
Captain Swan was much vexed at the general's actions for he promised to supply us with as much beef as we should want, but now either could not or would not make good his promise. Besides, he failed to perform his promise in a bargain of rice that we were to have for the iron which we sold him, but he put us off still from time to time and would not come to any account. Neither were these all his tricks; for a little before his son was circumcised (of which I spoke in the foregoing chapter) he pretended a great strait for money to defray the charges of that day; and therefore desired Captain Swan to lend him about twenty ounces of gold; for he knew that Captain Swan had a considerable quantity of gold in his possession, which the general thought was his own, but indeed he had none but what belonged to the merchants. However he lent it the general; but when he came to an account with Captain Swan he told him that it was usual at such solemn times to make presents, and that he received it as a gift. He also demanded payment for the victuals that our captain and his men did eat at his house.
These things startled Captain Swan, yet how to help himself he knew not. But all this, with other inward troubles, lay hard on our captain's spirits and put him very much out of humour; for his own company were pressing him every day to be gone, because now was the height of the easterly monsoon, the only wind to carry us farther into the Indies.
About this time some of our men, who were weary and tired with wandering, ran away into the country and absconded, they being assisted, as was generally believed by Raja Laut. There were others also who, fearing we should not go to an English port, bought a canoa and designed to go in her to Borneo: for not long before the Mindanao vessel came from thence and brought a letter directed to the chief of the English factory at Mindanao. This letter the general would have Captain Swan have opened, but he thought it might come from some of the East India merchants whose affairs he would not intermeddle with, and therefore did not open it. I since met with Captain Bowry at Achin and, telling him this story, he said that he sent that letter, supposing that the English were settled there at Mindanao; and by this letter we also thought that there was an English factory at Borneo: so here was a mistake on both sides. But this canoa, wherewith some of them thought to go to Borneo, Captain Swan took from them, and threatened the undertakers very hardly. However this did not so far discourage them, for they secretly bought another; but their designs taking air they were again frustrated by Captain Swan.
The whole crew were at this time under a general disaffection and full of very different projects; and all for want of action. The main division was between those that had money and those that had none. There was a great difference in the humours of these; for they that had money lived ashore and did not care for leaving Mindanao; whilst those that were poor lived aboard and urged Captain Swan to go to sea. These began to be unruly as well as dissatisfied, and sent ashore the merchants' iron to sell for rack and honey to make punch, wherewith they grew drunk and quarrelsome: which disorderly actions deterred me from going aboard; for I did ever abhor drunkenness, which now our men that were aboard abandoned themselves wholly to.
Yet these disorders might have been crushed if Captain Swan had used his authority to suppress them: but he with his merchants living always ashore there was no command; and therefore every man did what he pleased and encouraged each other in his villainies. Now Mr. Harthop, who was one of Captain Swan's merchants, did very much importune him to settle his resolutions and declare his mind to his men; which at last he consented to do. Therefore he gave warning to all his men to come aboard the 13th day of January 1687.
We did all earnestly expect to hear what Captain Swan would propose and therefore were very willing to go aboard. But, unluckily for him, two days before this meeting was to be Captain Swan sent aboard his gunner to fetch something ashore out of his cabin. The gunner, rummaging to find what he was sent for, among other things took out the captain's journal from America to the island Guam, and laid down by him. This journal was taken up by one John Read, a Bristol man whom I have mentioned in my 4th chapter. He was a pretty ingenious young man, and of a very civil carriage and behaviour. He was also accounted a good artist, and kept a journal, and was now prompted by his curiosity to peep into Captain Swan's journal to see how it agreed with his own, a thing very usual among the seamen that keep journals, when they have an opportunity, and especially young men who have no great experience. At the first opening of the book he lit on a place in which Captain Swan had inveighed bitterly against most of his men, especially against another John Reed a Jamaica man. This was such stuff as he did not seek after: but, hitting so pat on this subject, his curiosity led him to pry further; and therefore, while the gunner was busy, he conveyed the book away to look over it at his leisure. The gunner, having dispatched his business, locked up the cabin-door, not missing the book, and went ashore. Then John Reed showed it to his namesake and to the rest that were aboard, who were by this time the biggest part of them ripe for mischief; only wanting some fair pretence to set themselves to work about it.
Therefore looking on what was written in this journal to be matter sufficient for them to accomplish their ends Captain Teat who, as I said before, had been abused by Captain Swan, laid hold on this opportunity to be revenged for his injuries and aggravated the matter to the height; persuading the men to turn out Captain Swan from being commander in hopes to have commanded the ship himself. As for the seamen they were easily persuaded to anything; for they were quite tired with this long and tedious voyage, and most of them despaired of ever getting home and therefore did not care what they did or whither they went. It was only want of being busied in some action that made them so uneasy; therefore they consented to what Teat proposed, and immediately all that were aboard bound themselves by oath to turn Captain Swan out and to conceal this design from those that were ashore until the ship was under sail; which would have been presently if the surgeon or his mate had been aboard; but they were both ashore, and they thought it no prudence to go to sea without a surgeon: therefore the next morning they sent ashore one John Cookworthy to hasten off either the surgeon or his mate by pretending that one of the men in the night broke his leg by falling into the hold. The surgeon told him that he intended to come aboard the next day with the captain and would not come before; but sent his mate, Herman Coppinger.
