The English Factories in India, Volume 8: 1646-1650

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Introductory notes

"The English Factories in India" published in thirteen volumes was compiled by Sir William Foster. Sir William Foster, born in 1863, entered the India Office in 1882. He worked most of his his official life on the archives of the East India Company. Sir Arthur Wollaston, the then Registrar, and Superintendent of Records, gave Foster the opportunity to begin work on the monumental calendar, on the English factories in India. The English East India Company for commercial enterprise set up factories at different locations in India in the 17th Century. "The English Factories in India", was meant to be a compilation of documents emanating from or directly relating to these factories compiled from the archives of the British Museum, with addition from the East India Series at the Public Record Office. The English Factories of India was eventually published in thirteen volumes by the Oxford University Press, between 1906 to 1923. In 1907, Foster became the Superintendent of Records and in 1923 the post of Historiographer was temporarily revived in his honour; he held it until his retirement (1927). For the Hakluyt Society, of which he was Secretary (1893-1902) and President (1928-1945), he edited nine volumes, the last appearing in 1949. Foster passed away in 1951.

The eigth volume of "The English Factories in India" was published in 1915. The eighth volume deals with the correspondences between the Company's Council in Surat, Suvali and Fort St. George in Madras and also with the Council back in London, between the years 1646 to 1650. The selected correspondences in this volume offer a picture of the damages caused by the famine in Masulipatnam during these years.

Selection details

The eigth volume of "The English Factories in India" was published in 1915. The eighth volume deals with the correspondences between the Company's Council in Surat, Suvali and Fort St. George in Madras and also with the Council back in London, between the years 1646 to 1650. The selected correspondences in this volume offer a picture of the damages caused by the famine in Masulipatnam during these years.

[Page 1]


Account of the voyage of the Eagle, Falcon, and Lanneret from England.2 They reached St. Augustine's Bay on July 21, and there found the William, commanded by Blackman and bound for England, and also 'Capt. Smart with divers poor people on shore, attended by two ships, the Sunne and James, weary of their employment and indeed [...] if supplies arived not sudainly, like to be in a deplorable condition.' The fleet then called at Johanna, and reached Swally towards the end of September. Now reply to the letters brought by the ships. Regret to learn that the Agra indigo sent home in 1643 proved so bad. Dare not promise much better success with their later consignments, 'the make of that specie (both at Agra and Ahmudabad) [...] yearly declining in goodness.'

'We readily submit unto your judgment [Page 2] and censure of the Agra clothing; it being also here esteemed much inferiour for service unto the cloth of these parts, the yarn and weaving being more hollow and deceitfull, especially such as is there bought white; which indeed cannot be well judged of, by reason of the extraordinary gumming and beating, an art or custome auncienter, we believe, then your trade in these parts.' To prevent these defects, they now buy all such cloth brown, and have it 'cured' at Baroda and Broach. 'Had you no other reasons or inducements to encourage you in the cloth investment at Agra, those which first gave a commencement therto (the scarcity of cloth in these parts) would necessarily oblige you to its continuance; since the want (not your inhibition) of Brodra, Broach, and Nuncery [Nosari] clothing hath been the occation larger quantities hath not been sent you; for, notwithstanding we must acknowledg the country to be in a much happier condition then when the Agra investments were first set on foot, yet it doth not, nor will in many years, so abound as before the famine, when in Broach 40 or 50 corge of broad and narrow bastaes were procured daily, wheras at present so many peeces without trouble cannot be acquired.' Have sent, in the present cargo, as many as could be procured, and have supplied the deficiency with 'Dereabads and Mercools'. The buyers have been strictly charged to observe the Company's orders as to dimensions and quality; but in the matter of prices it is necessary to 'submit unto the times', and so no limit can be fixed.

