East Indies: February 1632

Pages 252-256

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, East Indies and Persia, Volume 8, 1630-1634. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.

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February 1632

Feb. 19.
263. Proclamation for the better encouragement of the trade of the East India Company, and for prevention of private trade. Refers to a proclamation published in the third year of his Majesty's reign, commanding that none of the Company's servants should drive any underhand trade. And although the Company by a declaration have given license to their servants to export perpetuanoes, drapery, pewter, saffron, woollen stockings, silk stockings, garters and ribbon, beaver and felt hats, aquavitæ and all other strong waters, knives, Spanish leather shoes, iron, and looking glasses; and to import long and white pepper, white sugar, preserved nutmegs, ginger, and mirabilons, bezoar stones, drugs of all sorts, agate beads, bloodstones, musk, aloes soccatrina, ambergris, carpets, quilts, taffeties, benjamin, damasks, galls, wormseeds, sugar candy, China dishes and porcelain, packed in one chest of 4 ft. long by 1½ft. broad and deep, Captains, Factors, Masters, Pursers, and Mates being allowed two chests; his Majesty being informed that said Company are content further to allow to Commanders, Captains, and Factors four such chests, to Masters three, and to Pursers and Masters' Mates, boatswains, carpenters, gunners, and stewards two chests, straightly commands all persons to yield obedience to said proclamation; authorising said Company to depute persons to search their ships, and to arrest all who shall be found contrariant and rebellious, and to cause them to be proceeded against in the Star Chamber or any other court of justice. And his Majesty commands all his officers to assist the Company in preventing said abuses. 3 pp., printed. [Proclamations, Chas. I., No. 150.]
Feb. 26.
264. Ed. Heynes, Wm. Gibson, and Richard Cooper to (the President and Council at Surat). Received their general letter of 10 June last overland 24th Jan., but copy by the pinnace in Shiraz 26th Dec. Perceive that sale of the India goods at Port last year produced a contentful profit, and has drawn them to a resolution to supply the like yearly, and that they require a more large expression of the sorts fitting this trade. Conceived their former advices had been sufficient, but refer them to the enclosed list. Suppose 20,000l. in all sorts of goods may be a reasonable proportion, the sale of which, especially the coarser and more ponderous goods of Guzerat, is not to be doubted when merchants from all places come to Port in expectation of them, and if constantly followed will make this Port and trade as famous as ever Ormuz was, but if they fail but one year, as at present it is generally feared, two years will not draw the merchants down again with silk; and know it to be a principal aim of the Company to purchase silks at Port with the produce of India goods and ready moneys, which will assuredly advance their returns to a more contentful profit than its investment in India commodities. The Dutch, notwithstanding the King owes them near 12,000 tomans., and has not this year delivered them one bale of silk, have landed in money and goods to the value of 300,000l., of which 150,000l. ready money, and being refused contract with the King, intend to follow the trade at Port, and silks not having been brought down this year as expected, they endeavour to sell their goods for ready money, with which they resolve to contract with the Julfalene Armenians for silk, and so leave the King altogether. This is a project greatly desired on both sides, and if not crossed by the King will produce a profitable trade. If the Dutch run therein a thriving course, we will share with them so far as our small means will allow, or else spoil their markets, our experience is as much and our reputations with these Armenians more. This year there hath not been brought down above 50 loads of silk, have bought 32 thereof at 45 tomans. Ghilan and 48 Shirwan silk; the rest the Dutch gleaned after us at 47 and 51 tomans.; and last year their ships not arriving they bought at 42 on credit to pay at Spahan at interest, which interest has cost them 3,000l. Pray remember your promise not to fail us yearly with goods from India, and what ready moneys you can spare. There was no error in our computation as to complying with the King's contract, were to receive by it 500 loads at 40 tomans., the fourth part in ready money, to which add 2,000 tomans, for disbursements, and 1,000 disbursed to accompany India goods in barter of silk at Port, and deduct their last year's custom 550 and freight 270, and all our disbursements of ready money are 7,188 tomans. But the King having broken the contract made with Mr. Burt, have with difficulty purchased a new contract for three years to the amount of 32,000 tomans, to receive in three years 800 loads of silk at 40 tomans. Ghilan and 43 Shirwan, to pay one-third in money and two-thirds goods at former prices. Have paid 4,000 tomans, in money, and are to pay this year 6,600, as will appear by copy of the contract herewith sent, which has cost them much travail and bribes to procure, and