On This Day: 26 June 1684

On this day in 1684, John Dallas sold the sloop Pearl to Thomas Bowrey for five hundred Spanish dollars at Banjar, West Java. A sloop was a single-decked vessel usually with a single mast. The Pearl was described as being of twenty-five ton burthen – that is it was capable of carrying as cargo of up to twenty-five tons or about twenty-three metric tonnes. The agreement was witnessed by Robert Masfen, Bowrey’s friend and business partners, and Robert Turlington.

Spanish dollars or Royals or Ryalls of Eight, according to Thomas Bowrey in his Bay of Bengal manuscript, were worth five shillings making the price of the Pearl about £125 or approximately £18,000 today. For this, Bowrey received the vessel and all her Apparell – mast, anchors, rigging, cables and stores.

The purchase of the Pearl meant that, for a short period, Bowrey owned a share of three ships. The last heard of the Pearl was in 1688 when it was involved in the massacre of the English at Mergui (an archipelago in what is now southern Myanmar). Two of Bowrey’s ships, the Pearl commander by John  Hill and the Francis commanded by Bowrey had been detain but both managed to escape.


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