Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Royal Monopolies; Samuel White at Mergui; S. White and the East India Company


Royal monopolies--Samuel White at Mergui--S. White and the East India Company--War between Siam and Golconda--Hostilities at Madapollam--Captain Coates at Madapollam--Ships Seized at Mergui--Francis Davenport's History--His Historical Abstract--The Brothers Demarcora--S. White and his prisoners of war--Elihu Yale and jewels for the King of Siam--

The usurper Phra-chao Prasathong seems to have begun, shortly after he ascended the throne, in 1629, the system of royal monopolies,1 or at least to have accentuated it, to a degree previously unknown. This mistaken policy appears to have contributed largely to drive the Indian merchants from the capital to Tenasserim and Mergui, where they had a free field for their trading operations, away from the supervision and oppression of the minions of the King. There, too, they could command by their own native craft the trade of the Coromandel Coast and of Bengal, at that time the most lucrative commerce of Siam.

When Phaulkon came into power, he found the trade of these two ports, or rather conjoined ports, of Mergui and Tenasserim, almost exclusively in the hands of the so-called Moors, or natives of India. Being fully aware of its importance, he resolved to have a share of it for his master the King, and also for himself. In view of this, no more suitable man could have been selected for the office of Shahbandar of Mergui than Samuel White, who had traded for the King during a number of years between that seaport and the eastern coast of India, and who was “generally well beloved by the people of the country, and by the Europeans of several nations that were also in the King’s service.”

The appointment, however, of an European was an innovation of the most startling character to the Siamese and Indians, as one of their number had generally held the position of port-officer, and had profited by the rich harvest to be reaped from the commerce of the bay. But the installation of an Englishman to the governorship of a Siamese town was even a more alarming change of policy, as it had been the immemorial custom to appoint an Indian governor to Tenasserim and Mergui, when those offices were not bestowed on Siamese. Although in Mr. Strangh’s letter it is said that Burneby was made governor of Tenasserim, which of course meant the town, as the headship of the province was an hereditary office, it is very doubtful whether he ever held office there, as the term Tenasserim seems in those days to have been applied indifferently to itself and to Mergui. In the list of seven commissioners appointed for the administration of the two towns in 1686, already referred to, Richard Burneby appears, as sixth, under the title of Opra Marit, which, as has been already seen, unquestionably meant governor of Mergui.

The East India Company, however, interpreted Phaulkon’s action in appointing Englishmen, who had previously renounced their service, to the two offices of Governor and Shahbandar as manifesting in the most unmistakable manner his hatred and detestation of their Corporation. They held that the Greek had induced these men and other Englishmen to enter the service of the King of Siam purely for the furtherance of his own ends, and that his custom was to promise them great rewards as well as great wages, and by “kind inveigling words” to corrupt the Company’s servants, commanders, and seamen from their fidelity, duty, and service to the Company, in order “that he might become strong enough in European seamen and soldiers, with the aid of the French King, English interlopers, English and Dutch fugitives,” to gain his object, the destruction of the Company’s trade.

Samuel White, however, as has already been recorded, honorably paid to the Company the amount of his bond, forfeited by leaving their ship and remaining behind in the East. Moreover, when he was appointed to Mergui,1 he informed his friends in the Company’s service at Fort St. George, Masulipatam, and Bengal of his elevation to the Shahbandarship, and humbly tendered to them “his best services to their commands in whatever might be useful to the publick or their private concerns,” and he mentions that they were pleased to return him “their kind congratulations,” and to give him “several occasions of serving them.” One of the services rendered by him to the Company may be here recorded in his own words. He says, “Nor was it long after my being rais’d to this Capacity (Shabandar of Mergui, &c.) that there did present a suitable opportunity to testifie my Zeal to the Companies Service; for their Ship the Golden Fleece, in her return from Bengall to England, sprung a separate Leake, in which distress the only near and commodious Port that presented to their relief was Mergen, whither in confidence of my friendly assistance they came, and found me as ready to grant, as they could be to request, all that my interest and influence there could afford them, in giving them the use of my own Slaves for the more expeditious unloading their Ship, securing the Goods in Warehouses ashore, and assisting the relading thereof without the least Charge, when the Ship was refitted to proceed on her Voyage, for which I also supplied them with whatever they wanted at the very same rates that the King himself paid, and wholly excused them from all the duties of the Port. But I need not particularize how fully I answered or rather exceeded their expectations in all things, or call any other Testimony for proof thereof than the report made here at home by Captain James Cook, the Commander, who was so sensible of my good deservings on this occasion, that he very earnestly solicited the Committee for some signification of their kind accepting those my considerable Services. But an overruling power amongst them, rendered this grateful motion ineffectual; however, I am not less pleas’d that I had the good fortune to be instrumental in securing and forwarding so great a Concern as that was which I understand did here produce no less than £190,000.”

