chapter  VIII
27 Pages

Adams and the Missionaries

R eferring to the period that he daily, or hourly expected execution at the behest of the Jesuits, Adam wrote in his letter to the Britons at Bantam of October 1611: '. . .I looked everye day to dye, to be crost as the coustome of justice is in Japan as hanging is in our lande. In w'ch long time of ymprissonment the Jesuites and the Portingalles gave many evidences ageinst mee and the rest that wee were theeves and robbers of all nations, and were wee suffered to live it should be ageinst the profitt of His Highnes and of his countrey, for noe nation should come hither w'thout robbing them; His Highnes' justice being executed, w'thout doubt the rest of our nation should feare and not come here any more; thus dayly making access to th'Emperour and procuring fieindes to hasten my death.' (Farrington, 1991, 69)

It is improbable that JoZo Rodrigues was one of these Jesuits. The records suggest that, at this period, he was busy in Kyushu. (Cooper, 1974, 193)

William Adams was credited by the Jesuits resident in Japan with having spared no effort to turn the hearts of the Japanese against the Catholic missionaries, as the Jesuit Pedro Morej6n recounted in his remarkable work A brieje Relation ofthe Persecution lately made againsf the Catholike Christians in the Kingdome oflaponia, published in Spanish in Mexico City in 1616 and in English at St. Omer in 1619. In referring to the growing distaste the shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, felt for the Jesuits (Morej6n was writing early in 1615) the Jesuit wrote 'Many noble personages in the Courtes of Yendo and Suruga did imitate the Xoguns proceedings in this kind but above all, the Prince of Toxogun did shew himselfe most

cruell and rigorous moved partly by the Xoguns example but principally incited by the wordes of an English Pilot who spake most bitterly against religious men and Spaniardes making their persons odious unto him and all that they did suspitious.' (Morejbn, 1969, 66)

There was only one man who could have qualified for this specific reference resident in Japan at this time; William Adams. The English secret service personnel, who read every line the Jesuits published in English, must have wondered who this anonymous English Pilot could have been, to be so roundly traduced by the Jesuits' printing press on the other side of the world in his own lifetime.