George Pottinger and Patrick Macrory in their book 'The Ten-Rupee Jezail'
Emily Eden '... grieved for the eventual fate of the 'fishing fleet' who
came out in search of husbands. After the ball at Meerut she wrote sadly
about some of them. They had arrived just in time for the high season; they
would have a choice of three regiments; but they would get a false
impression of the usual tenor of life in the cantonments. Cruelly, if they
failed to find a mate and went home unmarried they would be contemptuously
known as 'returned empties'. (p.68)
At one time I used to believe that the 'fishing fleet' was a reality but,
through lack of real evidence, I am now very sceptical.
I know that many individual single women did come out to the Indian
subcontinent; often staying with near relatives, and it was perhaps an
expectation that they would find a suitable husband.
Does any member of the India or Srilanka List have an ancestor who arrived
in India this way? or better still, does any member have a direct reference
to the practice?
Was Emily Eden correctly stating the facts?