Letter No. VI


To the hounarabell Sir Thomas Smyth, knight, gouernour of the Est Indes Coumpani in Loundoun. Per Mr. [ ], whoum God presserue.

Written in Firando in the kingdoum of Japon, the 14 of Jennevari [1616-17].


Right wourshipfull Sir, finding my self altogether unwourthy to writt vnto your wourship, yeet lest you should condemn mee of ingratitude, I hau imboldened my self to writt theis few lines to gev your wourship to vnderstand how for the space of three yeeares I hau byn ymploied by your woorship Cape Marchant, Mr. Richard Cock, 2 viages for Siam, etc. In the yeare of our Lord 1615, 2 dayes after my departure from Firando a most grieuous storme took me, called a horricane, of violent wind, by which I was in great danger to looss both liues, ship and goods, for the space of 3 daies baylling in 4 rooumes, hauing with mee at that tyme of officers, marriners, marchants and passingers [? some] 40 sooules ; the which being wearied with a long storm, could not longer enduer it ; but the principall of them cam to mee and held vp ther handes, praying mee to do my best to saue ther liues. Now at this pressent I had 2 of your woorship saruants, the one called Mr. Richard Wickham, who for the pressent viage wass Cape Marchant, the other called Edmon Sarris, his assistant : to which twoo I made the complaynt of our men knowen, whoo allso seeinge the great extremiti wee were in, dessired mee the like. The which thing greved me not a littell (being not aboue 20 lleags from the cost of China) to go for China, beinge most bitter ennemys to the Japanners (thear wee could not trym our ship) : that I wass fayne to take an other cours, and derectted my courss for sartayne ilands called the Leques,1 which through the bless ing of God 3 dayes aftere arriued in saffetie, to all our great reioycing : for which God be praysed for euer. Now in theese ilands wee found maruelous great frindship : for both generous [? people of rank] and ordenari peopell frindly. But in conclusion, beefor wee could vnlade our ship, tak out our mast, and trym her agayn, the monsson was past, that wee could not prosseed of our voyage: but in the end returned for Japan agayne. Now in the yeere of our Lord 1617 [? 1616], hauing trymed our ship, agayne prosseeded for Siam, and thorough the fauour of God mad a prosperoose vyage; and at my returne to Japan I found 2 ships arriued abought 15 dayes biffor mee, the on called the Thomas, the other the Advice : of which I wass most joyfull to see. So pressently of my arriuall, the Cape Marchant was reddie to go to the court, hauing wayted sartain dayes in hoop of my couming. So within 5 daies of my arriuall, according to wind and wether departed, and went with the Cape Marchant befFor the Emperour, with which in 5 daies delliuered his pressent. So hauing delliuerd his pressent, 2 dayes after sent mee to the country to procure those things which he required, which was the renewall of the old Emperour's priuliges [privileges] with a gowshon [license] for his juncke for Siam : which things were granted with all kinde speeches, but in conclusion were not performed; as after wards appeared. For hauing taken his leaue of the court, and being bovnd to Meaco, by the way coummeth an express with letters from Mr. Richard Wickham from Meaco, with letters how that all strangers goods was forbiden to make sale of any, and that covmmandment was geuen to all marchants that were strangers, should go for Firando and Lan-gasacki. Vppon which strange newes, the Cape Marchant, Mr. Cock, thought it necessary to go to the court agayne, to know the occasione, and to see yf he could remedy it. So returned to the court agayne, and evsed me as his messenger therein. And returning agayne, examined agayne his coum- mission, or, privileges ; and indeed found an artikell altered : which wass, that in the old Emperour, his privlleges, thorough his whool domynions, our Inglish factori might trad [trade], by [buy] or sell, wher they thought good, in thease new privileges weare granted but in two pllaces, which weare nomynated, that wass in Firando and Langasachi. So