Concerning some other Nations,
and chiefly Europæans,
that now live in this Island. Portugueze, Dutch.
Having said all this concerning the English People, it may not be unacceptable to give some account of other Whites, who either voluntarily or by constraint Inhabit there. And they are, besides the English already spoken of, Portugueze, Dutch, and French. But before I enter upon Discourse of any of these, I shall detain my Readers a little with another Nation inhabiting in this Land, I mean, the Malabars; both because they are Strangers and derive themselves from another Countrey, and also because I have had occasion to mention them sometimes in this Book.
These Malabars then are voluntary Inhabitants in this Island, and have a Countrey here; tho the Limits of it are but small: it lyes to the Northward of the King’s Coasts betwixt him and the Hollander. Corunda Wy River parts it from the King’s Territories. Thro this Countrey we passed, when we made our Escape. The Language they speak is peculiar to themselves, so that a Chingulays cannot understand them, nor they a Chingulays.
They have a Prince over them, called Coilat wannea, that is independent either upon the King of Cande on one hand, or the Dutch on the other, only that he pays an acknowledgment to the Hollanders. Who have endeavoured to subdue him by Wars, but they cannot yet do it: yet they have brought him to be a Tributary to them, viz. To pay a certain rate of Elephants per annum. The King and this Prince maintain a Friendship and Correspondence together. And when the King lately sent an Army against the Hollanders, this Prince let them pass thro his Countrey; and went himself in Person to direct the King’s People, when they took one or two Forts from them.
The People are in great subjection under him: they pay him rather greater Taxes than the Chingulays do to their King. But he is nothing so cruel. He Victualleth his Soldiers during the time they are upon the Guard, either about the Palace or abroad in the Wars: they are now fed at his Charge: whereas ’tis contrary in the King’s Countrey; for the Chingulay Soldiers bear their own Expences. He hath a certain rate out of every Land that is sown, which is to maintain his Charge.
The Commodities of this Countrey are, Elephants, Hony, Butter, Milk, Wax, Cows, wild Cattel: of the three last great abundance. As for Corn it is more scarce than in the Chingulays Countrey; neither have they any Cotton. But they come up into Neure Caulava yearly with great droves of Cattel, and lade both Corn and Cotton. And to buy these they bring up Cloth made of the same Cotton, which they can make better than the Chingulays; also they bring Salt and Salt Fish, and brass Basons, and other Commodities, which they get of the Hollander: because the King permits not his People to have any manner of Trade with the Hollander; so they receive the Dutch Commodities at the second hand.
We now proceed unto the Europæan Nations. And we begin with the Portugueze, who deserve the first place, being the oldest Standers there.
The Sea-Coasts round about the Island were formerly under their Power and Government, and so held for many years. In which time many of the Natives became Christians, and learned the Portugueze Tongue. Which to this day is much spoken in that Land: for even the King himself understands and speaks it excellently well. The Portugueze have often made Invasions throughout the whole Land, even to Cande the Metropolis of the Island. Which they have burnt more than once, with the Palace and the Temples: and so formidable have they been, that the King hath been forced to turn Tributary to them, paying them three Elephants per Annum. However the middle of this Island, viz. Cand’ Uda, standing upon Mountains, and so strongly fortified, by Nature, could never be brought into subjection by them, much less by any other, but hath always been under the Power of their own Kings.
There were great and long Wars between the King of Ceilon and the Portugueze: and many of the brave Portugal Generals are still in memory among them: of whom I shall relate some passages presently. Great vexation they gave the King by their irruptions into his Dominions, and the Mischiefs they did him, tho oftentimes with great loss on their side. Great Battels have been lost and won between them, with great destruction of Men on both parts. But being greatly distressed at last, he sent and called in the Hollander to his aid. By whose reasonable assistance together with his own Arms, the King totally disposessed the Portugueze, and routed them out of the Land. Whose rooms the Dutch now occupy, paying themselves for their pains.
At the Surrender of Columbo, which was the last place the Portugueze held, the King made Proclamation, That all Portugueze, which would come unto him, should be well entertained. Which accordingly many did, with their whole Families, Wives, Children, and Servants, choosing rather to be under him than the Dutch, and divers of them are alive to this day, living in Cande Uda; and others are born there. To all whom he alloweth monthly maintenance; yea also, and Provisions for their Slaves and Servants, which they brought up with them. This People are privileged to Travel the Countreys above all other Whites, as knowing they will not run away. Also when there was a Trade at the Sea Ports, they were permitted to go down with Commodities, clear from all Customs and Duties. Besides these who came voluntarily to live under the King, there are others whom he took Prisoners. The Portugueze of the best Quality the King took into his Service, who are most of them since cut off according to his kind Custom towards his Courtiers. The rest of them have allowance from that King, and follow Husbandry, Trading about the Countrey, Stilling Rack, keeping Taverns; the Women sew Womens Wastcoats, the Men sew Mens Doublets for Sale.
