East Indies: August 1597

Pages 98-99

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, East Indies, China and Japan, Volume 2, 1513-1616. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1864.

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August 1597

Aug. 8.
253. News letter “touching the East Indian voyage.” The first alarm the hottest; the adventurers now well cooled, would be glad of their principal. More than 60,000 ryals of eight returned, not through want of will in the inhabitants to have traded, or for want of merchandise to have loaded 20 ships, but absolutely for want of government and through the jars of the commanders, every one seeking sovereignty. They lay at Bantam six months without trafficking, through their own disagreement; prices for which spices might have been bought, pepper for a ryal a sack. Sickness through “dis-diet”; many come home have their legs swollen as with the scurvy, through cold, having been so long in the heat. The captain and “original attempter” is lodged with the writer, “from whom I will draw out the secrets if possible, and at my coming will impart so much as I shall learn.” In a postscript of 16th August it is added that if Lord Essex be out, “he hath an hazard before hand,” these East India ships having left four carracks at St. Helen’ [St. Helena?], and there is no news of their arrival. At least 50 sail within six months rigged for the Southward, “so that the Spanish trade begins mightily to decline.” [One page and a half. Correspondence, Holland.]