Early English Adventurers in the East

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EARLY ENGLISH
ADVENTURERS
IN THE EAST

By

ARNOLD WRIGHT

SECOND EDITION

LONDON: ANDREW MELROSE, LTD
3 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C
1917

"It is always the adventurous who accomplish great things and not the monarchs of great empires."
Montesquieu.

Published April 1917
Reprinted November 1917

PREFACE

THIS work covers the period which intervened between Drake's circumnavigation of the world at the close of the sixteenth century and the founding of Calcutta at the end of the seventeenth century. Those were the years in which the initial efforts were made by the English to establish themselves in the East as traders. It was, as far as this part of the world concerned, preeminently the age of the adventurer—the merchant adventurer, if you will, but still of the true adventurer who seeks fortune by his daring enterprise and his mother wit. For varied interest and picturesqueness, there is no more fascinating period than this in the whole of the Empire's past. Tragedy and comedy mingled their elements in what was in essence one of the most romantic dramas of the world's history. Men started out to build up a commercial connexion, and they ended in laying the foundations of a dominion over alien peoples more wonderful than that of Rome in her palmiest days. How this was accomplished is told in the accompanying pages, but the author's aim has been not so much to write an exhaustive history as to bring into prominence the personalities of those who were engaged in this great work—to show what special phase of British Indian history. The hope may be permitted that the series will be continued until all the rich store of historical fact and incident is made readily accessible to the literary student.

A. W.

London, January, 1914.

LIST OF CONTENTS

pages
     

CHAPTER I.—THE DAWN OF THE EMPIRE

Drake's circumnavigation of the globe—The defeat of the Invincible Armada and its effects—Fenton's disastrous enterprise—Cavendish's voyage round the world—Expedition to the East commanded by Raymond—His ship founders in a storm off the Cape—James Lancaster succeeds to the command—His career—He visits Penang—Raids Portuguese shipping in the Straits of Malacca—He returns to England—Subsequent expedition to Brazil—Ralph Fitch and others proceed to the East overland—Fitch's account of his travels—The Dutch Admiral Houtman conducts a voyage to the East—Its effect on English enterprise
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1-34

CHAPTER II.—HOW LANCASTER INITIATED THE EASTERN TRADE

Formation of the East India Company—Elizabeth grants a charter—Sir Edmund Michelbome and Lancaster rivals for the command of the Company's first expedition—The latter appointed—John Davis of Sundridge proceeds with the fleet—Arrival of the expedition at Acheen—Favourable reception by the King—Portuguese opposition—Successful raid on Portuguese shipping by Lancaster—Farewell interview with the King—The fleet visits Bantam and returns home—Successful results of the voyage
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35-54

CHAPTER III.—A FIGHT TO A FINISH

James I gives Michelborne a licence to trade in the East—Michelborne's voyage to the East with Davis as chief  lieutenant—Acts of piracy off the Javan coast—English ships fall in with a Japanese pirate vessel—Sudden attack by the Japanese—A terrific combat—Davis is slain—A happy thought—Defeat and extermination of the Japanese—Michelborne returns home
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65-64

CHAPTER IV.—LIFE AT SEA IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

Wide range of the East India Company's operations—Henry Middleton conducts a voyage to Bantam—Keeling, Sharpeigh and David Middleton command expeditions to the East—Building of the Trade's Increase—James I christens it—Life on the Company's ships—The character of the crews—Preachers appointed to the ships—The Company's commanders—Discourses by William Keeling and Nicholas Downton
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65-72

CHAPTER V.—HOW THE ENGLISH WENT TO INDIA

William Hawkins is landed at Surat—Makarrab Khan, the local governor—A typical Mogul official—His attitude towards the English—Hawkins proceeds to Agra—Description of the city of that day—Jehangir on the throne of the Great Mogul—He gives Hawkins a friendly reception—Takes him into his service—Hawkins' advance to power—His marriage—Effect of Jehangir's patronage of Hawkins on the officials at Surat—Jehangir's character—His debauchery and cruelty—Downfall of Hawkins
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73-80

CHAPTER VI.—ENGLISH CAPTIVES IN ARABIA

Sharpeigh conducts an expedition to Aden—Jourdain's account of the voyage—Description of Aden—Rejib Aga, the Turkish governor, detains Sharpeigh—Jourdain and Glasscock proceed overland to Mocha—Unsuccessful effort to trade—Departure of the expedition—Sir Henry Middleton arrives at Aden with a fleet—Proceeds to Mocha in the Trade's Increase—Attacked and made prisoner
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91-103

