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«A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol.VII», Robert Kerr

A GENERAL HISTORY AND COLLECTION OF VOYAGES AND TRAVELS,

ARRANGED IN SYSTEMATIC ORDER:

FORMING A COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF NAVIGATION, DISCOVERY, AND COMMERCE, BY SEA AND LAND, FROM THE EARLIEST AGES TO THE PRESENT TIME.

BY ROBERT KERR, F.R.S. & F.A.S. EDIN.

ILLUSTRATED BY MAPS AND CHARTS.

VOL. VII.

 

MDCCCXXIV.

 

PART II.

(CONTINUED)

BOOK III.

CONTINUATION OF THE DISCOVERIES AND CONQUESTS OF THE PORTUGUESE IN THE EAST; TOGETHER WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY VOYAGES Of OTHER EUROPEAN NATIONS TO INDIA

CHAPTER IV.

CONTINUATION OF THE PORTUGUESE TRANSACTIONS IN INDIA, AFTER THE RETURN OF DON STEPHANO DE GAMA FROM SUEZ IN 1541, TO THE REDUCTION OF PORTUGAL UNDER THE DOMINION OF SPAIN IN 1581

 

SECTION XIII. Account of an Expedition of the Portuguese from India to Madagascar in 1613

Being anxious to find out a considerable number of Portuguese who were reported to exist in the island of St. Lawrence or Madagascar, having been cast away at different times on that island, and also desirous of propagating the ever blessed gospel among its inhabitants, and to exclude the Hollanders from that island by establishing a friendly correspondence with the native princes, the viceroy Don Jerome de Azevedo sent thither, in 1613, a caravel from Goa commanded by Paul Rodrigues de Costa, accompanied by two Jesuits, some interpreters, and a competent number of soldiers. This island is about 260 leagues in length and 600 in circumference[?], its greatest extent being from N.N.E. to S.S.W. It is 80 leagues from E. to W. where widest, but considerably less towards the north, where it ends in a point named St Ignatius which is about 15 leagues from east to west[?]. It may be considered as divided into three parts. The first or northern portion is divided from the other two by an imaginary line from east to west at Cape St Andrew[?]. The other two divisions are formed by a chain of mountains running nearly south from this line to Cape St Romanus, otherwise Cape St Mary, but much nearer the east coast than the west. The island is divided into a great number of kingdoms, but so confusedly and ill-defined, that it were endless to enumerate them. It is very populous, the inhabitants having many cities and towns of different extent and grandeur[?]. The country is fertile and well watered, and everywhere diversified with mountains, vallies, rivers, bays, and ports. The natives have no general name for the island, and are entirely ignorant of those of Madagascar and St Lawrence, which are given to it by strangers. The general population of the island consists of a nation called Buques, who have no religion and consequently no priests or places of worship, yet all their youth are circumcised at six or seven years old, any one performing the operation. The natives are not all of one colour; some being quite black with crisp or curled hair like negroes; others not quite so black with lank hair; others again resembling mulatoes; while some that live in the interior are almost white, yet have hair of both kinds. They are of large stature, strong and well made, of clear judgment, and apt to learn. Every man has as many wives as he pleases or can maintain, turning them off at pleasure, when they are sure to find other husbands, all of whom buy their wives from their fathers, by way of repaying the expence of their maintenance before marriage. Their funeral obsequies consist chiefly in feasting the guests; and their mourning in laying aside all appearance of joy, and cutting off their hair or daubing their faces and bodies with clay. Their government is monarchical, their kings or chiefs being called Andias, Anrias, and Dias, all independent of each other and almost continually engaged in war, more for the purpose of plunder than slaughter or conquest. On the Portuguese going among them, no arms were found in their possession except a few guns they had procured from the Moors and Hollanders, which they knew not how to use, and were even fearful of handling. They have excellent amber[?], white sandal, tortoises, ebony, sweet woods of various kinds, and abundance of slaves, with plenty of cattle of all kinds, the flesh of their goats being as sweet as mutton. The island likewise produces abundance of sea cows, sea-horses, monkeys, and some say tigers, with a great many snakes which are not very venomous. It has no elephants, horses, asses, lions, bears, deer, foxes, nor hares.

