« PreviousContinue »
the Cape of Good Hope, but neither made the land nor struck ground with 120 faithome line; we passed by St. Lawerence, and standing of somewhat too much (for fear of St. John's Illand,) towards the African coast wee were there becalmd six or seven dayes, scarce makeing aboue five miles, sometimes nothing at all in a day of our way; aboue 30 men sicke of the scurvey, and other distempers, and our fresh prouision growing short, wee began to long for land to refresh in, wich by Gods mercy, on the 17th of August five in the morning was discouered; wee then found ourselves about four leauges distant from the Illand Mohelia, and all that day stood vp for Johanna where is good refreshment to bee gotten, and better ancorage for our ship; that night about sun goe downe, wee passed the southerly pointe of the island, and the next morning at 11 we were at anckor in 17 fathom watter, about three leauges distant from the pointe of the illand in a very good road. Till our sails were all firlld noe boat would stirr from the shore, but as soon as they perceiued our anckors downe, the natiues came abord vs in there canoos, and brought vs coco nuts, lemons, oranges of severall sorts, the best that euer I eat, and a sort of wich I believe none in Europe soe pleasant, as I tasted nothing almost with equall satisfaction; these with plantaines and other sorts of fruits wee bought of them for small pieces of cloth. And an old shirt scarce worth sixpence would haue purchased as much as would haue loaded a man, wee afterwards bought of them beefs at tow dollars a head, goats as good as any fallow deere at X, others at one dollar a head, wee tooke in wood, watter and refreshed ourselves in six dayes tyme and departed, but above all I did admire at one thing, that our sick men whoe were before most of them soe feeble, that they could not stand alone, some bowed togather in a most hideous manner, and expected death houerly, were in four dayes tyme soe recouered with the aire and by the fresh prouisions, that noe one of them but was able to goe aboute the afares of the ship, tho' not fully recouered, yet able to doe some what towards the ships imployments; for 16 dayes after our setting sayle we scarce handed a saile, but went on with a prosperous gale 120, 130, and sometymes 140 mile in 24 houers, and vpon the 23rd of Sept.
wee made St. Johns point vpon the coast of India : vpon the 25th of Sept. we were at Barr foote, and at night about six a clocke wee were at anckor in Swalley hole, for wich our safe passage Gods holy name bee praised. The 28th, St. George Oxenden, the president of India, and his councell Mr. Goodier, Mr. Gary, and Mr. Aungier, came downe to the watter side and receiued our captaine and my selfe with great kindness, and testefied their gladness to receiue mee, one recomended to them, by their friends in England soe afectionately, and promised their vttmost fauoers vpon all occasions; and this Bro. I haue found fully veryfied, the countenance, fauor and respecte from these persons, and from the whole factory now after these monthes experience of them I cannot easly express, soe that for my present condition of life you may asure your selfe tis in all plenty as to necessaries, with a happy contentment; the aire I find to agree well with mee, and I haue
well and haue had it euer since I left England (better) then I had it there; I was not so much as sea sicke all the voyage, and at land but for one day was a little feuerish. I hope God will continue his mercyes to me and prolong my life to see you againe, I shall not enlarge my selfe vpon the condition of the country, the discription of the maners, customs, &c. of the people, it would swell a letter into a booke, and by the next better information then yet I haue had, and more leisure then now I haue, will give mee incouragement to send you a full account of many particulars I now wholy omitt.
Surat, Jan. 26: 1663.
“ Part of another Letter from Mr. Escaliot, my wor
thy louing friend." (Sir T. B. wrote this note.)
Fragment of a letter from Mr. Escaillot to Dr. Browne.
(MS. RAWL. LVIII. 10.]
The swelling of the waters at sett seasons is not proper vnto Ægypt, butt incedent vnto all the great riuers as far as I can learne, wich rise and runne a long cours between or neere vnto the tropicks. Indus as I have been informed by a person who liued many years at Tutta, vpon its bancks, constantly swells and overfloweth the country, and its swelling beginns before they haue any considerable raynes neere the moath of the riuer, where by the way you may take notice of an error in seuerall of the ordinarie mappes; placing the riuer Indus upon the northern part of Cambaiah, and bounding it, whereas it lyeth more to [...?] by many leagues, and enters the sea, lat. 24 degrees or thereabouts. The riuer of Cambaiah, entring into the bay so called in 22 degrees. The riuer Ganges wich passeth by the citty of Siam, more truly called Odia, the great riuers that disembogue into the bay of Bengala, the riuers of Cochin China are also sayd to ouerflowe their countries before they are swelled by any raynes, in the countries falling neere their mouths. The reason of raines heere along the coast of India is when the sunne hath passed the zenith towards the northerne tropick, I meane then they begin to fall, so I found it at Johanna, first an island in 12 degrees of south latitude, when I required of them there how long their raynes had been past, they answered three moones, this was the later end of August, discounting those three moones and about three more for the continuance of their raynes, and it will give the later end of Februarie, about wich time the sunne was somewhat passed their zenith northward, and this rule holds in all the Indian islands, called the Maldues, and along up the coast from Cape Comarin vnto Surat and kingdom of Cambaiah.