The accuracy of White’s account of his services to the Company on this occasion is testified to by Francis Heath, who was at Mergui when White rescued the ship, and who records that the warehouses mentioned by White were built at his own cost for the reception of the goods of the Golden Fleece.

The signal services rendered to the Company by White on this occasion were a very tangible proof of his good feeling towards them at this period of his career, and it was probably as a recognition of the assistance he had rendered to the Golden Fleece, in the end of 1683, that the authorities at Fort St. George came to his aid on the Coromandel Coast in the following year, when the ships belonging to the King of Siam were in need of men.

The trading factors of his Siamese Majesty in Pegu and Golconda experienced, in 1683, certain slights or wrongs at the hands of the officials of these two nations, and their grievances having met with no redress, the Government of Siam resolved to exact satisfaction for the injuries its trade had sustained, and what these were is ascertained from the records in the India Office, where it is stated that, in 1685, Captain John Coates “of the King of Siam’s navy” declared to the Councils at Masulipatam and Madapollam that the war which had by that time broken out between the two nations was only due to injuries inflicted by Ali Beague, governor of Masulipatam, on the King of Siam and his servants.1

In Samuel White’s petition presented to Parliament2 in April, 1689, praying for the restitution of property belonging to him valued at £20,000, and which had been seized by the East India Company, he gives the following account of the war between Siam and Golconda. “It was now,” he says, “the beginning of the year 84 when I received orders from the Court of Syam, to fit out several Ships for prosecuting the War against the Kings of Golcondah and Pegu, as by the same Command I also did the succeeding year, in which expeditions I must own, we were very much befriended by the President and Council of Fort St. George, who supplied us with Ammunition and Naval Stores, and accommodated us with some English-men for these occasions, nor were they wanting to congratulate our successes, and make large proffers of their readiness, to give us further assistance, as appears by their General Letters both to my Lord Phaulkon, and to my self: while on the other side, there was all possible care taken by the Kings special Command, that not the least injury or offence should be done to the Company, or any under their protection as was strictly enjoin’d in the Commission to every Commander.”

The war had been begun in 1685 by the seizure by a Siamese man-of-war of a ship belonging to the King of Golconda, valued at 100,000 crowns. The vessel was taken into Mergui, and the news of its capture reached the capital about the same time that the tidings of the arrival of the Persian ambassador were communicated to the French embassy.

Towards the end of the year, even more warlike proceedings were commenced by the Siamese, and an account of them has been preserved in the Consultation Book of the English factory at Madapollam. It begins with the 21st November 1685, and is as follows:—

“This day about 12 of the clock at night Mr. Coates sent William Mallet &c. adharents by force of armes to enter on board, and take as prize a ship of his Majesty the King of Golcondah called the Redclove, and a ship of John Demarcora an Armenian, named the New Jerusalem1 both while lying at an ankar in Narsapore River at the Town of Narsapore, 10 miles distance from the sea.

“22nd.—This day about three of the Clock in the afternoon Capt. John Coates, and Don Joseph De Heredia &c. brought her up to Sanco Narsos Banksall,2 and upon weighing of sd: ankar fired severall shott which frightened the people of Narsapore, and Madapollam out of ther habitations and both the Governours of Narsapore, and Madapollam immediately repaired to the Factory, to Charles Fownes, and entreated him to send for the said Mr. Coates and to make up the business, and Mr. Coates promised to deliver said ships as soon as his owne is delivered to him into the which was then mending upon the shoare in Sancho Narsos yard.

