How we were carried up into the Countrey,
and disposed of there,
and of the sickness, sorrow and death of the Captain.
The Dissauva with his men being gone, the people of the Town were appointed to guard and secure us until further order. But they carryed us some six miles higher into the Countrey, and would not yet adventure to bring the Long boats-crew unto us, but kept them by themselves in another Town, fearing lest we might make an Escape, as certainly we would have attempted it had they not removed us. There was a small Moors Vessel, which lay in the River, which they had seized on about this time, as we supposed they would have done by our Ship if they could have catched her there. This Vessel had some forty men belonging to her who were not made Prisoners as we were, but yet lay in the same Town: with those we had concluded, that they would furnish us with Arms, and in the night altogether to march down, and get on board of their Vessel, and so make our escape. But being prevented in this design by our departure, we were fain to lay at their mercy.
In our new quarters our entertainment proved as good as formerly. And indeed there was this to mitigate our misery, that the People were courteous to us and seemed to pity us. For there is a great difference between the People inhabiting the high-lands, or the mountains of Cande, and those of the low-lands where we now are placed, who are of a kinder nature by far than the other. For these Countreys beneath the mountains formerly were in subjection unto the Portugueze. Whereby have been exercised and acquainted with the customs and manners of Christian People. Which pleasing them far better than their own have begot and bred in them a kind of love and affection towards Strangers, being apt to shew Pity and Compassion on them in their distress. And you shall hear them oftentimes upbraiding the High-landers for their insolent and rude behavior.
It was a very sad Condition whilst we were all together, yet hitherto each others company lessened our sufferings, and was some comfort that we might condole one another. But now it came to pass that we must be separated and placed asunder, one in a Village, where we could have none to confer withall or look upon, but the horrible black faces of our heathen enemies, and not understand one word of their Language neither, this was a great addition to our grief. Yet God was so merciful to us, as not to suffer them to part my Father and I.
For it was some sixteen days after our last remove, the King was pleased to send a Captain with Soldiers to bring us up into the Countrey. Who brought us and the other men taken in the Long boat together: Which was an heavy meeting; Being then, as we well saw, to be carried Captives into the mountains. That night we supped together, and the next morning changed our condition into real Captivity. Howbeit they gave us many comfortable promises, which we believed not; as, that the Kings intent was not to keep us any longer, than till another Ship came to carry us away. Altho we had but very little to carry, God knows, yet they appointed men to carry the cloths that belonged to the Captain and Officers.
We still expected they would plunder us of our cloths, having nothing else to be plundered of: but the Chingulay Captain told us, that the King had given order that none should take the value of a thread from us: Which indeed they did not. As they brought us up they were very tender of us, as not to tyre us with Travelling, bidding us go no faster than we would our selves. This kindness did somewhat comfort us. The way was plain and easie to Travail through great Woods, so that we walked as in an Arbour, but desolate of Inhabitants. So that for four or five nights we lay on the Ground, with Boughs of Trees only over our heads. And of Victuals twice a Day they gave us as much as we could eat, that is, of Rice, Salt-fish, dryed Flesh: And sometimes they would shoot Deer and find Hony in the Trees, good part of which they always brought unto us. And drink we could not want, there being Rivers and Puddles full of Water as we Travelled along.
But when we came out of the Woods among Inhabitants and were led into their Towns, they brought us Victuals ready dressed after their fashion, viz. Rice boiled in Water, and three other sorts of Food, whereof one Flesh, and the other two Herbs or such like things that grow in their Countrey, and all kinds of ripe Fruit, which we liked very well and fed heartily upon. Our entertainment all along was at the Charge of the Countrey: So we fed like Soldiers upon free Quarter. Yet I think we gave them good content for all the Charge we put them to. Which was to have the satisfaction of seeing us eat, sitting on Mats upon the Ground in their yards to the Publick view of all Beholders. Who greatly admired us, having never seen, nor scarce heard of, English-men before. It was also great entertainment to them to observe our manner of eating with Spoons, which some of us had, and that we could not take the Rice up in our hands, and put it to our mouths without spilling, as they do, nor gaped and powred the Water into our Mouths out of Pots according to their Countreys custom. Thus at every Town where we came they used both young and old in great Companies to stare upon us.
Being thus brought up all together somewhat near to the City of Cande. Now came an Order from the King to separate us, and to place us one in a Town. Which then seemed to us to be very hard, but it was for the convenience or getting Food, being quartered upon the Countrey at their Charge.
The Captain Mr. John Loveland, my self and John Gregory were parted from the rest, and brought nearer to the City, to be ready when the King should send for us. All the Rest were placed one in a Town according to the aforesaid Order. Special Command also was given from the King, that we all should be well entertained, and according to the Countrey fare we had no cause to complain. We four were thus kept together some two Months, faring well all the while. But the King minding us not, Order came from the great Men in Court to place us in Towns, as the rest were; only my Father and I were still permitted to be together, and a great Charge given to use us well. And indeed twice a Day we had brought unto us as good fare as the Countrey afforded. All the rest had not their Provisions brought to them, as we had, but went to eat from house to house, each house taking its turn.
