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The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of by Richard Hakluyt

Part 5 out of 8

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are well ynough disposed to receiue the knowledge of the trueth. Our Lord
grant for his mercy all things so to be disposed, that it may sometime be
brought to passe, that so great a nation as this is perish not for want of

Our maner of praying so well liked them, that in prison importunately they
besought vs to write for them somewhat as concerning heauen, the which we
did to their contentation with such reasons as we knew, howbeit not very
cunningly. As they do their idolatry they laugh at themselues. If at any
time this countrey might be ioyned in league with the kingdome of
Portugale, in such wise that free accesse were had to deale with the people
there, they might all be soone conuerted. The greatest fault we doe finde
in them is Sodomie, a vice very common in the meaner sort, and nothing
strange among the best. This sinne were it left of them, in all other
things so well disposed they be, that a good interpreter in a short space
might do there great good: If, as I said, the countrey were ioyned in
league with vs.

Furthermore the Louteas, with all the people of China, are wont to
solemnise the dayes of the new and full Moones in visiting one an other,
and making great banquets: for to that end, as I earst said, do tend all
their pastimes, and spending their dayes in pleasure. They are wont also to
solemnise ech one his birth day, whereunto their kindred and friends do
resort of custome with presents of iewels or money, receiuing againe for
their reward good cheare. They keepe in like maner a generall feast with
great banquets that day their king was borne. But their most principall and
greatest feast of all, and best cheare, is the first day of new yeere,
namely the first day of the new Moone of February, so that their first
moneth is March, and they reckon the times accordingly, respect being had
vnto the reigne of their princes: as when any deed is written, they date it
thus, Made such a day of such a moone, and such a yeere of the reigne of
such a king. And their ancient writings beare date of the yeeres of this or
that king.

Now will I speake of the maner which the Chineans doe obserue in doing of
iustice, that it be knowen how farre these Gentiles do herein exceed many
Christians, that be more bounden then they to deale iustly and in trueth.
Because the Chinish king maketh his abode continually in the city of
Pachin, his kingdome is so great, and the shires so many, as tofore it hath
bene said: in it therefore the gouernours and rulers, much like vnto our
Shireffs, be appointed so suddenly and speedily discharged againe, that
they haue no time to grow naught. Furthermore to keepe the state in more
securitie, the Louteas that gouerne one shire are chosen out of some other
shire distant farre off, where they must leaue their wiues, children and
goods, carying nothing with them but themselues. True it is, that at their
comming thither they doe finde in a readinesse all things necessary, their
house, furniture, seruants, and all other things in such perfection and
plentie, that they want nothing. Thus the king is well serued without all
feare of treason.

In the principall Cities of the shires be foure chiefe Louteas, before whom
are brought all matters of the inferiour Townes, throughout the whole
Realme. Diuers other Louteas haue the managing of iustice, and receiuing of
rents, bound to yeelde an accompt thereof vnto the greater officers. Other
do see that there be no euil rule kept in the Citie: ech one as it behoueth
him. [Sidenote: The Italians call it the strapado.] Generally all these doe
imprison malefactors, cause them to be whipped and racked, hoysing them vp
and downe by the armes with a cord, a thing very vsuall there, and
accompted no shame. These Louteas do vse great diligence in the
apprehending of theeues, so that it is a wonder to see a theefe escape away
in any City, towne or village. Vpon the sea neere vnto the shoare many are
taken, and looke euen as they are taken, so be they first whipped, and
afterward layde in prison, where shortly after they all die for hunger and
cold. At that time when we were in prison, there died of them aboue
threescore and ten. If happely any one, hauing the meanes to get food, do
escape, he is set with the condemned persons, and prouided for as they be
by the King, in such wise as hereafter it shalbe said.

Their whips be certaine pieces of canes, cleft in the middle, in such sort
that they seeme rather plaine then sharpe. He that is to be whipped lieth
groueling on the ground: vpon his thighes the hangman layeth on blowes
mightily with these canes, that the standers by tremble at their crueltie.
Ten stripes draw a great deale of blood, 20. or 30. spoile the flesh
altogether, 50. or 60. will require long time to bee healed, and if they
come to the number of one hundred, then are they incurable.

The Louteas obserue moreouer this: when any man is brought before them to
be examined, they aske him openly in the hearing of as many as be present,
be the offence neuer so great. Thus did they also behaue themselues with
vs: For this cause amongst them can here be no false witnesse, as daily
amongst vs it falleth out. This good commeth thereof, that many being
alwayes about the Iudge to heare the euidence, and beare witnesse, the
processe cannot be falsified, as it happeneth sometimes with vs. The
Moores, Gentiles, and Iewes haue all their sundry othes, the Moores do
sweare by their Mossafos, the Brachmans by their Fili, the rest likewise by
the things they do worship. The Chineans though they be wont to sweare by
heauen, by the Moone, by the Sunne, and by all their Idoles, in iudgement
neuertheless they sweare not at all. If for some offence an othe be vsed of
any one, by and by with the least euidence he is tormented, so be the
witnesses he bringeth, if they tell not the trueth, or do in any point
disagree, except they be men of worship and credit, who are beleeued
without any further matter: the rest are made to confesse the trueth by
force of torments and whips. Besides this order obserued of them in
examinations, they do feare so much their King, and he where he maketh his
abode keepeth them so lowe, that they dare not once stirre. Againe, these
Louteas as great as they be, notwithstanding the multitude of Notaries they
haue, not trusting any others, do write all great processes and matters of
importance themselues. Moreouer one vertue they haue worthy of great
praise, and that is, being men so wel regarded and accompted as though they
were princes, yet they be patient aboue measure in giuing audience. We
poore strangers brought before them might say what we would, as all to be
lyes and fallaces that they did write, ne did we stand before them with the
usuall ceremonies of that Countrey, yet did they beare with vs so
patiently, that they caused vs to wonder, knowing specially how litle any
aduocate or Iudge is wont in our Countrey to beare with vs. For wheresoeuer
in any Towne of Christendome should be accused vnknowen men as we were, I
know not what end the very innocents cause would haue: but we in a heathen
Countrey, hauing our great enemies two of the chiefest men in a whole
Towne, wanting an interpreter, ignorant of that Countrey language, did in
the end see our great aduersaries cast into prison for our sake, and
depriued of their Offices and honour for not doing iustice, yea not to
escape death: for, as the rumour goeth, they shalbe beheaded. Somewhat is
now to be said of the lawes that I haue bene able to know in this Countrey,
and first, no theft or murther is at any time pardoned: adulterers are put
in prison, and the fact once prooued, are condemned to die, the womans
husband must accuse them: this order is kept with men and women found in
that fault, but theeues and murderers are imprisoned as I haue said, where
they shortly die for hunger and cold. If any one happely escape by bribing
the Gailer to giue him meate, his processe goeth further, and commeth to
the Court where he is condemned to die. [Sidenote: A pillory boord.]
Sentence being giuen, the prisoner is brought in publique with a terrible
band of men that lay him in Irons hand and foot, with a boord at his necke
one handfull broad, in length reaching downe to his knees, cleft in two
parts, and with a hole one handfull downeward in the table fit for his
necke, the which they inclose vp therein, nailing the boord fast together;
one handfull of the boord standeth vp behinde in the necke: The sentence
and cause wherefore the fellon was condemned to die, is written in that
part of the table that standeth before.

This ceremony ended, he is laid in a great prison in the company of some
other condemned persons, the which are found by the king as long as they do
liue. The bord aforesaid so made tormenteth the prisoners very much,
keeping them both from rest, and eke letting them to eat commodiously,
their hands being manacled in irons vnder that boord, so that in fine there
is no remedy but death. In the chiefe Cities of euery shire, as we haue
erst said, there be foure principall houses, in ech of them a prison: but
in one of them, where the Taissu maketh his abode, there is a greater and a
more principall prison then in any of the rest: and although in euery City
there be many, neuerthelesse in three of them remaine onely such as be
condemned to die. Their death is much prolonged, for that ordinarily there
is no execution done but once a yeere, though many die for hunger and cold,
as we haue seene in this prison. Execution is done in this maner. The
Chian, to wit, the high Commissioner or Lord chiefe Iustice, at the yeres
end goeth to the head City, where he heareth againe the causes of such as
be condemned. Many times he deliuereth some of them, declaring that boord
to haue bene wrongfully put about their necks: the visitation ended, he
choseth out seuen or eight, not many more or lesse of the greatest
malefactors, the which, to feare and keepe in awe the people, are brought
into a great market place, where all the great Louteas meete together, and
after many ceremonies and superstitions, as the vse of the Countrey is, are
beheaded. This is done once a yeere: who so escapeth that day, may be sure
that he shall not be put to death all that yeere following, and so
remaineth at the kings charges in the greater prison. In that prison where
we lay were alwayes one hundred and mo of these condemned persons, besides
them that lay in other prisons.

These prisons wherein the condemned caytifes do remaine are so strong, that
it hath not bene heard, that any prisoner in all China hath escaped out of
prison, for in deed it is a thing impossible. The prisons are thus builded.
First all the place is mightily walled about, the walles be very strong and
high, the gate of no lesse force: within it three other gates, before you
come where the prisoners do lye, there many great lodgings are to be seene
of the Louteas, Notaries, Parthions, that is, such as do there keepe watch
and ward day and night, the court large and paued, on the one side whereof
standeth a prison, with two mighty gates, wherein are kept such prisoners
as haue committed enormious offences. This prison is so great, that in it
are streets and Market places wherein all things necessary are sold. Yea
some prisoners liue by that kind of trade, buying and selling, and letting
out beds to hire: some are dayly sent to prison, some dayly deliuered,
wherefore this place is neuer void of 7. or eight hundred men that go at

Into one other prison of condemned persons shall you go at three yron
gates, the court paued and vauted round about, and open aboue as it were a
cloister. In this cloister be eight roomes with yron doores, and in ech of
them a large gallerie, wherein euery night the prisoners do lie at length,
their feet in the stocks, their bodies hampered in huge wooden grates that
keep them from sitting, so that they lye as it were in a cage, sleepe if
they can: in the morning they are losed againe, that they may go into the
court. Notwithstanding the strength of this prison, it is kept with a
garrison of men, part whereof watch within the house, part of them in the
court, some keepe about the prison with lanterns and watch-bels answering
one another fiue times euery night, and giuing warning so lowd, that the
Loutea resting in a a chamber not neere thereunto, may heare them. In these
prisons of condemned persons remaine some 15, other 20. yeres imprisoned,
not executed, for the loue of their honorable friends that seeke to prolong
their liues. Many of these prisoners be shoomakers, and haue from the king
a certaine allowance of rise: some of them worke for the keeper, who
suffreth them to go at libertie without fetters and boords, the better to
worke. Howbeit when the Loutea called his checke roll, and with the keeper
vieweth them, they all weare their liuerses, that is, boords at their
necks, yronned hand and foot. When any of these prisoners dieth, he is to
be seene of the Loutea and Notaries, brought out of a gate so narrow, that
there can but one be drawen out there at once. The prisoners being brought
forth, one of the aforesaid Parthions striketh him thrise on the head with
an yron sledge, that done he is deliuered vnto his friends, if he haue any,
otherwise the king hireth men to cary him to his buriall in the fields.

Thus adulterers and theeues are vsed. Such as be imprisoned for debt once
knowen, lie there vntill it be paied. [Sidenote: Of like the first lenders
be the more wealthie.] The Taissu or Loutea calleth them many times before
him by the vertue of his office, who vnderstanding the cause wherefore they
do not pay their debts, appointeth them a certaine time to do it, within
the compasse whereof if they discharge not their debts being debtors in
deed, then they be whipped and condemned to perpetuall imprisonment: if the
creditors be many, and one is to be paied before another, they do, contrary
to our maner, pay him first of whom they last borrowed, and so ordinarily
the rest, in such sort that the first lender be the last receiuer. The same
order is kept in paying legacies: the last named receiueth his portion
first. They accompt it nothing to shew fauour to such a one as can do the
like againe: but to do good to them that haue litle or nothing, that is
worth thanks, therefore pay they the last before the first, for that their
intent seemeth rather to be vertuous then gainefull.

When I said, that such as be committed to prison for theft and murther were
iudged by the Court, I ment not them that were apprehended in the deed
doing, for they need no triall, but are brought immediatly before the
Tutan, who out of hand giueth sentence. Others not taken so openly, which
do need trial, are the malefactors put to execution once a yere in the
chiefe cities, to keepe in awe the people: or condemned, do remaine in
prison, looking for their day. Theeues being taken are caried to prison
from one place to another in a chest vpon mens shoulders, hired therefore
by the king, the chest is 6. handfuls high, the prisoner sitteth therein
vpon a bench, the couer of the chest is two boords, amid them both a
pillery-like hole, for the prisoners necke, there sitteth he with his head
without the chest, and the rest of his body within, not able to mooue or
turne his head this way or that way, nor to plucke it in; the necessities
of nature he voydeth at a hole in the bottome of a chest, the meate he
eateth is put into his mouth by others. There abideth he day and night
during his whole iourney: if happily his porters stumble, or the chest do
iogge or be set down carelessly, it turneth to his great paines that
sitteth therein, al such motions being vnto him hanging as it were. Thus
were our companions carried from Cinceo, 7. dayes iourney, neuer taking any
rest as afterward they told vs, and their greatest griefe was to stay by
the way: as soone as they came, being taken out of the chests, they were
not able to stand on their feet, and two of them died shortly after. When
we lay in prison at Fuquieo, we came many times abroad, and were brought to
the pallaces of noble men, to be seene of them and their wiues, for that
they had neuer seene any Portugale before. Many things they asked vs of our
Countrey, and our fashions, and did write euery thing, for they be curious
in nouelties aboue measure. The gentlemen shew great curtesie vnto
strangers, and so did we finde at their hands, and because that many times
we were brought abroad into the City, somewhat wil I say of such things as
I did see therein, being a gallant City, and chiefe in one of the 13.
shires aforesaid. The City Fuquieo is very great, and mightily walled with
square stone both within and without, and, as it may seeme by the breadth
thereof, filled vp in the middle with earth, layd ouer with brick and
couered with tyle, after the maner of porches or galleries, that one might
dwel therein. The staires they vse are so easily made, that one may go them
vp and downe a horse-backe, as eftsoones they do: the streets are paued, as
already it hath bin said: there be a great number of Marchants, euery one
hath written in a great table at his doore such things as he hath to sel.
In like maner euery artisane painteth out his craft: the market places be
large, great abundance of al things there be to be sold. The city standeth
vpon water, many streames run through it, the banks pitched, and so broad
that they serue for streets to the cities vse. Ouer the streams are sundry
bridges both of timber and stone, which being made leuel with the streets,
hinder not the passage of the barges too and fro, the chanels are so deepe.
Where the streames come in and go out of the city, be certaine arches in
the wal, there go in and out their Parai, that is a kind of barges they
haue, and that in the day time only: at night these arches are closed vp
with gates, so do they shut vp al the gates of the City. These streames and
barges do ennoblish very much the City, and make it as it were to seeme
another Venice. The buildings are euen, wel made, high, not lofted, except
it be some wherein marchandize is laid. It is a world to see how great
these cities are, and the cause is, for that the houses are built euen, as
I haue said, and do take a great deale of roome. One thing we saw in this
city that made vs al to wonder, and is worthy to be noted: namely, ouer a
porch at the comming in to one of the aforesaid 4. houses, which the king
hath in euery shire for his gouernors, as I haue erst said, standeth a
tower built vpon 40. pillers, ech one whereof is but one stone, ech one 40.
handfuls or spans long: in bredth or compasse 12, as many of vs did measure
them. Besides this, their greatnesse is such in one piece, that it might
seeme impossible to worke them: they be moreouer cornered, and in colour,
length and breadth so like, that the one nothing differeth from the other.
This thing made vs all to wonder very much.

