On This Day: 17 September 1689

On this day in 1689, the East India Company held a sale of goods from the Bengal Merchant.

Captain Thomas Bowrey departed Fort St George for England as a passenger on the Bengal Merchant on 20 October 1688 after nineteen years in the East Indies. Little is known of hs return voyage except that the ship stopped at the East India Company island of St Helena. Here, Captain Poach request Bowrey to take money he owed to Gabriell Powell.

The date Bowrey arrived back in London is unknown. He did not pay Powell until 26 October 1689 but a ship leaving India when the Bengal Merchant did would have been expected to arrive home in Spring 1689. We know that Bowrey was back by this day in 1689 because of the auction of the cargo. Goods would usually be sold fairly quickly after their arrival in London. Goods from the St George Galley, which arrived back in London unexpectedly, was sold within a month.

A copy if the sale catalogue for the goods from the Bengal Merchant survives in Bowrey’s papers. It shows much of the cargo was damaged in transit. Perhaps it was a difficult voyage that took longer than normal.

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