On This Day: 11 January 1684

On this day in 1684, John Beavis loaded goods onto Captain Thomas Bowrey’s Borneo Merchant on behalf of Nathaniell Gyfford and wrote his instructions for it in a letter. This letter, similarly to yesterday’s manuscript, speaks of in case of mortality (which God forbid) referring to Bowrey’s sickness.

There had been mention of Bowrey’s sickness since 23 December at which time he had probably been ill with Feavor and ague for some time. He did, however, recover in time to command the voyage to Borneo.

After Bowrey returned to England, various correspondents commented on him being unwell, the first time in December 1696 and then during a number of summers for ten years from 1702. There were probably other, unrecorded, periods of sickness. He and his wife Mary visited the spas at both Bath and Tunbridge Wells and apothecary bills survive in his papers.

It is likely that Bowrey contracted malaria during his time in the East Indies and that he continued to be affected by it for the rest of his life. It may well have been the cause of his death and this is a subject I will deal with at more length in my biography.

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