Richard Jobson (1623) The Golden Trade, pp. 136-146.
The discourse of the wild beasts.
AND now I am to speake of the wild beasts the countrey is stored withall, whereof I am to begin with those that are ravenous and offensive, keeping the people in dread, and as his pleasure requires the Lyon is first, whereof there are very many, which we can speake by perfect knowledge, although we cannot say, eye-witnesses, for our gracious God hath so ordained, that those beasts which are most tyrannous to others, and boldest against man, as ashamed of their bloody actions, notwithstanding their ablenes and strength, doe shut themselves up in the bowels of the earth all the day time, as it were confinde from the glorious light of the Sunne, beeing one of Gods comfortablest creatures; So that in the night, is their times of walking, and our knowledge of them, is by their roarings and noyse they m ake, whereby one beast is distinguisht from an other, but the Lyon is more especially to be taken notice of, besides his owne voice, in regard of a servant hee hath sometimes two or three that doe attend him, which we doe call the little Iacke All: it is a little blacke shagge-heard beast, about the bignese of a small spaniell, which so soone as the Evening comes, hunts and busles abut for the preye, and comming on the foot, followes the sent with open crye, to which the Lyon being master huntsman gives diligent eare, and applyes himselfe to follow, for his owne ease and advantage; if it so happen the Iacke All, be weary, or set up his chace before the Lyon come in,1 he howles mainely out, to shew the estate he stands in, and then comes the haughty Lyon, and ceazeth one the weary prey: for as it is written of the Lyon in his pride, if hee faile of his prey at three iumps, he scornes to pursue, or toyle himselfe after it: and being ceazed, he remaines feeding, making a kind of grumbling noyse: whilest his small servant stands barking, and yalping by, attending untill his Master hath feasted, and then hee falls upon the remainder. And this, as we heare, and receive from the countrey people; so likewise it is affirmed unto us by our owne travailes: for as we had occasion when the tydes fell out to travaile up the River in the night; and likewise many times to ride all night at an Anker in the River against desert places, we did observe the noyse, and hunting of this Iacke All, and likewise note the reply, and answer of the Lyon, insomuch, as it was a commonn word amongst us, who will goe on shore, and accompany the Master huntsman.
There are Ounces and Leopards great store, whereof by reason of the many dennes wee see upon the land, we may discerne the print of the foot, remaining upon the holes mouth, beeing able to assure us what is within, as also the countrey people doe bring many of their skinnes unto us to sell, how ever they light upon them; for by their owne valour, sure they dare not, and by their ingenious capacities, I beleeve they cannot devise any course to lessen their company. The Ounce doth seeme to bee more ravenous, or dangerous unto them, then either Lyon or any others, and makes more spoyle upon them, as they doe complaine, I was shewed a child there, which the mother gave sucke unto, who early in a morning going neare to her house to a spring to fetch water, had laid her child wrapt in a Cloath without her dore upon a matte, as they use to doe, and there came a hungry Ounce, who it seemed had mist his nights prey, and tooke up the cloath and child, and runne his wayes, the mother met him, and with wofull outcry pursued him, and as it chanced he tooke the way to come right upon the place, where the Father of the child with other people were labouring in the field, who with roaring voyces run after him, the Ounce still ran away, keeping his hold, but as it chanced, the child dropt forth of the cloath, and the father running after it, recovered it, and tooke it up, the Ounce carryed cleane away the cloath, and the man brought backe the child to the mother; the which wee our selves have both seene and handled: and so bold and fierce is the Ounce, that many times in the night, hee hath driven a small dogge wee had, where we dwelt on shore to our bedsides by a hole he had through our straw walles, barking and running under our beds, not daring to looke out, howsoever we encouraged him, untill we were faine with firebrands in our hand to goe abroad, and so scare him away:2 and many more are there of night enemies, which watch and looke after their carefull huswifery, amongst which especially is the great Civit Cat, and the Porcupin, who are carefull purveighers for any outlying poultrey, whose view early in the morning is their discoverie, the Cattes by the print of their feete left in the sand, and the Porcupine by his quills, which are shed, and many times taken up in plenty; and so I end with their night enemies, and as I stand conceited, cruell acquaintance, because what after I deliver, is uppon such beasts, as walke, and shew themselves by day: and howsoever, they stand in feare of them, it is rather out of a timorousnesse, in the people, then any willingnesse in the beast.