We are wont to cal this country China, and the people Chineans, but as long
as we were prisoners, not hearing amongst them at any time that name, I
determined to learne how they were called: and asked sometimes by them
thereof, for that they vnderstood vs not when we called them Chineans, I
answered them, that al the inhabitants of India named them Chineans,
wherefore I praied them that they would tel me, for what occasion they are
so called, whether peraduenture any city of theirs bare that name. Hereunto
they alwayes answered me, that they haue no such name, nor euer had. Then
did I aske them what name the whole Country bareth, and what they would
answere being asked of other nations what countrymen they were? It was told
me that of ancient time in this country had bin many kings, and though
presently it were al vnder one, ech kingdom neuertheles enioyed that name
it first had, these kingdomes are the prouinces I spake of before.
[Sidenote: Tamen the proper name of China.] In conclusion they said, that
the whole country is called Tamen, and the inhabitants Tamegines, so that
this name China or Chineans, is not heard of in that country. I thinke that
the neernesse of another prouince thereabout called Cochinchina, and the
inhabitants thereof Cochinesses, first discovered before China was, lying
not far from Malacca, did giue occasion to ech of the nations, of that name
Chineans, as also the whole country to be named China. But their proper
name is that aforesaid.

I haue heard moreover that in the City of Nanquim remaineth a table of
gold, and in it written a kings name, as a memory of that residence the
kings were wont to keepe there. This table standeth in a great pallace,
couered alwayes, except it be on some of their festiuall dayes, at what
time they are wont to let it be seene, couered neuertheless as it is, all
the nobilitie of the City going of duetie to doe it euery day reuerence.
The like is done in the head Cities of all the other shires in the pallaces
of the Ponchiassini, wherein these aforesaid tables doe stand with the
kings name written in them, although no reuerence be done thereunto but in
solemn feastes.

[Sidenote: Pochan, or Pachin.] I haue likewise vnderstood that the city
Pachin, where the king maketh his abode, is so great, that to go from one
side to the other, besides the Suburbs, the which are greater then the City
it selfe, it requireth one whole day a horseback, going hackney pase. In
the suburbs be many wealthy marchants of all sorts. They tolde me
furthermore that it was moted about, and in the moates great store of fish,
whereof the King maketh great gaines.

[Sidenote: Their enemies.] It was also told me that the king of China had
no kings to wage battel withall, besides the Tartars, with whom he had
concluded a peace more then 80. yeres ago. Neuerthelesse their friendship
was not so great, that the one nation might marry with the other.
[Sidenote: Marriage of the kings children.] And demanding with whom they
married, they said, that in olde time the Chinish kings when they would
marry their daughters, accustomed to make a solemne feast, whereunto came
all sorts of men. The daughter that was to be married, stood in a place
where she might see them all, and looke whom she liked best, him did she
chuse to husband, and if happely he were of a base condition, hee became by
and by a gentleman: but this custome hath bene left long since. Now a dayes
the king marrieth his daughters at his owne pleasure, with great men of the
kingdome: the like order he obserueth in the marriage of his sonnes.

They haue moreouer one thing very good, and that which made vs all to
maruelle at them being Gentiles: namely, that there be hospitals in all
their Cities, alwayes full of people, we neuer saw any poore body begge.
[Marginal note: He speaketh not here of all China, but of the Cities, for
in other places there be beggers, as you haue seene already, swarming out
of trees.] We therefore asked the cause of this: answered it was, that in
euery City there is a great circuit, wherein be many houses for poore
people, for blinde, lame, old folke, not able to trauaile for age, nor
hauing any other meanes to liue. These folke haue in the aforesaid houses
euer plentie of rice during their liues, but nothing else. Such as be
receiued into these houses, come in after this maner. When one is sicke,
blinde or lame, he maketh a supplication to the Ponchiassi, and prouing
that to be true he writeth, he remaineth in the aforesaid great lodging as
long as he liueth: besides this they keepe in these places swine and
hennes, whereby the poore be relieued without going a begging.

I said before that China was full of riuers, but now I minde to confirme
the same anew: for the farther we went into the Countrey, the greater we
found the riuers. Sometimes we were so farre off from the sea, that where
we came no sea fish had bene seene, and salt was there very deare, of fresh
water fish yet was there great abundance, and that fish very good: they
keep it good after this maner. Where the riuers do meete, and so passe into
the sea, there lieth great store of boats, specially where no salt-water
commeth, and that in March and April. These boates are so many that it
seemeth wonderfull, ne serue they for other then to take small fish. By the
riuers sides they make leyres of fine and strong nettes, that lye three
handfulls vnder water, and one aboue to keepe and nourish their fish in,
vntill such time as other fishers do come with boates, bringing for that
purpose certaine great chests lined with paper, able to holde water,
wherein they cary their fish vp and downe the riuer, euery day renuing the
chest with fresh water, and selling their fish in euery City, towne and
village where they passe, vnto the people as they neede it: most of them
haue net leyres to keepe fish in alwayes for their prouision. Where the
greater boates cannot passe any further forward, they take lesser, and
because the whole Countrey is very well watered, there is so great plenty
of diuers sorts of fish, that it is wonderfull to see: assuredly we were
amazed to behold the maner of their prouision. [Sidenote: Meanes to fat
fish.] Their fish is chiefly nourished with the dung of Bufles and oxen,
that greatly fatteth it. Although I said their fishing to be in March and
April at what time we saw them do it, neuerthelesse they told vs that they
fished at all times, for that vsually they do feed on fish, wherefore it
behoueth them to make their prouision continually.

When we had passed Fuquien, we went into Quicin shire, [Sidenote: He
speaketh of Fuquien shire.] where the fine clay vessell is made, as I said
before: and we came to a City, the one side whereof is built vpon the the
foote of a hill, whereby passeth a riuer nauigable: there we tooke boat,
and went by water toward the Sea: on ech side of the riuer we found many
Cities, Townes and villages, wherein we saw great store of marchandize, but
specially of fine clay: there did we land by the way to buy victuals and
other necessaries. Going downe this riuer Southward, we were glad that wee
drew neere vnto a warmer Countrey, from whence we had bene farre distant:
this Countrey we passed through in eight dayes, for our iourney lay downe
the streame. Before that I doe say any thing of that shire we came into, I
will first speake of the great City of Quicin, wherein alwayes remaineth a
Tutan, that is a gouernour, as you haue seene, though some Tutans do
gouerne two or three shires.

That Tutan that was condemned for our cause, of whom I spake before, was
borne in this Countrey, but he gouerned Foquien shire: nothing it auailed
him to be so great an officer. This Countrey is so great, that in many
places where we went, there had bene as yet no talke of his death, although
he were executed a Whole yere before. [Sidenote: Alias Cenchi.] At the
Citie Quanchi whither we came, the riuer was so great it seemed a Sea,
though it were so litle where we tooke water, that we needed small boats.
One day about nine of the clocke, beginning to row neere the walls with the
streame, we came at noone to a bridge made of many barges, ouerlinked al
together with two mightie cheines. There stayed we vntill it was late, but
we saw not one go either vp thereon or downe, except two Louteas that about
the going downe of the Sunne, came and set them down there, the one on one
side, the other on the other side. Then was the bridge opened in many
places, and barges both great and small to the number of sixe hundred began
to passe: those that went vp the streame at one place, such as came downe
at an other. When all had thus shot the bridge, then was it shut vp againe.
[Sidenote: The kings reuenues.] We heare say that euery day they take this
order in all principall places of marchandize, for paying of the Custome
vnto the king, specially for salt, whereof the greatest reuenues are made
that the king hath in this Countrey. The passage of the bridge where it is
opened, be so neere the shoare, that nothing can passe without touching the
same. To stay the barges at their pleasure, that they goe no further
forward, are vsed certaine iron instruments The bridge consisteth of 112.
barges, there stayed we vntill the euening that they were opened,
lothsomely oppressed by the multitude of people that came to see vs, so
many in number, that we were enforced to go aside from the banke vntil such
time as the bridge was opened: howbeit we were neuerthelesse thronged about
with many boates full of people. And though in other Cities and places
where we went, the people came so importunate vpon vs, that it was needfull
to withdraw our selues: yet were we here much more molested for the number
of people: and this bridge is the principall way out of the Citie vnto
another place so wel inhabited, that were it walled about, it might be
compared to the Citie. When we had shot the bridge, we kept along the Citie
vntil it was night, and then met we with another riuer that ioyned with
this, we rowed vp that by the walls vntill we came to another bridge
gallantly made of barges, but lesser a great deale then that other bridge
ouer the greater streame: here stayed we that night, and other two dayes
with more quiet, being out of the preasse of the people. These riuers do
meet without at one corner point of the City. In either of them were so
many barges great and small, that we all thought them at the least to be
aboue three thousand: the greater number thereof was in the lesser riuer,
where we were. Amongst the rest here lay certaine greater vessels, called
in their language Parai, that serue for the Tutan, when he taketh his
voyage by other riuers that ioyne with this, towards Pachin, where the king
maketh his abode. For, as many times I haue erst said, all this Countrey is
full of riuers. Desirous to see those Parai we got into some of them, where
we found some chambers set foorth with gilded beds very richly, other
furnished with tables and seats, and all other things so neat and in
perfection, that it was wonderfull.

Quiacim shire, as farre as I can perceiue, lieth vpon the South. On that
side we kept at our first entry thereinto, trauayling not farre from the
high mountaines we saw there. Asking what people dwelleth beyond those
monntaines, it was told me that they be theeues and men of a strange
language. And because that vnto sundry places neere this riuer the
mountaines doe approch, whence the people issuing downe do many times great
harme, this order is taken at the entry into Quiacim shire. To guard this
riuer whereon continually go to and fro Parai great and small fraught with
salt, fish poudred with peper, and other necessaries for that countrey,
they do lay in diuers places certaine Parai, and great barges armed, wherin
watch and ward is kept day and night on both sides of the riuer, for the
safety of the passage, and securitie of such Parai as do remaine there,
though the trauailers neuer go but many in company. In euery rode there be
at the least thirtie, in some two hundred men, as the passage requireth.
This guard is kept vsually vntill you come to the City Onchio, where
continually the Tutan of this shire, and eke of Cantan, maketh his abode.
From that City vpward, where the riuer waxeth more narrow, and the passage
more dangerous, there be alwayes armed one hundred and fiftie Parai, to
accompany other vessels fraught with marchandize, and all this at the Kings
charges. This seemed to me one of the strangest things I did see in this

When we lay at Fuquien, we did see certaine Moores, who knew so litle of
their secte, that they could say nothing else but that Mahomet was a Moore,
my father was a Moore, and I am a Moore, with some other wordes of their
Alcoran, wherewithall, in abstinence from swines flesh, they liue vntill
the diuel take them all. This when I saw, and being sure that in many
Chinish Cities the reliques of Mahomet are kept, as soone as we came to the
City where these fellowes be, I enfourmed my selfe of them, and learned the

[Sidenote: Great ships comming from the North.] These Moores, as they tolde
me, in times past came in great ships fraught with marchandise from Pachin
ward, to a port granted vnto them by the king, as hee is wont to all them
that traffique into this Countrey, where they being arriued at a litle
Towne standing in the hauens mouth, in time conuerted vnto their sect the
greatest Loutea there. When that Loutea with all his family was become
Moorish, the rest began likewise to doe the same. In this part of China the
people be at libertie, euery one to worship and folow what him liketh best.
Wherefore no body tooke heede thereto, vntil such time as the Moores
perceiuing that many followed them in superstition, and that the Loutea
fauoured them, they began to forbid wholy the eating of swines flesh. But
all these countreymen and women chosing rather to forsake father and
mother, then to leaue off eating of porke, by no meanes would yeeld to that
proclamation. For besides the great desire they all haue to eate that kinde
of meate, many of them do liue thereby: and therefore the people complained
vnto the Magistrates, accusing the Moores of a conspiracie pretended
betwixt them and the Loutea against their king. In this countrey, as no
suspition, no not one traiterous word is long borne withall, so was the
king speedily aduertised thereof, who gaue commandement out of hand that
the aforesaid Loutea should be put to death, and with him the Moores of
most importance: the other to be layde first in prison, and afterward to be
sent abroad into certaine Cities, where they remained perpetuall slaues
vnto the king. To this City came by happe men and women threescore and
odde, who at this day are brought to fiue men and foure women, for it is
how twenty yeeres since this happened. [Sidenote: That is their temples.]
Their offspring passeth the number of two hundreth, and they in this City,
as the rest in other Cities whither they were sent, haue their Moscheas,
whereunto they all resort euery Friday to keepe their holy day. But, as I
thinke, that will no longer endure, then whiles they doe liue that came
from thence, for their posteritie is so confused, that they haue nothing of
a Moore in them but abstinence from swines flesh, and yet many of them doe
eate thereof primly. [Sidenote: It should seeme by their voyage to be
Cardandan in Ortelius.] They tell mee that their natiue Countrey hath name
Camarian, a firme land wherein be many kings, and the Indish countrey well
knowen vnto them. It may so be: for as soone as they did see our seruants
(our seruants were Preuzaretes) they iudged them to be Indians: many of
their wordes sounded vpon the Persian tongue, but none of vs coulde
vnderstand them. I asked them whether they conuerted any of the Chinish
nation vnto their secte: they answered mee, that with much a doe they
conuerted the women with whom they doe marry, yeelding me no other cause
thereof, but the difficultie they finde in them to be brought from eating
swines flesh and drinking of wine. I am perswaded therefore, that if this
Countrey were in league with vs, forbidding them neither of both, it would
be an easie matter to draw them to our Religion, from their superstition,
whereat they themselues do laugh when they do then idolatry.

