chapter
20 Pages

Introduction

ByBrinda Charry, Gitanjali Shahani

This chapter explores the Abbe Barthelemy Carre's counsel to European travelers in the East. Carre had recently sailed from the Persian Gulf in a Portuguese ship bound for Diu, West India. It examines Carre's self-conscious role as an emissary charged with conflicting missions in India. As a clergyman, he was responsible for Christian souls on alien soil. But he was also a French agent dispatched by Louis XIV's influential minister Jean Baptiste Colbert. He intervened in the spice trade, securing French commercial interests in India. Additionally, he was a French national conveying military dispatches and naval secrets in France's war with the Dutch in Indian waters. The chapter reflects the global and local resonances in Carre's persona of the emissary. It traces his dramatic appearance as several characters on a sprawling international stage. The chapter examines Carre's remarkable adventures in an imaginary harem.