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NEW  DELHI  ★  MADRAS  ★  1998 


*  31,  HAUZ  KHAS  VILLAGE,  NEW  DELHI  -  110016. 

CABLE  :  ASIA  BOOKS,  PH.  :  660187,  668594,  FAX  :  011-6852805 

*  5.  SRIPURAM  FIRST  STREET,  MADRAS  -  600014.  PH.  /  FAX.  :  8265040 

First  Published  :  London,  1843 
AES  Reprint :  New  Delhi,  1998 
ISBN  :  81-206-1168-3 

Published  by  J.  Jetley 


C-2/15,  SDA  New  Delhi  -  1 10016 

Processed  by  Gautam  Jetley 

Printed  at  Subham  Offset,  Delhi  -  1 10032 










0  7 




J.  W.  BENiVET  T,  E  S  Q.,  F.  L.  S., 








D.C.L.,  F.R.S.,  H.S.,  R.G.S., 



&c.  Nic.  6cc. 















LONDON,  JUNE  20th,  1813. 



Whatever  original  materials,  whether  derived  from  my  own  observations  or  the 
communications  of  others,  during  a  long  residence  at  Ceylon,  may  have  been  employed  in 
the  compilation  of  the  following  pages,  it  would  have  been  difficult  to  have  satisfied 
myself,  or  to  answer  the  anticipated  purpose  of  my  undertaking,  if  I  had  not  also 
drawn  largely  from  the  best  ancient  and  modern  historians,  who  have  (partly)  preceded 
me  in  the  same  route  ;  although  without  having  the  same  object  in  view ; — that  of  drawing 
the  attention  of  British  capitalists  to  the  most  important  and  valuable  of  all  the  insular 
possessions  of  the  Imperial  crown. 

Ceylon,  though  comparatively  but  little  known,  is  pre-eminent  in  natural  resources,  and 
abounds  in  all  the  necessaries  and  most  of  the  luxuries  that  minister  to  the  gratification  of 
human  nature.  Its  vast  importance  in  every  sense,  political,  fiscal,  agricultural,  and  com¬ 
mercial,  has  hitherto  been  too  much  overlooked  by  capitalists ;  a  neglect,  which,  I  would 
fain  hope,  has  arisen  from  the  want  of  detailed  information,  or  the  pressure  of  other 
objects,  apparently  more  interesting,  only  because  better  understood. 

The  object  of  my  humble  description  is,  to  submit  to  public  view  the  great  capabili¬ 
ties  of  this  magnificent  island  ; — its  fertile  soil,  indigenous  vegetable  productions,  including 
dyes,  medicinal  plants,  gums,  and  naturalized  exotics ;  its  minerals ;  wild  and  domestic 
animals  ;  varieties  of  timber  for  construction  and  ornament ;  fisheries  ;  immense  uncultivated 
tracts  of  arable  and  other  lands ;  employed  and  unemployed  population ;  and  its  exports, 
already  large,  and  easily  to  be  increased. 

To  these,  I  have  added  my  humble  suggestions  for  establishing  farms  for  the  improve¬ 
ment  of  the  native  breed  of  cattle  and  other  domestic  animals,  and  for  supplying  the  Royal 
Navy  and  Commercial  Marine  with  stock  of  every  description  ;  factories  for  curing  the 
varieties  of  useful  fishes  which  abound  on  the  coasts,  and  for  the  manufacture  of  important 
articles  of  commerce,  easily  obtainable,  but  now  altogether  neglected,  —  all  offering  ample 
employment  and  prompt  returns  for  British  capital  and  enterprise  :  and  I  have  not  omitted 
to  point  out  how  a  gratuitous  supply  of  Teak  timber  may  be  provided  for  the  future 
exigencies  of  the  Royal  Navy. 


And  further,  in  the  hope  of  affording  all  useful  and  practical  information,  for  merchant*, 
visitors,  naval  and  military  officers,  emigrants,  manufacturers,  and  colonists,  1  have  detailed 
the  statistics,  &c.,  of  the  island,  including  climate,  provinces,  judicial  circuits,  revenue,  eccle¬ 
siastical,  judicial,  civil,  and  military  establishments,  missions,  schools,  public  societies,  and 
charities,  native  festivals,  and  the  features  of  the  country  and  roads;  together  with  pilotage 
and  sailing  directions  along  the  coast  and  into  the  harbours  and  roads  of  the  island,  which 
I  have  extracted,  at  large,  from  the  last  edition  of  ‘"'Captain  James  Horsburgh’s  Directory, 
improved  from  the  correct  surveys  of  Captain  David  Ross,  marine  surveyor  to  the  Honorable 
the  East  India  Company,”  and  published  in  the  year  I83G ;  and  1  am  not  aware,  that  any 
thing  strictly  connected  with  the  object  in  view,  has  been  omitted. 

I  have  also  added  the  latitude  and  longitude  of  various  given  points  in  the  island, 
derived  from  the  surveys  of  James  Twynam,  Esq.,  master  attendant  at  Galle,  and  of  the 
late  Richard  Brook,  Esq.,  master  attendant  at  Trincomale. 

I  have  preferred  citing  the  best  authorities  now  extant  upon  the  mineralogy  of  the  island, 
to  giving  my  own  plainer  and  humbler  remarks,  because  the  latter  must  altogether  have 
excluded  scieutiiic  information  upon  this  important  branch  of  natural  history. 

In  conclusion,  I  thankfully  acknowledge  that  I  have  derived  much  of  my  information  from 
the  priest  and  the  chief,  the  merchant  and  the  agriculturist,  the  astrologer  and  the  cullef 
of  simples,  or  doctor,  the  mechanic  and  -the  husbandman,  the  sea  fisherman  and  the  humbler 
angler  for  the  finny  tribes  of  the  fresh-water  streams  and  taluks  ;  and,  in  acknowledging  my 
obligations  to  my  several  authorities,  both  ancient  and  modern,  dead  and  living,  I  hope 
I  have  done  them  all  the  justice  in  my  power,  by  this  candid  avowal. 

The  Author. 


CHAP.  I. 

<  biography  oi  Ceylon  and  its  Dependencies — Ceylon  partially  known  to  the  Romans — Its  various  names — 
Position  upon  'the  Geographical  Lotos  of  the  Hindoos — Tradition  of  its  separation  from  Hindustan — 
Adam's  bridge  —  Satyrs — Garden  of  Eden  —  M.  Toumefort — Variety  of  climate. — Pedrotalagalla — Ap¬ 
pearance  of  the  island  from  the  sea  —  Monsoons  and  their  causes — General  salubrity  of  the  interior 
i.  printout  upon  agriculture — Area  of  the  island — Census  of  1835  . 


Slavery — The  Honorable  the  Chief  Justice  originates  the  preparatory  measure  towards  its  abolition,  and  is 
zealously  supported  by  the  Governor — Proprietors  of  slaves  tender  the  manumission  of  all  slave  children 
horn  on  and  after  the  Prince  Regent's  birth-dav,  1816 — No  part  of  the  Parliamentary  grant  of  £20,000,000 
appropriated  to  Ceylon — Paternal  care  of  slaves — James  Sutherland,  Esq. — James  Nicholas  Moovaart, 
Esq. — Foreign  employes  —  Peculations  and  perjuries — Result  of  individual  comments  upon  the  re¬ 
employing  or  pensioning  convicted  peculators — Female  children  of  slaves  enfranchised  by  the  Govern¬ 
ment — Ordinance  for  the  more  efficient  protection  of  slaves  . . . 


Facilities  of  irrigation — Culture  of  rice  inadequate  to  the  consumption — Principal  rivers — Analysis  of  their 
waters — Second-rate  rivers — Inferior  streams — Mountains — Artificial  lakes — Suggestions  for  the  introdue. 
non  of  Hindoo  agriculturists — Ralph  Backhouse,  Esq. — Kandelle  lake — King  Malta  Sen,  A.  D.  27-'5 — 
Dedication  of  lands  to  temples — Oppressive  system  of  Rajah-Karia,  or  royal  service,  abolished  in  1832, 
bv  the  Right  Honorable  Lord  Viscount  Goderich,  His  Majesty's  principal  Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Colonies — Restoration  of  the  ancient  tanks  suggested — Amount  paid  for  rice  to  French  colonies  in 
1^40 — Suggestions  for  a  general  survey  of  lands  adapted  to  the  culture  of  rice,  and  for  the  non-removal 
uf  Government  Provincial  Agents  . . . 


Fiscal  division  of  the  island — Variety  of  soil — Sugar  speculation  at  Kaltura  fails — Successful  introduction 
of  the  sugar-cane  into  culture  at  Koondesale — Revenue — Exports — Imports — Suggestions  for  relieving 
:he  mercantile  community  from  great  delays  and  vexations — Colombo  imports  in  1840  and  1841,  and 
increase  of  exports — Weights  and  measures — Dutch  measures — Singhalese  specification  of  the  nature 
and  tenure  of  lands  . . . . . 




CHAP.  V. 

Local  revenue  first  improved  during  Sir  George  Murray’s  administration  of  the  Colonies — Lord  Viscount 
Goderich  renders  it  permanent — Governor  Sir  Robert  Wllmot  Horton — Civil  expenditure  reduced — Chiel 
Secretary’s  office  reformed — Governor  hanged  in  effigy — China  carriers — Restoration  of  the  Civil  and 
Widows’  Pension  Funds  suggested — Lord  Goderich’s  liberality  insufficiently  appreciated — Civil  and  mili¬ 
tary  pay  and  pensions  contrasted — Revenue  and  expenditure — Imposts — Excess  of  revenue — Apathy  to 
the  culture  of  cotton — Suggestions  for  the  formation  of  government  cotton  plantations,  and  for  training 
females  and  children  to  habits  of  industry  and  profitable  employment — Trade  of  Ceylon  quadrupled 
since  the  acquisition  of  Kandy — Prices  of  British  manufactures  and  colonial  produce  contrasted — Native 
partiality  for  British  productions — Exceptions — Example,  and  reductions  in  taxation  and  customs’ duties, 
requisite  to  stimulate  the  Singhalese  to  industry  and  agricultural  improvement — Anticipated  results  to 
the  local  revenue  and  home  manufacturer  . . . 


Judicial  division  of  tlie  island — District  courts — Charter  of  justice — Suggestions  for  the  appointment  of 
barristers  as  superior  district  judges — Supreme  court  of  judicature — Rank  of  judges — Proctors  for  paupers 
and  prisoners — Queen’s  advocate — Laws  of  bankruptcy  and  cessio  bonorum — No  jury  in  civil  actions — 
Jury  decides  by  the  majority  in  criminal  cases— Judges — Native  attachment  to  trial  by  jury — Irregular 
mode  of  administering  oaths  to  Buddhists — Hallan — Dutch  method  of  swearing  Buddhist  witnesses — 
Buddhist  priests,  how  sworn  in  courts  of  justice — Extraordinary  coincidence  respecting  the  Aspen  ( Populus 
tremula)  and  Bogaha,  or  sacred  fig  trees  ( Ficus  religiosa )  . . . . 


Ecclesiastical  establishment — Suggestions  for  a  Ceylon  Bishopric — Refonned  church  of  Holland — Portu¬ 
guese  mission — Papal  mission,  and  suggestions  for  its  removal — Baptist  mission — Wesleyan  mission — 
American  mission — Church  of  England  mission — Caste  of  Sorcerers — Conversion  to  Mahommedanism — 
Military  establishment — Civil  branch  of  the  Ordnance — Pay  and  island  allowances — Batta  to  Naval 
officers — Staff  allowances  . . . 


Introduction  of  Cinnamon  into  Europe — Tribute  to  the  king  of  Portugal — Cinnamon  first  cultivated  by  the 
Dutch — Plantations — Monopolies — The  Right  Honorable  Lord  Yiscount  Goderich  abolishes  the  cinnamon 
monopoly,  and  its  numerous  penalties  and  oppressions — Jackdaw — Cinnamon  pigeon — Varieties  of  the 
cinnamon  laurel  —  Nepenthes  distillatoria,  Gloriosa  superba,  Ixora  eoccinea,  Vinca  rosa  —  Soil  of  the 
Colombo  cinnamon  plantations — Chalias,  or  cinnamon  peelers — Mode  of  ascertaining  the  maturity,  and 
barking,  assorting,  and  tasting  cinnamon— Prices  of  cinnamon  lands  in  1840— Prices  of  the  spice — Reve¬ 
nue  from  cinnamon — Cinnamon  oil,  water,  and  candles — Clove  oil  made  from  the  cinnamon  leaf — Black 
pepper  indispensable  to  the  preservation  of  cinnamon — Cinnamon  breezes  bubbles  of  the  imagination — 
Pandanus  odoratissimus — Arum  foetidum — Hoax  upon  Griffins  . 


ulture  of  Indigo  entirely  neglected — Apathy  of  the  Government  and  individuals  respecting  it —  Indigenous 
indigo — None  exported  since  1794 — Tangalle,  in  the  Southern  Province,  abounds  with  it,  and  offers  great 
facilities  for  establishing  a  factory — Mr.  Fawkener,  a  Bengal  indigo  planter,  proposes  to  establish  an  indigo 
farm  and  manufactory,  and  is  refused — Extraordinary  hypothesis — Indigo  exported  by  the  Dutch — Pro- 

•  Ill  Ik 

*« i i  i  •  •  i •  M  lit  .  oiii|jan  V  I'  •iiiiniH  .m  .j  ^|»  •mu  ..  .  V| 
removal — Abandonment  ol  the  scheme-  Foecula  of  the  mdigo  leal  a  valuable  manure — Madung  Appo- 
Speciraens  of  indigo  made  from  other  indigenous  plants — Best  mode  of  selecting  indigo  seeds — Methoci> 
of  manufacturing  indigo — Estimated  cost  of  an  indigo  factory — Indigo  sown  every  second  year — Culture 
of  coffee — Land  not  in  the  same  insecure  state  in  Ceylon  as  in  India — Hints  to  intending  emigrants — 
Suggestions  to  Her  Majesty’s  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies  for  encouraging  the  cultivation  ol 
indigo — Emigration  to  Ceylon  and  Australia  contrasted . .  73 

CHAP.  X. 

Palms  of  Ceylon — Description  of  the  Coco-nut  tree  ( Cocos  nudfera ) — Toddy  drawing,  from  personal  obser¬ 
vation — Sinnet  for  sailors’ hats — Sura,  or  palm  wine — Varieties  and  domestic  uses  of  the  Cocus  nucifera — 
Native  method  of  planting  it,  and  superstitious  use  of  salt — Fronds — Timber — Hiromane — Produce  of  a 
coco-nut  tree — Medicinal  properties  of  the  coco-nut  palm — Extraordinary  notions  about  its  superabun¬ 
dance — Facility  of  planting  it — Coco-nut  oil  used  in  the  manufacture  of  soap  and  candles — Suggestions 
for  extending  the  culture  of  the  coco-nut  palm  in  the  West  Indian  and  West  African  colonies  .  81 


Areka  Palm  ( Areca  Catechu) — Nut  anti-scorbutic — Spathe — Its  uses — Properties  of  the  nut — Suggestions 
for  condensing  the  dye — Heat  generated  by  the  nuts — Terra  Japonica — Areka  wood  excellent  for  bows — 
Palmyra  ( Borasms  Jiabelliformis) — Buddhist  priests  and  their  fans — Native  books — Palm  oil — Kellingo — 

Palmyra  toddy  and  jaggery — Timber - Sugar  Palm  ( Caryota  ureas) — Fishing  rods — Sago — Elephant 

bows  and  nooses — Toddy  and  jaggery — Hookahs — Calabashes - Talipat  Palm  ( Corypha  umbraculi- 

fera,  L,,  and  Licuala  spinosa  of  Thunberg)— -Talipat  leaf,  and  its  uses — Conflicting  accounts  of  the  report 
caused  by  the  bursting  of  the  spathe — Talipat  sago — Talipat  palm  at  Colombo — M.  de  la  Loubere’s  notice 
of  the  uses  of  the  talipat  fan  by  the  priests  of  Siam — Talipat  plants  sent  to  England  by  the  author- — 
Tavelam  tents — Palms  from  Mauritius  introduced  into  Ceylon — Phoenix  sylvestris — Dwarf  palm  .  89 


Digression — Extraordinary  effeminacy  of  the  Singhalese  men — Women — Betel — Kissing — Female  dress — 
Inferiority  of  Singhalese  to  Malabar  women — Costume  of  Headmen — Mr.  John  Brexius  de  Zielfa — Re¬ 
sult  of  his  assumption  of  shoes  and  stockings — Predictions  fulfilled — King  William  IV. — Lord  Viscount 
Goderich — Sir  Robert  Wilmot  Horton — Petty  tyranny — Theatricals — Amphitheatre — Tragedy — Coco¬ 
nut  lamps — Native  music — Actors’  dresses — Native  musical  instruments  . * . . . .  97 


Singhalese  proverbs — Dutch  language — C.  A.  Prins,  Esq. — Prevalence  of  the  Hindo-Portuguese  language — 
Native  botanist  and  doctor — His  extraordinary  cure  of  blindness — Obligations  to  him — Major  General 
Thomas  Hardwicke,  Bengal  artillery — Pariar  dog  nuisance — Precautions  against  hydrophobia — John 
Tranchell,  Esq. — Sudden  entry  of  a  rabid  dog  during  dinner — The  host’s  coolness,  and  assurance  of  curing 

his  guests  if  bitten - Cattle — Swine — Improvements  suggested — Rabbits— Poultry — Seir  fish — Shell 

fish — Turtle — Establishment  of  farms  and  agricultural  prizes  suggested — The  Singhalese  a  litigious  na¬ 
tion — Pointed  knives  illegal — A  low-caste  girl  nearly  murdered  for  covering  her  bosom  with  a  kerchief  ...  108 




Exaggerated  stories  and  Singhalese  catalogue  of  Snakes — Reported  transformation  of  the  Coluber  Naja,  L., 
corroborated — Buddhists  do  not  kill  the  sacred  snake  but  send  it  to  sea  without  a  chance  of  escape — Charles 
P.  Layard,  Esq. — Cobra  di  Capello  deprived  of  its  eyes  by  mice — Caution  to  purchasers  of  snakes — Samp 
Wallahs  and  their  exhibitions — Providential  escape — Successful  application  of  Eau  de  Luce,  and  of  nitric 
and  muriatic  acid,  in  the  cure  of  snake  bites — John  Tranchell,  Esq. — Coroner’s  reason  for  not  holding  an 
inquest — Hypothesis  respecting  the  paucity  of  snakes  in  the  Mabagampattoo — Viverra  Ichneumon,  its 
mode  of  attacking  the  Cobra  di  Capello — Plants  named  as  antidotes  for  the  bite  of  venomous  snakes — 
More  caution  requisite  against  land  leeches  than  against  snakes — Cobra  di  Capello  in  bouses — Charming 


Indigenous  vegetables,  valuable  in  themselves,,  but  their  culture  altogether  neglected — The  French  manage 
these  things  better — Singhalese  list  of  forest  timber  trees — Bombyx  pentandrum — Asclepias  gigantea — 
Annatto — Plants  producing  substitutes  for  flax — Cord  from  the  Musa  sylvestris — His  Grace  the  Dnke  of 
Portland — Crotalaria  juncea — Hemp — Laccadive  and  Ceylon  Koir — Suggestions  for  improving  the  latter — 
Mulberry  trees — Silk  worms — Cassada — Canna  glauca— Arrow  root — Turmeric — Ginger — Sun-flower — 
Elastic  gum  trees— Gum  Arabic  tree — Gum  of  the  Enphorbium  antiquorum  unnoticed  in  the  exports  ... 


Vegetable  productions  of  Ceylon  continued— Cachew'  gum — Sir  Joseph  Banks  endeavours  to  find  a  substi¬ 
tute  for  foreign  gums,  during  the  war  with  the  French  Empire,  at  which  time  Ceylon  might  have  supplied 
the  British  market — Gum  lac  tree,  not  the  Lacsha  of  Bengal — Singhalese  lackerers — Lac  insect  not  indi¬ 
genous— Suggestions  for  making  the  vegetable  lac  of  Ceylon  equally  profitable  with  the  Coccus  lacca— 
Gum  Tacahama — Sap  of  the  bread-fruit  tree  a  substitute  for  pitch  and  caoutchouc — Gumboge — Introduction 
of  the  coffee  tree  from  Java — Governor  Zwaardenkroom — Louis  XIV. — Coffee  exported  from  Colombo  in 
1840 — High  duties  on  cinnamon  injurious  to  that  trade,  by  encouraging  the  importation  of  Java  cin¬ 
namon,  under  the  name  of  Cassia  lignea,  at  a  less  duty — Java  cinnamon  the  produce  of  plants  clandestinely 
obtained  from  Ceylon — Suggestions  for  assorting  the  cinnamon  imported  as  Cassia  lignea,  and  protecting 
the  revenue — Cotton  neglected  in  Ceylon,  whilst  the  East  India  Company  extends  its  culture  in  India — 
Culture  of  opium  introduced  . 


Extreme  opinions  as  regards  the  Fruits  of  the  island— Ingrafting  fruit  trees  unknown  to  the  natives — Native 
Materia  Medica  and  medical  books — Naturalized  Exotic  Fruits — Indigenous  Fruits  . . . 


Indigenous  Fruits  continued — Esculent  vegetables— Suggestions  to  the  English  market  gardener — Difference 
between  the  arrow  root  of  Ceylon  and  Bombay — Guinea  or  pigeon  pea  supplied  to  the  Royal  navy,  in  the 
Indian  seas,  under  the  name  of  Dhol,  as  a  substitute  for  pease  . . . 


M  estem  Province — Colombo — Master  Attendant’s  sailing  directions  to  the  anchorage — Sand  bank — Drunken 
sailor  rock — Adam’s  Peak — Pilotage — Fort — Queen’s  house — Library — Officers  of  the  garrison  without 
quarters — P arsees — Pettah — Schools — Hindo-Portuguese  and  Dutch  families — Black-eyed  belles — ► 




Government  Clerks — Garrison — Face  of  the  country — Soil — Slave  Island — Colombo  Lake — Tamarind 
tree — Panorama — Bazaars — Newspapers — Etiquette  upon  arrival — A  British  merchant — Horticultural 
society — Mail  coach  establishment — Widows’  and  Orphans’  Fund — Savings’  bank — -Charitable  institutions  153 


Fishing  boats — Their  shape  and  swiftness — The  fisheries  among  the  most  important  of  the  capabilities  of  the 
island — Regulation  for  encouraging  the  salting  of  fish  an  inadequate  protection — Fish  rents— Restrictions 
upon  fishermen— Suggestions  to  His  Majesty’s  Secretary  for  the  Colonies,  for  increasing  the  sale  of  salt, 
decreasing  the  expense  of  gathering  it,  reducing  the  price  to  the  consumer,  and  encouraging  settlers  in  the 
Mahagampattoo  for  curing  fish — Abolition  of  the  Salt  Monopoly  suggested — Leways — Salt  stealing — 
Guards  and  sentinels — Salt  stealers  killed — Bullocks  confiscated — Impressed  salt  gatherers — Adulteration 
of  salt — Expense  of  gathering  and  transmitting  salt  to  Colombo— Price  of  salt — Importation  of  salt  fish — 

Coup  de  gra£e  to  salt-water  invoices — Native  process  of  salting  fish  objectionable — Suggestions  for  im¬ 
proving  it — Proposed  plan  for  curing  fish  by  smoke — Salt  fish  from  Europe  and  America — Fishes  com¬ 
mon  to  the  coasts  of  Ceylon  .  161 


Fresh-water  fishes — First  Portuguese  factory — Colombo  surrendered  to  the  Dutch — Dutch  capitulate  to  the 
British — Absurd  claim  of  Portugal  to  Colombo — Route  to  Kandy — Roads — Governor  Sir  Edward  Baines 
— Just  tribute  to  his  memory — Great  mortality  in  forming  the  roads — Families  consequently  destitute — 
Suggestions  for  relieving  them — Hints  to  travellers — Best  mode  of  travelling — Canteens — Incumbrances — 
Chatty  bath — Batta — Maxims  for  the  tourist’s  observance — Umbrella  indispensable — Addition  to  its  use¬ 
fulness — Mosquito — Northern  route  from  Colombo  to  Negombo— Sailing  directions  .  169 


Negombo  an  admirable  site  for  grazing  farms,  for  supplying  Colombo,  and  Shipping,  with  butcher’s  meat 
and  stock — Suggestions  for  supplying  the  Royal  Navy  with  salted  provisions — Naval  dependence  upon 
Bengal  for  supplies — Ceylon  capable  of  supplying  provisions,  boatswains’  and  carpenters’  stores — Dutch 
families — Native  women — Rest-house— Wesleyan  mission-house  and  chapel — Civil  authorities — Medicinal 
plants — Road  to  Kandy — Native  pastimes — Route  to  Chilaw — Recreations  for  the  naturalist  and  sports¬ 
man —  Madampe — Pepper  plantations — Game — Time  of  sowing  and  reaping — Chilaw — Sailing  direc¬ 
tions — Manufacture  of  paper  and  cotton  cloth — Escape  from  a  leopard — Rajah  Wanya,  or  Jungle  King 
plant — Artificial  Leways  . — .  177 


Putlam — Artificial  salt  pans — Face  of  the  country — Native  devoured  by  a  crocodile— Living  crocodile  pre¬ 
sented  to  the  author — Ceylon  &  Ganges  crocodile— Mosque — Burial  ground — Remarkable  tree — Moorish 
dance  with  double-edged  swords — Tyre — Native  vermicelli — Route  to  Kandy  through  Komegalle — Water 
conveyance  to  Calpentyn  and  Karetivoe — Sailing  directions — Farm  of  the  Chink  fishery — Its  extent — 
Uses  of  the  chank  shell,  and  reputed  value  of  one  with  its  valve  opening  to  the  right — Hint  to  the 
naturalist — Calpentyn  custom-house — The  late  Earl  of  St.  Vincent’s  maxim  for  naval  officers  no  encou¬ 
ragement  to  honesty  in  civilians — Anecdote  of  a  Provincial  Judge — Pomparripo — Face  of  the  country — 
Wild  animals — The  great  crane — Right  Honorable  Sir  Alexander  Johnston — Ancient  tank  of  Bawale — 
Singhalese  records — Capabilities  of  the  soil — Area  and  population  of  the  Western  Province  . 

*■  * 





Northern  Province — Pomparripo  river  and  village— Inhabitants — Capabilities  of  the  province  for  supplying 
the  island  with  rice — Anticipated  result  of  Hindoo  immigration — Elementary  improvements — Increase  of 
revenue  from  sea  customs  one  certain  result  of  Hindoo  colonization— Depression  of  agriculture — Singha¬ 
lese  landlords — Native  proctors— A  law  in  favor  of  primogeniture  suggested — Padoua  caste — Covia  and 
Nallua  slaves— Headmen  support  caste  from  interest  and  prejudice — Penalty  for  assuming  the  rank  of 
Headmen — Kallaar  pagoda — Ashes  for  money — Improvisatori — Scenery — Apician  luxuries — Edible  oyster 
abundant,  but  neglected — A  Singhalese  mile — Jaffna  moss — Hiruudo  esculenta — Dutch  partial  to  its  nest 
— Prepared  Edible  Swallow’s  nest  presented  to  His  Majesty  King  George  IV.,  who  commands  its  im¬ 
mediate  preparation — Sir  Henry  Halford’s  communication  to  the  Author,  by  command  of  His  Majesty  ... 


The  Kallaar  river — Route  to  Kandy — Thomas  Ralph  Backhouse,  Esq. — Ruins  of  Anarajahpoora,  or  Anara- 
dahpoora — Pilgrimage  from  the  Continent — Pearl  Fishery,  the  rendezvous  of  adventurers,  jugglers,  and 
thieves — Inspection  of  the  pearl  banks — Island  of  Cardiva  a  protection  to  the  banks  from  the  south-west 
monsoon — Shark  charmers — Roman  Catholic  superstition — Sharks — Boats — Divers — Objections  to  the 
diving  bell — Average  daily  produce  of  each  boat — Kola,  or  leaf  oyster — Betel  oyster — Position  of  the 
pearls— Pinna  Marina — Insuperable  difficulty  of  transferring  the  habitat  of  the  pearl  oyster — Methods  of 
clearing  pearls — Ceylon  pearl  oyster  ( Mytilus  margaritifera) — Pearl  oyster  spawn — Pearls  most  esteemed 
by  the  natives  for  their  golden  hue — Suggestions  for  disposing  of  the  fishery  by  lottery — Impolicy  of 
abandoning  the  monopoly — Suggestions  respecting  the  rent — Panorama — Arippo— Kondatchie . 


Route  to  Bangalle — Manaar — Suggestions  for  a  factory  for  curing  fish — Sheep  and  cows — Agricultural  encou¬ 
ragement  suggested — Time  of  sowing  and  reaping — Headmen — Sailing  directions — Coasting  trade — Man- 
lotte — Missionaries’  journey — Giant’s  tank — Gentoo  city — Antiquity  of  the  Hindoos — Singhalese  records 
and  traditions — Sir  William  Jones — Racshasas — Invention  of  Chess — Magnitude  of  architectural  works 
no  proof  of  extraordinary  stature  of  the  workmen — The  tourist  recommended  to  proceed  by  sea  to  Jaffna — 
Cottages — Native  use  of  cow  dung — Route  from  Mantotte  to  Jaffna — Scenery — Principal  villages — Inhabi¬ 
tants — Cession  of  Jaffna  by  the  Portuguese  to  the  Dutch — Fruits — Coasting  trade — Chitties — Tamul 
year — Hegira — Goldsmiths — Exports  for  the  China  markets — Limited  culture  of  cotton — Its  extension 
suggested — Jaffna  tobacco — Monopoly  of  the  Rajah  of  Travancore,  who  maintains  a  body  of  troops  by 
the  profits — Countervailing  monopoly — Its  injury  to  the  tobacco  grower — Its  abolition,  and  substitution  of 
a  duty  of  200  per  cent. — Decline  of  the  trade,  which,  upon  a  reduction  of  the  duty,  recovers  and  flourishes 


Climate  favorable  to  the  growth  of  silk — Hindoo  culture  of  the  mulberry  plant — Introduction  of  the  silk-worm 
suggested — Suggestions  for  reducing  certain  import  duties,  as  an  inducement  to  the  Indian  Presidencies  to 
abolish  their  export  duties  upon  cotton  and  silk  to  Ceylon — Culture  of  the  chocolate-nut  tree  ( Theobromu 
Cacao)  altogether  neglected — Provisions — Game — Cattle — Pasturage — Sheep — Cape  of  Good  Hope  cows 
— Culture  of  grass  neglected — Suggestions  for  providing  hay  for  ships’  stock — Timber  trade  of  Jaffna — 
Festival  of  Jagun-Nath — Pranava,  or  mystical  tri-literal  character — Author  accompanies  the  Chief  and 
Puisne  Justices  to  view  the  car  of  the  idol — Reception  by  the  chief  Brahmin — Sacred  honors — Consecrated 
limes — Description  of  the  car — Bride  of  Jagan-Nath — Temple  mysteries — Brahminical  humbug — Deva- 
dasi — Native  musicians — Hindoos— Their  diet— Domestic  life — Amusements— Power  of  the  Brahmins — 
American  missionaries — Pringle’s  account  of  missionary  privations  inapplicable  to  Ceylon  missionaries — 
First  Tamul  translation  of  the  Liturgy  at  Cevlon  . 








Garrison  of  Jaffna — Extensive  culture  of  the  Betel  pepper — Its  astringent  properties — Wild  and  cultivated 
Betel — Water  conveyance  to  Point  Pedro — Point  Pedro  shoal — Bitter  Aloes — A  veteran  magistrate  who 
served  under  Frederick  the  Great — The  ruling  passion — Route  to  Trincomale — Face  of  the  country — 
Postholders  supply  provisions  to  travellers — Jungles — Game — Mullativoe  House — Dangerous  coral  shoal — 
Sailing  directions — Alembiel — Superficies  and  population  of  the  Northern  Province — Numbers  employed 
in  agriculture,  manufactures,  and  commerce — Eastern  Province — Fish — Shells  for  lime — Scenery — Inhabi¬ 
tants — Banyan  fig  tree — Wild  hogs — Hint  to  sportsmen — Trincomale — Society — Garrison — Suggestions 
for  establishing  farms  for  supplying  shipping  with  stock  and  salted  provisions  .  225 


Malacology  of  the  island — Cabinets  of  shells  for  sale — How  to  procure  perfect  specimens — Caution  to  stran¬ 
gers  in  buying  jewellery  from  natives — Their  importunities — Transformation  of  broken  glass  into  precious 
stones  ! — Laws  to  restrain  imposition — Jewellery  for  “  Chip  Gentlemans  ” — Ear-cutting — Suggestions  for 
suppressing  it — Rains — Lord  Valentia — Crocodiles — Hot  wells — Little  white  ants  ( Termes )  great  public 
peculators — Sailing  directions  into  Trincomale  harbour — Reasons  for  not  building  ships  at  Trincomale, 
inapplicable  to  the  neglect  of  growing  Teak  for  the  future  exigencies  of  the  Royal  navy — Suggestions  for 
rendering  grants,  or  sales  of  Crown  lands,  more  beneficial  to  the  public  . .v  233 


Suggested  extension  of  the  culture  of  the  Cassada — Its  properties  and  various  names — Method  of  preparing 
the  stalks  for  transit — Sweet  variety  edible  without  previous  preparation — Primitive  method  of  preparing 
the  Bitter  Cassada — Casleep — Tapioca — Substitute  Cor  mushroom  spawn — Ant-hill  clay — Goldsmiths — 

Their  simple  implements — Route  from  Trincomale  to  Kandy — Route  to  Batticaloa — Hindoo  temple — 
Patcherie  rice — Native  varieties — Mode  of  culture — Scarcity  seldom  attributable  to  natural  causes — Java 
formerly  supplied  Ceylon  with  rice  from  Its  surplus  produce — Pumpkin  Governors — General  Sir  Hudson 
Lowe,  G.  C.  B. — Anticipated  justice  to  that  gallant  officer,  who,  it  was  expected,  would  have  succeeded 
Sir  Edward  Barnes  as  Governor — Air  plant — Region  of  mosquitos,  Batticaloa — Lacerta  Iguana .  241 


Sailing  directions — Batticaloa — Public  departments — Island — Fort — Garrison — European  society  famed  for 
its  unanimity  and  hospitality — No  Protestant  church  or  clergyman — Roman  Catholic  chapels — Bazaar — 
Suggested  establishment  of  a  factory  for  curing  fish,  and  anticipated  increase  of  the  coasting  trade — Green 
beetle  ( Buprestis  chrysis) — Uses  of  its  irridescent  elytra — Batticaloa  from  the  sea — Sandstone  rocks — 
Veddah  country — The  Secretary  of  the  Magistrate’s  court  at  Hambantotte  wanders  into  it — Kindness  of 
the  Veddahs — Their  method  of  preserving  flesh — Manner  of  shooting  elephants — Veddahs  visit  Hamban¬ 
totte — Their  gratitude — Caste — Forest  lands  occupied  by  the  Veddahs — Disposal  of  their  dead — Inhuman 
custom  in  the  Mahagampattoo— Author’s  endeavours  to  suppress  it  . . .  249 


Route  southward  continued — Asclepias  gigantea — Tourist  recommended  to  travel  only  by  day — Wild  beasts  — 

The  jungle  bear — Field  for  the  sportsman  and  naturalist — Caution  necessary  in  entering  a  jungle — Wil¬ 
liam  Gisborne,  Esq. — Major  Haddock  killed  by  an  elephant  in  1834 — Elephant  catchers — Cuvier's  dis¬ 
tinction  between,  the  Indian  and  African  elephant — Ceylon  ivory — Elephants’  petit-toes  —Lord  Charles 
Henry  Somerset’s  enigma — The  Sloth— Squirrels — Maucauco — Vampire  Bat — Racoon — White  Baboon — 

Black  Baboon — Brown  Monkey— Anecdote  of  a  Wanderoo— Summary  of  migratory  and  indigenous  birds  257 




Yellow  Grosbeak— Fire  fly — Tailor  Warbler — Employment  of  a  botanist  skilled  in  practical  chymistry  sug¬ 
gested — Route  southward  continued — Hints  to  the  traveller — Black  Pepper — Time  of  sowing  and  reaping 
— Devil  worshippers  and  their  offerings — Kombookan-Aar — Kombook  trees — Area  and  population  of  the 
Eastern  Province — Southern  Province — Yalle — Suggestions  to  the  tourist — Human  victims  to  chetahs — 

The  dreaded  God  of  Kattregam — Approach  to  the  Dewale — Head  Brahmin — Basnaike  Rale — Timely  sug¬ 
gestions — Water  of  the  Parapa-Oya — Chief  Brahmin’s  residence — State  chair  of  sacred  clay,  the  founder’s 
stepping  block  from  earth  to  heaven — Present — Temple  lands — Buddhist  and  Devil  priests — Malay 
officer — Medley  of  superstitions — Contrasts  between  the  worship  of  Buddha  and  that  of  Brahma  .  26o 


Hell  upon  earth — Route  from  Kattregam  to  Hambantotte — Route  resumed  from  Yalle — Turtle  Cove — 
Hawk’s-bill  turtle’s  eggs  wholesome,  notwithstanding  the  contrary  quality  of  its  flesh — Turtle  catching 
and  stripping — Dutch  solution  of  an  interesting  hypothesis  in  natural  history — Turtling  season — Choice 
of  Tortoise-shell — Hatching  turtles’  eggs — Paltoopane — Wild  tea — Assistant  Staff  Surgeon  Crawford — 
Indigenous  tea  plant  ( Thea  Bohea,  L.) — Kirinde-Oya — Mahagamme  rest-house — Author  presented  with  a 
couple  of  elephant’s  tusks,  and  a  specimen  of  the  supposed  Gaulama,  or  Demon  Bird — Dread  manifested 
by  palankin  bearers — Impediments  to  its  preservation — Description  of  it — Major  General  Thomas  Hard- 
wicke,  F.  R.  S.,  F.  L.  S.,  supposes  it  a  species  of  the  Aluco  owl — Superstitious  M.  D. — Buddhist  priest’s 
anecdote  of  the  Gaulama — Wallewe  Aratchy — Fatal  effects  of  eating  hawks-bill  turtle — Devil  ceremonies  273 


Mahagamme — Fertility  of  the  soil,  and  capabilities  of  irrigation — Ancient  ruins — Gigantic  Ipomoea — Route 
to  Hambantotte — Face  of  the  country — Pasturage,  but  no  sheep — Fertility  of  the  district — Exceptions — 
Temperature  of  the  interior  favorable  to  the  growth  of  wool — Jaffna  sheep  thrive  well  in  the  Mahagam- 
pattoo — Species  of  indigenous  Samphire — Euphorbia  Tirucalli  —  Hambantotte — Quaker  fortifications — 
Population — Leways — Seven  hills  of  Kattregam — Depot  of  salt  and  red  sand — Termes  fatale,  L. — Sand 
bills — Result  of  digging  for  water — Extraordinary  accumulation  of  sand — Starvation — Formation  of  salt — 

Rapid  evaporation — Crystallisation — Deposit  of  salt  where  there  is1  no  basis  of  rock  salt — Summary  of 
reports  to  the  Governor  upon  the  Mahagampattoo  district  . .  281 


Character  of  the  Wesleyan  mission — The  Rev.  Benjamin  Clough — Dr.  Adam  Clarke — No  rest-house  at 
Hambantotte— Hospitality  of  the  public  authorities — Deaths  of  Captain  and  Mrs.  Driberg,  and  extra¬ 
ordinary  determination  of  the  Commander  of  the  Forces — Superstition — Official  difficulties — Incipient 
panic  confirmed — Friendly  importunities  and  suggestions — An  Englishwoman’s  determination — District 
neglected  by  the  Government  and  individuals — Suggestions  for  a  fish  factory — Kandyan  Tavelams — Barter 
— Hints  to  Manchester  and  Birmingham  manufacturers — Wallasse  famous  for  the  Talipat  palm — Impor¬ 
tant  objects  to  be  anticipated  from  a  fish  factory  at  Hambantotte — Cetacea — Amber — Sea  dragon — Phos¬ 
phorescent  appearance  of  the  sea — Cancer  fulgens — Soldier  crab — Anatomical  specimens  .  28'J 


Qualifications  for  the  Superintendent  of  a  fish  factory — Schemes  for  the  public  welfare  abortive — Skylark — 
Native  labourers — The  Right  Honorable  the  Earl  of  Ripon — Colombo  light-house — Consequences  of  an 
official  omission— Unwelcome  New-year-’s  gift— Medical  officer’s  pusillanimity— Timidity  of  Headmen 





infectious — “  Old  Malay  of  Mahagam  ” — Opportune  relief — A  fatalist  agreeably  disappointed — Captain 
Dawson,  Royal  Engineers — His  lamented  death — Native  Medical  Assistant,  a  better  doctor  than  prophet 
— Convicts  in  chains  humane  nurses — Their  strict  honesty  and  gratitude — Native  killed  by  an  elephant 
in  the  street — Hint  to  the  Ornithologist — Kandyan  pellet  tube — Hard  water  pearls — Parting  word  in 
favor  of  the  natives  of  the  Mahagampattoo  . . .  297 


Suggested  introduction  of  the  Camel — Its  habits — Route  from  Hambantotte  to  Wallewe — Karaganare  lie¬ 
way — Arabocke — Euphorbia  antiquorum — Apathy  of  the  natives  in  regard  to  its  gum — Presumed  qualities 
of  its  timber — Sitricale  Leway — Nepenthes  distillatoria — Air  plant — Arabian  gum  tree — Author’s  escape 
from  a  tusked  elephant — Cobra  di  Capello — Pybocke — Plains — Mushrooms — Extraordinary  production 
of  fish,  and  a'  Malay  officer’s  opinion  of  the  cause — Game — Tank — Large  aquatic  bird — Wanderope — 
Temple  Title-deed — The  Honorable  Sir  Hardinge  Giffard,  late  Chief  Justice  of  Ceylon— Temple  lands — 
Integrity  of  the  Buddhist  religion  guaranteed — Wallewe  river — Sailing  directions — Village  of  Wallewe — 
its  bad  name,  and  suggestions  for  giving  it  a  better — Tranquil  locality  for  the  growth  of  silk — Suggestions 
for  employing  Chinese  settlers  . . .  30-3 


River  Wallewe — Horse  boats — Double  canoes — Seasons  of  sowing  and  reaping — Clay  for  bricks — Limestone 
rock — Pansala  at  Wanderope — Buddhist  priest  cultivates  the  grape  wine  successfully — Tank — District  but 
little  improved  for  the  last  sixteen  years — Author’s  desire  to  innoculate  British  capitalists  with  some  of  his 
own  virus  in  favor  of  the  Mahagampattoo — Mouth  of  the  river  Wallewe — Native  objections  to  the  sea- 
breeze — Girrawah-pattoo — Savage  occupants  of  Wallewe  rest-house  in  1826 — Sand  of  rubies,  sapphires, 
and  cat’s-eyes — Roads — Cattle  Kraal — Leways — Ranne  bridge  and  rest-house — Crocodile  Kraal — Porcu¬ 
pine — Ancient  tank — Face  of  the  country — Approach  to  Tangalle — Possibilities  upon  a  sudden  breaking 
out  of  war — Nature  the  best  defender  of  the  Ceylon  coast — Singhalese  but  poor  auxiliaries  before  an 
enemy — Kandyan  characteristics — Sailing  directions — Suggested  Signal  Station  for  communicating  with 
ships  from  England  to  India  making  Doudra  Head  . . .  313 


Prospective  advantages  for  an  Indigo  Factory  Company  over  those  of  the  abandoned  scheme — Kirime  Canal  — 
William  Gisborne,  Esq. — Governor  confers  honorary  rewards  upon  Headmen — Tobacco  of  Lower  Ouva — 
Tobacco  farm  suggested — Suggestions  to  moderate  capitalists  as  settlers  at  Ceylon — Facilities  to  immigrants 
contrasted  with  the  difficulties  in  new  colonies — Suggestions  for  planting  the  Hop — Beautiful  country  and 
delightful  temperature  of  Lower  Ouva- — Soil — Saffregam — Produce — Route  from  Tangalle  to  Matura- — 

Face  of  the  country — Dondra  Head — Ancient  temple — Colonnade — Vihare  and  Dewale — Festival — 
Division  of  offerings — Mature — Lines — Fort — Town- — Fish — Sailing  directions — Government  officers — 
Suggested  farm  and  fish  factory — Variety  of  grasses — Mature  poultry — Manufactures — Petrified  Tamarind 
wood — Zircon  sold  as  Mature  diamond — True  diamond  not  indigenous  . .  321 


Minerals — Extraordinary  combinations  in  petrifactions  of  wood — Constituents  of  Beligam  rock — Opinion 
opposed  to  the  statements  of  PtoJemy,  Knox,  Percival,  Cordiner,  and  Ive,  in  regard  to  indigenous  minerals 
— The  Dutch  discover  coal,  and  their  reasons  for  neglecting  it — Coal  an  object  of  too  great  importance 
for  its  presence  to  remain  hypothetical — Face  of  the  country  between  Mature  and  Beligam — Birds,  fish, 
fruits,  and  vegetables  —  Esculent  Euphorbia — Agraboddigane  Vihare  and  Dagobah — Tradition  of  the 
Koustah  Rajah,  or  Leprous  King — Temples  and  Dagobahs  .  329 

*  *  » 




Antiquities — No  excavated  or  rock  temples — Agraboddigane  Vihare — Image  of  Buddha  described — Paint¬ 
ings — Dagobah,  or  repository  of  a  relic  of  Buddha — Charles  Edward  Layard,  Esq.,  causes  an  ancient 
Dagobah  to  be  opened — Its  contents  indicative  of  affinity  to  certain  Egyptian  antiquities — The  Bogaha  as 
much  venerated  by  the  Buddhists  as  the  oak  by  the  Druids — Epoch  of  Buddha’s  appearance — Conversion 
of  a  High  Priest  of  Buddha — His  high  character  not  affected  by  his  apostacy — Example  followed  by 
other  priests — Honors  conferred  upon  the  convert — Road  from  Beligam  to  Galle — Cogel  Lake — Bungalow 
Island — Indigenous  Momordica — Crocodiles — Leopards — Approach  to  Galle — Sailing  directions  .  337 



Sailing  directions  continued — Bank  of  soundings — Coast  between  Galle  and  Colombo — Opinion  respecting 
the  Port  of  Galle  for  steam  vessels — Suggestions  for  removing  the  seat  of  Government  to  Galle,  and  cutting 
a  road  direct  to  Kandy — Fortifying  Galle  suggested,  with  reference  to  the  command  of  the  seas  during 
the  last  war,  and  the  present  different  position  of  France — Trade  of  Galle — Supplies — Elephanthiasis — 

Goitre — Galle  water — Cattle  stealing — Cruelty  to  animals — Alteration  in  the  mode  of  registering  cattle 
suggested — Fort — M.  Wilmot,  Esq. — Garrison — Ceylon  Rifle  Regiment — Establishment  of  a  large  English 
hotel  and  farm  suggested — Society — Dutch  families — Climate — Maldivian  fleet — Coco-nuts  imported  from 
the  Maidive  Islands — Kumblemos — Taverkare — Maidive  ambassador — Sultan’s  letter  and  presents  .  345 


Maldivian  process  for  increasing  the  size  of  coco-nut  timber,  similar  to  that  of  the  Chinese  for  dwarfing,  and 
of  the  Singhalese  for  propagating  trees — Fishes — Author  commences  a  Work  upon  the  Ichthyology  of 
Ceylon — Its  interruption — Ruinous  consequences  of  the  suppression  of  facts  by  an  irresponsible  officer — 
Unauthorized  rejection  of  the  Author’s  appeal  against  the  tyrannical  measures  pursued  towards  him,  in 
the  name  of  the  Right  Honorable  Lord  Viscount  Goderich,  whose  entire  ignorance  of  it  may  be  presumed 
from  subsequent  facts  and  correspondence,  and  the  high  character  of  His  Lordship — Anticipated  justice — 

His  Majesty  George  IV.  patronizes  the  “  Fishes  of  Ceylon  ” — Morua  Korle — First  production  of  the 
potato — Public  nuisance — A  victim  to  philanthropy — Dreadful  catastrophe — Not  a  life  boat  nor  Manby's 
mortar  along  900  miles  of  coast  —  Suggestions  in  behalf  of  humanity — Wesleyan  mission-house  and 
chapel — Roman  Catholic  chapel — Crucifixion  enacted — Festival  of  the  Mohurrum — Dutch  monopolies — 
Church  Missionary  Station — Extensive  cultivation  of  arrow  root  . . . .  353 



Galle  jewellers — Cabinet  makers — Objections  to  British  tools — Suggestions  to  the  hardware  manufacturer — 
Veneering  unknown  to  the  Singhalese — Leaf  employed  for  polishing  wood — Public  Departments — Post 
Office — High  duty  upon  Arrack  injurious  to  the  Ceylon  distiller  and  the  British  importer — Representation 
to  the  Board  of  Trade — Moral  state  of  the  Galle  and  Mahagampattoo  districts  contrasted — Witchcraft— 
Samuel  Tolfrey,  Esq. — First  English  and  Singhalese  Grammar — Liberality  of  the  Colonial  Department — 
Tradition  of  the  origin  of  Castes — Insects — Reptiles — Mvgale,  or  musk  rat — Pottery — Gindurah  river 
and  rock — Sailing  directions — Dodondewe — Rest-houses — Face  of  the  country  . .  361 


Hiccode — Body  of  a  native  cut  out  of  a  crocodile — Route  to  Bentotte — Face  of  the  country — Native  farms — 
Oyster  divers — River  scenery — Vihare — Govinda  yields  a  superior  indigo — Area  and  population  of  the 
Southern  Province — Barberyn — Sailing  directions — Bazaar — Imports  and  exports — Custom-house — 

Road  to  Kaltura — Double  coco-nut  tree,  ominous  of  good  fortune — Kaltura — Sailing  directions — Govern- 


ment-house — Cutchery — Ignatia  elastica,  L. — Wesleyan  mission-house,  chapel,  school — Fort — Honorable 
John  Rodney — Experiments  with  scorpions,  and  the  results — Mount  Layard — Canal  to  Colombo — Kobra 
Guyon — Lacerta  Nilotica — Lacerta  Gecko — Traffic  between  Kaltura  and  Saffregam — Dr.  de  Hoedt — 
Carpenter  insect — Painted  bat — Widow  birds — Land  shells  . . 


Rapidity  of  the  Kalu-Ganga — Ellas — Mount  Karangodde — Extraordinary  pine-apple  leaves — Rock  temple — 
Gigantic  Groundsel — View  from  Mount  Karangodde — A  priest’s  caution  neglected,  and  the  consequences 
— Hospitality  of  the  priests — Bromelia  flax — Lieut.  Malcolm  the  first  European  known  to  have  ascended 
Adam’s  Peak — His  tour — Buddhist  priest’s  prediction  disregarded — View  from  the  Peak — Scarlet  Rhodo¬ 
dendron — Jewels^  very  like  glass — Volley  of  small  arms  fired  from  the  Peak — A  second  priestly  warning 
treated  with  more  deference — Kandyan  army  passes  over  the  mountain  into  Saffregam,  in  pursuit  of  the 
revolted  First  Adikar,  Eheylepola — Route  from  Kaltura  to  Colombo  resumed — Pantura — River  fishes — 
Fish  Kraals — Bird’s-tail  grass  employed  as  a  bait — Cinnamon  plantations — Village  of  carpenters  . 


Route  to  Colombo — Galkisse — Road — Fishery — Chapel — A  priestly  courtier — Mount  Lavinia — Anecdote 
of  the  late  General  the  Right  Honorable  Sir  Thomas  Maitland,  G.  C.  B.,  known  by  the  soubriquet  of 
“  King  Tom,”  and  Samuel  Daniel],  Esq. — How  to  get  a  Civil  Appointment — A  halt  suggested — Com¬ 
pletion  of  the  tour  round  the  island — Origin  of  the  war  in  Kandy  in  1815 — Improvements  in  Ceylon  date 
from  Sir  George  Murray’s  accession  to  the  Colonial  Seals  in  1828 — Lord  Viscount  Goderich  follows  them 
up  by  additional  advantages — Mutilation  of  British  subjects  by  order  of  the  King  of  Kandy — Explanation 
refused — Revolting  cruelties  upon  the  family  of  Eheylepola,  and  native  Chiefs — Kandy  taken — Geography 
of  the  former  Kandyan  kingdom — Site  of  Kandy,  and  tradition  of  its  discovery . . . 


Routes  to  the  Central  Province — Road  to  Komegalle — Stupendous  rocks — A  Kandyan  Tarpeius  Mons — 
Public  offices — Cutchery  occupies  the  site  of  an  ancient  royal  palace — Henry  Pennell,  Esq. — Granite  slabs 
sculptured  with  the  lion,  unicorn,  and  elephant — Time  of  sowing  and  reaping — Route  to  Trincomale — 
Face  of  the  country — Route  to  Kandy — Kalane-Ganga  navigable  by  boats  to  Ruanwelle — Route  to  the 
Central  Province  by  land,  via  Ruanwelle— A  rattan  hawser — Rajah  Singha  the  apostate — Ruins  of  a  Por¬ 
tuguese  fort — Ruanwelle — Route  to  Kandy  over  the  Balane  mountain — Route  over  the  Idalgashina  moun¬ 
tain  more  circuitous,  but  best  for  the  intending  settler — Major  Kelly’s  division  of  the  Army  of  Kandy 
crosses  the  Idalgashina  mountain — Warm  clothing  and  fires  necessary  in  crossing  these  mountain  passes — 
Route  through  Balangodde  to  Upper  Ouva — Successful  culture  of  the  potato — Wheat  grown  at  Kandv 
and  Badulla — Face  of  the  country — Limestone — Potters’  clay — Brick  clay — Hemp — European  vegetables 
found  in  the  interior  by  Captain  Robert  Knox,  1657 — 1678  . 

CHAP.  L. 

Route  continued — Idalgashina  mountain — Native  agriculture — Cataracts — Kalapahane — Cattle — Welanghena 
— Rhododendron  arboreum — Lauras  serrata — Andropogon  schoenanthus — Hilloya — Passe ra — Alipoot — 
Wallasse — Bintenne  and  Veddah  Ratte — Efforts  to  civilize  the  Veddahs — Mountain  of  Namini  Kooli — 
Badulla — Route  to  Kandy — Intermediate  country — Route  from  Passera  to  Neuwara  Eliya — Hembliate- 
welle — Scenery — Limestone — Ice  not  uncommon,  in  the  very  same  province  where  sugar  and  coffee  grow 
luxuriantly — Route  to  Kandy — Chetahs — Cascades — Mavali-Ganga  navigable  by  boats  between  Gampola 
and  Paradenia — Royal  Botanic  garden — Race  course — Satin-wood  bridge — Proclamation  for  the  preserva¬ 
tion  of  roads — Dodonwelle  a  favorite  retreat  of  Rajah  Singha — City  of  Kandy — British  improvements — 
Delada  Malagawa— Dewales — Asgiri  &  Malwatte  Vihares — Royal  cemetery — Lakes — Buddhist  priesthood 




Sequel  to  the  possession  of  Kandy — Person  of  the  King — Bad  policy  of  the  Portuguese — Additional  reasons 
for  the  war — Regalia — Honors  conferred  upon  the  conquerors,  and  Eheylepola,  by  the  Prince  Regent — 
Political  humbug — Importance  of  the  relic — Tooth  of  Gautama  Buddha  contrasted  with  the  Trojan 
Palladium — Its  restoration  to  the  Delada  Malagawa,  under  a  salute  from  the  Royal  Artillery — Offering 
presented  to  the  temple  in  the  name  of  the  Governor — Hypothesis  respecting  the  relic — Military  custody 
of  the  Idol — Stipendiary  priests — Kandy  the  meridian  of  Buddhist  and  Demon  worship  in  Ceylon — 
Expenses  of  idolatrous)  festivals  borne  by  the  Government  .  409 


Extraordinary  facts  respecting  the  military  resources  of  Kandy,  when  Major  Davie  capitulated,  in  1803 — 

Secret  service  money — Deplorable  consequences  of  want  of  information — Prince  Mootto  Sawme  proclaimed 
King — Pilame  Talawe  dupes  General  Macdowal  by  an  armistice,  and  breaks  it — British  troops  massacred 
in  detail — Captain  Arthur  Johnston,  in  1804,  marched  from  Batticaloa,  through  Kandy,  to  Trincomaie — 
Governor’s  first  object  after  the  conquest  of  Kandy  in  1815— Roads — Eheylepola — William  Tolfrey,  Esq. 
receives  private  intimation  of  that  Chieftain's  intended  treachery — His  information  treated  with  contempt — 
Consequences — Murder  of  S.  D.  Wilson,  Esq.  by  Veddahs — Rebellion  of  1817 — The  Pretender — Critical 
position  of  the  army — Opportune  arrival  of  the  Honorable  East  India  Company’s  auxiliary  troops — 
Recovery  of  the  relic — Military  casualties — Fate  of  the  rebel  Chiefs — Governor's  triumphant  return  to 
Colombo— Incipient  rebellions  in  1834  and  1842 — Faithless  Princes — Supposed  origin  of  the  rebellion 
of  1817 — War  cry  of  the  19th  regiment — The  Kandyans — Arts  and  sciences — Domestic  habits  and  man¬ 
ners — Agriculture — Climate — Governor’s  Minute  for  Clerks  and  Headmen — Garrison — Public  Depart¬ 
ments — Citadel — Atgalle — Neuwara  Eliya  potato — Caste  no  disqualification  for  tenure  of  lands — Sugges¬ 
tions  to  capitalists — Rest-houses — Indigenous  iron,  alum,  &  saltpetre — Suggestions  for  a  farm  for  supplying 
cured  and  salted  provisions  to  shipping — Area  and  population  of  the  Central  Province — Conclusion  .  417 


The  Charter  of  Justice,  granted  by  King  William  the  Fourth,  February  the  18th,  1833  . 

information  for  the  use  of  Military  and  Naval  Officers  proposing  to  settle  in  the  British  Colonies  .  xx\ 

Regulation  of  Government  for  Promoting  the  Growth  of  certain  Articles  of  Agricultural  produce  in  Ceylon  xxx; 

Regulation  of  Government  for  the  Encouragement  of  the  Preparation  of  Salt  Fish  in  the  island  .  xxxn 

Ordnance  of  the  Governor  and  Council,  for  Amending  the  Law's  relating  to  the  Ports  and  Customs  .  xxxiii 

Tables  of  Import  and  Export  Duties,  and  of  the  Rates  of  Pilotage  into  the  Harbours  of  Ceylon  .  lxn 

Translation  of  the  Letter  from  the  King  of  the  Maidive  Islands  to  the  Commandant  of  Galle  .  lxn 

Postage  Rates,  Post  Office  Regulations,  and  Warehouse  Rates  . . . . .  lx\ 

Extract  from  a  Letter  to  the  Right  Honorable  Henry  Labomrhere,  President  of  the  Board  of  Trade  .  lxvii 

The  Kandyan  Convention  of  1815  . . .  Txviii 

An  Account  of  the  principal  Kandyan  Festivals  .  lxx 

Address  of  His  Excellency  the  Governor  to  the  Kandyan  Adikars  and  Chiefs,  May  the  20th,  1816  .  ixxv. 


CHAP.  I. 

Geographical  position — Dependencies — Ceylon  occasionally  confounded  with  Sierra  Leone — Gulf  and  Strait  of 
Manaar — Island  partially  known  to  the  ancient  Romans —  Various  Names  of  the  Island — Its  position  upon  the 
Geographical  Lotos  of  the  Hindoos— Popular  tradition  of  its  separation  from  the  Peninsula  of  Hindostan— 
Adam's  Bridge — Hindoo  history  respecting  it — Sir  W.  Jones's  remarks — Indian  Satyrs — Hypothesis  respecting  the 
Garden  of  Eden — M.  Toume fort's  opinion — Variety  of  Climate — Pedrotalagalla  the  highest  land  in  Ceylon — 
Verdant  appearance  of  the  Island — Sea-breezes — Monsoons  and  their  causes — General  Salubrity  of  the  Interior 
dependant  upon  the  progress  of  Agriculture — Area  of  the  Island  and  Population  to  the  square  mile- 
Census  of  1835. 

The  most  magnificent  of  the  British  insular  possessions,  styled,  “  Ceylon  and  its 
Dependencies,”  lie  between  the  parallels  of  5°  50'  and  10°  of  north  latitude,  and 
between  79°  42'  and  82°  of  east  longitude,  at  the  west  entrance  of  the  Bay  of  Bengal, 
and  distant  about  ten  leagues  from  the  peninsula  of  Hindostan,*  extending  from 
S.  S  .  E.  toN.  E.  between  Capes  Comorin  and  Negapatam  ;  in  circumference  about 
nine  hundred  miles  ;  in  length,  from  Dondra  Head  in  the  southern  to  Point  Pedro 
in  the  northern  province,  under  three  hundred  miles  ;  and  in  extreme  breadth  from 
one  hundred  and  forty  to  one  hundred  and  fifty  miles. 

The  “  Dependencies  ”  are  the  islands  of  Kalpentyn — Karetivoe — Manaar — Tren- 
tivoe,  or  Two  Brothers — Kakeritivoe — Paletivoe — Nedoentivoe,  or  Delftf — Mandetivoc 
— Poengertivoe — Kayts,  or  Leyden  island — Nayntivoe — Anelativoe — Northern  Kare¬ 
tivoe,  or  Amsterdam  island — Jaffna,  formerly  the  kingdom  of  Jaffnapatam,  upon  which 
the  town  and  fort  of  that  name  are  situate — and  the  largest,  containing  the  Districts 
of  Wadenerratchie,  Temmoratchie,  and  Patchilapelle. 

Ceylon,  too  often  confounded  in  common  parlance  with  our  West  African  settlement 
of  Sierra  Leone,  from  neglecting  to  accentuate  the  last  syllable  of  the  latter,  is  sepa¬ 
rated  from  the  southern  extremity  of  Hindostan  by  the  Gulf  and  Strait  of  Manaar, 7 
which  is  not  frequented  except  by  small  coasting  vessels ;  the  water  being  usually  shbal 

*  From  Hindu,  black,  and  St'han,  place, 
f  Called  also  by  Captain  Horsburgh  Polandiva,  Cat-Island,  and  Enkhuysen. 

I  From  the  Malabar  word  Man,  sand,  and  Aar,  river. 




all  over  it,  six  or  seven  fathoms  in  some  places,  to  four,  three,  and  two  fathoms 
towards  the  main,  renders  the  navigation  unsafe  for  vessels  above  a  certain  tonnage. 
It  is  bounded  by  Adam’s  Bridge  to  the  southward,  and  by  Calymere  Point  and  the 
coast  of  Tanjore  to  the  northward.  The  Dutch  describe  three  channels  formed  between 
Calymere  Point  and  the  north  end  of  Ceylon,  which  lead  into  Palk’s  Bay ;  but  the 
southern  channel,  called  Palk’s  Strait,  contiguous  to  the  north  coast  of  Ceylon,  is 
probably  the  only  one  that  may  be  considered  safe  for  large  ships. 

Adam’s  or  Rama’s  Bridge,  a  narrbw  ridge  of  sand  and  rocks,  mostly  dry,  for  on  its 
whole  extent  there  is  said  not  to  be  more  than  three  and  four  feet  of  water  in  any  part 
at  high  tides,  extends  nearly  E.  S.  E.  and  W.  N.  W.  six  or  seven  leagues,  and  joins 
the  island  of  Manaar  on  the  east,  and  the  island  of  Ramisseram,  which  lies  close  to  a 
peninsula  of  the  continent,  the  extremity  of  which  is  called  Point  Ramen,  on  the  west. 
Between  the  main  island  and  Manaar  there  is  a  narrow  gut,  only  navigable  by  coasting 
vessels,  which  is  commanded  by  Fort  Tannacudia  on  the  eastern  extremity  of  Manaar. 

That  Ceylon  was  partially  known  to  the  ancient  Romans  may  very  reasonably  be 
inferred  from  the  names  they  gave  to  some  of  its  principal  places  ;  and  probably^  that 
knowledge  of  the  island  originated  by  means  of  their  coasting  vessels  along  the  western 
side  of  India,  or  of  their  fleet  from  the  Sinus  Arabicus,  or  Red  Sea.  But  the  island 
lay  so  directly  in  the  course  of  vessels  venturing  beyond  Cape  Comorin,  viz.  according 
to  the  ancient  mode  of  “  hugging  the  shore  ”  as  closely  as  possible,  that  one  can 
scarcely  suppose  its  position  to  have  been  left  to  doubt ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  that  it 
had  been  precisely  determined.  Nevertheless,  there  is  hardly  any  point  in  ancient 
geography  less  certain  and  more  undecided. 

The  Amasian  stoic,  Strabo,  who  composed  his  great  work  upon  geography  in  the 
time  of  Augustus  Caesar,  describes  Taprobane  as  equal  in  size  to  Britain,  and  “  by 
reports  ”  varying  from  seven  to  twenty  days’  sail  from  Cape  Comorin,  the  southernmost 
point  of  the  peninsula  of  Hiifdostan,  the  Comaria  Promontorium  of  the  Romans.  But 
he  erroneously  describes  the  island  as  extending  to  the  westward  of  its  true  position 
five  hundred  stadia,  or  rather  more  than  twenty  leagues.  By  this  same  author  we 
are  informed  that  the  most  valuable  productions  of  Taprobane  were  carried  to  the 
various  emporia  of  India. 

Pomponius  Mela,  in  his  “  De  situ  orbis,”  could  not  decide  whether  Taprobane, 
which  name  was  not  known  in  Europe  antecedently  to  the  aera  of  Alexander  the 
Great,  was  the  commencement  of  a  new  world,  or  an  island,  because  no  one  had  ever 
sailed  round  it  at  the  time  he  wrote,  but  he  himself  inclined  to  the  former  opinion  ; 
and  the  Roman  augur,  C.  Plinius  Secundus,  instead  of  elucidating  doubts,  in  his  more 



copious  description  of  Taprobane,  which  he  also  alludes  to  as  Terra  Anticthonum,  or 
the  Antipodes,  involves  it  in  deeper  obscurity,  and  gives  a  most  ridiculous  account  of 
an  embassy  to  Claudius  Caesar  from  a  sovereign  of  the  island.  The  ambassadors  must 
have  entertained  a  very  humble  opinion  of  Roman  science,  when  they  ventured  to 
affirm,  that  “  in  their  country  the  moon  was  invisible  for  eight  days  after  the  change, 
and  then  only  visible  for  the  same  period  of  time.”  * 

Ptolemy,  the  famous  Alexandrian  geographer  in  the  time  of  Marcus  Aurelius,  who 
wrote  after  Pliny,  describes  Taprobane  as  an  island  nearly  opposite  to  Cape  Comorin, 
and  at  no  great  distance  from  that  part  of  the  peninsula  of  Hindostan,  but  extending 
two  degrees  to  the  southward  of  the  equator.  Ptolemy  appears  to  have  been  ignorant 
of  Pliny’s  account  of  Taprobane,  and  informs  us  that  the  native  name  was  Salice, 
which  is  preserved  in  that  of  Selendive,  from  the  proper  name  Selen,  and  dive,  an  island.f 
Both,  however,  of  these  writers  concur  in  describing  the  island  as  intersected  by  the 
equator,  a  circumstance  that  has  led  many  to  maintain  that  Sumatra  is  the  island 
which  during  the  middle  ages  was  almost  uniformly  called  Taprobane  ;  and  in  the 
fifteenth  century  Nicolo  di  Conti,  the  Venetian  traveller,  on  his  return  from  India, 
described  Ceylon  as  Zeilam,  and  after  noticing  its  cinnamon  and  other  productions, 
states  that  he  sailed  from  thence  to  the  great  island  of  Sumatra,  “  which  the  ancients 
called  Taprobane,”  and  describes  the  durian  (Durio  zibet hinus)  as  a  fruit  indigenous 
there,  but  which  is  not  known  to  this  day  at  Ceylon.  But  notwithstanding  the  obscure 
and  contradictory  descriptions  both  of  the  ancient  Greek  and  Roman  as  well  as  of  the 
Indian  writers,  upon  this  particular  point,  scarcely  a  doubt  now  exists  that  their 
celebrated  Taprobane  is  the  present  Ceylon. 

The  Nubian  philosopher,  El  Edrisi,  in  his  work  dedicated  to  Roger,  king  of  Sicily, 
in  the  twelfth  century,  calls  the  island  by  the  name  of  Serandib ;  and  the  Venetian  tra¬ 
veller,  Marco  Polo,  who  visited  it  in  the  thirteenth  century,  by  that  of  Seilam  or  Zeilam. 

Cosmas,  an  Egyptian  merchant,  subsequently,  sirnamed  Indicopleustes ,  who  made 
several  voyages  to  and  from  India  during  the  reign  of  the  emperor  Justinian,  mentions 
the  island  as  Sielediba,%  and  as  an  emporium  of  commerce  into  which  was  imported  the 
silk  of  the  Sinae,  and  all  the  precious  productions  of  the  Eastern  Countries,  with  which 
all  parts  of  India,  Persia,  and  the  Arabian  Gulf  were  supplied. § 

The  island  has  also  been  known  from  the  remotest  periods  of  Singhalese  history  by 
the  Elu  name  of  Lakka  and  Sanscrit  Lanka,  the  world,  to  which  latter  has  been  pre¬ 
fixed  the  Sanscrit  adjectives  Tev'e  and  Deve,  signifying  famous  and  holy :  and  in  the  Geo- 

*  C.  P.  Hist.  Nat.,  lib.  vi.  cap.  xxii.  +  According  to  Ptolemy  its  ancient  name  was  Symondi. 

t  Cosm.  lib.  xxi.  330.  §  lb.  lib.  xi.  337. 



graphical  Lotos  of  the  Hindoos,  which  is  supposed  to  be  floating  upon  the  vast  expanse 
of  ocean,  Ceylon,  described  as  Sinhala*  lies  between  the  southernmost  upper  netal  and 
the  Maha  Lanka  or  Malacca  petal,  upon  the  under  south-eastern  petal. 

But  whether  the  popular  tradition  that  Ceylon  originally  formed  the  south-eastern 
extremity  of  the  peninsula  of  Hindostan,  and  was  detached  from  it  by  some  extraordi¬ 
nary  convulsion  of  nature,  aided  by  the  rushing  in  of  the  sea  through  the  division  of 
the  lands,  be  deserving  of  credit ;  or  that  it  was  an  island  de  principio,  at  a  greater 
distance  from  the  Malabar  and  Coromandel  coasts,  and  stretching  so  much  further  to 
the  southward  and  westward  as  to  be  the  Lanka  or  equinoctial  point  of  the  ancient 
Hindoos,  but  gradually  approximating  the  continent  by  the  accumulation  of  sand  and 
madrepore,  and  the  consequent  shoaling  of  the  Strait  of  Manaar, — is  matter  for  the 
attention  of  the  geologist. 

Hindoo  history  evidently  alludes  to  Adam’s  Bridge,  in  recounting  the  wars  of  Lanka, 
and  attributes  to  Rama,f  an  incarnate  deity  of  the  first  rank  in  the  Hindoo  mythology, 
the  conquest  of  the  island  with  an  army  of  Indian  satyrs,  and  states  that  Rama’s  general, 
the  prince  of  satyrs,  named  HanumatJ  from  his  high  cheek  bones,  soon  raised  with 
workmen  of  such  agility  a  bridge  of  rocks  over  the  sea ;  part  of  which,  say  the 
Hindoos,  yet  remains.  This  Rama  is  described  as  a  conqueror  of  the  highest  renown, 
and  the  deliverer  of  his  consort  Sita  from  the  giant  Ravanen,  king  of  Lanka.  Sir 
William  Jones,  in  alluding  to  the  above,  §  inquires  “  if  this  army  of  satyrs  might  not 
have  been  only  a  race  of  mountaineers,  whom  Rama,  if  such  a  monarch  ever  existed, 
had  civilized  ?”  and  concludes  with  this  remark, — “  However  that  may  be,  the  large 
breed  of  Indian  apes  is  at  this  moment  (1794)  held  in  high  veneration  by  the  Hindoos, 
and  fed  with  devotion  by  the  Brahmins,  who  seem,  in  two  or  three  places  on  the  banks 
of  the  Ganges,  to  have  a  regular  endowment  for  the  support  of  them  :  they  live  in 
tribes  of  three  or  four  hundred,  are  wonderfully  gentle,  and  appear  to  have  some  kind 
of  order  and  subordination  in  their  little  sylvan  polity.” 

It  may  much  more  reasonably  be  conjectured,  that  the  Bridge  of  Islets,  bearing  the 
name  of  the  common  father  of  mankind,  from  the  Mahomedan  fable  that  angels 
formed  it  for  Adam  to  pass  over  to  Hindostan,  after  having  dropped  upon  the  moun¬ 
tain  Hamalell,  when  expelled  from  the  celestial  Paradise,  was  the  route  by  which  the 
persecuted  followers  of  the  god  Bod, ||  or  Buddha,  when  driven  from  the  continent  by 
the  Brahmins,  sought  a  secure  resting-place  for  themselves,  and  for  the  unmolested 
exercise  of  their  religion,  in  Ceylon. 

*  Asiatic  Researches,  vol.  viii.,  8vo  edition,  p.  376.  f  The  son  of  Cush. 

+  The  son  of  Pawn,  the  Indian  god  of  storms  and  winds,  and  one  of  the  eight  Genii. 

§  Asiatic  Researches,  vol.  i.,  4to  edition,  p.  257.  ||  Bod,  a  contraction  of  Buddha,  whicli  signifies  wisdom. 



Ceylon  abounds  with  traditions,  and  amongst  others,  that  it  was  the  site  of  the 
terrestrial  Paradise  ;  and  inquiry  has  scarcely  done  more  than  cause  a  wide  diversity 
of  opinions  upon  that  point.  Tartary,  China,  Persia,  Mesopotamia,  Chaldeea,  Arabia, 
Syria,  Ethiopia,  and  Ceylon,  have  all,  in  turns,  been  objects  of  research  upon  this  great 
point ;  and  whilst  some  have  concluded  that  the  scriptural  description  of  Paradise  was 
either  allegorical,  or  that  if  such  a  perfect  place  really  existed,  the  subsequent  terrible 
concussions  of  the  earth  at  the  time  of  the  deluge  have  so  altered  the  face  of  nature 
as  to  render  it  now  impossible  to  discover  where  the  true  garden  of  Eden  or  Aden 
lay,  (synonymous  in  the  Arabic,  and  signifying  pleasure,) — others  have  been  led 
astray  as  much  as  the  Jews  themselves,  who  were  totally  ignorant  of  the  geography  of 
the  Old  Testament.  Josephus  supposed  the  Ganges  and  the  Nile  to  be  two  of  the 
four  rivers  that  went  out  of  Eden. 

There  exists  to  this  day  such  a  variety  of  Edens  and  Adens,  one  near  Tripoli  in  Syria, 
another  near  Telassar  in  Chaldaea,  a  third  an  island  in  the  Tigris,  a  fourth  near  Tarsus 
in  Cilicia,  and  a  fifth  upon  the  coast  of  Arabia  Felix,  that  authors  have  given  it  in 
favour  of  either  of  the  two  former,  as  being,  I  presume,  the  same  with  that  of  Moses.* 

There  can  scarcely  be  a  doubt  that  Eden  was  not  an  imaginary  but  a  real  Paradise, 
bounded  by  the  countries  and  rivers  described  in  the  Mosaical  topography,  but  no  one 
author  seems  to  have  decided  the  point  so  satisfactorily  to  himself  as  Mons.  Tournefort. 
“  The  commentators  upon  Genesis,  even  those  who  keep  most  closely  to  the  letter,  do 
not  think  it  necessary,  in  order  to  assign  the  place  of  Paradise,  to  find  a  river  which 
divides  itself  into  four  branches,  because  of  the  great  alteration  the  Deluge  may  have 
occasioned  ;  but  think  it  sufficient  to  show  the  heads  of  the  rivers  mentioned  by  Moses, 
namely,  the  Euphrates,  Tigris,  Pison,  and  Gihon.  It  cannot,  therefore,  be  doubted 
but  that  Paradise,  must  have  been  in  the  way  between  Erzerum  and  Teflis,  if  it  be 
allowed  to  take  the  Phasis  for  Pison,  and  the  Araxes  for  Gihon. — And  then,  not  to 
remove  Paradise  too  far  from  the  sources  of  these  rivers,  it  must  of  necessity  be  placed 
in  the  beautiful  vallies  of  Georgia,  which  furnish  Erzerum  with  all  kinds  of  fruits.  If 
we  may  suppose  it  to  have  been  a  place  of  considerable  extent,  and  to  have  retained 
some  of  its  beauties,  notwithstanding  the  alterations  made  in  the  earth  at  the  flood, 
and  since  that  time,  I  do  not  know  a  finer  spot  to  which  I  can  assign  it  than  the 
country  of  the  Three  Churches,  a  town  about  twenty  French  leagues  distant  from  the 
heads  of  the  Euphrates  and  Araxes,  and  almost  as  many  from  the  Phasis.  The  extent 
of  Paradise  must  at  least  reach  to  the  heads  of  these  rivers ;  and  so  it  will  comprehend 
the  ancient  Media  and  part  of  Armenia  and  Iberia.  Or,  if  this  be  thought  too  large  a 

*  2  Kings  xix.  12.  Isaiah  xxxvii.  12. 



compass,  it  may  be  confined  only  to  part  of  Armenia  and  Iberia ;  that  is,  from  Erzerum 
to  Teflis.  Our  learned  men  may  think  as  they  please,  but  as  I  have  never  seen  a  more 
beautiful  country  than  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Three  Churches,  I  am  strongly  per¬ 
suaded  it  is  the  place  where  Adam  and  Eve  were  created !  ” 

Ceylon  presents  a  variety  of  climate,  which  may  be  classed  as  the  hot,  the  interme¬ 
diate,  and  the  temperate  :  the  first,  that  of  the  maritime  provinces  ;  the  second,  between 
the  maritime  provinces  and  the  mountainous  region  ;  and  the  last,  that  of  the  con¬ 
valescent  station  of  Neuwara  Eliya,  literally,  city  of  light,  adjoining  the  highest  land, 
called  Pedrotalagalla,  which  is  8280  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and  860  feet  higher 
than  the  far-famed  Samenella,  or  Adam’s  Peak,  erroneously  cited  by  many  authors  as 
the  highest  land  in  Ceylon.  At  Neuwara  Eliya  the  mean  daily  variation  of  the  tempe¬ 
rature  is  stated  to  be  as  high  as  10°,  and  from  that  to  11°  of  Fahrenheit,  which  is  more 
than  three  times  the  mean  daily  variation  at  Galle  arid  Colombo  ;  and  the  annual  range 
of  the  thermometer  from  36°  to  81°.  The  mean  annual  temperature  of  the  iiiaritime 
provinces  is  between  78°  and  80°,  according  to  the  only  data  I  possess,  but  as  they  are 
from  uncertain  sources,  I  think  Dr.  John  Davy’s  the  best  authority  upon  all  these  points, 
and  he,  from  practical  observation  during  his  residence  in  the  island  as  Physician  to 
the  Forces,  states  the  mean  annual  temperature  of  the  coast  at  between  79°  and  81° ; 
the  extreme  range  of  the  thermometer  between  68°  and  90°,  and  the  medium  range 
between  75°  and  85°. 

A  stranger  approaching  Ceylon  after  a  long  voyage  and  the  monotonous  prospect  of 
boundless  ocean,  during  which  the  imagination,  connecting  the  island  with  its  proximity 
to  the  equator,*  may  have  pictured  to  itself  nothing  but  barren  sand-hills,  parched 
trees,  and  sun-burnt  fields,  is  agreeably  surprised  at  the  first  view  of  a  verdant  island, 
whose  northern  and  north-eastern  coasts  are  belted  with  intermingled  palmyra  and 
coco-nut  palms,  and  its  southern  and  western  shores  covered  with  myriads  of  the  latter 
to  the  very  verge  of  the  sea. 

This  interesting  country  is  highly  favoured  with  continual  sea-breezes,  which  render 
its  hottest  parts  much  more  temperate  than  the  climate  of  Hindostan.  The  coolest 
season  is  during  the  prevalence  of  the  south-west  monsoon,  or  periodical  wind,  which 
sets  in  about  the  latter  part  of  April,  and  continues  till  the  end  of  October,  when  the 
sun  is  to  the  northward  of  the  equator.  The  change  of  the  monsoon  is  generally 
ushered  in  by  abundant  and  refreshing  rains,  which  continue  at  intervals,  more  or  less, 
for  ten  or  twelve  weeks.  The  north-east  monsoon  is  of  shorter  duration  ;  it  begins  in 
November,  and  prevails  till  March,  when  the  sun  is  to  the  southward  of  the  equator. 

*  The  difference  between  day  and  night  is  about  fifteen  minutes. 



It  is  also  attended  by  heavy  rains  in  the  northern  parts  of  the  island  :  and  both  mon¬ 
soons  bring  their  share  of  the  most  tremendous  thunder  and  vivid  lightning  that  the 
eye  of  man  has  ever  witnessed,  or  his  mind  conceived.  Nevertheless  the  occurrence 
of  fatal  accidents  during  a  thunder-storm,  when  contrasted  with  the  violence  with 
which  it  rages,  and  the  population  of  the  island,  bears  no  proportion  to  that  of  the 
casualties  from  lightning  in  more  northern  countries. 

Rowning,  in  his  natural  philosophy,  thus  explains  the  occasion  of  these  periodical 
winds  or  rponsoons  within  the  tropics.  “  When  the  sun  approaches  the  northern  tropic, 
there  are  several  countries,  as  Arabia,  Persia,  India,  &c.  which  become  hotter,  and  reflect 
more  heat  than  the  seas  beyond  the  equator  which  the  sun  has  left ;  the  winds,  there¬ 
fore,  instead  of  blowing  from  thence  to  the  parts  under  the  equator,  blow  the  contrary 
way  ;  and  when  the  sun  leaves  those  countries  and  draws  near  the  other  tropic,  the 
winds  turn  about  and  blow  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  compass.  At  the  time  of  the 
shifting  of  those  winds,  the  Indian  seas  are  very  subject  to  be  tempestuous,  and  the 
navigation  becomes  unsafe.” 

So  much  depends  upon  the  progress  of  agriculture,  that  the  climate  of  1838  may 
■be  altogether  changed  for  the  better  in  1841,  in  one  and  the  same  place.  As  this 
important  point  can  only  be  partially  ascertained  until  cultivation,  which  scarcely 
exceeds  one  fourth  of  its  superficies,  shall  have  been  extended  over  the  whole  island, 
it  is  but  fair  to  form  a  criterion  for  anticipations  of  the  ultimate  result,  by  that  which 
has  already  attended  it  in  places  where  it  has  superseded  densely-wooded  and  imper¬ 
vious  forests,  and  where  the  decomposition  of  vegetable  matter  had  continued  through 
countless  ages,  and  every  natural  impediment  was  opposed  to  evaporation ;  for  there 
has  not  been  an  instance  of  the  continuance  of  malaria  where  the  underwood  has 
been  thoroughly  cleared  ;  and  even  places  that  are  only  partially  cleared,  and  where 
sickness  was  a  few  years  back  prevalent  and  periodical,  are  become  comparatively 
salubrious.  Thus  if  a  judgment  may  be  formed  of  the  climate  of  the  future  whole, 
by  that  of  the  one  fourth  part  of  the  area  of  the  island  now  under  cultivation,  it  will 
be  impossible  for  a  healthier  to  be  found  in  any  part  of  the  habitable  globe  than  that 
to  which  Ceylon  may  then  justly  lay  claim. 

Taking  the  superficies  of  the  island  at  24,448  square  miles,  and  estimating  its  pre¬ 
sent  population  at  a  million  and  a  half,  the  product  would  give  about  sixty  in  round 
numbers  to  the  square  mile  ;  and  of  this  population,  the  number  employed  may  be 

set  down  at  the  maximum  as  follows : — 

In  agriculture . .' . 400,000 

In  manufactures .  55,000 

In  commerce .  45,000 


POPULATION  OF  CEYLON . 1,241,825. 

t  Excepting  the  Seven  Kories  Division,  where  no  Return  has  been  kept.  *  Excepting  the  Bintenn6  Division,  where  no  Return  has* been  kept. 

I  Excepting  the  Nuwerakalawiye  Division,  where  no  Return  has  been  kept. 


Existing  Slavery — The  Honorable  Sir  Alexander  Johnston,  Chief  Justice,  originates  the  preparatory  measure 
towards  the  abolition  of  slavery,  in  which  he  is  zealously  supported  by  His  Excellency  the  Governor — Address  of  the 
proprietors  of  domestic  slaves  to  His  Royal  Highness  the  Prince  Regent,  tendering  the  manumission  of  all  children 
born  of  their  slaves  on  and  after  His  Royal  Highness’s  birth-day  of  1816 — No  part  of  the  Parliamentary  grant  of 
£‘20,000,000  appropriated  to  the  Ceylon  slave  proprietors — Paternal  care  of  the  slaves  by  the  Ceylon  government — 
James  Sutherland,  Esq. — James  Nicholas  Mooyaart,  Esq. — Foreign  employes  in  the  civil  establishment — Extra¬ 
ordinary  results  of  their  peculations  and  perjuries — Degradation  of  the  service  and  loss  to  the  public — Consequences 
of  individual  comments  upon  the  measures  of  the  colonial  department,  in  re-employing  or  pensioning  convicted 
peculators — Number  of  female  children  of  slaves  enfranchised  by  the  government — Substance  of  the  provisions  of 
the  government  ordinance  for  the  more  efficient  registration  and  protection  of  slaves. 

That  Asiatic  Slavery  should  still  exist  in  Ceylon,  whilst  the  African  Negro  is  alto¬ 
gether  free  to  work  or  be  idle,  as  may  suit  his  purpose  or  his  inclination,  will  appear 
incredible  to  those  who  may  have  given  the  appropriation  of  the  twenty  millions 
sterling,  granted  by  Parliament  for  the  abolition  of  Slavery  in  the  British  Colonies, 
one  moment’s  consideration ; — nevertheless,  the  foregoing  Census  of  the  population 
of  the  island,  taken  in  the  year  1835,  exposes  the  real  state  of  the  case ;  the  number 
of  slaves  being  27,397,  including  14,108  males,  and  13,289  females. 

To  the  eternal  honor  of  the  humane  Dutch  and  native  proprietors  of  domestic 
slaves  in  the  Singhalese  districts  of  the  maritime  provinces,  Ceylon  was  the  first  and 
only  colony  under  the  British  flag  to  make  a  voluntary  concession  of  prospective  slave 
property  to  the  principle  upon  which  the  Imperial  legislature  subsequently  acted. — 
The  Honorable  the  Chief  Justice  (the  present  Right  Honorable  Sir  Alexander  John¬ 
ston)  had  only  to  suggest  a  plan  to  the  slave  proprietors,  to  have  it  adopted.  It  was 
not  merely  from  the  respect  in  which  the  community  held  Sir  Alexander,  for  his 
able,  just,  and  patient  exercise  of  the  power  attached  to  his  high  and  important 
office,  that  such  ready  deference  was  shown  to  his  philanthropic  recommendations, 
every  way  congenial  with  the  general  feeling  of  the  British  nation  and  the  best  inter¬ 
ests  of  humanity,  and  presenting  a  moral  basis  for  the  ultimate  abolition  of  slavery 
throughout  the  island,  but  because  they  loved  him  with  more  than  common  affection, 
for  his  general  humanity  and  charity,  and  zeal  for  the  welfare  of  them  all. 




The  cause  which  the  Chief  Justice  had  so  warmly  espoused,  found  a  strenuous 
supporter  in  His  Excellency  the  Governor,  the  late  General  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg, 
Bart.,  G.  C.  B. ;  and  the  principal  proprietors  of  domestic  slaves  amongst  the  Dutch 
inhabitants,  burghers,  and  native  castes  of  Colombo,  acting  upon  the  conviction 
that  the  Government  and  Parliament  of  the  United  Kingdom  took  a  warm  interest  in 
the  cause  of  those  branded  with  the  name  of  slaves,  and  of  the  moral  and  religious  obli¬ 
gation  of  commiserating  the  situation  of  that  unfortunate  class  of  their  fellow  creatures, 
unanimously  resolved  to  address  a  petition  to  His  Ptoyal  Highness,  the  then  Prince 
Regent,  (in  which  they  were  subsequently  joined  by  the  proprietors  of  domestic  slaves 
throughout  the  Singhalese  districts  of  the  maritime  provinces,)  declaratory  of  their 
determination  to  emancipate  all  children  born  of  their  sla\  es  on,  and  after.  His  Royal 
Highness’s  birth-day,  the  12th  of  August,  1816. 


Of  this  document,  so  every  way  worthy  of  being  recorded  upon  a  more  imperish¬ 
able  tablet  than  paper,  I  feel  both  pride  and  pleasure  in  submitting  a  copy  to  my 
readers ;  for  by  this  act  of  justice  to  the  petitioners,  I  also  confer  a  lasting  honor 
upon  my  own  pages. 




&.C.  &C.  &C. 

“  We  His  Majesty’s  loyal  subjects,  the  Dutch  inhabitants,  burghers,  and  native  castes 
of  the  maritime  settlements  in  the  island  of  Ceylon,  animated  with  sentiments  of  sin¬ 
cere  and  fervent  loyalty  towards  the  person  and  government  of  His  Majesty,  and  your 
Royal  Highness,  and  emulating  the  humane  and  disinterested  spirit  with  which  our 
fellow  subjects  in  the  United  Kingdom  have  moved  the  Legislature  in  favour  of  that 
unfortunate  class  of  beings,  placed  in  the  degraded  condition  of  slavery,  beg  leave  to 
approach  your  Royal  Highness  with  an  humble  tender  of  such  tribute,  on  our  parts,  in 
furtherance  of  the  same  benevolent  object,  as  our  circumstances  enable  us  to  afford. 

“  In  families  long  settled  in  this  island,  of  whatever  class,  the  household  .establish¬ 
ment  is  usually  so  much  dependent  on  the  sendee  of  slaves,  that  a  general  discharge 
of  those  persons  would  subject  the  inhabitants  to  privations,  losses,  and  expense,  such 
as  ordinary  prudence  forbids  us  to  encounter ;  at  the  same  time  we  have  reason  to 
know,  that  to  great  numbers  of  the  persons  now  in  our  houses  in  the  character  of 
slaves,  bred  up  under  our  roofs,  supported  for  a  course  of  years  with  kind  and  con¬ 
siderate  treatment  and  comfortable  subsistence,  many  of  them  far  advanced  in  life. 

J  V 

Voluntary  concession  of  the  prospective  rights  of  ownership.  19 

and  the  greater  part  established  in  habits  of  attachment,  a  general  emancipation  would 
withdraw  the  source  of  their  support,  without  advancing  their  happiness,  or  improving 
their  condition. 

“  We  therefore  humbly  incline,  both  in  consideration  to  them  and  to  ourselves,  to 
adopt  the  principle  sanctioned  by  the  wisdom  of  British  Legislation,  of  a  gradual 
abolition  ;  that  which  wre  beg  leave  to  offer,  being  indeed  gradual  in  its  progress,  but 
in  its  issue  certain  and  complete. 

“We  respectfully  and  dutifully  propose,  that  the  era  of  future  freedom  to  the  slaves 
of  this  colony  shall  take  its  commencement  on  the  auspicious  occasion  of  your  Royal 
Highness’s  birth-day,  the  12th  of  August  in  the  present  year  1816.  And  we  declare 
all  children  born  of  our  slaves,  from  that  date  inclusive,  to  be  free  persons. 

“  Some  incidental  provisions  will  be  perceived  to  be  necessary  with  regard  to  the 
support  and  tutelage  of  these  liberated  children  during  their  tender  years.  The  lead¬ 
ing  articles  of  enactment,  which  appear  expedient  for  this  purpose,  have  already  been 
indicated  in  Resolutions  conveyed  by  the  Honorable  the  Chief  Justice  for  the  infor¬ 
mation  of  His  Excellency  the  Governor ;  and  we  doubt  not  that  these  and  such  other 
regulations  as  may  be  found  calculated  to  place  the  intended  measure  on  a  footing 
of  mutual  comfort  to  the  emancipated  slaves  and  their  masters,  will  be  distinctly  and 
favourably  represented  by  His  Excellency,  and  receive  in  substance  the  gracious 
acceptance  and  confirmation  of  your  Royal  Highness.” 

(Signed  by  the  petitioners.) 

His  Royal  Highness’s  reception  of  this  petition  was  as  gracious  as  the  most  sanguine 
philanthropist  could  have  anticipated  from  the  enlightened  prince,  who,  “  Patriam, 
pro  patre,  regens,”  swayed  the  Imperial  sceptre  of  these  kingdoms  :  and  its  provi¬ 
sions,  having  been  confirmed  by  His  Royal  Highness,  took  effect  agreeably  to  the 
intentions  of  the  petitioners. 

At  that  period,  the  domestic  slaves  were  generally  much  happier  than  hired  ser¬ 
vants,  or  free  labourers,  whose  daily  wages  never  exceeded  sixpence  for  twelve  hours’ 
labour ;  but,  upon  what  moral  principle,  the  claims  of  the  proprietors  of  African  slaves 
should  have  been  considered  so  very  paramount  to  those  of  the  owners  of  Malabar 
slaves  in  Ceylon,  that  not  one  shilling  of  the  £20,000,000  could  find  its  way  nearer 
to  that  island  than  the  Mauritius,  no  one  has  hitherto  attempted  to  explain. 

Humanity  will  admit,  that  if  the  example  set  by  the  proprietors  of  domestic  slaves 
in  Ceylon  did  not  give  them  a  priority  of  claim,  in  point  of  justice,  over  those  of 
African  slaves,  their  voluntary  relinquishment  of  their  rights  of  ownership  over  the 

c  2 



issue  of  their  slaves  from  the  L2th  of  August,  1816,  had  at  least  entitled  them  to  an 
equitable  compensation  out  of  the  twenty  millions  of  the  public  money  voted  by 
Parliament  for  the  enfranchisement  of  colonial  slaves  : — but  these  philanthropic  indi¬ 
viduals,  instead  of  sharing  in  the  public  grant,  are  now  doubly  burthened  through 
their  own  humanity ;  for  by  slavery  continuing  until  death  shall  have  carried  off  the 
present  number  of  domestic  slaves,  they  are  bound  to  support  the  old  and  feeble,  and 
consequently  useless  individuals,  without  receiving  any  allowance  whatever  for  their 
maintenance ;  little  chance  of  obtaining  relief  by  selling  their  rights  as  owners,  because 
few  will  purchase  under  the  circumstances  ;  and  no  succession  of  service  to  anticipate 
from  the  offspring  of  the  slaves  whom  they  are  bound  to  maintain/ 

Ceylon  had  no  agent  in  Parliament  to  advocate  either  the  claims  of  its  slave  pro¬ 
prietors,  or  of  the  slaves  themselves ;  or,  surely,  the  noble  conduct  of  the  Dutch 
inhabitants,  burghers,  and  native  castes  of  Ceylon,  who  had  set  such  an  example  of 
humanity,  and  indeed  of  deference  to  the  call  of  the  nation,  would  not  only  not  have 
been  overlooked,  but  have  been  deemed  entitled  to  a  fair  and  adequate  compensation  ; 
and  the  Asiatic  slaves  of  Ceylon  to  an  equal  right  to  emancipation  with  their  African 
contemporaries  of  the  West  Indies  and  Mauritius. — For  the  sake  of  justice  to  the  one, 
and  of  humanity  to  the  other,  I  hope  it  is  not  even  yet  too  late  for  their  relative 
claims  to  be  considered  and  admitted  by  the  British  Legislature. 

But  whether  the  extinction  of  slavery  in  Ceylon  is  to  be  effected,  or  the  evil  to 
continue  for  an  indefinite  period,  every  benevolent  heart  will  rejoice  at  the  paternal 
care  manifested  towards  those  degraded  beings  by  the  local  government,  although 
it  may  have  overlooked  certain  rights  of  the  owners  in  dispensing  its  own  will  and 
pleasure  in  regard  to  their  slaves. 

The  first  enactment  of  a  Regulation  for  the  Registration  of  slaves  in  the  Malabar 
districts  of  the  island,  took  place  in  the  year  1806,  during  the  administration  of  His 
Excellency  the  late  Right  Honorable  Sir  Thomas  Maitland,  G.  C.  B. ;  and  so 
important  has  this  measure  been  considered  by  His  Excellency’s  successors  in  the 
government,  that  a  strict  attention  to  its  provisions  has  been  continued,  and  is 
still  enforced. 

During  the  administration  of  His  Excellency  the  late  General  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg, 
the  registration  of  slaves  was  attended  to  with  a  still  greater  surveillance  on  the  part 
of  the  government  than  at  any  former  period,  from  the  circumstance  of  its  being 
entered  into  with  all  the  ardour  of  personal  interest,  by  the  late  James  Sutherland, 
Esq.,  the  then  talented  superintendent,  as  deputy  secretary  to  government,  of  the 
home  and  judicial  department  of  the  Chief  Secretary’s  office. 


In  the  furtherance  of  this  important  measure,  Mr.  Sutherland  found  an  active  and 
able  coadjutor  in  James  Nicholas  Mooyaart,  Esq.,  the  humane  and  enlightened  fiscal 
of  Jaffna  at  that  period ;  who,  although  a  natural-born  subject  of  Holland,  has  since 
been  appointed  to  the  civil  service ;  in  which,  much  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  who  know 
him,  he  now  holds  a  high  and  lucrative  office. 

I  may,  perhaps,  be  allowed  to  digress,  for  a  moment,  from  the  direct  line  of  route 
I  had  sketched  for  myself,  to  remark,  that  it  would  have  been  a  wise  precaution,  if  the 
government  had  been  equally  as  select  in  all  its  other  appointments  of  foreigners,  in¬ 
cluding  the  Frenchman,  the  Greek,  the  Italian,  and  the  German :  for,  in  that  case,  the 
records  of  the  civil  establishment  of  Ceylon  would  not  have  exhibited  the  numerous 
pollutions,  which,  through  favoritism,  the  personal  convenience  of  former  Governors, 
and  the  impunity  with  which  private  interest  induced  the  then  noble  secretary  for  the 
colonies' to  allow  the  official  convicts  to  escape,  it  now  does. 

The  enormous  peculations,  and  subsequent  innumerable  peijuries,  committed  by 
these  foreign  employes,  (from  which  British  subjects  were  not,  I  regret  to  say,  alto¬ 
gether  exempt,)  with  a  view  to  conceal  their  repeated  breaches  of  official  trust,  with 
the  public  monies  under  their  charge,  were  either  allowed  to  be  committed  with  im¬ 
punity,  or,  if  such  total  destitution  of  public  duty  and  private  principle  did  temporarily 
subject  them,  after  discovery  and  conviction,  to  the  displeasure  of  the  Right  Honorable 
Lord,  who  then  held  the  seals  of  the  colonial  department,  it  was  either  followed, 
through  private  influence,  by  restoration  to  the  service,  to  secure  a  pension,  or 
employment,  with  an  increase  of  salary,  (to  <£2000  a  year  in  two  instances,)  in 
defiance  of  the  recorded  judgment  of  the  Governor  in  council ;  but  if  an  un¬ 
fortunate  critic  of  such  measures  of  encouragement  to  official  villainy,  gave  vent 
to  his  opinions,  even  while  dispensing  hospitality  at  his  own  table,  it  was  sure 
of  repetition,  at  “  Head  Quarters,”  by  some  “  China  carrier  ”  or  other  ;  and  Homer’s 
truism,  “He  who  has  the  power  will  have  the  revenge,”  exemplified,  as  a  matter 
of  course ! 

To  return  to  the  subject  of  slavery:  —  The  government  has  enfranchised  about 
three  thousand  five  hundred  female  children  of  slaves  within  the  last  twenty  one  years, 
and  the  number  of  adult  slaves  who  have  purchased  their  own  manumission,  may  be 
estimated  in  round  numbers  at  a  thousand,  including  male  children  :  but  the  Malabar 
slaves  do  not  now  show  so  much  anxiety,  as  formerly,  to  become  free.  This  may 
arise  from  their  increased  value,  since  their  owners  manifested  such  great  objections 
to  the  government  system  of  compelling  them  to  accept  whatever  sums  the  arbitrators 
might  fix  for  the  manumission  of  adult  slaves  at  their  own  cost ;  and  the  consequent 



amelioration  of  the  condition  of  these  unfortunate  beings  may  have  reconciled  them 
to  a  quiescent  submission  to  their  fate. 

In  the  year  1837,  the  government  extended  the  Registration  of  slaves,  (which  by  the 
former  Regulations,  and  prior  to  the  acquisition  of  the  Kandyan  kingdom,  had  been 
limited  to  the  maritime  provinces,)  throughout  the  island,  by  an  Ordinance  of  the 
Governor,  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Legislative  Council,  of  which  the 
following  is  the  substance. 

“  1.  The  registration  by  proprietors  or  persons  in  charge  of  slaves  in  parts  of  the 
island  of  Ceylon  to  which  former  Regulations  did  not  extend,  of  the  name,  age,  sex, 
and  description  of  their  several  slaves  in  the  register  of  the  District  Court,  before  the 
first  day  of  July,  1838. 

“  2.  The  notification  of  the  death  of  a  registered  slave,  or  of  the  birth  of  a  child 
of  a  slave,  within  eight  days  after  the  event,  to.  the  Secretary  of  the  District  Court  ; 
and  if  the  mother  of  the  child  whose  birth  is  so  reported,  have  not  previously  been 
registered  in  that  District,  the  proprietor  or  person  in  charge  to  produce  a  certificate 
'  of  the  last  registry  of  such  mother. 

“  3.  Upon  the  acquisition  of  any  registered  slave,  whether  by  purchase,  gift,  legacy, 
inheritance  or  otherwise,  the  person  acquiring  the  same,  or  his  or  her  agent,  to  give 
notice  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Court  of  the  District  in  which  such  proprietor  or  agent 
resides,  within  eight  days  ;  and  if  the  slave  had  not  previously  been  registered  in  that 
District,  to  produce  a  certificate  of  the  last  registry. 

“  4.  The  Secretary  of  the  District  Court,  within  forty  eight  hours  (exclusive  of  Sun¬ 
days  and  Holidays)  after  the  receipt  of  notice  of  the  birth,  death,  or  acquisition  of  a 
slave,  and  on  production  of  the  certificate  required  in  the  two  preceding  clauses,  to 
register  the  same  ;  and  if  the  slave  whose  death,  or  the  mother  of  the  slave  whose 
birth  is  reported,  or  the  slave  reported  to  have  been  acquired,  had  not  previously  been 
registered  in  that  District,  to  transmit,  within  forty  eight  hours  of  such  notice,  a  full 
report  of  particulars,  to  the  Secretary  of  the  District  Court  in  which  the  slave  had 
been  registered. 

“  5.  Certificates  of  registry  to  be  issued  by  the  Secretary  of  the  District  Court  to 
persons  making  such  registry  (unless  in  cases  of  reasonable  cause  for  delay)  within 
twenty  four  hours  (exclusive  of  Sundays  and  Hobdays)  after  the  application  ;  and  in 
the  absence  of  the  Secretary,  the  District  Judge  to  order  the  certificates  to  be  prepared 
and  issued  by  some  other  Officer  of  his  Court. 

<f  6.  The  certificates  to  be  written  upon  a  stamp  of  one  shilbng,  if  appbed  for  within 
three  months  after  registration,  and  of  five  shillings  at  any  subsequent  period,  at  the 



expense  of  the  slave  owner  or  holder ;  and  from  and  after  the  said  first  day  of  July, 
1838,  no  Court  to  consider  any  person  a  slave  unless  a  certificate  of  the  last  registry 
be  produced. 

“  7.  A  registered  slave  to  be  furnished  by  the  Secretary  of  the  District  Court  with 
a  copy  of  the  registry  within  twenty  four  hours  (exclusive  of  Sundays  and  Holidays) 
after  application,  free  of  all  charge. 

“  8.  A  proprietor  or  person  in  charge  of  a  slave  failing  to  comply  with  the  pro¬ 
visions  of  the  said  Ordinance,  is  liable  to  the  following  penalties,  viz. — For  failing  to 
enregister  any  slave  as  required  by  the  first  clause,  or  acquisition  of  any  slave,  or  birth 
of  any  child  of  a  slave,  within  the  periods  prescribed,  the  forfeiture  of  all  right  in  any 
slave  or  child  not  registered,  and  all  the  children  of  such  slave  if  a  female,  who  are 
declared  'enfranchised ;  and  for  omitting  to  notify  the  death  of  any  slave,  a  fine  not 
exceeding  five  pounds,  one  half  thereof  to  the  informer ;  and  in  all  cases  the  Defendant 
to  prove  his  compliance  with  the  provisions  of  the  said  Ordinance  :  and  the  penalties 
it  imposes  to  be  over  and  above  all  such  punishment  as  may  by  law  be  inflicted,  or  civil 
damages  for  detaining  free  persons  in  slavery  or  selling  them  as  slaves. 

“  9.  The  Secretary  of  a  District  Court  neglecting  or  refusing  to  comply  with  the 
provisions  of  the  said  Ordinance,  is  liable  to  a  fine  not  exceeding  ten  pounds. 

“  10.  Any  person  claiming  to  register  any  slave  under  the  first  clause  of  the  said 
Ordinance,  to  bring  such  slave  openly  before  the  District  Court  on  the  day  of  registra¬ 
tion  ;  and  the  Judge  to  put  such  questions  to  the  person  claiming  to  enregister,  or 
the  person  to  be  registered,  as  he  may  think  necessary  to  satisfy  himself  that  the  said 
person  is  actually  the  person  intended  to  be  registered,  and  cause  it  to  be  explained  to 
the  said  person  that  he  is  alleged  to  be  a  slave  ;  and  further  compare  the  slave  with 
the  description  given  for  the  purpose  of  registration,  and  sign  his  name  in  the  original 
register  opposite  to  the  slave’s  name  and  in  the  proper  column,  in  token  that  the  said 
person  agrees  with  the  description  ;  and  a  copy  of  each  register  of  a  slave,  and  of  any 
alteration  thereof,  to  be  translated  into  the  native  language  of  the  District  and 
placed  in  a  conspicuous  place  at  the  Court  House  for  three  months  after  such 

“11.  The  forms  of  registers  and  certificates  to  be  according  to  the  Schedules  an¬ 
nexed  to  the  said  Ordinance,  and  a  correct  transcript  of  each  registry  to  be  transmitted 
byr  the  District  Judge  of  the  District  to  the  Colonial  Secretary’s  Office  immediately 
after  the  said  first  day  of  July,  1838,  and  of  all  new  entries  or  alterations  in  the 
registers  for  every  three  months  subsequent  thereto  to  be  also  sent  to  the  Colonial 
Secretary’s  Office  within  one  month  after  the  termination  of  each  quarter. 



“  12.  Any  person  making  a  false  report  to  the  Secretary  of  a  District  Court,  or 
bringing  any  person  not  being  the  person  intended  to  be  registered,  with  a  view  to 
make  a  false  or  fraudulent  registry,  or  any  person  wilfully  making  any  false  entry  in 
the  original  registry  or  in  the  transcripts  thereof  for  the  Colonial  Secretary’s  Office, 
or  fraudulently  erasing  or  altering  such  entry,  or,  being  an  Officer  duly  authorised  to 
issue  extracts  from  the  same,  issuing  any  false  or  fraudulent  paper  purporting  to  be  an 
extract  therefrom,  to  be  deemed  to  be  guilty  of  a  misdemeanour. 

“  13.  Every  proprietor  or  person  in  charge  of  a  slave  to  be  held  liable  to  support 
every  sick  or  infirm  slave  registered  as  his  property  or  in  his  charge,  and  the  District 
Court,  on  application  by  or  on  behalf  of  any  such  sick  or  infirm  slave,  to  ascertain  the 
truth  of  such  complaint,  and  to  make  such  order  as  it  shall  deem  fit  for  the  due 
support  of  such  slave,  or  medical  assistance  to  such  slave,  at  the  cost  of  the  owner  or 
person  in  charge,  to  be  recovered  from  him  by  distress  on  his  property. 

“  14.  Within  three  months  after  the  termination  of  three  years  from  the  closing  of 
the  register  directed  by  the  said  Ordinance  to  be  opened  in  each  District,  or  within 
three  months  after  the  termination  of  three  years  from  the  registry  of  the  birth  or 
acquisition  of  a  slave,  according  to  the  circumstances  of  the  case,  and  thereafter  in 
like  manner  trienially,  every  proprietor  or  person  in  charge  of  a  slave  to  take  out  from 
the  District  Court  a  renewed  certificate  of  the  registry  of  such  slave,  upon  a  stamp  of 
one  shilling,  at  the  cost  of  the  proprietor  or  person  in  charge  of  such  slave ;  and  prior 
to  the  issue  thereof,  each  slave  for  whom  such  renewed  certificate  is  claimed  to  be 
taken  out  to  be  brought  before  the  District  Court,  when  the  registry  is  to  be  examined, 
and  such  questions  put  as  the  Court  shall  deem  necessary  to  satisfy  itself  that  the  per¬ 
son  before  the  Court  is  the  person  registered ;  and  the  District  Judge  to  enter  in  the 
register,  the  date  of  such  slave  appearing  before  the  Court,  and  such  alteration  of  the 
description  of  such  slave  as  he  shall  find  necessary,  and  affix  his  initials  thereto  ;  and 
where  the  proprietor  or  person  in  charge  of  a  slave  shall  omit  to  take  out  a  renewed 
certificate  of  registry,  such  slave  to  be  declared  absolutely  free ;  provided,  that  such 
neglect  shall  not  exonerate  the  owner  or  holder  from  the  obligation  to  maintain 
any  sick  or  infirm  slave  to  which  he  is  liable  by  the  said  Ordinance ;  and  such 
renewed  certificates  of  registry  shall  be  issued  in  like  manner  as  certificates  of 
original  registry.” 


Facilities  of  irrigation — Culture  of  Rice  very  inadequate  to  the  consumption — Classification  of  Rivers — Mavuli- 
Ganga,  Kalane-Ganga,  Kalu-Ganga,  Wallewe-Ganga — Analysis  of  their  waters — Second-rate  Rivers,  Maha-Oya, 
Parapa-Oya,  Dedroo-Oya,  Navil-Aar — Inferior  Streams — Mountains — Lakes  or  Tanks  of  Padeviel-Kolom,  Kan- 
delle,  and  Miner  e — Suggestions  for  the  introduction  of  Hindoo  Agriculturists  from  the  Peninsula  of  India — Ralph 
Backhouse,  Esq. — His  description  of  the  Kandelle  Lake — Singhalese  King  Maha-Sen,  A.  D.  275 — Dedication  <j 
Lands  to  Temples — Oppressive  system  of  Rajah-Karia,  or  royal  service,  abolished  by  Lord  Viscount  Goderich,  His 
Majesty's  principal  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  in  1832 — Suggestions  for  the  restoration  of  the  ancient  tanks 
— Duties  upon  paddee  fields  and  coco-nut  topes — Amount  paid  for  rice  to  French  colonies  in  1840 — Suggestions  to 
Her  Majesty's  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  far  a  general  sui-vey  of  temple  and  other  lands  adapted  to  the  cul¬ 
ture  of  rice — Caution  as  to  the  reports  made  by  natives — Suggestions  for  the  non-removal  of  provincial  agents. 

The  means  of  irrigation  are  boundless ;  for  the  island  being  intersected  in  almost 
every  direction  by  perennial  mountain  streams,  every  facility  is  afforded  by  nature  for 
the  formation  of  canals,  where  they  do  not  yet  exist ;  and  where  these  may  not  be 
practicable,  for  the  formation  of  tanks  and  reservoirs,  and  the  restoration  of  many 
ancient  ones,  that  are  capable  of  being  repaired. 

These  cover  an  immense  area,  sufficient  for  the  inundation  of  hundreds  of  thousands 
of  acre§  for  the  cultivation  of  rice,  by  which  the  island,  instead  of  being,  as  it  is  now, 
partly  dependent  upon  extraneous  supplies  of  that  staff  of  life  to  the  native  inhabi¬ 
tants,  may  again  become  one  of  the  principal  granaries  of  India,  and,  as  in  the  year 
1639,*  supply  the  whole  coast  of  Coromandel  from  the  surplus  of  its  produce. 

A  chief  river  is  locally  styled  Ganga,  but  this  term  is  indiscriminately  applied  to 
streams  of  minor  importance  ;  a  second-rate  river,  Oya. 

Of  the  former,  the  principal  is  the  Mavali-Ganga,f  which  river  has  its  source  in  the 
mountainous  region  of  Neuwara-Eliya,  flows  through  part  of  the  Kotmale  district, 
where  it  is  called  the  Kotmale-Ganga,  and  washing  the  capital  of  the  interior,  Kandy, 
the  Muragramum  of  the  ancient  Romans,  rapidly  descends  through  the  plains  of  the 
district  of  Bintenne,  and  part  of  the  savage  country  called  Vedahratte,  about  thirty  five 

*  Mandelsloh’s  Travels  into  the  Indies,  book  ii.  page  115. 

f  According  to  Chambers’s  account  of  the  Tamul  language,  the  Tamulians  (or  Malabars)  having  no  h  in  then 
alphabet,  are  under  a  necessity  of  shortening  the  Sanscrit  wor4  Maha,  great,  and  write  it  Ma.  They  are  obliged 
also  for  a  similar  reason  to  substitute  a  v  for  a  b  in  Sanscrit  words  or  other  foreign  originals  that  begin  with  that 
letter.  Hence  the  Mavali-Ganga,  which  waters  the  eastern  side  of  Ceylon,  where  the  Tamulic  prevails,  has  pro¬ 
bably  taken  its  name  from  Bali,  the  famour  hero  of  Hindoo  romance,  and  Ganga,  one  of  the  Indian  goddesses 
of  the  waters,  who  is  painted  as  a  beautiful  woman  walking  upon  a  river,  and  bearing  in  each  hand  a  flower  of  the 
Nympheea  Lotos. J — Ganga  is  described  as  having  sprung,  like  the  armed  Pallas  of  the  Romans,  from  the  head 
of  Indra,  the  Indian  Jupiter. 




miles  from  Kandy,  where  its  fall  is  calculated  at  from  900  to  1000  feet,  and  receiving 
in  its  way  various  tributary  streams,  meanders  through  a  dry  and  almost  level  country, 
whence  it  diverges  into  several  branches ;  and  finally  forming  a  delta  of  the  district 
of  Kottiaar,  the  northern  branch,  which  is  there  called  the  Kotti-Aar,  debouches  at 
the  bay  of  that  name,  and  the  southern  branch  between  the  ports  of  Trincomale  and 
Batticaloa,  on  the  east  side  of  the  island,  where  it  is  called  the  Virgel-Ganga. 

That  the  Mavali-Ganga  may  be  made  navigable,  and  of  boundless  utility  to  the  in¬ 
ferior,  by  means  of  locks,  there  can ’scarcely  exist  a  doubt ;  and  as  cultivation  extends, 
and  additional  means  are  required  for  transporting  the  increased  quantity  of  produce 
to  a  port  of  export,  it  will  become  a  matter  of  general  importance  to  the  country. 
But  so  long  a  period  must  elapse  before  there  would  be  a  return  for  capital  employed, 
that  it  would  be  nothing  less  than  madness  for  private  speculation  to  attempt  it. 
Whether  made  navigable  or  not,  there  is  nothing  to  prevent  the  agriculturist  from 
turning  the  waste  waters  of  this  splendid  river  to  the  advantageous  irrigation  of  the 
valuable  lands  through  which  it  meanders. 

In  the  rainy  season  the  Mavali-Ganga  has  been  known  to  rise  sixty  feet  above  its 
usual  level  at  Paradenia,  near  Kandy,  in  the  course  of  a  few  hours,  overflowing  the 
road  to  Colombo,  which  could  only  be  traversed  in  boats. 

The  second  river  in  magnitude,  but  chief  in  point  of  importance,  is  the  Kalane- 
Ganga,  which  derives  its  name  from  a  very  ancient  city,  called  Kalane,  whose  sovereign, 
Kalanetissa,  is  said  to  have  flourished  about  250  or  260  B.  C.,*  but  the  date  of  his 
reign  is  not  definitively  ascertained.  Kalane,  now  a  mere  village,  has  a  celebrated 
temple,  and  its  banks  are  washed  by  this  stream,  whidh  rises  in  the  mountains  of  Saff- 
ragam,  near  Hamalell  or  Adam’s  Peak,  in  the  southern  province ;  but  it  only  takes 
that  name  at  the  confluence  of  the  Maskelli-Ganga  and  Kehelgamua-Ganga,  whose 
united  waters  form  the  Kalane-Ganga,  at  Weraloo-Ella,  and  debouches  at  Modera, 
about  four  miles  north  of  the  fort  of  Colombo,  where  it  is  called  the  Mutwaal  river  ;  but 
a  bar  of  sand  at  the  entrance  occasionally  acts  as  effectually  as  a  dam,  and  greatly 
increases  the  width  of  the  river,  which  is  crossed  at  Pasbetal,  on  the  northern  road, 
by  a  bridge  of  boats. 

The  third  is  the  Kaltura  river,  called  by  the  Singhalese  Kalu-Ganga,f  and  Setagon- 
gola-Oya  at  its  source,  about  4000  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  in  the  mountain  called 

*  Tumour’s  Epitome  of  Singhalese  History. 

+  From  Kalu,  black,  and  Ganga,  river,  owing  to  the  deep  shade  over  its  waters,  which, — 

“  Darkened  by  their  native  scenes. 

Create  wild  images,  and  phantoms  dire. 

Strange  as  their  hills,  and  gloomy  as  their  storms.” 



Adam’s  Peak,  and  flowing  past  Battugeddera  and  Ratnapora,  (where,  in  the  rainy  season, 
it  has  been  known  to  rise  twenty  five  feet  above  its  usual  level,  in  the  course  of  a  few 
hours ;)  and  receiving  several  tributary  streams,  rapidly  descends  to  Kaltura,  and  joins 
the  sea  through  a  narrow  channel  formed  by  two  sand  banks. 

The  Wallewe-Ganga  is  the  fourth  ;  but  of  much  less  importance  than  either  of  the 
former,  and  a  bar  of  sand  forms  a  dam  at  its  extremity,  except  during  the  rainy  season, 
when  it  rises  full  twenty  feet  above  its  usual  level.  At  other  times  it  is  almost  every¬ 
where  fordable,  from  about  half  a  mile  above  the  ferry  at  the  village  of  Wanderope, 
(which  is  about  two  miles  from  the  sea,)  to  its  source  in  the  mountains  of  Ouva,  in 
the  southern  province. 

These  mountain  springs  form  the  grand  drains  of  the  high  lands  of  the  interior, 
and  are  remarkable  for  their  purity,  differing  only  from  rain  water  in  containing  slight 
traces  of  muriate  of  soda,  or  common  salt,  or  of  vegetable  matter,  and  occasionally 
of  carbonat  of  lime  and  suspened  clay.*  But  nevertheless  the  natives  residing  noon 
the  banks  of  the  Wallewe-Ganga,  will  not  even  bathe  in  that  river  during  the  rany 
season,  on  account  of  the  quantity  of  decomposing  vegetable  matter  carried  down  by 
the  stream,  rendering  not  only  the  water  but  the  air  unwholesome,  and  producing 
jungle  fever  if  drunk  or  bathed  in.  Perhaps  this  very  circumstance  may  be  one  cause 
of  the  great  salubrity  of  the  interior,  by  washing  the  dead  and  putrifying  vegetable 
matter  from  the  surface,  and  preventing  its  accumulation. 

