Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

15. Frühe europäische Quellen und Quellen aus der Zeit der East India Companies

4. Zum Beispiel: Ralph Fitch, 1583 - 1591

hrsg. von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 15. Frühe europäische Quellen und Quellen aus der Zeit der East India Companies. --4. Zum Beispiel: Ralph Fitch, 1583 - 1591. -- Fassung vom 2008-05-27. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen1504.htm               

Erstmals publiziert als:

Early travels in India 1583 - 1619 / ed. by William Foster [1863 - 1951]. -- London [u.a.] :  Milford, Oxford university press, 1921. -- xiv, 351 S. : Ill. ; 19 cm. -- S. 1 - 8, 12 - 29, 44 - 47. -- Online: http://www.archive.org/details/earlytravelsinin00fostuoft. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-19. -- "Not in copyright."

Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-05-27


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public domain.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

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1. Über Ralph Fitch

"1583-91 RALPH FITCH

The interesting narrative here reprinted belongs of course to a period anterior to the establishment of the English East India Company, though the journey it describes holds a by no means unimportant place among the events leading up thereto. At the date of its inception, namely the end of 1582 or the beginning of 1583, English merchants were striving eagerly to discover some means of securing a share in the rich trade with the East, but so far their endeavours had been unsuccessful. The attempts to find a way to China round the northern coasts of Europe and Asia had ended in failure, while the three expeditions of Martin Frobisher in search of a passage round North America had met with a similar fate. The establishment of a trade with Russia had resulted in several ventures to Persia by that route, but no further attempt was made in this direction after 1581. The sea route by the Cape of Good Hope was not only long and dangerous but was claimed as a Portuguese monopoly, and Queen Elizabeth was not yet prepared to break with Philip II, who since 1580 had been King of Portugal as well as of Spain ; and although the return of Sir Francis Drake by this route, from his voyage round the world, had encouraged an attempt under Edward Fenton in June 1582, to pass that way into the Indian Ocean, cautious merchants may well have anticipated the failure that actually ensued.

Attention was thus directed to the possibility of utilizing the long-established trade-route by way of Syria which had already been tapped to some extent by the syndicate of merchants, headed by Edward Osborne and Richard Staper, who had been granted the monopoly of English trade in the Turkish dominions by a royal charter in September 1581. Moreover, a certain John Newbery had just returned from a long and important journey in the desired direction. Starting from Tripoli, in Syria, he had made his way overland to Basra, on the Persian Gulf, and thence by sea to Ormus, the famous island at its mouth, opposite to the present Bandar Abbāsi, After spending some time on the island, during which he carefully concealed his nationality from the Portuguese officials, he returned by land through Persia and Armenia to Constantinople, and thence home by way of Poland and the [S. 2] Baltic.1 Evidently he had learnt much about the routes between India and Persia, and had come to the conclusion that commerce by that route was perfectly feasible.

1 Accounts of this and of a previous journey of his in Syria and Palestine will be found in Purchas His Pilgrimes (Part ii, bk. ix, eh. 3).

Plans were quickly made for a further experiment in the same direction, and the result was the journey which is here chronicled. The necessary funds were found chiefly by Osborne and Staper, and Newbery was placed in charge of the expedition. The party consisted of a number of merchants (among whom we need only mention John Eldred and Ralph Fitch), together with an expert in gems named William Leeds, and a painter named James Story, who (according to Linschoten) was not employed by the promoters of the venture but joined in order to seek his fortune. It was arranged that two of the merchants should be left at Bagdad with part of the stock, and two more at Basra with a further quantity of goods, while Newbery and Fitch should continue their journey to the Indies. For this purpose they were furnished with letters of introduction from Queen Elizabeth, addressed to the Mughal Emperor Akbar (described as King of Cambay), and also to the Emperor of China. Both letters are among the documents printed by Hakluyt.

The materials for the history of the first portion of the journey are fairly abundant. Besides Fitch's narrative, Hakluyt gives one by Eldred (who did not go farther than Basra), together with six letters from Newbery and one from Fitch ; while Purchas supplements these by three more letters from Eldred and two from Newbery. In addition, we have an interesting account (particularly of our travellers' experiences at Goa) by Linschoten in his Itinerario (Hakluyt Society's edition, vol. ii, p. 158). These documents are not here reprinted, since we are chiefly interested in that portion of Fitch's narrative which concerns his travels after quitting Goa ; use has, however, been made of them to supply a few of the dates which are so conspicuously lacking in Fitch's own account.

Newbery and his companions sailed from London in the Tiger1 in February 1583, and reached Aleppo about May 20. On the last day of that month they started on their adventurous journey, and on August 6 found themselves safe in Basra, the port town of Mesopotamia. Newbery's plan was to go by boat to Bushire on the Persian coast, and thence proceed by land to India ; but he was obliged to abandon this idea because an interpreter could not be secured. Forced, therefore, to risk interference on the part of the Portuguese, the little party [S. 3] embarked for Ormus, which was reached early in September. The Italian merchants resident in the island were quick to note the arrival of fresh trade competitors (concerning whose intentions they had apparently been warned from Aleppo), and on their insinuations that the new-comers were heretics and spies, acting in the interests of the pretender to the Portuguese throne, our travellers were arrested and sent to Goa. At the latter place they were committed to prison, where they remained about a month. They found friends, however, in two Jesuits, one a Dutchman and the other an Englishman, Father Thomas Stevens2 ; also in the young Dutchman Linschoten (already mentioned), who, being in the suite of the Archbishop of Goa, was able to exert some useful influence in their favour. The fact that they all professed to be good Catholics told on their behalf, and just before Christmas 1583 Newbery, Fitch, and Leeds were released on bail.

1 'Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master of the Tiger,' says the First Witch in Macbeth, a clear proof (as a previous writer has remarked) that Shakespeare knew his Hakluyt.

2 It is scarcely necessary to recall that Stevens is famous as the first Englishman known to have set foot on Indian soil. Born in Wiltshire and educated at Winchester, he made his way to Rome and there entered the Jesuit order. Being desirous of serving in India, he obtained a passage at Lisbon in the spring of 1579 and reached Goa in October of that year. A letter to his father, describing the voyage, will be found in the pages of Hakluyt. Stevens laboured in Goa for forty years, dying in 1619, at the age of seventy. He was the first European to make a scientific study of Konkani, and he wrote two religious works, one of which, a long epic in Marathi, still keeps his memory green in that part of India.

Story had already obtained his liberty by agreeing to become a lay brother in the Jesuits' convent, where his talents were needed for the decoration of the church. The others now took a shop and commenced to trade, and two letters written by Newbery and Fitch in January 1581 spoke cheerfully of their prospects. Before long, however, matters assumed a different aspect. The Jesuits hinted that the Englishmen would probably be sent to Portugal by the next fleet, and the Viceroy, to whom they applied for the return of the money they had deposited in the hands of their surety, returned a threatening answer. Alarmed at this, they decided to make their escape, and early in April 1584,1 under pretext of an [S. 4] excursion, they slipped over the border into the territory of the King of Bījāpur. It was well they did so, for, on hearing of the arrival and imprisonment of a party of Englishmen, King Philip wrote to the Viceroy of Goa (February 1585) to punish them if found guilty, and to take special care that neither they nor any of their countrymen should be allowed in Portuguese territory. On being informed, in reply, of the escape of the prisoners, he wrote again, both in 1587 and 1589, urging efforts to apprehend them and punish their abettors ; while in 1591 he ordered that the survivor—Story the painter, who had quitted the cloister, married a half-caste woman, and settled down at Goa—should be sent to Lisbon. Whether this was done is not known ; but if so, the unlucky artist probably perished in one of the two ships that were lost on their homeward voyage in 1592 (see the Introduction to The Travels of Pedro Teixeira, pp. xxvii-xxx).