I shall now mention some of the last Portugueze Generals, all within this present King’s Reign, with some passages concerning them.
Constantine Sa, General of the Portugals Army in Ceilon, when the Portugueze had footing in this Land, was very successful against this present King. He ran quite thro the Island unto the Royal City it self, which he set on Fire with the Temples therein. Insomuch that the King sent a Message to him signifying, that he was willing to become his Tributary. But he proudly sent him word back again, That that would not serve his turn; He should not only he Tributary, but Slave to his Master the King of Portugal. This the King of Cande could not brook, being of an high Stomach, and said, He would fight to the last drop of Blood, rather than stoop to that. There were at this time many Commanders in the Generals Army who were natural Chingulays; with these the King dealt secretly, assuring them that if they would turn on his side, he would gratifie them with very ample Rewards. The King’s Promises took effect; and they all revolted from the General. The King now daring not to trust the Revolted, to make tryal of their Truth and Fidelity, put them in the forefront of his Battel, and commanded them to give the first Onset. The King at that time might have Twenty or Thirty thousand Men in the Field. Who taking their opportunity, set upon the Portugueze Army, and gave them such a total overthrow, that as they report in that Countrey not one of them escaped. The General seeing this Defeat, and himself like to be taken, called his Black Boy to give him water to drink, and snatching the Knife that stuck by his Boy’s side, stabbed himself with it.
Another General after him was Lewis Tifféra. He swore he would make the King eat Coracan Tallipa, that is a kind hasty Pudding, made of Water and the Coracan Flower; which is reckoned the worst fare of that Island. The King afterwards took this Lewis Tisséra, and put him in Chains in the Common Goal, and made him eat of the same fare. And there is a Ballad of this Man and this passage, Sung much among the common People there to this day.
Their next General was Simon Caree, a Natural Chingulays, but Baptized. He is said to be a great Commander. When he had got any Victory over the Chingulays, he did exercise great Cruelty. He would make the Women beat their own Children in their Mortars, wherein they used to beat their Corn.
Gaspar Figari, had a Portugueze Father and Chingulays Mother. He was the last General they had in this Countrey. And a brave Soldier: but degenerated not from his Predecessors in Cruelty. He would hang up the People by the heels, and split them down the middle. He had his Axe wrapped in a white Cloth, which he carried with him into the Field to execute those he suspected to be false to him, or that ran away. Smaller Malefactors he was merciful to, cutting off only their right hands. Several whom he hath so served, are yet living, whom I have seen.
This Gaspar came up one day to fight against the King, and the King resolved to fight him. The General fixed his Camp at Motaupul in Hotteracourly. And in order to the King’s coming down to meet the Portugueze, Preparation was made for him at a place called Cota coppul, which might be Ten or Twelve miles distant from the Portugueze Army. Gaspar knew of the place by some Spies; but of the time of the Kings coming he was informed, that it was a day sooner than really it happened. According to this information he resolved privatly to march thither, and come upon him in the night unawares. And because he knew the King was a Polititian, and would have his Spies abroad to watch the Generals motion, the General sent for all the Drummers and Pipers to Play and Dance in his Camp, that thereby the Kings Spies might not suspect that he was upon the March, but merry and secure in his Camp. In the mean time, having set his People all to their Dancing and Drumming, he left a small party there to secure the Baggage, and away he goes in the night with his Army, and arrives to Catta coppul, intending to fall upon the King. But when he came thither, he found the King was not yet come: but into the Kings Tents he went, and, sits him down in the seat appointed for the King. Here he heard where the King was with his Camp: which being not far off, he marched thither in the morning and fell upon him: and gave him one of the greatest Routs that ever he had. The King himself made a narrow escape; for had it not been for a Dutch Company, which the Dutch had sent a little before for his Guard, who after his own Army fled, turned head and stopped the Portugueze for a while, he had been seized. The Portugueze General was so near the King, that he called after him, Houre, that is Brother, stay, I would speak with you, but the King being got a top of the Hills; was safe. And so Gaspar retyred to his Quarters.
