Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

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

8. Zum Beispiel: Nicholas Withington, 1612 - 1616

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. --8. Zum Beispiel: Nicholas Withington, 1612 - 1616. -- Fassung vom 2008-06-04. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen1508.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. 188 - 196, 218 - 222. -- Online: http://www.archive.org/details/earlytravelsinin00fostuoft. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-19. -- "Not in copyright."

Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-06-04


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public domain.

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

Falls Sie die diakritischen Zeichen nicht dargestellt bekommen, installieren Sie eine Schrift mit Diakritika wie z.B. Tahoma.

Über Nicholas Withington


When, in February 1612, Sir Henry Middleton sailed away from Surat, with Captain Hawkins aboard his flagship, all prospect of the English obtaining permission to trade in India seemed gone for ever ; and Middleton's subsequent exactions from the  Indian junks in the Red Sea were likely in any case to make the breach irreparable. This later development, however, was not yet known at Surat when, early in September 1612, Captain Thomas Best arrived at the river's mouth from England with the Dragon and Hosiander. Middleton had left behind him letters describing the way he had been treated, and these made Best very doubtful of the possibility of trade ; but the merchants he had brought were eager for further experiment, and upon landing they were received with suchapparent cordiality that they determined to stay ashore and test the value of the promises made to them. Even when, towards the end of the month, one of the junks that had suffered at Middleton's hands arrived at the port, the chief officials assured the English factors that what had occurred would make no difference in their attitude. In point of fact, the leading merchants were much impressed by this proof of the power of the English, and recognized that the intercourse with Mokha, which was the mainstay of the trade of Surat, was at the mercy of any nation that was strong in shipping ; while the absence of Mukarrab Khān, who was now at court, also facilitated the establishment of improved relations. To remove the doubts still felt by Best, the local authorities on October 21 entered into a written agreement for English trade in Gujarat, and promised that a farmān confirming it should be procured from the Emperor within forty days.

The news of this unexpected development roused the Portuguese Viceroy to action, and at the end of November a fleet of four galleons, with a swarm of frigates, under the command of Nuno da Cunha, attacked Best's two ships, only to be repelled with heavy loss. Soon after this the English, anxious to have sufficient sea room, left the shallows of the Gujarat coast for the opposite side of the Gulf ; and after some hesitation the Portuguese followed. On December 23 and 24 two more fights took place, ending in the defeat of [S. 189] Da Cunha's squadron. Having driven off his assailants, and finding his stores and ammunition running low, Best returned to Swally. The expected farmān had not arrived, and, as the attitude of the Mughal authorities seemed less cordial, the English commander thought they were deluding him, and accordingly resolved to break off relations. Instructions were sent to Thomas Aldworth, the chief of the factors left at Surat, to wind up his business and repair aboard with all his companions. To this summons, however, Aldworth turned a deaf ear ; he was convinced that a factory could be maintained and, whether the farmān was forthcoming or not, he was determined to make the experiment. His confidence appeared to be justified when, on January 7, 1613, the expected document arrived. A few days later it was delivered in state to Best, accompanied with fresh assurances of good treatment for any merchants he might leave in the country. His doubts thus removed, he consented to Aldworth remaining with a small staff ; and, these things settled, he departed with his two ships for Sumatra, promising to return in the autumn to fetch away any goods that might then be ready for England.1

1 For all this see the narratives by Best and others in Purchas His Pilgrimes ; Cross's account in Lancaster's Voyages ; and various documents in Letters Received, vols, i—iv.

