educated people with a pitying smile; all that sort of

time:2023-12-02 02:43:50 source:Yun Wen Yun Wu Network author:two

We will suppose that the crotchety old gentleman arrives first. The public will be in a delightful perplexity as to what the new governor will do - whether he will carry out the views of his predecessor, or whether he will upset everything that has been done in the past five years; all is uncertainty. The only thing known positively is, that, good or bad, he will pocket seven thousand a year!* *[since reduced to five thousand pounds].

educated people with a pitying smile; all that sort of

His term of government will be chequered by many disappointments to the public, and, if he has any feeling at all, by many heartburnings to himself. Physically incapable of much exertion, he will be unable to travel over so wild a country as Ceylon. A good governor in a little island may be a very bad governor in a large island, as a good cab-driver might make a bad four-in hand man; thus our old governor would have no practical knowledge of the country, but would depend upon prejudiced accounts for his information. Thus he would never arrive at any correct information; he would receive all testimony with doubt, considering that each had some personal motive in offering advice, and one tongue would thus nullify the other until he should at length come to the conclusion of David in his haste, "that all men are liars," and turn a deaf ear to all. This would enable him to pass the rest of his term without any active blunders, and he might vary the passive monotony of his existence by a system of contradiction to all advice gratis. A little careful pruning of expenses during the last two years of his term might give a semblance of increase o?revenue over expenditure, to gain a smile from the Colonial Office. On his return the colony would be left with neglected roads, consequent upon the withdrawal of the necessary funds.

educated people with a pitying smile; all that sort of

This incubus at length removed from the colony, may be succeeded by a governor of the first class.

educated people with a pitying smile; all that sort of

He arrives; finds everything radically wrong; the great arteries of the country (the roads) in disorder; a large outlay required to repair them. Thus his first necessary act begins by an outlay at a time when all outlay is considered equivalent to crime. This gains him a frown from the Colonial Office. Conscious of right, however, he steers his own course; he travels over the whole country, views its features personally, judges of its requirements and resources, gathers advice from capable persons, forms his own opinion, and acts accordingly.

We will allow two years of indefatigable research to have passed over our model governor; by that time, and not before, he may have become thoroughly conversant with the colony in all its bearings. He has comprehended the vast natural capabilities, he has formed his plans methodically for the improvement of the country; not by any rash and speculative outlay, but, step by step, he hopes to secure the advancement of his schemes.

This is a work of time; he has much to do. The country is in an uncivilized state; he sees the vestiges of past grandeur around him, and his views embrace a wide field for the renewal of former prosperity. Tanks must be repaired, canals reopened, emigration of Chinese and Malabars encouraged, forests and jungles cleared, barren land brought into fertility. The work of years is before him, but the expiration of his term draws near. Time is precious, but nevertheless he must refer his schemes to the Colonial Office. What do they know of Ceylon? To them his plans seem visionary; at all events they will require an outlay. A correspondence ensues - that hateful correspondence! This ensures delay. Time flies; the expiration of his term draws near. Even his sanguine temperament has ceased to hope; his plans are not even commenced, to work out which would require years; he never could see them realized, and his successor might neglect them and lay the onus of the failure upon him, the originator, or claim the merit of their success.

So much for a five years' term of governorship, the absurdity of which is superlative. It is so entirely contrary to the system of management in private affairs that it is difficult to imagine the cause that could have given rise to such a regulation. In matters great or small, the capability of the manager is the first consideration; and if this be proved, the value of the man is enhanced accordingly; no employer would lose him.

But in colonial governments the system is directly opposite, for no sooner does the governor become competent than he is withdrawn and transferred to another sphere. Thus every colony is like a farm held on a short lease, which effectually debars it from improvement, as the same feeling which actuates the individual in neglecting the future, because he will not personally enjoy the fruits of his labor, must in some degree fetter the enterprise of a five years' governor. He is little better than the Lord Mayor, who flutters proudly for a year, and then drops his borrowed feathers in his moulting season.


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