East Indies: May 1632

Pages 262-266

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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May 1632

May 6.
270. George Willoughby and Thomas Grove to the East India Company "at Crowesbirk (Crosby) House in London." Their last was by the Palsgrave per three severals, in custody of Capt. Hall, Mr. Fenn, the Purser, and Benjamin Freelord, after whose decease underwritten by George Willoughby only, with as large advice of his displacing, with their unjust and miserable sufferings, and the suffering of the Company's affairs, as his restrained time permitted. Arrived here 18th April from Persia the Dutch ships Gravenhage and Trevere, Commander Willebrant, which resided long at Surat and Baroach; on them came Mr. Fuller, English preacher, who brought news of this year's scarcity of silk in Persia, great famine and mortality in India, the death of President Rastell, James Bickford, and Arthur Suffeylde, two of his Council, and divers others, and the successes of their present trade, "which God in mercy amend." These ships met the Mary, Exchange, William, and Blessing at Jasques going thither. Suppose it would be more satisfactory to the Company that they should be suffered to go home by the first conveniency, rather than be carried to Surat, where the major part of those that ordered their unjust sufferings are departed this life, and therefore desired Skibbowe to send them to England, whose answer was that he would consider of it. Suppose Skibbowe and Banggam were of the Council that ordered their unjust displacing, and are therefore acquainted with the cause, with which we have not yet been acquainted, and also capable to order their coming home or proceeding to Surat, as may be most agreeable to equity and the prosperity of the southern trade, which if well managed will not yield short of the declaration sent by the Palsgrave, whose copy they shall receive by the ships daily hoped for from Persia. Are heartily sorry to hear of the low ebb in trade which the dearth and plague of Surat and Persia, &c. has caused, as well as the disrespect of the southern trade. God in mercy grant that the evil is at the worst and will amend. William Mathewe is sick on shore, and cannot at present subscribe. Endorsed, "George Willoughby & Thos. Grove, prisoners in the Great James in Mauris island upon her coasting voyage from Bantam to Surat. For conveyance of the Dutch under covert of Mr Jno Skibbowe, rec. 9 Apr. by Dutch Gravenhag." 2 pp. [O. C., Vol. XIV., No. 1429.]
May 6. 271. Duplicate of the above, but signed also by William Mathewe. Endorsed, "Recd by the Gravenhagh." 1½ pp. [O. C., Vol. XIV., No. 1430.]
May 8.
Mauritius, aboard the Great James.
272. John Skibbowe and John Banggam to the East India Company. Refer to enclosed transcripts of their last by the Palsgrave, giving advertisement of the loss of their monsoon for Surat, and other occurrents in this disconsolate voyage, and of their former of 6th Oct., as also to other writings sent by said ship. Sailing from Bantam they kept company with the Palsgrave out of the Straits of Sunda till 7th Jan., when she shaped her course directly for the Cape of Buena Esperanca. The Great James arrived safely at this place 4th Feb., since when have carreened the ship, and found good store of fish and goats and some beeves, their sick being well recovered. The 19th last descried two sail, which they hoped had been the William and Blessing, but proved two Dutch ships s'Graven Hage and Trevier from Gombroon bound for Holland; by them had sorrowful advice of the state of India and Persia by Thomas Fuller, Minister. The famine in India was followed by pestilence, both which destroyed infinite numbers of people; at last God sent rain, but in so great abundance that it carried away all corn and other grain which that afflicted people had made hard shift to sow, and made such inundations as have not been heard of in those parts, so that the countries of Guzerat are almost depopulated; amidst these heavy afflictions it pleased God to take away divers of their servants, and amongst them President Rastell, with James Bickford and Arthur Suffeylde, two of his Council; send a list of all they can hear of. Hear also bad news from Persia, as that the Company may expect no more than 400 bales of silk this year, which were ready at Gombroon; divers of the Company's servants there likewise lately deceased, and the silkworms perished, whereof Agent Heynes no doubt has given particular relation per his letters by these Dutch ships. Besides these disasters, understand that an English ship of 100 tons [the Seahorse] has been pillaging traders in the Red Sea, and taken great prizes; fear both the Company's estate and servants in India will pay dearly for it, besides the utter loss of their Red Sea trade, which stood on fair terms, and the damage the Turkey Company may suffer at Constantinople. The Commander is one Capt. Richard Quaile of Portsmouth, and report saith that he has his Majesty's commission and that it is the King's pinnace he is in; he has been at Surat, and is returned to the Red Sea; if he make prize of any of the Mogul's subjects, the Company's estate in India will be constrained to make good the damage, as was agreed by the articles made between the Guzerats and the President and Council in September 1624, whereof copies were sent by the William and Blessing. Doubt not the Company will have ample intelligence hereof from Surat and Persia. These Dutch ships met the Mary, William, Blessing, and Exchange 27th Feb. last off Cape Jasques, bound for Persia; are uncertain how they are disposed of, but daily expect the William or Blessing or both bound for England, on whose arrival they intend to consult about the transport of the James's pepper and cloves to England. Have consented to Thos. Fuller's stay in the James till the Company's first ship be dispeeded for England. Intend to stay here till the 10th June, if meantime the Company's ships arrive not from Persia, nor they receive further advice from Surat, and then proceed directly for St. Augustine's Bay in St. Lawrence Island, and thence to Johanna to meet this year's expected fleet out of England and the rest, and so to accompany them all together for Surat, the better to withstand the Portugal. Enclose list of men deceased in this ship from 9th August 1631 to 13th March 1631–2. Endorsed, "This James was going about from Bantam to Surat this way. Rec. 10 April by Dutch Graven Hagh 1633." 3 pp. [O. C., Vol. XIV., No. 1431.]
May 8.
Morisses (Mauritius).
