The Travels and Controversies of Friar Domingo Navarrete, 1618-1686 - Vol. 2

By Domingo Fernández Navarrete; J. S. Cummins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
MY STAY AT MADRASTAPATAN

1. When we came to this place, we found it beseig'd by the King of Golconda's Army, but without his Orders; their design was to extort something from the English, but they were disappointed. It is on the Coast of Coromandel, half a League short of the City of St Thomas, otherwise called Meliapor. Here the English have a noble Fort; they have also other Walls, but small, within which live all the Portugueses, who after the losing of Jafanapatan, Negapatan, and St Thomas, went to seek places to dwell. The English receiv'd them, and they live under their Protection and Government. They stand the English in stead, for upon occasion they make use of them, as they did at this time, when all Men took Arms and guarded the Walls. The Enemy had stopp'd all the Avenues, so that Provisions grew scarce.1 There is neither Port nor Water, this last they get out of some small Wells they have dig'd. Ships lie safe six Months, then they go away till the fair Weather comes again. The English allow a publick Church, kept by two French Capuchins;2 and tho there are many Secular Clergy-men, they all have to say Mass in the Fryers' Church, with no small subjection and dissatisfaction; but the English who are Masters there, favouring the Religious, they must have patience perforce.

2. Two Years before, there had been a great contest there betwixt

____________________
1
This was a month-long blockade imposed by Chinapella Mirza, an officer of Nawāb Neknam Khān; it had been brought about by a disagreement over dues to be paid to the Nawāb ( Love, 1, 278; EF, new series, 11, 9-11). The date of the siege is not known; but Navarrete shows it must have been April-May, 1670. It was called off when Governor Foxcroft complained to the Nawāb ( Carré, 568).
2
These were the celebrated friars Ephraim de Nevers, and Zenon de Baugé. Both were devoted to the interests of the English and this brought on them criticism from the Portuguese and others ( Carré, 549-54). But their standing with the English enabled a thriving Catholic community to exist; see para. 9 below.

-297-

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