James Talboys Wheeler.

Early records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio online

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Online LibraryJames Talboys WheelerEarly records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio → online text (page 5 of 33)
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deserving man, yet they keep that power to themselves, none
assuming that dignity till confirmed by them : His salary
from the Company is 500/. a year ; half paid here, the other
half reserved to be received at home, in case of misdemeanor
to make satisfaction ; beside a bond of 5,000/. sterling of
good securities.

"The Accountant has 72/. ^;(?>' annimi, fifty pound paid
here, the other at home : All the rest are half paid here, half
at home, except the Writers, who have all paid here.

The under
Factories mo-
delled by this.


*' Out of the Council are elected the Deputy-Governor of The ndvantatro

•n 1 1 « n -n • i . i f j **' beiii(f at tlio

Bombay, and Agent 01 rersia ; the nrst a place 01 g^reat Council.
trust, the other of profit ; thoug-h, by the appointment from
the Company, the Second of India claims Bombay, and the
Secretary of Surat the Agency of Persia, which is connived
at, and made subject to the will of the President, by the
interest of those whose lot they are ; chusing rather to reside
here, where consignments compensate those emoluments ; so
that none of the Council, if noted in England, but makes
considerably by his place, after the rate of five in the hun-
dred, commission ; and this is the Jacob's ladder by which
they ascend.

" It would be too mean to descend to indirect ways, which The bascncaa
are chiefly managed by the Banians, the fittest tools for any ^
deceitful undertaking; out of whom are made brokers for
the Company, and private persons, who are allowed two per
cent, on all bargains, besides what they squeeze secretly out
of the price of things bought; which cannot be well under-
stood for want of knowledge in their language; which ignor-
ance is safer, than to hazard being poisoned for prying too
nearly into their actions : Though the Company, to encourage
young men in their service, maintain a master to learn them
to write and read the language, and an annuity to be annex-
ed when they gain a perfection therein, which few attempt,
and fewer attain.

"To this Factory belongs twenty persons in number. Number of
reckoning Swally Marine into the account; a Minister for Factory.
Divine Service, a Surgeon, and when the President is
here, a guard of English soldiers, consisting of a double file
led by a Serjeant.

" The present Deputy has only forty Moor-men, and a flag-
man, carrying St. George his colours swallow-tailed in silk,
fastened to a silver partisan; with a small attendance of
horse with silver bridles, and furniture for the gentlemen of
the house, and coaches for Ladies and Council.

*' The President besides these has a noise of trumpets, and state of tho
is carried himself in a Palenkeen, a horse of state led before


him, a Miichal (a fan of ostriches' feathers) to keep off the
sun, as the Omrahs or great men have ; none but the
Emperor have a Sumbrero among the Moguls : Besides
these, every one according to his quality has his menial
servants to wait on him in his chamber, and follow him
All places in " The Presidency of Surat is esteemed superior to all in

the Presid'muy," India, the Agcucy of Bantam being not long since subordinate
niodities. to it, but siucc made independent ; though the South Sea trade

is still maintained from hence to Bantam with such cloth as
is vendible there, from thence with dollars to China for
sugar, tea, porcelaue, laccared ware, quicksilver, tuthinag and
copper ; which with cowreys, little sea-shells, come from Siam
and the Phillipine Islands; gold and elephants' teeth from
Sumatra, in exchange of corn. From Persia, which is still
\inder the Presidency, come drugs and Carmauia wool;
from Mocha, cohar, or coffee. The Inland Factories subject
to it, are Ahmadabad, whence is provided silks, as atlases
wrought with gold ; Agra, where they fetch indico, chuperly,
coarse cloth. Siring chints. Broach baftas, broad and narrow ;
dimities, and other fine calicuts ; Along the coasts are
Bombay, Rajapore for salloos; Carnear for dungarees, and
the weightiest pepper ; Calicut for spice, ambergreez, granats,
opium, with salt petre, and no cloth, though it give the
name of Calicut to all in India, it being the first port from
whence they were known to be brought into Europe : All
which, after the Europe ships have unladen at Surat, they go
down to fetch ; and bring up time enough before the Caffilas
out of the country come in with their wares.
The Investment " The places about Surat afford variety of Calicuts, but not

set on foot iu , . , . ■, j_ i i i

the Rains. guch vast quantities as are yearly exported, and moreover not

so cheap ; which is the reason at every place the factors are
sent to oversee the weavers, buying up the cotton-yarn to
employ them all the rains, when they set on foot their
investments, that they may be ready against the season for
the ships: or else the chief broker imploys Banians in
their steads, who are responsible for their fidelity.


