chapter  XIV
18 Pages


I n his earliest years in Japan, Adam was prohibited &om leaving the country by the personal edict of Tokugawa Ieyasu. That he almost certainly could have made good his escape, had he so desired, is immaterial; by the time Adams became a man 'called in the Japann tonge ANJIN SAMMA (and) by that nam I am knowen all the sea cost allong', as he stated in his letter ofJanuary 1613 to Augustus Spalding at Bantam in Java (Rundall, 1850, 44), he was comfortably situated in Japan, a trusted, respected and tolerably wealthy member of society. His situation in Togukawa Japan was wholly unlike that of many Europeans, mainly mariners but also including some gunners, who were unable to leave the Asian societies in which they found themselves, being closely guarded to prevent any attempt at escape. After Saris' visit to Ieyasu, Adams was at liberty to leave Japan. The reasons he gave for not doing so were threefold; he had not yet made sufficient money to enable him to return home in appropriate affluence, he had grown to dislike the company of John Saris, the Clove's commander and, lastly, he desired to serve the East India Company, especially were they to pursue the chimaera of the northwest passage. Adams was also esteemed and successful in Japan. (Massarella, 1990, 223)

Vermilion-seal documents, shuinjo, made clear the distinction between legitimate merchants, like Adams and Jan Joosten on the one hand acd pirates like those who slew John Davis in 1605. Also referred to as goshuin, and - by Cocks, inter alia - as goshon, they invoked the Bakufu's protection, as AndrC Pessoa found to his cost. In this they were like the pass issued to the Portuguese pilot Luis by the Dutch whom he encountered on the Borneo coast and the Portuguese cartaze. (Massarella, 1990, 132) In spite of possession of shuinjo, a number of the shuinsen vessels had no hesitation in behaving like pirate ships. Some would attack any

ship or coastal settlement for booty and were duly feared throughout southeast Asia in consequence.