On This Day: 24 September 1706

On this day in 1706, James Brome the Elder rector of Cheriton, Kent assigned his Power of Attorney to his only living son, James Brome the Younger clerk. I have mentioned Powers of Attorney many times in this blog because they provide such valuable information.

In this case, the document provides genealogical information. Brome the Elder was the father of William who had been a mate on the Rising Sun and had drowned in the River Ganges in August the previous year. As William’s Agent, Brome the Elder was appointing James the Younger to collect his brother’s wages and possessions.

In the East Indies, grants of Power of Attorney were common among the country traders (those unconnected to the East India Company) who would need someone to look after their affaires whilst they sailed to distant ports on business. Those that survive, many in Bowrey’s papers, demonstrate the networks that existed between these poorly documented traders.

Other Powers of Attorney may be the only evidence that someone had gone overseas. The Power of Attorney of Samuel Smith provides evidence that he was about to sail for the East Indies and allows us to link him to records of the voyage of the Little Charles and his death whilst the building of the fortifications of Bombay. The Power of Attorney of Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, provides evidence of his connection to the Bowrey family. Thomas Bowrey’ grant of Power of Attorney to his wife, shows how he, also, was planning to sail for the East Indies.

Of all documents, Powers of Attorney appear to have been particularly carefully retained.

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