Of  the  second-rate  rivers,  by  which  the  country  between  the  mountains  and  the  low 
lands,  as  well  as  the  latter,  are  drained,  the  Kaymel  river,  as  it  is  called  at  its  mouth 
in  the  western  province,  and  Maha-Oya  at  its  source  and  intermediate  meanderings,  is 
the  most  important.  The  next  are  the  Parapa-Oya,  which  has  its  source  to  the  east 
ward  of  the  mountains  of  Ouva,  and  flowing  past  the  Hindoo  temple  of  Kattregam. 
enters  the  sea,  under  the  name  of  the  Yalle  river,  in  the  southern  province  ;  the  Chi  lav 
river,  called  also  Dedroo-Oya  in  the  interior,  which  debouches  at  Chilaw  in  the  western 
province  ;  and  the  Navil-Aar,  which  rises  in  the  mountains  of  Bintenne,  and  debouches 
between  Karetivoe  and  Singharetopoe  in  the  eastern  province. 

The  other  streams  which  have  their  sources  and  flow  into  the  sea  on  the  east  side 
of  the  island  are  the  Waroewekale-Aar,  Nay-Aar,  Kokele-Aar,  Malekante-Aar,  Irikante- 
Aar,  Virgel-Aar  and  Virgel-Ganga,  the  latter  being  the  largest  stream,  and  both  rivers 
merely  branches  of  the  Mavali-Ganga ;  Pannitchicanie-Ganga,  also  a  branch  of  the 
Mavali-Ganga ;  Bampore  or  Nallore-Aar,  Batticaloa  river,.  Viriadi-Aar,  Periekel-Aai; 
Mootoe-Aar,  (a  branch  of  the  Navil-Aar,)  Aroekgam-Aar,  and  Konokan-Aar. 

*  By  Dr.  John  Davy’s  analysis. 


T  he  rivers  which  disembogue  on  the  western  side  of  the  island  are  the  Mandekal- 
Aar,  Pali-Aar,  Perie-Aar,  Kambotokke-Aar,  Awarie-Aar,  Kal-Aar,  Marchikatte-Aar, 
Pomparipo-Aar,  W ellikar-Aar,  Pantura-Oya,  and  Bentotte-Oya  (a  branch  of  the 
M  apelgam-Ganga),  which  rises  in  the  Saffragam  mountains. 

Several  streams  which  also  branch  from  the  Mapelgam-Ganga,  debouche  at  Bailepitie- 
Modera,  Amblamgodde,  Hiccode,  Dodandewe,  and  Gindurah,  as  well  as  the  Matura, 
Tangalle,  Ranne,  Yalle  (a  branch  of  the  Parapa-Oya),  and  Kirinde  rivers  in  the 
southern  province. 

The  mountains,  from  whence  these  perennial  streams  derive  their  sources,  are  not 
situate  in  the  middle  of  the  island,  as  many  imagine,  from  the  circumstance  of  that 
part  of  it  being  called  Kandy,  or  Highlands,  from  the  Singhalese  word  Kandi,  high, 
but  between  the  parallels  of  6°  40'  and  7°  40’  of  north  latitude,  about  the  middle 
of  the  southern  half  of  it. 

Lieut.  Colonel  Fraser,  the  Deputy  Quarter  Master  General  to  the  Forces  in  Ceylon, 
ascertained  the  height  of  the  principal  highlands  by  geometrical  operations ;  the  fol¬ 
lowing  is  the  ascending  scale  of  elevation  of  the  several  mountains  in  English  feet. 
At  given  by  that  highly  respected  and  gallant  officer. 

The  highest  point  in  the  road  leading  through  the  Kadooganawa  pass,  1731  feet;  this 
was  ascertained  by  levelling ;  the  hill  above  Mattan  Pattanna,  3192  feet ;  Alloogalle 
near  Amoonapoorre,  3440  ;  Amboolluawa  near  Gampalla,  3540 ;  Oorragalle  the  rocky 
ndge  of  Hantanne  to  the  southward  of  the  town,  4380 ;  Hoonasagiria  peak,  4990  ; 
Diatatawe,  near  Hangorankette ,  5030  ;  the  Knuckles,  a  part  of  the  same  chain  of 
mountains  as  the  Homasagiria  peak,  6180  ;  plain  of  Neuwara-Eliya,  6210 ;  Kammoona- 
koole  near  Badula,  6740;  plain  of  Wilmanie,  6990;  Adam's  Peak ,  7420;  Totapella, 
7720 ;  Kirigalpatta,  7810 ;  and  Pedrotallagala  close  to  the  Rest  House  of  Neuwara- 
Eliya,  the  highest  land  in  Ceylon,  8280  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea.  This  proves 
that  the  far-famed  Adam’s  Peak,  heretofore  described  as  the  highest  of  the  Ceylon 
mountains,  holds  only  the  fourth  rank  in  point  of  altitude. 

According  to  the  author  already  cited,  and  whose  analysis  may  be  relied  on,  the 
difference  between  the  water  of  the  smaller  rivers  and  that  of  the  mountain  springs 
consists  in  their  containing,  with  the  exception  of  the  suspened  clay,  larger  propor¬ 
tions  of  common  salt,  carbonat  of  lime,  and  of  vegetable  matter. 

But  these  are  not  the  only  means  of  irrigation  that  the  island  possesses ;  for  its  artifi¬ 
cial  lakes  or  tanks,  in  repair  or  capable  of  being  repaired,  may  be  called  innumerable. 

Of  the  most  ancient  and  extensive,  those  of  Padeviel-Kolom  in  the  northern,  and 
of  Kandelle  and  Minere  in  the  eastern  province,  are  deservedly  the  chief  objects  of 



the  traveller’s  attention  ;  and  it  is  to  be  hoped,  that  at  no  very  distant  period  the 
government  of  the  country,  if  individual  speculators  will  not,  will  set  a  proper  estimate 
upon  their  value  and  importance ;  and  by  restoring  them  to  their  pristine  efficiency, 
induce  Hindoo  agriculturists  from  the  peninsula  of  India  to  settle  in  this  part  of  Ceylon. 
The  agriculture  of  the  country  will  soon  recover  its  former  wholesome  state  of  vigorous 
usefulness,  and  the  island  once  more  become  independent  of  other  countries  for  rice,  and 
an  exporter  of  the  surplus  of  its  produce  of  that  prime  necessary  of  native  consumption. 

According  to  the  late  Mr.  Ralph  Backhouse’s  description  to  me  of  the  lakes  of 
Kandelle  and  Minere,  both  of  which  he  visited,  as  well  as  the  ancient  capital  of 
Anaradahpoora,  between  the  years  1820  and  1822,  at  which  period  he  was  collector 
(synonymous  with  government  agent)  of  the  district  of  Manaar,  the  extent  of  the 
former  was  fifteen  miles  in  circumference  ;  but  as  upon  this  point  authors  differ  greatly, 
one  making  it  three  or  four  miles,  and  another  twenty  miles,  perhaps  Mr.  Backhouse 
was  governed  by  his  own  ideas  of  extent  and  distance  in  judging  of  its  superficies. — 
Mr.  Backhouse  however  measured  the  height  and  length  of  the  embankment,  which 
rested  upon  solid  rock  at  one  extremity,  and  upon  an  artificial  mound  of  earth  at  the 
other,  and  found  the  former  22  feet,  the  latter  11  furlongs,  and  the  base  180  feet. 

However  greatly  inferior  in  size  the  Kandelle  tank  to  that  of  Minere,  its  construction 
affords  proofs,  by  the  hewn  blocks  of  rock  composing  its  solid  wall,  of  the  superior 
skill  in  the  art  of  masonry  which  the  ancient  inhabitants  of  the  country  possessed, 
and  almost  everywhere  displayed  in  their  public  works.  The  lake  is  environed  with 
extensive  and  verdant  plains,  capable  of  affording  pasturage  to  many  thousands  of 
cattle,  o’*  for  an  unlimited  cultivation  of  paddee,*  and  the  neighbourhood  has  almost 
inexhaustible  resources  in  timber  trees  of  great  bulk,  adapted  for  every  useful  and 
domestic  purpose  of  construction  and  ornament. — Kandelle  is  situate  in  the  Tamblegam 
district,  in  the  eastern  province,  and  about  thirty  miles  S.  W.  of  Trincomale. 

The  lake  of  Minere  is  about  the  same  distance  and  bearings  from  that  of  Kandelle, 
and  in  the  district  of  T ambankadewe.  also  in  the  eastern  province.  The  country 
between  them  is  diversified  with  woods  and  plains,  which  latter  are  in  some  parts 
inundated  during  the  rainy  season.  The  tank  of  Minere  is  twenty  miles  in  circum¬ 
ference,  surrounded  with  marshy  lands,  capable  of  a  very  extensive  cultivation  of  rice, 
and  having  abundant  forests  of  the  most  valuable  timber  trees  in  their  vicinity. 

These  lakes  were  formerly  connected  by  an  aquaduct ;  and  there  is  a  connexion 
between  that  of  Kandelle  and  the  Mavali-Ganga  by  what  may  be  called  the  western 
branch  of  the  Virgel-Ganga,  and  with  that  of  Minere  by  the  western  branch  of  the 

*  Rice  in  the  husk,  or  state  of  culture. 



same  river,  there  called  the  Kotti-Aar.  There  are  but  very  few  inhabitants  occupying 
the  village  of  Minere. 

These  lakes,  together  with  that  of  Padeviel-Kolom  in  the  northern  province,  are 
the  chief  of  that  denomination  in  the  island  ;  but  Singhalese  history  affirms  that  there 
were  at  one  time  above  200,000  artificial  tanks  in  Ceylon  ;  and  that  the  immense 
work  called  the  lake  or  tank  of  Minere,  or  Mennairia,  was  formed  in  the  reign  of  the 
Singhalese  king,  Maha-Sen,  whose  capital  was  Anaradahpoora,  (now  a  mere  village,) 
in  the  year  of  Christ  275,  and  of  Buddha  818 ;  and  that,  by  means  of  dams,  the  stream 
of  the  Kara-Ganga  was  turned  into  it.* 

To  this  king,  the  same  orthodox  authority  attributes  the  formation  of  sixteen  other 
tanks,  and  of  the  Tallawattuella  canal,  by  which  20,000  paddee  fields  were  formed 
and  dedicated  to  the  temple  of  Danawetta,  whereby  the  fields  got  the  name  of  Dan - 
talawe,  (synonymous  with  Gantalawe,  which  signifies  a  voluntary  gift  to  temples,)  and 
are  now  called  Kandelle. 

Though  the  sovereign  was  considered  to  have  been  originally  the  sole  landlord, 
extensive  lands  belonged  to  lay  individuals  and  to  the  priesthood.  Temple  lands  were 
chiefly  royal  donatives  ;  and  we  may  infer  that  the  same  were  originally  granted  by  the 
king  for  signal  services  to  the  state.  It  is  true  that  they  might  become  retainers  to 
the  crown  or  to  the  temples  ;  but,  as  the  latter  service  was  less  oppressive,  and  held 
out  spiritual  consolation,  they  generally  dedicated  their  lands  to  the  vihare  in  prefer¬ 
ence  to  the  rajah. 

When  lands  had  thus  been  consecrated  to  the  temple,  the  donor  received  protection, 
and  pledged  himself  to  perform  certain  personal  services.  In  cases  where  lands  were 
dedicated  to  temples  by  rajahs,  the  services  to  be  rendered  by  cultivators  of  the  soil, 
were  minutely  detailed  in  inscriptions  upon  stone,  still  extant,  and  even  upon  .solid 
rocks,  near  the  temples  to  which  such  lands  were  appropriated  by  the  rajah  or  king. 

Temple  lands  are  free  frem  Rajah-Karia,  or  royal  service  ;  and  that  duty,  which  in 
the  king’s  villages  was  paid  to  the  king,  was  then  paid  to  the  temple.  This  ancient 
system  may  be  traced  to  have  obtained  antecedently  to  the  Christian  era. 

Forced  labour  however  no  longer  exists,  either  under  the  name  of  Rajah-Karia,  oi 
any  other  definition  ;  but  it  is  almost  incredible  that  Englishmen,  naturally  jealous 
of  their  own  rights,  could  have  really  desired  the  continuance  of  the  feudal  oppressions, 
which  Lord  Viscount  Goderich  took  the  best  means  of  removing,  root  and  branch, 
from  the  Singhalese  nation,  by  an  order  in  council,  which  abolished  personal  service, 
or  forced  and  unpaid  labour,  and  placed  them  upon  equal  privileges  with  ourselves, 

*  Tumour’s  Epitome  of  Singhalese  History. 



their  fellow  men  and  fellow  subjects ;  and  yet  this  glorious  act  of  the  most  consummate 
and  benevolent  policy  was  condemned  by  many  in  the  colony  ! 

The  restoration  of  the  ancient  tanks  would  certainly  be  a  work  of  time ;  and  as 
cultivation  only  could  be  the  result  of  that  elementary  measure,  the  settler  would 
naturally  look  to  the  Government  for  assistance  in  carrying  the  latter  into  effect,  for 
he  would  hesitate  to  make  any  considerable  outlay  where  the  prospective  advantages 
were  so  very  distant.  By  holding  out  adequate  encouragement  by  a  guarantee  of 
certain  immunities  and  privileges  for  a  fixed  period,  the  principal  of  which  should  be 
the  grant  of  lands  free  of  taxes  for  a  certain  number  of  years,  (but  charging  a  water 
rate  upon  lands  deriving  benejit  from  the  repaired  tanks,)  and  further  that  the  extension 
of  such  term  should  be  made  proportionate  to  the  increase  of  agriculture,  the  Govern¬ 
ment  will  insure  the  cultivation  of  the  entire  country  by  Hindoo  settlers. 

The  Hindoos  are  a  very  superior  race,  in  as  far  as  regards  industrious  habits,  to  the 
Singhalese,  who  are  naturally  inclined  to  indolence,  for  they  are  more  sanguine  in 
their  speculations,  provided  they  have  corresponding  encouragement :  and  the  more 
liberal  the  conditions  of  settlement  in  Ceylon,  the  more  beneficial  will  be  the  result 
to  the  government  and  colony  at  large.  In  the  list  of  advantages  may  be  classed  the 
increase  of  trade  coastwise,  which  would  be  more  than  an  equivalent  for  the  interest 
of  capital  advanced  by  the  local  government  for  the  restoration  of  the  tanks  to  their 
original  state  of  agricultural  utility. 

But  notwithstanding  all  the  existing  facilities  for  the  cultivation  of  rice,  the  staple  of 
chief  importance  to  the  natives,  what  is  the  state  of  Singhalese  agriculture  connected 
therewith  ? 

The  duties  upon  paddee  fields  scarcely  yield  a  moiety  of  the  collections  upon  coco¬ 
nut  and  toddy  topes ;  and  in  the  year  ending  the  5th  of  January  1841,  the  quantity 
of  rice  produced  in  Ceylon  was  so  very  inadequate  to  the  consumption,  that  the  value 
of  the  paddee  and  rice  imported,  amounted  to  £114,866,  1«.  4 d.,  of  which  sum  £20,489 
16s.  was  paid  to  French  colonies!! 

Such  then  is  the  state  of  the  production  of  the  staff  of  life  for  the  population  of 
nearly  a  million  and  a  half  of  British  subjects  ;  and  should  this  book  be  honored  with 
even  a  cursory  perusal  by  Her  Majesty’s  principal  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonial 
department,  I  do  humbly  but  earnestly  implore  his  Lordship  to  give  this  one  point  his 
deliberate  consideration. 

Fwould  begin  by  causing  a  survey  of  all  crown  lands  to  be  made  by  district  survey¬ 
ors,  under  the  immediate  inspection  of  the  agents  of  government  and  their  assistants, 
in  their  respective  provinces  and  districts,  distinguishing  such  lands  as  are  capable  of 



producing  mountain  rice,  from  those  that  have  the  means  of  irrigation ;  for  we  all 
know,  who  have  resided  in  India,  that  certain  qualities  of  excellent  rice  are  adapted 
solely  to  the  former,  but  the  greater  variety  to  the  latter  mode  of  culture.  Every 
tank  capable  of  repair  should  be  also  surveyed  and  reported,  as  to  its  extent,  and  em¬ 
bankments,  the  sources  that  supply  it  with  water,  and  the  means  of  carrying  off  its 
superabundance,  during  the  rainy  season,  so  as  to  prevent  those  lands  which  it  supplies 
when  the  rice  plant  requires  water,  from  being  inundated  at  other  times  when  it  equ¬ 
ally  requires  the  evaporation  of  moisture  to  attain  maturity. 

The  report  should  also  separately  express  the  position  and  extent  of  the  temple 
lands,  and  those  of  private  individuals,  adapted  to  the  growth  of  rice,  and  the  quantity 
of  that  staple  that  had  been  produced^  in  each  during  the  preceding  seven  years.  It 
may  then  be  easily  ascertained,  upon  a  fair  comparison  of  the  superficies  of  the  pro¬ 
vince  with  the  number  of  its  population,  how  far  rice  has  been  adequately  cultivated 
in  that  province. 

But  prior  to  any  such  survey  being  made,  or  report  called  for  by  the  government, 
there  are  a  few  important  points  deserving  attention.  First,  the  colonial  government 
should  demand  and  seal  up  all  former  reports  from  the  different  cutcheries,  so  as  to 
prevent  a  reference  thereto  by  the  present  government  agents.  I  speak  from  my  own 
knowledge  during  my  residence  in  the  island,  that  in  very  many  instances  the  annual 
reports  of  the  districts  were  merely  transcribed  by  collectors,  with  here  and  there  a  few 
alterations  for  the  sake  of  consistency,  from  the  reports  of  their  predecessors.  By  this 
means,  the  work  was  easily  got  rid  of  by  the  temporary  occupier  of  office,  and  the 
government  not  much  enlightened  by  any  report  subsequently  to  the  original  one. 
The  qualification  of  a  provincial  agent  for  the  office  he  holds  might  be  ascertained  by 
his  report  of  the  capabilities  of  the  province  under  his  superintendence  ;  and  it  would 
be  a  wise  determination  of  the  government  to  allow  of  no  removal  of  its  provincial 
agents,  except  for  misconduct  and  incapacity,  during  their  period  of  service  in  the 
colony ;  and  that  would  ensure  a  perfect  acquaintance  with  the  resources  and  population 
of  their  provinces.  Their  rank  might  be  defined  by  long  standing,  and  their  services 
be  rewarded  by  a  gradual  increase  of  salary.  Secondly,  no  dependence  should  be 
placed  upon  native,  returns,  but  sufficient  encouragement  be  held  out  to  young  and 
well-qualified  civil  surveyors  to  serve  in  Ceylon,  in  addition  to  the  present  limited  local 
establishment  of  civil  engineers. 


Fiscal  division  of  the  Island  into  Provinces — Variety  of  Soil — Ui  successful  Sugar  speculation  at  Kaltura — 
Successful  experiments  with  the  Sugar  cane  at  Koondesale — Local  h  wenue — Exports — Imports — Suggestions  for 
extending  the  hours  of  business  at  the  Colombo  custom-house — Vexa  ions  to  the  Mercantile  community  and  sugges¬ 
tions  to  H.  M.  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Colonies  for  their  removat  — Imports  at  Colombo  for  the  years  1840  and 
1841 — Increase  of  Exports  from  that  port — Imperial  Standard  weights  and  measures — Dutch  Standard  measures 
— Singhalese  specification  of  the  nature  and  tenure  of  Lands. 

The  island  is  divided  into  five  fiscal  provinces,  styled  eastern,  western,  northern, 
southern,  and  central,  which  are  subdivided  into  districts.  Each  province  is  super¬ 
intended  by  an  agent  of  government,  with  a  limited  number  of  assistant  agents,  to 
whom  the  charge  and  collection  of  the  land  revenue  and  sea  customs  are  entrusted, 
with  the  exception  of  the  customs  of  the  port  of  Colombo  in  the  western  province  ; 
where,  of  late  years,  the  new  and  distinct  situation  of  comptroller  of  customs  for  the 
island,  with  a  salary  of  <£600  a  year,  and  an  establishment  of  three  clerks,  has  super¬ 
seded  the  former  method  of  conducting  this  duty,  which  was  executed  conjointly 
with  that  of  commissioner  of  stamps. 

The  eastern  province  comprises  the  former  districts  of  Trincomale,  Batticaloa,  and 
the  interior  provinces  of  Tamankadewe  and  Bintenne,  except  Wegampaha,  Kooloo- 
gampaha,  and  Miganagolla-Palata.  The  agent  of  government  at  Trincomale  super¬ 
intends  the  custom-house  duties, there,  and  the  assistant  agent,  at  Batticaloa.  The 
superficies  of  this  province  is  4895  square  miles. 

The  western  province  comprises  the  former  districts  of  Colombo,  Chilaw,  and 
Putlam,  upon  the  sea;  the  Dessavonies *  of  the  Seven  Kories,  Four  Kories,  Three 
Kories,  and  province  of  Lower  Bulatgamme.  The  agent  of  government  resides  at 
Colombo,  and  his  assistants  (including  the  superintendent  of  the  salt  department)  at 
Chilaw,  Calpentyn,  and  Negombo.  The  customs’  department  is  distinct  and  super¬ 
intended  by  a  collector,  who  has  five  assistants,  by  whom  the  duties  of  the  minor 
custom-houses  of  Pantura,  Caltura,  Negombo,  Chilaw,  and  Calpentyn  are  executed. 
The  superficies  of  this  province  is  4452  square  miles. 

*  A  native  term,  synonymous  with  that  of  a  provincial  collectorship  of  revenue. 




The  northern  province  comprises  the  former  districts  of  Jaffna,  Manaar,  Wanne, 
the  Dessavony  of  Neuwarakelawiye,  and  the  island  of  Delft.  The  agent  of  government 
at  Jaffna  acts  also  as  collector  of  customs,  and  his  assistants  superintend  the  minor 
custom-houses  of  Cayts,  Point  Pedro,  and  Manaar.  The  superficies  of  this  province 
is  6053  square  miles. 

The  southern  province  comprises  the  former  districts  of  Galle,  Tangalle,  Matura, 
and  Hambantotte,  upon  the  coast,  the  Dessavony  of  Saffragam,  and  province  of  Lower 
Ouva  and  Wellasse  in  the  former  Kandyan  territory.  The  customs’  duties  are  exe¬ 
cuted  by  the  agent  of  government,  who  resides  at  Point  de  Galle,  and  by  his  assistants 
at  the  minor  custom-houses  of  Dodandoowe-Modere,  Ballepitte-Modere,  and  Bellegam. 
The  superficies  of  this  province  is  6032  square  miles. 

The  central  province  comprises  the  whole  of  the  former  districts  of  Kandy,  Yatti- 
neuwara,  Udu-neuwara,  Harasia-Pattoo,  Tumpane,  Doombera,  Hewahette,  Kotmale, 
Weyaloowa,  Upper  Bulatgamme,  Wegampaha,  Kooloogampaha,  Miganagolla-Palata, 
and  the  Dessavonies  of  Uwa,  Matelle,  Udapalata,  and  Wallapane,  The  superficies 
of  this  province  is  3016  square  miles. 

Every  province  presents  such  a  varied  soil,  that  whether  alluvial,  kabook,*  sandy, 
or  vegetable  mould  be  requisite  for  different  objects  of  culture,  settlers  will  find  no 
difficulty  in  fixing  upon  suitable  localities.  Opinion  was  at  one  time  pretty  general, 
although  I  never  concurred  in  it,  that  sugar  could  not  be  grown  in  the  island,  so  as 
to  insure  a  sufficient  return  for  capital  laid  out.  This,  I  believe,  originated  in  the 
failure  of  experiments  at  Kaltura,  upon  the  estates  of  Charles  Edward  Layard  and 
James  Anthony  Mooyaart,  Esqrs.,  who  were  alike  indefatigable  in  every  undertaking 
of  public  or  private  utility.  These  gentlemen  introduced  the  culture  of  the  sugar  cane, 
but  upon  too  extensive  a  scale  for  a  first  experiment;  and,  owing  to  the  quantity  of  iron 
with  which  the  soil  there  is  almost  everywhere  impregnated,  were  unsuccessful. 

That  sugar  is  now  grown,  equal  to  any  produced  in  Siam  or  China,  recent 
extensive  experiments  at  Koondesale,  in  the  central  province,  have  fully  established. 
In  a  few  years  the  island  will  become  independent  of  other  countries  for  this  article 
of  domestic  consumption,  whilst  its  greater  cheapness,  by  rendering  it  accessible  to  the 
lower  classes,  will  increase  the  demand  for  it  to  an  extent  that  must  ensure  its  general 
cultivation  wherever  the  soil  may  be  found  adapted  to  it.  And  it  is  therefore  to 


*  Ferruginous  clay-soil,  derived  from  the  decomposition  of  clay- iron  stone,  of  a  reddish  brown,  of  which  a 
well-dried  specimen  was  found  to  consist,  according  to  Dr.  John  Davy’s  analysis,  of  83.5  of  ferruginous  clay,  and 
16.5  of  water,  with  traces  of  vegetable  matter. 



be  anticipated,  from  the  justice  and  good  policy  of  Parliament,  that  long  before 
this  island  produces  a  surplus  for  exportation,  the  import  duties  upon  East  and  West 
India  sugars  will  have  been  equalized  in  the  home  tariff.  If  a  judgment  may  be 
formed  from  the  few  samples  that  have  been  brought  by  private  individuals  to  this 
country,  the  quality  of  the  Kandyan  sugar  is  not  surpassed  by  that  of  Mauritius  or 
Bengal,  either  in  the  quantity  of  its  saccharine  matter,  or  in  point  of  crystalization. 
It  would,  however,  be  more  satisfactory  if  those  proofs  could  be  established,  by  larger 
samples  of  Ceylon  sugar  being  analyzed  with  equal  quantities  of  the  produce  of  Mau- 
riti.i  ,  and  Bengal,  by  disinterested  parties,  and  for  the  result  of  such  analysis  to  be 
made  generally  known  in  the  British  market. 

The  local  revenue  is  derived  from  the  duties  on  cinnamon,  salt,  tobacco,  fish  farms, 
pear!  and  chank  (  Valuta  gravis )  fisheries,  marriage  and  spirit  licences,  judicial  and 
commercial  stamps,  fines,  land  commutation  tax,  auction  duties,  post-office  receipts, 
charges  for  boat  hire  and  pilotage,  anchorage  dues,  sales  of  gunpowder,  horses  from 
the  government  stud  at  Delft  island,  Ceylon  Gazette,  and  Calendar,  house  and  land 
rents,  premiums  upon  sales  of  bills  upon  the  Treasury,  timber,  Yedah  tribute,  and 
customs’  duties  upon  exports  and  imports. 

Ceylon  exports  arrack  (distilled  from  the  toddy  of  the  Cocos-nucifera ),  arrow  root 
(. Maranta  arundinacea ),  Areka  nuts  {Areka  Catechu),  bark  for  tanning,  bees’  wax, 
betel  leaves  and  flower  ( Piper  Betel),  bicho  de  mar  or  sea  slug  ( Holothurion  Tripari), 
castor  oil  and  seed  ( Ricinus  palma  Christi),  cassia  fistula,  greater  and  lesser  cardamoms, 
cummim  seed,  cinnamon,  cinnamon  oil,  clove  oil,  coffee,  coco-nuts,  coco-nut  oil,  copperah 
or  sun-dried  pulp  of  the  coco-nut  for  making  oil,  coir  cordage,  and  loose  coir  for  rope 
making,  stuffing  mattresses,  &c.  chunam  or  shell  lime,  cotton,  chank  shells  ( Voluta 
gravis),  chaya  root  ( Oldenlandia  umbellata),  country  manufactured  cotton  cloth,  dornatil 
or  wood  oil,  elephants’  tusks,  fruits,  gingely  seed  ( Sessamum  orientals)  and  oil,  dried 
ghorkas  (fruit  of  the  Gambogia  gutta),  ginger,  ghee  or  clarified  buffalo’s  butter,  fine 
hemp  called  hane  (Crotolaria  juncea),  honey,  hides,  Aralunuts  (Terminalia  Chebulla,  L.), 
Illepei  seed  and  oil  ( Bassia  longifdlia),  Margosa  seed  and  oil  ( Melia  Azaditachta,  L.), 
mats,  marmelle  water  (extracted  from  the  flower  and  fruits  of  the  Cratceva  Marmelos ), 
Odil  or  Palmyra  roots  (Borassus  jlabelliformis),  coco-nut  oil-cake  or  Poonac,  pearls, 
precious  stones,  resin,  sappan  wood  ( Ccesalpinia  Sappan),  shells,  sharks’  fins  for  the 
China  market,  taggary  seed  ( Cassia  Tora),  tamarinds,  twine,  tobacco,  turmeric,  timber, 
vinegar,  and  country  winnows. 

The  imports  consist  of  ale,  almonds,  anchovies,  aniseed,  ambergris,  antimony,  whifr, 
red,  and  yellow  arsenic,  assafcetida,  astronomical  instruments,  salted  beef  from  Bengal 

e  2 



and  Europe,  beer  of  all  kinds  (including  spruce),  biscuits,  blacking,  books,  boots  and 
shoes  from  Europe  and  Bengal,  bottles,  brandy,  bullion,  salt  butter,  black  hellebore 
root,  camphor,  chocolate  and  cocoa  ( Theobroma  Cacao),  chamomile  ( Anthemis  Pyrethum), 
cloves,  broad  cloths,  wax  and  spermaceti  candles,  hemp  and  cotton  canvas  from 
Europe  and  Bengal,  capers,  cards,  canary  seed,  cattle,  cordage,  chalk,  cheese,  China 
root  {. Smilax  aspera),  cables,  cordials,  bottled  cider,  cinnabar  or  vermilliorf,  Euro¬ 
pean,  Indian,  and  Chinese  cottons,  nankins,  and  chintzes,  colors,  confectionary,  copper, 
crapes,  currants,  cutlery,  earthenware  from  Europe  and  China,  dholl  or  guinea  pea 
(Ciftixus  Cajan,  L.),  fireworks  from  Europe  and  China,  flannel,  garden  seeds,  gauze,  gin, 
gloves,  glue,  gram,  gum  Benjamin  (Ficus  Benjamina),  guns,  gunpowder,  copper  caps, 
shot,  hams  from  Europe  and  China,  hardware,  hats  from  Europe  and  China,  smoked 
and  salted  herrings,  horses,  iron  hoops  for  casks,  indigo,  jewellery,  looking  glasses, 
glass,  rock  salt,  incense,  iron,  thread,  cotton,  gold,  and  silver  lace  ;  lacksay  or  Chinese 
vermicelli,  pig  and  sheet  lead,  liqueurs,  mace,  manna,  marble,  maps,  mats  from  China 
and  the  Maidive  islands,  medicines,  millinery,  music  and  musical  instruments,  needles, 
nutmegs,  linseed,  salad,  and  turpentine  oils ;  onions,  opium,  paints,  pearl  barley, 
pease,  black  pepper  ( Pipe r  nigrum),  cotton  root  ( Gossypium  herbaceum),  perry,  porter, 
philosophical  instruments,  pickles,  salt  pork,  quicksilver,  rice,  rosin,  rattans  (Calamus 
Rotang )  from  Acheen,  Batavia,  Malacca,  and  Pulo  Pinang  or  Prince  of  Wales  Island ; 
sal-ammoniac,  salt  petre,  saffron,  preserves,  pickled  salmon,  salted  tongues,  humps, 
and  briskets  from  Bengal ;  sandal  wood,  sarsaparilla,  sashes,  sriioked  sausages,  saddlery, 
raw  and  manufactured  silk,  sitaratta  or  the  lesser  galangal  root,  raw  and  tanned  goat 
skins,  snuff,  soap,  stationery,  staves  for  casks,  spirits,  sugar  from  Bengal,  Batavia, 
China,  and  Siam ;  sulphur,  tar,  tea,  gold  and  silver  tinsels,  foils  of  all  colours, 
tobacco  pipes,  toys,  tutenague  from  China,  varnish,  verdigris,  vinegar,  wines  of  all 
descriptions  and. qualities,  wheat  and  other  grains  from  Bengal  and  the  coasts  of  Coro¬ 
mandel  and  Malabar. 

The  very  short  time  (between  four  and  five  hours  a  day,  Sundays  excepted,)  for  the 
exporter  to  transact  business  at  the  Colombo  custom-house,  is  too  limited,  without  the 
further  impediments  which  embarrass  the  commerce  of  that  port.  In  addition  to  other 
difficulties,  the  merchant  incurs  serious  risk  of  injury  to  colonial  produce,  particularly 
coffee,  during  bad  weather,  by  any  delay  in  its  transmission  from  the  jetty  to  the 
shipping  in  Colombo  roads.  The  accommodations  at  the  custom-house  are  very 
inadequate  to  the  wants  of  the  exporters ;  and  during  the  rainy  season  considerable 
damage  may  be  done  to  coffee  intended  for  exportation,  by  exposure,  and  even  by 
absorption,  during  that  damp  period,  in  the  custom-house  godowns  or  export  ware- 

IMPORTS  AT  COLOMBO  FOR  1840-1841. 


houses.  It  is  therefore  to  be  hoped,  that  Her  Majesty’s  Secretary  of  State  for  the 
Colonies  will  be  pleased  to  remove  these  and  all  restrictions  upon  the  commerce 
of  the  island ;  and,  by  commanding  an  extension  of  the  hours  of  business  at  the 
Ceylon  custom-house,  afford  every  requisite  facility  to  merchants. 

Amongst  other  vexations,  the  Ceylon  merchant  is  obliged  to  submit  to  the  weighing 
of  his  consignments  of  coffee  before  shipment ;  just  as  if  the  local  government  was 
ignorant  that  by  the  exporter  neglecting  to  take  the  exact  weight  of  all  coffee  ex¬ 
ported  the  loss  would  be  his  own.  The  merchant’s  interest  is  to  make  his  returns 
to  the  custom-house  as  correct  as  possible,  for  he  himself  places  the  valuation  thereon, 
and  pays  2|  per  cent,  duty  on  that  valuation ;  and  he  has  then  to  get  the  custom¬ 
house  certificate  that  the  coffee  so  returned  is  the  produce  of  the  island,  without 
which  it  would  not  be  admitted  for  home  consumption  at  the  low  duty  :  and  surely 
that  of  itself  is  a  sufficient  guarantee  for  the  full  weight  being  given ;  for  otherwise, 
the  coffee  so  imported  into  this  country  would  be  liable  to  an  extra  duty  of  28$.  per 
cwt.  for  the  surplus  accruing  from  a  false  return  to  the  Ceylon  custom-house  on  the 
part  of  the  exporter. 

The  imports  into  the  port  of  Colombo  for  the  year  ending  5th  Jan.  1841,  were  : — 

From  Europe  . . 

,  Cotton  goods  . . . 

.  £49,892 



Haberdashery  and  millinery  ...  5,626 



Cutlery  and  hardware 

.  1,078 



Machinery  and  tools  ... 

.  4,997 



Malt  liquor . 

. .  7,934 



Bullion  and  sundries  ... 

.  56,514 






Ditto,  1840,  £153,063 

14  9 

From  Asia  . 

,  Cotton  goods  . . 



Paddee  . 

.  7,188 



Rice  . 

. .  87,178 



Bullion  and  sundries  ... 

.  258,236 






Ditto,  1840,  £419,135 

17  3 

From  French  Colonies. 

.  Rice  . 

.  20,498 



Sundries . 

.  5,358 






Ditto,  1840,  £27,190 

14  1 

From  sundry  places  ... 

.  28,892 



Grand  total  of  imports  for  1841  . 

.  £541,508 





The  duty  levied  upon  the  above  imports  amounted  to  36,0S2/.  1 5s.  6d.,  or  about  6^ 
per  cent.  The  decrease  on  goods  from  Europe,  as  compared  with  the  imports  oi 
Is  10,  was  chiefly  to  be  attributed  to  the  falling  off  in  the  demand  for  cotton  goods, 
haberdashery,  millinery,  cutlery,  hardware,  machinery,  and  tools ;  whilst  the  im¬ 
port  of  malt  liquor  had  been  increased  by  1,197"/.  lSs.  3d.  The  decrease  on  the 
imports  from  Asia  was  owing  to  the  lesser  demand  lor  cotton  goods  ;  and  from  the 
French  colonies,  to  the  smaller  supply  of  rice. 

The  exports  for  the  same  period  were  : — 

To  Great  Britain  .  Coffee  .  £197,387  10  4 

Cinnamon  .  28,866  5  6 

Coco-nut  oil  .  29,284  6  1 

Precious  stones  .  6,112  17  6 

Sundries .  15,937  7  5 

To  Asia 

Ditto,  1840,  £215,101  4  6 




Arrack  . 




Areka  nuts . 




Bullion  . 




Cotton  goods  . 




Sundries . . 




26,338  18  7 

Ditto,  1840,  £46,536  8  4 

To  France  .  ..  Cinnamon  .  73  15  0 

To  sundry  places  .  6,359  9  1 1 

The  increase  in  the  exports  to  Great  Britain  consisted  principally  of  coffee,  coco-nut 
oil,  and  precious  stones ;  and  the  decrease  to  Asia  was  occasioned  by  the  falling  off 
in  the  demand  for  arrack,  betel  nuts,  and  bullion.  The  duty  paid  on  goods  exported 
amounted  to  49,677/.  1$.  Id.,  or  equal  to  about  16  per  cent.  The  great  difference 
between  the  rate  of  duty  levied  on  imports  and  exports  ( nearly  250  per  cent,  against 
the  productions  of  the  island!!)  cannot  fail  to  excite  attention. 

The  total  value  of  imports,  in  1840-1841  . £541,508  1  6 

Ditto . 1839-1840  .  483,627  16  5 

Increase  .  57,8W0  5  1 

The  total  value  of  exports,  in  1840-1841  . . .  310,360  10  4 

Ditto . 1839-1840  .  275,592  10  1 


34,768  0  3 



Vessels  entered  inwards,  for  the  year  ending  7th  Jan.  1840  .  740 

Ditto  .  ditto  .  5th  Jan.  1841  .  067 

Decrease  .  ..  73 

Vessels  cleared  outwards  in  1 840  .  538 

Ditto  .  1*41  585 

Increase  .  47 

These  tables  show  the  growing  importance  of  Ceylon,  and  the  little  fear  that  can 
exist  of  too  much  land  being  brought  under  cultivation,  when  one-fifth  of  the  vaine 
of  the  imports  had  been  paid  to  other  countries,  including  French  colonies,  for 
food  only. 

Notwithstanding  the  adoption  of  the  imperial  standard  for  colonial  weights  and 
measures,  by  the  ordinance  of  the  governor  and  councils  (No.  2  of  1836),  the  specu¬ 
lative  capitalist  disposed  to  purchase  lands  from  the  natives,  will  find  it  convenient  to 
understand  both  their  original  tenure  under  the  former  Dutch  government,  and  the 
native  standard  of  dry  measure  connected  therewith. 

The  former  dry  measure  was  the  Dutch  parah,  a  cylinder  of  11-^  inches  in  depth 
and  breadth,  which  was  divided  into  twenty-four  seers,  and  the  seer,  a  cylinder  of 
depth  equal  to  its  diameter,  subdivided  into  half  and  quarter  seers.  Standard  gauges 
were  deposited  for  reference  in  every  cutcherry,*  as  a  protection  against  fraud  through 
defective,  measures  ;  an  indispensable  precaution  where  the  natives  are  such  adepts  at 
cheating,  that  they  first  place  the  wooden  measures  in  boiling  water,  then  dry  them 
in  the  sun,  and  complete  their  roguery  by  coating  the  interior  surface  with  a  thick 
layer  of  transparent  dammer.f 

Dry  Measure. 

4  (cut)  chundoos  make . 1  (cut)  measure  or  seer, 

4  J  seers  .  1  coorney, 

2  \  coornies . 1  markal, 

2  markals  . 1  parah, 

8  parahs  . 1  ammonam> 

9  f  ammonams  . . . . . 1  laste. 

*  Revenue  office  and  residence  of  the  agent  of  government. 

A  I /ad  of  resin  extracted  from  a  species  of  Pinus,  ( Dammara  alba,)  a  native  of  Malacca  and  Sumatra. 



Two  hundred  seers  of  paddee,  when  cleared  of  the  husk,  will  yield  about  one 
hundred  and  seventy  six  seers  of  rice. 

There  is  a  great  difference  in  the  paddee  of  various  districts,  and  particularly 
between  that  of  the  highlands  and  lowlands  :  the  former  is  smaller,  and  of  the  latter 
there  are  several  varieties ;  but  the  most  nutritious  and  the  most  palatable  rice, 
although  considered  common,  and  known  by  a  reddish  film,  is  the  sort  called  Patcheru 
by  the  Singhalese. 

Singhalese  Specification  of  the  Nature  and  Tenure  of  Lands. 

Owitte  Lands 
Wattoeware  . 
AJudla  we  .  . 

Deuie  .  .  . 
Cltena  . 

Devill  . 



Moetettoo  .  .  .  . 

A/ide . 

Ottoe  and  Parvene  . 

Meadows  on  the  borders  of  rivers  and  canals. 

Muddy  grounds  overgrown  with  thick  jungle  or  underwood. 

A V here  the  jungle  has  been  burnt  and  the  ground  cultivated  for 
the  first  time. 

At  the  base  of  hills  or  mountains. 

Cleared  of  jungle  or  underwood  every  ten  or  twelve  years, 
and  then  sown  with  small  grains,  such  as  tala  ( Sessamam 
or  lent  ale)  and  korakan  (Cy  nos  urns  Coracanus). 

Crown  property. 

Exempted  from  all  taxes  on  condition  of  personal  service  upon 
public  occasions  when  required  by  the  provincial  agent  of 

Originally  leased,  but  reverted  (upon  the  lessees’  death)  to  tin 

Originally  the  property  of  the  crown,  but  granted  to  individuals 
in  consideration  of  the  payment  of  ten  per  cent,  upon  the 

Assigned  and  cultivated  gratuitously  by  the  villagers  for  the 
support  of  the  dignity  of  their  headmen. 

Of  which  the  crown  receives  one  hall'  the  produce. 

Nearly  synonymous,  both  being  liable  to  the  tax  of  ten  per 
cent,  upon  their  produce.  Parvene  literally  means  private 

CHAP.  V. 

improved  state  of  the  colonial  revenue  under  the  Right  Honorable  Sir  George  Murray's  administration — Lord 
'  iscount  Goderich  renders  it  permanent — Governor  Sir  Robert  IVilmot  Horton  succeeds  Lieut.  General  Sir  Edward 
Bn  rues- — Reduction  of  the  civil  expenditure — Reform  of  the  chief  secretary's  office — Hit  Majesty's  representative 
•t  inged  in  effigy — China  carriers ■ — Suggestions  for  the  restoration  of  the  civil  and  widows'  pension  funds — Lord 
'•  ‘derich's  liberality  insufficiently  appreciated — Civil  and  military  pug,  and  enormous  and  unmerited  pensions  to 
•■•blows  of  civilians,  contrasted  icitk  the  pittances  allowed  to  naval  and  military  officers'  widows — Revenue  and 
xpciuliture — Heavy  imposts — Excess  of  revenue — Apathy  of  colonists  as  to  the  culture  of  cotton — Smjgeethms  for 
(he  formation  of  government  cotton  plantations,  and  for  training  thousands  of  idle  females  and  children  to  habits 
»f  industry  and  profitable  employment — Trade  of  Ceylon  quadrupled  since  the  acquisition  of  Kandy  in  IS  15 — 
Extraordinary  con  trust  between  the  current  prices  of  certain  articles  of  British  manufacture  and  of  colonial  pro- 
•iuci — Partiality  of  the  Singhalese  for  British  productions — Exceptions  in  favor  of  Dutch  manufactures — Sntgha* 
lest  require  British  example,  and  reductions  in  taxation  and  customs'  duties,  to  stbnidate  them  to  industry  and 
agricultural  improvement — Anticipated  result  to  the  home  manufacturer  and  local  revenue. 

Although  it  was  under  the  administration  of  the  colonies  by  the  Right  Honorable 
Sir  George  Murray,  G.  C.  B.,  that,  for  the  first  time  for  many  years,  the  public  revenue 
of  Ceylon  yielded  an  excess  over  the  expenditure,  it  was  during  his  successor,  the 
Iiiirht  Honorable  Viscount  Goderich’s  (now  Earl  of  Ripon)  second  tenure  of  the  colonial 
seals,  from  1830  to  1S33  inclusively,  that  it  assumed  the  appearance  of  permanency 
which  it  has  since  maintained. 

In  the  year  1831,  the  Right  Honorable  Sir  Robert  Wilmot  Horton  was  appointed 
to  succeed  His  Excellency  Lieut.  General  Sir  Edward  Barnes,  as  governor  and  com- 
rnander-in-chief  of  Ceylon  and  its  dependencies,  upon  the  appointment  of  the  latter 
to  the  command-in-chief  of  the  Bengal  army  ;  and,  as  if  example  were  in  some  degree 
expedient  to  reconcile  the  heads  of  the  civil  departments  to  the  reductions  that 
awaited  them.  His  Excellency  accepted  the  governorship  at  the  reduced  salary 
of  A' 7,000  a  year. 

His  Excellency  Sir  Wilmot  Horton  was  instructed  to  effect  reductions  in  the  civil 
expenditure  to  the  amount  of  4?3S,000  a  year  ;*  and  Lord  Goderich  deserved  the 
gratitude  of  the  colony  for  having  delegated  this  peculiarly  unpleasant  task  to  the 
management  of  a  gentleman,  pre-eminently  qualified  for  carrying  it  into  effect  with 
the  utmost  delicacy  towards  those  who  were  about  to  suffer  by  the  long-required 
reforms,  which  had,  at  length,  been  determined  upon  by  his  Lordship,  as  His  Majesty  s 
secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies. 

Communicated  to  the  Author  bv  letter  from  the  late  governor.  Sir  Robert  Wilmot  Horten,  Bart.,  G.  C.  H 



A  single  instance  may  suffice  to  show  the  excessive  amount  that  was  expended 
for  the  support  of  one  department  only  ;  and  the  manner  in  which  the  same  duties 
have,  been  since  executed  at  the  reduced  rate,  affords  a  clear  proof  that  it  has  sustained 
no  loss,  in  point  of  efficiency,  by  the  alteration. 

In  1816,  the  chief  secretary’s  office  at  Colombo  was  superintended  by  two  deputy 
secretaries,  (the  chief  secretaryship  being  a  mere  sinecure  of  £3000  a  year,*)  of  whom, 
the  senior  held  also  the  office  of  secretary  for  the  Kandyan  provinces,  at  salaries  of 
£2000  and  £1500  ;  a  first  assistant  at  £640,  a  second  assistant  at  £512,  and  an  inde¬ 
finite  number  of  extra  assistants  at  £300  a  year  each  ;  but,  allowing  two  extra 
assistants,  as  an  average,  the  seven  salaries  amounted  to  £8252  ! — and,  in  the  year 
1838,  the  same  department  was  equally  as  efficient  under  the  management  of  a  “  Co¬ 
lonial  Secretary”  at  a  salary  of  £2000  a  year,  (which  is  more  by  £500  a  year  than 
the  pay  of  Her  Majesty’s  under  secretaries  of  state  for  the  still  more  laborious  duties 
of  the  colonial  department,)  and  one  assistant  at  £620  a  year. 

Thus,  in  one  civil  department,  and  without  the  slightest  detriment  to  the  public  ser¬ 
vice,  Cord  Goderich  effected  a  saving  of  £5632  per  annum,  which,  if  it  had  been  carried 
into  effect,  as  in  common  justice  to  the  state  of  the  revenue  it  ought  to  have  been,  ar 
least  thirty  two  years  earlier,  (or  rather,  such  a  burden  upon  the  public  ought  never  to 
have  been  tolerated,)  would  have  made  a  difference  of  £  ISO, 224  in  favor  of  the  colony 
and  at  a  time  when  its  public  expenditure  considerably  exceeded  its  income. 

Notwithstanding  the  governor’s  anxiety  to  act  with  the  utmost  delicacy  towards  thosu 
civil  servants,  whose  offices  were  to  be  abolished  or  salaries  reduced.  His  Excellency 
did  not  fare  better  than  others  similarly  employed  upon  an  ungracious  mission  ;  bin 
the  governor  had  surely  no  reason  to  expect,  that  by  conscientiously  fulfilling  the  grand 
objects  of  his  mission,  as  commanded  by  his  noble  superior,  he  would  subject  himself 
to  personal  insult :  and  it  will  scarcely  be  believed,  that  there  were  individuals  ran¬ 
corous  enough  to  cause  the  representative  of  their  Gracious  Sovereign  to  be  hanged  in 
effigy,  (’tis  true  it  was  a  splendidly-dressed  and  decorated  effigy,  and  “  pity  ’tis,  ’tis  true,” 

*  Although  the  chief  secretary  had  enjoyed  a  salary  of  £2000 — £3000  a  year  for  nearly  twenty  years,  In 
was  not  in  the  “  Civil  Service  ”  until  the  year  1821  ;  hut,  upon  its  being  resolved  that  the  benefit  of  the  projected 
'*  Widows’  Pension  Fund  ’’should  be  limited  to  the  widows  of  subscribers  to  the  “  Civil  Fund,”  he  was  allowed  > 
subscribe  to  the  latter,  although  contrary  to  the  established  rules  of  the  service,  because  he  had  for  so  many  years 
previously  refused  to  do  so ;  and  consequently  the  fund  was  a  considerable  loser  by  his  not  subscribing  tie  principto.- 
This  was  an  act  of  great  injustice  to  others  similarly  circumstanced,  (including  the  judges  of  the  Honorable  tin 
Supreme  Court,)  who  were  precluded  from  securing  a  similar  pension  of  £300  a  year  for  their  widows,  upon 
the  grounds  that  they  were  not  subscribers  to  the  Civil  Fund;  which,  nevertheless,  included  the  superintend' n 
of  Delft  Island,  and  the  chief  gardener  ! 



but  it  actually  took  place  ;  and  in  addition  thereto  His  Excellency  was  as  much  cut 
up  and  hashed  behind  his  back  (very  probably  by  those  most  obsequious,  and  the  greatest 
“  China  carriers,”  *  to  his  face)  as  if  he  had  originated  the  objectionable  reductions. 

Nothing  would  make  Her  Majesty’s  present  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies  more 
deservedly  popular  at  Ceylon,  than  by  restoring  the  civil  fund  to  its  original  state  ; 
making,  however,  sixteen  or  twenty  years,  instead  of  twelve,  the  period  of  actual  ser¬ 
vice  in  the  island,  as  the  title  to  a  pension  upon  retirement ;  and  admitting  all  civilians, 
whether  on  half-pay  or  otherwise,  who  might  choose  to  subscribe  to  it,  from  its  insti¬ 
tution,  or  upon  their  first  appointment,  but  not  afterwards,  to  that  privilege. 

This  would  have  the  effect  of  annulling  all  grounds  for  that  prevailing  heartburn 
between  those  who  do,  and  those  who  do  not,  subscribe  to  the  civil  fund  ;  and  be  more 
just  than  the  measure  adopted  some  years  ago  by  the  colonial  department,  of  taking 
out  of  the  hands  of  the  civil  fund  committee,  into  its  own,  the  treasure  of  that  and  the 
widows’  pension  fund,  and  charging  itself  with  the  pensions  due,  or  falling  due,  upon  the 
old  system ;  but  precluding  all  further  subscriptions,  in  order  to  abolish  that  excellent 
institution,  and  avail  itself  of  the  large  surplus  of  the  accumulated  funds. 

But  Lord  Goderich’s  liberality  in  allowing  so  extensive  a  civil  establishment  as  the 
island  even  now  supports,  to  continue,  ought  to  have  been  done  more  justice  to  by 
the  civilians  in  general,  when  the  cheapness  of  ’living,  and  the  large  fortunes  that 
have  been  accumulated  in  the  colonial  service  by  those  who  went  out  with  nothing,  or 
were  involved  in  debt  at  home,  be  fully  and  fairly  considered,  and  candidly  contrasted 
with  the  pay  of  the  naval  and  ordnance  civil  establishments,  and  the  very  inadequately 
paid  (upon  the  same  comparison)  military  staff  of  the  colony.  The  military  secretary 
draws  but  9s.  6d.  a  day,  in  addition  to  his  pay  as  a  captain  in  the  army,  and  island 
allowance  of  13/.  16s.  per  mensem  ;  the  deputy  adjutant  general,  who  has  held  that 
situation  twenty-three  years,  but  19s.  a  day,  in  addition  to  colonel’s  half  pay;  and 
the  deputy  quarter-master  general,  a  lieutenant  colonel  (half  pay  unattached),  the  same 
very  small  pay,  when  compared  with  that  of  the  junior  civil  servants  of  the  year  1830, 
after  having  held  that  very  arduous  situation  longer  than  the  colonial  secretary  has 
been  in  the  public  service. 

*  “  China  carriers," — a  local  name,  meaning  the  despicable  sycophants,  tale-bearers,  and  toad-eaters  who  have 
been  too  much  encouraged  by  more  than  one  governor ;  and  who,  instead  of  meeting  their  just  deserts,  a  kicking 
down  the  grand  staircase,  have  been  appointed  to  colonial  situations.  In  some  instances  it  mattered  little  whet  hoi 
their  qualification  for  it  reached  so  high  as  to  know  a  Bible  from  Johnson's  Dictionary,  or  to  write  a  common 
letter  upon  any  common  subject ! — So  much  for  China  carrying  !  nevertheless  it  has  long  proved  a  very  lucrutin 
business  in  Ceylon  ' 

F  2 



These  are  but  a  few  instances  to  what  might  be  adduced,  but  they  will,  I  hope,  be 
sufficient  to  merit  attention  from  Her  Majesty’s  principal  secretary  of  state  for  the 
colonies,  and,  without  doing  injustice  to  any,  induce  justice  to  every  branch  of  the 
Ceylon  service. 

So  reckless  was  the  colonial  government  at  one  period  about  granting  pensions,  and 
the  colonial  department  at  home  in  confirming  them,  without  requiring  any  proof  of  merit, 
that  the  following  instances,  of  which  I  select  but  two  in  confirmation  of  my  statement, 
will,  at  this  day  perhaps,  appear  incredible,  but  do  not  these  very  abuses  still  exist  ? 

A  foreigner  and  his  wife  (also  a  foreigner),  without  any  claim  upon  the  government 
or  connexion  in  the  colony,  went  to  Ceylon  from  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  where, 
report  stated,  he  had  served  as  a  soldier  in  a  French  regiment.  He  soon  wormed 
himself  into  a  situation  of  <£800  a  year  as  a  provincial  judge!!  and  in  that  capacity 
he  appropriated  to  his  private  purposes  all  the  deposits  belonging  to  the  poor  suitors  in 
his  court,  to  the  amount  of  32,000  rix  dollars  ;  and  when  called  upon  to  account  for 
the  deficiency,  he  poisoned  himself.  An  annuity  of  £300  was  conferred  by  the  governor 
upon  the  widow,  and  her  five  sons  were  subsequently  provided  for  by  commissions  in 
the  army,  or  civil  situations,  by  which  they  receive  nearly  £3000  a  year  between  them, 
and  yet  allow  their  mother  to  continue  a  pensioner  upon  the  colony  ! ! ! 

The  next  case  is  not  so  bad ;  because  although  the  widow  is  a  French  creole  lady, 
her  husband  had  been  a  lieutenant  in  the  army.  This  gentleman  failed  in  trade,* 
whilst  belonging  to  the  civil  service,  and  died  in  less  than  three  years  after  his 
appointment,  when  a  pension  of  £300  a  year  was  settled  upon  his  widow,  which  she 
still  enjoys ;  but  although  her  sons  have  been  provided  for  in  the  army  and  civil  ser¬ 
vice,  and  one  of  them  (a  bachelor)  enjoys  a  salary  of  £2000  a  year,  the  mother 
still  continues  a  burthen  upon  the  colony. 

That  I  have  limited  myself  to  only  two  instances,  does  not  arise  from  having  ex¬ 
hausted  my  data,  as  Her  Majesty’s  secretary  of  state  may  easily  ascertain,  by  referring 
to  the  Ceylon  pension  list,  and  inquiring  upon  what  grounds  such  pensions  were  ori¬ 
ginally  granted,  or  subsequently  confirmed  at  home. 

With  these  incontestible  facts  on  the  one  hand,  it  may  not  be  considered  anomalous 
to  cite  a  few  naval  and  military  officers’  widows’  pensions  by  way  of  contrast  on  the 
other ;  widows,  whose  husbands,  after  having  passed  their  lives  in  one  unsullied  career 
of  glory,  have  died,  perhaps  fallen  on  the  field  of  battle,  in  the  service  of  their  king 
and  country  ! ! 

*  Neither  his  bankruptcy,  nor  the  peculation  or  insolvency  of  other  civil  servants,  have  hitherto  affected  their 
official  positions. 


4  S 

E.  G.  Seven  widows  of  full  colonels,  or  of  post  captains  of  three 

years  standing,  at  <£80  per  annum  .  560 

One  lieutenant’s  widow  (army) .  H> 


Or  twelve  captains’  widows  (army),  or  twelve  lieutenants’  widows  (navy),  at  £50 
a  year ;  or  fifteen  lieutenants’  widows  in  the  army  at  <£40  a  year. 

I  must  stop  here !  for  if  I  were  to  detail  the  official  iniquities  that  fell  undo  my 
own  view,  whilst  I  served  in  the  islatid,  I  should  have  no  room  left  for  other  matters. 

“  Revenons  a  nos  moutons,” — the  revenue  of  Ceylon.  The  last  data,  or  rather  the 
most  recent  that  I  possess,  is  “  a  statement  of  the  revenue  and  expenditure  of  Ceylon 
for  the  year  1836.”  The  amount  in  that  year  of  the  Jived  revenue  from  sea  customs, 
export  duty  on  cinnamon,  cinnamon  oil,  land  rents,  land  customs,  licenses,  pearl 
fishery,  fish  farms,  salt  farms,  assessment  tax  on  houses,  commutation  tax,  tithes 
redeemed,  tobacco  tithes,  auction  duty,  collection  of  postage,  sale  of  stamps,  &c.,  was 
as  follows, — 

Total  fixed  revenue  .  £354,491  0  114 

Incidental  receipts  .  41,629  0  4, 

Receipts  in  aid  of  revenue .  6,254  11  4 , 

Arrears  of  revenue  of  former  years  4,413  0  114 

Grand  total  .  406,787  13  »4 

Expenditure  for  the  year  1836. 

Arrears  of  former  years  . . . .  £  23,328  7  3 

Ordinary  civil,  judicial,  revenue,  and  ecclesiastical  charges  .  106,819  3  8 

Extraordinary  ditto  .  117,177  7  5 

Miscellaneous  charges,  including  colonial  agents,  loss  in  exchange  of 
bills  and  remittances,  surcharges  refunded,  old  unsettled  advances 

written  off,  sundry  incidental  receipts  repaid  .  5,950  5  64 

Ordinary  military  expenditure  . 37,742  9  94 

Extraordinary  ditto  . 8,111  2  54 

Ordinary  commissariat  expenditure .  2,307  5  0 

Extraordinary  ditto  .  29,769  4  34 

Expenditure  of  the  agent  for  Ceylon  in  London. 

Agent's  salary  and  establishment .  500  0  0 

Civil  and  widows  of  civil  servants’  pensions . 14,268  8  1 

Pensions  to  judges,  &c .  5,513  5  0 

Stores,  supplies,  and  miscellaneous  charges .  1,499  19  8 

352,986  18  24... 




Balance  of  revenue  over  the  expenditure 

£  53,800  15  6 



This  proves  that  in  spite  of  the  heavy  imposts  to  which  the  natives  of  Ceylon  are 
subject,  by  their  taxation,  first  upon  every  article  of  European  manufacture,  and 
secondly  upon  the  export  of  their  principal  staple,  cinnamon,  and  the  subsequent  levy 
of  duties  upon  every  other  article  of  Ceylon  produce  when  imported  into  this  country, 
and  notwithstanding  that  scarcely  a  fifth  of  its  immense  area  is  under  cultivation,  the 
island  of  Ceylon,  after  paying  for  the  support  of  an  enormous  civil  establishment,  and 
an  adequate  military  defensive  force,”  as  it  is  called,  but  what  may  be  called  scarcely 
large  enough  for  “  these  piping  times  of  peace  ”  for  the  regular  garrison  duties  of  the 
eolony,  yielded  an  excess  of  revenue  over  the  public  expenditure,  for  the  year  1S36, 
of  53,800/.  15,y.  6d. 

In  1829  Sir  George  Murray  was  colonial  secretary,  and  the  excess  of  the  revenue 
of  Ceylon  over  its  expenditure,  the  first  time  that  it  had  occurred  for 

some  years,  amounted  to . <£44,777  0  0 

In  1830  Lord  Goderich  succeeded  Sir  G.  Murray,  and  the  excess  was  56,446  0  0 

1831  .  73,605  0  0 

1832  .  31,337  0  0 

1833  the  excess  was  larger  than  at  any  former  period .  105,791  0  0 

1S34  .  43,117  0  0 

1835  .  48,7 1 S  0  0 

1836  .  53,800  15  6 

£457,591  15  6 

Showing  an  excess  of  income  over  expenditure,!  in  eight  years,  spite  of  all  mis¬ 
management,  and  oppression  of  the  native  agriculturist,  of  £457,591  15  6  !!! 

If  the  government,  acting  upon  the  justifiable  grounds  for  its  interference,  the 
apathy  of  individuals  as  to  the  cultivation  of  cotton,  (principally  arising  from  the  belief 
that  less  ground  planted  with  coffee  affords  a  greater  profit,)  were  to  cause  a  third 
of  the  crown  lands  to  be  at  once  cleared  and  planted  with  the  best  varieties  of  cotton, 
(giving  a  fair  trial  to  the  Maltese,  Sicilian,  Egyptian,  American,  and  Bourbon  cotton 
shrubs,)  it  would  cause  such  a  revolution  in  the  opinions  of  the  present  speculators  in 
colonial  produce,  as  to  insure  a  ready  sale  of  all  such  crown  lands,  as  soon  as  the 
first  proof,  of  the  immense  returns  to  the  government  that  will  undoubtedly  result  to 
it,  shall  have  excited  their  cupidity. 

Ceylon  will  never  be  benefited  in  a  right  proportion  to  its  claims,  unless  the  govern- - 
ment  sets  the  example.  There  would  be  no  occasion  to  appoint  one  additional  agent 
or  assistant  agent,  unless  from  the  military  officers  quartered  in  the  districts  where  the 



culture  -ef  cotton  might  take  place,  for,  and  on  account  of  the  government,  by  wav  of 
preliminary  experiment  in  different  districts,  upon  a  moderate  scale,  under  the  super¬ 
intendence  of  the  several  assistant  government  agents,  who  have  sufficient  native, 
headmen  to  keep  the  labourers  to  their  duty. 

But,  for  the  purpose  of  a  extensive  establishment,  the  appointment  of  a  well- 
informed  individual,  possessed  of  adequate  local  knowledge,  as  “  Superintendent  of 
Cotton  Plantations,”  with  a  moderate  salary,  accompanied  by  the  stipulation  that  its 
continuance  and  increase  will  be  made  to  depend  upon  the  successful  result  of  his 
exertions,  for  the  first  five  years,  is  indispensable. — This  would  afford  ample  time  to 
establish  the  fact,  that  my  anticipations  of  its  eventually  eliciting  propositions  to 
the  government  to  transfer  its  interest  in  such  establishment  to  an  incorporated  com¬ 
pany  of  British  capitalists,  or  for  the  subdivision  and  sale  of  the  cotton  grounds,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  late  government  cinnamon  plantations,  at  a  remunerating  price  to  the 
crown,  are  by  no  means  Eutopian  ;  for  there  are  many  individual  capitalists,  who  only 
now  require  a  more  intimate  acquaintance  with  Ceylon  and  its  capabilities,  to  put  the 
latter  to  the  test  of  practical  experience. 

The  successful  result  of  such  a  measure,  under  the  immediate  auspices  of  the 
government,  will  not  be  considered  hypothetical,  by  those,  who  are  capable  of  forming 
an  opinion  of  it,  from  local  experience  and  observation  ;  and  if  it  be  the  moral  duty 
of  the  government  to  avail  itself  of  the  ample  means  at  its  own  disposal  in  Ceylon,  for 
lessening  the  dependence  of  the  mother  country  upon  foreign  nations  for  the  supply 
of  one  of  the  principal  staples  of  British  manufacture,  the  gradual  cultivation  of  4000 
square  miles  of  now  waste  lands  (less  than  one  fourth  of  the  present  uncultivated 
portion  of  the  island)  with  cotton,  would  materially  assist  towards  its  accomplishment. 

Women  and  children  might  be  employed  to  clear  and  pick  the  cotton  for  exporta¬ 
tion,  with  their  little  cross  sticks,  without  injury  to  the  staple  ;  and  thousands  of  now 
idle  people  be  thereby  brought  into  habits  of  industry  and  profitable  employment,  at  a 
less  expense  than  the  cost  of  machinery ;  and  all  that  would  be  requisite  in  the  latter 
shape,  would  be  cotton  screws  to  prepare  it  for  shipment. 

Whether  the  government,  or  a  company  @f  British  capitalists,  adopt  my  humble  sug¬ 
gestions,  which  are  grounded  upon  a  thorough  conviction  of  their  feasibleness,  there 
would  be  no  deficiency  of  labourers  ;  for  although  many  thousands  of  Malabar  slaves 
are  now  supine  under  their  somewhat  improved  position,  from  having  enfranchisement 
at  their  command,  if  they  possess  the  means  and  inclination  to  pay  for  it,  (as  I  have 
already  explained  in  the  preceding  pages,)  they  would  eagerly  embrace  an  arrangement 
for  the  purchase  of  their  freedom  by  others,  and  for  their  services  as  apprentices,  for 
a  given  term,  at  a  proportionately  low  rate  of  wages,  in  return  for  their  emancipation. 



With  fair  encouragement  to  native  agriculture,  and  proper  management  of  the 
natural  resources  of  Ceylon,  the  island  might  be  made  to  yield  an  incalculable  excess 
of  colonial  produce  over  its  consumption,  and  consequently  of  revenue  over  its  ex¬ 
penditure  ;  but  the  value  of  this  splendid  colony  will  scarcely  ever  be  fully  known  and 
appreciated,  if  the  time  for  ascertaining  it  by  experiments  be  further  indefinitely  de¬ 
ferred,  as  it  has  been,  with  but  limited  exceptions  on  the  part  of  individuals  of  small 
and  inadequate  capital,  for  the  last  forty  six  years. 

Although  the  trade  of  Ceylon  has  quadrupled  since  the  amalgamation  of  the 
Kandyan  kingdom  with  our  former  dominions  in  the  island,  in  the  year  1815,  it  may 
with  propriety  be  said  to  be  only  now  in  its  infancy ;  and  therefore  improved  mea¬ 
sures  are  indispensable  to  insure  relief  to  the  native  agriculturists,  and  stimulate  them 
to  abandon  their  present  habits  of  comparative  indolence  and  inaction  for  those  of 
industry,  by  a  more  certain  prospect  of  remunerating  prices  for  their  produce. 

During  the  short  period  that  I  acted  as  Collector  of  Customs  at  Colombo,  in  the  year 
1816,  a  very  inteligent  Dutch  gentleman  drew  my  attention  to  the  fact,  that  the  quar¬ 
ter's  pay  of  a  clerk,  after  having  served  the  government  long  and  faithfully  in  the  civil 
departments,  would  barely  supply  him  with  an  English  broad  cloth  coat,  and  a  beaver 
hat ;  the  cost  of  the  former  being  42  rix  dollars,  or  31.  13,?.,  and  of  the  latter  32  rix 
dollars,  or  2/.  16,?. ;  and  at  the  same  time  250  lbs  (avoirdupois)  of  black  pepper,  or 
360  lbs  of  coffee,  or  200  lbs  of  tobacco,  or  80  gallons  of  arrack,  of  colonial  produce, 
could  be  purchased  at  a  less  price. 

The  Singhalese  are  partial  to  Manchester,  Leeds,  Sheffield,  and  Birmingham  manu¬ 
factures,  except  certain  agricultural  implements,  manufactured  in  the  latter  place, 
which,  they  consider  inferior  to  those  of  Holland.  The  higher  ranks  indulge  in  the 
best  wines,  particularly  Madeira  and  Champagne,  which  are  liberally  dispensed  at  their 
parties  to  European  guests ;  and  no  people  in  the  world  set  a  higher  value  upon 
British  medicines,  stationery,  and  perfumery  ;  or  relish  with  a  keener  zest,  English 
hams,  cheeses,  butter,  porter,  pale  ale,  cider,  perry,  herrings,  salmon,  anchovies, 
pickles,  and  confectionary  ;  all  which,  they  prefer  to  similar  imports  from  France 
and  America,  except  in  regard  to  price. 

But  to  bring  these  articles  into  more  general  demand,  the  Singhalese  must  first  be 
taught  to  appreciate  the  value  of  industry,  which  can  only  result  from  British  example  : 
this,  and  a  considerable  reduction  in  the  taxes  and  customs’  duties,  will  conjointly 
operate  to  increase  the  demand  for  British  productions,  and  consequently  the  revenue 
of  the  crown. 


Judicial  division  if  Ike  Island — Circuits  of  the  Honorable  the  Supreme  Court  of  Judicature — District  Courts 
and  extent  of  their  jurisdiction — Charter  of  justice — Suggestions  for  the  appointment  of  barristers  at  law  as  judges 
of  the  superior  district  courts — Supreme  court  of  judicature — Rank  of  judges — Proctors  for  paupers  and  prisoners 
—  Queen's  advocate — Laws  of  bankruptcy  and  cessio  bonorum — No  jury  in  civil  causes — In  criminal  causes  jury 
decides  by  the  majority — Judges — Introduction  of  trial  by  jury — Native  attachment  to  that  system — Improper 
mode  of  administering  oaths  to  Buddhists  in  courts  of  justice — Hallan — Extraordinary  consent  to  a  nonsuit  by 
a  Singhalese  plaintiff — Buddhist  priests,  how  sworn  in  courts  of  justice — Original  Dutch  method  of  swearing 
Buddhist  witnesses,  the  best  to  elicit  truth — Extraordinary  coincidence  respecting  the  Aspen,  or  Pop-ulus  trcmula, 
md  Bogaha,  or  Ficus  religiosa. 

The  Judicial  division  of  the  island  comprises  three  Circuits,  styled  the  Eastern, 
Northern,  and  Southern  Circuits  of  the  Honorable  the  Supreme  Court  of  Judicature  : 
but  this  is  exclusively  of  what  might  very  appropriately  have  been  styled  the  Home 
or  Western  Circuit,  now  designated  the  Colombo  District  Courts. 

The  district  of  Colombo,  as  regards  the  exercise  of  the  jurisdiction  of  the  supreme 
court,  consists  of  that  space  of  country  heretofore  forming  the  collectorship  of 
Colombo,  together  with  that  of  the  Three  Kories  and  Lower  Bulatgamme,  and  the 
des'savony  of  Saffragam.  This  district  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Kaymel 
liver,  on  the  south  by  the  Bentotte  river,  and  on  the  west  by  the  sea.  The  dis¬ 
trict  of  Colombo  is  subdivided,  according  to  its  present  limits  and  jurisdiction,  into 
six  districts,  known  and  designated  respectively  as — District  No.  1  north  of  Colombo, 
district  No.  1  south  of  Colombo,  and  districts  No.  2,  3,  4,  and  6  of  Colombo. 

The  Colombo  district  No.  1  north,  consists  of  so  much  of  the  town  and  the  space 
contained  in  the  four  gravets  of  Colombo  as  is  bounded  on  the  south  by  St.  John’s 
river.  Dam  street,  Hulfsdorp  street.  Silversmith  street,  and  the  high  road  to  Kandy 
as  far  as  the  bridge  of  boats — so  much  of  the  Allootkoor  Korle  as  is  situated  to 
the  southward  of  the  Dandogam  river,  and  of  the  Addicare-pattoo  and  Medde-pattoo 
of  the  Sina  Korle  (excluding  the  two  Vidhan  villages  of  Benmoelle  and  Galgomo- 
owe) — and  of  so  much  of  the  Gangebadde-pattoo  in  the  said  Korle  as  is  situated  west 
of  the  road  from  Hangwelle  to  Attenegalle.  The  district  court  is  held  at  Colombo. 




The  Colombo  district  No.  1  south  (court  held  at  Colombo)  consists  of  so  much  ol 
The  town  and  the  space  contained  within  the  four  gravets  of  Colombo  as  is  bounded  on 
the  north  by  St.  Johns  river.  Dam  street,  Hulfsdorp  street.  Silversmith  street,  and 
the  high  road  to  Kandy  as  far  as  the  bridge  of  boats — of  the  Meddepattoo,  the  Palle- 
pattoo,  and  the  Addicaepattoo  of  the  Hewagam  Korle — the  Salpitty  Korle,  and  the 
villages  of  the  Vidhan  of  Pantura  north  of  the  Pantura  river. 

The  Colombo  district  No.  2  (court  held  at  Negombo)  consists  of  the  town  of  Ne- 
gombo,  and  so  much  of  the  Alootkopr  Korle  as  is  situated  north  of  the  Dandogam  river  ; 
the  Hapitigam  Korle ;  and  so  much  of  the  Sina  Korle  as  is  comprized  within  the  divisions 
known  as  the  Vidhan  villages  of  Galgomoowe  and  Benmoelle  in  the  Meddepattoo. 

The  Colombo  district  No.  3  (court  held  at  Ruanwelle)  consists  of  the  space  form¬ 
ing  the  Three  Kories,  and  Lower  Bulatgamme,  together  with  the  Oodoogaha  Pattoo 
of  the  Sina  Korle  ;  so  much  of  the  Gangabadde  Pattoo  of  the  Sina  Korle  as  is 
situated  east  of  the  road  from  Hangwelle  to  Attenegalle  ;  and  the  Oodoogaha  Pattoo 
of  the  Hewagam  Korle. 

The  Colombo  district  No  4  (court  held  at  Caltura)  consists  of  the  Pasdoon  Korle, 
and  so  much  of  Walalawitty  Korle  as  is  attached  to  it ;  Welapora  Caltura  and  all  the 
villages  between  the  Bentotte  river  and  the  Caltura  river,  or  Kalu-Ganga,  which  are 
situated  between  the  Pasdoon  Korle  and  the  sea — the  town  of  Pantura  and  adjoining 
villages  south  of  the  Pantura  river ;  and  the  Raygam  Korle. 

The  Colombo  district  No.  6  (court  held  at  Ratnapoora)  consists  of  the  dessavony 
or  province  of  Saffragam. 

The  Eastern  Circuit  is  divided  into  eight  districts,  viz.  the  districts  of  the  Seven 
Kories,  Four  Kories,  Kandy,  Madawalatenne,  Matele,  Neuwara-Eliya,  Badula,  and 
Alipoot.  The  district  court  of  the  first  is  held  at  Kornegalle ;  of  the  second,  at 
Ootuankandy  ;  of  the  third,  at  Kandy  ;  of  the  fourth,  at  Madawalatenne  ;  of  the  fifth, 
at  Fort  Mac  Dowall  ;  of  the  sixth,  at  Neuwara-Eliya,  of  the  seventh,  at  Badula  ; 
and  of  the  eighth,  at  Alipoot. 

The  district  of  Seven  Kories  consists  of  the  dessavony  of  that  name. 

The  district  of  Four  Kories  consists  of  the  dessavony  of  that  name. 

The  district  of  Kandy  consists  of  the  provinces  of  Udunuwara,  Yattinuwara,  Dum- 
bera,  Hewahette,  Megoddatihe,  the  Hangurankette  and  Gannawe  Kories  of  Hewahette 
Eggodatihe,  Udapalata,  Udabulatgama,  and  Dolosbage. 

The  district  of  Madawalatenne  consists  of  the  provinces  of  Harasiapattoo  &  Tumpane. 

The  district  of  Matele  is  the  dessavony  of  that  name. 



The  district  of  Neuwara-Eliya  includes  the  province  of  Kotmale  and  the  Maturatta 
and  Kohoke  Kories  ;  of  Hewahette,  Eggodatihe,  and  the  portion  of  the  province  of 
Uwa  contiguous  to  Neuwara-Eliya  and  to  the  northward  and  westward  of  the  Hakgalla 
range  of  mountains. 

The  district  of  Badula  consists  of  the  provinces  of  Wallapana,  Weyaloowa,  Ouda- 
kinde,  Meddakinde,  and  Yattekinde  of  Uwa ;  Wegampaha,  Kooloogampaha,  and 
Miganagollapalata  of  Bintenne ;  and  Pattipola  and  Polwatte  of  Welasse. 

The  district  of  Alipoot  consists  of  the  province  of  Welasse,  and  Kandukara, 
extending  from  the  Wallawe  river  to  Welasse. 

The  Northern  Circuit  comprises  eleven  districts,  viz.  the  districts  of  Chilaw  and 
Putlam,  Manaar,  Neuwarakalawiye,  Jaffna,  Walligammo,  Waddimoratchie,  Tenmo- 
ratchie  and  Patchelapelle,  the  Islands,  the  Wanne,  Trincomale,  and  Batticaloa.  The 
district  court  of  the  first  is  held  at  Putlam  and  Chilaw ;  of  the  second,  at  Manaar 
and  Silawatorre  ;  of  the  third,  at  Anarajapoora ;  of  the  fourth,  at  Jaffna ;  of  the  fifth, 
at  Mallagam ;  of  the  sixth,  at  Point  Pedro ;  of  the  seventh,  at  Chavagacherry  ;  of 
the  eighth,  at  Kayts  and  Delft ;  of  the  ninth,  at  Moolitivoe  ;  of  the  tenth,  at  Trinco¬ 
male  ;  and  of  the  eleventh,  at  Batticaloa. 

The  district  of  Chilaw  and  Putlam  consists  of  the  several  divisions  of  Chilaw, 
Putlam,  Calpentyn,  and  the  Demellepattoo. 

The  district  of  Manaar  consists  of  the  province,  of  that  name,  together  with  the 
parish  of  Illepecadadewe,  and  the  following  provinces,  which  formerly  formed  part 
of  the  collectorship  of  the  Wanne, — Kelekomole  north,  Kelekomole  south,  Odeaoor, 
Nadoe  Chetty  Kolom,  Sinne  Chetty  Kolom,  Meerkomole,  Pannengammo,  and 

The  district  of  Neuwarakalawiye  consists  of  the  province  or  dessavony  of  that  name. 

The  district  of  Jaffna  consists  of  the  parishes  of  Nalloor,  Wanarponne,  Chundi- 
cooly,  Kopay,  Poottoor,  Oodooville,  Manipaay,  Poonoryn,  Polwerayencadoo,  and 
Trentivoe  or  Two  Brothers’  Island. 

The  district  of  Walligammo  consists  of  the  parishes  of  Atchowely,  Mylitty,  Malla¬ 
gam,  Tellipalle,  Pandeterrippo,  Changane,  and  Batticotte. 

The  district  of  Waddimoratchie  consists  of  the  parishes  of  Oodopitty,  Cattewele, 
and  Point  Pedro. 

The  district  of  Tenmoratchie  and  Patchelapelle  consists  of  the  parishes  of  Nawa- 
kooly,  Chavagacherry,  Warrene,  Elludumutual,  Catche,  Mogomale,  Tambogammo. 
Plopalle,  Mullipattoo,  and  Caretche. 

g  2 



The  district  of  the  Islands  consists  of  the  parishes  of  Kayts,  Welene,  and 
Alleputte  ;  and  of  the  islands  of  Pungertivoe,  Anneletivoe,  Nytiativoe,  Karativoe, 
and  Delft. 

The  district  of  the  Wanne  consists  of  the  following  provinces,  which  formerly 
formed  a  part  of  the  district  or  collectorship  of  the  Wanne,  —  Karrikattemolle 
North,  Karrikattemolle  South,  Mulliawelle,  Melpattoo  North,  Melpattoo  South, 
Melpattoo  East,  Karnawelpattoo  North,  Karnawelpattoo  South,  and  Poodookoo- 

The  district  of  Trincomale  consists  of  the  district  of  that  name  and  the  province 
of  Tamankadewe. 

The  district  of  Batticaloa  consists  of  the  district  of  that  name,  and  the  province  ol 
Bintenne,  excepting  Wegampaha,  Kooloogampaha,  and  Miganagollapalata. 

The  Southern  Circuit  is  divided  into  five  districts,  viz.  the  districts  of  Amblangodde, 
Galle,  Matura,  Hambantotte,  and  Tangalle.  The  district  court  of  the  first  is  held  a. 
Ballepitte-Moderah  ;  of  the  second,  at  Galle  ;  of  the  third,  at  Matura  ;  of  the  fourth, 
at  Hambantotte  ;  and  of  the  fifth,  at  Tangalle. 

The  district  of  Amblangodde  consists  of  the  upper  division  of  the  Wellebodde- 
pattoo,  being  that  situated  to  the  northward  of  Hickode  river,  and  the  Wallallawitte 
Korle,  excepting  so  much  as  is  included  in  the  Colombo  district  No.  4. 

The  district  of  Galle,  consists  of  the  town  and  four  gravets  of  Galle,  the  Gange- 
bodde  Pattoo  (of  Galle),  the  Talpepattoo,  and  the  lower  division  of  the  Wallebodde 
Pattoo,  being  that  situated  to  the  southward  of  the  Hickode  river. 

The  district  of  Matura  consists  of  the  whole  of  the  Bellegam  Korle  and  Tote- 
moone,  four  gravets  of  Matura  and  the  Angooroogams,  Makawitte,  the  Gangebodde- 
pattoo  of  Matura,  and  the  four  Baygams,  the  Kandeboddepattoo,  the  Wellebodde- 
pattoo  of  Matura,  and  the  Muruwe  Korle. 

The  district  of  Hambantotte  consists  of  the  Mahagampattoo. 

The  district  of  Tangalle  consists  of  the  Girewah-Pattoo,  Kireme,  Cattone,  Oedoe- 
bokke,  and  Julampitye. 

Many  and  greatly  beneficial  changes  were  effected  by  the  charter  of  justice 
granted  by  his  late  Majesty  king  William  IV.,  on  the  18th  of  February,  1833,  in 
the  third  year  of  his  Majesty’s  reign  ;  but  a  few  judicious  alterations  might  be  made 
for  facilitating  justice  to  the  people,  and  conjoining  greater  weight  and  dignity  with 
the  judicial  office. 



A  new,  or  amended,  charter  of  justice  *  became  a  matter  of  expediency,  conse¬ 
quent  upon  the  annexation  of  the  Kandyan  kingdom  to  the  British  territories,  in 
the  year  1815,  during  the  late  gallant  General  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg’s  administration 
of  the  island. 

The  principal  alteration  to  be  now  desired,  is  the  appointment  of  junior  bar¬ 
risters  at  law  from  the  English,  Scotch,  and  Irish  bars,  as  senior  district  judges : 
instead  of  allowing  colonial  civil  servants,  who  have  not  received  a  legal  education 
to  qualify  them  for  such  duties,  to  preside  over  the  superior  district  courts. 

But  in  order  to  induce  the  acceptance  of  such  situations  by  barristers,  it  should  be 
established  as  a  rule  by  Her  Majesty’s  secretary  of  state,  that  these  learned  gentlemen, 
after  having  served  a  certain  period  as  senior  district  judges,  shall  be  eligible  for  the 
appointments  of  Queen’s  advocate  and  Queen’s  deputy  advocate ;  and  ultimately  for 
the  bench,  as  vacancies  occur  by  the  death  or  retirement  of  the  chief  and  puisne 
justices  of  the  Honorable  the  Supreme  Court. 

A  succession  of  legal  functionaries  for  the  higher  offices  would  thus  be  ensured  to 
the  colony,  and  the  executive  be  relieved  of  the  necessity  of  appointing  persons  who 
are  not  duly  qualified  for  permanently  holding  such  judicial  situations  ;  or,  as  upon 
former  occasions,  of  applying  to  the  Madras  bar,  for  acting  chief,  or  puisne  justices, 
much  to  the  prejudice  of  the  learned  gentlemen,  for  after  having  sacrificed  a  lucrative 
practice  in  India  in  the  justifiable  anticipation  of  succeeding  to  the  Ceylon  bench, 
they  have  been  cruelly  disappointed,  and  superseded  in  their  temporary  judicial  appoint¬ 
ments  by  barristers  from  the  English  courts,  without  compensation  or  pension. 

At  the  present  moment,  the  salaries  of  the  chief  and  puisne  judges  are  scarcely 
adequate  to  the  proper  support  of  their  high  colonial  rank ;  the  former  having 
only  <£2500  a  year,  and  the  latter  £1500  a  year,  instead  of  the  £7000  and  £4000 
enjoyed  by  their  predecessors,  which,  by  stipulations  upon  that  point  in  the  former 
charter  of  justice,  were  considerably  increased  by  payment  in  gold,  instead  of  in 

The  Supreme  Court  possesses  all  the  powers  vested  in  the  High  Court  of  Chancery 
and  Court  of  Queen’s  Bench  ;  and  the  officers  of  the  Vice-admiralty  Court  are  selected 
from  those  of  the  Supreme  Court.  The  chief  justice  is,  ex-officio,  the  deputy  and  sur¬ 
rogate  of  the  vice-admiral,  who  is  His  Excellency  the  Governor  for  the  time  being. 

The  chief  justice  takes  rank  in  the  colony  immediately  after  the  governor  or  lieut.- 
governor,  and  the  several  puisne  justices  according  to  their  patents,  and  next  after 
the  commander  of  Her  Majesty’s  forces  in  the  island. 

*  Vide  Appendix. 



Two  proctors  of  the  Honorable  the  Supreme  Court  are  appointed  to  officiate  for 
paupers  and  prisoners,  with  the  small  salaries  of  <£180  and  £150  a  year! 

By  the  authority  of  the  charter,  appeals  are  made  from  the  different  district  courts 
to  the  supreme  court;  and  in  criminal  cases  offences  are  prosecuted  by  information, 
in  the  name  of  the  Queen’s  advocate,  without  previous  inquest  by  a  grand  jury. 

All  questions  of  law  are  decided  by  the  judge  of  the  circuit,  who  may  reserve  then, 
for  the  opinions  and  decision  of  the  whole  court ;  but  no  sentence  of  death  can  be 
executed  until  it  has  been  approved  by  the  governor. 

The  laws  in  regard  to  bankruptcy  and  cessio  bonorum  are  similar  to  the  Scotch. 
There  is  no  jury  in  civil  actions,  and,  in  criminal  cases,  it  consists  of  thirteen 
members  :  but  the  unanimity  of  the  jury,  how  much  soever  to  be  desired,  is  not 
indispensable  ;  for  the  majority,  as  in  Scotland,  decides  the  guilt  or  innocence  ot 
the  prisoner. 

Of  the  Ceylon  judges  the  country  may  well  be  proud  ;  for  whilst  justice,  humanity, 
and  patience  have  been  their  characteristics  on  the  bench,  so  urbanity,  charity,  anc! 
benevolence  have  distinguished  them  in  private  life.  There  may  have  been  a  solitary 
exception  perhaps,  but  even  the  sun  has  spots  upon  its  disk. 

Since  the  benefit  of  trial  by  jury  was  established  in  the  island,  through  the  active 
energy  and  devotion  to  the  welfare  of  Ceylon  which  characterized  the  whole  careei 
of  its  then  chief  justice,  the  Honorable  Sir  Alexander  Johnston,  that  inestimable 
privilege  has  gained  an  extraordinary  influence  over  the  affections  of  the  native  people. 

Very  soon  after  the  introduction  of  trial  by  jury  into  the  maritime  provinces,  and 
long  before  its  advantages  were  sufficiently  known  to  be  fairly  appreciated,  it  became 
a  favourite  with  the  natives  ;  and  now,  after  thirty  years’  experience  of  its  blessings, 
which  the  wisdom  of  the  supreme  court  of  judicature  had  adapted  even  to  their 
prejudices,  the  attachment  of  the  natives  to  the  system,  from  conviction  of  its  inesti¬ 
mable  value,  as  the  palladium  of  their  civil  liberties,  is  boundless ;  and  well  may  every 
class  and  caste  of  the  native  population  be  proud  of  the  supreme  court’s  admin¬ 
istration  of  justice,  under  a  government  administered  upon  truly  British  principles  ; 
and  which,  so  long  as  it  continues  to  be  conducted  with  firmness  and  integrity,  will 
retain  a  paramount  interest  in  their  affections,  which  neither  the  Portuguese  nor 
Dutch,  during  their  long  possession  of  the  maritime  provinces  of  the  island,  were  ever 
able  to  establish. 

It  can  truly  be  said,  in  the  language  of  a  former  chief  justice,  “  Armies  may  waste 
away  by  disease  or  climate,  navies  be  dispersed  by  storms  and  shipwreck,  seasons  and 
circumstances  may  baffle  the  utmost  exercise  of  human  foresight,  but  firmlv-rooted 



in  the  attachment  of  the  people  of  Ceylon  to  our  British  jurisprudence,  the  security 
of  our  national  interests  and  dominion  in  that  island  may  be  deemed  impregnable.” 

The  Singhalese,  taken  collectively  as  a  nation,  may  be  justly  described  as  most 
litigious  ;  and  their  general  disregard  for  truth  is  only  equalled  by  their  readiness, 
whenever  it  suits  their  purpose,  to  commit  wilful  perjury.  It  would  be  extraordinary 
indeed  if  there  were  not  numerous  exceptions,  but  these  are  limited  to  the  highest 
classes,  and  to  educated  persons  of  other  grades  ;  and  yet  throughout  the  nation  there 
prevails  a  leaning  towards  the  degrading  vice,  politely  designated  “  courtier-like 

In  the  several  courts  of  justice,  oaths  are  administered  to  Hindoos  upon  the  water 
of  the  Ganges,  and  Tolse  leaves ;  to  Arabs  and  other  Mahommedans  upon  the  Koran, 
by  a  priest ;  and  to  the  Singhalese,  whether  Buddhists  or  devil-worshippers,  upon  the 
Hallan,  which  consists  of  a  couple  of  large  cylindrical  copper  rings,  containing  small 
iron  balls.  These  rings  are  of  an  oblong  form,  about  twelve  inches  in  circumference, 
and  represent  the  Bangles  of  the  Hindoo  goddess  Pattine,  which,  at  devil-ceremonies 
for  the  sick,  the  Kapurale  places  between  the  first  and  second  toes  of  each  foot,  and 
keeps  in  a  revolving  motion  at  certain  intervals  throughout  the  night,  to  the  mis-called 
music  of  conch-shells  and  tam-a-tams.  But  when  produced  in  court  for  the  purpose 
of  administering  an  oath  to  witnesses,  these  bangles,  which  are  wrapped  in  a  red  hand¬ 
kerchief  or  cloth,  and  kept  in  a  round  box,  ornamented  with  annular  stripes  of  red, 
yellow,  and  black  paint,  are  held  by  the  Kapurale  towards  the  witness,  who,  extending 
his  hands  in  an  attitude  of  prayer,  and  bending  his  head  at  the  same  time,  repeats 
the  usual  oath  according  to  the  custom  of  courts  of  justice  at  home. 

But  it  is  lamentable  to  observe  the  readiness  with  which  the  Singhalese  perjure 
themselves.  This  may  partly  be  ascribed  to  the  indifference  which  the  local  govern¬ 
ment  has  too  long  manifested  to  the  mode  of  administering  oaths  to  Singhalese 
witnesses  ;  and  for  this  among  other  reasons  none  but  persons  descended  from  the 
Portuguese  and  Dutch  families,  and  styled  Europeans,  should  be  selected  for  police 

The  facility  of  suborning  evidence  is  as  well  known  as  the  impossibility  of  eliciting 
the  truth  from  Buddhist  witnesses,  unless  by  an  appeal  to  their  superstitious  fears  ; 
and  therefore  the  sooner  the  Hallan  is  excluded  from  courts  of  justice,  except  for 
those  who  are  professed  devil  worshippers,  the  better ;  and  a  reference  to  my  official 
representations  upon  this  subject  to  the  government,  and  advocate  fiscal  of  Cey¬ 
lon,  between,  the  years  1823  and  1827  inclusively,  will  show  that  this  is  not  the  first 
attempt  to  bring  the  subject  under  the  most  serious  consideration. 



I  derive  my  authority  for  stating  that  the  Hallan  is  any  thing  but  sacred  in  the  eyes 
of  true  Buddhists,  from  Buddhist  priests  in  the  Galle  district,  in  answer  to  very  perti¬ 
nent  questions  upon  that  point,  during  the  time  I  was  magistrate  there,  from  1823  to 
1826  inclusively.  A  defendant  in  a  civil  action  proposed  that  judgment  should  be  given 
in  favor  of  the  plaintiff,  instead  of  the  trial  proceeding,  if  he  would  make  oath  that 
the  debt  claimed  was  just ; — the  plaintiff  readily  advanced  with  the  palms  of  his  hands 
pressed  together,  to  be  sworn  upon  the  Hallan ;  but  to  that  form  of  oath  the  defen¬ 
dant  objected,  for  the  reason  that  the  plaintiff  was  a  known  Buddhist,  and,  according 
to  his  ideas  of  right,  ought  to.  be  sworn  upon  the  sacred  books,  within  a  temple,  or 
under  a  Bogaha .*  The  priests  of  the  temple  could  alone  decide  the.  point  raised  by 
the  objection  ;  for  no  other  mode  of  swearing  Buddhists  except  upon  the  Hallan  was 
provided  for  by  the  government,  and  the  code  of  regulations  laid  a  veto  against  resort 
being  had  to  “  any  unusual  way  of  administering  oaths  to  Singhalese  witnesses,”  but 
when  the  plaintiff  heard  the  interpreter  repeat  the  court's  directions  to  send  for  the 
priests  from  the  temple,  he,  fearing  that  the  oath  was  about  to  be  put  to  him  in  the 
form  that  had  obtained  during  the  occupation  of  the  maritime  provinces  by  the  Dutch 
government,  namely,  under  a  Bugaha,  or  in  a  Buddha  temple,  voluntarily  submitted 
to  a  nonsuit !  This  mode,  if  re-adopted,  would  render  the  course  of  justice  smoother 
and  much  less  troublesome  to  its  dispensers. 

Buddhist  priests  are  sworn  upon  the  sacred  books  of  the  temple.  The  Bogaha  is 
of  rapid  growth,  and  easily  propagated,  so  that  a  court  of  justice  should  not  be  with¬ 
out  one  near  or  within  its  precincts.  By  this  simple  method,  the  truth  may  be  expected 
from  Buddhist  witnesses,  even  if  it  suited  their  purpose  to  commit  peijury. 

*  Bogaha. — Bo,  abbreviation  of  Bod  or  Buddha,  and  gaha,  tree, — the  Ficus  religiosa,  L.  There  is  a  remark¬ 
able  coincidence  between  the  stories  told  in  Syria  of  the  aspen  tree,  Populua  Iremula,  L.,  class  Dioecia,  order 
Octandria,  and  the  Singhalese  stories  of  the  Bogaha,  or  Ficus  religiosa,  class  Polygamia,  order  Triaecia.  The 
Syrians  aver  that  the  wood  of  the  cross  of  our  Saviour  was  made  of  aspen,  and  that  the  leaves  of  the  aspen  have 
trembled  ever  since,  in  commemoration  of  that  event.  The  Buddhists  attribute  the  similar  property  in  the 
foliage  of  the  Bogaha,  or  Buddha’s  tree,  to  Buddha’s  preferring,  when  on  earth,  a  seat  under  its  shade  to  that 
of  every  other  tree  ;  since  which  period  its  leaves  have  always  an  apparent  motion,  whether  there  be  any  wind 
stirring  or  not. 


Ecclesiastical  establishment — Lnjust  distinctions  among  the  clergy — Suggestions  for  Ceylon  being  made  a  bishop¬ 
ric — Consistory  of  the  Reformed  Church  of  Holland — Portuguese  mission  of  the  Oratorio  of  San  Felippe  de  Neri — 
Papal  mission  from  Rome — Suggestions  for  its  removal — Baptist  mission — Wesleyan  mission — American  mission 
— Church  of  England  mission — Caste  of  Sorcerers — Conversion  to  Mahommedanism — Military  establishment— 
Civil  branch  of  the  Ordnance — Pay  and  Island  allowances — Batta  to  Naval  officers — Staff  allowances. 

The  ecclesiastical  establishment,  in  official  language,  includes  only  the  clergy  of 
the  Established  Church  of  England  and  Ireland,  and  the  consistory  of  the  Reformed 
Church  of  Holland. 

The  seniors  of  the  colonial  clergy  enjoy  the  privileges  of  the  pension  fund,  in  com¬ 
mon  with  those  civil  servants  who  subscribed  to  it  prior  to  the  year  1822,  agreeably 
to  the  regulations  established  by  the  late  Earl  Bathurst,  at  that  time  His  Majesty’s 
secretary  of  state,  for  the  colonies ;  but  those  who  have  since  been  appointed,  have 
no  such  advantages ;  this  causes  serious  heart-burnings,  which,  however  concealed,  are 
deeply  felt  as  a  most  undeserved  and  unjust  difference 

Considering  the  population  of  the  island,  the  establishment  of  a  separate  bishopric 
in  Ceylon  would  afford  general  satisfaction  to  all  sincere  Protestants,  for  the  diocese 
of  Madras,  of  which  it  at  present  forms  an  archdeaconry,  is  so  extensive,  that  a  very 
small  proportion  of  the  Lord  Bishop’s  attention  can  be  devoted  to  Ceylon,  if  justice 
be  done  to  the  rest  of  his  diocese. 

The  consistory  of  the  Reformed  Church  of  Holland  comprises  four  elders  and  six 
deacons  ;  but  it  cannot  boast  much  of  the  liberality  of  the  British  government ;  for 
the  president  has  but  £350  a  year,  which  is  less  by  £50  than  the  stipend  of  the  native 
Singhalese  colonial  chaplain  ;  and  the  consistory’s  exemplary  proponent  at  Galle  has 
but  <£54  per  annum,  after  having  preached  in  Dutch  and  Portuguese  in  that  church 
for  upwards  of  thirty  years. 

Of  Christian  missions,  the  Roman  Catholic  mission  of  the  Oratorio  of  San  Felippe 
de  Neri  of  Goa  is  the  most  ancient.  The  Portuguese  take  credit  to  themselves  for 
having  been  the  first  to  introduce  Christianity  into  Ceylon ;  but  history  informs  us 




that  they  were  preceded  by  Persian  missionaries  of  the  Nestorian  churches,  who 
planted  churches  there,  subsequently  to  the  subversion  of  the  Parthian  empire  by  the 
Persians,  and  the  restoration  of  the  ancient  line  of  the  Persian  monarchy ;  and  that 
the  functions  of  religion  were  performed  by  priests  ordained  by  the  archbishop  of 
Seleucia,  at  that  time  the  capital  of  the  Persian  kingdom. — But  there  are  no  known 
records  of  the  Nestorian  churches  now  extant  in  the  island  ;  and  the  next  power,  to 
whom  credit  is  due  for  its  Christian  zeal  in  favour  of  the  heathen,  is  Portugal. 

The  chief  residence  of  this  mission  is  at  Santa  Lucia,  near  Colombo.  Three  mis¬ 
sionaries  reside  at  Colombo  ;  three  at  Negombo  ;  one  in  the  southern  province,  who 
officiates  at  Galle  and  Matura ;  one  at  Kaltura,  who  also  has  the  church  at  Morotto 
under  his  cure  ;  one  in  Kandy,  and  for  Alootkoor  ;  one  at  Chilaw,  and  for  Calpentyn  ; 
one  at  Arippo,  and  for  Bangalle  ;  one  at  Manaar,  and  for  the  Wanne  district ;  one  at 
Kaits,  one  at  Jaffnapatam,  one  at  Walligammoe,  one  at  Point  Pedro,  and  one  at  Trin- 
comale,  who  also  officiates  at  Batticaloa ;  but  the  immense  tract  of  country  from 
Tangalle  to  Batticaloa,  where  devil  worship  now  reigns  paramount,  is  destitute  of  the 
means  of  acquiring  the  light  of  the  gospel. 

This  mission  estimates  its  converts  at  150,000,  for  which  number,  seventeen  mission¬ 
aries  may  well  be  considered  a  very  scanty  establishment.  Perhaps  the  poverty  of  the 
Roman  Catholic  churches  in  Ceylon,  and  the  limited  number  of  padres,*  may  arise 
from  the  apathy  of  native  converts ;  but  such  is  the  present  very  degenerated  state 
of  the  Roman  religion  in  the  island,  that  those  who  have  been  accustomed  to  the 
splendid  cathedrals  of  Malta,  Spain,  and  Italy,  can  scarcely  imagine  it  possible,  when 
they  enter  a  Santa  Gri,  or  holy  church,  in  Ceylon,  that  the  same  faith  is  professed 
by  both. 

The  reverend  fathers  of  this  mission  are  subjects  of  Her  Most  Faithful  Majesty  : 
they  superintend  118  schools,  and  are  humane,  pious,  charitable  to  the  poor,  and 
hospitable  to  the  stranger. 

Upon  the  anniversary  of  St.  Cecilia’s  day,  (Nov.  22,)  a  splendid  dinner  is  given  in 
the  refectory  of  Santa  Lucia,  where  religion  presents  no  bar  to  the  equal  enjoyment 
of  the  genuine  hospitality  of  the  reverend  fathers  by  their  Protestant  as  well  as  Roman 
Catholic  guests. 

About  two  years  ago.  His  Holiness  Gregory  XVI.  despatched  a  vicar  apostolic  and 
several  priests  from  Rome  to  Ceylon.  For  this  there  was  no  occasion,  and  it  is  hard 
upon  the  numerous  and  well-educated  English  and  Irish  Roman  Catholic  clergymen, 

*  The  general  name,  among  the  natives,  for  the  clergy  and  missionaries  throughout  the  island. 


that  the  government  should  allow  the  ministry  of  that  church  to  be  exercised  by 
foreign  priests  in  a  British  colony,  for  which  our  own  and  sister  country  could  have 
better  and  more  consistently  provided.  These  reverend  intruders  would  very  soon 
take  their  departure,  if  Her  Majesty’s  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies  were  to  stipu¬ 
late  with  His  Holiness  the  Pope,  for  the  establishment  of  a  Protestant  church  and 
mission  at  Rome,  as  the  condition  of  their  continuance  in  the  island. 

The  first  British  mission  to  Ceylon  was  that  of  the  Baptists,  in  the  year  1812,  but 
it  only  now  occupies  four  stations ;  namely,  at  Colombo,  Byanville,  Matelle,  Hanwelle, 
and  the  adjoining  villages.  This  mission  superintends  eleven  schools,  and  two  Sunday 
schools,  consisting  of  between  400  and  500  children. 

There  are  but  two  missionaries,  with  five  native  teachers  to  assist  them ;  these 
gentlemen  are  themselves  so  very  exemplary  in  every  moral  and  religious  duty,  that 
they  are  universally  respected  ;  and  for  their  genuine  zeal  in  promoting  the  objects  of 
their  mission,  they  will  ever  stand  high  upon  the  records  of  the  colony,  for  it  has 
effected  great  good,  in  spite  of  the  disadvantages  of  limited  funds  and  paucity  of 

The  next,  but  nulli  secundus  in  good  works,  is  the  Wesleyan  mission,  established  in 
the  year  1814. 

I  must  leave  it  to  an  abler  pen  to  do  justice  to  the  reverend  gentlemen  of  this  mis¬ 
sion  ;  their  works  speak  for  themselves ;  these  are  not  limited  to  matters  of  religion, 
and  are  productive  of  great  and  universal  good  throughout  the  island.  Every  month 
is  ushered  in  with  the  publication  of  “  The  Friend,”  and  “  The  Protestant  Vindicator,” 
the  former  a  miscellany  for  the  promotion  of  the  moral  and  social,  as  well  as  religious 
interests  of  the  colony,  the  latter  that  which  its  title  implies. 

The  natives  of  Ceylon  might  be  much  benefitted,  if,  amongst  other  means  adopted 
for  extending  the  blessings  of  useful  knowledge  amongst  them,  a  translation  of  the 
Penny  and  Saturday  Magazines  were  published  in  the  island ; — the  engraved  wood¬ 
blocks  belonging  to  these  works,  after  having  answered  all  the  purposes  of  the  “  Society 
for  the  Diffusion  of  Useful  Knowledge,”  might  be  well  devoted  to  this  object,  and  it 
would  be  a  boon  of  such  incalculable  benefit  to  the  rising  native  population,  that  it 
would  be  unjust  to  doubt  the  readiness  of  the  Wesleyan  mission  to  translate,  and 
publish  them  in  the  native  languages.  The  demand  for  these  works  would  gradually 
become  extensive,  for  they  would  find  their  way  throughout  India. 

The  Wesleyan  missionaries  minister  in  the  Hindoo-Portuguese,  Singhalese,  and 
English  languages ;  and  their  chapels  are  conspicuous  for  the  plain,  but  convenient 
and  well-ordered  regularity  of  Protestant  places  of  worship.  The  affairs  of  this  mission 



are  regulated  at  annual  meetings,  held  at  Colombo  in  January,  the  decisions  of  which 
are  subject  to  the  control  of  the  general  committee  of  the  home  mission.  From  the 
funds  of  this  last,  that  of  Ceylon  is  supported  ;  but  much  more  might  be  realized  by 
the  friends  of  missions  in  this  country,  if  they  would  but  do  their  utmost  to  increase 
them ;  for  Ceylon,  although  presenting  a  most  ample  field  for  the  labours  of  at  least 
ten  times  its  numbers  of  Wesleyan  ministers,  is  now  limited  to  eight  missionaries  and 
fourteen  assistants,  who  have  the  management  of  the  education  of  nearly  six  thousand 
scholars,  in  eighty  one  schools. 

Never  did  the  ministers  of  the  Established  Church,  of  which  at  that  time  the  Hon¬ 
orable  Thomas  James  Twistleton,  afterwards  archdeacon  of  Colombo,  was  the  senior 
colonial  chaplain,  do  themselves  greater  honor  than  by  the  manner  in  which  they 
collectively  and  individually  extended  the  right  hand  of  Christian  fellowship  aud  hos¬ 
pitality  to  the  Wesleyan  missionaries,  upon  the  first  establishment  of  their  mission  in 
the  island  in  the  year  1815.  This  laid  the  foundation  for  that  long  continued  and 
existing  cordiality,  which  the  then  government  appeared  most  desirous  of  encouraging ; 
for  when  the  Wesleyan  chapel  was  first  opened  at  Colombo  for  divine  service.  His 
Excellency  the  governor  (Sir  Robert  Brownrigg,  G.  C.  B.)  with  his  family,  the  clergy¬ 
men  of  the  Established  Church,  and  the  majority  of  the  civil  and  military  officers, 
whose  duties  would  admit  of  it,  were  present  at  that  most  interesting  ceremonial  to 
the  Almighty’s  honor,  and  for  the  propagation  of  “  peace  on  earth,  and  of  good-will 
towards  men  !  ” 

The  American  mission  was  first  establised  in  the  northern  districts  of  Ceylon,  in 
the  year  1816,  and  many  still  living  will  recollect  the  official  jealousy  with  which  the 
settlement  at  Jaffna,  of  the  very  exemplary  individuals  who  originally  composed  it, 
was  regarded.  Experience  has  proved  that  it  was  unjust  and  unworthy  of  the  gener¬ 
ous  character  of  a  British  government ;  and  it  would  be  difficult  to  find  an  individual 
in  the  colony,  who  has  had  an  opportunity  of  witnessing  the  conduct  of  the  respectable 
and  respected  persons  of  the  American  mission,  at  all  disposed  to  believe,  that  even  if 
the  government  of  the  United  States  would  so  far  compromise  its  own  dignity,  as  to 
endeavour  to  induce  its  missionary  citizens  in  Ceylon  to  exercise  the  degrading  office 
of  spy,  there  would  be  found  one  amongst  them  so  lost  to  his  own  character,  as  to 
prostitute  it  for  any  national  or  worldly  advantage. 

This  mission  occupies  seven  stations  in  the  northern  province,  to  which  its  attention 
is  exclusively  limited :  namely,  Tillipalle,  Batticotta,  Oodooville,  Pondeteripo,  Ma- 
nepe,  Chavagachere,  and  Varane;  and  they  employ  native  catechists  at  Oodopitte, 
Achoowele,  Changane,  Caradive,  Valane,  and  Pungertive. 



At  Batticotta  there  is  a  seminary,  superintended  by  a  principal,  a  professor,  a  native 
tutor  m  mathematics  and  natural  philosophy,  and  a  native  teacher  of  arithmetic  and 
astronomy,  according  to  the  Hindoo  system;  the  number  of  pupils  is  101  ;  of  girls 
in  the  central  school,  90  ;  native  free  schools  42  ;  boys  1200,  girls  300.  The  seminary 
is  entirely  supported  by  the  American  Board  of  Commissioners  for  Foreign  Missions. 

The  printing  and  book-binding  establishment  belonging  to  the  mission  employs  three 
presses,  and  fifty  workmen. 

Although  last  in  the  field,  having  been  established  in  1818,  the  Church  Mission  has 
distinguished  itself  for  its  Christian  zeal,  and  in  promoting  native  education  :  occupying 
four  stations,  and  having  but  nine  missionaries  in  holy  orders,  their  labours,  in  which 
they  are  assisted  by  about  110  native  catechists,  school-masters,  and  school-mistresses, 
may  be  estimated  by  the  number  of  congregations  and  schools  belonging  to  the  mission. 

The  number  of  communicants  bears  no  proportion  to  the  attendants  at  public  wor¬ 
ship,  the  former  amounting,  in  1838,  to  133,  and  the  latter  to  2418.  Of  scholars, 
male  and  female,  there  are,  in  the  sixty-two  schools,  thirty  adults,  2048  boys,  and 
426  girls. 

A  lay  agent  transacts  the  temporal  concerns  of  this  mission,  and  the  number  of 
tracts  already  distributed  amounts  to  420,000. 

The  whole  of  the  Scriptures  and  Book  of  Common  Prayer  have  been  translated  into 
familiar  Singhalese,  besides  numerous  elementary  school  books,  and  religious  tracts: 
all  these  have  been  printed  at  the  Kotta  Mission  press,  and  extensively  circulated 
amongst  the  natives,  by  whom  they  are  sought  with  avidity,  and  readily  purchased 
by  those  who  can  afford  it ;  whilst  those  who  cannot,  accept  them  with  apparent 

The  prospects  of  this  mission  are  evidently  great  and  very  encouraging ;  and  as  the 
only  rock  upon  which  they  can  possibly  be  wrecked,  is  the  want  of  competent  funds, 
it  is  earnestly  to  be  hoped  that  the  pure  doctrine  they  preach  will  not  be  allowed  to 
fail  of  producing  the  desired  effect,  by  adequate  pecuniary  support  being  niggardly 
withheld  at  home.  The  scholars  make  constant  and  creditable  progress  in  the  acquire¬ 
ment  of  religious  information  and  general  knowledge. 

It  is,  however,  a  subject  of  general  regret  to  the  missions,  that  although  in  the  im¬ 
mediate  neighbourhood  of  a  nominally  Christian  population,  scarcely  one  native  family 
out  of  a  hundred,  unless  immediately  connected  with  them,  abstains,  on  religious  prin¬ 
ciples,  from  the  ceremonies  and  practice  of  devil  worship.  When  their  wizards,  astro¬ 
logers,  and  conjurers  are  converted,  they  will  quit  the  devil  practices  by  which  the 
native  minds  are  so  extraordinarily  worked  upon  as  to  render  them  pliant  and  subser- 



vient  victims  to  the  grossest  impositions  that  ever  fettered  the  spirit  of  man.  This  may 
be  calculated  on  as  a  certain  effect  of  the  light  of  Christianity  upon  the  minds  of  the 
soi-disant  magi,  who  now  hold  bodies  and  souls  in  perpetual  thraldom.  But  until  this 
grand  evil  be  removed,  and  by  the  assistance  of  the  magistracy  wherever  it  may  be 
needful,  in  severely  punishing  all  such  impostors,  the  fears  of  the  ignorant  natives  will 
not  be  overcome  by  merely  professing  themselves  converts  to  Christianity.  The  con¬ 
version  of  one  greatly  dreaded  astrologer  and  devil  worshipper  will  do  much  to  recon¬ 
cile  the  natives  to  the  power  of  Christianity  over  the  wiles  of  the  evil  one,  and  tend  to 
reduce  their  fears  of  the  maha  yaka,  or  great  demon,  more  than  can  be  hoped  for  by 
other  means. 

The  caste  of  Seppidiwigie  Karayo,  or  sorcerers,  is  one  of  the  greatest  stumbling 
blocks  to  Christianity  that  now  presents  itself,  and  on  its  gradual  conversion  very  much 
depends ;  for  the  superstitious  natives  will  never  altogether  abandon  devil  worship,  so 
long  as  its  priests  have  such  power  over  their  minds,  as  to  inspire  these  deluded  crea¬ 
tures  with  the  dreadful  conviction  that  both  their  own  bodies  and  the  lives  of  their  cat¬ 
tle,  are  at  their  (the  sorcerers’)  command.  May  the  Almighty’s  blessing  enable  the 
ministers  of  Christ  to  effect  this  grand  object,  and  may  it  light  upon  the  efforts  of  all 
employed  in  so  great  and  glorious  a  cause,  whatever  the  denomination  of  the  Christian 
church,  mission,  sect,  or  creed,  they  profess  to  belong  to  ! 

Too  much  cannot  be  said  of  the  amiable  and  exemplary  divines  to  whom  the  affairs 
of  this  mission  are  so  happily  entrusted  ;  for,  like  those  who  have  preceded  them  in 
the  office,  they  are  altogether  unexceptionable,  whether  in  a  religious  or  moral  point 
of  view. 

Our  missionaries  may  make  proselytes  of  Singhalese,  and  Malabars,  but  they  ap¬ 
pear  to  have  little  or  no  chance  with  any  of  the  many  thousands  of  the  followers  of 
Ali  and  Mahommed,  of  whom  I  have  not  yet  heard  that  they  have  converted  even  a 
solitary  individual ;  but  Ceylon  has  witnessed  the  conversion  of  an  apostate  English¬ 
man  to  Mahommedanism.  The  first  and  most  ready  Singhalese  converts  have  been 
those  who  anticipated  employment  in  the  missionary  establishments. 

The  Peace  establishment  of  the  army  in  Ceylon  consists  of  two  companies  of  the 
royal  artillery,  commanded  by  a  lieutenant-colonel ;  two  of  the  royal  engineers  ;  four 
regiments  of  the  line  ;  the  Ceylon  rifle  regiment,  consisting  of  sixteen  companies,  and 
a  troop  of  mounted  orderlies. 

The  present  governor,  Lieut.  General  Sir  Colin  Campbell,  K.  C.  B.,  is  also  com¬ 
mander  of  the  forces. 



The  general  staff  consists  of  a  military  secretary,  two  aids-de-camp,  a  deputy  adju¬ 
tant  general,  deputy  assistant  adjutant  general,  deputy  quarter-master  general,  deputy 
assistant  quarter-master  general,  and  a  deputy  commissary  general. 

The  medical  staff  includes  one  deputy  inspector  of  hospitals,  one  staff  surgeon, 
and  nine  assistant  staff  surgeons. 

The  civil  branch  of  the  ordnance  consists  of  two  store  keepers,  one  (who  is  also  the 
paymaster)  at  Colombo,  and  one  at  Trincomale  ;  four  established  clerks,  two  assistant 
clerks,  and  one  extra  assistant  clerk. 

The  amount  of  officers’  pay  and  island  allowances,  and  of  the  latter  to  naval  officers, 
when  employed  as  agents  of  transports,  during  their  detention  by,  or  employment  un¬ 
der,  the  orders  of  Her  Majesty’s  colonial  government,  is  given  in  the  following  tables. 

Military  and  Army  Medical  Establishment  at  Ceylon. 

Military  Secretary's  Office. 




Military  secretary  . 




Five  clerks,  senior  at  .... 

..  per  annum 




and  junior  at  . 

..  — 




Adjutant  General’s  Office. 

Deputy  adjutent  general  .. 




Deputy  assistant  general  .. 

-  — 




Three  clerks,  senior  at  .... 




and  junior  at  . 

..  — 




Quarter -Master 

General's  Off 


Deputy  quarter-master  general  per  diem 




Deputy  assistant  ditto  .... 

.  — 




Two  clerks,  the  first  at .... 




and  the  second  at . 

..  — 




Two  draftsmen,  the  first  at 





and  the  second  at . . 





Staff  Officer's  Office. 

Staff  officer .  per  diem  0  10  0 

Clerk,  at  .  per  annum  40  10  0 

Royal  Engineers'  Office. 

0  0 
0  0 

£  s.  n. 

and  the  third  at  .  —  36  0  0 

One  draftsman,  at  .  —  69  6  0 

Prmcipal  Medical  Officer's  Office. 

Two  clerks,  the  senior  at .  per  diem  0  7  0 

and  the  junior  at  . per  annum  54  0  0 


Staff  Officer's  Office. 

Staff  officer .  per  diem  0  10  0 

One  clerk,  at  .  per  annum  27  0  0 

Royal  Engineers'  Offce. 

One  clerk  of  the  works,  at  per  annum  72  0  0 
One  assistant  ditto  .  —  36  0  0 


Staff  Officer's  Office. 

Staff  officer .  per  diem  0  10  0 

One  clerk . per  annum  27  0  0 

Island  allowances  to  officers,  in  addition  to  their  Queen's 
pay,  in  lieu  of  lodging-money,  fuel,  candles,  &c. 

Colonel  . per  mensem  45  9  0 

Lieutenant-colonel  . —  32  2  0 

Major  .  —  23  19  0 

Captain  ,,,,,,,, . —  13  16  0 

Three  clerks,  the  first  at  ...  per  annum  96 
the  second  at  .  —  60 



Lieutenant  . . 

Second  lieutenant  or  ensign 

Paymaster  . 

Surgeon  . 

Assistant  surgeon  . 

Adjutant  . 

Quarter-master  . 







—  8 



Captain  .  — 




—  6 



Lieutenant  .  — 




—  13 



Second  lieutenant  or  ensign  — 




—  17 



—  12 



The  allowance  of  the  commandant  of 







When  officers,  having  been  relieved,  have  ceased  to  do 
duty  in  the  island,  they  are  allowed  the  following 
rate  of  island  allowances,  to  the  day  of  their  embar¬ 
kation  inclusively. 

Colombo  is  fixed  at  . per  mensem  29  1 1 





Ditto  of  Trincomale .  —  30  0 

Ditto  of  Kandy  .  —  25  6 

Ditto  of  Galle  .  per  diem  0  10 

N.  B.  The  allowance  to  the  commandant  of  Colombo 
is  not  drawn,  except  when  the  offices  of  governor  and 
commander  of  the  forces  are  held  by  the  same  officer. 

Colonel  . per  mensem  22  14  6 

Inspector-general  of  hospitals  —  22  14  6 

Lieutenant-colonel  .  —  16  1  0 

Deputy  inspector-general  of  hospitals  16  1  0 

Assistant  inspector  of  ditto  —  13  15  0 

Major  .  —  11  19  6 

Staff  surgeon  .  —  11  19  6 

Surgeon  .  —  11  13  4 

Captain  or  paymaster  .  —  9  4  0 

Apothecary  or  assistant  surgeon  —  8  16  8 

Adjutant  .  —  8  16  0 

Lieutenant  or  quarter-master  —  5  10  0 

Second  lieutenant  or  ensign  —  4  4  0 

Lieutenants  or  masters  in  the  Royal  Navy,  acting  as 
agents  of  transports,  are  entitled  to  13/.  16s.  per  men¬ 
sem,  being  island  allowances  to  captains  of  infantry, 
during  their  detention  or  employment  by  Her  Majesty’s 
colonial  government. 

Additional  allowances  to  officers  in  command  of  corps. 

Colonel  . per  mensem  5  4  0 

Lieutenant-colonel  .  —  5  4  0 

Major  .  —  8  3  0 

Captain  .  —  10  4  0 

Lieutenant  .  —  5  11  0 

Additional  allowances  to  officers  in  command  of  garri¬ 
sons,  with  the  exception  of  Colombo,  Trincomale, 
Kandy,  and  Galle. 

