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The other is of a sphoroidall figure, of the magnitude of a sparrow's egg, with both ends æqually obtuse, handsomely chamfered with small ridges from pole to pole, like some kind of buttons, (from whence they receive the denomination of silver buttons) purely diaphanous, the christalline humour of the
eye not exceeding them in translucency. At each pole is a little puncture, which seemes to passe quite through. I could never attaine to the knowledge of these beings, or conjecture to what classis they are to bee referred, except wee may imagine then the ovall exclusions of some fish.
Sir, if your leisure will at any time give leave, and your candor condiscend to returne two or three lines in answere to this imperfect scriblett, be pleased to direct them to Mr. John Crooke, bookseller, at the ship in Paules churchyard, for mee (by whom I intend to send this letter to the post). And I [shall] either retaine these conjecturall conceptions, if
your more accurate judgment give them a placet, or relinquish them if they agree not with your more solid disquisitions. However you will thereby lay a high obligation upon one that truly honours your worth, and will encourage the poore enquiries of
Sir, your most obliged,
REUBEN ROBINSON. Maldon, Decemb. 12th, 1659.
These are for my much honoured friend
Thomas Browne, Dr. of Physick.
From M. Escaliot to Dr. Browne.
(ms. Sloan. 1860, fol. 5.]
My last I wrote to youe was from abord the shipp Loyall, merchant, then at anckor in the Downes, wich I hope was safely brought in to you, and there in I gaue you an account of my passage from Grauesend: wich I shall repeate least that letter should have miscarried. The winde had been at east or very neere for eighteen dayes togather
after our shipp was ready to sayle, all wich tyme I was to bee at a dayes warning to goe abord, or elss to go over land to Deale, wich would have prooued a chargeable journey. And therefore continued in a readyness from day to day expecting a wind, vntill Satturday Aprill 4th, on wich day about noone the winde began to vere to the south, and that night being come faire the ship fell downe from Eriff to Gravesend and came to an anckor. On Sunday I had notice of her departure to Grauesend, and on Munday, the 6th Aprill, 1663, I tooke leave of my Lord Richardson at his lodgings, and about six that night, after a great storme of winde and raine, wich I mett with upon the Thams, and that soe violent as forced vs in at Blackwall, I came on borde the ship, and from thence went a shoare to the Torre, where I supped, and lay that night. The next morninge about eight wee came abord againe and hoysed sayle and came to an anckor that afternoone about two. On Wedensday about nine in the morning wee sett sayle againe; at four afternoone came to an anckor. Thursday 9th we weighed about four in the morning, and anckord againe at ten; and weighed againe about five afternoone, and at nine that night cast anckor, the north foreland bearing from vs S. W. by west. Friday the 10th, about four morning, we sayled againe with little winde, wich about seven proved calme till three that afternoone, about wich tyme a gale arrising, wee sett sayle, and at five that evening came to anckor in the Downes; that night tooke abord our fresh provissions from Deale and tow passengers, one of them a Portugall gentleman, called Don Vasco de Gama, who for killing a man in a duel is banished from his country and is now at Goa, where his kinsman is vice
roye, the other was a Kentish gentleman, Mr. Hardnett, now with vs at Surat. Saturday the 11th, about seven in the morning, wee being ready to weigh, there came one with a warrant from his Majestie to search our ship for gold. He came attended upon by the lieuetenant of Douer castell, and some soldiers; thay kept vs from weighing anckor till four afternoone, to the loss of so many howers as with that gale wee then inioyed, would, by judgement, have set vs 20 leagues, wich tyme thay wholy spent in searching the captaines round
house, and opening all the chests of treasure belonging to the company, and carried away some ingotts of gold to the value of about £2000, wich notwithstanding it was shipped of by cocket: about five that afternoone we set sayle and had good weather all the night and a fresh gale on the 13th: wee were in the height of the Lizard Point and that day was my farewell to England for this voiage, I then seeing the land about six or seven leagues of, with various winds wee made the best of our voiage possible (beeing much belated) and passed without
considerable accident vntil wee were come into the Bay of Biscay and had elevation about 44 degrees.
