Pages vii-xlix

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.



This, the fifth volume of the Calendar of State Papers relating to the East Indies, includes the documents in the Public Record and India Offices from the commencement of the year 1630, and carries the history of the East India Company down to the close of the year 1634.

The Governor, Sir Morris Abbott.

During this period of five years the government of the Company devolved on Sir Morris Abbott, who was annually elected the Governor in spite of his reiterated wish to resign the great responsibility into other hands. He had served as Deputy Governor since 1615, and been elected Governor every year since the death of Sir William Hallidaie, in March 1624, and by his prudent and excellent administration fully justified the confidence almost unanimously reposed in him. There do not appear to have been more than half a dozen opponents to the Governor's policy among the whole Company, if as many, but in spite of their opposition, which was at times carried to the utmost possible limits, Sir Morris Abbott, supported by an overwhelming majority, invariably steered the East India Company safely into the haven of prosperity.

Sir Morris Abbott was the brother of George, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Robert, Bishop of Salisbury, and perhaps the most successful merchant of his time, an influential member of several trading companies, and one of the first to be knighted by Charles I. He was also Member of Parliament for London, an Alderman and Sheriff, a Commissioner for the repair of St. Paul's, and one of the Council for establishing the Colony of Virginia. His remarks at a General Court of Election, in July 1632, are very significant, and give some idea of the internal dissensions in the Company. Sir Morris thanked the Generality for their choice of him as Governor last year, though he never had so little comfort in all his time. He had served the Company many years at home and abroad, he goes on to say, and if he were ambitious to continue the place of Governor had never more reason to desire it, because of the practice of some in proscribing him aforehand and casting unjust aspersions on him, yet could never go out with more honour than now, having endured the touch and withstood the malice of his enemies, but wished, as a learned father did in another case, rather than any broils should happen by his means to distract the affairs of the Company, that he might be turned out, and therefore desired them to nominate some other more worthy person in whom they may find more virtues and less errors, and so left his chair. Whereupon six were nominated, but Sir Morris Abbott was again re-elected Governor, and "the joy being given him by the Generality," he declared his thankfulness, and said he was not worthy the name of a Christian if he should wrong the Company himself or suffer them to be wronged by others, and he promised to do them all faithful service to the utmost of his power (281).

A variety of causes operated to tax the ability and the judgment of the Company's trusted Governor to the utmost. Factious opposition at home, dissensions abroad among the Company's own servants, the grasping and avaricious governors and chiefs in places where the Company's factories were established in India as well as Persia; the enormous private trade carried on by the commanders of their fleets and the factors themselves at their numerous stations, who are described as caterpillar-like, devouring the Company's fruits (p. 218). All these great drawbacks to success and profit in trade had to be grappled with and, as it were, to be wiped out. But the climax to these difficulties was the scourge of pestilence, famine, and mortality which devastated the East Indies and decimated the Company's servants there. But let us endeavour to show in a short epitome, the facts as they are described in this volume.

Voyages to India and Persia; Confusion in accounts; The voyages turned over to the Joint Stock; Valuation and profits.

The hopes of the Company about this time were directed to Persia, where a very profitable trade, especially in silks, had been promised, and the Company devoted their best energies to encourage this great industry, and spent large sums in fitting out "voyages" to develop this trade. For years past the capital subscribed by the "adventurers of the East India Company was divided into Joint Stocks, as the First Joint Stock, the Second, or, as it is called in this volume, the Old Joint Stock, and the Third, or New Joint Stock; but as soon as trade with Persia had been resolved upon, the East India Company once again adopted the title of "voyages," as they had done after the granting of their first charter in 1599, when the respective fleets sent out to trade in the East Indies were called "voyages," and distinguished by numbers, from the First to the Twelfth Voyage; so the several fleets sent to Persia and the East Indies are described in this volume as the First, the Second, and the Third Persian Voyages. But the great difficulty, not only of keeping the accounts of these voyages distinct from each other, but also of preventing them from being mixed up with the Joint Stock, and seeing the number of ships employed at the same ports and stations, this may readily be imagined, led to endless confusion, which was the cause of long and excited debates in the Courts of Committees and the General Court of Adventurers of the East India Company. President Methwold says, in a letter to the Company (p. 615), The confusion may be imagined in the accounts of the several voyages and Joint Stock, all in agitation at once, whilst men were taken away that should have directed them, and those that had to keep them had scarcely "foul papers" that did bear witness of the passages of business. This confusion seems to have culminated on the return of the Mary, in September 1634, when the accounts were "beyond understanding," and it was at a full General Court agreed, after much previous dispute, to immediately turn over these three "voyages" to the Third Joint Stock (610). Then arose the question of the several valuations of the three voyages, but it was in the end agreed and ordered that the valuation of the First Persian Voyage be 160l., the Second 180l., and the Third 140l. per cent. And whereas the adventurers in the first voyage had already received their principal and 40l. per cent. profit, and in the second voyage their principal and 50l. per cent. profit, the third voyage is now ordered to receive their principal. The remains and profits of these voyages were, for the first, 30l.; for the second, 20l.; and, for the third, 40l.; and these amounts were ordered to be paid to the adventurers of said three voyages by the Third Joint Stock "at year, year and year from Christmas, 1634" (610). A month later, at a meeting of a "Quarter Court," this "turning over" of the three voyages agreed to at a General Court, "where was as great an assembly as had been known these many years," was taken exception to by Smethwike, but the Governor answered all his objections, and declared that what had been done was so well approved as it gave not only present contentment, but the adventurers were so well pleased as divers on the Exchange gave it out that doubtless it was the finger of God that directed the Court to fall on this way, for otherwise it was impossible so to order the equal distribution of the goods brought home in the Exchange and Mary to the right proprietors, and therefore to question now that which hath been so fairly acted by unanimous consent is, the Governor indignantly added, preposterous and without any sense or reason. Still two or three dissatisfied members of the Company persisted in importuning for a committee to look into the whole matter, but the Governor remained firm in refusing to permit any such propositions to be put to the question, which he said were made more out of ill affection to some particular persons to raise dissensions among, than to further the welfare of, the Company, neither would he allow the Secretary to register any of them (622).

The Company's shipping; their lading,

I have endeavoured to perfect a list of the East India Company's ships that arrived in the East Indies and returned to England during the five years comprised in this volume; but inasmuch as between July 1629 and July 1635 two Court Minute Books are missing, each of which embraces a whole year, viz., from July 1629 to June 1630, and from July 1631 to June 1632, a year and a half of the proceedings of the East India Company at home are missing in this volume. During these five years the East India Company employed 36 ships to carry on their trade—the crew of the William numbered 160 mariners (p. 608)—eight of which vessels were newly built or purchased, the names of which will be seen in the Index, p. 661. To build a new ship of 600 or 700 tons was estimated to cost from 5,000l. to 6,000l. (560), and a ship of 260 tons, built about two years, was bought for 1,420l. and named the Expedition (586, 588–9). Thirty-one ships arrived in the East Indies between 1630 and 1634, seven of them having made the voyage twice; eight ships were employed there in trading from port to port as directed by the President, two returned to England were broken up as no longer serviceable, one was laid up in the East Indies for a similar reason, and the remaining vessel, the Crispin, bought by the East India Company in November 1634, of Capt. Crispe, with the condition of retaining her name, had not yet been put into commission. Seventeen ships safely arrived in England during these five years. It will be seen, by reference to the Index (p. 662), that nine of the Company's vessels returned to England were valued at 543,000l.; that the principal lading of six of them was pepper, cloves, and indigo, valued at 303,000l.; that silk to the value of 58,088l. 16s. was sent home in the James Royal (486); and that 150,000l. worth of pepper was sold to one man (490).

two burnt.

