An eminently readable and entertaining narrative of the author’s voyage from Mauritius to Bengal in 1790, containing his many observations and opinions on the people, culture, trade and politics. He discusses why the French were, at that time, on the decline in India, as well as the weaknesses of Dutch rule in Ceylon. There are descriptions of temple dances and learned Brahmins, and even an account of his failed attempt at rescuing a beautiful widow from burning herself on the funeral pyre. We find out that Malaccans were once addicted to opium, and that there were many Malaccan soldiers at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. Other interesting bits include the fact that Indian handkerchiefs were in high demand in Europe, that poor English ladies were shipped to India to marry British officials (often Anglo-Indians), and the intricacies of coffee cultivation in Mocha (al-Mukha) in Yemen.
About the author (from Wikipedia):
Louis Marie Joseph Ohier de Grandpré (May 7, 1761 – January 7, 1846) was a French naval officer and slave trader.Between 1789 and 1790, Grandpré toured the Indian Ocean, beginning at Île de France (Mauritius), and included visits to India, the Seychelles, Vietnam (then Cochin China), Yemen, and Sri Lanka.