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SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 2, Autumn 2004, ISSN 1479-8484 

Editor's note: 

Cesar Fedrici's travelled in India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East in the 1560s- 
1580s and his account has been immensely influential in the literature. One reason 
for this, is that it is not given to the hyperbole of the near-contemporary account of 
Mendez Pinto and because of its great attention to detail concerning the state, its 
administrators, and trade at Pegu.Unfortunately Fedrici, who spent a considerable 
amount of time in Pegu and to a lesser extent in Martaban, in the late 1560s, does 
not provide us with comparable information on local society, although he still 
provides some valuable information in this area. 

Fedrici was presumably a Venetian, from where he says he began his 
travels, and his account was originally published in Italian. The most complete 
version of his account published in English is the original publication of Thomas 
Hickok's translation (london: Richard Jones, 18 June 1588), under the title of The 
Voyage and Travaile: Of M. Caesar Frederick, Merchant of Venice, Into the East 
India, the Indies, and Beyond, Wherein are Contained Very Pleasant and Rare 
Matters, With the Customes and Rites of Those Countries. Also, Herein are 
Discovered the Merchandises and Commodities of those Countreyes, aswell the 
Aboundance of Goulde and Silver, as Spices, Drugges, Pearles, and Other Jewelles. 
Fortunately, the British Library has a complete and clear copy of this early book. 
The Hickok translation is the translation used by later editors. However, one 
obstacle in making full use of Fedrici is the way in which his account was cut by 
different editors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and published in 
various extracts. Even the two earliest compilations that incorporated Hickock's 
translation altered the text and unconsciously incoporated copyist's errors. For 
example, those who questioned, as asserted by these later editions, whether 
Tenasserim did indeed supply nutmeg to the world market, will find that "nuts" in 
the Hickok original was transformed into "nutmeg." The first of the two early 
republications is the first collection of travels edited by Richard Hakluyt. This was 
published in London in 1600 within the third volume of Hakluyt' s The Principal 
Navigations Voyages Traffiques & Discoveries of the English Nation made by sea 
or overland to the Remote and Farthest Distant quarters of the Earth at any time 
within the compass of these 1600 years (hereafter Voyages). The more commonly 
used version of Federici, however, is the later and shorter version edited by Samuel 
Purchas and published as "Extracts of Master Caesar Fredericke his eighteene 
yeeres Indian Observations" in the Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his 
Pilgrimes .(hereafter Hakluytus). Not only were Hakluyt's errors repeated, more 
were added, and substantial sections of the account related to Burma were deleted. 

130 ©2004 SOAS 


The account reproduced below attempts to provide as complete a version 
of Federici's account of Pegu as possible, based on the Hakluyt and Purchas 
editions, but checked for major errors against the original Hickok translation. The 
text included below only includes the sections relevant to Burma and Southeast 
Asia, for information on trade in India and the Middle East, the reader is directed to 
the Voyages or Hakluytus Posthumus, or the Hickok original (the latter may be 
republished here in a later issue). 



Cesar Fedrici of Venice 

Translated from the Italian by Master Thomas Hickock 

Caesar Frederick to the Reader 

I having (Gentle Reader) for the space of eighteene yeeres continually coasted & 
travelled as it were, all the East Indies, and many other countreyes beyonde the 
Indies, wherein I have had both good and yll successe, in my travells. I have seen 
& understood many things worthy the noting, and to bee knowne to all the world: 
the which were never as yet written of any: I thought it good (seeing the almightie 
had given me grace, after so long Perilles in passing such a long voyage,) to returne 
into my owne countrey, the noble Citie of Venice I say, I thought it good, as 
breefely as I could, to write and set foorth this voiage made by mee, with the 
mervellous things I have seene in my travels in the Indies. The mightie Princes that 
govern those Cuntreys, Their Religion, and faith that they have, the rytes and 
customes which they use, and live by, of the divers successe that hapned unto me, 
and howe many of these conntreys are abounding with spices, drugs, and jewels, 
giving also profitable advertisement, to all those that have a desire to make such a 
voyage. And because that the whole world may more commodiously rejoice at this 
my travell, I have caused it to bee printed in this order; and nowe I present it unto 
you (Gentle and loving Readers) to whome for the varieties of thinges herein 
conteined, I hope that it shall bew with great delight received, and thus God of his 
goodnesse keepe you. 

Caesar Frederick 

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A Voyage to the East Indies, and Beyond the Indies, &c. 

IN the yeere of our Lorde God 1563, 1 Caesar Frederick, being in Venice, and very 
desirous to see the Easte partes of the worlde: I shipped my selfe in a shippe called 
the Gradaige of Venice with certaine merchandise, governed by M. Jacamo Vatica, 
which was bound to Cypris with his ship, with whome I went, and when wee were 
arived in Cipris, I left that ship and went in a lesser to Tripoly in Soria, where I 
stayed a while. Afterward I tooke my journey to Alexo, & there I acquainted my 
selfe with merchantes of Armenia, and Moores: that were Merchants, and 
consorted to go with them to Ornus, and we departed from Alepo, and in two dayes 
journy and a halfe, we came to a Citie called Bir. . . 

In my voyage, returning in the yeere of our Lord God, one thousand, five 
hundred, sixtye and sixe [1566], I went from Goa unto Malacca, in a Shippe or 
Galion of the King of Portingales [Portugal], which went unto Banda for to lade 
Nutmegs and Maces: from Goa to Malacca, one thousand eight hundred miles we 
passed within the I[s]land Zeyland [Ceylon], and went through the chanell of 
Nicubar, or else through the channell of Sombrero, which is by the middle of the 
I[s]land of Sumtara, called Taprobana: & from Nicuber to Pigue [Pegu] is as it 
were, a rowe or chaine of an infinite number of I[s]landes, of which many are 
enhabited, with wilde people, and they call those I[s]lands the I[s]lands of 
Andeman, and they call their people savage or wilde, because they eate one 
another: also these I[s]lands have warre one with another, for they have small 
Barkes, and with them they take one an other, and so eate one an other: and if by 
evill chaunce any Ship be loste on those I[s]lands, as many have beene, there is not 
one man of those Ships lost there that escapeth uneaten or unslaine. 

These people have not any acquaintance with any other people, neither 
have they trade with any, but live onely of such fruites as those I[s]lands yeeldeth: 
and if any Ship come neere unto that place or coast as they passe that way, as in my 
voiage it happened, as I came from Malaca through the channell of Sombrero, there 
came two of theyr barckes neere unto our shippe laden with fruite, as with Mouces 
which we call Adams Apples, with fresh nuttes, and with a fruite called Inany: 
which fruite is lyke to our Turnops, but is verye sweete and good to eate: they 
would not come into the shippe for any thing that wee could doe: neither would 
they take any money for theyr fruite: but they would trucke for olde shirtes or 
peeces of old linnen breeches, these ragges they let Downe with a rope into their 
barke unto them, and looke what they thought those things to bee worth, so much 
fruite they would make fast to the rope and let us hale it in, and it was tolde me that 
at sometimes a man shall have for an olde shirte a good peece of Ambar. 

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This I[s]land of Sumatra is a great I[s]land and devyded and governed by many 
kinges, and devided into many channels, where through there is a passage: upon 
the head land towards the West is the kingdome of Assi and governed by a Moore 
king, this king is of great force and strength as he that beside his great kingdome, 
hath many foists and Gallies. In his kingdome groweth great store of Pepper, 
Ginger, Benjamin, he is a bitter enemie to the Portingale and hath divers times 
beene at Malacca to fight against it, and hath doone great harme ti the bowzoughes 
thereof, but the Cittie alwaie defended . . . valientlie, and with theyr ordinaunce dyd 
great spoyle to hys Campe, at length, I came to the Cittie of Malacca. 


Malacca is a Cittie of merveilous great trade of all kind of merchandize, which 
commeth from divers parts, bicause that all the Ships that saile in these seas, both 
great and small, are bound to touch at Malacca, to paye their custome there, 
although they unlade nothing at all as we do at Elsinor: and if by night they escape 
away, and pay not their custome, then they fall into greater danger after: for if they 
come into the Indies and have not the seate of Malacca, they paye Double custome, 
I have not passed farther then Malacca towards the East, but that whichh I will 
speake of here, is by good information of them that have beene there. [It] be sailing 
from Malacca towards the East, is not common for all men, as China and Giapan, 
and so forwards to goe who will, but onlye for the king of Portingale and his 
nobles, with leave granted unto them of the king to make such voiages, or to the 
jurisdiction of the captaine of Malacca, where he expecteth to know what voiages 
they make from Malacca thether, and these are the kings voiages, that every year, 
ether Departeth from Malacca, two Galions of the kings, one of them goeth to the 
Muluccos to lade Cloves, and the other goeth to Banda to lade Nutmegs and 
Maces. These two Galians are laden for the king, neither doo they carrye anye 
particular mans goods, saving the portage of the Mariners and Soldiors, and for this 
cause, they are not voiages for Merchants, bicause that going thether he shall not 
have where to lade his goods of returne, and besides this the Captaine will not 
carrye anye Merchant for either of these two places. There goeth small Ships of the 
Mores thether, which come from the coast of Java, and change of guild their 
commodities in the kingdom of Assa, and these be Maces, Cloves, and Nutmegs, 
which go for the Straights of Meca. The voiages that the king of Portingale 
granteth to his nobles are these, of China and Giapan: from China to Giapan, and 
from Giapan to China, and from China to the Indies, and the voiage of Bengaluco 
Sonda, with the lading of fine cloth, and every sort of of Bumbast cloth. Sonda is 

