E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
(1) He came safe from the East Indies, and was drowned in the Thames. He encountered many dangers of great magnitude, but was at last killed where he thought himself secure.
(2) To send to the East Indies for Kentish pippins. To go round about to accomplish a very simple thing. To crush a fly on a wheel. To send to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a penny postage-stamp.