1 Fitch says 1585, but I imagine that this is a slip, since the narrative is scarcely consistent with their having spent sixteen months in Goa. In the same way, the date he gives for Newbery's departure from Fatehpur Sīkri, viz. September 28, 1585, should probably be read as meaning a year earlier. Nothing can be inferred from the Emperor's movements, for he was at Fatehpur Sīkri in the summers of both years ; but it is clear that the travellers pushed on to Agra through the rainy season (which they would hardly have done unless pressed for time), and once they had seen the Emperor, Newbery would doubtless be anxious to start for home. Moreover, Fitch tells us that Newbery promised to meet him in Bengal in two years' time ; and, if their parting took place in the autumn of 1584, this would account for Fitch deferring his departure for Pegu until November 1586. On the other hand, if 1585 is correct, it is strange to find that in 1587 Fitch was not in Bengal, but far away in Pegu. As apparently he kept no journal, but wrote the sketch of his journey from memory on his return, it would be easy for him to make such slips in his dates.

Another reason for supposing that we should read 1584 for 1585 is that, while Akbar was at Fatehpur Sīkri throughout the former year, in the latter he left that city on August 22. If Fitch was really there at the time of the Emperor's departure—which must have been attended with imposing ceremonial—it seems strange that he should have said nothing about it ; and equally strange that he should have stated that in September he left Leeds 'in service with the king Zelabdim Echebar in Fatepore ', thus implying that the Emperor was still there. Dr. Vincent Smith suggests (Akbar, pp. 228, 231) that the travellers arrived in July or August 1585, that Leeds at once entered Akbar's service, and that Fitch merely meant that the jeweller remained on the imperial establishment at Fatehpur Sīkri after the Emperor's departure. This explanation is plausible, but not quite convincing.

Newbery and his fellow fugitives made their way first to Bījāpur, the capital of the kingdom of that name. Thence they journeyed to Golconda, the chief city of the Kutb Shāhi kings. At both places they seem to have made special inquiries regarding precious stones, the procuring of which, according to Linschoten, was one of the original objects of the expedition and the reason why a jeweller formed one of the party. It may be surmised that their immediate object was to invest their stock of money in gems, which were easily concealed and could be profitably disposed of at any place of importance. From [S. 5] Golconda they started for the court of the Mughal Emperor, whose dominions were entered near Burhānpur ; from that place they followed the usual route through Ujjain and got safely to Agra, only to find that Akbar was at his new city of Fatehpur Sīkri, about twenty miles away. Proceeding thither, they presumably waited upon the Emperor, concerning whom Fitch says tantalizingly little. Whether they had succeeded in hiding from the Portuguese Queen Elizabeth's letter, and whether it was now presented, we are not told ; nor whether any grant of privileges was secured for future use. At Fatehpur Sīkri the travellers separated : Leeds entered the service of the Emperor, and henceforward nothing more is heard of him ; Newbery decided to make his way home overland, and he too disappears from view, dying on the journey, according to Purchas, 'unknown when or where.' Evidently he had come to the conclusion that the project of an overland trade was hopeless, for he promised Fitch to meet him in Bengal within two years 'with a shippe out of England '.

Fitch was to spend the time meanwhile in exploring the eastern parts of India ; and so, after his companion's departure he floated slowly down the river from Agra to Tanda in Bengal, stopping on the way at Allahābād, Benares, and Patna. From Tanda he made an excursion northwards to Kuch Bihār ; after which he resumed his voyage down the Ganges to the Portuguese settlement at Hūgli, and thence proceeded to Chittagong. At both these places he would find Portuguese traders, and with them he probably established friendly relations without difficulty. They did not recognize the authority of the Viceroy of Goa or any other Portuguese official, and their attitude towards a fellow European would not be influenced by any trouble he had had with the representatives of their government elsewhere. It was in a vessel belonging to one of them that Fitch voyaged to Pegu, and we may infer that it was in association with his Portuguese friends that he now visited Kachua, Srīpur, and Sonārgāon in Eastern Bengal.

In November 1586, there being no sign of Newbery's promised return, our traveller decided to extend his travels in an easterly direction, and accordingly sailed for Pegu. Landing at Kusima (now Bassein), he there took boat and proceeded along the intricate network of inland waterways to a place he calls Macao, whence a short journey by land brought him to the city of Pegu. Of this place, of the royal court, and of the customs, &c., of the people, he gives a lengthy account. His next achievement was an expedition to Kiang-mai [Chiang Mai / เชียงใหม่], in the Siamese Shan States, nearly two hundred miles north-east of Pegu—a hazardous venture which he relates in the most matter-of-fact manner. Returning to the latter place, he proceeded in January 1588 to Malacca, where he stayed seven weeks, and then made his way back lo Pegu and so to Bengal, as the first stage of his homeward journey. He was doubtless able by this time to speak Portuguese fluently ; and rather than venture the long and toilsome journey through Northern India and Persia, he decided to risk the sea-roule by way of Cochin, in spite of the evident danger of a fresh imprisonment should his identity be discovered. Unfortunately he reached Cochin just too late to catch the last ship of the season, and had, in consequence, to spend nearly eight months there before he could get a passage to Goa. In that dangerous city he remained only three days, and then made his way to Chaul, where he found a ship which carried him to Ormus, another danger point—especially as he had to wait fifty days before he could get a passage to Basra. Once arrived at that port, he was fairly safe, and he managed to reach Aleppo without much trouble. After some delay he embarked for London, where he landed at the end of April 1591, after an absence of just over eight years.

On his arrival in England Fitch found that the charter of the Turkey Company had expired and that negotiations were proceeding for a fresh one. It was doubtless in connexion with these that he presented to Lord Burghley an 'ample relation of his wonderfull travailes ', as Hakluyt tells us in the Dedication of the second volume of the Principall Navigations (1598-1000). Whether this was identical with the present narrative, or whether the latter was written specially for Hakluyt, we cannot tell. The result of the negotiations was the grant of a charter in January 1592, which united the two associations trading to Turkey and Venice respectively. The new body was known as the Levant Company, and among the privileges granted to it was the monopoly of the trade by land through the Turkish dominions ' into and from the East India ', as discovered by Newbery and his companions. Fitch, by the way, is mentioned in this charter as a member of the new Company; as also in the subsequent charter of 1605. It is needless to say that no real attempt was made to develop commerce along this line. It had become evident that the most promising way to the Indies was by the Cape route, and now that England was definitely at war with King Philip there was no need to study the feelings of the Portuguese. James Lancaster had sailed on his first voyage in that direction in 1591 ; and although he failed to get farther than the Nicobars and Penang, it was proved that the enterprise was at least feasible, and from this period successive expeditions were dispatched from England and Holland until the aim was reached.

