On This Day: 17 December 1700

On this day in 1700, Ralph Brome merchant of Bishopsgate Street, London aged 37 gave his witness statement in the case of Rowley v Bowrey. This case arose out of the unfortunate abandonment of the voyage of the St George Galley.

Four years earlier, Captain Thomas Bowrey had selected a ship and encouraged friends, acquaintances and relatives to invest in a trading voyage to the East Indies with himself as the ship’s master. John Rolls was one of these fellow investors but he was short of cash in this country. He pledged to pay his share once the ship reached Cadiz, where he had funds.

As the result of a number of unfortunate incidents, the St George Galley got no further than Portsmouth before turning back. When the ship and cargo were sold in London, each investor made a loss. For all but Rolls, this resulted in them being repaid less than they had paid in but Roll had paid nothing and owed the others money.

He refused to pay, claiming that he owed nothing as the ship had not reached Cadiz. Eventually, Bowrey and the others took Rolls to court to claim their money.


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