« AnteriorContinuar »
WHILE vegetation is everywhere fading around us, and the trees and deciduous shrubs are arrayed in their latest glories, or have already begun to shed their foliage on the earth, the humbler tribes of plants partake the change, and the shabby appearance of many of our gardens, sensibly brings before us the approach of winter. The gardener fails not to remember, while attending to the constant removal of withered leaves, and various descriptions of litter, that this is the season for collecting materials which shall afford valuable soil for the renovation of his ground, or for the formation of hotbeds, if required. The compost heap ought to receive large additions during this month. The vegetable substances capable of being converted into manure are too numerous to be detailed. Green succulent plants and weeds of every description, (to which sea-weed may be added, if within reach,) should be dug into the ground in a fresh state, because if exposed to the air they ferment and consume almost to nothing. Pond weeds, parings of hedges and ditches, or any kind of fresh vegetables, require no preparation to fit them for manure, but dry straw or hay, wood, stalks of plants, and other fibrous substances, peat, and tanner's bark, all require to undergo the process of fermentation before they can be used as manure. All manure of this kind applied to gardens ought to lie in heaps until it be thoroughly decomposed, unless it be buried deeply in trenches, or applied to the boles of trees, &c., where long litter and half-decayed leaves are not objectionable. The sowings to be performed in the month of October are not large. A crop of Mazagan beans, and of early frame peas, may be sown at the end of the month, and in some cases small salading, lettuces, and radishes, may be sown in the first and second week. If a succession of cress is wanted throughout the winter, it must be sown in a moderate hot-bed, or raised in boxes, &c., within doors. Both cress and mustard are occasionally raised on porous earthenware pyramids, with gutters or ledges on the sides. They may also be raised on a piece of wet flannel in a dish. From the last fortnight in October till the first of March it will be mostly fruitless to sow mustard and cress in the open garden.
Where the stalks of the herb angelica are required for candying, this crop must also now be sown. It is propagated by seed, which is sown very soon after ripening, because it does not keep well through the winter. When this seed has been left to be sown in the spring, not one in forty is found to have preserved its vegetative powers. Angelica, though cultivated in gardens, is also found wild. It was formerly blanched and eaten like celery; but at present the tender stalks only are of use, these being preserved in sugar, to form an addition to the winter dessert. The roots, which are large, fleshy, and aromatic, were once employed for the same purpose. The plant flowers in July and August, and the roots perish after the seed has ripened. The stalks are smooth, and much branched; they grow to the height of six or seven feet, and bear large clusters
of small white flowers, growing in globular umbels. These hardy plants will thrive in any soil or situation, but flourish most in moist places, so that the banks of ponds and ditches are usually allotted to them. The seed is sown either broadcast or in drills, moderately thin, and about half an inch deep. When five or six inches high, the young plants are thinned, and set out at the distance of two feet and a half from each other, as the leaves spread very widely. They flower in the second year, and if cut down without being allowed to perfect their seed, they sprout again, and will in this way last three or four years; but if allowed to go to seed they perish.
Angelica was formerly much esteemed for its medicinal virtues, and hence its name. "In times of heathenism," says Culpeper, "when men found out any excellent herb, they dedicated it to their gods; as the bay-tree to Apollo, the oak to Jupiter, the vine to Bacchus, the poplar to Hercules. Following these, the papists dedicate to their saints; as our lady's thistle to the Blessed Virgin, St. John's wort to St. John, and another wort to St. sake, not for their fair looks; and therefore some called Peter, &c. They gave names to herbs for their virtue's this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others, more moderate, called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues, and that name it retains still, and all nations follow it, so near as their dialect will permit." The "angelical virtues" of this plant are now seldom alluded to, but the uses to which it was formerly applied were as follows:-The seeds, which are the most powerful, were bruised, and were reckoned to have cordial and sudorific properties. Three table-spoonsful of the distilled water was a remedy for flatulence and pains of the stomach. The dried and powdered root was employed to make drinks in pestilential fevers, and in diseases of the liver. A paste of the fresh angelica root beaten up in vinegar, used to be carried by physicians in times of great contagion, and applied to the nose. A piece of the dry root was also held in the mouth for the same purpose. The plant has, in fact, always been celebrated as preventing contagion. Among the Laplanders the stalks are eaten as a great delicacy, being boiled or baked until they are extremely tender.