This man some time before this was sleeping at his pagallies and a snake twisted himself about his neck; but afterwards went away without hurting him. In this country it is usual to have the snakes come into the houses and into the ships too; for we had several came aboard our ship when we lay in the river. But to proceed, Herman Coppinger provided to go aboard; and the next day, being the time appointed for Captain Swan and all his men to meet aboard, I went aboard with him, neither of us distrusted what was designing by those aboard till we came thither. Then we found it was only a trick to get the surgeon off; for now, having obtained their desires, the canoa was sent ashore again immediately to desire as many as they could meet to come aboard; but not to tell the reason lest Captain Swan should come to hear of it.
The 13th day in the morning they weighed and fired a gun: Captain Swan immediately sent aboard Mr. Nelly, who was now his chief mate, to see what the matter was: to him they told all their grievances and showed him the journal. He persuaded them to stay till the next day for an answer from Captain Swan and the merchants. So they came to an anchor again and the next morning Mr. Harthop came aboard: he persuaded them to be reconciled again, or at least to stay and get more rice: but they were deaf to it and weighed again while he was aboard. Yet at Mr. Harthop's persuasion they promised to stay till two a clock in the afternoon for Captain Swan and the rest of the men, if they would come aboard; but they suffered no man to go ashore except one William Williams that had a wooden leg and another that was a sawyer.
If Captain Swan had yet come aboard he might have dashed all their designs; but he neither came himself, as a captain of any prudence and courage would have done, nor sent till the time was expired. So we left Captain Swan and about 36 men ashore in the city, and six or eight that ran away; and about 16 we had buried there, the most of which died by poison. The natives are very expert at poisoning and do it upon small occasions: nor did our men want for giving offence through their general rogueries, and sometimes by dallying too familiarly with their women, even before their faces. Some of their poisons are slow and lingering; for we had some now aboard who were poisoned there but died not till some months after.
The 14th day of January 1687 at three of the clock in the afternoon we sailed from the river of Mindanao, designing to cruise before Manila.
It was during our stay at Mindanao that we were first made sensible of the change of time in the course of our voyage. For, having travelled so far westward, keeping the same course with the sun, we must consequently have gained something insensibly in the length of the particular days, but have lost in the tale the bulk, or number of the days or hours. According to the different longitudes of England and Mindanao this isle, being west from the Lizzard, by common computation, about 210 degrees, the difference of time at our arrival at Mindanao ought to be about 14 hours: and so much we should have anticipated our reckoning, having gained it by bearing the sun company. Now the natural day in every particular place must be consonant to itself: but this going about with or against the sun's course will of necessity make a difference in the calculation of the civil day between any two places. Accordingly at Mindanao and all other places in the East Indies we found them reckoning a day before us, both natives and Europeans; for the Europeans, coming eastward by the Cape of Good Hope in a course contrary to the sun and us, wherever we met they were a full day before us in their accounts. So among the Indian Mohammedans here their Friday, the day of their sultan's going to their mosques, was Thursday with us; though it were Friday also with those who came eastward from Europe. Yet at the Ladrone Islands we found the Spaniards of Guam keeping the same computation with ourselves; the reason of which I take to be that they settled that colony by a course westward from Spain; the Spaniards going first to America and thence to the Ladrones and Philippines. But how the reckoning was at Manila and the rest of the Spanish colonies in the Philippine Islands I know not; whether they keep it as they brought it or corrected it by the accounts of the natives and of the Portuguese, Dutch, and English, coming the contrary way from Europe.
One great reason why seamen ought to keep the difference of time as exact as they can is that they may be the more exact in their latitudes. For our tables of the sun's declination, being calculated for the meridians of the places in which they were made, differ about 12 minutes from those parts of the world that lie on their opposite meridians in the months of March and September; and in proportion to the sun's declination at other times of the year also. And should they run farther as we did the difference would still increase upon them, and be an occasion of great errors. Yet even able seamen in these voyages are hardly made sensible of this, though so necessary to be observed, for want of duly attending to the reason of it, as it happened among those of our crew; who after we had passed 180 degrees began to decrease the difference of declination, whereas they ought still to have increased it, for it all the way increased upon us.
We had the wind at north-north-east, fair clear weather and a brisk gale. We coasted to the westward, on the south side of the island of Mindanao, keeping within four or five leagues of the shore. The land from hence trends away west by south. It is off a good height by the sea and very woody, and in the country we saw high hills.
The next day we were abreast of Chambongo, a town in this island and 30 leagues from the river of Mindanao. Here is said to be a good harbour and a great settlement with plenty of beef and buffalo. It is reported that the Spaniards were formerly fortified here also: there are two shoals lie off this place, two or three leagues from the shore. From hence the land is more low and even; yet there are some hills in the country.
About six leagues before we came to the west end of the island Mindanao we fell in with a great many small low islands or keys, and about two or three leagues to the southward of these keys there is a long island stretching north-east and south-west about 12 leagues. This island is low by the sea on the north side and has a ridge of hills in the middle, running from one end to the other. Between this isle and the small keys there is a good large channel: among the keys also there is a good depth of water and a violent tide; but on what point of the compass it flows I know not, nor how much it rises and falls.
