A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.
Presbyter John:  For he, of whom Marco Polo speaks, under that title, as governing all the Indies, and whose country joins with the great khan of Kathay, was vanquished and slain in a battle by that sovereign; at which time his kingdom was put an end to, and no one of that race or title has since reigned.  Yet Alonso de Payva actually believed that the emperor of Ethiopia was Presbyter John, having learnt that he was a Christian king over a Christian nation, as shall be more particularly declared hereafter.  At their separation they agreed to meet again at Cairo, when each had executed his part of the royal orders.

Pedro de Covillian sailed from Aden for the Indies, in a ship belonging to the Moors of Cananor, and went to Calicut and the island of Goa, where he acquired complete information respecting the spices of India, the commodities which come from other places, and the towns of the Indies; the names of all which he inserted, but ill written, in his chart.  From India he went to Sofala, where he procured information respecting the great island of St Lawrence, called the Island of the Moon by the Moors.  Observing that the natives of Sofala were black, like those of Guinea, he concluded, that all the coast between was under subjection to the Negroes, and consequently that navigation was practicable from Guinea to Sofala, and thence to the Indies.  Returning from Sofala, he went to Ormus, and thence to Cairo, where he learnt that Alonso de Payva was dead, and meant to have returned to Portugal.  He chanced to meet at Cairo two Spanish jews, Rabbi Abraham, a native of Viseo, and Joseph, born in Lamego; who, after the departure of Covillian and Payva from Portugal, had told the king that they had been in Cairo, where they had received much information concerning Ormus, and of its trade with the Indies.  From these Jews Covillian received letters from the king, directed to him and Payva, ordering them to return along with the Jews, if they had seen all that he had given them in charge.  If they had not executed all his original instructions, they were now directed to send by the Jews an exact account of all the knowledge they had acquired, and to use their utmost efforts to visit Presbyter John, and to give all the information in their power respecting Ormus, to Rabbi Abraham, who had sworn by his law not to return to Portugal without visiting that place.

On receiving these letters, Covillian changed his intention of returning into Portugal, and dispatched Joseph there with letters to the king, giving an account of all that he had seen and learnt in India and Sofala, and transmitted the chart on which he had inserted all the places he had visited.  In these letters he informed the king that the emperor of Ethiopia was assuredly the same with Presbyter John; but my opinion is that this is an error, as this sovereign has no such name in his own dominions, as I shall more clearly shew hereafter.  On the departure of Joseph, Covillian and Rabbi Abraham went to Ormus,

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