It had been decided already that Paul Canning, one of the factors, should be sent to court, to present to the Emperor a fresh letter which the fleet had brought from King James ; and Aldworth's first task, after the departure of the fleet, was to provide the envoy with suitable articles to offer to His Majesty and to equip him for his journey to Agra. In addition to two English attendants. Canning had as companions a couple of musicians who had apparently been sent out for the purpose—one, his cousin, Lancelot Canning, who played on the virginals, and the other, Robert Trully, whose instrument was the cornet. After meeting with various troubles on the way, the envoy reached Agra in April 1613, and duly delivered the royal letter and the present. As regards the demands he had been instructed to make—which included the cession of a place on the Kāthiāwār coast which the English might fortify, to secure their ships against the Portuguese—he was referred to Mukarrab Khān, who raised some difficulties yet held out hopes that his requests would be granted. The two musicians displayed their skill before the assembled court. The virginals made no impression, whereupon (according to Trully) the unfortunate player 'dyed with conceiptt' (O. C. 110). Trully's cornet, on the other hand, created an immense sensation. Jahāngīr himself attempted to blow the novel instrument, and at once ordered his workmen to make six more, which, [S. 190] however, turned out to be failures. Trully was then directed to instruct one of the Emperor's chief musicians, who took such pains that in five weeks he was able to perform satisfactorily. However, his exertions brought on an lllness which proved fatal a fortnight later ; so Trully was left the only cornet player in the kingdom, though a very discontented one, seeing that Jahāngīr, while often calling upon him to play, rewarded him only with fifty rupees in all. The Jesuits, we are told, endeavoured to induce Trully to teach the art to a couple of their servants, but this he absolutely refused to do.

It is time now to introduce Nicholas Withington, the author of the ensuing narrative. This individual had come out in the fleet as an attendant upon Captain Best—a not uncommon method of getting a free passage to the Indies when unable to secure direct employment from the East India Company. At Surat he was taken into the service of that body, on the plea of a deficiency of factors and (as he tells us) because of his linguistic attainments ; probably he was acquainted with Arabic, since it appears that he had been in Morocco a few years previous (British Museum, Egerton MS. 2086, f. 10). For a time he remained at Surat, helping in the ordinary business and learning the language ; but on intelligence arriving from Agra that Canning needed an assistant, it was decided to send him thither. Before he could make a start, however, news arrived that Canning was dead ; whereupon Thomas Kerridge, one of the senior factors and afterwards President at Surat, was dispatched to Agra instead. It was next proposed to send Withington to England by way of the Red Sea, carrying letters for the Company ; but this plan fell through, owing to a fear that it would prove impossible for a Christian to pass unmolested through the Hejaz ; and in October 1613 Withington proceeded with Aldworth to Ahmadābād to assist in the purchase of indigo. Thence he visited Cambay and Sarkhej, of each of which he finds something interesting to relate. From Ahmadābād he wrote in November a long letter to the Governor of the East India Company, which is to be found in original in the British Museum manuscript alluded to above.

In December 1613 Withington was called upon to undertake the remarkable journey which forms the chief attraction of his narrative. News had reached Ahmadābād that an English ship had arrived at Lahrībandar, the port town of Tatta, in Sind, and, as it was evidently desirable to communicate at once with any merchants she might have left there, it was resolved that Withington should proceed thither overland. He was not the first Englishman to go that way, for immediately after Best's departure Anthony Starkey, steward of [S. 191] the Dragon, had been dispatched by that route to Persia and Aleppo, carrying letters for England1 ; but he was certainly the last for many a long day to venture in that direction—a fact not surprising, in view of his unhappy experiences. Travelling by way of Rādhanpur and Nagar Pārkar, in company with some Indian merchants, Withington had nearly reached Tatta when the whole party was seized by a local chief who had undertaken to act as its guide and protector. The merchants were hanged out of hand and their property appropriated ; while Withington and his attendants only escaped the same fate owing to the interest felt by the chief in the adventurous Englishman. As it would not do to allow them to continue their journey and give information of the crime, they were taken up into the hills for some weeks ; then they were released and sent under escort back to Nagar Pārkar. On the way their guardians robbed them afresh, and they reached their destination in the greatest misery. Fortunately, Withington found there a Hindu merchant whom he had known at Ahmadābād ; and, generously assisted by him, he was able to set out for the latter city, where he arrived early in April 1614, Finding none of his compatriots there, he continued his journey by way of Cambay to Surat.

