East Indies: March 1632

Pages 257-260

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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March 1632

Mar. 22.
266. William Gibson, John Sherland, Richard Cooper, and Wm. Halle to the East India Company. Will do their best endeavours that the shortness of time and distraction of business will give them leave. Agent Heynes dangerously sick and not likely to live, and till this very instant never acquainted them with what he had done in answer of the Company's letter by the Mary's fleet, which arrived in safety 26th Feb., a time so tardy as has not been formerly known, caused by their late dispatch from Surat; all diligence has been used for regaining time in their dispatch towards Surat; but now on the very neck of their dispeed comes this sad misfortune. Mr. Heynes has been ill ever since the ship's arrival and there is little hope of him. Have formerly said so much about the want of weight in silk that more cannot be; dare say the abuse is true, but more care cannot possibly be used, for since his time, and before, there was never any received but in the presence of the Accomptant. A maundshaw shall be sent them next year, or a lesser weight of a miscall, but it is only to be had at Spahan; had purposed to have sent them a stiller, but the King's Treasurer understanding of their inquiry could not get any that was perfect for any money. Your doubts of the young King's compliance by reason of his failing with the Dutch are sufficiently touched by the Agent's letter sent by the Dutch ships. It was as strange to them as to the Company when Mullaymbeage made a difference in price betwixt Ghilan and Shirwan silk, having always rated them alike at 37 tomans; but coming to account have been made to know a difference. Will observe their desire of Ghilan rather than Shirwan, yet rather than fail must be contented with what they will give us. That now sent on the William and Blessing for the first voyage is almost all Shirwan, and had they not accepted that they must have gone without any. [In margin, therefore you take all manner of trash.] Have gained the better part of the silk brought down this year by merchants, 34 loads, for ready moneys at 45 tomans the Ghilan and 48 the Shirwan, and sent it on account of the second voyage, not doubting it the Company will approve the course, to encourage greater quantities yearly, and buy it in barter of India commodities the better half. The Company do well to forbear sending any more gold, which is not in so good esteem by a great matter as in India; but as for Rs. of 8 yielding 13 Sh. 1½ c. at the least never knew them worth more than 13 Sh. 1 c.; and none but the King in Spahan will give that, and sometimes at Port are enforced to sell them at one or a half under, to supply present occasions of which the people take advantage. Last year Mr. Wylde, meeting President Rastell at St. Lawrence, told him the better part of the ryals sent on Capt. Weddell's fleet for the first voyage was disbursed at Port for Mr. Burt's and their private uses, as appeared by the great quantity of India commodities they bought, and the quantity of ryals, many Armenian passengers on the ships were possessed of; which is a most false tale, though it is true they disbursed ryals and bought India commodities; for Mr. Burt wrote to them from Spahan to invest in India commodities to the value of 800 or 1,000 tomans for the Company's account, and bring them up to Spahan, where he thought he could put them off to the Treasurer as ready money, which they did. And for the quantity of ryals the Armenians had, it was agreed at Mr. Burt's departure from Spahan for Court that he should take up the necessary money in Spahan, and charge them by bills of exchange at Port, which he did, and the Armenians he took it of receiving the ryals from them, sent them for India; this is the truth and the books of the factory will witness; presumes this taxation was only through Wylde's malice to Burt, but Heynes having testified as much as this to Surat, the President wished him to do the like to the Company. Their construction of the word anniseeds for wormseeds was right; have not sent any except a small parcel of Burt's, nor will without further advice; conceive it will come but to a poor account, considering the pure cleanness it is sold in England, and that better than half part is dust and other trash as sold here. Another arriving two years agone from Batavia to take his place [in margin the late Dutch Agent] Signor Visneck fled suddenly to Spahan; and there meeting together and having much dispute on accounts, a few months after he fled for Aleppo and since was never heard of, but some say he is killed by the Turkish army. Yet maintain the Company's customs, though with a great deal of trouble and vexation; Mr. Heynes got such effectual firmans from the Khan that they find this year more courteous usage and plainer dealing than ever in former times, the old Shabander, on complaint of the Agent, being turned out and at present pitifully handled. Conceive the customs will be but a small sum this year by reason of the scarcity of goods from India; last year it amounted to but 550 tomans for their share. Question less their Worships' course about private trade will prevail, but had they been wronged no more in other places than here they would have little cause to complain. William Gibson has received but small comfort in his long expected answer of the Company's benignity, yet hopes it will be the larger. Wishes Robert Loftus had merited their consideration; he died in the Custom business 17th May 1630, and is upwards of 500 tomans a debtor; know not how it comes to pass unless Edward Saddock who was with him only at his death, and since dead likewise, wronged him, or while he lay sick his servants pilfered from him, both which are to be doubted, for could never perceive any such light behaviour in the man that might cause the expense of such a sum; however it is, he has not estate in this country to answer 20l. of it. Messrs. Sherland and Fall, Factors, have this year arrived from Surat and will be a great help no doubt, yet have been fain to take ashore two writers, John Syes and Robert Manley; death has disappointed them of the young man Downes the Company mentioned in their