Book of the Day: Vestiges of Old Madras 1640-1800

Vestiges Cover

Today’s book, Vestiges of Old Madras, 1640-1800: traced from the East India Company’s records preserved at Fort St George and the India Office and from other sources Volume 4 – Index Volume by Henry Davison Love is here as a representative of all three volumes edited from primary sources by Love. Whilst only this index sits on my desk, the three volumes to which it refers are freely available on the Internet.

Love’s first volume contains a selection of accounts and descriptions of Fort St George and is the one in which there are a number of references to Thomas Bowrey taken from the East India Company records and Sir Richard Carnac Temple’s publications. At the beginning of chapter five, Love comments that considering the number of Europeans frequenting Madras – merchants, soldiers, clergymen, doctors and ships’ captains – it is remarkable that so few writings of this period are extant regarding Fort St George and its social life. Despite Love’s hopes, no other old manuscripts like those of … Thomas Bowrey have since been discovered and this is one of the reasons why Thomas’ papers are still considered important today.

For anyone researching early Madras residents, volume one’s many lists of residents are particularly useful. Many of Thomas’ friends and associates are listed here but nowhere else other than in his papers. At present, without the work of Love and others who have painstakingly edited some of the Company records, it would be an almost a huge task to find some of these individuals in the manuscript copies at the British Library. It is one of the reasons that, alongside writing his biography, I am slowly building a more detailed catalogue of all Thomas’ papers and other records relating to him.

Vestiges Title


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