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First inexpensive edition of great travel classic offers detailed, sharply observed portrait of 17th-century Persia. Vivid record of life at court of Shah: lavish banquets and entertainments, diplomatic negotiations, intrigues and cruelty, more. Also, soil and climate, flora and fauna, manners and customs, trade and manufacture, and many other aspects. 9 illustrations.
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Travels in Persia 1673-1677
By John Chardin
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1988 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
The Author's Arrival at Ispahan. Monsieur D' L' Hay's Expedition to the East Indies, and his Miscarriage; with the Occasions of it. Wild Oxen at Trinc-male. The particular Qualities of the Flesh of that Beast. Cannonading and Taking of Coromandel.
BEING arriv'd at Ispahan, my Companion and I went and lodg'd at the Convent of the Capucin Friars, which is almost in the Heart of the Town, and at a little distance from the Royal Palace. I met with a Bag full of Letters there, which were directed to me from almost all Parts of the World. Those from Constantinaple, gave me a Detail of the Campain which the Turks made in Polond; having the foregoing Year, with little or no Opposition, pass'd the Great River Neister, they ravag'd the finest Provinces, and took the famous Fortress of Camineick, which was the Bulwark of Poland. I was, among other things, inform'd, that the Ottoman Army had pass'd the Danube, over a Bridge five hundred Geometrical Paces long, built by the greatest Care and Diligence, and at the Expence of the Prince of Moldavia; and because the Fabrick did not please the Grand Seignior, he depriv'd that unfortunate Prince of his Principality, and Sentenc'd him to pay a Fine of a hundred and fifty thousand Crowns.
My Letters from the Indies contain'd an Account of the Voyage of Monsieur De la Hay, Vice-Roy of Madagascar, who set out from Rochel with a considerable Squadron, in the beginning of the Year 1670. He was sent upon the Memorials of Monsieur Carron, Director General of the French Company, to put some great Designs in Execution, and among others, to Seize Banca, a little Island Scituated to the East of Sumatra, and pretty near Batavia. This little Isle of Banca, which is uninhabited, was not in any Body's Hands before that time. M. Carron judg'd it a Place proper to be the principal Magazine of the French Company in the Indies; and he had form'd a Design to seize it by Surprize: But the Hollanders, who were very vigilant and circumspect in regard to the Dominion which they had got in those Countries, hit exactly upon the Aim of the French Fleet, as soon as they saw it was equipping. They in vain gave out in France, that it was design'd for the West-Indies, they would not be bubbl'd under that Pretext. They dispatch'd three Advice-Boats one after another to Batavia, with Orders for the Council to take Possession of Banca, which was executed even before Monsieur De la Hay arriv'd in the Indies. His was a long Voyage, and to his great Misfortune, he put in at Madagascar, where he took it in his Head to make War with the People of the Island, at the Sollicitation of the French, who were Establish'd there. He lost six Months there, and near a thousand Men, who might have been better employ'd elsewhere; for he got nothing by quarrelling with the Negroes, but on the contrary, he enraged them to such a Degree, that they would never after be at Peace, nor keep up any Commerce with the French, and at last drove them quite out of the Island.
Monsieur De la Hay went from Madagascar to Surat, and made a stay there till the beginning of the Year 1672; and then he set Sail from thence with Monsieur Carron, contrary to whose Advice he had receiv'd Orders not to Act. The Fleet at that time, consisted of six Capital, Ships and four Pinks; they put into Harbour at Goa, on the 21st of January, and met with the Great-Britain, another of the King's Ships, with two Pinks. These thirteen Vessels steer'd their Course towards Ceylan, and arriv'd on the 21st of March at the Bay of Coti-ari, commonly call'd the Bay of Trinc-male, which is a narrow, but good Bay, eight Degrees and thirty Minutes north Latitude, looking to the North East, and has a sound Bottom. The Hollanders had built a small Fortress about a League from the Shoar. There were but ten Men in Garrison, and they abandon'd it upon the first Sight of the French Fleet.
q Monsieur De la Hay having cast Anchor, sent some Deputies to the King of Candy, (the lawful Lord of all the Isle of Ceylan) who sent others back again to him; and after several goings and comings, they concluded a Treaty, by which that Indian Prince gave to the King of France, the Bay of Trinc-male, and the Fort which the Hollanders evacuated. The Contract of this Donation was regularly drawn up, and executed in due Form, and they took Possession of the Bay and Fort under several Salvo's of the Artilery, and with all the usual Ceremonies. A few Days after they began to build a Fort at the Mouth of the Bay, and another above the Shore.