Thuss farr deare Browne, I had wrote on Tuesday the fifth of January about ten in the morning, when on a sudden a strong alarme was brought to our house from the towne with news that Seua-Gee Raya, or principall governor, (for such assume not the name of kings to them selues, but yet endeuor to bee as absolute each in his prouince as his sword can make him,) was coming downe with an army vncertaine number upon Surat, to pillage the citty, which newes strook no small consternation into the mindes of a weake and effeminate people, in soe much that on all hands there was nothing to be seene but people flying for their lives and lamenting the loss of their estates, the richer sort whose stocke of money was large enough to purchase that favor at the hands of the gouernor of the castle, made that their sanctuary and abandoned their dwellings to a merciless foe, wich they might well enough haue defended with the rest of the towne had thay had the heartes of men. The same day a post coms in and tells them that the army was come within tenne course or English miles, and made all hast forward, wich put the cowardly and vnfaithful govenor of the towne to send a seruant to Sevagee to treat of some conditions of ransome. But Sevagee retaines the messenger and marches forwards with all speed, and that night lodged his camp about 5 miles English from the city, and the governor perceueing well that this messenger returned not againe, and that Sevagee did not intend to treat at that distance, he craues admission into the castle and obtaineth it, and soe deserted his towne.
The city of Surat is the only port on this side India, wich
belongs to the Mogol, and stands upon a river commodious enough to admitt vessells of 1000 tun, seven milles up, at wich distance from the sea, there stands a reasonable strong castle well manned, and haueing great store of good guns mounted for the securing of the riuer at a conuenient distance, on the north east and south sides of this castle is the citty of Surrat built of a large extent and very popelus. Rich in marchandise, as being the mart for the great empire of the Mogol, but ill contriued into narrow lanes and without
forme. And for buildings consists partly of brick, soe the houses of the richer sort partly of wood, the maine posts of wich sort only are timber, the rest is built of bambooes (as they call them) or caines, such as those youe make your angles at Norwich, but very large, and these being tyed togather with the cords made of coconutt rinde, and being dawbed ouer with dirt, are the walls of the whole house and floors of the upper story of their houses. Now the number of the poore exceedingly surmounting the number of those of some quality, these bamboo houses are increased vnmeasurably, soe that in the greatter part of the towne scarce tow or three brick houses are to bee seen in a street, and in some part of the towne not one for many streets togather; those houses wich are built of bricke are vsually built strong, their walls of tow or tow and a half feet thicke, and the roofes of them flat and couered with a plaster like plaster of Paris, wich makes most comodous places to take the euening aire in the hotter seasons; the whole town is unfortified ether by art or nature, its situation is upon a larg plaine of many miles extent and their care hath been so little to secure it by art, that they have only made against the cheefe auenues of the towne, some weake and ill built gatts and for the rest in some parts a dry ditch, easely passable by a footman, wanting a wall or other defence on the innerside, the rest is left soe open that scarce any signe of a dich is perceiuable; the people of the towne are either the marchants, and those of all nations almost, as English, Dutch, Portugalls, Turkes, Arabs, Armenians, Persians, Jews, Indians, of seueral sorts, but principally Banians, or els Moores the conquerors of the country Hindues, or the ancient inhabitants or Persees, whoe are people fled out of Persia ages agoe, and here and some miles up the country settled in great numbers. The Banian is one who thinks it the greatest wickedness to kill any creature whatsoever that hath life, least possibly they might bee the death of their father or relation, and the Persee doth supperstitiously adore the fire as his God, and thinks it an vnpordonable sin to throw watter upon it, soe that if a house bee fired or their clothes upon their backs burning thay will if thay can hinder any man from quenching it. The Moores ar troubled with none of these superstitions but yet through the unworthy couetuousness of the gouernour of the towne thay had noe body to head them, nor none vnto whome to joyne themselves, and soe fled away for company,
, whereas if there had beene 500 men trayned, and in a readyness, as by order from the king there ever should, whose pay the gouernour puts into his own pocket, the number to defend the citty would haue amounted to some thousands. This was the condittion of the citty at the tyme of its inuasion.
The inuader Seva Gee is as I haue said by extraction a Rayar or a gouernour of a small country on the coast southward of Basiue, and was formerly a tributary to the King of Vijapore, but being of an aspiring and ambitious minde, subtile and withall a soldier, hee rebells against the king, and partly by fraude, partly by force, partly by corruption of the kings gouernours of the kings castles, seaseth many of them into his hands. And with all parte of a country for wich the King of Vijapore paid tribute to the Mogul. His insolencys were soe many, and his success soe great, that the King of Vijapore thought it high tyme to endeavor his suppression, or els all would be lost. Hee raises his armies, but is worsted soe euery where by the rebbell, that he is forced to conditions to release homage to Sevagee of those lands wich hee held of him, and for the rest Sevagee was to make good bis possession against the Mogol as well as hee could, after some tyme of forbearance. The Mogol demands his tribute from him of Vijapore, whoe returns answer that hee had not possession of the tributary lands, but that they were detayned from him by his rebbell who was grown too strong for him. Upon this the Mogol makes warr both vpon the King of Vijapore and Seuagee, but as yet without any considerable