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Letters from Bencoolen 1823 - 1828, During the Lieutenant-Governorship of Sir Stamford Raffles
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This is not the story of the Honourable East India Company, about which much has already been written, although it has to do with the East India Co, and in particular with one of their more humble servants. It is the story of a remote outpost of empire in the 1820s, told by a young Eurasian in the long letters home to his father in England. William Grant Day was educated in England and then sent back to Sumatra with his brother, Tom, to look after his father's spice plantation. In his letters home William writes of the day to day life in the fever ridden settlement of the Company's station at Fort Marlborough (Bencoolen); of the slaves working the plantation; of the opium trade; of the bickering and morals in the small European community; of death and disease and duelling; of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore; of loneliness and boredom and Dutch intolerance; and through it all the insecurity of life and the humdrum business of running a spice plantation. Perhaps also we can read between the lines a little and feel what it must have been like to have been an educated Eurasian in an outpost of Empire.
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