Colonel . per  mensem  29  11  0 

Lieutenant-colonel  . .  — *  8  18  0 

Major  . . .  —  6  14  0 

General  and  Medical  Staff. 
Major-general .  per  mensem  275  13  4-i 

Deputy  quarter-master  general,  being 

a  lieutenant-colonel .  16  1  0 

Deputy  assistant  ditto,  being  a  lieut.  ...  4  2  6 

Deputy  adjutant-general,  being  a  lieu- 

tenant-colonel  .  16  1  0 

Deputy  assistant  ditto,  being  a  lieut.  ...  4  2  6 

Assistant  military  secretary  .  6  18  0 

But  if  this  office  be  held  by  an  aid-de-camp,  then  ii 
is  not  drawn,  there  being  no  island  allowance  for  mon 
than  one  staff  situation  to  the  same  officer. 

Aid-de-camp  to  the  governor  and  general 

officer,  whether  captains  or  subalterns  6  18  0 

Besides  the  regimental  allowance  thus  regulated,  and 
where  the  ranks  of  stall’  officers  do  not  correspond  with 
this  table,  the  addition  equals  one  half  the  regimental 
rate  of  island  allowances. 

Aids-de-camp,  if  subalterns,  have  the  staff  and  island 
allowances  of  captains. 

Brevet  inspectors  of  hospitals,  per  mensem  68  3  0 

Stall’  surgeon .  —  23  19  0 

Assistant  ditto  .  —  12  10  0 

Apothecary  to  the  forces  ...  —  13  5  u 

In  1827  the  inspector  of  hospitals  enjoved  the  lucra¬ 
tive  posts  of  inspector  of  vaccination,  at  45/.  per  mensem, 
and  deputy  inspector,  at  84/.  10s.  per  mensem,  togethci 
with  a  commission  of  half  a  pice  per  pound  upon  all 
cinnamon  assorted  ! ! 


-Cinnamon  first  introduced  into  Europe  from  Ceylon  by  the  Portuguese — Tribute  of  the  Singhalese  Rajah  D  Hanna 
Pruakramabahoo  IX.,  to  Emmanuel,  king  of  Portugal — Cinnamon  uncultivated  until  Governor  Falck's  adminis¬ 
tration  of  the  government — Cinnamon  plantations  and  roads  a  general  benefit — Casual  remarks  in  the  planta- 

jj  * 

dons — Dutch  and  British  monopolies — Lord  Viscount  Goderich  abolishes  the  cinnamon  monopoly  and  all  its 
penalties  and  oppressions — Nature  of  the  former  oppressive  system — Ceylon  jackdaw  and  cinnamon  pigeon — 
Classification  and  varieties  of  the  cinnamon  laurel — Nepenthes  distillatoria,  Gloriosa  superba,  Ixora  coccinea, 
and  Vinca  rosea — Soil  of  the  cinnamon  plantations  near  Colombo — Chalias  or  cinnamon  peelers — mode  of  ascer¬ 
taining  the  maturity  of  the  bark — process  of  barking,  assorting,  and  tasting — Cinnamon  tasters — Prices  of  cinnamon 
lands  at  the  sale  in  1840 — Prices  of  the  spice — Revenue  from  cinnamon — Cinnamon  oil,  water,  and  candles — Clove- 
oil  made  from  the  leaf  of  the  cinnamon  laurel — Cinnamon  known  to  the  ancient  Greeks  and  Romans — Best  quality 
known  by  the  bark — Black  pepper  indispensable  to  the  preservation  of  cinnamon — Cinnamon  breezes  bubbles  of  the 
imagination — Pandanus  odoralissimus — Arum  fxtidum — Hoax  upon  Griffins  practised  on  board  an  East  Indiaman . 

It  is  scarcely  possible  to  present  much  novelty  to  the  reader  upon  a  subject  which 
has  been  extensively  handled  by  the  many  abler  writers  who  have  preceded  me ;  but 
as  no  account  of  this  interesting  island  can  be  even  moderately  perfect  without  some 
notice  of  the  cinnamon  laurel,  I  avail  myself  of  the  correctest  information  that  I 
could  obtain  upon  the  spot  where  it  is  principally  cultivated,  and  from  the  best  authors 
who  have  described  its  characters  and  properties. 

When  the  cinnamon  of  Ceylon  first  attracted  the  attention  of  the  Lusitanian  disco¬ 
verer  of  the  island*  in  the  year  1506,  it  was  only  known  in  its  wild  state  ;  nevertheless 
this  spice  was  at  that  period  so  highly  esteemed,  that  the  Portuguese  admiral  at 
once  determined  to  turn  it  to  the  advantage  of  his  country ;  and  he  consequently 
entered  into  a  treaty  with  D’  Harma  Praakramabahoo  IX.,  the  rajah  of  Ceylon, 
whose  capital  was  Kotta,  for  an  annual  tribute  of  2500  quintals  or  250,000  pounds 
avoirdupois  of  cinnamon  ;  for  which  he  guaranteed  the  then  powerful  protection  of 
his  sovereign,  Dom  Emmanuel,  king  of  Portugal,  to  the  Singhalese  rajah  and  his 

*  Admiral  Lourenco  D’  Almeyda,  son  of  the  Count  D’  Abrantes,  at  that  time  vice-roy  and  governor  general 
of  the  Indies. 

f  Papal  permission  was  deemed  necessary  to  authorize  a  commercial  intercourse  with  the  heathen ;  and  as  a 
license  had  previously  been  granted  by  His  Holiness,  Nicholas  V.,  by  bull,  in  favour  of  prince  Henry  of  Portugal, 




Cinnamon  had  never  been  cultivated  in  Ceylon  until  about  the  year  1770,  when 
the  Dutch  governor,  Iman  Willem  Falck,  determined  to  try  the  effect  of  culture  upon 
that  laurel,  malgre  the  opinions  of  the  headmen  that  the  result  would  be  an  useless 
expenditure  of  time,  labour,  and  money,  and  the  quality  of  the  spice  be  deteriorated 
by  the  projected  undertaking. 

To  this  excellent  governor  is  to  be  attributed  the  twofold  benefit  which  resulted 
to  the  public,  from  the  adoption  of  a  line  of  policy,  calculated,  in  his  opinion,  to 
increase  the  value  of  the  principal  staple  of  the  colony  in  the  European  markets,  and 
the  general  salubrity  of  Colombo,  by  clearing  the  impervious  underwood  in  its  im¬ 
mediate  vicinity,  and  forming  roads  through  the  cinnamon  plantations.  These  roads 
were  subsequently  improved  by  the  British,  and  perfected  during  the  late  Sir  Edward 
Barnes’s  administration  of  the  government. 

Very  many  Europeans  traverse  the  cinnamon  gardens,  as  the  plantations  are  locally 
designated,  at  full  gallop,  without  allowing  a  single  remark  to  escape  them  upon  this 
elegant  and  aromatic  laurel,  except  in  the  language  of  disappointment  at  the  absence 
of  all  odour  of  the  spice  from  its  innumerable  blossoms  :  some  may  pluck  a  cluster 
of  the  small  white  monopetalous  flowers,  and  express  surprise  that  they  exhale  a  slight 
perfume  of  the  tuberose  ( Polyanthes  tuberosa )  instead  of  that  of  cinnamon ;  others 
may  admire  only  the  bright  scarlet  foliage  of  the  extreme  branches^  or  the  purple 
acorn-shaped  drupe,  which  contains  the  seed,  merely  because  it  bears  a  miniature 
resemblance  to  that  of  the  oak  tree ;  or  perhaps  pluck  a  leaf,  as  they  ride  or 
drive,  and,  upon  crushing  it  in  the  hand,  wonder  that  it  exhales  the  odour  of  the 
clove  only. 

We  readily  accuse  the  Dutch  of  monopolizing  the  principal  staples  of  colonial 
commerce,  and  we  call  that  policy  illiberal  which  restricted  the  culture  of  cinnamon 
to  Ceylon,  of  the  clove  to  the  Moluccas,  and  of  the  nutmeg  to  the  Banda  islands ; 
but  what  did  not  the  British  government  in  Ceylon  monopolize,  over  which  it  had 
power  ?  and  even  during  the  continuance  of  its  own  monopolies  of  cinnamon  and 
salt,  cum  multis  aliis,  which  had  obtained  from  the  cession  of  the  island  by  the 
Dutch  in  1796,  the  Kandyan  kingdom  had  scarcely  been  eighteen  months  in  our  pos¬ 
session  when  the  government  declared  the  late  king  of  Kandy’s  “  monopoly  in  areka 
nuts,  cardamoms,  bee’s  wax,  coffee,  and  pepper,  to  be  highly  prejudicial  to  the  growth 
of  those  valuable  articles  of  inland  produce,  and  injurious  to  the  commercial  interests 

to  trade  with  the  Mahomedans,  and  which  referred  to  similar  concessions  from  his  papal  predecessors,  Martin  V. 
and  Eugenius,  to  the  kings  of  Portugal,  so  it  was  continued  in  favour  of  Doin  Emmanuel. — Osorio,  vol.  i.  p.  253. 


6>  m 


of  the  colony!!”  and  it  was  thereupon  abandoned  by  proclamation  dated  15th  June, 
1816,  in  the  Kandyan  territories  :  but  it  was  not  until  the  Right  Honorable  the  Lord 
Viscount  Goderich,  His  Majesty’s  principal  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  from 
1830 — 1833  inclusively,  abolished  the  iniquitous  and  arbitrary  system  altogether,  that 
the  monopoly  in  cinnamon  ceased  in  the  maritime  provinces. 

For  nearly  three  centuries  before  Lord  Goderich’s  fiat  went  forth,  every  regulation 
oi  the  Portuguese,  Dutch,  and  British  governments,  in  regard  to  cinnamon,  teemed 
with  tyranny  and  oppression.  The  proprietor  of  the  soil,  whether  European  or  native, 
dared  not  destroy  a  plant,  which  a  passing  jackdaw*  ( Corvus  Monedula  of  Pennant) 
or  pompadour  pigeon  f  (  Vinago  aromatica  of  Shaw)  by  dropping  its  ordure,  containing 
the  indigested  seed,  might  have  been  the  vehicle  of  generating  in  his  grounds ; 
and  a  penalty  was  attached  to  the  party  omitting  to  report  to  the  superintendent 
of  cinnamon  plantations  the  presence  of  such  an  unwelcome  intruder  upon  his 

But  this  was  not  all  that  was  expected  from  the  occupier  of  the  soil.  He  neither 
dared  to  cut  a  cinnamon  stick  for  his  own  use,  nor  a  particle  of  the  bark  for  his 
domestic  purposes,  nor  to  distil  camphor  from  its  roots,  or  clove  oil  from  its  foliage. 

*  This,  the  most  impudent  and  numerous  of  the  Ceylon  birds,  is  described  by  all  authors  who  have  preceded 
me,  except  by  the  celebrated  ornithologist.  Dr.  Stanley,  the  present  Lord  Bishop  of  Norwich,  as  the  Corvus 
Corax,  or  crow  ;  and  some  very  tolerable  anecdotes  have  been  related,  with,  I  doubt  not,  a  very  scrupulous 
adherence  to  truth,  but  which  are  nevertheless  calculated  to  raise  doubts  in  the  minds  of  the  majority  of  those 
whose  fate  has  limited  them  to  the  perusal  of  the  statements  of  what  others  have  seen. — This  bird  is  much 
smaller  than  the  European  crow,  and  I  prefer  adopting  the  opinion  of  the  Right  Reverend  Prelate,  that  it  is 
the  Corvus  Monedula,  P.,  and  not  the  Corvus  Corax,  L.,  that  inhabits  Ceylon.  It  is  thus  described  in  the 
work  alluded  to.  “  In  the  island  of  Ceylon,  these  birds  are  extremely  impudent  and  troublesome,  and  it 
is  found  very  difficult  to  exclude  them  from  the  houses,  which,  on  account  of  the  heat,  are  built  open,  and  much 
exposed  to  intruders.  In  the  town  of  Colombo,  where  they  are  in  the  habit  of  picking  up  bones  and  other  things 
from  the  streets  and  yards,  and  carrying  them  to  the  tops  of  the  houses,  a  battle  usually  takes  place  for  the 
plunder,  to  the  great  annoyance  of  the  people  below,  on  whose  heads  they  shower  down  the  loosened  tiles,  leaving 
the  roofs  exposed  to  the  weather.  They  frequently  snatch  bread  and  meat  from  the  dining  table,  even  when  it  is 
surrounded  with  guests,  always  seeming  to  prefer  the  company  of  man,  as  they  are  continually  seen  hopping  about 
near  houses,  and  rarely  to  be  met  with  in  woods  and  retired  places.  They  are,  however,  important  benefactors  to 
the  Indians,  making  ample  compensation  for  their  intrusion  and  knavery,  for  they  are  all  voracious  devourers  of 
carrion,  and  consume  all  sorts  of  dirt,  offal,  and  dead  vermin  :  they  in  fact  carry  off  those  substances  which,  if 
allowed  to  remain,  would  in  that  hot  climate  produce  the  most  noxious  smells,  and  probably  give  rise  to  putrid 
disorders.  On  this  account  they  are  much  esteemed  by  the  natives  ;  their  mischievous  tricks  and  impudence  are 
put  up  with,  and  they  are  never  suffered  to  be  shot  or  otherwise  molested. 

f  Columba  pompadoura,  Gmel.  Syst.  Nat.  1.  775.  9. 

i  2 



because  a  heavy  penalty  stared  him  in  the  face,  for  all  cinnamon  plants  and  bushes 
were  public  property  :  and  whenever  the  superintendent  chose,  he  despatched  chalias 
to  decorticate  them  and  carry  the  bark  to  the  government  godowns  or  stores, 
without  the  slightest  remuneration  to  the  landlord.  Not  only  the  proprietors,  but 
every  body  and  thing,  including  bullocks  and  even  carts,*  were  made  liable  to  -prose¬ 
cution  and  imprisonment .■f 

The  following  is  the  classification  of  the  Laurus  Cinnamomum ,  according  to  the 
Linnsean  system. 

Class  IX.  Enneandria — Order  I.  Monogynia.  Flower  white,  having  a  brownish 
shade  in  the  middle ;  monopetalous ;  stellated,  having  six  points ;  fruit  a  drupe, 
about  the  size  of  a  small  hedge  strawberry,  containing  one  seed,  and  of  the  shape 
of  an  acorn ;  leaf  trinervous,  egg-oblong,  nerves  vanishing  towards  the  tip,  and 

The  principal,  and  the  only  cultivated  species,  is  distinguished  above  all  others  by 
the  Singhalese  name  of  Penne  or  Rasse  Kuroondu,  which  signifies  honey  or  sweet 
cinnamon  ;  the  second  variety  is  called  Nay  a  Kuroondu,  or  snake  cinnamon  ;  the 
third,  Kapooru  Kuroondu,  or  camphor  cinnamon ;  the  fourth,  Kabatte  Kuroondu, 
or  astringent  cinnamon  ;  the  fifth,  Sevel  Kuroondu,  or  mucilaginous  cinnamon  ;  the 
sixth,  Darcool  Kuroondu,  or  flat  or  drum  cinnamon  ;  the  seventh,  Nika  Kuroondu,  or 
wild  cinnamon,  whose  leaf  resembles  that  of  the  nicasol,  or  Vitex  Negundo ;  the 
eighth,  Mai  Kuroondu,  or  bloom  or  flower  cinnamon  ;  and  the  ninth,  Tompat  Kuroondu, 
or  trefoil  cinnamon.  J  But  it  is  only  the  first  four  that  are  strictly  varieties  of  the 
Laurus  Cinnamomum. 

When  in  full  bloom,  the  cinnamon  bushes  have  a  very  beautiful  appearance  ;  the 
small  white  petals  affording  a  most  agreeable  contrast  with  the  flame-coloured  ex¬ 
tremities  of  the  upper,  and  the  dark  green  of  the  inferior  foliage,  intermingled  with 
the  climbing  monkey  or  pitcher  plant  ( Nepenthes  clistillatoria),  which,  conjointly  with 

*  Bandies. 

f  Government  Advertisement. — “  Notice  is  hereby  given,  that  no  Bullock  Bandies,  loaded  or  unloaded, 
are  allowed  to  pass  through  the  Cinnamon  Gardens,  on  the  roads  or  otherwise,  on  any  pretence  whatever  ; 
and  all  Bullock  Bandies  found  so  trespassing,  with  the  Cattle  belonging  to  the  same,  will  be  seized  by  and 
prosecuted  before  the  Sitting  Magistrate. 

Signed,  JOHN  RODNEY, 

Chief  Secretary’s  Office,  Chief  Secretary  to  Government. 

Colombo,  14th  Feb.  1812.” 

%  Burmanni  Thesaurus  Zeylanicus. 



the  flame-coloured  Glor  'iosci  superba,  entwines  its  tendrils  around  this  umbrageous  and 
spicy  laurel,  and  the  scarlet-flowered  Ivor  a  coccinea,  and  pink-petaled  Vinca  rosea, 
enjoying  the  shade  beneath  it. 

The  best  cinnamon  is  obtained  from  the  shoots  which  spring  almost  perpendicularly 
from  the  roots,  after  the  parent  bush  or  tree  has  been  cut  down  ; — these  afford  the 
hazel-like  walking  sticks  so  much  esteemed  by  persons  visiting  the  island,  and  which, 
although  very  great  difficulty  formerly  existed  in  procuring  them,  owing  to  the 
oppressive  nature  of  the  cinnamon  regulations,  may  now  be  very  easily  obtained  from 
proprietors  of  grounds  producing  that  spice. 

The  external  appearance  of  the  cinnamon  suckers,  prior  to  their  decortication, 
resembles ^  that  of  the  hazel.  The  best  soil  for  cinnamon  is  a  pure  quartz  sand; 
which,  from  the  surface  to  the  depth  of  a  few  inches,  is  as  fine  in  its  nature  and  as 
white  in  its  appearance  as  the  best  table  salt ;  but  below  that  depth,  and  near  the 
roots  of  the  bushes,  the  sand  is  greyish.* 

There  are  two  regular  seasons  for  barking  cinnamon,  namely  from  April  to  August, 
and  from  November  to  January,  but  considerable  quantities  are  collected  at  other 
times,  as  the  spice  attains  maturity. 

In  order  to  ascertain  the  maturity  of  the  liber,  or  inner  bark,  which  is  the  cinnamon 
of  commerce,  the  peeler  gives  the  stick  a  diagonal  cut  with  a  heavy  knife,  and  if  the 
bark  readily  separate  itself  from  the  wood  of  the  shoot  that  he  has  selected,  he 
cuts  it  down,  and  having  scraped  off  the  outer  brown  and  green  pellicles  with  a  blunt 
knife,  he  removes  the  bark  by  passing  a  sharp-pointed  knife  longitudinally  from  one 
extremity  to  the  other.  He  then  places  the  smaller  portions  of  the  bark  within  the 
larger,  and  dries  it  in  the  air  and  shade,  where  it  curls  and  contracts,  as  it  is  imported 
into  Europe. 

The  peelers  form  the  cinnamon  into  bundles,  from  three  to  four  feet  in  length,  and 
85  pounds  avoirdupois  in  weight,  but  reckoned  only  as  80  pounds,  the  surplus  being 
allowed  for  waste ;  and  they  have  so  delicate  a  sense  of  taste,  that  they  can  distinguish 
either  of  the  four  best  sorts  of  cinnamon  in  the  dark.  The  government  cinnamon 
tasters  are  necessitated  to  eat  bread  and  butter  at  intervals  during  that  pungent  duty, 
in  order  to  preserve  the  skin  of  their  tongues. 

*  According  to  Dr.  John  Davy's  analysis,  the  greyish  sand,  thoroughly  dried,  consists  of  98.5  silicious  sand, 

1 .0  vegetable  matter, 
0.5  water. 




At  the  time  of  the  abolition  of  the  monopoly,  a  sort  of  cinnamo-mama  prevailed 
for  purchasing  the  partitioned  plantations  from  the  crown  ;  but  in  1840  cinnamon 
lands  sold  for  about  4/.  to  4/.  10*.  per  acre. 

This  spice  is  sold  at  6d.,  9d.,  and  1*.  per  pound  avoirdupois ;  the  duty  upon 
exportation  of  the  first  and  second  sorts  is  2s.  6d.  per  pound,  and  upon  the  third  sort 
'2s.,  provided  it  be  assorted  by  the  government  assorters  ;  and  3*.  6d.  per  pound  upon 
its  importation  into  this  country.  The  oil  of  cinnamon,  which  is  made  from  the  refuse 
of  the  stores,  is  subject  to  a  duty  of  1*.  per  ounce.  The  Dutch  limited  the  quantity 
of  cinnamon  for  exportation,  in  order  to  maintain  high  prices  for  it  in  the  home 

The  Ceylon  government  derives  an  average  revenue  of  £120,000  a  year  from 
cinnamon,  cinnamon  oil,  and  clove  oil.  In  the  year  1S36  it  amounted  to  127,164/. 
18*.  3 \d.  which  included  the  export  duty  of  74,631/.  0*.  10 d. 

It  may  naturally  be  inferred,  that  the  increased  production  of  cinnamon  will  eventu¬ 
ally  cause  a  glut,  which  nothing  less  than  a  reduction  of  duty  will  obviate,  or  the 
accumulated  stock  must  sell  much  below  remunerating  prices. 

The  most  pungent  and  delicious  cinnamon  water,  which,  after  having  undergone 
adulteration  in  the  proportion  of  four  to  one,  would  still  excel  the  best  that  is  sold  as 
such  at  home,  does  not  exceed  2*.  6d.  per  gallon  in  the  island. 

Amongst  the  Kandyan  spoils  were  some  cinnamon  candles  belonging  to  the 
rajah,  of  which  Lieut.  Lyttelton,  of  the  73rd  regiment,  gave  me  a  few  specimens  ; 
but  they  exhaled  no  very  grateful  odour,  nor  was  there  any  peculiar  brilliancy  in 
their  light. 

Nature  in  some  degree  thwarted  Dutch  policy,  in  as  far  as  regards  one  staple  ot 
Ceylon  production ;  namely,  that  called  clove  oil,  which  is  there  manufactured  solely 
from  the  cinnamon  leaf,  and  equal,  in  point  of  aromatic  pungency,  to  the  oil  made 
from  the  clove  itself  at  the  Molucca  islands. 

Cinnamon  was  well  known  to  the  ancient  Greeks  by  the  name  of  lLiwifiufiov,  and  to 
the  Romans  by  that  of  Cinnamomum.  It  was  chiefly  used  in  perfumes  and  unguents, 
but  its  price  was  so  exorbitant  that  none  but  affluent  people  could  purchase  it.  Gen¬ 
uine  cinnamon  oil  is  made  in  this  country,  and  is  considered  equal  to  the  best  that 
was  formerly  imported  from  Holland ;  and  the  essential  oil,  distilled  from  cinnamon 
grown  in  Jamaica,  cannot  be  distinguished  from  that  imported  from  Ceylon. 

The  best  cinnamon  is  not  thicker  than  stout  writing  paper,  of  a  light  yellowish  red 
color,  and  of  a  sweetly  pungent  taste.  The  inferior  sort  is  thicker  and  darker  in  color, 
and  pungent  to  the  taste,  which  subsequently  becomes  most  unpleasant.  Many 



impositions  are  practised  in  this  country  by  selling  the  bark,  as  genuine  cinnamon, 
after  its  essential  oil  has  been  distilled  from  it. 

Owing  to  the  limited  quantity  of  black  pepper  that  is  produced  in  Ceylon,  in 
proportion  to  the  demand  for  it,  and  the  means  of  growing  it,  the  island  is  dependent 
for  supplies  of  that  spice  upon  the  coast  of  Malabar.  Ships,  chartered  for  the  purpose 
of  conveying  cinnamon  to  England,  have  been  detained  for  several  weeks  through  the 
want  of  pepper  to  fill  the  interstices  between  the  bales  of  cinnamon  in  the  ships’  holds  ; 
without  which,  the  latter  spice  would  lose  one  half  its  value  upon  being  imported  into 
this  country  ;  but,  by  being  stowed  together,  each  spice  is  preserved  in  the  utmost 
perfection  during  the  homeward-bound  voyage.  The  apathy  shown  to  the  culture 
of  the  pepper  vine  is  altogether  as  unaccountable  as  the  neglect  of  the  other  very 
many  valuable  productions  that  are  noticed  in  these  pages. 

But  as  to  those  bubbles  of  imagination,  the  cinnamon  breezes  of  Ceylon,  many 
leagues  at  sea,  they  explode  before  the  experience  of  the  resident  in  the  country.— 
If  all  the  cinnamon  trees  growing  in  the  island  were  being  barked  at  one  and  the 
same  time,  it  is  impossible  to  say  whether  or  not,  or  how  far  at  sea,  with  the 
wind  off  shore,  the  perfume  of  the  spice  might  extend  ;  though  as  there  is  nothing 
peculiar  in  its  diffusiveness,  it  is  fair  to  infer  that  its  influence  would  not  extend  very 
far.  As  the  operations  are  now  effected,  in  particular  spots  as  the  cinnamon  becomes 
mature  for  the  purpose,  and  over  an  extensive  surface,  at  uncertain  periods  and  in 
Limited  quantities,  in  comparison  with  its  produce,  it  is  physically  impossible  that 
cinnamon  breezes  can  be  perceived  at  sea. 

Whatever  fragrance  may  accompany  Ceylon  breezes,  near  and  from  the  island,  is 
more  likely  to  arise  from  the  immense  variety  of  the  odoriferous  blossoms  and  flowers, 
of  the  wild  orange,  lime,  and  shaddock,  and  varieties  of  the  white  and  yellow  jessa¬ 
mine,  and  above  all,  in  its  diffusive  properties,  the  Pandanus  odoratissimus,  a  species 
of  Mellori,  or  Nicobar  Islands’  bread  fruit,  most  objectionable  as  the  latter  name  is, 
when  contrasted  with  the  produce  of  the  true  bread-fruit  tree  ( Artocarpus  incisa,  L.), 
for  none'  but  the  lowest  and  poorest  natives  will  eat  it,  and  then  only  after  having 
been  prepared  in  a  manner  peculiar  to  themselves. 

It’s  common  name  among  Europeans  is  the  wild  pine  apple,  from  the  great  resem¬ 
blance  it  bears  to  the  Bromelia  Ananas  ;*  but  it  is  of  a  very  different  nature,  class,  and 
order,  f  The  fruit  of  the  Pandanus  is  composed  of  wedge-shaped  drupes,  angular,  and 

*  Bromelia  Ananas ,  L.  Class  IV.  Hexandria,  Order  I.  Monogynia. 

f  Pandanus  odoratissimus,  L.  Class  XXII.  Diaacia,  Order  I.  Monandria. 



one-seeded ;  the  leaf  is  much  longer  than  that  of  the  pine  apple,  but  is  also  serrated 
and  spinous ;  and  its  flower,  which  is  indispensable  at  all  the  native  devil-ceremonials, 
exhales  so  powerful  an  odour,  that  when  dried  it  becomes  the  best  preservative  of 
clothes,  and  of  specimens  in  natural  history,  from  the  ravages  of  the  Termes,  or  white 
ant.  The  flower  is  an  erect  spike,  thick  and  silky,  of  a  lightish  brown  color,  and  rises 
from  a  spathe,  which  is  double,  strong,  and  similar  in  substance  to  that  of  the  Indian 
com  (Zea  Mais). 

The  Singhalese  call  it  Wetta-gaka,  and  they  aver,  that  unless  the  male  and 
female  plant  be  near  each  oth6r,  the  fruit  never  becomes  edible.  The  seed  is 
oval  and  glossy. 

But  odours  “  not  of  Araby  ”  sometimes  prevail  within  the  island  :  such  are  those 
which  are  wafted  by  the  sea-breezes  from  the  southward,  and  assail  the  traveller  upon 
the  coast  of  the  southern  province,  particularly  between  Rogalle  and  Mirse,  arising 
from  a  large  species  of  the  Arum  fcetidum,  which  taints  the  air,  to  a  considerable 
distance,  with  a  smell  scarcely  inferior  to  the  noxious  effluvia  which  some  hundreds 
of  decomposing  carcases  would  diffuse. 

If  proof  were  wanting  of  the  effect  of  imagination  in  regard  to  cinnamon  breezes  off 
Ceylon,  I  might  adduce  an  incident  that  occurred  on  board  an  outward  bound  East 
Indiaman,  whilst  standing  along  the  island,  but  not  in  sight  of  it,  and  with  the  wind 
dead  upon  the  land.  The  surgeon  having  rubbed  a  little  oil  of  cinnamon  upon  the 
weather  hammock  nettings,  the  Griffins,*,  who  formed  a  majority  of  the  passengers, 
and  who  generally  assembled  on  the  poop  just  before  the  dinner  hour,  were  so  con¬ 
vinced  of  the  reality  of  the  cinnamon  breeze,  that  one  of  them  actually  published 
an  account  of  it,  “  from  his  own  experience  of  its  fragrance  many  leagues  at  sea.” 

*  Griffin,  m  East  Indian  tram,  synonymous  with  the  West  Indian,  Johnny  Newcome. 


The  culture  and  manufacture  of  indigenous  Indigo  entirely  neglected — Apathy  displayed  by  the  government 
and  individuals  almost  incredible — Every  thing  favourable  to  the  culture  of  Indigo — None  of  the  vicissitudes  of 
climate,  as  in  Bengal,  to  be  dreaded — Varieties  of  indigenous  Indigo — None  exported  since  1794 — District  of 
Tangalle  in  the  southern  province  abounds  with  Indigo — Facilities  for  establishing  an  Indigo  factory — Mr.  Fawkener, 
an  eminent  Indigo  planter,  proposes  to  the  government  to  establish  an  Indigo  farm  and  manufactory — This  propo¬ 
sition  refused — Extraordinary  hypothesis — Indigo  largely  exported  by  the  Dutch  government  of  Ceylon — Governor  s 
protracted  stay  in  Kandy — John  Tranchell,  Esq. — Projected  Indigo  company  of  Tangalle — Stipulations  in  favour 
of  the  proposed  superintendent — The  company  to  be  a  body  corporate — Anticipation  of  profit  —  The  governor 
readily  supports  and  becomes  the  patron  of  the  company — Protracted  correspondence — Questions  of  the  committee — 
Mr.  Tranchell s  death-— The  governor's  promotion  and  removal — Abandonment  of  the  scheme — Fxcula  of  the  Indigo 
leaf  a  valuable  manure — Madung  Appo — Specimens  of  Indigo  made  from  other  indigenous  plants — Best  mode  of 
selecting  Indigo  seeds — Linnvean  classification — Different  methods  of  manufacturing  Indigo — Cost  of  establishing 
an  Indigo  factory — Indigo  maistry  and  labourers — Indigo  sown  every  second  year — Singhalese  anxious  for  Indigo 
plantations  in  the  Tangalle  district — Cultivation  of  coffee — Land  not  in  the  same  insecure  state  in  Ceylon  as  in 
India — Hints  to  intending  emigrants — Suggestions  to  Her  Majesty's  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies  for  encou¬ 
raging  the  cultivation  of  Indigo — Settlement  in  Ceylon  and  in  Australia  contrasted. 

Perhaps  I  cannot  do  better  than  continue,,  consecutively,  the  subject,  connected 
with  the  capabilities  of  the  island,  and  with  the  grand  staples  of  commerce,  for  which 
Providence  has  pre-eminently  qualified  it. 

The  local  agriculture  does  not  yet  include  the  culture  of  indigo  ;  nor,  during  the 
forty-four  years  that  Ceylon  has  been  under  the  British  flag,  has  a  pound  of  indigo 
been  manufactured  for  exportation,  from  the  indigenous  material,  which  is  both 
excellent  and  abundant ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  manufactured  indigo  is  still  imported 
from  the  Indian  continent. 

The  apathy  of  the  government  to  an  object  of  such  incalculable  importance  to  the 
colony,  is  almost  incredible  ;  but  the  neglect  of  this  valuable  dye  by  individuals,  can 
only  have  arisen  from  a  lamentable  state  of  ignorance  respecting  it,  or  from  the  want 
of  capital. 

Here  every  thing  is  favourable  to  the  speculation,  if  it  may  be  called  one,  where 
the  prospect  for  early  and  abundant  returns  for  capital  laid  out  is  not  clouded  with 
the  remotest  probability  of  a  contrary  result ;  for  there  are  none  of  the  vicissitudes 
of  climate  to  be  dreaded,  that  in  the  course  of  a  night  have  devastated  the  most 




extensive  plantations  in  Bengal,  which,  on  the  preceding  day,  had  appeared  in  all  the 
luxuriance  of  approaching  maturity,  and,  with  their  destruction,  annihilated  the  hopes 
and  calculations  of  the  planter. 

It  is  almost  incredible,  but  nevertheless  an  absolute  fact,  that  although  the  plant 
itself,  ( Indigofer  a  tinctoria,  L.),  in  both  the  varieties,  sativa  and  agrestis,  grows  in  the 
most  prolific  abundance,  the  last  export  of  that  dye  took  place,  under  the  Dutch 
government  of  the  island,  in  the  year  1794  !! 

The  district  of  Tangalle,  in  the  southern  province,  is  the  best  adapted  to  the  culture 
and  manufacture  of  indigo,  for  various  reasons  ;  namely,  abundance  of  the  indigenous 
material — similarity  of  climate  to  that  of  the  coast  of  Coromandel,  where  the  best 
indigo  is  produced — facility  of  transport  by  water  to  either  of  the  ports  of  export, 
Galle  or  Colombo,  during  the  north-east  monsoon,  or  to  Trincomale  by  the  south¬ 
west — and  every  necessary  material  for  building  a  first-rate  indigo  factory,  including 
drying  yards,  leaf  godowns,  steeping  vats,  and  presses,  (except  roof  and  floor  tiles, 
which  may  be  obtained  in  any  quantity  from  Colombo,  during  the  south-west  monsoon, 
at  a  moderate  rate,  compared  with  their  cost  at  home,)  is  at  hand ;  for  wood  is  abun¬ 
dant,  and  may  be  obtained  in  any  quantity,  upon  a  license  from  government  to  fell  it, 
for  which  a  trifling  duty  is  charged  ;  and  shells  or  coral  for  lime,  for  the  mere  expense 
of  collecting  and  burning,  upon  the  spot ;  and  any  number  of  carpenters,  bricklayers, 
masons,  and  labourers  may  be  had  at  moderate  wages,  the  latter  for  sixpence  a  day. 

In  the  year  1817,  a  gentleman  named  Fawkener,  an  extensive  indigo  planter  in 
Bengal,  came  to  Ceylon  for  change  of  air.  He  soon  became  delighted  with  the 
climate,  and  having  accidently  seen  the  true  and  bastard  indigo  growing  spontaneously 
in  my  compound  at  Colpetty,  he  forthwith  submitted  a  proposition  to  His  Excellency 
General  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg,  Bart.,  G.  C.  B.,  the  then  governor,  to  establish  an  exten¬ 
sive  indigo  farm  and  manufactory  in  the  island,  provided  the  government  would  assign 
to  him  certain  waste  lands,  the  property  of  the  crown,  free  of  the  usual  taxes  upon 
Parveny  or  private  lands,  for  thirty  years  ;  and  at  the  expiration  of  that  period,  to  be 
subject  to  the  usual  duty  of  ten  per  cent,  upon  the  produce.  Mr.  Fawkener  offered 
full  security  for  continuing  the  cultivation  of  indigo,  and  that  in  failure  thereof,  the 
lands  were  to  revert  to  the  crown. 

This  proposition  was  replete  with  certain  advantage  to  the  revenue,  because  there 
was  no  stipulation  made  that  government  should  allow  indigo  to  be  exported  duty  free  ; 
and  one  successful  speculation  would  have  induced  others.  The  benefit  to  the  colony, 
and  the  increase  of  agricultural  labour,  would  have  been  certain  and  progressive,  and 
the  profits  to  Mr.  Fawkener,  incalculable. 



It  may  be  presumed  that  the  multiplicity  of  business  which  then  pressed  upon 
Governor  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg,  who  was  occupied  in  suppressing  the  Kandyan 
rebellion  that  had  broken  out,  precluded  the  deliberate  attention  to  Mr.  Fawkener’s 
proposition  which  it  might  otherwise  have  received,  for  sound  policy  would  surely 
have  dictated  its  acceptance,  both  as  a  certain  means  of  increasing  the  revenue,  and 
of  extensively  benefitting  the  agriculture  of  the  colony,  by  introducing  at  one  and 
the  same  time  an  improved  method  of  cultivation,  and  bringing  into  general  notice 
as  a  grand  stgple  of  colonial  produce,  a  most  valuable  and  indigenous,  but  altogether 
neglected  dye. 

It  was  stated,  but  how  far  correctly  I  cannot  vouch,  that  doubts  were  expressed  by 
the  executive,  whether  indigo  could  be  successfully  cultivated  in  the  colony  !  But 
surely,  that  point  was  for  the  speculator’s  consideration,  and  Mr.  Fawkener  had  no 
doubts  whatever  upon  the  subject ;  for  he  had  found  it  growing  spontaneously,  and 
subsequently  ascertained  that  in  certain  localities  it  was  most  abundant,  and  required 
nothing  but  culture  to  improve  it,  when  the  manufacture  would  follow  as  a  matter 
of  course  ;  and  secondly,  such  a  doubt  on  the  part  of  the  executive  would  have 
betrayed  gross  ignorance  of  the  history  of  the  colony,  for  it  had  long  been  a  recorded 
fact,  that  during  the  Dutch  administration  of  the  government,  vast  quantities  of  indigo 
had  been  manufactured  for  the  European  market,  and  exported  from  Trincomale  : 
besides  which,  a  preliminary  trial  of  its  growth  and  manufacture  upon  a  limited  scale, 
would  have  soon  solved  the  hypothesis. 

The  governor’s  protracted  stay  in  Kandy,  and  the  very  uncertain  state  of  affairs  in 
that  country,  together  with  Mr.  Fawkener’s  desire  to  avail  himself  of  the  south-west 
monsoon,  to  return  to  Bengal,  determined  him  to  abandon  his  original  intention, 
which  may  be  justly  considered  a  very  severe  loss  to  the  island,  for  no  similarly 
advantageous  propositions  were  subsequently  made. 

The  next  in  the  field  was  Mr.  John  Tranchell,  a  Swedish  gentleman  of  great  ability, 
skill,  and  enterprise ;  but  unfortunately  without  capital.  Mr.  Tranchell  had  long 
previously  ascertained  that  an  abundance  of  indigo  grew  spontaneously  in  the  Tan- 
galle  district,  and  at  length,  failing  in  private  channels,  he  proposed  to  the  then 
governor.  His  Excellency,  Lieut.  General  Sir  Edward  Barnes,  G.  C.  B.,  to  patronize 
the  formation  of  an  indigo  factory,  by  a  joint-stock  company,  in  fifty  shares  of  500 
rix  dollars,  or  37/.  10,?.  each  share.  The  governor  approved  of  the  plan,  and  most 
cheerfully  consented  to  become  the  patron. 

It  was  then  proposed,  that  as  original  mover  of  the  scheme,  Mr.  Tranchell  should 
be  appointed  the  company’s  resident  superintendent  of  such  factory,  and  have  a  vested 

k  2 



right  to  ten  shares  for  his  own  benefit,  such  ten  shares  to  be  paid  for  by  the  sub¬ 
scribers,  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  shares  purchased  for  themselves — that  the 
land  should  be  granted  by  the  government  as  the  bona  fide  property  of  Mr.  Tranchell, 
subject  to  the  cultivation  of  indigo,  so  long  as  it  should  be  found  to  make  an  ample 
return  to  the  company,  or  that  the  company  continued  to  exist — that  the  said  com¬ 
pany  should  be  a  body  corporate,  under  the  title  of  The  Indigo  Factory  Company  of 
Tangalle,  with  the  privilege  of  being  allowed  to  sue  and  defend,  in  all  causes  of  action 
before  the  supreme  court  of  judicature,  and  minor  courts,  as  a  body  corporate. 

“  That  two  thousand  acres  of  crown  lands,  in  the  province  of  Tangalle,  to  be  chosen 
by  Mr.  Tranchell,  should  be  granted,  free  of  all  tax  to  government,  for  thirty  years  ; 
and  after  that  period,  to  be  chargeable,  as  the  property  of  Mr.  Tranchell,  with  the 
usual  duty  upon  private  lands,  namely,  one  tenth  of  their  produce  per  annum  ;  and 
that  the  proprietors,  or  a  majority  of  them,  at  public  meetings,  should  nominate  a 
committee  of  inspection,  from  time  to  time,  of  the  progress  of  the  establishment.” 

It  was  calculated,  after  a  liberal  estimate  of  the  expenses,  that  the  proprietors  would 
only  have  to  make  a  sacrifice  of  the  interest  of  their  capital  for  the  first  eighteen 
months,  and  that  in  the  third  year  a  considerable  dividend  might  be  anticipated ;  and 
it  was  at  the  same  time  suggested,  that  as  an  encouragement  to  the  superintendent  to 
give  up  all  his  time  to  the  concerns  of  the  factory,  he  should  have  the  right  of  pre¬ 
emption  of  such  shares  as  might  at  any  time  be  offered  for  sale,  and  also  the  power 
of  disposing  of  all  his  own  shares  above  five,  which  number  he  was  to  be  obliged  to 
retain  :  but  that  if,  at  any  subsequent  period,  the  superintendent  should  desire  to 
relinquish  that  situation,  it  could  only  be  done  with  the  consent  of  three-fourths 
of  the  proprietors. 

His  Excellency  the  governor  readily  entered  into  the  spirit  of  the  propositions,  but 
with  certain  modifications.  The  formation  of  the  company  was  then  proposed  to  the 
literary  and  agricultural  society  of  Ceylon,  and  that  measure  eventually  decided  its 
fate  ;  for  protracted  correspondence  ensued,  innumerable  questions  were  asked,  and 
answers  required  for  the  “select  committee’s”  information;  which  led  to  an  extensive 
correspondence  between  Mr.  Tranchell  and  some  eminent  indigo  factors  in  India,  with 
a  view  to  give  every  satisfactory  information  to  the  select  committee,  as  to  the  cost  of 
erecting  the  necessary  buildings,  from  such  plan  < as  might  be  received  from  Madras. 

The  committee  next  wished  to  ascertain  if  a  less  sum  than  £2000  would  not  be 
sufficient,  taking  it  for  granted  that  the  government  would  give  the  land  required — 
secondly,  whether  the  previous  appropriation  of  a  number  of  shares  to  Mr.  Tranchell 
in  the  outset,  might  not  be  impolitic ;  and  in  lieu  thereof,  to  remunerate  his  services 



according  to  the  profits  of  the  concern — thirdly,  whether  the  company  might  not 
proceed  upon  a  less  scale  at  first,  and  have  the  conveyance  of  the  land  to  trustees  for 
the  subscribers  generally;  and  finally,  suggested,  in  order  to  secure  Mr.  Tranchell 
against  caprice  on  the  part  of  the  proprietors,  that  he  should  not  be  liable  to  removal 
from  the  office  of  superintendent,  except  by  the  vote  of  four-fifths  of  the  company. 

To  all  these  suggestions  Mr.  Tranchell  readily  assented;  for  he  felt  satisfied  that  the 
speculation  would  succeed,  and  surpass  all  possible  expectation  or  calculation.  But 
alas !  L’  homme  propose,  mais  Dieu  dispose !  Mr.  Tranchell  died ;  the  principal  sub¬ 
scribers,  upon  whom  the  formation  of  the  indigo  company  of  Tangalle  depended,  did  not 
complete  its  establishment ;  most  probably  from  the  difficulty  of  finding  a  competent 
superintendent;  and  the  subsequent  promotion  of  the  governor  to  the  chief  command 
of  the  Bengal  army,  put  a  finishing  stroke  to  the  abandonment  of  a  scheme,  by  which 
numerous  families  might  at  this  moment  have  been  in  the  full  enjoyment  of  indepen¬ 
dent  incomes,  obtained  with  but  little  comparative  trouble,  and  altogether  without  risk 
of  capital ;  because  such  speculation  must  have  been  a  lucrative  one  where  the  climate 
is  every  way  congenial  to  the  plant  itself,  and  altogether  exempt  from  the  vicissitudes 
affecting  either  its  growth  or  manufacture. 

It  would  not  be  difficult  to  select  500,000  acres,  the  property  of  the  crown,  which, 
at  a  comparatively  small  expenditure,  might  be  brought  into  a  proper  state  of  cultiva¬ 
tion  for  the  reception  of  indigo  seed ;  for  very  little  would  be  required  to  be  done  be¬ 
yond  clearing  the  ground  of  weeds,  and  burning  the  grass,  and  then  lightly  ploughing 
and  levelling  the  ground ;  and  whenever  manure  might  be  requisite,  the  foecula  of 
the  leaf  affords  one  of  the  richest  that  could  be  employed  :  nothing  indeed  is  wanting 
to  ensure  success  but  a  moderate  capital  and  perseverance.  I  brought  with  me  to 
England  full  powers  for  establishing  an  indigo  company  in  this  country,  in  the  year 
1827,  but  Mr.  Tranchell’s  death  in  1S28,  cancelled  the  power  of  attorney  that  I  held 
to  act  in  his  behalf. 

Ceylon  produces  two  other  plants  that  I  am  well  acquainted  with  ;  from  which  a 
very  valuable  blue  dye  may  be  obtained  by  a  similar  process  to  that  of  making  indigo. 
An  intelligent  Singhalese  doctor  at  Gallepiadde,  near  Galle,  in  the  southern  province, 
named  Madung  Appo,  brought  me  samples  of  the  dye,  which  were  extensively  shown 
to  Anglo-Indian  merchants  connected  with  the  indigo  trade  in  this  country,  by  the 
late  Lieut.  J.  W.  Philips,  royal  navy,  (who  at  that  time  commanded  the  ship  Eliza¬ 
beth,)  by  whom  it  was  declared  to  be  a  very  superior  violet-colored  indigo.  Here  then 
is  a  new  and  extensive  field  for  further  speculation  and  energy  in  developing  the 
natural  capabilities  of  this  incomparable  island. 



Mr.  Fawkener  pointed  out  to  me  the  best  mode  of  selecting  seeds  of  the  true  indigo 
{Indigofer a  tinctoria  var  sativa,  L.)  from  the  bastard  variety  (Indigofera  tinctoria  var 
agrestis,  L.)  by  the  leaf.  The  first,  when  held  between  the  thumb  and  forefinger  of 
each  hand,  divides  upon  the  least  distension  transversely ;  the  latter,  tried  in  the  same 
way,  breaks  with  a  swallow-tail. 

The  Egyptian  name  for  indigo  is  Nil,  which  is  also  the  Singhalese  name  for  it,  and 
one  of  many  proofs  of  the  great  affinity  between  the  Egyptian  and  Pali  languages. 

Linnaeus  classifies  indigo  as  of  the  XVII.  class  Diadelphia,  and  order  III.  Decandria. 
Of  this  genus  there  are  twenty  five  known  varieties,  but  only  two  are  natives  of  Ceylon. 

The  best  plan  for  ascertaining  the  maturity  of  the  indigo  plant  is  by  gently  shaking 
it,  and  if  the  leaf  begins  to  fall,  it  is  fit  for  the  steeping  vat.  The  plant,  which  is  then 
about  two  feet  high,  is  cut  with  a  sickle ;  the  smaller  branches  are  stripped  off,  and 
infused  in  water  for  about  thirty  six  hours ;  after  which,  the  water  is  turned  off  into 
a  sort  of  churn,  which  is  worked  until  the  water  is  covered  with  a  scum-like  foam — 
olive  oil  is  then  added  in  the  proportion  of  one  pound  to  sufficient  water  to  produce 
seventy  five  pounds  of  indigo — the  oil  causes  the  scum  to  separate,  and  appear  like 
curdled  milk ;  it  is  then  allowed  to  settle  for  some  time,  when  the  water  is  drawn  off, 
and  the  sediment  removed  into  straining  bags,  and  allowed  to  drain  for  some  time.  It 
is  then  made  into  lumps  or  cakes,  and,  when  dried,  forms  the  indigo  of  commerce. 

There  is  another  method  of  making  indigo,  by  infusion  of  the  smaller  branches  in 
boiling  water,  after  the  manner  of  tea,  and  employing  quick  lime  as  a  precipitate  ;  but 
if  it  were  not  for  the  additional  expense  of  labour,  a  superior  indigo  would  be  obtained 
by  using  the  leaf  only. 

The  expenses  of  erecting  a  substantial  indigo  factory  upon  a  large  scale,  including 
leaf  godowns,  drying  yards,  and  every  necessary  apparatus  for  the  manufacture,  would 
not  exceed  <£1500  sterling;  and,  admitting  that  2000  acres  of  land  were  to  be  pur¬ 
chased  from  the  government,  at  5s.  per  acre,  the  whole  outlay  would  not  exceed 
£2000  sterling. 

An  indigo  maistry  may  be  obtained  from  Madras  for  about  four  pagodas,  or  thirty 
two  shillings  sterling  a  month  ;  and  any  number  of  labourers  may  be  procured  at 
sixpence  a  day  in  the  maritime  provinces.  It  is  only  in  the  interior  that  labour  is 
higher,  because  labourers  are  not  to  be  procured  there  in  sufficient  numbers  for  the 
plantations  now  under  cultivation  ;  and  Hindoo  labourers  are  consequently  hired  from 
the  continent,  for  the  natives  of  the  maritime  provinces  have  great  objection  to  service 
in  Kandy,  or  (adopting  their  owrn  words)  “  that  other  country.” 

Upon  the  coast  of  Coromandel,  the  Ryots,  who  grow  indigo,  sow  the  crop  but 



every  third  year,  permitting  the  ground  to  iie  fallow  during  the  intermediate  period, 


and  feeding  sheep  on  it ;  or  else  they  cultivate  it  with  dry  grains,  oil  plants.  &c.  Good 
and  well-manured  ground  may  be  sown  with  indigo  every  second  year ;  the  fcecula  of 
the  indigo  leaf  is  a  very  powerful  manure,  and  requires  caution  in  its  employment. 

The  Singhalese  headmen  of  the  Tangalle  district  in  the  southern  province  have 
long  been  anxious  for  the  establishment  of  an  indigo  plantation  and  factory  there,  and 
would  readily  take  shares  in  a  company  established  for  that  purpose  ;  but  the  govern¬ 
ment  must  set  the  example,  if  it  wish  to  extend  and  improve  the  agriculture  of  Ceylon, 
as  regards  a  more  extensive  culture  of  rice  by  the  natives,  and  of  cotton,  indigo,  cocoa, 
cochineal,  pepper,  annatto,  silk,  hemp,  and  opium  by  Europeans. 

I  repeat  that  it  must  not  be  left  to  the  private  energy  of  the  present  colonists,  or 
cultivation,  as  far  as  regards  these  articles  of  commerce,  will  be  just  in  the  same  state 
of  abeyance  twenty  years  hence,  as,  with  all  the  great  natural  capabilities  of  the 
island,  it  is  at  this  moment. 

The  cultivation  of  coffee  will  run  away  with  all  the  capital  that  the  Europeans  in 
the  colony  can  command,  because  the  foundations  for  it  had  been  laid  long  before  the 
present  proprietors  ventured  upon  the  speculation  ;  and  because  they  imagine  that 
more  profit  is  likely  to  accrue  from  the  culture  of  a  less  quantity  of  land  with  coffee  ; 
and  therefore,  other  equally  important  articles  of  commerce  (except  sugar,  which  be¬ 
gins  to  attract  attention)  are  to  be  left  to  chance,  or  to  be  altogether  neglected,  except 
in  such  small  proportions  as  may  suffice  for  private  instead  of  national  wants. 

Land  is  not  in  the  same  insecure  and  unsettled  state  in  Ceylon,  that  it  is  in  India, 
notwithstanding  the  proximity  of  the  two  countries ;  and,  moreover,  Ceylon  offers 
that  which  India  does  not,  a  fair  field  for  the  adventure  of  capital,  accompanied  by 
permanent  settlement ;  and  particularly  in  the  interior,  without  risking  any  disastrous 
effects  of  climate  upon  European  constitutions. 

If  Ceylon  were  better  or  sufficiently  known  to  the  generality  of  persons,  intent  upon 
emigration  to  new  and  almost  unknown  lands,  for  its  great  and  indigenous  resources 
to  be  fully  and  fairly  appreciated,  speculation  would  not  long  remain  idle ;  but  the 
encouragement  of  hope  or  of  even  the  slightest  prospect  of  success  to  any  other  than 
possessors  of  moderate  capital,  would  be  both  criminal  and  delusive.  To  officers  disposed 
to  become  settlers,  the  government  has  a  variety  of  means  at  its  command  to  aug¬ 
ment  the  “advantages”  held  out  by  the  colonial  minister’s  memorandum  of  August  15, 
1834,  and  now  extended  to  Ceylon  ;  amongst  the  rest,  by  advances  of  money  out  of 
the  annual  excess  of  the  local  revenue  over  the  expenditure,  upon  the  security  of  the  pro¬ 
duce,  to  enable  them  to  form  plantations  of  the  valuable  productions  mentioned  above. 



If  Her  Majesty’s  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies  would,  in  his  wisdom,  follow  the 
precedent  for  encouraging  the  cultivation  of  indigo  set  by  the  Honorable  the  East 
India  Company  in  1799,  or  adopt  the  plans  now  acted  upon  for  the  promotion  of  the 
culture  of  cotton  in  India  by  the  same  Honorable  body,  many  enterprising  and  intelli¬ 
gent  officers  and  private  individuals  would  eagerly  grasp  at  the  opportunity  of  further 
developing  the  resources  of  Ceylon,  and  of  encreasing  its  revenue ;  and,  at  the  same 
time,  their  own  means  of  providing  for  their  families  and  dependents. 

But  without  moderate  capital,  it  would  mislead  an  officer  to  recommend  him  to  avail 
himself  of  what  are  termed  “  advantages”  of  emigrating  to  Ceylon,  upon  the  same 
terms  provided  for  settling  in  the  Australian  colonies,  south  Australia  excepted. 

It  is  evident  from  the  perusal  of  those  documents  to  which  I  have  given  n  place  in 
the  appendix  for  general  information,  that  the  government  has  allowed  one  grand  point 
to  escape  its  observation.  An  officer  accustomed  to  society  and  the  comforts,  and  I 
may  add,  elegancies  of  life,  resigns  them  the  moment  he  becomes  a  settler  in  a  country 
like  Australia.  There,  all  settlers  are  bent  upon  the  same  objects  ; — a  location,  fencing, 
planting,  &c.,  and  however  happy  they  may  be  to  greet  each  other  over  the  same  prop, 
they  have  no  one  better  off  than  themselves,  that  may  place  them  within  the  pale  of 
invidious  comparison  in  the  same  neighbourhood,  or  country.  But  it  is  different, 
widely  different,  in  Ceylon  ;  and  wretched  will  be  the  settler,  who  may  have  inconsider¬ 
ately  proceeded  to  that  island  upon  any  such  most  discouraging  terms.  The  best  in¬ 
ducement  to  officers  to  become  settlers  in  Ceylon,  would  be  to  grant  them  as  much 
land,  at  a  nominal  quit  rent  of  a  peppercorn,  as  they  may  undertake  to  bring  into 
cultivation,  and  advance  them  money  upon  the  terms  I  have  already  suggested. 

CHAP.  X. 

Conflicting  descriptions  of  the  Palms  of  Ceylon — Extraordinary  accounts  of  the  process  of  Sara  or  toddy 
drawing — Classification  and  description  of  the  coco-nnt  tree — Process  of  toddy  drawing,  from  personal  observa¬ 
tion — Sinnet  for  sailors’  hats — Toddy,  or  palm  wine — Varieties  and  domestic  uses  of  the  Cocos  nucifera — Arrack — 
Oil — Vinegar — Jaggery— Native  method  of  planting  it,  and  their  superstition  about  salt — Uses  of  the  fronds — 
Coco-nut  timber — Adhesive  properties  of  the  water  of  the  green  coco-nut — The  Hiromane — Average  produce  of  a 
coco-nu,t  tree — Uses  of  the  shells — Medicinal  oil  from  the  bark— Medicinal  properties  of  the  root,  leaves,  and 
flowers — Extraordinary  notions  about  the  superabundance  of  the  coco-nut  palm,  and  facility  of  planting  it — 
Coco-nut  oil  used  in  the  manufacture  of  soap  and  candles — Suggestions  for  extending  the  culture  of  the  coco-nut 
palm  in  live  British  West  Indian  and  West  African  colonies. 

So  many  conflicting  and  erroneous  accounts  have  been  given  of  the  palms  of  Geylon, 
in  travels,  and  extracts  from  the  travels  of  various  writers,  that  if  I  were  not  satisfied 
to  the  contrary,  I  might  be  disposed  to  think  the  authors  endeavoured  to  mislead, 
instead  of  inform,  their  readers  ;  and  if  the  former  will  be  governed  by  native  state¬ 
ments  only,  instead  of  witnessing  the  processes  which  they  pretend  to  describe,  one 
cannot  expect  that  the  latter,  how  much  soever  they  may  be  amused,  will  be  enlight¬ 
ened  by  accounts  at  variance  with  facts. 

The  subjoined  notes*  from  the  works  of  authors  who  have  obtained  general  credence 
for  the  correctness  of  their  representations,  are  (a,s  all  who  hate  really  witnessed  the 

*  “Toddy  is  the  juice  running  from  an  incision  made  in  the  stem  of  the  leaves;  and  constitutes  a  verv 
pleassnt  beverage  When  first  gathered  in.” — Stidham's  Indian  Recollect iems,  page  29. 

“  A  pot  sufficient  to  hold  two  quarts  is  fixed  to  a  shoot  where  an  incision  is  made  in  the  evening,  and  is 
brought  down  full  at  sunrise  in  the  morning.” — Cordiners  Ceylon,  vol.  i.  page  352. 

“  A  small  incision  being  made,  there  oozes  in  gentle  drops  a  cool  pleasant  liquor,  called  tarce  or  toddy,  the 
palm  wine  of  the  poets.” — Forbes's  Oriental  Memoirs,  page  24. 

“  Toddy  is  procured  by  incision.  It  is  only  necessary  to  make  a  slit  in  the  top  of  the  tree,  where  the  leaves 
shoot  up,  with  a  knife  over  night,  and  suspend  a  chatty,  or  earthen  pot,  from  the  branches  so  as  to  receive  the 
juice,  which  immediately  begins  to  distil,  and  continues  to  do  so  till  next  morning,  when  the  pot  is  removed.’ — 
Percival's  Ceylon. 

“  Between  the  cabbage  like  shoot  and  the  leaves,  there  spring  several  buds,  from  which,  on  making  an 
incision,  there  distils  a  juice  differing  little  from  water  in  color  or  consistence.  This  liquor  is  sold  in  the  bazaars 
fry  the  natives  under  the  name  of  toddy.” — Tennant's  Indian  Recreations,  vol.  ii.  page  283. 

See  also  Kerr’s  Voyages,  vol.  vii.  page  476  ;  and  Pennant’s  Hindoostan,  vol.  i.  page  139. 





tedious  process  of  preparing  the  coco-nut  tree  for  the  production  of  toddy  will  admit) 
absolute  illusions. 

Let  it  be  supposed,  for  instance,  that  a  planter  in  the  West  Indies,  (where  toddy 
drawing  was,  some  few  years  ago,  and  probably  continues  to  be,  entirely  unknown,) 
being  desirous  of  testing  these  plans,  adopted  either  one  or  all  of  them  ;  and  let  his 
disappointment  be  imagined,  when,  anxiously  anticipating  the  assured  morning’s 
draught  of  the  “  Palm  wine  of  the  poets,”  he  found  it  altogether  Eutopian  !  and 
if  either  of  these  incisive  measures  had  been  resorted  to,  and  the  pot  hung  up  at 
the  times  these  accounts  were  written,  the  authors  would  have  waited  a  long  time 
for  their  toddy  ;  for  it  would  not,  even  yet,  after  an  interval  of  so  many  years,  have 
begun  to  distil. 

I  will,  therefore,  briefly  describe  the  various  natural  properties  and  domestic  useful¬ 
ness  of  this  splendid  palm,  from  my  own  personal  observations. 

The  Coco-nut  palm  (Cocos  nucifera ,  L.,  and  Polgaha  of  the  Singhalese,  Class  XXI. 
Moncecia,  Order  VI.  Hexandria,  Natural  Order  Palmed),  delights  in  a  sandy  soil,  and 
the  nearer  to  the  margin  of  the  sea,  the  quicker  its  growth,  and  the  more  abundant  its 
produce.  It  requires  little  or  no  care,  beyond  being  well  fenced  from  the  inroads 
of  cattle,  for,  fanned  by  the  winds  of  the  Indian  ocean,  it  gains  fecundity  by  exposure  : 
and  although  its  general  height  is  from  sixty  to  eighty  feet,  it  is  not  uncommon  for  it 
to  exceed  a  hundred.  Its  diameter,  at  the  base,  is  from  two  to  three  feet ;  and  the 
root,  which  is  composed  of  strong  flexible  fibres,  about  the  thickness  of  a  small  rattan 
cane  ( Calamus  Rotang,  L.),  spreads  in  a  circle  ;  and  of  these,  some  run  to  a  great 
depth,  and  others  creep  along  the  surface  of  the  soil. 

One  may  imagine  a  beautiful  and  verdant  circle,  formed  of  feathery  fronds,  from 
fourteen  to  sixteen  feet  in  length,  radiating  from  a  common  centre  at  the  top  of  a 
tapering  stem  eighty  feet  in  height,  and  that  will  afford  some  idea  of  the  magnificence 
of  the  coco-nut  palm. 

The  fronds  are  supported  at  the  base  by  diagonal  and  horizontal  layers  of  strong 
elastic  fibres,  capable  of  sustaining  great  weight,  and  so  closely  united  as  to  form, 
when  gently  stretched,  an  excellent  substitute  for  a  hair  sieve  for  straining  liquids. 
This  fibrous  support  lies  in  lamince  between  the  branches,  which  it  envelopes,  as  well 
as  the  incipient  ones,  even  to  their  rudiments,  or  what  is  commonly  called  the  cabbage , 
and  seems  providentially  adapted  for  the  security  of  the  passing  traveller  from  the 
constant  danger  that  would  otherwise  attend  him,  whilst  traversing  the  coco-nut 
topes,  from  the  sudden  falling  of  decayed  branches,  which  its  very  firm  adhesion  to 
the  trunk  prevents ;  but  it  is  not  made  into  gunny  bags,  ( Gungesaaken  of  the  Dutch,) 



as  some  authors  have  stated,  arid  is  merely  used  for  straining  toddy  and  other  liquids, 
and  for  kindling  fires. 

During  the  many  years  that  I  resided  in  Ceylon,  I  never  heard  of  but  one  fatal 
accident  from  the  falling  of  a  coco-nut ;  a  remarkable  circumstance,  when  one  considers 
the  many  thousands  of  people  constantly  passing  and  repassing  through  the  topes.* 

Trees,  intended  for  toddy  drawing,  are  prevented  from  producing  fruit  by  the  follow¬ 
ing  process.  The  toddy  drawer  first  ties  the  spathe  in  three  places,  with  strips  of  the 
tough  white  pbincej-  of  the  young  fronds  ;  which  latter  shoot  perpendicularly  at  first, 
and  are  then  of  a  beautiful  white,  but  soon  change  to  a  straw  color ;  these  are 
concave  towards  the  heart  of  the  crest,  and  when  they  are  successively  forced  from 
their  position  by  new  fronds,  they  gradually  expand  their  pinnated  leaves,  and  ulti¬ 
mately  become  horizontal.  The  old  fronds  have  a  strong  mid-rib,  with  the  footstalks 
nearest  the  tree  proportionally  thick ;  these  embrace  the  stem,  and  as  they  gradually 
fall  off,  after  hanging  for  weeks  together  by  their  fibrous  support,  or  are  pulled  down 
for  fuel,  torches,^;  and  fences,  they  leave  successive  and  very  visible  scars. 

The  purpose  of  tying  the  spathe  is  to  prevent  its  expansion  ;  it  is  then  cut 
transversely,  to  the  extent  of  about  two  inches  from  the  point,  and  beaten  with 
an  ebony  or  iron-wood  batoon,  by  the  toddy  drawer,  for  five  or  six  mornings  and 
evenings  successively.  The  next  operation  is  to  remove  a  portion  of  the  footstalk 
of  the  spathe,  so  as  to  admit  of  its  depression,  for  the  juice  to  flow  freely,  and  it  is 
kept  in  that  position  by  attaching  it  to  an  inferior  branch  ;  in  the  course  of  five  or  six 
days,  the  toddy  drawer  suspends  a  calabash,  or  earthen  pot,  called  a  chatty,  from  the 
decapitated  spathe,  so  as  to  receive  the  juice  as  it  exudes  from  the  flower,  and  this 
he  repeats  every  morning  and  evening,  taking  off  a  slice  of  the  flower  as  occasion 
requires,  whilst  any  part  of  it  remains. 

This  delicious  liquid,  combining  a  pleasant  but  slight  degree  of  sweetness  with  a 
still  less  degree  of  acidity,  when  fresh,  and  of  peculiar  flavor,  is  called  by  us  toddy ; 

*  An  Indian  name  for  groves.  In  Bengal,  Mango  plantations  are  called  topes,  as  well  as  those  of  the  coco-nut 
tree  ;  but  where  groves  of  palms  are  reserved  for  toddy  drawing,  they  are  called  toddy  topes. 

t  These  are  in  general  request  by  sailors  in  India,  for  making  hats.  Jack  first  reduces  the  pinnae  into  very 
narrow  strips,  then  plats  them  into  what  he  calls  sinnet,  and,  with  a  needle  and  thread,  soon  forms  a  good  but 
heavy  substitute  for  a  chip  hat;  for  it  wears  remarkably  well,  and,  bfeing  cooler  than  one  of  glazed  leather,  is 
better  for  inter-tropical  service.  Of  the  mid-rib  (costa)  the  natives  make'neat  whisks  and  bird  cages. 

I  Chulos,  and,  (Anglice,)  Chides.  These  the  natives  make,  by  laying  dowm  the  pinnm  horizontally  from  the 
footstalk  towards  the  point ;  but  they  leave  one  or  two,  at  certain  distances,  in  their  natural  position,  for  the  purpose 
of  tying  the  others  round  the  mid-rib,  or  rather,  the  longitudinal  section  of  it,  for  each  frond  makes  two  chules. 

L  2 



Ra,  by  the  Singhalese  ;  and  Suri  or  Sura,*  (which  means  palm  wine,)  by  the  Hindoos 
and  Hindo-Portuguese  ;  and,  being  esteemed  a  gentle  aperient,  it  is  very  often  resorted 
to  at  the  earliest  peep  of  dawn,  by  the  bon-vivant,  by  way  of  removing  the  unpleasant 
effects  of  more  potent  libations  over  night. 

There  are  five  varieties  of  this  palm  at  Ceylon,  and  the  grounds  adjoining  the 
Buddha  temples  generally  contain  the  best  specimens  of  the  indigenous  species.  The 
priests  readily  afford  strangers  every  information,  but  only  upon  inquiry,  for  tlieir  dif¬ 
fidence,  which  arises  from  the  dread  of  being  considered  obtrusive,  does  not  proceed 
from  disinclination  to  gratify  the  curiosity  of  the  European  visitor  ;  and  without  asking 
for  information  when  required,  one  may  remain  all  one’s  life-time  in  Ceylon  and  know 
no  more  of  the  varieties  of  the  coco-nut  palm  than  casual  observation  might  suggest, 
from  the  mere  circumstance  of  the  difference  in  point  of  color  of  the  nuts,  from  the 
Koroomba,  or  water  coco-nut,  to  that  which  approaches,  or  has  attained  maturity. 

The  peculiar  shape  and  bright  orange  color  of  the  King  coco-nut  cannot  fail  to 
attract  observation,  but  it  is  scarcely  ever  to  be  seen  in  the  bazaars.  It  is  occasionally 
presented,  by  the  priests,  or  headmen,  by  way  of  compliment,  to  Europeans. 

The  next  in  beauty  is  of  an  orange  color,  but  not  of  the  beautiful  pear  shape  of 
the  king  coco-nut.  The  third  is  of  a  pale  yellow,  rather  cordiform,  and  the  fleshy 
substance  of  its  husk,  which  is  between  the  epidermis  and  the  nut,  is  edible  in  its 
green  state.  The  fourth  is  the  common  coco-nut,  which  is  abundantly  imported  into 
this  country  from  the  West  Indies  ;  and  the  fifth  is  a  sort  of  Maldive,f  or  dwarf  coco¬ 
nut,  about  the  size  of  a  duck’s  egg  ;  this  is  esteemed  as  a  rariety. 

I  have  remarked  the  coco-nut  palm,  in  its  various  stages,  in  many  countries  ; 
namely,  the  Azores,  West  Indies,  Mauritius,  Coast  of  Coromandel,  Bengal,  Pinang, 
Malacca,  Moluccas,  Banda  Islands,  Celebes,  and  Timor ;  but  I  never  saw  it  attain  the 
height  that  it  does  in  Ceylon. 

The  finest  arrack  in  the  world  is  distilled  by  the  Singhalese  from  the  fermenting  toddy, 
(which,  owing  to  the  rapidity  of  that  process,  becomes  an  intoxicating  beverage  in  the 
course  of  a  few  hours,)  and  not  from  sweet  toddy,  as  some  travellers  have  erroneously 

*  “  The  word  Sura  in  Sanscrit  signifies  both  wine  and  true  wealth  ;  hence  in  the  first  C'hand  of  the  Ramayan 
of  V almic,  it  is  expressly  said  that  the  Devalas  having  received  the  Sura,  acquired  the  title  ot  Suras,  and  the 
Daityas  that  of  Asura,  from  not  having  received  it.  The  Veda  is  represented  as  that  wine  and  true  wealth  ; 
and  the  Devatds  as  enjoying  it,  in  a  superior  degree,  being  termed  Suras,  the  prince,  or  supreme  leader  of  the 
Suras,  became,  in  the  Grecian  deity  Bacchus,  (by  a  confined  translation  of  the  word,)  the  god  of  wine  and 
drunkards.” — Asiatic  Researches,  vol.  viii.  page  50. 

t  So  called,  because  the  Maldivian  boats  which  visit  the  island  bring  a  few  extremely  small  nuts  as  curiosities. 



asserted.  One  hundred  gallons  produce,  by  the  simple  chymical  process  of  the  Singha¬ 
lese,  twenty  five  of  arrack,*  ( Polwakere ,)  which,  when  very  new,  is  injurious  to  the 
constitution,  but  gradually  acquires  wholesomeness  by  age.  Toddy  is  also  used  by 
bread  bakers  for  the  purposes  of  yeast. 

Pine  apples,  steeped  in  arrack,  impart  a  delicious  flavor,  and  reduce  its  strength  to 
that  of  a  liqueur,  unrivalled  for  making  nectarial  punch,  or  Puntjee  of  the  Hindoos, 
meaning  five  : — thus  our  compound  of  sugar,  limejuice,  spirit,  water,  and  lemon-peel, 
derives  its  English  name  from  a  Hindoo  numeral. 

Lamp  oil  is  made  from  the  kernel  of  the  ripe  coco-nut,  after  it  has  been  exposed 
to  the  sun  on  mats  until  it  has  become  rancid  and  discolored,  (in  which  state  the 
natives  call  it  Kopperah ,)  by  means  of  a  simple  press  turned  by  bullocks  ;  and  oil 
for  culinary  purposes,  by  boiling  the  fresh  pulp,  and  skimming  it  as  it  rises.  The 
former  is  no\V  made  into  candles  and  soap,  and  the  oil-cake,  or  Poonac ,  is  used  for 
feeding  cattle  and  poultry. 

Vinegar  is  made  by  putting  toddy,  drawn  in  dry  weather,  into  jars,  and  keeping 
them  closely  covered,  but  exposed  to  the  sun,  for  a  month ;  the  toddy  is  then  strained, 
and  replaced  in  the  same  jars,  with  a  little  bird  pepper  (Capsicum  frutescens,  L.), 
a  small  piece  of  the  red  Ghorkah  ( Cambogia  gutta),  and  of  Moringa  pod  ( Hyperanthera 
moringa),  the  jars  are  then  laid  in  the  earth  for  a  month  or  five  weeks,  and  thus 
a  very  excellent  vinegar  is  produced. 

Jaggery,  a  sort  of  sugar,  is  made  by  suspending  a  clean  and  dry  calabash,  or  chatty, 
instead  of  one  in  common  use  for  toddy  drawing,  and  containing  some  chips  of  the 
bark  of  the  Shorea  robusta,  ( Halghas  of  the  Singhalese,)  which  will  cause  the  toddy  to 
become  sweet.  Eight  gallons  of  it  boiled  over  a  slow  fire,  yield  two  gallons  of  syrup, 
called  in  Singhalese  Penni ;  which,  being  again  boiled,  produces  a  coarse  brown  sugar, 
called  Jaggery  ;  this  is  formed  into  cakes  in  bottoms  of  coco-nut  shells,  by  way  oi 
moulds  ;  which,  having  been  enveloped  in  pieces  of  dried  plantain  leaf,  are  hardened, 
and  preserved  from  humidity  by  being  suspended  where  smoke  has  free  access  to  them. 

A  coco-nut  tree,  planted  near  the  sea,  generally  blossoms  in  the  fourth  or  fifth  year ; 
but  in  elevated  situations  of  the  interior,  six  or  seven  years  may  be  considered  the 
average  period  ;  and  from  that  time  to  upwards  of  sixty  years,  this  most  prolific  palm 
will  continue  to  produce  fruit  in  abundance,  unless  the  tree  be  devoted  entirely  to  the 
toddy-drawer,  in  which  case  it  produces  no  fruit. 

The  maturity  of  coco-nuts,  reserved  for  planting,  is  indicated  by  the  brown  color 
of  the  husk  ;  they  are  then  plucked,  and,  having  been  laid  aside  for  a  few  days,  are 

*  Batavian  arrack  is  distilled  from  rice. 


ranged  in  rows,  and  partly  covered  with  earth  ;  or,  as  in  many  parts  of  the  country, 
suspended  from  the  branches  of  trees  until  vegetation  has  commenced.  In  about 
three  months,  more  or  less,  the  plant  will  have  appeared,  and  in  less  than  five  months 
from  that  time,  will  have  attained  the  height  of  sixteen  or  eighteen  inches,  and  have 
thrown  out  three  or  four  foliacious  fronds.  The  best  time  for  transplanting  is 
during  the  rainy  season,  when  the  plants  receive  that  abundant  .nourishment  which 
their  nature  requires. 

The  Singhalese  are  so  extremely  superstitious,  that  they  invariably  throw  a  little 
salt  into  the  holes,  before  they  place  the  coco-nut  plants  in  them  ;  and  they  observe 
great  regularity  in  forming  their  topes,  by  making  holes  for  the  plants  in  parallel  lines, 
from  twenty  to  twenty  four  feet  apart,  about  three  feet  deep,  of  the  same  diameter  at 
the  top,  and  in  the  shape  of  inverted  cones,  for  the  purpose  of  collecting  the  necessary 
moisture.  If  the  salt  were  omitted,  they  would  not  expect  the  plant  to  flourish. 

The  green  fronds  split,  and  their  pinnated  leaves  interwoven,  make  covers  for  plants, 
baskets,  and  thatch  ;  *  and,  when  burnt,  produce  a  superior  alkali.  The  young  pinnae, 
which  are  white  and  tough,  make  beautiful  mats,  baskets,  and  boxes  for  ladies’  work. 

The  stem  is  at  first  of  a  very  spongy  nature,  and  full  of  tough  perpendicular  and 
ligneous  fibres  ;  and,  until  it  is  about  twenty  years  old,  is  applicable  only  to  the  pur¬ 
poses  of  gutters,  water  pipes,  and  fences  ;  but  when  it  becomes  old,  it  is  fit  for  rafters, 
shingles,  ornamental  cabinet  work,  rice  pounders,  walking  sticks,  and  for  building 
country  vessels,  called  Dhonies. f 

The  water  of  the  green  coco-nut  is  a  delicious  drink,  if  it  be  plucked  before  sunrise ; 
it  is  also  used  by  house-plasterers,  for  its  adhesive  quality,  in  mixing  their  white  and 
colored  washes,  and,  conjointly  with  Jaggery  and  shell-lime,  for  stucco. 

The  pulp  of  the  young  coco-nut  is  an  admirable  vegetable  blancmange;  and  the 
kernel  of  the  seed  coco-nut,  after  vegetation  has  commenced,  is  among  the  delicacies 
of  a  Singhalese  dessert.  It  is  spongy,  but  pleasant  to  the  taste,  and  greatly  esteemed  by 
the  natives.  The  expressed  juice  of  the  pulp  of  the  ripe  nut  is  properly  the  milk,  and  is 
obtained  by  first  rasping  it  with  an  instrument  called  Hiromane,%  then  soaking  it  in 

*  Called  by  the  natives,  Cajan.  -f-  From  80  to  200  tons  burthen. 

I  The  Hiromane  is  the  best  kind  of  grater  that  can  he  employed  to  reduce  the  kernel  for  culinary  purposes, 
because  it  obviates  the  necessity  of  breaking  the  nut-shell  in  pieces,  or  the  previous  removal  of  the  kernel  frcm  it, 
which,  in  its  ripe  state,  is  no  very  easy  matter.  It  consists  of  a  circle  of  notched  iron  fastened  to  tile  end  of  a 
stout  piece  of  wood,  cut  in  a  peculiar  shape,  which  immemorial  custom  has  induced  the  Singhalese  to  consider 
the  most  convenient  for  this  domestic  purpose;  and  considered  by  Europeans  to  resemble  a  boot-jack,  but  why, 
l  have  yet  to  learn. 


water  and  pressing  it  through  a  cloth,  when  it  forms  an  ingredient  in  all  good  curries. 
The  cabbage  is  delicious,  whether  fficaseed,  or  pickled,  or  in  its  raw  state,  when  it  is 
as  sweet  and  crisp  as  the  Catappa  almond  ( Terminalia  Catappa,  L.). 

A  bunch  of  coco-nuts  seldom  exceeds  fifteen  or  twenty  good  ones  ;  and  from  trees 
growing  in  sandy  situations,  the  fruit  is  gathered  four  or  five  times  a  year.  The  ex¬ 
ternal  husk,  after  having  been  soaked  in  water  for  a  certain  period,  is  beaten  out  into 
a  fibre  called  Koir  or  Koya ,  of  which,  yarn,  ropes,  cables,  brooms,  plasterers’  brushes, 
bed  and  sofa  mattresses,  and  bags,  are  manufactured.  Coco-nut  shells*  are  made  into 
cups,  basons,  lamps,  sportsmen’s  liquor  flasks,  ladles,  skimmers,  spoons,  lampblack, 
and  charcoal ;  which  latter,  when  pulverized,  forms  an  excellent  dentifrice. 

A  powerful  oil  is  extracted  from  the  bark  of  the  coco-nut  tree,  which  is  employed 
as  a  liniment  in  cutaneous  diseases,  and  considered  by  the  Singhalese  doctors  emi¬ 
nently  efficacious,  provided  that,  in  such  cases,  a  free  use  of  the  green  coco-nut,  as 
the  principal  article  of  diet,  be  strictly  adhered  to  ;  and  an  ointment  is  prepared  from 
the  kernel,  which  is  a  certain  cure  for  the  ring-worm  in  children. 

The  root  is  considered  by  the  native  doctors  so  efficacious  in  intermittent  and 
remittent  fevers,  that  it  is  almost  invariably  employed  by  them.  Small  pieces  of  it 
are  boiled  with  dried  ginger  and  jaggery,  and  the  decocture  is  given  to  the  patient  at 
regular  intervals.  The  same  decocture,  when  used,  as  a  gargle,  is  mixed  with  the  oil 
of  the  nut,  freshly  made,  and  generally  affords  considerable  relief  to  the  patient,  in 
cases  where  pustules  have  formed  in  the  mouth  or  glands  of  the  throat. 

In  hemorrhoids,  the  expressed  juice  of  the  leaves,  mixed  with  fresh  oil  of  the  nut, 
and  taken  internally,  is  considered  a  sovereign  remedy ;  and  in  ophthalmic  complaints, 
the  external  application  of  the  expressed  juice  of  the  nut,  mixed  with  new  milk  from 
the  cow  or  goat,  mitigates,  if  it  do  not  entirely  remove,  inflammation. 

The  juice  of  the  flower  is  of  so  astringent  a  nature,  that  it  has  the  same  effect  as 
a  solution  of  alum  upon  the  inside  of  the  mouth  ;  this,  mixed  with  new  milk,  and 
taken  in  small  quantities,  not  exceeding  a  wine-glass  full,  but  at  regular  periods, 
affords  almost  immediate  temporary  relief,  and,  if  persevered  in,  effectual  cure,  in 
that  most  debilitating  disease  in  tropical  climates.  Lues  Gonorrhoea. 

The  shade  of  the  coco-nut  tree  is  wholesome  ;  for  wherever  there  are  coco-nut 
topes,  very  little  underwood  is  found. 

An  odd  notion  has  long  prevailed,  that  if  all  the  coco-nut  trees  in  Ceylon  were  cut 
down,  the  natives  would  be  obliged  to  cultivate  rice  more  extensively,  and  that  it 

*  See  page  103,  for  the  Singhalese  musical  instrument,  the  Vinah. 



would  operate  as  a  general  blessing!!  To  me  it  appears  a  subject  of  regret,  that  the 
many  virtues  of  this  invaluable  palm,  apparently  bestowed  by  the  hands  of  a  beneficent 
Providence,  for  the  use  and  happiness  of  the  natives  of  tropical  climes,  are  not  more 
universally  known  and  encouraged  throughout  the  British  West  India  Islands.  Those 
whose  duties  may  have  called  them,  as  in  my  own  case,  to  both  countries,  cannot 
have  failed  to  remark  the  apparently  degenerated  state  of  the  coco-nut  tree  of  the 
West  Indies,  in  comparison  with  that  of  the  East.* 

The  facility  of  planting  the  coco-nut  palm,  —  the  small  portion  of  care  requisite 
for  its  growth  and  preservation, — the  multiplied  benefits  which,  in  its  maturity,  it 
bestows  on  man, — all  tend  to  render  it  an  object  of  peculiar  regard  to  those  who  are 
the  guardians,  deputed  by  the  Giver  of  all  good,  of  the  labourer  of  the  tropics. 

The  Singhalese  are  very  remarkable  for  their  luxuriant  and  beautiful  hair,  and  attri¬ 
bute  it  to  the  use  of  coco-nut  oil,  which,  in  a  perfumed  state,  is  also  employed  by 
Europeans  ;  but  it  is  only  by  habitual  use  that  its  virtues  can  be  sufficiently  ascertained 
to  insure  its  general  adoption  as  a  promoter  and  preserver  of  the  hair,  unless  its  natural 
properties  are  destroyed  by  adulteration  ;  and  as  steam  and  other  English  oil-mills  are 
now  used,  and  the  demand  for  coco-nut  oil  has  greatly  increased,  since  its  employment 
in  the  manufacture  of  candles  and  soap,  it  may  be  anticipated,  that  from  the  recent 
improvement  of  the  quality  of  the  coco-nut  oil  for  table  use,  by  its  being  rendered  free 
from  smoke,  its  importation  will  continue  in  an  increasing  ratio  ;  and  consequently,  too 
much  attention  and  encouragement  cannot  be  given  to  a  more  extensive  cultivation 
of  this  invaluable  palm,  not  only  at  Ceylon,  but  throughout  our  West  Indian  and 
West  African  colonies. 

Independently  of  the  general  consumption  of  the!  produce  of  the  coco-nut  palm 
by  the  native  inhabitants,  and  its  extensive  employment  in  the  domestic  economy  of 
Europeans,  it  finds  a  ready  market  for  exportation  ;  and  the  manufacture  of  koir  yarn, 
ropes  and  cables,  oil,  vinegar,  arrack,  jaggery,  and  cajans  for  thatching  bungalows  and 
native  houses,  affords  employment  to  a  considerable  portion  of  the  Singhalese  and 
Malabar  population. 

*  If'  the  reader  have  not  previously  read  “  A  Treatise  upon  the  Coco-nut  Palm,  bv  a  Fellow  cf  the  Linn. car. 
and  Horticultural  Societies”  publi-ffed  in  the  year  1830,  and  a  second  edition  of  it,  in  toy  own  name,  in  1836, 
it  will  afford  him  some  amusement  to  compare  the  former  with  the  second  volume  of  “  Wanderings  in  New  South 
V\  al  's  Batavia,  Pedir  Coast,  Singapore,  and  China,  by  George  Bennett,  Esq.,  F.  L.  S.,  and  fellow  of  the  Ro\al 
College  of  Surgeons,”  (published  by  Mr.  Bentley  in  1834,)  pages  297  to  335  inclusively.  Author. 


The  Areka  Palm  and  its  Limits  an  classification — Flower  and  fruit  used  for  ornamenting  temporary  buildings  for 
festivals — Areka  nut  anti-scorbutic — Spathe,  and  its  uses — Terra  Japonica — Properties  of  the  areka  nut  as  a  dye — 
Suggestions  for  condensing  the  dye — Heat  generated  by  the  nuts — Barter  through  the  agency  of  Buddhist  priests — 
Wood  excellent  for  bows — Palmyra  (Borassus  flabelliformis,  L.)  common  in  the  Northern  and  Eastern  Provinces 
— Buddhist  priests  and  their  fans — Native  books — Palm  oil — Kellingo — Palmyra  toddy  and  Jaggery — Timber  and 
its  principal  uses — Sugar  palm  (Caryota  urens,  L.) — Kettule  fishing  rods — Sago — Elephant  bows,  and  snares  or 
nooses — Kettule  toddy  and  Jaggery — Hookahs — Calabashes — Sugar  palm  chiefly  cultivated  in  the  Southern  Province 
—  Talipat  tree  ( Corypha  umbraculifera,  L.,  and  Licuala  spinosa  of  Thunberg) — Its  classification — Talipat  leaf — 
Its  uses — Conflicting  accounts  of  the  report  caused  by  the  bursting  of  the  spathe  of  the  talipat  tree — Mabole — 
Talipat  sago — Talipat  palm  at  Colombo — Privileges  of  the  priests  of  Buddha — M.  de  la  Loubere's  notice  of  the  use 
of  the  talipat  fan  by  the  priests  of  Siam — Talipat  plants  sent  to  England  by  the  author — Tavelam  tents — Palms 
from  Mauritius  introduced  into  Ceylon — Phoenix  sylvestris,  L. —  Dwarf  palm. 

In  a  commercial  point  of  view,  the  Areka  palm  ( Areca  Catechu,  L.,  Class  Moncecia, 
Order  Monadelphia,  and  Natural  Order  Palmce ;  Puak-gaha  of  the  Singhalese,  Faufel 
of  Bauhine,  and  Pinanga  of  Rumphius)  is  next  in  value  to  the  coco-nut  tree. 

The  flower,  which,  like  that  of  the  coco-nut  palm,  is  white,  is  used,  conjointly  with 
its  beautiful  drupes,  and  the  flower  and  fruit  of  the  coco-nut  tree,  and  the  wild  flowers 
and  moss  ( Lycopodium  Zeylanicum )  with  which  the  cinnamon  gardens  abound,  in  orna¬ 
menting  temporary  buildings  for  balls  and  other  festivities. 

This  palm  so  greatly  resembles  the  cabbage  palm  ( Areca  oleracea,  L.)  of  the  West 
Indies,  that,  upon  a  cursory  view,  it  is  scarcely  to  be  distinguished  from  the  latter, 
except  by  its  drupes.  The  heart  of  the  crest  of  the  Areca  Catechu  is  also  edible,  but 
it  is  both  inferior  to  that  of  the  cabbage  and  coco-nut  palms. 

The  drupes  are  about  the  size  of  a  hen’s  egg,*  with  a  smooth  epidermis  of  a  bright 
gold  or  orange  color,  occasionally  speckled  with  brown ;  these  grow  in  clusters,  like 
coco-nuts  in  miniature,  but  at  the  very  base  of  the  verdant  crest,  instead  of  between  the 
fronds,  as  in  the  coco-nut  palm.  The  average  annual  produce  is  from  280  to  300  nuts. 

The  nut  forms  a  principal  ingredient  in  the  betel  masticatory,  so  general  throughout 
India  and  the  Eastern  Archipelago,  where  it  is  called  Padn  or  Pawn,  and  is  the  first 
thing  offered  by  way  of  compliment  by  natives  of  all  classes.  It  is  considered  an  anti¬ 
scorbutic  for  the  teeth  and  gums,  and  to  give  the  breath  an  aromatic  odour ;  but  its 

Described  in  the  Hortus  Botanicus  Americanus  as  of  the  size  of  a  coco-nut ! ! 



habitual  use  imparts  an  appearance  of  bleeding  at  the  mouth,  which  is  particularly  dis¬ 
gusting  in  women.  The  pulverized  charcoal  of  the  nut  forms  an  excellent  dentifrice. 

The  fronds  are  more  bushy  in  foliage  than  those  of  the  coco-nut  tree,  and  about 
half  their  length  ;  they  have  also  a  strong  mid-rib,  but  the  leaflets  are  folded  back, 
and  being  more  irregular  in  shape,  and  thicker  than  those  of  the  cocomut  palm, 
cannot  be  interwoven  into  Cajans. 

The  base  of  the  crest,  to  the  height  of  three  feet,  is  enveloped  in  a  sort  of  spathe, 
which  the  Singhalese  call  Puak-pata ;  this  being  extrfemely  tough  and  elastic,  is  of 
great  utility  to  the  |iatives  for  domestic  purposes,  particularly  for  carrying  milk  and 
oil,  and  their  curry  and  rice,  when  travelling ;  but  where  the  sugar  palm  ( Caryota 
urens,  L.)  abounds,  it  is  principally  in  request  for  the  purpose  of  holding  the  Kettule 
Penni,  or  sweet  syrup,  and  will  retain  its  original  elasticity  for  many  years. 

I  have  heard  it  asserted,  that  the  extract  of  the  areka  nut  is  the  Terra  Japonica 
of  commerce,  and  if  a  few  of  the  nuts  are  boiled  in  water  with  a  little  chunam, 
the  decoction  has  both  the  taste  and  odour  of  that  drug ;  but  if  this  be  the  case,  its 
present  name  is  greatly  misapplied. 

The  properties  of  the  areka  nut,  as  a  dye,  are  well  known  in  Scotland  ;  it  is  of  a 
peculiar  red,  and  cannot  be  mistaken  by  any  one  accustomed  to  the  color.  I  should 
conceive  it  practicable  to  condense  the  dye,  so  as  to  save  a  great  deal  in  freight,  instead 
of  importing  the  nuts ;  and  strong  objections  to  their  exportation  to  any  great  distance 
arises  from  the  excessive  heat  which  is  generated  by  their  stowage  in  bulk  ;  this  is 
perceptible  even  whilst  lying  in  heaps  for  a  few  days  before  they  are  shipped. 

The  Ceylon  areka  tree  is  famous  for  the  superior  quality  of  its  nut,  which  was  always 
a  great  article  of  barter  between  the  Kandyan  inhabitants  of  SafFregam,  and  Bar- 
beryn,  via  Kaltura,  long  before  our  occupation  of  the  interior.  This  traffic  was 
chiefly  carried  on  through  the  agency  and  connivance  of  the  Buddhist  priests,  who 
allowed  depots  of  nuts  to  be  formed  at  the  various  Pamelas *  on  each  side  of  the  Kalu- 
Ganga,  from  whence  they  were  conveyed  away,  in  Pardie  f  boats,  to  the  sea  coast. 

The  tree  itself  is  beautiful,  and  delights  in  a  sandy  soil.  The  stem  slender,  and, 
with  occasional  exceptions,  straight  as  an  arrow  to  the  height  of  seventy  or  eighty  feet. 
Its  circumference  varies  little  throughout  its  length,  seldom  exceeding  two  feet  at  the 
base,  from  which  to  the  crest,  the  annular  marks  of  the  fallen  petioles  are  distinct. 
When  very  old,  the  wood  is  as  tough  as  whalebone,  and  the  best  in  the  world  for 
bows  and  pingos. — There  is  a  wild  species  of  this  palm  {Areca  sylvestris),  which  the 
Singhalese  call  Lenatesi  gaha. 

*  Temporary  residences  for  priests;  derived  from  the  Pali  words  Pun,  leaf,  and  sala,  shed. 

+  Flat-bottomed  boats,  iron  fastened,  and  with  sliding  roofs,  thatched  with  Cajuns. 



The  third  palm,  in  point  of  value  for  its  domestic  properties,  is  the  fan  palm,  or 
palmyra  (Borassus  flabelliformis,  L.),  class  XXII.  Dicecia,  and  order  VI.  Hexandria. 
The  Singhalese  call  it  Talgaha.  Linnseus  describes  the  male  tree  by  the  Malabar 
name  of  Ampana,  and  the  female  tree  by  that  of  Carim-panu. 

Male  flower,  calyx ;  universal  spathe,  compound  ;  spadix  amentaceous,  imbricated  ; 
corol  three-parted ;  petals  egg’d,  concave  ;  stamens ,  filaments  six,  thickish,  anthers 
thicker,  striated. — Female  flower,  calyx ;  spathe  and  spadix  as  in  the  male  ;  corol  three- 
parted  ;  petals  roundish,  small,  permanent ;  pistil,  germ  roundish,  styles  three,  small, 
stigmas  simple  ;  pericarp,  drupe  roundish,  obtuse,  rigid,  one-cell’d  ;  seeds  three,  rather 
egg’d,  compressed,  distinct,  filamentous. 

Like  all  the  other  palms,  the  fronds  of  the  palmyra  grow  on  the  top  of  the  tree 
only  ;  but  as  these  are  cut  down,  or  fall  off,  they  leave  their  vestigia  much  more  dis¬ 
tinct  than  either  of  the  other  palms,  and  the  bark  is  consequently  so  much  rougher, 
that  the  tree  may  be  ascended  with  less  difficulty,  by  inexpert  climbers,  than  either 
the  coco-nut,  areka,  or  sugar  palms. 

The  spathe  resembles  that  of  the  Areca  Catechu  in  toughness  and  elasticity,  and 
is  used  by  the  natives  for  similar  purposes. 

This  tree  is  more  common  in  the  northern  and  eastern  provinces,  than  in  any  other 
part  of  the  island ;  and  those  that  I  have  seen,  seldom  exceeded  thirty  or  forty  feet 
in  height.  The  fronds  are  fan-leaved,  armed  with  spines,  radiating  from  a  common 
centre,  and  the  stipes  sawed  at  the  edges.  The  fan-part  is  about  four  feet  in  diameter  ; 
the  spines  are  cut  off,  and  the  middle  is  formed  into  fans,  or  Punkahs ;  these  are 
lackered  for  sale,  or  used  plain,  as  may  suit  the  taste  of  the  purchaser ;  but  one  never 
sees  a  Buddhist  priest  without  one  of  the  smaller  sort,  or  a  fan  of  some  kind  or  other  ; 
of  which,  some  are  heart-shaped,  others  circular,  with  handles  of  carved  ivory. 

I  have  heard  many  arguments  as  to  the  fan  being  an  emblem  of  authority ;  *  and 
some  pretend  that  the  degrees  of  the  Buddhist  priesthood  may  be  distinguished  by 
their  fans  ;  but  I  do  not  state  this  as  an  ascertained  fact,  although  I  have  myself 
oberved,  that  the  handsomest  Punkahs  are  carried  by  the  higher  orders  of  the 

Palmyra  leaves  are  subdivided  longitudinally  into  strips  for  native  books  and  letters, 
and  bear  the  general  name  of  Olas.  These  are  written  upon  with  an  iron  style,  and 

*  St.  Matthew  particularly  alludes  to  the  fan  (or  winnow)  in  his  3rd  chapter,  verse  12. 

|  Maha  Nayeka  Oonanse  signifies  a  high  priest,  and  Oonanse  a  priest. — Gooroonanse  a  teacher,  and 

Tirinanse  a  reader. 

M  2 



lampblack  is  then  rubbed  over  the  writing,  which  makes  the  characters  more  legible  ; 
this,  from  the  smoothness  of  the  surface,  is  easily  wiped  off,  leaving  the  part  that 
is  not  impressed  by  the  style  perfectly  clean. 

The  fruit,  which  is  a  large  three-seeded  drupe,  grows  in  bunches,  and  is  much 
esteemed.  Palm  oil  is  made  of  the  pulp,  after  having  been  exposed  to  the  sun  and 
become  rancid.  The  spring  leaf,  or  Kellingo,  is  a  most  excellent  vegetable,  when 
boiled  or  fricasseed ;  this  the  natives  manufacture  into  a  nutritious  meal,  or  flour, 
of  delicious  flavour,  by  cutting  it  off  close,  after  the  seed  nuts  have  been  sown  a  few 
months,  then  drying  it  in  the  sun,  and  afterwards  pounding  it  in  a  rice  mortar.  The 
Dutch  formerly  considered  palmyra  flour  so  very  valuable  as  a  convalescent  diet,  as 
well  as  for  presents  to  their  friends,  that  they  often  exported  it  to  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope  and  Holland  : — in  both  places  it  was  much  esteemed,  and  used  for  thickening, 
and  imparting  its  peculiar  flavor,  to  soups  and  made  dishes. 

Palmyra  toddy  is  drawn  from  the  flower,  and  good  Jaggery  is  made  from  it,  by 
a  similar  process  to  that  described  in  the  preceding  pages. 

On  the  outside  and  at  the  base  of  the  fronds,  just  where  they  rise  from  the  stem, 
there  is  a  soft  cotton-like  substance,  of  a  light  brown  color,  which  is  collected  and 
employed  by  the  native  doctors  for  staunching  blood,  or  hemorrhage. 

The  timber,  being  dark  and  beautifully  striated,  is  very  much  esteemed  for  cabinet 
work ;  and  by  builders,  for  rafters,  &c.  It  is  extremely  durable,  becoming  harder 
and  tougher  with  age. 

The  next  of  the  indigenous  palms,  in  point  of  domestic  utility,  is  the  sugar  palm 
( Caryota  urens,  L.),  or  Kettule-Gaha  of  the  Singhalese,  of  class  XXI.  Moncecia,  and 
order  VIII.  Polyandria. 

Male  flower  calyx ;  universal  spathe,  compound  ;  spadix  branchy  ;  corol  three-parted  ; 
petals  lanced,  concave  ;  stamens,  filaments  many,  rather  longer  than  the  corol ;  anthers 
linear. — Female  flower  upon  the  same  spadix  with  the  male  ones  ;  calyx  common 
with  the  males  ;  corol  three-parted  ;  petals  pointed,  very  small ;  pistil,  germ  roundish, 
style  pointed,  stigma  simple  ;  pericarp,  a  berry,  roundish,  one-cell’d  ;  seeds  two,  large, 
oblong,*  roundish  on  one  side,  flat  on  the  other. 

The  berries  are  about  two  and  a  half  or  three  inches  in  circumference,  and  are 
thickly  studded  upon  dependent  stems,  from  four  to  five  feet  in  length,  and  about 
three  feet  in  circumference,  like  a  mass  of  closely  knotted  ropes,  diverging  from  a 
common  centre ;  these,  when  ripe,  are  of  a  brilliant  red  color,  from  which  the  trivial 
name  of  this  palm  is  derived. 

The  tree  is  very  straight  in  growth,  and  without  fronds  except  at  the  top,  where 



they  form  a  dark  green  crest,  but  are  different  to  those  of  the  other  indigenous  palms, 
being  twice-feather -leaved ;  and  the  leaflets  are  of  triangular  shape:  The  transverse 
divisions  of  the  fronds  are  much  esteemed  by  the  native  fishers,  for  angling  rods. 

The  Kettule  seldom  exceeds  forty  feet  in  height.  The  petioles  leave  their  annular 
vestigia  upon  the  bark,  like  those  of  the  coco-nut  and  areka  palms.  The  pith  pro¬ 
duces  a  nutritious  sago  ;  but,  according  to  my  humble  judgement,  it  is  very  inferior  to 
the  brown  sago  of  the  Moluccas,  or  the  white  sort  of  China.  The  wood,  when  very 
old,  is  tough  and  heavy,  and  is  made  into  rice  pounders,  bows,*  and  pingos  for  carry¬ 
ing  burthens.  The  outer  cuticle  is  so  very  strong  and  elastic  that  the  natives  make 
it  into  nooses  and  ropes  for  securing  elephants. 

The  toddy,  which  is  also  drawn  from  the  flower,  is  so  very  luscious,  that  it  is  only 
drunk  when  that  from  the  coco-nut  tree  cannot  be  readily  procured.  Eight  gallons  of 
this  liquid,  boiled  over  a  slow  fire,  will  produce  four  gallons  of  a  very  thick  syrup, 
called  Kettule  Penni ;  to  this  is  also  added  small  pieces  of  the  bark  of  the  Halgas 
(Shorea  robusta ),  and,  being  again  boiled,  double  the  quantity  of  Jaggery ,  and  of  a 
superior  quality  to  that  from  the  coco-nut  palm,  is  the  product. 

The  Kandyan  Jaggery  is  made  entirely  from  this  syrup,  and  will  keep  good  for 
several  years.  Although  the  common  sort  is  of  the  color  of  the  coarsest  Muscovado 
sugar,  a  finer  sort,  of  very  superior  quality,  and  the  best  substitute  that  can  be 
obtained  for  Chinese  sugar-candy,  which  it  greatly  resembles,  is  made  for  headmen. 
Jaggery  is  a  principal  ingredient  in  the  Chillum  used  throughout  India  by  Hookah, 
Gur-Gurree,  and  Habble-bubble  smokers. 

Clean  chatties,  or  calabashes,  are  indispensable  for  collecting  sweet  toddy,  which 
would  otherwise  be  affected  by  the  acidity  inseparable  from  using  the  same  vessel 
twice,  without  being  well  washed  and  dried.  The  Ceylon  calabash  is  a  gourd  ( Cucur - 
bita  Lagenaria ,  L.)  ;  that  of  the  West  Indies  is  the  fruit  of  the  calabash  tree  ( Cresbentia 
Cujete,  L.),  which  is  not  produced  in  Ceylon. 

The  Jaggery,  or  sugar  makers,  are  called  Hakooroos,  and  toddy  drawers,  Chandoos  ; 
but  both  are  included  in  the  subdivisions  of  the  same  caste,  ( Shudra  Wanse ,)  the  second 
in  rank  of  the  principal  Singhalese  castes. 

Each  cake  of  Jaggery  is  separately  enveloped  in  a  piece  of  the  dried  leaf  of  the 
plantain  ( Musa  sapientum,  L.),  or  banana  ( Musa  Paradisiaca,  L.),  and  then  suspended 
where  smoke  has  free  access  to  it,  until  required  for  the  market  or  other  purposes. 

*  The  elephant  ows  used  by  the  natives  of  the  Mahagampattoo,  in  the  southern  province,  are  made  of  this 
wood,  and  tempered  in  the  smoke  of  wetted  rice  straw,  thrown  upon  a  fire  made  of  jungle  leaves. 



The  shape  and  size  of  a  cake  of  common  Jaggery  is  that  of  the  bun  of  our  English 
pastry  cooks.  The  Kettule  tree  is  more  extensively  cultivated  in  Saffragam,  in  the 
southern  province,  than  in  any  other. 

The  next  in  value,  but  the  most  magnificent  of  Ceylon  palms  in  appearance,  is  the 
talipat,  or  umbrella-bearing  palm  ( Corypha  umbraculifera,  L.)  ;  the  Licuala  spinosa  of 
Thunberg,  and  Talagaha  of  the  Singhalese.  Its  classification  has  for  many  years 
been  in  a  most  undecided  state. 

Thunberg  describes  the  flower  as  follows, — Calyx ;  perianth  one-leaved,  three-parted, 
hairy  within  ;  corol  three-parted  almost  to  the  base,  the  divisions  egg’d,  acute,  con¬ 
cave  ;  nectary  garland  form,  twice  as  short  as  the  corol ;  stamen,  filaments  six,  in¬ 
serted  into  the  nectaries,  erect,  very  short ;  anthers  oblong,  twin  ;  pistil,  germ  above, 
convex,  furrowed,  three-parted,  smooth  ;  style  one,  simple  ;  stigmas  two. 

The  talipat  leaf  is  the  largest  known  ;  it  is  circular,  feather  handled,  folded,  and 
intercepted  with  a  thread.  The  natives  subdivide  it  into  eight  parts,  and  these  are 
sewed  at  the  side  with  the  natural  thread,  and  ornamented  with  talc  and  various 
colors  for  the  use  of  headmen.  Its  circumference  is  from  thirty  to  forty  feet ;  and  it 
is  so  thoroughly  impervious  to  the  sun  and  impenetrable  by  the  heaviest  rains,  that 
its  value  to  the  native  traveller  may  be  easily  imagined.  The  most  valuable  of  the 
Singhalese  books  are  formed  of  strips  of  the  leaf ;  these  are  engraved  with  an  iron 
style,  and  some  now  extant,  although  written  many  centuries  back,  have  all  their 
original  freshness  of  appearance.  Tents,  of  all  forms  and  sizes,  are  also  made  of  the 
leaf,  supported  by  bamboo  poles,  than  which,  nothing  can  be  lighter  for  carriage,  or 
better  for  the  purpose  of  temporary  shelter. 

One  of  the  specimens  of  the  talipat  leaf  that  I  brought  with  me  from  Ceylon,  which 
measures  thirty  six  feet  in  circumference,  may  be  seen  in  the  museum  of  King’s 
College,  with  my  name  attached  to  it ;  but  how  it  got  there,  I  have  yet  to  learn.  It 
is,  however,  most  satisfactory  to  know  that  it  is  so  well  disposed  of.  The  fate  of  the 
other  is  still  a  mystery ;  for  although  they  were  borrowed  to  be  shown  at  certain 
scientific  institutions,  neither  of  them  have  found  their  way  back  to  the  proper  owner 
for  the  last  fourteen  years. 

There  have  been  many  conflicting  statements  published  of  this  palm  ;  and  although 
I  never  was  within  view  of  a  talipat  tree  at  the  moment  of  its  spadix  bursting  the 
spathe,  it  has  been  stated  in  one  of  the  “  Annuals  ”  that  I  had  witnessed  it  several 
times.  This  perhaps  was  not  the  first,  nor  has  been  the  last,  of  the  same  author’s 
mistakes  ;  but  I  am  not  at  all  disposed,  because  I  was  not  present,  to  dispute  the  native 
accounts  of  the  loud  report,  with  which  the  bursting  of  the  talipat’s  compound  spathe 



is  accompanied,  until  it  be  refuted  by  some  individual  of  unimpeachable  veracity,  who 
may  have  been  near  the  tree  at  the  time  of  its  taking  place  ;  feeling  satisfied,  notwith¬ 
standing  the  opinions  as  to  its  gradual  expansion,  that,  in  calm  weather,  it  may  be 
heard  at  a  considerable  distance  ;  for  I  was  positively  assured  by  several  respectable 
Dutch  inhabitants  at  Grand  Pass,  as  well  as  by  two  intelligent  Malays,  who  had  resided 
for  a  considerable  time  at  Matele,  now  part  of  the  Central  Province,  where  the  Talagahu 
abounds,  that  the  bursting  of  the  spathe  is  attended  with  a  loud  report. 

The  natives  entertain  a  similar  belief  to  that  commonly  entertained  of  the  American 
aloe,  that  the  talipat  lives  a  century  before  it  blossoms  ;  but  it  is  too  well  known, 
that  the  growth  of  all  the  palm  family  is  extremely  rapid,  and  moreover  that  the 
heart  of  the  talipat  stem  consists  of  a  spongy  fibre,  for  this  part  of  its  description 
to  be  credited. 

In  1822,  a  talipat  palm  blossomed  at  Mabole,  about  six  miles  to  the  northward  ol 
Colombo  ;  and  fot1  nearly  three  months,  viz.  from  the  time  of  the  spadix  bursting  its 
spathe  to  the  flower  attaining  its  full  height,  (nearly  thirty  feet,)  and  for  a  further 
space  of  four  months  before  it  seeded,  the  road  was  occasionally  thronged  with  the 
curious,  and  among  them  the  “  evening  beauties  ”  of  the  Pettah,  on  their  way  to  view 
this  wonder  of  the  vegetable  world,  ere  its  floral  magnificence  departed. 

Sago  is  prepared  from  the  granulated  pith  of  the  talipat  palm,  which  some  consider 
equal  to  the  true  sago  of  the  Moluccas  ;  but  if  I  may  judge  from  the  specimen  that 
I  brought  with  me  to  this  country,  it  is  even  inferior  to  that  of  the  Caryota  urens, 
or  Cycas  circinalis. 

There  are  very  few  objects  in  the  vegetable  kingdom  more  beautiful  or  remarkable 
than  this  palm,  or  more  useful  to  the  countries  where  it  is  indigenous.  There  is  a 
beautiful  specimen  of  it  in  the  compound  of  the  Cutchery  at  Colombo,  where  the 
casual  visitor,  who  may  not  have  time  or  opportunity  for  seeing  it  in  the  interior,  may 
gratify  a  very  commendable  curiosity. 

The  Buddhist  priests  had  the  same  privilege  as  Royalty,  in  the  reign  of  the  late 
King,  as  to  the  talipat  fan  being  borne  over  them  with  the  broad  end  foremost ;  and 
M.  de  la  Loubere,  in  his  account  of  Siam,  in  alluding  to  the  priests  of  Buddha,  par¬ 
ticularly  mentions  the  talipat  fan,  “  Pour  se  garantir  du  soleil,  ils  ont  le  talapat  qui 
est  leur  parasol  en  forme  d’  ecran.” 

In  1822  and  1825,  I  sent  several  talipat  plants  to  the  late  Earl  of  Tankerville,  Lord 
Bagot,  and  the  Horticultural  Society  of  London,  from  Ceylon  ;  and,  in  1839,  I  pre¬ 
sented  the  only  perfect  talipat  seed  that  I  had  left,  to  Mr.  James  Carter,  the  eminent 
seedsman  of  High  Holborn. 



Be  the  quantity  of  rain  what  it  may,  not  a  particle  of  moisture  is  imbibed  by  the 
talipat  leaf ;  and,  exclusively  of  the  uses  made  of  it  by  all  classes  of  the  natives,  as  a 
defence  from  sun  and  rain,  the  Tavelam*  people  employ  it  for  tents  to  cover  their  bags 
of  salt  on  their  journies  from  the  coast  to  the  interior.  A  Tavelam  bivouac  is  by  no 
means  an  uninteresting  sight  to  an  European.  The  bags  of  salt  are  piled  together, 
and  the  pointed  ends  of  the  segments  of  the  talipat  leaf  are  laid  on  the  uppermost 
bag,  so  as  to  radiate  from  the  centre,  by  means  of  a  heavy  weight,  which  keeps  them 
in  that  position ;  and,  by  means  of  koir  or  jungle  lines  and  pegs,  the  whole  are  kept 
in  a  circular  shape,  like  a  bell  tent,  and  afford  a  sufficient  covered  space  around  the 
salt  bags,  by  way  of  verandah,  for  the  traders  and  drovers  to  cook  their  victuals  and 
take  repose. 

During  my  stay  at  Reduit,  the  Governor’s  country  house  at  Mauritius,  in  1821,  I 
availed  myself  of  His  Excellency’s  (the  late  lamented  Sir  Robert  Townshend  Farquhar, 
Bart.,  K.  S.  L.)  kind  permission  to  select  whatever  plants  I  pleased,  from  the  Govern¬ 
ment  garden;  and,  amongst  very  many  others,  I  took  two  of  the  date  palm  ( Phienii • 
dactylifera,  L.),  and  two  of  the  Cycas  circinalis,  L.,  to  Ceylon  ;  both  the  former  died, 
but  one  of  the  latter,  which  I  planted  at  Bagatelle,  near  Colombo,  was  a  very  fine 
tree  when  I  left  the  island,  and  the  other  was  transferred,  by  the  late  Honorable  the 
Chief  Justice,  Sir  Hardinge  Giffard,  to  whom  I  had  given  it,  to  the  Royal  Botanic 
Garden  at  Paradenia,  near  Kandy,  where  it  flourished  as  well  as  in  its  natural  soil. 

Although  Ceylon  does  not  produce  the  date  palm,  there  is  no  reason  why  it  should 
not,  for  two  wild  varieties  of  that  palm  (Phoenix  sylvestris),  called  by  the  Singha¬ 
lese  Indi  and  Mahindi,  are  plentiful  enough,  and  well  adapted  for  fences,  owing  to 
their  extremely  strong  and  sharp  spines.  The  drupe,  which  is  rather  more  oblong, 
but  not  larger  than  a  common  Bullace  plum  ( Prunus  insititia,  L.),  and  of  a  purplish 
black,  is  insipidly  sweet. 

There  is  also  an  indigenous  species  of  dwarf  palm,  or  palmetto  ( Chamerops ,  L.), 
Class  Polygamia,  Order  Dicccia ,  Natural  Order  Palmce,  of  which,  small  baskets  ( Hem - 
bill)  are  made,  the  only  purpose  to  which  its  leaf  is  applied. 

*  See  page  29q. 

A  Singhalese  Gentleman  in  his  Triacle. 
From  a  Native  Drawing. 







Digression — The  Singhalese — Extraordinary  effeminacy  of  the  men  in  habits  and  dress — Singhalese  women — 
Betel  or  Pawn — Kissing — Female  dress — Inferiority  of  Singhalese  to  Malabar  women — Dress  of  headmen — Mr. 
John  Brexius  de  Zielfa — Extraordina>~y  decision  respecting  his  assumption  of  shoes  and  stockings — Predictions 
fulfilled — King  William  IV. — Lord  Viscount  Goderich — Sir  R.  W.  Horton — Petty  tyranny — Singhalese  theatri¬ 
cals — Amphitheatre — Tragedy — Mode  of  illuminating  the  amphitheatre — Coco-nut  lamps — Native  music — Actors’ 
dresses — Native  musical  instruments  of  percussion — Wind  instruments — Vinah  the  only  stringed  instrument. 

By  way  of  change  to  the  reader,  I  beg  leave  to  digress  a  little  from  the  vegetable 
productions  of  Ceylon,  instead  of  postponing  an  account  of  the  inhabitants,  as  I 
had  originally  intended,  upon  the  principle  that  the  last  of  the  Almighty’s  creation 
was  man. 

The  higher  castes  of  the  Singhalese  are,  generally  speaking,  a  fine  handsome  race  ; 
but  the  men  are  as  notorious  for  the  effeminacy  of  their  appearance  and  habits,  as 
the  women  for  their  docility,  industry,  and  devotion  to  their  domestic  duties.  The 
men  allow  their  hair  to  grow  to  its  full  length,  and  support  it  with  tortoise-shell  combs 
of  an  extravagantly  large  size  ;  this,  together  with  their  very  prominent  breasts  and 
effeminate  costume,  but  more  particularly  when  returning  from  bathing,  at  which  time 
they  wear  their  hair  loose  upon  a  handkerchief,  spread' over  the  shoulders  and  back, 
and  tied  upon  the  forehead,  gives  them  such  a  feminine  appearance,  that  even  at  a 
moderate  distance,  strangers  very  often  mistake  them  for  women  ;  and*  their  light 
white  jackets,  and  cloths  ( Sarongs )  wrapped  round  the  waist  and  descending  to  the 
ankles  like  a  petticoat,  heighten  the  deception.  The  painted  cloth  worn  by  modeliars 
and  others  of  rank  among  the  Singhalese,  is  called  Soman. 

The  women  are  generally  of  an  olive  complexion,  well  formed,  and  pretty  until 
about  twenty  years  of  age,  when  they  begin  to  fall  off  as  much  as  females  in  England 
do  at  fifty,  without  having  any  of  the  various  resources  of  art  that  enable  the  latter 
to  affect  youth,  and  keep  off  the  dreaded  wrinkles  of  age  as  long  as  they  can. 

From  the  vile  habit  of  masticating  Pawn,  Singhalese  ladies  (for  it  is  common  to 
both  sexes)  always  appear  as  if  their  mouths  and  lips  were  bloody  ;  this,  however, 



is  no  loss  to  the  Singhalese  lover,  for  saluting  the  lips  is  unknown  ;  he  merely  applies 
his  nose  to  the  cheek  of  his  intended,  and  gives  a  sniff  or  two,  which  species  of  gal¬ 
lantry  is  the  native  substitute  for  the  more  ardent  kiss  of  the  British  islanders. 

This  national  masticatory  is  general  throughout  India  and  the  Eastern  Archipelago, 
and  consists  of  a  leaf  of  the  betel  vine  ( Piper  betel),  a  small  piece  of  the  nut  of  the 
areka  palm  (. Areka  catechu,  L.),  but  erroneously  called  betel  nut ;  a  little  betel  chu- 
nam  (shell  lime  prepared  for  the  purpose),  and  occasionally  tobacco  or  cardamoms,  or 
a  small  portion  of  the  leaf  of  the  Alpinia  nutans,  which  is  very  aromatic. 

The  female  dress  consists  of  a  deep  folded  cloth  or  Cambay  worn  like  a  petticoat,  a 
neatly  plaited  chemise,  and  a  white  jacket  trimmed  with  country  lace,  tight  at  the 
arms,  and  thickly  studded  with  small  gold  buttons  from  the  wrist  nearly  to  the  elbow. 
In  full  dress,  the  Singhalese  ladies  confine  their  hair  by  small  arrows  of  gold  or  silver 
filigree-work,  and  diamond  ornaments,  to  the  exclusion  of  combs.  But  in  point  of 
figure  and  carriage  they  are  generally  very  inferior  to  their  more  sable  neighbours  of 
the  Malabar  coast ;  who,  from  twelve  to  twenty  years  of  age,  display  the  natural  graces 
and  proportion  of  the  Medicean  Venus  in  all  the  elegance  of  living  originals. 

The  Portuguese  government  established,  and  the  Dutch  subsequently  improved, 
a  descriptive  dress  for  the  various  ranks  of  Singhalese  headmen.  As  this  dress  is  still 
in  use.  but  with  the  gentlemanly  addition  of  shoes  and  stockings,  I  have  detailed 
it  for  the  amusement  of  my  readers. 

Descriptive  Dress  of  the  Native  Headmen. 


Maha  Modeliars — Velvet,  silk,  or  cloth  coat,  with  gold  or  silver  lace,  loops,  and 
buttons  :  sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  pure  massive  or  wrought  gold,  or  silver  inlaid 
with  gold,  and  shoulder  belt  of  gold  or  silver  lace,  or  silk  embroidered  or  spangled 
with  gold  or  silver. 

Modeliars  of  the  gate  or  guard — Silk  or  cloth  coat,  with  gold  or  silver  lace,  loops, 
and  buttons ;  sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  silver  inlaid  with  gold,  and  belt  of  gold  or 
silver  lace,  or  silk  embroidered  or  spangled  with  gold  or  silver. 

Modeliars  of  the  Attepattoo,  Modeliars  of  the  Kories,  Mohotiars  of  the  guard  and 
Attepattoo,  and  Mohandirams  of  the  guard — Silk  or  cloth  coat,  with  gold  or  silver 
lace,  loops,  and  buttons  ;  sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  silver,  hilt  inlaid  with  gold,  and 
belt  of  gold  or  silver  lace,  or  silk  embroidered  or  spangled  with  gold  or  silver. 



Mohandirams  of  the  Attepattoo  and  the  Basnaike  and  Padicarre  Mohandirams 
employed  as  interpreters  in  the  courts  of  the  several  provincial  judges — Silk  or  cloth 
coat,  with  gold  or  silver  lace,  loops,  and  buttons  ;  sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  silver, 
and  the  eyes  and  tongue  of  the  lion’s  head  of  gold  ;  the  belt  of  gold  or  silver  lace, 
but  not  spangled. 

The  Corals,  Mohandirams,  and  Mohandirams  employed  as  interpreters  in  the  courts 
of  the  sitting  magistrates — Silk  or  cloth  coat,  with  gold  or  silver  lace  and  buttons  ; 
sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  silver,  and  in  the  middle  of  the  scabbard  a  plain  silver 
plate  ;  the  belt  of  gold  or  silver  lace,  but  not  spangled. 

Arrachies — Cloth  or  linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and  loops  ;  sword  hilt  and  scab¬ 
bard  of  silver,  with  two  plain  plates  of  tortoise-shell  on  the  scabbard  ;  the  belt  of 
colored  ribbon,  embroidered  with  flowers  of  silver  or  silver  thread. 

