On This Day: 23 November 1703

On this day, Thomas Bowrey wrote a letter to John Beard in Bengal, India.

It was enclosed in a letter to Thomas Wybergh, the captain of the Rising Sun. He started with one draft, containing many crossing-outs and insertions. He then wrote it out in his best handwriting.  The hand is both obviously the same, yet very different in a way difficult to pin-point. When I see such examples, I remember people’s telephone voices in the days before mobile ‘phones, or perhaps a little earlier. For some reason, this second best copy was not good enough and it has survived alongside the draft in Bowrey’s papers.

On the reverse of the draft copy of Beard’s letter, Bowrey has noted the other enclosures he sent with his letter to Wybergh. I am sure Wybergh was overjoyed to receive yet more instructions from Bowrey, half-way round the world. This time, they were instructions for sailing from Batavia to Persia, presumably on the voyage home.

Bowrey had known Beard slightly from his time in the East Indies. He was one of the last people he wrote to before boarding his ship home. At the time, Bowrey had owed Beard money and had made arrangements for it to be sent to him prior to his departure. He was using his brief acquaintance to recommend Wybergh and the Rising Sun to Beard.

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