This Gallant expert Commander, that had so often vanquished the Chingulays, could not cope with another Europæan Nation. For when the Hollanders came to beseige Columbo, he was sent against them with his Army. They told him before he went, that now he must look to himself, for he was not now to Fight against Chingulays, but against Soldiers, that would look him in the Face. But he made nothing of them, and said, he would serve them as he had served the Chingulays. The Hollanders met him, and they fought: but had before contrived a Stratagem, which he was not aware of: they had placed some Field-pieces in the Rear of their Army. And after a small skirmish they retreated as if they had been worsted; which was only to draw the Portugueze nearer upon their Guns. Which when they had brought them in shot of, they opened on a suddain to the right and left, and fired upon them, and so routed them, and drove them into Columbo. This Gaspar was in the City when it was taken, and himself taken Prisoner. Who was afterwards sent to Goa, where he died. And so much of the Portugueze.
The Dutch succeeded the Portugueze. The first occasion of whose coming into this Land was, that the present King being wearied and overmatched with the Portugueze, sent for them into his aid long ago from Batavia. And they did him good service, but they feathered their own nests by the means, and are now possessed of all the Sea-Coasts, and considerable Territories thereunto adjoyning.
The King of the Countrey keeps up an irreconcileable War against them. The occasion of which is said to be this. Upon the beseiging of Columbo, which was about the year MDCLV. it was concluded upon between the King and the Dutch, that their Enemies the Portugueze being expelled thence, the City was to be delivered up by the Dutch into the Kings hands. Whereupon the King himself in person with all his Power went down to this War to assist and joyn with the Hollanders, without whose help, as it is generally reported, the Dutch could not have taken the City. But being surrendred to them, and they gotten into it, the King lay looking, when they would come according to their former Articles, and put him into possession of it. Mean while they turned on a suddain & fell upon him, contrary to his expectation (whether the King had first broke word with them,) and took Bag and Baggage from him: Which provoked him in so high a manner, that he maintains a constant hostility against them, detains their Ambassadours, and forbids his People upon pain of Death to hold Commerce with them.
So that the Dutch have enough to do to maintain those places which they have. Oftentimes the King at unawares falls upon them and does them great spoil, sometimes giving no quarter, but cutting off the Heads of whomsoever he catches, which are brought up, and hung upon Trees near the City, many of which I have seen. Sometimes he brings up his Prisoners alive, and keeps them by the Highway sides, a spectacle to the People in memory of his Victories over them: many of these are now living there in a most miserable condition, having but a very small Allowance from him; so that they are forced to be, and it is a favour when they can get leave to go abroad and do it.
The Dutch therefore not being able to deal with him by the Sword, being unacquainted with the Woods and the Chingulays manner of fighting, do endeavour for Peace with him all they can, dispatching divers Embassadours to him, and sending great Presents, by carrying Letters to him in great State wrapped up in Silks wrought with Gold and Silver, bearing them all the way upon their Heads in token of great Honour, honouring him with great and high Titles, subscribing themselves his Subjects and Servants, telling him the Forts they build are out of Loyalty to him, to secure his Majesties Country from Forraign Enemies; and that when they come up into his Countrey, tis to seek maintenance. And by these Flatteries and submissions they sometimes obtain to keep what they keep what they have gotten from him, and sometimes nothing will prevail, he neither regarding their Embassadours nor receiving the Presents, but taking his opportunities on a suddain of setting on them by his Forces.
His Craft and Success in taking Bibligom Fort in the County of Habberagon, may deserve to be mentioned. The Chingulays had beseiged the Fort: and knowing the Dutch had no Water there; but all they had was conveyed thro a Trench wrought under Ground from a River near by, they beseiged them so close, and planted so many Guns towards the mouth of this Trench, that they could not come out to fetch Water. They cut down Wood also, and made bundles of Faggots therewith, which they piled up round about their Fort at some distance, and every night removed them nearer and nearer. So that their works became higher than the Fort. Their main intent by these Faggot-works, was to have brought them just under the Fort, and then to have set it on Fire, the Walls of the Fort being for the most part of Wood. There was also a Bo-gahah Tree growing just by the Fort: on which they planted Guns and shot right down into them. The houses in the Fort being Thatched, they shot also Fire-Arrows among them: So that the beseiged were forced to pull off the Straw from their Houses, which proved a great inconvenience to them being a Rainy Season: so that they lay open to the weather and cold. The Dutchfinding themselves in this extremity desired quarter which was granted them at the Kings mercy. They came out and laid down their Arms, all but the Officers, who still wore theirs. None were plundered of any thing they had about them. The Fort they demolished to the Ground, and brought up the Four Guns to the Kings Palace; where they among others stand mounted in very brave Carriages before his Gate.