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an I[s]land of the Mores, naere to the coast of Giava, and there they lade Pepper for 
China. It be ships that goeth everye yeare from the Indies to China is called the 
Ship of Drugs, because she carieth divers Drugs of Cambaya: but the greatest part 
of hir lading is silver. From Malacca to China is 1800 miles, and from China to 
Giapan, goeth every yeare a great ship of great importance, laden with silke, which 
for returne of their silke bring bars of Silver which they truck in China, that is 
diffant betweene China and Giapan 2400 miles, and in this waye there is divers 
I[s]lands, not very big, in which the friers of S. Paule by the helpe of God, make 
many Christians there like to themselves: from these I[s]lands hetherwards is not 
yet Discovered, for the great sholdness of the Sands that they find. The Portingales 
have made a small Citie neere unto the coast of China called Macha, whose church 
and houses are of wood, and hath a Bishoprike: but the customes are of the king of 
China, and they go and pay it at a Cittie called Canton, which is a Cittie of great 
importance, and verye beautifull, two dayes journeye and a halfe from Macheo, 
which people are Gentiles, and are so jealious and fearefull, that they would not 
have a stranger to put his foote within their land, so that when the Portingales goe 
thether to paye their custome, and to buye their Merchandize, they will not consent 
that they shall lye or lodge within the Cittie, but sendeth them forth into the 

Pegu's Conquest of Siam 

Sion was the Imperiale seate, and a great Citie, but in the yeere of our Lord God 
1567. it was taken by the king of Pegu, which king made a voyage or came by land 
foure moneths journey with an armie of men through his land, and the number of 
his armie was a Milion and foure hundreth thousand men of warre: when he came 
to the Citie, he gave assault to it, and besieged it twentye and one moneths before 
he could winne it, with great losse of his people, this I know, for that I was in Pegu 
six monethes after his departure, and sawe when that his officers that were in Pegu, 
sent five hundreth thousand men of warre to furnish the places of them that were 
slaine and lost in that assault: yet for all this, if there had not beene treason against 
the Citie, it had not beene lost, for on a night there was one of the gates set open, 
through the which with great trouble the King gat into the Citye, and became 
governour of Sion: and when the Emperour saw that he was betraid, and that his 
enimie was in the Citie, he poysoned himseife, and the wives and children, friend 
and noblemen, that were not slaine in the first affront of the entrance into the Citie, 
were all carried captives into Pegu, where I was at the comming home of the king 
with his triumphes and victorie, which coming home and returning from the warres 
was a goodlye sight to behold, to see the Elephants come home in a square, laden 

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with Gold, Silver, Jewels, and with Noble men and women that were taken 
prisoners in that Citie. 

Now to returne to my Voyage: I departed from Malacca in a great Shippe 
which went for S. Tome, being a Cittie situate on the coast of Chiriamandell, and 
because the captaine of the castels of Malacca having understanding pro aduyzo 
[by advice], that the King of Assi would come with a great armye and power of 
men against them, therefore upon this he would not give licence that anye Ships 
should Departe: Wherefore in this Shippe we departed in the night, without making 
any provision of our water: and wee were in that Shippe fowr [four] hundreth and 
odde men: wee Departed from thence with Intention to goe to an I[s]land to take in 
water, but the windes were so contrary, that they woulde not suffer us to fetch it, so 
that by this meanes wee were two and forty Dayes in the Sea as it were lost, and we 
were driven too and fro. 1 


From the Port of Pequineo I went to Cochim, and from Cochim to Malaca, from 
whence I departed for Pegu eight hundred miles distant. That voyage was wont to 
bee made in twentie five or thirtie dayes, but wee were foure moneths, and at the 
end of three moneths our Shippe was without victualles. The Pilot tolde us that wee 
were by his altitude [not farre] from a Citie called Tenassiry, a citie in the 
kingdome of Pegu, and these his wordes were not true, but we were (as it were) in 
the middle of manie I[s]lands, and manie uninhabited rocks, and there were also 
some Portugals that affirmed that they knew the Land, and knewe also where the 
Citie of Tenassiry was. 

Which Citie of right belongeth to the kingdome of Sion, which is situate on 
a great river side, which commeth out of the kingdome of Sion: and where this 
river runneth into the sea, there is a village called Mergy, in whose harbour everie 
yere there ladeth some Shippes with Verzina, Nypa, and Benjamin, a few cloves, 
nuts & maces which come from the coast of Sion, but the greatest merchandise 
there is verzina and nypa, which is an excellent Wine, which is had in the flowze of 
a tree called Nyper. Whose liquor they distill, and so make an excellent drincke 
cleere as Christall, good to the mouth, and better to the stomacke, and it hath an 
excellent gentle virtue, that if one were rotten with the french pocks, drinking good 
store of this, hee shall bee whole againe, and I have seen it proved, because that 
when I was in Cochin, ther was a friende of mine, that his nose began to droppe 
away with that disease, and was counselled of the Doctors of Phisicke that he 
should goe to Tenassary at the time of the new wines, and that hee should drincke 

1 What follows is an account of India's eastern seaboard, which we omit here. M.W.C. 
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of the nyper wine, night and day, as much as he could before it was distilled, which 
at that time is most delicate, but after that it is distilled, it is more stronger, and [if 
you] drincke much of it, it will fume into the heade with drunkennesse. This man 
went thither, and did so, and I have seene him after with a good colour and sounde. 
This Wine is verie much esteemed in the Indies, and for that it is brought so farre 
off, it is very deare: in Pegu ordinarily it is good cheape, because it is neerer to the 
place where they make it, and there is everie yeere great quantitie made thereof. 

Difficulties of Journey 

And returning to my purpose, I say, being amongst these rockes, and farre from the 
land which is over against Tenassary, with great scarcitie of victualles, and that by 
the saying of the Pylate and two Portugalles, holding them firme that we were in 
front of the aforesaide harbour, we determined to goe thither with our boat and 
fetch victualles, and that the Shippe shoulde stay for us in a place assigned. 

We were twenty and eight persons in the boat that went for victualles, and 
on a day about twelve of the clocke wee went from the Ship, assuring our selves to 
be in the harbour before night in the aforesaide port, wee rowed all that day, and a 
great part of the next night, and all the next day without finding harbour, or any 
signe of good landing, and this came to passe through the evill counsel of the two 
Portugalles that were with us. 

For wee had overshot the harbour and left it behinde us, in such wise that 
wee had loste the lande enhabited with the Ship, and we twentie eight men had no 
manner of victuall with us in the boate, but it was the Lords will that one of the 
Mariners, had brought a little Ryce with him in the boat to barter away for some 
other thing, and it was not so much but that three or fowre men would have eaten it 
at a meale: I tooke the government of this Ryce, promising that by the helpe of God 
that Ryce should be nourishment for us until, it plesed God to send us to some 
place that was enhabited: and when I slept I put the ryce into my bosome because 
they shoulde not rob it from me: we were nine dayes rowing alongst the coast, 
without finding any thing but Countries uninhabited, and deserts I[s]land, where if 
we had found but grasse it would have seemed Sugar unto us, but wee coulde not 
finde any, yet wee founde a fewe leaves of a tree, and they were so hard that we 
could not chew them, we had Water and Wood sufficient, and as we rowed, we 
could goe but by flowing Water, for when it was ebbing Water, we made fast our 
boat to the bancke of one of those I[s]lands. 

And in these nine dayes that we rowed, wee found a cave or nest of 
Tortugaes [Tortoise] egges, wherein was a hundred & fortie fowre egges, the which 
was a great helpe unto us: these egges are as big as a hennes egge, and have no 
shell about them but a tender Skinne, everie day wee sodde a Ketle full of them 

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egges, with a handfull of ryce in the broth thereof: it pleased God that at the ende 
of nine dayes, wee discovered certaine fisher men fishing with small barkes, and 
wee rowed towards them, with a good cheere, for I thinke there were never men 
more glad then we were, for we were so sore afflicted with penurie that we could 
skarce stand on our legs. Yet according to the order that we set for our ryce, when 
we saw those fisher men, there was left sufficient for foure dayes. The first village 
that we came to, was in the gulfe of Tavay, under the king of Pegu, whereas wee 
founde greate store of victualles: then for two or three dayes after our arrivall there, 
wee woulde eate but little meate, anie of us; and yet for all this, we were at the 
point of death the most part of us. 


From Tavay to Martavan in the kingdome of Pegu, are seventie two miles. We 
laded our boate with victuals which was aboundantly sufficient for sixe monethes, 
from whence wee departed for the porte and Citie of Martavan, where in short time 
we arrived, but wee founde not our Ship there as we had thought we should, from 
whence presently wee made out two barkes to goe to looke for her. And they 
found her in great calamitie, and neede of Water, being at an ancker with a 
contrarie winde, and came very yll to passe, because that shee wanted her boate a 
moneth which should have made her provision of wood and water; the ship also by 
the grace of God arived safely in the aforesaide port of Martavan. 

