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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.
Hence these voyages are not frequented by merchants, who would have no means of transporting their return goods, and besides the captains of these ships are not permitted to carry any merchants thither.  There go however to these places some small ships belonging to the Moors from the coast of Java, who exchange or barter their commodities in the kingdom of Acheen.  These are mace, cloves, and nutmegs, which are sent from Acheen to the Red Sea.  The voyages which the king of Portugal grants to his nobles, are those from China to Japan and back to China, from China to India, and those of Bengal, the Moluccas, and Sunda, with fine cloth and all kinds of cotton goods.

Sunda is an island of the Moors near the coast of Java, whence pepper is curried to China.  The ship which goes yearly from India to China is called the drug ship, because she carries various drugs of Cambaia, but her principal lading consists of silver.  From Malacca to China the distance is 1800 miles; and from China there goes every year a large ship to Japan laden with silk, in return for which she brings back bars of silver which are bartered in China for goods.  The distance between Japan and China is 2400 miles, in which sea there are several islands of no great size, in which the friars of St Paul, by the blessing of God, have made many Christians like themselves:  But from these islands the seas have not been fully explored and discovered, on account of the great numbers of shoals and sand banks [157].

[Footnote 157:  The text in this place it erroneous or obscure.  The indicated distance between China and Japan is enormously exaggerated, and probably ought to have been stated as between Malacca and Japan.  The undiscovered islands and shoals seem to refer to the various islands between Java and Japan, to the east and north.—­E.]

The Portuguese have a small city named Macao on an island near the coast of China, in which the church and houses are built of wood.  This is a bishopric, but the customs belong to the king of China, and are payable at the city of Canton, two days journey and a half from Macao, and a place of great importance.  The people of China are heathens, and are so fearful and jealous that they are unwilling to permit any strangers to enter their country.  Hence when the Portuguese go there to pay their customs and to buy goods, they are not allowed to lodge within the city, but are sent out to the suburbs.  This country of China, which adjoins to great Tartary, is of vast size and importance, as may be judged by the rich and precious merchandise which comes from thence, than which I believe there are none better or more abundant in quantity in all the world besides.  In the first place it affords great quantities of gold, which is carried thence to the Indies made into small plates like little ships, and in value 23 carats each[158]; large quantities of fine silk, with damasks and taffetas; large quantities of

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