[Sidenote: A Northerne Sea.] I haue learned moreouer that the Sea, whereby
these Moores that came to China were wont to trauaile, is a very great
gulfe, that falleth into this Countrey out from Tartaria and Persia,
leauing on the other side all the Countrey of China, and land of the
Mogores, drawing alwayes toward the South: and of all likelyhood it is euen
so, because that these Moores, the which we haue seene, be rather browne
then white, whereby they shewe themselues to cone from some warmer Countrey
then China is neere to Pachin, where the riuers are frosen in the Winter
for colde, and many of them so vehemently that carts may passe ouer them.

We did see in this Citie many Tartars, Mogores, Brames, and Laoynes, both
men and women. The Tartars are men very white, good horsemen and archers,
confining with China on that side where Pachin standeth, separated from
thence by great mountaines that are bewixt these kingdomes. Ouer them be
certaine wayes to passe, and for both sides, Castles continually kept with
Souldiers: in time past the Tartars were wont alwayes to haue warres with
the Chineans, but these fourescore yeeres past they were quiet, vntill the
second yeere of our imprisonment. The Mogores be in like maner white, and
heathen, we are aduertised that of one side they border vpon these Tartars,
and confine with the Persian Tartars on the other side, whereof we sawe in
them some tokens, as their maner of clothes, and that kinde of hat the
Saracens doe weare. The Moores affirmed, that where the king lyeth, there
be many Tartars and Mogores, that brought into China certaine blewes of
great value: all we thought it to be Vanil of Cambaia wont to be sold at
Ormus. So that this is the true situation of that Countrey, not in the
North parts, as many times I haue heard say, confining with Germanie.

As for the Brames we haue seene in this city Chenchi certaine men and
women, amongst whom there was one that came not long since, hauing as yet
her haire tied vp after the Pegues fashion: this woman, and other mo with
whom a black Moore damsel in our company had conference, and did vnderstand
them wel ynough, had dwelt in Pegu. This new come woman, imagining that we
ment to make our abode in that citie, bid vs to be of good comfort, for
that her countrey was not distant from thence aboue fiue dayes iourney, and
that out of her countrey there lay a high way for vs home into our owne.
Being asked the way, she answered that the first three daies the way lieth
ouer certaine great mountaines and wildernesse, afterward people are met
withall againe. [Sidenote: Southward from Chenchi to the sea.] Thence two
dayes iourney more to the Brames countrey. Wherefore I doe conclude, that
Chenchi is one of the confines of this kingdome, separated by certaine huge
mountaines, as it hath bene alreadie said, that lie out towards the South.
In the residue of these mountaines standeth the prouince of Sian, the
Laoyns countrey, Camboia, Campaa, and Cochinchina.

This citie chiefe of other sixteene is situated in a pleasant plaine
abounding in all things necessarie, sea-fish onely excepted, for it
standeth farre from the sea: of fresh fish so much store, that the market
places are neuer emptie. The walles of this city are very strong and high:
one day did I see the Louteas thereof go vpon the walles to take the view
thereof, borne in their seates which I spake of before, accompanied with a
troupe of horsemen that went two and two: It was tolde me they might haue
gone three and three. We haue seene moreouer, that within this aforesayd
Citie: the king hath moe then a thousande of his kinne lodged in great
pallaces, in diuers partes of the Citie: their gates be redde, and the
entrie into their houses, that they may be knowen, for that is the kings
colour. These Gentlemen, according to their neerenesse in blood vnto the
king, as soone as they be married receiue their place in honour: this place
neither increaseth nor diminisheth in any respect as long as the king
liueth, the king appointeth them their wiues and familie, allowing them by
the moneth all things necessarie abundantly, as he doth to his gouernours
of shires and Cities, howbeit, not one of these hath as long as he liueth
any charge or gouernement at all. They giue themselues to eating and
drinking, and be for the most part burly men of bodie, insomuch that
espying any one of them whom we had not seene before, we might knowe him to
be the King his cosin. They be neuerthelesse very pleasant, courteous, and
faire conditioned: neither did we find, all the time wee were in that
citie, so much honour and good intertainement any where as at their hands.
They bid vs to their houses to eate and drinke, and when they found vs not,
or we were not willing to go with them, they bid our seruants and slaues,
causing them to sit downe with the first. Notwithstanding the good lodging
these Gentlemen haue, so commodious that they want nothing, yet are they in
this bondage, that during life they neuer goe abroad. The cause, as I did
vnderstand, wherefore the king so vseth his cosins is, that none of them at
any time may rebell against him: and thus he shutteth them vp in three or
foure other cities. Most of them can play on the Lute, and to make that
kinde of pastime peculiar vnto them onely, all other in the cities where
they doe liue be forbidden that instrument, the Curtisans and blinde folke
onely accepted, who be musicians and can play.

This king furthermore, for the greater securitie of his Realme and the
auoiding of tumults, letteth not one in all his countrey to be called Lord,
except he be of his blood. Manie great estates and gouernours there be,
that during their office are lodged Lord-like, and doe beare the port of
mightie Princes: but they be so many times displaced and other placed a
new, that they haue not the time to become corrupt. True it is that during
their office they be well prouided for, as afterward also lodged at the
kings charges, and in pension as long as they liue, payed them monethly in
the cities where they dwell by certaine officers appointed for that
purpose. The king then is a Lord onely, not one besides him as you haue
seene, except it be such as be of his blood. A Nephew likewise of the king,
the kings sisters sonne, lyeth continually within the walles of the citie
in a strong pallace built Castlewise, euen as his other cousins do,
remayning alwayes within doores, serued by Eunuches, neuer dealing with any
matters. On their festiuall dayes, new moones, and full moones the
magistrates make great bankets, and so do such as be of the king his blood.
[Sidenote: Goa is a city of the Portugals in the East Indies.] The kings
Nephew hath to name Vanfuli, his pallace is walled about, the wall is not
high but fouresquare, and in circuit nothing inferiour to the wals of Goa,
the outside is painted red, in euery square a gate, and ouer each gate a
tower made of timber excellently well wrought: before the principall gate
of the foure that openeth in to the high street no Loutea, be he neuer so
great, may passe on horsebacke, or carried in his seat. Amidst this
quadrangle standeth the pallace where that Nobleman lyeth, doubtlesse worth
the sight, although we came not in to see it. By report the roofes of the
towers and houses are glased greene, and the greater part of the quadrangle
set with sauage trees, as Okes, Chesnuts, Cypresse, Pineapples, Cedars, and
other such like that we do want, after the manner of a wood, wherein are
kept Stags, Oxen, and other beasts, for that Lord his recreation neuer
going abroad as I haue sayd. One preheminence this citie hath aboue the
rest where we haue bene, and that of right, as we do thinke, that besides
the multitude of market places wherein all things are to be sold through
euery streete continually are cryed all things necessary, as flesh of all
sortes, freshfish, hearbes, oyle, vineger, meale, rise: in summa, all
things so plentifully, that many houses neede no servants, euery thing
being brought to their doores. Most part of the marchants remaine in the
suburbes, for that the cities are shut vp euery night, as I haue said. The
marchants therefore, the better to attend their businesse, do chuse rather
to make their abode without in the suburbes then within the citie. I haue
seene in this riuer a pretie kinde of fishing, not to be omitted in my
opinion, and therefore I will set it downe. [Marginal note: Odeicus writeth
of the like.] The king hath in many riuers good store of barges full of
sea-crowes that breede, are fedde and doe die therein, in certaine cages,
allowed monethely a certaine prouision of rise. These barges the king
bestoweth vpon his greatest magistrates, giuing to some two, to some three
of them as be thinketh good, to fish therewithal after this manner. At the
houre appointed to fish, all the barges are brought together in a circle,
where the riuer is shalow, and the crowes tyed together vnder the wings are
let leape downe into the water some vnder, some aboue, woorth the looking
vpon: each one as he hath filled his bagge, goeth to his owne barge and
emptieth it, which done, he returneth to fish againe. Thus hauing taken
good store of fish, they set the crowes at libertie, and do suffer them to
fish for their owne pleasure. There were in that city where I was, twentie
barges at the least of these aforesayd crowes. I went almost euery day to
see them, yet could I neuer be throughly satisfyed to see so strange a kind
of fishing.

* * * * *

Of the Iland Iapan, and other litle Iles in the East Ocean.

By R. Willes.

The extreame part of the knowen world vnto vs is the noble Iland Giapan,
written otherwise Iapon and Iapan. This Island standeth in the East Ocean,
beyond all Asia, betwixt Cathayo and the West Indies sixe and thirtie
degrees Northward from the Equinoctial line, in the same clime with the
South part of Spain and Portugall, distant from thence by sea sixe thousand
leagues: the trauile thither, both for ciuill discord, great pyracie, and
often shipwracks is very dangerous. This countrey is hillie and pestered
with snow, wherefore it is neither so warme as Portugall, nor yet so
wealthy, as far as we can learne, wanting oyle, butter, cheese, milke,
egges, sugar, honny, vinegar, saffron, cynamom and pepper. Barleybranne the
Ilanders doe vse in stead of salt: medicinable things holsome for the bodie
haue they none at all. Neuerthelesse in that Iland sundry fruites doe
growe, not much vnlike the fruites of Spaine: and great store of Siluer
mynes are therein to be seene. The people are tractable, ciuill, wittie,
courteous, without deceit, in vertue and honest conuersation exceeding all
other nations lately discouered, but so much standing vpon their
reputation, that their chiefe Idole may be thought honour. The contempt
thereof causeth among them much discord and debate, manslaughter and
murther: euen for their reputation they doe honour their parents, keepe
their promises, absteine from adulterie and robberies, punishing by death
the least robbery done, holding for a principle, that whosoeuer stealeth a
trifle, will, if he see occasion, steale a greater thing. It may be theft
is so seuerely punished of them, for that the nation is oppressed with
scarcitie of all things necessary, and so poore, that euen for miserie they
strangle their owne children, preferring death before want. These fellowes
doe neither eate nor kill any foule. They liue chiefely by fish, hearbes,
and fruites, so healthfully, that they die very old. Of Rice and Wheat
there is no great store. No man is ashamed there of his pouertie, neither
be their gentlemen therefore lesse honoured of the meaner people, neither
will the poorest gentleman there matche his childe with the baser sort for
any gaine, so much they do make more account of gentry then of wealth. The
greatest delight they haue is in armour, each boy at fourteene yeeres of
ages, be he borne gentle or otherwise, hath his sword and dagger: very good
archers they be, contemning all other nations in comparison of their
manhood and prowesse, putting not vp one iniurie be it neuer so small in
worde or deede, among themselues. They feede moderately, but they drinke
largely. The vse of vines they knowe not, their drinke they make of Rice,
vtterly they doe abhorre dice, an all games, accounting nothing more vile
in a man, then to giue himselfe vnto those things that make vs greedy and
desirous to get other mens goods. If at any time they do sweare, for that
seldome they are wont to doe, they sweare by the Sunne: many of them are
taught good letters, wherfore they may so much the sooner be brought vnto
Christianitie. Each one is contented with one wife: they be all desirous to
learne, and naturally inclined vnto honesty and courtesie: godly talke they
listen vnto willingly, especially when they vnderstand it throughly. Their
gouernment consisteth of 3 estates. The first place is due vnto the high
Priest, by whose laws and decrees all publike and priuate matters
appertayning to religion are decided. The sects of their clergie men, whom
they doe call Bonzi, be of no estimation or authoritie except the high
Priest by letters patent doe confirme the same: he confirmeth and alloweth
of their Tundi, who be as it were Bishops, although in many places they are
nominated by sundry Princes. These Tundi are greatly honoured of all sorts:
they doe giue benefices vnto inferiour ministers, and do grant licences for
many things as to eate flesh vpon those dayes they goe in pilgrimage to
their Idoles with such like priuileges. Finally, this High Priest wont to
be chosen in China for his wisedome and learning, made in Iapan for his
gentry and birth, hath so large a Dominion and reuenues so great, that
eftsones he beardeth the petie Kings and Princes there.

Their second principal Magistrate, in their language Vo, is the chiefe
Herehaught, made by succession and birth, honoured as a God. This gentleman
neuer toucheth the ground with his foote without forfaiting of his office,
he neuer goeth abroad out of his house, nor is at all times to be seene. At
home he is either carried about in a litter, or els he goeth in wooden
Choppines a foote high from the ground: commonly he sitteth in his chaire
with a sword in one side, and a bow and arrows in the other, next his bodie
he wearth blacke, his outward garments be red, all shadowed ouer with
Cypresse, at his cappe hang certaine Lambeaux much like vnto a Bishop
Miter, his forehead is painted white and red, he eateth his meat in earthen
dishes. This Herehaught determineth in all Iapan the diuerse titles of
honour, whereof in that Iland is great plentie, each one particularly
knowen by his badge, commonly seene in sealing vp their letters, and dayly
altered according to their degrees. About this Vo euery Noble man hath his
Solicitor, for the nation is so desirous of praise and honour, that they
striue among themselues who may bribe him best. By these meanes the
Herehaught groweth so rich, that although hee haue neither land nor any
reuenues otherwise, yet may he be accounted the wealthiest man in all
Iapan. For three causes this great Magistrate may loose his office: first,
if he touch the ground with his foote, as it hath beene alreadie said:
next, if he kill any body: thirdly, if he be found an enemie vnto peace and
quietnesse, howbeit neither of these aforesaid causes is sufficient to put
him to death.

Their third chiefe officer is a Iudge, his office is to take vp and to end
matters in controuersie, to determine of warres and peace, that which he
thinketh right, to punish rebels, wherein he may commaund the noble men to
assist him vpon paine of forfeiting their goods: neuerthelesse at all times
he is not obeyed, for that many matters are ended rather by might and
armes, then determined by law. Other controuersies are decided either in
the Temporall Court, as it seemeth good vnto the Princes, or in the
Spirituall consistorie before the Tundi.

Rebelles are executed in this manner, especially if they be noble men or
officers. The king looke what day he giueth sentence against any one, the
same day the partie, wheresoeuer he be, is aduertised thereof, and the day
told him of his execution. The condemned person asketh of the messenger
whether it may bee lawful for him to kill himselfe: the which thing when
the king doeth graunt, the partie taking it for an honour, putteth on his
best apparel and launcing his body a crosse from the breast downe all the
belly, murthereth himselfe. This kind of death they take to be without
infamie, neither doe their children for their fathers crime so punished,
loose their goods. But if the king reserue them to be executed by the
hangman, then flocketh he together his children, his seruants, and friends
home to his house, to preserue his life by force. The king committeth the
fetching of him out vnto his chiefe Iudge, who first setteth vpon him with
bow and arrowes, and afterward with pikes and swords, vntill the rebell and
family be slaine to their perpetuall ignominie and shame.