On the Sixteenth of September, 1660. My Father and I were placed in a Town called Bonder Coos-wat the situation was very pleasing and commodious, lying about Thirty Miles to the Northward of the City of Cande, in the Countrey called Hotcurly and distant from the rest of our People a full days journey. We were removed hither from another Town nearer to the City where the Nobles at Court supposing that the King would call for us, had placed us to have us ready. Being thus brought to Bonder Cooswat, the People put it to our choice which House we would have to reside in. The Countrey being hot and their Houses dark and dirty, my Father chose an open House, having only a Roof but no Walls. Wherein they placed a Cot, or Bed-stead only with a Mat upon it for him, which in their Account is an extraordinary Lodging; and for me a Mat upon the Ground.
Moneys at that time were very low with us. For although we wanted not for opportunity to send for what we would have brought unto unto us from the Ship, yet fearing we should be plundered of it, sent not for any thing only a Pillow for my Father. For we held it a point without dispute, that they that made Prisoners of our Bodies would not spare to take our Goods; my Father also alledging, that he had rather his Children at home should enjoy them.
But to make amends for that, we had our Provisions brought us without money, and that twice a Day, so much as we could eat, and as good as their Countrey yielded; to wit, a Pot of good Rice, and three Dishes of such things as with them is accounted good Cheer; one always either Flesh, Fish or Eggs; but not over much of this Dish, the other Dishes, Herbs, Pumkins or such like, one of which is always made sower.
The first year that we were brought into this Town, this part of the Land was extraordinary Sickly by Agues and Feavours, whereof many People dyed; insomuch that many times we were forced to remain an hungry, there being none well enough either to boil or bring Victuals unto us.
We had with us a Practice of Piety, and Mr. Rogers seven Treatises, called the Practice of Christianity. With which companions we did frequently discourse; and in the cool of the Evening walk abroad in the Fields for a refreshing, tyred with being all day in our House or Prison.
This Course lasted until God was pleased to visit us both with the Countrey Sickness, Ague and Feavour. The sight of my Fathers misery was far more grievous unto me than the sence of my own, that I must be a Spectator of his Affliction, and not any ways able to help him. And the sight of me so far augmented his grief, that he would often say, What have I done when I charged you to come ashore to me again, your dutifulness to me hath brought you to be a Captive. I am old and cannot long hold out, but you may live to see many days of Sorrow, if the mercy of God do not prevent it. But my prayers to God for you shall not be wanting, that for this cause he would visit you with his Mercy, and bestow on you a Blessing.
My Father’s Ague lasted not long, but deep grief daily more and more increased upon him, which so over-whelmed even his very heart, that with many a bitter sigh he used to utter these words, These many years even from my youth have I used the Seas, in which time the Lord God hath delivered me from a multitude of Dangers; rehearsing to me what great Dangers he had been in, in the Straits by the Turks and by other Enemies, and also in many other places, too large here to insert, and always how merciful God was to him in delivering him out of them all, So that he never knew what it was to be in the hand of an Enemy; But now in his old Age, when his head was grown grey, to be a Captive to the Heathen, and to leave his Bones in the Eastern Parts of the World, when it was his hopes and intention, if God permitted him to finish this Voyage, to spend and end the residue of his days at home with his Children in his Native Countrey, and to settle me in the Ship in his stead; the thoughts of these things did even break his heart.
Upwards of three Months my Father lay in this manner upon his Bed, having only under him a Mat and the Carpet he sat upon in the Boat when he came ashore, and a small Quilt I had to cover him withall. And I had only a Mat upon the Ground and a Pillow to lay on, and nothing to cover me but the Cloths on my back: but when I was cold, or that my Ague came upon me, I used to make a Fire, Wood costing nothing, but the fetching.
We had a black Boy my Father brought from Porto Nova to attend upon him, who seeing his Master to be a Prisoner in the hands of the People of his own Complexion, would not now obey his Command, further than what agreed unto his own humour, neither was it then as we thought in our Power to compel or make him; but it was our ignorance. As for me, my Ague now came to a settled course; that is, once in three days, and so continued for Sixteen Months time.
There appearing now to us no probability, whereupon to build any hopes of Liberty, the sence of it struck my Father into such an Agony and strong Passion of Grief, that once I well remember in Nine days time nothing came into his mouth, but cold water; neither did he in three Months together ever rise up out of his Bed, but when the course of Nature required it: always groaning and sighing in a most piteous manner: which for me to hear and see come from my dear Father, my self also in the same Condition, did almost break my heart. But then I felt that Doctrine most true, which I had read out of Mr. Roger’s Book, That God is most sweet, when the world is most bitter.
