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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.

[Footnote 164:  On the coast of Tanasserim, in lat. 13 deg.  N. is an island called Tavay, so that the gulf of Tavay in the text was probably in that neighbourhood.  Martaban is in lat. 16 deg. 40’ N. So that the difference of latitude is 8 deg. 40’, and the distance cannot be less than 250 miles.—­E.]

SECTION XVIII

Of Martaban and the Kingdom of Pegu.

On our arrival at Martaban we found about ninety Portuguese there, including merchants and lower people, who had fallen at variance with the governor of the city, because certain vagabond Portuguese had slain five falchines, or porters, belonging to the king of Pegu.  According to the custom of that country, when the king of Pegu happens to be at a distance from his capital, a caravan, or company of falchines, is dispatched every fifteen days, each of them having a basket on his head full of fruit or some other delicacy, or clean clothes for the king’s use.  It accordingly happened, about a month after the king of Pegu had gone against Siam, with 1,400,000 men, that one of these caravans stopt at Martaban, to rest for the night.  On this occasion a quarrel ensued between them and some Portuguese, which ended in blows, and the Portuguese being worsted, returned upon the falchines in the night, while they were asleep, and cut off five of their heads.  There is a law in Pegu, that whosoever sheds the blood of a man, shall pay the price of blood according to the rank of the person slain:  but as these falchines were the servants of the king, the governor of Martaban durst not do any thing in the matter without the king’s orders.  The king was accordingly informed of the affair, and gave orders that the malefactors should be kept in custody till his return, when he would duly administer justice, but the captain of the Portuguese refused to deliver up these men to the governor, and even armed himself and the other Portuguese, marching every day about the city, with drums beating and displayed colours, as in despite of the governor, who was unable to enforce his authority, as the city was almost empty of men, all who were fit for war having gone with the vast army against Siam.

We arrived at Martaban in the midst of this difference, and I thought it a very strange thing to see the Portuguese behave themselves with such insolence in the city of a sovereign prince.  Being very doubtful of the consequences, I did not think proper to land my goods, which I considered in greater safety on board ship than on shore.  Most part of the goods on board belonged to the owner, who was at Malacca; but there were several merchants in the ship who had goods, though none of them had to any great value, and all of them declared they would not land any of their goods unless I landed mine; yet they afterwards neglected my advice and example, and landed their goods, all of which were accordingly lost.  The governor

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