During these Negotiations a Sickness spread, and rag'd with great Violence among the Fleet. The Disease that reign'd most, was a burning Fever. The Europeans call the Distempers which they catch at Ceylan, the Cinnamon Sickness, because the strong Scents of that Wood inflame the Humours. Several dy'd of it, but the greater part of them recover'd, tho' they too found themselves in the midst of Penury and Want, as soon as they got rid of their Fevers; for the Victualling of the Fleet fell short in the Month of April, notwithstanding the good Management of the Vice-Roy, who order'd all the Provisions to be bought up and sold amongst them again, not permitting any Person to deal with the Country People for Provisions, for fear of Waste. The most common Meat at Trinc-male, is Wild Oxen, yet they eat of it but seldom, and then sparingly, by Reason of a Property which the Flesh of that Animal has very particular to itself, and yet more strange and surprizing: It engenders Imposthumations in the same Parts, and as painful as those that are contracted from lewd Women. But that which is still more particular, is, that there is no other Cure, but abstaining from the Flesh which occasion'd them. They sent three Ships to the Coast of Cormandel for Provisions, but those Vessels being taken in their return by the Hollanders, the Fleet was reduc'd to so great a streight through the scarcity of Victuals, that although the two Fortresses which they were building, were not finish'd, they were compell' d to quit the Place, for fear of Perishing by Famine. They left behind them three hundred and fifty Men to go on with the Work, and a large Vessel for their Use, call'd the St. John.
The Pretext which the Hollanders made use of, to give a colour of Reason to their taking the three Ships, was, that they carried Provisions to their Enemies, for so they esteem the King of Candy, and the Inhabitants of Trinc-male. They offer'd some time after to restore them, and even press'd Monsieur De /a Hay to receive them, or to take his Choice of some others out of the Dutch Fleet in lieu of them. They did not know then in the Indies that France had declar'd War with Holland; but the News coming a little while afterwards to the Hollanders, those Ships were judg'd to be good Prize; and the Dutch Fleet sailing to Trinc-male, they Seiz'd the Ship, took the two Forts, and made all the French Prisoners.
Monsieur De /a Hay arriv'd the 22d of May on the Coast of Coromandel, within sight of St. Thomas's Island. It is a little Place belonging to the King of Colconda, which the Portugueze were in Possession of for near a Century and fortify'd it very well for that Country: The Walls are of Free-Stone, very high, and mighty thick, having regular Bastions about it, but no other Fortifications. The Vice-Roy sent to the Commandant of the Place, to desire Victuals for ready Money. He refus'd to sell any, excusing himself on the number of the Ships of the Fleet, which could not (as he said) be supply'd with Victuals, without leaving the Town itself quite destitute and unprovided. They did not know whether this Answer was sincere, or given rather at the suggestion of the Hollanders, who fac'd this Fleet every where, and follow'd it to all Parts with another. The Vice-Roy, who had no Provisions, seeing himself disappointed in that manner, caus'd the Town to be Cannonaded with that Violence, that in the space of four Hours they hung out a White Flag. He thereupon sent a Shallop on Shore, to demand whether they would deliver up the Town. The Commandant reply'd, that he did not think of doing that, but he was ready to let them have as much Provisions as they would for their Money. The Vice-Roy sent word back to the Commandant, That since he had been forc'd to compel him by dint of Cannon-Shot, to comply with what was so equitable and just, he expected to be reimburs'd the Charges thereof. The Commandant desir'd to know how often he had fir'd, and what the Price was of each Shot? They answer'd, that they had fir'd five Thousand three Hundred times, and would have twenty Crowns for each Shot. The Commandant, to gain time, and to have leizure to consider what Resolution he should take, answer'd, That he could do nothing without the Order of the Governor of the Province; that he was just then going to write to him, and would make his Answer known to the Vice-Roy.
