The English Factories in India, Volume 9: 1651-1654

About this text

Introductory notes

"The English Factories in India" published in thirteen volumes was compiled by Sir William Foster a Vice-President. 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 ninth volume of "The English Factories in India" was published in 1915. The selected portions of the fourth volume deals with the correspondences of the Company's factory in Surat with the Council and the agent at the Delhi with the council of Surat between the years 1651 to 1654.

Selection details

The ninth volume of "The English Factories in India" was published in 1915. The selected portions of the fourth volume deals with the correspondences of the Company's factory in Surat with the Council and the agent at the Delhi with the council of Surat between the years 1651 to 1654.

[Page 25]


[Page 26]

Now replies to the Surat letter. On reaching Agra, he will endeavour to reduce the price of saltpetre. In the meantime, as the indigo investment is finished (the Hindaun men not having come to terms) Andrews and Rawdon have been instructed to repair to Agra, to look after the saltpetre already contracted for. Davidge's last letter will have informed Surat of the settlement made with Muizz-ul-Mulk. Probably the whole amount would have been lost if the matter had been deferred till now, for in giving in his accounts Muizz-ul-Mulk 'is found endebted many lacks of rupees to the Kinge and Beagum, for payment whereof his great friend, Sadula Ckawn, dayely presseth him'. Trusts that by this time the goods sent down have safely arrived. 'The extraordinary exactions of radarres may in some manner be attributed to the want of raynes this year Ahm[adabad] way; but that cannot take of my suspition of the unfaithfullnesse of our house servants.' Fears that the latter are in fault in the 'Lavally' business; for though Davidge sent some of them by way of Biana with 'Barramulls' [see p. 9] parwana, they are gone another way and nothing has been heard of the result. Fears collusion between them and the Governor, for it is not likely that the Prince's Diwan would give Davidge his parwana 'for a shewe onely'. If that business succeed well, the farman about rahdaris may prove effectual, as it has already been found 'in the parts of Pooroob'.

[Page 27]


[Page 29]

The balance-sheet of the Second General Voyage, after allowing for recoveries to be made from the King of Bijapur (for cloth seized at Rajapur) and from Muizz-ul-Mulk, shows a deficiency of 196,006 mahmudis, towards which they will have the 185,457 mahmudis to be received from the sale of the silver now arrived. No definite statement can be made at present of the position of the Fourth Joint Stock, as many of its creditors are very backward in making up the account of interest due. Regret to learn the deadness of trade in England, as large investments had been made here, especially at Agra and Lucknow. However, they must now send a larger proportion to Gombroon. Since last writing, they have not been able to purchase any large quantity of sugar and saltpetre, which the Company desired to have in preference to more expensive goods, in order to keep down the value of the cargo. A supply of the former has been obtained from Agra, and of the latter from Ahmadabad and Sind; but it was too late to get any saltpetre from the Malabar Coast. Have therefore added to the cargo some gumlac, shellac, and seed lac, besides some 'dooties' bought at Ahmadabad. Could not avoid exceeding the limit of value fixed by the Company, unless they sent the ship back with dead freight. Sugar was so scarce last year that the little now forwarded was procured with difficulty; while this year's crop is so short, 'by reason of the great want of raines, allmost all India over', that it will be still more difficult to get any considerable quantity for the next shipping. The same is true of indigo, but fortunately the Company requires but little of that commodity. Doubtless a sufficient quantity of saltpetre will be procurable; but if they cannot get the desired amount of sugar, they are not likely to be able to send back two ships next year, unless the Company will be satisfied to have the balance made up with lac, olibanum, myrrh, &c. Could not get any olibanum or aloes this year on reasonable terms ; while as for borax, they hear that at home it has fallen very much in price. Explain why only the Love has now been sent back to England.

[Page 82]


In continuation of their letter by the Recovery, they now answer in detail the three communications from the Company mentioned therein. Need not write at great length, as Merry hopes to give a full account in person. Are now lading the Eagle and the Aleppo Merchant with the goods already advised. Regret to hear of the fall in the price of pepper and sugar, seeing that they are obliged to send home more than the quantities prescribed of each. The stock here has been so much increased by the last two fleets that they wish the Company could take more indigo and piece-goods; but as this is out of the question, owing to the small demand for these commodities at home, they send only the quantities asked for, reserving the rest for sale at Gombroon, Mokha, and Basra. The markets at those places have been bad this past year, and yet a profit has been made; so they intend to continue the trade, in hopes of better results. Regret that they could not procure as much saltpetre as they expected. This was due, as regards the refined sort, to the failure of the 'peetermen' at Ahmadabad to fulfil their contract, owing to the want of transport from Malpur, 'by reason of the exceeding mortallity and poverty of cattell in those parts for want of foode'. Similarly, Blackman was disappointed at Raybag of the full quantity of raw saltpetre expected, owing to an 'accident of fire' and to the fact that the merchants had not [Page 83] anticipated this sudden demand. Have therefore sent a larger quantity of sugar, besides some shellac, dimities, dutties, indigo, and cinnamon. Of the last, Blackman could only secure at Goa 106 'quintalls', in spite of the lavish promises received from the late Viceroy and the present Governors.1 Detail the places where the several commodities were purchased.

[Page 234]


In his answer to the Brahmans' articles against him, dated January 2, 1653, and in the charges brought by Gurney and himself [Page 235] against William Winter of November 25 preceding, he partly described the plots of Venkata and Kanappa and desired justice; but the matter was 'huddled up' and no mention made of it in the letter sent to the Company per the Love, though Winter went home in her. Nor were the Brahmans called to account, but on the contrary were favoured and upheld, or excused in their complots, though these 'tended to the Honourable Companies exceeding damage, in the threatned destruction of this towne, sowing divisions among the casts, hiding the agreement which should have decided the difference [...] putting all in such confusion that both parties in mutuall hatred deserted the towne by turnes, wherof one is not yett returned, with their indeavoring to subvert the Companies free trade here by inciting the Nabob to monopolize it'. Now Greenhill desires to bring to notice 'some more of their latter acted villanies', in the hope that something will yet be done in the matter.

[Page 236]


[Page 238]

10. When in the time of famine many persons flocked hither, the Brahmans bought grain by a great 'parra' [see p. 259] of their own devising and sold it by 'a small or just parra'. This made the port unpopular, some of the vessels not making half their freight, which is by custom 20 per cent.

[Page 241]

26. At the beginning of the famine Ivy gave Raga Pattan a 'cowle', and charged him to keep a just account for the satisfaction of the Company and the Nawab; this 'cowle' the Brahmans often demanded of him, but he refused to give it up unless they would pay 2,000 pagodas to the Company and furnish him with a paper to save him harmless.

This is a selection from the original text


cloth, commodities, destruction, famine, goods, rain, sugar, trade

Source text

Title: The English Factories in India, Volume 9: 1651-1654

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

Editor(s): William Foster

Publisher: The Clarendon Press

Publication date: 1915

Original date(s) covered: 1651-1654

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: Oxford

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Internet Archive: Original date(s) covered: 1651-1654

Digital edition

Original editor(s): William Foster

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 25 to 26
  • 2 ) page 29
  • 3 ) pages 82 to 83
  • 4 ) pages 234 to 235
  • 5 ) page 238
  • 6 ) page 241


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.