The relation of Captain Coverte is not inserted in the Pilgrims of Purchas, who omitted it, because, as he tells us, it was already in print. Its title runs thus: A true and almost incredible Report of an Englishman, that, being cast away in the good Ship called the Ascension, in Cambaya, the furthest Part of the East Indies, travelled by Land through many unknown Kingdoms and great Cities. With a particular Description of all these Kingdoms, Cities, and People. As also a Relation of their Commodities and Manner of Traffic, &c. With the Discovery of a great Empire, called the Great Mogul, a Prince not till now known to the English Nation. By Captain Coverte. London, printed by William Hall, for Thomas Archer and Richard Redmer, 1612.
The circumstance of this narrative having been before printed, is a very insufficient reason for its omission, since Purchas inserted many others which were before in print, and few tracts had a better title for insertion, than this of Coverte. De Bry, however, knew its value, and gave a translation of it with cuts, in his Ind. Orient. part xi. p. 11. but divided into chapters, the original being in one continued narrative. It is true that Purchas has given an extract from it in his Pilgrimage, book V. chap. vii. sect. 5. a work on general geography entirely different from his Pilgrims, or Collection of Voyages and Travels; but this is very imperfect, and only refers to his land journey.
This voyage of Coverte contains sixty-eight pages in quarto, black letter, besides the dedication and title, which occupy four pages more. It is dedicated to Robert Earl of Salisbury, Lord High Treasurer of England; but there is nothing in the dedication worth notice, except that he says, after the wreck of the Ascension, and getting on shore with seventy-four others, he was the only one among them who would venture upon so desperate an undertaking as to travel home by land. He likewise asserts that every thing he relates is true, protesting that he speaks of nothing but what he had seen and suffered.
In this place, we shall only abstract the author’s voyage to Cambaya; and, instead of his journey home through India, Persia, and Turkey, [which will be inserted among the Travels,] shall give the account of Jones of his own return from Cambaya by sea to England. This voyage lays claim to two discoveries, that of the Moguls country, as appears in the tide, though Captain Hawkins had got the start of him there; and the discovery of the Bed Sea by the Ascension, as mentioned in the title of the relation by Jones in Purchas.—Astley.
[Footnote 271: This promise is not however performed in Astley’s Collection. In the Pilgrims, I. 235, Purchas has inserted the peregrination of Mr Joseph Salbank through India, Persia, part of Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and Arabia, in 1609, written to Sir Thomas Smith; and tells us in a sidenote, that Robert Coverte was his companion in the journey all the way through India and Persia, to Bagdat. We meant to have inserted these peregrinations as a substitute for those of Coverte, but found the names of places so inexplicably corrupted, as to render the whole entirely useless.—E.]