[Page 54]


Wrote last from Goa on September 18, acquainting them with his reason for quitting the Company's service, viz. that, his covenanted time having expired, he hoped to better his fortunes. Before leaving Achin he made over everything in his charge to John Turner, together with the account books, and trusts to hear that everything was found to be in order. Solicits their assistance in obtaining his salary, and whatever else is due to him. 'This day arrived a small vessell from Santomay with certaine Portugall merchants belonging to this citty, whom [sic] report that there is an extraordinary dearth in Santomay off all provissions, that a candy off rice is there worth 200 zerapheens, and all other eatable comodities accordingly scarse;2 which dearth hath caused many [Page 55] off the Portugall women to leave their husbands and families to runn to the English in Madraspatam for releife; which hath occasioned notable quarrells betweene the English and Portugalls there. The Moores haveing beseeged Santomay with 8,000 foott and 3,000 horse, the English, the Companies servants, tooke an occasion to assist the Moores in their assault against Santomay, where 14 English with many Moores lost their lifes in [the] attempt. But a new Gcnerall being sent thether from Goa, the matter was taken up betweene the English and Portugalls and made freinds; but the citty is still beseeched by the Moores

[Page 69]


The warres and fammine doth still furiously rage in these parts, and wee thinke that there wilbe a period sett unto the former before the latter; for the Anna Bobb1 Meir Jumlah hath taken the goverment of Pullicatte and St. Thome, settinge the cuntry all in order as hee goeth along, and is now within two dayes martch of the Kings court and noe body commeth to oppose him, the fammine havinge almost destroyed all the kindome; for out of our little towne there hath dyed noe less then 3,000 people since September last; in Pullicatte, as report saith, 15,000; and in St. Thome no less. Soe that all the pramiters2 and weavers are dead; soe that there cannot bee expected any quantitye of cloth to bee procured here [Page 71] this three yeares.' Will, however, do their best to meet the requirements of Surat for the purposes of the Pegu investment. PS.—Enclose copies of two letters to Masulipatam. (Copy. Original received March 12.)

[Page 74]


'The famine is so great in this kingdome that wee beleive it will bee the destruction thereof. For there hath not fallen any rayne this yeare for the increase of any graine to releive the people, and now the season of the raynes are past; so that, if the Allmighty doe not send supply from other parts, the country will be so dispopulated that it will bee unpossible to recover it selfe againe in five yeares time. Therefore we earnestly beseech yow to send us by the shipping yow intend hither in Aprill or May next, 100 or two 2tunns ordinary rice to preserve the lives of those few painters, weavers, and washers which remaine aboute us; by which meanes wee shall bee the better able to comply with yow in the Pegu investment. And no question but the rice will yeald cent. per cent. proffitt; for tis worth here at present two rials of eight the hundred pound weight, and by May or June next no question but it will yeald halfe as much more. Likewise we would intreate yow to supply us with tenn Englishmen to serve here as soldyers, for mortallity and the Moores campp hath taken all away to 25 persons, whereof four or five are continually sick with the misserie of the times; for we have not, nor is here any thing to bee bought, to relive any sick person, unless hee will eate carryon beife, which wee procure out of the Moores campp, which we obtaine by much favour. This is our missery; yet our freinds at Messulapatam will not bee sencible of this, notwithstanding our many and earnest requests unto them to send us some provissions from thence to releive us; and wee are now driven to that pass that we are forced to goe to lowance of rice, and are not able to subsist longer then 5 or 8 daies. Our wants are such that we are ashamd to make it knowne. Wee allso intreat yow to send us twentie baggs of wheate for our howse expence.' (Copy. 1 p.)

[Page 98]


Forward some letters received from Madraspatam for transmission to Surat. Wonder that the Agent should complain of their remissness in relieving that place, as this is quite untrue. 'Sure the feare of warr and fammine hath amazed him, that he knows not what he writs.' They have already 'largly releived him', and yesterday the Seaflower, having finished trimming, was dispatched to him with the merchandise and provisions noted in the enclosed invoice.