The first place visited by de Costa on this voyage of discovery was a large bay near Masilage[?] in lat. 16В° S. in which there is an island half a league in circumference containing a town of 8000 inhabitants, most of them weavers of an excellent kind of stuff made of the palm-tree. At this place the Moors used to purchase boys who were carried to Arabia and sold for infamous uses. The king of this place, named Samamo, received the Portuguese in a friendly manner, and granted leave to preach the gospel among his subjects. Coasting about 40 leagues south from this place, they came to the mouth of a large river named Balue or Baeli in about 17В° S. and having doubled Cape St Andrew, they saw the river and kingdom of Casame, between the latitudes of 17В° and 18В° S. where they found little water and had much trouble[?]. Here also amity was established with the king, whose name was Sampilla, a discreet old man; but hitherto they could get no intelligence of the Portuguese whom they were sent in search of. On Whitsunday, which happened that year about the middle of May, mass was said on shore and two crosses erected, at which the king appeared so much pleased that he engaged to restore them if they happened to fall or decay. During the holidays they discovered an island in lat. 18В° S. to which they gave the name of Espirito Santo[?], and half a degree farther they were in some danger from a sand bank 9 leagues long. On Trinity Sunday, still in danger from sand banks, they anchored at the seven islands of Cuerpo de Dios or Corpus Christi[?] in 19В° S. near the kingdom and river of Sadia to which they came on the 19th of June, finding scarcely enough of water to float the caravel. This kingdom is extensive, and its principal city on the banks of the river has about 10,000 inhabitants. The people are black, simple, and good-natured, having no trade, but have plenty of flesh, maize, tar, tortoises, sandal, ebony, and sweet woods. The name of the king was Capilate, who was an old man much respected and very honest. He received the Portuguese kindly, and even sent his son to guide them along the coast. All along this coast from Massalage to Sadia the natives speak the same language with the Kafrs on the opposite coast of Africa; while in all the rest of the island the native language called Buqua is spoken.

Continuing towards the south they came to the country of the Buques, a poor and barbarous people feeding on the spawn of fish, who are much oppressed by the kings of the inland tribes. Passing the river Mane[?], that of Saume[?] in 20В° 15'; Manoputa in 20В° 30', where they first heard of the Portuguese; Isango in 21В°; Terrir in 21В° 30'; the seven islands of Elizabeth in 22В°; they came on the 11th of July into the port of St Felix[?] in 22В°, where they heard again of the Portuguese of whom they were in search, from Dissamuta the king of that part of the country. On offering a silver chain at this place for some provisions, the natives gave it to an old woman to examine if it was genuine, and she informed the Portuguese that at the distance of three days journey there was an island inhabited a long while before by a white people dressed like the Portuguese and wearing crosses hanging from their necks, who lived by rapine and easily took whatever they wanted, as they were armed with spears and guns, with which information the Portuguese were much gratified. Continuing their voyage past the bay of St Bonaventura and the mouth of the river Massimanga, they entered the bay of Santa Clara, where Diamassuto came to them and entered into a treaty of friendship, worshipping the cross on his knees. They were here told that white people frequented a neighbouring port, and concluded that they were Hollanders. Going onwards they found banks of sand not laid down in any chart, and entered a port in lat. 24В° S. The king of this place was named Diacomena, and they here learnt that there were Portuguese on the opposite coast who had been cast away, and now herded cattle for their subsistence. They said likewise that the Hollanders had been three times at their port, and had left them four musketeers with whose assistance they had made war upon their enemies. On some trees there were several inscriptions, among which were the following. Christophorus Neoportus Anglus Cap. and on another Dominus Robertus Scherleius Comes, Legatus Regis Persarum.