Of the rest of Fitch's life but meagre details are available. Evidently he went again to the Levant, for in the autumn of [S. 7] 1596 he was at Aleppo and was elected consul by the English merchants there—an appointment which was disallowed by the Levant Company (British Museum : Lansdowne MSS., no. 241, ff. 52, 294). Probably he thereupon returned to England, for Hakluyt speaks of him (about 1599) as 'living here in London' ; 1 while the 'Mr. Fitche' whom the East India Company decided, on October 1, 1600, to consult regarding the lading of their ships is certainly our traveller. The Court Minutes of that Company are missing between August 1603 and December 1606, or possibly some further references to him would be forthcoming ; but he is clearly mentioned in the minutes for December 31, 1606, when it was directed that the proper titles for the royal letters which were being prepared for various Eastern potentates should be inquired of Ralph Fitch.

1 That Hakluyt was personally acquainted with Fitch is suggested also by the passage quoted in a note on p. 40.

Nothing has hitherto been known concerning the rest of our traveller's life, but I was recently fortunate enough to discover at Somerset House two hitherto unnoticed wills which seem to wind up the story and, further, to give us some clues to his family history. In both documents the testator describes himself as Ralph Fitch, citizen and leatherseller1 of London, and in both he mentions a brother Thomas, a sister Frances, and a niece of the same Christian name. It is evident, therefore, that the two wills were made by the same person ; and that this was the Fitch in whom we are interested hardly admits of a doubt. The earlier will (6 Drury) is dated February 14, 1583 (the time of our traveller's departure from England), and an interesting feature is that it was duly proved by the executor in February 1590, the testator being described in the Probate Act Book as having died beyond the seas. Evidently, as nothing had been heard of the traveller for several years, his death was presumed and his estate administered ; so his reappearance a year later must have been a complete surprise. The second will (81 Wood) was made on October 3 and proved on October 15, 1611, and Fitch's death must therefore have occurred between those two dates. The Probate Act Book adds that he belonged to the parish of St. Catherine Cree, and this suggests that he was buried in that church, situated in Leadenhall Street. Unfortunately, the parish registers of the time are not extant.

1 Meaning, presumably, that he was a member of the Leathersellers Company. I have not succeeded in obtaining from that body any information on the subject.

A further point to be noted is that neither will mentions a wife or a child. The presumption is that the testator was a bachelor; [S. 8] and this alone, in a much marrying age, points to his having spent most of his life abroad.

Fitch's story of his experiences was first given to the world by Richard Hakluyt in the second (1598-1600) edition of his Principall Navigations (vol. ii, part i, p. 250). Considering the time covered by his wanderings and the many countries he visited, it is disappointingly brief; but probably he kept no journal, and had therefore to rely mainly on his recollections. This, and possibly a distrust of his own literary abilities, may explain why he copied so closely the narrative of Cesar Federici, the Venetian merchant who, starting in 1563,  travelled by way of Basra and Ormus to Goa, paid visits to Gujarat, Vijayanagar, and most of the Portuguese settlements on the coast of India, and then proceeded to Pegu, Malacca, &c., returning to Venice in 1581. His Viaggio was published there in 1587, and an English version by Thomas Hickock appeared in London the following year. Hakluyt has printed this translation in juxtaposition to Fitch's own account ; and a comparison shows that our English traveller, whenever his route coincided with that of Federici, followed almost slavishly the latter's wording. The narrative of another contemporary traveller, Gasparo Balbi, who was in Pegu about the same time as Fitch, may also have been accessible to our author, since it was published at Venice in 1590 ; but I can find no convincing evidence that he made use of it.

In 1625 the Rev. Samuel Purchas reprinted the story (with one short omission) in his famous Purchas His Pilgrimes (part ii, book x, chap. 6), and a similar compliment has been paid to it in several other collections of travels, both English and foreign. A special volume was devoted to the subject in 1899 by Mr. J. Horton Ryley, entitled Ralph Fitch : England's Pioneer to India, containing the traveller's narrative and letters, together with a number of related documents. Though Mr. Ryley's work affords some useful information regarding the historical setting of Fitch's journey, it is weak on the geographical side ; but, apart from this, no excuse is necessary for repeating in the present work a narrative of such absorbing interest. The text followed is that given by Hakluyt."

[a.a.O., S. 1- 8]

2. Text von Ralph Fitch

Abb.: Lage von Diu /  દિવ, Khambhāṭ, Damān / દમણ
(©MS Encarta)

The first citie of India that we arrived at upon the fift of November, after we had passed the coast of Zindi [Sind], is called Diu, which standeth in an iland in the kingdome of Cambaia, and is the strongest towne that the Portugales have in those partes. It is but litle, but well stored with marehandise ; for here they lade many great shippes with diverse commodities for the streits of Mecca, for Ormus, and other places, and these be shippes of the Moores and of Christians. But the Moores cannot passe, except they have a passeport from the Portugales. Cambaietta [Khambayat or Cambay {Khambhāṭ}] is the chiefe citie of that province, which is great and very populous, and fairely builded for a towne of the Gentiles ; but if there happen any famine, the people will sell their children for very little. The last king of Cambaia was Sultan Badu,1 which was killed at the siege of Diu, and shortly after [S. 13] his citie was taken by the Great Mogor, which is the king of Agra and of Delli, which are fortie dayes journey from the country of Cambaia. Here the women weare upon their armes infinite numbers of rings made of elephants teeth, wherein they take so much delight that they had rather be without their meate then without their bracelets. Going from Diu, we come to Daman, the second towne of the Portugales in the countrey of Cambaia, which is distant from Diu fortie leagues. Here is no trade but of corne and rice. They have many villages under them which they quietly possesse in time of peace, but in time of warre the enemie is maister of them. From thence we passed by Basaim [Bassein], and from Basaim to Tana [Thana], at both which places is small trade but only of corne and rice. The tenth of November we arrived at Chaul, which standeth in the firme land. There be two townes, the one belonging to the Portugales and the other to the Moores. That of the Portugales is neerest to the sea, and commaundeth the bay, and is walled round about. A little above that is the towne of the Moores, which is governed by a Moore king called Xa-Malueo.2 Here is great trafflke for all sortes of spices and drugges, silke, and cloth of silke, sandales [sandalwood], elephants teeth, and much China worke, and much sugar which is made of the nutte called Gagara.3 The tree is called the palmer [Port. palmeiro], which is the profitablest tree in the worlde. It doth alwayes beare fruit, and doth yeeld wine, oyle, sugar, vineger, cordes, coles ; of the leaves are made thatch for the houses, sayles for shippes, mats to sit or lie on ; of the branches they make their houses, and broomes to sweepe ; of the tree wood for shippes. The wine doeth issue out of the toppe of the tree. They cut a branch of a bowe and binde it hard, and hange an earthen pot upon it, which they emptie every morning and every evening, and still it and put in certaine [S. 14] dried raysins, and it becommcth very strong wine in short time. Hither many shippes come from all partes of India, Ormus, and many from Mecca ; heere be manie Moores and Gentiles. They have a very strange order among them. They worshippe a cowe, and esteeme much of the cowes doung to paint the walles of their houses. They will kill nothing, not so much as a louse ; for they holde it a sinne to kill any thing. They eate no flesh, but live by rootes and ryce and milke. And when the husbande dieth, his wife is burned with him, if shee be alive ; if shee will not, her head is shaven, and then is never any account made of her after. They say if they should be buried, it were a great sinne, for of their bodies there would come many wormes and other vermine, and when their bodies were consumed, those wormes would lacke sustenance, which were a sinne ; therefore they will be burned. In Cambaia they will kill nothing, nor have any thing killed ; in the towne they have hospitals to keepe lame dogs and cats, and for birds. They will give meat to the ants.