1 Starkey reached Tatta safely with his Indian attendant, and wrote thence in hopeful terms concerning the prospects of trade in Sind. Both, however, died in that city shortly after, their deaths being ascribed (probably without any foundation) to their being poisoned by two Portuguese friars. The letters they were carrying fell into the hands of the Portuguese (the only Europeans there resident) and were sent to Lisbon ; translations of them will be found in Documentos Remettidos, vol. iii, pp. 71-88. No account of Starkey's journey is extant.

After a short rest Withington was dispatched to Agra to make an investment in indigo and to report upon the proceedings of John Mildenhall, whose reappearance in India has already been dealt with on p. 51. The capital was reached on June 7, 1614, and during the next four months or so Withington was busy in providing the desired goods. The position of the English had been much improved, commercially and otherwise, by the breach which had now occurred between the Emperor and the Portuguese. The latter, resenting the admission of the English despite the promises of Jahāngīr to the contrary, had in the autumn of 1613 seized the largest of the Surat vessels trading to the Red Sea and carried her off as a prize with her valuable cargo and all the passengers she had on board, disregarding the fact that she had a Portuguese pass guaranteeing her against molestation. This highhanded proceeding excited great indignation at court, especially as the ship belonged to the Emperor's mother ; and when it [S. 192] was found that the Portuguese had no immediate intention of restoring their booty, Mukarrab Khān was dispatched to Surat with orders to stop all traffic and to lay siege to the Portuguese town of Damau by way of reprisals. At the same time the Jesuit church at Agra was closed, and the Fathers were deprived of the allowances they had hitherto received. There was thus every hope that the Portuguese would be permanently excluded from the trade of Mughal India, to the benefit of their English rivals.

A letter from Withington at the end of October 1614 (Letters Received, vol. ii, p. 140) tells us that he had succeeded in getting together the desired indigo and was only waiting to receive and dispose of some expected broadcloth and other English goods before starting for Surat. Now, however, everything went wrong with him. First, his indigo was seized by the Governor of Agra, who had been blamed by the Emperor for allowing some Portuguese to carry off their belongings, and who, in his anxiety to avoid further censure, would not allow the Englishman to touch his property until a farmān to that effect was obtained by Kerridge, who was now with Jahāngīr at Ajmer (ibid., p. 298). Then Withington received a letter informing him that the promised remittance of money from Surat to pay for his indigo could not be made, and he was obliged in consequence to return the indigo to those from whom it had been bought. This occasioned much dispute and worry, and was only effected by the interposition of the Governor of Agra, who thus made some amends for his former treatment of the unfortunate merchant. Next, the broadcloth, when it came to hand, proved to be so damaged as to be almost unvendible, while the other goods could only be sold at prices lower than those they would have fetched at Surat (ibid., vol. iii, pp. 15, 63). These trials and vexations proved too much for Withington, and for some time he was 'distracted'.

Meanwhile, in October 1614, Captain Downton had reached Swally with a fleet of four ships, bringing William Edwards to be chief of the Company's affairs in India. Aldworth, however, protested so vigorously against being superseded that the matter was compromised by dispatching Edwards to Ajmer instead, to present another letter from King James, and to look after English interests at court. The Company had expressly forbidden any of their servants to imitate Hawkins in assuming the title of ambassador ; but inasmuch as there was a general agreement at Surat that some higher status than that of a merchant was necessary to secure attention from the Emperor, Edwards was authorized to represent himself as 'a messenger' sent expressly by the English king ; and under this title he set out from Surat in December 1614. That he should be regarded at court as an [S. 193] ambassador was natural enough in the circumstances, and probably Edwards was at no pains to disavow the rank assigned to him ; but Withington's charge that he arrogated that title to himself without authority seems to be baseless.