[Page 113]


[Page 114]

Learning, by letters from the Coast, 'what a miserable condicion Madraspatam and that whole cuntry are declined unto through warr and famine, and how much your Agent &c. suffer', they have decided to send the Francis thither instead of to Bantam, hoping that 'she will not only doe them very good servis in supplyeing them with provissions, but may happily awe the Portuges, their neighbors, unto better abearances; betwixt whome you will finde there have beene some late differences, which also the Viceroy hath signified unto us, with some complaints of our people, very earnestly desiring they may bee reconsiled; which wee doubt not facilly to effect, and indeede wee sumthing wonder how it comes to passe they should continue so to differ, wee in these partes maintaning as faire a corrispondency with the Vicroy and that whole nacion, and receave as much respect from them, as wee can expect or desire'. Letters from the Basra factors, brought to Gombroon by the Francis and thence by the Dutch Nassau (which arrived here five days ago), complain exceedingly of bad and dead markets; while similar complaints come from Gombroon and Achin. Unless prospects improve at the last-named place, and 'if Johore encourage us not ', they will probably 'wholly desert those partes'. The chief cause of this decline of trade is the excessive export of Indian commodities, and the effect is seen in the scarcity and dearness of the latter, especially indigo. At Agra none can be obtained under 43 rupees the maund, while at Ahmadabad there has been no drop in the prices formerly advised. They are therefore investing chiefly in calicoes and saltpetre.

[Page 135]


Forward transcript of their previous letter. Since then Breton has arrived from Tegnapatam, 'but brought noe more goods then what hee sent per the Francis, the tymes and fammine being there as bade or worse then here.' Yesterday came in the Farewell from England, bringing the enclosed letters from the Company. [Part [Page 136] illegible.] Complain that the Company blames them wrongly for the voyage of the Falcon to Persia. Further, although formerly Greenhill was ordered home, now the increase of wages to him, advised by the Mary, is confirmed by the Court. Evidently matters are dealt with at home without serious consideration. (Copy. 1 1/4pp. Damaged. Original received August 6.)

[Page 163]


