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.
musk and of occam[159] in bars, quicksilver, cinabar, camphor, porcelain in vessels of divers sorts, painted cloth, and squares, and the drug called Chinaroot.  Every year two or three large ships go from China to India laden with these rich and precious commodities.  Rhubarb goes from thence over land by way of Persia, as there is a caravan every year from Persia to China, which takes six months to go there and as long to return.  This caravan arrives at a place called Lanchin, where the king and his court reside.  I conversed with a Persian who had been three years in that city of Lanchin, and told me that it was a city of great size and wealth.

[Footnote 158:  Perhaps the author may have expressed of 23 carats fine.—­E.]

[Footnote 159:  Perhaps the mixed metal called tutenag may be here meant.—­E.]

The voyages which are under the jurisdiction of the captain of Malacca are the following.  Every year he sends a small ship to Timor to load white sandal wood, the best being to be had in that island.  He also sends another small ship yearly to Cochin-China for aloes wood, which is only to be procured in that country, which is on the continent adjoining to China.  I could never learn in what manner that wood grows, as the people of Cochin-China will not allow the Portuguese to go into the land except for wood and water, bringing provisions and merchandise and all other things they want to their ships in small barks, so that a market is held daily on the deck of the ship till she is laden.  Another ship goes yearly from Malacca for Siam to lade Verzino[160].  All these voyages belong exclusively to the captain of Malacca, and when he is not disposed to make them on his own account he sells them to others.

[Footnote 160:  From another part of this voyage it appears that this is some species of seed from which oil was expressed.—­E.]


Of the City of Siam.

Siam was the imperial seat of the kingdom of that name and a great city, till the year 1567, when it was taken by the king of Pegu, who came by land with a prodigious army of 1,400,000 men, marching for four months, and besieged Siam for twenty-two mouths, during which he lost a vast number of men, and at lost won the city.  I happened to be in the city of Pegu about six months after his departure on this expedition, and saw the governors left by him in the command of Pegu send off 500,000 men, to supply the places of those who were slain in this siege.  Yet after all he would not have won the place unless for treachery, in consequence of which one of the gates was left open, through which he forced his way with great trouble into the city.  When the king of Siam found that he was betrayed and that his enemy had gained possession of the city, he poisoned himself.  His wives and children, and all his nobles that were not slain during the siege, were carried captives to Pegu.  I was there at the return of the king in triumph from this conquest, and his entry into Pegu was a goodly sight, especially the vast number of elephants laden with gold, silver, and jewels, and carrying the noblemen and women who were made captives at Siam.

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