In the latitude of 25В° S. they entered a port which they named St Augustine[?] in a kingdom called Vavalinta, of which a Buque named Diamacrinale was king, who no sooner saw the Portuguese than he asked if these were some of the men from the other coast. This confirmed the stories they had formerly heard respecting the Portuguese, and they were here informed that the place at which they dwelt was only six days sail from that place. In September they got sight of Cape Romain or St Mary the most southern point of Madagascar, where they spent 40 days in stormy weather, and on St Lukes day, 18th October, they entered the port of that name in the kingdom of Enseroe. The natives said that there were white people who wore crosses, only at the distance of half a days journey, who had a large town, and Randumana the king came on board the caravel, and sent one of his subjects with a Portuguese to shew him where these white people dwelt, but the black ran away when only half way.

Among others of the natives who came to this place to trade with the Portuguese, was a king named Bruto Chembanga with above 500 fighting men. His sons were almost white, with long hair, wearing gowns and breeches of cotton of several colours with silver buttons and bracelets and several ornaments of gold, set with pearls and coral. The territory of this king was named Matacassi, bordering on Enseroe to the west. He said that the Portuguese were all dead, who not far from that place had built a town of stone houses, where they worshipped the cross, on the foot or pedestal of which were unknown characters. He drew representations of all these things on the sand, and demanded a high reward for his intelligence. Some of his people wore crosses, and informed the Portuguese that there were two ships belonging to the Hollanders in port St Lucia or Mangascafe. In a small island at this place there was found a square stone fort[?], and at the foot of it the arms of Portugal were carved on a piece of marble, with this inscription

REX PORTUGALENSIS O S.

Many conjectures were formed to account for the signification of the circle between the two last letters of this inscription, but nothing satisfactory could be discovered. King Chembanga requested that a Portuguese might be sent along with him to his residence, to treat upon some important affairs, and left his nephew as an hostage for his safe return. Accordingly the master, Antonio Gonzales, and one of the priests named Pedro Freyre, were sent; who, at twelve leagues distance, came to his residence called Fansaria, a very populous and magnificent place. At first he treated them with much kindness, after which he grew cold towards them, but on making him a considerable present he became friendly, and even delivered to them his eldest son to be carried to Goa, desiring that the two Jesuits and four other Portuguese might be left as hostages, to whom he offered the island of Santa Cruz to live in. These people are descended from the Moors, and call themselves Zelimas; they have the alcoran in Arabic, and have faquirs who teach them to read and write; they are circumcised, eat no bacon, and some of them have several wives. The king said that in the time of his father a ship of the Portuguese was cast away on this coast, from which about 100 men escaped on shore, some of whom had their wives along with them, and the rest married there and left a numerous progeny. He repeated several of their names, and even showed a book in Portuguese and Latin which had belonged to them, and some maps; and concluded by saying that there were more Portuguese on that coast, seven days journey to the north. On farther inquiry, a man 90 years of age was found, who had known the Portuguese that were cast away there, and could still remember a few detached words of their language.

The Portuguese set all hands to work to build a house and chapel for the two Jesuits and four Portuguese who were to remain, and when the work was finished, mass was solemnly said on shore, many of the natives coming to learn how to make the sign of the cross. One day while the king was looking on, and saw several men labouring hard to carry a cross that was meant to be set upon a rock, he went half naked and bareheaded, and carried it without assistance to the place appointed. The Portuguese might well say they had found another emperor Heraclius; for after this pious act of gigantic strength, he became very wicked; for being ready to sail, De Costa demanded that the king's son who had been promised should be sent, but he denied having ever made any such promise, and offered a slave. On this the captain sent the master and pilot with some men to enforce the demand, and safe conduct for some Portuguese to go to port St Lucia to see an inscription said by the natives to be at that place. The peace was thus broken, and a party of Portuguese soldiers was sent armed against the king, who endeavoured to resist, and the king's son, a youth of eleven years of age was brought away, the natives being unable to contend against fire-arms. Several messages were sent offering a high ransom for the boy; but on being told by the captain that he would lose his head if he did not carry him to the viceroy, they went away much grieved. This happened about the end of 1613; and towards the middle of 1614, de Costa arrived safe at Goa with the boy, whom the viceroy caused to be instructed in Christianity by the jesuits, and stood god-father at his baptism on St Andrews day, when he was named Andrew Azevedo.

