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Ceylon 28th Feby 1820

My dear Piper

 It is now a considerable time
since I heard from you but as my [***?]
brother continued to remain so long in
your fascinating land that is easily
accounted for, I forward the accompanying
power of attorney which I have taken the
liberty of executing in your and his joint
names for troubling you with which I
hope you will excuse me, Archer writes me
he expects soon to go to Europe, at any
rate to leave Van Diemen's Land, and as I
have at present little prospect of visiting
that part of the world I should like the
cattle disposed of to the best advantage, for
ready money, and the proceeds sent to
Greenwood & Co. as you did before, I do not
wish to sell them off in a lump but I think
Gibson. wont be able to get rid of them
by means of the stores and to any of the settlers
by both as convenient as they could afford
to pay for, I find by a letter from Archer
he did not allow Gibson to take charge of the
cattle on his return to Van Diemen's, I wrote
to him to enquire the reason but got no
answer to that part of the letter, there
were a good many males five years ago
but I have had no account of any having
been sold, or turned into stores, if Tom is
in N S Wales when this reaches you he
will take the troublesome part of the affairs
off your hands .. but until he returns. [I]f he
has left it you will particularly oblige me
by doing what you think necessary by
accounts in Decr 1817 they amounted to
95 .. and the same month 1818 there were
no more. Archer accounted for it by saying
Cox kept the heifers from the [***?] until
2 years old. — I was at the point of death
a fortnight ago and embark tomorrow for
[E]ngland. [S]hould you favour me with a few
lines, direct, to Perth Scotland; which will
be my abode for the next 18 m's or 2 years
if there are any remittances to be made
send the 1st & 2d to Greenwood & Co by
different ships, — the other to
me enclosed the same way, as soon as Tom
returns to N S Wales. [I]f he has left it let
him manage to sue Gunning, that is
a business which I think you would [not] wish
to meddle in, I do not think the fellow
deserves any forbearance on my part, for
I understand he sold the horse for the same
money he was to pay me and afterward tried
to excuse his conduct by stating that he
was not sound. I shall send a duplicate
of the power of attorney to Tom to wait his
arrival in Calcutta, I shall only be able
to write him a few lines, for I have been
so reduced that I have some difficulty in
sitting in a chair, this Kandian country has
made a precious example of the 73d, you
will probably soon hear of their removal
to [***?] as the 16th has just arrived
here and report says ours goes then.

 Birch and his wife have left the Regt
and left a character behind them not the
fairest on either side, the rest of your [***?]
taken [?] on all dead except Kenny who is
married in England. —

 I hope our old acquaintance
will be my excuse for endeavouring to
entail all this trouble upon you, but when
Tom happens to be in your part of the world
you must throw as much on his shoulders
as you can. —

 Your little punch Jock is at
a boarding school near Perth, he says he might
be a soldier so I shall get him into the
military college if he continues in the same
humour [?] — your cousin with engineers left
this 1/2 year ago I never had an opportunity
of meeting him — If I touch at the Isle of
France I shall write you again

Believe me with best regards to Mrs Piper
most sincerely yours

 John Ritchie

Piper Papers Vol. 1. 'Letter from Capt. John Ritchie to Capt. John Piper' 28 February 1820.
Original held in Mitchell Library, Sydney.
(ML Ref: A254; CY Reel 3).

Manuscript Transcription
Transcript prepared by Robin Walsh
Macquarie University Library, Sydney, Australia. © 2011

Copyright © Macquarie University 2009