The King’s rents brought three times in the year.Three times in the year they usually carry their Rents unto the King. The one is at the New-year called Ourida cotamaul. The other is for the First fruits, Alleusal cotamaul. And the last is at a certain Sacrifice in the Month of November to their God, called Ilmoy cotamaul. But besides these, whatsoever is wanting in the King’s House at any other time, and they have it, they must upon the King’s Order bring it. These Rents are but little Money, but chiefly Corn, Rice, or what grows out of the Ground.
The first is accompanied with a great Festival.To speak a little of first time, Viz. at the beginning of the New year, when the King’s Duties are brought him. Their New year is always either the 27th, or the 28th, or the 29th of March: At this time upon a special and good day (for which the Astrologers are consulted) the King washes his head, which is a very great Solemnity among them. The Palace is all adorned with Tor-nes, a sort of Triumphal Arches, that make a very fine shew. They are high Poles standing in rows before all the Gates of the Palace, either nine or seven in a row, the middlemost being the highest, and so they fall lower and lower on each side. Thro the middle of them there is an arched passage which serves for a Door. On the top of the Poles are Flags flying, and all about hung full of painted Cloth with Images, and Figures of Men, and Beasts, and Birds, and Flowers: Fruits also are hanged up in great order and exactness. On each side of the entrance of the Arch stand Plantane Trees, with bunches of Plantanes on them as if they were growing.
There are also in some places single Poles of an exceeding height standing by, with long Penons of divers colours flying, and a Bell at the end of each, as in the Figure B. And now they say, The Palace is adorned beyond Heaven.
All the Army is summoned in to stand and wait at the Palace, for the greater State. In the mean time he goes to his Washing-houses, houses built on purpose for him to wash in, called Oulpangi, here are Baths, and Streams and Conveyances of Water, and many Servants, whose Office it is to wait upon the business of these houses. Here he washes his head. Which when he has done, he comes forth into Public view, where all his Militia stand in their Arms. Then the great Guns are fired. How the Nobles bring their Gifts, or Duties.Now all the great Men, the Nobles and the Governors of the Countrey make their appearance before him with their Dackim, their New-years Gifts, which are due and accustomed Presents, for Persons in their Places and Offices to give. There is a certain Rate for it. Their manner of bringing these Gifts or rather Duties is Page 48thus, Their Servants bring them wrapt up in white Cloth to the Court, and then they take them at their hands, put them upon their heads, and so come in humble manner, and lay them at the King’s feet. These Presents are Gold, Jewels, Plate, Arms, Knives, Cloth, each one by a rate according to the Place he is in, and the Countrey he hath under him: And most of them are to present a Sum of Money besides. And if they can procure any precious Stone, or Rarity, or any other thing, which they think the King will accept, that also they bring, and glad they are to be honoured with the favour of his acceptance. These New-years Gifts for these many years he thinks scorn to receive, and bids them carry them away again till another time. Thus they come with them time after time presenting them, which he as often refusing; at last they bring them no more.
Inferior Persons present their New-years Gifts.All sorts of Tradesmen also, and such as by their Skill can any ways get Money, at the New year are to pay into the Treasury each one a certain rate. Which now adayes he accepts not, though formerly he always did.
What Taxes and Rents the People pay.At this and the other times the things which the People carry as their Rents and Taxes, are Wine, Oyl, Corn, Honey, Wax, Cloth, Iron, Elephants Teeth, Tobacco, Money. They bring themselves, and wait at Court with them commonly divers Months, before they be received. The great Officers tell the King, the People have brought their Rents. The King saith, ’Tis well. But if he give no order withal to receive the things brought (as he seldom does) there is no remedy, but there they must wait with them. And this he doth out of State. The Rents and Duties brought at the two other times are after the same manner; the great Men do only bring theirs once at the New year.
The accidental Incomes of the Crown.There are other Revenues the King hath, which are accidental; but bring in great wealth; That whensoever any man dies, that hath a stock of Cattel, immediately out thence must be paid a Bull and a Cow with a Calf, and a Male and Female Buffalo, which tax they call Marral. And there are Officers appointed, whose place it is, to come and carry them away. Also at Harvest yearly there is a certain rate of Corn to be paid by every man according to the Land they hold and enjoy. Heretofore the King granted, that upon Payment of a Sum of Money, they should be clear from this yearly Tax of Corn so long, till the present Possessor died, and the Land descended to his Son or some body else. And then the Estate became liable again to the forementioned Duties. But now of late there is no mention of any discharge by Money. The Profits that accrue to the King from Corn-Lands.So that in time all Houses and Families in the Kingdom will be liable to the Payment of this Tax of Corn; which will bring in no small quantity of Provision to the King. Only Soldiers that are slain in the Wars, their Lands are free from the Payment of this Tax; but if they die naturally they are not. The Farmers all in general, besides their measures of Corn, pay a certain Duty in Money, with their Rents.
If they Sell or Alienate their Inheritances, the Kings accustomed Duties must not be diminished, whosoever buyeth or enjoyeth them. Neither is here any Land which doth not either pay, or do some Duty to the King. Only one case excepted, and that is, if they give or dedicate Land to a Priest, as an Alms or Deed of Charity in God’s Name. Page 49On that there is never any more Tax or Duty to be imposed, as being Sacrilegious to take ought from one that belongs to the Temple. Custom of goods imported formerly paid.Formerly the King had the Benefit of the trade of two Ports Cotiar and Portalone, unto each of which used to come yearly some twenty or thirty Sail of small Vessel, which brought considerable Customs in. But now the Hollander has deprived him of both, suffering no Vessels to come.
His Treasuries.The King hath several Treasure-houses, in several places, in Cities and Towns, where always are Guards of Soldiers to watch them both day and night. I cannot certainly declare all that is contained in them. There are Precious Stones such as his Land affords, many, but not very much, Cloth, and what he hath got by Shipwrack, Presents, that have been sent him from other Nations, Elephants-teeth, Wax, good store of Arms, as Guns, Bowes and Arrows, Pikes, Halberds, Swords, Ammunition, store of Knives, Iron, Tallipat-Leaves, whereof one will cover a large Tent, Bedsteads, Tables, Boxes, Mats of all sorts. I will not adventure to declare further the Contents of his Treasuries, lest I may be guilty of a mistake. But sure I am he hath plenty of all such things, as his Land affords. For he is very Provident, and Careful to be well furnished with all things. And what he does abound with, he had rather it should lye and rot, then be imbezelled and wasted, that is, distributed among his Servants, or Slaves; of which he hath great store.
He has many Elephants.He hath some hundreds of Elephants, which he keepeth tame, and could have as many more as he pleaseth; but altho not catched, yet they are all his, and at his Command when he pleaseth.
Great Treasure thrown into the River formerly.It is frequently reported and I suppose is true, that both he and his Predecessors, by the distress they have been driven to by the Portuguezes, have cast some store of Riches into the great River, Mavelagonga, running by the City, in deep holes among Rocks, which is irrecoverable, and into a made Pond by the Palace in the City of Cande, or Hingodegul-neur. Wherein are kept to this day two Alligators, so that none dare go into the water for fear of being devoured by them. And often times they do destroy Cows, that go to drink there. But this Pond by cutting the Bank might easily be drained.
The Treasure he most valueth.To conclude, the Land that is under his jurisdiction, is all his, with the People, their Estates, and whatsoever it affords, or is therein. But that which he doth chiefly value and esteem, are Toys and Novelties, as Hawks, Horses, Dogs, strange Birds, and Beasts, and particularly a spotted Elephant, and good Arms, of which he hath no want.[Top]