Issues of racial belonging also informed the decisions made by East India Company authorities at Surat--or at least the letters in which they reported on those decisions. It argues that this fascination was not only about policing the contact zone but also, and just as pressingly, about "inventing" European sexuality. The British official and amateur anthropologist Richard C. Just as Leachland was being cashiered, East India Company factors in Japan were taking wives and mistresses from among the local population without much fuss, stigma, or repercussion. Three years later, he had joined the Ahmedabad factory as a buyer of silks, an occupation for which he seems to have had skill and training.
The English sometyme resort to his howse to visitt him and to passe away the tyme. As Breton himself explained in a report to London, it was nothing short of a miracle that Mary Leachland still retained her virtue, "though shee wanted not provocations enough from her mother to tempt her to prostitution. Although this was "a new thing never before desired or granted," East India Company officials thought well to condescend to the request. Even more significant, perhaps, is their belief that Mary''s honor could be best safeguarded by being palmed off onto an Englishman, despite the fact that a similar course of action had conspicuously failed to safeguard her mother''s reputation. Three years later, he had joined the Ahmedabad factory as a buyer of silks, an occupation for which he seems to have had skill and training. Being married to an Englishman according to the rites and ceremonies of the Anglican Church vivified that heritage, serving simultaneously as a guarantee of sexual probity and a marker of racial identity. And how did ascriptions of racial difference affect the boundaries of proper sexuality? Admittedly, it is no more than a glimpse. There is also evidence, however, that issues of sexual propriety were never too far away from issues of racial belonging. Because of a labor shortage following the famine and pestilence of , John had been contracted for some convoy work, but had not been fully reinstated. Despite his affective foibles, in short, Leachland remained a man "of fayre demeanor, sufficient Abillities, and cleare of Accounts with the Honorable Company in India"--a combination of qualities that made him especially valuable. William Hawkins, who led a diplomatic mission to India in , wedded an Armenian Christian from the Mughal court. Just as Leachland was being cashiered, East India Company factors in Japan were taking wives and mistresses from among the local population without much fuss, stigma, or repercussion. The fact that prostitutes took money for sex, in fact, was often secondary to the fact that they made themselves generally available to men. When company officials pressured him into leaving her, Leachland refused, wishing "rather to be suspended the Companys service and Wages then to be constrayned to abandon her Conversacyon. The protagonists never get to speak for themselves, and crucial aspects of their drama remain opaque at best. The British official and amateur anthropologist Richard C. It was this promiscuity that defined them, marking them off as a category of women whose sexuality was quite literally out of patriarchal control. But the record does not seem to support this hypothesis: Issues of racial belonging also informed the decisions made by East India Company authorities at Surat--or at least the letters in which they reported on those decisions. It argues that this fascination was not only about policing the contact zone but also, and just as pressingly, about "inventing" European sexuality. They especially worried about John''s half-English daughter, for both her sake and "the honor of our religion and nacion. No wonder his superiors held out the hope that he might be reclaimed and made "sensible of his own Errors. Nor was Japan the only place where this happened. He was not, however, subjected to further discipline: Not only did they define her as "most wicked," they also indicted her as a prostitute--a term that, as Ruth Karras has argued, denoted just as much a professional occupation as a deviant sexuality. It is true that the early East India Company looked none too kindly on the expenditures and distractions that women could cause:
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