“23.—This day Capt. Coates and Don Joseph De Heredia &c. adherents weighed ankar the ship of his Majesty the King of Golcondah, and brought her from Narsapore river to Sancho Narsos Bansall, upon which the Governrs: of Narsapore, and Madapollam sent for the Bramenee and Dubass, and tould them Mr. Coates being an Englishman and being entertained by the English at Fort St. George, and from thence comeing to Madapollam, where he was allso entertained, and upon that respect they did demand satisfaction from the Rt. Honble: English East India Compa: whereto the Bramenee and Dubass made answer, and tould them Mr. Coates were a servant to the King of Syam, and was no ways entertained by the Rt. Honble: Compa: and that the Rt. Honble: had a trade and Factorys at Syam, and therefore they wer entertained as strangers, and servants to the King of Syam, and that anyone of the Compas: servants here knew anything of Mr. Coates, his orders or designs against them.”

The light in which the native governors of Narsapur and Madapollam regarded Coates’ proceedings was just what might have been expected under the circumstances stated by them, and more especially when the action of the President and Council of Fort St. George in supplying Coates with Englishmen to man his ship, and providing him with ammunition and naval stores, is kept in view. That Englishmen were supplied to him is established beyond all doubt, not only on the authority of Samuel White, but also by a letter from the President and Council themselves to the factors at Masulipatam. However, when the news reached them that Coates had seized John Demarcora’s ship they immediately recalled all these Englishmen, but whether they obeyed the summons is doubtful, for when Coates returned to Mergui, there were forty Europeans on board his ship. Their reason for recalling them was, probably, not that they had realized that they had compromised themselves in granting their services to Coates, but because John Demarcora was a rich Armenian whom they were anxious should settle at Fort St. George.

On the 26th November, the Council at Madapollam wrote to Samuel Wales, the chief of that factory, who had gone on business to Masulipatam, that Don Joseph de Heredia, who declared he was a prisoner of Coates’,1 had claimed eight guns lying in the factory Godowns, but that they had declined to deliver them, as they knew nothing about them. On this refusal, the Don threw off the mask of prisoner and produced his commission from the King of Siam, and declared that if the guns were not made over to him he “would recover damages when he could.” This threat so frightened the Council that they acceded to his demand, and delivered the guns.

Coates also demanded that the chief and his two councilors should become surety to him that the King of Golconda would satisfy the demands of the King of Siam. In the continued absence of Samuel Wales, his wife “Madame Wales” and the Doctor went on board Coates’ ship to persuade him to moderation, but in vain. They, however, had the courage to refuse Coates’ demand as foolish and unreasonable. The Council communicated to Wales the substance of Coates’ demand, and on the 27th November he wrote to them that he declined to become security for the King of Golconda, as he was altogether ignorant of what the claims of the King of Siam were; but warned them “that whatever damage was done to the subjects of the said King, would be required at the hands of the Madapollam Council.” He denounced Coates’ proceedings as piratical, saying that it would have become him “first to have made demands for his master the King of Siam upon the King of Golcondah, and upon refusal of the same, in a further manner to have proclaimed war, and then to have proceeded like a man-of-war, and not a pirate in a river, and so near an English factory.”

On the 27th November it is stated—“This day Benja: Worthy despatched a Gennerall (letter) to Metchlepatam of Mr. Coates his transactions. The Governr: of Madapollam and John Demarcora came to Benja: Worthy and desired him to send for Capt. Coates a shoare, but he refused to come.”