Canganies — Cloth  or  linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and  loops  ;  sword  hilt  of  horn 
inlaid  with  silver,  the  scabbard  of  horn  or  wood  with  eight  silver  bands,  and  belt  of 
colored  ribbon  without  embroidery. 


Modeliars  and  Mahavidahn  Modeliars — Silk  or  cloth  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and 
loops  ;  sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  silver,  and  the  eyes  and  tongue  of  the  lion’s  head 
of  gold  ;  the  belt  of  gold  or  silver  lace,  but  not  spangled. 

Mahavidahns,  Mahavidahn  Mohandirams,  Patengatyn  Mohandirams,  and  all  other 
Mohandirams  of  the  same  caste — Cloth  or  linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and  loops  : 
sword  hilt-  and  scabbard  of  silver,  and  in  the  middle  of  the  scabbard  a  plain  plate 
of  tortoise-shell ;  the  belt  of  gold  or  silver  lace. 

Arrachies — Cloth  or  linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and  silk  loops  ;  sword  hilt  of 
horn,  embellished  with  silver,  with  three  tortoise-shell  plates  ;  the  belt  of  colored 
ribbon,  embroidered  with  silk. 

Canganies — Linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and  silk  loops  ;  sword  hilt  of  horn, 
embellished  with  silver,  the  scabbard  of  horn  or  wood,  with  two  silver  plates,  and  the 
belt  of  plain  colored  ribbon. 


Mahavidahns  and  Mahavidahn  Mohandirams — Cloth  or  linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons 
and  loops  ;  sword  hilt  and  scabbard  of  silver,  with  one  plate  of  tortoise-shell  on  the 
scabbard,  and  two  plates  of  tortoise-shell  on  the  scabbard  worn  by  the  washermen  ;  thf 
belt  of  ribbon,  embroidered  with  flowers  of  gold  or  silver  thread. 

n  2 



Arrachies — Linen  coat,  with  silver  buttons  and  silk  loops  ;  sword  hilt  of  horn,  em¬ 
bellished  with  silver,  the  scabbard  of  horn  or  wood,  with  silver  bands,  and  the  belt 
of  plain  colored  ribbon. 

Canganies — Linen  coat,  with  horn  or  covered  linen  buttons  ;  sword  hilt  of  horn, 
the  scabbard  of  horn  or  wood,  with  three  copper  bands,  and  the  belt  of  plain  ribbon. 


Vidahn  Mohandiram — Cloth  or  linen  coat,  with  silk  buttons  and  loops  ;  sword  hilt 
and  scabbard  of  silver,  but  on  the  scabbard  there  must  be  two  plates  of  tortoise-shell ; 
the  belt  of  colored  ribbon,  embroidered  with  flowers  of  silver  thread. 

N.  B.  Titular  headmen  of  each  rank  dress  in  every  respect  as  the  headmen  of  the 
rank  and  caste  to  which  they  belong,  but  the  word  “  Titular  ”  is  engraven  on  their 
sword  hilts. 

It  may  scarcely  be  supposed  credible,  but  it  is  an  absolute  fact,  that  Englishmen  in 
the  nineteenth  century  have  wished  for  the  continuance  of  native  oppression,  and  for 
the  headmen  to  be  compelled  to  leave  their  sandals  at  the  cutcherry  doors. 

Mr.  John  Brexius  de  Zielfa,  the  present  assessor  to  the  district-court  of  Galle,  who 
1'ormerly  held  the  office  of  Mohandiram  interpreter  of  the  magistrate’s  court  of  that 
district  when  I  presided  there,  and  who  wore  shoes  and  stockings  in  court  with  my 
unqualified  approbation,  was  refused  admission  to  the  cutcherry  with  such  European 
appendages.  That  gentleman  felt  that,  as  a  British  subject,  he  had  as  great  a  right  to 
wear  shoes  and  stockings  as  those  who  were  of  European  birth  ;  but  as  the  collector 
chose  to  make  a  reference  to  the  governor,  which  was  followed  by  the  most  extraordi¬ 
nary  decision,  that  “  His  Excellency  would  not  sanction  the  adoption  of  the  most 
comfortable  portions  of  the  European  and  native  costumes,  and  that  the  interpreter 
must  choose  one  or  the  other,”  Mr.  de  Zielfa  relinquished  his  visits  to  the  cutcherry, 
rather  than  the  comforts  of  his  adopted  dress. 

This  was  a  most  inconsiderate  decision,  because  every  step  towards  the  adoption  of 
the  English  costume,  was  an  advance  in  civilization  ;  and  it  ought  to  have  been 
recollected,  that  as  natives  do  not  suddenly  relinquish  either  their  dress  or  habits, 
individuals  were  entitled  to  credit  for  setting  an  example  fraught  with  advantages  to 
the  manufactures  and  commerce  of  the  mother  country. 

My  predictions  at  that  time  (1825)  as  to  the  future  admission  of  natives  to  the 
rights  and  privileges  of  British  subjects,  have  been  since  fulfilled  by  Lord  Viscount 



Goderich’s  abolition  of  all  that  militated  against  the  equal  enjoyment  of  those  blessings, 
in  1832.  If  this  had  been  the  only  one  out  of  very  many  acts  of  soupd  and  humane 
policy,  which  characterized  his  Lordship’s  second  administration  of  the  colonies,  (for 
the  first  was  so  short  as  to  afford  his  Lordship  no  time  for  acquiring  much  acquaint¬ 
ance  with  their  state  and  wants,)  it  was  sufficient  to  immortalize  his  Lordship’s 
memory  :  and  whilst  Ceylon  and  the  Singhalese  exist,  the  reign  of  King  William  IV. 
will  be  held  in  veneration,  the  name  of  Goderich  be  considered  synonymous  with  true 
liberty,  and  that  of  Horton  with  humanity  and  justice. 

I  trust  the  time  is  now  for  ever  passed,  when  a  British  magistrate,  whilst  driving 
his  buggy  through  a  town,  may  presume  to  lay  his  whip  violently  over  a  black  mer¬ 
chant’s  umbrella,  because  he  was  not  quite  so  quick  in  doffing  it  as  “  his  worship  ” 
considered  due  to  his  own  consequence. — This  I  myself  witnessed  at  Colombo,  in  the 
streets  of  the  Pettah ;  but  although  my  blood  overboiled  at  the  time,  I  knew  that 
he  “  was  in  favor  at  court,”  and  that  a  representation  of  it  would  have  had  no  better 
effect  than  an  exposition  of  the  various  abuses  and  impositions  upon  the  public  and 
the  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  would  have  had,  through  a  private  channel , 
at  home. 

Singhalese  theatrical  performances  invariably  take  place  in  the  open  air  ;  generally 
in  some  spacious  compound,  or  garden,  where  abundance  of  jack,  bread-fruit,  and 
other  trees  can  be  made  available  to  the  purposes  of  illumination  ;  and  where  also, 
from  the  quality  of  the  ground,  a  natural  amphitheatre  is  easily  fitted  for  the  pur¬ 
pose.  The  erection  of  booths,  covered  with  white  cloths  and  ornamented  in  a 
very  tasteful  style,  for  which  the  natives  are  celebrated,  with  mosses,  wild  flowers, 
of  the  Nelumbium  speciosum,  Coffea  trifiora,  Ixora  coccinea,  and  Vinca  rosea,  white 
and  yellow  jessamine,  fruits  of  all  sorts  in  clusters,  interspersed  with  the  white  flowers 
and  olas  or  leaflets  of  the  coco-nut  palm,  and  bunches  of  areka  nuts  in  the  bright 
yellow  and  orange  of  maturity ;  all  these  add  to  the  beauty  of  the  scenery,  and  give 
an  air  of  richness  and  luxuriance  to  the  whole. 

Tragedy  alone  is  worthy  of  native  attention  ;  the  everlasting  subject  of  it  being 
kingly  depravity  or  virtue ;  the  latter  of  which  is  still  more  rare  in  Asiatic  than  in 
European  record.  After  multiplied  scenes  of  bloodshed,  the  usurper’s  destruction  and 
the  lawful  sovereign’s  restoration,  form  the  chief  characteristics  of  the  native  drama, 
in  which  all  is  pantomime.  Several  splendid  thrones  in  elevated  positions,  and  extra¬ 
vagantly  large  but  superb  crowns,  displaying  a  magnificence  and  taste  for  which  one 
would  not  give  the  Singhalese  credit,  are  distinguishing  features  in  their  theatricals. 

A  tragedy  occupies  several  consecutive  nights  in  the  performance.  All  the  avenues, 
trees,  and  booths  are  illuminated  with  coco-nut  oil,  in  lamps  made  with  the  shells  of 


green  or  water  coco-nuts  stuck  upon  stakes,  the  green  husk  of  the  fruit  being  kept  on 
for  the  purpose  of  receiving  their  points  ;  and  thus  the  shells  are  properly  fixed 
previous  to  being  filled  with  oil  and  trimmed  as  lamps. 

The  plays  are  very  well  attended  ;  and  the  order,  so  necessary  to  the  immense  assem¬ 
blage  of  persons  of  all  ranks  and  classes,  is  invariably  maintained  without  the  inter¬ 
vention  of  police  or  constables.  The  music  is  extremely  barbarous,  and  monotonous 
to  an  European  ear.  The  instruments  are  Berrigoddeas ,  Doolahs,  Tam-a-tams,  Oodikeas, 
Taleahs  (a  sort  of  brass  cymbal  beaten  with  a  stick),  and  the  country  hautboy,  called 
Horanawa  ;  these  together,  make  noise  enough  even  for  the  halls  of  Pandemonium. 

The  dresses  of  the  actors  are  very  gaudy,  being  set  off  with  every  possible  variety 
of  foil  and  tinsel.  There  are  mo  actresses.  The  admissions  are  gratuitous,  the  costs 
being  defrayed  by  collections  from  the  native  audience. 

The  Singhalese  have  but  seven  or  eight  musical  instruments ;  of  which  five  are 
instruments  of  percussion. 

The  first  is  the  Oodikea ;  this  in  shape  somewhat  resembles  an  hour  glass  ;  but 
instead  of  the  three  wooden  supporters  of  the  circular  extremities,  it  has  four  braces, 
which  are  compressed  towards  the  middle  by  an  elastic  ring  ;  the  body  is  of  jackwood 
(timber  of  the  Artocarpus  integrifolia,  L.)  and  cylindrical,  the  middle  just  large  enough 
to  be  grasped  in  the  hand  ;  the  ends  are  covered  with  a  coarse  parchment,  made  of 
deer  skin,  which  is  laid  on  wet,  then  tied  with  thongs,  and  dried  in  the  sun. 

The  next,  a  sort  of  long  drum  with  eight  braces,  is  called  Doolah.  It  has  one  end 
larger  than  the  other,  which  end  is  beaten  with  a  drumstick,  slightly  convex  on  one 
side  and  concave  on  the  other ;  the  body,  usually  made  of  thin  jackwood,  is  cylin¬ 
drical  ;  the  ends  are  covered  in  the  same  manner  as  the  Oodikeas. 

The  third,  which  is  also  a  cylinder  of  thin  jackwood,  is  the  Berrigoddea.  This 
instrument  has  nine  braces,  and  is  beaten  with  the  hands  ;  it  is  very  convex  in  the 
middle,  where  it’s  circumference  is  double  the  size  of  the  extremities,  towards  which 
it  gradually  slopes  ;  these  are  covered  with  deer-skin  parchment,  in  the  same  manner 
as  the  instruments  already  described. 

Tam-a-tam,  vulgarly,  Tom-tom,  is  the  fourth  :  in  shape  it  resembles  kettle-drums. 
This  instrument  is  also  covered  with  deer-skin  parchment,  and  is  beaten  with  two  sticks, 
having  an  elastic  circle,  of  about  an  inch  in  diameter,  at  one  end. 

The  fifth  and  last  of  the  native  instruments  of  percussion  is  a  sort  of  brass  plate, 
of  the  size  of  a  small  cymbal,  and  called  Taleah.  It  is  suspended  by  a  loop,  which  is 
just  large  enough  to  admit  the  left  thumb,  and  is  beaten  with  a  stick.  This  most  noisy 
instrument  is  used  by  auctioneers,  to  assemble  people,  and  is  a  great  annoyance  to 
the  inhabitants  of  the  neighbourhood  where  auctions  are  held. 



The  only  stringed  instrument  that  I  have  seen  among  the  Singhalese  is  the  Vinak, 
but  it  is  altogether  different  from  the  Hindoo  instrument  of  that  name.  The  Singhalese 
Vinak  is  formed  of  a  neatly  carved  or  polished  coco-nut  shell  (of  which  about  a  third 
part  is  cut  off)  and  covered  with  guana  skin  ( Lacerta  Iguana,  L.)  ;  to  this  is  fixed  a 
solid  handle  of  about  an  inch  in  diameter,  which  is  generally  lackered  with  various 
colors,  and,  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  shell,  a  sort  of  peg  is  fixed,  to  which  two 
strings,  one  of  horse-hair,  and  the  other  of  fine  bow-string  hemp  ( Sensivierra  Zeyla- 
nica ),  are  attached ;  these  strings  are  passed  over  a  wooden  bridge,  upon  the  centre 
of  the  covering,  one  horizontally,  and  the  other  upon  an  inclined  plane,  the  slope 
commencing  from  within  three  inches  of  the  extremity  of  the  handle,  where  it  is  per¬ 
forated  large  enough  to  receive  a  strong  peg  of  nearly  half  its  circumference,  and  of 
about  a  fourth  part  of  its  length,  having  at  the  point  a  notch  for  the  reception  of  the 
strings,  which,  by  turning  the  peg,  are  kept  in  a  state  of  tension,  like  the  strings 
of  a  violin. — This  instrument  is  played  upon  with  a  bow,  convexing  largely  from  about 
two-thirds  of  its  length  from  the  point,  near  which  a  couple  of  small  brass  bells, 
something  similar  to  horse  bells,  are  attached. 

The  only  itinerant  Vinah  player  that  I  recollect,  usually  took  his  post  at  tire  bridge 
leading  to  the  Bazaar  at  Point  de  Galle,  where  the  poor  lepers,  who  usually  congre¬ 
gated  there  for  charity,  appeared  the  most  delighted  of  his  auditors. 

Except  the  trumpet  shell,  (Fusus  Zeylanicus,)  to  which  is  affixed  a  brass  or  ivory 
mouth-piece,  the  only  wind  instrument  of  the  Singhalese  is  the  Horanawa.  This 
native  pipe  is  cylindrical,  and  trumpet-shaped ;  the  middle  is  of  wood,  and  the  rest 
of  brass  ;  the  mouth-piece  is  made  of  two  pieces  of  a  talipat  or  palmyra  leaf,  one 
of  which  is  of  some  length,  and  attached  to  a  peg  near  the  third  hole  from  the 
opposite  end  ;  by  which,  when  necessary,  the  orifice  between  the  parts  composing  the 
mouth-piece  is  extended.  One  side  of  the  instrument  is  pierced  with  seven  holes, 
and  in  tone  it  resembles  the  Irish  bag-pipe. 

Ancient  Portuguese  names  are  so  mixed  with  the  Rice  names  and  patronymics 
of  the  Singhalese,  that  nothing  is  more  common  amongst  the  higher  classes  of  the 
maritime  provinces,  than  for  the  Lusitanian  names  of  Dons  Christian  de  Abrew, 
Salamon  de  Zouza,  Theodoris  Mendis,  Migel  Fernando,  Johan  de  Zilva,  Carolis 
de  Lewera,  Paulus  Pereira,  Adrian  de  Alvis,  Louis  de  Saram,  Louis  Pieris,  Salomon 
Dias,  Cornelis  de  Fonseka,  Louis  de  Sampayo,  and  Simon  de  Melho,  to  be  prefixed 
to  the  Singhalese  surnames  of  Wajesondra,  Rajepakse,  Wijesinke,  Wijesiriwardene, 
Wijenaike,  Jayetilleke,  Illangakoon,  &c.  ;  and  it  is  not  uncommon  for  a  low  caste 
Singhalese  to  be  ambitious  of  the  name  of  European ;  and  as  the  Hindoo- 



Portuguese,  who  have  all  the  privileges  of  Europeans  in  courts  of  justice,  are  as  dark 
in  color  as  the  Singhalese,  and  often  much  darker  than  the  higher  castes  of  the  latter ; 
the  ambitious  aspirant  thinks  it  no  greater  difficulty  to  get  upon  the  first  bar  of  the 
European  ladder,  than  to  prove  that  he  possesses  some  portion  of  Lusitanian  blood  ; 
and  therefore  the  moment  he  can  raise  sufficient  cash  for  a  second-hand  coat  or  jacket, 
or  if  these  are  not  to  be  obtained  at  his  own  price,  a  white  cotton  jacket,  waistcoat, 
trousers,  shirt,  a  hat  (Chape),  and  shoes  (Zapatas),  the  candidate  for  European  honors 
is  complete  in  point  of  dress ;  he  next  wants  a  Portuguese  name,  and  of  course  a 
title.  German  Barons  are  scarcely  less  plentiful  than  Ceylon  Doms  and  Dons,  and 
the  latter  appendage  is  just  as  easily  assumed  as  the  former  title. 

For  the  first  six  weeks,  the  poor  “  European’s”  shoes  inflict  as  severe  a  pedal  pen¬ 
ance  as  was  endured  by  Peter  Pindar’s  pilgrim,  “who  forgot  to  boil  the  peas”;  the 
Chape  is  scarcely  less  troublesome ;  but  having,  with  his  new  dignity,  acquired  the 
Portuguese  complimentary  style  of  doffing  it,  our  European  salutes  every  one  who 
wears  a  hat,  from  the  governor  to  the  nearest  counterpart  of  the  pseudo-European 
himself,  a  tame  ourang-outang.  He  is  now  Don  Abram,  Don  Louis,  Dom  ChristofFel, 
or  Dom  Adrian,  “  et  le  jeu  est  fait" 

Among  other  oppressions  of  the  natives,  the  following  may  be  classed  as  an  abuse 
of  power  that  was  very  commonly  practised  by  former  collectors  of  districts. — When 
native  cattle  feeders  have  objected  to  sell  their  young  calves  to  Europeans,  the  collector 
of  the  district,  upon  being  applied  to,  has  compelled  them  to  do  so,  upon  being  paid 
for  them  ;  to  this  stretch  of  power  the  poor  unprotected  creatures  have  acceded,  but 
with  a  very  bad  grace,  upon  the  ordering  of  the  modeliar  of  the  cutcherry. 

These  tyrannical  times  have  also  passed  away,  never  to  be  recalled  whilst  Ceylon 
belongs  to  the  British  crown  ;  for  the  government  will  no  longer  recognize  such  tyranny 
and  oppression  as  an  official  privilege  of  its  provincial  agents  or  collectors. 


Specimens  of  Singhalese  proverbs — Dutch,  language  but  little  known  among  the  natives — C.  A.  Prins,  Esq. — 
Prevalence  of  the  Hindo-Portuguese  language — Singhalese  generally  acquainted  with  the  properties  of  their  indi¬ 
genous  plants — Madung  Appo,  a  native  botanist  and  doctor — Instance  of  extraordinary  cure  of  blindness — Native 
doctor's  objections  to  name  the  composition  of  the  salts  employed — Obligations  to  him — Major  General  Thomas 
Hardwicke,  Bengal  artillery — Pariar  dog  nuisance — Government  precautions  against  hydrophobia — John  Tran- 
chell,  Esq. — Sudden  entry  of  a  rabid  pariar  dog  during  dinner — The  host's  coolness,  and  assurance  of  curing  his 
guests  if  bitten — Death  of  the  dog  from  the  effect  of  rain — Singhalese  cattle — Swine — Improvements  suggested — 
Rabbits — Poultry — Seir  fish — Shell  fish — Turtle — Establishment  of  farms  and  agricultural  prizes  suggested — 
Singhalese  a  litigious  nation — Pointed  knives  illegal — Caste — A  beautiful  girl  nearly  murdered  for  covering  her 
bosom  with  a  kerchief — Nothing  to  be  dreaded  in  Ceylon  by  protecting  all  as  British  subjects  should  be  protected. 

The  Singhalese  have  several  books  of  proverbs ;  and  an  acquaintance  with  these 
“  wise  sayings  ”  is  considered  to  display  great  knowledge.  A  few  are  here  given,  as 
specimens  of  the  native  phrases,  and  their  meaning. 

“  Do  not  wear  a  Wallah  *  in  your  native  place,  nor  carry  a  large  stick  in  another.” — 
That  is.  Be  not  too  proud  at  home,  nor  display  more  power  than  belongs  to  you 

“Although  a  man  with  large  teeth  dies,  no  one  will  believe  it.” — No  one  will 
believe  a  man,  who  is  known  to  be  rich,  when  he  talks  of  his  poverty. 

“  Scraps  of  chunan  are  found  in  every  one’s  betel  box.” — The  best  of  men 
have  faults. 

“  Buying  a  house  for  five  hundred  dollars,  and  selling  it  at  half-price.” — A  person 
reduced  from  riches  to  comparative  poverty. 

“Although  the  Ambalamaf  be  unroofed,  will  it  shorten  the  journey?” — A  good 
reputation  survives  poverty. 

Another  proverb  of  synonymous  interpretation  is,  “  Although  an  elephant  may 
become  lean,  he  cannot  wash  in  a  barrel.” 

“  The  horn,  which  came  last,  has  more  power  than  the  ear  which  preceded  it.” — 
The  lowest  in  his  own  village  has  become  head  in  another. 

*  Wallah, — A  cloth  worn  by  the  Singhalese,  of  which  one  end  hangs  lower  than  the  other — a  mark  of  ostentation. 

f  Ambalama, — A  rest-house  for  natives  upon  high  roads. 




“  Even  in  Gilimala *  there  are  people  with  white  teeth.” — Amongst  the  best  people, 
some  are  bad. 

“  Even  in  the  salt  Leeways f  people  live  without  salt.” — There  are  affluent  persons 
who  derive  no  enjoyment  from  their  fortunes. 

“  A  foreigner  and  a  parasite  plant  are  synonymous.”—- One  is  as  ruinous  to  the  place 
he  inhabits,  as  the  other  to  the  tree  it  embraces. 

“  Tanks  do  not  fill  with  the  night  dew,  but  with  rain.” — Men  become  rich  by  honescv, 
and  not  by  roguery. 

“  Where  is  the  honor  of  being  born  ,at  Tataganawa,  if  you  cannot  read  and  under¬ 
stand  Bana ?”  —  Totaganawa  is  famous  for  literature  and  learned  men,  and  BanaJ 
signifies  the  history  of  the  god  Buddha. 

“  First  look  at  the  lime,§  and  then  open  the  mouth.” — Bribe  the  judge  well,  and 
success  is  certain,  whether  the  cause  be  right  or  wrong. 

It  is  a  subject  of  general  remark,  that  but  few  of  the  Singhalese,  and  those  of  the 
higher  castes  only,  understand  the  Dutch  language.  A  very  intelligent  Dutch  gentle¬ 
man,  the  late  Carolus  Arnoldus  Prins,  Esq.,  informed  me,  that  his  countrymen  would 
not  employ  any  domestics  that  were  acquainted  with  that  language,  that  they  might 
not  know  the  subjects  of  conversation  at  their  masters’  tables.  The  very  different 
policy  of  their  predecessors,  whilst  in  the  possession  of  the  maritime  provinces,  may 
be  inferred,  from  the  prevalence  of  the  Hindo-Portuguese  language,  and  the  exten¬ 
sion  of  the  Roman  Catholic  religion  throughout  the  whole  track  of  their  original 
conquests  ;  than  which,  no  greater  proof  need  be  adduced  of  the  original  power  of 
the  Lusitanians  of  the  sixteenth  century,  or  of  the  spirit  of  adventure  by  which  they 
distinguished  themselves. 

The  generality  of  Singhalese  have  a  considerable  knowledge  of  their  indigenous 
plants,  and  some  of  their  doctors  are  very  clever  in  medical  botany.  As  oculists,  they 
may  be  said  to  excel ;  and  this  is  the  more  extraordinary,  because  they  know  nothing 
of  the  anatomical  structure  of  the  eye  or  head. 

Madung  Appo,  a  native  doctor  of  Galpiadde,  near  Galle,  from  whose  skill  in  botany 
I  derived  much  useful  information,  gave  it  as  his  opinion,  that  “  Ceylon  produces  such 

*  Gilimala,  a  place  famous  for  the  cultivation  of  the  betel  plant,  or  Bulack,  which  blackens  the  teeth, 
f  Leeway  or  Leawawa,  natural  salt  pans.  f  The  place  where  Bana  is  read,  is  called  Bana  Madewa. 

§  It  was  the  custom  formerly  for  bribes  to  be  inclosed  in  limes,  (the  small  variety  of  the  Citrus  tried icus  or 
lemon,)  which  generally  consisted  of  as  many  gold  star  pagodas,  value  about  eight  shillings  each,  as  it  could  be 
made  to  contain.  To  this  day,  limes  are  offered,  upon  all  occasions  of  ceremony,  by  the  Singhalese. 



an  infinite  variety  of  medicinal  plants,  that  if  a  botanist  were  to  devote  a  long  life  to 
their  investigation,  he  would  still  leave  an  ample  field  for  the  labours  of  very  many  equally 
zealous  successors .” 

This  culler  of  simples  was  extremely  well  acquainted  with  the  nature  and  properties 
of  all  plants  included  in  the  native  Materia  Medica.  As  an  oculist,  he  was  justly 
celebrated  ;  and  one  of  his  cures  wras  regarded  with  admiration  by  many  who  had 
heard  four  English  medical  gentlemen,  including  two  physicians,  previously  declare 
the  case  altogether  incurable  and  hopeless.  In  the  case  alluded  to,  his  proposition  to 
cure  a  little  Portuguese  girl,  about  seven  years  of  age,  after  she  had  been  declared 
incurable  by  four  of  the  European  faculty,  appeared  so  preposterous,  and  indeed 
ridiculous,  that  it  was  only  upon  his  positive  and  repeated  assurances  that  “  he  could 
and  would  cure  her,  if  permitted  to  try  his  own  remedies,  even  were  a  hundred 
European  doctors  of  the  same  opinion  as  those  who  had  already  declared  the  case 
hopeless ;  ”  and  this  too  after  the  child  had  been  for  several  weeks  under  the  care 
of  an  English  surgeon,  that  the  mother  consented  to  allow  him  a  trial  of  his  skill. 

The  proposition,  on  Madung  Appo’s  part,  was,  that  if  the  girl  recovered  her  sight, 
he  was  to  be  paid  thirty  rix  dollars,  or  21.  5s.  sterling ;  but  if  otherwise,  that  he  was 
to  have  nothing  for  his  attendance  and  medicines.  This  preliminary  having  been 
assented  to,  he  began  by  ordering  the  child  a  milk  diet ;  and  during  the  six  weeks 
that  she  was  his  patient,  he  employed  no  other  medicine  than  a  fine  white  powder, 
having  all  the  appearance  of  quinine  ;  this  he  gave  in  doses  at  stated  periods,  and 
occasionally  blew  a  similar  powder,  by  means  of  a  quill  having  a  piece  of  clear  muslin 
at  the  end,  into  the  child’s  eye.  At  the  expiration  of  six  weeks,  to  the  surprise  of 
every  one,  and  to  the  delight  of  many,  who  were  interested  for  this  amiable  little 
creature,  her  vision  was  perfectly  restored.  A  continuation  of  the  same  diet  was  pre¬ 
scribed  for  some  time,  and  then  gradually  changed  ;  and  the  only  particular  care  this 
native  doctor  recommended,  was,  that  light  should  be  excluded  as  much  as  possible 
from  the  room  until  the  child’s  sight  could  bear  it  without  inconvenience. 

I  could  not  obtain  from  him  the  name  of  either  medicine ;  but  to  my  questions, 
why  he  would  not  inform  me,  and  whether  the  same  was  employed  externally  and 
internally,  his  answer  to  the  first,  was,  “  I  dare  not  give  you  the  name,  (as  if  he  was 
under  some  superstitious  fear  or  obligation,)  but  I  will  say  thus  far,  it  is  a  salt  obtained 
from  the  bark  of  various  trees ;  ”  and,  as  to  the  second,  “  The  medicines  were  alto¬ 
gether  different,  but  both  were  vegetable  salts.” 

I  acknowledge  great  obligations  to  Madung  Appo,  for  the  native  names  of  a  variety 
of  plants,  and  for  a  copious  description  of  their  medicinal  properties,  notwithstanding 

o  2 


his  great  and  insuperable  objection  to  make  his  eye  remedy  known.  By  his  aid  I 
obtained  a  great  variety  of  medicinal  plants,  which  I  dried  and  sent  to  my  respected 
friend,  the  late  Major  General  Thomas  Hardwicke,  of  the  Bengal  artillery. 

The  Pettahs,  or,  vulgarly  speaking,  black  towns  and  native  villages,  swarm  with 
pariar  dogs  ;  and  it  is  only  in  such  places  as  are  occupied  by  Mahomedans,  who  detest 
the  whole  canine  genus,  that  these  mangy  curs  are  not  to  be  met  with  \  for  the 
Singhalese  will  not  destroy  any  of  the  progeny  of  these  mongrels,  and  the  government: 
is  necessitated  to  adopt  measures  for  the  general  safety,  during  the  hottest  season  of 
the  year;  viz.  the  months  of  January,  February,  and  March,  when  a  body  of  Malays 
is  employed,  under  the  superintendence  of  police  Peons,*  to  destroy  all  dogs  found 
in  the  streets  that  have  not  collars  by  way  of  passport. 

When  the  immense  and  daily  increasing  numbers  of  these  animals  are  considered, 
one  may  well  wonder  at  the  comparative  paucity  of  cases  of  hydrophobia  that  occur. 
Many  native  doctors  pretend  to  have  certain  cures  in  indigenous  roots  and  vegetables  ; 
but  if  ever  there  was  a  known  remedy  in  the  possession  of  an  European,  it  may  be 
believed,  from  the  following  extraordinary  occurrence,  to  have  belonged  to  the  late 
Mr.  John  Tranchell  of  Belligam. 

On  the  12th  of  June,  1827,  whilst  we  were  at  dinner  with  Mr.  Tranchell  and  his 
family,  a  rabid  pariar  dog,  which  had  been  chased  from  a  neighbouring  village,  through 
the  sacred  grounds  of  the  Moorish  mosque  adjoining  Mr.  Tranchell’s  estate,  ran  into 
the  room.  My  first  impulse  was  to  seize  a  loaded  gun  that  stood  in  a  corner,  and 
present  it  at  the  animal ;  but  my  host  intreated  me  not  to  fire,  “  because  (said  he  very 
coolly,  and  without  rising  from  his  chair  or  altering  a  muscle  of  his  countenance)  if 
the  poor  devil  bites  you,  I  can  cure  you.” 

But  no  one  present  wished  to  be  made  the  subject  of  such  an  experiment ;  and  I 
drove  the  dog  from  under  the  sofa,  where  he  had  taken  refuge,  into  the  compound, 
when  a  sudden  shower  of  rain  saved  me  from  the  expenditure  of  powder  and  shot ; 
for  the  moment  the  animal  felt  its  deadly  influence',  it  was  seized  with  convulsions, 
and  expired  upon  the  spot. 

The  stoical  indifference  of  Mr.  Tranchell  was  not  assumed,  and  arose  from  a 
thorough  confidence  in  his  means  of  cure  ;  but  whether  he  relied  upon  the  same 
nostrum  in  hydrophobia,  with  which  I  had  seen  him  perform  most  extraordinary  cures 
of  snake  bites,  (as  I  have  related  elsewhere  in  these  pages,)  or  not,  it  is  to  be  hoped 
that  the  papers  he  left  behind  him  will  explain.  For  the  latter,  he  employed,  in  addition 

*  Literally,  running  footmen  or  messengers. 



to  Eau  de  Luce,  given  internally,  a  mixture  of  nitric  and  muriatic  acid,  which  was 
labelled  upon  a  bottle  always  at  hand  in  his  dressing  room ;  but  I  am  ignorant  of 
their  relative  proportions. 

The  breed  of  Singhalese  cattle  is  very  inferior ;  the  small  black  bullock  of  the 
country  being  rather  more  than  a  third,  and  occasionally  about  half  the  size  of  an 
English  bullock  ;  the  native  Jaffna  sheep  are  long  legged,  and  may  well  be  called 
goat-sheep,  the  best  name  I  have  for  the  breed ;  the  swine  are  also  long  legged,  and 
allowed  to  feed  where  food  of  any  kind  can  be  picked  up,  it  matters  not  what,  nor 
where,  to  the  native  owners.  Notwithstanding  that  the  Singhalese  are  as  much 
attached  to  hogs’  flesh  as  ever  Otaheitans  were  in  the  time  of  the  celebrated  Captain 
Cook,  (for  they  never  have  a  feast  or  festival  without  a  hog  being  served  at  it,)  yet 
I  never  saw  swine  penned  for  feeding  at  any  native  cottage  or  farm. 

The  doubtful  reputation  of  Bazaar  pork  and  ducks  is  the  same  at  Ceylon  as  it  is 
throughout  India ;  and  whenever  the  one  or  the  other  appears  on  the  dinner  table, 
it  is  absolutely  necessary  for  the  host  to  vouch  for  its  “  education,”  for  otherwise, 
notwithstanding  that  silver  dishes  contained  the  suspicious  food,  neither  would  be 

The  Ceylon  buffalo  (  Bos  bubulus  of  Shaw)  is  a  large  and  valuable  animal  for  agri¬ 
cultural  purposes,  and  the  flesh  is  by  no  means  despisable,  although  rarely,  if  ever, 
seen  at  the  tables  of  Europeans.  The  milk  of  the  cow  buffalo  is  much  richer  than 
that  of  the  common  island  cow,  (a  species  of  Zebu,)  and  the  butter  made  from  it, 
and  clarified,  is  known  by  the  general  name  of  Ghee  throughout  India. 

Ceylon  bullocks  may  be  purchased  for  about  thirty  or  forty  shillings  a  head  ;  cows 
for  less  ;  Jaffna  sheep  at  three,  four,  and  five  shillings  ;  a  sow  and  litter  of  pigs  from 
twelve  to  fifteen  shillings,  and  occasionally  for  less  ;  but  Bengal  sheep  (which,  after 
being  well  fed,  afford  delicious  mutton)  and  kids  vary  in  price,  according  to  the 
demand  for  them — the  latter,  depends  upon  the  caprice  of  the  Moormen  and  Hindoos, 
who  are  the  principal  feeders.  That  these  animals  are  in  the  greatest  abundance, 
one  may  be  fully  convinced,  by  merely  riding  through  the  quarters  of  the  towns  and 
villages  occupied  by  these  people,  for  their  verandahs  teem  with  goats  and  their  kids  : 
these,  when  about  to  be  fattened  for  sale,  are  previously  castrated. 

Cape  sheep  ( Ovis  Steatopyga  of  Shaw)  thrive  remarkably  well ;  but  Bengal  sheep 
require  3  great  deal  more  care,  when  first  landed  in  the  island,  owing  to  their  sudden 
transition  from  cn^  to  green  fodder ;  the  reason  there  is  occasionally  such  great  mor¬ 
tality  among  Ceylon  sheep  on  board  ship,  arises  from  their  being  shipped  without 
previous  preparation  for  the  dry  food  usually  provided  for  sea  stock  ;  for  their  general 



fodder  is  green  jack  leaves  ( Artocarpus  integrifolia,  L.),  grass,  and  other  vegetables  ; 
and  they  are  often  fattened  for  the  table  entirely  upon  the  former,  which  possess  very 
mucilaginous  and  nutritious  properties.  Bengal  sheep  are  usually  fed  on  dholl  {Cytisus 
Cqjan,  L.)  and  paddee,  and  are  consequently  better  for  sea  stock. 

An  importation  of  domestic  animals  of  each  kind  from  England  and  the  Cape  of 
Good  Hope  would  soon  improve  the  native  breed.  The  camel  is  never  to  be  seen 
at  Ceylon,  and  but  very  few  mules  and  asses. 

The  wild  rabbit  is  not  indigenous,  and  tame  rabbits  are  scarce. 

Every  sort  of  poultry  is  extremely  cheap,  except  turkies  ;  for  even  at  Matura,  in 
the  southern  province,  which  is  a  noted  place  for  breeding  them,  these  birds  are  seldom 
purchased  for  less  than  72 s.  to  SO s.  per  dozen  ;  and  a  sovereign  is  not  an  uncommon 
price  for  a  fat  cock  turkey  at  Colombo. 

There  is  occasionally  a  very  great  mortality  amongst  turkies  during  the  rains,  which 
makes  that  species  of  poultry  so  much  dearer  than  any  other.  The  owner  considers 
himself  fortunate,  if  fifty  out  of  a  hundred  arrive  at  maturity  for  sale.  But  all  this 
loss  is  to  be  obviated  by  care  ;  for  turkies  require  an  elevated  and  dry  roosting  place 
to  retire  from  wet,  and  black  pepper  is  indispensable  with  their  food. 

Geese  are  smaller  than  those  of  Europe,  and  remarkable  for  their  brownish  color 
and  black  bills,  having  the  upper  part  surmounted  with  a  black  bony  protuberance 
or  knob  ;  their  usual  prices  are  from  2s.  to  3,?. 

Ducks  are  considered  dear  at  6d.  or  8 d.  each. 

Chickens  may  be  purchased  in  some  places  for  Is.,  at  others  for  Is.  6d.  and  2s.  per 
dozen  ;  and  1 00  eggs  at  the  same  price. 

Reddish  brown  widgeon,  erroneously  called  teal,  are  abundant,  and  easily  domes¬ 
ticated.  The  guinea  fowl,  pea  fowl,  Malay  fowi  ( Gallus  giganteus ),  common  fowi, 
European,  Persian,  and  Indian  pigeons,  and  Brahminy  and  Muscovy  ducks,  complete 
the  list  of  domestic  poultry. 

Ceylon  poultry,  when  fed  by  natives,  invariably  tastes  of  Pootiac,  or  coco-nut  oil  cake, 
which  imparts  an  oily  flavor  to  whatever  is  fed  on  it ;  this,  they  give,  as  being  cheaper 
than  paddee,  which  is  a  favorite  food  of  poultry,  and  of  most  domestic  animals.  But 
even  the  Poonac  wmuld  be  very  different,  if  pressed  whilst  the  nut  is  fresh,  which 
should  be  the  case  when  intended  for  feeding  cattle  or  poultry. 

Too  much  cannot  be  said  in  favor  of  the  fishes  of  Ceylon,  particularly  of  the  Seir 
fish,  called  by  the  Singhalese  Tora-malu,  for  the  female  has  the  same  flavor  as  the 
salmon  (Salmo  Salar)  of  Europe ;  many  varieties  are  elsewhere  noticed  in  these 
pages ;  and  the  Crustacea  include  a  small  but  delicious  crab,  prawns  from  six 


to  eight  inches  in  length,  cray-fish,  oysters,  and  shrimps  ;  all  which  are  excellent 
of  their  kinds. 

As  to  the  Ceylon  Turtle,  great  caution  is  requisite,  because  it  is  not  generally  known 
that  the  Testudo  Imbricata ,  called  by  the  Singhalese  Lili-kas-bewa,  which  produces  the 
transparent  shell,  is  not  only  unwholesome,  but,  at  certain  seasons,  absolutely  poisonous. 
Several  natives  died  from  eating  its  flesh  at  Ahamadewe,  or  Turtle  Cove,  in  the 
Mahagampatto  district,  in  1826.  Their  illness  exhibited  every  symptom  of  Asiatic 

The  edible  turtle  is  the  Testudo  Mydas,  the  Gal-kas-bewa  of  the  Singhalese  ;  and  the 
small  fresh  water  turtle  is  also  wdiolesome  and  nutritious.  The  Singhalese  call  it 
Kiri-ba,  from  Kiri,  milk  ;  because,  when  boiled,  the  flesh  is  milk  white.  This  last 
is  given  by  the  native  doctors  to  cure  the  abdominal  obesity  to  which  children  are 
subject  from  the  effects  of  rice  diet. 

Notwithstanding  the  island  has  been  in  our  possession  for  a  period  of  forty  five 
years,  no  general  and  but  very  little  partial  improvement  has  taken  place  in  the  breed 
of  the  more  useful  animals,  horses  alone  excepted  ! ! 

To  obviate  all  the  apparent  difficulties  to  the  improvement  of  the  breed  of  the 
domestic  animals,  no  plan  appears  to  me  more  feasible,  or  more  likely  to  insure  a  pro¬ 
ductive  result,  than  the  establishment  of  five  large  farms  ;  viz.  one  in  the  best  situa¬ 
tion  for  grazing  lands  in  the  central  province  ;  and  a  farm  at  each  of  the  towns  of 
Colombo,  Galle,  Jaffna,  and  Trincomale  ;  or  in  the  best  locality  near  them  that  can 
be  fixed  upon  for  the  purpose. 

The  object  being  the  general  benefit  of  the  island,  and  of  great  importance  in 
whichever  light  it  may  be  viewed,  will  no  doubt  receive  the  support  of  the  govern¬ 
ment,  in  so  far  as  the  grant  of  lands  belonging  to  the  crown  may  be  required  for  the 
purpose,  at  a  low  rate,  to  such  joint-stock  company  or  individual  capitalists  as  may  be 
most  forward  in  this  national  as  well  as  private  object  of  improvement  and  profit. 

Prizes  for  the  best  specimens  of  the  several  animals  might  be  held  out  by  the 
government,  as  well  as  by  an  agricultural  society, — of  medals  for  Europeans,  but  in 
cash  to  the  natives,  as  the  surest  ad  captandum  modus  that  can  be  held  out  to  the 
Singhalese,  and  the  only  one  that  never  fails. 

The  Singhalese  are  naturally  a  litigious  nation  ;  and  it  is  not  uncommon  for  a 
plaintiff  and  defendant,  each  accompanied  by  a  number  of  suborned  witnesses,  to  walk 
together  from  their  village  to  the  district  court,  perhaps  a  distance  of  fifteen  or  twenty 
miles,  the  former  to  prosecute  a  claim,  and  very  probably  an  unjust  one,  to  the  eighth 
share  of  a  jack  or  coco-nut  tree.  Then  is  the  time  for  hard  swearing!  but  the 



witnesses  are  generally  so  perfect  in  their  lessons,, as  to  baffle  the  cleverest  of  the 
native  proctors  in  their  cross  examinations. 

Some  cases  of  murder  have  displayed  a  ferocity  that  one  would  scarcely  have  sup¬ 
posed  such  an  effeminate  race  to  be  capable  of ;  and  their  proneness,  upon  sudden 
quarrels,  to  resort  to  the  knife,  rendered  it  necessary  for  the  government  to  pass  an 
ordinance,  in  the  year  1816,  by  which  it  was  made  unlawful  to  carry  any  pointed  knife, 
except  that  called  Ulkatoo-peheye,  or  knife  fixed  to  the  same  handle  as  the  iron-pointed 
style  with  which  the  natives  vrrite  upon  strips  of  the  leaves  of  the  talipat  and  palmyra. 

As  regards  the  observance  of  caste,  the  abolition  of  all  degrading  distinctions  as  to 
dress,  during  Lord  Viscount  Goderich’s  last  administration  of  the  colonies,  in  conjunc¬ 
tion  with  the  extension  of  Christianity,  will  hasten  its  abandonment.  A  woman  of  low- 
caste  may  now  cover  her  shoulders  with  a  cloth  or  kerchief,  or  wear  a  waistcloth 
below  the  knees,  which  she  dared  not  have  done  some  twenty  years  ago. 

I  was  once  passing  through  the  Bazaar  at  Barberyn,  in  the  western  province,  wrhen 
an  unusual  mob  had  collected  in  the  street ;  and  I  learned  that  a  woman  of  the  Padua 
caste*  had  been  nearly  killed  by  some  indignant  Wellales  and  Chandoos,  for  “having 
presumed  so  far  to  forget  her  degraded  lot  in  life  as  to  throw  a  kerchief  over  her  neck 
and  shoulders  !!  ”  She  was  a  girl  of  about  sixteen  years  of  age,  and  the  prettiest  native 
that  I  ever  beheld  ;  her  beauty,  however,  seemed  to  excite,  instead  of  allay,  the  brutality 
of  these  sticklers  for  the  strict  observance  of  the  rights  (?)  of  caste. 

The  European  eye  cannot  well  be  accused  of  fastidiousness  in  such  matters  ;  custom 
soon  reconciles  even  our  modest  countrywomen  to  the  all  but  naked  coolies,  whose 
“  fine  sleek  backs,”  were  particularly  noticed  in  the  travels  of  a  fair  authoress.f 

It  is  said  that  nothing  can  be  more  conducive  to  British  interests,  than  to  consult 
the  feelings  and  humour  the  prejudices  of  our  unenlightened  sable  fellow  subjects,  until 
education  (to  which,  if  an  estimate  may  be  formed  by  the  rapid  strides  it  is  now  making 
in  the  island,  under  the  auspices  of  the  government  and  the  zealous  missionaries  of  the 
various  establishments,  every  one,  in  the  course  of  a  few  years,  will  have  free  access) 
shall  have  paved  the  way  for  a  voluntary  relinquishment  of  them. — This  may  be  all 
very  fine,  and  near  the  truth  ;  but  there  is  nothing  to  be  dreaded,  in  Ceylon,  from 
protecting  all,  by  the  strong  arm  of  the  law,  and  preventing  individuals  from  taking 
the  law  into  their  own  hands,  whether  they  be  called  Europeans,  or  high  caste  natives. 

*  One  of  the  subdivisions  of  the  Shudra  Wanse  caste. 

t  Maria  Graham. 


Exaggerated  stories  about  Snakes — Singhalese  catalogs  of  venomous  and  harmless  Snakes — Reported  extra¬ 
ordinary  transformation  of  the  Coluber  Naja,  L. — Corroborated  by  a  Singhalese  in  this  country — -Dia  Naya — 
Ahedoella — Pimbera  or  Python — Buddhists  will  not  kill  the  sacred  snake,  but  have  no  objection  to  send  it  to 
sea,  without  a  chance  of  escape — Cobra  di  Capello  easily  kept  alive — Charles  Peter  Layard,  Esq. — Snake  de¬ 
prived  of  its  eyes  by  mice — Caution  to  be  observed  in  purchasing  snakes — Samp  Wa Uahs — Snake  exhibition — 
Providential  escape — Successful  application  of  Eau  de  Luce,  and  of  nitric  and  muriatic  acid  in  the  cure  of  snake 
bites — John  Tranchell,  Esq. — A  coroner's  reason  for  not  holding  an  inquest — Supposed  cause  of  the  paucity  of 
snakes  in  the  Mahagampattoo —  Viverra  Ichneumon  attacks  the  Cobra  di  Capello —  Various  plants  named  as  an¬ 
tidotes — More  caution  requisite  against  leeches  than  against  snakes — Cobra  di  Capello  in  houses — Superstitious 
notions  respecting  snake  charming. 

If  a  tenth  part  of  the  stories  related  about  the  superabundance  of  snakes  in  the 
island  were  true,  one  might  expect  to  find  them  in  every  house,  in  every  compound, 
or  on  every  lawn,  as  well  as  upon  the  branches  of  every  tree.  Where  jungle  is  being 
cleared,  numerous  snakes  are  found,  as  they  are  in  similar  places  in  almost  every 
intertropical,  and  even  temperate  clime.  Now  and  then,  they  are  met  with  upon 
the  ramparts  and  esplanades  of  forts,  and  occasionally  in  houses  built  upon  ground 
that  may  have  been  recently  cleared  or  near  to  uncultivated  land ;  but  where  one 
snake,  so  found,  is  venomous,  ten  are  harmless ;  and  sportsmen  often  meet  them  in 
jungles,  but  that  is  never  an  obstacle  to  “  following  up  the  game.” 

To  assist  the  ophiologist  to  procure  snakes,  I  subjoin  the  native  names  of  a  few  of 
the  principal  ones,  with  which  the  most  intelligent  in  the  natural  history  of  their 
country  are  acquainted  ;  of  these,  there  are  several  varieties  that  are  not  enumerated, 
and  it  will  be  for  him  to  class  them  agreeably  to  the  authorities  to  which  he  may  have 
the  means  of  referring. 



*  6 

Dia  Naya 


Berawah  Naya 

*  7 



Koboe  Naya 

*  8 



Soeloe  Naya 

*  9 



Deput  Naya 









*  21 

Doenoo  Kareweila 


Pimbera  and  Anaconda 


Mai  Kareweila 




*  23 













Pala  Panoowa 




Dia  Berya 








Ahare  Kocka 




W  al-Garwendiya 



31  Duberriya  is  a  harmless  water  snake. 

Of  the  above  list,  the  Singhalese  aver  that  all  are  venomous  that  I  have  marked 
with  an  asterisk  ;  but  the  position  of  the  teeth  will  soon  convince  the  naturalist  how 
far  their  statement  may  be  depended  on. 

The  Singhalese  positively  assume  that  the  Koboe  Naya  is  the  Naya  ( Cobra  di  Capello- 
Coluber  Naja,  L.)  in  its  last  stage ;  that  every  time  it  has  expended  its  poison,  the 
reptile  loses  a  joint  of  its  tail ;  and  so  on  every  year,  until  its  appearance  and  nature 
become  totally  changed,  by  the  addition  of  wings,  similar  to  the  pectoral  fins  of  the 
flying  fish  (Exoccetus  volitans,  L.),  at  which  time  the  head  and  mouth  resemble  the 
toad’s  !  But  nature  is  altogether  so  extraordinary  in  her  various  transformations,  and  _ 
so  many  productions,  formerly  considered  as  the  mere  fictions  of  the  traveller,  are 
now  known  to  exist,  that,  at  the  present  day,  one  might  be  premature  in  doubting 
even  this  extraordinary  Singhalese  report  on  the  subject  of  the  natural  history  of 
their  country. 

In  October,  1839,  I  made  particular  inquiries  of  an  intelligent  Singhalese  respecting 
the  Koboe  Naya,  when  he  not  only  confirmed  the  foregoing  statement,  but  assured  me 
that  a  very  fine  specimen  of  that  snake,  in  its  last  transformation,  and  preserved  in 
spirits,  is  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  W.  H.  Kellaart,  assistant  apothecary  to  the  forces 
at  Colombo. 

The  Dia  Naya,  according  to  the  Singhalese,  is  amphibious  in  a  peculiar  sense, 
independently  of  the  Linnaean  classification,  living  six  months  in  water,  during  which 
period  it  is  venomous,  and  for  a  similar  length  of  time  on  land,  when  it  is  altogether 

The  Ahedoella,  from  its  rapid  movement  and  power  of  springing,  is  called  a  “  flying 
snake  and  mortiferous  sleep  is  said  to  follow  the  bite  of  the  Nidi  Polonga. 



The  Pimbera,  or  rock  snake,  (Genus  Python,  C.),  is  said  to  be  the  Anaconda  or 
Anacondia  of  ancient  writers. 

It  is  by  no  means  uncommon,  in  crossing  or  in  excursions  upon  Ceylon  rivers,  to 
fall  in  with  bags  (made  of  matting  and  tied  at  the  mouth)  floating  with  the  stream  ;  and 
great  caution  is  necessary  in  opening  them,  for  they  generally  contain  one  or  more 
snakes  of  the  sacred  kind,  ( Naya ,)  that  some  devout  Buddhist  had  dispatched  upon 
a  cruize,  with  a  stock  of  provisions,  consisting  of  boiled  rice,  an  egg  or  two,  and  per¬ 
haps  a  “  Bellerophon’s  letter”  upon  a  talipat  or  palmyra  leaf.  From  these  facts  it  may 
be  collected,  that  if  Buddhists  object  to  kill  the  Naya,  from  religious  motives  or  super¬ 
stitious  veneration,  they  nevertheless  think  it  no  sin  to  send  it  upon  an  aquatic  excur¬ 
sion,  without  a  possibility  of  escape  from  its  place  of  confinement,  and  with  the 
certainty,  if  met  by  Europeans,  that  the  reptiles  will  change  their  temporary  immer¬ 
sion  in  water  for  a  more  permanent  one  in  spirits. 

The  Cobra  di  Capello  may  be  kept  alive  for  years  upon  eggs  and  frogs.  A  remark¬ 
able  instance  of  instinct  in  mice,  as  connected  with  this  snake,  fell  under  rpy  own 
observation  on  the  voyage  homewards  from  Ceylon.  One  of  the  passengers  (Charles 
Peter  Layard,  Esq.)  had  a  very  fine  living  specimen  in  a  case  adapted  for  the  purpose, 
of  which  a  portion  was  glazed.  At  the  usual  time  for  giving  it  food,  which  was  about 
once  a  week,  two  small  mice  were  put  into  the  case  ;  and  upon  looking  at  the  snake 
the  next  day,  we  found  both  the  mice  alive  and  uninjured,  but  the  reptile  deprived 
of  both  its  eyes,  and  in  a  few  days  it  died.  Instinct  therefore  must  have  pointed  out 
that  the  only  means  of  preserving  their  own  lives  from  the  destroyer,  was  by  depriving 
it  of  sight,  which  no  doubt  the  little  animals  effected  by  eating  its  eyes. 

Europeans  cannot  be  too  cautious  in  purchasing  Cobras  di  Capello  from  itinerant 
snake  charmers,  for  no  reliance  can  be  put  upon  their  assurances  that  the  reptiles  are 
harmless.  I  can  vouch  from  experience,  that  nothing  but  the  fullest  proof,  upon 
inspection,  that  the  fangs  and  poison  ducts  have  been  extracted,  ought  to  satisfy  the 
intending  purchaser ;  and,  for  want  of  such  precaution  on  my  part,  in  buying  a  Cobra 
di  Capello,  it  might,  but  for  a  most  providential  circumstance,  have  been  attended 
with  fatal  consequences. 

A  Dutch  gentleman  who  very  obligingly  assisted  me  in  collecting  natural  specimens, 
sent  a  Bengal  samp  wallah  or  snake  charmer  to  me.  This  man  brought  with  him 
several  Cobras  for  sale,  and  proceeded  to  exhibit  them.  A  cooley,  who  accompanied 
him  carried  two  circular  baskets  at  the  ends  of  a  pingo,  which  he  placed  upon  the 
ground,  and  commenced  playing  the  Horanaum,  or  country  pipe,  whilst  the  charmer 
beat  with  his  right  hand  upon  a  small  Oodikea  that  he  held  in  his  left.  In  about  a 

p  2 



minute  or  two  the  covers  of  the  baskets  were  gradually  raised,  and  as  the  snakes  left 
the  baskets,  the  music  (if  such  a  most  anti-melodious  din  may  be  called}  increased  in 
quickness ;  the  snakes  moved  about  the  circular  space  allotted  to  them  with  part  of 
their  bodies  erect,  and  the  rest  of  their  lengths  coiled,  but  their  hoods,  upon  which 
the  “  painted  spectacles  ”  showed  to  great  advantage,  were  expanded,  and  their  forked 
tongues  in  the  continual  motion  of  projecting  and  retracting. 

The  snakes  were  irritated  to  strike  at  the  charmer’s  arms  and  knees,  and  blood 
flowed ;  after  which  he  took  the  reptiles  by  the  neck  and  held  their  mouths  close  to 
his  forehead,  which  however  was  mere  display,  because  in  that  position  they  were 
perfectly  harmless  ;  he  then  declared  them  to  be  perfectly  innocuous,  or  what  he 
called  kutcha. 

Under  this  impression,  I  bought  one  of  the  snakes,  and  in  the  full  belief  that  it 
had  been  deprived  of  all  power  to  do  mischief,  I  occasionally  placed  it  upon  the 
table,  and  as  the  animal  moved  about,  displaying  its  hood,  my  wife  would  pass  and 
repass  her  hand  under  its  mouth,  without  the  slightest  dread  or  idea  of  danger. 

Some  months  had  elapsed,  after  the  purchase  of  the  snake,  when  some  French 
officers  paid  me  a  visit,  and  upon  their  evincing  great  dread  of  the  animal,  I,  in  order 
to  convince  them  it  was  groundless,  grasped  the  animal  by  the  back  of  the  head, 
as  it  lay  upon  the  table,  without  any  other  precaution  than  that  of  covering  my  hand 
with  a  handkerchief;  and  having  employed  a  pair  of  nail  scissors  to  open  the  mouth, 
I  discovered  to  my  horror,  which  may  be  imagined,  but  cannot  be  described,  the  fangs 
perfect,  and  the  animal  in  full  possession  of  its  deadly  power.  The  snake  had  coiled 
itself  so  tightly  round  my  left  arm  and  neck,  that,  feeling  a  numbness  coming  on, 
and  being  certain  that  I  could  not  much  longer  retain  my  hold,  I,  upon  the  spur  of 
the  moment,  again  forced  open  the  animal’s  mouth,  and  extracted  the  fangs  and 
poison  ducts  from  its  jaw,  which  having  done,  I  flung  the  snake  into  the  air  with  all 
my  force,  and  afterwards  replaced  it  in  the  basket  where  it  had  been  kept :  there  it 
lived  for  several  months,  and  appeared  to  suffer  no  ill  effects  from  the  forcible  removal 
of  its  fangs.  Feeling  certain  that  the  charmer  had  shown  one  snake  and  sold  another, 
I  caused  every  search  to  be  made  for  the  impostor,  but  he  had  long  previously  left 
the  island. 

Eau  de  Luce  has  been  successfully  employed  in  the  cure  of  the  bite  of  the  Cobra 
di  Capello,  in  various  stages  of  the  patients’  sufferings,  which  place  the  efficacy  of  that 
remedy  beyond  all  doubt,  when  properly  administered  at  an  early  period  after  the 
bite.* — The  late  Mr.  John  Tranchell  of  Belligam  cured  two  Singhalese,  natives  of  that 

*  Asiatic  Researches,  vol.  iv. 


1 17 

Hamlet,  after  having  been  some  time  in  strong  convulsions,  (one  of  them  a  woman, 
whose  speech  had  entirely  left  her,  and  who  foamed  at  the  mouth  in  a  dreadful 
manner,)  by  dropping  and  rubbing  into  the  punctures  made  by  the  snakes’  fangs  a 
mixture  of  nitric  and  muriatic  acid,  and  giving  them  each  fifty  drops  of  Eau  de  Luce 
in  a  little  water.  They  recovered  in  a  few  hours  ;  but  as  the  snakes  were  not  caught 
or  killed,  and  were  only  seen  by  the  parties,  who  declared  the  animals  to  be  Nayas, 
Mr.  Tranchell  did  not  feel  that  he  could  so  positively  vouch  for  the  truth  of  their 
report,  as  to  make  the  circumstances  the  subject  of  a  communication  to  the  Literary 
Society  of  Colombo,  as  he  had  at  first  intended ;  but  that  he  did  not  do  so,  arose  from 
no  doubt  in  his  own  mind,  or  that  the  preparation  he  had  employed,  conjointly  with 
Eau  de  Luce,  would  ever  be  an  inefficacious  remedy. 

Upon  another  occasion  I  accompanied  Mr.  Tranchell  to  a  village  about  two  miles 
from  Belligam,  upon  receiving  a  report  that  a  woman  had  been  bitten  by  a  Polonga. 
That  gentleman,  arming  himself  with  his  nostrum,  lost  no  time  in  going  the  nearest 
way  to  the  poor  woman’s  residence  ;  but  we  arrived  too  late,  for  she  had  died  in  less 
than  half  an  hour  from  the  time  she  was  bitten,  and  her  corpse  was  then  lying  upon 
a  couch  under  a  lactera  tree  in  the  compound,  and  the  snake,  which  her  husband 
had  killed,  lying  by  its  side.  The  face  was  so  very  much  disfigured  as  to  have  lost 
the  appearance  of  any  thing  human  ;  the  mouth  was  covered  with  saliva,  and  the 
right  hand  and  arm,  which  had  been  bitten,  were  swollen  to  a  monstrous  size. 

The  answer  of  Mr.  Porlier,  the  Belligam  magistrate,  and  coroner  ex-officio,  to  a 
question  put  to  him  on  the  following  day,  as  to  the  verdict  of  the  coroner’s  jury, 
shows  the  apathy  with  which  such  a  death  was  regarded.  “  It  was  unnecessary, 
(said  he,)  to  hold  an  inquest,  because  it  was  evident  enough  the  snake  had  killed 
the  woman  ! !  ” 

I  attribute  the  paucity  of  snakes  in  the  Mahagampattoo,  for  I  had  more  difficulty 
in  procuring  them  in  that  district  than  in  any  other  part  of  Ceylon,  to  the  immense 
number  of  peafowl  with  which  the  plains  and  trees  abound,  whose  partiality  to  snakes 
as  food  renders  them  the  chief  destroyers  of  these  noxious  reptiles. 

The  Viverra  Ichneumon  is  the  deadly  foe  of  all  venomous  snakes.  To  this  little 
animal,  called  by  us  Mongoose,  and  by  the  Singhalese  Goodoowa,  is  attributed  the 
power  of  distinguishing  venomous  from  harmless  snakes  by  the  pupil  of  the  eye. 
It  resembles  the  common  ferret  in  shape  and  size,  and  when  young  its  fur  is  of  a 
pencil  grey,  which  changes  by  age  to  an  iron  grey,  tinged  at  the  extremities  with 
brown.  By  way  of  experiment  I  placed  a  tame  Mongoose,  which  was  accustomed 
to  run  about  the  house,  in  a  room  where  I  kept  a  very  fine  specimen  of  the  Cobra 



di  Capello.  Having  closed  the  doors,  I  removed  the  cover  from  the  basket  in  which 
the  snake  was  kept,  which,  upon  seeing  the  Mongoose,  expanded  its  hood,  and  rapidly 
darting  forth  and  as  rapidly  retracting  its  forked  tongue,  displayed  the  greatest  excite¬ 
ment  ;  but  the  Mongoose,  so  far  from  showing  a  disposition  to  attack  the  snake, 
exhibited  a  great  sense  of  fear,  for  it  ran  about  the  room,  poking  its  nose  under  the 
doors,  as  if  eager  to  escape. 

Having  closed  the  basket,  I  removed  the  snake  to  the  compound,  where  many 
visitors  and  lookers-on  were  soon  assembled  ;  and  having  formed  a  circle  at  a  reason¬ 
able  distance,  so  as  to  prevent  the  escape  of  the  snake,  (for  which  purpose  some  had 
cloths  to  drop  over  it,  and  others  kettule*  fishing  rods  with  snares  at  the  ends,)  the 
Mongoose  was  introduced,  but  escaped  through  the  circle  and  retreated  to  the  hedge 
that  divided  the  compound  from  the  cinnamon  gardens,  which  was  covered  with  wild 
plants.  As  every  one  expected,  from  an  acquaintance  with  its  habits,  it  returned 
in  about  five  minutes  and  re-entered  the  arena.  It  showed  no  fear  then,  but  made 
several  detours,  each  time  reducing  the  circle  and  nearing  the  snake,  which  also  was 
upon  the  qui  vive,  watching  every  motion  of  the  enemy.  The  Mongoose  suddenly 
crouched  with  its  nose  close  to  the  ground,  and  having  waited  its  opportunity,  sprung 
forward  within  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  and  fastened  its  teeth  in  the  back  of  the 
Cobra’s  neck.  The  snake  twisted  itself  in  every  direction,  vainly  endeavouring  to 
envelope  the  Mongoose  in  its  folds,  and  lashing  its  tail  against  the  ground,  but  all  to 
no  purpose ;  the  little  animal  maintained  its  hold  until  the  snake  became  completely 
exhausted,  when  giving  it  a  farewell  shake,  it  relinquished  the  Cobra,  but  only  as  life 
departed.  This  occupied  nearly  an  hour  ;  the  Mongoose  was  neither  bitten  nor  in  any 
way  injured  ;  but,  upon  quitting  the  snake,  it  again  repaired  to  the  hedge,  whither  it 
was  followed  by  the  most  inquisitive  of  the  party,  who  were  anxious  to  discover  the  plant 
that  it  resorted  to,  but  it  is  even  now  difficult  to  name  the  correct  one.  Some  aver 
that  it  is  the  JMendi  of  the  Singhalese,  (■ Ophiorhiza  Mungos,  L.),  because  almost  every 
part  of  the  tree  is  employed  by  the  native  doctors  in  curing  snake  bites  ;  others  that 
it  is  a  variety  of  Mimosa  sensitiva ;  others,  that  the  plant  is  the  Ophioxylon  serpeu- 
tinum,  L.,  which  is  everywhere  abundant.  Both  these  plants,  which  are  of  the  same 
Linnaean  classification,  namely,  Class  V.  Pentandria,  Order  I.  Monogynia,  are  of  the 
Eka-wariya  family  of  the  Singhalese  botanists,  but  the  stem  of  the  former  is  herbace¬ 
ous,  and  of  the  latter  ligneous.  One  of  the  most  positive  upon  this  point,  Madung 
Appo,  a  native  doctor  at  Galpiadde,  assured  me  that  he  had  watched  the  Mongoose 

*  Smaller  branches  of  the  Caryota  urens,  L. 



after  having  been  bitten  by  a  Cobra  di  Capello,  and  that  the  animal  ran  immediately 
into  a  hedge,  where  there  was  no  other  plant  but  the  ayapana,  ( Eupatorium  Aya¬ 
pana),  of  which  it  ate  both  root  and  leaf ;  and  moreover  that  he  had  cured  a  native, 
when  bitten  by  a  Cobra  di  Capello,  by  giving  him  tea  made  of  the  aromatic  leaves, 
then  suspending  the  wounded  leg  over  a  pan  of  boiling  hot  water,  in  which  a  quantity 
of  ayapana  leaves  was  infused,  and  keeping  it  in  the  steam  until  every  bad  symptom 
had  disappeared,  when  he  perfected  the  cure  by  giving  his  patient  half  a  coco-nut-shell 
full  of  old  Madeira  wine.  The  leaves  are  lanceolate,  of  a  very  dark  green  in  the 
centre,  gradually  becoming  lighter  towards  the  edges,  and  have  a  very  conspicuous 
gloss  upon  the  upper  surface. 

The  snake  charmers  or  Samp  Wallahs  are  Hindoos ;  and  it  is  well  known  that  they 
irritate  the  Cobra  to  bite  at  red  rags,  by  which  means  it  expends  it’s  venom ;  but 
the  reptile  can  only  be  temporarily  innocuous,  for  so  long  as  the  cylindrical  fangs  and 
poison  ducts  remain  perfect,  its  power  to  inflict  mischief  will  be  restored  by  a  re¬ 
accumulation  of  the  venom. 

The  botanist,  or  the  collector  of  natural  specimens,  not  only  in  the  interior,  but  in 
every  uncultivated  place  where  there  is  long  grass,  has  more  occasion  to  guard  against 
the  small  but  most  troublesome  leech  of  Ceylon  ( Hirudo  Zeylanica)  than  against 
snakes ;  and  if  he  can  bring  his  mind  to  think  no  more  about  the  latter  there  than 
he  would  at  home,  he  would  probably  meet  with  as  few  snakes,  except  it  be  in  the  jungles 
of  the  island,  as  in  the  country  in  England  in  the  hot  months  of  summer. 

During  many  years’  residence  in  Ceylon,  and  in  all  the  variety  of  my  rambles  both 
in  the  interior  and  maritime  provinces,  although  I  have  repeatedly  seen  Cobras  di 
Capello  in  hedges,  I  never  but  once  fell  in  with  any  venomous  snake  directly  in  my 
pathway,  so  as  to  endanger  myself;  but  I  have  upon  two  occasions  fallen  in  with 
Cobras  di  Capello  in  houses ;  the  first  of  which  was  on  the  night  I  landed  at  Trinco- 
male,  in  my  bed-room  at  Mr.  James’s  (the  hotel  keeper)  Bungalow,  which  had  been 
for  some  time  previously  unoccupied  ;  and  the  last,  at  the  rest-house  at  Mahagam, 
which  is  seated  in  the  midst  of  jungle ;  where,  finding  the  mosquitos  extremely  trouble¬ 
some,  my  palankin  was  brought  into  the  room  for  the  purpose  of  sleeping  in  it,  but 
upon  opening  the  door,  in  order  to  put  in  my  pillows,  I  found  I  had  been  anticipated 
by  a  very  fine  high-caste  Nay  a,  which  was  coiled  upon  the  mat,  and  showed  no  dispo¬ 
sition  to  relinquish  his  berth  ;  but  with  the  ramrod  of  my  gun,  and  a  packthread 
noose  at  the  end  of  it,  I  was  soon  enabled  to  secure  the  animal  without  injuring  it, 
and  to  present  it  to  a  friend  who  considered  it  an  acquisition  to  his  ophiological 



It  is  no  less  extraordinary  than  true,  that  many,  whom,  one  would  suppose,  from  their 
education  and  position  in  society,  to  be  free  from  superstitious  notions,  will  positively 
suppprt  the  vulgar  opinion  of  snake  charming,  and  cite  scripture  and  the  ancients 
as  their  authority ;  but  why  this  power  should  have  survived  the  age  of  miracles,  or 
why,  because  Virgil  wrote,  “  Frigidus  in  pratis  cantando  rumpitur  anguis,”  and  Ovid, 
“  Vipereas  rumpo  verbis  et  carmine  fauces,”  it  should  be  believed  in  the  nineteenth 
century,  I  have  yet  to  learn.  It  is  probable  that  the  samp  wallahs,  as  a  precaution, 
saturate  their  hands  and  faces  with  a  vegetable  juice  to  which  the  snakes  have  a 
known  repugnance,  (for  even  the  rattle-snake  dreads  the  wild  pennyroyal,  and  dies 
from  its  application)  perhaps  of  the  very  plant  resorted  to  by  the  Mongoose. 


Indigenous  vegetable  productions— Valuable  in  themselves,  but  their  culture  altogether  neglected,  although  capa¬ 
ble  of  great  improvement,  and  of  increasing  the  public  revenue — The  French  manage  these  things  better  in  their 
colonies — Forest  timber  trees — Singhalese  list  of  ninety  varieties — Bombyx  pentandrum — Asclepias  gigantea — 
Annatto — Plants  producing  substitutes  for  flax — Mom.  Plassiard — Specimens  of  cord  from  the  Musa  sylvestris — 
Ilts  Grace  the  Duke  of  Portland — Crotularia  juncea — Bowstring  hemp — Naval  contractors  prefer  Laccadive  to 
Ceylon  Koir — Suggestions  for  its  improvement — White,  and  Digitated  mulberry  trees — Their  cultivation — Silk 
worm — Cassada  or  Manioc — Carina  glauca — Arrow  root — Turmeric — Ginger — Sun-flower ,  its  valuable  proper¬ 
ties — Elastic  gum  trees — True  gum  Arabic  tree  indigenous — Euphorbium  antiquoi  um — Gum  Euphorbium  unnoticed 
in  the  Ceylon  tariff  of  exports. 

Having  taken  leave  of  the  snakes  of  Ceylon,  but  with  some  regret  on  my  part  that 
I  had  not  the  good  fortune  to  fall  in  with  any  of  the  flying  ones  that  others  have  seen, 
and  that  those  I  fell  in  with,  lay  under  the  original  curse,*  I  will  beg  leave  to  continue 
my  account  of  some  of  the  more  useful  and  beautiful  of  the  indigenous  productions ; 
namely,  those  of  the  vegetable  kingdom,  in  succession  to  the  palms,  already  described. 

These,  I  lament  to  say,  however  valuable  in  themselves,  and,  as  articles  of  com¬ 
merce,  capable  of  increasing  the  revenue,  either  of  the  colony,  by  duties  levied  upon 
their  exportation,  or,  if  exported  duty  free,  that  of  the  mother  country,  by  duties 
upon  their  importation  here,  and  of  rendering  us  independent  of  foreign  colonies,  or 
countries,  have  been  too  long  neglected,  by  those  who  are,  one  would  reasonably 
suppose,  the  most  interested  in  becoming  acquainted  with  the  indigenous  resources 
of  the  island,  and  expect  to  be  foremost  in  developing  and  turning  to  the  advantage 
of  their  country. 

That  “  the  French  manage  these  matters  much  better,”  is  a  truism  as  indisputable 
as  it  is  discreditable  to  English  colonists. 

The  island  abounds  with  teak,  nadoon,  satin-wood,  black  and  variegated  ebony 
timber,  commonly  called  calamander,f  red-wood,  satin-wood,  and  innumerable  other 
trees,  for  which  I  have  no  other  than  a  Singhalese  list  of  Kandyan  Wal-Gahas 
amongst  which  number  will  be  found  a  variety  of  all  sizes  and  qualities,  adapted  to  every 

*  Genesis,  chap.  iii.  ver.  13.  f  Kalu-mindrie,  from  Kalu,  black,  and  mindrie,  flaming. 

1  Wal-Gahas, — Forest  trees. 



purpose  to  which  the  ship  and  house  builder,  the  cabinet  and  musical  instrument 
maker,  the  wheelwright,  and  the  gunmaker,  could  possibly  apply  them. 

There  is  abundance  of  a  sort  of  zebra-wood,  called  Kombook ;  but  I  never  heard 
of  rose-wood  or  mahogany  growing  in  Ceylon,  although  I  inquired  particularly  about 
both  trees,  for  the  information  of  one  of  (the  principal  importers  of  foreign  timber  in 
the  city  of  London,  who  had  been  informed  to  the  contrary. 

Some  specimens  of  jack  and  bread-fruit-tree  wood,  when  very  old,  equal  the  finest 
Honduras  mahogany,  but  these  are  of  a  very  different  class  and  order  to  the  latter  ; 
the  former  being  of  the  class  Moncecia  and  order  Monandria,  and  the  latter  of  the 
class  Decandria  and  order  Monogynia. 

Native  List  of  Kandyan  Forest  Trees,  or  Wal-Gahas. 

1 .  Kotala  gaha 

2.  Wal-kiri  gaha 

3.  Wal-duru  gaha 

4.  Ketiya  gaha 

5.  Gokara  gaha 

6.  Bol-pana  gaha 

7.  Maralhan  gaha 

8.  Rilla  gaha 

9.  Heen-weli-damba  gaha 

10.  Goda-ran-mala  gaha 

11.  Diya-kolla  gaha 

12.  Ran  dawoola  gaha 

13.  Diya-mee  gaha 

14.  Ran  damba  gaha 

15.  Rikilla  gaha 

16.  Kikivi-messa  gaha 

17.  Diya-mee-gaha 

18.  Sulu-galu-kalu  gaha 

19.  Maha-mora  gaha 

20.  Rat  kihiriya  gaha 

21.  Kalu  kihiriya  gaha 

22.  Ela-kihiriya  gaha 

23.  Tela-kihiriya  gaha 

24.  Tel-kekune  gaha 

25.  Diye-rat-mal  gaha 

26.  Kayapu  gaha 

27.  Maha  gaha 

28.  Lunu-bee  gaha 

29.  Mas-bedde  gaha 

30.  Onital  gaha 

31.  Runu-mella  gaha 

32.  Bo-me  gaha 

33.  Riri-rong  gaha 

34.  Ralu-rela  gaha 

35.  Maha-dia-dal  gaha 

36.  Wal  gaha 

37.  Okuru  gaha 

38.  Kara  gaha 

39.  Gona-pana  gaha 

40.  Bu-terana  gaha 

41.  Wal-leeta  gaha 

42.  Rattan-beriya  gaha 

43.  Katu-reene  gaha 

44.  Wan  gaha 

45.  Damunu-andara  gaha 

46.  Wal-kaju  gaha 

47.  Yon-tumbe  gaha 

48.  At-pila  gaha 

49.  Gorandia  gaha 

50.  Ratane  gaha 

51.  Mas-badda  gaha 

52.  Ek  mee  gaha 

53.  Kurutiaya  gaha 

54.  Pat-beriya  gaha 

55.  Bara  gaha 

56.  Geta-kula  gaha 

57.  Gojaru-ruritiya  gaha 

58.  Pada  rurutiya  gaha 

59.  Wal-kiri-kon  gaha 

60.  Kalu-mella  gaha 

61.  Malu  gaha 

62.  Wal-wareka  gaha 

63.  Reliya  gaha 

64.  Bol-wila  gaha 

65.  Ura  tana  gaha 

66.  Liniya  gaha 

67.  Goda  kirilla  gaha 

68.  Dada  kirila  gaha 

69.  Meti  bembrya  gaha 



70.  Geta  wilamba  gaha 

71.  Weli-ana  gaha 

72.  Gal-kune  gaha 

73.  Uruta  gaha 

74.  Geta-rulu  gaha 

75.  Armatilla  gaha 

76.  Hela  gaha 

77.  Ros-ata-pala  gaha 

78.  Sulu  kiri  messa  gaha 

79.  Tun-hiriya-messa  gaha 

80.  Dambu  gaha 

81.  Ma-tambala  gaha 

82.  Rat-timbiri  gaha 

83.  Hoe-kolon  gaha 

84.  Kalu  timbiliya  gaha 

85.  Un-sulu  gaha 

86.  Geta-pota  gaha 

87.  Rok-kandi  gaha 

88.  Ralu  ronda  gaha 

89.  Wane  sapoo  gaha 

90.  Rarelu  gaha 

It  is  by  no  means  improbable,  from  what  is  generally  known  of  the  foreign 
timber  imported  into  Great  Britain,  that  scarcely  one  of  the  ninety  Kandyan  forest 
trees,  here  enumerated,  has  ever  been  seen  in  the  London  market ;  and  as  it  is 
but  natural  to  suppose,  that  these  various  woods  partake  of  the  colors  that  many  of 
their  local  names  imply,  such  as  red,  black,  yellow,  stone,  and  white  ;  and  also  of 
the  intermediate  shades,  for  the  Singhalese  have  no  definition  except  of  the  primitive 
colors,  the  variety  is  very  great. 

After  the  forest  timber  trees,  it  may  be  as  well  to  describe  those,  whose  produce, 
if  properly  applied,  would  prove  a  new  source  of  revenue,  and  show  that  the  vegetable 
capabilities  of  this  incomparable  island  are  deserving  of  the  earnest  attention  of  the 
capitalist,  the  merchant,  and  the  manufacturer,  instead  of  that  extraordinary  neglect 
to  which  the  rage  for  coffee  and  sugar  planting  has  hitherto  consigned  them. 

Some  authors  have  described  trees  as  producing  fit  materials  for  manufacturing 
purposes  ;  which,  upon  fair  trial,  have  been  pronounced  the  reverse  :  but  still  they 
have  their  uses. 

The  silky  cotton  tree  ( Bombyx  pentandrum,  L.)  is  quite  common  throughout  the 
maritime  provinces,  and  in  the  lower  parts  of  the  central  province ;  but  its  produce, 
which  is  something  similar  to  that  of  the  gigantic  swallow-wort  ( Asclepias  gigantea,  L.), 
is  only  fit  for  the  stuffing  of  pillows  and  mattresses,  notwithstanding  the  very  different 
notions  that  have  obtained  with  many  individuals,  who  have  superficially  observed  the 
silky  cotton  as  it  appears  upon  the  tree,  that  it  might  be  turned  to  good  account  by 
our  manufacturers  ;  but  if  they  had  given  the  slightest  consideration  to  the  neglected 
state  of  culture  of  the  true  cotton  in  Ceylon,  they  would  have  thought  otherwise  of 
the  value  of  an  article,  whose  shortness  of  staple,  and  want  of  elasticity  of  fibre,  render 
it  unfit  to  be  employed  even  as  a  substitute  for  beaver.  For  this  purpose  it  was  tried 
by  the  Dutch  ;  who  also  sent  a  quantity  of  the  raw  material  to  China,  in  the  very 
reasonable  expectation  that  if  “  the  most  ingenious  nation  in  the  world  could  not 
convert  it  into  cloth  of  some  kind  or  other,,  it  was  not  to  be  effected but  it  proved 

Q  2 



a  fruitless  speculation.  The  best  use  that  can  be  made  of  the  timber,  is  for  insect 
boxes  ;  the  tenacity  of  the  wood  preventing  the  pins  from  dropping  out,  and  thereby 
preserving  insects  from  injury  through  loco-motion. 

The  much  neglected  annatto  (BLva  orellana,  L.),  class  Polyandria,  order  Monogvnia, 
is  another  valuable  dye,  which  is  unknown  in  the  tariff  of  Ceylon  exports,  notwith¬ 
standing  the  great  facility  with  which  its  cultivation  there  would  supersede  the  necessity 
of  our  dependence  upon  South  America  for  an  article  that  could  be  produced  in  any 
quantity,  and  of  the  best  color  and  quality,  in  our  own  colony.  This  valuable  shrub 
thrives  best  in  a  sandy  soil,  and  stands  the  sea-breeze  well ;  and  it  has  often  surprized 
me,  that  this  luxuriant  and  ornamental  production  should  be  so  generally  neglected  as 
it  is  ;  for  it  is  of  rapid  growth,  requires  but  little  care,  and,  from  the  density  of  its 
cordiform  foliage,  which  must  not  be  judged  by  the  specimens  of  the  plant  in  our 
hot-houses  and  conservatories,  is  impervious  to  the  rays  of  a  vertical  sun. 

The  seeds  contain  the  coloring  matter,  and  are  enclosed  in  a  capillary  almond- 
shaped  capsule,  which,  in  an  unripe  state,  is  pink,  but  changes  to  brown  as  it  ripens ; 
and,  at  maturity,  divides  and  exposes  to  view  its  bright  Vermillion  seeds. 

The  present  duty  on  foreign  annatto  is  sufficient  encouragement  to  cultivate  an  indi¬ 
genous  production,  whose  various  uses,  in  medicine,  varnishes,  for  dying  silks  and 
wools,  and  coloring  cheese,  entitles  it  to  more  attention,  on  the  part  of  our  colonists, 
than  it  has  hitherto  had.  The  elastic  bark  of  the  BLva  orellana  is  used  by  the  natives 
for  making  strong  ropes  and  elephant  nooses. 

As  a  substitute  for  flax,  and  for  all  the  purposes  of  grass-cloth  manufacture,  in  which 
the  Chinese  almost  equal  the  cambric  of  the  best  French  looms,  the  fibre  of  the  wild 
pine  or  silk  grass  ( Bromelia  Karatas,  L.),  of  every  variety  of  Musa,  including  the 
seed-bearing  or  wild  plantain  ( M ’.  sylvestris ),  and  of  the  leaves  of  the  aloe  ( Aloe  perfo- 
liata,  L.),  and  Mellori  ( Pandanus  odoratissimus,  L.),  is  well  adapted. 

My  attention  was  first  drawn  to  the  Musa  genus,  for  the  manufacture  of  cordage 
and  cloth,  by  seeing  some  excellent  specimens  of  both  in  the  possession  of  Vice  Admiral 
Stirling,  the  commander-in-chief,  whilst  I  was  upon  the  Jamaica  station,  in  the  year 
1813  ;  and,  in  1822,  I  sent  a  specimen  of  plantain  fibre  to  France,  by  Mons.  Plassiard, 
the  commander  of  the  French  ship  Le  Henri ;  together  with  about  half  a  pound  weight 
of  the  dried  fibre  of  the  Bromelia  Karatas,  and  Pandanus  odoratissimus,  in  order  to 
see  if  French  ingenuity  could  not  effect  something  equal  to  Chinese  manufacture  ;  and 
with  the  hope  of  surprising  those  of  my  countrymen  and  contemporaries,  who  treated 
with  levity  any  novel  suggestion  for  adding  to  the  common  catalogue  of  colonial  pro¬ 
duce.  The  result  remains  writh  Mons.  Plassiard,  who  did  not  return  to  Ceylon,  as  he 

A  Kandyan  Defsave  in  his  Muncheel, 

.  Engraven?  by  IV.  C.  Edwards. 

from  a  Singhalese  drawing. 



had  intended,  and  of  whose  address  I  am,  at  this  moment,  ignorant.  I  have  since 
submitted  to  His  Grace  the  Duke  of  Portland,  some  specimens  of  the  fibre  of  the 
Musa  sylvestris ,  and  also  of  white  and  strong  cord  manufactured  from  it. 

The  Singhalese  fishermen  make  their  finest  nets  of  the  Hane  plant  (Crotalaria 
juncea ,  L.),  which  grows  upwards  of  five  feet  in  height,  and  is  more  cultivated  in  the 
western  province  than  in  any  other.  They  also  make  nets  of  Koir  cord,  and  of  the 
Sensiviera  Zeylanica  of  Thunberg. 

If  it  be  considered,  that  in  one  year,  during  the  last  war.  Great  Britain  imported 
37,000  tons  of  hemp,  it  will  occasion  much  surprise,  that  the  apathy  of  the  govern¬ 
ment,  and  the  supineness  of  individuals,  in  regard  to  its  cultivation  in  Ceylon,  or  of 
the  valuable  substitutes  for  it  which  everywhere  present  themselves,  should  keep  pace 
with  each  other ;  for  surely  where  so  many  thousands  of  square  miles  of  rich  land, 
belonging  to  the  crown,  are  now  lying  waste,  the  profit  of  an  extensive  cultivation  of 
hemp  and  flax  would  not  only  abundantly  repay  the  expense  of  fencing  and  clearing 
the  land,  but  leave  a  considerable  surplus  profit,  and  justify  the  government  in  mono¬ 
polizing  their  culture,  if  private  individuals  will  not  undertake  it. 

Rope  making  is  here  a  most  profitable  business  ;  and  there  is  ample  field  for  many 
additional  manufacturers  of  that  article,  from  the  largest  cable  to  sail-makers’  twine  : 
for  which  latter  the  Hane  plant  is  a  very  superior  material. 

At  one  time,  the  culture  of  hemp  was  thought  of  so  much  importance,  that  it  was 
introduced  into  Delft  Island,  and  Lieut.  Edward  Nolan,  of  the  3rd  Ceylon  regiment, 
appointed  to  superintend  it,  with  a  salary  of  <£500  a  year,  and  the  privilege  of  sub¬ 
scribing  to  the  Civil  Fund,  for  an  annuity  of  £400  for  life,  after  twelve  years’  service 
in  that  situation  ;  but,  although  in  addition  thereto  that  gentleman  had  the  trouble¬ 
some  office  of  superintending  the  government  breeding  stud,  he  was  most  illiberally 
restricted  from  civil  promotion  or  increase  of  salary. 

In  all  naval  contracts,  rope  made  from  l^accadive  Kotr  was  always  preferred  to  that 
of  Ceylon  ;  but  that  the  latter  might  l>e  improved  there  can  scarcely  exist  a  doubt 
or  that  the  process  of  Kyan,  m  the  prevention  of  dry-rot,  might  not  be  beneficially 
applied  to  the  rope  itself. 

In  introducing  the  white  and  digitated  mu  I  hern  plants  into  Cevlon,  where  the  original 
plantations  of  the  black  mulbem  Morn*  nigra.  L.  had  dwindled  into  a  few  stunted 
trees,  here  and  there,  of  which  the  fruit  was  smaller  than  the  common  hedge  strawbern  . 

1  had  fully  anticipated  that  1  was  laving  the  foundation  of  a  permanent  good  to  the 
island.  My  first  distribution  ot  cuttings  was.  to  the  late  Honorable  Sir  Hardingt 
(iifl'ard,  D.  C.  L.,  the  then  duel  justice,  m  l's2l./  through  whom  it  was  introduced 


into  the  botanic -gardens  at  Colombo  and  Kandy  ;  to  Henry  Augustus  Marshall,  Esq., 
auditor  and  accountant  general ;  Captain  Schneider,  surveyor  general ;  Lieut.  Colonel 
Alexander  Watson,  of  the  royal  artillery  ;  George  Tumour,  Esq.,  collector  of  Kaltura  ; 
Captain  Crisp,  master  attendant ;  the  Wesleyan  mission  gardens  at  Colombo  and 
Calpetty ;  and  subsequently  to  Charles  Edward  Layard,  Esq.,  provincial  judge  of  Galle 
and  Matura,  and  James  Agnew  Farrell,  Esq.,  collector  of  revenue  at  Chilaw. 

The  culture  of  the  mulberry  plant  was  an  indispensable  preliminary  to  my  projected 
introduction  of  the  several  varieties  of  the  silk  worm,  from  Malta,  Bengal,  China, 
St.  Helena,  and  the  south  of  France.  Had  this  plan  been  carried  into  effect,  it  would 
soon  have  determined  which  species  of  silk  worm  would  best  agree  with  the  humid 
atmosphere  of  Ceylon  ;  and  as  both  species  of  the  mulberry  tree  succeeded  beyond 
my  most  sanguine  hopes,  the  speculation  might  have  been  proceeded  with,  safely  and 
successfully  ;  and  silk  have  become,  long  ere  this,  one  of  the  most  valuable  exports 
of  the  island. 

This  is  one  of  its  capabilities  that  deserves  the  attention  of  capitalists  ;  for  there 
can  be  very  little,  if  any,  difficulty  in  inducing  experienced  persons  to  proceed  to 
Ceylon.  A  preference  might  be  given  to  those  who  had  been  some  time  employed  in 
the  service  of  the  British,  Irish,  and  Colonial  Silk  Company ;  and  they  would  soon 
be  qualified  to  decide  as  to  the  species  of  silk  worm  best  adapted  to  the  climate,  and 
to  select  localities  for  silk  factories. 

The  growth  of  the  mulberry  is  so  extremely  rapid,  that  in  less  than  six  months  the 
plantations  would  be  in  full  bearing  ;  and  it  might  easily  be  propagated  to  any  extent, 
by  cuttings  from  the  produce  of  my  original  introductions  from  the  Mauritius. 

The  Chinese,  who  are  the  greatest  silk  growers  in  the  world,  consider  the  mulberry 
tree  that  bears  the  least  fruit,  the  best ;  and  adopt  a  curious  method  to  increase  the 
quantity  of  foliage,  and  decrease  that  of  the  fruit ;  namely,  by  feeding  hens  upon  the 
ripe  fruit  of  the  mulberry  tree,  after  it  had  been  partly  dried  in  the  sun  ;  the  ordure 
of  the  fowls  is  subsequently  collected  and  steeped  in  water,  and  the  undigested  seeds, 
having  been  again  soaked  in  water,  are  sown,  and  produce  trees  of  the  desired  pre¬ 
ponderance  of  foliage.  These  ingenious  people  select  rising  grounds,  near  rivulets, 
for  the  habitations  of  their  silk  worms  ;  for  the  eggs  require  frequent  washings,  and 
the  purest  running  water  is  considered  the  best.  The  place  must  be  kept  free  from 
fetid  or  bad  smells,  and  noise  ;  for  when  the  silk  worms  are  fully  hatched,  even  the 
barking  of  a  dog,  or  the  crowing  of  a  cock,  throws  them  into  confusion. 

If  I  were  to  plant  the  mulberry  extensively,  I  would  sow  indigo  by  way  of  under¬ 
crop  ;  and,  in  order  to  secure  shade  for  the  mulberry  plants,  which  would  not  injure 


indigo,  plant  plantain  trees  at  fifteen  feet  distant  from  each  other,  in  rows,  until  the 
mulberry  trees  had  attained  a  sufficient  height  to  withstand  the  sun  ;  and,  as  the 
plantain  affords  a  succession  of  suckers,  the  ground  can  always  be  kept  clear  enough 
by  their  early  removal ;  and  the  parent  trees,  after  having  borne  their  respective  bunch 
of  fruit,  (for  that  is  all  the  plantain  or  banana  tree  produces,)  can  be  cut  down,  for  the 
sake  of  their  fibre,  and  for  their  leaves  to  be  employed  for  fodder  ;  or  be  allowed  to 
die  away  gradually,  as  the  necessity  for  shade  or  otherwise  may  obtain. 

I  also  introduced  the  cassada  or  manioc  ( Jatropha  Manihot)  from  Mauritius  in  1821, 
but  notwithstanding  the  great  and  gratuitous  distribution  of  cuttings  from  the  produce 
of  the  original  stock,  this  invaluable  plant  has  been  so  lightly  valued,  (from,  it  is  to 
be  presumed,  ignorance  of  its  inestimable  qualities,)  that,  with  the  exception  of  some 
Malays  in  the  Mahagampattoo,  only  one  individual,  Charles  Edward  Layard,  Esq., 
has  paid  any  sort  of  attention  to  its  culture.  There  is  no  root  which  is  so  well 
adapted,  from  its  nature,  to  become  a  substitute  for  rice  ;  and  one  or  two  failures  in 
the  rice  crop  would  not  only  point  out  the  value  of  the  Jatropha  Manihot ,  but  its 
cultivation  would  be  considered  an  object  of  paramount  necessity,  as  the  only  certain 
and  easily  obtained  substitute  for  that  chief  article  of  native  consumption.  But  I 
have  seen  so  much  of  the  apathy  of  my  countrymen  in  regard  to  this  invaluable  escu¬ 
lent,  that  until  they  shall  have  been  convinced  by  necessity  that  “  prevention  is  better 
than  cure,”  I  can  scarcely  hope  that  its  importance  will  be  sufficiently  estimated  and 
acted  upon. 

Another  extremely  common  plant,  the  Canna  Indica,  or  Indian  shot,  of  which  there 
are  both  the  glauca  and  coccinea,  is  equally  neglected.  The  roots  of  the  Canna  glauca 
yield  a  more  nutritious  farina  than  the  arrow  root  ( Maranta  Arundinacea,  L.),  and  the 
process  of  manufacturing  it  is  equally  simple,  viz.  the  roots  having  been  well  washed,  are 
rasped  upon  a  large  tin  or  copper  grater,  and  if  not  quite  fine  enough,  are  pounded  in 
a  wooden  mortar ;  the  pulp  is  then  put  into  a  large  tub,  and  a  quantity  of  water 
having  been  poured  over  it,  is  stirred  well ;  every  particle  of  fibre  is  then  removed, 
and  the  residue  allowed  to  settle  for  the  night ;  in  the  morning  the  water  is  strained 
off,  and  the  sediment  spread  upon  clean  cloths  (under  which  mats  have  been  previously 
spread)  and  dried  in  the  sun. 

The  light  soils  of  Ceylon  are  admirably  adapted  to  the  cultivation  of  ginger,  carda¬ 
moms,  Caruia  glauca ,  Maranta  arundinacea,  and  turmeric  ( Curcuma  longa,  L.),  the 
Saffron  des  Indies  of  the  French.  The  latter  is  not  so  extensively  cultivated  as  might 
be  expected  ;  for  although,  as  a  dye,  it  is  in  occasional  demand,  its  use  is  general  and 
indispensable  in  the  native  diet.  Like  the  Amomum  Zingiber,  or  ginger,  its  roots 
spread  to  a  considerable  distance  under  ground,  and  it  resembles  that  root  in  shape. 



The  plant  attains  the  height  of  from  twelve  to  fourteen  inches ;  the  external  color 
of  the  root  is  ashy,  but  internally  a  bright  yellow ;  the  robes  of  the  Buddhist  priest¬ 
hood  are  dyed  with  it,  yellow  being  the  sacred  color. 

The  common  sun-flower’s  ( Helianthus  annum )  seed  is  a  most  valuable  article  of  food 
for  cattle  and  poultry ;  and  as  it  attains  the  greatest  perfection  in  Ceylon,  one  is  almost 
lost  in  astonishment  at  the  entire  neglect  of  its  cultivation,  except  as  an  ornament  to 
the  parterre  or  flower  garden.  Every  part  of  it  is  useful.  The  most  delicious  oil  is 
expressed  from  the  seed  ;  the  oil-cake  is  a  fattening  diet  for  cattle  and  poultry,  and 
does  not  impart  the  rancid  flavor  to  either  that  the  Poonac  or  coco-nut  oil-cake  does  ; 
the  stalks  produce  a  great  deal  of  alkali ;  the  dried  leaves  afford  an  excellent  substi¬ 
tute  for  straw  for  cattle  ;  and.  subsequently  form  a  rich  manure  for  sandy  soils. 

Various  indigenous  trees  yield  elastic  gum,  nearly  equal  to  the  South  American 
caoutchouc  ;  but  it  has  not  hitherto  been  thought  worthy  of  speculative  competition. 
Amongst  these  may  be  named  the  Ignatia  elastica,  L. ;  Ficus  religiosa,  L. ;  Ficus 
Indica,  L. ;  Cecropia  peltata ;  Carica  papya,  L. ,  Jatropha  elastica,  L. ;  Artocarpus 
incisa,  L. ;  and  Artocarpus  integrifolia,  L. 

Ceylon  produces  the  true  gum  arabic  ( Mimosa  Nilotica,  L.),  class  Polygamia,  order 
Moncecia,  in  abundance  ;  nevertheless  not  a  pound  of  it  has  been  collected  for  ex¬ 
portation  since  our  first  occupation  of  the  island  in  1796.  Madung  Appo,  observing 
that  I  employed  the  white  of  an  egg  to  give  a  gloss  to  my  drawings  of  the  fishes  of 
Ceylon,  (published  under  the  auspices  of  the  Ceylon  government  in  1830,)  brought 
me  a  very  fine  gum,  equal  to  the  best  gum  arabic,  which  he  had  obtained  from  a  tree 
called  in  Singhalese  Kattoon-daru  Gaha  ;  and  he  subsequently  brought  me  a  branch 
of  the  tree  with  flowers  and  seeds  ;  the  siliquose  of  the  latter  emitted  a  fine  aromatic 
odour.  Of  the  flowers  and  gum  I  brought  specimens  to  England,  by  which  it  was 
proved  that  Ceylon  produces  the  true  gum  arabic  tree. 

During  my  superintendence  of  the  Mahagampattoo  district,  in  1826  and  1827, 1  made 
a  few  successful  experiments  with  a  common  augur,  in  tapping  the  Euphorbium  antiqu¬ 
orum,  in  the  presence  of  several  natives,  from  the  orifices  of  which  a  thick  caustic  milky 
juice  abundantly  exuded,  that  soon  acquired  the  consistency  of  bird-lime,  and  after¬ 
wards  hardened  to  a  gum.  I  recommended  it  to  their  notice,  as  an  article  of  com¬ 
merce  that  would  amply  reward  their  exertions,  as  well  as  afford  constant  employment 
in  collecting  the  gum  that  had  formed  upon  the  trees  in  considerable  quantities, 
through  the  casual  wounds  inflicted  by  animals  or  insects.  They  shook  their  heads, 
as  in  distrust  of  any  benefit  likely  to  be  derived  from  it ;  and  as  I  was  then  upon  the 
eve  of  leaving  the  district,  I  could  do  no  more  than  reiterate  my  advice  ;  but  the  gum 
Euphorbium  is  not  yet  included  in  the  tariff  of  Ceylon  exports. 


Continuation  of  the  vegetable  productions  of  Ceylon — Cachew  gum,  a  substitute  for  gum  Senegal,  and  for 
many  of  the  purposes  to  which  gum  Arabic  is  adapted — Sir  Joseph  Banks's  endeavours  to  find  a  substitute  for  foreign 
gums,  during  the  last  war  with  France — Ceylon  could  have  supplied  the  British  market,  but  no  one  knew  of  it — 
Gum  lac  tree,  not  the  Lacsha  of  Bengal — Singhalese  lackerers — Lac  insect  not  indigenous — Kauffman’s  description 
of  the  varieties  of  gum  lac — Suggestions  for  making  the  vegetable  lac  of  Ceylon  equally  profitable  with  the  Coccus 
lacca — Gum  Taeahama — Sap  of  the  bread-fruit  tree  a  substitute  for  pitch,  and  also  for  caoutchouc — Gumboge — 
Introduction  of  the  coffee  tree  from  Java — Governor  Zwaardenkroom — Louis  XIV. —  Value  of  coffee  exported  from 
Colombo  in  one  year — High  duties  on  cinnamon  injurious  to  that  trade,  for  it  encourages  the  sale  of  Java  cinnamon , 
under  the  name  of  Cassia  lignea,  which  bears  a  less  import  duty — Java  cinnamon  the  produce  of  the  Laurus 
cxnnamomum — Clandestinely  introduced  into  that  island  from  Ceylon — Suggestions  for  assorting  the  cinnamon 
imported  as  Cassia  lignea,  and  protecting  the  revenue — Cotton  neglected  in  Ceylon,  notwithstanding  the  example 
set  by  the  East  India  Company  to  extend  its  culture  in  India — Culture  of  opium  introduced — Its  use  increased 
by  teetotalism. 

The  next  valuable  gum,  but  altogether  neglected,  is  that  of  the  cachew  tree  {Ana- 
car  dium  occidentale,  L.*  and  Acajou  of  Tournefort),  which  is  only  to  be  seen  in  a  wild 
state.  It  yields  a  beautifully  transparent  gum  in  large  masses,  from  its  trunk  and 
branches ;  and  its  thick  and  astringent  bark  contains  a  great  proportion  of  tannin, 
equal,  if  not  superior,  in  quality  to  that  of  the  oak  {Quercus  Robur,  L.) 

In  the  year  1826,  I  sent  about  fifty  pounds  weight  of  cachew  gum  to  Messrs.  Mus- 
kett  and  Young,  merchants  at  Colombo,  for  the  purpose  of  being  submitted  to  manu¬ 
facturers  in  England  for  trial ;  and  the  report  made  of  it,  was  to  the  effect,  “  that 

*  Linnaeus  first  placed  the  Anacardium  in  class  IX.,  and  then  transferred  it  to  class  X.  M.  Rottroell,  Fellow 
of  the  Medical  College  of  Copenhagen,  after  a  full  examination  of  several  specimens  of  the  inflorescence,  fixed  the 
character  of  the  genus  in  the  following  manner,  which  placed  it  in  class  XXIII.  Polygamia,  order  I.  Moncecia. 

The  Hermaphrodite  Flower.  Calyx — Perianth  five-leaved  ;  Leaflets  egged,  concave,  erect,  colored,  subvillous. 
Corol — Petals  five-lanced,  acute,  &c.,  as  in  the  character  of  Linnaeus.  Stamens — Filaments  eight  to  ten,  con¬ 
nected  at  the  base ;  one  of  them  thicker  than  the  rest  and  one  third  part  longer,  answering  to  the  greater  lobe  of 
the  germ,  which  has  an  Anther  three-sided,  large,  fertile,  deciduous ;  the  rest  have  Anthers  less,  fruitless,  perma¬ 
nent,  the  figure  of  the  former.  Pistil — Germ  oblong,  kidney-form,  with  one  lobe  layer  placed  higher ;  Style 
single  from  the  bottom  of  the  germ,  awled,  equal  to  the  corol ;  Stigma  small,  roundish,  depressed,  concave  ; 
receptacle  and  fruit  as  in  Linnaeus. 

The  Male  Flower  on  a  different  plant.  Calyx,  Corol,  Stamens — as  in  the  Hermaphrodite  flower.  Pistil — 
Germ  0  or  abortive. 




a  superabundance  of  Gum  Senegal  was  then  in  the  market ;  but  that  in  time  of 
war,  cachew  gum  might  be  employed  to  great  advantage  as  a  substitute  for  the 
former,  in  dying  silk  ;  and  also  for  almost  all  the  purposes  to  which  gum  arabic  is 

At  an  early  period  of  the  last  war  with  France,  the  late  Sir  Joseph  Banks,  G.  C.  B., 
held  out  great  encouragement  for  the  discovery  of  a  substitute  for  gum  in  our  manu¬ 
factures  ;  for  an  opinion  at  that  time  obtained,  that  the  supply  of  foreign  gum  would 
soon  prove  inadequate  to  the  demand.  This  simple  fact  is  sufficient  to  show  how 
little  was  then  known  of  the  indigenous  productions  of  our  own  possessions  in  Ceylon, 
which  might,  at  that  very  time,  have  supplied  all  the  demands  of  the  British  market. 

The  cachew  tree  grows  to  the  height  of  eighteen  or  twenty  feet,  and  spreads  much 
at  the  top  ;  but  its  timber  is  of  little  value  :  the  leaves  are  glossy  and  thickly  set. 
The  gum  exudes  in  such  large  drops,  that  insects  are  occasionally  caught  in  its  pro¬ 
gress,  and  are  soon  covered  with  a  transparent  mass,  which,  upon  becoming  hard,  may 
be  polished.  Very  beautiful  specimens  of  gum  necklaces  and  bracelets  are  too  often 
imposed  upon  purchasers  in  this  country  for  amber  ornaments  of  Chinese  manufacture. 

A  resinous  gum  is  produced  in  Ceylon,  with  which  the  natives  form  a  lacker  of  the 
consistency  of  sealing-wax,  and  color  it ;  but  I  do  not  recollect  seeing  it  of  a  greater 
variety  of  colors  than  red,  yellow,  black,  and  a  sort  of  bluish  or  Vhhnu  green.  It  is 
not  the  production  of  an  insect,  like  that  of  the  Lacsha  of  Bengal  ( Coccus  lacca,  L.), 
but  exudes  from  the  trunk  and  branches  of  the  Croton  lacciferum,  L.,  the  Kapitya 
gaha  of  the  Singhalese,  wherever  punctured  by  insects,  or  from  incisions  made  for  the 
purpose  of  collecting  the  gum.  When  quite  fresh,  it  is  of  a  transparent  straw  color ; 
but,  with  age,  it  becomes  of  a  muddy  brown  hue. 

This  substance  might  be  turned  to  good  account  in  this  country,  as  an  auxiliary 
to  the  fine  arts.  The  Singhalese,  and  particularly  those  of  the  interior,  lacker  their 
ceremonial  bows  and  arrows,  walking  sticks,  wooden  bowls,  and  all  sorts  of  boxes, 
which  they  make,  by  a  very  simple  turning  lathe,  in  great  perfection,  and  finish  in 
beautiful  style,  with  the  Kapitya  lac,  leaving  the  surface  as  smooth  and  brilliant  as  the 
best  French  polish  could  effect,  but  of  a  more  durable  nature. 

Animals  have  so  great  a  dread  of  the  tree  itself,  that  they  cautiously  avoid  coming 
in  contact  with  it ;  this  may  be  owing  to  the  very  nauseous  odour  that  it  emits,  which 
is  almost  as  bad  as  that  of  the  green  or  winged  bug. 

I  have  particularly  sought  after  the  lac  insect  in  Ceylon,  but  without  success,  and 
yet  the  tree  that  it  makes  its  usual  habitat  in  Bengal,  the  Mimosa  cinerea,  L.,  is 
indigenous  and  abundant. 



According  to  Kauffman,  the  substance  called  gum  lac  in  the  British  market,  is  the 
cell  of  the  Coccus  lacca,  colored  red  by  the  dead  body  of  the  insect  contained  in  it ; 
stick  lac,  the  white  membraneous  substance  found  in  the  empty  cells,  which,  when 
separated  from  the  adhering  sticks,  and  grossly  powdered,  is  called  seed  lac ;  which 
last,  being  freed  from  impurities  by  melting  over  a  gentle  fire,  is  called  lump  lac ;  and 
lastly,  that  called  shell  lac,  is  the  cells  liquefied. 

Now  as  the  Bengal  Coccus  lacca,  and  the  Ceylon  vegetable  lac,  are  known  to  possess 
the  same  resinous  properties  ;  and  as  the  former  is  made  the  basis  of  many  varnishes, 
and  of  the  finest  kinds  of  sealing  wax,  and  is  also  used  in  painting,  it  seems  to  me 
to  require  little  more  than  the  spirit  of  speculation,  and  the  funds  of  a  very  moderate 
capitalist,  to  render  the  latter  equally  valuable  as  an  article  of  commerce.  At  present 
it  belongs  to  the  catalogue  of  the  already  too  long  neglected  capabilities  of  this  incom¬ 
parable  island. 

Gum  Tacamaha  may  be  procured  in  any  quantity  from  the  roots  of  the  Domba 
tree  ( Calophyllum  Inophyllum,  L.),  the  Domba  gaha  of  the  Singhalese,  which  is  indi¬ 
genous  and  most  abundant.  This  resinous  gum  is  called  by  the  Malabars  Tacamaha. 
Its  smell  is  fragrant,  approaching  to  that  of  ambergris  :  but  the  Tacamahaca  of  com¬ 
merce  exudes  from  the  bark  of  the  balsam  tree  ( Populus  balsamifera,  L.)  The  native 
doctors  employ  the  gum  externally,  in  cataplasms,  &c. 

Although  other  indigenous  trees  yield  resinous  gums,  their  number  is  too  limited, 
in  comparison  with  the  abundance  of  those  already  described,  to  render  their  produce 
worth  the  trouble  of  collecting. 

The  sap  of  the  bread-fruit  tree  ( Artocarpus  incisa,  L.),  when  hardened  in  the  sun, 
and  subsequently  boiled,  forms  a  tolerable  substitute  for  pitch  ;  but,  even  if  that  tree 
were  not  otherwise  so  useful  as  it  is,  the  sap  would  be  more  profitably  employed  in 
a  raw  state,  by  being  converted  into  India-rubber. 

Gumboge  may  be  obtained  in  any  quantity  from  the  Cambogia  gutta,  L.  ( Ghorkah 
of  the  Singhalese)  ;  Stalagmites  Cambogioides,  and  Xanthochymus  ovatifolius.  It  is  sold 
in  the  Bazaars,  but  has  not  hitherto  been  an  export  from  the  colony.  The  home 
market  is  chiefly  supplied  from  the  Indian  continent. 

Coffee  ( Coffea  Arabica,  L.)  was  first  introduced  into  Ceylon  from  the  island  of  Java, 
where  it  was  originally  planted  by  the  governor  general  of  Batavia,  Zwaardenkroom, 
who  procured  the  seeds  and  plants  from  Mocha,  in  the  Arabian  Gulf,  in  the  year  1723. 
This  public  benefactor  did  not  limit  his  views  to  the  mere  benefit  of  the  islands  under 
his  control,  but  sent  the  coffee  plant  from  Batavia  to  Amsterdam ;  for  with  him  no¬ 
thing  was  thought  of  too  little  importance  for  grave  consideration,  when  the  national 

r  2 



advantage  lay  even  in  the  most  distant  prospective  ;  and  so  ought  all  to  think  who 
have  the  management  of  colonies,  and  love  for  their  country. 

The  coffee  plants  sent  from  Batavia  to  Amsterdam,  soon  attracted  public  attention  ; 
and,  amongst  others,  the  French  consul  seemed  to  take  a  particular  interest  in  the 
novelty  that  had  been  introduced ;  and  he  subsequently  succeeded  in  obtaining  one  of 
the  plants,  which  he  sent  to  his  sovereign,  the  then  Grande  Monarque,  Louis  XIV. 

This  plant  having  been  placed  in  a  hothouse,  throve  admirably  well  and  seeded  ; 
and  the  French  government  attached  so  much  importance  to  its  naturalization  in  the 
West  Indies,  that  three  plants  of  the  first  produce  were  transmitted  to  the  island  of 
Martinique ;  and  never  were  crown  diamonds  or  regalia  guarded  with  more  care  :  but, 
notwithstanding  every  precaution  and  attention,  only  one  plant  survived  the  voyage. 
That  plant  was  the  original  parent  of  all  the  present  coffee  plantations  in  the  British, 
French,  and  Spanish  West  Indies ;  and  I  much  question  if  all  the  glories  of  Louis  the 
fourteenth’s  reign  together,  entitle  him  to  more  honor  than  his  introduction  of  the 
coffee  plant  into  culture  at  Martinique.  It  rendered  his  country  and  humanity  a 
benefit  that  will  survive  a  million  of  victories  : — laid  the  foundation  for  an  extension 
of  commerce;  from  which  various  nations  derive  immense  revenues,  merchants  in¬ 
crease  of  riches,  and  mankind  one  of  the  most  exhilarating  and  wholesome  beverages, 
of  which,  nature  has,  hitherto,  produced  the  means. 

In  the  year  ending  the  5th  of  January,  1841,  the  value  of  coffee  exported  to  Great 
Britain,  from  the  port  of  Colombo  alone,  amounted  to  197,387/.  KB.  id. ;  but  there 
was  not  a  single  bale  of  cotton  or  silk,  or  a  pound  of  cocoa,  indigo,  gum,  opium, 
annatto,  or  cochineal,  of  the  produce  of  the  island,  exported ;  and  not  even  pepper 
enough  of  Ceylon  growth  to  pack  the  cinnamon  ;  and  yet  all  these  articles  are  either 
indigenous,  or  may  be  easily  naturalized. 

The  present  mania  for  coffee  planting  daily  increases  ;  and  will  continue  to  do  so 
until  the  government  either  reduces  the  cinnamon  duty,  upon  the  export  of  cinnamon 
from  Ceylon,  and  upon  its  importation  here,  or  places  the  cinnamon  grower  upon  a 
more  equal  footing  with  the  cultivators  of  coffee  and  other  produce.  It  is  the  great 
difference  in  the  duty  which  causes  the  present  high  price  of  coffee  grounds,  and  the 
low  price  of  cinnamon  plantations,  and  consequently  increases  the  value  of  the  former 
article,  whilst  it  depreciates  that  of  the  latter. 

The  injury  done  to  the  Ceylon  cinnamon  grower,  by  the  importation  of  the  same 
spice,  the  produce  of  Java,  under  the  pseudo  denomination  of  Cassia  lignea,  at  an 
inferior  duty  of,  I  believe,  one  shilling  per  pound  avoirdupois,  may  easily  be  ima¬ 
gined  ;  for  although  there  may  be,  and,  no  doubt,  is,  a  large  proportion  of  Cassia 



lignea,  probably  of  the  produce  of  Malabar  and  China,  mixed  with  the  true  spice,  for 
sinister  purposes,  as  regards  the  import  duty ;  a  similar  process  to  that  of  assorting 
cinnamon  in  Ceylon,  would,  if  adopted  in  our  import  warehouses,  soon  establish  the 
fact,  that  of  the  quantity  imported  as  Cassia  lignea,  the  proportion  of  true  cinnamon 
will  be  found  to  predominate. 

In  corroboration  of  my  statement,  I  may  venture  to  state  one  or  two  facts,  of  equal 
importance,  at  the  present  moment,  to  the  Ceylon  cinnamon  grower  and  exporter,  and 
to  the  revenue  derived  from  its  importation  here. 

When  Lord  Glenelg  avowed  to  certain  merchants,  by  letter  dated  6th  March,  1S3S, 
that  “  he  is  unable  to  say  whether  coffee  is  grown  in  West  Africa,”  the  most  satirical 
reflections  were  cast  upon  the  colonial  department  by  the  commercial  community  : 
and  that  same  body,  so  far  as  it  includes  those  who  are  profiting  at  the  expense  of  the 
Ceylon  cinnamon  grower,  would  also,  there  can  be  little  doubt,  be  better  pleased  than 
otherwise,  if  the  noble  president  of  the  board  of  trade  and  foreign  plantations  were  to 
avow  himself  equally  unable  to  decide  the  point  to  which  his  Lordship’s  attention  has 
been  recently  drawn,  by  merchants  connected  with  the  Ceylon  trade,  in  regard  to  the 
cinnamon  of  that  island. 

It  is  not,  however,  unknown  to  his  Lordship,  that  the  island  of  Java,  whilst  Ceylon 
formed  one  of  its  dependencies,  was  not  considered  by  the  Dutch  government  to  pro¬ 
duce  cinnamon  or  Cassia  lignea,  although  the  latter  might  have  been  wild  in  certain 
districts  of  the  interior  of  that  immense  island  ;  the  former,  the  Lauras  Cinnamomum,  L., 
the  latter,  the  Lauras  Cassia,  L. ;  for  the  Dutch,  pursuing  the  same  policy  by  which 
they  destroyed  every  nutmeg  and  clove  tree  in  Ceylon,  and  restricted  the  culture 
of  the  former  to  the  Banda  islands,  and  of  the  latter  to  the  Moluccas,  prohibited  the 
growth  of  cinnamon,  except  in  Ceylon,  throughout  their  Eastern  colonies. 

Consequently  all  the  spice  denominated  Cassia  lignea,  or  base  cinnamon,,  now  imported 
from  Java,  must  be  the  produce  of  trees  planted  subsequently  to  the  cession  of  Ceylon 
to  our  flag,  on  the  14th  of  February,  1796  ;  for  it  is  well  known,  that  many  of  the 
Dutch  families,  who  quitted  Ceylon  for  Java  with  the  former  Dutch  garrisons  of  the 
forts  that  had  been  ceded,  did  not  go  empty-handed,  either  in  regard  to  cinnamon 
plants  or  seeds. 

But  it  is  not  from  that  original  introduction  only,  of  the  cinnamon  plant  into  Java, 
that  all  the  spice  now  imported  as  Cassia  lignea,  to  the  prejudice  of  the  Ceylon  cin¬ 
namon  trade,  is  obtained ;  for,  in  the  year  1825,  upwards  of  three  thousand  cinnamon 
plants,  were,  through  the  connivance  of  interested  persons,  smuggled  off  the  island  by 
a  brig  bound  to  Batavia. 



The  brig,  when  she  first  arrived  at  Galle,  was  commanded  by  an  Englishman  ;  but 
the  Dutch  owner,  fully  aware  that  the  commander  was  too  honourable  a  man  to  listen 
to  a  proposition  of  so  illicit  a  nature  as  the  contemplated  removal  of  cinnamon  plants, 
managed  to  quarrel  with  him  first,  and  then  to  discharge  him  ;  and  subsequently 
engaged  a  ready  coadjutor  in  his  nefarious  scheme  among  his  own  countrymen. 

The  best  protection  that  can  be  afforded  to  the  Ceylon  cinnamon  trade,  would  be, 
to  subject  all  Cassia  lignea,  imported  from  Java,  or  other  Dutch  settlements,  or  else¬ 
where,  to  the  same  process  of  assortment  as  is  adopted  in  Ceylon  ;  and  by  charging 
an  increased  rate  of  duty  upon  all  cinnamon  found  mixed  with,  and  imported 
as.  Cassia  lignea ,  and  continuing  the  duty  on  the  rest,  as  at  present ;  viz.  2s.  6d. 
per  pound. 

The  external  appearance  of  these  two  varieties  of  the  aromatic  laurel,  cannot  be 
distinguished  while  growing,  except  by  the  leaf ;  and  that  only  by  those  who  are 
accustomed  to  both  trees. 

As  to  cotton,  the  great  exertions  made  by  the  Honorable  the  East  India  Company 
to  extend  and  improve  its  culture  in  India,  by  engaging  planters  from  America,  is  a 
convincing  proof  of  the  importance  attached  to  it  by  that  preeminent  body  in  the 
commercial  affairs  of  this  great  country,  “  whose  merchants  are  princes  ;  ”  and  a  suffi¬ 
cient  excitement,  one  would  think,  for  the  employment  of  capital  for  the  same  purpose 
in  Her  Majesty’s  island  of  Ceylon. 

Hitherto  the  chief  objects  of  European  culture  in  the  interior,  exclusively  of  escu¬ 
lent  vegetables  and  fruits,  have  been  the  coffee  tree  and  sugar  cane ;  both  of  which 
flourish  in  the  greatest  perfection  ;  and  Ceylon  coffee,  by  the  rapid  improvements  in 
its  cultivation,  may  soon  be  expected  to  equal  the  produce  of  Mocha. 

The  Kandyans  select  the  best  coffee  by  its  bluish  color,  and  by  its  weight ;  but  they 
are  perfectly  au  fait  at  giving  it  an  artificial  weight,  by  the  soaking  process,  in  order 
to  profit  by  the  difference.  Coffee  sells  at  Colombo  at  about  6d.  per  pound,  or  L?.  per 
measure,  which  will  contain  about  two  pounds  avoirdupois  weight,  more  or  less.  The 
lighter  and  whiter  coffee  is  called  second  quality.  Raw  sugar  is  considered  dear  at 
4 d.  per  pound. 

Opium,  the  inspissated  juice  of  the  white  poppy  ( Papaver  somniferum,  L.),  was  first 
cultivated  in  the  Mahagampattoo,  in  the  year  1826.  I  obtained  the  original  seeds 
from  Malwah,  where  the  finest  opium  is  produced,  through  the  kind  offices  of  Captain 
John  Moms,  who  was  at  that  time  editor  of  the  Bombay  Gazette.  Having  ascertained, 
by  trial,  that  the  soil  and  climate  of  the  banks  of  the  Wallewe  river  were  well  adapted 
to  the  culture  of  the  opium  poppy,  I  sent  for  a  further  supply  of  seed ;  the  produce 



of  my  own  plantation,  which,  after  the  first  successful  experiments,  had  been  reserved 
for  that  purpose,  having  been  swept  away,  by  the  sudden  rise  of  the  Wallewe  river,  in 
October  of  that  year,  just  as  the  capsules  had  attained  maturity.  The  second  importa¬ 
tion  of  opium  poppy  seed,  which  was  sufficient  for  general  distribution,  I  placed  at  the 
disposal  of  the  governor,  in  February,  1827  ;  His  Excellency  having  previously  taken  an 
opportunity  of  acknowledging  me,  as  the  first  introducer  of  the  culture  of  opium  into 
the  island,  at  a  general  meeting  of  the  Literary  and  Agricultural  Society  of  Colombo, 
in  December,  1826. 