" On these wheels moves the traffick of the East, and has This trade

inaiia;;cu ny a

succeeded better than any Corporation preceeding-, or open Company better

•' ^ '■ cj 1 than free-

trade licensed in the time of Oliver Cromwell ; though how Trudcis.

much more to the benefit of England than a free commerce,

may be guessed by their already being over-flocked with

Europe merchandise, which lowers the price. What then

would a glut do, which certainly must follow, but debase

them more, and enhance these ?

" But lest the New Company should be exclaimed against as Their Freemeu
too greedy monopolizers, they permit free traders on their than their
Island Bombay; when, to speak truth, they are in a far
worse condition than their servants ; being tied up without
hopes of raising themselves : so that in earnest they find out
that to be but a trick.

"However, to confess on the Company's behalf, the trade TheChargQ?

., of the English

(I mean on this coast) for some years lately passed has Company not

^ ' . 80 great as the

hardly ballanced expences. They employing yearly forty sail Hollanders,
of stout ships to and from all parts where they trade, out and
home ; manning and maintaining their Island Bombay, Fort
St. George, and St. Helens ; besides large sums expended to
bear out the port of their Factors ; which notwithstandino-
by impartial computation has been found inferior to the costs
of the Hollanders, and therefore more to the profit of the
English East India Company, than theirs, in the few years
they have adventured ; so that I should mightily blame them
should they prove ungrateful to His Majesty, who by his
gracious favour has united them in a society, whereby they
are competitors for riches (though not strength) with the
notedest Company in the universe. •

" This Charter was granted presently after the happy restora- Their charter
tion of our Gracious Sovereign, when order began to dawn, and ^"
dispel the dark chaos of popular community : Then was sent
out a President, to put their Charter in force, and establish a
graduation among their servants, which before was not
observed ; only for order's sake, they did nominate an Agent ;
the rest being independent, made no distinction. When as
now, after a better model, they commence according to their
standing, and are under a collegiate manner of restraint.




The Course of
the Presidents.

The English

themselves with
honour egaiust
8evaji a second

The Power of
the President,

III snccesB of
the first

" The last Agent was Agent Rivinton, who was abolished by
the Company's sending out President Wynch, who lived not
much more than two years : President Andrews took his
place ; and he resigning, Sir George Oxendine held it till his
death ; in whose time Sevaji plundered Surat ; but he
defended himself and the merchants so bravely, that he had
a khillut or Serpaw, a robe of honour from head to foot,
offered him from the Great Mogul, with an abatement of
customs to Two and an half per cent, granted to the Com-
pany : For which his masters, as a token of the high sense
they had of his valour, presented him a medal of gold, with
this device :

' Non minor est virkis qnam qiKBrere parta tueri.'

" After whose decease, the Honourable Gerald Aungier took
the chair, and encountered that bold mountaineer a second
time, with as great applause; when the Governor of the
town and province durst neither of them shew their heads :

" Fluctum enim toiius Barbarioe ferre iirhs una non poterat.

"The enemies by the help of an Europe engineer had
sprung a mine to blow up the castle ; but being discovered,
were repulsed ; for though he had set fire to the rest of the
city, they retained the castle, and the English their house.

" The extent of the Presidency is larger in its missions than
residency; in which limits may be reckoned an hundred
Company's servants continually in the country ; besides the
annual advenues of ships, which during their stay are all
under the same command : Therefore what irregularities are
committed against only the Presidency or Company, in case
of non-submission, the persons offending are to be sent home,
and dismissed their employments for refractoriness ; but if an
higher Court lay hold of them in case of murder or any capi-
tal crime, then they are to be sent to Bombay, there to have a
legal trial, according to the laws of England, as the Presi-
dent is created Governor of His Majesty's Island.

