On this day in 1708, Elias Grist signed a declaration that John Eliott, the surgeon on the Mary Galley under Captain Tolson on her voyage to the East Indies was not in debt to the owners of commander of the ship.
Today, I am focusing on the surgeon rather than the ship or her ill-fated voyage.
Bowrey’s manuscript of that became A Geographical Account of Countries Round the Bay of Bengal passed down through the Eliot/Howard family. Richard Carnac Temple in editing the manuscript, believed that it had passed into the family via Peter Briggins who reorded his meetings with Bowrey in his diary.
Temple had seen two of Briggins’ diary and concluded that Briggins was a friend of Bowrey who helped in the last few days of his life. Temple reasoned that Bowrey’s grateful widow gave Briggins the manuscript. Unfortunately, the second diary is now missing but my interpretation of the first is that Bowrey simply rented the King’s Head Inn from Briggins who recorded the collection of the rent. Even if the second diary recorded a growing friendship, why would the manuscript have been a suitable gift for Briggins who had little, if any, interest in the East Indies.
Is it possible that the manuscript passed into the family through the surgeon of the Mary Galley? Was John Eliott, surgeon, even from the same family? This remains an unanswered question but I live in hope of solving it.