Monsieur De la Haye saw plainly this was only to delay time: He sent the Commandant Word, he would wait three Days for the Governors's Answer, but that if it did not come in that time, he would take the Town. He was as good as his Word: On the third Day in the Evening, he made a Descent with two Hundred Men, and two Field-pieces. He himself with about Fifty, Encamp'd over against one of the Gates of the Town, under some Palm-Trees that cover'd his Men, and sent an Officer with the rest, to the other side of the Town. Monsieur Carron stay'd without taking any Command upon him. The next Morning at break of Day, he order'd the Gate to be batter'd. All the Town ran to the Ramparts on that side. This was what Monsieur De la Haye desir'd: He gave the Signal to the Hundred and fifty Men who were on the other side, who immediately fix'd their Scaling Ladders and lodg'd themselves upon the Bastions of the Enemy, without meeting with any Resistance; and they went down into the Town, where the Inhabitants wonder'd to see them, as if they had fallen from the Clouds. The Garrison quite dismay'd, threw themselves from the Walls, there were such Crouds at the Gates: And thus the Town was Taken, without the loss of more than twenty Men.
There is one remarkable Incident in this part of Monsieur De la Haye's Voyage. He had been inform'd, as I was assur'd from the King his Master's own Mouth, that he should declare War with the Hollanders in the Year 1671. The King told him so at his departure, in the Year 1670: And likewise, that he sent him to the Indies with no other Views than those of this War. But when he came to Surat at the end of the Year 1671, he found Letters there that inform'd him, the War had been deferr'd upon some important Reasons, but that it was only put off for a little time, and that Notice should be sent him shortly when the Declaration of War should be made. Accordingly two Packets were dispatch'd to him, in August and September, 1671; which brought him certain Advice, that War would be declar'd against the Hollanders the Spring following. I my self dispatch'd those Packets a little before my departure from Paris, which were brought me by Mons. Berrier from Mons. Colbert. Monsieur De la Haye was just gone. from Surat when those Letters arrived there. They were of Opinion to send them to him by an Express-Boat, which they certainly ought to have done; But M. Blot, one of the Directors of the Company, imagining there was no pressing Business in them, said there was no need of being at that Expence; and that there was an Indian Vessel belonging to the Broker of the French Company, which was Sailing for the Coast of Malabar, and that they might be sent that way. The Spirit of Covetousness prevail'd, and the Packets were given to the Indian Vessel: But mark the fatal End of it. The Corsairs of Malabar met with the Vessel, took it, and after six Months time, the Packets from the Court of France open'd and torn to Pieces, fell into the Hands of the French Merchants on that Coast, and were sent back to Surat in February, 1673, which was above a Year after they had been receiv'd from France. There is no doubt to be made, but that, if they had been deliver'd in due time, M. De la Haye would have destroy'd the Dutch Fleet that cover'd Ceylan, which was the whole Force the Holland Company had, and would afterwards have Conquer'd all the Places which the Hollanders possess in that fine Island. He had an hundred times a desire to fall upon the Dutch Fleet, and he used to say from time to time, to M. Carron, Sir, I know that we, at this present time, have a War in Europe, with the Hollanders, and you see we shall never have a fairer Opportunity to begin one in the Indies. M. Carron put a stop to it, by saying, As yet we have no Orders, we must wait for them, or at least till we have certain Advices that War is declar'd in France. It is true, you would destroy this Dutch Fleet, but then another would come immediately from Batavia, and be as much too hard for us. M. Carron spoke very wisely according to his usual manner; but however he was mistaken on this Occasion, the Hollanders had no such thing as another Fleet at Batavia, and if that at Ceylan had been defeated, the English Fleet of ten Ships, which arriv'd near the Year's end on the Coast of Coromandel, and M. De la Haye's acting in concert, would have quite and clean overthrown the Dutch Company, especially in the Consternation they were in, upon the News they receiv' d from their own Country. But God had ordain'd it otherwise, and it was the French Fleet, that, with all its Enterprize, came to nothing.CHAPTER 2
