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Until 1833, persons wishing to Visit India and dependent territories were obliged to apply for and obtain authority from the East India Company who required them to make certain undertakings in the form of a written Covenant" and to deposit a "Bond" signed by two "Sureties". Such Bonds were generally of the value of 200 pounds sterling for a visitor and 500 pounds sterling or more for traders, and signed by the two sureties, persons, often London traders, who could be relied upon to pay the sums recorded in the event of the misbehaviour of the person or organization signing the covenant. The original purpose was to prohibit an individual accepting the large costs involved in being sent to India and then trading there on his own account.

As far as it can be seen, no money changed hands until it could be established that the covenant had been broken. Further, I have found no record of forfeit of any bond over the more than two hundred years that the system was in operation, although there must have been some since there was widespread breaking of the covenants, particularly in the late 18th century.

The Bonds and Covenants themselves are elaborate documents but generally standard and contain no more significant data for the genealogist than can be derived from the Indexes. Transcription of the indexes is therefore considered fully sufficient for most genealogical purposes. Researchers, having located a bond or covenant undertaken by their ancestor may wish of course to obtain a copy of the original from the British Library.
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Actions Title   Date Of Publication   Author  
Click to see Not Categorised components Early Bonds 1607-1770 Peter Bailey
Click to see Not Categorised components Miscellaneous Bonds 1814-1865

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