Small ships go up to Satagan where they load and unload their cargoes. In this port of Satagan twenty-five or thirty ships great and small are loaded yearly with rice, cotton cloths of various kinds, lac, great quantities of sugar, dried and preserved mirabolans, long pepper, oil of Verzino, and many other kinds of merchandise. The city of Satagan is tolerably handsome as a city of the Moors, abounding in every thing, and belonged formerly to the king of Patane or Patna, but is now subject to the great Mogul. I was in this kingdom four months, where many merchants bought or hired boats for their convenience and great advantage, as there is a fair every day in one town or city of the country. I also hired a bark and went up and down the river in the prosecution of my business, in the course of which I saw many strange things.
The kingdom of Bengal has been long under the power of the Mahomedans, yet there are many Gentile inhabitants. Wherever I speak of Gentiles I am to be understood as signifying idolaters, and by Moors I mean the followers of Mahomet. The inhabitants of the inland country do greatly worship the river Ganges; for if any one is sick, he is brought from the country to the banks of the river, where they build for him a cottage of straw, and every day they bathe him in the river. Thus many die at the side of the Ganges, and after their death they make a heap of boughs and sticks on which they lay the dead body and then set the pile on fire. When the dead body is half roasted, it is taken from the fire, and having an empty jar tied about its neck is thrown into the river. I saw this done every night for two months as I passed up and down the river in my way to the fairs to purchase commodities from the merchants. On account of this practice the Portuguese do not drink the water of the Ganges, although it appears to the eye much better and clearer than that of the Nile.
“Of Satagan, Buttor, and Piqueno, in the kingdom of Bengal, no notices are to be found in the best modern maps of that country, so that we can only approximate their situation by guess. Setting out from what the author calls the port of Orissa, which has already been conjectured to be Balasore, the author coasted to the river Ganges, at the distance of 54 miles. This necessarily implies the western branch of the Ganges, or Hoogly river, on which the English Indian capital, Calcutta, now stands. Satagan is said to have been 100 miles up the river, which would carry us up almost to the city of Sautipoor, which may possibly have been Satagan. The two first syllables of the name are almost exactly the same, and the final syllable in Sauti_poor_ is a Persian word signifying town, which may have been gan in some other dialect. The entire distance from Balasore, or the port of Orissa, to Piqueno is stated at 170 miles, of which 154 have been already accounted for, so that Piqueno must have been only about 16 miles above Satagan, and upon the Ganges.”—ED.