Thomas Bowrey

Thomas Bowrey (1659-1713) was an English merchant and mariner in the East Indies trade, initially as an independent mariner in the country trade and, latterly, as a Wapping-based merchant and “projector”. [1]

BiographyEdit

Bowrey was born 7 September 1659 in Wapping, England and lost his father in 1665 during the last major outbreak of plague in London. Following the Great Fire, he departed for the East Indies and arrived at Fort St George, Madras (present day Chennai) in 1669. [2]

His experiences during the next decade were recorded in a manuscript passed down the Eliot/Howard family and published as A Geographical Account of Countries Round the Bay of Bengal in 1905. This included the first written account of the recreational use of cannabis in the English language. [3] In 1913, Bowrey’s surviving business papers were discovered in a trunk hidden in an attic at Cleeve Prior, Worcestershire. Selections of these papers edited by Sir Richard Carnac Temple were published in two works, The Papers of Thomas Bowrey (1927) and New Light on the Mysterious Tragedy of the Worcester (1930).

Bowrey returned home to Wapping as a passenger on the Bengal Merchant in 1689, married Mary Gardiner in 1691, acted as a consultant to independent East Indies ventures[4] and published the first Malay-English dictionary in 1701.[5] In 1696, he embarked as commander of the St George Galley on an independent trading voyage that was aborted at Portsmouth.[6] Between 1698 and 1707, Bowrey invested in numerous East Indies ventures but never commanded a ship again and suffered many losses. The most notable of these was the Prosperous taken by pirates at Madagascar and the Worcester seized by the Scots at Edinburgh, an incident that hastened the union of England and Scotland.[7] Subsequently, Bowrey turned his energies to a number of varied projects including his collaboration with Daniel Defoe in the founding of the infamous South Sea Company.[8]

Having survived nineteen years in a region where most Europeans died within two monsoons, Bowrey died aged only 53 in 1713. He was buried at Lee in Kent on 14 March.[9] Despite everything, he amassed sufficient fortune for alms-houses to be built in his name. He left behind his papers which shed light on life and commerce at the start of globalisation. [10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. ISBN 9781912049622.
  2. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 13–35. ISBN 9781912049622.
  3. ^ Davenport-Hines, Richard (2001). The pursuit of oblivion: A global history of narcotics 1500—2000. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 1–2. ISBN 0297643754.
  4. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 108–126. ISBN 9781912049622.
  5. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 149–168. ISBN 9781912049622.
  6. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 127–148. ISBN 9781912049622.
  7. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 169–219. ISBN 9781912049622.
  8. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 220–243. ISBN 9781912049622.
  9. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 244–255. ISBN 9781912049622.
  10. ^ Paul, Sue (2020). Jeopardy of Every Wind: The Biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey. Melton Mowbray: Dollarbird. pp. 256–259. ISBN 9781912049622.

Further readingEdit

  • S. E. W. (September 1927). "The Papers of Thomas Bowrey, 1669-1713 by Richard Carnac Temple". The Geographical Journal. 70 (3): 09. doi:10.2307/1781967. JSTOR 1781967. (subscription required)

External linksEdit