On This Day: 23 August 1704

On this day in 1704, Walter Combes wrote to Thomas Bowrey from Mauritius. Destined for India, they found that they had to stop on the way to refresh the crew.

They put 20 men ashore and most of who had recovered by the time of writing. The men were most likely suffering from scurvy caused by the lack of vitamin C due to insufficient fresh vegetables. It was a major issue on ships to the East Indies as the fatigue it caused made those affected unable to work although men usually recovered very quickly once on land.  It takes only 2 days on a decent diet for the symptoms to start to go and full recovery would not take more than a couple of weeks.

The letter also contained news from India given to Combes by the captain of a ship from Surat. The Linnet, the sloop belonging to the Prosperous, had been sold in at Surat. Combes promised to attempt to recover the money on Bowrey’s behalf. The Prosperous had been taken by pirates a few years earlier. Some of her crew had escaped on the Linnet but, when they arrived at Surat, they were suspected of piracy and imprisoned. They were only released when needed to help defend the town against a threatened attack.

The news about the Prosperous was not a good. She had been burnt by the pirates.


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