We found in the Citie of Martavan ninetie Portugalles of Merchantes and 
other base men, which had fallen at difference with the Rector or Governour of the 
Citie, and for this cause, that certaine vagabondes of the Portugalles had slayne five 
falchines of the kinges of Pegu, which chaunced about a moneth after that the king 
of Pegu was gone with a million and foure hundred thousand men to conquer the 
kingdome of Sion, they have for custome in this country and kingdome, that the 
king being wheresoever his pleasure is to be out of this kingdom, that everie 
fifteene dayes there goeth from Pegu a caravan of falchines, with everie one a 
basket on his heade full with some fruites or other delicates of refreshings, and 
with cleane clothes: it chaunced that this caravan passing by Martavan, and resting 
themselves there a night, there happened betweene the Portugalles and them: 
wordes of dispight, and from words to blowes, and because it was thought that the 
Portugals had the worse, the night following, when the falchines were a sleepe with 
their companie, the Portugalles went and cut off five of their heades. 

Nowe there is a Lawe in Pegu, that whosoever killeth a man, hee shall buy 
the shed bloud with his monie, according to the estate of the person that is slaine, 
but these falchines being the servauntes of the king, the Retors durst not doe any 
thing in the matter, without the consent of the king, because it was necessarie that 

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the king should knowe of such a matter. When the king had knowledge thereof, he 
gave commaundement that the malifactors shoulde bee kept untill his comming 
home, and then he would duely minister justice, but the captaine of the Portugalles 
would not deliver those men, but rather set himselfe with all the rest in armes, and 
went everie day through the citie marching with the Drumme and ancient 
[Ensignes] displayed. For at that time the Citie was emptie of men, by reason they 
were gone al to the warres and in businesse of the King: in the middest of this 
rumour wee came thether, and I thought it a straunge thing to see the Portugalles 
use such insolencie in another mans Cittie. 

Dealings with the Retor at Martaban 2 

And I stoode in doubte of that which came to passe, & would not unlade my 
goodes because that they were more surer in the ship then on the land, the greatest 
part of the lading was the owners of the ship, who was in Malacca, yet there were 
divers merchants there, but their goods were of small importance, al those 
merchants told me that they woulde not unlade any of their goodes there, unlesse I 
would unlade first, yet after they left my counsell & followed their own, and put 
their goods a land and lost it everie whit. 

The Rector with the customer sent for me, and demaunded why I put not 
my goods a lande, and payd my custome as other men did? To whom I answered, 
that I was a merchant that was newly come thither, & seeing such disorder amongst 
the Portugalles, I doubted the losse of my goodes which cost me very dear, with the 
sweate of my face, and for this cause I was determined not to put my goodes a 
lande, untill such time as his honour would assure me in the name of the king, that 
I shoulde have no losse although there came harme to the Portugalles, that neither I 
nor my goodes should have any hurt, because I had neither part nor any difference 
with them in this rumor: my reason sounded well in the Retors eares, and presently 
commaunded to cal the Bargits, which are as Counsellers of the Citie & there they 
promised me on the kings head or in the behalfe of the king, that neither I nor my 
goods should have anie harme, but that we should be safe & sure: of which promise 
there was made publike notes, and then I sent for my goods and had them a land, 
and payd my custome, which is in that countrie ten in the hundreth of the same 
goodes, and for my more securitie I tooke a house right against the Retors house. 

The Captain of the Portugalles, and all the Portugal merchants were put out 
of the Citie, and I with twentie and two poore men which were officers in the ship. 
We had our dwelling in the Citie. After this, the Gentils devised to be revenged of 
the Portugales; but they woulde not put it in execution untill such time as our small 

' This section is included in Voyages but not in Hakluytus . M.W.C. 

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Shippe had discharged all her goodes, and then the next night following came from 
Pegu fowre thousand souldiers with some Elyphants of Warre; and before that they 
made anie rumor in the citie, that the Retor sent, and gave commaundement to all 
Portugalles that were in the Citie, when they heard anie rumour or noyse, that for 
any thing they should not goe out of their houses, and as they tendered their own 
health. Then fowre houres in the night I heard a great rumour and noyse of men of 
Warre, with Eliphants which threwe downe the doores of the Ware-houses of the 
Portugalles, and their houses of wood and strawe, in the which rumor there were 
some Portugalles wounded, and one of them slaine; and others without making 
proofe of their manhoode, which the daye before did so bragge, at that time: put 
themselves to flight most shamefullye, and saved them selves a boorde of little 
Shippes, that were at an ancker in the harbour, and some that were in their beddes 
fledde away naked, and that night they caried away all the Portugalles goods out of 
the suburbes into the Citie, and those Portugalles that had their goodes in the 
suburbes with all. 

After this the Portugalles that were fled into the shippes to save 
themselves, tooke a newe courage to themselves, and came a lande and set fire on 
the houses in the suburbs, which houses being made of boord and straw, and a 
fresh winde; in small time were burnt and consumed, with which fire halfe the 
Citie had like to beene burnt; when the Portugales had done this, they were without 
all hope to recover any part of their goodes againe, which goods might amount to 
the summe of sixteene thousande duckets, which, if they had not set fire to the 
towne, they might have had their goodes given them gratis. 

Then the Portugalles having understanding that this thing was not done by 
the consent of the king, but by his lieutenant and the Retor of the citie were verie 
yll content, knowing that they had made a greate fault, yet the next morning 
following, the Portugalles began to batter, and shoote their ordinance against the 
Citie, which batterie of theirs continued fowre dayes, but all was in vaine, for the 
shotte never hit the Citie, but light on the top of a small hill neere unto it, so that 
the Citie had no harme, when the Retor perceiving that the Portugalles made batry 
against the Citie, he tooke twentie and one Portugalles that were there in the Citie, 
and sent them foure miles into the Countrie, there to tarrie untill such time as the 
other Portugalles were departed, that made the batterie, who after their departure let 
them goe at their owne libertie without any harme done unto them. 

I was alwayes in my house with a good guard appointed me by the Retor, 
that no man shoulde doe mee injurie, nor harme me nor my goodes; in such wise 
that hee perfourmed all that hee had promised mee in the name of the king, but he 
would not let me depart before the comming of the king, which was my hindrance 
greatly, because I was twentie and one moneths sequestred, that I coulde not buy 
nor sell any kinde of merchandize. Those commodities that I brought thither, was 

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Peper, Sandolo, and Porcellan of China, so when the king was come home, I made 
my supplication unto him, and I was licensed to depart when I would. 

Voyage to City of Pegu 

From Martavan I departed to goe to the chiefest Citie in the kingdome of Pegu, 
which is also called after the name of the kingdome, which voyage is made by sea 
in three or foure dayes; they may goe also by Land, but hee that hath merchandize 
it is better for him to goe by sea, and lesser charge, and in this voyage you shall 
have a Macareo, which is one of the most mervellous things in the world that 
nature hath wrought, and I never sawe anie thing so hard to be beleeved as this, the 
great encreasing and deminishing that the Water maketh there at one push or 
instant, and with the horrible earth quake and great noyse that it maketh where it 
commeth. We departed from Martavan in barks, which are like to our Pylot boates, 
with the encrease of the Water, and they goe as swift as an arrowe out of a bowe, 
so long as the tide runneth with them, and when the water is at the highest, then 
they drawe themselves out of the Chanel towards some bancke, and there they 
come to anker, and when the Water is diminished, then they rest a drye: and when 
the barkes rest drie, they are as high from the bottome of the Chanell, as any house 
toppe is high from the ground. 

They let their barks lie so high for this respect, that if there should any 
shippe rest or ride in the Chanell, with such force commeth in the Water, that it 
would overthrowe ship or bark: yet for all this, that the barkes be, so farre out of 
the Chanell, and though the Water hath lost her greatest strength and furie before it 
come so high, yet they make fast their prowe to the streme, and often times it 
maketh them verie fearfull, & if the Anker did not hold her prow up by strength, 
she would be overthrowne and lost with men and goods. When the Water 
beginneth to encrease, it maketh such a noyse and so great, that you would thinke it 
an earthquake, & presently at the first it maketh 3 waves. So that the first washeth 
over the barke, from stem to stern, the second is not so furious as the first, & the 
third raiseth the anker, and then for the space of six howres while the water 
encreaseth, they rowe with such swiftnesse that you woulde thinke they did flye, in 
these tides there must be lost no jot of time, for if you arive not at the stagious 
before the tide be spent, you must turne backe from whence you came. For there is 
no staying at any place but at these stagious, and there is more daunger at one of 
these places then at another, as they bee higher and lower one then another. When 
as you returne from Pegu to Martavan, they goe but halfe the Tide at a time, 
because they will lay their barkes up aloft on the banckes, for the reason aforesaide. 
I could never gather any reason of the noyse that this water maketh in the encrease 

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of the Tide, and in deminishing of the Water. There is another Macareo in 
Cambaya, but that is nothing in comparison of this. 

City of Pegu 

By the helpe of God we came safe to Pegu, which are two cities, the olde and the 
newe, in the old Citie are the Merchant straungers, and Merchants of the Countrie, 
for there are the greatest doings and the greatest trade. This Citie is not very great, 
but it hath very great suburbes. Their houses be made with canes, and covered with 
leaves, or with straw, but the merchants have all one house or Magason, which 
house they call Godon, which is made of brickes, and there they put all their goods 
of any value, to save them from the often mischances that there happen to houses 
made of such stuffe. 

