On This Day: 23 May 1687

Today’s document that demonstrates how complex trade in the East Indies was. The document is Christopher Wilson’s invoice for two bales of cloth consigned to Bowrey and his business partner, Robert Masfen.

Whilst Wilson, as a member of the Cuddalor Council, was half-heartedly handling the issue of Bowrey’s imprisonment at Porto Novo with disdain for independent traders not employed by the East India Company, he was also quite happy to carry out his own private business using Bowrey to carry his goods just a few days later.

The truth is that, at this time, the East India Company relied on independent ‘country’ ships and every East India Company employee hoped to make their fortune in private trade.

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