1 Sultān Bahādur, murdered by the Portuguese in 1537. The reference to the conquest of Gujarāt is an inaccurate version of Federici's account. The 'Great Mogor' (o grão Mogor) was the Portuguese way of describing the Mughal Emperor.

2 The Portuguese name for the Kings of Ahmadnagar was 'Nizamaluco', i. e. Nizām-ul-Mulk. Federici missed the first (unaccented) syllable, and wrote 'Zamalucco' ; while Fitch, in copying him, gave the term a further twist.

3 Jagra or palm-sugar. Fitch has here misunderstood Federici ; but both are wrong in saying that the sugar is made from the coco-nut instead of from the sap extracted from the stem of the tree.

Abb.: Ostindien zur Zeit der portugiesischen Eroberer
[Bildquelle: F. W. Putzgers historischer Schul-Atlas zur alten, mittleren und neuen Geschichte / Putzger, F[riedrich] W[ilhelm]. -- In 324 Haupt- u. Nebenkarten / bearb. u. hrsg. v. Alfred Baldamus, Ernst Schwabe u. Julius Koch. -- 38. Aufl. -- Bielefeld & Leipzig : Velhagen & Klasing, 1918. -- Karte 39]

Goa is the most principal citie which the Portugals have in India, wherin the Viceroy remaineth with his court. It standeth in an iland, which may be 25 or 30 miles about. It is a fine citie, and for an Indian towne very faire. The iland is very faire, full of orchards and gardens, and many palmer trees, and hath some villages. Here bee many marchants of all nations. And the fleete which commeth every yeere from Portugal, which be foure, five, or sixe great shippes, commeth first hither. And they come for the most part in September, and remaine there fortie or fiftie dayes ; and then goe to Cochin, where they lade their pepper for Portugall. Oftentimes they lade one in Goa ; the rest goe to Cochin, which is from Groa an hundred leagues southward. Goa standeth in the countrey of Hidalcan,1 who lieth in the countrey sixe or seven dayes journey. His chiefe citie is called Bisapor. At our comming we were cast into the prison, and examined before the Justice and demanded for letters, and were charged to be spies, but they could proove nothing by us. We continued in prison untill the two and twentie of December, and then we were set at libertie, putting in sureties for two thousand [S. 15] duckats not to depart the towne ; which sureties Father Stevens, an English Jesuite which we found there, and another religious man, a friend of his, procured for us. Our sureties name was Andreas Taborer, to whom we paid 2,150 duckats, and still he demaunded more : whereupon we made sute to the Viceroy and Justice to have our money againe, considering that they had had it in their hands neere five moneths and could proove nothing against us. The Viceroy made us a very sharpe answere, and sayd wee should be better sifted before it were long, and that they had further matter against us. Whereupon we presently determined rather to seeke our liberties, then to bee in danger for ever to be slaves in the country, for it was told us we should have the strapado.2 Wherupon presently, the fift day of April 15853 in the morning, we ranne from thence. And being set over the river, we went two dayes on foote, not without feare, not knowing the way nor having any guide, for we durst trust none. One of the first townes which we came unto is called Bellergan [Belgaum], where there is a great market kept of diamants, rubies, saphires, and many other soft stones. From Bellergan we went to Bisapor, which is a very great towne where the king doeth keepe his court. Hee hath many Gentiles in his court, and they bee great idolaters. And they have their idols standing in the woods, which they call Pagodes.4 Some bee like a cowe, some like a monkie, some like buffles, some like peacockes, and some like the devill. Here be very many elephants which they goe to warre withall. Here they have good store of gold and silver. Their houses are of stone, very faire and high. From hence wee went for Gulconda, the king whereof is called Cutup de Iashach.5 Here and in the kingdome of Hidalcan, and in the countrey of the king of Decan [Ahmadnagar], bee the diamants found of the olde water. It is a very faire [S. 16] towne, pleasant, with faire houses of bricks and timber. It aboundeth with great store of fruites and fresh water. Here the men and the women do go with a cloth bound about their middles, without any more apparell. We found it here very hote. The winter beginneth here about the last of May. In these partes is a porte or haven called Masulipatan, which standeth eight dayes journey from hence toward the Gulfe of Bengala, whether come many shippes out of India, Pegu, and Sumatra, very richly laden with pepper, spices, and other commodities. The countrie is very good and fruitfull.

1 Ādil Khān (Ādil Shāh), i. e. the King of Bījāpur ('Bisapor').

2 A punishment in which the offender was hoisted by a rope and then allowed to fall a considerable distance, thus jerking him violently.

3 Probably 1584 (see p. 3).

4 Pagode or Pagoda had in India three meanings : (1) an idol, (2) the temple in which it stood, (3) a coin, so called from the figure of a god impressed upon it.

5 Kutb Shāh, the title of the kings of Golconda. The city of Golconda, situated about five miles west of Hyderābād, is now in ruins.

6 Here, and in certain other passages, Portuguese India appears to be meant.

From thence [i. e. from Golconda] I went to Servidore, which is a fine countrey, and the king is called the King of Bread.1 The houses here bee all thatched and made of lome. Here be many Moores and Gentiles, but there is small religion among them. From thence I went to Bellapore,2 and so to Barrampore,3 which is in the country of Zelabdim Echebar [Jalāluddīn Akbar]. In this place their money is made of a kind of silver, round and thicke, to the value of twentie pence, which is very good silver. It is marvellous great and a populous countrey. In their winter, which is in June, July, and August, there is no passing in the streetes but with horses, the waters be so high. The houses are made of lome and thatched. Here is great store of cotton cloth made, and painted clothes of cotton wooll. Here groweth great store of corne and rice. We found mariages great store, both in townes and villages in many places where wee passed, of boyes of eight or ten yeeres, and girles of five or six yeeres old. They both do ride upon one horse very trimly decked, and are caried through the towne with great piping and playing, and so returne home and eate of a banket made of rice and fruits, and there they daunce the most part of the night, and so make an ende of the marriage. They lie not together untill they be ten yeeres old. They say they marry their children so yoong, because [S. 17] it is an order that, when the man dieth, the woman must be burned with him ; so that if the father die, yet they may have a father in lawe to helpe to bring up the children which hee maried ; and also that they will not leave their sonnes without wives, nor their daughters without husbands. From thence we went to Mandoway,4 which is a very strong towne. It was besieged twelve yeeres by Zelabdim Echebar before hee could winne it. It standeth upon a very great high rocke, as the most part of their castles doe, and was of a very great circuite. From hence wee went to Ugini [Ujjain] and Serringe [Sironj], where wee overtooke the ambassadour5 of Zelabdim Echebar with a marvellous great company of men, elephants, and camels. Here is great trade of cotton and cloth made of cotton, and great store of drugs. From thence we went to Agra, passing many rivers, which by reason of the raine were so swollen that wee waded and swamme oftentimes for our lives.

1 Possibly Fitch meant Barīd, the family name of the dynasty of Bīdar, then an independent state. 'Servidore' may be a confused form of Bīdar, the capital, situated about 70 miles NW. of Golconda.

2 Bālāpur, in Akola district, Berār.

3 Burhānpur, on the Tāpti, capital of Khāndesh.

4 Māndu, in Dhār state, about thirty miles SW. of Mhow. The story of the siege is mythical.

5 Presumably this was Abdullah Khan, who was sent by Akbar to Goa in 1582 (see Mr. Vincent Smith's Akbar, p. 205). This might have settled the question of the year, but unfortunately the date of the ambassador's return to court is not on record.