But the East India Company met with a very serious loss through the accidental burning, in January 1633, of two of their ships at Swally Hole, near Surat, the Charles and the Swallow. The account of this catastrophe sent home by the factors on board the Exchange is that the Swallow, in shooting off ordnance in her gunroom, fired the Charles also, "by which accident both ships perished in a few hours, to the great danger of the whole fleet" (399). Giles Waterman, the master, and the officers of the Swallow were sent home in irons (p. 358). When they were "questioned" by the Court of Committees, Waterman blamed the gunner for having his fireworks and loose powder in the gunroom, which occasioned the firing of the ship when the guns were shot off to salute the ships in the road, and he utterly denied that he had given the two first cuts to the cable by means whereof the Swallow fell foul of the Charles and fired her. The gunner said the shooting of the piece was done by the master's command, notwithstanding he had represented the danger of firing the ship if two guns were shot off, and that he brought up the fireworks by Capt. Weddell's order, to be ready in case she should meet the enemy. The Court having also heard the mates, conceived the master blameworthy, and that the rest had offended little or nothing (p. 472). It was therefore resolved, the Company having taken advice, to cause a civil action to be commenced against them in the sum of 10,000l. for reparation of the Company's damages sustained (p. 457), and Waterman was committed prisoner to the Marshalsea (p. 478), and by a letter of his read in Court in December 1634 it appears the Company's action had not then been decided, for Waterman wrote desiring commiseration of his sickness and payment of his wages "or something for his relief" (p. 632). Part of the wages of a carpenter of the ship London were detained for a copper kettle, which was brought ashore with the bottom burnt out, afterwards cut in pieces, and used about Mr. Muschamp's wooden leg (p. 74).

Thanks-givings for safe return home of ships.

For the safe return home of their shipping the Company never omitted to "return thanks to Almighty God," and it was also the practice to have a suitable sermon preached before the Governor and Company by one of their own "preachers."

"The chief occasion" of a meeting of the General Court on 11th May 1631 was to give thanks to Almighty God for the safe return of their two ships Charles and Jonas, laden with rich goods valued at about 170,000l. (184). At a General Court of election on 4th July 1632 Mr. Governor, "in respect of the exhortation by that worthy man, Mr. Shute, in his sermon this day," thought good to alter former proceedings of the General Court, and to begin with a thanksgiving to God for the safe arrival of the Palsgrave, her lading in pepper and cloves being valued at 60,000l. or 70,000l. (281); and in May 1633, at a meeting of the General Court, Mr. Governor in the first place gave thanks to God for the safe return of the Blessing with a cargo of goods to the value of 150,000l. (p. 406). In the following September it was resolved that a General Court be held, and that Mr. Shute be entreated to prepare a sermon of thanksgiving to Almighty God, to be preached in their parish church in St. Helen's, who hath sent them this year six ships in safety "with so fair and large a return" (pp. 457, 460). In August 1634 Mr. Governor, at another meeting of the adventurers, desired all present with one heart and voice to express their thankfulness to God for His great mercy and goodness to them for the return of their ship Exchange, which, by reason of many leaks and other disasters, was, in the opinion of the captain and all others of the ship, given over for lost, yet she had brought her goods as well conditioned as any ship did before (598); and in October following Mr. Governor made known they were now met to return thanks to God for the safe arrival of the Mary, a ship double the value of the Exchange (610).

Presidents and factors in India.

Richard Wylde was President at Surat, but resigned in April 1630 to return home, and John Skibbowe was elected President in his stead (p. 26). In September 1630 the Company appointed Thos. Rastell President, and on his arrival at Surat Skibbowe was made one of his Council (70), but Rastell died 7th November 1631, and William Methwold was appointed his successor on 22nd February 1633 (pp. 368, 370). After the death of Rastell, Joseph Hopkinson was, at a general consultation at Surat, chosen President (259), which post he held until Methwold's arrival in September 1633, when, in a letter to Hopkinson, he said the accidental knowledge which arrived to the Company of the great mortality in India brought me on a second employment, but when nominated to succeed Rastell there was no knowledge of "Hopkinson's incumbency," it could not, therefore, said Methwold, be my intention to supplant any man (481). Hopkinson had been much weakened by long sickness, and unable to do any great matter by reason of the soreness of his eyes and indisposition (p. 333, 386). He died towards the end of 1633 (p. 518). So that there were five Presidents at Surat in five years, three appointed by the Company and two elected by the Council at Surat, and two of these five, Rastell and Hopkinson, died there. There is a large and picturesque burial ground outside Surat, which contains numerous tombs of "former servants" of the East India Company. Are any of these as early as the first half of the 17th century?

At Bantam during this time there were but two Presidents, William Hoare, who was sent for home, and George Willoughby, who succeeded him. A question arose at a Court of Committees in September 1633 as to the government they would establish there, whether absolute and immediate from hence or subordinate to Surat. The Court, after serious consideration and having observed the inconvenience and prejudice of making that factory subordinate to Surat, ordered that the government of Bantam be re-established as it was in the time of Geo. Muschamp and other Presidents before him, and not to be under the President at Surat, as granted to Rastell (pp. 454, 475). The Court gave directions to President Willoughby before going out for building a house at Bantam, which was estimated to cost 6,000 ryals, but that "nothing be done for ostentation or vainglory" (pp. 501–2).

Several of the Presidents in the Company's service were of undoubted ability. Thos. Rastell was an old servant, he had returned home in 1625 and was sworn a free brother of the Company, but returned, as we have seen, "President in India" in 1630, where, about a year after, he fell a victim to the prevailing mortality. William Methwold had also been in the Company's service before for seven or eight years, and when again "entertained" expressed a hope that he should not go either as a blind or dumb man in the Company's affairs (403). He held the office of Sword Bearer to the City of London (168). The Court of Committees "held him every way fit and able for the place of their President, and worthy of 500l. per annum" (p. 368), the largest salary ever given. There are only three or four of Methwold's letters in this volume, in the last a most exhaustive account of the Company's affairs in 36 closely written pages (634). But I think Gibson takes the first place for the lucid and business style of his numerous letters on the Company's affairs in Persia (409). Capt. Weddell, who had also been long in the Company's service, had a high opinion of him. He told the Company he would sin against his duty not to let them understand that Gibson is an able and discreet man much respected by the nation and well beloved by the King, and the Company's affairs like to prosper with him (p. 389).

There were 190 factors in the Company's service during these five years (pp. 666–8), but the great mortality in India extended also to very many of the Company's servants there. No less than 48 factors (pp. 668–9) fell victims to the ravages of the prevailing sickness or pestilence, so that probably about 140 factors only were employed at the same time at 17 factories in India and at three in Persia and along the coast, about the same number as were in the Company's service during the previous five years. It was no easy matter, with all the care exercised by the Court of Committees at home, to select factors fitted in every way for their duties. Most of the factors were indeed thoroughly competent and well fitted for their posts and "deserved well of the Company," but, in spite of every precaution, jealousies and differences broke out occasionally amongst them, some were accused, and not unjustly, of "intemperate" living, a word of great significance, meaning not want of sobriety only, others of "pride and gorgeous apparel," some of being "lewd and debauched," and some of gambling, which seems not to have been an uncommon vice, several losing large sums not always belonging to themselves (p. 669).


Gambling was one of the vices the Company had to contend against, and their instructions were imperative to their Presidents to send home any offending in that way. President Wylde reported in April 1630 that he did not know of any gamesters or dicers remaining in any factory, but would surely "resend" to the Company any such he met with (p. 21), although Boothby, a factor, had protested and earnestly requested him to reform many abuses which he specifies, and include excess in gaming "when in two or three hours sitting and playing at dice, lance knight, or cards, some men lose one, two, or three years' salary" (33). Certain it is that Willoughby declared nearly two years later that drunkenness, dicing, and swearing were still maintained, notwithstanding the orders set up (p. 221). A report that Heynes, the factor, lost 1,000l. in one night to Capt. Bickley came before the Company (p. 417), as also a charge against Henry Glasscock, a factor at Surat, for having been a great gamester and lost at dice above 2,500l., and one of the greatest private traders in India, come home with a very great estate (628). Gaming and drinking frequently took place in "China houses" by day as well as night (267). The Court resolved absolutely to inhibit and restrain gaming either on land or on shipboard, and caused the "ancient order" against it to be inserted in the General Instructions (p. 501).