The news of the arrival of another English fleet spurred the Portuguese to fresh efforts. As soon as he could collect all his available forces, the Viceroy himself sailed to the northwards to crush the intruders and afterwards to punish their Indian allies. Alarmed at the prospect, Mukarrab Khān, who had in vain demanded that the English ships should aid in the siege of Daman by attacking that fortress from the sea, now applied to Downton to co-operate actively in the defence of Surat against the Viceroy's armada. Downton, however, was too cautious to pledge himself to anything of the kind, and resolved to remain strictly on the defensive. Not unnaturally, this attitude was warmly resented by the Mughal authorities, who considered that the war was solely due to their reception of the English ; and for a time relations were strained. These bickerings were hushed by the near approach of the Portuguese squadron, which on January 20, 1615, made a vigorous attack upon Downton's ships, ensconced behind the sandbanks at Swally. Attempts to carry by boarding one of the smaller vessels were defeated with the loss of three of the Portuguese ships and a large number of men. Endeavours were then made to burn the English fleet by means of fireships, but these failed entirely ; and at last the Viceroy returned to Goa utterly baffled and with great loss of credit. Downton remained at Swally until the beginning of March, and then departed for the Far East.

Withington was ill, he tells us, for three months, and did not completely recover until he had proceeded from Agra to Ajmer. In July 1615 he was again at the former city, Edwards having sent him and Robert Young thither to transact some business. A few months later Withington was surprised by the arrival of a party of Englishmen from Ajmer with orders from Edwards for his apprehension on a charge of defrauding the Company. In his narrative he of course makes out that he had done nothing to deserve such treatment ; but that there was something to be said on the other side seems evident, not only from the subsequent attitude of his employers, but also from the correspondence contained in Kerridge's letter-book, now in the British Museum (Addl. MS. 9366). Kerridge, who was then stationed at Ahmadābād, had certainly no animus against Withington and was not at all well-disposed towards Edwards ; yet he nowhere hints any doubt as to the justice of the latter's treatment of the former. Writing on November 16, 1615, to Captain Keeling (who had reached Swally two months earlier with a fresh fleet, bringing Sir Thomas Roe [S. 194] on his memorable embassy), Kerridge forwards a letter from Edwards, which, be says, accuses Withington of having 'not only wronged the Company by peculiar stealths and other villanyes, but donn them an infinitt wronge in their investmentts' ; and in another letter, addressed to Edwards, he expresses a perfunctory regret that the offender's 'youthfull imperfections' had apparently developed into 'vilde conditions' which were 'nowe past hope of remeady'.

The factors sent to secure Withington performed their duty promptly, and he was carried to Ajmer, according to his own account, in irons. At that place, he would have us believe, he answered satisfactorily all the charges made against him ; whereupon Edwards, not to be baffled, trumped up a false charge of drunkenness, imprisoned him, and a little later sent him down to Surat in chains. Here again Kerridge's letters put a different complexion on the matter. In one of these, dated December 22, 1615, he writes : 'Last night late, Withington one horsbacke came to our dore drunke, but would not com in, fearinge apprehention ; cryenge out Jaylors, stand of, jaylers, more like a maddman farr then when you sawe him last. None of his gardiants would laye hold one him, all of them denyeng, as not beinge comitted to their charge. Such a confused sending of a prisoner I have not seen. And retorninge to Dergee Seraw, wher he gott bis liquour, fell out with Magolls on the waye, that unhorste, beat, and deliverd him prisoner to the Cutwall, who this morninge (to ad to our nations disgrace) hath carried him to Sarder Chan.' In another letter of the same date Kerridge says that Withington had escaped from his escort about sixteen days before. This is a rather different picture from that drawn in the text of an innocent prisoner lumbering meekly along the road in chains.

While still under confinement by the local authorities, Withington seems to have found means to write to Sir Thomas Roe, then newly arrived at Ajmer. In a letter to Kerridge, of January 13, 1616 (British Museum, Addl. MS. 6115, f. 67), Roe says : 'I am sorry to heare of such disorder in the factoryes . . . and particularly for Withington, who hath written me a strange complayning lettre, prayeing me to moove the King ; but I hav busines of other importaunce now then to trouble him with his debaushednes. I shalbe ashamd the King know I have such a countryman. But least necessity force desperat courses, I have advised the Generall [i. e. Keeling] to redeme him (so it be not much to the prejudice of the Company [and] so as his wages in England may answer), only for our nations reputation. Hee foolishly threatens to curse me, if I redeeme him not. I will doe what is fittest, but care not for his blessings nor execrations.' The reference to 'desperat courses' is explained in Roe's letter to Keeling, in [S. 195] which a fear is expressed that Withington may either 'turne Moore' or commit suicide.

