Section Seven

  • Jyotsna G. Singh


Edward Terry was born in 1590 and educated at the Rochester School and Christ Church College, Oxford. In the spring of 1616 he accepted an engage- ment for a voyage to the Indies as one of the chaplains in the fleet commanded by Captain Benjamin Joseph. On the way out, the commander was slain in an encounter with the Portuguese, but they safely reached India’s western shore on September 25, 1616. Sir Thomas Roe’s chaplain had died a month earlier, and since Terry was well commended, he was engaged for the post. He later joined the ambassador near Ujjain and accompanied him to Mandu, where the Mogul Emperor Jehangir fixed his court until October of that year (1617), when he removed to Ahmedabad. In September 1618, the ambassador ended his stay in the court, resting for a few months in Surat before embarking for England on February 17, 1619. Thus, Terry had only seen a small area of western India—a fact one has to keep in mind while reading his generalizations about the land.


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  1. 7.
    Ram Chandra Prasad, Early English Travellers in India: A Study in the Travel Literature of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Periods with Particular Reference to India. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsi Dass, 1965), p. 293.Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Here I draw on David Spurr’s concept of a colonizing imagination, which assumes a “metaphorical relation between colonizing and writing.” Thus, following this premise, one can approach colonial interactions as an effect of power relations inscribed within cultural and linguistic forms. See Spurr, The Rhetoric of Empire: Colonial Discourse in Journalism, Travel Writing, and Imperial Administration (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1993)Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    For a fuller account of the gradual emergence of the English colonial presence, see Jyotsna G. Singh, Colonial Narratives/Cultural Dialogues: “Discoveries” of India in the Language of Colonialism (London: Routledge, 1996)Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Bernard Cohn, “The Command of Language and the Language of Command.” In Subaltern Studies: Writings on South Asian History and Society, vol. IV, ed. Ranajit Guha (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 276.Google Scholar

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© Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna G. Singh 2001

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  • Jyotsna G. Singh

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