" The ill-managing of which penalties formerly, or the in-
validity to inflict them, may be the true cause of the unpros-
perousness of the ancient undertakers ; who had this incon-


veuiency still attending, to wit, the incorrig-ible stubbornness war with
of their own men, after they had overcome all other difficulties,
occasioned by the grant of the East to the Portugal, and West-
Indies to the Spaniard. Nevertheless this fairy gift was the
groimd of a long and tedious quarrel in each of the world^s
ends ; so that our ships encountring with their Carracks,
seldom used to part without the loss of one or both. Nay,
the long-lived peo])le yet at Swalley, remember a notable
skirmish betwixt the English and Portugals there, wherein
they were neatly intrapped ; an ambuscado of ours falling
upon them behind in such sort, that they were compelled
between them and the ships in the road, to resign most of
their lives; and gave by their fall a memorable name to a
Point they yet call Bloody Point, for this very reason. But since
these sores are fortunately bound uj) in that conjugal tye
betwixt our sacred King and the sister of Portugal, laying all
foul words and blows aside, let us see how the affairs stand
betwixt them and the Dutch, who followed our steps, and got
in at the breach we made. They made them more w^ork, not
only beating them out of their South-Sea trade, but possessed
themselves of all their treasures of spice, and have ever since
kept them, with all their strong-holds, as far as Goa ; they
only enjoying the gold trade of Mosambique undisturbed ; the
Japanners having banished both their commerce and reli-

" Wherefore our ships almost alone, were it not for a little tuc Company
the French of late, lade Calicuts for Europe : The Dutch have '""''' ^^' ^"'•
a Factory here, that vend the spices they briog from Batavia,
and invest part of the money in coarse cloth, to be disposed
among their Planters, or sold to the Malayans, and send the
rest back in rupees : So that w-e singly have the credit of
the Port, and are of most advantage to the inhabitants,
and fill the Custom-House with the substautialest incomes.
But not to defraud the French of their just commendations,
whose Factory is better stored with Mousieurs than with cash,
they live w^ell, borrow money, and make a show : Here are
French Capuchins, who have a Convent, and live in es-



Kudenessof the




of Bombay to

Dr. Fryer furnishes a curious account of tlie
relations between the English and the Muhammad-
ans at Surat : —

" Going out to see the city of Surat, I passed without any
incivility, the better because I understood not what they
said ; for though we meet not with boys so rude as in Eng-
land, to run after strangers, yet here are a sort of bold, lusty,
and most an end, drunken beggars, of the Mussulman cast,
that if they see a Christian in good clothes, mounted on a
stately horse, with rich trappings, are presently upon their
punctilios with God Almighty, and interrogate him. Why he
suffers him to go a foot, and in rags, and this Kafir
(Unbeliever) to vaunt it thus? And are hardly restrained
from running a Bhtc/: {which is to kill whoever they meet,
till they be slain themselves), especially if they have been
at Hadji, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and thence to Juddah,
where is Mahomet's Tomb ; these commonly, like evil spirits,
have their habitations among the tombs. Nor can we com-
j)lain only of this libertinism, for the rich Moormen them-
selves are persecuted by these rascals.

" As for the rest, they are very respectful, unless the seamen
or soldiers get drunk, either with toddy or bang (a plea-
sant intoxicating seed, mixed with milk) ; then are they
mouarchs, and it is madness to oppose them ; but leave
them to themselves, and they will vent that fury, by breath-
ing* a vein or two with their own swords, sometimes slash-
ing themselves most barbarously .'■'

The allusions to Bombay in the foregoing
extracts show that it was considered at this
period to be a subordinate place to Surat. It had
been given to the English in 1C61 as a portion
of the dowry of Donna Infanta Catherina, sister
to the King of Portugal, when she was given
in marriage to Charles the Second. Some years
elapsed before the English effected a settlement


at Bombay. Dr. Fryer visited tlie Island about
1674, and has left the following description of
Bombay and its surroundings : —

"Let us walk the lounds. At distance enough lies The Town of

*^ Bombay.

the town, in which confusedly live the Eng-lish, Portugueze,
Topazes, Hindoos, Moors, Cooly Christians, most fishermen.

"It is a full mile in length, the houses are low, and
thatched with oleas of the cocoe-trees, all but a few the
Portugals left, and some few the Company have built, the
Custom-house and Ware-houses are tiled or plastered, and
instead of glass, use panes of oyster-shells for their windows
(which as they are cut in squares, and polished, look grace-
fully enough). There is also a reasonable handsome Bazar.