The Dutch were brought two or three days journey from the Fort into the Countrey they call Owvah: and there were placed with a Guard about them, having but a small allowance appointed them; insomuch that afterwards having spent what they had, they perished for Hunger. So that of about ninety Hollanders taken Prisoners, there were not above five and twenty living when I came away.
There are several white Embassadours, besides other Chingulay People, by whom the Dutchhave sent Letters and presents to the King whom he keeps from returning back again. They are all bestowed in several houses with Soldiers to Guard them: And tho they are not in Chains, yet none is permitted to come to them or speak with them; it not being the custom of that Land for any to come to the speech of Embassadours. Their allowance is brought them ready dressed out of the Kings Palace, being all sorts of Varieties, that the Land affords. After they have remained in this condition some years, the Guards are somewhat slackned, and the Soldiers that are to watch them grow remiss in their Duty; so that now the Ambassadours walk about the Streets, and any body goes to their houses and talks with them: that is, after they have been so long in the Countrey, that all their news is stale and grown out of date. But this liberty is only winked at, not allowed. When they have been there a great while, the King usually gives them Slaves, both men and women, the more to alienate their minds from their own Country, and that they may stay with him with the more willingness and content. For his design is, to make them, if he can, inclinable to serve him. As he prevailed with one of these Embasssadours to do for the love of a woman. The manner of it I shall relate immediatly.
There are five Embassadors whom he hath thus detained since my coming there; of each of whom I shall speak a little, besides two, whom he sent away voluntarily.
The first of these was sent up by the Hollanders some time before the Rebellion against the King; Who had detained him in the City. After the Rebellion the King sent for him to him to the Mountain of Gauluda whither he had retreated from the Rebels. The King not long after removed to Digligy, where he now keeps his Court, but left the Embassador at Gauluda remaining by himself, with a Guard of Soldiers. In this uncomfortable condition, upon a dismal Mountain void of all society, he continued many days. During which time a Chingulay and his Wife falls out, and she being discontented with her Husband to escape from him flies to this Embassadors house for shelter. The woman being somewhat beautiful, he fell greatly in love with her. And to obtain her he sent to the King, and profered him his service, if he would permit him to enjoy her company, Which the King was very willing and glad to do, having now obtained that which he had long aimed at, to get him into his service.
Hereupon the King sent him word that he granted his desire, and withall sent to both of them rich Apparel, and to her many Jewels and Bracelets of Gold and Silver. Suddainly after there was a great House prepared from them in the City, furnished with all kind of furniture out of the Kings Treasure and at his proper cost and charges. Which being finished he was brought away from his Mountain into it. But from thence forward never saw his Wife more, according to the custom of Court. And he was entertained in the Kings Service, and made Courtalbad, which is cheif over all the Smiths and Carpenters in Cande Uda. Some short time after the King about to send his Forces against a Fort of the Hollanders, called Arundery built by them in the year MDCLXVI. He tho in the Kings service, yet being a well wisher to his Countrey, had privatly sent a Letter of advice to the Dutch concerning the Kings intention and purpose, an Answer to which was intercepted and brought to the King, wherein thanks was returned him from the Dutch for his Loyalty to his own Nation, and nhut they would accordingly prepare for the Kings assault. The King having this Letter, sent for him, and bad him read it, which he excused pretending it was so written, that he could not. Whereupon immediatly another Dutchman was sent for, who read it before the King, and told him the Contents of it. At which it is reported the King should say, Beia pas mettandi hitta pas ettandi, That is, He serves me for fear, and them for love; or his fear is here and his love is there; And forth with commanded to carry him forth to Execution: which was accordingly done upon him. Tis generally said, that this Letter was framed by somebody on purpose to ruine him.
The next Ambassador after him was Hendrick Draak; a fine Gentleman, and good friend of the English. This was he who was Commissioned in the year MDCLXIV. to intercede with the King on the behalf of the English, that they might have liberty to go home, and with him they were made to beleive they should return: which happened at the same time that Sir Edward Winter sent his Letters to the King for us. Which I have already spoke of in the fifth Chapter of this Part. This Embassador was much in the Kings favour, with whom he was detained till he died. And then the King sent his Body down to Columbo carried in a Pallenkine with great State and Lamention, and accompanied with his great Commanders, and many Soldiers.