The 17th day we anchored on the east side of all these keys in eight fathom water, clean sand. Here are plenty of green turtle, whose flesh is as sweet as any in the West Indies: but they are very shy.
A little to the westward of these keys, on the island Mindanao, we saw abundance of coconut-trees: therefore we sent our canoa ashore, thinking to find inhabitants, but found none nor sign of any; but great tracts of hogs and great cattle; and close by the sea there were ruins of an old fort; the walls thereof were of a good height, built with stone and lime, and by the workmanship seemed to be Spanish. From this place the land trends west-north-west and it is of an indifferent height by the sea. It runs on this point of the compass four or five leagues, and then the land trends away north-north-west five or six leagues farther, making with many bluff points.
We weighed again the 14th day and went through between the keys; but met such uncertain tides that we were forced to anchor again. The 22nd day we got about the westermost point of all Mindanao and stood to the northward, plying under the shore and having the wind at north-north-east a fresh gale. As we sailed along further we found the land to trend north-north-east. On this part of the island the land is high by the sea with full bluff points and very woody. There are some small sandy bays which afford streams of fresh water.
Here we met with two proas belonging to the Sologues, one of the Mindanayan nations before mentioned. They came from Manila laden with silks and calicoes. We kept on this western part of the island steering northerly till we came abreast of some other of the Philippine Islands that lay to the northward of us, then steered away towards them; but still keeping on the west side of them, and we had the winds at north-north-east.
The 3rd of February we anchored in a good bay on the west side of the island in latitude 9 degrees 55 minutes, where we had 13 fathom water, good soft oaze. This island has no name that we could find in any book but lies on the west side of the island Sebo. It is about eight or ten leagues long, mountainous and woody. At this place Captain Read, who was the same Captain Swan had so much railed against in his journal and was now made captain in his room (as Captain Teat was made master, and Mr. Henry More quartermaster) ordered the carpenters to cut down our quarter-deck to make the ship snug and the fitter for sailing. When that was done we heeled her, scrubbed her bottom, and tallowed it. Then we filled all our water, for here is a delicate small run of water.
The land was pretty low in this bay, the Mould black and fat, and the trees of several kinds, very thick and tall. In some places we found plenty of canes, such as we use in England for walking-canes. These were short-jointed, not above two foot and a half, or two foot 10 inches the longest, and most of them not above two foot. They run along on the ground like a vine; or, taking hold of their trees, they climb up to their very tops. They are 15 or 20 fathom long, and much of a bigness from the root till within five or six fathom of the end. They are of a pale green colour, clothed over with a coat of short thick hairy substance of a dun colour; but it comes off by only drawing the cane through your hand. We did cut many of them and they proved very tough heavy canes.
We saw no houses nor sign of inhabitants; but while we lay here there was a canoa with six men came into this bay; but whither they were bound or from whence they came I know not. They were Indians, and we could not understand them.
In the middle of this bay about a mile from the shore there is a small low woody island, not above a mile in circumference; our ship rode about a mile from it. This island was the habitation of an incredible number of great bats, with bodies as big as ducks, or large fowl, and with vast wings: for I saw at Mindanao one of this sort, and I judge that the wings, stretched out in length, could not be less asunder than 7 or 8 foot from tip to tip; for it was much more than any of us could fathom with our arms extended to the utmost. The wings are for substance like those of other bats, of a dun or mouse colour. The skin or leather of them has ribs running along it and draws up in 3 or 4 folds; and at the joints of those ribs and the extremities of the wings there are sharp and crooked claws by which they may hang on anything. In the evening as soon as the sun was set, these creatures would begin to take their flight from this island in swarms like bees, directing their flight over to the main island; and whither afterwards I know not. Thus we should see them rising up from the island till night hindered our sight; and in the morning as soon as it was light we should see them returning again like a cloud to the small island till sun rising. This course they kept constantly while we lay here, affording us every morning and evening an hour's diversion in gazing at them and talking about them; but our curiosity did not prevail with us to go ashore to them, ourselves and Canoas being all the daytime taken up in business about our ship. At this isle also we found plenty of turtle and manatee but no fish.
We stayed here till the 10th of February 1687, and then, having completed our business, we sailed hence with the wind at north. But going out we struck on a rock, where we lay two hours: it was very smooth water and the tide of flood, or else we should there have lost our ship. We struck off a great piece of our rudder, which was all the damage that we received, but we more narrowly missed losing our ships this time than in any other in the whole voyage. This is a very dangerous shoal because it does not break, unless probably it may appear in foul weather. It lies about two miles to the westward, without the small Bat Island. Here we found the tide of flood setting to the southward, and the ebb to the northward.
After we were past this shoal we coasted along by the rest of the Philippine Islands, keeping on the west side of them. Some of them appeared to be very mountainous dry land. We saw many fires in the night as we passed by Panay, a great island settled by Spaniards, and by the fires up and down it seems to be well settled by them; for this is a Spanish custom whereby they give notice of any danger or the like from sea; and it is probable they had seen our ship the day before. This is an unfrequented coast and it is rare to have any ship seen there. We touched not at Panay nor anywhere else though we saw a great many small islands to the westward of us and some shoals, but none of them laid down in our charts.