" At the end of the town looking into the field, where
cows and buffoloes graze, the Portiigals have a pretty house
and Church, with orchards of Indian fruit adjoining. The
English have only a Buryiug-place, called Mendam's-Point,
from the first man's name there interred, where are some
few tombs that make a pretty show at entring the Haven,
but neither Church or Hospital, both which are mightily to
be desired.

" There are no fresh water rivers, or falling streams of P''«.si» water-

' o springs scarce.

living water : The water drank is usually rain-water preserv-
ed in tanks, which decaying, they are forced to dig wells
into which it is strained, hardly leaving its brackish taste ;
so that the better sort have it brought from Massegoung,
where is only one fresh spring.

"On the backside of the towns of Bombay and Maijm, Woods of
are woods of cocoes (under which inhabit the Banderines,
those that prune and cultivate them), these Hortoes being
the greatest purchase and estates on the Island, for some
miles together, till the sea break in between them : Over-
against which, up the Bay a mile, lies Massegoung, a great
fishing town, pecuharly notable for a fish called bumbelo,
the sustenance of the poorer sort, who live on them and
batty, a course sort of rice, and the wine of the cocoe,
called toddy. The ground between this and the great breach








is well ploughed, and bears good batty. Here the Portugals
have another Church, and Religious House belonging to the

" Beyond it is Parell, where they have another Church,
and demesnes belonging to the Jesuits ; to which appertains
Siam, manured by Columbeens, husbandmen, where live the
Frasses, or porters also ; each of which tribes have a Manda-
dore, or superintendent, who give an account of them to
the English, and being born under the same degree of slavery,
are generally more tyrannical than a stranger would be
towards them; so that there needs no other task-master
than one of their own Tribe, to keep them in awe by a rigid

" Under these uplands the washes of the sea produce a
lunary tribute of salt left in pans or pits made on purpose at
spring-tides for the overflowing; and when they are full
jire incrustated by the heat of the sun. In the middle,
between Parell, Maijm, Sciam, and Bombay, is an hollow,
wherein is received a breach running at three several places,
which drowns 40000 acres of good land, yielding notliing
else but samphire; athwart which, from Parell to Maijm,
are the ruins of a stone causeway made by penances.

"At Maijm the Portugal s have another complete Church
and House; the English a pretty Custom-house and Guard-
house : The Moors also a Tomb in great veneration for a
Peor, or Prophet, instrumental to the quenching the flames
approaching their Prophet's Tomb at Mecha (though he was
here at the same time) by the fervency of his prayers.

" At Salvasong, the farthest part of this Inlet, the Francis-
cans enjoy another Church and Convent; this side is all
covered with trees of cocoes, jawks, and mangoes; in the
middle lies Verulee, where the English have a watch.

" On the other side of the great inlet, to the sea, is a great
point abutting against Old Woman's Island, and is called
Malabar-hill, a rocky, wood}'' mountain, yet sends forth
long grass. A-top of all is o Parsee Tomb lately reared ; on
its declivity towards the sea, the remains of a stupendous



Pagoda, near a tank of fresh water, whicli the Malabars
visited it mostly for.

" Thus have we compleated our rounds, being in the eir- j^^'j^'i^ss of the
ciimference twenty miles, the length eight, taking in Old-
Woman's Island, which is a little low barren Island^ of no
other profit, but to keep the Company's antelopes, and other
beasts of delight.

'' The people that live here are a mixture of most of the Mint peop'.c.
neighbouring countries, most of them fugitives and vaga-
bonds, no account being here taken of them : Others perhaps
invited hither (and of them a great number) by the liberty
granted them in their several religions, which here are
solemnized with variety of fopperies (a toleration consistent
enough with the rules of gain), though both Moors and
Portugals despise us for it ; here licensed out of policy, as
the old Numidians to build up the greatest empire in the
world. Of these, one among another, may be reckoned
60000 souls; more by 50000 than the Portugals ever could.
For which number this Island is not able to find provisions,
it being most of it a rock above water, and of that which
is overflowed, little hopes to recover it. However, it is well
supplied from abroad both with corn and meat at reasonable
rates ; and there is more flesh killed for the English alone
here in one month, than in Surat for a year for all the Moors
in that populous city.

