On This Day: 25 December 1683

In may have been Christmas Day but that appeared to mean very little in the East Indies. On this day in 1683, James Wheeler and John Beavis loaded his cargo onto the Borneo Merchant at Madapollam. At this time, Thomas Bowrey was still sick with fever and there was some doubt whether he would be fit enough to be the commander of the ketch for her voyage to Borneo. If he died, Robert Masfen was to take his place.

The Borneo Merchant was small but was designed specifically for Bowrey and his business partners to trade in the region, probably to carry the type of bales of textiles included in today’s invoice.

Bowrey did survive and recovered in time to command this voyage. He was, or was to become, an acknowledged expert in the islands of the Malay archipelago, their trade and the textiles of India. Once home in England again, he was to cash in on this knowledge in various ways until he was in a position of being able to invest in his own trading voyages again.

But that was still some time in the future. He was to spend four more Christmases in the East Indies before returning.

Merry Christmas to all my followers!



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