On this day in 1701, the agreement between the freighters and supercargo of the Prosperous for her voyage to the East Indies was signed. In addition to Thomas Bowrey, the freighters were Nathaniel Long, Edward Carleton, Edward Leeds and Richard Rothwell – all London merchants. John Hilliard was both captain and supercargo. Hilliard had the largest interest in the venture owning 36/56th of the ship and 8/28th of the cargo. Bowrey with 5/28th had the next largest share of the cargo.
From this agreement we learn that the Prosperous had been renamed from Thomas and John. If the Hilliard believed that this name change would bring good luck he was mistaken. Neither Hilliard nor the ship would ever return home – both victims of pirates..
Despite its length, the agreement says little about the objectives of the voyage. The reason for this is that the primary intention was likely to have been to trade with the pirates of Madagascar for slaves. They were playing with fire and got burnt.