Letter No. V.


There is a second letter from William Adams, dated in December 1613, but to whom addressed is not apparent. It is a faithful epitome of the "vearey larg" letter above given : and there are only three portions that need be cited : viz. i. As to the vessel first lent to, and eventually purchased by, the Governor-General of the Phillipine Islands : ii. As to Adams continuing in Japon : iii. The conclusion.




I my seelf hau bylt 2 shipes in Jappan, the one by occassion sold to the Spaynnards, went for Nova Spania. Which ship, on [e] viage vppon this cost I mad with her : being of burden 170 tovnes.




Your woourship shall vnderstand I had thought to a coum hom in the Cloue, but by som discovrtissis offred me by the generall, changed my mind : which injuries to wryt of them I leau ; leauing to others, God sending the ship hom, to mak rellacion.




Senc the tym I saw your wourship, I hau passed great misseries and trowbells. God hau the prayss to whoum it douth belonge, that hath delliuered me ovt of them all. To writt of the particulars, it wear for me very longe, thearfor, in short, I leau the rehearsall tell further tym. Thus, with my most harty and humbell sallutacions to you and to your good wyf, I seeas [cease] ; dessiring your wourship to sallut me to Sr. Thomass Smyth, and tell him on my behalf, he shall find me in his servis, so trusti as euer faithfull Inglish man, that euer hath serued the coumpany. And as consserning the afiares in Jappan, let him tak no cair [care]. His factory is so saf ; and so sver [swre] his goods, as in his own houss. This I dare insver so long as I do lyue, And what-soeuer the wourshipfull company shall hav need in Japan, it shalbe accomplished. This I dare insver : for the emperour and the kinge hath mad me such promis, which I do know shalbe accovmplished. I pray you sallut me vnto my good frind Mr. William Bourrall, shipwryt, who I heer is on of the company : whous good kindnes hath bynn to my pour wyf, in speking to lend her the forsayd 20l. [? of] which, I thank God, hau heer mad payment : and I pray him in my behalf still to continew his Christian loue and pitty, which without dowt God will reward. I pray remember my humbell dvtty to my good Mr. Nicholas Diggens, and thank him for his great former loue to me, etc. Thuss hauing no tym, I cess, covmmending you with yours to the protexion of God : who bless your wourship in this lyf; and in the world to covm euerlasting lyfe. Amen. By your unwourthy frind and seruant to covmmmand,

Wm. Addames.


Yf you send for Japan anny shipping : that present that shalbe sent to the emperour in it, lette them send soom Rousse [Russian] glass of the gretest sort : so mvch as may glasse him a rowm of 2 fadoom 4 squar, and what fine lames [lambs] skenes [skins], [? you will], and 2 or 3 peces of fyne holland, yf it be more I leau it to your discression : with 3 or 4 payr of spaktakle glasses. And for marchandis, he deessired to haue soum 1000 barres of steill 4 squar, in length sovm 8 or 9 foout ; which goods the Hollanders haue brought and sold to the emperour at 51. starling the picoll, which is Inglish waight 125 powndes. W. A.'





Probably under the impression that he had been overreached by Adams, in regard to the terms of his engagement with the Company, Captain Saris may have exhibited some discourtesies : since in the document, designated a "Remembrance", which he left for the guidance of Captain Cock in the manage ment of the factory, the following disparaging remarks occur, viz., "And for Mr. Adams he is onlye fittinge to be mr. of the junke, and to be vsed as linguist at corte, when you have no imployment pr. hym at sea. It is necessarye you stirr hym, his condition being well knowue vnto you as to my selfe : otherwayes you shall hau littell seruice of hym, the countrye offording great libertye, wheare vnto he is mvch affected. The forsed agreement I haue made with hym as you know could not be eschudd, ye. Flemmings and Spaniards making false proffers of great intertaynement, and hym selfe more affected to them then his owne natyon, we holye destitute of language You shall not need to sende for anye farther order to ye. Emperour for the setting out of the junke [intended to proceed to Siam], it being an article granted in the charter, as by the coppie thereof in English left with you will appeare. Yet will Mr. Adams tell you that he cannot departe without a licence, which will not be granted except he go vp. Beleue him not ; nether neglect that busines : for his wish is but to haue the coumpanye bear his charges to his wife [meaning his native wife, who resided on the property granted to him by the Emperor, on the way to the court.] Yet rather then that he shall leaue you, and bitake himself to the Spaniards, or Fflemmings, you must make a vertue of necessitye, and let hym go."  

In all this, Captain Saris was wrong and unjust, i. William Adams did not need stirring. After an experience of twelve months, Captain Cock states : "I finde the man very tractable, and willinge to do your wourship the best seruis he can, and hath taken great paine about repairing our juncke, the Sea Adventure, otherwayes she would not haue byn ready to haue made the Syam voyage this yeare." ii. It is not to be assumed that any offers made by the Flemmings and Spaniards to William Adams were not bona fide. The Flemings had had too much experience of the value of his good offices, not to be solicitous to secure the continuance of his services. The Spaniards had had too much experience of the effects of his opposition to their views, not to be desirous of cultivating his good-will. Both parties were perfectly aware of his ready access to the presence and of the influence he exercised over the Emperor : which was fully demonstrated by the extensive privileges he obtained for the English : " such as the Portuguese, even at the time of their highest interest with the Japonese, were unable to procure on any terms whatever." iii. Adams did not prove himself more affected to the Flemings and Spaniards than to his own nation. There is not an instance to be found in Captain Cock's Diary, of Adams having afforded any assistance to the Flemings, except when their interests and those of his own nation were identical. Of his disposition towards the Spaniards, enough has been said. In fact, Adams nobly redeemed the pledge he gave to Sir Thomas Smith, that he should find him "so trusti as ever faithful Inglishman, that euer hath serued the coumpany." He was staunch to his countrymen, resisting alike the overtures of the Flemings, the Spaniards, and the Japonese. iv. Adams did not pretend it was necessary to go up to the Court to obtain a license for the junk to proceed to Syam; and he did not go up to the court before the junk sailed, either that the Company might bear the expenses of a visit from him to his wife, or for any other purpose. As before stated, he was usefully and zealously engaged in fitting up the junk ; and when the vessel was ready for sea, he sailed in her forthwith. The generall was also wrong in another particular : the extent of the privileges conferred on the English by the " charter". Captain Cock corrects the error into which he had fallen in the following terms : "Neither can we set out any junke, without procuring the yearely license of the Emperour : otherwise no Japon mariner dare go out of Japon vpon paine of death, only our owne shippes from England may come in, and goe out again when they will, and no man gain-say it."