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the river, is in longitude 21° 4' N., and latitude 72° 51′ E. The anchoring ground for large ships in Surat roads is in 7 or 8 fathoms, Vaux's Tomb bearing N. E., and the entrance of False River E. S. E. The tides run here at the rate of five miles an hour, but near the bar they do not run with such rapidity.
The navigation up the river to Surat is very difficult, in consequence of the sands frequently shifting, by which new channels are formed, and the old ones shut up. Near two-thirds of the distance from the bar to Surat, is a continued chain of banks, having but narrow channels between them.
On the right hand side of the river, about four miles within the bar, is a creek, which leads to a small village called Domus, where there is a guardhouse, situated on a rising ground, with a serjeant's guard, who send to the chief at Surat an account of the arrival and departure from the roads of all ships of every nation, of which a register is made. From Domus to Surat is about fifteen miles by water; by land about ten. The city stands close on the banks of the river, and extends a considerable distance along shore. On one of the bastions of the castle is hoisted the British flag, and on its opposite, the Mogul's. There is a wall and ditch enclosing the city, and another surrounding the suburbs; the distance round the outer wall is near twelve miles; the intermediate space between the two walls is a mile wide, and as populous in proportion to its extent, as the city. In the outer wall are 13 gates, including three on the banks of the river; in the inner are four gates, two of which lead to the castle, the keys of which are carried to the chief every night at sunset, when they are locked: they are opened at daybreak in the morning. To the S. of the castle is a large open plain, called the Castle Green, where are large tents fixed, surrounded by palings of bamboos, where goods are kept ready for shipping off.
Surat has few fine buildings; some of the houses of the principal merchants are large and well built, but the generality are of bamboos and mud. There are some handsome mosques, likewise the custom-house and mint, and some fine tanks, or reservoirs for water. The streets are narrow, irregular, and unpaved, extremely dirty and offensive, particularly in the wet season. Surat is very populous; the inhabitants are estimated at 400,000, amongst whom are a great number of rich merchants, Persees, Moors, and Armenians, who carry on a large trade with Persia, Arabia, and various parts of India.
TRADE. The commerce of Surat is far less considerable than it was formerly. When the Portuguese, Dutch, and French had factories here, their trade with Europe, China, the East Coast of Africa, and the Malay Islands, was extensive. The decay of the trade at Surat, since the Com
pany's power was established here, has arisen partly from its being transferred to Bombay, partly from the events in the interior, and partly from the decrease of the lucrative commerce with the Gulphs of Persia and Arabia. Its trade with the latter is, however, still considerable. Its principal articles of import from Madras and Bombay are raw silk, sugar, and piecegoods; and its principal exports thither are raw cotton, and Surat piecegoods.
CUSTOM-HOUSE REGULATIONS.-Every trading vessel coming to anchor at the bar of Surat, to be visited by a tide-waiter, who is to take an account of her name, and that of her commander, the nation she belongs to, the port from whence she last sailed, and every other particular. No goods to be disembarked without the tide-waiter's pass-note.
Goods transshipped at the bar, or in the river, or sent thence to other places, without being brought within the city, to be subject to the same duties as if they had entered the walls.
The duties to be paid on the manifest account of the cargo, which must be delivered at the Custom-house, and the original invoices exhibited where practicable; if any articles in the manifest are deemed underrated, arising from fraudulent design, the custom-master is to levy the duty on double the amount of what he shall award as the proper valuation.
Goods not manifested, attempted to be fraudulently landed, transshipped, or conveyed away, to be confiscated.
Where the value of goods cannot be ascertained from the manifest, the duty to be calculated on the invoice prices; or where the invoice price cannot be specified, according to appraisement at the current prices of Surat.
No pilot to be granted to any vessel, until a certificate from the custommaster is produced to the boat-master, of the import and export duty being paid.
Goods received on board a vessel in the river, after clearance, to be reported to the custom-master by the pilot.
Receipts to be given for all goods landed and lodged in the Customhouse, by the custom-master, who is only in such cases responsible for them.
Boats attempting to pass the town without landing, to be brought by the officers to the Custom-house; any goods found on board them, are liable to confiscation.
No tolauts, weighmen, or appraisers, nor any other servants, not furnished with a certificate from the custom-master, to be employed in the Custom-house.
Parcels for gentlemen, and necessaries, to be passed at the discretion of the custom-master.
DUTIES.-All foreign goods imported by sea, in ships sailing with, or being the property of, persons under the protection of the East India Company, to pay at the Latty, Phoorza, and Khoosha Custom-houses (if passing the latter), 4 per cent. on the Surat price, together with 1 per cent. in the Latty, for marine charges, and in the Phoorza and Khoosha, with the Company's Ekotra, likewise 1 per cent.
All merchandise imported in ships not sailing with, or not being the property of, persons under the protection of the East India Company, to pay the aforesaid duties, with the following advances thereon; except goods from Bussorah, Mocha, Judda, and ports in the Gulphs of Persia and Arabia, viz.
