On This Day: 13 December 1683

On this day in 1683, James Wheeler in Madapooam wrote to Thomas Bowrey about how Sancho Narso was delaying the fitting out of their new ship. Narso had previously built their Adventure but the partners relationship with him was not good. Wheeler describes his Roguery. The new ship, the Borneo Merchant, would be delivered before the end of the year and would be under Bowrey’s command for most of his remaining time in the East.

The letter continues to discuss the cargos they are to carry on their ships as well as passing on news of relatives, friends and acquaintances. Notably, this letter contains the first reference to Bowrey being ill – with fever and ague. There are periodic such references in correspondence up until his death thirty years later.

Wheeler finished the letter: I observe what you write about our Adventure, and that you have gotten Mr Prickman to go her Master (replacing Bowrey when he moved to the new ship), should be glad to hear it is not that mad Prickman that was once in the Williamson, a Servant to Captain Bays. Samuel Prickman was recorded at Fort St George in the 1680s as being a mariner and not a permanent inhabitant of the town. He was married to an English woman. It is not know if he was the mad Prickman but, as there were no further complaints from Wheeler, it is unlikely.

There was another Prickman, Benjamin, who was master of the East India Company ship, the Fort St George Merchant, in 1698. Perhaps he was mad.

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