We were admitted into the kings presence on the 1st of March, who gave us like friendly assurances respecting our trade; and next day we went again to court, when the veador shewed us a basket of green pepper and another of dry in the stalks. We desired to have it plucked from the stalks and made clean, which he said would require some time to get done, but should be executed to our satisfaction, and that by next year it should be all in readiness for us, as we had now come unexpectedly to their country, to which no Christians had traded for pepper in the reign of the present king. Next day they sent us 12 baskets full, and continued to send more daily till the 9th March, by which time we had made up 64 serons of pepper and 28 elephants teeth. By this time, as our constitutions were unused to the climate of Benin, all of us were seized with fevers; upon which the captain sent me down to Goto with the goods we had collected. On my arrival there, I found all the men belonging to our pinnace sick, so that they were unable to convey the pinnace and goods to the ship; but fortunately the boat came up to Goto from the ship within two hours after my arrival, to see what we were about, so that I put the goods into the boat and went down to the ship: But by the time I had got on board several of our men died, among whom were Mr Benson, the copper, and the carpenter, with three or four more, and I was in so weak a state as to be unable to return to Benin. I therefore sent up Samuel Dunne and the surgeon, that he might let blood of them if it were thought adviseable; but on their arrival they found the captain and your son William Bird both dead, and Thomas Hempstead was so very weak that he died two days after.
In this sorrowful state of affairs they returned with all speed to the ship, with such pepper and elephants teeth as they had got, as will appear by the cargo. At their coming away; the veador told them he would use all possible expedition to procure them more goods if they would remain longer; but the sickness so increased among us, that by the time our men came back we had so many sick and dead, that we looked to lose our ship, lives, country, and all. We were so reduced that it was with much difficulty we were able to heave our anchors; but by Gods blessing we got them up and put to sea, leaving our pinnace behind, on the 13th of April. After which our men began to recover and gather strength. Sailing between the Cape de Verd islands and the Main, we came to the Azores on the 25th of July; and here our men began again to fall sick, and several died, among whom was Samuel Dunn, those who remained alive being in a sad state. In the midst of our distress, it pleased God that we should meet your ship the Barke Burre on this side the North Cape, which not only kept company with us, but sent us six fresh men on board, without whose assistance we must have been in a sad condition. By this providential aid we are now arrived at Plymouth, this 9th September; and, for want of better health at this present. I must refer you for farther particulars till my arrival in London.—Yours to command,