The 18th day of February we anchored at the north-west end of the island Mindoro, in 10 fathom water, about three quarters of a mile from the shore. Mindoro is a large island; the middle of it lying in latitude 13, about 40 leagues long, stretching north-west and south-east. It is high and mountainous and not very woody. At this place where we anchored the land was neither very high nor low. There was a small brook of water, and the land by the sea was very woody, and the trees high and tall, but a league or two farther in the woods are very thin and small. Here we saw great tracks of hog and beef, and we saw some of each and hunted them; but they were wild and we could kill none.
While we were here there was a canoa with four Indians came from Manila. They were very shy of us a while but at last, hearing us speak Spanish, they came to us and told us that they were going to a friar that lived at an Indian village towards the south-east end of the island. They told us also that the harbour of Manila is seldom or never without 20 or 30 sail of vessels, most Chinese, some Portuguese, and some few the Spaniards have of their own. They said that when they had done their business with the friar they would return to Manila, and hope to be back again at this place in four days' time. We told them that we came for a trade with the Spaniards at Manila, and should be glad if they would carry a letter to some merchant there, which they promised to do. But this was only a pretence of ours to get out of them what intelligence we could as to their shipping, strength, and the like, under colour of seeking a trade; for our business was to pillage. Now if we had really designed to have traded there this was as fair an opportunity as men could have desired: for these men could have brought us to the friar that they were going to, and a small present to him would have engaged him to do any kindness for us in the way of trade: for the Spanish governors do not allow of it and we must trade by stealth.
The 21st day we went from hence with the wind at east-north-east a small gale. The 23rd day in the morning we were fair by the south-east end of the island Luconia, the place that had been so long desired by us.
We presently saw a sail coming from the northward and making after her we took her in two hours' time. She was a Spanish bark that came from a place called Pangasanam, a small town on the north end of Luconia, as they told us; probably the same with Pongassiny, which lies on a bay at the north-west side of the island. She was bound to Manila but had no goods aboard; and therefore we turned her away.
The 23rd we took another Spanish vessel that came from the same place as the other. She was laden with rice and cotton-cloth and bound for Manila also. These goods were purposely for the Acapulco ship: the rice was for the men to live on while they lay there and in their return: and the cotton-cloth was to make sail. The master of this prize was boatswain of the Acapulco ship which escaped us at Guam and was now at Manila. It was this man that gave us the relation of what strength it had, how they were afraid of us there, and of the accident that happened to them, as is before mentioned in the 10th chapter. We took these two vessels within seven or eight leagues of Manila.
Luconia I have spoken of already but I shall now add this further account of it. It is a great island, taking up between 6 and 7 degrees of latitude in length, and its breadth near the middle is about 60 leagues, but the ends are narrow. The north end lies in about 19 degrees north latitude and the south end is about 12 degrees 30 minutes. This great island has abundance of small keys or islands lying about it; especially at the north end. The south side fronts towards the rest of the Philippine Islands: of these that are its nearest neighbours Mindoro lately mentioned is the chief, and gives name to the sea or strait that parts it and the other islands from Luconia: being called the Straits of Mindoro.
The body of the island Luconia is composed of many spacious plain savannahs and large mountains. The north end seems to be more plain and even, I mean freer from hills, than the south end: but the land is all along of a good height. It does not appear so flourishing and green as some of the other islands in this range; especially that of St. John, Mindanao, Bat Island, etc., yet in some places it is very woody. Some of the mountains of this island afford gold, and the savannahs are well stocked with herds of cattle, especially Buffaloes. These cattle are in great plenty all over the East Indies; and therefore it is very probable that there were many of these here even before the Spaniards came hither. But now there are also plenty of other cattle, as I have been told, as bullocks, horses, sheep, goats, hogs, etc., brought hither by the Spaniards.
It is pretty well inhabited with Indians, most of them if not all under the Spaniards, who now are masters of it. The native Indians do live together in towns; and they have priests among them to instruct them in the Spanish religion.
Manila, the chief or perhaps the only city, lies at the foot of a ridge of high hills, facing upon a spacious harbour near the south-west point of the island, in about the latitude of 14 degrees north. It is environed with a high strong wall and very well fortified with forts and breast-works. The houses are large, strongly built, and covered with pan-tile. The streets are large and pretty regular; with a parade in the midst, after the Spanish fashion. There are a great many fair buildings besides churches and other religious houses; of which there are not a few.
The harbour is so large that some hundreds of ships may ride here; and is never without many, both of their own and strangers. I have already given you an account of the two ships going and coming between this place and Acapulco. Besides them they have some small vessels of their own; and they do allow the Portuguese to trade here, but the Chinese are the chiefest merchants and they drive the greatest trade; for they have commonly twenty, thirty, or forty junks in the harbour at a time, and a great many merchants constantly residing in the city besides shopkeepers, and handicrafts-men in abundance. Small vessels run up near the town, but the Acapulco ships and others of greater burden lie a league short of it, where there is a strong fort also, and storehouses to put goods in.
