62 SPECULATIONS BY ENGLISH OFFICIALS book ii
the Messrs. Fremlin and Francis Breton* were Presidents at Surat on
behalf of the English Company, a Jew named Edward Ferdinand, a free
merchant, that is to say not subject to any Company, combined with
these two gentlemen, a short time after the mine was discovered, to
purchase a stone. This stone was clean and of good form, and weighed 42
carats.3 Edward went to Europe, and Messrs. Fremlin and
Breton placed the stone in his hands to sell to the best advantage, and
render an account to them. On his arrival at Leghorn 3 he showed it to some Jew friends, who offered him 25,000 piastres 4
for it. But as he asked 30,000 he was unable to let them have it, and
took it to Venice to get it cut. It was well cut, without any injury,,
but upon being put upon the wheel it immediately broke into nine
pieces. I myself was on one occasion deceived by one of these stones;
which weighed 2 carats ; it broke into small pieces on the wheel when
it was only half finished.
A continuation of the Author's Journeys to the Diamond Mines. I now come
to the third mine, which is the most ancient of all, and is situated in
the Kingdom of Bengal. You may call it by the name Soumelpour,5 which is a large town near
that part of India within ten or fifteen years of Taverniere last
visit. Ball discovered this paper too late, unfortunately, to make use
of it in the footnotes to his translation. It contains names, he
remarks, which had long puzzled him, owing to the confused way in which
they have been introduced into the literature of the subject. Full use
has now been made of it in revising Ball's notes, e. g. it has been
referred to on pp. 42 and 56-7 above and will be found freely cited by
Ball himself in App. II to this volume.
' William Fremlin was President of Surat 1638-44, and was succeeded by Francis Breton, who died in 1649 (Rawlinson, British Beginnings in Western India, 108 ff.). For 'Ed. Ferdinand' see Eng. Factories, 1642-1645, p. xv.
The extent to which investments in diamonds for themselves and their
friends in England were made by English officials at a later period is
very fully brought out in the letters published by Colonel Yule in his
account of the Pitt diamond (see Hedges' Diary, Hakluyt Society, iii. 125 ff.).
3 Ligorne in the original. * Say £5,625.
5 Among a' host of writers of the last century, so far as known, Karl Bitter (Erdkunde Asien) and Francis Buchanan (in Martin's Eastern