A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 07.

Beyond this is Chaul on the continent, where there are two cities, one belonging to the Portuguese, and the other to the Moors; that which belongs to the Portuguese is lower than the other, commands the mouth of the harbour, and is very strongly fortified.  About a mile and a half from this city is that of the Moors, belonging to their king Zamaluco, or Nizam-al-mulk.  In time of war no large ships can go to the city of the Moors, as they must necessarily pass under the guns of the Portuguese castles, which would sink them.  Both cities of Chaul are sea-ports, and have great trade in all kinds of spices, drugs, raw silk, manufactures of silk, sandal-wood, Marsine, Versine[125], porcelain of China, velvets and scarlets, both from Portugal and Mecca[126], with many other valuable commodities.  Every year there arrive ten or fifteen large ships, laden with great nuts called Giagra[127], which are cured or dried, and with sugar made from these nuts.  The tree on which these nuts grow is called the Palmer tree, and is to be found in great abundance over all India, especially between this place and Goa.  This tree very much resembles that which produces dates, and no tree in the world is more profitable or more useful to man; no part of it but serves for some useful purpose, neither is any part of it so worthless as to be burnt.  Of its timber they build ships, and with the leaves they make sails.  Its fruit, or nuts, produce wine, and from the wine they make sugar and placetto[128].  This wine is gathered in the spring of the year from the middle of the tree, where there is then a continual stream of clear liquor like water, which they gather in vessels placed on purpose under each tree, and take them away full every morning and evening.  This liquor being distilled by means of fire, is converted into a very strong liquor, which is then put into buts with a quantity of white or black Zibibs, and in a short time it becomes a perfect wine.  Of the nuts they make great quantities of oil.  The tree is made into boards and timbers for building houses.  Of the bark cables and other ropes are made for ships which are said to be better than those made of hemp.  The branches are made into bed-steads after the Indian fashion, and into Sanasches? for merchandise.  The leaves being cut into thin slips are woven into sails for all kinds of ships, or into thin mats.  The outer rhind of the nut stamped serves as oakum for caulking ships, and the hard inner shell serves for spoons and other utensils for holding food or drink.  Thus no portion whatever of this Palmer tree is so worthless as to be thrown away or cast into the fire.  When the nuts are green, they are full of a sweet water, excellent to drink, and the liquor contained in one nut is sufficient to satisfy a thirsty person.  As the nut ripens, this liquor turns all into kernel.

[Footnote 125:  Formerly noticed as a species of velvet; but the words marsine and versine were inexplicable in the days of Hakluyt, and must so remain.—­E.]

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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