The Indie-writers make mention of sundry great cities in this Iland, as
Cangoxima a hauen towne in the South part thereof, and Meaco distant from
thence three hundred leagues northward, the royall seat of the king and
most wealthy of all other townes in that Iland. The people thereabout are
very noble, and their language the best Iaponish. In Maco are sayd to be
ninetie thousande houses inhabited and vpward, a famous Vniuersitie, and in
it fiue principall Colleges, besides closes and cloysters of Bonzi,
Leguixil, and Hamacata, that is, Priests, Monks and Nunnes. Other fiue
notable Vniuersities there be in Iapan, namely, Coia, Negru, Homi, Frenoi,
and Bandu. The first foure haue in them at the least three thousand and
fiue hundred schollers: in the fift are many mo. For Bandu prouince is very
great and possessed with sixe princes, fiue whereof are vassals vnto the
sixt, yet he himselfe subiect vnto the Iaponish king, vsually called the
great king of Meaco: lesser scholes there be many in diuers places of this
Ilande. And thus much specially concerning this glorious Iland, among so
many barbarous nations and rude regions, haue I gathered together in one
summe, out of sundry letters written from thence into Europe, by no lesse
faithfull reporters than famous trauellers. [Sidenote: Petrus Maffeius de
rebus Iaponicis.] For confirmation wherof, as also for the knowledge of
other things not conteyned in the premisses, the curious readers may peruse
these 4 volumes of Indian matters written long ago in Italian, and of late
compendiously made Latine, by Petrus Maffeius my old acquainted friend,
entituling the same, De rubus Iaponicis. One whole letter out of the fift
booke thereof, specially intreating of that countrey, I haue done into
English word for word in such wise as followeth.

Aloisius Froes to his companions in Iesus Christ that remaine in China and

The last yeere, deare brethren, I wrote vnto you from Firando, how Cosmus
Turrianus had appointed me to trauile to Meaco to helpe Gaspar Vilela, for
that there the haruest was great, the labourers few, and that I should haue
for my companion in that iourney Aloisius Almeida. It seemeth now my part,
hauing by the helpe of God ended so long a voiage, to signifie vnto you by
letter such things specially as I might thinke you would most delight to
know. And because at the beginning Almeida and I so parted the whole labour
of writing letters betwixt vs, that he should speake of our voyage, and
such things as happened therein, I should make relation of the Meachians
estate, and write what I could well learne of the Iapans manners and
conditions: setting aside all discourses of our voyage, that which standeth
me vpon I will discharge in this Epistle, that you considering how
artificially, how cunningly, vnder the pretext of religion, that craftie
aduersary of mankind leadeth and draweth vnto perdition the Iapanish
mindes, blinded with many superstitions and ceremonies, may the more pitie
this Nation.

The inhabiters of Iapan, as men that had neuer had greatly to doe with
other Nations, in their Geography diuided the whole world into three parts,
Iapan, Sian, and China. And albeit the Iapans receiued out of Sian and
China their superstitions and ceremonies, yet doe they neuertheless
contemne all other Nations in comparison of themselues, and standing in
their owne conceite doe far preferre themselues before all other sorts of
people in wisedome and policie.

Touching the situation of the countrey and nature of the soyle, vnto the
things eftsoones erst written, this one thing I will adde: in these Ilands,
the sommer to be most hot, the winter extreme cold. In the kingdom of
Canga, as we call it, falleth so much snow, that the houses being buried in
it, the inhabitants keepe within doores certaine moneths of the yeere,
hauing no way to come foorth except they break vp the tiles. Whirlewindes
most vehement, earthquakes so common, that the Iapans dread such kind of
feares litle or nothing at all. The countrey is ful of siluer mines
otherwise barren, not so much by fault of nature, as through the
slouthfulnesse of the inhabitants: howbeit Oxen they keepe and that for
tillage sake onely. The ayre is holesome, the waters good, the people very
faire and well bodied: bare headed commonly they goe, procuring baldnesse
with sorrow and teares, eftsoones rooting vp with pinsars all the haire of
their heads as it groweth, except it be a litle behind, the which they knot
and keepe with all diligence. Euen from their childhood they weare daggers
and swords, the which they vse to lay vnder their pillowes when they goe to
bed: in shew courteous and affable, in deede haughtie and proud. They
delight most in warlike affaires, and their greatest studie is armes. Mens
apparel diuersely coloured is worne downe halfe the legges and to the
elbowes: womens attire made handsomely like vnto a vaile, is somewhat
longer: all manner of dicing and theft they do eschewe. The marchant
although he be wealthy, is not accounted of. Gentlemen, be they neuer so
poore, retaine their place: most precisely they stand vpon their honour and
worthinesse, ceremoniously striuing among themselues in courtesies and
faire speeches. Wherein if any one happily be lesse carefull than he should
be, euen for a trifle many times he getteth euill will. Want though it
trouble most of them, so much they doe detest, that poore men cruelly
taking pittie of their infantes newly borne, especially girles, do many
times with their owne feete strangle them. Noble men, and other likewise of
meaner calling generally haue but one wife a peece, by whom although they
haue issue, yet for a trifle they diuorse themselues from their wiues, and
the wiues also sometimes from their husbands, to marry with others. After
the second degree cousins may there lawfully marry. Adoption of other mens
children is much vsed among them. In great townes most men and women can
write and reade.

This Nation feedeth sparingly, their vsuall meat is rice and salets, and
neere the sea side fish. They feast one another many times, wherein they
vse great diligence, especially in drinking one to another, insomuch that
the better sort, least they might rudely commit some fault therein, does
vse to reade certaine bookes written of duties and ceremonies apperteyning
vnto banquets. To be delicate and fine, they put their meate into their
mouthes with litle forkes, accounting it great rudenesse to touch it with
their fingers: winter and sommer they drinke water as hot as they may
possibly abide it. Their houses are in danger of fire, but finely made and
cleane, layde all ouer with strawe-pallets, whereupon they doe both sit in
stead of stooles, and lie in their clothes with billets under their heads.
For feare of defiling these pallets, they goe either bare foote within
doores, or weare strawe pantofles on their buskins when they come abroad,
the which they lay aside at their returne home againe. Gentlemen for the
most part do passe the night in banketting, musicke, and vaine discourses,
they sleepe the day time. In Meaco and Sacaio there is good store of beds,
but they be very litle, and may be compared vnto our pues.

In bringing vp children they vse words only to rebuke them, admonishing as
diligently and aduisedly boyes of sixe or seuen yeeres of age, as though
they were olde men. They are giuen very much to intertaine strangers, of
whom most curiously they loue to aske euen in trifles what forraine nations
doe, and their fashions. Such arguments and reasons as be manifest, and are
made plaine with examples, doe greatly persuade them. They detest all kinde
of theft, whosoeuer is taken in that fault may be slaine freely of any
bodie. No publike prisons, no common gayles, no ordinary Iusticers:
priuately each householder hath the hearing of matters at home in his owne
house, and the punishing of greater crimes that deserue death without
delay. Thus vsually the people is kept in awe and feare.

About foure hundred yeeres past (as in their olde recordes we finde) all
Iapan was subiect vnto one Emperour whose royall seat was Meaco, in the
Iaponish language called Cubucama. But the nobtlitie rebelling against him,
by litle and litle haue taken away the greatest part of his dominion,
howbeit his title continually remayneth, and the residue in some respect
doe make great account of him still, acknowledging him for their superior.
Thus the Empyre of Iapan, in times past but one alone, is now diuided into
sixtie sixe kingdomes, the onely cause of ciuill warres continually in that
Iland, to no small hinderance of the Gospell, whilest the kings that dwell
neare together inuade one another, each one coueting to make his kingdome
greater. Furthermore in the citie Meaco is the pallace of the high Priest,
whom that nation honoureth as a God, he hath in his house 306 Idoles, one
whereof by course is euery night set by his side for a watchman. He is
thought of the common people so holy, that it may not be lawfull for him to
goe vpon the earth: if happily he doe set one foote to the ground, he
looseth his office. He is not serued very sumptuously, he is maintained by
almes. The heads and beards of his ministers are shauen, they haue name
Cangues, and their authoritie is great throughout all Iapan. The Cubucama
vseth them for Embassadores to decide controuersies betwixt princes, and to
end their warres, whereof they were wont to make very great game. It is now
two yeres since or there about, that one of them came to Bungo, to intreate
of peace betwixt the king thereof and the king of Amanguzzo. This Agent
fauouring the king of Bungo his cause more then the other, brought to passe
that the foresayd king of Bungo should keepe two kingdomes, the which he
had taken in warres from the king of Amanguzzo. Wherefore he had for his
reward of the king of Bungo aboue 30000 ducats. And thus farre hereof.

I come now to other superstitions and ceremonies, that you may see, deare
brethren, that which I said in the beginning, how subtilly the diuell hath
deceiued the Iaponish nation, and how diligent and readie they be to obey
and worship him. And first, al remembrance and knowledge not onely of
Christ our Redeemer, but also of that one God the maker of all things is
cleane extinguished and vtterly abolished out of the Iapans hearts.
Moreouer their superstitious sects are many, whereas it is lawfull for each
one to follow that which liketh him best: but the principall sects are two,
namely the Amidans and Xacaians. Wherefore in this countrey shall you see
many monasteries, not onely of Bonzii men, but also of Bonziae women
diuersely attired, for some doe weare white vnder, and blacke vpper
garments, other goe apparelled in ash colour, and their idole hath to name
Denichi: from these the Amidanes differ very much. Againe the men Bonzii
for the most part dwell in sumptuous houses, and haue great reuenues. These
fellowes are chaste by commandement, marry they may not vpon paine of
death. In the midst of their temple is erected an altar, whereon standeth a
woodden Idole of Amida, naked from the girdle vpward, with holes in his
eares after the manner of Italian gentlewomen, sitting on a wooden rose
goodly to behold. They haue great libraries, and halles for them all to
dine and sup together, and bels wherewith they are at certaine houres
called to prayers. In the euening the Superintendent giueth each one a
theame for meditation. After midnight before the altar in their Temple they
do say Mattens at it were out of Xaca his last booke, one quier one verse,
the other quier another. Early in the morning each one giueth himselfe to
meditation one houre: they shaue their heads and beards. Their cloysters be
very large, and within the precinct thereof, Chappels of the Fotoquiens,
for by that name some of the Iapanish Saints are called: their holydaies
yeerely be very many. Most of these Bonzii be gentlemen, for that the
Iapanish nobility charged with many children, vse to make most of them
Bonzii, not being able to leaue for each one a patrimony good enough. The
Bonzii most coueteously bent, know all the wayes how to come by money. They
sell vnto the people many scrolles of paper, by the helpe whereof the
common people thinketh it selfe warranted from all power of the deuils.
They borrow likewise money to be repayed with great vsury in an other
worlde, giuing by obligation vnto the lender an assurance thereof, the
which departing out of his life he may carry with him to hell.

There is another great company of such as are called Inambuxu, with curled
and staring haire. They make profession to finde out againe things either
lost or stolen, after this sort. They set before them a child whom the
deuill inuadeth, called vp thither by charmes: of that child then doe they
aske that which they are desirous to know.

These mens prayers both good and bad are thought greatly to preuaile,
insomuch that both their blessings and their curses they sell vnto the
people. The nouices of this order, before they be admitted, goe together
two or three thousand in a company, vp a certaine high mountaine to doe
pennance there, threescore dayes voluntarily punishing themselues. In this
time the deuill sheweth himselfe vnto them in sundry shapes: and they like
young graduats, admitted as it were fellowes into some certaine companie,
are set foorth with white tassels hanging about their neckes, and blacke
Bonnets that scarcely couer any more then the crawne of their heads. Thus
attyred they range abroade in all Iapan, to set out themselues and their
cunning to sale, each one beating his bason which he carieth alwayes about
with him, to giue notice of their comming in al townes where they passe.

There is also an other sort called Genguis, that make profession to shewe
by soothsaying where stollen things are, and who were the theeues. These
dwell in the toppe of an high mountaine, blacke in the face: for the
continuall heate of the sunne, for the cold windes, and raines they doe
continually endure. They marry but in their owne tribe and line: the report
goeth that they be horned beasts. They climbe vp most high rockes and
hilles, and go ouer very great riuers by the onely arte of the deuill, who
to bring those wretches the more into errour, biddeth them to goe vp a
certaine high mountaine, where they stande miserably gazing and earnestly
looking for him as long as the deuill appointeth them. At the length at
noonetide or in the euening commeth that deuill, whom they call Amida among
them to shew himselfe vnto them: this shew breedeth in the braines and
hearts of men such a kinde of superstition, that it can by no meanes be
rooted out of them afterward.

The deuill was wont also in another mountaine to shew himselfe vnto the
Iapanish Nation. Who so was more desirous than other to go to heauen and to
enioy Paradise, thither went he to see that sight, and hauing seene the
deuill followed him (so by the deuill persuaded) into a denne vntil he came
to a deepe pit. Into this pit the deuill was wont to leape and to take with
him his worshipper whom he there murdred. This deceit was thus perceiued.
An old man blinded with this superstition, was by his sonne diswaded from
thence, but all in vaine. Wherefore his sonne followed him priuily into
that denne with his bow and arrows, where the deuill gallantly appeared
vnto him in the shape of a man. Whilest the old man falleth downe to
worshippe the deuill, his sonne speedily shooting an arrow at the spirit so
appearing, strooke a Foxe in stead of a man so suddenly was that shape
altered. This olde manne his sonne tracking the Foxe so running away, came
to that pit whereof I spake, and in the bottome thereof he found many bones
of dead men, deceiued by the deuill after that sort in time past. Thus
deliuered he his father from present death, and all other from so pestilent
an opinion.

There is furthermore a place bearing name Coia, very famous for the
multitude of Abbyes which the Bonzii haue therein. The beginner and founder
whereof is thought to be one Combendaxis a suttle craftie fellowe, that got
the name of holinesse by cunning speech, although the lawes and ordinances
he made were altogether deuillish: he is said to haue found out the
Iapanish letters vsed at this day. In his latter yeeres this Sim suttle
buried himselfe in a fouresquare graue, foure cubites deepe, seuerely
forbidding it to be opened, for that then he died not, but rested his bodie
wearied with continuall businesse, vntill many thousand thousands of yeeres
were passed, after the which time a great learned man named Mirozu should
come into Iapan, and then would he rise vp out of his graue againe. About
his tombe many lampes are lighted, sent thither out of diuerse prouinces,
for that the people are perswaded that whosoeuer is liberall and
beneficiall towardes the beautifying of that monument shall not onely
increase in wealth in this world, but in the life to come be safe through
Combendaxis helpe. Such as giue themselues to worship him, liue in those
Monasteries or Abbyes with shauen heads, as though they had forsaken all
secular matters, whereas in deede they wallow in all sortes of wickednesse
and lust. In these houses, the which are many (as I sayd) in number, doe
remaine 6000 Bonzii, or thereabout besides the multitude of lay men, women
be restrained from thence vpon paine of death. Another company of Bonzii
dwelleth at Fatonochaiti. They teach a great multitude of children all
tricks and sleights of guile and theft: whom they do find to be of great
towardnes, those do they instruct in al the petigrues of princes, and
fashions of the nobilitie, in chiualrie and eloquence, and so send them
abroad into other prouinces, attired like yong princes, to this ende, that
faining themselues to be nobly borne, they may with great summes of money
borowed vnder the colour and pretence of nobilitie returne againe.
Wherefore this place is so infamous in all Iapan, that if any scholer of
that order be happily taken abroad, he incontinently dieth for it.
Neuerthelesse these cousiners leaue not daily to vse their woonted
wickednesse and knauerie.