The Author employs his Time in receiving Visits from his Acquaintance, and advises concerning his Conduct since the late King's Death. Debauches of the present King, and his Outrages in those Fits of Drunkenness. Reinstatement of the late Prime Minister. Manner of entertaining the King,
I SPENT the first Day of my coming to Ispahan, and all the next, in receiving Visits from the Europeans of the Place, from several Persians and Armenians, with whom I had contracted a Friendship after my first Journey thither, and with whom I consulted about the Conduct and Management of my Affairs. The Court was very much alter'd from what it was the first Time I saw it, and in the greatest Confusion; almost all the Noblemen belonging to the late King were dead, or in Disgrace. Interest, and Favour, were in the Hands of certain young Lords, who had neither Generosity nor Merit. The Prime Minister, nam'd Cheic Ali can, had for fourteen Months past been under Disgrace; three of the chief Officers of the Crown discharg'd his Duty: But the worst thing of all for me, was, that they talk'd of restoring his Place to him, and reinstating him in the Royal Favour; for he being on one Hand a great Enemy to the Christians and Europeans, and on the other, inaccessible, by Recommendations and Presents, and having always made it apparent during the time he was in Office, that he had nothing more at Heart than to inlarge the Treasure of his Master; I had Reason to fear, that he would hinder the King from Purchasing the Jewels, which I brought by the express Command of the late King his Father, and made according to the Patterns which I had receiv'd from his own Hands: This Consideration made me come to a Resolution immediately of notifying my return to the King; my difficulty lay in the Choice of an Introductor to the Nazir, who is the great and supreme Intendant over the King's Household, his Wealth, his Affairs, and over all those who are employ'd in them; I mean, who I should pitch upon to give the first Admittance; I was advis'd by some to Zerguer bachi, or chief of the Jewellers, and Goldsmiths in Persia; others propos'd Mirza Thaer to me, the Comptroller General of the King's Household. I had done better to have trusted to the Conduct of the first, as I found afterwards, but because I had known the Comptroller General a long time, I resolv'd to put my Trust in him.
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Table of Contents
ContentsDOVER TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE BOOKS,
INTRODUCTION - BY BRIGADIER-GENERAL SIR PERCY SYKES, K.C.I.E., C.B., C.M.G.,
THE TRAVELS OF SIR JOHN CHARDIN - FIRST VOLUME,
THE TRAVELS OF SIR JOHN CHARDIN SECOND VOLUME,
CHAPTER I - OF PERSIA IN GENERAL,
CHAPTER II - OF THE CLIMATE, AND OF THE AIR,
CHAPTER III - OF THE SOIL,
CHAPTER IV - OF THE TREES, PLANTS, AND DRUGGS,
CHAPTER V - OF THE FRUITS OF PERSIA,
CHAPTER VI - CONCERNING THE FLOWERS OF PERSIA,
CHAPTER VII - OF METALS AND MINERALS: TO WHICH IS ANNEX'D A DISCOURSE OF JEWELS,
CHAPTER VIII - OF ANIMALS TAME AND WILD,
CHAPTER IX - OF THE TAME AND WILD BIRDS, AND OF HUNTING,
CHAPTER X - OF THE FISH,
CHAPTER XI - OF THE TEMPER, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS OF THE PERSIANS,
CHAPTER XII - CONCERNING THE EXERCISES AND GAMES OF THE PERSIANS,
CHAPTER XIII - OF THE CLOATHS, AND HOUSEHOLD-GOODS,
CHAPTER XIV - OF THE LUXURY OF THE PERSIANS,
CHAPTER XV - CONCERNING THE FOOD OF THE PERSIANS,
CHAPTER XVI - OF THE STRONG AND SMALL LIQUORS,
CHAPTER XVII - OF MECHANICK ARTS AND TRADES,
CHAPTER XVIII - OF MANUFACTURES,
CHAPTER XIX - OF THE COMMERCE OR TRADE; AND ALSO OF THE WEIGHTS, THE MEASURES, AND COIN,