About the Book :
Burnell's description of Bombay takes the form of two letters to his father. The first one is dated 12 May, 1710 and second one is undated. Bombay that Burnell knew had much deteriorated from the dissensions between the Old and New East India Companies. The union had taken place in 1709 and its beneficial effect can scarcely have been felt in Bombay in the following year 1710 when Burnell served there. Burnell in this narrative gives an account of the government then; account of the troops in Bombay; account of the Dongrey Fort which he commanded; plan to convert Bombay from seven islands to one; description of castles and various outlying forts. Burnell is accurate also in his observance of the daily life of Bombay; of the methods of fisherman in the harbour; of the ways in which the land was prepared in the hot weather and early monsoons for rice; and of the salt works along the eastern shore of Island where he noted the technicalities of the whole process, revealing him as a good exponent of popular sciences. Part II narrates his personal adventures in Bengal, where he arrived in November 1712, after being cashiered at Madras. Though incomplete, it has several features of value, especially his description of Danish and Dutch settlements and of Hugli, with its suburbs of Bandel. John Burnell's narratives are simple in style and his presentation of facts and comments are straightforward, giving a wealth of details along with accurate measurements and correct topographical descriptions.