In the new Citie is the Palace of the King, and his abiding place with all his 
Barons and Nobles, and other Gentlemen; and in the time that I was there, they 
finished the building of the new Citie: it is a great Citie, very plaine and flat, and 
foure square, walled round about, and with Ditches that compasse the Walls about 
with water, in which Ditches are many Crockadels. It hath no drawe-bridges, yet it 
hath twenty Gates, five for every square on the Walls, there are many places made 
for Centinels to watch, made of Wood and covered or gilt with Gold, the Streets 
thereof are the fairest that I have seene, they are as streight as a line from one Gate 
to another, and standing at the one Gate you may discover to the other, and they are 
as broad as ten or twelve men may ride a-breast in them: and those Streets that be 
thwart are faire and large, these Streets, both on the one side and the other, are 
planted at the doores of the Houses with Nut trees of India, which make a very 
commodious shadow, the Houses be made of wood, and covered with a kind of 
tiles in forme of Cups, very necessary for their use. 

Royal Elephants in Pegu 

The Kings Palace is in the middle of the Citie, made in forme of a walled Castle, 
with ditches full of water round about it, the Lodgings within are made of wood all 
over gilded, with fine pynacles, and very costly worke, covered with plates of gold. 
Truly it may be a Kings house: within the gate there is a faire large Court, from the 
one side to the other, wherein there are made places for the strongest and stoutest 
Eliphantes, hee hath foure that be white, a thing so rare, that a man shall hardly 
finde another King that hath any such, as if this King knowe any other that hath 
white Elephants, he sendeth for them as for a gift. The time that I was there, there 
were two brought out of a farre Countrie, and that cost me something the sight of 

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them, for that they command the Merchants to goe to see them, and then they must 
give somewhat to the men that bring them: the Brokers of the Merchants give for 
every man halfe a Ducket, which they call a Tansa, which amounteth to a great 
summe, for the number of Merchants that are in that Citie; and when they have 
payd the aforesaid Tansa, they may chuse whether they will see them at that time 
or no, because that when they are in the Kings stall, every man may see them that 
will: but at that time they must goe and see them, for it is the kings pleasure it 
should be so. 

This King amongst all other his Titles, is called The King of the white 
Elephants, and it is reported, that if this King knew any other King that had any of 
these white Elephants, and would not send them unto him, that he would hazard his 
whole Kingdome to conquere them. 

He esteemeth these white Elephants very deerely, and they are had in great 
regard, and kept with very meet service, every one of them is in a house, all gilded 
over, and they have their meate given them in vessels of silver and gold. There is 
one blacke Eliphant, the greatest that hath beene seene, and he is kept according to 
his bignesse; he is nine cubits high, which is a marvellous thing. It is reported that 
this King hath foure thousand Elephants of Warre, and all have their teeth, and they 
use to put on their two uppermost teeth sharpe pikes of Iron, and make them fast 
with rings, because these beasts fight and make battell with their teeth; hee hath 
also very many young Eliphantes that have not their teeth sprouted forth: also this 
King hath a brave devise in hunting to take these Eliphantes when he will, two 
miles from the Citie. 

He hath builded a faire Palace all gilded, and within it a faire Court, and 
within it and round about there are made an infinite number of places for men to 
stand to see this hunting: neere unto this Palace is a mighty great Wood, through 
the which the Hunts-men of the King ride continually on the backes of the female 
Elephants, teaching them in this businesse. Every Hunter carrieth out with him five 
or sixe of these females, and they say that they anoint the secret place with a 
certaine composition that they have, that when the wilde Elephant doeth smell: 
hereunto, they follow the females and cannot leave them: when the Hunts-men 
have made provision, and the Elephant is so entangled, they guide the females 
towards the Palace which is called Tambell, and this Palace hath a doore which 
doth open and shut with engines, before which doore there is a long Straight way 
with trees on both the sides, which covereth the way in such wise, as it is like 
darkenesse in a corner: the wilde Elephant when he commeth to this way thinketh 
that hee is in the Woods. 

At the end of this darke way there is a great field: when the Hunters have 
gotten this prey, when they first come to this field, they send presently to give 
knowledge thereof to the Citie, and with all speed there goe out fifty or sixty men 
on horsebacke, and doe beset the field round about: in the great field then the 

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females which are taught in this businesse goe directly to the mouth of the darke 
way, and when as the wilde Elephant is entred in there, the Hunters shoute and 
make a great noise, as much as is possible, to make the wilde Elephant enter in at 
the gate of that Palace, which is then open, and as soone as he is in, the gate is shut 
without any noise, and so the Hunters with the female Elephants and the wilde one 
are all in the Court together, and then within a small time the females withdraw 
themselves away one by one out of the Court, leaving the wilde Elephant alone: 
and when hee perceiveth that hee is left alone, hee is so mad that for two or three 
houres to see him, it is the greatest pleasure in the world: he weepeth, he flingeth, 
he runneth, he justleth, he thrusteth under the places where the people stand to see 
him, thinking to kill some of them, but the posts and timber is so strong and great 
that he cannot hurt any body, yet he oftentimes breaketh his teeth in the grates. 

At length when he is weary, and hath laboured his body that he is all wet 
with sweat, then he plucketh in his trunke into his mouth, and then he throweth out 
so much water out of his belly, that he sprinkleth it over the heads of the lookers 
on, to the uttermost of them, although it be very high: and then when they see him 
very weary, there goe certaine Officers into the Court with long sharpe canes in 
their hands, and pricke him that they make him to goe into one of the houses that 
are made alongst the Court for the same purpose: as there are many which are 
made long and narrow, that when the Elephant is in, hee cannot turne himselfe to 
goe backe againe. And it is requisite that these men should bee very wary and 
swift, for although their canes be long, yet the Elephant would kill them if they 
were not swift to save themselves: at length when they have gotten him into one of 
those houses, they stand over him in a loft, and get ropes under his belly and about 
his neck, and about his legs, and bind him fast, and so let him stand foure or five 
dayes, and give him neither meate nor drinke. At the end of these foure or five 
dayes, they unloose him, and put one of the females unto him, and give them 
meate and drink, and in eight dayes he is become tame. In my judgement there is 
not a beast so intellective as are these Elephants, nor of more understanding in all 
the world: for he will do all things thay his keeper saith, so that he lacketh nothing 
but humaine speech. 

Armies of the King of Pegu 

It is reported that the greatest strength that the King of Pegu hath is in these 
Eliphantes, for when they goe to battell, they set on their backes a Castle of wood 
bound thereto, with bands under his bellie: and in everie Castle foure men, verie 
commodiouslie sette to fight with Harqubuses, with Bowes and arrowes, with 
Dartes, with Pikes, and other launcing weapons: and they say that the skinne of this 

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Eliphant is so hard, that an Harquebusse will not pierce it, unlesse it be in the eye, 
temples, or some other tender place of his body. 

And besides this, they are of great strength, and have a very excellent order 
in their battell, as I have seene at their Feasts which they make in the yeere, in 
which Feasts the King makes Triumphs, which is a rare thing and worthie 
memorie, that in so barbarous a People there should bee such goodly orders as they 
have in their Armies, which be distinct in squares of Eliphants, of Horsemen, of 
Harquebusers and Pikemen, that truly the number of them are infinite: but their 
armour and weapons are very naught and weake, as well the one as the other: they 
have very bad Pikes, their Swords are worse made, like long Knives without points, 
his Harquebusses are most excellent, and alwaies in his warres he hath eighty 
thousand Harquebusses, and the number of them encreaseth daily. Because the 
King will have them shoot every day at the Plancke, and so by continuall exercise 
they become most excellent shot: also he hath great Ordnance made of very good 
metall; to conclude, there is not a King on the Earth that hath more power or 
strength then this King of Pegu, because hee hath twenty and sixe crowned Kings 
at his command. Hee can make in his Campe a million and an halfe of men of 
warre in the field against his Enemies. 

The state of his Kingdome, and maintenance of his Armie, is a thing 
incredible to consider, and the victuals that should maintayne such a number of 
people in the warres: but he that knoweth the nature and qualitie of that people, will 
easily beleeve it. I have seene with mine eyes, that those people and Souldiers have 
eaten of all sorts of wilde beasts that are on the earth, whether it be very filthie or 
otherwise all serveth for their mouthes: yea, I have seene them eate Scorpions and 
Serpents, also they feed of all kinde of herbes and grasse. So that if such a great 
Armie want not Water and Salt, they will maintayne themselves a long time in a 
bush with rootes, flowers, and leaves of trees, they carrie Rice with them for their 
Voyage, and that serveth them in stead of Comfits, it is so dainty unto them. 

The Wealth of the King of Pegu 

This King of Pegu hath not any army or power by sea, but in the land, for people, 
dominions, gold and silver, he farre exceeds the power of the great Turke in 
treasure and strength. This King hath divers Magasons full of treasure, as Gold, and 
Silver, and every day he encreaseth it more and more, and it is never diminished. 
Also hee is Lord of the Mines of Rubies, Saphirs, and Spinels. Neere unto his 
Royall Palace there is an inestimable treasure whereof he maketh no account, for 
that it standeth in such a place that every one may see it, and the place where this 
treasure is, is a great Court walled round about with walls of stone, with two gates 
which stand open every day. 