The Company's letter of April 6, 1646, was received from Bantam by the pinnace Advice on May 5 last, together with the coral and broadcloth consigned to this Coast in the William and the Ulysses. Cannot dispose of the coral, owing to war and a cruel famine which has now lasted two years. Half the people in this kingdom are dead. No goods will sell, except a little broadcloth for the use of the soldiers. 'How violent the famine hath bine here tis not to bee credited, for out of the towne of Madraspatam died in five months time 4,000 people; out of Pullicatte 15,000 in as little tyme; and out of St. Th[ome] no less then out of Pullicatte; so that heere is not above 1/2 of the weavers, painters, and wasshers liveinge of what were formerly.' This has made cloth 15 per cent. dearer than formerly, and little can be procured even at those prices; while European goods are quite unvendible. [Page 164] Disposal of the money brought by the Advice. On May 22 the Endeavour and Francis arrived from Surat with rice, to their great relief; both vessels were then sent to Armagon 'and a litle to the northward thereof', to fetch rice for the relief of the inhabitants of Madraspatam, and the freight thus earned has defrayed the charges of both ships while on the Coast. On June 7 the Antelope came in from Gombroon, and two days later was sent on to Masulipatam with the money she brought, to be there invested for Persia. She was ordered to return at once to this place with a lading of rice; but the factors were unable in fifty days to procure more than a fourth of the quantity required, and at last time would not permit of the voyage being made before the date on which the vessel was to leave Masulipatam for Surat. On July 2 the Farewell anchored here, bringing the Company's letters and some treasure, 'but not one dropp refreshing in this time of missery, when the least would have bine very acceptable and comfortable unto us, to have washed our heavie harts from the stench of the dead carcazees that lieth most fearefully to beehould in all places that wee goe, as well as the noise of the dyeing people, which can bee noe less terrours to the herers thereof.' Now reply to the Company's letter of December 23, 1646. Rejoice to learn that, the Persian and Bantam markets having been fully stocked with Coast 'clothing', a quantity has at last found its way to England and there yielded 'contentable proffitt'. This year they cannot supply either Bantam or the Company, for want of means, owing to the fact that they have nearly 50,000 rials of eight locked up in their coral, 'which is as dead at present as the dead mens bones that lyeth about our towne.' Deny that they ever solicited the Surat President to send them a vessel for a voyage to Persia. For seven years he has never failed to dispatch to them a ship and means to be invested for that country; 'but never induced by us, but rather opposed.' Know nothing as to the profit made on the Falcons voyage thither, as they simply invested the money sent for that purpose from Surat and she never returned to this coast. So far from borrowing that money at dear rates (as is asserted in the Company's letter), their books have been cleared of any such obligations 'ever since our first arrivall'. Moreover, the Falcon did not carry any cloth, either of the Bantam stock or on the writers' [Page 165] account. Defend their action in buying the cloth tendered to them by 'Molay, the Kings cheif agent, and by the Kings sevcare order and command unto us'. Had they refused to accept these goods in satisfaction of advances made to the merchants, probably the money would have been lost entirely, and then the factors would equally have been blamed. 'Soe wee knowe not when wee doe well or ill. Therefore wee beseech the Company, to prevent the like in the future, to send out their orders in all degrees, such as the Dutch hath extent in all their factories, from there Christ cross to their Anperse-and1; and questionless wee should indeavour to observe the same as well as they doe.' Had they not taken this cloth, they would have had none to send either to England or to Bantam; and then they would have been laughed at as Cogan was, 'when hee was frighted from Portanova from 400 pieces [of] longcloth hee bought there, by a scare crowe, because they said twas the Hollanders cloth 2'. However, the dispute is now settled. 'Molay, by many letters of solicitation from the Hollanders Generall of Jaccatra [i.e. Batavia] to Molay, is returned againe to Pullicatte and receaved by the Governor with great honnour and respect, and hath justified the sellinge of the goods to us, and our neighbours of Pullicatte as lovinge and seeminge freinds to us as ever formerly hath bine.' Ivy is willing (since the Company desires it) to remain here some time beyond his covenanted term. Thomas Winter has been appointed from Bantam to succeed to the post of Agent on Ivy's departure; but, learning that the Company proposes to send out some one to fill the post, he is now discouraged and has applied for permission to proceed to Bantam in the Advice. This, however, could not be granted, owing to the small number of factors at present available. Ivy himself intends to go to Bantam in the Farewell next May, leaving Winter in charge. If the latter will not accept the post, then Gurney must officiate. Of the stock brought out by the Farewell amounting to 45,932 rials of eight, the gold yielded 13 1/2 per cent. profit and the rials 7 per cent. loss. The Endeavour [Page 166] left Masulipatam for Pegu on September 15, with a stock of 20,836 rials of eight; the Antelope sailed thence for Surat four days later, with a cargo invoiced at 28,908 rials; and the Advice is now on her departure for Bantam. The Francis is being trimmed at 'Emaldee' [see the 1637-41volume, p. 314], and is intended for dispatch to Bantam next February. Richard Hudson was sent to 'Bengalah' last July in the Farewell with 6,000 rials of eight to buy cotton goods and rice. The rest of their stock will be invested in the cargo to be sent to Bantam next May. Have managed to provide for Europe a stock of excellent cloth, though at somewhat dear rates, as it was all bought at Madraspatam, where the famine has raised prices considerably as compared with Masulipatam, which is outside the famine area. There are now only nine factors on the Coast, viz. Ivy, Gurney, and Martin Bradgate here: Thomas Winter, Christopher Yardley, Thomas Chambers, and Edward Winter at Masulipatam and Viravasaram; and Richard Hudson and William Netlam in Bengal. As Ivy will be leaving next May, and Thomas Winter desires to return to England, his covenanted time being expired, it will be necessary to recruit the staff with four or six able and honest men. They have only thirty-three soldiers here, and desire that the number be made up to fifty. Enclose a list of the garrison [missing]. 'Wee had allmost forgotten to advise you that the 16,000 rials of eight President Baker left us indebted at the Coast at his goinge to Bantam was lent us by the King of Gulcondah[s] Gennerall, who hath almost conquer'd this kingdome and reigneth as King under the title of Annabob [see p. 70]. This 16,000 rials hee lent us for one twelve months gratis; which debt wee discharged at the arrivall of the Farewell. So, in requitall of the Annabobs curtezie, wee gave him one of the two brass guns you sent out by the Mary, which hee would not bee denied of, whither hee had lent us this money or no; otherwise hee would not have confirmed our old privilidges formerlye graunted us by the now fledd Jentue King. So upon the deliveringe of this gunn hee gave it us here under his hand that hee received the gunn in full and contentable satisfaction for the loan of 16,000 rials of eight to the Company the whole space of one twelve month, and never hereafter would desire any thing elce for the same; and withall confirm'd under the King of [Page 167] Gulcondah[s] great scale all our former privilidges in ample manner, as it was graunted unto us by the foresaid fledd Jentue King. Soe by this meanes the gun hath saved you three tymes the vallue of it, by accomplishing too good acts at once.' The indigo now sent was bought before the receipt of the Company's orders not to purchase any more of that commodity. The foregoing lines were prepared for dispatch by way of Bantam in the Advice, which was expected from Masulipatam by October 5; but on October 7 the Antelope touched here [on her way to Surat] and brought news that the Advice could not arrive before the end of the month ('which is the daingerous time of all the yeare for fowle wether in this place') and that it was even uncertain whether she would come at all. Winter and Thomas Alison (master of the Advice) are to blame for this. She was sent to Masulipatam on July 4 to mend a small defect in her rudder and then to bring back a quantity of rice, which would have made 100 per cent. profit; yet she was dispatched on August 10 without anything being done to the rudder, and the result was that before she had gone five leagues it dropped from her stern, and she was forced to return to Masulipatam. Her lading was then put on board the Antelope, which brought it here, as aforesaid; but now rice is much lower in price, owing to a quantity having recently arrived and to good rains having fallen. In view of the uncertainty of the arrival of the Advice, a quantity of cloth for Europe has been laden in the Antelope, which is now resuming her voyage for Surat. A consignment of saltpetre was placed on board the Advice before her departure; they can supply 100 tons annually. Forward their accounts, inventories, &c. PS.—Cannot send the promised statement of their 'quick stocke', owing to the non-arrival of the Masulipatam accounts. Just as they were dispatching the Antelope, the Advice arrived. Hope to dispeed her to Bantam within three days. Enclosure: List of Europe goods sent in the Antelope, and of those brought by the Advice from Masulipatam. (Copy, received at Bantam per the AdviceNovember 26. 14 ½pp.)