is now confirmed by the Emperor's letter to his Majesty; so that goods and moneys must be largely supplied whilst this contract continues, else will not be able to purchase silks at Port. Understand not the Company's advices to procure silks on credit; endeavoured to buy silks at Spahan and pay at Port, but found the merchants incredulous of our abilities to give satisfaction, doubtful of our ships' arrival, which is an incident to happen as to the Dutch last year; and to procure silk from the King on credit a year beforehand is not to be expected when he is not able to pay his debts to us or Dutch, and it was never heard that the King of Persia trusted any Christians in that manner, unless the Julfalene Armenians, his subjects, to whom the old King delivered silks at 10 tomans. the load profit, besides interest at least 20 per cent. If we receive the silks contracted for without further trouble or bribing, shall think ourselves happy; yet because the Company desire it, will make trial though with little hope of success. You will do well to furnish us with better gunney, stronger thread, and smaller ropes, for as the tin comes one-half in broken chests, are forced to embale it into gunney for transport, which spends the best part they send; besides are often obliged to cut their bales of sugar, sugar-candy, cardimum, and cohoh seeds in the midst, for carriage to Spahan on small camels and mules, and therefore again desire they will make those bales one-half less hereafter; and what is sent more than sufficient for use, can at all times be sold to good profit. Have good store of ropes, but are in great want this year of gunney, thread, and principal coarse dutties; the bags only of the grain shipped on the Dutch having cost them 500 mamothes. Have so far prevailed with the Khan of Shiraz that the Shabander, on account of last year's abuses in their Customs, is removed, one we like appointed, and command given to his Ministers to see their parts of Customs duly collected. Have so wedged themselves into the affection of the old and young dukes, and doubt not the continuance of their Customs as long as either of them govern this place. Have only Mr. Cooper left alive capable of that business, and hope to receive by this fleet some supply of able men, have buried six of the Company's servants since last year, a poor number surviving. Have been large in the point of private trade, but reformation must begin at Surat, for the profit gained at this Port is by India commodities bought there, this country yielding little on returns, yet will join their best endeavours for prevention. The fathering of Moors' and Banians' goods not only wrongs their masters in freight and Custom, but endangers the loss of their right, when they shall be found to connive with such to deceive the Khan of his dues. Transport of merchants to and from this Port is a principal bond of the Custom to them; base and mean people that carry little goods may be avoided, but the better sort of merchants bring profit to the Khan and Company, and reputation to our nation amongst the people; the Dutch arriving without goods or merchants displease the Duke greatly, and are threatened to pay Custom if they do not annually observe him in this service. The coarseness and bad condition of our broadcloth has greatly puzzled them in their business with the King, insomuch that after their contract was sealed, procured by 600 tomans. charge in bribes at least, the Treasurer refused the broadcloth, and was like to break off again, had we not promised to amend that fault by the next received out of England; have been earnest with the Company to send better cloth, else they may expect to have it left on their hands to their great loss. The 2,000 chests tin expected on this fleet will not be taken off their hands these many years, 1,000 chests remaining of what they received by the James's fleet, though the King's contract is fully accomplished in that commodity; and transport to Spahan being at double the rates of former times through mortality amongst the camels this year, are resolved to leave it in the castle at Port till the King require it or they find markets; have advised the Company to forbear sending any more tin or perpetuanies, by letters sent by way of Aleppo, Constantinople, and the Dutch ships. Were ignorant of the private corn returned on the fleet, the Pursers were the main actors, who have their warehouses ashore far distant from our view, and contemn our authority being warranted therein by their sea Commanders; 25 per cent. gain to them for what you seized for the Company, was profit sufficient to induce them to the like courses for the future; it had been reason to have given them their prime cost, or at least made them pay freight, which might have wrought some reformation; great care was taken in the exact weighing of every parcel of grain. Have sent by the Houffe van Hollande 1,119 bags of grain, amounting to 5,115 mds. taubris of barley, 9,996 of wheat, 5,035 of rice, and 1,041 of kitcherie; and have ready to be laden on the ships 80,000 mds. more of all sorts of grain, which they have with much travail procured, the charge of transport costing near as much as the grain itself. The silk ready this year for England is not above 350 bales, the King having