about this byssiness Mr. Cock hath taken no small care to a reformed it. So I beinge daylie ymploied in this byssiness, could not get it refformed ; but in fyne this generall awnsswer, that wass : that this wass the first yeare of the Emperour's raign, and as his eddict wass gone all ouere Japan, it was not a thing pressently to be called back agayne; that wee should be content till next yeear, at which tyme request being mad by thoes that shall coum vp to geue the pressent, doutted not but it should be geuen. So with this absolut awnsser, the Cape Marchant returned to Meaco. Ther dispaching svch bissiness as he had to do, returned to the shipping in Firando, with svch factoris as weear aboue.' Now your woorship shall vnderstand the casse [cause] of thees things as followeth. In the yeear of our Lord 1615 heer was great warres : for Quambaccodono [i. e., Faxiba, or Taico Sama] a two yeears before his deth had a ssoone, which vntill this [ ] beeing the 24 yeare of his age, and hauing aboundance of riches, thought him selfe strong with [ ] diuers nobles to a rooss [?] with him, which was great likly. Hee mad warres with the Emperour [. . . .], allso by the Jessvits and Ffriers, which mad this man Piddaya Samma belleeue he should be fauord with mirrackles and wounders ; but in fyne it proued to the contrari. For the old Emperour [ ], against him presentlly, maketh his forces reddy by sea and land, and compasseth his castell that he was in ; although with loss of multitudes on both sides, yet in the end rasseth the castell walles, setteth it on tyre, and burneth hym in it. Thus ended the warres. Now the Emperour heering of thees jessvets and friers being in the kastell with his ennemis, and still from tym to tym agaynst hym, coummandeth all romische sorte of men to depart ovt of his countri, thear churches pulld dooun, and burned. This folowed in the old Emperour's daies. Now this yeear, 1616, the old Emperour he did. His son raigneth in his place, and hee is more hot agaynste the romish relligion then his ffather wass : for he hath forbidden thorough all his domynions, on paine of deth, none of his subiects to be romish christiane ; which romish seckt to prevent eueri wayes that he maye, he hath forbidden that no stranger merchant shall abid in any of the great citties. On svch pretence many jessvets and friers might seket [? in secret] teach the romissh relligion. Thees are the casses of our Inglish ffactori, and all other strangers are not suffred abou in the countri. Now consserning my owne part, your wourshipp shall vnderstand I am this yeear bound to Coche China : yf my God will permitt me. Thees ressones hath mad mee tak it in hand. 3 yeers past your Cape merchant, Mr. Richard Cock, sent a ffactori thether, but men nor goods returned not ; as the report on of them killed thear, and the other couming from Japan cast awaye. Now my selfe being no waye abell to mak that my hart dessireth, of anny sattisfacion for your wourshipps great kindnes to my poor wyf in my absenc, and allsso, heer in Japan, your woorship ffactor Mr. Richard Cock, his lou and most frindly affactcion : I say hath mad mee to tak this joorney in hand, to sse yf by my menes I can get thooss priuelleges wherby your woorship may get a free trad or ffactori agayne ; and alsso to know by what menes Mr. Pecock lost hys lyf. Mr. Cock had thought to a sent Mr. Wm, Nellson with mee, but hauing svch need of his pressence, that indeed hee could not miss hym. Vppon which occacion I go my selfe alloun, desiring the protexion and favor of all mightie God heer in. Thus being vnwoorthy, I hau imboldened my selfe to wryt thees feaw lines to let your woorship to vnderstand of the trowbelles of thees parts in brif : only knowing assvredly Mr. Cock hath moost largly wrott your woorship of all mat ters. Therfor, this pressent my hvmbell devtye remembred, I ceess : praying God for your woorship longe lyf and moost happi daies ; and in the lyf to covm euerlasting felliciti for euer. Amen. Your woorship vnwoorthy saruant to comand in all dutifull sarvis that I cann, Wm. Addams.