Agra is a very great citie and populous, built with stone, having faire and large streetes, with a faire river running by it, which falleth into the Gulfe of Bengala. It hath a faire castle and a strong, with a very faire ditch. Here bee many Moores and Gentiles. The king is called Zelabdim Echebar ; the people for the most part call him the Great Mogor. From thence we went for Fatepore [Fatehpur Sīkri], which is the place where the king kept his court. The towne is greater then Agra, but the houses and streetes be not so faire. Here dwell many people, both Moores and Gentiles. The king hath in Agra and Fatepore (as they doe credibly report) 1,000 elephants, thirtie thousand horses, 1,400 tame deere, 800 concubines : such store of ounces,1 tigers, buffles, cocks, and haukes, that is very strange to see. He keepeth a great court, which they call Derieean.2 Agra and Fatepore are two very great cities, [S. 18] either of them much greater than London and very populous. Betweene Agra and Fatepore are 12 miles,3 and all the way is a market of victuals and other things, as full as though a man were still in a towne, and so many people as if a man were in a market. They have many fine cartes, and many of them carved and gilded with gold, with two wheeles, which be drawen with two litle buls about the bignesse of our great dogs in England, and they will runne with any horse, and carie two or three men in one of these cartes ; they are covered with silke or very fine cloth, and be used here as our coches be in England. Hither is great resort of marchants from Persia and out of India, and very much marchandise of silke and cloth, and of precious stones, both rubies, diamants, and pearles. The king is apparelled in a white cable [i. e. a muslin tunic] made like a shirt tied with strings on the one side, and a litle cloth on his head coloured oftentimes with red or yealow. None come into his house but his eunuches which keepe his women. Here in Fatepore we staled all three untill the 28 of September 1585,4 and then Master John Newberie tooke his journey toward the citie of Labor, determining from thence to goe for Persia and then for Aleppo or Constantinople (whether hee could get soonest passage unto) ; and directed me to goe for Bengala and for Pegu, and did promise me, if it pleased God, to meete me in Bengala within two yeeres with a shippe out of England. I left William Leades the jeweller in service with the king Zelabdim Echebar in Fatepore, who did entertaine him very well, and gave him an house and five slaves, an horse, and every day sixe S.S. [shillings] in money. 

1 Cheetahs (hunting leopards).

2 Persian darīkhna, a palace.

3 Really twenty-three miles; but Fitch is probably reckoning by the Indian kos, each of which is 1½ or 2 miles.

4 See p. 3 for a suggestion that this was probably 1584.

I went from Agra to Satagam1 in Bengala, in the companie of one hundred and fourescore boates laden with salt, opium, hinge [asafetida : Hindustani hīng], lead, carpets, and divers other commodities, downe the river Jemena. The chiefe marchants are Moores and Gentiles. In these countries they have many strange ceremonies. The Bramanes, which are [S. 19] their priests, come to the water and have a string about their necks made with great ceremonies, and lade up water with both their hands, and turne the string first with both their hands within, and then one arme after the other out. Though it be never so cold, they will wash themselves in cold water or in warme. These Gentiles will eate no flesh nor kill any thing. They live with rice, butter, milke, and fruits. They pray in the water naked, and dresse their meat and eate it naked, and for their penance they lie flat upon the earth, and rise up and turne themselves about 30 or 40 times, and use to heave up their hands to the sunne, and to kisse the earth, with their armes and legs  stretched along out, and their right leg alwayes before the left. Every time they lie downe, they make a score on the ground with their finger, to know when their stint is finished. The Bramanes marke themselves in the foreheads, cares, and throates with a kind of yellow geare which they grind, and every morning they do it. And they have some old men which go in the streetes with a boxe of yellow pouder, and marke men on their heads and necks as they meet them. And their wives do come by 10, 20, and 30 together to the water side singing, and there do wash themselves, and then use their ceremonies, and marke themselves in their foreheds and faces, and cary some with them, and so depart singing. Their daughters be maried at or before the age of 10 yeres. The men may have 7 wives. They be a kind of craftie people, worse then the Jewes. When they salute one another, they heave up their hands to their heads, and say Rame, Rame [Rām].

1 Sātgāon [Saptagrām / সপ্তগ্রাম], on a creek which entered the Hūgli river just above the town of Hūgli. It was the silting up of this creek which transferred the trade to the latter place, called by the Portuguese Porto Piqueno.

From Agra I came to Prage [Prayāga, now Allahābād], where the river Jemena entreth into the mightie river Ganges, and Jemena looseth his name. Ganges commeth out of the northwest, and runneth east into the Gulfe of Bengala. In those parts there are many tigers and many partriges and turtle-doves, and much other foule. Here be many beggers in these countries which goe naked, and the people make great account of them ; they call them Schesche.1 Here I sawe one which was a monster among the rest. He would have nothing upon him ; his beard was very long ; and with the haire of his [S. 20] head he covered his privities. The nailes of some of his fingers were two inehes long, for he would cut nothing from him ; neither would he speake. He was accompanied with eight or tenne, and they spake for him. When any man spake to him, he would lay his hand upon his brest and bowe himselfe, but woidd not speake. Hee would not speake to the king. We went from Prage downe Ganges, the which is here very broad. Here is great store of fish of sundry sorts, and of wild foule, as of swannes, geese, cranes, and many other things. The countrey is very fruitfull and populous. The men for the most part have their faces shaven, and their heads very long, except some which bee all shaven save the crowne ; and some of them are as though a man should set a dish on their heads and shave them round, all but the crowne. In this river of Ganges are many ilands. His water is very sweete and pleasant, and the countrey adjoyning very fruitfull. From thence wee went to Bannaras [Benares], which is a great towne, and great store of cloth is made there of cotton, and shashes [turban-clothes] for the Moores. In this place they be all Gentiles, and be the greatest idolaters that ever I sawe. To this towne come the Gentiles on pilgrimage out of farre countreys. Here alongst the waters side bee very many faire houses, and in all of them, or for the most part, they have their images standing, which be evill favoured, made of stone and wood, some like lions, leopards, and monkeis ; some like men and women, and peaocks ; and some like the devil with foure armes and 4 hands. They sit crosse legged, some with one thing in their hands, and some another. And by breake of day and before, there are men and women which come out of the towne and wash themselves in Ganges. And there are divers old men which upon places of earth made for the purpose, sit praying, and they give the people three or foure strawes, which they take and hold them betweene their fingers when they wash themselves ; and some sit to marke them in the foreheads, and they have in a cloth a litle rice, barlie, or money, which, when they have washed themselves, they give to the old men which sit there praying. Afterwards they go to divers of their images, and give them of their sacrifices. And when they give, the old men say certaine prayers, and then is all [S. 21] holy. And in divers places there standeth a kind of image which in their language they call Ada ; and they have divers great stones carved, whereon they poure water, and throw thereupon some rice, wheate, barly, and some other things. This Ada hath foure hands with clawes. Moreover, they have a great place made of stone like to a well, with steppes to goe downe ; wherein the water standeth very foule and stinketh, for the great quantitie of flowers, which continually they throwe into it, doe make it stinke. There be alwayes many people in it ; for they say when they wash themselves in it, that their sinnes be forgiven them, because God, as they say, did washe himselfe in that place. They gather up the sand in the bottome of it, and say it is holy. They never pray but in the water, and they wash themselves overhead, and lade up water with both their handes, and turne themselves about, and then they drinke a litle of the water three times, and so goe to their gods which stand in those houses. Some of them will wash a place which is their length, and then will pray upon the earth with their armes and legs at length out, and will rise up and lie downe, and kisse the ground twentie or thirtie times, but they will not stirre their right foote. And some of them will make their ceremonies with fifteene or sixteene pots litle and great, and ring a litle bel when they make their mixtures tenne or twelve times ; and they make a circle of water round about their pots and pray, and divers sit by them, and one that reacheth them their pots ; and they say divers things over their pots many times, and when they have done, they goe to their gods and strowe their sacrifices, which they thinke arc very holy, and marke many of them which sit by in the foreheads, which they take as a great gift. There come fiftie and sometime an hundred together, to wash them in this well, and to offer to these idols. They have in some of these houses their idoles standing, and one sitteth by them in warme weather with a fanne to blowe winde upon them. And when they see any company comming, they ring a litle bell which hangeth by them, and many give them their almes, but especially those which come out of the countrey. Many of them are blacke and have clawes of brasse with long nayles, and some ride upon peacockes and other foules which be evill [S. 22] favoured, with long haukes bils, and some like one thing and some another, but none with a good face. Among the rest there is one which they make great account of ; for they say hee giveth them all things both foode and apparell, and one sitteth alvvayes by him with a fanne to make wind towards him.