[Sidenote: A warrelike people 300 leagues to the North of Meaco.] North
from Iapan, three hundred leagues out of Meaco, lieth a great countrey of
sauage men clothed in beasts skinnes, rough bodied, with huge beards and
monstrous muchaches, the which they hold vp with litle forkes as they
drinke. These people are great drinkers of wine, fierce in warres, and much
feared of the Iapans: being hurt in fight, they wash their wounds with salt
water, other Surgerie haue they none. In their breasts they are sayd to
cary looking glasses: their swordes they tie to their heads, in such wise,
that the handle doe rest vpon their shoulders. Seruice and ceremonies haue
they none at all, onely they are woont to worship heauen. To Aquita a great
towne in that Iaponish kingdom, which we call Geuano, they much resort for
marchandise, and the Aquitanes likewise doe trauell in to their countrey,
howbeit not often, for that there many of them are slaine by the

Much more concerning this matter I had to write: but to auoyd tediousnesse
I will come to speake of the Iapans madnesse againe, who most desirous of
vaine glory doe thinke then specially to get immortall fame, when they
procure themselues to be most sumptuously and solemnly buried: their
burials and obsequies in the citie Meaco are done after this maner.
[Sidenote: The Iapanish funerals.] About one houre before the dead body be
brought fourth, a great multitude of his friends apparelled in their best
aray goe before vnto the fire, with them goe their kinswomen and such as
bee of their acquaintance, clothed in white, (for that is the mourning
colour there) with a changeable coloured vaile on their heads. Each woman
hath with her also, according to her abilitie, all her familie trimmed vp
in white mockado: the better sort and wealthier women goe in litters of
Cedar artificially wrought and richly dressed. In the second place marcheth
a great company of footemen sumptuously apparelled. Then afarre off commeth
one of these Bonzii master of the ceremonies for that superstition, brauely
clad in silkes and gold, in a large and high litter excellently well
wrought, accompanied with 30 other Bonzii or thereabout, wearing hats,
linnen albes, and fine blacke vpper garments. Then attired in ashe colour
(for this colour also is mourning) with a long torch of Pineaple, he
sheweth the dead body the way vnto the fire, lest it either stumble or
ignorantly go out of the way. Well neere 200 Bonzii folow him singing the
name of that deuill the which the partie deceassed chiefly did worship in
his life time, and therewithall a very great bason is beaten euen to the
place of fire instead of a bell. Then follow two great paper baskets hanged
open at staues endes full of paper roses diuersly coloured, such as beare
them doe march but slowly, shaking euer now and then their staues, that the
aforesayd flowers may fall downe by litle and litle as it were drops of
raine: and be whirled about with wind. This shower say they is an argument
that the soule of the dead man is gone to paradise. After al this, eight
beardles Bonzii orderly two and two drag after them on the ground long
speares, the points backward, with flags of one cubite a piece, wherein the
name also of that idole is written. Then there be caried 10 lanterns
trimmed with the former inscription, ouercast with a fine vaile, and
candles burning in them. [Sidenote: They burne their dead.] Besides this,
two yoong men clothed in ashe colour beare pineaple torches, not lighted,
of three foote length, the which torches serue to kindle the fire wherein
the dead corpes is to bee burnt. In the same colour follow many other that
weare on the crownes of their heads faire, litle, threesquare, blacke
Lethren caps tied fast vnder their chinnes (for that is honorable amongst
them) with papers on their heads, wherein the name of the deuill I spake
of, is written. And to make it the more solemne, after commeth a man with a
table one cubite long, one foot broad, couered with a very fine white
vaile, in both sides whereof is written in golden letters the aforesayd
name. At the length by foure men is brought fourth the corps sitting in a
gorgeous litter clothed in white, hanging downe his head and holding his
hands together like one that prayed: to the rest of his apparell may you
adde an vpper gowne of paper, written full of that booke the which his God
is sayd to haue made, when he liued in the world, by whose helpe and
merites commonly they doe thinke to be saued. The dead man his children
come next after him most gallantly set foorth, the yongest wherof carieth
likewise a pineaple torch to kindle the fire. Last of all foloweth a great
number of people in such caps as I erst spake of.

When they are al come to the place appointed for the obsequie, al the
Bonzii with the whole multitude for the space of one houre, beating pannes
and basons with great clamours, call vpon the name of that deuill, the
which being ended, the Obsequie is done in this maner. In the midst of a
great quadrangle railed about, hanged with course linnen, and agreeably
vnto the foure partes of the world made with foure gates to goe in and out
at, is digged a hole: in the hole is laied good store of wood, whereon is
raised gallantly a waued roofe; before that stand two tables furnished with
diuers kindes of meates, especially drie Figs, Pomegranates and Tartes good
store, but neither Fish nor Flesh: vpon one of them standeth also a chafer
with coales, and in it sweete wood to make perfumes. When all this is
readie, the corde wherewith the litter was caried, is throwen by a long
rope into the fire: as many as are present striue to take the rope in their
handes, vsing their aforesayd clamours, which done, they goe in procession
as it were round about the quadrangle thrise. Then setting the litter on
the wood built vp ready for the fire that Bonzius who then is master of the
ceremonies, saieth a verse that no bodie there vnderstandeth, whirling
thrise about ouer his head a torch lighted, to signifie thereby that the
soule of the dead man had neither any beginning, ne shall haue at any time
an ende, and throweth away the torch. Two of the dead man his children, or
of his neere kinne, take it vp againe, and standing one at the East side of
the litter, the other at the West, doe for honour and reuerence reach it to
each other thrise ouer the dead corps, and so cast it into the pile of
wood: by and by they throw in oyle, sweete wood, and other perfumes,
accordingly as they haue plentie, and so with a great flame bring the corps
to ashes: his children in the meane while putting sweete wood into the
chafer at the table with odours, doe solemnly and religiously worship their
father as a Saint: which being done, the Bonzii are paied each one in his
degree. The master of the ceremonies hath for his pact fiue duckats,
sometimes tenne, sometimes twentie, the rest haue tenne Iulies a piece, or
els a certaine number of other presents called Caxae. The meate that was
ordained, as soone as the dead corps friends and all the Bonzii are gone,
is left for such as serued at the obsequie, for the poore and impotent

The next day returne to the place of obsequie the dead man his children,
his kindred and friends, who gathering vp his ashes, bones, and teeth, doe
put them in a gilded pot, and so carie them home, to bee set vp in the same
pot couered with cloth, in the middest of their houses. Many Bonzii returne
likewise to these priuate funerals, and so do they againe the seuenth day:
then cary they out the ashes to be buried in a place appointed, laying
thereupon a fouresquare stone, wherein is written in great letters drawen
all the length of the stone, the name of that deuil the which the dead man
worshipped in his life time. Euery day afterward his children resort vnto
the graue with roses and warme water that the dead corps thirst not. Nor
the seuenth day onely, but the seuenth moneth and yeere, within their owne
houses they renue this obsequie, to no small commodities and gaine of the
Bonzii: great rich men doe spend in these their funerals 3000 duckats or
thereabout, the meaner sort two or three hundred. Such as for pouertie be
not able to go to that charges, are in the night time darke long without
all pompe and ceremonies buried in a dunghill.

They haue another kinde of buriall, especially neere the Sea side, for them
that bee not yet dead. These fellowes are such, as hauing religiously with
much deuotion worshipped Amida, now desirous to see him, doe slay
themselues. And first they goe certaine dayes begging almes, the which they
thrust into their sleeues, then preach they in publique a sermon vnto the
people, declaring what they mind to doe, with the great good liking of all
such as doe heare them: for euery body wondreth at such a kinde of
holinesse. Then take they hookes to cut downe briars and thornes that might
hinder them in their way to heauen, and so embarke themselues in a new
vessell, tying great stones about their neckes, armes, loines, thighes, and
feete: thus they launching out into the main Sea be either drowned there,
their shippe bouged for that purpose, or els doe cast themselues ouer-boord
headlong into the Sea. The emptie barke is out of hand set a fire for
honours sake by their friends that folow them in another boat of their
owne, thinking it blasphemie that any mortall creature should afterward
once touch the barke that had bene so religiously halowed.

Truly when we went to Meaco, eight dayes before we came to the Ile of Hiu
at Fore towne, sixe men and two women so died. To all such as die so the
people erecteth a Chappell, and to each of them a pillar and a pole made of
Pineaple for a perpetuall monument, hanging vp many shreds of paper in
stickes all the roofe ouer, with many verses set downe in the walles in
commendation of that blessed company. Wherefore vnto this place both day
and night many come very superstitiously in pilgrimage. It happened euen
then as Aloisius Almeida and I went to christen a childe wee traueiled that
way at what time foure or fiue olde women came foorth out of the aforesayd
chappell with beades in their handes (for in this point also the deuill
counterfeiteth Christianitie) who partly scorned at vs for follie, partly
frowned and taunted at our small deuotion, for passing by that holy
monument without any reuerence or worship done thereunto at all.

It remaineth now we speake two or three wordes of those Sermons the Bonzii
are woont to make, not so many as ours in number, but assuredly very well
prouided for. The Pulpit is erected in a great temple with a silke Canopie
ouer it, therein standeth a costly seate, before the seate a table with a
bell and a booke. At the houre of Sermon each sect of the Iapans resorteth
to their owne doctors in diuers Temples. Vp goeth the doctor into the
Pulpit, and being set downe, after that hee hath lordlike looked him about,
signifieth silence with his bell, and so readeth a fewe wordes of that
booke we spake of, the which he expoundeth afterward, more at large. These
preachers be for the most part eloquent, and apt to drawe with their speach
the mindes of their hearers. Wherefore to this ende chieflie (such is their
greedinesse) tendeth all their talke, that the people bee brought vnder the
colour of godlinesse to enrich their monasteries, promising to each one so
much the more happinesse in the life to come, how much the greater costes
and charges they bee at in Church matters and obsequies: notwithstanding
this multitude of superstitious Sects and companies, and the diuersities
thereof amongst themselues: yet in this principally all their
Superintendents doe trauell so to perswade their Nouices in their owne
tales and lies, that they thinke nothing els trueth, nothing els sure to
come by euerlasting saluation, nothing els woorth the hearing. Whereunto
they adde other subtleties, as in going grauitie, in countenance, apparell,
and in all outward shew, comelinesse. Whereby the Iapans mindes are so
nousled in wicked opinions, and doe conceiue thereby such trust and hope of
euerlasting saluation, that not onely at home, but also abroad in euery
corner of the towne continually almost they run ouer their beades, humbly
asking of Amida and Xaca, wealth, honour, good health, and euerlasting
ioyes. Thus then, deare brethren, may you thinke how greatly they need the
helpe of God, that either doe bring the Gospell into this countrey, or
receiuing it brought vnto them, doe forsake idolatrie and ioine themselues
with Christ, being assaulted by so many snares of the deuill, troubled with
the daily dissuasions of their Bonzii, and finally, so iniuriously, so
hardly, so sharpely vexed of their kinred and friends, that except the
grace of God obtained by the sacrifices and prayers of the Catholique
church doe helpe vs, it cannot be chosen but that the faith and constancie
of many, if not of all, in these first beginnings of our churches, will
greatly be put in ieopardie. So much the more it standeth you vpon that so
earnestly long for the health of soules, to commend specially these
Iapanish flocks vnto our Lord.

We came to Sacaio the eight and twentie day of Ianuary: Aloisius Almeida
first for businesse, but afterward let by sicknesse, staied there some
while, but I parting the next day from thence came thirteene leagues off to
Meaco the last of Ianuarie. Of my comming all the Christians tooke great
comfort, but specially Gaspar Vilela who in 6 yeres had seen none of our
companie at Meaco: his yeeres are not yet fortie, but his grey haires shew
him to be seuentie, so vehemently is his litle body afflicted and worne
with extreme cold. Hee speaketh Iapanish so skilfully after the phrase of
Meaco (the which for the renowne of this people and royal seat of the king
is best accounted of) that hee doeth both confesse and preach in that
language. Certaine godly bookes also he hath done into that speach, not
omitting to translate other as laisure suffreth him. To make an ende, our
Lord for his goodnesse vouchsafe to preserue vs all continually, and to
giue vs ayde both rightly to interprete his will, and well to doe the same.
From Meaco the 19 of February 1565.

Other such like matter is handled both in other his letters, and also in
the Epistles written by his companions to be seene at large in the
aforesaid volume. Amongst the rest this seemed in my iudgement one of the
principall, and therefore the rather I tooke vpon me to doe it into

* * * * *

Of the Iles beyond Iapan in the way from China to the Moluccas.

Amongst other Iles in the Asian sea betwixt Canton a Chinish hauen in
Cathaio and the Moluccas, much spoken of in the Indian histories and
painted out in Maps, Ainan and Santianum are very famous. Ainan standeth 19
degrees on this side of the Equinoctiall line neere China, from whence the
Chinish nation haue their prouision for shipping and other necessaries
requisite for their Nauie. There staied Balthasar Gagus a great traueiler 5
moneths, who describeth that place after this maner. [Sidenote: De reb.
Iap. li. 4.] Ainan is a goodly countrey ful of Indian fruits and all kinds
of victuals, besides great store of iewels and pearle, well inhabited, the
townes built of stone, the people rude in conditions, apparelled in diuers
coloured rugs, with two oxe hornes, as it were, made of fine cypres hanging
downe about their eares, and a paire of sharpe cyzers at their foreheads.

The cause wherefore they go in such attire I could not vnderstand, except
it bee for that they do counterfeit the deuil in the forme of a brute
beast, offring themselues vp to him.

Santianum is an Ile neere vnto the hauen Cantan in the confines likewise of
China, famous for the death of that worthy traueiler and godly professour
and painfull doctor of the Indian nation in matters concerning religion,
Francis Xauier, who after great labours, many iniuries, and calamities
infinite suffred with much patience, singular ioy and gladnesse of mind,
departed in a cabben made of bowes and rushes vpon a desert mountaine, no
lesse voyd of all worldly commodities, then endued with all spirituall
blessings, out of this life, the 2 day of December, the yeere of our Lord
1552. after that many thousand of these Easterlings were brought by him to
the knowledge of Christ. Of this holy man, his particular vertues, and
specially trauell, and wonderfull works in that region, of other many litle
Iles (yet not so litle, but they may right wel be written of at laisure)
all the latter histories of the Indian regions are full.