I  had  subsequently  the  great  satisfaction  of  seeing  that  my  public  objects  in  the 
introduction  of  the  culture  of  the  white  and  digitated  mulberry,  and  of  the  opium 
poppy,  were  likely  to  be  realized,  under  the  fostering  care  of  the  local  government  ; 
for,  on  the  21st  of  September,  1829,  a  regulation  of  government  was  passed  by  the 
governor  in  council,  “  for  promoting  the  growth  of  certain  articles  of  agricultural  pro¬ 
duce,  in  the  island  of  Ceylon,  and  for  the  encouragement  of  agricultural  speculation,”  in 
which  the  articles  silk  and  opium  were  included,  for  the  first  time,  in  a  regulation  of 
the  Ceylon  government.* 

But  the  great  difficulty  to  be  overcome,  in  all  matters  connected  with  native  indus¬ 
try,  was  very  obvious  to  Sir  Edward  Barnes ;  who,  in  a  letter  to  me,  dated  the  14th 
of  February,  1827,  thus  pointedly  alludes  to  it, — “  I  have  to  return  you  my  thanks 
for  the  packet  of  Malwah  poppy-seed  which  you  forwarded,  and  likewise  for  the  paper 
of  instructions  relative  to  the  cultivation  of  the  plant,  and  preparation  of  opium  from 
its  capsules ;  and  I  have  no  doubt  that  it,  in  common  with  many  other  articles  of 
commerce,  might  be  brought  to  perfection  in  the  island,  could  the  natives  be  convinced 
of  the  importance  of  attention  to  agricultural  industry” — “  Hie  labor,  hoc  opus  ! !  ” 

The  poppy  plants  appeared  above  ground  in  six  days  after  the  seed  was  sown,  and  in 
less  than  six  weeks  were  in  full  bloom  :  abundance  of  capsules  soon  formed ;  from  the 
juice  of  which,  about  a  pound  of  opium,  of  good  quality,  was  procured  by  my  Malay 
gardener,  (who  withheld  it  from  my  knowledge  till  I  was  upon  the  eve  of  quitting 
the  district,)  and  sufficient  seed  was  reserved  for  twelve  large  beds,  exclusively  of  the 
quantity  distributed  to  some  Malays  in  the  district.  The  second  crop  was  totally 
destroyed,  as  I  have  before  stated. 

The  juice  of  the  opium  poppy  is  of  a  very  thick  nature,  and  of  a  milky  white  ;  the 
incision  is  made  in  the  green  capsule  in  the  shape  of  a  T,  and  the  juice  that  flows 
during  the  night,  congeals  before  morning,  when  it  is  scraped  off  with  a  blunt  knife  ; 

*  Vide  Appendix. 



this  is  subsequently  formed  into  small  cakes,  and  is  the  opium  of  commerce.  East 
Indian  opium  is  now  rendered,  by  a  peculiar  process,  as  pure  as  that  of  Turkey. 
An  acre  will  produce  about  forty  pounds  ;  but  the  growth  of  the  opium  poppy  soon 
exhausts  the  best  soil,  and  renders  the  application  of  a  powerful  manure,  of  which 
the  fcecula  of  the  indigo  leaf  is  one  of  the  best,  indispensable. 

The  natives  of  India  are  quite  au  fait  at  the  adulteration  of  opium  with  resinous 
gums  and  an  extract  from  the  leaves  and  flower  stalks  of  the  poppy. 

Many  objections  have  been  started  to  the  culture  of  the  opium  poppy ;  and  China  is 
cited  for  an  example  of  its  injurious  effects  upon  the  population  ;  but  notwithstanding 
that  it  has  been  prohibited  from  immemorial  time,  by  a  succession  of  Vermilion  edicts, 
the  vicious  appetite  of  the  people  has  been  found  much  too  strong  for  legal 

In  this  country,  as  teetotalism  extends,  so  will  the  use  of  opium  increase ;  and 
already  has  its  use  taken  deep  root  amongst  that  class  of  the  people  which  has  deter¬ 
mined  to  abstain  from  the  use  of  wines,  spirits,  cider,  and  the  less  wholesome  melange 
of  hops,  malt,  and  narcoctics.  As  well  may  the  use  of  spirits  b$  prohibited  in  England, 
as  that  of  opium  in  China ;  or  let  the  duty  upon  either  be  what  it  may,  those  who 
are  slaves  to  either  habit,  will  indulge  it  at  all  costs  and  risks,  when  and  where 
they  can. 


Extreme  opinions  as  regards  the  Fruits  of  the  island — Natives  have  no  method  of  engrafting  or  improving  fruit 
trees — Naturalized  exotic  fruits — Native  Materia  Medica  and  medical  books — Classification  of  fruits — Mangos- 
teen — Ramboutan — Nam-nam — Rose  Apple — Sour-sop — Brazil  Cherry — Chape — Lo-quat — Star  Apple — Canary 
Almond — Lemon — Bladder  Cherry — Fig — Lovi-lovi — Stripe-leaved  Pine  Apple — Mandarin  Orange — Wampi — 

Pomegranate — Melon — Strawberry — Midberry - Indigenous  fruits :  Pine  Apple — Orange — Shaddock — Guava — 

Papaw — Mango — Custard  Apple — Casur  de  Boeuf — Bilimbing — Cherimelle — Carambole — Jack  Fruit — Bread 
Fruit — St.  Helena  Almond — Cajfrarian  Lime — Jambo — Trefoil  Limonia — Plantain  and  Banana — Cachew  Apple. 

As  regards  the  fruits  of  Ceylon,  the  superficial  observer  may  be  led  into  extreme 
opinions,  by  esteeming  them  too  much,  or  too  little.  It  should  be  recollected,  that 
the  natives  know  nothing  of  engrafting,  and  are  equally  ignorant  of  any  other  method 
for  improving  fruits  or  vegetables  ;  everything  is  therefore  left  to  nature,  except  where 
Europeans  have  adopted  the  horticultural  systems  of  their  own  country,  for  improving 
the  several  indigenous  varieties,  and  perfecting  the  exotics,  that,  from  time  to  time, 
have  been  introduced  from  various  parts  of  the  world. 

Of  the  number  of  edible  fruits,  the  best  are  from  naturalized  exotics,  originally  intro¬ 
duced  by  the  Dutch,  from  Guiana,  and  the  islands  of  Java  and  Amboyna ;  but  these 
are  only  to  be  found  in  the  gardens  of  the  principal  European  and  native  inhabitants  ; 
and  as  the  native  Materia  Medica  is  chiefly,  if  not  altogether,  composed,  of  simples, 
which  include  the  roots,  leaves,  and  bark,  as  well  as  the  gums,  of  fruit-bearing  and 
other  trees,  I  have  included  a  description  of  the  medicinal  uses  to  which  they  are 
applied  by  the  Singhalese. 

The  native  doctors  possess  many  ancient  medical  books  ;  of  these,  the  best  are  said 
to  be  in  Sanscrit  and  Pali ;  between  which  languages,  the  learned  in  Eastern  literature 
trace  a  near  affinity  ;  but,  as  to  the  productions  of  Singhalese  writers,  they  are  stated 
to  consist  chiefly  of  incantations,  and  magical  jargon  about  the  influence  of  the  moon 
and  the  stars  upon  the  several  plants,  and  the  proper,  or  most  fortunate  time,  for 
the  simpler  to  collect  them. 

The  fruits  may  be  described  in  three  classes ;  the  first,  to  consist  of  such  as  are  only 
to  be  found  in  private  gardens ;  the  second,  of  those  that  are  procurable  in  almost  every 
bazaar ;  and  the  third,  of  the  wild  fruits  that  are  eaten  by  the  lowest  class  of  the  natives. 




The  Mangosteen  ( Garcinia  Mangostana,  L.),  was  originally  introduced  by  the  Dutch, 
from  the  island  of  Great  Banda,  whilst  Geylon  was  a  dependency  of  the  government 
of  Batavia.  This  fruit  has  a  smooth  epidermis,  is  round,  and  of  a  purple  color,  and 
rather  larger  than  a  St.  Michael’s  orange  ;  it  rests  in  a  permanent  green  calyx,  and 
the  top  is  surmounted  by  an  eight-rayed  corona.  It  is  usual  to  cut  it  transversely 
in  the  middle,  but  not  deeper  than  the  rind,  which  is  about  a  third  of  an  inch  thick ; 
the  top  part  is  then  taken  off,  and  exposes  the  pulp  ;  this  is  of  a  pure  white,  and 
divided  into  eight  lobes,  each  containing  a  seed,  convex  on  one  side  and  angular  on 
the  other.  The  Mangosteen  is  considered  the  ne  plus  ultra  of  all  tropical  fruits.  The 
astringent  juice  of  the  rind  stains  linen  of  an  iron-rust  color;  and,  when  combined  with 
oxide  of  iron,  makes  a  beautiful  purple  ink,  which,  when  dry,  has  a  brilliant  gloss. 

The  Ramboutan  ( Euphoria  nephelium ,  the  Nephelium  lappaceum,  L.),  originally 
introduced  from  Java,  is  much  smaller  in  size,  and  more  oblong,  than  the  European 
horse-chesnut,  which  it  resembles  externally ;  but  its  bristles,  instead  of  being  green, 
as  in  the  latter,  are  beautifully  tinged  with  crimson  and  yellow.  The  truit  grows  in 
large  clusters  ;  and  the  edible  part  of  it  is  a  pure  white  mucilaginous  pulp,  very  cooling 
and  wholesome,  and  of  a  peculiarly  pleasant  sub-acid  flavor. 

The  Nam-nam  ( Cynometra  cauliflora,  L.),  originally  introduced  from  Malacca,  grows 
from  the  trunk  and  branches  of  the  tree.  It  is  flat  and  kidney-shaped,  has  the  color 
of  a  rip©  russet  apple  and  the  flavor  of  a  green  one. 

The  Rose  Apple  ( Eugenia  fragrans,  L.),  originally  introduced  from  Java,  partakes 
both  of  the  smell  and  flavor  of  the  moss-rose,  and  has  the  color  of  an  apricot.  It  is 
sweeter,  but  as  insipid  to  the  taste,  as  the  petals  of  the  flower  from  which  it  derives 
its  English  name. 

The  Sour-sop  ( Annona  muricata ,  L.),  originally  introduced  from  the  Dutch  settle¬ 
ment  of  Surinam,  in  Guiana,  is  extremely  scarce.  The  pome  grows  to  a  large 
size,  and  has  a  green  murexed  rind,  which,  at  maturity,  bursts  and  exposes  its 
woolly  pulp,  in  appearance  like  wetted  cotton.  This  has  a  pleasant  sub-acid  taste. 
The  creoles  of  the  West  Indies  make  a  very  choice  liqueur  from  it,  called,  from  the 
French  name  of  the  tree,  Corossol. 

The  Brazil  Cherry  ( Eugenia  uniflora,  L.)  was  introduced  into  Ceylon  by  myself, 
from  the  governor’s  garden  at  Reduit,  Mauritius,  in  1821.  The  French  call  it 
Roussail.  When  ripe,  it  is  about  the  size  of  a  small  green-gage  plum,  of  a  bright  orange 
color,  ribbed  like  a  melon,  and  has  a  peculiar  but  pleasant  flavor. 

The  Grape  (  Vitis  vinifera,  L.)  was  originally  introduced  from  Goa,  on  the  coast  of 
Malabar,  by  the  Portuguese  ;  whose  envoys,  amongst  other  presents,  carried  grape 



vines  to  the  Rajah  of  Ceylon,  which  throve  very  well  in  Kandy.  Knox  mentions 
both  black  and  white  grapes,  in  his  account  of  Ceylon,  published  in  1681.  The  vine 
flourishes  better  at  JafFnapatam,  than  in  any  other  part  of  the  maritime  provinces. 

The  Lo-quat  ( Eriobotrya  Japonica),  originally  introduced  by  the  Dutch,  from  China 
or  Japan,  is  a  small  oblong  fruit,  of  an  apricot  color.  It  grows  in  bunches,  and 
has  a  very  agreeable  sub-acid  flavor.  The  flower  has  the  exquisite  perfume  of  the 
hawthorn  ( Crataegus  odoratissima,  L.)  blossom. 

The  Star  Apple  (Chry sophy llum  Cainito,  L.)  is  an  extremely  scarce  fruit,  of  a  purple 
color ;  and  when  divided  transversely,  the  pulp,  which  is  very  luscious,  displays  the 
figure  of  a.  star.  The  juice  is  white,  and  of  the  consistence  of  cream.  It  was 
originally  introduced  by  the  Dutch  from  Surinam.  I  never  saw  but  two  or  three  speci¬ 
mens  of  this  fruit,  and  these  were  sent  me  by  the  Count  Van  Ranzow,  in  1820. 

The  Canary  Almond  ( Canarium  communis,  L.),  originally  introduced  from  Batavia  by 
the  Dutch,  is  a  very  sweet  nut,  of  superior  flavor  to  the  filbert,  and  yields  a  valuable  oil. 

The  Lemon  ( Citrus  Limonum )  was  originally  introduced  by  the  Portuguese ;  but 
the  people  take  no  trouble  to  cultivate  it ;  the  more  juicy  lime  ( Citrus  limetta  vulgaris ) 
being  both  indigenous  and  abundant. 

The  Bladder  Cherry  ( Physalis  Alkahengi,  L.)  was  introduced  from  the  Cape  of 
Good  Hope.  When  the  flower  drops,  the  calyx  swells  to  the  size  of  a  small  walnut, 
and  forms  a  pentagonal  covering,  blown  out  like  a  bladder,  for  the  fruit,  which  is 
about  the  size  of  a  large  white  currant,  and  generally  used  for  tarts.  There  is  a  wild 
plant  in  Ceylon  that  greatly  resembles  this  Physalis  in  appearance,  but  is  most 
nauseous  to  the  taste. 

The  Fig  ( Ficus  Carica,  L.),  introduced  by  the  Portpguese,  grows  freely,  but 
requires  artificial  caprification  to  ripen  it.  This  is  easily  effected  by  the  French 
(Provence)  plan  of  dipping  an  orange  spine  into  olive  oil,  and  gently  puncturing  the 
fruit.  The  admission  of  atmospheric  air  soon  causes  the  flower,  which  is  within  the 
receptacle,  to  expand,  and  the  fruit  to  ripen. 

The  Lovi-lovi,  (as  the  Malays  call  it,)  introduced  from  Amboyna  by  the  Dutch,  is  like 
the  large  red  cherry  in  appearance.  This  fruit  is  very  acid ;  its  pulp  makes  an  excel¬ 
lent  jelly,  quite  equal  in  flavor  to  red  currant  jelly  ;  and  the  tree  altogether  resembles 
the  cherry  tree  of  Europe. 

The  Stripe-leaved  ’Pine  Apple  ( Bromelia  Ananas,  variegata,  L.)  was  originally 
introduced  by  myself,  from  Mauritius,  in  1821 ;  the  leaf  is  striped  longitudinally 
with  light  yellow  or  straw  color,  but  the  fruit  is  not  better  than  that  of  the  indi¬ 
genous  species. 

s  2 



The  Mandarin  Orange  ( Citrus  nobilis,  L.)  was  originally  introduced  from  Java.  Of 
this  delicious  fruit  there  are  three  varieties  ;  one,  about  the  size  of  a  common  orange, 
having  so  very  fine  and  loose  a  rind,  that,  if  taken  by  the  crown,  the  pulp  is  easily 
shaken  out  of  it ;  the  second  sort  is  smaller,  with  a  thicker  rind ;  and  the  third  is 
about  the  size  of  a  golden  pippin,  and  very  luscious. 

The  Wampi  (Cookia  punctata,  L.)  was  originally  introduced  from  China,  via  Java, 
and  is  rare.  In  shape,  it  resembles  the  Li-tchi  of  China  ( Dimocarpus  Litchi),  but  differs 
in  taste,  the  pulp  of  the  former  having  a  sub-acid,  the  latter  a  sweet  flavor. 

The  Pomegranate  ( Punica  granatum,  L.)  was  introduced  by  the  Portuguese,  from 
Goa,  and  is  abundant.  The  rind  of  the  fruit  is  much  employed  by  the  native  doctors, 
and  is  in  great  esteem  for  its  astringent  properties. 

The  best  Melons  are  produced  from  English  and  Persian  seeds ;  of  the  latter,  the 
sorts  called  Dampstia  or  Zamsksy,  and  the  Geree  or  ostrich-egg,  are  the  best.  The 
plants  require  no  transplanting,  but  much  shade. 

The  Strawberry  ( Fragaria  vesca,  L.) ;  and  the  Mulberry,  of  the  white  (Morus  alba,  L.), 
black  ( M .  Indica,  L.),  and  digitated  ( M .  digitata,  L.)  species,  complete  the  list  of 
naturalized  exotic  fruits. 

The  Pine  Apple  ( Bromelia  Ananas,  L.),  Anasi  of  the  Singhalese,  in  greater  abun¬ 
dance  than  variety.  The  White,  and  the  Black  (or  Stpne)  Pines,  are  the  best ;  but 
the  most  common  is  .the  Red  or  Orange  Pine. 

The  Orange  ( Citrus  Aurantium,  L.)  is  either  of  a  deep  green  or  of  a  russet  color, 
when  perfectly  ripe.  This  most  cooling  and  delicious  fruit  is  not  excelled  in  flavor  by 
the  best  Barbary  orange ;  and,  together  with  the  lime  ( Citrus  limetta  vulgaris),  and 
citron  ( Citrus  medica),  is  in  the  greatest  abundance. 

The  Shadock  or  Pumplenose  ( Citrus  decumana,  L.),  both  of  the  white  and  red 
varieties,  and  of  a  very  large  size  ;  and  there  is  a  smaller  species,  which  is  very  juicy, 
but  scarce. 

The  Guava  ( Psidium  pyriferum,  L.)  is  found  wild,  walk  where  one  may,  near  a 
village  ;  but  it  is  seldom  cultivated.  The  fruit  is  cooling,  and  has  the  flavor  of  a 
strawberry ;  but,  owing  to  the  superabundance  of  its  seeds,  is  best  when  stewed,  or 
made  into  a  jelly.  Its  size  and  flavor  are  both  easily  improved  by  grafting. 

The  Papaw  ( Carica  Papya,  L.)  is  a  valuable  fruit.  There  is  a  male,  female,  and 
hermaphrodite  Papaw  tree.  The  female  produces  such  a  quantity  of  fruit,  in  clusters 
round  the  stalk,  for  the  depth  of  two  or  three  feet  between  and  beneath  the  fronds, 
that  nature  forces  off  a  great  many,  to  afford  room  for  the  rest  to  ripen.  The  fruit 
of  the  hermaphrodite  tree  is  smaller,  and  more  melon-shaped  than  that  of  the  female 


J  41 

tree,  and  grows  at  the  extremities  of  the  dependent  flower  stalks.  The  white  flowers 
hang  in  long  clusters,  are  very  fragrant,  and  have  a  beautiful  appearance.  The  Papaw 
is  somewhat  pear-shaped,  and  ribbed  longitudinally  ;  the  rind  is  of  a  bluish-green 
color,  from  which,  upon  the  least  puncture,  drops  of  a  milk-white  liquid  exude  ;  the 
inside  is  of  a  bright  orange  color.  The  seeds  lie  closely  united  by  a  sort  of  gluten 
in  the  cavity  of  the  fruit,  and  are  enveloped  in  a  brownish-green  pellicle ;  these  have 
all  the  pungency  of  seeding  cress  (. Lepidium ,  L.  and  T.),  and  are  a  specific  remedy 
for  the  ill  effects  of  too  great  indulgence  in  the  fruit  itself.  The  pulp  is  of  a  similar 
nature  to  the  flesh  of  a  very  ripe  melon,  and  possesses  the  peculiar  flavor  of  the 
Tonquin  bean.  In  a  green  state,  the  Papaw  makes  an  excellent  pickle,  and  sweetmeat ; 
and,  when  boiled  and  mashed,  is  a  substitute  for  the  turnip,  in  places  where  the  latter 
is  not  to  be  procured ;  this  answers  the  purpose  so  very  well,  that  it  is  in  general 
use  at  the  tables  of  Europeans  ;  where,  a  leg  of  veal,  doing  duty  for  a  leg  of  mutton, 
is  not  very  uncommon.  The  acrid  juice  of  the  green  fruit  is  medicinally  applied  to 
remove  worts,  and  specks  on  the  eyes  ;  and  it  is  also  considered  efficacious  in  destroy¬ 
ing  the  ringworm.  The  odoriferous  blossoms  are  so  very  wholesome,  that  no  dread 
need  be  entertained  of  having  any  number  of  these  herbaceous  trees  near  one’s  resi¬ 
dence.  Their  growth  is  so  rapid,  that  seedlings  produce  fruit  in  about  six  months. 
The  red-flowered,  or  dwarf  variety  (C.  Posoposa ),  common  to  the  West  Indies,  is  not 
known  in  Ceylon. 

The  Mango  ( Mangifera  Indica,  L.)  comprises  several  varieties;  but  the  large  Jaffna 
cordiform  mango,  the  almond-shaped  Matura  mango,  which  is  not  more  than  one  inch 
and  a  half  in  length,  and  the  kidney  mango,  about  six  or  seven  inches  in  length,  are 
the  best ;  the  last  grows  in  large  pendent  clusters.  The  common  mango  is  stringy, 
and  has  more  of  the  turpentine  flavor,  peculiar  to  the  genus,  than  the  other  sorts  : 
when  green,  it  makes  an  excellent  pickle  ;  the  only  purpose  for  which  it  is  adapted. 
There  is  also  a  species  of  the  mango  tree  that  produces  no  fruit ;  this  is  called  Coin- 
ambo,  or  mango  leaf,  from  which  the  town  of  Colombo  is  said  to  havb  derived  its,  name  : 
and  not,  as  some  have  averred,  in  honor  of  the  celebrated  Columbus. 

The  Custard  Apple  (Annona  squamosa,  L.)  has  a  white  pulp,  so  like  custard,  that 
were  it  not  for  its  black  seeds,  and  a  drop  or  two  of  noyeau  were  mixed  with  it,  one 
might  be  deceived  to  eat  the  natural  for  an  artificial  custard. 

The  Bullock’s  Heart  ( Annona  reticulata,  L.)  is  more  luscious  than  the  custard  apple, 
but  not  so  delicate.  From  its  resemblance  to  a  heart,  it  was  originally  called  Cicur  de 
Bceuf,  by  the  French.  A  branch  of  the  leaves,  laid  where  there  are  bugs,  will  attract 
them  all,  as  I  have  proved  by  experience  ; — this  should  be  generally  known,  for  these 



disgusting  insects  infest  the  chairs  and  sofas  of  many  rest-houses,  much  to  the 
annoyance  of  the  traveller. 

The  Bilimbing  ( Averrhoa  Bilimbi,  L.),  the  Cherimelle.  (A.  acida,  L.),  and  the  Caram- 
i)ole  ( A .  Carambola,  L.),  are  three  species  of  a  very  acid  genus  ;  but  they  are  excellent 
tart  fruits,  and  are  also  used  in  the  native  curries. 

The  Jack  Fruit  ( Artoccirpus  integrifolia,  L'.)  is  the  largest  the  island  produces.  The 
fruit  grows  from  the  body  of  the  tree,  and  is  sack-shaped,  large,  and  heavy,  occasionally 
exceeding  thirty  pounds  avoirdupois  in  weight.  Its  juice  is  an  elastic  substance,  of  a 
milky  white,  and  so  tenacious,  that  it  is  used  for  the  purposes  of  bird-lime.  The  pulp 
is  eaten  in  curries  ;  the  luscious  bright  yellow  and  fleshy  coverings  of  the  seeds  are 
generally  served  at  table  in  salt  and  water ;  and  the  roasted  seeds  are  used  as  substitutes 
for  chesnuts.  The  odour  of  this  fruit  is  very  fetid  and  diffusive. 

The  Bread  Fruit  ( Artocarpus  incisa,  L.)  might  more  properly  be  classed  among  the 
esculent  vegetables ;  for  it  can  only  be  eaten  after  having  undergone  a  culinary  process. 
It  is  by  no  means  so  palatable  in  the  usual  native  way  of  currying  every  thing,  as  when 
parboiled  and  baked,  or  boiled  and  served  as  a  substitute  for  the  artichoke,  or  fried  in 
thin  slices  :  in  this  last  way,  it  certainly  resembles  crisp  pie-crust ;  but,  according  to 
my  experience  of  its  use  for  several  years,  and,  I  believe,  in  almost  every  way  known 
to  the  native  cooks,  I  never  could  carry  my  imagination  so  far,  as  to  agree  in  opinion 
with  those  who  describe  the  bread  fruit  as  very  like  new  bread,  or  (when  baked  whole) 
hot  rolls  ;  “  sed,  de  gustibus,  nil  disputandum  !  ” 

The  St.  Helena  Almond  ( Terminalia  Catappa,  L.),  the  Kattamba  of  the  Singhalese, 
is  served  at  desserts ;  it  is  extremely  sweet  and  pleasant  to  the  taste. 

The  Caffrarian  Lime*  ( Citrus  tuberdides )  is  occasionally  preserved  as  a  sweetmeat ; 
but  the  principal  use  made  of  it  by  the  Singhalese,  is  for  cleaning  their  long  black  hair. 
The  entire  fruit  having  been  first  boiled,  is  then  mashed  to  the  consistency  of  a  thick 
paste,  which  they  rub  well  into  the  hair ;  this,  they  aver,  makes  it  hard,  and  the  head 
clean  ;  and,  for  the  purpose  of  cleansing  the  hair  of  the  pulp,  the  white  and  yolk  of  eggs, 
beaten  together,  is  employed  as  a  succedaneum.  Europeans  call  the  fruit  Caffrarian 
Lime,  and  the  Singhalese,  Koodalodeye.  The  natives  praise  it  for  its  various  medicinal 
properties  ;  but  the  most  useful  purpose  to  which  I  have  seen  it  applied,  is  for  curing 
the  bite  of  the  diminutive  but  most  troublesome  Ceylon  leech  ( Hirudo  Zeylanica). 

The  Jambo*  (Eugenia  Malaccensis,  L.)  is  a  beautiful  and  very  juicy  fruit ;  of  this 
there  are  two  varieties.  The  epidermis  of  the  largest  sort  looks  like  white  wax, 

*  For  a  fall  account  of  these  fruits,  vide  Bennett’s  “  Fruits  of  Ceylon,”  4to.  Wood,  1842. 



delicately  tinged  with  red ;  the  other  is  nearly  of  the  color  of  a  half-ripe  Orleans 
Plum,  with  an  occasional  tinge  of  deep  red,  where  the  fruit  has  been  most  exposed  to 
the  sun.  The  pome  is  juicy,  cooling,  and  of  an  agreeable  vinous  flavor  and  smell ; 
the  latter  partaking,  but  in  a  very  slight  degree,  of  the  perfume  of  the  Eugenia  fra- 
grans,  L.,  or  rose  apple.  It  forms  part  of  the  usual  dessert  at  European  tables  ;  and 
is  also  stewed  or  baked,  after  the  manner  of  pears  in  Europe,  and  occasionally  pre¬ 
served  as  a  sweetmeat.  In  order  to  give  it  a  pink  or  deeper  red  color,  to  resemble 
baked  pears,  the  native  cooks  employ  the  petals  of  the  shoe-flower*  ( Hybiscus  rosa 
Sinensis,  var.  duplex).  The  large  bats,  called  flying  foxes  ( Vespertilio  Vampyrus,  L.), 
are  extremely  partial  to  this  fruit ;  and,  if  the  natives  did  not,  in  some  measure,  provide 
against  their  night  attacks,  by  stretching  lines,  attached  to  a  bell,  from  branch  to  branch, 
these  destructive  animals  would  devour  the  produce  of  a  large  tree  in  a  few  hours. 

The  Trefoil  Limonia  ( Triphosia  Aurantiola ),  the  Macunje  of  the  Singhalese,  is  a 
little  aromatic  fruit,  having  the  flavor  of  citron.  When  ripe,  it  is  of  a  crimson  color, 
and  is  chiefly  used  for  sweetmeats.  There  are  two  other  indigenous  species,  T.  mono - 
pylla  and  T.  acidissima. 

The  Plantain  (Musa  sapientum,  L.)  and  Banana  (M.  Paradisiaca,  L.).  Of  the  former 
there  are  sixteen  varieties  ;  but  the  gigantic  red  ( Tanjore ),  the  green  sugar  (Madras), 
and  the  speckled  ( Tellicherry )  plantains  are  the  best.  The  Hindo-Portuguese  call  the 
plantain  tree,  the  fig-tree  ( Figuera )  of  Paradise  ;  and  very  properly  so,  for  one  leaf  of 
it,  wrapped  round  the  loins,  is  sufficient  for  all  the  purposes  of  the  strictest  modesty  ; 
and  if  the  plantain  leaf  split,  it  still  hangs  pendent  in  a  double  row  from  its  mid-rib  ; 
and,  when  dry,  is  much  tougher  than  in  a  green  state.  There  is  also  a  peculiarity 
and  virtue  in  the  plantain  leaf  but  little  known  ;  and  when  we  connect  it  with  the 
scriptural  records,  that  our  original  parents  “  sewed  fig  leaves  together,  and  made 
themselves  aprons  ;  ”  and  observe  the  brittle  substance  of  the  common  jig  leaf,  and  then 
examine  the  great  size  and  substance  of  the  plantain  leaf,  we  shall  be  disposed  to  think 
that  instead  of  “  sewed  fig  leaves  together,”  the  text  should  have  been,  “  they  formed 
aprons  of  fig  leaves.”  There  is  also  a  most  wonderful  provision  of  nature  in  the  leaf 
of  the  Musa  ;  the  upper  surface  is  of  a  glossy  green,  the  under  surface  covered  with 
a  sort  of  bloom  ;  the  former  is  generally  employed  for  healing  blisters,  the  latter  for 
exciting  them.  The  Divine  intention  might  have  been,  for  the  upper  or  healing  surface 
to  have  been  worn  next  the  skin,  and  the  under  surface  externally  ;  for  if  water  be 
thrown  upon  that  surface,  it  runs  off  like  globules  of  quicksilver. 

*  So  called  because  its  bruised  petals  are  occasionally  used  as  a  substitute  for  blacking. 



In  its  green  state,  and  roasted,  the  plantain  is  eaten  in  lieu  of  bread,  and  forms 
a  better  substitute  for  it  than  the  bread-fruit  itself.  It  is  also  a  general  ingredient  in 
native  curries  ;  and  if  it  be  dried  in  the  sun  and  pulverized,  and  kept  in  closely-corked 
bottles,  it  will  retain  its  flavor  for  many  years.  This  flour  might  also  be  made  a  valuable 
article  of  domestic  economy  and  of  commerce.  I  first  learnt  to  prepare  it  in  the 
West  Indies,  where  it  is  called  Congontay.  The  root  of  the  plantain  tree  is  also 
edible  ;  but  it  is  only  the  very  poorest  class  of  natives  that  makes  use  of  it.  The  juice 
of  the  herbaceous  stalk,  combined  with  oxide  of  iron,  makes  a  fine  blue-black  dye. 

The  Cachew  Apple*  ( Anacardium  occidentale,  L.),  th^  Cajhu  of  the  Singhalese,  is  juicy 
and  of  rather  a  spongy  nature  ;  but  has  an  unpleasant  smell,  which  some  people  assimilate 
to  garlic.  The  apples  that  are  most  exposed  to  the  sun,  are  largest  and  best,  and  are  of 
a  bright  yellow,  variegated  with  red ;  their  juice  is  of  a  restringent  acid  flavor,  but  custom 
soon  reconciles  one  to  its  use,  notwithstanding  the  temporary  contraction  of  the  skin 
of  the  mouth,  consequent  upon  eating  the  fruit.  Dutch  families  occasionally  manufacture 
a  superior  spirit  from  the  cachew  apple,  which  some  prefer,  as  a  liqueur,  (but  not  for 
diluting  with  water,)  to  the  best  brandy.  The  cachew  apple,  stuck  with  cloves  and 
roasted,  gives  a  peculiarly  delicious  flavor  to  arrack  punch  ;  and  its  juice  may  be  used  for 
marking  linen  ;  for  by  the  application  of  lime  water  upon  the  writing,  after  it  is  dry, 
the  color  becomes  black.  The  kernel  of  the  nut,  which  grows  from  the  crown  of  the 
apple,  is  eaten  both  in  a  green  and  dry  state ;  but  the  natives  roast  the  ripe  nut,  in  order 
to  get  rid  of  the  hard  acrid  pellicle  that  envelopes  it.  The  nut-shell  contains  a 
powerful  oil,  which  might  be  usefully  employed  for  a  variety  of  purposes,  and  particu¬ 
larly  as  a  varnish  to  wood,  for  the  white  ant  ( Termes )  will  never  attack  any  thing  be¬ 
smeared  with  it.  In  some  instances,  I  have  seen  the  leaf  of  this  tree  so  much  like 
that  of  the  jack  tree,  that  I  could  scarcely  tell  the  one  from  the  other ;  and  in  two 
specimens,  brought  to  me  at  the  same  time,  by  a  native  doctor,  the  fruits  were  unusu¬ 
ally  large  and  alike  in  shape  and  color,  but  the  distinction  of  the  leaf  was  so  remarkable 
that  I  made  drawings  of  both.  I  have  heard,  that  as  much  gas  may  be  obtained  from 
an  ounce  of  the  nut-shells,  as  from  three  pounds  of  the  best  coal ;  but  as  no  known 
authority  was  given  for  the  assertion,  it  must  be  considered  altogether  hypothetical  for 
the  present. 

*  The  gum  of  this  tree  has  been  already  described  in  page  129. 


Indigenous  fruits  continued :  Ghorka — Champaka — Kirila — Marsan  Apple — Jar  Plum — Wood  Apple — Khon — 
Tamarind— Pharaoh' s  Fig — Rattan  Fruit — Ceylon  Olive — Melon — Slime  Apple — Myrobolams — Red  and  yellow 
fleshed  Water  Melons - Esculent  vegetables :  Horseradish  tree — Kallaloo — Purslane — Spinach — Jerusalem  Arti¬ 

choke — White  Radish — Asparagus — Indian  Corn — Gourds — Sorrel — Bamboo  sprouts — Beans — Carpintchee  leaf — 
Brinjals — Suggestions  to  the  English  market-gardener — Cress — Lettuce — Celery — Endive — Beet — Carrots — Cucum¬ 
bers — Cabbage — Bandika — Parsley — Mint — Borage — Roots — Sweet  Potato — Yam — Iris — Moon-flower — White 
and  red  Water  Lilies— Eschelot — Garlic — Capsicum — Tomato — Snake  Gourd — Sour  Gourd — Mushroom — Nol-col — 
Red  Soirel — Green  Pea — Arrow  Root ;  Difference  between  that  of  Ceplon  and  Bombay — Sweet  Fennel — Ginger — 
Illepei — Bird’s-nest  Cucumber — Tala — Carraway  Seed — Fenugreek — Sweet  Sorrel — Cardamoms — Mustard — 
Guinea  or  1  Igeon  Pea,  supplied  to  the  royal  navy  in  the  Indian  seas,  under  the  name  of  Dhol,  as  a  substitute 
for  pease — Rice,  and  other  grain  ;  Native  Agriculturists  deficient  in  the  selection  of  the  best  species. 

The  Ghorka  ( Cambogia  gutta,  L.).  This  fruit  is  round  and  ribbed  like  a  rock  melon, 
and  of  the  size  of  the  Mangosteen  ;  but,  although  somewhat  resembling  it  in  flavor,  the 
Ghorka  has  a  great  degree  of  acidity,  which  the  former  has  not.  There  are  two  sorts  of 
this  fruit,  the  red  and  the  yellow  ;  but  the  latter  is  the  most  pleasant  to  the  taste  ;  and, 
when  cut  transversely,  the  pulp  resembles  in  shape,  and  is  divided  into  lobes,  like  that 
of  the  Mangosteen  ;  but  instead  of  being  white,  as  in  the  latter,  it  partakes  of  the 
color  of  its  own  epidermis.  That  the  Ghorka  is  not  sufficiently  esteemed  by  Euro¬ 
peans,  may  arise  from  its  cooling  and  wholesome  properties  not  being  so  generally 
known  as  they  deserve  to  be.  The  natives  dry  the  rind  in  the  sun,  and  employ  it  in 
their  curries  ;  and  their  doctors  prescribe  the  yellow  concrete  juice  of  the  tree,  which 
is  the  gumboge  of  our  dispensaries,  in  dropsical,  cutaneous,  and  leprous  cases. 

The  Champaka  ( Michelia  Champaca,  L.).  This  elegant  fruit  grows  in  clusters,  like 
grapes.  The  saffron-colored  flowers  are  much  esteemed  by  the  Buddhists,  it  being 
their  sacred  color,  and  the  robes  of  their  priesthood  are  of.  that  hue.  Devotees  make 
offerings  of  these  flowers  to  Buddha. 

The  Kirila  of  the  Singhalese  ( Sonneratia  acida,  L.)  is,  as  its  Linnaean  name  implies, 
a  very  acid  fruit,  but  is  eaten  by  the  natives.  Linnaeus  describes  it  as  “  sitting  on  the 
expanded  permanent  calyx,  globular,  smooth,  succulent,  and  many-celled.”  The  most 
useful  parts  of  the  tree  are  the  straight  and  conical  roots  :  these  strike  upwards  in  the 
water,  the  habitat  of  the  tree  being  marshy  places.  At  one  time,  during  the  war, 




the  Dutch  being  driven  to  great  straits  for  corks,  brought  the  elastic  roots  into  general 
use  as  a  substitute  ;  and  I  have  occasionally  employed  them  for  the  same  purpose. 

The  Marsan  Apple  ( Zisyphus  spinosus,  L.),  Wal-Hambilla  of  the  Singhalese,  resem¬ 
bles  the  Siberian  crab  in  shape,  but  is  larger,  and  yellow  instead  of  red.  The  tree 
grows  rapidly,  and  its  branches  and  leaves  are  so  beset  with  spines,  that  a  more 
admirable  production  for  fences  cannot  well  be  imagined. 

The  Jar  Plum  ( Calyptrmthes  Jambolana,  L.),  Maden  of  the  Singhalese,  is  of  an 
oblong  shape,  about  the  size  of  a  half-grown  damson,  and  of  a  purple  color,  but  reddish 
within.  It  yields  a  milky  juice,  of  insipid  sweetness. 

The  Wood  Apple  ( Cratceva  Marmelos,  L.),  Bell  gaha  of  the  Singhalese.  The 
pulp  is  yellow,  and  covered  with  a  hard  rind,  which  has  the  smell  of  a  ripe  apricot. 
It  is  not  liked  at  first,  but  one  soon  becomes  partial  to  it.  The  Dutch  and  Portuguese 
distil  an  exquisite  cosmetic  from  the  rind  and  blossom,  called  Marmelle  water,  and 
the  Singhalese  doctors  employ  the  leaves  for  curing  inflammations  and  pains  in  the 
head  and  ears. 

The  Khon  or  Koang  (a  species  of  Dimocarpus )  grows  in  clusters.  It  is  like  the 
Wampi  ( Cookia  punctata,  L.)  in  shape,  and  has  a  slightly  acid  pulp.  The  tree,  at  a 
short  distance,  resembles  the  oak. 

The  Tamarind  ( Tamarindus  Indica,  L.)  is  common  and  abundant.  The  method  of 
preserving  this  acid  fruit  is  very  simple  ;  the  pods  having  been  shelled,  the  pulp  (inclos¬ 
ing  the  seeds)  is  laid  in  jars,  over  which  boiling  sugar  is  poured,  and  the  jars  are  then 
closely  covered.  The  native  doctors  prescribe  tamarind  water  in  fevers,  and  a  decoction 
of  the  leaves,  as  a  vermifuge. 

Pharaoh’s  Fig  ( Ficus  Sycamorus,  L.).  This  is  smaller  than  the  common  fig  ( Ficus 
Carica,  L.),  and  grows  in  masses  from  the  branches  and  body  of  the  tree,  but  is  only  fit 
for  preserving.  The  wood  is  of  the  most  durable  nature,  and  is  supposed  to  have  been 
that  which  was  employed  by  the  ancient  Egyptians  for  the  coffins  of  their  mummies. 

The  Rattan  fruit  ( Calamus  rotang,  L.)  grows  in  clusters,  and  has  a  very  pretty 
appearance.  It  is  covered  with  small  gold-colored  scales  ;  the  pulp  is  gelatinous,  and 
of  a  pleasant  acid  flavor ;  but  the  cane  itself  is  of  very  inferior  quality  to  the  rattan 
of  Batavia. 

The  Ceylon  Olive  ( Eleocarpus  serratus  of  Loureiro),  Wierelu  of  the  Singhalese, 
resembles  the  Spanish  olive  in  size,  shape,  and  color.  It  is  edible,  but  has  a  mealy 
and  acid  pulp. 

The  native  Melon  ( Kekirya  of  the  Singhalese)  is  a  tasteless  fruit ;  probably  degene¬ 
rated  by  an  alliance  with  the  cucumber,  which  it  resembles  in  shape. 



The  Slime  Apple  ( Embryoptoris  glutinifera),  Maha  Timbiri  of  the  Singhalese,  is  one 
of  the  wild  fruits  that  are  eaten  by  the  natives.  The  tree  yields  a  medicinal  gum, 
which  is  esteemed  by  their  doctors.  Carpenters  use  it  as  a  substitute  for  glue. 

Myrobolams  ( Myrobolanus  Zeylanicus),  Kaekuna  of  the  Singhalese,  who  are  almost 
as  partial  to  it  as  the  monkies  ;  but  these  animals  generally  contrive  to  get  the  best 
share.  A  soft,  resinous,  concrete  juice,  of  a  whitish  yellow,  inclining  to  a  greenish 
hue,  and  somewhat  transparent,  exudes  from  the  tree  ;  this  has  a  strong  but  not 
unpleasant  odour,  and  is  the  gum  Elemi  of  commerce. 

The  Water  Melon  ( Cucurbita  Citrullus,  L.),  both  of  the  red-fleshed  and  yellow- 
fleshed  sorts,  is  not  so  abundant  as  might  be  expected,  which  arises  from  an  indifference 
to  its  culture  by  the  natives.  It  grows  very  rapidly  in  sandy  soil,  and  might  be  culti¬ 
vated  to  advantage  for  feeding  cattle ;  for  it  attains  an  enormous  size.  I  have  seen 
water  melons  thirty  two  inches  in  length,  and  twenty  eight  in  girth  ;  these  are 
naturally  insipid,  but  very  cooling  in  their  nature.  The  Persians  and  Arabians  cut 
the  fruit,  transversely,  at  one  end  ;  and  then  bruize  the  pulp,  with  a  long  piece  of 
bamboo  cane,  shaped  like  a  paper  knife  :  they  then  add  to  the  juice,  lemon  acid  and 
sugar,  and  thus  prepare  a  very  grateful  and  wholesome  sherbet. 

Of  the  esculent  vegetables  there  is  an  abundance,  exclusively  of  the  number  already 
noticed  in  the  preceding  pages  ;  and,  among  the  best,  may  be  classed  the  following. 

The  green  capsule  of  the  Horseradish  tree  ( Guiland'ma  Moringa,  L.),  Merikulumulu 
of  the  Singhalese,  (a  long  triangular  siliquose,  containing,  in  its  cavities,  several  angular, 
alated  seeds,)  is  so  delicate  and  wholesome,  that  parents  who  object  to  their  children 
partaking  of  other  vegetables,  allow  a  free  use  of  it,  because  it  is  entirely  devoid 
of  flatulent  properties.  The  leaves  and  flowers,  which  are  also  edible,  are  much 
esteemed  by  the  natives  ;  and  the  root,  as  a  substitute  for  horseradish,  by  Europeans  ; 
for,  with  a  sweeter  taste,  it  has  equal  pungency,  and  the  same  flavor.  A  very  powerful 
oil,  considered  efficacious  in  rheumatism,  and  in  the  Barheers,  or,  as  it  is  locally  called 
“  a  stroke  of  the  land  wind,”  is  extracted  from  the  seeds  ;  and  the  native  doctors  pre¬ 
scribe  decoctions  of  the  root  in  fevers  and  paralysis.  The  gum  is  of  a  reddish  hue, 
and  is  used  as  a  substitute  for  gum  Tragacanth. 

The  country  Kale,  or  Kallaloo  {Amar  ant  hits  sanguineus,  and  A.  viridis,  L.).  The 
young  stalks  are  dressed  and  served  as  asparagus,  and  the  leaves  have  much  of  the 
flavor  of  the  English  spinach  ( Spinacia  oleracea,  L.).  This  esculent  might  be  improved 
in  England  by  the  hot-bed ;  and  if  once  introduced  into  use,  it  would  doubtless 
become  a  favourite  table  vegetable,  instead  of  merely  occupying  a  place  in  the  flower 
garden,  as  it  now  does. 

t  2 



The  Purslane  ( Portulaca  oleracea,  L.)  in  the  greatest  abundance  and  variety. 

Two  varieties  of  a  mucilaginous  vegetable,  called  Brettale  by  the  Portuguese,  and 
Spinach  by  the  English.  One  is  a  dwarf,  the  other  of  rapid  growth,  and  propagated 
so  easily  by  cuttings,  that  within  four  months  it  will  cover  a  cottage. 

The  Jerusalem  Artichoke  ( Helianthus  tuberosus,  L.).  This  thrives  well  in  sandy 
soil,  and  produces  roots  equal  in  size  and  flavor  to  the  best  specimens  of  European 

The  White  Radish  ( Raphanus  sativus,  L.)  attains  a  large  size,  without  getting  coarse 
or  fibrous ;  and  is  served,  a  la  Hollandaise,  as  a  substitute  for  asparagus  ( Asparagus 
officinalis,  L.),  which  latter  is  much  neglected,  although  it  attains  maturity  in  about 
six  months. 

The  Indian  Corn  ( Zea  Mays,  L.)  grows  everywhere,  and  is  increased  in  size  by 
topping  the  plant,  soon  after  the  beard  appears,  at  the  joint  immediately  above  the 
glume.  In  its  green  state,  it  is  parboiled  whole,  and  then  fried  or  devilled  for  the 
table  ;  and,  when  ripe,  it  is  ground  into  farina  for  various  domestic  purposes. 

Of  the  Gourd  genus  there  is  a  great  variety,  but  the  indigenous  sorts  are  smaller 
than  the  European.  The  most  common  are — the  pumpkin  ( Cucurbita  pepo,  L.),  cala¬ 
bash  (C.  lagenaria),  egg-gourd  ( C .  ovifera ),  and  squash  (C.  Melopepo). 

A  species  of  Sorrel,  called  Suree  by  the  Singhalese,  with  no  perceptible  difference 
in  taste  from  the  English  sorrel  ( Rumex  acetosa,  L.) ;  but  the  classes  and  orders  differ, 
the  former  being  of  class  Hexandria,  and  order  Monogynia ;  the  latter  of  class  Hex- 
andria,  and  order  Trigynia. 

The  young  sprouts  of  the  Bamboo  ( Arundo  Bambos,  L.)  are  excellent,  either  as 
a  table  vegetable,  or  pickled  in  the  Singhalese  manner. 

Beans  are  in  great  variety,  including  the  Sabre  Bean  ( Dolichos  ensiformis,  L.),  Three- 
lobed  Bean  (Z).  trilobus,  L.),  called  Binne  by  the  Singhalese  ;  Lablab  Bean  (Z).  Lab- 
lab,  L.),  China  Bean  ( D .  Sinensis,  L.),  Four-lobed  Bean  ( D .  tetragonolobus,  L.),  Awned 
Bean  (Z).  aristatus,  L.),  Kidney  Bean  ( Phaseolus  vulgaris,  L.)  ;  and  also  of  the  genus 
Phaseolus  they  have  the  following  varieties,  according  to  the  native  list  of  them, — 
Adsaryapala,  Actokola,  Avorapolu ,  Bumum,  Bunkde,  Hindamini,  Joywya,  Kiripuswal, 
Maemung,  Maha-wampala,  Meekaree,  Mam,  Meang,  Alundumala,  Wal-undoo,  Wal-undoo- 
wal,  Wal-unae,  Wandoroome. 

The  leaf  of  the  Carpintchee  of  the  Singhalese  ( Cookia  Anisetta,  L.)  is  greatly  esteemed 
for  the  peculiar  flavor  it  imparts  to  the  native  curries  ;  and,  when  properly  dried, 
retains  its  aromatic  properties. 

The  Brinjal  ( Solatium  Alelongena,  L.)  includes  the  Egg-shaped,  Green,  and  Purple 



varieties,  and  is  so  generally  esteemed,  throughout  India,  among  the  very  best  of  table 
esculents,  that  no  description  of  mine  can  add  to  its  praise.  Where  is  the  “  East 
Indian  ”  to  whom  a  prawn  and  brinjal  curry  would  not  be  a  truly  welcome  dish  in  any 
part  of  the  world  ;  or  the  brinjal  itself,  whether  sliced  transversely  and  fried  plain,  or 
divided  longitudinally  and  cooked  a  /’  ecrivisse ?  Nevertheless,  this  nutritious  esculent, 
although  everywhere  plentiful  in  Spain  and  Portugal,  is  never  to  be  procured,  ex¬ 
cept  of  the  egg  variety,  in  Covent  Garden  or  other  English  markets,  and  then  only  in 
flower-pots  ; — this  is  the  more  strange,  because  the  numerous  families  from  the  East  and 
West  Indies,  would  ensure  a  profitable  sale  of  it,  by  the  speculative  gardener.  The 
best  sorts  of  it  are  the  Green  and  Purple  Brinjal,  called  by  the  Spaniards  Beringena 
(pronounced  Berinkena).  The  wild  Prickly-stem  Brinjal  is  edible,  but  so  full  of  seeds, 
that  it  is  used  only  by  the  poorest  natives. 

The  Water  and  Garden  Cress,  Lettuce,  Celery,  Endive,  (which  latter  grows  remark¬ 
ably  large,  and  is  usually  bleached  by  covering  it  with  pan-tiles).  Beet,  Carrots,  and 
Cucumbers  from  English  seed,  are  only  procurable  from  private  gardens.  The  country 
Cucumber  has  a  smooth  epidermis,  is  very  common,  and  attains  maturity  within  six 
weeks  from  sowing  the  seed.  The  natives  never  transplant  cucumber  or  melon  plants. 

The  Cabbage  ( Brassica )  genus  does  not  attain  perfection  in  the  maritime  provinces, 
but  in  the  interior  it  equals  the  best  specimens  of  English  horticulture. 

The  Bandika  of  the  Singhalese  (Hybiscus  esculentus,  L.)  is  mucilaginous  and  whole¬ 
some  ;  and,  if  dried  in  the  sun  and  pulverized,  it  may  be  taken  to  any  part  of  the 
world,  and  made  a  valuable  article  of  commerce.  If  once  admitted  into  our  English 
cookery,  it  would  soon  establish  a  character  for  itself.  I  never  saw  the  flour  prepared  in 
Ceylon,  except  by  myself,  and  I  first  learnt  its  valuable  properties  in  the  West  Indies. 

The  Parsley  ( Apium  Petroselium,  L.)  is  common  enough,  and  procurable  in  the  prin¬ 
cipal  bazaars,  as  well  as  Mint  ( Mentha  sativa,  L.),  and  Borage  ( Borago  Zelanica,  L.). 

The  Singhalese  cultivate  a  variety  of  esculent  roots,  chiefly  of  the  genus  Arum ; 
but,  with  the  exception  of  the  Purple-stalked  Dragon  (Dracontium  polyphullum,  L.),  Kana 
Kidahran  of  the  Singhalese,  and  the  Habarelle  of  the  Singhalese  ( Arum  Macrorhizum, 
A.  esculentum,  and  A.  Peregrinum ,  L.),  I  have  only  been  able  to  obtain  a  few  of  the 
native  names  for  them,  namely,  Kandclle,  Kocconalle,  Kaccotooralle,  Dekehalle,  Gahalle, 
Engurale,  Jambowalle,  Javakalle,  Junalle,  Kidakaran,  Ratalle,  and  Welhalle :  all  these 
are  planted  in  May,  and  become  ripe  in  June. 

The  leaf  of  the  Arum  esculentum  is  a  wholesome  vegetable,  when  dressed  as  spinach. 

The  Sweet  Potato  ( Convolvulus  Batatas,  L.)  is  much  cultivated.  The  leaf  affords  a 
fattening  fodder  for  domestic  animals,  and  deer  are  also  partial  to  it. 



The  Purple  Yarr ir(Dioscorea  bulbifera,  L.)  is  very  farinaceous,  and  generally  grows 
from  eight  to  twelve  pounds  in  weight ;  the  stalks,  when  entwined  round  some  neigh¬ 
bouring  tree,  have  a  pretty  appearance,  and  produce  small  yams  of  the  size  of  a  mode¬ 
rate  potato  ;  these  are  white,  but  not  so  farinaceous  as  the  root.  Owing  to  the  great 
length  of  time  it  takes  to  ripen,  this  root  is  but  little  cultivated. 

The  edible  Iris  (Iris  edulis,  L.).  The  first  plant  I  ever  saw  in  Ceylon,  was  from  a 
root  that  had  been  accidently  sent  me  with  some  almonds  from  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope  ;  and  from  its  offsets  I  raised  sufficient  for  use.  It  is  a  very  wholesome  esculent, 
delights  in  a  sandy  soil,  and  is  well  worthy  of  extensive  culture. 

The  green  capsules  of  the  Moon-flower  (Ipomea  bona  nox,  L.)  make  excellent 
pickles  and  curries. 

The  root  and  corol  of  the  White  and  Red  Water  Lilies  ( Nymphcea  alba  and  N. 
Nelumbo,  L.)  are  both  edible  ;  the  latter  has  a  strong  almond  flavor.  Both  are  whole¬ 
some  ;  particularly  the  large  white  sort,  or  Egyptian  bean.  The  petals,  root,  and 
pulpy  pericarp,  are  equally  esteemed,  and  very  nutritious. 

The  Eschelot  ( Allium  ascalonicum,  L.),  and  Garlic  (Allium  Sativum,  L.),  are  exten¬ 
sively  cultivated,  being  indispensable  ingredients  in  the  native  cookery. 

Of  Capsicums,  there  is  a  great  variety,  including  the  Capsicum  frutescens,  of  which 
Cayenne  pepper  is  made ;  and  the  C.  annuum,  C.  grossum,  C.  baccatum,  C.  purpureum, 
C.  minimum ,  and  C.  Caffrariensis,  L. 

The  Common  and  Cape  Tomato  ( Solanum  Ly coper sicum,  L.)  are  cultivated  pretty 
generally  in  the  gardens  of  Europeans. 

The  Snake  Gourd  ( Cucumis  anguinus,  L.).  The  native  cooks  take  out  the  pulp,  and 
stuff  the  gourd  with  minced  meat. 

The  Sour  Gourd,  Angelica  of  the  Singhalese,  is  common,  and  is  said  to  be  a  variety 
of  the  Monkey-bread  (Adansonia  digitata,  L.).  The  tree  attains  a  very  large  size  ; 
but  it  appeared  to  me  more  like  a  variety  of  the  Artocarpus  incisa,  L.  The  fruit  is 
oblong  and  cucumber-shaped,  with  a  woolly  epidermis.  It  has  an  acid  taste,  and 
produces  a  quantity  of  small  round  seeds. 

The  Mushroom  (Agaricus,  L.)  is  in  variety  and  plentiful,  on  plains  where  buffalos 
graze  ;  these  fungi  are  generally  of  the  esculent  species,  and  of  a  large  size.  The 
best  are  the  Agaricus  deliciosus,  A.  campestris,  and  A.  Georgii.  The  natives  prefer  the 
latter,  with  its  white  foldlets,  to  the  red  sort,  or  Campestris.  I  have  seen  the  last 
species,  upon  the  plains  between  Wanderope  and  Hambantotte,  in  the  southern  pro¬ 
vince,  fourteen  inches  in  diameter ;  but  it  is  only  during,  or  soon  after,  the  rainy 
season,  that  they  are  to  be  procured. 



The  Turnip  Cabbage,  or  Nol-col  ( Khol-rabi )  is  an  excellent  vegetable,  and  grows 
well  throughout  the  island,  from  Cape  seeds. 

The  calyx  of  the  Indian  Red  Sorrel  ( Hibiscus  sabdariffa,  L.)  is  made  into  a  jelly, 
which  is  scarcely  to  be  distinguished,  either  in  color  or  flavor,  from  that  made  from 
the  red  currant  of  Europe. 

The  Green  Pea  ( Pisum  sativum,  L.)  grows  freely,  with  proper  attention  to  its  cul¬ 
ture,  but  it  requires  to  be  transplanted  ;  and  the  plant,  when  about,  four  feet  high, 
should  be  topped. 

The  Arrow  Root  (Mar  ant  a  arundinacea,  L.)  is  extensively  cultivated  at  the  Church 
Missionary  station  at  Baddegamme,  in  the  southern  province,  and  prepared  in  a  similar 
manner  to  potato  starch  in  this  country.  Ceylon  was  formerly  supplied  with  it  from 
Bombay,  where  it  is  made  of  the  Koray  Kalung  of  Malabar  (Curcuma  angustifolia,  L.), 
which  is  very  inferior  to  the  true  Arrow  Root  (Maranta  arundinacea,  L.) ;  this  has 
been  so  extensively  cultivated  for  the  last  twenty  years,  that  the  island  now  produces 
abundance  for  home  consumption,  and  for  exportation. 

The  Sweet  Fennel  (Nigella  sativa),  Kaluduru  of  the  Singhalese,  abounds. 

The  Common  Ginger  (Amomum  Zingiber),  Ingoroo  of  the  Singhalese.  Green  ginger 
is  a  general  ingredient  in  curries,  and  distinguished  from  dry  ginger  by  the  name  of 
Ammu-ingoroo.  The  native  doctors  prescribe  an  embrocation  made  of  the  juice  of 
the  former,  conjointly  with  new  coco-nut  oil,  for  rheumatism,  and  it  is  a  most 
efficacious  remedy. 

The  Illepei  (Bassia  longifolia,  L.).  Every  part  of  the  Illepei  tree  is  useful :  the  flowers 
are  edible,  after  having  been  first  dried,  and  then  roasted  ;  the  ripe  fruit  is  eaten  by  the 
poorer  classes  ;  a  decoction  of  the  bark,  and  also  of  the  leaves,  is  used  medicinally ; 
a  valuable  oil  is  made  from  the  ripe  and  unripe  fruit ;  from  the  former,  when  required 
as  a  substitute  for  clarified  (buffalo’s)  butter,  or  Ghee ;  and  from  the  latter,  for  medi¬ 
cinal  purposes.  After  it  becomes  rancid,  it  is  thicker  than  coco-nut  oil,  and  emits  a 
most  disagreeable  smell,  when  used  in  lamps  ;  but  it  is  chiefly  employed  in  the  manu¬ 
facture  of  country  soap. 

The  Bird’s-nest  Cucumber  (Alomordica  cylindrica,  L.),  Vetta  Koloo  of  the  Singhalese, 
grows  like  the  cucumber,  and  is  deserving  of  particular  notice.  In  a  green  state, 
it  is  used  in  curries  ;  and  when  dry,  if  cut  transversely,  its  inside,  which  has  the 
smell  of  honey,  consists  of  longitudinal  and  transverse  fibres,  beautifully  interwoven, 
and  forming  three  cells  the  whole  length  of  the  fruit.  These  are  full  of  round 
black  seeds  ;  and  the  native  doctors  form  a  decoction  of  the  fibre,  which  they  use 
as  an  emetic. 



The  Tala  plant  ( Sesamum  orientate ,  L.),  a  species  of  Digitalis.  The  seeds  yield  a 
wholesome  and  aromatic  oil,  called  Gingili  oil  by  the  Singhalese,  who  use  it  both  for 
culinary  and  medicinal  purposes. 

The  Indian  Carraway  Seed  ( A  net  hum  graveolens),  Sattacupa  of  the  Singhalese. 

The  Fenugreek  ( Trigonella  f cerium  Grecurri),  Oloowa  of  the  Singhalese,  is  generally 
used  in  their  condiments. 

The  Sweet  Sorrel  ( Anethum  fceniculurn),  Dewaduru  of  the  Singhalese,  abounds. 

The  Greater  Cardamom  ( Amomurn  grana  Paradisi,  L.),  and  the  Lesser  Cardamom 
( Eletaria  cardamomum,  L.),  Ensal  of  the  Singhalese,  are  used  in  the  native  condiments, 
and  by  the  ladies,  for  sweetening  the  breath,  after  meals  ;  a  very  necessary  succeda- 
neum  to  the  free  use  of  garlic. 

The  Mustard  ( Sinapis  orientalis,  L.),  Raumanissa  of  the  Singhalese,  is  extensively 
cultivated.  It  is  very  insipid,  being  destitute  of  the  pungency  of  the  European  white 
mustard  ( Sinapis  alba,  L.),  which  is  largely  imported.  The  most  luxuriant  crops  are 
produced  on  the  banks  of  rivers. 

The  Guinea  Pea  ( Citysus  Cajan,  L.),  Tovaray  of  the  Malabars,  thrives  best  in  a 
sandy  soil.  It  is  a  triennial ;  rapid  in  growth,  prolific  in  produce,  and  a  succession 
of  plants  is  easily  obtained ;  for,  from  the  force  with  which,  upon  the  bursting  of  the 
legume,  the  seeds  (little  oblong  yellow  peas)  are  scattered,  they  rapidly  vegetate,  under 
the  shade  of  the  parent  shrub.  Cattle,  poultry,  and  pigeons,  are  extremely  partial 
to  it ;  and,  in  some  countries,  it  is  called  the  Pigeon  Pea.  It  is  an  excellent  substi¬ 
tute  for  pease  on  shipboard,  and  is  supplied  to  the  navy  in  the  East  Indies  under 
the  name  of  Dhol. 

The  native  agriculturists  are  deficient  in  the  selection  of  the  best  species  of  Rice 
( Oryza  Sativa,  L.)  and  other  grain.  As  the  culture  of  these  has  been  extended, 
numerous  varieties  have  formed  ;  indeed,  the  several  seasons  of  cultivation,  and  differ¬ 
ence  of  soil,  have  multiplied  them  into  an  almost  endless  variety. 

J.  W.  Bennett  del. 

Citrus  tuberoides 


Caffrarian  Lime 


Koodalodeye  of  the 


Western  Province — Maritime  capital — Master  attendant's  directions  for  the  guidance  of  ships  to  the  an 
chorage  in  Colombo  roads — Sand  bank — Drunken  sailor  rock — Adam's  Peak — Pilotage — Fort  of  Colombo — 
Queens  house — Library — Officers  of  the  garrison  without  quarters — Parsees — Pettah — Schools — Hindo-Portugvese 
and  Dutch  families — Black-eyed  belles — Government  clerks — Garrison  of  Colombo — Face  of  the  country — Soil — 
Slave  Island — Lake  of  Colombo — The  Tamarind  tree — Panorama  of  Colombo — Bazaars  well  supplied — News¬ 
papers — Etiquette  upon  arrival — A  British  merchant — Horticultural  society — Mail  coach  establishment — Widows' 
and  orphans'  fund — Savings  bank — Charitable  institutions — General  wish  for  a  Ceylon  bank. 

The  Western  Province  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Pomparipo  river  and  North¬ 
ern  Province,  on  the  south  by  the  river  Gindurah  and  part  of  the  Southern  Province, 
on  the  east  by  the  Central  Province,  extending  to  within  a  short  distance  of  Kandy,* 
and  on  the  wrest  by  the  sea.  Its  principal  towns  and  villages  are, — Colombo,  Negombo, 
Chilaw,  Putlam,  Calpentyn,  Galkisse,  Pantura,  Kaltura,  and  Barberyn,  on  the  sea, 
and  Kornegalle  and  Ruamvelle  in  the  interior. 

Colombo,  the  maritime  capital  and  seat  of  government,  is  situate  in  latitude  6°  57 
north,  and  longitude  79°  56'  east,  distant  about  six  leagues  S.  S.  W.  from  Negortibo. 
The  bottom  between  these  places  is  chiefly  mud,  with  regular  soundings  ;  but  the  coast 
should  not  be  approached  close,  on  account  of  some  rocks  stretching  out  about  two 
miles  from  the  north  point  of  the  Kalane  river,  here  called  the  Mutwal ;  and  in  passing 
along  shore,  a  ship  should  keep  in  ten  or  twelve  fathoms,  and  may  anchor  in  Colombo 
road  in  six-and-a-half  or  seven  fathoms,  with  the  flag-staff  or  light-house  in  the  fort 
bearing  from  S.  to  S.  by  E.,  off  the  towrn  one-and-a-half  or  twro  miles. 

Mr.  Steuart,  master  attendant  of  Colombo,  gives  the  following  useful  information 
for  the  guidance  of  ships  to  the  anchorage. 

“  A  brilliant  light  now  exhibited  from  a  light-house  in  the  fort  every  night,  which 
is  ninety  seven  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  will  direct  ships  approaching  the  road. 
Ships  requiring  pilots,  should  make  the  usual  signal,  to  be  conducted  to  the  anchorage, 
which  is  free  from  foul  ground,  and  now  frequented  at  all  seasons  of  the  year,  as  a 
severe  gale  of  wind  is  seldom  experienced  here. 

“  The  best  berth  during  the  S.  W.  monsoon,  from  April  to  October,  is  in  from  seven 
to  eight  fathoms,  with  the  light-house  bearing  S.  by  E.  half  E.,  and  the  Dutch  church 
E.  by  S.  In  the  N.  E.  monsoon,  from  November  to  April,  it  is  more  convenient  to 
anchor  in  six-and-a-half  fathoms,  with  the  light-house  bearing  S.  or  S.  half  E.,  and 




the  Dutch  church  E.  S.  E.  In  the  night,  when  proceeding  into  the  r<*ad,  bring  the 
light  of  the  fort  light-house  to  bear  S.  by  E.  or  S.  half  E.,  and  anchor  in  eight  or 
nine  fathoms,  about  half  a  mile  off  shore. 

“  The  bar  is  a  bank  of  sand,  with  seven  feet  of  water  on  its  shoalest  part,  the 
northern  extremity  being  about  four  hundred  yards  N.  W.  of  the  custom-house  point. 
Small  vessels,  drawing  less  than  ten  feet  of  water,  ride  within  the  bar,  protected  from 
the  sea  and  S.  W.  wind.  The  sea  breaks  heavy  on  the  bar  in  bad  weather,  rendering 
the  crossing  it,  from  the  shipping  in  the  outer  road,  dangerous  for  small  boats.  The 
native  boats  usually  pass  out  and  in  to  the  southward  of  the  bar,  close  to  the  breakers 
on  the  rocky  point  of  the  custom-house  ;  which,  being  a  narrow  pass,  should  not  be 
attempted  by  strangers,  when  the  sea  breaks  on  the  bar.  It  is  best  to  proceed  round 
to  the  northward  of  the  bar,  which  is  easily  distinguished  by  the  breakers.  Some 
rocks,  projecting  from  the  custom-house  point,  ought  to  be  avoided  in  passing. 

“  The  Drunken  Sailor  Rock,  bearing  by  compass  about  S.  W.  by  W.  half  W.  from 
the  light-house,  distant  one  thousand  yards,  is  very  dangerous,  being  situated  in  the 
track  of  ships  coming  from  the  southward,  when  bound  into  Colombo  road  in  the 
N.  E.  monsoon,  for  the  sea  does  not  break  upon  it  in  fine  weather ;  and  even  in  the 
S.  W.  monsoon  it  is  not  always  visible,  for  at  times  only  a  small  white  roller  can  be 
perceived  to  rise  over  it  once  in  six  or  eight  minutes.  According  to  the  statement 
of  Lieut.  Colonel  Wright,  of  the  royal  engineers,  who  examined  this  rock,  it  is  of  an 
oval  shape,  twenty  or  thirty  feet  in  circumference,  having  only  three-and-a-half  feet 
of  water  on  its  summit  at  low  tide,  and  about  six  at  high  water,  with  nine  fathoms 
very  near  it,  and  eight  or  nine  fathoms  between  it  and  the  shore.  This  must  refer  to 
the  shoalest  patch  only  at  its  southern  part,  because  Mr.  Steuari  found  not  less  than 
seven  feet  on  it  at  low  water,  and  he  estimated  the  ledge  to  be  one  hundred  yards  in 
length,  and  20  yards  in  breadth.  Several  ships  have  passed  very  close  to  the  Drunken 
Sailor,  ignorant  of  its  existence  ;  and  others  have  even  passed  between  it  and  the 
shore,  without  knowledge  of  the  danger,  which  is  avoided  in  coming  from  the  south¬ 
ward,  by  keeping  in  eleven  or  twelve  fathoms  water,  until  the  flag-staff  bears  E.  or 
E.  by  S.” 

Ships,  late  in  the  season,  ought  to  anchor  well  out,  to  be  enabled  to  proceed  to  sea 
in  case  of  necessity.  The  barque  Ceylon,  Captain  Francis  Davison,  did  not  arrive  at 
Colombo  till  the  beginning  of  June,  1827,  and  continued  taking  in  cargo  until  the 
26th,  when  she  sailed  for  England.  During  the  month  there  had  been  much  rain, 
thunder,  and  lightning,  the  weather  latterly  threatening,  with  a  heavy  swell  from  the 
south-westward,  which  was  followed  by  a  gale  of  wind  soon  after  the  Ceylon  had  left 
the  anchorage. 



The  land  about  Colombo  is  low  near  the  sea,  with  some  hills  to  the  south-eastward, 
a  little  way  in  the  country.  The  high  mountain,  having  on  it  a  sharp  cone,  called 
Adam’s  Peak,  is  nearest  to  this  part  of  the  coast,  being  about  two-thirds  of  the  dis¬ 
tance  that  it  is  from  the  east  side  of  the  island.  Captain  Ross,  the  Honorable  East 
India  Company’s  marine  surveyor,  in  January,  1824,  made  Adam’s  Peak  eighteen- 
and-a-quarter  mile^  east  of  Point  de  Galle  flag-staff,  by  angles  taken  with  the  theodo¬ 
lite.  Adam’s  Peak  is  in  latitude  6°  52|'  north,  and  bears  E.  seven  degrees  S.  from 
Colombo,  distant  twelve-and-a-half  leagues.  When  the  atmosphere  is  very  clear,  it 
may  be  seen  about  thirty  leagues  ;  but  this  seldom  happens,  excepting  in  the  N.  E. 
monsoon,  dense  vapours  generally  prevailing  over  the  island  during  the  S.  W.  monsoon. 

A  steep  bank  of  coral,  about  half  a  mile  broad,  having  fifteen  fathoms  water  on  it, 
lies  seven  miles  west  of  Colombo,  stretching  a  few  miles  to  the  southward,  and  in  a 
northerly  direction  towards  Negombo,  where  its  surface  is  sand.  The  water  deepens 
at  once  to  twenty  three  fathoms  outside  the  bank,  and  to  twenty  eight  fathoms  greenish 
sand  at  two  miles  distance,  which  is  not  far  from  the  edge  of  soundings.  Within  the 
bank  are  twenty  five  fathoms,  gradually  shoaling  towards  the  shore. 

Pilotage  is  not  now  charged  at  Colombo,  as  it  formerly  was,  unless  a  pilot  be  employed ; 
and  in  that  case  the  charge,  according  to  the  most  recent  regulation  of  the  governor 
and  councils,  is  15s. 

The  fort  of  Colombo  is  an  irregular  octagon,  built  upon  a  rocky  peninsula,  which 
projects  considerably  into  the  sea,  and  may  be  easily  insulated.  As  it  is  not  com¬ 
manded  in  any  direction,  and  is  strong  by  nature  and  art,  this  fortress,  adequately 
provisioned  and  garrisoned,  may  be  considered  tenable  for  a  long  time  against  a  large 
force  by  sea  and  land.  The  main  or  King’s  street  is  wide  and  well  planted  with  umbra¬ 
geous  tulip  ( Hibiscus  Zeilanicus,  L.)  and  bread-fruit  trees,  and  several  of  the  best  houses 
have  gardens  for  shrubs  and  flowers  in  their  front,  and  coach-houses  and  stables  in  theii 
rear.  The  streets  are  well  watered  during  the  day,  and  the  fallen  foliage  is  regularly 
removed  every  .morning  and  evening.  One  may  walk  from  either  extremity  of  the  fort 
to  the  other,  in  the  heat  of  the  day,  without  being  incommoded  by  the  sun’s  rays. 

The  governor’s  residence  is  styled  the  Queen’s  house  ;  nearly  opposite  to  which  is 
the  Colombo  library  and  reading  room,  well  supplied  with  books  upon  every  scientific 
and  amusing  subject ;  periodical  publications  from  Europe  and  the  Indian  continent, 
army  and  navy  lists,  and  newspapers.  The  situation  of  the  library,  which  is  consider¬ 
ably  elevated  above  the  street,  and  with  its  spacious  verandah  delightfully  shaded  by 
umbrageous  trees,  and  exposed  to  the  sea  breeze,  presents  an  agreeable  lounge  during 
the  heat  of  the  day. 

It  is?certainly  an  anomaly  for  officers  of  regiments  forming  the  garrison  of  a  fortress 

u  2 



in  India,  to  be  necessitated  to  hire  houses,  (for  there  are  no  lodgings,)  where  by  right, 
if  not  by  custom,  they  are  entitled  to  free  quarters  ;  but,  notwithstanding  the  great 
reductions  that  have  taken  place,  in  the  course  of  the  last  twenty  years,  in  their  colo¬ 
nial,  or,  as  it  is  locally  called,  “  island  allowance,”  its  present  very  limited  amount 
is  expected  to  cover  all  the  expenses  of  lodging,  fuel,  and  candlelight.  The  prospect 
of  free  quarters  at  Colombo  is  extremely  distant :  but  if  ever  the  day  arrive  for  the 
town  to  be  in  a  state  of  siege,  officers  will  be  sure  of  having  choice  of  all  the  best 
houses  in  the  fort,  for  those  chiefly  in  request  at  the  present  time,  would  then  be  the 
most  exposed  to  all  the  varieties  of  shot,  shell,  and  rockets. 

Several  respectable  Parsee  tradesmen  are  settled  in  the  fort  and  pettah  of  Colombo  ; 
they  are  all  connected  with  the  Bombay  trade,  from  which  island  they  receive  supplies 
during  the  south-west  monsoon,  and  make  their  returns,  chiefly  in  produce,  during  the 
north-east  monsoon  ;  and,  as  their  custom  is  elsewhere,  they  occupy  houses  as  near 
as  possible  to  each  other. 

Notwithstanding  the  hopelessness  of  discovering  who  the  so  called  Par  sees  are,  or 
from  what  nation  descended,  it  must  be  admitted  that  they  are  a  most  inoffensive  and 
industrious  race,  and  strict  in  the  observance  of  their  religious  rites,  as  prescribed  by 
Zoroaster  or  Zerdhusht,  the  founder  of  the  religion  of  the  Magi,  which  admitted  the 
existence  of  two  principles — the  cause  of  all  good,  and  the  cause  of  all  evil.  These 
Parsees  worship  one  Supreme  Being,  under  the  most  glorious  symbol,  the  sun  ;  and 
venerate  fire,  as  the  type  of  that  grand  source  of  light  and  heat. 

The  Pettah,  or  black  town,  as  it  is  called  in  Indian  parlance,  lies  on  the  north  side 
of  the  fort  of  Colombo,  upon  the  margin  of  the  sea,  and  consists  of  two  principal 
streets,  intersected  at  right  angles  by  cross  streets,  in  all  which  the  houses  are  sub¬ 
stantially  built  with  Kabooc  or  iron-stone.  Several  of  these  streets  have  a  row  of  trees 
on  each  side,  chiefly  of  the  Guilandina  Moringa ,  Hibiscus  Zeilanicus  ( Soorya  gaha  of  the 
Singhalese),  Hibiscus  albemoschus  ( Kapu  Kinaisa  gaha),  or  JHelia  sempervirens  ( Kas - 
sambu  gaha).  The  town  has  a  large  and  airy  hospital,  leper  hospital,  public  library,  and 
several  boys’  and  girls’  schools  ;  namely,  the  Colombo  academy,  St.  Paul’s  schools, 
Dutch  consistorial  school,  Hulfsdorp  school,  and  St.  Thomas’s  schools  ;  all  which  are 
under  the  patronage  of  the  government,  and  contain  about  one  thousand  scholars, 
of  both  sexes. 

The  Hindo-Portuguese  and  Dutch  families,  the  descendants  of  European  connexions 
with  native  ladies,  are  an  intelligent  and  respectable  community  ;  but  altogether  dis¬ 
tinct  from  British  society,  except  upon  certain  public  or  pell-7iiell  occasions.  The 
ladies,  when  young,  are  generally  pretty,  and  marriageable  at  an  early  age  ;  but  it  is 
only  in  the  evening,  at  which  time  the  streets  are  watered,  the  air  cool  after  the 


burning  heat  of  the  day,  and  scarcely  a  bullock  bandy,  out  of  the  hundreds  that  pass 
and  repass  between  sunrise  and  sunset,  to  be  seen,  that  these  black-eyed  belles  display 
their  pretty  little  figures  in  the  verandahs  or  stoups  of  their  paternal  residences.  Habited 
in  the  newest  London  or  Paris  fashions,  but  in  the  chaste  and  becoming  native  style 
as  regards  the  hair,  these  brunettes  display  the  latter  ornament,  with  which  nature  has 
blessed  them  with  a  profusion,  to  the  greatest  advantage,  aided  by  the  natural  beauty 
of  the  fragrant  flowers  of  the  yellow  and  white  Ceylon  jessamine,  Arabian  jessamine, 
Moosrie  ( Nerium  coroncifiim ),  tuberose  ( Polyanthes  tuberosa ),  Champaka  ( Michelia 
Champaka ),  and  occasionally  the  starry  corols  of  the  Mimusops  Elengi,  L.,  which  they 
intersperse  with,  and  by  way  of  contrast  to,  their  jet  black  ringlets. 

These  families  are  all  styled,  and  have  the  privilege  of,  “  Europeans,”  in  the  supreme 
and  minor  courts  of  justice.  English  officers  have  occasionally  intermarried  with  the 
offspring  of  such  Dutch  and  Portuguese  connexions,  but  it  is  a  rare  occurrence. 

The  government  clerks  are  selected  from  these  families,  and  manage  all  the  clerical 
duties  of  the  public  offices  in  an  admirable  manner ;  and  fortunate  it  is  that  their 
economical  habits  of  life  enable  them  to  support  their  families  upon  their  scanty  and 
altogether  inadequate  pay.  Their  great  claims  upon  the  consideration  of  Her  Majesty’s 
secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies  are  just  and  strong,  for  there  is  not  a  public  depart¬ 
ment  in  the  United  Kingdom  in  which  the  details  of  office  and  punctuality \in  attend¬ 
ance  are  more  regularly  performed  than  in  Ceylon  ;  and  whatever  may  be  the  difference 
expected  from  gentlemen  doing  duty  as  clerks  in  the  former,  in  point  of  dress,  appear¬ 
ance,  and  society,  even  then  the  difference  is  in  the  greatest  degree  invidious,  and  the 
balance  too  great  against  the  latter.  The  pay  of  Ceylon  clerks  bear  no  fair  proportion 
to  that  of  English  civil  servants ;  for  there  is  no  such  an  existing  anomaly  in  this 
country,  where,  in  the  treasury  for  instance,  the  secretaries  may  have  2000/.  a  year, 
for  the  junior  clerk  to  have  only  22/.  10s.  a  year;  but  in  Ceylon,  where  the  vice¬ 
treasurer  has  1750/.  a  year,  the  chief  clerk  has  but  250/.  a  year,  the  first  clerk  63/.. 
and  the  junior  22/.  10s. — In  the  colonial  department,  where  an  under  secretary  of  state 
has  but  1500/.  a  year,  which  is  500/.  a  year  less  than  that  of  the  colonial  secretary  at 
Ceylon,  what  would  the  junior  clerk  think  of  30/.  a  year,  which  is  the  salary  of  his 
contemporary  in  the  colonial  secretary’s  office  at  Ceylon  :  and  in  the  auditor  and 
accountant-general’s  office,  where  the  head  of  the  department  has  1750/.  a  year,  the 
junior  clerk  receives  but  31/.  10s. — By  these  data,  a  fair  judgment  may  be  formed 
of  the  inadequacy  of  the  salary  of  the  clerks,  and  their  relative  disproportion  to  the 
emoluments  of  the  heads  of  departments. 

The  general  and  disgusting  habit  of  masticating  betel,  obtains  among  the  elder 
ladies,  and  the  young  folks  will  clandestinely  enjoy  it.  At  their  parties,  the  formei 



range  themselves  in  chairs  against  the  walls  of  the  rooms,  in  a  straight  line,  as  if 
drilled  into  it  to  the  command  of  “  eyes  right  ”  or  “  eyes  left,”  and  by  the  side  of  each 
chair  stands  a  well-polished  brass  spittoon,  for  the  reception  of  the  blood-colored  saliva 
which  the  Pawn  produces  ;  whilst  the  middle  is  occupied  by  the  latter,  for  quadrilling 
and  contre-dancing. 

The  garrison  of  Colombo  consists  of  two  regiments  of  the  line,  the  head  quarters 
of  the  Ceylon  rifle  corps,  a  company  of  artillery,  with  a  proportion  of  engineers, 
and  the  requisite  medical  and  military  staff,  together  with  a  small  troop  of  mounted 
orderlies,  and  a  body  of  gun  Lascars. 

The  country  about  Colombo  is  flat,  except  a  small  part  to  the  northward ;  soil 
alluvial  and  sandy  in  some  parts,  and  iron-stone  clay  and  gravel  in  others — extremely 
fertile,  the  shores  covered  to  the  verge  of  the  sea  with  coco-nut  palms ;  and,  inland, 
beautifully  diversified  with  umbrageous  fruit  and  other  trees,  cinnamon  plantations, 
gardens,  and  pasture  lands,  intersected  by  canals,  and  a  fresh-water  lake  ;  and,  to  the 
northward,  by  the  Mutwal  river  or  Kalane-Ganga,  and  the  grand  canal. 

Soon  after  day-break,  when  the  lofty  mountain  of  the  Sri  Pada  *  or  Adam’s  Peak, 
is  seen  in  the  distance  from  the  south  esplanade  or  Galle  face,  the  view  of  Slave  island 
rising  out  of  the  placid  bosom  of  the  water,  called  the  lake  of  Colombo,  with  its  pretty 
houses,  bungalows,  and  other  buildings,  interspersed  amongst  stately  areka  trees, 
bread-fruit  trees,  and  coco-nut  palms,  the  bugles  of  the  Ceylon  rifle  corps  alone  break¬ 
ing  the  tranquility  of  the  scene,  affords  indescribable  pleasure  to  the  recently-arrived 
European.  It  is  at  this  hour,  that,  upon  review  days,  the  troops  are  seen  marching 
to  their  ground  upon  the  race  course  ;  and  that  the  early  risers  of  Colombo  are  setting 
out  upon  their  morning  drives,  rides,  or  walks,  very  many  of  whom  look  forward  with 
unalloyed  pleasure,  except  when  the  rainy  season  prevents  it,  to  the  general  rendezvous 
of  the  European  civil  and  military  officers  and  merchants — the  well-known  Tamarimd 
Tree,  (near  the  three-miles’  stone  on  the  Galle  road,)  to  quaff  the  wholesome  and  reno¬ 
vating  nectar  fresh  from  the  toddy  palm,  before  fermentation,  which  is  very  rapid, 
commences.  It  is  then  that  the  natural  sieve  which  nature  presents,  in  the  envelope 
of  the  petioles  of  the  coco-nut  fronds,  is  employed  in  one  of  its  most  useful  offices ; 
namely,  for  straining  the  liquid,  and  clearing  it  from  the  various  insects  that  may  have 
fallen  victims  to  their  love  of  sweets  during  the  night,  and  are  generally  of  the  genus 
Scarabaus,  of  which,  the  blue  and  green  are  the  largest  and  most  beautiful. 

The  whole  way  from  the  esplanade  to  the  tamarind  tree  is  a  wide  carriage  road, 
shaded  with  tulip,  coco-nut,  teak,  bamboo,  banyan,  silky  cotton,  areka,  Adam’s  apple 
(' Cerbera  Manghas,  L.),  and  various  other  useful  and  ornamental  trees  :  but  the  road 

*  Venerated  foot. 



generally  preferred  for  returning  to  the  fort,  leads  along  the  margin  of  the  sea,  through 
a  dense  coco-nut  tope,  to  the  verge  of  the  esplanade. 

Emerging  from  the  line  of  native  huts,  upon  the  sea-side  of  the  high  road,  the 
splendid  fortifications  of  Colombo,  which  form  a  prominent  part  of  the  grand  panorama 
that  presents  itself,  are  viewed  with  admiration. 

The  various  Bazaars  are  situated  in  the  Pettah  of  Colombo,  and  are  well  and 
regularly  supplied  ;  every  day,  except  Sunday,  being  alike  in  point  of  supplies ;  but  no 
traffic  is  now  allowed,  as  formerly  obtained,  during  stated  hours,  on  the  Lord’s-day. 
Grain,  beef,  mutton,  veal,  kid,  pork,  poultry,  fish,  fruit,  and  vegetables,  including 
potatos,  for  which,  some  few  years  ago,  the  island  was  altogether  dependant  upon 
Bombay  and  Madras,  but  are  now  abundant  and  cheap,  are  exposed  for  sale  soon 
after  daylight,  and  fish  is  also  supplied  every  evening  in  great  variety. 

There  are  three  weekly  newspapers,  namely,  the  Colombo  Herald,  the  Observer, 
and  the  Government  Gazette  ;  these,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  are  too  liberally  conducted  to 
descend  to  personal  attacks  upon  individuals  ;  and  that  the  editors,  in  availing  them¬ 
selves  of  their  now  indisputable  right  to  question  the  official  conduct  of  public  servants, 
will  be  satisfied  with  having  that  power  ;  for  it  is  within  my  recollection,  that  to  have 
so  done,  would  have  ensured  their  deportation,  if  not  the  seizure  of  their  presses. 

Europeans  arriving  at  Colombo,  are  expected  to  report  themselves  without  delay  at 
the  colonial  secretary’s  office  ;  and  at  the  other  ports  of  the  island,  to  the  agents  of 
government.  Gentlemen  for  the  civil  establishment  will,  of  course,  feel  it  their  duty, 
after  having  paid  their  respects  to  His  Excellency  the  Governor,  and  commander-in-chief, 
to  whom  they  will  be  introduced  by  the  private  secretary,  to  wait  upon  the  heads  of 
departments  ;  and  they  cannot  do  wrong  by  paying  similar  respect  to  the  commandant. 

Naval  and  military  officers  require  no  information  upon  the  observance  of  local 
etiquette,  for  it  is  everywhere  the  same  to  them  ;  but  Griffins  may  derive  great  assist¬ 
ance  from  Mr.  Dionysius  de  Neys,  librarian  of  the  Colombo  library,  in  procuring 
a  residence,  servants,  &c.,  if,  through  want  of  introductory  letters,  they  find  them¬ 
selves  “  alone  in  their  loneliness.” 

The  surviving  partner  of  the  oldest  commercial  firm  in  the  island,  (that  of  Messrs. 
W.  C.  Gibson  &  Co.)  Joseph  Read,  Esq.,  who  resides  at  Colombo,  than  whom,  few 
if  any,  are  better  acquainted  with  the  internal  and  external  commerce  of  the  colony, 
is  an  admirable  specimen  of  the  old  British  merchant ;  combining  with  every  quality 
that  can  fix  confidence,  and  ensure  esteem,  the  most  genuine  Caledonian  hospitality ; 
for  which,  distinguished  as  his  countrymen  are  everywhere,  (and  where  they  are  not 
it  is  next  to  an  impossibility  to  discover,)  Mr.  Read  may  perhaps  be  equalled,  but 
cannot  be  excelled. 



The  Horticultural  Society  of  Colombo  is  under  the  patronage  of  the  governor,  and 
it  is  to  be  hoped  that  it  will  prove  more  stable  in  its  nature  than  its  predecessor,  the 
Literary  and  Agricultural  Society. 

The  Mail  Coach  Establishment,  commenced  in  1832  by  a  joint  stock  company, 
conveys  passengers  from  Colombo  to  Kandy  (which  formerly  took  several  days  to 
accomplish  by  palankin  travelling)  in  less  than  twelve  hours.  The  coach  starts  from 
Colombo  every  Monday,  Wednesday,  and  Friday  morning,  at  gun-fire,  and  reaches 
Kandy,  a  distance  of  seventy  eight  miles,  between  five  and  six  o’clock  of  the  same 
day ;  and  leaves  Kandy  every  Tuesday,  Thursday,  and  Saturday  morning,  at  gun-fire, 
and  reaches  Colombo  about  five  p.  m.  ;  the  former  journey  having  more  up-hill  work 
than  the  latter.  The  fare  to  and  from  Kandy  is  21.  10.?. 

The  Ceylon  Widows’  and  Orphans’  Fund  is  under  official  management  and  security ; 
and  cannot  fail  to  prove  a  blessing  to  those  widows  and  orphans  whose  provident  hus¬ 
bands  and  fathers  may,  by  their  contributions,  have  preserved  them  from  destitution. 

The  Colombo  Savings’  Bank  is  another  excellent  establishment,  and  worthy  of 
general  support.  It  has  branch  committees  at  Trincomale,  Galle,  Kandy,  and  Jaffna) 
by  which  loans  are  advanced  upon  good  security,  and  deposits  received  and  business 
transacted,  between  twelve  and  three  o’clock  on  the  first  and  third  Monday  in  every 
month  ;  and,  in  case  of  extraordinary  business,  on  the  second  and  fourth  Monday, 
from  one  to  three  o’clock. 

Of  charitable  institutions,  there  are — the  Leper  Hospital ;  Pettah  Hospital ;  District 
Committee  of  the  Society  for  Promoting  Christian  Knowledge  ;  Bible  Association  for 
the  Dutch  and  Portuguese  inhabitants  ;  Colombo  Friend-in-need  Society,  (for  the  pur¬ 
pose  of  relieving  the  really  necessitous,  and  for  suppressing  mendicity,)  under  the  able 
management  of  a  highly  respectable  and  numerous  committee ;  over  which,  the  senior 
colonial  chaplain  is  president,  and  the  governor,  for  the  time  being,  the  patron  ; — 
A  Commission  for  the  General  Superintendence  of  Education  in  the  Colony,  of  which 
the  members  are  selected  from  the  ecclesiastical,  judicial,  and  civil  establishments  ; — 
and  the  Colombo  Ladies’  Branch  Society,  to  the  immortal  honor  of  those  amiable, 
accomplished,  and  benevolent  ladies,  who  compose  tire  committee. 

Both  Europeans  and  natives  appear  equally  anxious  for  the  establishment  of  a  Colo¬ 
nial  Bank.  The  mercantile  interests,  as  well  as  those  of  individuals,  must  be  sensibly 
alive  to  the  disadvantages  of  being  altogether  dependant  upon  the  limited  sale  of 
government  and  missionary  bills,  for  remittances  to  England  ;  and  it  is  to  be  antici¬ 
pated  that  public-spirited  individuals  will  yet  be  found  in  this  country,  to  carry  the 
general  wish  of  the  colonial  community  into  effect,  by  the  establishment  of  a  Ceylon 
Bank,  which  cannot  fail  to  conduce  to  the  welfare  of  that  important  island. 


i .'eylon  f  slung  boats — Then  e.rtraordiniu y  shape  and  swiftness — The  fishery  one  </  the  most  important  of  t/o. 
capabilities  of  the  island — Regulation  of  government  fur  encouraging  the  salting  of  fish  within  the  island — InsvJ 
ficient  protection — Fish  rents — Restrictions  u/nn  fishermen — Suggestions  to  His  Majesty  s  secretary  for  the  colonies, 
in  1»32,  for  increasing  the  sale  of  salt,  de<  reusing  the  expense  of  gathering  it,  reducing  the  price  to  the  consumer, 
■nid  encouraging  settlers  in  the  Muhagamputtoo  for  curing  fish — Abolition  of  the  monopoly  recommended — Lew  ays 
or  natural  salt  pans — Salt  stealing — Military  guards — Sentinels  pay  liable  to  stoppage  for  stolen  salt — Two  salt 
dealers  killed — Bullocks  confiscated — Doubf  o  ojes  to  labourers  m  the  Mahagampattoo — Impressed  salt  gatherer s 

Adulteration  of  salt — Expense  of  gathering  salt  and  transmitting  it  to  Colombo — Salt  naturally  formed  at  tin 
distant  Leways  placed  under  military  guard  until  dissolved  by  the  rain — Trice  of  salt — Importation  of  salt  fish — 
i  oup  de  grace  lu  salt-water  invoices — Sat  ice  process  of  salting  fsh  objectionable — Its  results — Suggestions  for 
improving  the  mode  of  stilting  fsh — I'mposid  plan  for  curing  fsh  by  smoke — Country  salt  fsh  very  Utile  in  rei/ues * 
among  Europeans — Salt  fsh  from  Europe  and  America — Fish  common  to  the  coasts  of  Ceylon. 

The  innumerable  sailing  canoes  that  are  daily  engaged  in  fishing,  in  the  offing  of 
Colombo,  during  the  S.  W.  monsoon,  attract  the  attention  of  every  new-comer.  These 
extraordinary  boats  are  formed  of  a  single  tree,  which  is  either  hollowed  by  means  of 
tire,  or  scooped  out  by  the  simplest  tools,  and  generally  from  fifteen  to  eighteen  feet 
in  length.  The  body  has  a  considerable  bilge,  and  gunwales  are  raised  upon  it,  con¬ 
sisting  of  two  planks  of  light  wood,  from  20  to  24  inches  in  breadth  ;  these  run  the 
whole  length  of  the  boat,  and  are  united  at  the  head  and  stern  by  a  transverse  plank 
of  the  same  breadth  as  the  longitudinal  ones,  by  means  of  regularly  drilled  holes, 
fh rough  which  strong  Kotr  cord  is  passed,  and  neatly  interlaced  crosswise  :  this  is 
afterwards  payed  over  with  a  coat,  of  dammer  as  a  preservative. 

The  breadth  of  beam  of  the  Ceylon  canoes  is  from  20  to  24  inches ;  and  their  great 
height  and  extreme  lightness  would  render  it  impossible  to  keep  them  upright,  without 
being  balanced  by  an  outrigger  from  one  side.  This  is  formed  of  a  solid  log,  shaped 
like  a  canoe,  but  with  pointed  ends,  and  is  extended  for  about  six  or  seven  feet  from 
the  side,  by  two  arched  stretchers,  convexing  towards  the  false  canoe,  to  which  the) 
are  lashed  by  strong  Ko'tr  cord,  passed  through  neatly  drilled  holes,  in  order  to  pre¬ 
vent  friction  as  much  as  possible.  These  canoes  have  one  mast,  upon  which  a  very 
large  square  sail,  of  country  cotton  canvas,  is  hoisted  ;  and  the  head  and  stern  being 
alike,  the  sail  is  carried  either  way,  and  the  course  altered  in  a  moment  to  the  oppo¬ 
site  direction,  without  shifting  or  neutralizing  the  outrigger.  The  velocity  with  which 



these  boats  skim  over  the  surface  of  the  water,  (for  so  light  is  their  draught,  they  can 
scarcely  be  said  to  sail  through  it,)  surprises  every  beholder. 

The  Colombo  Fishery  might  be  made  one  of  the  most  important  of  the  capabilities 
of  this  island,  whose  coasts  may  literacy  be  said  to  teem  with  fish  of  the  best  kinds, 
for  all  the  purposes  of  home  consumption,  as  well  as  for  exportation  ;  and  a  more 
ample  field  for  lucrative  speculation  cannot  possibly  present  itself. 

The  natives,  whether  Singhalese  or  Malabars,  are  so  accustomed  to  a  light  diet ;  and, 
with  the  exception  of  swine,  to  which  the  former  have  all  the  partiality  of  the  Otaheiteans, 
eat  so  very  little  animal  food,  that  a  method  of  curing  fish,  upon  an  improved  system  to 
the  primitive  one,  that  has  obtained  in  the  island  from  immemorial  time>  would  both 
ensure  very  ample  profits  to  those  concerned  in  it,  and  prove  a  blessing  to  the  colony. 

I  do  not  find,  among  my  various  data,  and  notes  collected  in  the  island,  that  the 
notice  of  any  one  British  governor  had  been  applied  to  this  most  important,  but, 
I  am  sorry  to  say,  still  neglected  subject,  until  the  late  Lieutenant  General  Sir  Edward 
Barnes,  G.  C.  B.,  at  the  time  he  was  lieutenant  governor  of  Ceylon,  deemed  it  worthy 
of  attention,  amongst  the  other  objects  of  his  patriotic  zeal  for  the  general  welfare  ; 
and  the  Regulation  of  government,  No.  6,  of  the  year  1821,  “  for  encouraging  the 
preparation  of  salt  fish  within  the  island,”  was  accordingly  promulgated.* 

That  ordinance  expressly  provided  for  its  protection,  by  imposing  a  duty  of  fifteen 
per  cent,  upon  the  invoice  value,  or  prime  cost  of  salt  fish  of  every  description,  imported 
from,  and  after  the  first  of  April  of  that  year  ;  and,  for  the  further  encouragement  of 
the  fishery,  all  salt  fish  cured  within  the  island  was  permitted  to  be  exported  duty  free. 
But  it  escaped  His  Excellency’s  attention,  that  the  most  likely  mode  of  promoting  the 
object  in  view,  was  to  excite  the  cupidity  of  the  Singhalese,  by  granting  a  liberal 
drawback  to  the  exporter,  even  to  the  extent  of  the  amount  of  the  import  duty. 

The  average  annual  value  of  the  fish  rents  to  government,  may  be  estimated  at 
from  <£7000  to  ,£8000  sterling.  These  rents,  or  tenths  of  all  fish  caught  upon  the 
sea-coasts  of  Ceylon,  are  annually  sold  by  public  auction,  and  the  duty  is  collected  by 
the  fanner  of  the  revenue  of  each  district.  This  is  a  most  vexatious  duty,  both  upon 
the  native  fisherman,  and  the  consumer  desirous  of  having  fish  as  fresh  as  possible 
from  the  sea : — for  instance,  a  person  living  between  Galkisse  and  Colombo,  which 
places  are  seven  miles  distant  from  each  other,  sees  abundance  of  the  best  fish  carried 
past  his  house  every  morning  and  evening,  and  yet  he  cannot  buy  any,  because  it 
must  first  be  taken  to  the  Bazaar,  for  the  fish-renter  to  have  his  share  ;  so  that  a 
servant  has  to  travel  several  miles  to,  and  from  the  Bazaar,  to  get  fish  in  a  wholesome 

*  Vide  Appendix. 


state,  merely  because  the  fishermen  dare  not  sell,  what  may  have  been  caught,  perhaps 
within  a  mile  or  two  of  his  (the  servant’s)  master’s  residence. 

Until  the  government  removes  such  restrictions  upon  the  fisherman,  and  reduces  the 
price  of  salt,  little  or  nothing  can  be  expected  from  any  plans  for  establishing  factories 
for  the  curing  of  fish. 

In  the  year  1832,  I  solicited  the  attention  of  Viscount  Goderich,  at  that  time  His 
Majesty’s  principal  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  to  my  suggestions  for  the  improve¬ 
ment  of  the  revenue  derived  from  salt,  by  diminishing  the  expenses  of  its  realization, 
and  for  extending  its  sale,  by  reducing  the  price  to  the  consumer ;  and  for  the  better 
encouragement  of  settlers  in  the  Mahagampattoo,  for  the  purpose  of  curing  fish,  by 
reducing  the  price  of  salt  used  for  that  purpose  to  one  half  of  the  market  rate  of  it 
elsev'here  in  the  island.  Nevertheless,  this  oppressive  monopoly  still  exists,  and  the 
natives  cannot  obtain  salt  at  a  less  price  than  2s.  4 d.  per  bushel,  of  four  pecks. 

Surely  the  government  might  adopt  some  better  system  for  the  gathering  and  sale 
of  salt,  (the  expense  of  the  present  establishments  may  be  estimated  at  from  ,£6000 
to  £7000  per  annum,)  or  be  satisfied  with  a  less  amount  of  nett  profit  than  £20,000 
or  £21,000  per  annum,  which  is  about  the  average  value  of  this  monopoly. 

Some  less  objectionable  tax  might  be  substituted,  so  as  to  relieve  the  population  of 
so  oppressive  an  impost  upon  this  grand  necessary  of  life,  and  put  a  stop  to  the  long- 
prevailing  smuggling  system  to  w’hich  the  natives  are  tempted,  by  the  high  price  of 
salt,  and  the  heavy  restrictions  upon  that  article. 

Abolish  the  monopoly,  I  would  say,  and  levy  a  customs  and  excise  duty,  from  4 d.  to 
6d.  a  bushel,  upon  all  salt  conveyed  by  land  carriage,  or  coastwise,  by  Dhonies,  &c. ; 
and  if  that  be  insufficient,  make  it  up  by  a  charge  upon  licenses  to  the  renters  of  natural 
Leways,  and  salt  manufacturers  at  other  places ;  and  thus  remove  the  hardships  that 
are  now  roo  justly  complained  of. 

The  natural  salt  pans,  or  Leways ,  are  situate  in  the  Mahagampattoo,  a  district  of 
the  southern  province,  which,  although  formerly  flourishing  and  well-inhabited,  is  now’, 
in  proportion  to  its  extent,  almost  destitute  of  population.  Its  numerous  ruined  tanks, 
and  other  agricultural  vestiges,  are  proofs  of  its  pristine  importance  ;  but  its  chief 
place,  Hambantotte,  contains  no  more  than  fifteen  hundred  inhabitants,  including  the 
garrison.  Nevertheless,  by  a  better  system  of  management  of  the  salt  department, 
and  adequate  encouragement  for  the  establishment  of  a  factory  for  curing  fish,  this 
place  may  again  become  a  prolific  source  of  public  prosperity  and  of  private  wealth, 
and  one  of  the  most  populous  of  the  maritime  districts  of  Ceylon. 

The  stealing  of  salt  from  the  temporary  depots  at  the  Leways ,  has  for  many  years 

x  2 


prevailed  to  an  almost  incredible  extent ;  and  neither  the  penal  enactments  of  the 
governor  in  council,  nor  the  risk  of  life  itself,  which  has  often  proved  fatal,  have  had 
the  effect  of  deterring  the  natives  from  availing  themselves  of  every  opportunity  to 
obtain  it.  This  determination  to  possess  themselves  of  an  absolute  necessary  of  life, 
by  plundering  the  salt  heaps  at  the  Leways,  arises  from  the  exorbitant  price  set  upon 
a  natural  production,  which  poverty  precludes  them  from  obtaining  honestly  :  this  is 
so  general,  as  to  hold  out  no  expectation  of  its  being  overcome,  whilst  the  present 
system  incites  them  both  to  steal  for  themselves  and  to  supply  the  smuggler. 

The  revenue  is  exposed  to  much  loss,  owing  to  the  great  distance  of  the  storehouses 
from  the  Leways,  or  natural  salt  pans ;  where  the  salt,  instead  of  being  lodged  under 
cover,  is  collected  into  large  heaps,  which  are  clayed  over ;  for  as  the  salt  does  not 
always  form  in  one  place  in  a  Leway,  the  positions  of  the  collected  heaps  vary  accord¬ 
ing  to  circumstances ;  and  therefore  such  divisions  as  are  not  contiguous,  require  a 
separate  military  guard,  and  temporary  guard-house,  for  their  protection  ;  which  renders 
it  expedient  to  keep  a  garrison  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  invalids  of  the  Ceylon  rifle 
corps,  for  the  duties  of  the  salt  department. 

The  expense  of  so  large  a  military  force,  is  not  the  only  objection  to  its  employment. 
At  one  time,  the  question  “  Quis  custodes  custodiet  ipsos  ?”  was  justly  applicable  to  the 
military  guardians  of  the  government  salt  heaps  ;  for  without  their  connivance,  or  with 
common  vigilance  on  their  parts,  no  great  excess  of  plunder  could  possibly  have  been 
effected  :  therefore  a  security,  that  should  be  made  available  to  the  public,  was  indis¬ 
pensable  ;  and  the  pay  of  the  sentinels  having  consequently  been  made  liable  for  the 
value  of  the  salt,  stolen  during  their  respective  tours  of  Leway  duty,  their  self-interest 
became  inseparable  from  the  preservation  of  the  government  property. 

A  different  system  was  thenceforth  adopted ;  and  subsequent  attempts  to  steal  salt 
from  the  heaps,  were  regarded  by  the  soldiers  as  personal  injuries ;  and  whenever, 
owing  to  the  number  of  natives,  who,  at  one  and  the  same  time  assailed  the  salt  heaps, 
the  guards  could  not  seize  individuals,  they  employed  their  firearms.  In  1826,  two 
Singhalese  were  shot  dead  by  the  Malays,  whilst  in  the  act  of  stealing  salt  at  the 
Koholoncale  Leway ;  and  between  three  and  four  hundred  bullocks,  belonging  to  salt 
smugglers,  were  confiscated  during  my  superintendence  of  that  district. 

The  distance  of  the  Leways  from  the  storehouses,  renders  an  establishment  of  one 
hundred  carts,  some  hundreds  of  bullocks,  with  a  number  of  headmen,  drivers,  smiths,, 
and  carpenters,  indispensable  ;  and  as  no  native  will  serve  there  under  double  pay, 
so  great  is  their  dread  of  the  climate  of  the  Mahagampattoo,  the  expense  of  it,  inde¬ 
pendently  of  contingent  expenses,  of  which,  the  loss  of  bullocks,  killed  by  wild  beasts, 
is  not  the  least,  in  the  course  of  a  year,  is  worth  saving  to  the  public. 



One  fourth  of  mud  or  sand  may  be  considered  the  average  quantity  collected  out  of 
every  parah  *  of  Lcway  salt ;  and  it  often  happens,  that  no  more  than  half  the  quantity 
of  good  salt  is  produced  by  evaporation  :  but  this  entirely  arises  from  the  impressment  of 
natives  to  gather  the  salt,  who,  notwithstanding  that  they  are  paid  the  very  fair  wages 
of  four  fanams  (6<f.  sterling)  a  day,  hurry  through  the  business,  they  care  not  how. 

The  headmen  are  so  few,  in  proportion  to  the  hundreds  of  salt  gatherers,  who  are 
scattered  over  an  extensive  Levoay,  that  the  latter  cannot  be  individually  overlooked 
by  those  who  superintend  the  general  business  of  the  salt  department. 

It  is  only  during  the  salt  harvests,  that  these  wretched  inhabitants  of  the  villages 
near  the  Leways  are  able  to  obtain  subsistence,  except  upon  wild  roots,  (the  majority  of 
which  possess  acrid  properties,)  and  the  bitter  leaves  of  the  wild  tea  tree  :  these  they 
boil  and  eat  with  sour  curd,  and  use  an  infusion  of  the  leaves  for  drink ;  and  yet  so 
great  is  their  natural  idleness,  that  they  are  compelled  to  be  pressed  as  salt  gatherers, 
where  their  only  alternative  is  starvation,  or  the  vile  diet  already  described ! ! 

Singhalese  coolies  from  other  parts  of  the  island  go  to  the  Mauritius  for  employment, 
notwithstanding  that  every  thing  is  dearer  there  than  at  Ceylon.  What  then  must  be 
the  state  of  agriculture,  where,  with  a  population  of  only  1,500,000,  at  the  maximum, 
to  an  area  of  24,448  square  miles,  agricultural  labourers  emigrate  to  other  colonies  ? 

The  high  price  of  government  salt  encourages  every  species  of  roguery.  The  ports 
of  Colombo,  Galle,  and  Trincomale,  are  chiefly  supplied  from  Hambantotte,  by  large 
native  vessels,  called  Dhonies ;  and  scarcely  a  season  passes  without  complaints  against 
the  quality  of  the  salt  conveyed  by  them ;  this  the  natives  so  ingeniously  contrive  to 
adulterate,  that,  in  appearance,  their  cargoes,  on  arrival  at  the  ports  of  destination, 
agree  with  the  samples,  which,  sealed  in  bamboo  canes,  accompany  them.  The  adulte¬ 
ration  is  effected  at  certain  creeks  on  the  coast,  where,  by  pre-concerted  arrangements, 
smugglers  are  in  waiting,  with  sacks,  and  bullocks,  to  carry  away  the  stolen  salt,  which 
they  replace  with  an  equal  proportion  of  grey  sand.  This  might  certainly  be  pre¬ 
vented,  by  sending  a  trustworthy  person  with  each  cargo  ;  but  where  so  many  vessels 
are  employed,  an  establishment  of  such  officers  would  be  required. 

The  deteriorated  quality  of  the  salt,  as  it  is  now  gathered,  occasions  an  expense  of 
at  least  a  fourth  more  freight  than  would  be  required  under  the  plan  I  submitted  to  the 
colonial  department.  The  expense  to  the  government  of  gathering  salt,  and  trans¬ 
porting  it  to  Colombo,  may  be  estimated  at  sixpence  the  parah  ;  and  the  nett  revenue 
from  this  monopoly,  at  <£20,000  per  annum,  which  includes  the  produce  of  all  the 
natural  and  artificial  salt  works  in  the  island,  which  are  about  forty  eight  in  number. 

*  A  parah  is  about  two-thirds  of  a  Winchester  bushel. 


It  often  happens,  that  when  salt  has  formed  at  the  more  distant  Leways,  instead 
of  being  gathered,  guards  are  posted  there,  perhaps  for  months  together,  until  the 
rains  shall  have  set  in,  and  dissolved  it.  The  guards  may  then  connive  at  the  clandes¬ 
tine  removal  of  the  salt  with  impunity,  because  their  pay  is  only  held  liable  for  the 
loss  of  salt,  where  it  can  be  ascertained  by  admeasurement ;  and  serious  loss  to  the 
revenue  is  thus  occasioned,  which  the  erection  of  a  storehouse  on  the  margin  of  each 
Leway,  for  the  reception  of  the  salt  as  soon  as  gathered,  would  effectually  obviate. 

The  price  of  salt  is  fixed  at  two  shillings  the  parah  measure ;  and  I  have  seen  a 
parah  of  the  grey  mixture  called  government  salt,  submitted  to  what  is  called  the 
boiling  process,  just  after  it  had  been  received  from  the  salt  stores  at  Galle,  which 
produced  only  twqlve-and-a-half  pounds  of  pure  salt ;  but  this  occasionally  varies  in 
the  same  place,  a  similar  quantity  sometimes  yielding  thirteen  or  fourteen,  at  others, 
sixteen  pounds. 

Thus  the  high  price  of  salt  operates  so  much  to  the  prejudice  of  the  Ceylon  fisheries, 
that  the  island  is  dependent  for  supplies  of  salt  fish,  which  is  an  article  of  general 
consumption ,  and  in  constant  demand,  throughout  the  interior,  on  its  importations  from 
the  Maidive  Islands,  and  places  within  the  East  India  Company’s  territories,  (where, 
notwithstanding  the  monopoly,  salt  is  cheaper) ;  and  a  ready  sale  is  found  for  it, 
malgre  the  protecting  duty  of  ten  per  cent. 

If  the  government  was  not  originally  aware  of  the  salt  water  invoice  system,  the 
ordinance  No.  5  of  1837  gave  the  coup  de  grace  to  that  disgraceful  practice,  by  reduc¬ 
ing  the  import  duty  to  ten  per  cent.,  but  upon  the  value  of  the  article  m  the  Ceylon 
market,  instead  of  the  original  cost  or  invoice  price  :  nevertheless  this  was  little  or  no 
relief  to  the  public,  for  in  very  many  instances  it  operated  equally  against  the  consumer 
and  the  importer ;  and  consequently  the  government  was  the  only  party  benefitted  : 
for,  whilst  the  fish-rent  system  prevails,  very  many  years  must  elapse,  before  the 
island  can  be  independent  of  foreign  supplies  of  salt  fish  for  home  consumption  ;  and 
a  much  longer  time  will  be  required,  even  if  a  considerable  drawback  were  allowed, 
for  the  local  fisheries  to  have  a  surplus  for  exportation. 

The  native  process  of  salting  fish  is  altogether  most  objectionable.  In  the  first 
place,  no  care  is  taken  to  obviate  the  rapid  progress  of  putrefaction ;  for,  instead  of 
salting  the  fish,  as  soon  as  it  is  taken  out  of  the  water,  which  is  indispensable  within 
the  tropics,  it  is  carelessly  done  after  having  been  some  time  landed,  (and  then,  of 
such  part  only  of  the  cargo  as  could  not  be  sold  in  its  fresh  state,)  and  exposed  upon 
a  sandy  beach  to  a  vertical  sun.  The  consequence  may  be  easily  imagined ;  fish  so 
exposed,  is  soon  impregnated  with  almost  as  much  sand  as  salt ;  and,  if  affected  by 



casual  moisture,  or  absorption,  it  becomes  rotten  before  it  can  be  conveyed  to  the 
interior,  where  it  is  chiefly  in  demand. 

As  the  Ceylon  fishing  boats  are  built  exclusively  for  sailing ;  they  have  no  room 
to  stow  more  than  a  few  fish,  and  consequently  have  no  stowage  for  salt,  for  the  pur¬ 
pose  of  curing  the  fish  in  the  only  way  that  can  be  effectual  in  so  hot  a  climate. 

This  might  be  obviated,  by  a  certain  number  of  fishing  boats  being  attended  by  a 
D  honey  t  as  a  rendezvous,  and  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  salt ;  and  for  the  crew  of 
the  latter  to  salt  the  fish  as  soon  as  caught  and  conveyed  to  them.  This,  however, 
would  require  more  capital  than  the  native  fishers  can  command,  or  would  be  disposed 
to  risk,  if  they  could.  But  an  additional  and  great  advantage  would  attend  the  plan  ; 
for  the  crews  of  the  fishing  boats  could  keep  much  longer  at  sea,  and  cook  their 
victuals  and  sleep  on  board  the  Dhoney,  until  it  was  fully  freighted. 

Those  who  are  accustomed  to  salt  and  cure  fish  in  cold  climates,  would  require 
considerable  experience  to  become  equally  perfect  within  the  tropics,  where  the  fish 
requires  air  and  shade,  as  well  as  occasional  exposure  to  the  sun. 

Upon  casually  looking  over  the  notes  that  I  made  during  the  time  I  was  on  garrison 
duty  at  Fort  Belgica,  in  the  island  of  Banda  Neira,  in  1811,  it  occurred  to  me,  and 
I  mention  it  with  all  deference  to  superior  judgment,  that  the  mode  adopted  by  the 
nutmeg  curers  there,  would  answer  very  well  for  fish  ;  namely,  oy  open  platforms  of 
split  bamboo  canes  raised  in  tiers  at  regular  distances,  with  proportionate,  and  of  course 
larger  spaces  between  each  bamboo  slip  than  would  be  required  to  support  the  nut¬ 
megs,  and  according  to  the  size  of  the  fish. 

By  this  means,  the  objectionable  mode  of  letting  the  fish  come  in  contact  with 
the  sand,  would  be  obviated  ;  and  any  quantity  might  be  entirely  cured  by  smoke,  by 
lighted  wet  rice  straw  being  laid  under  the  lower  tier,  which  would  ascend  through  all 
the  intermediate  spaces  to  the  roof,  and  a  more  convenient  or  cheaper  contrivance 
could  not,  in  my  humble  opinion,  be  adopted. 

Country  salt  fish,  owing  to  the  improper  manner  in  which  it  is  cured,  is  very  sel¬ 
dom  in  request  for  the  tables  of  Europeans,  compared  with  what  it  would  be  under 
an  improved  system  ;  for,  even  if  the  sand  can  be  got  rid  of,  there  still  remains  an 
incipient  degree  of  putrefaction,  which  renders  it  necessary  for  charcoal  to  be  boiled 
with  it ;  and  even  then,  when  served  at  table,  the  effect  is  too  potent  for  either  mustard 
and  egg-sauce,  or  acids,  to  overcome. 

Independently  of  salt  fish  being  an  article  of  great  and  general  consumption  in  the 
interior,  the  fact  that  there  are  upwards  of  150,000  Roman  Catholics,  who  are  rigid  in 
the  observance  of  their  religious  fasts,  will  be  considered  a  sufficient  guarantee  for  the 
success  of  a  fish  factory  upon  a  very  extensive  scale. 


It  is  well  known,  that  salt  fish  from  Europe  and  America  is  rotten,  unless  very 
particular  care  be  taken  in  packing  it,  before  it  reaches  India ;  and  I  have  known  the 
late  Egbert  Bletterman,  Esq.,  of  Ceylon,  pay  thirty  rix  dollars,  (at  that  time  Is.  9d. 
sterling  each,)  for  a  jar  containing  about  four  dozens  of  half  putrid  red  herrings.  I 
therefore  earnestly  endeavour  to  impress  upon  the  attention  of  individual  capitalists, 
that  there  is  no  speculation  more  certain  of  success,  amongst  the  many  other  very 
encouraging  ones  that  present  themselves  at  Ceylon,  than  that  of  establishing  factories 
for  the  curing  of  fish  at  such  places  upon  the  coasts  as  have  the  best  fishing,  and  little 
or  no  demand  for  fresh  fish. 

The  principal  of  the  more  useful  fishes  are — the  Albicore  or  Thunny  ( Scomber  Thyn- 
nus,  L.),  Bonetta  ( Scomber  Pelamis,  L.),  Scad  ( Scomber  Trachurus ),  Coal  fish  ( Gadus 
carbonarius,  L.),  Pomfret,  Bull’s  eye  ( Holocentrus  ruber  of  Bennett’s  fishes  of  Ceylon), 
Snook  or  Cape  Salmon,  Parawah  {Scomber  Heben  of  Bennett’s  fishes  of  Ceylon),  Sea 
Perch  {Perea  marina,  L.),  Bearded  Ophidium  {Ophidium  barbatum,  L.),  Pampus  ( Stro - 
maticus  Paru,  L.),  Sword  fish  {Xiphias  Gladius,  L.),  Gemmenas  Dragonet  {Callionymus 
Lyra,  L.),  Kurtus  {Kurtus  Indian,  L.),  Dorado  {Coryphcena  Equiselis,  L.),  Doree  ( Zeus 
Faber,  L.),  Sole  {Pleuronoctes  Solea,  L.),  Red  or  Sur  Mullet  {Mullus  barbatus,  L.), 
Striped  Sur  Mullet  {Mullus  Surmutetus,  L.),  Great  Garfish  {Esox  osseus,  L.);  a  species 
of  Clupea,  very  like  the  Sprat,  which,  at  certain  seasons,  is  poisonous ;  several  species 
of  Rock  Cod,  of  large  size  and  excellent  quality  ;  the  Seir  fish  ( Tora-malu  of  the 
Singhalese),  already  described  in  page  110;  Skate  {Raia  Batis,  L.),  and  a  variety  of 
Rays  of  enormous  size  ;  all  which  are  detested  by  the  natives,  and  returned  to  the 
sea  as  soon  as  caught.  The  Singhalese  have  a  great  dread  of  the  Sting  Ray  {Raia 
pastinaca,  L.) 