Shortly afterwards, Kerridge reported to Keehng that, after allowing Withington to remain in prison for a while, he had, at some expense, procured his release, and was now dispatching him in irons to Surat under the charge of some seamen who had been sent up to Ahmadābād with treasure. At Surat Withington evidently failed to convince Keeling of his innocence, in spite of his assertion in the text that he was there cleared of owing anything to the Company ; for, although his period of service was not half completed, he was put on board the Lion, which sailed for England in February 1616, and reached her destination in the middle of the following September. Immediately on his arrival he was arrested at the suit of the East India Company, and remained in prison for over a month, when he was released on bail. The Court Minutes for the period are missing ; but when, towards the end of 1617, they once more become available, we find the Company firmly convinced that they had been wronged by Withington, In December of that year a physician named Percival applied to the Court for payment of his bill against their late servant, 'for cure of his phrensy' ; he had been told, he said, that his patient's goods and money were in their hands. This was indignantly denied, and the doctor was assured that in reality Withington was in the Company's debt, as had been proved before 'some noble personages'. Thereupon Percival declared that he would take other means to recover his fee ; but he was warned not to make his patient mad again 'because it is not unknowne that he can be mad and well againe when hee pleaseth.'

Early in 1618 Withington commenced an action against the Company, in which he failed completely. A little later he brought another against Edwards, the result of which is not known. At length, despairing of success by legal means, in November 1619 he made overtures to the Company for the relinquishment of his claims ; but on its being found that he still expected to receive some compensation, the Committees decided to have nothing more to do with him. Sir Thomas Roe, who was present at the meeting, denounced Withington in severe terms, declaring that he was guilty of 'mere cousonage in the countrye, affirming he was never otherwise then a drunckard and of a most dissolute life, keping six or seven whores still in house, and ever a most wicked and deboyst fellow '. Of course this condemnation was not based upon personal knowledge, for the two had never met, at least in India ; but it may be taken as representing the reputation Withington had left behind him in that country. With this we may take our leave of him, merely noting that he must [S. 196] have died before April 162i, when it was reported to the Company that his executor (probably the brother he mentions) had presented a petition to Parliament on the subject of his claims. Apparently nothing came of this.

From internal evidence it is concluded that Withington's narrative was compiled from his journal not long after his return—probably at the time of his suit against the Company. A copy of the 'tractate' (as he terms it) came into the possession of Purchas, who printed a much condensed version of it in his Pilgrimes (part i, book iv, chap. 8). More than a century later the story was printed in much fuller form, in a volume entitled A Jouney over Land from the Gulf of Honduras to the Great South-Sea, performed by John Cockburn and five other Englishmen. . . . To which is added a curious piece, written in the Reign of King James I and never before printed, intitled A Brief Discoverye of some Things best worth noteinge in the Travells of Nicholas Withington, a Factor in the East Indiase (London, 1735). This appendix (itself dated 1734) is stated to have been printed from the original MS. ; but the unnamed editor, in his preface, tells us nothing of the way in which he acquired the document. Nor has it since been traced.

The present reprint follows the text of the 1734 version, which is about three times as long as that given by Purchas. It is evident, however, that the eighteenth-century editor imitated his predecessor in omitting details which he judged to be unimportant, although Purchas had included some of them. The passages given by the latter have now for the most part been restored, either in notes or as interpolations (between square brackets) in the text. On the other hand, part of Withington's account of the outward voyage has been omitted here, as unnecessary for our present purpose."