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And within this place or Court are foure gilded houses covered with Lead, 
and in every one of these are certaine heathenish Idols of a very great valure. In the 
first house there is a Statue of the image of a Man of gold very great, and on his 
head a Crowne of gold beset with most rare Rubies and Saphires, and round about 
him are foure litle children of gold. In the second house there is the Statue of a Man 
of silver, that is set as it were sitting on heapes of money: whose stature in height, 
as he sitteth, is so high, that his highnesse exceeds the height of any one roofe of an 
house; I measured his feet, and found that they were as long as all my body was in 
height, with a Crowne of his head like to the first. And in the third house there is a 
Statue of. brasse of the same bignesse, with a like Crowne on his head. In the 
fourth and last house, there is a Statue of a Man as big as the other, which is made 
of Gansa, which is the metall they make their money of, and this metall is made of 
Copper and Lead mingled together. 

This Statue also hath a Crowne on his head like the first: this treasure being 
of such a value as it is, standeth in an open place that every man at his pleasure 
may goe and see it: for the keepers thereof never forbid any man the sight thereof. I 
say as I have said before, that this King every yeere in his feasts triumpheth: and 
because it is worthie of the noting, I thinke it meet to write thereof, which is as 
followeth. The King rideth on a triumphant Cart or Wagon all gilded, which is 
drawne by sixteene goodly Horses: and this Cart is very high with a goodly 
Canopie over it, behind the Cart goe twenty of his Lords and Nobles, with every 
one a rope in his hand made fast to the Cart for to hold it upright that it fall not. 
The King sitteth in the middle of the Cart; and upon the same Cart about the King 
stand foure of his Nobles most favoured of him, and before this Cart wherein the 
King is, goeth all his Armie as aforesaid, and in the middle of his Armie goeth all 
his Nobilitie, round about the Cart, that are in his Dominions, a marvellous thing it 
is to see so many people, such riches and such good order in a People so barbarous 
as they bee. This King of Pegu hath one principall wife, which is kept in a Seralyo, 
hee hath three hundreth Concubines, of whom it is reported, that hee hath ninetie 

Justice in Pegu 

This King sitteth every day in person to heare the suits of his Subjects, but he nor 
they never speake one to another, but by supplications made in this order. The King 
sitteth up aloft in a great Hall, on a Tribunall seate, and lower under him sit all his 
Barons round about, then those that demand audience enter into a great Court 
before the King, and there set them downe on the ground forty paces distant from 
the Kings person, and amongst those people there is no difference in matters of 
audience before the King, but all alike, and there they sit with their supplications in 

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their hands, which are made of long leaves of a tree, these leaves are three quarters 
of a yard long, and two fingers broad, which are written with a sharpe Iron made 
for the purpose, and in those leaves are their supplications written, and with their 
supplications, they have in their hands a present or gift, according to the 
weightinesse of their matter. Then come the Secretaries downe to reade these 
supplications, taking them and reading them before the King, and if the King 
thinke it good to doe to them that favour or justice that they demand, then hee 
commandeth to take the presents out of their hands: but if he thinke their demand 
be not just or according to right, he commandeth them away without taking of their 
gifts or presents. 

Death and Property in Pegu 3 

They that die in the Kingdome of Pegu lose the third part of their goods by ancient 
custome of the Countrey, that if any Christian dieth in the Kingdome of Pegu, the 
King and his Officers rest heires of a third of his goods, and there hath never beene 
any deceit or fraud used in this matter. I have knowne many rich men that have 
dwelled in Pegu, and in their age they have desired to goe into their owne Countrey 
to die there, and have departed with all their goods and substance without let or 

Commerce in Pegu 

In the Indies there is not any merchandise that is good to bring to Pegu, unlesse it 
be at some times by chance to bring Opium of Cambaia, and if hee bring money 
hee shall lose by it. Now the commodities that come from S. Tome are the onely 
merchandise for that place, which is the great quantitie of cloth made there, which 
they use in Pegu; which cloth is made of Bombast woven and painted, so that the 
more that kinde of cloth is washed, the more lively they shew their colours, which 
is a rare thing, and there is made such account of this kinde of cloth which is of so 
great importance, that a small bale of it will cost a thousand or two thousand 
duckets. Also from S. Tome they layde great store of red yarne, of Bombast died 
with a root which they call Saia, as aforesaid, which colour will never out. With 
which merchandise every yeere there goeth a great ship from S. Tome to Pegu, of 
great importance, and they usually depart from S. Tome to Pegu the 10 or 11 of 

" This section has been moved up from the miscellaneous comments added by Federici to 
the end of his account. 

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September, and if shee stay untill the twelfth, it is a great hap if shee returne not 
without making of her voyage. 

Their use was to depart the sixt of September, and then they made sure 
voyages, and now because there is a great labour about that kinde of cloth to bring 
it to perfection, and that it bee well dried, as also the greedinesse of the Captaine 
that would make an extraordinary gaine of his fraight, thinking to have the winde 
alwaies to serve their turne, they stay so long, that at sometimes the winde turneth. 
For in those parts the winds blowe firmely for certaine times, with the which they 
goe to Pegu with the wind in poope, and if they arrive not there before the winde 
change, and get ground to anker, perforce they must returne backe againe: for that 
the gales of the winde blowe there for three or foure moneths together in one place 
with great force. But if they get the coast and anker there, then with great labour 
they may save their Voyage. Also there goeth another great ship from Bengala 
every yeere, laden with fine cloth of Bombast of all sorts, which arriveth in the 
Harbour of Pegu, when the ship that commeth from S. Tome departeth. The 
Harbour where these two ships arrive is called Cosmin. From Malaca to Martavan, 
which is a Port in Pagu, there commeth many small ships, and great, laden with 
Pepper, Sandolo, Porcellan of China, Camfora, Bruneo, & other merchandice. 

The ships that come from Meca enter into the port of Pagu & Cirion, and 
those ships bring cloth of Wooll, Scarlets, Velvets, Opium, and Chickens, by the 
which they lose, and they bring them because they have no other thing that is good 
for Pegu: but they esteem not the losse of them, for that they make such great gaine 
of their commodities, that they carrie from thence out of that Kingdome. Also the 
King of Assi [Achen] his Shippes come thether into the same port laden with 
Peper; from the coast of Saint Tome of Bengala out of the Sea of Bara to Pegu are 
three hundreth miles, and they goe it up the River in foure dayes, with the 
encreasing water, or with the floud, to a Citie called Cosmin, and there they 
discharge their ships, whither the Customers of Pegu come to take the note and 
markes of all the goods of every man, and take the charge of the goods on them, 
and convey them to Pegu, into the Kings house, wherein they make the Custome of 
the merchandize. 

When the Customers have taken the charge of the goods, and put them into 
barkes, the Retor of the Citie giveth licence to the Merchants to take barke, and goe 
up to Pegu with their merchandise; and so three or foure of them take a Barke and 
goe up to Pegu in companie. God deliver everie man that he give not a wrong note, 
and entrie, or thinke to steale any Custome: for if they doe, for the least trifle that 
is, he is utterly undone, for the King doeth take it for a most great affront to bee 
deceived of his Custome ; and therefore they make diligent searches, three times at 
the lading and unlading of the goods, and at the taking of them a land. In Pegu this 
search they make when they goe out of the ship for Diamonds, Pearles, and fine 
Cloth which taketh little roome: for because that all the Jewels that come into Pegu, 

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and are not found of that Countrie, pay Custome, but Rubies, Saphyrs and Spinels 
pay no Custome in nor out: because they are found growing in that Countrie. 

I have spoken before, how that All Merchants that meane to goe thorow the 
Indies, must carrie all manner of houshold-stuffe with them which is necessary for 
a house, because that there is not any lodging, nor Innes, nor Hosts, nor chamber 
roome in that Countrie, but the first thing a man doth when hee commeth to any 
Citie is to hier a house, either by the yeere, or by the moneth, or as hee meanes to 
stay in those partes. 

In Pegu their order is to hire their houses for sixe moneths. Now from 
Cosmin to the Citie of Pegu they goe in sixe houres with the floud, and if it be 
ebbing water, then they make fast their Boate to the River side, and there tarrie 
untill the water flowe againe. It is a very commodious and pleasant Voyage, having 
on both sides of the Rivers many great Villages, which they call Cities: in the 
which Hennes, Pigeons, Egges, Milke, Rice, and other things bee verie good 
cheape. It is all plaine, and a goodly Countrie, and in eight dayes you may make 
your Voyage up to Macceo, distant from Pegu twelve miles, and there they 
discharge their goods, and lade them in Carts or Waines drawne with Oxen, and the 
Merchants are carried in a Closet which they call Deling, in the which a man shall 
be very well accommodated, with Cushions under his head, and covered for the 
defence of the Sunne and Raine, and there he may sleepe if he have will thereunto: 
and his foure Falchines carrie him running away, changing two at one time, and 
two at another. The custome of Pegu and fraight thither, may amount unto twenty 
or twenty two per cento, and twenty three according as he hath more or lesse stolne 
from him that day they custome the goods. 