The  most  valuable  of  all  fishes  for  the  China  markets,  are  Sharks.  (5*  these  vivipa¬ 
rous  monsters,  the  largest,  and  most  esteemed,  for  their  fins,  are  the  White  Shark 
{Squalus  Carcharias,  L.),  Saw  fish  {S.  Pristis,  L.),  some  of  which  are  from  twelve  to 
eighteen  feet  in  length  ;  Balance  Shark,  or  Hammer  Head  {S.  Zygcena,  L.),  the  Tope 
{S.  Galeus,  L.),  Blue  Shark  {S.  glaucus,  L.),  and  the  Shagreen,  or  Basking  Shark 
{S.  Maximus,  L.) ;  the  skin  of  this  last  is  much  in  request  by  the  Chinese,  for  the 
purpose  of  making  it  into  shagreen,  of  which  a  great  quantity  is  annually  sold  to  the 
Russians,  upon  the  frontiers ;  so  that  shark  catching  might  be  made  a  separate  and 
most  profitable  speculation  ;  for  the  simple  mode  of  drying  the  skins  and  fins  in  the 
sun,  without  a  particle  of  salt,  is  greatly  ip  favor  of  the  undertaking ;  and  the  saving 
to  be  effected  by  that  mode  of  curing  them  for  the  China  market,  would  be,  under 
all  the  circumstances  of  the  price  of  salt,  a  paramount  consideration. 


Fresh-water  fishes — Original  establishment  of  the  Portuguese  at  Colombo — Portuguese  surrender  it  to  the  Dutch 
— Dutch  capitulate  to  the  British — Insulting  conduct  of  the  Dutch  troops  to  their  forbearing  victors — Absurd  claim 
of  Portugal — Clandestine  attempt  to  inspect,  or  possess,  the  records  of  the  colony  by  a  Portuguese  officer — Mr.  Deputy 
Secretary  Sutherland’s  inquiry,  at  the  request  of  Governor  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg — Route  from  Colombo  to  Kandy — 
Roads  of  Ceylon — Governor  Sir  Edward  Barnes — Just  tribute  to  his  memory — Great  sacrifice  of  human  life  in 
forming  the  roads — Families  consequently  destitute — Suggestions  for  relieving  them — Preliminary  hints  to  travel¬ 
lers — Best  mode  of  travelling — Suggestions  for  canteens — Pistols  and  swords,  except  for  officers,  incumbrances — 
Chatty  bath — Batta  to  coolies — The  three  grand  maxims  for  the  tourist  s  observance — Umbrella  indispensable — 
Important  addition  to  its  usefulness — Mosquito — yorlhern  route — Jayelle — Road  to  Negombo — Sailing  directions 
from  Captain  Horsburgh's  Directory. 

Having  described,  to  the  best  of  my  power,  the  several  sorts  of  sea  fish  that  are 
most  common  and  abundant  upon  this  coast,  for  the  purposes  of  home  consumption 
and  exportation,  I  regret  that  I  have  but  little  to  say  in  favor  of  the  fresh  water 
varieties.  Of  these,  the  best  that  the  lake,  fort  ditch,  and  canals  produce,  are  the 
Cat-fish,  Angoloowa  of  the  Singhalese,  the  Eel,  the  Burbot  ( Gadus  Lota,  L.),  by  many 
mistaken,  from  the  cirri  on  the  jaws,  for  a  variety  of  the  Barbel  (Cyprinus  Barbus,  L.), 
and  the  Grey  Mullet  ( Mugil  Cephalus,  L.). 

The  Portuguese  first  established  a  factory  at  Colombo  in  the  year  1515,  and  then 
erected  a  small  fort  for  its  protection,  which,  from  time  to  time,  they  enlarged  ;  and, 
notwithstanding  the  hostilities  in  which  they  were  subsequently  involved  with  the  na¬ 
tives,  and,  ultimately,  with  the  combined  Dutch  and  Kandyan  forces,  they  maintained 
their  footing,  and  extended  their  conquests,  for  a  period  of  one  hundred  and  twenty 
two  years.  The  Portuguese  governor  and  captain-general,  Antonio  de  Zouza  Continho, 
surrendered  Colombo  to  the  Dutch  in  1656,  when  the  administration  of  the  Batavian 
governor,  Van  der  Meyden,  commenced. 

The  Dutch  having,  in  turn,  enjoyed  their  tyrannical  sway  for  nearly  one  hundred 
and  forty  years,  were  dispossessed  of  Colombo,  by  capitulation  to  the  British  force, 
under  the  command  of  Major  General  Stewart,  on  the  16th  of  February,  1796;  at 
which  time,  the  ordinary  counsellor  of  Dutch  India,  Johan  Gerard  Van  Angelbeck, 
was  governor. 




The  British  force-consisted  of  His  Majesty’s  52nd,  73rd,  and  77th  regiments,  three 
battalions  of  the  Honorable  East  India  Company’s  Madras  Sepoys,  and  a  detachment 
of  Bengal  artillery.  This  small  army  had  landed  at  Negombo  without  opposition,  on 
the  2nd  of  that  month,  and  immediately  proceeded  to  the  attack  of  Colombo  ;  which 
it  could  not  have  taken,  if  the  Dutch  had  availed  themselves  of  the  natural  obstacles 
of  the  intermediate  country  to  oppose  its  progress.  But  the  Dutch  troops,  although 
superior  in  numbers,  were  bordering  upon  a  state  of  mutiny,  and  their  officers, 
however  brave  and  disposed  to  defend  the  fort,  had  no  control  over  them  ;  for  even 
after  the  British  flag  had  been  hoisted,  upon  the  capitulation  of  Colombo,  the  Dutch 
soldiers,  as  they  filed  past  to  lay  down  their  arms,  spat  their  saliva  at  their  brave  and 
indignant  but  forbearing  victors. 

The  first  British  administration  was  formed  “  in  the  name  of  the  Honorable  the 
Governor  of  Fort  St.  George  (Madras)  in  Council;”  and  in  the  forty  six  years  that 
have  since  passed,  we  have  not  had  less  than  thirteen  governors  and  lieutenant- 
governors  of  Ceylon.  The  following  is  a  list  of  these  functionaries,  with  the  dates 
of  their  accession  to  the  government ;  and  of  the  lieutenant-governors,  acting  as 
governors,  in  the  intervals  of  succession  of  the  latter. 

The  Honorable  Frederick  North  assumed  the  government,  October  12,  1798. — 
Lieut.  General  Honorable  Thomas  Maitland,  July  19,  1805. — Major  General  John 
Wilson,  lieutenant-governor,  March  19,  1811. — Lieut.  General  Sir  Robert  Brownrigg, 
G.  C.  B.,  March  11,  1812. — -Major  General  Sir  Edward  Barnes,  K.  C.  B.,  lieutenant- 
governor,  February  1,  1820. — Lieut.  General  the  Right  Honorable  Sir  Edward  Paget, 
G.  C.  B.,  February  2,  1822. — Major  General  Sir  James  Campbell,  K.  C.  B.,  lieutenant- 
governor,  November  6,  1822. — -Lieut.  General  Sir  Edward  Barnes,  K.  C.  B.,  January 
18,  1824. — Major  General  Sir  John  Wilson,  K.  C.  B.,  lieutenant-governor,  October  13, 
1831. — The  Right  Honorable  Sir  Robert  Wilmot  Horton,  Bart.,  G.  C.  H.,  October 
23,  1831. — The  Right  Honorable  James  Alexander  Stewart  Mackenzie,  November  7, 
1837. — The  Honorable  Major  General  Sir  Robert  Arbuthnot,  K.  C.  B.,  until  the  arrival 
of  the  present  governor,  Lieut.  General  Sir  Colin  Campbell,  G.  C.  B. 

Notwithstanding  the  long  interval  of  nearly  a  century  and  a  half  that  the  Dutch 
retained  possession  of  the  former  Portuguese  settlements  in  Ceylon,  Portugal  has  even 
now  a  hankering  after  the  original  seat  of  its  power  in  the  island ;  and  public  attention 
has  been  recently  drawn  to  the  claim,  preferred  by  the  latter,  to  the  fort  and  town 
of  Colombo. 

How  far  this  claim  may  be  well  founded,  or  otherwise,  the  following  may  tend 
to  elucidate. 



In  the  year  1816,  a  colonel  in  the  Portuguese  army,  who  wore  the  decoration  of  the 
order  of  Christ,  arrived  at  Colombo,  by  one  of  the  annual  China  ships,  from  Macao, 
bound  to  Goa.  He  soon  became  acquainted  with  one  or  two  of  the  principal  Portu¬ 
guese  families,  and  clandestinely  endeavoured  to  obtain  a  sight  of  the  old  records 
of  the  Portuguese  and  Dutch  governments.  Mr.  Sutherland,  at  that  time  deputy 
secretary  to  the  government,  and  secretary  for  the  Kandyan  provinces,  having  been 
informed  of  the  latter  circumstance,  took  an  opportunity  of  questioning  the  colonel 
upon  his  object ;  and,  at  the  same  time,  intimated  the  impropriety  of  applying  to  those 
who  could  not  assist  him,  except  at  the  risk  of  their  own  official  situations. 

•  The  colonel  was  very  ready  with  an  apology ;  and  having  entered  upon  the  subject 
of  our  being  in  possession  of  the  whole  island  of  Ceylon,  Mr.  Sutherland  jokingly 
observed,  that  “  we  had  not  yet  turned  out  the  wild  V eddahs  from  the  forests  of 

Mr.  Sutherland  subsequently  asked  the  governor,  (Lieut.  General  Sir  Robert  Brown- 
rigg,)  if  he  had  ever  heard  of  the  treaty  by  which  Colombo  was  to  revert  to  the  Portu¬ 
guese,  in  the  event  of  the  entire  island  becoming,  as  it  was  at  that  time,  (1816,)  subject 
to  the  British  crown  ;  and  he  also  remarked  to  His  Excellency,  that  from  the  sinister 
manner,  in  which  the  colonel  had  endeavoured  to  obtain  a  sight  of  the  records,  or, 
probably,  to  possess  them,  there  could  be  no  doubt  of  the  real  object  of  his  visit  to 
Colombo ;  although  that  officer  was  very  desirous  that  it  should  be  attributed  to  mere 
accident,  and  as  the  casual  one  of  a  passenger,  en  route,  from  China  to  Goa. 

His  Excellency  acknowledged  that  he  had  heard,  or  read,  reports  very  similar  to  the 
Portuguese  colonel’s  statement ;  and  requested  Mr.  Sutherland  to  search  the  records, 
and  make  such  extracts  as  he  might  consider  expedient. 

By  these,  it  appeared,  that  in  1661,  a  treaty  had  been  entered  into  between  Great 
Britain  and  Portugal ;  by  which,  if  Portugal  recovered  Ceylon  from  the  Dutch,  the 
port  and  fortress  of  point  de  Galle  were  to  be  ceded  to  the  former ;  but  that  if 
Great  Britain  should  wrest  the  island  from  the  Dutch,  Colombo  was  to  revert  to  the 
Portuguese  flag.  It  further  appeared,  that  by  two  subsequent  treaties,  one  in  the  year 
1661,  (the  very  year  in  which  the  preceding  treaty  had  been  entered  into,)  and  the 
other  in  1669;  between  the  Dutch  and  Portuguese,  the  former  were  to  retain  all  their 
conquests  ih  Ceylon,  without  any  stipulation  or  reservation  whatever  ;  and  that  in  1692, 
Portugal  had  definitively  recognized  the  right  of  the  Dutch  to  all  the  territories  they 
had  acquired  there ;  by  which  treaty,  whatever  claims  upon  Colombo  Poitugal  might 
originally  have  had,  w^ere  for  ever  set  at  rest,  whether  preferred  against  the  British, 
or  any  other  power  that  might  subsequently  be  in  possession  of  Ceylon. 

y  2 



The  whole  island  presents  a  scene  of  much  interest  to  the  emigrant  and  the 
naturalist ;  and  it  is  not  to  be  presumed  that  either  will  have  a  disposition  to  make 
a  flying  journey  through  it.  There  are  many,  however,  who  prefer  starting  for  the 
interior,  almost  immediately  after  arriving  at  Colombo.  Whether  one  travels  by 
mail  coach  or  not,  the  following  is  the  route  from  the  maritime  capital  to  that  of 
the  interior. 

From  Colombo  to  the  bridge  of  boats  across  the  Mutwal  river,  which  is  one  of  the 
numerous  improvements  introduced  into  the  colony  by  the  late  Lieut.  General  Sir 
Edward  Barnes,  G.  C.  B.,  soon  after  his  succession  to  the  government,  as  lieutenant- 
governor,  in  1820;  in  order  to  obviate  the  delay,  to  which,  travellers,  and  particularly 
troops,  were  subjected,  when  there  was  merely  a  ferry  boat  to  convey  them,  the  distance 
is  3^  miles.  To  Mahara,  where  there  is  a  rest-house  on  the  right,  5  miles.  To  the 
mail  coach  station  of  Kosrupe,  6^  miles.  From  thence  to  the  rest-house  of  Henne- 
ratgodde,  where  there  is  also  a  barrack,  2  miles.  To  Kellegeddehaine,  (mail  coach 
station,)  about  5  miles.  To  Viangodde  rest-house,  3  miles.  To  Walweldenia,  (mail 
coach  station,)  about  4f  miles.  To  Ambapasse  rest-house,  6|  miles.  To  the  mail 
coach  station  of  Ambapittia,  through  Maha-Haine,  9|  miles.  To  Ootooankande  rest- 
house  and  mail  coach  station,  8^  miles.  To  Kadooganava  rest-house,  about  7  miles. 
To  Paradenia,  6|  miles  ;  and  from  thence  to  Kandy,  4  miles.  In  all,  about  72  miles 
from  Colombo. 

The  formation  of  these  military  roads,  which  had  been  the  first  grand  consideration 
of  the  executive,  after  the  conquest  and  annexation  of  the  Kandyan  kingdom  to  the 
British  empire,  in  1815,  as  the  surest  means  of  retaining  possession,  but  which  the 
rebellion  of  1817  and  1818  had,  in  a  great  degree,  suspended,  was  resumed,  with 
the  return  of  tranquillity,  in  the  year  1820,  and  upon  an  extended  scale.  Assistant 
engineers,  selected  from  officers  of  different  regiments,  were  appointed,  with  additional 
pay  ;  every  necessary  arrangement  for  the  work  was  put  in  train.  Additional  stimulus 
was  given  to  the  energies  of  those  employed  in  these  important  undertakings,  by  the 
opportune  arrival  of  Major  General  Sir  Edward  Barnes,  K.  C.  B.,  from  England,  early 
in  the  year  1819,  as  second  in  command  of  the  forces  in  Ceylon. 

The  formation  of  a  carriage  road  from  the  port  of  Colombo  on  the  west,  to  Trinco- 
male  on  the  east  side  of  the  island,  was  of  paramount  importance  to  the  commerce 
of  the  colony,  in  order  to  establish  the  means  of  transport  between  those  places,  when 
interrupted  by  sea,  during  the  periods  that  the  north-east  and  south-west  monsoons 
respectively  prevailed.  These,  however,  although  still  incomplete,  afford  comparative 
facility  to  commerce. 



Besides  rest-houses  on  the  roads  for  Europeans,  and  Ambelamas  for  native  travellers, 
at  regular  distances,  useful  trees  were  planted  on  each  side  of  the  road,  from  the 
knotty  bamboo  to  the  umbrageous  Sea-Pomegranate  tree  ( Barringtonia  speciosa,  L.). 

As  regards  the  splendid  roads  already  formed,  there  is  scarcely  a  spot  throughout  the 
line,  whether  bridge,  or  tunnel,  or  rest-house,  that  does  not  justify  the  application  to 
the  memory  of  the  late  Lieut.  General  Sit  Edward  Barnes,  G.  C.  B.,  of  the  tribute 
paid  to  that  of  Sir  Christopher  Wren,  for  everywhere  a  monument  presents  itself :  and  if 
His  Excellency  had  not  long  previously  distinguished  himself  as  a  gallant  follower  of 
his  unrivalled  chief,  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  (whom  may  God  long  preserve  to  his 
country  and  sovereign  ! )  the  great  and  incalculable  benefits,  which,  whilst  governor  of 
Ceylon,  his  unwearied  zeal  for,  and  devotion  to,  the  best  interests  of  the  commerce 
and  agriculture  of  the  colony,  have  conferred  upon  it,  are  sufficient  to  immortalize  his 
memory  : — the  public  acknowledgments  of  its  population  best  mark  the  general  sense 
of  them ;  nor  will  the  name  of  any  governor  of  that  part  of  our  Indian  empire  stand 
higher  upon  its  records  than  that  of  Sir  Edward  Barnes. 

There  are,  however,  some  classes  of  persons,  the  relatives  of  the  brave  and  zealous 
European  and  native  officers  and  soldiers,  who  fell  victims  to  the  malaria  of  the 
jungles  of  the  interior,  in  cutting  roads  through  the  almost  impenetrable  fastnesses 
of  the  Kandyan  kingdom,  who  cannot  feel  these  public  benefits.  They  can  derive  no 
consolation  for  the  loss  of  husbands,  fathers,  and  brothers,  upon  whom,  perhaps,  was 
their  sole  dependence,  from  the  reflection  that  they  had  died  in  the  performance  of 
such  a  duty  :  for  although  it  has  secured  possession  of  the  interior,  ensured  the  safety 
of  the  maritime  provinces  from  a  foe  in  their  rear,  promoted  the  commercial  interests 
of  the  colony,  and  augmented  its  resources  and  revenue,  very  many  of  these  families 
remain  destitute. 

These  roads  were  made  by  the  compulsory  labour  of  the  natives,  (conjointly  with 
military  working  parties,)  who  from  their  several  tenures  were  liable  to  it  themselves, 
or  served  as  substitutes  for  others ;  and  although  the  government  legally  possessed 
the  power  to  avail  itself  of  the  monstrous  system  of  oppression,  which  it  had  inherited 
from  its  Portuguese  and  Dutch  predecessors,  the  great  number  of  families  left  destitute 
by  the  loss  of  fathers,  sons,  and  brothers,  may  still  be  deemed  worthy  of  the  humane 
consideration  of  the  government,  by  which,  compulsory  labour  was  subsequently  abol¬ 
ished  :  and  even  now,  at  this  distant  period,  it  is  not  too  late  to  afford  them  some 
compensation,  in  proportion  to  the  great  public  benefits,  thereby  achieved  ;  for  it 
cannot  be  a  very  difficult  matter  for  the  headmen  of  villages  to  report  the  names 
of  parties,  who  died,  whilst  employed  upon  the  roads,  and  of  their  existing  families  ; 



and  surely  some  proportion  of  the  annual  surplus  of  revenue  oyer  expenditure,  and 
which,  by  judicious  management,  every  succeeding  year  will  increase,  cannot  be  more 
benevolently  or  honestly  applied,  than  in  performing  an  act  of  strict,  though  of  tardy 
justice,  to  the  native  population  of  Ceylon,  from  a  protecting  and  magnanimous 

The  following  preliminary  suggestions  may  be  useful  to  the  tourist  in  Ceylon,  both 
in  regard  to  his  personal  comfort  and  to  economy.  The  emigrant,  desirous  of  forming 
an  opinion  for  himself,  respecting  an  incomparable  and.  magnificent  country,  and  to 
seek  for  a  location  where  he  may  expend  a  part  of  his  capital  to  the  best  advantage, 
■would  not  think  flying  through  the  island  in  a  mail  coach,  the  best  way  to  attain  his 
object ;  and,  by  buggy,  it  is  hazardous  and  inconvenient,  even  with  relays  of  horses, 
and  fodder  and  medicines  for  them,  at  command.  To  be  perfectly  at  one’s  ease,  to 
stop  when  one  pleases,  to  view  the  country,  or  to  collect  specimens  in  natural  history, 
there  is  nothing  like  the  old-fashioned  way,  by  palankin  ;  for  any  number  of  bearers 
may  be  engaged,  casualties  by  sickness  or  desertion  be  provided  against  by  due  pre¬ 
caution,  and  the  traveller  is  always  sure  of  a  bed. 

From  Colombo  to  Kandy  by  the  mail  coach,  there  is  no  occasion  for  more  luggage 
than  may  be  carried  in  a  carpet  bag ;  but  by  the  route  round  the  island,  by  the  north¬ 
ern  road  from  Colombo,  occasionally  diverging  from  the  sea  coast,  as  the  roads  toward 
the  central  province  may  present  opportunities  for  investigating  soil,  climate,  produc¬ 
tions,  and  sites  for  intended  agricultural  or  other  speculations,  and  returning  to  that 
capital  by  the  eastern  and  southern  road,  the  traveller  must  be  independent  of  acci¬ 
dent  for  supplies. 

I  would  earnestly  recommend  the  traveller  in  Ceylon  to  have  nothing  to  do  with  those 
pretty  looking  canteens,  shining  with  patent  leather  and  brass  nails,  at  every  outfitter’s 
warehouse  in  town  ;  for  there  are  places,  where,  unless  the  greatest  care  be  taken, 
the  white  ants  will  soon  devour  the  leather,  and  perhaps  the  wood ;  and  as  to  the 
ornamental  brass  nails,  they  are  sure  to  exchange  their  brilliancy,  in  the  humid  atmos¬ 
phere  of  the  island,  for  the  green  hue  of  old  copper. 

I  have  always  found  japanned  tin  boxes  the  securest  and  best ;  and  the  traveller 
may  have  as  many  as  his  habits  require  ;  but  he  has  one  thing  to  bear  in  mind,  viz., 
that  the  government  regulations  do  not  allow  coolies  to  be  compelled  to  carry  more 
than  forty  pounds  (avoirdupois)  to  a  greater  distance  than  two  miles  from  any  town  ; 
and  as  they  travel  best  with  their  burthens  slung  at  each  end  of  a  pingo,  a  canteen, 
when  full,  should  not  exceed  twenty  pounds.  Therefore,  a  sufficient  breakfast  equi¬ 
page,  with  supplies  of  tea,  sugar,  coffee,  powder,  shot,  caps,  a  small  lamp  fitted  to 



a  low  candlestick,  with  a  couple  of  glass  shades,  wax  candles,  & c.  &c.,  may  be  easily 
fitted  into  compartments  in  a  tin  box,  twenty  inches  long,  by  fifteen  in  depth  and 
width,  and  sufficient  space  to  be  left  for  a  tray,  of  light  cedar,  over  all ;  and  the 
dinner  canteen  should  be  similarly  fitted. 

The  Parsee  and  other  shopkeepers  have  always  hampers,  containing  an  exact  cooley 
load  of  wine,  &c.,  at  hand  ;  and  the  gridiron  and  kettle  may  be  slung  upon  the  pole- 
irons  of  the  palankin.  A  couple  of  good  guns  are  indispensable,  but  pistols  and 
swords,  except  for  military  men,  are  positive  incumbrances. 

The  traveller’s  cook  should  always  precede  his  master  by  some  hours,  to  the  rest 
house,  whdre  he  may  intend  to  halt  during  the  heat  of  the  day ;  and  be  directed  to 
have  a  sufficient  number  of  chatties  of  water  (which,  if  exposed  to  the  night  air, 
becomes  the  more  cooling  and  wholesome)  in  readiness  by  his  master’s  arrival. 

Chatties,  of  the  common  size,  hold  about  a  gallon  of  water ;  these,  emptied  con¬ 
secutively  over  the  head,  impart  a  delightful  coolness  to  the  frame,  that  disposes 
the  tourist  for  one  of  those  excellent  breakfasts,  a  la  fourchette,  which  the  native 
cooks  are  second  to  none  in  preparing. 

During  this  gastronomic  enjoyment,  and  whilst  coolness  of  temper  conjoins  with  the 
temperature  of  early  morning,  let  the  traveller  treasure  the  following  in  mind,  as  the 
best  advice  that  he  can  act  upon.  First,  Never  to  strike  a  native,  how  much  soever 
his  temper  may  be  put  to  the  test.  Secondly,  that  for  every  day’s  halting,  Sundays 
included,  his  coolies  are  entitled  to  Batta ,*  at  the  rate  of  threepence  each,  in  addition 
to  their  regular  hire.  Thirdly,  that  they  must  not  be  compelled  to  travel  more  than 
two  stages,  or  twenty  five  miles,  in  twenty  four  hours  ;  or  to  proceed  in  cases  of  actual 
illness ;  under  penalty,  to  their  employer,  of  fine  or  imprisonment,  at  the  discretion 
of  the  nearest  district  court. 

An  umbrella  should  be  carried,  whenever  practicable,  during  the  heat  of  the  day  : 
and  I  have  found  a  circular  curtain  of  green  mosquito  net,  about  twelve  feet  in  depth, 
with  a  centre  ferrule  fitted  to  the  curtain,  so  as  to  admit  the  point  of  an  umbrella,  a 
most  excellent  defence  against  that  inveterate  enemy  of  the  new-comer,  and  constant 
annoyance  to  European  travellers,  the  mosquito  ;  for  when  the  umbrella  is  expanded, 
and  the  handle  tied  to  the  head  of  a  common  rest-house  bed,  or  couch,  one  may 
anticipate  a  night  of  comparative  comfort,  without  having  recourse  to  a  mosquito  dose 
as  a  soporific. 

To  make  a  circuit  of  the  island,  by  the  coast,  tourists  should  proceed  by  what  is  called 

*  Extra  allowance. 


the  northern  route.  This,  after  having  crossed  the  Mutwal  river  by  the  bridge  of  boats, 
lies  through  the  village  of  Jayelle,  a  distance  of  9-\  miles,  through  a  fertile  and  popu¬ 
lous  country;  and  from  thence  to  Negombo  the  road  lies  chiefly  through  cinnamon 
plantations.  Everywhere  the  sight  and  the  smell  derive  gratification ;  for,  on  each  side, 
may  be  seen  the  beautiful  crimson  Clerodendrum  infortunaturn,  L.,  the  Pinna-mal-geddi 
of  the  Singhalese,  Coffea  trifiora,  Lvoni  roccnita,  Nepenthes  distillatoria  of  the  climbing 
and  dwarf  varieties  (scandens  and  nano) ;  the  former,  clinging  to  the  cinnajnon  bushes 
for  support,  and  displaying  its  “  pitchers,"  some  with  the  lid  closed,  others  writh  it 
open,  and  in  an  erect  position,  half  full  of  water,  like  so  many  fly  traps,  as  if  the  liquid 
they  contained  was  too  valuable  to  be  lost  ;  the  latter,  shrinking  from  exposure,  under 
the  shade  of  the  overhanging  trees  and  grass  :  whilst  the  wild  orange,  lime,  and  shad¬ 
dock  trees,  ever  in  fruit  and  blossom  at  the  same  time,  impart  the  most  delicious  fra¬ 
grance  to  the  surrounding  atmosphere. 

For  a  considerable  distance  through  the  cinnamon  plantations,  the  road  is  sandy  : 
and,  in  many  places,  it  leads  through  large  tracks  of  the  pure  white  quartz  sand, 
already  described  in  page  69,  to  which  the  cinnamon  tree  is  partial. 

Negombo  is  twenty  four  miles  distant  from  Colombo,*  and  twro  leagues  to  the 
8.  S.  W.  of  Caymel.  It  lies  in  latitude  7°  15  north,  and  is  a  place  of  some  trade,  but 
frequented  solely  by  coasting  vessels.  The  coast  between  Negombo  and  Caymel  forms 
a  bight ;  and  the  former  is  knowm  from  the  offing,  by  the  point  projecting  a  great  way 
out,  covered  with  coco-nut  trees,  and  defended  by  a  long  reef  beyond  it.  The  bight, 
as  sailors  call  it,  should  not  be  approached  by  large  vessels  nearer  than  two  leagues 
off  shore,  nor  in  less  than  eight  fathoms  water,  until  the  fort  flag-staff  bears  S.  E.  by  S., 
by  which,  the  rocky  ledge  projecting  from  this  part  of  the  coast,  and  a  rock  with  ten 
feet  water  on  it,  and  six  fathoms  close  by,  bearing  from  the  flag-staff,  or  north  point 
of  the  fort,  N.  N.  W.,  will  be  avoided. 

For  vessels  bound  to  Negombo  from  the  southward,  the  fort  should  be  brought  to 
bear  S.  E. ;  a  ship  ought  then  to  steer  direct  for  it,  without  borrowing  any  more  to  the 
northward,  and  may  anchor  in  five  or  six  fathoms,  abreast  of  the  fort. 

The  present  fort  was  built  by  the  Dutch,  more  for  a  protection  to  the  cinnamon 
peelers,  and  storehouses  of  that  spice,  than  as  a  sea  defence.  The  only  garrison,  in 
time  of  peace,  consists  of  a  few  rank  and  file  of  the  Ceylon  regiment,  under  the  com¬ 
mand  of  a  non-commissioned  officer. 

*  The  roads,  throughout  the  island,  are  measured  trom  the  Queen  s  bouse,  Colombo. 


Negombo  admirably  situated  for  grazing  farms — Suggestions  for  supplying  Colombo,  and  the  shipping,  with 
butchers  meat,  and  stock,  and  the  navy  with  salted  provisions — A  a  val  dependance  upon  Bengal  for  supplies — 
Ceylon  capable  of  supplying  boatswains  .  carpenters  ,  and  other  stores — Dutch  families — Native  women — Rest- 
house —  Wesleyan  mission-house  and  chapel — Sapenntendaut  of  revenue  and  customs — Medicinal  plants — Road  from 
Negombo  to  Kandy — Native  pastimes — Northern  route  by  the  coast  from  Negombo — Recreations  for  the  naturalist 
and  sportsman — Nattande — Madampe — Pepper  plantations— Game — Harvests  in  the  Chilaiv  district — Chilaw — 
Sailing  directions — Manufacture  of  coarse  paper  and  cation  cloths — Mr.  Wallbeuff' s  escape  from  a  leopard — 
The  plant  called  Rajah  Wanya,  or  Jungle  King — Artifcial  Leu  ays. 

Negombo  is  an  admirable  place  for  establishing  a  grazing  farm  ;  and  for  improving 
the  method  of  rearing  and  fattening  cattle,  sheep,  swine,  and  poultry,  for  the  Colombo 
market;  for  every  variety  of  green  and  dry  fodder  is  produced  here  with 'very  little 
trouble ;  and  the  inland  communication  by  water  would  enable  the  farmer  to  have  the 
animals  slaughtered  over  night  at  Negombo,  and  in  the  Colombo  market  soon  after 
day-break  in  the  morning. 

Ships  touching  at  Colombo,  might  thus  be  supplied  with  live  stock,  and  fodder,  at  a 
few  hours’  notice,  equal  to  any  that  the  very  best  farms  in  Bengal  can  produce ;  but 
this  certain  lucrative  speculation,  like  many  others,  has  been  hitherto  neglected  or 
unthought  of,  although  a  variety  of  proiects,  and  many  of  them  Eutopian  ones,  are 
constantly  in  agitation  or  progress. 

The  establishment  of  farms  for  the  improvement  of  the  breed  of  domestic  cattle, 
and  for  salting  and  curing  meat,  could  not  fail  to  prove  a  successful  speculation  ;  and, 
in  the  cooler  regions  of  Neuwara  Eliya,  all  the  advantages  possessed  for  the  latter 
grand  object,  are  equal  to  those  of  the  most  temperate  clime.  It  really  astonishes  the 
considerate  mind,  that  a  country  so  highly  favoured  by  nature,  and  the  head  quarters 
of  the  British  navy  in  India,  should  never  yet  have  supplied  that  navy  with  a  cask 
of  salted  beef  or  pork  from  its  own  resources  ! 

Whatever  the  distress  of  our  fleet  might  be,  the  naval  dependence  for  salt  provision, 
in  India,  is  upon  Bengal ;  and  yet  there  is  not  a  single  article  that  could  be  required 




for  the  use  of  the  navy,  in  point  of  boatswains’  and  carpenters’  stores,  and  provisions, 
which  Ceylon,  if  her  natural  resources  were  properly  applied  to  that  grand  object  of 
national  importance,  could  not  abundantly  supply  ;  from  sail-maker’s  twine,  to  the 
main-mast ;  from  the  biscuit,  to  the  cask  of  beef  and  pork  ;  rum,  arrack,  lime-juice, 
vinegar,  sugar,  raisins,  potatos,  rice,  pease,  coffee,  cocoa,  pepper,  oil,  salt  fish,  live 
stock,  grain,  dry  fodder,  spices,  fruits,  vegetables,  tapioca,  arrow'  root,  and  a  variety 
of  the  most  useful  drugs  for  the  sick,  at  a  cheaper  rate  than  any  other  place  in  the 
British  dominions. 

Negombo  is  famous  for  its  fish  ;  and,  at  certain  seasons,  the  Sea  Woodcock,  or  Red 
Sur  Mullet  ( Mullus  sunnuletus,  L.)  is  caught  in  the  greatest  abundance  and  perfection. 
Pliny,  Seneca,  Horace,  and  Martial,  bear  testimony  to  the  great  estimation  in  which 
this  delicious  fish  was  held  by  the  Romans,  who  purchased  it  at  the  very  high  rate  of  its 
weight  in  silver.  Apicius  too,  considered  nothing  more  delightful  than  to  view  the 
change  of  its  beautiful  colors,  when  expiring  ;  and  nothing  more  exquisite  than  to 
feast  on  it,  when  dressed  with  the  “  Iiien  que  manque ,”  or  Carthaginian  sauce  of  his 
age  of  gluttony.  Here,  they  are  exposed  in  heaps,  just  after  being  taken  from  their 
native  element,  at  a  few  challies  for  half  a  dozen. 

Kid,  poultry,  eggs,  bread,  fruit,  and  vegetables,  may  be  obtained  here  in  great 
plenty,  at  moderate  prices  ;  and  the  sportsman  will  find  excellent  snipe,  curlew,  and 
widgeon  shooting.  The  water  is  extremely  brackish,  unless  it  be  obtained  from 
Kottidewe,  or  Children’s  Island  ;  whore  persons  are  employedi  for  the  purpose  of  sink¬ 
ing  pitchers  in  the  sand  over  night,  which,  in  the  morning,  are  found  full  of  pure  and 
sweet  water,  that  had  filtered  in  the  interim.  Very  fine  mushrooms  are  found 
here,  during,  and  for  some  time  after,  the  rainy  season  ;  and,  from  the  facility  with 
which  the  country  is  irrigated,  a  great  deal  of  paddee  is  produced  :  indeed,  fertility 
and  cultivation  are  everywhere  conspicuous,  the  pastures  being  of  a  rich  and  delightful 
green,  interspersed  with  magnificent  teak  ( Tectona  Grandis,  L.)  and  fruit  trees,  and 
toddy  topes. 

Several  respectable  Dutch  families  formerly  resided  here,  whose  gardens  were  famous 
for  their  exotic  fruits,  (originally  introduced  from  Java  and  the  Malay  peninsula,)  but 
very  few  Dutch  or  Portuguese  families,  possessing  wealth,  remain  in  any  part  of  the 
island,  in  comparison  with  their  former  numbers. 

The  native  women  of  Negombo  have  the  credit  of  being  prettier  than  at  most  other 
places  in  Ceylon,  and  are  generally  modest  and  domestic  in  their  habits. 

The  rest-house  is  a  large  and  substantial  stone  building,  with  a  spacious  avenue 
of  very  fine  teak  trees  in  its  front. 



The  Wesleyan  mission-house  is  large  and  commodious,  and  the  chapel  a  particularly 
neat  building,  having  all  the  characteristics  of  a  Protestant  house  of  prayer. 

The  revenue  and  customs  are  superintended  by  an  assistant  government  agent,  who 
is  also  a  judge  of  the  Colombo  District  Court,  No.  2  south. 

The  neighbourhood  of  Negombo  abounds  with  medicinal  plants  :  of  those  used  by 
the  native  doctors,  the  following  are  the  most  generally  known.* 

The  Indian  Lilac  ( Melia  sempervirens,  L.),  Kassambu  of  the  Singhalese,  is  much 
esteemed  for  the  medicinal  properties  of  its  bark  and  root.  It  yields  a  gum,  that 
smells  like  garlic  ;  and  a  valuable  oil  ( Margosa )  is  extracted  from  its  fruit,  which  is  of 
the  size  and  shape  of  a  French  olive,  with  a  part  of  its  top  cut  off  transversely,  of  a 
yellow  color,  and  grows  in  thick  bunches. 

The  ripe  fruit  of  the  Domba  gaha  ( Calophyllum  Inophyllum ,  L.)  yields  an  oil  which 
is  efficacious  in  rheumatism  and  rheumatic  "out. 


The  Castor  Oil  plant  ( Ricinus  Palma  Christi,  L.)  is  so  abundant,  that  it  may  be 
regarded  as  a  mere  weed  ;  for  when  once  it  gets  into  a  garden,  it  is  as  troublesome  to 
a  gardener  as  the  tobacco  plant.  The  oil  is  generally  esteemed  for  its  medicinal  pro¬ 
perties,  and  the  leaves  make  a  cooling  dressing  for  blisters. 

The  Thorn  Apple  ( Datura  Stramonium,  L.).  Of  this  common  but  invaluable  plant 
there  are  the  white  (called  in  Singhalese  Attana )  and  purple  (Kalu-Attanaj-)  varieties  ; 
these  bear  prickly  pericarps,  full  of  seeds,  of  narcotic  qualities.  The  native  doctors 
make  an  ointment  of  the  flower,  for  burns  and  contractions  of  the  nerves  ;  and  of  the 
leaves  for  curing  the  gout  :  but  the  leaf  is  not  used,  as  with  us,  in  asthmatic  affections, 
for  the  native  doctors  consider  it  injurious ;  and  prescribe  the  root  only,  after  it  has 
been  thoroughly  dried,  and  chipped  very  fine,  to  their  patients,  who  are  then  allowed 
to  smoke  it  ad  libitum.  The  seeds  of  the  white  species  are  efficacious  in  dental  com¬ 
plaints  ;  but  these  are  seldom  known  where  the  use  of  Betel  prevails. 

The  Wild  Liquorice  ( Abrus  precatorius,  L.),  Olinda  of  the  Singhalese.  The  leaf 
has  the  taste  of  liquorice,  and  the  native  doctors  make  a  decoction  of  it,  with  sugar 
and  lime  juice,  for  coughs. 

The  Vanilla  (  Vanilla  aromatica,  L.),  Hinninwela  gaha  of  the  Singhalese,  abounds  ; 
and  yet  not  an  ounce  is  prepared  for  exportation  ! 

The  Galangale  Root  ( Kcempferia  galanga,  L.)  is  equally  neglected.  The  flower  is 
white,  with  a  violet  spot  in  the  centre  ;  root  bulbous,  palmate  ;  leaves  egg-shaped. 

*  Where  there  are  no  English  names,  the  Singhalese  precede  the  Linnaean  ones. 

+  The  Singhalese  have  no  definition  of  purple,  and  apply  the  word  Kalu,  or  black,  in  lieu  of  it, 

z  2 



Its  medicinal  virtues  are  aromatic  and  diaphoretic.  The  broad-leaved  galangale 
(. K .  latifolia),  round-leaved  ( K .  rotunda),  and  narrow-leaved  {K.  angustifolia),  are  also 

The  Jacberi  of  the  Singhalese  ( Crotalaria  laburmfolia  and  retusa,  L.).  Both  have 
yellow  flowers,  and  the  former  is  said  to  be  the  Radix  Colombo,  but,  I  believe, 

The  Tebu-gas  of  the  Singhalese  ( Costus  speciosus ),  an  excellent  substitute  for  ginger. 

The  Wal-pupulu  of  the  Singhalese  ( Eupatorium  Ayapana),  used  to  cure  snake  bites 

The  Sacsanda  of  the  Singhalese  ( Anstolochia  Indica,  L.).  The  root,  steeped  in 
brandy  or  old  arrack,  is  an  invaluable  tonic. 

The  Nil  Kataroodoo  of  the  Singhalese  (Clitoria  Ternatea,  L.),  a  very  common 
creeper,  and  extremely  ornamental,  from  its  blue  flowers  and  bright  green  leaves. 
The  root  is  used  as  an  emetic. 

The  Angular-leaved  Physic  Nut  ( Jatropha  curcas ,  L.),  J arrack  of  the  Singhalese,  of 
which  two  or  three  seeds,  cleansed  from  the  skin,  are  a  sufficient  purge.  Oil  made 
of  the  nuts  is  used  in  the  cure  of  the  itch,  and  the  pounded  leaf  for  ulcers  ;  and, 
when  mixed  with  tobacco,  as  an  enema. 

The  Cocculus  Indie  us,  L.,  mixed  with  moistened  rice,  is  employed  to  intoxicate 
birds  and  fishes. 

The  Coral  Shrub  ( Jatropha  multijida,  L.). 

The  Mendi  of  the  Singhalese  ( Ophiorhiza  mungos),  used  in  the  cure  of  snake  bites. 

The  Godogandu  of  the  Singhalese  ( Ophioxylon  serpentinum,  L.),  also  used  for  snake 
bites,  and  as  a  tonic. 

The  Ratnethul  of  the  Singhalese  ( Plumbago  rosea,  L.). 

The  Rat  Binunge  of  the  Singhalese  ( Periploca  Indica,  L.),  with  red  flowers  ;  and 
the  Elle  Binunge  of  the  Singhalese  ( Periploca  sylvestris,  L.),  with  white  flowers. 
Both  possess  similar  properties  to  the  Ipecacuanha  ( Euphorbia  ipecacuanhee,  L.),  and 
delight  in  a  sandy  soil. 

The  Arooloo  of  the  Singhalese  (Terminalia  chebulla),  Boo  loo  of  the  Singhalese  (T. 
bellerica),  and  Nelli  of  the  Singhalese  (71  emblica). 

The  Jayapala  and  Nepalam  gaha  of  the  Singhalese  ( Crown  tiglium,  L.),  wild  and 
abundant.  A  very  powerful  oil  is  extracted,  called  Croton  oil,  and  used  in  cases  of 
spasmodic  cholera. 

Lemon  Grass  (Andropogon  Schcenanthus,  L.),  used  in  decoction  as  a  cooling  drink 
in  fever,  and  by  the  Dutch  and  Portuguese,  for  giving  a  lemon  flavor  to  tea. 

The  Prickly  Poppy  ( Argemone  Mexicana,  L.). 

J.  W.  Bennett  del. 


Caffrarian  Lime 


Koodalodeye  of  the 



The  Cassia  Fistula,  L.,  abundant  in  jungles,  and  much  used  as  an  aperient  medicine. 

The  Dewool  gaha  of  the  Singhalese  ( Feronia  elephantum),  produces  a  medicinal  gum. 

The  Jalap  plant  ( Convolvolus  turpethum ,  L.),  Tmstavcalla  of  the  Singhalese. 

The  Wanassa  of  the  Singhalese  ( Ballota  disticha,  L.),  a  species  of  horehound. 

The  Lineya  gaha  of  the  Singhalese  ( Helicteres  Isora ,  L.). 

From  Negombo  there  is  a  road  through  Miniwangodde  and  Veangodde  to  Kandy, 
distant  66|  miles  ;  but  I  enjoyed  the  more  unfrequented  road,  which,  although  in 
many  places  it  was  with  difficulty  passed  on  horseback,  I  recommend  to  the  naturalist; 
namely,  by  the  left  bank  of  the  Kaymel  river,  through  Halpe,  Kotadenia,  Girule,  (at 
which  place  there  is  a  ferry,  and  the  name  of  the  river  is  there  changed  to  Maha- 
Oya,)  and  Negahagidera,  to  the  wretched  cowshed,  miscalled  rest-house,  at  Naga- 
hattoo,  and  from  thence  to  Kurunagalle,  or,  as  we  call  it,  Kornegalle. 

The  whole  country,  except  where  there  are  occasional  patches  of  jungle,  is  every¬ 
where  cultivated  and  well  irrigated,  producing  large  crops  of  paddee,  and  small  grains ; 
and  abounding  in  pasture  lands,  some  of  which  have  all  the  appearance  of  an  extensive 
English  park  :  these  teem  with  buffalos  and  bullocks,  and  the  jungles  with  game. 

Birds  and  insects,  in  great  variety,  and  of  the  most  brilliant  colors,  meet  the  eye 
in  every  direction. 

The  villagers  throughout  the  line  of  the  bridle  road,  chiefly  spend  their  afternoons 
in  cockfighting ;  and,  at  night,  are  often  successful  in  spearing  elephants.  At  Kotadenia, 
I  mounted  on  a  dead  elephant,  to  make  a  sketch  of  a  group  of  six  which  lay  dead 
within  twenty  yards  of  my  position  ;  but  not  one  of  them  had  tusks.  The  villagers 
informed  me,  that  the  animals  were  surrounded  by  so  great  a  number  of  people,  with 
Chulos  and  Tom-toms,  that  they  appeared  paralyzed,  and  were  speared  without  making 
an  attempt  to  defend  themselves.  I  should  not  suppose  the  largest  of  these  elephants 
exceeded  eight  feet  in  height,  and  two  of  them  were  very  small.  I  never  saw  one  in 
Ceylon,  that,  to  the  best  of  my  judgment,  exceeded  ten  or  eleven  feet  in  height. 

Five  miles  beyond  Negombo,  the  Kaymel  river  (as  the  Maha-Oya  is  called  at  its 
mouth)  is  crossed  at  Topoo  Ferry  ;  from  thence  to  Kirimetteane  the  distance  is  six 
miles,  and  to  the  bridge  of  Ging-Oya  about  4^  miles  ;  the  road  flat  and  sandy,  and 
the  land  but  partially  cultivated.  The  next  rest-house  is  that  of  Nattande,  about  a 
mile  from  the  bridge  over  the  Ging-Oya. 

The  naturalist  and  the  sportsman  may  find  the  most  delightful  recreation  and  exer¬ 
cise  in  this  neighbourhood  ;  the  former  in  collecting  specimens  of  the  various  aquatic 
plants,  ferns,  mosses,  land  shells,  insects,  and  birds  ;  and  the  latter  may  select  any 



game  he  pleases  ;  for  he  has  not  to  go  far  inland  to  find  elephants,  leopards,  deer,  elk, 
hares,  and  almost  every  variety  of  animal  and  bird  the  country  produces. 

But  if  the  tourist  be  neither  botanist,  naturalist,  nor  sportsman,  and  desire  to  have 
game  procured  for  him,  he  has  only  to  hint  his  wish  to  the  keeper  of  the  rest-house 
where  he  may  halt,  and  a  number  of  native  sportsmen  will  soon  be  collected  about  him, 
with  their  uncouth  guns,  ready  to  .bring  him  whatever  game  he  may  require,  upon 
receiving  a  charge  or  two  of  powder  and  shot,  and  a  promise  of  a  similar  quantity,  as 
their  subsequent  reward  ;  for  as  they  never  fire  until  too  dose  upon  their  object  to  run 
the  least  risk  of  missing  it,  they  invariably  earn  the  promised  gratuity. 

From  Nattande  rest-house  to  the  bridge  over  the  'Kuddoopitte-Oya  the  distance  is 
5f-  miles ;  and  half  a  mile  further  is  Madampe,  formerly  a  place  of  importance,  and 
the  residence  of  native  sovereigns  ;  and  subsequently  a  swampy  unhealthy  locality, 
tenanted  by  mosquitos,  jackalls,  monkies,  and  alligators  ;  until  the  late  Mr.  Peter 
Engelbert  Vanderstraaten  obtained  a  grant  of  land  from  the  government,  and  formed 
pepper  gardens  there,  in  the  hope  of  eventually  rendering  the  island  independent  of 
the  Malabar  coast  for  that  most  important  spice,  without  which,  the  cinnamon  would 
lose  its  aromatic  properties,  and  consequently  its  value,  during  the  homeward  voyage. 

If  Mr.  Vanderstraaten  had  been  supported  by  the  government  to  the  extent  he  had 
been  encouraged  to  anticipate,  Madampe  would  have  proved  pre-eminently  productive, 
particularly  in  pepper,  which  is  now  produced  there,  but  in  a  very  limited  quantity 
to  its  capabilities.  The  clustering  pepper  bines  unite  the  most  stately  trees,  all  valuable 
for  their  timber,  as  if  in  one  family  compact ;  these  form  cool  and  delightful  avenues  ; 
and  in  every  direction  near  his  spacious  bungalow,  Mr.  Vanderstraaten  planted  the 
best  and  rarest  varieties  of  the  plantain  tree,  ( Musa  Sapientium,  L.)  that  the  island, 
and  the  neighbouring  continent  of  India  produced. 

Madampe  abounds  with  widgeon,  snipe,  curlews,  sand  pipers,  the  large  and  small 
white  and  brown  paddee  birds,  flamingos  ( Phcenicopterus  ruber,  L.),  and  other  aquatic 
birds.  The  flesh  of  the  flamingo  is,  at  certain  seasons,  white  and  delicious,  and 
entirely  free  from  the  peculiarly  fishy  flavor  of  its  genus  that  it  possesses  at  others. 
Elk,*  deer,f  wild  hogs,  the  stock  or  original  of  the  common  domestic  hog,  and  not 
the  Babyroussa  (Sus  Babyrussa,  L.),  as  some  have  stated  it  to  be,  for  that  animal  is 
not  known  in  the  island  ;  Indian  musk  of  Pennant  ( Moschus  Meminna,  L.),  pea  fowl, 
jungle  fowl  (G alius  Indicus  of  Leach),  small  red-legged  partridges  ( Perdix  Janninus 

*  Elk,  the  roe-buck  ( Cervus  Capreolus,  L.). 

t  Deer  ( Cervus  Axis  of  Shaw,  Cervus  l)ama,  L.),  amongst  which  there  is  a  variety  perfectly  white,  with  red  eyes. 



of  Shaw),  Coromandel  quails  ( Coturnix  texlilis  of  Shaw),  and  hares,  abound  through¬ 
out  the  province. 

The  canal  contains  abundance  of  small  mud  fish,  of  the  genus  Perea,  L.,  and  eels. 

The  beautiful  Nymphcea  alba  and  N.  Nelumbo  cover  the  water  tanks  with  their 
odoriferous  red  and  white  (esculent)  corols. 

The  Ceylon  hare  resembles  the  common  European  hare  in  every  respect,  except 
that  the  fur  on  the  nape  of  the  neck  is  black.  The  flesh  of  the  wild  hog  is  a  whole¬ 
some  food,  but  altogether  unlike  pork  ;  and  next  to  it,  in  point  of  flavor,  but  more 
delicate,  is  the  flesh  of  the  porcupine,  an  animal  easily  domesticated ;  for,  though 
“  fretful  ”  by  nature,  it  will  feed,  and  keep  upon  excellent  terms  with  pigs  in  a  stye. 

The  Maha  or  great  harvest  in  the  Chilaw  district,  of  paddee  sown  between  the  1st  of 
September  and  31st  October,  takes  place  in  February ;  and  the  Yalta  harvest,  or  second 
crop  of  paddee,  sown  between  the  1st  of  April  and  31st  of  May,  takes  place  in  August. 
Twelve  sorts  of  this  grain  are  cultivated  here;  and  as  many  sorts  of  “fine  grains,” 
of  which,  those  sown  between  the  1st  of  September  and  15th  of  October,  are  reaped 
at  the  Maha  harvest  in  January;  and  those  sown  between  the  1st  of  April  and  31st 
of  May,  are  reaped  at  the  Yalta  harvest  in  July  and  August. 

The  directions  for  sailing  along  this  coast  are  thus  given  by  Horsburghu:  “  Seven 
miles  north  of  Madampe  is  Chilaw,  which  village  lies  in  about  latitude  7°  48'  north,  and 
may  be  known  from  the  offing  by  a  sand  hill,  having  on  it  some  bushes,  and  near  it  a 
round  hummock.  In  coming  to  this  place  from  the  northward,  a  vessel  should  keep  two 
miles  outside  the  reef  of  rocks  projecting  from  Calpentyn,  until  clear  of  its  southern  ex¬ 
tremity,  then  haul  in  towards  the  Ceylon  shore.  Coming  from  the  southward,  a  vessel 
may,  if  bound  to  Chilaw,  steer  along  shore  to  the  anchorage  abreast  of  the  river. 

“  From  the  north  point  of  Calpentyn  to  Chilaw,  the  distance  is  about  nine  leagues  ; 
and  when  a  vessel  has  got  an  offing,  the  course  is  about  S.  S.  W.  along  the  west  side 
of  the  island.  A  reef  of  rocks  stretches  along  that  side,  nearly  from  the  middle  part 
beyond  the  southern  point,  where  it  projects  nearly  three  miles  from  the  shore,  requir¬ 
ing  great  attention  to  the  lead  in  passing.  The  bottom  between  Calpentyn  and  Chilaw 
is  mostly  sand,  with  a  little  coral  at  times  :  the  nearer  the  former  is  approached,  the 
worse  it  becomes  for  anchoring.” 

The  fort  of  Chilaw  has  a  small  garrison,  and  is  a  dependency  of  that  of  Putlam. 
The  rest-house  is  roomy  and  airy.  At  the  time  I  first  visited  it,,  in  1816,  the  best  pack 
of  dogs  (I  cannot  say  hounds)  in  the  island  was  kept  there,  by  the  then  collector  of  the 
district,  Mr.  Wallbeoff,  who  was  a  great  sportsman.  Chilaw,  which  is  now  superintended 
by  an  assistant  government  agent,  has  manufactories  of  coarse  paper,  and  also  of  com- 


mon  cottons,  table  cloths,  and  towels  :  these  are  preferable  to  linen  articles  for  wear 
and  tear,  because  the  latter  cannot  withstand  the  Ceylon  washerman’s  principal  soap 
(beating  against  a  stone)  as  the  former  does,  to  the  tune  of  “  Europe,  Europe,  Europe,” 
until  the  article,  subjected  to  his  manual  operations,  is  more  holy  than  sound. 

The  tiger  is  unknown  in  Ceylon,  although  that  name  is  applied]  to  the  chetah  or 
leopard  (Felis  Leopardus),  which  is  as  great  an  authropophagist  as  the  former,  whenever 
opportunity  admits  of  it. 

Mr.  Wallbeoff,  whilst  in  search  of  a  leopard,  which  had  severely  lacerated  a  native, 
observed  the  animal  crouched  behind  a  fallen  coco-nut  tree.  He  fired  both  the 
barrels  of  his  gun  at  the  animal ;  one  ball  perforated  the  near  hind  leg,  and  the  other, 
passing  through  the  lower  jaw,  lodged  in  the  off  shoulder.  Turning  round  for  his 
rifle  to  the  native  to  whom  he  had  entrusted  it,  and  who  had  faithfully  promised  to  keep 
close  to  him,  he  found  himself  deserted ;  for  his  followers  had  all  decamped,  upon 
seeing  the  danger  he  was  in.  At  this  moment,  Mr.  Wallbeoff  received  a  violent  blow 
on  the  back  of  his  shoulder,  from  the  animal’s  paw,  which  felled  him  to  the  ground, 
when  the  enraged  beast  fastened  its  teeth  in  the  back  part  of  his  head,  and  its  hind 
claws  into  his  back  ;  but,  owing  to  the  wounds  it  had  received,  and  its  struggle  with 
a  strong  muscular  man,  the  animal  relinquished  its  hold,  and  retired  into  a  bush. 

As  soon  as  Mr.  Wallbeoff  had  so  far  recovered  himself  as  to  reload  his  gun,  he 
pursued  the  leopard  and  shot  it  through  the  heart.  The  animal,  when  measured,  was 
found  to  be  seven  feet  ten  inches  from  the  nose  to  the  tip  of  the  tail ;  and,  after  all, 
Mr.  Wallbeoffs  injuries  were  not  very  material. 

From  Chilaw,  the  northern  route  lies  to  the  Dedro-Oya,  distant  two  miles ;  from 
thence  to  the  rest-house  of  Battooloo-Oya,  10|-  miles  ;  to  Moondel,  4  miles  ;  to  Mar- 
rundamkoolle,  7j  miles. 

The  botanist  will  be  delighted  with  the  beautiful  little  plant,  called  Rajah  Wanya,  or 
Jungle  King,  which  delights  in  marshy  places,  and  abounds  in  this  neighbourhood. 
The  plant  bears  a  delicate  white  flower,  upon  a  pink  capillary  stalk  ;  leaves  cordiform  ; 
upper  surface,  resembling  black  velvet,  striped  with  gold-like  color,  and  veined  after 
the  manner  of  a  butterfly’s  wing ;  under  surface,  a  light  lake,  inclining  to  ash  color. 
The  natives,  ignorant  of  the  attractive  influence  of  water  upon  trees,  ascribe  the 
bending  of  their  branches  over  the  water  and  marshy  places,  inhabited  by  the  Rajah 
Wanya „  to  their  natural  homage  to  the  Jungle  King  plant ! ! 

The  artificial  Leways,  or  salt  pans,  are  situate  at  Oedepencarre,  Alempitty,  Pullet- 
chacalom,  Mundel,  Anea  Kadda,  Pallandowe,  Perrea  Natchicale,  Karativoe  Island, 
Calpentyn,  Chinne  Natchicale,  and  Rattande. 


Pullam — Its  garrison — Artificial  salt  pans — Face  of  the  country — Crocodiles — Native  devoured  by  a  crocodile — 
Living  crocodile  presented  to  the  Author — Difference  between  the  Ceylon  and  Ganges  crocodile — Mosque — Burial 
ground — Remarkable  tree — Moorish  dancers  with  a  double-edged  sword  in  each  hand — Milk  purveyors — Tyre — 
Native  Vermicelli — Road  to  Kandy  through  Kornegalle — Water  conveyance  to  the  islands  of  Calpentyn  and  Kare- 
tivoe — Sailing  directions  alcmg  the  coast — Farm  of  the  Chank  fishery — Its  extent — The  Chank  manufactured  into 
bangles  and  spoons — Estimated  value  of  a  Chank  with  its  valve  opening  to  the  right  instead  of  the  left — Hint  to 
the  naturalist — The  sea  weed  Fucus  aurylaceus,  commonly  called  Jaffna  moss — Custom-house  establishment  at 
Calpentyn — Inadequate  salaries,  and  contrast — The  late  Earl  of  St.  Vincent's  illiberal  maxim  for  naval  officers 
not  likely  to  ensure  honesty  in  civil  departments — Anecdote  of  a  provincial  judge  of  Calpentyn — Northern  route 
continued — Pomparripo — Face  of  the  country — Wild  animals — The  great  crane — Right  Honorable  Sir  Alexander 
Johnston — Ancient  tank  of  Bawale — Singhalese  records — Capabilities  of  the  soil — Extent  and  population  of  the 
western  province. 

Putlam  is  the  next  stage  from  Mammdamkoolle.  It  is  a  populous  village,  prin¬ 
cipally  inhabited  by  Moormen  and  Hindoos,  and  has  a  small  fort  and  garrison,  com¬ 
manded  by  a  lieutenant,  with  a  medical  staff  of  one  assistant  surgeon,  and  one  native 
medical  assistant. 

The  commandant  is  also  superintendant  of  salt  under  the  civil  assistant  government 
agent  of  Chilaw.  This  great  staple  of  human  economy  is  manufactured  here  in  large 
quantities  ;  the  coast  being  very  flat  and  sandy,  and  evaporation  extremely  rapid,  the 
artificial  pans,  soon  after  the  salt  has  formed,  appear,  at  a  distance,  as  if  covered 
with  snow. 

The  face  of  the  country  is  flat,  and  abounds  in  tanks  and  patches  of  water,  all  which 
are  infested  with  crocodiles.  The  Ceylon  species  is  the  Lacerta  Crocodilus,  a  very 
sluggish  animal.  The  natives  catch  them  in  nets,  and  also  in  traps,  and  with  baited 
hooks.  In  the  former  way,  they  have  more  sport ;  for  they  spear  and  shoot  them, 
ad  libitum,  after  having  dragged  them  upon  terra  firma. 

The  crocodile  possesses  great  strength,  and  is  equally  dreaded  by  men  and  animals. 
It  has  been  occasionally  caught  in  the  jungles.  The  only  instance  of  its  destroying 
human  life,  that  fell  within  my  own  knowledge,  was  at  Hiccode,  in  the  Galle  dis¬ 
trict,  in  1824 ;  when  a  native,  in  the  act  of  bathing,  was  seized  by  a  crocodile,  and 
swallowed,  with  the  exception  of  the  head  and  one  hand,  which  were  found  on  the 

2  A 



margin  of  the  river ;  from  which  it  was  inferred  that  the  poor  victim  had  seen  the 
animal  approach,  and  had  endeavoured  to  save  himself,  but  was  overtaken  just  as  he 
had  grasped  at  an  overhanging  branch  of  a  tree  in  the  last  fruitless  effort  to  escape. 

Immediately  upon  the  report  reaching  the  collector  of  the  district,  James  Agnew 
Farrel,  Esq.,  he  ordered  a  general  search  for  the  amphibious  monster ;  which,  on 
the  second  day,  proved  successful ;  for  just  as  our  pic-nic  party  was  about  to  sit 
down  to  dinner,  two  carts  lashed  together,  and  containing  the  body  of  the  animal, 
which  was  17|  feet  in  length,  were  driven  to  the  door.  We  had  it  removed  instantly 
to  the  sea-side  and  opened  ;  when  the  body  of  the  native,  already  a  mass  of  putrefac¬ 
tion,  was  taken  out,  and  a  coroner’s  inquest  held  upon  the  spot. 

The  Ceylon  crocodile  differs  greatly  from  the  Lacerta  Gangetica,  which  has  a  snout 
thrice  the  length  of  the  head,  and  the  eyes  very  prominent,  and  so  constructed  that 
the  animal  can  see  above  the  water  when  its  body  is  below  the  surface.  In  the 
Ceylon  species  the  head  is  long,  and  flat  towards  the  extremity  of  the  jaws  ;  the  eyes 
very  small,  and  so  placed  within  their  orbits  that  the  outer  part,  when  shut,  is  not 
above  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  and  parallel  with  the  opening  of  the  jaws  ;  the 
nose  is  directly  in  the  middle  of  the  upper  jaw,  and  about  an  inch  and  a  quarter 
from  the  extremity  of  it ;  the  neck  is  carinated,  and  both  the  head  and  back  are 
covered  with  a  hard  coat ;  the  tail  rough,  with  two  lateral  crests  ;  but  the  belly  is  not 
proof  against  a  musket  ball.  , 

In  1827,  the  bullock  drivers  belonging  to  the  salt  establishment  at  Hambantotte, 
brought  me  a  living  crocodile,  which  they  had  caught  in  a  jungle  near  Magam.  It 
measured  sixteen  feet  four  inches  from  the  extremity  of  the  head  to  that  of  the  tail. 

This  animal  is  called  Kayman  by  the  Dutch  and  Portuguese  of  the  island,  and 
Kimbolah  by  the  Singhalese  ;  and  whatever  is  once  seized  by  it  can  never  escape  ;  for 
there  are  alternate  cavities  between  the  teeth  in  both  jaws.  The  living  specimen  had 
twenty  five  sharp-pointed  teeth  in  the  upper,  and  fifteen  in  the  lower  jaw,  of  different 
sizes ;  but  it  evidently  had  had  more  in  the  former,  by  the  remains  of  stumps  that 
had  the  appearance  of  broken  teeth. 

The  crocodile  lays  from  eighty  to  a  hundred  eggs,  which  are  white,  and  of  the  size 
of  a  goose’s  egg,  but  more  oblong,  and  convex  at  the  extremities. 

The  Moormen  have  a  mosque  at  Putlam ;  and,  in  the  burial  ground,  there  is  a  fine 
specimen  of  a  species  of  tamarind,  which  is  distinguished  by  the  Malabars  from  the 
common  tamarind  ( Tamar indus  Indica,  L.),  which  they  call  Bolam-Pulli  and  Maderam- 
Pulli,  by  the  name  of  Papara-Pulli ;  as  large  as  the  one,  under  which  Baldaeus  is  said 
to  have  first  preached  the  gospel  in  Ceylon,  and  which  lies  in  the  direct  route  to 



Jaffna,  near  the  village  of  Illipekadewe.  In  1816,  this  tree  was  thirty  four  feet  in 
girth,  and  nearly  eighty  feet  in  height. 

Some  of  the  young  villagers  display  great  agility  in  dancing  with  a  double-edged 
sword  in  each  hand ;  and  in  attack  and  defence,  whilst  rapidly  moving  to  the  sound 
of  native  music. 

The  Moormen  are  the  principal  huxters,  jewellers,  and  butter  and  milk  purveyors, 
in  the  island.  At  “  out-stations,”  the  last  two  articles  may  be  obtained  free  from 
adulteration ;  but  at  Colombo,  where  the  demand  is  greater,  the  adulteration  of  the 
former,  with  flour,  and  the  latter,  from  “  the  standing  cow  in  the  yard,”  is  propor¬ 
tionally  great. 

At  this  place,  and  other  country  villages,  the  best  Tyre  is  to  be  procured  morning 
and  evening.  .This  cool,  wholesome,  and  very  nutritious  curd,  is  prepared  by  boiling 
new  milk  until  one  third  of  the  quantity  has  evaporated  ;  it  is  then  removed  from  the 
fire  ;  and  when  cool,  the  addition  of  a  table  spoonful  of  butter-milk  converts  it,  in  a 
very  few  hours,  into  a  solid  curd  ;  in  which  state  it  is  eaten  with  sugar,  nutmeg,  and 
boiled  rice.  Nothing  can  be  more  wholesome  for  children  ;  and  it  is  a  great  favorite, 
at  breakfast,  with  all  ranks  and  classes,  both  European  and  native.  The  Singhalese 
call  it  Midi  Kiri,  or  hard  milk ;  the  Hindo-Portuguese,  Tyroj  and  the  Malabars,  Tyree. 
This  curd  is  also  eaten  with  a  species  of  Vermicelli,  which  is  formed  of  rice  flour  and 
the  expressed  juice  of  the  pulp  of  the  ripe  or  curry  coco-nut,  forced  through  the 
bottom  of  a  chatty,  which  is  perforated  with  small  holes  for  the  purpose,  into  a  common 
rice  winnow,  and  held  in  the  steam  of  boiling  water  until  it  acquires  the  consistency 
of  boiled  Maccaroni. 

From  Putlam  there  is  a  tolerable  road  to  Kandy,  through  the  romantic  station  of 
Komegalle ;  which,  for  the  traveller’s  guidance,  may  as  well  be  set  down  in  Ceylon 
road  order ;  because,  if  in  search  of  a  location,  he  would  scarcely  confine  himself  to 
the  line  of  road,  and  might  prefer  extending  his  tour,  by  diverging  to  the  right  and 
entering  the  central  province,  so  as  to  obtain  information  as  to  the  nature  of  the  soil, 
its  productions,  and  capabilities  for  being  made  available  to  any  speculation  that  he 
may  have  in  prospective  ;  and,  after  having  so  done,  return  to  the  place  from  whence 
he  diverged,  for  the  purpose  of  continuing  his  route  round  the  island. 

From  Putlam  to  Katjemadowe,  12  miles  ;  to  Dohanneamma,  11  miles  ;  to  Bogalle- 
gamma,  10  miles  ;  to  Padennie,  10  miles  ;  to  Kalloomoone,  8|  miles  ;  to  Kornegalle, 
7^  miles ;  to  Kospotte-Oya,  8|  miles ;  to  Madawalletenne,  miles ;  to  Mavali-Ganga, 
8f  miles ;  to  the  entrance  of  the  tunnel  (500  feet  in  length),  1^  mile ;  to  Kandy, 
1|  mile ; — total  from  Putlam  to  Kandy,  84  miles. 

2  a  2 



There  is  also  conveyance  by  water  from  Putlam  to  Calpentyn  ;  and  as  the  islands 
of  Calpentyn  and  Karetivoe  lie  parallel  with  this  coast,  and  between  Putlam  and 
Point  Koedeemale  (which  forms  a  small  bight  between  it  and  the  south  bank  of  the 
Marritchicatty  river) ;  and  the  island  of  Manaar,  forming,  with  the  north  end  of 
Karetivoe,*  a  considerable  bay,  the  directions  for  sailing  along  them  may  be  of  suf¬ 
ficient  utility  to  justify  a  temporary  digression  from  the  route  by  land. 

According  to  Captain  Horsburgh’s  sailing  directions,  “  There  are  many  dangerous 
banks  interspersed  from  the  east  end  of  the  island  of  Manaar  to  Calpentyn  island, 
rendering  the  navigation  unsafe  for  large  vessels  near  the  shore  ;  but  small  ones, 
drawing  seven  or  eight  feet  water  only,  and  acquainted  with  the  coast,  pass  inside  or 
between  some  of  them.  The  east  end  of  Manaar  is  in  about  latitude  8°  57'  north, 
having  coco-nut  and  palmyra  trees  upon  it ;  also  a  fort,  and  several  houses ;  and  in 
the  gut  which  separates  it  from  the  opposite  point  in  Ceylon,  Mantotte,  there  is  said 
to  be  ten  or  twelve  feet  water  in  some  places.” 

“  Calpentyn  island,  situated  to  the  southward  of  Cardiva  island,  near  to,  and  parallel 
with,  Ceylon,  appears  as  part  of  the  principal  island,  when  viewed  from  the  offing. 
It  is  low,  abounds  with  coco-nut  trees,  and  extends  from  latitude  7°  56'  to  8°  18'  north.” 

“  The  fort  and  village  of  Calpentyn  stand  on  the  north  end  of  the  island,  between 
which  and  the  south  end  of  Cardiva  island,  there  is  a  group  of  islets,  with  a  larger 
one,  called  Long  Island,f  adjoining  the  north  point  of  Calpentyn,  of  which  it  seems 
part.  Close  to  this,  vessels  may  anchor  in  four  or  five  fathoms ;  or  farther  to 
the  N.  E.  near  Cardiva ;  but  the  bottom  being  mostly  rocky  and  foul,  they  will  be 
liable  to  lose  their  anchors.  The  best  track  in,  is  thought  to  be  near  the  N.  W.  side 
of  the  island,  on  account  of  dangerous  overfalls  on  the  rocky  banks  a  little  to  the 
northward.  The  bank  of  soundings  is  said  to  stretch  from  this  island  about  six  or 
seven  leagues  to  the  westward.” 

In  the  rainy  season,  the  peninsula  of  Calpentyn  becomes  an  island,  and  the  mud 
renders  crossing  impossible. 

“  The  rocky  banks  or  reefs  off  this  place  are  very  dangerous  ;  one  lies  to  the  W. 
and  S.  W.  five  or  six  miles  off  shore,  with  four  fathoms  water  close  to  it,  and  the 
outermost  are  said  to  be  five  leagues  distant  from  the  land.  Ships  bound  to  Manaar 
from  the  southward,  when  3  or  3\  leagues  to  the  westward  of  Cardiva  island,  may 
steer  about  north,  till  the  breakers  on  the  reef  are  discerned ;  then  haul  to  the  west- 

*  Called  also  Cardiva  and  Nallandine  Island, 
t  Distant  from  Chilaw  by  sea  eight  or  nine  leagues. 



ward  about  a  league  in  rounding  it.  From  this  place,  Manaar  island  will  be  seen  to 
the  N.  E.,  for  which  they  should  steer,  keeping  a  good  look-out ,  and  the  lead  going,  the 
soundings  being  irregular  over  a  rocky  bottom,  until  seven  or  eight  fathoms  near  the 
island  ;  under  these  depths  they  decrease  gradually  towards  it  to  five  fathoms  sandy 
ground.  In  this  track  there  are  sometimes  overfalls  from  twenty  to  twenty  five 
fathoms,  to  two  or  three  fathoms  less  at  a  cast.  If  a  vessel  shoal  to  eight  fathoms 
hard  ground,  in  passing  near  the  reef  or  outermost  banks,  she  ought  instantly  to  haul 
to  the  westward.” 

“  From  this  part  of  Ceylon  to  the  Tinevelly  coast,  soundings  extend  across  the 
gulf  to  the  southward  of  Adam’s  Bridge  ;  but  the  outer  limit  of  the  bank  is  not 
exactly  known  to  Europeans,  as  seldom  any  other  than  small  coasting  vessels  navigate 
in  the  gulf  to  the  northward  of  Colombo.” 

The  farm  of  the  exclusive  right  of  fishing  for  the  shell  fish  called  Chank  ( Voluta 
Gravis ),  which  extends  from  the  northern  extremity  of  Calpentyn  island,  round  by 
Jaffna,  to  Moelletivoe  on  the  east  side  of  the  island,  is  usually  sold  to  the  highest 
bidder  for  a  term  of  two  years. 

This  univalve  is  an  article  of  considerable  commerce  throughout  India ;  for  it  is 
manufactured  into  bangles  for  women  and  children,  by  whom  these  ornaments  are 
worn,  round  their  arms  and  legs,  in  indefinite  numbers,  as  their  circumstances  may 
admit  of  the  display.  Spoons  are  also  made  of  it,  which  are  occasionally  purchased 
by  the  curious  European. 

A  chank  shell  with  its  valve  opening  to  the  right  instead  of  the  left,  is  considered 
of  very  great  value.  I  once  heard  a  native  estimate  it  at  10,000  rupees,  or  about 
<£1000  sterling. 

The  palankin  boys  and  baggage  coolies  will  be  much  relieved  by  boating  it  from 
Putlam  to  Calpentyn  ;  and  by^  keeping  close  along  the  shore  of  Navakarre,  the 
naturalist  may  obtain  shells,  specimens  of  mollusca,  madrepore,  pearl-oyster  spawn, 
coral,  sea  weed  ( Fucus  aurylaceus),  commonly  called  in  the  island  Jaffna  moss,  which 
is  in  general  demand  and  estimation  throughout  India ;  and,  as  it  is  superior  in 
quality  to  the  Iceland  moss,  it  might  be  made  a  profitable  speculation,  as  an  export 
to  this  country. 

The  custom-house  at  Calpentyn  is  the  only  civil  establishment  on  the  island,  and  is 
superintended  by  an  assistant  custom  master,  whose  salary  is  67/.  lOs.  per  annum, 
with  a  supervisor  at  £30,  a  conicoply*  or  cash-keeper  and  cloth-taxer  (unus  et  idem )  at 
£20,  and  a  searcher  at  £10  per  annum  !!  Is  this  enough  to  support  them  and  their 
families,  and  at  the  same  time  keep  them  honest  in  the  midst  of  temptation  ? 



I  have  seen  <£2000,  £1000,  £1200,  and  £b00  a  year,  insufficient  to  keep  certain 
Europeans,  called  Ceylon  civil  servants,  faithful  and  honest  in  their  public  duties  ; 
but  perhaps  the  indigenous  breed  arc  expected  to  be  composed  of  more  trustworthy 
materials,  although,  by  comparison,  expected  to  live  on  chameleon  diet.  The  late 
Earl  of  St.  Vincent’s  illiberal  maxim  in  regard  to  naval  officers,  “  Keep  them  poor, 
and  they  will  serve  you  well!”  will  not' do  to  ensure  honesty  in  post  office,  revenue , 
and  custom-house  departments. 

The  very  name  of  Calpentyn  is  so  connected  with  colonial  anecdote,  that  I  cannot 
refrain  from  relieving  the  monotony  of  the  route,  by  relating  one,  as  1  received  it :  but 
without  vouching  for  its  authenticity. 

Formerly,  Calpentyn  was  the  residence  of  a  provincial  judge  ;  and  a  vacancy  having 
occurred,  a  civil  servant  was  appointed  to  that  judicial  office,  who  was  as  notorious 
for  his  orthographical  independence,  as  for  his  habitual  boast  “  that  although  he  was 
eight  years  fagging  at  Latin  and  French,  he  knew  no  more  of  either  than  when  he 
left  school ;  and,  that  at  that  time,  he  was  just  as  wise  as  on  the  day  he  entered  it !  ” 

This  new  provincial  judge  proceeded  to  the  King's  house,  as  the  Governor’s  resi¬ 
dence  was  then  called,  with  the  twofold  object  of  returning  thanks  for  the  appointment, 
and  of  getting  the  Governor’s  consent  to  the  usual  advance  of  six  months’  salary,  in 
order  to  fit  out  for  his  new  station.  After  having  been,  according  to  court  parlance, 
“  most  graciously  received,”  his  request  was  granted  ;  and  just  as  the  Governor  was 
about  to  give  him  his  conge,  the  Stentorian  voice  of  a  neighbouring  Dutch  auctioneer's 
clerk,  whose  name  was  Terry,  and  who  was  about  to  sell  a  lot  of  cast  cavalry  horses, 
was  heard  in  the  street  facing  the  King’s  house  :  “  Going, — going, — can’t  dwell,  gentle¬ 
men, — going, — gone!”  attracted  his  attention.  He  was  a  good  judge  of  horse-flesh, 
if  not  of  Greek  and  Latin,  and  therefore  anxious  to  depart  from  “  the  presence,”  in 
order  to  attend  the  sale. 

Upon  rising  to  take  leave,  the  Governor  good-humouredly  said  to  him,  “  I  presume, 

Mr. - -  that  you  are  very  intimately  acquainted  with  the  Lex  terra,” — and,  if  the 

judge  had  not  suddenly  interrupted  him.  His  Excellency  would  have  added,  “  accord¬ 
ing  to  the  Dutch  code,  as  administered  in  this  island.”  The  judge  changed  color,  as  if 
gazing  upon  a  ghost ;  for  his  dignity  was  much  hurt  at  the  serious  charge,  as  he  con¬ 
sidered  it ;  and  so  anxious  was  he  to  acquit  himself,  that  he  very  gravely  assured  the 
Governor,  that  “if  His  Excellency  did  not  joke,  he  must  have  been  grossly  misin¬ 
formed  ;  for  that  upon  his  honor,  as  a  gentleman,  except  that  he  knew  the  fellow’s 
surname  was  Terry,  and  that  he  was  the  auctioneer’s  clerk,  he  knew  not  whether  his 
Christian  name  was  Lex,  or  if  he  had  ever  been  christened  at  all ! !  ” 


Reader !  imagine,  if  thou  canst,  the  surprise,  or  rather  mute  astonishment,  of  His 
Majesty’s  sole  manufacturer  of  provincial  judges.  His  Excellency  the  Governor  of 
Ceylon ! 

To  resume  our  route  by  land,  the  next  stage  from  Putlam  is  to  Pomparripo  rest- 
house,  beyond  the  river  of  that  name,  (through  the  village  of  Nelliobar,  distand  5  miles, 
and  Wannativille,  6|  miles  from  the  former  village,)  distant  18|  miles;  and  to  the 
village  of  Pomparripo  a  further  distance  of  four  miles. 

The  face  of  the  country  is  flat ;  but  although  none  of  the  scenery  of  the  more 
elevated  parts  of  the  island  diversifies  the  prospect,  magnificent  forest  trees,  and 
verdant  plains,  interspersed  with  neat  native  cottages  and  paddee  fields,  form 
as  interesting  a  landscape  as  any  champain  country  can  present.  The  sea  is 
skirted  by  low  sands,  with  here  and  there  an  occasional  Cactus  opuntia,  or  Pandamis 

The  neighbouring  jungle  abounds  with  elk,  deer,  wild  hogs,  elephants,  chetahs, 
bears,  sloths,  monkies,  and  various  other  animals  ;  besides  birds  and  insects  in  great 
variety,  and  most  interesting  to  the  collecting  naturalist.  Of  the  stork  or  Grits 
genus,  which  is  numerous  throughout  the  island,  and  particularly  in  the  northern  and 
eastern  provinces,  the  Mafia  Kokah  *  is  a  splendid  specimen,  and  its  elegant  white 
feathers  over  the  shoulders  and  back  are  much  esteemed  by  the  fair  sex.  My  atten¬ 
tion  was  first  drawn  to  its  delicate  plumage  by  the  Right  Honorable  Sir  Alexander 
Johnston,  with  whom  I  had  the  honor  to  travel,  some  years  since,  when  Sir  Alexander 
was  chief  justice  of  Ceylon,  from  Jaffna  to  Colombo ;  during  which  period,  I  shot  a 
superb  specimen  of  the  Maha  Kokah ;  but  not  having  any  preparation  at  hand  for 
preserving  the  skin,  putrefaction  followed  death  most  rapidly,  and  I  contented  myself 
with  sketching  the  bird,  and  presenting  the  valuable  portion  of  its  feathers  to  Sir 

The  northern  part  of  this  province  is  chiefly  inhabited  by  Moormen  and  Hindoos  ; 
and  there  are  so  many  vestiges  of  its  original  agricultural  importance,  that  one  is  lost 
in  surprize  at  the  apparent  apathy  of  former  European  governments. 

The  naturalist  or  the  botanist  may  not  be  disposed  to  lose  an  inch  of  ground  ;  but 
the  antiquarian  will  find  little  for  research,  unless  he  diverges  very  much  to  his  right, 
through  jungle  and  cattle  tracks,  until  he  reaches  the  remains  of  the  Bawale  tank  ; 
for  which  place  he  can  procure  a  guide  at  Pomparripo. 

*  Maha  Kokah  signifies  the  Great  Crane, — Maha,  a  Sanscrit  word,  in  general  use  by  the  Singhalese,  for  Great, 

and  Kokah,  Crane. 


This  ancient  tank  is  one  of  the  very  many  vestiges  of  the  former  agricultural  pros¬ 
perity  of  the  northern  districts  ;  for  although  the  cultivation  of  rice  had  subsequently 
become  so  neglected,  that  in  the  year  1785  Ceylon  was  supplied  from  Java,  it  is  a 
recorded  fact,  that  in  the  year  1693  the  whole  Coromandel  coast  was  supplied  with 
that  grain  from  this  part  of  Ceylon  !  It  is  estimated,  that  if  the  Bawale  tank  was 
restored  to  its  original  state  of  usefulness,  the  lands  which  would  thereby  be  rendered 
capable  of  irrigation,  would  afford  employment  to  at  least  fifteen  hundred  or  two 
thousand  labourers. 

Although  it  is  mortifying  to  the  inquiring  mind,  that  the  period  of  authentic  history 
is  so  extremely  limited  ;  and  that,  as  it  is  generally  understood,  we  cannot  trace  it 
antecedently  to  Herodotus,  unless  we  include  the  sacred  writings  of  the  great  lawgiver 
of  the  Jews,  about  eleven  hundred  years  more  remote,  the  Singhalese  priests  do 
not  hesitate  to  aver,  that  they  have  correct  national  records  for  upwards  of  two 
thousand  years. 

The  soil  of  this  district  is  admirably  adapted  for  the  cultivation  of  cotton  (Gossipium 
herbaceum,  L.),  both  of  the  white  and  Nan-Kin  varieties  ;  Dhol  ( Citysus  Cajan ,  L.), 
sun-flower  ( Helianthus  annuus,  L.),  Cassada  ( Jatropha  Manihot,  L.),  ginger  (. Amomum 
Zingiber,  L.),  pepper  ( Piper  nigrum ,  L.),  annatto  (fBixa  orellana,  L.),  turmeric  ( Cur¬ 
cuma  longa,  L.),  and  the  greater  and  lesser  cardamom  (. Amomum  grana  Paradisi,  and 
E  let  aria  cardamomum,  L.). 

The  superficies  of  the  western  province  of  Ceylon  is  4452  square  miles.  White 
population,  including  military  and  their  families,  3982.  Free  blacks,  492,605.  Slaves, 
606.  Aliens  and  resident  strangers,  1829.  Thus  giving  a  population  of  111.78  to 
the  square  mile. 


Northern  Province — Pomparripo  river — Pomparripo — Native  inhabitants — Capabilities  of  the  province  for 
supplying  the  whole  island,  with  rice — Anticipated  result  of  a  liberal  encouragement  of  Hindoo  immigration — Indis¬ 
pensable  elementary  improvements — Increase  of  revenue  from  sea  customs  one  certain  result  of  Hindoo  coloniz¬ 
ation — Depression  of  native  agriculture — Singhalese  landlords — Cultivators  pay  fifty  per  cent,  upon  advances 
of  seed  com — Consequence  of  non-payment  after  the  harvest — Native  proctors — The  law  of  primogeniture  would 
be  a  blessing  to  the  Singhalese — Minute  division  of  landed  property — Northern  route  continued — Marrilchicatty 
rest-house — Padoua  caste — Covia  and  Nallua  slaves — Headmen  support  caste  from  interest  and  prejudice — As¬ 
sumption  of  the  rank  of  headmen  in  the  Malabar  provinces — Penalty  attached — Kallaar  pagoda — Ashes  exchanged 
for  money — Malabar  improvisatori — Scenery  from  Pomparripo  to  Kallaar — Apician  luxuries — Common  oyster 
abundant,  but  neglected,  although  it  might  be  made  a  profitable  speculation — A  Singhalese  mile — Jaffna  moss — 
Description  of  the  Hirundo  esculenta — Its  edible  nest — Dutch  partial  to  it  as  a  delicacy — Its  virtues — The  pre¬ 
pared  birds'  nest  humbly  presented  to  His  Majesty  King  George  the  Fourth,  who  commands  it  to  be  cooked  for 
his  Royal  use — Sir  Henry  Halford's  communication  to  the  Author. 

The  Pomparripo  river  separates  the  Western  from  the  Northern  Province,  and 
takes  its  rise  in  the  mountains  of  the  interior,  near  Nallande,  in  the  former  Kandyan 
Dessavony  of  Matelle,  now  part  of  the  central  province.  The  village  of  Pomparripo, 
about  four  miles  north  of  the  ford,  is  chiefly  inhabited  by  industrious  Moormen  and 
Hindoos.  These  people  are  of  very  contented  habits ;  and  the  province  possesses 
great  natural  and  artificial  capabilities  of  irrigation.  If  therefore  the  government 
would  but  encourage  Hindoo  immigration,  by  grants  of  the  crown  lands,  tax-free,  for 
a  certain  number  of  years,  there  would  be  no  want  of  native  capitalists  to  advance 
money  and  seeds,  upon  the  security  of  the  crops ;  and  sufficient  rice,  cotton  wool, 
and  tobacco,  might  be  grown  in  this  province  to  supply  the  whole  island,  and  leave 
a  large  surplus  for  exportation. 

But,  as  an  indispensable  preliminary  to  the  great  and  important  measure  of  ex¬ 
tending  the  culture  of  these  staples,  the  government  will  have  to  effect  extensive 
elementary  improvements  ;  such  as  the  restoration  of  the  ancient  tanks,  and  the 
formation  of  canals  and  bridges,  in  order  to  increase  the  means  of  transit ;  the  want 
of  which,  are  the  chief  physical  obstructions  to  commerce  :  for  it  is  by  such  works  that 
the  capital  of  a  country  is  formed,  and  they  ought  to  be  promoted,  if  it  be  the  object 
of  the  government  to  attract,  and  render  profitable,  the  capital  of  individuals. 

2  B 


For  this  grand  object,  it  would  be  sound  policy  to  encourage  an  extensive  coloniz 
ation  of  the  northern  parts  of  the  western,  and  the  northern  provinces,  by  Hindoos  , 
and  it  is  morally  impossible  to  estimate  the  extent  of  the  local  benefits,  to  which,  such 
a  measure  may  lead. 

Whether  the  Hindoos  were  the  primitive  inhabitants  of  the  country  or  not,  they 
form  one  of  the  most  ancient  nations  in  the  world,  and  were  distinguished  by  letters 
and  arts,  at  a  time  when  the  major  part  of  their  Asiatic  neighbours  were  scarcely 
advanced  beyond  the  first  stage  of  civilization.  Let  it  be  recollected,  that  this  race 
is  humane,  gentle,  and  brave,  (for  there  are  nowhere  better  native  soldiers  than  the 
Hindoos,  under  proper  discipline  and  European  officers,)  their  manners  obliging,  and 
their  habits  frugal,  hospitable,  and  temperate. 

If  the  latter  be,  as  we  are  told,  one  of  the  effects  upon  society  of  Hindoo  super¬ 
stition,  whose  positive  injunction  to  rigid  temperance  preserves  its  votaries  from  many 
of  the  gross  irregularities,  which,  in  our  own  country,  sap  the  foundations  of  all  social 
happiness,  let  us  hope,  that  the  extension  of  Christianity  will  not  introduce  its  anti¬ 
thesis  to  this  now  contented  race  of  people. 

It  may  be  anticipated,  that  Hindoo  immigrants  would  bring  with  them,  exclusively 
of  those  practiced  in  agriculture,  cattle  breeding,  fishing,  hunting,  and  mining,  manu¬ 
facturers  of  cotton  and  silk  cloths,  shawls  and  mats,  and  tanners  of  leather,  equal 
to  those  of  Cordova.  As  they  are  also  inimitable  dyers,  there  is  not  a  fairer  field 
for  their  operations  than  Ceylon,  where  every  kind  of  vegetable  dye  may  be  said  to 
be  indigenous. 

Although  the  restoration  of  the  ancient  tanks  would  be  a  work  of  time,  yet  culti¬ 
vation  would  be  gradually  extending  itself,  as  the  means  of  irrigation  progressed ;  and 
one  grand  result  of  the  occupation  of  the  soil  by  industrious  Hindoos,  would  be  a 
gradual,  but  important  increase  of  the  local  revenue,  through  the  additional  stimulus 
that  would  thereby  be  given  to  the  trade  between  Ceylon  and  the  opposite  coasts. 

The  next  important  object,  and  not  the  least  to  a  naval  power,  to  which  I  would 
beg  leave  most  earnestly  to  draw  the  attention  of  Her  Majesty’s  government,  is  the 
culture  of  the  indigenous  hemp  ( Cannabis  Sativa,  L.),  and  the  formation  of  teak 
( Tectona  grandis )  plantations,  upon  the  crown  lands  of  the  maritime  provinces.  That 
the  Ceylon  teak  is  not  inferior  to  any  that  India,  produces,  is,  I  believe,  undeniable  ; 
and,  however  great  the  supply  that  may  now  be  obtained  from  the  Malabar  and  Bur¬ 
mese  coasts,  a  time  may  come  when  Great  Britain  may  have  to  depend  upon  its  own 
resources  for  shipbuilding  materials  ;  and  all  will  admit,  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the 
present  to  anticipate  the  naval  wants  of  succeeding  generations.  The  teak  flourishes 



best  upon  the  sea  coast ;  and  the  neighbourhoods  of  Galle,  Colombo,  Negombo,  and 
Trincomale,  offer  every  facility  for  forming  plantations  of  this  invaluable  tree,  for  the 
future  purposes  of  the  British  navy. 

Many  objectionable  circumstances  still  tend  to  depress  native  agriculture  in  Ceylon, 
notwithstanding  the  abolition  of  forced  personal  service,  or  Rajah  Karia,  in  the 
year  1832  ;  a  measure  by  which  the  Earl  of  Ripon,  when  Viscount  Goderich,  immor¬ 
talized  his  Lordship’s  second  administration  of  the  colonies. 

We  must  not  look  at  the  improved  system  introduced  by  a  few  speculative  English 
capitalists,  or  their  agents,  (for  those  gentlemen  do  not  condescend  to  cultivate  rice,  or 
the  smaller  grains,)  in  the  few  thousands  of  acres  devoted  to  coffee,  sugar,  &c.,  but 
to  the  general  agricultural  system  of  the  colony  ;  for  “  the  greatest  happiness  of  the 
greatest  number  ”  ought  to  be  the  grand  object  of  every  good  government. 

The  Singhalese  landlords  care  not  one  straw  for  the  interests  of  the  cultivators. 
The  latter  must  contrive  to  pay  them  a  clear  profit  of  fifty  per  cent,  for  their  advances 
of  seed  corn,  whether  the  harvest  be  good  or  bad ;  *  and  they  are  naturally  such  a 
litigious  race,  that  if  this  exorbitant  premium  be  not  duly  paid,  upon  the  grain  being 
trodden  out,  (for  they  have  no  other  than  the  primitive  mode  of  detaching  it  from  the 
straw,)  the  omission  is  sure  to  be  followed  by  a  proctor’s  summons ;  whereupon,  the 
debtor,  in  his  anxiety  to  save  further  costs,  grants  a  bond  for  the  value  of  the  corn, 
which  he  was  to  have  paid  in  kind,  at  the  rate  of  fifty  per  cent.,  upon  the  market 
price,  and  bearing  the  usual  legal  rate  of  interest,  in  the  colony,  viz.  twelve  per  cent 
per  annum.  If,  again,  that  bond  be  unpaid  when  due,  wo  betide  the  unfortunate 
cultivator ! — the  law  is  resorted  to — followed  up  gradatim — and  unmercifully,  as  far  as 
it  depends  either  upon  the  Singhalese  plaintiff  or  his  proctor ;  execution  follows,  and 
all  the  poor  defendant’s  little  property  is  seized  and  sold  ! 

This  curse  upon  agriculture,  though  great,  is  not  the  greatest.  The  law  of  primo¬ 
geniture,  which  is  elsewhere  considered  a  very  unjust  hardship  upon  the  younger 
branches  of  a  family,  would,  if  established  in  Ceylon,  be  the  greatest  blessing  that 
a  wise  government  could  possibly  confer  upon  the  country.  It  would  decrease  the 
number  of  those  pests,  the  Singhalese  proctors,  who  infest  every  minor  court  ot 
justice  ;  and  a  corresponding  benefit  to  the  agricultural  classes  would  be  one  of  the 
first  results  of  its  enactment. 

If  a  person,  possessing  landed  property,  die,  its  value  is  estimated,  as  the  system 
now  obtains,  by  the  produce  of  so  many  Jack  or  Coco-nut  trees  ;  or,  of  so  man\ 

*  When  advances  of  seed  corn  are  made  by  the  government,  twenty  tiv'e  per  cent,  is  the  usual  charge 

2  b  2 



acres,  (I  suppose  one  must  adopt  the  English  term,  according  to  the  new  system 
introduced  into  the  country,  and  which  has  puzzled  the  natives  to  understand  our 
superficial  measure,)  of  paddee  ;  and  if  he  leave  a  dozen  children,  the  trees  are  shared 
between  the  heirs ,  either  conjointly  with,  or  without,  the  land.  And,  if  the  owner  of 
one  twelfth  share  dies,  leaving  twelve  children,  away  goes  that  twelfth  among  his  heirs ; 
and  so  on,  ad  infinitum,  until,  perhaps,  each  share  might  cover  but  a  penny  piece  in  size. 

The  least  trespass,  the  taking  of  a  Coco-nut,  or  Jack,  beyond  the  share,  would  inevi¬ 
tably  be  followed  by  a  “  law-suit  and  in  this  manner  the  time  and  patience 
of  district  judges  are  occupied  and  put  to  the  test.  The  price  of  judicial  stamps 
might  be  so  increased  as  to  operate  as  a  damper  upon  such  eternal  litigation  ;  but 
nothing  can  effectually  remove  it,  except  by  establishing  the  law  of  primogeniture  ; 
or  by  allowing  the  richest  heir  to  buy  the  whole,  and  for  the  proceeds  to  be  divided 
between  the  rest ;  giving  always  the  preference  to  the  eldest  son,  or  to  his  eldest  son, 
if  the  former  have  died  and  left  an  heir. 

If  the  crop  be  on  the  ground  at  the  time  a  “  land  suit  ”  is  commenced,  the  proctor 
moves  the  court  “  for  sequestration,”  until  final  adjudication  ;  thus  much  time  is  lost, 
and  money  expended,  that  would  have  been  sufficient  to  buy  up  all  the  original 
shares  ;  and  who  is  the  party  ultimately  benefitted  ?  the  proctor !  no  one  else  ;  for 
after  the  land,  or  produce,  or  both,  is  sold,  if  the  share,  or  shares,  for  which  the  action 
may  have  been  brought,  be  insufficient  to  pay  his  costs,  he  forthwith  brings  actions 
against  the  parties  who  have  employed  him,  for  the  balance ! 

Can  any  country  under  heaven,  let  the  Almighty’s  bounty  to  it,  be  what  it  may, 
prosper,  where  such  glaring  mismanagement,  injustice,  and  litigation  prevail  ?  The 
picture  is  not  overdrawn. 

The  next  stage  from  Pomparripo  is  through  the  village  of  Marrande,  distant  8-f 
miles,  to  the  rest-house  of  Marritchicatty,  16|  miles  from  Pomparripo.  The  rest- 
house  is  on  the  north  bank  of  the  river  ;  the  road  is  very  sandy,  and,  except  in 
certain  places,  and  close  to  the  villages,  where  there  are  paddee  fields,  skirted  on  the 
east  by  dense  jungle,  which  abounds  with  wild  animals.  There  is  but  one  inducement  to 
halt  at  this  place,  and  that  is  to  see  a  dance  of  the  Padoua  caste,  —  a  class  of  people, 
considered  so  very  low  and  degraded,  that  they  are  restricted  from  playing  on  any 
musical  instrument  whatever  ;  and  therefore  they  adapt  themselves  to  a  necessity 
which  cannot  be  overcome ;  and  display  no  small  share  of  ingenuity  in  drawing  sounds, 
by  blowing  into  earthen  chatties ;  to  which  they  keep  admirable  time.  The  males 
of  this  caste  dare  not  wear  cloths  below  their  knees,  nor  dare  the  females  cover  their 
breasts.  A  few  measures  of  rice  will  be  well  bestowed  amongst  these  poor  people. 



There  is  every  reason  to  believe,  from  the  system  of  slavery  that  still  obtains  in 
this  province,  that  many  of  the  inferior  castes  were  originally  slaves  ;  who,  in  the 
frequent  revolutions  of  the  country,  were  left  to  serve  the  superior  castes  for  their 
means  of  support.  In  this  province,  slavery  still  exists  ;  and  the  registry  of  slaves, 
which  commenced  in  the  year  1806,  distinguishes  them  under  the  heads  of  “  Covia 
and  Nallua  castes.” 

In  the  year  1817,  the  government,  in  its  wisdom  and  humanity,  passed  a  regulation, 
which,  without  infringing  much  upon  the  right  of  ownership,  abolished  joint  property 
in  slaves  ;  and,  by  the  same  regulation,  slaves  were  allowed  to  purchase  their  emancipa¬ 
tion,  when  they  could  obtain  the  means  of  so  doing.  In  1821,  by  another  regulation, 
the  government,  in  order  to  hasten,  as  far  as  lay  in  its  power,  the  abolition  of  slavery, 
pleged  itself  to  pay  the  owners  ot  slaves  from  3s.  6d.  to  5s.  3d.,  according  to  the  caste 
of  its  mother,  for  the  freedom  of  each  female  infant,  at  its  birth  ;  but  this  small  sum 
was  greatly  objected  to  by  the  Malabar  proprietors ;  and  with  some  reason,  when  it  is 
contrasted  with  the  manner  in  which  the  value  of  adult  slaves  was  fixed ;  namely, 
by  arbitration. 

Here,  again,  I  cannot  refrain  from  referring  to  the  circumstance  of  Negro  manumis¬ 
sion  ;  the  benefit  of  which  was  extended  to  the  Mauritius,  but  not  to  the  wretched 
Covia  and  Nallua  slaves  of  Ceylon  ;  the  purchase  of  whose  freedom  would  have  made 
but  a  small  indent  upon  the  <£20, 000,000  granted  by  parliament  for  that  benevolent 

The  headmen  support  the  distinctions  of  caste  from  motives  of  interest,  as  well  as 
from  prejudice ;  and,  for  these  reasons,  all  attempts,  on  the  part  of  the  inferior  castes, 
to  improve  their  lot  in  life,  are  resisted  and  counteracted.  This  system  must  be  ex¬ 
pected,  until  the  headmen  become  more  enlightened,  by  education  and  Christianity  : 
but  ages  may  pass  away,  ere  that  grand  object  be  attained  ;  for  it  is  extremely  remote 
in  the  prospective ;  notwithstanding  the  rapid  strides,  which,  by  all  our  missionary 
reports,  the  light  of  truth  is  making  in  the  island. 

The  unauthorized  assumption  of  the  rank  of  headmen,  in  the  Malabar  provinces, 
had  become  so  notorious,  that,  in  the  year  1 820,  the  government  passed  a  regulation, 
by  which  it  involved  a  penalty  of  500  rix  dollars,*  or  imprisonment  (not  exceeding 
six  months)  in  default  of  payment ;  but  it  is  difficult  to  conceive  upon  what  grounds 
of  justice  the  same  regulation  abrogated  all  former  effective,  as  well  as  titular  acts,+ 
granted  by  the  authority  of  the  government,  antecedently  to  the  fourth  of  June,  1809. 

*  £43  15s. 

f  Local  name  for  the  warrants,  by  which  Headmen  hold  their  titles. 



From  Marritchicatty  to  Kallaar  pagoda,  which  is  a  Hindoo  temple,  the  distance  is 
7|  miles.  At  this  place,  the  poor  coolies  exchange  money  for  ashes  ;  and  consequently 
ashes  are  never  at  a  discount.  This  precious  humbug  is  held  in  such  veneration  by 
these  untutored  pagans,  that  they  believe  the  effect  of  rubbing  the  ashes  over  their 
foreheads  and  arms,  will  be,  to  protect  them  from  all  danger  on  the  road,  and  to 
preserve  them  and  their  families  in  health  ! ! 

These  “  palankin  boys,”  as  the  bearers  are  generally  called,  are  principally  Malabars. 
They  are  naturally  mprovisatori  ,  for  sing  they  must,  and  have  responses  ;  and  it 
matters  not  what  the  burthen  of  the  song  be,  but  the  more  ridiculous  the  better.  The 
Right  Honorable  Sir  Alexander  Johnston,  when  chief  justice,  was  so  well  acquainted 
with  the  Tamul  language,  that  he  required  very  little  aid  from  his  interpreter.  Upon 
one  occasion,  a  friend,  travelling  with  Sir  Alexander,  being  amused  by  the  chaunt 
of  his  palankin  bearers,  requested  an  interpretation  of  it ;  this  Sir  Alexander  did 
not  readily  give ;  but,  upon  being  pressed  to  do  so,  his  friend  was  informed  that  the 
burthen  of  the  song  was,  “  Taniby,  tamby,  for  brother,  brother,)  shake  him  well,  shake 
the  great  fat  English  pig  !  ” 

The  scenery  from  Pomparripo  to  Kallaar,  and  its  immediate  neighbourhood, 
only  requires  a  mountain  or  two  in  the  distance,  to  stamp  it  as  magnificent.  The 
trees  to  the  right  of  the  road  are  of  the  most  splendid  description,  in  point  of  girth, 
spread,  and  height ;  and  the  foliage  is  of  every  hue  that  the  most  perfect  landscape 
painter  can  imagine. 

As  to  gastronomic  luxuries,  the  Apician  might  justly  include  the  snipe  and  ortolan 
( Emberiza  Hortulana ,  L.),  as  well  as  the  sur-mullet  and  oyster  of  this  coast,  in  his 
catalogue  of  “  ways  and  means  to  provoke  appetite.” 

The  common  oyster  ( Ostrea  communis )  abounds  ;  but  is  altogether  neglected,  al¬ 
though  the  native  inhabitants  of  the  coast,  between  Putlam  and  Kallaar,  might  make 
a  very  profitable  speculation  of  gathering  and  pickling  oysters  for  the  Colombo  and 
Kandyan  markets ;  but,  satisfied  with  a  few  paddee  and  fine  grain  fields,  and  cotton, 
arum,  or  yam,  and  plantain  grounds,  they  seem  to  have  no  care  beyond  the  common 
necessaries  of  Indian  life  ;  this  may  arise  from  want  of  capital,  or  of  example,  to 
stimulate  them  to  speculative  exertion. 

The  naturalist  would  find  much  to  gratify  and  amuse  him  in  this  province  :  for  the 
jungles,  tanks,  and  paddee  fields  teem  with  a  great  variety  of  birds,  reptiles,  and 
insects ;  of  which,  very  many  are  still  undescribed. 

After  a  few  hours’  travelling  by  palankin,  one  is  often  induced  to  inquire  of  his 
attendant  Appo,  how  much  further  it  is  to  the  rest-house,  where  his  avant  courier,  the 



cook,  may  have  a  good  dinner  or  breakfast  under  preparation  for  “  master,”  (which  will 
be  the  case,  if  Cookee  be  worth  the  salt  he  eats  :)  and  it  may  so  happen  that  the  answer 
is,  “  only  one  mile,  Sir!"  whereupon,  “  master”  continues  tolerably  tranquil  until  the 
lapse  of  a  quarter  of  an  hour  or  twenty  minutes,  every  now  and  then  anxiously  peeping 
through  the  front  Venetians  of  his  p.dankin,  for  the  desired  rest-house  ;  another  quarter 
of  an  hour  passes,  and  still  nothing  before  him  but  a  sandy  shore  on  the  one  hand, 
and  occasional  paddee  fields  ttnd  (ungle  on  tht  other.  Appo  is  again  applied  to 
“  now  only  two  trees  Thirds,  of  one  mile,  Sir!”  “  Long  mile,  Appo  !  what,  in  half 
an  hour,  only  travelled  a  third  of  a  mile  !'  “  I  think  bearers  tired,  very  much.  Sir  . 

walk  plenty  too  much  slow."  Patienza  per  forza  !  Another  quarter  of  an  hour,  and 
another  half  hour  succeeds .  when,  at  length,  something  white,  appears  in  the  prospec¬ 
tive,  which  proves  to  be  the  long  wished  for  rest-house,  (where  it  was  formerly  the 
custom  for  the  tables  and  chairs  to  be  covered  with  white  cloths ;)  and  in  a  very  short 
time  “  master”  and  his  legs  will  have  occupied  three  chairs  in  the  virandah.  “  Master' 
at  length  discovers  that  a  Singhalese  mile  is  two  English  leagues !  “  Verbum  sap.” 

The  sea  weed  ( Fucus  aurylaceus)  locally  called  Jaffna  moss,  is  peculiar  to  this 
province  ;  but,  although  the  same  production  is  common  to  Java  and  other  islands 
belonging  to  the  Dutch,  where  it  is  said  to  form  the  exclusive  food  of  the  swallow 
( Hirundo  esculenta),  whose  nest  forms  a  chief  luxury  of  the  Chinese  gourmand,  the 
bird  itself  does  not  belong  to  the  ornithology  of  Ceylon. 

There  is  no  peculiar  beauty  m  the  Hirundu  esculenta  ,  it  appeared  to  me  almost  all 
feathers  ;  for  half  a  dozen  of  these  birds,  presented  to  me  by  the  first  lieutenant  of 
the  Piedmontaise  frigate,  (the  late  Captain  Sir  Thomas  Carew,)  did  not  weigh  more 
than  two  Spanish  dollars.  The  color  of  the  back  was  of  a  dark  grey,  tinged  with 
green,  which  showed  more  plainly  when  held  in  the  sun  ;  the  belly  light  grey,  inclin¬ 
ing  to  fawn  color  ;  tail  forked,  but  not  so  much  as  that  of  the  common  swallow,  and 
marked  with  a  round  wrhite  spot  ;  middle  toe  remarkable  for  its  great  length,  compared 
with  the  others. 

The  edible  swallow’s  nest  resembles  a  small  circular,  or  rather  oblong,  piece  of 
Dutch  cheese,  hollowed  and  scooped  thin,  with  a  feather  here  and  there  upon  thf 
concave  side,  more  than  any  thing  else  ;  but  when  prepared  for  sale  to  the  mandarins 
and  other  great  men,  it  has  a  totally  different  appearance  ;  for  by  the  process,  it  is 
drawn  out  into  long  strips,  about  a  third  of  an  inch  in  width,  having  something  of  the 
appearance  of  hartshorn  shavings  ;  these  are  tied  in  bunches,  of  about  four  inches  m 
circumference,  and  fourteen  m  length,  with  the  fine  flax  prepared  from  the  stalks 
of  the  wild  plantain  ( Musa  sylvestris),  and  dissolve  in  wrater  as  easily  as  isinglass. 


I  have  occasionally  eaten  “  birds  nest  soup,”  at  the  resident’s,  and  at  Captain  China¬ 
man’s  tables,  both  at  Amboyna  and  Banda ;  but  it  was  highly  spiced,  and  withal  so  very 
gelatinous,  that  I  could  not  distinguish  any  very  peculiar  delicacy  in  its  flavor. 

The  Dutch  relish  the  soup  best  when  it  is  prepared  by  the  Chinese  ;  and  they 
ascribe  to  it  the  inestimable  property  of  restoring  the  tone  and  powers  of  the  stomach, 
after  they  have  become  altogether  debilitated,  by  excess  in  the  use  of  opium,  or  ardent 
spirits ;  and  they  are  at  no  loss  to  adduce  instances  of  its  great  and  renovating  effects, 
where  medicine  had  altogether  tailed 

Having  brought  with  me  to  England,  m  1827,  some  of  the  “  very  Jirst  chop”* 
prepared  birds’  nest,  which  had  been  presented  to  me  by  the  late  Mr.  Blettermann, 
of  the  Ceylon  civil  service,  who  had  received  it  from  his  brother,  a  Dutch  factor  at 
Canton  ;  it  occurred  to  me,  at  the  time  of  the  last  illness  of  His  Most  Gracious  Majesty 
King  George  the  Fourth,  that  it  might  produce  a  beneficial  effect ;  if  not,  that  so  novel 
an  article  of  diet  might  prove  a  grateful  change  to  His  Majesty,  and  could  not  do 
harm  ;  and  I  accordingly  transmitted  it  to  Sir  Henry  Halford,  one  of  His  Majesty’s' 
physicians.  Sir  Henry  acknowledged  its  receipt,  by  letter  dated  Windsor  Castle, 
18th  May,  1830,  in  the  handsomest  terms  that  language  could  convey,  and  thus 
concluded  it, — “  I  did  not  fail  to  present  it  to  the  King  in  vour  name,  when  Hi* 
Majesty  was  pleased  to  desire  that  I  would  thank  you  for  it,  and  to  give  orders  for 
preparing  it  to-day.” 

*  Chinese  definition  of  the  superior  sort  oi  the  edible  swallow  s  nest.  This  article  of  Eastern  commerce  was 
considered  the  most  valuable  part  of  the  cargoes  of  Dutch  vessels,  or  Malay  Proas  under  Dutch  colors,  that  our 
cruizers  mtiue  prizes  of  in  the  Eastern  seas  during  the  late  war 


The  Kallaar  ncer — Route  to  Kandy — Thomas  Ralph  Backhouse,  Esq — Brief  description  of  the  ruins  of  tht 
ancient  capital  of  Ceylon — Pilgrimage  from  the  coasts  of  Coromandel  and  Malabar  to  Anarajahpoora — Kon- 
datchie,  the  rendezvous  of  adventurers,  jugglers,  and  thieves,  during  the  pearl  fishery — Various  accounts  of  the 
pearl  fishery — Committee  s  report  of  the  pearl  banks,  prior  to  u  fishery — Rocky  bank — The  island  of  Car  diva,  u 
protection  to  the  pearl  banks  from  the  south-west  monsoon — Superstition — Shark  charmers — Roman  Catholic 
priests  distribute  amulets  to  the  divers — Sharks — Boats — Mode  of  diving — Objections  to  the  use  of  the  diving 
bell — Pearl  oyster  spawn,  and  opinion  of  the  divers  in  regard  to  it — Average  daily  produce  of  each  boat — Putrefac¬ 
tion  of  the  pearl  oyster — Field  for  naturalists — Kola  or  leaf  oyster — Betel  oyster — Position  of  pearls  in  oysters — 
Pinna  Marina — Difficulty  of  transferring  the  habitat  of  the  pearl  oyster  considered  insuperable — Various  methods 
of  clearing  the  pearls  from  the  oyster — Pearl  oyster  of  Ceylon  ( Mytdus  maryaritifiru  •  a  variety  of  the  mother  o 
pearl  oyster — Pearls  most  valued  at  Ceylon  for  their  golden  hue — Suggestions  for  disposing  of  the  pearl  fishenj  by 
lottery — Impolicy  of  abandoning  the  monopoly — Suggestions  in  regard  to  reduction  of  the  rent — Suggested  pano¬ 
rama —  Arippo  rest-house — Roman  Catholic  chapel — Kondatchie  destitute  •> f  water 

The  Kallaar  river  takes  its  rise  near  Anarajahpoora,  the  ancient  capital  of  Ceylon, 
through  which  place  there  is  a  road  from  Kallaar  pagoda  to  Kandy,  by  the  following 
route  : — From  Kallaar  to  Kiritenna  Venditte  rest-house,  hi  miles  ;  to  Paymaddoo,  .>£ 
miles  ;  to  Oyamaddoo  rest-house,  miles  ;  to  Alleaparte,  If  miles  .  to  Anarajah¬ 

poora,  6-f  miles ;  to  Tirapankadawetta,  12|  miles ;  to  Manawevva,  9|  miles  ;  to  Nickm- 
niawe,  8|  miles  ;  to  Damboola  Vihare  rest-house,  16  miles  ,  to  Leenadora  post  station, 
7  miles ;  to  Natande  post  station,  7  miles ;  to  Palapawella  Ella  rest  house,  4  miles  ; 
to  Fort  Macdowall,  the  station  of  the  assistant  government  agent  and  district  judge, 
I  1  miles  ;  to  the  top  of  Ballacadua  Pass,  6f  miles  ;  to  Mavali-Ganga  Ferry,  7  miles  ; 
to  Kandy,  2f  miles  ; — total  from  Kallaar  to  Kandy,  129  miles. 

The  ancient  city  of  Anarajahpoora  was  the  capital  of  Cevlon  for  eleven  or  twelve 
centuries  ;  and  I  avail  myself  of  the  information  respecting  it,  with  which  I  wqs  favored 
by  my  esteemed  friend,  the  late  Thomas  Ralph  Backhouse,  Esq.,  of  the  civil  service, 
after  his  ramble,  (as  well  as  the  jungle  would  admit  of  it,)  in  the  year  1>23.  over  the 
extensive  site  of  its  pristine  splendour  :  but  although  even  now  scarcely  worthy  of  the 
name  of  village,  Anarajahpoora  has  been  raised  from  the  almost  total  oblivion,  in  the 
official  scale,  to  which  it  had  been  consigned  for  more  than  three  centuries,  by  being 
made  the  station  of  one  of  the  assistant  government  agents  of  the  province  ho  also 
holds  the  office  of  a  district  judge  of  the  northern  circuit  of  the  supreme  court 

2  c 



“  I  fell  in  with  a  very  intelligent  Budhoo  priest  at  Mantotte,”  says  Mr.  Backhouse, 
“  who,  at  my  request,  accompanied  me  to  Anarajahpoora ;  but  his  account  of  this 
deserted  city  borders  so  much  upon  the  marvellous,  that  I  shall  limit  my  relation  of  it 
to  its  probabilities.  His  story  is,  that  the  first  Budhoo’s  tree,  or  Bogaha,  was  miracu¬ 
lously  conveyed  to  Anarajahpoora  from  Siam,  where  it  is  held  sacred  to  Sommocodom, 
(another  name  for  Buddha,)  which  took  root  instanter,  (without,  I  suppose,  waiting  for 
the  common  course  of  nature,)  and  was  there  cherished  by  the  royal  hand  of  Petissa 
Rajah,  who  flourished,  according  to  his  account,  more  than  two  thousand  years  ago, 
and  was  the  origin  of  the  subsequent  annual  pilgrimages  to  that  ancient  city. 

“  The  Archdeacon  has  a  fine  copy  of  Ptolemy,  with  a  map,  to  which  you  may 
as  well  refer  for  Anarajahpoora ;  the  position  is  correctly  given,  under  the  name  of 

“  This  ‘  city  of  the  ninety  sovereigns,’  according  to  the  Singhalese  derivation  ;*  but, 
by  the  late  Mr.  William  Tolfrey’s,  which  is  the  most  probable,  from  the  planet  Anooradu, 
is  stated  to  have  been  surrounded  by  a  wall,  from  nine  to  ten  Singhalese  miles,  or 
from  fifty  to  sixty  English  miles,  in  extent,  and  in  a  most  fertile  and  well-cultivated 
country  :  this  is  now  a  mere  desert ;  but  amongst  the  jungle  that  surrounds  it,  there 
exist  innumerable  vestiges  of  the  former  magnificence  of  Anarajahpoora granite 
pillars,  shafts,  bases,  and  capitals,  of  an  order  unknown  to  the  modern  architect  ; 
remains  of  stone  bridges  over  the  Malwatte  river,  and  of  several  spacious  tanks,  still 
capable  of  being  restored,  to  contain  water  for  the  irrigation  of  many  lacsf  of  acres. 

“  Notwithstanding  the  great  difficulties  interposed  by  the  jungle,  I  examined  the  bases 
of  two  temples,  and  found  them  geometrically  correct  as  to  the  positions  of  the  angles 
at  the  cardinal  points  ;  there  are  also  vestiges  of  magnificent  palaces,  and  of  an  exten¬ 
sively  paved  road  ;  and  the  more  I  see  of  the  antiquities  of  this  (the  northern)  pro¬ 
vince,  the  more  I  am  convinced  that  it  was  originally  peopled  by  a  nation  pre-eminent 
in  architecture  and  civilization,  whose  language  is  said  to  have  been  obliterated  from 
the  earth,  leaving  only  gigantic  records  of  its  characters  in  granitic  rock,  that  seem 
to  set  time  and  nature  at  defiance. 

“  This  ancient  seat  of  long-departed  royal  magnificence  and  superstition,  (the  Kan¬ 
dyan  Anurodgeburro ,)  is  frequented  by  numerous  pilgrims  from  the  Malabar  and  Coro¬ 
mandel  coasts  ;  these  are  encouraged  by  their  Brahmins,  particularly  by  those  of 
Ramisseram,  to  believe  that  their  future  state  of  existence,  in  the  metempsychosis 
assured  by  their  religion,  materially  depends  upon  their  undertaking  this  pilgrimage 

*  Anoo,  ninety  ;  Rajah,  king;  Poora,  city. 

f  Lac.  100.000 



and,  as  the  devotees  cross  from  the  peninsula  to  Ramisseram,  where  they  make  offerings 
to  the  temple,  for  a  safe  journey  to,  and  from  thence,  via  Adam’s  Bridge  and  Manaar, 
and  from  thence  to  Ceylon  ;  returning  by  the  same  route,  and  renewing  their  offerings 
for  their  safety  on  their  way  home,  the  motives  of  the  priesthood  require  no  explanation. 

“  Whether  Anarajahpoora  was  destroyed  by  some  awful  visitation  of  Providence, 
or  deserted  upon  the  invasion  of  a  barbarian  conqueror,  are  at  best  but  hypothetical, 
for  there  is  no  record  that  may  be  relied  on.” 

From  Kalaar  pagoda,  the  next  stage  is  Kondatchie;  which,  at  the  time  of  the  Pearl 
Fishery,  becomes  the  general  rendezvous  of  all  boats  to  be  employed,  and  of  adven¬ 
turous  traders,  jugglers,  and  thieves  ;  for  as  the  government  Gazettes  of  the  several 
presidencies  previously  give  six  months’  notice  of  it  throughout  their  extensive  circu¬ 
lation,  there  is  scarcely  a  nation  or  caste  of  the  immense  continent  of  India,  exclu¬ 
sively  of  Parsee  and  Arabian  traders,  of  which  there  are  not  many  individuals,  whom 
the  thirst  of  gain  allures  to  this  grand  field  of  speculation. 

Since  the  time  of  Pliny  the  elder,  there  has  not  appeared  a  work,  professing  to 
treat  of  Ceylon,  in  which  the  pearl  fishery  has  not  been  noticed  ;  and  yet,  as  con¬ 
nected  with  the  capabilities  of  the  island,  no  novel  method  has  hitherto  been  suggested 
for  increasing  the  revenue  derived  from  this  source. 

It  is  not  my  intention  to  tread  in  the  direct  footsteps  of  some  of  my  predecessors, 
who  have  written  elaborately  upon  the  subject ;  nor  to  adopt  the  brief  reasoning  of 
others,  “  that  the  pearl  fishery  is  too  well  known  to  render  further  information  neces¬ 
sary  for  although  very  many  of  my  readers  may  have  their  own  libraries  at  hand,  and 
not  consider  it  much  trouble  to  refer,  either  to  the  ancient  or  modern  authorities  upon 
t'his  point,  the  majority  may  find  it  attended  with  inconvenience,  if  not  with  expense. 

Since  the  British  government  superseded  that  of  the  Dutch  in  Ceylon,  the  appoint¬ 
ment  of  supervisor  of  the  pearl  fishery  has  been  held  conjointly  with  that  of  private 
secretary  to  the  Governor.  But  as  that  office  is  materially  connected  with  the  revenue, 
it  ought,  in  strict  justice,  to  form  a  part  of  the  duties  of  the  agent  of  revenue  foi 
the  northern  province,  by  which  means  the  salary  would  be  saved  to  the  public  :  for 
a  supervisor  may  be  from  three  to  seven  years  in  the  receipt  of  £500  a  year,  and  not 
be  called  on  more  than  once,  or  twice  at  furthest,  to  attend  a  pearl  fishery  ;  and  then 
only  for  about  fifteen  or  thirty  days.  If  the  salary  of  the  private  secretary,  at  th§ 
present  rate  of  £500  a  year,  be  inadequate,  some  less  anomalous  means  might  be 
adopted  for  increasing  it. 