The East India Company, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal, had extraordinary powers granted to them to punish persons in their employment according to their offences, and to issue commissions to the commanders of voyages, and their Presidents and Council in India, to exercise similar authority over all his Majesty's subjects on land or in port by fine or imprisonment, or any other punishment, capital or not capital, as the law of this kingdom and martial law permits (526). Accordingly, the President and Council in Surat passed an "Act for repelling divers enormous and frequent abuses" tending to the dishonour of God and reproach to the English nation and Christian profession amongst the heathen, imposing fine or imprisonment upon "those vices which custom has glued fast to man's inclination," as drunkenness, swearing, absence from the house [factory] at night, and neglect of joining in prayer and hearing Divine service (434). It was a custom of the Company to register in the "Black Book" complaints against private traders and other misdemeanours "that they may be remembered, and the persons questioned on their arrival in England" (283).

Private trade.

The "scourge" of private trade was one of the chief causes of the jealousies and differences which culminated in the displacing and arrest of George Willoughby, who was "kept aboard as a prisoner, guarded," for showing "an intent of rooting up that prejudicial tree" (247, 255). Almost at the same time that President Hoare was advising the Company by letter against the "entertainment of lewd and debauched persons into places of trust" (p. 88), the Court at home resolved, on consideration of the reports of the intemperate living and excessive private trade of their President at Bantam, not to let him remain there a year longer, but to write for him home "in a fair manner, without intimating any other cause than the expiration of his time, and the arrival of George Willoughby, his successor" (142). A letter from John Barnes, master of one of the Company's ships, and an old servant, sets forth much that was very reprehensible not only, as he says, in the pursers, but in those of better rank. He tells the Company they have good cause of complaint of drunkenness and debaucheries, and to seek to reform "this beastly vice of drinking." As to the factors, there has been a custom when in the cabin to drink more than they are willing to answer for. Besides, he goes on to say, the Company may notice the excessive pride amongst their servants in India, the means the Company give them cannot maintain them in apparel, it is so gorgeous. In President Fursland's time—he died in January 1626, nearly six years before this letter was written—the Company's factors durst not go "bedaubed" with gold lace as now they do, "whereby they are forced to be dishonest to maintain themselves," besides the great play at dice used in the factory of Bantam even by the Principal himself (Hoare). And then the master struck the keynote of the cause of all these delinquencies. "These things cannot," he justly remarks, "be maintained but by private trade, and that man shall not long stand that is known to be an enemy thereto" (238).

Reference to the Index (p. 715) will show the amount of suffering which George Willoughby endured on account of his determined opposition to private trade, which was said to have reached the large amount of 30,000l. in one year. The Company had prevailed upon the King to issue a further proclamation for the better encouragement of their trade and prevention of private trade. Proclamation had been made five years before in the third year of his Majesty's reign "commanding that none of the Company's servants should drive any underhand trade," but in this second proclamation of 19th February 1632, every commodity is specified by name which the Company gave license to their servants to export and to import, and the quantity of chests, 4 feet long by 1½ feet broad and deep, allowed to commanders, captains, and factors four, to masters three, and to pursers, master's mates, boatswains, carpenters, gunners, and stewards two chests, with authority to the Company to search their ships, and to arrest all who should be found contrariant and rebellious, and proceed against them in the Star Chamber or any other court of justice (263). Accordingly, on the relation of John Barnes, master of the Star, of the "intollerable abuse" of private trade of the purser of the James Royal, the Company ordered that Barry's cabin be broken open before the ship's arrival at Erith, and that all his books, papers, trunks and goods be seized and brought to Crosby House (p. 455). This same Barnes, when entertained master of the new ship Coaster "in respect of his abilities and opposition to private trade," demanded 10l. per month "the rather that he proposed to debar himself from private trade," but after debate it was resolved to give him 7l. a month, and that he have the liberty of private trade granted by his Majesty's proclamation (p. 484).

At a Court meeting Willoughby gave a full account of his removal of Sill, a factor, for his great abuse in private trade, sending him to England and sequestering his estate, which he said was only done out of zeal for the welfare of the Company's trade, and yet he had endured two year's imprisonment through their servants, and the loss of part of his estate besides the disgrace put upon him, and he desired the Company to countenance his proceedings, "otherwise it will be in vain for any of their servants hereafter to attempt the reformation of private trade." But after long argument, some being of opinion Willoughby had exceeded his commission, others that he had done well, by erection of hands it was declared that Willoughby deserved to be favoured and countenanced, and "if he hath erred it hath been for the good and benefit of the Company," and ordered that "his good service be further considered" (pp. 469–70). Willoughby was appointed President with a salary of 300l. a year (517–8), but before he sailed for Bantam he requested the Company to give him a private commission, explaining how far he should carry himself in the cutting off private trade, and displacing and sending home commanders and others in case of their refusal to deliver up their private trade. Now was the opportunity, in Willoughby's judgment, to take a decided course for putting an end to this "scourge of private trade." How did the Company act? After serious debate "the Court was of opinion it was not fit for them to give any private commission explaining their intentions, for that will annihilate all former commissions and bonds restraining private trade, but rather leave the ordering of this particular to Willoughby's discretion, who was advised to use his authority fairly and mildly, and not with too much rigour and severity" (p. 509). It will be observed throughout this volume that whenever a ship arrived home a large proportion of her lading was private trade, all on board from the commander to the lowest sailor bringing some home; that spices and other commodities prohibited by proclamation were by no means excepted, and frequently surreptitiously removed from the ships (p. 145, 490), and that enormous time and trouble was expended in innumerable Court meetings in the examination of the delinquents and asserting the Company's rights and authority. When discovered, if the goods were prohibited the Company bought them at their own price, but if otherwise and they exceeded the prescribed limits freight was demanded.

The Company robbed at home.

A system of robbery by the Company's porters at the Exchange was discovered in a curious way. Four of them combined to pilfer a bag of 9 lbs. or 10 lbs. of pepper from the cellars at the Exchange, which one of them named Callowe "conveyed into his breeches," but the bag by accident broke, and the pepper running out at his knees at Leadenhall he was found out. Of course they were all dismissed, though it does not appear that they were prosecuted, but it was ordered that henceforth a master porter was to be at the scale where the pepper was weighed, and another upon the pile [of pepper] to be answerable for the honesty of the working porters (596). At Blackwall two of the Company's servants were indicted for stealing beef, pork, and other stores (394). Another system of robbery was "the cutting open bales of calicoes"; some of the factors at Surat thought the carters carrying them between Surat and Persia without overseers were the pilferers (388), but President Rastell told the Company they had at last discovered that "our own men in the long boat were the thieves that rip open and purloin from the bales of calico" (122). Forty-four pieces of calico belonging to the boatswain of the William were found "in a private search" by a constable of Blackwall in the house of one of the Company's shipkeepers (489).

Expenses reduced.

The Company found themselves obliged to reduce their expenses "in regard their business grew every day less and less." A "person of quality" presented privately to Mr. Governor a note propounding that the great salaries of some of their officers be lessened and others be spared. So at a Court of Committees, in July 1634, a list was presented by the Secretary of all the Company's officers and servants, with their particular salaries (589). Mr. Tynes, the book-keeper's salary, was reduced from 100l. to "his former proportion" of 80l., "in regard his extraordinary pains of keeping several books for the particular voyages is now almost passed." As a matter of fact this was the case two months later, when the accounts of these voyages were turned over to the Third Joint Stock. Mr. Handson, auditor, was willing to relinquish his place, which would be "a cessation of his 100l. per annum." The salary of Richard Mountney, son of the East India Company's husband, was likewise "recalled," as also the salary of 50l. of Mr. Ducy, timber measurer, who, in future, was to be paid when employed, by the day. So that the total amount thus abated, with the 100 marks of Capper, remembrancer, "extinguished," was 256l. 13s. 4d.