It is requisite that a man have his eyes watchfull, and to bee carefull, and to 
have many friends, for when they custome in the great Hall of the King, there come 
many Gentlemen accompanied with a number of their slaves, and these Gentlemen 
have no shame that their slaves robbe strangers: whether it be Cloth in shewing of 
it, or any other thing, they laugh at it. And although the Merchants heipe one 
another to keepe watch, and looke to their goods, they cannot looke thereto so 
narrowly but one or other will robbe something, either more or lesse, according as 
their merchandise is more or lesse: and yet on this day there is a worse thing then 
this: although you have set so many eyes to looke there for your benefit, that you 
escape unrobbed of the slaves, a man cannot choose but that hee must be robbed of 
the Officers of the Custome house. For paying the custome with the same goods 
oftentimes they take the best that you have, and not by rate of every sort as they 
ought to doe, by which meanes a man payeth more then his dutie. At length when 
the goods be dispatched out of the Custom-house in this order, the Merchant 
causeth them to be carried to his house, and may doe with them at his pleasure. 

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Duties and Currency in Pegu 

There are in Pegu eight Brokers of the Kings, which are called Tareghe, who are 
bound to sell all the merchandize to come to Pegu, at the common or the corent 
price: then if the Merchants will sell their goods at that price, they sell them away, 
and the Brokers have two in the hundred of every sort of merchandise, and they are 
bound to make good the debts of those goods, because they bee sold by their hands 
or meanes, and on their words, and oftentimes the Merchant knoweth not to whom 
he giveth his goods, yet he cannot lose any thing thereby, for that the Broker is 
bound in any wise to pay him, and if the Merchant sell his goods without the 
consent of the Broker, yet neverthelesse hee must pay him two per cento, and bee 
in danger of his money: but this is very seldome seene, because the Wife, Children 
and Slaves of the debtor are bound to the Creditor, and when his time is expired 
and paiment not made, the creditor may take the debtor and carrie him home to his 
house, and shut him up in a Magazen, whereby presently hee hath his monie, and 
not being able to pay the creditor, he may take the Wife, Children, and Slaves of 
the debtor, and sell them, for so is the Law of that Kingdome. The currant money 
that is in this Citle, and throughout all this Kingdome is called Gansa or Ganza, 
which is made of Copper and Lead: It is not the money of the King, but everie man 
may stampe it that will, because it hath his just partition or value: but they make 
many of them false, by putting overmuch lead into them, and those will not passe, 
neither will any take them. With this money Ganza, you may buy Gold or Silver, 
Rubies and Muske, and other things. For there is no other money currant amongst 
them. And Gold, Silver and other Merchandize are at one time dearer then another, 
as all other things bee. 

This Ganza goeth by weight of Byze, and this name of Byza goeth for the 
account of the weight, and commonly a Byza of a Ganza is worth (after our 
account) halfe a Ducket, litle more or lesse: and albeit that Gold and Silver is more 
or lesse in price, yet the Byza never changeth: everie Byza maketh a hundreth 
Ganza of weight, and so the number of the money is Byza. He that goeth to Pegu to 
buy Jewels, if hee will doe well, it behooveth him to bee a whole yeere there to doe 
his businesse. For if so be that he would returne with the Ship he came in, hee 
cannot doe any thing so conveniently for the brevitie of the time, because that 
when they custome their goods in Pegu that come from Saint Tome in their ships, it 
is as it were about Christmas: and when they have customed their goods, then must 
they sell them for their credits sake for a moneth or two: and then at the beginning 
of March the ships depart. The Merchants that come from Saint Tome take for the 
paiment of their goods. Gold and Silver, which is never wanting there. 

And eight or ten dayes before their departure they are all satisfied: also 
they may have Rubies in paiment, but they make no account of them: and they that 
will Winter there for another yeere, it is needfull that they bee advertized, that in 

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the sale of their goods, they specific in their bargaine, the terme of two or three 
moneths paiment, and that their paiment shall be in so many Ganza, and neither 
Gold nor Silver: because that with the Ganza they may buy and sell everie thing 
with great advantage. And how needfull is it to be advertized, when they will 
recover their paiments, in what order they shall receive their Ganza, because hee 
that is not practicke may doe him selfe great wrong in the weight of the Gansa, as 
also in the falsenesse of them, in the waight hee may bee greatly deceived, because 
that from place to place it doth rise and fall greatly: and therefore when any will 
receive money or make paiment, hee must take a publike weigher of mony, a day 
or two before he goe about his businesse, and give him in paiment for his labour 
two Byzaes a moneth, and for this hee is bound to make good all your money, and 
to maintaine it for good, for that he receiveth it and seales the bags with his seale: 
and when he hath received any store, then he causeth it to be brought into the 
Magasea of the Merchant, that is the owner of it. 

That mony is verie weightie, for fortie Byza is a strong Porters burthen; 
and also where the Merchant hath any paiment to bee made for those goods which 
hee buyeth, the Common weigher of money that receiveth his money must make 
the paiment thereof. So that by this meanes, the Merchant with the charges of two 
Byzes a moneth, receiveth and payeth out his money without losse or trouble. The 
Mercandizes that goe out of Pegu, are Golde, Silver, Rubies, Saphires, Spinelles, 
great store of Benjamin, long Pepper, Lead, Lacca, Rice, Wine, some Sugar, yet 
there might be great store of Sugar made in the Cuntrey, for that they have 
abundance of Canes, but they give them to Eliphants to eate, and the people 
consume great store of them for food, and many more doe they consume in vaine 
things, as these following. In that Kingdome they spend many of these Sugar-canes 
in making of Houses and Tents which they call Varely for their Idols, which they 
call Pagodes, whereof there are great abundance, great and small, and these houses 
are made in forme of little Hits, like to Sugar loaves or to Belles, and some of these 
houses are as high as a reasonable Steeple, at the foot they are verie large, some of 
them be in circuit a quarter of a mile. The said houses within are full of earth, and 
walled round about with Brickes and dirt in stead of lime, and without forme, from 
the top to the foot they make a covering for them with Sugar-canes, and plaister it 
with lime all over, for otherwise they would bee spoyled, by the great abundance of 
Raine that falleth in those Countries. Also they consume about these Varely or 
Idol-houses great store of leafe-gold, for that they overlay all the tops of the houses 
with Gold, and some of them are covered with gold from the top to the foot: in 
covering whereof there is great store of Gold spent, for that every ten yeeres they 
new overlay them with gold, from the top to the foot, so that with this vanitie they 
spend great abundance of Gold. For every ten yeeres the raine doth consume the 
gold from these houses. And by this meanes they make gold dearer in Pegu then it 
would bee, if they consumed not so much in this vanitie. Also it is a thing to bee 

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noted in the buying of Jewels in Pegu, that he that hath no knowledge shall have as 
good Jewels, and as good cheape, as hee that hath beene practised there a long 
time, which is a good order, and it is in this wise. There are in Pegu foure men of 
good reputation, which are called Tareghe, or Brokers o/Jewels. 

These foure men have all the Jewels or Rubies in their hands, and the 
Merchant that will buy commeth to one of these Tareghe and telleth him, that hee 
hath so much money to imploy in Rubies. For through the hands of these foure men 
passe all the Rubies: for they have such quantitie, that they know not what to doe 
with them, but sell them at most vile and base prices. When the Merchant hath 
broken his mind to one of these Brokers or Tareghe, they carrie him home to one of 
their shops, although hee hath no knowledge in Jewels : and when the Jewellers 
perceive that hee will employ a good round summe, they will make a bargaine, and 
if not, they let him alone. The use generally of this Citie is this; that when any 
Merchant hath bought any great quantitie of Rubies, and hath agreed for them, hee 
carrieth them home to his house, let them bee of what value they will, he shall have 
space to looke on them and peruse them two or three dayes: and if hee hath no 
knowledge in them, he shall alwayes have many Merchants in that Citie that have 
very good knowledge in Jewels; with whom hee may alwayes conferre and take 
counsell, and may shew them unto whom he will; and if he finde that he hath not 
employed his money well, he may returne his Jewels backe to them whom he had 
them of, without any losse at all. Which thing is such a shame to the Tareghe to 
have his Jewels returne, that he had rather beare a blow on the face then that it 
should bee thought that he sold them so deare to have them returned. For these men 
have alwayes great care that they affoord good penniworths, especially to those 
that have no knowledge. This they doe, because they would not lose their credite: 
and when those Merchants that have knowledge in Jewels buy any, if they buy 
them deare, it is their owne faults and not the Brokers: yet it is good to have 
knowledge ih Jewels, by reason that it may somewhat ease the price. 

There is also a very good order which they have in buying of Jewels, 
which is this; There are many Merchants that stand by at the making of the 
bargaine, and because they shall not understand how the Jewels bee sold, the 
Broker and the Merchants have their hands under a cloth, and by touching of 
fingers & nipping the joynts they know what is done, what is bidden, and what is 
asked. So that the standers by know not what is demanded for them, although it be 
for a thousand or ten thousand Duckets. For every joynt and every finger hath his 
signification. For if the Merchants that stand by should understand the bargaine, it 
would breed great controversie amongst them. 