The first whereof is the Elephant, whose presence indeed, as he is a wilde beast, may even to a strong person give iust amazement; and such is the feare, the countrey people in generall, have of them, that by all possible meanes, they seeke to shunne and flie from them, yet such is the great abundance the Countrey doth yeeld of them, that they are over all places, and wheresoever you come, you shall find the footing and apparent shew they have been there, though not presently to be seene: and notwithstanding those great abundance of wilde ones, they have not any of them tame, or under commaund: as in other places of the world they have, which certainely proceeds from the feare they conceive of them: much, and great is the spoiles they doe them, both among their corne, and especially in their Cotton grounds, going in small companies together, whereof I have seene sixteene verie great ones, besides young ones that suckt, and others that were of middle statures; the proportion of the greatest I leave you thus to coniecture of: the reeds or sedge, that grows naturally in every place, is higher above our heads, then the arme of a tall man can well reach; and halfe the body of those Elephants, is above the redes, their naturall feeding is amongest this sedge, but more especially, they doe browse upon trees, whereof in the woods, you shall find store by them pulld downe, and that of bigge bodies, and round substance; the manner whereof I must relate, to correct the mistaking, which is most common in picturing the Elephant, whose two great teeth are commonly set in his lower iaw, carrying them upward, as a Bore doth his tusks, which is contrary, for he carries them downward, and with them breakes downe the trees, for after with his truncke he hath bended the toppe, he haspes over his two teeth, so as one or the other must needs give way, and that is the reason, that among those multitude of teeth, that are brought over, so many broken teeth, and crackt and shaken are amongst them, for if the tree be too strong, the tooth gives way, and so the people find many iunkes and peeces, which they sell unto us, & the abundance of those teeth, that are yearely brought from thence, may satisfie what store of these beasts are in the countrey; for as I have spoken with many, who considering the great store are brought away, have conceived, they had shed their teeth, as Stagges doe mew their hornes, which directly is nothing so, but by the death of the beast, the teeth are gotten; what casuall deaths they are subiect unto wee are ignorant: and for any practize of the peoples, too much feare possesseeth them, so farre as we have seene, one place alone excepted, which I will manifest unto you: within foure miles where our habitation was, there stood a good spatious plantation, the Commander whereof we called Ferambra, who was alwayes a friend of ours;3 as we were in our dwelling, upon our Christmasse day, at dinner; where (God be praised) wee had varieties of meate: to mend our fare, iust in the dinner time, there came foure blacke people unto us, whereof two were laden, and had great gourds uppon their heads, as much as they could stand under, the one full of Palmeta wine, the other of raw flesh, which were Presents sent me from this Ferambra, who sent me word, hee had killed an Elephant, and had sent me some part thereof; our daintie stomacks looked asquash at such grosse flesh, yet I received it kindly, and gave it away to our blacke neighbours, who eat it very merrily. The next day I went to Ferambras house, & the fashion of the Country is to entertain us, with their best provision of diet, amongst which we had Elephants flesh, whereupon both my selfe, and consorts that were with me, fed very heartily, and found it good and savoury meate: I desired to know how he killed them; And he shewed me one of his blacke people, and sayd, That was none but hee alone durst doe it; and taking downe a Iavelin, which hung in the house, the staffe some ten foote long; the Iron or head whereof was bound up in a cloth, which he opened and shewed me, and it was laid with poyson all over; he sayd, his manner was, when hee saw the Elephants feeding in the high sedge, he would steale in amongst them, & by creeping, still keeping himselfe behinde them, he would recover so neare, as to strike his Iavelin into the body of the beast, and leaving it there, take to his heeles, and through the long reeds scape away: and the warme bloud dissolving the poyson uppon the Iavelin, it presently spreads it selfe, to the cruell torture of the beast, the extremitie whereof killes him; the people in the meane time, upon trees, and places of advantage, being set round about to watch him, and so soone as he is downe, come to him, presently cutting away so much of the flesh as is inflamed with the poyson, which they throw away, reserving the rest for their owne sustenance: and in this manner he hath killed mee so many, as you see I have tailes heere hanging up;4 And except in this place, I never heard but the people were wondrous fearefull of them: the experience whereof, was in those blacke people, I had in my boate when I went up the River: It was my manner, as I could with conveniencie, to adventure and set upon such as wee met withall, but my Blackes would alwayes tremble, and runne away; and many severall attempts I had upon them, wherein I must say, as I found, that they were as fearefull as a forrest Stagge, and according to their greatnesse, went as swift from us as they could, which pace was faster, then a good able man could runne, whereof I had triall in one great beast, who notwithstanding wee had shot three times, the bloud running downe his sides, escapt away from us, that we lost him, whom afterwards the people found dead, and brought his teeth to sell unto us; and had wee beene provided accordingly, we might have made divers preys upon them: but what wee did, was held in admiration amongest the people, for many would come downe on purpose to looke upon us, and demaund of our Blackes, which was he that durst set upon an Elephant.
There are also in the Countrey Buffelos, which are wilde Bulles, and cattell of that sort; also wilde Boores, very huge and great, their colour being a darke blew, and without doubt he is a very dangerous beast, for hee shewes more boldnesse then any other, being armed with great and large tusks, and carrying up his tufted taile, of a great length, boult upright, in a scornefull manner, will walke from us.