Another crop which, like angelica, requires to be sown soon after the seed is ripe, is that far more useful one, the rhubarb. If kept out of the ground until the spring, the seed of this plant will in all probability lie dormant for twelve months. Therefore October is the best time for sowing, and the best mode of insertion is in drills three feet apart and an inch deep, the plants to remain where raised. Rhubarb is also propagated by cuttings, but sowing is in most cases preferred. A light rich soil should be chosen for this crop; and when the young plants make their appearance in the spring they must be thinned and cleared of weeds, and the surface of the ground loosened by the hoe. A second thinning takes place during the summer. It has been accidentally discovered that the stalks of rhubarb may be blanched with great advantage: they are thereby improved in appearance, and in flavour, and require less sugar to be rendered palatable. Therefore some of the plants in a bed of rhubarb may be advantageously covered with earth about a foot thick; but this covering must be removed when the cutting ceases, otherwise the root is apt to decay.
The digging and storing of potatoes for winter use must now receive attention. Early potatoes continue to to be dug up throughout the summer, in small quantities for present use, (if possible, they should be cooked on the same day that they are dug up ;) but the main crop lies undisturbed in the ground till the haulm decay, which will generally be at the end of October or beginning of November, at the first arrival of frost. Some persons clear off all the haulm before they begin digging. The best instruments for taking up potatoes is a flat three-pronged fork: with this the potatoes are regularly
turned up, large and small, each row being thoroughly cleared. The greatest care is necessary to clear the ground well, for potatoes will otherwise remain in it for several seasons. The tubers should be sorted at the time of digging up; for the largest keep best, and they alone, therefore, should be stored; while the small ones are employed for present use.
To preserve potato crops for winter use, McPhael directs that they be left in the ground, if dry, and covered with long litter to protect them from the frost; after which, they may be taken up as wanted. But it is a far more general custom to pit them, and one which may be advantageously done in the way recommended by Towers; which is, to dig a space of ground in a very dry spot, (under cover of a shed would be desirable,) a full spit deep; lay the earth round the edges, and beat it firm and hard; then to make the bottom of the space quite level, and fill it with dry straw, placing a coating of straw also within the border of earth. The potatoes are then put in, heaping them ridgeways. When all are in, they are to be covered with dry straw to the depth of at least six inches. Earth or turf of an equal depth is then laid on the top of the straw, and beaten quite firm and compact with a wetted spade. The pit should be finished off so as to resemble a sloping roof, with the ends round or arched, that it may throw off the wet in every direction. When the frost is gone, open one end of the pit, take out what is wanted, and close it again, after having looked over all the potatoes that are within reach, and broken off the advancing shoots to prevent the exhaustion of the roots. This method of pitting is used for large quantities; but for a few sacks it is sufficient to put them away perfectly dry and free from mould, in a dry shed, or in a cellar, or underground cave. Cold will not injure them, if they can be preserved from moisture, or from actual freezing.
spoiled; but when used with discretion they greatly improve the flavour of a large proportion of the dishes that are brought to table. In stews, broths, omelets, force-meat, and seasonings in general, the skill of the cook is as much shown in a good selection and apportionment of herbs, as in any other particular. Pliny observes that a good housewife will go into her herb-garden, instead of a spice-shop, for her seasonings, and thus save the health of her family by saving the contents of her purse.