CHAPTER VII.—A GALLANT BUT UNFORTUNATE COMMANDER

Downton schemes to release Middleton—Fricton between Downton and Middleton—A reconciliation—Middleton effects his escape—Turns the tables on the enemy—Exacts redress—Fernell, the factor, poisoned by Rejib Aga—Middleton proceeds with his fleet to Surat—Unable to trade owing to combined native and Portuguese opposition—Returns to the Red Sea—Institutes a blockade—Dissensions amongst the commanders—Middleton raises the blockade and proceeds to Bantam—Destruction of the Trade's Increase — Death of Middleton — His character
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104-115

CHAPTER VIII.—ENGLISH AND PORTUGUESE RIVALRY

Unfavourable English prospects in India—Thomas Best conducts a fleet to India—Is a tacked by the Portuguese—Defeat of the Portuguese with great loss—Mogul authorities grant a firman to trade at Surat—Mogul Government declares war on the Portuguese—Downton arrives off Surat with a fleet—Is attacked in Swally Roads by Portuguese—He beats off his assailants—The Rev. Peter Rogers attacks Downton—Death of Downton — His patriotic virtues
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116-130

CHAPTER IX.—AN ENGLISH MISSION TO THE COURT OF THE GREAT MOGUL

Jehangir's attitude towards the English—Obstruction to trade—Sir Thomas Roe despatched as ambassador—His early career—His reception by Jehangir—Opposition of Prince Khurrum and Asaf Khan—Roe out of favour with the Emperor—Is restored to grace—Jehangir's partiality for Roe—The Emperor's jokes—Drinking bouts at the palace—An Oriental Hansard—Roe's difficulties
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131-146

CHAPTER X.—AN IMPERIAL DESPOT IN DRESS AND UNDRESS

Jehangir moves his Court—The splendours of the imperial camp—Jehangir and the fakir—The Court established at Mandu—Roe at Mandu—His ill-health—Jehangir intercepts and appropriates the presents from England—Roe and the Emperor—An amusing audience—Jehangir and the English mastiffs—A curious ceremony—Prince Khurrum returns in triumph from the war—Roe and the prince—Roe forms an alliance with Asaf Khan and Noor Mahal—Asaf Khan espouses the English cause in durbar—Roe's victory
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147-164

CHAPTER XI.—A GROUP OF ENGLISH ADVENTURERS IN INDIA

Robert Trully, the cornet player—William Hemsell, the Great Mogul's coachman—Richard Steele—His Agra waterworks scheme—Thomas Coryat, "the Odcombe Leg Stretcher"—Coryat's early career at the Court of James I—Coryat's crudities—Coryat's journey overland to India—Coryat's audience of Jehangir—The Emperor and a Christian convert—Coryat prepares to return home—He dies and is buried at Surat—Roe's last days in India—He secures an agreement from the Mogul Government permitting the English to trade—He returns to England
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165-176

CHAPTER XII.—ENGLISH AND DUTCH RIVALRY IN THE EAST

The fight for the spice trade—The Dutch predominance in the Eastern Archipelago—Dutch hostility to the English—Jourdain's expedition to the Moluccas—Jan Pieterson Coen, the great Dutch administrator—His interview with Jourdain—Jourdain driven from the Moluccas—Deplorable condition of the English at Bantam—The English occupy Poolo Ai—Further English expedition to the Moluccas—Its withdrawal—Dutch reoccupy Poolo Ai
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177-188

CHAPTER XIII.—FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH

New expedition to the Moluccas under Nathaniel Courthope—Occupation of Poolo Roon by the English—Dutch expedition to evict the English—Courthope's defiance—The Dutch capture the English ship Swan—Courthope prepares for a Dutch attack—The English ship Defence captured by the Dutch—The Dutch Governor, General Reaal, seeks an accommodation with Courthope—Courthope declines his terms—Dutch proclamation against the English—Unsuccessful attempt to relieve Courthope—Courthope's indomitable spirit—Sir Thomas Dale conducts an expedition against the Dutch—Action off Jakatra (Batavia)—The Dutch retire to the Moluccas—The English occupy Jakatra—Dale returns to India—His death—Dutch attack on English ships at Patani—Jourdain is treacherously slain—Isolation of Courthope—His gallant fight against odds and his heroic death
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189-208

CHAPTER XIV.—THE BLACK TRAGEDY OF AMBOINA

Conclusion of the Treaty of Defence—Disagreements as to its interpretation.—The English in the Eastern islands—Gabriel Towerson, the chief agent—Van Speult, the Dutch governor—Description of Amboina—A Japanese arrested for conspiring against the Dutch—He implicates the English—Abel Price under torture confirms the story—Arrest of Towerson and the other English officials—They are examined and under torture confess their guilt—Subsequent protestations of innocence—The infamy of the transactions
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209-225