Election of preachers; their sermons.

The Company continued to follow their custom, that the ministers who wished employment in their service should first preach before them from a text selected by themselves. Occasionally there were several candidates, as when, in November 1630, it was resolved to send two preachers for India, one for the northwards and one for the southwards, there were three suitors. Two of these, Mr. Sugden and Mr. Westfield, were desired to preach at the parish church of St. Helen's, and both to take as their text Gen. vi. 12; the third, Mr. Reyner, was to take the last verse of Ecclesiastes as his text (92). Only one of these, Mr. Sugden, was successful. The Secretary was directed to present Mr. Westfield with 40s. and to tell him the Company have no further occasion to make use of his service (p. 81). And it was also resolved not to entertain Mr. Reyner, finding the sermon he preached before the Company was but "weak," but in regard of his pains 3l. was bestowed upon him, and so he was dismissed (p. 82).

On another occasion Theodore Holdich, M.A., Cambridge, and Oliver Whitby, of Oxford, tendered their services, but were told the Company had not resolved whether to send out any preachers, besides Mr. Woolhouse, who had served the Company seven years, was a suitor, but they were told that if they came a fortnight hence they should have a resolute answer (377). Soon afterwards Mr. Holdich, recommended by Aaron Wilson, was again a suitor to go preacher in the Company's fleet, as was also Mr. Crossethwaite, recommended by Mr. Gattaker, and, "according to custom," they were directed to preach at the parish church of St. Helen's, the former from Psalm cvii. 23, 24, and the latter from Psalm xix. 1, "and upon hearing them the Court will fall to a resolution which to entertain in their service" (394). A few days after "the election of the minister for this present voyage" was taken into consideration, and Messrs. Crossethwaite, Holdich, and Woolhouse, being severally put to the question and by erection of hands reduced to two, Crossethwaite and Holdich, they were put to election, and the former having 12 balls while the latter but seven, Crossethwaite was chosen and allowed 50l. per annum and 10l. to provide books and other provisions for the voyage. The text of his sermon was "The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmanent showeth His handiwork." Holdich had 3l. bestowed upon him for his pains (p. 364). Before Crossethwaite sailed in the Palsgrave he received a further 5l. "to set him to sea" (406). He left England on 10th April 1633, and arrived on 22nd July following, but died on his voyage from Surat to Persia in January 1634 (p. 519). Mr. Holdich was afterwards entertained preacher for the fleet which sailed in 1634 to the East Indies, with the salary of 50l. and 10l. "to supply and fit himself with books" (pp. 502, 529).

Death of Mr. Friday, minister at Surat; Mr. Fuller succeeds him; Mr. Collins, minister in Persia; Gibson's opinion of ministers.

Early in 1630 Thomas Friday, "minister of the factory in Surat," died. He had been several years in the Company's service, and was succeeded by Mr. Fuller, who had preached his "approbation sermon" before the Company the year before, and supplied Mr. Friday's room, as the factor at Surat wrote, "with the good will of all men" (30). President Wylde and his Council, in a letter to the Company, say, "they are bold to entreat in his behalf if he be willing to come back, his doctrine and life being so exemplary as they doubt of his like;" and in the same letter, Mr. Fuller, our minister, has at last been persuaded to stay, and they doubt not a man of his quality and demeanour will draw a blessing upon their labours surpassing the Company's charge by his detention (pp. 24, 26). He went to Persia, but does not seem to have stayed there long, for a factor writes in August 1632, they are destitute of a minister there, and he beseeches the Company to furnish them by the next shipping with "one whose life may be as free of scandal as his doctrine from error" (270, 292). Fuller arrived home in the James, 25 August 1633 (p. 479), and George Collins succeeded him in Persia. Collins was commended by Capt. Slade and others "for his abilities and civil conversation," appointed to preach from the text "Work while it is day, the night will come (sic cometh) when no man can work, "John ix. 4 (pp. 94–5), and entertained in December 1630 preacher in the Mary at 50l. per annum, 20l. of which was "imprested" to him for books and other necessaries (120). He arrived at Surat in October 1631 (p. 227), and afterwards went to Persia. William Gibson, the Company's agent at Ispahan, writing in May 1634, says this country travels have quite disheartened Mr. Collins from any longer residence, therefore he has departed "we suppose to seek a place of more case, not that we do not desire the conversation of an upright man that might guide us in the true way, but we not much sorrow for his miss," for, continues Gibson, we have more ado to accommodate these ministers than most of the factory besides, they are so troublesome. The two that have been here in my time were the tenderest chickens I ever met, and unless hereafter they are hardier, to be plain, we had rather have their room than their company (p. 545).

Fire and repair of St. Helen's Church.

In March 1633 there was a fire in St. Helen's (p. 374), and contributions were solicited for "the reparation of St. Helen's Church." An "abatement" of 2d. in the £ was made from mariner's wages, and Mr. Shute pleaded "in a sermon" for an addition to the Company's benevolence towards the great charge the parish hath been at for repairing and beautifying the church. The result was, at a Court meeting it was ordered that the 50l. formerly given be made up to 100l., in regard every parishioner had been once and was to be a second time assessed, and that Gresham College had contributed at two several times 200 marks (494, p. 471).

The Company's almshouses, hospital, and charities.

The East India Company were liberal contributors to the necessitous poor, and, besides maintaining almshouses at Blackwall and Poplar, built a hospital at Poplar which they endowed "with lands and other provisions," and entreated a committee "to take this religious and pious work into their serious thoughts," and the Court would be ready to join with them in such a course "as may be to the honour of God and the relief and comfort of the poor" (316). Every Christmas time they distributed a sum of money to the poor of Stepney and poor widows, "upon whom the Company usually bestowed their benevolence for their relief and comfort against this blessed time now approaching, "and beef, pork, and biscuit were also distributed amongst the poor of Blackwall and Poplar "as formerly hath been accustomed" (360); the poor of Ratcliffe and Limehouse were treated in like manner (109), and their almsmen at Poplar also received a chaldron of sea coals at 20s. as yearly accustomed (p. 608.) The inhabitants of Blackwall greatly desired the Company to build a chapel to their hospital at Poplar, but it was conceived more proper first to raise such a stock as may amount to 60l. or 100 marks per annum for the buying of lands to maintain the poor, in regard there was already a chapel in the hospital for their almsmen, and then to think of building a chapel, but not before (p. 402).

The Great Mogul.

Kharome, the Great Mogul, the third son of Jehan Guir and Nourmahal, "the fair Jewel in the East," is described by the English President as "being a most false-hearted dissembling fellow as lives in India" (p. 24), and Capt. Allnutt, of the ship Palsgrave, says "what with the King's miserableness, the Governor's baseness, and the Dutch cunning, circumventing projects, there is nothing to be expected but a great charge to little purpose" (p. 518). He is said to have cut off all the blood royal but his own sons, and impoverished his nobles by taking their treasure (p. 23). And, although one of the richest monarchs in the world, he was "so basely covetous that all appearances of profit hoodwinked him" (pp. 621–2.)


Without presents, said President Wylde, nothing can be done, general custom makes it a law (p. 21). Those presents most affected were horses—on one occasion "a stately Persian horse" worth 150l. and a neck jewel worth 50l. (pp. 585–6)—strong waters, scarlet, purple, and violet cloth, knives (p. 25, 111, 400, 505).