The foregoing is the last communication from William Adams that has been preserved, if any other were sent. The two following extracts have each an interest, but of a totally dissimilar character. One represents Adams in his prosperity, an object of honour and esteem : the other announces the occurrence of "the last scene of all", the termination of the singular career of this "homme de merite", as justice forced an antagonist to term him. In 1616, Captain Cock went up to Edo about the "Pri vileges". In his Diary, under date the 26th of September, narrating the circumstances connected with his return, he states : "We departed towards Orengava this morning abt. 10 a clock, and arived at Phebe some 2 houres before night, where we staid all that night : for that Captain Adames wife and his two children met vs theare. This Phebe is a Lordshipp geuen to Capt. Adames pr. the ould Emperour, to hym and his for eaver, and confermed to his sonne, called Joseph. There is above 100 farms, or howsholds, vppon it, besides others vnder them, all which are his vassalls, and he hath power of lyfe and death ouer them : they being his slaues and he hauing as absolute authoretie over them as any tono (or king) in Japon hath over his vassales. Divers of his tenants brought me presents of frute : as oringes, figges, peares, chistnutts, and grapes, whereof there is aboundance in that place." Continuing his Diary, the next day, the 27th of September, Captain Cock remarks : "We gaue the tenants of Phebe a bar of coban to make a banket after our departure from thence, with 500 gins to the servants of howses, the cheefe of the towne accompanying vs out of their precincts, and sent many servants to accompany vs to Oringava (which is about 8 or 9 English miles) ; all rvning before vs on foote as honeyer [? honour] to Captain Adames. After our arivall at Oringava, most of the neighbours came to vizett mee, and brought frutes and fysh, and reioiced (as it should seeme) of Captain Adames retorne."


The next extract is from a letter addressed by Captain Cock to the Governor and Committees of the East India Company, dated the 13th of December 1620. It is to the following effect : "Our good frend Captain Win. Addames, whoe was soe long before vs in Japon, departed out of this world the vj of May last ; and made Mr. Win. Eaton and my selfe his overseers : geuing the one halfe of his estate to his wife and childe in England ; and the other halfe to a sonne and doughter he hath in Japon. The coppie of his will, with another of his inventory (or account of his estate) I send to his wife and doughter, per Captain Martin Pring, their good frend, well knowne to them long tyme past. And I haue delivered one hvndred pounds starling to diuers of the James Royall Company, entred into the pursers book to pay two for one in England, is two hvndred pounds starling to Mrs. Addames and her doughter, for it was not his mind his wife should haue all, in regard she might marry an other hvsband, and carry all from his childe ; but rather that it should be equally parted between them : of which I thought good to adviz your wourship. And the rest of his debts and estates being gotten in, I will either bring, or send it per first occasion offred, and that may be most for their profitt : according as the deceased put his trust in me and his other frend Mr. Eaton."


It only remains to be observed, that the Will of William Adams, in Japonese, is preserved among the records of the Honourable the East India Company ; and that a translation has not been traced. The Inventory is also extant. The title runs thus :


"IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. 1620, May the 22d day. THE INVENTORY OF THE ESTATE OF THE DE CEASED, CAPT. WM. ADAMES, taken at Firando, in Japan, after his death, pr. me Richd. Cock, and Mr. Wm. Eaton, factors, in the English Factory at Firando, in Japan, left by testament his oversears, viz., of all the monies, debts, merchandiz, and moveabls, being as hereafter followeth."

The succeeding extract shews that William Adams had accumulated about £. stg. 500 at the period of his death, viz. " The totall is :

ta.        m.        co.

In ready money . .                       0365       0         9

In bills of debt . .                          0890       0         0

In merchandiz, rated at .             0638       7         0

In moveables, sould for .             0078       4         5


1972      2         4


ta.   ma.  co.

1972  2   4  


[10 Condrins = 1 Mas =   0s  6d

10 Mas = 1 Taie =            5s  0d English.