In  the  preceding  November,  the  government  institutes  an  official  inspection  of  the 
pearl  banks,  by  a  committee  of  the  civil  servants,  including  the  supervisor.  This  is 

2  c  2 



indispensaole  ;  and,  upon  its  report,  the  banks  selected  for  the  purpose,  which  of 
course  will  depend  upon  the  maturity  of  the  oysters,  and  value  of  the  pearls  obtained 
from  the  samples  examined,  are  advertised  to  be  fished.  The  report  of  the  com¬ 
mittee,  according  to  the  following  formula,  is  then  published  in  the  Ceylon  and  other 
Indian  newspapers. 

Statement  of  the  Inspection  of  the  Pearl  Banks  of  Arippo,  in  Nov. 




(Quality  and  quantity  of  the  Pearls 


Value  of  the  Pearls. 

Size.  Rate  of  Valuation 

.  L 





of  the 




P.  N. 

Fanams  of 

20  pr.  Pag. 

It  has  happened,  upon  more  than  one  occasion,  that  an  over  anxiety  on  the  part 
of  a  colonial  governor  to  make  a  very  favourable  report  of  the  revenue  derived  from 
the  pearl  fishery,  'has  placed  the  future  produce  of  the  pearl  banks  in  jeopardy,  by 
over-fishing  them.  In  April,  1820,  the  Madragam  Paar  was  found  to  be  the  only 
bank  where  the  oysters  had  attained  sufficient  maturity.  It  was  then  fished  on 
account  of  government,  and  the  oysters  were  sold,  in  lots,  upon  the  beach.  The 
government  seldom  fishes  in  Aumanie,  (viz.  upon  its  own  account,)  if  an  average  price* 
be  offered  for  it  by  individual  speculators,  who  can  give  the  requisite  security,  or 
make  an  adequate  deposit. 

In  the  year  1814,  the  boats  employed  in  the  Aumanie  fishery  (after  the  rented  fishery 
had  ceased)  landed  76,000,000  of  oysters  during  the  first  twenty  days’  fishing. 

About  the  middle  of  January,  the  boats  begin  to  assemble  ;  between  which  period 
and  the  commencement  of  the  fishery,  the  medley  of  adventurers  will  have  constructed 
their  various  dwellings,  with  areka  or  bamboo  poles,  and  the  fronds  of  the  talipat, 
palmyra,  and  coco-nut  palms,  paddee  straw,  and  colored  cotton  cloths,  in  endless 
variety,  and  in  tolerable  order,  upon  the  arid  sands  of  Arippo ;  at  which  place 
stands  the  beautiful  Doric  mansion,  built  by  Governor  North.  This  is  occupied  by 
the  supervisor  (who  is  vested  with  full  magisterial  powers)  and  his  friends.  All  persons 
frequenting  the  pearl  fishery,  are  privileged  from  arrest  upon  any  civil  process  ;  but 
the  powers  of  the  supreme  court,  in  criminal  matters,  are  not  affected  :  and  justice  is 
summarily  administered  in  disputes,  arising  from  matters  connected  with  the  fishery. 

During  the  stay  of  the  supervisor  and  his  department,  a  strong  military  guard,  with 
a  proportion  of  artillery,  is  stationed  at  Arippo.  This  place  is  rather  less  than  five 
miles  north  of  Kondatchie,  and  is  a  small  trading  village,  with  a  fort  and  barracks, 
and,  from  the  offing,  bears  four  leagues  south  of  the  east  end  of  the  island  of  Manaar. 

Arippo  is  situate  at  the  mouth  of  the  Aweria-Aar,  which  takes  its  rise  beyond  the 



ancient  capital  of  Anarajahpoora,  in  the  central  province  ;  and,  about  two  leagues  off 
the  land,  a  rocky  bank,  or  reef,  lies  to  the  west  and  south-west.  The  island  of  Cardiva, 
or  Nalladive,  which  is  very  low,  narrow,  and  crooked,  covered  in  some  places  with 
sandy  patches,  and  in  others  with  jungle,  and  about  seven  leagues  south  of  Arippo, 
affords  ample  protection  to  the  pearl  banks  from  any  injurious  effects  of  the  south-west 
monsoon  ;  and  they  are  protected  from  the  effects  of  the  north-east  monsoon  by  the 
main  land  of  Ceylon. 

Prior  to  the  divers  commencing  operations,  those  most  useful  humbugs,  the  shark 
charmers,  or  Kadel-Kutties,  are  in  general  requisition  ;  for  their  services  are  indis¬ 
pensable,  to  give  confidence  to  the  superstitious  divers  ;  who,  upon  their  assurances 
that  they  may  fearlessly  foDow  their  submarine  occupation,  for  that  “  the  mouths 
of  the  sharks  had  been  closed  at  their  command,”  divest  themselves  of  all  fear. 

Although  all  the  divers  are  not  pagans,  superstition  so  predominates  in  almost  every 
thing  connected  with  the  native  character,  that,  however  incredible,  it  is  an  indis¬ 
putable  fact,  that  even  the  Roman  Catholic  priests  impose  a  similar  farce  upon  the 
(livers  of  their  faith  ;  for  not  one  of  them  will  descend  without  a  charm,  composed 
of  brief  extracts  from  scripture,  fastened  round  the  arm,  which  he  is  told  will  protect 
him  from  danger. 

This  shark  charming  trade  is  a  very  lucrative  one,  because  as  it  is  not  the  mere 
government  stipend  that  satisfies  them,  they  insist  upon  the  additional  daily  tithe  of 
ten  or  a  dozen  oysters  from  each  boat,  which  is  readily  paid. 

Of  the  varieties  of  the  shark  ( Squalus )  genus,  upon  the  coasts  of  Ceylon,  the  most 
dangerous  is  the  saw-fish  ( Squalus  Pristis,  L.),  the  Depta  Mora  of  the  Singhalese,  from 
its  long  projecting  and  dreadful  beak  ;  but  fortunately  it  is  less  numerous  than  the 
Squalus  Carcharias,  and  S.  malletis. 

The  boats  employed  at  the  pearl  fishery  are  built  upon  the  old  Portuguese  model, 
without  keel ;  and  head  and  stern  nearly  alike.  These  are  from  twelve  to  fifteen  tons 
burthen,  and  carry  a  crew  of  twelve  or  fourteen  hands,  and  from  eight  to  ten  divers. 

The  inspector  of  the  pearl  banks  makes  a  signal  from  the  government  vessel,  for 
the  commencement  of,  and  for  leaving  off,  diving. 

A  stone,  of  a  conical  shape,  and  weighing  from  forty  to  fifty  pounds  avoirdupois,  it, 
slung  to  a  double  rope,  which  is  passed  over  a  boom  projecting  from  the  boat’s  side. 
The  charmed  diver  then  places  the  great  toe  of  his  right  foot  into  the  space  between 
the  double  rope  ;  and,  with  his  left,  he  keeps  a  net,  in  shape  like  an  angler’s  landing  net, 
and  capable  of  holding  some  dozens  of  oysters,  close  to  the  stone.  The  rope  having 
been  adjusted  for  lowering,  the  diver,  pressing  his  nostrils  with  his  left  hand,  and  hold- 



ing  on  by  his  right,  descends  as  rapidly  as  the  weight  will  admit  of.  Upon  reaching 
the  bottom,  he  suddenly  jerks  the  rope  ;  upon  which,  the  stone  is  hauled  up  ;  and, 
upon  a  similar  signal,  he  intimates  that  he  has  filled  his  net,  (which  may  occupy 
about  a  minute,  or  a  minute  and  a  half,)  and  then,  holding  on  by  the  net  or  rope,  he 
is  drawn  up  within  a  fathom  or  two  of  the  surface,  when  he  relinquishes  his  hold  ;  and 
having  reached  the  boat,  and  taken  breath,  he  is  very  soon  ready  to  descend  again. 

Such  is  the  process  of  diving  upon  the  old  system.  The  diving  bell  was  first  intro¬ 
duced  for  use  upon  the  pearl  banks,  by  the  late  indefatigable  Governor,  Sir  Edward 
Barnes  ;  but  time  alone  must  decide,  whether  the  predictions  of  one  of  the  most 
intelligent  Master  Attendants  in  the  Ceylon  service,  the  late  Captain  James  Chrisp, 
formerly  of  the  Honorable  the  East  India  Company’s  marine,  be  verified,  or  not. 

“  The  diving  bell,”  said  he,  “  may  answer  very  well  at  first ;  but  it  will  ultimately 
be  the  means  of  destroying  the  oysters  :  for  it  must  crush  a  great  many,  which  will 
putrify  ;  and  so  extremely  delicate  is  the  nature  of  the  oyster,  that  it  will  spread  like 
a  plague,  gradually  extending  its  vortex,  and  destroying  all  within  it.” 

The  oysters  lie  in  layers,  from  four  to  five  feet  deep  :  and  when  about  five  or  six 
years  old,  they  abandon  the  madrepore,  to  which  they  had  attached  themselves,  from 
their  first  sinking,  after  the  formation  of  the  shell,  (for  the  spawn  floats  about  until 
that  process  has  taken  place,)  and  ramble  about  the  sandy  regions  of  the  bottom. 

The  divers  entertain  the  belief,  that  the  oyster  spawn  descends  in  showers  during 
the  rainy  season. 

Each  diver  sends  up  about  3000  oysters,  upon  an  average,  daily  ;  and  from  20,000 
to  25,000  have  been  taken  by  one  boat  in  a  day.  In  the  year  1836,  the  revenue 
derived  <£25,816  from  the  pear!  fishery. 

It  is  not  uncommon  for  fifty  or  sixty,  or  even  eighty  pearls,  of  various  sizes,  to 
be  found  in  one  oyster.  The  natives  consider  it  a  disease,  or  rather,  the  effect  of  a 
disease,  to  which  the  animal  is  liable.  If  a  pearl  be  cut  transversely,  and  observed 
through  a  microscope,  it  will  be  found  to  consist  of  minute  layers,  resembling  the 
rings  which  denote  the  age  of  certain  trees,  when  cut  in  a  similar  manner. 

After  the  second  or  third  day’s  fishing,  the  stench  of  the  dead  oysters  becomes  in¬ 
tolerable  to  all,  except  those  whose  thirst  for  gain  absorbs  every  other  sense.  But,  as 
use  reconciles  one  to  most  things  in  this  life,  custom  soon  neutralizes  the  olfactory  effect 
of  the  nuisance  ;  for  the  stench  is  considered  less  diffusive,  as  the  process  progresses. 

It  is  here  that  the  naturalist  may  devote  a  considerable  portion  of  the  day  to 
collecting  and  classifying  the  great  variety  of  the  class  Moilusca,  which,  according  to 
Cuvier,  is  furnished  with  a  heart  and  circulating  system  ;  and  almost  every  batch  of 



oysters  is  accompanied  by  specimens  of  zoophytes,  which  have  neither  the  one  nor 
the  other :  and  every  day  affords  additional  treasures,  particularly  in  polypes,  fuci, 
and  madrepore,  for  his  information  and  amusement. 

The  Kola,  or  leaf  oyster,  represents  an  inverted  hollow  cone,  and  is  one  of  the 
most  curious ;  and  the  small  red-tinged,  or  Betel  oyster,  which  produces  a  superior 
pearl,  is  well  worthy  of  being  included  in  the  collection  of  the  naturalist. 

The  largest  pearls  are  found  in  the  thickest  part  of  the  flesh  of  the  oyster ;  but  it 
does  not  follow  that  the  largest  oysters  produce  the  finest  pearls. 

The  oysters  cluster  together  by  a  fine  silky  filament,  of  a  similar  nature  to  that 
of  the  Pinna  Marina  of  the  Madaleine  islands,  (dependencies  of  Sardinia,)  but  it  is 
destitute  of  the  valuable  qualities  to  the  manufacturer,  that  distinguish  the  latter. 

As  no  means  of  successfully  transferring  the  pearl  oyster  ( Mytilus  margaritifera), 
for  the  purposes  of  increasing  its  habitat ,  has  yet  been  discovered,  it  may  be  more 
advantageous  to  leave  the  natives  to  their  old  customs  and  mode  of  fishing,  than  to 
adopt  any  new-fangled  European  methods,  which  may  tend  to  the  ultimate  destruction 
of  the  oyster  beds. 

There  are  so  many  different  methods  of  clearing  the  pearls  from  the  fleshy  part  ot 
the  oyster,  that  one  can  scarcely  determine  which  is  the  best  plan  ;  but  certainly,  that 
in  which  putrefaction  is  resorted  to,  though  it  may  be  the  most  lucrative,  is  the  most 
likely  to  induce  disease  amongst  the  human  myriads  that  attend  the  fisheries ;  amongst 
whom,  there  is  no  deficiency  of  dexterous  thieves,  who  set  detection  at  defiance,  by 
very  extraordinary  means  ;  de  quo  nil  amplius  dicendum  ! ! 

The  pearl  oyster  of  Ceylon  ( Mytilus  margaritifera)  has  a  similar  hinge  to  the  mother 
o’  pearl  oyster ;  but  the  former,  which  is  scarcely  one  half  the  size  of  the  latter,  is 
more  oblong,  and  seldom  exceeds  the  Concale  bay,  or  Jersey  oyster,  in  size.  Its 
interior  surface  is  equally,  if  not  more,  resplendent  than  that  of  the  larger  species. 

The  pearl  oyster’s  spawn  may  be  seen  floating  in  apparently  coagulated  masses  upon 
the  western  coast  of  Ceylon  during  the  north-east  monsoon  ;  and  the  uncouth  anchors 
of  the  native  Dhonies,  or  coasting  vessels,  which  are  composed  of  a  thick  wooden 
shank,  with  large  stones  lashed  between  transverse  beams  of  wood,  in  lieu  of  flukes, 
are  often  found,  upon  being  weighed,  enveloped  in  spawn. 

For  the  first  year,  the  oyster  seldom  exceeds  the  size  of  a  shilling,  and  is  not  at 
maturity  for  seven  years.  When  it  has  attained  the  age  of  three  or  four  years,  or  is 
half  grown,  seed  pearls  only  are  found  in  its  flesh  ;  but  after  that  period,  they  gradually 
increase  in  size,  until  the  maturity  of  the  oyster  ;  when  the  disease,  which  produces 
them,  destroys  its  bivalve  victim.  The  pearl  is  not  valued  for  its  silvery  whiteness, 
at  Ceylon,  but  for  its  golden  hue. 


The  government  has  never  yet  tried  the  plan  of  a  lottery  for  realizing  the  revenue 
upon  the  pearl  fishery.  I  never  heard  it  suggested  by  any  one  ;  but  it  occurs  to  me, 
that  as  the  pearl  fishery,  under  all  and  every  circumstance,  involves  extensive  gaming 
transactions  and  risk,  the  government  may  as  well  make  the  best  of  the  prevailing 
mania ;  and  by  that  means  obviate  the  applications  to  which  it  is  now  constantly 
liable,  for  a  reduction  of  the  sum,  originally  agreed  upon  with  the  farmer  of  the  pearl 
fishery,  in  the  event  of  an  unsuccessful  fishery.  By  this  means,  the  proceeds  of  lottery 
tickets  would  realize  treble  the  average  amount  of  a  successful  year ;  and,  by  being 
made  transferable,  the  tickets  would  find  their  way,  as  those  of  the  continental  lotteries 
do,  throughout  India,  and  perhaps  Egypt,  Persia,  and  Arabia  ;  and  the  government 
would  incur  no  further  expense  than  that  of  the  superintendence  of  the  fishery,  and 
the  conservation  of  the  public  peace. 

It  could  not  benefit  the  colony,  and  would  be  the  acme  of  bad  policy  in  the  govern¬ 
ment,  to  abandon  the  pearl  fishery  monopoly  ;  a  lottery  might  be  preferable  to  farming 
it  (whenever  the  committee  report  the  beds,  or  any  proportion  of  them,  in  a  fit  state 
for  a  fishery  to  take  place)  to  the  highest  bidder  :  but  it  is  very  bad  policy  to  hold  out 
an  expectation,  that,  in  the  event  of  failure,  the  speculator  may  claim  a  reduction  of 
his  rent ;  for  these  gentry  take  very  good  care,  in  the  event  of  the  profits  exceeding 
their  calculations,  to  keep  the  overplus  to  themselves.  The  sale  should  be  peremptory  ; 
and  the  speculators  forewarned,  that,  in  the  event  of  failure,  the  government  will  not, 
under  any  circumstances  whatever,  entertain  their  claims  to  a  reduction  of  the  rent. 

The  medley  of  colors,  nations,  castes,  and  trades,  (amongst  which  pearl-drilling  is 
a  very  lucrative  one,)  upon  the  Arippo  sands,  would  form  a  panorama,  which,  if  taken 
from  the  flat  roof  of  the  Doric,  would  be  well  worthy  of  Barker’s  pencil. 

There  is  an  excellent  rest-house  at  Arippo,  and  plenty  of  good  water,  which  is  there 
a  treasure  of  great  value,  owing  to  the  difficulty  of  obtaining  it  elsewhere  for  very  many 
miles.  There  is  also  a  Roman  Catholic  chapel  in  the  village,  but  it  is  not  much  at¬ 
tended,  except  during  a  pearl  fishery,  when  it  proves  a  good  thing  for  the  priests ;  their 
Malabar  communicants  being  a  very  numerous  class,  many  of  them  wealthy,  and  all 
very  superstitious.  The  whole  of  the  beach  that  borders  the  bay  of  Kondatchie  is  a 
sandy  waste,  without  a  coco-nut  tree  or  palmyra  (except  a  few  stunted  ones  of  the 
former  in  the  distance)  to  relieve  the  eye  of  the  monotony  of  the  desert ;  but  to  the 
right,  or  eastward,  of  the  sands,  dense  jungle,  teeming  with  every  variety  of  game  and 
beasts  of  prey  the  island  produces,  courts  the  sportsman’s  attention. 

The  moment  the  fishery  is  over,  Kondatchie’s  glory  ceases ;  and  it  then  becomes  the 
sanle  miserable,  waterless,  (for  it  has  no  water  except  from  Arippo,)  and  arid  spot, 
that  it  has  been  for  ages  past. 


Route  from  Anppo  to  Bangalle — Island  of  Manaar — Soil — Fish  abundant — Suggestions  for  a  factory  for 
curing  it — Cheapness  of  the  principal  necessaries  of  life — Manaar  sheep  and  cows — Agricultural  encouragement 
suggested — Harvests — Headmen — Sailing  directions — Coasting  trade — Mantotte  church  or  rest-house — Mission¬ 
aries  journey — Giajifs  tank — Gentoo  city —  Antiquity  of  the  Hindoos — Singhalese  records  and  traditions — Sir 
William  Jones — Racshasas  or  giants — Invention  of  the  game  of  chess — Magnitude  of  architectural  works  no  proof 
of  extraordinary  stature  of  the  workmen — Suggestions  to  the  traveller  to  proceed  by  sea  to  Jaffna^- Native  cottages 
— Lseful  properties  of  cow  dung — Route  from  Mantotte  to  Pooneryn — Scenery — Pooneryn  to  Jaffna — Jaffna 
formerly  a  kingdopi — Principal  villages  of  the  northern  province — Inhabitants — Cession  of  Jaffna  by  the  Portu¬ 
guese  to  the  Dutch — Fruits — Coasting  trade — C hit  ties— Tamul  year — Hegira — Goldsmiths — Their  node  of  selling 
gold  and  silver  plate — Exports  for  the  China  markets — Culture  of  cotton  too  limited — Its  extension  suggested— 
Jaffna  tobacco— Its  value  exemplified — Rajah  of  Travancore — His  monopoly  in  tobacco — Contracts  with  the 
Ceylon  government — Maintains  a  body  of  troops  by  the  profits — Countervailing  monopoly — Its  injury  to  the  native 
tobacco  grower — Abolition  of  the  monopoly,  and  substitution  of  a  duty  of  200  per  cent. — Decline  of  the  Ceylon 
tobacco  trade  in  the  Eastern  markets — Reduction  of  the  duty  to  2i  per  cent.  —  The  trade  recovers  and  flourishes. 

From  Arippo  to  Bangalle,  the  distance  is  eight  miles  ;  and  from  thence  the  traveller 
may  as  well  vary  his  course,  by  proceeding  to  the  island  of  Manaar-  this  he  can 
do,  with  more  convenience  to  himself,  from  Bangalle  than  from  Mantotte. 

The  fort  of  Manaar  is  a  dependency  of  the  garrison  of  Jaffna,  and  was  at  one  time 
commanded  by  a  field  officer,  but  is  now  without  even  a  subaltern’s  guard.  There 
are  several  villages  in  the  island,  with  churches  for  native  (Malabar)  Christians,  and  a 
Dutch  church.  The  soil  is  sandy,  as  its  name  implies,*  but  not  barren,  for  it  abounds 
with  coco-nut  and  palmyra  trees  ;  and  fish  is  so  abundant,  that  if  a  factory  were  estab¬ 
lished,  for  curing  it  in  a  proper  manner,  (upon  a  limited  scale  at  first,  by  way  of  ex¬ 
periment,)  a  very  profitable  result  may  be  justly  anticipated  ;  because  a  better  article 
of  food  would  be  sold  at  a  less  price  than  that  now  paid  for  an  inferior  one  ;  thereby 
ensuring  an  increase  of  the  consumption,  whilst  its  improved  quality  for  exportation 
would  cause  an  extension  of  the  coasting  trade,  to  the  benefit  of  the  revenue,  and  the 
profit  of  those  concerned  in  the  speculation. 

Butcher’s  meat,  poultry,  game,  fruit,  rice,  and  vegetables,  may  be  obtained  at  Manaar 
at  very  low  prices ;  and  sheep  appear  to  thrive  better  there  than  in  any  other  part 
of  Ceylon,  except  in  the  extensive  sheep  walks  between  Jaffna  and  Point  Pedro. 

*  From  the  Tamul  words  Man ,  sand,  and  Aeu  mer 

2  D 



Manaar  cows  give  double  the  quantity  of  milk  (viz.  three  pints  a  day)  yielded  by  the 
Colombo  cows.  Here  is  an  irrefragable  reason  for  the  establishment  of  an  energetic- 
agricultural  society,  for  the  improvement  of  the  native  breed  of  domestic  animals, 
and  a  proof  of  their  present  degeneracy. 

Paddee  is  sown  in  the  Manaar  district  in  September  and  October,  and  reaped  in 
March.  Korakan  ( Cynosurus  Curaccinus,  L.)  is  sown  in  September,  and  reaped  in  De¬ 
cember.  Gingillie  seed  ( Sessamum  orientate,  L.)  is  sown  in  March,  and  reaped  in  May. 

Twenty  four  native  headmen  of  rank  are  attached  to  the  revenue  department  of 
the  Manaar  district,  which  is  superintended  by  an  assistant  to  the  government  agent 
at  Jaffna,  who  is  also  a  district  judge  of  the  northern  circuit  of  the  supreme  court. 

According  to  Captain  Horsburgh,  “  the  east  end  of  Manaar  is  in  latitude  b°  57 
north,  and  may  be  known  from  the  offing  by  the  fort  and  houses  on  it,  as  well  as 
numerous  coco-nut  trees.  The  gut  between  Manaar  and  Mantotte  has  in  some  places 
ten  and  twelve  feet  water ;  but  the  only  anchorage  is  on  the  south  side  of  the  island, 
in  four  or  five  fathoms,  and  four  or  five  miles  to  the  westward  of  the  gut.” 

A  considerable  coasting  trade  is  carried  on,  by  the  gulf  of  Manaar,  between  Ceylon 
and  the  Coromandel  coast,  by  Chitties  and  Malabars,  who  are  principally  Christians  . 
but  if  the  channel  were  deepened,  by  a  few  of  Colonel  Pasley’s  operations,  so  as  to 
admit  of  the  passage  of  large  vessels,  it  would  be  of  more  benefit,  and  of  less  expense, 
to  the  island,  than  even  if  the  Eutopian  scheme  of  building  a  bridge  across  to 
Ramisseram,  and  another  between  that  island  and  the  mam  land  of  Hindostan,  were 
to  be  realized. 

The  distance  from  the  island  of  Manaar  to  Mantotte,  across  the  gut,  is  not  more 
than  three  miles  at  high  water ;  and  at  ebb  tide,  the  channel  appears  more  like  a  small 
meandering  stream  than  an  arm  of  the  sea.  The  rest-house  at  Mantotte,  which  is 
distant  \\  miles  from  Bangalle,  was  formerly  a  Dutch  church,  and  was  built,  according 
to  the  date  upon  its  northern  gable,  in  the  year  1607.  An  amusing  account  of  a 
journey  from  Calpentyn  to  Mantotte,  by  two  Wesleyan  missionaries,  was  sent  me  by 
my  late  highly  esteemed  friend,  the  Rev.  William  Buckley  Fox,  which  will  give  the 
reader  a  good  idea  of  travelling  in  this  part  of  Ceylon  in  1822.  It  also  shows  the 
spirit  which  animated  the  amiable  and  indefatigable  individual  by  whom  it  was  written, 
and  displays  the  character  and  zeal  of  the  Christian  missionary. 

“  After  thirteen  days  of  sailing,  wading,  and  walking,  here  I  am,  without  a  cooly. 
You  have  a  tolerably  correct,  though  rough,  view  of  my  habitation.  I  have  got  coolies 
from  Manaar  for  Mr.  Newstead,  but  I  must  wait  till  I  get  the  means  of  proceeding 
myself,  and  patiently. 


“  A  harder  journey  I  never  had.  This  day  week  we  reached  Calpentyn,  after  many 
Quixotic  adventures,  and  then  found  that  we  could  not  go  to  Jaffna  by  sea,  the  wind 
being  dead  against  us.  Our  commission  mentioned  nothing  about  turning  back  ;  so 
we  sought  for  coolies,  but  could  get  but  few,  amongst  whom  were  six  Malays,  (better 
men  I  have  never  travelled  with  in  Ceylon,)  but  these  will  not  touch  a  palankin.  We 
procured  as  many  as  we  could,  and  set  off  in  a  Pardie  boat,  across  the  Calpentyn 
gulf.  The  sea  was  high,  and  our  flat-bottomed  conveyance  was  famously  tossed  ;  but, 
being  both  large  and  new,  we  crossed  the  gulf,  (about  four  miles,)  with  very  hard 
rowing,  and  then  hauling  our  house  about  two  miles  along  shore,  we  came  near  Kare- 
tivoe.  There  we  anchored  for  the  night,  and  sent  for  the  postholder  and  headman, 
one  as  commissariat ,  the  other  as  tower-kill  overseer.  Our  coolies  were  barely  suf¬ 
ficient  to  carry  our  empty  palankins,  and  the  little  baggage  we  had  reserved. 

“  The  following  morning  one  of  the  coolies  ran  away  ;  and,  after  an  hour’s  labour, 
I  got  a  malefactor  in  his  room.  Our  first  stage  was  through  a  jungle,  or  what  they 
call  the  Tappal  road.  It  was  hard  walking.  I  waded  the  Pomparripo  river  seven  times. 
It  is  this  way  We  stopped  at  Pomparripo  all  night,  and  were  there 

told,  for  our  consolation,  that  a  palankin  could  not  go  ;  that  the  Tappal  Peons  waded 
up  to  the  neck  on  the  plains  of  Pomparripo.  Not  wishing  to  give  up  the  business 
tnat  called  us  northward,  so  quietly,  I  engaged  a  Tappal  Peon  as  a  guide,  and,  where 
the  water  was  very  d$ep,  to  cut  us  a  way  through  the  jungle.  From  the  description 
he  gave  us  of  the  country,  I  imagined  we  should  not  have  to  wade  above  a  quarter 
of  a  mile.  Off  we  went ;  and,  in  about  three  miles,  came  to  the  water,  and  waded  to 
near  the  waist,  about  half  a  mile ;  when  our  guide  informed  us  We  were  “  just  upon  a 
very  deep  place,”  and  he  took  us  through  a  swampy  jungle  for  a  full  quarter  of  a  mile  . 
we  then  waded  half  a  mile  further,  and  through  several  pieces  of  water,  before  we 
came  to  Mardode.  Having  refreshed,  we  took  to  the  water  again  ;  and  before  we  had 
reached  Marchicatty,  we  had  not  waded  less  than  four  miles.  A  very  large  leopard 
had  crossed  our  road  just  before  us.  We  should  not  have  got  through  our  joume\ , 
had  we  not  fallen  in  with  eight  Bengal  palankin  bearers,  on  their  way  to  Madras,  who 
rendered  us  great  service.  The  rest  of  the  journey  has  been  hard  walking!,  on  bad 
roads,  with  no  water  of  importance  to  impede  us. 

“  Except  being  sadly  pricked  with  thorns  and  bitten  by  leeches,  and  the  loss  of  the 
skin  of  my  face,  from  exposure  to  the  sun,  I  am  not  much'the  worse  for  the  journey 
I  have  walked  fifty  seven  miles,  and  have  been  carried  two  miles  and  a  half ;  and,  as 
I  am  not  a  prophet,  I  shall  say  nothing  of  the  part  of  the  journey  before  us  till 
mother  time.” 

2  d  2 



- “  These  zealous  Christians  steadily  proclaim 

To  listening  worlds  the  glory  of  His  name  ' 

Greatness  with  goodness  infinite  combined  ; 

Wisdom  and  might  and  mercy  unconfined  1 
His  eye  the  sun  ;  His  heart  the  living  breeze  ; 

The  clouds  His  chariot ,  and  His  path  the  seas  ' 
Pervading  all  things — boundless  in  His  sway 
Such  is  the  God,  to  whom  the  Christians  pray  . 

Such  is  the  God,  who  frbm  his  throne  above. 

Sends  to  this  isle  the  messengers  of  love  ' " — Polynesia. 

At  Mantotte,  the  antiquarian  will  find  an  ample  field  for  research,  in  the  still  extant 
remains  of  remote  antiquity  ;  amongst  which,  are  the  vestiges  of  an  immense  tank, 
(Giant’s  Tank,)  but  inferior  in  size  to  many  in  the  island  ;  and  the  ruins  of  a  former 
Gentoo  city,  built  of  brick. 

The  antiquity  of  the  Hindoos,  by  whom,  I  humbly  presume,  the  island  was  ori¬ 
ginally  peopled,  and  their  civilization,  at  the  remotest  period  of  history,  are  accorded 
by  all  the  ancient  Eastern  philosophers  ;  and,  of  our  modern  literati,  very  few  will  be 
disposed  to  dispute  the  late  Sir  William  Jones’s  title  to  be  considered  pre-eminent  in 
Asiatic  literature,  and  thorough  acquaintance  with  Eastern  customs  and  history. 

Notwithstanding  the  antiquity  of  the  Singhalese  records,  (some  of  which,  that  are 
extant,  are  said  to  have  been  written  many  centuries  before  the  birth  of  Christ,)  tradi¬ 
tion  goes  great  lengths  in  Ceylon.  Giants,  forty  feet  in  stature,  are  named  as  the 
architects  of  the  wonderful  buildings,  canals,  and  viaducts  ;  and  the  immense  blocks 
of  granitic  rock,  prepared  in  a  masterly  way,  are  cited  as  proofs.  Sir  William  Jones, 
in  his  eighth  anniversary  discourse  before  the  Bengal  Society  for  inquiring  into  the 
arts,  sciences,  and  literature  of  Asia,  remarks, — “  For  Silan  itself,  we  know,  from  the 
languages,  letters,  religion,  and  old  monuments  of  the  various  inhabitants,  was  peopled 
beyond  time  of  memory,  by  the  Hindu  race  ;  and  formerly,  perhaps,  extended  much 
farther  to  the  west  and  the  south,  so  as  to  include  Lanka,  or  the  equinoctial  point.’’ 

But,  notwithstanding  Singhalese  traditions,  and  Sir  William  Jones’s  allusion,  in  his  dis¬ 
course  upon  the  Indian  game  of  chess,  to  the  Racshasas,  or  giants,  the  people  of  Lanka,* 

*  This  name  (Lanka)  was  originally  given  to  very  extensive  territory,  the  bounds  of  which  do  not  appeal 
to  have  been  defined  in  any  history  to  which  I  have  had  access.  It  is  almost  as  vague  as  the  mythology  ul 
Buddha ;  into  which,  if  the  curious  be  disposed  to  dip,  a  volume  might  easily  be  compiled  from  the  Asiatic 
Researches.  For  this,  in  addition  to  the  comments  on  the  Vedas,  or  social  historv  of  the  Hindoos,  (in  vol.  viii 
appendix,  page  529,)  I  would  beg  leave  to  refer  the  reader  to  the  introductory  remarks  which  were  intended  to 
have  accompanied  Captain  Mahony’s  “  Papers  on  Ceylon  and  the  doctrines  of  Buddha,  which  are  given  at  length 
m  the  seventh  volume  of  the  Asiatic  Researches.  The  peninsula  of  Malacca  is  called,  in  the  Sanscrit,  ••  Mu  o' 
Maha  Lanka f  the  Great  Lanka. 



or  Ceylon,  where  the  game  was  invented  by  the  wife  of  Ravan,  king  of  Lanka, 
in  order  to  amuse  him  with  an  image  of  war,  while  his  metropolis  was  closely 
besieged  by  Rama,  in  the  second  age  of  the  world,  there  is  nothing  to  justify  the 
belief,  or  supposition,  that  the  ancient  inhabitants  of  Ceylon  were  forty  feet  in  stature  ; 
for,  until  we  are  better  acquainted  with  the  state  of  the  arts  and  sciences  in  those 
days,  (and  it  may  reasonably  be  inferred,  from  the  splendid  remains  of  cities,  and 
temples,  still  extant,  that  the  island  was  extensively  populated,  by  a  highly  civilized 
race,  ages  before  the  Christian  era,)  the  enormous  masses  of  granitic  rock  which  are 
found  indented  together,  and  forming  part  of  the  ruins  of  canals,  bridges,  and  tem¬ 
ples,  are  no  proof  of  their  having  exceeded  the  present  race  of  mankind  in  strength 
or  stature. 

Much  trouble  and  inconvenience  will  be  obviated,  by  coasting  it  (by  boat)  from  Man- 
totte  to  Jaffna,  a  distance  of  nearly  sixty  eight  miles  ;  but  it  cannot  be  expected  that 
a  botanist  will  adopt  this  plan,  because  he  may  lose  the  opportunity  of  collecting  a 
number  of  plants,  which,  though  common  to  this  province,  are  rare  in  others. 

The  whole  route  is  sandy,  in  many  places  inundated,  and  bordered  by  jungle  ;  and, 
although  cultivation  is  well  attended  to  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  villages,  and  cattle 
are  abundant  throughout  the  country,  there  is  a  great  extent  of  uncultivated  and  desert 
land,  which  is  solely  occupied  by  the  wild  beasts  of  the  forest.  No  stranger,  however, 
can  fail  to  remark  the  general  neatness  which  characterises  the  native  cottages ;  where, 
whilst  some  of  the  industrious  housewives,  at  sunrise  and  at  sunset,  sweep  up  and  burn 
every  decayed  leaf  within  their  respective  compounds,  others  are  busy  in  plastering 
their  cottage  floors  with  diluted  cow  dung,  which  they  level ;  and,  when  dry,  coolness 
and  comfort  follow  ;  for  the  mosquitos  retire  from  the  smell  of  the  sacred  animals 
ordure,  although  it  is  far  from  disagreeable  to  the  native  inhabitants. 

Every  Budhist  temple,  and  Hindoo  pagoda,  has  its  flooring  covered  with  this 
cooling  composition,  which  is  regarded  as  anti-contagious,  and  wholesome  to  the 
human  frame. 

From  Mantotte  to  Woodettidivo,  the  distance  is  9  miles  ;  to  Illipekadewe  rest- 
house,  6  miles  ;  to  Paliaar,  6^  miles  ;  to  Pulleverayenkottoe  rest-house,  8-f-  miles  ;  to 
Vauwattorege,  6f  miles  ;  to  Sembencoondu,  5  miles  ;  to  Pooneryn,  5^  miles  ; — total 
from  Mantotte  to  Pooneryn,  47|  miles. 

The  fort  and  rest-house  of  Pooneryn  are  beautifully  situated  ;  and  the  scenery, 
notwithstanding  that  the  whole  coast  is  both  flat  and  sandy,  delightful ;  for  the 
country  is  remarkable  for  its  being  well  cultivated  and  verdant,  interspersed  with 
abundant  coco-nut  and  palmyra  palms,  and  forest  trees  of  the  most  magnificent  and 



picturesque  variety  that  the  arboriculturist  can  well  picture  to  his  imagination.  Here, 
indeed,  not  the  romantic,  but  the  simple  charms  of  nature,  are  most  bountifully  dis¬ 
played,  untainted  by  the  improvements  of  art. 

From  Pooneryn  fort  to  Kalmoone  (often  written  Calimony )  the  route  lies  across  a 
long  neck  of  land,  very  often  inundated  by  the  sea,  and  the  distance  is  14  miles  ;  but 
it  may  be  accomplished  in  less  time  by  sea,  during  the  south-west  monsoon.  From 
Kalmoone  to  Colombo  Torre  (by  water)  3^  miles  ;  from  thence  to  Jaffna  (by  land) 
3  miles  ; — total  from  Pooneryn  to  Jaffna,  20^  miles. 

Jaffna,  or  Jaffnapatam,  once  a  kingdom  of  Ceylon,  and  now  the  chief  town  of  the 
northern  province,  is  situate  in  latitude  9°  43  north,  five  leagues  to  the  eastward  of 
Hamsheel  (or  Hamenhiel )  fort ;  so  called  by  the  Dutch,  who  assimilated  the  shape  of 
the  island  to  that  of  a  ham. 

The  channel  is  within  the  islands  ;  but,  having  scarcely  four  feet  water  in  some 
places,  it  is  only  frequented  by  country  boats  ;  by  which,  a  very  considerable  coasting 
trade  is  carried  on.  The  course  from  Jaffnapatam  to  Calimoone  point  is  E.  S.  E. 

Jaffna  is  extremely  populous,  and  so  indeed  is  the  whole  of  the  northern  parts  of 
the  province.  There  are  no  other  places  entitled  to  the  name  of  towns  ;  but  the 
principal  villages  are,  Arippo,  Tillipally,  Batticotta,  Oodooville,  Pandateripo,  Manepy, 
Cayts,  Manaar,  Chavagachery,  Vareny,  Point  Pedro,  Moelletivoe,  Nuwerakalawiye, 
Tamankadewe,  and  Anarajahpoora. 

The  Moormen  (of  Malabar)  and  Hindoos  form  the  majority  of  the  population  of 
Jaffna  ;  but  many  respectable  Dutch  and  Portuguese  families  reside  there. 

Jaffna  was  the  last  fortress  held  by  the  Portuguese  in  Ceylon  :  of  this,  they  were 
dispossessed,  by  the  Dutch,  in  1658.  The  fort  is  regularly  built,  and  contains  several 
excellent  houses,  barracks,  a  church,  and  court  house.  The  Pettah  is  extensive,  and 
contains  a  great  many  large  and  well-built  houses,  with  delightful  gardens,  in  which, 
many  delicious  exotic  and  indigenous  fruits  are  cultivated.  The  necessaries  of  life 
are  cheaper  and  more  abundant  here,  than  elsewhere  in  the  island  ;  and  the  best 
materials  for  building  are  to  be  obtained  at  an  unusually  cheap  rate,  when  contrasted 
with  their  prices  at  Colombo  and  Point  de  Guile. 

The  grape-vine  flourishes  luxuriantly  ;  and  Jaffna  grapes,  both  of  the  white  and 
purple  sorts,  are  not  inferior  in  flavor  to  the  produce  of  our  hot-houses  :  but,  although 
excellent  wine  has  been  made  in  small  quantities,  by  private  individuals,  the  cultiva¬ 
tion  of  the  grape-vine  has  never  yet  been  exclusively  devoted  to  that  object ;  and, 
as  the  demand  for  the  fruit  is  general,  the  profit  is  much  greater  to  the  grower  than 
would  accrue  from  manufacturing  it  into  wine  and  brandy. 


Next  to  its  grapes,  Jaffna  is  famed  for  its  large  and  delicious  Mangos,  which  are 
often  sent  as  presents  to  different  parts  of  the  island.  In  its  green  state,  the  mango 
makes  a  very  fine  marmalade  and  pickle  ; — these,  with  ghirkins  and  preserved  fruit, 
are  so  much  in  request,  that  their  preparation  is  a  source  of  employment  and  profit 
to  several  respectable  Dutch  and  Portuguese  families,  whose  incomes  have  been 
reduced  by  misfortune. 

The  principal  part  of  the  coasting  trade  is  in  cotton  manufactures,  and  is  earned 
on  by  Chitties,  who  are  also  the  bill  discounters  and  money  changers  throughout  the 
island.  These  merchants  import  calicos,  muslins,  handkerchiefs,  palempores,  mos¬ 
quito-net,  &c.,  from  the  Coromandel  coast,  and  realize  enormous  profits.  The  Chris¬ 
tian  Chitties  are  pretty  numerous,  both  here  and  at  Colombo.  They  are  Protestants, 
and  extremely  regular  in  their  attendance  at  church,  where  the  service  is  performed  in 
the  Tamul  language,  by  the  Rev.  Christian  David,  (a  pupil  of  the  venerated  Swartz,) 
the  Malabar  colonial  chaplain  at  Jaffna,  who  was  ordained  priest  in  the  year  1817, 
by  the  Right  Rev.  Dr.  Fanshawe  Middleton,  the  then  Lord  Bishop  of  Calcutta. 

The  Tamul  year,  Sreemoega,  is  the  same  as  that  of  the  Hegira,  in  reference  to 
time  ;  thus  their  year  1256,  corresponds  with  our  year  1»42. 

The  Portuguese  are  the  principal  manufacturers  of  the  much-admired  Jaffna  rose 
chains,  and  also  of  silver  plate,  which  is  usually  massive  and  handsome ;  but  their 
dinner  and  tea  services  do  not  show  the  exquisite  polish  of  British  workmanship  ; 
owing,  perhaps,  to  the  metal  being  nearly  pure  in  the  one  case,  and  possessing  a  cer¬ 
tain  quantity  of  alloy  in  the  other,  by  which  the  hardness  is  increased,  and  the  metal 
better  adapted  for  receiving  a  high  polish.  The  usual  way  of  selling  gold  plate,  or 
jewellery,  is,  by  putting  it  into  one  scale,  and  gold  (star)  pagodas  into  the  other ;  at 
the  market  price  of  the  day,  for  the  quality  of  the  gold  employed,  with  an  additional 
charge  for  the  workmanship  ;  which  amounts  to  a  mere  trifle,  when  compared  with 
the  high  price  demanded  for  fashion  at  home.  Silver  plate  is  sold  by  the  Sicca 
rupee  weight. 

Dried  sharks’  fins,  and  sea  slugs,  are  exported  from  this  province,  and  fetch  a 
ready  sale,  and  high  prices,  in  the  Chinese  markets ;  where  they  are  so  highly 
valued,  that  the  Chinese  esteem  them  next  to  the  highly  prized  delicacy,  the  edible 
swallow’s  nest,  already  described. 

Although  more  cotton  is  grown  in  this  province  than  in  any  other,  there  is  very 
little  cultivated  in  proportion  to  its  extent  and  capabilities  ;  and  it  is  to  be  regretted, 
that  whilst  the  East  India  Company  is  sparing  no  expense  to  extend  the  cultivation 
of  that  valuable  staple  upon  the  Indian  continent,  and  sending  out  experienced 


persons  from  America  to  superintend  it,  and  improve  the  native  methods  of  planting, 
cleaning,  and  sorting  it.,  nothing  is  being  done  in  Ceylon  towards  rendering  the  mother 
country  independent  of  Egypt  and  America  for  cotton  wool. 

Tobacco,  known  by  the  general  name  of  “Jaffna  tobacco,”  is  largely  cultivated  in 
this  province,  and  is  of  a  very  superior  quality  and  flavor,  and  of  a  peculiarly  dark 
color.  The  ground  is  previously  manured,  by  sheep  being  penned  upon  it. 

I  knew  a  Dutch  gentleman,  a  connoisseur  in  tobacco,  to  whom  several  boxes  of  the 
best  Havannah  cigars  had  been  presented,  offer  them  to  an  officer  of  the  medical  staff 
for  one  basket  of  Jaffna  cheroots,  the  price  of  which  in  the  market  would  have  been 
about  three  shillings,  or  less  ;  “  for  (said  he)  in  all  the  world  there  is  no  tobacco 
like  that  of  Jaffna  and  it  is  so  much  esteemed  above  the  produce  of  Malabar,  that 
the  Rajah  of  Travancore,  who  had  a  monopoly  in  this  article  throughout  his  dominions, 
contracted  with  the  government  of  Ceylon  for  all  tobacco  grown  in  the  province  for 
the  purposes  of  exportation.  This,  was  locally  called  the  “  Travancore  investment 
and  the  Rajah  was  enabled,  by  the  high  price  he  charged  for  tobacco,  to  pay  a  subsidy 
to  the  government  of  Madras,  for  the  maintenance  of  a  body  of  native  troops,  under 
the  command  of  an  officer  of  the  army  of  that  presidency,  in  Travancore. 

By  this  contract,  the  government  of  Ceylon  averaged  an  annual  profit  of  at  least 
El 0,000  ;  but  as  the  arrangement  was  followed  by  serious  loss  and  detriment  to  the 
Jaffna  tobacco  grower,  by  increasing  the  consumption  of  the  inferior  production  of 
Malabar,  the  government  established  a  countervailing  monopoly  in  1812  ;  but  as  it 
failed  of  the  anticipated  effect,  recourse  was  had,  in  1 824,  to  an  export  duty  of  nearly 
200  per  cent.,  in  lieu  of  it.  This,  displayed  very  little  fiscal  knowledge  on  the  part 
of  the  governor  and  council,  by  whom  it  was  enacted  ;  and,  as  might  have  been  fore¬ 
seen,  the  result  was,  that,  notwithstanding  the  drawback  allowed  upon  exportation, 
the  trade  rapidly  declined  in  the  Eastern  markets,  where  Jaffna  tobacco  had  long 
been  in  great  request  by  the  Malays. 

In  1837,  the  government  of  Ceylon  determined  upon  a  reduction  of  the  enormous 
duty  of  200  per  cent.,  ad  valorem ,  on  tobacco  ;  in  lieu  of  which,  a  duty  of  2^  per 
cent,  was  substituted  :  the  consequence  was,  that  in  less  than  three  years,  the  trade 
in  Ceylon  tobacco  had  doubled  itself.  A  similar  result  may  be  anticipated  as  regards 
cinnamon,  by  a  similar  reduction  of  the  present  enormous  rate  of  duty  upon 


Climate  of  the  northern  province  adapted  to  the  growth  of  silk — Hindoo  culture  of  the  mulberry  plant — Intro¬ 
duction  of  the  silk-worm  suggested — <  uulev  labour  cheapened — Suggestions  for  reducing  the  colonial  import  duties 
upon  the  raw  productions  and  manufactures  of  British  India,  as  an  inducement  to  the  Indian  presidencies  to  abolish 
their  export  duties  upon  cotton  and  sdk  to  l  eylon,  when  intended  for  exportation  from  thence  to  the  home  markets — 
Choya  root  indigenous — The  culture  of  the  Cacao,  or  chocolate-nut  tree,  altogether  neglected ,  instead  of  being  made 
a  profitable  speculation — Provisions  abundant— Came — Native  cattle — Pasturage — Provincial  breed  of  sheep— 
Cape  of  Good  Hope  cows — Culture  o  f  grass,  and  hay-making,  entirely  neglected — Suggestions  for  providing  pressed 
hay  for  ships'  stock — Timber  trade  of  Jajfna — Hindoo  festival  of  the  idol  Jag  an- Nath — The  Pranava  or  mys¬ 
tical  tri-literal  character — The  author  accompanies  the  chief  and  puisne  justices  to  view  the  triumphal  car  of  the 
idol — Decorated  booth — Reception  by  the  chief  Brahmin — Sacred  honors  conferred  upon  the  judges — Consecrated 
limes  —  Description  of  the  cat — The  bride  of  Jagan-Nath — Temple  mysteries  —  Brahaminical  humbug — The 
Devadasi  of  the  Deura—  Satire  musicians — The  Hindoos — Their  diet — Domestic  life — Amusements — Power  of 
the  Brahmins — American  missionaries — Their  usefulness — Pringle's  account  of  missionary  privations  inapplicable 
to  Ceylon  missionaries — The  moral  of  an  old  adage  equally  neglected  by  the  American  and  British  nations — First 
Tamul  translation  of  the  Liturgy  at  <  eylon  at  the  sole  expenst  of  the  governor,  who  subsequently  presented  an 
offering  to  a  Budhuo  temple — The  national  religion  sometimes  incompatible  with  sound  national  policy. 

The  climate  of  this  province  being  much  less  humid  than  that  of  the  other  maritime 
provinces,  the  silk-worm  might  be  advantageously  introduced,  the  mulberry  plant  ex¬ 
tensively  cultivated,  and  silk  become  a  principal  staple  of  commerce,  instead  of  being, 
as  at  the  present  time,  one  of  the  entirely  neglected  capabilities  of  the  island. 

The  Hindoo  mode  of  culture  may  be  the  best  for  the  native  agriculturist,  because 
it  is  perfectly  simple  ;  and  cooley  labour  may  be  cheapened,  by  the  employment  of 
children  to  prepare  and  lay  down  the  sets,  as  soon  as  the  nurseries  of  the  mulberry 
plant  are  sufficiently  stocked  to  admit  of  the  operations  of  the  planter. 

In  Bengal,  the  land,  having  been  cleared  of  weeds,  and,  where  necessary,  manured, 
is  lightly  ploughed;  and  pits,  large  enough  for  the  reception  of  eight  or i ten  sets, 
having  been  prepared,  in  parallel  lines,  with  a  space  of  two  feet  between  each  pit,  the 
planter  has  nothing  more  to  do,  than  employ  children  to  cut  the  mulberry  plants  into 
sets  of  about  fourteen  inches  in  length,  whilst  others  distribute  them,  by  laying  down 
the  requisite  number  at  the  side  of  each  pit,  ready  for  being  planted ;  these  having 
been  inserted,  the  planter  presses  the  mould  with  his  hands  around  each  set,  and 
loose  earth  having  been  scattered  over  the  whole,  leaving  only  the  tops  to  appear, 
the  primary  object  is  effected.  If  this  be  done  just  before  the  rains  set  in,  the  fields 

2  E 


\vill  exhibit,  in  the  course  of  a  week  or  ten  days,  a  most  verdant  appearance  ;  for, 
in  that  short  space  of  time,  the  little  clumps  will  be  covered  with  foliage ;  and  thus, 
any  required  quantity  of  mulberry  leaves  may  be  ensured  for  the  ulterior  purposes 
of  the  silk  grower. 

It  may  be  worthy  of  the  consideration  of  the  local  government,  whether  the  admis¬ 
sion  into  Ceylon  of  the  raw  productions  and  manufactures  of  the  East  India  Company’s 
territories  upon  the  continent  of  India,  at  the  same  rate  of  duty  as  is  there  levied  upon 
our  home  produce  and  manufactures,  and  reducing  the  import  duties  upon  paddee  and 
rice,  until  the  island  produces  sufficient  for  the  consumption  of  its  population,  might 
not  induce  the  governments  of  the  several  presidencies  of  British  India  to  allow  cotton 
and  silk  to  be  exported  to  Ceylon  duty  free,  (if  intended  to  be  shipped  from  thence  to 
Great  Britain,)  and  materially  diminish  the  price  of  labour  in  the  colony. 

It  is  to  be  expected,  that  such  a  change  of  system,  in  regard  to  the  importation 
of  the  raw  materials  and  manufactures  of  British  India,  wrould  materially  affect  the 
importation  of  British  cottons,  because  the  native  green  or  unbleached  cloths  would 
then  compete  with  those  of  the  mother  country  ;  but  the  result  of  such  an  arrangement 
would  benefit  the  native  consumer  in  an  equal  ratio,  which  should  be  a  primary  object 
of  colonial  legislation. 

Choya  root  ( Oldenlandia  umbtlluta,  L.),  which  yields  a  valuable  red  dye  for  manufac¬ 
turing  purposes,  is  both  indigenous  and  abundant  in  this  province  ;  nevertheless,  its 
culture,  which  would  naturally  tend  to  the  improvement  of  the  dye,  has  been  hitherto 
entirely  neglected.  This  useful  staple  was  formerly  a  government  monopoly,  and  at 
one  time  yielded  a  revenue  of  £2000  a  year ;  but  it  subsequently  declined  to  about 
a  tenth  part  of  that  sum.  The  trade  in  it  being  now  open,  its  culture  offers  a  new 
source  of  profitable  speculation. 

The  soil  is  also  admirably  adapted  to  the  growth  of  the  hitherto  much  neglected 
chocolate-nut  tree  ( Thcobroma  Cacao ,  L.),  which,  in  the  course  of  a  few  years,  might 
rank  as  a  staple  of  the  island.  I  have  had  very  fine  specimens  of  the  fruit  in  my  own 
garden,  from  trees  planted  by  the  late  Jacobus  Burnand,  Esq.,  a  Dutch  gentleman, 
whose  name  is  deservedly  remembered  at  Ceylon  with  respect  and  regard ;  for  he 
was  distinguished,  both  by  his  zeal  for  the  welfare  of  the  island,  through  the  introduc¬ 
tion  of  the  culture  of  valuable  exotics  from  the  Malay  peninsula,  and  the  Dutcn  islands 
of  Java,  Banda,  and  Amboyna,  and  by  his  botanical  acquirements.  The  nuts  were 
equal  to  the  finest  I  had  seen  at  Penang  and  Malacca,  or  in  the  West  Indies,  and 
in  no  degree  inferior,  either  in  size  or  nutritious  properties,  to  the  best  productions 
of  South  America. 


This  tree  requires  shade  ;  and,  for  that  purpose,  plantations  of  banana  and  plantain 
trees,  which  are  of  rapid  growth,  might  be  formed  in  parallel  lines,  leaving  spaces  of 
ten  or  twelve  feet  between  each,  for  the  reception  of  the  chocolate  plants. 

I  am  well  aware  of  the  objections  likely  to  be  opposed  to  my  suggestions  upon  this 
subject,  arising  upon  a  pnmu  taut  view  of  it,  from  the  comparatively  slow  return  for 
the  outlay,  owing  to  the  great  difference  of  time  between  the  produce  of  the  chocolate 
tree  and  that  of  the  coffee  bush  attaining  maturity  :  but  it  should  be  taken  into 
consideration,  that  here  “the  steed  does  not  starve,  whilst  the  grass  grows;”  for, 
independently  of  the  annual  value  of  the  fruit*  of  the  banana  and  plantain  trees, 
which  is  m  general  request  by  the  natives  of  all  classes,  the  medicinal  usefulness 
of  the  leaves,  which  also  afford  excellent  fodder  for  cattle,  and  the  several  mechan¬ 
ical  purposes  to  which  the  fibrous  stalks  may  be  applied,  as  already  described  f 
indigo,  ginger,  turmeric,  cardamoms,  cassada,  arrow-root,  maize,  Guinea  grass,  and 
the  principal  grains,  after  rice,  to  which  the  native  farmer  turns  his  attention,  par¬ 
ticularly  those  called — Gingilhe  Sessamum  orientate,  L.),  Mun  and  Mung,  a  species  of 
Phaseolus,  Meneri  (Milium  Zeylamcum .  minus),  Korakan  (Cynosurus  Coracanus.  I,.;. 
Badhaamu,  a  species  of  Doluho*  and  a  feu  others,  known  by  the  native  names  of 
Mutches,  Cadecoune,  Cambanpullo,  \\  arego,  Swamy,  Tinneswamy,  Panneswamy. 
and,  although  the  last,  not  the  least  in  value,  for  its  domestic  purposes,  Dholl  and 
Horse  Gram,  might  be  planted  and  sown,  by  way  of  under  crop,  without  injury  to  the 
chocolate  plants.  To  these  might  lie  added,  an  extensive  cultivation  of  the  black 
pepper  vine  ;  for,  notwithstanding  the  soil  is  well  adapted  to  its  growth,  the  island 
is  still  dependent  upon  Malabar  for  supplies  of  this  spice,  which  is  indispensable  for 
the  preservation  of  cinnamon  bark  during  the  homeward-bound  voyage. 

Surely,  this  is  a  speculation  worthy  of  the  attention  of  British  capitalists;  indeed, 
but  a  moderate  capital  would  be  required,  to  bring  very  large  tracts  of  ground  into 
a  profitable  state  of  cultivation  ;  and  if  a  few  zealous  individuals  would  but  determine 
to  adopt  this  system  of  agriculture,  and  give  it  a  fair  trial,  it  would  establish  the 
truth  of  my  assertions,  that  the  returns  from  the  under  crops  would  be  as  rapid  as 
the  most  sanguine  could  have  anticipated,  and  be  ultimately  increased  by  an  abundan’ 
harvest  of  the  chocolate  nut. 

The  whole  coast  of  the  province  abounds  with  excellent  fish,  and  the  interior  par' 
of  it  with  fresh-wTater  fish.  Cattle  and  sheep  are  extremely  cheap ;  the  former,  varying 
from  twenty  to  thirty  shillings  a  head:  and  the  latter,  from  two  shillings  to  half-a-crown 

*  Mandrakes  of  Scripture,  Dodann  of  the  Hebrew^.  <»en  x.\.\  14 

2  t  2 

*  Page  125 


Poultry  and  eggs  are  abundant,  and  proportionally  cheap ;  but  swine  are  less  plentiful 
than  in  the  Singhalese  provinces,  the  Hindoos  and  Musselmans  holding  the  “  unclean 
animal”  in  almost  equal  abhorrence.  Game  abounds  in  every  jungle,  and  a  variety 
of  wild  fowl,  including  wild  duck,  widgeon,  teal,  and  snipe,  in  every  swamp  and 
water  tank. 

There  is  great  room  for  improvement  in  the  native  breed  of  cattle,  here  and  through¬ 
out  the  island,  by  crossing  it  with  that  of  England,  or  of  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  ; 
and  if  more  regard  be  not  paid  to  their  feeding  m  this  province  than  elsewhere,  it 
certainly  does  not  arise  from  a  deficiency  of  excellent  pasturage,  either  here,  or  in  the 
several  small  islands  to  the  westward.  The  native  list  of  grasses  contains  36  varieties. 

As  to  the  provincial  breed  of  sheep,  it  is  somewhat  difficult  to  determine,  by  the 
appearance  of  these  animals  upon  the  extensive  sheep  walks  between  this  place  and 
Point  Pedro,  to  which  of  Shaw’s  genera,  Capra  or  Ovis,  they  bear  the  nearest  affinity. 
Nevertheless,  Jaffna  sheep,  after  having  been  fed,  for  a  few  weeks,  upon  jack  leaves, 
paddee,  or  dholl,  yield  a  tolerable  substitute  for  Bengal  or  Cape  of  Good  Hope  mutton. 

Cows,  imported  from  the  Cape,  have  been  found  to  answer  very  well ;  but,  owing 
to  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  lakes,  rivers,  and  canals,  being  the  most  favourable 
site  for  paddee  fields,  the  appropriation  of  meadows,  for  the  cultivation  of  grass,  is  as 
much  neglected  as  the  making  of  hay,  which  the  sun  would  fully  effect  in  a  few  hours ; 
and  although  the  latter  is  altogether  unnecessary  for  local  purposes,  where  winter  is 
unknown,  it  might  be  prepared  for  the  supply  of  shipping,  if  mechanical  means  of 
pressing  it  for  that  purpose  were  introduced  from  England. 

A  very  considerable  timber  trade  in  Palmyra  rafters  and  laths,  (locally  called  Paralies 
and  Reepas,)  which  are  in  great  request,  both  for  public  and  private  buildings,  is 
carried  on  coastwise  between  Jaffna  and  the  other  ports  of  the  island. 

About  the  beginning  of  August,  the  Hindoos  celebrate  the  annual  festival  of  their 
idol,  Jagan-Nath,  or  Parameswara,  the  Lord  of  the  Universe;  but  it  is  unaccompanied 
by  the  tragic  scenes  of  self-immolation  which  are  occasionally  displayed  at  the  grand 
Deura  (temple)  at  Jagan-Nath,  upon  the  coast  of  Coromandel,  where  pilgrims  throw 
themselves  under  the  wheels  of  the  stupendous  car  of  the  idol,  and  are  crushed  to 
death.  To  this  act,  their  religion  incites  them,  as  one  so  acceptable  to  Jagan-Nath , 
that  a  new  birth,  in  felicity  and  honor,  in  the  present  world,  is  thereby  assured  to 
these  voluntary  victims  of  superstition  and  error. 

Patterson,  speaking  of  the  origin  of  the  Hindoo  religion,  describes  the  temple  at 
Jagan-Nath  as  a  famous  resort  for  pilgrims  of  all  sects  ;  “  for  it  is  generally  revered 
by  them,  as  a  converging  point,  where  all  contending  parties  unite  in  harmony  with 


each  other:”  and,  in  describing  the  Pranava,  or  mystical  character,  which  represents 
the  name  of  the  deity,  from  which  cypher  they  have  made  three  distinct  idols,  viz. 
Bal-Ra?n,  Sabhadra ,  and  Jagan-Nath ,  he  calls  it  “  a  stroke  of  refined  policy  in  the 
first  founders  of  the  temple,  to  present  as  an  object  of  worship,  the  personification 
of  the  tri-literal  word,  which  is  held  in  reverence  alike  by  all  sectaries,  and  to  give  it 
a  title,  which  each  sect  might  apph  to  the  object  of  its  particular  adoration  and 
considers  “  that  the  intention  of  the  foundation  was  evidently  to  render  the  temple 
a  place  of  pilgrimage  open  to  all  sects,  and  to  draw  an  immense  revenue  from  the 
multifarious  resort  of  devotees.” 

Having  been'  invited  to  accompany  the  chief  and  puisne  justices  of  the  supreme 
court,  (the  Honorable  Sir  Alexander  Johnston  and  Sir  William  Coke,)  at  that  time  on 
their  northern  circuit,  to  see  the  pagan  ceremonies  observed  at  the  festival  of  Jagan- 
Nath,  I  gladly  availed  myself  of  so  favorable  an  opportunity  for  viewing  the  triumphal 
car  and  procession  of  the  idol. 

A  spacious  booth,  brilliantly  illuminated,  and  decorated  with  white  cloth,  and  natural 
fruits  and  flowers,  among  which  the  white,  pink,  and  blue  varieties  of  the  Lotos  were 
conspicuous,  had  been  erected  in  front  of  the  triumphal  car,  expressly  for  the  recep¬ 
tion  of  the  judges,  who  were  received,  upon  their  arrival,  by  the  chief  and  other 
Brahmins;  after  which,  the  head  Brahmin  placed  over  the  shoulders  of  the  chief  justice 
three  chaplets  of  fragrant  flowers  ;  of  which,  one  was  composed  of  the  beautiful 
rose-colored  corols  of  the  double  oleander  ( Nerium  odoratum,  L.,  var  duplex), 
and  the  others  of  the  moogrie,  or  Arabian  jessamine  (Nerium  coronarium,  L.),  and 
the  puisne  justice  was  decorated  with  two  white  chaplets  of  moogrie  flowers ; — con¬ 
secrated  limes  were,  at  the  same  time,  presented  to  the  judges,  and  the  chief  Brahmin 
paid  me  a  similar  compliment. 

The  car  of  the  idol,  formed  of  wood,  about  twenty  or  twenty  five  feet  in  length, 
and  of  proportional  width,  above  its  huge  wheels,  was  highly  gilded,  and  painted  with 
emblematical  figures,  (among  which  the  Lingam  was  prominent,)  surrounding  the 
carved  figure  of  the  idol. 

According  to  the  best  account  that  I  could  collect  from  the  Malabar  interpreter 
of  the  custom  house,  the  festival  continues  for  several  successive  nights,  as  the  time 
most  adapted  to  the  rites  of  pagan  superstition  ;  and  he  positively  asserted  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  “  that  it  commences  by  the  presentation  of  a  beautiful  virgin  to  the  Brahmins, 
for  the  bride  of  Jagan-Nath ,  in  whose  temple  ( Deura )  they  leave  her  all  night,  after 
persuading  her  to  believe,  that  the  deity  will  himself  visit  her  during  that  period. 
Jagan-Nath  is  then  personated  by  one  of  the  chief  Brahmins;  to  whose  lust,  the  poor 
victim  is  first  sacrificed,  and  then  instructed  in  the  part  she  is  to  perform  at  the 


ensuing  ceremonial ;  especially  in  the  various  stories  which  she  is  publicly  to  declare, 
from  her  seat  by  the  idol’s  side,  upon  his  car  of  triumph,  as  the  commands  received 
trom  Jagan-Nath  himself,  during  the  preceding  night.  “  Tantum  religio  potuit 
suadere  malorum.” 

The  Devadasi,  or  dancing  girls  of  the  Deura,  having  been  introduced  by  the  head 
Brahmin,  commenced  their  lascivious  gestures,  mis-called  dancing.  The  prima  donna 
was  a  Malabar  girl  of  great  beauty,  and,  in  point  of  figure,  a  personification  of  the 
Medicean  Venus  ;  the  others  were  also  pretty,  and  of  good  figure  ;  but  the  profuse  use 
of  turmeric,  with  which  their  faces,  arms,  necks,  and  breasts  were  covered,  however 
charming  to  the  native  eye,  neutralized  the  interest,  with  which,  their  otherwise  attrac¬ 
tive  appearance  might  have  inspired  the  more  fastidious  European. 

The  dress  of  the  Devadasi  consisted  of  a  robe  of  spangled  muslin,  which  partially 
covered  the  left  breast,  but  exposed  the  right ;  this  was  confined  round  the  waist  by 
a  massive  zone  of  pure  gold,  of  about  three  inches  in  width,  and  resplendent  with 
pearls  and  precious  stones  ;  chiefly  diamonds,  emeralds,  rubies,  and  sapphires.  Splen¬ 
did  jewels  of  similar  materials  ornamented  their  ears,  nostrils,  (descending  over  the 
mouth  and  chin,)  fingers,  arms,  ankles,  and  toes. 

The  Devadasi  performed  their  parts  to  admiration  ;  their  various  positions  and 
movements  were,  perhaps,  unequalled  in  point  of  lasciviousness,  which  gradually 
increased  with  their  excitement,  until  it  apparently  bordered  upon  Bacchanalian 
madness,  to  the  sound  of  the  most  barbarous  music,  if  that  word  be  not  altogether 
misapplied,  that  ever  deafened  ear. 

But,  as  if  the  horrid  din  of  perforated  shells,  native  drums,  cymbals,  and  pipes, 
were  considered  insufficient  to  delight  the  European  visitors,  recourse  was  had  to 
vocal  music,  by  way  of  auxiliary.  The  Hindoo  artistes  were  chiefly  old  men  with 
snow-white  beards  ;  but  these  anti-harmonists,  instead  of  clearing  their  mouths  of  the 
Pawn  which  they  had  previously  been  masticating,  crammed  into  them  additional  rolls 
of  it,  and  then  commenced  their  monotonous  tic-tic-ticky-taw-tic-taw-ticky-taw. 

The  dancing  having  terminated,  the  procession  commenced  its  usual  circuit : — the 
Devadasi,  preceded  by  the  singers  and  musicians,  placed  themselves  in  front  of  the 
car,  which,  upon  a  given  signal,  and  amidst  innumerable  Chinese  fire-works,  myriads 
of  torches,  and  the  firing  of  small  arms,  was  slowly  dragged  along  by  about  a  hundred 
devotees,  who  seemed  to  vie  with  each  other  for  the  honor  of  buckling  themselves 
to  the  consecrated  ropes  of  Jagan-  Nath’s  car.  The  order  of  this  heathen  cere¬ 
monial  recalled  to  mind  the  more  sacred  one  described  by  the  royal  Psalmist,  “  The 
singers  went  before  ;  the  players  on  instruments  followed  after  ;  amongst  them  were 
the  damsels  playing  with  timbrels.” 


All  castes  of  Hindoos  acknowledge  the  Brahmins  *  for  their  priests,  and  derive  from 
them  their  belief  of  the  metempsychosis,  or  transmigration  of  souls.  Although  many 
of  the  higher  castes  are  extremely  particular  as  to  diet,  and  object  to  the  use  ol 
animal  food,  the  greater  number  are  less  scrupulous,  and  eat,  sparingly,  but  not  indif¬ 
ferently,  of  fish,  flesh,  and  fowl.  Their  chief  diet,  however,  consists  of  vegetable 
curries,  in  which  butter,  made  of  buffalo’s  milk,  and  clarified,  is  very  generally 
employed ;  and  they  esteem  milk  as  the  purest  of  food,  because  the  cow  is  regarded 
as  a  divinity. 

The  best  native  condiments  used  by  the  higher  classes,  are  compounded  of  coriander 
seed,  turmeric,  black  pepper,  white  mustard,  green  ginger,  allspice,  lesser  cardamoms, 
cummim  seed,  fenugreek,  and  cayenne  ;  but  the  lower  classes  are  contented  with  the 
simpler  ones  of  turmeric,  green  ginger,  cayenne,  and  a  leaf  of  the  carpintchee  tree 
( Cookia  anisetta ). 

The  chief  amusement  of  the  Hindoos  consists  in  assisting  at  the  religious  cere¬ 
monials  prescribed  by  their  Brahmins,  who  appear  to  have  established  among  them¬ 
selves  a  regular  hierarchy,  and  gradation  of  ranks,  thereby  securing  subordination  in 
their  own  order,  weight  to  their  authority,  and  dominion  over  the  minds  of  the  people. 
To  enter  into  a  detail  of  the  complicated  system  of  Hindoo  superstition,  is  as  far 
beyond  my  power,  as  it  is  foreign  to  my  present  object.  The  village  people  appear 
contented ;  and,  as  if  their  happiness  consisted  in  domestic  life,  being  taught  by  their 
religion  that  marriage  is  the  indispensable  duty  of  all,  except  those  who  separate  them¬ 
selves  from  the  world  for  the  sake  of  religion,  polygamy  is  allowed ;  but  they  are 
generally  contented  with  one  wife,  who  is  distinguished  for  fidelity  to  her  vows,  and 
solicitude  for  her  family. 

Native  philanthropy  displays  itself,  equally  in  the  Malabar  and  Singhalese  districts 
At  certain  distances  on  the  public  roads,  the  way-worn  traveller  is  sure  to  find  the 
means  of  assuaging  thirst,  from  a  large  earthen  chatty,  filled  with  water,  to  which 
a  coco-nut-shell  ladle  is  attached  ;  this  is  placed  upon  a  rest,  about  two  feet  from  the 
ground,  by  the  road  side ;  and  the  neighbouring  villagers  never  fail  to  replenish  the 
“  travellers’  cistern,”  morning  and  evening. 

As  already  stated  in  the  preceding  pages,  the  Americans  have  a  large  missionary 
establishment  in  this  province.  The  first  missionaries  were  acquainted  with  various 

*  According  to  Dr.  Hyde’s  history  of  the  religion  of  the  ancient  Persians,  they  believed  their  religion  to  bavt 
been  that  of  the  patriarch  Abraham  ;  and  it  appears  to  have  been  his  own  opinion,  that  the  ancient  Brachmans 
and  modem  Brahmins,  derived  their  names  from  Abraham,  or  rather  Braham,  which  is  the  common  way  ol 
pronouncing  that  word  amongst  the  Persians. — The  Brahmin  caste  is  distinguished  by  threads  worn  over  one 
shoulder,  aud  called  Zennaar. 


mechanical  trades,  and  were  not  above  imparting  their  knowledge  of  them  to  the 
natives  ;  and  they  have  done  much  good  throughout  their  respective  localities.  They 
have  a  Hindoo  professorship  of  astronomy,  which  is  taught  upon  the  native  system  ; 
and  if  their  number  of  converts  to  Christianity  be  bounded,  the  social  good  they 
have  effected  is  boundless. 

"  He  left  his  Christian  friends  and  native  strand, 

Bv  pity  for  benighted  men  constrained  ; 

H  is  heart  was  fraught  with  charity  unfeigned  ; 

His  life  was  stria,  his  manners  meek  and  bland. 

Long  dwelt  he  lonely  in  a  heathen  land, 

In  want  and  weariness, — yet  ne’er  complained  ; 

But  laboured  that  the  lost  sheep  might  be  gained, 

Not  seeking  recompense  from  human  hand. 

The  credit  of  the  arduous  works  he  wrought 
Was  reaped  by  other  men  who  came  behind  : 

The  world  gave  him  no  honour — none  he  sought, 

But  cherished  Christ’s  example  in  his  mind. 

To  one  great  aim  his  heart  and  hopes  were  given, — 

To  serve  his  God,  and  gather  souls  to  heaven.  — Pringle. 

Pringle’s  account  of  missionary  privations,  however  applicable  to  those  he  might  have 
had  in  view  when  he  wrote,  are  certainly  inapplicable  to  Ceylon  missionaries  of  any 
denomination.  In  all  other  points,  those  who  know  those  gentlemen  will  very  probably 
agree  with  the  author  as  to  the  applicableness  of  the  above  lines  ;  but,  in  Ceylon,  mis¬ 
sionaries  are,  as  I  would  wish  they  should  be  in  every  quarter  of  the  globe,  subject  to  no 
want  or  privation  except  such  as  are  common  to  other  gentlemen,  in  the  public  service 
and  commercial  community,  arising  from  climate  and  distance  from  their  native  country. 

But,  like  the  good  and  well-intentioned  of  this  country,  the  Americans  have  equally 
forgotten  an  old  but  true  adage  ;  for  they  too  are  more  intent  upon  disseminating 
Christianity  amongst  the  pagans  of  India,  than  amongst  the  immense  numbers  of  their 
worse  than  heathen  brethren  at  home  ;  who,  according  to  that  adage,  have  the  nearest 
and  greatest  claim. 

The  first  Tamul  translation  of  the  Liturgy  was  made  by  the  Rev.  Christian  David, 
now  Malabar  colonial  chaplain  in  this  province,  and  was  printed  at  the  Serampore 
mission  press,  at  the  sole  expense  of  the  then  governor,  the  late  General  Sir  Robert 
Brownrigg,  Bart.,  G.  C.  B.  ;  but  it  is  probable  that  even  this  will  not  be  considered, 
“  sanctis  et  inter  sanctos”  of  this  country,  to  be  a  sufficient  expiation  for  the  deadly  sm 
of  having  made,  as  I  shall  show  in  the  following  pages,  an  offering  to  a  Budhoo  tem¬ 
ple  ! ! ! — I  much  fear,  that  every  attempt  to  reconcile  the  conflicting  duties  of  religion 
with  sound  national  policy  will  ever  be  an  insuperable  task  to  even  the  most  zealous 
of  our  colonial  governors. 


Garrison  of  Jaffna — Provincial  head  quarters-  -Extensive  culture  of  the  Betel  pepper — Esteemed  for  its  astrin¬ 
gent  properties  by  native  doctors — Flower  and  tea]  of  the  wild  and  cultivated  Betel — Mode  of  culture — Hater  con 
reyance  to  Point  Pedro — 1'oint  Pedro  Shoal—  huute  by  land  —  Bitter  Aloes —  I  illages  of  Kopaay  and  Alchoewetle— 
Veteran  magistrate  who  served  under  Frederick  the  Great — The  ruling  passion—  Route  from  Jaffna  to  Trincomah 
— Katchay — Elephant  Pass — Choondt  t'oioni—  Mullativoe — Face  of  the  country — Postholders  supply  provisions  to 
travellers — Jungles — Game — Mullativoe  house — Dangerous  coral  shoal — Sailing  directions — Alembiel — Superficies 
and  population  of  the  Northern  Province — Humbert  employed  in  agriculture ,  manufactures,  and  commerce 
Eastern  Province — tSay-Aar — Kokelay — Sand-flies — Kokelay  river — Fish — Dead  shells  for  lime  abundant — Set 
aery — Inhabitants — Tenia — Banyan  fig  tree — IVild  hogs — Hint  to  sportsmen — C utchiavelle — Nilavelle  —  Salt 
River — View  of  Trincomalc — Trincomah  the  chief  town  of  the  Eastern  Province — Fortifications — Harbour- 
Society — Garrison — Suggestions  foi  establishing  farms  for  supplying  shipping  with  salted  and  fresh  provisiens- 
Anticipated  favorable  result  to  Trincomah . 

In  time  of  peace,  the  military  command  of  the  province  is  held  by  a  captain  of  the 
army  ;  and  the  garrison  of  Jaffna,  the  “  head  quarters,”  consists  of  a  few  Europeans 
and  a  detachment  of  the  Ceylon  rifle  corps  ;  with  a  medical  staff,  consisting  of  an 
assistant  surgeon,  and  a  native  medical  sub-assistant  ;  besides  whom,  there  art'  a 
native  medical  sub-assistant,  and  a  medical  pupil,  for  the  express  purpose  of  vacci¬ 
nation.  The  civil  departments  are  filled,  as  described  in  page  34,  under  the  head 
“  Fiscal  division  into  provinces.” 

The  culture  of  the  Betel  pepper  ( Piper  Betel,  L.)  is  more  extensive  in  this,  than  in 
any  other  province  ;  because  its  proximity  to  the  Indian  peninsula,  enables  the  grower 
to  export  the  leaf  and  flower,  in  a  fresh  state,  to  a  market,  where  these  articles,  being 
scarcer,  and  indispensable  necessaries  of  general  consumption,  are  sure  of  a  prompt 
sale  at  remunerating  prices. 

The  Malabars  call  it  Betele  or  Betre,  and  the  Singhalese  Boolaak  or  Boolaat-waela 
and  their  doctors  esteem  it  one  of  their  best  astringents.  The  Dutch  formerly  exported 
the  dried  flower,  both  of  the  cultivated  and  wild  species,  to  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  : 
— the  former  is  about  an  inch  and  a  half  in  length,  of  a  bright  yellow  ;  and  the  latter 
about  five  inches,  and  of  an  ash  color.  The  leaf  of  both  species  is  septinervous , 
but  the  upper  surface  of  that  of  the  cultivated  has  a  peculiar  glossiness,  of  which, 
the  wild  is  destitute. 

2  F 



The  Betel  is  propagated  by  layers ; — these  are  cut  into  sets  of  about  two  feet  in 
length,  and  the  middle  having  been  covered  with  earth,  the  extremities  are  left  ex¬ 
posed  ;  in  the  course  of  a  few  days,  roots  strike  forth,  and  when  the  plant  requires 
support,  poles  are  employed,  as  in  the  hop-grounds  of  this  country. 

From  Jaffna  to  Point  Pedro  there  is  conveyance  by  the  river,  which  is  only  navigable 
by  boats,  and  debouches  near  that  port,  where  there  is  a  small  fort,  but  it  has  no 
garrison  in  time  of  peace.  Point  Pedro  is  the  northernmost  land  of  Ceylon  ;  and  from 
thence,  during  the  north-east  monsoon,  Trincomale  may  be  reached  by  a  country  boat 
or  D  honey  in  a  few  hours. 

According  to  Captain  Horsburgh,  “  Point  Pedro  Shoal  encompasses  the  N.  E.  ex¬ 
tremity  of  the  island ;  and,  from  thence,  stretches  nearly  parallel  to  the  coast, 
about  six  leagues  to  the  S.  S.  Eastward,  having  only  3  and  3f  fathoms  on  it,  in  many 
places,  and  2|  fathoms  on  two  patches  ;  one  of  these  bears  nearly  E.  f  S.  from  Point 
Palmyra,  the  N.  E.  extremity  of  Ceylon,  distant  about  five  miles ;  the  other  N.  E. 
from  the  same  Point,  distant  four  miles. 

“  Between  this  extensive  narrow  shoal  and  the  coast,  there  is  a  safe  channel,  about 
three  miles  wide ;  with  regular  soundings,  soft  mud,  7  fathoms  close  to  the  shore, 
7,  8,  or  9  fathoms  in  mid-channel,  and  five  or  6  fathoms  close  to  the  inner  edge  of  the 
shoal.  To  the  Eastward  of  it,  the  bank  of  soundings  is  also  flat,  with  regular  depths  ; 
decreasing  to  5  and  6  fathoms  close  to  the  S.  E.  and  Eastern  parts  of  the  shoal,  and 
to  4  fathoms,  coarse  brown  sand,  close  to  its  N.  Eastern  verge. — The  whole  of  this 
coast  is  low,  and  abounds  in  palmyra  trees.” 

If  the  tourist  intend  to  travel  by  land  to  Point  Pedro,  his  route  lies  through  Kopaay, 
passing  to  the  left  of  Poetoer,  through  a  low  country,  where  there  are  extensive  sheep- 
walks,  to  Atchoewelle.  The  soil  is  sandy,  but  produces  certain  plants  which  are  not 
indigenous  elsewhere  in  the  island,  and  are  consequently  attractive  to  the  botanist ; 
amongst  others,  the  Aloe  ( Aloe  spicata,  L.),  Komarita  of  the  Singhalese,  which  yields 
the  Bitter  Aloes  of  commerce. 

The  inhabitants  of  the  villages  of  Kopaay  and  Atchoewelle,  are  an  obliging,  well- 
disposed,  and  contented  race  of  people  ;  and  at  Point  Pedro,  where  there  is  a  small 
establishment  for  collecting  the  customs,  one  is  sure  to  meet  with  every  kindness  and 
hospitality  from  the  resident  civilian,  who  is  an  assistant  government  agent  of  the  district. 

Formerly  the  sitting  magistrate  at  Point  Pedro,  was  a  Prussian  gentleman  of  the 
name  of  Theile,  who  had  served  under  Frederick  the  Great.  He  was  a  fine  specimen 
of  the  Prussian  grenadier  of  the  old  school,  being  not  less  than  six  feet  three  inches 
in  height.  Mr.  Theile  entertained  the  late  Sir  William  Coke  (puisne  justice  of 



the  Honorable  the  Supreme  Court)  and  myself,  upon  our  landing  at  Point  Pedro  from 
Trincomale,  with  the  greatest  hospitality  ;  and,  after  dinner,  a  few  extra  glasses  of  Sir 
William's  Champagne  took  a  pleasant  effect  upon  the  old  gentleman,  who  was  eighty- 
years  of  age  ;  for  instead  of  shouldering  a  crutch,  “  to  show  how  fields  were  won,”  he 
desired  his  daughter,  a  very  pretty  girl,  to  play  a  favorite  Prussian  march ;  and  “  ad¬ 
vancing  arms  ”  with  my  gun,  marched  about  the  room  as  erect  as  if  he  had  been  sixty 
years  younger  than  he  really  was. 

The  direct  route  by  land  from  Jaffna  to  Trincomale,  after  having  crossed  the  ferry, 
at  Nawakooli,  lies  through  Katchay,  distant  17|  miles  ;  and  from  thence  to  Elephant 
or  Bischuter  Pass,  16  miles.  The  line  of  road  is  tolerably  good,  for  a  low  champaign 
country,  where  sand  is  the  predominating  soil ;  and  continues  so  to  Choondi  Colom, 
a  distance  of  15  miles;  and  from  thence,  to  Moolladivo  or  Mullativoe,  a  further 
distance  of  lOf  miles. 

The  face  of  the  country  is  nearly  the  same  throughout ;  in  some  places  well  culti¬ 
vated,  and  studded  with  palmyra  trees,  with  patches  of  jungle  interspersed,  and,  here 
and  there,  a  few  straggling  coco-nut  trees.  So  few  Europeans  travel  in  this  part  of  the 
island,  that  there  are  no  regular  established  rest-houses  between  Jaffna  and  Mullativoe  ; 
but,  at  the  several  stages,  the  postholders  provide  eggs,  milk,  poultry,  fish,  and  fruit,  at 
the  rates,  established  by  the  agent  of  government  for  the  province,  including  a  certain 
per  centage  upon  the  bazaar  prices,  for  their  own  trouble  and  attention. 

At  almost  every  step,  novelties  present  themselves  to  the  attention  of  the  naturalist 
and  the  sportsman.  The  jungles  abound  with  game,  of  which,  the  most  sought  after 
are  the  Indian  Samver  (Cere  us  Aristotelts ),  commonly,  but  erroneously  called  Elk,  and 
the  Axis  deer  (Cervus  Axis)  ;  but,  amid  the  variety  of  wild  animals,  none  is  more 
curious,  or  perhaps  novel  to  the  newly-arrived  European,  than  the  toothless  ant  eater 
( Manis  tetradaclyia,  L.),  the  Kuballe  of  the  Singhalese.  This  singular  creature  forms 
itself  into  a  ball,  when  suddenly  obtruded  upon,  or  at  the  approach  of  an  enemy, 
after  the  manner  of  the  hedgehog  ( Ennactus  Europctus,  L.);  the  whole  body  is  covered 
with  imbricated  scales,  whose  resisting  power,  arising  in  a  great  measure  from  the  con¬ 
vexity  as  well  as  substance  of  its  scales,  (between  every  two  of  which  a  solitary  bristle 
protrudes,)  renders  it  impenetrable  either  bv  a  spear  or  musket  ball.  The  animal  is 
of  a  greenish  ash  color,  and  obtains  its  food  by  laying  its  tongue,  which  is  protrusile  to 
the  length  of  16  or  lb  inches,  upon  the  ground,  and  as  soon  as  it  is  covered  with  ants, 
it  suddenly  doubles  it  back  into  the  mouth,  and  rubs  them  off  against  the  palate. 

The  YVattoewekal-Aar  is  crossed  at  the  ford,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  or  two  miles 
from  Mullativoe,  which  has  a  small  fort,  and  a  good  rest-house,  and  is  situate  in 

2  f  2 



latitude  9°  13  north,  and  longitude  bl°  1  east,  close  to  the  sea,  and  bears  about 
N.  W.  by  N.  from  Pigeon  Island,  distant  thirteen  leagues  ;  but,  in  time  of  peace,  it 
has  no  garrison  or  European  resident. 

Captain  Horsburgh,  in  the  last  edition  of  his  Directory,  (1836,)  calls  Mullativoe, 
Molawat  or  Molatuwa  ,  and  it  one  take  the  trouble  to  look  at  six  or  seven  maps 

of  Ceylon,  scarcel)  two  will  be  iound  to  agree  in  point  of  orthography. 

“  From  ‘  Mullativoe  House,  a  dangerous  coral  shoal,  hav  ing  only  two  fathoms  water 
on  it,  called  Molawal  shoal,  extends  to  the  eastward  and  north-eastward  near  four 
miles  from  the  shore,  which  ought  not  to  be  approached  nearer  than  thirteen  fathoms. 
As  there  are  twenty  and  twenty-one  fathoms  water  about  four  miles  from  the  shore, 

and  four  or  five  miles  to  the  south-eastward  of  the  shoal,  a  ship  should  edge  out  a  little 

when  near  it ;  but  when  abreast  of  its  eastern  extremity,  she  may  with  the  land  wind 
borrow  towards  it  to  thirteen  or  fourteen  fathoms.  The  north  side  of  this  shoal  is 
not  so  steep,  but  composed  of  detached  knowls,  the  depths  decreasing  regularly  to 
nine  or  ten  fathoms,  dose  to  its  northern  verge,  and  to  six  and  seven  fathoms  along 
the  N.  W.  part,  close  to  the  shore.  From  this,  the  coast  is  low  to  the  N.  E.  point  ol 
Ceylon,  with  seven  fathoms  near  to  the  sandy  beach,  but  care  is  requisite  to  avoid  the 
Point  Pedro  shoal.” 

The  same  orthodox  authorm  in  regard  to  Eastern  navigation,  describes  the  coast 
between  Mullativoe  House  and  Pigeon  Island  as  “  low  and  safe  to  approach,  to  eighteen 
or  twenty  fathoms  in  the  night,  if  the  lead  be  kept  going,  or  to  twelve  fathoms 
occasionally  when  working  in  daylight.  About  3|  leagues  from  Pigeon  Island  there  is 
a  small  river,  and  four  leagues  further  to  the  N.  W.  the  river  Kokelay  is  situated.” 

From  Mullativoe  the  next  village  is  Alembiel,  distant  8f  miles  ;  and  from  thence  to 
the  Nay-Aar,  which  river  separates  this  part  of  the  Northern  from  the  Eastern  Pro¬ 
vince,  1\  miles. 

The  superficies  of  the  northern  province  is  6,053  square  miles  ;  and  the  population, 
(excepting  that  of  the  Nuwerakalawiye  division,  where  no  returns  had  been  kept,) 
agreeably  to  the  last  Census,  taken  in  1835,  is  252,619,  making  the  average  number 
to  the  square  mile,  41.73  ;  viz. 




Whites,  including  Military  and  their  families  .. 

.  492 



Free  Blacks,  ditto  ditto  . 

. .  112,489 



Slaves  . 

1  1,910 



Aliens  and  Resident  Strangers  .  . . 




The  number  employed  in  agriculture,  67,662  ;  in  manufactures,  18,992  ;  and  in 
commerce,  12,454.  The  marriages,  in  the  year  1835,  were  1,180  ;  births,  4,336  ;  and 
deaths,  2,503  ;  leaving  a  surplus  in  favor  of  the  population  of  the  province,  of  1,833. 

From  the  Nay-Aar,  the  distance  to  Kokelay,  which  is  situate  about  mid-way  between 
Alembiel  and  Kanjarankenne,  is  rather  more  than  10  miles,  During  the  heat  of  tht 
day,  the  glare  and  the  sand-flies  are  so  embarassing,  that  no  one  travels  between 
9  a.  m.  and  4  p.  m.  if  it  can  well  be  avoided  ;  but  during  the  N.  E.  monsoon,  the  road 
is  rendered  comparatively  pleasant,  by  the  refreshing  breezes  from  the  sea,  to  what 
it  is  when  the  S.  W.  prevails. 

The  Kokelay  river,  and  indeed  the  whole  line  of  coast,  abounds  with  fish,  including 
the  Sole  and  Sur-mullet,  and  several  varieties  of  the  Ray  ( Raiidce ,  C.)  and  Mackarel 
(Scomberoidce,  C.)  families ;  and  there  is  such  an  accumulation  of  dead  shells,  that 
sufficient  lime  might  be  burnt  upon  the  spot  to  supply  the  whole  province. 

At  early  dawn,  flamingos,  widgeon,  curlews,  herons,  and  snipes,  congregate  in  the 
watery  patches  near  the  plains  ;  and  these,  covered  with  verdure  and  bordered  by 
magnificent  forest  trees,  upon  whose  topmost  branches  innumerable  peafowl  await  the 
first  rays  of  the  rising  sun,  to  exhale  the  night  dew  from  their  splendid  plumage, 

"  -  W  bile  o  er  the  forest  glade 

The  wild  deer  trip,  and,  often  turning,  gaze 
At  early  passengers  '  ” 

delight  the  eye  in  every  direction  :  but  so  little  is  produced  by  human  exertions,  to 
what  the  country  is  capable  of,  that  one  naturally  arraigns  the  neglect  of  man,  whilst 
he  acknowledges,  and  is  lost  in  admiration  of,  the  bounty  of  the  Creator. 

The  Hindoo  villagers  are  an  industrious  race  of  people,  and  seem  contented  and 
happy.  Their  usually  plain  diet  includes  the  Kellingo,  or  meal  made  from  the  spring 
leaf  of  the  palmyra  ;  and  their  chief  employment  is  in  salting  fish  for  the  Kandyan 
market,  or  attending  to  their  humble  husbandry.  Every  cottage  has  its  garden,  m 
which,  capsicums,  tobacco,  cotton,  Indian  spinach,  water  melons,  ginger,  pumpkins, 
betel,  cucumbers,  turmeric,  pepper,  yams,  beans,  sweet  potatos,  and  plantains,  are  tin 
principal  objects  of  culture.  The  people  of  the  village  are  generally  well-grown  and 
handsome  ;  the  women  are  pretty,  and  extremely  diffident  in  their  appearance  and 
demeanour ;  but  all  their  children  appear,  as  elsewhere  in  the  island,  subject  to 
obesity  ;  which,  if  one  ask  them  the  reason,  is  attributed  to  the  rice,  and  they  seem 
to  have  the  same  remedy  for  it  everywhere,  in  the  flesh  of  the  river  tortoise  or  Kiri-Ba. 
The  villagers  use  the  Caffrarian  lime  ( Citrus  tubero'ides)  as  commonly  here  as  in  the 
southern  and  western  provinces,  for  cleansing  their  long  and  redundant  black  hair. 



The  next  stage  to  the  southward  is  Terria,  distant  Ilf  miles;  the  natives  pronounce 
it  Pehria.  The  neighbourhood  exhibits  immense  rocks  of  singular  appearance  ;  and 
the  surrounding  scenery  is  altogether  worthy  of  a  master  pencil.  The  native  cottages, 
which  are  built  of  sticks  ( Warretchie)  and  clay,  and  whitewashed  with  chunam,  are 
extremely  neat. 

The  banyan  tree  ( Ficus  Indica)  is  common  here  ;  and,  during  the  time  its  red  figs 
are  ripe,  the  sportsman  has  no  further  trouble  than  to  station  himself  in  a  good 
position,  under  cover,  and  within  gun-shot  of  the  trees,  soon  after  dusk,  when  he  may 
kill  wild  hogs  ad  libitum  for  these  animals  are  so  eager  for  their  favorite  food,  that 
they  return,  after  a  short  time,  to  the  spot,  (where  they  may  have  left  many  of  their 
original  number  “dead  upon  the  field,’]  and  continue  to  run  from,  and  return  to, 
the  same  place,  several  times  during  the  night,  until  the  sportsman  is  actually  tired  ol 
slaughter  ;  but  not  being  one  myself,  I  am  indebted  for  my  information  upon  this  point, 
to  some  of  the  most  experienced  of  my  contemporaries,  both  English  and  Dutch. 

From  Terria  to  C’utchiavelle  rest-house,  the  distance  is  rather  more  than  8f  miles 
road  still  sandy,  with  jungles  abounding  with  wild  hogs,  deer,  and  buffalos.  The  place 
contains  but  few  inhabitants,  and  their  appearance  is  not  so  pleasing  and  contented  as 
that  of  the  people  of  the  villages  of  Kokelay  and  Terria ;  but  they  are  equally  civil 
and  obliging. 

The  next  stage,  to  Nilavelle  rest-house,  is  rather  more  than  13  miles  ;  from  thence 


to  the  Salt  river,  4f  miles  ;  and  to  Trincomale,  3|  miles  further  ;  road  sandy,  with 
thick  jungle,  and  occasionally  undulating,  and  hilly  ;  affording  magnificent  views  of  the 
bay  of  Trincomale,  and  of  the  numerous  fortifications  by  which  that  most  important 
place,  the  Head  Quarters  of  His  Excellency  the  Commander-in-chief  of  Her  Majesty’s 
ships  and  vessels  in  the  Indian  seas,  may  be  rendered,  when  adequately  garrisoned, 

Along  this  coast,  there  is  little  for  remark,  beyond  a  bold  shore,  immense  tracks 
of  wood  inland,  and  the  abundance  of  the  palmyra  palm  ;  but  the  country  is  better 
inhabited  and  cultivated  than  appears  to  the  superficial  observer. 

Trincomale,  the  chief  town  in  the  province,  (Batticaloa  being  the  next,  but  scarcel) 
deserving  the  name,)  stands  in  a  N.  E.  direction  along  the  bay,  in  a  woody  and  hill) 
country,  interspersed  with  coco-nut  and  palmyra  trees  ;  but  the  appearance  of  it  is 
extremely  wild,  owin^  o  the  general  neglect  of  agriculture  ;  and,  like  most  seaport 
towns,  whose  dependence  is  upon  the  navy,  it  experiences  the  inconvenience  ol 
peace  ;  for  it  is  so  little  frequented  by  free  traders,  that  it  has  nothing  to  compensate 
it,  for  the  loss  of  its  grand  support. 


23  J 

From  its  position,  Trincomale  is  naturally  strong,  and  art  has  since  made  it  impreg¬ 
nable,  by  fortifications  ;  but  although  it  occupies  a  larger  area  than  the  maritime 
capital,  it  has  scarcely  hah  the  number  of  houses  ;  and  these  are  very  inferior,  with 
the  exception  of  the  late  naval  commissioner’s  spacious  mansion,  built  upon  the  Madras 
plan,  with  flat  roof,  and  verandah,  whose  pillars  rival  in  appearance  Parian  marble, 
and  a  few  other  pqblic  and  private  buildings. 

The  fort  commands  the  bays,  and  particularly  the  entrance  to  the  inner  bay,  which 
being  nearly  as  much  land-locked  as  Portsmouth  harbour,  ships  of  every  rate  and  class 
may  ride  secure  there  throughout  the  year  ;  but  this  very  circumstance,  as  opposing 
great  natural  obstacles  to  a  free  circulation  of  the  sea  breezes,  is  considered  by  many 
medical  men  as  a  principal  cause  of  the  proverbial  unhealthiness  of  the  place  ;  to  this 
may  be  added,  the  swampy  grounds  on  the  land  side,  as  another  reason. 

The  strong  brick-built  fortification,  called  Fort  Ostenburg,  which  also  commands 
the  harbour,  projects  so  far  to  seaward,  that  before  an  enemy  can  attack  it,  possession 
must  first  have  been  obtained  of  the  fort  of  Trincomale,  as  well  as  of  the  grand  har¬ 
bour  itself ;  but,  notwithstanding  the  importance  attached  to  this  naval  station  by  its 
former  possessors,  the  French  and  Dutch,  as  well  as  by  ourselves,  for  its  proximity  to 
our  possessions  on  the  coast  of  Coromandel  and  bay  of  Bengal,  it  has  never  possessed 
any  trade  of  importance,  in  a  national  point  of  view ;  and  this  not  only  deserves  the 
greatest  consideration,  but  an  adequate  remedy. 

The  European  society  of  Trincomale  is  limited  to  the  families  of  those  employed 
in  the  public  service  ;  and  their  general  hospitality  is  such  as  Ceylon  has  been  famed 
for  from  the  earliest  period  of  our  possession  of  it. 

The  garrison  consists  of  a  regiment  of  the  line,  with  a  company  of  royal  artillery 
and  a  detachment  of  the  Ceylon  rifle  corps. 

The  medical  department  comprises  a  staff  surgeon,  one  assistant  staff  surgeon,  and 
a  native  medical  sub-assistant.  The  former  duties  of  fort  major  and  fort  adjutant, 
are  now  performed  by  the  “  Staff  Officer,”  with  an  extra  allowance  of  lOs.  per  diem. 

The  agent  of  government,  district  judge,  colonial  chaplain,  and  master  attendant, 
are,  ex-officio,  members  of  the  Sub-committee  of  the  commission  for  the  general 
superintendence  of  education  throughout  the  colony. 

During  the  war,  Trincomale  was,  comparatively  speaking,  a  flourishing  place,  when 
contrasted  with  its  present  state  ;  but  since  the  breaking  up  of  the  dockyard  establish¬ 
ment,  which  caused  the  circulation  of  a  great  deal  of  money,  and  made  it  profitable 
to  the  inhabitants,  it  may  be  said,  “  Stat  nominis  umbra:” — but  it  might  soon 
be  made  a  place  of  great  resort  by  ships  of  all  classes  in  the  India  trade,  if  a  few 



speculative  capitalists  were  to  establish  an  extensive  farm  in  the  immediate  neighbour¬ 
hood,  for  the  purpose  of  rearing  and  improving  stock  of  every  description  for  ships’ 
use,  and  for  growing  fodder  and  grain  for  its  support  on  shipboard  ;  as  well  as  for 
supplying  good  beef  and  wholesome  esculents  to  the  royal  navy  in  the  harbour,  as 
suggested  in  page  111. 

The  patronage  of  the  naval  commander-in-chief,  as  well  as  of  the  army  commissariat, 
might  be  calculated  upon,  as  one  certain  consequence  of  the  speculation  *.  because  it 
would  display  a  degree  of  public  spirit  that  would  unite  all  in  a  zealous  desire  to  sup¬ 
port  it ;  and,  for  my  own  part,  I  would  desire  no  better  fortune  than  a  tenth  share  of 
the  profit,  for  as  many  years,  which  might  be  realized  by  its  efficient  management. 

The  establishment  of  a  “  model  farm  ”  in  this  part  of  the  island  would  piove  of  more 
real  importance  to  the  country  than  a  hundred  upon  the  fatal  banks  of  the  Niger;  not 
only  as  regards  the  comparatively  small  cost,  but  the  almost  incalculable  saving  ol 
human  life.  The  culture  of  grains,  including  the  millet  ( P annum  Italicum,  L.),  which 
was  originally  introduced  by  the  Portuguese,  and  called  by  them  O  milho  pain^o , 
instead  of  paddee,  now  in  general  use,  would  throw  a  much  larger  supply  of  rice  into 
the  market,  and  supersede  the  too  general  employment  of  coco-nut  oil-cake. 

This,  in  conjunction  with  a  central  farm  in  the  highlands  of  Kandy,*  would  prove 
a  very  lucrative  speculation  ,  tor  their  temperature  is  every  way  favorable  to  the  curing 
of  provisions  for  supplying  the  royal  and  commercial'navies,  for  which  they  are  now 
dependent  upon  Bengal  and  Bombay  ;  and  would  soon  render  Trincomale  as  much 
frequented  by  trading  vessels  as  it  is  now  neglected. 

It  cannot  reasonably  be  doubted,  but  that  such  an  extensive  farm,  capable  of  sup¬ 
plying  shipping  with  stock,  equally  good  and  perhaps  cheaper  than  either  Madras  or 
Calcutta,  and  which  might  also  include  a  depot  for  supplying  steamers  with  coals, 
would  scarcely  have  had  time  to  perfect  itself,  ere  ten  ships  would  put  into  Trincomale, 
where  one  does  now  ;  for  everything  would  then  be  against  Madras  for  supplying 
ships,  upon  an  equality,  in  point  of  goodness  or  cheapness,  with  Trincomale,  inde¬ 
pendently  of  the  difficulty  of  access  at  all  times,  owing  to  its  surf,  and  the  danger,  il 
not  impracticableness,  of  lying  in  that  roadstead,  between  the  period  of  striking  the 
flag-staff  of  Fort  St.  George,  in  October,  and  re-hoisting  it,  at  the  change  of  the 
monsoon  ;  and  consequently  Trincomale  would  naturally  be  resorted  to  for  stock, 
instead  of  the  river  Hooghly,  if  it  could  be  obtained  there  equally  as  good  and  cheap 
at  all  seasons  of  the  year. 

*  Vide  page  177 


Malacology  of  the  island — Cabinet*  "f  shells  got  up  far  sale — Best  method  of  procuring  perfect  specimiu* 
Caution  to  strangers  m  buying  lewcllei  y  / mm  natire — Their  importunate  method  of  obtruding  it  upon  notice 
Adepts  at  transforming  broken  glass  into  nineties  of  precious  stones — Laws  to  restrain  imposition  effectual,  when 
appealed  to,  ig  lime — Jewellery  expressly  made  for  “  Chip  Gentlemans  — Ear-cutting — Ineffectual  punishment  foi 
it — Suggestions  for  suppressing  it — Rams — Lord  Talentia — Crocodiles—  Hot  wells  of  Cannea — Little  white  ants 
(Termes)  great  public  peculators — Sailing  directions  into  the  harbour  of  Tnncomale — Reasons  for  not  building 
ships  at  Trincomale,  inapplicable  I >■  the  neglect  of  growing  Teak  for  the  future  exigencies  of  the  royal  navy — 
Suggestions\for  rendering  grants,  o>  sales  of  crown  lands,  more  beneficial  to  the  public,  in  proportion  to  the  ad  van 
tages  derived  by  grantees  or  purchasers- 

Trincomale  has  been  proverbial  for  its  marine  shells,  for  centuries  past ;  and  it  is 
no  less  capable  of  affording  perfect  specimens  of  the  Malacology  of  the  island  at  the 
present  day,  than  when  it  was  considered,  by  our  Dutch  predecessors,  in  the  zenith  ot 
its  fame,  for  this  interesting  and  extensive  branch  of  natural  history,  which  appears  to 
be  in  more  general  request  than  any  other  ;  arising,  perhaps,  from  the  lesser  degree 
of  care  required  to  preserve  shells  for  an  indefinite  period,  and  with  but  little  loss 
of  substance  or  color. 

The  principal  varieties  to  be  obtained  here,  belong  to  the  following  genera  of  the 
Lmnaean  or  Lamarchian  systems,  viz.  Anemia,  Area,  Buccinum,  Bulla,  Cardium,  Chamu, 
C/iione,  Carocolla,  Carmaria,  Ceritheum,  Columbella,  Conus,  Cyprcea,  Dentaliuvi,  Dona  a , 
Glycimeris,  Harpa,  Haliotis,  Helu ,  Myu,  Maetra,  Mure  a  ,  Mytilus ,  Nautilus,  Nenla. 
Ostrea,  Pholas,  Pinna,  Pleurastoma .  Pteroieros,  Sufula,  Solen,  Strombus,  Spotisylu s. 
Tellina,  Teredo,  Turbo,  Tree  bus,  Venus,  and  Yolutu. 

Shells  are  sold,  en  masse,  in  very  prett\  cabinets  of  indigenous  satin  wood  and  ebonv. 
which  are  occasionally  ornamented  with  mother  o'  pearl  ;  but  these,  although  at  first 
sight  attractive  to  the  new  comer,  are  generally  found,  upon  individual  examination, 
to  be  scarcely  worth  the  trouble  of  carriage  ;  the  most  valuable  part  of  the  purchase 
being  the  drawers  which  contain  the  trash,  as  such  shells  are  justly  considered  by  the 
Conchologist.  The  best  way  to  obtain  perfect  specimens,  is  to  get  a  recommendation 
from  the  government  agent  to  the  renter  of  the  shell  fishery  ;  and,  as  the  latter  will 
expect  to  be  paid  in  proportion  to  the  value  of  the  shells  he  procures,  the  purchaser 
may  rely  on  his  strenuous  efforts  to  get  the  best  for  him. 



Strangers  landing  at  Trincomale,  as  casual  visitors,  are  apt  to  be  misled  by  thi 
showy  appearances  of  the  jewellery  offered  by  itinerant  venders,  who  crowd  together 
at  the  landing  place,  upon  the  first  signal  of  a  ship  standing  into  the  harbour,  to  take 
advantage  of  “  Griffin  Gentleman 

These  fellows,  who  are  chiefly  Moormen  and  Malabars,  vie  with  each  other  in 
vociferously  obtruding  their  “  Tort- shell  boxes,”  “  Sot  jeweller's  gold,” — “  All  first 
touch  star  pagoda  gold  shames"-  “  lie  all,  he  stone  rings,”  (representing  those  of 
the  island;  some  of  the  commonest  of  which  may  be  genuine,) — “  He  mooney-stont 
rings,”  —  “  He  Chinnanion  slum  "  “  He  mi  fee  i (sapphire)  He  rubai,”  (ruby) 
“He  imral ,”  (emerald;  “  He  topaze,”  -  “  He  water  sajeer,” He  ambetyst ,”  (ame¬ 
thyst) — “  He  tourmaline,"  “  He  opal,"-  “  1L  agga  manna,”  (aqua  marina) — and  lots 
of  other  “  He  "-prefixed  humbugs  upon  “ Chip  Gentlemans for  they  know  well 
enough  how  to  transform  broken  blue,  green,  purple,  and  yellow  finger  glasses  inti; 
sapphires,  emeralds,  amethysts,  and  topazes  ;  veneered  tortoise  shell,  into  solid  “  Tort- 
shell  snuff-boxes f  and  fhrnnnuham  gilt  chains,  into  “  Real  Ceylon  gold  shaines,  Masta, 
— et  caeteris  paribus  ! 

As  the  local  laws  impose  heavy  penalties  upon  persons  convicted  of  selling  coun¬ 
terfeit,  or  inferior,  gold  to  the  quality  bargained  for,  these  Jews  of  the  East,  relying 
upon  impunity  in  their  nefarious  transactions  ashore,  or  with  officers  and  passengers  on 
ship-board,  keep  their  several  false  and  real  Bijoux  in  separate  boxes  ;  and  it  is  by  no 
means  uncommon,  when  they  are  displaying  their  best  jewellery  to  residents,  and  are 
asked  to  show  what  their  “  other  boxes”  contain,  to  be  told,  “  that  not  do  for  Masta 
or  Lady  ;  that  for  Chip  Gentlemans 

Strangers  being  desirous  of  purchasing  jeweller} ,  and  of  knowing  what  they  do 
purchase  before  they  pay  for  it,  will  find  it  best  to  apply  to  the  secretary  of  the  district 
court,  who  will  introduce  them  to  the  Assayer  generally  a  headman  of  the  goldsmiths) 
employed  by  the  court ;  and  he  will  test  the  quality  of  the  gold,  and  fix  its  value,  so 
that  the  purchaser  will  not  be  imposed  on  m  the  weight  or  quality  of  the  gold  ;  and 
the  working  goldsmiths’  charges  for  “  fashion  "  are  extremely  moderate. 

The  lower  classes  of  Malabars  about  this  place  are  a  very  bad  set,  and  notorious 
for  “ear-cutting a  crime  which  is  peculiar  to  the  northern  and  eastern  provinces 
and,  as  it  does  not  enter  into  the  catalogue  of  European  felonies,  may  require  sonu 

The  rich  Malabars,  Hindoos,  and  C  hitties,  ornament  their  ears  with  enormous  gold 
rings,  about  three  inches  in  diameter,  reaching  from  the  lobes  of  the  ears  to  the  shoul¬ 
ders  ;  these  rings  are  generally  of  the  purest  gold,  and  set  with  resplendent  jewels, 



chiefly  emeralds,  rubies,  sapphires,  and  cats’-eyes,  and,  occasionally,  pearls  of  a  large 
size  ;  sometimes  the  former,  although  merely  polished,  are  considered  of  greater  in¬ 
trinsic  value  than  cut  stones.  This  display  causes  frequent  robberies  ;  and  the  thieves, 
having  waylaid  their  victims,  instead  of  unfastening  the  ornaments,  hastily  clip  the 
lobes  of  the  ears,  and  make  off'  with  their  valuable  plunder. 

Although  the  supreme  court  has  never  allowed  an  opportunity  to  escape  of  punishing 
this  crime  to  the  utmost  extent  of  the  law,  it  has  hitherto  failed  to  suppress  it ;  but 
as  the  natives  dread  deportation  moie  than  any  other  penalty,  (death  excepted,) 
which  does  not  extend  to  ear-cutting,  one  would  imagine  that  a  Legislative  enactment 
for  the  transportation  of  persons  convicted  of  it,  to  New  Zealand,  where  they  might 
be  usefully  employed  in  the  construction  of  roads  and  public  buildings,  would  tend 
to  suppress  this  Malabar  ptndmni  for  plundering  their  neighbours’  ears. 

“  The  rains”  set  in  with  the  north-east  monsoon,  in  October  and  November,  during 
which  time  the  mean  temperature  is  about  77",  by  the  late  Mr.  Richard  Brook's  obser¬ 
vations ;  but  Trincomale  \  lsited  with  heavy,  although  partial,  showers  in  July, 
during  the  south-west  monsoon,  when  the  mean  temperature  is  about  82°;  at  which 
time,  this  side  of  the  island  is  as  little  aflected  by  it,  o..,ng  to  the  intervening  range 
of  mountains,  from  1000  to  82NJ  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  as  the  western  and 
southern  provinces  are  during  the  prevalence  of  the  north-east. 

Lord  Valentia  (the  late  Lord  Mountnorris)  has  been  unjustly  accused  of  recom¬ 
mending  “the  cutting  down  of  coco-nut  trees,  as  the  means  of  improving  the  salubrity 
of  the  place  near  which  the\  abound  ;  ”  for,  in  his  Lordship’s  “  Travels,”  the  noble 
author,  in  allusion  to  the  coco-nut  tree,  gave  his  opinion,  that  “  when  close-planted, 
it  seems  to  prevent  the  growth  of  underwood,”  but  that  “  if  all  shelter  were  removed, 
even  in  the  lowlands,  the  ground  crops  might  be  injured  by  too  much  opening 
them  to  the  sun  and  wind,  and  the  eflects,  even  on  the  fruit  trees,  might  be  un¬ 
favorable.  But  tall  trees  would  protect,  without  stopping  the  circulation  of  air. 
Clumps  of  them,  and  hedge-rows,  ought  to  be  planted,  when  the  jungle  and  under¬ 
wood  are  cleared.”* 

As  regards  the  felling  of  coco-nut  or  other  trees,  by  which  a  fort  or  fortress  is 
immediately  overlooked  or  commanded,  Lord  Valentia  displayed  more  sound  judgment 
than  otherwise,  in  a  military  point  of  view ;  and  probably  the  recommendation  “  to 
cut  down  the  coco-nut  topes  at  Trincomale,”  was  but  a  natural  consequence  of  that 
view  of  their  position. 

*  Lutd  \  ulentia  s  Travels,  vol.  i.  ]jage  313. 

2  g  2 



Lord  Valentia  has,  however,  exposed  himself,  with  more  justice,  to  strictures,  by 
the  severe  remarks  his  account  of  Ceylon  contains  upon  Professor  Thunberg.  What¬ 
ever  local  privileges  the  professor  may  have  enjoyed  under  the  Dutch  administration, 
there  are  no  just  grounds  for  doubting  an  iota  of  that  gentleman’s  account  of  them  ; 
and  if  Lord  Valentia,  as  the  r‘  lion  of  the  day”  there,  could  not  get  his  coolies  to 
keep  together,  notwithstanding  his  peerage,  and  the  Governor’s  avowed  anxiety  to 
afford  every  possible  accommodation,  his t  Lordship  might  have  supposed  that  times 
were  altered  for  the  worse,  instead  of  doubting  the  facilities  for  travelling  which  the 
Dutch  government  appears  to  have  readily  afforded  to  Dr.  Thunberg  :  or,  there  might 
have  been  reasons  in  the  back  ground  for  the  obstacles  that  the  noble  Lord  complains 
of ;  because  violence,  or  irritability  of  temper,  on  the  part  of  Europeans,  have  operated  as 
effectually  as  the  withholding  the  pay  or  Batta  from  their  coolies,  in  causing  desertion 

at  the  first  opportunity ;  whilst  a  contrary  system  has  been  equally  successful  in  secur- 


ing  the  retention  of  their  services  throughout  the  journey. 

The  crocodile  abounds  here  ;  and  the  jungles  teem  with  game  and  other  wild 
beasts.  At  Cannea,  about  eight  miles  from  Trincomale,  there  are  hot  wells,  but  their 
waters  do  not  possess  any  mineral  properties  :  they  are  walled  in,  and  the  enclosure 
forms  a  parallelogram  of  about  forty  feet  by  twenty  ;  it  is  just  a  pleasant  distance  for 
a  breakfast  party ;  starting  at  davlight,  and  returning  before  noon. 

According  to  Dutch  tradition,  one  of  their  Collectors  of  Revenue  for  this  district, 
being  unable  to  account  for  the  disappearance  of  a  few  thousands  of  rix  dollars,  re¬ 
ported  to  the  government,  that  “  the  white  ants  had  eaten  them and  as  these  insects 
are  believed  to  possess  most  extraordinary  powers  of  digestion,  from  their  forming  their 
“  covered  ways”  through  walls  and  beams  of  wood,  it  was  not  altogether  incredible  ; 
but  one  of  our  own  Head  Civil  Servants,  similarly  circumstanced,  and  for  very  little 
less  than  100,000  rix  dollars,  (when  he  had  only  the  small  salary  of  T52000  a  year  and 
pickings,)  upon  being  ordered  to  make  up  his  accounts,  instead  of  endeavouring  to 
impose  a  similar  story  upon  the  government,  (for  the  missing  treasure  included  gold 
star  pagodas,  as  well  as  rupees,  and  it  was  the  second  time  that  he  had  been  so 
unfortunate,)  merely  accused  the  white  ants  of  having  eaten  the  “  vouchers"  for  the 
expenditure  of  that  sum!!  This  way  of  “  doing  ”  the  public  was  a  very  thriving 
trade  in  the  colony  for  a  number  of  years,  because  it  seldom  failed  to  insure  im¬ 
punity,  and  was  generally  followed  by  promotion  or  a  pension  ;  but  let  us  hope  that 
these  “  sweating  ”  times  are  past. 

“  Ridenteiu  dicere  verum  quid  vetat  3 ' 



As  the  best  ascertained  sailing  directions  into  the  bay  and  harbour  of  Trincomale, 
are  those  given  in  Captain  Horsburgh’s  Directory,  I  have  adopted  his  authority  ;  but 
I  have  used  the  name  of  “  Ostenburg,”  which  is  the  proper  one,  instead  of  “  Osnaburg,” 
employed  by  Captain  Horsburgh. 

“  Foul  Point,  the  S.  E.  point  of  Trincomale  Bay,  named  from  a  dangerous  reef 
projecting  from  its  extremity  upward  of  a  mile  to  the  N.  N.  Eastward,  is  low  and 
woody,  and  the  breadth  of  the  entrance  of  the  Bay,  between  it  and  Flag-staff  Point 
is  about  five  miles,  this  point  bearing  from  the  former  about  N.  W.  f  W. 

“  Flag-staff  Point,  in  latitude  8°  33|'  north,  and  longitude  8°  19'  east  of  Madras,  by 
Captain  Horsburgh’s  chronometers,  and  8°  26'  east  from  Bombay  castle,  by  Captain 
F.  Heywood’s  observations,  is  high,  steep  to  seaward,  covered  with  trees,  and  has  on 
it  several  forts.* 

“  This  point  is  the  northern  extremity  of  a  narrow  and  crooked  peninsula,  that 
bounds  the  E.  and  S.  E.  sides  of  Trincomale  Harbour,  and  separates  Back  Bay  from 
it  and  from  the  great  Bay  to  the  southward ;  this  peninsula  being  steep,  bluff  land, 
fronting  the  sea,  is  easily  known,  as  the  coast  is  low  near  the  sea,  both  to  the  north¬ 
ward  and  southward. 

“  The  S.  E.  point  of  the  peninsula,  called  Chapel  Point,  has  some  islets  near  it  on 
the  south  side,  called  Chapel  Island,  and  to  the  eastward  a  reef  of  rocks,  distant  a 
large  half  mile,  nearly  on  the  edge  of  soundings,  having  20  and  30  fathoms  very  clos^ 
on  the  east  and  south  sides  :  on  the  inner  part  of  the  reef,  one  of  the  rocks  is  seen 
above  water.  Flag-staff  Point  is  bold  to,  and  safe  to  approach,  but  between  it  and 
Chapel  Point,  rocks  stretch  out  from  two  small  projections,  which  ought  not  to  be 
approached  under  14  fathoms. 

“  The  S.  W.  point  of  the  peninsula,  called  Elephant  Fort  Point,  has  an  island  called 
Elephant  Island,  near  it  on  the  S.  E.  side,  from  which  a  reef,  having  5  feet  water  on 
its  shoalest  part,  projects  to  the  westward.  Ostenburg  Point,  the  westernmost  poim 
of  the  peninsula,  is  a  little  farther  to  the  N.  W.,  between  which  and  Elephant  Fori 
Point  there  is  a  cove  or  safe  harbour,  with  soundings  in  it  from  8  to  14  fathoms. 

“  The  entrance  of  the  Inner  Harbour  is  not  a  quarter  of  a  mile  wide,  formed  b> 
Ostenburg  Point  to  the  eastward,  and  Great  and  Little  Islands  to  the  westward.  Little 
Island  being  the  easternmost,  and  close  to  the  other. 

“  About  half  a  mile  south  from  Great  Island,  and  one  mile  to  the  west  of  Elepham 

*  Captain  Basil  Hall,  R.  N.,  in  1814,  made  it  in  longitude  81°  21'  east,  by  stars  east  and  west  of  the  tnooi 
and  he  made  the  variation  of  the  compass,  1°  9'  west. 




Island,  Clappenburg  Island  is  situated,  close  to  a  Point  of  the  same  name,  and  about 
a  mile  further  to  the  southward  is  a  point,  where  the  land  is  elevated  a  little,  called 
Marble  Point,  with  rocks  projecting  around. 