But the Company were put to even more expense by the constant bribes they were compelled to give to enable them to carry on their trade. The Surat factors write that last year's cloths were sold to the Government of Surat by a bribe of 2,000 rupees (269), and the factors at Masulipatam told the Company that the Governor there with others expect great bribes, without which nothing can be effected there except per force, which the Dutch make use of and are the better esteemed. Such, continue the factors, is the miserable condition of this country, whence justice and truth are fled long since, the poor exceedingly suffering the rich's tyranny without redress (304). In Persia bribes were expected periodically. The factors, writing from Ispahan, say our annual bribes, a diamond ring and other things, were presented with the Company's letter to Mullaimbeage, the Shah's treasurer, and the like to the Vizier (p. 198). And, again, every Khan or Duke about the King expects yearly bribes, and so base are they that they will return with contempt any present if in value not to their liking, and will cross any business depending on their favour (p. 201). Gibson says great charge might be saved by a yearly supply of "toys" such as gold and silver lace spangled, slight jewels set with topazes, and other little stones for women, wrought flowers and fruit to the life in silk, hawking gloves richly wrought with gold and silver, needle work and gold coloured satins, knives, and strong waters (p. 467).

William Burt, writing from the Shah's camp to the factors at Ispahan, says they were right in counselling to go better provided to the Court, for he has with entreaties dispersed the presents he brought. A pretty occasion, he says, happened before the King concerning "such unconscionable covetous cormorants;" presenting the King with monkeys, he demanded how we took them; I replied, said Burt, we took cocoanuts from the trees, cut a hole that the hand of one of them might go in, which they finding, thrust in their hand and could not withdraw it unless they drew it back empty, which their covetous nature permitted not, ensnaring themselves thereby (p. 40). The Company had complained of the "gross abuse received in the silk" from the Governor and Grand Vizie of Ghilan, 30 bales "like the one returned" being "sleeve silk" or bad silk. The factors at Ispahan resolved to try what could be done, so, having got their present ready when the King set out to hear causes, they caused the bale to be brought in and thrown down before his face. The King asked what it was, and when one of his great favourites replied that it was a bale of bad silk sent back by his Majesty of England to show how he was dishonoured by Mirza Tuckey, the Governor of Ghilan, who "so long had eaten his bread," the Emperor took the dishonour so extremely to heart that the very next day he not only degraded the Governor of all his countries, but commanded strict account to be taken of his actions, and now he is fallen in disgrace, the whole country of Ghilan is come in against him with complaints of his griping the poor people, so that it is generally thought the King will end the Governor's days with some strange tormenting death (493).

English fort at Armagon; Dawn of British rule in India.

The first fort built by the English in the East Indies was at Armagon. The Company had sent out Capt. Altham to take the command of it, though "it was scarce worth, the name when they first beheld it. He soon pulled down the small weak fort which was first built, and of so mean strength that the residents daily feared to be oppressed by the King's soldiers that range over those parts, and raised another with a round body of far greater strength and altitude, mounted with 12 pieces of ordnance and able by report to defend itself against any sudden assault by the "poor black soldiers of that country." This accomplished, they had "no need to feel the power of the whole kingdom." The "honour wholly redounds to Capt. Altham," the charge amounted to rather more than 1,000 pagodas, (fn. 1) about 333l.; but besides this Mr. Norris, the Company's chief factor at Masulipatam, gave 1,000 pagodas to "the Nague of the country for license to build it stronger." There seems to have been some difference of opinion "about the continuance of that fort," but the Company's factors there were "firmly conceited" that it was very requisite not only to continue that fortification, but likewise to build a "fencible brick wall" about it, for the Company were reminded that the repair of the present mud fence would cost quite as much. They were also "very sensible" how much the situation of it so near Masulipatam awes these people and is a main step to the freedom they now rejoice in, so that, whenever demolished, it will give a "wild shake" to the peace of the Masulipatam trade. The factors then explain to the Company what would happen if the fort were forsaken and they were to quarrel with "the King." Where then dare they set foot ashore upon any part of Coromandel to victual or water their small vessels? (pp. 251, 586). The factors also tell the Company in this letter that they are in suit to the King for the sole government of a small town 5 miles from Masulipatam, which, if they can but obtain by firman, will after a year or two clear the Company 1,000l. per annum, fit them quickly with store of cloth of all sorts, and add honour to our nation. They say they have had the rule of it since May [to October (1634)], paying 600 pagodas, "and in this short time it has more than doubled in magnitude, so fast do the poor people flock thither from Moorish tyranny, and twice as fast would it increase were it but made sure to the English factors by the King's seal" (p. 585).

The richest merchant in India.

On the authority of Wm. Methwold, the Company's President at Surat, Virgee Vorah, was the greatest and richest general merchant "in this vast kingdom." He appears to have been very friendly to the English factors, who occasionally conferred with him on subjects of importance, and evidently had a good opinion of his intelligence. He must also have had considerable dealings with our factors, inasmuch as he was sometimes their creditor, and their transactions extended over a period of several years (pp. 261, 628).

Famine, pestilence, and mortality, in India. Surat.

President Rastell, in a letter to the factors at Bantam of 8th September 1631, says there is not a family here [Surat] or at Baroach that has not been visited with agues, fevers, and pestilential diseases (p. 185). Two months later, on 7th November, Rastell himself fell a victim.

Masulipatam; Lagundy; Bengal; Sumatra; Gombroon; Bantam.

The Commanders of the fleet that arrived at Surat in October 1631, gave the East India Company a terrible account of the "raging famine" and mortality. All the merchants dead or sick and hardly able to help one another, and the town and country in a manner unpeopled, "for never in the memory of man has the like famine and mortality happened." This [city] that was in a manner the garden of the world, is turned into a wilderness having few or no men left to labour, so that places that have yielded 15 bales of cloth in a day, hardly yield now three in a month (p. 227). A factor writes about "a most miserable mortality amongst the natives, who, with [?like] Jacob's sons with their whole families, daily travel into foreign parts to seek bread"; the people, he says, lie along the streets and highways a woeful spectacle, dying and dead in great numbers (133). But the most graphic account of these heartrending scenes was written by a Dutch factor to one of the Dutch Council at Batavia. He arrived at Surat on 23rd October 1631, and landing at Swally, saw many that had perished of hunger, not above 10 or 11 families remaining alive out of 260 families, and as they travelled to Surat many dead bodies lay on the highway where they died, "being no one would bury them." In Surat he could hardly see any living persons where heretofore were thousands of sound people. Coming into the town they were infected with the stench of the dead, which at the corner of the streets laid 20 together, nobody burying them, for in this town died above 30,000 people. The English and Dutch houses are like the hospital at Batavia; 10 or 11 English factors dead and three Dutch, and those remaining of the English very sorrowful for the death of Mr. Rastell their President. No trade to be expected in these parts for three years. No man can go into the streets without giving "great alms" or being in danger of being murdered, for the poor people cry aloud "give us sustenance or kill us." The fair fields hereabout are all drowned with great floods, and the fruits of the earth are clean washed away, and the waters so high in the city that they could only pass from one house to another by boats, which was never known in the memory of any living man (242). The labouring men, weavers, washers, dyers, abandoned their habitations in multitudes and perished in the fields for want of food (121). In Masulipatam and towns adjacent, there was great mortality amongst the poor occasioned by the great dearth of rice and grain. The major part of the weavers and washers were dead, and the country almost ruinated (p. 251). Joseph Hopkinson succeeded Rastell, being chosen President by a general consultation held in the Surat factory (p. 259). Early in January 1632, in writing to the factors in Persia, he excuses his brevity because of the great mortality fallen among them, and the little time it is since some of them were able to crawl about (257), and he gives the names of 10 factors, including President Rastell, whom "Almighty God hath called to His mercy from amongst them this year," with "divers inferiors now taken into Abraham's bosom, unto which place (he adds) God prepare us who remain, for the best of them can neither recover strength nor colour" (p. 213). When the news of "the great famine and mortality in the Indies" came to the knowledge of the Company, Mr. Governor reported to a General Court that besides the death of the President Rastell and 10 other of the Company's factors, there had died and fled of the natives about Surat 30,000 at least, which "though it may peradventure somewhat distract their affairs for a time, yet seeing it is the hand of God that hath done it, they must with patience submit thereunto" (p. 300). After well weighing this terrible calamity, the long being out of some of the greatest ships which might be in want and the supply of victuals and stores required, the Court was of opinion rather to have a ship or two more than needful in the Indies, than that the ships abroad should want supplies, and concluded "after some dispute" to send three ships to the northwards and one to the southwards (p. 320). It was further "propounded" to think of some fit place in the Indies for a rendezvous for the Company's ships, and for returning again to the Island of Lagundy which hath excellent harbours, the sickness and mortality which happened to the English there, being occasioned not so much by the unhealthiness of the place as by the general mortality that happened then in all parts. But Willoughby, who had been there and was about to return to Bantam as President of that factory, declared that the island was not habitable, and never could be made healthful or fit for a plantation or factory, by reason it is possessed by such an infinite company of vermin and other venemous creatures which abound in the woods, as when the rains fall drive from the hills such an incredible number of toads, efts, snakes, and such kind of venemous creatures, as cover in a manner the low grounds, and poison the waters and rivers, so that there can be no living for man there, and he advised never to think of returning thither (p. 501). The Company seem to have taken his advice. A great mortality likewise befel the Portuguese in Goa and other places since the famine. The mortality of the English "is the alone object that opposes the action at "Bengala"; five out of six factors left there having died in 1633 whose places were supplied by four from Surat, one of whom is since dead (pp. 518, 584). At Sumatra in two ships, the Swan and the Comfort, all the masters, merchants, pursers, stewards, their mates, coopers, and carpenters excepting seven, and many sailors to the number of 44 in all, died, so that the remainder of both ships was but 50, and some of those have since died (p. 605). Edward Heynes, writing to the President and Council at Surat in February 1632, says they have buried six of the Company's servants at Gombroon since last year, and have but a poor number surviving (p. 254). In the following August, six months later, Heynes died (320). In Bantam raged "a great contagion" from drought (p. 605); and Gibson reported that by reason of extraordinary drought and the extraordinary mortality of the worms throughout Persia, silk has been scarce and dear there almost three years, and had it not this year (1633) been blessed with rains, this country had been little inferior to that of India (p. 422).