“28. This day Capn: John Coates Wm: Mallett, and Don Joseph and adhearences weighed ankar of both ships and in their way sayling downe to the Barrs mouth fired severall Gunns shot and all into Narsapore, which God be thanked did no harme, and also Capt. Alexander Leslie embarqued on the Kings ship1 with his whole family,” and went to Mergui. “This day the Governor of Ellore sent 100 Psons with fire armes to take Mr. Coates, and also Mahemed Alle Beague, Governor of Metchlepatam, sent 50 Rashboots.2

“29. This day Capn: Coates and Don Joseph De Heredia weigh’d ankar of both ships and carried over the Barr into the Roade of Narsapore, and there lay, and tooke all Boates that passed and burnt Mr. Freeman’s Boates, and severall others after have taken out their lading of Rice.”

For these doings of Captain Coates, the governor of Ellore again demanded satisfaction from the chiefs and Councils of Masulipatam and Madapollam, as Coates proceedings were imputed wholly to these factories and to Fort St. George. This led to a consultation with Coates being held at the bar’s mouth on the 2nd December, in which Mr. Robert Freeman, Samuel Wales, and the Councils of Masulipatam and Madapollam took part. On this occasion Captain Coates informed the Company’s servants that he and the Don “had commission from the King of Siam which justified their proceedings, and these were grounded thereupon, and that the injuries done by Alle Beague to the King of Siam and his servants were the sole occasion of the said commissions, and their actions committed by virtue thereof, and as for John Demarcoras ship and jewells they had taken, they said that he was particularly named in their commission as a Mandarin of Pegu, and an enemy of the King of Siam, and they were commissioned to seize upon his ship, or vessels, person, or estate, wheresoever to be found.” In the evening, the chiefs, the Councils, Captain Coates and John Demarcora went up from the bar’s mouth to the factory, but Coates lay in his boat and would not go ashore until he had been invited by Mr. Freeman and Samuel Wales, and did not do so until Mr. Freeman went himself and invited him to go, to which he consented, but went attended by a number of armed men, for his security.

After several hours had been spent apparently in a fruitless discussion, news reached the factory that the governor of Ellore had sent a body of Rajputs to seize Coates, and that they were already in the town. He therefore immediately left the factory, and made for the bar in his boats.

The governor of Ellore now demanded form the Company’s servants the delivery of the ships seized by Coates, and threatened that unless they were given up a fourfold satisfaction would be taken for them, and they were informed that he had given orders to all his subordinate governors to stop all the Company’s affairs throughout his jurisdiction until the Honorable Company made full satisfaction. Their difficulties increased, as on the following day news reached them from the Dutch chief and Council of Pulicat that Coates had seized five boats belonging to them, burnt one, and killed a man. Another consultation took place at the bar’s mouth, but with no result, as Captain Coates resolutely declined to deliver up the ships, although Mr. Freeman and Samuel Wales offered their bonds of Pagde: 150,000 that the Don’s ship and his vessels should be finished and put into the water in a few days, provided that the King’s and John Demarcora’s ships were immediately surrendered. The chiefs and Councils thereupon resolved to protest against Captain Coates’ action; and they delivered to him a written document claiming £500,000 for damages done to the East India Company, and £45,000 in the name of the Netherlands Company for injuries sustained by the Dutch chief and Council of Pulicat.

From this protest it appears that Captain Coates’ vessel was called the Prosperous, and that he was aided in the command by William Mallett and Don Joseph De Heredia, and that the crew was a motley one, of several nationalities—English, Dutch, French, Danes, Portuguese, and Siamese.

Another consultation was held at which the governors of Narsapur and Madapollam were present, and at which Captain Coates told them that upon delivering to him the ships and boats belonging to the King of Siam, he would restore the ships he had taken and whatever belonged to them; and on the following day orders were issued by the Governors that the work remaining to be done to the ships and boats should be completed.