Any of the productions of the garden which are likely to suffer from frost, must now be gathered in for storing or pickling, according to the nature of the crop. Tomatos, or love-apples, are among the fruits which the frost readily destroys. This plant belongs to the nightshade tribe; so also does the potato; yet we are able to eat the fruit of the one and the tubers of the other without risk of poisoning. The tomato is a native of South America, and was early introduced to Europe by the Spaniards. We received the plant from the French in 1596. Little can be said of its nourishing properties; but the tomato is annually rising in favour for culinary purposes, being distinguished by a pleasant acidity which renders it an agreeable addition to soups, and also fits it for sauce either for fish or meat. Tomatos may likewise be pickled, or made into an agreeable catsup. Rogers recommends the tomato as an elegant side-dish for the table, cooked in the following manner. The largest and best fruit should be chosen, fully ripened: cut them through exactly in the middle, so as to have a top and bottom; they are then to be broiled, for which a few minutes will suffice, keeping principally the inside uppermost, to preserve their juice. When done, a small bit of butter, pepper, &c., should be put on each, when, after again being placed a few minutes before the fire, they will be, as our old herbalist, Gerard, said above a Carrots, parsnips, and beet, are now dug up and hundred and fifty years ago, "a dainty dish to set before stored for winter use; celery in the trenches is earthed a queen." An eminent gardener near London, by trainup; endive and lettuce are transplanted into warming these plants against a bank, has gathered from six borders; cardoons are prepared for blanching. This hundred plants, four hundred half sieves (three will last plant somewhat resembles the artichoke, but grows make a bushel) of ripe fruit for the market. to a greater height. It is a native of Candia, and was introduced into England in 1658. The Italian name of cardoon is derived from cardunculus, a thistle, from its resemblance to that family. Throughout Europe the plant is known by its Italian name. This vegetable possesses but few nourishing properties, but it is in request among professed cooks, for stewing, and for soups and salads in autumn and winter. For this purpose the tender stalks of the inner leaves are used, having been rendered white and tender by earthing up and blanching, after the manner of celery, the culture being also pretty nearly the same.
The tomato is raised from seed, which is sown on a slight hot-bed about the end of March, or is raised in a large garden-pot, if but few plants are wanted. The young plants are set out in a warm southern border, against a wall, or palings, or a sloping bank, about the end of May or beginning of June. The plants are regularly trained, and care taken that the fruit is fully exposed to the influence of the sun. The fruit begins to ripen in August, and continues to do so until October, when the arrival of frost immediately destroys the plants.
Offsets are now taken from the roots of fennel, and planted about a foot apart, when they will almost immediately produce a new supply of leaves. Few plants require less cultivation than common fennel, and as the
seeds are a useful stomachic and carminative, it is well to allow the plant a place in our gardens, even irrespectively of its use in cookery. The leaves, when boiled, enter into many fish sauces, particularly mackerel, and when raw are sometimes eaten with pickled fish; though they might in that state better retain their proper place as garnish. Fennel is much used in France and Spain, and seems generally esteemed as wholesome, and agreeing well with the stomach. The whole of the plant is good in broths and stews. The different sorts of herbs now enriching our gardens have not been valued as they deserve to be. Foreign spices and condiments are preferred to the simple produce of our own gardens; few persons being aware, as it would appear, of the beneficial and wholesome character of these home productions. Some judgment is undoubtedly required in the use of seasoning herbs; for if they are mingled in bad proportions, the cookery in which they are introduced ist
STRANGE MODE OF FISHING.
THEY (a tribe of Indians of Tierra del Fuego,) fish by of bait at the end, with which they entice the fish to the means of a line without a hook, having only a small piece top of the water, close to the side of the canoe. A fish
bites, and before it can detach its small teeth from the soft, tough bait, the hand holding the line jerks the prize above the water, and the other catches it. The fisher then bites out a large piece of its belly, takes out the inside, and hangs the fish on a stick by the fire in the canoe.-Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle.
SCORPIONS are said to be in plenty here, (the fortress of 'Akabah,) but we saw none of them. They are caught by rats, of which there are great numbers in the castle, as we found at night to our cost.-ROBINSON's Palestine.
TIME, by whose revolutions we measure hours, days, weeks, months and years, is nothing else but (as it were) a certain space borrowed or set apart from eternity, which shall at their first course from seas; and, by running on, there they the last return to eternity again: like the rivers which have arrive, and have their last.-Speculum Mundi.
JOHN W. PARKER, PUBLISHER, WEST STRAND, LONDON.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE
ORIGIN, RISE, AND PROGRESS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY.
SEPTEMBER, 1844. ONE PENNY.
THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S HOUSE IN LEADENHALL STREET. 1648 TO 1726.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMPANY UP TO THE YEAR 1624. THE history of the East India Company, during a consider able period after its first establishment, is occupied quite as much with its contests with rival nations of Europe in this lucrative trade as with the detail of its mercantile proceedings. The Portuguese claimed, as discoverers of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope, an exclusive right to trade in that direction. They had, by various means, obtained possession of Goa, Bombay, and other places on the Malabar coast; they were masters of Aden, at the entrance of the Red Sea; of Ormus, in the Persian Gulf; of part of the Malay coast, in the Straits of Malacca; of the Molucca Islands, and of the coasts of Ceylon,-the most valuable of all the Eastern islands: they had established factories in Bengal and in Siam; and they had founded a new city at Macao, on the coast of China.
So long as the Dutch were subject to the crown of Spain they procured the productions of the East from Lisbon, and from thence distributed them to other nations of Europe; but when that industrious people had succeeded in throwing off the tyranny under which they had so long groaned, one of the means adopted by Philip to distress them was, to deprive them of their commerce with his dominions. From VOL. XXV.
this narrow and short-sighted policy it resulted, as a natural consequence, that the Dutch became rivals with their former masters in the trade with India itself.
"At the time when the Dutch commenced their voyages to the East, the crown of Spain was engaged in enterprises of so much importance in other quarters, and so much engrossed with the contemplation of its splendid empire in the New World, that the acquisitions in the East Indies of the Portuguese, now become its subjects, were treated with comparative neglect. The Dutch, accordingly, who entered upon the trade to India with considerable resources and the utmost ardour, were enabled to supplant the Portuguese in the spice trade, and, after a struggle, to expel them from the Molucca Islands. That celebrated people, now freed from the oppression of a bad government, were advancing in the career of prosperity with great and rapid strides. The augmentation of capital was rapid in Holland,-beyond what has often been witnessed in any other part of the globe. A proportional share of this capital naturally found its way into the channel of the India trade, and gave both extent and vigour to the enterprises of the nation in the East; while the English, whose country, oppressed by misgovernment, or scourged with civil war, afforded little capital to extend its trade, or means to afford it protection, found themselves unequal competitors with a people so favourably situated as the Dutch, 786
"During that age, the principles of public wealth were very imperfectly understood, and hardly any trade was regarded as profitable but that which was exclusive. The different nations which traded to India, all traded by way of monopoly; and the several exclusive companies treated every proposal for a participation in their traffic as a proposal for their ruin. In the same spirit, every nation which obtained admittance into any newly-explored channel of commerce endeavoured to exclude from it all participators, and considered its own profits as depending upon the absence of all competition.
"The Dutch, who were governed by the same prejudices as their contemporaries, and actuated, at least in that age, with rather more than the usual intensity of appetite for gain, beheld with great impatience the attempts of the English to share with them in the spice trade. While contending for their independence against the power of Spain, and looking to England for support, they were constrained to practice moderation and forbearance; and during this time the English were enabled to form a connection with Sumatra, to establish themselves at Bantam, and obtain a share in the traffic of pepper, which being a commodity so generally produced in the East, could not easily become the subject of monopoly. But before the English made efforts, on any considerable scale, to interfere with the trade of the further India, where the finer spices were produced, the power and confidence of the Dutch had greatly increased.
"That people were more effectual opponents than the Portuguese, between whom and the English the interference was not so direct. The chief settlements of the Portuguese on the continent of India, were on the Malabar coast, at a great distance from Surat, which was the principal seat of the English: it was in the Persian trade alone that much incompatibility of interest existed: and feeble, in India, as the English at that time were, it is remarkable that they were an over-match at sea for the Portuguese; and hardly ever encountered them without a brilliant victory, or at least decided advantages. The case was different in regard to the Dutch: the pretensions of the English to the spice trade interfered with the very vitals of the Dutch commerce in the East; and the fleets which the prosperous enterprise of the new republic enabled it to maintain were so far superior to those which the restricted means of the English company allowed them to send, that contention became altogether hopeless and vain."