The Dutch in India.

The thin red line of the Amboyna massacre is seen throughout the greater part of this volume. In the first pages the negotiations of the Dutch with our Ambassador at the Hague and of the Dutch Ambassador in London pursue their tedious and fruitless course. The English witnesses who had escaped the massacre had been sent over to the Hague, "though contrary to the liberty and privilege of his subjects," as the King himself admitted (14, 36); they had already made their depositions in our Admiralty Court, but the States claimed the sole jurisdiction, against which King Charles protested, so in spite of the assurances of the States General and the Prince of Orange himself on the eve of Sir Henry Vane's departure, nothing was done, and the witnesses came home (37). The Dutch in 1630 sent seven ships, with 1,500 soldiers, to seize all traders at Amboyna, the Moluccas, or other parts, and to reduce the natives, who in many places had fled to Bantam (p. 110). The same complaints of their "intollerable injuries, cruelty, insolency, and cunning circumventing projects," with which we have become so familiar in previous volumes of this Calendar are constantly reiterated in this volume. It is true that Dutch Deputies or Commissioners were sent to England to settle "differences" and agree upon restitution, reglement of trade, and right of judicature; but nothing came of it, and everything seems to have remained exactly as it was 10 years before. A forcible act of "restitution" was certainly made by the arrest of two Dutch East India ships at Cowes, "but they refused to come into command of his Majesty's fort, and when an attempt was made for taking away their sails gave order with one voice to throw our men off the yards, and seemed resolved to resist all attempts." The next day "the two Hollanders let slip their cables and went away" (423–7). Two or three days after, Governor Abbott in a Court of Committees related the proceedings taken for this seizure not only by authority out of the Court of Admiralty, but by direction given by the State to his Majesty's ships to force them to obey, "but notwithstanding all that was done, by reason his Majesty's ships came too late, the two Dutch ships, by order of Carpentier, who rode down post, are gone in a contemptuous manner, refusing to obey said arrest." Mr. Governor declared his opinion it will work something to the end, and enforce the Commissioners to fall again to a treaty and to settle the business in question (p. 395). But it does not appear that Mr. Governor's hopes were realised.

The Portuguese in India.

The Portuguese, the "old disturbers" of the English in the East Indies, still continued as troublesome as ever, until a pitched battle between the fleets of both nations at Surat caused a complete alteration in the state of affairs, which, in conjunction with the news of negotiations of peace between England and Spain, induced the English President and his Council and the Viceroy and principals of the Portuguese nation in Goa to treat for a truce or peace between their respective nations "in the parts of East India" (635).

Fight with the English; Capt. Morris rewarded.

It was on Sunday, the 17th of October 1630, that the Viceroy's son, Don Francisco Continho, with his officers and 150 soldiers and colours flying, went ashore, and approaching the English tents "in a braving manner," soon enticed the English to send an answerable strength of their boldest musketeers under Capts. Morton, Greene, and Morris, who divided themselves into three squadrons. The Portuguese spread themselves the full length of all their frigates, which they had contrived close along the shore to terrify ours with their great ordnance and harquebusses, but such was the "undauntedness" of the English stirred up to a high measure of fury, that being come within [range of our] shot, and not being able to endure the obstinate rage of our people, the Portuguese gave ground and were followed pell mell with great slaughter, both on shore and at sea, many English not fearing to run up to the chin in water even to the frigates' sides. The Viceroy's son so narrowly escaped that the party who provided for his safety was taken prisoner, together with 27 others, our loss not more than one ancient man (a corporal), suffocated with heat, and seven wounded. The narrator of this victory goes on to say that this was happily performed in the sight of Mirza Balker and divers of this country people, to their "great admiration" and our nation's great honour. That next day, to their great shame, the Portuguese were constrained to leave the port, and on the following Sunday (the 24th) they put in execution their main stratagem in firing their four prepared vessels chained together for the destruction of our fleet, but the vigilance of our people, directed by the divine providence of our Great Protector, prevented the mischief, two boats still burning were towed on shore and two on the sands, to the shame of our malicious enemies (87). More than two years had elapsed, when, in January 1633, at a Court of Committees of the East India Company, Captain Morris, for "his good service in this fight at Surat" against the Portuguese, had bestowed upon him 13l. 6s. 8d. in plate, with the Company's arms engraven thereon, "for which favour he humbly thanked the Court" (383).

Portugal desirous of having the sole trade with Jambi, a correspondence ensued between the Portuguese Governor of Malacca and the King of Jambi about "turning out the perfidious Dutch," but the King refused, saying, "to deliver over those who have put themselves under his protection were to make his name odious to the world and infamous amongst kings." The Portuguese Governor replied he came as a friend, but departs as an enemy, "in regard the King seeks to protect such base and faithless nations as the Dutch before the friendship of so great a prince as the King of Portugal, under whom Dutch and English are but as horse-keepers" (104).

Smethwike and the treaty with Spain.

Smethwike, the bête noir of the East India Company, made known to the Court that he had lately attended Lord Cottington to understand his opinion whether in the treaty lately made between his Majesty and the King of Spain the Portuguese in India were included, and whether the Company may now use any hostility against them, and warned the Court least they may run into danger and displeasure of the State by doing what they cannot justify. The Court "did much admire" he should presume to take upon him so much boldness as to question in a matter of this nature with a Privy Councillor, and held it not fit to give any account or to have any further discourse with him about this business, and they desired him to depart (428). Lord Cottington's account to the Deputy Governor of the East India Company was that Smethwike came one day to his house and met his Lordship as he was going out, when he had in his hand the treaty; that he desired his Lordship to explain the second article, whether the English may use hostilities against the Portuguese in the Indies or not, to which Lord Cottington replied the article explained itself and needed no other interpretation, but if questioned at the Council table, his Lordship would then deliver his opinion; and on demanding the reason why Smethwike desires so much this explanation, he replied because the Court of Committees had given express orders for the taking of the Portuguese, which he conceived to be contrary to the meaning of the said article, "his Lordship gave him no answer, but so left him" (436). President Methwold and his Council, in their letter to the East India Company dated 29th December 1634, in which they enclose copies of their correspondence with the Viceroy and his Council at Goa (634, 635), state that the articles of peace agreed on by their princes are to be only rules of the truce, and that their success shall be advised from Goa (p. 626).