1 Possibly, as Dr. Thomas suggests, the Sanskrit shishya, a disciple.

Here some bee burned to ashes, some scorched in the fire and throwen into the water, and dogges and foxes doe presently eate them. The wives here doe burne with their husbands when they die ; if they will not, their heads be shaven, and never any account is made of them afterwards. The people goe all naked save a litle cloth bound about their middle. Their women have their necks, armes and eares decked with rings of silver, copper, tinne, and with round hoopes made of ivorie, adorned with amber stones and with many agats, and they are marked with a great spot of red in their foreheads and a stroke of red up to the crowne, and so it runneth three maner of wayes. In their winter, which is our May, the men weare quilted gownes of cotton like to our mattraces and quilted caps like to our great grocers morters, with a slit to looke out at, and so tied downe beneath their eares. If a man or woman be sicke and like to die, they will lay him before their idols all night, and that shall helpe him or make an ende of him. And if he do not mend that night, his friends will come and sit with him a litle and cry, and afterwards will cary him to the waters side and set him upon a litle raft made of reeds, and so let him goe downe the river. When they be maried, the man and the woman come to the water side, and there is an olde man which they call a Bramane (that is, a priest), a cowe, and a calfe, or a cowe with calfe. Then the man and the woman, cowe and calfe, and the olde man goe into the water together, and they give the olde man a white cloth of foure yards long, and a basket crosse bound with divers things in it ; the cloth hee laieth upon the backe of the cowe, and then he taketh the cowe by the ende of the taile, and saith certaine wordes ; and she hath a copper or a brasse pot full of water, and the man doeth hold his hand by the olde mans hand, and the wives hand by her husbands, and all have the cowe by the taile, and they poure water out of the pot upon the cowes taile, and it runneth through all their hands, [S. 23] and they lade up water with their handes, and then the olde man doeth tie him and her together by their clothes. Which done, they goe round about the cowe and calfe, and then they give somewhat to the poore which be alwayes there, and to the Bramane or priest they give the cowe and calfe, and afterward goe to divers of their idoles and offer money, and lie downe flat upon the ground and kisse it divers times, and then goe their way. Their chiefe idoles bee blacke and evill favoured, their mouthes monstrous, their eares gilded, and full of jewels, their teeth and eyes of gold, silver, and glasse, some having one thing in their handes and some another. You may not come into the houses where they stand with your shooes on. They have continually lampes burning before them.

From Bannaras I went to Patenaw [Patna] downe the river of Ganges ; where in the way we passed many faire townes, and a countrey very fruitfull ; and many very great rivers doe enter into Ganges, and some of them as great as Ganges, which cause Ganges to bee of a great breadth, and so broad that in the time of raine you cannot see from one side to the other. These Indians when they bee scorched1 and throwen into the water, the men swimme with their faces downewards, the women with their faces upwards. I thought they tied something to them to cause them to doe so : but they say no. There be very many thieves in this countrey, which be like to the Arabians, for they have no certaine abode, but are sometime in one place and sometime in another. Here the women bee so decked with silver and copper that it is strange to see ; they use no shooes by reason of the rings of silver and copper which they weare on their toes. Here at Patanaw they finde gold in this maner : they digge deepe pits in the earth, and washe the earth in great bolles, and therein they finde the gold, and they make the pits round about with bricke, that the earth fall not in. Patenaw is a very long and a great towne. In times past it was a kingdom, but now it is under Zelabdim Echebar, the Great Mogor. The men are tall and slender, and have many old folks among them ; the houses are simple, made of earth and covered with strawe ; the [S. 24] streetes are very large. In this towne there is a trade of cotton and cloth of cotton, much sugar, which they cary from hence to Bengala and India, very much opium and other commodities. He that is chiefe here under the king is called Tipperdas [Tripura Dās], and is of great  account among the people. Here in Patenau I saw a dissembling prophet which sate upon an horse in the market place, and made as though he slept, and many of the people came and touched his feete with their hands, and then kissed their hands. They tooke him for a great man, but sure he was a lasie lubber. I left him there sleeping. The people of these countries be much given to such prating and dissembling hypocrites.

1 He is speaking of corpses partly burnt.

From Patanaw I went to Tanda,1 which is in the land of Gouren [Gaur]. It hath in times past bene a kingdom, but now is subdued by Zelabdim Echebar. Great trade and traffique is here of cotton and of cloth of cotton. The people goe naked, with a litle cloth bound about their waste. It standeth in the countrey of Bengala. Here be many tigers, wild bufs, and great store of wilde foule : they are very great idolaters. Tanda standeth from the river Ganges a league, because in times past the river, flowing over the bankes, in time of raine did drowne the countrey and many villages, and so they do remaine. And the old way which the river Ganges was woont to run remaineth drie, which is the occasion that the citie doeth stand so farre from the water. From Agra downe the river Jemena, and downe the river Ganges, I was five moneths comming to Bengala ; but it may be sailed in much shorter time.

1 Tanda, in Mālda district, became the capital of Bengal upon the decadence of the neighbouring city of Gaur. The old town has been swept away entirely by changes in the course of the Pāgla river.

I went from Bengala into the country of Couche,1 which [S. 25] lieth 25 dayes journy northwards from Tanda. The king is a Gentile ; his name is Suckel Counse. His countrey is great, and lieth not far from Cauchin China ; for they say they have pepper from thence. The port is called Cacchegate. All the countrie is set with bambos or canes made sharpe at both the endes and driven into the earth, and they can let in the water and drowne the ground above knee deepe, so that men nor horses can passe. They poison all the waters if any wars be. Here they have much silke and muske, and cloth made of cotton. The people have eares which be marvellous great of a span long, which they draw out in length by devises when they be yong. Here they be all Gentiles, and they will kil nothing. They have hospitals for sheepe, goates, dogs, cats, birds, and for all other living creatures. When they be old and lame, they keepe them until they die. If a man catch or buy any quicke thing in other places and bring it thither, they wil give him mony for it or other victuals, and keepe it in their hospitals or let it go. They wil give meat to the ants. Their smal mony is almonds, which oftentimes they use to eat.

