« PreviousContinue »
EIGHT years' wanderings in Ceylon have created a love for this beautiful island which can only be equalled by my affection for Old England, from which the independence of a wild life, combined with an infatuation for rambling into every unvisited nook and corner, sentenced me to a term of voluntary exile.
During this period my delight has been in tracing the great natural resources of the country, in observing the immense relics of its former prosperity, and contrasting the past grandeur and energy of an extinct race with the apathetic and selfish policy of our present system.
It is the false economy of our present government to leave untested the actual capabilities of its possessions. Thus, while Ceylon remains with ruined tanks, deserted cities, and vast tracts
of uncultivated rice lands, India, governed by the Company, is advancing in cultivation. New tanks are formed, new canals for irrigation penetrate through hitherto barren jungles, and arouse the soil to fertility. In fact the vigilant eye of the Company is directed to the true resources of the country, and every acre of available land must yield its proportion to the revenue.
Without the statistical details which would render a description laborious to the general reader, I shall endeavour to give an impartial picture of Ceylon as it is, touching lightly upon the past, in order to prove the possibility of improvement for the future. Having given an account of the sports of the country in the "Rifle and Hound," I shall not dwell at too great length upon this topic, how tempting soever it may be.
In these days, when the enterprise of Englishmen is exhibited on so large a scale by the stream of emigration to foreign shores, a few hints may not be uninteresting to the intending settler. We are all more or less sanguine, and, if unguided by the experience of age, we are apt to paint the future too brightly. This is an error which