In this manner my Father lay until the Ninth of February 1660/61. By which time he was consumed to an Anatomy, having nothing left but Skin to cover his Bones; yet he often would say, That the very sound of Liberty would so revive him, that it would put strength into his Limbs. But it was not the will of him, to whom we say, Thy will be done, to have it so.
The evening before his Death, he called me to come near his Bed side, and to sit down by him, at which time also I had a strong Feavor upon me. This done, he told me, That he sensibly felt his life departing from him, and was assured that this Night God would deliver him out of this Captivity, and that he never thought in all his Lifetime that Death could be so easie and welcom to any Man, as God had Page 125made it to be to him, and the joyes he now felt in himself he wanted utterance to express to me. He told me, These were the last words, that ever he should speak to me, and bid me well regard and be sure to remember them, and tell them to my Brother and Sister, if it pleased God, as he hoped it would, to bring us together in England; where I should find all things settled to my contentation, relating to me after what manner he had settled his Estate by Letters which he sent from Cotiar.
In the first place and above all, He charged me to serve God, and with a circumspect care to walk in his ways, and then, he said, God would bless me and prosper me. And next, he bad me have a care of my Brother and Sister. And lastly, He gave me a special charge to beware of strong Drink, and lewd Company, which as by Experience many had found, would change me into another man, so that I should not be my self. It deeply grieved him, he said, to see me in Captivity in the prime of my years, and so much the more because I had chosen rather to suffer Captivity with him than to disobey his Command. Which now he was heartily sorry for, that he had so commanded me, but bad me not repent of obeying the command of my Father; seeing for this very thing, he said, God would bless me, and bid me be assured of it, which he doubted not of, viz. That God Almighty would deliver me; which at that time I could not tell how to conceive, seeing but little sign of any such Matter. But blessed be the Name of my most gracious God, who hath so bountifully sustained me ever since in the Land of my Captivity, and preserved me alive to see my Deceased Father’s word fulfilled! And truly I was so far from repenting, that I had obeyed the Command of my Father, and performed the Oath and Promise I made unto him upon it, that it rather rejoyced me to see that God had given me so much Grace.
But tho it was a trouble to him, that by his means I was thus made a Captive; yet it was a great Comfort to him, he said, to have his own Son sit by him on his Death-bed, and by his hands to be Buried, whereas otherwise he could expect no other but to be eaten by Dogs or wild Beasts. Then he gave me order concerning his Burial, That having no winding sheet, I should pull his Shirt over his head, and slip his Breeches over his feet, and so wrap him up in the Mat he layd upon: and then ceased speaking, and fell into a Slumber. This was about Eight or Nine a Clock in the Evening, and about Two or Three in the Morning he gave up the Ghost, Feb. the Ninth, 1660. being very sensible unto the very instant of his Departure.
According to his own appointment with my own hands I wrapped him up ready for the Grave; my self being very sick and weak, and as I thought ready to follow after him. Having none but the black Boy with me, I bad him ask the People of the Town for help to carry my Father to the Grave, because I could not understand their Language. Who immediately brought forth a great Rope they used to tye their Cattle withal, therewith to drag him by the Neck into the Woods, saying, They could afford me no other help, unless I would pay for it. This Insolency of the Heathen grieved me much to see, neither could I with the Boy alone do what was necessary for his Burial, though we had been able to carry the Corps, having not wherewithal to dig a Grave, and the ground very dry and hard. Yet it was Page 126some comfort to me that I had so much Ability as to hire one to help; which at first I would not have spared to have done, had I known their meaning.
By this means I thank God, in so decent a manner as our present condition would permit, I laid my Father’s Body in the Grave. Most of which I digged with my own hands; the place being in a Wood, on the North-side of a Corn Field, where heretofore we had used often to walk, going up to Handapoul: that Division, as I have said, being called Bonder Cooswat, because formerly it had belonged to the Revenues or Jointure of the Queen, Bonder implying something relating to the King. It lyes towards the Northwest of the middle of the Island in the County Hotcurly.
Thus was I left Desolate, Sick, and in Captivity, having no earthly Comforter, none but only He who looks down from Heaven to hear the groaning of the Prisoners, and to shew himself a Father of the Fatherless, and a present help to them that have no helper.
The News of my Father’s Death being carried to Court, presently two Messengers were sent from thence to see me, and to know of me, How and in what manner my Father died, and what he had left. Which was a Gold Ring, a Pagoda, and some two or three Dollars and a few old Cloths; God knows but a very little, yet it scared me not a little, fearing they would take it away from me, and my want being so great; but they had no such order nor intent. But the chief occasion of their coming was to renew the former order unto the People of that Town, that they should be kind to me and give me good Victuals, left I might dye also as my Father had done. So for a while I had better entertainment than formerly.