[Quelle: 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. 188 - 196. -- Online: http://www.archive.org/details/earlytravelsinin00fostuoft. -- Zugriff am 2008-05-19. -- "Not in copyright." ]

Text von Nicholas Withington

[S. 218] Nowe, as concerninge the inhabitants of Synda, they are for the moste parte Rasebooches [Rājputs], Banians, and Boloches [Balūchis]. In the citties and greate townes theire Governors are Mogores, appoynted to rule there for the Greate Mogull. The people of the cuntrye (I meane those which inhabitt out of the citties) are for the moste parte verye rude, and goe naked from the waste uppwards, with turbants on their hedds, made up of a contrarye fashon to the Mogull's. For amies, fewe of them use gunes, bowes, or arrowes, but sword, bucklar, and launce. Theire bucklar is made verye greate and in the fashion of a bee-hive ; wherin, when occasion serves, they will give theire camells drinke or theire horses provander. They have exceedinge good horses, verye swifte and stronge, which they will ride moste desperatelye, never shooinge them. They begin to backe them at twelve monethes ould. The souldiers that have noe horses, if occasion serve, will ride on theire cammells (and enter into a battell), which they bringe upp for that purpose. Those are the Rasbooches, which, as the Mogull sayes, knowe as well howe to dye as anye men in the world, in regard of theire desperatenesse. They [the Banians] are partelye of Pigmalion's1 opinion : they will eate noe beefe nor buffellow, but honor them and pray unto them. They will kill noe livinge thinge, nor eate anye fleshe, for all the goods in the world. There are 30 and odd severall casts2 [S. 219] of theis, that differ in some things in theire religeon and, by theire lawe, cannot eate one with another. Yet they all in generall burne theire dead, not buryinge them as the Moores doe.

1 A confusion with Pythagoras.

2 'Or  generations' (Marginal note). See note on p. 138.

When the Banian dies, his wife, after the burninge of her husband, shaves her head and weres noe more her Jewells ; in which estate shee continues till shee dye. When the Rasbooche dies, his wife, when his bodye goes to bee burned, accompanieth him, attyred with her beste arrayments and aecompanyed with her frends and kyndred, makinge much joye, havinge musicke with them. And cominge to the place of burninge, the fyer beeinge made, sitteth downe, havinge twice or thrice incompassed the place. Firste, shee bewayleth her husband's death, and rejoycinge that shee is nowe reddye to goe and live with him agayne ; and then imbraceth her frends and sitteth downe on the toppe of the pile of wood and dry stickes, rockinge her husband's head in her lappe, and soe willeth them to sett fyer on the wood ; which beeinge done, her frends throwe oyle and divers other things, with sweete perfumes, uppon her ; and shee indures the fyer with such patience that it is to bee admired, beeinge loose and not bounde. Of theis manner of burninge I have seen manye. The firste that ever I sawe was in Surratt, with our Agente and the reste of our Englishe. It was verye lamentable. The woman which was burnte was not above ten yeares of age and had never layen with her husband. But this yt was. Hee beeinge a souldier, and goinge uppon service, was slayne in the action, and there burned, but his clothes and turbante were brought home with newes of his death ; wheruppon his wife would needes bee burnte, and soe made preparations for it. And beeinge reddye to sacrefise her selfe with her husband's clothes, which she had with her, order came from the Governor that shee should not dye, in regard she had never layen with her husband ; which newes she took wonderfull passionately, desiringe them to sett fyer on the wood presentlye, sayinge her husband was a greate waye before her. But they durste not burne her, till her frends wente to the Governor and intreated him, givinge him a presente for the same ; which when they obteyned, they retorned and (with greate joye to [S. 220] her, us she seemed) burnte her to ashes with her husband's clothes, and then caste the ashes into the river. This was the firste that ever I sawe ; at the sight wherof our Agente was soe greeved and amazed at the undaunted resolution of the younge woman that hee said hee would never see more burnte in that fashion while hee lived. The kyndred of the husband that dies never force the wife to burne her selfe, but her owne kyndred, houldinge it a greate disgrace to theire familie if shee should denye to bee burned ; which some have done, but verye fewe. And if they will not burne (yt beeinge in theire choyce), then shee muste shave her hayer and breake her Jewells, and is not suffred to eate, drinke, or keepe companye with anye bodye, and soe liveth in this case, miserablye, till her death. Nowc, if any one of them purpose to burne and (after ceremonies done) bee brought to the fyer, and there, feelinge the scorchinge heate, leape out of the fyer, her father and mother will take her and bynde her and throwe her into the fyer and burne her per force ; but such weaknesse seldome hapyeneth amongste them. For the reste of the ceremonies, theire washinge, honoringe of stocks, stones, and cowes, with a hundred other superstitious ceremonies, too large to reherce, I will here omitt. And thus much for the Rasbooches and Banians.