broken with them. Were formerly ignorant of their daily allowance to the sea Commanders and ship's company; last year they were their own carvers, but publication shall be made of their orders when the fleet arrives. Our inability to procure silks from the King to meet the ships in any other season or manner than has been his custom, and the hazard of the lives of the Company's servants at Port in the season of heats as August and September, hope has been sufficiently discoursed to the Company and to them, to divert that project. Last year sent down Mr. Cooper and Mr. Jones in August and Sept. in expectation of the fleet; Mr. Jones was shortly cut off in Gombroon, and Mr. Cooper taken so sick that he is not yet recovered. Since our arrival in Jan. have lost Saml. Greene, a hopeful young man, their Register, Edward Pattaron that brought their letters in the pinnace lies at the point of death, and all of them have had a touch of sickness; send list of those God has taken from them this year, and of those that survive. The President and Council are of opinion the Dutch will constantly direct their ships to Persia in any season, but if they arrive in August and September, they will want their silks, and their people at Port to receive them, know they have altered their resolutions to make this port in such seasons; and that it would be greatly beneficial to the Company if it might be done, but impossibilities will answer themselves, and deceive expectation if made trial of. Pray continue your fair entertainment to the merchants we recommend by our letters, for Mr. Rastell's friendly entertainment to Ali Cullibeag's servants, we received many thanks and promises of favours with the King, their master being a principal man at Court; and other of his servants bound this year for India, have refused passage with the Dutch in expectation of our ships, whose non-arrival has caused many merchants who would have come on ours, especially the Armenians, to take passage with the Dutch, who have willingly entertained them, because they stand greatly in disrespect with the Duke and his Ministers for not transporting merchants or goods from Surat this year, but only their own goods, landed free of Custom by their own people, and not a poor man a penny the better for their arrival in these parts. The transcript of their letter by Capt. Wills came not to hand; their orders for not landing cloves in Persia, and disposure of pepper out of the James, if God send her, shall be observed if confirmed, but the lateness of the season may alter their resolutions in the disposure of the ships for England. Have provided 813 mds. rubanas; great quantities have been brought to Port, and will be sold at mean prices, but dare not adventure on any more, doubting the state of India may produce loss to the Company. Enclose note of the value of the three horses sent last year; 12 others long since bought shall be sent on return of the fleet, with rose water, wine, pistaches, and a few Dumba sheep for their piscashes and household provision. The Khan of Shiraz earnestly desired to join his forces with ours in taking Muscat this year, but the fleet failing, desires it may be done next year, and requires a speedy answer from Surat overland; if by Council they resolve on it, the fleet should be here by the prime Dec. to join with 10,000 or 20,000 of his soldiers, that the action may be ended by fine of Jan., after which they may attend their affairs in Port, and return to Surat by fine of Feb.; pray them return answer to satisfy the Khan. The three horses last year sent cost from 6 to 8 tomans. each. The freight of the corn laden on the Holfe van H(ollande) is referred to them and the Dutch Commander at Surat, and must be paid if they require it; the invoice cannot be perfected as we know not its cost till all brought be joined together. The accounts sent by the James they may expect by the next fleet perfected, and those for the first voyage balanced; but those for this year of the second voyage cannot be performed till next year, by reason we have not had time to perfect accounts with the King's Ministers. Cannot answer the Company's orders in making double copies of these accounts unless supplied with able penmen, all the writers being only Edward Wadeson who cannot be spared from the office of Register. Have thus answered all the needful points in their letters. Endorsed, "Copy of a Genl. Letter sent by the Dutch ships to the President and Council of Surat. . . . . Rec. in Persian pacquett 25 Sept. 1633." 7½ pp. [O. C., Vol. XIII., No. 1423.]
[Feb. 20.] 265. Petition of the East India Company to the Privy Council. Having brought great quantities of saltpetre out of the Indies, they have according to his Majesty's Letters Patents converted a great part thereof into powder, which being more than they shall have occasion to use, pray license to transport 1,000 barrels into Holland or other parts beyond the seas; which they presume their lordships will the rather condescend unto, for that if there be a scarcity of this provision within the land, petitioners will be able by the quantity they weekly make, and which is remaining on their hands, to supply his Majesty's occasions with an answerable proportion (see Council Register). 1 p. [East Indies, Vol. IV., No. 98.]