[Page 181]


Wrote last on October 27 [[7?]]; since when they have received the Company's letter of April 23 [not extant], sent overland to Basra and brought thence by the Lanneret, which quitted that port on September 22, stayed ten days at Gombroon, and arrived here November 2. On receipt of the goods brought by the last ships, they at once ordered the investment of 20,000 rials of eight for Bantam; and they were prepared to furnish the Coast factors with a like sum, but 'the times are there soe altered by war and famine that we feare they will not well know how to invest what you remitted unto them upon the Farewell.' Note that indigo is still 'in meane esteeme' at home, and that the quantity to be provided must be reduced accordingly. Regret that the Company still suspects them of conniving at private trade. The enlargement of the Eagle's 'overlope' [see p. 12], which they are now accused of devising for that purpose, was first suggested by her officers, 'and by us thought to bee but necessary.' As for 'thos straing reports you have heard of the private trade driven here in India, wee should admire as much at the authers as they seemed to doe thereat, did you not acknowledg them to be straingers; and such indeed they appeare to be, who certainly were not well acquainted with thes times and trade here, at present soe bad that their is little encouragment for cither private or publicque trade.'

[Page 192]

'Heere fell the passed season not soe much raines as usuall, though sufficient to render all things plentifull in this place; but in some other parts of this kingdome there hath bin greate want thereof, especially betwixt Jalore and Adgmyer, about 150 course continuance in the usuall way betwixt Agra and Ahmada[bad]; which hath occasioned a famine, insoemuch that those parts are, either by [Page 193] mortallity or peoples flight, become wholly depopulate and impassable; which induced Mr. Knipe with his caphilla (consisting of 84 carts), and all th'other merchants since arrived, to come a new way, which, though something shorter then the former, hath not, in respect of the dainger and troublesomenes thereof, being mountanous, and greate taxes paid in severall Rajayes countries, bin soe usually frequented. Yett hee passed quietly and without any molestacion or disturbance untill hee arrived within 70 corse of Ahmada[bad] ; when, at a place called Burrkee Gatte1 , notwithstanding that Rajay Roul Ponja [Rājā Rawal Punja] lent him 60 horsemen and 400 foote to convoy the caphilla dureing its continuance in his jurisdiction, was assaulted by one Inggadas, a notorious theefe, with 60 horsemen in armor and 2,000 foote; where, after a hott dispute, your servants and estate might in probability have suffered, had not the Almighty bin pleased, in the very nick of time, to bring into their assistance, sent by the Rajay of Ider, into whose cuntry they were then entering, about 100 horse and 200 foote, with which they repelled the ennimy.

