A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

Having now given a short view of the governments in the disposal of the Dutch East-India Company, which are a kind of principalities, as each governor, with the advice and assistance of his council, is a kind of sovereign, and acts without controul through the whole extent of his jurisdiction, we are now to consider the other establishments of the company in India, for carrying on this extensive trade.  In all the countries where their affairs require it, they have factories, in each of which there is a chief, with some title or other, having also a council to assist him in regard to matters of policy or trade.  Among these, the directories of Coromandel, Surat, Bengal, and Persia are all of great importance, and the direction of them is attended with great profit.  The directors have the same power with the governors, within their respective jurisdictions; only that they cannot execute any criminal sentences within the countries in which they reside, so that all criminals are executed on board ship, under the flag of the company.

The directory of Coromandel is the first of the four, and has all the forts and factories belonging to the Dutch on that coast under his jurisdiction.  Besides Negapatnam, on the southernmost point of Coromandel, and the fort of Gueldria, in which the director resides, they have factories at Guenepatnam, Sadraspatnam, Masulipatnam, Pelicol, Datskorom, Benlispatnam, Nagernauty, and Golconda.  The Dutch director is a principal merchant, and if he discharges his office with reputation, he is commonly in a few years promoted to be one of the counsellors of the Indies.  It is not uncommon for a governor or director in the Indies, in the space of a few years, to amass a fortune equal to the original capital of the company, or six millions and a half of guilders, or nearly L600,000 sterling.

Formerly, the country of Coromandel was divided into a great number of principalities, and the little princes and chiefs imposed such heavy duties, and gave such interruptions to trade in other respects, as rendered the company very uneasy.  But after the war of Golconda, which cost the company a great deal of money, yet ended to their advantage, these princes grow more tractable.  At present, the kings of Bisnagar and Hassinga,[1] who are the most powerful in Coromandel, live in tolerably good terms with the Dutch and other European nations; the English and Danes having also a share in Coromandel, with several good fortresses for the protection of their trade.

[Footnote 1:  This seems to be a misprint for Narsinga, otherwise the Carnatic.—­E.]

The great trade carried on here is in cotton goods, as muslins, chintzes, and the like; in exchange for which the Dutch bring them spices, Japan copper, steel, gold-dust, sandal and siampan woods.  In this country, the inhabitants are some Pagans, some Mahomedans, and not a few Christians.  The country is very fertile in rice, fruits, and herbs, and in every thing necessary to the support of man; but the weather is exceedingly hot during the eastern monsoon.  All the manufactures of this country, purchased by the Dutch, are transported first to Batavia, whence they are sent home to Holland, and are thence distributed through all Germany and the north of Europe.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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