The commencement of hostilities between the English and the Dutch seems to have been connected with the following circumstances. On the 10th of July, 1617, a Dutch ship being wrecked near Surat, and the goods saved from the wreck being allowed to be disposed of in that city, the Dutch at once perceived the great value of the trade at that port, and determined, if possible, to acquire a portion of it. Accordingly, having profitably disposed of their goods, they left ten merchants with sufficient funds to commence trade, promising to send out new stock and shipping from Europe in the following season. The remainder of the officers and crew of the wrecked ship then proceeded overland to the Dutch factory at Masulipatam.
This conduct on the part of the Dutch seems to have been reciprocated by the English in the occupation of two small islands, called Polaroon and Rosengin, which, though not actually occupied by the Dutch, were intimately connected with some of their possessions. The Dutch, therefore, attacked Polaroon with three ships, but finding the defences to be secure they retired, and on the voyage seized one of the Company's ships, on her passage to Rosengin, and having corrupted the crew of another ship, obtained possession of it also, and carried both ships to a Dutch settlement. The factory at Bantam protested against these proceedings, and demanded the restitution of the ships, which was refused unless the English would consent to surrender all their rights and claims on Polaroon and the other Spice
"In all cases of national aggression," says Bruce," the party committing the injury, is, generally, the first who complains" Accordingly, as soon as these proceedings were known in Europe the Dutch Company presented a memorial to King James, stating that, being in possession of a trade at Bantam, the English factory had endeavoured to instigate the Emperor against them, and had repeatedly assisted the natives, both of the Bandas and the Moluccas, particularly at Amboyna, in violating those treaties which they had concluded with the Dutch Company, for the exclusive trade and control of those islands, and, therefore prayed for the King's interference with the Directors of the
London Company, to prevent any further encroachments on possessions which had been ceded to them by the natives, or of which they had made a conquest from the Spaniards. The London East India Company in reply enumerated the grievances and oppressions which their ships and factors had received from the Dutch during the last three years in which they had only been endeavouring to retain their rights at Bantam, and to introduce their trade in such islands as had not hitherto been pre-occupied by the Dutch, and that they had made agreements with the natives at ports in the Spice Islands of this description, from which by the superior force military and naval of that people they been driven with great loss both of men and property; and as instances, they referred to the violence and opposition experienced from the Dutch at Bantam, Polaroon, Rosengin, Amboyna, and Tidore.
In the East the rival parties resorted to intrigue as well as violence to injure each other's commerce. The Dutch offered double prices for pepper that they might engross the whole trade in that article; and the English took part with the natives in their quarrels with the Dutch, assisting them with artillery and gunpowder.
Meanwhile commissioners to settle these disputes had been appointed by King James and the Dutch States-General, and after much tedious negotiation a treaty was concluded at London on the 7th of July, 1619, whereby it was stipulated that there should be a mutual amnesty and a mutual restitution of ships and property; that the trade of the two nations in the East should be free to the extent of the respective funds or capital which might be employed; that the pepper trade at Java should be equally divided; that the English should have a free trade at Pullicate on the Coromandel coast on paying half the expenses of the garrison; that at the Moluccas and Bandas the English should enjoy one-third of the trade, the Dutch two-thirds, the charges of the garrisons to be paid in the same proportion. In addition to these items which referred to the opposing interests of the two nations, arrangements were made for mutual profit and defence. Both Companies were to endeavour to reduce the duties and exactions of the native officers at the different ports, and each Company was to furnish ten ships of war for common defence, which were not to be employed in conveying cargoes to Europe, but only in the carrying trade from one port of the East Indies to another. The whole of the proceedings thus agreed upon were to be placed under the regulation of a "Council of Defence" in the Indies, to be composed of four members from each Company. This treaty was to be binding for twenty years.
In compliance with the terms of this treaty the English Company in 1620 fitted out the largest fleet which they had hitherto sent to the East. One of the ships was of one thousand tons burden, and several were of seven hundred tons each the investment for this voyage was estimated at 62,4907. in money, and 28,5081. in goods. Of the ships thus sent out, nine were detained in the East Indies, and one only returned with an investment, the sale of which produced 108,8871.
