Tom must learn in order to become a match for the lawyers,

time:2023-12-02 04:02:38 source:Yun Wen Yun Wu Network author:nature

CHAPTER XI. Indigenous Productions - Botanical Gardens - Suggested Experiments - Lack of Encouragement to Gold-diggers - Prospects of Gold-digging - We want "Nuggets" - Who is to Blame? - Governor's Salary - Fallacies of a Five Years' Reign - Neglected Education of the People - Responsibilities of Conquest - Progress of Christianity.

Tom must learn in order to become a match for the lawyers,

The foregoing chapter may appear to decry in toto the indigenous productions of Ceylon, as it is asserted that they are valueless in their natural state. Nevertheless, I do not imply that they must necessarily remain useless. Where Nature simply creates a genus, cultivation extends the species, and from an insignificant parent stock we propagate our finest varieties of both animals and vegetables. Witness the wild kale, parsnip, carrot, crab-apple, sloe, etc., all utterly worthless, but nevertheless the first parents of their now choice descendants.

Tom must learn in order to become a match for the lawyers,

It is therefore impossible to say what might not he done in the improvement of indigenous productions were the attention of science bestowed upon them. But all this entails expense, and upon whom is this to fall? Out of a hundred experiments ninety-nine might fail. In Ceylon we have no wealthy experimentalists, no agricultural exhibitions, no model farms, but every man who settles in a colony has left the mother country to better himself; therefore, no private enterprise is capable of such speculation. It clearly rests upon the government to develop the resources of the country, to prove the value of the soil, which is delivered to the purchaser at so much per acre, good or bad. But no; it is not in the nature of our government to move from an established routine. As the squirrel revolves his cage, so governor after governor rolls his dull course along, pockets his salary, and leaves the poor colony as he found it.

Tom must learn in order to become a match for the lawyers,

The government may direct the attention of the public, in reply, to their own establishment - to the botanical gardens. Have we not botanical gardens? We have, indeed, and much good they should do, if conducted upon the principle of developing local resources; but this would entail expense, and, like everything in the hands of government, it dies in its birth for want of consistent management.

With an able man as superintendent at a good salary, the beautiful gardens at Peredenia are rendered next to useless for want of a fund at his disposal. Instead of being conducted as an experimental farm, they are little more than ordinary pleasure-grounds, filled with the beautiful foliage of the tropics and kept in perfect order. What benefit have they been to the colony? Have the soils of various districts been tested? have new fibres been manufactured from the countless indigenous fibrous plants? have new oils been extracted? have medicinal drugs been produced? have dyes been extracted? have improvements been suggested in the cultivation of any of the staple articles of Ceylon export? In fact, has ANYTHING ever been done by government for the interest of the private settler?

This is not the fault of the manager of the gardens; he has the will, but no funds. My idea of the object of a botanical garden is, that agricultural theories should be reduced to facts, upon which private enterprise may speculate, and by such success the government should ultimately benefit.

It is well known to the commonest school-boy that soil which may be favorable to one plant is not adapted to another; therefore, where there is a diversity of soils it stands to reason that there should be a corresponding variety of crops to suit those soils, so as to make the whole surface of the land yield its proportion.

In Ceylon, where the chief article of production is coffee, land (upon an estate) which is not suitable to this cultivation is usually considered waste. Thus the government and the private proprietor are alike losers in possessing an amount of unprofitable soil.


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