Nowe for the Bolochcs of Synda, inhabitinge nere the river, they are Moores of the religeon of Mahomett (as the Greate Mogull and King of Decan are). Theis are a people that deale much in cammells ; and in those parts moste of them are robbers on the heigh way and allsoe on the river, murdringe such as they robbe. Aboute the tyme that I was in Synda, the Boloches tooke a boate wherin were seven Itallians and one Portungale fryer, which fought with them and were slayne everye man ; only the Portungale escaped alive, whoe beeinge verye fatt, they ripped upp his bellye and searched whether there were anye gould or pedarcea1 in his guts. Of likelyhood those Boloches living there are bloudye mynded villaynes ; yet there are manye verye honeste men of that caste dwellinge about Guyseratt, but moste of them aboute Agra.

1 Explaibed in the margin as 'jewells '. It is the Portuguese pedraria.

I had allmoste forgotte the custome of the Banian marriage. [S. 221] They marrye their chilldren verye younge, about the age of three yeares and under. And some tymes they make promise to one an other that theire children shall marrye together, before they bee borne ; as in example : if two neighbours wives bee with childe, they make a bargayne that if one bringe forthe a sonne and the other a daughter, they shall marrye together. They may not marrye but one of theire owne caste and religeon, and they muste bee likewise of one  occupation or trade, as the sonne of a baker shall marrye a baker's daughter, provided they bee bothe of one caste and religeon. And when theire chilldren are three or four yeares ould, they make a greate feaste and sett the two children that are to bee married upon two horses, with a man before cache of them for feare of fallinge, havinge apparrelled them in theire beste clothes, all haunged aboute with flowers, and accompanied with the Brammans or priests and manye others, accordinge to the state of the parents of the children ; and soe leade them upp and downe the cittye or towne where they dwell, and then to the pagod, and thence, after the ceremonies there done, they come home and feaste ; and in the same manner continue feastinge certayne dayes, more or lesse, accordinge to the welthe of the parents. And when the children come to bee ten yeares ould, they lye together. The reason whye they marrye them soe younge, they say, is in regard they would not leave their children wiveless ; if yt should please God to take the parents awaye of either of the children, yet (say they) they have other parents to ayde them till they come to yeares of discretion. Likewise the reason whye the Rasbooches wives burne themselves with theire husbands dead bodies is that yt hath ben an ould custome, and longe since ordeyned by a certayne kinge of theires, because hee had manye of his nobles and souldiers poysoned (as was supposed) by theire wives. Hee therefore ordeyned that, when anye husband dyed, his wife should bee burned with his corpes ; and if hee had more wives then one, as manye as hee had should all burne together. But then they were forced unto yt ; but nowe they have gotte such a custome of yt that they doe yt moste willinglye.

As concerninge theire preists, which they call Bramans, they keepe theire pagods and have allmes or tythes of theire [S. 222] parishionors, beeinge esteemed marvaylous holye. They are married as the reste are, and are of occupations and followe theire businesse close. They are for the moste parte verye good workemen, and apte to learne to make anye thinge that they see the patterne of before them. They eate but once a day, and before and after meate washe all theire bodie ; allsoe, if they make water or goe to stoole, they carrye water with them, to washe when they have done.

Zu: 9. Zum Beispiel: Thomas Coryat, 1612 - 1617