To MAHMOOD ALI KHÂN; dated 20th DÂRÂEY. (23d July.)

WE wrote some time since, and we now write again, to desire that the ship [you are now fitting out] may be coppered, as coppering [the bottom of] vessels renders them strong and durable. You must ascer­tain from the shipwrights whether coppering the........* conduces to the strength [of the ship]; and if that should be the case, let it be done: but if [the ship] should be stronger by not having the........ coppered, then [that part] must not be coppered. In fine, that method, of the two, must be adopted, by which the ship will be rendered strongest, and made to last a thousand or two thousand years.


I believe the ship, here mentioned, was one fitting out at Calicut for a voyage to Pegu.

I am not clear that I have rightly understood every word of the foregoing extract, the sense of which is rendered the more obscure by the blank which I have been obliged to leave. The general import of it is, however, sufficiently manifest.

Though there are some remarkable instances upon record of the great durability of teek-built ships, of which kind those constructed in Tippoo’s dock yards, no doubt, were; yet the Sultan is not to be understood as literally meaning, in this place, that he expected the ship in question to last one or two thousand years. It is a figurative mode of expression, denoting that the vessel was to be constructed in the strongest manner possible, and resembles the metaphor employed in Letter XCVIII, to Râjah Râm Chundur.