On This Day: 25 January 1707

On this day In 1707, Thomas Bowrey wrote to Captain Samuel Jones, a London merchant. Jones had been employed to arbitrate between Bowrey and Captain Thomas Wybergh, commander of the Rising Sun by the Court of the Queen’s Bench.

Although the Rising Sun had been caught up in the Great Storm before leaving England and experienced troubles with her crew at Flushing whilst the ship was being repaired, the remainder of her voyage to the East Indies had been reasonably trouble free and the ship returned safely to London.

Rather than being grateful, Bowrey proceeded to accuse Wybergh of failing to make sufficient profit from the voyage. Bowrey had already made his case to Jones on the first of the month but, perhaps, he believed that Jones was leaning towards Wybergh’s case because today’s letter adds more details about his claims. First, Wybergh had failed to follow his orders to call at Mozambique, Ceylon and three ports in India. Failure to do so cost Bowrey 7,000 rupees. In addition, Wybergh had not given adequate account of the losses and damage to cargo for which Bowrey was claiming a further 3,775 rupees. Wybergh’s failure to follow orders to purchase specific items in India added a further £600 to Bowrey’s claim.

It is hard to take Bowrey’s claims seriously. He finishes his letter by claiming that the malicious and ungrateful Wybergh will have ruined him if Jones’ judgment went against him. The equivalent value of Bowrey’s claim would be around £280,000. This is a large sum but, at this this time, Bowrey was still investing in other ventures. He was far from destitute.

Jones was not swayed. Four days after this letter, he awarded Wybergh £771 (equivalent to almost £120,000 today) against Bowrey.

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