Before the Council of Defence had time to establish itself in the East, the English had suffered repeated acts of violence and oppression on the part of the Dutch; and when the Council began to operate, the Dutch agreed to some of the least important conditions of the treaty, and endeavoured to evade the rest. They agreed to the restitution of ships taken from the English, but refused to inquire respecting goods and stores taken by individuals, on the ground that the Company could be responsible only for its own acts, and not for those of individuals. (It appears, however, that when the same position was assumed by the English, the Dutch refused to acknowledge it.) They refused to allow the English their share of the pepper trade until indemnified for certain fortifications and expenses incurred at the siege of Bantam They asserted that at Jacatra and all other places where they had erected fortifications they possessed the rights of sovereignty; and that the English could claim no permission to reside there except under the Dutch laws. They stated the large expenses they had incurred in erecting fortifications on the Spice Islands, the maintenance of which they estimated at 60,000%. per annum, and they required the English to contribute a proportion of this before they could be admitted to the stipulated share of the trade. The English objected that many of the forts were built by the Dutch as defences against the Spaniards and Portuguese, with whom the English were not at war, and in places at which no produce
or spices could be found or expected. "On the whole it may be remarked," says Mr. Mill, "that if there were fortifications at places where none were required, the English had a right to decline paying for the blunders of the Dutch; but as they claimed a share of the trade upon the foundation of the Dutch conquests, and would not have been admitted to it, without a war, had not those conquests taken place, it was a less valid plea, to say that they were not at war with the Spaniards and Portuguese. In framing the treaty no distinction was made between past and future expenses. The English intended to bind themselves only for a share of the future; the Dutch availed themselves of the ambiguity to demand a share of the past; and in all these pretensions they acted with so high a hand that the English commissioners of the Council of Defence reported the impracticability of continuing the English trade, unless measures were taken in Europe to check the overbearing and oppressive proceedings of the Dutch."
The ten ships which had been sent out by the English Company in compliance with the terms of the treaty had so far diminished their resources, that in the following year they were not in a condition to send out more than four ships, the cargoes of which were estimated at 12,900. in money, and 6,2531. in goods. Of this small fleet one ship only returned to England, the others having been detained in India for the protection of the English settlements and trade. The great loss sustained by the Company from this interruption to their commerce may be estimated from the value of the cargo which was brought home by this single ship, consisting of spices, which at the sale produced 94,464/.
manders and officers of several of the Company's ships which had made prizes; and, according to their statements, the amount of prize-money was calculated at 100,000l. and 240,000 rials of eight. Against these sums the Company were desirous of setting of their charges and losses in equipments, and the injury their trade had suffered by withdrawing their ships from commerce to war. Various other solicitations were made without effect; but nothing less than the payment of the claims would satisfy; and the money not being produced, the Lord Admiral arrested a fleet which was just on the point of sailing, and the Company, fearing to lose the season for sailing, offered a compromise. The Lord Admiral received 10,000l. in discharge of his claim, and an order was sent to the Company, from Sir Edward Conway, Secretary of State, to pay also 10,000l. to the King. Mr. Bruce refers to an attested copy of this order, now in the State Paper Office, but Mr. Mill says there is no direct evidence that the money was ever paid.
Although the English Company still continued to suffer much from the determined opposition of the Dutch, yet, in the season 1623-24, the factors were enabled to send home five ships with spice which at the sales produced 485,5931., exclusive of the sale of Persian raw silk, which amounted to 97,000l. and to these sums were added 80,000l. received from the Dutch, in compensation for the losses and injuries which the Company had sustained previously to the Treaty of
The intercourse between the two rival Companies at Surat, in Persia, and on the Western coast of India, had hitherto been very limited; the scene of their rivalry was chiefly confined to Java and the Spice Islands. In the circle of operations of which Surat was the centre, the English were better prepared to cope with the Dutch, and, indeed, had less to fear. Notwithstanding the continued opposition of the Portuguese they had greatly improved and extended their trade with Persia, and were prepared to defend it by force of arms.