A further demand for the delivery of the captured vessels was made by the governor of Ellore, and at last, on the 12th December, Captain Coates delivered to John Demarcora all his goods of value, jewels, and money, and the latter gave Coates a receipt for them, and promised to complete the ships and boats that were building; but no arrangement was come to about the restitution of the King of Golconda’s vessels; and as none had been made up to the 29th, the governor on the following day stopped the work on the ships and boats. On this happening, Captain Coates set fire to his old sloop the Properous, which was on the stocks being repaired, and immediately drew up his men in a body to go and seize upon the governor of Madapollam; upon which the governor sent his brother to Coates and persuaded him to adopt milder measures. When the chief and council were on their way to do this, they met Coates in the street with his soldiers, all armed, and marching to carry out his bold design, whereupon the chief “used many persuacions,” but all in vain, even although Coates was told that the Company’s estate would be seized, if he did not behave more discreetly. He did not, however, swerve from his purpose, and marched on to the Governor’s house, but followed, it is said, by “Samuell Wales and all the Rt. Honble: Compa: and Ornamontoz.1 When he arrived there, he was at last prevailed upon to enter with only two or three of his men; and, after an hour’s dispute with the Deputy-Governor, he departed, as this official promised him that the carpenter, smiths, and other workmen should finish what remained to be done to the ships of the King of Siam.

The diary ends on 31st December, 1685, and this is the last of the Madapollam series preserved in the India Office; but, from the letter book for 1686, some further particulars are gleaned regarding Coates’ proceedings. It is there stated that in February of that year he sailed up the Madapollam river to near the island opposite Narsapur, a little below which the inhabitants had raised a fortification of teak-wood, and planted several guns. On his approaching they opened fire and he returned it, it is said the “bickerage held till the evening, having begun about 10 A.M.” The fortification was set on fire, and its guns were captured with a loss of three or four of the natives.

The Chief and Council at Masulipatam wrote a letter to the Don, doubtless protesting against his own and Captain Coates’ proceedings, which threatened seriously to compromise the East India Company. The letter having been sent to the factors at Madapollam, with a request that they should deliver it, they exercised a wise discretion and kept it back, until a favorable opportunity presented itself for making it over to the Don, as they realized that if they had been discovered delivering letters either to him or to Coates, such a course of action would have served only to intensify the suspicions of the native governor of Ellore, that the war had been instigated by the East India Company.

Don Joseph, like Coates, was acting with a high hand, as he had seized a boat laden with salt belonging to some Madapollam merchants, had torn down the English colors from its stern, and demanded “how any boats durst wear any color flying where the King of Siam’s were bespread.” On his way also down the river with Mallett he had burned Rameswaram, and part of Antravedi, and had fired the remainder of it, the flames at night appearing very great to the people in Masulipatam factory, who reported to their friends in Masulipatam that both Coates and the Don had declared that they would fire Narsapur and other villages, and destroy Sancho Narso’s house. This edifice, the factors reported in their letter, “narrowly escaped the Don’s fury (notwithstanding the Right Honble. Company’s seal was put on his godouns and house), his soldiers being ready with combustible matters upon the word of command given to destroy the same, but was prevented by a message sent to Mr. Mallett” desiring him to hinder the “Don from putting to execution his ill design, which was effected partly by persuasion and partly by force, carrying the Don in his boat with him down the river.”

By March 1686, the Jerusalem, one of the vessels seized by Coates, was now commanded by Alexander Leslie, a naval officer in the service of the King of Siam, and was cruising off the Alguada reef, in sight of Cape Negrais. While in the neighborhood, Leslie captured a merchant ship called the Quedabux on its way from Syriam to Balasor, and belonging to a Bengali trader.

There were two European passengers on this prize, which was carried into the port of Mergui, on the 13th March, 1686. Their names were respectively Francis Davenport and Carroon, the latter being a Frenchman.

There can be no doubt that Francis Davenport is the man of this name mentioned by Sir William Hedges as a pilot on the Hugli in 1680. He professed to have kept what he calls private Memoirs, in which he recorded the circumstances attending the capture of the Quedabux, and the events that took place at Mergui and at the capital during his residence in Siam, until the end of July 1687.

Before proceeding further with the narrative a short sketch may be given of Francis Davenport’s history and character, as they are made known to us in a petition presented to Parliament in 1689 by the East India Company.