"  Marble  Point  forms  the  western  entrance  of  the  Great  Bay,  separating  it  from  the 
entrance  of  the  Harbour,  and  affords  a  mark  for  going  in.  To  the  westward  of  Marble 
Point,  there  is  an  island,  called  Birds’  Island,  near  the  entrance  of  a  lagoon,  and  shoal 
water.  To  the  S.  E.  lies  Pigeon  Island,  distant  a  large  half  mile,  having  10  and  12 
fathoms  water  close  to  ;  and  Round  Island,  nearly  the  same  distance  from  the  Point, 
to  E.  N.  E.,  having  30  fathoms  water  near  it  on  the  outside,  then  suddenly  no  ground. 
On  the  south  side  of  this  island  there  is  a  rock  above  water,  and  between  it  and  Clap¬ 
penburg  Island,  but  nearest  the  latter,  called  Government  Rock.  The  entrance 
leading  to  the  Harbour,  is  formed  by  these  Islands  and  Rocks  to  the  S.  W.,  and 
Elephant  Island  and  Point  to  the  N.  E. 

“  Four  rivers,  navigable  by  small  boats,  fall  into  the  south  part  of  the  Bay,  nearly 
at  equal  distances  from  each  other,  of  which,  the  principal  is  the  Mavali-Ganga. 

“  The  bank  of  soundings  lining  the  shores  of  the  Bay,  extends  very  lfttle  outside 
the  islets  or  rocks,  except  at  the  S.  E.  part,  between  the  rivers  Cotiaar  and  Sambar, 
where  ships  may  anchor  in  10  or  12  fathoms,  regular  soundings,  soft  mud,  sheltered 
from  easterly  and  southerly  winds. 

“  The  east  side  of  the  Bay  is  bounded  by  Norway  Point  to  the  northward,  which  is 
about  two  miles  to  the  W.  S.  W.  of  Foul  Point.  Norway  Island  lies  on  the  west  side 
of  the  Point,  having  a  rocky  reef  encompassing  it,  and  the  islets  near  it  and  the  Point. 
From  this  Point  and  the  Island  a  sandbank  stretches  about  a  mile  to  the  south,  with 
soundings  on  it  3  and  3|  fathoms,  and  20  or  25  fathoms  close  to.  To  the  west  of  it 
a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant  there  is  no  ground ;  but  to  the  south,  between  it  and  the 
river  Sambar,  there  is  good  anchorage  near  the  shore. 

“  Norway  Point  and  Foul  Point  must  be  avoided,  on  account  of  reefs  projecting  from 
them  about  three-quarters  of  a  mile  ;  nor  ought  the  shore  between  them  to  be  ap- 
prqached,  the  soundings  being  irregular,  and  about  half-way  there  is  a  very  dangerous 
rock,  about  a  mile  distant  from  the  shore,  called  Northesk  Rock,  from  a  ship  of  that 
name,  lost  there  in  1748.  Close  to  it,  on  the  outside,  there  are  12  and  14  fathoms, 
and  8  or  9  fathoms  inside.  When  on  it,  Flag-staff  Point  bears  N.  35  W.,  Norway 
Island  S.  33  W.,  and  a  hill  in  the  country,  touching  Marble  Point,  W.  10  S.,  and 
Foul  Point  E.  10  N.,  it  making  a  transit  line  with  these  Points. 

“  To  sail  into  the  Bay,  and  to  the  Harbour,  with  a  fair  or  leading  wind,  a  ship  may 
enter  the  Bay,  keeping  nearly  equal  distance  from  each  side  ;  when  Round  Island  and 



Marble  Point  are  discerned,  the  Point  ought  to  be  kept  about  W.  by  S.  \  S.  open  to 
the  northward  of  that  Island,  until  the  Harbour’s  mouth  is  open.  No  soundings  will 
be  obtained  in  the  middle  of  the  Bay.  When  Round  Island  or  Elephant  Island  is 
approached,  she  ought  to  steer  in  about  mid-way  between  them,  and  will  then  have 
soundings  :  after  hauling  to  the  N.  W.  for  the  Harbour,  care  must  be  taken  to  give 
berth  to  a  reef  stretching  from  Elephant  Island,  by  not  coming  under  10  or  12  fathoms 
toward  it.  When  a  ship,  going  into  the  Harbour,  first  opens  the  channel  between 
Elephant  Island  and  the  main  land,  she  is  nearly  abreast  of  that  reef ;  when  wide  open, 
she  is  past  it.  On  the  hill  of  Ostenburg  Point,  there  is  a  battery  built  with  brick,  on 
the  eastern  part  of  the  fortification,  higher  than  any  battery  there,  and  easily  distin¬ 
guished.  The  flank  of  this  battery  kept  on  with  Elephant  Fort  Point,  would  carry 
a  ship  close  to  the  shoalest  part  of  the  reef,  where  there  is  only  5  or  6  feet  water ;  but 
the  battery  kept  open  with  the  Point,  (which  is  the  best  mark,)  will  carry  her  clear  of 
it,  in  not  less  than  10  fathoms.  There  are  24  and  30  fathoms  between  the  Points  that 
form  the  entrance  of  the  Harbour,  and  after  passing  the  reef  contiguous  to  Elephant 
Island,  a  ship  should  steer  direct  for  it ;  although  narrow,  either  of  the  Points  may  be 
approached  within  a  ship’s  length,  and  when  through  this  narrow  part,  a  spacious  har¬ 
bour  appears,  where  a  great  navy  may  anchor  in  good  ground,  sheltered  from  all  winds, 
exclusive  of  several  coves  convenient  for  careening  ships. 

"  When  within  the  entrance,  it  is  prudent  to  steer  to  the  N.  N.  W.  to  avoid  the  shoal 
within  Ostenburg  Point,  and  York  Shoal  further  to  the  northward.  The  former  has 
only  11  feet  water  on  it;  with  York  Island  and  Flag-staff  Point  in  one,  and  Pigeon 
Island  and  the  low  part  of  Ostenburg  Point  in  one,  a  ship  will  be  in  5  or  6  fathoms 
water  on  it,  and  close  to  the  shoalest  part.  It  is  small  with  deep  water  all  round, 
between  it  and  the  shore  near  Ostenburg  Point  there  are  7  and  8  fathoms. 

“  York  Shoal  has  only  5  feec  water  on  its  shoalest  part ;  to  avoid  it,  a  ship  in  steer¬ 
ing  up  the  Harbour  must  keep  Round  Island  a  little  open  with  Ostenburg  Point ;  but 
there  seems  no  good  land-mark  to  point  out  when  a  ship  is  to  the  northward  of  it, 
that  she  may  haul  to  the  eastward,  for  the  anchorage  abreast  the  town.  When  the 
Intrepid’s  boat  was  at  anchor  on  its  outer  edge,  in  3^  fathoms,  within  a  ship’s  length 
of  its  shoalest  part,  Round  Island  bore  S.  f  E.,  seen  over  the  low  part  of  Ostenburg 
Point ;  the  centre  of  York  Island  E.  N.  E.  f  N.,  and  the  N.  W.  point  of  Great  Island 
nearly  W.  S.  W.  \  W. ;  with  this  bearing  of  Round  Island,  the  shoal  is  not  more  than 
half  a  cable’s  length  from  north  to  south,  and  is  steep  all  round. 

“  Ships  may  moor  abreast  the  town,  to  the  N.  Westward  of  York  Island  ;  also  to  the 
northward  of  Great  Island,  or  in  any  other  part  of  the  Harbour,  clear  of  the  shoals.” 



No  saving  whatever  is  made,  by  not  making  a  signal  for  a  pilot,  to  enter  the  Inner 
Harbour  of  Trincomale  ;  for  pilotage  is  charged  under  either  circumstance.* 

The  late  intelligent  Captain  James  Chrisp  informed  me,  that  the  grand  obstacle  to 
ship-building  here,  for  naval  purposes,  was  the  limited  rise  of  the  tides,  which  seldom 
exceeded  thirty  eight  inches.  But  although  this  is  a  good  reason  for  not  building 
ships,  it  is  none  for  not  growing  the  best  timber  for  the  purpose  of  the  future  exi¬ 
gencies  of  the  British  navy,  upon  all  the  waste  lands  of  the  Crown,  near  this,  and 
the  ports  of  Colombo  and  Galle. 

Ceylon  teak  ( Tcctona  Grandis,  L.)  is  considered  of  an  excellent  quality  ;  and  if  the 
government  were  to  make  it  a  condition,  in  all  its  grants  or  sales  of  Crown  lands,  that 
the  grantee,  or  purchaser,  should  plant  and  protect  a  proportionate  number  of  teak 
trees,  posterity  would  derive  incalculable  advantages  from  this  timely  provision  for  its 
naval  wants.  Lands  might  be  marked  out  by  rows  of  teak  trees  ;  and  these,  being 
the  property  of  the  Crown,  and  the  landlords  or  tenants  compelled  by  their  title  deeds, 
or  leases,  to  protect  them,  and  to  replace  all  casualties  with  young  trees,  there  could 
be  none  of  the  disputes  among  neighbours,  as  to  the  right  to  the  trees,  which  now  too 
often  lead  to  endless  litigation  ;  and  the  Crown  may,  with  full  justice  to  all,  insist 
upon  some  more  proportionate  benefit  to  itself,  for  the  advantages  which  its  grants,  or 
sales  of  lands,  confer  upon  individuals. 

Crown  lands  are  sold  by  auction,  at  an  upset  price  of  5s.  per  acre  ;  and,  in  the  year 
1841,  the  government  of  Ceylon  disposed  of  nearly  80,000  acres,  chiefly  at  the  upset 
price  ;  but  some,  as  high  as  17.?.  to  17-?.  6d.  per  acre  : — and  therefore,  if  only  six  teak 
trees  to  an  acre  were  planted,  the  Crown  would  possess  480,000  saplings,  gratuitously 
planted,  for  the  future  purposes  of  the  British  navy,  as  some  additional  acknowledg¬ 
ment  for  the  lands  so  cheaply  sold. — The  government  might  realize  from  £\  to  £2  an 
acre,  by  affording  purchasers  the  facility  and  certainty  in  the  acquisition  of  land, 
which,  in  the  Australian  colonies,  may  be  expected  from  the  provisions  of  the  recent 
Land  Act. 

Trincomale,  once  considered  very  unhealthy,  is  now  greatly  improved  in  that 
respect ;  and  as  draining  the  marshy  lands  and  clearing  the  jungles  of  underwood 
proceed,  so  will  its  salubrity  increase,  until  it  equals  that  of  the  most  favored  parts 
of  the  island. 

*  Vide  Appendix,  for  the  Laws  relating  to  the  Ports  and  Customs. 


Anticipated  extension  of  the  culture  of  the  Cassuda — Its  valuable  properties — Local  names  in  various  countries 

Crops  safe  from  the  vicissitudes  of  weather — Method  rf  preparing  the  stalks  for  transit  from  Mauritius  to 
Leylon — Sweet  variety  edible,  without  previous  preparation — Primitive  method  of  preparing  the  Bitter  Cassada— 
Casleep — Tapioca — Substitute  for  mushroom  spawn — Ant-hill  clay — Native  goldsmiths  —  Their  simple  imple¬ 
ments —  Route  from  Trincomale  to  Kandy — Kandelle — Tamblegam — Hindoo  temple — Kottiaar — Anedivoo— 
Tapootorre — Patchene  rice  —  A  alive  varieties — Mode  of  culture — Scarcity  seldom  attributable  to  natural 
causes — Java  formerly  supplied  <  eyton  from  its  surplus  produce  —  Pumpkin  Governors — Genera!  Sir  Hudson 
Lowe,  G.  C.  B. — Anticipated  justice  to  that  gallant  officer ,  who  teas  expected  to  have  succeeded  Sir  Edward 
Barnes  as  Governor — No  one  more  capable  of  developing  the  capabilities  of  Ceylon —  Virgel-Oya — Kaddiravalle — 
Pannitchuncanne — Kommollandam  Moone — Air  plant — A alloor — Erruoor — Region  of  mosquitos,  Batticaloa— 
La  cert  a  Iguana,  L 

As  the  establishment  of  farms,  for  the  purposes  suggested  in  the  preceding  chapters, 
would  naturally  lead  to  an  extensive  culture  of  useful  roots,  whose  app'licableness,  as 
food  for  man,  or  fodder  for  domestic  animals,  might  render  them  worthy  of  the  atten¬ 
tion  of  the  agriculturist,  my  long  entertained  hope,  that  the  much-neglected  Manioc, 
or  Cassada,  will  cease  to  be  dreaded  as  poisonous,  and  be  brought  into  general  use, 
may  ultimately  be  realized. 

Its  valuable  properties  only  require  to  be  more  generally  known,  to  establish  a 
claim  to  universal  regard,  as  an  object  of  primary  importance  to  the  colony.  I  have 
partially  alluded  to  this  exotic,  as  a  farinaceous  esculent,  in  page  127  ;  but  some 
further  notice  of  its  usefulness  to  the  agriculturist,  may  not  be  uninteresting  to  the 
reader  ;  who,  if  he  be  an  intending  settler  at  Ceylon,  will  do  well  to  treasure  it 
in  memory. 

This  species  of  Jatropha,  [J  at  r  op  ha  mamhot,  L.j,  known  by  the  several  names  of 
Manioc,  Cassada,  Cassavi,  and  Cassava ,  in  various  countries,  is  either  changed  by  cul¬ 
ture,  or  preparation,  to  an  article  of  the  greatest  utility,  both  as  food  for  man,  in  a 
variety  of  wholesome  forms,  and  for  fattening  every  description  of  domestic  animal  , 
particularly  swine  and  poultry. 

Being  safe  from  the  vicissitudes  of  weather,  the  manioc  root  is  rendered  a  certain 
succedaneum  for  rice,  in  the  event  of  failure  in  the  crops  from  drought  or  blight, 
which  makes  its  value  inestimable  :  and  moreover,  the  facility  of  propagating  it,  and 



the  rapidity  of  its  growth,  ensuring  a  regular  succession  of  crops,  week  after  week, 
and  month  after  month,  throughout  the  year,  render  it  worthy  of  general  and  par¬ 
ticular  attention. 

I  adopted  a  very  simple  plan  for  conveying  the  manioc  to  Ceylon.  Having  selected 
from  the  grounds  of  my  excellent  friend  Madame  Luzardm,  (widow  of  the  late  Doctor 
Luzardin,  Ancien  Chirurgeon- Major  du  Regiment  de  Bourbon,  at  Mauritius,  as  many 
manioc  sticks  as  I  required,  from  four  to  five  feet  in  length,  and  cfissolved  a  suf¬ 
ficient  quantity  of  rosin  and  mutton  suet  over  a  slow  fire,  the  ends  of  the  cuttings 
were  dipped  into  it  to  the  depth  of  an  inch  .  and,  when  dry.  the  whole  were  formed 
into  a  fagot,  and  covered  with  coarse  gaum/  cloth  * 

When  require^  for  planting,  the  sticks  are  cut  into  sets  of  about  fourteen  inches 
long;  these,  having  been  laid  down  horizontalh  in  trenches,  either  singly,  at  about  two 
feet  apart,  or  doubly  in  parallel  lines,  leaving  a  space  of  twelve  or  fourteen  inches 
between  the  sets,  are  lightly  covered  with  earth  and  watered.  The  plants  appear 
above  ground  in  about  a  week  and,  as  the  growth  is  very  rapid,  the  planter’s  chief 
care  is  to  keep  the  ground  free  from  weeds.  One  great  advantage  is.  that  the  manioc 
will  grow  any  where  in  a  tropical  climate,  and  thrives  well  in  a  sandy  soil. 

Notwithstanding  the  lapse  of  twenty  one  years  since  I  first  introduced  the  C amnia 
iuoc,i  or  sweet  cassada,  into  Ceylon  from  the  Mauritius,  at  which  time  my  recommen¬ 
dation  of  the  root  as  an  esculent  for  the  table,  (for  it' requires  no  caution  in  its  prepa¬ 
ration,  as  the  bitter  variety  does,  and  may  be  boiled  or  baked  as  a  vam  or  potatoj  was 
regarded  with  suspicion  and  dread.  e\en  bv  those  whom  1  considered  some  of  tin 
most  enlightened  of  my  contemporaries,  its  culture  is  still  almost  entirelv  neglected 
and  when  we  recall  to  mind,  how  long  Ceylon  has  been,  and  >till  is,  dependent  upon 
other  countries  for  rice  ;  and  the  repeated  failures  it  has  experienced  of  the  paddee 
crops,  subjecting  the  poorer  classes  to  all  the  horrors  of  famine,  the  apathy  shown,  in 
regard  to  the  manioc,  is  almost  incredible,  and  must  arise  either  from  absurd  notions 
of  danger,  or  ignorance  of  its  domestic  value. 

By  encouraging  the  natives  to  cultivate  the  manioc,  as  a  resource  against  failure  m 
the  rice  ciops,  prejudice  will  soon  cease  :  and,  by  wav  of  more  speedily  overcoming  it. 
1  submit  the  following  extracts  from  my  notes,  made  during  my  stay  in  the  W  esi 
Indies,  and  at  the  Mauritius,  to  the  notice  of  the  sceptical,  in  the  hope  that  they  nun 
be  induced  to  test  their  correctness,  if  only  by  way  of  experiment^  upon  a  limited  scab 

4  Made  from  the  hemp  of  the  <  rolalano  y uuceu ,  I, 

t  Linnaeus  makes  no  distinction,  which  mav  be  merely  accidental  as  m  the  <  u>c  of  sweet  and  bitter  almonds 



If  this  were  done,  the  result  Would  probably  lead  to  its  general  culture  throughout 
the  island,  and  be  followed  by  the  beneficial  effects  that  I  originally  anticipated,  when  I 
gave  up  the  personal  comforts  of  a  cabin,  during  the  voyage  from  Teneriffe  to  Mauritius, 
and  from  thence  to  Ceylon,  to  ensure  the  safety  of  the  several  exotics,  which  I  had 
shipped  at  these  places,  in  the  sanguine  hope  that  their  introduction  would  prove  lasting 
benefits  to  the  island  and  that  the  invaluable  properties  of  the  manioc  would  recom¬ 
mend  it  to  public  notice,  as  one  of  the  chief  blessings',  next  to  vaccination,  that  had 
ever  been  conferred  upon  the  colony  bv  the  hand  of  man. 

The  sweet  cassada  (Jatrupha  mamhot,  L.,  var  duicun  never  flowers;  and  its  bark  is 
of  a  reddish  brown,  instead  of  the  ashy  color  of  the  common  or  poisonous  sort 
but  the  bitter,  or  common  cassada,  may  be  rendered  equally  wholesome  ;  for,  by 
expressing  its  juice,  that  very  liquid,  which,  if  mixed  with  wheaten  flour  and  made 
into  pellets,  will  destroy  rats,  and  is  used  by  the  Indians,  of  some  countries,  for 
poisoning  arrows,  mav  be  manufactured  into  a  delicious  sauce  for  a  variety  of 
domestic  purposes. 

The  roots,  which  grow  as  large  as  parsnips,  but  not  so  tapering  at  the  extremity, 
having  been  peeled,  are  reduced  tu  a  pulp  In  a  largt  trn  or  copper  grater  ;  (the  latter 
is  generally  employed  at  the  Mauritius j  and  as  this  mode  is  more  primitive,  it  is  con¬ 
sequently  better,  at  present,  for  Ceylon,  (where  manual  labour  is  so  very  cheap,)  than 
the  horse-hair  bags,  or  machinery,  employed  for  it  in  the  W  est  Indies  :  the  pulp  is 
then  enveloped  in  coarse  cloth,  and  laid  in  an  oblong  trough,  perforated  with  holes, 
and  standing  within  a  receiver  of  sufficient  depth  to  contain  the  juice  ;  and  a  board, 
fitted  to  the  inside  of  the  trough,  having  been  laid  upon  the  pulp,  as  much  weight 
as  may  be  required  is  placed  upon  it,  until  the  juice  is  thoroughly  extracted,  when 
the  farina  is  removed  from  the  press,  and  prepared  for  use  in  the  following  equalh 
simple  nJknner. 

A  smooth  circular  plate  of  iron,  of  about  eighteen  inches  diameter,  and  two-thirds 
of  an  inch  thick,  supported  by  stones  over  a  wood  tire,  is  first  made  nearly  red  hot 
the  person  emploved  to  make  the  cakes,  then  spreads  half  a  coco-nut  shell  of  the 
farina  e^'er  the  iron  pla'e,  of  an  equal  thickness  (about  the  fourth  of  an  inch)  through 
out,  with  a  small  whish  of  split  bamboo  .  and,  when  required,  a  flat  piece  of  iron  .n 
wood  (shaped  like  a  paper  knife,  but  wider  and  longer)  is  introduced  between  tin 
plate  and  the  cake,  and  the  latter  is  turned  as  dexterously  as  any  expert  cook  would 
a  pancake.  By  this  simple  process,  the  cassada  bread — the  negro’s  staff  of  life  is 
prepared  for  use  These  cakes  are  rather  thicker  than  the  “  Passover  biscuit  of  rh< 
.lews,  and  of  similar  size. 

2  h  2 



The  juice  of  the  bitter  cassada,  having  been  drawn  from  the  sediment,  and  boiled 
over  a  slow  fire  till  it  has  attained  the  consistence  of  treacle,  (by  which  process  the 
deleterious  but  very  volatile  principle  is  quite  dissipated,)  is  seasoned  with  pepper  and 
salt,  and  bottled  for  use.  This  sauce,  which  will  keep  good  for  many  years,  bears 
the  name  of  Casleep,  and  is  a  principal  ingredient  of  the  far-famed  West  Indian  olla 
called  “  Pepper  Pot.” 

The  sediment  having  been  laid  on  mats  and  dried  in  the  sun,  (when  it  resembles 
arrow  root,  and  may  be  used  in  a  similar  manner  for  invalids  and  children,)  is  formed 
into  a  thick  starch  ;  which,  having  been  sprinkled  with  cold  water,  and  laid  on  a  cloth 
over  a  pan  of  boiling  water,  is  closely  covered,  and  soon  becomes  condensed  by  the 
steam  into  a  viscid  irregular  mass  ;  and  this,  having  been  dried  in  the  sun  until  it  is 
quite  hard,  is  broken  into  small  grains  for  use,  and  forms  the  Tapioca  of  commerce. 

The  rind  of  the  cassada  is  employed,  in  a  rotten  state,  at  the  Mauritius,  as  a  sub¬ 
stitute  for  mushroom  spawn,  for  which  it  answers  remarkably  well. 

Such  then  are  the  domestic  uses  to  which  a  naturally  deadly  poison  is  applied a 
proof,  amidst  the  millions  the  creation  affords,  that  there  is  nothing  in  that  creation 
without  its  utility  to  mankind. 

It  may  with  truth  be  said,  that  even  the  very  ant-hills,  which  abound  here,  may  be 
turned  to  useful  purposes.  The  trading  goldsmiths,  who  are  very  ingenious,  or  they 
could  never  manufacture  such  beautiful  ornaments  as  they  do,  particularly  rose  and  snake 
chains,  with  their  simple  and  uncouth  materials,  form  their  finest  crucibles  of  the  red 
earth  or  clay  of  the  ant-hills.  These,  with  an  earthen  chatty,  full  of  saw-dust,  or 
fine  sand,  and  containing  a  small  charcoal  fire,  under  which  is  laid  a  short  cylinder, 
of  the  size  and  shape  of  the  spout  of  a  small  coffee  pot  :  an  anvil,  a  pair  of  tongs, 
(just  like  those  that  are  used  by  cooks  to  turn  a  steak,)  a  piece  of  bamboo  cane  for 
a  blow  pipe,  a  few  hammers,  files,  and  some  straight  pieces  of  metal,  compose  the 
whole  of  their  working  implements. 

The  direct  road  from  Trincomale  to  Kandy,  lies  through  the  following  villages  : 
to  Pallampoota  rest-house,  10|  miles  :  from  thence  to  Wenyron  C’olom,  12f  miles  ;  to 
Gantelawa  rest-house,  2|  miles  ;  to  the  Kandyan  Limits,  4f  miles  ;  to  Talgaha  Ella, 
2|  miles;  to  Alootveva-Oya,  excellent  water,  and  post  station,)  6  miles  ;  to  Nayapane 
Pass,  If  mile  ;  to  Gal-Oya  right  bank,  (excellent  rest-house,  and  post  station,)  4|  miles 
to  Talbaddegalla,  or  Three-wells,  miles  ;  to  Haboorenne  village,  (large  tank,  and 
post  station,)  3  miles  ;  to  Oulandangawa  village  and  tank,  2|  miles  ;  to  Innamallou  t 
post  station,  6f  miles  ;  to  the  Junction  Kandy  Road,  3f  miles  ;  to  Damboola  rest- 
house,  f  mile  ;  to  Leenadera  post  station,  7  miles  ;  to  Nalande  post  station,  7  miles  . 



to  Palapatwella  Ella  rest-house,  4  miles  ;  to  Fort  Macdowall,  (the  station  of  the 
assistant  government  agent  and  district  judge,)  1 1  miles ;  to  the  top  of  Ballacadua 
Pass,  6^-  miles  ;  to  the  Ferry  of  the  Mavali-Ganga,  miles  ;  and  to  Kandy,  2f  miles. 
Total,  from  Trincomale  to  Kandy,  113^  miles. 

Leaving  Trincomale,  the  next  stage  to  the  southward  is  Tamblegam,  distant  15| 
miles.  The  road  is  sandy,  and  bordered  with  jungle  ;  but,  upon  nearing  the  village, 
the  country  appears  fertile  and  well  cultivated,  and  the  view  of  the  bay  is  magnificent. 

Kandelle  lake  supplies  water  for  irrigating  the  paddee  fields  : — these  either  wear  the 
verdant  appearance  of  fields  of  young  wheat,  or  the  golden  richness  of  that  grain  at 
maturity,  as  the  season  may  be  commencing,  or  advanced ;  and  nothing  can  be  mort- 
grateful  to  the  eye,  in  this  climate,  than  a  field  of  young  paddee,  sugar-cane,  or  maize. 

Tamblegam  has  a  good  rest-house,  but  is  without  a  postholder,  the  road  being  sel¬ 
dom  frequented  by  Europeans.  May  speculation  and  capital  yet  give  it  a  different 
appearance ;  every  road  throughout  the  island  be  bordered  with  cultivated  grounds 
and  verdant  pastures,  and  covered  with  the  busy  transporters  of  produce  to  ports  of 
export !! — There  is  a  Hindoo  temple  here,  but  it  is  scarcely  worth  a  visit. 

From  Tamblegam  to  Kottiaar  the  distance  is  about  12^  miles,  partly  along  the  bed 
of  a  stream  that  issues  from  the  lake,  or  tank,  of  Kandelle,  and  occasionally  through 
fertile  vallies,  interspersed  with  dense  jungle.  Kottiaar  is  situated  between  the  two 
branches  of  the  Mavali-Ganga,  both  which  are  fordable. 

From  Kottiaar,  the  route  southward  is  through  Tapootorre,  distant  9j  miles  from 
Kottiaar,  and  13|  from  Anedivoo  ;  chiefly  through  well-cultivated  paddee  fields,  in¬ 
terspersed  with  palmyra,  coco-nut,  tamarind,  and  wild  tea  trees ; — the  country  is  rather 
populous,  and  the  plains  are  covered  with  cattle,  particularly  buffalos. 

A  peculiar  kind  of  rice  is  grown  here,  called  by  the  natives  Patcherie.  Its  grai  i, 
when  boiled,  is  nearly  twice  the  size  of  the  Patna  rice,  and  more  oblong  and  egg- 
shaped,  having  thin  strips  of  reddish  skin  attached  to  it,  which  is  not  altogether  got 
rid  of  by  the  operation  of  pounding.  This  rice,  not  being  so  white  as  the  Patna,  or 
other  varieties,  is  never  set  before  Europeans,  except  when  none  other  may  be  at 
hand  ;  but  it  is  of  a  more  mucilaginous  nature,  and  has  a  fine  and  peculiar  fiavoi 
which  makes  it  worthy  of  notice. 

Ceylon,  however,  has  such  varieties  of  rice,  that  it  is  a  hard  task  to  make  one  n 
self  acquainted  with  them.  Linnaeus  limits  his  information  upon  the  subject  to  the 
generic  and  trivial  name  of  one  species  only ;  namely,  Oryza  sativa,  class  Hexandria, 
order  Digynia  :  but  the  natives  have  several  distinguishing  names  ;  such  as,  Elenkalyen, 
Gotiaran,  Handiran,  Pode-wee,  Coloocombele,  Henette,  Ratte-wee,  Mornaga-wee, 


Polle-elle-wee,  Karte  -  Elenkaylen,  Panengeallvn,  Mootomanica,  Radecatten,  Eki- 
chamba,  Hadelle,  Pondichambe,  Noorocengau  Chienette,  Moroega,  Pallechederie, 
Mahama-wee,  Gedeme-wee,  Balema-wee,  Seeniette,  Manelworie,  Perocrielle,  Moe- 
raingew,  Patjedroema,  Kottehandiram,  Nandoohandiram,  Elle-wee,  Kallukarayel, 
Ratkarayel,  Sooderkarayel,  kahatunhamba,  kahaniman,  Galpe-wee,  Mukelu-vvee, 
Ratkonde,  Tawalve,  Sooderkuru-wei  ,  Pok-vel  or  Hatiel,  Kotukuru-vvee,  Roombole. 
and  Danchala. 

These  include  both  the  Malabar  and  binghalese  names  of  paddee  grown  in  the 
several  districts.  The  natives  grow  both  upland  and  lowland  paddee  ;  the  former  is 
not  transplanted,  and  does  not  require  so  much  irrigation  as  the  latter,  which  is  grown 
in  stvamp  and  water  till  nearly  ripe. 

When  lowland  paddee  has  shot  up  a  few  inches  above  the  ground,  it  is  trans¬ 
planted  by  half  a  dozen  plants  at  a  time,  in  rows,  subsequently  inundated,  by  open¬ 
ing  the  dams  of  the  reservoirs,  and  kept  under  water  until  the  stalks  become  quite 
strong;  the  land  is  then  drained,  by  opening  the  dams  of  each  paddee  field,  and 
the  sun  soon  dries  it.  The  natives  both  reap  with  a  sickle,  as  with  us  ;  and  they 
also  cut  off  the  stalks  about  a  foot  below  the  ear  separately,  and  bind  them  into 
small  sheaves. 

Paddee  grows  in  loose  spikes,  like  our  common  oat  .  and  is  divested  of  its  husk 
(when  it  is  called  rice)  by  beating  it  with  a  heavy  rice  pounder,  ( Mol-Kotta ,)  made 
either  of  iron-wood  or  of  very  old  Kettule  wood,  in  a  huge  wooden  mortar. 

It  is  almost  incredible  to  the  observant  traveller  through,  the  provinces  of  Ceylon, 
that  this  natural  granary  should  ever  have  been  dependent  upon  any  other  country 
for  the  grand  staff  of  human  life  in  India.  That  it  has  been  most  discreditable  to  the 
British  government  to  attribute  scarcity  in  this  colony  to  natural  causes,  where,  let  the 
heat  of  the  weather  be  what  it  may,  irrigation  is  ever  at  command,  by  the  application 
of  industry,  no  one  will  deny  :  and  that  it  was  still  more  so  to  the  Dutch  government, 
to  depend  upon  Java  for  supplying  grain  to  Ceylon,  until  the  presence  of  British 
cruizers  upon  the  coasts,  made  it  necessary  to  depend  upon  its  own  local  resources 
for  grain  for  its  consumption,  will  be  apparent  to  all  whose  inquiry  may  have  enabled 
them  to  form  an  opinion  upon  this  most  important  point  of  local  polity. 

In  the  year  1767,  Java  supplied  14,000  tons  of  rice  to  Ceylon  and  Banda,  from 
the  surplus  of  its  produce,  after  all  the  wants  of  its  own  population  had  been  pro¬ 
vided  for ! ! 

At  Tapootorre  there  is  a  very  extensive  tank  .  but  want  of  capital  unfortunately 
prevails,  or  this  country  tvould  produce  a  thousand-fold  where  it  now  does  one.  Much 



depends  upon  the  appointment  of  Governors  ;  and  such  as  are  most  active  and  energetic, 
and  general  officers,  instead  of  civilians,  are  the  best  everywhere.  The  natives  cannot 
reconcile  what  they  call  “  arrack  and  onion,"  or  “  pumpkin  Governors,”  with  the 
dignity  of  the  British  nation. 

These  people  are  ver\  observant  .  tliex  do  not  like  to  have  a  Governor  who  stoops 
to  the  degradation,  in  their  opinion,  ot  cutting  111s  own  vegetables,  and  filling  every  space 
of  the  public  grounds,  upon  whit  h  his  residence  may  stand,  with  pumpkins,  &c.,  instead 
of  encouraging  horticulture  amongst  the  natives,  and  depending  upon  the  market*  for 
supplying  his  own  table. 

Neither  Sir  Edward  Barnes,  nor  fins,  at  one  time  much  hoped  for,  and,  as  it  was 
believed,  intended  successor  in  tin  government  ot  (  eylon.j  the  much  calumniated 
Lieut.  General  Sir  Hudson  Lowe,  G.  C.  B.,  were  ever  stationary  ;  but  here,  there,  and 
everywhere  ;  investigating  the  resources  of  the  island,  and  running  their  chances  of 
jungle  fever  and  malaria,  as  well  as  other  people  .  for  they  knew  that  nothing  but 
cultivation  could  rid  the  island  of  those  most  unwelcome  colonists. 

Sir  Hudson  Lowe  no  sooner  became  thoroughly  known  at  Ceylon,  than  he  was 
praised  as  much  as  he  was  elsewhere  calumniated  although  but  a  very  short  time 
prior  to  his  arrival  at  Colombo,  as  second  m  command,  the  prejudice  against  him 
appeared  as  insuperable  there  as  it  did  in  France  .  but  it  was  as  transient  as  a  passing 
cloud,  and  those  who  were  the  most  prejudiced,  and  the  highest  in  the  colony,  were 
the  first  to  express  their  opinion,  that  "  Sir  Hudson  had  been  sacrificed  to  his  soldier¬ 
like  obedience  of  orders,”  and  that  “  he  could  onlv  be  done  justice  to,  in  England 
and  France,  by  Lord  Bathurst’s  despatches,  from  first  to  last,  including  the  “  most 
secret  ”  and  “ most  confidential  ”  ones,  addressed  to  Sir  Hudson,  as  Governor  of  St 
Helena,)  being  laid  upon  the  table  of  the  House  of  Commons!”  What  an  expose 
this  would  produce  ! 

If  fortunately  this  be  read  by  some  independent  member  of  that  Honorable  House, 
who,  in  addition  to  moving  for  these  papers,  will  act  upon  the  motto,  “  Fiat  justitia  . 
ruat  coelum!”  now  is  the  time,  befitting  the  occasion,  tor  doing  justice  to  as  brave, 
generous,  and  intelligent  an  officer  as  ever  yet  drew  sword  in  the  service  of  his 
sovereign  and  his  country  l  nder  the  auspices  of  such  a  Governor,  Ceylon  might 
yet  display  all  its  “  capabilities. 

The  tourist  having  crossed  the  Virgel-Oya  at  Molcade,  about  2f  miles  from  Ane- 
divoo,  (where  boats  are  always  at  hand,  and  a  palankin  is  soon  ferried  across  for  a  few 
fanams,)  will  find  a  well-cultivated  and  delightful,  but  low  country  before  him.  The 
pagoda  upon  the  left  or  north  bank  is  of  great  antiquity,  and  worth  examining. 



From  the  Virgel-Oya  to  the  village  of  Kaddiravalle,  the  distance  is  4  miles  ;  and 
from  thence  to  Pannitchancanne,  where  the  ferry  is  crossed  over  the  river  of  that 
name,  or  Pannitchan-Oya,  (which  is  most  probably  another  branch  of  the  Mavali- 
Ganga,)  9  miles.  Wild  orange,  lime,  and  cinnamon  trees  abound  here,  and  attract 
myriads  of  monkies. 

From  Pannitchancanne,  the  next  stage  is  Kommollandam  Moone,  distant  i5|  miles, 
a  small  and  thinly  populated  village,  with  but  little  cultivation,  and  surrounded,  except 
upon  the  east,  by  dense  jungle  :  the  road  good  throughout.  The  next  village  is  Nal- 
loor,  distant  4|  miles,  abounding  in  wild  cinnamon,  and  a  very  beautiful  species 
of  air-plant,  the  petals  of  which  are  of  a  bright  yellow,  partially  marked  with  dark 
purple  specks. 

At  one  time  I  collected  several  specimens  of  the  indigenous  Orchidecr,  of  the  Maha- 
gampattoo,  some  of  which  were  tied  to  the  pillars  of  the  verandah,  and  others  to 
the  backs  of  chairs,  where  they  both  flowered  and  seeded,  in  as  great  perfection 
as  in  their  native  jungle. 

Nalloor,  called  also  by  the  natives  Bapoor ,  is  in  a  populous  neighbourhood,  and  the 
country  between  it  and  Erraoor,  10  miles  further  south,  extensively  cultivated  witli 
paddee  fields,  and  plantations  of  yams  and  plantains  ;  but  the  road  for  the  latter  part 
is  over  very  deep  sand.  C  otton  is  grown  here,  but  in  a  limited  quantity,  instead  of 
whitening  thousand-s  of  acres  with  its  produce. 

Ferry-boats  are  always  at  hand,  for  crossing  the  Nalloor  and  Erraoor  rivers  ;  and  a 
further  distance  of  nine  miles  from  the  latter,  which  is  salt,  and  a  part  of  the  Batticaloa 
river,  ushers  the  tourist  into  that  meridian  of  mosquitos, — Batticaloa. 

Throughout  the  whole  of  this  route,  from  Trincornale  to  Batticaloa,  game  will  be 
found  in  abundance,  as  well  as  the  Guana,  ( Lacerta  Iguana  of  Shaw),  whose  flesh 
equals,  if  it  does  not  excel,  that  of  the  rabbit,  in  delicacy  and  flavor.  There  exists  a 
great  antipathy  to  its  use  at  English  tables  but  the  native  Dutch  and  Portuguese 
esteem  it  as  much  as  the  West  Indians  do,  and  make  exquisite  soups,  curries,  and 
ragouts  with  it.  This  animal  burrows,  the  same  as  the  rabbit,  but  is  oviparous,  and 
lays  from  fifty  to  seventy  eggs,  which  are  considered  delicate  food,  after  the  first  preju¬ 
dice  against  them  is  overcome. 


Sailing  directions  along  the  easternmost  coast  of  Ceylon — Batticaloa — Its  small  commercial  importance — Civil 
and-  judicial  departments — Island — Fort — Garrison  and  medical  establishment — European  Society,  famed  for  its 
unanimity  and  hospitality — No  Protestant  church  or  chapel,  clergyman  or  missionary — Roman  Catholic  chapels — 
Bazaar — Suggested  establishment  of  a  factory  for  miring  fish — Anticipated  increase  of  the  coasting  trade — Green 
beetle  (Buprestis  chrysis) — Employment  of  its  irridescent  elytra  for  ladies'  dresses  and  other  ornaments — Appear¬ 
ance  of  Batticaloa  from  the  sea — Sandstone  rocks — Veddah  country — Mr.  Lambias,  secretary  of  the  magistrate's 
court  at  Hambantotte,  wanders  into  the  Veddah  country — Kindness  of  the  Veddahs — Their  language — Method  of 
preserving  flesh — Manner  of  shooting  elephants — Veddahs  visit  Hambantotte — Primitive  method  of  kindling  fire — 
Veddah  gratitude — Caste — Extensive  area  of  forest  lands  occupied  by  the  Veddahs — Their  mode  of  disposing  of 
their  dead — Inhuman  custom  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  Mahagampattoo — Author's  endeavours  to  suppress  it — 
Report  to  the  Governor. 

The  following  sailing  directions  along  the  easternmost  coast  of  Ceylon,  according 
to  Captain  Horsburgh’s  Directory,  may  assist  the  navigator,  in  the  case  of  his  being 
unsupplied  with  that  valuable  work. 

**  Agaus  or  Aganis,  in  about  latitude  6°  50'  to  7°  north,  a  space  of  land  with  some 
hillocks  near  the  sea,  is  the  easternmost  part  of  the  island,  and  situated  about  six 
miles  east  of  the  meridian  of  the  Little  Basses  ;  being  1°  41  east  from  Point  de  Galle 
flag-staff,  by  chronometers,  and  in  longitude  81°  58|  east,  by  mean  of  many  lunar 
observations  taken  by  Captain  James  Horsburgh,  F.  R.  S.,  at  various  times. 

“  Between  the  hillocky  land  of  Aganis  and  the  hills  to  the  N.  Westward  of  the 
Little  Basses,  there  is  a  considerable  space  of  low  land,  excepting  an  isolated  mount 
on  it,  which  has  a  regular  peaked  appearance  when  viewed  from  the  eastward  ;  but 
resembles  a  saddle,  having  a  gap  in  it,  when  seen  from  the  southward. 

“  From  the  Little  Basses  to  the  land  of  Aganis,  the  course  is  N.  N.  E.  \  E.,  and 
N.  N.  E.,  distance  ten  leagues  :  between  them  the  coast  may  be  approached  with 
safety  to  17  or  18  fathoms,  about  l\  league  off  shore,  the  depths  on  the  bank  being 
pretty  regular,  generally  sandy  bottom  ;  and  the  edge  of  it,  where  there  are  45  and 
50  fathoms,  is  distant  4|  or  5  leagues  from  the  shore. 

“  At  a  considerable  distance  inland  from  Aganis,  in  about  latitude  7°  north,  there  is 
a  table  mount,  called  Westminster  Abbey,  with  a  large  square  nob  or  turret  on  its 
north  end  ;  and  there  is  another  peaked  hill  near  the  sea,  generally  called  Aganis 
Peak  :  these  are  in  one  with  each  other,  bearing  W.  by  S. 

2  i 



“  The  whole  of  the  S.  E.  coast  of  Ceylon  forms  a  convex  curve,  rounding  gradually, 
without  any  conspicuous  head-lands  projecting  into  the  sea.  Between  latitude  6°  30 
and  7°  north,  is  an  advisable  place  to  make  the  land,  for  ships  running  toward  the 
eastern  part  of  the  island  in  the  N.  E.  monsoon  ;  taking  care  in  the  night  to  fall  in 
with  it  to  the  northward  of  the  Little  Basses. 

“  Batticaloa  River’s  entrance,  m  latitude  7"  44  north,  and  longitude  31°  50  east,  by 
chronometers,  bears  from  the  land  of  Aganis,  in  latitude  7°  north,  about  N.  by  YV., 
distant  14|  or  15  leagues,  the  coast  between  them  having  a  little  convexity,  and 
generally  very  low  near  the  sea,  interspersed  with  toco-nut  topes  and  houses  or  small 
villages.  In  this  space  a  ship  may  generally  borrow  to  10  or  20  fathoms,  these  depths 
being  from  2\  to  3  or  4  miles  off  shore,  and  the  bank  of  soundings  extends  out  from 
it  to  the  distance  of  2|  or  3  leagues,  where  the  depths  are  from  45  to  70  fathoms,  but 
not  always  regular  ;  for  in  a  few  places  within  4  miles  of  the  shore  there  are  35  and 
38  fathoms.  In  working  during  the  day,  a  ship  may  in  some  parts  venture  into  15 
or  16  fathoms,  and  tack  within  two  miles  of  the  shore  ;  but  20  or  22  fathoms  is  as 
near  as  it  should  be  approached  in  the  night  ;  for  m  these  depths,  if  the  moon  shine 
bright,  the  surf  will  be  seen  breaking  on  the  sandy  beach,  or  the  noise  of  it  may 
sometimes  be  heard  with  the  land  wind.  From  some  of  the  small  projecting  points, 
foul  ground  is  said  to  extend  about  1  or  M  mile,  rendering  it  prudent  not  to  come 
under  20  or  22  fathoms  near  them,  particularly  in  the  night. 

“  The  coast  contiguous  to  Batticaloa  is  low,  but  several  circumjacent  mountains  or 
hills,  situated  inland,  are  conspicuous  in  sailing  along  this  part  of  the  island  ;  the  most 
remarkable  and  highest  of  these  is  the  Friar’s  Hood,  in  latitude  7°  29|  north,  and 
longitude  81"  36'  east,  about  4^  or  5  leagues  from  the  sea,  and  leans  over  to  the  left, 
resembling  a  friar’s  hood,  when  bearing  to  the  S.  Westward,  but  has  the  form  of  a 
pyramid,  when  it  bears  to  the  N.  W  estward.  To  the  southward  of  it  there  is  another 
mountain,  somewhat  similar  in  appearance,  called  the  False  Hood,  which  is  not  so 
high  as  the  former.  Far  inland,  about  7  leagues  to  the  westward  of  the  Friar’s  Hood, 
there  is  a  round  conical  hill,  called  the  Kettle  Bottom,  visible  in  clear  weather ;  and 
on  the  middle  of  the  great  level  plain,  in  latitude  7°  49  north,  is  situated,  about  6 
leagues  W.  by  N.  from  the  entrance  of  Batticaloa  river,  the  Sugar  Loaf,  a  sharp 
isolated  cone.  Nearly  abreast  the  Friar’s  Hood,  but  rather  to  the  southward,  is  the 
entrance  of  a  river  which  extends  a  great  way  inland,  having  to  the  southward  a 
pagoda,  among  a  grove  of  coco-nut  trees,  at  a  place  called  Tricoil. 

“  Batticaloa  river  is  narrow  at  the  entrance,  not  discernible  except  from  the  north¬ 
ward,  the  opening  being  in  that  direction  ;  but  it  may  be  known  by  a  house  and 



flag-staff,  where  the  colors  are  usually  shown  to  passing  ships.  There  is  6  feet  water 
on  the  bar,  (at  low  water,)  and  the  tide  rises  about  2  or  3  feet  perpendicularly ;  high 
vater  at  four  hours  on  full  and  change  of  moon,  but  not  always  regular. 

“  The  Fort  is  four  or  five  miles  up  the  river,  on  an  island  where  water  may  be  pro¬ 
cured,  by  landing  casks  at  the  wharf  and  rolling  them  to  and  from  the  well.  Plenty 
of  wood  may  be  cut  near  the  bar  on  the  river’s  banks. 

“  The  anchorage  in  the  road  is  not  always  safe  in  the  N.  E.  monsoon,  when  a  gale 
from  that  quarter  may  be  liable  to  happen  from  September  to  February  ;  but  in  the 
S.  W.  monsoon  it  is  safe.  Ships  generally  anchor  to  the  N.  W.  or  westward  of  the 
reef,  with  the  entrance  of  the  river  about  south,  the  Friar’s  Hood  S.  S.  W.,  distant 
about  two  miles  from  the  river’s  entrance,  abreast  of  a  cluster  of  rocks  projecting 
from  the  shore  to  the  northward  of  the  river.” 

Batticaloa  is,  unfortunately,  of  small  commercial  importance,  owing  to  its  having 
but  little  connexion  with  the  southern  and  western  provinces,  and  no  very  great  coast¬ 
ing  trade  with  the  northern  province,  or  coast  of  Coromandel. 

The  revenue  and  customs’  duties  of  the  district  are  superintended  by  an  assistant 
government  agent,  who  is  also  the  district  judge. 

The  island  of  Batticaloa  is  about  four  miles  in  extent,  and  defended  by  a  small 
square  fort  of  four  bastions,  capable  of  mounting  from  twenty  to  thirty  guns,  and 
containing  a  barrack,  magazine,  and  a  spacious  house  for  the  commandant. 

The  garrison  consists  of  a  company  of  the  Ceylon  rifle  corps,  and  a  native  medical 
sub-assistant  for  the  hospital  duties. 

At  one  period,  when  the  necessity  of  watchfulness  against  Kandyan  irruptions  was 
a  matter  of  primary  consequence,  this  fortification  was  of  the  utmost  utility,  for  the 
Kandyans  always  took  care  to  keep  out  of  the  reach  of  shot ;  and,  within  that  range, 
every  native  subject  of  the  British  flag  felt  secure,  both  in  person  and  property  :  but 
it  has  no  longer  an  internal  enemy  to  threaten  it ;  and,  in  the  event  of  a  naval  war, 
the  fort  would  afford  sufficient  protection  to  such  small  craft  as  might  shelter  in 
the  river. 

The  limited  society  of  Batticaloa  has  long  been  famed  for  hospitality  and  friend¬ 
ship,  notwithstanding  the  variety  of  changes  to  which  it  has  been,  like  all  our  small 
colonial  settlements,  continually  subject.  At  a  distance  from  the  other  stations,  and 
depending  upon  unanimity  for  the  chief  comforts  of  life,  the  European  military  and  civil 
servants  seem  to  have  successfully  studied,  and,  spite  of  the  fable,  adopted,  “  il  modo 
di  piacere  a  tutti ;  ”  for  I  have  never  once  met  an  individual  of  either  service,  who  was 
not  sorry,  malgrd  the  mosquitos,  to  quit  that  station  :  and  several  instances  are 

2  i  2 


recorded  of  the  expression  of  the  kindliest  feelings,  by  farewell  parties,  and  occa¬ 
sionally  by  presentations  of  plate,  at  parting. 

It  is  remarkable,  that  although  Batticaloa  has  neither  Protestant  church  nor  chape), 
and  is  without  either  a  clergyman  or  missionary  to  perform  divine  service,  it  has  two 
very  neat  Roman  Catholic  chapels,  which  are  built  of  stone,  with  tiled  roofs,  and  are 
the  best  ornamented  in  the  island.  The  Fishers  are  Roman  Catholics,  and  occupy 
one  chapel  exclusively  to  their  own  use  ;  the  other,  is  open  to  all  comers. 

The  Bazaar,  as  it  is  called,  is  a  straggling  village  of  huts  throughout  the  island, 
occupied  by  venders  of  fruit,  vegetables,  fish,  poultry,  eggs,  rice,  and  other  articles 
of  native  consumption  ;  all  which,  are  abundant  and  cheap. 

As  the  coast  abounds  with  fish,  a  factory  for  curing  it  for  the  Kandyan  markets, 
and  for  exportation,  might  be  established  here  ;  for  any  quantity  of  salt  may  be 
obtained  from  Hambantotte  during  the  S.  W.  monsoon.  This  could  not  fail  to  prove 
a  profitable  speculation,  a  ready  sale  being  at  all  times  certain,  as  well  as  quick  returns 
for  the  outlay  of  capital ;  and  the  consequent  increase  of  the  coasting  trade  Would 
prove  an  additional  source  of  revenue  to  the  crown. 

Batticaloa  has  a  very  pretty  appearance  from  the  sea  ;  and  the  adjacent  country 
is  both  fertile  and  romantic.  The  shore  is  bold,  and  those  immense  sandstone  rocks, 
known  as  the  “  Friar’s  Hood,”  “  Elephant  Rock,”  and  “  Pagoda  Rock,”  afford  excel¬ 
lent  land-marks  to  the  navigator. 

The  beautiful  green  beetle  ( Buprestis  chrysis ),  so  much  esteemed  at  home  and  upon 
the  continent  of  India,  is  very  common  here.  The  most  splendid  ladies’  dresses  are 
ornamented  with  the  elytra  of  this  insect ;  which  are  also  mounted  in  gold,  and  formed 
into  necklaces,  tiaras,  and  armlets  :  for  the  colors  they  display,  arising  from  an  unrivalled 
richness  of  tints,  brilliance  of  metallic  lustre,  and  the  irridescence  of  their  ever-varying 
hues,  according  to  the  change  of  fight  in  which  they  are  viewed,  may  be  considered 
the  most  splendid  in  nature. 

Batticaloa  is  bounded  on  the  west  by  the  country  of  the  wild  Veddahs  (  Veddah 
Ratte );  of  which  most  extraordinary  people,  there  exists  a  great  difference  of  opi¬ 
nion  :  for  whilst  some  aver  that  they  are  the  aborigines  of  Ceylon,  others  are  as  positive 
of  their  descent  from  a  race  of  Malabar  fugitives. 

The  best  information  in  my  power  to  obtain,  when  I  was  almost,  it  may  be  said, 
upon  the  spot,  (for  the  Mahagampattoo  district  extends  very  nearly  to  the  confines 
of  the  Veddah  country,)  I  derived  from  Mr.  William  Lambias,  the  secretary  of  the 
revenue  and  sitting  magistrate’s  court  at  Hambantotte,  during  the  time  that  I  presided 
there,  in  the  years  1826,  1827. 

1 1 

/  / 

I  7  |  ^  ^  ^ 

>'- )  ff  /MJj  5  1  \  jyj  ^  ^  ^  /I  ^  7  K  /< 

-•  i/)  "7  n  i  11  ^  nf)'JLr^  '  "  T?  * y  T0  f  ^  >'  n  .< 
"fj^j  i,}*'  »>  r^  ^  r  y  ^  ^  z>f  *  £j?3  r  ,( 

iw  ,<  y  ^  %f  ^  >  y  5  n  t  i)  )  ^  /)  r  y  y-  y-  7  <z  y  7 
"  fi  ^  ^  y  y  y  r  p  y  i~  i~  1 1-**-  »  n  £  »  y  ;  ? 

/  '  ^  .  o  <~  i  y  ?  /  °  s 

"  ?  i  y  y  »  7  x-^  v  y  ?  n  v  r>  •*>  -  '  ' 

-  -  ^  ^  ... 




>  * 

,  «4  <3  * 

*  '  r  ?  »'  /  ;  i*  '  *?  />  /> 

^  » 

7  ,» 

v'^”  ,  r  ~  r-  k  r  y  r  „  /  ’  ^  ' 

•’  n  tfJ  „  „  ? 

''  t  '  *  J  ,  ,  '  ^ 

»/  *-■»  '»y  <*i  ^  /  /  y.  ^  /  «>  c. 

I  ?  ,  *■  -7  _  *-*■  I  47,*  /'x’  ,  *  ^y  s 

••  f>  n  ir  %y  oyy r>  v  n  r  w  ±<  '<y 

<z  ..  — 

'i  %  »  f  *rr  y  !}  >  y-y^Tn 7  y 

*■  ^  7  ^  '  ,  »  f» 

y  n  n  y  •’ 

»  n  ?  v  ) 

n  <?  ? 

r  n  > .'. 



Mr.  Lambias,  who  was  an  excellent  shot  and  had  in  his  time  bagg’d  many  a  “  tusker,” 
having,  upon  one  occasion,  rambled  rather  too  far  from  Mattawille,  in  the  Nadekadoe 
district,  at  present  part  of  this  (the  eastern)  province,  fell  in  with  a  party  of  straggling 
Veddahs,  armed  with  bows  and  arrows,  who  had  several  dogs  with  them,  by  whose 
barking,  he  was  first  made  aware  of  his  danger. 

Expecting  nothing  less  than  death,  Mr.  Lambias  determined  to  sell  his  life  at  as 
dear  a  rate,  as  any  one  man  with  a  couple  of  guns,  could  possibly  do  against  so  many  ; 
but  he  was  in  no  danger,  for  one  of  the  Veddahs  directed  another  “  to  bring  the  Por¬ 
tuguese  some  flesh  and  honey,”  and  thereupon  laying  down  his  arrows,  he  respectfully 
approached  Mr.  Lambias  with  repeated  salaams ; — this  inspired  confidence,  and  Mr. 
Lambias,  addressing  them  in  low  Singhalese,  inquired  if  they  had  many  elephants  in 
their  country.  They  understood  him,  and  one  of  them  ran  and  brought  some  arrows 
to  him,  which,  he  said,  had  been  headed  by  a  smith  at  China- Kanda  ;  to  whom  they 
had  taken  some  honey  and  bees’  wax,  together  with  a  Mooua  ( Cervus  Aristotelis ), 
in  return  for  the  arrow  heads,  some  of  which  were  about  three  inches  long,  and  of  the 
exact  shape  of  the  leaf  of  the  Naghas  ( Mesua  ferrea,  L.)  or  iron-wood  tree  ;  and 
the  rest  about  fourteen  inches  long,  and  an  inch  and  a  half  broad,  for  killing  wild 
buffalos  and  elephants. 

These  savages  were  extremely  civil ;  and  so  far  from  offering  Mr.  Lambias  the 
slightest  annoyance,  they  asked  him  to  their  village,  which  greatly  surprised  him, 
because  he  had  always  understood  that  they  lived  in  trees.  In  full  confidence  in  his 
safety,  (for  he  acknowledged  to  me,  that  “  he  had  abandoned  all  idea  of  danger  from  the 
moment  he  heard  their  original  conversation  respecting  himself,”  and  he  was  perfect 
master  of  both  high  and  low  Singhalese,  as  well  as  of  Tamul,)  he  visited  their  village, 
as  they  called  it,  upon  their  promising  to  conduct  him  to  Mattawille  afterwards. 

Although  these  people  resembled  the  Singhalese,  and  spoke  to  him  in  that  tongue, 
their  general  language  amongst  each  other,  seemed,  to  his  ear,  to  be  a  mixture  of 
Malabar  and  Singhalese.  Mr.  Lambias  did  not  see  any  huts  in  trees,  and  their  village 
consisted  of  straggling  sheds,  constructed  like  the  habitations  of  the  lower  classes 
of  Singhalese,  with  sticks  and  mud,  (the  smoke  issuing  from  every  aperture,)  and 
surrounded  by  thorn  bushes,  scattered  about  without  regard  to  order. 

When  he  asked  them  if  any  of  them  lived  in  trees,  they  shook  their  heads  ;  and, 
pointing  towards  the  Kandyan  mountains,  said,  “  those  in  the  high  and  very  far  country 
did.”  All  the  Veddah  party  had  scraps  of  cotton  round  the  waist,  and  chewed  betel, 
which  must  have  been  obtained  at  some  bazaar.  They  talked  much  of  Kattregam 
Dewale,  where  two  of  them  had  been,  as  well  as  of  Hambantotte. 



The  Veddahs  preserve  the  flesh  of  deer  and  buffalos  in  honey,  and  stow  it  away  in 
hollow  trees,  as  described  by  Knox,  for  use  when  fresh  game  is  scarce  ;  and  they  also 
cut  it  into  long  slices  and  dry  it  in  the  sun ;  but  I  never  yet  knew  any  one  disposed  to 
partake  of  it,  for  the  best  Ceylon  venison  is  rather  lean  food ;  and,  as  to  dried  deer 
flesh,  it  is  merely  fit  for  the  grater. 

The  Veddah  mode  of  killing  the  larger ( animals,  such  as  the  elephant,  wild  buffalo, 
and  samver,  is  by  lying  on  their  backs,  holding  the  bow  with  their  toes,  (which  they 
use  with  the  same  facility  that  we  do  our  fingers,)  and  drawing  the  arrow  to  the  head 
with  all  the  force  of  both  hands,  let  fly  :  and  so  near  do  they  contrive  to  place 
themselves  to  the  elephant,  unseen,  that  they  seldom  fail  to  hit  the  animal  in  its  most 
vulnerable  part,  viz.  behind  the  ear.  They  wing  their  arrows  with  the  deep  red 
feathers  of  the  peacock. 

The  Veddahs  showed  Mr.  Lambias  various  roots,  (their  chief  subsistence  except 
game  and  wild  honey,  of  which  they  have  abundance,)  and  a  wild  species  of  Brinjal 
(Solanum  insanum,  L.),  called  Wal-Bambuttoo  by  the  Singhalese. 

During  my  residence  at  Hambantotte,  two  village  Veddahs  were  brought  to  me, 
who  were  any  thing  but  fine  specimens  of  the  Homo  Sapiens.  Their  jargon  was  with 
difficulty  understood  by  my  Malay  interpreter,  although  they  comprehended  his 
Singhalese  easily  enough  ;  and  Mr.  Lambias  being  absent  on  leave,  I  had  not  the 
benefit  that  I  otherwise  should  have  derived  from  his  acquaintance  with  their  dialect. 

These  Veddahs  were  not  more  than  five  feet  two  inches  in  height ;  their  hands  small, 
but  feet  long  and  flat ;  hair  matted,  and  tied  in  a  bunch  at  the  back  of  the  head  ;  large 
bushy  beard,  almost  covering  the  face  ;  eyes  small,  piercing,  and  constantly  in  motion 
to  the  right  and  left,  and  their  ears  seemed  almost  as  restless  as  their  eyes.  They 
showed  no  surprise  at  a  looking-glass,  nor  any  of  the  curiosity  of  the  monkey  to  see 
what  was  at  the  back.  I  gave  each  a  Malay  knife,  some  nails,  a  common  bazaar 
handkerchief,  a  betel  knife,  some  tobacco,  several  sorts  of  seeds,  and  cuttings  of  the 
cassada;  at  which  latter  they  at  first  sneered,  but  upon  my  showing  them  how  to  plant 
it,  and  giving  them  some  specimens  of  the  roots  that  would  be  the  produce  of  their 
labour,  they  seemed  more  pleased  than  otherwise. 

Upon  being  told,  by  the  Mohandriam,  to  show  how  they  kindled  a  fire,  they  proved 
their  independence  of  flint  and  steel  for  that  purpose  ;  for  in  less  than  three  minutes, 
with  two  dry  sticks,  of  which,  one  was  hollowed  a  little  in  the  middle,  and  the  other 
pointed  at  one  end,  the  elder  Veddah,  steadying  the  former  on  the  ground,  by  placing 
a  foot  upon  each  extremity,  inserted  the  latter  in  the  hole,  and  then  whisked  it  about 
rapidly  between  his  hands,  after  the  manner  of  making  chocolate  ;  whilst  his  com- 


panion,  holding  a  handful  of  dry  leaves  to  the  orifice,  caught  the  sparks  elicited  by  the 
friction,  which  he  soon  blew  into  a  flame. 

Some  claret  was  given  them,  which  they  received  in  their  joined  hands,  so  as  to 
form  a  substitute  for  a  cup  ;  but  it  had  scarcely  entered  their  mouths  ere  it  was  spouted 
over  the  floor,  whilst  their  countenances  exhibited  all  the  effect  that  the  most  nauseous 
medicine  could  have  had  upon  the  palate. 

These  people  defraud  the  Singhalese  who  venture  to  barter  with  them,  by  concealing 
a  lump  of  clay  in  the  centre  of  each  cake  of  bees’  wax.  It  is  so  artfully  effected,  that 
it  cannot  be  discovered,  unless  by  means  of  an  intense  light,  or  by  breaking  the  cakes ; 
and  therefore  the  Singhalese  think  it  safer  to  put  up  with  the  roguery,  than,  by 
exposing  it,  to  run  the  risk  of  Veddah  revenge. 

Nevertheless,  they  have  virtues  ;  and,  from  what  I  saw  of  these  two  Veddahs,  I 
would  no  more  fear  going  through  their  country,  (unarmed,)  than,  except  for  the  com¬ 
parative  comforts  one  must  abandon  in  the  one,  for  the  privations  of  the  other,  to 
travel  in  any  other  part  of  the  island  ;  for  I  am  convinced  that  it  only  requires  tact 
and  kindness  to  bring  the  wildest  of  them  within  the  pale  of  civilized  life. 

Upon  being  informed,  in  the  usual  way,  that  “  they  might  go,”  the  Veddahs  salaamed 
very  low,  touching  their  foreheads  with  the  palms  of  their  hands.  One  of  them 
having  dropped  a  small  nail,  instead  of  taking  it  up  with  his  fingers,  did  it  equally 
well  with  his  toes,  which  he  seemed  to  have  just  as  much  at  command. 

About  two  months  after  this  interview,  (at  the  conclusion  of  which  I  had  directed 
every  kindness  to  be  shown  them  throughout  the  district,)  a  couple  of  elephant’s  tusks, 
nearly  six  feet  in  length,  found  their  way  into  my  front  virandah  at  night ;  but  the 
Veddahs,  who  must  have  conveyed  them,  never  gave  me  any  subsequent  opportunity  of 
rewarding  them.  What  lesson  in  gratitude  and  delicacy  even  a  Veddah  may  teach  ! 

It  appears  to  me  quite  irreconcileable  with  various  accounts  of  these  people,  that, 
notwithstanding  their  seclusion  from  the  rest  of  the  community  by  their  savage  life 
and  roving  habits,  they  belong  to  the  highest  in  the  classification  of  Singhalese  castes  ; 
viz.  the  Goewanse  of  the  highlands,  and  Vellale  of  the  maritime  provinces,  (cultivators 
of  the  soil)  ;  by  whom,  all  temple  and  state  honors  have  been  monopolized  from  imme¬ 
morial  time  ;  although,  according  to  the  specification  of  the  employments  peculiar  to 
each  caste,  agriculture  is  the  exclusive  privilege  of  the  Goewanse. 

The  Veddahs  occupy  an  immense  area  of  forest  lands,  (which  nay  be  estimated  at 
a  rough  calculation,  at  1500  square  miles,)  distinguished  as  Veddah  Ratte,  and  Maha- 
Veddah  Ratte;  the  former,  in  the  district  of  Bintenne,  and  the  latter,  in  Wallasse 
and  a  part  of  Ouva,  to  the  east  and  south-eastward  of  the  Kanfiyan  mountains,  and 


to  the  westward  of  the  district  of  Batticaloa  in  the  eastern,  and  of  a  part  of  the 
Mahagampattoo  in  the  southern,  province. 

Divided  into  two  distinct  communities,  one  of  which  Europeans  denominate  “  the 
wild,”  and  the  other  “the  village”  Veddahs,  these  savages  seldom  meet  but  to  com¬ 
mit  hostilities  ;  for  the  former,  who  build  their  huts  in  trees,  and  display  no  trace  of 
even  incipient  civilization,  are  held  in  great  dread  by  the  latter,  who  congregate  in 
villages,  live  in  huts,  as  already  described  in  Mr.  Lambias’s  account  of  them,  and  cul¬ 
tivate,  if  raking  the  earth,  scattering  seeds,  and  sticking  roots  into  the  ground,  may 
be  so  defined,  small  patches  of  Korakan  (Cynosurus  Coracanus,  L.),  maize  ( Zea  Mais, 
L.),  and  a  species  of  the  Arum  esculentum,  called  by  the  Singhalese  Wal-Kidahran. 

The  Veddahs  observe  no  rites  of  marriage  or  of  sepulture,  neither  do  they  give 
their  children  “  rice  names,”  after  the  custom  of  the  Singhalese  ;  but  they  believe  that 
they  propitiate  the  great  demon  with  offerings  ;  and  resort  to  the  abominable  custom  of 
consigning  their  dead  to  the  wild  beasts  of  the  jungle,  instead  of  burning,  or  burying, 
the  bodies.  If,  however,  they  do  not  anticipate  the  death  of  their  relatives,  but  wait 
for  that  event,  ere  they  throw  their  bodies  into  the  jungle,  they  are  more  humane  and 
civilized  than  their  neighbours  of  the  Mahagampattoo ;  where,  so  recently  as  the  year 
1826,  many  cases  occurred  of  parents,  brothers,  sisters,  and  children,  having  been 
consigned,  during 

“  That  awful  pause,  dividing  life  from  death,” 

with  a  portion  of  rice  and  a  chattie  of  water  placed  by  the  side  of  each  dying  individual, 
to  the  “  tender  mercies  ”  of  bears,  leopards,  crocodiles,  and  jackalls. 

But,  notwithstanding  my  great  anxiety  and  strenuous  endeavours  to  suppress  such 
inhuman  and  detestable  practices  in  the  district,  my  avowed  determination,  which  was 
proclaimed  by  beat  of  Tam-a-tam  in  every  village  and  bazaar,  to  commit  all  who  might 
be  guilty  of,  or  accessory  to,  this  species  of  murder,  for  trial  by  the  supreme  court  of 
judicature,  and  my  successful  intervention  in  several  instances,  through  the  zealous 
co-operation  of  the  native  headmen,  I  much  fear  that  I  failed  in  altogether  preventing 
their  clandestine  continuance. — In  the  hope  that  it  may  not  be  considered  superero¬ 
gatory  by  the  reader,  I  insert  an  extract  from  my  official  report  to  His  Excellency 
the  Governor  of  Ceylon,  in  the  year  1827,  upon  this  subject. 

“  4thly.  I  have  put  a  stop,  as  far  as  my  preventive  means  could  enforce  it,  to  the 
unnatural  exposition  of  parents,  when  considered  in  a  dying  state,  to  the  wild  beasts 
of  the  jungle,  by  their  own  children  ;  and,  in  several  instances,  I  have  succeeded  in 
impressing  upon  the  minds  of  the  natives,  a  conviction  of  the  iniquity  and  ingratitude 
of  thus  disposing  of  the  authors  of  their  being,  at  that  awful  period.” 


Route  southward  continued — Naypattri-Moonne — Wambimodoo — Asc/epias  gigantea — Its  medicinal  properties 
—  Tourist  recommended  to  travel  only  by  day — Wild  beasts  abundant — The  jungle  bear  will  attack  man,  notwith¬ 
standing  its  frugivorous  and  insectivorous  habits — Field  for  the  sportsman  and  naturalist — Caution  necessary  in 
entering  a  jungle — William  Gisborne,  Esq.,  an  excellent  elephant  shot — Death  of  Major/ Haddock — Natives  killed 
by  elephants — Elephant  catchers — Pliny  s  account  of  Ceylon  elephants — Distinction  between  the  Indian  and  African 
elephant,  according  to  Cuvier — Ceylon  ivory — Anecdote  respecting  elephants  petit-toes  being  sent  to  the  late  Earl 
Bathurst — Lord  Charles  Henry  Somerset  s  enigma — The  sloth — Squirrels — Maucauco — Temate  bat — Racoon — 
White  baboon — Black  baboon — Brown  monkey — Anecdote  of  a  Wanderoo — Summary  of  migratory  and  indigenous 
birds — Native  summary  of  indigenous  birds. 

Leaving  Batticaloa,  the  next  stage  is  to  Naypattri-Moonne,  distant  17^  miles,  where 
there  is  a  tolerable  rest-house,  but  the  neighbourhood  presents  little  in  the  shape  of 
cultivation  to  attract  attention  ;  from  thence  to  Wambimodoo,  where  there  is  also 
a  temporary  rest-house,  the  distance  is  7f  miles. 

The  line  of  road  abounds  with  the  gigantic  swallow-wort  ( Asclepias  gigantea,  L., 
Calotropis  mudarii,  R.  Brown),  Manughawael  of  the  Singhalese,  a  beautiful  plant  when 
in  flower ;  its  corolla  being  of  a  lilac  color,  powdered,  and  the  leaf  a  bright  sea-green. 
The  native  doctors  dry  the  root,  which  they  consider  a  powerful  sudorific  ;  this  has 
the  extraordinary  property  of  gelatinizing  with  heat,  and  becoming  liquid  as  it  cools. 
It  is  considered  efficacious  in  rheumatism  and  cutaneous  diseases,  and  is  exhibited  in 
syrups  and  decoctions.  This  plant  has  been  already  noticed  in  page  123,  but  without 
reference  to  its  medicinal  properties.  There  is  another  indigenous  species,  which  the 
Singhalese  call  Walanghuna. 

This  is  the  wildest  part  of  Ceylon,  except  the  Veddah  country,  and  the  tourist  is 
recommended  to  travel  only  during  the  day,  for  elephants,  bears,  and  leopards  abound 
throughout  the  district ;  and,  in  the  rainy  season,  the  former,  being  driven  by  mosquitos 
from  the  jungles,  infest  the  roads  and  plains  almost  as  much  by  day  as  by  night. 

The  jungle  bear  ( Ursus  labiatus )  is  quite  black,  and  a  very  awkward  acquaintance, 
unless  one  is  well  armed.  It  is  much  dreaded  by  the  natives,  for  it  will  attack  man, 
notwithstanding  that  some  historians  aver  to  the  contrary,  because  its  general  food 
consists  of  fruit,  honey,  and  insects.  Would  they  have  put  their  theory  to  the  test 
of  experience,  by  trusting  themselves  near  a  hungry  Ceylon  bear  ? 



This  animal  obtains  fruit  and  honey  without  difficulty,  being  an  excellent  climber,  and 
devours  insects,  particularly  white  ants,  with  great  facility,  through  the  elongation  of 
the  cartilaginous  part  of  the  nose,  and  of  the  extremity  of  the  under  jaw,  which  act 
as  prehensile  instruments,  as  effectually  for  the  purpose  as  the  tongue  of  the  Mania 
tetradactylus,  already  described. 

If  the  tourist  be  both  a  sportsman  and  a  collector  of  specimens  in  natural  his¬ 
tory,  he  has  only  to  diverge  to  the  right,  throughout  this  route,  to  have  as  much 
elephant,  bear,  deer,  samver,  wild  hog,  chetah,  jackall,  monkey,  squirrel,  and  guana 
shooting  as  he  pleases,  amid  the  extensive  forests  with  which  this  part  of  the 
country  abounds  ;  for  it  is  so  seldom  traversed  by  Europeans,  that  the  fera  natura 
have  it  all  their  own  way  : — but  the  greatest  caution  is  necessary,  whenever,  led  by  the 
eagerness  of  pursuing  his  object,  the  naturalist  enters  a  Ceylon  jungle^  and  one  barrel 
of  his  gun  should  always  be  kept  loaded  with  ball,  as  a  reserve,  (I  strongly  recom¬ 
mend  the  American  plan,  of  cutting  a  small  portion  of  the  surface  of  two  balls  flat, 
and  screwing  them  together,)  for  as  the  jungles  are  interspersed  with  small  patches  of 
herbage,  he  may  suddenly  find  himself  in  most  unwelcome  company,  unless  actually 
in  quest  of  elephants,  upon  turning  the  corner  of  a  jungle  clump,  by  being  close  upon 
a  herd  of  these  animals.  If  to  windward  of  an  elephant,  he  will  not  have  been  allowed 
to  approach  very  near  without  receiving  timely  notice,  by  the  animal’s  trumpeting ;  but 
if  to  leeward,  he  may  approach  very  close  without  much  danger,  its  sense  of  sight  ' 
being  very  inferior  to  that  of  smell. 

The  late  William  Gisborne,  Esq.,  of  the  civil  service,  (who  has  immortalized  his 
name  in  Ceylon  by  forming  the  Kirime  canal,  which  was  completed  under  his  per¬ 
sonal  superintendence,  whilst  collector  of  Tangalle,)  would  approach  an  elephant, 
to  leeward,  so  closely  as  to  touch  it ;  he  would  then  clap  his  hands  and  shout,  and,  upon 
the  animal  looking  round,  plant  a  two  ounce  ball  in  the  centre  of  the  os  frontis,  (where 
the  bone  plates  are  extremely  thin,)  or  immediately  behind  the  ear ;  when,  within  the 
twinkling  of  an  eye,  the  stately  animal  would  “  lick  the  dust.” 

It  is  surprising,  when  the  great  risk  is  considered,  and  the  quantum  of  nerve  re¬ 
quired  to  face  an  elephant  within  a  few  yards,  that  so  few  accidents  occur  to  English 
sportsmen.  Major  Haddock,  of  the  97th  regiment,  was  the  only  one  killed  by  an 
elephant  for  many  years,  during  my  residence  in  the  island  ;  but  several  others  had 
narrow  escapes  from  the  leviathan  of  the  jungle. 

In  the  years  1826-7,  several  native  labourers  were  killed  by  elephants,  in  the  Maha- 
gampattoo  district,  whilst  harmlessly  going  to  their  daily  work.  This  generally  happened 
upon  suddenly  turning  the  corner  of  the  jungle  ;  and  two  Singhalese  were  killed  on 



the  same  morning,  just  after  having  left  their  own  cottages  ;  so  that  I  am  not  at  all 
disposed  to  concur  in  opinion  with  those  who  attribute  “  generosity  and  magnanimity 
to  the  elephant,  in  its  wild  state,”  for  I  have  had  very  many  proofs  of  its  being  a 
naturally  vicious  and  destructive  animal. 

It  is  by  no  means  uncommon  for  elephants  to  enter  villages  at  night,  remove 
the  thatch  from  houses  containing  a  store  of  paddee,  deliberately  help  themselves,  and 
walk  off  leisurely  before  daybreak.  The  damage  done  to  paddee  and  other  fields  in 
the  course  of  a  night  is  so  great,  that  whenever  these  destructive  animals  are  known 
to  be  near,  watchmen  are  stationed  under  a  shed  upon  a  platform  fixed  upon  four 
lofty  poles,  (having  a  rustic  ladder  at  one  side,)  or  against  trees,  commanding  a  view 
of  the  whole  field,  to  give  an  alarm  upon  their  approach. 

The  apparently  unwieldy  bulk  of  the  elephant  is  no  bar  to  its  activity,  for  its  common 
walk  will  keep  a  man  upon  the  run,  or  native  jog-trot ;  and,  when  put  to  its  mettle  in 
pursuit,  very  few  horses  will  beat  it  in  swiftness. 

When  elephants  emerge  from  the  jungle,  they  are  of  a  dusky  red  color,  from  the 
quantity  of  sand  and  red  earth  with  which  they  cover  their  hides,  as  a  preventive 
against  the  jungle  tick,  and  their  much-dreaded  foe,  the  tiny  mosquito. 

Gangs  of  elephant  catchers  from  Bengal,  under  the  command  of  a  captain  in  the 
army,  are  occasionally  employed  to  procure  elephants  for  the  East  India  Company’s 
service.  The  Ceylon  “  Elephant  Establishment  ”  is  attached  to  the  civil  engineer  and 
surveyor  general’s  department. 

The  island  has  been  famous  for  its  elephants  from  time  immemorial.  Pliny  has  thus 
recorded  their  superiority  to  the  elephants  of  India,  “  Elephantas  ii  multo  majores 
erant  quam  quos  fert  India  and  the  immortal  Cuvier  has  more  recently  defined  the 
existing  difference  between  the  African,  and  Ceylon  (or  Indian)  elephant :  “  Elephas 
Capensis,  fronte  convexa,  lamellis  molarium  rhomboidalibus.”  —  “  Elephas  Indicus, 
fronte  plano-concava,  lamellis  molarium  areuatis  undatis.” 

The  tusks*  of  the  male  elephant  (but  scarcely  one  in  a  hundred  has  tusks  exceeding 
the  size  of  the  grubbers  common  to  all)  are  from  six  to  seven  feet  long,  and  those  of 
the  female  about  half  that  length.  The  modus  copulandi,  long  doubted,  has  ceased 
to  be  a  mystery,  and  is  the  same  as  that  of  the  horse. 

Ceylon  ivory  is  considered  the  most  valuable  for  all  the  purposes  of  the  manufac¬ 
turer,  being  whiter,  of  finer  grain,  and  retaining  its  whiteness  much  longer,  than  any 

*  Amongst  the  prize  property  captured  in  Kandy,  in  1815,  there  were  289  elephants  tusks,  weighing 

altogether  595  H  lbs  avoirdupois. 

2  k  2 



other.  There  is  no  probability  of  any  visible  decrease  in  the  immense  herds  of  wild 
elephants,  notwithstanding  the  daily  slaughter  that  takes  place  in  the  interior,  (where 
it  is  not  uncommon  for  a  single  sportsman  to  kill  several  before  breakfast,  and  some 
have  been  known  to  “  bag”  from  forty  to  fifty,  sometimes  more,  in  a  week,)  as  well 
as  in  some  districts  of  the  maritime  provinces,  until  cultivation  shall  have  made 
greater  inroads  upon  their  jungle  rights  and  royalties ;  for  thousands  of  square  miles 
of  land,  equal,  in  point  of  fertility,  to  any  in  the  known  world,  are-  now  occupied 
solely  by  wild  beasts  ;  of  which,  elephants  are  the  most  destructive. 

An  anecdote  was  at  one  time  very  current  at  Ceylon,  of  “  Elephants’  petit-toes  ” 
having  been  anonymously  sent  to  the  late  Earl  Bathurst,  at  that  time  His  Majesty’s 
secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  at  the  suggestion  of  the  late  Samuel  Daniels,  Esq., 
the  ranger  of  the  woods  and  forests  ;  which)  from  the  known  eccentricity  of  that 
facetious  gentleman,  is  far  from  improbable.  The  present  was  rather  an  extraordinary 
one  to  a  secretary  of  state  for  the  colonies,  not  celebrated  for  a  propensity  to  Apician 
gormandizing.  If  the  facts  were  as  stated,  the  preparatory  pickling  of  the  <( petit-toes" 
in  strong  toddy  vinegar  and  cayenne  pepper  had  failed  of  their  usual  effects  in  obvi¬ 
ating  putrefaction,  and  that  when  the  case  was  opened  in  his  Lordship’s  presence, 
if  all  the  sewers  in  London  had  been  at  once  let  loose,  into  what  the  late  Lord  Charles 
Henry  Somerset  characterized  as  “  the  grand  sewer,  requiring  a  second  Hercules  to 
cleanse  it,”  the  stench  could  not  have  been  more  intolerable  or  diffusive  than  that 
emitted  from  the  elephants’  petit-toes,  and  their  pickle. — His  Lordship’s  meaning  as 
regards  the  “  grand  sewer,”  although  quite  an  enigma  to  me,  may  not  be  difficult 
of  solution  by  those  who  were  in  his  Lordship’s  confidence,  at  the  period  of  his  return 
from  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope. 

Elephants’  tusks  are  occasionally  found  buried  in  the  jungle,  but  whether  it  be  done 
by  the  animals  themselves,  or,  for  concealment,  by  the  natives,  is  hitherto  hypothetical. 
Even  in  districts  apparently  the  most  barren,  the  bones  of  innumerable  animals  (those 
of  the  elephant  in  particular)  meet  the  eye  in  almost  every  direction,  rotting  where 
they  lie,  and  altogether  neglected,  although  they  might  be  converted  into  valuable 
manure  ;  and  the  jungles  and  plains  are  in  many  places  strewed  with  the  cast  antlers 
of  deer,  of  which,  I  have  had  a  cart-load  picked  up  in  the  course  of  a  few  hours  ; 
but  as  the  natives  now  begin  to  find  a  market  for  deer  horns,  they  will  soon  reap  the 
benefit  of  collecting  and  selling  them  for  exportation  to  Europe. 

Of  the  lesser  animals  the  most  worthy  of  powder  and  shot,  exclusively  of  those 
already  named,  are,  the  Sloth  ( Bradypus  dactylus,  L.)  with  two  toes,  as  its  trivial  name 
implies,  on  its  fore  feet ;  this  animal  has  no  tail,  and  is  much  smaller  than  the  South 



American  Sloth  (B.  tridactylus,  L.) ;  —  a  variety  of  Squirrels  (including  the  Sciurus 
volans,  L.),  called  by  the  general  name  of  Dandooleyna  by  the  Singhalese  ;  of  which, 
one  large  species  is  very  beautiful,  having  a  pink  nose,  a  deep  glossy  black  and  bright 
yellow  body,  the  fur  of  which  is  long  and  silky,  and  may  be  easily  tamed;  —  the 
Maucauco  ( Lemur  tardigradus,  L.),  whose  trivial  name  is  a  sad  misnomer,  for  the  little 
animal  is  remarkably  active  ;  it  is  of  a  pretty  light  brown  color,  inclining  to  that 
of  burnt  T.  Senna,  has  no  tail,  hind  toes  short  and  pointed,  and  the  others  round  ;  - 
the  Ternate  Bat  (  Vespertilio  Vampyrus ,  L.),  commonly  called  the  flying  fox,  about 
the  size  of  our  common  squirrel  (Sciurus  vulgaris,  L.),  whose  large  black  leathern 
wings,  which,  when  extended,  are  from  four  to  five  feet  between  the  extremities,  give 
it  a  terrific  appearance  ;  and,  notwithstanding  that  its  habits  are  well  known  to  be 
frugivorous,  it  would  be  presumptuous  to  doubt  a  positive  affirmation  of  the  celebrated 
Linnaeus,  that  it  sucks  the  blood  of  a  human  being,  sleeping  in  the  open  air,  whilst 
fanning  the  air  with  its  wings  ; — the  Racoon  ( Ursus  Lotov,  L.) ; — the  White  Baboon, 
called  by  the  Singhalese  Tanma  or  Wannia,  which  I  have  never  seen,  and  it  may  be 
an  Albino  ;  but  the  natives  relate  strange  stories  of  its  lying  in  ambush  and  attacking 
women  and  children  ; — the  Black  Baboon,  with  white  beard,  (Simla  Silenus,  L.,  and 
Macacus  Silenus,  C.),  Wanderoo  of  the  Singhalese ; — and  the  Brown  Monkey,  Rilawah 
or  Rollawai  of  the  Singhalese. 

On  the  homeward  voyage,  in  the  ship  Princess  Charlotte,  in  1819,  I  had  a  Wanderoo 
on  board,  which  showed  a  great  degree  of  cunning,  as  well  as  of  partiality  for  English 
cookery.  His  residence  was  under  the  tarpauling  cover  of  the  launch,  from  whence 
he  would  keep  a  look-out  upon  the  cook,  whenever  meat  was  being  roasted  at  the 
caboose  fire.  Jackoo  usually  remained  very  quiet,  taking  an  occasional  peep  at  the 
spit,  until  the  joint  before  the  fire  was  nearly  dressed  ;  and  when  the  cook  tempo¬ 
rarily  left  the  caboose,  the  animal  would  jump  from  cover,  rub  his  paws  over  the 
surface  of  the  meat,  and  lick  them,  repeating  it  until  retreat  was  necessary  to  his  own 
safety,  and  leaving  it  for  the  cook  to  discover  the  plunderer  of  the  fine  brown  surface 
of  the  cuddy  dinner,  who  never  failed  to  accuse  the  soldiers’  children  of  it.  But  justice 
determined  chat  Jackoo  should  be  detected  ;  and  having  been  caught  in  the  act,  tin 
animal  showed  such  dread  of  the  consequences,  both  by  his  face  and  manner,  and  b\ 
scratching  his  side,  and  then  extending  his  open  paws,  as  if  pleading,  in  extenuation, 
that  they  wrere  free  from  grease,  that  the  cook  was  more  mercifully  disposed  than  one 
would  have  expected.  “  You  would  (said  he  to  the  culprit)  speak  if  you  could  ; 
but  although  your  hands  may  be  clean,  you  smack  your  lips,  and  some  of  the  brown 
is  upon  your  whiskers,  which  is  enough,  if  I  had  not  caught  you,  to  prove  you  guilt}  : 



however,  as  you  are  a  black  fellow,  and  don’t  know  better,  I’ll  lei  you  off  this  time.” 
In  justice  to  Jackoo,  it  must  not  be  omitted,  that  he  was  never  known  to  repeat  his 
attempt  upon  the  cuddy  dinner.  He  weathered  the  cold  off  the  Cape  of  Qood  Hope 
very  well,  (from  which  circumstance,  the  crew  named  him  “  Corporal  Hardy,”  and 
dressed  him  en  militaire,  with  a  corporal’s  chevron  on  the  arm,)  but  died  from  eating 
too  much  fruit,  soon  after  being  landed  at  Cape  Town. 

In  this,  and  the  adjoining  district  of  the  Mahagampattoo,  the  patches  of  water, 
bordering  upon  jungle,  are  very  well  tenanted  by  the  Black-backed  Goose  ( Anas 
Melanotos*),  Spotted-billed  Duck  {A.  Poeeiloryncha ),  Wigeon  ( A .  Penelope ),  Pelican 
(. Pelicanus  Onocratolus ,  Lin.),  white,  with  a  bag  at  its  throat,  for  carrying  its  finny  prey  ; 
Common  Kingfisher  ( Alcedo  Ispida),  Violet  Kingfisher  (A.  Coromandel),  Pied  Kingfisher 
{A.  rudis),  Smyrna  Kingfisher  {A.  Smyrnensis),  Spoonbill  ( Platalea  Leucorodia,  Lin.), 
Grey  Sandpiper  ( Tringa  Squatarola ,  Lin.),  White-headed  Ibis  ( Tantalus  Leucrocephalus), 
Black-headed  Ibis  (71  melanocephalus),  Curlew  ( Scolopax  arquata,  Lin.),  Snipe  ( S .  Gal - 
linago,  Lin.),  and  Jack  Snipe  (S.  Gallinula,  Lin.),  both  of  whieh  latter  are  very  numer¬ 
ous,  and  equal,  if  not  superior,  to  their  kinds  in  England. 

I  have  heard  of  the  Woodcock  ( Scolopax  Rusticola,  Lin.)  having  been  killed  in  the 
interior,  but  I  never  saw  it  in  any  part  of  the  country  where  I  have  travelled ;  never¬ 
theless,  its  presence  is  by  no  means  improbable  on  that  account,  for  a  great  variety  of 
migratory  birds  periodically  visit  the  island  ;  of  which,  the  most  numerous  is  the  Flamingo 
( Pheenicopterus  ruber,  Lin.).  These  birds  come  in  large  flocks,  and  plant  centinels  to 
give  notice  of  an  enemy’s  approach  ;  hence  the  Dutch  sportsman’s  maxim,  “  the 
longer  the  gun,  the  better  the  chance  of  killing  flamingos.”  But  the  kingfishers, 
on  the  contrary,  appear  as  if  they  were  disposed  to  be  domesticated ;  for  they  take 
post  upon  the  stumps  of  trees,  close  to  houses,  and  wherever  there  is  water,  and  allow 
one  to  approach  very  near  before  they  take  the  trouble  to  move  off,  and  then  to  a 
short  distance  only. 

The  jungles  bordering  upon  this  line  of  road  contain  many  a  novel  and  undescribed 
species  of  the  indigenous  genera,  worthy  of  the  attention  of  the  Ornothologist ;  for 
the  birds  that  are  named  in  the  following  catalogue,  exclusively  of  those  elsewhere 
noticed  in  these  pages,  as  being  commonly  known  to  have  their  habitat  in  Ceylon,  form 
but  a  small  proportion  of  the  whole  :  viz. — 

The  Malabar  Hornbill  ( Buceros  Malabaricus),  Yellow-throated  Toucan  ( Ramphaston 

*  The  birds  are  named  agreeably  to  Smellie's  translation  of  Buffon's  Natural  History,  and  Latham's  Indian 

Ornithology,  unless  specified  to  the  contrary. 



dicolorus ),  Preacher  Toucan  (R.  precatus),  Indian  Parrot  ( Psittacus  Orientalis),  Ceylon 
Parakeet  (P.  Zeylanicus),  Pygmy  Parakeet  (P.  pygmceus),  Boulboul  Shrike  ( Lanius 
Boulboul),  Indian  Roller  ( Coracias  Indica ),  Grey-tailed  Roller  (C.  vagabunda),  Fairy 
Roller  (C.  Puella),  Faciated  Curucui  ( Trogon  fasciatus),  Spotted  Curucui  (P.  macu- 
latus),  Indian  Vulture  (  Vullur  Indicus),  Cheela  Falcon  ( Falco  Cheela ),  Rhomboidal 
Falcon  (P.  Rhombeus ),  Black-and-white  Falcon  (F.  melanoleucos ),  Brown  Hawk  (F.  Ba- 
dius),  Ceylonese  Eared  Owl  ( Siric  Ceylonensis ),  Coromandel  Eared  Owl  (S.  Coromanda), 
Indian  Eared  Owl  (S.  Bakkamuna),  Tufted  Fly-catcher  ( Muscicapa  Comat  a),  Red-vented 
Fly-catcher  ( M .  Hcemorrhousa),  Yellow-breasted  Fly-catcher  ( M .  Melanictera),  Cin¬ 
namon  Fly-catcher  ( M Cinnamomea),  Malabar  Lark  ( Alauda  Malabar ica),  Cinnamon 
Creeper  ( Certhia  Cinnamomea),  Indigo  Creeper  (C.  parietum ),  Yellow-billed  Creeper 
(C.  Lepida),  Tufted  Creeper  (C  .  Erythrorynchos ),  Red-crowned  Barbet  (Bucco  rubn 
capillus ),  Yellow-cheeked  Barbet  (P.  Zeylanicus),  Blue  Barbet  (P.  Gerini),  Green  Bar- 
bet  (P.  viridis),  Red-headed  Cuckoo  (Cue ulus  Pyrrhocephalus),  Bombay  Goat-sucker 
( Caprimulgus  Asiaticus),  Green  Wagtail  (Motacilla  viridis),  Pink  Warbler  (Sylvia  Cary- 
ophyllacea ),  Green  and  Yellow  Fig-eater  (S.  Zeylonica),  Black-necked  Warbler  («$'.  nign- 
collis ),  Tailor  Warbler  (S.  sutoria),  Gaur  Bunting  (Emberiza  Asiatica),  Olive  Bunting  (E. 
olivacea),  Red-winged  Woodpecker  (Picus  miniatus),  Malacca  Woodpecker  (P.  Malae- 
censis),  Ceylon  Finch  (Fringilla  Zeylanica),  Green-rumped  Finch  (F.  butyracea),  Yellow- 
crowned  Thrush  (Turdus  Oehrocephalus ),  Long-tailed  Thrush  (T.  macrourus),  Yellow 
Grosbeak  (Loxia  jlavicaus),  Yellow-rumped  Grosbeak  (L.  Hordacea),  Eastern  Grosbeak 
(L.  undulata),  Brown  Grosbeak  (L.  fusca),  Ash-headed  Grosbeak  (L.  Indica),  Malabar 
Grosbeak  (L.  Malabanca),  Dwarf  Grosbeak  (L.  minima),  Black  Tanagre  (Tanagra 
atrata),  Indian  Plover  ( Charadrius  Indicus),  Ceylon  Rail  (Rallus  Zeylanicus),  Indian 
Jacana  (Parra  Indica),  Crested  Gallinule  (Gallinula  enstata),  Common  Hoepoe  (Upupa 
Epops),  Purple-shouldered  Pigeon  ( Columba  P hcemcoptera) ,  Spotted  Green  Pigeon 
(C.  maculata),  Ring  Dove  ( C .  palumbus,  Lin.),  Turtle  Dove  (C.  Turtur,  Lin.). 

Of  the  genus  Columba  there  is  a  great  variety,  from  the  Cinnamon  Pigeon  to  thtj 
smallest  of  the  innumerable  doves  of  the  jungle.  Some  of  the  latter  are  of  the  most 
brilliant  hues,  particularly  the  Great,  and  the  Lesser  Green  or  Bamboo  Dove.  Tht 
wild  Blue  Pigeon  is  very  common  throughout  the  island,  and  particularly  upon  the 
coasts  of  the  southern  and  eastern  provinces. 

Of  widow  birds,  (as  they  are  called,  but  they  probably  belong  to  the  genus  Upupa , 
the  two  Ceylon  varieties  are,  the  rufous  brown  with  black  crest,  and  the  white,  and 
black  with  raven  black  crest.  The  Singhalese  call  the  former  Rattoo  Pili  Hora,  and 
the  latter,  Sudu  Pili  Hora.  These  birds  are  more  plentiful  upon  the  Kalu-Ganga, 



than  in  any  other  part  of  the  island  ;  but  there  is  no  known  instance  of  their  having 
survived  twenty  four  hours’  confinement  in  a  cage. 

Orlotans  {Ember iza  Hortulana )  are  abundant,  particularly  in  the  southern  province ; 
and  the  common  house  sparrow  is  as  plentiful  as  in  any  part  of  Europe. 

I  wish  I  could  offer  the  naturalist  a  more  detailed  list  of  the  Ceylon  Birds ;  but  this 
will  materially  assist  him  with  his  native  guides  in  collecting  specimens,  which  can 
be  classed;  at  leisure,  agreeably  to  the  System  he  may  prefer. 

1  Monara 

2  Rana  Koka 

3  Rajah  Ali 

4  Wale-Kukoola 

5  Dia  Kawa 

6  Karawal  Koka 

7  Indoora  Koka 

8  Maha  Koka 

9  Koka 

1 0  Kaportoo  Koka 

1 1  Seraa 

12  Mae  Seraa 

13  Soemba  Seraa 

14  Getta  Seraa 

1 5  Rena  Kewa 

16  Dia  Toedewa 

1 7  Beli  Kawa 

1 8  Maana 

19  Wattoevandewa 

20  Kebbe  Lita 

21  Bake-moena 

22  Basa 

23  Metti  Koroewaka 

24  Korowaka 

25  Kirilla 

26  Koleya 

27  Rena  Wattoewa 

28  Kobeya 

29  Kas-wattoewa 

30  Pili  Hodoowa 

31  Hella  Leniya 

32  Kaha  Koroola 

33  Battoe  Goya 

34  Alloo  Kobeya 

35  Nil  Kobeya 

36  Rattoo  Pili-Hora 

37  Sudu-Kalu  Pili-Hora 

38  Poto-Koroola 

39  Goon  Kawediva 


40  Tootiya 

41  Wie  Koroola 

42  Key  Koroola 

43  Kolowewa 

44  Mae  Rotorewa 

45  Malletje 

46  Girrawa 

47  Laboo  Girrawa 

48  Rena  Girrawa 

49  Battoo  Girrawa 

50  Kandoo  Panikia 

51  Pooyoo  Kandata 

52  Kandata 

53  Mae  Kandata 

54  Awetja 

55  Parendella 

56  Oekosoewa 

57  Demeditiya 

58  Weserima 

59  Politija 

60  Haban-Koola 

61  Olema 

62  Kurundu  Kobeya 

63  Maha-nilla-Guya 

64  Iri-Kahawa 

65  Gette  Poli-Hoedoowa 

66  Kottoreya 

67  Moodoo  Kirilla 

68  Gaulama 

69  Weggi-Lena 

70  Koerool-Goya 

71  Kalu  Koerool-Goya 

72  Mal-Koha 

W.  C  Edwards  foulp 

J.  W.  Bennett  del. 

A  species  of  Indigenous  Then  L. 
presented  by  Assistant  Staff  Surgeon  Crawford  -  Batticaloa. 


Pensile  nesls  of  the  Yellow  Grosbeak — Its  partiality  for  the  fire  fly — Tailor  warbler — Mode  of  farming  its  nest — 
Its  familiarity — Employment  of  a  botanist  skilled  in  practical  chymislry  suggested — Official  employes  incapable  of 
affording  much  time  to  philosophical  researches — Route  southward  continued — Tricoil  or  Tricowille — Komarie — Face 
of  the  country — Hints  to  the  traveller — Patiivilla — Oohundemalle — Village  of  Kombookanaar — Black  paddee — 
Time  of  sowing  and  reaping — Devi /  worshippers — Offerings  at  the  conclusion  of  harvest — Kombookan- Aar— 

Kombook  trees — Area  and  population  of  the  Eastern  Province - Southern  Province — Potane — Yalle — Suggestions 

to  the  tourist,  if  intending  to  proceed  to  Katlregam  Dewale — Total  absence  of  splendour  there — Human  victims 
to  chetahs — National  religion  of  the  Singhalese  a  medley  of  Hindoo  and  Buddhist  worship — The  god  of  Kattre 
gam — Dewales  and  Vihares — Approach  to  Katlregam  Dewale — Head  Brahmin — Confers  with  the  Basnaike  Rale 
— Supposed  subject  of  their  conference — Timely  suggestions — Water  of  the  Parapa-Oya — Priestly  ablutions — Chief 
Brahmin  s  Residence — Image  and  slippers  of  a  god — State  chair  of  sacred  clay,  the  founder's  stepping  block 
from  earth  to  heaven — Present  from  the  pnests — Temple  lands — Buddhist  and  devil  priests — An  easy  going  set  of 
fellows — Malay  officer  commanding  at  Katlregam — Medley  of  superstitions — Contrasts  between  the  worship  bf 
Buddha  and  that  of  Brahma. 

The  very  curious  and  pensile  nests  of  the  Yellow  Grosbeak  ( Loxia  jiavicans ),  which 
is  of  a  yellowish  brown,  and  in  some  respects  resembles  our  yellow  hammer  ( Emberiza 
Citrinella),  cannot  fail  to  attract  attention.  I  have  counted  forty  three  of  these  nests 
upon  one  tree,  all  of  which  were  suspended  from  the  extremities  of  the  spinous 
branches  of  the  Mimosa  pennata ,  L.,  that  overhung  a  patch  of  water.  These  exhibited 
an  extraordinary  and  beautiful  appearance,  when  illuminated  with  fire  flies  at  night, 
and  waved  by  a  gentle  breeze. 

The  Hindoos,  who  call  it  Bay  a,  and  are  adepts  at  taming  it,  describe  it  as  being 
partial  to  the  fire  fly  ( Buprestis  vittata ) ;  and  so  careful  is  this  bird  of  the  insects  which 
it  selects  for  the  purpose  of  feeding  its  young,  that  it  does  not  kill  them  in  transitu 
to  its  nest,  as  if  it  intended  that  they  should  first  illuminate  it,  and  afterwards  serve 
for  a  living  prey  to  its  young.  This  Grosbeak  has  no  note  beyond  a  chirp  :  it  deposits 
several  eggs,  which  are  as  white,  and  almost  as  glossy,  as  pearls,  and  of  the  size  of 
our  common  sparrow’s  eggs.  The  nest,  which  in  shape  resembles  an  inverted  Bengal 
water  goglet,  is  about  twenty  six  inches  in  length. 

The  next,  in  point  of  ingenuity,  is  the  beautiful  little  Tailor  Warbler  ( Sylvia  sutoria ), 
which  forms  its  nest  by  attaching  a  dead  leaf  of  the  Domba  tree  ( Calophyllum  inop  by  l- 
turn,  L.)  to  a  living  one  ; — these  it  sews  together,  by  making  holes  in  the  leaves  with 

2  L 



its  pointed  bill,  through  which  it  passes  a  fibre  of  the  plantain  tree,  as  fine  as 
thread,  and  then  lines  the  cavity  with  silky  cotton  and  feathers,  for  the  reception 
of  its  tiny  white  eggs. 

A  pair  of  these  pretty  little  creatures  having  formed  their  nest  in  a  Domba  tree, 
within  twelve  or  fourteen  feet  of  my  verandah,  I  would  not  allow  them  to  be  disturbed  ; 
and  there  they  reared  their  young,  until  their  little  wings  had  acquired  sufficient 
strength  to  enable  them  to  shift  for  themselves.  They  latterly  became  almost  as 
familiar  as  a  robin  red-breast  in  winter,  seldom  attempting  to  fly  away  when  I  ap¬ 
proached  them,  as  they  had  done  during  our  first  acquaintance  :  and,  by  way  of 
protecting  them  by  day  from  the  attacks  of  the  ever-vigilant  and  voracious  jackdaws 
( Corvus  monedula ),  I  kept  a  gun  and  pellet  bow  in  the  verandah,  as  near  the  tree  as 
possible ;  both  these  weapons  being  so  well  known  to  these  audacious  birds,  that  every 
deference  is  paid  to  their  presence,  except  by  some  very  old  ones,  who  are  daring 
enough  to  approach  them,  as  if  they  knew  that  neither  a  gun  nor  a  pellet  bow  could 
do  mischief  of  itself. 

It  is  here  that  a  botanist,  combining  the  qualifications  of  a  practical  chymist,  would 
prove  a  most  important  acquisition  to  the  government,  and  the  public  ;  for  he  would 
not  only  satisfy  himself  as  to  the  abundance  of  the  trees  that  produce  medicinal, 
elastic,  and  other  gums,  (which  might  have  been  made,  for  the  last  forty  six  years, 
available  to  British  commerce,)  but  that  many  a  valuable  production,  by  which  the 
trade  of  the  country  may  hereafter  be  extended,  and  the  revenue  increased,  now  lies 
hidden  in  the  heart  of  the  jungle,  for  want  of  energetic  examination  and  developement. 
It  cannot  be  denied,  however  discreditable  it  be  to  the  nation,  that  hitherto,  “  most 
of  our  varieties  have  been  found  out  by  casual  emergency,  and  have  been  the  works 
of  time  and  chance,  rather  than  of  philosophy.”* 

It  cannot  be  expected  that  official  employes  have  sufficient  leisure  for  acquiring  any 
very  great  knowledge  of  the  natural  productions  of  the  island,  from  their  own  re¬ 
searches,  even  if  the  climate  were  as  favorable  to  study  and  exertion  as  it  is  congenial 
with  indolence  and  relaxation  ;  and  therefore  qualified  professors,  who  devote  their 
time  exclusively  to  the  pursuits  of  botany,  or  natural  history  in  general,  would  be 
invaluable  members  of  society  in  this  extensive,  but  little  known,  colony. 

Much  self-command  and  great  patience  is  necessary  in  prosecuting  any  particular 
study  in  a  climate  where  one  hand  is  constantly  employed  in  endeavouring  to  keep  off 
the  mosquitos,  or  to  kill  them  as  they  alight  upon  one’s  face,  which  often  sustains  a 
hard  slap,  without  the  satisfaction  of  having  “  bagged  ”  the  winged  annoyance. 

*  Glanville. 



To  resume  our  route  southward ; — the  next  stage  from  Wambimodoo  is  to  Tricoil, 
or  Tricowille,  distant  16|  miles,  a  small  straggling  village,  but  well  populated  for  its 
position  in  a  part  of  the  country  but  little  cultivated,  and  that  only  in  scanty  patches, 
which  is  also  the  case  for  a  part  of  the  way  to  Komarie,  a  further  distance  of  1 1  miles, 
where  the  country  begins  to  wear  a  more  general  appearance  of  cultivation  ;  chiefly  of 
black  paddee  ( Karpoo  mllo),  yams,  maize,  Payro ,  a  grain  sown  with  maize,  Natcherie, 
or  Korakan ,  and  other  small  grains. 

At  every  bazaar  along  this  coast,  which  may  here  be  considered  synonymous  with 
village,  plenty  of  fish,  poultry,  eggs,  rice,  milk,  common  fruits,  and  vegetables,  may  be 
obtained  at  mQderate  prices.  The  traveller  will  find  it  very  useful  to  have  with  him 
some  of  the  smallest  copper  coin  of  the  country  ;  and,  having  his  bed  with  him,  and, 
it  is  to  be  presumed,  a  supply  of  good  brandy,  as  a  necessary  qualifier  of  some  of  the 
water  that  he  will  have  to  drink,  if  he  drink  it  at  all,  when  he  can  get  green  coco-nuts, 
any  shed  (where  there  is  neither  a  rest-house  nor  Buddha  temple  to  receive  him)  that 
will  shelter  his  palankin  from  the  sun,  will  also  afford  his  bearers  a  resting-place,  and 
his  cook  a  kitchen : — but  this  he  will  have  found  out  before  he  reaches  Komarie. 

From  Komarie  to  Pattivilla,  the  distance  is  9  miles ;  from  thence,  through  the  small 
village  of  Arookgam,  (distant  2-f  miles,)  to  Panoah,  near  which  village  the  Arookgam- 
Aar  is  crossed  twice,  1 2  miles  ;  the  face  of  the  eountry  continuing  the  same,  with  very 
little  variation,  to  Qohundemalle,  a  further  distance  of  8|  miles,  where  there  is  a  toler¬ 
able  rest-house  ;  and  to  the  village  of  Kombookanaar,  the  last  stage  in  the  Eastern 
Province,  12%  miles.  This  is  just  the  place  for  an  Icthyophagist,  for  the  finest  sorts 
of  fish,  green  turtle  ( Testudo  Mydas,  L.,  Chelonia  Mydas,  C.),  oysters,  cray-fish, 
prawns,  and  small  but  delicious  crabs,  are  abundant  and  ridiculously  cheap. 

Black  paddee  is  sown  towards  the  end  of  October,  and  reaped  about  the  middle 
of  April ;  but  the  few  other  species  of  paddee  cultivated  here  vary  in  the  time  of 
attaining  maturity, — that  called  Samba  requires  five  months  ;  Chinette  or  Hinette  eleven 
or  twelve  weeks  ;  and  Penanelloo  is  sown  from  the  middle  of  January  to  the  beginning 
of  May,  and  reaped  in  four  months. 

The  inhabitants  of  this  province  are  chiefly  “  Devil-worshippers,”  and  undertake 
neither  sowing  nor  reaping,  Avithout  propitiating  Pattine  with  their  offerings.  At 
the  conclusion  of  harvest,  they  form  a  circular  road,  by  removing  the  paddee  stubble 
from  a  space  about  ten  feet  in  diameter,  and  then  making  a  large  hole  in  the  centre, 
They  fix  several  stakes  around  the  opening,  and  decorate  them  with  coco-nuts,  areka 
nuts,  white  olas,  sheaves  of  paddee,  and  the  flower  spikes  of  the  Pandanus  odoratissimus  . 
which  last  are  indispensable,  it  being  supposed  that  their  diffusive  odour  is  a  most 

2  l  2 



acceptable  perfume  to  the  Maha  Yaka ;  to  whom,  they  hold  it  as  sacred  as  the  Syra¬ 
cusans  of  old  did  the  Cypress,  Maiden-hair,  and  Narcissus  to  Pluto  ;  but  more  merciful 
than  the  Syracusans,  they  shed  no  black  bull’s,  or  other  blood  upon  the  ground,  by 
way  of  sacrifice. 

After  certain  ceremonies,  they  deposit  bunches  of  areka  nuts,  several  small  pieces 
of  wood,  a  hen’s  egg,  enveloped  in  an  ola  of  the  talipat  or  of  the  palmyra  tree,  and 
inscribed  with  certain  invocations  by  a  Kappurale,  or  priest  of  the  goddess  Pattine, 
in  the  hole  ;  and,  over  all,  they  place  a  stone  with  great  ceremony. 

The  women,  who  have  borne,  as  the  poor  creatures  do  throughout  the  island,  the 
burthen  and  heat  of  the  day,  then  approach,  bearing  on  their  heads  sheaves  of  paddee  ; 
and  after  having  thrice  walked  round  the  stone,  in  solemn  silence,  they  deposit  the 
sheaves  upon  it,  as  a  “  first-fruit  offering”  of  the  harvest  to  the  dreaded  Maha  Yaka. 

This  ceremony  concluded,  the  natural  loquacity  of  the  women  resumes  its  reign, 
and  amidst  a  confusion  of  tongues,  which  a  stranger  to  the  language  can  compare  to 
nothing  less  than  that  recorded  of  Babel,  they  collect  and  bring  in  the  reaped  paddee ; 
and,  upon  that  work  being  completed,  they  vociferously  lay  claim  to  a  portion  of  the 
grain,  by  way  of  “  largess,”  sufficient  to  cover,  to  a  certain  thickness,  the  stone  upon 
which  the  devil  offerings  rest  ' ! 

The  Kombookan-Aar  takes  its  name  from  the  innumerable  Kombook  trees  that 
border  its  banks.  The  timber  is  a  sort  of  zebra  wood,  which,  but  for  its  distance  from 
ports  of  export,  might  be  turned  to  a  good  account  as  an  article  of  commerce.  It  is 
a  species  of  Terminalia ,  L.  ;  and,  from  its  affording  a  resinous  juice,  which  makes  a 
superior  varnish,  is,  probably,  the  Terminalia  vernkv,  L. 

The  superficies  of  the  eastern  province  is  4895  square  miles  ;  and  the  population, 
(exclusive  of  the  Bintenne  division,  where  no  returns  had  been  kept,  nor  are  likely  to 
be  for  many  years  to  come,)  agreeably  to  the  Census  taken  in  1835,  was  54,606, 
making  the  average  number  to  the  square  mile,  11.15  ;  viz. 




Whites,  including  Military  and  their  families  . 



Free  Blacks,  ditto  ditto  . 



Slaves  . . 

.  12 



Aliens  and  resident  strangers  . . . . . . 



Of  whom,  there  were  employed  in  agriculture,  8930  ;  in  manufactures,  3017  ;  and 
in  commerce,  1427.  The  marriages,  in  the  year  1835,  were  471  ;  births,  1571  ;  and 
deaths,  1254  ;  leaving  a  surplus  in  favor  of  the  population  of  the  province,  of  317. 



Having  crossed  the  ferry,  the  traveller  enters  the  Southern  Province,  which  comprises 
the  former  districts  of  Hambantotte,  Tangalle,  Matura,  the  dessavony  of  Saffragam, 
and  province  of  Lower  Ouva  and  Wallasse ;  and  the  Southern  Circuit  of  the  Supreme 
Court  of  Judicature  includes  the  district  courts  of  Hambantotte,  Tangalle,  Matura, 
Galle,  and  Ballepittye  Modera. 

The  first  stage  from  Kombookanaar  is  to  Potane,  distant  7f  miles  ;  and  the  next, 
through  low  jungle,  filled  with  every  description  of  game  known  to  the  island,  to 
Yalle  rest-house,  upon  the  left  bank  of  the  Manick-Ganga,  (also  called  Parapa-Ova 
and  Yalle  river,  which  takes  its  rise  in  the  Ouva  mountains,  and  flows  past  Kattregam 
Dewale,  to  its  emboucheure  at  Yalle,)  11£  miles. 

If  the  tourist  be  disposed  to  visit  Kattregam  Dewale,  instead  of  crossing  the  Manick- 
Ganga,  native  guides,  and  a  Tamatame,  or  Tam-a-tam  beater,  to  scare  the  chetahs  and 
bears  to  a  respectful  distance,  should  be  procured  at  Yalle  to  accompany  him  through  the 
jungle,  to  that  meridian  of  paganism,  which  is  situate  upon  the  left  bank  of  the  river. 

One  must  not  expect  splendour,  neither  “  Barbaric  gold  nor  pearl,”  at  Kattregam, 
notwithstanding  the  innumerable  pilgrims  who  visit  it  from  all  parts  of  India ;  very 
many  of  whom  annually  leave  their  bones  there  to  whiten  in  the  sun,  after  having 
been  well  picked  by  chetahs  and  jackalls  ;  for  in  the  hot  months  of  June,  July,  and 
August,  (during  which  period  not  a  drop  of  rain  falls  to  refresh  exhausted  nature,  and 
the  periodical  fever,  which  carries  off  great  numbers,  prevails,)  the  pilgrims  are  most 
numerous,  it  being  the  time  of  the  great  festival ;  as  if,  the  more  deaths  that  resulted 
from  attending  it,  made  the  Holocaust  *  the  more  acceptable  to  the  much  dreaded  and 
sanguinary  deity.  It  is  an  almost  daily  occurrence  for  pilgrims,  whilst  resting  them¬ 
selves  upon  the  arid  sandb  of  the  desert,  in  which  stands  this  curse  of  humanity,  to 
be  carried  off  to  the  jungle,  by  chetahs,  and  devoured. 

The  national  religion  of  the  Singhalese,  although  said  to  be  the  exclusive  worship  ot 
Buddha,  is  a  medley  of  Buddhist  and  Hindoo  worship.  The  temples  of  the  former  are 
called  Vihares, f  and  of  the  latter  DewaUs ;  of  which,  the  most  dreaded  is  Kattregam 
Dewale,  or  temple  of  Kartikcya,  son  of  the  mountain-bom  goddess,  or  Parvati  of  the 

*  This  word  is  here  used  metaphorically,  in  allusion  to  the  great  heat  of  the  sands  of  Kattregam,  where  a 
body  is  more  likely  to  be  burnt  than  frozen,  and  where  so  many  devils  are  worshipped. 

f  In  Siam,  the  temples  ol  Soinmona-(  odom,  another  name  for  Buddha,  are  called  Pihan ;  those  of  Buddha 
in  Ceylon  are  called  Vihar,  which  i>  Sanscrit,  and  written  by  the  Bengalese  Bihar.  According  to  Ferishtah  ^ 
History  of  Bengal,  “  the  name  was  given  to  the  province  of  Beh&r,  because  it  was  formerly  so  full  of  Brahmin* 
as  to  be,  as  it  were,  one  great  seminary  of  learning  ;  as  the  word  imports." — Both  in  Siam  and  Ceylon,  there  art 
two  orders  of  Buddhist  priests  ;  both  of  which  are  distinguished  by  the  yellow,  or  saffron  colored  robe. 



Brahmins,  who  is  represented  riding  on  a  peacock,  and  having  six  crowned  heads, 
and  twelve  arms  ;  two  of  which  hold  swards,  two  grasp  spears,  and  one  holds  a  small 
punkah  or  fan.  So  that  it  will  not  be  thought  extraordinary  that  a  Dewale  and  a  Vihare 
should  stand  contiguous,  or,  as  it  occasionally  happens,  under  the  same  roof,  as  if  by 
way  of  compromise  between  Buddhists  and  their  original  Brahminical  persecutors. 

There  are  several  Dewales  here,  besides  that  of  the  Kattregam  Dewiyo ;  but,  when 
I  visited  the  place,  in  1826,  most  of  these  buildings  were  in  a  state  of  decay  and  dilapi¬ 
dation,  and  the  grand  Dewale,  as  well  as  the  much-neglected  Vihare  of  Buddha  in 
the  large  square,  (where  the  only  object  really  worthy  of  admiration  is  a  magnificent 
Bogaha ,  or  sacred  fig  tree,)  were  also  much  out  of  repair. 

The  former  temple,  which  is  approached  by  a  long  and  spacious  front  and  back 
avenue,  the  one  terminated  by  a  large  Dagobah,  much  dilapidated,  and  wearing  all  the 
appearance  of  great  antiquity,  and  the  other  by  a  small  Hindoo  temple,  or  Dewale, 
consists  of  an  outer  and  inner  apartment  only.  The  walls  of  the  former  are  bedaubed 
with  representations  of  the  Hindoo  mythology  ;  amongst  which,  are  those  of  Sheva, 
Xata,  Vishnu,  and  Pattine,  and  a  Hindoo  zodiac,  interspersed  with  Lotos  flowers,  and 
other  emblems,  similarly  painted  in  water  colors,  for  a  ceiling  ;  but  the  floor  is  plastered 
with  the  diluted  ordure  of  the  sacred  cow.  Whatever  riches  the  Dewale  may  possess, 
which,  doubtless,  are  great,  are  carefully  concealed  from  European  eyes  ;  and  this 
ostensible  appearance  of  poverty  is  probably  a  scheme  to  increase  them,  for  it  is 
well  known,  that  during  the  Kandyan  rebellion  of  1817-18,  this  temple  was  made  a 
deposit  for  the  most  valuable  property  belonging  to  those  who  had  compromised 
themselves  with  our  government. 

Although  the  commanding  Malay  officer  had  intimated,  that  no  European  was  al¬ 
lowed  to  enter  the  inner  apartment,  the  chief  priest,  (a  venerable  personage  in  point 
of  age  and  length  of  beard,  his  forehead  well  striped  with  marks  of  caste,  habited  in 
i  crimson  robe,  carelessly  thrown  over  the  left  shoulder,  and  a  waist-cloth  of  the  same 
color,  over  a  dirty  Sarong,  with  a  long  string  of  perfumed  seeds,  besides  his  Zennaar, 
round  his  neck,  and  a  similar  ornament  over  his  right  arm,)  appeared  to  confer  with 
the  Basnaike  Rale,  or  lay  comptroller  of  the  Dewale,  (occasionally  looking  at  “  tht 
Europeans’”  boots,)  and  then  with  the  three  Kappurales,  or  priests*  of  Pattine,  of  whom 
twelve  belong  to  the  temple,  as  if  expecting  that  Captain  Dribergf  and  myself  were 
about  to  propose  to  enter  the  sanctum ,  which  I  really  think  we  might  have  been  allowed 
to  have  done  barefoot,  if  we  had  particularly  desired  it. 

*  The  priestess  is  called  Pattinee-Hame 

+  At  that  time  Commandant  of  Hambantutn 


I  confess  that  my  curiosity  was  so  much  excited,  that  I  was  on  the  point  of  pro¬ 
posing  to  enter  without  boots,  not  for  the  moment  considering  that  by  so  doing,  it 
involved  an  apparent  compromise  of  principles  of  a  higher  order,  but  which  immedi¬ 
ately  suggested  itself  to  my  friend,  (to  whom  all  the  credit  of  it  is  due  ;)  and  we  retired, 
apparently  satisfied  with  the  Basnaike  Rale's  assurances  that  the  inner  room  contained 
nothing  more  than  the  Halamba  of  Pattine,  and  similar  paintings  to  those  that  deco¬ 
rated  the  outer  apartment,  which  was  separated  from  the  former  by  a  painted  cotton 
screen.  It  afterwards  occurred  to  me,  that  the  existing  objections  might  arise  from 
Europeans  wearing  boots  made  of  the  “sacred  animal’s”  leather;  and,  upon  our 
arrival  at  Mahagam,  I  could  not  help  expressing  my  regret,  and  much  to  my  friend's 
amusement,  that  we  had  not  told  them  our  boots  were  made  of  monkey  leather,  which 
was  the  case,  and  endeavoured  to  see