March, April and May, are exceeding hot; no sooner almost is the sunne passed our zenith, butt the face of the skie is altered with us, the heavens wich for three moneths before have not been hid by a cloud, now beginne to bee ouercast, and our ayre is cooled by those showers which the thirstie earth gapeth for. The first showers come vsually from some poynt between east and south-east, and with violence of wind and thunder, and after some dayes the wind stands continually south or toward south, to some poynts until the beginning of September; by these raynes all things grow fruitful. The tantks or spacious receptacles of water are filled, which afterwards serue both men and beasts in many places the ensuing year; by reason of the abundant fall of raynes alone in the country, wee have sudden great fresh floods come downe upon us, and I haue seen the waters in one night's time raysed aboue 12 foote perpendicular, and in tow daye's time all the waters gone from us into their originall, the ocean. Had wee no raynes at all, or very rarely as in Ægypte, that the country aboue us were inaccessible vnto us, and wee ignorant of the constant fall of raynes aboue at a sett season, these ouerflowings would bee no lesse wonderfull vnto us then those of Nilus were anciently vnto the world.
Kingdome of Cambaiah. The breaking up of this southerley monson so called, heere brings freequently much sicknesse for about a moneth or six weekes; a yeare since 25 of our English heere not aboue tow escaped a sicknesse, yet it proued mortall to none; butt the Banyans' burning place was scarce day or night without 2 or 3 bodies frying upon their seuerall piles. And the Persees made a continuall feast for the vultures; the rest of the yeare from Nouember to March, is a wholesome season notwithstanding the sudden changes of the ayre from cold to heat. Heere I haue felt winter and summer in one day, in the morning, during the time of those moneths, I am cloathed warmer then I vsed to bee in the winters of England, and before noone I am slipped into a thinne calico wastcoat, and find it hard to endure it.
“ This is the account of Mr. L'Escaillot, minister in Norwich, my louing friend, who dyed in the Indies, and so I lost the antiquities and varities which hee had obtained for mee."
[The whole of the above
in Sir Thomas Browne's hand.]
From Dr. Merrett to Dr. Browne.
[SLOAN. Ms. 1830. rol. 3.] WORTHY SIR,
Yours of the 14th instant I received, as full of learning in discovering so many very great curiosities as kindness in communicating them to mee and promising your farther assistance. For which I shall always proclaim by my tongue as well as my pen my due resentment and thanks.
3 See letter at p. 395; the date of which, Aug. 18, I see on reference to the MS. was wrong copied ;-it should have been Aug. 14, 1669.
The two fungi you sent the figures of are the finest and rarest as to their figure I have ever seen or read of; and so is your fibula marina, far surpassing one I received from Cornwall much of the same bigness, neither of which I find any where mentioned. The urtica marina minor Jonst. and physalus I never met with, nor have been informed of the canis charcarius alius Jonst. Many of the lupus piscis I have seen, and have bin informed by the king's fishmonger they are taken on our coast, but was not satisfied for some reasons of his relation soe as to enter it into my Pinax; though 't is said to bee peculiar to the river Albis, yet I thought they might come sometimes thence to your coasts. Trutta marina I have; and the loligo, sepia, and polypus, the three sorts of the molles have bin found on our western coasts, which shall bee exactly distinguished-as for the salmons taken above London towards Richmond and nearer, and that in great quantity, some years they have all of them their lower jaw as you observe, and our fishermen say they usually wear off some part of it on the banks, or else the lower would grow into the upper and soe starve them, as they have sometimes seen.
You ask whether I have the mullus ruber piscis octangularis Wormii, or the sea worms longer than the earth worms, or the garrulus Argentor. or the duck* cald a May chit, or the Dorhawke. The four first I have no account of, the two later I know not especially by those names, wee have noe hawke by that name your account of Succinum as all the rest will be registred. As for the Aquila Gesneri I never saw nor heard of any such in the colledge for this 25 years last past. Sir you are pleasd to say you shall write more if you know how not to be superfluouscertainly what you have hitherto done hath bin all curiosities, and I doubt not but you have many more by you. I can direct you noe further then your own reason dictates to you-Besides those mentioned in the Pinax I have 100 to add, and cannot give you a particular of them. Whatever you write is either confirmative or additional. I doe entreat this favour
asper, or the
4 This bird was not mentioned by Browne as at all resembling a duck.