A return to the rest of the English,
with some further accounts of them.
And some further discourse of the Authors course of
Let us now make a Visit to the rest of our Country-men, and see how they do. They reckoning themselves in for their Lives, in order to their future settlement, were generally disposed to Marry. Concerning which we have had many and sundry disputes among ourselves; as particularly concerning the lawfulness of matching with Heathens and Idolaters, and whether the Chingulays Marriages were any better than living in Whoredome: there being no Christian Priests to join them together, and it being allowed by their Laws to change their Wives and take others as often as they pleased. But these cases we solved for our own advantage after this manner, That we were but Flesh and Blood, and that it is said, It is better to Marry than to burn, and that as far as we could see, we were cut off from all Marriages any where else, even for our Life time, and therefore that we must marry with these or with none at all. And when the People in Scripture were forbidden to take Wives of Strangers, it was then when they might intermarry with their own People, and so no necessity lay upon them. And that when they could not, there are examples in the Old Testament upon Record, that they took Wives of the Daughters of the Lands, wherein they dwelt. These reasons being urged, there was none among us, that could object ought against them, especially if those that were minded to marry Women here, did take them for their Wives during their lives, as some of them say, they do: and most of the Women they marry are such as do profess themselves to be Christians.
As for mine own part, however lawful these Marriages might be, yet I judged it far more convenient for me to abstain, and that it more redounded to my good, having always a reviving hope in me, that my God had not forsaken me, but according to his gracious promise to the Jews in the XXX Chapter of Deuteronomy, and the beginning, would turn my Captivity and bring me into the Land of my Fathers. These and such like meditations, together with my Prayers to God, kept me from that unequal Yoke of Unbeleivers, which several of my Countrey men and fellow Prisoners put themselves under.
By this time our People having plyed their Business hard, had almost knit themselves out of work; and now Caps were become a very dead Commodity, which was the chief stay they had heretofore to trust to. So that now most of them betook themselves to other employments; some to Husbandry, Plowing Ground, and sowing Rice, and keeping Cattle, others stilled Rack to sell, others went about the Country a Trading. For that which one part of the Land affords is a good Commodity to carry to another that wants it. And thus with the help of a little allowance, they make a shift to subsist. Most of their Wives spin Cotton yarn, which is a great help to them for cloathing, and at spare times also knit.
After this manner by the blessing of God our Nation hath lived and still doth, in as good fashion as any other People or Nation whatsoever, that are Strangers here, or as any of the Natives themselves, only the Grandees and Courtiers excepted. This I speak to the Praise and Glory of our God; who loves the Stranger in giving him Food and Raiment; and that hath been pleased to give us Favour and a good Repute in the sight of our Enemies. We cannot complain for want of justice in any wrongs we have sustained by the People; or that our cause hath been discountenanced; but rather we have been favoured above the Natives themselves.
One of our men happened to be beaten by his Neighbour. At which we were all very much concerned, taking it as a reproach to our Nation, and fearing it might embolden others to do the like by the rest of us. Therefore with joint consent we all concluded to go to the Court to complain, and to desire satisfaction from the Adigar. Which we did. Upon this the man who had beat the English man was summoned in to appear before him. Who seeing so many of us there, and fearing the cause will go very hard with him, to make the Judg his friend, gave him a bribe. He having received it would have shifted off the Punishment of the Malefactor. But we day after day followed him from house to Court, and from place to place, where-ever he went, demanding Justice and Satisfaction for the wrong we received, shewing the black and blew blows upon the English mans shoulders to all the rest of the Noble men at Court. He fearing therefore lest the King might be made acquainted herewith was forced tho much against his will to clap the Chingulay in Chains. In which condition after he got him, he released him not till besides the former fee he had given him another.
Lately was Richard Varnham taken into the Kings service, and held as Honourable an employment as ever any Christian had in my time, being Commander of Nine Hundred and Seventy Soldiers, and set over all the great Guns, and besides this, several Towns were under him. A place of no less Profit than Honour. The King gave him an excellent Silver Sword and Halberd, the like to which the King never gave to any White man in my time. But he had the good luck to die a natural Death. For had not that prevented, in all probability he should have followed the two English men that served him, spoken of before.
Some years since some of our Nation took up Arms under the King. Which happened upon this occasion. The Hollanders had a small Fort in the Kings Countrey, called Bibligom Fort. This the King minded to take and demolish, sent his Army to beseige it. But being pretty strong; for there were about Ninety Dutch men in it, besides a good number of Black Soldiers, and four Guns on each point one, being in this condition it held out. Some of the great men informed the King of several Dutch runnaways in his Land, that might be trusted, not daring to turn again for fear of the Gallows, who might help to reduce the Fort. And that also there were white menof other Nations that had Wives and Children, from whom they would not run: and these might do him good service. Unto this advice the King inclined.
Whereupon the King made a Declaration to invite the forrain Nations into his Service against Bibligom Fort, that he would compel none, but such as were willing of their own free accord, the King would take it kindly, and they should be well rewarded. Now there entred into the Kings Service upon this Expedition some of all Nations; both Portugueze, Dutch and English, about the number of Thirty. To all that took Arms he gave to the value of Twenty shillings in money, and three pieces of Callico for Cloaths, and commanded them to wear Breeches, Hats and Doublets, a great honour there. The King intended a Dutch-man, who had been an old Servant to him, to be Captain over them all. But the Portuguese not caring to be under the Command of a Dutch-man, desired a Captain of their own Nation, which the King granted, studying to please them at this time. But the English being but six, were too few to have a Captain over them, and so were forced some to serve under the Dutch and some under the Portugueze Captain. There were no more of the English, because being left at their liberty they thought it safest to dwell at home, and cared not much to take Arms under a Heathen against Christians.
