Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Terry, Edward

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TERRY, EDWARD (1590–1660), writer of travels, was born in 1590 at Leigh, near Penshurst, Kent. Educated at the free school, Rochester, and at Christ Church, Oxford, he matriculated on 1 July 1608, graduated B.A. on 26 Nov. 1611, and M.A. on 6 July 1614. In February 1615–16 Terry went out to India as chaplain with a fleet sent by the London East India Company, sailing in the Charles with Benjamin Joseph, commander of the expedition. In his account of the voyage Terry describes a fight with a Portugal carrack, in which Joseph was killed, on 6 Aug. 1616. The Charles anchored in Swally Road on 25 Sept. following. On 20 Aug. Sir Thomas Roe [q. v.], ambassador at the moghul's court, whose chaplain, the Rev. John Hall, died the day before, had written to the company's agent at Surat, saying that he could not ‘live the life of an atheist,’ and begging that another chaplain might be sent to him. Accordingly Terry, shortly after his arrival, was appointed to succeed Hall, and, travelling up country with four other Englishmen who were taking presents for the moghul, joined the ambassador, who was with the Emperor Jehanghir's camp at Mandoa, about the end of February 1617 (Roe, Journal), or, according to Terry, towards the end of March. On the way they were detained by the moghul's son (afterwards the Emperor Shah Jehan), who wished to see the presents meant for his father. Terry stayed at Mandoa till September 1617, and thence travelled with the moghul's camp in the ambassador's suite to Ahmedabad, and in the neighbourhood he remained till September 1618. At Ahmedabad he and others of the ambassador's suite were attacked by the plague, the outbreak of which is recorded in the memoirs of Jehanghir (Elliott, Hist. of India, vol. vi.). Terry also notes (November 1618) the comet mentioned in the same memoirs (ib.) He returned with Roe to England in 1619, their ship reaching the Downs on 15 Sept. The court minutes of the East India Company record (22 Oct. 1619) that the freight on the goods of ‘Terry the preacher’ was remitted, he ‘being so much commended by Sir Thomas Roe for his sober, honest, and civil life.’ On his arrival in England he went back for a while to Christ Church, and in 1622 wrote, and presented in manuscript to Prince Charles, an account of his life in India. On 26 Aug. 1629 he was appointed rector of Great Greenford, Middlesex, where he lived till his death on 8 Oct. 1660. ‘He was an ingenious and polite man of a pious and exemplary conversation, a good preacher, and much respected by the neighbourhood’ (Wood, Athenæ Oxon.) He was buried in the chancel of his church on 10 Oct. 1660.

On 22 Aug. 1661 his widow Elizabeth was buried at Greenford. A son James (d. 1680) matriculated from Pembroke College, Oxford, on 16 April 1641, took orders, and became rector of Mickelmarsh, Hampshire, being ejected from the living in 1662 for nonconformity.

Besides two sermons, printed in 1646 and 1649, Terry published:

  1. ‘A Voyage to East India,’ with portraits and a map, London, 1655; reprinted, London, 1777.
  2. ‘Character of King Charles II, with a Short Apology before it, and Introduction to it, and Conclusion after it,’ London, 1660, 4to.

A portrait of Terry, ætat. 64 (1655), engraved by R. Vaughan, is prefixed to his ‘Voyage.’ A summary of his narrative is given in Purchas's ‘Pilgrimes’ (ii. 1464 et seq.), and another epitomised version was published, with the English translation of P. della Valle's travels, in 1665.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon.; Sir Thomas Roe's Journal; Purchas's Pilgrimes; Cal. State Papers, East Indies, 1617–21; Sir H. M. Elliot's Hist. of India; parish registers at Great Greenford.]

S. W.