regard to the behavior and fundamental character of the

time:2023-12-02 02:47:08 source:Yun Wen Yun Wu Network author:ability

Here was the plain fact that gold was found in small specks, not in one spot, but everywhere throughout the swamps for miles in the vicinity - that at a depth of two or three feet from the surface this proof was adduced of its presence; but the governor positively refused to assist the discoverers ("diggers," who were poor sailors visiting Ceylon), although they merely asked for subsistence until they should be able to reach a greater depth. This may appear too absurd to be correct, but it is nevertheless true.

regard to the behavior and fundamental character of the

At the time that I commenced these sketches of Ceylon the gold was just discovered, and I touched but lightly upon it, in the expectation that a few months of labor, aided by government support, would have established its presence in remunerating quantities. The swampy nature of the soil rendered the digging impossible without the aid of powerful pumps to reduce the water, which filled the shaft so rapidly that no greater depth could be obtained than eighteen feet, and even this at immense labor.

regard to the behavior and fundamental character of the

The diggers were absolutely penniless, and but for assistance received from private parties they must have starved. The rainy season was at its height, and torrents fell night and day with little intermission. Still, these poor little fellows worked early and late, wet and dry, ever sanguine of success, and they at length petitioned the Government to give them the means of subsistence for a few months - "subsistence" for two men, and the assistance of a few coolies. This was refused, and the reply stated that the government intended to leave the search for gold to "private enterprise." No reward was offered for its discovery as in other colonies, but the governor would leave it to "private enterprise." A promising enterprise truly, when every landholder in Ceylon, on referring to his title-deeds, observes the reservation of all precious metals to the crown. This is a fair sample of the narrow-minded, selfish policy of a government which, in endeavoring to save a little, loses all; a miserable tampering with the public in attempting to make a cat's paw of private enterprise.

regard to the behavior and fundamental character of the

How has this ended? The diggers left the island in disgust. If the gold is there in quantity, there in quantity it remains to the present time, unsought for. The subject of gold is so generally interesting, and in this case of such importance to the colony, that, believing as I do that it does exist in large quantities, I must claim the reader's patience in going into this subject rather fully.

Let us take the matter as it stands.

The reader will remember that I mentioned at an early part of these pages that gold was first discovered in Ceylon by the diggers in the bed of a stream near Kandy - that they subsequently came to Newera Ellia, and there discovered gold likewise.

It must be remembered that the main features of the country at Newera Ellia and the vicinity are broad flats or swampy plains, surrounded by hills and mountains: the former covered with rank grass and intersected by small streams, the latter covered with dense forest. The soil abounds with rocks of gneiss and quartz, some of the latter rose-color, some pure white. The gold has hitherto been found in the plains only. These plains extend over some thirty miles of country, divided into numerous patches by intervening jungles.

The surface soil is of a peaty nature, perfectly black, soapy when wet, and as light as soot when dry; worthless for cultivation. This top soil is about eighteen inches thick, and appears to have been the remains of vegetable matter washed down from the surrounding hills and forests.


recommended content