I had the major part of this relation two or three years after this time from Mr. Coppinger our surgeon; for he made a voyage hither from Porto Nova, a town on the coast of Coromandel; in a Portuguese ship, as I think. Here he found ten or twelve of Captain Swan's men; some of those that we left at Mindanao. For after we came from thence they bought a proa there, by the instigation of an Irishman who went by the name of John Fitz-Gerald, a person that spoke Spanish very well; and so in this their proa they came hither. They had been here but eighteen months when Mr. Coppinger arrived here, and Mr. Fitz-Gerald had in this time gotten a Spanish Mestiza woman to wife, and a good dowry with her. He then professed physic and surgery, and was highly esteemed among the Spaniards for his supposed knowledge in those arts; for, being always troubled with sore shins while he was with us, he kept some plasters and salves by him; and with these he set up upon his bare natural stock of knowledge and his experience in kibes. But then he had a very great stock of confidence withal to help out the other and, being an Irish Roman Catholic, and having the Spanish language, he had a great advantage of all his consorts; and he alone lived well there of them all. We were not within sight of this town but I was shown the hills that overlooked it, and drew a draft of them as we lay off at sea; which I have caused to be engraven among a few others that I took myself. (See the Table.)
The time of the year being now too far spent to do anything here it was concluded to sail from hence to Pulo Condore, a little parcel of islands on the coast of Cambodia, and carry this prize with us and there careen if we could find any convenient place for it, designing to return hither again by the latter end of May and wait for the Acapulco ship that comes about that time. By our charts (which we were guided by, being strangers to these parts) this seemed to us then to be a place out of the way where we might lie snug for a while, and wait the time of returning for our prey. For we avoided as much as we could the going to lie by at any great place of commerce lest we should become too much exposed, and perhaps be assaulted by a force greater than our own.
So, having set our prisoners ashore, we sailed from Luconia the 26th day of February, with the wind east-north-east and fair weather, and a brisk gale. We were in latitude 14 degrees north when we began to steer away for Pulo Condore, and we steered south by W.
In our way thither we went pretty near the shoals of Pracel and other shoals which are very dangerous. We were very much afraid of them but escaped them without so much as seeing them, only at the very south end of the Pracel shoals we saw three little sandy islands or spots of sand standing just above water within a mile of us.
It was the 13th day of March before we came in sight of Pulo Condore, or the island Condore, as Pulo signifies. The 14th day about noon we anchored on the north side of the island against a sandy bay two mile from the shore, in ten fathom clean hard sand, with both ship and prize. Pulo Condore is the principal of a heap of islands and the only inhabited one of them. They lie in latitude 8 degrees 40 minutes north, and about twenty leagues south and by east from the mouth of the river of Cambodia. These islands lie so near together that at a distance they appear to be but one island.
Two of these islands are pretty large and of a good height, they may be seen fourteen or fifteen leagues at sea; the rest are but little spots. The biggest of the two (which is the inhabited one) is about four or five leagues long and lies east and west. It is not above three mile broad at the broadest place, in most places not above a mile wide. The other large island is about three mile long and half a mile wide. This island stretches north and south. It is so conveniently placed at the west end of the biggest island that between both there is formed a very commodious harbour. The entrance of this harbour is on the north side where the two islands are near a mile asunder. There are three or four small keys and a good deep channel between them and the biggest island. Towards the south end of the harbour the two islands do in a manner close up, leaving only a small passage for boats and Canoas. There are no more islands on the north side but five or six on the south side of the great island. (See the Table.)
The Mould of these islands for the biggest part is blackish and pretty deep, only the hills are somewhat stony. The eastern part of the biggest island is sandy yet all clothed with trees of divers sorts. The trees do not grow so thick as I have seen them in some places, but they are generally large and tall and fit for any use.
There is one sort of tree much larger than any other on this island and which I have not seen anywhere else. It is about three or four foot diameter in the body, from whence is drawn a sort of clammy juice, which being boiled a little becomes perfect tar; and if you boil it much it will become hard as pitch. It may be put to either use; we used it both ways, and found it to be very serviceable. The way that they get this juice is by cutting a great gap horizontally in the body of the tree half through, and about a foot from the ground; and then cutting the upper part of the body aslope inwardly downward, till in the middle of the tree it meets with the traverse cutting or plain. In this plain horizontal semicircular stump they make a hollow like a basin, that may contain a quart or two. Into this hole the juice which drains from the wounded upper part of the tree falls; from whence you must empty it every day. It will run thus for some months and then dry away, and the tree will recover again.
The fruit-trees that nature has bestowed on these isles are mangoes; and trees bearing a sort of grape, and other trees bearing a kind of wild or bastard nutmegs. These all grow wild in the woods and in very great plenty.
