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Francis Day - a EEIC Servant

Highest position: 4th place on the Council of Surat – achieved in, Francis Day was an agent of John Petit.


By November 1680 – Francis Day was in Bombay for 9 years (without leave). Praised by the Council for his ability and industry. Day was mostly involved in military and security issues.


Military issues: involved in Bombay, Bandra, Mahim, Surat

  • Bandra: 11th May, 1681 sent to Bandra to inquire into a seizure of a ferry-boat. This ferry-boat was normally going between Mahim and Salsette. Instead of the seized boat different one was sent from Bandra bringing people from Salsette to Mahim. Findings of Francis Day: Portuguese soldiers were preventing people from landing or crossing over to the Island and were guarding the Mahin ferry-boat to prevent her getting back; the Sion ferry-boat had been fired on; the Portuguese were levying customs on articles bought for export from Salsette to Bombay, which had never previously been demanded. He called out the militia and put a guard over the Bandra boat, which had been detained.

Developments at Bandra

  • 12 May, 1681 – Francis Day ordered to seize all Bandra boats bringing passengers to Mahim.
  • 13th May – Ensign Thorburn and Sergeant. Wilkins – sent to Mahim, Francis Day given leave to return to Bombay by the Prosperous (the boat belonged to John Petit).
  • 14th May – Francis Day has given report at Bombay: through telescope (called ‘prospective glass’) he saw that there were 500 men [Portugues] at Bandra under the command of their Capitan Antonio d’Abreus. According to this information the Council decided to sent Capitan Niccolls with his ‘company’ to Mahim.
  • 14th May – Thorburn reported that a boat with passengers came from Bandra and that he had detained them, he also reported that the Portuguese were passing Mahim without going through the Custom House. Moreover, the Portuguese seized a boat going from Sion to Salsette and kidnapped and imprisoned a party of men [English] in a small fort at Sion. The Portuguese also prohibited everyone at Bandra from paying customs at the Mahim customs-house under severe penalty and ordered that the customs were to be paid at Vesava or Bandra instead. Several laden ships acted accordingly.
  • Due to the above information: on 15th May Francis Day and John Gape, his assistant, were sent by the Council to take charge of Mahim.
  • 16th May – Francis Day ordered the boat Hunter to Sion in order to stop the custom evasion (the payment of customs was an old established privilege of the port of Mahim).
  • 17th May – Anderton seized a boat laden with rice intended for the Portuguese soldiers at Bandra and sent it to Mahim, Child (Head of Council at Bombay) ordered it to be released upon the payment of customs (retaliation to Portuguese who stopped six days previously a Bombay boat at Thana and imprisoned the people belonging to her). Francis Day after levying customs released the Portuguese boat and it proceeded to Bandra. The Portuguese Capitan of Salsette – Antonio Camello d’Abreus - sent the boat back “being concerned on our taking dues on rice belonging to the King of Portugal”
  • 20th May – Mahim privileges invaded by the Portuguese again –this time fishing customs, Bombay boat forced to shore and fired at. Francis Day sent sergeant and four files of men to aid the boat and released it. Moreover, Bombay ferry-boats needed to escape two galivats – Day sent two boats and four files of men to help them, the ferry-boats escaped and Portuguese boats ran towards their own shore. However, the fishermen were frightened so Day suggested that one of the manchuas should be sent from Bombay to guard the fishing boats. Child assented and commended Day for his prompt action and told him to be firm in enforcing this payment to the Mahim customs-house. He also ordered attestations to be taken about the two galivats firing on the Bombay boat. Day had fishing nets attached again and this was effective in getting the customs paid for some days. However, it was being resented by Antonio Camello – the Captain of the Portuguese.
  • 27th May, Day asked for leave to return to Bombay, this was granted and Mansell Smiths was sent to replace Day at Mahim. The reason for Day’s request was a letter from his wife saying that Dr. Bird’s house was set on fire and an attempt was made to burn Day’s house as well but failed.
  • 16th July, 1681 – Francis Day, Mr. Niccolls and Mr. Adderton – got instructions from Child about how to act considering the troubles with Portuguese – ‘Hon. Company hath thought fit to intrust us with noe further power then to defend ourselves, and not to assault” – this considered the management of the Mahim customs.
  • October, 1681 – Francis Day – transferred to Surat as a member of the President’s Council. Day was to go to Surat by Success.
  • October, 1681 – Francis Day and Mr. Harbin were sent to have an interview with Sidi, whose fleet arrived ‘in the chops’ of the Bay. Council’s desire was to solve the problems between Sidi and the Coorlas, e.g. no more trouble as robbing the Coorlas as it would stop provisions by Samhaji.
  • John Child and Francis Day left for Surat by Success before 7th December (impossible to give a precise date).
  • 6th January 1681 – it was decided that Francis Day with two new members of the Council of Surat – Charles Zinzan and Mr. Gosfright – were to go to Bombay on ships Rainbow, Coast Frigate, Laurel – to try to return the Bombay garrison to duty after a rebellion. They left on 13th January 1864.
  • 1681 In October, 1681 – Francis Day – was appointed the 4h place (in the Council of Surat). His position was the Purser Marine – this place was first offered to Mr. Chase (Chief at Calicut) who declined it and decided to stay at Calicut.

Personal Issues

  • March 1680 – Court of Judicature in Bombay had to deal with complaint by Francis Day, who accused Captain Minchin that he ‘very highly abused his [Francis Day’s] wife by calling her a whore’, Minchin denied and was supported by three of his officers. Day satisfied: ‘desire any further satisfaction from Minchin.’
  • 27th May, Day asked for leave to return to Bombay after receiving a letter from his wife saying that Dr. Bird’s house was set on fire and an attempt was made to burn Day’s house as well but failed.