* * * * *

An excellent treatise of the kingdome of China, and of the estate and
gouernment thereof: Printed in Latine at Macao a citie of the Portugals
in China, An. Dom. 1590. and written Dialogue-wise. The speakers are
Linus, Leo, and Michael.


Concerning the kingdome of China (Michael) which is our next neighbour, we
haue heard and daily do heare so many reports, that we are to request at
your hands rather a true then a large discourse and narration thereof. And
if there be ought in your knowledge besides that which by continual rumours
is waxen stale among vs, we will right gladly giue diligent eare vnto it.

MICHAEL. Because the report of this most famous kingdome is growen so
common among vs, reducing diuers and manifold particulars into order, I
will especially aime at the trueth of things receiued from the fathers of
the societie, which euen now at this present are conuersant in China.
[Sidenote: The situation and limites of China.] First of all therefore it
is not vnknowen, that of all parts of the maine continent this kingdom of
China is situate most Easterly: albeit certaine Ilands, as our natiue
Iapon, and the Ile of Manilia stand more Easterly then China it selfe. As
touching the limites and bounds of this kingdom, we may appoint the first
towards the West to be a certaine Ile commonly called Hainan, which
standeth in 19 degrees of Northerly latitude. For the continent next
adioining vnto this Ile trendeth towardes the East, and that especially,
where the promontorie of the citie called Nimpo or Liampo doeth extend it
selfe. Howbeit, from that place declining Northward, it stretcheth foorth
an huge length, insomuch that the farthest Chinian inhabitants that way doe
behold the North pole eleuated, at least 50 degrees, and perhaps more also:
whereupon a man may easilie coniecture (that I may speake like an
Astronomer) how large the latitude of this kingdom is, when as it
containeth about more then 540 leagues in direct extension towards the
North. But as concerning the longitude which is accounted from East to
West, it is not so exactly found out, that it may be distinguished into
degrees. [Sidenote: Chinian Cosmographers.] Howbeit certaine it is, that
according to the Map wherein the people of China describe the forme of
their kingdom, the latitude thereof doeth not much exceed the longitude.
This kingdom therefore is, without all peradventure, of all earthly
kingdoms the most large and spacious: for albeit diuers other kings vnder
their iurisdiction containing in dimensions more length and breadth then
all China, do possesse very many kingdoms and far distant asunder: yet none
of them all enioyeth any one kingdom so large and so ample, as the most
puissant king of China doeth. [Sidenote: The rich reuenues of the king of
China.] Now, if we shall make enquirie into his reuenues and tributes, true
it is, that this king, of all others, is endued with the greatest and the
richest, both in regard of the fertilitie and greatnes of his dominions,
and also by reason of the seuere collection and exaction of his duties:
yea, tributes are imposed vpon his subiects, not onely for lands, houses,
and impost of marchandise, but also for euery person in each family. It is
likewise to be understood, that almost no lord or potentate in China hath
authoritie to leuie vnto himselfe any peculiar reuenues, or to collect any
rents within the precincts of his seigniories, al such power belonging
onely vnto the king: whereas in Europe the contrary is most commonly seen,
as we haue before signified. In this most large kingdom are conteined 15
prouinces, euery one of which were in it selfe sufficient to be made one
great kingdom. Six of these prouinces do border vpon the sea, namely (that
I may vse the names of the Chinians themselues) Coantum, Foquien, Chequiam,
Nanquin, Xantum, Paquin: the other 9 be in-land prouinces, namely, Quiansi,
Huquam, Honan, Xiensi, Xansi, Suchuon, Queicheu, Iunan, Coansi. [Sidenote:
The seats roiall of the king of China.] Amongst all the foresayd prouinces,
two are allotted for the kings court and seat roial, that is to say, Paquin
for his court in the North, and Nanquin for his court in the South. For the
kings of China were woont to be resident altogether at the South court: but
afterward by reason of the manifold and cruell warres mooued by the
Tartars, they were constrained to defixe their princely seate and
habitation in that extreme prouince of the North. Whereupon it commeth to
passe, that those Northren confines of the kingdom doe abound with many moe
fortresses, marciall engines, and garrisons of souldiers. LEO. I haue
heard, amongst those munitions, a certaine strange and admirable wall
reported of, wherewith the people of China doe represse and driue backe the
Tartars attempting to inuade their territories. MICHAEL. Certes that wall
which you haue heard tell of is most woorthie of admiration; for it runneth
alongst the borders of three Northerlie prouinces, Xiensi, Xansit and
Paquin, and is sayd to contayne almost three hundred leagues in length, and
in such sort to bee built, that it hindereth not the courses and streames
of any riuers, their chanels being ouerthwarted and fortified with
wonderfull bridges and other defences. Yet is it not vnlikely, that the
sayd wall is built in such sort, that onely lowe and easie passages bee
therewith stopped and enuironed; but the mountaines running betweene those
lowe passages are, by their owne naturall strength, and inaccessible
heigth, a sufficient fortification agaynst the enemie. LINUS. Tell vs
(Michael) whether the kingdome of China be so frequented with inhabitants,
as wee haue often bene informed, or no? MICHAEL. It is (Linus) in very deed
a most populous kingdom, as I haue bene certified from the fathers of
societie: who hauing seene sundry prouinces of Europe renoumed for the
multitude of their inhabitants, doe notwithstanding greatly admire the
infinite swarmes of people in China. Howbeit these multitudes are not
pel-mel and confusiuely dispersed ouer the land, but most conueniently and
orderly distributed in their townes and famous cities: of which assemblies
there are diuers kindes among the Chinians. For they haue certaine
principal cities called by the name of Fu: other inferior cities called
Cheu: and of a third kind also named Hien, which be indeed walled townes,
but are not priuileged with the dignities and prerogatiues of cities. To
these may be added two other kindes of lesser townes, which are partly
villages, and partly garrisons of souldiers. Of the first and principall
kind is that most noble citie standing neere vnto the port of Macao, called
by the Chinians Coanchefu, but by the Portugals commonly termed Cantam,
which is rather the common name of the prouince, then a word of their
proper imposition. Vnto the third kind appertaineth a towne, which is yet
nigher vnto the port of Macao, called by the Portugals Ansam, but by the
Chinians Hiansanhien. Al the foresayd prouinces therefore haue their
greater cities named Fu, and their lesser cities called Cheu, vnto both of
which the other townes may be added. Moreouer in euery prouince there is a
certain principal city which is called the Metropolitane thereof, wherein
the chief magistrates haue their place of residence, as the principal citie
by me last mentioned, which is the head of the whole prouince called
Coantum. The number of the greater cities throughout the whole kingdom is
more then 150, and there is the same or rather a greater multitude of
inferiour cities. Of walled townes, not endued with the priuileges of
cities there are mo then 1120: the villages and garrisons can scarce be
numbred: ouer and besides the which conuents it is incredible what a number
of countrie fames or granges there be: for it is not easie to find any
place desert or void of inhabitants in all that land. [Sidenote: The
Chinian riuers greatly inhabited.] Now in the sea, in riuers, and in barks
there are such abundance of people, and of whole families inhabiting, that
euen the Europaeans themselues doe greatly wonder thereat: insomuch that
some (albeit beyond measure) haue bene perswaded that there are as many
people dwelling vpon the water as vpon the land. Neither were they induced
so to thinke altogether without probabilitie: for whereas the kingdom of
China is in all parts thereof interfused with commodious riuers, and in
many places consisteth of waters, barges and boats being euery-where very
common, it might easily bee supposed, that the number of watermen was equal
vnto the land inhabitants. Howbeit, that is to be vnderstood by
amplification, whereas the cities do swarme so ful with citizens and the
countrie with peasants. [Sidenote: Holesome aire, plenty and peace in
China.] LEO. The abundance of people which you tell vs of seemeth very
strange: whereupon I coniecture the soile to be fertile, the aire to be
holesome, and the whole kingdom to be at peace. MICHAEL. You haue (friend
Leo) ful iudicially coniectured those three: for they do all so excel that
which of the three in this kingdom be more excellent, it is not easie to
discerne. And hence it is that this common opinion hath been rife among the
Portugals, namely, that the kingdom of China was neuer visited with those
three most heauy and sharpe scourges of mankind, warre, famine, and
pestilence. But that opinion is more common then true: sithens there haue
bene most terrible intestine and ciuile warres, as in many and most
autenticall histories it is recorded: sithens also that some prouinces of
the sayd kingdom, euen in these our dayes, haue bene afflicted with
pestilence and contagious diseases, and with famine. [Sidenote: Chinian
stories.] Howbeit, that the foresaid three benefits do mightily flourish
and abound in China, it cannot be denied. For (that I may first speake of
the salubritie of the aire) the fathers of the societie themselues are
witnesses; that scarcely in any other realme there are so many found that
liue vnto decrepite and extreme old age: so great a multitude is there of
ancient and graue personages: neither doe they vse so many confections and
medicines, nor so manifold and sundry wayes of curing diseases, as wee saw
accustomed in Europe. For amongst them they haue no Phlebotomie or letting
of blood: but all their cures, as ours also in Iapon, are atchieued by
fasting, decoctions of herbes, and light or gentle potions. But in this
behalfe let euery nation please themselues with their owne customes. Now,
in fruitfulnes of soile this kingdom certes doth excel, far surpassing all
other kingdoms of the East: yet it is nothing comparable vnto the plentie
and abundance of Europe, as I haue declared at large in the former
treatises. But the kingdom of China is, in this regard, so highly extolled,
because there is not any region in the East partes that aboundeth so with
marchandise, and from whence so much traffique is sent abroad. [Sidenote:
The city of Coanchefu, _alias_ Cantam.] For whereas this kingdome is most
large and full of nauigable riuers, so that commodities may easilie be
conueyed out of one prouince into another: the Portugals doe find such
abundance of wares within one and the same Citie, (which perhaps is the
greatest Mart throughout the whole kingdome) that they are verily
perswaded, that the same region, of all others, most aboundeth with
marchandise: which notwithstanding is to be vnderstood of the Orientall
regions: albeit there are some kindes of marchandise, wherewith the land of
China is better stored then any other kingdom. [Sidenote: Great abundance
of gold in China.] This region affordeth especially sundry kinds of
mettals, of which the chiefe, both in excellencie and in abundance, is
gold, whereof so many Pezoes are brought from China to India, and to our
countrey of Iapon, that I heard say, that in one and the same ship, this
present yeere, 2000 such pieces consisting of massie gold, as the Portugals
commonly call golden loaues, were brought vnto vs for marchandise: and one
of these loaues is worth almost 100 duckats. Hence it is that in the
kingdom of China so many things are adorned with gold, as for example,
beds, tables, pictures, images, litters wherein nice and daintie dames are
caried vpon their seruants backes. Neither are these golden loaues onely
bought by the Portugals, but also great plentie of gold-twine and leaues of
gold: for the Chinians can very cunningly beate and extenuate gold into
plates and leaues. [Sidenote: Great store of siluer.] There is also great
store of siluer, whereof (that I may omit other arguments) it is no small
demonstration, that euery yeere there are brought into the citie commonly
called Cantam by the Portugal marchants to buie wares, at the least 400
Sestertium thereof, and yet nothing in a maner is conueied out of the
Chinian kingdom: because the people of China abounding with all
necessaries, are not greatly inquisitiue or desirous of any marchandise
from other kingdomes. I doe here omit the Siluer mines whereof there are
great numbers in China, albeit there is much circumspection vsed in digging
the siluer thereout: for the king standeth much in feare least it may bee
an occasion to stirre vp the couetous and greedie humour of many. Nowe
their siluer which they put to vses is for the most part passing fine, and
purified from all drosse, and therefore in trying it they vse great
diligence. What should I speake of their iron, copper, lead, tinne, and
other mettals, and also of their quick-siluer. Of all which in the realme
of China there is great abundance, and from thence they are transported
into diuers countreys. Hereunto may bee added the wonderfull store of
pearles, which, at the Ile of Hainan, are found in shell-fishes taken very
cunningly by certaine Diuers, and doe much enlarge the kings reuenues.
[Sidenote: Great store of silke in China.] But now let vs proceed vnto the
Silke or Bombycine fleece, whereof there is great plentie in China: so that
euen as the husbandmen labour in manuring the earth, and in sowing of Rice;
so likewise the women doe employ a great part of their time in preseruing
of silke-wormes, and in keeming and weauing of Silke. Hence it is that
euery yeere the King and Queene with great solemnitie come foorth into a
publique place, the one of them touching a plough, and the other a Mulberie
tree, with the leaues whereof Silke-wormes are nourished: and both of them
by this ceremonie encouraging both men and women vnto their vocation and
labour: whereas otherwise, all the whole yeere throughout, no man besides
the principall magistrates, may once attaine to the sight of the king.
[Sidenote: Silke brought into Iapon.] Of this Silke or Bombycine fleece
there is such abundance, that three shippes for the most part comming out
of India to the port of Macao, and at the least one euery yeere comming
vnto vs, are laden especially with this fraight, and it is vsed not onely
in India, but caried euen vnto Portugal. Neither is the Fleece it selfe
onely transported thence, but also diuers and sundry stuffes wouen thereof,
for the Chinians do greatly excel in the Art of weauing, and do very much
resemble our weauers of Europe. Moreouer the kingdom of China aboundeth
with most costlie spices and odours, and especially with cynamom (albeit
not comparable to the cynamom of Zeilan) with camphire also and muske,
which is very principal and good. Muske deriueth his name from a beast of
the same name (which beast resembleth a Beuer) from the parts whereof
bruseda and putrified proceedeth a most delicate and fragrant smel which
the Portugals highly esteem, commonly calling those parts of the foresaid
beasts (because they are like vnto the gorges of foules) Papos, and conuey
great plenty of them into India, and to vs of Iapon. [Sidenote: Cotton
wooll, whereof Calicut-cloth is made.] But who would beleeue, that there
were so much gossipine or cotton-wool in China; whereof such variety of
clothes are made like vnto linnen; which we our selues do so often vse, and
which also is conueied by sea into so many regions? Let vs now intreat of
that earthen or pliable matter commonly called porcellan, which is pure
white, and is to be esteemed the best stuffe of that kind in the whole
world: whereof vessels of all kinds are very curiously framed. I say, it is
the best earthen matter in all the world, for three qualities; namely, the
cleannesse, the beauty, and the strength thereof. There is indeed other
matter to be found more glorious, and more costly, but none so free from
vncleannes, and so durable: this I adde, in regard of glasse, which indeed
is immaculate and cleane, but may easily be broken in pieces. This matter
is digged, not thorowout the whole region of China, but onely in one of the
fifteene prouinces called Quiansi, wherein continually very many artificers
are employed about the same matter: neither doe they only frame thereof
smaller vessels, as dishes, platters, salt sellers, ewers, and such like,
but also certaine huge tunnes, and vessels of great quantity, being very
finely and cunningly wrought, which, by reason of the danger and difficulty
of carriage, are not transported out of the realme, but are vsed onely
within it, and especially in the kings court. The beauty of this matter is
much augmented by variety of picture, which is layed in certaine colours
vpon it, while it is yet new, golde also being added thereunto, which
maketh the foresayd vessels to appeare most beautifull. It is wonderfull
how highly the Portugals do esteeme thereof, seeing they do, with great
difficulty transport the same, not onely to vs of Iapon and into India, but
also into sundry prouinces of Europe. Vnto the marchandize aboue-mentioned
may be added diuers and sundry plants, the rootes whereof be right holesome
for mens bodies, and very medicinable, which are brought vnto our Iles of
Iapon, and vnto many other Ilands, amongst the which that wood may be
reckoned, which (by a synechdoche) is called The Wood of China, being of
notable force to expell out of mens bodies those humours, which would breed
contagious diseases. To these you may adde sugar-canes (for in the realme
of China there is great store of excellent sugar) which is conueyed by the
Portugals very plentifully, both into our countrey, and also into India. My
speeches vttered immediatly before concerned marchandize onely, in regard
whereof this kingdome is beneficiall not to itselfe alone, but most
profitable to many other nations also. [Sidenote: China in a maner
destitute of corne, wine, and oile.] As for those fruits which pertaine to
yerely sustenance and common food, they can scarse be numbred: albeit, of
those three commodities which they of Europe so greatly account of; namely
of cornes, vines, and oliues the land of China is not very capable: for the
Chinians know not so much as the name of an Oliue tree (out of the fruit
whereof oile is expressed) neither yet the name of a vine. The prouince of
Paquin is not altogether destitute of wine, but whether it be brought from
other places, or there made, I am not able to say: although it aboundeth
with many other, and those not vnpleasant liquors, which may serue in the
stead of wine it selfe. Now, as touching corne, there is indeed wheat sowen
in all the prouinces, howbeit rise is in farre more vse and request then
it: and so in regard of these two commodities profitable for mans life;
namely, wine and come; the kingdome of China and our countrey of Iapon may
be compared together.