[Page 198]


The Antelope has no doubt reached Surat in good time. Dispeeded the Advice to Bantam on October 14, with a cargo importing 16,000 rials of eight; and on January 1 the Francis set sail for 'Townapatam' [Tegnapatam], whence she was to proceed direct to Bantam. Her cargo is invoiced at 11,000 rials of eight. Acknowledge the receipt of letters from Surat. No freight for Persia is to be hoped for from this place; Winter has been directed to advise the President whether any is to be expected at Masulipatam. On the 11th current the Farewell arrived from Bengal, with cloth fitting for Europe to the amount of 3,500 rials of eight. For the troubles experienced there, owing to the action of the Danes, they refer to Hudson's narrative [see p. 174]. Two days after her arrival, the Farewell was sent to Tegnapatam to fetch back Gurney, who had gone thither to superintend the lading ot the Francis and to procure more goods. 'Cogan3 is runn away to St. Thome, and there is turnd Papist rouge, and goeth every day to mass with his wife. Reporte telleth us that the Viz Roy hath written unto the Generall of St. Thome to protect him from us; butt whither it bee soe or noe, wee are sure they will not returne him unto us, notwithstanding wee did send Mr. Thomas Breton to require him of the Generall in as freindly a way as might bee.' Request that representations be made to the Viceroy on the matter. 'The warrs doth yett continue in these parts4 ; butt (God bee thanked) the famine is much abated.' (Copy, pp.)

[Page 213]


[Page 215]

'The Seaflower also voiaged it to the two said ports, from whence shee returned the 10th current; both the ships haveing gathred up about 9,000 rials, cloth being very deare and scearse in those parts. The reason is multitude of buyers, scearcity of weavers and painters, and ruine of the country by war and famine; which, haveing lately a litle refresht and recover'd itselfe by a respite from either, is like to bee involved againe in the same or not much better condition, for litle provizions hath arrived from abroad and the body of this kingdome is harried by two forreigne nations, who lye within two daies journey one of another with powerfull armies, watching all advantage upon each other, yet both strive to make a prey of this miserable and distracted or divided people. These are the Gulcandah and the Vizapoore [Bijapur] Moores, the latter of which hath brought in 8,000 freebooters, who receave noe pay but plunder what they can; whose incursions, roberies, and devastacions hath brought a desolacion on a great part of the country round about, especially the three prime cloth ports, Tevenapatam, Porto [Page 216] Novo, and Pullacherey [Pondicherri], of which the two last are in a manner ruin'd, the other hardly preserveing itselfe in a poore condition with continueall presents.' No white cloth has been received from those parts for many months, and the little obtained of other sorts was 'at exceeding high rates'. Prices are also likely to be increased by the recent arrival at Pulicat of six Dutch ships from Batavia, for 'wee know by experience they can chuse the times to raise the prizes of goods when wee have meanes'. Most of the coral brought from Bantam by the Advice last year has been sold at about 130 rials the maund of 35 lb., and they hope to put off the rest at about the same rate. If the Company desire a continuance of the trade with Pegu, Bengal, and Tenasserim, it will be necessary to supply them with two small ships fully equipped. About May, 1637, a bar of silver was stolen out of the Company's 'goodowne' [i.e. godown or warehouse] at Masulipatam; the thieves have now been discovered and imprisoned, and as they are 'able and rich men' it is hoped to recover the full value from them. The Seaflower is on the point of sailing for Masulipatam with a cargo for the Second General Voyage of 15,500 rials, which, with what is there ready, will make up the sum left behind by the Dolphin. Ivy takes his passage in the Seaflower, on his way to Bantam and thence to England. (Copy. 5pp.)