The Shah of Persia.

Sefi I. succeeded his grandfather, Abbas Mirza, as Shah of Persia, in February 1629. He was "very loving and courteous" to the English, and commanded they should enjoy all their former privileges (p. 388). He sent for the factors to a banquet prepared for all ambassadors and strangers of note to eat and drink in his presence. The factors told the King they had a letter and present from King Charles, "but he wished us to expect a fitter time, this being a time of mirth unfit for such ceremonies" (p. 198). The factors at Ispahan told the Company that maps, globes, and mastiffs are not ésteemed, nor presents acceptable either by King or nobles; for such purposes should be sent scarlet, purple, and violet cloth, rich satins, best colours, rich cloth of gold and silver, "fair knives," curious jewels set with emeralds and rubies in gold are fit for these great persons, and four or five chests of principal strong waters "without which the trade cannot proceed" (p. 201). But the King himself desired the factors to write home for rarities, he stands greatly affected to fair rubies and young and fierce mastiffs, and says those yearly brought were so old and have no courage. Gibson loudly complains of the extra charge of presents, "God send the trade to maintain it" (p. 466). However, in this same letter, Gibson tells the Company the King looks most graciously on them, "more than ever since his coming to the crown" (p. 464). Later on the same factor writes that he has received in "retribution" of presents since coming to the government of this business two vests and one horse, all worth 20l., which if the Company think him not worthy to be owner of, "I shall not disobey your commands in restoring its worth" (p. 599).

His cruelties.

Sefi had been Shah of Persia about two years when "he began to show himself a King to be feared, and to look into the actions of his Ministers who know the danger of his bloody and cruel displeasure, practising his predecessor's tyranny" (p. 134). The following are examples of his "barbarous cruelties." The Khan of Shiraz, writes Capt. Weddell from Gombroon, with three of his sons, are beheaded by the King of Persia and his country disposed of to others. "I cannot overslip mention of his innocent suffering and the barbarous cruelty of the King." The Duke's brother, it seems, feasting with the King, let fall some over-liberal speeches, and, by the King's command, was instantly had forth and drubbed, as the manner of the country is, with some extremity, and, whether mindful of the injury or fearing the King's further displeasure, fled to the Georgians. The Duke laboured his return and submission, and not effecting it, became hi enemy. The King, seemingly satisfied, sent for the Duke and his sons to Court, and the good man came with his two sons prepared for death. The King entertained him lovingly, but after a little time, drinking with the Duke's youngest son who was brought up with him at Court, he caused the Duke's head with his two sons' to be struck off, and brought in and demanded of the young gentleman if he knew them; he, deprived of wits and memory by wine, answered "No." The King then called for a bowl of wine, and casting it on their heads, uttered these words: "They drank wine when they lived, let them drink now they are dead," and so sent forth the son to know who they were in the next world or never" (417, pp. 378–9). The factors at Ispahan report to the Company that "this young King, not yet satisfied with blood spilling, has cut off four more of the greatest of his nobility, amongst whom was his Lord Chancellor, here called Etteman Dowlat." The Duke that had guard of the King's person was the first victim, and the Chancellor being present "in a fair term somewhat withstood," saying, "'twas pity he should cut off a man for so small a fault, withall remembering him of the much blood he had spilt already, which the King took in such disdain" that on a sudden, with his own hands, he cut Etteman Dowlat on the head in two places; which done, he commanded another Duke standing by to cut it quite off, and throw it with his body out of doors, "which was suddenly effected." Then follow ghastly accounts of two other "miserable executions," the last victim "seeing such woeful spectacles, for fear forsook the place," which the King observing, commanded him to be brought back and caused his eyes to be pulled out, and his nose, tongue, and ears to be cut off, with which torture in a few hours after he died (p. 576). But the climax of all was the Shah's treatment of some rebels who broke open his warehouses of silk and seized what they found. The rebels were surprised, and betrayed the principal actors, "who ended the tragedy by being broiled to death on gridirons" (78).

The King was sometimes "in drink eight or ten days together, and comes not abroad" (p. 63), and later on the King looks very little after anything, and is so besotted with his women, and other his damnable pleasures within doors," writes Gibson, "that he comes not out to sit in justice once a month, so that his nobility and officers do what they will" (p. 545).

King Charles L's desire for varieties.

King Charles I. sent more than one letter to the East India Company, signifying his pleasure that they should write to their factors to furnish him with some "varieties" from the East Indies and Persia. As a patron of art and literature he was well known to his subjects, and the Company's factors "endeavoured their utmost to accomplish what his Majesty required" (p. 523). In 1631 we find Burlamachi—the Rothschild of his time—requesting the Company's leave to set some statues, and pictures brought home for the King, in their storehouse at Blackwall (181). Two years later See. Windebanke, by the King's command, wrote to the Company signifying his Majesty's pleasure that they write by the next ships to their several factories to "return to England such varieties as are expressed in a paper there inclosed" (p. 494), and soon afterwards they were commanded "to endeavour their utmost" to provide Charles I. with "Arab and Persian MSS. Books" (p. 523). In response to these commands the chief factor at Ispahan wrote that he would "by all means possible endeavour the King's content" (p. 598), and Methwold, President at Surat, told the Company how grieved he was he could not in all points accomplish the King's pleasure. He says there is no want of Persian books of all sorts, most men of quality in this kingdom, being Persians born or descended or educated in that language, and that he has sent 10 books, but believes few in England will understand them; for he explains, though the characters resemble the Arabic, yet for want of those pricks above and below which point out the vowels, Persian is "very difficulty read" (p. 623). It seems, also, that the King had desired that some English white cloth sent out for the purpose should be "stained" into several colours; so President Methwold reported, after some delay, that they had been put into as "many dye fatts as there are colours, the part that must not take the dye, being covered with a kind of earth," and that in the end they "were stained like the fine paintings of Masulipatam" (p. 628). Living "varieties" were also sent home for the King. Capt. Weddell brought from the Indies a leopard for Charles I., and a cage of birds for the Queen, and he desired leave to present them in his own name; but at a Court of the East India Company it was conceived more fit to present them as from themselves, so they resolved to attend the King and the Lords of the Council, and "then make their presentment" (p. 153).

The Earl of Denbigh's visit to India.

King Charles I. granted permission to the Earl of Denbigh in August 1630 "to make a journey into Asia into the Great Mogul's country, and also into Persia," and wrote to the East India Company requiring them to allow him and his train of six persons the great cabin in one of their ships (49). The Company demurred, and pressed his Lordship to accept the second ship, but he "seemed much to distaste this request" in regard he had been Admiral of his Majesty's fleet, and was resolved in what ship soever he went to bear the flag in the maintop. In reply to Mr. Governor in what condition his Lordship intended to go, whether as Ambassador or a private person, Lord Denbigh said he carried letters of recommendation from his Majesty to the Great Mogul and the King of Persia, whose courts he intended to visit, not as an ambassador but only as a volunteer who desired to see those countries (50, 74, 84). He arrived in India on board the Mary in January 1631, and took his journey towards the Great Mogul's country 23rd December following, "being ill accommodated for such a journey, and the worse by the base usage and disrespect of this Governor, who would not suffer him to have one horse to ride on, but enforced him and his followers to travel in coaches such as this country affords" (259). He took his passage home in the James Royal after being away about two years, and Capt. Slade spared him two butts of sack, for which he promised to make double satisfaction in England (p. 360). He arrived home on 26 August 1633 "from the Great 'Mogor' full of jewels" (485), though not without suspicion of private trade, for 60 bales of indigo and other goods reported to belong to him were secretly conveyed out of the ship and sent from Dover by cart to Southwark (490). Whether this report were true or not there is nothing further to show.

North-West passage; Thomas Button and Luke Fox.

