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4-XII

Part 4

CHAPTER. XII

Their Arrival at Columbo, and entertainment there.

Their departure thence to Batavia.

And from thence to Bantam:

Whence they set Sail for England.

Being arrived safely at Columbo, before the Ship came to an Anchor, there came a Barge on board to carry the Commander ashore. But being late in the evening, and my Consort sick of an Ague and Fevor, we thought it better for us to stay until Morning, to have a day before us. The next morning we bid the Skipper farewel, and went ashore in the first Boat, going strait to the Court of Guard: where all the Soldiers came staring upon us, wondring to see White-men in Chingulay Habit. We asked them if there were no English-men among them; they told us, There were none, but that in the City there were several. A Trumpetter being hard by, who had formerly sailed in English Ships, hearing of us came and invited us to his Chamber, and entertained my Consort being sick of his Ague, in his own Bed.

This strange news of our arrival from Cande, was presently spread all about the City, and all the English men that were there immediatly come to bid us welcome out of our long Captivity. With whom we consulted how to come to speech of the Governour. Upon which one of them went and acquainted the Captain of the Guard of our being on shore. Which the Captain understanding went and informed the Governour thereof. Who sent us answer that to morrow we should come before him.

After my Consort’s Fit was over, our Countreymen and their Friends invited us abroad, to walk and see the City. We being barefoot and in the Chingulay Habit, with great long Beards, the People much wondred at us, and came flocking to see who and what we were; so that we had a great Train of People about us as we walked in the Streets. After we had walked to and fro, and had seen the City, they carried us to their Land-Ladies House, where we were kindly treated both with Victuals and Drink; and returned to the Trumpetter’s Chamber, as he had desired us, when we went out. In the Evening came a Boy from the Governor’s House to tell us, that the Governor invited us to come to Supper at his House. But we having Dined late with our Countreymen and their Friends, had no room to receive the Governor’s Kindness: and so Lodged that Night at the Trumpetters.

The next Morning the Governor, whose Name was Ricklof Van Gons, Son of Ricklof Van Gons General of Batavia, sent for us to his House. Whom we found standing in a large and stately Room, paved with black and white Stones; and only the Commander, who brought us from Manaar, standing by him: who was to succeed him in the Government of that place. On the further side of the Room stood three of the chief Captains bare-headed. First, He bid us welcom out of our long Captivity, and told us, That we were free men, and that he should have been glad if he could have been an Instrument to redeem us sooner, having endeavoured as much for us as for his own People. For all which we thanked him heartily, telling him, We knew it to be true.

The Governor perceiving I could speak the PortuguezeTongue, began to inquire concerning the Affairs of the King and Countrey very particularly, and oftentimes asked about such Matters as he himself knew better than I. To all his Questions my too much Experience inabled me to give a satisfactory Reply. Some of the most remarkable matters he demanded of me were these.

First, They inquired much about the reason and intent of our coming to Cuttiar. To which I answered them at large. Then they asked, If the King of Cande had any Issue? I told them, As report went, he had none. And, Who were the greatest in the Realm next to him? I answered. There were none of Renown left, the King had destroyed them all. How the hearts of the People stood affected? I answered, Much against their King. He being so cruel. If we had never been brought into his presence? I told them, No, nor had ever had a near sight of him. What strength he had for War. I answered, Not well able to assault them, by reason the hearts of his People were not true to him. But that the strength of his Countrey consisted in Mountains and Woods, as much as in the People.

What Army he could raise upon occasion? I answered, I knew not well, but as I thought about Thirty Thousand men.

Why he would not make Peace with them, they so much sueing for it, and sending Presents to please him? I answered, I was not one of his Council, and knew not his meaning.

But they demanded of me, What I thought might be the reason or occasion of it? I answered, Living securely in the Mountains he feareth none; and for Traffick he regardeth it not.

Which way was best and most secure to send Spyes or Intelligence to Cande? I told them, By the way that goeth to Jafniputtan, and by some of that Countrey People, who have great correspondence with the People of Neurecaulava, one of the Kings Countries.

What I thought would become of that Land after this King’s Decease? I told them, I thought, He having no issue, it might fall into their hands.

How many English men had served the King, and what became of them? which I gave them an account of.

Whether I had any Acquaintance or Discourse with the great Men at Court? I answered, That I was too small to have any Friendship or Intimacy, or hold Discourse with them.

How the common People used to talk concerning them? I answered, They used much to commend their Justice and good Government in the Territories, and over the People belonging unto them.

Whether the King did take Counsel of any, or rule and act only by his own will and pleasure? I answered, I was a Stranger at Court, and how could I know that?

But, they asked further, What was my Opinion? I replied, He is so great, that there is none great enough to give him counsel.

Concerning the French, If the King knew not of their coming before they came? I answered, I thought, not, because their coming seemed strange and wonderful unto the People.

How they had proceeded in treating with the King? I answered, as shall be related hereafter; when I come to speak of the French detained in this Land.

If I knew any way or means to be used whereby the Prisoners in Cande might be set free? I told them, Means I knew none, unless they could do it by War.

Also they enquired about the manner of Executing those whom the King commands to be put to Death. They enquired also very curiously concerning the manner of our Surprizal, and Entertainment or Usage among them. And in what parts of the Land we had our Residence. And particularly, concerning my self: in what Parts of the Land, and how long in each I had dwelt, and after what manner I lived there, and of my Age; and in what Part or Place when God sends me home, I should take up my abode. To all which I gave answers.