Like the two brothers Elihu and Thomas Yale, and their quasi kinsman Nathaniel Higginson,1 Davenport was an American, and apparently belonged to Boston, where a family of this name had settled about the third decade of the seventeenth century.2

His history begins with the time when he was employed at Boston by one Lee, his kinsman, as master of a ketch bound for Falmouth harbor in the island of Antigua. While the owner lay sick in bed, Davenport contrived by lying and duplicity to sell the ketch, appropriate the proceeds of the sale, and to decamp to England, deserting his wife. Thence he proceeded to Tonquin in the ship Flying Eagle as quartermaster, and seems to have been engaged for the purpose of constructing a crane for the King, a work he performed so ingeniously and satisfactorily that his mechanical skill attracted the notice of the Company’s servants.

Whatever the ship may have been, Davenport states that he went out to the East in the same ship with Phaulkon, who, from other sources, it appears, sailed to India with George White in the capacity of cabin boy, but whether on his first or second visit to England does not appear. After constructing his crane at Tonquin, Davenport was appointed gunner to the ship Formosa, which arrived there in 1678. As the ship was going to Bantam, he was intrusted with a number of commissions, both by English and native merchants; but when the vessel arrived at its destination, he decamped in the Johanna for England with all the money of his dupes. While in London he perpetrated another fraud, doubtless to raise money to assist him in going once more to the East. On this occasion, he passed himself off to a friend as the heir of a fictitious Mr. Davenport, who, he said, was very old, and intended to settle his fortune on him. This appeared in an advertisement, of which Davenport himself was the author, and having shown it to his friend, he advanced to him a sum of money. The next place he visited in India was the Hugli, where he was employed by the Company in their ship the James, and there he married while his first wife1 was still alive. As has been already said, he is mentioned in (Sir) William Hedges’ diary2 as a pilot, but leaving the Company’s service, he was engaged in a similar capacity in a small sloop belonging to John Davies, an interloper. This vessel he lost at the mouth of the Hugli through carelessness. On his return to Hugli he was accused by some of the Company’s servants with the murder of John Naylor, the supercargo of the sloop, but was acquitted from want of evidence, although there were strong reasons for believing him to be guilty. After this he went on the ship Hopewell to Syriam, and was shipwrecked. Returning to Bengal on the Quedabux, he was carried with the vessel into Mergui.

Francis Heath, who knew Davenport well, says that he was a dishonest and faithless fellow; while Robert Harbin describes him as a treacherous villain; and George White stigmatizes him as “a vile wretch, and one of the most notorious rogues in nature, and so esteemed by all honest men.” Such being the reputed character of Francis Davenport, it is difficult to select and reject from his “Historical Abstract,” which, however, when studied in connection with some other documents of the time still extant, is found not to be wholly devoid of truth, although many of his statements affecting Samuel White have been denounced as “false and scandalous lies.” After a very careful consideration of the whole subject, only those parts of the “Historical Abstract” that may be regarded as approximately correct will be utilized in this narrative. The letters which Davenport attributes to Phaulkon and to Samuel White bear internal evidence that they are not forgeries. They will therefore be accepted as true.

Although Davenport has been denounced as an infamous slanderer, it must not be supposed that White was without reproach. We get an insight into his character from one of Phaulkon’s letters, which from its high tone could not have been forged by Davenport. In this letter White is spoken of as a man passionate in his expression and gestures, and of not very temperate habits, but one whom Phaulkon at the same time, after mature deliberation, had considered worthy of the responsible position in which he had placed him, and, he adds, that he could not charge him with being a court parasite.

On the day following their arrival at Mergui, Davenport with several other passengers, and among them the Frenchman, M. Carrooon,1 were taken ashore under a strong guard to the Shahbandar’s house, where Davenport met another Englishman, Mr. William How,1 who was then acting as steward and cash-keeper to Samuel White. This man had been carried into Mergui on the “ship Mahmuddy, belonging to Meer Facqueer Duen of Metchlepatam,” and which had also been condemned as prize some time before, and afterwards dispatched on a roving commission to the Coromandel Coast under the command of Captain Edward English. How’s subsequent fate will be narrated farther on.