[Page 242]


[Page 246]

The 'registers' and transcripts of commissions will show how their ships have been utilized down to the close of the monsoon, except as regards the Seahorse. She came late from Persia, bringing thence George Tash; spent the rains 'in this river', under repair; and sailed again for Gombroon on October 20, with a cargo of pepper. She returned December 26, and is now again bound for Persia. Later on she will be sent to Achin, chiefly to assist the Supply in bringing away the Company's estate. As the markets at Gombroon last year proved 'indifferent good', and are likely to be better still this year, because the wars between Persia and 'this King' have stopped the overland trade, they have presumed to disobey the Company's injunctions against taking up further sums at interest and have ordered an investment of about 80,000 rupees in Agra and Tatta. With the goods thus procured, and some pepper, broadcloth, &c., the Blessing and Falcon set sail for Gombroon on the 24th current, Tash going in them to act as chief at that place during the monsoon. 'Uppon late advices from the Coast that famine againe begins not only to rage in those parts but that Gingerly, whence their wants used to be supplyed, is also imbroyled in warrs, soe that nothing can be expected thence', it has been decided to fill the Blessing with rice on her return from Persia and dispatch her to Madraspatam, where any surplus can no doubt be sold at a good profit. She is to return to this place in October or November.

[Page 257]


[Page 259]

The Expedition, after being repaired here, sailed two days ago for Gombroon, carrying cloth, indigo, pepper, and a considerable quantity of freight goods. Thence she is to proceed to the Coromandel Coast, returning later to Persia with freight. 'Upon advice from the Coast that all sorts of provissions were growne cheape and their greate feare of a second famine drownd by the plentifull fall of raines', the idea of sending the Blessing thither with rice has been abandoned, and she is to go to Achin instead; while the Seahorse, on her return from Persia, will [Page 260] be dispatched to Bantam. The Endeavour, it is hoped, will by this time have reached Fort St. George from Pegu; she is under orders then to make a fresh voyage to the latter country with a cargo now being prepared on the Coast.

[Page 315]


[Page 322]

And lastly, that His Majestie had given a gratious answer to all our petitions, though in some things wee feare the comands wilbe unwillingly or very slowely obayed. The Prince gave him alsoe three neshans which concerned our freedome from rawdarres in those provinces where hee had jurisdiction, and on his Shawbunder and minesters in that parte of the province of Sinda where hee had authority, for our freedome of trade. These grants are 'specious enough in appearance'; but the provision under no. 2, by which the valuation of disputed items is left to be settled at court, is likely to lead to so much trouble that they have sent back to Davidge the copy of that farman (no originals have yet been received) and have instructed him 'to gett it altered or else wholy to reject it'. Davidge writes that he endeavoured at the time to get that section modified, but without success. He was still at Court on September 26 (when he wrote to Merry), trying to obtain payment from Muizz-ul-Mulk, who had arrived about a fortnight earlier, but had not yet cleared accounts with the King. Davidge is very weary of his troublesome employment, but they hope he will bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion. He further advises that the indigo crop is spoiled this year for want of rain, with the result that there is not likely to be the twentieth part of what was gathered last year, and this will be both bad and dear. In that case the factors will be instructed to buy only a small quantity, and that of the best available. 'This yeare there hath very little rayne fallen in all parts of India, and since the middle of July little or none: soe that corne is risen in many places allready to double the price, and a dearth is extreamly and generally feared.'

This is a selection from the original text


famine, rain, rice, trade, war

Source text

Title: The English Factories in India, Volume 8: 1646-1650

Subtitle: A Calendar of Documents in the India Office, Westminster

Editor(s): William Foster

Publisher: The Clarendon Press

Publication date: 1914

Original date(s) covered: 1646-1650

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: Oxford

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Internet Archive: Original date(s) covered: 1646-1650

Digital edition

Original editor(s): William Foster

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 1 to 2
  • 2 ) pages 54 to 55
  • 3 ) pages 69 to 71
  • 4 ) page 74
  • 5 ) page 98
  • 6 ) pages 113 to 114
  • 7 ) pages 135 to 136
  • 8 ) pages 163 to 167
  • 9 ) page 181
  • 10 ) pages 192 to 193
  • 11 ) pages 215 to 216
  • 12 ) page 246
  • 13 ) pages 259 to 260
  • 14 ) page 322


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > official correspondence > india office records

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.