The mangoes here grow on trees as big as apple-trees: those at Fort St. George are not so large. The fruit of these is as big as a small peach but long and smaller towards the top: it is of a yellowish colour when ripe; it is very juicy, and of a pleasant smell and delicate taste. When the mango is young they cut them in two pieces and pickle them with salt and vinegar in which they put some cloves of garlic. This is an excellent sauce and much esteemed; it is called mango-achar. Achar I presume signifies sauce. They make in the East Indies, especially at Siam and Pegu, several sorts of achar, as of the young tops of bamboos, etc., bamboo-achar and mango-achar are most used. The mangoes were ripe when we were there (as were also the rest of these fruits) and they have then so delicate a fragrancy that we could smell them out in the thick woods, if we had but the wind of them, while we were a good way from them and could not see them; and we generally found them out this way. Mangoes are common in many places of the East Indies; but I did never know any grow wild only at this place. These, though not so big as those I have seen at Achin and at Madras or Fort St. George are yet every whit as pleasant as the best sort of their garden mangoes.
The grape-tree grows with a straight body of a diameter about a foot or more, and has but few limbs or boughs. The fruit grows in clusters all about the body of the tree, like the jack, durian, and Cacoa fruits. There are of them both red and white. They are much like such grapes as grow on our vines both in shape and colour; and they are of a very pleasant winy taste. I never saw these but on the two biggest of these islands; the rest had no tar-trees, mangoes, grape-trees, nor wild nutmegs.
The wild nutmeg-tree is as big as a walnut-tree; but it does not spread so much. The boughs are gross and the fruit grows among the boughs as the walnut and other fruits. This nutmeg is much smaller than the true nutmeg and longer also. It is enclosed with a thin shell, and a sort of mace, encircling the nut within the shell. This bastard nutmeg is so much like the true nutmeg in shape that at our first arrival here we thought it to be the true one; but it has no manner of smell nor taste.
The animals of these islands are some hogs, lizards and Guanos; and some of those creatures mentioned in Chap. XI which are like but much bigger than the Guanos.
Here are many sorts of birds, as parrots, parakeets, doves and pigeons. Here are also a sort of wild cocks and hens: they are much like our tame fowl of that kind; but a great deal less, for they are about the bigness of a crow. The cocks do crow like ours but much more small and shrill; and by their crowing we do first find them out in the woods where we shoot them. Their flesh is very white and sweet.
There are a great many limpets and mussels, and plenty of green turtle.
And upon this mention of turtle again I think it not amiss to add some reasons to strengthen the opinion that I have given concerning these creatures removing from place to place. I have said in Chapter 5 that they leave their common feeding-places and go to places a great way from thence to lay, as particularly to the island Ascension. Now I have discoursed with some since that subject was printed who are of opinion that when the laying-time is over they never go from thence, but lie somewhere in the sea about the island, which I think is very improbable: for there can be no food for them there, as I could soon make appear; as particularly from hence, that the sea about the isle of Ascension is so deep as to admit of no anchoring but at one place, where there is no sign of grass: and we never bring up with our sounding-lead any grass or weeds out of very deep seas, but sand or the like only. But if this be granted, that there is food for them, yet I have a great deal of reason to believe that the turtle go from hence; for after the laying-time you shall never see them, and wherever turtle are you will see them rise and hold their head above water to breathe once in seven or eight minutes, or at longest in ten or twelve. And if any man does but consider how fish take their certain seasons of the year to go from one sea to another this should not seem strange; even fowls also having their seasons to remove from one place to another.
These islands are pretty well watered with small brooks of fresh water that run flush into the sea for ten months in the year. The latter end of March they begin to dry away, and in April you shall have none in the brooks but what is lodged in deep holes; but you may dig wells in some places. In May when the rain comes the land is again replenished with water and the brooks run out into the sea.
These islands lie very commodiously in the way to and from Japan, China, Manila, Tonquin, Cochin-china, and in general all this most easterly coast of the Indian continent; whether you go through the Straits of Malacca, or the Straits of Sunda between Sumatra and Java: and one of them you must pass in the common way from Europe or other parts of the East Indies unless you mean to fetch a great compass round most of the East India Islands, as we did. Any ship in distress may be refreshed and recruited here very conveniently; and besides ordinary accommodations be furnished with masts, yards, pitch and tar. It might also be a convenient place to usher in a commerce with the neighbouring country of Cochin-china, and forts might be built to secure a factory; particularly at the harbour, which is capable of being well fortified. This place therefore being upon all these accounts so valuable, and withal so little known, I have here inserted a draft of it, which I took during our stay there.
The inhabitants of this island are by nation Cochin-chinese, as they told us, for one of them spoke good Malayan: which language we learnt a smattering of, and some of us so as to speak it pretty well, while we lay at Mindanao; and this is the common tongue of trade and commerce (though it be not in several of them the native language) in most of the East India Islands, being the Lingua Franca, as it were, of these parts. I believe it is the vulgar tongue at Malacca, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo; but at Celebes, the Philippine Islands, and the Spice Islands it seems borrowed for the carrying on of trade.
The inhabitants of Pulo Condore are but a small people in stature, well enough shaped, and of a darker colour than the Mindanayans. They are pretty long-visaged; their hair is black and straight, their eyes are but small and black, their noses of a mean bigness, and pretty high, their lips thin, their teeth white, and little mouths. They are very civil people but extraordinary poor. Their chiefest employment is to draw the juice of those trees that I have described to make tar. They preserve it in wooden troughs; and when they have their cargo they transport it to Cochin-china, their mother country. Some others of them employ themselves to catch turtle, and boil up their fat to oil, which they also transport home. These people have great large nets with wide meshes to catch the turtle. The Jamaica turtlers have such; and I did never see the like nets but at Jamaica and here.
