A remarkably opulent country: Observations of the first American to write a book on India

Bartholomew Burges sailed to India in the East India Company's ship, The Northington, in the 1770s.

Burges was a native of Ipswich, an area of Essex County in northeastern Massachusetts, where he was born in 1740.

Salem, a seaport by the Atlantic Ocean 30 miles to the north, was a significant trading hub by the middle of the 18th century, with ships traveling as far as China and East Asia.

The early years of Burges are not well recognized. He was a man with many hobbies, and he was a navigator, surveyor, and astronomer, according to what is known.

At the time of his voyage, there was a great deal of informal trade between merchants of all nationalities, including the British, colonists, and privateers who frequently switched sides.

Burges' motivation may not have been all that different from that of other young men from coastal towns who traveled in order to make or restore fortunes.

Burges was one of the first American businessmen to do so, spending seven years in India.

He released a book on his journey in 1790. It is the first book written by an American on India and is titled A Series of Indostan Letters. It takes the form of chapter-length missives to Burges' acquaintances.