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The Finance of Sailing for the EIC


When Raymond made his second voyage as a Captain in 1738 he was paid £10 for each month of the voyage. This was slightly longer than the average voyage, leaving The Downs (off Deal in Kent) in February 1738 and returning at the end of August 1739. Those of the crew who served the entire voyage were paid from 5th February 1738 to 12th October 1739 when they were discharged, so the Captain earned £202 6s 8d for 20 months and 7 days. However, there were sums deducted for his various legal and other expenses, so his ‘take home pay’ was £181 15s 5d.

The Chief Mate was paid £5 a month, Second Mate £4 a month, the Carpenter earned £3 10s a month, Third Mate, Purser and Surgeon were paid £3 a month and so on. I was interested to find that Midshipmen and Seamen were all paid 23s per month.[i]

However Raymond’s salary as the Captain pales into insignificance, as while in India he had the opportunity for private business. All members of the crew were also entitled to bring back their own private trade goods, the space allowed depending on their rank. The success of this must also have been dependent on the financial investment available at the ports visited for trading. For his first voyages Charles had worked with his uncle Hugh Raymond, but Hugh died in July 1737. The charterparty for the second voyage of the Wager was signed by Charles’s cousin John Raymond and Francis Salvador.[ii] In December 1737 Charles Raymond signed a bond with Edward Radcliffe of London which seems to have been a loan for £2,520 to be repaid within 30 days of his ship returning to the River Thames.[iii] Possibly Charles was working in a syndicate with John Raymond and others, and had a part-share in the ship, as well as other investors in his private trade.

The private trade goods brought back to England by the crew were sold by the East India Company or claimed by the owner after the value was noted. Captain Charles Raymond earned £3,100 in this way which would have easily cleared the loan and given him a profit. However he had also deposited Rupees with the East India Company’s Accountant in Bengal for which he was later paid £3,000 in London.[iv] So his earnings in trading privately earned him at least 30 times the salary paid to him as the Captain.

After each voyage Raymond had a larger amount of capital to invest in goods he could sell in India (he never went to China), in business dealings there, and in goods to bring back home. Perhaps Raymond was lucky, or was very astute, as some Captains served for many voyages before retiring. However as an owner the potential was even greater as he could choose his captains and work with them to ensure a good reward from the voyage for them both.

[i] BL East India Co. L/MAR/B/592H(1) Ledger for Wager (1) 1737/8 (second voyage) which details payment for each member of the crew.

[ii] BL East India Co. Court Book B/64 p.487

[iii] Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, D/ER B 311/2 Bond from Capt Charles Raymond

[iv] BL East India Co. Court Book B/65 pp.403, 467 & 607