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Manner of Dress at Pegu 4 

In Pegu the fashion of their apparell is all one, as well the Nobleman, as the simple: 
the onely difference is in the finenesse of the Cloth, which is cloth of Bombast one 
finer then another, and they weare their apparell in this wise: First, a white 
Bombast cloth which serveth for a shirt, then they gird another painted Bombast 
cloth, of fourteene braces, which they bind up betwixt their legs, and on their heads 
they weare a small Tocke of three braces, made in guise of a Myter, and some goe 
without Tockes, and carrie (as it were) a Hive on the heads, which doeth not passe 
the lower part of his eare, when it is lifted up: they goe all bare-footed, but the 
Noblemen never goe on foot, but are carried by men in a seate with great 
reputation, with a Hat made of the leaves of a tree to keepe him from the Raine and 
Sunne, or otherwise they ride on horsebacke with their feet bare in the stirrops. 

All sorts of women whatsoever they be, weare a smocke downe to the 
girdle, and from the girdle downewards to the foot they weare a cloth of three 
braces, open before, so straight that they cannot goe, but they must shew their 
secret as it were aloft, and in their going they faigne to hide it with their hand, but 
they cannot by reason of the straightnesse of their cloth. They say that this use was 
invented by a Qyeene to be an occasion that the sight thereof might remove from 
men the vices against nature, which they are greatly given unto; which sight should 
cause them to regard women the more. Also the women goe barefooted, their 
armes laden with hoopes of Gold and Jewels: And their fingers full of precious 
Rings, with their haire rolled up about their heads. Many of them weare a cloth 
about their shoulders in stead of a Cloake. 

A Typhoon 

And at my being in Pegu in the moneth of August, in Anno 1569 having gotten 
well by my endevor, I was desirous to see mine owne Countrey, and I thought it 
good to goe by the way of Saint Tome, but then I should tarie untill March. 

In which journey I was counsailed, yea, and fully resolved to goe by the 
way of Bengala, with a Ship there ready to depart for that voyage. And then wee 
departed from Pegu to Chitigan a great Harbour or Port, from whence there goe 
small ships to Cochin, before the Fleet depart for Portugall, in which ships I was 
fully determined to goe to Lisbon, and so to Venice. When I had thus resolved my 
selfe, I went a boord of the ship of Bengala, at which time it was the yeere of 

4 This section has been moved up from the miscellaneous comments added by Federici to 
the end of his account. 

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Touffon: concerning which Touffon you are to understand, that in the East Indies 
oftentimes, there are not stormes as in other Countries; but every ten or twelve 
yeeres there are such tempests and stormes, that it is a thing incredible, but to those 
that have seene it, neither doe they know certainly what yeere they will come. 

Unfortunate are they that are at Sea in that yeere and time of the Touffon, 
because few there are that escape that danger. In this yeere it was our chance to bee 
at Sea with the like storme, but it happened well unto us, for that our ship was 
newly over-plancked, and had not any thing in her save victuall and balasts, Silver 
and Gold, which from Pegu they carrie to Bengala, and no other kind of 
Merchandize. This Touffon or cruel storme endured three dayes and three nights: 
in which time it carried, away our sayles, yards, and rudder; and because the ship 
laboured in the Sea, wee cut our Mast over-boord: which when we had done, shee 
laboured a great deale more then before, in such wise, that she was almost full with 
water that came over the highest part of her and so went downe: and for the space 
of three dayes and three nights, sixtie men did nothing but hale water out of her in 
this wise, twentie men in one place, and twentie men in another place, and twentie 
in a third place: and for all this storme, the ship was so good, that she tooke not one 
jot of water below through her sides, but all ranne downe through the hatches, so 
that those sixtie men did nothing but cast the Sea into the Sea. And thus driving too 
and fro as the wind and Sea would, wee were in a darke night about foure of the 
clocke cast on a shold: yet when it was day, we could neither see Land on one side 
nor other, and knew not where we were. And as it pleased the Divine power, there 
came a great wave of the Sea, which drave us beyond the shold. And when wee felt 
the ship afloat, we rose up as men revived, because the Sea was calme and smooth 
water, and then sounding we found twelve fathom water, and within a while after 
wee had but sixe fathom, and then presently wee came to anker with a small anker 
that was left us at the sterne, for all our other were lost in the storme: and by and by 
the ship strooke a ground, and then wee did prop her that shee should not 
overthrow. When it was day the ship was all drie, and wee found her a good mile 
from the Sea on drie land. 

Sundiva Island and Arakan 

This Touffon being ended, wee discovered an I[s]land not farre from us, and we 
went from the ship on the sands to see what I[s]land it was: and wee found it. a 
place inhabited, and, to my judgement the fertilest I[s]land in all the world, the 
which is devided into two parts by a channell which passeth betweene it, and with 
great trouble wee brought our ship into the same channell, which partem the 
I[s]land at flowing water, and there we determined to stay fortie dayes to refresh 

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us. And when the people of the I[s]land saw the ship, and that we were comming a 
land: presently they made a place of Bazar or Market, with Shops right over against 
the ship with all manner of provision of victuals to eate, which they brought downe 
in great abundance, and sold it so good cheape, that wee were amazed at the 
cheapnesse thereof. I bought many salted Kine there, for the provision of the ship, 
for halfe a Larine a piece, which Larine may be twelve shillings sixe pence, being 
very good and fatte; and foure wilde Hogges ready dressed for a Larine; great fat 
Hermes for a Bizze a piece, which is at the most a Penie: and the people told us that 
we were deceived the haife of our money, because we bought things so deare. 
Also a sacke of fine Rice for a thing of nothing, and consequently all other things 
for humaine sustenance were there in such abundance, that it is a thing incredible 
but to them that have seene it. 

This I[s]land is called Sondiva belonging to the Kingdome of Bengala, 
distant one hundred and twentie miles from Chitigan, to which place we were 
bound. The people are Moores, and the King a very good man of a Moore King, for 
if he had bin a Tyrant as others bee, he might have robbed us of all, because the 
Portugall Captaine of Chitigan was in armes against the Retor of that place, and 
every day there were some slaine, at which newes wee rested there with no small 
feare, keeping good watch and ward aboord every night as the use is, but the 
Governour of the Towne did comfort us, and bad us that we should feare nothing, 
but that we should repose our selves securely without any danger, although the 
Portugals of Chitigan had slaine the Governour of that Citie, and said that we were 
not culpable in that fact; and moreover he did us every day what pleasure he could, 
which was a thing contrarie to our expectations considering that they and the 
people of Chitigan were both subjects to one King. 

Wee departed from Sondiva, and came to Chitigan the great Port of 
Bengala, at the same time when the Portugals had made peace and taken a truce 
with the Governours of the Towne, with this condition that the chiefe Captaine of 
the Portugals with his ship should depart without any lading: for there were then at 
that time eighteen ships of Portugals great and small. This Captaine being a 
Gentleman and of good courage, was notwithstanding contented to depart to his 
greatest hinderance, rather then he would seeke to hinder so many of his friends as 
were there, as also because the time of the yeere was spent to goe to the Indies. The 
night before hee departed, everie ship that had any lading therein, put it aboord of 
the Captaine to helpe to ease his charge and to recompence his courtesies. 

In this time there came a messenger from the King of Rachim [Arakan] to 
this Portugall Captaine, who said in the behalfe of his King, that hee had heard of 
the courage and valour of him, desiring him gently that hee would vouchsafe to 
come with this Shippe into his port, and comming thither hee shoulde bee verie 
well entreated. This Portugall went thether and verie well satisfied of this King. 

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This King of Rachim hath his seate in the middle coast betweene Bengala 
and Pegu, and the greatest enemy hee hath is the King of Pegu: which King of 
Pegu imagineth night and day, to make this King of Rachim his subject, but by no 
meanes he is able to doe it: because the King of Pegu, hath no power or armie by 
sea. And this King of Rachim may arme two hundreth Galleyes or Fusts by Sea, 
and by Lande he hath certaine sluses with the which when the king of Pegu 
pretendeth any harme towardes him, hee may at his pleasure drowne a great part of 
his Countrey. So that by this meanes hee cutteth off the way that the King of Pegu 
shoulde come with his power to hurt him. 

Commodities of India' 

From the great port of Chitigan they carie for the Indies great store of ryce, verie 
great quantitie of Bombast cloth of everie sorte, Suger, Corne, and Money, with 
other merchandise. And by reason that Warres was in Chitigan, the Portugall 
shippes tarried there so late, that they arived not at Cochin so soone as they were 
wont to doe other yeares. For which cause the fleete that was at Cochin was 
departed for Portugalle before they arived there, and I being in one of the small 
shippes before the fleete, in discovering of Cochin, wee also discovered the last 
shippes of the Fleete that went from Cochin to Portugall, where shee made saile, 
for which I was mervellouslie discomforted, because that all the yeere following, 
there was no goinge for Portugalles, and when we arived at Cochin I was fully 
determined to goe for Venice by the way of Ormus, and at that time the Citie of 
Goa was besieged by the people of Dialcan, but the Citizens forced not this assault, 
because they supposed that it woulde not continue long. For all this, I embarked my 
selfe in a Gallie that went for Goa, meaning there to ship my selfe for Ormus: but 
when we came to Goa, the viceroy would not suffer any Portugall to depart, by 
reason of the Warres. 

And beeing in Goa but a small time, I fell sicke of an infirmitie that helde 
mee fowre moneths: which with phisicke and diet cost mee eight hundred Duckets, 
and there I was constrayned to sell a small quantitie of Rubies to sustaine my need: 
and I solde that for five hundreth Duckets, that was worth a thousande, and when I 
began to waxe well of my disease, I had but litle of that monie left, everie thing 
was so scarse: For everie chicken (and yet not good) cost mee seven or eight 
Lyvers, which is six shillings, or six shillings eight pence. 

