Edwin Barter


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Portion of a letter from Edwin Barter to Benjamin Grider, written from Tuticorin, Madras Presidency, East India, 8th August 1865. In this portion he is describing area for his reader.

[The Ryots or cultivators live in mud cabins closely packed together and which is called a village, these villages are sometimes 1/2 mile, sometimes] 3 or 4 miles apart, from these villages the owners go out to their particular patch of land in the morning returning at evening a detached hut is never seen -- Each village is for the most part peopled with one caste, who have a sort of Head-man whose office is hereditary and who exercises a kind of patriarchal government over the rest, being assisted perhaps by the Priest and astrologer - their food is principally, and with some castes wholly, rice & vegetables, no intoxicating drink at least in the district, none - I have never yet seen a native strike another in anger - My business here is buying and shipping Cotton & Coffee in partnership with my brother in England, with him I am having Jungle cleared for Coffee estate on the hills 60 miles from here - have 120 divers who dive for Chank shells of wh[ich] we send about 3 to 400,000 to Calcutta each year - I am Agent for the house of Parry & Co. Madras who find me house and salary of $3000 a year with commission on business transacted - my prospects are good and if you could only feel settled and "at home" in this Country all would be well, as it is, it becomes a question of how long residence? The climate is dry & hot, but healthy for the tropics - business does not call you out in the sun - morning & evening is the times for a little exercise - rideing [sic] is my chief exercise - horses my amusement, and I have some good ones -


India, Correspondence


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