They were all ready to go, their Arms and Ammunition ready with Guns prepared to send down, but before they went, Tydings came that the Fort yeilded at the Kings Mercy. After this the Whites thought they had got an advantage of the King in having these gifts for nothing, but the King did not intend to part with them so; but kept them to watch at his Gate. And now they are reduced to great Poverty and Necessity. For since the Kings first Gift they have never received any Pay or Allowance; tho they have often made their Addresses to him to supply their wants, signifying their forwardness to serve him faithfully. He speaks them fair, and tells them he will consider them, but does not in the least regard them. Many of them since, after three or four years service, have been glad to get other Poor run away Dutchmen to serve in their steads, giving them as much mony and cloths as they received of the King before; that so they might get free, to come home to their Wives and Children.
The Dutch Captain would afterwards have forced the rest of the English to have come under him, and called them Traytors because they would not, and threatned them. But they scorned him, and bid him do his worst, but would never be persuaded to be Soldiers under him, saying, that it was not so much his zeal to the Kings Service as his own Pride to make himself greater by having more men under him.
I will now turn to the Progress of my own Story. It was now about the year MDCLXXII. I related before, that my family was reduced to two, my self and one honest man more, we lived solitarily and contentedly being well setled in a good House of my own. Now we fell to breeding up Goats: we began with two, but by the blessing of God they soon came to a good many; and their Flesh served us instead of Mutton. We kept Hens and Hogs also: And seeing no sudden likelihood of Liberty, we went about to make all things handsome and convenient about us: which might be serviceable to us, while we lived there, and might farther our Liberty whensoever we should see an occasion to attempt it: which it did, in taking away all suspition from the People concerning us: who not having Wives as the others had, they might well think, lay the readier to take any advantage to make an escape. Which indeed we two did Plot and Consult about, between our selves with all imaginable Privacy, long before we go away: and therefore we laboured by all means to hide our designs; and to free them from so much as suspition.
We had now brought our House and Ground to such a perfection that few Noble mens Seats in the Land did excel us. On each side was a great Thorn Gate for entrance, which is the manner in that Countrey: the Gates of the City are of the same. We built also another House in the Yard all open for Air, for our selves to sit in, or any Neighbours that came to talk with us. For seldome should we be alone, our Neighbours oftner frequenting our House than we desired; out of whom to be sure we could pick no Profit. For their coming is always either to beg or borrow. For altho we were Strangers and Prisoners in their Land, yet they would confess that Almighty God had dealt far more bountifully with us than with them, in that we had a far greater plenty of all things than they.
I now began to set up a new Trade. For the Trade of Knitting was grown dead, and Husbandry I could not follow, not having a Wife to help and assist me therein, a great part of Husbandry properly belonging to the woman to manage. Whereupon I perceived a Trade in use among them, which was to lend out Corn. The benefit of which is fifty per cent, per annum. This I saw to be the easiest and most profitable way of Living, whereupon I took in hand to follow it: and what stock I had, I converted into Corn or Rice in the Husk. And now as customers came for Corn, I let them have it, to receive their next Harvest, when their own Corn was ripe, the same quantity I lent them, and half as much more. But as the Profit is great, so is the trouble of getting it in also. For he that useth this Trade must watch when the Debtors Field is ripe, and claim his due in time, otherwise other Creditors coming before will seize all upon the account of their Debts, and leave no Corn at all for those that carrie later. For these that come thus a borrowing, generally carry none of their Corn home when it is ripe, for their Creditors ease them of that Labour by coming into their Fields and taking it, and commonly they have not half enough to pay what they ow. So that they that miss getting ther Debts this year must stay till the next when it will be double, two measures for one: but the Interest never runs up higher, tho the Debt lye seven years unpaid. By means hereof I was put to a great deal of trouble, and was forced to watch early and late to get my Debts, and many times miss of them after all my Pains. Howbeit when my Stock did encrease that I had dealings with many, I mattered not if I lost in some places, the profit of the rest was sufficient to bear that out.
And thus by the Blessing of God my little was encreased to a great deal. For he had blessed me so; that I was able to lend to my Enemies, and had no need to borrow of them. So that I might use the words of Jacob, not out of Pride of my self, but thankfulness to God, That he brought me hither with my Staff and blessed me so here, that I became two Bands.
For some years together after I removed to my own House from Laggen denny, the People from whence I came continued my allowance that I had when I lived among them. But now in plain Terms they told me they could give it me no more, and that I was better able to live without it than they to give it me. Which tho I knew to be true, yet I thought not fit to loose that Portion of Allowance, which the King was pleased to allot me. Therefore I went to Court and appealed Page 150to the Adigarto whom such matters did belong. Who upon consideration of the Peoples poor condition, appointed me monthly to come to him at the Kings Palace for a Ticket to receive my Allowance out of the King’s Store-houses.
Hereby I was brought into a great danger, out of which I had much ado to escape, and that with the loss of my Allowance for ever after. I shall relate the manner of it in the next Chapter.