LEO. You haue discoursed (Michael) of the fruitfulnesse of China, whereof I
haue often heard, that it is no lesse pleasant than fruitful, and I haue
bene especially induced so to thinke, at the sight of the Chinian maps.
MICHAEL. The thing it selfe agrees right well with the picture: for they
that haue seene the mediterran or inner parts of the kingdome of China, do
report it to be a most amiable countrey, adorned with plenty of woods, with
abundance of fruits and grasse, and with woonderfull variety of riuers,
wherewith the Chinian kingdome is watered like a garden; diuers of which
riuers doe naturally flowe, and others by arte and industry are defined
into sundry places. But now I will intreat of the tranquility and peace of
China, after I haue spoken a word or two concerning the maners of the
inhabitants. [Sidenote: The disposition and maners of the Chinians.] This
nation is indued with excellent wit and dexterity for the attaining of all
artes, and being very constant in their owne customes, they lightly regard
the customes or fashions of other people. They vse one and the same kinde
of vesture, yet so, that there is some distinction betweene the apparell of
the magistrate and of the common subiect. They all of them do weare long
haire vpon their heads, and, after the maner of women, do curiously keame
their dainty locks hanging downe to the ground, and, hauing twined and
bound them vp, they couer them with calles, wearing sundry caps thereupon,
according to their age and conditon. It seemeth that in olde time one
language was common to all the prouinces: notwithstanding, by reason of
variety of pronunciation, it is very much altered, and is diuided into
sundry idiomes or proprieties of speech, according to the diuers prouinces:
howbeit, among the magistrates, and in publike assemblies of iudgement,
there is one and the very same kinde of language vsed thorowout the whole
realme, from the which (as I haue sayd) the speech of ech prouince
differeth not a little. [Sidenote: Their loyaltie vnto their superiours.]
Moreouer this people is most loyall and obedient vnto the king and his
magistrates, which is the principall cause of their tranquility and peace.
For whereas the common sort doe apply themselues vnto the discretion and
becke of inferiour magistrates, and the inferiour magistrates of the
superiour, and the superiour magistrates of the king himselfe, framing and
composing all their actions and affaires vnto that leuell: a world it is to
see, in what equability and indifferency of iustice all of them do leade
their liues, and how orderly the publike lawes are administred. Which thing
notwithstanding shall be handled more at large, when we come to intreat of
the gouernment. LINUS. Tell vs now (Michael) of the industry of that
people, whereof we haue heard great reports. MICHAEL. Their industry is
especially to be discerned in manuary artes and occupations, and therein
the Chinians do surpasse most of these Easterly nations. For there are such
a number of artificers ingeniously and cunningly framing sundry deuices out
of golde, siluer, and other mettals, as likewise of stone, wood and other
matters conuenient for mans vse, that the streets of cities being
replenished with their shops and fine workemanship, are very woonderfull to
beholde. Besides whom also there are very many Painters, vsing either the
pensill or the needle (of which the last sort are called Embrotherers) and
others also that curiously worke golde-twine vpon cloth either of linnen or
of cotton: whose operations of all kinds are diligently conueyed by the
Portugals into India. Their industry doth no lesse appeare in founding of
gunnes and in making of gun-powder, whereof are made many rare and
artificiall fire-works. To these may be added the arte of Printing, albeit
their letters be in maner infinite and most difficult, the portraitures
whereof they cut in wood or in brasse, and with maruellous facilitie they
dayly publish huge multitudes of books. Vnto these mechanicall and
illiberall crafts you may adde two more; that is to say, nauigation and
discipline of warre; both of which haue bene in ancient times most
diligently practised by the inhabitants of China: for (as we haue before
signified in the third dialogue) the Chinians sailing euen as farre as
India, subdued some part thereof vnto their owne dominion: howbeit
afterward, least they should diminish the forces of their realme by
dispersing them into many prouinces, altering their counsell, they
determined to containe themselues within their owne limits: within which
limits (as I haue sayd) there were in olde time vehement and cruell wares,
both betweene the people of China themselues, and also against the
Tartarian king, who inuaded their kingdome, and by himselue and his
successours, for a long season, vsurped the gouernment thereof. Howbeit the
kings of the Tartarian race being worne out, and their stocke and family
being vtterly abolished, the Chinians began to lift vp their heads, and to
aduance themselues, inioying for these 200 yeeres last past exceeding peace
and tranquility, and at this day the posterity of the same king that
expelled the Tartars, with great dignity weareth the crowne, and wieldeth
the royall scepter. Albeit therefore the people of China (especially they
that inhabit Southerly from the prouince of Paquin) are, for the most part,
by reason of continuall ease and quiet, growen effeminate, and their
courage is abated, notwithstanding they would prooue notable and braue
souldiers, if they ioyned vse and exercise vnto their naturall fortitude.
As a man may easily obserue in them, that maintaine continuall warres
against the most barbarous and cruell Tartars. Howbeit in this kingdome of
China there is so great regard of military discipline, that no city nor
towne there is destitute of a garison, the captaines and gouernours keeping
ech man his order; which all of them, in euery prouince, are subiect vnto
the kings lieutenant generall for the warres, whom they call Chumpin, and
yet he himselfe is subiect vnto the Tutan or viceroy. Let vs now come vnto
that arte, which the Chinians do most of all professe, and which we may,
not vnfitly, call literature or learning. For although it be commonly
reported, that many liberall sciences, and especially naturall and morall
phylosophy are studied in China, and that they haue Vniuersities there,
wherein such ingenuous artes are deliuered and taught, yet, for the most
part this opinion is to be esteemed more popular then true; but I will
declare, vpon what occasion this conceit first grew. The people of China
doe, aboue all things, professe the arte of literature; and learning it
most diligently, they imploy themselues a long time and the better part of
their age therein. For this cause, in all cities and townes, yea, and in
pety villages also, there are certaine schole-masters hired for stipends to
instruct children: and their literature being (as ours in Iapon is also) in
maner infinite, their children are put to schole euen from their infancy
and tender yeeres, from whence notwithstanding such are taken away, as are
iudged to be vnfit for the same purpose, and are trained vp to marchandize
or to manuary sciences: but the residue do so dedicate themselues to the
study of learning, that (a strange thing it is to consider) being
conuersant in the principall books, they will easily tel you, if they be
asked the question, how many letters be conteined in euery page, and where
ech letter is placed. Now, for the greater progresse and increase of
learning, they (as the maner is in Europe) do appoint three degrees to the
attaining of noble sciences; that is to say, the lowest, the middle degree,
and the highest. Graduates of the first degree are called Siusai, of the
second Quiugin, and of the third Chinzu. And in each city or walled towne
there is a publique house called the Schoole, and vnto that all they doe
resort from all priuate and pety-schooles that are minded to obtaine the
first degree; where they do amplifie a sentence or theame propounded vnto
them by some magistrate: and they, whose stile is more elegant and refined,
are, in ech city, graced with the first degree. Of such as aspire vnto the
second degree triall is made onely in the metropolitan or principall city
of the prouince, whereunto, they of the first degree, euery third yere,
haue recourse, and, in one publike house or place of assembly, doe, the
second time, make an oration of another sentence obscurer then the former,
and doe vndergo a more seuere examination. Now, there is commonly such an
huge multitude of people, that this last yere, in the foresayd famous city
of Cantam, by reason of the incredible assembly of persons flocking to that
publike act or commencement, at the first entrance of the doores, there
were many troden vnder foot, and quelled to death, as we haue bene most
certainly informed. Moreouer they that sue for the highest degree are
subiect vnto a most seuere and exact censure, whereby they are to be
examined at the Kings Court onely, and that also euery third yere next
ensuing the sayd yere wherein graduates of the second degree are elected in
ech prouince, and, a certaine number being prescribed vnto euery particular
prouince, they do ascend vnto that highest pitch of dignity, which is in so
great regard with the king himselfe, that the three principall graduates
do, for honours sake, drinke off a cup filled euen with the Kings owne
hand, and are graced with other solemnities. [Marginal note: Note the
extraordinary honor vouchsafed by the great King of China vpon his learned
graduates.] Out of this order the chiefe magistrates are chosen: for after
that they haue attained vnto this third degree, being a while trained vp in
the lawes of the realme, and in the precepts of vrbanity, they are admitted
vnto diuers function. Neither are we to thinke that the Chinians be
altogether destitute of other artes. For, as touching morall philosophy,
all those books are fraught with the precepts thereof, which, for their
instructions sake, are alwayes conuersant in the hands of the foresayd
students, wherein such graue and pithy sentences are set downe, that, in
men void of the light of the Gospell, more can not be desired. [Sidenote:
Naturall philosophy.] They haue books also that intreat of things and
causes naturall, but herein it is to be supposed, that aswell their books
as ours do abound with errors. There be other books among them, that
discourse of herbs and medicines, and others of chiualry and martiall
affaires. Neither can I here omit, that certaine men of China (albeit they
be but few, and rare to be found) are excellent in the knowledge of
astronomy, by which knowledge of theirs the dayes of the new moone incident
to euery moneth are truly disposed and digested, and are committed to
writing and published: besides, they doe most infallibly foretell the
eclipses of the Sun and Moone: and whatsoeuer knowledge in this arte we of
Iapon haue, it is deriued from them. LEO. We doe freely confesse that
(Michael) sithens our books intreating of the same arte are a great part of
them, written in the characters or letters of China. [Sidenote: The
politike gouernment of China.] But now, instruct you vs as touching their
maner of gouernment, wherein the Chinians are sayd greatly to excell.
MICHAEL. That, that, in very deed, is their chiefe arte, and vnto that all
their learning and exercise of letters is directed. Whereas therefore, in
the kingdome of China, one onely king beares rule ouer so many prouinces,
it is strange what a number of Magistrates are by him created to admister
publique afiaires. For (to omit them which in ech Towne and City haue
iurisdiction ouer the townesmen and citizens) there are three principall
Magistrates in euery prouince. The first is he that hath to deale in cases
criminall, and is called Ganchasu: the second is the Kings Fosterer, and is
called Puchinsu: the third is the Lieutenant-generall for the warres,
named, as we sayd before, Chumpin. These three therefore haue their place
of residence in the chiefe City of the prouince: and the two former haue
certaine associates of their owne order, but of inferiour authority,
appointed in diuers Cities and Townes, vnto whom, according to the variety
of causes, the Gouernours of Townes and the Maiors of Cities doe appeale.
Howbeit the three forenamed Magistrates are in subjection vnto the Tutan,
that is, the Vice-roy, ordained in ech prouince. And all these Magistrates
beare office for the space of three yeeres together: yet so, that for the
gouerning of ech province, not any of the same prouince, but strangers,
that is, men of another prouince, are selected: whereof it commeth to
passe, that the Iudges may giue sentence with a farre more entire and
incorrupt minde, then if they were among their owne kinesfolke and allies.
Ouer and besides all these, there is an annuall or yeerely Magistrate,
which is called Chaien, whose duety it is to make inquisition of all
crimes, and especially the crimes of Magistrates, and also to punish common
offences: but concerning the faults of the great magistrates to admonish
the king himselfe. Of this order, euery yere, are sent out of the Kings
Court, for ech prouince, one; and going ouer all the Cities and Townes
thereof, they do most diligently ransacke and serch out all crimes, and
vpon them which are imprisoned they inflict due punishment, or, being found
not guilty, they dismisse them vnpunished. Hence it is, that all
Magistrates greatly fearing to be called in question by the Chaien are well
kept within the limits of their callings. [Sidenote: Two Senates or
Counsels continually holden in China.] Besides all these Magistrates there
is at either Court, namely in the North, and in the South, a Senate or
honourable assembly of graue counsellors, vnto the which, out of all
prouinces, according to the neerenesse and distance of the place, affaires
of greater weight and moment are referred, and by their authority diuers
Magistrates are created: howbeit the managing and expedition of principall
affaires is committed vnto the Senate of Paquin. Moreouer there are euery
yeere certaine Magistrates appointed in ech prouince, to goe vnto the king;
and euery third yeere all the Gouernours of Cities and of Townes do visit
him at once, what time triall is made of them that aspire vnto the third
degree: vpon which occasion there is at the same time an incredible number
of people at the Kings Court. [Sidenote: The causes of peace in China.] By
reason of this excellent order and harmony of Magistrates placed one vnder
another, it can scarse be imagined, what sweete peace and tranquility
flourisheth thorowout the whole realme, especially sithens, after speedy
inquisition, persons that are guilty be put (as the maner is there) to the
punishment of the bastinado: neither yet are suits or actions any long time
delayed. [Sidenote: Learning the only step to honour in China.] Also it is
not to be omitted, that for the obtaining of any dignity or magistracy, the
way is open, without all respect of gentry or blood, vnto all men, if they
be learned, and especially if they haue attained vnto the third and highest
degree aforesaid. [The stately and formidable procession of the Chinian
magistrates.] Neither can it be expressed how obedient and duetifull the
common sort are vnto their Magistrates, and with what magnificence and
pompe the sayd Magistrates come abroad: for the most part of them haue
fiftie or threescore Sergeants attending vpon them, and going before them,
two and two in a ranke: some of them carrying Halberds, Maces and
Battle-axes: some trailing yron chaines vpon the ground: others holding
great roddes or staues of a certaine kinde of reede, wherewith malefactours
are punished, in their hands: and two there are that carry, inclosed in a
case, the Kings seale peculiar for ech office: and many others also, that
shew sundry spectacles vnto the people: whereunto may be added the horrible
out-cries and showtes, which betweene whiles they vtter, to strike a
terrour into the hearts of all men: and at length come the Magistrates
themselues, being carried in a throne vpon the backs of foure men, sixe
men, or eight men, according to the dignity of their office. [Sidenote: The
houses of the Chinian magistrates.] Now, as concerning their houses, they
are very large and stately, being built and furnished with all necessary
stuffe, at the Kings owne cost, in the which, so long as their magistracy
lasteth, they leade a braue and an honourable life. The sayd houses are
without variety of stories one aboue another, which in the kingdome of
China and in our Iles of Iapon also are not ordinarily vsed for habitation,
but either to keepe watch and ward, or els for solace and recreations sake
(for the which purposes, eight most lofty turrets of nine stories high are
built) or els for the defence of Cities. Howbeit in other regardes these
buildings doe shew foorth no small magnificence: for they haue their
cisternes for the receit of raine-water, which are adorned with beautifull
trees, set in order, round about them: and they haue also their places
designed for the administration of iustice, and diuers other conuenient
roomes to bestow their wiues and families in. Within the doores of the
foresayd habitations a certain number of Sergeants and officers, hauing
cabbins or little houses allotted them on both sides, doe alwayes giue
their attendance; and so long as matters of iudgement are in deciding, they
be alwayes ready at hand, that, at the direction of the Magistrates they
may either beat malefactours, or by torments constraine them to tell the
trueth. [Sidenote: The magistrates barges.] The sayd Magistrates also haue
their peculiar barges wherein to take the water; being in breadth and
length not much vnlike to galleys of Europe, but for swiftnesse and
multitude of orres, farre inferiour vnto them. The rowers, sitting vpon
galleries without the hatches or compasse of the barge, doe mooue it on
forward with their oares: whereupon it commeth to passe, that the middle
part of the barge affordeth sufficient roome for the Magistrates themselues
to abide in, containing chambers therein almost as conuenient and handsome,
as in any of their foresayd publique houses, together with butteries and
kitchins, and such other places necessary for the prouision and stowage of
victuals. LEO. All these things agree right well with the reports, which we
haue heard of the stately and renowmed kingdome of China: I would now right
gladly know somewhat concerning the order which is obserued in the
obtaining of magistracies.