''The Government here now is English ; the soldiers have English
martial law : The freemen, common ; the chief arbitrator
whereof is the President, with his Council at Surat ; under
him is a Justiciary, and Court of Pleas, with a Committee
for regulation of afi'airs, and presenting all complaints.

" The President has a large commission, and is Vice-Regis : power and
he has a Council here also, and a guard when he walks or Pres^ident.*
rides abroad, accompanied with a party of horse, which are
constantly kept in the stables, either for pleasure or service.
He has his chaplains, physician, surgeons, and domes-
ticks ; his linguist, and mint-master : At meals he has his
trumpets usher in his courses, and soft music at the table;


If he move out of his chamber^ the silver staves wait on
him ; if down stairs, the guard receive him ; if he go abroad
the Bandarines and Moors mider two standards march before
him. He goes sometimes in the coach, drawn by large milk-
white oxen, sometimes on horseback, other times in palen-
keensj carried by Cohors, Mussulman porters : Alwa3^s having
a Sumbrero of state carried over him : And those of the
English inferior to him, have a suitable train.
Uiiheaithincss " But for all this gallantry, I reckon they walk but in

oi Bom ay. chamel-houscs, the climate being extremely unhealthy ; at
first thought to be caused by Bubsho, rotten fish ; but though
that be prohibited, yet it continues as mortal : I rather
impute it to the situation, which causes an infecundity in
the earth, and a putridness in the air, what being produced
seldom coming to maturity, whereby what is eaten is un-
digested; whence follows fluxes, dropsy, scurvy, barbiers
(which is an enervating the whole body, being neither able
to use hands or feet), gout, stone, malignant and putrid
fevers, which are endemial diseases: Among the worst of these.
Fool Rack (brandy made of blubber, or carvil,by the Portugals,
because it swims always in a blubber, as if nothing else were
in it ; but touch it, and it stings like nettles ; the latter,
because sailing on the waves it bears up like a Portugal
Carvil : It is, being taken, a jelly, and distilled causes
those that take it to be fools).
English women. " To support their colouy, the Company have sent out
English women ; but they beget a sickly generation ; and as
the Dutch well observe, those thrive better that come of an
European father and Indian mother : which (not to reflect on
what creatures are sent abroad) may be attributed to their
living at large, not debarring themselves wine and strong
drink, which immoderately used, inflames the blood, and
spoils the milk in these hot countries, as Aristotle long ago
declared. The natives abhor all heady liquors, for which
reason they prove better nurses.
Longevity of "Notwithstanding this mortality to the English, the country

uativesand i^ i -r. i i- -. t.

Portuguese. pcoplc and naturalized rortugals live to a good old age.


supposed to be tbe reward of their temperance ; indulging
themselves neither in strong drinks, nor devouring fiesh an
we do. But I believe rather we are here, as exotic plants
brought home to us, not agreeable to the soil : For to the
histier and fresher, and oftentimes the temperatest, the
clime more unkind ; but to old men and women it seems
to be more suitable.

'' Happy certainly then are those, and only those, brought Misery and
hither in their nonage, before they have a gust of our Albion ; English.^
or next to them, such as intoxicate themselves with Ltethe and
remember not their former condition : When it is expostulated.
Is this the reward of an harsh and severe pupilage ? Is this
the Elysium after a tedious wastage ? For this, will any thirst,
will any contend, will any forsake the pleasures of his native
soil, in his vigorous age, to bury himself alive here ? Were
it not more charitable at the first bubbles of his iufant-sor.
rows, to make the next stream over-swell him ? Or else
if he must be full grown for misery, how much more com-
passionate were it to expose him to an open combat with the
fiercest duellists in nature, to spend at once his spirits, than
to wait a piecemealed consumption ? Yet this abroad and
unknown, is the ready choice of those to whom poverty
threatens contempt at home : What else could urge this
wretched remedy ? For these are untrodden paths for know-
ledge, little improvement being to be expected from barbarity
custom and tradition are only venerable here ; and it is
heresy to be wiser than their forefathers ; which opinion is
both bred and hatched by an innate sloth ; so that though
we seem nearer the heavens^ yet bodies here are more earthy
and the mind wants that active fire that always mounts, as
if it were extinguished by its Antiparistasis: Whereby society

Online LibraryJames Talboys WheelerEarly records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio → online text (page 5 of 33)