On This Day: 5 July 1700

Today’s manuscript is a legal document setting out a little of the case against Thomas Bowrey by John Rolls. Most of the papers relating to this case are written in dreadful handwriting and oblique legalise resulting in me avoiding studying them for as long as possible. The catalogue descriptions have not proved a great help, so far, and I guess that others have also found them difficult. Richard Carnac Temple, however, was more persistent and gave a outline of the case in the Introduction to The Papers of Thomas Bowrey.

Bowrey, Nathaniel Long, John Rolls and a number of others had joined together in a trading voyage by the St George galley to India with Bowrey as the master. However, the galley had proved unseaworthy before they had reached the Downs and, then, pulling into Portsmouth harbour for repairs, they collided with a Swedish vessel. The voyage had to be abandoned.

The result was a loss of £19/11/0 on each £100 subscribed and Rolls refused to pay his share – worth the equivalent of about £2,700 today. The other owners brought this case against Rolls. During the course of the case Bowrey and Long’s friendship was to be tested.

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