Cargoes of Foreign European, or American ships, an advance of
.....60 per cent.
Ditto of ships from the Coasts of Africa and Coromandel, from Malacca,
Ditto of ships from this Coast, between the Indus and Cape Comorin ........10
Certificate goods from other ports of the British dominions in India are exempt from duty at Surat, except from Cochin, Ceylon, and Canara, and also imports by land or sea, under Mogul dakillas, or from the Customhouse at Bownaghur. Goods imported under certificates from Bengal, Coromandel, or Prince of Wales's Island, are liable to an import duty of 2 per cent., to be restored by an equivalent drawback when re-exported by land or sea.
Baftaes and white dooties, imported by land or sea, for re-exportation, are subject to the import duty only, unless dyed, chintzed, or otherwise altered, within the town; in which case they are to pay an additional duty of per cent. on exportation.
The duties to be paid in ready money, except on goods imported from beyond sea, the duty on which may be secured for from 3 to 6 months, on sufficient security being deposited.
The duty on cotton is distinct from the general rate, and is fixed annually, both as to rate and valuation.
PROVISIONS AND REFRESHMENTS.-Provisions of all kinds are abundant and reasonable. Peas, asparagus, and cucumbers are amongst the numerous vegetables. The river affords ample supplies of fish; and the bread is better than in any part of India, as the wheat is excellent. Firewood is
scarce, and the timber required for building is brought from Dumaun and the Malabar coast. Water is procured from wells, that of the river being almost always brackish.
DUMAUN, or DEMAUN, a Portuguese settlement, is situated up a river, in latitude 20° 22′ N., longitude 73° 4' E. The mouth of the river is defended by two forts, one on each side. The interior of the main fort is neatly laid out in streets, intersecting each other at right angles. From abreast the forts to the outside of the bar, is 1 mile. The bar is very flat, and mostly a hard sand, except from the N. point of the river: it has not more than two feet water, low spring tides, and there is a rise on ordinary tides of 17 feet; so that on springs there are never less than 3 fathoms at high water. Dumaun is known from sea by two very high square steeples, the whiteness of the buildings, and a fort on a hill, about 2 miles to the S. of the river.
TRADE.-Dumaun was formerly a place of some commerce, but is now much reduced. There is some ship-building carried on. Beautiful teak vessels of 800 tons burthen have been launched from these yards. This is the best place, after Bombay, to lay up small vessels for the monsoon, the river being clear of danger for 3 miles above the forts.
PROVISIONS AND REFRESHMENTS.-Provisions of all kinds are remarkably cheap and plentiful. Water is brought to the sea-side in jars by the Gentoo women. Firewood is also brought down in carts, at one rupee per load. The country is well stocked with ship-timber for repairs. BASSEIN. This town is situated several miles up a river, the entrance of which is in latitude 19° 18' N. It is of considerable size, strongly fortified, the streets wide and regular. In the middle of the town is a large square, in which are many good houses. It was once a place of great trade.
Bassein river has shoal water extending a great way out from it; the coast is rocky under 5 fathoms, and should not be approached close, as some of the rocks lie a mile from the shore. The poor fishermen's stakes are placed a great way out, and ought to be avoided in the night, by vessels working along shore.
THIS island, the seat of Government for the western part of British India, is situated in latitude 18° 55' 48" N., and longitude 72° 57' 40' E.; its length from N. to S. is about 6 miles, and its extreme breadth, near the fort, about a mile. It is separated from the main land by an arm of the sea, and with the islands Colabah, Salsette, Butcher's Island, Elephanta, and Caranjah, forms one of the most commodious harbours in India.
The town of Bombay is nearly a mile long, from the Apollo gate to that of the bazar; and about a quarter of a mile broad in the widest part, from the bunder, or custom-house, across the green to Church gate, which is nearly in the centre of the walls, between the Apollo and bazar gates. There are likewise two marine gates, having commodious wharfs, and cranes built out from each, with a landing-place at the dock-head, for passengers only, under certain regulations. Between the two marine gates is Bombay castle, a regular quadrangle, well built of strong hard stone. In one of the bastions is a large tank, or reservoir for water. The fortifications are numerous, particularly towards the sea, and so well constructed, the whole being encompassed by a broad and deep ditch, which can be flooded at pleasure, that it is now one of the strongest places the Company have in India; besides which, there are several forts and redoubts, the principal of which is Mahim, at the opposite extremity of the island; so that, properly garrisoned, Bombay may bid defiance to any force that can be brought against it.
In the centre of the town is a large open space, called the Green, which in the fine season used to be covered with bales of cotton, and other merchandise, entirely unprotected. Last year a destructive fire broke out among the cotton bales; in consequence, a part of the Esplanade, near the Apollo pier, is now appropriated to this purpose, and it is intended to construct a cotton depôt, to obviate the necessity of piling the bales on the Green. Around the Green are many large well-built and handsome houses; the Government-house, and the church, an extremely neat, commodious, and airy building, are close to each other, on the left of the church-gate. On the right is the bazar, which is crowded and populous, and where the native