In November, 1620, two of the Company's ships had sailed from Surat to Persia, and on attempting to enter the port of Jasques, found it blockaded by a Portuguese fleet, consisting of five large, and sixteen smaller vessels. Not being able to cope with so superior a force, the two ships returned to Surat, to obtain, if possible, reinforcements. There they were joined by two other ships, and returning to Jasques, an indecisive action was fought; the Portuguese gave way, and the English ships entered the port. The Portuguese retired to Ormus and refitted, and again appeared in the Jasques roads to renew the action. The conflict was obstinate, but terminated in favour of the English. This action impressed the Persians favourably towards the English, and led to a proposal for a union of their forces in order to expel the Portuguese from the island of Ormus, which that nation, in the time of their prosperity, had seized and fortified. The English at first hesitated, but the Persians refusing to allow them to take in their cargoes, consent was given. The naval force was furnished by the English, the military by the Persians; the attack was chiefly conducted by the former; and on the 22nd of April, 1622, the city and castle were taken. The English received for this service a proportion of the plunder of Ormus, and a grant of half the customs at the port of Gombroon, which afterwards became their principal station in the Persian Gulf. The Company's agents at Bantam (who since the treaty of 1619 had taken the title of President and Council, and with a sort of control over the other factories) condemned this enterprise, because from the absence of the ships the pepper investment had been lost and the trade in general much injured.
This exploit was not without its consequences at home. Under the idea that prize-money, to an enormous amount, had been gained by the Company and their officers at Ormus and other places, the King, and the Duke of Buckingham, as Lord High Admiral, claimed shares; the one as droits of the Crown, the other as droits of the Admiralty. The Company seem to have made it a point of prudence to admit the claim of the King, "not feeling it to be their duty to dispute any point with his Majesty," but they resisted the Lord Admiral's claim, on the plea that they had not acted under letters of marque from him, but under their own charter. The question was referred to the Judge of the Admiralty Court; the witnesses examined were the com
Although the season 1623-24 was a prosperous one to the domestic exchequer, yet the affairs of the Company in the Spice Islands were becoming more desperate. The English section of the Council of Defence represented to the court, that the Dutch governor, Carpentier, continued to exercise his power with positive tyranny, and had reduced the English to that defenceless situation, in which they neither could resist ill treatment from the natives, nor resent wrongs and injuries; that the English factory had been charged with every item of expense without either having a voice in the disposal of the money, or any share in the management of the trade; that the council, instead of employing the fleet of defence for the mutual protection of the trade and settlements of the two Companies, had directed it to consolidate the sovereignty of the Dutch, and to projects for ruining the English; that the English were almost entirely deprived of their trade in the Spice Islands, and that under the pretext of a conspiracy the Dutch had executed great numbers of the natives and reduced Polaroon to a desert.
Under these circumstances, the English section of the Council of Defence ordered the agent and factors at Amboyna to quit that station, and to return to Batavia. But before this could be done, an event occurred which made a deep and lasting impression on the minds of Englishmen, and excited general attention throughout Europe.
In February, 1623, the Dutch Governor seized on ten Japanese, and subjecting them to slow torture, extorted from them a confession that they had engaged in a conspiracy with Captain Towerson, the English agent, to seize on the castle of Amboyna, and to expel the Dutch from the island. "The unfortunate Japanese, who could not comprehend the sources of the animosity between the Europeans, sunk under their agonies, and allowed their tormentors to give any colour they chose to that fabrication, upon which they intended to inflict similar misery on Captain Towerson and the English factors; these unhappy men were therefore individually exposed to the torture, and as their probity and national firmness of character induced them to refuse, amid their sufferings, the confession of a project, which existed only in the commercial jealousies and avarice of their enemies, this firmness and this probity was held to be evidence of guilt, which instead of mitigating the ferocity of their oppressors, increased it, till human nature, worn out with pain, sought a momentary relief in confessing crimes which never existed: but even this extremity could not satisfy the merciless Dutch, who availed themselves of the presumed confession, which the torture alone could have forced from them, and on the 27th February, 1623, they executed Captain Towerson, nine English factors, nine Japanese, and one Portuguese sailor."
Such is Mr. Bruce's account of this transaction, and it is one of the most moderate; other accounts appearing to be grossly exaggerated. "But the facts of an event, which roused extreme indignation in England, have never," says Mr. Mill, "been exactly ascertained. The nation, whose