273. Richard Barry, Purser of the James, to the East India Company. Since his last from Bantam in Jan. last, by conveyance of Thomas Fenn, Purser of the Palsgrave, arrived at this island 4th Feb., where they have procured plenty of good refreshing for many sick men, all of whom are restored to health except two deceased, whose accounts, with those of the rest deceased since his last, he intends to send by the next English conveyance. The ship has been carreened and trimmed, and is now in good estate. On 19th April arrived two Dutch ships from Persia under command of Sr. Willebrant, whereon came Thos. Fuller, an English preacher, who informed them of the deaths of Messrs. Rastell, Bickford, Suffeylde, and Barker, and divers others, and of the meeting of the ships Mary, Exchange, William, and Blessing, bound for Gombroon, whence they daily expect one or more ships bound for England. Intend to depart hence about the last of this month, except advice from India cause otherwise. Endorsed, "Rec. by the Dutch Gravenhagh 10 April 1633."½ p. [O. C., Vol. XIV., No. 1432.]
May 11. 274. Minutes of a General Quarter Court of the East India Company. Report of a debate on the printed book of orders. Objection [by Mr. Chamberleyne, in margin], on reading the last General Court, that the Generality never gave order for the printing thereof. Answer (of Mr. Mun) that this book of orders had been with much care and diligence contrived and duly considered by the Committees, and afterwards presented to the General Court, the abuses and errors in the Company having begotten said orders, though they may peradventure admit of additions or change, nevertheless the whole body are well contrived for the government of the Company's affairs in England and the Indies. Further objection that some of the orders were against the laws of the kingdom and good of the Company, but he could only allege one order directing Commanders, Factors, &c. to take their oaths for prevention of private trade; answered that these oaths were set down from the erection of this Company, and that the party who objected had been lately at the Court of Committees to insist on this oath being administered. A noble personage (in margin, Lord Say) said that at the last General Court a selected Committee had been nominated to peruse the book, and they found that the orders had been concluded upon by the Court of Committees and afterwards presented to the General Court, who then elected a Committee of 35 to peruse said orders, but finding the book long they were soon wearied and left it off; his opinion was that orders for government of the Company ought to have their confirmation from the General Court which these have not, which induced the last General Court to nominate another Committee, who perused some, and thought upon only four at present fit for the good of the Company which they left to the consideration of this Court to alter or confirm. A worthy gentleman (Sir Dudley Digges) said that these orders had often been spoken of in General Courts, but never contradicted, and Lord Say remarked that the selected Committee had presented some few [orders] which, if confirmed, they then intended to proceed further. Hereupon Alderman Garway observed that this book of orders was made in a time of disorders and contrived by the industry and pains of one man, and properly belong to the Court of Committees which was seconded by Mr. Deputy Clitherowe, whereupon a noble person [Lord Brooke] moved they might be read, but Alderman Abdi objected, saying the orders now presented were but the work of one day, and proper only for the day of election, and moved that the book, the work of the whole year, be first read and considered, and afterwards these four new digested orders. This motion was well approved, and Mr. Bell remarked that though the printed book of orders was by some imagined to be no orders, yet the Company had been governed by them these 10 or 11 years. The Court left the question in suspense whether they were orders or no orders, and descended to the consideration of these new conceived orders. The first being read and also clause of their patent which directs the manner of electing their Governor, one of the selected Committee (Sir Edward Wardour) delivered his opinion, that the Governor being present the Deputy hath no voice save in the absence of the Governor, and that the meaning of the patent is that the Governor shall continue in place for one year; but Mr. Deputy answered that the Company's patent and government had been derived from the precedent and practice of other companies, who yearly chose the same Governor again if they found no just cause to the contrary, which hath ever been the practice of this Company. Job Harby proposed whether it was for the good of the Company to restrain their privileges by confirming this first order which, in the general opinion of the Court, was held not safe to be done. Others differed in opinion, and Lord Say observed that there are two questions in this particular to be resolved as to the election of the same Governor, whether by their patent they may choose the same, and whether they will always put the government of the Company in the hands of one man, and he to be a perpetual dictator. These two questions argued by Alderman Abdi and Lord Say. Mr. Harby, Sir Dudley Digges, Mr. Wight, and Lord Lovelace thought them more proper to be reserved for a Court of Election and altogether unfit to restrain the power the Company have by their patent, or to prejudicate the election of Governor before the day come. Mr. Governor, having with patience heard all alleged about the yearly change of Governorship declared that what had been said touched him not at all, for he neither hath such power as is conceived in the Court of Committees, having but his casting voice yet neither did he ever send Factor, kinsman, or servant to the Indies nor intermeddle with the accounts but left all things to the major part of voices of the Committees. At the last election he made them a fair bridge for this change, but that whisperers shall beforehand prescribe the Governor and Committees that shall go out, he held a mere trick and innovation, for though the persons designed by that first new wakened order to be thrust out were not particularly named, it is well known to every man upon the Exchange who they are. Another gentleman (Sir John Wolstenholme) charged and challenged two members of the Company present (Messrs. Chamberleyne and Smethwike) to be the chief and only cause and authors of these new orders for sinister ends of their own, the one for immediate malice to Mr. Governor, the other to other men, knowing well that the putting out of the ancientest Committees must fall upon Ald. Garway and Abdi, and Messrs. Kirby and Mun. After remarks by Ald. Abdi, resolved and ordered after long debate, by a general erection of hands, to continue their ancient privileges, and not to admit of any innovation or other manner of election than what hath formerly been accustomed, and is warranted by his Majesty's Letters Patent. 5½ pp. [East Indies, Vol. IV., No. 99.]