Sometime after the loss of the Fort of Arrundery which was about the year MDCLXX. the Dutch sent up another Embassador to see if he could obtain a Peace, which was the first time their Embassadors began to bring up Letters upon their heads in token of extraordinary reverence. This man was much favoured by the King, and was entertained with great Ceremony and Honour, cloathing him in Chingulay Habit, Which I never knew done before nor since. But being weary of his long stay, and of the delays that were made; having often made motions to go down, and still he was deferred from day to day, at length he made a resolution, that if he had not leave by such a day, he would go without it; saying that the former Embassador who died there, died like a Woman, but it should be seen that he would die like a man. At the appointed day, he girt on his Sword, and repaired to the Gates of the Kings Palace, pulling off his Hat, and making his obeysance as if the King were present before him, and thanking him for the Favours and Honours he had done him, and so took his leave. And there being some Englishmen present, he generously gave them some money to drink his Health; and in this resolute manner departed, with some two or three Black-servants that attended on him. The upshot of which was, that the King, not being willing to prevent his resolution by Violence, sent one of his Noblemen to conduct him down; and so he had the good fortune to get home safely to Columbo.
The next Ambassador after him was John Baptista. A Man of a milder Spirit than the former, endeavouring to please and shew compliance with the King. He obtained many Favours of the King, and several Slaves both Men and Women. And living well with Servants about him, is the more patient in waiting the King’s leisure till he pleaseth to send him home.
The last Embassador that came up while I was there, brought up a Lion: which the Dutch thought would be the most acceptable Present that they could send to the King, as indeed did all others. It was but a Whelp. But the King did never receive it, supposing it not so famous as he had heard by Report Lions were. This Man with his Lion was brought up and kept in the County of Oudapollat, near Twenty Miles from the King’s Court. Where he remained about a year, in which time the Lion died. The Embassador being weary of living thus like a Prisoner with a Guard always upon him, often attempted to go back, seeing the King would not permit him Audience. But the Guards would not let him. Having divers times made disturbances in this manner to get away home, the King commanded to bring him up into the City to an House that was prepared for him, standing some distance from the Court. Where having waited many days, and seeing no sign of Audience, he resolved to make his Appearance before the King by force, which he attempted to do, when the King was abroad taking his Pleasure. The Soldiers of his Guard immediately ran, and acquainted the Noblemen at Court of his coming, who delayed not to acquaint the King thereof. Whereupon the King gave Order forthwith to meet him, and where they met him, in that same place to stop him till further order. And there they kept him, not letting him go either forward or backward. In this manner and place he remained for three days, till the King sent Order that he might return to his House whence he came. This the King did to tame him. But afterwards he was pleased to call him before him. And there he remained when I left the Countrey, maintained with Plenty of Provisions at the King’s charge.
The number of Dutch now living there may be about Fifty or Sixty. Some whereof are Ambassadors, some Prisoners of War, some Runaways, and Malefactors that have escaped the hand of Justice and got away from the Dutch Quarters. To all whom are allotted respective allowances, but the Runaways have the least, the King not loving such, tho giving them entertainment.
The Dutch here love Drink, and practise their proper Vice in this Countrey. One who was a great Man in the Court, would sometimes come into the King’s Presence half disguised with Drink, which the King often past over; but once asked Him, Why do you thus disorder yourself, that when I send for you about my Business, you are not in a capacity to serve me? He boldly replied, That as soon as his Mother took away her Milk from him, she supplied it with Wine, and ever since, saith he, I have used myself to it. With this answer the King seemed to be pleased. And indeed the rest of the white Men are generally of the same temper: insomuch that the Chingulays have a saying, That Wine is as natural to white Men, as Milk to Children.
All differences of Ranks and Qualities are disregarded among those Chingulay People that are under the Dutch. Neither do the Dutch make any distinction between the Hondrews, and the low and Inferior Casts of Men: and permit them to go in the same Habit, and sit upon Stools, as well as the best Hondrews; and the lower Ranks may eat and intermarry with the higher without any Punishment, or any Cognizance taken of it. Which is a matter that the Chingulays in Cand’ Uda are much offended with the Dutch for; and makes them think, that they themselves are sprung from some mean Rank and Extract. And this prejudiceth this People against them, that they have not such an Esteem for them. For to a Chingulay his Rank and Honour is as dear as his life. And thus much of the Dutch.