On the day Davenport landed, he observed a ship crossing the bar and anchoring in the port. It was laden with twenty-two elephants, and piloted by a Portuguese, who was taking the ship to Hugli. He and Carroon therefore asked permission of the Shahbandar to be allowed to leave by this ship, a request which was at first freely granted. Davenport tells us that when he and M. Carrroon were putting off in a boat to go on board the ship, he was called back by Mr. White, who told him there were reasons why it was not convenient he should go by that vessel, and offered him employment in the service of the King of Siam. He was at first inclined to refuse the offer, but ultimately agreed to stay on at Mergui until the following August, at fifteen taels per month.

After accepting White’s offer he wrote to the owner of the Hopewell informing him of the loss of the ship, and while he was doing this, his box, &c. were brought ashore, and M. Carroon proceeded on his way to Bengal. On the following day, Davenport was installed by White as his secretary and accountant, and a writer was promised to assist him in transcribing the papers and accounts in a better hand than he could write; but Francis Heath, who was supercargo of one of Samuel White’s ships while he was Shahbandar of Mergui, says Davenport acted as White’s servant, and assisted him “in the multitude of business,” and was of use to him as he was very quick with his pen.

The war between Siam and Golconda continued; and the Sancta Cruz, a vessel of 350 tons burthen, was captured about the time Davenport arrived at Mergui. It was the property of Joseph, the brother of John Demarcora. The prize was sent to Acheen with its cargo under charge of some men; but as White was afraid they might either be overpowered on the voyage or be persuaded to allow the vessel to escape at Acheen, he took the precaution of keep Joseph Demarcora and his son at Mergui as pledges for the return of the ship, promising at the same time to use his influence at Ayuthia for the restitution of the Sancta Cruz and its cargo to its owner. Joseph Demarcora being aware that Davenport had come out from England in the same ship with Constant Phaulkon, asked him to intercede for him with his old shipmate; “which I,” says Davenport “(not daring to deny any thing, within the compass of my power, to one whom I owed my Redemption from Slavery), accordingly writ.” In his narrative he laments the misfortune of his benefactor, “who little deserved such usage as not only being no Subject of the King of Golconda, but being the Redeemer of many poor English men, and others, at his vast charge, out of Captivity in Pegu.” But, as has already been seen, John Demarcora was a mandarin of Pegu, and was specially mentioned in Coates’ commission; and from the influence which his brother Joseph appears to have had in that kingdom, it is probable that his ship was also seized under powers given to the commanders prosecuting the war on the shipping of Pegu. The following is Davenport’s letter to Phaulkon pleading the cause of the humane Armenian:—
“MERGEN, 24th March, 1684/5”1
“My Lord,

“The Signal Obligations I lye under to this Bearer, the Redeemer of my self, and many other Poor Men out of Captivity, call for all the Evidences of my Gratitude, that any Opportunity can put into my Hands; so that though long absence, and diversity of Fortunes may have drawn a Curtain betwixt Your Lordship and my self, and put me by all pretence to any Interest with You, from a former Friendship or Acquaintance in any matter that might immediately concern my self; yet in this particular Instance, when my best Friends require it, I hope I may become Your successful Humble Petitioner; That You would vouchsafe him all the favor You can in his present Affair, and then I am sure he will find all the favor he desires, which is the restitution of his Ship and Estate, taken from him under pretence of His Majesties Authority; and though I do not pretend to a Spirit of Prophesie, yet I dare be confident to affirm, that Your Lordship, in doing that just and generous act will find more satisfaction, and reap more true Honor than can be expected from the Ruine of so well-deserving an Honest Man, as is Joseph d’Marcora, whose Condition I humbly recommend to Your Gracious Consideration.
Your Lordships most Humble Servant,

He does not record the result of this appeal, but from what he relates some months afterwards, the Sancta Cruz was not restored to Joseph Demarcora, but was rechristened the St. George, and called the King’s ship, and was selected to proceed to Mocha.