MICHAEL. You haue enquired of a matter most woorthy to be knowen, which I
had almost omitted to entreat of. [Sidenote: The maner of electing
magistrates in China.] The Chinians therefore doe vse a kinde of gradation
in aduancing men vnto sundry places of authority, which for the most part
is performed by the Senatours of Paquin. For first they are made iudges of
townes: then of Cities: afterward they are elected to be of that order,
which decreeth punishments in cases criminall without further appeale, or
of their order, that are the kings fosterers. [Sidenote: Degrees vnto
honour.] And in both of these Orders, which are very honourable, there are
many places and degrees, so that from the inferiour place they must ascend
vnto the superiour, vntill they haue attained vnto the highest dignity of
all: and immediatly after that they come to be Vice-royes, howbeit this
gradation is not alwayes accomplished in one and the same prouince, but in
changing their offices they change places and prouinces also. Moreouer,
next after the office of Vice-roy they are capable to be chosen Senatours
of Nanquin, and last of all to be elected into the Senate of Paquin. Now,
there is such an order and methode obserued in the ascending vnto these
dignities, that all men may easily coniecture, what office any one is to
vndertake. [Sidenote: Riding post.] And there is so great diligence and
celerity vsed for the substitution of one into the roome of another, that
for the same purpose, messengers are dispatched by land, vpon swift
post-horses, vnto diuers prouinces, almost twenty dayes iourney from the
Kings Court. And, to be short, there is such district seuerity in degrading
those that vniustly or negligently demeane themselues, from an honourable
vnto an inferiour and base office, or altogether in depriuing them of the
kings authority: that all Magistrates doe stand in feare of nothing in the
world more then of that. [Sidenote: Martiall dignities.] The same order,
almost, is obserued among the Captaines and Lieu-tenants generall for the
warres: except onely in them, that their birth and offspring is respected:
for many there be, who descending by parentage from such men as haue in
times past atchieued braue exploits in warfare, so soone as they come to
sufficient yeeres, are created Centurions, Colonels, and Gouernours, vntill
at last they attaine to be Lieu-tenants generall and Protectours of some
whole prouince; who notwithstanding (as I haue sayd) are in all things
subiect vnto the Vice-roy. All the foresayd Magistrates both of warre and
of peace haue a set number of attendants allotted vnto them, enioying a
stipend, and carying certaine ensignes and peculiar badges of their office:
and (besides the ordinary watch, which souldiers appointed for the same
purpose doe in the night season, after the City gates be shut, keepe in
their forts) wheresoeuer any Magistrate is, either at his house or in his
barge, the sayd attendants striking vpon a cymball of brasse, at certaine
appointed times, do keepe most circumspect and continuall watch and ward
about his person. LINUS. You haue (Michael) sufficiently discoursed of the
Magistrates: informe vs now of the king himselfe, whose name is so renowmed
and spread abroad. [Sidenote: The king of China.] MICHAEL. Concerning this
matter I will say so much onely as by certaine rumours hath come to my
knowledge; for of matters appertaining vnto the kings Court we haue no
eye-witnesses, sithens the fathers of the society haue not as yet proceeded
vnto Paquin, who so soone as (by Gods assistance) they shall there be
arriued, will by their letters more fully aduertise vs. [Sidenote:
Van-Sui.] The king of China therefore is honoured with woonderfull
reuerence and submission thorowout his whole realme; and whensoeuer any of
his chiefe Magistrates speaketh vnto him, he calleth him VAN-SVI,
signifying thereby that be wisheth tenne thousands of yeeres vnto him.
[Sidenote: The succession of the crowne.] The succession of the kingdome
dependeth vpon the bloud royall: for the eldest sonne borne of the kings
first and lawfull wife obtaineth the kingdome after his fathers decease:
neither doe they depriue themselues of the kingly authority in their life
time (as the maner is in our Ilands of Iapon) but the custome of Europe is
there obserued. [Sidenote: The kings yonger brethren.] Now, that the safety
and life of the king may stand in more security, his yoonger brethren, and
the rest borne of concubines are not permitted to liue in the kings Court:
but places of habitation are by the king himselfe assigned vnto them in
diuers prouinces farre distant asunder, where they dwell most commodiously,
being comparable vnto kings for their buildings and revenues: howbeit they
exercise no authority ouer the people, but all the gouernment of those
cities wherein they dwell concerneth the Magistrates, who notwithstanding
haue the sayde Princes in high regard and honour, and doe visit them twise
in a moneth, and salute them kneeling vpon their knees, and bowing their
faces downe to the earth: and yet they communicate nothing vnto them as
touching the administration of the Common-wealth. These are they which may
properly be called the Peeres or Princes of the Realme of China: for they
deriue their houses and reuenues vnto their posterity, and so are these
royall families continually preserued. But to returne vnto the king
himselfe, hee is most chary in obseruing the Chinian lawes and customes,
and diligently exerciseth himselfe in learning so much as concernes his
estate, sheweth himselfe dayly vnto his chiefe Magistrates, and communeth
of matters appertaining to the publique commodity of the Realme. [Sidenote:
Twelue chariots.] His palace is of woonderfull largenesse and capacity, out
of the which he very seldome takes his progresse; and whensoeuer he doeth
so, there are twelue chariots brought foorth, all of them most like one to
another both in workemanship and in value, that no man may discerne in
which the king himselfe is placed. [Sidenote: The idolatrous religion of
the king.] He followeth in religion especially the opinions of the
Magistrates, attributing diuine power vnto heauen and earth as vnto the
parents of all, and with great solemnity sacrificing vnto them. He hath
diuers most sumptuous Temples dedicated vnto his ancestours, whereunto
likewise he ascribeth diuine honour, and yet ceaseth hee not to fauour
Priests of other sects, yea, hee erecteth Temples vnto their Patrons,
endowing them with most rich reuenues; and so often as any vrgent necessity
requireth, he enioynes continuall fastings and prayers vnto them: and after
this sort he doeth in a maner patronize all the idolatrous sects of his
Realme, and shewing himselfe ready to embrace any false religion
whatsoeuer, be liueth in sundry and manifolde kindes of superstition.
[Sidenote: The ciuill gouernment of China most agreeable to the instinct of
nature.] Out of all the former particulars by me alledged, you may easily
coniecture that the administration of kingdome of China doeth, for the most
parts agree with the instinct of nature, authority being committed, not
vnto rude and vnskilfull persons, but vnto such as haue beene conuersant in
the vse and exercise of learning, yea, and in promoting learned men vnto
magistracies, great consideration is had of their wisedom, justice, and of
other virtues esteemed by the Chinian: wherefore the way being open for all
men, without any respect of degree or parentage, to obtaine any of the
foresayd dignities, it can not be but that this most mighty and famous
kingdome must needes enioy exceeding peace and tranquility. LEO. I would
nowe (Michael) right gladly vnderstand, what kinde of vrbanity or ciuill
demeanour both the common people and the Magistrates doe vse one towardes
another: for it is not likely that where such due administration of iustice
is, common ciuility, which so well beseemeth all men, should be wanting.
[Sidenote: The fiue vertues principally esteemed among the Chinians.]
MICHAEL. You haue hit euen the very naile on the head: for among the fiue
vertues, which the Chinians principally regard, vrbanity or courtesy is
one, the rest are piety, a thankefull remembrance of benefites, true
dealing in contracts or bargaines, and wisedome in atchieuing of matters:
with the praises and commendations of which vertues the Chinian bookes are
full fraught. [Sidenote: Vrbanity.] Now as touching their vrbanity, it is
much vnlike vnto ours in Iapan, and vnto that of Europe: howbeit vnder two
principall kindes the rule of their vrbanity or courtesie may be
comprehended: whereof one is obserued betweene equals, and the other
betweene superiours and inferiours. For when men of equall dignity meet
together, they stand bending their backes, and bowing their heads downe to
the ground, and this they doe either once or twice, or sometimes thrise.
Now when the inferiour meets with his superiour, the sayd inferiour, for
the most part kneeling lowly on his knees, enclineth his countenance downe
to the earth. But how often and when this obeizance is to be performed it
is woonderfull what a number of rules and prescriptions are set downe,
which to recount would require a long time. [Sidenote: The Chinians great
piety towards their parents.] Somewhat also I wil say as touching their
piety, and especially of the piety which they vse towards their parents,
which verily is so exceeding great, that for the space of three whole yeres
together, the sonnes being cladde in mourning vestures doe bewaile the
death of their parents, which duety is performed not onely by the common
sort, but euen by all the Magistrates themselues, and that most curiously
and diligently. And that all men may wholly giue their attendance vnto this
businesse, it is prouided by a most inuiolable law among the Chinians, that
Magistrates, vpon the death of their parents, must foorthwith renounce
their authority, and three whole yeeres, for the performance of their
fathers exequies, must betake themselues vnto a priuate kinde of liuing:
which also is most duely put in practise by the Senatours of the Kings owne
Councell. For albeit a man be right gracious in the eyes of his Prince,
yea, and such an one, as vpon whom the administration of the Realme doeth
principally depend; yet hauing heard of the death of his parents, that is,
of his father or his mother, he hies himselfe immediately home to
solemnise their funerals: insomuch that if the king would retaine him still
in his office, he should be esteemed by the people, as a transgressour of
the lawes and customes of China: which accident (as it is recorded) in
ancient times fel out euen so. [Sisdenote: A memorable story.] For whenas a
certain king most familiarly vsed a certaine Senatour of his about the
managing and expedition of publike affaires, and vnderstanding well how
necessary the helpe of his foresayd Senatour was, would gladly, after the
death of his father, haue retained him still in his office: yet a certaine
other man, being a welwiller vnto the Chinian lawes, could in no case abide
it, but checking his Prince with sharpe rebukes, obiected the transgression
of the law against him. The king waxing wroth menaced present death vnto
the man; but when the party being no wit danted with the terrour of death,
persisted still in his sayings, the king changing his determination
dismissed the Senatour to mourne for his father, but as for his reprehender
be aduanced him vnto an higher dignity. LINUS. I perceiue (Michael) that
drawing to an end of these dialogues, and being weary of your long race,
you begin to affect breuity: yet let it not seeme troublesome vnto you to
speake somewhat of the religion of China, which onely thing seemes to be
wanting in this present dialogue. [Sidenote: The religion of China.]
MICHAEL. I confesse indeed that I endeuour to be briefe, not so much in
regard of wearisomnesse, as for feare least I haue bene ouer tedious vnto
you: howbeit I will not faile but accomplish that which I haue vndertaken,
and (according to your request) adde somewhat more concerning religion.
Whereas therefore the kingdome of China hath hitherto bene destitute of
true religion, and now the first beginnings thereof are included in most
narrow bounds, that nation being otherwise a people most ingenious, and of
an extraordinory and high capacity, hath alwayes liued in great errours and
ignorance of the trueth, being distracted into sundry opinions, and
following manifolde sects. [Sidenote: Three principall sectes among the
Chinians.] And among these sects there are three more famous then the rest:
[Sidenote: Confucius authour of the first sect.] the first is of them that
professe the doctrine of one Confucius a notable philosopher. This man (as
it is reported in the history of his life) was one of most vpright and
incorrupt maners, whereof he wrote sundry treatises very pithily and
largely, which aboue all other books, are seriously read and perused by the
Chinians. The same doctrine do all Magistrates embrace, and others also
that giue their mindes to the study of letters, a great part whereof
Confucius is sayd to haue inuented: and he is had in so great honour, that
all his followers and clients, vpon the dayes of the new and full Moone,

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