There are likewise Antelops,and Deare of all manner of sorts spread over the whole countrey, with beasts of that kind, whose names wee are ignorant of; and many strange hydes they doe bring unto us, amongst which there is one beast, whose hide is fourteene foote of length, of a dunne colour, and strokt with white. Another sort I must needes remember, whose great abundance may well put me in minde, besides their society and neighbourhod, which in our travell up the River we were often acquainted withall, which are, the Babownes and Munkeys, whereof the countrey hath innumerable store, and where they are, they doe goe in heards, and companies, but are of two societies: the Munkeys alwaies keepe by themselves, and great and little as they are; onely of that kind consort together, and even in Ilands that lye within the River, they are as frequent as on the mayne, which condemnes the report is of them, that they cannot swimme, but being in the water will drowne presently, and in my owne knowledge I can affirme, that having bought a Monkey from the countrey people, who use to bring them unto us, and sel them for poore things; being got loose in my boate that rid in the middle of the River, hee leapt into the water to swimme on shore, and being pursued by one of our men, who swamme after him, hee did diver under water, divers and sundry times, before he could recover him.
But to speake of the Babowne, I must say, it is a wonderfull thing, to observe a kind of common-wealth that is amongst them; they have none but their owne kind together, and are in heardes, of three or foure thousand in a company; as they travell, they goe in rancke, whereof the leaders are certaine of the greater sort, and there is as great, and large of them, as a Lyon, the smaller following, and ever now and then as a Commaunder a great one walkes; the females carry their yong under their bellies, except she have two, and then one under, the other above. In the rear comes up a great company of the biggest sort, as a guard, against any persuing enemy, and in this manner doe they march along: they are very bold, and as we passe in the river, when we come neare their troupes, they will get up into the trees, and stand in gaze upon us, and in a kind of collericke humour the great ones will shake the trees, and with his hands clatter the boughes in that fashion, as it doth exceed the strength of a man, to doe the like, barking, and making a noyse at us, as if they were much offended, and in this manner, many times they will follow us along, and in the night time, where wee ride at an ancker take up their stands, or lodgings on the mountaine toppes, or on the trees that are above us, whereas we hear their government: for many times in the night you shall heare such a noyse of many of their voyces together, when instantly one great voyce exalts it selfe, and presently all are hush, and the noyse is dasht, so as were were wont to say, Maister Constable speakes; likewise when wee are a shore and meete with these troupes, on a sudden the great ones will come forward, and seeme to grin in our faces; but offer up a gunne, and away they packe. One of our people one day as we came neare the shore in our boate, and a troupe of these shavers, being gazing on us, made a shot and kild one of them, which before the bote could get on shore, the others had taken up betwixt them and carried quite away, but we have kild of them, which the countrey people doe much desire, and will eate very heartely; wherein I hope never to take their part: And lastly let mee tell you that wee have seene in the desert places they use, trees and plants, wound and and made up together in that artificiall manner, and wrought together with that thicknes over head, to keepe away the sun, and shade the ground, which hath bin beaten, & smoothed under neath, and all things in the manner and shape of an excellent arbour, which place they have only used, and kept for their dancing and recreation; that no man living that should have come by chance, and seene the same, without knowledge of these unlucky things, but would have confidently supposed, it had, and must have beene the handy worke of man; which some wayes confirmes the opinion the Spaniard holds of them, and doth not sticke to write it, that they are absolutely a race and kind of people, who in regard they will not bee brought to worke, and live under subiection, refuse to speake, and so he reports of them.
And to conclude, amongst their multitude of wilde beasts, we have enquired amongst them: especially, when I was at the highest in the countrey, whether they could tell or report of a Unycorne, setting foorth unto them a beast, with one onely horne in his forehead, and certainely they have told me, that higher within the land there is a beast, which hath one onely horne in the same manner, but describe the beast, to be both about the colour and bignesse of a vallow Deare, and the horne to be about the length of their arme, and no otherwise, which is nothing like to the description of the Unicorne, as he is with us set out, if there bee any such beast; whereof indeed I am very doubtfull, and so I am come to the last, which is to deliver, what land fowle, and of that nature, there doe remaine wilde as we have seene amongst them.
1. 1623: "if it so happen the Iacke All,beweary, or set up his chase besote the Lyon come in, he howles mainely out" etc. The source of Jobson's non-standard zoological description of the hunting methods of lions and jackals is partially explained a little later, and a little earlier, when he remarks that he had in fact not seen lions.
2. 1623: "and so feare him away" etc.
3. Margin: "This was that Ferambra I noted before." (i.e., p. 100 and (more briefly) p. 58.
4. Margin: "I brought two of these tayles away with me."
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