Beside this great charges, the Apothecaries with their medicines were no 
small charge to me. At the ende of sixe moneths they raised the siege, and then I 
beganne to worke, for Jewels were risen in their prices: for, whereas before I sold a 

5 This section is in Voyages, but not in Hakluytus. 

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few of refused Rubies, I determined then to sell the rest of all my Jewels that I had 
there, and to make an other voyage to Pegu. And for because that at my departure 
from Pegu, Opium was in great request, I went then to Cambaya to imploy a good 
round summe of money in Opium, and there I bought 60 percels of Opium, which 
cost me two thousand and a hundreth duckets, every ducket at foure shillings two 
pence. Moreover I bought three bales of Bombast cloth, which cost me eight 
hundred duckats, which was a good commoditie for Pegu: when I had bought these 
things, the Viceroy commanded that the customc of the Opium should be paide in 
Goa, and paying custome there I might cary it whither I would. I shipped my three 
bales of cloth at Chaul in a shippe that went for Cochin, and I went to Goa to pay 
the aforesaid custome for my Opium, and from Goa I departed to Cochin in a ship 
that was for the voyage of Pegu, and went to winter then at S. Tome. 

When I came to Cochin, I understoode that the ship that had my 3 bales of 
cloth was cast away and lost, so that I lost my 800 Seraffines or duckets: and 
departing from Cochin to goe from [sic, for] S. Tome: & in casting about for the 
I[s]land of Zeiland the Pilote was deceived, for that the Cape of the I[s]land of 
Zeiland lieth far out into the sea, and the Pilot thinking that he might have passed 
hard abord the cape, and paying remour in the night: when it was morning we were 
farre within the cape, and past all remedy to goe out, by reason the windes blewe so 
fiercely against us. So that by this meanes wee lost our voyage for that yere, and 
we went to Manar with the ship to Winter there, the Ship having lost her mastes, 
and with great diligence we hardly saved her with great losses to the captaine of the 
Ship, because he was forced to fraight another Ship in S. Tomes for Pegu with 
great losses & interest, & I with my friends agreed together in Manar to take a bark 
to cary us to S. Tomes; which thing, we did with al the rest of the merchants, & 
ariving at S. Tomes I had news through or by the way of Bengala that in Pegu: 
Opium was verie dear, & I knew that in S. Tome there was no Opium but mine to 
go from [sic, for] Pegu that yeere, so that I was holden of all the Merchantes there: 
to be verie rich: and so it would have approved, if my adverse fortune had not 
beene contrarie to my hope, which was this. At that time there went a great shippe 
from Cambaya, to the king of Assi, with great quantitie of Opium, and there to lade 
Peper: in which voyage there came such a storme, that the ship was forced with 
wether to go romer 800 miles, & by this meanes came to Pegu, wheras they arived 
a day before me; so that Opium which was before veriw deare, was now at a base 
price: so that which was solde for fiftie Bize before, was solde for two Bizze and 
halfe, there was such quantitie came in that Ship, so that I was gladde to stay two 
yeeres in Pegu unlesse I would have given away my commoditie: and at the ende 
of two yeeres I made of my 2100 Duckets which I bestowed in Cambaya, I made 
but a thousand Duckets. 

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Return to Pegu 

Then I departed againe from Pegu to goe for the Indies and for Ormus with greate 
quantitie of Lacca, and from Ormus I returned into the Indies for Chiall, and from 
Chiall to Cochin, and from Cochin to Pegu. Once more I lost occasion to make mee 
ritch, for wheras I might have brought good store of Opion [Opium] again, I 
brought but a little, being fearefull of my other voyage before. In this small 
quantitie I made good profite. And nowe againe I determined to goe from [sic, for] 
my Countrey, and departing from Pegu, I tarried and wintered in Cochin, and then I 
left the Indies and came for Ormus. 

Commerce of the East Indies 

I thinke it verie necessarie before I ende my voyage, to reason somewhat, and to 
shew what fruits the Indies doth yeelde and bring foorth. First, in the Indies and 
other East partes of India there is Peper and ginger, which groweth in all parts of 
India. And in some partes of the Indies, the greatest quantities of peper groweth in 
amongst wilde bushes, without any manner of labour: saving, that when it is ripe 
they goe and gather it. The tree that the Peper groweth on, is like to our Ivie, which 
runneth up to the toppes of trees wheresoever, and if it should not take hold of 
some tree, it would ly flat and rotte on the grounde. This Peper tree hath his flower 
and berry, like in all partes to our Ivie berry, and those berryes be graynes in 
Peper: so that when they gather them they bee greene, and then they lay them in the 
Sunne, and they become blacke. 

The Ginger groweth in this wise, the Land is tilled and sowen, and the 
herbe is like to Panyzzo, and the roote is the Ginger. These two spices growe in 
divers places. 

The Cloves came all from the Moluches, which Moluches are two Islands, 
not verie great, and the tree that they grow on is like to our Lawrell tree. 

The Nutmegs and Maces, which growe both together, are brought from the 
I[s]land of Banda, whose tree is like to our Walnut tree, but not so big. 

All the good white Sandolo is brought from the Island of Timor. Canfora 
being compound commeth all from China, and al that which groweth in canes 
commeth from Bruneo, and I think that this Canfora cometh not into these partes: 
for that in India they consume great store, and that is very deare. 

The good Lignum aleos commeth from Chochinchina. 

The Benjamin commeth from the kingdome of Assi [Achen] and Sion. 

Long Peper groweth in Bengala, Pegu, and Giava. 

Muske commeth from Tartaria, which they make in this order, as by good 
information I have bene told, there is a certain beast in Tartaria, which is wild [and] 

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as big as a wolfe, which beast they take alive, & beat him to death with small 
staves that his blood may be spread through his whole bodie, then they cut it in 
peeces, and take out all the bones, and beat the flesh with the bloud in a morter 
verie small, and drie it, and make purses to put it in of the Skinne, and these bee the 
coddes of muske. 

Truely I knowe not whereof the Amber is made, and there is divers 
opinions of it, but this is most certaine, it is cast out of the Sea, and throwne a land 
and found upon the sea banckes. 

The Rubyes, Saphyres, and the Spynetly, they be gotten in the kingdome of 
Pegu. The Diamandes they come from divers places: and I know but three [sorts] 
of them. That sort of Diamands, that is called Chiappe, they come from Bezeneger. 
Those that bee pointed naturally come from the land of Dely, and from Java, but 
the Diamands of Java are more waightie then the other. I could never understand 
from whence they that are called Balasy come. 

Pearles they fish in divers places, as before in this booke is showne. 

From Cambaza commeth the Spodiom coniealeth [concealed?] in certaine 
canes; I founde manye of them in Pegu, when I made my house there, because that 
(as I have saide before) they make their houses there of woven Canes like to 
mattes. From Chianela they trade alongest the coast of Melyndy in Ethiopia, within 
the lande of Caferaria: on that coaste are many good harbors kept by the Moores. 

Thither the Portugalles bring a kinde of Bombast cloth of a Lowe price, 
and greate store of Paternosters or beads, made of paltrie glasse, which they make 
in Chiawle [Chaul] according to the use of the Countrie: & from thence they carry 
Eliphants teeth for India, Slaves called Caferi, and some Amber and Golde. On this 
coast the king of Portugall hath his castle called Mozenbich, which is of as great 
importaunce as any castle that hee hath in all his Indies under his protection, and 
the captaine of this castle hath certaine voiages to this Caferaria, to which places no 
merchantes may goe, but by the agent of this Captaine, and they use to goe in small 
ships, and trade with the Caferaries, and their trade in buying and selling is without 
any speeche one to the other. In this wise the Portugalles bring their goods by little 
and little alongst the sea coast, and lay them down: and so depart, and the Cafer 
merchants come & see the goods, & there they put downe as much gold as they 
think the goods is worth, and so goeth his way and leaveth his golde and the goods 
together, then commeth the Portugal: and finding the gold to his content, he taketh 
it and goeth his way into his ship, & then commeth the Cafer and taketh the goodes 
& carieth it away: and if hee find the golde there still, it is a signe that the 
Portugalles are not contented, and if the Cafer thinke he hath put too little, he 
addeth more, as he thinketh the thing is worth: and the Portugalles must not stand 
with them to[o] strickt; for if they doe, then they will have no more trade with 
them, for they disdaine to be refused, when they thinke that they have offered 
ynough, for they be a peevish people, and have dealt so of a long time, & by this 

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trade the Portugals change their commodities into gold, and cary it to the Castle of 
Mozonbich, which is in an I[s]land not farre distant from the firm land of Caferaria 
on the coast of Ethiopia, and distant from the India 2800 miles. 

End of Voyage 

...Now to finish that which I have begun to write, I say, that those partes of the 
Indies is verie good, because that a man that hath little: shall make a great deale 
thereof, alwaies they must governe themselves that they be taken for honest men. 
For why? To such there shall never want helpe to do wel, but he that is vicious, let 
him tarrie at home and not go thither, because he shall alwayes bee a begger, and 
Dye a poore man. 

SBBR 2.2 (AUTUMN 2004): 130-159