1 Fitch's visit to Kuch Bihār is a most interesting incident, and it is much to be deplored that his account of the country is so meagre. 'Suckel Counse ', i. e. ' the White (Sanskrit sukal) Koch' (or Kuch), was perhaps used as one of the titles of the sovereign, though it should be noted that Sir Edward Gait, in his Hislory of Assam (p. 59), is disposed to regard it as equivalent to Sukladhvaj, a title borne by Silarai, the famous brother of King Nar Nārāyan ; there is, however, the difficulty that Silarai had died a few years before Fitch's arrival. The statements about the propinquity of Cochin China and the importation of pepper from thence must be based on some misunderstanding. 'Cacchegate ', according to information kindly furnished by Sir Edward Gait, was the tract of country on the north of Kuch Bihār forming the eastern portion of the present district of Jalpaigūri. The name (Chechakhata) is still borne by a taluk in that region, near the town of Alīpur Duar.

Fitch's object in going in this direction was probably to make inquiries into the trade with China by way of Tibet (see Cathay and the Way Thither, 2nd ed., vol. iv, p. 176).

From thence I returned to Hugeli, which is the place where the Portugals keep in the country of Bengala ; which standeth in 23 degrees of northerly latitude, and standeth a league from Satagan ; they cal it Porto Piqueno. We went through the wildernes, because the right way was full of thieves ; where we passed the countrey of Gouren, where we found but few villages, but almost all wildernes, and saw many buffes, swine and deere, grasse longer then a man, and very many tigers. Not far from Porto Piqueno south-westward, standeth an haven which is called Angeli,1 in the countrey of Orixa. It [S. 26] was a kingdom of it selfe, and the king was a great friend to strangers. Afterwards it was taken by the king of Patan2 which was their neighbour, but he did not enjoy it long, but was taken by Zelabdim Echebar, wliich is king of Agra, Delli, and Cambaia. Orixa standeth 6 daies journey from Satagan, southwestward. In this place is very much rice, and cloth made of cotton, and great store of cloth which is made of grasse, which they call Yerva3 ; it is like a silke. They make good cloth of it, which they send for India4 and divers other places. To this haven of Angeli come every yere many ships out of India, Negapatan, Sumatra, Malacca, and divers other places ; and lade from thence great store of rice, and much cloth of cotton wooll, much sugar, and long pepper, great store of butter, and other victuals for India. Satagam is a faire citie for a citie of the Moores, and very plentifull of all things. Here in Bengala they have every day in one place or other a great market which they call Chandeau, and they have many great boats which they cal pericose,5 wherewithall they go from place to place and buy rice and many other things ; these boates have 24 or 26 oares to rowe them ; they be great of burthen, but have no coverture. Here the Gentiles have the water of Ganges in great estimation, for having good water neere them, yet they will fetch the water of Ganges a great way off, and if they have not sufficient to drinke, they will sprinkle a litle on them, and then they thinke themselves well. From Satagam I travelled by the countrey of the king of Tippara or Porto Grande, with whom the Mogores or Mogen have almost continuall warres. The Mogen which be of the kingdom of Recon and Rame be stronger then the king of Tippara, so that Chatigan or Porto Grande is oftentimes under the king of Recon.6 [S. 27]

1 Hijili, on the west side of the Hūgli river, at the mouth of the Rāsulpur river. It was for a long time a place of importance, as cargoes were landed there for transport up the Hūgli, but was gradually washed away.

2 The Pathān or Afghān kings of Bengal. Orissa was conquered by one of them in 1508, and seven years later became part of Akbar's  territories, though it was not definitely subjugated until 1592.

3 Herba cloth, made from rhea or some similar fibre.

4 See note 1 on p. 16.

5 The 'porgos' or 'purgoos' of later writers. The word is possibly a corruption of the Port. barca.

6 Porto Grand was the Portuguese name for Chittagong. 'Tippara' was a kingdom now represented by the small state of Hill Tippera. The 'Mogen' were the 'Mugs' of to-day, belonging to the western part of

From Chatigan in Bcngala, I came to Bacola1; the king

Arakan ( Fitch's 'Recon'). 'Rame' is supposed to have been the country round the present village of Ramu in the southern part of Chittagong district.

There is a country 4 daies journie from Couche or Quicheu before mentioned, which is called Bottanter1 and the citie Bottia, the king is called Dermain ; the people whereof are very tall and strong, and there are marchants which come out of China, and they say out of Muscovia or Tartaric. And they come to buy muske, cambals,2 agats, silke, pepper, and saffron like the saffron of Persia. The countrey is very great, 3 moneths journey. There are very high mountains in this countrey, and one of them so steep that when a man is 6 daies journey off it, he may see it perfectly. Upon these mountains are people which have eares of a spanne long ; if their eares be not long, they call them apes. They say that when they be upon the mountaines, they see ships in the sea sayling to and fro ; but they know not from whence they come, nor whether they go. There are marchants which come out of the East, they say, from under the sunne, which is from China, which have no beards, and they say there it is something warme. But those which come from the other side of the mountains, which is from the north, say there it is very cold. These northren merchants are apparelled with woollen cloth and hats, white hosen close, and bootes which be of Moscovia or Tartaric. They report that in their countrey they have very good horses, but they be litle ; some men have foure, five, or sixe hundred horses and kine ; they live with milke and fleshe. They cut the tailes of their kine, and sell them very deere, for they bee in great request, and much esteemed in those partes. The haire of them is a yard long, the rumpe is above a spanne long ; they use to hang them for braverie upon the heades of their elephants ; they bee much used in Pegu and China. They buie and sell by scores upon the ground. The people be very swift on foote.

1 Bhutān. There is no town in it which can be identified as 'Bottia', though the people are known as Bhotias. 'Dermain' probably represents the Dharma Rājā, the spiritual head of the kingdom.

2 Blankets or coarse woollen clothes (Sanskrit kambala).

From Chatigan to bengala I came to  Bacola1; the king [S. 28] whereof is a Gentile, a ani very well disposed and delighteth much to shoot in a gun. His countrey is very great and fruitful and hath store of rice, much cotton cloth, and cloth of silke. The houses be very faire and high builded, the streetes large, the people naked, except a litle cloth about their waste. The women weare great store of silver hoopes about their neckes and armes, and their legs are ringed with silver and copper, and rings made of elephants teeth.

1 Bākla was the old name of much of the present district of Bākarganj, in Eastern Bengal. No town is known of that name, but Mr. H. Beve ridge, in his manual of the district, suggests that Fitch is referring to the old capital, Kachua, on the west bank of the Tītulia river, about twenty-five miles south-east of Barisāl.

From Bacola I went to Serrepore which standeth upon the river of Ganges. The king is called Chondery.1 They be all hereabout rebels against their king Zelabdim Echebar ; for here are so many rivers and ilands, that they flee from one to another, whereby his horsemen cannot prevaile against them. Great store of cotton cloth is made here.

1 Chānd Rai, a petty chief whose head-quarters were at Srīpur, near Rājābāri, at the confluence of the Meghna and the Padma. The latter river has long since washed away Srīpur.

