To the IMAUM of MUSCAT; dated 4th HYDERY. (11th November.)

[After compliments] ........ A Dow, the property of Rutn Jee and Jeewun Doss, merchants of Muscat, having in these days [i. e. lately] been dismasted in a storm, came into Byte-Koal,* a sea-port, belonging to the Sircar. Although, in such cases, it is customary for the prince, or ruler of the place, where a ship happens to be wrecked, to take possession of it, and whatever it contains; yet, as there is no distinction between the country of the Sircar and Muscat, and as the above mentioned merchants declared themselves to be your subjects, the vessel in question, together with all the stores contained in it, has been restored to the aforesaid merchants, and is, accordingly, now dispatched to you, along with this friendly epistle. For the rest, peace be with you.


The word, which I have rendered wrecked, is in the original <Arabic> (shikust) and such, I believe, is its usual acceptation, when applied to a ship. But this interpretation does not well agree with the argument of the text, since the vessel in question was only damaged, not wrecked. Then, whatever the custom may be in some countries, with respect to wrecks (properly so called), it is no where, I believe, usual to consider vessels, merely dismasted, or otherwise damaged, as wrecks: consequently, the Sultan has here pretended to confer a favor, where nothing more than a right was rendered (for we are not told that the repairs were made at his expence), and laid claim to a credit for having released a ship, which he was not authorized, by the practice of any civilized country, to confiscate, or detain.