The viceroy treated him with much honour and magnificence, in hopes that when he succeeded to his father, he might encourage the propagation of the gospel in Madagascar; and when he was supposed to be sufficiently instructed, he was sent away, accompanied by four Jesuits. On this occasion a pink and caravel were sent to Madagascar, commanded by Pedro de Almeyda Cabral, and Juan Cardoso de Pina, who sailed from Goa on the 17th of September 1616. On the 20th of March 1617, they discovered a most delightful island, watered with pure springs, and producing many unknown plants besides others already known, both aromatic and medicinal. To this island, in which were two mountains which overtopped the clouds, they gave the name of Isola del Cisne or swan island, and on it the jesuits planted some crosses and left inscriptions commemorative of the discovery[?]. The wreck of two ships of the Hollanders were found on this island. On the arrival of the two Portuguese ships in the port of St Lucia in Madagascar, the king and queen of Matacassi received their son with the strongest demonstrations of joy, and gave back the hostages left on taking him away. The four jesuits with six soldiers accompanied the young prince to his father's court at Fansaria, where, and at every place through which he passed, he was received with demonstrations of joy, which to the Portuguese seemed ridiculous, as no doubt those used by the Portuguese on similar occasions would have appeared to them. The king made a similar agreement with the two commanders on this voyage with that formerly made with De Costa, which was that the fathers should inhabit the inland of Santa Cruz and have liberty to preach the gospel in Madagascar. Upon this the fathers went to the fort at Santa Cruz, where Don Andrew, the king's son, sent them workmen and provisions.

The captain, Pedro de Almeyda, had orders to bring another of the king's sons to Goa, and if refused to carry one away by force; but the king declared that he had only one other son, who was too young for the voyage, on which Almeyda satisfied himself with Anria Sambo, the king's nephew, who was carried to Goa, and baptized by the name of Jerome. When sufficiently instructed in the Christian religion, he was sent back to his country in a pink, commanded by Emanuel de Andrada, together with two Jesuits, 100 soldiers, and presents for the king and prince, worth 4000 ducats. They set out in the beginning of February 1618; and being under the necessity of watering at the Isola de Cisne, they found three ships sunk at the mouth of the river. On landing, twenty Hollanders were found about two leagues from the shore, guarding the goods they had saved from the wreck. They made some opposition, but were forced to submit to superior numbers, and were found to have a large quantity of cloves, pepper, arms, ammunition, and provisions. Andrada carried the prisoners, and as many of the valuable commodities on board his pink as it could contain, and set fire to the rest, though the Hollanders alleged that they had come from the Moluccas, with a regular pass.

When Andrada arrived in the port of St Lucia, the two Jesuits came to him both sick, declaring that it was impossible to live in that country, where all the men who had been left along with them had died. Andrada sent the letters with which he was intrusted to the king and prince, by the servants of Don Jerome; and in return, the king sent 100 fat oxen, with a great quantity of fowls and honey, and six slaves, but would not come himself, and it was found that his son had reverted to Mahometanism. The tribes in Madagascar called Sadias and Fansayros are Mahometan Kafrs[?], and are attached to the liberty allowed by the law of Mahomet, of having a plurality of wives. The king was of the Fansayro tribe, and was now desirous to destroy Andrada and the Portuguese by treachery; incited to this change of disposition by a Chingalese slave belonging to the Jesuits, who had run away, and persuaded the king, that the Portuguese would deprive him of his kingdom, as they had already done many of the princes in Ceylon and India. The Kafrs came accordingly to the shore in great numbers, and began to attack the Portuguese with stones and darts, but were soon put to flight by the fire-arms, and some of them slain, whose bodies were hung upon trees as a warning to the rest, and one of their towns was burnt.

Andrada carried away with him Don Jerome, the king's nephew, and a brother of his who was made prisoner in a skirmish with the natives, who was converted, and died at Goa. All the Jesuits agreed to desist from the mission of Madagascar, and departed along with Andrada much against his inclination; and thus ended the attempt to convert the natives of Madagascar to the Christian religion.


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