They are so free of their women that they would bring them aboard and offer them to us; and many of our men hired them for a small matter. This is a custom used by several nations in the East Indies, as at Pegu, Siam, Cochin-china, and Cambodia, as I have been told. It is used at Tonquin also to my knowledge; for I did afterwards make a voyage thither, and most of our men had women aboard all the time of our abode there. In Africa also, on the coast of Guinea, our merchants, factors, and seamen that reside there have their black misses. It is accounted a piece of policy to do it; for the chief factors and captains of ships have the great men's daughters offered them, the mandarins' or noblemen's at Tonquin, and even the king's wives in Guinea; and by this sort of alliance the country people are engaged to a greater friendship: and if there should arise any difference about trade or anything else which might provoke the natives to seek some treacherous revenge (to which all these heathen nations are very prone) then these Delilahs would certainly declare it to their white friends, and so hinder their countrymen's design.
These people are idolaters: but their manner of worship I know not. There are a few scattering houses and plantations on the great island, and a small village on the south side of it where there is a little idol-temple, and an image of an elephant, about five foot high and in bigness proportionable, placed on one side of the temple; and a horse not so big, placed on the other side of it; both standing with their heads towards the south. The temple itself was low and ordinary, built of wood and thatched like one of their houses; which are but very meanly.
The images of the horse and the elephant were the most general idols that I observed in the temples of Tonquin when I travelled there. There were other images also, of beasts, birds and fish. I do not remember I saw any human shape there; nor any such monstrous representations as I have seen among the Chinese. Wherever the Chinese seamen or merchants come (and they are very numerous all over these seas) they have always hideous idols on board their junks or ships, with altars, and lamps burning before them. These idols they bring ashore with them: and beside those they have in common every man has one in his own house. Upon some particular solemn days I have seen their bonzies, or priests, bring whole armfuls of painted papers and burn them with a great deal of ceremony, being very careful to let no piece escape them. The same day they killed a goat which had been purposely fatting a month before; this they offer or present before their idol, and then dress it and feast themselves with it. I have seen them do this in Tonquin, where I have at the same time been invited to their feasts; and at Bencoolen in the isle of Sumatra they sent a shoulder of the sacrificed goat to the English, who ate of it, and asked me to do so too; but I refused.
When I was at Madras, or Fort St. George, I took notice of a great ceremony used for several nights successively by the idolaters inhabiting the suburbs: both men and women (these very well clad) in a great multitude went in solemn procession with lighted torches, carrying their idols about with them. I knew not the meaning of it. I observed some went purposely carrying oil to sprinkle into the lamps to make them burn the brighter. They began their round about 11 a clock at night and, having paced it gravely about the streets till two or three a clock in the morning, their idols were carried with much ceremony into the temple by the chief of the procession, and some of the women I saw enter the temple, particularly. Their idols were different from those of Tonquin, Cambodia, etc., being in human shape.
I have said already that we arrived at these islands the 14th day of March 1687. The next day we searched about for a place to careen in; and the 16th day we entered the harbour and immediately provided to careen. Some men were set to fell great trees to saw into planks; others went to unrigging the ship; some made a house to put our goods in and for the sail-maker to work in. The country people resorted to us and brought us of the fruits of the island, with hogs, and sometimes turtle; for which they received rice in exchange, which we had a shipload of, taken at Manila. We bought of them also a good quantity of their pitchy liquor, which we boiled, and used about our ship's bottom. We mixed it first with lime which we made here, and it made an excellent coat and stuck on very well.
We stayed in this harbour from the 16th day of March till the 16th of April; in which time we made a new suit of sails of the cloth that was taken in the prize. We cut a spare main-top-mast and sawed plank to sheath the ship's bottom; for she was not sheathed all over at Mindanao, and that old plank that was left on then we now ripped off and clapped on new.
While we lay here two of our men died, who were poisoned at Mindanao, they told us of it when they found themselves poisoned and had lingered ever since. They were opened by our doctor, according to their own request before they died, and their livers were black, light and dry, like pieces of cork.
Our business being finished here we left the Spanish prize taken at Manila, and most of the rice, taking out enough for ourselves, and on the 17th day we went from hence to the place where we first anchored, on the north side of the great island, purposely to water; for there was a great stream when we first came to the island, and we thought it was so now. But we found it dried up, only it stood in holes, two or three hogsheads or a tun in a hole: therefore we did immediately cut bamboos and made spouts through which we conveyed the water down to the seaside by taking it up in bowls, and pouring it into these spouts or troughs. We conveyed some of it thus near half a mile. While we were filling our water Captain Read engaged an old man, one of the inhabitants of this island, the same who I said could speak the Malayan language, to be his pilot to the Bay of Siam; for he had often been telling us that he was well acquainted there, and that he knew some islands there where there were fishermen lived who he thought could supply us with salt-fish to eat at sea; for we had nothing but rice to eat. The easterly monsoon was not yet done; therefore it was concluded to spend some time there and then take the advantage of the beginning of the western monsoon to return to Manila again.
