[Footnote 196: Or 1800 ounces, which at L.3, 17s. 6d. per ounce, is equal to L.6975 sterling, a large sum in those days.—E.]
In the meantime our men lived without any rule, eating without measure of the fruit of the country, drinking the palm wine which runs in the night from the cut branches of that tree, and continually running into the water to assuage the extreme heat of the season; and not being used to these sudden transitions, which are excessively dangerous, they fell into swellings and agues, by which about the end of the year they were dying sometimes 3, 4, or 5 in a day. When the 30 days were expired, and Windham saw his men dying so fast, he sent orders to Pinteado and the rest to come away without any more delay. Pinteado and the others wrote back to inform him of the large quantity of pepper already gathered, and that they looked daily for more, desiring him to consider the great praise they would all get on their return if the voyage turned out profitable, and the shame that must attend returning without a full loading. Not satisfied with this answer, more especially as the men continued to die in great numbers, Windham sent a second message ordering them to return immediately, or that he would go away and leave them. Thinking to prevail upon him by reasonable means, Pinteado returned to the ships under an escort provided by the negro king.
In the mean time Windham, enraged at Pinteado, broke open his cabin and all his chests, spoiled all the cordials and sweetmeats he had provided for his health, and left him nothing either of his cloaths or nautical instruments; after which strange procedure he fell sick and died. When he came on board, Pinteado lamented as much for the death of Windham as if he had been his dearest friend; but several of the mariners and officers spit in his face, calling him Jew, and asserted that he had brought them to this place on purpose that they should die; and some even drew their swords, threatening to slay him. They insisted that he should leave the coast immediately, and though he only requested them to wait till those who were left at the court of the king of Benin could be sent for, they would by no means consent. He then prayed them to give him a boat, and as much of an old sail as might serve to fit her out, in which he proposed to bring Nicholas Lambert and the rest to England, but even this they would not consent to. Finding all his representations in vain, he wrote a letter to the merchants at court, informing them of all that had happened at the ships, promising, if God spared his life, that he would return as soon as possible for them.
[Footnote 197: This Lambert was a Londoner born, his father having been Lord Mayor of London.—Hakluyt.]