On this day in 1703, Joseph Hynmers wrote to Captain Thomas Bowrey from Portsmouth. Hynmers was confirming that he would collect information on coins, weights and measures as well as customs duties for Bowrey during his voyage. Bowrey had been collecting information about curiosities for the collaborator on his dictionary, Thomas Hyde, but Hynmers’ information would appear to be for himself. Hyde was to die the following month and was not really interested in such commercial information.
Hynmers was one of the supercargos on board the Todington sailing for Batavia and Amoy but may also have had East Indies ancestry and thus be an ideal person to collect the information. A Joseph Hynmers had died 28 May 1680 at Fort St George during Bowrey’s time in the East. He had married Catherine Elford who was, perhaps, connected to Bowrey’s business partner, Henry Alford. Catherine would go on to marry Elihu Yale following Hynmers senior’s death. Fort St George was a very tightknit community.
That Bowrey knew Hynmers’ parents would explain the tone of Hynmers’ letter addressed to Worthy Sir and ending I wish you health success & a happy progress in your undertakings. This is an unusual sentiment to someone who has made an onerous request of you.