letter. Have safely received their cargazoon, with an overplus of 15 bales cloth and kersies more than specified in their letter; but cloth and kersies are so coarse, rotten, and stained that fears they will have as much or more ado than last year to put them off to the King's Treasurer; the Agent has sufficiently advised of the trouble and vexation therein; a reformation in future would be a great deal more for the Company's benefit. Have often written for the forbearance of any more supply of perpetuanes, yet are they annually sent; those received by the James's fleet still on hand, and will not be received on any terms. Have often likewise written to enlarge their proportion of presents; sword blades, mastiffs, or strong waters are not respected; scarlet and purple cloth are not amiss, and double the quantity of knives; and there are a hundred fine things in England, as jewels for women and the like, of little cost, that would be wondrous well accepted here; for want of which the Company "infaintly" suffer. Their order in the sheet lead on the bails to be sent for Surat is observed. Take notice of the league and articles with Spain, but not so as to be lulled in security, knowing them a treacherous nation. Are not yet troubled with Lord Denbigh and his company, "neither indeed, to be plain, do we desire it," but if he arrive in these parts will, by the Company's order, afford him their best entertainment; but how to assist him and yet not engage the Company's means, as forewarned, do not understand, making account if he demand any assistance 'twill be to assist his purse. Have never yet heard of Dr. Vesterman, but will observe their orders if they do. Their order for return of the proceeds of goods sent from India might have been observed, had not disbursements for grain surmounted the value far of what has been sent, which, with the money to pay the King this year, has caused their breach thereof. The Agent, in his general letter by the Dutch has amply discoursed of the whole course of business since their last advice overland. Send herewith accounts of 1629 and 1630 for the first voyage, and might have sent those of the second voyage, but as yet the measure and tare of goods delivered this year are not agreed on, though Gibson stayed for that purpose in Spahan till 4th Jan., but gained nothing but a miserable cold journey in time of snow down to Port. Received a letter some few days past from the Consul of Aleppo advising that the Agent's letters of 26th Dec. arrived there 25th Nov.; no doubt but long ere this they are arrived with the Company. [A marginal note in the hand-writing of Edward Sherburne, the East India Company's Secretary, states that these letters of the Agent were "eleven months on the way between Spahan and Aleppo."] Being much puzzled in dispatch of their ships, if anything be omitted, refer to their next advices overland which they intend within few days after their arrival at Spahan. Endorsed, "Rec. 9 April 1633 by ship Blessing." 6½ pp. [O. C., Vol. XIII., No. 1425.]
Mar. 12.
Aboard the Royal James. (Mauritius.)
267. Consultation held by John Skibbowe, John Banggam, Rich. Barry, John White, Ant. James, Fras. Preston, and Steph. Good. Whereas Gabriel Kennicott, Purser's Mate to John Skibbowe, Cape merchant, was allowed to remain at Bantam, where he behaved so vilely, in continual gaming and drinking in China houses, day and night, that he made himself unfit for the Company's affairs, and reviled the Principal and Factors. At the return of the Royal James he was ordered by the Agent and Council to repair whence he came; and whereas after coming aboard he protested with deep oaths he would never put pen to paper as Purser's Mate in that ship, and since has so ill behaved himself in excess of drinking and continually reviling all men, to the perturbation of the ship's civil government as may tend to the overthrow of the ship, notwithstanding three months' lenity in hope of his amendment; and whereas on 9th March, being aboard and sober at the Island of Mauritius, he broke forth into such unheard of railings against divers particular men that the Commander willed him to desist, but he took a man by the ears, and being parted from him, he framed his tongue only to rail, revile, and vilify his Commander with such "misbecoming" words as are unfit to be written; "but since the necessity of the cause enforceth, we are bound to insert a part of them;" and being put into the bilboes to rule his hands and tone his tongue, he sent for a half hh. of rack into the cook-room to make himself drunk and as many as would accompany him, to the raising, as we may judge, of a mutiny; for what will not drunken men do, having such an insolent instrument to egg them on. Ordered, that said Gabriel Kennicott be ducked, falling three times from the yard-arm, hoping this gentle punishment will be a warning for him to bridle his lavish speeches, otherwise they must use more rigour. 1½ pp. [O. C., Vol. XIII., No. 1424.]
268. "A clause of the Agent's letter in Persia" to the President and Council in Surat. As we were closing up hereof arrived three Dutch ships with your letters of 4th Jan. and divers other transcripts. Wm. Gibson finds himself nominated a correspondent of Mr. Rastell's, so far as it is thought by the Company that he may give light of his confused and embezzled estate. All Gibson knows is that the first year of Rastell's arrival in India he ordered Gibson by letter to receive certain sums of money of sundry persons in Gombroon, but cannot now remember the sum or advise hereafter unless he finds the letter amongst his papers, it is so long ago; sent to him what he could recover in Ryals of 8 on the James, William, and Blessing, and thinks he has still Rastell's receipt in Spahan. What was unreceived was of three Moors, viz., Mamoodgee Umer, Rup. 7,200, Myran Sied Mahmood, Rup. 3,600, and Lawner Peroose, Rup. 415, who promised to return on the ships to Surat to give satisfaction, but slipped away and never were heard of since. But if it is thought he knows of any English indebted to Rastell, and has thus long kept silence, protests he does not, for his engagements to the man were such as would have obliged him to have endeavoured Rastell's right before any man's in the world. 1½ pp. [O. C., Vol. XIII., No. 1427.]