They desired to know also, how many English men there were yet remaining behind. I gave them an account of Sixteen Men, and also of Eighteen Children born there. They much enquired concerning their Embassadors detained there, and of their behaviour and manner of living; also what the King allowed them for Maintenance; and concerning several Officers of Quality Prisoners there, and in general about all the rest of their Nation. And what Countenance the King shewed to those Dutch men that came running away to him? I answered, The Dutch Runnawayes the King looks upon as Rogues. And concerning the Portugueze they enquired also. I told them, The Portugueze were about some fifty or threescore persons, and six or seven of those, Europe men born.

They asked me moreover, How we had made our Escape, and which way, and by what Towns we passed, and how long we were in our Journey? To all which I answered at large.

Then the Governor asked me, What was my intent and desire. I told him, To have Passage to our own Nation at Fort S. GEORGE. To which he answered, That suddenly there would be no convenient opportunity. But his desire was that we would go with him to Batavia, where the General his Father would be very glad to see us. Which was not in our power to deny. Then he commanded to call a Dutch Captain, who was over the Countreys adjacent, subject to their jurisdiction. To him he gave Order to take us home to his House, and there well to entertain us, and also to send for a Tailor to make us Cloths. Upon which I told him, his Kindness shewn us already was more than we could have desired; it would be a sufficient favour now to supply us with a little Money upon a Bill to be paid at Fort S. George, that we might therewith Cloth our selves. To which he answered, That he would not deny me any Sum I should demand, and Cloth us upon his own account besides. For which we humbly thanked his Lordship: and so took our leaves of him; and went home with the aforesaid Captain.

The Governor presently sent me Money by his Steward for Expences when we walked abroad in the City. We were nobly entertained without lack of any thing all the time we stayed at Columbo. My Consort’s Ague increased, and grew very bad; but the chief Chirurgeon by order daily came to see him, and gave him such Potions of Physick, that by God’s Blessing he soon after recovered.

During my being here, I writ a Letter to my fellow Prisoners I left behind me in Cande. Wherein I described at large the way we went, they might plainly understand the same. Which I finding to be safe and secure, advised them, when God permitted, to steer the same course. This Letter I left with the new Governor, and desired him when opportunity presented, to send it to them. Who said he would have it Copied out into Dutch for the benefit of their Prisoners there, and promised to send both together

The Governor seemed to be pleased with my aforesaid Relations, and Replies to his Demands, insomuch that he afterwards appointed one that well understood Portugueze to write down all the former particulars. Which being done, for further satisfaction they brought me Pen and Paper, desiring me to write the same that I had related to them in English and sign it with my hand, which I was not unwilling to do.

Upon the Governor’s departure there were great and royal Feasts made. To which he always sent for me. Here were exceeding great Varieties of Food, Wine, and sweet Meats, and Musick. Some two and twenty days after our Arrival at Columbo, the Governor went on board ship to sail to Batavia, and took us with him. At which time there were many Scores of Ordnance fired. We Sailed all the way with Flag and Penant under it, being out both Day and Night, in a Ship of about Eight hundred Tuns Burthen; and a Soldier standing armed Sentinel at the Cabin door both Night and Day. He so far favoured me, that I was in his own Mess, and eat at his Table. Where every Meal we had Ten or Twelve Dishes of Meat with variety of Wine. We set Sail from Columbo the Four and twentieth of November, and the Fifth of January anchored in Batavia Road.

As we came to greater Men so we found greater Kindness; for the General of Batavia’s Reception of us, and favours to us exceeded (if possible) those of the Governor his Son. As soon as we came before him, seeming to be very glad, he took me by the hand and bad us heartily welcom, thanking God on our behalf that had appeared so miraculously in our deliverance; telling us withal, That he had omitted no means for our Redemption, and that if it had layd in his Power, we should long before have had our Liberty. I humbly thanked his Excellency, and said, That I knew it to be true; and that tho it missed of an effect, yet his good will was not the less, neither were our Obligations, being ever bound to thank and pray for him.

Then his own Tailor was ordered to take measure of us, and furnish us with two Sutes of Apparel. He gave us also Moneys for Tobacco and Betel, and to spend in the City. All the time we stayed there, our Quarters were in the Captain of the Castle’s House. And oftentimes the General would send for me to his own Table, at which sat only himself and Lady; who was all bespangled with Diamonds and Pearls. Sometimes his Sons and Daughters-in-Law, with some other Strangers did eat with him; the Trumpet founding all the while. We finding our selves thus kindly entertained, and our Habits changed, saw, that we were no more Captives in Cande, nor yet Prisoners elsewhere; therefore cut off our Beards which we had brought with us out of our Captivity; for until then we cut them not; God having rolled away the reproach of Candefrom us.

Here also they did examine me again concerning the passages of Cande, causing all to be writ down which I said, and requiring my hand to the same. Which I refused, as I had done before, and upon the same account, because I understood not the Dutch Language. Whereupon they persuaded me to write a Certificate upon another Paper under my Hand, that what I had informed them of, was true. Which I did. This Examination was taken by two Secretaries, who were appointed to demand Answers of me concerning the King of Ceilon and his Countrey: which they committed to Writing from my mouth.

The General’s youngest Son being to go home Admiral of the Ships this year, the General kindly offered us passage upon their Ships, promising me Entertainment at his Son’s own Table, as the Governor of Columbo had given me in my Voyage hither. Which offer he made me, he said, That I might better satisfie their Company in Holland concerning the Affairs of Ceilon, which they would be very glad to know.

At this time came two English Merchants hither from Bantam, with whom the General was pleased to permit us to go. But when we came to Bantam, the English Agent very kindly entertained us, and being not willing, that we should go to the Dutch for Passage, since God had brought us to our own Nation, ordered our Passage in the good Ship Cæsar lying then in the Road, bound for England, the Land of our Nativity, and our long wished for Port. Where by the good Providence of God we arrived safe in the Month of September.

 

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