Of explorers in search of a North-West passage this Calendar contains much valuable information. All Frobisher's voyages are very fully illustrated in the first volume, where also are to be found many interesting particulars of Davis, Waymouth, Hudson, and Bylot. We have now to speak more particularly of Thomas Button, William Baffin, Luke Fox, and Thomas James. Two letters of Sir Thos. Button to Sec. Lord Dorchester are abstracted in this volume (6, 7). It seems that the King had lent the Charles pinnace to some adventurers for the North-West passage to be set forth in the spring of 1630, but her provisions could not be got ready in time, so as Luke Fox had been put to the charge of 35l. he petitioned the Privy Council that she might be used as a man-of-war or for merchandizing with letters of marque, which was granted. A previous petition of Luke Fox to the King for a small supply of money towards this voyage, "Hudson and Sir Thos. Button having discovered a great way and given great hopes of opening the rest," (fn. 2) Secretary Lord Dorchester sent with two questions from King Charles himself to Sir Thos. Button for his opinion, who reported in answer that he had looked into his journal and papers "which he thought would never have been made use of" in order to answer the King's two questions respecting the passage. He declared his opinion to be now as it ever hath been since his return thence, that undertaken in a fitting way and in a due season "he makes as full account of the feasibleness of it as of any channel best known to us in these northern parts." Thrice since he was there, he goes on to say, it has been attempted and little or no advancement given to the business. As to whether the discovery may prove of such benefit as is pretended, the received opinion of former ages as well as of modern times makes good that point. Were his years suitable or his purse, he should be loth any man living should adventure it sooner or more towards it than himself. From the west part of Nottingham's Island the adventurer should direct his course according to the set of the tide. That Button felt certain was the only way to find the passage, in which he as confidently believes as that there is a passage between Calais and Dover or Holyhead and Ireland. In another letter Sir Thos. Button reminds Lord Dorchester of the well known patent granted by King James on 26th July 1612, abstracted in the first volume of this Calendar, and he thinks it would not be amiss to talk with Sir John Wolstenholme or Sir Dudley Digges, who were chief under Prince Henry, for managing this business. And then he begs leave to deplore his own miserable estate after his service in the North-West, the West Indies, and other voyages for 37 years past. He says for five years he has received neither pension nor pay, and "has mortgaged and forfeited near 500l. lands per "annum," and he earnestly appeals to his Lordship to procure the King to cast some glimpse of favour upon him, that his long service may not be rewarded with ruin. A letter, dated 25th March 1604, from Lord Admiral Nottingham to the Clerk of the Signet, (fn. 3) tells us that on the suggestion that Capt. Button was dead in the Indies the King was induced to give away his pension, and the place bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth, "but understanding he is living and safely returned, his Majesty has granted him the reversion of both pension and place, and in the meantime a pension of 6s. 8d. per diem." Whether King Charles I. "cast any glimpse of favour upon him" there is no evidence in these papers to show. Sir Thos. Button was knighted by King James on 30th August 1616, and died in April 1634.

Luke Fox; Capt. Thos. James.

It has been supposed that the intended voyage of Luke Fox would have been abandoned had not a projected similar voyage under the command of Capt. Thomas James been reported about this time from Bristol. Sir Thos. Roe and Sir John Wolstenholme were both deeply interested in the intended discovery, and having a high opinion of the fitness of Luke Fox for the command did their utmost to assist him. At a Court Meeting of the East India Company, on 30th March 1631, a motion was made by Sir John Wolstenholme about it. He said that his Majesty intended to set out a pinnace for the discovery of the North-West Passage, and requested, if that design be effected, of which there is good hope, and the ship come to Bantam, "that the Company would write to their factors to lade her home with pepper, or if she should not be fit to return to give her men passage to England in the Company's ships, but his request was referred, there being not a full Court" (168). At the next Court Meeting the request of Sir John Wolstenholme was considered, both Sir John and Sir Thomas Roe being present; they certified that the intention was only to defray some extraordinary charges incident to the voyage, and Sir Thomas gave great hopes of the passage being discovered "as he had discovered more probabilities than were formerly known," so the Company were content to write the letter requested to their factors at Bantam, "with certain reservations," and Sir John was permitted to provide 10 or 12 cloths of colours vendible a Japan "if said ship shall arrive there" (172). On 15th April 1631 the letter desired by Sir John Wolstenholme to be sent "in his ship now intended for discovery of a passage into the East Indies by the North-West" was read, approved, and subscribed (175), and on the last day of April 1631 Luke Fox sailed in the pinnace Charles, with 20 men and two boys, victualled for 18 months. He succeeded in reaching the furthest point of Button, met Capt. James, made some valuable observations on the channel that bears his name on Baffinsland, and returned to the Downs, after having been away six months, without the loss of a single man or boy. He died in 1635 at the early age of 49. Capt. Thos. James' "Strange and Dangerous Voyage in his intended Discovery of the North-West Passage" was published in 1633, and is so scarce that I have seen a copy priced at 36l.

Wm. Baffin.

William Baffin was for some time in the service of the East India Company, and visited several parts of the East Indies, having made two voyages under Capt. Andrew Shilling. He took part in the siege of Ormuz, where he was mortally wounded, in January 1622. Purchas tells us, "he received a shot from the Castle into his belly, wherewith he gave three leaps and died immediately." His widow being in years and deaf, made an unequal choice [for her second husband], and a man "not of the best governed," but the East India Company promised so to work with her husband that some honest means may be allotted her out of Baffin's estate. (fn. 4)

Edmund Howes.

Of Edmund Howes, the chronicler who "continued and augmented" Stow's Chronicle from Stow's death in 1605 to the year 1631, we have some notice in this Calendar, as in previous volumes we have had of the old chroniclers Hakluyt and Purchas, all of whom were employed by and rendered good service to the East India Company. In June 1629 (see previous volume of Calendar, No. 842), "Mr. Howe, the chronicler," petitioned the Company for "some gratuity"; he told them that he had in his labours past set down many things of importance concerning their affairs, which will remain upon record to posterity for their honour, so in his works not yet divulged he intends to make some further relation, and therefore he desired the Court to consider his zeal in regard he is now grown old and has lost his sight. The Court, "although they remembered at present nothing of this kind in any work of his," yet were pleased in charity to confer upon him 5l., to be paid by Mr. Mountney, "in regard there was not so much in the poor box." Three years and a half later, in January 1633, Howe requested the Company, "being now to receive a dividend of 12l. 10s.," to be allowed to add so much more to it as would make up the sum to 50l., and to adventure it in the Third Joint Stock, "to which the Court readily consented" (375).

Proverbs and quaint sayings.

Under the heading of Proverbs and Quaint Sayings reference will be found in the Index to all that are contained in this volume, but I should like to note three or four. Here is an old proverb somewhat differently rendered: "Agra has proved like that cursed cow which hath given a good soop of milk and kicked it down with her heel" (p. 618). In speaking of Persia, Agent Gibson at Ispahan says: "This nation's generousness consists far better in a rake than a fork" (p. 599). Agent Willoughby at Bantam tells the Company that factory ought to be supplied with discreet chiefs and seconds, and not "green heads" (p. 603). Another factor, complaining of the small quantity of ready money sent out, says: "We are always so bestraited that all is little enough to hold buckle and thong together" (p. 425).

The Company ordered payment of the bill for postage of letters and a year and a quarter's allowance to the post, Mrs. Man, that carries the letters about at 2s. 6d. per quarter, and for the clerk's pains, amounting to 1l. 10s. (p. 511).

I have much pleasure in again thanking J. E. Ernest S. Sharp, Esq., of the Public Record Office, for his valuable assistance.

W. Noel Sainsbury.

151, Sutherland Avenue, W.,
25th February 1892.


  • 1. Which coin we esteem at 6s. 8d. sterling (p. 73.)
  • 2. Cal., America and West Indies, 1574–1660, p. 105.
  • 3. Cal., East Indies, 1513–1616, p. 141.
  • 4. Cal., East Indies, 14 Jan. 1624, p. 231.