Another ship the Traja Raja, captured off the coast of Pegu, ultimately proved to be the property of a native of Madras. It was carrying a number of Indian merchants, also inhabitants of that town who, after their release from imprisonment at Mergui, presented a petition to the President and Council at Fort St. George, on the 14th April, 1686, stating that they had embarked as passengers at Syriam, and that the vessel, shortly after it had left the port, had been seized by a man-of-war belonging to the King of Siam, and that the first to board their vessel was an Englishman, Captain Cropley of the Dorothy. They state, in their petition preserved in the India Office, and to which fifteen names are affixed, that no sooner was their vessel boarded than their captors began to rob the ship. They were then transferred to Captain English’s ship, the Revenge, and carried to Mergui, where they were put in prison, in a godown, and kept for eight days without eating or drinking, undergoing many hardships, until at last they were driven by hunger to make such a noise that their shouts reached the Shahbandar who sent for them, and told them that they must sign a paper declaring that he had done nothing to them and taken nothing from them! They state that they were so oppressed with hunger and other troubles that they signed not only one, but two papers, as they were unable to undergo again what they had already suffered. They alleged that they had paid Samuel White 3117 pagodas to clear the ship and escape any further imprisonment, and also stated that White had taken 325 pagodas in gold and silver from the Nakhuda or master of the ship, who had also been robbed of his earrings, and of a parcel containing rubies, musk and other valuables. As they claimed to be inhabitants of, and assistants in the Fort of St. George, under the Honorable Company’s flag, and as the Shahbandar was an Englishman, and the other robbers English, they prayed the Council to order that justice might be done them.

On the day following the submission of this petition, the Council wrote a letter to White,1 informing him that the merchants seized at Mergui were inhabitants of Madras, and that their property ought therefore to be restored to them, and that they would await his answer, which, if not satisfactory, they would then consider what course they would follow to repay these people for their losses. This letter was sent to Mergui by the King of Siam’s ship the Revenge, which had arrived at Fort St. George towards the end of February, with letters from Samuel White to Mr. Robert Freeman, the chief of Masulipatam, and with the bills of lading of three ships. From this it would appear that White acted as chief in all affairs affecting the trade of Mergui, and before this incident he had been recognized as such by the East India Company’s authorities at Fort St. George and Masulipatam, for they were in constant correspondence with him. White, in his petition to the House of Commons, acknowledged that two considerable ships had been captured at Pegu and had been brought into Mergui; but he asserts that although they appeared to belong to inhabitants of Masulipatam, he discharged them on their producing English passports. It is noteworthy, however, that he makes no mention in it of this petition of the captive merchants of the Traja Raja, preserved in the Records of the East India Company.

Mr. Thomas Yale, one of the members of the Harbin-Gyfford mission, arrived at Mergui overland from the capital on the 16th March, 1686, accompanied by Mr. James Wheeler who had written to the Company that he intended to return to Madras by that route, and also by Mr. John Kiddall who was on his way to Madras to take his wife to Ayuthia. From Davenport’s Historical Abstract we learn the fact that Elihu Yale, the brother of Thomas, had been purchasing jewels, at Phaulkon’s request, for the King of Siam, which is verified by a letter written by Elihu Yale on the 2nd of July, 1686-87, in which he estimated the value of the jewels he had purchased at P10,000.1 The precious stones had doubtless been carried to Bangkok in the Falcon, and had been intrusted to the care of Thomas Yale to deliver to the Greek. The latter, however, when he saw them, considered that they were not worth the value that Elihu Yale had put upon them. He therefore resolved to have nothing to do with them, and it was this decision that led to Thomas Yale’s journey to Mergui, as Davenport relates that when he arrived there he had the returned jewels in his custody. This seems to have been a disgraceful business, and was characterized by George White, in his petition to Parliament, as treacherous dealing on the part of Elihu Yale. The facts connected with it were well known to Samuel White, and as Yale was afraid he might give evidence against him, Davenport, when he wrote his malicious attack on Samuel White, in revenge for having been publicly whipped and imprisoned at Mergui by White’s order, found in Elihu Yale a willing confederate in blackening White’s character.

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