“The relation which follows, titled “A brief Relation of Master John Davis, chief Pilot to the Zealanders in their East India Voyage, departing from Middleburgh,” is obscure in some places, but must only be considered as an abstract of his large journal, perhaps written in haste. The latitudes are by no means to be commended for exactness, and seem to have been taken on shipboard, only two or three of them with any care. It is rather singular that he gives no observation for Acheen, though the chief object of the voyage, and that he staid there so long.”—ASTLEY.
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We departed from Flushing on the 15th of March, 1598, being two ships in company, the Lion of 400 tons, having 123 persons on board, and the Lioness of 250 tons, with 100 men. These ships were the sole property of Messrs Mushrom, Clarke, and Monef of Middleburgh, and entirely at their risk. Cornelius Howteman was chief commander of both ships, with the title of general, having a commission from Prince Maurice.
The seventh day after, being the 22d, we anchored in Torbay, having a contrary wind. We sailed thence on the 7th of April, and had sight of Porto Santo on the 20th; fell in with Palma on the 23d, and the 30th reached the Cape Verd islands. We first anchored at St Nicholas, in lat. 16 deg. 16’ N. We here watered on the 7th of May, and setting sail on the 9th, fell in with St Jago. The 9th June we got sight of Brazil, in lat. 7 deg. S, not being able to double Cape St Augustine; for, being near the equator, we had very inconstant weather and bad winds; in which desperate case we shaped our course for the island of Fernando Noronho, in lat. 4 deg. S. where on the 15th June we anchored on the north side in eighteen fathoms. In this island we found twelve negroes, eight men and four women. It is a fertile island, having good water, and abounds in goats; having also beeves, hogs, hens, melons, and Guinea corn with plenty of fish and sea-fowl. These negroes had been left here by the Portuguese to cultivate the island, and no ships had been there for three years.
Leaving this island on the 26th August, with the wind at E.N.E. we doubled Cape St Augustine on the 30th. The 10th September we passed the Abrolhos, which we were in much fear of; these shoals being far out at sea in lat. 21 deg. S. and are very dangerous. On this occasion our Baas, for so a Dutch captain is called, appointed a Master of Misrule, named the Kesar, the authority of which disorderly officer lay in riot, as after dinner he would neither salute his friends, nor understand the laws of reason, those who ought to have been most respectful being both lawless and witless. We spent three days in this dissolute manner, and then shaped our course for the Cape of Good Hope, sailing towards the coast of Bacchus, to whom this idolatrous sacrifice was made, as appeared afterwards.