CHAPTER XV.—THE LAST SCENE OF ALL

Condemnation of the Amboina prisoners—Reprieve of two of the English—A fateful lottery—The condemned Englishmen refused the Sacrament—They solemnly renew their protestations of innocence—The last night passed in prayer and praise — A touching memorial of the occasion—The day of execution—Meeting between the English and the Japanese prisoners — Bearing of  the English in their last moments—The execution—Strange happenings—Effect produced in England by the episode—A belated settlement—What was "the Massacre of Amboina"?—The English withdraw from the Eastern islands
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226-239

CHAPTER XVI.—THE ENGLISH IN THE PERSIAN GULF

Portuguese supremacy in the Gulf challenged—Goa, the Portuguese capital in the East—Sir Robert Shirley the Shah of Persia's ambassador—English open a trading factory in Persia—Shah Abbas's hatred of the Portuguese—His gift of Jask to the English—Ruy Freire de Andrade, the Portuguese commander, conducts a fleet to the Gulf—Portuguese ultimatum to the Shah—Action between the Portuguese and the English off Jask—English fleet under Captain Shilling drives off the Portuguese—English fleet under Captains Blyth and Weddell, assisted by a Persian land force, attacks and defeats Portuguese at Kishm—Baffin, the Arctic explorer, killed in the fight—Surrender of Ruy Freire—Ormuz attacked and occupied—Downfall of the Portuguese power in the Gulf
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240-255

CHAPTER XVII.—THE ENGLISH SECURE A PERMANENT FOOTHOLD IN INDIA

Joint English and Dutch attack on Bombay—A Dutch iconoclast—Effect of the cruelties of the Inquisition at Goa on the English and the Dutch—English attack on the Portuguese at Surat—Sir William Courten's association—Acquisition by the English of territory on the Coromandel Coast—Foundation of Fort St. George (Madras)—Occupation of Bombay proposed to the East India Company—Importance of the position—Bombay forms part of the dower of Charles II's Queen, Catherine of Braganza—Sir George Oxenden's mission to Western India—Royal expedition for the occupation of Bombay—Portuguese Viceroy declines to surrender the island—English troops landed at Angediva, near Goa—Bombay handed over and occupied by the English—Dutch and French opposition—The island ceded by Charles II to  the East India Company—Oxenden defends the Surat factory against an attack by Sivaji—Death of Oxenden—Gerald Aungier's successful administration of Bombay—Present grandeur of the city
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256-273

CHAPTER XVIII.—THE ENGLISH ON THE EAST COAST OF INDIA

The first expedition to Bengal—Gabriel Boughton, a friend at Court, obtains trading facilities for the Company—Factories established at Balasor, Cassimbazar and Patna in subordination to Hooghly—Sir Edward Winter's coup d'état at Madras — George Foxcroft, the President, imprisoned—Expedition to restore the status quo—Winter surrenders—Sir William Langhorne's mission
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274-282

CHAPTER XIX.—THE ARCH INTERLOPER—THOMAS PITT

Interlopers in the Bay of Bengal—Thomas Pitt, a leading member of the fraternity—Governor Hedge's discription of an interloping party ashore—Pitt's trading ventures—He defies the Company—He returns to England and is arrested and fined—Reappears in India—The Company makes terms with him and appoints him president of Fort St. George (Madras)—His administration—The Pitt diamond and its history—Last years in England—Pitt's character
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283-289

CHAPTER XX.—JOB CHARNOCK FOUNDS CALCUTTA

Expedition to Bengal to exact redress for wrongs inflicted upon the English—Job Charnock assigned the post of honour—His career—Chamock sacks Hooghly—Evacuation of Hooghly and temporary occupation of Sutanuti, the modem Calcutta—Subsequent removal to Hijili—Attack by Mogul troops—Gallant defence—Dire straits of the garrison—Welcome reinforcements—Peace concluded—Return of the English to Sutanuti—Charnock in disgrace—New expedition under Heath—Its failure—English retire to Madras—Are invited back to Bengal—Calcutta founded—Chamock's last days—His character
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290-308

CHAPTER XXI.—THE ADVENTURERS AND THEIR TIMES

The passing of the era of adventure—The early English communities in the East—How they lived—Their religious observances—The first Indian convert—The pomp observed by the chief officials—Their dress—Few Englishwomen in India—Drinking habits of the men—Literary tastes—What expatriation to the East meant in the eighteenth century—The debt Britain owes to the early adventurers
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309-318