On This Day: 4 June 1688

,On this day in 1688, Anthony Weltden wrote to Captain Thomas Bowree from Acheen (Aceh). Weltden was delivering a quantity of gold that Bowrey was to transport to Fort St George on Weldfen’s behalf.

There was three Bales of Acheen Rock Gold which had Weltden’s initials an the numbers 1, 2 and 3 marked on them. In total, the rock gold weighed three Cattys equivalent to sixty Bankalls. Catty was a traditional Chinese unit of weight and the root of the name Cutty Sark the famous tea clipper now at Greenwich. A Catty was the equivalent of approximately 1.5lb (pounds or 0.68kg). Weltden gave the alternative weight in Bankalls.

It is not clear what a bankall was but it is my guess that it was the unit of weight used in Bengal. Unlike today, units of measurement were not fixed in the East Indies at the time. Although very similar, the actual value of the catty was different in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Bowrey notes the different values of the Maund (another unit of weight) in Ballasore (where it was the equivalent of 75lb or about 34kg) and Hugly (where it was the equivalent of 70lb or about 32kg) in his Bay of Bengal although he notes but theire weight in most places of accompt differ, although not in name, yet in quantitie.

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