A Passage to and from India (1816–1835)
After the end of the Napoleonic and Anglo-American Wars, more stable sea-trade conditions emerged, enabling the furthering of connections between people on opposite sides of the world. Bills of sale and disbursements, alongside ship’s logs submitted by EIMS members, tell of interaction between Massachusetts mariners and their Parsi intermediaries—interpreters, brokers and domestic staff—in Bombay. One log, by a young Harvard-educated lawyer, details information relating to Parsi history and religion that he had gleaned firsthand from Parsis. Americans and Parsis were active in the burgeoning commerce between Bombay and China, establishing trading houses in Canton. Opium constituted a significant part of this trade, along with cotton, tea, porcelain and silk. Parsi wealth and civic standing in Bombay increased, on par with that of the “Boston Brahmins.” Both communities were underpinned by the support of strong kinship ties and social networks.