Sinnergan1 is a towne sixe leagues from Serrepore, where there is the best and finest cloth made of cotton that is in all India. The chiefe king of all these countries is called Isacan, and he is chiefe of all the other kings, and is a great friend to all Christians. The houses here, as they be in the most part of India, are very litle, and covered with strawe, and have a fewe mats round about the wals, and the doore to keepe out the tygers and the foxes. Many of the people are very rich. Here they will eate no flesh, nor kill no beast ; they live of rice, milke, and fruits. They goe with a litle cloth before them, and all the rest of their bodies is naked. Great store of cotton cloth goeth from hence, and much rice, wherewith they serve all India, Ceilon, Pegu, Malacca, Sumatra, and many other places.

1 Sonārgāon, the capital of Eastern Bengal, 1351-1G08, situated fifteen miles east of Dacca. Isā Khān was an Afghñn chief of Khīzrpur, near Nārāyanganj in Dacca district, who became leader of the Afghāns throughout Eastern Bengal and at one time ruled over a large tract of country.

I went from Serrepore the 28 of November 1586 for Pegu, in a small ship or foist of one Albert Caravallos.

[S. 44] The eleventh of March we sailed from Ceylon, and so doubled the cape of Comori. Not far from thence, betweene Ceylon and the maine land of Negapatan, they fish for pearles. And there is fished every yere very much ; which doth serve all India, Cambaia, and Bengala. It is not so orient as the pearle of Baharim in the gulfe of Persia. From Cape de Comori we passed by Coulam [Quilon], which is a fort of the Portugals ; from whence commeth great store of pepper, which commeth for Portugal!, for oftentimes there ladeth one of the caracks of Portugall. Thus passing the coast, we arrived in Cochin the 22 of March, where we found the weather warme, but scarsity of victuals ; for here groweth neither corne nor rice, and the greatest part commeth from Bengala. They have here very bad water, for the river is farre off. This bad water causeth many of the people to be like lepers, and many of them have their legs swollen as bigge as a man in the waste, and many of them are scant able to go.1 These people here be Malabars, and of the race of the Naires of Calicut ; and they differ much from the other Malabars. These have their heads very full of haire, and bound up with a string ; and there doth appeare a bush without the band wherewith it is bound. The men be tall and strong, and good archers with a long bow and a long arrow, which is their best weapon ; yet there be [S. 45] some calivers [light muskets] among them, but they handle them badly.

1 The reference is to 'Cochin-leg' or elephantiasis.

Heere groweth the pepper ; and it springeth up by a tree or a pole, and is like our ivy berry, but something longer, like the wheat eare ; and at the first the bunches are greene, and as they waxe ripe they cut them off and dry them. The leafe is much lesser then the ivy leafe and thinner. All the inhabitants here have very little houses covered with the leaves of the coco-trees. The men be of a reasonable stature ; the women litle ; all blacke, with a cloth bound about their middle hanging downe to their hammes ; all the rest of their bodies be naked. They have horrible great eares, with many rings set with pearles and stones in them. The king goeth incached,1 as they do all. He doth not remaine in a place above five or sixe dayes. He hath many houses, but they be but litle ; his guard is but small ; he remooveth from one house to another according to their order. All the pepper of Calicut and course cinamom groweth here in this countrey. The best cinamom doth come from Ceylon, and is pilled from fine yoong trees. Here are very many palmer or coco trees, which is their chiefe food ; for it is their meat and drinke, and yeeldeth many other necessary things, as I have declared before.

1 Encaged, i. e. hidden from view in a litter.

The Naires which be under the king of Samorin,1 which be Malabars, have alwayes wars with the Portugals. The king hath alwayes peace with them ; but his people goe to the sea to robbe and steale. Their chiefe captaine is called Cogi Alli ; he hath three castles under him. When the Portugals complaine to the king, he sayth he doth not send them out ; but he consenteth that they go. They range all the coast from Ceylon to Goa, and go by foure or five parowes or boats together ; and have in every one of them fifty or threescore men, and boord presently. They do much harme on that coast, and take every yere many foists and boats of the Portugals. Many of these people be Moores. This kings countrey beginneth twelve leagues from Cochin, and reacheth neere unto Goa. I remained in Cochin untill the second of November, which was eight moneths ; for that there was no passage that went away in all that time. If I had come two [S. 46] dayes sooner, I had found a passage presently. From Cochin I went to Goa. where I remained three dayes. From Cochin to Goa is an hundred leagues. From Goa I went to Chaul, which is threescore leagues, where I remained three and twenty dayes ; and there making my provision of things necessary for the shippe, from thence I departed to Ormus ; where I stayed for a passage to Balsara lifly dayes. From Goa to Ormus is foure hundred leagues.

1 'Zamorin' [സാമൂതിരി] was the title of the King of Calicut.

Here I thought good, before I make an end of this my booke, to declare some things which India and the countrey farther eastward do bring forth.1

1 This section is largely copied from Federici.

The pepper groweth in many parts of India, especially about Cochin ; and much of it doeth grow in the fields among the bushes without any labour, and when it is ripe they go and gather it. The shrubbe is like unto our ivy tree ; and if it did not run about some tree or pole, it would fall downe and rot. When they first gather it, it is greene ; and then they lay it in the sun, and it becommeth blacke. The ginger groweth like unto our garlike, and the root is the ginger. It is to be found in many parts of India. The cloves doe come from the iles of the Moluccoes, which be divers ilands. Their tree is like to our bay tree. The nutmegs and maces grow together, and come from the ile of Banda. The tree is like to our walnut tree, but somewhat lesser. The white sandol is wood very sweet and in great request among the Indians ; for they grinde it with a litle water, and anoynt their bodies therewith. It commeth from the isle of Timor. Camphora is a precious thing among the Indians, and is solde dearer then golde. I thinke none of it commeth for Christendome. That which is compounded commeth from China ; but that which groweth in canes, and is the best, commeth from the great isle of Borneo. Lignum aloes commeth from Cauchinchina. The benjamin commeth out of the countreys of Siam and Jangomes. The long pepper groweth in Bengala, in Pegu, and in the ilands of the Javas. The muske commeth out of Tartaric, and is made after this order, by report of the marchants which bring it to Pegu to sell. In Tartaric there is a little beast like unto a yong roe, which they take in snares, and beat him to death with the blood ; after that they cut out the bones, and beat [S. 47] the flesh with the blood very small, and fill the skin with it ; and hereof commeth the muske. Of the amber [ambergris ?] they holde divers opinions ; but most men say it commeth out of the sea, and that they finde it upon the shores side. The rubies, saphires, and spinelles are found in Pegu. The diamants are found in divers places, as in Bisnagar,1 in Agra, in Delli,2 and in the ilands of the Javas. The best pearles come from the iland of Baharim in the Persian sea, the woorser from the Piscaria3 neere the isle of Ceylon, and from Aynam [Hai-nan] a great iland on the southermost coast of China. Spodium4 and many other kindes of drugs come from Cambaia.

1 Vijayanagar, the great Hindu kingdom which once covered the whole of the Indian peninsula south of the Kistna.

2 Federici says that a certain kind of diamond comes from 'infra terra del Deli' ; and Jourdain was told at Agra that the best sorts 'are growne in the countrye of Delly' (Journal, p. 164). There seems to be no foundation for the statement.

3 The Portuguese term for the pearl fishery on the coast of Tinnevelly, already described under Ceylon.

4 Finch seems to mean tabāshīr, a substance found in the stems of bamboos and much used by Indians as a medicine. Federici (in Hakluyt's translation) calls it 'the spodiom which congeleth in certaine canes '.

Zu: 5. Zum Beispiel: John Mildenhall, 1599 - 1606