The 21st day of April 1687 we sailed from Pulo Condore, directing our course west by south for the Bay of Siam. We had fair weather and a fine moderate gale of wind at east-north-east.
The 23rd day we arrived at Pulo Ubi, or the island Ubi. This island is about 40 leagues to the westward of Pulo Condore; it lies just at the entrance of the Bay of Siam, at the south-west point of land that makes the bay; namely, the Point of Cambodia. This island is about seven or eight leagues round, and it is higher land than any of Pulo Condore isles. Against the south-east part of it there is a small key, about a cable's length from the main island. This Pulo Ubi is very woody and it has good water on the north side, where you may anchor; but the best anchoring is on the east side against a small bay; then you will have the little island to the southward of you.
At Pulo Ubi we found two small barks laden with rice. They belonged to Cambodia, from whence they came not above two or three days before, and they touched here to fill water. Rice is the general food of all these countries, therefore it is transported by sea from one country to another, as corn in these parts of the world. For in some countries they produce more than enough for themselves and send what they can spare to those places where there is but little.
The 24th day we went into the Bay of Siam: this is a large deep bay, of which, and of this kingdom, I shall at present speak but little, because I design a more particular account of all this coast, to wit, of Tonquin, Cochin-china, Siam, Champa, Cambodia, and Malacca, making all the most easterly part of the continent of Asia, lying south of China: but to do it in the course of this voyage would too much swell this volume; and I shall choose therefore to give a separate relation of what I know or have learnt of them, together with the neighbouring parts of Sumatra, Java, etc., where I have spent some time.
We ran down into the Bay of Siam till we came to the islands that our Pulo Condore pilot told us of, which lie about the middle of the bay: but, as good a pilot as he was, he run us a-ground; yet we had no damage. Captain Read went ashore at these islands, where he found a small town of fishermen; but they had no fish to sell and so we returned empty.
We had yet fair weather and very little wind; so that, being often becalmed, we were till the 13th day of May before we got to Pulo Ubi again. There we found two small vessels at an anchor on the east side: they were laden with rice and lacquer, which is used in japanning of cabinets. One of these came from Champa, bound to the town of Malacca, which belongs to the Dutch who took it from the Portuguese; and this shows that they have a trade with Champa. This was a very pretty neat vessel, her bottom very clean and curiously coated, she had about forty men all armed with cortans, or broadswords, lances, and some guns, that went with a swivel upon their gunwale. They were of the idolaters, natives of Champa, and some of the briskest, most sociable, without fearfulness or shyness, and the most neat and dextrous about their shipping, of any such I have met with in all my travels. The other vessel came from the river of Cambodia and was bound towards the Straits of Malacca. Both of them stopped here, for the westerly-winds now began to blow, which were against them, being somewhat bleated.
We anchored also on the east side, intending to fill water. While we lay here we had very violent wind at south-west and a strong current setting right to windward. The fiercer the wind blew, the more strong the current set against it. This storm lasted till the 20th day, and then it began to abate.
The 21st day of May we went back from hence towards Pulo Condore.
In our way we overtook a great junk that came from Palimbam, a town on the island Sumatra: she was full laden with pepper which they bought there and was bound to Siam: but, it blowing so hard, she was afraid to venture into that bay, and therefore came to Pulo Condore with us, where we both anchored May the 24th. This vessel was of the Chinese make, full of little rooms or partitions, like our well-boats. I shall describe them in the next chapter. The men of this junk told us that the English were settled on the island Sumatra, at a place called Sillabar; and the first knowledge we had that the English had any settlement on Sumatra was from these.
When we came to an anchor we saw a small bark at an anchor near the shore; therefore Captain Read sent a canoa aboard her to know from whence they came; and, supposing that it was a Malayan vessel, he ordered the men not to go aboard for they are accounted desperate fellows and their vessels are commonly full of men who all wear cressets, or little daggers, by their sides. The canoa's crew, not minding the captain's orders, went aboard, all but one man that stayed in the canoa. The Malayans, who were about 20 of them, seeing our men all armed, thought that they came to take their vessel; therefore at once, on a signal given, they drew out their cressets and stabbed five or six of our men before they knew what the matter was. The rest of our men leapt overboard, some into the canoa and some into the sea, and so got away. Among the rest one Daniel Wallis leapt into the sea who could never swim before nor since; yet now he swam very well a good while before he was taken up. When the Canoas came aboard Captain Read manned two Canoas and went to be revenged on the Malayans; but they seeing him coming did cut a hole in the vessel's bottom and went ashore in their boat. Captain Read followed them but they ran into the woods and hid themselves. Here we stayed ten or eleven days for it blew very hard all the time.
While we stayed here Herman Coppinger our surgeon went ashore, intending to live here; but Captain Read sent some men to fetch him again. I had the same thoughts, and would have gone ashore too but waited for a more convenient place. For neither he nor I, when we were last on board at Mindanao, had any knowledge of the plot that was laid to leave Captain Swan and run away with the ship; and, being sufficiently weary of this mad crew, we were willing to give them the slip at any place from whence we might hope to get a passage to an English factory. There was nothing else of moment happened while we stayed here.